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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"







































Epistle Dedicatory ^ iii 

To the Reader yii 


The text explained : The doctrine. The knowledge of the 
only true God and of Jesus Christ the Mediator, is the 
life of grace, and the necessary way to the life of glory. 
What is contained in the knowledge of God, as to the 
act : what as to the object. A short scheme of the 
Divine properties and attributes to be known 10 

Of the knowledge of God's being, and the necessary effects 

of it on the heart 22 

Of the knowledge of God's unity and indivisibility, and its 

necessary effects 24 


Of the knowledge of God's immensity, and so of his in- 

comprehensibleness, omnipresence, and the effects. ... 28 




Of the knowledge of God's eternity, and its due effects. A 
believer referring all things to eternity, honoureth his 
very horse, or dog, or smallest mercy, more than unbe- 
lievers honour their king, their lives, their souls, regard- 
ing them but for transitory ends. Unbelievers denying 
the end, destroy morally all souls, all mercies, all Divine 
revelations, all God's ordinances, all graces, and duties, 
and the whole creation 35 


The knowledge of God as he is a spirit and incorporeal j and 
consequently, 1. As he is simple or uncompounded. 2. 
Invisible, &c. 3, Immortal, incorruptible, immutable : 
The uses of God's simplicity : The uses of his invisibility : 
The uses of his immortfdity and immutability 50 

Of the knowledge of God's almightiness, and of its due 

eflfects 56 


Of the knowledge of God's omniscience or infinite wisdom j 

with the due effects 63 

Of the knowledge of God's infinite goodness, and love j and 

of the due impressidn df it on thte'soiil. • 71 


Of the knowledge of God as the first cause, creator and pre- 
server of all things. All things are for God, as the ulti- 
mate end; manifested. How his will is still fulfilled. 
Whether he will de everitu that all obey him ? God wil- 
leth not sin. Differences ended about. Whether he 
decree not or will not ut evenit peccatum ? Whether he 
will de eventu that sin shall not come to pass, when it 
doth ? All God's works good : none to be dishonoured : 
no not ourselves, our reason and freewill, as natural and 
of God ; though as vitiated by us and ill-disposed, we 
must accuse it • • • 8] 



Of the knowledge of God as our redeemer. Infants not in a 
state of innoeency, but of original sin : fully proved : 
the great ends of redemption enumerated : the effects it 
must have upon the soul 19 


The knowledge of God the Holy Ghost as our sanctifier and 
comforter : a further proof of original sin. Twenty 
considerations by way of queries, to convince them that 
deny or extenuate the sanctifying works of the Holy 
Ghost, ascribing them to nature and themselves 105 


Of the knowledge of God as the absolute owner, proprietary 
or Lord of all : of his Jus Dominii grounded on his crea.- 
tion and redemption j and the uses. .' 114 


Of the knowledge of God as our sovereign governor or king: 
his Jus Imperii : the grounds : the exercise : the uses 
and effects l^Q, 


Of the knowledge of God as our most bountiful benefactor, 
or most loving father. The benefits founding this rela- 
tion : 1. Common: 2. Special to his chosen ones. The 
necessary effects 129 

Of the freedom of God 135 


Of the justice of God : what it is : the effects 136 

Of the knowledge of God's holiness . what it is : the neces- 
sary effects . * 187 


Of God's veracity, or truth and faithfulness. The uses. The 
Dominicans' doctrine of physical, efficient, immediate 
predetermination, at once obliterateth all Divine faith, 
by denying the veracity of God, which is its formal ob- 
ject. Lying and peijury abominable 142 



Of the knowledge of God's mercifulness (including his pa- 
tience and long-suffering), and the necessary uses and 
effects 148 


Of the knowledge of God's dreadfulness or terribleness : and 

the necessary uses and effects 151 



The text explained : what it is to walk with God : what it 

containeth both for matter and manner 1 55 


The first use : a lamentation of the practical atheism of the 
world. Motives to change your inordinate creature- 
converse into converse with God. How much sinners 
have to do with God, more than with all the world be- 
sides, shewed in fourteen instances 180 


An answer to them that think God doth us good by necessity 
of nature, as the sun doth illuminate and warm us ; and 
therefore though he have much to do for us, yet much 
is not required from ua towards him. And to them that 
think he is above our converse, and unsuitable to us. 
Ten queries to evince the necessity of our own holy dili- 
gence in godliness : especially of exercising our thoughts 
upon God. Ten mischiefs that befal them who have not 
God in all their thoughts *••• 199 


Practical atheism further detected. An answer to them that 
think it unfit for ignorant men, or poor men to think so 
much of God, and that it will make men melancholy and 
mad. Ten propositions shewing how far it is our duty 
to think of God j by way of explication • • • 214 



An answer to them that say, God regardeth not thoughts but 
deeds. Twelve evidences of the regardableness of our 
thoughts 223 


The application to the Godly. The benefits of walking with 
God. 1. It is suitable to human nature. How it is 
natural. No middle life between the sensual and the 
holy. Of them that delight in knowledge and moral 
virtue. Nature in its first constitution was not only in- 
nocent but holy : proved. II. To walk with God is the 
highest and noblest life. III. It is the only course to 
prove and make men truly wise. Proved by ten eviden- 
ces. IV. It maketh men good as well as wise, and ad- 
vanceth to the greatest holiness and rectitude. Proved 
by five evidences. V. It is the best preparation for suf- 
ferings and death, shewed by seven advantages, to that 
end 229 


Five special obligations on true believers to walk with God, 

and to avoid inordinate creature-converse 260 





The context opened 284 

Why Christ was forsaken by his disciples 285 

Use 1. Expect by the forsaking of your friends to be con- 
formed unto Christ. Reasons for your expectation • • • • 288 

The aggravations of their forsaking you 299 

Some quieting considerations 300 

The order of forms in the school of Christ 307 

The disciples scattered every man to his own 809 

Selfishness contrary to friendly fidelity 310 

Considerations to quiet us in the death of faithful friends • • 311 

Whether we shall know them in heaven 316 

Whether creatures be any matter of our comfort in heaven. . 317 
Quest. Shall I have any more comfort in present friends than 

in others ? 318 



Doct. 3. When all forsake us, and leave us (as to them) 
alone, we are far from being simply alone, because God 

is with us 320 

The advantages of having God with us ibid. 

Quest. How he is with us 351 

Use 1. Imitate Christ: live upon God alone 3 though men 
forsake you, yet thrust not yourselves into solitude un- 
called • f 326 

In what cases solitude is lawful and good • • • • • . . 327 

Reasons against unnecessary solitude • • • • ibid. 

The comfort of converse with God in necessary solitude. 
The benefits of solitude. The reasons from God, im- 
proved largely in some meditations • • * • • • • • 335 

Directions for conversing with God in solitude 353 

Concluded in further meditation 358 

A caution ^ , 361 


Preface ccclxiii 


The question stated 369 


Proposition 1. That Christ commissioned his apostles, or his 
principal church-ministers, to teach the churches all his 
doctrine, and deliver them all his commands and orders, 
and so to settle and guide the first churches 371 


Proposition 2. Christ promised his Spirit to his apostles, to 
enable them to do, what he had commissioned them to 
do, by leading them into all truth, and bringing his words 
and deeds to their remembrance, and by guiding them as 
his churches' guides 374 



Proposition 3. Christ performed all these promises to his 
apostles, and gave them his Spirit to enable them for all 
their commissioned work 375 


Proposition 4. The apostles did actually separate and appoint 
the first day of the week for holy worship, especially in 
church-assemblies 376 


Proposition 5. This act of the apostles' appointing the 
Lord's-day for Christian worship, was done by the special 
inspiration or guidance of the Holy Ghost 414 


Quest. 2. Whether the Seventh-day-sabbath should be still 

kept by Christians, as of Divine obligation? Neg. • • • • 415 


Of the beginning of the day 428 

Quest. 1. When doth the Lord's-day begin? ibid. 

Quest. 2. How should the Lord's-day be kept or used ? . . . . 429 

How the Lord's-day should not be spent: or what is unlaw- 
ful on it 438 


What things should not be scrupled as unlawful on the 

Lord's-day 452 


Of what importance the due observation of the Lord's-day is 458 


What other church-festivals or separated days are lawful ? . . 468 





An answer^to certain objections against the Lord's-day • • • • 46T 


An answer to more arguments for the Seventh-day-sabbath 482 


Whether the Seventh-day-sabbath be part of the law of 

nature, or only a positive law ? 496 


Whether every word in the decalogue be of the law of 
nature, and of perpetual obligation ? And whether all 
that was of the law of nature, was in the decalogue } , . 504 

Whether the truest antiquity be for the Seventh-day-sabbath, 

as kept by the churches of Christ ? 508 

Postscript 51^ 


Address to the sensual gentry 517 


To all the ignorant, carnal, and ungodly, who are lovers of 
pleasure more than God, and seek this world more than 
the life everlasting, and live after the flesh, and not after 
the Spirit 535 








VOL. xin. 

i J 

i i ?i 





In hope of the fuller pardon of my delay, I now present you 
with two other Treatises besides the Sermon (enlarged), which 
at your desire I preached at your departure hence. I knew of 
many and great afflictions, which you had undergone in the 
removal of your dearest friends, which made this subject 
seem so suitable and seasonable to you at that time : but I 
knew not that God was about to make so great an addition 
to your trials in the same kind, by taking to himself the 
principal branch of your noble family (by a rar^ disease, 
the emblem of the mortal malady now reigning).* I hope 
this loss also shall promote your gain, by keeping you 
nearer to your heavenly Lord, who is so jealous of your af- 
fections, and resolved to have them entirely to himself: and 
then you will still find, that you are not alone, nor deprived 
of your dearest or most necessary friend, while the Father, 
the Son, the sanctifying and comforting Spirit is with you. 
And it should not be hard to reconcile us to the disposals 
of so sure a Friend. Nothing but good can come from God ; 
however the blind may miscal it, who know no good or 
evil, but what is measured by the private standard of their 
selfish interest, and that as judged of by sense. Eternal 
Love engaged by covenant to make us happy, will do no- 
thing but what we shall find at last, will terminate in that 
blessed end. He envied you not your son, as too good for 
you, or too great a mercy, who hath given you his own Son, 
and v/ith him the mercy of eternal life. Corporal sufferings 
with spiritual blessings are the ordinary lot of believers 
here on earth : as corporal prosperity with spiritual calamity 
is the lot of the ungodly. And I beseech you consider, 
that God knoweth better than you or I, what an ocean your 

* Charles, Earl of Baluarres, who died of a stone hi hit heart, of a verjr great 


or tending swine. To walk in holiness with the Most Holy 
God, is the improvement and advancement of the nature of 
man, towards its designed equality with angels. When 
earthiiness and sensuality degrade humanity into (a volun- 
tary, and therefore sinful) brutishness : this is the life 
which afFordeth the soul a solid and durable pleasure and 
content : when carnal minds evaporate into air, and bubble 
into froth and vanity, wasted in a dream, and the violent, 
busy pursuit of a shadow; deceiving themselves with a 
mixture of some counterfeit religion ; playing with God, and 
working for the world ; living in jest, and dying, and des- 
pairing, and suffering in earnest ; with unwearied labour 
building on the sand, and sinking at death for want of a 
foundation ; hating the serious practice of their own pro- 
fessed religion, because it is not the profession, but the 
serious practice which hath the greatest enmity to their 
sensual delights ; yet wishing to be numbered with those 
hereafter, whom they hated here. This holy walking with 
the Most Holy God, is the only life which is best at last, 
and sweet in the review ; which the godly live in, and most 
of the ungodly could wish to die in ; like him that wished 
to be Caesar in life, and Socrates at death : Yea, this is the 
life which hath no end ; which we are here but learning, 
and beginning to practise, and which we must hereafter live 
(in another manner and degree) with God for ever. O won- 
drous mercy ! which thus ennobleth even the state of mor- 
tality ! and honoureth earth with so much participation of, 
and communion with Heaven ! That by God, and with God, 
we may walk in holy peace and safety unto God, and there 
be blessed in his perfect sight and love for ever ! Madam, 
the greatest service I can do you for all your favours, is to 
pray that God will more acquaint you with himself, and 
lead you by this blessed way to that more blessed end ; that 
when you see all worldly glory in the dust, you may bless 
him for ever, who taught you to make a wiser choice : 
Which are the prayers of 


Your very much obliged Servant, 



.-fg^ec. 24, 1662. 



The embryo of this book was but one Sermon, preached a 
little before the ending of my public ministry, upon the 
text of the third Treatise, (upon the occasion intimated in 
the Epistle to that truly Honourable Lady). Being obliged 
to communicate the Notes, and unavoidably guilty of some 
delays, I made a compensation by enlargement ; and (hav- 
ing reasons for the publication of them, with which I shall 
not trouble you,) to make them more suitable to the de- 
signed end, I prefixed the two former Treatises : The first 
I had preached to my ancient flock : of the second I had 
preached but one sermon. If many of the materials in the 
second be the same as in the first, you must understand that 
my design required that it should be so: they being the 
same attributes of God, which the first part endeavoureth 
to imprint upon the mind ; and which the second and third 
endeavour to improve into a constant course of holy affec- 
tion and conversation. As it is the same food which the 
first concoction chylifieth, which the perfecting concoctions 
do work over again, and turn into blood, and spirits, and 
flesh : so far am I in such points from gratifying thy sickly 
desire of variety, and avoiding the displeasing of thee by 
the rehearsals of the same, that it is my very business with 
thee to persuade thee, to live continually upon these same 
attributes and relations of God, as upon thy daily air and 
bread ; and to forsake that lean, consuming company, who 
feed on the shells of hard and barren controversies, or on the 
froth of compliments and affected shows, and run after 
novelty instead of substantial solid nutriment : And to tell 
thee, that the primitive, pure, simple Christianity, consisted 
in the daily serious use of the great materials of the Creed, 
Lord's Prat/er, and I'en Commandments, contracted in the 


last will " give up the kingdom to the Father, that God may 
be all, and in all; and the Son himself shall be subject to 
this end." (1 Cor. xv. 24. 28.) The end of Christ's sacrifice 
and intercession is to reconcile God and man. The end of 
his doctrine is to teach us to know God. The end of his 
government is to reduce us to the perfect obedience of our 
Maker. It is therefore the greatest duty of a Christian to 
know God as revealed by his Son ; and it is such a duty 
about our ultimate end as is also our greatest mercy and fe- 
licity. Therefore doth the Lord Jesus here in the text des- 
cribe that life eternal which he was to give to those whom 
the Father had given him, to consist in " knowing the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom he had sent." My pur- 
pose is in this treatise to speak only of the first part of the 
text, ' The knowledge of God.' And first I shall very briefly 
explain the text. 

THIS — That is. This which I am describing. 

LIFE — Life is taken sometimes for the soul's abode in 
the body, which is the natural life of man : or the soul's con- 
tinuation in its separated state, which is the natural life of 
the soul : and sometimes for the perfections of natural life. 
And that either its natural perfection, that is, its health and 
vivacity ; or its moral perfection or rectitude ; and that is 
either in the cause, and so God is our life, Christ is our life, 
the Holy Spirit is our life ; or in itself; and so holiness is 
our life in the principle, seed or habit. Sometimes life is 
taken for the work, employment and exercise of life ; and so 
a holy conversation, is our moral, spiritual or holy life. And 
sometimes it is taken for the felicity of the living : and bo 
it containeth all the former in their highest perfection, that 
is, both natural life, and moral spiritual life, and the holy 
exercise thereof, together with the full attainment and frui- 
tion of God in glory, the End of all. 

ETERNAL— That is, simply eternal, objectively, as to 
God the principal object : and Eternal * ex parte post,* sub- 
jectively ; that is. Everlasting* 

THIS IS LIFE ETERNAL— Not natural life in itself 
considered, as the devils and wicked men shall have it. But 
L It is the same moral spiritual life which shall have nO end, 
but endure to eternity. It is a living to God in loVe ; blit 
only initial, aiid very imperfect here, in comparison of what 
it Will be in heaven. 2» It is th^ eternal ffelicity, (L) S<e- 


minally ; for grace is as it were the seed of glory. (2.) As 
it is the necessary way or means of attaining it ; and that 
preparation which infallibly procureth it. The perfect ho- 
liness of the saints in heaven, will be one part of their per- 
fect happiness : and this holiness imperfect they have here 
in this life. It is the same God that we know and love, here 
and there ; and with a knowledge and love that is of the 
same nature seminally : as the egg is of the nature of the 
bird, (Whether it may be properly said to be formally and 
specifically the same ' quoad actum/ as well as ' quoad ob- 
jectum ;' yea, whether the ' objectum clare visum,' and the 
* objectum in speculo vel senigmate visum,' make not the act 
specifically differ, I shall not trouble you to dispute.) And 
this imperfect holiness hath the promise of perfect holiness 
and happiness in the full fruition of God hereafter. So it 
is the seed, and prognostic of life eternal. 

TO KNOW — *Non semper et ubique eodem modo vel 
gradu ;* Not to know God here and hereafter in the same 
manner or degree. But to know him here as in a glass, and 
hereafter in his glory, as face to face. To know him by an 
affective, practical knowledge : there is no text of Scripture 
of which the rule is more clearly true and necessary than of 
this, that words of knowledge do imply affection. It is the 
closure of the whole soul with God, which is here called the 
knowing of God. And because it is not meet to name every 
particular act of the soul, whenever this duty is mentioned, 
it is all denominated from knowledge, as the first act, which 
inferreth all the rest. 1. Knowledge of God in the habit, is 
spiritual life, as a principle. 2. Knowledge of God in the 
exercise, is spiritual life, as an employment. 3. The know- 
ledge of God in perfection, with its effects, is life eternal, as 
it signifieth full felicity. What it containeth, I shall further 
shew anon. 

THEE — That is, the Father, called by some divines, 
' Pons vel fundamentum Trinitatis :' The fountain, or foun- 
dation of the Trinity : and oft used in the same sense as the 
word God, to signify the pure Deity. 

THE ONLY— He that believeth that there is more gods 
than one, believeth not in any. For though he may give 
many the name, yet the description of the true God can 
agree to none of them. He is not God indeed, if he be not 
one only. 


This doth not at all exclude Jesus Christ, as the second 
person in Trinity ; but only distinguisheth the pure Deity, 
or the only true God, as such, from Jesus Christ, as Media- 
tor between God and man. 

TRUE — There are many that falsely and metaphorically 
are called gods. If we think of God but as one of these, it 
is not to know him, but deny him. 

GOD — The word God doth not only signify the Divine 
perfections in himself but also his relation to the creatures. 
To be a God to us, is to be one to whom we must ascribe all 
that we are or have ; and one whom we must love, and obey, 
and honour, with all the powers of soul and body : and one 
on whom we totally depend, and from whom we expect our 
judgment and reward, in whom alone we can be perfectly 

AND JESUS CHRIST—That is, as Mediator, in his na- 
tures (God and man), and in his office and grace. 

WHOM THOU HAST SENT— That is, whom thy love 
and wisdom designed and commissioned to this undertaking 
and performance. 

The knowledge of the Holy Ghost seemeth here left out, 
as if it were no part of life eternal. But 1. At that time the 
Holy Ghost in that eminent sort, as sent by the Father and 
Son on the apostles, after the resurrection and ascension of 
Christ, was not yet so manifested as afterwards, and there- 
fore not so necessarily to be distinctly known and believed 
in as after. The having of the Spirit being of more necessity 
than the distinct knowledge of him. Certain it is that the 
disciples were at first very dark in this article of faith : and 
Scripture more fully revealeth the necessity to salvation of 
believing in the Father and Son, than in the Holy Ghost dis- 
tinctly ; yet telling us, that " if any man have not the Spirit 
of Christ, the same is none of his." (Rom. viii. 9.) 2. But 
presently after, when the Spirit was to be sent, the necessity 
of believing in him is expressed ; especially in the apostle's 
commission to baptize all nations (that were made disciples) 
in " the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." 

Doct, * The knowledge of the only true God, and of 
Jesus Christ the Mediator, is the life of grace, and the ne- 
cessary way to the life of glory.' 


As James distinguisheth between such a dead faith as 
devils and wicked men had, and such a living and working 
faith as was proper to the justified ; so must we here of the 
knowledge of God. *' Many profess that they know God, 
but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobe- 
dient, and to every good work reprobate." (Titus i. 16.) There 
is a form of knowledge which the unbelievers had, (Rom. ii. 
22,) and a knowledge which pufFeth up, and is void of love, 
which hypocrites have. (1 Cor. viii. 1. 13.) But no man 
(spiritually) knoweth the things of God, but by the Spirit. 
And they that rightly ** know his name will put their trust in 
him." (Psal. ix. 10.) Thus he giveth the regenerate " a heart to 
know him ;" (Jer. xxiv. 7 ;) and the new creature " is renewed 
in knowledge." (Col.iii. 10.) And " vengeance shall be poured 
out on them that know not God." (2 Thess. i. 8.) 

This saving knowledge of God which is eternal life, 
containeth and implieth in it all these acts : 1. The under- 
standing's apprehension of God according to the necessary 
articles of faith. 2. A belief of the truth of these articles : 
that God is, and is such as he is therein described. 3. An 
high estimation of God accordingly. 4. A volition, com- 
placency, or love to him as God, the chiefest good. 5. A 
desiring after him. 6. A choosing him, with the rejection 
of all competitors. 7. A consent that he be our God, and 
a giving up ourselves to him as his people. 8. An intend- 
ing him as our ultimate end in the use of means, in the 
course of our conversations. 9. A seeking him in the choice 
and use of means. 10. An obeying him as our Sovereign 
Governor. 11. An honouring, and praising him as God. 
12. And an enjoying him and delighting in him (in some 
small foretaste here, as he is seen by faith ; but perfectly 
hereafter, as beheld in glory). The effective practical know- 
ing of God, which is life eternal, containeth or implieth all 
these parts. 

And every Christian that hath any of this knowledge, 
desireth more ; it is his great desire to know more of God, 
and to know him with a more affecting powerful knowledge. 
He that groweth in grace, doth accordingly grow in this 
knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. The vigour and 
alacrity of our souls liveth in it : the rectitude of our ac- 
tions, and the holiness of them, flowetli from it : God is the 
xcellency of our hearts and lives : our advan cement and 


our joy is here only to be found. All other knowledge is so 
far desirable, as it conduceth to tha knowledge of God, or 
to the several duties which that knowledge doth require. 
All knowledge of words or things, of causes and effects, of 
any creatures, actions, customs, laws, or whatsoever may be 
known, is so far valuable as it is useful ; and so far useful 
as it is holy, subserving the knowledge of God in Christ. 
What the sun is to all men's eyes, that God is to their souls, 
and more. It is to know him that we have understandings 
given us; and our understandings enjoy him but so far as 
they know him; as the eye enjoyeth the light of the sun, 
by seeing it. The ignorance of God, is the blindness and 
part of the atheism of the soul, and inferreth the rest. They 
that know him not, desire not heartily to know him ; nor 
can they love him, trust him, fear him, serve him, or call 
upon him, whom they do not know. *' How shall they call 
upon him in whom they have not believed?" Rom. x. 14. The 
heart of the ungodly saith to God, " Depart from us ; for 
we desire not the knowledge of thy ways : What is the Al- 
mighty, that we should serve him ; and what profit shall we 
have if we pray unto him?" (Job xxi. 14, 15. xxii. 17.) All 
wickedness hath admission into that heart or land where the 
knowledge of God is not the watch to keep it out. Abraham 
inferred that the men of Gerar would kill him for his wife, 
when he saw that '* the fear of God was not in that place." 
(Gen. XX. 1 1 .) It was " God's controversy with Israel, because 
there was no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the 
land ; but by swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, 
they brake out, and blood touched blood." (Hosea iv. 1, 2.) 
They are called by God, "a foolish people, sottish children, 
of no understanding, that knew not God ; though they were 
wise to do evil/' (Jer. iv. 22.) He will " pour out his fury 
upon the heathen that know him not, and the families that 
call not on his name.'' (Jer. x. 25.) As the day diflfereth from 
the night, by the light of the sun, so the church differeth 
from the world, by the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ ; 
" In Judah is God known; his name is great in Israel: in 
Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Sion." 
(Psal. Ixxvi. 1, 2.) The love, and unity, and peace, which 
shall succeed persecution and malice in the blessed times, 
shall be "because the earth shall be full of the knowledge of 
the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isa. xi. 6—9.) Hypo- 


crites shall know him superficially and uneffeclually : and 
his holy ones shall know him so as to love him, fear him, 
trust him and obey him ; with a knowledge effectual upon 
heart and life : and he will "continue his loving kindness to 
them that know him." (Psal. xxxvi. 10.) 

He is the best Christian that hath the fullest impression 
made upon his soul by the knowledge of God in all his attri- 
butes. Thus it is our life eternal to know God in Christ. 
It is to reveal the Father that the Son was sent ; and it is 
to reveal the Father and the Son, that the Holy Spirit is 
sent ; God is the light, and the life, and the felicity of the 
soul. The work of its salvation is but the restoring it to 
him, and putting it in possession of him. The beginning 
of this is regeneration and reconciliation ; the perfection 
of it is glorification, beatifical vision and fruition. The 
mind that hath least of God is the darkest and most deluded 
mind : and the mind that hath most of him is the most lucid, 
pure and serene. And how is God in the mind, but as the 
light and other visible objects are in the eye ; and as plea- 
sant melody is in the ear ; and as delightful meats and drinks 
are in the taste ? but that God maketh a more deep and dura- 
ble impress on the soul, and such as is suitable to its spiri- 
tual, immaterial nature. 

As your seal is to make a full impression on the wax, of 
the whole figure that is upon itself, so hath God been 
pleased in divers seals to engrave his image, and these must 
make their impress upon us. 1. There is the seal of the 
Creation ; for the world hath much of the image of God : 
It is engraven also on the seal of Providential Disposals 
(though there we are incapable of reading it yet, so fully as 
in the rest). 2. It is engraven on the seal of the Holy Scrip- 
tures. 3. And on the Person of Jesus Christ, who is the 
purest, clearest image of the Father, as also on the holy ex- 
ample of his life. 4. And by the means of all these applied 
to the soul, in our sober Consideration, by the working of 
the Holy Ghost, the image of God is made upon us. 

Here note, 1. That all the revealed image of God must 
be made on the soul, and not a part only : and all is wrought 
where any is truly wrought. 2. That to the completeness 
of his image on us, it is necessary that each part of God s 
description be orderly made, and orderly make the impress 
on us, and that each part keep its proper place : for it is a 


monster that hath feet where the head should be, or the 
backpart forward, or where there is any gross misplacing 
of the parts. 3. Note also, that all the three forementioned 
seals contain all God's image on them; but yet not all alike j 
but the first part is more clearly engraven upon the first of 
them, and the second part upon the second of them, and the 
third part most clearly on the third and last. 

To open this more plainly to you ; unity in trinity, and 
trinity in unity, is the sum of our holy faith. In the Deity 
there is revealed to us, one God in three persons, the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost ; the essence is but one ; the subsis- 
tences are three. And as we must conceive and speak of 
the Divine Nature according to its image, while we see it 
but in a glass ; so we must say, that in this blessed Deity in 
the unity of essence, there is a trinity of essential properties 
and attributes ; that is, power, wisdom and goodness, life, 
light and love : the measure of which is to have no measure, 
but to he infinite. And therefore this Being is eternal, and 
not measured by time, being without beginning or end : He 
is immense, as being not measured by place, but containeth 
all places, and is contained in none : he is perfect, as not 
measured by parts or by degrees, but quite above degrees 
and parts. This infiniteness of his being doth communicate 
itself, or also consist in the infiniteness of his essential pro- 
perties. His power is omnipotency, that is, infinite power ; 
his knowledge or wisdom is omniscience, that is, infinite 
wisdom : his goodness is felicity itself, or infinite goodness. 

The first seal (to our cognizance) on which he engraved 
this his image, was the Creation, that is, 1. The whole world 
in general. 2. The Intellectual Nature or Man in special. 

In the Being of the Creation and every particular crea- 
ture, his Infinite Being is revealed ; so wretched a fool is 
the atheist, that by denying God, he denieth all things ! 
Could he prove that there is no God, I would quickly prove 
that there is no world, no man, no creature. If he know 
that he is himself or that the world or any creature is, he 
may know that God is : for God is the Original Being ; and 
all being that is not eternal, must have some original : and 
that which hath no original is God, being eternal, infinite 
and without cause. 

The Power of God is revealed in the being and powers 
of the creation. His wisdom is revealed in their nature. 


order, offices, effects, &c. His goodness is revealed in the 
creature's goodness, its beauty, usefulness, accomplish- 
ments. But though all his image thus appear upon the 
creation, yet is it his omnipotency that principally there ap- 
pears. The beholding and consideration of the wonderful 
greatness, activity and excellency of the sun, the moon, the 
stars, the fire, and other creatures, doth first and chiefly pos- 
sess us with apprehensions of the infinite greatness or power 
of the Creator. 

In the Holy Word or Laws of God, which is the second 
glass or seal (more clear and legible to us than the former), 
there appeareth also all his image ; his power in the narra- 
tives, predictions, &c. ; liis wisdom in the prophecies, pre- 
cepts, and in all ; his goodness in the promises and institu- 
tions, in a special manner. But yet it is his second pro- 
perty, his wisdom, that most eminently appeareth on this 
second seal, and is seen in the glass of the holy law. The 
discovery of such mysteries ; the revelation of so many 
truths : the suitableness of all the instituted means ; and 
the admirable fitness of all the holy contrivances of God, 
and all his precepts, promises and threatenings, for the go- 
vernment of mankind, and carrying him on for the attain- 
ment of his end, in a way agreeable to his nature ; these 
shew that wisdom that is most eminently here revealed, 
though power and goodness be revealed with it ; so in the 
face of Jesus Christ, who is the third and most perfect seal 
and glass ; there is the image of the power, and wisdom, 
and goodness of the^Godhead : but yet it is the love or 
goodness of the Father that is most eminently revealed in 
the Son : his power appeared in the incarnation, the con- 
quests over Satan and the world, the miracles, the resurrec- 
tion and the ascension of Christ. His wisdom appeareth 
in the admirable mystery of redemption, and in all the 
parts of the office, works and laws of Christ, and in the 
means appointed in subordination to him ; but love and 
goodness shineth most clearly and amiably through the 
whole; it being the very end of Christ in this blessed work, 
to reveal God to man in the riches of his love, as giving us 
the greatest mercies, by the most precious means, in the 
meetest season and manner for our good ; reconciling us to 
himself, and treating us as children, with fatherly compas- 



sions, and bringing us nearer to him, and opening to us the 
everlasting treasure, having brought life and immortality to 
light in the Gospel. 

God being thus revealed to man from without, in the 
three glasses or seals of the Creation, Law, and Son himself, 
he is also revealed to us in ourselves, man being, as it were, 
a little world. 

In the nature of man is revealed, as in a seal or glass, 
the nature of the blessed God, in some measure. In unity 
of essence, we have a trinity of faculties of soul, even the 
vegetative, sensitive and rational, as our bodies have both 
parts and spirits, natural, vital and animal ; the rational 
power in unity, hath also its trinity of faculties, even power 
for execution, understanding for direction, and will for com- 
mand : the measure of power is naturally sufficient to its 
use and end ; the understanding is a faculty to reason, dis- 
cern, and discourse ; the will hath that freedom which be-^ 
seemeth an undetermined, self-determining creature here in 
the way. 

Besides this physical image of God, that is inseparable 
from our nature, we have also his law written in our hearts, 
and are ourselves objectively part of the law of nature ; that 
is, the signifiers of the will of God. Had we not by sin 
obliterated somewhat of this image, it would have shewed 
itself more clearly, and we should have been more capable 
of understanding it. 

And then when we are regenerate and renewed by the 
grace and Spirit of Christ, and planted into him, as living 
members of his body, we have then the third impression 
upon our souls, and are made like our Head in wisdom, holi- 
ness, and in effectual strength. 

Considered as creatures endued with power, understand- 
ing and will, we have the impress of all the aforesaid attri- 
butes of God ; bat eminently of his power. 

Considered as we were at first possessed with the light 
and law of works or nature, (of which we yet retain some 
part,) so we have the impress of all these attributes of God ; 
but most eminently of his wisdom. 

Considered as regenerate by the Spirit, and planted into 
Christ, so we have the impress of all his said attributes; but 
most eminently of his love and goodness, shining in the 
moral accomplishments or graces of the soul. 



Man being thus made at first the natural and sapiential 
image of God, (with much of the image of his love,) the 
Lord did presently, by necessary resultancy and voluntary 
consent, stand related to us in such variety of relations as 
answer the aforesaid properties and attributes. And these 
relations of God to us, are next to be known, as flowing 
from his attributes and works. 

1. As we have our derived being from God, who is the 
primitive Eternal Being ; so from our being given by crea- 
tion, God is related to us as our Maker ; from this relation 
of a Creator in unity, there ariseth a trinity of relations : 
this trinity is in that unity, and that unity in this trinity. 
First, God having made us of nothing, necessarily related to 
us as our Lord ; by a Lord we mean strictly a proprietary or 
owner, as you are the owner of your goods, or any thing that 
is your own. 

Secondly, He is related to us as our Ruler, our Governor 
or King. This riseth from our nature, made to be ruled in 
order to our end ; being rational, voluntary agents ; and also* 
from the dominion and blessed nature of God, who only 
hath right to the government of the world, and only is tit 
and capable of ruling it. 

Thirdly, He is related also to us as our Benefactor or 
Father; freely and of his bounty giving us all the good that 
we do receive. 

His first relation in this trinity, answereth his first pro- 
perty in the trinity : he is our Almighty Creator, and there- 
fore is our Owner or our Lord. 

The second of these relations answereth the second pro- 
perty of God. He is most wise, and made an impress of his 
wisdom on the rational creature, and therefore is our Go- 

The third relation answereth the third property of God. 
As he is most good, so is he our Benefactor ; " Thou art 
good, and dost good." (Psal. cxix. 68.) Man's nature and 
disposition is known by his works, though he be a free 
agent ; for " the tree is known by its fruit." (Matt. vii. 17.) 
And so God's nature is known by his works (as far as is fit 
for us here to know), though he be a free agent. 

In each of these relations, God hath other special attri- 
butes, which are denominated from his relations, or his fol- 
lowing works : 


As he is our Lord or Owner, his proper attribute is to be 
Absolute, having so full a title to us that he may do with us 
what he list. (Matt.xx. 15 ; Rom. ix. 21.) 

As he is our Ruler, his proper attribute is to be our Sove- 
reign or Supreme ; there being none above him, nor co-ordi- 
nate with him, nor any power of government but what is de- 
rived from him. 

As he is our Benefactor, it is his prerogative to be our 
Chief, or All; the Alpha and Omega; the Fountain, or first 
efficient cause of all that we receive or hope for ; and the 
End, or ultimate final cause that can make us happy by 
fruition, and that we must still intend. 

As these are the attributes of God in these his great re- 
lations, so in respect to the works of these relations, he hath 
other subordinate attributes. As he is our Owner, it is his 
work to dispose of us ; and his proper attribute to be most 
Free. As he is our Ruler, it is his work to govern us ; which 
is, first, by making laws for us, and then by teaching and 
persuading us to keep them, and lastly by executing them ; 
which is by judging, rewarding, and punishing. In respect 
to all these, his principal attribute is to be Just or Righteous: 
in ^hich is comprehended his Truth or Faithfulness, his 
Holiness, his Mercy, and his terrible Dreadfulness. As his 
attributes appear in the assertions of his word, he is True 
(his veracity being nothing but his power, wisdom and good- 
ness, expressing themselves in his Word or Revelations). 
For he tliat is able to do what he will, and so wise as to 
know all things, and so good as to will nothing but what is 
good, cannot possibly lie ; for every lie is either for want of 
power, or knowledge, or goodness ; he that is most able and 
knowing, need not deceive by lying ; and he that is most 
good, will not do it without need. As his first properties 
appear in the word of promise, he is called Faithful, which 
is his truth in making good a word of grace. As he com- 
mandeth holy duties, and condemneth sin as the most de- 
testable thing, by a pure, righteous law, so he is called 
Holy ; and also as the fountain of this law, and the grace 
which sanctifieth his people. As he fulfiUeth his promises, 
and rewardeth, and defendeth men according to his word, so 
he is called Merciful and Gracious, as a governor (where 
his mercy is considered as limited or ordained by his laws.) 
As he fulfilleth his threatenings, he is called, angry, wrath- 



ful, terrible, dreadful, holy, jealous, &c. But he is Just in 

And as these are his attributes as our Sovereign Ruler ; 
so as our Benefactor, his special attribute is to be Gracious, 
or Bountiful, or Benign ; or to be loving and inclined to do 
good. These are the attributes of God resulting from his 
nature as appearing in his image in the creation, laws, and 
the person of his Son ; and resulting from his relations and 
the works of those relations ; even as he is our Creator, in 
unity ; and our Lord or Owner, our Ruler and Benefactor, 
in trinity. 

Were it not my purpose to confine myself to this short 
discovery of the nature, attributes, and works of God, but 
to run deeper into the rest of the body of divinity, I should 
come down to the fall, and work of redemption, and shew 
you in the Gospel and all the ordinances, &c. the footsteps 
of this method of trinity in unity, which I have here begun ; 
but that were to digress. 

Besides what is said, we might name you many attributes 
of God, that are commonly called negative, and do but dis- 
tinguish him from the imperfect creature, by setting him 
above us infinitely in his perfections. Man hath a body ; 
but ^God is not a body, but a spirit : man is mutable, but 
God is immutable : man is mortal, but God immortal, &c. 
And now as I have shewed you these properties, relations, 
and attributes of God, so I must next tell you that we also 
stand in answerable counter-relations to him ; and must 
have the qualities, and do the works that answer those 

1. As God is our Almighty Creator, so we are his crea- 
tures, impotent and insufficient for ourselves. We owe him 
therefore all that a creature that hath but our receivings, 
can owe his Maker. 2. In this relation is contained a 
trinity of relations. 1. We are his own, as he is our Lord. 
2. We are his subjects, as he is our Ruler. 3. We are his 
children, as he is our Father ; or his obliged beneficiaries, as 
he is our Benefactor. And now having opened to your ob- 
servation the image of God, and the extrinsic seals, I have 
ripened the discourse so far, that I may more fitly shew you 
how the impression of this image of God is to be made upon 
the soul of the believer. 



Of the Knowledge of God's Being. 

1. " He that cometh to God, must believe that God is, and 
that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." 
(Heb. xi. 6.) The first thing to be imprinted on the soul is, that 
there is a God ; that he is a real most transcendent Being. 
As sure as the sun that shineth hath a being, and the earth 
that beareth us hath a being, so sure hath God that made 
them a being infinitely more excellent than theirs. As sure 
as the streams come from the fountain, and as sure as earth, 
and stones, and beasts, and men did never make themselves, 
nor do uphold themselves, or continue the course of nature 
in themselves and others, nor govern the world, so sure is 
there an Infinite Eternal Being that doth this. Every 
atheist that is not mad, must confess that there is an Eternal 
Being, that had no beginning or cause ; the question is only. 
Which this is ? Which ever it is, it is this that is the true 
God. What now would the atheist have it to be ? Certainly 
it is that Being that hath being itself from none, that is the 
first cause of all other beings ; and if it causeth them, it 
must necessarily be every way more excellent than they, and 
contain all the good that it hath caused ; for none can give 
that which he hath not to give ; nor make that which is 
better than itself; that Being that hath made so glorious a 
creature as the sun, must needs itself be much more glorious. 
It could not have put strength and power into the creatures, 
if it had not itself more strength and power. It could not 
have put wisdom and goodness into the creature, if it had 
not more wisdom and goodness than all they. Whatever it 
is therefore that hath more power, wisdom and goodness 
than all the world besides, that is it which we call God. 
That cause that hath communicated to all things else, the 
being, power, and all perfections which they have, is the 
God whom we acknowledge and adore ; if Democritists 
will ascribe all this to atoms, and 4hink that the motes did 
make the sun ; or if others will think that the sun is God, 
because it participateth of so much of his excellency, let 
them be mad awhile, till judgment shall convince them. So 
clear beyond all question to my soul, is the Being of the 
Godhead, that the devil hath much lost the rest of his more 
subtle temptations, when he hath foolishly and maliciously 


adjoined this, to draw me to question the Being of my God ; 
which is more than to question, whether there be a sun in 
the firmament. 

But what is the impress that the Being of God must 
make upon the soul? 

I answer. From hence the holy soul discemeth that the 
beginning and the end of his religion, the substance of his 
hope, is the Being of Beings, and not a shadow ; and that 
his faith is not a fancy. The object is as it were the matter 
of the act. If our faith, and hope, and love, and fear, be 
exercised in a delusory work ; God is to the atheist but an 
empty name ; he feels no life or being in him ; and accord- 
ingly he offereth him a shadow of devotion, and a nominal 
service. But to the holy soul there is nothing that hath life 
and being but God, and that which doth receive a being 
from him, and leadeth to him. This real object putteth a 
reality into all the devotions of a holy soul. They look 
upon the vanities of the world as nothing ; and therefore 
they look on worldly men as on idle dreamers that are doing 
nothing. This puts a seriousness and life into the faith and 
holy affections of the believer. He knows whom he trust- 
eth. (2 Tim. i. 12.) He knows whom he Joveth, and in whom 
he hopeth. Atheists, and all ungodly men, do practically 
judge of God, as the true believer judgeth of the world. 
The atheist takes the pleasures of the world to be the only 
substance ; and God to be but as a shadow, a notion, or a 
dream. The godly take the world to be as nothing, and 
know it is but a fancy and dream, and shadow of pleasures, 
and honour, and profit, and felicity, that men talk of and 
seek so eagerly below? but that God is the substantial ob- 
ject and portion of the soul. If you put into the mouth of 
a hungry man, a little froth, or breath, or air, and bid him 
eat it, and feed upon it, he will tell you, he finds no sub- 
stance in it ; so judgeth the graceless soul of God, and so 
judgeth the gracious soul of the creature, as separate from 

Let this be the impression on thy soul, from the conside- 
ration of God's transcendent being ! O look upon thyself 
and all things as nothing without him ! and as nothing in 
comparison of him ! and therefore let thy love to them be 
as nothing, and thy desires after them, and care for them, 
a« nothing ! But let the being of thy love, desire, and en- 


deavours, be let out upon the transcendent Being. The 
creature hath its kind of being; but if it would be to us 
instead of God, it will be as nothing. The air hath its 
being, but we cannot dwell in it, nor rest upon it to 
support us as the earth doth. The water hath its being, 
but it will not bear us if we would walk upon it. The 
name of the great Jehovah is " I am." (Exod. iii. 14.) Try 
any creature in thy need, and it will say, as Jacob to Rachel, 
" Am I in God's stead, that hath withheld thy desire from 
thee?'' (Gen. xxx. 2.) Send to it and it will say as John 
Baptist, that confessed, " I am not the Christ." (John i. 20.) 
Let none of all the affections of thy soul, have so much life 
and being in them, as those that are exercised upon God. 
Worms and motes are not regarded in comparison with 
mountains ; a drop is not regarded in comparison of the 
ocean. Let the Being of God take up thy soul, and draw 
off thy observation from deluding vanities, as if there were 
no such things before thee. When thou rememberest that 
there is a God, kings and nobles, riches and honours, and 
all the world, should be forgotten in comparison of him ; 
and thou shouldst live as if there were no such things, if 
God appear not to thee in them. See them as if thou didst 
not see them, as thou seest a candle before the sun ; or a 
pile of grass, or single dust, in comparison with the earth. 
Hear them as if thou didst not hear them ; as thou hearest 
the leaves of the shaken tree, at the same time with a clap 
of thunder. As greatest things obscure the least, so let the 
Being of the Infinite God so take up all the powers of thy 
soul, as if there were nothing else but he, when any thing 
would draw thee from him. O ! if the Being of this God 
were seen by thee, thy seducing friend would scarce be seen, 
thy tempting baits would scarce be seen, thy riches and 
honours would be forgotten ; all things would be as nothing 
to thee in comparison of him. 

CHAP. in. 

2. As the Being of God should make this impression on 
thee, so the attributes that speak the perfection of that 
Being, must each one have their work ; as his Unity or Indi- 
visibility, his Immensity, and Eternity. 

And first, the thought of God's unity should contract 
and unite thy straggling affections, and call them home from 



multifarious vanity. It should possess thy mind with deep 
apprehensions of the excellency of holy unity in the soul, 
and in the church ; and of the evil of division, and misery 
of distracting multiplicity. " The Lord our God is one 
God." (1 Cor. viii. 6.) Perfection hath unity and simplicity. 
We fell into divisions and miserable distraction when we 
departed from God unto the creatures, for the creatures are 
many, and of contrary qualities, dispositions and affections ; 
and the heart that is set on such an object, must needs be a 
divided heart ; and the heart that is divided among so many 
and contrary or discordant objects, must needs be a dis- 
tracted heart. The confusions of the world confound the 
heart that is set upon the world. He that maketh the world 
his God, hath so many Gods ; and so discordant, that he will 
never please them all ; and all of them together will never 
fully content and please him. And who would have a God 
that can neither please us, nor be pleased ? He that maketh 
himself his God, hath a compounded God (and now cor- 
rupted) of multifarious, and now of contrary desires, as 
hard to please as any without us. There is no rest or hap- 
piness but in unity. And therefore none in ourselves or 
any other creature ; but in God the only centre of the soul. 
The further from the centre, the further from unity. It is 
only in God that differing minds can well be united. There- 
fore is the world so divided, because it is departed so far 
from God. Therefore have we so many minds and ways, 
and such diversity of opinions, and contrariety of afiections, 
because men forsake the centre of unity. There is no uniting 
in any worldly,, carnal, self-devised principles or practices. 
When holiness brings these distracted, scattered souls to 
God, in him they will be one. While they bark at holiness, 
and cry up unity, they shew themselves distracted men. For 
holiness is the only way to unity, because it is the closure 
of the soul with God. All countries, and persons, cannot 
meet in any one interest or creature, but each hath a several 
interest of his own ; but they might all meet in God. If the 
pope were God, and had his perfections, he would be fit for 
all the church to centre in; but being man, and yet pretend- 
ing to this prerogative of God, he is the grand divider and 
distracter of the church. The proverb is too true, * So 
many men, so many minds ;' because that every man will 
be a god to himself, having a self-mind, and self-will, and 


all men will not yield to be one in God. God is the common 
interest of the saints ; and thereof all that are truly saints, 
are truly united in him. And if all the visible church, and all 
the world, would heartily make him their common interest, 
we should quickly have a common unity and peace, and the 
temple of double-faced Janus would be shut up. They that 
sincerely have one God, have also one Lord (and Saviour), one 
faith, one spirit, one baptism (or holy covenant with God), 
even because they have " one God and Father of all, who 
is above all, and through all, and in them all." And therefore 
they must "keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." 
(Eph. iv. 3 — 6.) Though yet thev have different degrees 
of gifts, (ver. 7.) and therefore differences of opinion about 
abundance of inferior things. The further we go from the 
trunk or stock, the more numerous and small we shall find 
the branches. They are one in God, that are divided in 
many doubtful controversies. The weakest therefore in the 
faith must be received into this union and communion of the 
church ; but not to doubtful disputations. (Rom. xiv. 1.) As 
the ancient baptism, contained no more but our engagement 
to God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so the ancient 
profession of saving faith, was of the same extent. God is 
sufficient for the church to unite in. An union in other 
articles of faith is so far necessary to the unity of the church, 
as it is necessary to prove our faith and unity in God, and 
the sincerity of this ancient, simple belief in God the Father, 
Son and Spirit. 

The Unity of God is the attribute to be first handled, and 
imprinted on the mind, even next unto his essence ; " The 
Lord our God is one Lord ;" (Deut. vi. 4 ;) and the unity of 
the church is its excellency and attribute, that is first and 
most to be esteemed and preserved next unto its essence. If 
it be not a church, it cannot be one church ; and if we be 
not saints, we cannot be imited saints. If we be not mem- 
bers, we cannot make one body. But when once we have 
the essence of saints and of a church, we must next be soli- 
citous for its unity ; nothing below an essential point of 
faith will allow us to depart from the catholic unity, love, 
and peace that is due to saints; and because such essentials 
are never wanting in the catholic church, or any true mem- 
ber of it, therefore we are never allowed to divide from the 
catholic church, or any true and visible member. It is first 



necessary that the church be a church, that is, a people se- 
parated from the world to Christ; and that the Christian be 
a Christian in covenant with the Lord. But the next point 
of necessity is that the church be one, and Christians be 
one. And he that for the sake of lower points, how true 
soever, will break this holy bond of unity, shall find at last, 
to his shame and sorrow, that he understood not the excel- 
lency or necessity of unity. The prayer of Christ for the 
perfection of his saints is, " That they all may be one, as 
thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be 
one in us ; that the world may believe that thou hast sent 
me : and the glory which thou gavest me 1 have given them, 
that they may be one, even as we are one : I in them, and 
thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, that the 
world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them 
as thou hast loved me." Here it appeareth that the unity 
of the church or saints is necessary, to convince the world 
of the truth of Christianity, and of the love of God to his 
people, and necessary to the glory and perfection of the 
saints. The nearer any churches, or members, are to the 
divine perfections, and the more strictly conformable to the 
mind of God, the more they are one, and replenished with 
catholic love to all saints, and desirous of unity and com- 
munion with them. It is a most lamentable delusion of 
some Christians that think their ascending to higher degrees 
of holiness doth partly consist in their withdrawing from 
the catholic church, or from the communion of most of the 
saints on earth, upon the account of some smaller differing 
opinions ; and they think that they should become more 
loose and leave their strictness, if they should hold a catho- 
lic communion, and leave their state of separation and divi- 
sion ! Is there any strictness amiable or desirable, except 
a strict conformity to God? Surely a strict way of sin and 
wickedness is not desirable to a saint. And is not God one, 
and his church one, and hath he not commanded all his ser- 
vants to be one, and is not love the new and great com- 
mandment, by which they must be known to all men to be 
his disciples. Which then is the stricter servant of the 
Lord; he that loveth much, or he that loveth little; he that 
loveth all Christians, or he that loveth but a few, with the 
special love ; he that loveth a Christian as a Christian, or 
he that loveth him but as one of his party or opinion ; he 


that is one in the catholic body, or he that disowneth com- 
munion with the far greatest part of the body ? Will you 
say that Christ was loose, and Pharisees strict, because 
Christ eat and drank with publicans and sinners, and the 
Pharisees condemned him for it? It was Christ that was 
more strict in holiness than they ; for he abounded more in 
love and good works : but they were stricter than he in a 
proud, self-conceited morosity and separation. Certainly 
he that is highest in love, is highest in grace, and not he 
that confineth his love to few. Was it not in the weak 
Christian that was most strict in point of meats, and drinks, 
and days? (Rom. xiv. xv.) But the stronger that were cen- 
sured by them, did more strictly keep the commandment of 

Christian reader, let the unity of God have this effect 
upon thy soul : 1. To draw thee from the distracting multi- 
tude of creatures, and make thee long to be all in God ; 
that thy soul may be still working toward him, till thou find 
nothing but God alone within thee. In the multitude of 
thy thoughts within thee, let his comforts delight thy 
soul. (^Psal. xciv. 19.) The multitude distracteth thee ; re- 
tire into unity, that thy soul may be composed, quieted 
and delighted. 

2. And let it make thee long for the unity of saints, and 
endeavour it to the utmost of thy power, that the church in 
unity may be more like the Head. 

3. And let it cause thee to admire the happiness of the 
saints, that are freed from the bondage of the distracting 
creature, and have but one to love, and fear, and trust, and 
serve, and seek, and know ; one thing is needful, which 
should be chosen, but it is many that we are troubled about. 
(Luke xi. 42.) 


3, The Immensity of God (which is the next attribute to be 
considered) must have this effect upon thy soul: 1. The 
infinite God that is every where, comprehending all places 
and things, and comprehended by none, must raise admiring, 
reverent thoughts in the soul of the believer. We wonder at 
the magnitude of the sun, and the heavens, and the whole 
creation ; but when we begin to think what is beyond the 
heavens, and all created being, we are at a kind of loss. Why 


it is God that is in all, and above all, and beyond all, and' 
beneath all ; and where there is no place, because no crea- 
ture, there is God : and if thy thoughts should imagine 
millions of millions of miles beyond all place and measure, 
all is but God ; and go as far as thou canst in thy thoughts 
and thou canst not go beyond him. Reverently admire the 
immensity of God. The world and all the creatures in it, 
are not to God so much as a sand or atom is to all the world. 
The point of a needle is more to all the world, than the world 
to God. For between that which is finite, and that which 
is infinite, there is no comparison. " Who hath measured 
the waters in the hollow of his hand ; and me.|ed out heaven 
with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in 
a measure ; and weighed the mountains in scales, and the 

hills in a balance? Behold the nations are as a drop of 

a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: 

behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing, All 

nations before him are as nothing ; and they are counted to 
him less than nothing, and vanity." (Isa. xl. 12. 15. 17.) 

2. From this greatness and immensity of God also thy 
soul must reverently stay all its busy, bold inquiries, and 
know that God is to us, and to every creature, incomprehen- 
sible. If thou couldst fathom or measure him, and know 
his greatness by a comprehensive knowledge, he were not 
God. A creature can comprehend nothing but a creature. 
You may know God, but not comprehend him ; as your 
foot treadeth on the earth, but doth not cover all the earth. 
The sea is not the sea, if you can hold it in a spoon. Thou 
canst not comprehend the sun which thou seest, and by 
which thou seest all things else, nor the sea, or earth, no nor 
a worm, or pile of grass : thy understanding knoweth not 
all that God hath put into any the least of these ; thou art 
a stranger to thyself, and to somewhat in every part of thy- 
self, both body and soul. And thinkest thou-to comprehend 
God, that perfectly comprehendest nothing ! Stop then thy 
over bold inquiries, and remember that thou art a shallow, 
finite worm, and God is infinite. First reach to comprehend 
the heaven and earth and whole creation, before thou think 
of comprehending Him, to whom the world is nothing, or 
vanity ; or so small a dust, or drop, or point. Saith Elihu, 
" At this my heart trembleth, and is moved out of its place : 

hear attentively the noise of his voice, God thundereth 

marvellously with his voice ; great things doth he which we 


cannot comprehend." (Job xxxvii. 1. 5.) How then should we 
comprehend himself! WhenGod pleadeth his cause with Job 
himself, what doth he but convince him of his infiniteness 
and absoluteness, even from the greatness of his works 
which are beyond our reach and yet are as nothing to him- 
self! Should he take the busy inquirer in hand, but as he 
did begin with Job, (xxxviii. 1, 2, &c.,) " Who is this that 
darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge ? Gird up 
thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer 
thou me," &c. alas, how soon would he nonplus and con- 
found us, and make us say with Job, (xl. 4,) ** Behold I am 
vile ; what shall I answer thee ? I will lay my hand upon 
my mouth : once have I spoken, but I will not answer ; yea 
twice, but I will proceed no further." Indeed there is men- 
tioned Ephes. iii. 11, the saints comprehending the dimen- 
sions of the love of Christ; but as the next verse saith, it 
passeth knowledge ; so comprehending there, signifieth no 
more, but a knowing according to our measure ; an attain- 
ment of what we are capable to attain ; nay, nor all that 
neither, but such a prevalent knowledge of the love of 
Christ as is common to all the saints ; as there is nothinsr 
more visible than the sun, and yet no visible being less com- 
prehended by the sight ; so is there nothing more intelligi- 
ble than God (for he is all in all things), and yet nothing 
so incomprehensible to the mind that knoweth him. It sa- 
tisfieth me not to be ignorant of God, nor to know so little 
as I know, nor to be short of the measure that I am capable 
of; but it satisfieth me to be incapable of comprehending 
him : or else I must be unsatisfied because I am not God. 
O the presumptuous arrogancy of those men, if I may call 
them men, that dare prate about the infinite God such things 
as never were revealed to them in his works or word ! and 
dare pretend to measure him by their shallow understand- 
ings, and question, if not deny and censure, that of God 
which they cannot reach ! and sooner suspect the word that 
doth reveal him than their own muddy brains, that should 
better conceive of him ! Saith Elihu, " Behold God is 
great, and we know him not ; neither can the number of his 
years be searched out." (Job xxxvi. 26.) Though the know- 
ledge of him be our life eternal, yet we know him not by 
any full and adequate conception. We know an infinite 
God, and therefore with an excellent knowledge objectively 


considered ; but with a poor degree and kind of knowledeje 
next to none, as to the act ; and it is a thousand thousandfold 
that we know not of him, than that we know : for indeed 
there is no comparison to be here made. 

3. The immensity of God, as it proveth him incompre- 
hensible, so it containeth his omnipresence, and therefore 
should continually affect us, as men that believe that God 
stands by them. As we would compose our thoughts, and 
minds, and passions, if we saw (were it possible) the Lord 
stand over us, so should we now labour to compose them 
As we would restrain and use our tongues, and order our 
behaviour, if we saw his Majesty, so should we do now, 
when we know that he is with us. An eye-servant will 
work hard in his master's presence, whatever he doth behind 
his back. Bestir thee then, Christian, for God stands by; 
" In him we live and move and have our being/* (Acts xvii. 
28.) Loiter not till thou canst truly say that God is gone, 
or absent from thee ; sin not by wilfulness or negligence, 
till thou canst say, thou art behind his back. Alas, that we 
should have no more awakened, serious souls, and no more 
fervent, lively prayers, and no more serious, holy speech, and 
no more careful, heavenly lives, when we stand before the 
living God, and do all in his sight, and speak all in his hear- 
ing ! O why should sense so much affect us, and faith, and 
knowledge work no more ? We can be awed with the pre- 
sence of a man, and would not do before a prince, what 
most men do before the Lord. Yea other things affect us 
when we see them not ; and shall not God ? But of this 
more anon. 

4. The immensity of God assureth us much of his all- 
sufficiency. He that is every where, is easily able to hear 
all prayers, to help us in all straits, to supply all wants, to 
punish all sins. A blasphemous conceit of God as finite, 
and as absent from us, is one of the causes of our distrust. 
He that doth distrust an absent friend, as thinking he may 
forget him, or neglect him, will trust him when he is with 
him ; cannot he hear thee, and pity thee, and help thee, that 
is still with thee ? O what an awe is this to the careless ! 
what a support to faith ! what a quickener to duty ! what a 
comfort to the afflicted, troubled soul ! God is in thy poor 
cottage, Christian, and well acquainted with thy wants : 
God is at thy bedside when thou art sick, and nearer thee 


than the nearest of thy friends. What wouldst thou do in 
want or pain if God stood by ! Wouldst thou not pray and 
trust him if thou sawest him! So do though thou see him 
not, for he is surely there. 

5. The immensity and infinite greatness of God assureth 
us of this particular providence. Some blasphemous infi- 
dels imagine that he hath only a general providence, and 
hath left all to some inferior powers, and meddleth not with 
particular things himself. They think that as he hath left 
it to the sun to illuminate the world, so hath he left all 
other inferior things and events to nature or inferior causes ; 
and that he doth not himself regard, observe, reward, or 
punish the thoughts, and words, and ways of men. And all 
this is, because they consider not the immensity or infinite 
greatness of the Lord. It is true, that God hath framed the 
nature of all things, and delighteth to maintain and use the 
frame of second causes which he hath made ; and will not 
easily and ordinarily work against or without this order of 
causes : but it is as true and certain, both that sometimes 
he maketh use of miracles, and that in the very course of 
natural causes he is able to exercise a particular provi- 
dence, as well as without them, by himself alone. The 
creature doth nothing but by him. All things move as he 
first moveth them, in their natural agency. His wisdom 
guideth, his will intendeth, and commandeth ; his power 
moveth and disposeth all. The sun would not shine, if he 
were not the light of it ; and he is no less himself the light 
of the world, than if he did illuminate it without a sun. 
God is never the further off, because the creatures are near 
us ; nor ever the less in the effect, because he useth a 
second cause, than if there were no second cause at all. 
What influence second causes have upon the souls of men, 
he hath for the most part kept unknown to us ; but that 
himself disposeth of us and all things after the counsel of 
his own will, is beyond all question. Can he that is most 
nearly present with thy thoughts, be regardless of them ? 
Can he be regardless of thy words and ways that is with 
thee, and seeth and heareth all ? If thou believe not 
that he is verily with thee as thou art there thyself, 
thou art then an atheist. If thou believe him not to 
be infinite, thou believest him not to be God. It is not 
God that can be absent, limited, or finite. And if thou 


be not such a senseless atheist, but knowest that God is 
every where, how is it possible thou shouldst doubt of his 
care or observance, or particular providence about every 
thing ? No child is scarce so foolish that will think his 
father cares not what he saith or doth, when he stands be- 
fore him. Wouldst thou doubt of God's particular provi- 
dence, whether he regard thy heart, and talk, and practice, 
if thou didst see him with thee ? Sure it is scarce possible. 
Why then dost thou question it when thou knowest that he 
is with thee ? If thou be an atheist and knowest not, look 
about thee on the world, and bethink thee whether stones, 
and trees, and earth ; whether beasts, or birds, or men do 
make themselves ; if they do, thou wert best uphold thy- 
self, and be not sick, and do not die. If thou madest thy- 
self, thou canst sure preserve thyself; but if any thing else 
made thee and all these lower things, either it was some- 
what greater or less than they ; either something better or 
worse than they. If less, or worse, how could it make 
them greater or better than itself? Can any thing give that 
which it hath not? If it must needs be greater and better 
than tihe creatures, then as it must be wiser than they, and 
more holy, gracious, and just than they, so must it be more 
comprehensive than all they. Whoever made this earth, is 
certainly greater than the earth, or else he should give it 
more that he had to give. And if he be greater, he must 
be present. If thou shouldst be so vain as to account any 
other higher thing the maker of this world, that is not God, 
thou must ascribe also a sufficiency to that maker, to exer- 
cise a particular providence, and moreover be put to con- 
sider who did make that maker. Nothing therefore is more 
certain even to reason itself, than that the Maker of the 
world must be greater than the world, and therefore present 
with all the world ; and therefore must observe and regard 
all the world. When thou canst find out a thought, or 
word, or deed that was not done in the presence of God, or 
any creature that is not in his presence, then believe and 
spare not that he seeth it not, or regardeth it not ; yea, and 
that it hath no being. O blind atheists ! you see the sun 
before your eyes, which enlighteneth all the upper part of the 
earth at once ; even millions of millions see all by his light; 
and yet do you doubt whether God beholds and regards 



and provides for all at once ! Tell me, if God had never a 
creature to look to in all the world but thee, wouldst thou 
believe that he v^^ould regard thy heart, and words, and 
ways, or not ? If he would, why not now as well as then ! 
Is he not as sufficient for thee, and as really present 
with thee, as if he had no other creature else? If all men in 
the world were dead save one, would the sun any more illu- 
minate that one than now it doth ? Mayst thou not see as 
well by the light of it now, as if it had never another to en- 
lighten ? And dost thou see a creature do so much, and 
wilt thou not believe as much of the Creator? If thou think 
us worms too low for God so exactly to observe, thou 
mayst as well think that we are too low for him to create, 
or preserve ; and then who made us and preserveth us ? 
Doth not the sun enlighten the smallest bird, and crawling 
vermin, as well as the greatest prince on earth ? Doth it 
withhold its light from any creature that can see, and say, 
I will not shine on things so base? And wilt thou more re- 
strain the infinite God that is the Maker, Light, and Life of 
all ? It is he that " filleth all in all." (Eph. i. 23.) " The 
heaven of heavens cannot contain him;" (1 Kings viii. 27 ;) 
and is he absent from thee ? " He doth beset thee before 
and behind, and layeth his hand upon thee ; whither wilt 
thou go from his Spirit, or whither wilt thou fly from his 
presence ? If thou ascend up into heaven, he is there ; if 
thou make thy bed in hell, thou wilt feel him there ; if thou 
take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost 
parts of the sea, even there shalt thou find him to be to thee 
as thou art.'* (Psal. cxxxix. 5. 7 — 10.) Thou mayst think 
with sinful Adam and Eve, (Gen. iii. 8,) to hide thyself 
from the presence of the Lord : but thou wilt quickly find 
that he observeth thee ; and " be sure thy sin will find thee 
out." (Numb, xxxii. 23.) Thou mayst with Cain be turned 
out of the " gracious presence of God," (Gen. iv. 16,) and 
cast out of his church and mercy ; and with the damned 
thou mayst be turned out of the presence of his blessedness 
and glory : but thou ^halt never be out of his essential pre- 
sence, nor so escape the presence of his justice. (Job i. 12 ; 
ii. 7.) It is the presence of his grace where the upright are 
promised here to dwell, (Psal. cxl. 13,) and out of which 
they fear lest they be cast. " Cast me not away from thy 
presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." (Psal. li. 


11.) And it is the "presence where is fullness of joy," 
which they aspire after. (Psal. xvi. 11.) But there is also 'a 
presence that the "earth shall tremble at," (Psal. cxiv. 7,) 
and that the " wicked shall perish at;" (Psal. Ixviii. 2 ;) so 
that a particular providence must be remembered by them 
that believe and remember the immensity of God. 


4. The Eternity of God is the next attribute to be known, 
which also must have its work upon the soul. And, 1. 
This also sheweth us that God is incomprehensible ; for man 
cannot comprehend eternity. When we go about to think 
of that which hath no beginning nor end, it is to our mind, 
as a place a thousand miles off is to our eye ; even beyond 
our reach ; we cannot say there is no such place, yea, we 
know there is ; but we cannot see it : so we know there is 
an Eternal Being; but our knowledge of his eternity is not 
intuitive, or comprehensive. Eternity therefore is the ob- 
ject of our faith, and reverence, and admiration, but forbids 
our busy, bold inquiries. O the arrogancy of those igno- 
rantly-learned, and foolishly-wise disputing men, that have 
so long perplexed, if not torn in pieces the church, about 
the priority and posteriority of the knowledge and decrees 
of God, when they confess them all to be eternal ! As if 
they knew not that terms of priority and presentiality, and 
posteriority, have not that significancy in or about eternity, 
as they have with us ! 

2. The eternity of God must draw the soul from transi- 
tory to eternal things. It is an everlasting blessedness, 
even the eternal God, that our souls are made for ; the 
brutes are made for a mortal happiness ; the immortal soul 
cannot be fully content with any thing that will have an 
end. As a capacity of this endless blessedness doth dif- 
ference man from the beasts that perish ; so the disposition 
to it doth difference saints from the ungodly ; and the frui- 
tion of it doth difference the glorified from the damned. 
Alas, what a silly thing were man, if he were capable of no- 
thing but these transitory things! What were our lives 
worth, and what were our time worth, and what were all our 
mercies worth, or what were all the world worth to us, or 
what were we worth ourselves ? I would not undervalue 
he works of God ; but truly if man had no other life to live 


but this, I should esteem him a very contemptible creature. 
If you say there is some excellency in the brutes, I answer, 
true ; but their usefulness is their chiefest excellency ; and 
what is their use but to be a glass in which we may see the 
Lord, and to be serviceable to man in his passage to eter- 
nity? They are not capable of knowing, or loving, or enjoy- 
ing God themselves : but they are useful to man that is 
capable of this ; and so they have an everlasting end, and 
this is their excellency. And therefore the atheist that de- 
nieth an everlasting life to man, doth bring himself into a 
far baser state than the brutes are in ; for the brutes have 
an everlasting end, in promoting the happiness of man : 
but if man have no everlasting end himself, there is no other 
whose everlasting happiness he can promote. The unbe- 
liever therefore doth debase his own soul, and the whole 
creation : and faith and holiness advance the soul and all 
things with it, that are useful to our advancement. The 
true believer honoureth his horse, his dog, his food and 
raiment, and the earth he treadeth on, and every creature, 
incomparably more than the infidel doth honour his own or 
any other's soul, or than he honoureth the greatest prince 
on earth. For the believer useth all things, even the vilest, 
in reference to eternity ; but the infidel useth his life and 
soul but to a transitory end ; and takes the greatest prince 
on earth to be but for a transitory use. And as eternity is 
invaluable in comparison of time, so the use and excellency 
that a believer doth ascribe to a bit of bread, or the basest 
creature, in the sanctified improvement of it, is ten thou- 
sand times, even unspeakably above the use and excellency 
that an unbeliever ascribeth to his soul or his prince. He 
that stampeth the image of a dog or a toad upon gold, in- 
stead of the image of the prince, and would have ten thousand 
pounds worth go but for a farthing, doth not by a thousand 
degrees so much debase the gold, as the infidel doth debase 
his soul and all things. Infidelity is guilty of the de- 
struction of all souls, and the destruction of all mercies, 
and the destruction of all divine revelations, of all graces, 
of all ordinances, and means, and of the destruction of the 
whole creation that was made for man : for he that de- 
stroyeth the end, destroyeth all the means : but the infidel 
destroyeth and denieth the end of every one of these, and 
holiness only doth give them up, and use them to their ends. 


1. He is guilty of the destruction of all souls : For as 
much as in him lies they are destroyed, while they are all 
made useless to the end for which they were created. If 
there be no other life and happiness everlasting, what are 
souls good for? What is the reasonable creature good for? 
Is it to be happy here? In what? Here is no happiness. 
Is it in eating, and drinking, and sleeping? Why these are 
to strengthen us for our service which tendeth to our end, 
and therefore cannot be themselves our end. Is it not bet- 
ter be without either meat, or drink, or sleep, in point of 
happiness, so be it we also were without the need of them, 
than to need them and have them for our need, especially 
with the care and trouble which they cost us ? I had an 
hundred times rather for my part, if it were lawful to desire 
it, never have meat, or drink, or sleep, and be without the 
need of them, as I had rather be without a sore, than to 
have a plaister that will ease it, and be every day at the 
pains to dress it. Brutes have some advantage in these 
above men, in that they have not the care, and fear, and 
sorrow of mind as we have, in the getting or keeping what 
they have or need. If you go downward, and say that men 
are made to govern brutes, then what are brutes made for^ 
unless to dung the earth? And so the basest shall be the 
end of the noblest, and God may be as wisely said to be for 
man, because he is to govern him. Truly if there were no 
everlasting life, but man were a mere terrestrial animal, I 
had rather never have been born, or should wish I had 
never been a man : I knew not what to do with myself, nor 
how to employ the faculties of my soul or body, but they 
would all seem to me as useless things. What should I do 
with my reason, if I had no higher an end than beasts ? 
What should I do with a mind that knoweth that there is a 
God, and another world, and that is capable of desiring 
him, seeking and enjoying him, if it must be frustrated of 
all ? What should 1 do with a heart that is capable of the 
love of God, and delighting in his love, if I have no God to 
love and delight in, when this life is ended ? Why have I a 
heart that so desireth him, in fuller vision and fruition, if I 
be capable of no such thing ? What then should I do with 
my time and life ? Verily I know not, if I were fully of this 
sad opinion, whether I should turn brute in my life agree- 
ably to my judgment, or whether I should make an end of 


my life to be eased of a useless burden ; but confident I am 
I should not know what to do with myself: I should be 
like a cashiered soldier, or like one turned out of his ser- 
vice, that knew not where to have work and wages : and if 
you found me standing " all day idle," I must give you the 
reason, ** because no man hath hired me." What do those 
wretches do with their lives, that think they have no God 
to serve and seek, or future happiness to attain ? As men 
use to say of naughty ministers, so may I say of all man- 
kind according to the doctrine of the infidels : A sorry 
tailor may make a botcher, or a bad shoemaker may make 
a cobler, and a broken mercer may be a pedler ; but a 
naughty priest is good for nothing (and it is true of him as 
such). And as Christ himself saith, (Matt. v. 13, 14,) " Ye 
are the salt of the earth : but if the salt have lost its sa- 
vour, wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good 
for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under 
foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. Men do not 
light a candle to put it under a bushel." So I say of the 
reasonable creature. The grass is useful for the beasts : the 
beasts are serviceable unto man : a swine that cannot serve 
you living, is useful being dead. But if there were no God 
to seek and serve, and no life but this for us to hope for, 
for aught I know man were good for nothing. What were 
light good for, if there were no eyes ? or eyes, if there were 
no light to see by ? What is a watch good for, but to tell 
the hour of the day ? All the curious parts and workman- 
ship of it, is worth no more than the metal is worth, if it be 
not useful to its proper end. And what reason, and will, 
and affections in man are good for I know not, if not to 
seek, to please and to enjoy the Lord! Take off this poise, 
and all the wheels of my soul must stand still, or else do 

2. The infidel and ungodly man that looks not after an 
eternal end, destroyeth all the mercies of God, and makes 
them as no mercies at all. Creation and our being is a 
mercy ; but it is in order to our eternal end. Redemption 
by Christ is an unspeakable mercy ; but it is denied by the 
infidel, and rejected by the ungodly. What is Christ worth, 
and all his mediation, if there be no life for man but this ? 
Peace and liberty, health and life, friends and neighbours, 
food and raiment, are all mercies to us, as a ship and sails 



are to the mariner, or a fair way, or horse, or inn to a tra- 
veller ; but if by denying our eternal end, you make our 
voyage or our journey vain, these mercies then are little 
worth : no more than a ship on the land, or a plough in the 
sea, or a horse to him that hath uo use for him. And O ! 
what an ungrateful wretch is that, who will deny all the 
mercies of God to himself, and to all others ! For, once 
deny the use and the eternal end, and you deny the mercy 

3. He that believetli not, or seeks not after an eternal 
end, destroyeth all the doctrine, law and government of 
God : for all is but to lead us to this end. All the holy 
Scriptures, the precepts of Christ, and his holy example, 
the covenant of grace, the gifts and miracles of the Holy 
Ghost, the light and law of nature itself, are all to bring us 
to our eternal end : and therefore he that denieth that end, 
doth cancel them all, and cast them by as useless things. 

4. And he denieth all the graces of the Spirit : For 
what use is there for faith, if the object of it be a falsehood ? 
What use for hope, if there be no life to be hoped for ? 
What use for holy desires and love, if God be not to be 
enjoyed? Grace is but the delusion and deformity of the 
soul, if the infidel and ungodly be in the right. 

5. They destroy also all the means of our salvation, if 
they deny salvation, which is the end. To what purpose 
should men study, or read, or hear, or pray, or use either 
sacraments or any other means, for an end that is not to be 
had ? To what end should men obey or suffer, for any such 
end that is not attainable ? 

6. Yea, they do let loose the soul to sin, and take off 
all effectual restraint. If there be no eternal end, and no 
reward or punishment but here, what can effectually hinder 
the men of this opinion from stealing, whoredom, or any 
villany, when it may be done with secrecy ? What should 
hinder the revengeful man from poisoning or secretly murder- 
ing his enemy, or setting his house on fire in the night? If 
I know a man or woman that believes no life to come, I 
take it for granted they are revengeful, thieves, deceivers, 
fornicators, or any thing that is bad, if they have but temp- 
tation, and secret opportunity. For what hath he to seek 
but the pleasing of his flesh, that thinks he hath no God to 
seek or please, or no future reward or punishment to ex- 
pect ? He that confesseth himself an infidel, to me, doth 


confess himself to be in all things else as bad as ever he 
can or dare. Honesty is renounced by that man or woman 
that profess themselves to be atheists or infidels : methinks 
in congruency with their profession they should take it for 
a wrong to be called or reputed honest ! If you tell me that 
heathens had a kind of honesty ; I must tell you again, that 
most heathens believed the immortality of the soul, and 
that kind of seeming honesty which they had was only in 
those of them that thus expected a life to come. But those 
that believe not another life where man is to have his 
punishment and reward, have nothing like to honesty in 
them, but live like greedy, ravenous beasts, where they are 
from under the laws and government of them that look for 
another life. The cannibals that eat men's 'flesh, and some 
such savages as they, are the nations that expect no life 
but this. It is believed so commonly by all the civil infi- 
dels and Turks, as shews it to be a principle that nature 
doth reveal. 

7. Yea, the whole creation that is within the sight of 
man, is destroyed opinionatively by the infidels that look 
for no immortal life : for all things were made to further 
our salvation : the "heavens to declare the glory of God, and 
the firmament to shew his handy work," and all creatures to 
be our glass in which we must behold the Lord, and our 
book in which we must read and learn his nature and his 
will. The sun is to light us, and maintain our life, and the 
life of other lower creatures, while we prepare for immor- 
tality : the earth is to bear us, and to bear fruit for us ; and 
the trees and plants, and every creature, to accommodate 
and serve us, while we serve the Lord and pass on to eter- 
nity. And therefore the atheist that denieth us our eter- 
nity, denieth the usefulness of all the world. What were all 
the creatures here good for, if there were no men? The 
earth would be a wilderness, and the beasts would for the 
most part perish for want of sustenance, and all would be 
like a forsaken cottage that no man dwelleth in, and doth 
no good ; and if man be not the heir of immortality, they 
can do him no good. All creatures are but our provision 
in the way to this eternity : and therefore if there were no 
eternity, what should we do with them? What should we 
do with ways, and pavements, or with inns for travellers, or 
with horses or other provision for our journey, if there were 


no travelling that way ? And who will travel to a place that 
is not, or a city that is no where but in his brains, besides 
a madman ? It is evident therefore that as all the tools in 
a workman's shop, are made useless to him if he be forbid- 
den to use his trade, and all the books in my library are 
useless, if I may not read them to get knowledge ; so all 
creatures under heaven are made useless and destroyed 
doctrinally by the atheist, that thinks there is no eternal 
life for which they should be used. I must seriously pro- 
fess, if I believed this (being in other things of the mind I 
am), I knew not what to do with any thing. What should 
I do with my books, but to learn the way to this eternity? 
What should I do with my money, if there be no treasure 
to be laid up in heaven, nor friends to be made with the 
mammon abused commonly to unrighteousness? What 
should I do with my tongue, my hands, my time, my life, 
myself, or any thing, if there were no eternity? I think I 
should dig my grave, and lay me down in it and die, and 
perish, to escape the sorrows of a longer life that must be 
my companions. 

Remember then. Christians, and still remember it, that 
Eternity is the matter of your faith and hope ! Eternity is 
your portion and felicity ! Eternity is the end of all your 
desires, and labours, and distresses ! Eternity is your reli- 
gion, and the life of all your holy motions ; and as without 
the capacity of it, you would be but beasts, so without the 
love and desire of it, and title to it, you would be but 
wicked and miserable men. Set not your hearts on transi- 
tory things, while you stand near unto eternity. How can 
you have room for so many thoughts on fading things, 
when you have an eternity to think on? What light can 
you see in the candles or glow-worms of this world, in the 
sunshine of eternity ? Oh, remember when you are tempted 
to please your eyes, your taste, and sensual desires, that 
these are not eternal pleasures ! Remember when you are 
tempted for wealth or honour to wrong your souls, that 
these are not the eternal riches ! Houses and lands are not 
eternal ! Meats and drinks are not eternal ! Sports and pas- 
times, and jocund sinful company are not eternal! Alas, 
how short ! how soon do they vanish into nothing ! But it 
is God, and our dear Redeemer that are eternal! The 
flower of beauty withereth with age, oi by the nipping blast 


of a short disease ; the honours of the world are but a 
dream ; your graves will bury all its glory. Down comes 
the prince, the lord, the gallant, and suddenly takes his 
lodgings in the dust. The corpse that was pampered and 
adorned yesterday, is a clod to-day. The body that was 
bowed to, attended and applauded but the other day, is 
now interred in the vault of darkness, with worms and 
moles. To-day it is corruption and a mOst loathsome 
thing, that lately was dreaming of an earthly happiness. 
One day he is striving for riches and pre-eminences, or glo- 
rying and rejoicing in them, that the next day may be 
snatched away to hell. O fix not your minds on fading 
things, that perish in the using, and by their vanishing 
mock you that set your hearts upon them. You will not fix 
your eye and mind upon every bird that flyeth by you, as 
you will on the houses that you must dwell in : nor will you 
mind every passenger, as you will do your friends that still 
live with you. And shall transitory vanity be minded by 
you above eternity ? 

3. It is Eternity that must direct you in your estimate of 
all things. It is this that sheweth you the excellency of 
man above the beasts : it is this that tells you the worth of 
grace, and the weight of sin, the preciousness of holy ordi- 
nances and helps, and the evil of hindrances and tempta- 
tions ; the wisdom of the choice and diligence of the saints, 
and the folly of the choice, and negligent, sinful lives of the 
ungodly ; the worth of God's favour, and the vanity of 
man's ; and the diiFerence between the godly and the un- 
sanctified world, in point of happiness. 

Were not grace the egg, the seed, the earnest of an 
eternal glory, it were not so glorious a thing. But O how 
precious are all those thoughts, desires, delights and breath- 
ings of the soul, that bring us on to a sweet eternity ! Even 
those sorrows, and groans, and tears are precious that lead 
to an eternal joy! Who would not willingly obey the holy 
motions of the Holy Spirit, that is but hatching and prepar- 
ing us for eternity ! This is it that makes a Bible, a ser- 
mon, a holy book, to be of greater value than lands and 
lordships. It is eternity that makes the illuminated soul 
so fearful of sinning, so diligent in holy duties, so cheerful 
and resolved in suffering, because he believeth it is all for 
an eternity. A Christian in the holy assemblies, and in his 


reading, learning, prayer, conference, is laying up for ever- 
lasting, when the worldling in the market, in the field or 
shop, is making provision for a few days or hours. Thou 
gloriest in thy riches and pre-eminence now, but how long 
wilt thou do so? To-day that house, that land is thine; 
but canst thou say, it shall be thine to-morrow? Thou 
canst not: but the believer can truly say. My God, my 
Christ, is mine to-day, and will be mine to all eternity ! O 
death ! thou canst take my friends from me, and my worldly 
riches from me, and my time, and strength, and life from 
me ! but take my God, my Christ, my heaven, my portion 
from me, if thou canst ! My sin is all thy sting and strength ! 
But where is thy sting when sin is gone ? and where is thy 
strength when Christ hath conquered thee ? Is it a great 
matter that thou deprivest me of my sinful, weak, and trou- 
blesome friends, when against thy will thou bringest me to 
my perfect blessed friends with whom I must abide for ever ! 
Thou dost indeed bereave me of these riches ; but it is that 
I may possess the invaluable eternal riches ! Thou endest 
my time, that I may have eternity ! Thou castest me down, 
that I may be exalted ! Thou takest away my strength of 
life, that 1 may enter into life eternal! And is this the 
worst that death can do ? And shall I be afraid of this ? I 
willingly lay by my clothes at night, that I may take my 
rest, and I am not loath to put off the old when I must put 
on new. The bird that is hatched is not grieved because he 
must leave the broken shell. Nor is it the grief of man or 
beast that he hath left the womb ! Death doth but open the 
womb of time and let us into eternity, and is the second 
birth-day of the soul. Regeneration brings us into the 
kingdom of grace ; and death into the kingdom of glory. 
Blessed are they that have their part in the new birth of 
grace and the first resurrection from the death of sin ; for 
to such the natural death will be gain ; and they shall have 
their part in the second resurrection, and on them the ever- 
lasting death shall have no power. O sirs, it is Eternity 
that telleth you what you should mind, and be, and do ! 
and that turneth the scales in all things where it is con- 
cerned. Can you sleep in sin so near eternity! Can you 
play and laugh before you are prepared for eternity ! Can 
you think him wise that selleth his eternal joy, for the ease, 
the mirth, the pleasure of a moment ! and trifleth away the 


time in which he must win or lose eternity ! If these men 
be wise, there are no fools ! nor any but wise men in bed- 
lam ! Dare thy tongue report, or thy heart imagine, that 
any holy work is needless, or a heavenly life too much ado, 
or any suffering too dear, that is for an eternity ! O happy 
souls that win eternity with the loss of all the world ! O 
bless that Christ, that Spirit, that Light, that Word, that 
Messenger of God, that drew thy heart to choose eternity 
before all transitory things ! That was the day when thou 
began to be wise, and indeed to shew thyself a man ! Thy 
wealth, thy honour, thy pleasure will be thine when the 
sensual world hath nothing to shew, but sin and hell, of all 
they laboured for. Their pleasures, honours, and all die, 
when they die ; but thine will then begin their perfection ! 
The hopes of the ungodly are like an addle egg that when it 
is broken sends forth nothing but an odious stink, when 
another sends forth the living bird. O all you worldlings, 
rich and poor, you dream, you play, you trifle, because you 
labour not for eternity ! Even worldly princes, and nobles 
of the earth, your glory is but a squib, a flash, a nothing, in 
comparison of the eternal glory which you lose ; you are 
doing nothing when you are striving for the world ; you are 
trifling and befooling your immortal souls while you are 
grasping a shadow, the uncertain riches. It is the believer 
whom you despise, that seeks for something, that loseth 
not his labour, that shews himself a man of reason, who is 
caring, and studying, and labouring, and praying, and 
watching, and suffering for eternity. Why is a day in the 
courts of God, so much better than a thousand in the tents 
or palaces of wickedness, but because it is the exchange 
where we have news of heaven, and trade for an eternity ? 
And why is it better to be a door-keeper in the house of 
God, than to flourish in the prosperity of sinners, but be- 
cause God's house is the porch or entrance of an eternity of 
delights, and the lowest room among the saints affords us 
a better prospect into heaven, than the highest state of 
worldly dignity ! The ungodly are near to cutting down 
when they flourish in their greatest glory. (Psal.xxxvii.2.20.) 
Stay but a little, and he that flourisheth will be withered 
and cast into the fire, and the righteous shall see it when he 
is cut ofi^, and shall seek him, but he is not to be found, 
(verse 34 — 36. 38.) For the enemies of God, and all 


that are far from him shall perish ; (Psal. xcii. 9 ; xiii. 27 ;) 
their desire shall perish; (Psal. cxii. 10;) their hope shall 
perish; (Prov. xi. 7; Job viii. 13;) their way shall perish; 
(Psal. i. 6 ;) and themselves and all that they sought, and 
loved, and delighted in, shall perish. (Job xx. 7 ; 2 Pet. ii. 
12; Rom. ii. 12; Heb. i. 11.) Even the visible heavens 
and earth, which they abused, shall be consumed with fire. 
" Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what 
manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation 
and godliness, looking towards and waiting for the coming 
and appearance of our Lord !" (2 Pet. iii. 11.) Shall any man 
be accounted wise, that is not wise for eternal happiness ? 
Shall any man be counted happy, that must be most miser- 
able to eternity ? In the name of God, Christian, I charge 
thee to hold on, and look to thy soul, thy words, thy ways, 
for it is for eternity ! O play not, loiter not, do nothing by 
the halves in the way to eternity ! Let the careless world do 
what they will ; they despise, and know not what they do 
despise ; they neglect, and know not what they do neglect ; 
but thou that seekest, and labourest, and waitest, knowest 
what thou seekest, and labourest, and waitest for. They 
sin and know not what they do. They know not what they 
are treasuring up for an eternity. But thou knowest why 
thou hatest and avoidest sin. 

Sinners, be awakened by the call of God ; do you know 
where you are, and what you do ? You are every man of 
you stepping into eternity! Will you sin away, will you 
loiter away, will you sell for nothing, an eternal glory ? Is 
thy sinful lust, and gain, and mirth, and gluttony, and ex- 
cess of drink, a price to set upon eternity ? If heaven be 
no more worth to thee, art thou not as bad as Judas, that 
for thirty pieces of silver would sell his Lord ? O eternity, 
eternity ! what hearts have they that can so forget thee, neglect 
thee, and disesteem thee, when they stand so near thee ! O 
sleepy souls ! do you never use to rub your eyes, and look 
before you towards eternity ? and doth it not amaze you to 
see whither it is that you are going? Merrily you run 
down the hill ; but where is the bottom ! If you look but 
down from the top of a steeple, it may occasion an amazing 
fear ; what then should it cause in you to look down into 
hell, which is your eternity? No good can possibly be 
small that is eternal ; and no hurt or pain can be called lit- 


tie, that is eternal : an eternal tooth-ache, or an eternal 
gout, or stone, or fever, were a misery unspeakable. But O ! 
what are these to an eternal loss of heaven, and to an eter- 
nal sense of the burning wrath of God Almighty ! To be 
out of heaven a day, and in hell that day, is a misery now 
unknown to sinners ; but if it were as many thousand years 
as the earth hath sands, it were a greater misery ; but to be 
there for ever, doth make the misery past all hope, and all 
conceiving. O methinks the very name of Eternity, should 
frighten the drunkard out of the alehouse, and the sleepy 
sinner out of his security, and the lustful, sportful, volup- 
tuous sinner out of his sensual delights ! Methinks the very 
name of Eternity should call off the worldling to seek be- 
time a more enduring treasure, and should take down the 
gallant's pride, and bring men to look after other matters 
than the most do look after ! Methinks to hear the name 
of Eternity should with men of any faith and reason, even 
blast all the beauty, and blur the glory, and sadden the de- 
lights, and weaken the temptations of the world, and make 
all its pleasure, pomp, and splendour, to be to our appre- 
hensions as a smoke, a shadow, as the dirt that we tread 
upon ! Methinks to hear the name of Eternity should lay so 
odious a reproach on sin, and so nakedly open the folly, 
and shame, and misery of the ungodly, and so lively shew 
the need, and worth of faith and holiness, that men should 
be soon resolved in their choice, and soon be at the end of 
an ungodly course, and need no more words to make them 
the resolved servants of the Lord, before to-morrow ! O 
methinks, that a thought of eternity should, with a believer, 
answer all temptations, and put life into all his prayers and 
endeavours ! If we were never so cold, or dull, or sleepy, 
one would think a serious thought of eternity should warm 
us, quicken us, and awake us ! O Christians, shall we hear 
carelessly, or speak carelessly of eternity ? Shall we pray 
coldly, or labour negligently for eternity ! O what an ocean 
of joy will eternity be unto the sanctified ! It hath neither 
banks nor bottom. O what a gulf of misery and woe, will 
eternity be to the ungodly ! Wonderful ! that on their dying- 
beds they quake not with the horror, and that they cry not 
out with greatest lamentation, to think what a bottomless 
gulf of misery their departing souls must be cast into I To 
be for ever, ever, ever, under the most heavy wrath of God ! 


This is the appointed wages of ungodliness ; this is the end 
of wicked ways ; this is it that sinners chose, because 
they would not live to God ! this they preferred, or ventured 
on, before a holy, heavenly life ! and this is it that believers 
are labouring to escape in all their holy care and diligence ! 
It is an infinite value that is put upon the blood of Christ, 
the promises of God, the ordinances and means of grace, 
and grace itself, and the poorest duties of the poorest 
saints, because they are for an infinite, eternal glory. No 
mercy is small that tastes of heaven (as all doth or should 
do to the believer). No action is low that aims at heaven. 
And O how lively should the resolutions and courage of 
those men be, that are travelling, fighting, and watching 
for eternity ! How full should be their comforts, that are 
fetched from the foresight of infinite eternal comforts ! As 
all things will presently be swallowed up in eternity, so me- 
thinks the present apprehension of eternity should now 
swallow up all things else in the soul. 

Object. * But (saith the unbeliever) if God have made 
man for eternity, it is a wonder that there are no more 
lively impressions of so infinite a thing upon the souls of 
all ! Our sense of it is so small, that it makes me doubt 
whether we are made for it.' 

Answ, Consider, 1. That benumbedness, and sleep, and 
death, is the very state of an unholy soul ! Hast thou cast 
thyself into a sleepy, senseless disease, and wilt thou argue 
thence against eternity? This is as if the blind should con- 
clude that there is no sun, or that the eye of man was not 
made to see it, because he hath no sight himself! or as if 
you should think that man hath not any life or feeling, be- 
cause your palsied limbs do not feel ! or that the stomach 
was not made for meat, because the stomachs of the sick 
abhor it ! 

2. And for believers, 1. You may see by their lives that 
they have some apprehensions of eternity : why else do 
they differ from you, and deny themselves, and displease 
the world and the flesh itself? Why do they set their hearts 
above, if they have not lively thoughts of an eternity ? 

2. But if you ask me. Why their apprehensions are not 
a thousand times more lively about so infinite a thing ; I 
answer, 1. Their apprehensions must be suitable to their 
state. Our -state here is a state of imperfection ; and so 


will our apprehensions be ; but a perfect state will have 
perfect apprehensions. It is no proof that the infant in the 
womb is not made to come into this world, and see the sun, 
and converse with men, because he hath no apprehen- 
sions of it. Our state here is a conjunction of the soul to a 
frail distempered body ; and so near a conjunction that the 
actions of the soul must have great dependance on the 
body ; and therefore our apprehensions are limited by its 
frailty ; and the soul can go no higher than the capacity of 
the body will allow : 2. And our apprehensions now are 
fitted to our use and benefit : we are now believers, and 
must live by faith ; and therefore must be beholders, and 
live by sense. If eternity were open to men's natural sight, 
or we had here as clear and lively apprehensions of it, as 
those have that are there, then it were no thanks, no praise 
to us to be believers, or to obey, and live as saints ! And 
then God should not govern man, as man, here in the way, 
by a law, but as a beast by sense, or as the glorified that 
have possession. Where there are perfect apprehensions of 
God and glory, there will be also perfect love, and joy, and 
praise, and consequently perfect happiness ; and this were 
to make earth and heaven, the way and the end, to be all 
one. Perfect apprehensions are kept for a perfect state of 
happiness. But here it is well if we have such apprehen- 
sions as are fitted to the use of travellers and soldiers, as 
will carry us on, and prevail against the difficulties of 
our course. If you had never been in London, you could 
not have any such clear apprehensions of the place, as 
those that see it have ; and yet your imperfect apprehen- 
sions might be sufficient to make you take a journey thither, 
and you may come as safely and certainly to it, as if you 
had seen it. Moreover, the body, the brain, which the soul 
in apprehending now makes use of, cannot bear such appre- 
hensions as are suitable to the thousandth part of the great- 
ness of the object, without distraction. The smallest eye 
may see the sun ; but the greatest cannot endure to gaze 
upon its glory ; much less if it were at the nearest approach. 
It is a mercy of mercies to give us such apprehensions of 
eternity, as are meet for passengers to bring us thither ; 
and it is part of our mercy that those apprehensions are not 
so great as to distract and overwhelm us. 

4, Lastly, The eternity of God must teach the soul con- 


tentedness and patience under all labours, changes, suffer- 
ings and dangers that are here below. Believing soul, draw 
near ; look seriously on eternity, and try whether it will not 
make such impressions as these upon thee. Art thou weary 
of labours, either of the mind or body ? Is not eternity long 
enough for thy rest ? Canst thou not afford to work out the 
daylight of this life, when thou must rest with Christ to 
all eternity ? Canst thoa not run with patience so short a 
race, when thou lookest to so long a rest ? Canst thou not 
watch one hour with Christ, that must reign with him to 
all eternity ? Dost thou begin to shrink at' sufferings for 
Christ, when thou must be in glory with him for ever? How 
short is the suffering ? how long is the reward ? Dost thou 
begin to think hardly of the dealing of the Lord, because 
his people are here afflicted, and made the scorn and by- 
word of the world ? Why, is not eternity long enough for 
God to shew his love and bounty to his people in? Is not 
the day at hand, when Lazarus and the rich worldling both 
must hear, " But now he is comforted, and thou art tor- 
mented?" (Luke xvi. 25.) Did not that now come time 
enough which was the entrance of eternity? " Even Jesus, 
the author and perfecter of our faith, 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 ! Con- 
sider him that endured such contradiction of sinners 
against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." 
(Heb. xii. 2, 3.) Dost thou grudge at the prosperity of the 
wicked, and prevalency of the church's enemies ? Look 
then unto eternity, and bethink thee whether that be not 
long enough, for the saints to reign, and the wicked to be 
tormented. Wouldst thou have them in hell before their 
time ? Dost thou begin to doubt of the coming of Christ, 
or the truth of his promises, because he doth so long de- 
lay ? O what is a thousand years to eternity! Is there not 
yet time enough before thee, for Christ to make good all 
his promises in ? Were not those disciples sharply but 
justly rebuked as " fools and slow of heart to believe," that 
when their Lord had been but two days dead, were unbe- 
lievingly saying, ** We hoped this had been he that should 
have redeemed Israel?" O remember. Christian, in all thy 
darkness and ignorance of the difficult passages of Scrip- 
voL. xni. E 


ture, or of Providence, that the things that are chained 
to eternity, cannot be perfectly understood by him that 
standeth in an inch * of time : but when eternity comes, 
thou shalt understand them. Remember when things seem 
crooked in this world, and the best are lowest, and the 
worst are highest, that eternity is long enough to set all 
straight. Remember when sinners crow and triumph, that 
eternity is long enough for their complaints. In thy po- 
verty, and pain, and longest afflictions, remember that eter- 
nity is long enough for thy relief. If thy sorrow be long, 
and thy comforts short, remember that eternity is long- 
enough for thy joys. Cannot we be content to take up 
short in this life, when we believe eternity ? Dost thou 
stagger at the length or strength of thy temptations ? and 
art thou ready to draw back and venture upon sin? Why, 
what temptation can there be, that should not be lighter 
than a feather, if eternity be put against it in the scales ? 
In a word, if there be any man that escapeth the foolish 
seductions of this world, and useth it as not abusing it, 
and hath all his worldly accommodations as if he had 
none, it is he that fixeth his eye upon eternity, and seeth 
that the fashion of these lower things doth pass away. 
(1 Cor. vii. 29 — 31.) No man can be ignorant of the neces- 
sity and worth of a holy life, that discerneth that the eter- 
nal God is the end of it. The right apprehensions of God's 
eternity (supposing him our end, which is further to be 
manifested in its place), is a most powerful antidote 
against all sin, and a most powerful composer of a distem- 
pered mind, and a most powerful means to keep up all the 
powers of the soul in a resolute, vigorous, cheerful motion 
to the eternal God, for whom and by whom it was created. 


6. The next attribute of God, that is to make its impress on 
us, is, that he is a Spirit. In this one are these three espe- 
cially comprehended : 1. That he is simple, and not mate- 
rial or compounded as bodies are : 2. That he is invisible, 
and not to be seen as bodies are : 3. That he is immortal 
and incorruptible, and not subject to death or change, as 
bodies are. 

1. As Simplicity signifieth unity, in opposition to multi- 
plicity, we have spoken of it before. As it is opposite to 



all materiality, mixture or composition, we are now to speak 
of it : And the believing thoughts of God's immateriality 
and simplicity, should have these three effects upon the 
soul. 1. It should do much to win the heart to God, and 
cause it to close with him as its felicity ; because as he 
hath no matter or mixture, so he hath nothing but pure and 
perfect goodness, and therefore there is nothing in him to 
discourage the soul. The creatures have evil in them with 
their good, and by contrary qualities do hurt us when they 
help us, and displease us when they please us; but in God 
there is nothing but infinite goodness. And should not the 
soul adhere to him, where it is sure to find nothing but 
simple, pure, and unmixed good? The creatures are all 
liable to some exceptions : in one thing they help us, but 
in another they hinder us ; in one thing they are suitable to 
us, and in another thing unsuitable ! But God is liable to 
no exceptions. This will for ever confound the ungodly 
that give not up themselves unto him : they did even for a 
thing of naught forsake that God that was purely and 
simply good, and against whom they had no exceptions. 
Had there been any thing in God to discourage the soul, or 
which his most malicious enemy could blame, the ungodly 
soul had some excuse. But this will stop all the mouths of 
the condemned, that they had nothing to say against the 
Lord ; and yet they had no mind to him, no hearts for him, 
in comparison of the vain, vexatious creatures. 

2. The Simplicity of God should make us know the im- 
perfection and vanity of all the creatures that are com- 
pounded things ; and so should help to alienate us from 
them. Our friends have in them perhaps much holiness, 
but mixed with much sin. They may have much know- 
ledge ; but mixed with much ignorance. Their humility is 
mixed with pride ; their meekness with some passions, their 
love with selfishness, and a small matter will cause them to 
distaste us: they may be much for God; but withal they 
may do much against him. They help the church ; but 
through their weakness they may lamentably detract or 
wrong it : they are able to help us but in part ; and willing 
but in part ; and they have usually interests of their own, 
that are inconsistent with ours. We have no commodity, 
but hath its discommodity : our houses, our families, our 
neighbours, our callings, our cattle, our land, our countries. 


churches, ministers, magistrates, laws and judgments, yea, 
even health, and plenty, and peace itself, all have their 
mixture of bitterness or danger, and those the most danger- 
ous commonly that have least bitterness. But in God there 
is none of all this mixture, but pure uncompounded good, 
" He is light, and with him is no darkness." (1 John i. 5.) 
Indeed there is somewhat in God that an ungodly man dis- 
tasteth, and that seemeth in the state that he is in to be 
against him, and hurtful to him: as is his justice, holiness, 
truth, &c. But justice is not evil, because it doth condemn 
a thief or murderer : meat is not bad, because the sick dis- 
taste it. It is the cross position of the sinful soul, or his 
enmity to the Lord that makes the Lord to use him as an 
enemy. Let him but become a subject fit for sweeter deal- 
ing from God, and he is sure to find it. Leave then the 
compounded, self-contradicting creature, and adhere to the 
pure, simple Deity. 

3. God's Simplicity must draw the soul to a holy sim- 
plicity, that it may be like to God. We that serve a pure, 
simple God, must do it with simple, pure affections, and not 
with hypocrisy, or a double heart. His interest in us should 
be maintained with a holy jealousy, that no other interest 
mix itself therewith. The soul should attain to a holy sim- 
plicity by closing with the simple, infinite God, and suffer- 
ing nothing to be a sharer with him in our superlative 
affections. All creatures must keep their places in our 
hearts, and that is only in a due subordination and sub- 
serviency to the Lord : but nothing should take up the least 
of that estimation, those affections, or endeavours that are 
his own peculiar. God will not accept of half a heart : A 
double-minded, double-hearted, double-faced, or double- 
tongued person, is contrary to the holy simplicity of 
a saint. As we would not bow the knee to any gods 
but one, so neither should we bow the heart or life to 
them. We should know what is God's prerogative, and 
that we should keep entirely for him. A subordinate es- 
teem, and love, and desire the creature may have, as it 
revealeth God to us, or leadeth to him, or helpeth us in his 
work : but it should not have the least of his part in our 
esteem, or love, or desire. This is the chastity, the purity, 
the integrity of the soul. It is the mixture, impurity, cor- 
ruption and confusion of our souls, when any thing is taken 


ill with God. See therefore, Christian, that iii thy heart 
thou have no God but one, and that he have all thy heart, 
and soul, and strength, as far as thou canst attain it. And 
because there vt^ill be still in imperfect souls, some sinful 
mixture of the creature's interest with God's, let it be the 
work of thy life to be watching against it, and casting it 
out, and cleansing thy heart of it, as thou wouldst do thy 
food if it fall into the dirt. For whatever is added to God 
in thy affections, doth make no better an increase there, 
than the adding of earth unto thy gold, or of dung unto thy 
mieat, or of corrupted humours and sickness to thy body. 
Mixture will make no better work. 

It may be thy rejoicing, if thou have " the testimony of 
a good conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, 
and not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, thou 
hast had thy conversation in the world." (2 Cor. i. 12.) It 
is the state of hypocrisy, when one God is openly professed 
and worshipped, and yet the creature lieth deepest and 
nearest to the heart. 

2. The Invisibility of God also must have its due effects 
upon us. And, 1. It must warn us, that we picture not 
God to our eyesight, or in our fancies in any bodily shape. 
Saith the prophet, *' To whom will you liken God? or what 
likeness will ye compare unto him ?" (Isa. xl. 18. 25.) " No 
man hath seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son 
which is in the bosom of his Father, he hath declared him," 
(John i. 18,) and therefore we must conceive of him but as 
he is declared, " Not that any man hath seen the Father, 
save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father." (John 
vi. 46.) 

If you ask me, How then you should conceive of God, 
if not in any bodily shape ? I answer. Get all these attri- 
butes, and relations of God to make their proper impress 
upon thy soul, as now I am teaching you, and then you will 
have the true conceiving of God. This question therefore is 
to be answered at the end of this discourse, when you have 
seen all the attributes of God together, and heard what im- 
pression they must make upon you. 

2. This must teach us, to think most highly of the 
things that are invisible, and more meanly of these visible 
things. Let it be the property of a beast, and not of a man, 
to know nothing but what he seeth or hath seen : Let it be 



the mark of the brutish infidels, and not of" Christians, to 
doubt of the invisible things, because they are invisible ; or 
to think that things visible are more excellent or sure. As 
the senses are more ignoble than the intellect, (a beast hav- 
ing as perfect senses as a man, and yet no reasonable un- 
derstanding) so the objects of sense must proportionably 
be below the objects of the understanding, as such. The 
grossest and most palpable objects are the basest. It is 
the subtile part that is called the spirits ; which being drawn 
out of plants or other vegetables, is most powerful and ex- 
cellent, and valued, when the earthly dregs are cast away as 
little worth. It is that subtile part in our blood that is 
called the spirits, that hath more of the virtue of life, and 
doth more of the works than the feculent, gross and earthly 
part. The air and wind have as true a being as the earth, 
and a more excellent nature, though it be more gross and 
they invisible. The body is not so excellent as the invisi- 
ble soul. Invisible things are as real as visible, and as 
suitable to our more noble, invisible part, as visible things 
to our fleshly, baser part. 

3. The Invisibility of God must teach us to live a life of 
faith, and to get above a sensual life : and it must teach us 
to value the faith of the saints, as knowing its excellency 
and necessity. Invisible objects have the most perfect 
excellent reality ; and therefore faith hath the pre-eminence 
above sense. Natural reason can live upon things not seen, 
if they have been seen, or can be known by natural evi- 
dence (subjects obey a prince that they see not: and fear a 
punishment which they see not : and the nature of man is 
afraid of the devils, though we see them not). But faith 
liveth upon such invisible things, as mortal eye did never 
see, nor natural ordinary evidence demonstrate, but are re- 
vealed only by the word of God : though about many of its 
invisible objects, faith hath the consent of reason for its 
encouragement. Value not sight and sense too much, 
think not all to be mere uncertainties and notions that are 
not the objects of sense. We should not have heard that 
God is a spirit, if corporal substances had not a baser kind 
of being than spirits : Intellection is a more noble opera- 
tion than sense. If there be any thing properly called sense 
in heaven, it will be as far below the pure intellective intui- 
tion of the Lord, as the glorified body will be below the 



glorified soul. But what that difference will be, we cannot 
now understand. Fix not your minds on sensible things. 
Remember that your God, your home, your portion, are un- 
seen : and therefore live in hearty affections to them, and 
serious prosecution of them, as if you saw them. Pray, as 
if you saw God, and heaven, and hell. Hear, as if you saw 
him that sends his messenger to speak to you. Resist all 
the temptations to lust, and sensuality, and every sin, as 
you would do if you saw God stand by. Love him, and 
fear him, and trust him, and serve him, as you would do if 
you beheld him. *' Faith is the evidence of things not 
seen." (Heb. xi. 1.) Believing must be to you instead of 
seeing ; and make you as serious about things unseen, as 
sensual men are about things sensible. In every thing that 
you see, remember it is he that is unseen that appeareth in 
them. He lighteth you by the sun ; he warmeth you by 
the fire ; he beareth you by the earth. See him in all these 
by the eye of faith. 

3. The Immortality, Incorruptibility and Immutability of 
God, must, 1. Teach the soul to rise up from these mortal, 
corruptible, mutable things, and to fix upon that God who 
is the immortal, incorruptible portion of his saints. 

2. It must comfort and encourage all believers in the 
consideration of their felicity ; and support them under the 
failings of all mortal, corruptible things. Our parents, and 
children, and friends, are mortal : they are ours to-day, and 
dead to-morrow : they are our delight to-day, and our sor- 
row and horror to-morrow : but our God is immortal. Our 
houses may be burned ; our goods may be consumed or 
stolen ; our clothes will be worn out ; our treasure here 
may be corrupted. But our God is unchangeable, the same 
for ever. Our laws and customs may be changed ; our 
governors and privileges changed ^ our company, and em- 
ployments, and habitation changed j but our God is never 
changed. Our estates may change from riches to poverty ; 
and our names that were honoured, may incur disgrace. 
Our health may quickly turn to sickness, and our ease to 
pain : but still our God is unchangeable for ever. Our 
friends are inconstant and may turn our enemies : our 
peace may be changed into war ; and our liberty into 
slavery : but our God doth never change. Time, will change 
customs, families, and all things here ; but it chungeth not 


our God. The creatures are all but earthen metal, and 
quickly dashed in pieces: Our comforts are changeable; 
ourselves are changeable and mortal : but so is not our God. 

3. And it should teach us to draw as near to God as we 
are capable, by unchangeable, fixed resolutions, and con- 
stancy of endeavours ; and to be still the same as we are at 
the best. 

4. It should move us also to be more desirous of pass- 
ing into the state of immortality, and to long for our un- 
changeable habitation, and our immortal, incorruptible 
bodies, and to possess the " kingdom that cannot be moved." 
(Heb. xii. 28.) And let not the mutability of things below 
much trouble us, while our Rock, our Portion, is unmove- 
able. God waxeth not old : heaven doth not decay by 
duration : the glory of the blessed shall not wither, nor 
their sun set upon them, nor their day have any night; 
nor any mutations or commotions disturb their quiet pos- 
sessions. O love and long for immortality and incorrup- 
tion ! 


6. Having spoken of the effects of the attributes of God's 
essence as such, we must next speak of the effects of his 
three great attributes which some call subsisterUial, that is, 
his omnipotency, understanding, and will ; or his infinite 
power, wisdom, and goodness : by which it hath been the 
way of the schoolmen and other divines to denominate the 
three persons, not without some countenance from Scrip- 
ture phrase. The Father they call the infinite power of the 
Godhead ; and the Son, the wisdom and word of God, and 
of the Father; and the Holy Ghost, the love and goodness 
of God, of the Father, and Son. But, that these attributes, 
of power, understanding, and will, or power, wisdom, and 
goodness, are of the same importance with the terms of 
personality. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, we presume not 
to affirm. It sufBceth us, J . That God hath assumed these 
attributes to himself in Scripture. 2. And that man who 
beareth the natural image of God, hath power, understand- 
ing and will ; and as he beareth the holy moral image of 
God, he hath a power to execute that which is good, and 
wisdom to direct, and goodness of will to determine for the 
execution: and so while God is seen of us in this glass of 


man, we must conceive of him after the image that in man 
appeareth to us, and speak of him in the language of man, 
as he doth of himself. 

And first. The Almightiness of God must make these im- 
pressions on our souls. 1. It must possess the soul with 
very awful, reverent thoughts of God ; and fill us continually 
with his holy fear. Infinite Greatness and Power, must have 
no common, careless thoughts, lest we blaspheme him in 
our minds, and be guilty of contempt. The dread of the 
heavenly Majesty should be still upon us ; and we must 
*• be in his fear all the day long.'' (Prov. xxiii. 17.) Not 
under that slavish fear that is void of love, as men fear an 
enemy, or hurtful creature, or that which is evil : for we 
have not such a Spirit from the Lord, nor stand in a rela- 
tion of enmity and bondage to him : but reverence is neces- 
sary ; and from thence a fear of sinning and displeasing so 
great a God. ** The fear of the Lord is the beginning of 
wisdom." (Prov. i. 7; ix. 10 ; PsaL cxi. 10.) " By it men 
depart from evil." (Prov. xvi. 6.) Sin is for want of the 
fear of God. (Luke xxiii. 40 ; Prov. iii. 7 ; Jer, v. 24 ; Lev. 
XXV. 36.) The fear of God is often put for the whole new 
man, or all the work of grace within us, even the principle 
of new life. (Jer. ii. 19; xxxii. 40.) And it is often put for 
the whole work of religion, or service of God. (Psal. xxxiv. 
11 ; Prov. i. 29 ; Psal. cxxx. 4; xxxiv. 9.) And therefore 
the godly are usually denominated, such as fear God. (Psal. 
XV. 4; xxii. 23; cxv, 11. 13; cxxxv. 20; xxiv. 7. 9, &c.) 
The godly are " devoted to the fear of God." (Psal. cxix. 
38.) It is our " sanctifying the Lord in our hearts, that he 
be our fear and dread." (Isa. viii. 13.) If we fear him not, 
we take him not for our master. (Mai. i. 6.) Evangelical 
grace excludeth not this fear. (Luke xii. 5.) Though we re- 
ceive a kingdom that cannot be moved, yet must our ac- 
ceptable service of God, be with reverence and godly fear. 
(Heb. xii. 28.) With fear and trembling we must work out 
our salvation. (Phil. ii. 12.) In fear we must pass the time 
of sojourning here. (1 Pet. i. 17.) In it we must con- 
verse together. (Eph. v. 4.) Yea, holiness is to be perfected 
in the fear of God ; (2 Cor. vii. 1 \) and that because we 
have the promises. The most prosperous churches walk in 
this fear, (Acts ix. 31.) It is a necessary means of pre- 
venting destruction ; (Heb. xi. 7 ;) and of attaining salva- 


tioii when we have the promises. (Heb. i. 7.) God puts 
this fear in the hearts of those that shall not depart from 
him. (Jer. xxxii. 40.) See therefore that the greatness of 
the Almighty God possess thy soul continually with his 

2. God's Almightiness should also possess us with holy 
admiration of him, and cause us in heart and voice to mag- 
nify him. O what a power is that which made the world 
of nothing ! which upholdeth the earth without any founda- 
tion but his will! which placed and maintaineth all things 
in their order in heaven and earth ! which causeth so great 
and glorious a creature as the sun, that is so much bigger 
than all the earth, to move so many thousand miles in a 
few moments, and constantly to keep its time and course ! 
that giveth its instinct to every brute, and causeth every 
part of nature to do its office ! By his power it is that every 
motion of the creature is performed, and that order is kept 
in the kingdoms of the world. " He made the heaven and 
the earth by his great power and stretched out arm, and 
nothing is too hard for him : The great, the mighty God, 
the Lord of Hosts is his name ; great in counsel, and mighty 
in works." (Jer. xxxii. 17 — 19.) "The great, the mighty, 
the terrible God." (Neh. ix. 32.) To him therefore that 
alone doth great wonders we must give the greatest praise. 
(Psal. cxxxvi. 4.) " O how great are his works, and his 
thoughts are very deep." (Psal. xcii. 5.) '* Great is our Lord 
and of great power." (Psal. cxlvii. 5.) And therefore in 
Zion must he be great. (Psal. xcix. 2.) And his great and 
terrible name must be praised. 

3. In the church where he is known, must his name be 
great. (Psal. Ixxvi. 1.) "For we know that the Lord is 
great, and our God is above all gods." (Psal. cxxxv. 5.) His 
saints delight to praise his greatness. " Bless the Lord, O 
my soul! O Lord my God thou art very great! Thou art 
clothed with honour and majesty, who coverest thyself 
with light as with a garment, who stretchest out the hea- 
vens like a curtain, who layeth the beams of his chambers 
in the waters, who maketh the clouds his chariot, who 
walketh upon the wings of the wind, who maketh his angels 
spirits, his ministers a flame of fire," &c. (Psal. civ. 1 — 4.) 
From Almightiness all things have their being, and therefore 
mu^t honour the Almighty " Alpha and Omega, the begin* 



ning and the ending; saith the Lord ; which is and which 
was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Rev. i. 8.) They 
that magnify the Lord with the song of Moses and of the 
Lamb say, " Great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord 
God Almighty; just and true are thy ways thou King of 
Saints." (Rev. xv. 2.) 

3. The Almightiness of God must imprint upon our souls 
a strong and steadfast confidence in him, according to the 
tenor of his covenant and promises. Nothing more certain 
than that impotency and insufficiency will never cause him 
to fail us, or to break his word. O what an encouragement 
is it to the saints, that they are built on such an impregnable 
rock, and that Omnipotency is engaged for them ! and O, 
what a shame is this to our unbelief, that ever we should 
distrust Omnipotency ! 

If God be Almighty, 1. Remember in thy greatest 
wants, that there is no want but he can easily and abun- 
dantly supply. 

2. Remember in thy greatest sufferings, pains, or dan- 
gers, that no pain is so great which he cannot mitigate and 
remove, and no danger so great from which he is not able to 
deliver thee. The servants of Christ dare venture on the 
flames, because they trust upon the Almighty. (Dan. iii, 
16 — 18.) In confidence on Omnipotency they dare stand 
against the threatenings of the greatest upon earth. " We 
are not careful (said those three believers to the king) to 
answer thee in this matter : if it be so, our God whom we 
serve is able to deliver us," &c. He that is afraid to stand 
upon a slender bow, or upon the unstable waters, is not 
afraid to stand upon the earth ; and he that is afraid of rob- 
bers when he is alone, is bolder in a conquering army ; what 
will man trust, if he distrust Omnipotency ? Where can we 
be safe, if not in the love, the covenant, the hands of the 
Almighty God? When storms and winds had frighted the dis- 
ciples, lest they should be drowned when Christ was in the 
ship, their sin was aggravated by the presence of their power- 
ful Lord, whose mighty works they had often seen ; " Why 
fear ye, (saith he) O ye of little faith !" (Matt. viii. 26.) Can- 
not he rebuke our winds and waves ! and will not all obey 
the rebukes of the Almighty? When thou hast a want that 
God cannot supply, or a sickness that he cannot cure, or a 


danger that he cannot prevent, then be thou fearful, and dis- 
trust him and spare not. 

3. Remember also in thy lowest state, and in the church's 
greatest sufferings or dangers, that the Almighty is able to 
raise up his church or thee even in a moment. 

If you say, that it is true God can do it, but we know 
not whether he will; I answer, 1. I shall shew you in due 
place, how far he hath revealed his will for such deliverances. 
In sum, we have his promise, *' that all things shall work 
together for our good," (Rom. viii. 28,) and what would we 
have more ! Would you have that which.is evil for you ? 

2. At present, see that Omnipotency do establish thy 
confidence so far as it is concerned in the cause. As 1. Be 
sure that no work is too hard for the Almighty ; do not so 
much as in the thoughts of thy heart, make question of his 
power, and say with those unbelievers, *' Can God furnish 
a table in the wilderness ? can he give bread also ? can he 
provide flesh ?" (Psal. Ixxviii. 19,20.) If really thou dis- 
trust not the power of God, believe then the most difficult 
or improbable things, as well as the easiest and most proba- 
ble, if God reveal or promise them. The resurrection 
seemeth improbable to impotent man ; but God hath pro- 
mised it ; and nothing is difficult to Omnipotency. The 
calling of the Jews ; the ruin of the Turk ; the downfall of 
the Pope ; the unity of Christians, do all seem to us unlikely 
things ; but all things to God are not only possible but easy. 
He is at no more labour to make a world, than to make a 
straw, or make a fly. " Whatsoever pleased the Lord, that 
did he in heaven and earth, in the sea and in the depths." 
(Psal. cxxxv. 6.) Dost thou think it improbable that ever 
all thy sins should be conquered ; and that ever thy soul 
should live with Christ among the holy saints and angels ; 
and that ever thy body, that must first be dust, should shine 
as the stars in the firmament of God? And why doth it 
seem to thee improbable ? Is it not as easy to God as to 
cause the earth to stand on nothing, and the sun to run its 
daily course ? If God had promised thee to live a day 
longer, or any small and common things, thou couldst then 
believe him ; and is it not as easy to him to advance thee to 
everlasting glory, as to cause thee to live another hour, or 
to keep a hair of thy head from perishing ? Sin is too 


strong for thee to overcome, but not for God. Death is too 
strong for thee to conquer, but not for Christ. Heaven is 
too high for thee to reach by thy own strength ; but he that 
is there, and prepared it for thee, can take thee thither. Trust 
God or trust nothing ; he that cannot trust in him shall 
despair for ever; for all other confidence will deceive him. 
'* They that know his name, will put their trust in him; for 
the Lord hath not forsaken them that seek him." (Psal. ix. 
10.) All those that trust in him shall rejoice, and ever shout 
for joy, because he defendeth them. (Psal. v. 11.) '* Blessed 
is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not 
the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." (Psal. xl. 4.) 
"Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe." (Prov. 
xxix, 25.) O what hath Almightiness done in the world ; 
and what for the church ; and what for thee ; and yet wilt 
thou distrust him ? " O how great is the goodness that he 
hath laid up for them that fear him ; which he hath wrought 
for them that trust in him before the sons of men !" (Psal. 
xxxi. 19.) " The Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants, 
and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate." (Psal. 
xxxiv. 22.) Are thy straits too great ; thy work too hard ? 
" Commit thy way unto the Lord ; trust also to him and he 
shall bring it to pass." (Psal. xxxvii. 5.) In thy lowest state 
look up to the Almighty, and say, " What time I am afraid, 
I will trust in thee : In God have I put my trust; I will not 
fear, what man can do unto me." (Psal. Ivi. 3, 4.) " The 
Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer : my God ; 
my strength ; in whom I will put my trust ; my buckler, 
and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." (Psal. 
xviii. 2.) He is a buckler to all that trust in him. " Some 
trust in chariots, and some in horses ; but we will remember 
the name of the Lord our God." (Psal. xx. 7.) Trust not 
in the creature ; that is, in vanity and infirmity. There is 
not almightiness in man, or any other creature : " It is bet- 
ter therefore to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in 
man : it is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence 
in princes." (Psal. cxviii. 7, 8.) What a working passage 
is that, Jer. xvii. 5 — 7, " Thus saith the Lord, 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 deserts, and shall not see when good 


cometh. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, 
whose hope the Lord is ; for he shall be as a tree planted 
by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, 
and shall not see when heat cometh ." 

2. Trust also in God, as one that is assured that no 
enemy is too strong for the Almighty: Alas, what is an army 
of dust to Omnipotency ! If the Lord do but arise, his 
enemies will be scattered, and they that hate him will flee 
before him ; as smoke is driven away, and as wax melteth 
before the fire, the wicked shall perish at the presence of the 
Lord. (Psal. Ixviii. 1, 2.) While the Lord of Hosts is for 
us, we need not fear if hosts come against us ; at worst 
they can but kill our bodies ; and " greater is he that is in us, 
than he that is in the world." (1 John iv. 4.) O what a 
match have the miserable enemies of the church! what a 
work do they undertake? what a desperate attempt do they 
enterprise? to strive against Heaven, and overcome Omni- 
potency ! 

3. Trust in the Lord, as one that believeth that no means 
or instruments are too small or weak for Almightiness suc- 
cessfully to use. No matter who the instrument be, how 
mean, and weak, and despicable, if it be but an Almighty 
hand that uses it. A few poor fishermen and despised peo- 
ple, shall pull down Satan's kingdom in the world, and con- 
quer the greatest, and bring in the nations to the faith, if 
Omnipotency be with them. 

4. The Almightiness of God must fill our hearts with 
courage and resolution in his cause, and make us go on with 
the greatest alacrity in his work. Though we must be doves 
and lambs for innocency and meekness ; yet must we be 
soldiers for valour and stability. Shall we flag or shrink, 
that have Omnipotency on our side! Whoever scorneth 
thee, hateth thee, threateneth thee, imprisoneth thee, is not 
the Almighty enough to set against them all, for thy encou- 
ragement ? 

5. The Almightiness of God must be the comfort of all 
that have interest in him. O, did the blind world but see 
Lim that his Omnipotent, or know the strength that is en- 
gaged for the weakest saint, they would soon see which is 
the strongest side, and which to cleave to for their security. 
O blessed people, that have the Almighty on their side, and 



engaged with them against their enemies, and to do their 
works, and answer their desires ! How can any of them 
perish when the Almighty is engaged for their salvation ! 
" The Father is greater than all, and none shall take them 
out of his hands." (John x. 29.) How glad would men be 
in the beginning of a war, to know which side will prove the 
stronger, that they may join with that. Can the side that 
God is on be conquered ? If you are wise, observe what 
cause is his, and let that be yours. ** It is hard to kick 
against the pricks." Woe to those souls that the Almighty 
is against, and that dash themselves on the Rock that they 
should build on. 


7. The next attribute that must work upon us, is the Infinite 
Wisdom or Omniscience of God. " His understanding is 
infinite." (Psal. cxlvii. 5.) And the impressions that this 
should make upon our souls, are these : 

1. Delight in wisdom, that you may in your places be 
like to God. The new man is renewed in knowledge after 
the image of him that created him." (Col. iii. 10.) If God 
be infinitely wise^ those then are the most excellent that are 
the wisest. Ignorance is the soul's blindness, and the pri- 
vation of the image of God on the understanding. " Wis- 
dom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness." 
(Eccles. ii. 13.) To desire, as Adam did, any of that know- 
ledge that God hath reserved to himself, or is unnecessary 
for us, is not indeed to be wise in our desires : unnecessary 
knowledge is but a trouble. But to know the Lord, and his 
revealed will, and the way of life, is the light and glory of 
our minds. He that hath lost his eyesight,, hath lost his 
principal natural delight, and is as one out of the world 
while he is in it. And the ignorant souls that are void of 
the heavenly illumination, must needs be void of the de- 
lights of grace ; and though they live in the visible church, 
where the beauty of holiness is the excellency of the saints, 
yet they do not see this beauty ; but are like the infidels 
that are out of the church, while they are in it. The blind 
are in continual danger ; they know not where they set their 
feet ; and they know not when to be confident, nor when to 
fear : sometimes they are afraid where there is no cause, 
because there may be cause for ought they know ; and 


sometimes they are fearless at the very brink of death, and 
little think of the evil that they are near. Why do our poor 
deluded people so boldly live in an unconverted state, but 
because they know not where they are? Why do they so 
carelessly lie down and rise in an unsanctified condition, 
unpardoned, unready for death and judgment, and under the 
condemnation of the law, but because they know not the 
misery or danger in which they stand ? Why do they go on 
so carelessly and wilfully in sin, and despise the counsel of 
their teachers, and of the Lord, and take a holy life as need- 
less, but because they know not what they do? Men could 
not go so quietly or merrily to hell, with their eyes open, as 
they do when they are shut by ignorance. Whence is it, 
that such multitudes are still ungodly, under all the teach- 
ings and warnings of the Lord ; but because " they have 
their understandings darkened, being alienated from the 
life of God, by the ignorance that is in them, because of 
the blindness of their heart ; and therefore many being past 
feeling, have given them over to lasciviousness, to work all 
uncleanness with greediness." (Ephes. iv. 18, 19.) Sin is the 
fruit of folly, and the greatest folly : they are " fools that make 
a jest of it." (Prov. xiv. 9.) And it is for " want of wisdom 
that they die." (Prov. x. 21 ; i.32.) The ignorant are prisoners 
to the prince of darkness. (Ephes. vi. 12; v. 8.) " Know- 
ledge is despised by none but fools." (Prov. i. 7. 22.) The 
conquest of so many subtle enemies, the performance of so 
many spiritual duties, which we must go through, if we will 
be saved, are works too hard for fools to do. The saving of 
a man's soul, is a work that requireth the greatest wisdom, 
and therefore the illumination of the mind is God*s first 
work in the conversion of a sinner. (Acts xxvi. 18 ; Ephes. 
i. 18.) If Infinite Wisdom communicate to you but the 
smallest beam of heavenly light, it will change your minds, 
and make you other men than before, and set you on an- 
other course ; wisdom will be your guide, and keep you in 
safe paths; it will cause you to refuse the evil, and to choose 
the good : it will shew you true happiness, and the way to 
obtain it; it will cause you to foresee the evil, and escape it, 
when fools go on and are destroyed. (Prov. xxii. 3.) Wisdom 
will teach you to know the season, and redeem your time, 
and walk exactly, when folly will leave you to too late re- 
pentance. (Ephes. v. 15.) There is not a soul in hell but was 



brought thither by sinful folly ; nor is there a soul in heaven 
(of them at age) but by heavenly wisdom was conducted 
thither. In worldly matters the wicked may seem wisest ; 
and many a saint may be very ignorant ; but when you see 
the end, you will confess that those were the wise men that 
had wisdom to repel temptations, and to refuse the enticing 
baits of sin, and to make sure of everlasting joys. 

O therefore apply your hearts to wisdom ! Go to Christ 
for it, who is " the wisdom of God ;" (1 Cor. i. 24 ;) and is 
appointed by him to be "our wisdom." (1 Cor. i. 30.) He will 
teach it you, who is the best Master in the world, so you 
will but keep in his school, that is, his church, and will 
humbly learn as little children, and apply yourselves sub- 
missively to his Spirit, word and ministers. " Ask wisdom of 
God, that giveth liberally and upbraideth not" with former 
ignorance. (James i. 5.) Think not any pains in holy means 
too much to get it. ** If thou wilt receive the words of 
God, and hide his commandments with thee, and incline thy 
heart to wisdom, and apply it to understanding ; yea if thou 
criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for under- 
standing; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for 
her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear 
of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God ; for the Lord 
giveth wisdom ; out of his mouth is knowledge and under- 
standing." (Prov. ii. 1 — 5.) And fear not being a loser by 
thy cost or labour. For " Happy is the man that findeth 
wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding ; for the 
merchandise of it is better than silver, and the gain thereof 
than of fine gold : she is more precious than rubies, and all 
the things thou canst desire, are not to be compared to her ; 
her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are 
peace." (Prov. iii. 13—18.) 

2. The Infinite Wisdom of God, must resolve you to take 
him for your principal Teacher, Counsellor and Director, in 
all your undertakings. Who would go seek the advice of a 
fool, when he may have Infallible Wisdom to direct him ! 
In a work of so great difficulty and concernment, a work 
that hell, and earth, and flesh, opposeth ; a work that 
our everlasting state dependeth on ; I think it behoveth 
us to take the best advice that we can get. And who 
knoweth the will of God, like God ! or who knoweth the 



certain means of salvation, like him that is the Author 
and Giver of Salvation! Would you know whether it 
be best to live a mortified holy life ; who shall be your 
counsellor ? If you advise with the flesh, you know that it 
would be pleased. If you advise with the world of wicked 
men, you know that they would be imitated, and judge as 
they are ; and are not like to be wise for you, that are so 
foolish for themselves, as to part with heaven for a merry 
dream. If you advise with the devil, you know he would be 
obeyed, and have company in his misery. You can advise 
with none but God, but such as are your enemies : And will 
you ask an enemy, a deadly enemy, what course you should 
take to make you happy? Will you ask the devil how you 
may be saved? Or, will you ask the blind, ungodly world, 
what course you should take to please the Lord ? Or, will 
you ask the flesh, by what means you may subdue it and 
become spiritual ? If you take advice of Scripture, of the 
Spirit, of a holy, well-informed minister or Christian, or of 
a renewed well-informed conscience, I take this for your 
advising with the Lord ; but besides these that are his 
mouth, you can ask advice of none but enemies. But if 
they were never so much your friends, and wanted wisdom, 
they could but ignorantly seduce you. And do you think 
that any of them all, is as wise as God ? It is the constant 
course of a worldly man to advise with the world, and of 
carnal men to advise with the flesh ; and therefore it is that 
they are hurried to perdition. The flesh is brutish, and will 
lead you to a brutish life ; and " if you live after it," un- 
doubtedly " you shall die j'^I^*^"^' viii* 13 ;) and " if you sow to 
it, you shall but reap corruption." (Gal. vi. 6, 7.) If you are 
tempted to lust, will you ask the flesh that tempteth you, 
whether you should yield ? If the cup of excess be offered 
to you, or flesh-pleasing feasts prepared for you, will you 
ask the flesh whether you should take them or refuse them? 
You may easily know what counsel it will give you. The 
counsel of God, and of your flesh, are contrary ; and there- 
fore the lives of the carnal and spiritual man are contrary. 
And will you venture on the advice of a brutish appetite, 
and refuse the counsel of the all-knowing God ! Such as 
is your guide and counsellor such will be your end. Never 
man miscarried by obeying God ; and never man sped well 


by obeying the flesh ; God leadeth no man to perdition, and 
the flesh leadeth no man to his salvation. God's motions 
are all for our eternal good, though they seem to be for our 
temporal hurt : The motions of the flesh are for our 
eternal hurt, though at present they seem to be for our 
corporal benefit. If at any time you be at a loss ; and your 
carnal friends, or your commodity, or pleasure adviseth you 
one way, and the word of God, and his faithful ministers 
advise you another way ; use but your reason well, and con- 
sider whether God or those that contradict him be the wiser, 
and accordingly suit your practice. Alas, man, thy friend 
is itrnorant, and knows not what is good for himself. Thy 
flesh is ignorant, and knows not what is good for thy soul ! 
But God knoweth all things. Your flesh and friends do feel 
what pleaseth them at present, and judge accordingly : but 
what will be hereafter they understand not, or consider not: 
But God knoweth as well what will be, as what is : he 
counselleth you as one that knoweth how your actions will 
appear at last, and what it is that will save you or undo you, 
to all eternity. If you be but sick, it is two to one but 
the counsel of your physician and of your appetite will differ. 
And if you obey your physician before your appetite, for 
your health or life, should you not obey God before it, for 
your salvation? Do you think in your consciences that 
any that persuade you to a careless, worldly, fleshly life, are 
as wise as God that persuadeth you to the contrary ? You 
dare not say so with your tongues ! and yet the most dare 
say so with their lives. O how justly do the ungodly perish, 
that deliberately choose a brutish appetite, a malignant 
world, and a malicious devil, as a wiser or fitter conductor 
than the Lord ! But " blessed is the man that walketh not in 
the counsel of the ungodly, but his delight is in the law of 
the Lord ;" (Psal. i. 1,2;) and woe to the ungodly, that re- 
ject and set at nought the counsel of the Lord, (Prov. i. 25. 
130 ; Luke vii. 30,) and will have none of it ; that wait not 
for his counsel; (Psal.cvi. 13;) that " rebel against the words 
of God, and contemn the counsel of the Most High." (Psal. 
cvii. 11.) And woe to them "that take counsel against the 
Lord and his Christ, that they may break asunder his bonds, 
and cast away his obligations." (Psal. ii. 1 — 3.) And woe to 
them that are given up to the lusts of their own lie'irts, and 
to walk in their own counsels. (Psal. Ixxxi. 12.) For by their 


own counsels shall they fall. (Psal. v. 10.) But had they 
hearkened to the Lord, and walked in his way, with the ful- 
ness of his blessing would he have satisfied them. (Psal. 
Ixxxi. 13. 16.) Resolve therefore, whatever the flesh or the 
world say, that the testimonies of God shall be your coun- 
sellors ; (Psal. cxix. 24;) and bless the Lord that giveth thee 
counsel; (Psal. xvi. 7;) for his counsel is infallible; having 
guided thee by his counsel, he will bring thee to his glory. 
(Psal. lxxiii.24.) 

3. The Infinite Wisdom of God, must resolve the soul to 
rest in his determinations. We are most certain that God 
is not deceived. Though all men seem liars to you, let 
God be true: for it is impossible for him to lie. (Heb. vi. 18.) 
If our reason be to seek, so is not God. When we are say- 
ing with Nicodemus, ** How can these things be?" God 
knows how : and it is enough for us to know that they are 
so. If Infinite Wisdom say the word, believe it, though all 
the world contradict it. Though proud unbelievers say, 
that the words of God are improbable, let them know that 
God is not at a loss when men's dark understandings are at 
a loss. The sun is not taken out of the firmament, when- 
ever a man closeth or loseth his eyes. What! will those 
cavillers puzzle the Almighty ! will they pose Omniscience ? 
Doth it follow that the course of the planets, and the hea- 
vens, and all the creatures are out of order, if these silly 
moles understand not the order of them ? No more will it 
follow that any word of God is false, or any rule of God is 
crooked, because they see not its truth and rectitude. Shall 
dust and ashes judge the Lord? "Who hath been his coun- 
sellor," and with whom hath he advised for the making, re- 
deeming, or governing of the world ? There is no rest to 
an inquisitive soul, but in the infinite wisdom of the Lord. 
Find once that it is his word, and inquire no further. It is 
madness to demand a further proof. As all goodness is 
comprised in his will and love ; so all truth is comprised in 
his wisdom and revelations. There are no arguments but 
what are lower and subordinate to this. And therefore if 
thy reason be at a loss, as to the cause or manner, yet hast 
thou the greatest reason to believe that all is just and true 
that proceedeth from the wisdom of the Lord. If flesh and 
blood, and all the world gainsay it, yet rest in the word of 


4. And that is the next effect that God's Omniscience 
should have upon our minds. Take all the sayings of men 
as folly, that are against the Lord. Let them be high or 
low, learned or unlearned, if they contradict the God of 
infinite wisdom, take it but as the words of a distracted 
man. Did you ever meet with any man of them, that durst 
say he was wiser than God himself? Herod, that was eaten 
to death by vermin, was applauded by the flattering crowd, 
but with this acclamation, ** It is the voice of a god, and 
not of a man.'' (Acts xii. 22.) And will you say of any 
man that he is wiser than God ? If you dare not say so, 
how dare you hear them and believe them against the word 
of God ', how dare you be drawn from a holy life, or from a 
self-denying duty, or from the truth of God, by the words 
of a man, yea, perhaps, of a very sot, that speaks against 
the word of God ! " To the law, and to the testimony ; if 
they speak not according to these, it is because there is no 
light in them." (Isa. viii. 20.) 

5. The Infinite Wisdom of God, should establish our 
confidence concerning the fulfilling of all his word. He will 
not fail for want of knowledge : When he spoke that pro- 
phecy, that promise, or that threatening, he perfectly knew 
all things that would come to pass, to all eternity. He 
knew therefore what he said when he gave out his word, 
and therefore will fulfil it. Heaven and earth may pass 
away, but one iota or tittle of his word shall not pass away 
till all be accomplished. (Matt. v. 18.) 

6. And from the Infinite Wisdom of God, the church 
must be encouraged in its greatest straits, and against all 
the cunning and subtlety of their enemies. Are we ever in 
such straits that God knows not how to bring us out? 
When we see no way for our deliverance, doth it follow that 
he sees none? If cunning serpents are too subtle for us, 

B do we think that they can overwit the Lord? What had 
become of us long ago, if God had not known whatever is 
plotted at Rome, or Spain, or hell, against us ; if lie know- 
eth not of all the consultations of the conclave, and of all 
the contrivances of Jesuits and Friars; and of all the jug- 
glings of the masked emissaries ; if God had not known of 
Faux and his powder mine, it might have blown up all our 
hopes. But while we know that God is in their councils, 
and heareth every word they say, and knoweth every secret 


of their hearts, and every mischief which they enterprise, 
let us do our duty, and rest in the wisdom of our great 
Protector, who will prove all his adversaries to have played 
the fool. For as sure as his omnipotency shall be glorified 
by overtopping all opposing powers, so sure shall his infinite 
wisdom be glorified, by conquering and befooling the wis- 
dom that is against him. 

7. Lastly, if God be infinite in knowledge, it must resolve 
us all to live accordingly. O remember whatever thou 
thinkest, that God is acquainted with all thy thoughts. 
And wilt thou feed on lustful, or covetous, or ma- 
licious, or unbelieving thoughts, in the eye of God? 
Remember in thy prayers and every duty, that he knows 
the very frame of all thy affections, and the manner as well 
as the matter of thy services. And wilt thou be cold and 
careless in the sight of God? O remember in thy most 
secret sins, and thy works of darkness, that nothing is un- 
known to God ; and that before him thou art in the open 
light : and fearest thou not the face of the Almighty ? Wilt 
thou do that when he knoweth it, that thou wouldst not do 
if man did know ? He knows whether thou deceive thy 
neighbour, or deal uprightly ! Defraud not therefore, for 
the Lord is the avenger. (1 Thess. iv. 6.) Do nothing that 
thou wouldst not have God to know; for certainly he 
knoweth all things. Shall he not see, that made and illu- 
minateth the eye ; and shall he not hear that made both 
tongue and ears ; and shall he not know that giveth us un- 
derstanding, and by whom we know? (Psal. xciv. 8 — 10.) 

And let this be thy comfort in thy secret duties. He 
that knoweth thy heart, will not overlook the desires of thy 
heart, though thou hadst not words as thou desirest to ex- 
press them. And he that knoweth thy uprightness, will 
justify thee, if all the world condemn thee. He that seeth 
thee in thy secret alms, or prayers, or tears, will openly 
reward thee. (Matt. vi. 4. 6.) Let this also comfort thee 
under all the slanders of malicious or misinformed men: 
He that must be thy judge and theirs, is acquainted with the 
truth ; who will certainly " bring forth thy righteousness as 
the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day." (Psal. xxxvii. 
C.) O how many souls are justified with the Omniscient 
God, that are condemned by the malignant world. And 
how many blots will be wiped off before the world at the 



day of judgment, that here did lie upon the names of faith- 
ful, upright men ! O how many hypocrites shall be then dis- 
closed ! And what a cutting thought should it be to the dis- 
sembler, that his secret falsehood is known to God ; and 
when he hath the reputation that he sought with men, " he 
hath his reward !" (Matt. vi. 2.) For it is a sadder reward 
that God will give him. 


8. The next of God's attributes that must make its impress 
on the soul, is his Infinite Goodness. The denomination of 
goodness (as all other his attributes) is fetched from, and 
suited to the capacity or affections of the soul of man. 
That which is truly amiable is called good. Not as if there 
were no goodness but what is a means to man's felicity, as 
some most sottishly have affirmed ; for our end and felicity 
itself, and God as he is perfect and excellent in himself, is 
more amiable than all means. 

In three respects therefore it is that God is called good 
or amiable to man. 1. In that he is infinitely excellent and 
perfect in himself. For the love of friendship is a higher 
love than that of desire ; and the most perfect sort of love 
is that which wholly carrieth the lover from himself to the 
perfect object of his love. The soul delighteth to contem- 
plate excellency, when the excellency itself and not the 
delight, is the ultimate end of that desire and contemplation. 

2. God is called good, as he is the pattern and fountain 
of all moral good ; as he maketh us righteous, holy laws, 
commanding moral good, and forbidding and condemning 
evil. And thus his goodness is his holiness and righteous- 
ness, his faithfulness and truth. 

3. God is called good, as he is the fountain of all the 
creature's happiness, and as he is bountiful and gracious, 
and ready to do good, and as he is the felicitating end and 
object of the soul. 

And this Infinite Goodness must have these effects upon 
us. 1. It must possess us with a superlative love to God. 
This blessed attribute it is that makes us saints indeed, and 
maketh that impression on us, which is as the heart of the 
new creature. It is goodness that produceth love. And 
love is that grace that closeth with God as our happiness and 
end, and is the felicitating enjoying grace. Without it we 


are but " as sounding brass, or tinkling cymbals," whatever 
our gifts and parts may be. (1 Cor. xiii.) Love is the very 
excellency of the soul, as it closeth with the infinite excel- 
lency of God. It is the very felicity of the soul, as it^ en- 
joyeth him that is our felicity. Most certainly the prevail- 
ing love of God, is the surest evidence of true sanctification. 
He that hath most love hath most grace, and is the best and 
strongest Christian; and he that hath least love, is the worst 
or weakest. Knowledge and faith are but to work our 
hearts to love ; and when love is perfect, they have done 
their work. (1 Cor. xii. 31 ; xiii. 8 — 10. 13.) Teaching and 
distant revelations will not be for ever ; and therefore such 
knowledge and faith as we have now, will not be for ever. 
But God will be for ever amiable to us, and therefore love 
will endure for ever. The goodness of God is called love, 
and as God is love, so " he that dwelleth in love doth dwell 
in God, and God in him." (1 John iv. 16.) The knowledge 
of divine goodness makes us good, because it maketh us 
love him that is good. It is love that acteth most purely 
for God. Fear is selfish, and hath somewhat of aversation. 
Though there be no evil in God for us to fear, yet is there 
such good in him that will bring the evil of punishment 
upon the evil; and this they fear. But love doth resign the 
soul to God, and that in the most congruous, acceptable 
manner. Make it therefore your daily work to possess your 
souls with the love of God. Love him once, and all that 
he saith and doth will be more acceptable to you ; and all that 
you say or do in love will be more acceptable unto him. Love 
him and you will be loath to offend him ; you will be de- 
sirous to please him ; you will be satisfied in his love. 
Love him and you may be sure that he loveth you. " Love is 
the fulfilling of his law." (Rom. xiii. 10.) And that you may 
love him, this must be your work, to believe and contem- 
plate his goodness. Consider daily of the infinite goodness 
or amiableness of his nature, and of his excellency appear- 
ing in his works, and of the perfect holiness of his laws. 
But especially see him in the face of Christ, and behold his 
love in the design of our redemption, in the person of the 
Redeemer, and in the promises of grace, and in all the bene- 
fits of redemption. Yea look by faith to heaven itself, and 
think how you must for ever live in the perfect, blessed love 
of infinite enjoyed Goodness. As it is the knowledge and 


sight of gold, or beauty, or any other earthly vanity, that 
kindleth the love of them in the minds of men ; so is it the 
knowledge and serious contemplation of the goodness of 
God that must make us love him, if ever we will love him. 

The Goodness of God must also encourage the soul to 
trust him. For Infinite Good will not deceive us. Nor can 
we fear any hurt from him, but what we wilfully bring upon 
ourselves. If I knew but which were the best and most 
loving man in the world, I could trust him above all men ; 
and I should not fear any injury from him. How many 
friends have I that I dare trust with my estate and life, be- 
cause I know that they have love and goodness in their low 
degree ! And shall I not trust the blessed God, that is love 
itself, and infinitely good? whatever he will be in justice to 
the ungodly, I am sure he " delighteth not in the death of 
sinners, but rather that they turn and live ;" and that he will 
not cast off the soul that loveth him, and would fain be fully 
conformed to his will. It cannot be that he should spurn 
at them that are humbled at his feet, and long, and pray, and 
seek, and mourn after nothing more than his grace and love ! 
Think not of God as if he had less of love and goodness, 
than the creature has : If you have high and confident 
thoughts of the goodness and fidelity of any man on earth, 
and dare quietly trust him with your life and all ; see that 
you have much higher thoughts of God, and trust him with 
greater confidence, lest you set him below the silly creature 
in the attributes of his goodness, which his glory and your 
happiness require you to know. 

3. The Infinite Goodness of God, must call off our hearts 
from the inordinate love of all created good whatever. Who 
would stoop so low as earth, that may converse with God ? 
And who would feed on such poor delights, that hath tasted 
the graciousness of the Lord? Nothing more sure than 
that the love of God doth not reign in that soul, where the 
love of the world, or of fleshly lust, or pleasure reigneth. 
(1 John ii. 15.) Had worldlings, or sensual, or ambitious 
men, but truly known the goodness of the Lord, they could 
never have so fallen in love with those deceitful vanities. If 
we could but open their eyes to see the loveliness of their 
Redeemer, they would soon be weaned from other loves. 
Would you conquer the love of riches, or honour, or any 
thing else that corrupteth your affections; O try this sure 


and powerful way ! Draw nigh to God, and take the fullest 
view thou canst, in thy most serious meditation of his infi- 
nite goodness, and all things else will be vile in thy esteem, . 
and thy heart will soon contemn them and forget them, and 
thou wilt never dote upon them more. 

4. The Infinite Goodness of God, should increase repen- 
tance, and win the soul to a more resolute, cheerful service 
of the Lord. O what a heart is that which can offend, and 
wilfully offend, so good a God ! This is the odiousness of 
sin, that it is an abuse of an Infinite Good. This is the 
most heinous, damning aggravation of it, that Infinite Good- 
ness could not prevail with wretched souls against the 
empty, flattering world ! but that they suffered a dream and 
shadow, to weigh down Infinite Goodness in their esteem. 
And is it possible for worse than this to be found in man ? 
He that had rather the sun were out of the firmament, than 
a hair were taken off his head, were unworthy to see the light 
of the sun. And surely he that will turn away from God 
himself, to enjoy the pleasures of his flesh, is unworthy to 
enjoy the Lord. It is bad enough that Augustine in one of 
his Epistles saith of sottish worldly men, that ' they had 
rather there were two stars fewer in the firmament, than one 
cow fewer in their pastures, or one tree fewer in their woods 
or grounds ;' but it is ten thousand times a greater evil that 
every wicked man is guilty of, that will rather forsake the 
living God, and lose his part in Infinite Goodness, than he 
will let go his filthy and unprofitable sins. O sinners, as 
you love your souls, *' despise not the riches of the goodness, 
and forbearance, and longsufiering of the Lord ; but know 
that his goodness should lead you to repentance." (Rom. 
li. 4.) Would you spit at the sun ? Would you revile the 
stars ? Would you curse the holy angels ? If not, O do not 
ten thousandfold worse, by your wilful sinning against the 
Infinite Goodness itself. 

But for you Christians, that have seen the amiableness of 
the Lord, and tasted of his perfect goodness, let this be 
enough to melt your hearts, that ever you have wilfully 
sinned against him : O what a good did you contemn in the 
days of your unregeneracy, and in the hour of your sin ! 
Be not so ungrateful and disingenuous as to do so again. 
Remember whenever a temptation comes, that it would en- 
tice you from the Infinite Good. Ask the tempter, man or 


devil, whether he hath more than an Infinite Good to ofter 
you ; and whether he can outbid the Lord for your affec- 
tion ? 

And now for the time that is before you, how cheerfully 
should you address yourselves unto his service ! and how 
delightfully should you follow it on from day to day ! What 
manner of persons should the servants of this God be, that 
are called to nothing but what is good ! How good a Master! 
how good a work ! and how good company, encouragements 
and helps ! and how good an end ! All is good, because it 
is the Infinite Good, that we serve and seek. And shall we 
be loitering, unprofitable servants ! 

5. Moreover, this Infinite Goodness should be the mat- 
ter of our daily praises. He that cannot cheerfully magnify 
this attribute of God, so suitable to the nature of the will, 
is surely a stranger to the praises of the Lord. The good- 
ness of God should be a daily feast to a gracious soul, and 
should continually feed our cheerful praises, as the spring 
or cistern fills the pipes. I know no sweeter work on earth, 
nay, I am sure there is no sweeter, than for faithful sanctified 
souls, rejoicingly to magnify the goodness of the Lord, and 
join together in his cheerful praises. O Christians, if you 
would taste the joys of saints, and live like the redeemed of 
the Lord indeed, be much in the exercise of this heavenly 
work, and with holy David, make it your employment, and 
say " O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up 
for them that fear thee !" (Psal. xxxi. 19.) " The earth is 
full of the goodness of the Lord !" (Psal. xxxiii. 5.) What 
then are the heavens? " Thy congregation hath dwelt 
therein : thou O Lord hast prepared thy goodness for the 
poor." " O that men would praise the Lord for his good- 
ness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men ! 
for he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul 
with goodness." (Psal. cvii. 8, 9.) " The goodness of God 
endureth continually." (Psal. lii. 1.) '* Truly God is good 
to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart." (Psal. Ixxiii. 
1.) " O taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the 
man that trusteth in him." (PsaL xxxiv. 8.) " the Lord is 
good, his mercy is everlasting, his truth endureth from gene- 
ration to generation." (Psal. c. 5.) " The Lord is good to 
all, and his tender mercies are over all his works." (Psal. 
cxlv. 9.) " O praise the Lord, for the Lord is good ; sing 


praises to his name, for it is pleasant." (Psal. cxxxv. 3.) 
Call him as David, " My Goodness, and my Fortress, my 
High Tower, and my Deliverer, and my Shield, and he in 
whom I trust." (Psal. cxliv. 2.) " Let men therefore speak 
of the glorious honour of his Majesty and of his wondrous 
works : let them abundantly utter the memory of his great 
goodness, and sing of his righteousness."(Psal. cxlv. 5. 7.) If 
there be a thought that is truly sweet to the soul, it is the 
thought of the Infinite Goodness of the Lord. If there be a 
pleasant word for man to speak, it is the mention of the 
Infinite Goodness of the Lord. And if there be a pleasant 
hour for man on earth to spend, and a delightful work for 
man to do, it is to meditate on, and with the saints to praise 
the Infinite Goodness of the Lord. What was the glory that 
God shewed unto Moses, and the taste of heaven that he 
gave him upon earth, but this, " I will make all my good- 
ness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the 
Lord before thee ; and I will be gracious to whom I will be 
gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy?" 
(Exod. xxxiii. 19.) And his proclaimed name was, " The 
Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsufFering, 
and abundant in goodness and truth." (Exod. xxxiv. 6.) 
These were the holy praises that Solomon did consecrate the 
temple with, ** Arise, O Lord God, into thy resting place, 
thou and the ark of thy strength : let thy priests, O Lord 
God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in 
Goodness." (2 Chron. vi. 41 ; see Isa. Ixiii.) O Christians, 
if you would have joy indeed, let this be your employment ! 
Draw near to God, and have no low undervaluing thoughts 
of his Infinite Goodness ; for, " How great is his goodness 
and how great is his beauty?" (Zech. ix. 17.) Why is it 
that Divine consolations are so strange to us, but because 
Divine Goodness is so lightly thought upon ! As those that 
think little of God at all, have little of God upon their 
hearts; so they that think but little of his goodness in par- 
ticular, have little love, or joy, or praise." 

6. Moreover, the Goodness of God, must possess us with 
desire to be conformed to iiis goodness in our measure. The 
holy perfection of his will, must make us desire to have our 
wills conformed to the will of God ; we are not called to 
imitate him in his works of power, nor so much in the pathg 
of his omniscience, as we are in his goodness, which, as 


manifested in his work and word, is the pattern and stan- 
dard of moral goodness in the sons of men. The impress 
of his goodness within us, is the chief part of his image on 
us ; and the fruits of it in our lives is their holiness and 
virtue. As he " is good and doth good;" (Psal. cxix. 68;) 
so it must be our greatest care to be as good, and do as 
much good as possibly we can. Any thing within us that is 
sinful and contrary to the goodness of God, should be to 
our souls as griping poison to our bodies, which nature is 
excited to strive against with all its strength, and can have 
no safety or rest till it be cast out. And for doing good, it 
must be the very study and trade of our lives. As world- 
lings study and labour for the world, and the pleasing of 
their flesh ; so must the Christian study and labour to im- 
prove his Master's talents to his use, and to do as much 
good as he is able, and to please the Lord. '* The desire of 
the righteous (as such) is only good." (Prov. xi. 23.) " To 
depart from evil and do good," is the careof the just. (Psal. 
xxxiv. 14.) We must " please our neighbours for good to 
their edification." (Rom. xv. 2.) " While we have time we 
must do good to all men (as we are able) but especially to 
them of the household of faith." (Gal. vi. 10.) Not only to 
them that " do good to us," but to " our enemies." (Luke vi. 
33—34 ; Matt. v. 44.) This is it we must " not forget ;" (Heb. 
xiii. 16 ;) and which by ministers we must be "put in mind 
of;" (1 Tim. vi. 18 ;) which all that "love life and would in- 
herit the blessing" must devote themselves to. (1 Peter iii. 
10 — 12.) In this we must be " like our heavenly Father," and 
approve ourselves his children. (Matt. v. 45, 46.) 

7. From the perfect Infinite Goodness of God, we must 
learn to judge of good and evil, in all the creatures. To this 
must all be reduced as the standard, and by this must they 
be tried. It is a most wretched absurdity of sensual men, 
to try the will, or word, or ways of God, by themselves, and 
by their own interests or wills ; and to judge all to be evil 
in God that is against them. And yet, alas, how common 
is this case ! Every man is naturally loath to be miserable : 
suffering he abhors : and therefore that which causeth his 
suffering he calleth evil. And so when he hath deserved it 
himself by his sin, he thinks that the law is evil for threaten- 
ing it, and that God himself is evil for inflicting it, so that 
Infinite Goodness must be tried and judged by the vicious 


creature, and tlie rule and standard must be reduced to the 
crooked line of human actions or dispositions i and if God 
will please the worldling, the sensualist, the proud, the neg- 
ligent, who should please him, then he shall be good, and he 
shall be God ; if not, say these judges, he shall be evil, and 
unmerciful, and no God. They will not believe that he is 
good that punisheth them. And thus if the thief or mur- 
derer had the choice of kings and judges, you may know 
what persons he would choose ; no one should be a judge, 
or accounted a good man, that would condemn and hang 

But I beseech you consider, what is fit to be the rule 
and standard, if not perfection of Goodness itself. Do you 
think that the will of ignorant, fleshly, sinful man, is fitter 
to be the rule of goodness, than the will of God ? We are 
sure that God is not deceived, and sure that there is no 
iniquity with him ; but we know that all men are liable to 
deceit, and have private interests, and corrupted minds, and 
wills that have some vicious inclinations. O what blas- 
phemy is in the heart of that man, that will sooner condemn 
the holy will and law of God, than his own will, or the wills 
of any men, be they never so seemingly wise or great! The 
will of God is revealed in his laws, concerning the necessity 
of a holy life ; and the will of foolish wicked men is by their 
scornful speeches and sinful lives revealed to be against it. 
And which of these do you follow ; which is it that pre- 
scribeth you the better course ; the will of God that is in- 
finitely good, or the will of man that is miserably evil ? If 
thou know any better than God, follow him before God. 
But if none be greater and more powerful than he, if none 
be wiser or of more knowledge, it is as sure that none is 
better. Much less are those ignorant wicked men, that 
despise the Scripture and a holy life, and would persuade 
you that they can tell you of a better way. Let me speak 
it to the terror of the ungodly soul, that by the deceits or 
scorns of any sort of men, is drawn away from Christ and 
holiness; it shall stand on record against thee until judg- 
ment, and it shall stick everlastingly as a dagger in thy 
heart, that thou didst prefer the reason and the will of man, 
yea perhaps of a sottish drunkard or a worldling, before the 
word or will of God. And though thy tongue durst not speak 
it, thy life did speak it, that thou thoughtest the word and 



will of man to be better than the word and will of God : 
Yea more, that thou tookest the way of the devil to be better 
than God's ways, who is infinitely good : for surely thou 
choosest that which thou takest to best for thee. And there- 
fore if that man deserve damnation that sets up a man, or a 
horse, or an image, and saith, * This is greater and wiser 
than God, and therefore this shall be my God,' then dost 
thou deserve the same damnation, that settest up the words 
and will of man, even of wicked men, and sayest by thy 
practice, ' These are better than God, and his word, or will, 
and therefore I will choose or follow them/ For God is full 
as jealous of the honour of his goodness, as of his power 
or wisdom. 

Well, Christians, let flesh and blood say what it will, and 
let the world say what they will, judge that best that is most 
agreeable to the will of God ; for good and evil must be 
measured by this will. That event is best which he deter- 
mineth of, and that action is best which he commandeth. 
And all is naught, and will prove so in the end, that is 
against this will of God, what policy or good soever may 
be pretended for it. 

8. And if the will of God be infinitely good, we must 
all labour both to understand it, and perform it. Many say, 
" Who will shew us any good V' (Psal. iv. 6.) Would you 
not know what is best, that you may choose and seek it ? 
As the inordinate desire of knowing natural good and evil 
did cause our misery, so the holy rectified desires of know- 
ing spiritual good, must recover us : Search the Scriptures 
then, and study and inquire ; for it more concerns you to 
know the will of God, than to know the will of your princes 
or benefactors, or know of any treasures of the world. The 
riches of grace are given to us, by God's making known the 
mystei-y of his will, according to his good pleasure which he 
purposed in himself. (Ephes. i. 7. 9.) And our desire to 
know the good will of God, must be that we may do it; 
for this must we pray, " That we may be filled with the 
knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual under- 
standing, that we may walk worthy of the Lord, unto all 
pleasing, being fruitful in every good work ;" (Col. i. 9, 10 ;) 
that we may " be made perfect in every good work to do his 
will, and have that wrought in us which is pleasing in his 
sight ;" (Heb. xiii. 21 ;) that we may not only know his will 


and approve the things that are excellent, (Rom, ii. 18,) but 
may prepare ourselves to do accordingj to his will, lest we 
be punished the more. (Luke xii. 47.) See that the will of no 
man be preferred before God's will ; seek not your own wills, 
nor set them up against the Lord's. If Christ, whose will 
was pure and holy, profess that he sought not his own will, 
but his Father's ; (John v. 30 ;) and that he came not to do his 
own will, but his that sent him ; (John vi. 38 ;) should it not 
be our resolution, whose wills are so misguided and corrupt? 

9. If God's will be infinitely good, we must rest in his 
will; when his ways are dark, or grievous to our flesh; when 
his word seems difficult ; when we know not what he is doing 
with us ; remember it is the Will that is infinitely good that 
is disposing of us. Only let us see that we stand not cross 
to the greater good of his church and honour ; and then we 
may be sure that he will not be against our good. We that 
can rest in the will of a dear and faithful friend, should 
much more rest in the will of God. Do your duty, and be 
"not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" 
for you to do, (Ephes. v. 17,) and then distract not your 
minds with distrustful fears about his will that is infinitely 
good, but say, " The will of the Lord be done/' (Acts xxi. 14.) 

10. The Infinite Goodness of God, should draw out our 
hearts to desire communion with him, and to long after the 
blessed fruition of him in the life to come. O how glad 
should we be to tread his courts ! to draw near him in his 
holy worship, to meditate on him, and secretly open our 
hearts before him, and to converse with those gracious souls 
that love to be speaking honourably of his name ! What 
will draw the heart of man, if goodness and Infinite Good- 
ness will not? When the drunkard saith, in the alehouse, 
* It is good to be here;' and the covetous man among his 
gains_,and the sensual man among his recreations and merry 
companions, * It is good to be here ;' the Christian that can 
get nigh to God, or have any prospect of his love in his 
ordinances, concludeth that of all places upon earth, " It is 
good to be here," and that " a day in his courts is better than 
a thousand." (Psal. Ixxxiv. 10.) But O, " to depart and be 
with Christ, is far better." (Phil. i. 23.) With Infinite Good- 
ness we shall find no evil, no emptiness, or defect ; when we 
perfectly enjoy the Perfect Good, what more can be added, 
but for ever to enjoy it! O, therefore think on this, Chris 



tians, when death is dreadful to you, and you would fain stay 
here, as being afraid to come before the Lord, or loath to 
leave the things which you here possess, shall Goodness 
itself be distrusted by you, or seem no more desirable to 
you? Are you afraid of Goodness; even of your Father; 
of your happiness itself? Are you better here than you 
shall be with God? Are your houses, or lands, or friends, 
or pleasures, or any thing better than Infinite Goodness? 
O meditate on this blessed attribute of God, till you distaste 
the world, till you are angry with your withdrawing murmur- 
ing flesh, till you are ashamed of your unwillingness to be 
with God, and till you can calmly look in the face of death, 
and contentedly hear the message that is posting towards 
you, that you must presently come away to God. Your 
natural birthday brought you into a better place than the 
womb ; and your gracious birthday brought you into a far 
better state than your former sinful miserable captivity ; 
and will not your glorious birthday put you into a better 
habitation than this world? O know, and choose, and seek, 
and live to the Infinite Good, and then it may be your great- 
est joy when you are called to him. 

chAp. X. 

9. Having spoken of these three great Attributes of God, I 
must needs speak of those three great Relations of God to 
man, and of those three works in which they are founded, 
which have flowed from these attributes. 

This one God in three persons, hath created man and all 
things, which before were not ; hath redeemed man when 
he was lost by sin ; and sanctifieth those that shall be saved 
by redemption. Though the external works of the Trinity 
are undivided, yet not indistinct, as to the order of working, 
and a special interest that each person hath in each of these 
works. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost did create the 
world; and they also did redeem us, and do sanctify us. 
But so as that creation is in a special sort ascribed to the 
Father, redemption to the Son, and sanctification to the 
Holy Spirit ; not only because of the order of operation, 
agreeable to the order of subsisting ; for then the Father 
would be as properly said to be incarnate, or to die for us, 
or mediate, as the Son to create us ; (which is not tp be 




said ;) for he created the world by his Word, or Son and 
Spirit ; (John i. 3 ; Psal. xxxiii. 6 ;) and he redeemed it by 
his Son ; and sanctifieth it by his Spirit. But Scripture 
assureth us that the Son alone was incarnate for us, and 
died and rose again, and not the Father, or the Spirit ; and 
so that the human nature is peculiarly united to the second 
person in glory ; and so that each person hath a peculiar 
interest in these several wprks, the reason of which is much 
above our reach. 

The first of these Relations of God to man, which we are 
to consider of, is, that he is our Creator : it is he that 
giveth being to us and all things ; and that giveth us all our 
faculties or powers. Under this, for brevity, we shall speak 
of him also as he is our Preserver ; because preservation is 
but a kind of continued creation, or a continuance of the 
beings which God hath caused. God then is the first effi- 
cient cause of all the creatures, from the greatest to the 
least ; (Gen. i ;) and easily did he make thera, for he spake 
but the word and they were created : They are the products 
of his power, wisdom and goodness. (Psal. xxxiii. 6; John 
i. 3.) " He commanded and they were created.'* (Psal. 
cxlviii. 5.) He still produceth all things that in the course 
of nature are brought forth. '* Thou sendest forth thy 
Spirit, they are created : thou renewest the face of the 
earth." (Psal. civ. 30.) And from hence these following 
impressions must be made upon the considering soul. 

1. If all things be from God as the Creator and Preser- 
ver, then we must be deeply possessed with this truth, that 
all things are for God as their ultimate end ; for he that is 
the beginning and first cause of all things, must needs be 
the end of all. His will produced them, and the pleasure 
of his will is the end for which he did produce them. " I 
have created him for my glory." (Isa. xliii. 7.) " The Lord 
hath made all things for himself, yea even the wicked for 
the day of evil." (Prov. xvi. 4.) I think the Chaldee para- 
phrase, the Syriac and Arabic give us the true meaning 
of this, who concordantly translate it,/ The wicked is kept 
for the day of evil,' as Job hath it, (xxi. 30,) ** The wicked 
is reserved to the day of destruction ; they shall be brought 
forth to the day of wrath ;" and 2 Peter ii. 9, " To reserve 
the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished." God 


made not the wicked as wicked, or to he wicked ; but he 
that ^ave them their being and continueth it, will not be a 
loser by his creation or ppeservation, but will have the glory 
of his justice by them in the day of wrath or evil, for which 
he keeps them, and till which he beareth with them, because 
they would not obediently give him the glory of his holiness 
and mercy. So it is said of Christ, Col. i. 16, 17, " For by 
him are all things created that are in heaven and that are in 

earth, visible and invisible all things were created by 

him and for him." If they are by him, they must needs be 
for him. So Rev. iv. 11, " Thou art worthy, O Lord, to 
receive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou hast created 
all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." 
This pleasure of God's will is the end of all things : and 
therefore it is certain that he will see that all things shall 
accomplish that end, and his will shall be pleased. Romans 
xi, 26, we have all in few words, " For of him, and through 
him, and to him are all things, and to whom be glory for ever, 
Amen." Of him, as the first efficient that giveth them 
their beings : and through him, as the preserver, dis- 
poser and conductor of them to their end : and to him^ as 
the ultimate end. 

If you say, ' But how is the pleasure of God's will at- 
tained from the wicked that break his laws, and displease 
his will?' 

I answer : Understand but how his will is crossed or ac- 
complished, pleased or displeased, and you will see, that 
his will is always done and pleased, even by them that dis- 
please him in violating his will. For God's will hath two 
sorts of objects or products, which must be still distin- 
guished : 1. He willeth what shall be due from us to him, 
and from him to us. 2. He willeth entities and events, or 
what shall actually be, or come to pass. Strictly both 
these acts of God's will, perform the things willed, and so 
are not without their proper effect. God, as the cause and 
disposer of all things, attaineth his will concerning events : 
all things shall come to pass which he absolutely willeth 
shall come to pass. He is not frustrated of his will herein, 
being neither unwise, nor impotent, nor unhappy. " What- 
soever pleased the Lord, that did he in heaven and in earth, 
in the sea, and in the depths." (Psal. cxxxv. 6.) " Our 
God is in heaven, he hath done whatsoever he pleased.*' 



(Psal. cxv. 3.) And as God, as our Governor, doth by his 
laws oblige man to his duty, his will hath its effect : A 
command doth but make the thing commanded to be our 
duty ; and our duty it is : and so this act of the will of God 
is not in vain. Thus far he hath his will. By his promises 
he maketh the reward to be due to all, on condition they 
perform the duty, on which he hath suspended it, and to be 
actually due to those only that perform the condition: and 
all this is accomplished. Heaven is conditionally given to 
all, and actually to the faithful only. So that what God 
willeth to be due as a Lawgiver, is accordingly due ; and 
what he actually willeth shall come to pass, shall come to 
pass according to his will. 

But perhaps you will say, * He doth not will that all 
men shall eventually obey his laws, but only that it shall be 
their duty.' 

I answer, Our speeches of God being borrowed from 
man, (who is one of the glasses in which he is here seen by 
us ; especially the manhood of Jesus Christ,) we must 
accordingly conceive and say (acknowledging still the im- 
proprieties and imperfections of our conceptions and ex- 
pressions), that as man doth simply and most properly will 
the event of some things, which he absolutely desireth 
should come to pass, and doth not simply will some other 
things, but only * in tantum ;' he so far willeth them, that he 
willeth and resolveth to do such and such things as have a 
tendency thereto, and to go no farther, and do no more for 
the attaining of them, though he could; so God doth 
simply and properly will some things, that is, the things 
which he decreeth shall come to pass : but we must after 
our manner conceive and say, that there are other things 
which he willeth but ' in tantum,' so far as to make it man's 
duty to perform it, and persuade him to the doing of that 
duty, and give him such a measure of help, as leaveth him 
without any just excuse, if he do it not; and so far he 
willeth the salvation of such, as to promise or offer it them 
on such terms : and no further doth he will the obedience 
or salvation which never comes to pass, but leaveth it here 
to the will of man. For if he simply willed that every duty 
should be eventually done, it would be done: and if he 
simply willed that all men should be actually saved, they 
would be saved. And that he simply willeth their duty or 


obligation, and * in tantum/ so far, doth will the event of 
their obedience and salvation, as this comes to, as aforesaid, 
is certain, and in this we are all agreed ; and I am not so 
well skilled in dividing, as to understand where the real 
difference lieth between the parties that here most contend ; 
But about the bare name I know they differ, some thinking 
that this last is not to be named an act of God's will, or a 
willing of man's obedience or salvation, and some thinking 
that it is so to be named : who doubtless are in the right ; 
nor is there room for controversies, while we confess the 
impropriety of this and all our speeches of God, as speak- 
ing after the manner of men ; and while Scripture, that 
must teach us how to speak of God, doth frequently so 
speak before us. 

2. God being the maker and first cause of all things, 
that is of all substantial beings, commonly called creatures, 
we must conclude that sin is no such being, because it is 
most certain that he is not the creator or cause of it. 
Scripture assureth us, and all Christians are agreed, that 
God is not the cause or author of sin. How odious then 
should that be to us, that is so bad as not to come from 
God ? If God disclaim it, let us disclaim it. Let us abhor 
that it should come from us, seeing God abhorreth that it 
should come from him. Own not that which hath nothing 
of God upon it. 

If you say, * That it is an accident though not a sub- 
stance, and therefore it must needs come from God ; be- 
cause even accidents have their being/ 

I answer. That among the most subtle disputers it is grant- 
ed, that It hath no created being, or no being that is caused 
by God ; of this they are agreed. It is granted by all 
Christians that sin hath no other kind of being, but what 
the will of man can cause. And if that be so, the philoso- 
►hical trifling controversy, whether it be only a privation, 
or a relation, or * modus entis,' which the will thus causeth, 
must be handled as philosophical, and valued but as it de- 
serveth: for this is all the controversy that here remains. 
If the form be relative, and the foundation be but a mere 
privation, (the disconformity being founded in a defect) 
then the case is soon resolved, as to the rest. He that 
erreth, understandcth amiss: that he understandeth, is of 
God : that he erreth, that is, is defective, and so false in his 


understanding, is of himself: That he willeth when he 
chooseth sin, is of God the universal cause : but that he 
willeth a forbidden object, rather than the contrary, and 
faileth in his understanding and his will, this is not of 
God, but of himself. If others say, that the very ' funda- 
mentum' of that disconformity which is the form of sin, is 
sometimes an act, they must also say that it is not an act as 
such, but this act comparatively considered, or as circum- 
stantiated, or as exercised on the forbidden object rather 
than another, or a volition instead of a nolition, and choos- 
ing that which should be refused, or a refusing that which 
should be chosen : and whether this comparative specifying 
foundation, be a privation, or a mode, is a philosophical 
controversy ; and in philosophy, and not in theology, is the 
difficulty ; divines being agreed as aforesaid, that whatever 
you name it, being, or privation, or mode, it is but such as 
must be resolved ultimately into the will of man as its 
original or first cause, supposing God to be the creator and 
conserver, of that free power that is able to choose or to re- 
fuse, and as an universal cause to concur with the agent to 
the act as such. But philosophers indeed are at a loss, and 
are fain to tell us of privations, modes, relations, denomina- 
tions, * entia rationis,' and I know not what, that they say 
are neither beings nor nothing, but between both they 
know not what ! The nature of things, in the utmost ex- 
tremities of the branches, being so capillar, and spun with 
so fine a thread, that the understanding is not subtle enough 
to discern them. And shall this disturb us in divinity, or 
be imputed to it ? 

If you say, ' That the will of God is the cause of all 
things, and therefore of sin.' 

I answer. If you call sin nothing, as a shadow, darkness, 
death, &c. are nothing (for all that we abhor them), then 
you answer yourselves. If you call it something, we are all 
agreed, that it is but such a something as man can cause 
without God's first causing it. It sufficeth that God do the 
part of a Creator in giving man the free power of choosing 
or refusing ; and the part of a Preserver, in maintaining 
that power, and as an universal cause concurring to all acts 
' in genere,' as the sun doth shine on the dunghill and the 
flowers : and that he also do the part of a just Governor in 
prohibiting, and dissuading, and threatening sinners. 



Object, ' But how can sin eventually be, if God decree 
it not, seeing all events are from his will?' 

I answer, 1. We are agreed that he causeth it not. 2. 
And that he doth not so much as will the event of sin as 
sin. 3. And that he willingly permitteth what is by him 
permitted. 4. And that sin is such a thing as may * evenire,' 
be brought forth by a bare permission, if there be no posi- 
tive decree for the event. As a negative in the effects, re- 
quireth not a positive cause, so neither a positive will for 
its production. There are millions of millions of worlds, 
and individual creatures, and species possible, that shall 
never be : and it is audaciousness to assert, that there must 
be millions of millions of positive decrees, that such worlds 
or creatures shall not be. 5. Nor is it any dishonour to 
God, if he have not a positive decree or will about every 
negation (as that all the men in the world shall not be called 
by a thousand possible names rather than their own, &c.). 

These things being all certain, I add, 1. Let them dis- 
pute that dare, that yet ' de facto' God doth positively will 
the events of all privations, or negations of acts. 2. But 
when men are once habitually wicked, and bent to evil, it is 
'just with him, if he permit them to follow their own lusts, 
and if he leave before them such mercies as he foreknoweth 
they will wilfully make occasions of their sin ; and if he 
resolve to make use of the sin which he knoweth they will 
commit, for his church's good, and for his glory. 

Object. * But doth not God will that sin eventually shall 
not be?' 

Answ. Even as I before said, he willeth that obedience 
eventually shall be. If sin come to pass, it is certain that 
God did not «imply will that it should not come to pass : 
for then he must be conquered and unhappy by every sin : 
But he willeth simply that it shall be the duty of man to 
avoid it; and it may be said to * nill' the event * in tantum,' 
so far as that he will forbid it, and threaten and dissuade 
the sinner, and give him the helps, that shall leave him in- 
excusable if he sin, and so leave it to his will. Thus far he 
may be said to will that sin eventually shall not be ; but not 

Though these things are not obvious to vulgar capaci- 
ties, yet they are such, as the subject in hand, viz. God's 
irst causation and creation, together with the weight of 


them, and the contentions of the world about them, have 
made needful. 

3. If God be the creator and cause of all, then we must 
remember that all his works are good : and therefore no- 
thing must be hated by us that he hath made, considered in 
its native goodness. God haieth sin, and so must we : for 
that he made it not. (Rev. ii. 6 ; Psal. xlv. 7 ; Isa. i. 14.) 
And he hateth all the workers of iniquity as such, (Psal. v. 
5,) and so must we; but we must love all of God that is in 
them, and love them for it. There is somewhat good and 
amiable in every creature ; yea, all of it, that is of God. 
Though toads and serpents are odious to us, because they 
are hurtful, and seem deformed in themselves, yet are they 
good in themselves, and not deformed as parts of the universe, 
but good unto the common end. The wants in the wheels of 
your watch are as useful to the motion as the nucks or 
solid parts. The night is part ol' the useful order of the 
creation, as well as the day. The vacant interspace in your 
writing, is needful as well as the words : every letter should 
not be a vowel, nor every character a capital ; every mem- 
ber should not be a heart, or head, or eye : nor should every 
one in a commonwealth be a king, or lord : So in the crea- 
tion the parts that seem base, are useful in their places, and 
good unto their ends. Let us not therefore vilify or detest 
the works of God, but study the excellencies of them, and 
see, and admire, and love them as they are of God. It is 
one of the hardest practical points before us, to know how 
to esteem of all the creatures, and to use them without 
running into one extreme. At the same time to love the 
world, and not to love it; to honour it, and despise it: to 
exalt it, and to tread it under our feet ; to mind it, and 
use it with delight, and yet to be weaned from it as those 
that mind it not. And yet a great part of our Christian 
duty lieth in the doing of this difficult work. As the world 
is the devil's bait, and the flesh's idol, set up against God, 
and would tice us from him, or hinder us in his service, and 
either be our carnal end and happiness, or a means thereto, 
so we must make it the care of our hearts to hate it, de- 
spise it, neglect it, and tread it under foot; and the labour 
of our lives to conquer it. But the same creatures must be 
admired, studied, loved, honoured, delighted in, and daily 
used, as they are the excellent work of the Almighty God, 


and reveal to us his attributes or will, being the glass in 
which we must see him while we are in the flesh ; and as 
they lead us to God, and strengthen, furnish or help us in 
his service. But to love them for God, and not for them- 
selves, O how hard is it ! To keep pure affections towards 
them, and a spiritual delight in themr, that shall not degene- 
rate into a carnal delight, is a task for the holiest saint on 
earth, to labour in with all his care and power, as long as he 
here liveth. Yet this must be done ; and the soul that hath 
obtained true self-denial, and is dead to the world, and de- 
voted and alive to God, is able in some good measure to 
perform it. To love the world for itself, and make the crea- 
ture our chief delight, and to live to it as to our end, and 
idol, this is the common damning course. To cast away 
our possessions, and put our talents into our fellow-servants* 
hands, and to withdraw ourselves as it were out of the 
world into solitude, as monks or hermits do, this is too like 
the hiding of our talents, and a dangerous course of unfaith- 
fulness and unprofitableness, unless in some extraordinary 
case ; and is at best the too easy way of weaklings, that 
will be soldiers only out of the army, or where there is but 
little danger of the enemy : But to keep our stations, and 
take honours, and riches, as our Master's talents, as a bur- 
den that we must honour him by bearing, and the instru- 
ments by which we must laboriously do him service ; and 
to see and love him in every creature, and study him in it, 
and sanctify it to his use ; and to see that our lust get no 
advantage by it, and feed not on it ; but that we tame our 
bodies, and have all that we have for God, and not for our 
flesh ; this is the hard, but the excellent, most acceptable 
course of living in this world. 

And it is not only other creatures, but ourselves also, 
that we must thus admire, and love, and use for God, while 
we abase ourselves, as to ourselves, and deny ourselves, 
and use not ourselves for ourselves, but as we stand in due 
subordination to him. Abase yourselves as sinful, and ab- 
hor that which is your own, and not the Lord's ; but vilify 
not your nature in itself, nor any thing in you that is the 
work of God. Pretend not humility for the dishonouring 
of your Maker. Reason and natural freedom of the will, 
are God's work, and not yours, and therefore must be ho- 
noured, and not scorned and reviled ; but the blindness and 


error of your reason, and the bad inclinations and actions of 
your free-wills, these are your own, and therefore vilify 
them, and hate them, and spare not. And when you lament 
the smallness of your graces, deny them not ; and slight not, 
but magnify the preciousness of that little that you have, 
while you mourn for the imperfection. And when men 
offend you, or prove your enemies, forget not to value and 
love that of God that yet is in them. All is good that is 
of God. 

4. If all things be of God, as the Creator and Conserver, 
we must hence remember on whom it is that ourselves and 
all things else depend. *' In him we live, and move, and 
have our being." (Acts xvii. 28.) ** lie upholdeth all things 
by the word of his power." (Heb. i. 3.) The earth standeth 
upon his will and word. The nations are in his hands, so 
are the lives of our friends and enemies, and so are our- 
selves. And therefore our eye must be upon him ; and our 
care must be to please him; and our trust and quietness 
must be in him ; and blessed is he that maketh sure of an 
interest in his special love. 

5. Hence also we must observe the vanity of all crea- 
ture-confidence, and our hearts must be withdrawn from 
resting in any means or instruments. They are nothing to 
us, and can do nothing for us, but what they have or do 
from him that made and preserveth us. 

6. And lastly. Hence also we may see the patience and 
goodness of the Lord, that as he refused not to make those 
men that he foreknew would live ungodlily, so he deuieth 
not to uphold their being, even while they sin against him. 
All the while that they are abusing his creatures, they are 
sustained by him, and have those creatures from him. 
From him the drunkard hath his drink, and the glutton his 
meat, and the voluptuous youth their abused health and 
strength ; and all men have from him the powers or facul- 
ties of the soul and body by which they sin. And shall 
any be so ungrateful as to say therefore that God doth cause 
their sin? It is true he can easily stop thy breath while 
thou art swearing, and lying, and speaking against the ser- 
vice of God that made thee : And wouldst thou have him 
do so ? He can easily take away the meat, and drink, and 
riches, and health, and life which thou abusest: And 
wouldst thou have him do it? He can easily keep thee 


from sinning any more on earth, by cutting off thy life, and 
sending thee to pay for what thou hast done : And art thou 
content with this ? Must he be taken to be a partaker in 
thy sin, because he doth not strike thee dead, or lame, or 
speechless, or disable thee from sinning ? Provoke him not 
by thy blasphemies, lest he clear himself in a way that thou 
desirest not. But O ! wonder at his patience, that holds 
thee in his hand, and keepeth thee from falling into the 
grave and hell, while thou art sinning against him ! While 
a curse or oath is in thy mouth, he could let thee fall into 
utter misery. How oft hast thou provoked him to take thee 
in thy lust, in thy rage, or in thy neglect of God, and give 
thee thy desert ! Would any of you support your enemy, as 
God doth you? 


10. As we must know God as our Creator, so also as our 
Redeemer ; of which I shall say but little now, because I 
have mentioned it more fully in the *' Directions for Sound 
Conversion." It is life eternal to know the Father, and Je- 
sus Christ whom he hath sent. (John xvii. 3.) The Father 
redeemeth us by the Son, whom he sent, and whose sacri- 
fice he accepted, and in whom he is well pleased. And this 
must have these effects upon our souls. 

1. We must be hence convinced, that we are not now in 
a state of innocency, nor to be saved as innocents, or on 
the terms of the law of our creation : But salvation is now 
by a Redeemer : and therefore consisteth in our recovery 
and restoration. The objects of it are only lapsed, sinful, 
miserable men. Name the creature if you can, since Adam, 
that stood before God here in the flesh, in a state of per- 
sonal perfect innocency, except the immaculate Lamb of 
God. If God, as a Creator, should now save any, without 
respect to a redemption, it must be on the terms of the law 
of creation : upon which it is certain that no man hath or 
shall be saved ; that is, upon perfect personal persevering 
obedience. You cannot exempt infants themselves from 
sin and misery, without exempting them from Christ the 
Redeemer, and the remedy : " There is none righteous (in 

himself without a Redeemer), no not one They are all 

gone out of the way That every mouth may be stopped, 

and all the world may become guilty before God ; (and if 


all the world be guilty, none are innocent ;) therefore by 
the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his 
sight. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of 
God; being justified freely by his grace, through the re- 
demption that is in Jesus Christ." (Rom. iii. 10. 19. 20. 22, 
23.) " All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned 
every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him 
the iniquity of us all." (Isa. liii. 6.) " Through the offence 
of one, many are dead ; and the judgment was by one to 
condemnation ; by the offence of one, death reigned by 
one ; by the offence of one, judgment came on all men to 
condemnation : By one man's disobedience many were made 
sinners." (Rom. v. 15 — 19.) ** We were shapen in iniquity, 
and in sin did our mothers conceive us." (Psal. li. 6.) 
" We were by nature the children of wrath, and dead in 
trespasses and sins." (Eph. ii. 1.3.) "In Adam all die.' 
(1 Cor. XV. 22.) " We thus judge, that if one died for all, 
then were all dead." (2 Cor. v. 14.) " Christ is the Saviour 
of the body : Christ loved the church, and gave himself for 
it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing 
of water, by the word, that he might present it to himself a 

glorious church ." (Eph. v. 23. 25—27.) If infants have 

no sin and misery, then they are none of the body, the 
church, which Christ loved and gave himself for, that he 
might cleanse it. But what need we further proof when we 
have the common experience of all the world? Would every 
man that is born of a woman, without exception, so early 
manifest sin in the life, if there were no corrupt disposition 
at the heart ? And should all mankind, without exemption, 
taste of the punishment of sin, if they had no participation 
of the guilt? " Death is the wages of sin ; and by sin death 
entered into the world, and it passeth upon all men, for 
that all have sinned." (Rom. v. 12.) Infants have sick- 
ness, and torments, and death, which are the fruits of sin. 
And were they not presented to Christ as a Saviour, when 
he took them in his arms and blessed them, and said, " Of 
such is the kingdom of God ?" Certainly, none that never 
were guilty, or miserable, are capable of a place in the 
kingdom of the Mediator. For to what end should he 
mediate for them ? or how can he redeem them that need 
not a redemption? or how should he reconcile them to God, 
that never were at enmity with him ? or how can he wash 


them that were never unclean ? or how can he be a physi- 
cian to them that never were sick ? when " the whole have no 
need of the physician." (Matt. ix. 12.) He ** came to seek 
and to save that which was lost," (Luke xix. 10,) and to 
save " his people from their sins." (Matt, i, 21.) They are 
none of his saved people therefore, that had no sin. He 
came to "redeem those that were under the law." (Gal.Jv. 
5.) But it is most certain, that infants were under the law, 
as well as the adult : and they were a part of " his people 
Israel, whom he visited and redeemed." (Luke i. 68.) If 
ever they be admitted into glory, they must " praise him 
that redeemed them by his blood." (Rev. v. 9.) God doth 
first justify those whom he glorifieth. (Rom. viii. 30.) And 
they must be *' born again" that will " enter into his kingdom." 
(John iii. 3. 5.) And there is no regeneration or renovation 
but from sin : (Col. iii. 10 ; Eph. iv. 22 :) nor any justifica- 
tion but from sin, and " from what we could not be justified 
from by the law of Moses ;" (Acts xiii. 39 ;) nor any justi- 
fication but what containeth a " remission of sin." (Rom. 
iii. 25.) And where there is no sin, there is none to be re- 
mitted ; nor is there any justification but what is *' through 
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and his propitia- 
tion." (Rom. iii. 24, 25.) " He is made of God redemption 
to us ;" (1 Cor. i. 30 ;) and the redemption that we have by 
him, " is remission of sins by his blood." (Col. i. 14 ; Eph. 
i. 7.) " By his own blood entered he once into, the holy 
place, having obtained eternal redemption for us :" The eter- 
nal inheritance is received by means of death for the re- 
demption of transgressions. (Heb. ix. 12. 15.) So that all 
Scripture speaks this truth aloud to us, that there is now 
no salvation promised but to the church, the justified, the 
regenerate, the redeemed ; and that none can be capable of 
these but sinners, and such as are lost and miserable in 
themselves. And till our necessity be understood, redemp- 
tion cannot be well understood. They that believe that 
Christ died not only for this or that man in particular, but 
for the world, methinks should believe that the world are 
sinners, and need his death. He is called ** the Saviour of 
the world," (John iv. 42,) and the " Saviour of all men, 
especially of believers." (1 Tim. iv. 10.) ** We have seen 
and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savi- 
viour of the world." (1 John iv. 14.) And from what doth he 


save them? "From their sins," (Matt. i. 21,) and "from 
the wrath to come." (1 Thess. i. 10.) '*For this is a faith- 
ful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus 
came into the world to save sinners." Infants then are 
sinners, or none of those that he came to save. Christ 
hath made no man righteous by his obedience, but such as 
Adam made sinners by his disobedience ; *' For as by one 
man's disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the 
obedience of one, many shall be made righteous." (Rom. 
V. 19.) Infants are not made righteous by Christ, if they were 
not sinners : and sinners they cannot be by any but original 
sin : " God commended his love to us, in that while we 
were yet sinners, Christ died for us : Much more being now 
justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through 
him : When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God 
by the death of his Son ;" (Rom. v. 8 — 10 ;) so that it is 
sinners that ** Christ died for," and sinners that " are juiti- 
fied by his blood," and sinners that are " reconciled to 
God." Infants therefore are sinners, or they are none of 
the redeemed, justified, or reconciled. And when Jesus 
Christ " by the grace of God did taste death for every 
man," (Heb. ii. 9,) infants are sure included. " There is 
one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 
who gave himself a ransom for all ;" (1 Tim. ii. 5, 6 ;) 
therefore all had sin and misery, and needed that ransom. 
" He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, 
but also for the sins of the whole world." And is it not 
plain that the whole world are sinners ? 

I speak all this for the evincing of original sin only, be- 
cause that only is denied by such as yet pretend to Chris- 
tianity ; for actual sin is commonly confessed, and shews 
itself. And truly so doth original sin, in our proneness to 
actual ; and in the earliness and commonness of such evil 
inclinations ; and in the remnants of it, which the sancti- 
fied feel, though they are such as were sanctified never so 
early, before actual sin had time to breed those evil habits, 
which therefore certainly were born with us. 

And if the image of God, consisting in true holiness, be 
not natural, or born in every infant in the world, then origi- 
nal sin must needs be born with them : for that sin is either 
only or chiefly the privation of that image or holiness. He 
that will say that this image is not requisite to infants, and 



SO that the absence of it is a mere negation, doth make them 
brutes, and not of the race of man, whom God created after 
his image, and leaves them incapable of heaven or hell, or 
any other life than beasts have. And he that thinks so of 
infants to-day may think so of himself to-morrov<^. And he 
that will affirm that this image or holiness is born with every 
infant into the world, so wilfully contradicteth common evi- 
dence which appeareth in the contrary effects, that he is not 
worthy to be further talked with. 

One thing more I will propound yet to the contrary- 
minded : Can they say that any infants are saved or not? If 
not, either they perish as brutes (which is a brutish opinion), 
or they live in misery ; and then they had sin that did de- 
serve it ; yea, if they think that any of them perish in the 
wrath to come, it must be for sin. If they think that any 
of them are saved, it is either by covenant, or without; 
there is some promise for it, or there is none. If none, then 
no man can say that any of them are saved. For who hath 
known the mind of the Lord without his revelation? It is 
arrogancy to tell the world of the saving of any that God 
did no way reveal that he will save. But if they plead a 
revelation or promise, it is either the covenant of nature or 
of grace ; a promise contained in nature, law or Gospel. 
The former cannot be affirmed, (not only because the dis- 
senters themselves deny any such covenant to haivi been in 
nature, or any way made to Adam, but) because tnere is no 
such covenant or promise in nature to be found, for the sal- 
vation of all infants (and if not for all then for none) : and 
because it is contrary to abundance of plain passages in the 
Scriptures, that assure us there is but one covenant of sal- 
vation now in force : and that all the " world shall become 
guilty before God, and every mouth be stopped, (Rom. iii. 
19,) and that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be jus- 
tified in his sight.*' (ver.20; Gal. ii. 16.) And if ** righteous- 
ness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Gal. ii. 
21.) " For as many as are of the works of the law, are 
under the curse. And that no man is justified by the law 
in the sight of God, is evident; for The just shall live by 
faith ; and the law is not of faith ; but. The man that doeth 
them shall live in them." (Gal. iii. 10 — 12.) And certainly the 
law of nature requireth not less than Moses' law, to a man's 
justification, if not more. And " if there had been a law 


given which could have given life, verily righteousness 
should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath con- 
cluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus 
Christ,might be given to them that believe." (Gal.iii.21,22.) 
By the fulness of this evidence, it is easy to see, that 
infants and all mankind are sinners, aijd therefore have need 
of the Redeemer. 

2. To know God as our Redeemer, containeth the know- 
ledge of the great ends of our redemption, and of the ma- 
nifestation of God to man thereby. Having treated of these 
in the book forecited, I shall now say but this in brief. It 
is beyond dispute, that God could have made man capable 
of glory, and kept him from falling by confirming grace, 
and without a redeemer settled him in felicity, as he did the 
angels. He that foresaw man's fall, and necessity of a sa- 
viour, could easily have prevented that sin and necessity : 
but he would not ; he did not : but chose rather to permit 
it, and save man by the way of a redeemer. In which his 
infinite wisdom is exceedingly manifested. And in Christ, 
who is the '* power and wisdom of God," (1 Cor. i. 24,) among 
others these excellent effects are declared to us, which the 
way of redemption attaineth, above what the saving us on 
the terms of nature would have attained. 

1. God is now wonderfully admired and magnified in the 
person o^^the Redeemer. Angels themselves desire to pry 
into this mystery. (1 Peter i. 12.) As the frame of nature 
is set us to see God in, where we daily as in a glass behold 
him and admire him ; so the person of the Redeemer, and 
work of incarnation and redemption, is set the angels for 
their contemplation and admiration, as well as us : *' To the 
intent that now unto the principalities and powers in hea- 
venly places, might be known by the church the manifold 
wisdom of God." (Ephes. iii. 10.) And in the glorious per- 
fection and dignity of the Redeemer, will God be everlast- 
ingly glorified ; for his greatest works do most greatly honour 
him : and as the sun doth now to us more honour him than 
a star ; so the glorified person of the Redeemer, doth more 
honour God than man or angels. '* He is gone into heaven, 
and is on the right hand of God, angels and authorities, and 
powers, being made subject to him." (1 Pet. iii. 23.) " Being 
raised from the dead, God hath set him at his own right 
hand in heavenly places, far above all principalities, and 



powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is 
named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to 
come ; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him 
to be the Head over all things to the church, which is his 
body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephes. i. 
20 — 22.) " Who being the brightness of his glory, and the 
■express image of his person, and upholding all things by. 
the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our 
sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, 
being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by 
inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." 
F.(Heb. i.3.) 

And here a very great truth appeareth, which very many 
overlook, that the exaltation of the person of the Redeemer, 
and the glory that God will have in him, is a higher and 
more principal part of God's intent in the sending of him 
to be incarnate and redeem us, than the glorifying of man, 
and of God by us. Christ will be more glorious than men 
or angels, and therefore will more glorify God ; and God 
will eternally take more complacency in him than in men or 
, angels ; and therefore (though in several respects) he is for 
us, and the means of our felicity and we are for him, and the 
means of his glory (as the head is for the body, and the body 
for the head), yet we are more for Christ as a means to his 
glory, than he for us : I mean he is the more excellent prin- 
cipal end. " For to this end Christ both died, rose and 
revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living ;" 
(Rom. xiv. 9 ;) " who being in the form of God, thought it 
not 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 obedi- 
ent unto death, even the death of the cross : wherefore God 
also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which 
is above every name ; that at the name of Jesus every knee 
should bow, both of things in heaven and things in earth and 
under the earth ; and that every tongue should confess that 
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil, 
ii. 6 — 12.) " And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many 
angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the 
^filders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten 

■|_ VOL. XIII. ~ H 


98 THK DlVINli Lll K. 

thousand, and thousands of thousands : saying with a loud 
voice. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, 
and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and 
glory, and blessing: And every creature which is in heaven, 
and on eaj'th, and under the earth, and such as are in the 
sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying. Blessing, 
honour, glory and power be unto him that sitteth on the 
throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." (Rev. v. 
8 — 12 ; so XV. 3, 4, and xx. 6.) *' The city had no need of 
the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory 
of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." 
(Rev. xxi. 23.) " The throne of God and of the Lamb shall 
be in it, and his servants shall serve him ; and they shall see 
his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads." (Rev. 
xxii. 3, 4.) These and many other Scriptures shew us, that 
God will be for ever glorified in the person of the Redeemer, 
more than in either men or angels ; and consequently that 
it was the principal part of his intention in the design of 
man's redemption. 

2. (I will be more brief in the rest) In the way of redemp- 
tion man will be saved with greater humiliation and self- 
denial than he should have been in the way of creation. If 
we had been saved in a way of innocency, we should have 
had more to ascribe to ourselves. And it is meet that all 
creatures be humbled and abased, and nothing in them- 
selves, before the Lord. 

3. By the way of redemption, sin will be the more dis- 
honoured, and holiness more advanced, than if sin had 
never been known in the world. Contraries illustrate one 
another. Health would not be so much valued, if there 
were no sickness ; nor life, if there were no death ; nor day, 
if there were no night; nor knowledge, if there were no 
ignorance ; nor good, if man had not known evil. The holi- 
ness of God would never have appeared in execution of 
vindictive justice against sin, if there had never been any 
sin ; and therefore he hath permitted it, and will recover us 
from it, when he could have prevented our falling into it. 

4. By this way also, holiness and recovering grace shall 
be' more triumphant against the devil and all its enemies: 
By the many conquests that Christ will make over Satan, 
the world, and the flesh, and death, there will be very much 


of God to be seen to us, that innocency would not thus 
have manifested. 

5. Redemption brings God nearer unto man. The mys- 
tery of incarnation giveth us wonderful advantages to have 
more familiar thoughts of God, and to see him in a clearer 
glass, than ever we should else have seen him in on earth, 
and to have access with boldness to the throne of grace. 
The pure Deity is at so vast a distance from us, while we 
are here in flesh, that if it had not appeared in the flesh 
unto us, we should have been at a greater loss. But now 
** without controversy great is the mystery of godliness ; 
God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen 
of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, 
and received up into glory." (1 Tim. iii. 16.) 

6. In the way of redemption, man is brought to more 
earnest and frequent addresses unto God, and dependance 
on him ; necessity driveth him ; and he hath use for more 
of God, or for God in more of the ways of his mercy, than 
else he would have had. 

7. Principally in this way of saving miserable man by a 
Redeemer, there is opportunity for the more abundant exer- 
cise of God's mercy, and consequently for the more glorious 
discovery of his love and goodness to the sons of men, than 
if they had fallen into no such necessities. Misery pre- 
pareth men for the sense of mercy. In the Redeemer there 
is so wonderful a discovery of love and mercy, as is the 
astonishment of men and angels. " Behold what manner 
of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should 
be called the sons of God !" (1 John iii. 1.) " God who is 
rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even 
when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with 
Christ, (by grace ye are saved,) and hath raised us up toge- 
ther, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ 
Jesus ; that in the ages to come he might shew the exceed- 
ing riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us by Christ 
Jesus ; for by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not 
of yourselves, it is the gift of God : not of works, lest any 

tman should boast.*' (Ephes. ii. 4 — 9.) " For we ourselves 
^ere sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving di- 
ners lusts and pleasures, &c. But after that the kindness 
md love of God our Saviour toward man appeared ; not by 


works of righteousness which we have done, but according 
to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and 
renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus iii. 3 — 5.) Never was 
there such a discovery of God as he is Love, in a way of 
mercy to man on earth, as in the Redeemer, and his benefits. 
8. In the way of redemption the soul of man is formed 
to the most sweet and excellent temper, and his obedience 
cast into the happiest mould. The glorious demonstration of 
love, doth animate us with love to God ; and the shedding 
abroad of his love in our hearts by the Spirit of the Re- 
deemer, doth draw out our hearts in love to him again : And 
the sense of his wonderful love and mercy filleth us with 
thankfulness : so that love is hereby made the nature of the 
new man ; and thankfulness is the life of all our obedience : 
for all floweth from these principles, and expresseth them : 
so that Love is the compendium of all holiness in one word; 
and Thankfulness of all evangelical obedience. And it is a 
more sweet and excellent state of life, to be the spouse of 
Christ, and his members, and serve God as friends and chil- 
dren, with love and thankfulness, than to serve him merely 
as the most loyal subjects, or with an obedience that hath 
less of love. 

9. In the way of redemption, holiness is more admirably ex- 
emplified in Christ, than it was, or would have been in Adam. 
Adam would never have declared it in that eminency of 
charity to others, submission to God, contempt of the 
world, self-denial, and conquest of Satan, as Christ hath 

10. And in the way of redemption, there is a double 
obligation laid upon man for every duty. To the obligations 
of creation, all the obligations of redemption and the new 
creation are superadded : and this threefold cord should not 
so easily be broken. Here are moral means more powerfully 
to hold the soul to God. 

11. And in this way there is a clearer discovery of the 
everlasting state of man, and life and immortality are more 
fully brought to light by the Gospel, (2 Tim. i. 10,) than for 
ought we find in Scripture, they were to innocent man him- 
self. *' No man hath seen God at any time : the only be- 
gotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father, he hath de- 
clared him." (John i. 18.) " For no man hath ascended 


into heavea, but he that came down from heaven, even the 
Son of man, which is in heaven." (John iii. 13.) 

12. Man will be advanced to the judging of the ungodly 
and of the conquered angels : even by the goodwill of the 
Father, and a participation in the honour of Christ our head, 
and by a participation in his victories, and by our own vic- 
tories in his strength, by the right of conquest, we shall 
judge with Christ, both devils and men, that were enemies 
to him, and our salvation ; as you may see 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3. And 
there is more in that promise than we yet well understand, 
" He that overcometh, and keepeth my words unto the end, to 
him will 1 give power over the nations, and he shall rule 
them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they 
be broken to shivers, even as 1 received of my Father." 
(Rev. ii. 26, 27.) 

13. And that which Augustine so much insisteth on, I 
think is also plain in Scripture, that the salvation of the 
elect is better secured in the hands of Christ, than his own 
or any of his posterities was in the hands of Adam. We 
know that Adam lost that which was committed to him : 
But " we know whom we have believed, and are persuaded, 
that he is able to keep that which we commit to him, against 
that day." (1 Tim. ii. 12.) Force not these Scriptures 
against our own consolation, and the glory of our Re- 
deemer, and then judge. " As thou hast given him power, 
over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as 
thou hast given him." (John xvii. 2.) " All that the Father 
giveth me, shall come to me ; and him that cometh to me, I 
will in no wise cast out." (John vi. 37.) " And this is the 
Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath 
given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again 
at the last day." (ver. 39.) " But ye believe not, because ye 
are not of my sheep, as I said unto you : My sheep hear 
my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give 
unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and none 
shall take them out of my hands : My Father which gave 
them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck 
them out of my Father's hands." (John x. 26— -29.) " Blessed 
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath 
Jblessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places 
^n Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before 

ILhe foundation of the world, that we should be holy and 


without blame before him in love : having predestinated ua to 
the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, accord- 
ing to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the 
glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the 
Beloved." (Ephes. i. 3, 4.) ** Being predestinated accord- 
ing to the purpose of him that worketh all things after the 
counsel of his own will." (ver. 11.) 

And if faith, and repentance, and the right disposition 
of the will itself, be his resolved gift to his elect, and not 
things left merely to our uncertain wills, then the case is 
past all question. " In meekness instructing those that 
oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them re- 
pentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they 
may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.'* 
(2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.) ** By grace ye are saved through faith, 
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Ephes. 

ii, 8.) " The fruit of the Spirit is love, faith ." (Gal. 

V. 22.) "To you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not 

only to believe on him ." (Phil. i. 29.) " As many as were 

ordained to eternal life believed." (Actsxiii.28.) ** And I will 
give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord, and they 
shall be my people, and I will be their God ; for they shall 
return unto me with their whole heart." (Jer. xxiv. 7.) " And 
I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within 
you : and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and 
will give them an heart of flesh, that they may walk in my 
statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them, and they 
shall be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezek. xi. 19, 
20.) " A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit 
will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart 
out of your flesh, and give you an heart of flesh, and I will 
put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my sta- 
tutes." (Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27.) See also Heb. viii. 6—10, 
where this is called the " new" and better " covenant." " I 
will put my laws in their minds, and write them in their 

hearts ." (Jer. xxxi. 33.) And Jer. xxxii. 39, 40, " And 

I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear 
me for ever. And I will make an everlasting covenant with 
them, and I will not turn away from them to do them good, 
but I will put my fear in their hearts that they shall not 
depart from me." *' Who maketh thee to differ? and what 
hast thou that thou didst not receive ?" (1 Cor.iv. 7.) Much 


more may be produced, from which it is evident that " Christ 
is the author and finisher of our faith ;" and that the cer- 
tainty of the salvation of his elect, doth lie more on his 
undertaking and resolution infallibly to accomplish their 
salvation, than upon our wisdom, or the stability of our 
mutable free-wills ; and that thus we are better in the hands 
of the second Adam, than we were in the hands of the first. 

14. To conclude: Vindictive justice will be doubly ho- 
noured upon them that are final rejecters of this grace. 
Though conscience would have had matter enough to work 
upon for the torment of the sinner, and the justifying of God, 
upon the mere violation of the law of nature or works, yet 
nothing to what it now will have on them that are the de- 
spisers of this great salvation. For of how much sorer 
punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, that 
hath trodden under foot the Son of God ? when it is wilful 
impenitency, against most excellent means and mercies, that 
is to be charged upon sinners, and when they perish be- 
cause they would not be saved, justice will be most fully 
glorified before all, and in the conscience of the sinner him- 
self. All this considered, you may see that (besides what 
reasons of the counsel of God are unknown to us) there is 
abundant reason open to our sight, from the great advan- 
tages of this way, why God would rather save us by a 
Redeemer, than in a way of innocency, as our mere Creator. 

But, for the answering of all objections against this, I 
must desire you to observe these two things following : 
1. That we here suppose man a terrestrial inhabitant clothed 
with flesh : otherwise it is confessed that if he were perfect 
in heaven, where he had the beatifical vision to confirm him, 
many of these forementioned advantages to him would be 

And it is supposed that God will work on man by 
moral means ; and where he never so infallibly produceth 
the good of man, he doth it in a way agreeable to his nature 
and present state ; and his work of Grace is Sapiential, mag- 
nifying the contrivance and conduct of his wisdom, as well 
as his power : otherwise indeed God might have done all 
without these or any other means. 

3. The knowledge of God in Christ as our Redeemer, 
must imprint upon the soul those holy afi'ections which the 
Resign and nature of our redemption do bespeak, and an- 


swer theese forementioned ends. As, 1. It must keep the 
soul in a sense of the odiousness of sin, that must have such 
a ramedy to pardon and destroy it. 

2. It must raise us to most high and honourable thought* 
of our Redeemer, the Captain of our Salvation, that bring- 
eth back lost sinners unto God ; and we must study to ad- 
vance the glory of our Lord, whom the Father hath advan- 
ced and set over all. 

3. It must drive us out of ourselves, and bring us to be 
nothing in our own eyes, and cause us to have humble, pe- 
nitent, self-condemning thoughts, as men that have been our 
own undoers, and deserved so ill of God and man. 

4. It must drive us to a full and constant dependance on 
Christ our Redeemer, and on the Father by him : As our life 
is now in the Son as its Root and Fountain, so in him must 
be our faith and confidence, and to him we must daily have 
recourse^ and seek to him, and to the Father in his name, 
for all that we need for daily pardon, strength, protection, 
provision and consolation. 

5. It must cause us the more to admire the holiness of 
God, which is so admirably declared in our redemption ; 
and still be sensible how he hateth sin and loveth purity. 

6. It must invite and encourage us to draw near to God, 
who hath condescended to come so near to us; and as sons 
we must cry, "Abba, Father," and though with reverence, 
yet with holy confidence must set ourselves continually be- 
fore him. 

7. It must cause us to make it our daily employment to 
study the riches of the love of God, and his abundant mercy 
manifested in Christ ; so that above all books in the world, 
we should most diligently and delightfully peruse the Son 
of God incarnate, and in him behold the power, and wisdom, 
and goodness of the Father: and with Paul we should de- 
sire " to know nothing but Christ crucified ;" and all things 
should be counted " but loss and dung for the excellency of 
the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord." (Phil. iii. 8.) 
" That we may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is 
the breadth, and length, and depth and height, and to know 
the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that we may 
be filled with all the fulness of God." 

8. Above all, if we know God as our Redeemer, we must 
live in the power of holy love and gratitude. His manifested 



love must prevail with us so far, that unfeigned love to hikn 
may be the predominant affection of our souls. And being 
free from the spirit of bondage and slavish fear, we must 
make love and thankfulness the sum of our religion ; and 
think not any thing will prove us Christians, without pre- 
vailing love to Christ, nor that any duty is accepted that 
proceedethnot from it. 

9. Redemption must teach us to apply ourselves to the 
holy laws and example of our Redeemer for the forming and 
ordering of our hearts and lives. 

10. And it must quicken us to love the Lord with a re- 
doubled vigour, and to obey with double resolution and di- 
ligence, because we are under a double obligation. What 
should a people so redeemed esteem too much or too dear 
for God? 

11. Redemption must make us a moire heavenly people, 
as being redeemed to the incorruptible inheritance in hea- 

'*The blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus 


Christ, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us 
again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ 
from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, 
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, who are 
kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." 

12. Lastly, Redemption must cause us to walk the more 
carefully, and with a greater care to avoid all sin, and to 
avoid the threatened wrath of God, because sin against such 
unspeakable mercy, is unspeakably great ; and condemna- 
tion by a Redeemer for despising his grace, will be a double 
condemnation. (John iii. 19. 36.) 

CHAP. xn. 

11. The third Relation in which God is to be known by us, 
is as he is our Sanctifier and Comforter, which is specially 
ascribed to the Holy Ghost. And doubtless as the dispen- 
sation of the Holy Ghost is the perfecting dispensation, 
without which creation and redemption would not attain 
their ends ; and as the sin against the Holy Ghost, is the 
great and dangerous sin; so our belief in the Holy Ghost, 
and knowledge of Ggd as our Sanctifier by the Spirit, is not 
the least or lowest act of our faith or knowledge. And it 
implieth or containeth these things following. 


1. We must hence take notice of the certainty of our 
common original sin. The necessity of sanctificationproveth 
the corruption, as the necessity of a Redeemer proveth the 
guilt: It is not one but all that are baptized, that must be 
** baptized into the name of the Son and Holy Ghost," as 
well as of the Father : which is an entering into covenant with 
the Son as our Redeemer, and with the Holy Ghost as our 
Sanctifier. So that infants themselves must be sanctified, or 
be none of the church of Christ, which consisteth of bap- 
tized sanctified persons : '* Except a man be born again (even 
of the Spirit, as well as water) he cannot enter into the king- 
dom of heaven. For that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and 
that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," (John iii. 3. 5,6,) and 
therefore the fleshly birth producing not a spiritual creature, 
will not serve without the spiritual birth : The words are most 
plain ; not only against them that deny original sin, but 
against them that misunderstanding the nature of redemp- 
tion, do think that all infants are merely by the price paid, 
put into a state of salvation, and have the pardon of their 
original sin in common, attending their natural birth. But 
these men should consider, 1. That this text and constant 
experience tell us that the new birth doth not thus com- 
monly to all accompany the natural birth : and yet without 
the new birth none can be saved, nor without holiness any 
see God. 2. That pardon of sin is no man's, upon the bare 
suflfering of Jesus Christ ; but must be theirs by some 
covenant or promise conveying to them a right to the bene- 
fits of his suffering. And therefore no man can be said to 
be pardoned or saved (without great arrogancy in the af- 
firmer) that hath not from God a promise of such mercy. 
But no man can shew any promise that giveth remission of 
original sin to all infants. Produce it, or presume not to 
affirm it, lest you fall under the heavy doom of those that 
add to his holy word. The promise is to the faithful and 
their seed. The rest are not the children of the promise, 
but are under the commination of the violated law ; which 
indeed is dispensable ; and therefore we cannot say that 
God will pardon none of them ; but withal, we cannot say 
that he will, unless he had told us so. All the world stand 
in need of a Sanctifier : and therefore most certainly (even 
since Christ's death) they are naturally corrupted. 

2. And as our belief in the Holy Ghost, as Sanctifier, 


engage th us to acknowledge our original sin and misery, so 
doth it engage us to magnify his renewing work of grace, 
and be convinced of the necessity of it, and to confess the 
insufficiency of corrupted nature to its own renovation. As 
no man must dishonour the work of our Creator; and 
therefore our faculties of reason and natural freewill are 
not to be denied or reproached : so must we be as careful 
that we dishonour not the works of our Redeemer or Sanc- 
tifier ; and therefore the viciousness and ill-disposedness of 
these faculties, and the thraldom of our wills to their own 
misinclinations, and to concupisence, must be confessed ; 
and the need of grace to work the cure. It is not ingenu- 
ous for us, when God made it so admirable a part of his 
work in the world, to redeem us, and save us from our sin 
and misery, that we should hide or deny our diseases, and 
make ourselves believe that we have but little need of the 
physician, and so that the cure is no great matter, and con- 
sequently deserveth no great praise. I know the church is 
troubled by men of dark, yet self-conceited minds, that in 
these points are running all into extremes. One side deny- 
ing the Sapiential method, and the other the Omnipotential 
way of God in our recovery. One plainly casting our sin 
and misery principally on God ; and the other as plainly 
robbing the Redeemer and Holy Spirit of the honour of our 
recovery. But it is the latter that my subject leadeth me 
now to speak to. I beseech you take heed of any conceit 
that would draw you to extenuate the honour of our Sanc- 
tifier. Dare you contend against the Holy Ghost for the 
integrity of your natures, or the honour of your cure? 
Surely he that hath felt the power of this renewing grace, 
and found how little of it was from himself, nay, how much 
he was an enemy to it, will be less inclined to extenuate 
the praise of grace than unexperienced men will be. Be- 
cause the case is very weighty, give me leave by way of 
question to propound these considerations to you. 

Quest, 1. Why is it, think you, that all must be bap- 
tized into the name of the Son and Holy Ghost, as well as 
of the Father ? Doth it not imply that all have need of a 
Sanctifier, and must be engaged to that end in covenant 
with the Sanctifier ? I suppose you know that it is not 
to a bare profession of our belief of the trinity of per- 
sona that we are baptized. It is the covenant entrance into 


our happy relation to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
that is then celebrated. And therefore as infants and all 
must be thus engaged to the Sanctifier, so all must acknow- 
ledge their necessity of this mercy, and the excellency of 
it. It is essential to our Christianity, that we value it, de- 
sire it, and receive it. And therefore an error inconsis- 
tent with it proveth us indeed no Christians. (Matt, 
xxviii. 19.) 

Quest, 2. Why is it, think you, that the Holy Ghost and 
this renewing work, are so much magnified in the Scrip- 
ture ? Is not the glory of it answerable to those high ex- 
pressions ? undoubtedly it is. I have already told you else- 
where of the elogies of this work. It is that by which 
" Christ dwelleth in them, and they are made a habitation 
of God by the Spirit." (Ephes. iii. 17; ii. 22.) They are 
made by it "the temples of the Holy Ghost." (1 Cor. vi. 19.) 
It is the Divine Power (which is no other than Omnipo- 
tency) that " giveth us all things pertaining unto life and 
godliness." (2 Pet. i. 3.) Think not, I beseech you, any 
lower of this work than is consistent with these expressions. 
It is the " opening of the blind eyes of our understanding, 
and turning us from darkness to light, and from the power 
of Satan unto God," and bringing us *' into his marvellous 
light." (Acts xxvi. 18 ; Ephes. i. 18 ; 1 Pet. ii. 9.) It is an 
inward " teaching of us by God," (John vi. 45 ; 1 Thess. iv. 
9,) and effectual "teaching and anointing,'* (1 John ii. 27,) 
and a " writing the law in our hearts, and putting them in 
our inward parts." (Heb. viii. 10, 11.) I purposely forbear 
any exposition of these texts, lest I seem to distort them ; 
and because 1 would only lay the naked word of God be- 
fore your own impartial considerations. It is God's work 
by the Spirit, and not our own, as ours, that is here so much 
magnified. - And can all this signify no more but a com- 
mon bare proposal of truth and good to the intellect and 
will? even such as ignorant and wicked men have? Doth 
God do as much to illuminate, teach, and sanctify them, 
that never are illuminated, or taught, and sanctified, as them 
that are ? This work of the Holy Ghost is called a quicken- 
ing, or making men that were dead, alive. (Ephes. ii. 1,2; 
Rom. vi. 11. 13.) It is called a new begetting or new birth, 
without which none can enter into heaven. (John iii. 3. 5, 6.) 
A renewing us, and making us new men, and new creatures, 


80 far as that " old things are passed away, and all become 
new." (Ephes. iv. 23, 24 ; Col. iii. 10 ; 2 Cor. v. 17.) It is 
a " new creating us after the image of God." (Ephes. iv. 24.) 
It maketh '? us holy as God is holy;" (1 Pet. i. 15, 16;) 
yea, it maketh us " partakers of the Divine Nature." (2 Pet. 
i, 4.) It " giveth us repentance to the acknowledging of 
the truth, that we may recover ourselves out of the snare 
of the devil, who were taken captive by him at his will." 
(2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.) It giveth us that " love by which God 
dwelleth in us, and we in God." (1 John iv. 16.) We are 
redeemed by Christ " from all iniquity," and therefore it is 
that **he gave himself for us, to purify to himself a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works." (Titus ii. 14.) It is an 
*' abundant shedding of the Holy Ghost" on us for our reno- 
vation, (Titus iii. 5, 6,) and by it a " shedding the love of 
God abroad in our hearts.'' (Rom. v. 5.) It is this Holy 
Spirit given to believers by which they pray, and by which 
they " mortify the flesh." (Jude 20 ; Rom. viii. 13. 26.) By 
this Spirit we live, and walk, and rejoice." (Rom. viii. 1 ; 
xiv. 17.) Our joy, and peace, and hope, is through the 
power of the Holy Ghost. (Rom. xv. 13.) It giveth us a 
spiritual mind, and taketh away the ** carnal mind that is 
enmity against God, and neither is nor can be subject to his 
law." (Rom. viii. 7.) By this Spirit that is given to us, we 
must " know that we are God's children." (1 John iii. 24 ; 
iv. 13.) " For if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the 
same is none of his." (Rom. viii. 9.) All holy graces are 
the " fruits of the Spirit." (Gal. v. 22. 23.) It would be 
too long to number the several excellent effects of the sanc- 
tifying work of the Spirit upon the soul, and to recite the 
elogies of it in Scripture. Surely it is no low or needless 
thing which all these expressions do intend. 

Quest. 3. If you think it a most heinous sin to vilify the 
Creator and his work, and the Redeemer and his work, why 
should you not think so of the vilifying of the Sanctifier 
and his work, when God hath so magnified it, and will be 
glorified in it? and when it is the applying perfecting work, 
that maketh the purchased benefits of redemption to be 
ours, and formeth our Father's image on us. 

Quest, 4. Do we not doctrinally commit too much of 
that sin (if we undervalue the Spirit's sanctifying work, as 
a common thing) which the ungodly world do manifest in 


practice, when they speak and live in a contempt or low 
esteem of grace ? And which is more injurious to God ? for 
^ profane person to jest at the Spirit's work, or for a Chris- 
tian, or minister, deliberately to extenuate it ; especially 
when the preaching of grace is a minister's chief work, 
sure we should much fear partaking in so great a sin. 

Quest. 5. Why is it that the Scripture speaks so much 
to take men off from boasting or ascribing any thing to 
themselves ? " That every mouth may be stopped ;" (Rom. 
iii. 19 ;) and why doth not the law of works exclude boast- 
ing but only the *' law of faith?" (Rom. iii. 27.) Surely 
the actions of nature (except so far as it is corrupt) are as 
truly of God, as the acts of grace. And yet God will not 
take it well to deny him the glory of redemption, or sancti- 
fication, and tell him that we paid it him in another kind, 
and ascribed all to him as the author of our freewill by 
natural production. For as nature shall honour the Crea- 
tor, so grace shall also honour the Redeemer and Sanctifier. 
And God designeth the humbling of the sinner, and teach- 
ing him to deny himself; and to honour God in such a way 
as may stand with self-abasement, leaving it to God to 
honour those by way of reward, that honour him in way of 
duty, and deny their own honour. 

Quest. 6. Why is the blaspheming, and sinning against 
the Holy Ghost made so heinous and dangerous a sin, if 
the works of the Holy Ghost were not most excellent, and 
such as God will be most honoured by ? 

Quest. 7. Is it not exceeding ingratitude for the soul 
that hath been illuminated, converted, renewed, quickened, 
and saved by the Holy Ghost, to extenuate the mercy, and 
ascribe it most to his natural will ? O what a change was it 
that sanctification made ! what a blessed birthday was that 
to our souls, when we entered here upon Life Eternal 1 
(Johnxvii. 3.) And is this the thanks we give the Lord for 
so great a mercy i 

Quest. 8. What mean those texts, if they confute not 
this unthankful opinion? " It is God that worketh in you 
to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phil. ii. 13.) 
" God hath raised us up together, and made us sit together 
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come 
he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his 
kindness towards us through Christ Jesus : For by grace 



ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is 
the gift of God ; Not of works, lest any man should boast. 
For we are his workmanship created to good works in 
Christ Jesus." (Ephes. ii. 7 — 10.) The like is in Titus iii. 
6 — 7 ; John xv. 16: " Ye have not chosen me, but I have 
chosen you, and ordained you that you should go and bring 
forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain." " Herein is 

love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us ." 

(1 John iv. 10.) "For who maketh thee to differ? and 
what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" (1 Cor. iv. 7.), 
" No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath 
sent me draw him." (John vi. 44.) " The natural man re- 
ceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are 
foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because 
they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. ii. 14.) " That 
which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of 
the Spirit is spirit ;" (John iii. 6 ;) that is, plainly, the 
fleshly birth produceth but flesh and not spirit; if any 
man will have the Spirit (and so be saved) it must be by a 
spiritual begetting and birth by the Holy Ghost : *• The 
Lord opened Lydia's heart that she attended to the things 
that were spoken of Paul," &c. (Acts xvi. 14.) Was the 
conversion of Paul, a murdering persecutor, his own work 
rather than the Lord's, when the means and manner were 
such as we read of? ** The God of our fathers hath chosen 
thee that thou shouldst know his will, and see that Just 
One, and hear the voice of his mouth," &c. (Acts xxii. 14.) 
He was chosen to the means and to faith, and not only " in 
faith unto salvation." When Christ called his disciples to 
come and follow him, was there no prevailing inward power 
that made them leave all and follow him ? And was it not 
the power of the Holy Ghost that converted three thousand 
Jews at a sermon, of them that by wicked hands had cruci- 
fied and slain the Lord Jesus ? (Acts ii. 23. 41.) When the 
preaching and miracles of Christ converted so few ; his 
brethren, and they that " saw his miracles believed not on 
him," (John xii. 37 ; v. 38 ; vi. 36 ; vii. 5,) but when the 
Holy Ghost was given after his ascension, in that plenty 
which answered the Gospel and promise, his words were 
fulfilled : " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will 
draw all men unto me." (John xii. 32.) I pass by abun- 
dance more such evidence. 


Quest, 9. Doth it not tend to bring sin into credit, which 
holiness is contrary to, and to bring the love of God into 
discredit, and to hinder men's conversion, and keep them 
from a holy life, when holiness is taken for so low and natu- 
ral or common a thing ? 

Quest. 10. And consequently doth it not tend to the 
vilifying of the attribute of holiness in God, when the image 
and effect of it is so extenuated ? 

Quest, 11. And doth it not tend to the contempt of hea- 
ven itself, whose state of felicity consisteth much in perfect 
holiness? And if sanctitication be but some common mo- 
tion, which Cain and Judas had, as well as Paul, sure it is 
less divine and more inconsiderable than we thought. 

Quest. 12. Doth it not speak a very dangerous suspicion 
of a soul that never felt the special work of grace, that can 
make light of it, and ascribe it most to his own will ? And 
would not sound humiliation do more than arguments to 
cure this great mistake? I never yet came near a thoroughly 
humbled soul, but I found them too low and vile in their 
own eyes, to have such undervaluing thoughts of grace, or 
to think it best for them to leave all the efficacy of grace to 
their own wills ! A broken heart abhors such thoughts. 

Quest. 13. Dare any wise and sober man desire such a 
thing of God, or dare you say that you will expect no other 
grace, but what shall leave it to yourselves to make it effec- 
tual or frustrate it? I think he is no friend to his soul that 
would take up with this. 

Quest. 14. Do not the constant prayers of all that have 
but a show of godliness contradict the doctrine which I am 
contradicting? Do you not beg of God to melt and soften 
and bow your hearts, and to make them more holy, and fill 
them with light, and faith, and love, and hold you close to 
God and duty ! In a word, do you not daily pray for effec- 
tual grace, that shall infallibly procure your desired ends ? 
I scarce ever heard a prayer from a sober man but was or- 
thodox in such points, though their speeches would be 

Quest. 15. Do you not know that there is an enmity in 
every unrenewed heart against sanctification, till God re- 
move it ? Are we not greater enemies to ourselves, and 
greater resisters of the Holy Ghost, and of our own conver- 
sion, and sanctification, and salvation, than all the world 




besides is ? Woe to him that feeleth not this by himself. 
And is it likely, that we that are enemies to holiness, should 
do more to our own sanctification, than the Holy Ghost? 
Woe to us if he conquer not our enmity. 

Quest, 16. Is it probable that so great a work as the de- 
stroying of our dearest sins, the setting of our hearts and 
all our hopes on an invisible glory, and delighting in the 
Lord, and forsaking all for him, &c. should come rather from 
the choice of a will that loveth those sins, and hateth that 
holy, heavenly life, than from the Spirit of Christ? sure this 
is much above us. 

Quest, 17. Whence is it that so often one man that hath 
been a notorious sinner is converted by a sermon, when a 
civiler man, of better nature and life, is never changed, 
though he have that and ten times more persuasions ? 

Quest. 18. Doth not experience tell impartial observers, 
that the high esteemers of the sanctifying work of the Holy 
Ghost, are ordinarily of more holy, heavenly lives, than they 
that use to ascribe the differencing work to their freewills ? 
In my observation it is so. 

Quest, 19. Should not every gracious, humble soul, be 
more inclined to magnify God, than himself? and to give 
him the glory, than to give it to ourselves, especially in a 
case where Scripture and experience telleth us that we are 
more unlikely than God to deserve the praise? Our destruc- 
tion is of ourselves, but in him is our help. (Hos. xiii. 9.) 
When we see the effect and know it, and the causes that are 
in question, it is easy to conjecture from the quality, which 
is the true cause. If I see a serpent brought forth, I will 
sooner think that it was generated by a serpent than a dove. 
If I see sin in the world, I shall easily believe it is the spawn 
of this corrupted will, that is so prone to it. But if I find a 
divine nature in me, or see a holy, heavenly life in any, I 
must needs think that this is liker to be the work of the 
blessed God, than of such a naughty heart as man's, that 
hath already been a self-destroyer. 

Quest, 20. What motive hath any man to exalt himself, 
and sin against the Holy Ghost by such an extenuation of 
his saving grace ? It is a causeless, fruitless sin. The only 
reason that ever I could hear for it, was lest the doctrine of 
differencing grace should make God a respecter of persons, 



or the author of sin, of which there is no reason of a sus- 
picion. We all agree that no man perisheth, or is denied 
grace, but such as deserve it : And when all deserve it, it is 
no more respect of persons in God to sanctify some only of 
those ill deservers, than it is that he makes not all men 
kings, nor every dog, or toad a man, nor every star a sun, 
or every man an angel. To clear all objections concerning 
this, would be but to digress. 

3. Lastly, Our knowledge of the Holy Ghost must raise 
us to an high estimation of his works, and a ready reception 
of his graces, and cheerful obedience to his motions. He 
sanctified our Head, that had no sin, by preventing sin in his 
conception, and he anointed him to his office, and came 
upon him at his baptism. He sanctified and anointed the 
prophets and the apostles to their offices, and by them en- 
dited the Holy Scripture. He illuminateth, converteth, sanc- 
tifieth and guideth all that are to be heirs of life. This is 
his work. Honour that part of it that is done on Christ, on 
the prophets, apostles, and the Scriptures ; and value and 
seek after that which belongeth to yourselves. Think not 
to be holy without the Sanctifier, nor to do any thing well 
without the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who is Christ's internal, 
invisible agent here on earth (as Tertullian in the church's 
creed speaks, * misit vicariam vim Spiritus sancti qui cre- 
dentes agat). O that men knew how much of their welfare 
dependeth on a faithful obeying of the Holy Ghost ! 


12. The next part of our knowledge of God is to know him 
in those great consequent Relations, to which he is entitled 
by creation and redemption ; viz. as he is our absolute Lord 
or Owner, our most righteous Governor, and our paost boun- 
tiful or gracious Father or Benefactor. 

1. God both as our creator and redeemer hath 'jus do- 
minii,' an absolute dominion of the world ; that is, he is our 
Owner or Proprietary, and we are his own ; for we take not 
the term, lordship or dominion, here in the looser sense as it 
signifieth a ruler, but in the stricter sense, as it signifieth an 
owner. Of this relation I have already spoken in a sermon 
of " Christ's Dominion :" and therefore shall say the less 
in this place. 


The knowledge of God*s dominion or propriety must 
comprehend, 1. The certain truth of this his right; 2. The 
fulness of it; 3. The effects that it must have on us. 

I. And the truth of it is beyond dispute, even among 
infidels that know there is a God. He that made us of his 
own materials, or of nothing, must needs be the owner of us; 
and so must he that bought us from destruction; " Behold, 
all souls are mine !" (Ezek. xviii. 4.) " To this end Christ 
both died, rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of 
the dead and living," (Rom. xiv. 9.) ** All things that the 
Father hath are mine." (John xvi. 14, 15.) The Father then 
hath this propriety by creation, and the Son by redemption : 
and the Father also by communication with the Son in re- 
demption ; and the Son by communication with the Father 
in creation. 

II. And it must be the most absolute plenary dominion, 
because the very being of all the creatures is from God, and 
therefore no one can be co-ordinate with him, or his co-rival, 
nor any thing limit his interest in us. 

III. And the effects that this must have upon us, are 
these following. 

1. Hence we must conclude, and reverently and willingly 
confess, that further than he voluntarily doth oblige himself 
to us, it is impossible that God should be our debtor; and 
consequently that upon terms of commutative justice we 
should merit any thing of God. For what can we render to 
him but his own? And how should he (properly and ante- 
cedently) be indebted to and for his own? 

2. And we must conclude, that (antecedently to his laws 
and promise) it is impossible that God can do us any wrong, 
or any thing that he can do, can be guilty of injustice : For 
justice giveth to all their own ; and therefore it giveth no- 
thing to us from God, but what he voluntarily giveth us him- 
self, which therefore is first a gift of bounty, and but secon- 
darily a due in justice. 

3. And therefore we must hence learn, that God may do 
with his own as he list. And therefore we must take heed that 
we repine not at any of his decrees or providences, or any 
passages concerning them in his word. Much may be above 
us, because our blindness cannot reach the reasons of 
his ways ; but nothing is unreasonable or evil ; for all pro- 
ceedeth from Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, as well as from 



Omnipotency : As no man must feign any thing of God, and 
say, ' This is his decree, or word, or providence; and there- 
fore it is good,' when there is no such thing revealed to us ; 
so when we find that it is indeed revealed, our reason must 
presently submit, and undoubtedly conclude it reasonable 
and good. Yet is there no cause from hence to fear, lest 
God should condemn the innocent, or break his promises, 
and deny us the reward ; nor is there any hope to wicked 
men that he should violate his peremptory threatenings, or 
(as they call it in their selfish language) be better than his 
word : Because though God have an absolute propriety, and 
therefore in regard of his interest or power, may do what 
he will, yet he is essentially also most wise and good, and 
accordingly hath fitted all things to their use, and taken 
upon him the relation of our Governor, and as it were 
obliged himself by his laws and covenants, and declared 
himself to be most just; and shewed us hereby that he will 
do nothing contrary to these. As there is no contradiction 
but most perfect unity in God's omnipotency, wisdom, and 
goodness ; his dominion or propriety, his kingdom, and 
paternity ; so shall there be no contradiction but a perfect 
concord of all these in the exercise. He therefore that as 
our King and Governor, hath undertaken to advance the 
godly, and destroy the wicked, will not by the exercise of 
his absolute dominion, deny himself, nor be unfaithful to his 
people, or to his rules of government. 

If you ask me, in what cases then this dominion is ex- 
ercised? I answer, 1. Inlaying the foundations of laws, 
and right. 2. In the disposal of the unreasonable creatures. 
3. In abundance of things about his rational creatures, 
wherein as Rector he is not engaged, nor hath in his laws 
declared his will : As about the various constitutions and 
complexions of men, their ranks and dignities in the world, 
their riches or poverty, their health or sickness, their gifts 
and parts both natural and acquired ; the first giving of the 
Gospel, and of special grace, to such as had forfeited them, 
and had no promise of them : the degrees of outward means 
and mercies ; the degrees of inward grace, more than what 
is promised, &c. 

From hence also we must learn, not to repine at the pro- 
vidences of God about his church, which are strange to us, 
and past our reach, and seem to make against its welfare. 


Remember that as he may do with his own as he list, so we 
have no reason to think that he will be lavish or disregardful 
of his own. The church is not ours, but God's : and therefore 
he is fitter than we to be trusted with it. 

And so in our own distresses by affliction ; when flesh 
repineth, let us remember, that we are his own, and he may 
do with us as he pleases. If we be poor, despised, sick and 
miserable in the world, let us remember, that as it is no in- 
jury to the beasts that they are not men, or to the worms 
that they are not beasts, or to the plants that they have not 
sense, or to the stars that they are not suns ; so it is no 
wrong to the subjects that they are not princes, or to the 
poor that they are not rich, or to the sick that they are not 
healthful. May not God do with his own, as he list? shall 
a beggar grudge that you give not all that he desireth, when 
you are not bound to give him any thing? 

4. Yea, hence we must learn to be the more thankful for 
all our mercies, because they proceed from the absolute 
Lord, that was not obliged to us. He might have made us 
idiots, or madmen ; he might have made us beasts or toads, 
without any injury to us ; and the mercies which are conse- 
quently from his promise, are antecedently from his pro- 
priety and dominion ; for he might have put us into other 
capacities, and have chosen not to have made those pro- 
mises. And his promises bind us not to be less thankful 
but more. As his mercies are not the less mercies but the 
greater, for being promised ; because we have now the com- 
fort and use of them in the promise, before we have them. 

5. Hence also we must learn, that there can be no sim- 
ple absolute propriety in any creature. No creature gave 
all the being and wellbeing to another that it hath, arid this 
originally as of its own. We being not our own but GoiJ's, 
cannot have any thing that is absolutely our own. Human 
propriety is but derived, limited, and respective. Our goods, 
and lands, and lives are ours ; that is, they are ours to use 
for God, as the instruments of a workman to do his work ; 
but not ours to use as we think meet. They are so ours, as 
that men may not take them from us, but God may take them 
from us at his pleasure. And therefore think not you may 
misspend a penny if you were never so rich, because it is 
your own ; but know that you must misspend nothing, be- 
cause it is not your own but God's. 


6. Principally, we must hence learn to deny ourselves, 
as being not our own, and having nothing in the world that 
is our own, in respect to God, the absolute owner. And 
therefore above all the sins of your souls, still watch against 
this selfishness ; lest you should grow to look at your time, 
your strength, your wealth, your interests, as your own, and 
forget that you are mere stewards ; and say as the ungodly, 
" Our lips are our own : who is lord over us ?" (Psal. xii. 
4.) O take heed that you use not your strength, or interest, 
or any thing for yourselves : no not so much as your food 
and raiment; (1 Cor. x. 31;) that is, for yourselves ulti- 
mately, or not in subordination to the Lord. For self as 
subject unto God, or as closed with him in the bond of love, 
is no longer self in enmity and opposition, nor that which 
we are forbidden to seek or serve. 

7. And this knowledge of the dominion of God, must 
prevail with us effectually to resign ourselves absolutely to 
him. Our consent doth give him no title to us, but it is 
necessary to our welfare that we confess his title. All men, 
even the wicked, are his own, but that is against their wills : 
but the godly are willingly his own, and disclaim all interest in 
themselves but what is duly subordinate to his : The name 
of God is put upon them, as you put your names on your 
goods or sheep. " I sware unto thee, and entered into a 
covenant with thee, saith the Lord, and thou becamest 
mine." (Ezek. xvi. 8.) '* And they shall be mine, saith the 
Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels." (Mal.iii. 17.) 
To be entirely his by covenant, is proper to a saint : for 
sanctification hath these parts ; one is the habitual devotion 
of the soul to God, and the other is the actual dedication, 
and a third is the relation of the person as thus dedicated, 
and the fourth is the actual using of ourselves for God. 
These four are the parts of sanctification ; so that all is 
but our giving up ourselves to God. But to be his in 
right, is common to the devils, and most ungodly. The 
hearts of the sanctified do resolvedly and delightfully say, 
" My beloved is mine, and I am his ;" (Cant. ii. 16;) and 
" I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine." (vi. 3.) See 
then that you keep not any thing back, but resign up your- 
selves entirely to God, as those that know they are wholly 

8. And with ourselves we must resign up all to God that 


we have. For if we are not our own but his, then our chil- 
dren, our wealth, our wits, our time, our abilities, and all 
that we have are his. All is not fe® be used one way for 
God : not all to the poor, nor all to the commonwealth, nor 
all to the direct promoting of his worship ; but all must be 
his, and used for him, in one way or other, and in those ways 
which he requireth. Possess not any thing merely for your- 

9. And especially see to it in the use and improvement, 
that you use yourselves, and all that you have, for God. Let 
this be your intention, trade, and study. See that you be 
always at his work ; that if a man come in upon you any 
hour of the day, and ask you what you are doing, and whose 
work it is that you are upon, you may truly be able to say, 
the Lord's. If you be asked, who you are now speaking for, 
or spending your time for, or for whom do you expend your 
wealth? You may truly say of every hour, and every penny, 
and every word. It is for the Lord. Even that which you 
give your children or friends, and that which you receive for 
your support or comfort, may all be principally and ulti- 
mately for God : " Ye are not your own ; for ye are bought 
with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in 
your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.) " Christ died 
for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto 
themselves, but to him that died for them, and rose again." 
(2 Cor. V. 15.) 

10. Lastly, This must be a stay to the souls of true be- 
lievers, and cause them with comfort to trust themselves and 
all their affairs in the hands of God. When we have first 
made it our care to " give to God the things that are God's ;" 
(Matt. xxii. 21 ;) and heartily consecrated ourselves and all 
that we have to him as his own ; we have no reason to doubt 
of his acceptance, nor of his care, and protection, and mer- 
ciful disposal of us. This is a wonderful comfort to poor 
Christians, to think that they have such an owner. Who- 
ever is against you, Christians, be sure of it, God will look 
to you, as his own ! And if you do but promise another 
that you will be as careful of his child, his horse, his goods, 
as if they were your own, he will think you say as much as 
can be expected. If you be poor, or sick, or desolate, you 
may be sure that yet God will look to you as his own. And 
why should you think that he will be careless of his own ? 


Ground your prayers and confidence on this, as David doth, 
" I am thine, save me." (Psal. cxix. 94.) And in all our 
labours, and the affairs of our lives, when our consciences 
can say that we live to God, and study to do all we do for 
him, and to improve all our time and parts, and other talents, 
to his use, it may very much quiet us in all his disposals of us. 
If he keep us in the lowest case, if we be his, we must rest 
in his wisdom, that knows best how to use his cwn. If he 
take our friends from us, he taketh but his own. If he deny 
his saving grace to our ungodly children (a heavy judgment 
of which we must be sensible); yet when we have devoted 
them to God, and done our own part, we must be silent, as 
Aaron was when his sons were destroyed ; (Lev. x. 3 ;) and 
confess that the " potter hath power over his own clay, to 
make of the same lump a vessel to honour, and another to 
dishonour." (Rom. ix. 21.) All his disposals shall work to 
that end which is the most universal perfect good, and most 
denominateth all the means. But those that are his own by 
consent and covenant, may be sure that all shall work to 
their own good. Let us die with Christ, and be buried to 
the world, and know no lord or ov/ner but our great Creator 
and Redeemer (except in a limited subservient sense), and 
then we may boldly argue with him to the quiet of our souls 
from this relation, " I am thine, help me." " Stir up thy- 
self, and awake to my judgment, even to my cause, my Lord 
and my God;" when faith and love have first said as 
Thomas, " My Lord and my God." (John xx. 28.) 


13. The next Relation to be spoken of, is God*s Sovereignty : 
Both by creation and redemption he has the right of govern- 
ing us as our Sovereign King, and we are obliged to be his 
willing subjects, and as such to obey his holy laws. He is 
the Lord or Owner of all the world ; even of brutes as 
properly as of man : But he is the Sovereign King or Go- 
vernor only of the reasonable creature; because no other 
are capable of that proper moral government which now we 
speak of. Vulgarly indeed his physical motions and dispo- 
sitions are called his rule or government; and so God is said 
to govern brutes and inanimate creatures ; but that is but a 
metaphorical expression : as an artificer metaphorically go- 
verneth his clock or engine, or a shepherd his sheep. But 




we now speak of proper moral government. God having 
made man a rational and free agent, having an immortal 
soul, and capable of everlasting happiness, his very nature 
and the end of his creation required, that he should be con- 
ducted to that end and happiness by means agreeable to his 
nature ; that is, by the revelation of the reward before he 
seeth it, that he may seek it and be fitted for it : and by 
prescribed duties that are necessary to obtain it, and to his 
living here according to his nature : and by threatened pe- 
nalties to quicken him to his duty : &o that he is naturally 
a creature to be governed, both as sociable, and as one to be 
conducted to his end. He therefore that created him having 
alone both sufficiency and right, doth by this very creation 
become his Governor. His government hath two parts (the 
world being thus constituted the kingdom of God). The 
first is by legislation, or making laws and officers for execu- 
tion. The second is by the procuring the execution of these 
laws : to which end he doth exhort and persuade the sub- 
jects to obedience, and judge them according to their works, 
and execute his judgment. His first law was to Adam, the 
law of nature, obliging him to adhere to his Creator, and to 
love him, trust him, fear him, honour him, and obey him with 
all his might, in order to the pleasing of his Creator, and the 
attainment of everlasting life : to which was added a posi- 
tive law, against the eating of the tree of knowledge ; and 
death was the penalty due to the sinner. This law was 
quickly broken by man ; and God delayed not his judgment, 
but sentenced the tempter, the woman and the man ; but not 
according to their merits : but graciously providing a re- 
deemer, he presently stopt the execution of the far greatest 
part of the penalty, the Son of God undertaking as our 
surety to become a sacrifice and ransom for us. Hereupon 
the covenant of grace was made, and the law of grace enacted 
with mankind; but more obscurely in the beginning; being 
cleared up by degrees in the several promises to the fathers, 
the types of the law, and the prophecies of the prophets 
of several ages, and the law being interposed because of 
transgression : In the fulness of time the Messiah was incar- 
nate, and the first promises concerning him fulfilled, and 
after his holy life, and preachings, and conquests of the 
tempter and the world, he gave himself a ransom for us, and 
conquering death he rose again, ascended into heaven, being 


possessed in his manhood of the fulness of his power, and 
all things being delivered into his hands ; so that he was 
made the General Administrator and Lord of all. And thus 
he more clearly revealing his covenant of grace, and bring- 
ing life and immortality to light, commissioned his ministers 
to preach this Gospel to all the world. And thus the primi- 
tive Sovereign is God, and the Sovereign by derivation is 
Jesus the Mediator, in his manhood united to the second 
person in the Godhead ; and the laws that we are governed 
by, are the laws of nature with the superadded covenant of 
grace ; the subordinate officers are angels, magistrates and 
pastors of the church (having works distinct) ; the society 
itself is called the church and kingdom of God; the reward 
is everlasting glory, with the mercies of this life in order to 
it : and the punishment is everlasting misery, v^ith the pre- 
paratory j udgments, especially on the soul, which are here 
inflicted. Subjection is due upon our first being ; and is 
consented to, or vowed in baptism, and is to be manifested in 
holy obedience to the death. This is the Sovereignty and 
Government of God. And now let us see how God, as our 
Sovereign, must be known. 

J. The princes, and all the rulers of the world, must un- 
derstand their place and duty : They are first God's sub- 
jects, and then his officers, and can have " no power but 
from God," (Rom. xiii. 3, 4,) nor hold any but in depen- 
dance on him, and subordination to him. Their power ex- 
tendeth no further than the Heavenly Sovereign hath signi- 
fied his pleasure, and by commission to them, or command 
to us, conferred it on them. As they have no strength (or 
natural power) but from the Omnipotent God, so can they 
have no authority (or governing power or right) but from 
the absolute King of all the world. They can less pretend 
to aright of governing not derived from God, than a justice 
or constable may to such power, not derived from the earthly 

Princes and states also must hence understand their 
end and work. God who is the beginning, must be the end 
also of their government : Their laws must be but by-laws 
subservient to his laws, to further men's obedience to them. 
The common good, which is their lower nearer end, must 
be measured by his interest in the nations, and men's rela- 
tions unto him. The common possession of his favour. 


blessing and protection, Is the greatest common good. His 
interest in us, and ours in him, must therefore be princi- 
pally maintained. 

2. The knowledge of God as our sovereign King, must 
bring the whole man in subjection to him. Our under- 
standings must be subject to his doctrine, and resigned to 
him, as teachable and tractable : when we know what is his 
law and will, we must rest in it, though we know not the 
reasons of it. We take not on us to be competent judges 
of all the reasons of the laws of men, but must obey them 
without disputing the reasons (with the limitations after to 
be mentioned). How much more must we submit to the 
wisdom of the infallible Lawgiver, that cannot deceive, or 
be deceived! Our wills also must be f«lly subject to his 
will, revealed by his precepts. We must desire no more to 
move us, or to stop us, but to know what God would have 
us do. As the first wheels in a watch or other engine mov- 
eth all the rest, so the will of God must move all our wills, 
and rule our lives. We must take heed above all things in 
the world, lest our wills (which are the lower wheels) should 
have any such defects, distempers, reserves, any carnal bias, 
interest, or inclination, that makes them unfit to receive the 
law of God, or be ruled by his will. We must imitate our 
Lord, (Heb. x. 7,) and learn of the prophet, " I delight to 
do thy will, O God." (Psal. xl. 8.) With cheerful readiness 
to obey, we must stand waiting for the word of his com- 
mand ; and say as Psal. cxliii. 10. " Teach me to do thy 
will, for thou art my God :" And as Samuel, (1 Sam. iii. 9,) 
** Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." When a man's 
selfish carnal will is mortified, and his will lies flat before 
the Lord, and wholly applieth itself to his will, and it is 
enough to a man to move him in the greatest matters, to 
know that it is the will of God, this is a state of true sub- 
jection. Thus must we be "in subjection to the Father of 
Spirits," submitting even to his sharpest dispensations. 
(Heb. xii. 9.) And all the church is subject unto Christ. 
(Ephes. V. 24.) And this is essential to our holy covenant 
and Christianity itself. When God is taken to be our God, 
and we give up ourselves to be his people ; when Christ is 
taken to be our Saviour, and we give up ourselves to him 
as his members, and redeemed ones, it essentially con- 
taineth our taking him for our chief Governor, and giving 


up ourselves to him as his subjects. Take heed of that 
wisdom that would overtop the wisdom of God, and be 
your guide itself, without depending on his wisdom. This 
is the foolish damning wisdom of the world. Take heed of 
that concupiscence or will that would be your ruler, and 
overtop the will of God. For this is the grand rebel, and 
greatest enemy of God and us. 

3. And subjection must produce obedience ; subjection 
is the consent of the will to be subjects, and to obey : obe- 
dience is the actual performance of commanded duties. 
Subjection is the root of obedience, and virtually containeth 
it: Obedience is the fruit of subjection, and supposeth it. 
If God be your master, shew it by his fear, or service. 
(Mai. i. 6.) It is not calling Christ our King, but obeying 
him before all, that will prove us subjects, " Not every one 
that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall enter into the king- 
dom of heaven : but he that doth the will of my Father 
which is in heaven." (Matt. vii. 21.) " I beseech you, there- 
fore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your 
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your rea- 
sonable service : And be not conformed to this world, but 
be you transformed (or turned into other men) by the re- 
newing of your mind, that you may prove what is that 
good, that acceptable and perfect will of God." (Rom. xii. 
1, 2.) " And this is the will of God, even your sanctifica- 
tion.'* (1 Thess. iv. 3.) " Forasmuch then as Christ hath 
suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the 
same mind : For he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath 
ceased from sin : that he no longer should live the rest of 
his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of 
God." (1 Pet. iv. 1, 2.) Yea, we should " stand perfect and 
complete in^all the will of God." (Col. iv. 12.) And by the 
power of the word of God, " every thought should be 
brought in obedience unto Christ." (2 Cor. x. 5.) Our obe- 
dience should be public and exemplary. (Rom. xvi. 19.) 
** For so is the will of God, that with well doing we put to 
silence the ignorance of foolish men." (1 Pet. ii. 15.) " Obe- 
dience is better than sacrifice." (1 Sam. xv. 22.) Whatever 
you do therefore, keep close to the law of God. 

4. To this end we must labour to know the law, and be 
acquainted with God's will. The book of nature must be 
studied : The holy Scripture must be searched, (John v. 39,) 


" and meditated in both day and night." (Psal. i. 2.) Princes 
must have this book continually in their hands. (Deut. xvii. 
18 — 20; Josh. i. 8. 9.) Rich and poor must learn it, that 
they may obey it. (Deut. vi. 6, 7.) 

5. And our subjection to God obligeth us to a subjection 
to the officers which he sets over us. If any man say to 
judges, justices, and constables, ' I will obey the king, but 
you are no kings, therefore I will not obey you,' he shall 
suffer as disobeying the king in his officers. Contempt of 
magistrates and ministers, reflects on God. 

6. Yea, hence we must practically understand, in what 
respect to obey our governors : Not merely as the officers of 
men : not only as chosen by the people ; but as the officers 
of God, that from him have their authority. The atheistical 
politicians that derive authority no higher than the sword, 
or the people's choice, or natural strength, do teach men to 
obey their governors, but as a little dog submits unto a 
mastiff, or so far as their commodity persuadeth them, but 
not for conscience in obedience to God. And they teach 
men to look to no higher end than common preservation 
and liberties, and not to expect protection or reward from 
the Absolute Sovereign. In a word, they entice all princes 
and people into damning rebellion against the Lord ; as 
much as if they should entice all constables and justices to 
hold their places without dependence on the prince. But 
God teacheth us that " there is no power but of God : the 
powers that be, are ordained of God ; Whosoever therefore 
resisteth the power, shall receive to themselves damnation : 
For he is the minister of God to us for good ; even the 
minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that 
doth evil. Wherefore we must needs be subject not only 

for wrath, but also for conscience sake For they are 

God's ministers continually attending upon this very thing : 
and for this cause we must pay them tribute." (Rom. xiii. 1, 
2. 4 — 6.) " Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man 

for the Lord's sake, For so is the will of God ." 

(1 Pet. ii. 13. 15.) " Judge righteously between every man 
and his brother ye shall not respect persons in judg- 
ment, but shall hear the small as well as the great, you 
shall not be afraid of the face of man : For the judgment is 
God's." (Deut, i. 16, 17.) "And he said to the judges. 
Take heed what ye do; for you judge not for man, but for 


the Lord, who is with you in the judgment ; wherefore let 
the fear of the Lord be upon you." (2 Chron. xix. 5 — 7.) 
But our atheistical politicians would teach rulers that they 
are none of the ministers of God, and that they judge for 
man only, and not for him. The nature of all true obe- 
dience is such as Paul describeth in children and servants, 
Ephes. vi. 1. 6 — 8, that fetcheth its rise and motives from 
the Lord ; " Children obey your parents in the Lord, for 

this is right Servants be obedient to them that are your 

masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in 
singleness of your heart, as unto Christ : not with eye-ser- 
vice as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing 
the will of God from the heart; with goodwill, doing ser- 
vice as to the Lord, and not to men." So Colos. iii. 22, 23. 
7. Hence also you must learn, that God's authority is 
the highest authority, and there is indeed no such thing in 
the world as true authority that is against him, or not subordi- 
nate unto him : And therefore if men command us to dis- 
obey God, by neglecting that which is ' hie et nunc' a duty, 
or by sinning against him, their commands are from a dis- 
obedient will of their own, but from no authority: and it is 
better in such cases to obey God than man ; (Acts v. 29 ;) 
so many prophets, apostles, and other martyrs, would not 
have been sacrificed by the fury of persecutors, if they had 
thought it just to obey them before God. God never gave 
any man authority against him. Nor to nullify his laws. 
The acts of a justice or constable against the king, or be- 
yond their power, are private or rebellious acts, and not 
authoritative. And so are the laws of men that are against 
God. Yet note well, that though we must rather disobey 
men, than God, yet we may not forcibly resist, when we 
may not obey them. And in some cases (as if a king would 
ravish a woman, or the like) when it is lawful to resist his 
fact, it is not lawful to resist his state, and disturb the go- 
vernment of the commonwealth : Obey men cheerfully when 
God forbids it not: but see that God be your absolute 
Sovereign, whose laws can be dispensed with by none. 

If parents or masters command you to break the laws of 
God, obey them not. Despise them not, but humbly de- 
precate their displeasure, and obey them in all other things ; 
but in the unlawful thing obey them not : no not if they 
were the greatest princes upon earth. But say as the three 


witnesses of God, " We are not careful to answer thee in 
this matter: If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to 
deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will de- 
liver us out of thy hands, O king : But if not, be it known 
unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor 
worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Dan. 
iii. 16, 17.) 

What I have said of magistrates, in the two last cases, I 
mean also of pastors of the church. They must be obeyed in 
and for the Lord ; but not against the Lord. Saith Paul of 
the churches of Macedonia, *' They gave their ownselves to 
the Lord, and unto us, by the will of God." (2 Cor. viii. 5.) 
See Acts xx. 28 ; 1 Thess. v. 12. " He that heareth you 
heareth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth me." (Luke 
X. 16.) And yet the leaven of the Pharisees must be avoid- 
ed : And " an angel from heaven be held as accursed, if he 
should preach another Gospel." (Gal. i. 8.) And I would 
not have flatterers to set either princes or pastors above the 
angels of heaven. Though yet in other respects, we may be 
still obliged, as I said before, to hear and obey them. 

8. And the knowledge of God*s Sovereignty must teach 
us to fear his righteous threatenings, and reverence his jus- 
tice, and prepare ourselves to be judged by him. He ruleth 
by his laws, and so by threatenings and promises, which he 
will make good. It is not a painted fire that he threateneth. 
Judgment is a part of government. Laws are but shadows 
if there be no execution. " O worship the Lord in the 
beauty of holiness ; fear before him all the earth. Say 

among the heathen, that the Lord reigneth ." (Psal. 

xcvi. 9, 10.) As his promises, so his peremptory threaten- 
ings shall be fulfilled. He will not revoke his established 
laws for fear of hurting wilful sinners, that will not fear his 
judgments till they feel them. " Let all the earth fear the 
Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of 
him : for he spake, and it wasd one ; he commanded, and 
it stood fast." (Psal. xxxiii. 8.) Mark also the present 
judgments of the Lord, and rush not on his indignation. 
For " the Lord is known by the judgments which he exe- 
cuteth : the wicked is (oft) snared in the work of his own 
hands." (Psal. ix. 16.) Though " the wicked contemn God, 
and say in his heart, Thou wilt not require it ;" (Psal. x. 13 ;) 
yet they shall find that " he beholdeth mischief to requite 


it with his hand, and that he is the helper of the fatherless 
and poor that commit themselves unto him." (ver. 14.) 
" The Lord's throne is in heaven : his eyes behold, his eye- 
lids try the children of men : the Lord trieth the righteous ; 
but the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul 
hateth." (Psal. xi. 4, 5.) 

9. The Sovereignty of God is a comfort to his loyal sub- 
jects. They may be sure that he will protect them, and 
make good his word. " Behold he cometh, and his reward 
is with him." (Rev. xxii. 12.) '* The righteous Judge at his 
appearingv^ill give the crown of righteousness to all them 
that love his appearing." (2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. 18.) " O let the 
nations be glad and sing for joy, for thou shalt judge the 
people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth." 
(Psal. Ixvii. 4.) " Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth 

be glad before the Lord ; for he cometh, for he cometh 

to judge the world with righteousness, and the people with 
his truth." (Psal. Ixix. 11. 13.) 

10. Lastly, The Knowledge of God as our Sovereign 
King, must cause us to desire and pray for and promote the 
glory of his kingdom, and the obedience of his subjects in 
the world ; that his name may be hallowed, by the coming 
of his kingdom, and the doing of his will on earth as it is 
in heaven, must be the matter of our daily requests to God. 
It must be the grief of every subject of the Lord, to think 
of the heathen and infidel parts of the world ; and to see 
the rebellion of the profane among us ; and that the laws of 
God are unknown or despised by the most of men. Alas ! 
what abundance are ruled by their lusts, and self-conceited- 
ness, and corrupted wills, and the customs of the world, or 
the wills of men ! but how few are ruled by the laws of God ! 
O how should it grieve an honest heart, to see God's king- 
dom hindered by infidelity, and weakened, divided, and 
disturbed by popery, and heresy, and dishonoured by scan- 
dal and impiety, as it is ! And to see the multitude, and 
the violence and industry of corrupters, dividers, and de- 
stroyers : and the fewness, the coldness, and the remissness 
of the builders, the healers and restorers! All you that are 
loyal subjects to your Lord, lament these ways of rebellion 
and disobedience, and the diminutions and distempers of 
the subjects of his kingdom, and the unfaithfulness and 
negligence of hi« ministers : and bend your cares, desires. 


and prayers, to the promoting of God's kingdom in you, 
and in the world, and befriend not any thing that hindereth 
its prosperity. 


14. The third of these Relations, and the next point in the 
Knowledge of God, to be spoken of, is. That he is our 
Most Loving Father, 'or Bountiful Benefactor. As he is 
Good, so he doth Good. (Psal. cxix. 68.) And as he is the 
chiefest Good, so he bestoweth the greatest benefits : and 
therefore is thence by a necessary resultancy, our Most 
Bountiful Benefactor. The term Father comprehendeth in 
it all his three great relations to us. 1. A father gives be- 
ing to his children, and therefore hath some propriety in 
them ; and God is the first cause of our whole being, and 
therefore we are his own. 2. A father is the governor of 
his children: and God is our chief governor. 3. A father 
tenderly loveth his children that are childlike, loving, and 
obedient to him ; and seeketh their felicity : and so doth 
God love, and will make happy, his loving and obedient 
children, who have not only their being from him as their 
maker, but their new being, or holy nature, from him as 
their sanctifier. And this last being the end and perfection 
of the rest, doth communicate its nature to the rest, 
as the means. And so, 1. The new nature that God 
thus giveth us in our regeneration, is not from his com- 
mon love, but is an act of special grace, proceeding from 
his special Fatherly love. 2. The government that he ex- 
erciseth over them, as his regenerate children, is not a com- 
mon government, such as is that of the mere law of nature, 
or of works ; but it is a special government by a law of 
grace, a justifying, remedying, saving law, or covenant; 
together with an internal illuminating, quickening, guiding 
Spirit, with church-state, and officers and ordinances, all 
suited to this way of grace : Even as his dominion or pro- 
priety by redemption, and our sanctification and resigna- 
tion, is not a common propriety, but a gracious relation to 
us as our own Father, who hath the endeared relation to 
him of being his own children. All is from love, and in a 
y/ay of love, and for the exercise and demonstration of love : 
So that when I call God our Benefactor, I precisely dis^ 


130 THE DlVlNli LIFE. 

tinguish this last part of his relation to us, from the rest : 
But when I call hini a Father, I mean the same thing, or 
relation which a benefactor signifieth ; but with fuller as- 
pect on the foregoing relations, and connotation of them as 
they are perfected all in this. 

And here, I. I shall briefly name the benefits on which 
this relation of God is founded. And, 1. Even in creating 
us, he acted as a benefactor, giving us the fundamental 
good of being, and the excellency of manhood. 2. By set- 
ting us in a well-furnished world, and putting all things un- 
der our feet, and giving us the use of creatures. 3. By 
entering into the relation of a governor to us, and conse- 
quently engaging himself to terms of justice in his dealing 
with us, and to protect us, and reward us, if we did obey ; 
and making us capable of an everlasting happiness as our 
end, and appointing us sufficient means thereto. These 
benefits denominated God the Great Benefactor or Father 
unto man, in the state of his creation. 

But then moreover he is a common benefactor also. 4. 
By so loving the world, as to give his only begotten Son, 
to be their Redeemer; a sufficient sacrifice for sin. 5. By 
giving out his promise or covenant of grace, and making a 
common deed of gift of pardon, reconciliation, and eternal 
life, to all that will accept it in and with Christ, to Gospel 
ends. 6. By sending forth the messengers of this grace, 
commanding them to preach to every creature the Gospel, 
or word of reconciliation committed to them, and to be- 
seech men in Christ's stead, as his ambassadors ; as if God 
himself did entreat by them, to be reconciled to God." (Matt, 
xxviii. 18, 19 ; Mark xvi. 16 ; 2 Cor. v. 19, 20.) 7. By afford- 
ing some common mercies without, and motions of his Spirit 
within, to second these invitations. But though by this much 
God hath a title to their dearest love, yet they have no title to 
his highest benefits, nor are in the nearest relation of chil- 
dren or beneficiaries to him. 

But, 8. When he begetteth us again to a lively hope, by 
his incorruptible Seed, and giveth us both to will and to do, 
and when the Father effectually draweth us to the Son, and 
reneweth us according to his image, and taketh away our old 
and stony hearts, and giveth us new and tender hearts, and 
giveth us to know him, and love him as a Father ; then is 
he our Father in the dearest and most comfortable sense. 


and we are his children, that have interest in his dearest 
love. 9. And therefore we have his Spirit, and pardon, 
justification, and reconciliation with him. 10. And also 
we have special communion with him in prayers, praises, 
sacraments, and all holy ordinances and conversation. 11. 
And we and our services are pleasing to him, and so we are 
in the light of his countenance, and under a special promise 
of his protection and provision, and that ** all things shall 
work together for our good." 12. And we have the promise 
of perfection in everlasting glory. 

II. And now as you see how God is our benefactor, or 
most gracious and loving Father, let us next see what this 
must work on us. 

And, 1. Goodness and bounty should shame men from 
their sin, and lead them to repentance. (Rom. ii. 4, 5.) 
Love is not to be abused and requited with unkindness and 
provocation. He that can turn grace into wantonness, and 
do evil becausa grace hath abounded, or that it may abound, 
shall be forced to confess that his damnation is just. He 
that will not hate his sin, when he seeth such exceeding 
benefits stand by, and heareth mercy, and wonderful mercy 
plead against it, and upbraid the sinner with ingratitude, is 
like to die a double death, and shall have no more sacrifice 
for sin. 

2. The fatherly love and benefits of God, do call for our 
best returns of love. The benefits of creation, oblige all to 
love him with all their heart, and soul, and might : much more 
the benefits of redemption, and especially (as applied by 
sanctifying grace to them that shall be heirs of life, it 
obligeth them by multiplied strongest obligations : The 
worst are obliged to as much love of God, as the best (for 
none can be obliged to more than to love him with all their 
heart, &c.); but they are not as much obliged to that love. 
We have new and special obligations; and therefore must 
return a hearty love, or we are doubly guilty. Mercies are 
love's messengers, sent from heaven to win up our hearts to 
love again, and entice us thither. All mercies therefore 
should be used to this end. That mercy that doth not in- 
crease, or excite and help our love, is abused and lost, as 
seed that is buiyed when it is sowed, and never more ap- 
peareth. Earthly mercies point to heaven, and tell ua 
whence they come, and for what. Like the flowers of the 


spring, they tell us of the reviving approaches of the sun : 
But like foolish children, because they are near us, we love 
the flowers better than the sun ; forgetting that the winter 
is drawing on. But spiritual mercies are as the sunshine 
that more immediately dependeth on, and floweth from the 
sun itself. And he that will not see (and value) the sun by 
its light, will never see it ! These beams come down to in- 
vite our minds and hearts to God ; and if we shut the win- 
dows, or play till night, and they return without us, we 
shall be left to utter darkness. 

The mercies of God must imprint upon our minds the 
fullest and deepest conceptions of him, as the most perfect, 
suitable, lovely object to the soul of man ; when all our good 
is originally in him, and all flows from him, that hath the 
goodness of a means, and finally himself is all ; not to love 
God then, is not to love goodness itself; and there is no- 
thing but good that is suited to our love. Night and day 
therefore should the believer be drawing and deriving from 
God, by the views and tastes of his precious mercies, a 
sweetness of nature, and increase of holy love to God, as 
the bee sucks honey from the flowers. We should not now 
and then for a recreation light upon a flower, and meditate 
on some mercy of the Lord, but make this our work from 
day to day, and keep continually upon our souls, the lively 
tastes and deep impressions of the infinite goodness and 
amiableness of God. When we love God most, we are at 
the best, most pleasing to God ; and our lives are sweetest 
to ourselves : And when we steep our minds in the believ- 
ing thoughts of the abundant fatherly mercies of the Lord, 
we shall most abundantly love him. ^Every mercy is a 
suitor to us from God ! The contents of them all is this, 
* My Son, give me thy heart. Love him that thus loveth 
thee.' Love him, or you reject him. O wonderful love! 
that God will regard the love of man ! that he will enter in- 
to a covenant of love ! that he will be related to us in a re- 
lation of love ! and that he will deal with us on terms of 
love ! that he will give us leave to love him, that are so base, 
and have so loved earth and sin ! yea, and that he will be so 
earnest a suitor for our love, as if he needed it, when it is 
only we that need! But the paths of lovli are mysterious 
and incomprehensible. 

3. As God is in special a Benefactor and a Father to us. 


We must be the readiest and most diligent in obedience to 
him. Childlike duty is the most willing and unwearied 
kind of duty. Where love is the principle, we shall not be 
eye-servants, but delight to do the will of God, and wish, 
O that I could please him more! It is a singular delight to 
a gracious soul to be upon any acceptable duty ; and the 
more he can do good, and please the Lord, that more he is 
pleased. As fatherly love and benefits are the fullest and 
the surest, so will filial duty be. The heart is no fit soil for 
mercies, if they grow not up to holy fruits. The more you 
love, the more cheerfully will you obey. 

4. From hence we must well learn, both how God is 
man's end, and what are the chief means that lead us to him. 
1. God is not the end of reason, nakedly considered, but 
he is ' finis amantis,' the end which love inclineth us to, and 
which by love is attained, and by love enjoyed : The under- 
standing of which would resolve many great perplexing dif- 
ficulties that ' a natura finis' do step into our way in theolo- 
gical studies. I will name no more now, but only that it 
teacheth us, How both God and our own felicity in the 
fruition of him, may be said to be our ultimate end, without 
any contradiction, ^et so that it be eminently and chiefly 
God. For it is a union (such as our natures are capable of) 
that is desired, in which the soul doth long to be swallowed 
up in God ; Understand but what a filial or friendly love is, 
and you may understand what a regular intention is, and 
how God must be the Christian's end. 

2. And withal it shews us, that the most direct and ex- 
cellent means of our felicity, and to our end, are those that 
are most suited to the work of love. Others are means 
more remotely, and necessary in their places ; but these di- 
rectly. And therefore the promises and narratives of the 
love and mercy of the Lord, are the most direct and power- 
ful part of the Gospel, conducing to our end : and the 
threatenings the remoter means. And therefore as grace 
was advanced in the world, the promissory part of God's 
covenant or law, grew more illustrious, and the Gospel con- 
sisted so much of promises, that it is called " Glad tidings 
of great joy." And therefore the most full demonstration of 
God's goodness and loveliness to our hearers, is the most 
excellent part of all our preaching, though it is not all. And 


therefore the meditation of redemption, is more powerful 
than the bare meditation of creation, because it is redemp- 
tion that most eminently revealeth love. And therefore 
Christ is the principal means of life, because he is the prin- 
cipal messenger and demonstration of the Father's love, 
and by the wonders of love which he revealeth, and exhibit- 
eth in his wondrous grace, he wins the soul to the love of 
God. For God will have external objective means, and in- 
ternal effective means concur, because he will work on man 
agreeably to the nature of man. Though there was never 
given out such prevalent invincible measures of the Spirit, 
as Christ hath given for the renewing of those that he will 
save, yet shall not that Spirit do it without as excellent ob- 
jective means. And though Christ, and the riches of his 
grace revealed in the Gospel, be the most wonderful objec- 
tive means, yet shall not these do it without the internal 
effective means. But when love doth shine to us so re- 
splendently without us, in the face of the glorious Sun of 
Love, and is also set into us by the Spirit's illumination, 
that sheds abroad this love in our hearts, then will the holy 
fire burn, which comes from heaven, and leads to heaven, 
and will never rest till it have reached its centre, and 
brought us to the face and arms of God. 

5. And from the fatherly relation and love of God, we 
must learn to trust him, and rest our souls in his securing 
love. Shall we distrust a Father ? an Omnipotent Father ! 
Therefore is this relation prefixed to the petitions of the 
Lord's Prayer, and we begin with *' Our Father which art in 
heaven," that when we remember his love, and our interest 
in him, and his allsufficiency, wemay be encouraged to trust 
him, and make our addresses to him. If a Father, and such 
a Father, smite me, I will submit, and kiss the rod : for I 
know it is the healing fruit of love. If a Father, and such 
a Father, afflict me, wound me, deal strangely with me, and 
grieve my flesh, let me not murmur or distrust him ; for he 
well understandeth what he doth ; and nothing that shall 
hurt me finally can come from Omnipotent paternal love. 
If a Father, and such a Father, kill me, yet let me trust in 
him, and let not my soul repine at his proceedings, nor 
tremble at the separating stroke of death. A beast knows 
not when we strive with him, what we intend, whether to 


cure, or to kill him : But a child need not fear a killing 
blow, nor a loving soul a damning death, from such a Father. 
If he be a Father, where is his love and trust? 

6. If God be our Father, and so wonderful a benefactor 
to us, then thanks and praise must be our most constant 
work, and must be studied above all the rest of duty, and 
most diligently performed. If the tongue of man, which is 
called his glory, be made for any thing, and good for any 
thing, it is to give the Lord his glory, in the thankful ac- 
knowledgment of his love and mercies, and the daily cheer- 
ful praises of his name. Let this then be the Christian's 

7. The children of such a Father, should live a contented, 
cheerful life. Diligence becometh them, but not contri- 
vances for worldly greatness, nor carking cares for that 
which their Father hath promised them to care for. Humi- 
lity and reverence beseemeth them, but not dejection and 
despondency of mind, and a still complaining, fearful, trou- 
bled, disconsolate soul. If the children of such a Father 
shall not be bold, and confident, and cheerful, let joy and 
confidence then be banished from the earth, and be renounced 
by all the sons of men. 


15. There are yet divers subordinate attributes of God, that 
being comprised in the forementioned, may be passed over 
with the briefer touch. And the next that I shall speak of 
is, his Freedom. And God is free in more senses than one j 
but for brevity, I shall speak of all together. 

1. And first, God hath a natural Freedom of Will, being 
determined to will by nothing without him, nor liable to any 
necessity, but what is consistent with perfect blessedness 
and liberty. His own being, and blessedness, and perfec- 
tions, are not the objects of his election ; and therefore not 
of that which we call freewill : But all his works without, 
as creation, providence, redemption, &c. are the effects of 
his freewill : Not but that his will concerning all these, hath 
a necessity of existence : for God did from eternity will the 
creation, and all that is done in time ; and therefore from 
eternity that will existing, had a necessity of existence: but 
yet it was free, because it proceedeth not necessarily from 
the very nature of God : God was God before he made the 


world, or redeemed it, or did the things that are daily done* 
And therefore one part of the schoolmen maintain, not only 
that there is contingency from God, but that there could be 
no contingency in the creature, if it had not its original in 
God : The liberty of God being the fountain of contingency. 
2. There is also an eminency both of dominion and so- 
vereignty in God, according to which he may be called Free. 
His absoluteness of propriety freeth him from the restraint 
of any obligation, but what floweth from his own freewill, 
from disposing of his own as he pleases. And his absolute 
Sovereignty freeth him from the obligation of his own laws, 
as laws, though he will still be true to his promises and pre- 
dictions. Let man therefore take heed how he questionetb 
his Maker, or censureth his laws, or works, or ways. 


16. Another attribute of God is his Justice. With submis- 
sion, I conceive that this is not to be said to be from eter- 
nity, any otherwise than all God's relations are (as Creator, 
Redeemer, &c.) ; because there is no time with God. For 
though the blessed nature denominated Just is from eternity, 
yet not the formality or denomination of justice. For justice 
is an attribute of God as he is Governor only ; and he was 
not Governor, till he had creatures to govern ; and he could 
not be a Just Governor when he was no Governor. The de- 
nomination did not arise till the creation had laid the foun- 
dation. Many questions may be resolved hence, which I 
will not trouble you to recite. 

Justice in God is the perfection of his nature, as it giveth 
every one his due, or governeth the world in the most per- 
fect orders for the ends of government. Because he is Just, 
he will reward the righteous, and difference between the 
godly and the wicked : for that governor that useth all alike 
is not just. The " crown of righteousness" is given by him 
as a " Righteous Judge." (2 Tim. iv. 8.) 

1. The Justice of God is substantially (in men we call it 
an inclination) in his nature, and so it is eternal. 

2. It is founded formally in his relation of Governor. 

3. It is expressively first in his laws : For as a Just 
Governor he made them suited to the subjects, objects and 

4. It is expressively secondarily in his judgments and 


executions; which is when they are according to his law; or 
in the cases of penalty where he may dispense at least ac- 
cording to the state of the subject, and fitted to the end» 
of government. 

1. The Justice of God is the consolation of the just: 
He will justify them whom his Gospel justifieth, because he 
is Just. The Justice of God in many places of Scripture, 
is taken for his fidelity in vindicating his people, and his 
judging for them, and procuring them the happy fruits of 
his government, and so is taken in a consolatory sense. 
" Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne; 
mercy and truth shall go before thy face.'' (Psal. Ixxxix. 14.) 
" It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation 
to them that trouble us, and rest to the troubled." (2 Thess. 
i. 5, 6.) 

2. The Justice of God is the terror of the ungodly. As 
he would not make unrighteous laws, for the pleasure of un- 
righteous men, so neither will he pass unrighteous judgment. 
But look what a man soweth, that shall he also reap. All 
his peremptory threatenings shall be made good, and his 
wrath poured out for ever upon impenitent souls, because he 
is the Righteous God. 


17. Another of God's attributes is his Holiness. He is called 
Holy. 1. As he is transcendently above and separated from 
all the creatures, in comparison of whom the heavens are 
not clean ; and from whom all things stand at an infinite 
distance. 2. As the perfection of his nature is the fountain 
of all moral good. 1. In the holiness of his law, the rule 
of holiness. 2. In the holiness of the soul ; and 3. In his 
holy judgments. And consequently as this perfect nature 
is contrary to all the moral pollution of the creature, loathing 
iniquity, forbidding and condemning it. That perfect 
goodness of the will of God, from whence floweth holy laws, 
and motions, and the holiness of the soul of man, is it that 
Scripture meaneth usually by God's Holiness ; rather than 
the aforesaid distance from the creatures. And therefore 
his Holiness is usually given as the reason of his laws and 
judgments, and of his enmity to sin: And our holiness is 
called his image (who imitate not his transcendency), and 
we are commanded to be " Holy as he is Holy." (1 Peter i. 


16.) The nature of the image will best tell us what Holiness 
is in God. Holiness in us is called " the Divine Nature," 
(2 Peter i. 4,) and therefore is radically a right inclination 
and disposition of the soul; which hath its rise from tran- 
scendent Holiness in God, even as our wisdom from his 
transcendent wisdom, and our being from his being. Holi- 
ness therefore being indeed the same with the transcendently 
moral goodness of God, which I have spoken of before, I 
shall say but little of it now. Thus must the Holiness of 
God be known. 

1. It must cause us to have a most high and honourable 
esteem of holiness in the creature, because it is the image 
of the Holiness of God. Three sorts of creatures have a 
derivative holiness : The first is the law ; which is the mere 
signification of the wise and Holy Will of God concerning 
man's duty, with rewards and penalties, for the holy govern- 
ing of the world ! This is the nearest image of God, en- 
graven upon that seal which must be the instrument of im- 
printing it in our souls. Now the holiness of the word is 
not the mere product of the will of God, considered as a 
will ; but of the will of God considered as Holy, that is, as 
the infinite transcendent moral goodness in the Architype 
or Original. For all events that proceed from God, are the 
products of his will which is Holy, but not as holy as the 
creating, preserving, disposing of every fly, or fish in the sea, 
or worm in the earth, &c. There is somewhat therefore in 
the nature of God, which is the perfection of his will, and 
is called Holiness, which the holiness of the law doth flow 
from and express. 

This Holy Word is the immortal seed that begetteth 
holiness in the soul, which is the second subject of derived 
holiness : And this our holiness is a conformity of the soul 
to the law, as the product of the Holy Will of God, and not 
a mere conformity to his predictions, and decreeing will as 
such. It is a separation to God, but not every separation : 
Pharaoh was set apart to be the passive monument of the 
honour of God's name : and Cyrus was his servant to restore 
his people, and yet not thus holy. But it is a separation 
from common and unclean uses ; and a purgation from pol- 
luting vice, and a renovation by reception of the image of 
God's Holiness, whose nature is to incline the soul to God, 
and devote it wholly to him; both in justice, because we 


are his own, and in love, because he is most Holy and per- 
fectly good. 

The third subject of Holiness is those creatures that are 
but separated to holy uses, and these have but a relative 
holiness, and * secundum quid :' As the temple, the holy 
utensils, the Bible as to the materials, the minister as an 
officer, the people as visible members, &c. 

All these must be reverenced and honoured by us accord- 
ing to the proportion of their holiness. 1. Our principal 
reverence must be to the Holy Word of God ; for holiness 
is more perfect there than in our souls. The Holiness of the 
Word, which is it that the ungodly hate or quarrel at, is the 
glory of it in the eyes of holy men. We may much discern 
a holy and an unholy soul, by their loving or not loving 
a holy law ; especially as it is a rule to themselves. A dis- 
taste of the holiness of Scripture, and of the holiness of the 
writings of divines, and of the holiness of their preaching 
or conference, discovereth an unholy soul. A love to holy 
doctrine sheweth that there is somewhat suitable to it in the 
soul that loveth it. It is the elogy of the Scriptures, the 
promises, the covenant, the prophets and apostles, that they 
are all holy. (Rom. i. 2 ; Psal. cv. 42 ; Luke i. 70. 72 ; Rev. 
xviii. 20; 2 Tim. iii. 15; Rom. vii. 12.) The holiness of the 
Scripture doth make it as suitable and savoury to a holy soul, 
as light is suitable to the eyesight, and sweetness to the 
taste : and therefore it is to them as the honeycomb. But 
to the unholy it is a mystery, and as foolishness, and that 
which is contrary to their disposition, and they have an en- 
mity to it : which makes a wonderful difference in their 
judging of the evidences of Scripture verity, and much fa- 
cilitateth the work of faith in one sort, and strengtheneth 
unbelief in the other. Holy doctrine is the glass that sheweth 
us the holy face of God himself, and therefore must needs 
be most excellent to the saints. 

2. And we must honour and love also the holiness of the 
saints ; for they also bear the image of the Lord. Their 
holy affections, prayers, discourses, and conversations must 
be beautiful in our eyes : and we must take heed of those 
temptations, that either from personal injuries received from 
any, or from their blots or imperfections, or from their mean- 
ness in the world, or from the contempt, and reproach, and 
slandcirs of the ungodly, would draw us to think dishonour- 


ably of their holiness. He that honoureth the Holy God 
will honour his image in his holy people. " In his eyes a 
vile person will be contemned, but he will honour them that 
fear the Lord." (Psal. xv. 4.) " The saints on earth are the 
excellent" in his eyes, and his " delight" in them. (Psal. xvi. 
2, 3.) The breathings of divine love in the holy prayers, 
praises and speeches of the saints, and their reverent and 
holy mention of his name, are things that a holy soul doth 
sweetly relish, and take pleasure in, as we would do to hear 
an angel speak of the holy things of the invisible glory. 

3. And relative holiness itself, though the lowest, must 
be honoured by us. Holy offices and persons in them must 
be reverenced for their relative holiness. Holy ordinances 
(which also participate of the law, as significative) must be 
reverently used. Due reverence must be given even to that 
which is lawfully by men devoted to a holy use, as are tem- 
ples and utensils of worship, and the maintenance dedicated 
to the service of God. That which is holy, must not be de- 
voured, (Prov. XX. 25,) nor used as we do things common 
and unclean. 

2. God's Holiness must make us holy : we must fall in 
love with it, and wholly conform ourselves unto it. Every 
part of sanctifying grace must be entertained, and cherished, 
and excited, and used by us. Sin must be loathsome to us, 
because it is contrary to the Holiness of God. No toad or 
snake should seem to us so ugly. A dead carcase is an un- 
pleasant sight, because it sheweth us a privation of natural 
life : But an unholy soul is incomparably a more loathsome, 
ghastly sight, because it sheweth us the privation of the life 
of holiness. No man can well know the odiousness of sin, 
and the misery and loathsomeness of the unholy soul, that 
knoweth not the Holiness of God. " Speak unto all the 
congregation of Israel, and say unto them, ye shall be holy ; 
for I the Lord your God am holy." (Lev. xix. 2.) " Sanc- 
tify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy, for I am the Lord 
your God." (Lev. xx. 7, 8.) " As he that hath called us is 
Holy, so must we be holy in all manner of conversation." 
(1 Peter i. 25.) It is " an holy calling wherewith we are 
called." (2 Tim. i. 9.) We are " sanctified to be a peculiar 
people to Christ." (Titus ii. 14.) " That denying ungodli- 
ness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, 
and godly in this present world." (ver. 12.) We are made 


" an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifice, accept- 
able to God, by Jesus Christ." (1 Peter ii. 5.) We must 
therefore " present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, ac- 
ceptable to God, our reasonable service.'* (Rom. xii. !_, 2.) 
For we are " chosen in Christ before the foundation of the 
world, that we should be holy, and without blame," (Ephes. 
i. 4,) and are redeemed and sanctified by Christ, " that we 
may be presented glorious, holy, and without blemish." 
(Ephes. V. 26, 27.) See therefore that you " follow holiness, 
without which no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. xii. 14.) 
For " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see him." 
(Matt. V. 8.) 

3. The Holiness of God, must be to us a standing un- 
answerable argument to shun all temptations that would 
draw us to be unholy, and to confound all the words of 
wicked men that are spoken against holiness. Remember 
but that God is Holy, and if thou like that which is spoken 
against God, thou art his enemy. Think on the prophecies 
of Enoch, " Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of 
his saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all 
that are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds 
which they have ungodlily committed, and of all their hard 
speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 
(Jude 14, 15.) " God will not hold him guiltless that taketh 
his holy name in vain ;" much less that blasphemeth Holi- 
ness, which is the perfection of his blessed nature. 

4. The Holiness of God must possess us with a sense of 
our uncleanness, and further our humiliation. When Isaiah 
heard the seraphims cry, " Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of 
Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory," (Isa. vi. 3,) he 
said, " Woe is me, for I am undone ; because I am a man 
of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of un- 
clean lips ; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of 
Hosts." (verse 5.) 

5. The Holiness of God must cause us to walk continu- 
ally in his fear, and to take heed to all the affections of our 
souls, and even to the manner of our behaviour, when we 
come near to him in his holy worship. What suffered the 
Bethshemites for irreverent looking into the holy ark,(l Sam. 
vi. 19,) and Uzzah but for touching it? And what a dread- 
ful example is that of the two sons of Aaron, that were slain 
by a devouring fire from the Lord, for offering strange fire 


which he commanded not. (Lev. x. 1, 2.) And Aaron was 
awed into silence by this account from God. *' I will be 
sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the 
people I will be glorified." (ver. 3.) Take heed lest irreve- 
rence, or deadness, or customary, heartless, wordy services, 
should be brought before a Holy God. Take heed of hypo- 
critical, carnal worship. The Holy God will not be mocked 
with compliments and shows. 


18. The next attribute of God to be spoken of is, his Vera- 
city, Truth, and Faithfulness. This is the result of his per- 
fect wisdom, goodness and omnipotency : For because he 
is most wise and powerful, he cannot be necessitated to lie : 
And because he is most good, he will not lie. Though God 
speaketh by none but a created voice, and signifieth his will 
to us by men, that in themselves considered are defectible, 
yet what he maketh his voice shall speak truth ; and what 
he chooseth to signify his will, shall truly signify it. He 
therefore condemneth lying in man, because it is contrary to 
his own veracity. For if any should say that God is under 
no law, and therefore is not bound to speak truth, or not de- 
ceive a prophet or apostle by his inspirations; I answer, that 
he hateth lying as contrary to his perfect nature, and is him- 
self against it, and cannot possibly be guilty of it, because 
of his own perfection ; and not because he is under a law. 
Lying comes from some imperfection, either of knowledge, 
power, or goodness, which can none of them befall the Lord. 
The goodness of the creature is a goodness of conformity 
to an obliging law ; and the goodness of the law is a good- 
ness of conformity to, and expressive of the good will of 
God. But the Goodness of God is a perfection of essence, 
the primitive goodness, which is the fountain, and standard, 
and end of all other good ; and not a goodness of con- 
formity to another. 

And this attribute of God is of very great use to his 
servants. 1. From hence we must be resolved for duty, and 
for a holy, heavenly life : because the commands of God are 
serious, and his promises and threatenings true. If God 
were not true, who tells us of these great eternal things, then 
might we excuse ourselves from godliness, and justify the 
worldling in his sensual way : There is nothing of common 


sense and reason that can be said against a holy life, by a 
man that denieth not the Truth of God or of his word. 
And to deny God's Truth, is most unreasonable of all. O 
sirs, when you read and hear of the wonderful weighty mat- 
ters of the Scripture, of an endless life, and the way thereto ; 
bethink you, if these things be true, *' what manner of per- 
sons you should be, in all holy conversation and godliness !" 
(2 Peter iii. 11.) If the word be true, that telleth us of 
death and judgment, and heaven and hell, is it time for us to 
sin, to trifle, and live unready ! 

2. The Truth of God is the terror of his enemies. O 
happy men, if their unbelief could make void the threaten- 
ings of God, and doubting of them would make them false ! 
and if their misery were as easily remedied as denied ; and 
ended as easily as now forgotten ! or forgotten hereafter as 
easily as now ! But true and righteous is the Lord, and 
" from the beginning his word is true." (Psal. cxix. 16.) Not 
a word shall fall to the ground, nor a jot or tittle pass un- 

3. The Truth of God is the ground of faith, and the 
stay of our souls and the rock of all our confidence and 
comfort : A Christian did not differ from another man (un- 
less in being somewhat more deluded) if God were not true. 
But this is the foundation of all our hopes, and the life of 
our religion, and all that we are as Christians, proceeds from 
this. Faith is animated by God's Veracity, and from thence 
all other graces flow, or are excited in us. O Christians, 
what a treasure is before your eyes, when you open the 
blessed Book of God ! What life should it put into your 
confidence and comforts, to think that all these words are 
true ! All those descriptions of the everlasting kingdom, 
and all those exceeding precious promises of this life, and 
that which is to come, and all the expressions of that ex- 
ceeding love of God unto his servants, all these are the 
true sayings of God. " A faithful witness will not lie/' 
(Prov. xiv. 5,) much less will the faithful God. " Eternal life 
is promised by God that cannot lie." (Titus i. 2.) " Wherein 
God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of pro- 
mise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an 
oath ; that by two immutable things, in which it was impos- 
sible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, 
who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set be- 


fore us." (Heb. vi. 17, 18.) Let faith therefore live upon the 
truth of God, and let us be strengthened, and rejoice therein. 

4. Abhor all doctrines which deny the truth and faith- 
fulness of God, for they destroy the ground of Christian 
faith, of all divine faith, and all religion. The Veracity of 
God is the formal object of all divine faith : We believe 
God, because he cannot lie : If he can lie, and do lie, he is 
not credible. But you will say, Is there any that hold such 
odious doctrines ? Answ, I like not the charging of persons 
with the consequences of their opinions which they discern 
not, but disclaim : God will not charge them with such con- 
sequences, who do their best to know the truth, and why 
should we ? All men have some errors, whose consequences 
contradict some articles of faith. It is not the persons that 
I persuade you to dislike, but the doctrine. And the doc- 
trine is never the less to be abhorred, because a wise or good 
man may hold that which doth infer it. 

I shall now instance only in the Dominicans' predetermi- 
nation. They that hold that it is necessary to the being of 
every circumstantiated act, natural and free, that God be the 
principal immediate physical efficient predetermining cause 
of it, do hold that he so causeth all the false speeches and 
writings, (as well as other sins) that ever were spoken or 
written in the world : not only as they are acts * in genere,' 
but as these words in particular ; as that he so predeter- 
mined the tongues of Ananias andSapphirato say those very 
words which they said, rather than others : Now seeing it is 
apparent, 1. That God hath not a voice, but speaketh to us 
by a created voice, even by prophets and apostles, and that 
the Scripture was written by men. 2. And that God's Ve- 
racity, which is the formal object of our faith, consisteth in 
his not using lying instruments, nor sending a lying messen- 
ger to us ; (it is * Veracitas revelantis per alium.') 3. And 
that no way of inspiration can make God to be any more the 
cause of the words or writings of an apostle, than his im- 
mediate physical efficient specifying predetermination doth 
(for it can do no more than irresistibly as the first cause, 
physically to premove the agent to his thought, will, word, 
or deed, considered with all its circumstances). It foUoweth 
that we have no certainty when God premoveth an apostle 
or prophet to speak true, and when to speak falsely ; and 
that no words or writings are of certain truth upon any ac- 


count of God's inspiration or premotion, because God not 
only can, but doth cause all the untruths that are spoken or 
written in the world : therefore no faith in God's revelations 
hath any sure foundation, nor any formal object at all : And 
so all religion is dashed out at a stroke. To say that God 
causeth not the falsity of the word, nor the word as false, 
but the word which is false, might well be the justification 
of them that affirm God to be but the universal cause of the 
word or act * in genere,' as a word or act ; and that the speci- 
fication is only from the sinner. But in them that say he is 
the particular cause of this word comparatively, rather than 
another, it is but a contradiction : 1. For there is no other 
cause of the falsity, which is a mere relation, but that which 
causeth the rule and the word or writing which is false, and 
so layeth the foundation. 2. It overthroweth all certainty 
of faith, if God speak to us by his instruments, those words 
that are false : The * quod falsum,' as well as the * qua fal- 
sum,' leaveth us no ground of certainty. The Dominicans 
therefore have but one task in which their hope is placed, to 
excuse their opinion from plain obliterating all divine belief 
and religion, and that is, to prove that there is so great a 
difference between inspiration and their physical predeter- 
mination, that God cannot by inspiration premove to an 
untruth, though by physical predetermination he may : Thia 
is their task, which I see not the least possibility that ever 
they should perform. If God premove, and predeterminate 
every will, and tongue, and pen, to every lie that is spoken 
or written, more potently and irresistibly than I move my 
pen in writing, it is past my power to understand what more 
he can do by inspiration, to interest him in the creature's act: 
or at least how the difference can be so great as that one of 
the ways he can predetermine all men to their falsities, and 
none the other way. But of this I have written a large dis- 
putation ; yet think it not needless, even in a practical trea- 
tise to say thus much here. 

5. The Truth of God much teach us to hate every mo- 
tion to unbelief in ourselves and others : It is a heinous sin 
to give God the lie, though he speak to us but by his mes- 
sengers. Every honest man, so far as he is honest, is to be 
believed ; and is God less true ? A graceless gallant will 
challenge you to the field for the dishonour, if you give bim 




the lie. If you deny God's veracity, you do not only equal 
him with the worst of men, but with the devil, who was a 
liar from the beginning. Yea, you may make him incapable 
of being the Governor of the World, or suppose him to go- 
vern it by deceits and lies. Abhor therefore the first motions 
of unbelief; it makes men somewhat worse than devils ; for 
the devils know that God cannot lie, and therefore they 
believe and tremble. Unbelief of the truth of the word of 
God, is the curse of the soul ; the enemy and bane of all 
grace and religion, so far as it prevaileth : Let it be the prin- 
cipal care and labour of your souls, to settle the foundation 
of your faith aright, and to discern the evidence of Divine 
authority in the holy Scriptures, and to extirpate the rem- 
nants of infidelity in your hearts. 

6. Let the Truth and Faithfulness of God engage you to 
be true and faithful to him, and to each other. You have 
promised him to be his servants ; be faithful in your pro- 
mises : You are in covenant with him ; break not your cove- 
nant. Many a particular promise of reformation you have 
made to God : Prove not false to him that is true to you. 

Be as good as your word to all men that you have to 
do with. Abhor a lie, as the offspring of the devil, who is 
the father of it : Remember you serve a God of Truth: and 
that it is the rectitude and glory of his servants to be 
conformable to him. They say the Turks are offended at 
Christianity, because of the lies and falsehood of Chris- 
tians. But sure they were but nominal Christians, and no 
true Christians that ever they found such : And it is pity that 
Christianity should be judged of through the world, by the 
lives of them that never were Christians but from the teeth 
outward, and the skin that was washed in baptism. They 
that will lie to God, and covenant to be his holy servants, 
when they hate his holy service, will lie to man, when their 
commodity require th it. When they seem to repent, and 
honour him with their tongues ; " They flatter him with 
their mouth, and lie to him with their tongues ; for their 
heart is not right with him, neither are they steadfast in his 
covenant." (Psal. Ixxviii. 34—37.) God saith, ** Ye shall 
not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie one to another." (Lev. 
xix. 11.) " A righteous man hateth lying." (Prov. xiii. 5.) 
*' The lying tongue is but for a moment, (Prov. xii. 19,) 



*• for God hateth it, and it is an abomination to him." (Prov. 
xvi. 16, 17.) '* The lovers and makers of lies are shut out 
of the kingdom of Christ." (Rev. xxii. 15.) 

But above all, false teachers that preach and prophesy 
lies, and deceive the rulers and people of the earth, are abo- 
minable to God : see Jer. xxvii. 10. 14 — 16 ; xiv. 14. 23. 25, 
26. 32 ; Ezek. xiii. 9. 12 ; Isa. liv. 13. When Ahab was to 
be destroyed, a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets 
deceived him. And " if a ruler hearken to lies, all his ser- 
vants are v^^icked." (Prov. xxix. 2.) 

7. Above all, false witness and perjury should be most 
odious to the servants of the God of Truth. '* A false wit- 
ness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall 
perish." (Prov. xix. 9.) " When thou vowest a vow to 
God, defer not to pay it." (Eccles. v. 4, 5.) Saith David, 
" Thy vows are upon me, O God." (Psal. Ivi. 12.) And 
*' unto thee shall the vow be performed." (Psal. Ixv. 1.) 
Perjury is a sin that seldom escapeth vengeance, even in this 
life. The instances of Saul the first, and Zedekiah the last 
pf the kings of Judah, before the desolation, are both very 
terrible. Saul's posterity must be hanged, to stay the famine 
that came upon the people for his breaking a vow that was 
made by Joshua, and not by him, though he did it in zeal 
for Israel. (2 Sam. xxi.) Zedekiah's case you may see, 
2 Chron. xxvi ; Ezek. xvii. He that sweareth, appealeth to 
God as the Searcher of Hearts and Avenger of Perjury. 
The perjured person chooseth the vengeance of God. He 
is unfit (till he repent) to be a member of any civil society. 
For he dissolveth the bond of all societies. He cannot well 
be supposed to make conscience of any sin or villany in 
the world, against God, his country, his king, his friend or 
neighbour, that makes no conscience of an oath. It is not 
easy to name a greater wickedness out of hell, than to ap- 
prove of perjury by laws or doctrine. And whether the 
church of Rome do so or not, I only desire them to con- 
sider that have read the third canon of the Council at Late- 
ran under pope Innocent the third, where an approved Gene- 
ral Council decreeth, 'That the pope discharge vassals from 
their allegiance or fidelity to those temporal lords that ex*- 
terminate not heretics (as they call them) out of their domir 
nions.* What shall restrain men from killing kings, or any 
villany, if once the bond of oaths be nullified ? But Scrip- 


ture saith, " Keep the king's commandment, and that in re- 
gard of the oath of God/' (Eccles. viii. 2.) No man defend- 
eth perjury by name : But to say that men that swear to do 
that which God commandeth, or forbids not, are not bound 
to keep that oath ; or that the pope may absolve men, or 
disoblige them that swore fidelity to temporal lords, when 
once the pope hath. excommunicated them, doth seem to me 
of the same importance. 


19. The next attribute to be spoken of is, his Mercifulness, 
and his LongsufFering Patience, which we may set together. 
This is implied in his Goodness, and the relation of a Father 
before expressed. Mercy is God's goodness inclining him 
to prevent or remove his creature's misery. It is not only 
the miserable that are the objects of it, but also those that 
may be miserable ; it being as truly mercy to keep us out of 
it foreseen, as to deliver us out of it when we were in it. 
Hence it is that he " taketh not pleasure in the death of the 
wicked, but rather that he may turn and live." And hence it 
is that he " afflicts not willingly, nor grieves the children of 
men." (Lam. iii. 33.) Not that his mercy engageth him to 
do all that he can do for the salvation of every sinner, or ab- 
solutely to prevent or heal his misery ; but it is his attribute 
chiefly considered as Governor of the rational creature ; and 
so his mercy is so great to all, that he will destroy none but 
for their wilful sin, and shut none among us out of heaven, 
but those that were guilty of contemning it. God doth not 
prevent the sinner with his judgment, but with his grace he 
often doth. He never punisheth before we are sinners, nor 
never decreed so to do, as all will grant. He punisheth none, 
where his foregoing commands and warnings have had their 
due effect for the prevention : and therefore because the pre- 
cept is the first part of his law, and the threatening is but 
subservient to that, and the first intent of a governor is to 
procure obedience, and punishing is but upon supposition 
that he misseth of the first, therefore is God not to afilict 
willingly ; because he doth it not ' ex voluntate antece- 
dente,' but ' ex voluntate consequente,' that is (for so the dis- 
tinction is sound) not as a lawgiver, and ruler by those laws 
considered before the violation ; but only as a judge of the 
lawbreakers. But yet God's mercy is no security to the 


abusers of his mercy. But rather will sink them into deeper 
misery, as the aggravation of their sin : As God afflicts not 
willingly, and yet we feel that he afflicteth : so if he do not 
condemn you willingly, you shall find if you are impenitent, 
that he will condemn you. 

If you say, God can be forced to do nothing against his 
will : I answer you, that it is not simply against his will ; for 
then it should never come to pass : but it is against the prin- 
cipal act of his will, which floweth from him as a lawgiver, 
or ruler by laws, in which respect it may be said, that he had 
" rather that the wicked turn and live :" but yet if they will 
not turn, they shall not live. A merciful judge had rather 
the thief had saved his life by forbearing to steal ; but yet 
he had not rather that thieves go unpunished than he should 
condemn them. 

1. The mercy of God should lead sinners to repentance, and 
shame them from their sin, and lead them up to God in love. 

2. Mercy should encourage sinners to repent, as well as 
engage them to it : for we have to do with a merciful God, 
that hath not shut up any among us in despair, nor forbid 
them to come in, but continueth to invite when we have oft 
refused, and will undoubtedly pardon and welcome all that 
do return. 

3. Mercy being specially the portion of the saints, must 
keep them in thankfulness, love and comfort : and all mer- 
cies must be improved for their proper ends. When a mer- 
ciful God is pleased to fill up his servants' lives with such 
great and various mercies as he doth, it should breed a con- 
tinual sweetness upon their hearts, and cause them to study 
the most grateful retribution. He should breathe forth no- 
thing but thankfulness, obedience and praise, who breathes 
nothing but mercies from God. As the food that men live 
upon, will be seen in their temperature, health and strength ; 
so they that live continually upon mercies, should be wholly 
turned into love and thankfulness : it should become as it 
were their nature, temperature and constitution. O how 
unspeakable is the love of God, that provideth so sweet a 
life for his servants, even in their warfare and pilgrimage in 
this world ! that mercy must be as it were the air that they 
breathe in, the food which they must live upon; and the 
remembrance, improvement and thankful mention of it, 
must be the business and employment of their lives ! O with 


what sweet affections, meditations and expressions should 
we live, if we lived but according to the rate of those mer- 
cies upon which we live ! Love, and joy, and thanks, and 
praise, would be our very lives. What sweet thoughts would 
mercy breed and feed in our minds when we are alone ! What 
sweet apprehensions of the love of God, and life eternal, 
should we have in prayer, reading, sacraments, and other 
holy ordinances ! Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, 
death as well as life would be comfortable to us : for all is 
full of mercy to the vessels of mercy. O Christians, what 
a shame is it that God is so much wronged, and ourselves so 
much defrauded of our peace and joy, by passing over such 
abundance of great invaluable mercies, without tasting their 
sweetness, or well considering what we do receive ! Had 
we David's heart, what songs of praise would Mercy teach 
us to indite ! How affectionately should we recount the 
mercies of our youth and riper age ; of every place and state 
that we have lived in to the honour of our gracious Lord, 
and the encouragement of those that know not how good 
and merciful he is. 

But withal, see that you contemn not, or abuse not 
mercy : use it well ; for it is mercy that you must trust to 
in the hour of your distresses. O do not trample upon 
mercy now, lest you should be confounded when you should 
cry for mercy in your extremity! 

4. The Mercifulness of God, must cause his servants to 
imitate him in love and mercy ; " Be merciful, for your hea- 
venly Father is merciful. Blessed are the merciful, for they 
shall obtain mercy." (Matt. v. 7.) Be merciful in your 
censures : Be merciful in your retributions : You are none 
of God's children, if you " love not your enemies, and pray 
not for them that curse you, and do not good to them that 
hate and persecute you" (according to your power). (Matt. 
V. 44, 45.) " If you forgive not men their trespasses," but 
take your brother by the throat, " neither will your heavenly 
Father forgive you your trespasses." (Matt. vi. 14, 15.) 
Mark, that even while he is called " your heavenly Father," 
yet he will not forgive, if you forgive not. Unmerciful men 
are too unlike to God, to claim any interest in his saving 
mercy, in the hour of their extremest misery. Men of 
cruelty, blood, and violence, he abhorreth : and usually they 
do not " live out half their days :" but they that *' bite and 


devour one another, are devoured one of another." (Gal. v. 
15.) The last judgment will pass much according to men's 
works of mercy, to the members of Christ. (Matt, xxv.) 
" He shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed 
no mercy : and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." (James 
ii. 13.) " Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the 
Father, is this. To visit the fatherless and widows in their 
afflictions, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." 
(James i. 27.) " He that having this world's goods, seeth 
his brother in need, and shutteth up the bowels of his com- 
passion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him V 
But above all cruelty, there is none more devilish than 
cruelty to souls. And in those that undertake the place of 
pastors, cruelty to men's souls is a far greater sin than in 
any others. To starve those that they undertake to feed ; 
and to seduce those whom they undertake to guide, and be 
wolves to those whose shepherds they pretend to be, and to 
prefer their worldly honours, and commodity, and ease, be- 
fore the souls of marty thousands, to be so cruel to souls, 
when Christ hath been so merciful to them, as to come 
down on earth to seek and save them, and to give his life a 
ransom for them ; this will one day be so heavy a charge, 
that the man that must stand as guilty under it, will a thou- 
sand times wish, that a " milstone had been hanged about 
his neck, and he had been cast into the bottom of the sea," 
before he had betrayed or murdered souls, or offended one 
of the little ones of Christ. Be merciful to men's souls and 
bodies, as ever you would find mercy with a merciful God 
in the hour of your necessity and distress. 


20. The last of God's attributes which I shall now mention, 
is, his Dreadfulness or Terribleness, to those that are the 
objects of his wrath. This is the result of his other attri- 
butes, especially of his Holiness, and governing Justice, and 
Truth in his comminations. He is a ** great and dreadful 
God." (Dan. ix. 4.) " A mighty God and terrible." (Deut. 
vii. 21.) " A great and terrible God," (Nah. i. 5.) " With 
God is terrible Majesty." (Job xxxvii. 22.) " The Lord 
most high is terrible." (Psal. xlvii. 22.) 

1. His children therefore must be kept in a holy awe; 
God is never to be approached or mentioned, but with the 


greatest reverence. We must " sanctify the Lord of Hosts 
himself, and he must be our fear and dread." (Isa. viii. 13.) 
Even they that " receive the unmoveable kingdom, must 
have grace in their hearts to serve him acceptably, with 
reverence and godly fear, because our God is a consuming 
fire." (Heb. xii. 28, 29.) When we come to worship in the 
holy assemblies, we should think, as Jacob, " How dreadful 
is this place ! This is none other but the house of God, and 
this is the gate of heaven." (Gen. xxviii. 17.) Especially 
when God seemeth to frown upon the soul, his servants 
must humble themselves before him, and deprecate his 
wrath, as Jeremiah did, " Be not a terror to me." (Jer. xvii. 
17.) It ill becometh the best of men, to make light of the 
frowns and threatenings of God. Also when he dealeth 
with us in judgment, and we feel the smart of his chastise- 
ments, though we must remember that he is a Father, yet 
withal we must consider that he sheweth himself an offended 
Father : And therefore true and deep humiliation hath ever 
been the course of afflicted saints, to turn away the wrath 
of a terrible God. 

2. But above all, what cause have the ungodly to trem- 
ble at the dreadfulness of that God, who is engaged injus- 
tice, (except they be converted) to use them everlastingly 
as his unpardoned enemies. As there is no felicity like the 
favour of God; and no joy comparable to his children's 
joys ; so there is no misery like the sense of his displeasure, 
nor any terrors to be compared to those, which his wrath 
inflicteth everlastingly on the ungodly. O wretched sinner ! 
what hast thou done to make God thine enemy ? what could 
hire thee to offend him by thy wilful sin ? and to do that 
which thou kuewest he forbid and condemned in his word? 
What madness caused thee to make a mock at sin and hell, 
and to play with the vengeance of the Almighty ? What 
gain did hire thee to cast thy soul into the danger of dam- 
nation ? Canst thou save by the match, if thou win the 
world and lose thy soul ? Didst thou not know who it was 
thou hadst to do with? It had been better for thee that all 
the world had been offended with thee, even men and 
angels, great and small, than the most dreadful God ! Didst 
thou not believe him, when he told thee how he was resolved 
to judge and punish the ungodly? Read it, 2Thess. ii. 7 — 10 ; 
ii. 10, 11 ; Matt. xxv|; Jude 15 ; Psalm i. &c. What caused 


thee to venture upon the consuming fire? Didst thou not 
know that he is merciful, so he is jealous, holy, just, and 
terrible ? In the name of God, [ require and entreat thee, 
fly to his mercy in Jesus Christ; and hearken speedily to his 
grace, and turn at his reproof and warning ; to-day, while 
it is called to-day, harden not thy heart, but hear his voice, 
lest he resolve in his wrath, that thou shalt never enter into 
his rest; there is no enduring, there is no overcoming, there 
is no contending with an angry, dreadful, holy God : Repent 
therefore and turn to him, and obey the voice of mercy that 
thy soul may live. 

3. The dreadfulness of God, doth tell both good and 
bad, the great necessity of a Mediator. What an unspeak- 
able mercy is it that God hath given us his Son ! and that by 
Jesus Christ we may come with boldness and confidence 
into the presence of the dreadful God, that else would have 
been to us a greater terror than all the world, yea than Sa- 
tan himself. The more we are apprehensive of our distance 
from God, and of his terrible Majesty, and his more terrible 
justice against such sinners as we have been, the more we 
shall understand the mystery of redemption, and highly va- 
lue the mediation of Christ. 

4. Lastly, Let the dreadfulness of God prevail with 
every believing soul, to pity the ungodly that pity not them- 
selves. O pray for them, O warn them, exhort them, entreat 
them, as men that know the terrors of the Lord. (2 Cor. v. 
11.) If they knew, as well as you do, what sin is, and what 
it is to be children of wrath, and what it is to be unpardon- 
ed, unjustified, and unsanctified, they would pity them- 
selves, and cry for mercy, mercy, mercy, from day to day, 
till they were recovered into a state of life, and turned from 
the power of Satan unto God. Alas ! they know not what 
it is to die, and to see the world to come, and to appear be- 
fore a dreadful God : They know not what it is to be in hell 
fire ; nor what it is to be glorified in heaven : They never 
saw or tried these things, and they want the faith by which 
they must be foreseen by those that are yet short of nearer 
knowledge : You therefore that have faith to foreknow these 
things, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, O pity, and 
warn, and help the miserable ! Tell them how much easier 
it is to escape hell, than to endure it: and how much easier 
a holy life on earth is, than the endless wrath of the most 


dreadful God. Tell them that unbelief, presumption, and 
security, are the certain means to bring their misery, but 
will do nothing to keep it off ; though they may keep off 
the present knowledge and sense of it, which would have 
driven them to seek a cure. Tell them that death and judg- 
ment are at hand, and that when they laugh, or sport, or 
scorn, and jest at the displeasure of the dreadful God, it is 
posting toward them, and will be upon them before they are 
aware ; and when they slumber, their damnation slumbereth 
not ; but while unbelieving sinners say, peace, peace, sud- 
den destruction will come upon them, as unexpected travail 
on a woman with child, and they shall not escape. O tell 
them how dreadful a thing it is, for a soul that is unregene- 
rate and unsanctified, to go from that body which it pam- 
pered and sold its salvation to please, and to appear at the 
tribunal of God ; and how dreadful it is for such a soul to 
fall into the hands of the living God. At least save your 
own souls, by the faithful discharge of so great a duty ; and 
if they will take no warning, let them at last remember, 
when it is jtoo late, that they were told in time, what they 
should see and feel at last, and what their latter end would 
prove ; and that God and man did warn them in compas- 
sion, though they perish because they would have no com- 
passion or mercy upon themselves. Thus let the terrible- 
ness of God provoke you, to do your duty with speed and 
zeal, for the converting and saving of miserable souls. 

And thus I have briefly set before you the glass in which 
you may see the Lord, and told you how he must be known : 
and how he must be conceived of in our apprehensions ; 
and how the knowledge of God must be improved, and 
what impressions it must make upon the heart, and what 
effect it must have upon our lives. Blessed, and for ever 
blessed, are those souls, that have the true and lively image 
of this God, and all these his attributes imprinted on them, 
(as to the creature they are communicable). And O that 
the " veil were taken from our hearts, and that we all with 
open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 
may be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, 
as by the Spirit of the Lord," (2 Cor. iii. 18,) and may in- 
crease and live in the knowledge of the true and only God, 
and of Jesus Christ, which is eternal life. Amen. 







And Enoch walked with God, and he was not ; for God 
took him. 


Being to speak of our Converse with God in Solitude, I 
think it will not be unsuitable, nor unserviceable to the 
ends of that discourse, if I here premise a short description 
of the General Duty of Practical Godliness, as it is called in 
Scripture ' a Walking with God.' It is here commended to 
us in the example of holy Enoch, whose excellency is re- 
corded in this signal character, that " he walked with God ;" 
and his special reward expressed in the words following, 
" and he was not, for God took him." I shall speak most 
of his character, and then somewhat of his reward. 

The Samaritan and vulgar Latin versions do strictly 
translate the Hebrew as we read it : but the interpretation 
of the Septuagint, the Syriac, the Chaldee, and the Arabic, 
are rather good expositions (all set together) of the mean- 
ing of the word, tiian strict translations. The Septuagint 
and Syriac read it, * Enoch pleased God.' The Chaldee 
hath, ' Enoch walked in the fear of God.' And the Arabic, 
' he walked in obedience to God.' And indeed to walk in 
the fear and obedience of God, and thereby to please him, 
is the principal thing in our *• walking with God." The 
same character is given of Noah, in Gen. vi. 19. and the ex- 
traordinary reward annexed ; he and his family were saved 
in the deluge. And the holy life which God commanded 


Abraham, is called ' a walking before God.' " Walk before 
me, and be thou perfect." (Gen. xvii. 1.) And in the New 
Testament the Christian conversation is ordinarily called by 
the name of Walking. Sometimes a 'walking in Christ;' 
as Col. ii. 6. Sometimes a * walking in the Spirit, in which 
we live.' (Gal. v. 25.) And a ' walking after the Spirit.' 
(Rom. viii. 1.) Sometimes a * walking in the light, as God 
is in the light.' (1 John i. 7.) Those that * abide in Christ 
must so walk even as he hath walked.' (1 John ii. 6.) These 
phrases set together tell us, what it is to walk with God. 
But I think it not unprofitable somewhat more particularly 
to shew you what this walking with God doth contain. 

As atheism is the sum of wickedness, so all true religi- 
ousness is called by the name of Godliness or Holiness, 
which is nothing else but our devotedness to God, and living 
to him, and our relation to him as thus devoted in heart 
and life. Practical atheism is a " living as without God in 
the world." (Ephes. ii. 12.) Godliness is contrary to practi- 
cal atheism, and is a living as with and to God in the world 
and in the church, and is here called a walking with God. 
And it containeth in it these particulars. 

1. To walk with God includeth the practical acknow- 
ledgment (that is made by the will as well as the under- 
standing) of the grand attributes of God, and his relations 
to man ; that he is Infinite in his Being, that is. Immense 
and Eternal ; as also in his Power, Wisdom and Goodness: 
That he is the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier : That he 
is our absolute Lord (or Owner), our most righteous Go- 
vernor, and most bountiful Benefactor (or Father) : That " of 
him, and through him, and to him, are all things :" That "in 
him we live, and move, and have our being :" That he is the 
fountain, or first cause, from which all (proper) being, truth 
and goodness in the creature is but a derived stream. To 
have the soul unfeignedly resign itself to him, as his own; 
and subject itself to him as our Governor, walking in the 
awe of his sovereign power ; sensible of the strong obliga- 
tion of his laws, which reason, justice and necessity do all 
command us to obey. To live as in full dependence on 
him : to have the first and greatest respect unto him : a 
more observant respect to him than to our rulers : a more 
obedient respect to him than to our masters : a more de- 
pendent, tender, and honourable respect to him than to pa- 


rents, or our nearest friends. Thus "he that cometh to God" 
(as God, and so as to be accepted of him), ** must believe that 
he is," (his essential attributes) and (what he is in his rela- 
tions to man ; especially that as our Governor and Bene- 
factor) ** he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him." (Heb. xi. 6.) The impress of a Deity in his essential 
and relative attributes must be upon the heart of him that 
vi^alks with God. Yea, the being of God must be much 
more remarkable to him, than the being of all creatures, 
and his presence more regarded, than the presence of the 
creature ; and all things must be to us in comparison of 
God, as a candle is in comparison of the sun : His greatness 
and transcendent excellencies must so overpower them all, 
as to make them less observed and regarded, by his taking 
up our chief observation and regard. 

2. Our walking with God includeth our reconciliation 
to him, and that we are not in our natural state of enmity, 
but made his children and friends in Christ. " Can two 
walk together unless they be agreed?" (Amos iii. 3.) En- 
mity is against unity ; disaffection causeth aversion, and 
flying from each other : yea, the fears of a guilty child may 
make him fly from his father's presence, till there be a par- 
ticular reconciliation, besides the general state of reconci- 
liation. A provoking, faulty child doth dwell with God his 
Father, though under the continual terror of his frowns ; 
but to walk with him (in the full sense) is more than to be 
related to him, and to dwell with him. In a large sense in- 
deed all God's children may be said to walk with him, as it 
signifieth only a conversation ordered in godliness, sincerity 
and simplicity. But in this more sublime sense, as it sig- 
nifieth a lively exercise of faith and love, and heavenly- 
mindedness, and a course of complacential contemplation, 
and holy converse with God, so it is proper only to some of 
the sounder and more vigilant industrious believers. And 
hereto it is necessary, not only that we be justified and re- 
conciled to God from our state of enmity, but also that we 
be pardoned, justified and reconciled from our particular 
wounding falls, which are more than the ordinary infirmities 
of believers. And also it is necessary that we have grateful, 
friendly thoughts of God : that we have so much sense of 
his excellency, goodness and kindness to ourselves, as may 
give us a complacency in conversing with him, and may 


make the thoughts and mention of him to be desirable ^ind 
pleasing to us. Walking with God doth import, though 
not the full assurance of his special love and grace to us, 
yet such an apprehension of his love and goodness, as may 
draw the heart to think of him with desire, if not with de- 
light. A loathness to draw near him, to think of him, or to 
mention him, a weariness of his special service, are contrary 
to this special walking with God. 

3. Our walking with God, doth include our esteeming 
and intending Him as the ultimate end and felicity of our 
souls. He is not to be sought, or loved, or conversed with, 
as a means to any greater good (for there is no greater), nor 
as inferior, or merely equal unto any. His goodness must 
be the most powerful attractive of our love : his favour must 
be valued as our happiness ; and the pleasing of him must 
be our most industrious employment. To walk with him, 
is to live in the warming, reviving sunshine of his goodness, 
and to feel a delighling, satisfying virtue in his love and 
gracious presence. To live as those that are not their own, 
and that have their lives, and faculties, and provisions, and 
helps for their master's service : as a horse or dog is of so 
much worth, as he is of use to him that owneth him ; and 
that is the best that is the most serviceable to his master : 
yet with this very great difference, that man being a more 
noble and capacious creature, is admitted not only into a 
state of service, but of sonship, and friendship, and com- 
munion with God ; and is allowed and appointed to share 
more in the pleasure and fruits of his services, and to put 
in his own felicity and delight into his end ; not only be- 
cause self-love is natural and necessary to the creature, but 
also because he is under the promise of a reward ; and (more 
than either) because he is a lover, and not only a servant, 
ajid his work is principally a work of love, and therefore his 
end is ' finis amantis,' the end of a lover, which is mutual 
complacency in the exercises of love. 

He that seeketh not first the kingdom and righteousness 
of God, and referreth not other things to him, but seeks first 
the creature, and God only for it, doth but deny God in his 
iieart, and basely subject him to the works of his own hands, 
and doth not walk with God, but vilify and reject him. If 
you live not to God, even to obey, and please, and honour 
him, you do not walk with him ; but walk contrary to him 


(by living to his enemies, the flesh, the world, and the devil), 
and therefore God will ** walk contrary to you." (Levit. xxvi. 
21. 23, 24. 27, 28. You were both created and redeemed, 
though for your own felicity, yet principally for the glory 
and pleasure of your Creator and Redeemer; and for no fe- 
licity of your own, but what consisteth in pleasing him, 
glorifying him, and enjoying him : "Whether therefore we 
eat, or drink, or whatever we do, it should all be done 
to the glory of God." (1 Cor. x. 31.) He that regardeth 
a day, or regardeth it not ; he that eateth, or that eateth 
not, must do it to the Lord. (And though a good in- 
tention will not sanctify a forbidden action, yet sins of ig- 
norance and mere frailty are forborne and pardoned of God, 
when it is his glory and service that is sincerely intended, 
though there be a mistake in the choice of means.) " None 
of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself: for 
whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, 
we die unto the Lord. Whether we live therefore or die, we 
are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, rose, and 
revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.*' 
(Rom. xiv. 6 — 9.) Our walking with God, is a serious ** la- 
bouring, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted 
of him." (2 Cor. v. 9.) To this the love of our Redeemer 
must constrain us : " For he died for all, that they which 
live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto 
him that died for them, and rose again." (Ver. 14, 15.) Re- 
ligion therefore is called the seeking of God, because the 
soul doth press after him, and labour to enjoy him, as the 
runner seeks to reach the prize ; or as a suitor seeketh the 
love and fruition of the person beloved. And all the parti- 
cular acts of religion are oft denominated from this intention 
of the end, and following after it, and are all called 'a seek- 
ing the Lord.' Conversion is called * a seeking the Lord.* 
"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.'' (Isa. Iv. 6.) 
"The children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their 
God." (Hos. iii. 6.) " They do not return to the Lord their 
God, nor seek him." (Hos. vii. 10.) Men that are called to 
conversion, are called to seek God. " Break up your fal- 
low ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and 
rain righteousness upon you." (Hos. x. 12.) The converted 
children of " Israel and Judah shall go weeping together to 
seek the Lord their God." (Jer. 1. 4.) The wicked are des- 


cribed to be men that "do not seek the Lord.'' (Isa. ix. 13. 
xxxi. 1.) The holy covenant was '* to seek the Lord." (2 Chron. 
XV. 12, 13.) If therefore you would walk with God, let him 
be the mark, the prize, the treasure, the happiness, the hea- 
ven itself which you aim at, and sincerely seek. " Now set 
your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God." 
(1 Chron. xxii. 19.) *' Glory ye in his holy name. Let the 
heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord 
and his strength, seek his face for evermore." (Psal. cv. 
3, 4.) As the life of a covetous man is a seeking of riches, 
and the life of an ambitious man is a seeking of worldly ho- 
nour and applause, so the life of a man that liveth to God, is 
a seeking him; to please him, honour him, and enjoy him: 
and so much of this as he attaineth, so much doth he attain 
of satisfaction and content. If you live to God, and seek 
him as your end and all, the want of any thing will be tole- 
rable to you, which is but consistent with the fruition of his 
love. If he be pleased, man's displeasure may be borne. The 
loss of all things if Christ be won, will not undo us. Man*s 
condemnation of us signifieth but little, if God the absolute 
Judge do justify us. He walketh not with God, that liveth 
not to him as his only happiness and end. 

4. Moreover our walking with God includeth our subjec- 
tion to his authority, and our taking his wisdom and will to 
be our guide, and his laws in nature and Scripture for our 
rule : You must not walk with him as his equals, but as his 
subjects : nor give him the honour of an ordinary superior, 
but of the universal King. In our doubts he must resolve 
us ; and in our straits we must ask counsel of the Lord. 
" Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do," is one of the first 
words of a penitent soul, (Acts ix. 6.) When sensual world- 
lings do first ask the flesh, or those that can do it hurt or 
good, what they would have them be or do. None of Christ's 
true subjects, do call any man father or master on earth, but 
in subordination to their highest Lord. (Matt, xxiii.) The 
authority of God doth awe them, and govern them more than 
the fear of the greatest upon earth. Indeed they know no 
power but God's, and that which he committeth unto man. 
And therefore they can obey no man against God, whatever 
it cost them : but under God they are most readily and faith- 
fully subject to their governors, not merely as to men that 
have power to hurt them if they disobey ; but as to the ofli- 



cers of the Lord, whose authority they discern and reverence 
in them. But when they have to do with the enemies of 
Christ, who usurp a power which he never gave them against 
his kingdom and the souls of men, they think it easy to re- 
solve the question, " Whether it be better to obey God or 
men ?" As the commands of a rebellious constable, or 
other fellow-subject, are of no authority against the king's 
commands ; so the commands of all the men on earth are of 
so small authority with them against the laws of God, that 
they fully approve of the ready and resolute answer of those 
witnesses, " We are not careful to answer thee in this mat- 
ter. If it be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver 
us, &c. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we 
will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which 
thou hast set up." (Dan. iii. 16 — 18.) Worldlings are ruled 
by their fleshly interest, and wisdom, and self-will, and by 
the will of man so far as it doth comport with these. By 
these you may handle them and lead them up and down 
the world : by these doth Satan hold them in captivity. 
But believers feel themselves in subjection to a higher Lord, 
and better law, which they faithfully, though imperfectly 
observe. Therefore our walking with God is called a ' walk- 
ing in his law ;' (Exod. xvi. 4 ;) a ' walking in his statutes, 
and keeping and doing his commands ;' (Lev. xxvi. 3 ;) 
* walking in his paths.' (Mic. iv, 2.) It is our ' following 
the Lamb, which way soever he goeth :' To be given up to 
our own heart's lusts, and to w^alk in our counsels, is con- 
trary to this holy walk with God, (Psal. Ixxxi. 12,) and is 
the course of those that are departed from him : and they 
that are far from him shall perish : he destroyeth those that 
go a whoring from him. But it is good for us to draw near 
to God. (Psal. Ixxiii. 27, 28.) 

5. Our walking with God doth imply that as we are 
ruled by his will, so we fear no punishment like his threat- 
ened displeasure : and that the threats of death from mor- 
tal men, will not prevail with us so much as his threats of 
hell. (Lukexii. 4.) If God say, ' I will condemn thee to 
everlasting punishment if thou wilt not keep my laws ;' and 
if men say, * We will condemn thee to imprisonment or death 
if thou keep them,' the believer more feareth God than man. 
The law of the king doth condemn Daniel to the lion's den, 



if he forbear not to pray for a certain time. But he more 
feareth God, that will deny those that deny him, and for- 
sake those that forsake him. Therefore the forementioned 
witnesses ventured on the fiery furnace, because God threat- 
ened a more dreadful fire. Therefore a true believer dare 
not live, when an unbeliever dare not die : he dare not save 
his life from God, lest he lose it ; but loseth it that he may 
save it. But unbelievers that walk not with God, but after 
the flesh, do most fear them that they observe most power- 
ful in the world, and will more be moved with the penalty of 
some worldly loss or suffering, than with God's most dread- 
ful threats of hell : for that which they see not, is to them as 
nothing, while they want that faith by which it is foreknown, 
and must be escaped. 

6. Moreover he that walks with God, doth from God ex- 
pect his full reward. He ceaseth not his holy course, though 
no man observe him, or none commend him or approve him ; 
though all about him hate him and condemn him ; though 
he be so far from gaining by it with men, that it cost him all 
that he hath or hoped for in the world : for he knoweth that 
godliness is of itself great gain, and that it "hath the pro- 
^mise of this life and that to come," and none can make 
God*s promise void. He knoweth that his " Father which 
seeth in secret will reward him openly ;" (Matt, vi ;) and 
that he " shall have a treasure in heaven" that parteth with 
all on earth for Christ. (Luke xviii. 22.) And he hath such 
respect to this promised "recompence of reward," that for 
it he can " suffer with the people of God, and account the 
very reproach of Christ a greater treasure" than court or 
country can afford him in a way of sin. (Heb. xi. 26.) He 
accounteth them " blessed that are persecuted for righteous- 
ness sake, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs." He 
judgeth it a cause of exceeding joy, to be reviled and per- 
secuted, and to have all manner of evil falsely spoken of us 
for the sake of Christ, because our reward in heaven is great. 
(Matt. v. 10—12.) For he verily believeth, that as sure as 
these transitory pleasures will have an end, and everlastingly 
forsake those miserable souls that were deluded by them, so 
certainly is there a life of endless joys, to be possessed in 
heaven with God and all the holy ones ; and this he will 
trust to, as that which will fully repair his losses, and repay 


his cost, and not deceive him. Let others trust to what they 
will, it is this that he is resolved to trust to, and venture all 
to make it sure (when he is sure that all is nothing which 
he ventureth, and that by the adventure he can never be a 
loser, nor ever save by choosing that which itself must pe- 
rish). Thus he that truly walks with God expecteth his re- 
ward from God, and with God, and thence is encourao;ed in 
all his duty, and thence is emboldened in all his conflicts, 
and thence is upheld and comforted in his sufferings. When 
man is the rewarder (as well as the chief ruler) of the hypo- 
crite, and earthly things are the poise and motives to his 
earthly mind. 

7. Our walking with God importeth that as we expect 
our reward from him, so also that we take his promise for 
our security for that reward. Believing his word and trust- 
ing his fidelity to the quieting and emboldening of the soul, 
is part of our holy walking with him. A promise of God is 
greater satisfaction and encouragement to a true believer, 
than all the visible things on earth. A promise of God can 
do more, and prevail further with an upright soul, than all 
the sensible objects in the world. He will do more, and go 
further upon such a promise, than he will for all that man 
can give him. Peruse the life of Christ's apostles, and see 
what a promise of Christ can do : How it made them forsake 
all earthly pleasures, possessions and hopes, and part with 
friends, and houses, and country, and travel up and down 
the world, in dangers and sufferings, and unwearied labours, 
despised and abused by great and small : and all this to 
preach the Gospel of the kingdom, which they had never 
seen, and to attain that everlasting happiness, and help 
others to attain it, for which they had nothing but the pro- 
mise of their Lord. See what a promise well believed will 
make a Christian do and suffer. Believers did those noble 
acts, and the martyrs underwent those torments, which are 
mentioned Heb. xi. because " they judged him faithful that 
had promised." (Heb. xi. 11.) They considered not difficul- 
ties, and defect of means, and improbabilities as to second 
causes, nor " staggered at the promise of God through un- 
belief ; but being strong in faith, gave glory to God ; being 
fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was also 
able to perform." As it is said of Abraham, Rom. iv. 19 — 21. 
8. To walk with God, is to live as in his presence, and 


that with desire and delight. When we believe and appre- 
hend that wherever we are, we are before the Lord, who 
seeth our hearts and all our ways ; who knoweth every 
thought we think, and every word we speak, and every se- 
cret thing which we do: as verily to believe that God is 
here present and observeth all, as we do that we ourselves 
are here. To compose our minds, our thoughts, our affec- 
tions to that holy reverence and seriousness as beseemeth 
man before his Maker. To order our words with that care 
and gravity as beseems those that speak in the hearing of 
the Lord. That no man's presence do seem more conside- 
rable to us than his presence : as we are not moved at the 
presence of a fly, or worm, or dog, when persons of honour 
and reverence are present, so should we not comparatively 
be moved at the presence of man, how great, or rich, or ter- 
rible soever, when we know that God himself is present, to 
whom the greatest of the sons of men, are more inconside- 
rable than a fly or worm is unto them. As the presence of 
the king makes ordinary standers by to be unobserved, and 
the discourses of the learned make us disregard the babblings 
of children ; so the presence of God should make the great- 
est to be scarce observed or regarded in comparison of him. 
God, who is still with us, should so much take up our re- 
gard, that all others in his presence should be but as a can- 
dle in the presence of the sun. Therefore it is that a believer 
composeth himself to that behaviour which he knoweth God 
doth most expect, and beseemeth those that stand before 
him. When others accommodate themselves to the persons 
that are present, observing them, pleasing them, and shew- 
ing them respect, while they take no notice of God at all, 
as if they believed not that he is there. Hence it is that the 
men of God were wont to speak (though reverently, yet) fa- 
miliarly of God, as children of their father with whom they 
dwell, as being indeed fellow-citizens with the saints, who 
are his household. Abraham calleth him, ** The Lord be- 
fore whom 1 walk." (Gen. xxiv. 40.) And Jacob, *' God 
before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked.'' 
(Gen. xlviii. 15.) And David resolveth, *' I will walk before 
the Lord in the land of the living." (Psal. cxvi. 9.) Yea 
God himself is pleased to use the terms of gracious, con- 
descending familiarity with them. " Christ dwelleth in 
them by faith." (Ephes. iii. 17.) His Spirit dwelleth in 



them as his house and temple. (Rom. viii. 9.) Yea the 
Father himself is said to dwell in them, and they in him, 
** He that keepeth his commandments dvvelleth in him, and 
he in him." (1 John iii. 24.) " If we love one another, God 
dwelleth in us. Hereby we know that we dwell in him, and 
he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. Whoever 
shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in 
him, and he in God. God is love, and he that dwelleth in 
love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John iv. 12, 13. 
15, 16.) Yea, God is said to walk in them, as they are said 
to walk with him ; " For ye are the temple of the living God ; 
as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, 
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (2 Cor. 
vi. 16.) 

Our walking with God then is not only a sense of that 
common presence which he must needs afford to all ; but it 
is also a believing apprehension of his gracious presence, 
as ouF God and reconciled Father, with whom we dwell, 
being brought near unto him by Christ ; and who dwelleth 
in us by his Spirit. 

9. To walk with God (as here we are in flesh) includeth 
not only our believing his presence, but also that we see him 
(as the chief cause in the effects) in his creatures, and his 
daily providence, that we look not on creatures as indepen- 
dent or separated from God ; but see them as the glass, and 
God as the represented face ; and see them as the letters and 
words, and God as the sense of all the creatures that are the 
first book which he appointed man to read. We must behold 
his glory declared by the heavens, (Psal. xix. 1,) and see 
him shining in the sun ; and see his power in the fabric of 
the world, and his wisdom in the admirable order of the 
whole : We must taste the sweetness of his love in the sweet- 
ness of our food, and in the comforts of our friends, and all 
our accommodations ; we must see, and love his image in 
his holy ones ; and we must hear his voice in the ministry of 
his messengers. Thus every creature must become a prea- 
cher to us, and we must see the name of God upon it : And 
thus all things will be sanctified to us, while *' Holiness to 
the Lord" is written upon all. Though we must not therefore 
make idols of the creatures, because God appeareth to us 
in them, yet must we hear the message which they bring us, 
and reverence in them the name of the Creator which they 


bear. By this way of conversing with them, they will not 
ensnare us, or deceive, or poison us, as they do the carnal, un- 
believing world : But as the fish brought money to Peter to 
pay his tribute, so every creature would bring us a greater, 
even a spiritual gain. When we behold it, we should say 
with pleasant admiration, " This is the work of God, and 
it is wonderful in our eyes." This is the true divine philo- 
sophy, which seeketh, and findeth, and contemplateth, and 
admireth the great Creator in his works : When that which 
sticketh in the creature itself (whatever discovery it seem to 
make) is but a childish, unprofitable trifling : like learning 
to shape all the letters aright, without learning to know their 
signification and sense. It is God appearing in the creatures, 
this is the life, and beauty, and use, and excellency of all 
the creatures; without him they are but carcases, deformed, 
useless, vain, insignificant and very nothings. 

10. Our walking with God, doth contain our willing and 
sincere attendance on him in the use of those holy duties in 
which he hath appointed us to expect his grace. He is every 
where in his essential presence, but he is not every where 
alike to be found in the communications of grace. The 
assemblies of his saints that worship him in holy commu- 
nion, are places where he is more likely to be found than in 
an alehouse or a playhouse. You are more likely to have 
holy converse with him among the holy, that will speak of 
holy things to your edification, than among the senseless, 
ignorant sensualists, and the scornful enemies of holiness, 
that are the servants of the devil, whom he useth in his daily 
work for the deceiving and perdition of the world. There- 
fore the conversation of the wicked doth grieve and vex the 
righteous soul, (as it is said the Sodomites did by Lot, 
2 Peter ii. 7, 8,) because all their conversation is ungodly, 
far from God, not savouring of any true knowledge of him, 
or love to him, but is against him by enmity and provoca- 
tion. If God himself do dwell and walk in all his holy ones, 
then they that dwell and walk with them, have the best op- 
portunity to dwell and walk with God. To converse with 
those in whom God dwelleth, is to converse with him in his 
image, and to attend him at his dwelling : And wilfully to 
run among the wicked, is to run far away from God. '* In 
his temple doth every man speak of his glory ;" (Psal. xxix. 
9 ;) when among his brutish enemies every man speaketh to 


the diahoiiour of him in his word and ways. He is otherwise 
present with those that are congregated in his name and for 
his worship, than he is with those that are assembled for 
wickedness or vanity, or live as brutes without God in the 
world. And we must draw as near him as we can, if we 
would be such as walk with God. 

We must not be strange to him in our thoughts, but 
make him the object of our most serious meditations: It is 
said of the wicked that " they are far from God ;" and 
that " God is not in all their thoughts." (Psal. Ixxiii. 27; 
X. 4.) The thoughts are the mind's employment. It dwells 
on that which it frequently thinks of. It is a walk of the 
mind, and not of the body which we are treating of. To 
mind the world, and fleshly things, is contrary to this walk 
with God : we are far from him, when our thoughts are 
(ordinarily) far from him. I know that it is lawful and meet 
to think of the business of our callings, so far as is neces- 
sary to the prudent successful management of them : and 
that it is not requisite that our thoughts be always actually 
upon God : but he that doth manage his calling in holiness, 
doth all in obedience to God's commands, and sees that his 
work be the work of God, and he intendeth all to the glory 
of God, or the pleasing of his blessed will : And he oft re- 
neweth these actual intentions ; and oft interposeth thoughts 
of the presence, or power, or love, or interest of him whom 
he is serving : he often lifteth up his soul in some holy desire 
or ejaculatory request to God : he oft taketh occasion from 
what he seeth, or heareth, or is doing, for some more spiri- 
tual meditation or discourse : so that still it is God that his 
mind is principally employed on or for, even in his ordinary 
work (while he liveth as a Christian). 

And it is not enough to think of God ; but we must think 
of him as God; with such respect, and reverence, and love, 
and trust, and submission (in our measure) as is due from 
the creature to his Creator. For as some kind of speaking 
of him is but a taking his name in vain ; so some kind of 
thinking of him is but a dishonouring of him, by contemptu- 
ous, or false, unworthy thoughts. Most of our walking with 
God consisteth in such affectionate apprehensions of him 
as are suitable to his blessed attributes and relations. All 
the day long our thoughts should be working either on God, 
or for God : either upon some work of obedience which he 


hath imposed on us, and in which we desire to please and 
honour him, or else directly upon himself. Our hearts must 
be taken up in contemplating and admiring him, in magni- 
fying his name, his word and works ; and in pleasant con- 
tentful thoughts of his benignity, and of his glory, and the 
glory which he conferreth on his saints. He that is unskil- 
ful or unable to manage his own thoughts with some acti- 
vity, seriousness and order, will be a stranger to much of 
the holy converse which believer's have with God. They 
that have given up the government of their thoughts, 
and turned them loose to go which way fantasy pleaseth, 
and present sensitive objects do invite them, and to run up 
and down the world as masterless, unruly vagrants, can 
hardly expect to keep them in any constant attendance upon 
God, or readiness for any sacred work. And the sudden 
thoughts which they have of God, will be rude and stupid, 
savouring more of profane contempt, than of holiness, 
when they should be reverent, serious, affectionate and prac- 
tical, and such as conduce to a holy composure of their 
hearts and lives. 

And as we must walk with God, 1. In our communion 
with his servants ; 2. And in our affectionate meditations ; 
so also, 3. In all the ordinances which he hath appointed 
for our edification and his worship. 

1. The reading of the word of God, and the explication 
and application of it in good books, is a means to possess 
the mind with sound, and orderly, and working apprehen- 
sions of God, and of his holy truths : so that in such read- 
ing our understandings are oft illustrated with a heavenly 
light, and our hearts are touched with a special delightful 
relish of that truth, and they are secretly attracted and en- 
gaged unto God, and all the powers of our souls are excited 
and animated to a holy, obedient life. 

2. The same word preached with a lively voice, with 
clearness and affection, hath a greater advantage for the 
same illumination and excitation of the soul. When a minis- 
ter of Christ that is truly a divine, being filled with the 
knowledge and love of God, shall copiously and affection- 
ately open to his hearers, the excellencies which he hath 
seen, and the happiness which he hath foreseen and tasted 
of himself, it frequently (through the cO-operation of the 
Spirit of Christ) doth wrap up the hearers' hearts to God, and 


bring them into a more lively knowledge of him, actuating 
their graces, and inflaming their hearts with a heavenly love, 
and such desires as God hath promised to satisfy. Christ 
doth not only send his ministers furnished with authority 
from him, but also furnished with his Spirit, to speak of spi- 
ritual things in a spiritual manner ; so that in both respects 
he might say, ** He that heareth you, heareth me:" and also 
by the same Spirit doth open and excite the hearts of the 
hearers : So that it is God himself that a serious Christian is 
principally employed with, in the hearing of his heavenly, 
transforming word : and therefore he is affected with reve- 
rence and holy fear, with some taste of heavenly delight, with 
obediential subjection and resignation of himself to God. 
The word of God is powerful, not only in pulling down all 
high exalting thoughts, that rise up against God, but also 
in lifting up depressed souls, that are unable to rise unto 
heavenly knowledge, or communion with God. If some 
Christians could but always find as much of God upon their 
hearts at other times, as they find sometimes under a spiri- 
tual, powerful ministry, they would not so complain that they 
seem forsaken, and strangers to all communion with God, as 
many of them do. While God (by his messengers and Spirit) 
is speaking, and man is hearing him ; while God is treating 
with man about his reconciliation and everlasting happiness, 
and man is seriously attending to the treaty and motions of 
his Lord, surely this is a very considerable part of our walk- 
ing and converse with God. 

3. Also in the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, 
we are called to a familiar converse with God : He there 
appeareth to us by a wonderful condescension in the repre- 
senting, communicating signs of the flesh and blood of his 
Son, in which he hath most conspicuously revealed his love 
and goodness to believers : there Christ himself with his 
covenant-gifts are all delivered to us by these investing 
signs of his own institution ; even as knighthood is given 
by a sword, and as a house is delivered by a key, or land by 
a twig and turf. No where is God so near to man as in Jesus 
Christ : and no where is Christ so familiarly represented to 
us, as in this holy sacrament. Here we are called to sit with 
him at his table, as his invited welcome guests; to comme- 
morate his sacrifice, to feed upon his very flesh and blood ; 
that is, with our mouths upon his representative flesh and 


blood, and with our applying faith upon his real flesh and 
blood, by such a feeding as belongs to faith. The marriage- 
covenant betwixt God incarnate, and his espoused ones, is 
there publicly sealed, celebrated and solemnized. There we 
are entertained by God as friends, and not as servants only, 
and that at the most precious costly feast. If ever a believer 
may on earth expect his kindest entertainment, and near 
access, and a humble intimacy with his Lord, it is in the 
participation of his sacrifice-feast, which is called ' The 
Communion,' because it is appointed as well for our special 
communion with Christ as with one another. It is here that 
we have the fullest intimation, expression and communica- 
tion of the wondrous love of God ; and therefore it is here 
that we have the loudest call, and best assistance, to make 
a large return of love : and where there is most of this love 
between God and man, there is most communion, and most 
of heaven, that can be had on earth. 

But it much concerneth the members of Christ, that they 
deprive not themselves of this communion with God in this 
holy sacrament through their miscarriage ; which is too fre- 
quently done by one of these extremes. Either by rushing 
upon holy things with a presumptuous, careless, common 
frame of heart, as if they knew not that they go to feast 
with Christ, and discerned not his body : or else by an ex- 
cess of fear, drawing back and questioning the goodwill of 
God, and thinking diminutively of his love and mercy : By 
this means Satan depriveth many of the comfortable part of 
their communion with God, both in this sacrament, and in 
other ways of grace : and maketh them avoid him as an 
enemy, and be loath to come into his special presence ; and 
even to be afraid to think of him, to pray to him, or to have 
any holy converse with him : when the just belief and obser- 
vation of his love would establish them, and revive their 
souls with joy, and give them experience of the sweet de- 
lights which are opened to them in the Gospel, and which 
believers find in the love of God, and the foretaste of the 
everlasting pleasures. 

4. In holy, faithful, fervent prayer, a Christian hath very 
much of his converse with God. For prayer is our approach 
to God, and calling to mind his presence and his attributes, 
and exercising all his graces in a holy motion towards him, 
and an exciting all the powers of our souls to seek him. 


attend him and reverently to worship him : It is our treating 
with him about the most important businesses in all the 
world : a begging of the greatest mercies, and a deprecating 
his most grievous judgments; and all this with the nearest 
familiarity that man in flesh can have with God. In prayer, 
the Spirit of God is working up our hearts unto him, with 
desires expressed in sighs and groans : it is a work of God as 
well as of man : he bloweth the fire, though it be our hearts 
that burn and boil. In prayer we lay hold on Jesus Christ, 
and plead his merits and intercession with the Father: he 
taketh us as it were by the hand, and leadeth us unto God, 
and hideth our sins, and procureth our acceptance, and pre- 
senteth us amiable to his Fatlier, having justified and sancti- 
fied us, and cleansed us from those pollutions, which ren- 
dered us loathsome and abominable. To speak to God in 
serious prayer, is a work so high, and of so great moment, 
that it calleth off our minds from all things else, and giveth 
no creature room or leave to look into the soul, or once to be 
observed : The mind is so taken up with God, and employed 
with him, that creatures are forgotten, and we take no notice 
of them (unless when through the diversions of the flesh, 
our prayers are interrupted and corrupted, and so far dege- 
nerate, and are no prayer ; so far I say as we thus turn away 
from God). So that the soul that is most and best at prayer, 
is most and best at walking with God, and hath most com- 
munion with him in the Spirit: And to withdraw from prayer, 
is to withdraw from God : And to be unwilling to pray, is to 
be unwilling to draw near to God. Meditation or contem- 
plation is a duty in which God is much enjoyed : But prayer 
hath meditation in it, and much more. All that is upon the 
mind in meditation, is upon the mind in prayer, and that 
with great advantage, as being presented before God, and 
pleaded with him, and so animated by the apprehensions of 
his observing presence, and actuated by the desires and 
pleadings of the soul. When we are commanded to pray, 
it iacludeth a command to repent, and believe, and fear the 
Lord, and desire his grace. For faith and repentance, and 
fear and desire, are altogether in action in a serious prayer; 
and, as it were, naturally each one takes his place, and there 
is a holy order in the acting of these graces in a Christian's 
prayers, and a harmony which he doth seldom himself ob- 
serve. He that in meditation kuoweth not how to be regular 


and methodical, when he is studiously contriving and ert- 
deavouring it, yet in prayer before he is aware, hath repen- 
tance, and faith, and fear, and desire, and every grace fall in 
its proper place and order, and contribute its part to the 
performance of the work. The new nature of a Christian is 
more immediately and vigorously operative in prayer, than 
in many other duties : and therefore every infant in the fa- 
mily of God can pray (with groaning desires, and ordered 
graces, if not with well-ordered words) : When Paul began 
to live to Christ, he began (aright) to pray : " Behold he 
prayeth," saith God to Ananias. (Acts ix. 11.) And " be- 
cause they are sons, God sends the Spirit of his Son into 
the hearts of his elect, even the Spirit of Adoption, by which 
they cry Abba, Father," (Gal. iv. 6,) as children naturally 
cry to their parents for relief. And nature is more regular 
in its works than art or human contrivance is. Necessity 
reacheth many a beggar to pray better for relief to men, than 
many learned men (that feel not their necessities) can pray 
to God. The Spirit of God is a better methodist than we 
are. And though I know that we are bound to use our ut- 
most care and skill for the orderly actuating of each holy 
affection in our prayers, and not pretend the sufficiency of 
the Spirit for the patronage of our negligence or sloth (for 
the Spirit makes use of our understandings for the actu- 
ating of our v^rills and affections) ; yet withal it cannot be 
denied, but that it was upon a special reason that the Spirit 
that is promised to believers is called a " spirit of grace and 
supplication." (Zech.xii. 10.) And that it is given us to "help 
our infirmities," even the infirmities of our understanding, 
when *' we know not what to pray for as we ought." (Rom. 
viii. 26.) And that the Spirit itself is said to " make interces- 
sion for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered." It is 
not the Spirit without, that is here meant : such intercession 
is no where ascribed to that. How then is the prayer of 
the Spirit within us distingushed from our prayer? Not as 
different effects of different causes : as different prayers by 
these different parties. But as the same prayer proceeding 
from different causes, having a special force (for quality and 
degree) as from one cause (the Spirit), which it hath not from 
the other cause (from ourselves), except as received from the 
Spirit. The Spirit is a new nature or fixed inclination in 
the saints : for their very self-love and will to good, is sane- 


tified in them, which works so readily (though voluntarily) 
as that it is in a sort by the way of nature, though not ex- 
cluding reason and will ; and not as the motion of the brutish 
appetite. And that God is their felicity, and the only help 
and comfort of their souls, and so the principal good to be 
desired by them, is become to them a truth so certain, and 
beyond all doubt, that their understandings are convinced 
that ' velle bonum,' and * velle Deum,' to love good, and to 
love God, are words that have almost the same signification; 
and therefore here is no room for deliberation and choice, 
where there is * omnimoda ratio boni,' nothing but unques- 
tionable good. A Christian (so far as he is such) cannot 
choose but desire the favour and fruition of God in immor- 
tality, even as he cannot choose (because he is a man) but 
desire his own felicity in general : And as he cannot (as a 
man) but be unwilling of destruction, and cannot but fear 
apparent misery, and that which bringeth it; so as a Chris- 
tian he cannot choose but be unwilling of damnation, and 
of the, wrath of God, and of sin as sin, and fear the appa- 
rent danger of his soul, so that his new nature will presently 
cast his fear, and repentance, and desires into their proper 
course and order, and set them on work on their several ob- 
jects (about the main unquestionable things, however they 
may err, or need more deliberation about things doubtful) : 
The new creature is not as a lifeless engine (as a clock, or 
watch, or ship), where every part must be set in order by the 
art and hand of man, and so kept and used : But it is more 
like the frame of our own nature, even like man who is a 
living engine, when every part is set in its place and order 
by the Creator, and hath in itself a living and harmonical 
principle, which disposeth it to action, and to regular action, 
and is so to be kept in order and daily exercise by ourselves, 
as yet to be principally ordered and actuated, by the Spirit 
which is the principal cause. 

By all which you may understand how the Holy Ghost 
is in us a Spirit of supplication, and helpeth our infirmities, 
and teacheth us to pray, and intercedeth in us ; and also 
that prayer is to the new man so natural a motion of the 
soul towards God, that much of our walking with God is 
exercised in this holy duty : and that it is to the new life 
as breathing to our natural life ; and therefore no wonder 
that we are commanded to " pray continually," (1 Thess. v. 


17,) as we must breathe continually, or as nature which need- 
eth a daily supply of food for nourishment, hath a daily ap- 
petite to the food which it needeth, so hath the spiritual na- 
ture to its necessary food, and nothing but sickness doth 
take it off. 

And thus I have shewed how our walking with God, 
containeth a holy use of his appointed means. 

11. To walk with God includeth our dependance on him 
for our receivings, and taking our mercies as from his hand. 
To live as upon his love and bounty ; as children with their 
father, that can look for nothing but from him. As the eye 
of a servant, yea, of a craving dog, is upon his master's 
face and hand, so must our eye be on the Lord, for the 
gracious supply of all our wants. If men give us any thing, 
we take them but as the messengers of God, by whom he 
sendeth it us : We will not be unthankful to men ; but we 
thank them but for bringing us our Father's gifts. Indeed 
man is so much more than a mere messenger, as that his own 
charity also is exercised in the gift. A mere messenger is 
to do no more but obediently to deliver what is sent us, and 
he need not exercise any charity of his own; and we owe 
him thanks only for his fidelity and labour, but only to his 
master for the gift : But God will so far honour man, as 
that he shall be called also to use his charity, and distribute 
his master's gifts with some self-denial ; and we owe him 
thanks, as under God, he partaketh in the charity of the 
gift; and as one child oweth thanks to another, who both 
in obedience to the father, and love to his brother, doth 
give some part of that which his father had given him be- 
fore. But still it is from our Father's bounty, as the prin- 
cipal cause that all proceeds. Thus Jacob speaketh of God, 
" God, before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac did 
walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 
the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads," 
&c. (Gen. xlviii. 15, 16.) When he had mentioned his 
father Abraham and Isaac's walking with God, he describeth 
his own by his dependance upon God, and receiving from 
him, acknowledging him the God that had fed him, and de- 
livered him all his life. Carnal men that live by sense, do 
depend upon inferior sensible causes ; and though they are 
taught to pray to God, and thank him with their tongues, 
it is indeed their own contrivances and industry, or their 


visible benefactors, which their hearts depend upon and 
thank. It were a shame to them to be so plain as Pharaoh, 
and to say, '* Who is the Lord ?" or to speak as openly as 
Nebuchadnezzar, and say, " Is not this great Babylon that 
I have built, by the might of my power," &c. (Dan. iv. 30.) 
Yet the same atheism and self-idolizing is in their hearts, 
though it be more modestly and cunningly expressed. Hence 
it is that they that walk with God, have all their receivings 
sanctified to them, and have in all a divine and spiritual 
sweetness, which those that take them but as from creatures, 
do never feel or understand. 

12. Lastly, It is contained in our walking with God, 
that the greatest business of our lives be with him, and for 
him. It is not a walk for compliment or recreation only, 
that is here meant ; but it is a life of nearness, converse, 
and employment, as a servant or child that dwelleth with 
his master or father in the house. God should be always 
so regarded, that man should stand by as nothing, and be 
scarce observed in comparison of him. We should begin 
the day with God, and entertain him in the first and 
sweetest of our thoughts : We should walk abroad and do 
our works as in his sight : We must resolve to do no work 
but his, no not in our trades and ordinary callings : We 
must be able to say. It is the work which my Master set 
me to do, and I do it to obey and please his will. At night 
we must take an account of ourselves, and spread open that 
account before him, desiring his acceptance of what was 
well, and his pardon for what we did amiss, that we may 
thus be ready for our last account. In a word, though men 
be our fellow-labourers and companions, yet the principal 
business of our care and diligence, must be our Master's 
service in the world. And therefore we must look about 
us, and discern the opportunities of serving him, and of the 
best improvement of his talents ; and must make it our 
daily study and business, to do him the greatest service we 
are able, whatever it may cost us through the malice of the 
enemies, being sure our labour shall not be in vain, and that 
we cannot serve him at too dear a rate. It is not as idle 
companions, but as servants, as soldiers, as those that put 
forth all their strength, to do his work and reach the crown, 
that wc are called to walk with God. And all this is done. 


though not in the same degree by all, yet according to the 
measure of their holiness by every one that lives by faith. 

Having told you what it is to walk with God, as to the 
matter of it, I shall more briefly tell you as to the manner : 
The nature of God, of man, and of the work, will tell it you. 
1. That our walk with God must be with the greatest 
reverence : were we ever so much assured of his special 
love to us, and never so full of faith and joy, our reverence 
must be never the less for this. Though love cast out that 
guilty fear which discourageth the sinner from hoping and 
seeking for the mepcy which would save him, and which 
disposeth him to hate and fly from God, yet doth it not 
cast out that reverence of God, which we owe him as his 
creatures, so infinitely below him as we are. It cannot be 
that God should be known and remembered as God, with- 
out some admiring and awful apprehensions of him. Infi- 
niteness, omnipotency, and inaccessible majesty and glory, 
must needs affect the soul that knoweth them, with reverence 
and self-abasement. Though " we receive a kingdom that 
cannot be moved," yet if we will " serve God acceptably," 
we must ** serve him with reverence and godly fear," as 
knowing he ** is our God," so he is also a " consuming fire." 
(Heb. xii. 28, 29.) We must so worship him as those that 
remember that we are worms and guilty sinners, and that 
he is most high and holy, and will be " sanctified in them 
that come nigh him, and before all the people he will be 
glorified." (Lev. x. 3.) Unreverence sheweth a kind of 
atheistical contempt of God, or else a sleepiness and incon- 
siderateness of the soul. The sense of the goodness and 
love of God, must consist with the sense of his holiness 
and omnipotency. It is presumption, pride, or blockish 
stupidity, which excludeth reverence; which faith doth 
cause, and not oppose. 

2. Our walking with God must be a work of humble 
boldness and familiarity. The reverence of his holiness 
and greatness, must not overcome or exclude the sense of 
his goodness and compassion, nor the full assurance of faith 
and hope : Though by sin we are enemies and strangers to 
God, and stand afar off, yet in Christ we are reconciled to 
him, and brought near. (Ephes. ii. 13.) " For he is our 
peace, who liath taken down the partition, and abolished 


the enmity, and reconciled Jew and Gentile unto God." 
(ver. 14 — 16.) " And through him we have all an access to 
the Father by one Spirit : We are now no more strangers 
and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the 
household of God.'* (ver. 18, 19.) ** In him we have bold- 
ness and access with confidence by the belief of him." 
(Ephes. iii. 12.) Though of ourselves we are unworthy to 
be called his children, and may well stand afar off with the 
publican, and not dare to lift up our faces towards heaven, 
but smite our breasts, and say, " O Lord be merciful to me 
a sinner." Yet " have we boldness to enter into the holiest, 
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he 
hath consecrated fur us, through the veil, that is to say, his 
flesh : And having an High Priest over the house of God, 
we may draw near with a true heart in full assurance of 
faith.'* (Heb. x. 19 — 22. Therefore whensoever we are 
afraid at the sight of sin and justice, let us remember that 
** we have a great High Priest that is passed into the hea- 
vens, even Jesus the Son of God : And therefore let us come 
boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, 
and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. iv. 14 — 16.) 
He that alloweth us to walk with him, doth allow us such 
humble familiarity as beseemeth those that walk together 
with him. 

3. Our walking with God must be a work of some holy 
pleasure and delight. We may willingly be dragged into 
the presence of an enemy, and serve as drudges upon mere 
necessity or fear. But walking together is the loving and 
delightful converse of friends. When we take sweet coun- 
sel of the Lord, and set him always at our right hand, and 
are glad to hear from him, and glad to speak to him, and 
glad to withdraw our thoughts from all the things and per- 
sons in the world, that we may solace ourselves in the con- 
templations of his excellency, and the admirations of his 
love and glory, this is indeed to walk with God. You con- 
verse with him as with a stranger, an enemy, or your de- 
stroyer, and not as with God, while you had rather be far 
from him, and only tremble in his presence, and are glad 
when you have done and are got away, but have no delight 
or pleasure in him. If we can take delight in our walking 
with a friend, a friend that is truly loving and constant, a 



friend that is learned, wise and holy ! if their wise and hea- 
venly discourse be better to us, than our recreations, meat, 
or drink, or clothes ! What delight then should we find in 
our secret converse with the most high, most wise and gra- 
cious God ! How glad should we be to find him willing and 
ready to entertain us ! How glad should we be that we may 
employ our thoughts on so high and excellent an object! 
What cause have we to say, *' My meditation of him shall 
be sweet, and I will be glad in the Lord." (Psal. civ. 34.) 
" In the multitude of my thoughts within me (my sorrowful, 
troublesome, weary thoughts) thy comforts do delight my 
soul." (Psal. xciv. 19.) Let others take pleasure in childish 
vanity or sensuality, but say thou as David, *' I have re- 
joiced in the ways of thy commandments, as much as in all 
riches : 1 will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect un- 
to thy ways : I will delight myself in thy statutes, and will 
not forget thy word. 1 will delight myself in thy command- 
ments which 1 have loved." (Psal. cxix. 14 — 16. 47.) Let 
" scorners delight in scorning, and fools hate knowledge," 
(Prov. i. 22,) but ** make me to go in the path of thy com- 
mandments, for therein do I delight." (Psal. cxix. 35.) If 
thou wouldst experimentally know the safety and glory of a 
holy life, " delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give 
thee the desire of thy heart." (Psal. xxxvii. 4.) Especially 
when we draw near him in his solemn worship, and when 
we separate ourselves on his holy days from all our com- 
mon worldly thoughts, to be conversant, as in heaven, with 
the blessed God ; then may we with the holy apostle be 
•* in the Spirit on the Lord's day," (Rev. i. 10,) " and if we 
turn away our foot from the Sabbath, from doing our plea- 
sure on that holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the 
holy of the Lord, honourable, and shall honour him, not do- 
ing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speak- 
ing our own words, then shall we delight ourselves in the 
Lord," (Isa. Iviii. 13, 14,) and understand how great a pri- 
vilege it is, to have the liberty of those holy days and duties 
for our sweet and heavenly converse with God. 

4. Our walking with God must be a matter of industry 
and diligence : It is not an occasional idle converse, but a 
life of observance, obedience, and employment, that this 
phrase importeth. The sluggish, idle wishes of the hypo- 



crite, whose hands refuse to labour, are not this walking 
with God : nor " the sacrifice of fools," who are hasty to 
utter the overflowings of their fantasy before the Lord, while 
they " keep not their foot, nor hearken to the law, nor con- 
sider that they do evil." (Eccles. v. 1 — 3.) ** He that cometh 
to God (and will walk with him") must believe that he is, 
and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him : God is with you, while you are with him ; but if you 
forsake him, he will forsake you." (2 Chron. xv. 2.) " Up 
and be doing, and the Lord will be with you." (1 Chron. 
xxii. 16.) If you would meet with God in the way of mercy 
*' take diligent heed to do the commandment and law, to 
love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to 
cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart, and 
with all your soul." (Josh. xxii. 5.) 

5. Ourwalking with God is a matter of some constancy: 
It signifieth our course and trade of life, and not some ac- 
cidental action on the by : A man may walk with a stranger 
for a visit, or in compliment, or upon some unusual occa- 
sion : But this walk with God, is the act of those that 
dwell with him in his family, and do his work*. It is not 
only to step and speak with him, or cry to him for mercy 
in some great extremity, or to go to church for company or 
custom, or think or talk of him sometimes heartlessly on 
the by, as a man will talk of news, or matters that are done 
in a foreign land, or of persons that we have little to do 
with: But it is to "be always with him." (Luke x v. 31.) 
" To seek first his kingdom and righteousness." (Matt. vi. 
33.) "Not to labour (comparatively) for the food that perish- 
eth, but for that which endureth to everlasting life." (John 
vi. 27.) " To delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate 
in it day and night." (Psal. i. 2.) That his " words be in 
our hearts, and that we teach them diligently to our chil- 
dren, and talk of them sitting in the house, and walking by 
the way, lying down, and rising up," &c. (Deut. vi. 6 8.) 
That " we pray continually." (1 Thess. v. 17.) " And in all 
things give thanks." But will the hypocrite delight himself 
in the Almighty, or will he always call upon God ?" (Job 
xxvii. 10.) •• His goodness is as the morning cloud, and as 
the early dew it goeth away." (Hos. vi. 4.) 

So much of the description of this * walking with God,' 



Use. We are next to consider how far this doctrine doth 
concern ourselves, and what use we have to make of it up- 
on our hearts and lives. 

And First, It acquainteth us with the abundance of 
atheism that is in the world, even among those that profess 
the knowledge of God. It is atheism not only to say, 
*' There is no God :*' but to say so ** in the heart." (Psal. 
xiv. 1.) While the heart is no more affected towards him, 
observant of him, or confident in him, or submissive to him, 
than if indeed there were no God : When there is nothing 
of God upon the heart, no love, no fear, no trust, no sub- 
jection, this is heart atheism. When men that have some 
kind of knowledge of God, yet glorify him not " as God, 
nor are thankful to him, but become vain in their imagina- 
tions, and their foolish hearts are darkened ; these men are 
heart-atheists ; and professing themselves wise, they become 
fools, and are given up to vile affections : And as they do 
not like to retain God in their knowledge (however they 
may discourse of him, so) God oft giveth them over to a 
reprobate mind, to do those things that are not convenient, 
being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wicked- 
ness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, debate, 
deceit, malignity," &c. (Rom. i. 21, 22. 26. 28—30.) Swarms 
of such atheists go up and down under the self-deceiving 
name of Christians : Being indeed unbelieving and defiled, 
so void of purity, that they deride it, and " nothing is pure 
to them ; but even their mind and conscience is defiled : 
They profess that they know God, but they deny him in 
their works, being abominable and disobedient, and to 
every good work reprobate." (Titus i. 15, 16,) What are 
they but atheists, when " God is not in all their thoughts," 
(Psal. X. 4,) unless it be in their impious or blaspheming 
thoughts, or in their slight contemptuous thoughts ! To 
take God for God indeed, and for our God, essentially in- 
cludeth the taking him to be the most powerful, wise and 
good, the most just and holy, the Creator, Preserver and 
Governor of the world, whom we and all men are obliged 
absolutely to obey and fear, to love and desire, whose will 
is our beginning, rule and end : He that taketh not God for 
such as here described, taketh him not for God, and there- 



fore is indeed an atheist : What name soever he assumeth 
to himself, this is the name that God will call him by ; even 
a " fool that hath said in his heart there is no God: while 
they are corrupt and do abominably, they understand not, 
and seek not after God ; they are all gone aside, and are 
altogether become filthy, there is none of them that doth 
good ; they are workers of iniquity, they have no know- 
ledge, and eat up the people of God as bread, and call not 
upon the Lord." (Psal. xiv. I — 4.) Ungodliness is but the 
English for atheism. The atheist or ungodly in opinion, is 
he that thinks that there is no God, or that he is one that 
we need not love and serve (and that is but the same, viz. 
to be no God). The atheist or ungodly in heart, or will, is 
he that consenteth not that God shall be his God, to be 
loved, feared, and obeyed before all. The atheist in life, or 
outward practice, is he that liveth as without God in the 
world ; that seeketh him not as his chiefest good, and obey- 
eth him not as his highest absolute Lord ; so that indeed 
atheism is the sum of all iniquity, as godliness is the sum 
of all religion and moral good. If you see by the descrip- 
tion which I have given you, what it is to be godly, and to 
walk with God, and what it is to be an atheist or ungodly, 
you may easily see that godliness is more rare, and atheism 
more common, than many that themselves are atheists will 
believe. It is not that which a man calls his God, that is 
taken by him for his God indeed. It is not the tongue, but 
the heart that is the man. Pilate called Christ the King of 
the Jews, when he crucified him. The Jews called God 
their Father, when Christ telleth them, they were of their 
father the devil, and proveth it because (whatever they 
said) they would do their lusts. (John viii. 44.) The 
same Jews pretended to honour the name of the Messiah, 
and expect him, while they killed him. The question is not 
what men call themselves, but what they are : Not whether 
you say you take God for your God, but whether you do so 
indeed : Not whether you profess yourselves to be atheists, 
but whether you are atheists indeed or not. If you are not, 
look over what I have here said, and ask your consciences. 
Do you walk with God ? who is it you submit yourselves 
willingly to be disposed of by? to whom are you most sub- 
ject? and whose commands have the most effectual autho- 
rity with you ? who is the chief Governor of your hearts 


and lives? whom is it that you principally desire to please? 
whom do you most fear? and whose displeasure do you 
principally avoid ? from whom is it that you expect your 
greatest reward ? and in whom, and with whom do you 
place and expect your happiness? whose work is it that 
you do, as the greatest business of your lives ? Is it the 
goodness of God in himself, and unto you, that draweth up 
your hearts to him in love ? Is he the ultimate end of the 
main intentions, design, and industry of your lives ? Do 
you trust upon his word as your security for your everlast- 
ing hopes and happiness ? Do you study and observe him in 
his works ? Do you really live as in his presence ? Do you 
delight in his word, and meditate on it ? Do you love the 
communion of saints ? and to be most frequent and familiar 
with them that are most frequent and familiar with Christ? 
Do you favour more the particular affectionate discourse 
about his nature, will and kingdom, than the frothy talk of 
empty wits, or the common discourse of carnal worldlings? 
Do you love to be employed in thanking him for his mercies, 
and in praising him, and declaring the glory of his attri- 
butes and works? Is your dependance on him as your great 
Benefactor, and do you receive your mercies as his gifts? 
If thus your principal observation be of God, and your chief 
desire after God, and your chiefest confidence in God, and 
your chiefest business in the world be with God, and for 
God, and your chiefest joy be in the favour of God, (when 
you can apprehend it) and in the prosperity of his church, 
and your hopes of glory ; and your chiefest grief and trou- 
ble be your sinful distance from him, and your backward- 
ness and disability in his love and service, and the fear of 
his displeasure, and the injuries done to his Gospel and 
honour in the world ; then I must needs say, you are sav- 
ingly delivered from your atheism and ungodliness ; you do 
not only talk of God, but walk with God ; you are then ac- 
quainted with that spiritual life and work, which the sen- 
sual world is unacquainted with, and with those invisible, 
everlasting excellencies, which if worldlings knew, they 
would change their minds, and choice, and pleasures : You 
are then acquainted with that rational, manly, saintlike 
life, which ungodly men are strangers to ; and you are in 
the way of that well-grounded hope and peace to which all 
the pleasures and crowns on earth, if compared, are bu( 


cheats and misery. But if you were never yet brought to 
walk with God, do not think you have a sound belief in 
God, nor that you acknowledge him sincerely, nor that you 
are saved from heart-atheism : nor is it piety in the opinion 
and the tongue, that will save him that is an atheist, or 
ungodly in heart and life. Divinity is an affective-practical 
science: Knowing is not the ultimate or perfective act of 
man: but a means to holy love, and joy, and service. Nor 
is it clear and solid knowledge, if it do not somewhat affect 
the heart, and engage and actuate the life, according to the 
nature and use of the thing known. The soundness of 
knowledge and belief, is not best discerned in the intellec- 
tual acts themselves, but in their powerful, free and pleasant 
efficacy, upon our choice and practice. By these therefore 
you must judge, whether you are godly or atheistical. The 
question is not what your tongues say of God, nor what 
complimental ceremonious observances you allow him, but 
what your hearts and your endeavours say of him, and whe- 
ther you glorify him as God, when you say you know him : 
otherwise you will find that the " wrath of God is revealed 
from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of 
men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." (Rom. i. 18.21.) 
And now, alas ! what matter of lamentation is here be- 
fore us ! To see how seriously men converse with one ano- 
ther ; and how God is overlooked or neglected by the most ! 
How men live together, as if there were more that is con- 
siderable and regardable in these particles of animated 
dust, than in the Lord Almighty, and in all his graces, ser- 
vice and rewards ! To see how God is cast aside, and his in- 
terest made to give place to the interest of the flesh, and 
his services must stay till men have done their service to 
their lusts, or to worldly men, that can do them hurt, or 
shew them favour ! And his will must not be done, when it 
crosseth the will of sinful man ! How little do all the com- 
mands, and promises, and threatenings of God signify, with 
these atheistical men, in comparison of their lusts, or the 
laws of men, or any thing that concerneth their temporal 
prosperity ! O how is the world revolted from their Maker ! 
How have they lost the knowledge of themselves, and for- 
gotten their natures, capacities and obligations, and what it 
is to be indeed a man ! O hearken, sinners, to the call of 
your Redeemer ! Return, O seduced, wandering souls, und 


know at last your resting place ! Why is not God in all 
your thoughts ? or why is he thought on with so much re- 
missness, unwillingness, and contempt ! and with so little 
pleasure, seriousness, or regard ? Do you understand your- 
selves in this ? Do you deal worthily with God ? or wisely 
for yourselves ? Do you take more pleasure, with the prodi- 
gal, to feed swine, and to feed with swine, than to dwell at 
home with your heavenly Father ? and to walk before him, 
and serve him in the world ? Did you but know how dan- 
gerous a way you have been in, and how unreasonably you 
have dealt, to forsake God in your hearts, and follow that 
which cannot profit you, what haste would you make to 
leave the crowd, and come home to God, and try a more 
noble and gainful conversation? If reasons may have room 
and leave to work upon you, I will set a few before you 
more distinctly, to call you off from your barren, inordinate 
creature-converse, to a believing, serious converse with God. 

1. The higher and more excellent the object is (espe- 
cially when it is also of most concernment to ourselves), the 
more excellent is the converse. Therefore as nothing dare 
compare itself with God, so no employment may be com- 
pared with this of holy walking with him. How vile a con- 
tempt is it of the Almighty, and of our celestial joys, for 
the heart to neglect them, and turn away, and dwell upon 
vanity and trouble, and let these highest pleasures go ! Is not 
God and glory worthy of thy thoughts, and all thy service ? 

2. What are those things that take thee up ? Are they 
better than God? or fitter to supply thy wants ? If thou 
think, and trust in them accordingly, ere long thou shalt 
know better what they are, and have enough of thy cursed 
choice and confidence. Tell those that stand by thee at 
the parting hour, whether thou didst choose aright and 
make a gaining or a saving match. O poor sinners ! have 
you not yet warning enough to satisfy you that all things 
below are vanity and vexation, and that all your hope of 
happiness is above ? Will not the testimony of God satisfy 
you? Will not the experience of the world for so many 
thousand years together satisfy you ? Will not the ill suc- 
cess of the damned satisfy you ? Will nothing but your own 
experience convince you? If so, consider well the expe- 
rience you have already made, and seasonably retire, and 
try no further, and trust not so dangerous a deceiver to the 


last, lest you buy your knowledge at a dearer rate than you 
will now believe. 

3. You have daily more to do with God, than with all 
the world, whether you will or no : And therefore seeing 
you cannot avoid him if you would, prefer that voluntary 
obediential converse, which hath a reward, before that 
necessitated converse which hath none. You are always in 
his hands : he made you for his service ; and he will dis- 
pose of you and all that you have, according to his will. It 
shall not go with you as yourselves would have it, nor as 
your friends would have it, nor as princes and great ones of 
the world would have it; (unless as their wills comply with 
God's) but as God would have it, who will infallibly ac- 
complish all his will. If a sparrow fall not to the ground 
without him, and all the hairs of our heads are numbered, 
then certainly he overruleth all your interests and affairs, 
and they are absolutely at his disposal. To whom then in 
reason should you so much apply yourselves as unto him? 
If you will not take notice of him, he will take notice of 
you : he will remember you, whether you remember him or 
not; but it may be with so strict and severe a remem- 
brance, as may make you wish he did quite forget you. 
You are always in his presence ; and can you then forget 
him, and hold no voluntary converse with him, when you 
stand before him ? If it be but mean, inferior persons that 
we dwell with, and are still in company with, we mind 
them more, and speak more to them, than we do to greater 
persons that we seldom see. But in God there is both 
greatness and nearness to invite you. Should not all the 
worms on earth stand by, while the glorious God doth call 
you to him, and offer you the honour and happiness of his 
converse? Shall the Lord of heaven and earth stand by, 
and be shut out, while you are chatting or trifling with his 
creatures? Nay, shall he be neglected that is always with 
you? You cannot remove yourselves a moment from his 
sight ; and therefore you should not shut your eyes, and 
turn away your face, and refuse to observe him who is still 
observing you. 

Moreover, your dependence, both for soul and body, is 
all on him : You can have nothing desirable but by his gift, 
lie feeds you, he clotheth you, he maintaineth you, he 
gives you life, and breath, and all things ; and yet can you 


overlook him, or forget him? Do not all his mercies require 
your acknowledgment? A dog will follow him that feedeth 
him : his eye will be upon his master : And shall we live 
upon God, and yet forget and disregard him? We are 
taught a better use of his mercies by the holy prophet; 
** O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his 
praise to be heard : which holdeth our soul in life, and suf- 
fereth not our feet to be moved !" (Psal. Ixvi. 8, 9.) 

Nay, it is not yourselves alone, but all the world that 
depends on God. It is his power that supporteth them, 
and his will that disposeth of them, and his bounty that pro- 
videth for them : and therefore he must be the observation 
and admiration of the world: It is less unreasonable to 
take no notice of the earth that beareth us and yieldeth us 
fruit, and of the sun that yieldeth us heat and light, than to 
disregard the Lord that is more to us than sun, and earth, 
and all things. "The eyes of all things wait on him; and 
he giveth them their meat in season : He openeth his hand 
and satisfieth the desire of every living thing." (Psal. cxlv. 
15, 16.) " The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies 
are over all his works : All his works therefore shall praise 
him, and his saints shall bless him : They shall speak of the 
glory of his kingdom, and talk of his power." (ver. 10, 11.) 

Moreover God is so abundantly and wonderfully repre- 
sented to us in all his works, as will leave us under the 
guilt of most unexcusable contempt, if we overlook him, 
and live as without him in the world. " The heavens de- 
clare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his 
handy work : Day unto day uttereth speech, and night un- 
to night sheweth knowledge." (Psal. xix. 1, 2.) Thus " that 
which may be known of God is manifest ; for the invisible 
things of him from the creation of the world, are clearly 
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even 
his eternal power and Godhead ; so that the ungodly are 
without excuse." (Rom. i. 19, 20.) Carmot you see that 
which all the world revealeth ; nor hear that which all the 
world proclaimeth ? " O sing ye forth the honour of his name : 
make his praise glorious ! Say to the Lord, How terrible 
art thou in thy works! Through the greatness of thy 
power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee : 
All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee : 
they shall sing unto thy name : come and see the works of 


God : he is terrible in his doings towards the children of 
men." (Psal. Ixvi. 2 — 5.) Can we pass him by, that is every 
where present, and by every creature represented to us ? 
Can we forget him, when all the world are our remem- 
brancers? Can we stop our ears against the voice of heaven 
and earth ? Can we be ignorant of him, when the whole 
creation is our teacher? Can we overlook that holy, glorious 
name, which is written so legibly upon all things that ever 
our eyes beheld, that nothing but blindness, sleepiness, or 
distraction, could possibly keep us from discerning it ! I 
have many a time wondered, that (as the eye is dazzled so 
with the beholding of the greatest light, that it can scarce 
perceive the shining of a lesser, so) the glorious transcen- 
dent majesty of the Lord, doth not even overwhelm our un- 
derstandings, and so transport and take us up, as that we 
scarce observe or remember any thing else. For naturally 
the greatest objects of our sense, are apt to make us at that 
time insensible of the smaller: And our exceeding great 
business, is apt to make us utterly neglect and forget those 
that are exceeding small : And O what nothings are the 
best and greatest of the creatures, in comparison of God ! 
And what toys and trifles are all our other businesses in the 
world, in comparison of the business which we have with 
him ! But I have been stopped in these admirations by con- 
sidering that the wise Creator hath fitted and ordered all 
his creatures according to the use which he designeth them 
to : And therefore as the eye must be receptive only of so 
much light as is proportioned to its use and pleasure, and 
must be so distant from the sun, that its light may rather 
guide, than blind us, and its heat may rather quicken, than 
consume us ; so God hath made our understandings capa- 
ble of no other knowledge of him here, than what is suited 
to the work of holiness : And while we have flesh, and 
fleshly works to do, and lawful and necessary business in 
the world, which God's own commands employ us, our souls 
in this lanthorn of the body, must see him through so thick 
a glass, as shall so far allay our apprehension, as not to dis- 
tract us, 'and take us off the works which he enjoineth us. 
And God and our souls shall be at such a distance, as that 
the proportionable light of his countenance may conduct us, 
and not overwhelm us ; and his love may be so revealed, as 
to quicken our desires, and draw us on to a better state. 


but not so as to make us utterly impatient of this world and 
utterly weary of our lives, or to swallow us up, or possess 
us of our most desired happiness, before we arrive at the 
state of happiness. While the soul is in the body, it maketh 
so much use of the body (the brains and spirits) in all its 
operations ; that our wise and merciful Creator and Go- 
vernor, doth respect the body as well as the soul, in his or- 
dering, disposing, and representing of the objects of those 
operations : So that when I consider that certainly all men 
would be distracted, if their apprehensions of God were any 
whit answerable to the greatness of his majesty and glory, 
(the brain being not able to bear such high operations of 
the soul, nor the greatness of the passions which would 
necessarily follow,) it much reconcileth my wondering mind, 
to the wise and gracious providence of God, even in setting 
innocent nature itself at such a distance from his glory (al- 
lowing us the presence of such grace, as is necessary to 
bring us up to glory). Though it reconcile me not to that 
doleful distance which is introduced by sin, and which is 
furthered by Satan, the world, and the flesh, and which our 
Redeemer by his Spirit and intercession must heal. 

And it further reconcileth me to this disposure and will 
of the blessed God, and this necessary natural distance and 
darkness of our mind, when I consider, that if God, and hea- 
ven, and hell, were as near and open to our apprehensions, 
as the things are which we see and feel, this life would not 
be what God intended it to be, a life of trial and prepara- 
tion to another, a work, a race, a pilgrimage, a warfare ; 
what trial would there be of any man's faith, or love, or 
obedience, or constancy, or self-denial ? If we saw God 
stand by, or apprehended him as if we saw him (in degree) 
it would be no more praiseworthy or rewardable for a man 
to abhor all temptations to worldliness, ambition, gluttony, 
drunkenness, lust, cruelty, &c. than it is for a man to be 
kept from sleeping that is pierced with thorns, or for a man 
to forbear to drink a cup of melted gold which he knoweth 
will burn out his bowels, or to forbear to burn his flesh in 
fire. It were no great commendation to his chastity, that 
would forbear his filthiness, if he saw or had the fullest ap- 
prehensions of God ; when he will forbear it in the presence 
of a mortal man : It were no great commendation to the in- 
temperate and voluptuous, to have no mind of sensual de- 



lights, if they had but such a knowledge of God as were 
equal to sight. It were no thanks to the persecutor to for- 
bear his cruelty against the servants of the Lord, if he ** saw 
Christ coming with his glorious angels, to take vengeance on 
them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel, and to be 
admired in his saints, and glorified in them that now believe." 
(2 Thess. i. 7 — 10.) I deny not but this happily necessi- 
tated holiness is best in itself, and therefore will be our state 
in heaven ; but what is there of trial in it? or how can it 
be suitable to the state of man, that must have good and 
evil set before him, and life and death left to his choice ; 
and that must conquer if he will be crowned, and approve 
his fidelity to his Creator against competitors, and must live 
a rewardable life before he have the reward? 

But though in this life we may neither hope for, nor de- 
sire, such overwhelming, sensible apprehensions of God, as 
the rest of our faculties cannot answer, nor our bodies bear ; 
yet that our apprehensions of him should be so base, and 
small, and dull, and unconstant, as to be borne down by the 
noise of worldly business, or by the presence of any creature, 
or by the tempting baits of sensuality, this is the more odi- 
ous, by how much God is more great and glorious than the 
creature, and even because the use of the creature itself is 
but to reveal the glory of the Lord. To have such slight and 
stupid thoughts of him, as will not carry us on in upright- 
ness of obedience, nor keep us in his fear, nor draw out our 
hearts in sincere desires to please him, and enjoy him, and 
as will not raise us to a contempt of the pleasures, and pro- 
fits, and honours of this world, this is to be despisers of the 
Lord, and to live as in a sleep, and to be dead to God, and 
alive only to the world and flesh. It is no unjust dishonour 
or injury to the creature, to be accounted as nothing in com- 
parison of G od, that it may be able to do nothing against him 
and his interest : But to make such a nothing of the most 
glorious God, by our contemptuous forgetfulness or neglect, 
as that our apprehensions of him cannot prevail against the 
sordid pleasures of the flesh, and against the richest baits of 
«in, and all the wrath or allurements of man, this is but to 
make a god of dust, and dung, and nothing, and (in heart 
and practice) to make God worse than dust and dung. And 
it is a wonder that man's understanding can become so sot- 
tish, as thus to wink the sun itself into a constant darkness. 


and to take God as nothing, or as no God, who is so abun- 
dantly revealed to them in astonishing transcendent great- 
ness and excellency, by all the creatures in the world, and 
with whom we have continually so much to do. O sinful 
man ! into how great a depth of ignorance, stupidity and 
misery art thou fallen ! 

But because we may see by the lives of the ungodly, that 
they little think that they have so much to do with God, 
though I have spoke of this to the godly in the other part 
of this treatise, I shall somewhat more particularly acquaint 
those that have most need to be informed of it, what busi- 
ness it is that they hav€ with God. 

1. It is not a business that may be done, or left undone 
like your business with men : but it is such as must be done, 
or you are undone for ever. Nothing is absolutely necessary 
but this : nothing in all the world doth so much concern 
you. You may at far cheaper rates forbear to eat, or drink, 
or clothe yourselves, or live, than forbear the dispatch of this 
necessary work. 

2. Your business with God, and for God in the world, is 
that which you have all your powers and endowments for ; 
it is that which you were born into the world for, and that 
which you have understanding and freewill for, and that 
which you have your thoughts, and memories, and affections 
for, and that which you have eyes, and ears, and tongues, 
and your corporal parts and abilities for; and that which you 
have your time for; and your preservation, protection and 
provisions : It is that which you have all your teaching for; 
which Christ himself came into the world for; which the 
Scriptures are written for; which ministers are sent for; 
which all order and government in church and state is prin- 
cipally appointed for : In a word, it is that for which you have 
your lives, and all things, and without which all were as no- 
thing, and will be to you worse than nothing, if they do not 
further your work with God : You will wish you had never 
seen them if they befriend you not in this. 

3. Your business with God, and for him, is such as you 
must be continually doing : as is incumbent on you every 
hour, for you have every hour given you for this end. You 
may dispatch this man to day, and another to-morrow, and 
have no more to do with them again of a long time : But you 
have always incessantly important works to do with God. 


For your common work should be all his work ; and all 
should be done with principal respect to him. 

But I shall yet more particularly tell the ungodly what 
business it is that they have with God, which it seems, by 
their careless negligent lives, they are not aware of. 

1. You must be either saved or damned by him ; either 
glorified with him, or punished by him to everlasting : and 
it is now that the matter must be determined, which of the 
two cmiditions you must be in : You must now obtain your 
title to heaven, if ever you will come thither : You must now 
procure deliverance from hell-fire, if ever you will escape it. 
Now it is that all must be done, upon which the scales must 
turn for your salvation or damnation : and you know this 
work is principally to be done between you and God, who 
alone can save you or destroy you ; and yet do you forget 
him, and live as if you had no business with him, when you 
have your salvation to obtain from him, and your damnation 
to prevent ! Have you such business as this with any other? 

2. You have a strict and righteous judgment to undergo, 
in order to this salvation or damnation. You must stand 
before the Holy Majesty, and be judged by the Governor of 
the world : you must be there accused, and found guilty or 
not guilty; and judged as fulfillers, or as breakers of the 
holy covenant of grace : You must be set on the right hand 
or on the left : You must answer for all the time that you 
here spent, and for all the means and mercies which you here 
received, and for that you have done, whether it were good 
or evil. And it is now in this life that all your preparation 
must be made, and all that must be done, upon which your 
justification or condemnation will then depend. And it is 
between God and you that all this business must be done : 
and yet can you live as negligently towards him, as if you 
had no business with him? 

3. You have a death to die, a change to make, which 
must be made but once ; which will be the entrance upon 
endless joy or pain: and do you think this needeth not your 
most timely and diligent preparation? You must struggle 
with pains, and faint with weakness, and feel death taking 
down your earthen tabernacle : You must then have a life 
that is ending to review, and all that you have done laid 
open to your more impartial judgment ; you must then see 
time as at an end, and the last sand running, and your can- 


die ready to go out, and leave the snufF; you must then look 
back upon all that you had from the world, as ending ; and 
upon all that you have done as that which cannot be undone 
again, that you may do it better ; and you must have a more 
serious look into eternity, when you are stepping thither, 
than you can now conceive of: And doth all this need no 
preparation? It is with God that all that business must be 
now transacted, that must make your death to be comfortable 
or safe. If now you will only converse with men, and know 
no business that you have with God, you shall find at last 
to your exceeding terror, that you are in his hands, and pass- 
ing to his bar, and that it is God that then you have to do 
with, when your business with all the world is at an end : 
He will then have something to do with you, if you will now 
find nothing to do with him. 

4. In order to all this, you have now your peace to be 
made with God, and the pardon of all your sins to be ob- 
tained. For woe to you if then you are found under the 
guilt of any sin. Look back upon your lives, and remember 
how you have lived in the world, and what you have been 
doing : how you have spent your time in youth, and in 
your riper age ; and how many sinful thoughts, and words, 
and deeds you have been guilty of; how oft you have sin- 
fully pleased your appetites, and gratified your flesh, and 
yielded to temptations, and abused mercy, and lost your 
time: How oft you have neglected your duty, and betrayed 
your souls : how long you have lived in forgetfulness of God 
and your salvation ; minding only the things of the flesh 
and of the world : How oft you have sinned ignorantly and 
against knowledge, through carelessness, and through rash- 
ness, through negligence and through presumption, in pas- 
sion, and upon deliberation ; against convictions, purposes 
and promises : How oft you have sinned against the pre- 
cepts of piety to God, and of justice and charity to men. 
Think how your sins are multiplied and aggravated, more in 
number than the hours of your lives : aggravated by a world 
of mercies, by the clearest teachings and the loudest calls, 
and sharpest reproofs, and seasonable warnings, and by the 
long and urgent importunities of grace. Think of all these, 
and then consider whether you have nothing now to do with 
God, whether it be not a business to be followed with all 
possible speed and diligence, to procure the pardon of all 


these sins : You have no such businesses as these to trans- 
act with men : You may have business with them which 
your estates depend upon, or which touch your credit, com- 
modity or lives; but you have no business with men (unless 
in subordination to God) which your salvation doth depend 
upon : Your eternal happiness is not in their hands : they 
may kill your bodies (if God permit them), but not your 
souls. You need not solicit them to pardon your sins 
against God : It is a small matter how you are judged of by 
man : You have one that judgeth you, even the Lord. (1 Cor. 
iv, 3, 4.) No man can forgive sin, but God only. O then 
how early, how earnestly should you cry to him for mercy! 
Pardon must be obtained now or never. There is no justifi- 
cation for that man at the day of judgment, that is not for- 
given and justified now. Blessed then is the man whose 
iniquity is forgiven, whose sin is covered, and to whom it 
is not imputed by the Lord. (Rom. iv. 7, 8.) And woe to 
that man that ever he was born, that is then found without 
the pardon of his sins I Think of this as the case deserves, 
and then think if you can, that your daily business with 
God is small. 

5. Moreover, you have peace of conscience to obtain : 
and that dependeth upon your peace with God. Conscience 
will be your accuser, condemner and tormentor, if you make 
it not your friend, by making God your friend. Consider 
what conscience hath to say against you, and how certainly 
it will speak home, when you would be loath to hear it: And 
bethink you how to answer all its accusations, and what will 
be necessary to make it a messenger of peace ; and then 
think your business with God to be but small, if you are able. 
It is no easy matter to get assurance that God is reconciled 
to you, and that he hath forgiven all your sins. 

6. In order to all this, you must be united to Jesus Christ, 
and be made his members, that you may have part in him, and 
that he may wash you by his blood, and that he may answer 
for you to his Father ! woe to you if he be not your righte- 
teousness, and if you have not him to plead your cause, and 
take upon him your final justification ! None else can save 
you from the wrath of God : And he is the Saviour only of 
his body. (Ephes. v. 23.) He hath died for you without 
your own consent, and he hath made a universal conditional 




grant of pardon and salvation, before you consented to it : 
but he will not be united to you, nor actually forgive, and 
justify, and save you, v^^ithout your own consent : and there- 
fore that the Father may draw you to the Son, and may 
give you Christ, and life in him, (1 John v. 9 — 11,) when 
all your hope dependeth on it, you may see that you have 
more to do with God, than your senseless hearts have hitherto 

7. And that you may have a saving interest in Jesus 
Christ, you must have sound repentance for all your former 
life of wickedness, and a lively, effectual faith in Christ : 
neither sin nor Christ must be made light of. Repentance 
must tell you to the very heart, that you have done foolishly 
in sinning, and that it is an evil and a bitter thing that you 
forsook the Lord, and that his fear was not in you : and thus 
your wickedness shall correct you and reprove you. (Jer. 
ii. 19.) And faith must tell you that Christ is more neces- 
sary to you than food or life, and that there is no other name 
given under heaven by which you can be saved. (Acts iv. 
12.) And it is not so easy, nor so common a thing to repent 
and believe, as ignorant presumptuous sinners do imagine. 
It is a greater matter to have a truly humbled, contrite heart, 
and to loathe yourselves for all your sins, and to loathe those 
sins, and resolvedly give up yourselves to Christ and to his 
Spirit for a holy life, than heartlessly and hypocritically to 
say, I am sorry, or, I repent, without any true contrition or 
renovation. And it is a greater matter to betake yourselves 
to Jesus Christ as your only hope, to save you both from 
sin and from damnation, than barely through custom, and 
the benefit of education, to say, I do believe in Christ. I 
tell you it is so great a work to bring you to sound re- 
pentance and faith, that it must be done by the power of 
God himself. (Acts v. 31 ; 2 Tim. ii. 25.) They are the 
" gift of God ;" (Ephes. ii. 8 ;) you must have his Spirit to 
illuminate you, (Ephes. i. 18,) and shew you the odiousness 
of sin, the intolerableness of the wrath of God, the neces- 
sity and sufficiency, the power and willingness of Christ ; and 
to overcome all your prejudice, and save you from false opi- 
nions and deceits ; and to repulse the temptations of Satan, 
the world and the flesh, which will all rise up against you. 
All this must be done to bring you home to Jesus Christ, or 



else you will have no part in him, his righteousness and 
grace : And can you think that you have not most important 
business with God, who must do all this upon you, or else 
you are undone for ever ! 

8. Moreover you must have all the corruptions of your 
natures healed, and your sins subdued, and your hearts 
made new by sanctifying grace, and the image of God im- 
planted in you, and your lives made holy and sincerely con- 
formable to the will of God. All this must be done, or you 
cannot be acceptable to God, nor ever will be saved : though 
your carnal interest rise against it ; though your old cor- 
rupted natures be against it; though your custom, and plea- 
sure, and worldly gain and honour be against it ; though all 
your carnal friends and superiors be against it ; though the 
devil will do all that he can against it, yet all this must be 
done, or you are lost for ever : and all this must be done by 
the Spirit of God ; for it is his work to make you new and 
holy : And can you think then that the business is not great 
which you have with God? When you have tried how hard 
every part of this work is, to be begun and carried on, you 
will find you have more to do with God, than with all the 

9. Moreover in order to this it is necessary that you read, 
and hear, and understand the Gospel, which must be the 
means of bringing you to God by Christ : This must be the 
instrument of God, by which he will bring you to repent and 
believe, and by which he will renew your natures, and im- 
print his image on you, and bring you to love him, and obey 
his will. The word of God must be your counsellor, and 
your delight, and you must set your heart to it, and meditate 
in it day and night. Knowledge must be the means to re- 
claim your perverse, misguided wills, and to reform your 
careless, crooked lives, and to bring you out of the kingdom 
of darkness, into the state of light and life. And such know- 
ledge cannot be expected without a diligent attending unto 
Christ the teacher of your souls, and a due consideration of 
the truth. By that time you have learnt what is needful 
to be learnt for a true conversion, a sound repentance, a 
saving faith, and a holy life, you will find that you have far 
greater business with God than with all the world. 

10. Moreover for the attaining of all this mercy, you 
have many a prayer to put up to God : You must daily pray 


for the forgiveness of your sins, and deliverance from temp- 
tations, and even for your daily bread, or necessary provi- 
sions for the work which you have to do : you must daily 
pray for the supplies of grace which you want, and for the 
gradual mortification of the flesh, and for help in all the 
duties which you must perform ; and for strength against all 
spiritual enemies which will assault you ; and preservation 
from the manifest evils which attend you: and these prayers 
must be put up with unwearied constancy, fervency and 
faith. Keep up this course of fervent prayer, and beg for 
Christ, and grace, and pardon, and salvation in any measure 
as they deserve, and according to thy own necessity, and then 
tell me whether thy business with God be small, and to be 
put off" as lightly as it is by the ungodly. 

IL Moreover, you are made for the glory of your Crea- 
tor, and must apply yourselves wholly to glorify him in the 
world : you must make his service the trade and business of 
your lives, and not put him off with something on the by : 
You are good for nothing else but to serve him ; as a knife 
is made to cut, and as your clothes are made to cover you, 
and your meat to feed you, and your horse to labour for you; 
so you are made, and redeemed, and maintained for this, to 
love and please your great Creator. And can you think that 
it is but little business that you have with him, when he is 
the End and Master of your lives, and all you are or have is 
for him ? 

12. And for the due performance of his service, you 
have all his talents to employ. To this end it is that he hath 
intrusted you with reason, and health, and strength ; with 
time, and parts, and interest, and wealth, and all his mercies, 
and all his ordinances and means of grace ; and to this end 
must you use them, or you lose them : and you must give 
him an account of all at last, whether you have improved 
them all to your Master's use. And can you look within 
you, without you, about you, and see how much you are 
trusted with, and must be accountable to him for, and yet not 
see how great your business is with.God? 

13. Moreover, you have all the graces which you shall 
receive to exercise ; and every grace doth carry you to God, 
and is exercised upon him, or for him : It is God that you 
must study, and k now, and love, and desire, and trust, and 
hope in, and obey : It is God that you must seek after, and 


delight in, so far as you enjoy him: It is his absence or dis- 
pleasure that must be your fear and sorrow : therefore the 
soul is said to be sanctified when it is renewed, because it is 
both disposed and devoted unto God. And therefore grace 
is called holiness, because it all disposeth, and carrieth the 
soul to God, and useth it upon and for him. And can you 
think your business with God is small, when you must live 
upon him, and all the powers of your soul must be addicted 
to him, and be in serious motion towards him ? And when 
he must be much more to you than the air which you breathe 
in, or the earth you live upon, or than the sun that gives you 
light and heat; yea, than the soul is to your bodies? 

14. Lastly, You have abundance of temptations and im- 
pediments to watch and strive against, which would hinder 
you in the doing of all this work, and a corrupt and trea- 
cherous heart to watch and keep in order, which will be 
looking back, and shrinking from the service. Lay all this 
together, and then consider whether you have not more and 
greater business with God, than with all the creatures in the 

And if this be so (as undeniably it is so), is there any 
cloak for that man's sin, who is all day taken up with crea- 
tures, and thinks of God as seldom and as carelessly as if 
he had no business with him? And yet, alas, if you take a 
survey of high and low, of court, and city, and country, you 
shall find that this is the case of no small number, yea of 
many that observe it not to be their case ; it is the case of 
the profane that pray in jest, and swear, and curse, and rail 
in earnest. It is the case of the malignant enemies of Holi- 
ness, that hate them at the heart that are most acquainted 
with this converse with God, and count it but hypocrisy, 
pride or fancy, and would not suffer them to live upon the 
earth, who are most sincerely conversant in heaven. It is 
the case of Pharisees and hypocrites, who take up with 
ceremonious observances, as, * touch not, taste not, handle 
not,' and such like traditions of their forefathers, instead of 
a spiritual, rational service, and a holy, serious walking with 
the Lord. It is the case of all ambitious men, and covetous 
worldlings, who make more ado to climb up a little higher 
than their brethren, and to hold the reins, and have their 
wills, and be admired and adored in the world, or to get a 
large estate for themselves and their posterity, than to please 


their Maker, or to save their souls. It is the case of every 
sensual epicure, whose belly is his god, and serveth his fancy, 
lust and appetite before the Lord. It is the case of every 
unsanctified man, that seeketh first the prosperity of his 
flesh, before the kingdom and righteousness of God, and is 
most careful and laborious to lay up a treasure on earth, and 
laboureth more (with greater estimation, resolution, and de- 
light,) for the meat that perisheth, than for that which en- 
dureth to everlasting life. All these (who are too great a 
part of the world, and too great a part of professed Chris- 
tians) are taken up with creature converse ; and yet think 
to escape the deluge of God's displeasure, because the 
Enochs and Noahs are so few who walk with God ; and they 
think God will not destroy so many : and thus they think 
to be saved by their multitude, and to hide themselves in the 
crowd from God : They will go the wide and common path, 
and be of the mind that most are of : They will not be con- 
vinced till most men are convinced ; that is, till wisdom come 
too late, and cost them dearer than its worth. When all 
men are convinced that God should have been preferred 
before the world, and served before their fleshly lusts (as 
they will certainly and sadly be), then they will be convinced 
with the rest. When all men understand that life was given 
them to have done the work which eternal life dependeth on, 
then they will understand it with the rest. When all men 
shall discern between the righteous and the wicked ; be- 
tween those that serve God, and that serve him not, then 
they will discern it with the rest : They will know what their 
business was in the world, and how much they had to do 
with God, when all men know it. But O how much better 
for them had it been to have known it in time, while know- 
ledge might have done them better service, than to make 
them feel the greatness of their sin and folly, and the hopes 
which once they had of happiness, and to help the sting of 
desperation continually to prick them at the heart : They 
would not be of so " little a flock" as that to which it was 
the " good pleasure" of God to *' give the kingdom." (Luke 
xii. 32.) If you demand a reason of all this, their reason 
was in their throats and bellies : they had fleshly appetites 
and lusts, and thereby could relish fleshly pleasures ; but 
spiritual life and appetite they had none, and therefore re- 
lished not spiritual things : Had Christ, and holiness, and 


heaven, been as suitable to their appetites as the sweetness 
of their meat, and drink, and lusts, and as suitable to their 
fantasies as their worldly dignities and greatness were, they 
would then have made a better choice. They would have 
walked with God, if drunkenness, and gluttony, and pride, 
and wantonness, and covetousness, and idleness, had been 
the way in which they might have walked with him. If these 
had been godliness, how godly would they have been ! How 
certainly would they have come to heaven if this had been 
the way ! To be idle, and proud, and fleshly, and worldly, 
is it that they love ; and to be humble, and holy, and hea- 
venly, and mortified, is that which they hate, and cannot 
away with : And their love and hatred proceed from their 
corrupt natures ; and these are instead of reason to them. 
Their strong apprehensions of a present suitableness in 
fleshly pleasures to their appetites, and of a present unsuit- 
ableness of a holy life, do keep out all effectual apprehen- 
sions of the excellencies of God, and of spiritual, heavenly 
delights, which cross them in the pleasures which they most 

But yet (their appetites corrupting their understandings 
as well as their wills) they will not be mad without some 
reason, nor reject their Maker and their happiness without 
some reason, nor neglect that holy work which they were 
made for without some reason : Let us hear then what it is. 


Object, 1. They say, * It is true that God hath much to do 
with us, and for us : But it foUoweth not that we have so 
much to do with him, or for him, as you would have us to be- 
lieve: for he is necessarily good, and necessarily doth good ; 
and therefore will do so, whether we think of him or not : 
The sun will not give over shining on me, though I never 
think on it, or never pray to it, or give it thanks. Nor doth 
God need any service, that we can do him, no more than the 
sun doth ; nor is he pleased any more in the praise of men, 
or in their works.* 

Answ, 1. It is most certain that God is good as necessa- 
rily as he is God : But it is not true, that he must necessarily 
do good to you, or other individual persons ; nor that he 
necessarily doth the good he doth them. As he is not ne- 


cessitated to make toads and serpents as happy as men, of 
men as angels ; so he is not necessitated to save the devils or 
damned souls (for he will not save them). And he was under no 
greater a necessity to save you, than them. He was not necessi- 
tated to give you a being; he could have passed you by, and 
caused others to have possessed your room. As it was God's 
freewill, and not any necessity, that millions more are never 
born, that were in possibility of it : (for all that is possible doth 
not come to pass.) So that you and millions more were born 
was not of necessity but of the same freewill. And as God did 
not make you of necessity but of freewill ; so he doth not ne- 
cessarily but freely justify, or sanctify, or save. If he did 
it by necessity of nature, he would do it to all as well as 
some ; seeing all have a natural capacity of grace as well as 
those that receive it : God is able to sanctify and save more, 
yea all, if it were his will : and it is not for want of power 
or goodness that he doth not. Millions of beings are pos- 
sible which are not future. God doth not all the good which 
he is able, but communicateth so much to his several crea- 
tures as to his wisdom seemeth meet. If the damned would 
be so presumptuous as to argue, that because God is able 
yet to sanctify and save them, therefore he must do it of ne- 
cessity of nature, it would not be long before they should 
thus dispute themselves out of their torments. God will not 
ask leave of sinners to be God ; their denying him to be 
good (that is to be God), because he complieth not with their 
conceits and wills, doth but prove them to be fools and bad 

Indeed some sciolists, pretending to learning, while they 
are ignorant of most obvious principles of natural know- 
ledge, have taught poor sinners to cheat their souls with 
such dreams as these. They have made themselves believe 
that goodness in God is nothing else but his benignity, or 
disposition to do good. As if the creature were the ultimate 
end, and all God's goodness but a means thereto : And so 
God were the Alpha or first efficient, and yet the creature the 
Omega or ' finis ultimus :' and all the goodness in God were 
to be estimated and denominated by its respect to the feli- 
city of man : and so the creature hath the best part of the 
Deity. Such notions evidently shew us, that lapsed man i& 
predominantly selfish, and is become his own idol, and is lost 


in himself, while he hath lost himself by his loss of God. 
When we see how powerful his self-interest is, both with 
his intellect and will ; even men of great ingenuity, till sanc- 
tification hath restored them to God, and taught them better 
to know him and themselves, are ready to measure all good 
or evil by their own interests; when yet common reason 
would have told them, if they had not perverted it by pride 
and partial studies, that short of God, even among the crea- 
tures, there are many things to be preferred before them- 
selves and their own felicity. He is irrationally enslaved by 
self-love, that cannot see that the happiness of the world, or 
of his country, or of multitudes, is more to be desired than 
his happiness alone : and that he ought rather to choose to 
be annihilated, or to be miserable (if it were made a matter 
of his deliberation and choice), than to have the sun taken 
out of the firmament, or the world, or his country to be an- 
nihilated or miserable. And God is infinitely above the 

Object. But they say, ' He needeth nothing to make him 
happy, having no defect of happiness.' 

Answ. And what of that? Must it needs therefore fol- 
low, that he made not all things for himself, but for the crea- 
ture finally? He is perfectly happy in himself, and his will 
is himself: this will was fulfilled when the world was not 
made (for it was his will that it should not be made till it 
was made), and it is fulfilled when it is made, and fulfilled 
by all that comes to pass. And as the absolute simple good- 
ness and perfection of God's essence is the greatest good, 
the eternal immutable good ; so the fulfilling of his will is 
the ultimate end of all obedience : He hath expressed him- 
self to take pleasure in his works, and in the holiness, obe- 
dience and happiness of his chosen : and though pleasure 
be not the same thing in God as it is in a man (no more than 
will or understanding is), yet it is not nothing which God 
expresseth by such terms, but something which we have 
no fitter expression for : this pleasing of the will of God 
being the end of all, even of our felicity, is better than our 
felicity itself. 

They that will maintain that God, who is naturally and 
necessarily good, hath no other goodness but his benignity, 
or aptness to do good to his creatures, must needs also main- 
tain that (God being, for the creature, and not the creature 


for God) the creature is better than God, as being the ulti- 
mate end of God himself, and the highest use of all his 
goodness being but for the felicity of the creature : As also 
that God doth all the good that he is able : (for natural 
necessary agents work * ad ultimum posse/) And that all 
men shall be saved, and all devils, and every worm and toad 
be equal to the highest angel, or else that God is not able to 
do it. And that he did thus make 'happy all his creatures 
from eternity (for natural, necessary agents work always if 
they be not forcibly hindered); and that there never was 
such a thing as pain or misery, in man or brute, or else that 
God was not able to prevent it. But abundance of such 
odious consequences must needs follow from the denying of 
the highest Good, which is God himself, and confessing 
none but his efficient goodness. But some will be offended 
with me for being so serious in confuting such an irrational, 
atheistical conceit, who know not how far it prevaileth with 
an atheistical generation. 

Be it known to you, careless sinners, that though the sun 
will shine on you whether you think on it or not, or love it, 
or thank it or not ; and the fire will warm you whether you 
think on it or not, or love it or not; yet God will not justify 
or save you, whether you love him or think on him or not : 
God doth not operate brutishly in your salvation; but 
governeth you wisely, as rational creatures are to be go- 
verned ; and therefore will give you happiness- as a re- 
ward; and therefore will not deal alike with those that 
love him, and that love him not; that seek him and that 
seek him not ; with the labourers and the loiterers, the 
faithful and slothful servant. Would you have us believe 
that you know better than God himself what pleaseth him- 
self, or on what terms he will give his benefits, and save 
men's souls ? or do you know his nature better than he 
knoweth it, that you dare presume to say, because he need- 
eth not our love or duty, therefore they are not pleasing to 
him ! Then what hath God to do in governing the world, if 
he be pleased and displeased with nothing that men do, or 
with good and evil actions equally ? Though you cannot 
hurt him, you shall find that he will hurt you, if you disobey 
him: And though you cannot make him happy by your 
holiness, you shall find that he will not make you happy 
without it. 


And if he did work as necessarily as the sun doth shine, 
according to your similitude; yet, 1. Even the shining of 
the sun doth not illuminate the blind, nor doth it make the 
seeds of thorns and nettles to bring forth vines or roses, nor 
the gendering of frogs to bring forth men ; but it actuateth 
all things according to the several natures of their powers. 
And therefore how can you expect that an unbelieving and 
unholy soul, should enjoy felicity in God, when in that 
state they are incapable of it? 2. And if the sun do neces- 
sarily illuminate any one, he must necessarily be illumi- 
nated ; and if it necessarily warm or quicken any thing, it 
must necessarily be warmed and quickened ; else you would 
assert contradictions. So if God did necessarily save you, 
and make you happy, you would necessarily be saved and 
made happy. And that containeth essentially your holi- 
ness, your loving, desiring and seeking after God ; to be 
saved or happy without enjoying God by love, or to love 
him and not desire him, seek him or obey him, are as great 
contradictions as to be illuminated without light, or quick- 
ened without life. What way soever it be that God convey- 
eth his sanctifying Spirit, 1 am sure that " if any man have 
not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his," (Rom. 
viii. 9,) and that without " holiness none shall see God," 
(Heb. xii. 14,) and that if you will have the kingdom of God, 
you must seek it first, preferring it before all earthly things. 
(Matt. vi. 33 ; John vi. 27 ; Col. iv. 1—3.) And then if all 
the question that remaineth undecided be, whether God do 
you wrong or not in damning you, or whether God be good 
because he will not save you when he can, I shall leave you 
to him to receive satisfaction, who will easily silence and 
confound your impudence, and justify his works and laws. 
Prepare your accusations against him, if you will needs in- 
sist upon them, and try whether he or you shall prevail : but 
remember that thou art a worm, and he is God, and that he 
will be the only Judge when all is done ; and ignorance and 
impiety, that prate against him to their own confusion, in the 
day of his patience, shall not then usurp the throne. 

Object, 2. ' But how can God be fit for mortals to con- 
verse with, when they see him not, and are infinitely below 

Answ. I hope you will not say that you have nothing to 
do at home, with your own souls: and yet you never saw 


your souls. And it is the souls, the reason and the will of 
men that you daily converse with here in the world, more 
than their bodies, and yet you never saw their souls, their 
reason or their wills. If you have no higher light to dis- 
cern by than your eyesight, you are not men but beasts. If 
you are men, you have reason ; and if you are Christians, 
you have faith, by which you know things that you never 
saw. You have more dependance on the things that are 
unseen, than on those which you see, and have much more 
to do with them. 

And though God be infinitely above us ; yet he conde- 
scendeth to communicate to us according to our capacities : 
As the sun is far from us, and yet doth not disdain to en- 
lighten, and warm, and quicken a worm or fly here below. 
If any be yet so much an atheist as to think that religious 
converse with God is but a fancy, let him well answer me 
these few questions. 

Quest, 1. Doth not the continued being and well-being 
of the creatures, tell us that there is a God on whom (for 
being and well-being) they depend, and from whom they 
are and have whatsoever they are, and whatsoever they 
have ? And therefore that passively all the creatures have 
more respect to him by far, than to one another ? 

Quest. 2. Seeing God communicateth to every creature 
according to their several capacities ; is it not meet then 
that he deal with man as man, even as a creature rational, 
capable to know, and love, and obey his great Creator, and 
to be happy in the knowledge, love and fruition of him ? 
That man hath such natural faculties, and capacities, is not 
to be denied by a man that knoweth what it is to be a man : 
And that God hath not given him these in vain, will be 
easily believed by any that indeed believe that he is God. 

Quest, 3. Is there any thing else that is finally worthy of 
the highest actions of our souls ? or that is fully adequate 
to them, and fit to be our happiness ? If not, then we are 
left either to certain infelicity, contrary to the tendency of 
our natures, or else we must seek our felicity in God. 

Quest. 4. Is there any thing more certain than that by 
the title of creation, our Maker hath a full and absolute 
right to all that he hath made ; and consequently to all our 
love and obedience, our time and powers? For whom should 
they all be used but for him from whom we have them ? 


Quest, 5. Can any thing be more sure, than that God is 
the righteous Governor of the world ? And that he governeth 
man as a rational creature, by laws and j udgment ? And can 
we live under his absolute sovereignty, and under his many 
righteous laws, and under his promises of salvation to the 
justified, and under his threatenings of damnation to the 
unjustified, and yet not have more to do with God than with 
all the world? If indeed you think that God doth not love 
and reward the holy and obedient, and punish the ungodly 
and disobedient, then either you take him not to be the 
Governor of the world, or (which is worse) you take him to 
be an unrighteous Governor : And then you must by the 
same reason say, that magistrates and parents should do so 
too, and love and reward the obedient and disobedient 
alike : But if any man's , disobedience were exercised to 
your hurt, by slandering, or beating, or robbing you, I dare 
say you would not then commend so indifferent and unjust 
a Governor. 

Quest, 6. If it be not needless for man to labour for food 
and raiment, and necessary provision for his body, how can 
it be needless for him to labour for the happiness of his 
soul? If God will not give us our daily bread while we 
never think of it, or seek it, why should we expect that he 
will give us heaven though we never think on it, value it, or 
seek it? 

Quest, 7. Is it not a contradiction to be happ;y in the 
fruition of God, and yet not to mind him, desire him, or 
seek him? How is it that the soul can reach its object, but 
by estimation, desire and seeking after it : And how should 
it enjoy it but by loving it, and taking pleasure in it? 

Quest. 8. While you seem but to wrangle against the 

duty of believers, do you not plead against the comfort and 

happiness of believers ? For surely the employment of the 

soul on God (and for him) is the health and pleasure of the 

soul ; and to call away the soul from such employment, is 

to imprison it in the dungeon of this world, and to forbid 

WLi us to smell to the sweetest flowers, and confine us to a sink 

B or dunghill, and to forbid us to taste of the food of angels, 

M: or of men, and to offer us vinegar and gall, or turn us over 

^R to feed with swine. He that pleadeth that there is no such 

^B thing as real holiness and communion with God, doth plead 

^B in effect that there is no true felicity or delight for any of 



the sons of men : And how welcome should ungodly atheists 
be unto mankind, that would for ever exclude them all from 
happiness, and make them believe they are all made to be 
remedilessly miserable ? 

And here take notice of the madness of the unthankful 
world, that hateth and persecuteth the preachers of the 
Gospel,' that bring them the glad tidings of pardon, and 
hope, and life eternal, of solid happiness, and durable de- 
light ; and yet they are not offended at these atheists and 
ungodly cavillers, that would take them off from all that is 
truly good and pleasant, and make them believe that nature 
hath made them capable of no higher things than beasts, 
and hath enthralled them in remediless infelicity. 

Quest, 9. Do you not see by experience that there are a 
people in the world whose hearts are upon God, and the life 
to come, and that make it their chiefest care and business 
to seek him and to serve him? How then can you say that 
there is no such thing, or that we are not capable of it, 
when it is the case of so many before your eyes ? If you 
say that it is but their fancy or self-deceit : I answer. That 
really their hearts are set upon God, and the everlasting 
world, and that it is their chiefest care and business to at- 
tain it; this is a thing that they feel, and you may see in 
the bent and labour of their lives ; and therefore you cannot 
call that a fancy, of which you have so full experience : But 
whether the motives that have invited them, and engaged 
them to such a choice and course, be fancies and deceits or 
not, let God be judge, and let the awakened consciences of 
worldlings themselves be judge, when they have seen the 
end, and tried whether it be earth or heaven that is the 
shadow, and whether it be God or their unbelieving hearts 
that was deceived. 

Quest. 10. Have you any hopes of living with God for 
ever, or not? If you have not, no wonder if you live as 
beasts, when you have no higher expectations than beasts : 
When we are so blind as to give up all our hopes, we will 
also give up all our care and holy diligence, and think we 
have nothing to do with heaven. But if you have any such 
hopes, can you think that any thing is fitter for the chiefest 
of your thoughts and cares, than the God and kingdom, 
which you hope for ever to enjoy? Or is there any thing 
that €aTi be more suitable, or should be more delightful to 


your thoughts, than to employ them about your highest 
hopes, upon your endless happiness and joy? and should 
not that be now the most noble and pleasant employment 
for your minds, which is nearest to that which you hope to 
be exercised in for ever? Undoubtedly he that hath true 
and serious thoughts of heaven, will most highly value that 
life on earth which is most like to the life in heaven : And 
he that hateth, or is most averse to that which is nearest to 
the work of heaven, does boast in vain of his hopes of 

By this time you may see (if you love not to be blind) 
that man's chiefest business in the world is with his God, 
and that our thoughts, and all our powers, are made to be 
employed upon him, or for him ; and that this is no such 
needless work as atheists make themselves believe. 

Remember that it is the description of the desperately 
wicked, (Psal. x.iv,) that *' God is not in all their thoughts." 
And if yet you understand it not, I will a little further 
shew you the evil of such atheistical, unhallowed thoughts. 
1. There is nothing but darkness in all thy thoughts, if 
God be not in them. Thou knowest nothing, if thou 
knowest not him; and thou usest not thy knowledge, if 
thou use it not on him. To know the creature as without 
God, is to know nothing: no more than to know all the let- 
ters in the book, and not to know their signification or 
sense. All things in the world are but insignificant ciphers, 
and of no other sense or use, if you separate them from 
God, who is their sense and end. If you leave out God in 
all your studies, you do but dream and doat,and not under- 
stand what you seem to understand. Though you were 
taken for the most learned men in the world, and were able 
to discourse of all the sciences, and your thoughts had no 
lower employment daily than the most sublime speculations 
which the nature of all the creatures doth afford, it is all 
but folly and impertinent dotage, if it reach not unto God. 
2. Yea, your thoughts are erroneous and false, which is 
more than barely ignorant, if God be not in them. You 
have false thoughts of the world, of your houses and lands, 
and friends and pleasures, and whatsoever is the daily em- 
ployment of your minds. You take them to be something, 
when they are nothing ; you are covetous of the empty 
purse, and know not that you cast away the treasure ; You 


are thirsty after the empty cup, when you wilfully cast 
away the drink. You hungrily seek to feed upon a painted 
feast: You murder the creature by separating it from God 
who is its life, and then you are enamoured on the carcase ; 
and spend your days and thoughts in its cold embracements. 
Your thoughts are but vagabonds, straggling abroad the 
world, and following impertinencies, if God be not in them. 
You are like men that walk up and down in their sleep, or 
like those that have lost themselves in the dark, who weary 
themselves in going they know not whither, and have no 
end nor certain way. 

3. If God be not in all your thoughts, they are all in 
vain. They are like the drone that gathereth no honey : 
They fly abroad and return home empty : They bring home 
no matter of honour to God, or profit or comfort to your- 
selves : They are employed to no more purpose than in 
your dreams : only they are more capable of sin : like the 
distracted thoughts of one that doteth in a fever, they are 
all but nonsense, whatever you employ them on, while you 
leave out God, who is the sense of all. 

4. If God be not in all your thoughts, they are nothing 
but confusion : There can be no just unity in them, because 
they forsake him who is the only centre, and are scattered 
abroad upon incoherent creatures. There can be no true 
unity but in God : The further we go from him, the further 
we run into divisions and confusions. There can be no 
just method in them, because he is left out that is the be- 
ginning and the end. They are not like a well-ordered 
army, where every one is moved by the will of one com- 
mander, and all know their colours and their ranks, and 
unanimously agree to do their work : But like a swarm of 
flies, that buzz about they know not whither, nor why, nor 
for what. There is no true government in your thoughts, 
if God be not in them ; they are masterless and vagrants, 
and have no true order, if they be not ordered by him and 
to him ; if he be not their first and last. 

5. If God be not in all your thoughts, there is no life in 
them : they are but like the motion of a bubble, or a feather 
in the air : they are impotent as to the resisting of any evil, 
and as to the doing of any saving good: they have no 
strength in them, because they are laid out upon objects 
that have no strength : they have no quickening, renewing, 


reforming, encouraging, resolving, confirming power in 
them, because there is no such power in the things on 
which they are employed : whereas the thoughts of God 
and everlasting life, can do wonders upon the soul: they 
can raise up men above this world, and teach them to de- 
spise the worldling's idol, and look upon all the pleasures 
of the flesh as upon a swine's delight in wallowing in the 
mire. They can renew the soul, and cast out the most 
powerful beloved sin, and bring all our powers into the obe- 
dience of God, and that with pleasure and delight: they 
can employ us with the angels, in a heavenly conversation, 
and shew us the glory of the world above, and advance 
us above the life of the greatest princes upon earth : but 
the thoughts of earthly, fleshly things have power indeed to 
delude men, and mislead them, and hurry them about in a 
vertiginous motion ; but no power to support us, or sub- 
due concupiscence, or heal our folly, or save us from temp- 
tations, or reduce us from our errors, or help us to be use- 
ful in the world, or to attain felicity at last. There is no 
life, nor power, nor efficacy in our thoughts, if God be not 
in them. 

6. There is no stability or fixedness in our thoughts if 
God be not in them. They are like a boat upon the ocean, 
tossed up and down with winds and waves : the mutable 
uncertain creatures can yield no rest or settlement to your 
minds. You are troubled about many things ; and the 
more you think on them, and have to do with them, the 
more are you troubled : but you forget the one thing neces- 
sary, and fly from the eternal rock, on which you must 
build, if ever you will be established. While the creature 
is in your thought instead of God, you will be one day de- 
luded with its unwholesome pleasure, and the next day feel 
it gripe you at the heart: one day it will seem your happi- 
ness, and the next you will wish you had never known it: 
that which seemeth the only comfort of your lives this year, 
may the next year make you weary of your lives. One 
day you are impatiently desiring and seeking it, as if you 
could not live without it : and the next day, or ere long 
you are impatiently desiring to be rid of it. You are now 
taking in your pleasant morsels, and drinking down your 
delicious draughts, and jovially sporting it with your incon- 



, siderate companions ; but how quickly will you be repent- 
ing of all this, and complaining of your folly, and vexing 
yourselves, that you took not warning, and made not a 
wiser choice in time? The creature was never made to be 
our end, or rest, or happiness : and therefore you are but 
like a man in a wilderness or maze, that may go and go, but 
knoweth not whither, and findeth no end, till you come 
home to God, who only is your proper end, and make him 
the Lord, and life, and pleasure of your thoughts. 

7. As there is no present fixedness in your thoughts, so 
the business and pleasure of them will be of very short con- 
tinuance, if God be not the chief in all. And who would 
choose to employ his thoughts on such things as he is sure 
they must soon forget, and never more have any business 
with to all eternity ? You shall think of those houses, and 
lands, and friends, and pleasures, but a little while, unless 
it be with repenting, tormenting thoughts, in the place of 
misery : you will have no delight to think of any thing, 
which is now most precious to your flesh, when once the 
flesh itself decays, and is no more capable of delight. " His 
breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth ; in that very 
day his thoughts perish." (Psal. cxlvi. 4.) 

Call in your thoughts then from these transitory things, 
that have no consistency or continuance, and turn them un- 
to him with whom they may find everlasting employment 
and delight : Remember not the enticing baits of sensuality 
and pride, but " Remember now thy Creator in the days of 
thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw 
nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." 

8. Thy thoughts are but sordid, dishonourable and low, 
if God be not the chiefest in them. They reach no higher 
than the habitation of beasts ; nor do they attain to any 
sweeter employment than to meditate on the felicity of a 
brute. Thou choosest with the fly to feed on dung and 
filthy ulcers, and as maggots to live on stinking carrion, 
when thou mightest have free access to God himself, and 
mightest be entertained in the court of heaven, and wel- 
comed thither by the holy angels. Thou wallowest in the 
mire with the swine, or diggest thyself a house in the earth, 
as worms and moles do, w^hen thy thoughts might be soar- 
ing up to God, and might be taken up with high and holy, 
and everlasting things. What if your thoughts were em' 


ployed for preferment, wealth, and honour in the world ? 
Alas ! what silly things are these, in comparison of what 
your souls are capable of! You will say so yourselves when 
you see how they will end, and fail your expectations. Im- 
prison not your minds in this infernal cell, when the supe- 
rior regions are open to their access : confine them not to 
this narrow vessel of the body, whose tossings and dangers 
on these boisterous seas will make them restless, and dis- 
quiet them with tumultuous passions, when they may safely 
land in Paradise, and there converse with Christ. God 
made you men, and if you reject not his grace, will make 
your saints: make not yourselves like beasts or vermin, 
God gave you souls that can step in a moment from earth 
to heaven, and there foretaste the endless joys : do not 
you stick then fast in clay, and fetter them with worldly 
cares, or intoxicate them with fleshly pleasures, nor employ 
them in the worse than childish toys of ambitious, sensual, 
worldly men. Your thoughts have manna, angels' food, 
provided them by God : if you will loathe this and refuse 
it, and choose with the serpent to feed on the dust, or upon 
the filth of sin, God shall be judge, and your consciences 
one day shall be more faithful witnesses, whether you have 
dealt like wise men or like fools ; like friends or enemies to 
yourselves ; and whether you have not chosen baseness, and 
denied yourselves the advancement which was offered you. 
9. If God be not the chiefest in your thoughts, they are 
no better than dishonest and unjust. You are guilty of 
denying him his own. He made not your minds for lust 
and pleasure, but for himself: You expect that your cattle, 
your goods, your servants, be employed for yourselves, be- 
cause they are your own. But God may call your minds 
his own by a much fuller title : for you hold all but deriva- 
tively and dependently from him. What will you call it but 
injustice and dishonesty, if your wife, or children, or ser- 
vants, or goods, be more at the use and service of others, 
than of you ? If any can shew a better title to your thoughts 
than God doth, let him have them; but if not, deny him not 
his own. O straggle not so much from home ; for you will 
be no where else so well as there. Desire not to follow 
strangers, you know not whither, nor for what ; you have a 
Master of your own, that will be better to you than all the 
strangers in the world. Bow not down to creatures, that 


are but images of the true and solid good : commit not 
idolatry or adultery with them in your thoughts : remember 
still that God stands by : bethink you how he will take it 
at your hands ; and how it will be judged of at last, when 
he pleads his right, his kindness, and solicitations of you ; 
and you have so little to say for any pretence of right or 
merit in the creature. Why are not men ashamed of the 
greatest dishonesty against God, when all that have any 
humility left them, do take adultery, theft, and other dis- 
honesty against creatures, for a shame? The time will come 
when God and his interest shall be better understood, when 
this dishonesty against him, will be the matter of the most 
confounding shame, that ever did or could befal men. Pre- 
vent this by the juster exercise of your thoughts, and keep- 
ing them pure and chaste to God. 

10. If God be not in your thoughts (and the chiefest in 
them) there will be no matter in them of solid comfort or 
content. Trouble and deceit will be all their work : when 
they have fled about the earth, and taken a taste of every 
flower, they will come loaden home with nothing better 
than vanity and vexation. Such thoughts may excite the 
laughter of a fool, and cause that mirth that is called mad- 
ness ; (Eccles. vii. 4. 6 ; ii. 2 ;) but they will never conduce 
to settled peace, and durable content : and therefore they 
are always repented of themselves, and are troublesome to 
our review, as being the shame of the sinner, which he 
would fain be cleared of, or disown. Though you may ap- 
proach the creature with passionate fondness and the most 
delightful promises and hopes, be sure of it, you will come 
ofl* at last with grief and disappointment, if not with the 
loathing of that which you chose for your delight. Your 
thoughts are in a wilderness among thorns and briars, when 
God is not in them as their guide and end : they are lost and 
torn among the creatures ; but rest and satisfaction they 
will find none. It may be at the present it is pleasanter to 
you to think of recreation, or business, or worldly wealth, 
than to think of God ; but the pleasure of these thoughts is as 
delusory, and short-lived, as are the things themselves on 
which you think. How long will you think with pleasure 
on such fading transitory things ? And the pleasure cannot 
be greater at the present, which reacheth but the flesh and 
fantasy, and which the possessed knoweth will be but short. 


Nay, you will shortly find by sad experience, that of all the 
creatures under heaven, there will none be so bitter to your 
thoughts, as those which you now find greatest carnal 
sweetness in. O how bitter will the thought of idolized 
honour, and abused wealth and greatness be, to a dying or a 
damned Dives! The thoughts of that alehouse or playhouse 
where thou hadst thy greatest pleasure, will trouble thee 
more than the thoughts of all the houses in the town be- 
sides ! The thoughts of that one woman with whom thou 
didst commit thy pleasant sin, will wound and vex thee 
more than the thoughts of all the women in the town be- 
sides ! The thoughts of that beloved sport which thou 
couldst not be weaned from, will be more troublesome to 
thee th-^n the thouo-hts of a thousand other thing's in which 
thou hadst no inordinate delight ! For the end of sinful 
mirth is sorrow. When Solomon had tried to please himself 
to the full, in mirth, in buildings, vineyards, woods, waters, 
in servants, and possessions, silver, and gold, and cattle, 
and singers, and instruments of music of all sorts, in great- 
ness, and all that the eye or appetite or heart desired ; he 
findeth when he awaked from this pleasant dream, that he 
had all this while been taken up with vanity and vexation, 
in so much that he saith on the review, ** Therefore I hated 
life, because the work that is wrought under the sun, is 
grievous to me, for all is vanity and vexation of spirit: Yea, 
I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun." 
(Eccles. ii. 1 — 3, &c. ; xvii. 18.) You may toil out and tire 
yourselves among these briars, in this barren wilderness ; 
but if ever you would feel any solid ground of quietness 
and rest, it must be by coming off from vanity, and seeking 
your felicity in God, and living sincerely for him and upon 
him, as the worldling doth upon the world. His pardoning 
mercy must begin your peace, forgiving you your former 
thoughts ; and his healing, quickening mercy must increase 
it, by teaching you better to employ your thoughts, and 
drawing up your hearts unto himself; and his glorifying 
mercy must perfect it, by giving you the full intuition and 
fruition of himself in heaven, and employing you in his per- 
fect love and praise, not leaving any room for creatures, 
nor suffering a thought to be employed on vanity for ever. 



By this time I hope you may see reason to call yourselves 
to a strict account, what converse you have been taken up 
with in the world, and upon what you have exercised your 
thoughts. Surely you must needs be conscious, that the 
thoughts which have been denied God, have brought you 
home but little satisfaction, and have not answered the 
ends of your creation, redemption or preservation ! and that 
they are now much fitter matter for your penitential tears, 
than your comfort, in the review! I do not think you dare 
own, and stand to those thoughts which have been spent 
for fleshly pleasures, or in unnecessary worldly cares, or 
that were wasted in impertinent vagaries upon any thing, 
or nothing, when you should have been seeking God ! I do 
not think you have now any great pleasure, in the review of 
those thoughts, which once were taken up with pleasure, 
when your most pleasant thoughts should have been of 
God. Dare you approve of your rejecting your Creator, 
and the great concernments of your soul, out of your 
thoughts, and wasting them upon things unprofitable and 
vain ? Did not God and heaven deserve more of your seri- 
ous thoughts than any thing else that ever they were em- 
ployed on ? Have you laid them out on any thing that more 
concerned you? Or on any thing more excellent, more 
honourable, more durable, or that could claim precedency 
upon any just account? Did you not shut heaven itself out 
of your thoughts, when you shut out God ? And is it not 
just that God and heaven should shut out you? If heaven 
be not the principal matter of your thoughts, it is plain that 
you do not principally love it : and if so, judge you whether 
those that love it not are fit to be made possessors of it. 

O poor distracted senseless world ! Is not God great 
enough to command and take up your chiefest thoughts ? 
Is not heaven enough to find them work, and afford them 
satisfaction and delight? And yet is the dung and dotage 
of the world enough ? Is your honour, and wealth, and 
fleshly delights, and sports enough ? God will shortly make 
you know, whether this were wise and equal dealing ! Is 
God so low, so little, so undeserving, to be so oft and 
easily forgotten, and so hardly, and so slightly remem- 
bered ? I tell you, ere long he will make you think oli 


him to your sorrow, whether you will or no, if grace do not 
now set open your hearts, and procure him better enter- 

But perhaps you will think that you walk with God, be- 
cause you think of him sometimes ineffectually, and as on 
, the by. But is he esteemed as your God, if he have not 
the command, and if he have not the precedency of his crea- 
tures? Can you dream that indeed you walk with God, 
when your hearts were never grieved for offending him, nor 
never much solicitous how to be reconciled to him ; nor 
much inquisitive whether your state or way be pleasing or 
displeasing to him? When all the business of an unspeak- 
able importance, which you have to do with God, before 
you pass to judgment, is forgotten and undone, as if you 
knew not of any such work that you had to do ! When you 
make no serious preparation for death, when you call not 
upon God in secret, or in your families, unless with a little 
heartless lip labour ; and when you love not the spirituality 
of his worship, but only delude your souls with the mockage 
of hypocritical outside compliment. Do you walk with God 
while you are plotting for preferment, and gaping after 
worldly greatness ; while you are gratifying all the desires of 
your flesh, and making provision for the future satisfaction 
of its lusts ? (Rom. xiii. 13.) Are you walking with God 
when you are hating him in his holiness, his justice, his 
word and ways, and hating all that seriously love and seek 
him ; when you are doing your worst to dispatch the work 
of your damnation, and put your salvation past all hope, 
and draw as many to hell with you as you can ? If this be 
a walking with God, you may take further comfort that you 
shall also dwell with God, according to the sense of such 
a walk : you shall dwell with him as a devouring fire, and as 
just, whom you thus walked with in the contempt of his 
mercies, and the provocation of his justice. 

I tell you, if you walked with God indeed, his authority 
would rule you, his greatness would much take up your 
minds, and leave less room for little things ; you would 
trust his promises, and fear his threatenings, and be awed 
by his presence, and the idols of your hearts would fall 
before him : he would overpower your lusts, and call you off 
from your ambitious and covetous designs, and obscure all 
the creature's glory. Believing, serious, effectual thoughts 


of God, are very much different from the common, doubtful, 
dreaming, ineffectual thoughts of the ungodly world. 

Object. But (perhaps some will say), * This seemeth to 
be the work of preachers, and not of every Christian to be 
always meditating of God : poor people must think of other 
matters : they have their business to do, and their families 
to provide for: and ignorant people are weak-headed, and 
are not able either to manage or endure a contemplative life : 
So much thinking of God will make them melancholy and 
mad, as experience tells us it hath done by many : and 
therefore this is no exercise for them.' 

To this I answer, 1. Every Christian hath a God to serve, 
and a soul to save, and a Christ to believe in and obey, 
and an endless happiness to secure and enjoy, as well as 
preachers. Pastors must study to instruct their flock, and 
to save themselves, and those that hear them. The people 
must study to understand and receive the mercy offered them, 
and to make their calling and election sure. It is not said 
of pastors only, but of every blessed man, that "his delight 
is in the law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate day 
and night." (Psal. i. 2.) 2. And the due meditation of the 
soul upon God, is so far from taking you off from your ne- 
- cessary business in the world, that it is the only way to your 
orderly and successful management of it. 3. And it is not 
a distracting thoughtfulness that I persuade you to, or which 
is included in a Christian's walk with God ; but it is a di- 
recting, quickening, exalting, comforting course of medita- 
tion. Many a hundred have grown melancholy and mad 
with careful, discontented thoughts of the world ; it doth 
not follow therefore that no man must think of the world at 
all, for fear of being mad or melancholy ; but only that they 
should think of it more regularly, and correct the error of 
their thoughts and passions. So is it about God and hea- 
venly things. Our thoughts are to be well ordered, and the 
error of them cured, and not the use of them forborne. 
Atheism and impiety, and forgetting God, are unhappy 
means to prevent melancholy. There are wiser means for 
avoiding madness, than by renouncing all our reason, and 
living by sense, like the beasts that perish, and forgetting 
that we have an everlasting life to live. 

But yet because I am sensible that some do here mistake 
on the other hand, and I would not lead you into any ex- 


treme, I shall fully remove the scruple contained in this ob- 
jection, by shewing you in the following propositions, in 
what sense, and how far your thoughts must be taken up 
with God (supposing what was said in the beginning, where 
I described to you the duty of walking with God). 

Prop. 1. When we tell you that your thoughts must be 
on God, it is not a course of idle musing, or mere thinking, 
that we call you to, but it is a necessary practical thinking 
of that which you have to do, and of him that you must 
love, obey and enjoy. You will not forget your parents, or 
husband, or wife, or friend ; and yet you will not spend your 
time in sitting still and thinking of them, with a musing un- 
profitable thoughtfulness : But you will have such thoughts 
of them, and so many as are necessary to the ends, even to 
the love and service which you owe them, and to the delight 
that your hearts should have in the fruition of them. You 
cannot love, or obey, or take pleasure in those that you will 
not think of: You will follow your trades, or your master's 
service but unhappily, if you will not think on them. Think- 
ing is not the work that we must take up with : it is but a 
subservient, instrumental duty, to promote some greater, 
higher duty : therefore we must think of God, that we may 
love him, and do his service, and trust him, and fear, and 
hope in him, and make him our delight. And all this is it 
that we call you to, when we are persuading you to think on 

2. An hypocrite, or a wicked enemy of God, may think 
of him speculatively, and perhaps be more frequent in such ^ 
thoughts than many practical believers. A learned man 
may study about God, as he doth about other matters, and 
names, and notions ; and propositions and decisions con- 
cerning God, may be a principal part of his learning. A 
preacher may study about God, and the matters of God, as 
a physician or a lawyer does about matters of their own 
profession, either for the pleasure which knowledge, as know- 
ledge, brings to human nature, or for the credit of being 
esteemed wise and learned, or because their gain and main- 
tenance comes in this way. They that fill many volumes 
with controversies concerning God, and fill the church with 
contentions and troubles by them, and their own heart with 
malice and uncharitableness against those that are not of 
their opinions, have many and many a thought of God, which 


yet will do nothing to the saving of their souls, no more than 
they do to the sanctifying of them. And such learned men 
may think more orthodoxly and methodically concerning 
God, than many an honest, serious Christian, who yet thinks 
of him more effectually and savingly : even as they can dis- 
course more orderly and copiously of God, when yet they 
have no saving knowledge of him. 

3. All men must not bestow so much time in meditation 
as some must do : [t is the calling of ministers to study so 
as to furnish their minds with all those truths concerning 
God, which are needful to the edification of the church ; 
and so to meditate on these things as to give themselves 
wholly to them. (1 Tim. iv. 15, 16.) It is both the work of 
their common and their special calling. The study neces- 
sary to Christians as such, belongeth as well to others as to 
them : but other men have another special or particular 
calling, which also they must think of, so far as the nature 
and ends of their daily labours do require. It is a hurtful 
error to imagine that men must either lay by their callings 
to meditate on God, or that they must do them negligently, 
or to be taken up in the midst of their employments with 
such studies of God as ministers are, that are separated to 
that work. 

4. No man is bound to be continually taken up with ac- 
tual, distinct thoughts of God : for in duty we have many 
other things to think on, which must have their time : and 
as we have callings to follow, and must eat our bread in the 
sweat of our brows, so we must manage them with prudence : 
" A good man will guide his affairs with discretion." (Psal. 
cxii. 5.) It is both necessary as a duty, and necessary as a 
means to the preservation of our very faculties, that both 
body and mind have their times of employment about our 
lawful business in the world : The understandings of many 
cannot bear it, to be always employed on the greatest and 
most serious things : Like lutestrings they will break, if 
they be raised too high, and be not let down and relaxed, 
when the lesson is played. To think of nothing else but 
God, is to break the law of God, and to confound the mind, 
and to disable it to think aright of God, or any thing. As 
he that bid us pray continually, did not mean that we should 
do nothing else, or that actual prayer should have no inter- 
ruptions, but that habitual desires should on all meet occa- 


sions be actuated and expressed ; so he that would be chief 
in all their thoughts, did never mean that we should have no 
thoughts of any thing else, or that our serious meditation on 
him should be continual without interruption ; but that the 
final intending of God, and our dependence on him, should 
be so constant as to be the spring or mover of the rest of the 
thoughts and actions of our lives. 

5. An habitual, intending God as our end, and depend- 
ing on his support, and subjection to his government, will 
carry on the soul in a sincere and constant course of godli- 
ness, though the actual most observed thoughts of the soul, 
be fewer in number about God, than about the means that 
lead unto him, and the occurrences in our way. The soul of 
man is very active and comprehensive, and can think of se- 
veral things at once ; and when it is once clear and resolved 
in any case, it can act according to that knowledge and re- 
solution, without any present sensible thought; nay while 
its actual, most observed thoughts, are upon something else. 
A musician that hath an habitual skill, can keep time and 
tune while he is thinking of some other matter. A weaver 
can cast his shuttle right, and work truly, while he is think- 
ing or talking of other things. A man can eat and drink 
with discretion, while he talks of other things. Some men 
can dictate to two or three scribes at once, upon divers sub- 
jects. A traveller can keep on his way, though he seldom 
think distinctly of his journey's end, but be thinking or dis- 
coursing most of the way, upon other matters : for before 
he undertook his journey he thought both of the end and 
way, and resolved then which way to go, and that he would 
go through all both fair and foul, and not turn back till he 
saw the place. And this habitual understanding and reso- 
lution, may be secretly and unobservedly active, so as to 
keep a man from erring, and from turning back, though at 
the same time the traveller's most sensible thoughts and his 
discourse may be upon something else. When a man is 
once resolved of his end, and hath laid his design, he is past 
deliberating of that, and therefore hath less use of his 
thoughts about it ; but is readier to lay them out upon the 
means, which may be still uncertain, or may require his fre- 
quent deliberation. We have usually more thoughts and 
speeches by the, way, about our compt^ny, or our horses, or 



inns, or other accommodations, or the fairness, or foulness 
of the way, or other such occurrences, than we have about 
the place we are going to : and yet this secret intention of 
our end, will bring us thither. So when a soul hath cast up 
his accounts, and hath renounced a worldly, sensual felicity, 
and hath fixed his hopes and resolution upon heaven, and is 
resolved to cast himself upon Christ, and take God for his 
only portion, this secret, habitual resolution will do much 
to keep him constant in the way, though, his thoughts 
and talk be frequently on other things : yea, when we are 
thinking of the creature, and feel no actual thoughts of God, 
it is yet God more than the creature that we think of: for 
we did beforehand look on the creature as God*s work, re- 
presenting him unto the world, and as his talents, which we 
must employ for him, and as every creature is related to him: 
And this estimation of the creature is still habitually (and 
in some secret less-perceived act) most prevalent in the soul. 
Though I am not always sensibly thinking of the king, when 
I use his coin, or obey his laws, &c. yet it is only as his coin 
still that I use it, and as his laws that I obey them. Weak 
habits cannot do their work without great carefulness of 
thoughts ; but perfect habits will act a man with little 
thoughtfulness, as coming near the natural way of operation. 
And indeed the imperfection of our habitual godliness doth 
make our serious thoughts, and vigilancy, and industry to be 
the more necessary to us. 

6. There are some thoughts of God that are necessary to 
the very being of a holy state ; as that God be so much in 
our thoughts, as to be preferred before all things else, and 
principally beloved and obeyed ; and to the end of our lives, 
and the bias of our wills. And there are some thoughts of 
God that are necessary only to the acting and increase of 

7. So great is the weakness of our habits, so many and 
great are the temptations to be overcome, so many difficul- 
ties are in our way, and the occasions so various for the ex- 
ercise of each grace, that it behoveth a Christian to exercise 
as much thoughtfulness about his end and work, as hath any 
tendency to promote his work, and to attain his end ; but 
such a thoughtfulness as hindereth us in our work, by stop- 
ping, or distracting, or diverting us, is no way pleasing unto 


God. So excellent is our end, that we can never encourage 
and delight the mind too much in the forethoughts of it. So^ 
sluggish are our hearts, and so loose and unconstant are our 
apprehensions and resolutions, that we have need to be most 
frequently quickening them, and lifting at them, and renew- 
ing our desires, and suppressing the contrary desires, by the 
serious thoughts of God and immortality. Our thoughts 
are the bellows that must kindle the flames of love, desire, 
hope and zeal. Our thoughts are the spur that must put on 
a slugglish, tired heart. And so far as they conduce to any 
such works and ends as these, they are desirable and good. 
But what master loveth to see his servant sit down and think 
when he should be at work? Or to use his thoughts only to 
grieve and vex himself for his faults, but not to mend them. 
To sit down lamenting that he is so bad and unprofitable a 
servant, when he should be up and doing his master's busi- 
ness as well as he is able? Such thoughts as hinder us from 
duty, or discourage, or unfit us for it, are real sins, however 
they may go under a better name- 

8. The godly themselves are very much wanting in the 
holiness of their thoughts, and the liveliness of their affec- 
tions. Sense leadeth away the thoughts too easily after 
these present sensible things ; while faith being infirm, the 
thoughts of God and heaven are much disadvantaged by 
their invisibility. Many a gracious soul cryeth out, O that 
I could think as easily, and as affectionately, and as un- 
weariedly about the Lord, and the life to come, as I can do 
about my friends, my health,' my habitation, my business, 
and other concernments of this life ! But, alas, such thoughts 
of God and heaven, have far more enemies and resistance, 
than the thoughts of earthly matters have. 

9. It is not distracting, vexatious thoughts of God, that 
the Holy Scriptures call us to ; but it is to such thoughts as 
tend to the healing, and peace, and felicity of the soul ; and 
therefore it is not a melancholy, but a joyful life. If God be 
better than the world, it must needs be better to think of 
him. If he be more beloved than any friend, the thoughts 
of him should be sweeter to us. If he be the everlasting 
hope and happiness of the soul, it should be a foretaste of 
happiness to find him nearest to our hearts. The nature and 
use of holy thoughts, and of all religion, is but to exalt and 


sanctify and delight the soul, and bring it up to everlasting 
rest: And is this the way to melancholy or madness? Or is it 
not more likely to make men melancholy, to think of nothing 
but a vain, deceitful and vexatious world, that hath much to 
disquiet us, but nothing to satisfy us, and can give the soul 
no hopes of any durable delight? 

10. Yet as God is not equally related unto all, so is he 
not the same to all men's thoughts. If a wicked enemy of 
God and godliness, be forced and frightened into some 
thoughts of God, you cannot expect that they should be as 
sweet and comfortable thoughts, as those of his most obe- 
dient children are. While a man is under the guilt and 
power of his reigning sin, and under the wrath and curse of 
God, unpardoned, unjustified, a child of the devil, it is not 
this man's duty to think of God, as if he were fully recon- 
ciled to him, and took pleasure in him as in his own. Nor 
is it any wonder if such a man think of God with fear, and 
think of his sin with grief and shame. Nor is it any wonder 
the justified themselves do think of God with fear and grief, 
when they have provoked him by some sinful and unkind 
behaviour, or are cast into doubts of their sincerity and in- 
terest in Christ, and when he hides his face or assaulteth 
them with his terrors. To doubt whether a man shall live 
for ever in heaven or hell, may rationally trouble the thoughts 
of the wisest man in the world ; and it were but sottishness 
not to be troubled at it : David himself could say, " In the 
day of my trouble I sought the Lord : my sore ran in the 
night and ceased not : my soul refused to be comforted : I 
remembered God and was troubled : I complained and my 
spirit was overwhelmed : thou boldest mine eyes waking: I 

am so troubled that I cannot speak. Will the Lord cast 

off for ever? " (Psal. Ixxvii. 2—5. 7.) 

Yet all the sorrowful thoughts of God, which are the 
duty either of the godly or the wicked, are but necessary 
preparatives of their joy. It is not to melancholy, distrac- 
tion or despair, that God calleth anj^ even the worst : but 
it is that the wicked would " Seek the Lord while he may be 
found, and call upon him while he is near ; that he would 
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and 
return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and 
to our God, and he will abundantly pardon.'* (Isa. Iv. 6, 7.) 


Despair is sin ; and the thoughts that tend to it are sinful 
thoughts, even in the wicked. If worldly crosses, or the 
sense of danger to the soul had cast any into melancholy, 
or overwhelmed them with fears, you can name nothing in 
the world that in reason should be so powerful a remedy to 
recover them, as the thoughts of God, his goodness, and 
mercy, and readiness to receive and pardon those that turn 
unto him, his covenant, and promises, and grace, through 
Christ, and the everlasting happiness which all may have 
that will accept and seek it in the time of grace, and prefer 
it before the deceitful transitory pleasures of the world. If 
the thoughts of God, and of the heavenly, everlasting joys 
will not comfort the soul, and cure a sad, despairing mind, 
I know not what can rationally do it. Though yet it is true, 
that a presumptuous sinner must needs be in a trembling 
state, till he find himself at peace with God : and mistaken 
Christians, that are cast into causeless doubts and fears, by 
the malice of Satan, are unlikely to walk comfortably with 
God, till they are resolved and recovered from their mis- 
takes and fears. 


Object, But it may be the objector will be ready to think, 
that ' If it be indeed our duty to walk with God, yet 
thoughts are no considerable part of it. What more uncer- 
tain or mutable than our thoughts ? It is deeds and not 
thoughts that God regardeth. To do no harm to any, but to 
do good to all, this is indeed to walk with God. You set a 
man upon a troublesome and impossible work, while you set 
him upon so strict a guard, and so much exercise of his 
thoughts. What cares the Almighty for my thoughts?' 

Answ, 1. If God knows better than you, and be to be 
believed, then thoughts are not so inconsiderable as you 
suppose. Doth he not say, that " the thoughts of the wicked 
are an abomination to the Lord V (Prov. xv. 26.) It is the 
work of the Gospel by its power, to *' pull down strong holds, 
casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalt- 
eth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into 
captivity *e very thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 
X. 4, 5.) The unrighteous man's forsaking his thoughts, is 
part of his necessary conversion. (Isa. Iv. 7.) It was the 
description of the deplorate state of the old world, " God 


saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and 
that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, was 
only evil continually ; and it repented the Lord that he had 
made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." 
(Gen. vi. 5.) Judge by this, whether thoughts be so little 
regarded by God, as you imagine. David saith of himself, 
" I hate vain thoughts." (Psal. cxix. 113.) Solomon saith, 
•' The thoughts of the righteous are right." (Prov. xii. 5.) 
Paul saith that, ** Charity thinketh not evil." (1 Cor. xiii. 5.) 

2. Thoughts are the issue of a rational soul. And if its 
operations be contemptible, its essence is contemptible : If 
its essence be noble, its operations are considerable. If the 
soul be more excellent than the body, its operations must be 
more excellent. To neglect our thoughts and not employ 
them upon God, and for God, is to vilifie our noblest facul- 
ties, and deny God, who is a Spirit, that spiritual service 
which he requireth. 

3. Our thoughts are commonly our most cordial, volun- 
tary acts, and shew the temper and inclination of the heart : 
and therefore are regardable to God that searcheth the heart, 
and calleth first for the service of the heart. 

4. Our thoughts are radical and instrumental acts : such 
as they are, such are the actions of our lives. Christ telleth 
us that " out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, 
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, 
which defile the man." (Matt. xv. 19, 20.) 

5. Our thoughts are under a law, as well as words and 
deeds. " The thought of foolishness is sin." (Prov. xxiv. 9.) 
And Matt. v. 28, &c. Christ extendeth the law even to the 
thoughts and desires of the heart. And under the law it is 
said, '* Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked 
heart," &c., (Deut. xv. 9,) viz. of unmercifulness towards thy 

6. Thoughts can reach higher much than sense, and may 
be employed upon the most excellent and invisible objects ; 
and therefore are fit instruments to elevate the soul that 
would converse with God. Though God be infinitely above 
us, our thoughts may be excercised on him: Our persons 
never were in heaven, and yet our conversation must be in 
heaven. (Phil. iii. 20.) And how is that but by our thoughts ? 
Though we see not Christ, yet by the the exercise of believing 
thoughts on him, we love him, and rejoice with joy unspeak- 



able and full of glory. Though God be invisible, yet our 
•* meditations of him may be sweet, and we may delight in 
the Lord." (Psal. civ. 34.) Say not that all this is but fan- 
tastical and delusory, as long as thoughts of things unseen 
are fitter to actuate and elevate the love, desires and delights 
of the soul, and to move and guide us in a regular and holy 
life, than the sense of lesser present good. The thoughts 
are not vain or delusory, unless the object of them be false 
and vain, and delusory. Where the object is great, and sure, 
and excellent, the thoughts of such things are excellent 
operations of the soul. If the thoughts of vain- glory, 
wealth and pleasure, can delight the ambitious, covetous 
and sensual ; no wonder if the thoughts of God and life 
eternal, afford us solid, high delights. 

7. The thoughts are not so liable to be counterfeit and 
hypocritical as are the words and outward deeds : and 
therefore they shew more what the man is, and what is in his 
heart. For as Solomon saith, " As he thinketh in his heart, 
so is he." (Prov. xxiii. 7.) 

8. Our thoughts may exercise the highest graces of God 
in man; and also shew those graces, as being their effects. 
How is our faith, and love, and desire, and trust, and joy, 
and hope to be exercised but by our thoughts ? If grace 
were not necessary and excellent, it would not be wrought 
by the Spirit of God, and called the Divine Nature, and the 
Image of God. And if grace be excellent, the use and ex- 
ercise of it is excellent : and therefore our thoughts by which 
it is exercised must needs have their excellency too. 

9. Our thoughts must be the instruments of our im- 
proving all holy truth in Scripture, and all the mercies which 
we receive, and all the afflictions which we undergo. What 
good will reading a chapter in the Bible do to any one that 
never thinketh on it? *' Our delight in the law of God," 
must engage us to " meditate in it day and night." (Psal. i. 
2.) What good shall he get by hearing a sermon that exer- 
<iiseth not his thoughts for the receiving and digesting it? 
Our considering what is said, is the way in which we may 
expect that God should give us " understanding in all 
things." (2 Tim. ii. 7.) What the better will he be for any 
of the merciful providences of God, who never bethinks him 
whence they come, or what is the use and end that they are 



given for ? What good will he get by any afflictions, that 
never bethinks him, who it is that chastiseth him, and for 
what, and how he must get them removed, and sanctified to 
his good. A man is but like one of the pillars in the church, 
or like the corpse which he treadeth on, or at best but like 
the dog that foUoweth him thither for company, if he use 
not his thoughts about the work which he hath in hand, and 
cannot say, as Psal. xlviii. 9, ** We have thought of thy 
loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple." He 
that biddeth you hear, doth also bid you " Take heed how 
you hear." (Luke viii. 18.) And you are commanded to 
" lay up the word in your heart and soul." (Deut. xi. 18, 19.) 
And to set your hearts to all the words which are testified 
among you: for it is not a vain thing for you, because it is 
your life. 

10. Our thoughts are so considerable a part of God's 
service, that they are oft put for the whole. " A book of 
remembrance was written for them that feared the Lord, 
and that thought upon his name." (Mai. iii. 16.) Our be- 
lieving and loving God, and trusting in him, and desiring 
him and his grace, are the principal parts of his service, 
which are exercised immediately by our thoughts : and in 
praise and prayer it is this inward part that is the soul and 
life of all. He is a foolish hypocrite that thinks '* to be 
heard for his much speaking." <Matt. vi. 7.) 

And on the contrary, the thoughts are named as the 
sum of all iniquity. " Their thoughts are thoughts of ini- 
quity." (Isa. Ixix. 7.) "I have spread out my hands all the 
day long unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way 
that was not good, after their own thoughts." (Isa. Ixv. 2.) 
*' O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness that thou 
mayest be saved : how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge 
within thee ! (Jer. iv. 14.) " The fool hath said in his heart 
there is no God." (Psal. xiv. 1.) 

11. A man's thoughts are the appointed orderly way for 
the conversion of a sinner, and the preventing of his sin and 
misery. David saith, " I thought on my ways, and turned 
my feet unto thy testimonies." (Psal. cxix. 59.) The pro- 
digal " came to himself," and returned to his father, by the 
success of his own consideration. (Luke xv. 17, 18.) "Thus 
saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your ways," (Hag, i. 5,) 


is a voice that every sinner should hear. ** It is he that 
considereth and doth not according to his father's sins, that 
shall not die." (Ezek. xviii. 14.) Therefore it is God's 
desire, " O that they were wise and understood this, and 
that they would consider their latter end." (Deut. xxxii. 29.) 
It is either men's inconsiderateness, or the error of their 
thoughts, that is the cause of all their wickedness. " My 
people doth not consider." (Isa. i. 3.) Paul " verily thought 
that he ought to do many things against the name of Jesus." 
(Acts xxvi. 9.) Many *' deceive themselves by thinking 
themselves something when they are nothing." (Gal. vi. 3.) 
** They think it strange that we run not with them to excess 
of riot:" and therefore ** they speak evil of us." (1 Pet. iv. 
4.) Disobedient formalists "consider not that they do 
evil," when they think that they are offering acceptable 
sacrifices to God. (Eccles. v. 1, 2.) The very murder of 
God's holy ones hath proceeded from these erroneous 
thoughts ; " They that kill you shall think they do God ser- 
vice." (John xvi. 2.) All the ambition, and covetousness, 
and injustice and cruelty following thereupon, which trou- 
bleth the world, and ruineth men's souls, is from their 
erroneous thoughts, overvaluing these deceitful things. 
" Their inward thought is that their houses shall continue 
for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations." (Psal. 
xlix. 11.) The presumptuous and impenitent are surprised 
by destruction, for want of thinking of it to prevent it : "In 
such an hour as you think not, the Son of man cometh." 

12. Lastly, The thoughts are the most constant actions 
of a man, and therefore most of the man is in them. We 
are not always reading, or hearing, or praying, or working : 
but we are always thinking. And therefore it doth espe- 
cially concern us to see that this constant breath of the 
soul be sweet, and that this constant stream be pure and 
run in the right channel. Well therefore did David make 
this his request ; ** Search me, O God, and know my heart : 
try me, and know my thoughts ; and see if there be any 
wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." 
(Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24.) I say therefore to those that insist 
on this irrational objection, that these very thoughts of 
theirs, concerning the inconsiderableness of thoughts, are 
so foolish and ungodly, that when they understand the evil 
even of these, they will know that thoughts were more to 



be regarded. " If therefore thou hast done foolishly in 
lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thy 
hand upon thy mouth." 

And though after all this, I still confess that it is so ex- 
ceeding hard a matter to keep the thoughts in holy exercise 
and order, that even the best do daily and hourly sin, in 
the omissions, the disorder or vanity of their thoughts; yet 
for all that, we must needs conclude that the inclination 
and design of our thoughts must be principally for God, 
and that the thoughts are principal instruments of the soul, 
in acting it in his service, and moving it tow^ards him, and 
in all this holy work of our walking with God : and there- 
fore to imagine that thoughts are inconsiderable and of lit- 
tle use, is to unman us, and unchristen us. The labour of 
the mind is necessary for the attaining the felicity of the 
mind ; as the labour of the body is necessary for the things 
that belong unto the body. As bodily idleness bringeth 
unto beggary, when the diligent hand makes rich ; so the 
idleness of the soul doth impoverish the soul, when the la- 
borious Christian liveth plentifully and comfortably through 
the blessing of God upon his industry and labour. You 
cannot expect that God should appear to you in a bodily 
shape, that you may have immediate converse with him in 
the body. The corporal eating of him in transubstantiated 
bread, supposed common to men, and mice, or dogs, we 
leave to Papists, who have made themselves a singular 
new religion, in despite of the common sense and reason of 
mankind, as well as of the Scriptures and the judgment of 
the church. It is in the Spirit that thou must converse with 
God who is a Spirit. The mind seeth him by faith, who is 
invisible to the bodily eyes. Nay, if you will have a true and 
saving knowledge of God, you must not liken him to any 
thing that is visible, nor have any corporal conceivings of 
him. Earthly things may be the glass in which we may be- 
hold him, while we are here in the flesh ; but our conceiv- 
ings of him must be spiritual, and minds that are immersed 
in flesh and earth, are unmeet to hold communion with 
him. The natural man knoweth him not, and the " carnal 
mind is enmity to him, and they that are in the flesh cannot 
please him." (Rom. viii.) It is the pure, abstracted, ele- 
vated soul, that understandeth by experience what it is to 
walk with God. 



§ 1. Having in the foregoing uses, reproved the atheism and 
contempt of God, which ungodly men are continually guilty 
of, and endeavoured to convince them of the necessity and 
desirableness of walking with God, and in particular of im- 
proving our thoughts for holy converse with him, and an- 
swered the objections of the impious and atheists ; I shall 
next endeavour to cure the remnants of this disease in those 
that are sincerely holy, who live too strangely to God their 
Father in the world. In the performance of this, I shall 
first shew you what are the benefits of this holy life, which 
should make it appear desirable and delightful. 2. I shall 
shew you why believers should addict themselves to it as 
doubly obliged, and that their neglect of it is a sin attended 
with special aggravations. This is the remainder of my task. 

§ 2. I. To walk with God in a holy and heavenly coa- 
versation, is the employment most suitable to human nature, 
not to its corrupt disposition, nor to the carnal interest and 
appetite ; but to nature as nature, to man as man. It is the 
very work that he was made for : the faculties and frame of 
the soul and body were composed for it by the wise Crea- 
tor : they are restored for it by the gracious Redeemer. 
Though in corrupted nature, where sensuality is predomi- 
nant, there is an estrangedness from God, and an enmity 
and hatred of him, so that the wicked are more averse to all 
serious, holy converse with him (in prayer, contemplation, 
and a heavenly life) than they are to a worldly sinful life ; 
yet all this is but the disease of nature, corrupting its appe- 
tite, and turning it against that proper food, which is most 
suitable to its sound desires, and necessary to its health 
and happiness. Though sinful habits are become as it 
were a second nature to the ungodly, so depraving their 
judgments and desires, that they verily think the business 
and pleasures of the flesh are most suitable to them ; yet 
these are as contrary to nature as nature, that is, to the 
primitive tendencies of all our faculties, and the proper use 
to which they were fitted by our Creator, and to that true 
felicity which is the end of all our parts and powers, even 
as madness is contrary to the rational nature, though it 
were hereditary. 

1. What can be more agreeable to the nature of man. 


than to be rational and wise, and to live in the purest exer- 
cise of reason ? And certainly there is nothing more rational 
than that we should live to God, and gladly accept of all 
that communion with him which our natures on earth are 
capable of. Nothing can be more reasonable than for the 
reasonable soul to be entirely addicted to him that did 
create it, that doth preserve it, and by whom it doth subsist 
and act. Nothing is more reasonable than that the abso- 
lute Lord of nature be honoured and served wholly by his 
own. Nothing is more reasonable than that the reasonable 
creature do live in the truest dependance upon, and subor- 
dination to the highest reason ; and that derived, imperfect, 
defectible wisdom, be subservient to, and guided by the 
primitive, perfect, indefectible wisdom. It is most reason- 
able that the children depend upon the Father, and the 
foolish be ruled by the most wise, and that the subjects be 
governed by the universal King ; and that they honour him 
and obey him, and that the indigent apply themselves to 
him that is allsufficient, and is most able and ready to sup- 
ply their wants ; and that the impotent rest upon him that 
is Omnipotent. 

2. Nothing can be more reasonable, than that the reason- 
able nature should intend its end, and seek after its true and 
chief felicity : and that it should love good as good, and 
therefore prefer the chiefest good before that which is tran- 
sitory and insufficient. Reason commandeth the reasonable 
creature to avoid its own delusion and destruction, and to 
rest upon him that can everlastingly support us, and not 
upon the creature that will deceive us and undo us : and to 
prefer the highest and noblest converse before that which 
is inferior, unprofitable, and base, and that we rejoice more 
in the highest, purest, and most durable delights, than in 
those that are sordid, and of short continuance. And who 
knoweth not that God is the chiefest good, and true felicity 
of man, the everlasting rock, the durable delight, and to be 
preferred before his creatures ? And who might not find, 
that would use his reason, that all things below are vanity 
and vexation ? 

3. Nothing can be more rational and agreeable to man's 
nature, than that the superior faculties should govern the 
inferior, that the brutish part be subject to the rational; 
and that the ends Tind objects of this higher faculty be pre- 


ferred before the objects of the lower; that the objects of 
sense be made subservient to the objects of reason. If this 
be not natural and rational, then it is natural to man to be 
no man, but a beast, and reasonable to be unreasonable. 
Now it is evident that a holy living unto God, is but the 
improvement of true reason, and its employment for and 
upon its noblest object, and its ultimate end : and that a 
sensual Jife is the exercise of the inferior, brutish facultieS| 
in predominancy above and before the rational : and there- 
fore to question whether God or the creature should be first 
sought, and loved, and principally desired, and delighted 
in, and served, is b«t to question whether we should live 
like men or like beasts, and whether dogs or wise men be 
the fitter companions for us ? And whether the rider or 
the horse should have the rule ? Whether the rational or 
sensitive powers be superior and proper to the nature of a 
man ? 

Object. * But there is a middle state of life betwixt the 
sensual and the divine or holy life, which sober philosophers 
did live, and this is the most natural life, and most properly 
so called/ 

Answ. I deny this : There is no middle state of life, if 
you ^denominate the several states of life, from the several 
ends, or the several powers. I grant that the very sensitive 
powers in man, especially the imagination, is much ad- 
vanced by the conjunction of reason, above that of a brute : 
and I grant that the delights of the phantasy may be pre- 
ferred before the immediate pleasure of the senses : and I grant 
that some little distant knowledge of God, and things divine, 
and hopes of attaining them, may affect an unsanctified 
man with an answerable pleasure. But all this is nothing 
to prove that there is a third sort of end, or of powers, and 
so a third or middle state of life, specifically distinct firom 
the sensitive and the holy life. Besides, the vegetative man 
hath no other life or faculties, than the sensitive and the 
rational : and therefore one of these must be in predomi- 
nancy or rule. And therefore he can have no middle sort 
or end ; and therefore no middle state of life, that can be 
said to be agreeable to his nature. Those that seek and 
take up their chief felicity in riches and plenty, and provi- 
sions for the flesh, though not in present pleasing of the 
sense, do live but the life of sensuality. A fox or dog 


takes pleasure when he hath eaten his belly full, to hide 
and lay up the rest; and so doth the bee to fill the hive, 
and make provision for the winter. The proud that delight 
in honour and applause, and making others subject to their 
lusts, do live but the life of sensuality : a dog, a horse, and 
other brutes, have something of the same. They that are 
grave through melancholy, or because they can reach no 
great matter in the world, and because their old or duller 
spirits are not much pleased with juvenile delights, and so 
live retiredly, and seek no higher pleasure or felicity, but 
only sit down with the weeping or the laughing philosopher, 
lamenting or deriding the vanity of the world, do yet live 
no other than a sensual life : as an old dog that hath no 
pleasure in hunting or playfulness, as he had when he was 
a whelp. Only he is less deluded, and less vain, than other 
sensualists that find more pleasure in their course. 

All the doubt is concerning those that place their feli- 
city in knowledge, and those that delight in moral virtues, 
or that delight in studying of God, though they are no 

Answ. The point is weighty, and hath oft unhappily 
fallen into injudicious hands. 1 shall endeavour to resolve 
it as truly, clearly, and impartially as I can. 1. It is a 
great error against the nature of man, to say, that know- 
ledge as such, is fit to be any man's chief and ultimate end. 
It may be that act which is next the enjoying act of the 
will, which is it that indeed is next the end, objectively 
considered : but it is not that act which we call * ultimate 
ultimus.' And this is plain, 1. Because the object of the 
understanding, which is truth, is not formally the nearest 
object or matter of full felicity or delight: it is goodness 
that is the nearest object. 2. And therefore the ofiioe of 
the intellect is but introductive and subservient to the 
office of the will, to apprehend the verity of good, and pre- 
sent it to the will to be prosecuted or embraced, or de- 
lighted in. There are many truths that are ungrateful and 
vexatious, and which men would wish to be no truths. 
And there is a knowledge which is troublesome, useless, 
undesirable and tormenting, which even a wise man would 
fain avoid, if he knew how. Morality is but preparatively 
in the intellect : and therefore intellectual acts, as such, are 
not morally good, or evil, but only participatively, as sub- 


ject to the will. And therefore knowledge, as such, being 
not a moral good, can be no other than such a natural good 
as is * bonum alicui,* only so far as it tendeth to some wel- 
fare or happiness, or pleasure of the possessor or some 
other : and this welfare or pleasure is either that which is 
suited to the sensitive powers, or to the rational (which is 
to be found in the love of God alone). 

2. I add therefore, that even those men that seem to 
take up their felicity in common knowledge, indeed do but 
make their knowledge subservient to something else which 
they take for their felicity. For knowledge of evil may tor- 
ment them. It is only to know something which they take 
to be good, that is their delight. And it is the complacency 
or love of that good at the heart, which sets them on work, 
and causeth the delight of knowing. If you will say 
that common knowledge, as knowledge, doth immediately 
delight, yet will it be found but such a pleasing of the 
phantasy, as an ape hath in spying marvels, which if it have 
no end that is higher, is still but a sensitive delight; but if 
it be referred to a higher delight (in God) it doth participate 
of the nature of it. Delight in general is the common end 
of men and brutes : but in specie they are distinguished as 
sensual or rational. 

3. If you suppose a philosopher to be delighted in stu- 
dying mathematics, or any of the works of God, either he 
hath herein an end, or no end beyond the knowledge of 
the creature : either he terminateth his desires and delights 
in the creature, or else useth it as a means to raise him to 
the Creator. If he study and delight in the creature ulti- 
mately, this is indeed the act of a rational creature, and an 
act of reason, as to the faculty it proceeds from (and so is a 
rational contrivance for sensual ends and pleasures) : but it 
is but the error of reason, and is no more agreeable to the 
rational nature, than the deceit, of the senses is to the sensi- 
tive. Nor is it finally to be numbered with the operations 
felicitating human nature, any more than an erroneous 
dream of pleasure, or than that man is to be numbered with 
the lovers of learning, who taketh pleasure in the binding, 
leaves, or letters of the book, while he understandeth no- 
thing of the sense. But if this philosopher seek to know 
the Creator in and by the creatures, and take delight in the 
Maker's power, wisdom and goodness, which appeareth in 


them, then this is truly a rational delight, in itself con- 
sidered, and beseeming a man. And if he reach so far in it, 
as to make God his highest desire and delight, overpower- 
ing the desires and delights of sensuality, he shall be happy, 
as being led by the Son unto the Father : but if he make 
but some little approaches towards it, and drown all such 
desires in the sensual desires and delights, he is then but an 
unhappy sensualist, and liveth brutishly in the tenor of his 
life, though in some acts in part he operate rationally as a 

The like I may say of them that are said to place their 
delight in moral virtues. Indeed, nothing is properly a 
moral good (or virtue) but that which is exercised upon God 
as our end, or upon the creature as a means to this end. 
To study and know mere notions of God, or what is to be 
held and said of him in discourse, is not to study to know 
God, no more than to love the language and phrase of holy 
writing, is to love God. To study God, as one that is less 
regardable and desirable than our sensual delights, is but to 
blaspheme him. To study, seek and serve him as one that 
can promote or hinder our sensual felicity, is but to abuse 
him as a means to your sensuality. And for the virtues of 
temperance, justice, or charity, they are but analogically 
and * secundum quid' to be found in any ungodly person. 
Materially they may have them in an eminent degree ; but 
not as they are informed by the end which moralizeth them. 
Jezebel's fast was not formally a virtue, but an odious way 
of hypocrisy to oppress the innocent. He that doth works 
of justice and mercy, to evil ends only (as for applause, or 
to deceive, &.c.) and not from the true principles of justice 
and mercy, doth not thereby exercise moral virtue, but 
hypocrisy, and other vice. He that doth works of justice 
and mercy, out of mere natural compassion to others, and 
desire of their good, without respect to God, as obliging, or 
rewarding, or desiring it, doth perform such a natural good 
work, as a lamb or a gentle beast doth to his fellows, which 
hath not the true form of moral virtue, but the matter only. 
He that in such works hath some little by-respect to God, 
but more to his carnal interest among men, doth that which 
on the by, participateth of moral good, or is such ' secun- 
dum quid,' but not ' simpliciter,' being to be denominated 
from the part predominant. He that doth works of justice 


or charity principally to please God, and in true obedience 
to his will, and a desire to be conformed thereto, doth that 
which is formally a moral good, and holy, though there may 
be abhorred mixtures of worse respects. 

So that there are but two states of life here : one of 
those that walk after the flesh, and the other of those that 
walk after the Spirit. However the flesh hath several mate- 
rials and ways of pleasure : and even the rational actings 
that have a carnal end, are carnal finally and morally, 
though they are acts of reason ; for they are but the errors 
of reason, and defectiveness of true rationality ; and being 
but the acts of erroneous reason as captivated by the flesh, 
and subservient to the carnal interest, they are themselves 
to be denominated carnal : and so even the reasonable soul 
as biassed by sensuality, and captivated thereto, is included 
in the name of ' flesh' in the Scripture. 

How much moral good is in that course of piety or obe- 
dience to God, which proceedeth only from the fear of 
God's judgments, without any love to him ; I shall not now 
discuss, because I have too far digressed already. 

All that I have last said, is to shew you the reasonable- 
ness of living unto God, as being indeed the proper and just 
employment of the superior faculties of the soul, and the 
government of the lower faculties. For if any other, called 
moralists, do seem to subject the sensual life to the rational, 
either they do but seem to do so ; the sensual interest being 
indeed predominant, and their rational operations subjected 
thereto : or at the best, it is but some poor and erroneous 
employment of the rational faculties which they exercise, 
or some weak approaches towards that high and holy life, 
which is indeed the life which the rational nature was cre- 
ated for, and which is the right improvement of it. 

4. Moreover, nothing is more beseeming the nature of 
man, than to aspire after the highest and noblest improve- 
ment of itself; and to live the most excellent life that it is 
capable of. For every nature tendeth to its own perfection. 
But it is most evident, that to walk with God in holiness, 
is a thing that human nature is capable of; and that is the 
highest life that we are capable of on earth : and therefore 
it is the life most suitable to our natures. 

5. And what can be more rational and beseeming a cre- 
ated nature, than to live to those ends, which our Creator 


intended in the very forming of our natures ? It is his ends 
that are principally to be served. But the very composure 
of our faculties plainly prove, that his end was that we 
should be tilted for his service : he gave us no powers or 
capacity in vain : and therefore to serve him and walk with 
him, is most suitable to our natures. 

Object. ' That is natural which is first, and born with us : 
but our enmity to holiness is first, and not our holiness.' 

Answ. It may be called natural indeed, because it is 
first, and born with us : and in that respect we confess that 
sin, and not holiness, is natural to us. But holiness is 
called natural to us, in a higher respect, because it was the 
primitive, natural constitution of man, and was before sin, 
and is the perfection or health of nature, and the right em- 
ployment and improvement of it, and tends to its happiness. 
An hereditary leprosy may be called natural, as it is first, 
and before health in that person : but health and soundness 
is natural, as being the well-being of nature, when the 
leprosy is unnatural, as being but its disease, and tending 
to its destruction. 

Object, ' But nature in its first constitution was not holy, 
but innocent only, and it was by a superadded gift of grace 
that it became holy, as some schoolmen think, and as others 
think, Adam had no holiness till his restoration." 

Answ. These are Popish improved fancies, and contrary 
to nature and the word of God. 1. They are no where writ- 
ten, nor have any evidence in nature, and therefore are the 
groundless dreams of men. 

2. The work of our recovery to God is called in Scrip- 
ture a redemption, renovation, restoration, which imply that 
nature was once in that holy estate before the fall. And it 
is expressly said, that the " new man" which we *' put on, 
is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created 
him." (Col. iii. 10.) And after God's image Adam was 

3. If it belong to the soundness and integrity of nature 
to be holy, (^that is, disposed and addicted to live to God) 
then it is rash and foolish for men out of their own imagina- 
tion, to feign that God first made nature defective, and then 
mended it by superadded grace. But if it belong not to the 
soundness and integrity of human nature to be holy, then why 
did God give him grace to make him so ? Nay, then it would 


follow, that when God sanctified Adam, or any since, he 
made him specifically another thing, another creature, of 
another nature, and did not only cure the diseases of his 

4. It is yet apparent in the very nature of man's facul- 
ties, that their very usefulness and tendency, is to live to 
God, and to enjoy him : and that God should make a nature 
apt for such a use, and give it no disposedness to its proper 
use, is an unnatural conceit. We see to this day that 
it is but an unreasonable abuse of reason, when it is 
not used holily for God ; and it is a very disease of nature 
to be otherwise disposed. Therefore primitive nature had 
such a holy inclination. 

5. The contrary opinion tendeth to infidelity, and to 
brutify human nature. For if no man can believe that he 
must be holy, and live to God, and enjoy him hereafter in 
heaven, but he that also believeth that primitive nature was 
never disposed or qualified for such a life ; and that God 
must first make a man another creature in specie, of another 
nature (and consequently not a man) this is not only im- 
probable, but so contrary to Scripture and reason, that few 
considerate persons would believe it. As if we must believe 
that God would turn brutes into men. God healeth, elevat- 
eth, and perfecteth nature, but doth not specifically change 
it, at least in this life. 

Object, ' But let it be granted that he giveth no man 
specifically another nature, yet he may give him such higher 
gifts, as may be like another nature to him so far.' 

Answ, No doubt he may and doth give him such gifts as 
actuate and perfect nature : but some disposition to our 
ultimate end is essential to our nature ; and therefore to as- 
sign man another ultimate end, and to give a disposition to 
it, of which he had no seed, or part, or principle before, is 
to make him another creature. I confess that in lapsed 
man, the holy disposition is so far dead, as that the change 
maketh a man a new creature in a moral sense (as he is a 
new man that changeth his mind and manners) : but still 
nature hath its aptitude, as rational, to be employed for its 
Maker ; so that he is not a new creature in a natural sense. 

An actual or habitual willingness to his holy employ- 
ment, a promptitude to it, and a due understanding of it, 
is the new creature, morally sq called, which is given in our 


sanctification : but the natural aptitude that is in our facul- 
ties as rational, to this holy life, is essential to us as men, 
or as rational ; even to have the * potentiam naturalem' 
which must yet have further help or moral life to actuate it. 
And Adam had both these : the one he retained, or else he 
had not continued a man; the other he lost, or else he had 
not had need of renovation. 

6. If Adam's nature had not been disposed to God, as 
to his end and sovereign, then the law of nature (to adhere 
to God, and obey and serve him) was not written in his 
heart : and then it would not have been his duty to ad- 
here to God, and to obey and serve him ; which is so false, 
that even in lapsed, unrenewed nature, there is left so much 
aptitude hereto, as will prove him to be still under the obli- 
gations of this law of nature, even actually to adhere to 
God, and to obey him, which a dead man, a mad man, or an 
infant, is not (immediately). 

By all this you see, that though the blindness and dis- 
ease of reason, is contrary to faith and holiness, yet reason 
itself is so much for it, as that faith itself is but the act of 
elevated well informed reason ; and supernatural revelation 
is but the means to inform our reason, about things which 
have not a natural evidence,^ discernable by us. And sanc- 
tification (actively taken) is but the healing of our reason 
and rational appetite : and holiness is but the health or 
soundness of them. The error of reason must be renounced 
by believers ; but not the use of reason : the sufficiency of rea 
son and natural light, without supernatural light and help, we 
must all deny : but to set reason, as reason, in opposition to 
faith or holiness, or divine revelation, is as gross a piece of 
foolery, as to set the visive faculty in opposition to the 
light of the sun, or to its objects. It is the unreasonable- 
ness of sinners that is to be cured by illuminating grace. 
*• They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no know- 
ledge." Their reason is wounded, depraved and corrupted 
about the matters of God : they have reason to serve the 
flesh, but not to master it. God doth renew men by giving 
them wisdom, and bringing them to a sound mind : as logic 
helpeth reason in discourse and arguing, so theology in- 
formeth reason about the matters of God and our salvation: 
and the Spirit of God doth make his doctrine and revelation 
effectual. Make nature sound, and reason clear, and then 


we will donsent that all men be persuaded to live according 
to their nature and their reason. But if a bedlam will rave 
and tear himself and others, and say. This is according to 
my nature or my reason ; it is fitter that chains and whips 
do cure that nature and reason, than that he be allowed to 
live according to his madness. If a drunkard or whore- 
monger will say. My nature and reason incline me to please 
my appetite and lust, it is fit that the swinish nature be cor- 
rected, and the beast which rideth and ruleth the man, be 
taken down ; and when indeed his nature is the nature of 
man, and fitted to the use and ends it was made for, then let 
him live according to it and spare not. If a malicious man 
will abuse or kill his neighbour, and say, This is according 
to my nature, let that nature be used as the nature of wolves 
and foxes, and other noxious creatures are. But let human 
nature be cured of its blindness, carnality, and corruption, 
and then it will need no external testimony to convince it, 
that no employment is so natural and suitable to man, as to 
walk with God, in love and confidence, and reverent wor- 
ship, and cheerful obedience to his will. A worldly, fleshly, 
sensual life, will then appear to be below the rational na- 
ture of a man, as it is below us to go to grass with horses, 
or to live as mere companions of brutes. It will then ap- 
pear to be as natural for us to love and live to our Creator 
and Redeemer, and to walk with God, as for a child to love 
his parents, and to live with them and serve them. When 
I say that this is natural, I mean not that it is necessary by 
natural necessity, or that grace doth operate * per modum 
naturae,' as their rational motion is so called. There is a 
brutish or inanimate nature, and there is a rational, volun- 
tary nature. Grace worketh not according to the way of 
inanimate nature, in free agents. I may well say, that 
whatever is rational, is natural to a rational creature as 
such, so far as he discerneth it. Yea, and habits, though 
they effect not necessarily, but freely in a rational nature, 
yet they incline necessarily, ' et per modum naturse.' They 
contain in their being a natural aptitude and propensity to 

Object. * But thus you confound nature and grace, na- 
tural and supernatural operations, while you make grace 

Jmw. No such matter : Though walking with God be 


called natural, as it is most agreeable to nature sd far as it 
is sound, and is the felicity and meetest employment of the 
rational nature as such: yet, 1. Diseased nature doth ab- 
hor it, as a diseased stomach the pleasantest and most 
wholesome food, (as I said before). 2. And this disease 
of nature cannot be cured without divine, supernatural 
grace. So that as to the efficient cause, our holiness is su- 
pernatural. But it is unsound doctrine of those that affirm 
that Adam in his pure, natural state of innocence, had no 
natural holiness, or aptitude and promptitude to walk with 
God in order to everlasting happiness ; but say that all this 
was either wanting to him, and was a state specifically dis- 
tinct, which he fell short of by his sin, or that it was given 
him by superadded grace, and was not in his entire nature. 

And yet we deny not but as to degrees, Adam's nature 
was to grow up to more perfection : and that his natural 
holiness contained not a sufficient immediate aptitude and 
promptitude to every duty which might afterward be re- 
quired of him ; but this was to be obtained in the exercise 
of that holiness which he had : even as a vine or other fruit- 
tree, though it be natural to it to bear its proper fruit, yet 
hath it not an immediate sufficient aptitude hereto, whilst 
it is but appearing out of the seed, before it be grown up 
to just maturity. Or as it is natural to a man to discourse 
and reason ; but yet his nature in infancy, or untaught and 
unexercised, hath not a sufficient immediate aptitude and 
promptitude hereunto. Or as grace inclineth a renewed 
soul to every holy truth and duty ; and yet such a soul in 
its infancy of grace, hath not a sufficient, immediate aptitude 
or promptitude to the receiving of every holy truth, or the 
doing of every holy duty ; but must grow up to it by degrees. 
But the addition of these degrees, is no specifical alteration 
of the nature of man, or of that grace which was before re- 

Having been so long upon this first consideration (that 
walking with God is most agreeable to human nature) I 
shall be more brief in the rest that follow. 

II. To walk with God, and live to him, is incomparably 
the highest and noblest life. To converse with men only, 
is to converse with worms : whether they be princes or poor 
men, they differ but as the bigger vermin from the lesser. 


If they be wise and good, their converse may be profitable 
and delightful, because they have a beam of excellency 
from the face of God : (And O how unspeakable is the dis- 
tance between his wisdom and goodness, and theirs !) But if 
they be foolish, ungodly and dishonest, how loathsome is 
their conversation ! What stinking breath is in their pro- 
fane and filthy language ! in their lives and slanders of the 
just! in their sottish j ears and scorns of those that walk 
with God ! which expose at once their folly and misery to 
the pity of all that are truly understanding. When they 
are gravely speaking evil of the things which they under- 
stand not, or with a fleering confidence deriding merrily 
the holy commands and ways of God, they are much more 
lamentably expressing their infatuation, than any that are 
kept in chains in bedlam : though indeed, with the most, 
they escape the reputation which they deserve, because 
they are attended with persons of their own proportion of 
wisdom, that always reverence a silken coat, and judge 
them wise that wear gold lace, and have the greatest satis- 
faction of their wills and lusts, and are able to do most 
mischief in the world : and because good man have learned 
to honour the worst of their superiors, and not to call them 
as they are. But God is bold to call them as they are, and 
give them in his word, such names and characters by which 
they might come to know themselves. And is it not a 
higher, nobler life to walk with God, than to converse in 
bedlam, or with intoxicated sensualists, that live in a con- 
stant deliration. 

Yea, worse than so : ungodly men are " children of the 
devil," so called by Jesus Christ himself, (John viii. 44,) 
because they have much of the nature of the devil, and the 
lusts of their father they will do ; yea, they " are taken cap- 
tive by him at his will." (2 Tim. ii. 26.) They are " the 
servants of sin," and do the drudgery that so vile a master 
sets them on. (John viii. 34.) Certainly as the spirits of 
the just are so like to angels, that Christ saith, we shall be 
as they, and equal to them ; so the wicked are nearer kin to 
devils, than they themselves will easily believe. They are 
as like him as children to their father. He is a liar, and so 
are they. He is a hater of God, and godliness, and godly 
men, and so are they. He is a murderer, and would fain de- 



vour the holy seed ; and such are they. He envieth the 
progress of the Gospel, and the prosperity of the church, 
and the increase of holiness, and so do they. He hath a 
special malice against the most powerful and successful 
preachers of the word of God, and against the most zealous 
and eminent saints j and so have they. He cares not by 
what lies and fictions he disgraceth them, nor how cruelly 
he useth them ; no more do they, (or some of them at 
least). He cherisheth licentiousness, sensuality and im- 
piety; and so do they. If they do seem better in their ad- 
versity and restraint, yet try them but with prosperity, and 
power, and you shall see quickly how like they are to 
devils. And shall we delight more to converse with brutes 
and incarnate devils, than with God ? Is it not a more high 
and excellent conversation to walk with God, and live to 
him, than to be companions of such degenerate men, that 
have almost forfeited the reputation of humanity ? Alas ! 
they are companions so deluded and ignorant, and yet so 
wilful ; so miserable, and yet so confident and secure, that 
they are, to a believing eye, the most lamentable sight that 
the whole world can shew us out of hell. And how sad a 
life must it then needs be, to converse with such, were it 
not for the hope that we have of furthering their recovery 
and salvation! 

But to walk with God is a word so high, that I should 
have feared the guilt of arrogance in using it, if I had not 
found it in the holy Scriptures. It is a word that importeth 
so high and holy a frame of soul, and expresseth such high 
and holy actions, that the naming of it striketh my heart 
with reverence, as if I had heard the voice to Moses, " Put 
off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou 
standeth is holy ground." (Exod. iii. 5.) Methinks he that 
shall say to me. Come see a man that walks with God, doth 
call me to see one that is next unto an angel, or glorified 
soul ! It is a far more reverend object in mine eye, than ten 
thousand lords or princes, considered only in their fleshly 
glory. It is a wiser action for people to run and crowd to- 
gether, to see a man that walks with God, than to see the 
pompous train of princes, their entertainments, or their 
triumph. O happy man, that walks with God, though neg- 
lected and contemned by all about him! What blessed 


sights doth he daily see ! What ravishing tidings, what 
pleasant melody doth he daily hear, unless it be in his 
swoons or sickness ! What delectable food doth he daily taste ! 
He seeth by faith the God, the glory, which the blessed 
spirits see at hand by nearest intuition ! He seeth that in a 
glass and darkly, which they behold with open face! He 
seeth the glorious Majesty of his Creator, the eternal King, 
the Cause of causes, the Composer, Upholder, Preserver, and 
Governor of all the worlds ! He beholdeth the wonderful 
methods of his providence: and what he cannot reach to 
see, he admireth, and waiteth for the time when that also 
shall be open to his view ! He seeth by faith the world of 
spirits, the hosts that attend the throne of God ; their per- 
fect righteousness, their full devotedness to God ; their 
ardent love, their flaming zeal, their ready and cheerful 
obedience, their dignity and shining glory, in which the 
lowest of them exceedeth that which the disciples saw on 
Moses and Elias when they appeared on the holy mount, 
and talked with Christ ! They hear by faith the heavenly 
concert, the high and harmonious songs of praise, the joy- 
ful triumphs of crowned saints, the sweet commemorations 
of the things that were done and suffered on earth, with the 
praises of him that redeemed them by his blood, and made 
them kings and priests to God : herein he hath sometimes a 
sweet foretaste of the everlasting pleasures, which though 
it be but little, as Jonathan's honey on the end of his rod, 
or as the clusters of grapes which were brought from Canaan 
into the wilderness, yet are they more excellent than all the 
delights of sinners^ And in the beholding of this celestial 
glory, some beams do penetrate his breast, and so irradiate 
his longing soul, that he is changed thereby into the same 
image, from glory to glory ; the Spirit of Glory and of God 
doth rest upon him. And O what an excellent holy frame 
doth this converse with God possess his soul of! How reve- 
rently doth he think of him ! What life is there in every 
name and attribute of God which he heareth or thinketh on ! 
The mention of his power, his wisdom, his goodness, his 
love, his holiness, his truth, how powerful and how pleasant 
are they to him ! when to those that know him but by the 
hearing of the ear, all these are but like common names and 
notions ; and even to the weaker sort of Christians, whose 
walking with God is more uneven, and low, interrupted by 


their sins, and doubts, and fears, this life and glory of a 
Christian course, is less perceived. 

And the sweet appropriating and applying works of 
faith, by which the soul can own his God, and finds himself 
owned by him, are exercised most easily and happily in 
these near approaches unto God. Our doubts are cherished 
by our darkness, and that is much caused by our distance : 
the nearer the soul doth approach to God, the more dis- 
tinctly it heareth the voice of mercy, the sweet reconciling 
invitations of love ; and the more clearly it discerneth that 
goodness and amiableness in God, which maketh it easier 
to us to believe that he loveth us, or is ready to embrace 
us ; and banisheth all those false and horrid apprehensions 
of him, which before were our discouragement, and made 
him seem to us more terrible than amiable. As the minis- 
ters and faithful servants of Christ, are ordinarily so misre- 
presented by the malignant devil, to those that know them 
not, that they are ready to think them some silly fools, or 
false-hearted hypocrites, and to shun them as strange unde- 
sirable persons ; but when they come to thorough acquaint- 
ance with them by a nearer and familiar converse, they see 
how much they were mistaken, and wronged by their preju- 
dice and belief of slanderers' misreports : even so a weak 
believer, that is under troubles, in the apprehension of his 
sin and danger, is apt to hearken to the enemy of God, that 
would shew him nothing but his wrath, and represent God 
as an enemy to him : and in this case it is exceeding hard 
for a poor sinner to believe that God is reconciled to him, 
or loveth him, or intends him good, but he is ready to dread 
and shun him as an enemy, or as he would fly from a wild 
beast or murderer, or from fire or water, that would destroy 
him: and all these injurious thoughts of God are cherished 
by strangeness and disacquaintance. But as the soul doth 
fall into an understanding and serious converse with God, 
and having been often with him, doth find him more merci- 
ful than he was by Satan represented to him, his experience 
reconcileth his mind to God, and maketh it much easier to 
him to believe that God is reconciled unto him, when he 
hath found much better entertainment with God than he 
expected, and hath observed his benignity, and the trea- 
sures of his bounty laid up in Christ, and by him distri- 
buted to believers, and hath found him ready to hear and 


help, and found him the only full and suitable felicitating 
good, this banisheth his former horrid thoughts, and maketh 
him ashamed that ever he should think so suspiciously, in- 
juriously, and dishonourably of his dearest God and Father. 

Yet I must confess that there are many upright, trou- 
bled souls, that are much in reading, prayer, and medita- 
tion, that still find it hard to be persuaded of the love of 
God, and that have much more disquietment and fear since 
they set themselves to think of God, than they had before. 
But yet for all this, we may well conclude, that to walk 
with God, is the way to consolation, and tendeth to ac- 
quaint us with his love. As for those troubled souls, whose 
experience is objected against this, some of them are such 
as are yet but in their return to God, from a life of former 
sin and misery, and are yet but like the needle in the com- 
pass that is shaken, in a trembling motion towards their 
rest, and not in any settled apprehensions of it. Some of 
them by the straying of their imaginations too high, and 
putting themselves upon more than their heads can bear, 
and by the violence of fears, or other passions, do make 
themselves incapable of those sweet consolations which 
else they might find in their converse with God ; as a lute, 
when the strings are broken with straining, is incapable of 
making any melody. All of them have false apprehensions 
of God, and therefore trouble themselves by their own mis- 
takes. And if some perplex themselves by their error, doth 
it follow that therefore the truth is not comfortable ? Is not 
a father's presence consolatory, because some children are 
afraid of their fathers, that know them not because of some 
disguise ? And some of God's children walk so unevenly 
and carelessly before him, that their sins provoke him to 
hide his face, and to seem to reject them and disown them, 
and so to trouble them that he may bring them home : but 
shall the comforts of our Father's love and family be judged 
of by the fears or smart of those whom he is scourging for 
their disobedience, or their trial? Seek God with under- 
standing, as knowing his essential properties, and what he 
will be to them that sincerely and diligently seek him ; and 
then you will quickly have experience, that nothing so 
much tendeth to quiet and settle a doubting, troubled, un- 
stable soul, as faithfully to walk with God. 

But the soul that estrangeth itself from God, may indeed 


for a time have the quietness of security ; but (so far) it will 
be strange to the assurance of his love, and to true consola- 
tion. Expect not that God should follow you with his 
comforts in your sinfulness and negligence, and cast them 
into your hearts whilst you neither seek nor mind them ; or 
that he will give you the fruit of his ways in your own ways. 
Will he be your joy when you forget him? Will he delight 
your souls with his goodness and amiableness, while you 
are taken up with other matters, and think not of him? Can 
you expect to find the comforts of his family, among his 
enemies, out of doors ? The experience of all the world 
can tell you, that prodigals, while they are straggling from 
their Father's house, do never taste the comforts of his em- 
braces ; the strangers meddle not with his children's joys : 
they grow not in the way of ambition, covetousness, vain- 
glory, or sensuality ; but in the way of holy obedience, and 
of believing contemplations of the divine, everlasting objects 
of delight. *' For, lo, they that are far from him shall 
perish : He destroyeth them that go a whoring from him : 
But it is good for us to draw nigh to God." (Psal. Ixxiii. 
27, 28.) 

III. Walking with God is the only course that can prove 
and make men truly wise. It proves them wise that make 
so wise and good a choice, and are disposed and skilled in 
any measure for so high a work. Practical wisdom is the 
solid, useful, profitable wisdom : and practical wisdom is 
seen in our choice of good, and refusal of evil, as its most 
immediate and excellent effect. And no choosing or refus- 
ing doth show the wisdom or folly of man so much as that 
which is about the greatest matters, and which everlasting 
life or death depend on. He is not thought so wise among 
men that can write a volume about the orthography or ety- 
mology of a word, or can guess what wood the Trojan horse 
was made of, or that can make a chain to tie a flea in, as he 
that can bring home gold and pearls, or he that can obtain and 
manage governments, or he that can cure mortal maladies. 
For as in lading we difference bulk and value, and take not 
that for the best commodity which is of greatest quantity or 
weight, but that which is most precious and of greatest 
use ; so there is a bulky knowledge, extended far, to a mul- 
titude of words and things, which are all of no great use or 


value ; aiid therefore the knowledge of them is such as 
they: and there is a precious sort of knowledge, which 
fixeth upon the most precious things; which being of 
greatest use and value, do accordingly prove the knowledge 
such. Nothing will prove a man simply and properly wise, 
but that which will prove or make him happy. He is wise 
indeed, that is wise to his own and others' good ; and that 
is indeed his good, which saveth his soul, and maketh him 
for ever blessed. Though we may admire the cunning of 
those that can make the most curious engines, or by deceiv- 
ing others advance themselves, or that can subtilly dispute 
the most curious niceties, or criticise upon the words of 
several languages ; yet 1 will never call them wise, that are 
all that while the devil's slaves, the enemies of God, the 
refusers of grace, and are making haste to endless misery. 
And I think there is not one of those in hell who were once 
the subtile men on earth, that now take themselves to have 
been truly wise, or glory much in the remembrance of such 

And as the choice doth prove men wise, so the practice 
of this holy walking with God, doth make them much wiser 
than they were. As there must be some work of the Spirit 
to draw men to believe in Christ, and yet the Spirit is pro- 
mised and given (in a special sort or measure) to them that 
do believe ; so must there be some special wisdom to make 
men choose to walk with God ; but much more is given to 
them in this holy course. As Solomon was wiser than most 
of the world, before he asked wisdom of God, or else he 
would not have made so wise a choice, and preferred wis- 
dom before the riches and honours of the world ; and yet it 
was a more notable degree of wisdom that was afterwards 
given him in answer to his prayers : so it is in this case. 

There are many undeniable evidences to prove, that 
walking with God doth do more to make men truly wise, 
than all other learning or policy in the world. 

1. He that walketh with God, doth begin aright, and 
settles upon a sure foundation ; (and we use to say, that a 
work is half finished that is well begun ;) he hath engaged 
himself to the best and wisest teacher; he is a disciple to 
him that knoweth all things. He hatJi taken in infallible 
principles, and taken them in their proper place and order ; 
he hath learned those truths which will every one become a 


a teacher to him, and help him to that which is yet un- 
learned. Whereas many that thought they were doctors in 
Israel, if ever they will be wise and happy, must " become 
fools (that is, such as they have esteemed fools) if ever they 
will be wise;" (1 Cor. iii. 18;) and must be called back 
with Nicodemus to learn Christ's cross, and to be taught 
that, " that which is born of the flesh is but flesh, and that 
which is born of the Spirit is Spirit ;" and that therefore 
they " must be born again" (not only of water, but also of 
the Spirit) if ever they " will enter into the kingdom of 
heaven." (John iii. 3. 5, 6.) O miserable beginning ! and 
miserable progress ! when men that never soundly learned 
the mysteries of regeneration, and faith, and love, and self- 
denial, and mortification, do proceed to study names and 
words, and to turn over a multitude of books, to fill their 
brains with airy notions, and their common-places with 
such sayings as may be provision and furniture for their 
pride and ostentation, and ornament to their style and lan- 
guage ; and know not yet what they must do to be saved, 
and indeed know nothing as they ought to know ! (1 Cor. 
viii. 2.) As every science hath its principles, which are 
supposed in all the consequential verities ; so hath religion 
as doctrinal and practical, those truths which must be first 
received, before any other can be received as it ought ; and 
those things which must be first done, before any other can 
be done, so as to attain their ends. And these truths and 
duties are principally about God himself, and are known 
and done effectually by those, and only those, that walk 
with God, or are devoted to him. It is a lamentable thing 
to see men immersed in serious studies, even till they grow 
aged, and to hear them seriously disputing and discoursing 
about the controversies or difl&culties in theology, or in- 
ferior sciences, before ever they had any saving knowledge 
of God, or of the work of the Holy Ghost in the converting 
and sanctifying of the soul, or how to escape everlasting 
misery ! 

2. He that walketh with God hath fixed upon a right 
end, and is renewing his estimation and intention of it, and 
daily prosecuting it : and this is the first and greatest part 
of practical wisdom. When a man once knoweth his end 
aright, he may better judge of the aptitude and seasonable- 
ness of all the means. When we know once that heaven 


eontaineth the only felicity of man, it will direct us to hea- 
venly thoughts, and to such spiritual means as are fitted to 
that end : if we have the right mark in our eye, we are more 
like to level at it, than if we mistake our mark. He is the 
wise man, and only he, that hath steadily fixed his eye up- 
on that blessedness which he was created and redeemed for, 
and maketh straight towards it, and bends the powers of 
soul and body, by faithful, constant diligence to obtain it- 
He that hath rightly and resolvedly determined of his end, 
hath virtually resolved a thousand controversies that others 
are unsatisfied and erroneous in. He that is resolved, that 
his end is to please and glorify God, and to enjoy him for 
ever, is easily resolved whether a holy life, or a sensual 
and worldly, be the way ; whether the way be to be godly, 
or to make a mock at godliness : whether covetousness and 
riches, ambition and preferment, voluptuousness and fleshly 
pleasures, be the means to attain his end : whether it will 
be attained rather by the studying of the word of God, and 
meditating on it day and night, and by holy conference, 
and fervent prayer, and an obedient life ; or by negligence, 
or worldliness, or drunkenness, or gluttony, or cards and 
dice, or beastly filthiness, or injustice and deceit. Know 
once but whither it is that we are going, and it is easy to 
know whether the saint, or the swine, or the swaggerer, be 
in the way. But a man that doth mistake his end, is out of 
his way at the first step ; and the further he goes, the fur- 
ther he is from true felicity ; and the more he erreth, and 
the further he hath to go back again, if ever he return. 
Every thing that a man doth in the world, which is not for 
the right end (the heavenly felicity) is an act of foolishness 
and error, how splendid soever the matter or the name, may 
make it appear to ignorant men. Every word that an un- 
godly person speaketh, being not for a right end, is in him 
but sin and folly, however materially it may be an excel- 
lent and useful truth. While a miserable soul hath his 
back upon God, and his face upon the world, every step be 
goeth is an act of folly, and tending unto his further misery. 
It can be no act of wisdom, which tendeth to a man's dam- 
nation. When such a wretch begins to inquire and bethink 
him where he is, and whither he is going, and whither he 
should go, and to think of turning back to God, then, and 
never till then, he is beginning to come to himself, and to 


be wise. (Luke xv. 17.) Till; God and glory be the end that 
he aimeth at, and seriously bends his study, heart and life to 
seek, though a man were searching into the mysteries of 
nature ; though he were studying or discussing the notions 
of theology ; though he were admired for his learning and 
wisdom by the world, and cried up as the oracle of the earth, 
he is all the while but playing the fool, and going a more 
'cleanly way to hell than the grosser sinners of the world ! 
For is he wise, that knoweth not whether heaven or earth be 
better? Whether God or his flesh should be obeyed? Whe- 
ther everlasting joys, or the transitory pleasures of sin 
should be preferred ? Or that seemeth to be convinced of 
the truth in these and such like cases, and yet hath not the 
wit to make his choice, and bend his life according to his 
conviction ? He cannot be wise who practically mistakes 
his end. 

3. He that walketh with God doth know those things 
with a deep, effectual, heart-changing knowledge, which 
other men know but superficially, by the halves, and as in 
a dream. And true wisdom consisteth in the intensiveness 
of the knowledge subjectively, as much as in the extensive- 
ness of it objectively. To see a few things in a narrow room 
perspicuously and clearly, doth shew a better eyesight, than 
in the open air to see many things obscurely, so as scarce 
to discern any of them aright ; (like him that saw men walk 
like trees). The clearness and depth of knowledge, which 
makes it effectual to its proper use, is the greatness and ex- 
cellency of it : therefore it is, that unlearned men that love 
and fear the Lord, may well be said to be incomparably 
more wise and knowing men than the most learned that are 
ungodly. As he hath more riches that hath a little gold or 
jewels, than he that hath many load of stones ; so he that 
hath a deep, effectual knowledge of God the Father, and 
the Redeemer, and of the life to come, is wiser and more 
knowing than he that hath only a notional knowledge of the 
same things, and of a thousand more. A wicked man hath 
so much knowledge, as teacheth him to speak the same 
words of God, and Christ, and heaven, which a true believer 
speaks ; but not so much as to work in him the same affec- 
tions and choice, nor so much as fco cause him to do the same 
work. As it is a far more excellent kind of knowledge 
which a man hath of any country by travel and habitation 


there, than that which cometh but by reading or report; or 
which a man hath of meat, of fruits, of wines, by eating and 
drinking, than that which another hath by hearsay : so is 
the inward heart-affecting knowledge of a true believer, more 
excellent than the flashy notions of the ungodly. Truth, 
simply as truth, is not the highest and most excellent object 
of the mind : but good, as good, must be apprehended by 
the understanding, and commended to the will, which enter- 
taineth it with complacency, adhereth to it with choice and 
resolution, prosecuteth it with desire and endeavour, and en- 
joyeth it with delight. And though it be the understanding 
which apprehendeth it, yet it is the heart or will that relish- 
eth it, and tasteth the greatest sweetness in it, working upon 
it with some mixture of internal sense, (which hath made 
some ascribe a knowledge of good, as such, unto the will). 
And it is the will's intention that causeth the understanding 
to be denominated practical : and therefore I may well say, 
that it is wisdom indeed when it reacheth to the heart. No 
man knoweth the truth of God so well as he that most firmly 
believeth him : and no man knoweth the goodness of God 
so well as he that loveth him most. No man knoweth his 
power and mercy so well as he that doth most confidently 
trust him : and no man knoweth his justice and dreadful- 
ness so well as he that feareth him. No man knoweth or 
believeth the glory of heaven so well as he that most es- 
teemeth, desireth and seeketh it, and hath the most heavenly 
heart and conversation. No man believeth in Jesus Christ 
so well, as he that giveth up himself unto him, with the 
greatest love, and thankfulness, and trust, and obedience. 
As James saith, " Shew me thy faith by thy works," so say 
I, let me know the measure and value of my knowledge by 
my heart and life. That is wisdom indeed, which conform- 
eth a man to God, and saveth his soul : this only will be 
owned as wisdom to eternity, when dreaming notions will 
prove but folly. 

4. He that walketh with God hath an infallible rule, and 
taketh the right course to have the best acquaintance with 
it, and skill to use it. The doctrine that informeth him is 
divine : it is from heaven, and not of men: and therefore if 
God be wiser than man, he is able to make his disciples 
wisest; and teaching will more certainly and powerfully il- 
luminate. Many among men have pretended to infallibility. 


that never could justify their pretensions, but have confuted 
them by their own mistakes and crimes ; but none can deny 
the infallibility of God. He never yet was deceived, or did 
deceive : he erreth not, nor teacheth error. Nicodemus 
knew Christ was to be believed, when he knew that he was 
** a teacher come from God." (John iii. 2.) Christ knew 
that the Jews themselves durst not deny the truths of John's 
doctrine, if he could but convince them that it was " from 
heaven, and not of men." It is impossible for God to lie : 
it is the devil that " was a liar from the beginning,*' and is 
yet the Father of lies. No wonder if they believe lies that 
follow such a teacher : and those that follow the flesh and 
the world, do follow the devil. They that will believe what 
their fleshly interests and lusts persuade them to believe, 
do believe what the devil persuadeth them to believe ; for 
he persuadeth them by these, and for these. What marvel 
then, if there be found men in the world, that can believe 
that holiness is hypocrisy, or a needless thing ? That those 
are the worst men that are most careful to please God ! 
that the world is more worthy of their care and labour, than 
their salvation is ! that the pleasures of sin for a season are 
more desirable, than the everlasting happiness of the saints ! 
that cards and dice, and mirth and lust, and wealth and ho- 
nour, are matters more delectable than prayer, and meditat- 
ing on the word of God, and loving him, and obeying him, 
and waiting in the hopes of life eternal ! that gluttons and 
drunkards, and whoremongers, and covetous persons, may 
enter into the kingdom of God, &c. What wonder, if a 
thousand such damnable lies, are believed by the disciples of 
the father of lies ? What wonder, if there are so many saint- 
haters and God-haters in the world, as to fill the earth with 
persecutions and cruelties, or make a scorn of that which 
God most highly valueth, and all this under pretences of or- 
der, or unity, or justice, or something that is good, and 
therefore fit to palliate their sin ! Is there any thing so false, 
or foul, or wicked, that Satan will not teach his followers ? 
Is he grown modest, or moderate, or holy, or just? Is he 
reconciled to Christ, to Scripture, to godliness, or to the 
godly ? Or is his kingdom of darkness at an end ? And 
hath he lost the earth ? Or are men therefore none of the 
servants of the devil, because they were baptized (as Simon 
Magus was; and call and think themselves the servants of 


Christ ? As if still it were not the aft by which he gets and 
keeps disciples, to suffer them to wear the livery of Christ, 
and to use his name, that he may thus keep possession of 
them in peace, who else would be frighted from him, and 
fly to Christ ! He will give them leave to study arts and 
sciences, and to understand things excellent of inferior use, 
so be it they will be deceived by him in the matters of God 
and their salvation. He can allow them to be learned 
lawyers, excellent physicians, philosophers, politicians, to 
be skilful artists, so be it they will follow him in sin to their 
damnation, and will overlook the " truth that should set 
them free." (John viii. 32.) Yea he will permit them (when 
there is no remedy) to study the holy Scriptures, if he may 
but be the expounder and applier of it. Yea he will permit 
them notionally to understand it, if they will not learn by it 
to be converted, to be holy, and to be saved. He can suffer 
them to be eminent divines, so they will not be serious 
Christians. Thus is the world by the grand deceiver buried 
in darkness to perdition, being '* taken captive by him at his 
will." (2 Tim. ii. 26.) But the sanctified are all illuminated 
by th€ Holy Ghost, by whom their eyes are so effectually 
opened, that they " are turned from darkness unto light, and 
from the power of Satan unto God." (Acts xxvi. 18.) '* The 
Father of glory hath given them the Spirit of wisdom and 
revelation, in the knowledge of Christ, that the eyes of their 
understanding being enlightened, they may know what is 
the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of 
his inheritance in the saints." (Ephes. i. 17, 18.) Certainly 
that illumination of the Holy Ghost, which is so often men- 
tioned in Scripture as given to all true believers, is not a 
fancy, nor an insignificant name : and if it signify any thing, 
it signifieth somewhat that is much above the teaching of 
man. All that walk with God are taught of God ! And can 
man teach like God? God hath access unto the heart, and 
there he doth transcribe his laws, and put them into our in- 
ward parts. And they that walk with him have not only his 
word to read, but his Spirit to help them to understand it : 
and being with him, in his family (yea, he dwelleth in them, 
and they in him) he is ready at hand to resolve their doubts : 
when he gave them his fear, he gave them the " beginning 
of wisdom." (Psal. cxi. 10.) He causeth them to " incline 
their ear to wisdom ;" (Pro v. ii. 2. 6 ;) and to *' apply their 


hearts unto it ;" (Psal. xc. 12 ;) " and maketh them to know 
it in the hidden parts." (Psal. 11. 6.) 

It is his law that they have determined to make their 
rule : they live as under his authority : they are more obser- 
vant of his will and government, than of any laws or govern- 
ment of man. And as they obey man in and for the Lord, 
so they do it in subordination to him, and therefore not 
against him and his laws, which being the standard of jus- 
tice, and the rule of rulers, and of subjects both, they are in 
the safest way of unerring wisdom, who walk with God ac- 
cording to that rule ; and refuse to turn aside, though com- 
manded by man, or enticed by Satan, the world, or flesh. 

5. He that walketh with God is the most considerate 
person, and therefore hath great advantage to be wise. The 
frequent and serious thoughts of God, do awaken all the 
powers of the soul, so that drowsiness doth not hinder the un- 
derstanding, and so occasion its deceit. There is scarce a 
more common and powerful cause of men's folly and delu- 
sion and perdition, in all the world, than that sleepiness snd 
stupidity which hindereth reason from the vigorous perfor- 
liiance of its office. In this senseless case, though a man 
both know and consider of the same truths, which in their 
nature are most powerful to cleanse and govern and save his 
soul, yet sluggishness doth enervate them : he knoweth them 
as if he knew them not, and considereth them as if he never 
thought of them. They work little more upon him, than if 
he believed them not, or had never heard of them. Even as 
a dream of the greatest matters, moveth not the sleeper from 
his pillow. In this senseless state, the devil can do almost 
any thing with a sinner. He can make him sin against his 
knowledge : and when conscience hath frighted him into 
some kind of penitence, and made him cry out, * I have sin- 
ned and done foolishly,* and caused him to promise to do so 
no more ; yet doth the devil prevail with him to go on, and 
to break his promises, as if he had never been convinced of 
his sins, or confessed them, or seen any reason or necessity 
to amend : he doth but imprison the truth in unrighteous- 
ness, and bury it in a senseless heart : whereas if you could 
but awaken all the powers of his soul, to give this same truth 
its due entertainment, and take it deeper into his heart, it 
would make him even scorn the baits of sin, and see that the 
ungodly are beside themselves, and make him presently re- 


solve and set upon a holy life. And hence it m, that sick- 
ness which causeth men to receive the sentence of death, 
doth usually make men bewail their former sinful lives, and 
marvel that they could be before so sottish as to resist such 
known and weighty truths : and it makes them purpose and 
promise reformation, and wish themselves in the case of 
those that they were wont before to deride and scorn : be- 
cause now the truth is more deeply received and digested, 
by their awakened souls, and appeareth in its proper evi- 
dence and strength. There is no man but must acknowledge 
that the same truth doth at one time command his soul, 
which at another time seems of little force. It is a wonder 
to observe how differently the same consideration worketh 
with a man when he is awakened, and when he is in a se- 
cure, stupid state. 

Now this is his advantage that walks with God. He is 
much more frequently than others awakened to a serious 
apprehension of the things which he understandeth. The 
thoughts of the presence of the most holy God, will not suf- 
fer him to be secure and senseless as others are, or as he is 
himself, when he turneth aside from this heavenly conversa- 
tion. He hath in God such exceeding transcendent excel- 
lencies, such greatness, such goodness continually to behold, 
that it keepeth his soul in a much more serious, lively frame 
than any other means could keep it in : so that whenever 
any truth or duty is presented to him, all his faculties are 
awake and ready to observe and improve it. A sermon, or 
a good book, or godly conference, or a mercy, when a man 
hath been with God in prayer and contemplation, will relish 
better with him, and sink much deeper, than at another time. 
Nay one serious thought of God himself, will do more to 
make a man truly and solidly wise, than all the reading and 
learning in the world, which shuts him out. 

6. Walking with God doth fix the mind, and keep it 
from diversions and vagaries, and consequently much help- 
eth to make men wise. A straggling mind is empty and un- 
furnished. He that hath no dwelling, for the most part hath 
no wealth. Wandering is the beggar's life. Men do but 
bewilder and lose themselves, and not grow wise, whose 
thoughts are ranging in the corners of the earth, and are like 
masterless dogs, that run up and down according to their 
fancy, and may go any whither, but have business no where. 


The creature will not fix the soul ; but God is the centre of 
all our thoughts : in him only they may unite, and fix, and 
rest. He is the only loadstone that can effectually attract 
and hold it stedfast to himself. Therefore he that walks 
with God is the most constant and unmoveable of men. Let 
prosperity or adversity come ; let the world be turned up- 
side down, and the mountains be hurled into the sea, yet he 
changreth not : let men allure or threat, let them scorn or 
rage, let laws, and customs, and governments, and interest 
change, he is still the same. For he knoweth that God is 
still the same, and that his word changeth not. Let that be 
death one year, which was the way to reputation another, 
and let the giddy world turn about as the seasons of the year, 
this changeth not his mind and life (though in things lawful 
he is of a yielding temper) : for he knoweth that the interest 
of his soul doth not change with the humours or interests of 
men: he still feareth sinning, for he knoweth that judgment 
is still drawing on, in all changes and seasons whatsoever : 
he is still set upon the pleasing of the most holy God, who- 
ever be uppermost among men ; as knowing that the God 
whom he serveth is able to deliver him from man, but man 
is not able to deliver him from God. He still goeth on in 
the holy path, as knowing that heaven is as sure and as de- 
sirable as ever it was. " Surely he shall not be moved for 
ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. 
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings : his heart is fixed, 
trusting in the Lord : his heart is established, he shall not 
be afraid." (PsaL cxii. 6, 7.) 

7. He that walketh with God, hath the great master- 
truths upon his heart, which are the standard of the rest, and 
the stock, as it were, out of which they spring. The great 
truths about God, and grace, and glory, have a greater 
power than many hundred truths of an inferior nature. And 
moreover, such a one is sure that he shall be wise in the 
greatest and most necessary points. He is guilty of no ig- 
norance or error that shall keep him out of heaven, or hinder 
his acceptance with his God. And if he be wise enough to 
please God and to be saved, he is wise indeed (as before 
was hinted). 

8. Walking with God doth take off" the vizor of deluding 
things, and keepeth us out of the reach and power of those 
objects and arguments which are the instruments of deceit. 


When a man hath been believingly and seriously with God, 
how easily can he see through the sophistry of the tempting 
world ! How easily can he practically confute the reason- 
ings of the flesh, and discern the dotage of the seeming 
subtilties of wicked men, that will needs think they have 
reason for that which is displeasing to their Maker, and 
tends to the damning of their souls ! So far as a man is con- 
versant with God, so far he is sensible, that all things are 
nothing, which can be offered as a price to hire him to sin : 
and that the name of preferment, and honour, and wealth, 
or of disgrace, and imprisonment, and death, are words al- 
most of no signification, as to the tempter's ends, to draw 
the soul from God and duty. It is men that know not God, 
and know not what it is to walk with him, that think these 
words so big and powerful, to whom wealth and honour do 
signify more than God and heaven ; and poverty, disgrace 
and death, do signify more than God's displeasure and ever- 
lasting punishment in hell. As it is easy to cheat a man 
that is far from the light, so is it easy to deceive the most 
learned man that is far from God. 

9. Walking with God, doth greatly help us against the 
deceitful and erroneous disposition of our own hearts. The 
will hath a very great power upon the understanding : and 
therefore ungodly, fleshly men will very hardly receive any 
truth which crosseth the carnal interest or disposition : and 
will hardly let go any error that feedeth them ; because 
their corrupted wills are a bias to their understandings, and 
make them desperately partial in all their reading and hear- 
ing, and hypocritical in their prayers and inquiries after 
truth. Interest and corruption locketh up their hearts from 
their own observation. Whereas a man that walketh with 
God, that is jealous, and holy, and just, and a searcher of 
the heart, is driven from hypocrisy, and forced to behave 
himself as in the open light, and to do all as in the sight of 
all the world, as knowing that the sight of God is of far 
greater concernment and regard. The partiality, corruption 
!and bias of the heart, is detected and shamed by the pre- 
sence of God. Therefore to walk with God is to walk in 
|the light, and as children of the light, and not in darkness. 
And he that doth truth " cometh to the light, that his deeds 
[might be manifest, that they are wrought in God : when 
VOL. xiii. s 


every one that doth evil hateth the light ; neithei* coraeth to 
the light lest his deeds should be reproved. And this is 
their condemnation, that light is come into the world, and 
men love the darkness rather than the light, because their 
deeds are evil." (Johniii. 19 — 21.) Jt tendeth therefore ex- 
ceedingly to make men wise, to walk with God, because it 
is a walking in the light, and in such a presence as most 
powerfully prevaileth against that hypocrisy, deceitfulness 
and partiality of the heart, which is the common cause of 
damning error. 

10. Lastly, they that walk with God are entitled by many 
promises, to the guidance and direction of his Spirit. And 
blessed are those that have such a guide : at once a light in 
the world without them, and a light immediately from God 
within them. For so far as he is received and worketh in 
them, he will lead them into truth, and save them from de- 
ceit and folly, and having " guided them by his counsel, will 
afterwards take them unto glory." (Psal. lxxiii«24.) Where- 
as the ungodly are led by the flesh, and often " given up to 
their own heart's lusts, to walk in their own counsels;" 
(Rom. viii. 1. 13; Psal. Ixxxi. 12;) till at last" the fools do 
say in their hearts, there is no God ;" (Psal. xiv. 1 ;) " and 
they become corrupt and abominable, eating up the people 
of the Lord as bread, and call not on his name :" (ver. 2. &c. ;) 
" Deceiving and being deceived : sensual, having not the 
Spirit;'* (Jude 19;) "who shall receive the reward of their 
unrighteousness, as accounting it pleasure to riot in the day 
time.*' (2 Pet. ii. 13.) 

IV. Another benefit of walking with God is, that it 
maketh men good, as well as wise. It is the most excellent 
means for the advancement of man's soul to the highest de- 
gree of holiness attainable in this life. If conversing with 
good men doth powerfully tend to make men good ; con- 
versing with God must needs be more effectual ; which may 
appear in these particulars. 

1. The apprehensions of the presence and attributes of 
God, do most effectually check the stirrings of corruption, 
and rebuke all the vicious inclinations and motions of the 
soul : even the most secret sin of the heart, is rebuked by 
his presence, as well as the most open transgression of the 


life : for the thoughts of the heart are open to his view. All 
that is done before God, is done as in the open light: no- 
thing of it can be hid : no sin can have the encouragement 
of secresy to embolden it. It is all committed in the pre- 
sence of the universal King and Lawgiver of the world, who 
hath forbidden it. It is done before him that most abhorreth 
it, and will never be reconciled to it. It is done before him 
that is the Judge of the world, and will shortly pass the sen- 
tence on us according to what we have done in the body. It 
standeth up in his presence who is of infinite majesty and 
perfection, and therefore most to be reverenced and ho- 
noured : and therefore if the presence of a wise, and grave, 
and venerable person will restrain men from sin, the pre- 
sence of God apprehended seriously, will do it much more. 
It is committed before him who is our dearest friend, and 
tender Father, and chiefest Benefactor : and therefore in- 
genuity, gratitude and love will all rise up against it in those 
that walk with God. There is that in God, before the eyes 
of those that walk with him, which is most contrary to sin, 
and most powerful against it of any thing in the world. 
Every one will confess, that if men's eyes were opened to 
see the Lord in glory standing over them, it would be the 
most powerful means to restrain them from transgressing. 
The drunkard would not then venture upon his cups : the 
fornicator would have a cooling for his lusts : the swearer 
would be afraid to take his Maker's name in vain : the pro- 
fane would scarce presume to scorn or persecute a holy life. 
And he that walketh with God, though he see him not cor- 
porally, yet seeth him by faith, and liveth as in his presence ; 
and therefore must needs be restrained from sin, as having 
the means which is next to the sight of God. If pride should 
begin to stir in one that walks with God, O what a power- 
ful remedy is at hand ! How effectually would the presence 
of the great and holy God rebuke it ! and constrain us to 
say as Job xlii. 5, 6, ** I have heard of thee by the hearing 
of the ear ; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I ab- 
hor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." If worldly love, 
or carnal lust, should stir in such a one, how powerfully 
would the terrors of the Lord repress it; and his majesty 
rebuke it ; and his love and goodness overcome it ! If 
worldly cares or murmuring discontents begin to trouble 
such a one ; how effectually will the goodness, the all-suffi- 


ciency and the faithfulness of God allay them, and quiet and 
satisfy the soul, and cause it to be offended at its own of- 
fence, and to chide itself for its repinings and distrust ! If 
passion arise and begin to discompose us, how powerfully 
will the presence of God rebuke it ! and the reverence of 
his majesty, and the sense of his authority and pardoning 
grace will assuage it, and shame us into silent quietness ! 
Who dare let out his passions upon man, in the presence of 
his Maker, that apprehendeth his presence ? The same I 
might say of all other sins. 

2. The presence and attributes of God apprehended by 
those that walk with him, is the potent remedy against temp- 
tations. Who will once turn an eye to the gold and glory 
of the world, that is offered him to allure to sin, if he see 
God stand by ? Who would be tempted to lust or any sin- 
ful pleasure, if he observe the presence of the Lord ? Satan 
can never come in so ill a time with his temptations, and 
have so little hope to speed, as when the soul is contemplat- 
ing the attributes of God, or taken up in prayer with him, 
or any way apprehensive of his presence. The soul that 
faithfully walks with God, hath enough at hand in him to 
answer all temptations. And the further any man is from 
God, and the less he knoweth him, the more temptations can 
do upon him. 

3. The presence of God affordeth the most powerful mo- 
tives unto good, to those that walk with him. There is no 
grace in man, but is from God, and may find in God its pro- 
per object or incentive. As God is God, above the creature 
transcendently and infinitely in all perfections, so all the 
motives to goodness which are fetched from him, are trans- 
cendently above all that may be fetched from any creature. 
He that liveth always by the fire, or in the sunshine, is most 
like to be warm. He that is most with God, will be most 
like to God in holiness. Frequent and serious converse with 
him, doth most deeply imprint his communicable attributes 
on the heart, and make there the clearest impression of his 
image. Believers have learned by their own experience, 
that one hour's serious prayer, or meditation, in which they 
can get nigh to God in the Spirit, doth more advance their 
grace, than any help that the creature can afford them. 

4. Moreover those that walk with God, have not only a 
powerful, but an universal incentive for the actuating and 


increasing of every grace. Knowledge, and faith, and fear, 
and love, and trust, and hope, and obedience, and zeal, and 
all have in God their proper objects and incentives. One 
creature may be useful to us in one thing, and another in 
another thing ; but God is the most effectual mover of all 
his graces : and that in a holy harmony and order. Indeed 
he hath no greater motive to draw us to love him, and fear 
him, and trust him, and obey him, than himself. " It is life 
eternal to know him in his Son :" (John xvii. 3 :) and that 
is, not only because it entitleth to life eternal, but also be- 
cause it is the beginning and incentive of that life of holi- 
ness which will be eternal. 

5. Moreover, those that walk with God, have a constant 
as well as a powerful and universal incentive to exercise and 
increase their graces. Other helps may be out of the way : 
their preachers may be silenced or removed : their friends 
may be scattered or taken from them : their books may be 
forbidden, or not at hand : but God is always ready and 
willing ; they have leave at all times to come to him, and 
be welcome. Whenever they are willing they may go to him 
by prayer or contemplation, and find all in him which they 
can desire. If they want not hearts, they shall find no 
want of any thing in God. At what time soever fear would 
torment them, they may draw near and put their trust in 
him. (Psal. lvi.2— 4; xi. 1 ; xviii. 2. 30; xxxi. 1. 6.) He 
will be a sure and speedy refuge for them, a very present help 
in trouble. (Psal. xlvi. 1 ; Ixii. 7, 8 ; xci. 2. 9 ; xciv. 22.) 
Whenever coldness or lukewarmness would extinguish the 
work of grace, they may go to him, and find those streams of 
flaming love flow from him, those strong attractives, those 
wonderful mercies, those terrible judgments, of which, while 
they are musing, the fire may again wax hot within them, 
Psal. xxxix. 3. 

6. Lastly, by way of encouraging reward, God useth to 
give abundantly of his grace, to those that walk most faith- 
fully with him. He will shew most love to those that most 
love him. He will be nearest to them that most desirously 
draw nigh to him ; while he forsaketh those that forsake 
him, and turneth away from those that turn away from him. 
" The hand of our God is for good upon all them that seek 
him ; but his power and his wrath is against all them that 
forsake him." (2 Chron. xv. 2 ; Prov. i. 32 ; Ezra viii. 22.) 


Thus it is apparent in all these evidences, that walking 
with God, is not only a discovery of the goodness that men 
have, but the only way to increase their grace, and make 
them better. O what a sweet humility, and seriousness, 
and spirituality appeareth in the conference, or conversa- 
tion, or both, of those that newly come from a believing, 
close converse with God ! When they that come from men 
and books, may have but a common mind or life. And those 
that come from the business and pleasure of the world and 
flesh, and from the company of foolish, riotous gallants, may 
come defiled, as the swine out of the mire ! 

V. Lastly to walk with God, is the best preparation for 
times of suffering, and for the day of death. As we must be 
judged according to what we have done in the body ; so the 
nearer we find ourselves to judgment, the more we shall be 
constrained to judge ourselves according to what we have 
done, and shall the more perceive the effect upon our 

That this is so excellent a preparative for sufferings 
and death, will appear by the consideration of these par- 

1. They that walk with God are most safe from all des- 
tructive sufferings ; and shall have none but what are sanc- 
tified to their good. (Rom. viii. 28.) They are near to God, 
where destruction cometh not ; as the chicken under the 
wings of the hen. They walk with him that will not lead 
them to perdition : that will not neglect them, nor sell them 
for nought, nor expose them to the will of men and devils, 
though he may suffer them to be tried for their good. No 
one can take them out of his hands. Be near to him, and 
you are safe : the destroyer cannot fetch you thence. He 
can fetch you (when the time is come) from the side of your 
merriest companions, and dearest friends; from the presence 
of the greatest princes ; from the strongest tower, or most 
sumptuous palace, or from your heaps of riches, in your se- 
curest health : but he cannot take you from the arms of 
Christ, nor from under the wings of your Creator's love. 
" For there is no god like him, in heaven above, or on the 
earth beneath, who keepeth covenant and mercy with his 
servants, that walk before him with all their heart." (1 Kings 
viii. 23 ; xi. 38.) However we are used in our Father's pre- 



sence, we are sure it shall be for good in the latter end : for 
he wanteth neither power nor love to deliver us, if he saw 
deliverance to be best. 

2. Walking with God is the surest way to obtain a cer- 
tainty of his special love, and of our salvation. And what 
an excellent preparative for sufferings or death such assu- 
rance is, I need not tell any considerate believer. How easy 
may it be to us to suffer poverty, disgrace or wrongs, or the 
pains of sickness or death, when once we are certain that 
we shall not suffer the pains of hell ! How cheerfully may 
we go out of this troublesome world, and leave the greatest 
prosperity behind us, when we are sure to live in heaven for 
ever ! Even an infidel will say, that he could suffer or die, 
if he could but be certain to be glorified in heaven when he 
is dead ! 

3. Walking with God doth mortify the flesh, and all the 
affections and lusts thereof. The soul that is taken up with 
higher matters, and daily seeth things more excellent, be- 
cometh as dead to the things below : and thus it weaneth 
us from all that in the world which seemeth most desirable 
to carnal men. And when the flesh is mortified, and the 
world is nothing to us, or but as a dead or loathsome car- 
cass, what is there left to be very troublesome in any suffer- 
ing from the world? Or to make us loath by death to leave 
it? It is men that know not God, that overvalue the profits 
and honours of the world ; and men that never felt the com- 
forts of communion with God, that set too much by the plea- 
sures of the flesh : and it is men that set too much by these, 
that make so great a matter of suffering. It is he that basely 
overvalueth wealth, that whineth and repineth when he 
comes to poverty. It is he that sets too much by his ho- 
nour, and being befooled by his pride, doth greatly esteem 
the thoughts or applauding words of men, that swelleth 
against those that disesteem him, and breaketh his heart 
when he falleth into disgrace. He that is cheated out of 
his wits by the pomp and splendor of a high and prosperous 
estate, doth think he is undone when he is brought low. 
But it is not so with him that walks with God : for being 
taken up with far higher things, he knoweth the vanity of 
these. As he seeth not in them any thing that is worthy of 
his strong desires, so neither any thing that is worthy of 
much lamentation when they are gone. He never thought 


that a shadow, or feather, or a blast of wind could make him 
happy : and he cannot think that the loss of these can make 
him miserable. He that is taken up with God, hath a higher 
interest and business, and findeth not himself so much con- 
cerned in the storms or calms that are here below, as others 
are, who know no better, and never minded higher things. 

4. Walking with God doth much overcome the fear of 
man. The fear of him who can destroy both soul and body 
in hell fire, will extinguish the fear of them that can but kill 
the body. (Luke xii. 4.) The threats or frowns of a worm 
are inconsiderable to him that daily walketh with the great 
and dreadful God, and hath his power and word for his se- 
curity. As Moses ** esteemed the reproach of Christ greater 
riches than the treasures of Egypt, because he had respect 
to the recompence of reward ; so he feared not the wrath of 
the king, for he endured as seeing him that is invisible.** 
Heb. xi. 27. 

5. Walking with God doth much prepare for sufferings 
and death, in that it breedeth quietness in the conscience. 
So that when all is at peace within, it will be easy to suffer 
any thing from without. Though there is no proper merit 
in our works to comfort us, yet it is an unspeakable conso- 
lation to a slandered, persecuted man to be able to say, 
* These evil sayings are spoken falsely of me, for the sake of 
Christ : and I suffer not as an evil doer, but as a Christian.' 
And it is matter of very great peace to a man that is hasting 
unto death, to be able to say as Hezekiah, " Remember now, 
O Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a 
perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy 
sight." (2 Kings xx. 3.) And as Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. " I 
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have 
kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness," &c. And as 2 Cor. i. 12. " For our re- 
joicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in sim- 
plicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by 
the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the 
world." Such a testimony of conscience is a precious cor- 
dial to a suffering or a dying man. The time we have spent 
in a holy and heavenly conversation, will be exceedingly 
sweet in the last review, when time spent in sinful vanity, 
and idleness, and in worldly and fleshly designs, will be 
grievous and tormenting. The day is coming, and is even 


at hand, when those that are now the most hardened infidels, 
or obstinate, presumptuous sinners, or scornful, malicious 
enemies of holiness, would wish and wish a thousand times, 
that they had spent that life in a serious, obedient walking 
with God, which they spent in seeking worldly wealth, and 
laying up a treasure on earth, and feeding the inordinate 
desires of their flesh. I tell you, it is walking with God, 
that is the only way to have a sound and quiet conscience : 
and he that is healing and settling his conscience upon the 
love of God and the grace of Christ, in the time of prospe- 
rity, is making the wisest preparation for adversity : and the 
preparation thus made so long before (perhaps twenty, or 
forty, or threescore years or more) is as truly useful and com- 
fortable at a dying hour, as that part which is made imme- 
diately before. 1 know that besides this general preparation, 
there should be also a particular, special preparation for 
sufferings and death : but yet this general part is the chief- 
est and most necessary part. A man that hath walked in 
his life time with God, shall certainly be saved, though 
death surprise him unexpectedly, without any more particu- 
lar preparation. But a particular preparation without either 
such a life, or such a heart as would cause it if he had re- 
covered, is no sufficient preparation at all, and will not serve 
to any man's salvation. Alas! what a pitiful provision doth 
that man make for death and for salvation, who neglecteth 
his soul, despiseth the commands of God, and disregardeth 
the promises of eternal life, till he is ready to die, and then 
cryeth out, ' 1 repent, I am sorry for my sin, I would I had 
lived better :' and this only from the constraint of fear, 
without any such love to God and holiness which would 
make him walk with God if he should recover. What if 
the priest absolve this man from all his sins ? Doth God 
therefore absolve him? Or shall he thus be saved? No, it 
is certain that all the sacraments and absolutions in the 
world will never serve to save such a soul, without that 
grace which must make it new and truly holy. The abso- 
lution of a minister of Christ, which is pronounced in his 
name, is a very great comfort to the truly penitent : for such 
God hath first pardoned by his general act of oblivion in the 
Gospel, and it is God that sendeth his messenger to them 
(in sacraments and ministerial absolution) with that pardon 
particularised and applied by themselves. But where the 


heart is not truly penitent and converted, that person is not 
pardoned by the Gospel, as being not in the covenant, or a 
child of promise ; and therefore the pardon of a minister, 
being upon mistake, or to an unqualified person, can reach 
no further than to admit him into the esteem of men, and to 
the communion and outward privileges of the church (which 
is a poor comfort to a soul that must lie in hell) : but it can 
never admit him into the kingdom of heaven. God indeed 
may approve the act of his ministers, if they go according 
to his rule, and deal in church administrations with those 
HOLINESS, as if they had true faith and holiness : but yet 
he will not therefore make such ministerial acts effectual to 
the saving of unbelieving or unholy souls. Nay (because I 
have found many sensual, ungodly people inclining to turn 
Papists, because with them they can have a quick and easy 
pardon of their sins, by the pope, or by the absolution of the 
priest) let me tell such, that if they understand what they do, 
even this cheat is too thin to quiet their defiled consciences: 
for even the Papist's school doctors do conclude, that when 
the priest absolveth an impenitent sinner, or one that is not 
qualified for pardon, such a one is not loosed or pardoned 
in heaven. (Leg. Martini de Ripalda Exposit. Liber. Magist. 
lib. 4. dist. 18. p. 664, 655, and p. 663, 664, dist. 20. Aquin. 
dist. 20. q. 1. a. 5. Suar. Tom. 4. in 3. p. disp. 62. Greg. Va- 
lent. Tom. 4. disp. 7. q. 20. p. 6. Tolet. lib. 6. cap. 27. Na- 
var. Notab. 17. and 18. Cordub. de indulg. lib. 6. q. 23.) 
They deny not the truth of those words of Origen. Hom. 14. 
ad cap, 24. Levit. 'Exit quis a fide, perexit de castris Ec- 
clesi^r etiamsi, Episcopi voce non abjiciatur : sicut contra 
interdum fit, ut aliquis non recto judicio eorum qui prsesunt 
Ecclesiae, foras mittatur : sed si non egit ut mereretur exire, 
nihil laeditur: interdum enim quod foras mittitur,intus est; 
et qui foris est, intus videtur retineri.' And what he saith 
of excommunication, is true of absolution : an erring key 
doth neither lock out of heaven, nor let into heaven. A 
godly believer shall be saved though the priest condemn him : 
and an unbeliever or ungodly person shall be condemned by 
God, though he be absolved by the priest. 

Nay, if you have not walked with God in the Spirit, but 
walked after the flesh, though your repentance should be 
sound and true at the last, it will yet very hardly serve to 


comfort you, though it may serve to your Balvation : because 
you will very hardly get any assurance that it is sincere. It 
is dangerous lest it should prove but the effect of fear (which 
will not save) when it cometh not till death do fright you to 
it. As Augustine saith, ' NuUus expectet, quando peccare 
non potest : arbitrii enim libertatem quserit Deus, ut deleri 
possint commissa ; non necessitatem, sed charitatem, non 
tantum timorem : quia non in solo timore vivit homo.' There- 
fore the same Augustine saith, ' Siquis positus in ultima 
necessitate voluerit accipere poenitentiam, et accipit ; fateor 
vobis, non illi negamus quod petit ; sed non praesumimus 
quod bene hinc exit : si securus hinc exierit, ego nescio : 
Poenitentiam dare possumus, securitatem non possumus.* 
You see then how much it is needful to the peace of con- 
science at the hour of death, that you walk with God in the 
time of life. 

6. Moreover, to walk with God is an excellent prepara- 
tion for sufferings and death, because it tendeth to acquaint 
the soul with God, and to embolden it both to go to him in 
prayer, and to trust on him, and expect salvation from him. 
He that walketh with God is so much used to holy prayer, 
that he is a man of prayer, and is skilled in it, and hath tried 
what prayer can do with God : so that in the hour of his ex- 
tremity, he is not to seek either for a God to pray to, or a 
Mediator to intercede for him, or a Spirit of adoption to en- 
able him as a child to fly for help to his reconciled Father. 
And having not only been frequently with God, but fre- 
quently entertained and accepted by him, and had his 
prayers heard and granted, it is a great encouragement to an 
afflicted soul in the hour of distress, to go to such a God for 
help. And it is a dreadful thing when a soul is ready to go 
out of the world, to have no comfortable knowledge of God, 
or skill to pray to him, or encouragement to expect accep- 
tance with him : to think that he must presently appear be- 
fore a God whom he never knew, nor heartily loved, being 
never acquainted with that communion with him in the way 
of grace, which is the way to communion in glory ; O what 
a terrible thought is this ! But how comfortable is it when 
the soul can say, ' I know whom I have believed. The God 
that afflicteth me is he that loveth me, and hath manifested 
his love to me by his daily attractive, assisting and accept- 
ing grace. [ am going by death to see him intuitively, whom 


I have often see by the eye of faith, and to live with him in 
heaven, with whom I lived here on earth : from whom, and 
through whom, and to whom was my life ! I go not to an 
enemy, nor an utter stranger, but to that God who was the 
spring, the ruler, the guide, the strength and the comfort of 
my life ! He hath heard me so oft, that I cannot think he 
will now reject me. He hath so often comforted my soul, 
that I will not believe he will now thrust me into hell. He 
hath mercifully received me so oft, that I cannot believe he 
will now refuse me. Those that come to him in the way of 
grace, I have found he will in no wise cast out.* As strange- 
ness to God doth fill the soul with distrustful fears, so walk- 
ing with him doth breed that humble confidence, which is a 
wonderful comfort in the hour of distress, and a happy pre- 
paration to sufferings and death. 

7, Lastly, to walk with God, doth increase the love of 
God in the soul, which is the heavenly tincture, and inclin- 
eth it to look upward, and being weary of a sinful flesh and 
world, to desire to be perfected with God. How happy a 
preparation for death is this, when it is but the passage to 
that God with whom we desire to be, and to that place where 
we fain would dwell for ever ! To love the state and place • 
that we are going to, being made connatural and suitable 
thereto, will much overcome the fears of death. But for a 
soul that is acquainted with nothing but this life, and sa- 
voureth nothing but earth and flesh, and hath no connatu- 
rality with the things above, for such a soul to be surprised 
with the tidings of death, alas ! how dreadful must it be. 

And thus I have shewed you the benefits that come by 
walking with God, which if you love yourselves with a ra- 
tional love, methinks should resolve every impartial, consi- 
derate reader, to give up himself without delay, to so desir- 
able a course of life. Or, if he have begun it, to follow it more 
cheerfully and faithfully than he had done. 


I am next to shew you that believers have special obliga- 
tions to this holy course of life, and therefore are doubly 
faulty if they neglect it ; though indeed, to neglect it totally, 
or in the main drift of their lives, is a thing inconsistent 
with a living faith. 

Consider, 1. If you are true Christians, your relations 



engage you to walk with God. Is he not your reconciled 
Father, and you his children in a special sense 7 And whom 
should children dwell with, but with their Father ? You 
were glad when he received you into his covenant that he 
would enter into so near a relation to you, as he expresseth, 
(2 Cor. vi. 17, 18.) " I will receive you, and will be a Father 
to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the 
Lord Almighty." And do you draw back, as if you re- 
pented of your covenant ; and were not only weary of the 
duty, but of the privileges and benefits of your relation ? 
You may have access to God when others are shut out : 
your prayers may be heard, when the prayers of the wicked 
are abominable : you may be welcome, when the worldlings, 
and ambitious, and carnal are despised. He that dwelleth 
in the highest heaven, is willing to look to you with respect, 
and " dwell with you, when he beholdeth the proud afar off." 
(Isa. Ixvi. 1, 2 ; Ivii. 15, 16.) And yet will you not come 
that may be welcome? Doth he put such a difference be- 
tween you and others, as to feed you as children at his ta- 
ble, while others are called dogs, and are without the doors, 
and have but your crumbs and leavings ? And yet will you 
be so foolish and unthankful, as to run out of your Father's 
presence, and choose to be without among the dogs ? How 
came your Fathers presence to be so grievous to you ? and 
the privileges of his family to seem so vile ? Is it not some 
unchildlike carriage ? the guilt of some disobedience or con- 
tempt that hath first caused this ? Or have you fallen again 
in love with fleshly pleasures, and some vanity of the world ? 
Or have you liad enough of God and godliness, till you be- 
gin to grow aweajy of him? If so, you never truly knew 
him. However it be, if you grow as indifferent to God, do 
not wonder if shortly you find him set as light by you. And 
believe it, the day is not far off, in which the Fatherly rela- 
tion of God, and the privileges of children, will be more es- 
teemed by you : when all things else forsake you in your 
last distress, you will be loath that God should then forsake 
you, or seem as a stranger to hide his face. Then you will 
cry out, as the afflicted church, '* Look down from heaven, 
and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy 
glory. Where is thy zeal and thy strength? the sounding 
of thy bowels, and of thy mercies towards me ? are they 
restrained? Doubtless thou art our Father: though Abra- 


ham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not, thou, 
O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer, thy name is from 
everlasting." (Isa. Ixiii. 15, 16.) Nothing but God, and his 
Fatherly relation will then support you. Attend him there- 
fore, and with reverent, obedient cheerfulness and delight, 
converse with him as with your dearest Father. For since 
the beginning of the world, men have not known by sensi- 
ble evidence, either of the ear or the eye, ** besides God him- 
self, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." 
Isa. Ixiv. 4. Though he be " wroth with us because we have 
sinned, yet doth he meet him that rejoiceth and worketh 
righteousness, that remembereth him in his ways." (Ver. 5.) 
Say not, I have played abroad so long that I dare not now 
go home : I have sinned so greatly, that I dare not speak to 
him, or look him in the face. Come yet but with a penitent, 
returning heart, and thou mayest be accepted through the 
Prince of Peace. Prodigals find better entertainment than 
they did expect, when once they do but resolve for home. If 
he allow us to begin with " Our Father which art in heaven," 
we may boldly proceed to ask forgiveness of our trespasses, 
and whatever else is truly good for us. But, alas, as our iniqui- 
ties seduce us away from God, so the guilt of them afFright- 
€th some from returning to him, and the love of them cor- 
rupteth the hearts of others, and makes them fcoo indifferent as 
to their communion with him ; so that too many of his children 
live as if they did not know their Father, or had forgotten 
him. We may say as Isa. Ixiv. 6 — 9. " But we are all as an 
unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, 
and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind 
have taken us away : and there is none that calleth upon 
thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee ; for 
thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us be- 
cause of our iniquities : but now, O Lord, thou art our Fa- 
ther ; we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we are all 
the work of thy hand. Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, 
neither remember iniquity for ever. Behold, see, we beseech 
thee, we are all thy people." O do not provoke your Fa- 
ther to disown you, or to withdraw his help, or hide his face, 
or to send the rod to call you home ! for if you do, you will 
wish you had known the privileges of his presence, and had 
kept nearer to him ! Be not so unnatural, so unthankful. 


SO unkind, as to be weary of your Father's presence, (and 
such a Father's too) and to take more delight in any others. 

Moreover you are related to God in Christ, as a wife 
unto a husband, as to covenant union, and nearness and 
dearness of affection, and as to his tender care of you for 
your good : and is it seemly, is it wisely or gratefully done 
of you, to desire rather the company of others, and delight 
in creatures more than him ? (Isa. liv. 5, 6.) How affec- 
tionately doth thy Maker call himself the Husband of his 
people ! And can thy heart commit adultery, and forsake 
him? "My covenant they brake, though I was an Hus- 
band to them, saith the Lord.'' (Jer. xxxi. 32.) O put not 
God to exercise his jealousy. It is one of his terrible attri- 
butes, to be " a jealous God." And can he be otherwise to 
thee, when thou lovest not his converse or company, and 
carest not how long thou art from him in the world ? Woe 
to thee if he once say as Hos. ii. 2. " She is not my wife, 
neither am I her husband." 

Nay, more than this, if you are Christians, you are 
members of the body of Christ ; and therefore how can you 
withdraw yourselves from him, and not feel the pain and 
torment of so sore a wound or dislocation ? You cannot live 
without a constant dependance on him, and communication 
from him : **I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Hus- 
bandman : abide in me, and I in you. 1 am the Vine, ye 

are the branches ; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the 
same bringeth forth much fruit ; for without me, ye can do 

nothing. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, 

ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you/* 
(John XV. 1. 4, 5.) 

So near are you to Christ, that he delighteth to acquaint 
you with his secrets: O how many mysteries doth he re- 
veal to those that walk with him, which carnal strangers 
never know! mysteries of wisdom ! mysteries of love and 
saving grace ! mysteries of Scripture, and mysteries of Pro- 
vidence ! mysteries felt by inward experience, and mysteries 
revealed, foreseen by faith! Not only the strangers that 
pass by the doors, but even the common servants of the 
family, are unacquainted with the secret operations of the 
Spirit, and entertainments of grace, and joy in believing, 
which those that walk with God either do or may possess. 
Therefore Christ calleth you friends, as being more than ser- 


vants. *' Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command 
you : henceforth I call you not servants ; for the servant 
knoweth not what his Lord doth : but I call you friends ; 
for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made 
known unto you." (John xv. 14, 15.) It is true, for all this, 
that every true Christian hath reason (and is apt) to com- 
plain of his darkness and distance from God. Alas! they 
know so little of him, and of the mysteries of his love and 
kingdom, that sometimes they are apt to think that they are 
indeed but utter strangers to him ; but this is, because there 
is infinitely more still unknown to them than they know ! 
What ! can the silly shallow creature comprehend his infi- 
nite Creator? or shall we know all that is to be known in 
heaven, before we enjoy all that is to be enjoyed in heaven? 
It is no more wonder to hear a believer pant and mourn af- 
ter a fuller knowledge of God, and nearer access to him, 
than to seek after heaven, where this will be his happiness. 
But yet, though his knowledge of God be small, compared 
with his ignorance, that little knowledge of God which he 
hath attained, is more mysterious, sublime and excellent, 
than all the learning of the greatest unsanctified scholars in 
the world. Walk with him according to the nearness of 
your relations to him, and you shall have this excellent 
knowledge of his mysteries, which no books or teachers 
alone can give. You shall be effectually touched at the 
heart with the truths which others do uneffectually hear : 
you shall be powerfully moved, when they are but uneffec- 
tually exhorted. When they only hear the voice without 
them, you shall hear the voice within you, and as it were 
behind you, saying. This is the way, walk in it. O that you 
could duly value such a friend, to watch over you, and for 
you, and dwell in you, and tell you faithfully of every dan- 
ger, and of every duty, and teach you to know good and 
evil, and what to choose, and what to refuse ! how closely 
and delightfully would you converse with such a blessed 
friend, if you rightly valued him ! 

2. Moreover, you that are the servants of God, have by 
your covenant and profession, renounced and forsaken all 
things else (as they stand in any opposition to him, or com- 
petition with him) and have resigned yourselves wholly un- 
to him alone ; and therefore with him must you converse, 
and be employed, unless you will forsake your covenant. 



You knew first that it was your interest to forsake the 
world and to turn to God ; you knew the world would not 
serve your turn, nor be instead of God to you, either in life, 
or at death; and upon this knowledge it was that you 
changed your master, and changed your minds, and changed 
your way, your work, your hopes. And do you dream now 
that you were mistaken? Do you begin to think that the 
world is fitter to be your God or happiness ? if not, you 
must still confess that both your interest and your covenant 
do oblige you to turn your hearts and minds from the things 
which you havfe renounced, and to walk with him that you 
have taken for your God, and to obey him whom you have 
taken for your King and Judge, and to keep close to him 
with purest love, whom you have taken for your everlasting 
portion. Mark what you are minding all the day, while 
you are neglecting God ; is it not something that you have 
renounced? and did not you renounce it upon sufficient 
cause ? was it not a work of your most serious deliberation? 
and of as great wisdom, as any that ever you performed ? if 
it were, turn not back in your hearts again from God unto the 
renounced creature. You have had many a lightning from 
heaven into your understandings, to bring you to see the 
difference between them ; you have had many a teaching, 
and many a warning, and many a striving of the Spirit, be- 
fore you were prevailed with to renounce the world, the 
flesh and the devil, and to give up yourself entirely and ab- 
solutely to God. Nay, did it not cost you the smart of 
some afflictions, before you would be made so wise ? and 
did it not cost you many a gripe of conscience, and many a 
terrible thought of hell, and of the wrath of God, before you 
would be heartily engaged to him, in his covenant ? And 
will you now live as strangely and neglectfully towards him, 
as if those days were quite forgotten ? and as if you had 
never felt such things ? and as if you had never been so 
convinced, or resolved ? O Christians, take heed of forget- 
ting your former case ! your former thoughts ! your former 
convictions, and complaints, and covenants ! God did not 
work all that upon your hearts to be forgotten ; he intended 
not only your present change, but your after remembrance 
of it, for your close adhering to him while you live ; and for 
your quickening and constant perseverance to the end. The 

VOL. XIII. * T ' 


forgetting of their former miseries, aird the workings of God 
upon their hearts in their conversion,, is a great cause of 
mutability and revolting, and of unspeakable hurt to many 
a soul. 

Nay, may you not remember also what sorrow you had 
in the day of your repentance, for your forsaking and neg- 
lecting God so long ? And will you grow again neglective 
of him? Was it then so heinous a sin in your eyes? and is 
it now grown less ? Could you then aggravate it so many 
ways (and justly), and now do you justify or extenuate it? 
Were you then ready to sink under the burden of it? and 
were so hardly persuaded that it would be forgiven you? 
and now do you make so small a matter of it? Did you 
then so much wonder at your folly, that could so long let 
out your thoughts and affections upon the creature, while 
you neglected God and heaven ? and do you begin to look 
that way again ? Do you now grow familiar with a life so 
like to that which was once your state of death ? and bear 
that easily that once was the breaking of your heart? O 
Christians, turn not away from that God again, who once 
fetched you home, with so much smart and so much grace ! 
with such a twist of love and fatherly severity ! Methinks 
when you remember how you were once awakened, you 
should not easily fall asleep again. And when you remem- 
ber the thoughts which then were in your hearts, and the 
tears that were in your eyes, and the earnest prayers \Vhich 
you then put up, that God would receive, and take you for 
his own, you should not now forget him, and live as if you 
could live without him. Remember that so far as you with- 
draw your hearts from God, and let them follow inferior 
things, so far you contradict his works upon your hearts ? 
so far you violate your covenant with him, or sin against 
it ; so far you are revolters, and go against the principal 
part of your professed religion ; yea, so far you are ungodly 
as you thus withdraw your hearts from God. Cleave to 
him, and prosecute your covenant, if you will have the 
saving benefits of his love and covenant. 

3. Moreover, the servants of God are doubly obliged to 
walk with him, because they have had that experience of 
goodness, the safety and sweetness of it, which strangers 
have not. Do you not remember how glad you were, when 



you first believed that he pardoned and accepted you? and 
how much you rejoiced in his love and entertainment? and 
how much better you found your Fatheji-s house, than ever 
you had found your sinful state? and how much sweeter his 
service was, than you did before believe? It is like you can 
remember something like that which is described in Luke xv. 
20. 22 — 24, " And he arose and came to his father ; but 
when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and 
had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed 
him : and the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned 
against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to 
be called thy son. But the father said to his servants. Bring 
forth the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his 
hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring hither the fatted calf, 
and kill it, and let us eat and be merry ; for this my son was 
dead, and is alive again, he was lost, and is found." What 
would you bave thought or said of this prodigal, if after all 
this, he should have been weary of his father's house and 
company, and have taken more pleasure in his former com- 
pany? Would you not have said. He was a forgetful and 
unthankful wretch, and worthy never more to be received ? 
I do not speak to you now as to apostates, that are turned 
ungodly, and have quite forsaken God and holiness ; but I 
beseech you consider what it is, after such experiences and 
obligations as these, so much as to abate your love, and 
grow remiss, and mindless, and indifferent, as if you were 
weary of God, and were inclined to neglect him, and look 
again to the >yorld for your hope, and satisfaction, and de- 
light ! As you love your souls, and as you would avoid the 
sorrows which are greater than any that ever you felt, take 
heed of slighting the love that hath done such wonders for 
you, and of dealing so unthankfuUy with the everlasting 
God, and of turning thus away from him that hath received 
you ! Remember, whilst you live, the love of your espousals. 
Was God so good to you at first, and holiness so desirable? 
and is it not so still ? 

And I am sure that your own experience will bear wit- 
ness, that since that time, in all your lives, it never was so 
well with you as when you walked most faithfully with 
God. If you have received any falls and hurts, it hath been 
when you have straggled from him; if ever you had safety, 
peace or joy, it hath been when you have been nearest to 


him ; your wounds, and grief, and death, hath been the fruit 
of your own ways, and of your forsaking him: your re- 
covery, and health, and life, have been the fruit of his ways, 
and of your adhering to him : many and many a time you 
have confessed this, and have said, It is good for me to 
draw near to God. He hath helped you when none else 
could help you ; and comforted you when none else could 
comfort you. How far are you above the worldling's happi- 
ness, when you are nigh to God ! One lively thought of his 
greatness, and excellency, and of his love to you in Jesus 
Christ, will make the name of wealth, and honour, and fa- 
vour, and preferment, and sensual pleasures, to seem to you 
as words of no signification. How indifferent will you be, 
as to your prosperity in the world, when you feel what it is 
to walk with God ! If you are lively, experimental Chris- 
tians, you have found this to be true : have you not found 
that it is the very health and ease, and proper employment 
of your souls to walk with God, and keep close to him ? 
and that all goes well with you while you can do thus, how- 
ever the world doth esteem or use you? and that when you 
grow strange or disobedient to God, and mindless of his 
goodness, his presence and his authority, you are like the 
stomach that is sick, and like a bone that is out of joint, 
that can have no ease till it be healed, and restored to its 
proper place ? No meats or drinks, no company nor recre- 
ation, no wealth or greatness will serve to make a sick man 
well, or ease the dislocated bones. Nothing will serve a 
faithful, holy soul but God ; this is the cause of the dolour 
of his heart, and of the secret groans and complainings of 
his life, because in this life of distance and imperfection, he 
finds himself so far from God j and when he hath done all 
that he can, he is still so dark, and strange, and cold in his 
affections ! When persecution driveth him from the ordi- 
nances and public worship, or when sin hath set him at a 
greater distance from his God, he bemoaneth his soul, as 
David in his banishment from the tabernacle : " As the hart 
panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after 
thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living 
God ; when shall I come and appear before God ? My tears 
have been my meat day and night, while they continually 
say unto me. Where is thy God?" (Psal. xlii. 1, 2, &c.) 
And it is no wonder, if with his greatest joy, he be yet 


clouded with these sorrows, because he yet wanteth more of 
God than he enjoyeth; and his enjoying graces (love and 
joy) are yet imperfect. But when he hath attained his 
nearest approach to God, he will have fulness of delight in 
fulness of fruition. 

O Christians ! do I need to tell you, that after all the 
trials you have made in the world, you have never found 
any state of life that was worthy your desires, nor that gave 
you any true content, but only this living upon God? If 
you have not found such comfort here as others have done, 
yet at least you have seen it afar off, within your reach ; as 
men that in the Indies, in the discovery of plantations, ex- 
pect gold mines, when they find those golden sands that 
promise it. You have found a life which is certainly de- 
sirable, and leadeth to joy in the midst of sorrow ; and it is 
no small joy to have a certain promise and prospect of 
everlasting joy. It is therefore more excusable in those 
that never tasted any better than the pleasures of the flesh, 
to neglect this sweeter heavenly life, than it is in you, that 
have been convinced by your own experience, that there is 
no life to be compared with it. 

4. Your walking with God is the necessary prosecution 
of your choice and hopes of life eternal. It is your neces- 
sary preparation to your enjoying him in heaven. And 
have you fixed on those hopes with so great reason and de- 
liberation, and will you now draw back and be slack in the 
prosecution of them? Have you gone so far in the way to 
heaven, and do you now begin to look behind you, as if 
you were about to change your mind ? Paul setteth you a 
better example : " Yea doubtless, I account all things but 
loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, 
my Lord ; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, 
and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be 
found in him If by any means I might attain to the re- 
surrection of the dead ; not as though I had already attain- 
ed, either were already perfect ; but I follow after, if that 1 
may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of 
Christ Jesus : brethren, I count not myself to have appre- 
hended, but thia one thing I do, forgetting those things 
which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things 
which are before, 1 press towards the mark for the prize of 
the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. iii. 8 — 13.) 


He compareth himself to a runner in a race, that till he ap- 
prehend the prize or mark, doth still make forward with all 
his might, and will not so much as mind or look at any 
thing behind him, that would turn him back, or stop him in 
his course. The world and the flesh are the things behind 
us : we turned our backs upon them at our conversion, 
when we turned to God : it is these that would now call 
back our thoughts, and corrupt our affections, when we 
should run on, and reach forward to the heavenly prize : it 
is God and heaven, and the remaining duties of a holy life, 
that are the things before us ! And shall we now look back? 
what we, that are running and striving for a crown of end- 
less glory ! we, that if we lose it, do lose our souls and 
hopes for ever ! we, that have loitered in the morning of our 
lives, and lost so much precious time as we have done ! we, 
that have gone so far in our way, and held out through so 
many difficulties and assaults! shall we now grow weary of 
walking with God, and begin to look to the things behind 
us ? Did he not tell ns at the first, that father and mother, 
and house and land, and life, and all things must be for- 
saken for Christ, if we will be his disciples ? These are the 
things behind us, which we turned our back on when we 
consented to the covenant; and are they now grown better? 
or is God grown worse, that we turn our hearts from him to 
them ? When we first begun our Christian race, it was upon 
supposition that it was for that immortal crown, which all 
the world is not to be compared to : and have we not still 
the same consideration before us, to move us to hold on till 
we attain it? Hold on Christians, it is for heaven ; is there 
not enough in that word to drive back all the cares and 
pleasures, that importune your minds to forget your God? 
is there not enough in that word to quicken you up in your 
greatest dullness? and to call you home, when you are 
wandering from God ; and to make you again fall out with 
all that would reduce you, or divert you, and call it vanity 
and vexation of spirit ? Methinks the forethought of that 
life and work which you hope to have with God for ever, 
should make you earnestly desire to have as much of the 
like on earth, as is here to be attained ! If it will be your 
heaven and happiness then, it must needs be desirable now. 
It is not beseeming a man that saith he is seeking for per- 
fect communion with God in heaven, and that above all 


things, (as every Christian doth) to live in a daily neglect or 
forgetfulness of God on earth. Delightfully to draw near 
him, and exercise all our faculties upon him, or for him, 
sometimes in prayer and contemplation on himself, and al- 
ways in works of obedience to him ; this is the life that be- 
seemeth those that profess to seek eternal life. O therefore 
let us make it our daily work, to keep our God and glory 
in our eye, and to spur on our dull affections, and in the 
diligent attendance and following the Captain of our salva- 
tion, to prosecute our expected end. .» 
5. Lastly consider, that God doth purposely provide 
you hard entertainment in the world, and cause every crea- 
ture to deny you the pleasure and satisfaction which you 
desire, that so you may have none to walk with but himself, 
with any heart-settling comfort and content. If you see 
not enough in him to allure you to himself, you shall feel 
enough in the world to drive you to him : if his love and 
goodness will not serve you alone to make him your plea- 
sure, and hold you to him in the best, and most excellent 
way (of love), at least the storms and troubles that are 
abroad shall show you a necessity of keeping close to God ; 
and the love of yourselves shall help you to do that, which 
was not done by the attraction of his love alone. If you 
will put him to it, to send out his command to every crea- 
ture, to cross and vex you, and disappoint all expectations 
from it, that so he may force you to remember your Father 
and your home, deny not then but it is Ibng of yourselves 
that you were not saved in an easy way- Would you wish 
God to make that condition pleasant to you, which he seeth 
you take too much pleasure in already (or seek and desire 
it, at least) ? when as it is the pleasantness of the creature 
that is your danger, and which detaineth your thoughts and 
affections from himself? If you could but learn to walk 
with him, and to take up your pleasure in his love appearing 
to you in his creatures, and to make their sweetness a 
means to your apprehension of the sweetness of his favour, 
and of the everlasting joys, then you might say the crea- 
ture doth you good ; and then it is like you might be per- 
mitted to possess and use it for such pleasure. The jealous 
God will watch your hearts, though you watch them not ; 
and he will make you know that he seeth which way they 
run out from him, and what creature it is that is minded and 


delighted in, while he is neglected, as if he were unsuitable, 
and scarce desirable. And you must never look that he 
should long permit you those prohibited delights, or let you 
alone in those idolatrous inclinations. If he love you, he 
will cure that carnal love, and recover your love to himself 
that hath deserved it. If he intended not your salvation, 
he may let you go, and try again whether the creature will 
prove better to you than himself; but you cannot think that 
he will thus let go his children that must live with him for 
ever. Have you not perceived that this is the design and 
meaning of his afflicting and disappointing providences ? 
even to leave you no comfortable entertainment or converse 
but with himself, and with his servants, and with those 
means that lead you to himself? If you begin to desire to 
lodge abroad in strange habitations, he will uncover those 
houses, and will not leave you a room that is dry to put 
your head in; or he will throw open the doors, and leave 
all open to the lust of ravenous beasts and robbers. He will 
have thy heart, and he will have thy company, because thou 
art his child, and because he loveth thee. He will allow 
thee neither thy carnal delights nor hopes. If he perceive 
thee either taking that pleasure in thy prosperity, which 
thou shouldest take in him alone, or hoping at least that 
the world may hereafter prove more amiable and delightful 
to thee ; the more he loveth thee, the more his providence 
shall conspire with his grace, to change thy mind, by de- 
priving thee of thy unwholesome, dangerous delights, and 
of all thy hopes of such hereafter. Use the world as a tra- 
veller, for the ends to which it was ordained, to the service 
of God, and the furtherance of thy salvation, and then thou 
shalt find that God will furnish thee with all that is neces- 
sary to these necessary ends : but if the world must have 
your love and care, and must be your chiefest business and 
delight, and your excuse for not attending upon God, mur- 
mur not, nor marvel not, if he dispose of it and you accord- 
ingly. If you are yet too healthful to think with seriousness 
on your eternal state; if you are too rich to part with all for 
Christ, or openly to own his cause ; if you are too much 
esteemed in the world to own a scorned, slandered religion ; 
if you are so busy for earth, that you cannot have time to 
think of heaven ; if you have so much delight in house or 
land, or in your employment, or recreations, or friends, that 


God and godliness can have little or none of your delight : 
marvel not then if God do shake your health, or waste your 
riches, or turn your honour into contempt, and suffer men 
to slander and reproach you, and spit in your face, and 
make you of no reputation : marvel not if he turn you out 
of all, or turn all to your grief and trouble, and make the 
world a desert to you, and the inhabitants as wolves and 
bears. The great lesson that Christ hath undertaken to 
teach you, is the difference betwixt the Creator and the 
creature, and the difference betwixt heaven and earth. The 
great work that Christ hath undertaken to do upon you, is 
to recover your hearts from the world to God : and this les- 
son he will teach you, and this work he will do upon you, 
whatever it cost you : for it must be done. Yet is not the 
world unjust enough, or cruel, or vexatious enough to you, 
to teach you to come home, and take up your content and 
rest in God ? It may then prove more cruel, and more vexa- 
tious to you, till you have better learned this necessary les- 
son. Yet is not your condition empty enough of carnal 
delusory pleasures, to wean you from the world, and make 
you look to surer things? Yet are you keeping up your 
worldly hopes, that the world will again prove better to you, 
and that you shall have happy days hereafter? It seems you 
are not yet brought low enough : you must yet take another 
purge, and perhaps a sharper than you took before : you 
must have more bloodletting, till your deliration cease, and 
your feverish thirst after creature comforts do abate. It is 
sad that we should be so foolish and unkind, as to stay from 
God, as long as any preferments, or pleasures, or profits in 
the world, will entertain us : but seeing it is so, let us be 
thankful both to that grace and that Providence which 
cureth us. If you perceive it not better to dwell with God, 
than with a flattering, prospering world, he will try whether 
you can think it better to dwell with God, than with a ma- 
licious, cruel, persecuting world : and whether it be better 
to have your hearts in heaven, than in poverty, prison, 
banishment or reproach. If you find it not better to con- 
verse with God, than with those that honour you, j)lease 
you, or prefer you ; he will try whether you can think it 
better to converse with him, than with those that hate, re- 
vile, belie, and persecute you. And are these the wise and 
wholesome methods of our great Physician ? And shall we 


not rather be ruled by him, than by our brutish appetites ? 
and think better of his counsels, than of the blind concu- 
piscence of the flesh ? Let this be the issue of all our suffer- 
ings, and all the cruelties and injuries of the world, to drive 
us home to converse with God, and to turn our desires, and 
labours, and expectations, to the true felicity that never will 
forsake us ; and then, the will of the Lord be done ! Let 
him choose his means, if this may be the end : let us kiss 
the rod, and not revile it, if this may be the fruit of his cor- 
rections. Who will not pray that God would deny us those 
contents, which keep ua from seeking our content in him? 
And that he would deny us all those hurtful pleasures 
which hinder us from pleasing him, or from making him 
and his ways our chiefest pleasure ? and that he would per- 
mit us no such creature-converse, as hindereth our converse 
with him ? It is best living there (be it in prison or at liberty) 
where we may live best to God* Come home, O suffering 
Christian, to thy God ! take up thy content and rest in 
him ; be satisfied with him as thy portion ; and remember 
where it is that he is to be fully and perpetually enjoyed ; 
and then it is good for thee that thou wast afflicted ; for all 
thy sufferings have their end. 

This last consideration will be further prosecuted in the 
following part ; and the Directions for Walking with God, 
which I shall here give you, I have reserved for a peculiar 
Treatise, entitled, " A Christian Directory." 









JOHN xvi. 32. 

Behold the hour comet h, yea, is come, that ye shall be scattered 
every man to his own, and shall leave me alone. And yet I 
am not alone, because the Father is with me. 

Having treated of our conformity to Christ in sufferings, 
in general, I since came distinctly to treat of his particular 
sufferings in which we must be conformed to him : and having 
gone over many of those particulars, I am this day to handle 
the instance of * Christ's being forsaken by his friends and 

He thought meet to foretell them how they should mani-r 
fest their infirmity and untrustiness in this temporary for- 
saking of him, that so he might more fully convince them, 
that he knew what was in man, and that he knew future con- 
tingencies, (or things to come, which seem most dependant 
on the will of man) and that he voluntarily submitted to his 
deserted state, and expected no support from creatures, but 
that man should then do least for Christ, when Christ was 
doing most for man : that man by an unthankful forsaking 
Christ, should then manifest his forsaken, deplorate state, 
when Christ was to make atonement for his reconciliation 
to God, and was preparing the most costly remedy for his 
recovery. He foretold them of the fruit which their infir- 
mity would produce, to humble them that were apt to think 


too highly of themselves for the late free confession they had 
made of Christ, when they had newly said, " Now we are 
sure that thou knowest all things : by this we are sure that 
thou comest forth from God." (John xvi. 30.) 

He answereth them. " Do ye now believe ? Behold the 
hour Cometh," &c. Not that Christ would not have his ser- 
vants know his graces in them, but he would also have them 
know the corruption that is latent, and the infirmity consis- 
tent with their grace. We are very apt to judge of all that 
is in us, and of all that we shall do hereafter, by what we feel 
at the present upon our hearts. As when we feel the stirring 
of some corruption, we are apt to think that there is nothing 
else, and hardly perceive the contrary grace, and are apt to 
think it will never be better with us ; so when we feel the 
exercise of faith, desire or love, we are apt to overlook the 
contrary corruptions, and to think that we shall never feel 
more. But Christ would keep us both humble and vigilant, 
by acquainting us with the mutability and inconstancy 
of our minds. When it goes well with us, we forget that 
the time is coming when it may go worse. As Christ said 
to his disciples here in the case of believing, we may say to 
ourselves in that and other cases, 'Do we now believe?* It 
is well : but the time may be coming in which we may be 
brought to shake with the stirrings of our remaining unbe- 
lief, and shrewdly tempted to question the truth of Christi- 
anity itself, and of the holy Scriptures, and of the life to 
come. Do we now rejoice in the persuasions of the love of 
God ? The time may be coming when we may think our- 
selves forsaken and undone, and think he will esteem and 
use us as his enemies. Do we now pray with fervour, and 
pour out our souls enlargedly to God ? It is well ; but the 
time may be coming when we shall seem to be as dumb and 
prayerless, and say, we cannot pray, or else we find no au- 
dience and acceptance of our prayers. Christ knoweth that 
in us which we little know by ourselves ; and therefore may 
foreknow that we will commit such sins, or fall into such 
dangers, as we little fear. 

What Christ here prophesieth to them, did afterwards 
all come to pass. As soon as ever danger and trouble did 
appear, they began to flag, and to shew how ill they could 
adhere unto him, or suffer with him, without his special cor- 
roborating grace. In the garden when he was sweating 


blood in prayer, they were sleeping : ** Though the spirit 
was willing, the flesh was weak :" they could not " watch 
with him one hour." (Matt. xxvi. 40, 41.) When he was 
apprehended, they shifted each man for himself, "Then all 
the disciples forsook him and fled :" (ver. 56 :) and as this 
is said to be " that the Scriptures might be fulfilled," (ver. 
54. 56,) so it might be said to be, that this prediction of 
Christ himself might be fulfilled. Not that Scripture pro- 
phecies did cause the sin by which they were fulfilled ; nor 
that God caused the sin, to fulfil his own predictions, but 
that God cannot be deceived who foretold in Scriptures long 
before that thus it would come to pass. When it is said 
that " thus it must be that the Scripture might be fulfilled," 
the meaning is not, that ' thus God will make it be,' or * thus 
he causeth men to do,' that he may fulfil the Scriptures. It 
is not * necessitas consequentis vel causata/ that is inferred 
from predictions ; but only ' necessitas consequentisB 5' a 
logical necessity * in ordine cognoscendi et dicendi ;' not a 
natural necessity ' in ordine essendi :' not a necessity of the 
thing itself, as caused by the prediction or decree ; but a 
necessity of the truth of this conclusion in arguing; 'such 
a thing will be, because God hath decreed, foreknown or 
foretold it :' or, * whatever God foretelleth, must necessarily 
come to pass ;' that is, will certainly come to pass : * but 
this God hath foretold : therefore this will come to pass.* 
Here are three observable points in the text, that are 
worthy our distinct consideration, though for brevity sake I 
shall handle them together. 

1. That Christ was forsaken by his own disciples and 
left alone. 

2. When the disciples left Christ, they were scattered 
every one to his own. They returned to their old habita- 
tions, and old acquaintance, and old employment, as if their 
hopes and hearts had been almost broken, and they had lost 
all their labour in following Christ so long. Yet the root 
of faith and love that still remained, caused them to inquire 
further of the end, and to come together in secret to confer 
about these matters. 

3. When Christ was forsaken of his disciples and left 
alone, yet was he not forsaken of his Father, nor left so alone 
as to be separated from him or his love. 

We are now to consider of this not only as a part of 


Christ's humiliation, but also as a point in which we must 
expect to be conformed to him. It may possibly seem 
strange to us that Christ would suffer all his disciples to 
forsake him in his extremity ; and I doubt it will seem 
strange to us, when in our extremity, and our suffering 
for Christ (and perhaps for them) we shall find ourselves 
forsaken by those that we most highly valued, and had the 
greatest familiarity with. But there are many reasons of 
this permissive providence open to our observation. 

1. No wonder, if when Christ was suffering for sin, he 
would even then permit the power and odiousness of sin to 
break forth, that it might be known he suffered not in vain. 
No wonder, if he permitted his followers to desert him, and 
shew the latent unbelief, and selfishness, and unthankful- 
ness that remained in them, that so they might know that 
the death of Christ was as necessary for them as for others ; 
and the universality of the disease might shew the need that 
the remedy should be universal. And it is none of Christ's 
intent to make his servants to seem better than they are, to 
themselves, or others, or to honour himself by the hiding of 
their faults, but to magnify his pardoning and healing grace, 
by the means or occasion of their sins which he pardoneth 
and healeth. 

2. Hereby he will bring his followers to the fuller know- 
ledge of themselves, and shew them that which all their days 
should keep them humble, and watchful, and save them from 
presumption and trusting in themselves. When we have 
made any full confession of Christ, or done him any consi- 
derable service, we are apt to say with the disciples, " Be- 
hold we have forsaken all and followed thee : what shall we 
have V (Matt. xix. 27.) As if they had rather beeii givers to 
Christ than receivers from him ; and had highly merited at 
his hands. But when Peter forsweareth him, and the rest 
shift for themselves, and when they come to themselves, 
after such cowardly and ungrateful dealings ; then they will 
better understand their weakness, and know on whom they 
must depend. 

3. Hereby also they shall better understand what they 
would have been if God had left them to themselves, that 
so they may be thankful for grace received, and may not 
boast themselves against the miserable world, as if they had 
made themselves to differ, and had not received all that 


pjrace by which they excel the common sort. When our falls 
have hurt us and shamed us, we shall know to whom we must 
be beholden to support us. 

4. Christ would permit his disciples thus far to forsake 
him, because he would have no support from man, in his 
sufferings for man. This was part of his voluntary humilia- 
tion, to be deprived of all earthly comforts, and to bear af- 
fliction even from those few, that but lately were his faithful 
servants. That men, dealing like men, and sinners, while 
he was doing like God, and as a Saviour, no man might 
challenge to himself the honour of contributing to the re- 
demption of the world, so much as by encouraging the 

5. Christ did permit the faith and courage of his disci- 
ples thus far to fail, that their witness to him might be of 
the greater credit and authority, when his actual resurrec- 
tion, and the communication of the Spirit, should compel 
them to believe. When all their doubts were dissipated, 
they that had doubted themselves, and yet were constrained 
to believe, would be received as the most impartial wit- 
nesses by the doubting world. 

6. Lastly, by the desertion and dissipation of his disci- 
ples, Christ would teach us whenever we are called to follow 
him in suffering, what to expect from the best of men : even 
to know that of themselves they are untrusty, and may fail 
us : and therefore not to look for too much assistance or en- 
couragement from them. Paul lived in a time when Chris- 
tians were more self-denying and steadfast than they are 
now. And Paul was one that might better expect to be 
faithfully accompanied in his sufferings for Christ, than any 
of us : and yet he saith, " At my first answer no one stood 
with me, but all men forsook me :" (2 Tim. iv. 16 :) and 
prayeth, that it be not laid to their charge. Thus you have 
seen some reasons why Christ consented to be left gf all, 
and permitted his disciples to desert him in his sufferings. 

Yet, note here, that it is but a partial, temporary forsak- 
ing that Christ permitteth ; and not a total or final forsak- 
ing or apostacy. Though he will let them see that they are 
yet men, he will not leave them to be but as other men : nor 
will he quite cast them off, or suffer them to perish. 

Nor is it all alike that thus forsake him. Peter doth not 


do as Judas. The sincere may manifest their infirmity ; but 
the hypocrites will manifest their hypocrisy. 

And accordingly in our sufferings, our familiars that 
were false-hearted (as being worldlings and carnal at the 
heart) may perhaps betray us, and set against us, or forsake 
the cause of Christ, and follow the way of gain and honour. 
When our tempted, shrinking friends, that yet may have 
some sincerity, may perhaps look strange at us, and seem 
not to know us, and may hide their heads and shew their 
fears ; and perhaps also begin to study some self-deceiving 
arguments and distinctions, and to stretch their consciences, 
and venture on some sin, because they are afraid to venture 
on affliction ; till Christ shall cast a gracious, rebuking, 
quickening aspect on them, and shame them for their sinful 
shame, and fear them from their sinful fears, and inflame 
their love to him by the motions of his love to them, and des- 
troy the love that turned them from him : and then the same . 
men that dishonourably failed Christ and us, and began to 
shrink, will turn back and reassume their arms, and by pa- 
tient suffering overcome, and win the crown, as we have 
done before. 

Use, Christians expect to be conformed to our Lord in 
this part of his humiliation also. Are your friends yet fast 
and friendly to you ? For all that expect that many of them, 
at least, should prove less friendly : and promise not your- 
selves an unchanged constancy in them. Are they yet use- 
ful to you ? Expect the time when they cannot help you. 
Are they your comforters and delight, and is their company 
much of your solace upon earth? Be ready for the time 
when they may become your sharpest scourges, and most 
heart-piercing griefs, or at least when you shall say, " We 
have no pleasure in them." Have any of them, or all, already 
failed you ? What wonder ? Are they not men, and sin- 
ners? To whom were they ever so constant as not to fail 
them ? Rebuke yourselves for your unwarrantable expec- 
tations from them : and learn hereafter to know what man 
is, and expect that friends should use you as followeth. 

1. Some of them that you thought sincere, shall prove 
perhaps unfaithful and dissemblers, and upon fallings out, 
or matters of self-interest, may seek your ruin. Are you 
better than David, that had an Achitophel? Or than Paul, 


that had a Demas ? Or than Christ, that had a Judas? Some 
will forsake God : what wonder then if they forsake you ? 
'* Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax 
cold." (Matt. xxiv. 12.) Where pride and vain-glory, and 
sensuality and worldliness are unmortified at the heart, there 
is no trustiness in such persons : for their wealth, or honour, 
or fleshly interest, they will part with God and their salva- 
tion ; muoh more with their best deserving friends. Why 
may not you, as well as Job, have occasion to complain, 
*' He hath put my brethren far from me, and my acquaintance 
are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and 
my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in 
my house, and my maidens, count me for a stranger : I am 
an alien in their sight, I called my servant, and he gave me 
no answer : I entreated him with my mouth : my breath is 
strange to my wife ; though 1 entreated for the childrens* 
sake of my own body : yea, young children despised me : I 
arose, and they spake against me : all my inward friends ab- 
horred me ; and they whom I loved are turned against me." 
{Job xix. 13 — 19.) Why may not you as well as David be 
put to say, " Yea mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, 
which did eat of my bread, hath lift up his heel against me." 
(Psal. xli. 9.) Those that have been most acquainted with 
the secrets of your soul, and privy to your very thoughts, may 
be the persons that shall betray you, or grow strange to you. 
Those that you have most obliged by benefits, may prove 
your greatest enemies. You may find some of your friends 
like birds of prey, that hover about you for what they can 
get, and when they have caught it fly away. If you have 
given them all that you have, they will forsake you, and per- 
haps reproach you, because you have no more to give them. 
They are your friends more for what they yet expect from 
you, than for what they have already received. If you can- 
not still be helpful to them, or feed their covetous desires, 
or supply their wants, you are to them but as one that they 
had never known. Many a faithful minister of Christ hath 
studied, and preached, and prayed, and wept for their peo- 
ple's souls, and after all have been taken for their enemies, 
and used as such ; yea even because they have done so much 
for them. Like the patient, that being cured of a mortal 
sickness, sued his physician at law for making him sick with 



the physic. (But it is, indeed, our uncured patients only 
that are offended with us.) Paul was accounted an enemy 
to the Galatians, because he told them the truth. Ungrate- 
ful truth maketh the faithfuUest preachers most ungrateful. 
It must seem no wonder to a preacher of the Gospel, when 
he hath entreated, prayed and wept night and day for mise- 
rable souls, and laid his hands as it were under their feet, in 
hopes of their conversion and salvation, to find them after 
all his bitterest enemies, and seeking his destruction, that 
could have laid down his life for their salvation. Jeremy 
seemed too impatient under this affliction, when he said, 
" Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the voice of them 
that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good ? 
Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, 
and to turn away thy wrath from them. Therefore deliver 
up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by 
the force of the sword,'* &c. (Jer. xviii. 19, 20.) 

Thus may ingratitude afflict you, and kindness be re- 
quited with unkindness, and the greatest benefits be forgot- 
ten, and requited with the greatest wrongs. Your old fa- 
miliars may be your foes ; and you may be put to say as Je- 
temy, " For I heard the defaming of many : fear on every 
side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my fa- 
miliars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will 
be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall 
take our revenge on him." (Jer. xx. 10.) Thus must the 
servants of Christ be used, in conformity to their suffering 

2. And some that are sincere, and whose hearts are with 
you, may yet be drawn by temptation to disown you. When 
malice is slandering you, timorous friendship may perhaps 
be silent, and afraid to justify you or take your part. When 
a Peter in such imbecility and fear can disown and deny his 
suffering Lord, what wonder if faint-hearted friends disown 
you, or me, that may give them too much occasion or pre- 
tence ? Why may not you and I be put to say as David did, 
** My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore, and 
my kinsmen stand afar off. They that seek after my life lay 
snares for me : and they that seek my hurt speak mis- 
chievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long." 
(Psal. xxxviii. 1 1, 12.) They that in fearfulness will fail their 


Maker and Redeemer, and hazard their salvation, may by a 
smaller temptation be drawn to fail such friends as we. 

3. Moreover a hundred things may occasion fallings out 
even amongst unfeigned friends. Passions may cause incon- 
venient actions or expressions, and these may cause passions 
in their friends ; and these may grow so high till friends do 
seem to one another to be like enemies. Paul and Barna- 
bas may grow so hot, as to fall out to a parting. How easily 
can Satan set fire on the tinder which he findeth in the best 
and gentlest natures, if God permit him ? No friends so 
near and dear, that passionate weaknesses may not either 
alienate or make a grief to one another. How apt are we to 
take unkindnesses at one another, and to be suspicious of our 
friends, or offended with them ! And how apt to give occa- 
sion of such offence ! How apt are we to censure one an- 
other, and to misinterpret the words and actions of our 
friends ! And how apt to give occasion of such mistakes 
and cutting censures ! And the more kindness we have 
found in, or expected from our friends, the more their real 
or supposed injuries will affect us. We are apt to say, ' Had 
it been a stranger, 1 could have borne it : but to be used thus 
by my bosom or familiar friend, goes^ near my heart.' And 
indeed, the unkindnesses of friends is no small affliction ; 
the suffering going usually as near the heart, as the person 
that caused it was near it. Especially when our own weak- 
ness causeth us to forget the frailty and infirmities of man, 
and with what allowances and expectations we must choose 
and use our friends ; and when we forget the love that re- 
maineth in the midst of passions. 

4. Also cross interests and unsuitableness may exceed- 
ingly interrupt the fastest friendship. Friendship is very 
much founded in suitableness, and maintained by it : and 
among mortals, there is no perfect suitableness to be found ; 
but much unsuitableness still remaineth. That which pleas - 
eth one, is displeasing to another. One liketh this place, 
and the other that : one liketh this habit, and the other that : 
one is for mirth, and the other for sadness : one for talk, and 
the other for silence : one for a public, and the other for a 
private life. And their personality or individuation having 
self-love as inseparable, will unavoidably cause a contrariety 
of interests. The creature is insufficient for us : if one have 
it, perhaps the other must want it : like a covering too nar- 


row for the bed. Sometimes our reputations seem to stand 
cross, so that one man's is diminished by another's. And 
how apt is envy to create a grudge, and raise unfriendly jea- 
lousies and distastes ! Sometimes the commodity of one is 
the discommodity of the other: and then mine and thine 
(which are contrary to the community of friendship) may 
divide, and alienate, and make two of those that seemed one. 
The instances of Abraham and Lot (upon the difference 
among their servants), and of Isaac and Ishmael, and of Ja- 
cob and Esau, and of Laban and Jacob, and of Leah and 
Rachael, and of Joseph and his brethren, and of Saul and 
David, and of Ziba, Mephibosheth and David, with many 
others, tell us this. It is rare to meet with a Jonathan, that 
will endearedly love that man to the death, who is appointed 
to deprive him of a kingdom. If one can but say, I suffer 
by him, or I am a loser by him, it seemeth enough to excuse 
unfriendly thoughts and actions. When you can gratify 
the desires of all covetous, ambitious, self-seeking persons 
in the world, or else cure their diseases, and possess their 
minds with perfect charity, then all the world will be your 

5. Cross opinions also are like to alienate many of your 
friends. This age hath over and over again given the world 
as full and sad demonstrations of the power of cross opinions 
to alienate friends, and make divisions, as most ages of the 
world have ever had. If your friend be proud, it is wonder- 
ful how he will slight you, and withdraw his love, if you be 
not of his mind. If he be zealous, he is easily tempted to 
think it a part of his duty to God, to disown you if you differ 
from him, as taking you for one that disowneth the truth of 
God, and therefore one that God himself disowneth ; or at 
least to grow cold in his affection toward you, and to decline 
from you, as he that thinks you do from God. As agree- 
ment in opinions doth strangely reconcile affections ; so dis- 
agreement doth secretly and strangely alienate them : even 
before you are well aware, your friend hath lost possession 
of your hearts, because of an unavoidable diversity of ap- 
prehensions. When all your friends have the same intel- 
lectual complexion and temperature, and measure of under- 
standing with yourselves, then you may have hope to escape 
the ruptures which unlikeness and differences of apprehen- 
sions might else cause. 


6. Moreover, some of your friends may so far overgrow 
you in wisdom, or wealth, or honour, or worth in their own 
conceits, that they may begin to take you to be unsuitable 
for them, and unmeet for their further special friendship. 
Alas ! poor man, they will pity thee that thou art no wiser, 
and that thou hast no greater light to change thy mind as 
fast as they, or that thou art so weak and ignorant as not to 
see what seems to them so clear a truth ; or that thou art so 
simple to cast away thyself by crossing them that might 
prefer thee, or to fall under the displeasure of those that 
have power to raise or ruin thee : but if thou be so simple, 
thou mayest be the object of their lamentation, but art no 
familiar friend for them. They think it fittest to close and 
converse with those of their own rank and stature, and not 
with such shrubs and children, that may prove their trouble 
and dishonour. 

7. And some of your friends will think that by a more 
thorough acquaintance with you, they have found out more 
of your infirmities or faults ; and therefore have found that 
you are less amiable and valuable than at first they judged 
you. They will think that by distance, unacquaintedness, 
and an overhasty love and judgment, they were mistaken in 
you ; and that now they see reason to repent of the love 
which they think was guilty of some errors and excess : 
when they come nearer you, and have had more trial of you, 
they will think they are fitter to j udge of you than before : 
and indeed our defects are so many, and all our infirmities so 
great, that the more men know us, the more they may see 
in us that deserveth pity or reproof; and as pictures, we 
appear less beautiful at the nearest view : though this will 
not warrant the withdrawing of that love which is due to 
friends, and to virtue, even in the imperfect ; nor will ex- 
cuse that alienation, and decay of friendship that is caused 
by the pride of such as overlook perhaps much greater fail- 
ings and weaknesses in themselves, which need forgiveness. 

8. And perhaps some of your friends will grow weary of 
their friendship, having that infirmity of human nature, not 
to be much pleased with one thing long. Their love is a 
flower that quickly withereth ; it is a short lived thing that 
soon groweth old. It must be novelty that must feed their 
love and their delight. 

9. And peHiaps they may have got some better friends 


in their apprehensions, they may have so much interest as 
to take them up, and leave no room for ancient friends. It 
may be, thay have met with those that are more suitable, or 
can be more useful to them : that have more learning, or 
wit, or wealth, or power, than you have, and therefore seem 
more worthy of their friendship. 

10. And some of them may think when you are in a low 
and suffering state, and in danger of worse, that it is part of 
their duty of self-preservation to be strange to you (though 
in heart they wish you well). They will think they are not 
bound to hazard themselves upon the displeasure of supe- 
riors, to own or befriend you, or any other : though they 
must not desert Christ, they think they may desert a man 
for their own preservation. 

To avoid both extremes, in such a case, men must both 
study to understand which way is most serviceable to Christ, 
and to his church, and withal, to be able to deny them- 
selves, and also must study to understand what Christ 
meaneth in his final sentence, " In as much as you did it 
(or did it not) to one of the least of these my brethren, you 
did it (or did it not) to me." As, if it were to visit the con- 
tagious ; we must neither cast away our lives to do no 
good, or for that which in value holdeth no proportion with 
them ; nor yet must we deny to run any hazard when it is 
indeed our duty : so is it in our visiting those that suffer 
for the cause of Christ : (only here the owning them being 
the confessing of him, we need more seldom to fear being 
too forward). 

11. And some of your friends may cover their unfaith- 
fulness with the pretence of some fault that you have been 
guilty of, some error that you hold, or some unhandsome or 
culpable act that you have done, or some duty that you 
have left undone or failed in. For they think there is not a 
better shelter for their unfaithfulness, than to pretend for it 
the name and cause of God, and so to make a duty of their 
sin. Who would not justify them, if they can but prove, 
that God requireth them, and religion obligeth them, to for- 
sake you for your faults ? There are few crimes in the world 
that by some are not fathered on God (that most hateth 
them), as thinking no name can so much honour them. 
False friends therefore use this means as well as other 
hypocrites : and though Gpd is love, and condemneth no- 


thing more than uncharitableness and malice, yet these are 
commonly by false-hearted hypocrites, called by some pious, 
virtuous names, and God himself is entitled to them : so 
that few worldlings, ambitious persons or time-servers, but 
will confidently pretend religion for all their falsehood to 
their friends, or bloody cruelty to the servants of Christ, 
that comply not with their carnal interest. 

12. Perhaps some of your friends may really mistake your 
case, and think that you suffer as evil doers, and instead of 
comforting you, may be your sharpest censurers. This is 
one of the most notable things set out to our observation in 
the book of Job : it was not the smallest part of his afflic- 
tion, that when the hand of God was heavy upon him, and 
then if ever was the time for his friends to have been his 
comforters, and friends indeed, on the contrary they be- 
came his scourge, and by unjust accusations, and misinter- 
pretations of the providence of God, did greatly add to his 
affliction ! When God had taken away his children, wealth 
and health, his friends would take away the reputation and 
comfort of his integrity ; and under pretence of bringing 
him to repentance, did charge him with that which he was 
never guilty of: they wounded his good name, and would 
have wounded his conscience, and deprived him of his in- 
ward peace : censorious, false accusing friends, do cut 
deeper than malicious, slandering enemies. It is no wonder, 
if strangers or enemies do misjudge and misreport our 
actions : but when your bosom friends, that should most 
intimately know you, and be the chief witnesses of your in- 
nocency against all others, shall in their jealousy, or envy, 
or peevishness, or falling out, be your chief reproaches and 
unjust accusers, as it makes it seem more credible to others, 
so it will come nearer to yourselves. And yet this is a 
thing that must be expected ; yea, even your most self-de- 
nying acts of obedience to God, may be so misunderstood 
by godly men, and real friends, as by them to be taken for 
your great miscarriage, and turned to your rebuke: as 
David's dancing before the ark was by his wife ; which yet 
did but make him resolve to be yet more vile. If you be 
cast into poverty, or disgrace, or prison, or banishment, for 
your necessary obedience to Christ, perhaps your friend or 
wife may become your accuser for this your greatest service, 
and say, This is your own doing: your rashness, or indis- 


cretion, or self-conceitedness, or wilfulness hath brought it 
upon you. What need had you to say such words, or J;o do 
this or that ? Why could not you have yielded in so small a 
matter? Perhaps your most costly and excellent obedience 
shall, by your nearest friends, be called the fruits of pride, 
or humour, or passion, or some corrupt affection, or at least 
of folly or inconsiderateness. When flesh and blood hath 
long been striving in you against your duty, and saying. 
Do not cast away thyself: O serve not God at so dear a 
rate ! God doth not require thee to undo thyself; why 
shouldest thou not avoid so great inconveniences ? When 
with much ado you have conquered all your carnal reason- 
ings, and denied yourselves and your carnal interests, you 
must expect, even from some religious friends, to be ac- 
cused for these very actions, and perhaps their accusations 
may fasten such a blot upon your names, as shall never be 
washed out till the day of judgment. By difference of in- 
terests, or apprehensions, and by unacquaintedness with 
your hearts, and actions, the righteousness of the righteous 
may be thus taken from him, and friends may do the work 
of enemies, yea, of Satan himself, the accuser of the bre- 
thren ; and may prove as thorns in your bed, and gravel in 
your shoes, yea, in your eyes, and wrong you much more 
than open adversaries could have done. How it is like to 
go with that man's reputation, you may easily judge, whose 
friends are like Job's, and his enemies like David's, that lay 
snares before him, and diligently watch for matter of re- 
proach ; yet this may befall the best of men. 

13. You may be permitted by God to fall into some real 
crime, and then your friends may possibly think it is their 
duty to disown you, so far as you have wronged God : when 
you provoke God to frown upon you, he may cause your 
friends to frown upon you : if you will fall out with him, 
and grow strange to him, no marvel if your truest friends 
fall out with you, and grow strange to you. They love you 
for your godliness, and for the sake of Christ ; and there- 
fore must abate their love, if you abate your godliness ; and 
must, for the sake of Christ, be displeased with you for your 
sins. And if in such a case of real guilt, you should be dis- 
pleased at their displeasure, and should expect that your 
friend should befriend your sin, or carry himself towards 
you in your guilt, as if you were innocent, you will but show 


that you understand not the nature of true friendship, nor 
the use of a true friend ; and are yet yourselves too friendly 
to your sins. 

14. Moreover, those few friends that are truest to you, 
may be utterly unable to relieve you in your distress, or to 
give you ease, or to do you any good. The case may be 
such that they can but pity you, and lament your sorrows, 
and weep over you : you may see in them that man is not as 
God, whose friendship can accomplish all the good that he 
desireth to his friends. The wisest, and greatest, and best 
of men, are silly comforters, and uneffectual helps. You 
may be sick, and pained, and grieved, and distressed, not- 
withstanding any thing that they can do for you ; nay, per- 
haps in their ignorance, they may increase your misery, 
while they desire your relief; and by striving indirectly to 
help and ease you, may tie the knot faster and make you 
worse. They may provoke those more against you that 
oppress you, while they think they speak that which should 
tend to set you free : they may think to ease your troubled 
minds by such words as shall increase the troubled ; or to 
deliver you as Peter would have delivered Christ, and saved 
his Saviour, first by carnal counsel ; " Be it far from thee. 
Lord ; this shall not be unto thee :" (Matt. xvi. 22 :) And 
then by carnal unjust force, (by drawing his sword against 
the officers). Love and good meaning will not prevent the 
mischiefs of ignorance and mistake. If your friend cut 
your throat, while he thought to cut but a vein to cure your 
disease, it is not his friendly meaning that will save your 
lives. Many a thousand sick people are killed by their 
friends, that attend them, with an earnest desire of their 
life ; while they ignorantly give them that which is contrary 
to their disease, and will not be the less pernicious for the 
good meaning of the giver. Who have more tender affec- 
tions than mothers to their children? And yet a great part 
of the calamity of the world of sickness, and the misery of 
man's life, proceedeth from the ignorant and erroneous in- 
dulgence of mothers to their children, who to please them, 
let them eat and drink what they will, and use them to ex- 
cess and gluttony in their childhood, till nature be abused 
and mastered, and clogged with those superfluities and cru- 
dities, which are the dunghill matter of most of the follow- 
ing diseases of their lives. 


I might here also remember you how your friends may 
themselves be overcome with a temptation, and then become 
the more dangerous tempters of you, by how much the 
greater their interest is in your affections. If they be in- 
fected with error, they are the likest persons to ensnare 
you : if they be tainted with covetousness or pride, there is 
none so likely to draw you to the same sin : and so your 
friends may be in effect your most deadly enemies, deceivers 
and destroyers. 

15. And if you have friends that are never so firm and 
constant, they may prove (not only unable to relieve you, 
but) very additions to your grief. If they are afflicted in 
the participation of your sufferings, as your troubles are be- 
come theirs (without your ease), so their trouble for you 
will become yours, and so the stock of your sorrow will be 
increased. And they are mortals, and liable to distress as 
well as you. And therefore they are like to bear their share 
in several sorts of sufferings : and so friendship will make 
their sufferings to be yours : their sicknesses and pains, 
their fears and griefs, their wants and dangers, will all be 
yours. And the more they are your hearty friends, the 
more they will be yours. And so you will have as many 
additions to the proper burden of your griefs, as you have 
suffering friends : when you do but hear that they are dead, 
you say as Thomas, *' Let us also go that we may die with 
him." (John xi. 16.) And having many such friends you 
will almost always have one or other of them in distress ; 
and so be seldom free from sorrow ; besides all that which 
is properly your own. 

16. Lastly, If you have a friend that is both true and 
useful, yet you may be sure he must stay with you but a 
little while. ** The godly men will cease, and the faithful 
fail from among the children of men ; while men of lying, 
flattering lips, and double hearts survive, and the wicked 
walk on every side, while the vilest men are exalted." (Psal. 
xii, 1, 2. 8.) While swarms of false, malicious men are left 
round about you, perhaps God will take away your dearest 
friends. If among a multitude of unfaithful ones, you have 
but one that is your friend indeed, perhaps God will take 
away that one. He may be separated from you into ano- 
ther country ; or taken away to God by death. Not that 
God doth grudge you the mercy of a faithful friend ; but 


that he would be your All, and would not have you hurt 
yourselves with too much affection to any creature, and for 
other reasons to be named anon. 

And to be forsaken of your friends is not all your afflic- 
tion : but to be forsaken is a great aggravation of it. 1. For 
they used to forsake us in our greatest sufferings and 
straits, when we have the greatest need of them. 

2. They fail us most at a dying hour, when all other 
worldly comfort faileth : as we must leave our houses, 
lands and wealth, so must we for the present leave our 
friends : and as all the rest are silly comforters, when we 
have once received our citation to appear before the Lord, 
so also are our friends but silly comforters : they can weep 
over us, but they cannot, with all their care, delay the 
separating stroke of death, one day or hour. 

Only by their prayers, and holy advice, remembering us 
of everlasting things, and provoking us in the work of pre- 
paration, they may prove to us friends indeed. And there- 
fore we must value a holy, heavenly, faithful friend, as one 
of the greatest treasures upon earth. And while we take 
notice how, as men, they may forsake us, we must not deny 
but that, as saints, they are precious, and of singular use to 
us; and Christ useth by them to communicate his mercies; 
and if any creatures in the world may be blessings to us, it 
is holy persons, that have most of God in their hearts and 

3. And it is an aggravation of the cross, that they often 
fail us, when we are most faithful in our duty, and stumble 
most upon the most excellent acts of our obedience. 

4. And those are the persons that oftentimes fail us, of 
whom we have deserved best, and from whom we might 
have expected most. 

Review the experiences of the choicest servants that 
Christ hath had in the world, and you shall find enough to 
confirm you of the vanity of man, and the instability of the 
dearest friends. How highly was Athanasius esteemed; and 
yet at last deserted and banished by.the famous Constantine 
himself! How excellent a man was Gregory Nazianzen, and 
highly valued in the church ; and yet by reproach and dis- 
couragements driven away from his church at Constanti- 
nople whither hfi was chosen, and envied by the bishops 
round about him. How worthy a man was the eloquent 


Chrysostom, and highly valued in the church ; and yet how 
bitterly was he prosecuted by Hierom and Epiphanius ; and 
banished, and died in a second banishment, by the provoca- 
tion of factious, contentious bishops, and an empress im- 
patient of his plain reproofs ! What person more generally 
esteemed and honoured for learning, piety, and peaceable- 
ness, than Melancthon; and yet by the contentions of Illy- 
ricus and his party, he was made aweary of his life. As 
highly as Calvin was (deservedly) valued at Geneva, yet 
once in a popular lunacy and displeasure, they drove him 
out of their city, and in contempt of him some called their 
dogs by the name of Calvin ; (though after they were glad 
to entreat him to return.) How much our Grindal and Abbot 
were esteemed, it appeareth by their advancement to the 
archbishopric of Canterbury ; and yet who knoweth not 
that their eminent piety sufficed not to keep them from de- 
jecting frowns ! And if you say, that it is no wonder if with 
princes through interest, and with people through levity, it 
be thus; I might heap up instances of the like untrustiness 
of particular friends ; but all history, and the experiences of 
the most, do so much abound with them, that I think it 
needless. Which of us must not say with David, that "All 
men are liars ;" (Psal. cxvi ;) that is, deceitful and untrusty ; 
either through unfaithfulness, weakness or insufficiency; 
that either will forsake us, or cannot help us in time of need. 
Was Christ forsaken in his extremity by his own disci- 
ples, to teach us what to expect, or bear? Think it not 
strange then to be conformed to your Lord, in this, as well 
as in other parts of his humiliation. Expect that men should 
prove deceitful : Not that you should entertain censorious 
suspicions of your particular friends : but remember in ge- 
neral that man is frail, and the best too selfish and uncer- 
tain ; and that it is no wonder if those should prove your 
greatest grief, from whom you had the highest expectations. 
Are you better than Job, or David, or Christ? and are your 
friends more firm and unchangeable than theirs ? 

Consider, 1. That creatures must be set at a sufficient 
distance from their Creator. Allsufficiency, immutability 
and indefectible fidelity, are proper to Jehovah. As it is no 
wonder for the sun to set, or be eclipsed, as glorious a body 
as it is, so it is no wonder for a friend, a pious friend, to fail 
us, for a time, in the hour of our distress. There are some 


that will not : but there is none but may, if God should 
leave them to their weakness. Man is not your rock : he 
hath no stability but what is derived, dependant, and uncer- 
tain, and defectible. Learn therefore to rest on God alone, 
and lean not too hard or confidently upon any mortal wight. 

2. And God will have the common infirmity of man to 
Joe known, that so the weakest may not be utterly discou- 
raged, nor take their weakness to be gracelessness, whilst 
they see that the strongest also have their infirmities, though 
not so great as theirs. If any of God's servants live in con- 
stant holiness and fidelity, without any shakings or stum- 
bling in their way, it would tempt some self-accusing, trou- 
bled souls, to think that they vi^ere altogether graceless, 
because they are so far short of others. But when we read 
of a Peter's denying his master in so horrid a manner, with 
swearing and cursing, that he. knew not the man, (Matt. 
xxvi. 74,) and of his dissimulation and not walking up- 
rightly; (Gal. ii;) and of a David's unfriendly and unrigh- 
teous dealing with Mephibosheth, the seed of Jonathan ; 
and of his most vile and treacherous dealing with Uriah, a 
faithful and deserving subject ; it may both abate our won- 
der and offence at the unfaithfulness of our friends, and 
teach us to compassionate their frailty, when they desert 
us; and also somewhat abate our immoderate dejectedness 
and trouble, when we have failed God or man ourselves. 

3. Moreover, consider, how the odiousness of that 
sin, which is the root and cause of such unfaithfulness, is 
greatly manifested by the failing of our friends. God 
will have the odiousness of the remnants of our self-love 
and carnal-mindedness, and cowardice appear : we should 
not discern it in the seed and root, if we did not see, and 
taste it in the fruits. Seeing without tasting will not suffi- 
ciently convince us. A crab looks as beautiful as an apple ; 
but when you taste it, you better know the difference. When 
you must yourselves be unkindly used by your friends, and 
forsaken by them in your distress, and you have tasted the 
fruits of the remnants of their worldliness, selfishness and 
carnal fears, you will better know the odiousness of these 
vices, which thus break forth against all obligations to God 
and you, and notwithstanding the light, the conscience, and 
perhaps the grace, that doth resist them. 


4. Are you not prone to overvalue and overlove your 
friends? If so, is not this the meetest remedy for your 
disease ? In the loving of God, vi^e are in no danger of ex- 
cess ; and therefore have no need of anything to quench it. 
And in the loving of the godly, purely upon account of 
Christ, and in loving saints as saints, we are not apt to go 
too far. But yet our understandings may mistake, and we 
may think that saints have more of sanctity than indeed 
they have ; and we are exceeding apt to mix a selfish com- 
mon love, with that which is- spiritual and holy ; and at the 
same time, when we love a Christian as a Christian, we are 
apt not only to love him (as we ought) but to overlove him 
because he is our friend, and loveth us. Those Christians 
that have no special love to us, we are apt to undervalue and 
neglect, and love them below their holiness and worth : but 
those that we think entirely love us, we love above their 
proper worth, as they stand in the esteem of God : not but 
that we may love those that love us, and add this love to that 
which is purely for the sake of Christ ; but we should not 
let our own interest prevail and overtop the interest of Christ, 
nor love any so much for loving us, as for loving Christ : 
and if we do so, no wonder if God shall use such remedies 
as he seeth meet, to abate our excess of selfish love. 

O how highly are we apt to think of all that good which 
is found in those who are the highest esteemers of us, and 
most dearly love us ; when perhaps in itself it is but some 
ordinary good, or ordinary degree of goodness which is in 
them ! Their love to us irresistibly procureth our love to 
them : and when we love them, it is wonderful to observe, 
how easily we are brought to think well of almost all they 
do, and highly to value their judgments, graces, parts and 
works : when greater excellencies in another, perhaps, are 
scarce observed, or regarded but as a common thing. And 
therefore the destruction or want of love, is apparent in the 
vilifying thoughts and speeches, that most men have of one 
another; and in the low esteem of the judgments, and per- 
formances and lives of other men : (much more in their con- 
tempt, reproaches and cruel persecutions.) Now though 
God will have us increase in our love of Christ in his mem- 
bers, and in our pure love of Christians, as such, and 
in our common charity to all, yea, and in our just fide- 
lity to our friend ; yet would he have us suspect and 


moderate our selfish and excessive love, and inordinate par- 
tial esteem of one above another, when it is but for ourselves 
and on our own account. And therefore as he will make us 
know, that we ourselves are no such excellent persons, as 
that it should make another so laudable, or advance his 
worth, because he loveth us ; so he will make us know, that 
our friends, whom we overvalue, are but like other men : if 
we exalt them too highly in our esteem, it is a sign that God 
must cast them down. And as their love to us, was it that 
made us so exalt them ; so their unkindness or unfaithful- 
ness to us is the fittest means to bring them lower in our 
estimation and affection. God is very jealous of our hearts, 
as to our overvaluing and overloving any of his creatures : 
What we give inordinately and excessively to them, is some 
way or other taken from him, and given them to his injury, 
and therefore to his offence. Though I know that to be void 
of natural, friendly or social affections, is an odious extreme 
on the other side; yet God will rebuke us if we are guilty 
of excess. And it is the greater and more inexcusable fault 
to overlove the creature, because our love to God is so cold, 
and so hardly kindled and kept alive ! He cannot take it 
well to see us dote upon dust and frailty like ourselves, at 
the same time when all his wondrous kindness, and attrac- 
tive goodness, do cause but such a faint and languid love to 
him, which we ourselves can scarcely feel. If therefore he 
cure us by permitting our friends to shew us truly what they 
are, and how little they deserve such excessive love (when 
God hath so little) it is no more wonder, than it is that he 
is tender of his glory, and merciful to his servants' souls. 

5. By the failing and unfaithfulness of our friends, the 
wonderful patience of God will be observed and honoured, 
as it is shewed both to them and us. When they forsake us 
in our distress (especially when we suffer for the cause of 
Christ) it is God that they injure more than us : and there- 
fore if he bear with them, and forgive their weakness upon 
repentance, why should not we do so, that are much less in- 
jured? The world's perfidiousness should make us think, 
how great and wonderful is the patience of God, that beareth 
with, and beareth up so vile, ungrateful, treacherous men 
that abuse him to whom they are infinitely obliged ! And 
it should make us consider, when men deal treacherously 
with us, how great is that mercy that hath borne with. 


and pardoned greater wrongs, which I myself have done to 
God, than these can be which men have done to me ! It was 
the remembrance of David's sin, that had provoked God to 
raise up his own son against him (of whom he had been too 
fond), which made him so easily bear the curses and reproach 
of Shimei. It will make us bear abuse from others, to re- 
member how ill we have dealt with God, and how ill we have 
deserved at his hands ourselves. 

6. And I have observed another reason of God's per- 
mitting the failing of our friends. It is, that the love of our 
friends may not hinder us when we are called to suffer or 
die. When we overlove them, it teareth our very hearts to 
leave them : and therefore it is a strong temptation to draw 
us from our duty, and to be unfaithful to the cause of Christ, 
lest we should be taken from our too dear friends, or lest 
our suffering cause their too much grief. It is so hard a 
thing to die with willingness and peace, that it must needs 
be a mercy to be saved from the impediments which make 
us backward : And the excessive love of friends and rela- 
tions, is not the least of these impediments : O how loath is 
many a one to die, when they think of parting with wife, or 
husband, or children, or dear and faithful friends ! Now I 
have oft observed, that a little before their death or sickness, 
it is ordinary with God to permit some unkindness between 
such too dear friends to arise, by which, he moderated and 
abated their affections, and made them a great deal the more 
willing to die. Then we are ready to say, It is time for me 
to leave the world, when not only the rest of the world but 
my dearest friends have first forsaken me ! This helpeth us 
to remember our dearest everlasting Friend, and to be grieved 
at the heart that we have been no truer ourselves to him, 
who would not have forsaken us in our extremity. And 
sometimes it maketh us even aweary of the world, and to 
say as Elias, " Lord take away my life," &c., (1 Kings xix. 
4. 10. 14,) when we must say, ' I thought I had one friend 
left, and behold even he forsaketh me in my distress.' As 
the love of friends entangleth our affections to this world, 
so to be weaned, by their unkindnesses, from our friends, is 
a great help to loosen us from the world, and proveth oft a 
very great mercy to a soul that is ready to depart. 

And as the friends that love us most, and have most 
interest in our esteem and love, may do more than others, in 


tempting us to be unfaithful to our Lord, to entertain any 
error, to commit any sin, or to flinch in suffering; so when 
God hath permitted them to forsake us, and to lose their 
too great interest in us, we are fortified against all such 
temptations from them. I have known where a former inti- 
mate friend hath grown strange, and broken former friend- 
ship, and quickly after turned to such dangerous ways and 
errors, as convinced the other of the mercifulness of God, 
in weakening his temptation by his friend's desertion ; who 
might else have drawn him along with him into sin. And I 
have often observed, that when the husbands have turned 
from religion to infidelity, familism, or some dangerous he- 
resy, that God hath permitted them to hate and abuse their 
wives so inhumanly, as that it preserved the poor women 
from the temptation of following them in their apostacy or 
sin : when as some other women with whom their husbands 
have dealt more kindly, have been drawn away with them 
into pernicious paths. 

Therefore still I must say, we were undone if we had the 
disposing of our own conditions. It would be long before 
we should have been willing ourselves to be thus unkindly 
dealt with by our friends; and yet God hath made it to many 
a soul, a notable means of preserving them from being un- 
done for ever. Yea, the unfaithfulness of all our friends, 
and the malice and cruelty of all our enemies, doth us not 
usually so much harm, as the love and temptation of some 
one deluded erring friend, whom we are ready to follow into 
the gulf. 

7. Lastly, consider that it is not desirable or suitable to 
our state, to have too much of our comfort by any creature : 
not only because it is most pure and sweet, which is most 
immediately from God ; but because also we are very prone to 
over- love the creature ; and if it should but seem to be very 
commodious to us, by serving our necessities or desires, it 
would seem the more amiable, and therefore be the stronger 
snare. The work of mortification doth much consist in the 
annihilation or deadness of all the creatures, as to any power 
to draw away our hearts from God, or to entangle us and 
detain us from our duty. And the more excellent and lovely 
the creature appeareth to us, the less it is dead to us, or we 
to it; and the more will it be able to hinder or ensnare us. 

VOL. XI 11. X 


When you have well considered all these things, I sup- 
pose you will admire the wisdom of God in leaving you un- 
der this kind of trial, and weaning you from every creature, 
and teaching you by his providence, as well as by his word, 
to cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils ; for wherein 
is he to be accounted of? And you will see that it is no great 
wonder that corrupted souls, thiat live in other sins, should 
be guilty of this unfaithfulness to their friends : and that he 
that dare unthankfully trample upon the unspeakable kind- 
ness of the Lord, should deal unkindly with the best of men. 
You make no great wonder at other kind of sins, when you 
see the world continually commit them ; why then should 
you make a greater or stranger matter of this, than of the 
rest? Are you better than God? Must unfaithfulness to you 
be made more heinous, than that unfaithfulness to him, 
which yet you daily see and slight? The least wrong to 
God is a thousandfold more than the greatest that can be 
done to you, as such. Have you done that for your nearest 
friend, which God hath done for him, and you, and all men ? 
Their obligations to you are nothing in comparison of their 
great and manifold obligations to God. 

And you know that you have more wronged God your- 
selves, than any man ever wronged you ; and if yet for all 
that, he bear with you,, have you not great reason to bear 
with others ?. 

Yea, you have not been innocent towards men your- 
selves. Did you never wrong or fail another? Or rather, are 
you not more apt to see and aggravate the wrong that others 
do to you, than that which you have done to others ? May 
you not call to mind your own neglects, and say as Adoni- 
bezek, " Threescore and ten kings having their thumbs and 
their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table : 
As I have done so God hath requited me." (Judges i. 7.) 
Many a one have 1 failed or wronged, and no wonder if 
others fail and wrong me. 

Nay, you have been much more unfaithful and injurious 
to yourselves, than ever any other hath been to you. No 
friend was so near you, as yourselves ; none had such a 
charge of you ; none had such helps and advantages to do 
you good or hurt ; and yet all the enemies you have in the 
world, even in earth or hell, have not wronged and hurt you 


half SO much as you have done yourselves ! O, methinks 
the man or woman that knoweth themselves, and knoweth 
what it is to repent; that ever saw the greatness of their 
own sin and folly, should have no great mind or leisure to 
aggravate the failing of their friends, or the injuries of their 
enemies, considering what they have proved to themselves ! 
Have I forfeited my own salvation, and deserved everlasting 
wrath, and sold my Saviour and my soul for so base a thing 
as sinful pleasure, and shall I ever make a wonder of it, that 
another man doth me some temporal hurt? Was any friend 
so near to me as myself; or more obliged to me? O sinful 
soul, let thy own, rather than thy friend's deceit and trea- 
chery, and neglects, be the matter of thy displeasure, won- 
der and complaints ! 

And let thy conformity herein to Jesus Christ, be thy 
holy ambition and delight : not as it is thy sutFering, nor as 
it is caused by men's sin ; but as it is thy conformity and 
fellowship in the sufferings of thy Lord, and caused by his 

1 have already shewed you that sufferers for Christ, are 
in the highest form among his disciples. The order of his 
followers usually is this : 1 . At our entrance, and in the 
lowest form, we are exercised with the fears of hell, and 
God's displeasure, and in the works of repentance for the 
sin that we have done. 2. In the second form, we come 
to think more seriously of the remedy, and to inquire what 
we shall do to be saved, and to understand better what 
Christ hath done and suffered, and what he is and will be to 
us ; and to value him, and his love and grace. And here we 
are much inquiring how we may know our own sincerity, 
and our interest in Christ, and are labouring for some assu- 
rance, and looking after signs of grace. 3. In the next form 
or order we are searching after further knowledge, and la- 
bouring better to understand the mysteries of religion, and 
to get above the rudiments and first principles : and here if 
we escape turning bare opinionists or heretics, by the snare 
of controversy or curiosity, it is well. 4. In the next form 
we set ourselves to the fuller improvement of all our further 
degrees of knowledge ; and to digest it all, and turn it into 
stronger faith, and love, and hope, and greater humility, 
patience, self-denial, mortification, and contempt of earthly 
vanities, and hatred of sin ; and to walk more watchfully 


and holily, and to be more in holy duty, 
form we grow to be more public-spirited : to set our hearts 
on the church's welfare, and long more for the progress of 
the Gospel, and for the good of others ; and to do all the 
good in the world that we are able, for men's souls or bodies, 
but especially to long and lay out ourselves for the conver- 
sion and salvation of ignorant, secure, unconverted souls. 
The counterfeit of this, is, an eager desire to proselyte others 
to our opinions, or that religion which we have chosen, by 
the direction of flesh and blood, or which is not of God, nor 
according unto godliness, but doth subserve our carnal ends. 
6. In the next form we grow to study more the pure and 
wonderful love of God in Christ, and to relish and admire 
that love, and to be taken up with the goodness and tender 
mercies of the Lord, and to be kindling the flames of holy 
love to him that hath thus loved us ; and to keep our souls 
in the exercise of that love : and withal to live in joy, 
and thanks, and praise to him that hath redeemed us and 
loved us ; and also by faith to converse in heaven, and. 
to live in holy contemplation, beholding the glory of the 
Father and the Redeemer in the glass which is fitted to 
our present use, till we come to see him face to face. Those 
that are the highest in this form, do so walk with God, and 
burn in love, and are so much above inferior vanities, and 
are so conversant by faith in heaven, that their hearts even 
dwell there, and there they long to be for ever. 7. And in 
the highest form of the school of Christ, we are exercising 
this confirmed faith and love, in suflerings, especially for 
Christ ; in following him with our cross', and being con- 
formed to him, and glorifying God in the fullest exercise and 
discovery of his graces in us, and in an actual trampling 
upon all that standeth up against him, for our hearts: and 
in bearing the fullest witness to his truth and cause, by con- 
stant enduring, though to the death. Not but that the 
weakest that are sincere, must suffer for Christ if he call 
them to it : naartyrdom itself is not proper to the strong 
believers. Whoever forsaketh not all that he hath for Christ, 
cannot be his disciple. (Luke xiv. 33.) But to suffer with 
that faith and love forementioned, and in that manner, is 
proper to the strong : and usually God doth not try and ex- 
ercise his young and weak ones with the trials of the strong; 
nor set his infants on so hard a service, nor put them in the 


front or hottest of the battle, as he doth the ripe confirmed 
Christians. The sufferings of their inward doubts and fears 
doth take up such ; it is the strong that ordinarily are called 
to sufferings for Christ, at least in any high degree. I have 
digressed thus far to make it plain to you, that our con- 
formity to Christ, and fellowship with him in his sufferings, 
in any notable degree, is the lot of his best, confirmed ser- 
vants, and the highest form in 1 is school among his disci- 
ples; and therefore not to be inordinately feared or abhorred, 
nor to be the matter of impatience, but of holy joy ; and in 
such infirmities we may glory. And if it be so of sufferings 
in the general (for Christ), then is it so of this particular 
sort of sufferings, even to be forsaken of all our best and 
nearest, dearest friends, when we come to be most abused 
by the enemies. 

For my own part, I must confess that as I am much want- 
ing in other parts of my conformity to Christ, so I take myself 
to be yet much short of what I expect he should advance me 
to, as long as my friends no more forsake me. It is not 
long since I found myself in a low (if not a doubting) case, 
because I had so few enemies, and so little sufferings for the 
cause of Christ (though I had much of other sorts) : and 
now that doubt is removed by the multitude of furies which 
God hath let loose against me. But yet, methinks, while 
my friends themselves are so friendly to me, I am much 
short of what I think I must at last attain to. 

But let us look further into the text, and see what is the 
cause of the failing and forsaking Christ in the disciples ; 
and what it is that they betake themselves to, when they 
leave him. 

" Ye shall be scattered every man to his own." 

Self-denial was not perfect in them, selfishness therefore 
in this hour of temptation did prevail. They had before 
forsaken all to follow Christ ; they had left their parents, 
their families, their estates, their trades, to be his disciples : 
but though they believed him to be the Christ, yet they 
dreamt of a visible kingdom, and did all this with too carnal 
expectations of being great men on earth, when Christ should 
begin his reign ; and therefore when they saw his apprehen- 
sion and ignominious suffering, and thought now they were 
frustrate of their hopes, they seem to repent that they had 
followed him (though not by apostacy and an habitual or 


plenary change of mind, yet) by a sudden passionate fright- 
ful apprehension, which vanished when grace performed its 
part. They now began to think that they had lives of their 
own to save, and families of their own to mind, and business 
of their own to do. They had before forsaken their private 
interests and affairs, and gathered themselves to Jesus Christ, 
and lived in communion with him, and one another : but 
now they return to their trades and callings, and are scat- 
tered every man to his own. 

Selfishness is the great enemy of all societies, of all fide- 
lity and friendship : there is no trusting that person in whom 
it is predominant : and the remnants of it, where it doth not 
reign, do make men walk unevenly and unsteadfastly towards 
God and men. They will certainly deny both God and their 
friends, in a time of trial, who are not able to deny them- 
selves : or rather he never was a real friend to any, that is 
predominantly selfish. They have always some interest of 
their own, which their friend must needs contradict, or is 
insufficient to satisfy. Their houses, their lands, their monies, 
their children, their honour, or something which they call 
their own, will be frequently the matter of contention; and 
are so near them, that they can for the sake of these, cast 
off the nearest friend. Contract no special friendship with a 
selfish man ; nor put any confidence in him, whatever friend- 
ship he may profess. He is so confined to himself, that he 
hath no true love to spare for others : if he seem to love a friend 
it is not as a friend, but as a servant, or at best as a bene- 
factor. He loveth you for himself, as he loveth his money, 
or horse, or house, because you may be serviceable to him : 
or as a horse or dog doth love his keeper, for feeding him : 
and therefore when your provender is gone, his love is gone; 
when you have done feeding him, he hath done loving you ; 
when you have no more for him, he hath no more for you. 

Object. * But (some will say) it is not the falseness of 
my friend that I lament, but the separation, or the loss of 
one that was most faithful : I have found the deceitfulness of 
ordinary friends ; and therefore the more highly prize those 
few that are sincere. I had but one true friend among 
abundance of self-seekers ; and that one is dead, or taken 
from me, and I am left as in a v^^ilderness, having no mortal 
man that I can trust, or take much comfort in.' 

Anuo. Is this your case? I pray you answer these few 


questions, and suffer the truth to have its proper work upon 
your mind. 

Quest. 1. Who was it that deprived you of your friend? 
Was it not God ? Did not he that gave him you, take him 
from you ? Was it not his Lord and Owner that called him 
home? And can God do any thing injuriously or amiss? 
Will you not give him leave to do as he list with his own ? 
Dare you think that there was wanting either wisdom, or 
goodness, justice or mercy, in God's disposal of your friend? 
Or will you ever have rest, if you cannot have rest in the will 
of God? 

2, How know you what sin your friend might have fallen 
into, if he had lived as long as you would have him? You 
will say, that God could have preserved him from sin. It is 
true ; but God preserveth sapientially, by means, as well as 
omnipotentially : and sometimes he seeth that the tempta- 
tions to that person are like to be so strong, and his cor- 
ruption like to get such advantage, that no means is so fit 
as death itself, for his preservation. And if God had per- 
mitted your friend by temptation to have fallen into some 
scandalous sin, or course of evil, or into errors or false 
ways, would it not have been much worse than death to him 
and you ? God might have suffered your friend, that was so 
faithful, to have been sifted and shaken, as Peter was, and 
to have denied his Lord ; and to have seemed in your own 
eyes as odious as he before seemed amiable. 

3. How know you what unkindness to yourself your 
dearest friend might have been ^ilty of? Alas ! there is 
greater frailty and inconstancy in man, than you are aware 
of. And there are sadder roots of corruption unmortified, 
that may spring up into bitter fruits, than most of us ever 
discover in ourselves. Many a mother hath her heart broken 
by the unnaturalness of such a child, or the unkindness of 
such a husband, as if they had died before, would have been 
lamented by her, with great impatience and excess. How 
confident soever you* may be of the future fidelity of your 
friend, you little know what trials might have discovered. 
Many a one hath failed God and man, that once were as con- 
fident of themselves, as ever you were of your friend. And 
which of us see not reason to be distrustful of ourselves? 
And can we know another better than ourselves ? or pi'o- 
mise more concerning him? 


4. How know you what great calamity might have befallen 
your friend, if he had lived as long as you desired? When 
the righteous seem to men to perish, and " merciful men 
are taken away," it is ** from the evil to come" that they are 
taken. (Isa, Ivii. 1.) How many of my friends have I la- 
mented as if they had died unseasonably, concerning whom 
some following providence quickly shewed me, that it 
would have been a grievous misery to them to have lived 
longer ! Little know you what calamities were imminent on 
his person, his family, kindred, neighbours, country, that 
would have broke his heart. What if a friend of yours had 
died immediately before some calamitous subversion of a 
kingdom, some ruins of the church, &c. and if, ignorantly, 
he had done that which brought these things to pass, can 
you imagine how lamentably sad his life would have been 
to him, to have seen the church, the Gospel, and his coun- 
try, in so sad a case ? especially if it had been long of him ? 
Many that have unawares done that which hath ruined a 
particular friend, have lived in so much grief and trouble, 
as made them consent that death should both revenge the 
injured on them, and conclude their misery. What then 
would it have been to have seen the public good subverted, 
and the faithful overwhelmed in misery, and the Gospel hin- 
dered, and holy worship changed for deceit and vanity ; and 
for conscience to have been daily saying, * I had a hand in 
all this misery ; I kindled the fire that hath burned up all I' 

What comfort can you think such friends, if they had 
survived, would have found on earth ? unless it were a com- 
fort to hear the complaints of the afflicted, to see and hear 
such odious sins as sometimes vexed righteous Lot to see 
and hear ; or to hear of the scandals of one friend, and the 
apostacy of another, and the sinful compliances and de- 
clinings of a third; and to be under temptations, reproaches 
and afflictions themselves ? Is it a matter to be so much 
lamented, that God hath prevented their greater miseries 
and woe ? 

5. What was the world to yoiir friends while they did 
enjoy it? or what is it now, or like to be hereafter to your- 
selves ? Was it so good and kind to them, as that you should 
lament their separation from it? Was it not to them a place 
of toil and trouble, of envy and vexation, of enmity and 
poison ? of successive cares, and fears, and griefs ? and 


worst of all, a place of sin? Did they groan under the bur- 
den of a sinful nature, a distempered, tempted, troubled 
heart, of languishings and weakness of every grace; of the 
rebukes of God, the wounds of conscience, and the malice 
of a wicked world ? And would you have them under these 
again? or is their deliverance become your grief? Did you 
not often join in prayer with them, for deliverance from 
malice, calamities, troubles, imperfections, temptations and 
sin ? and now those prayers are answered in their deliver- 
ance; and do you now grieve at that which then you prayed 

Doth the world use yourselves so well and kindly, as 
that you should be sorry that your friends partake not of 
the feast? Are you not groaning from day to day your- 
selves ? and are you grieved that your friends are taken 
from your griefs ? You are not well pleased with your own 
condition : when you look into your hearts, you are dis- 
pleased and complain : when you look into your lives, you 
are displeased and complain j when you look into your 
families, into your neighbourhoods, unto your friends, unto 
the church, unto the kingdom, unto the world, you are dis- 
pleased and complain. And are you also displeased that your 
friends are not under the same displeasure and complaints 
as you? Is the world a place of rest or trouble to you? And 
would you have your friends to be as far from rest as you? 

And if you have some ease and peace at present, you 
little know what storms are near ! you may see the days, 
you may hear the tidings, you may feel the griping griefs 
and pains, which may make you call for death yourselves, 
and make you say, That a life on earth is no felicity, and 
make you confess that they are " Blessed that are dead in 
the Lord, as resting from their labours," and being past 
these troubles, griefs and fears. Many a poor troubled soul 
is in so great distress, as that they take away their own 
lives to have some taste of hell ; and yet, at the same time, 
are grieving because their friends are taken from them, who 
would have been grieved for their griefs, and for ought they 
know might have fallen into as sad a state as they them- 
selves are now lamenting. 

6. Do you think it is for the hurt or the good of your 
friend that he is removed hence ? It cannot be for his hurt, 
unless he be in hell. (At least, it is uncertain whether to 


live would have been for his good, by an increase of grace, 
and so for greater glory.) And if he be in hell, he was no 
fit person for you to take much pleasure in upon earth : he 
might be indeed a fit object for your compassion, but not 
for your complacency. Sure you are not undone for want 
of such company as God will not endure in his sight, and 
you must be separated from for ever. But if they be in 
heaven, you are scarce their friend if you would wish them 
thence. Friendship hath as great respect to the good of 
our friends as of ourselves. And do you pretend to friend- 
ship, and yet lament the removal of your friend to his 
greatest happiness ! Do you set more by your own enjoying 
his company, than by his enjoying God in perfect blessed- 
ness ? This sheweth a very culpable defect either in faith 
or friendship ; and therefore beseemeth not Christians and 
friends. If love teacheth us to mourn with them that mourn, 
and to rejoice with them that rejoice; can it be an act of 
rational love to mourn for them that are possessed of the 
highest everlasting joys ? 

7. God will not honour himself by one only, but by 
many : he knoweth best when his work is done : when our 
friends have finished all God intended them for, when he 
put them into the world, is it not time for them to be gone, 
and for others to take their places, and finish their work also 
in their time ? God will have a succession of his servants in 
the world. Would you not come down, and give place to 
him that is to follow you, when your part is played, and his 
is to begin ? If David had not died, there had been no Solo- 
mon, no Jehoshaphat, no Hezekiah, no Josiah, to succeed 
him and honour God in the same throne. You may as 
wisely grudge that one day only takes not up all the week, 
and that the clock striketh not the same hour still, but pro- 
ceedeth from one to two, from two to three, &c. as to mur- 
mur that one man only continueth not, to do the work of 
his place, excluding his successors. 

8. You must not have all your mercies by one messen- 
ger or hand : God will not have you confine your love to 
one only of his servants ; and therefore he will not make 
one only useful to you ; but when one hath delivered hi^ 
message and done his part, perhaps God will send you 
other mercies by another hand ; and it belongeth to him to 
choose the messenger, who gives the gift. And if you will 


childishly dote upon the tlrst messenger, and say you will 
hare all the rest of your mercies by his hand, or you will 
have no more, your frowardness more deserveth correction 
than compassion: and if you be kept fasting till you can 
thankfully take your food, from any hand that your Father 
sends it by, it is a correction very suitable to your sin. 

9. Do you so highly value your friends for God, or for 
them, or for yourselves, in the final consideration ? If it 
was for God, what reason of trouble have you, that God 
hath disposed of them, according to his wisdom and unerr- 
ing will? Should you not then be more pleased that God 
hath them, and employeth them in his highest service, than 
displeased that you want them ? 

But if 'you value them and love them for themselves, 
they are now more lovely when they are more perfect ; and 
they are now fitter for your content and joy, than they could 
be in their sin and sorrows. 

But if you valued and loved them but for yourselves 
only, it is just with God to take them from you, to teach 
you to value men to righter ends, and upon better consider- 
ations ; and both to prefer God before yourselves, and bet- 
ter to understand the nature of true friendship, and better 
to know that your own felicity is not in the hands of any 
creature, but of God alone. 

10. Did you improve your friends while you had them ? 
or did you only love them, while you made but little use of 
them for your souls? If you used them not, it was just with 
God, for all your love, to take them from you. They were 
given you as your candle, not only to love it, but to work 
by the light of it ; and as your garments, not only to love 
them, but to wear them ; and as your meat, not only to love 
it, but to feed upon it. Did you receive their counsel, and 
harken to their reproofs, and pray with them, and confer 
with them upon those holy truths that tended to elevate 
your minds to God, and to inflame your breasts with sacred 
love ? If not, be it now known to you, that God gave you 
not such helps and mercies only to talk of, or to look upon 
and love, but also to improve for the benefit of your souls. 

11. Do you not seem to forget where you are yourselves, 
and where you must shortly and for ever live ? Where would 
you have your friends, but where you must be yourselves? 
Do you mourn that they are taken hence ? Why, if they 


had staid here a thousand years, how little of that time 
should you have had their company? When you are almost 
leaving the world yourselves, would you not send your trea- 
sure before you to the place where you must abide? How 
quickly will you pass from hence to God, where you shall 
find your friends that you lamented as if they had been lost, 
and there shall dwell with them for ever ! O foolish mourn- 
ers ! would you not have your friends at home ? at their 
home and your home, with their Father and your Father, 
their God and your God? Shall you not there enjoy them 
long enough? Can you so much miss them for one day, 
that must live with them to all eternity? and is not eternity 
long enough to enjoy your friends in? 

Object, * But I do not know whether ever I shall there 
have any distinct knowledge of them, or love to them, and 
whether God shall not there be so far All in All, as that we 
shall need or fetch no comfort from the creature.' 

Answ. There is no reason for either of these doubts : For, 

1. You cannot justly think that the knowledge of the 
glorified shall be more confused or imperfect than the 
knowledge of natural men on earth. We shall know much 
more, but not so much less. Heaven exceedeth the earth 
in knowledge, as much as it doth in joy. 

2. The angels in heaven have now a distinct, particular 
knowledge of the least believers, rejoicing particularly in 
their conversion, and being called by Christ himself " Their 
Angels." Therefore when we shall be equal to the angels, 
we shall certainly know our nearest friends that there dwell 
with us, and are employed in the same attendance. 

3. Abraham knew the rich man in hell, and the rich man 
knew Abraham and Lazarus : therefore we shall have as 
distinct a knowledge. 

4. The two disciples knew Moses and Elias in the mount, 
whom they had never seen before ; though it is possible 
Christ told them who they were, yet there is no such thing 
expressed ; and therefore it is as probable that they knew 
them by the communication of their irradiating glory : 
much more shall we be then illuminated to a clearer know- 

5. It is said expressly, 1 Cor. xiii. 10 — 12, that our 
present knowledge shall be done away only in regard of its 
imperfection ; and not of itself, which shall be perfected : 


" when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in 
part shall be done away :" as we put away childish thoughts 
and speeches, when we become men : the change will be 
from " seeing in a glass" to '* seeing face to face," and from 
** knowing in part" to ** knowing even as we are known." 

2. And that we shall both know, and love, and rejoice in 
creatures, even in heaven, notwithstanding that God is all 
in all, appeareth further thus : 

1. Christ, in his glorified humanity, is a creature ; and 
yet there is no doubt but all his members will there know 
and love him in his glorified humanity, without any deroga- 
tion from the glory of his Deity. 

2. The body of Christ will continue its union, and every 
member will be so nearly related, even in heaven, that they 
cannot choose but know and love each other. Shall we 
be ignorant of the members of our body ? and not be con- 
cerned in their felicity with whom we are so nearly one? 

3. The state and felicity of the church hereafter, is fre- 
quently described in Scripture, as consisting in society. It 
is a kingdom, the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem ; and 
it is mentioned as part of our happiness to be of that society. 
<Heb. xii. 22—24, he.) 

4. The saints are called kings themselves ; and it is said 
that they shall judge the world, and the angels (and judg- 
ing in Scripture is frequently put for governing) ; therefore 
(whether there will be another world of mortals which they 
shall govern, as angels now govern men; or whether the 
misery of damned men and angels will partly consist in as 
base a subjection to the glorified saints, as dogs now have 
to men, or wicked reprobates on earth to angels ; or whe- 
ther in respect of both these together, the saints shall then 
be kings, and rule and judge; or whether it be only the 
participation of the glory of Christ, that is called a king- 
dom, I will not here determine ; but) it is most clear that 
they will have a distinct, particular knowledge of the world, 
which they themselves must judge; and some concernment 
in that work. 

5. It is put into the description of the happiness of the 
saints, that they shall come from the east, and from the 
west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in 
the kingdom of God. Therefore they shall know them, and 
take some comfort in their presence. 


6. Love (even to the saints, as well as unto God) is one 
of the graces which shall endure for ever. (1 Cor. xiii.) It 
is exercised upon an immortal object (the image and chil- 
dren of the Most High), and therefore must be one of the 
immortal graces. For grace in the nature of it dieth not ; 
and therefore if the object cease not, how should the grace 
cease, unless you will call its perfecting a ceasing? 

It is a state too high for such as we, and I think for any 
mere creature to live so immediately and only upon God, as 
to have no use for any fellow creature, nor no comfort in 
them. God can make use of glorified creatures, in such 
subserviency and subordination to himself, as shall be no 
diminution to his allsufficiency and honour, nor to our glory 
and felicity. We must take heed of fancying such a heaven 
itself, as is above the capacity of a creature ; as some very 
wise divines think they have done, that tell us we shall im- 
mediately see God's essence (his glory being that which is 
provided for our intuition and felicity, and is distinct from 
his essence ; being not every where, as his essence is). And 
as those do, that tell us, because that God will be All in All, 
therefore we shall there have none of our comfort by any 
creature. Though flesh and blood shall not enter into that 
kingdom, but our bodies will then be spiritual bodies ; yet 
will they be really the same as now, and distinct from our 
souls ; and therefore must have a felicity suitable to a body 
glorified. And if the soul did immediately see God's es- 
sence, yet as no reason can conclude that it can see nothing 
else, or that it can see even created good, and not love it, 
so the body however must have objects and felicity fit for a 

Object. * But it is said. If we knew Christ after the flesh, 
henceforth know we him no more.' 

Answ. No doubt but all the carnality in principles, mat- 
ter, manner and ends of our knowledge, will then cease, as 
its imperfections ; but that a carnal knowledge be turned 
into a spiritual, is no more a diminution to it, than it is to 
the glory of our bodies, to be made like the stars in the 
firmament of our Father. 

Object. ' But then I shall have no more cornfort in my 
present friends than in any other.' 

Answ. 1. If you had none in them, it is no diminution 
to our happiness, if indeed we should have all in God, im- 


mediately and alone. 2. But if you have as much in others 
that you never knew before, that will not diminish any of 
your comfort in your ancient friends. 3. But it is most pro- 
bable to us, that as there is a twofold object for our love in 
the glorified saints ; one is their holiness, and the other is 
the relation which they stood in between God and us, being 
made his instruments for our conversion and salvation, so 
that we shall love saints in heaven in both respects : and in 
the first respect (which is the chiefest) we shall love those 
most that have most of God, and the greatest glory (though 
such as we never knew on earth). And in the second re- 
spect we shall love those most, that were employed by God 
for our greatest good. 

And that we shall not there lay by so much respect to 
ourselves, as to forget or disregard our benefactors, is mani- 
fest, 1. In that we shall for ever remember Christ, and love 
him, and praise him, as one that formerly redeemed us, and 
washed us in his blood, and hath made us kings and priests 
to God : and therefore we may also, in just subordination 
to Christ, remember them with love and thankfulness, that 
were his instruments for the collation of these benefits. 

2. And this kind of self-love (to be sensible of good and 
evil to ourselves) is none of the sinful or imperfect selfish- 
ness to be renounced or laid by, but part of our very na- 
tures, and as inseparable from us as we are from ourselves. 

Much more, were it not digressive, might be said on this 
subject ; but I shall only add. That as God doth draw us to 
every holy duty by shewing us the excellency of that duty ; 
and as perpetuity is not the smallest excellency ; so he 
hath purposely mentioned that love endureth for ever (when 
he had described the love of one another), as a principal 
motive to kindle and increase this love. And therefore 
those that think they shall have no personal knowledge of 
one another, nor personal love to one another (for we can- 
not love personally, if we know not personally), do take a 
most effectual course to destroy in their souls all holy spe- 
cial love to saints, by casting away that principal or very 
great motive given them by the Holy Ghost. I am not able 
to love much where I foreknow that 1 shall not love long. 
I cannot love d comely inn, so well as a meaner dwelling of 
my own, because I must be gone to-morrow. Therefore 


must I love my Bible better than my law-books, or physic- 
books, &c. because it leadeth to eternity. And therefore I 
must love holiness in myself and others, better than meat 
and drink, and wealth and honour, and beauty and pleasure ; 
because it must be loved for ever, when the love of these 
must needs be transitory, as they are transitory. I must 
profess from the very experience of my soul, that it is the 
belief that I shall love my friends in heaven, that principally 
kindleth my love to them on earth; and if I thought I 
should never know them after death, and consequently 
never love them more, when this life is ended, I should in 
-reason number them with temporal things, and love them 
comparatively but a little ; even as I love other transitory 
things (allowing for the excellency in the nature of grace). 
But now I converse with some delight with my godly 
friends, as believing I shall converse with them for ever, 
and take comfort in the very dead and absent, as believing 
we shall shortly meet in heaven : and I love them, I hope, 
with a love that is of a heavenly nature, while I love them 
as the heirs of heaven, with a love which I expect shall 
there be perfected, and more fully and for ever exercised. 

12. The last reason that I give you, to move you to bear 
the loss or absence of your friends, is, that it gives you the 
loudest call to retire from all the world, and to converse 
with God himself, and to long for heaven, where you shall 
be separated from your friends no more. And your for- 
saken state will somewhat assist you to that solitary con- 
verse with God, which it calls you to: but this brings us up 
to the third part of the text. 

" And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with 

. Doct. * When all forsake us, and leave us (as to them) 
alone, we are far fi^om being simply alone; because God is 
with us.' 

He is not without company, that is with the king, 
though twenty others have turned him off. He is not with- 
out light that hath the shining sun, though all his candles 
be put out. If God be our God, he is our All, and is enough 
for us ; and if he be our All, we shall not much find the 
want of creatures while he is with us. 

For, 1. He is with us, who is every where, and therefore 


is never from us ; and knoweth all the ways and projects of 
our enemies ; being with them in wrath, as he is with us in 

2. He is with us who is Almighty, sufficient to preserve 
us, conquerable by none ; and therefore while he is with us, 
we need not fear what man can do unto us ; for they can do 
nothing but what he will. No danger, no sickness, no trou- 
ble or want can be so great as to make it any difficulty to 
God to deliver^us, when and how he pleases. 

3. He is with us who is infinitely wise, and therefore we 
need not fear the subtilty of enemies ; nor shall any of his 
undertaken works for his church or us miscarry for want of 
foresight, or through any oversight. We shall be preserved 
even from our own folly, as well as from our enemies sub- 
tilty; for it is not our own wisdom that our greatest concern- 
ments do principally rest upon, nor that our safety and peace 
are chiefly secured by ; but it is the wisdom of our great 
Preserver. He knoweth what to do with us, and what paths 
to lead us in, and what is best for us in all conditions. And 
he hath promised to teach us, and will be our sure, infallible 

3. He is with us who is infinitely good, and therefore is 
only fit to be a continual delight and satisfaction to our 
souls ; that hath nothing in him to disafFect us, or discou- 
rage us : whom we may love without fear of overloving; and 
need not set any bounds to our love, the object of it being 

4. He is with us, who is most nearly related to us, and 
most dearly loveth us ; and therefore will never be wanting 
to us in any thing that is fit for us to have. This is he that 
is with us, when all have left us, and as to man we are alone ; 
and therefore we may well say that we are not alone. Of this 
I shall say more anon in the application. 

Quest. ' But how is he with us?' Aiisw. 1. He is with 
us not only in his essential presence, as he is every where, 
but by his gracious fatherly presence : we are in his family 
attending on him ; even as the eye of a servant is to the 
hand of his master : we are always with him, and (as he 
phraseth it himself in the parable, Luke xv,) " all that he 
hath is ours ;" that is, all that is fit to be communicated to 
us, and all the provisions of his bounty for his children. 


When we awake, we should be still with him ; when we go 
abroad, we should be always as before him ; our life and 
works should be a walking with God. 

2. He is always with us sufficiently to do us good. 
Though we have none else that careth for us, yet will he 
never cast us out of his care, but biddeth us cast our care 
on him, as promising that he will care for us. Though we 
have none else to provide for us, he is always with us, and 
our Father knoweth what we want, and will make the best 
provision for us. (Matt. vi. 32, 33.) Though we have none 
else to defend us against the power of our enemies, he is 
always with us to be our sure defence. He is the rock to 
which we fly, and upon which we are surely built. He 
gathereth us to himself, as the " hen gathereth her chickens 
under her wings." (Matt, xxiii. 37.) And sure while love 
is thus protecting us, we may well say that the Father him- 
self is with us. Though in all our wants we have no other 
to supply us, yet he is still with us to perform his promise, 
that no good thing shall be wanting to them that fear him. 
Though we may have none else to strengthen and help us, 
and support us in our weakness, yet he is always with us, 
whose grace is sufficient for us, to manifest his strength in 
weakness. Though we have no other to teach us, and to 
resolve our doubts, yet he is with us that is our chiefest 
Master, and hath taken us to be his disciples, and will be 
our light and guide, and will lead us into the truth. Though 
we have none else to be our comforter in our agony, dark- 
ness or distress ; but all forsake us, or are taken from us, 
and we are exposed as Hagar with Ishmael in a wilderness, 
yet still the Father of all consolations is with us ; his Spirit 
who is the Comforter is in us : and he that so often speaketh 
the words of comfort to us in his Gospel, and saith, " Be of 
good cheer; let not your hearts be troubled, neither be 
afraid," &c., will speak them (in the season and measure 
which is fittest for us) unto our hearts. Though all friends 
turn enemies, and would destroy us, or turn false accusers, 
as Job's friends in their ignorance or passion ; though all 
of them should add affliction to our affliction, yet is our 
Redeemer and Justifier still with us, and will stay his re- 
straining hand upon our enemies, and say to their proudest 
fury, *' Hitherto and no further shalt thou go." He is 
angry with Job's accusing friends, notwithstanding their 


friendship and good meaning, and though they seemed to 
plead for God and godliness against Job's sin. And who 
shall be against us while God is for us? or, who shall con- 
demn us when it is he that justifieth us? Though we be 
put to say as David, '* I looked on my right hand, and be- 
held, but there was no man that would know me : refuge 
failed me ; no man cared for my soul;" (Psal. cxlii. 4;) yet 
we may say with him, " I cried unto thee, O Lord ; I said, 
thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living : 
bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name : 
the righteous shall compass me about: for thou shalt deal 
bountifully with me." (ver. 5 — 7.) " I poured out my com- 
plaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble: when 
my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my 
path : in the way wherein I walked have they privily laid 
a snare for me.'' (ver. 2, 3.) Thus, " God is our refuge and 
strength ; a very present help in trouble ; therefore should 
we not fear though the earth were removed, and though the 
mountains were carried into the midst of the sea ; though 
the waters thereof roar and be troubled," &c. (Psal. xlvi. 
i — 3.) Though, as David saith, *' Mine enemies speak evil 
of me : when shall he die, and his name perish ? And if he 
come to see me, he speaketh vanity : his heart gathereth 
iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad he telleth it : All 
that hate me whisper together against me : against me do 
they devise my hurt : An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast 
unto him ; and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more : 
Yea, my own familiar friend in vi^hom [ trusted, that did eat 

of my bread, hath lift up his heel against me ." (Psal. 

xli.5 — 7.) Yetwemay addas he, ver. 12, "And as for me, thou 
upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face 
forever." Though, as Psal. xxxv. 7.11. 15, 16.20. *' Without 
cause they have hid for me their net in a pit, which without 
cause they have digged for my soul : and false witnesses did 
rise up, they laid to my charge things that I knew not ; they 
rewarded me evil for good. In my adversity they rejoiced, and 
gathered themselves together; the abjects gathered them- 
selves together against me, and I knew it not ; they did tear and 
ceased not; with hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed 
upon me with their teeth. For they speak not peace, but they 
devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the 
land." Yet, ** My soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall re- 


joice in his salvation. All my bones shall say. Lord, who is like 
unto thee, who deliverest the poor from him that is too strong 
for him, yea the poor and the needy from him that spoileth 
him.'' (ver. 9, 10.) Though friends be far off, " The Lord 
is nigh to them that are of a broken heart, and saveth 
such as be of a contrite spirit ; Many are the afflictions of 
the righteous ; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. 
The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants ; and none of 
them that trust in him shall be desolate.*' (Psal. xxxiv. 18, 
19. 22.) Therefore, " I will be glad and rejoice in his mercy, 
for he hath considered my trouble, and hath known (and 
owned) my soul in adversity ; and hath not shut me in the 
hand of the enemy. — When my life was spent with grief, and 
my years with sighing ; my strength failed because of mine 
iniquity, and my bones were consumed ; I was a reproach 
among all mine enemies, but especially among my neigh- 
bours, and a fear to mine acquaintance ; they that did see 
me without, fled from me : I was forgotten, and as a dead 
man out of mind : I was like a broken vessel : I heard the 
slander of many : Fear was on every side, while they took 
counsel together against me, they devised to take away my 
life ; but I trusted in thee, O Lord : I said, thou art my 
God ; my times are in thy hand ; deliver me from the hands 
of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me : Make 
thy face to shine upon thy servant : Save me for thy mercies' 

sake. O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid 

up for them that fear thee, which thou hast .wrought for them 
that trust in thee before the sons of men ! Thou shalt hide 
them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man ; 
thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of 
tongues." (Psal. xxxi.) Thus Ood is with us when men are 
far from us, or against us. His people find by happy expe- 
rience that they are not alone. Because he is nigh them, 
evil shall not come nigh them unless as it worketh for their 
good. " He is their hiding-place to preserve them from 
trouble ; the great waterfloods shall not come nigh them ; 
he will compass them about with songs of deliverance." 
(Psal. xxxii. 6, 7.) 

3. And as God is with us thus relatively and efficiently, 
so also objectively, for our holy converse. Wherever our 
friends are, God is still at hand to be the most profitable, 
honourable and delightful object of our thoughts. There is 



enough in him to take up all the faculties of my soul. He 
that is but in a well-furnished library, may find great and 
excellent employment for his thoughts many years together; 
and so may he that liveth in the open world, and hath all 
the visible works of God to meditate upon : but all this 
were nothing if God were not the sense of books and crea- 
tures, and the matter of all these noble studies. He that is 
alone, and hath only God himself to study, hath the matter 
and sense of all the books and creatures in the world, to 
employ his thoughts upon. He never need to want matter 
for his meditation, that hath God to meditate on. He need 
not want matter of discourse (whether mental or vocal) that 
hath God to talk of, though he have not the name of any 
other friend to mention. All our affections may have in him 
the highest and most pleasant work. The soul of man can- 
not have a more sweet and excellent work than to love him : 
He wanteth neither work nor pleasure, that in his solitude 
is taken up in the believing contemplations of Eternal Love, 
and of all his blessed attributes and works. O then what 
happy and delightful converse may a believer have with God 
alone ! He is always present, and always at leisure to be 
spoken with; and always willing of our access and audience. 
He hath no interest cross to our felicity, which should move 
him to reject us (as worldly great ones often have). He 
never misunderstandeth us, nor chargeth that upon us which 
we were never guilty of. If we converse with men, their 
mistakes, and interests, and passions, and insufficiencies, do 
make the trouble so great, and the benefit so small, that 
many have become thereby aweary of the world, or of hu- 
man society, and have spent the rest of their days alone in 
desert places. Indeed so much of God^as appears in men, 
so much is their converse excellent and delightful ; and 
their's is the best that have most of God. But there is so 
much of vanity, and self, and flesh, and sin in the most, or 
all of us, as very much darkeneth our light, and dumpeth 
the pleasure, and blasteth the fruit of our societies and con- 
verse. O how oft have I been solaced in God, when I found 
nothing but deceit and darkness in the world ! How oft hath 
he comforted me, when it was past the power of man ! How oft 
bath he relieved and delivered me, when all the help of man 
'was in vain! It hath been my stay and rest, to look to him, 
ivhen the creature hath been a broken staff, and deceit! ul 


friends have been but as a broken tooth, or a foot that is 
out of joint (as Solomon speaketh of confidence in an un- 
faithful man in the time of trouble, Prov. xxv. 29.) Verily, 
as the world were but a horrid dungeon without the sun, 
so it were a howling wilderness, a place of no considerable 
employment or delight, were it not that in it we may live to 
God and do him service, and sometimes be refreshed with 
the light of his countenance, and the communications of 
his love. But of this more anon. 

Use 1. We see our example, and our encouragements. 
Let us now, as followers of Christ, endeavour to imitate him 
in this, and to live upon God, when men forsake us, and to 
know that while God is with us, we are not alone, nor indeed 
forsaken while he forsakes us not. 

I shall, 1. Shew you here negatively, what you must not 
do. 2. Affirmatively, what you must do ; for the perform- 
ance of your duty in this imitation of Christ. 

1. You must not make this your pretence for the under- 
valuing your useful friends, nor for your unthankfulness for so 
great a benefit as a godly friend; nor for the neglect of your 
duty in improving the company and help of your friends. 
Two is better than one. The communion of saints and help 
of those that are wise and faithful, is a mercy highly to be 
esteemed. And the undervaluing of it, is at least a sign of 
a declining soul. 

2. You must not hence fetch any pretence to slight your 
friends, and disoblige them, or neglect any duty that you 
owe them, or any means therein necessary to the continua- 
tion of their friendship. 

3. You must not causelessly withdraw from human 
society into solitudie. A weariness of converse with men, 
is oft conjunct with a weariness of our duty ; and a retiring 
voluntarily into solitude, when God doth not call or drive us 
thither, is oft but a retiring from the place and work which 
God hath appointed us ; and consequently a retiring rather 
from God than to God. Like some idle servants that think 
they should not work so hard, because it is but worldly 
business, and think their masters deal not religiously by 
them, unless they let them neglect their labour, that they 
may spend more time in serving God ; as if it were not 
serving God to be faithful in their master's service. 

I deny not but very holy persons have lived in a state of 


retirement from human converse. In such cases as these, it 
may become a duty : 1. In case of such persecution as at 
present leaveth us no opportunity of serving or honouring 
God so much in any other place or state. 

2. In case that natural infirmity, or disability, or any 
other accident shall make one less serviceable to God and 
his church in society than he is in solitude. 

3. In case he hath committed a sin so heinous, and of 
indelible scandal and reproach, as that it is not fit for the 
servants of Christ any more to receive him into their local 
communion, though he repent : (for as to local communion, 
I think, such a case may be.) 

4. In case a man through custom and ill company be so 
captivated to some fleshly lust, as that he is not able to bear 
the temptations that are found in human converse ; but 
falleth by them into frequent heinous sinning ; in this case 
the right hand or eye is rather to be parted with, than their 
salvation. And though a mere restraint by distance of 
temptations and opportunities of sinning, will not prove a 
man sanctified, nor save the soul that? loveth the sin, and 
fain would live in it ; yet, 1. Grace may sometimes appear 
in the strength and self-denial which is exercised in the very 
avoiding of temptations, when yet perhaps the person hath 
not strength enough to have stood against the temptations 
if it had not been avoided. And, 2. The distance of temp- 
tations, and opportunity of serious and frequent considera- 
tion, maybe a means to help them to sincerity that want it. 

5. In case a man by age or sickness find himself so near 
to death, as that he hath now a more special call to look 
after his present actual preparation, than to endeavour any 
more the good of others ; and find withal, that solitude will 
help him in his preparations, his society being such as would 
but hinder him. In these five cases, I suppose it lawful to 
retire from human converse into solitude. 

But when there is no such necessity or call, it usually 
proceedeth from one of these vicious distempers : 1. From 
cowardice and fear of suffering, when the soldiers of Christ 
do hide their heads, instead of confessing him before men. 

2. From a laziness of mind and weariness of duty ; when 
slothful and unprofitable servants hide their talents, pretend- 
ing their fear of the austerity of their Lord. It is easier to 
run away from our work than do it ; and to go out of the 


reach of ignorance, malice, contradiction and ungodliness, 
than to encounter them, and conquer them by truth and 
holy lives. So many persons as we converse with, so many 
are there to whom we owe some duty : and this is not so 
easy as it is to over-run our work, and to hide ourselves in 
some wilderness or cell, whilst others are fighting the battles 
of the Lord. 3. Or it may proceed from mere impatience. 
When men cannot bear the frown, and scorns, and violence 
of the ungodly, they fly from sufferings, which by patience 
they should overcome. 4. Or it may come from humour 
and mutability of mind, and discontent with ones condition. 
Many retire from human converse to please a discontented, 
passionate mind ; or expecting to find that in privacy, which 
in public they could not find, nor is any where to be found 
on earth. 5. And some do it in melancholy, merely to 
please a sick imagination, which is vexed in company, and 
a little easeth itself in living as the possessed man among 
the tombs. 6. And sometimes it proceedeth from self-igno- 
rance, and an unhumbled state of soul. When men think 
much better of themselves than others, they think they can 
more comfortably converse with themselves than with 
others : whereas if they well understood that they are the 
worst or greatest enemies, or troubles to themselves, they 
would more fear their own company than other men's. They 
would then consider what proud, and fleshly, and worldly, 
and selfish, and disordered hearts they are likely to carry 
with them into their solitude, and there to be annoyed with 
from day to day : and that the nearest enemy is the worst, 
and the nearest trouble is the greatest. 

These vices or infirmities carry many into solitude ; and 
if they live where Popish vanity may seduce them, they will 
perhaps imagine that they are serving God, and entering into 
perfection, when they are but sinfully obeying their corrup- 
tions : and that they are advanced above others in degrees 
of grace, while they are pleasing a diseased fancy, and en- 
tering into a dangerous course of sin. No doubt but the 
duties of a public life are more in number, and greater in 
weight, and of more excellent consequence and tendency 
(even to the most public good, and greatest honour of God) 
than the duties of privacy or retirement. * Vir bonus e^ 
commune bonum :' A good man is a common good. And 
saith Seneca) * Nulla essent communia nisi pars illorum 


pertineret ad singulos.' If every one have not some share or 
interest in them, how are they common ? Let me add these 
few considerations, to shew you the evil of voluntary, unne- 
cessary solitude. 

1. You less contribute to the honour of your Redeemer, 
and less promote his kingdom in the world, and less sub- 
serve his death and office, while you do good but to few, and 
live but almost to yourselves. 

2. You live in the poorest exercise of the grace of cha- 
rity ; and therefore in a low, undesirable condition. 

3. You will want the communion of saints, and benefit 
of public ordinances (for I account not a college life a soli- 
tary life). And you will want the help of the charity, graces 
and gifts of others, by which you might be benefitted. 

4. ft will be a life of smaller comfort, as it is a life of 
smaller benefit to others. They that do but little good (ac- 
cording to their ability) must expect but little comfort. 
They have usually most peace and comfort to themselves 
that are the most profitable to others. ' Non potest quis- 
quam bene degere qui se tantum intuetur: alteri vivas opor- 
tet, si tibi vis vivere.' Sen. ' No man can live well, that 
looketh but to himself: thou must live to another, if thou 
wilt live to thyself.' 

O the delight that there is in doing good to many ! None 
knoweth it that hath not tried it : not upon any account of 
merit ; but as it pleaseth God, and as goodness itself is 
amiable and sweet ; and as we receive by communicating ; 
and as we are under promise ; and as charity makes all the 
good that is done to another to be to us as our own. 

5. We are dark and partial, and heedless of ourselves, 
and hardly brought or kept in acquaintance with our hearts ; 
and therefore have the more need of the eye of others. And 
even an enemy's eye may be useful, though malicious ; and 
may do us good, while he intends us evil, saith Bernard, 
* Malum quod nemo videt, nemo arguit : Ubi autem non ti- 
metur reprehensor, securus accedit tentator ; licentius per- 
petratur iniquitas.' * The evil that none seeth, none reprov- 
eth: and where the reprover is not feared, the tempter 
cometh more boldly, and the sin is committed the more li- 
centiously.' It is hard to know the spots in our own faces, 
when we have no glass or beholder to acquaint us with 
them. Saith Chrysostom, Solitude is ' velamen omnium 


vitierum ;* the cover of all vices. In company this cover is 
laid aside, and vice being more naked, is more ashamed. It 
is beholders that cause shame ; which solitude is not ac- 
quainted with : and it is a piece of impenitency not to be 
ashamed of sin. 

6. And we are for the most part so weak and sickly, that 
we are unable to subsist without the help of others. ' Nemo 
est ex imprudentibus qui relinqui sibi debet.' Sen. ' Un- 
wise men (or infants, or sick-like men) must not be left to 
themselves.* And God hath left some impotency, insuffi- 
ciency and necessity upon all that should keep men sociable 
and make them acknowledge their need of others, and be 
thankful for assistance from them, and be ready to do good 
to others, as we would have others do to us. He that feel- 
eth not the need of others, is so unhumbled as to have the 
greater need of them. 

7. Pride will have great advantage in private, and repen- 
tance great disadvantage, while our sins seem to be all dead, 
because there is not a temptation to draw them out, or an 
observer to reprove them. * Tam diu patiens quisque sibi 
videtur et humilis, donee nullius hominum consortio com- 
miscetur ; ad naturam pristinam reversurus quum interpel- 
laverit cujuslibet occasionis commotio,' inquit Cassiamus. 

* Many a man seems to himself patient and humble, while 
he keeps out of company ; who would return to his own na- 
ture, if the commotion of any occasion did but provoke him/ 
It is hard to know what sin or grace is in us, if we have not 
such trials as are not to be found in solitude. 

8. Flying from the observation and judgment of others, 
is a kind of self-accusation ; as if we confessed ourselves so 
bad as that we cannot stand the trial of the light. ' Bona 
conscientia turbam advocat. Mala in solitudine anxia est 
et soUicita : si honesta sunt quae facis, omnes sciant : si 
turpia, quid refert neminem scire, cum tu scias ! O te mi- 
serum si contemnis hunc testem :* inquit Seneca. That is, 

* A good conscience will call in the crowd (or witnesses, 
not caring who seeth) : A bad conscience is anxious and 
solicitous even in solitude. If they be things honest which 
thou dost, let all men know : if they be dishonest, what good 
doth it thee that no man else knoweth it, when thou knowest 
it thyself ? O miserable man, if thou despise this witness !' 
Something is suspected to be amiss with those that are 


always in their chambers, and are never seen. Tell not men 
that you cannot bear the light : it is he that doth evil that 
hateth the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 

9. Solitude is too like death to be desirable. He livetb 
that doth good ; and he is dead that is useless. * Vivit is 
qui multis usui est : vivit is qui sentitur ; qui vero latitant 
et torpent, mortem suam antecesserint,' inquit Sen. ' He 
liveth that is profitable to many : he liveth that is observed 
or perceived ; but they that lie hid and drowsy, do antici- 
pate their death.' And it is the most culpable death, and 
therefore the worst, to have life and not to use it. 

10. And a life of holy communion is most like unto hea- 
ven, where none shall be solitary, but all as members of the 
heavenly Jerusalem, shall in harmony love and praise their 

These reasons seem sufficient to me to satisfy you that 
no man should choose solitude without a special necessity 
or call : nor yet should it be taken for a life of greater per- 
fection, than a faithful serving of God in public, and doing 
good to more. 

I shall now come to the affirmative, and tell you for all 
this, that * If God call us into solitude, or men forsake us, we 
may rejoice in this, that we are not alone, but the Father is 
with us.' Fear not such solitude, but be ready to improve it 
if you be cast upon it. If God be your God, reconciled to 
you in Christ, and his Spirit be in you, you are provided for 
solitude, and need not fear if all the world should cast you 
off. If you be banished, imprisoned or left alone, it is but 
a relaxation from your greatest labours ; which though you 
may not cast off yourselves, you may lawfully be sensible 
of your ease, if God take off your burden. It is but a ces- 
sation from your sharpest conflicts, and removal from a mul- 
titude of great temptations. And though you may not 
cowardly retreat or shift yourselves from the fight and dan- 
ger, yet if God will dispense with you, and let you live in 
greater peace and safety, you have no cause to murmur at 
his dealing. A fruit tree that groweth by the highway side, 
doth seldom keep its fruit to ripeness, while so many pas- 
sengers have each his stone or cudgel to cast at it. Seneca 
could say, ' Nunquama turba mores quos extuli refero. Ali- 
quid ex eo quod composui turbatur; aliquid ex his quie fu- 
gavi redit: inimica est multorum conversatio,' 'I never 


bring home well from a crowd the manners which I took out 
with me : something is disordered of that which I had set 
in order ; something of that which I had banished doth re- 
turn ; the conversation of many I find an enemy to me.' O 
how many vain and foolish words corrupt the minds of those 
that converse with an ungodly world, when your ears and 
minds who live in solitude are free from such temptations ! 
You live not in so corrupt an air as they. You hear not the 
* filthy, ribald speeches, which fight against modesty and 
chastity, and are the bellows of lust. You hear not the dis- 
contented, complaining words of the impatient; nor the 
passionate, provoking words of the offended ; nor the wrang- 
ling, quarrelsome words of the contentious ; nor the censo- 
rious, or slanderous, or reproachful words of the malicious, 
who think it their interest to have their brethren taken to be 
bad, and to have others hate them, because they themselves 
hate them ; and who are as zealous to quench the charity of 
others, when it is destroyed in themselves, as holy persons 
are zealous to provoke others to love, which dwelleth and 
ruleth in themselves. In your solitude with God, you shall 
not hear the lies and malicious revilings of the ungodly 
against the generation of the just : nor the subtle, cheating 
words of heretics, who being themselves deceived, would 
deceive others of their faith, and corrupt their lives. You 
shall not there be distracted with the noise and clamours of 
contending, uncharitable professors of religion, endeavour- 
ing to make odious first the opinions, and then the persons 
of one another : one saying. Here is the church, and another. 
There is the church : one saying, This is the true church- 
government, and another saying. Nay, but that is it : one 
saying, God will be worshipped thus, another. Not so, but 
thus, or thus. You shall not there be drawn to side with 
one against another, nor to join with any faction, or be 
guilty of divisions. You shall not be troubled with the oaths 
and blasphemies of the wicked, nor with the imprudent mis- 
carriages of the weak ; with the persecutions of enemies, or 
the falling out of friends. You shall not see the cruelty of 
proud oppressors, that set up lies by armed violence, and 
care not what they say or do, nor how much other men are 
injured and suffer, so that themselves may tyrannize, and 
their wills and words may rule the world, when they do so 
unhappily rule themselves. In your solitude with God, you 



shall not see the prosperity of the wicked, to move you to 
envy ; nor the adversity of the just, to be your grief. You 
shall see no worldly pomp and splendor to befool you, nor 
adorned beauty to entice you, nor wasting calamities to 
afflict you. You shall not hear the laughter of fools, nor 
the sick man's groans, nor the wronged man's complaints, 
nor the poor man's murmurings, nor the proud man's boast- 
ings, or the angry man's abusive ragings. As you lose the 
help of your gracious friends, so you are freed from the 
fruits of their peevishness and passions ; of their differing 
opinions, and ways, and tempers ; of their inequality, un- 
suitableness, and contrariety of minds or interests ; of their 
levity and inconstancy, and the powerful temptations of 
their friendship, to draw you to the errors or other sins 
which they are tainted with themselves. In a word, you are 
there half delivered from the VANITY and VEXATION of 
the world ; and were it not that you are yet undelivered from 
yourselves, and that you take distempered, corrupted hearts 
with you. Oh what a felicity would your solitude be! But, 
alas ! we cannot overrun our own diseases, we must carry 
with us the remnants of our corrupted nature; our deadness 
and dulness, our selfishness and earthly minds, our impa- 
tience and discontents; and worst of all, our lamentable 
weakness of faith, and love, and heavenly-mindedness, and 
our strangeness to God, and backwardness to the matters 
of eternal life. O that I could escape th^se, though I were 
in the hands of the most cruel enemies ! O that such a heart 
could be left behind ! how gladly would I overrun both 
house and land, and honour, and all sensual delights, that I 
might but overrun it ! O where is the place where there is 
none of this darkness, nor disaffection, nor distance, nor 
estrangedness from God ! O that I knew it ! O that I could 
find it ! O that I might there dwell ! though I should never 
more see the face of mortals; nor ever hear a human voice, 
nor ever taste of the delights of flesh ! Alas ! foolish soul ! 
such a place there is, that hath all this, and more than this ; 
but it is not in a wilderness, but in a Paradise, not here on 
earth, but above with Christ ! and yet am I so loath to die ? 
yet am I no more desirous of the blessed day, when I shall 
be unclothed of flesh and sin ? O death, what an enemy art 
thou even to my soul ! by affrighting me from the presence 
of my Lord, and hindering my desires and willingness to be 


gone, thou wrongest me much more, than by laying my 
flesh to rot in darkness. Fain I would know God, and fain 
I would more love him and enjoy him; but O this hurtful 
love of life ! O this unreasonable fear of dying, detaineth 
my desires from pressing on to the happy place where all 
this may be had ! " O wretched man that I am, who shall de- 
liver me from this body of death !" this carnal believing heart, 
that sometimes can think more delightfully of a wilderness 
than of heaven ; that can go seek after God in desert soli- 
tude, among the birds, and beasts, and trees, and yet so 
backward to be loosed from flesh that I may find him and 
enjoy him in the world of glory ! Can I expect that heaven 
should come down to earth ! and that the Lord of glory 
should remove his court, and either leave the retinue of his 
celestial courtiers, or bring them all down into this drossy 
world of flesh and sin, and this to satisfy my fleshly, foolish 
mind ! or can I expect the translation of Enoch, or the cha- 
riot of Elias ? Is it not enough that my Lord hath conquered 
death, and sanctified the passage, and prepared the place 
of my perpetual abode ? 

Well ! for all this, though a wilderness is not heaven, it 
shall be sweet and welcome, for the sake of heaven, if 
thence I may have a clearer prospect of it; and if by retiring 
from the crowd and noise of folly, I may but be more com- 
posed and better disposed to converse above, and to use my 
faith (alas! my too weak, languid faith) until the beautiful 
vision and fruition come. If there may be but more of God, 
or readier access to him, or more heart-quickening flames 
of love, or more heart-comforting intimations of his favour, 
in a wilderness than in a city, in a prison than in a palace, 
let that wilderness be my city, and let that prison be my 
palace, while I must abide on earth. If in solitude I may 
have Enoch's walk with God, I shall in due season have 
such a translation as shall bring me to the same felicity 
which he enjoyeth; and in the mean time, as well as after, 
it is no disadvantage, if by mortal eyes I be seen no more. 
If the chariot of contemplation will in solitude raise me to 
more believing, affectionate converse with heaven, than I 
could expect in tumults and temptations, it shall reconcile 
me unto solitude, and make it my Paradise on earth, till 
angels, instead of the chariot of Elias, shall convey me to 
the presence of my glorified Head, in the celestial Paradise. 


Object. ' But it is grievous to one that hath been used to 
much company, to be alone/ 

Answ, Company may so use you, that it may be more 
grievous to you not to be alone. The society of wasps and 
serpents may be spared ; and bees themselves have such 
stings as make some that have felt them think they bought 
the honey dear. 

But can you say you are alone while you are with God ? 
Is his presence nothing to you ? doth it not signify more 
than the company of all men in the world ? Saith Hierom, 
• Sapiens nunquam solus esse potest ; habet enim secum 

omnes qui sunt, et qui fuerunt boni et si hominum sit 

inopia, liquitur cum Deo :' viz. ' A wise man cannot be 
alone ; for he hath with him the good men that are or have 

been and if there be a want of men, he speaketh with 

God.' He should rather have said. There can be no want 
of man, when we may speak with God ; and were it not that 
God is here revealed to us as in a glass, and that we do con- 
verse with God in man, we should think human converse 
little worth. 

Object, * O but solitude is disconsolate to a sociable 

Answ. But the most desirable society is no solitude. 
Saith Hierom, ' Infinita erimi vastitas te terret? sed tu Pa- 
radisum mente deambula ; quotiescunque cogitatione ac 
mente illuc conscenderis, toties in erema non eris :' that is, 
* Doth the infinite vastness of the wilderness terrify thee? but 
do thou (ascend) in mind and walk in Paradise ; as oft as thou 
ascendest thither in thought and mind, so oft thou shalt not 
be in the wilderness.' If God be nothing to thee, thou art 
not a Christian but an atheist. If God be God to thee, 
he is all in all to thee ; and then should not his presence be 
instead of all ? O that I might get one step nearer unto God, 
though I receded many from all the world 1 O that I could 
find that place on earth, where a soul may have nearest ac- 
cess unto him, and fullest knowledge and enjoyment of 
him, though I never more saw the face of friends ! I should 
cheerfully say with my blessed Saviour, '* I am not alone, 
for the Father is with me." And should say so for these 
reasons following. 

1. If God be with me, the Maker, and Ruler, and Dis- 
poser of all is with me ; so that all things are virtually with 


me in him. I have that in gold and jewels which I seem to 
want in silver, lead and dross. I can want no friend, if God 
vouchsafe to be my friend ; and I can enjoy no benefit by 
all my friends, if God be my enemy : I need not fear the 
greatest enemies, if God be reconciled to me. I shall not 
miss the light of the candle, if I have this blessed sun.^ The 
creature is nothing but what it is from God, and in God; 
and it is worth nothing, or good for nothing, but what it is 
worth in order unto God, as it declareth him, and helps the 
soul to know him, serve him, or draw nearer to him. As it 
is idolatry in the unhappy worldling to thirst after the crea- 
ture with the neglect of God, and so to make the world his 
God ; so doth it savour of the same heinous sin to lament 
our loss of creatures more than the displeasure of God. If 
God be my enemy, or I am fallen under his indignatian, I 
have then so much greater matters to lament than the loss, 
or absence, or frowns of man, as should almost make me 
forget that there is such a thing as man to be regarded ; but 
if God be my Father, and my Friend in Christ, I have then 
so much to think of with delight, and to recreate and con- 
content my soul, as will proclaim it most incongruous and 
absurd to lament inordinately the absence of a worm, while 
I have his love and presence who is all in all. If God can- 
not content me, and be not enough for me, how is he then 
my God ? or how shall he be my heaven and everlasting 
happiness ? 

2. If God be with me, he is with me to whom I am ab- 
solutely devoted. I am wholly his, and have acknowledged 
his interest in me, and long ago disclaimed all usurpers, and 
repented of alienations, and unreservedly resigned myself 
to him ; and where should I dwell but with him that is my 
Owner, and with whom I have made the most solemn cove- 
nant that ever I made ? I never gave myself to any other, but 
in subordination to him, and with a * salvo' for his highest, 
inviolable right. Where should my goods be but in my 
own house ? With whom should a servant dwell but with 
his master ? and a wife, but with her husband ? and chil- 
dren, but with their father ? I am more nearly related to my 
God, and to my Saviour, than I am to my relations in this 
world. I owe more to him than to all the world ; I have re- 
nounced all the world, as they stand in competition or 
comparison with him ; and can I want their company then. 


while I am with him ? How shall I hate father and mother, 
and wife and children, and brother and sister for his sake, if 
I cannot spare them, or be without them to enjoy him? To 
hate them is but to use them as men do hated things, that 
is, to cast them away with contempt, as they would alienate 
me from Christ, and to cleave to him, and be satisfied in 
him alone. I am now married to Christ, and therefore must 
cheerfully leave father and mother, and my native place, 
and all, to cleave to him ; and with whom should I now de- 
light to dwell, but with him who hath taken me into so near 
relation, to be, as it were, one flesh with him ! O my dear 
Lord, hide not thou thy face from an unkind, an unworthy 
sinner ! let me but dwell with thee and see thy face, and 
feel the gracious embracements of thy love, and then let me 
be cast off by all the world, if thou seest it meetest for me ; 
or let all other friends be where they will, so that my soul 
may be with thee ; I have agreed for thy sake to forsake all, 
even the dearest that shall stand against thee ; and I resolve 
by thy grace to stand to this agreement. 

3. If God be with me, I am not alone, for he is with me 
that loveth me best. The love of all the friends on earth 
is nothing to his love. O how plainly hath he declared 
that he loveth me, in the strange condescension, the suf- 
ferings, death, and intercession of his Son! What love 
hath he declared in the communications of his Spirit, and 
the operations of his grace, and the near relations into 
which he brought me ! What love hath he declared in the 
course of his providences ! in many and wonderful preserva- 
tions and deliverances ! in the conduct of his wisdom, and 
in a life of mercies I What love appeareth in his precious 
promises, and the glorious provisions he hath made for me 
with himself to all eternity ! O my Lord, I am ashamed that 
thy love is so much lost ; that it hath no better return from 
an unkind, unthankful heart ; that I am no more delighted 
in thee, and swallowed up in the contemplation of thy love ; 
I can contentedly let go the society and converse of all 
others, for the converse of some one bosom friend, that is 
dearer to me than they all, as Jt)nathan to David. And can 
I not much more be satisfied in thee alone, and let go all, if 
I may continue with thee ? My very dog will gladly forsake 
all the town, and all persons in the world, to follow me 



alone ! And have I not yet found so much love and goodness 
in thee, my dear and blessed God, as to be willing to con- 
verse alone with thee ? All men delight most in the company 
of those that love them best ; they choose not to converse 
with the multitude when they look for solace and content, 
but with their dearest friends. And should any be so near 
to me as God ? O were not thy love unworthily neglected 
by an unthankful heart, I should never be so unsatisfied in 
thee, but should take up, or seek my comforts in thee ; I 
should then say, " Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there 
is none on earth that I desire besides thee !" Though not 
only my friends, but my flesh and heart themselves should 
fail me, it is thou that wilt still be the strength of my heart, 
and my portion for ever ; it is good therefore for me to draw 
near to thee, how far soever I am from man, O let me there 
dwell where thou wilt not be strange, for thy loving-kind- 
ness is better than life ; instead of the multitude of my tur- 
moiling thoughts, let me be taken up in the believing views 
of thy reconciled face, and in the glad attendance of thy 
grace ; or at least in the multitude of my thoughts within 
me, let thy celestial comforts delight my soul. Let me 
dwell as in thy family ; and when I awake, let me be still 
with thee ! Let me go no where but where I am still follow- 
ing thee ; let me do nothing but thy work, nor serve any 
other, but when I may truly call it a serving thee ; let me 
hear nothing but thy voice, and let me know thy voice by 
whatever instrument thou shalt speak ; let me never see any 
thing but thyself, and the glass that representeth thee, and 
the books in which I may read thy name ; and let me never 
play with the outside, and gaze on words and letters as in- 
significant, and not observe thy name which is the sense. 
Whether it be in company or in solitude, let me be con- 
tinually with thee, and do thou vouchsafe to hold me by my 
right hand ; and guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards 
receive me unto thy glory. (Psal. Ixxiii. 23 — 26 ; Ixiii. 3.) 

4, If God be with me I am not alone ; for I shall be with 
him whose love is of greater use and benefit to me, than the 
love of all my friends in the world. Their love may perhaps 
be some little comfort, as it floweth from his ; but it is his 
love by which, and upon which T live. It is his love that 
gives me life and time, and health and food, and preserva- 



tion ; that gives rae books, and giveth rae understanding : 
that giveth me provision, and saveth me from turning it to 
pernicious fleshliness and excess ; that giveth me even my 
friends themselves, and saveth me from that abuse which 
might make them to me worse than enemies. The sun, the 
earth, the air, is not so useful or needful to me as his love. 
The love of all my friends cannot make me well when I am 
sick : it cannot forgive the smallest of my sins ; nor yet as- 
sure me of God's forgiveness : it cannot heal the maladies 
of my soul, nor give a solid, lasting peace to the conscience 
which is troubled : if all my friends stand about me when I 
am dying, they cannot take away the fears of death, nor 
secure my passage to everlasting life ; death will be death 
still, and danger will be danger, when all my friends have 
done their best. But my Almighty Friend is allsufficient; 
he can prevent my sicknesss, or rebuke and cure it, or make 
it so good to me, that I shall thank him for it : he can blot 
out my transgressions, and forgive all my sin; and justify 
me when the world and my conscience do condemn me : he 
can teach me to believe, to repent, to pray, to hope, to suf- 
fer, and to overcome : he can quiet my soul in the midst of 
trouble, and give me a well-grounded, everlasting peace, 
and a joy that no man can take from me. He can deliver 
me from all the corruptions and distempers of my froward 
heart ; and ease me and secure me in the troublesome war 
which is daily managed in my breast. He can make it as 
easy a thing to die, as to lie down and take my rest when I 
am weary, or to undress me at night and go to bed. He 
can teach death to lay by its terrible aspect, and speak with 
a mild and comfortable voice, and to me the most joyful 
tidings that ever came unto my ears ; and to preach to me 
the last and sweetest sermon, even the same that our Saviour 
preached on the cross ; *' Verily I say unto thee. To-day 
shalt thou be with Christ in Paradise.'* (Luke xxiii. 43.) 

And is this the difference between the love of man and 
of God ? And yet do I lament the loss of man ! And yet am 
I so backward to converse with God, and to be satisfied in 
his love alone! Ah, my God, how justly mayest thou with- 
hold that love which I thus undervalue; and refuse that 
converse which I have first refused ! and turn me over to 
man, to silly man, to sinful man, whose converse I so much 
desire, till I have learnt by dear experience the difference be- 


tween man and God, and between an earthly and an heavenly 
friend ! Alas ! have I not tried it oft enough, to have known it 
better before this day ! Have I not oft enough found what man 
is in a time of trial ! Have I not been told it over and over, and 
told it to the quick, by deceitful friends, by self-seeking 
friends, by mutable, erroneous, deceived, scandalous, back- 
sliding friends, by proud and self-conceited friends ; by pas- 
sionate, quarrelsome, vexatious friends, by self-grieving, trou- 
bled friends, that have but brought me all their calamities and 
griefs to be additions to my own ; by tempting friends, that 
have drawn me to sin more effectually than enemies ; by 
tender, faithful, but unable friends, that have but fetched 
fire from my calamities and sorrows, to kindle their own, 
not equally sharing, but each one taking all my trouble 
entirely to himself; that have been willing, but insufficient 
to relieve me ; and therefore the greater was their love, the 
greater was their own, and consequently mine affliction : 
that would have been with me, but could not ; that would 
fain have eased my pain, and strengthened my languishing 
body, but could not ; that would fain have removed all my 
troubles, and comforted my cast-down mind, but could not. 

how often have I found that human friendship is a sweet, 
desired addition to our woe ; a beloved calamity, and an 
affliction which nature will not be without, not because it 
loveth evil, nor because it is wholly deceived in its choice 
(for there is good in friendship, and delight in holy love) ; 
but because the good which is here accompanied with so 
much evil, is the beginning of a more high and durable 
friendship, and pointeth us up to the blessed, delightful 
society and converse which in the heavenly Jerusalem we 
shall have with Christ. 

But O how much better have I found the friendship of 
the allsufficient God ! His love hath not only pitied me, but 
relieved me ; he hath not only been as it were afflicted with 
me in my afflictions, but he hath delivered me seasonably, 
and powerfully, and sweetly hath he delivered me : and 
when he had once told me that my afflictions were his own, 

1 had no reason to doubt of a deliverance. My burdened 
mind hath been eased by his love, which was but more bur- 
dened by the fruitless love of all my friends. Oft have I 
come to man for help, and ease, and comfort, and gone 
away as from an empty cistern, that had no water to cool 


my thirst ; but God hath been a present help : could I but 
get near him, I was sure of light, how great soever was my 
former darkness : could I but get near him, I was sure of 
warming, quickening life, how dead soever I had been be- 
fore : but all my misery was, that I could not get near him ! 
my darkened, estranged, guilty soul, could not get quieting 
and satisfying acquaintance : my lumpish heart lay dead on 
earth, and would not stir, or quickly fell down again, if by 
any celestial force it began to be drawn up, and move a lit- 
tle towards him : my carnal mind was entangled in diverting 
vanities : and thus I have been kept from communion with 
my God. Kept! not by force of human tyranny; not by 
bars or bolts, or distance of place, or by the lowness of my 
condition; nor by any misrepresentations or reproach of 
man ; but, alas ! by myself, by the darkness and deadness, 
and sluggishness, and earthliness, and fleshliness, and pas- 
sions of a naughty heart! These have been my bars, and 
bolts, and gaolers ; these are they that have kept me from 
my God : had it not been for these, 1 might have got nearer 
to him ; I might have walked with him, and dwelt with him ; 
yea, "dwelt in him, and he in me ;" and then I should not 
have missed any friends, nor felt mine enemies : and is it 
my sinful distance from my God that hath been my loss, my 
wilderness, my woe ? And is it a nearer admittance to the 
presence of his love that must be my recovery and my joy, 
if ever I attain to joy? O then, my soul, lay hold on Christ 
the Reconciler, and in him and by him draw near to God ; 
and cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils : love 
^ God in his saints, and delightfully converse with Christ in 
m them, while thou hast opportunity. But remember thou 
m livest not upon them, or on their love, but upon God ; and 
K therefore desire their company but for his ; and if thou have 
ML his, be content if thou have not theirs. He wants not man 
Hkthat enjoyeth God. Gather up all the love, and thoughts, 
^'and desires which have been scattered and lost upon the 
creatures, and set them all on God himself, and press into 
his presence, and converse with him, and thou shalt find the 
mistake of thy present discontents, and sweet experience 
shall tell thee thou hast made a happy change. 

5. If God be with me, I am not alone, because he is with 
me with whom my greatest business lieth. And what com- 
pany should 1 desire, but theirs with whom I have my daily 


necessary work to do? I have more to do with God than 
with all the world ; yea, more and greater business with him 
in one day, than with all the world in all my life. I have 
business with man about house, or lands, or food, or raiment, 
or labour, or journeying, or recreations, about society and 
public peace ; but what are these to my business with God ! 
Indeed with holy men I have holy business ; but that is but 
as they are messengers from God, and come to me on his 
business, and so they must be dearly welcome : but even 
then my business is much more with God than with them ; 
with him that sent them, than with the messengers. Indeed 
ray business with God is so great, that if 1 had not a media- 
tor to encourage and assist me, to do my work and procure 
me acceptance, the thoughts of it would overwhelm my soul. 
O therefore, my soul, let man stand by ; it is the eter- 
nal God that I have to do with : and with whom I am 
to transact in this Ifttle time the business of my end- 
less life. I have to deal with God through Christ, for the 
pardon of my sins ; of all my great and grievous sins ; 
and woe to me, if I speed not, that ever I was born ; I have 
some hopes of pardon, but intermixed with many perplexing 
fears; I have evidences much blotted, and not easily under- 
stood : I want assurance that he is indeed my Father and re- 
conciled to me, and will receive me to himself when the 
world forsaketh me : I have many languishing graces to be 
strengthened ; and, alas, what radicated, obstinate, vexatious 
corruptions to be cured ! Can I look into my heart, into 
such an unbelieving, dead, and earthly heart, into such a 
proud, and peevish, and disordered heart, into such a trem- 
bling, perplexed, self-accusing heart, and yet not under- 
stand how great my business is with God ? Can I peruse 
my sins, or feel my wants, and sink under my weaknesses, 
and yet not discern how great my business is with God? 
Can I look back upon all the time that I have lost, and all 
the grace that I unthankfully resisted, and all the mercies 
that I trod under foot or fooled away ; or can I look before 
me and see how near my time is to an end, and yet not un- 
derstand how great my business is with God? Can I think 
of the malice and diligence of Satan, the number, power 
and subtilty of mine enemies, the many snares and dangers 
that are still before me, the strength and number of tempta- 
tions, and my ignorance, unwatchfulness and weakness to 


resist, and yet not know that my greatest business is with 
God ? Can I feel my afflictions and lament them, and think 
my burden greater than I can bear, and find that man cannot 
relieve me ; can I go mourning in the heaviness of my soul, 
and water my bed with tears, and fill the air with my groans 
and lamentations, or feel my soul overwhelmed within me, 
so that my words are intercepted, and I am readier to break 
than speak, and yet not perceive that my greatest business 
is with God? Can I think of dying; can I draw near to 
judgment ; can I think of everlasting joys in heaven, and of 
everlasting pains in hell, and yet not feel that my greatest 
business is with God ? O then, my soul, the case is easily 
resolved, with whom it is that thou must most desirously and 
seriously converse. Where shouldst thou be but where thy 
business is, and so great business ? Alas, what have I to 
do with man ! What can it do but make my head ache, to 
hear a deal of senseless chat, about preferments, lands, and 
dignities ; about the words and thoughts of men, and a 
thousand toys that are utterly impertinent to my great em- 
ployments, and signify nothing but that the dreaming world 
is not awake ! What pleasure is it to see the bustles of a 
bedlam-world ? What a stir they make to prove or make 
themselves unhappy ! How long and of how little weight, 
are the learned discourses about syllables and words, and 
names and notions, and mood and figure, yea or about the 
highest planets, when all are not referred unto God! Were 
it not that some converse with men, doth further my con- 
verse with God ; and that God did transact much of his bu- 
siness by his messengers and servants, it were no matter 
whether ever I more saw the face of man : were it not that 
my master hath placed me in society, and appointed me 
much of my work for others, and with others, and much of 
his mercy is conveyed by others, man might stand by, and 
solitude were better than the best society, and God alone 
should take me up. O nothing is so much ray misery and 
shame, as that I am no more willing, nor better skilled in the 
management of my great important business ! That my 
work is with God, and my heart is no more with him ! O 
what might I do in holy meditation or prayer one hour, if I 
were as ready for prayer, and as good at prayer, as one that 
has had so long opportunity and so great necessity to con- 
verse with God, should be ! A prayerless heart, a heart that 


flieth away from God, is most inexcusable in such a one as I, 
that have so much important business with him: it is work 
thai must be done ; and if well done will never be repented 
of. I use not to return from the presence of God (when in- 
deed I have drawn near him) as I do from the company of 
empty men, repenting that I have lost my time, and trembled 
that my mind is discomposed or depressed by the vanity and 
earthly savour of their discourse. I oft repent that I have 
prayed to him so coldly, and conversed with him so negli- 
gently, and served him so remissly ; but I never repent of 
the time, the care, the affections or the diligence employed in 
his holy work. Many a time I have repented that ever I 
spent so much time with man, and wished I had never seen 
the faces of some that are eminent in the world, whose 
favour and converse others are ambitious of; but it is my 
grief and shame that so small a part of all my life hath been 
spent with God, and that fervent prayer and heavenly con- 
templations, have been so seldom and so short. O that I 
had lived more with God, though I had been less with the 
dearest of my friends ! How much more sweet then would my 
life have been ! How much more blameless, regular and pure ! 
How much more fruitful and answerable to my obligations 
and professions ! How much more comfortable to my review ! 
How many falls, and hurts, and wounds, and griefs, and 
groans might I have escaped ! O how much more pleasing 
is it now to my remembrance, to think of the hours in which 
I have lain at the feet of God, though it were in tears and 
groans, than to think of the time which I have spent in any 
common converse with the greatest, or the most learned, or 
the dearest of my acquaintance. 

And as my greatest business is with God, so my daily 
business is also with him. He purposely leaveth me under 
wants, and suffers necessities daily to return, and enemies 
to assault me, and affliction to surprise me, that I may be 
daily driven to him. He loveth to hear from me. He would 
have me be no stranger with him. I have business with 
him every hour, I need not want employment for all the fa- 
culties of my soul, if I know what it is to converse in hea- 
ven. Even prayer, and every holy thought of God, hath an 
object so great and excellent, as should wholly take me up. 
Nothing must be thought or spoken lightly about the Lord. 
His name must not be taken in vain. Nothing that is com- 


mon beseemeth his worshippers. He will be sanctified of all 
that draw shall near him. He must be loved with all the heart 
and might. His servants need not be wearied for want of 
employment, nor through the lightness or unprofitableness 
of their employment. If I had cities to build, or kingdoms 
to govern, I might better complain for want of employment, 
for the faculties of my soul, than I can when I am to con- 
verse in heaven. In other studies the delight abateth when 
I have reached my desire, and know all that I can know ; 
but in God there is infinitely more to be known, when I 
know the most. I am never satiated with the easiness of 
knowing, nor are my desires abated by any uneasiness or 
unworthiness in the object; but I am drawn to it by its 
highest excellencies, and drawn on to desire more and more 
by the infiniteness of the light which I have not yet beheld, 
and the infiniteness of the good which yet I have not en- 
joyed. If I be idle, or seem to want employment, when I 
am to contemplate all the attributes, relations, mercies, 
works, and revealed perfections of the Lord, it is sure for 
want of eyes to see, or a heart inclined to my business. If 
God be not enough to employ my soul, then all the persons, 
and things on earth are not enough. 

And when I have Infinite Goodness to delight in, where 
my soul may freely let out itself, and never need to fear ex- 
cess of love, how sweet should this employment be. As 
knowledge, so love is never stinted here, by the narrowness 
of the object. We can never love him in any proportion 
either to his goodness and amiableness in himself, or to his 
love to us. What need have I then of any other company 
or business, when I have Infinite Goodness to delight in and 
to love (further than they subserve this greatest work). 

Come home then, O my soul, to God ; converse in 
heaven : turn away thine eyes from beholding vanity ; let 
not thy affections kindle upon straw or briars, that go out 
when they have made a flash or noise, and leave thee to thy 
cold and darkness ; but come and dwell upon celestial 
beauties, and make it thy daily and most diligent work, to 
kindle thy affections on the infinite, everlasting Good ; and 
then they will never be extinguished or decay for want of 
fuel ; but the further they go, and the longer they burn, the 
greater will be the flame. Though thou find it hard while 
love is but a spark to make it burn, and complain that thy 


cold and backward heart is hardly warmed with the love of 
God, yet when the whole pile hath taken fire, and the flame 
ascendeth, fire will breed fire, love will cause love ; and all 
the malice of hell itself shall never be able to suppress or 
quench it unto all eternity. 

6. And it is a great encouragement to my converse with 
God, that no misunderstanding, no malice of enemies, no 
former sin or present frailty, no nor the infinite distance of 
the most holy, glorious God, can hinder my access to him, 
or turn away his ear or love, or interrupt my leave and 
liberty of converse. If I converse with the poor, their wants 
afflict me, being greater than I can supply ; their com- 
plaints and expectations, which I cannot satisfy, are my 
trouble. If I would converse with great-ones, it is not 
easy to get access ; and less easy to have their favour, 
unless I would purchase it at too dear a rate. How strangely 
and contemptuously do they look at their inferiors ! Great 
friends must be made for a word or smile j and if you be 
not quickly gone, they are aweary of you : and if you seek 
any thing of them, or would put them to any cost or trouble, 
you are as welcome to them as so many vermin or noisome 
creatures : they please them best that drive you away. With 
how much labour and difficulty must you climb, if you will 
see the top of one of these mountains ; and when you are 
there, you are but in a place of barrenness, and have nothing 
to satisfy yoii for your pains, but a larger prospect and ver- 
tiginous despect of the lower grounds which are not your 
own. It is seldom that these great-ones are to be spoken 
with ; and perhaps their speech is but a denial to your re- 
quest, if not some snappish and contemptuous rejection, 
that makes you glad when you are got far enough from them, 
and makes you better like and love the accessible, calm, and 
fruitful plains. 

But O how much greater encouragements hath ray 
soul to converse with God ! Company never hindereth 
him from hearkening to my suit; he is infinite and om- 
nipotent, and is sufficient for every individual soul, as if 
he had no other to look after in the world : when he is 
taken up with the attendance and praises of his heavenly 
host, he is as free and ready to attend and answer the 
groans and prayers of a contrite soul, as if he had no nobler 
creatures, nor no higher service to regard. I am oft unready* 


but God is never unready ; I am unready to pray, but he is 
not unready to hear j I am unready to come to God, to walk 
with him, and to solace my soul with him, but he is never 
unready to entertain me. Many a time my conscience would 
have driven me away, when he hath called me to him, and 
rebuked my accusing, fearful conscience. Many a time I 
have called myself a prodigal, a companion of swine, a 
miserable hard hearted sinner, unworthy to be called his 
son, when he hath called me child, and chid me for my ques- 
tioning his love. He hath readily forgiven the sins which I 
thought would have made my soul the fuel of hell. He hath 
entertained me with joy, with music and a feast, when I had 
better deserved to have been among the dogs without his 
doors. He hath embraced me in his sustaining consolatory 
arms, when he might have spurned my guilty soul to hell, 
and said, " Depart from me thou worker of iniquity, I know 
thee not." O little did I think that he could ever have for- 
gotten the vanity and villainy of my youth ; yea so easily 
have forgotten my most aggravated sins. When I had sin- 
ned against light; when 1 had resisted conscience; when I 
had frequently and wilfully injured love, I thought he would 
never have forgotten it ; but the greatness of his love and 
mercy, and the blood and intercession of his Son, hath can- 
celled all. O how many mercies have I tasted since I 
thought I had sinned away all mercies ! How patiently hath 
he borne with me, since I thought he would never have put 
up more ! And yet besides my sins and the withdrawings of 
my own heart, there hath been nothing to interrupt our con- 
verse. Though he be God, and I a worm, yet that would 
not have kept me out : though he be in heaven, yet he is 
near to succour me on earth, in all that I call upon him for: 
though he have the praise of angels, he disdaineth not my 
tears and groans : though he have the perfect love of 
perfect souls, he knoweth the little spark in my breast, 
and despiseth not my weak and languid love: though I 
injure and dishonour him by loving him no more ; though 
I oft forget him, and have been out of the way when he hath 
come or called me, though I have disobediently turned away 
mine ears, and unkindly refused the entertainments of his 
love, and unfaithfully played with those whose company he 
forbad me, he hath not divorced me, nor turned me out of 
doors. O wonderful! that heaven will be familiar with 


esirth ! and God with man ! the Highest with a worm ! and 
the Most Holy with an inconstant sinner! Man refuseth 
me, when God will entertain me ; man that is no wiser and 
better than myself. Those that I never wronged, or deserved 
ill of, reject me with reproach ; and God, whom I have un- 
speakably injured, doth invite me, and entreat me, and con- 
descendeth to me, as if he were beholden to me to be saved. 
Men, that I have deserved well of, do abhor me ; and God, 
that I have deserved hell of, doth accept me. The best of 
them are briars, and a thorny hedge, and he is love, and rest, 
and joy. And yet I can be more welcome to him, though I 
have offended him, than I can to them whom I have obliged : 
I have freer leave to cast myself into my Father's arms, than 
to tumble into those briars, or wallow in the dirt. I upbraid 
myself with my sins, but he doth not upbraid me with them. 
I condemn myself for them, but he condemns me not ; he 
forgiveth me sooner than I can forgive myself : I have peace 
with him, before I can have peace of conscience. 

O, therefore, my soul, draw near to him that is so willing 
of thy company ; that frowneth thee not away, unless it be 
when thou hast fallen into the dirt, that thou may est wash 
thee from thy filthiness, and be fitter for his converse. Draw 
near to him that will not wrong thee, by believing misre- 
ports of enemies, or laying to thy charge the things thou 
knewest not ; but will forgive the wrongs thou hast done to 
him, and justify thee from the sins that conscience layeth to 
thy charge. Come to him that by his word and spirit, his 
ministers and mercies calleth thee to come ; and hath pro- 
mised that those that come to him, he will in no wise shut 
out. O walk with him that will bear thee up, and lead thee 
as by the right hand, (Psal. Ixxiii. 23.) and carry his infants 
when they cannot go ! O speak to him that teacheth thee to 
speak, and understandeth and accepts thy stammering j and 
helpeth thine infirmities, when thou knowest not what to 
pray for as thou oughtest ; and giveth thee groans when 
thou hast not words, and knoweth the meaning of his spirit 
in thy groans ; that cannot be contained in the heaven of 
heavens, and yet hath respect to the contrite soul, that 
trembleth at his word, and feareth his displeasure; that 
pitieth the tears, and despiseth not the sighing of a broken 
heart, nor the desires of the sorrowful. O walk with him 
that is never weary of the converse of the upright soul ! 


that is never angry with thee but for flying from him, or for 
drawing back, or being too strange, and refusing the kind- 
ness and felicity of his presence. The day is coming when 
the proudest of the sons of men would be glad of a good 
look from him that thou hast leave to walk with ; even they 
that would not look on thee, and they that injured and 
abused thee, and they that inferiors could have no access to ! 
O how glad would they be then of a smile, or a word of 
hope and mercy from their Father ! Draw near then to him, 
on whom the whole creation doth depend ; whose favor at last 
the proudest and the worst would purchase with the loudest 
cries, when all their pomp and pleasure is gone, and can 
purchase nothing. O walk with him that is love itself, and 
think him not unwilling or unlovely ; and let not the de- 
ceiver by hideous misrepresentations drive thee from him : 
when thou hast felt a while the storms abroad, methinks thou 
shouldst say. How good, how safe, how sweet is it to draw 
near unto God ! 

7. With whom should I so desirously converse, as with 
him whom I must live with for ever? If I take pleasure in 
my house, or land, or country, my walks, my books, or 
friends themselves as cloathed with flesh, I must possess 
this pleasure but a little \vhile : henceforth know we no man 
after the flesh : had we known Christ after the flesh, we 
must know him so no more for ever. (Though his glorified, 
spiritual body we shall know.) Do you converse with father 
or mother, with wives or children, with pastors and teachers; 
though you may converse with these as glorified saints when 
you come to Christ, yet in these relations that they stand in 
to you now, you shall converse with them but a little while; 
for " the time is short: it remaineth that both they that have 
wives, be as though they had none ; and they that weep, as 
though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they 
rejoiced not; and those that buy, as though they possessed 
not ; and they that use this world, as not abusing it (or as 
though they used it not): for the fashion of this world 
passeth away." 1 Cor. vii. 29 — 31. 

Why then should I so much regard a converse of so 
short continuance ? Why should I be so familiar in my inn, 
and so much in love with that familiarity, as to grieve 
when I must but think of leaving it, or talk of going home, 
and look forward to the place where I must dwell for ever ? 


Shall I be fond of the company of a passenger that 1 travel 
with (yea, perhaps one that doth but meet me in the way, 
and goeth to a contrary place), and shall I not take more 
pleasure to remember home ? 1 will not be so uncivil as to 
deny those I meet a short salute, or to be friendly with 
my fellow-travellers : but remember, O my soul, that thou 
dost not dwell, but travel here, and that it is thy Father's 
house where thou must abide for ever ; yea, and he is nearer 
thee than man (though invisible), even in thy way. O see 
him then that is invisible ; barken to him when he speaketh ; 
obey his voice; observe his way; speak to him boldly, 
though humbly and reverently, as his child, about the great 
concernments of thy state : tell him what it is that aileth 
thee ; and seeing all thy smart is the fruit of thy own sin, 
confess thy folly and unkindness, crave his forgiveness, and 
remember him what his Son hath suffered, and for what ; 
treat with him about thy future course ; desire his grace, 
and give up thyself to his conduct and his care ; weep over 
in his ears the history of thy misdoings and unthankful 
course ; tell it him with penitential tears and groans ; but 
tell him also the advantage that he hath for the honouring 
of his grace, if it may now abound where sin aboundeth : 
tell him that thou art most offended with thyself, for that 
which he is most offended with ; that thou art angry 
with thy disobedient, unthankful heart ; that thou art even 
aweary of that heart that loveth him no more ; and that it 
shall never please thee, till it love him better, and be more 
desirous to please him : tell him of thy enemies, and crave 
the protection of his love : tell him of thy frailties, infirmi- 
ties and passions, and crave not only his tender forbearance, 
but his help ; tell him that without him thou canst do no- 
thing ; and crave the grace that is sufficient for thee, that 
through him that strengtheneth thee thou mayst do all 
things : when thou fallest, despair not, but crave his help- 
ing hand to raise thee. Speak to him especially of the 
everlasting things, and thank him for his promises, and for 
thy hopes ; for what thou shalt be, and have, and do among 
his holy ones for ever. Express thy joys in the promise of 
those joys ; that thou must see his glory, and love him, and 
praise him better than thou canst now desire ! begin those 
praises, and as thou walkest with him, take pleasure in the 
mention of his perfections ; be thankful to him, and speak 



good of his name : solace thyself in remembering what a 
God, what a defence and portion all believers have ; and in 
considering whither he is now conducting thee, and what 
he will do with thee, and what use he will make of thee for 
ever: speak with rejoicing of the glory of his works, and 
the righteousness of his judgments, and the holiness and 
evenness of his ways : sing forth his praises with a joyful 
heart, and pleasant and triumphing voice ; and frown away 
all slavish fears, all importune, malicious suggestions and 
doubts, all peevish, hurtful, nipping griefs, that would mar 
or interrupt the melody ; and would untune or unstring a 
raised well-composed soul. Thy Father loveth thy very 
moans and tears; but how much more doth he love thy 
thanks and praise ! Or if indeed it be a winter-time, a stormy 
day with thee, and he seem to chide or hide his face because 
thou hast offended him, let the cloud that is gathered by thy 
folly come down in tears, and tell him, '* Thou hast sinned 
against heaven, and before him, and art no more worthy to 
be called his son ;" but yet fly not from him, but beg his 
pardon and the privilege of a servant ; and thou wilt find 
embracements, when thou fearest condemnation ; and find 
that he is merciful and ready to forgive : only return, and 
keep closer for the time to come. If the breach through 
thy neglect be gone so far, as that thou seemest to have lost 
thy God, and to be cast off, and left forsaken; despair not 
yet ; for he doth but hide his face till thou repent : he doth 
not forsake thee, but only tell thee what it is to walk so 
carelessly as if thou wouldst forsake him : thou art faster 
and surer in his love and covenant than thou canst believe 
or apprehend. Thy Lord was as dear as ever to his Father, 
when he cried out, " My God, why hast thou forsaken me?'' 
But yet neglect him not, and be not regardless of his with- 
drawings, and of thy loss : lift up thy voice and cry but 
Father ; in despite of unbelief, cry out. My Father, my Sa- 
viour, my God, and thou shalt hear him answer thee at last. 
My child; cry out, O why dost thou hide thy face? and 
why hast thou forsaken me ! O what shall I do here with- 
out thee ! O leave me not, lose me not in this howling wil- 
derness ! Let me not be a prey to any ravening beast ! to my 
sin, to Satan, to my foes and thine ! Lift up thy voice and 
weep, and tell him, they are the tears and lamentations of 


his child : O beg of him, that thy wanderings and childish 
folly, may not be taken as acts of enmity, or at least that 
they may be pardoned ; and though he correct thee, that he 
will return and not forsake thee, but still take thee and use 
thee as his child, or if thou hast not words to pour out be- 
fore him, at least smite upon thy breast, and though thou 
be ashamed or afraid to look up towards heaven, look down 
and say, *' O Lord, be merciful to me a sinner," and he will 
take it for an acceptable suit, that tendeth to thy pardon 
and justification, and will number such a sentence with the 
prayers which he cannot deny. Or if thou cry and canst 
not hear of him, and hast long called out upon thy Father's 
name, and hearest not his voice and hast no return ; inquire 
after him of those thou meetest : ask for him of them that 
know him, and are acquainted with his way ; make thy 
moan unto the watchmen ; and ask them, where thou mayst 
find thy Lord. And at last he will appear to thee, and find 
thee first, that thou mayst find him, and shew thee where it 
was that thou didst lose him, by losing thyself and turning 
from him ! seek him and thou shalt find him ; wait and he 
will appear in kindness ; for he never faileth or forsaketh 
those that wait upon him. 

This kind of converse, O my soul, thou hast to prosecute 
with thy God. Thou hast also the concernments of all his 
servants ; his afilicted ones, to tell him of; tell him also of 
the concernments of his kingdom, the fury of his enemies, 
the dishonour they cast upon his name, the matters of his 
Gospel, cause, and interest in the world ; but still let his 
righteous judgment be remembered, and all be terminated 
in the glorious, everlasting kingdom. 

Is it not much better thus to converse with him that 1 
must be with for ever, about the place, and the company, 
and work, and concernments of my perpetual abode, than 
to be taken up with strangers in my way, and detained by 
their impertinencies ? 

I have found myself so long in these meditations that I 
will but name the rest, and tell you what I had farther to 
have treated on, and leave the enlargement to your own 

8. I have no reason to be weary of converse with God, 
seeing it is that for which all human converse is regardable 


Converse with man, is only so far desirable as it tendeth to 
our converse with God ; and therefore the end must be pre- 
ferred before the means. 

9. It is the office of Christ, and the work of the Holy 
Ghost, and the use of all the means of grace, and of all 
creatures, mercies, and afflictions, to reduce our straying 
souls to God, that we may converse with him, and enjoy 

10. Converse with God is most suitable to those that 
are so near death ; it best prepare th for it ; it is likest to 
the work that we are next to do. We had rather, when 
death comes, be found conversing with God, than with man ; 
it is God that a dying man hath principally to do with ; it 
is his judgment that he is going to, and his mercy that he 
hath to trust upon ; and therefore it concerneth us to draw 
near him now, and be no strangers to him, lest strangeness 
then should be our terror. 

11. How wonderful a condescension is it that God should 
be willing to converse with me ! with such a worm and sin- 
ful wretch ; and therefore how inexcusable is my crime, if 
I refuse his company, and so great a mercy! 

12. Lastly, Heaven itself is but our converse with God 
and his glorified ones (though in a more perfect manner 
than we can here perceive). And therefore our holy con- 
verse with him here is the state that is likest heaven, and 
that prepareth for it, and all the heaven that is on earth. 

It remaineth now that I briefly tell you what you should 
do to attain and manage this converse with God, in the im- 
provement of your solitude. (For directions in general for 
walking with God, I reserve for another place.) At present 
let these few suffice. 

Direct. 1. ' If you would comfortably converse with 
God, make sure that you are reconciled to him in Christ, 
and that he is indeed your Friend and Father.' " Can two 
walk together except they be agreed V* Can you take plea- 
sure in dwelling with the consuming fire ? or conversing 
with the most dreadful enemy ? Yet this I must add, that 
every doubting or self-accusing soul may not find a pre- 
tence to fly from God. 1. That God ceaseth not to be a 
Father whenever a fearful soul is drawn to question or deny 
it. 2. That in the universal love and grace of God to mis- 



erable sinners, and in the universal act of conditional par- 
don and oblivion, and in the oflPers of grace, and the readi- 
ness of God to receive the penitent, there is glad tidings 
that should exceedingly rejoice a sinner; and there is suffi- 
cient encouragement to draw the most guilty, miserable sin- 
ner to seek to God, and sue for mercy. But yet the sweetest 
converse is for children, and for those that have some as- 
surance that they are children. 

But perhaps you will say, that this is not easily attained. 
How shall we know that he is our Friend ? 

In brief, I answer. If you are unfeignedly friends to God, 
it is because he first loved you. Prefer him before all other 
friends, and all the wealth and vanity of the world ; provoke 
him not by wilfulness or neglect; use him as your best 
Friend, and abuse him not by disobedience or ingratitude ; 
own him before all, at the dearest rates, whenever you are 
called to it : Desire his presence ; lament his absence : love 
him from the bottom of your hearts ; think not hardly of 
him ; suspect him not ^ misunderstand him not ; hearken not 
to his enemies ; receive not any false reports against him ; 
take him to be really better for you, than all the world : Do 
these, and doubt not but you are friends with God, and God 
with you. In a word. Be but heartily willing to be friends to 
God, and that God should be your chiefest Friend, and you 
may be sure that it is so indeed, and that you are and have 
what you desire. And then how delightfully may you con- 
verse with God. 

Direct. 2. * Wholly depend on the mediation of Christ, 
the great Reconciler.' Without him there is no coming 
near to God; but in his Beloved you shall be accepted. 
Whatever fear of his displeasure shall surprise you, fly pre- 
sently for safety unto Christ ; whatever guilt shall look you 
in the face, commit yourself and cause to Christ, and desire 
him to answer you : when the doors of mercy seem to be 
shut against you, fly to him that bears the keys, and can at 
any time open to you and let you in : desire him to answer 
for you to God, to your own consciences, and against all 
accusers ; by him alone you may boldly and comfortably 
converse with God ; but God will not know you out of him. 

Direct. 3. 'Take heed of bringing a particular guilt into 
the presence of God, if you would have sweet communion 


with him/ Christ himself never reconciled God to sin ; 
and the sinner and sin are so nearly related, that notwith- 
standing the death of Christ, you shall feel that iniquity 
dwelleth not with God, but he hateth the workers of it, and 
the foolish shall not stand in his sight ; and that if you will 
presume to sin because you are his children, " be sure your 
sin will find you out." O what fears, what shame, what 
self-abhorrence, and self-revenge will guilt raise in a peni- 
tent soul, when it comes into the light of the presence of the 
Lord ! It will unavoidably abate your boldness and your 
comforts ; when you should be sweetly delighting in his 
pleased face, and promised glory, you will be befooling your- 
selves for your former sin, and ready even to tear your flesh, 
to think that ever you should do as you have done, and use 
him as you would not have used a common friend, and cast 
yourselves upon his wrath. But an innocent soul, or paci- 
fied conscience, doth walk with God in quietness and de- 
light, without those frowns and fears which are a taste of 
hell to others. 

Direct. 4. * If you would comfortably converse with God, 
be sure that you bring not idols in your hearts.' Take heed 
of inordinate affection to any creature. Let all things else 
be nothing to you, that you may have none to take up your 
thoughts but God. Let your minds be further separate 
from them than your bodies ; bring not into solitude or con- 
templation, a proud, or lustful, or covetous mind : it much 
more concerneth thee, what heart thou bringest, than what 
place thou art in, or what work thou art upon. A mind 
that is drowned in ambition, sensuality, or passion, will 
scarce find God any sooner in a wilderness than in a crowd 
(unless Tie be there returning from those sins to God), 
wherever he seeth him, God will not own and be familiar 
with so foul a soul. Seneca could say, * Quid prodest toti- 
us regionis silentium, si afFectus fremunt?' What good doth 
the silence of all the country do thee, if thou have the noise 
of raging affections withia? And Gregory saith, * Qui 
corpore remotus vivit, &c.' He that in body is far enough 
from the tumult of human conversation, is not in solitude, 
if he busy himself with earthly cogitations and desires : 
and he is not in the city, that is not troubled with the 
tumult of the worldly cares and fears, though he be pressed 
with the popular crowds. Bring not thy house, or land, or 


credit, or carnal friend along with thee in thine heart, if 
thou desire and expect to walk in heaven, and to converse 
with God. 

Direct. 5. ' Live still by faith ; let faith lay heaven and 
earth as it were together.' Look not at God as if he were 
far off; set him always as before you, even as at your right 
hand. (Psal. xvi. 8.) Be still with him when you awake. 
(Psal. cxxxix. 18.) In the morning thank him for your rest; 
and deliver up yourself to his conduct and service for that 
day. Go forth as with him, and to do his work ; do every 
action, with the command of God, and the promise of hea- 
ven before your eyes, and upon your hearts : live as those 
that have incomparably more to do with God and heaven, 
than with all this world ; that you may say with David, (as 
afore cited), " Whom have I in heaven but thee ! and there 
is none on earth that I desire besides thee.*' (Psal. xxxvii. 
25, 26.) And with Paul, *' To me to live is Christ, and 
to die is gain." (Phil. i. 21.) You must shut up the eye of 
sense (save as subordinate to faith), and live by faith upon 
a God, a Christ, and a world that is unseen, if you would 
know by experience what it is to be above the brutish life of 
sensualists, and to converse with God. O Christian, if thou 
hast rightly learned this blessed life, what a high and noble 
soul-conversation wouldst thou have! How easily wouldst 
thou spare, and how little wouldst thou miss the favour of 
the greatest, the presence of any worldly comfort ! City or 
solitude would be much alike to thee, saving that the place 
and state would be best to thee, where thou hast the greatest 
help and freedom to converse with God. Thou wouldst 
say of human society as Seneca, * Unus pro populo mihi est, 
et populus pro uno ; mihi satis est unus, satis est nullus.' 
One is instead of all the people to me, and the people as 
one; one is enough for me, and none is enough. Thus be- 
ing taken up with God, thou mightest live in prison as at 
liberty, and in a wilderness as in a city, and in a place of 
banishment as in thy native land ; ** for the earth is the Lord's, 
and the fulness thereof;" and every where thou mayst find 
him, and converse with him, and lift up pure hands unto 
him: in every place thou art within the sight of home ; and 
heaven is in thine eye, and thou art conversing with that 
God, in whose converse the highest angels do place their 
highest felicity and delight. 


How little cause then have all the church's enemies to 
triumph, that can never shut up a true believer from the pre- 
sence of his God ; nor banish him into such a place where 
he cannot have his conversation in heaven ! The stones that 
were cast at holy Stephen, could not hinder him from seeing 
the heavens opened, and Christ sitting at the right hand of 
God. A Patmos allowed holy John communion with Christ, 
being there in the Spirit on the Lord*s-day. (Rev. i. 9, 10.) 
Christ never so speedily and comfortably owneth his ser- 
vants, as when the world disowneth them, and abuseth them 
for his sake, and hurls them up and down as the scorn 
and ofFscouring of all. He quickly found the blind man that 
he had cured, when once the Jews had cast him out. (John 
ix. 35.) Persecutors do but promote the blessedness and 
exceeding joy of sufferers for Christ. (Matt. v. 11, 12.) 

And how little reason then have Christians, to shun such 
sufferings, by unlawful means, which turn to their so great 
advantage ! and to give so dear as the hazard of their souls 
by wilful sin, to escape the honour, and safety, and commo- 
dity of martyrdom ! 

And indeed we judge not, we love not, we live not, as 
sanctified ones must do, if we judge not that the truest 
liberty and love is not as the best condition, in which we 
may best converse with God. And O how much harder is it 
to walk with God in a court, in the midst of sensual delights, 
than in a prison or wilderness where we have none to inter- 
rupt us, and nothing else to take us up ! It is our prepos- 
sessed minds, our earthly hearts, our carnal affections and 
concupiscence, and the pleasures of a prosperous state that 
are the prison and the jailors of our souls. Were it not for 
these, how free should we be, though our bodies were con- 
fined to the straitest room ! He is at liberty that can walk in 
heaven, and have access to God, and make use of all the 
creatures in the world, to the promoting of this his heavenly 
conversation. And he is the prisoner whose soul is chained 
to flesh and earth, and confined to his lands and houses, and 
feedeth on the dust of worldly riches, or walloweth in the 
dung and filth of gluttony, drunkenness and lust ; that are 
far from God, and desire not to be near him ; but say to him. 
Depart from us, we would not have the knowledge of thy 
ways : that love their prison and chains so well, that they 
would not be set free, but hate those with the most cruel 


hatred that endeavour their deliverance. Those are the poor 
prisoners of Satan that have not liberty to believe, nor 
love God, nor converse in heaven, nor seriously to mind or 
seek the things that are high and honourable ; that have not 
liberty to meditate or pray, or seriously to speak of holy 
things, nor to love and converse with those that do so : that 
are tied so hard to the drudgery of sin, that they have not 
liberty one month, or week, or day, to leave it, and walk with 
God so much as for a recreation ! But he that liveth in the 
family of God, and is employed in attending him, and doth 
converse with Christ, and the host of holy ones above, in 
reason should not much complain of his want of friends, or 
company, or accommodations, nor yet be too impatient of 
any corporal confinement. 

Lastly, be sure then most narrowly to watch your hearts, 
that nothing have entertainment there, which is against your 
liberty of converse with God. Fill not those hearts with 
worldly trash, which are made and new-made to be the 
dwelling-place of God. Desire not the company which 
v^ould diminish your heavenly acquaintance and correspon- 
dence. Be not unfriendly, nor conceited of a self-sufficiency ; 
but yet beware lest under the honest ingenuous title of a 
friend, a special, prudent, faithful friend, you should enter- 
tain an idol, or an enemy to your love of God, or a corrival 
and competitor with your highest friend ; for if you do, it is 
not the specious title of a friend that will save you from the 
thorns and briars of disquietment, and from greater troubles 
than ever you found from open enemies. 

O blessed be that high and everlasting Friend, who is 
every way suited to the upright souls ; to their minds, their 
memories, their delight, their love, &c. by surest truth, by 
fullest goodness, by clearest light, by dearest love, by firm- 
est constancy, &c. O why hath my drowsy and dark- 
sighted soul been so seldom with him? Why hath it so often, 
so strangely, and so unthankfuUy passed by, and not ob- 
served him, nor hearkened to his kindest calls ? O what is 
all this trash and trouble that hath filled my memory, and 
employed my mind, and cheated and corrupted my affec- 
tions, while my dearest Lord hath been days and nights so 
unworthily forgotten, so contemptuou,sly neglected and dis- 
regarded, and loved as if I loved him not ! O that these 
drowsy and those waking nights, those loitered, lost, and 


empty hours had been spent in the humblest converse with 

him, which have been dreamed and doted away upon 

now I know not what ! O my God, how much wiser and 
happier had I been had I rather chosen to mourn with thee, 
than to rejoice and sport with any other ! O that I had ra- 
ther wept with thee, than laughed with the creature ! For 
the time to come let that be my friend, that most befriendeth 
my dark, and dull, and backward soul, in its undertaken 
progress, and heavenly conversation ! or if there be none 
such upon earth, let me here take no one for my friend ! O 
blot out every name from my corrupted heart, which hin- 
dereth the deeper engraving of thy name ! Ah, Lord, what a 
stone, what a blind, ungrateful thing, is a heart not touched 
with celestial love ! yet shall I not run to thee, when I have 
none else that will know me ! shall I not draw near thee, 
when all fly from me ! when daily experience crieth out so 
foolish heart, that hast not thought of it. ' Where is that 
place, that cave or desert, where I might soonest find thee, and 
fallest enjoy thee? is it in the wilderness that thou walkest, 
or in the crowd ; in the closet, or in the church ? where is 
it that I might soonest meet with God?' But, alas ! I now 
perceive, that I have a heart to find, before I am like to find 
my Lord ! O loveless, lifeless, stony heart ! that is dead to 
him that gave it life ! and to none but him! Could I not 
love, or think, or feel at all, methinks I were less dead than 
now ! less dead, if dead, than now I am alive ! I had almost 
said, ' Lord, let me never love more till I can love thee ! 
nor think more on any thing till I can more willingly think 
of thee!' But I must suppress that wish; for life will act: 
and the mercies and motions of nature are necessary to 
those of grace. And therefore in the life of nature, and in 
the glimmerings of thy light, I will wait for more of the ce- 
lestial life ! My God, thou hast my consent ! it is here at- 
tested under my hand : ' Separate me from what and whom 
thou wilt, so I may but be nearer thee !* Let me love thee 
more, and feel more of thy love, and then let me love or be 
beloved of the world, as little as thou wilt. 

I thought self-love had been a more predominant thing ; 
but now I find that repentance hath its anger, its hatred and 
its revenge ! I am truly angry with the heart that hath so 
oft and foolishly offended thee ! Methinks I hate that heart 


that is so cold and^backward in thy love, and almost grudge 
it a dwelling in my breast ! Alas ! when love should be the 
life of prayer, the life of holy meditation, the life of sermons 
and of holy conference, and my soul in these should long to 
meet thee, and delight to mention thee, I straggle. Lord, I 
know not whither ! or sit still and wish, but do not rise and 
run and follow thee, yea, I do not what I seem to do. All 
is dead, all is dead, for want of love ! I often cry, O where 
is that place, where the quickening beams of heaven are 
warmest, that my frozen soul might seek it out ! but whi- 
ther can I go, to city or to solitude, alas, I find it is not 
place that makes the difference. 1 know that Christ is per- 
fectly replenished with life, and light, and love divine ; and 
I hear him as our Head and Treasure proclaimed and offered 
to us in the Gospel!" This is thy record, that '* he that hath 
the Son, hath life ! " O why then is my barren soul so empty ! 
I thought I had long ago consented to thy offer; and then, 
according to thy covenant, both head and life in him are 
mine! and yet must I still be dark and dead! 

Ah, dearest Lord, I say not that I have too long waited ! 
but if I continue thus to wait, wilt thou never find the time 
of love ? and come and own thy gasping worm ? wilt thou 
never dissipate these clouds, and shine upon this dead and 
darkened soul ? Hath my night no day ? Thrust me not from 
thee, O my God ! for that is hell, to be thrust from God. 
But sure the cause is all at home, could I find it out, or ra- 
ther could I cure it! It is sure my face that is turned from 
God, when I say. His face is turned from me. But if my 
life must here be out of sight, and hidden in the root (with 
Christ in God), and if all the rest be reserved for that better 
world, and I must here have but these small beginnings, O 
make me more to love and long for the blessed day of thine 
appearing, and not to fear the time of my deliverance, nor 
unbelievingly to linger in this Sodom, as one that had rather 
stay with sin, than come to thee ! Though sin hath made me 
backward to the fight, let it not make me backward to re- 
ceive the crown ; though it hath made me a loiterer in thy 
work, let it not make me backward to receive that wages, 
which thy love will give to our pardoned, poor, accepted 
services. Though I have too oft drawn back, when I should 
have come unto thee, and walked with thee in thy ways of 
grace, yet heal that unbelief, and disaffection, which would 


make me to draw back, when thou callest me to possess thy 
glory ! Though the sickness and lameness of my soul have 
hindered me in my journey, yet let their painfulness help me 
to desire to be delivered from them and to be at home, 
where (without the interposing nights of thy displeasure) 1 
shall fully feel thy fullest love, and walk with thy glorified 
ones in the light of thy glory, triumphing in thy praise for 
evermore. Amen. 

But now I have given you these few directions for the 
improvement of your solitude for converse with God, lest I 
should occasion the hurt of those that are unfit for the les- 
son I have given, I must conclude with this caution (which 
I have formerly also published). That it is not melancholy 
or weak-headed persons, who are not able to bear such ex- 
ercises, for whom I have written these directions. Those 
that are not able to be much in serious, solitary thought- 
fulness, without confusions and distracting suggestions, and 
hurrying, vexatious thoughts, must set themselves for the 
most part to those duties which are to be done in company 
by the help of others ; and must be very little in solitary 
duties : for to them whose natural faculties are so diseased 
or weak, it is no duty, as being no means to do them the 
desired good ; but while they strive to do that which they 
are naturally unable to endure, they will but confound and 
distract themselves, and make themselves unable for those 
other duties which yet they are not utterly unfit for. To 
such persons, instead of ordered, well-digested medita- 
tions, and much time spent in secret thoughtfulness, it 
must suffice that they be brief in secret prayer, and take up 
with such occasional abrupter meditations as they are capa- 
ble of, and that they be the more in reading, hearing, con- 
ference, and praying and praising God with others ; until 
their melancholy distempers are so far overcome, as that 
(by the direction of their spiritual guides) they may judge 
themselves fit for this improvement of their solitude. 












If thou think this Treatise both superfluous and defective, 
when so many larger have better done the work already, 1 
shall not at all gainsay the latter, nor much the former. The 
reason of my writing it, was the necessity and request of 
some very upright, godly persons, who are lately fallen into 
doubt or error, in point of the Sabbath-day, conceiving, that 
because the fourth commandment was written in stone, it 
is wholly unchangeable, and consequently the Seventh-day 
Sabbath in force, and that the Lord's-day is not a day se- 
parated by God to holy worship. I knew that there was 
enough written on this subject long ago ; But, 1. Much of 
it is in Latin. 2. Some writings which prove the abrogation 
of the Jewish Sabbath, do withal treat so loosely of the 
Lord's-day, as that they require a confutation in the latter, 
as well as a commendation for the former. 3. Some are so 
large, that the persons that I write for, will hardly be 
brought to read them. 4. Most go upon those grounds, 
which I take to be less clear ; and build so much more than 
I can do on the fourth commandment and on many passages 
of the Old Testament, and plead so much for the old sab- 
batical notion and rest, that I fear this is the chief occasion 
of many people's errors ; who when they find themselves in 
a wood of difficulties, and nothing plain and convincing that 
is pleaded with them, do therefore think it safest to stick to 
the old Jewish Sabbath. The friends and acquaintance of 
some of these persons importuning me, to take the plainest 
and nearest way to satisfy such honest doubters, I have here 
done it according to my judgment: not contending against 
any that go another way to work, but thinking myself that 
this is very clear and satisfactory ; viz. to prove, 1. That 
Christ did commission his apostles to teach us all things 
which he commanded, and to settle orders in his church. 2. 


And that he gave them his Spirit to enable them to do all 
this infallibly, by bringing all his words to their remem- 
brance, and by leading them into all truth. 3. And that his 
apostles by this Spirit did * de facto ' separate the Lord's- 
day for holy worship, especially in church-assemblies, and 
declared the cessation of the Jewish Sabbaths. 4. And that 
as this change had the very same author as the holy Scrip- 
tures (the Holy Ghost in the apostles), so that fact hath the 
same kind of proof, that we have of the canon and the in- 
tegrity and uncorruptness of the particular Scripture-books 
and texts : and that, if so much Scripture as mentioneth the 
keeping of the Lord's-day, expounded by the consent and 
practice of the universal church from the days of the apos- 
tles, (all keeping this day as holy, without the dissent of any 
one sect, or single person, that I remember to have read of,) 
I say, if history will not fully prove the point of fact, that 
this day was kept in the apostle's times, and consequently 
by their appointment, then the same proof will not serve to 
evince that any text of Scripture is canonical, and uncor- 
rupted ; nor can we think that any thing in the world, that 
is past, can have historical proof. 

I have been put to say something particularly out of 
antiquity for this evidence of the fact, because it is that 
which I lay the greatest stress upon. But I have not done 
it so largely as might be done. 1. Because I would not lose 
the unlearned reader in a wood of history, nor overwhelm 
him instead of edifying him. 2. Because it is done already 
in Latin by Dr. Young in his " Dies Dominica" (under the 
name of Theophilus Loncardiensis) ; which I take to be the 
most moderate, sound, and strong Treatise on this subject 
that I have seen : though Mr. Cawdry and Palmer (jointly) 
have done well, and at greater length ; and Mr. Eaton, Mr. 
Shephard, Dr. Bound, Wallseus, Rivet, and my dear friend 
Mr. George Abbot, against Broad, have said very much : 
and in their way. Dr. White, Dr. Heylin, Bishop Ironside, 
Mr. Brierwood, &c. 3. I chose most of the same citations 
which Dr. Heylin himself produceth, because he being the 
man that I am most put to defend myself against, his con- 
cessions are my advantage. 4. And if I had been willing, I 
could not have been so full in this as the subject will bespeak, 
because I have almost eleven years been separated from my 
l^br^iry, and long fropa the neighbourhood of any one's else. 



I much pity and wonder at those godly men, who are so 
much for stretching the words of Scripture, to a sense that 
other men cannot find in them, as that in the word Graven 
Images in the second commandment, they can find all set 
forms of prayer, all composed studied sermons, and all things 
about worship of man's invention to be images or idolatry ; 
and yet they cannot find the abrogation of the Jewish Sab- 
bath in the express words of Col. ii. 16. nor the other texts 
which I have cited ; nor can they find the institution of the 
Lord's-day in all the texts and evidences produced for it. 
But though Satan may somewhat disturb our concord, and 
tempt some men's charity to remissness, by these differences, 
he shall never keep them out of heaven, who worship God 
through Christ, by the Spirit, even in spirit and truth. Nor 
shall he, I hope, ever draw me to think such holy persons as 
herein differ from me, to be worse than myself, though I 
think them in this to be unhappily mistaken : much less to 
approve of their own separation from others, or of other 
men's condemning them as heretics, and inflicting severities 
upon them, for these their opinion's-sake. 






Though the principal thing desired by the inquirers is, 
That 1 would prove to them the cessation of the Seventh- 
day Sabbath, yet because they cast off the Lord's- day, which 
I take to be a far greater error and sin than the observation 
of both days ; and because that when I have proved the in- 
stitution of the Lord's-day, I shall the more easily take them 
off the other, by proving that there are not two weekly days 
set apart by God for holy worship ; therefore I will begin with 
the first question. Whether the Lord's-day, or first day of 
the week, be separated by God's institution for holy worship, 
especially in public church-conventions'? Aff. 

And here, for the right stating of the question, let it be 
noted, I, That it is not the name of a Sabbath that we now 
meddle with, or stand upon. Let us agree in the thing, and 
we shall easily bear a difference about the name. Grant that 
it is ' a day separated by God's institution for holy assemblies 
and worship,' and then call it a Sabbath, or the Lord's-day, 
as you please ; though for myself I add, that the ' Lord's-day' 
is the name that the Holy Ghost hath set upon it, and the 
name which the first churches principally used; and that they 
call it also sometimes by the name of the Christian Sabbath ; 
but that is only analogically, as it is resembled to the Jewish 
Sabbath ; and as they used the names Sacrifice and Altar, 
(I speak only * de facto' how the ancients used these words,) 



at the same time for the Christian's commemoration of 
Christ's sacrifice in the Sacrament of the Lord's-supper, and 
for the Table ; or, as Dr. Young saith, page 23, ' As in 
Scripture, Baptism is called Circumcision. And that very 
rarely too.' 

2. That the question of the manner of observing the 
Lord's-day, and what exercises of worship it must be spent in, 
and what diversions are lawful or unlawful, as also when the 
day beginneth, are not to be here meddled with in the be- 
ginning, but afterwards, when the Divine institution of the 
day itself is first sufficiently proved. Which is done as 
followeth : 

Arg. * That day which was separated to holy worship by 
the Holy Ghost, was separated to holy worship by God the 
Father and the Son. But the first day of the week was se- 
parated to holy worship by the Holy Ghost : therefore the 
first day of the week was separated to holy worship, by God 
the Father and the Son.' 

The minor only needeth proof among Christians. 

* That day which was separated to holy worship by the 
apostles, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, was separa- 
ted to holy worship by the Holy Ghost. But the first day 
of the week was separated to holy worship by the apostles, 
by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Therefore the first 
day of the week was separated to holy worship by the Holy 

The minor which only needeth proof, is thus proved. 

' That day which was separated to holy worship by the 
apostles who had the Holy Ghost promised them by Christ, 
and given them, to lead them into all truth, and to bring all 
its doctrines to their remembrance, and to teach the churches 
to do all his commands, and to feed, and guide, and order 
them, as his principal commissioned church-ministers, was 
separated to holy worship by the apostles by the inspiration 
of the Holy Ghost. 
' ' But such is the first day of the week : 

* Therefore the first day of the week is separated to holy 
worship by the apostles by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.' 

I have five propositions now distinctly to be proved : 
four for the proof of the major, and one for the proof of the 




The first proposition is : ' That Christ commissioned his 
apostles as his principal church-ministers, to teach the 
churches all his doctrine, and deliver them all his commands 
and orders, and so to settle and guide the first churches/ 

The second proposition is, * That Christ promised them 
his Spirit, to enable them to do what he had commissioned 
them to do, by leading them into all truth, and bringing his 
words and deeds to their remembrance, and by guiding them 
as his churches' guides.* 

The third proposition is, * That Christ performed this 
promise, and gave his Spirit accordingly to his apostles, to 
enable them to all their commissioned work/ 

The fourth proposition is, * That the apostles did actu- 
ally separate or appoint the first day of the week, for holy 
worship, especially in church-assemblies.' 

The fifth proposition is, * That this act of theirs was 
done by the guidance or inspiration of the Holy Ghost, 
which was given them.' 

And when I have distinctly proved these five things, no 
sober understanding Christian can expect that I should 
prove any more, towards the proof of the question in hand. 
Whether the first day of the week be separated by God's in- 
stitution for holy worship, especially in church-assemblies. 



Prop. 1. That Christ commissioned his Apostles, or his prin- 
cipal Church-Ministers, to teach the Churches all his Doctrine, 
and deliver them all his Commands and Orders, and so to 
settle and guide the Jirst Churches, 

This I prove, 1. By their commission itself: 2. By their 
performance with its proper seal : 3. By the consent of all 
the Christian world. 

1. *' He called to him his disciples, and of them he chose 
twelve, whom also he named apostles. (Luke vi. 13.) Their 
first commission is recited Matt. x. at large. 

*' All authority is given me both in heaven and in earth : 
Go ye therefore and disciple all nations, baptizing them 
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 


Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe all things what- 
soever I have commanded you. And, lo, I am with you 
alway, even unto the end of the world ; Amen." (Matt. 
xxviii. 18—20.) 

" Then said Jesus to them again. Peace be unto you ; as 
the Father hath sent me, even so send I you : and when he 
had said this, he breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the 
Holy Ghost : Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remit- 
ted unto them ; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are 
retained." (John xx. 21.) 

Even of the seventy it is said, '* He that heareth you, 
heareth me ; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me ; and 
he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me." (Luke 
X. 16.) And to the twelve, " He that receiveth you, re- 
ceiveth me," &c. (Matt. x. 40.) 

" Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, 
to whom now I send thee, to open their eyes." (Acts xxvi. 17.) 

" For I delivered to you first of all that which I also re- 
ceived,*' &c. (1 Cor. XV. 3.) 

" For I received of the Lord, that which also I delivered 
unto you."(l Cor. xi. 23.) 

" Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, 
and stewards of the mysteries of God." (1 Cor. iv. 1, 2.) 

" But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was 
preached of me, is not after man ; for I neither received it 
of man, neither was I taught it, but by the Revelation of 
Jesus Christ." (GaL i. 11, 12.) 

" Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me Feed my 

Lambs." (John xxi. 15—17.) 

" I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven : 
and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in 
heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be 
loosed in heaven." (Matt. xvi. 19.) 

" As thou hast sent me into the world." (John xvii. 18 ; 
see John xiii. 16. 20.) 

" Shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he 
may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which 
Judas by transgression fell." (Acts i. 24, 25.) 

" Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by 
Jesus Christ, and God the Father." (Gal. i. 1.) 

" After he through the Holy Ghost, had given command- 

OF THE lord's-day. 373 

ment to the apostles whom he had chosen ; to whom also he 
presented himself alive after his passion, by many infallible 
proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the 
things pertaining to the kingdom of God." (Acts ii, 2.) 

" They continued stedfast in the apostles* doctrine and 
fellowship," &c. (Acts ii. 42.) 

" He gave some apostles, some prophets,*' &c. (Eph. iv. 

** First apostles, secondarily prophets," &c. " are all apos- 
tles?'* &c. (1 Cor. xii. 28, 29.) 

" Being built upon the foundation of the apostles," &c. 
(Ephes. ii. 20.) 

" That ye may be mindful of the words which were spo- 
ken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments 
of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour." (2 Peter iii. 2.) 

" Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, &c. and he 
shall tell thee," &c. (Acts x. 5.) 

They that will not take all this plain evidence of Scrip- 
ture for a proof of this first proposition, I suppose would 
not be ever the more moved by it, if I should be so need- 
lessly tedious, as to stay to fetch arguments from each text. 

2. The apostles exercised such power as the proposition 
mentions, and God set to it the seal of miracles. Therefore 
such a power or office was given them by Christ. 

The consequence is undeniable. The antecedent of this 
enthymeme is so plainly expressed in Scripture, that I am loath 
to take up much of my own or the reader's time, in proving 
so known a thing. 

They founded the churches; they delivered them the 
doctrine and commands of Christ; they settled the churches, 
as to officers, orders, and discipline, according to Christ's 
commands and the Spirit's determinations : Thus they or- 
dained the new office of deacons, and deaconesses or widows; 
and they ordained them elders in every church, or city, and 
they determined of church-controversies : and gave the 
church decrees, and delivered the will of Chri&t about the 
sacrament, church-assemblies, prophecyings, &c. (Acts ii. ; 
xiv. 23 ; vi. 3, 4, &c. ; 1 Tim. iii. ; Titus i. ; Acts xv. ; 1 Cor. 
xi. ; xiv., &c.) 

3. That all Christians (save heretics) did acknow- 
ledge their power, and acquiesce in their decrees and con- 
duct, being a matter of fact needs no other proof, than the 


common history of former ages, and practice of this. Which 
are so well known, that I will not injure the reader by 
proving it. 


Prop. 2. Christ promised his Spirit to his Apostles, to enable 
them to do, what he had commissioned them to do, by leading 
them into all truth, and bringing his words and deeds to their 
remembrance, and^by guiding them as his Church's Guides. 

In the Old Testament it is prophesied and promised, " And 
i will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall 
feed you with knowledge and understanding." (Jer. iii. 15.) 

See all the texts that promise the pouring out of the 
Spirit, Isa. xliv. 3 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 27 ; xxxvii. 14 ; xxxix. 29; 
Joel ii. 28, 29; which were principally fulfilled on the 

'* And behold I send the promise of my Father upon you : 
but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with 
power from on high." (Luke xxiv. 49.) 

" But when the Advocate is come, whom I will send 
unto you from the Father, he shall testify of me : and ye 
also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from 
the beginning." (John xv. 26, 27.) 

" It is expedient for you, that I go away ; for if I go not 
away ; the Advocate will not come unto you : but if F depart, 

I will send him unto you . I have yet many things to 

say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when 
he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all 
truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever 
he shall hear, that shall he speak ; and he shall shew you 
things to come. He shall glorify me ; for he shall receive of 
mine. Therefore said I that he shall take of mine, and shew 
it unto you." (John xvi. 7. 12—15.) 

" I have given to them the words which thou gavest 
me, and they have received them— — . Sanctify them through 
thy truth ; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the 
world, so have I sent them also into the world ; and for their 
sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified 
through the truth." (John xvii. 8. 17, 18.) 


OF THE lord's-day. 375 

" Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever 1 have 
commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway even unto the 
end of the world." (Matt, xxviii. 20.) 

" And being assembled together with them, commanded 
them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait 
for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of me. 
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized 
with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall 
receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you : 
and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and 
in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of 
the earth." (Acts i. 4. 8.) 

By these texts it is most evident, that Christ promiseth 
the apostles an extraordinary Spirit, or measure of the Spirit, 
so to enable them to deliver his commands, and execute their 
commission, as that he will own what they do by the 
guidance thereof; and the churches may rest upon it as the 
infallible Revelation of the Will of God. 


Prop. 3. Christ performed all these Promises to his Apostles^ 
and gave them his Spirit to enable them for all their Commis- 
missioned Work. 

This is proved both from the fidelity of Christ, and from 
the express assertions of the Scripture. " He is faithful that 
hath promised." (Heb. x. 23.) " God that cannot lie, hath 

promised." (Titus i. 2.) " As God is true " (2 Cor.i. 18.) 

'* How long, O Lord, holy and true " (Rev. vi. 10.) " He 

was called Faithful and True " (Rev. xix. 11.) "Let 

God be true, and every man a liar " (Rom. iii. 4.) ' He 

that believeth not God, hath made him a liar." (1 John v. 10.) 

*' He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye 
the Holy Ghost." (John xx. 22.) 

Acts ii. containeth the narrative of the coming down of 
the Holy Ghost upon them, at large. 

" It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us. — " (Acts 
XV. 28.) 

" God also bearing them witness, both with signs and 


wonders, and with divers mighty works, and distributions 
of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will." (Heb. ii. 4.) 

" The things which are now reported unto you, by them 
that have preached the Gospel unto you, by the Holy Ghost 
sent down from heaven " (1 Peter i. 12.) 

" Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of 
the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem, and round about 
unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ." 
(Rom. XV. 19.) 

Read all the texts in Acts and elsewhere, that speak of 
all the apostles' miracles, and their giving of the Holy Ghost, 
&c; and 1 Cor. vii. 40; Acts iv. 8.31; v. 3 ; vi. 3; vii. 51. 
55 ; viii. 15. 17—19 ; ix. 17 ; x. 44, 45. 47 ; xi. 15, 16. 24 ; 
xiii. 2. 4. 9. 52; xvi. 6 ; Rom* v. 5 ; ix. 1 ; 1 Cor. ii. 13 ; 
2 Tim. i. 1. 14; 1 Cor. xii ; Ephes. iv. 7, 8, &c.; and iii. 5. 
But this proposition is confessed by all ChristiaiTS. 


Prop. 4. The Apostles did actually separate and appoint the 
First Day of the Week for Holy Worship, especially in Church- 

Here the reader must remember, that it is mere matter of 
fact, that is to be proved in the proof of this proposition ; 
and that all till this, is clearly and undeniably proved ; so 
that the whole controversy resteth upon the proof of the 
fact. That indeed the apostles did set apart this day for ordi- 
nary (public) worship. 

And in order to the fuller proof of this, I have these 
subordinate propositions to prove. 

Prop, 1. * Matter of past fact is to be known to us by 
history,' (written, verbal or practical.) 

This is evident in the nature of the thing. History is 
the narration of facts that are past. We speak not of the 
fact of mere natural agents, but of moral human facts. It 
may be known without history what eclipses there have been 
of the sun ; what changes of the moon, &c ; but not what in 
particular morals have been done by man. 

The necessity of other distinct ways of knowledge, are 
easily disproved. 1. It need not be known by Divine su- 
pernatural revelation. Otherwise no men could know what 



is past, but prophets or inspired persons : Nor prophets, but 
in few things ; for it cannot be proved, that God ever revealed 
to prophets or inspired persons, the general knowledge of 
things past; but only some particulars of special use (the 
creation to Moses, &c.) ; so that if revelation by inspiration, 
voice or visions, were necessary. Scripture itself could be 
understood by none but inspired persons, or that had such 

2. It is not known by natural causes, and by arguing 
from the natural cause to the effects. It is no more possible 
to know all things past this way (by knowing the causes), 
than all things future. Therefore it must be ordinarily 
known by human report, which we call history or tradition. 

Prop, 2. ' Scripture history is not the only certan his- 
tory ; much less the only credible.* 

Without Scripture-history we may be certain that there 
was in 1666 a great fire in London, and a great plague in 
1665, and that there were wars in England in 1642, 1643, 
&c., and that there have been parliaments in England which 
have made the statutes now in force ; and that there have 
been such kings of England for many ages, as our records 
and histories mention, &c. 

Prop. 3. ' Scripture-history is not the only certain his- 
tory of the things of the ages in which it was written, or 
of former ages; much less the only credible history of them.' 

We may know by other history certainly, that there were 
such persons as Cyrus, Alexander, &c. That the Macedo- 
nians had a large extended empire ; that the Romans after 
by many victories obtained a spacious empire ; that there 
were such persons as Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, 
Nero, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, &c. 

Prop, 4. ' Scripture-history is not the only means ap- 
pointed by God, to help us to the knowledge of ecclesiasti- 
cal matters of fact, transacted in Scripture-times.' 

1. For if human history be certain or credible in other 
cases, it is certain or credible in these. There being no rea- 
son why these things or much of them, should not be as 
capable of a certain delivery to us by human history, as 
other matters. As that there were Christians in those times, 
may be known by what Tacitus, Suetonius, &c. say. And 
the ancient writers often appeal in many cases to the 
heathen's own history. And no man pretendeth, as to the 


civil matters mentioned in the Scriptures, that no other his- 
tory of the same is credible or certain. As of the govern- 
ment of Augustus, Tiberius, Herod, Pilate, Felix, Festus, &c. 

2. There are other certain means known to us ; of which 
I must refer the reader to what I have written in my 
** Reasons of the Christian Religion," part 2. chap. vii. 

3. No man can doubt but that the Christians of that same 
age, (as till the year one hundred) might easily and certainly 
know such a matter of public fact, as whether the Lord's- 
day was constantly set apart and observed by all the Chris- 
tian churches for holy worship. For 1. It is certain that they 
did know it by sight and sense, and therefore had no need of 
history. 2. It is certain that they knew it before the Scrip- 
tures were written, which we now speak of ; for it js not pos- 
sible that for all those years time before any of the New 
Testament was written, the Christians who assembled to 
worship God, should not know on what day they used to 

And if they knew it in the year 100, they must needs know 
it as well in the year 101, and 102, and 103, and so on. For 
those that were young Christians fifty years after Christ, 
would be aged at an hundred : and those that were young at 
an hundred, would be aged at an hundred and fifty, and so 
on. So that an age of people, not ending at the age of a 
single person, congregations and societies are like rivers, that 
keep the same channel, and name, while one part of water 
foUoweth another. Nay, some of the same men are there 
anno 100, who were there anno 50, some anno 150, who were 
there anno 100, and so on. Ten thousand thousand men, 
women and children, can tell on what day the congrega- 
tions of England use to assemble ; whereas if the apostle 
were among us, and should write on what day we assemble, 
fewer would know it by that means ; and they that knew it 
but by his writing, would know it less confidently, than they 
who knew it by sense and experience. 

Yet forget not, that I am far from ascribing a certainty or 
a credibility to all human history ; much more from equal- 
ling any with the credit of Divine history ; but only I say, 
1. That sense is more assuring, as to the subject, than any 
history whatever. 2. And that this instance of the day on 
which all churches in the world assembled for holy worship. 

OF THE lord's-day. 979 

is one of the most palpable for certainty that possibly could 
be imagined. 

4. And I add, that if some human history or tradition be 
not certain, there can be no certainty of much of the Divine 
history, to any but the persons who were themselves inspired, 
or that saw the visions, or miracles that confirmed them. 
For as internal sense or intuition must assure the inspired 
persons themselves, and external sense must assure those that 
saw the matters of fact ; so the rest have no way to know 
them, but either still by a succession of new revelations from 
heaven (which God doth not give), or else by report. And I 
can no otherwise know what was revealed to an apostle, nor 
what was done in those times. (Of which more anon.) 

Prop, 5. ' The first institution of church-offices, and 
orders, and so of the Lord's-day, was not by Scripture.' 

The proof is undeniable ; because the Old Testament did 
not contain the institution, (e. g.) of particular churches, 
sacraments, presbyters, deacons, deaconesses, and the Lord's- 
day, &c. ; and the New Testament was none of it written till 
anno 40, at soonest, when some (as Bucholtzer, Bellarmine, 
&c.) think Matthew's Gospel was written (though others say 
many years after), and it was not all written till anno 99. 
Now it is certain that the church was not all these days with- 
out the orders now in question, nor without a day to meet 
on for public worship. Even as baptism and the Lord's- 
supper were instituted by Christ himself, long before the 
writing of any part of the New Testament, and the church 
was in long possession of them, upon the bare verbal decla- 
ration of the apostles. 

Prop. 6. * Therefore it is certain that no part of the New 
Testament was written to any such end as to institute sacra- 
ments, or church-offices, or standing orders ; but to instruct 
men about those that were already instituted (as to the use 
of those times).' 

For it could not be written to institute that which was 
instituted before, so many years. 

Prop. 7. * No part of the New Testament was written to 
make known to the churches of those times the said sacra- 
ments, offices, stated orders and time of worship.* (Still 
observe that by a part, I mean any book ; and I except the 
decree, written in a letter of the apostles, elders and brethren, 
(Acts XV.) concerning circumcision, not to be imposed on 


the Gentiles ; which yet made no new institution, nor de- 
clared any, but only determined of the continued forbear- 
ance of some things forbidden before of God, in the precepts 
called Noah's, and Paul's epistles, which reduce the 
churches to orders before settled, and urge them to duty, and 
decide some doubts about particular cases of conscience.) 

The proof is visible; 1. In the writings themselves. 2. In 
that all the churches were in the possession and use of all 
the things in question, long before: (for mutual orders and 
circumstances are none of the things in question.) It would 
be vain to write a history now to tell the Englishmen of this 
present age, that the Lord's-day is used in England, as a 
day set apart for public worship ; or that persons are bap- 
tized, or receive the Lord's-supper in England, For seeing 
it is the common usage of all the Christians almost of the 
land, it is needless to tell men among us by writing that it is 
so (unless it be to infer somewhat else from it). 

Prop, 8. ' Yet these holy Scriptures which were written 
to men of those times, were also intended for the instruction 
of all succeeding ages ; and so the four evangelists wrote 
the history of Christ, and Luke wrote the history of Paul till 
his coming to Rome, and longer, and of some more of the 
apostles ; and on the by, in the epistles extant, the church's 
customs of those times are much intimated ; and all this 
together with the subordinate history and the universal tenour 
and practice of the churches, is that history by which we 
must know the matter of fact of those times ; nor is there 
any room left for a rational pretence of Rome, or any other 
church, to produce Divine institutions, which were commit- 
ted only to them, or entrusted to their particular keeping 
only, and were not delivered in Scripture, nor in common to 
the whole church.' 

Prop, 9. ' Thus according to the use of the writings of 
the New Testament, the matter of fact in question (of the 
Lord's-day's separation) is historically touched on, and 
proved ; though but briefly and on the by, as a thing as well 
known to the church before, as what day goeth over their 

The historical hints of the New Testament must be taken 
together, and not apart only ; that they may prove a usage. 
And 1. That Christ rose on that day, is past doubt among 
Christians. (John xx. 1 j Luke xxiv. 1 ; Mark xvi. 2 ; Matt, 
xxviii. 1.) 



2. On that same day he taught the two disciples, (Luke 
xxiv. 13,) and the same day he appeared to the disciples and 
instructed them, and did eat with them. (Luke xxiv. 33. 36.) 
Then the disciples were assembled, and then he blessed them, 
gave them their commission and the Holy Ghost. (John 
xix. 20—22.) 

3. The next first day of the week Christ chose to appear 
to them again, when Thomas was with them, and convinced 
him. (John xx. 26.) 

In Acts XX. 7. it is mentioned as the day of their assem- 
bling to break bread (which though they did oft on other 
days, yet no day else was particularly appointed for it). As 
for the dissenters' cavil about the translation of 'Ev rrj fiia 
TU)v gaf5j3dr(i)v, Beza hath given them reason enough against 
it; and Grotius and almost all expositors are against them: 
and most that translate it literally ' una sabbatorum,' take 
' una' and * prima here to be all one. And Calvin with others 
noteth, that the same phrase being used of the day of the 
resurrection, (Matt. xxvi. 1 ; Luke xxiv. 1 ; John xx. 1,) will 
direct us to expound this ; unless you mean also to deny the 
resurrection to have been on the first day. 

And Kara fx'iav (1 Cor. xvi. 1. 2.) must needs have the same 
signification ; and Mark xxvi. 9. compared with the other 
two evangelists so expounds them as Beza noteth ; who also 
telleth us that in one old copy he found added " the Lord's- 
day," and citeth Jerome adv. Vigilant, saying " Per unam 
sabbati ; hoc est in die Dominico," &c. And Dr. Hammond 
well noteth that it plainly relateth to the Christian assem- 
blies, to which they were not to come empty, but to deposit 
what they brought into the treasury of the church ; or if it 
were in their private repositories, it doth not much difference 
the case. Calvin's exception against Chrysostom here is 
groundless, as the reasons before evince. So that by this 
text the custom of holding church-meetings on the Lord's- 
day, as a peculiar day, is intimated, though but on the by, as 
most expositors agree. 

And the denomination of the Lord's-day, John i. 10, 
being the same which the Christian churches ever used of 
the first day, puts it yet further out of doubt. As for his 
conjecture, who doubteth whether it may be meant of the 
anniversary day of Christ's resurrection, when as the con- 
stant use of the name by all the churches, sheweth that it 


was taken ever since for the weekly day, it deserveth no 

Now though all this set together shew that Scripture is 
not silent of the matter of fact; yet it is the full and un- 
questionable expository evidence of the practice of all 
churches in the world, since the very days of the apostles, 
which beyond all doubt assureth us that * de facto' the Lord's- 
day was by the apostles separated for holy worship, especi- 
ally in public church-assemblies. But these several intima- 
tions being seconded with so full an exposition, tell us that 
the Scripture is not silent in the case, nor doth pass it by. 
I was loath to name the day of the sending down of the Holy 
Ghost as a proof; because that some do controvert it ; but 
it seemeth to me a very considerable thing: 1. That the 
day (that year) of Penteqost on which the Holy Ghost was 
given, was indeed the first day of the week, even Dr. Heylin 
granteth, without any question or stop. And the church's 
observation of Whitsunday as the day, and that so very 
early, as Epiphanius and many others say, from the apostles, 
doth seem a very credible history or tradition of it. 2. It is 
agreed on that the Passover that year fell on the Sabbath- 
day, and that Pentecost was fifty days after the Passover : 
which falleth out on the Lord's-day. And Grotius noteth 
from Exod. xix. 1, that it was the day the law was given on, 
and so on which the Spirit was given for a new law. 3. And 
considering that this great gift of the Holy Ghost, which was 
to make the apostles infallible, and to enable them for their 
commission work, and bring all Christ's doctrines and com- 
mands to their remembrance, was so memorable a thing, that 
it was as it were the beginning of the full Gospel-state of the 
church and kingdom of Christ, (which through all Christ's 
abode on earth, was as the infant, existent indeed, but in the 
womb, and on this day was as it were born before the world, 
and brought into the open light;) the Lord's-day also seem- 
eth to me to be as it were conceived on the day of Christ's 
resurrection, but born on this day of the Holy Gho8t*s« 

But Dr. Heylin hath one poor reason against it, viz. 
' Because it was an accidental thing that the day fell out that 
year on the first day.' 

Answ. 1. Was it not according to the course of nature ? 


OF THE lord's-day. 383 

How then can that be called accidental? 2. But however 
it was no contingent thing (in his sense) that the Holy 
Ghost was sent down on that day rather than on another. 
If a sparrow fall not unto the ground without God's provi- 
dence, did God choose that day he knew not why? or did 
it fall out haphazard, or by chance? 

I need not insist on the confutation of his cavils about 
the other texts forecited. Note only, 1. That as to his ex- 
ception about Christ's travel on his resurrection-day, I 
have after answered it. 2, That he freely granted that jmia 
Twv <Taj3j3aTtuv, signifieth * the first day' of the week, both in 
Acts XX. 7, and 1 Cor. xvi. 2, 3. That he himself citeth 
afterward many testimonies that oblations and contributions 
were in the churches an usual Lord's-day's work. 4. That 
he confesseth that Rev. i. 10, is meant of the Lord's-day, as 
by that time grown into reputation. 5. That he thinketh it 
was in small reputation before, because Paul chose the Sab- 
bath so often to preach on, to the Jews and Hellenists, or 
Greeks ; whereas he himself is forced to confess that it was 
not for the day's sake, but the assemblies, to do them good. 
6. That he vainly conceiteth (that because the Lord's-day 
was kept on the account of Christ's resurrection,) it im- 
plieth that it was not kept by God's command, which needeth 
no confutation. 7. That his labour to prove that Paul 
meant the Jewish Sabbath as abrogated, is vain ; for we 
deny it not. That he cannot deny that Christians had all 
that time of the apostles a stated day (as Pliny himself wit- 
nesseth) for solemn worship, above other days. 9. That 
he vainly snatcheth a little countenance from Calvin and 
Beza, &c. when as no man, since Cochlaeus, writeth more 
detestably of them. 10. That after he confesseth that '■ it is 
no doubt but the religious observation of the day began in 
the apostles' age, with their approbation and authority, and 
hath since continued in the same respect.' And what needs 
he more for confutation ? 

As to his allegations of the judgment of the Reformed, 
Lutheran, and Roman church, 1. We take none of them for 
our rule, (so impartial are we), But, 2. He himself citeth 
Beza, Mercer, Paraeus, Cuchlinus, Simler, Hospinian, Zan- 
chius, &c. as holding that it was an apostolical and truty 
divine tradition, that the apostles turned the Sabbath into 


the Lord's-day, that it was an apostolical custom, or a cus- 
tom received in the apostles* times, &c. 

And whereas afterward he would persuade us that they 
spent but a little of the day in holy worship, he himself 
cited Mr. George Sandys's Travels, saying of the Coptics, 
that * On Saturday, presently after midnight, they repair 
unto their churches, where they remain well nigh till Sun- 
day at noon (of the evening he speaketh not, but of their 
first meeting), during which time they neither sit nor kneel, 
but support themselves on crutches ; and they sing over the 
most part of David's psalms at every meeting, with divers 
parcels of the New Testament.' (This is the old way ; and 
such a liturgy we do not contradict or scruple.) 

Sandys also informeth us of the Armenian Christians, 
that * coming into the place of the assembly on Sunday, in 
the afternoon (no doubt they had been there in the morning), 
he found one sitting in the midst of the congregation, in 
habit not diftering from the rest, reading in a Bible in the 
Chaldaean tongue ; that anon after, came the bishop in a 
hood or vestment of black, with a staff in his hand ; that 
first he prayed, and then sung certain psalms assisted by 
two or three. After all of them singing jointly, at interims 
praying to themselves, the bishop all this while with hands 
erected, and his face towards the altar ; that service being 
ended, they all kissed his hand, and bestowed their alms, he 
laying his other hand on their heads, and blessing them,' &c. 

And of the Abassines he reciteth out of Brierwood (and 
he from Damianus a Goes), that they honour the Lord's-day 
as the Christian Sabbath, and the Saturday as the Jews* 
Sabbath, because they receive the canons called the Apos- 
tles, which speak for both. 

And king Edgar in England ordained that the Sabbath 
should begin on Saturday, at three o'clock in the afternoon, 
and continue till break of day on Monday. These laws 
for the Sabbath jof Alfred, Edgar, &c. were confirmed by 
Ethelred, and more fully by Canutus. 

But of these things I shall say more anon under the 
proposition following : in the meantime only remembering 
you, 1. That it is well that we are required after the fourth 
commandment to pray, * Lord have mercy upon us, and in- 
cline our hearts to keep this law.' And we accept his con- 




session, that this includeth all of that commandment which 
is the law of nature (though I have told you that it reacheth 
somewhat further). 2. That we approve of the plain doc- 
trine of the English homilies on this point, and stand to the 
exposition of sober impartiality. 

Prop, 10. * It hath been the constant practice of all 
Christ's churches in the whole world, ever since the days of 
the apostles to this day, to assemble for public worship on 
the Lord's-day, as a day set apart thereunto by the apostles. 
Yea, so universal was this judgment and practice, that there 
is no one church, no one writer, or one heretic (that I re- 
member to have read of), that can be proved ever to have 
dissented or gainsaid it, till of late times.' 

The proof of this is needless to any one that is versed in 
the writings of the ancients ; and others cannot try what we 
shall produce. I have been these ten years separated from 
my library, and am therefore less furnished for this task 
than is requisite ; but I will desire no man to receive more, 
that the testimonies produced by Dr. Peter Heylin himself, 
which with pitiful weakness he would pervert. And he be- 
ing the grand adversary with whom 1 do now contend, I 
shall only premise these few observations, as sufficient to 
confute all his cavils and evasions. 

1 . When his great work is to prove that the Lord's-day 
was not called the Sabbath (unless by allusion), we grant it 
him (as to a Jewish Sabbath), as nothing to the purpose. 

2. Whereas he strenuously proveth that the Lord's-day 
was not taken for a Sabbath, * de re,' we grant it him also, 
taking the word in the primitive Jewish sense. 

3. When he laboureth to prove that Christians met on 
other days of the week besides the Lord's-day (though not 
for the Lord's- supper), we grant it him, as nothing to the 
purpose. So Calvin preached or lectured daily at Geneva, 
and yet kept not every day as a holy day separated to God*s 
worship, as they did the Lord's-day, though too remissly. 
So we do still keep week-day lectures, and the church of 
England requireth the reading of common-prayer on Wed- 
nesdays and Fridays, and holy-day evens ; do they there- 
fore keep them holy as the Lord's-day? 

4. When he tells us that Clemens Alexandrinus and 
Origen, plead against them that would hear and pray on 

VOL. XIII. c c 


that day only, we grant it him ; and we are ready to say as 
they do, that we should not confine God's service to one 
day only, as if we might be profane and worldly on all other 
days ; but should take all fit opportunities for religious 
helps, and should all the week keep our minds as near as 
we can in a holy frame and temper. Of the rest of his ob- 
jections I shall say more in due place. 

5. But I must note in the beginning, that he granteth 
the main cause which I plead for, acknowledging, (Hist. Sab. 
1. 2. pag. 30.) it thus ; ' So that the religious observation of 
this day, beginning in the age of the apostles, no doubt but 
with their approbation and authority, and since continuing 
in the same respect for so many ages, may be very well ac- 
counted among those apostolical traditions, which have 
been universally received in the church of God.' And what 
need we more than the religious observation, in the apostles' 
time, by the apostles' approbation and authority, and this 
delivered to us by the universal church, as an apostolical 

But yet he saith that the apostles made it not a Sabbath. 
Arisw. Give us the religious observation, and call it by what 
name you please. We are not fond of the name of the 

6. And therefore we grant all that he laboriously proveth 
of the abolition of the Jewish Sabbath, and that the ancients 
commonly consent, that by the abolished Sabbath, (Col. ii. 
16.)is meant inclusively the weekly Jewish SabbathiiEpiphan. 
1. 1. Haeres. 33. n. 11; Ambros. in loc. Hieron. Epist. ad Algus. 
qu. 10 ; Chrysost. Horn. 13. in Hebr. 7 ; August, cont. Jud. 
cap. 2. and cont. Faust. Manich. 1. 16. c. 28. I recite the 
places for them that doubt of it. 

Now let us peruse the particular testimonies. 

1. I begin with Ignatius, (though DallsBus hath said so 
much to prove the best copy of him of later date and spuri- 
ous ; because others think otherwise, and that copy is by 
him thought to be written cent. 3.) who saith, ' Let us not 
keep the Sabbath in a Jewish manner, in sloth and idleness, 
but after a spiritual manner; not in bodily ease, but in the 
study of the law ; not eating meat dressed yesterday, or 
drinking warm drinks, and walking out a limited space, but 
in the contemplation of the works of God And after the 

OF THE lord's-day. 387 

Sabbath, let every one that loveth Christ keep the Lord's- 
day Festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and empress 
of all days, in which our life was raised again, and death 
was overcome by our Lord and Saviour.' 

Either these epistles of Ignatius (ad Philip. &c.) are 
genuine or spurious. If genuine, then note how clearly it 
is asserted that the Lord's-day was to be observed as the 
queen of all days, by all that were lovers of Christ. And 
that the Seventh-day Sabbath was kept with it then and 
there (in Asia so near the apostles' days) no wonder ; when 
it was but the honourable, gradual receding from the Mosai- 
cal ceremonies, with an avoiding the scandalous hindrance 
of the Jews' conversion. And Doctor Heylin well noteth, 
that it was only the Eastern churches next the Jews that for 
a time kept both days, but not the Western, who rather 
turned the Sabbath to a fast. 

But if Ignatius's epistle be spurious, written cent. 3, 
then as Dallaeus would prove, that they were written by 
some heretical or heterodox person ; and so it will be no 
wonder that holy days are pleaded for, when (as Doctor 
Heylin observeth) Cerinthus and his followers in the apos- 
tles' times, stood up for the Jewish Sabbath and ceremonies, 
and so were for both days : but it will be our confirmation 
that even the heretics held with the universal church for the 

2. The great controversy about the day of Easter, which 
spread so early through all the churches, is a full confirma- 
tion of our matter of fact. For when the Western churches 
were for the Passover-day (the better to content the Jews, 
saith Heylin), the Eastern thought it intolerable that it 
should not be kept on a Lord's-day, because that was the 
weekly day observed on the same account of the resurrec- 
tion. The Eastern churches never questioned their supposi- 
tion of the Lord's-day ; and the Western (after Victor's rash 
excommunicating the Asian bishops) never rested till they 
brought them to keep it on the Lord's-day : Pius, Anicetus, 
Victor, &c. prosecuting the cause. 

3. The book (though perished) which Melito wrote of 
the Lord's-day, (Euseb. 1. 4. c. 25.) by the title may be well 
supposed to confirm at least the matter of fact of usage. 

4. All those little councils, mentioned by Heylin, p. 48, 
held at Osroena, Corinth, in Gaul, in Pontus, in Rome, 


prove this, ' The canons of them all/ saith Heylin, ' being 
extant in Eusebius's time, and in all which it was concluded 
for the Sunday/ 

But saith Heylin by this, ' You see that the Sunday and 
the Sabbath were long in striving for the victory.' p. 49. 
Answ, I see that some men can outface the clearest light. 
Here was no striving at all which day should be the weekly 
day set apart for holy worship, but only whether Easter 
should follow the time of Passover, or be confined to the 

5. Justin Martyr's testimony is so express, and so com- 
monly cited, that I need not recite the words at large, ' Up- 
on the Sunday all of us assemble in the congregation 

Upon the day called Sunday all within the cities, or in the 
country, do meet together in some place, where,' &c. He 
proceedeth to shew the worship there performed. 

Now, 1. Here being mention of no other day, no man 
can question but that this day was set apart for these holy 
assemblies in a peculiar manner, as the other week days 
were not. 2. This being the writing of one of the most 
learned and ancient of all the Christian writers. 3. And 
being purposely written to one of the wisest of all the em- 
perors, as an apology for all the Christians. 4. And being 
written in Rome, where the matter of fact was easily known, 
and deserveth as much credit as any Christian history or 
writing since the apostles can deserve. Nor hath Heylin 
any thing to say against it. 

6. The next remembered by Heylin is Dionysius Corinth, 
who lived 175, cited out of Eusebius Hist. 1. 4. c. 22. 'To 
day we keep the holy Lord's-day, wherein we read the epis- 
tle you wrote to us,' &c. Against this Heylin saith not a 

7. The next is Clemens Alexandrinus, who expressly as- 
serteth the matter of fact, that the Lord's-day was then 
kept by Christians. Yea, Heylin derideth him for fetching 
it as far as Plato, Strom. 1. 7, But Heylin thinks he was 
against keeping any days : but he that will examine his 
words shall find, that he speaketh only against them that 
would be ceremonious observers of the day, more than of the 
work of the day, and would be religious on that day alone. 
And therefore he saith, ' He that leadeth his life according 
to the ordinances of the Gospel, doth keep the Lord's-day, 



when he casteth away every evil thought ; and doing things 
with knowledge and understanding, doth glorify the Lord 
in his resurrection/ This is not to speak against the day, 
but to shew how it ought to be sincerely kept. But if he 
had been against it, it is all one to my cause, who only 
prove that ' de facto* all Christian churches kept it. 

8. The next witness is Tertullian, who oft usserteth this 
to be the holy day of the Christians' church-assemblies, and 
holy worship : his testimony in Apolog. cap. 16, is so com- 
monly known, that I need not recite it. It is the same in 
sense with Justin Martyr's, and written in an apology for 
the Christians, purposely describing their custom of meet- 
ing and worshipping on the Sunday (as he calls it there), as 
Justin did. And that it was not an hour's work, he shews 
in saying, that * The day was kept as a day of rejoicing,' 
and then describeth the work. And de Idolol. c. 14. he 
saith, that every eighth day was the Christians' festival. 
And de Coron. Mil. c. 3. and oft he calleth it the Lord's- 
day, and saith it was a crime to fast upon it. And the work 
of the day described by Justin, and by him, Apolog. c. 39. 
is just the same that we desire now the day to be spent in : 
we plead for no other. 

But most grossly saith Heylin, page 55, ' But sure it is 
that their assemblies held no longer than our morning ser- 
vice ; that they met only before noon ; for Justin saith, that 
. when they met, they used to receive the sacrament, and that 
the service being done, every man went again to his daily 
labours.* Answ. Is this a proof to conclude a certainty 
from? Most certainly abundance of testimonies might be 
produced to prove that they came together early in the 
morning, and stayed till evening, if not till within night. 
The former, Pliny and many others witness : and the latter 
many accusations of the heathens, that censured them for 
night-crimes at their meetings : and all that report it almost 
tell us of the sacrament administered, and Tertullian and 
others, of their feasting together (their love-feasts), as a 
supper before they parted. Now let the time be measured 
by the work : by that time the Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment and New were read, and all the prayers then made, 
and all the preaching and exhortations, and then all the 
prayers and praises at the celebration of the Lord's-supper 
(especially if they were half as long as the Liturgies ascribed 


to Basil, ChrysoBtom, dux^ the rest of the Biblioth. Patrum), 
and by that time the sacrament itself was administered, 
with all the action and singing of psalms, and all the obla- 
tions and collections made ; and besides this, all the church 
discipline on particular persons exercised, where questions 
and answers and proofs must take up a great deal of time, 
sure one day must be at an end, or very near it. And after 
when the love-feasts were left off, and the church met twice, 
and made an intermission, they did as we do now. And 
the very custom of preaching all the morning to the au- 
dientes and catechumens, till almost noon, when they were 
dismissed with a *missa est,' and spending the rest of the 
day in teaching the church, and celebrating the sacrament 
with all the larger eucharistical acts, do fully shew how the 
day was spent ; which I would quickly shew by particular 
testimonies, but that I am separated from my library ; and 
Dr. Young hath fully done it to my hand. The very con- 
text of these testimonies, with what Albaspinseus hath of 
their catechizing and church order, will soon satisfy the im- 
partial searcher. 

As for what he saith out of Justin, of ' returning to their 
labours,* I can find no such word in him ; nor do I believe 
there is any such to be found, unless of returning to their 
six days weekly labour,, when the religious work was ended 
with the day : and I imagine that the reader will find no 
more, if so much. 

9. The next proof is universal, even the consent of all 
the Christian churches, without one contradicting vote that 
ever I read of, that the Lord's-day worship was to be per- 
formed standing, and that it was not allowed them to pray 
or worship kneeling, upon any Lord*s-day in the year (or 
any week-day between Easter and Whitsuntide) : and the 
difficulty of these stations is expressed (see Albaspinajus of 
it), which sheweth that it was for a long time. Whatever 
they did in hearing (it is like they sat, for Justin saith. We 
rise to pray), but it is certain they stood in worshipping acts, 
as prayer and praise. This Justin Martyr hath before men- 
tioned : Tertullian hath it expressly, and Heylin himself 
citeth him, de Coron. Mil. et Basil 1. de Spir. S. c. 27, and 
Hieron. advers. Luciferian. August. Epist. 118 ; Hilar. Praf. 
in Psal. Ambros. Serm. 62. To which he may add Epipha- 
nius, and divers councils, especially Nic. 1, and Triil. of 

OF thj: lords-day. 391 

which after. (I oace pleaded this ancient custom with them 
that would have all excluded from the sacrament that kneel 
not, to prove that kneeling at the sacrament on the Lord*s- 
days could not be in the church of so many hundred years 
after the apostles, when the universal church condemned 
kneeling on all Lord's-day worship.) And Dr. Heylin him- 
self saith, ' What time this custom was laid by, I can hardly 
say; but sure I am, it was not laid aside in long time after; 
not till the time of Pope Alexander the third, who lived 
about the year 1160,* &c. Now from all this it is most 
evident, that the Lord*8-day was then observed. 

10. In this place, though by anticipation, I add the two 
general councils now named : The first general council at 
Nice, (Can. 20.) which reneweth and confirmeth this ancient 
custom of not kneeling in prayer on the Lord's-days, that 
there might be an uniformity kept in the churches. And 
the Canon. Concil. Trul. have the same again ; which proveth 
what we seek, the matter of fact of the day's general ob- 

11. The next is Origen, who is not denied to witness to 
the matter of fact ; but Heylin thinks he was against the 
right of it : but his mistake is the same, as about Clemens 
Alexandrinus ; Origen did but desire that other days might 
be kept also as profitably as they could ; as our lecture- 
days are. 

12. Cyprian is the next, whose testimonies for matter of 
fact are full, and Heylin hath nothing to say against him, 
but that it is his private opinion, that the Lord's-day was 
prefigured in the eighth day destined to circumcision. 
Which is nothing at all to our business in hand. 

13. And he himself cites Pope Fabian's Decretal, anno 
237 (a testimony therefore that he is not to refuse), * for 
every man and woman on the Lord's-days to bring a quan- 
tity of bread and wine to be first onered on the altar, and 
then distributed in the sacrament.' 

The Canon of Clement before mentioned 1 now pre- 

But saith Dr. Heylin, ' 1. All days between Easter and 
Whitsunday had adoration by genuflection also prohibited 
on them. 2. And the church had other festivals also.' 

Answ. 1. The reason of station was to signify Christ's 
resurrection and ours ; therefore it continued for these days : 


but that was for the short occasional meetings of those 
days, which he himself will not say were separated to wor- 
ship. 2. And the other festivals of the church make nothing 
against us. For, 1. Some of them (as Easter and Whitsun- 
day) were but the same Lord's-day. 2. And some of them 
were but anniversary, and not weekly holidays ; as the 
Nativity, &c. 3. And he confesseth even these were brought 
in long after the apostles' days, and therefore can lay no 
claim to apostolical institution. Page 62, he himself saith 
that * The feast of Christ's Nativity was ordained or insti- 
tuted in the second century, and that of his Incarnation in 
the third.' And besides Easter and Whitsunday (which are 
the Lord's-day), Christmas is all that he named out of Beda 
(so long after) as the 'MajoraSolennia.* The eves were but 
hours for preparation. 

14. To these (though in the fourth century) I may add 
Epiphanius, who recorded the station (and adoration to 
the East) on the Lord's-days, as traditions received by the 
universal church. 

And here I would have it specially noted, that when 
Tertullian, Epiphanius, and others, note standing on the 
Lord's days to be an unwritten tradition received by the 
whole church, they do not say the same of the Lord's-day 
itself, (though the ancients oft say, that we received it from 
the apostles) : Now by this it is plain, that they took the 
Lord's-day to be of apostolical institution past all question, 
and the unwritten, universal traditions to be somewhat lower 
(which there was no Scripture for at all). (Among which 
the white garment, and the milk and honey to the baptized, 
and the adoration toward the East, are numbered.) For he 
that is appointed to worship on the Lord's-days standing, 
or towards the East, is supposed to know that on that day 
he is to worship. If the mode on that day be of universal 
tradition as a ceremony, the day is supposed to be some- 
what more than of unwritten tradition. 

15. I add here also (though in the fourth century, be- 
cause it looks back to the institution) the words of Athana- 
sius, cited by Heylin himself, Homil. de Semente, (though 
Nannius question it,) ' That our Lord transferred the Sab- 
bath to the Lord's-day.' But saith Dr. Heylin, ' This must 
be understood, not as if done by his commandment, but on 
this occasion : the resurrection of our Lord on that day, be- 


OF THE LORD's-DAY. 39ii 

ing the principal motive which did influence his church to 

make choice thereof for the assemblies For otherwise it 

would cross what formerly had been said by Athanasius in 
his TTfidjiusv, &c.' Answ. It expresseth the common judg- 
ment of the church, that Christ himself made the change by 
these degrees: 1. Fundamentally, and as an exemplar, by 
his own resurrection on that day ; giving the first cause of 
it, as the creation-rest did of the seventh day: 2, Secretly 
commanding it to his apostles. 3. Commissioning them to 
promulgate all his commands. 4. Sending down the Spirit 
on that very day. 5. And by that Spirit determining them 
by promulgation to determine publicly of the day, and s€t~ 
tie all the churches in long possession of it before their 
death. That which is thus done, may well be said to be 
done by Christ. 6. And what show of contradiction hath 
his TtjueJ/xev, to this? 'It was commanded first that the 
Sabbath day should be observed in memory of the accom- 
plishment of the world : so do we celebrate the Lord's-day,> 
as a memorial of the beginning of a new creation.' Had 
not he a creating head here, that out of these words could 
gather, that we celebrate the Lord's-day without a command 
voluntarily ? One would think * so' should signify the con- 

But ib. page 8, he citeth Socrates for the same, saying 
that ' The design of the apostles was not to busy themselves 
in prescribing festival-days, but to instruct the people in 
the ways of godliness.' 

Artsw. Socrates plainly rebuketh the busy ceremonious 
arrogancy of after-ages for making new holidays ; and doth 
not at all mean the Lord's-day ; but saith that to make festi- 
vals, that is, other and more, as since they did, was none of 
the apostles' business. Nor is this any thing at all to the 
matter of fact, which none denied. 

16. I will add that as another testimony which (p. 9.) 
he citeth against it. The council at Paris, anno 829. c. 50. 
which, as he speaketh, ascribeth the keeping of the Lord's- 
day to apostolical tradition, confirmed by the authority of 
the church. The words are, ' ut creditur apostolorum tra- 
ditione, immo ecclesiaj authoritate descendit, &c.' Now I 
have proved that if the apostles did it, they did it by the 
Holy Ghost, and by authority from Christ, 


But he citeth (p. 7, 8.) the words of Athanasius, Maxi- 
mus, Taurinensis and Augustine, saying that * We honour 
the Lord's-day for the resurrection, and because Christ rose,* 
and (Aug.) * The Lord's-day was declared to Christians by 
the resurrection of our Lord, and from that (or from him 
rather) began to have its festivity.* From whence he ga- 
thereth that it was only done by the authority of the church, 
and not by any precept of our Saviour. 

Ajisw. As if Christ's resurrection could not be the fun- 
damental occasion, and yet Christ's law the obliging cause ? 
Would any else have thus argued, ' The Jews observed the 
Seventh-day-Sabbath, because the Creator rested the seventh 
day : therefore they had no command from God for it?' Wo 
to the churches that have such expositors of God's com- 
mands! or, as if Christ who both commissioned and in- 
spired the apostles by the Holy Ghost, to teach all his com- 
mands, and settle church orders, were not thus the chief 
Author of what they did by his commission and Spirit. 
What church can shew the same commission, or the like 
miraculous and infallible Spirit as they had ? 

See further August de Civitat. Dei. 1. 22. c. 30. and 
Serm. 16. de Verb. Apostol. 

But saith he, ' Christ and two of his disciples travelled 
on the day of his resurrection from Jerusalem to Emmaus, 
seven miles, and back again, which they would not have 
done, if it had been a Sabbath.' 

Answ, 1. They would not have done it if it had been a 
Jewish Sabbath of ceremonial rest; but those which you 
call too precise, will go as far now in case of need to hear a 
sermon ; and remember that they spent the time in Christ's 
preaching and their hearing and conferring after of it. 2. But 
we grant that though the foundation was laid by Christ's 
resurrection, yet it was not a law fully promulgate to, and 
understood by the apostles, till the coming down of the 
Holy Ghost (nor many greater matters neither), who was 
promised and given to teach them all things, &c. 

And it is worth the noting, how Heylin beginneth his 
Chap. iii. 1. 2. ' The Lord's-day taken up by the common 
consent of the church, not instituted or established by any 
text of Scripture, or edict of emperor, or decree of council^ 
save that some few councils did xeflect upon it. In that 

OF THE lord's-day. 395 

which follows we shall find both emperors and councils 
very frequent in ordering things about this day and the- 
service of it/ 

Answ, Note reader. What could possibly, besides Christ 
and the Holy Ghost in the apostles, be the instituter of a day, 
which neither emperor nor council instituted, and yet was 
received by the common consent x)f all churches in the 
world, even from, and in the apostles* days? Yea, as this 
man confesseth, * by their approbation and authority V 

But henceforward in the fourth century I am prevented 
from bringing in my most numerous witnesses, by Heylin's 
confession, that now emperors, councils, and all, were for 
it. But yet let the reader remember, 1. How few and small 
records be left of the second century, and not many of the 
third. 2. And that historical copious testimonies of the 
fourth century, that is, emperors, councils, and the most 
pious and learned fathers, attesting that the universal church 
received it from the apostles, is not vain, or a small evi- 
dence ; when as the fourth century began but two hundred 
years after St. John's death, or within less than a year. 

And that the first Christian emperor finding all Chris- 
tians unanimous in the possession of the day, should make 
a law (as our kings do) for the due observing of it ; and that 
the first General Council should establish uniformity in the 
very gesture of worship on that day, are strong confirma- 
tions of the matter of fact, that the churches unanimously 
agreed in the holy use of it, as a separated day, even from 
and in the apostles' days. 

Object. * But the Emperor Constantine's edict alloweth 
husbandmen to labour.* 

Answ. Only in case of apparent hazard, lest the fruits of 
the earth be lost; as we allow seamen to work at sea, in 
case of necessity. And so though by his second edict 
manumission was allowed to the judge, as an act of charity^ 
yet they were forbidden judging in all other ordinary 
causes, lest the day be profaned by wrangling. 

Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius, by their edict 
forbad public spectacles or shows on the Lord's-day. And 
afterward Valentinian and Valens made an edict that no 
• Christian should on that day be convented by the Exactors 
or Receivers.* 


Object* * But (saith Heylin) for three hundred years 
there was no law to bind men to that day.* 

Ansv), The apostles* institution was a law of Christ by 
his Spirit, (Matt, xxviii. 20.) And how should there be a 
human law, before there was a Christian magistracy ? 

Object, (Saith Heylin, p. 95.) ' The powers which raised 
it up, may take it lower if they please, yea, take it quite 
away,' &c. 

Answ. True ; that is, Christ may ; and when he dpth it 
by himself, or by new apostles, who confirm their commis- 
sion by miracles, we will obey ; but we expect his presence 
with the apostolical constitution to iho end of the world. 
(Matt, xxviii. 20.) 

Theodosius also enacted that on the Lord's-day, and in 
the Christmas, and on Easter, and to Whitsuntide, the pub- 
lic cirques and theatres should be shut up. (For we grant 
that when Christian magistrates took the matter in hand, 
other holy days were brought in by degrees ; whereas be- 
fore the Christians indeed met (yea, and communicated) as 
oft as they could, even most of the days in the week ; but 
did not separate the days as holy to God's service, as they 
did the Lord's-day : only Christmas-day, and the memorials 
of those martyrs that were near them (to encourage the peo- 
ple to constancy) they honoured somewhat early ; but those 
were anniversary, and not weekly. And the Wednesdays 
and Fridays, were kept by them but as we keep them now, 
or as a lecture-day. 

I grant also that when Christian magistracy arose, as 
the holy days multiplied, the manner of the day's observa- 
tion altered. For whereas from the beginning, the Chris- 
tians used to stay together from morning till night, (partly 
through devotion, and partly for fear of persecution, if they 
were noted to go in and out ;) afterward being free, they 
met twice a day, with intermission, as we do now. Not that 
their whole day's service was but an hour or two, as Heylin 
would prove from a perverted word of Chrysostom's, and 
another of Origen's (or Ruffinus), and from the length of 
their published homilies ; for he perverteth what was spoken 
of the sermon, as spoken of the length of the service of the 
whole day ; whereas there was much more time spent in the 
eucharistical and liturgic offices, of prayer, praise, sacra- 



OF THE lord's-day. 397 

ments, and exhortations proper to the church, than was in 
the sermon. When I was suffered to exercise my ministry 
myself, having four hundred, or five hundred, if not six hun- 
dred, to administer the sacrament to (though twice the 
number kept themselves away), it took up the time of two 
sermons usually to administer it, besides all the ordinary 
readings, prayers and praises, morning and evening. 

Heylin noteth by the way, 1. That now officiating in a 
white garment begun. 2. And kneeling at the sacrament ; 
which last he proveth from two or three words where adora- 
tion only is named. But, 1, A late Treatise hath fully 
proved that the white garment was not a religious ceremony 
then at all, but the ordinary splendid apparel of honourable 
persons in those times, which were thought meet for the ho- 
nour of the ministry when Christian princes did advance 
them. 2. And he quite forgot that adoration on the Lord's- 
day was ever used standing, and that he had said before, 
that it was above a thousand years before the custom was 

The inclinations to overmuch strictness on the Lord's- 
day. The destruction of the army of the Goths by the Ro- 
mans in Africa, because they would not tight on that day, 
&c. See in Heylin, pp. 112, 113, &c. His translation of 
the words of the Synod or Council at Mascon, 588, I think 
worthy the transcribing. 

** It is observed that Christian people do very rashly 
slight and neglect the Lord's-day ; giving themselves there- 
on, as other days, to continual labours, &c. Therefore let 
every Christian, in case he carry not that name in vain, give 
ear to our instruction ; knowing that we have care that you 
should do well, as well as the power to bridle you, that you 
do not ill. It followeth, * Custodite diem Dominicum qui 
nos denuo peperit, &c.' Keep the Lord's-day, the day of 
our new birth, whereupon we were delivered from the snares 
of sin. Let no man meddle in litigious controversies, or 
deal in actions or lawsuits; or put himself at all on such an 
exigent, that needs he must prepare his oxen for their daily 
work, but exercise yourselves in hymns, and singing praises 
unto God ; being intent thereon both in mind and body. If 
any have a church at hand, let him go unto it, and there 
pour forth his soul in tears and prayers ; his eyes and hands 
being all that day lifted up to God. It is the everlasting 


day of rest, insinuated to us under the shadow of the Seventh- 
day or Sabbath^ in the law and prophets ; And therefore it 
is very meet that we should celebrate this day with one ac- 
cord, whereon we have been made what at first we were not. 
Let us then offer to God our free and voluntary service, by 
whose great goodness we are freed from the gaol of error : 
not that the Lord exacts it of us, that we should celebrate 
this day in a corporeal abstinence or rest from labour, who 
only looks that we do yield obedience to hie holy will, by 
which contemning earthly things, he may conduct us to the 
heavens of hia infinite mercy. However if any man shall 
set at nought this our exhortation, be he assured, that God 
shall punish him as he hath deserved ; and that he shall 
be also subject unto the censures of the church. In case he 
be a lawyer, he shall lose his cause ; if that he be an hus- 
bandman, or servant, he shall be corporally punished for it ; 
but if a clergyman or monk, he shall be six months sepa- 
rated from the congregation.'* 

His reproof of Gregorius Tauronensis for his strictness 
for the Lord*s-day, sheweth but his own dissent from him, 
and from the churches of that age. 

King Alfred's laws for the observation of the Lord's- 
day, and against dicing, drinking, &c. on it, are visible in 
our constitutions, in Spelman and others. And many more 
edicts and laws are recited by Heylin himself of other 

Two are worthy of observation for the reasons of them. 
1. A law of Clotharius king of France, forbidding servile 
labours on the Lord's-day, ' Because the law forbids it, and 
the holy Scripture wholly contradicteth it.' 2. A constitution 
of the emperor Leo Philosophus, to the same purpose, ' Se- 
cundum quod Spiritui sancto ab ipsoque institutis apostolis 
placuit; as it pleased the Holy Ghost and the apostles in- 
structed by him/ You see that then Christian princes 
judged the Lord's-day to be of Divine institution. Yea, to 
these he addeth two more princes of the same mind, con- 
fessing that Leo was himself a scholar, and Charles the 
Great had as learned men about him as the times then bred, 
and yet were thus persuaded of the day; yea, and that 
many miracles were pretended in confirmation of it ; yet he 
afiirmeth, that the * Church and the most learned men in it 
were of another mind.' Let us hear his proofs. 

OF THE lord's-day. 399 

1. Saith he, 'Isidore a bishop of Sevil makes it an 
apostolical sanction only, no Divine commandment : a day 
designed by the apostles, for religious exercises in honour of 
our Saviour's resurrection ; and it was called the Lord's- 
day therefore : to this end and purpose, that resting in the 
same from all earthly acts, and the temptations of the world, 
we might intend God's holy worship, giving this day due 
honour for the hope of the resurrection which we have 
therein.' The same verbatim is repeated by Beda. 1. de 
Offic. and by Rabban. Maurus 1. de instit. Chr. 1. c. 2. 24, 
and by Alcuinus de Div. Offic. c. 24, which plainly shews, 
that all these took it only for an apostolical usage, &c. 

A/isw, Reader, is not here a strange kind of proof? This 
is but just the same that we assert, and I am proving ; save 
that he most grossly puts an apostolical usage, and sanction 
(' sanxerunt') as distinct from, and exclusive of a command, 
which I have fully proved to be Christ's own act and law to 
us, by virtue of, 1. Their commission : 2. And the infallible 
Spirit given them. 

And having brought the history to so fair an account by 
our chief adversary's own citations and confessions, I will 
not tire myself and the reader any more ; but only wish 
every Christian to consider, whether they that thus distin- 
guish between apostolical sanctions, and Divine institutions 
as this man doth, do not teach men to deny all the holy 
Scriptures of the New Testament, 'ds being but apostolical 
writings ; and go far to deny or subvert Christianity itself; 
by denying the Divine authority of these commissioned in- 
spired men, who are foundations of the church, and sealed 
their doctrine by miracles, and from whom it is that our 
Christian faith, and laws, and church-constitutions, which 
are universal and Divine, are received. 

I only remember you of Pliny, a heathen's testimony of 
the Christian's practice * stato die.' No man can question 
Pliny on the account of partiality ; and therefore though a 
heathen, his historical testimony, as joined with all the 
Christian church-history, hath its credibility. He telleth 
Trajan, that it was the use of Christians, ' on a stated day, 
before it was light to meet together, to sing a hymn to 
Christ as to God ' secum invicem,' among themselves by 
turns ; and to bind themselves by a sacrament, not to do 
any wickedness, but that they commit not thefts, robberies, 


adulteries ) that they break not their word (or trust) ; that 
they deny not the pledge (or pawn) ; which being ended, 
they used to depart, and to come again together to take 
meat, but promiscuous and harmless/ Epist. 79. p. 306, 307. 

Where note, 1. That by a stated day, he can mean no 
other than the Lord's^day, as the consent of all other his- 
tory will prove. 2. That this is much like the testimonies 
of Justin and Tertullian (and supposing what they say of 
the use of reading the Scripture, and instructing the church) 
it sheweth that their chief work on that day, was the prais- 
ing of God for our redemption by Christ, and tbe celebra- 
tion of the Lord's-supper ; and the disciplinary exercises of 
covenanters thereto belonging. 3. That they had at that 
time, where Pliny was, two meetings that day, that is, they 
went home, and came again to their feast of love, in the 
evening. (Which, no doubt, was varied, as several times, 
and places, and occasions required ; sometimes departing 
and coming again, and sometimes staying together all day.) 
4. That this epistle of Pliny was written in Trajan's days, 
and it is supposed in his second year: and Trajan was em- 
peror in the year that St. John the apostle died, if not a 
year before ; so that it is the church's <yustom in the end of 
the apostles* days, which Pliny here writeth of. 5. That 
he had the fullest testimony of what he wrote, it being the 
consent of the Christians whom he, as judge, examined ; 
€ven of the timorous that denied their religion, as well as 
of the rest. And many of them upon his prohibition for- 
bore these meetings. 6. And the number of them he telleth 
Trajan in city and country was great, of persons of all de- 
grees and ranks. 

So that when, 1. Christian History, 2. And Heathen, 
acquaint us with the matter of fact, that the day was kept 
in the apostle's time ; 3. Yea, when no heretics or sects of 
Christians are found contradicting it, but the churches then 
and after universally practised it without any controversy ; 
what fuller historical evidence can there be ? And to say, 
that, 1. The apostles would not have reproved this, if it 
had not been their own doing : 2. Or that it could be done, 
and they not know it : 3. And that all Christians who ac- 
knowledged their authority, would have consented in such 
a practice superstitiously before their faces, and against 
their wills, and no testimony be left us of one faithful church 


or Christian that contradicted it, and stuck to the apostoli- 
cal authority, even where the churches received their writ- 
ings, and publicly read them ; all this is such, as is not by 
sober Christians to be believed. 

But the great objection will be, * That other things were 
then taken for apostolical traditions, and were customs of 
the universal church, as well as this ; which things we now 
renounce as superstitious.* 

Answ. Though I answered this briefly before, I now give 
you this fuller answer: 1. It is but few things that come 
under this charge, viz. the unction, white garment, with 
the taste of milk and honey at baptism, adoration towards 
the East, and that standing ; and not kneeling on the Lord's- 
days, and the anniversary observation of Easter and Whit- 
suntide : and the last is but the keeping of one or two 
Lord's-days in the year with some note of distinction from 
the rest, so far as there was any agreement in it. 2. That 
these are not usually by the ancients called apostolical tra- 
ditions, but customs of the universal church : 3. That when 
they are called traditions from the apostles, it is not with an 
assertion that the apostles instituted them, but that they 
are supposed to be from their times, because their original 
is not known. 4. That the ancients join not the Lord's-day 
with these, but take the Lord's-day for an apostolical insti- 
tution written in Scripture, though the universal practice of 
all churches more fully deliver the certain history of it : but 
the rest they take for unwritten customs, as distinct from 
Scripture ordinances. (As Epiphanius justly sheweth.) 5. 
That most Christians are agreed, that if these latter could be 
proved apostolical institutions for the church universal, it 
would be our duty to use them, though they were not in 
Scripture. So that we reject them only for want of such 
proof; but the proof of the Lord's-day's separation being 
far better (by concurrence of Scripture and all ancient his- 
tory), it followeth not that we must doubt of that which 
hath full and certain proof, because we must doubt of that 
which wants it. 6. And if it were necessary that they stood 
or fell together (as it is not), it were necessary that we did 
receive those three or four ceremonies, for the sake of the 
Lord's-day, which hath so great evidence, rather than that 
we cast off the Lord's-day, because of these ceremonies. 



Not only because there is more good in the Lord's-day 
than there is evil to be any way suspected by a doubter in 
these ceremonies ; but especially because the evidence for 
the day is so great, that if the said ceremonies had but the 
same, they were undoubtedly of Divine authority or institu- 
tion. In a word, I have shewed you somewhat of the evi- 
dence for the Lord's-day ; do you shew me the like for them, 
and then I will prove that both must be received ; but if 
you cannot, do not pretend a parity. 7. And the same 
churches laying by the customs aforesaid, or most of them, 
did shew that they took them not indeed for apostolical in- 
stitutions, as they did the Lord's-day, which they continued 
to observe ; not as a ceremony, but as a necessary thing. 
8^. And the ancient churches did believe, that even in the 
apostles' days some things were used as indifferent, which 
were mutable, and not laws, but temporary customs. And 
some things were necessary, settled by law for perpetuity. 
Of the former kind they thought were, the greeting one 
another with an holy kiss, the women's praying covered 
with a veil, (of which the apostle saith, that it was then and 
there so decent, that the contrary would have been unseem- 
ly, and the churches of God had no such custom, by which 
he answereth the contentions), yet in other countries, where 
custom altereth the signification, it may be otherwise : also 
that a man wear not long hair; and that they have a love- 
feast on the Lord's-day, (which yet Paul seemeth to begin 
to alter in his rebuke of the abusers of it. 1 Cor. 1 1). And 
if these ancient churches thought the milk and honey, and 
the white garment, and the station and adoration Eastwards, 
to be also such like indifferent mutable customs, as it is ap- 
parent they did, this is nothing at all to invalidate our 
proof, that the Lord's-day was used (and consequently ap- 
pointed) in the days of the apostles. 

Object. * At least it will prove it mutable as they were.' 
Answ. No such matter ; because the very nature of such 
circumstances, having no stated necessity or uneasiness, 
sheweth them to be mutable. But the reason of the Lord's- 
day's use is perpetual ; and it is founded partly in the law of 
nature, which telleth us that some stated days should be 
set apart for holy things ; and partly in the positive part of 
the fourth commandment ; which telleth us, that ' once 

OF THE lord's-uay. 4631 

God determined of one day in seven/ yea, and this upon the 
ground of his own cessation of his creation-work, that man 
on that day might observe a holy rest in the worshipping of 
the great Creator, which is a reason not belonging to the 
Jews only, but to the whole world. Yea, and that reason 
(whatever Dr. Heylin says to the contrary, from the mere 
silence of the former history in Genesis) doth seem plainly 
to intimate that this is but the repetition of that law of the 
Sabbath which was given to Adam ; for why should God 
begin two thousand years after to give men a Sabbath upon 
the reason of his rest from the creation of it, if he had never 
called man to that commemoration before. 

And it is certain that the Sabbath was observed at the 
falling of manna before the giving of the law ; and let any 
considering Christian judge between Dr. Heylin and us in 
this : 1. Whether the not falling of manna, on the rest of 
God after the creation, was like to be the original reason of 
the Sabbath. 2. And whether, if it had been the first, it 
would not have been said, "Remember to keep holy the 
Sabbath-day ;" for on six days manna fell, and not on the 
seventh, rather than " for in six days God created heaven 
and earth, &c. and rested the seventh day." And it is 
causally added, " Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath- 
day, and hallowed it." Nay, consider whether this annexed 
reason intimate not, that the day on this ground being hal- 
lowed before, therefore it was that God sent not down the 
manna on that day, and that he prohibited the people from 
seeking it. 

And he that considereth the brevity of the history in 
Genesis, will think he is very bold, that obtrudeth on the 
world his negative argument : * The Sabbath is not there 
mentioned ; therefore it was not then kept.' 

And if it was a positive law given to Adam on the rea- 
son of the creation-rest, it was then such a positive, as must 
be next to a law of nature, and was given to all mankind in 
Adam, and Adam must needs be obliged to deliver it down 
to the world. 

So that though the Mosaical law (even as given in stone) 
be ceased, yea, and Adam's positives too, formally as such ; 
yet this is sure, that once God himself determined by a 
law, that one stated day in seven, was the fittest proportion 
of time to be separated to holy worship. And if it was so 


once, yea, to all the world from the creation, it is so still : 
because there is still the same reason for it ; and we are 
bound to judge God's determination o»f the proportion, to 
be wiser than any that we can make. And so by parity of 
reason consequentially even those abrogated laws do thus 
far bind us still ; not so far as abrogated ; but because the 
record and reason of them, is still a signification of the due 
proportion of time, and consequently of our duty. 

Now the Lord's-day, supposing one weekly day to be due, 
and being but that day determined of, and this upon the 
reason of the resurrection, and for the commemoration of 
our redemption, and that by such inspired and authorised 
persons, it foUoweth clearly, that this is no such mutable 
ceremony, as a love- feast, or the kiss of love, or the veil, or 
the washing of feet, or the anointing of the sick, which were 
mostly occasional actions and customs taken up upon rea- 
sons proper to those times and places. 

Object. * But by the reason aforesaid, you will prove the 
continuance of the Seventh-day Sabbath ; as grounded on 
the creation-rest.' 

Afisw. This is anon to be answered in another place. I 
only prove that it continued, till a successive dispensation, 
and God's own change did put an end to it; but no longer. 

Object, * But to commemorate the creation, and praise 
the Creator, is a moral work, and therefore ceaseth not.' 

Answ, True, but that it be done on the seventh day, is 
that which ceaseth. For the same work is transferred to the 
Lord's-day ; and the Creator and Redeemer to be honoured 
together in our commemoration. For the Son is the only 
way to the Father ; who hath restored us to peace with our 
Creator ; and as no man cometh to the Father but by the 
Son, and as we must not now worship God, as a Creator and 
Father never offended, but as a Creator and Father recon- 
ciled by Christ, so is it the appointment of Christ by the 
Holy Ghost, that we commemorate the work of creation 
now, as repaired and restored by the work of redemption, on 
the Lord's-day, which is now separated to these works. 

That the Sabbath was appointed to Adam, Wallseus on 
the Fourth Commandment, cap. 3.; andRivetdissert.de sab. 
c. 1. have most copiously proved. And Clem. Alexandr. 
Strom. 1. 5. out of Homer, Hesiod, Callimachus and others, 
proveth that the heathens knew of it. 

OF THE lordVday. 405 

We may therefore sum up the prerogatives of the Lord's- 
day, as Leo did, (Ep. 81. cap. 1.) * On this day the world 
began ; on this day by Christ's resurrection, death did receive 
death, and life its beginning; on this day the apostles take 
the trumpet of the Gospel to be preached to all nations ; on 
this day the Holy Ghost came from the Lord to the apostles, 
&c.' See more in Athanas. de Sab. et Circ. and August. 
Serm. 154. de Tempore. Therefore saith Isychius in Levit. 
L 2. c. 9. * The church setteth apart the Lord's-day for holy 
assemblies.' And in the times of heathenish persecution, 
when men were asked, whether they were Christians, and 
kept the Lord's-days ; they answered that they were, and 
kept the Lord's-day ; which Christians must not omit : as 
you may see Act. Martyr, apud. Baron, an. 303. n. 37 — 39. 
They would die rather than not keep the holy assemblies on 
the Lord's-days : For, saith Ignatius, * After the Sabbath, 
every lover of Christ celebrateth the Lord's-day, consecrated 
to (or by) the Lord's resurrection, the queen and chief of all 
days' (as is aforecited). For saith Austin, * The Lord's 
resurrection hath promised us an eterjial day, and conse- 
crated to us the Lord's-day, which is called the Lord's-day, 
and properly belongeth to the Lord,' Serm. 15. de Verb. 
Apost. And saith Hilary, Proleg. in Psalm, * Though the 
name and observance of a Sabbath was placed to the seventh 
day, yet is it the eighth day, which is also the first, on which 
we rejoice with the perfect festivity of the Sabbath.* 

Of the full keeping of the whole day, and of the several 
exercises in which it was spent, and of the more numerous 
testimonies of antiquity hereupon. Dr. Young in his ** Dies 
Dominica" hath said so much, with so much evidence and 
judgment, that 1 purposely omit abundance of such testi- 
monies, because I will not do that which he hath already 
done ; the learned reader may there find unanswerable proof 
of the matter of fact, that the Lord's-day was kept in the 
apostles' days, and ever since, as by their appointment; and 
for the unlearned reader, I fear lest I have too much inter- 
rupted him with citations already. I only tell him the con- 
clusion, that, if Scripture-history interpreted and seconded 
by fullest practice and history of all the churches of Christ, 
and by the consent of heathens and heretics, and not con- 
tradicted by any sect in the world, be to be believed, then 


we must say, that the Lord's-day was commonly kept by the 
Christians in and from the apostjes' times. 

Prop, 11. ' This evidence of the church's universal con- 
stant usage, is a full and sufficient proof of the matter of 
fact, that it was a day set apart by the apostles for holy 
worship, especially in the public church-assemblies/ 

1. It is a full proof, that such assemblies were held on 
that day above others, as a separated day. For if it was the 
usage in anao 100, (ir> which the apostle John died,) it must 
needs be the usage in the year 99, in which he wrote his 
Revelations, where he calleth it the Lord's-day : For all the 
churches could not silently agree on a sudden to take up a 
new day, without debate and public notice, which could not 
be concealed. And if it was the universal usage in the days 
of Ignatius or Justin Martyr, it was so also in the days of 
St. John (and so before). For the churches were then so far 
dispersed over the world, that it would have taken up much 
time to have had councils and meetings or any other means 
for agreement on such things. 

And it is utterly improbable that there would have been 
no dissenters; for, 1. Did no Christians in the world so 
near to the apostles* days make any scruple of superstition, 
or of such an addition to Divine institutions ? 2. Was there 
no country, nor no persons whose interest would not better 
suit with another day, or an uncertain day, or at least their 
opinions ? when we find it now so hard a matter to bring 
men in one country, to be all of one opinion. 3. And there 
was then no magistrates to force them to such an union ; and 
therefore it must be voluntary. 4. And they had in the 
second age such pastors as the apostles themselves had 
ordained, and as had conversed with them, and been trained 
up by them, and knew their mind, and cannot soberly be 
thought likely to consent all on a sudden to such a new in- 
stitution, without and contrary to the apostles' sense and 
practice. 5. Yea, they had yet ministers that had that ex- 
traordinary spirit which was given by the laying on of the 
apostles' hands : For if the aged apostles ordained young 
men, it is to be supposed that most of those young men 
(such as Timothy), overlived them. 6. Yea, and the ordi- 
nary Christians in those times had those extraordinary gifts 
by the laying on of the apostles' hands, as appeareth evi- 



dently in the case of Samaria, (Acts viii,) and of the Corin- 
thians, (1 Cor. xii. and xiv,) and of the Galatians. (Gal. iii. 
1 — 3.) And it is not to be suspected that all these inspired 
ministers and people would consent to a superstitious inno- 
vation, without and against the apostles' minds. 

2. Therefore this history is a full proof, that these things 
were done by the consent and appointment of the apostles. 
For, 1. As is said, the inspired persons and churches could 
not so suddenly be brought to forsake them universally in 
such a case. 2. The churches had all so high an esteem of 
the apostles, that they took their authority for the highest, 
and their judgment for infallible, and therefore received their 
writings as canonical and Divine. 3. The churches pro- 
fessed to observe the Lord's-day as an apostolical ordinance, 
and they cannot be all supposed to have conspired in a lie, 
yea, to have belied the Holy Ghost. 4. The apostles them- 
selves would have controlled this course, if it had not been 
by their own appointment. For I have proved that the usage 
was in their own days. And they were not so careless of 
the preservation of Christ's ordinances and churches, as to 
let such things be done, without contradiction ; when it is 
known how Paul strove to resist and retrench all the cor- 
ruptions of church-order in the churches to which he wrote. 
If the apostles silently connived at such corruptions, how 
could we rest on their authority ? Especially the apostle John 
in an. 99, would rather have written against it as the super- 
stition of usurpers (as he checked Diotrephes for contempt 
of him), than have said that he was in the Spirit on the 
Lord*s-day when he saw Christ, and received his revelation 
and message to the churches. 5. And if the churches had 
taken up this practice universally without the apostles, it is 
utterly improbable that no church writer would have com- 
mitted to memory either that one church that begun the cus- 
tom, or the council or means used for a sudden confederacy 
therein. If it had begun with some one church, it would 
have been long before the rest would have been brought to 
an agreeing consent. It was many hundred years before they 
all agreed of the time of Easter ; and it was not till the middle 
of Chrysostom's time (^for he saith it was but ten years ago, 
when he wrote it) that they agreed of the time of Christ's 

But if it had been done by confederacy at once, the motion. 


the council called about it, the debates, and the dissenters, 
and resistances would all have been matter of fact, so 
notable, as would have found a place in some author or 
church-history ; whereas there is not a syllable of any such 
thing ; either of council, letter, messenger, debate, resist- 
ance, &c. Therefore it is evident, that the thing was done 
by the apostles. 

Prop, 12. * They that will deny the validity of this his- 
torical evidence, do by consequence betray the Christian 
faith, or give away or deny the necessary means of proving 
the truth of it, and of many great particulars of religion/ 

I suppose that in my book, called, " The Reasons of 
the Christian Religion," 1 have proved that Christianity is 
proved true, by the SPIRIT, as the great witness of Christ, 
and of the Christian verity ; but I have proved withal, the 
necessity and certainty of historical means, to bring the 
matters of fact to our notice, as sense itself did bring them 
to the notice of the first receivers. For instance : 

L Without such historical evidence and certainty, we 
cannot be certain what books of Scripture are truly canoni- 
cal and of Divine authority, and what not. This Protes- 
tants grant to Papists in the controversy of tradition. Though 
the canon be itself complete, and tradition is no supplement 
to make up the Scriptures, as if they were, ' in suo genere,* 
imperfect ; yet it is commonly granted that our fathers' and 
teachers' tradition is the hand to deliver us this perfect rule, 
and to tell us what parts make up the canon. 

If any say that the books do prove themselves to be 
canonical or Divine, I answer, 1. Whatman alive could tell 
without historical proof that the Canticles, or Esther, are 
canonical? yea, or Ecclesiastes, or the Proverbs, and not 
the books of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus ? 

2. How can any man know that the Scripture-histories 
are canonical ? The suitableness of them to a holy soul, will 
do much to confirm one that is already holy, of the truth of 
the doctrines. But if the Spirit within us assure us imme- 
diately of the truth of the history, it must be by inspiration 
and revelation, which no Christians have, that ever 1 was 
yet acquainted with. For instance, that the books of Chro- 
nicles are canonical, or the book of Esther, or the books of 
the Kings, or Samuel, or Judges. And how much doth the 
doctrine of Christianity depend on the history ? As of the 


creation, of the Israelites' bondage and deliverance, and the 
giving of the lav^, and Moses' miracles, and of chronology, 
and Christ's genealogy ; and of the history of Christ's own 
nativity, miracles and life ; and the history of the apostles 
afterwards ? To say, that the very history so far proveth its 
own truth, as that without subsequent history we can be sure 
of it, and must be, is to reduce all Christ's church of right 
believers into a narrow room ; when I never knew the man 
(as far as I could perceive) did know the history to be Divine 
by its proper evidence, without tradition, and subsequent 

3. And how can any man know the ceremoniallaw to be 
Divine, by its proper evidence alone ? Who is he that read- 
eth over Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, that will say that 
without knowing by history that this is a Divine record, he 
could have certainly perceived by the book itself, that all 
these were indeed Divine institutions or laws ? 

4. And how can any mere positive institutions of the 
New Testament be known * proprio lumine,' by their own 
evidence to be Divine ? As the institution of sacraments, 
officers, orders, &c. What is there in them that can infalli- 
bly prove it to us ? 

5. And how can any prophecies be known by their own 
evidence to be Divine (till they are fulfilled, and that shall 
prove it)? 

I know that the whole frame together of the Christian re- 
ligion hath its sufficient evidence, but we must not be guilty 
of a peevish rejecting it. The moral part hath its witness with- 
in us, in that state of holiness which it imprinteth on the soul; 
and the rest are witnessed to, or proved partly by that and 
partly by miracles, and those and the records by historical 
evidence. But when God hath made many things necessary 
to the full evidence, and wranglers through partiality and 
contention against each other, will some throw away one 
part, and some another, they will all prove destroyers of the 
faith (as all dividers be). If the Papist will say, it is tradi- 
tion, and not inherent evidence ; or if others will say, that it 
is inherent evidence alone, and not history or tradition, where 
God hath made both needful hereunto, both will be found 
injurious to the faith. 

II. Without this historical evidence, we cannot prove 


that any of the books of Scripture are not maimed or de- 
praved. That they come to our hands as the apostles and 
evangelists wrote them, uncorrupted. It is certain by his- 
tory, that many heretics did deprave and corrupt them, and 
would have obtruded those copies or corruptions on the 
churches. And how we shall certainly prove that they did 
not prevail, or that their copies are false, and ours are true, 1 
know not without the help of history. Mahomet and his 
followers (more numerous than the Christians) pretend that 
Mahomet's name was in the Gospel of John as the Paraclete 
or Comforter promised by Christ, and that the Christians 
have blotted it out, and altered the writings of the Gospel. 
And how shall we disprove them but by historical evidence? 
As the Arians and Socinians pretend that we have added, 
1 John V. 7, for the Trinity, so others say of other texts ; 
and how shall we confute them without historical evidence ? 
III. Therefore we cannot make good the authority of any 
one single verse or text of Scripture which we shall allege, 
without historical evidence. Because we are not certain of 
that particular text, (or words,) whether it have been altered, 
or added, or corrupted, by the fraud of heretics, or the par- 
tiality of some Christians, or the oversight of scribes ; for 
if a custom of setting apart one day weekly, even the first, 
for public worship, might creep into all the churches in the 
world, and no man know how, nor when ; much more might 
one, or a few corrupt copies, become the exemplar of those 
that follow. For, what day all the churches meet, men, 
women, and children know ; learned and unlearned know ; 
the orthodox and heretics know ; and they so know, as that 
they cannot choose but know. But the alterations of a text, 
may be unknown to all save the learned, and the observing, 
diligent part of the learned only, and those that they tell it 
to. And besides Origen (called a heretic) and Jerome, alas ! 
how few of the fathers were able and diligent examiners of 
such things ? Therefore in the case of various readings 
(such as Ludovicus Capellus treats of in his " Critica Sacra,'' 
contradicted in many things by bishop Usher and others,) 
who are those divines that have hitherto appealed either to 
the Spirit, or to the proper light of the words, for a decision? 
Who is it that doth not presently fly to historical evidence ? 
And what that cannot determine, we all confess to be uncer- 


tain. And if copies and history had delivered to us as vari- 
ous readings of every text, as they have done of some, every 
text would have remained uncertain to us. 

Let none say, that this leaveth the Christian religion or 
the Scriptures uncertain : 1. Christian religion, that is, the 
material parts of the Scripture, on which our salvation lieth, 
hath much fuller evidence, than each particular text or 
canonical book hath ; and we need not regard the perverse 
zeal for the Scriptures of those men that would make all our 
Christianity as uncertain, as the authority of a particular 
text or book is. And therefore God in mercy hath so ordered 
it, that a thousand texts may be uncertain to us, or not 
understood (no not by any or many divines,) and yet the 
Christian faith be not at all shaken, or ever the more uncer- 
tain for this : When as he that understandeth not, or believeth 
not every essential article of the faith, is no Christian. 2. 
And those books and texts of Scripture, are fully certain by 
the subservient help of history and usage, which would be 
uncertain without them. Therefore it is the act of an enemy 
of the Scriptures, to cast away and dispute against that his- 
tory which is necessary to our knowledge of its certainty, 
and afterwards to plead, that they who take in those neces- 
sary helps, do make it uncertain : even as if they should go 
about to prove that all writings are uncertain, and therefore 
that they make Christ's doctrine uncertain, who rest upon 
the credit of writings, that is, the Sacred Scriptures. 

IV. Without historical notice, how should we know that 
these books were written by any of the same men that bear 
their names ; as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, 
&c. Especially when the heretics did put forth the Gospel 
of Thomas, Nicodemus, the Itinerary of Peter, and many 
books under venerable names ? Or, when the name of the 
author is not notified to all Christians certainly, either by 
the Spirit within us, or by the matter? And though our 
salvation depend not on the notice of the penman, yet it is 
of great moment in the matter of faith. 

V. And how should we be certain that no other sacred 
books are lost, the knowledge of which would tell us of that 
which these contain not, and would help us to the better 
understanding of these ? I know that a * priori* we may 
argue from God's goodness, that he will not so forsake his 


churchy as a Jew might have done before Christ's incarna- 
tion, that the Gospel should be written, because it is best 
for the world or church. But when we consider how much 
of the world and church, God hath forsaken, since the crea- 
tion, and how dark we are in such prognostics, and how little 
we know what the church's sins may provoke God to, we 
should be less confident of such reasonings, than we are of 
historical evidence, which tells us ' de facto/ what God hath 
done. So much of the use of the history, as to the cause of 
the Scriptures themselves. 

Next you may observe that the denial of the certainty of 
human history, and usage, doth disadvantage Christianity 
in many great particular concernments. As, I. Without it 
we should not fully know whether * de facto' the church and 
ministry died, or almost died with the apostles ? And 
whether there have been any true churches since then, till 
our own days ? Christ's promise indeed tells us much ; but 
if we had no history of the performance of it we should be 
ready to doubt that it might be yet unperformed ; as far as 
the promise to Adam, (Gen. iii. 15,) and to Abraham, (" In 
thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,") were 
till the coming of Christ. Nor could we easily confute the 
Roman or any heretical usurpation, which would pretend 
possession since the apostles' days, and that all that are 
since gone to heaven, have gone thither by their way, and 
not by ours. 

II. Nor could we much better tell * de facto,' whether 
baptism have been administered in the form appointed by 
Christ, " In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost?" Indeed we may well and truly argue a * priori,' 
Christ commanded it, ergo the apostles obeyed him ; But, 
1. That argument would hold good as to none or few but the 
apostles : And, 2. It would as to them be, though true, yet 
much more dark than now it is; because, 1. We read that 
Peter disobeyed his command, in Gal. ii. And, 2. That 
after he had commanded them to preach the Gospel to every 
creature, and all the world, Peter scrupled still going to the 
Gentiles. (Acts x.) And, 3. That when he said to them, 
" Pray thus. Our Father," &c. yet we never read that they 
after used that form of words ; so when he said to them, 
" Baptize in the name of the Father," &c. yet the Scrip- 


ture never mentioneth that they or any other person, ever 
used that form of words. But yet usage and history assureth 
us that they did. 

III. Nor have we any fuller Scripture-proof, that the 
apostles used to require of those that were to be baptized 
any more than a general profession of the substance of the 
Christian faith, in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost; or of the ancient use of the Christian creed, either 
in the words now used, or any of the same importance. 
From whence many would infer, that any one is to be bap- 
tized, who will but say that, ** I believe that Jesus Christ is 
the Son of God," with the eunuch, (Acts viii. 37,) or that 
Christ is come in the flesh. (1 John iv. 2, 3.) 

But historical evidence assureth us, that it was usual in 
those times, to require of men a more explicit understand- 
ing profession of the Christian faith before they were ad- 
mitted to baptism ; and that they had a summary or symbol, 
fitted to that use, commonly called the Apostles' Creed ; at 
least as to the constant tenor of the matter, though some 
words might be left to the speaker's will, and some little 
subordinate articles may be since added. And that it was 
long after usual to keep men in the state of catechised per- 
. sons, till they understood that creed. And it is in itself 
exceeding probable, that though among the intelligent Jews, 
who had long expected the Messiah, the apostles did bap- 
tize thousands in a day ; (Acts ii ;) yet where the miraculous 
communication of the Spirit did not antecede (as it did Acts 
X,) they would make poor heathens who had been bred in 
ignorance, to understand what they did first, and would re- 
quire of them an understanding profession of their belief in 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; which could not 
possibly contain much less than the ' Symbolum fidei,' the 
apostles' creed. 

IV. Nor have we any Scripture-proof, (except by inferring 
obedience from the precept) that ever the Lord's-prayer was 
used in words, after Christ commanded or delivered it: 
whence some infer, that it should not be so used. But church 
history putteth that past doubt. Other such instances I 

I think now that I have fully proved to sober, considerate 
Christians, that the matter of fact (that the Lord's-day was 


appointed by the apostles peculiarly for church worship) is 
certain to us by historical evidence, added to the his- 
torical intimations in Scripture, as a full exposition and 
confirmation of it : and that this is a proof, that no Christian 
can deny without insufferable injury to the Scriptures and 
the Christian cause. 


Prop. 5. I'his Act of the Apostles' appointing the Lorc^s-day 
for Christian Worship, was done by the special Inspiration or 
Guidance of the Holy Ghost, 

This is proved, 1. Because it is one of those acts or works 
of their office, for which the Holy Ghost was promised 

2. Because that such-like or smaller things are by them 
ascribed to the Holy Ghost, (Acts xv. 28,) " It seemed good 
to the Holy Ghost and us," when they did but declare an 
antecedent duty, and decide a controversy thereabout. See 
also. Acts iv, 8 ; v. 3 ; vi. 3 ; vii. 55 ; xiii. 2. 4 ; xvi. 6, 7 ; 
XX. 23. 28; xxi. 11; 2Tim. i. 14; Jud.xx; Acts xi. 12. 28 : 
xix. 21 ; XX. 22; 1 Cor. v. 3, 4 ; xiv. 2. 15, 16; and vii. 40. 
When Paul doth but counsel to a single life, he ascribeth it 
to the Spirit of God. 

3. And if any will presume to say, that men properly en- 
dued with the Spirit, for the works of their commission, 
did notwithstanding do such great things as this, without 
the conduct of that Spirit, they may by the same way of 
proceeding pretend it to be as uncertain, of every particular 
book and chapter in the New Testament, whether or no 
they wrote it by the Spirit : For if it be a sound inference 
* They had the promise and gift of the Spirit, that they 
might infallibly leave in writing to the churches, the doc- 
trines and precepts of Christ : ergo, whatever they have left 
in writing to the churches, as the doctrine and precepts of 
Christ, is infallibly done by the guidance of that Spirit.' 
Then it will be as good an inference * They had the promise 
and gift of the Spirit, that they might infallibly settle 
church-orders for all the churches universally : ergo. What- 

OF THE lord's DAY. 415 

ever church-orders they settled for all the churches univer- 
sally, they settled them by the infallible guidance of that 

But this few Christians will deny, except some Papists, 
who would bring down apostolical constitutions to a lower 
rank and rate, that the Pope and General Council may be 
capable of laying claim to the like themselves ; and so may 
make as many more laws for the church as they please, and 
pretend such an authority for it as the apostles did for 
theirs. By which pretence many would make too little 
distinction between God's laws given by his Spirit, and the 
laws of a pope and popish council, and call thcJi all but 
'The laws of the church.' Whereas there is no universal 
head of the church but Christ, who hath reserved universal 
legislation to himself alone, to be performed by himself 
personally, and by his advocate, the Holy Ghost, in his au- 
thorised and infallibly inspired apostles, who were the pro- 
mulgators and recorders of them ; all following pastors, 
being but (as the Jewish priests were to Moses and the pro- 
phets) the preservers, the expositors, and the appliers of 
the law. 


Quest. 2. Whether the Seventh-day- Sabbath should be still 
kept by Christians, as of Divine Obligation? Neg. 

I SHALL here premise. That as some superstition is less dan- 
gerous than profaneness (though it be troublesome, and 
have ill consequents), so the error of them who keep both 
days, as of Divine appointment, is much less dangerous 
than theirs that keep none : yea, and less dangerous, I 
think, than theirs who reject the Lord's-day, and keep the 
seventh day only. Because these latter are guilty of two 
sins, the rejecting of the right day, and the keeping of the 
wrong ; but the other are guilty but of one, the keeping of 
the wrong day. Besides, that if it were not done, with a 
superstitious conceit (that it is God's law) in some cases a 
day may be voluntarily set apart for holy duties, as days of 
thanksgiving and humiliation now are. 

But yet, though the rejecting of the Lord's-day be the 


greater fault (and I have no uncharitable censures of them 
that through weakness keep both days), I must conclude it 
as the truth, that We are not obliged to the observation of 
the Saturday, or Seventh-day as a Sabbath, or separated day 
of holy worship. 

Arg. I. That day's observations which we are not obliged 
to, either by the law of nature, the positive law given to 
Adam, the positive law given to Noah, the law of Moses, or 
the law of Christ incarnate, we are not obliged to by any 
law of God (as distinct from human laws) ; but such is the 
observation of the Seventh-day-Sabbath ; therefore we are 
not obliged to the observation of it by any law of God. 

The minor I must prove by parts (for I think none will 
deny the sufficient enumeration in the minor). 

And, 1. That the law of nature bindeth us not to the 
Seventh day, or any one day of the seven more than other, 
appeareth, 1. In the nature and reason of the thing; there 
is nothing in nature to evidence it to us to be God's will. 
2. By every Christian's experience : no man findeth himself 
convinced of any such thing by mere nature. 3. By all the 
world's experience : no man can say that a man of that 
opinion can bring any cogent evidence or argument from 
nature alone to convince another, that the Seventh day must 
be the Sabbath. Nor is it any where received as a law of 
nature, but only as a tradition among some few heathens, 
and as a law positive by the Jews, and some few Christians. 
I am not solicitous to prosecute this argument any further ; 
because I can consent that all they take the Seventh day for 
the Sabbath, who can prove it to be so by mere natural evi- 
dence, which will not be done. 

II. That the positive law made to Adam (before or after 
the fall), or to Noah, bindeth not us to keep the Seventh 
day as a Sabbath, is proved. 

1. Because we are under a more perfect subsequent law ; 
which being in force, the former more imperfect ceaseth. 
As the force of the promise of the incarnation of Christ is 
ceased by his incarnation, and so is the precept which 
bound men to believe that he should * de futuro' be incar- 
nate ; and the law of sacrificing (which Abel doubtless re- 
ceived from Adam, though one of late would make it to be 
but will worship) ; so also is the Sabbath-day, as giving 
place to the day in which our redemption is primarily com- 


memorated, as the imperfect is done away when that which 
is more perfect cometh. 

2. Because that the law of Christ containeth an express 
revocation of the Seventh-day Sabbath, as shall be shewn 

3. Because God never required two days in the seven to 
be kept as holy ; therefore the first day being proved to be 
of Divine institution, the cessation of the seventh is thereby 
proved : for to keep two days is contrary to the command 
which they themselves do build upon, which obligeth us to 
sanctify a Sabbath, and labour six days. 

4. And when it is not probable that most or many in- 
fidels are bound to Adam's day, for want of notice (at least) ; 
for no law can bind without promulgation (though I now 
pass by the question, how far a promulgation of a positive 
law to our first parents may be said to bind their posterity, 
that have no intermediate notice). It seemeth less probable 
that Christians should be bound by it, who have a more 
perfect law promulgated to them. 

5. Nor is it probable that Christ and his apostles, and 
all the following pastors of the churches, would have passed 
by this positive law to Adam without any mention of it, if 
our universal obligation had been thence to be collected. 
Nay, I never yet heard a Sabbatarian plead this law, any 
otherwise than as supposed to be implied or exemplified 
in the fourth commandment. 

III. And that the fouth commandment of Moses's law 
bindeth us not to the Seventh-day Sabbath is proved. 

1. Because that Moses's law never bound any to it but 
the Jews, and those proselytes that made themselves in- 
habitants of their land, or voluntarily subjected themselves 
to their policy. For Moses was ruler of none but the Jews, 
nor a legislator or deputed officer from God to any other 
nation. The decalogue was but part of the Jewish law, if 
you consider it not as it is written in nature, but in tables 
of stone : and the Jewish law was given as a law to no other 
people but to them. It was a national law, as they were a 
peculiar people and holy nation. So that even in Moses's 
days it bound no other nations of the world. Therefore it 
needed not any abrogation to the Gentiles, but a declara- 
tion that it did not bind them. 



2. The whole law of Moses, formally as such, is ceased 
or abrogated by Christ. I say. As such ; because, mate- 
rially, the same things that are in that law, may be the mat- 
ter of the law of nature, and of the law of Christ : of which 
more anon. That the whole law of Moses as such^s abro- 
gated, is most clearly proved, 1. By the frequent arguings 
of Paul, who ever speaketh of that law as ceased, without 
excepting any part ; and Christ saith, Luke xvi. 16 : The 
law and the prophets were until John, that is, were the 
chief doctrine of the church till then. " The law was given 
by Moses, but grace and truth cometh by Jesus Christ.'* 
(John i. 17.) No Jew would have understood this, if the 
word law had not contained the decalogue. So John vii. 
19. 23 ; Acts XV. 5. 24. It was the whole law of Moses, 
as such, which by circumcision they would have bound men 
to. (Gal. V. 3.) The Gentiles are said to " sin without law," 
even when they broke the law of nature, meaning, without 
the law of Moses. (Rom. ii. 12, 14—16.) In all these fol- 
lowing places it is not part but the whole law of Moses, 
which Paul excludeth (which I ever acknowledged to the 
Antinomians, though they take me for their too great adver- 
sary). Rom. iii. 19—21. 27, 28. 31 ; iv. 13—16; v. 13, 20; 
vii. 4—8. iQ ; ix. 4. 31, 32 ; x. 5 : Gal. ii. 16. 19. 21 ; iii. 2. 
10—13. 19. 21. 24 ; iv. 21 ; v. 3, 4. 14. 23 ; vi. 13 : Eph. ii. 
15: Phil. iii. 6. 9: Heb. vii. 11, 12. 19; ix. 19; x. 28: 
ICor.ix. 21. 

2. More particularly there are some texts which express 
the cessation of the decalogue as it was in Moses's law. 

** Not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart 

But if the ministration of death written and engraven in 
stones was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not 
stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his 
countenance, wliich was to be done away (or is done away)." 
(2 Cor. iii. 7.) They that say the glory, and not the law, 
is here said to be done away, speak against the plain scope 
of the text; for the glory of Moses's face, and the glorious 
manner of deliverance ceased in a few days, which is not 
the cessation here intended, but as Dr. Hammond speaketh 
it, * That glory and that law so gloriously delivered, is 
done away.' And this the eleventh verse more fully express- 
eth, "For if that which is done away was glorious (or, by 
glory), much more that which remaineth is glorious (or, in 


glory)," so that as it is not only the glory, but the glorious 
Law, Gospel, or Testament which is said to remain, so it is 
not only the glory, but the law which was delivered by 
glory, which is expressly said to be done away: and this is 

the law which was written in stone. Nothing but partial 

violence can evade the force of this text. 

" Under it (the Levitical priesthood) the people received 

the law And the priesthood being changed, there is made 

of necessity a change also of the law. For there is verily 
a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the 
weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made 

nothing perfect ; but the bringing in of a better hope . 

But so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testa- 
ment." (Heb. vii. 11, 12. 18. 22.) In all this it is plain that 
it is the whole frame of the Mosaical law that is changed, 
and the New Testament set up in its stead. 

" Neither was the first dedicated without blood ; for 
when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people ac- 
cording to the law," &c. (Heb. ix. 18, 19.) Here the law, 
which is before said to be changed, is said to contain every 

And Eph. ii. 15. ** It is the law of commandments con- 
tained in ordinances," which Christ abolished in his flesh ; 
which cannot be exclusive of the chief part of that law. 

Object. * This is the doctrine of the Antinomians, that 
the law is abrogated, even the moral law.' 

Answ, It is the doctrine of the true Antinomians that 
we are under no Divine law, neither of nature nor of 
Christ ; but it is the doctrine of Paul and all Christians, 
that the Jewish Mosaical law, as such, is abolished. 

Object. * But do not all divines say that the moral law is 
of perpetual obligation?' 

Answ. Yes; because it is God's law of nature, and also 
the law of Christ. 

Object, * But do not most say that the decalogue written 
in stone, is the moral law, and of perpetual obligation?' 

Answ. Yes ; for by the word moral they mean natural, 
and so take mora/, not in the large sense as it signifieth a law 
' de moribus,' as all laws are whatsoever, but in a narrower 
sense, as signifying, that which by nature is of universal 
and perpetual obligation. So that they mean not that it is 
perpetual as it is Moses's law, and written in stone formally. 


but as it is moral, that is natural ; and they mean that ma- 
terially the decalogue containeth the same law which is the 
law of nature, and therefore is materially still in force : but 
they still except certain points and circumstances in it, as the 
prefatory reason, " I am the Lord that brought thee out of 
the land of Egypt," &c. And especially this of the Seventh- 
day Sabbath. 

Quest. 1. * How far then are we bound by the deca- 
logue V 

Answ, 1. As it is the law of nature: 2. As it is owned 
by Christ, and made part of his law. Therefore no more of 
it bindeth directly, than we can prove to be either the law 
of nature, or the law of Christ. 3. As it was once a law of 
God to the Jews, and was given them upon a reason com- 
mon to them with us, or all mankind, we must still judge 
that it was once a Divine determination of what is most 
meet, and an exposition of a law of nature, and therefore 
consequentially, and as that which intimateth by what God 
once commanded, what we should take for his will, and is 
most meet, it obligeth still. And so when the law of na- 
ture forbiddeth incest, or too near marriages, and God once 
told the Jews what degrees were to be accounted too near, 
this being once a law to them directly, is a doctrine and 
' exposition of the law of nature still to us ; and so is conse- 
quently a law, by parity of reason. And so we shall shew 
anon that it is by the fourth commandment. 

IV. The law of Christ bindeth us not to the observation 
of the Seventh-day Sabbath. Proved. 

1. Because it is proved that Christ abrogated Moses's 
law, as such, and it is no where proved that he reassumed 
this, as a part of his own law. For it is no part of the law 
of nature (as is proved) which we confess now to be part of 
his law. 

Object, ' Christ saith, that he came not to destroy the 
law and the prophets, but to fulfil them, and that a jot or 
tittle shall not pass till all be fulfilled.' 

Answ. " He is the end of the law for righteousness to 
every one that believeth." (Rom. x. 4.) " The law was a 
schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." (Gal. iii. 24.) He hath 
therefore fulfilled the law according to his word, by his in- 
carnation, life, death, and resurrection. It is passed away, 
but not unfulfilled : and fulfilling it, is not destroying it. 


The ends of it are all attained by him : 2. And though 
having attained its end, it ceaseth formally, as Moses's 
law ; yet materially, all that is of natural obligation con- 
tinueth under another form ; that is, as part of his perfect 
law. Therefore as our childish knowledge is said, as know- 
ledge, to be increased, and not done away, when we come 
to maturity ; but as childish, to be done away ; so the 
Mosaical Jewish law, as God's law in general, is perfected 
by the cessation of the parts which were fitted to the state 
of bondage, and by addition of more perfect parts (the na- 
tural part of it is made a part of a better covenant or frame) : 
but yet as Mosaical and imperfect, it is abolished. 

Briefly this much sufficeth for the answer of all the alle- 
gations, by which any would prove the continuation of 
Moses's law, or any part of it formally as such. I only add. 
That all Moses's law, even in the decalogue was political, 
even God's law for the government of that particular theo- 
cratical policy, as a political body. Therefore when the 
kingdom or policy ceased, the law as political could not 

2. It is proved that Christ by his Spirit in his apostles 
did institute another day. And seeing the Spirit was given 
them to bring his words to remembrance, and to enable 
them to teach the churches all things whatsoever he com- 
manded them, it is most probable that this was at first one 
of Christ's own personal precepts. 

3. And to put all out of doubt, that neither the law of 
nature, nor any positive law, to Adam, Noah, or Moses, or 
by Christ, doth oblige us to the Seventh-day Sabbath, it is 
expressly repealed by the Holy Ghost, " Let no man there- 
fore judge you in meats or in drink, or in respect of an 
holy-day (or feast), or of the new moon, or of the Sabbaths, 
which are a shadow of things- to come ; but the body is of 
Christ." (Col. ii. 16.) I know many of late say, that by 
Sabbath here, is not meant the weekly Sabbath, but only 
other holy days, as monthly or jubilee rests: But, 1. This 
is to limit without any proof from the word of God. When 
God speaks of Sabbaths in general, without exception, 
what is man that he should put in exceptions without any 
proof of authority from God ? By such boldness we may 
pervert all his laws. Read Dr. Young upon this text. 2. 


Yea, when it was the weekly Sabbath, which then was prin- 
cipally known by the name of a Sabbath, above all other 
festivals whatsoever, it is yet greater boldness without proof 
to exclude the principal part, from whence the rest did re- 
ceive the name. 3. Besides the feasts and new moons be- 
ing here named as distinct from the Sabbath, are like to in- 
clude so much of the other separated days, as will leave it 
still more unmeet to exclude the weekly Sabbath in the 
explication of that word Sabbaths when so many feasts arfe 
first distinguished : kop ral ' inquit Grotius, hie sunt Azyma, 
dies omer, scenopegia, dies IXadjus. 

Object. * But the Sabbath mentioned in the decalogue 
could not be included.' 

Answ. This is spoken without proof, and the contrary is 
before proved. 

Object. * By this you will make the Christian Sabbath 
also to be excluded. Is not the Lord's-day a Sabbath V 

Answ, I am here to speak but of the name; of which I 
say, that the common sense of the word Sabbath was, a 
day so appointed to rest, as that the bodily rest of it, was a 
primary part of its observation, to be kept for itself; and 
such the Jewish Sabbaths were. Though spiritual worship 
was then also commanded, yet the corporal rest was more 
expressly or frequently urged in the law, and this not only 
subordinately as an advantage to the spiritual worship, but 
for itself, as an immediate and most visible and notable part 
of sabbatizing. Even as other ceremonies under the law 
were commanded, not only as doctrinal types of things 
spiritual, but as external acts of ceremonious operous obe- 
dience suited to the Jews' minority, which is after called the 
*' yoke which they and their fathers were unable to bear." 
(Acts 15.) Whereas the Lord's-day is appointed but as a 
seasonable time subservient to the spiritual work of the 
day ; and the bodily rest, not required as primary obedience 
for itself, but only for the spiritual work sake : and there- 
fore no bodily labour is now unlawful, but such as is a hin- 
drance to the spiritual work of the day (or accidentally a 
scandal and temptation to others), whereas the breach of 
the outward rest of the Jews' Sabbath, was a sin directly of 
itself, without hindrance of, or respect to the spiritual 
worship. So that the first notion and sense of a Sabbath 

OF THE lord's-day. 423 

in those days being (in common use) a day of such cere- 
monial corporal rest, as the Jewish Sabbath was, the Lord's- 
day is never in Scripture called by that name ; but the pro- 
per name is. The Lord's-dai/. And the ancient churches 
called it constantly by that name, and never called it the 
Sabbath, but when they spake analogically by allusion to 
the Jews' Sabbath ; even as they called the holy table, the 
altar, and the bread and wine, the sacrifice. Therefore it is 
plain, that Paul is to be understood of all proper Sabbaths, 
and not of the Lord's-day, which was then, and long after, 
distinguished from the Sabbaths. 

And this ceremonial sabbatizing of the Jews, was so 
strict, that the ceremoniousness made them the scorn of the 
heathens, as appeareth by the derisions of Horat. lib. i. sat. 
9 ; Persius, sat. 5 ; Juvenal, sat. 6 ; Martial, lib. iv., and 
others : whereas they derided not the Christians for the 
ceremonious rest, but for their worship on that day. The 
Lord's-day being not called a Sabbath in the old sense, 
then only in use, but distinguished from the Sabbath, can- 
not be meant by the apostle in his exclusion of the Sabbath. 

Object. * But the apostles then met in the synagogue 
with the Jews on the Sabbaths; therefore it is not those 
days that he meaneth here.' (Col. ii. 16.) 

Answ. 1. You might as well say. That therefore he is not 
for the cessation of the Jewish manner of worship, or com- 
munion with them in it, because he met with them. 

2. And you may as well say, that he was for the con- 
tinuance of circumcision and purification, because he puri- 
fied himself and circumcised Timothy. 

3. Or that he was for the continuance of their other 
feasts, in which also he refused not to join with them. 

4. But Paul did not keep their Sabbaths formally as 
Sabbaths, but only took the advantage of their assemblies, 
to teach them and convince them ; and to keep an interest 
in them : and not scandalize them by an unseasonable viola- 
tion and contradiction. 

5. And you must note also, that the text saith not, * Ob- 
serve not Sabbath-days,' but " Let no man judge you ;" that 
is, let none take it for your sin, that you observe them not ; 
nor do you receive any such doctrine of the necessity of 
keeping the law of Moses. The case seemeth like that of 
** things strangled and blood," which were to be forborne 


among the Jews while they were offensive, and the use of 
them hindered their conversion. 

Object. 'But the ancient Christians did observe both days/ 
Answ. 1. In the first ages they did as the apostles did ; 
that is, 1. They observed no day strictly as a Sabbath in 
the notion then in use. 2. They observed the Lord's-day, 
as a day set apart by the Holy Ghost for Christian worship. 
3. They so far observed the Jews' Sabbath materially, as to 
avoid their scandal, and to take opportunity to win them. 

2. But those that lived far from all Jews, and those that 
lived after the law, was sufficiently taken down, did keep 
but one day, even the Lord's-day as separated to holy uses : 
except some Christians, who differed from the rest, as the 
followers of Papias did in the Millenary point. 

3. And note that even these dissenters, did still make 
no question of keeping the Lord's-day, which sheweth that 
it was on foot from the times of the apostles. So Ignatius 
(whoever it was, and whenever he wrote) saith that * After 
the Sabbath we keep the Lord's-day.' And Pseudo Cle- 
mens, Can. 33, saith, * Servants work five days, but on the 
Sabbath and Lord's-day, they keep holy day in the church, 
for the doctrine (or learning) of godliness.' 

The text of Gal. iv. 10. is of the same sense with Col. ii. 
16. against the Jews' Sabbath, and therefore needeth no 
other defence. 

And I would have you consider, whether as Christ's re- 
surrection was the foundation of the Lord's-day, so Christ's 
lying dead and buried in a grave on the Seventh-day Sab- 
bath, was not a fundamental abrogation of it: I say, not the 
actual and plenary abrogation ; for it was the command of 
Christ by his word. Spirit, or both, to the apostles before 
proved, which fully made the change : But as the resurrec- 
tion was the ground of the new day, so his burial seemeth 
to intimate, that the day with all the Jewish law, which it 
was the symbolical profession of, lay dead and buried with 
him. Sure I am that he saith, ' when the Bridegroom is 
taken from them, then shall they fast and mourn ; but he 
was most notably taken from them, when he lay dead in 
thegrave : and if they must fast and mourn that day, they 
could not keep it as a Sabbath, which was a day of joy. 
Therefore as by death he overcame him that had the power 
of death, (Heb. ii. 14,) and as he nailed the hand-writing of 

OF THE lordVday. 425 

ordinances to his cross ; so he buried the Sabbath in his 
grave, by lying buried on that day. 

And therefore the Western churches, who had fewer 
Jews among them, did fast on the Sabbath-day, to shew 
the change that Christ's burial intimated : though the 
Eastern churches did not, lest they should offend the Jews. 
And that the ancient Christians were not for sabbatiz- 
ing on the Seventh day, is visible in the writings of most, 
save the Eastern ones before mentioned. Tertull. Cont. 
Marcion. lib. i. cap. 20, and Chrysost. Theodoret, Primasius, 
&c. on Gal. iv. expound that text, as that by days is meant 
the Jewish Sabbath, and by months, the new moons, &c. 

Cyprian 59. Epist. ad Hidum saith, that the Eighth d^-y 
is to Christians, what the Sabbath was to the Jews, and 
called the Sabbath, the Image of the Lord's-day. Athana- 
sius de Sab. et Circumcis. is full and plain on it. See Ter- 
tuUian Advers. Judae. cap. 4 ; Ambros. in Eph, 2 ; August. 
Ep. 118 ; Chrysost. in Gal. 1; andHom. 12. ad pop. Hilary, 
before cited ; Prolog, in Psalm ; Origen Hom. 23, in Num; 
Item Tertull. de Idol. cap. 14 ; Epiphan. lib. i. Num. 30 ; 
noting the Nazarsei and Ebionaei heretics, that they kept 
the Jews* Sabbath. In a word, the Council of Loadicaea 
doth anathematize them that did Judaize by forbearing 
their labours on the Sabbath or Seventh day. And as Sozo- 
men tells us. That at Alexandria and Rome they used no 
assemblies on the Sabbath, so where they did, in most 
churches they communicated not in the sacrament. 

Yea, that Ignatius himself (true or false), who saith as 
aforecited, ' After the Sabbath let every lover of Christ 
celebrate the Lord's-day,' doth yet in the same epistle (ad 
Magnes.) before say, ' Old things are passed away, behold 
all things are made new : for if we live after the Jewish law, 
and the circumcision of the flesh, we deny that we have re- 
ceived grace Let us not therefore keep the Sabbath (or 

sabbatize) Jewishly, as delighting in idleness (or rest from 
labour). For he that will not labour, let him not eat. In 
the sweat of thy brows thou shalt eat thy bread.' I confess 
I take the cited texts to have been added since the body 
of the epistle was written ; but though the writer savour of 
the Eastern custom, yet he sheweth they did not sabbatize 
on the account of the fourth commandment, or supposed 
continuation of the Jewish Sabbath, as a Sabbath ; for 


bodily labour was strictly forbidden in the fourth com- 

Dionysius Alexandr. hath an epistle to Basilides, a 
bishop, on the question. When the Sabbath-fast must end, 
and the observation of the Lord's-day begin. (Biblioth Patr. 
Graec. Lat. vol. i. p. 306.) In which he is against them 
that end their fast too soon. And plainly intimate th that the 
Seventh day was to be kept, but as a preparatory fast (being 
the day that Christ lay in the grave), and not as a Sabbath, 
or as the Lord's-day. 

I cite not any of these, as a human authority to be set 
against the authority of the fourth commandment ; but as 
thj^ certain history of the change of the da}' which the apos- 
tles made. 

Quest, * How far then is the fourth commandment moral ? 
You seem to subvert the old foundation, which most others 
build the Lord's-day upon. 

Answ. Let us not entangle ourselves with the ambigui- 
ties of the word moral, which most properly signifieth ethi- 
cal, as distinct from physical, &c. By moral here is meant 
that which is (on what ground soever) of perpetual or con- 
tinual obligation : and so it is all one as to ask how far it is 
still obligatory or in force ; to which I answer, 

1. It is a part of the law of nature, that God be solemnly 
worshipped, in families and in holy assemblies. 

2. It is a part of the law of nature, that where greater 
things do not forbid it, a stated time be appointed for his 
service, and that it be not left at randum to every man's will. 

3. It is of the law of nature, that where greater matters 
do not hinder it, this day be one and the same in the same 
countries ; yea, if it may be, through the world. 

4. It is of the law of nature, that this day be not so rarely 
as to hinder the ends of the day, nor yet so frequently as to 
deprive us of opportunity for our necessary corporal labour. 

5. It is of the law of nature, that the holy duties of this 
day be not hindered by any corporal work, or fleshly plea- 
sure, or any unnecessary thing which contradicteth the 
holy ends of the day. 

6. It is of the law of nature, that rulers, and in special 
masters of families, do take care that their inferiors thus 
observe it. 

In all these points the fourth commandment being but a 

OF THE lord's-day. 427 

transcript of the law of nature, which we can yet prove 
from the nature or the reason of the thing, the matter of it 
continueth (not as Jewish, but) as natural. 

7. Resides all this, when no man of himself could tell, 
whether one day in six, or seven, or eight, were his duty to 
observe, God hath come in, and, 1. By doctrine or history 
told us, that he " made the world in six days, and rested the 
seventh." 2. By law; and hath commanded one day in 
seven to the Jews ; by which he hath made known conse- 
quently to all men, that one day in seven is the fittest pro- 
portion of time. And the case being thus determined by 
God, by a law to others, doth consequently become a law to 
us, because it is the determination of Divine Wisdom ; un- 
less it were done upon some reasons in which their condition 
differeth from ours. And thus the doctrine and reasons of 
an abrogated law, continuing, may induce on us an obliga- 
tion to duty. And in this sense the fourth commandment 
may be said still to bind us to one day in seven. 

But in two points the obligation (even as to the matter) 
ceaseth : 1. We are not bound to the Seventh day, because 
God our Redeemer, who is the Lord of the Sabbath, hath 
made a change. 2. We are not bound to a Sabbath in the 
old notion, that is, to a day of ceremonial rest for itself re- 
quired ; but to a day to be spent in evangelical worship. 

And though I am not of their mind who say, that the 
Seventh day is not commanded in the fourth commandment, 
but a Sabbath-day only ; yet, I think that it is evident in 
the words, that the * Ratio Sabbati,' and the * Ratio diei 
septimi' are distinguishable : and that the Sabbath, as a 
Sabbath, is first in the precept, and the particular day is 
there but secondarily, and so mutably ; as if God had said, 
' I will have a particular day set apart for a holy rest, and 
for my worship ; and that day shall be one in seven, and the 
seventh also on which I rested from my works.* 

And thus I have said as much as I think needful to sa- 
tisfy the considerate about the day: Again professing, 1. 
That I believe that he is in the right that maketh conscience 
of the Lord's-day only. 2. But yet I will not break charity 
with any brother, that shall in tenderness of conscience 
keep both days ; especially in times of profaneness, when 
few will be brought to the true observation of one. 3. But 
I think him that keepeth the Seventh day only, and neg- 


lecteth the Lord's-day, to sin against very evident light, 
with many aggravations. 4. But I think him that keepeth 
no day (whether professedly, or practising contrary to his 
profession ; whether on pretence of avoiding superstition, 
or on pretence of keeping every day as a Sabbath) to be far 
the worst of all. I shall now add somewhat to some ap- 
pendant questions. 


Of the Beginning of the Day, 

Quest. 1. 'When doth the Lord's-day begin?' 

Answ, 1. If we can tell when any day beginneth, we may 
know when that beginneth. If we cannot, the necessity of 
our ignorance, will shorten the trouble of our scruples by 
excusing us. 

2. Because the Lord's-day is not to be kept as a Jewish 
Sabbath ceremoniously, but the time and the rest are here 
commanded subserviently for the work sake, therefore we 
have not so much reason to be scrupulous about the hours 
of beginning and ending, as the Jews had about their Sab- 

3. I think he that judgeth of the beginning and ending 
of the day according to the common estimation of the country 
where he liveth, will best answer the ends of the institution. 
For he will keep still the same proportion of time ; and so 
much as is ordinarily allowed on other days for work, he will 
spend this day in holy works ; and so much in rest as is used 
to be spent in rest on other days ; (which may ordinarily 
satisfy a well informed conscience.) And if any extraordinary 
occasions (as journeying or the like,) require him to doubt 
of any hours of the night, whether they be part of the Lord's- 
day or not; 1. It will be but his sleeping time, and not his 
worshipping-time, which he will be in doubt of: And, 2. 
He will avoid all scandal and tempting others to break the 
day, if he measure the day by the common estimate : 
Whereas, if the country where he liveth do esteem the day 
to begin at sunsetting, and he suppose it to begin at mid- 
night, he may be scandalous by doing that which in the 
common opinion is a violation of the day. If I thought 

OF THE lord's-day. 429 

that this short kind of solution, were not the fittest to afford 
just quietness to the minds of sober Christians in this point, 
I would take the pains to scan the controversy about the true 
beginning of days : but lest it more puzzle and perplex, than 
edify or resolve and quiet the conscience, I save myself and 
the reader that trouble. 


Quest, 2. ' How should the Lord's-day be kept or used V 

Armv. The practical directions I have given in another 
treatise. I shall now give you but these generals. 

I. The day being separated, or set apart for holy wor- 
ship, must accordingly be spent therein. To sanctify it, is 
to spend it in holy exercises : how else should it be used 
as a holy day ? " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's-day," saith 
St. John, Rev. i. 10. 

n. The principal work of the day is, the communion of 
Christians in the public exercise of God's worship. It is 
principally to be spent in holy assemblies. And this is the 
use that the Scripture expressly mentioneth. Acts xx. 7, and 
intimateth, 1 Cor. xvi. 1,2; and as most expositors think, 
John xxi, when the disciples were gathered together with the 
door shut, for fear of the Jews. And all church-history 
assureth us, that in these holy assemblies principally, the 
day was spent by the ancient Christians. They spent almost 
all the day together. 

III. It is not only to be spent in holy exercises, but also 
in such special holy exercises as are suitable to the purposes 
of the day. That is, it is a day of commemorating the whole 
work of our redemption ; but especially the resurrection of 
Christ. Therefore it is a day of thanksgiving and praise ; 
and the special services of it must be laudatory and joyful 

IV. But yet because it is sinners that are called to this 
work, who are not yet fully delivered from their sin and 
misery, these praises must be mixed with penitent confes- 
sions, and with earnest petitions, and with diligent learning 
the will of God. 

More particularly, the public exercises of the day are, 
1. Humble and penitent confessions of sin. 2. The faiths 


ful and fervent prayers of the church. 3. The reading, preach- 
ing and hearing of the word of God. 4. The communion of 
the church in the Lord's-supper. 5. The laudatory exhor- 
tations which attend it ; and the singing and speaking of the 
praises of our Creator, and Redeemer, and Sanctifier ; with 
joyful thanksgiving for his wonderful benefits. 6. The sea- 
sonable exercise of holy discipline on particular persons, 
for comforting the weak, reforming the scandalous, casting 
out the obstinately impenitent, and absolving and receiving 
the penitent. 7. The pastor's blessing the people in the 
name of the Lord. 8. And as an appurtenance in due sea- 
son, oblations or contributions for holy and charitable uses, 
even for the church and poor, which yet may be put off to 
other days, when it is more convenient so to do. 

Quest, ' But who is it that must be present in all these 
exercises V 

Answ. Where there is no church yet called, the whole 
day may be spent in preaching to, and teaching the uncon- 
verted infidels : but where there is a church, and no other 
persons mixed, the whole exercise of the day must be such 
as are fitted to the state of the church. But where there is 
a church and other persons (infidels and impenitent ones) 
with them, the day must be spent proportionably in exer- 
cises suitable to the good of both ; yet so that church-ex- 
ercises should be the principal work of the day. And the 
ancient laudable practice of the churches was, to preach to 
the infidel auditors and catechumens in the morning, on 
such subjects as were most suitable to them, and then to 
dismiss them, and retain the faithful (or baptized) only ; 
and to teach them all the commands of Christ ; to stir them 
up to the joyful commemoration of Christ and his resurrec- 
tion, and to sing God*s praises, and celebrate the Lord's- 
supper with the eucharistical acknowledgments and joy. 
And they never kept a Lord's-day in the church, without 
the Lord's-supper ; in which the bare administration of the 
signs was not their whole work ; but all their thanksgiving 
and praising exercises, were principally then used, and con- 
nexed to the Lord's-supper : which the liturgies yet extant 
do at large express. 

And I know no reason but thus it should be still ; or at 
least but that this course should be the ordinary celebration 
of the day. 


Quest, ' But seeing the Sabbath was instituted in the 
beginning to commemorate the work of the creation, must 
that be laid by now, because of our commemoration of the 
work of our redemption?* 

Answ, No : Our Redeemer's work is to restore us to 
the acknowledgment and love of our Creator. And the 
commemoration of our redemption fitteth us to a holy ac- 
knowledgment of the Almighty Creator in his works : these 
therefore are still to go together ; according to their several 
proper places ; even as the Son is the way to the Father, 
and we must never separate them in the exercise of our 
faith, obedience, or love. A Christian is a sanctified philo- 
sopher : and no man knoweth or acknowledgeth God's works 
of creation or providence aright, in their true sense, but he 
that seeth God the Creator and Redeemer, the Beginning, 
the Governor and the End of all. Other philosophers are'' 
but as those children, that play with the book and the let- 
ters, but understand not the matter contained in it ; or like 
one that teacheth boys ' nitide literas pingere,' to write a 
curious hand, while he understands not what he writeth. 

Object* * But to spend so much of the day in public as 
you speak of, will tire out the minister by speaking so long : 
few men are able to endure it.' 

Answ. How did the Christians in the primitive churches? 
They met in the morning, and often (as far as I can gather) 
parted not till night, and when they did go home between 
the morning and evening service, it was but for a little time. 
Object. * Then they made it a fast and not a festival.* 
Answ. It was not the use then to eat dinners in those hot 
countries ; much less three meals a-day, as we do now. 
And they accounted it a sufiicient feasting, to eat once, at 
supper ; which they did at the first altogether at their 
church-meeting, with the sacrament ; but afterward finding 
the inconvenience of that, they feasted at home, and used 
only the sacrament in the church: which change was not 
made without the allowance of the apostles ; Paul saying, 
" Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye 
the church of God?" (1 Cor. xi. 22.) 

I further answer, that the work of the day being done 
according to the primitive use, it will be no excessive labour 
to the ministers, because, in the celebration of the Lord's- 
supper, he is not still in one continued speech, but hath the 


intermission of actiqn, and useth shorter speeches, which 
do not so much spend him. And the people bear a con- 
siderable part, to wit, in God's praises, which were spoken 
then in their laudatory tone, and are now uttered by their 
singing of psalms (which should not be the least part of the 
work). And though their manner of singing was not like 
ours, in rhymes and tunes melodiously, (as neither were the 
Hebrew, Greek, or Latin poems so sung ;) but as most think, 
more like to our cathedral singing, or saying ; yet it fol- 
loweth not that this is the best way for us, seeing use hath 
made our tunes and metre, and way of singing, more meet 
for the ends to which we use them, that is, for the cheerful 
consent of all the church ; neither should any think that it 
is a human, unlawful invention, and a sinful change, to turn 
the old way of singing (used in Scripture-times and long 
after) into ours ; for the old way of singing was not a Di- 
vine institution, but a use ; and several countries had their 
several uses herein : and God commandeth us but to praise 
him, and sing psalms, but doth not tell us what metre or 
tunes we shall use, or manner of singing,