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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 vii 



CHAP. I. The Text opened : What philosophy Paul depres- 

seth, and why o, 

II. What wisdom and esteem of it are not here con- 
demned ij 

111. What pretended knowledge is condemned, and 

what learning or philosophy it is which Paul 
disliked, further opened 5 with thirty reasons 19 

IV. What are the certainties which must be known 

and held fast, and why, where certainty is dis- 
tinctly described 33 

V. Of the various degrees of certainty 42 

VI. What are the unknown things or uncertainties, 

which we must not pretend a certain know- 
ledge of, even Scripture truths 47 

VII. The first inference : The true reason and use- 
fulness of the Christian simplicity, in differ- 
encing the covenant and the principles of 
religion from the rest of the Holy Scriptures. . 67 

VIII. Inference 2. Of the use of catechising 75 

IX. Inference 3. The true preservative of puzzled 

Christians, from the errors of false teachers, 

who draw them to their several parties 76 



CHAP.X. Inference 4. What is the great plague and di- 
vider of the Christian world 84 

XI. The common discoveries of men's proud, self- 
conceited understanding, and of pretended 
knowledge 107 

e XII. Of the mischievous effects of this proud pre- 
tence of more knowledge than men have. ... 1 13 

„...,. XIII. The commodities of a suspended judgment 
and humble understanding, which pretendeth 
to no more knowledge or certainty than it 
hath 1 20 

XIV. The aggravations of the sin of prefidence .... 122 

XV. Special aggravations of it in students and pastors 126 

XVI. Twenty clear proofs of the little knowledge 

that is in the world, to move us to a due dis- 
trust of our understandings ] 28 

a XVII. Inference 5. It is not the dishonour, but the 

praise of Christ andhis Apostles, and the Gospel, 
that they speak in a plain style and manner, 
of the certain necessary things, without the 
vanity of school-uncertainty, and unprofitable 
notions • • • 139 

XVIII. Inference 6. The true and false ways of re- 
storing the churches, and healing our divisions, 
hence opened and made plain 149 

XIX. Of the causes of prefidence or proud pretended 

knowledge, in order to the cure 150 

XX. Objections answered lO'O 

XXI. Directions for the cure 173 


CHAP. I. Knowledge is a means to a higher end, according 

to which it is to be estimated 186 

...... II. The end of knowledge is to make us lovers of 

God, and so to be known of him 191 

III. Therefore knowledge is to be sought, valued and 

used as it tendeth to our love to God ] 99 

IV. Therefore they are the wisest and best knowing 

men that love God best ; and not they that 

have much unholy knoWledge 202 



CHAP. V. Inference 1. By what measures to estimate know- 
ledge \ . . 206' 

VI. Inference 2. To abate our censures and contempt 

of the less-learned Christians and churches . . 207 

VII. Inference 3. How to judge of the knowledge 

necessary to church-communion 209 

VIII. Inference 4. The aptness of the teaching of 

Christ, to ingenerate the love of God and ho- 
liness , 218 

IX. Inference 5. What great cause of thankfulness 

men have for the constitution of the Christian 
religion : and how inexcusable they are that 
will not learn so short, and sweet, and safe a 

lesson 220 

X. Inference 6. How little reason ungodly men have 

to be proud of their learning, or any of their 

knowledge 223 

XI. Inference 7- Why the ungodly world hateth ho- 
liness, and not knowledge 225 

XII. Inference 8. What is the work of a faithful 

preacher, and how it is to be done 228 

XII 1. Inference 9. Those that know God so far as to 

love him truly, may have comfort, notwith- 
standing their remaining ignorance ........ 229 

...... XIV. Questions and objections answered 231 

Quest. 1 . If so much knowledge will save men 
as causeth them to love God, may not hea- 
thens be saved who know God to be good, 

and therefore may love him ? ibid. 

Quest. 2. May not a Papist or heretic love God 

and be saved ? 232 

Object. III. At least you make ignorant persons 
happy that love God, though they know not 

their catechism ? 235 

Object. IV. How are infants saved that have 

neither knowledge nor love? 236* 

Object. V. If this hold true, universities, and 
most human learning should be cast out as 
the Turks and Muscovites do 3 and the Ar- 
menians, Abassines, Greeks ; and ignorant 
sort of Papists, are the wisest: because 
multitudes of other notions must needs di- 
vert men's thoughts from God ibid 



CHAP. XV. Use, Exhort. 1. Deceive not yourselves by over- 
valuing an unholy sort of knowledge, or com- 
mon gifts 237 

XVI. Exhort. 2. Love best those Christians that 

love God best, and live in love and peace with 
others 244 

XVII. Exhort. 3. Pretend not your knowledge 

against the love of God or man, or against 

the interest of the church and souls '245 

XVIII. Exhort. 4. Bend all your studies to a life of 

increased and exercised love. How the love 
of God must be exercised and increased. The 
benefit hereof 250 

XIX. Exhort. 5. Place your comfort in health and 

sickness in mutual divine love. 1. See that 
you love God. How known. Doubts an- 
swered 262 

XX. 2. But let it be the chief part of your comfort 

that you are known of God. What comfort 
this affordeth. What frame of soul it be- 
speaketh in us in life, and at our death 285 



CHAP. I. Introduction ^y 

II. To begin betimes to live to God, is of unspeak- 
able importance to yourselves 30O 

111. Of what public concernment the quality of 

youth is 304 

IV. How the case standeth with our youth in matter 

of fact 308 

V. How sad a case is it that I have described .... 316 

VI. The joyful state and blessing of good children, 

to themselves and others 326 

„ VII. Undeniable reasons for the repentance and 

amendment of those that have lived a fleshly 

and ungodly life: by way of exhortation. .. . 329 

VIII. General directions to the willing 341 



CHAP. IX. Additional counsel to young men, who are bred 
up to learning and public work, especially to 
the sacred ministry, in the universities and 

schools 353 

X. Counsel to young students in physic 3SO 

XI. Counsel to young students of the law in London 383 

XII. Counsel to the sons of the nobility and magis- 
trates • • • • • 385 

XIII. Counsel to parents and tutors of youth 390 

XIV. What are men's duties to each other as elder 

and younger 391 

XV. The conclusion, addressed to ministers 397 


To the Reader 401 

I. What shall befal the churches on earth, till their concord, 

by the restitution of their primitive purity, simplicity 

and charity 403 

II. How that restitution is likely to be made, (if ever,) and 

what shall befal them thenceforth unto the end, in that 
golden age of love 499 


The ordinary public worship on the Lords's-day 45 1 

The order of celebrating the sacrament, of the body and 

blood of Christ 472 

The celebration of the sacrament of baptism 484 

Of catechising, and the approbation of those that are to be 

admitted to the Lord's-supper 492 

Of the celebration of matrimony 494 

The visitation of the sick, and their communion 497 

The order of solemnizing the burial of the dead ibid. 

The extraordinary days of humiliation and thanksgiving, 

and anniversary festivals 49S 

Of prayer and thanksgiving for particular members of the 

Church 499 



A thanksgiving for the deliverance of women, in child- 
bearing 503 

Of pastoral discipline, public confession, absolution, and ex- 
clusion from the hoi}' communion of the church 504 

A form of public admonition to the impenitent 508 

A form of confession to be made before the congregation. . 511 
A form of prayer for a sinner impenitent, after public ad- 
monition • 51 c 2 

A form of rejection from the communion of the church . . 514 

A form of absolution and reception of the penitent ibid. 

A form of thanksgiving, or prayer, for the restored penitent 515 


A larger Litany, or general prayer, to be used at discretion 517 
The Church's praise for our redemption to be used at dis- 
cretion 523 

CHURCH OF ENGLAND : In answer to the scruples 
proposed to him by some that were called upon to sub- 
scribe them . 528 

all their applications to their People 535 


Corporations, for the Discharge of their Duty to God. 539 











Who by God's Blessing on long and hard Studies, hath learned to know that lie 
knoweth but little, and to suspend his Judgment of Uncertainties, and to take 
great, necessary, certain Things, for the food of his Faith and Comforts, and the 
measure of his Church Communion. 

VOL. XV. 1{ 

" A wise man feareth and departcth from evil : but the fool rageth and is confident." 
Prtov. xiv. 16. 

" But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtlety; so your 
minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ." 2 Con. xi. 3- 

" The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than 
men. Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? We speak wisdom 
among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world." ICoh. i. 25. 
20; ii. 6. 

" Study to shew thyself approved to God ; a workman that needeth not be ashamed, 
rightly dividing the word of Truth. But shun profane and vain babblings, for they 
will increase unto more ungodliness." 2TiM.ii. 15, 16. 

" Cum ista quaeruntur, et ea sicut potest quisque conjectat, non inutiliter exer- 
centur ingenia, si adhibeattir disceptantia moderata, et absit error opinantium se 
scire quod nesciunt. Quid enim opus est ut hasc et hujusmodi affirmentur, vel 
negentur, vel definiantur cum discrimine, quando sine crimine ne&ciantur?" 
August. Enchibid. Cap. 59. (De Corporibus Angelorum.) 






Your name is not prefixed to this Treatise, either as accu- 
sing you of the sin herein detected, or as praising you for 
those virtues which good men are more pleased to possess 
and exercise, than to have proclaimed, though they be as 
light that is hardly hid : but it is to vent and exercise that 
gratitude which loveth not the concealment of such friend- 
ship and kindness, as you and your Lady eminently, and 
your Relatives and her's, the children of the Lord Paget, 
have long obliged me by ; and it is to posterity that I re- 
cord your kindness, more than for this age, to which it hath 
publicly notified itself, during my public accusations, re- 
proaches, sentences, imprisonments, and before and since : 
who knoweth you that knoweth not hereof? And it is to 
renew the record of that love and honour which I owed to 
your deceased father formerly, though too slenderly re- 
corded, to be the heir and imitator of whose faith, pietv, 
charity, patience, humility, meekness, impartiality, sincerity 
and perseverance, is as great an honour and blessing as I 
can wish you, next to the conformity to our highest Pattern. 
And though he was averse to worldly pomp and grandeur, 
and desired that his children should not affect it, yet God 
that will honour those that honour him, hath advanced his 
children, I believe partly for his sake : but I entreat you all 
(and some other of my friends whom God hath raised as a 
blessing to their pious and charitable parents and them- 
selves) to watch carefully lest the deceitful world and flesh 
do turn such blessings into golden fetters, and to be sure to 
use them as they would find at last on their account. 

And as you are a Member of the present House of Com- 
mons, I think the subject of this Treatise is not unnecessary 


to your consideration and daily care : that when proof, and 
notorious and sad experience telleth us what distractions 
have befallen Church and State, by men's self-conceited, 
erroneous rushing upon sin and falsehood, as if it were cer- 
tainly good and true, and how little posterity feareth and 
avoideth this confounding vice, though history tell us that 
it hath been the deluge that in all ages hath drowned the 
peace and welfare of the world; you may be wary, and try 
before you venture, in doubtful cases ; especially where the 
sacred and civil interest of this and many other lands, doth 
probably lie on the determination. Do you think all that 
ventured upon the actions and changes, that have tossed up 
and down both churches and kingdoms, by divisions, perse- 
cutions and wars, had not done better to suspend their judg- 
ments, till they could have more certainly determined ? Who 
should proceed more cautiously than bishops? And where 
rather than in councils? And in what rather than about faith 
and public government and order? And had bishops and 
councils torn the church, and empires, and kingdoms, as they 
have done by aspiring after superiority, and by contentious 
writings, and condemning each other, and by contradictory 
and erroneous, and persecuting canons; or by raising wars and 
deposing princes, ever since four, five, or six hundred years 
after Christ, if not sooner, if they had known their ignorance, 
and suspended in such dangerous cases till they were sure? 
I know you are none of them who dare pretend to a cer- 
tain knowledge, that all those oaths, declarations, covenants, 
practices imposed by laws and canons on ministers and 
people in this land, in the Act of Uniformity, the Corpora- 
tion Act, the Vestry Act, the Militia Act, the Five Mile Act 
of Banishment, &c. are so good and lawful, as will justify 
the execution of them, and the silencing, ejecting, ruining, 
and judging to lie from six months to six in the common 
jails till they die, two thousand as faithful ministers of 
Christ as any nation hath under heaven, unless they forbear 
to preach the Gospel to which they are vowed, or venture 
their souls on that which they fear to be sins so great as 
they are loath to name : when Christ will sentence them to 
everlasting punishment, who did not visit, feed, clothe him 
in the least of them whom he calls his brethren. Before 
men silence conditionally the whole ministry of such a king- 
dom, and actually two thousand such, while the wounding, 


dividing consequents may be so easily foreseen, and before 
men deliberately and resolutely continue and keep up such 
battering engines on pretence of Uniformity and obedience 
to men, and before they venture to own this to that Lord 
who hath made other terms of Church Unity and Peace, it 
nearly concerneth them to think, and think on it a thousand 
times : A suspended judgment is here safer than prefidence 
and confident rage. 

And also they that desire an abolition of Episcopacy, 
should a thousand times bethink them first what true and 
primitive Episcopacy is, and whether the ' Episcopi Gregis,' 
or ' eorum Proesides,' or true Evangelists, or Apostolical 
General Bishops, disarmed and duly chosen, be any injury 
to the church ? And whether the Jews had not been a na- 
tional Christian church under the Twelve Apostles and 
Seventy, if they had not rejected Him that would have ga- 
thered them as the hen gathereth her chickens under her 

They that cannot deny that Christ settled a superior rank 
of ministers, appointing them besides their extraordinaries, 
the work of gathering and overseeing many churches, pro- 
mising therein to be with them to the end of the world, and 
that only Matthias must make up the national number of 
such, though Justus had been with Christ as well as he, 
must be the provers that this rank and imparity was reversed 
by him that did institute it, if they affirm it : and not 
without proof charge Christ with seeming levity and muta- 
bility, as settling a form of Ministry and Government, which 
he would have continue but one age ; much less must they 
impose such an unproved affirmation as the terms of Church 

Woe, woe, woe ! how effectually hath Satan almost un- 
done the Christian world, by getting in naughty ministers 
and magistrates, where he could not utterly extirpate Chris- 
tianity by arms ! thereby making rulers and preachers the 
captains of the malignant enemies of seriousness in that re- 
ligion which they profess and preach themselves ; and if in 
such hypocrisy they convert a soul, they hate him as an ene- 
my for believing them; and thereby tempt religious men to 
mistake the crime of the naughty preacher, as the fault of 
the office, and to oppose the office for the person's sake ; 
and so Ministry and Christianity are despised by too many. 


The shutting of their church doors, and condemning to 
scorn and beggary, and gaols, those that were as wise and 
faithful as themselves (unless fearing heinous sin made them 
worse,) should have been by the persecutors long and deeply 
thought on, twenty eight years ago ; and ever since, by 
them that believe that Christ will judge them. And so 
should all doctrines and practices that tend to unwarranta- 
ble separations and divisions by others. Things of this mo- 
ment should not be ventured on, nor Papists made both 
lords and executioners by our distracted combats with each 
other, and the miserable nation and undone church left to 
no better a remedy than a ' non putaremus ;' and to hear the 
worldly tyrants, and the tempted sufferers accusing each 
other, and disputing when the house is burnt, who was in 
the fault. 

I think he was most faulty that could most easily have 
helped it, and would not : but if great and rich men will be 
the strength of the factious, as they have most to lose, they 
may be the greatest losers. 

All this hath been said, to tell you how nearly the doc- 
trine of this book, for necessary doubting and a humble un- 
derstanding, and for Christian love, and against pretended 
knowledge and rash judging, doth concern the duty and 
safety of this Nation, Church and State. 

My late book of the " English Nonconformity" fully 
evinceth this, and more ; but blinding prejudice, worldliness 
and faction, give leave to few of the guilty to read it. 

I rest your much obliged Servant, 


July 31, 1689. 


Upon the review of this book, written long ago, I find, 1. 
That it is a subject as necessary now as ever ; experience 
telling us that the disease is so far from being cured, that it 
is become our public shame and danger, and if the wonder- 
ful mercy of God prevent it not, is likely to be the speedy 
confusion and ruin of the land. 2. As to the manner of this 
writing, I find the effects of the failing of my memory, in the 
often repeating of the same things, with little diversifica- 
tion : but I will not for that cast it away; considering, 1. 
That perhaps often repeating may make the matter the bet- 
ter remembered ; and if it do the work intended, no matter 
though the Author be not applauded. 2. And men may 
think justly that what is often repeated dropped not from the 
Author inconsiderately, nor is taken by him to be small 
and useless ; but is that digested Truth which he would most 
inculcate. 3. And those who blame their weakness who 
accuse the Church Liturgy of too much repetition, I sup- 
pose will not be much offended with it in our writings, 
while thedulness and forgetfulness of many readers maketh 
it needful. 

R. B. 

August 3, 1689. 





1 CORINTHIANS viii. 2, S. 

And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth 
nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, 
the same is known of Him. 


The Scope and Text opened; what Philosophy or worldly Wis- 
dom Paul depresseth ; and why. 

The calamitous divisions of the Churches of Christ, and 
the miscarriages and contentions of too many particular 
brethren, having been sad upon my thoughts above forty 
years, by this time, without imputation of hastiness and 
rash judging, I may take leave to tell the world, what I have 
discovered to be the principal cause a , which is falsely PRE- 
RANCE, or a proud unhumbled understanding, confident 
that it knoweth that which it knoweth not. And conse- 
quently what must be the cure, if our calamity be here cura- 
ble, viz. To know as much as we can ; but withal to know 
how little we know, and to take on us to know no more 
than we do know, nor to be certain of our uncertainties. 
The text which I have chosen to be the ground of my 

a Had I been supposed to have written this book to hide my sloth and ignorance, 
men would not have neglected my " Methodus Theologian, and Catholic Theology," 
through mere sloth, and saying, that it is too high, and hard for them. 


discourse, is so plain, notwithstanding some little difficul- 
ties, that did not the nature of the disease resist the clearest 
remedy, so many good people had never here often read 
their sin described, as insensibly as if they read it not. 

The chapter hath so much difficulty, as will not stand 
with my intended brevity to open it : I refer you to exposi- 
tors for that ; whether they were the Nicolaitans, or any 
other sort of heretics that the apostle dealeth with, I deter- 
mine not. It is plain that they were licentious professors of 
Christianity, who thought that it was the ignorance of others, 
that made them judge it unlawful to eat things offered to 
idols ; and that their own greater knowledge set them above 
that scruple. A mixture of Platonic philosophy with Chris- 
tianity, made up most -of the primitive heretics, and for 
want of a due digestion of each, too much corrupted many 
of the Greek doctors of the church. The unlearned sort 
of Christians, were so much despised by some of the philo- 
sophical heretics, that they were not thought worthy of their 
communion ; for as Jude saith, they " separated themselves, 
being sensual, having not the Spirit," but more affected 
philosophical fancies : which made Paul warn men to take 
heed lest any seduced them by vain philosophy ; not using 
the name of philosophy, for that solid knowledge of God's 
works which is desirable, but for the systems of vain con- 
ceits and precepts which the word was then used to signify, 
as every sect derived them from their masters. And so the 
apostle taketh knowledge in this text ; not for solid know- 
ledge indeed, but for Gnosticism or philosophical presump- 
tions ; such as even yet most philosophers are guilty of, who 
take a multitude of precepts, some useful, some useless, 
some true, and some false, and all but notionally, or to lit- 
tle purpose, and joining these do call them philosophy. 
And Paul tells them, that opinionative and notional know- 
ledge (were it true, like the devil's faith) is of no such ex- 
cellency as to cause them to shelter their sins under the 
confidence and honour of it, and despise unlearned con- 
scientious Christians ; for such knowledge by inflation often 
destroyeth the possessors, or becomes the fuel of the devilish 
sin of pride, when love buildeth up ourselves and others to 
salvation. And to conceit that a man is wise because of 
such knowledge, and so to overvalue his own understand- 
ing, is a certain sign that he is destitute of that knowledge 


in which true wisdom doth consist ; and knoweth nothing 
with a wise and saving knowledge, as every thing should be 
known : and indeed a man's excellency is so far from lying in 
vain philosophical speculations, that the use of all true 
knowledge is but to bring us up to the love of God, as the 
highest felicity, to be approved and beloved by God ; and 
those unlearned Christians that have the spirit of sanctifica- 
tion, without your vain philosophy, have knowledge enough 
to bring them to this love of God, which is a thing that 
passeth all your knowledge, or rather to be known of God 
as his own, and loved by him. For our felicity lieth in re- 
ceiving from God, and in his loving us more than in our 
loving him ; but both set together, to love God, and so to 
be loved of him, are the ultimate end and perfection of man; 
and all knowledge is to be estimated but as it tendeth to this. 
This being the plain paraphrase of the text, I shall stay 
no longer on it, but thence deduce and handle these two 

Doct. I. Falsely pretended knowledge is often pernici- 
ous to the possessor, and injurious to the church. And over- 
valuing one's own opinions and notions, is a certain mark of 
dangerous ignorance. 

Doct. II. A man is so far truly wise, as he loveth God, 
and consequently is approved or loved by him, and as he 
loveth others to their edification. 

I. The first is but the same that Solomon thus express- 
eth, " Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit ; there is 
more hope of a fool than of him." (Prov. xxvi. 12.) And 
Paul elsewhere, " Be not wise in your own conceits." (Rom. 
xii. 16 ; xi. 25 ; and Prov. xxvi. 5. 16.) For it is certain that 
we are all here in great darkness, and it is but little that the 
wisest know ; and therefore he that thinks he knoweth 
much, is ignorant both of the things which he thinks he 
knoweth, and of his ignorance. Therefore " Let no man de- 
ceive himself: If any man among you seemeth to be wise in 
this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise:'' 
(1 Cor. iii. 18:) To be "wise in this world," is the same 
with that in the words following, "The wisdom of this world 
is foolishness with God." And (1 Cor. i. 19—22.) " It is 
written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise," &c. " Where 
is the wise ? Where is the scribe ? Where is the disputer of 
this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this 


world ? For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by 
wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of 
preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require 
a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom," &c. So chap. 
ii. 4 — 8. " And my speech and my preaching was not with 
enticing words (or probable discourses) of men's wisdom, but 
in demonstration of the Spirit and of Power, that your faith 
should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of 
God : Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are per- 
fect ; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of 
this world that come to naught : But we speak that wisdom 
of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God 
ordained before the world unto our glory (even Christ the 
wisdom of God, chap. i. 24.) which none of the princes of 

this world knew. " 

In all this, note — 1. That there is a wisdom which Paul 
placeth Christianity itself in : — 2. That this is to know God 
in Christ objectively, and to be taught of God by Christ and 
his Spirit efficiently. — 3. That there is a wisdom which Paul 
comparatively vilifieth. — 4. This is called the " wisdom of 
this world" (or age). — 5. That most plainly he meaneth by 
it, that which then was called learning and philosophy ; 
which the Greeks did value, and by which they judged of 
the Gospel; which comprehended the methods of all the 
sects, Epicureans, Academics, Peripatetics and Stoics ; but 
not their true morals, but their physics, and logic, and me- 
taphysics ; which Laertius and others tell us how variously 
they held. — 6. That Paul doth not absolutely prohibit such 
studies, nor yet despise any true knowledge. — 7. But he 
vilirieth this philosophy on these accounts. (1.) Because 
it was the exercise of a poor, low, insufficient light : they 
did but grope after God in the dark, as Acts xvii. 27. (2.) 
Because it was mostly taken up with inferior things, of 
small concernment comparatively : as things corporeal are 
good in themselves, and when sanctified and made subser- 
vient to things spiritual ; so the knowledge of physics 
is to be esteemed : but as things corporeal yet are objec- 
tively the snare and ruin of those that perish, and therefore 
the world to be renounced and crucified, as it is our tempta- 
tion, an enemy, or competitor with Christ; just so it must 
be with natural philosophy. (3.) Because it was greatly 
overvalued by the world, as if it had been the only wisdom, 


when indeed it is of itself but an indifferent thing, or fit but 
to make a by-recreation of, till it be made to serve to higher 
ends; even as riches, honour and pleasure are overvalued 
by worldlings, as if they were the only felicity ; when in 
themselves they are but more indifferent things, and prove 
beneficial or hurtful as they are used. Therefore Paul was 
to take down the pernicious esteem of this kind of philoso- 
phy, as preachers now must take down men's esteem of 
worldly things, however they are the works and gifts of God. 
And as Christ would by his actual poverty and sufferings, 
and not by words only, take down the esteem of worldly 
wealth and pride ; so Paul by neglecting and forbearing the 
use of artificial logic, physics and metaphysics, would depress 
their rate. (4.) Because that there was abundance of false- 
hood mixed with the truth which the philosophers held ; as 
their multitude of different sects fully proves. (5.) Because 
the artificial, organical part was made so operous, as that it 
drowned real learning instead of promoting it ; and became 
but like a game at chess, a device rather to exercise vain, 
proud wits by, than to find out useful truth. As to this day 
when logic and metaphysics seem much cultivated and re- 
formed, yet the variety of methods, the number of notions, 
the precariousness of much, the uncertainty of some things, 
the falsehood of many, maketh them as fit for boys to play 
with in the schools, and to be a wood into which a sophister 
may run, to hide his errors, as to be a means of detecting 
them. And therefore a knavish cheater will often bind you 
strictest to the pedantic part of the rules of disputation, that 
when he cannot defend his matter, he may quarrel with your 
form and artifice, and lose time by questioning you about 
mood and figure. (6.) Because by these operous diversions 
the minds of men were so forestalled or taken up, as that 
they had not leisure to study great and necessary saving 
truth : and if men must be untaught in the doctrines of life, 
till they had first learned their logic, physics, and metaphy- 
sics, how few would have been saved ! When at this day 
so many come from our Universities after several years' 
study, raw smatterers in these, and half-witted scholars, 
whose learning is fitter to trouble than to edify: and if Scrip- 
ture had been written in the terms and method of Aristotle, 
how few would have been the better for them ! But great 
good must be common. 


And as Paul on all these accounts sets light by this phi- 
losophy, so he calls it, the wisdom of this world : — I. Be- 
cause this world was its chief object: — 2. And the creatures 
were its only light : — 3. And it led but few to any higher 
than worldly ends : — 4. And it was that which worldly men, 
that were strangers to heavenly light and holiness, did then 
most magnify and use. 

Yet as Christ, when he said how hard it was for a rich man 
to be saved, did not make riches absolutely unlawful, nor 
to have no goodness nor usefulness at all ; but teacheth men, 
if they are wise, not to overvalue them, and to be too eager 
for them; so is Paul to be interpreted about philosophy, or 
the wisdom of this world. (For it is not only craftiness 
for worldly ends that he so calls.) 

And as God, when he denieth his servants riches and 
worldly fulness, doth it not because he taketh it to be loo good 
for them, but because it is not good enough, and therefore he 
will give them better ; even the heavenly riches, and honour 
and delights : even so when Paul comparatively vilifieth 
philosophy, it is not as being really a wisdom too high for 
Christians, but too low ; nor doth he depress reason, or ex- 
tol ignorance; but would lead men to the truest learning, 
the highest knowledge and improvement of reason, the only 
wisdom, from trifling, pedantic, unprofitable notions, and 
ludicrous loss of time and studies. 

It is not therefore for want of wisdom that the Scripture 
is not written according to the philosophers' art. Though 
Erasmus overvalued his grammaticisms, it was not for want 
of learning in philosophy, that he so much despised the 
philosophical schoolmen! so that speaking of the Bishop of 
London, who maligned Dr. Colet, and was a subtle Scotist, 
he saith of such; ' That he had known some of them whom 
he would not call knaves, but he never knew one of them 
whom he could call a Christian.' Vid. Mr. Smith's Life of 
Dr. Colet, by Erasmus. A smart charge : I suppose he 
meant it of them, rather as Scotists than as bishops. 

And therefore the apostle aptly joineth both together, 
(1 Cor. i. 26,) " Not many wise men after the the flesh, not 
many mighty, not many noble are called ;" seeming to equal 
worldly wealth and greatness, with worldly wisdom or phi- 
losophy, as to the interest of religion and salvation. And 
the foolish wits that think he spake against learning, be- 


cause he had it riot, may as truly say, that he spake against 
worldly wealth and greatness because he had it not ; for the 
possession, use and knowledge of worldly things, are near of 
kin. But they knew not Paul so well as Festus, who thought 
him not unlearned, though he thought him mad. Nor was it 
the* way of worldly wealth and greatness which he chose. 

Doubtless neither Christ, nor Paul, did speak against 
any real knowledge, but, (1.) Against nominal, pretended 
knowledge, which was set up to divert men from real know- 
ledge ; and was full of vanities and falsehoods. (2.) And 
against the overvaluing of that learning, which is of little 
use, in comparison of the knowledge of great and excellent, 
and necessary things. For knowledge is valuable according 
to its object and its use. 

The knowledge of trifles for trivial ends, is itself a trifle. 
The knowledge of things great and necessary for great and 
necessary ends, is the great and necessary knowledge. And 
therefore how unmeasurably must the knowledge of God and 
our eternal happiness, excel the pedantic philosophy of the 
Gentiles. However Christians may sanctify and ennoble 
this by making it a help to higher knowledge. And there- 
fore the Platonists and the Stoics were the noblest philoso- 
phers ; because the former studied the highest things, and 
the other the necessary means of felicity, amending of men's 
hearts and lives. 

But in the present text the thing which the apostle re- 
prehendeth is, the esteeming of a man's self to be wiser than 
he is ; and taking himself to be a wise man because of his 
trifling philosophical knowledge. And he would have them 
know that till they knew nobler things than those, and were 
guided by a nobler light, they were very fools b . 

I have looked over Hutten, Vives, Erasmus, Scaliger, 
Salmasius, Casaubone, and many other critical grammarians, 
and all Gruterus's critical volumes. I have read almost all 

b A countryman having sent his son to the University, when he came home asked 
him what he had learned. He told him he had learned logic. He asked him what 
that logic was, and what he could do with it: and it being supper-time, and the 
poor people having but two eggs for supper he told them that he could prove that 
those eggs were three : This is one, saith he, and that is two, and one and two are 
three. The father gave him the better, and told him that his art was useful, for lie 
had thought himself to have gone without his supper, but now, saith he, I will take 
one egg, and your mother the other, and take you the third. Such kind of logic the 
world hath gloried in as learning. 


the Physics and Metaphysics I could hear of: I have wasted 
much of my time among loads of historians, chronologers, 
and antiquaries ; I despise none of their learning. All truth 
is useful ; mathematics, which I have least of, I find a pretty 
manlike sport. But if I had no other kind of knowledge 
than these, what were my understanding worth ! what a 
dreaming dotard should I be ! Yea, had I also all the codes and 
pandects, all Cujacius, Wesenbechius, and their tribe at my 
fingers' ends ; and all other volumes of civil, national and 
canon laws, with the rest in the Encyclopaedia, what a pup- 
pet play would my life be, if I had no more ! 

I have higher thoughts of the schoolmen, than Erasmus 
and our other grammarians had : I much value the method and 
sobriety of Aquinas, the subtlety of Scotus and Ockam, the 
plainness of Durandus, the solidity of Ariminensis, the pro- 
fundity of Bradwardine, the excellent acuteness of many of 
their followers ; of Aureolus, Capreolus, Bannes, Alvarez, 
Zumel, &c. ; of Mayro, Lychetus, Trombeta, Faber, Meurisse, 
Rada, &c. ; of Ruiz, Pennatus, Suarez, Vasquez, &c. ; of 
Hurtado, of Albertinus, of Lud. a. Dola, and many others: 
but how loath should I be to take such sauce for my food, 
and such recreations for my business ! The jingling of too 
much and too false philosophy among them, often drowns 
the noise of Aaron's bells. I feel myself much better in 
Herbert's Temple ; or in a heavenly treatise of faith and love. 
And though I do not, with Dr. Colet, distaste Augustine 
above the plainer fathers, yet I am more taken with his Con- 
fessions, than with his grammatical and scholastic treatises. 
And though I know no man whose genius more abhorreth 
confusion instead of necessary distinction and method ; yet 
I loathe impertinent, useless art, and pretended precepts 
and distinctions, which have not a foundation in the matter. 
In a word, there is a Divine knowledge, which is part of 
man's felicity, as it promoteth love and union, and there is 
a solid knowledge of God's word and works, a valuable 
grammatical knowledge, and a true philosophy, which none 
but ignorant persons will despise. But the vain philosophy, 
and pretended wisdom and learning of the world, hath been, 
and is, the cheat of souls, the hinderer of wisdom, and a 
troubler of the church and world. 



What Wisdom and Esteem of it, are not here condemned. 

The order which 1 shall observe in handling the first doc- 
trine shall be this; I. I will tell you negatively what wis- 
dom, and esteem of our own wisdom, is not here condemned. 
II. What it is that is here condemned. III. What are the 
certainties which we must hold fast, and make our religion 
of. IV. What degrees of these certainties there are. V. 
What are the uncertainties, which we must not pretend to 
be certain of; and the unknown things which we must not 
pretend to know. VI. What are the mischiefs of falsely 
pretended knowledge. VII. What are the degrees or aggra- 
vations of this sin. VIII. What are the causes of it. IX. 
What are the remedies. X. What are the uses which we 
should make of this doctrine. 

1. What wisdom, and what esteem of our wisdom is not 
here condemned? 

Answ. 1. Not any real useful knowledge at all, whilst 
every thing keepeth its proper place, tand due esteem, as is 

2. That which of itself primarily is of so small use, as 
that it falleth under the contempt of the apostles, yet by 
accident, through the subtlety of Satan, and the viciousness 
of the world, may become to some men in some measure 
necessary. And here cometh in the calamity of divines. Of 
how little use is it to me in itself to know what is written 
in many hundred books; which yet by accident it much 
concerneth me to know ! And if God restrain him not, 
the devil hath us here at so great an advantage, that he can 
make our work almost endless, and hath almost done it al- 
ready ; yea, can at any time divert us from the greatest 
truth and works, by making another at that time more ne- 

If he raise up Socinians, our task is increased ; we must 
read their books, that we may be able to confute them ; so 
must we when he raiseth up Libertines, Familists, Seekers, 
Quakers, and such other sects. If he stir up controversies 
in the church, about Government, Worship, Ceremonies, 

vol. xv. c 


Circumstances, Words, Methods, &c, we must read so much 
as to understand all, that we may defend the truth against 
them. If Papists will lay the stress of all their controver- 
sies on Church History, and the Words of Ancients ; we 
must read and understand all, or they will triumph. If 
Schoolmen will build their theology on Aristotle, all men 
have not the wit with the Iberian legate at the Florentine 
Council in Sagyrophilus, to cry against the preacher, ' What 
have we to do with Aristotle V But if we cannot deal with 
them at their own weapons, they will triumph. If cavillers 
will dispute only in mood and figure, we must be able there 
to overtop them, or they will insult. If the plica, scurvy 
or other new diseases do arise, the physician must know 
them all, if he will cure them. And hence it is that we say, 
that a lawyer must know the law ; and a physician must 
know physic, medicine, &c. But a divine should know 
all things that are to be known ; because the diseased world 
hath turned pretended knowledge into the great malady, 
which must be cured : but is the thing itself of any great 
worth ; is it any great honour to know the vanity of philo- 
sophical pedantry; and to be able to overdo such gamesters, 
any more than to beat one at a game at chess, or for a phy- 
sician to know the plague or leprosy? 

3. Yet indeed, as all things are sanctified to the holy, 
and pure to the pure ; a wise man may and must make great 
use of common, inferior kinds of knowledge : especially the 
true, grammatical sense of Scripture words, the true precepts 
of logic, the certain parts of real physics and pneumatology ; 
for God is seen in his works as in a glass : and there to 
search after him and behold him, is a noble, pleasant work 
and knowledge. And I would that no Israelite may have 
need to go down to the Philistines for instruments of this 

4. It is not forbidden to any man to know that measure 
of wisdom which he truly hath ; God bindeth us not to err, 
nor to call light darkness, or truth error, or to belie our- 
selves, or deny his gifts. 1. It is desirable for a man abso- 
lutely to know as much as he can, preferring still the great- 
est things, and to know that he knoweth them, and not to 
be sceptical, and doubt of all. 2. It is a duty for a con- 
verted sinner comparatively to know that he is wiser than he 


was in his sinful state, and to give God thanks for it. 3. It 
is his duty who groweth in wisdom, and receiveth new ac- 
cessions of light, to know that he so groweth, and to give 
God thanks, and to welcome each useful truth with joy. 4. 
It is the duty of a good and wise man comparatively to know 
that he is not as foolish as the ungodly ; nor to think that 
every wicked man, or ignorant person whom he should pity 
and instruct, is already wiser than he ; every teacher is not 
to be so foolish as to think that all his flock are more judi- 
cious than himself. In a word, it is not a true estimate of 
the thing or of ourselves, that is forbidden us ; but a false. 
It is not belying ourselves, nor ingratitude to God, nor a 
contradiction, to know a thing, and not to know that I know 
it, nor an ignorance of our own minds, which is commanded 
us under the pretence of humility ; but it is a proud con- 
ceit, that we know what we do not know, that is condemned. 


II. What Pretended Knowledge is condemned, and what Phi- 
losophy and Learning it is that Paul disliked. 

More distinctly, 1. It is condemnable for any man to think 
himself absolutely or highly wise : because our knowledge 
here is so poor, and dark, and low, that compared with our 
ignorance it is little : we know not what or how many, or 
how great the things are which we do not know ; but in ge- 
neral we may know that they are incomparably more and 
greater than what we do know .; we know now but as chil- 
dren, and darkly, and in a glass or riddle. (1 Cor. xiii. 11, 12.) 
In the sense that Christ saith, none is good but God, we may 
say that none is wise but God. For a man that must know 
(unless he be a very sot) that he knoweth nothing perfectly 
in the world ; that he knoweth but little of any worm, or fly, 
or pile of grass which he seeth, or of himself, his soul or 
body, or any creature ; for this man to assume the title of a 
vrise man, is arrogant, unless comparatively understood, when 
he is ignorant of ten thousandfold more than he knoweth, 
and the predominant part denominateth. The old inquirers 
had so much modesty, as to arrogate no higher name than 


2. It is very condemnable for any man to be proud of 
his understanding: while it is so low, and poor, and dark, 
and hath still so much matter to abase us. He knoweth not 
what a dungeon poor mortals are in, nor what a darkened 
thing a sinful mind is, nor what a deplorable state we are in, 
so far from the heavenly light, no, nor what it is to be a man 
in flesh, who findeth not much more cause of humiliation 
than of pride in his understanding. O how much ado have 
I to keep up from utter despondency under the conscious- 
ness of so great ignorance, which no study, no means, no 
time doth overcome. How long, Lord, shall this dungeon be 
our dwelling ! and how long shall our foolish souls be loath 
to come into the celestial light ! 

3. It is sinful folly to pretend to know things unrevealed 
and impossible to be known. " The secret things belong 
unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed 
belong to us, and to our children forever, that we do them." 
(Deut. xxix. 29.) " For who hath known the mind of the 
Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" (Rom. xi. 34.) 
And how many such compose the theology of some, and the 
philosophy of more. 

4. It is sinful folly to pretend to know that which is im- 
possible or unrevealed to him, though it be possible and re- 
vealed to others. For as the eye, so the understanding must 
have its necessary light, and due constitution and conditions 
of the object, and of itself ; or else it cannot understand. 

5. It is sinful folly to pretend to certainty of knowledge, 
when either the thing is but probable, or at best, we have 
but doubtful opinions or conjectures of it, and no true cer- 

6. It is sinful folly to pretend that we know or receive 
any thing by Divine faith (or revelation) when we have it but 
by human faith, or probable conjecture from natural evi- 
dence. As soon as men are persuaded by a sect, a seducer, 
or a selfish priest, to believe what he saith, abundance pre- 
sently take such a persuasion for a part of their religion, as 
if it were a believing God. 

7. It is sinful folly to take on us that we know what we 
know not at all ; because we do but know that it is know- 
able, and that wise men know it, and as soon as we under- 
stand that it should be known, and that wise men conclude 
it to be true, therefore to pretend that we know it to be true. 


8. And it is sinful folly to pretend that we truly know or 
apprehend the thing or matter, or incomplex object, merely 
because we have got the bare words, and second notions of 
it, which are separable from the knowledge of the thing. All 
these are false and sinful pretences of knowledge which men 
have not. 

But because Paul so warneth us to take heed of vain 
philosophy, and atheists and infidels deride him for speaking 
against the wisdom of the world, as if he spake against learn- 
ing, because he had it not; and because the disease which 
he attempted to cure, remaineth among scholars to this day, 
and instead of a cure, many contemn the physician ; and 
dislike Christ himself and the Gospel, as defective of the 
learning which they overvalue ; I will once again, and that 
more distinctly tell you some few of the faults of our com- 
mon learning ; even now that it is cultivated and augmented 
in this age, that you may see that Paul did not injuriously 
accuse it, or Christ injuriously neglect it c . 

I. Natural imperfection layeth the foundation of our 
common calamity ; in that it is so long before sense and 
reason grow up to a natural maturity, through the unripe- 
ness of organs, and want of exercise, that children are ne- 
cessitated to learn words before things, and to make these 
words the means of their first knowledge, of many of the 
things signified ; so that most furnish themselves with a 
stock of names and words, before ever they get any true 
knowledge of the matter. 

II. And then they are exceeding apt to think that this 
treasury of words and second notions is true wisdom, and to 
mistake it for the knowledge of the thing : even as in reli- 
gion we find almost all children and ignorant people, will 
learn to say by rote the Creed and Lord's-prayer, and Com- 
mandments, and Catechism, and then think that they are not 
ignorants, when it is long after, before we can get them to 
understand the sense of the words which they can so readily 
speak ; yea, though they are plain English words, which 
they use for the most part in ordinary discourse. 

c M. Antonine, 1. 1, sect. 17. Doth thank God that he made no greater pro- 
gress in Rhetoric, Poetry, and such like studies, which might have hindered him 
from better things, if he had perceived himself to have profited in them. And (in 
fine) quod cum Philosophandi cupiditas incessisset, non in sophistam aliquem incide- 
rim, nee tommentariis evolvendis, vel syllogismis resolvendis, vel Meterologicis dis- 
eutiendis tempus deses contriverim. 


III. When children come to school, also their masters 
teach them as their parents did, or worse; I mean that they 
bestow almost all their pains to furnish them with words 
and second notions : and so do their tutors too often at the 
University. So that by that time they are grown to be 
masters of a considerable stock of words, grammatical, logi- 
cal, metaphysical, &c, and can set these together in pro- 
positions and syllogisms, and have learned memoriter the 
theorems or axioms, and some distinctions which are in 
common use and reputation, they are ready to pass for Mas- 
ters of the Arts, and to set up for themselves, and leave 
their tutors, and to teach others the like sort and measure 
of learning, which they have thus acquired. Like one that 
sets up his trade as soon as he hath gotten a shop full of 

i V. And indeed the memories of young men are strong 
and serviceable so many years sooner than their judgments, 
that prudent teachers think it meet to take that time to fur- 
nish them with words and organical notions, while they are 
unmeet to judge of things; even as pious parents must 
teach them the words of the catechism, that when they grow 
riper, their judgments may work upon that which their me- 
mories did before receive. And in this they are in the right 
upon two suppositions. 1. That distinguishing things ob- 
vious and easily understood from things remote, abstruse and 
difficult, they would teach them those of the first sort with 
the words, though not the second : and while they make 
haste with the languages they would not make too much 
haste with the notions and theorems of the arts and sciences. 
2. That they still make them know that words as to mat- 
ter are but as the dish to the meat, and all this while they 
are but preparing for wisdom and true learning, and not 
getting or possessing it ; and that unless they will equalize 
a parrot and a philosopher, they must know how little they 
have attained, and must after learn things, or not pretend to 
know any thing indeed. As children learn first to speak 
and then learn what to speak of. 

V. And the great mischief is, that multitudes of those 
notions that are taught us are false, not fitted to the things, 
but expressing the conceptions of roving, uncertain, erro- 
neous, bewildered minds. Words are the instruments of 
communication of thoughts. And when I hear a man speak. 


I hear, perhaps, what he thinketh of things, but not always 
what they are. Our universal notions are the result of our 
own comparing things with things. And we are so wofully 
defective in such comparings, that our universal notions 
must needs be very defective, so that they abound with 

VI. And the penury and narrowness of words is a great- 
impediment to the due expressing of those poor confused 
conceptions which we have ; for a man can think more aptly 
and comprehensively than he can speak. And hence it 
cometh to pass, that words and universal notions are become 
like pictures or hieroglyphics, almost of arbitrary significa- 
tion and use, as the speaker pleaseth. And, as a multitude 
of school-distinctions tell us, you can know little by the 
grammatical use or etymology of the words, what the mean- 
ing of them is in a theorem or distinction, till the speaker 
tell it you by other words. 

VII. And the conceptions of men being as various as 
their countenances, the same words in the mouths of several 
men, have several significations. So that when tutors read 
the same books to their scholars, and teach them the same 
notions, it is not the same conceptions always that they 
thus communicate. 

VIII. And when all is done, ' recipiter ad modum reci- 
pients.' It is two to one but the learner receiveth their 
notions with a conception somewhat different from them all. 
And when he thinks he hath learned what was taught him, 
and of his teacher's mind, he is mistaken, and hath received 
another apprehension. 

IX. And the narrowness of man's mind and thoughts is 
such, that usually there must go many partial conceptions 
to one thing or object really indivisible: so that few things, 
or nothing rather in the world, is known by us with one con- 
ception, nor with a simplicity of apprehensions answerable 
to the simplicity of the things : and hereby it cometh to 
pass that inadequate conceptions make up a great part of 
our learning and knowledge. And, yet worse, our words 
being narrower than our thoughts, we are fain to multiply 
words more than conceptions, so that we must have ten con- 
ceptions perhaps of one thing, and twenty words perhaps 
for those ten conceptions. And then we grow to imagine 


the things to be as various as our conceptions, yea, and our 
words : and so learning is become confused error, and the 
great and noble actions of the fantastical world, are a pitiful 
confused agitation of phantasms, and, whether fortuitous or 
artificial, a congress of atoms, sometimes digladiating, and 
sometimes seeming by amicable embraces to compose some 
excellent piece of art. And things seem to us to be multi- 
plied and ordered as our conceptions of them are. And the 
Scotists may yet write as many more treatises ' de formali- 
tatibus,' before men will understand indeed what a ' conceptus 
formalis' with them is, and whether diverse formalities be 
diverse realities, or only ' ejusdem conceptus inadequati.' 
But thus learning is become like a puppet-play, or the rais- 
ing of the dust. 

X. The ' entia rationis' being thus exceeding numerous, 
are already confounded with objective realities, and have 
compounded our common systems of logic, metaphysics, 
and too much of physics : so that students must at first see 
through false spectacles, and learn by seducing notions, 
and receive abundance of false conceptions, as the way to 
wisdom ; and shadows and rubbish must furnish their 
minds under the name of truth, though mixed with many 
real verities. For young men must have teachers ; they can- 
not begin at the foundation, and yet every one learn of him- 
self, as if none had ever learned before him : he is like to 
have but a slow proficient, that maketh no use of the studies 
and experience of any that ever learned before him. And he 
that will learn of others, must receive their notions and 
words as the means of his information. 

XI. And when they grow up to be capable of real wis- 
dom, O ! what a labour is it, to cleanse out this rubbish, and 
to unlearn all the errors that we have learned, so that it is 
much of the happiest progress of extraordinary successful 
studies, to find out our old mistakes, and set our concep- 
tions in better order one by one : perhaps in one year we 
find out and reform some two or three, and in another year 
one or two more, and so on. Even as when at my removal 
of my library, my servant sets up all my books, and I must 
take them half down again to set them in their right places. 

XII. And the difficulty of the matter is our great im- 
pediment, when we come to study things. For, 1. Their 


matter, 2. Their composure, 3. Their numbers, 4. Their or- 
der and relations, 5. And their action and operation, are 
much unknown to us. 

XIII. 1. The substance of the spirits is also little known, 
as tempteth Sadducees to dream that there are none. The 
notion of a spirit to some, through ignorance, is taken to be 
merely negative, as if it signified no more, but not corporeal. 
The notion of immateriality is lubricious, and he that knoweth 
not the true bounds of the signification of materia, knoweth 
not what it is to be immaterial. The purest spirit is known 
only by many inadequate conceptions : one must answer 
the similitude of matter, in fundamental substantiality ; an- 
other must be answerable to that of forms of simple ele- 
ments ; and another answerable to accidents. And though 
nothing be so notorious of spirits as their operations, and 
from the acts we know the virtues or powers, yet that these 
virtues are not accidents, but the very essential form, and 
that they are (in all spirits) one in three, and many other 
things concerning their essentiality, are quite overlooked by 
the greater part of philosophers ; and those few that open it, 
do either with Campanella, lose it again in a wood of mis- 
taken, ill-gathered consequences ; or with Lullius drown it in 
a multitude of irregular arbitrary notions ; or with Commenius, 
give us a little undigested, with the mixture of crudities and 
mistakes ; or with our learned Dr. Glisson de vit&Natune, con- 
found spirits and bodies, and make those spirits which are the 
vital constitutive principle of compounds, to be but the in- 
adequate conception of bodies, as if they were all simply 
and formally vital of themselves, and for a body to be in- 
animate were a contradiction, or impossible. And they that 
treat more nobly of spirits (as Mr. Got and many Plato- 
nists), do it so immethodically and confusedly, as greatly 
disadvantageth the learner. 

And yet to treat of bodies without treating of the spirits 
that animate or actuate them, is a lame, deluding, unedify- 
ing thing. As it is to treat of a kingdom, an army, a school, 
without mentioning a king, a captain, or a schoolmaster; or 
as to describe a gun, without any mention of gunpowder or 
shooting ; or a clock or watch without the poise or spring, 
or motion ; or a book, or words without the sense ; and so 
of a man without a soul or reason, or a brute without any 
lite or sense. I mean when we speak of compound beings, 


and not merely of corporeity in the notion, as abstracted 
from all vital moving principles. 

XIV. 2. And what the true notion of matter or corpo- 
reity itself is, it is but darkly and uncertainly known, how 
confidently soever some decantate their moles or quantity, 
divisibility or discerptibility, and impenetrability : whether 
fire be material, and divisible and impenetrable, and how 
far fire and spirits herein differ, and so spirits and bodies, 
and how far sensible must enter the definition of 'corpus,' is 
not easily known. 

XV. 3. Nor do we well know the nature of the simple 
corporeal elements; whether they agree only in materi- 
ality, quantity, and divisibility, and impenetrability ; and 
whether they differ only in magnitude, shape, sight and con- 
texture of parts ; or by any essentiating formal virtues, or 
both ; or (as Mr. Got thought) by a differencing proper 

XVI. 4. How little of the Divine artifice is known in the 
composition of mixed bodies ! (And we know of no existent 
simples in the world, that are not found only in composi- 
tions.) All men confess that every plant, every worm, or 
fly ; every sensitive, yea, every sensible being, is so little 
known to us, as that the unknown part far exceedeth the 

XVII. 5. And we are not agreed of late of the number 
of the very elements themselves; much less of compounds ; 
of which, while we know so few, that which we do know is 
the more defectively known ; because (as in knowing of let- 
ters and syllables) the knowledge of cne thing is needful to 
the true and useful knowledge of another. 

XVIII. But the order and relations of things to one an- 
other is so wonderfully unsearchable, and innumerably vari- 
ous, as quite surpasseth all human understanding. Yea, 
though order and relation constitute all morality, poli- 
cy, literature, &.c, so that it is as it were that world which 
human intellects converse in, and the business of all human 
wills and actions, yet few men know so much as what order 
and relation is: nay, whether it be any thing or nothing. 
And though health and sickness, harmony and discord, 
beauty and ugliness, virtue and vice, consist in it, and hea- 
ven and hell depend upon it, and law and judgment do make 
and determine it : yet is it not easy to know what it is by 


an universal notion ; nor whether it be truly to be called 
any thing at all. We doubt not but order should be a 
most observable predicament, in the series of human notions 
or ' nominanda ;' but yet I doubt not much but that Gassen- 
dus, who would make ' tempus' and ' spatium' two of his 
predicaments, doth describe to them that entity which they 
have not. 

XIX. And though undoubtedly action is a noble predi- 
cament, and whatever the Cartesians say, requireth more 
causation than ' non agere' doth, yea, is itself. the causation 
of the mutations in the world ; yet men scarcely know what 
to call it. Some say it is ' res ;' others, it is but ' accidens 
rei ;' and others, ' modus rei :' some say, it is ' in passo ;' some 
say it is ' in agente ;' some say it is neither, but is 'agentis :' 
some say immanent acts are qualities, as Scotus, 8cc. 

XX. And which is yet worse, the very name, accident, 
mode and quality, are but general, unapt notions not well 
understood by any that use them, nor suited meetly to the 
severals contained under them. And when we call a thing, 
or nothing, a quality, accident or mode, we are little the 
wiser, and know not well what we have said. Sure I am 
that they are exceedingly ' heterogenea' which Aristotle 
compriseth in the very predicament of quality. And Gas- 
sendus thought all accidents may be as well called qualities 
or modes. 

XXI. And which is yet worse, all human language is so 
wofully ambiguous, that there is scarcely a word in the 
world that hath not many senses ; and the learned world 
never came to agreement about the meaning of their com- 
mon words, so that ambiguity drowneth all in uncertainty 
and confusion. 

XXII. And which is yet worse, the certain apprehension 
of sense and reason, is commonly by men called learned, 
reduced to, and tried by, these dreaming ambiguous names 
and universal notions ; and men are drawn to deny their 
certain knowledge, because they know not by what univer- 
sal term to call it, e. g. I know as far as is useful to me, by 
seeing what light is ; but whether it be ' substantia, accidens, 
modus/ &c, or what to call it universally, few know ! And 
no wonder, for their universal notions are their own works 
or ' Entia rationis,' fabricated by the imperfect comparing 
of things with things, by ignorant understandings ; but the 


sensibility of objects and the sensitive faculty and the intel- 
lect are the works of God. I know much better what light 
is by seeing it, than I know what an accident or a quality is. 
So I know by feeling what heat is, I know what motion 
or action is, I know what pain and pleasure is, I know what 
love and hatred is, I know partly what it is to think, to 
know, to will, choose and refuse ; but what is the right uni- 
versal notion of these, what true definition to give of any one 
of them, the most learned man doth not well know; inso- 
much, as I dare boldly say, that the vulgar ordinarily know 
all these better without definition, than the most learned 
man living can know them by definitions alone. 

And here I will presume to step aside, to say as in the 
ears of our over-doing Separatists, who can take none into 
Christian communion, that cannot tell you how they were 
converted, or at least give them a fair account or their un- 
derstanding all the Articles" of the Faith, in words that are 
adapted to the matter: I tell you, 1. That the knowledge of 
words, and second notions and definitions, is one thing, 
aud the knowledge of matters and things is another. 2. 
And it is the knowledge of the things, and not of the words, 
that is primarily and absolutely necessary to salvation. 3. 
And that many an illiterate, ill-bred person understand 
things long before they can utter their understandings in 
any intelligible words. 4. And therefore if any man do but 
these two things : 1. By yea or nay, do signify to me, that 
he understandeth the truth, when I put the matter of nothing 
but the baptismal covenant into my questions ; 2. and do mani- 
fest serious willingness accordingly, by avoiding evil, and 
using God's means ; I dare not, I will not refuse that person 
from the communion of the church ; though I would do as 
much as the most rigid censurer to bring such up to greater 

XXIII. And on the other side, men are made to think 
that they know the things because they know the names and 
definitions ; and so that they are learned and wise, when 
they know little the more by all their learning. For to be able 
to talk over all the critical books, and lexicons, and gram- 
mars, all the logical notions and definitions, is nothing but 
organical knowledge ; like the shoemaker that hath a shop 
full of lasts (and that most of them unmeet for any man's 
foot), but never made a shoe by any of them. And false and 


confused and idle names and notions, fill the learned world 
with false, confused and vain conceptions, which common 
country people escape, so that it costeth many a man twenty 
years' study to be made more erroneous than he would 
have been, by following an honest trade of life. 

XXIV. Nay, our very articles of faith and practice which 
salvation lieth on, are commonly tried by these arbitrary 
organical notions ; whole loads of school volumes are wit- 
nesses of this. Though the schoolmen, where our gramma- 
rians deride them as barbarians, have often done well in 
fitting words to things, and making the key meet for the 
lock : yet old terms and notions and axioms too often go 
for current ; and overrule disputes, when they are not un- 
derstood, nor are proper or univocal. What work doth 
Aristotle make with Actus and Potentia, and the school- 
men after him! What abundance of darkness do these two 
words contain in all their writings ! And for want of other 
words to supply our needs, what abundance of distinctions 
of Actus and Potentiee are the Scotists and other schoolmen 
fain to use ! What abundance of disputes are kept up by 
the ambiguity of the word cause, while it is applied to things 
so different, as efficience, constitution and Jinality ! The like 
may be said of many more. And then when it cometh to a 
dispute of the Divine nature, of the soul, of the most weighty 
things ; these confounding notions must overrule the case. 
We must not have an argument for the soul's immortality, 
but what these notions check or vitiate ; no, nor scarcely for 
an attribute of God. 

XXV. And it is so hard a thing to bring men to that 
self-denial and labour, as at age thoroughly and impartially 
to revise their juvenile conceptions, and for them that learned 
words before things, to proceed to learn things now as ap- 
pearing in their proper evidence ; and to come back and 
cancel all their oldjnotions, which were not sound, and to 
build up a new frame, that not one of a multitude is ever 
master of so much virtue as to attempt it, and go through 
with it. Was it not labour enough to study so many years 
to know what others say; but they must now undo much of 
it, and begin a new and harder labour ? who will do it ? 

XXVI. And indeed none but men of extraordinary acute- 
ness and love of truth, and self-denial and patience, are fit 
to do it. For, 1. The common dullards will fall into the 


ditch when they leave their crutches. And will multiply 
sects in philosophy and religion, while they are unable to 
see the truth in itself. And indeed this hath made the Pro- 
testant churches so liable to the derision and reproach of 
their adversaries. And how can it be avoided, while all 
must pretend to know and judge, what indeed they are un- 
able to understand ! 

2. Yea, the half-witted men, that think themselves acute 
and wise, fall into the same calamity. 

3. and the proud will not endure to be thought to err, 
when they plague the world with error. 

4. And the impatient will not endure so long and diffi- 
cult studies. 

5. And when all is done, as Seneca saith, they must be 
content with a very few approvers, and must bear the scorn 
of the ignorant-learned crowd ; who have no way to maintain 
the reputation of their own wisdom, orthodoxy and good- 
ness, but by calling him proud, or self-conceited, or errone- 
ous, that differed! from them by knowing more than they. 
And who but the truly self-denying can be at so much cost 
and labour for such reproach, when they foreknow that he 
that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow? 

XXVII. by these means men's minds that should be 
taken up with God and his service, are abused and vilified, 
and filled with the dust and smoke of vain, and false, and 
confused notions. And man's life is spent (as David saith) 
in a vain show. And men dream waking with as great in- 
dustry, as if they were about a serious work. Alas, how 
pitifully are many of the learned world employed. 

XXVIII. By this means also men's precious time is lost: 
and he that had time little enough to learn and do things 
necessary, for the common good, and his own salvation, 
doth waste half of it on he knoweth not what. And Satan, 
that findeth him more ingenious than to play it away at 
cards or dice, or than to drink and revel it away, doth cast 
another bait before him, and get him learnedly to dream it 
away about unprofitable words and notions. 

XXIX. And by this means the practice of goodness is 
hindered in the world ; yea, and holy affections quenched. 
While these arbitrary notions and speculations, (being man's 
own) are his more pleasant game ; and studies and pulpits must 
be thus employed, and heart and life thus stolen from God. 


Yea, it is well if godliness grow not to be taken by such 
dreamers, for a low, dull, and unlearned thing ; yea, if they 
be not tempted by it to infidelity, and to think (not only the 
zealous ministers and Christians, but even) Christ and his 
apostles to be unlearned men, below their estimation. 

XXX. And by the same means the devilish sin of pride 
will be kept up, even among the learned ; yea, and by the 
preachers of humility : for what is that in the world (almost) 
that men are prouder of, than that learning which consisteth 
in such notions and words as are afore-described ? and the 
proudest man, 1 think, is the worst. 

XXXI. And by this means the sacred chairs and pulpits 
will be possessed by such men, whose spirits are most con- 
trary to a crucified Christ, and to that cross and doctrine 
which they must preach. And when Christ's greatest ene- 
mies are the Pastors of his Churches, all things will be or- 
dered and managed accordingly ; and the faithful hated and 
abused. Though T must add, that it is not this cause alone, 
but many more concurring, to constitute a worldly, wicked 
mind, which use to procure these effects. 

XXXII. And by false and vain learning, contentions 
are bred and propagated in the churches. None are instru- 
ments so apt, and none have been so successful, as all 
Church History recordeth, and the voluminous contentions 
of many such learned parties testify. 

XXXIII. And this is an increasing malady ; for new 
books are yearly written, containing the said arbitrary no- 
tions of the several authors. And whereas real and organi- 
cal learning should be orderly and conjunctly propagated, 
and thmgs studied for themselves, and words for things, the 
systems of arts and sciences grow more and more corrupted, 
our logics are too full of unapt notions, our metaphysics are 
a mere confused mixture of pneumatology and logic ; and 
what part hath totally escaped ? 

XXXIV. And the number of such books doth grow so 
great that they become a great impediment and snare ; and 
how many years' precious time must be lost, to know what 
men say, and who saith amiss, or how they differ ! 

XXXV. And the great diversity of writers and sects in- 
creaseth the danger and trouble, especially in physics ; by 
that time a man hath well studied the several sects, the Epi- 
cureans and Somatists, the Cartesians, with the by-parties, 


(Regius, Berigardus, &c.) the Platonists, the Peripatetics, 
the Herraetics, Lullius, Patricius, Telesius, Campanella, 
White, Digby, Glisson, and other novelists ; and hath read 
the most learned improvers of the more current sort of phi- 
losophy, (Scheggius, Wendeline, Sennertus, Hoffman, Ho- 
norat. Faber, Got, &c.) how much of his life will be thus 
spent! And perhaps he will be as far to seek, in all points 
saving those common evident certainties, which he might 
have learned more cheaply in a shorter time, than he 
was before he read them. And will wish that Antonine, 
Epictetus, or Plutarch had served instead of the greater 
part of them. And will perceive that physics are much 
fuller of uncertainties, and more empty of satisfying useful- 
ness than morality, and true theology. 

XXXVI. By such false methods and notions men are 
often led to utter scepticism, and when they have found out 
their own errors, they are apt to suspect all the substance 
of sciences to be error. And he speeds well that cometh 
but with Sanchez to a ' nihil scitur ,' and he better that 
cometh but with Cornelius Agrippa, to write vanity and 
vexation upon all the sciences: for many come to infidelity 
itself, and some to atheism ; and, as Dr. Thomas Jackson 
noteth, by such distrust of men and human things, are 
tempted into a distrust or unbelief of Christ ; or perhaps 
with Hobbes grow to cry down all learning besides their own, 
which is worse than the worst that they decry. 

XXXVII. And by all this, Princes and States are tempted 
to hate learning itself, and banish it as a pernicious thing : 
as the case of the Turkish, Muscovian, and some other em- 
pires testify. 

All this I have said, not to dishonour true learning, 
which I would promote with all my power; but to shew the 
corruption and vanity of that philosophy and human false 
learning, which Paul and the ancient writers did decry ; and 
why the Council of Carthage forbad the reading of the Gen- 
tiles' books, and reproached Apollinarius, and other here- 
tics for their Gentile learning. 

Of the great uncertainty of our physics and metaphysics, 
almost all the chief authors themselves make free confes- 
sions. See Suarez, Metaph. disp. 35, pp. 219. 221. 237 ; 
Fromondus de Anim. p. 63 ; Gassendus often ; and who not. 

Pious Bonaventure hath written a tract " de Reductione 


Artium ad Theologiam ;" and another " de non frequen- 
tandis quoestionibus ;" " Cornel. Agrippade Vanitate Scien- 
tiarum," is well worth the reading beforehand to prevent 
men's loss of time. 


III. What are the Certainties that must be known and held 

fast, and why. 

It is none of the apostle's meaning that men should be mere 
sceptics : nor am I seconding Sanchez's ' nihil scitur,' 
unless you take science for adequate science, or in a tran- 
scendent notion, as it signifieth that which is proper to an- 
other world, and therefore may be denied of this. He can 
neither play the part of a Christian or of a man, who doubts 
of all things, and is assuredly confident of nothing. 

That our discourse of this may be orderly and edifying, 
it is of great use that I first help you rightly to understand 
what certainty is. The word is ambiguous, and sometimes 
is applied to the object, and sometimes to the act and 
agent. The former is called objective certainty ; the latter 
subjective certainty. , 

The Objective is either certainty of the thing, or cer- 
tainty of evidence, by which the thing is discernible or per- 
ceptible to us ; and this either sensible evidence, or rational ; 
and the latter is either self-evidence of principles, or de- 
rived evidence of consequences. 

Subjective certainty is also either considered in the na- 
ture of it, or in the degree ; and as to the nature it is either 
the senses' certainty, or the intellects'; and this is either of 
incomplex objects, or complex: the first is either of sensi- 
ble objects, or purely spiritual : the second of principles, or 
of conclusions. Of all these there are certainty. 

The degrees are these : It being first supposed that no 
human apprehension here is absolutely perfect ; and there- 
fore all our certainties subjective are imperfect; the word 
therefore signifieth not only a perfect apprehension, but it 
signifieth ' non falli,' not to be deceived, and such an appre- 
hension of the evidence as giveth us a just resolving and 
vol. xv. n 




quieting confidence. And so, 1. The due objects of sense, 
and, 2. The immediate acts of the soul itself, are certain in 
the first and highest degree. I know certainly what I see 
clearly, so far as I see it : and I know certainly that I think, 
and know, and will. The next degree of certainty is of 
rational principles, and the next of consequents. 

It is likely in a scheme you will more easily understand it. 

CERTAINTY being an ambiguous word, is either, 
T. Objective: which is, 

'T. Of Being of the Thing ; which is nothing but Physical Verity. 
II. Of Evidence; which makes Things Perceptible ; and it is Evidence, 

/"li Sensible; f 1. To the External Senses. 

V viz. \ 2. To the Internal Senses 

viz. (2. JLo the internal senses. 

n. Of the ft Quodsint, \ 
' \ Being of < 2. Quid sint, < 

2. Intelligible, < Things, viz. t 3. Qualia sint, i 



2. Of Complex Verity, 
which is 

, 1 2. 
<■ cl 

Things sensed and 
imagined ; as colours, 
li[*lit, heat, &c. 
. The Acts of Intel- 
lection and Will. 
Of self-evident Principles. 
Derivative Evidence of Coll- 

II, Subjective Certainty ; by which I am certain of the Object; Considerable, 

1. Of Sense, 

f 1. Of the Outward Senses, when they are not de- 

g. Of the In 

tellect ; 
which is, 


Quod sint. 
Quid sint. 
Qualia sint. 



, Of the Inward Sense and Imagination. 
C 1. Sensed and r 1 

OfBein«s S imagined. > * 
.UtUein s, Of the Acts >, 

C of the Soul. t- J * 
• Of the Com- fl. Of self-evident Principles, 
plex Verities, (_2. Of Conclusions. 
N. Qu. Whether there be not a third sort of Certainty both Objective and 
Subjective ; viz. Goodness not sensible, Certainty apprehended by the In- 
tellectual Soul, not only sub ratione Veri, sed et Boni ? And whether the 
Will by its Natural Gust have not a Complacential Perception of it as well 
as the Intellect? (Vid. Pemble Vindic. Grot.) 
II. In the Degrees of Certainty ; which are the Order following : 
f 1. Sense perceiving the Object and itself, is the first perceiver ; and hereof 
the surest. 
2. Imagination receiving from Sense, hath more requisites to its Certainty. 
S. Intellectual about Things sensible, hath yet more requisites to its Cer- 
tainty ; viz. 1. That the Object be true; 2. The Evidence sensible; 
3. That the Sense be sound, and the Medium and other Conditions of 
Sense be just; 4. That the Imagination be not corrupt; 5. That the In- 
tellect itself be sound. 

4. But Intellection about itself and Volition hath the highest Certainty. 

5. We are surer of the Quod, than the Quid and Quale ; as that we Think, 
than What and How. 

6. We are more certain of self-evident Principles than the Consequences. 
V 7. Consequences have various degrees of Evidence and Certainty. 

A few propositions may further help your understandings. 


I. All things in the world have their certainty physi- 
cal of being ; that is, it is a certainty, or a truth that this 
thing is. 

II. The thing which is most commonly called objective 
certainty, is such a degree of perceptibility or evidence as 
may aptly satisfy the doubting intellect. 

III. Evidence is called infallible; 1. When he that re- 
ceiveth it is never deceived ; and so all truth is infallible 
truth ; for he is not deceived who believeth it : 2. Or when 
a man cannot err about it. And there is no such evidence 
in the world, unless you suppose all things else agreeable. 

IV. The perception is called infallible, 1. Either ' quia 
non falsa,' because it is not deceived : and so every man is 
infallible in every thing which he truly perceiveth : 2, Or 
because it cannot or will not err. And so absolute infalli- 
bility is proper to God ; but ' secundum quid' in certain 
cases, upon certain objects, with certain conditions, all 
sound men's senses and intellects are infallible. 

V. Certainty of evidence consisteth in such a position of 
the thing evident, as maketh it an object perceptible to the 
faculty perceiving; to which many conditions are required. 
As, 1. That the thing itself have such intrinsic qualifica- 
tions, as make it fit to be an object. 2. That it have the 
due intrinsic conditions concomitant. 

1. To the nature of an object of perception it is neces- 
sary, 1. That it be a thing which in its nature is within the 
reach of the perceiving faculty ; and not (as spirits are to 
sense) so above us, or alien to us, as to be out of the orb of 
our perception. 2. That they have a perceptible quantity, 
magnitude or degree. 3. That, if it be an incomplex term 
and object, and not an universal of the highest notion, it be 

 hoc aliquid,' and have its proper individuation. 4. That it 
have some special distinct conformity to the distinct per- 
ceiving faculty. In sum, that it be ' Ens, unum, verum, bo- 
num, vel hisce contraria reductive et per accidens cognita.' 

2. To the extrinsic conditions, it is necessary, l.That 
the object have a due site or position. 2. And a due dis- 
tance ; neither too near nor too far off. 3. And that it 
have a due medium, fitted to it and the faculty. 4. And 
that it have a due abode or stay, and be not like a bullet out 
of a gun, imperceptible through the celerity of its motion. 

VI. That the perception of sense be certain, it is neces- 


sary, 1. That the organ be sound, in such a measure as that 
no prevalent distemper undispose it. 2. That it be not op- 
pressed by any disturbing adjunct. 3. That the sensitive 
soul do operate on and by these organs ; for else its aliena- 
tion will leave the organ useless : as some intense medita- 
tions make us not hear the clock. 4. That it be the due 
sense and organ which meeteth with the object ; as sounds 
with the ear, light with the eye, &c, besides the aforesaid 

VII. Common notiticc or principles are not so called, be- 
cause men are born with the actual knowledge of them ; but 
because they are truths, which man's mind is naturally so 
disposed to receive as that upon the first exercises of sense 
and reason, some of them are understood, without any other 
human teacher. 

VIII. Even self-evident principles are not equal, but 
some of them are more, and some less evident ; and there- 
fore some are sooner, and some later known. And some of 
them are more commonly known than others. 

IX. The self-evidence of these principles ariseth from 
the very nature of the intellect which inclineth to truth, and 
the nature of the will which essentially inclineth to good, 
and the nature and posture of the objects, which are Truth 
and Goodness in the most evident position, compared toge- 
ther, or conjunct ; some call it instinct. 

X. It is not necessary to the certainty of a principle, 
that it be commonly known of all or most. For intellects 
have great variety of capacities, excitation, helps, improve- 
ments, and even principles have various degrees of evidence, 
and appearances to men. 

XI. Man's mind is so conscious of its own darkness and 
imperfections, that it is distrustful of its own inferences, 
unless they be very near and clear. When by a long series 
of ergos any thing is far fetched, the mind is afraid there 
may be some unperceived error. 

XII. He therefore that holdeth a true principle as such, 
and at once a false inference which contradicteth it, is to be 
supposed to hold the principle first and fastest, and that if 
he saw the contradiction he would let go the consequent, 
and not the principle. 

XIII. He that denieth the certainty of sense, imagina- 
tion. ™d intellective perception of things sensed as such, 


doth make it impossible to have any certainty of science or 
faith, about those same objects but by miracle. And there- 
fore the Papists denying and renouncing all these (sense, 
imagination and intellective perception,) when they say, that 
there is no bread or wine in the Sacrament, do make their 
pretended contrary faith impossible. For we are men before 
we are Christians, and we have sense and intellects before^we 
have faith, and as there is no Christianity but on supposition 
of humanity, so there is no faith, but on supposition of sense 
and understanding. How know you that here is no bread 
and wine? Is it because Scripture or Councils say so? How 
know you that; by hearing or reading? But how know you 
that ever you did hear or read, or see a book or man ; by 
sense or no way? If sense be infallible here, why not there? 
You will say that sense may be fallible in one case, and not 
in others. I answer, either you prove it infallible from na- 
ture, even by sense and intellective perception of and by 
sense, or else by supernatural revelation. If only by this 
revelation, how know you that revelation ? How know you 
that ever you heard, read or saw any thing which you call 
revelation? If by a former revelation, I ask you the same 
question ' in infinitum.' But if you know the certainty of 
sense by sense and intellective perception, then where there 
is the same evidence and perception, there is the same cer- 
tainty. But here is as full evidence and perception as any 
other object can have. 1. We see bread and wine. 2. We 
taste it. 3. We smell the wine. 4. We hear it poured out. 
5. We feel it. 6. We find the effects of it ; it refresheth 
and nourisheth as other bread and wine. 7. It doth so by 
any other creature as well as by man. 8. It corrupteth. 9. It 
becometh true flesh and blood in us, and a part of our bo- 
dies; even in the worst: yea, part of the body of a mouse 
or dog. 10. It is possible for a mouse or dog to live only 
upon consecrated bread and wine. Is his body then nothing 
but Christ? 11. In all this perception the objects are not 
rare, but commonly exhibited in all ages ; they have all the 
conditions that other sensible, evident objects have, as to 
sight, magnitude, distance, medium. 12. And it is not one 
or two, but all men in the world of the soundest senses, who 
sense} and perceive them to be bread and wine. So that 
here isas full evidence as the words which you read or hear 
can have to ascertain us. 


Object. * But if God deny sense in this case and not in 
others, we must believe sense in others and not in this.' 

Aiaw . But again I ask you, How you know that God 
biddeth or forbiddeth you any thing, if sense be not first to 
be believed? 

Object. ' But is it not possible for sense to be deceived? 
Cannot God do it?' 

Anstv. 1. It is possible for sense to be annihilated, and 
made no sense ; and it is possible that the faculty, or organ, 
or medium, or object be depraved, or want its due conditions, 
and so to be deceived. But to retain all these due condi- 
tions, and yet to be deceived is a contradiction ; for then it 
is not the same thing ; it is not that which we call now for- 
mally sense and intellect, or sensation and intellection. 
And contradictions are not things for Omnipotency to be 
tried about. God can make a man to be no intellectual 
creature ; but thereby he maketh him no man : for to be a 
man, and not intellectual, is a contradiction. And so it is 
to be men, and yet to have no sense nor intellect, that can 
truly perceive sensible objects as before qualified : therefore 
they unman all the world, on pretext of asserting the power 
of God. 

2. But suppose that all sense be fallible, and intellection 
of things sensible, yet it is the first and only entrance of all 
things sensible into the mind or knowledge of man ; and 
therefore we must take it as God hath given it us, for we can 
have no surer: no sensible thing is in the intellect which 
was not first in the eense. Whether my eyes and ears and 
taste be fallible or not, I am sure I have no other way to 
perceive their objects ; but by them I must take them and 
use them as they are. All the words and definitions in the 
world will not give any man without sensation, a true con- 
ception of a sensible object. 

3. Such absurd suppositions therefore are not to be 
put, What if God should tell you by his Word, that all the 
senses of all men are deceived, in one thing, or in all things ? 
would you not believe him? It is not to be supposed that 
God will give us all our senses and intellective perception 
by them, to be our discerner of things sensible, and then 
bid us not believe them, for they are false ; unless he told 
us, that all our perceptions are false ; and our whole life is 
but deceit. And I further answer, if God tell me so, it must 


be by some word or writing of man or angel, or himself; 
and how should I know that word, but by my sense? 

But the great answer which seemeth to satisfy Bellar- 
mine and the rest, is, that sense is no judge of substances, 
but of accidents only ; therefore it is not deceived. 

But, 1. It is false, that sense perceiveth not substances : 
It is not only colour, quantity, figure, which I see ; nor only 
roughness and smoothness which I feel; nor only sweetness 
which I taste ; but it is a coloured, extended, figured sub- 
stance which I see ; a rough or smooth substance which I 
feel, and a sweet substance which I taste : and if the acci- 
dent were the only primary object, the substance is the 
secondary and certain. Else no one ever saw a man, a tree, 
a bird, a plant, the earth, a book, or any substance ; but 
only the colour, quantity or figure of them. No man ever 
felt or touched or felt a body, but only the accidents of it. 

2. And I pray you, tell me how substances come to the 
understanding, if they were never in the sense : prove a 
substance without sensation as a medium, if you can. Do 
you perceive any substances intellectually or not? If not, 
why pretend you that there are any? If yea, it must be 
either as conclusions, or as intellectual principles, (which 
are both logical complex objects, and therefore not sub- 
stances) or as the immediate immaterial objects of intellection 
(which is only the soul's own acts), or what is by analogy 
gathered from them ; or else the objects of sense itself. It 
can be none of the former ; therefore it must be the latter : 
and how can the understanding find that in sense which was 
never there ? 

If it be said that it is there but by accidents ; I answer, 1 . 
That is false, though said by many : I do as immediately 
touch substance as accidents, though not substance without 
the accidents. 2. Whether it be there by the meditation of 
the accidents, or immediately itself, we are sure that the un- 
derstanding no otherwise receiveth it, than as the sense 
transmitteth it; we must know material substance as it is 
sensed, or not at all. 

We see then what a pass this Roman religion bringeth 
the world to. That they may be Christians, they must be- 
lieve (and swear by the Trent oath) that they are not men ; 
and that they may have faith, they must renounce their 
senses, and that they may be sure God's word is true, (and 


the church's decrees.) they must be sure that they are sure 
of nothing ; and how then are they sure of that? And while 
they subvert all the order of nature in the world, they pre- 
tend that God can do it, and therefore we are to believe that 
he doth it, merely because these doctors can call themselves 
the Church, and then can so expound the Scripture. When it 
is God's settled order in nature, that a man as an animal shall 
have sense to perceive things sensibly by, and as a man shall 
have understanding to receive from the imagination and 
sense these objects, we must now suppose that God hath 
quite overturned the course of nature, either by making sense 
no sense, or the object no object, or the medium no fit me- 
dium ; and yet this is to be believed by men that have no- 
thing but the same senses to tell their understandings that 
it is written or spoken, or that there is a man in the world. 

Suppose we grant it to be no contradiction, and there- 
fore a thing that God can do, no man can question but that 
he must do it as a miracle, by altering and overturning na- 
ture's course. And shall we feign, 1. Miracles to become 
ordinary things, through all the churches in the world, and 
every day in the week, or every hour to be done ? 2. And 
miracles to be made a standing church ordinance ? 3. And 
every one in the church, even all the wicked, and every 
mouse that eateth the host, to be partaker of a miracle? 4. 
Yea, that every such man and mouse, may all the week long 
live on a continued miracle, while accidents without sub- 
stance do nourish them, and turn to flesh and blood? 5. 
And all this ordinary course of miracles to be wrought at 
the will of every priest, be he never so ignorant or wicked a 
man ? 6. And yet the same words spoken by the holiest of 
the Protestant pastors will not do the miracle. 7. But if a 
Papist priest should be unduly ordained, or forge his own 
Orders, sobeit the church think him truly ordained, he can 
do the miracle. All this must be believed. 

And the plague of all is, all men must be burnt as here- 
tics, or exterminated, that cannot believe all this, and dis- 
believe their senses. And yet worse, all temporal lords must 
be dispossessed of their dominions, who will suffer any such 
to live therein, and not exterminate them. 

An epicure and a sensual infidel, who think man is but of 
the same species of brutes, do but unman us, and leave us 
the honour of being animals or brutes. But the Papists do 


not leave us this much, but must reduce us to a lower order, 
and teach us to deny our sense itself; and torment and kill 
them that will not do it. 

And what is it that must persuade us to all this? Why 
merely a ' hoc est corpus meum,' as expounded by the 
Councils of Lateran and Trent. And is not David's " I am 
a worm and no man," (Psal. xxii. 6,) as plain ; yea, and 
that in a prophecy of Christ ? Must we believe therefore 
that neither David nor Christ was a man, but a worm? Is 
not " I am the Vine, and ye are the branches," (John xv. 1, 
2,) as plain? Must sense be renounced and ordinary mira- 
cles believed for such words as these? 

And doth not Paul call it bread (1. Cor. xi.) after conse- 
cration three times in the three next verses ? And is not he 
as good an expositor of Christ's words as the Council of 
Trent ? 

And when did God work miracles which were mere ob- 
jects of belief against sense? Miracles were done as sensi- 
ble things, thereby to confirm faith, and that which no 
sense perceived was not taken for a miracle. 

To conclude, when the apostle saith, that "flesh and 
blood cannot enter into the kingdom of God," (plainly 
speaking of them formally as now called, and not as they 
signify sin,) and consequently that Christ's body is now 
in heaven a spiritual body, and not formally flesh and blood, 
yet must the bread and wine be turned into his flesh and 
blood on earth, when he hath none in heaven? 

And by their doctrine no baker nor vintner is secured, 
but that a priest may come into his shop or cellar, and turn 
all the bread and wine in it, into Christ's body and blood : 
yea, the whole city or garrison may thus be deprived of their 
bread and wine, if the priest intend it ; and yet it shall not 
be so in the Sacrament itself, if the priest intend it not. 
But I have staid too long in this. 

XIV. Next to the act of cogitation and volitation itself, 
and to the most certain objects of sense, there is nothing in 
all the world so certain, that is, so evident to the intellect, 
as the being of God : he being that to the mind which the 
sun is to the eye, most certainly known, though little of him 
be known, and no creature comprehend him. 

XV. That God is true, is part of our knowing him to be 
perfect, and to be God ; and therefore is most certain. 


XVI. That man is made by God and for God ; that we 
owe him all our love, obedience and praise, that we have all 
from him, and should please him in the use of all, with 
many such like, are ' notitiae communes,' certain verities, 
received by nature, some as principles, and some as such 
evident conclusions as are not to be doubted of. 

XVII. That the Scripture is the word of God, is a cer- 
tain truth, not sensible, nor a natural principle ; but an 
evident conclusion drawn from that seal or testimony of the 
Spirit, antecedent, concomitant, impressed and consequent ; 
which I have often opened in other treatises. 

XVIII. That the Scripture is true, is a certain conclu- 
sion drawn from the two last-mentioned premises, viz. That 
God is true, ' verax,' and that the Scripture is his word. 

XIX. Those doctrines or sayings which are parts of 
Scripture evidently perceived so to be by sense and intel- 
lective perception, are known to be true, by the same cer- 
tainty as the Scripture in general is known to be true. 

XX. To conclude then, there are two sorts of certain 
verities in Theology. 1. Natural principles with their cer- 
tain consequents. 2. Scripture in general, with all those 
assertions which are certainly known to be parts. And 
all the rest are to be numbered with uncertainties, except 
prophetical certainty of inspiration, which I pass by. 


IV. Of the several Degrees of Certainty. 

1. As certainty is taken for truth of being, it admitteth of 
no degrees : all that is true, is equally true. 

2. But certainty of evidence hath various degrees : none 
doubteth but there are various degrees of evidence : all the 
doubt is whether any but the highest may be called cer- 

And here let the reader first remember that the question 
is but ' de nomine,' of the name, and not the thing. And 
next, the evidence is called certain, because it is certifying 
aptitudinally. It is apt to certify us. 

3. And then the question will be devolved to subjective 


certainty, whether it have various degrees. For if it have 
so, then the evidence must be said to have so, because it is 
denominated respectively from the apprehensive certainty. 

And here ' de re' it must be taken as agreed, 1. That 
certainty is a certain degree of apprehension. 2. That there 
are various degrees of apprehension. 3. That no man on 
earth hath a perfect intellectual apprehension, at least, of 
things moral and spiritual ; for his apprehension, may be 
still increased, and those in heaven have more perfect than we. 

4. That there are some degrees so low and doubtful, as 
are not fit to be called certainty. 

5. That even these lowest degrees with the greatest 
doubting, are yet often true apprehensions ; and whenever 
they are true they are infallible, that is, not deceived : there- 
fore this infallibility, which is but, not to be deceived, is 
indeed one sort of certainty, which is so denominated rela- 
tively from the natural truth or certainty of the object ; but 
it is not this sort of certainty which we inquire after. 

6. Therefore it followeth that this subjective certainty, 
containeth this infallible truth of perception, and addeth a 
degree which consisteth in the satisfaction of the mind. 

7. But if the mind should be never so confident and sa- 
tisfied of a falsehood, this deserveth not the name of cer- 
tainty, because it includeth not truth. For it is a certain 
perception of truth which we speak of; and confident err- 
ing is not certainty of the truth. 

8. As therefore the degrees of doubting are variously 
overcome, so there must needs be various degrees of cer- 

9. When doubting is so far overcome, as that the mind 
doth find rest and satisfaction in the truth, it may be called 
certainty. But when doubting is either prevalent, and so 
troublesome as to leave us wavering, it is not called cer- 

10. It is not the forgetting or neglect of a difficulty or 
doubt, nor yet the will's rejecting it, which is properly call- 
ed certainty. This quieteth the mind indeed, but not by 
the way of ascertaining evidence. Therefore ignorant peo- 
ple that stumble upon a truth by chance with confidence, 
are not therefore certain of it. And those that take it upon 
trust from a priest or their parents, or good people's opinion, 
are not therefore certain of it. Nor they that say as some 


Papists, ' Faith hath not evidence, but is a voluntary recep- 
tion of the Church's testimony, and meritorious, because it 
hath not evidence ; therefore though I see no cogent evi- 
dence, I will believe, because it is my duty.' Whether this 
man's faith may be saving or no, I will not now dispute ; 
but certainly it is no certainty of apprehension. He is not 
certain of what he so believeth. This is but to cast away 
the doubt or difficulty, and not at all by certainty to over- 
come it. 

11. When a man hath attained a satisfying degree of 
perception, he is capable still of clearer perception. Even 
as when in the heating of water, after all the sensible cold is 
gone, the water may grow hotter and hotter still. So after 
all sensible doubting is gone, the perception may grow 
clearer still. 

12. But still the objective certainty is the same ; that is, 
there is that evidence in the object which is ' in suo genere' 
sufficient to notify the thing to a prepared mind. 

13. But this sufficiency is a respective proportion; and 
therefore, as it respecteth man's mind in common, it sup- 
poseth that by due means and helps, and industry, the mind 
may be brought certainly to discern this evidence. But if 
you denominate the sufficiency of the evidence, from its re- 
spect to the present disposition of men's minds, so it is al- 
most as various as men's minds are. For ' recipitur ad mo- 
dura recipientis ;' and that is a certifying, sufficient evidence 
of truth, to one man, which to a thousand others is not so 
much as an evidence of probability. Therefore mediate 
and immediate sufficiency and certainty of evidence, must 
be distinguished. 

From all this I may infer, 1. That though God be the 
original and end of all verities, and is ever the first ' in ordine 
essendi et efficiendi,' and so ' a Jove princapium, in methodo 
synthetica ;' yet he is not the 'primum notum,' the first 
known, ' in ordine cognoscendi,' nor the beginning ' in me- 
thodo inquisitiva' (though in such analytical methods as be- 
gin at the ultimate end, he is also the first). Though all 
truth and evidence be from God, yet two things are more 
evident to man than God is, and but two : viz. The present 
objects of sense ; and our own internal acts, of intellective 
cogitation and volition. And these being supposed, the 
being of God is the third evident certainty in the world. 


2. If it be no disparagement to God himself, that he is 
less certainly known of us, than sensibles, and our internal 
acts, ' de esse,' it is then no disparagement to the Scripture, 
and supernatural truths, that they are less certainly known ; 
seeing they have not so clear evidence as the being of God 

3. The certainty of the Scripture truths is mixed of al- 
most all other kinds of certainty conjunct. 1. By sense and 
intellective perception of things sensed, the hearers and 
seers of Christ and his apostles, knew the words and mira- 
cles. 2. By the same sense we know what is written in the 
Bible, and in Church History concerning it, and the attest- 
ing matters of fact ; and also what our teachers say of it. 
3. By certain intellectual inference I know that this history 
of the words and fact is true. 4. By intellection of a na- 
tural principle I know that God is true. 5. By inference I 
know that all his word is true. 6. By sense I know (intel- 
lectually receiving it by sense) that this or that is written 
in the Bible, and part of that Word. 7. By further inference 
therefore I know that it is true. 8. By intuitive knowledge, 
I am certain that I have the love of God, and heavenly de- 
sires, and a love of holiness, and hatred of sin, &c. 9. By* 
certain inference I know that this is the special work of the 
Spirit of Christ by his Gospel doctrine. 10. By experience 
I find the predictions of this Word fulfilled. 11. Lastly, 
By inspiration the prophets and apostles knew it to be of 
God. And our certain belief ariseth from divers of these, 
and not from any one alone. 

4. There are two extremes here to be avoided, and both 
held by some, not seeing how they contradict themselves. 

I. Of them that say that faith hath no evidence, but the 
merit of it lieth in that we believe without evidence. Those 
that understand what they say, when they use these words, 
mean that things evident to sense, as such, that is, incom- 
plex sensible objects are not the objects of faith, "We live 
by faith and not by sight." God is not visible : heaven 
and its glory, angels and perfected spirits are not visible. 
Future events, Christ's coming, the resurrection, judgment, 
are not yet visible : it doth not yet appear (that is, to sense) 
what we shall be : our life is hid (from our own and others' 
senses) with Christ in God. We see not Christ when we 
rejoice in him with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. 


(1 Pet. i. 8.) Thus faith is the evidence of things not seen, 
or evident to sight. (Heb. xi. 1.) But ignorant persons have 
turned all to another sense; as if the objects of faith had 
no ascertaining intellectual evidence : when as it is impos- 
sible for man's mind to understand and believe any thing 
to be true, without perceiving evidence of its truth ; as it is 
for the eye to see without light. As Richard Hooker saith 
in his Ecclesiastical Polity, ' Let men say what they will, 
men can truly believe no further than they perceive evidence.' 
It is a natural impossibility; for evidence is nothing but the 
perceptibility of the truth : and can we perceive that which 
is not perceptible ? 

It is true, that evidence from Divine revelation is often 
without any evidence ' ex natura rei :' but it may be never- 
theless a fuller and more satisfying evidence. 

Some say there is evidence of credibility, but not of cer- 
tainty. Not of natural certainty indeed. But in Divine re- 
velations (though not in human) evidence of credibility is evi- 
dence of certainty, because we are certain that God cannot lie. 

And to say, I will believe, though without evidence of 
truth, is a contradiction or hypocritical self-deceit; for 
your will believeth not : and your understanding receivelh 
no truth but upon evidence that it is truth. It acteth of it- 
self ' per modum naturae,' necessarily further than it is ' sub 
imperio voluntatis ;' and the will ruleth it not despotically ; 
nor at all ' quoad specificationem,' but only ' quoad exerci- 
tium.' All therefore that your will can do (which maketh 
faith a moral virtue), is to be free from those vicious habits 
and acts in itself which may hinder faith, and to have those 
holy dispositions and acts in itself which may help the un- 
derstanding to do its proper office, which is to believe evi- 
dent truth on the testimony of the revealer, because his tes- 
timony is sufficient evidence. The true meaning of a good 
Christian, when he saith I will believe, is, I am truly willing 
to believe, and a perverse will shall not hinder me, and I 
will not think of suggestions to the contrary. But the 
meaning of the formal hypocrite when he saith, I will believe, 
is, I will cast away all doubtful thoughts out of my mind, 
and I will be as careless as if I did believe, or I will believe 
the priest or my party, and call it a believing God. Evidence 
is an essentiating part of the intellect's act. As there is no 
act without an object, so there is no object * sub formali 


ratione objecti,' without evidence. Even as there is no 
sight but of an illustrated object, that is, a visible object. 

II. The other extreme (of some of the same men) is, that 
yet faith is not true and certain if it have any doubtfulness 
with it. Strange ! that these men can only see what is in- 
visible ; believe what is inevident as to its truth, that is, in- 
credible, but also believe past all doubting, and think that 
the weakest true believer doth so too ! Certainly there are 
various degrees of faith in the sincere : all have not the 
same strength ! Christ rebuketh Peter in his fears, and his 
disciples all at other times, for their little faith. " When 
Peter's faith failed not, it staggered, which Abraham's did 
not : " Lord, increase our faith," and" Lord, I believe, help 
my unbelief," were prayers approved by Christ, I will call 
a prevalent belief which can lay down life and all this world 
for Christ and the hopes of heaven, by the name of certainty, 
which hath various degrees. But if they differ ' de nomine/ 
and will call nothing certainty but the highest degree, they 
must needs yet grant that there is true, saving faith, that 
reacheth to no certainty in their sense. Yea, no man on 
earth then attaineth to such a certainty, because that every 
man's faith is imperfect. 

To conclude. Though all Scripture in itself (that is in- 
deed the true canon) be equally true, yet all is not equally 
certain to us, as not having equal evidence that it is God's 
word. But of that in the next Chapter of the Uncertainties. 


V. What are the unknoion Things, and Uncertainties which v)e 
must not pretend a certain knowledge of. 

Somewhat of this is said already, Chap. iii. But I am here 
to come to more particular instances of it. But because 
that an enumeration would be a great volume of itself, I 
shall begin with the more general, that I may be excused in 
most of the rest ; or mention only some particulars under 
them as we go. 

I. A very great, if not the far greatest part of that part 
of philosophy called Physics, is uncertain (or certainly false) 
as it is delivered to us in any methodist that I have yet seen ; 


whether Platonists, Peripatetics, Epicureans, (the Stoics 
have little, but what Seneca gives us, and Barlaam collecteth, 
I know not whence, as making up their ethics, and what in 
three or four ethical writers is also brought in on the by, 
and what Cicero reporteth of them) or in our novelists, Pa- 
tricius, Telesius, Campanella, Thomas White, Digby, Car- 
tesius, Gassendus, &c, except those whose modesty causeth 
them to say but little, and to avoid the uncertainties ; or 
confess them to be uncertainties. To enumerate instances 
would be an unseasonable digression. Gassendus is large 
in his confessions of uncertainties. I think not his brother 
Hobbes, and his second Spinosa worth the naming. Nor 
the Paracelsians and Helmontians as giving us a new phi- 
losophy, but only as adding to the old. There needs no 
other testimony of uncertainty to a man that hath not stu- 
died the points himself, than their lamentable difference, 
and confutation of each other, in so many things, even in 
the great principles of the science. 

Yet here no doubt, there are certainties, innumerable cer- 
tainties, such as I have before described. We know some- 
thing certainly of many things, even of all sensible objects. 
But we know nothing perfectly and comprehensively ; not 
a worm, not a leaf, not a stone, or a sand, not the pen, ink 
or paper which we write with ; not the hand that writeth, 
nor the smallest particle of our bodies ; not a hair, or the 
least accident. In every thing nearest us, or in the world, 
the uncertainties and ' incognita' are far more than that 
which we certainly know. 

II. If I should enumerate to you the many uncertainties 
in our common metaphysics, (yea, about the being of the 
science) and our common logic, &c, it would seem unsuit- 
able to a theological discourse. And yet it would not be 
unuseful, among such theologians as the schoolmen, who 
resolve more of their doubts by Aristotle than by the Holy 
Scriptures ; doubtless, as Aristotle's predicaments are not 
fitted to the kinds of beings, so many of his distributions 
and orders, yea, and precepts are arbitrary. And as he left 
room and reason for the dissent of such as Taurellus, Car- 
penter, Jacchseus, Gorlaeus, Ritchel, and abundance more, 
so have they also for men's dissent from them. Even Ra- 
mus hath more adversaries than followers. Gassendus goeth 
the right way, by suiting ' verba rebus,' if he had hit righter 


on the nature of things themselves. Most novel philoso- 
phers are fain to make new grammars and new logics, for 
words and notions, to fit their new conceptions, as Campa- 
nella, and the Paracelsians, Helmontians, (and if you will 
name the Behmenists, Rosicrucians, Weigelians, Sec.) Lullius 
thought he made the most accurate art of notions ; and he 
did indeed attempt to fit words to things : but he hath 
missed of a true accomplishment of his design, for want of 
a true method of physics in his mind, to fit his words to. 
As Cornelius Agrippa, who is one of his chief commenta- 
tors, yet freely confesseth in his " lib. de Vanitate Scientia- 
rum," which now I think of, I will say no more of this, but 
desire the reader to peruse that laudable book, and with it to 
read Sanchez's " Nihil Scitur," to see uncertainty detected, 
so he will not be led by it too far into scepticism. As also 
Mr. Glanvile's " Scepsis Scientifica." 

As for the lamentable uncertainties in medicine, the poor 
world payeth for it. Anatomy as being by ocular inspec- 
tion hath had the best improvement ; and yet what a multi- 
tude of uncertainties remain ! Many thousand years have 
millions yearly died of fevers, and the medicating them is a 
great part of the physician's work ; and yet I know not that 
ever I knew the man that certainly knew what a fever is. 
I crave the pardon of the masters of this noble art for say- 
ing it ; it is by dear experience that I have learned how little 
physicians know ; having passed through the trial of above 
thirty of them on my own body long ago ; merely induced 
by a conceit that they knew more than they did; and most 
that I got was but the ruin of my own body, and this ad- 
vice to leave to others -.—Highly value those few excellent men, 
who have quick and deep conjecturing apprehensions, great read- 
ing and greater experience, and sober, careful, deliberating minds, 
that had rather do too little than too much : but use them in 
a due conjunction with your oivn experience of yourself But 
for the rest, how learned soever, whose heads are dull, or temper 
precipitant, or apprehensions hasty or superficial, or readino- 
small, especially that are young, or of small experience, love 
and honour them, but use them as little as you can, and that 
only as you will use an honest, ignorant divine, whom you 

d See a book written long since this, called " the Samaritan," of excellent use, 
by Mr. Jones of Suffolk. 

VOL. XV. r 


will gladly hear upon the certain catechistical principles, 
but love not to hear him meddle with controversies. So 
use these men in common, easy cases, if necessary, and yet 
there the less the better, lest they hinder nature that would 
cure the disease. If you dislike my counsel, you may be 
shortly past blaming it ; for though their successes have 
tongues, their miscarriages are mostly silent in the grave. 
O how much goeth to make an able physician ! but enough 
of such instances. 

III. But though errors in politics the world payeth yet 
much dearer for, I must not be too bold in talking here. 
But I will confess that here the uncertainties are almost all 
in the applicatory part, and through the incapacity of the 
minds of men : for the truth is, the main principles of po- 
licy are part of the Divine law, and of true morality, and in 
themselves are plain, and of a satisfying certainty, could 
you but get men's heads and hearts into a fitness duly to 
consider and receive them. 

IV. But to come nearer to our own profession, there is 
much uncertainty in those theological conclusions, which 
are built on such premises, where any one of these physical, 
metaphysical, or logical uncertainties are a part; yea, though 
it be couched in the narrowest room, even in one ambiguous 
term of art, and scarcely discerned by any but accurate ob- 
servers. With great pomp and confidence many proceed to 
their ergos, when the detection of the fraud not only of an 
uncertain medium, but of one ambiguous syllable, will mar 
all. And the conclusion can be no stronger or surer, than 
the more weak and doubtful of the premises. 

V. When the subject is of small and abstruse parts, far 
from the principles and fundamentals of the matter, usually 
the conclusions are uncertain. Nature in all matters be- 
ginneth with some few great and master parts, like the great 
boughs or limbs of the tree, or the great trunks and master 
vessels in our bodies ; and from thence spring branches, 
which are innumerable and small : and it is so in all sciences, 
and in theology itself. The great, essential and chief inte- 
gral parts are few, and easily discerned : but two grand im- 
pediments hinder us from a certain knowledge in the rest : 
one is the great number of particles, where the understand- 
ing is lost, and, as they say, seeketh a needle in a bottle of 


hay, or a leaf in a wood ; and the other is the littleness of 
the thing, which maketh it undiscernible to any but accu- 
rate and studious minds. And therefore how much soever 
men that trade in little things, may boast of the sublimity 
of them, and their own subtlety, their perceptions usually 
are accompanied with uncertainty ; though in some cases 
an uncertain knowledge, known to be so, is better than 

VI. Yea, though the matters themselves may be more 
bulky, yet if in knowing and proving them, we must go 
through a great number of syllogisms and inferences, 
usually the conclusion is very uncertain to us, whatever it 
may be to an extraordinary accurate and prepared mind. 
For 1. We shall be still jealous (or may be) lest so many 
terms and mediums, some of them should be fallacious and 
insufficient, and weaken all. And we are so conscious of 
our own weakness, and liability to forget, oversee or be 
mistaken, that we shall or may still fear lest we have missed 
it, and be overseen in something, in so long a course and 
series of arguings. 

VII. Those parts of history which depend merely on the 
credit of men's wisdom and honesty, and are so merely of 
human faith, must needs be uncertain. For the conclusion 
can be no surer than the premises. All men as such are 
liars, that is, untrusty, or such as possibly may deceive. 1. 
They may be deceived themselves. 2. And they may de- 
ceive others where they are not themselves deceived. 
Every man hath some passion, some ignorance, some error, 
some selfish interest, and some vice. This age, if we never 
had known another instance, is a sad proof of this, that tears 
are fitter than words to express it. Most confident re- 
porters totally differ about the most notorious matters of 
fact. I must not name them, but 1 pity strangers and 
posterity. If it come especially to the characterising of 
others, how ordinarily do men speak as they are affected? 
And they are affected as self-interest and passion leadeth 
them ; with Cochlreus, Bolseck, and such others, what 
villains were Luther, Zuinglius, Calvin, &c. with their 
most faithful acquaintance ; what good and holy men, 
saving Luther's animosity ! If the Inquisitors torment 
Protestants, or burn them, is it not necessary that they 
call them by such odious names as may justify their fact? 


If they banish and silence faithful, holy, able ministers, 
they must accuse them of some villanies which may make 
them seem worthy of the punishment and unworthy to 
preach the Gospel of Christ! What different characters 
did Constantius and Valens, and their party on one side, 
and Athanasius, and the Orthodox on the other side, give 
of one another ! What different characters were given of 
Chrysostom ! How differently do Hunnerichus and Genseri- 
cus on one side, and Victor Uticensis, and other historians 
on the other side, describe the bishops and Christians of 
Africa that then suffered ! They were traitors and rebels, 
and rogues, and enemies to the king, and heretics to Hunne- 
richus : but to others, they were holy, blameless men ; and 
those were tyrants and heretics that persecuted them. What 
difference between the histories of the orthodox, and that 
of Philostorgius, and Sondius ! What different characters 
do Eusebius and Eunapius give of Constantine ! And Euna- 
pius and Hilary, See. give of Julian. What different charac- 
ters are given of Hildebrand on one side, and of the emperors 
Henrys on the other side, by the many historians who fol- 
lowed the several parts ! How false must a great number 
of the historians on one side be ! I know that this doth not 
make all human faith and history useless : it hath its degree 
of credibility answerable to its use. And a wise man may 
much conjecture whom to believe. 1. A man that (like 
Thuanus) sheweth modesty and impartiality, even towards 
Dissenters. 2. A man that had no notable interest to bias 
him. 3. A man that manifesteth other ways true honesty 
and conscience. 4. Supposing that he was himself upon 
the place, and a competent witness. 

But there is little or no credit to be given, 1. To a fac- 
tious, furious railer. 2. To one that was a flatterer of great 
men, or depended on them for preferment, or lived in fear of 
speaking the truth, or that speaketh for the interest of his 
riches and honour in the world ; or for his engaged personal 
reputation, or that hath espoused the interest of a sector 
faction. 3. There is little credit to be given to any knave 
and wicked man. He that dare be drunk, and swear, and 
curse, and be a fornicator or covetous worldling, dare lie for 
his own ends. 4. Nor to the most honest man that taketh 
things by rumours, hearsay and uncertain reports, and 
knoweth not the things themselves. 


But how shall strangers and posterity know when they 
read a history, whether the writer was an honest man or a 
knave ; a man of credit, or an impudent liar? Both may be 
equal in confident asserting, and in the plausibility of the 
narrative. Mere human belief therefore must be uncertain. 
From whence we see the pitiful case of the subjects of 
the King of Rome (for so I must rather call him than a 
bishop). Why doth a layman believe transubstantiation, 
or any other article of their faith ? Because the Church saith 
it is God's word. What is the Church that saith so ? It is 
a faction of the Pope, perhaps at Lateran, or forty of his 
prelates at the Conventicle of Trent. How doth he know 
that these men do not lie? Because God promised that 
Peter's faith should not fail, and the gates of hell should 
not prevail against the church ; and the spirit should lead 
the apostles into all truth. But how shall he know that 
this Scripture is God's word? And also that it was not a 
total failing, rather than a failing in some degree, that Peter 
was by that promise freed from ? Or that the Spirit was 
promised to these prelates which was promised to the 
apostles? Why, because these prelates say so ! And how 
know they that they say true? Why, from Scripture, as 

But let all the rest go. How knoweth the layman that 
ever the Church made such a decree ? That ever the bishops 
of that council were lawfully called ? That they truly repre- 
sented all Christ's Church on earth ? That this or that 
doctrine is the decree of a Council, or the sense of the 
Church indeed ? Why, because the priest tells him so* 
But how knoweth he that this priest saith true, or a few 
more that the man speaketh with? there I leave you: I 
can answer no further; but must leave the credit of Scrip- 
ture, council, and each particular doctrine, on the credit of 
that poor single priest, or the few that are his companions. 
The layman knoweth it no otherwise. 

Quest. ' But is not the Scripture itself then shaken by 
this, seeing the history of the canon and incorruption of 
the books, &c, dependeth on the word of man?' 

Answ. No; 1. I have elsewhere fully shewed how the 
Spirit hath sealed the substance of the Gospel. 2. And 
even the matters of fact are not of mere human faith ; for 
mere human faith depends on the mere honesty of the 


reporter : but this historical faith depeiideth partly on God's 
attestation, and partly on natural proofs. 1. God did by 
miracles attest the reports of the apostles and first Churches. 
2. The consent of all history since, that these are the same 
writings which the apostles wrote, hath a natural evidence 
above bare human faith. For I have elsewhere shewed, 
that there is a concurrence of human report, or a consent of 
history, which amounteth to a true natural evidence, the 
will having its nature and some necessary acts, and nothing" 
but necessary ascertaining causes, could cause such con- 
currence. Such evidence we have that King James, Queen 
Elizabeth, Queen Mary, lived in England : that our statute- 
books contain the true laws, which those Kings and Parlia- 
ments made whom they are ascribed to. For they could 
not possibly rule the land, and overrule all men's interests, 
and be pleaded at the bar, &c, without contradiction and 
detection of the fraud, if they were forgeries : (though it is 
possible that some words in a statute-book may be mis- 
printed.) There is in this a physical certainty in the con- 
sent of men, and it depends not as human faith, upon the 
honesty of the reporter ; but knaves and liars, have so 
consented, whose interests and occasions are cross, and so 
is it in the case of the history of the Scripture-books : 
which were read in all the* churches through the world, 
every Lord's-day ; and contenders of various opinion, took 
their salvation to be concerned in them. 

VIII. Those things must needs be uncertain to any man, 
as to a particular faith or knowledge, which are more in 
number than he may possibly have a distinct understanding 
of; or can examine their evidence whether they be certain 
or not. For instance, the Roman Faith containeth all the 
doctrinal decrees, and their religion also all the practical 
decrees of all the approved General Councils, that is, of so 
much as pleased the Pope, such power hath he to make his 
own religion. But these General Councils, added to all the 
Bible, with all the Apocrypha, are so large, that it is not 
possible for most men to know what is in them. So that if 
the question be whether this or that doctrine be the word 
of God, and the proof of the affirmative is, because it is 
decreed by a General Council, this must be uncertain to 
almost all men, who cannot tell whether it be so decreed 
or no : few priests themselves knowing all that is in those 


Councils. So that if they knew that all that is in the 
Councils is God's word, they know never the more whether 
this or that doctrine, e. g. the immaculate conception of the 
Virgin Mary, &c. be the word of God. And if a heathen 
knew that all that is in the Bible is the word of God, and 
knew not a word what is in it, would this make him a 
Christian, or saint him? 

You may object, ' That most Protestants also know not 
all that is in the Scripture.' Ans. True ; nor any one. And 
therefore Protestants say not that all that is in the Scripture 
is necessary to be known to salvation ; but they take their 
religion to have essential parts, and integral parts and 
accidents ; and so they know how far each is necessary. 
But the Papists deride this distinction, and because all 
truths are equally true, they would make men believe that 
all are equally fundamental, or essential to Christianity. 
But this is only when they dispute against us ; at other 
times they say otherwise themselves, when some other 
interest leads to it, and so cureth this impudency. 

It were worthy the inquiry, whether a Papist take all 
the Bible to be God's word, and ' de fide,' or only so much 
of it as is contained particularly in the decrees of Councils 1 
If the latter, then none of the Scripture was ' de fide,' or to 
be particularly believed for above three hundred years, 
before the Council of Nice. If the former, then is it as 
necessary to salvation to know how old Enoch was, as to 
know that Jesus Christ is our Saviour ! 

IX. Those things must needs be uncertain, which depend 
upon such a number of various circumstances as cannot be 
certainly known themselves. For instance, the common 
rule by which the Popish doctors do determine what parti- 
cular knowledge and faith are necessary to salvation, is 
that ' so many truths are necessary as are sufficiently pro- 
pounded to that person to be known and believed.' But 
no man living, learned nor unlearned, can tell what is 
necessary to the sufficiency of this proposal. Whether it 
be sufficient, if he be told it in his childhood only, and at 
what age? or if he be told it but once, or twice, or thrice, 
or how often? Whether by a parent or layman that cannot 
tell him what is in the Councils ? Or by a priest that never 
read the Councils? And whether the variety of natural capa- 
cities, bodily temperaments, education and course of life 


before, do not make as great variety of proportions to be 
necessary to the sufficiency of this proposal? And what 
mortal man can truly take the measure of them ? And how 
can any man be certain what those points are which are 
necessary for him to believe? 

X. Those things are uncertain which depend upon an 
uncertain author or authority. For instance, the Roman 
faith dependeth on the exposition of the Scriptures by the 
consent of the Fathers, and on the tradition of the Church, 
and the decrees of an authorised Council. And here is in 
all this, little but uncertainties. 

1. It is utterly uncertain, who are to be taken for Fathers, 
and who not. Whether Origen, Tatianus, Arnobius, Lac- 
tantius, Tertullian, and many such, be Fathers or not. Whe- 
ther such a man asTheophilus Alexandrinus, or Chrysostom 
was the Father, when they condemned each other. Whether 
such as are justly suspected of heresy, (as Eusebius) or 
such as the Romanists have cast suspicions on (as Lucifer 
Calaritanus called a heretic, Socrates, Sozomens, falsely 
called Navatians, Hilary, Arelatensis condemned by the 
Pope Leo, and Claud. Turonens. Rupertus Tuitiens. and 
such others). When the ancients renounced each others' 
communion, (as Martin did by Ithacius and Idacius and 
their Synod,) when they describe one another as stark 
knaves, as Socrates doth Theophil. Alexandrin. and Sulpi- 
tius Severus, doth Ithacius, which of them were the Fathers. 

2. How shall we know certainly which are the true un- 
corrupted writings of these Fathers among so many forgeries 
and spurious scripts? 

3. How shall it be known what exposition the Fathers 
consented on, when not one of a multitude, and but few in 
all have commented on any considerable parts of the Scrip- 
ture, and those few so much often differ ? 

4. When in the doctrine of the Trinity itself, Petavius 
largely proveth that most of the writers of the three first 
centuries after the apostles were unsound, and others con- 
fess the same about the Millennium, the corporeity of an- 
gels, and of the soul, and divers other things ; doth their 
consent bind us to believe them? If not, how shall we 
know in what to believe their consent, according to this rule ? 

2. And as to the Church, they are utterly disagreed among 
themselves, what that Church is which hath this authority. 


I. Whether the Pope alone. 2. Or the Pope with a Pro- 
vincial Council. 3. Or the Pope with a General Council* 
4. Or a General Council without the Pope. 5. Or the uni- 
versality of pastors. 6. Or the universality of the people 
with them. 

3. And for a Council. 1. There is no certainty what 
number of bishops, and what consent of the comprovincial 
clergy is necessary to make them the true representatives 
of any church. 2. And more uncertain in what Council the 
bishops had such consent. 3. And uncertain whether the 
Pope's approbation be necessary. (The great Councils of 
Constance and Basil determining the contrary.) 4. And 
uncertain which were truly approved. 5. And most certain 
that there never was any General Council in the world (un- 
less you will call the Apostles a General Council) but only 
General Councils of the clergy of one empire, with now and 
then a straggling neighbour, even as we have general 
assemblies and convocations in this kingdom. And who 
can be certain of that faith which dependeth upon all, or 
any of these uncertainties ? 

XL That must needs be an uncertainty which dependeth 
on the unknown thoughts of another man. For instance, 
with the Papists, the priest's intention, which is the secret 
of his heart, is necessary to the being of baptism, and tran- 
substantiation. And so no man can be certain whether he 
or any other man be baptized or not. Nor whether it be 
bread or Christ's body which he eateth. We confess that 
it is necessary to the being of a sacrament, that the minister 
do seem or profess to intend it as a sacrament; but if the 
reality of his intent be necessary to the being of it, no 
man can be certain that he ever had a sacrament. 

XII. It is a hard thing to be certain on either side, in 
those controversies which have multitudes, and in a manner 
equal strength of learned, judicious, well-studied, godly, 
impartial men for each part. I deny not but one clear- 
headed man may be certain of that which a multitude are 
uncertain of, and oppose him in. But it must not be 
ordinary men, but some rare illuminated person, that must 
get above a probability, unto a certainty, of that which such 
a company as aforesaid are of a contrary mind in. 

XIII. There is great uncertainty in matters of private 
impulse. When a man hath nothing to prove a thing to be 


God's will, but an inward persuasion or impulse in his own 
breast ; let it never so vehemently incline him to think it 
true, it is hard to be sure of it. For we know not how far 
Satan, or our own distempered fantasies may go. And 
most by far that pretend to this, do prove deceived. That 
which must be certain, must be somewhat equal to prophe- 
tical inspiration ; which indeed is its own evidence : but 
what that is, no man can formally conceive but he that hath 
had it. Therefore we are bid to " try the spirits." 

XIV. It is a hard thing to gather certainties of doc- 
trinal conclusion from God's providences alone. Providential 
changes have their great use, as they are the fulfilling or ex- 
ecution of the Word ; but they that will take them instead 
of the Scripture, do usually run into such mistakes, as are 
rectified to their cost, by some contrary work of Providence 
ere long : these times have fully taught us this. 

XV. It is hard to gather doctrinal certainties from godly 
men's experience alone. Even our experimental philoso- 
phers and physicians find, that an experiment that hits often- 
times, quite misseth afterwards on other subjects, and they 
know not why. A course of effects, may often come from 
unknown causes. And it is no rare thing for the common 
prejudices, self-conceitedness, or corruption of the weaker 
and greater number of good people, which needeth great re- 
pentance and a cure, to be mistaken, for the ' communis 
sensus lidelium,' the inclination and experience of the godly ; 
especially when consent or the honour of their leaders or 
themselves hath engaged them in it. In my time, the com- 
mon sense of the strictest sort was against long hair, and 
taking tobacco, and other such things, which now their 
common practice is for. In one country the common con- 
sent of the strictest party is for Arminianism : in another 
they are zealously against it. In Poland, where the Soci- 
nians are for sitting at the sacrament, the godly are gene- 
rally against it ; in other places they are for it. In Poland 
and Bohemia, where they had holy, humble, persuading 
bishops, the generality of the godly were for that Episco- 
pacy, as were all the ancient Churches, even the Novatians ; 
but in other places it is otherwise. So that it is hard to be 
certain of truth or error, good or evil, by the mere consent, 
opinion, or experience of any. 

XVI. But the last and great instance is, that in the holy 


Scriptures themselves, there is a great inequality in point of 
certainty, yea, many parts of them have great uncertainty ; 
even these that follow : 

I. Many hundred texts are uncertain, through various 
readings in several copies of the original. I will not multi- 
ply them on Capellus's opinion ; though Claud. Saravius, 
who got the book printed, and other worthy men approve it. 
I had rather there were fewer varieties, and therefore had 
rather think there are fewer; but these that cannot be de- 
nied must not be denied : nor do I think it fit to gather the 
discrepancies of every odd copy, and call them various read- 
ings. But it is past denial, that the world hath no one an- 
cient copy which must be the rule or test of all the rest, and 
that very many copies are of such equal credit, as that no 
man living can say that this, and not that where they differ, 
hath the very words of the Holy Ghost. And that even in the 
New Testament alone, the differences or various readings, 
of which no man is able to say which is the right, are so 
great a number as I am not willing to give every reader an 
account of; even those that are gathered by Stephanus and. 
Junius, and Brugensis, and Beza ; if you leave out all the 
rest in the Appendix to the Polyglot Bible. In all or most 
of which we are utterly uncertain which reading is God's 

II. There are many hundred words in the Scripture that 
are ambiguous, signifying more things than one ; and the 
context in a multitude of places determineth not the proper 
sense ; so that you may with equal authority translate them, 
either thus or thus: the margin of your Bibles giveth you no 
small number of them. It must needs here be uncertain 
which of them is the Word of God. 

III. There are many hundred texts of Scripture, where 
the phrase is general, and may be applied to more particu- 
lars than one : in some places the several particulars must 
be taken as included in the general. (And where there is 
no necessity a general phrase should not be expounded as 
if it were particular.) But in a multitude of texts the 
general is put for the particular, and must be interpreted 
but of one sort, and yet the context giveth us no certain 
determination which particular is meant. This is one of 
the commonest uncertainties in all the Scriptures. Here it 
is God's will that we be uncertain. 


IV. In very many passages of the History of Christ, the 
Evangelists set both words and deeds in various orders, one 
sets this first, and another sets another first. (As in the or- 
der of Christ's three temptations, Matt. iv. and Luke iv. 
And many such like.) Though it is apparent that Luke doth 
less observe the order than the rest, yet in many of these 
cases it is apparent that it was God's will to notify to us the 
matter only, and not the order. And it must needs be un- 
certain to us, which was the first said or done, and which 
was last. 

The same is to be said of the time and place of some 
speeches of Christ recorded by them. 

V. Many of Christ's speeches are recorded by the Evan- 
gelists in various words f . Even the Lord's-prayer itself. 
(Matt. vi. and Luke xi.) Besides, that Matthew hath the 
doxology, which Luke hath not (which Grotius and many 
others think came out of the Greek Liturgy into the text). 
And even in Christ's sermons on the Mount, and in his last 
commission to his disciples. (Matt, xxviii. 18 — 20 ; Mark 
xvi.) Now in some of these cases (as of the Lord's-prayer) 
it is uncertain whether Christ spake it once or twice : 
(though the former is more likely.) In most of them, it is 
plain that it was the will of God's Spirit to give us the true 
sense of Christ's sayings in various words, and not all the 
very words themselves : for the Evangelists that differ do 
neither of them speak falsely, and therefore meant not 
recite all the very words. If you say that one giveth us the 
true words, and another the true sense, we shall never be 
certain that this is so, nor which that one is. So that in 
such cases, no man can possibly tell which of them were the 
very words of Christ. 

VI. There are manv texts of the Old Testament recited 
in the New, where it is uncertain whether that which the 
penman intended was an exposition, or a proof of what he 
said, or only an allusion to the phrase of speech ; as if he 
should say, ' I may use such words to express my mind, or 
the matter by.' As Matt. ii. 23, " He shall be called a Na- 
zarene." So verse 16, 17 ; Rom. x. 6 — 8. 18, and others. I 

f It is most probable that Christ and the apostles then spake in theChaldee called 
Hebiew, and so that the four Gospels are but translations of Christ's words, and so 
not the words, but the sense was Christ's : and what wonder then if the traiuslating 
Evangelists use divers words 


know the excellent Junius in his Parallels hath said much, 
and more than any other that I know, to prove them all, or 
almost all to be expository and probatory citations : but 
withal confessing that the generality of ancient and modern 
expositors think otherwise, he thereby sheweth a great un- 
certainty ; when he himself saith not that he is certain of 
it ; and few others thought it probable. 

VII. There are many texts cited in the New Testament 
Septuagint, where it differeth from the Hebrew: wherein it 
is utterly uncertain to us, whether Christ and his apostles 
intended to justify absolutely the translation which they 
use, or only to make use of it as that which then was known 
and used for the sake of the sense which it contained. If 
they absolutely justify it, they seem to condemn the He- 
brew, so far as it differeth. If not, why do they use it, and 
never blame it? It seemeth that Christ would hereby tell 
us, that the sense is the gold, and the words but as the 
purse ; and we need not be over-curious about them, so we 
have the sense. As if I should use the vulgar Latin, or the 
Rhemists' translation with the Papist, because he will receive 
no other. 

VIII. There are many enigmatical and obscure expres- 
sions, which a few learned men only can probably conjec- 
ture at, and few or none be certain of the full sense. If any 
certainly understand much of the prophecies in Daniel and 
the Revelations, it must needs be very few : when Calvin 
durst not meddle with the latter : and though most of the 
famous commentators on the Revelations are such, as have 
peculiarly made it their study ; and set their minds upon it 
above all other things, and rejoiced in conceit that they had 
found out the true sense which others had overseen, (as 
men do that seek the philosopher's stone :) yet how few of 
all these are there that agree ? And if ten be of nine minds, 
eight of them at least are mistaken. Franc, du Jon, the 
Lord Napier, Brightman, Dent, Mede, and my godly friend 
Mr. Stephens, yet living, (since dead,) with many others 
have studied it thus with extraordinary diligence, but with 
different successes : and Lyra with other old ones turn all 
quite another way. And then come Grotius and Dr. Ham- 
mond and contradict both sides, and make it all (saving a 
few verses) to have been fulfilled many ages since. And 
can the unlearned, or the unstudied part of ministers then, 


with any modesty pretend a certainty, where so many and 
such men differ? 

I know it is said, Rev. 1.3." Blessed is he that readeth, 
and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep 
those things which are written therein : but that proveth no 
more than 1. That some of it (as ch. 1 — 3.) is plain and 
commonly intelligible. 2. That it is a desirable thing to 
understand the rest ; and worthy men's endeavour in due 
time and rank ; and he that can attain to certainty may be 
glad of it. 

I pass by the darkness of many types and prophecies of 
Christ in the Old Testament, and how little the Jews or the 
apostles themselves, till after Christ's resurrection, under- 
stood them. With very many other obscurities, which yet 
are not written in vain, nay, which make up the true perfec- 
tion of the whole. 

IX. There are very many proverbial speeches in the 
Scripture, which are not to be understood, as the words 
properly signify ; but as the sense of those proverbs then 
was among the Jews. But disuse hath so totally obliterated 
the knowledge of the sense of many of them, that no man 
living can certainly understand them. 

X. There are many texts, which have words adapted to 
the places, the animals, the utensils, the customs, the coins, 
the measures, the vegetables, &c. of that place and time, 
which are some hard, and some impossible now to be cer- 
tainly understood : and therefore such as Bochart, Salmo- 
sius, Casaubon, Scaliger, &c. have done well to add new 
light to our conjectures; but leaving great uncertainty still. 

XI. Because the Jewish law is by Paul plainly said to 
be ceased or done away, it remaineth very difficult to be 
certain of abundance of passages in the Old Testament, 
how far they are obligatory to us. For when they now bind 
no otherwise than as the continued law of nature, or as re- 
assumed by Christ into his special law, where the latter is 
not found, in the former there is often insuperable difficulty. 
For most lieth upon the proof of a parity of reason, which 
puts us upon trying cases hardly tried, unless we knew 
more of the reason of all those laws. (As about vows and 
dispensations, Numb, xxx ; about prohibited degrees of mar- 
riage, and such like ; which makes divines so much differ 
about the obligation of the Judicials, (of which see Junius 


vol. 1. p. 1861, &c. de Polit. Mos. observ.) and about usury, 
priesthood, magistrates' power in religion, and many such. 
XIII. There are abundance of texts which only open 
the substance of the matter in hand to us, and say nothing 
about abundance of difficulties of the manner, and many 
circumstances, (as the manner of the Divine influx, and the 
Spirit's operation on the soul, &c.) And here all that which 
is unrevealed must needs be unknown. 

XIII. There are many precepts which were local, per- 
sonal, particular, and so temporary, and bind not universally 
all persons, at all times afterwards : such as the Rhechabites' 
precepts from their father, and such as the love-feasts, the 
kiss of love, women's veil and long hair, men's being unco- 
vered, &c g . Now it is very hard to know in all instances, 
whether the precepts were thus temporary or universal and 
durable : which makes divines differ about anointing of 
the sick, the office of deacons and deaconesses, the power 
of bishops, and extent of their dioceses, the eating things 
strangled, and blood, (against which Chr. Beckman in his 
Exercit. hath abundance of shrewd arguments, though few 
are of his mind.) In these cases few reach a certainty, and 
none so full a certainty as in plainer things. 

XIV. It is very hard to be certain when, and how far 
examples of holy men in Scripture bind us : though I have 
elsewhere proved that wherever the apostles' practice was 
the execution of their commission for settling church orders, 
in which Christ promised them the help of his Spirit, their 
practice was obligatory. Yet in many instances the obli- 
gation of examples is very doubtful : which occasioneth 
the controversies about imitating John Baptist's life in the 
wilderness, and Anna, and about Lent, and about baptizing 
by dipping over head, and about the Lord's-supper, whether 
it should be administered to a family, or at evening only, or 
after supper or sitting in a private house, &c. And about 
washing feet, and many church orders and affairs. 

XV. There are many things in Scripture that are spoken 
but once or twice, and that but as on the by, and not very 

8 It is very hard to be sure what the apostles settled as an universal perpetual 
law, in church matters, and what they settled only as suited to that time and place by 
the common rule of doing all to edification : I will have mercy and not sacrifice, 
being a standing rule, it is hard to plead their use of any rites against common good : 
perhaps more is mutable than most think. 


plainly: and we cannot be so certain of any doctrine founded 
on these, as on passages frequently and plainly written. 

XVI. There are so many seeming differences in Scrip- 
ture, especially about numbers, as that if they be reconcile- 
able, few or none in the world have yet found out the way. 
If we mention them not ourselves, such paltry fellows will 
do it, as Bened. Spinosa in his Tractatus Theolog. Polit. I 
will not cite any, but desire the learned reader to consider 
well of what that learned and godly man, Ludov. Capellus 
saith in his critic. Sacr. 1. c. 10. and 1. 6. c. 7, 8 h . (I own 
not his supposition of a better Hebrew copy used by the 
Sept.) I think an impartial considerer of his instances will 
confess, that as God never promised all or any of the scribes 
or printers of the Bible any infallible spirit, that they should 
never write or print a word falsely, and as it is certain by 
the various lections, that many such there have been in 
many and most books ; so there is no one scribe that had a 
promise above the rest, nor any one Hebrew or Greek copy, 
which any man is sure, is absolutely free from such miswri- 
tings. For how should we be sure of that one above all the 
rest? And I wish the learned reader to consider Bibliander's 
Preface to his Hebr. Grammar, and Casaubon's Exercit. 1. 
s. 28. and Pellicanus's Preface to his Comment, on the 
Bible. Jerom on Mic. 5. 2. is too gross, de Matth. 2. 
' Quod Testimonium nee Haebraico nee 70 Interpretibus con- 
venire, &c.' Let him read the rest that will, which is harsher ; 
he that will not confess miswritings of numbers, and some 
names and words heretofore, as well as some misprintings 
now, doth but by his pretended certainty tempt men to 
question the rest for the sake of that, and injureth^the sa- 
cred word. 

XVII. We have not the same degree of certainty of the 
canonicalness or divineness of every book of Scripture: 
though they are all God's word, they have not all the same 
evidence that they are so. The New Testament had a fuller 
attestation from heaven for its evidence to man, than most 
of the Old had. And of the New Testament, it was long be- 
fore many churches received the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 
second of Peter, Jude, Revelations, Sec. Even in Eusebius's 

11 Without approving all that is in it, I wish the reader to peruse Father Simon's 
second book, now newly printed in London. 


days, in his Praepar. Evangel, he shewed that they were not 
received by all. And of the Old Testament, Moses, and the 
Psalms and Prophets have fuller attestation than the rest. 
And indeed, as it is probable that the Chronicles were writ- 
ten in or after Ezra's time at soonest ; so they do in so many 
places differ in numbers from the book of Kings, where all 
would agree with the rest of the history, if those numbers 
were but reduced to those in the Kings, that if any man 
should doubt of the Divine authority of that book, that 
thereby he may be less tempted to question any others, I 
should not think his error inconsistent with salvation. Put 
but that man to prove what he saith, who asserteth that we 
have equal evidence of the divinity of the Chronicles, Can- 
ticles, Esther, as we have of Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms, 
and the New Testament, and you shall quickly find that he 
did but pretend an equal degree of certainty, which indeed he 
had not. The Papists pretend that they are as certain of the 
divinity of the Apocrypha, as we are of the rest. But they 
do but pretend a certainty, for interest and custom sake. 

XVIII. Though it be held, that certainly the holy wri- 
ters had no falsehoods in doctrine or history, but delivered 
us the truth alone, yet no one of them delivereth us all the 
truth, no not of many particular histories and speeches of 
Christ which they mention : and therefore we must set them 
all together for the understanding of them: (as in the in- 
stance of Christ's appearing and the angel's speeches after 
his resurrection.) And when all is done we have not all that 
Christ said and did, but all that was necessary to our faith 
and salvation. For as Paul citeth Christ, saying, " It is 
more honourable to give, than to receive," so John tells us, 
" that the world could not contain the books that should be 
written," we must take heed therefore how far we go with 
negatives, of such unmentioned things. 

XIX. Though all that the holy writers have recorded is 
true, (and no falsehood in the Scripture, but what is from 
the error of scribes and translators,) yet we are not certain 
that the writers had not human infirmities in the phrase, 
method and manner of expression. It is apparent that their 
style, yea their gifts were various, as Paul oft openeth them, 
1 Cor. 12, &c. Therefore Paul rather than Barnabas was the 
chief speaker. And Apollos was more eloquent than others : 

VOL. xv. f 


hence some were of Paul, and some of Apollos, and some of 
Cephas : and Paul is put to vindicate his ministerial abilities 
to the Corinthians. Therefore though weaker men's gifts put 
no sinful imperfection into the Scriptures, yet a human na- 
tural imperfection of style, and order might be more in some 
than others. It is certain that they were not all perfect in 
knowledge and holiness. And how far every sermon which 
they preached was free from all that imperfection, (any more 
than Peter's carriage, Gal. ii.) we are uncertain. And how 
far their writings had a promise of being free from natural 
modal imperfections more than their preachings, we know 
not fully. And yet God turned this weakness of theirs to 
the confirmation of our faith ; shewing us that heavenly 
power, and not human wisdom and ability did his work. As 
David's sling in conquering Goliah shewed God's power. 
And out of the mouths of babes doth God ordain strength, 
and the weak things of the world are used to confound the 

XX. Lastly, though all be certainly true which they have 
recorded, yet we have not the same degree of certainty, that 
no writer erred through lapse of memory in some less mate- 
rial passage, as we have that they infallibly delivered us the 
Gospel. But this 1 have said so much of already in a small 
book called " More Reasons for the Christian Religion," 
that I must now refer you thither for the rest. 

Quest. But if there be so many things, either uncertain or 
less certain, what is it that we are or may be fully certain of? 

Answ. 1. What you are or are not certain of yourself, you 
should know if you know yourself, without my telling you. 

2. I deny not but you may come to a certainty of all 
those things which are never so difficult, that have any as- 
certaining evidence, if you live long enough, and study hard 
enough, and have extraordinary measure of Divine illumina- 
tion : I do not measure others by myself: you may know 
that which I know not. God may bless your studies more, 
as being better men and fitter for his blessing : he may give 
you extraordinary inspirations, or revelations if he please : 
I am thankful for my low degree, and confess my ignorance. 

3. But I have told you before what certainties we have. 
1. We«are certain of things sensible. 2. And of our elicite 
and imperate acts. 3. And of natural principles. 4. And 


of clear inferences thence. 5. And of the truth of all the 
certain Holy Scriptures, which are evidently the Word of 
God. 6. And particularly therein of the plain historical 
parts. 7. And of all which is the main design and scope of 
the text in any book or chapter. 8. And of all that which 
is purposely and often repeated, and not only obscurely once 
spoken on the by. 9. Therefore we may be certain of all 
that is necessary to salvation : of every article in the Creed ; 
of every petition in the Lord's-prayer, and every necessary 
common duty: we may be certain of the truth and sense of 
all the covenant of grace concerning the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, his relation to us, and our relation and duty to 
him, and of the benefits of the covenant, of the necessity 
and nature of faith, repentance, hope, love, obedience, pa- 
tience, &c. It is tedious to recite all ; in a word, all that is 
of common necessity, and all (how small soever) which is 
plainly revealed and expressed. 10. And you may be cer- 
tain of the fulfilling of much of this holy word already by 
sufficient history and experience. 


Inference I . The true Reason and Usefulness of the Christian 
Simplicity, in differencing the Covenant, and Principles of 
Religion, from the rest of the Holy Scriptures. 

It hath ever been the use of the church of God, to catechise 
men before they were baptized ; and therein to teach them 
the true meaning of the Baptismal Covenant, by opening to 
them the Creed, the Lord's-prayer, and the Decalogue : and 
when they understood this covenant they were admitted 
(upon consent) by baptism into the church, and accounted 
Christians and members of Christ, without staying to teach 
them any other part of the Bible, no not so much as the sa- 
crament of the Lord's-supper. ' (Though indeed the opening 
of baptism was the opening of the life of that ; because it 
is the same covenant which is solemnized in both.) 

1 As Antonine saith, (in greater darkness) 1. 2. s. 5. of«5 5TwJ oXtya. iotU, 
Sec. Vide quam pauca sint, quae siquis tenuerit, prosperam ac divinam propemodum 
vitam degere detur: siquidem et dii ipsi nihil amplius exigent ab eo, qui ista 


By doing thus, the church notoriously declared that 
they took not all the Scripture to be equally necessary to be 
understood ; but that the Covenant of Grace, and the Cate- 
chism explaining it, is the Gospel itself, that is, the essence 
of it, and of the Christian religion, and that all the rest of 
the Scriptures contain but partly the integrals, and partly 
the accidents of that religion. He is the wisest man that 
knoweth most and best ; and every man should know as 
much of the Scriptures as he can. But if you knew all the 
rest, without this (the covenant of grace, and its explication) 
it would not make you Christians, or save you. But if you 
know this truly, without all the rest, it will. 

The whole Scripture is of great use and benefit to the 
church. It is like the body of a man ; which hath its head, 
and heart, and stomach, &c. ; and hath also fingers, and 
toes, and flesh ; yea nails and hair. And yet the brain and 
heart itself fare the better for the rest, and would not be so 
well seated separate from them : though a man be a man 
that loseth even a leg or arm. So is it here. But it is the 
covenant that is our Christianity, and the duly baptized are 
Christians, whatever else they do not understand. These are 
the things that all must know, and daily live upon. 

The Creed is but the exposition of the three articles of 
the Baptismal Covenant. ' I believe in God, the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost.' Though the Jews that had been bred up 
to a preparing knowledge, were quickly baptized by the 
apostles upon their conversion, (Acts ii,) yet no man can 
imagine, that either the apostles, or other ministers, did use 
to admit the ignorant Gentiles into the covenant of God, with- 
out opening the meaning of it to them ; or baptize them as 
Christians, without teaching them what Christianity is. 
Therefore reason, and the whole church's subsequent cus- 
tom assure us, that the apostles used to expound the three 
great articles to their catechumens ; and thence it is called 
the Apostles' Creed. 

Marcus, bishop of Ephesus, told them in the Florentine 
Council, (as you may see Sgyropilus,) ' That we have none 
of the Apostles' Creed,' and Vossius de Symbolis, besides 
many others, hath many arguments to prove, that this so 
called was not formally made by the apostles. Bishop 
Usher hath opened the changes that have been in it. 
Sandford and Parker have largely * de descensu,' shewed 


how it came in as an exposition of the baptismal articles. 
Others stiffly maintain that the apostles made it ; but the 
case seemeth plain. The apostles used to call the baptized 
to the profession of the same articles, (which Paul hath in 
1 Cor. xv. 1 — 3, &c.) and varied not the matter. All this 
was but more particularly to profess faith in God the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. Two or three further expository 
articles are put into the Creed since : otherwise it is the 
same which the apostles used ; not in the very syllables or 
forms of words, but in the same sense; and the words indeed 
being left free, but seldom much altered, because of the 
danger of altering the matter. Of all the most ancient 
writers, not one repeateth the Creed in the same words that 
we have it ; nor any two of them, in the same with one 
another. Irenaeus once, Tertullian twice hath it ; all in 
various words, but the same sense. That of Marcellus in 
Epiphanius, cometh nearest ours called the Apostles', and 
is almost it. Afterward, in Ruffinus and others, we have 
more of it. Yet no doubt but the Western Churches, at 
least, used it with little variation still. The Nicene Creed 
is called by some ancients the Apostles' Creed too : and 
both were so ; for both are the same in sense and substance : 
for it is not the very words that are truly fathered on the 

About three hundred years ago, Mr. Ashwell having pub- 
lished a book for the necessity and honour of the Creed, I 
wrote in the postcript to my " Reformed Pastor," edit. 2nd, 
a corrective of some passages, in which he seemeth to say 
too much for it, or at least to depress the Scripture too 
much in comparison of it. But long experience now telleth 
me that I have more need to acquaint men with the reasons 
and necessity of the Creed ; seeing I find a great part of 
ignorant religious people much to slight the use of it, and 
say ' it is not Scripture, but the work of man :' especially 
taking offence at the harsh translation of that article, He 
descended into hell; which, from the beginning, it is likely 
was not in. It is the kernel of the Scripture, and it is that 
for which the rest of the Scripture is given us, even to afford 
us sufficient help to understand and consent to the covenant 
of grace ; that our belief, our desires, and our practice may 
be conformed principally to these summaries. It is not 


every child, or woman, that could have gathered the essen- 
tial articles by themselves out of the whole Scripture, if it 
had not been done to their hands : nor that could have 
rightly methodised the rule of our desires, or gathered the 
just heads of natural duty ; if Christ had not done the first 
in the Lord's-prayer, and God the second in the Decalogue. 
Object. ' But I believe these only, because the matter of 
the Creed, and the words also of the other two are in the 
Scripture, and not on any other authority.' 

Answ. If you speak of the authority of the author, which 
giveth them their truth, it is neither Scripture nor tradition ; 
but God, for whose authority we must believe both Scripture 
and them. 

But if you speak of the authority of the deliverers, and 
the evidence of the delivery ; be it known to you, 1. That 
the Creed, Lord's-prayer, Decalogue, and the baptismal 
covenant, have been delivered down to the church from the 
apostles by a distinct tradition, besides the Scripture tradi- 
tion : even to all the Christians one by one, that were bap- 
tized, and admitted to the Lord's-table, and to every parti- 
cular church. So that there was not a Christian or church, 
that was not even constituted by them. 

2. Be it known to you, that the church was long in pos- 
session of them, before it had the Scriptures of the New 
Testament. It is supposed to be about eight years after 
Christ's ascension, before Matthew wrote the first book of 
the New Testament ; and near the year of our Lord, one 
hundred, before the Revelation was written. And do you 
think that there were no Christians or churches all that 
while ? Or that there was no baptism ? Or no profession of 
the Christian faith in distinct articles ? No knowledge of 
the Lord's-prayer and Commandments? No Gospel daily 
preached and practised ? What did the church assemblies, 
think you, do all those years? No doubt, those that had 
inspiration, used it by extraordinary gifts. But that was 
not all : those that had not, did preach the substance of the 
Christian religion, contained in these forms ; and did pray, 
and praise God, and celebrate the Lord's-supper ; provoking 
one another to love, and to good works. 

3. Be it known to vou, that these three summaries come 
to us with fuller evidence of certain tradition from God, 


than the rest of the Holy Scriptures. Though they are 
equally true, they are not equally evident to us. And this 
I thus prove: 1. The body of the Scriptures were delivered 
but one way ; but the Covenant, Greed, Lord's-prayer, and 
Decalogue, are delivered two ways. They are in the Scrip- 
ture, and so have all the evidence of tradition which the 
Scriptures have : and they were, besides that, delivered to 
the memories of all Christians. If you say, that the Creed 
is not in the Scripture ; or that the Scripture is not altered 
as it is : I answer, 1. That it is in the Scripture, as to the 
matter signified in as plain words, even of the same signifi- 
cation. 2. There is no alteration made, but a small addi- 
tion, which is no disparagement to it ; because the ancient 
substance is still known, and the additions are not new- 
made things, but taken out of Scripture. And yet if any 
heretic should deny that God is wise and good, and just 
and merciful ; it were no dishonour to the Creed, nor weak- 
ening of its certainty, to have these attributes yet added to it. 

2. These summaries, as is said, were far more ancient 
than the rest of the New Testament, as written and known, 
and used Ion? before them. 

3. These summaries being in every Christian's mind and 
memory, were faster held than the rest of the Scriptures : 
therefore parents could and did teach them more to their 
children. You never read that the catechisers of the people 
did teach them all the Bible, nor equally ask them, who 
Jared, or Mehaleel, or Lamech was, as they did who Christ 
was. Nor put every history into the Catechism, but only 
the historical articles of the Creed. 

4. Therefore it was far easier to preserve the purity of 
these summaries, than of the whole body of the Scriptures ; 
for that which is in every man's memory, cannot be altered 
without a multitude of reprovers : which makes the Greeks 
since Photius keep such a stir about ' Filioque' as to think 
that the Latins have changed religion, and deserved to be 
separated from, for changing that word. But no wonder 
that many hundred various readings are crept into the 
Bible, and whole verses and histories (as that of the adul- 
terous woman,) are out in some, that are in others. For it 
is harder to keep such a volume incorrupt, than a few words. 
Though writing, as such, is a surer way than memory, 
and the whole Bible could never have been preserved by 


memory : yet a few words might, especially when they had 
those words in writings also. 

5. Add to this, that the Catechistical Summaries afore- 
said, were more frequently repeated to the people, at least 
every Lord's-day. Whereas, in the reading of the Scriptures, 
one passage will be read but seldom, perhaps once or twice 
in a year : and so a corruption not so easily observed. 

6. And if among an hundred copies of the Scripture, ten 
or twenty only should by the carelessness of the scribes 
be corrupted ; all the rest who saw not these copies, would 
not know it, and so they might fall into the hands of pos- 
terity, when many of the sounder might be lost. 

7. And lastly. The danger of depravation hath no 
end ; for in every age the Scripture must be written over 
anew, for every church and person that would use it. And 
who that knoweth what writing is, could expect that one 
copy could be written without errors ; and that the second 
should not add to the errors of the first, as printers now do, 
who print by faulty copies. And though this danger is 
much less since printing came up, that is but lately. And 
the mischiefs of wars and heretical tyrants, burning the 
copies, hath been some disadvantage to us. 

Object. ' Thus you seem to weaken the certain incorrup- 
tion of the Scriptures.' 

Answ. No such thing : I do but tell you the case truly as 
it is. The wonderful providence of God, and care of 
Christians, hath so preserved them, that there is nothing 
corrupted, which should make one article of faith the more 
doubtful. I assert no more depravation in them, than all 
confess ; but only tell you how it came to pass, and tell you 
the greater certainty that we have of the essentials of reli- 
gion, than of the rest. And, whereas every man of brains 
confesseth, that many hundred words in Scripture by variety 
of copies are uncertain ; I only say, that it is not so in the 
essentials. And I do not wonder that Virgil, Ovid, Horace, 
Cicero, &c. have not suffered such depravations. For, 1. 
It is not so easy for a scribe's error to pass unseen ' in 
oratione ligata,' as ' in oratione soluta;' in verse as in prose^ 
2. And Cicero, with the rest, was almost only in the hands 
of learned men ; whereas the Scriptures were in the hands of 
all the vulgar, women and children. 3. And the copies of 
these authors were comparatively but few : whereas every 


one almost got copies of the Scripture, that was able. And 
it is most likely that some depravation should be found 
among ten thousand copies than among a hundred. 

So that I have proved to you, that the Creed, Lord's- 
prayer, Commandments, and Covenant of Baptism, are not 
to be believed only because they are in the Scripture ; but 
also because they have been delivered to us by tradition, 
and so we have them from two hands, as it were, or ways of 
conveyance; and the rest of the Scriptures but one, for the 
most part. 

I will say yet more, because it is true and needful. If 
any live among Papists, that keep the Scripture from the 
people ; or among the poor Greeks, Armenians, or Abas- 
sines, where the people neither have Bibles commonly, nor 
can read ; or if any among us that cannot read, know not 
what is in the Bible ; yea, if through the fault of the priest, 
any should be kept from knowing that ever there was a Bi- 
ble in the world : yet if those persons by tradition receive 
the Baptismal Covenant, the Creed, Lord's-prayer, and Com- 
mandments, as God's Word ; and truly believe, and love 
and practise them ; those persons shall be saved ; for they 
have Christ's promise for it : and the very Covenant itself is 
the gift of Christ, and life to consenters. Whereas, he that 
knoweth all the Scripture, can be saved only by consenting 
to, and performing this same Covenant : but having greater 
helps to understand it, and so to believe it and consent ; he 
hath a great advantage of them that have not the Scripture ; 
and so the Scripture is an unspeakable mercy to the Church. 
And it is so far from being too little, without the supple- 
ment of the Papists' Traditions and Councils, as that the 
hundredth part of it, as to the bulk of words, is not abso- 
lutely itself necessary to salvation. 

Yet I say more : if a man that hath the Scripture, should 
doubt of some books of it, whether they be the word of God, 
(as of Ruth, Judges, Joshua, Chronicles, 8cc.) ; yea, if he 
doubted of all the Old Testament, and much of the New ; 
yet if he believe so much as containeth all the Covenant of 
Grace, and the aforesaid summaries, though he sin, and lose 
much of his helps, yet he may and will be saved, if he sin- 
cerely receive but this much. The reason is before given. 
Though no man can believe any thing truly, who believeth 
not all that he knoweth to be God's word ; yet a man may 


doubt, whether one thing be God's word, who doubteth not 
of another, by several occasions. 

And here you see the reason, why a particular or explicit 
belief of all the Scripture itself was never required of all 
that are baptized, nor of all, or any man that entered into 
the ministry. For the wisest doctor in the world doth not 
attain so high. For no man hath a particular, explicit be- 
lief of that which he doth not understand. For it is the mat- 
ter or sense that we believe : and we must first know what 
that sense is, before we can believe it to be true. And no 
man in the world understandeth all the Scripture. 

Yea, more, it is too much to require as necessary to his 
ministry, a subscription in general, that he implicitly be- 
lieveth all that is in the Bible which you shew him. For, J. 
Many faults may be in the translation, if it be a translation. 
2. Many errors may be in the copy, as aforesaid. 

Nay, such a subscription should not, as absolutely ne- 
cessary, be required of him as to all the real Word of God. 
For if the man by error should doubt whether Job, or the 
Chronicles, or Esther were canonical, and none of the rest, 
I would not be he that should therefore forbid him to preach 
Christ's Gospel. I am sure the ancient Church imposed no 
such terms on their pastors, when part of the New Testa- 
ment was so long doubted of; and when some were chosen 
bishops before they were baptized ; and when Synesius was 
chosen a bishop before he believed the Resurrection. I 
would not have silenced Luther, Althamer, or others that 
questioned the Epistle of James. 

What then shall we say of the Roman insolence, which 
thinketh not all the Scripture big enough, but ministers 
must also subscribe to many additions of their own, yea, 
and swear to traditions and the expositions of the Fathers, 
and take whole volumes of Councils for their religion? No 
wonder if such men do tear the churches of Christ in pieces. 

1. By this time, I hope, you see to what use Baptism, 
and the Summaries of Religion are. 2. And of how great 
use Catechising is. 3. And that Christianity hath its essen- 
tial parts. 4. And how plain and simple a thing true Chris- 
tianity is, which constituteth the Church of Christ; and 
how few things, as to knowledge, are necessary to make a 
man a Christian, or to salvation. Multitudes of opinions 
have been the means of turning pastors and people from the 


holy and diligent improvement of these few truths in our 
practice ; where we have much to do, which might take up 
all our minds and time. 


Inference 2. Of the Use of Catechising. 

Though it be spoken to in what is said, I would have you 
more distinctly here note the use of Catechising. 

1. It collecteth those few things out of many, which the 
ignorant could not themselves collect. 2. It collecteth those 
necessary things which all must know and believe that will 
be saved. 3. It containeth those great practical things 
which we have daily use for, and must still live upon, which 
are as bread and drink for our food. Other things may be 
well added ; the more the better, which God hath revealed. 
But our life, our comfort, and our hope, are in these. 4. And 
it giveth us the true method or order of holy truths; which 
is a great advantage to understand them. Not but the things 
themselves have the same orderly respect to one another in 
the Scripture, but they are not delivered in the same order 
of words. 

Therefore, 1. Catechisms should be very skilfully and 
carefully made. The true fundamental Catechism is nothing 
else but the Baptismal Sacramental Covenant, the Creed, 
the Lord's-prayer, and the Commandments, the summaries 
of our belief, desires and practice. And our secondary Ca- 
techism must be nothing else but the plain expositions of 
these : The first is a Divine Catechism : The second is a 
Ministerial Expository Catechism. And here, 1. O that 
ministers would be wiser at last, than to put their superflui- 
ties, their controversies and private opinions into their Ca- 
techisms, and would fit them to the true end, and not to the 
interest of their several sects ! But the Roman Trent Cate- 
chism (and many more of theirs) must needs be defiled with 
their trash, and every sect else must put their singularities 
into their Catechisms ; so hard is it for the aged, decrepit 
body of the diseased church, for want of a better concoction 
of the common essentials of Christianity, to be free from 


these heaps of unconcocted crudities, and excrementitious 
superfluities, and the many maladies bred thereby. 

I deny not but a useful controversy may be opened by 
way of Question and Answer : but pretend it not then to be 
what it is not, milk for babes. " Him that is weak in the 
faith receive, but not to doubtful disputations." (Rom. xiv. 
1.) The servant of the Lord must be apt to teach, but must 
not strive. 

2. And it is not commonly believed how great skill is 
needful to make a Catechism, that the method may be true, 
and that it may neither be too long for the memory, nor too 
short for the understanding ; for my part, it is the hardest 
work save one (which is the full methodising and explaining 
the whole body of divinity,) that ever I put my hand to ; 
and when all is done, I cannot satisfy myself in it. 

II. Why is not Catechising more used both by pastors 
and parents? I mean not the bare words unexplained with- 
out the sense, nor the sense in a mere rambling way without 
a form of words ; but the words explained 1 ". O how much 
fruit would poor souls and all the church receive by the 
faithful performance of this work, would God but cure the 
profaneness and sloth of unfaithful pastors and parents 
which should do it. But I have said so much of this in my 
" Reformed Pastor," that I may well forbear more here. 


Inference 3. The True Preservative of Puzzled Christians, 
from the Errors of False Teachers, who vehemently solicit 
them to their several Parties. 

It is the common outcry of the world, ' How shall we know 
which side to be on ? And who is in the right among so 
many, who all with confidence pretend to be in the right?' 

Answ. Your preservative is obvious and easy ; but men 
usually bestow more labour and cost for error and hell, than 
for truth and heaven. Pretend not to faith or knowledge be- 
fore you have it, and you are the more safe. Suspend 

k Since this I have published a book called the " Catechising of Households." 


your judgments till you have true evidence to establish them. 
1. It is only Christians that I am now instructing; and if 
you are Christians, you have already received the essentials 
of Christianity, even the Baptismal Covenant, the Creed, 
the Lord's- prayer, and Decalogue. And I need not tell you, 
that moreover you must receive all those truths in nature 
and Scripture, which are so plain, that all these dissenting 
sects of Christians are agreed in them. And when you have 
all these, and faithfully love and practise them, you are sure 
to be saved, if you do not afterward receive some contrary 
doctrine which destroyeth them. Mark then which is the 
safe religion. As sure as the Gospel is true, he that is meet 
for baptism before God, is meet for pardon of sin ; and he 
that truly consenteth to the Baptismal Covenant, and so doth 
dedicate himself to God, is made a member of Christ, and is 
justified, and an heir of heaven. Your Church Catechism 
saith truly of all such, that in baptism each one is made a 
'member of Christ, a child of God, and an heir of heaven.* 
So that as sure as the Gospel is truly, every true baptized 
Christian, whose love and life doth answer that faith, shall 
certainly be saved. 

Ask all parties, and few of them but impudent designers 
can deny this. Well then, the Baptismal Covenant ex- 
pounded in the Creed, Lord's-prayer and Commandments is 
your Christian Religion. As a Christian you may and shall 
be saved : that a true Christian is saved, all confess. But 
whether a Papist be saved, is questioned by the Protestants ; 
and so is the salvation of many other sects by others. You 
are safe then if you take in nothing to endanger you. And 
is it not wisdom then to take heed how you go further, and 
on what grounds, lest you overrun your safe religion ? 

Object. 'But then I must not be a Protestant; for the 
Papists say, that they cannot be saved.' 

Answ. A Protestant is either one that holdeth to the an- 
cient, simple Christianity without the Papists' manifold ad- 
ditions ; or one that positively also renounceth and opposeth 
those additions. In the first sense, a Protestant and a mere 
Christian is all one ; and so to say, that a Protestant cannot 
be saved, is to say, that a Christian as such cannot be saved. 
If it be the mere name of a Protestant that the Papist ac- 
counteth damnable, tell him that you will not stick with him 


for the name : you are contented with the old name of Chris- 
tian alone. 

But Protestantism in the second sense is not your reli- 
gion, but the defensative of your religion ; as flying from 
the plague is not my humanity or life, but a means to pre- 
serve it. And so Protestants are of many sizes : some 
oppose some points, and some others ; some more, some less, 
which the Papists have brought in : and yet they are not of 
so many religions. 

But whoever condemneth you, if Christ save you, he doth 
but condemn himself as uncharitable. Christianity is cer- 
tainly a state of salvation ; but whether Popery be, or whe- 
ther the Greek opinions be, or whether this or that differ- 
ence and singularity stand with salvation, is the doubt. Cast 
not yourself then needlessly into doubt and danger. 

Object. ' But then you will have us be still but infants, 
and to learn no more than our Catechisms, and not to learn 
and believe all that God hath revealed in his Word.' 

Answ. No such matter. This is the sum of what I advise 
you to. 

1. Hold fast to your simple Christianity as the certain 
terms of salvation : 2. Receive nothing that is against it : 
3. Learn as much more as ever you can : 4. But take not 
men's words, nor their plausible talk for certifying evidence ; 
and do not think if you believe a priest, that this is believing 
God; nor if his reasons seem plausible to you, and you are 
of his opinion, that this is Divine knowledge. If you do in- 
cline to one man's opinion more than another, tell him that 
you incline to his opinion, but tell him that you take not 
this for Divine knowledge, or any part of your religion. If 
you will needs believe one side rather than another, about 
Church history, or the matters of their parties' interest, tell 
them, I believe you as fallible men ; but this is none of my 
divine faith or religion. To learn to know, is to learn 
scientifical evidence, and not to learn what is another man's 
opinions, nor whether they are probable or not; much less 
to read a Council's decrees, or the propositions of a dis- 
puting system, and then for the men's sake to say, this is 
orthodox : nor yet because it hath a taking aspect. To learn 
of a priest to believe God, is one thing ; and to believe him, 
or his Party, Church, or Council, is another thing. Learn 


to know as much as you can ; and especially to know what 
God hath revealed to be believed : and learn to believe God 
as much as you can: and believe all your teachers, and all 
other men as far as they are credible in that case, with such 
a human belief as fallible men may justly require. And 
where contenders do consent, suspect them the less. But 
where they give one another the lie in matters of fact, try 
both their evidences of credibility before you trust them, and 
then trust them not beyond that' evidence. 

But still difference your divine faith and religion fromyour 
opinion and human faith ; and let men solicit you never so 
long, take not on you to know or believe till you do ; that is, 
not beyond the evidence. I do but persuade you against 
presumption and hypocrisy. Shall I say, suspend till 
you have true evidence, and you are safe ! Why if 
you do not, you will know never the more, nor have ever 
the more Divine faith : for I can mean no more than 
suspend your presumptions, and do not foolishly or 
hypocritically take on you to know what you do not, or to 
have a faith which you have not. If you can know truly, 
do it with fidelity, and be true to the truth, whoever offer it, 
or whatever it cost you. But suspend your profession or 
hasty opinions and conceits of what you know not. 

Object. ' But every side almost tells me that I am damned 
if I do not believe as they do.' 

Answ. By that you may see that they are all deceived, at 
least save one (which ever it be) while they differ, and yet 
condemn each other. 2. Thereby they do but give you the 
greater cause to suspect them, for by this shall all men 
know Christ's disciples, if they love one another. Right 
Christians are not many masters, as knowing that them- 
selves shall have the greater condemnation else ; for in many 
things we offend all. And the wisdom which hath envy and 
strife, is not from above, but from beneath, and is earthly, 
sensual and devilish, introducing confusion and every evil 
work, (James iii. 1 ; 15, 16.) Christ's disciples judge not, 
lest they be judged. 

3. By this you miy see that unless you can be of all 
men's minds, you must be damned by the censures of many. 
And if you can bear it from all the sects save one, why not 
from that one also ? 

4. But I pray yot ask these damning sectaries, * is it 


believing your word, and being of your opinion that will 
save me ? Or must I also know by scientific evidence that 
you say true, and that God himself hath said what you say : 
if he say that believing" him and his party, (though he call 
it the Church) is enough to save you, you have then less 
reason to believe him : for unless he can undertake himself 
to save you, he cannot undertake that believing him shall 
save you ? If he say, ' God hath promised to save you if you 
believe me,' believe that when he hath proved it to you. 

But if it be knowledge and Divine faith which he saith 
must save you, it is not your believing his word or opinion 
that will help you to that. I would tell such a man, ' help 
me to knowledge and faith, by cogent or certifying evidence, 
and I will learn and thank you with all my heart.' But till 
I have it, it is but mocking myself and you to say that I 
have it. 

Object. ' But the Papists herein differ from all other sects : 
for they will say, that if I believe the Church concerning 
Divine Revelations, and take ail for Divine Revelation which 
the Church saith is so, and so believe it, then 1 have a Divine 

Answ. 1. And is this to you a certifying evidence that in- 
deed God revealed it, because their Church saith so? If their 
Church agree with Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, Coptics, 
Abassines, Protestants, and all other Christian churches, 
then it will be no part of the contest in question ; and it is 
a stronger foundation of the two, to believe it, because nil 
say it, than because they say it. But if they differ from the 
rest, know their proof that their Church can tell God's mind, 
and not the rest of the Christian world. And that about a 
third part of the Christians in the world have such a promise 
which all the rest have not. 2. Andliow doth their Church 
know that it is God's word ? Is it by ar.y certifying evidence, 
or by prophetical inspiration? If by evidence, let it be pro- 
duced. Is it not revealed to others as well as to them ? Must 
not we have a faith of the same kind as the Church hath? If 
so, we must believe by the same evidence as that Church 
believeth. And what is that? It is not their own words: 
doth a Pope believe himself only? or a Council believe 
themselves only? Or hath God said, You shall be saved if 
you will believe yourselves, and belie/e that I have said all 
that you say I have said V Where isthere such a promise ? 


But if Pope and Council be not saved for believing them- 
selves, how shall I know that I shall be saved for believing 
them, and that one kind of faith saveth me, and another them. 

I ask it of each particular bishop in that Council, is he 
saved for believing himself or the rest? If no man be saved 
for believing himself, why should another be saved for be- 
lieving him? And the faith of the Council is but the faith 
of the individual members set together. 

Object. ' But they are saved for believing themselves as 
consenters, and not singly.' 

Atisw. All consenters know nothing as consenters, but 
what they know as individuals. And what is the evidence 
by which they know, and are brought to consent? Must 
not that evidence convince us also ? 

Object. ' But the present Church are saved for believing 
not themselves but the former Church.' 

Answ. Then so must we : it is not the present Church 
then that I must believe by a saving faith : but why then was 
the last age saved, and so the former? and so on to the first? 
Is any thing more evident than that all men must be saved 
for believing God, and that his word must be known to be 
his word by the same evidence, by one man and another ? 
And that evidence I have proved in several treatises to be 
another kind of thing than the decree of a Pope, and his 

But if it be not evidence, but prophetical inspiration and 
revelation by which the Council or Church knoweth God's 
word, I will believe them when by miracles or otherwise they 
prove themselves to be true prophets ; till then I shall take 
them for fanatics, and hear them as 1 do the Quakers. 

Should I here stay to bid you ask them, as before, how 
you shall be sure that their Council was truly General, and 
more authentic and infallible than the second at Ephesus, 
or that at Ariminum, or that at Constance and Basil, &c. 
And whether the more general dissent of all the other Chris- 
tians from them be not of as great authority as they that are 
the smaller part? And how you shall be sure of that? And 
also how but on the word of a priest you can know all that 
the Church hath determined? with abundance such ques- 
tions, of the meaning of each Council, the ambiguity of 
words, the error of printers, the forgery of publishers, &c. 



I should help you to see, that saying as a priest saith, is not 
knowing the thing, nor believing God. 

Stop therefore till you have evidence : follow no party 
as a party in the dark : or if probability incline you more 
to them than to others, call not this Certainty, Religion, Di- 
vine Faith. Thus your faith will be faith indeed, and you will 
escape all that would corrupt and frustrate it. The business 
is great. God requireth you to refuse no light: but withal 
he chargeth you to believe no falsehood, nor put darkness 
for light : much less to father men's lies, or errors, or con- 
ceits on God, and to lay your salvation on it, that they are 
all God's word. How dreadful a thing is this if it prove 
false ! Is it not blaspheming God 1 ? 

No man in his wits then but a partial designer can look 
that you should make haste, or go any further than you have 
assuring or convincing evidence. If you know that any 
sect doth err, you need no preservative: if you do not, tell 
them, ' I am ignorant of this matter, I will learn as fast as I 
can ; not neglecting greater matters ; and I will be neither 
for you, nor against you, further than I can know.' 

And as to the former objection, of being still infants, I 
further answer, that as feigned knowledge is no knowledge, 
so manhood consisteth not in being of many uncertain opi- 
nions ; no not so much in knowing many little controverted 
things, as in getting a clearer, more affecting, powerful, 
practical knowledge and belief of our Christianity, and the 
great and sure things which we know already ; and in love 
and obedience practising of them. He is the strongest 
Christian who loveth God best, and hath most holiness ; 
and he knoweth God better than any others do. 

By this much you may see that the world is full of coun- 
terfeit faith, and knowledge, and religion ; even fancy and 
belief of men, and their own opinions, which go under these 
names. One turneth an Anabaptist, and another a Separa- 
tist, and another an Antinomian, and another a Pelagian 
and another a Papist, when if you try them you shall find 
that they neither understand what they turn to, nor what 
they are against : they do but turn to his side, who hath the 

1 Fathering errors on God, and saying that he saith what he never said, and for- 
bad or commanded what he doth not, is the most direct breach of the third com- 
mandment. To father lies on God, is the taking of his name in vain. 


best advantage to persuade them, either by insinuating into 
their affections, or by plausible reasonings ; they talk for 
one doctrine, and against another, when they understand nei- 
ther; much less discern true evidence of their truth. And 
as for the Papists, what wonder is it, when their religion is 
to believe as the Church believeth? And what the Church 
believeth, they know not but by believing a priest : and then 
though they know not what the Church believeth, some say 
they are Catholics ; and others, that this implicit faith is 
that in the virtue of which all the explicit must proceed. 
And if God may but be allowed to be equal herein with their 
Church, and so that all may be saved who implicitly believe 
that all that he saith is true, though they know not what he 
saith at all, then I think few infidels would perish that be- 
lieve there is a God. 

Reader, I advise thee therefore as thou lovest thy soul, 
1. Not to neglect or delay any true knowledge that thou canst 
attain. 2. But not to be rash and hasty in judging. 3. Nor 
to take shows and men's opinions, or any thing below a certi- 
fying or notifying evidence of truth, to make up thy Christian 
faith and knowledge. 4. And till thou see such certain evi- 
dence, suspend, and tell them that solicit thee, that thou un- 
derstandest not the matter, and that thou art neither for them 
nor against them ; but wilt yield as soon as truth doth cer- 
tainly appear to thee. 

If an Anabaptist persuade thee, yield to him as soon as 
thou art sure that God would not have believers' children 
now to be infant-members of his Church, as well as they 
were before Christ's coming ; and that the infants of believing 
Jews were cut off from their church-state; and that there is 
any way besides baptism appointed by Christ, for the solemn 
initiating of church-members with the rest, which in my 
Treatise of Baptism I have produced. 

If thou art solicited to renounce communion with other 
Churches of Christ as unlawful, either because they use the 
Common Prayer and Ceremonies, or because that ministers 
are faulty (if tolerable) or the people undisciplined ; before 
thou venture thy soul upon an uncharitable and dividing 
principle make sure first that Christ hath commanded it. 
Try whether thou art sure that Christ sinned by communi- 
cating ordinarily with the Jewish Church and Synagogues, 
when the corruption of priests, people and worshipjwas 


so much worse than ours ? Or whether that be a sin to us, 
which (in the general) Christ did then. And whether Paul's 
compliance, and his precept, (Rom. xiv. and xv.) was an 
error : and Peter's separation (Gal. ii.) was not rather to be 
blamed. With much more the like. Are you sure that not- 
withstanding all this, God would have you avoid communion 
with the churches that in such forms and orders differ from 
you ? 

So if a Papist solicit you, yield to him as soon as you are 
certain that the Church is the body or Church of the Pope, 
and that none are Christians that are not subject to him, 
and that therefore three or two parts of all the Christian 
world are unchristianed ; and that when the Roman emperor 
made patriarchs in his own dominion only, and there only 
called General Councils, all the world must now take such 
as the Church's heads, and must be their subjects : when 
you can be sure that all the senses of all the sound men in 
the world, are by a constant miracle deceived, in taking the 
consecrated bread and wine, to be bread and wine indeed, 
and that it is none ; and that the bread only without the cup 
must be used, though Christ's command be equal for both : 
when you are certain, truly certain of these and many other 
such things, then turn Papist. If you do it sooner, you be- 
tray your souls by pretending to know and believe God's 
words, when you do but believe and embody with a faction. 


Inference 4. What is the great Plague and Divider of the 

Christian World. 

Falsely pretended knowledge and faith are the 
great plague and dividers of the Christian world. 

I. As the number of articles and opinions, and precepts, 
what abundance of things go with many for certain truth of 
which no mortal man hath any certainty ! And abundance 
which some rare wits may know, must go for evident cer- 
tainties to all. It is not only our philosophy books, nor 
only our philosophical schoolmen's books, which are guilty 
of this. There is some modesty in their Videtur's : and in- 
deed if they would not pretend to certainty, but profess only 


to write for the sport and exercise of wit, without condemn- 
ing those that differ from them, a man might fetch many a 
pleasant vagary, if not an over subtle Cajetan (who so often 
feigneth notions and distinctions), yet in Scotus, Ockam, 
Ariminensis,with abundance of their disciples, and in Thomas 
and many of his learned followers. But their successors 
can hardly forbear hereticating one another. How many 
such a wound hath poor Durandus suffered ! from many for 
his doctrine of Concourse ; and by others for his pretty de- 
vice to save the credit of our senses ; (that there is still the 
matter of bread, but not the form, as being informed by the 
soul of Christ, as digested bread in us is turned to flesh ;) 
which, saith Bellarmine, is an heresy, but Durandus no he- 
retic, because he was ready to be taught of the Church. 

But no where do these stinging hornets so swarm as in 
the Councils and the Canon Law : so that saith the preface 
to the Reformation Legum Ecclesiast. Edward VI. (John. 
Fox,) ' In quo ipso jure, neque ullum modum tenet illius 
impudentia, quin leges legibus; decreta decretis, ac iis in- 
super decretalia, aliis alia, atque item alia accumulet, nee 
ullam pene statuit cumulandi finem, donee tandem suis 
Clementinis, Sixtinis, Intra et Extravagantibus, Constitu- 
tionibus Provincialibus et Synodalibus, Paleis, Glossulis, 
Sententiis, Capitulis, Summariis, Rescriptis, Breviculis, 
Casibuslongis etbrevibus, acinfinitisRhapsodiis adeoorbem 
confarcinavit, ut Atlas mons quo sustineri ccelum dicitur, 
huic si imponeretur oneri, vix ferendo sufficeret.' Which 
made these two kings, Henry VIII. and Edward VI. ap- 
point that Compendium of Ecclesiastical Laws as their own. 
King Henry first abolishing the Pope's Laws (whatever some 
say to the contrary), his words being, ' Hujus Potestatem 
huic cum divino munere sublatam esse manifestum est, ut 
quid superesset, quo non plane fractam illius Vim esse con- 
staret, Leges omnes decreta atque instituta, quae ab authore 
Episcopo Romano profecta sunt Prorsus abroganda censui- 


Is it possible that all the clergy and nobles of the Roman 
kingdom can be so ignorant of their own and other men's 
ignorance, as to take all the decrees of the huge volumes of 
their Councils for certain truths ? Either they were certain 
in their evidence of truth, before they decree them, or not : 
if they were so, 1. How came the debates in the Councils 


about them to be so hard, and so many to be dissenters as 
in many of them there were- I know where Arians or other 
heretics make up much of the Council, it is no wonder ; but 
are the certainties of faith so uncertain to Catholic bishops, 
that a great part of them know not certain truths, till the 
majority of votes have told them they are certain? Have 
the poor dissenting bishops in Council nothing of certainty 
on which their own and all the poor people's faith and sal- 
vation must depend, but only this, that they are over-voted ? 
As if the dissenters in the Council of Trent should say, 'We 
thought beforehand the contrary had been true ; but now 
the Italian bishops being so numerous as to over-vote us, 
we will lay our own and all men's salvation on it, that we 
were deceived, though we have no other reason to think so.' 
O noble faith and certainty ! It is possible one or two or 
three poor silly prelates may turn the scales and make up a 
majority, though as learned men Jansenius, Cusanus or 
Gerson were on the other side. And if the Jansenists' Arti- 
cles were condemned or Cusanus' antipapal doctrine, lib. 
de Concordia, or Gerson's for the Supremacy of Councils 
and de Auferibilitate Papse, they must presently believe 
that they were certainly deceived. 

But what is become then of the contrary evidence which 
appeared before to these dissenters? As suppose it were 
in the Council of Basil about the immaculate conception of 
Mary ; or the question whether the authority of the Pope 
or Council be greatest, decided there, and at Constance, 
and whereof at Trent the emperor and the French were of 
one opinion, and the Pope of another : was it evidently true 
before, which is made false after by a majority of votes ? 

2. And if all these decreed things were evident truths 
before the said decrees, why have we not those antecedent 
evidences presented to us, to convince us ? 

3. But if they were not evident truths before, what made 
those prelates conclude them for truths ? Did they know 
them to be such without evidence ? This is grosser than a 
presumptuous man's believing that he shall be saved be- 
cause he believeth it; or their doctrine that teach men to 
believe the thing is true (that Christ did for them,) that there- 
by they may make it true ; as if the object must come after 
the act. For then these prelates do decree that to be true, 
which before was false (for ' ex natura rei,' one party had 


evidence of its falsehood), that so they might make it true, 
by decreeing that it is so. 

A man might lawfully have believed his own and other 
men's senses, that bread is bread, till the Council at Lateran 
sub Innoc. 3. decreed transubstantiation. And O what a 
change did that Council make ! All Christ's miracles were 
not comparable to it, if its decrees be true. From that day 
to this, we must renounce sense, and yet believe ; we must 
believe that by constant miracles all Christians' senses are 
deceived : and so that this is the difference between Chris- 
tians, infidels, and heathens, that our religion deceiveth 
all men's senses, (even heathens and all, if they see our Sa- 
crament,) and their religion deceiveth no man's senses, saith 
the grave author of the History of the Trent Council, (Ed. 
Engl. p. 473,) a better mystery was never found, than to use 
religion to make men insensible. 

And what is the Omnipotent power that doth this ? Such 
a Convention as that of Trent, while with our Worcester 
Pate, and Olaus Magnus, they made up a great while 
two-and-forty things called Bishops ; and after such a pack 
of beardless boys, and ignorant fellows, created by, and en- 
slaved to the Pope, as Dudithius Quinqueccles. one of the 
Council describeth to the emperor ; and which Bishop 
Jewel, in his letter to Sign. Scipio, saith, he took for no 
Council, called by no just authority, 8cc, where were 
neither the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, or 
Antioch, nor Abassines, nor Grsecians, Armenians, Persians, 
Egyptians, Moors, Syrians, Indians, nor Muscovites, nor 
Protestants, pp. 143, 144. For, saith he after, p. 489, *Now- 
a-days (merciful God!) the intent or scope of Councils is 
not to discover truth, or to confute falsehood : for these lat- 
ter ages, this hath been the only endeavour of the Popes, 
to establish the Roman Tyranny ; to set wars on foot, to set 

Christian princes together by the ears, to raise money -, 

to be cast into some few bellies for gluttony and lust : and 
this hath been the only cause or course of Councils for some 
ages last past.' So here. 

And can the vote of a few such fellows oblige all the 
world to renounce all their senses, who were never obliged 
to it before ? 

And all this consisteth in pretended faith and 
knowledge, when men must take on them to know what 


they do not know, and make decrees and canons, and doc- 
trines suited to their conjectures, or rather to their carnal 
interests, and then most injuriously father them on God, on 
Christ and the Apostles. 

II. And as the number of forgeries and inventions de- 
tecteth this public plague, so doth the number of persons 
that are guilty of it. How many such superfluities the 
Abassines™ (in their oft baptizings, and other trifles) and 
the Armenians, Syrians, Georgians, Jacobites, Maronites, 
the Russians, 8cc. are guilty of, the describers of their rights 
and religion tell us. Some would have the state of the 
Church in Gregory Ist's. days to be the model of our Reforma- 
tion : (that Pope whom authors usually call the last of the 
good ones, and the first of the bad ones :) But is there 
either necessity or certainty in all the superfluities which the 
Churches then had, and which that great prelate's writings 
themselves contain? Or were there not abundance of such 
things then used as indifferent (of which see Socrates and 
Sozomen in the chapters of Easter,) and must all their indif- 
ferents be now made necessary to the Church's concord and 
communion? and all their uncertainties become certainties 
to us? Some will have the present Greek Church to be the 
standard ; but alas, poor men, how many of these uncertain- 
ties, crudities and superfluities are cherished among them 
by the unavoidable ignorance which is caused by their op- 
pressions? To say no more of Rome. O that the Reformed 
Churches themselves had been more innocent. But how 
few of them unite on the terms of simple Christianity and 
certainties ? Had not Luther after all his zeal for Reforma- 
tion, retained some of this leaven, he could better have en- 
dured the dissent of Zuinglius, Carolostadius and Oecolam- 
padius about the Sacrament. And if his followers had not 

m And yet saith Zaga-Zabo in Dainnian a Goes, p. 226. Nee Patriarcha nee 
Episcopi nostri, per se, nee in Conciliis putant aut opinantur ullasleges se condere 
posse, quibus ad vnortale peccatum obligari quis posset. And p. 231. Indignum 
est peregrinos Christianos tam acriter et hostiliter reprehendi ut ego de hac re (de 
delectu ciborum) et de aliis, quae raiuime ad fidem veram spectabantreprehensusfui; 
sed multo consultius, fuerit, hujusraodi Christianos homines sive Graecos, sive Arrae- 
nos sive ^Ethiopes , sive ex quavis Septem Christianarum Eeclesiarum in charitate et 
Christi aruplexibus sustinere, et eos sine contumeliis perraittere, inter alios fratres 
Christianos vivere ac versari ; quoniam omnes filii baptismi suraus, et de vera fide 
uimmmiter sentimus. Nee est eausa cur tain acriter de ceremoniis disceptetur nisi 
ut unusquisque suas observet, sine odio et infectatione aliorum, nee corainerciis Eccle- 
ji* ob id excludendus, est, &c. Learn of a ceremonious Abassine. 


kept up the same superfluities, they had never so torn the 
Churches by their animosities, nor resisted and wearied 
peaceable Melanchthon, nor frustrated so many Conventions 
and Treatises for Concord, as they have done. Bucer had 
not been so censured ; agreement had not been made so im- 
possible : all Dury's travels had not been made so ineffec- 
tual. Schlusselbergius had not found so many heresies 
to fill up his catalogue with ; nor Calovius so much matter 
for his virulent pen ; nor so many equalled Calvinism with 
Turcism : nor had Calixtus had such scornful satires written 
against him; nor the great peace-makers, Lud. Crocius, 
Bergii, Martinius, Camero, Amyraldus, Testardus,Capellus, 
Placseus Davenant, Ward, Hall, and now Le Blanc, had so 
little acceptance and success. Had it not been for this 
spreading plague, (the over-valuing of our own understand- 
ings, and the accounting our crude conceits for certainties) all 
these Church wars had been prevented or soon ended : all 
those excellent endeavours for peace had been more success- 
ful, and we had all been one. 

Had it not been for this, neither Arminians nor anti- 
Arminians had ever so bitterly contended, nor so sharply 
censured one another, nor written so many confident con- 
demning volumes against each other, which in wise men's 
eyes do more condemn the authors ; and self-conceit, or 
pretended knowledge should have been the title of 
them all. How far I am able to prove that almost all their 
bitter and zealous contentions are about uncertainties, and 
words, the reader may perceive in my preface to the Gro- 
tian Religion, and if God will, I shall more fully manifest to 
the world 11 . The synod of Dort had not had so great a work 
of it, nor the Breme and Britain Divines so difficult a task, 
to bring and hold them to that moderation of expressions 
which very laudably they have done : one of the noblest 
successful attempts for peace, though little noted, which 
these ages have made. 

In a word, almost all the contentions of divines, the sects 
and factions, the unreconciled feuds, the differences in 
religion which have been the harvest of the devil and his 
emissaries in the world, have come from pretended knowledge 
and taking uncertainties for certain truths. 

I will not meddle with the particular impositions of 

n Since done in " Catholic Theology." 


princes and prelates ; not so much as with the German 
interim: nor the oaths which in some places they take to 
their synodical decrees ; much less will I meddle at all with 
any impositions, oaths, subscriptions, declarations, or usages 
of the kingdom where I live. As the law forbiddeth me to 
contradict them, so 1 do not at all here examine or touch 
them, but wholly pass them by ; which I tell the reader once 
for all, that he may know how to interpret all that I say. 
Nor is it the error of rulers that I primarily detect, but of 
human corrupted nature, and all sorts of men: though where 
such an error prevaileth, alas, it is of far sadder consequence 
in a public person, a magistrate, or a pastor, that presumeth 
to the hurt of public societies, than of a private man, who 
erreth almost to himself alone. 

I profess to thee, reader, that (next to God's so much 
deserting so great a part of this world) there is nothing 
under the sun, of all the affairs of mankind, that hath so 
taken up my thoughts with mixtures of indignation, wonder, 
pity and solicitude for a cure, as this one vice ; a proud or 
unhumbled understanding, by which men live in 
pretended knowledge and faith, to the deceit of 
themselves and others, the bitter censuring and persecuting 
of Dissenters, yea of their modest suspending brethren, tear 
churches and kingdoms, and will give no peace, nor hopes 
of peace to themselves, their neighbours, or the world ! 
Lord ! Is there no remedy, no hope from thee, though there 
is none from man? 

1. Among divines themselves, that should not only have 
knowledge enough to know their own ignorance, but to 
guide the people of God into the ways of truth, and love, 
and peace ; O how lamentably doth this vice prevail ! To 
avoid all offence, I will not here at all touch on the case of 
any that are supposed to have a hand in any of the suffer- 
ings of me, and others of my mind ; or of any that in points 
of conformity differ from me : remember that I meddle not 
with them at all. But even those that do no way differ 
among themselves as sect f and sect, or at least, that at all 
pretend to principles of forbearance, gentleness and peace, 
yet are woefully sick of this disease. 

And yet that I may wrong none, J will premise this pub- 
lic declaration to the world, that in the country where I 
lived, God in great mercy cast my lot among a company of 


so humble, peaceable, faithful ministers and people, as free 
from this vice as any that ever I knew in the world ; who, 
as they kept up full concord among themselves, without the 
least disagreement that I remember, and kept out sects and 
heresies from the people; so their converse was the joy of 
my life, and the remembrance of it will be sweet to me while 
I live ; and especially the great success of our labours, and 
the quiet and concord of our several flocks, which was pro- 
moted by the pastors' humility and concord. Though we 
kept up constant disputations, none of them ever turned to 
spleen, or displeasure, or discord among us. 

And I add, in thankfulness to God, that I am now ac- 
quainted with many ministers in and about London, of 
greatest note, and labour, and patience, and success, who 
are of the same spirit, humble and peaceable, and no con- 
fident troublers of the churches with their censoriousness, 
and high esteem of their own opinions : who trade only in 
the simple truths of Christianity, and love a Christian as a 
Christian, and join not with backbiters nor factious, self- 
conceited men, but study only to win souls to Christ, and 
to live according to the doctrine which they preach : and 
both the former and these, have these ten ° years since they 
were ejected, continued their humility and peaceableness, 
fearing Cod and honouring the king. 

And I further add, that those private Christians with 
whom I most converse, are many of them of the same strain, 
suspecting their own understandings, and speaking evil of 
no man so forwardly as of themselves. 

So that in these ministers and people of my most inti- 
mate acquaintance, experience convinceth me, that this 
grand disease of corrupted nature is curable ; and that God 
hath a people in the world, that have learned of Christ to be 
meek and lowly, who have the wisdom from above, which is 
first pure, and then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, 
full of mercy and good fruits, and the fruit of mercy is sown 
in peace of these peacemakers. I see in them a true confor- 
mity to Christ, and a grand difference between them and 
the furious, fiery pretenders to more wisdom ; and the two 
sorts of wise men and wisdom excellently described by James 
chap. iii. I have seen in two sorts of religious people among 
us, most happily exemplified before our eyes. God hath a 

Now it is above twenty-two years that they have been ejected, 1684. 


people that truly honour him in the world. But O that they 
were more ! And O that they were more perfect ! Alas ! 
what a number are there that are otherwise ! 

Even among divines this plague is most pernicious, as be- 
ing of most public influence. Take him that never had a na- 
tural acuteness of wit, nor is capable of judging of difticult 
points, if he be but of long standing, and grey hairs, and can 
preach well to the people, and have studied long ; he is not 
only confident of his fitness to judge of that which he never 
understood, but his reputation of wisdom, must be kept up 
among the people by his supercilious talking against what 
he understandeth not p . Yea, if he be one that never mace- 
rated his flesh with the difficult and long studies of the 
matter, without which hard points will never be well digested 
and distinctly understood ; yet, if he be a doctor, and have 
lived long in a reputation for wisdom, his ignorant, flashy 
conjectures, and hasty, superficial apprehensions, must 
needs go for the more excellent knowledge. And if you 
put him to make good any of his contradictions to the truth, 
his magisterial contempt, or his uncivil wrath, and unman- 
nerly interruptions of you in your talk, must go for reason : 
and if he cannot resist the strength of your evidence, he 
cannot bear the hearing of it ; but like a scold, rather than 
a scholar, taketh your words out of your mouth before you 
come to the end ; as if he said, ' Hold your tongue, and 
hear me who am wiser : I came to teach, and not to hear/ 
If you tell him how uncivil it is, not patiently to hear you 
to the end, he thinks you wrong him, and are too bold to 
pretend to a liberty to speak without interruption : or he 
will tell you that you ' are too long : he cannot remember all 
at once.' If you reply that the sense of the former part of a 
speech usually depends much on the latter part, and he can- 
not have your sense till he have all ; and that he must 
not answer, before he understandeth you ; and that if his 
memory fail, he should take notes ; and that to have un- 
interrupted turns of speaking, is necessary in the order of 
all sober conferences, without which they will be but noise 
and strife ; he will let you know that he came not to hear, 
or keep any laws of order or civility, but to have a combat 
with you for the reputation of wisdom or orthodoxy : and 

P Yea, now it is also young, ignorant novices that are sick of the same feverish 


what he wants in reason and evidence, he will make up in 
ignorant confidence and reviling, and call you by some ill 
name or other, that shall go for a confutation. 

But yet this is not the usual way : it is too great a ha- 
zard to the reputation of their wisdom, to cast it on a dis- 
pute. The common way is, never to speak to the person 
himself; but if any one cross their conceits, or become the 
object of their envy, they backbite him among those that 
reverence their wisdom ; and when they are sure that he is 
far enough out of hearing, they tell their credulous followers, 
' O such a man holdeth unsound or dangerous opinions ! 
Take heed how you hear him or read his writings ; this or 
that heresy they savour of;' when the poor man knoweth 
not what he talketh of. And if any one have the wit to say 
to him, ' Sir, he is neither so sottish, nor so proud as to be 
incapable of instruction ; if you are so much wiser than he, 
why do you not teach him?' he will excuse his omission and 
commission together with a further calumny, and say, 
'These erroneous persons will hear no reason : it is in vain.' 
If he be asked, ' Sir, did you ever try V it is likely he must 
confess that he did not, unless some magisterial rebuke once 
went for evidence of truth. If the hearers, (which is rare) 
have so much Christian wit and honesty, as to say, ' Sir, 
ministers above all men must be no backbiters, nor unjust : 
You know it is unlawful for us to judge another man, till 
we hear him speak for himself. If you would have us know 
whether he or you be in the right, let us hear you both to- 
gether :' his answer would be like Cardinal Turnon at the 
conference at Poisie, and as the Papists' ordinarily is, 'It 
is dangerous letting heretics speak to the people, and it 
agreeth not with our zeal for God, to hear such odious 
things uttered against the truth.' 

In a word, there are more that have the spirit of a pope 
in the world, than one, even among them that cry out 
against Popery ; and that would be fain to be taken for the 
dictators of the world, whom none must dissent from, much 
less contradict. And there are more idolaters than heathens, 
who would have their ignorant understandings to be instead 
of God, the uncontrolled director of all about them. 

But if these men have not any confidence in their self- 
sufficiency, if they can but embody in a society of their 
minds, or gather into a synod, he must needs go for a proud 


and arrogant schismatic at least, that will set any reason and 
evidence of truth, against their magisterial ignorance, when 
it is the major vote. 

The very truth is, the great Benefactor of the World hath 
not been pleased to dispense his benefits equally, but with 
marvellous disparity. As he is the God of nature, he hath 
been pleased to give a natural capacity for judiciousness 
and acuteness in difficult speculations but to few. And as 
he is the Lord of all, he hath not given men equal education, 
nor advantages for such extraordinary knowledge : nor have 
all that have leisure and capacity, self-denial and patience 
enough for so long and difficult studies. But the devil and 
ourselves have given to all men pride enough, to desire to 
be thought to be wiser and better than we are ; and he that 
cannot be equal with the wisest and best, would be thought to 
be so : and while all men must needs seem wise, while few 
are so indeed, you may easily see what must thence follow. 

2. And it is not divines only, but all ranks of people, 
who are sick of this disease. The most unlearned, ignorant 
people, the silliest women, if they will not for shame say 
that they are wiser than their teachers in general, yet when 
it cometh to particular cases, they take themselves to be al- 
ways in the right : and O how confident are they of it ! And 
who more peremptory and bold in their judgments, than 
those that least know what they say ? It is hard to meet 
with a person above eighteen or twenty years of age, that is 
not notably tainted with this malady. 

And it is not only these great mischiefs in matters of 
religion which spring from self-conceitedness ; but even in 
our common converse, it is the cause of disorder, ruin and 
destruction: for it is the common vice of blinded nature, 
and it is rare to meet with one that is not notably guilty of 
it, when they are past the state of professed learners. 

1. It is ordinary for self-conceited persons to ruin their 
own estates, and healths, and lives. When they are rashly 
making ill bargains, or undertaking things which they un- 
derstand not, they rush on till they find their error too late ; 
and their poverty, prisons or ruined families, must declare 
their sin : for they have not humility enough to seek coun- 
sel in time, nor to take it when it is offered them. What 
great numbers have I heard begging relief from others, un- 
der the confession of this sin ! And far more, even the 


most of men and women, overthrow their health, and lose 
their lives by it. Experience doth not suffice to teach them 
what is hurtful to their bodies ; and as they know not, so 
you cannot convince them that they know not. Most per- 
sons by the excess in quantity of food, do suffocate nature, 
and lay the foundation of future maladies : and most of 
the diseases that kill men untimely, are but the effects of 
former gluttony or excess. But as long as they feel not 
any present hurt, no man can persuade them but their 
fulness is for their health, as well as for their pleasure. They 
will laugh, perhaps, at those that tell them what they do, 
and what diseases they are preparing for. Let physicians, 
if they be so honest, tell them, ' It is the perfection of the 
nutritive juices, the blood and nervous oil, which are the 
causes of health in man. Perfect concoction causeth that 
perfection. Nature cannot perfectly concoct too much, or 
that which is of too hard digestion. While you feel no harm, 
your blood groweth dispirited, and being but half concocted, 
and half blood, doth perform its office accordingly by the 
halves ; till crudities are heaped up, and obstructions fixed, 
and a dunghill of excrements, or the dispirited humours are 
ready to take in any disease, which a small occasion offereth ; 
either agues, fevers, coughs, consumptions, pleurisies, drop- 
sies, cholics and windiness, headachs, convulsions, See, or 
till the inflammations or other tumours of the inward parts, 
or the torment of the stone in the reins or bladder, do sharply 
tell men what they have been doing. A clean body and 
perfect concoction, which are procured by temperance and 
bodily labours, which suscitate the spirits, and purify the 
blood, are the proper means which God in the course of na- 
ture hath appointed, for a long and healthful life.' 

This is all true, and the reason is evident; and yet this 
talk will be but despised and derided by the most ; and they 
will say, ' I have so long eaten what I loved, and lived by 
no such rules as these, and I have found no harm by it.' 
Yea, if excess have brought diseases on them, if abstinence 
do but make them more to feel them, they will rather im- 
pute their illness to the remedy, than to the proper cause : 
and so they do about the quality as well as the quantity. 
Self-conceitedness maketh men incurable. Many an one 
have I known that daily lived in that fulness which I saw 
would shortly quench the vital spirits ; and fain I would 


have saved their lives, but I was not able to make them 
willing. Had I seen another assault them, I could have 
done somewhat for them ; but when I foresaw their death, I 
couM not save them from themselves. They still said, they 
found their measures of eating and drinking between meals 
refresh them, and they were the worse if they forbore it ; 
and they would not believe me against both appetite, rea- 
son and experience. And thus have I seen abundance of 
my acquaintance wilfully hasten to the grave ; and all 
through an unhumbled, self-conceited understanding, which 
would not be brought to suspect itself, and know its error. 

2. And O how often have I seen the dearest friends thus 
kill their friends ; even mothers kill their dearest children, 
and too often their husbands, kindred, servants and neigh- 
bours, by their self-conceit, and confidence in their igno- 
rance and error ! Alas, what abundance empty their own 
houses, gratify covetous landlords, and set their lands by 
lives, and bring their dearest relations to untimely ends, 
and a wise man knoweth not how to hinder them! How 
often and often have I heard ignorant women confidently 
persuade even their own children to eat as long as they have 
an appetite, and so they have vitiated their blood and hu- 
mours in their childhood, that their lives have been either 
soon ended, or ever after miserable by diseases ! How often 
have I heard them persuade sick or weak, diseased persons, 
to eat, eat, eat, and take what they have a mind to, when, 
unless they would poison them, or cut their throats, they 
could scarcely more certainly dispatch them ! How often 
have these good women been persuading myself, that eating 
and drinking more would make me better, and that it is ab- 
stinence that causeth all my illness, (when excess in my 
childhood causeth it :) as if every wise woman that doth but 
know me, knew better what is good for me, than myself, af- 
ter threescore years experience, or than all the physicians 
in the city ! And had I obeyed them, how many years ago 
had I been dead! 

How ordinary is it for such self-conceited women to ob- 
trude their skill and medicines on their sick neighbours, 
with the greatest confidence, when they know not what they 
do ! Yea, upon their husbands and children ! One can 
scarcely come about sick persons, but one woman or other 
is persuading them to take that, or do that which is likely 


to kill them. Many and many, when they have brought 
their children to the grave, have nothing to say but ' I thought 
this or that had been best for them.' 

But you will say, ' They do it in love ; they mean no 
harm.' I answer, so false teachers deceive souls in love. 
But are you content yourselves to be killed by love? If I 
must be killed, I had rather an enemy did it than a friend ; 
I would not have such have the guilt or grief. Love will 
not save men's lives, if you give them that which tends to 
kill them. 

But you will say, ' We can be no wiser than we are : if 
we do the best we can, what can we do more?' 

I answer, I would have you not think yourselves wiser 
than you are: I would write over this word five hundred 
times, if that would cure you. About matters of diet and 
medicines, and health, this is it that I would have you do to 
save you from killing yourselves and your relations; 1. 
Pretend not to know upon the report of such as yourselves, 
or in matters that are difficult and beyond your skill ; or 
where you have not had long consideration and experience. 
Meddle with no medicining, but what in common easy cases, 
the common judgment of physicians, and common experience 
have taught you. 

2. If you have not money to pay physicians and apothe- 
caries, tell them so, and desire them to give you their coun- 
sel freely, and take not on you to know more than they that 
have studied and practised it all the riper part of their 

3. Suspect your understandings, and consider how much 
there may be unknown to you, in the secresy and variety of 
diseases, difference of temperatures, and the like, which 
may make that hurtful which you conceit is good. There- 
fore do nothing rashly, and in self-conceited confidence, but 
upon the best advice ask the physician whether your medi- 
cines and rules are safe. 

4. And be sure that you do rather too little than too 
much. What abundance are there, especially in the small- 
pox and fevers, that would have escaped, if women, (yea, 
and physicians) would have let them alone, that die because 
that nature had not leave to cure them, being disturbed by 
mistaken usages or medicines. Diseases are so various and 



secret, and remedies so uncertain, that the wisest man alive, 
that hath studied and practised it almost all his riper days 
(were it an hundred years), must confess that physic is a 
hard, a dark, uncertain work, and ordinary cases, much more 
extraordinary, have somewhat in them which doth surpass 
his skill : and how then come so many medicining women to 
know more than they? 

But you will say, ' We see that many miscarry by physi- 
cians, and they speed worst that use them most.' 

I answer. But would they not yet speed worse, if they 
used you as much ? If they are too ignorant, how came you 
to be wiser? If you are, teach them your skill. 

But I must add, that even physicians' guilt of the sin 
which I am reproving, doth cost many hundred persons their 
lives, as well as yours. Even too many physicians, who 
have need of many days' inquiry and observations, truly 
to discover a disease, do kill men by rash and hasty judging, 
(I talk not of the cheating sort, that take on them to know 
all by the urine alone, but of honester and wiser men.) It 
is most certain that old Celsus saith, that a physician is not 
able faithfully to do his office, for very many patients : a 
few will take up all his time. But they that gape most after 
money, must venture upon a short sight, and a few words, 
and presently resolve before they know, and write down 
their directions while they are ignorant of one half; which 
if they knew, would change their counsels! And such is 
man's body and its diseases, that the oversight and igno- 
rance of one thing among twenty, is likely enough to be the 
patient's death. And how wise, expedient and vigilant 
must he be, that will commit no such killing oversight ! 

And as too many medicine a man whom they know not, 
and an unknown disease, for want of just deliberation; so 
too many venture upon uncertain and untried medicines, or 
rashly give that to one in another case, which hath profited 
others. In a word, even rash physicians have cause to fear 
lest by prehdence and hasty judging, more should die by 
their mistakes than do by murderers, that I say not by 
soldiers in the world : and lest their dearest friend should 
speed worse by them, than their greatest enemies. For as 
seamen and soldiers do boldly follow the trade, when they 
find that in several voyages and battles they have escaped ; 


but yet most or very many of tbem are drowned or killed at 
the last ; so he that is tampering overmuch with medicines, 
may escape well and boast of the success awhile : but at last 
one bloodletting, one vomit, one purge or other medicine 
may miscarry by a small mistake or accident, and he is 
gone ! And there are some persons so civil, that if a rash or 
unexperienced physician be their kinsman, friend, or neigh- 
bour, they will not go to an abler man, lest they be ac- 
counted unfriendly, and disoblige him ; and if such escape 
long with their lives, they may thank God's mercy, and not 
their own wisdom. Soldiers kill enemies, and unskilful, 
rash physicians kill their friends ! 

But you will say, ' They do their best, and they can do 
no more.' I answer as before, 1. Let them not think that 
they know what they do not know : but sufficiently suspect 
their own understandings. 2. Let them not go beyond their 
knowledge : How little of our kind of physic did the old 
physicians (Hippocrates, Galen, Celsus, &c.) give? Do not 
too much. 3. Venture not rashly without full search, deli- 
beration, counsel and experience. O how many die by 
hasty judging, and rash mistakes! Physicians must par- 
don my free speaking, or endure it; for I conceive it neces- 
sary. It hath not been the least part of the calamity of my 
life to see my friends and other worthy persons killed by 
the ignorance or hastiness of physicians : I greatly reve- 
rence and honour those few that are men of clear, searching, 
judicious heads ; of great reading, especially of other men's 
experiences; of great and long experience of their own; of 
present sagacity and ready memory to use their own expe- 
riments ; of conscience and caution to suspect, and know 
before they hastily judge and practise. I would I could say 
that such are not too few. But I must say to the people, 
as you love your lives take heed of all the rest: a highway 
robber you may avoid or resist with greater probability of 
safety, than such men. How few are they that are killed by 
thieves or in duels, in comparison of those that are killed 
by physicians ; especially confident young men that ac- 
count themselves wits, and think they may hit on such phi- 
losophical principles as will better secure both their practice 
and reputation than old physicians' doctrine and expe- 
rience could do ! Confident young men of unhumbled un- 
derstandings, presently trust their undigested thoughts, and 


rashly use their poor, short experiments, and tiust to their 
new conceptions of the reasons of all operations ; and then 
they take all others for mere empyrics in comparison of 
them: and when all is done, their pretended reason for want 
of full experience and judgment to improve it, doth but en- 
able them to talk and boast, and not to heal ; and when they 
have killed men, they can justify it, and prove that they did 
it rationally, or rather that it was something else, and not 
their error that was the cause. They are wits and men of 
rare inventions ; and therefore are not such fools as to con- 
fess the fact. How often have I seen men of great worth, 
such as few in an age arise to, who havino- a high esteem of 
an injudicious, unexperienced physician, have sealed their 
erroneous kindness with their blood ! How often have I 
seen worthy persons destroyed by a pernicious medicine, 
contrary to what the nature of the disease required, who 
without a physician might have done well ! Such sorrows 
now upon me, make me the more plain and copious in the 
case. And yet, alas, I see no hope of amendment probable ! 
For, 1. Many hundred ministers being forbidden to preach 
the Gospel, and cast out of all their livelihood, for not promis- 
ing, asserting, swearing, and doing all that is required of 
them ; many of these think that necessity alloweth them to 
turn physicians, which they venture on upon seven years' 
study ; when seven, and seven, and seven, is not enough, 
though advantaged by the help of other men's experiments. 
2. And others rush on practice in their youth, partly be- 
cause they have not yet knowledge enough to discern un- 
certainties and difficulties in the art, or to see what is further 
necessary to be known : and partly, because they think that 
seeing skill must be got by experience, use must help them 
to that experience ; and all men must have a beginning. 3. 
And when they do their best, they say, God requireth no 
more. 4. And they hope if they kill one, they cure many. 
But O that they had the sobriety to consider, 1. That the 
physician is but one man ; and will his maintenance or live- 
lihood excuse him for killing many ? 2. That even one 
man's life is more precious than one man's maintenance, or 
fuller supply, is it not honester to beg your bread ? 3. 
That killing men by virtue of your trade without danger to 
you, doth but hinder your repentance, but not so much 
extenuate your sin as many think : which is aggravated 


in that you kill your friends that trust you, and not enemies 
that oppose you or avoid you. 4. Your experience must 
not be got by killing men, but by accompanying experienced 
physicians till you are fit to practise : and if you cannot stay 
so long for want of maintenance, beg rather than kill men, 
or betake you to some other trade. 

But if you be too proud or confident to take such counsel, 
I still advise all that love their lives, that they choose not a 
physician under forty years old at least, and if it may be, 
not under sixty, unless it be for some little disease or remedy, 
which hath no danger, and where they can do no harm, if 
they do no good : old men may be ignorant, but young- 
men must needs be so for want of experience, though some 
few rare persons are sooner ripe than others. 

And whereas they say that they ' cure more than they 
kill;' 1 wish that I had reason to believe them: I suppose 
that if more of their patients did not live than die, they would 
soon lose their practice : but it is likely the far greatest part 
of those that live, would have lived without them, and per- 
haps have been sooner and easier cured, if nature had not 
by them been disturbed. 

And what calling is there in which hasty judging and con- 
ceits of more knowledge than men have, doth make great 
confusion and disappointment? If a fool that rageth and is 
confident, be a pilot, woe to the poor seamen and passengers 
in the ship. If such a one be a commander in an army, his 
own and other men's blood or captivity, must cure his con- 
fidence, and stay his rage. For such will learn at no cheaper 
a rate. How often hear we such workmen, carpenters, ma- 
sons, &c, raging confident that their way is right, and their 
work well done, till the ruin of it confute and shame them ! 

If this disease take hold of governors, who will not stay 
to hear all parties, and know the truth, but take up reports 
on trust, from those that please or flatter them, or judge 
presently before impartial trial, and hearing all, woe to the 
land that is* so governed ! The wisest and the best man 
must have due information and time, patience and con- 
sideration to receive it, or else he may do as David between 
Mephibosheth and Ziba, and cannot be just. 

What an odious thing is a partial, blind, rash, hasty and 
impatient judge, that cannot hear, think and know before 
he judgeth ! Such the old Christians had to do with among 


their persecutors, who knew not what they held, or what 
they were, and yet could judge them, and cruelly execute 
them. And such were Tacitus and other old historians, that 
from common prejudice spake words of contempt or re- 
proach of them. The Christians were glad when they had a 
Trajan, an Antonine, an Alexander Severus, Sec. to speak 
to, that had reason and sobriety to hear their cause. Among 
the Papists, the old reformers and martyrs took him for a 
very commendable judge or magistrate, that would but allow 
them a patient hearing, and give them leave to speak for 
themselves. Truth and godliness have so much evidence, and 
such a testimony for themselves in the conscience of man- 
kind, as that the devil could never get them so odiously 
thought of, and so hardly used in the world, but only by 
keeping them unknown, which is much by expelling and 
silencing their defenders, (who speed well sometimes if an 
Obadiah hide them by fifties in a cave,) and by tempting 
their judges to hear but some superficial narrative of their 
cause, and to have but a ' glimpse of the outside as in tran- 
situ,' and to see only theback parts of it, yea but the clothing; 
which is commonly such as are made by its enemies; good 
merPand causes are too often brought to them, and set out by 
them, as Christ with his scarlet robe, his reed and crown of 
thorns, and then they say, " Behold the man ! " and when 
they have cried out, " Blasphemy, and an enemy to Csesar!" 
they write over his cross in scorn, " The King of the Jews." 
Cain had not patience to hear his own brother, and weigh 
the case; no not after that God had admonished him: but he 
must first hate and murder, and afterwards consider why, 
when it is too late. Judas must know his Master's inno- 
cency, and what he had done, in despair to hang himself. 
And so wise Ahithophel cometh to his end. If David would 
have pondered his usage of Uriah as much in time as he did 
when Nathan had awakened his reason, O what had he pre- 
vented ! If Paul had weighed before, the case of Christians, 
as he did when Christ did stop his rage, he had not incurred 
the guilt of persecution, and the martyrs' blood : but he tells 
us that he was exceedingly mad against them : and it is 
madness indeed to venture on cruelty and persecution, and 
not stay first to understand the cause, and consider why, and 
what is likely to be the end. 

How ordinary in the world are the most excellent men on 


earth, for wisdom and holiness, such as Ignatitus, Cyprian, 
and the rest of the ancient martyrs ; and such as Athanasius, 
Chrysostom, Sec, reviled and used as if they were the basest 
rogues on earth, laid in gaols, banished, silenced, murdered; 
and all this by men that know not what they are, and have 
no true understanding of their cause ! Men of whom the 
world was not worthy, wandered up and down in dens, and 
caves, and suffered joyfully the spoiling of their goods, yea 
and death itself, (Heb. xi.) from men that judged before 
they knew! Many a great man and judge that hath con- 
demned Christ's ministers as heretics, false teachers, unwor- 
thy to preach the Gospel, have been such as understand not 
their baptism, creed or catechism, and have need of many 
years' teaching to make them know truly but. those principles 
that every child should know. There needs no great learn- 
ing, wisdom, sobriety or honesty to teach them to cry out, 
' You are a rogue, a seducer, a heretic, a schismatic, disobe- 
dient, seditious ; or, Away with such a fellow from the earth ; 
it is not fit that he should live; (Acts xxii.22. and xxi.26;) 
or, Away with him, crucify him, give us Barabbas ; or to say, 
We have found this man a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedi- 
tion, a leader of a sect, that teacheth contrary to the decrees 
of Caesar, &c.' But patience, till the cause were fully tried, 
and all things heard and equally weighed, would prevent 
most of this ! 

I know that ignorance and weakness of judgment is the 
common calamity of mankind ; and there is no hope of curing 
us by unity in high degrees of knowledge. And though 
teachers are and must be a great stay to ignorant learners, 
yet, alas, how can they tell which are the wisest teachers, 
and whom to choose ? When all pretend to wisdom, and no 
man can judge of that which he neither hath nor knoweth ; 
and even the Roman sect, who pretend most to infallibility, 
have so exceeded all men in their error, as to make it a part 
of religion, necessary to our possessions, communion, domi- 
nion, and salvation, to maintain the falsehood of God's 
natural revelations to the senses of all sound men in the 
world. How shall one that would learn philosophy know in 
this age, what sect to follow, or what guide to choose? Hence 
is our calamity ; and the remedy will be but imperfect till 
the time of perfection come. , 

But yet we are not remediless. 1. If men would but well 


lay in, hold fast, love, and faithfully improve the few neces- 
sary essential principles: 2. If they would make them a 
rule in trying what is built upon them; and receive nothing 
that certainly contradicteth them: 3. If they would stay, 
think and try, till their thoughts are well digested, and all is 
heard, before they take in doubtful things : 4. If they will 
carry themselves as humble learners to those whose wisdom 
is conspicuous by its proper light, especially the concordant 
pastors of the Churches : 5. And if they will not quarrel with 
truth for every difficulty which they understandnot,buthum- 
bly, as learners, suspect their own wit, till their teachers have 
helped them in a leisurely and faithful trial ; by such means 
the mischief of error and rashness might be much avoided. 
In common matters, necessity and undeniable experience 
doth somewhat rebuke and restrain this vice. If children 
should set their wits against their parents, or scholars pre- 
sently dispute with their masters, nature and the rod would 
rebuke their pride and folly. If they that never used a 
trade, should presently take themselves to be as wise as the 
longest practisers, who would be apprentices? And if an 
unskilful musician, painter, poet, or other such like, shall be 
confident that he is as good at his work as any, standers-by 
will not easily cherish his folly, as being not blinded by his 
self-love. A good workman shall have most praise and 
practice. Buyers will convince the ignorant boasters, by 
forsaking such men's shops: as it is with self-conceited, 
ignorant writers, who are restrained by the people, that will 
not buy and read their books. And usually good and bad 
judges, magistrates, lawyers, soldiers, pilots, artificers, are 
discerned by most that are capable of judging ; because, 
1. These are matters where the common sense of mankind 
doth render them somewhat capable of judging, and save 
them from deceit. 2. And here is not usually such deep 
and long plots and endeavours to deceive, as in matters of 
speculation, and especially religion and policy there is. And 
the devil is not so concerned and industrious to deceive men 
in matters of so low importance. 4. And if one be deceived, 
many are ready to rectify him. 5. And men's interest here 
is better understood in bodily matters, and they are not so 
willing to be deceived. A poor man can easily discern 
between a charitable man and an uncharitable ; between a 
merciful and an oppressing landlord. We discern between, 


diligent and slothful servants ; but in matters that are above 
our reach, which we must take on trust, and know not whom 
to trust, the difficulty is greater : where the errors and haste 
of either party will breed mischief, but much more of both. 
If the physician, or other undertaker be confident in his 
error, and precipitant, he will impose ruin on men's health, 
as I have said : and if the patient be self-conceited and rash 
in his choice, he is likely to suffer for it; but when both 
physician and patient are so, what hope of escape! And 
especially when through the great imperfection of man's 
understanding, not one of a multitude is clear and skilful in 
things that are beyond the reach of sense: and if one man, 
after great experience, come to be wiser than the rest, the 
hearer knoweth it not, and he must cast out his notions 
among as many assailing warriors, as there are ignorant 
self-conceited hearers present, and that is usually as there 
are persons. And when every one hath poured out his con- 
fidence against it, and perhaps reproached the author as 
erroneous, because he will know more than they, and will 
not reverence their known mistakes; alas! how shall the 
person that we would instruct (be it for health or soul), be 
able to know which of all these to trust as wisest? 

But the saddest work is that forementioned, in churches, 
kingdoms, families and souls. I must expect that opening 
the crime will exasperate the guilty : but what remedy ? 
1. Should I largely open what work this maketh in families, 
I have too much matter for the complaint. If the wife differ 
from the husband, she seemeth always in the right : if the 
servant differ from the master, and the child from the parent, 
if a little past infancy, they are always in the right : what is 
the contention in families, and in all the world, but who 
shall have his way and will ? If they are of several parties 
in religion, or if any be against religion itself; if they be 
foolish, erroneous, or live in any sin, that can without utter 
impudence be defended, still they are able to make it good : 
and except children at school, or others that professedly go 
to be taught, whom can we meet with so ignorant or mista- 
ken, that will not still think, when even superiors differ from 
them and reprove them, that they are in the right? 

2. And what mischiefs doth it cause in churches ! When 
the Papal tyrannical part are so confident that they are in 
the right^ that when they silence preachers, and imprison 


and burn Christians, they think it not their duty so much as 
to hear what they have to say for themselves. Or if they 
hear a few words, they have not the patience to hear all, or 
impartially to try the cause : but they are so full of them- 
selves and overwise, that it must seem without any more ado a 
crime to dissent from them, or contradict them. And thus 
proud self-conceitedness smiteth the shepherds, scattereth 
the flocks, and will allow the Church of Christ no unity or 
peace. And the popular crowd are usually or often as self- 
conceited in their way ; and if they never so unreasonably 
oppose their teachers, how hard it is to make them know or 
once suspect that they are mistaken ! O what mutinies in 
Christ's armies, what schisms, what confusions, what scan- 
dals, what persecutions in the Church, what false accusa- 
tions, what groundless censures, do proud self-conceited 
understandings cause ! 

But scarcely any where is it more lamentably seen than 
among injudicious, unexperienced ministers! What work is 
made in the Christian world, by sect against sect, and party 
against party, in cases of controversy, by most men's bold 
and confident judging of what they never truly studied, tried 
or understood ! Papists against Protestants, Protestants 
against Papists, Lutherans (or Arminians) and Calvinists, 
&.c. usually charge one another by bare hearsay, or by a few 
sentences or scraps collected out of their writings by their 
adversaries ; contrary to the very scope of the whole dis- 
course or context. And men cannot have leisure to peruse 
the books, and to know before they judge. And then they 
think that seeing their reverend doctors have so reported 
their adversaries before them, it is arrogance or injury to 
think that they knew not what they said, or else belied them. 
And on such supposition the false judging doth go on. Of 
all the pulpits that often trouble the people with invectives 
against this side or that, especially in the controversies of 
Predestination, Grace, and Freewill, how few do we hear 
that know what they talk against! 

Yea, those young or unstudied men, who might easily be 
conscious how little they know, are ready to oppose and 
contemn the most ancient studied divines ; when if ever they 
would be wise men, they should continue scholars to such, 
even while they are teachers of the people. 

1 will not presume to open the calamities of the world, 


for want of rulers truly knowing their subjects' case, but 
judging hastily by the reports of adversaries : but that re- 
bellions ordinarily hence arise I may boldly say. When sub- 
jects that know not the reasons of their ruler's actions, are 
so overwise as to make themselves judges of that which 
concerneth them not : and how few be they that think not 
themselves wiser than all their guides and governors! 

And lastly, by this sin it is that the wisdom of the wisest 
is as lost to the world : for let a man know never so much 
more than others, after the longest, hardest studies, the self- 
uonceitedness of the ignorant riseth up against it, or maketh 
them incapable of receiving it, so that he can do little good 
to others. 

I conclude again, that this is the plague and misery of 
mankind, and the cause of all sin and shame and ruin, — that 
ignorant, unhumbled understandings will be still judging 
rashly before they have thoroughly tried the case, and will 
not suspend till they are capable of judging, nor be convin- 
ced that they know not what they know not, but be confident 
in their first or ungrounded apprehensions. 


The Signs and common Discoveries of a proud, self-conceited 
Understanding, and of pretended Knowledge. 

By such effects as these, the most of men do show their guilt 
of overvaluing their own apprehensions. 

1. When they will be confident of things that are quite 
above their understandings, or else which they never tho- 
roughly studied. Some are confident of that which no man 
knowetli ; and most are confident of that which I think they 
are unlikely to be certain of themselves, without miraculous 
inspiration, which they give us no reason to believe that they 
have. Tilings that cannot ordinarily be known, 1. Without 
the preparation of many other sciences, 2. or without reading 
many books, 3. or without reading or hearing what is said 
against it, 4. or at least without long or serious studies ; 
we have abundance that will talk most peremptorily of them, 
upon the trust of their teachers or party, without any of 
this necessary means of knowledge. 


2. The hastiness of men's conclusions discovereth this 
presumption and self-conceit. When at the first hearing or 
reading, or after a few thoughts they are as confident, as if 
they had grown old in studies ; the best understandings must 
have long time to discern the evidence of things difficult, 
and a longer time to try that evidence by comparing it with 
what is brought against it : and yet a longer time to digest 
truths into that order and clearness of apprehension, which 
is necessary to distinct and solid knowledge, when without 
all this ado, most at the first lay hold of that which cometh in 
their way : and there they stick, at least till a more esteemed 
teacher or party tell them somewhat that is contrary to it. 
It is but few of our first apprehensions that are sound, and 
need not reformation ; but none that are well-digested, and 
need not much consideration to perfect them. 

3. Is it not a plain discovery of a presumptuous under- 
standing, when men will confidently conclude of things, 
which their own tongues are forced to confess that they do 
not understand? I mean not only so as to give an accurate 
definition of them, but really not to know what it is they 
talk of. Many a zealous Anabaptist I have known, that 
knoweth not what baptism is. And many a one that hath 
disputed confidently for or against freewill, that knew not 
at all what freewill is. And many a one that hath disputed 
about the Lord's-supper, and separated from almost all 
churches for want of sufficient strictness in it, and especially 
for giving it to the ignorant; who, upon examination, have 
not known the true nature of a sacrament, nor of the sacred 
covenant which it sealeth. Many a one forsaketh most 
churches as no churches, that they may be of a right con- 
stituted church, who know not what a church is. What 
abundance will talk against an Arminian, a Calvinist, a Pre- 
latist, a Presbyterian, an Independent ; that really know not 
what any of them are ? Like a gentleman, the other day, that 
after long talk of the Presbyterians, being urged to tell what 
a Presbyterian was, could tell no more, but that he was one 
that is not so merry and sociable as other men, but stricter 
against sports, or taking a cup. And if I should tell you 
how few that can judge the controversies about predestina- 
tion, do know what they talk of it, were easy to evince it. 

4. May I not discern their prefidence, when men that 
hold contraries, five men of five inconsistent opinions, are 


yet every one confident that his own is right? When at best 
it is but one that can be right? When six men confidently 
expound a text in the Revelation six ways. When five men 
are so confident of five several ways of Church-government, 
that they embody themselves into several policies or parties 
to enjoy them. Is not here self-conceitedness in all, at least 
save one? 

5. When men themselves by turning from opinion to 
opinion, shall confess their opinion was false ; and yet made 
a religion of it, while they held it ; was not this a presump- 
tuous understanding? When a man shall be one year of one 
sect, and another of another, and yet always confident that 
he is in the right. 

6. When men that are known to be ignorant in other 
parts of religion, shall yet in some one opinion which they 
have espoused, seem to themselves much wiser than their 
teachers, and make nothing of the judgments of those that 
have studied it many a year, is not this a presuming mind ? 
Take the ablest divine that ever you knew living, suppose 
him to be Jewel, Andrews, Usher, Davenant, Calvin, Cha- 
mier, Camero, Amesius, Gataker, See. Let him be one that 
all learned men admire, whose judgment is sent for from 
several kingdoms; who hath spent a long life in hard and 
very successful studies, every boy and silly woman, every 
ignorant vicious clown, that differeth from him in any point., 
shall slight all the wisdom of this man, as if in comparison 
of himself he were a fool. Let it come but to the point of 
anabaptistry, separation, antinomianism, yea, the grossest 
opinions of the Quakers, and what senseless fellow is not 
much wiser than all these divines! And they will pity him 
as a poor, carnal, ignorant person, which hath not the teach- 
ing of God which they have. Yea, let him but seek to draw 
a sensualist from his voluptuousness, this poor sot doth pre- 
sently take himself to be the wiser man, and can prove all 
his gaming, his idleness, his wantonness, his precious time 
wasted in plays and long feastings, his gluttony, his tippling, 
his prodigal wastefulness to be all lawful things, whatever 
the learned pastor say. 

But why do not such men suspect their understandings, 
and consider with themselves, what likelihood is there, that 
men as holy as I, that have studied it all their days, should 
not be wiser than I, that never searched as they have done ? 


Doth not God say, " He that seeketh, shall find j" and wis- 
dom must be laboriously searched for, as a hidden treasure? 
And doth not God use to give his blessing, on supposition 
of men's faithful endeavours? 

7. Is it not palpable pride, when a few men, no wiser nor 
better than others, can easily believe that all the rest of the 
Christian world, the most learned, godly, and concordant 
Christians, are all deceived, ignorant souls ; and they 
and their few adherents only are in the right, in some 
doubtful controversies, wherein they have no advantage 
above others, either for capacity or grace ? I know, that 
when the world is drowned in wickedness, we must not 
imitate them, be they never so many, nor " follow a multi- 
tude to do evil ;" and I know that the certain truth of 
the Gospel must be held fast, though most of the world be 
infidels : and that when the Arians were the most, they 
were not therefore the lightest. And that even among 
Christians, carnal interests use to breed and keep up such 
corruptions, as must not for the number of the vicious be 
approved. But when those that truly fear God, and seek 
the truth, and faithfully serve him as self-denyingly as any 
others, shall agree in any part of holy doctrine or worship ; 
for a few among them to raise up in a conceit of their own 
understandings, and separate from them as they separate 
from the world ; and this upon less study than many of the 
rest have used to find out the truth ; I am sure, none but a 
proud person will do this ; without great jealousy of his own 
understanding, and great fear of erring, and without long 
and serious search and deliberation at least. 

8. Is it not pride of understanding, when we see men 
confident upon inconsiderable reasons ? When they bring- 
nothing that should move a man of any competent under- 
standing ; and syet they build as boldly on this sand, as if 
they built upon a rock ? 

9. And when they slight the strongest and clearest argu- 
ments of another; and in their prefidence disdain them, be- 
fore they understand them, as not worthy of consideration, 
and as silly things ? 

10. When they obtrude all their conceits magisterially 
upon others, and expect that all men presently be of their 
mind, and say as they do. When they value men just as 
they agree with, or disagree from their opinion ; and all are 


dear to them, that hold with them; and all are slighted, that 
think they err. When a man, that without chewing, pre- 
sently swalloweth their conceits, is taken for a sounder man, 
than he that will take nothing as sure, till evidence prove it 
to him: is not this notorious pride of understanding? And 
O how common is this imposing pride, even in them that 
cry out against it, and condemn it: they that will vilify one 
party, as imposing all their own conceptions, even in words, 
and forms, and ceremonies, on the Churches of Christ, will 
yet themselves be rigid imposers : no man shall be of their 
communion, nor judged meet for the holy Sacrament, who 
cometh not to their opinions in many of their singularities ; 
nay, worse, that will not abstain from communion with other 
churches, whom their presumption separateth from. 

11. And do not those people most value their own un- 
derstandings, who choose teachers to please them, and not 
to teach them ; and hear them as judges, or censurers, and 
not as learners ? How ordinary is this ? If they be to choose 
a pastor ; they will rather have the most injudicious man, 
who thinks as they think, than the wisest man that is able 
to teach them better, If they hear any thing which agreeth 
not with their former conceits, they go away magisterially 
censuring the preacher ; he taught unsound doctrine, dan- 
gerous things ; and neither understand him, nor endeavour 
to learn. I have seldom preached in strange congregations, 
nor seldom written on any subject, but among many learners, 
some such hearers and readers I have had, that neither have 
understanding enough to teach, nor humility enough to 
know it, and to learn : but they go away prating among their 
companions of what they never understood ; and if it fall 
out that I know of it, and answer them, they have nothing 
to say, but a ' putaram,' or ' non putaram ;' I thought you 
had meant thus or thus, contrary to what I spoke ; or I noted 
not this or that word, which the sense depended on. Do 
but say as they would have you, and you are an excellent 
man ! But if you tell them more than they knew, if it de- 
tect any error or ignorance which they had before ; they 
condemn your teaching, instead of learning of you. Poor 
souls ! if you are wise enough already, what need you a 
teacher? If you are not, why will you not learn? If you 
were wiser than he, why did you choose or take him for your 
teacher? If you are not, why will you not learn of him ? 


12. The deep and cruel censures which they pass against 
Dissenters, doth shew their self-conceitedness. None more 
censorious than raw, unexperienced persons, not only igno- 
rant preachers, but women and boys. How readily and 
boldly, without any fear of God, doth one seek to make his 
brother odious as a schismatic and a fanatic, and worse than 
words can describe him ; and another to reproach others as 
antichristian and carnal, whom he never understood ! No- 
thing but pride could make men so ready and bold, and fear- 
less in their most foolish censures. 

13. And it further sheweth their proud presumption, 
when they dare do all this upon bare rumours and hearsay, 
and ungrounded suspicions. Were they not proud and pre- 
sumptuous, they would think, alas, my understanding is not 
so clear and sure, nor my charity so safe and strong, as that 
I should in reason venture to condemn my brother, upon 
uncertain rumours, and such slight reports ! Have I heard 
him speak for himself? oris it charity or common justice to 
condemn a man unheard? What, though they are godly men 
that report it ? So was David, that committed adultery and 
murder, and hastily received a lie against Mephibosheth ; 
and perhaps many of those Corinthians, against whose false 
censures, Paul was put so largely to vindicate himself. 

14. Yea, when they dare proceed to vend these false re- 
ports and censures upon hearsay, to the destruction of the 
charity of those that hear them ; and so entangle them all 
in sin. As if it were not enough to quench their own love 
to their brother by false surmises, but they must quench as 
many others also as they can. 

15. Yea, when they dare venture so far as to unchurch 
many churches, yea, most in the world, and degrade most 
ministers, if not unchristian most Christians, or at least 
themselves withdraw from the communion of such churches, 
and all for something which they never understood ; about 
a doctrine, a form, a circumstance, where self-opinion or 
self-interest draweth them to all this bold adventure. 

To say nothing of condemnations of whole churches and 
countries, the tyrannical, proud impositions, the cruel per- 
secutions, which the Papal faction hath been guilty of by 
this vice ; judge now whether it be not too common a case 
to be guilty of an unhumbled understanding, and of pre- 
tended knowledge ? 


Object. ' If it be so, is it not best to do as the Papists, 
and keep men from reading the Scriptures, or meddling with 
divine things which they cannot master, any further than to 
believe what the Church believeth.' 

Artsw. 1. It is best no doubt, to teach men to know the 
difference between teachers and learners, and to keep in a 
humble, learning state, and in that state to grow as much in 
knowledge as they can ; but not to cast away knowledge, 
for fear of overvaluing it, nor renounce their reason, for fear 
of error : no more than to put out their eyes for fear of mis- 
taking by them, or choosing madness lest they abuse their 
wits : else we might wish to be brutes, because abused rea- 
son is the cause of all the errors and mischiefs in the world. 

2. The Popish clergy who give this council for the blind- 
ing of the vulgar, are worse themselves ; and by their proud 
contendings, censures and cruelties, shew more self-con- 
ceitedness than the vulgar do. 

3. The truth is, the cause is the common frailty of man, 
and the common pravity of corrupted nature ; and it is to 
be found in persons of all ranks, religions and conditions ; 
of which more after in due place. 


VI. Of the mischievous Effects of this proud Pretence to more 
Knowledge than men have. 

If the mischiefs of this sin had not been very great, I had 
not chosen this subject to treat of. 

1. It is no small mischief to involve men's souls in the 
guilt of the sins which I named in the last chapter, as the 
discovery of this vice. Sure all those disorders, censures, 
slanders, and presumptions, should not seem small in the 
eyes of any man that feareth God, and loveth holiness, and 
hateth sin. 

2. Pretended knowledge wasteth men some time in get- 
ting it, and much more in abusing it: all the time that you 
study for it, preach for it, write for it, is sinfully lost and 
cast away. 

3. It kindleth a corrupt and sinful zeal ; such as James 



describeth, (James iii. 1. 15,) which is envious and striving, 
and is but earthly, sensual and devilish : a zeal against love, 
and against good works, and against the interest of our bro- 
ther, and against the peace and concord of the Church ; a 
hurting, burning, devouring, excommunicating, persecuting 
zeal. And a fever in the body is not so pernicious as such 
a sinful zeal in the soul. Such a zeal the Jews had, as Paul 
bears them witness. (Rom. xi. 1.) Such a zeal, alas ! is so 
common among persecuting Papists on one side, and censo- 
rious Sectaries and Separatists on the other, that we must 
all bear the sad effects of it: and self-conceited knowledge 
is the fuel of this zeal, as James iii. fullv manifesteth. 

4. This pretended knowledge is the fixing of false opinions 
in the minds of men, by which the truth is most powerfully 
kept out. A child will not wrangle against his teacher, and 
therefore will learn ; but these overwise fools do presently 
set their wits against what you say to keep out knowledge. 
You must beat down the garrison of his pride, before you 
come within hearing to instruct him : he is with more diffi- 
culty untaught the errors which he hath received, than an 
unprejudiced man is taught to understand most excellent 

5. By this, the gifts of the most wise and excellent teach- 
ers are half lost : it is full bottles that are cast into these 
seas of knowledge, which have no room for more, but come 
out as they went in. If an Augustine, or an Aquinas, or 
Scotus were among them, yea, a Peter or Paul, what can he 
put into these persons that are full of their own conceits 
already ? " Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit, there 
is more hope of a fool than of him." 

6. Yea, they are usually the perverters of the souls of 
others. Before they can come to themselves, and know 
that they were mistaken, what pains have they taken to 
make others of their own erroneous minds, whom they are 
not able afterward to undeceive again ? 

7. It is a vice that blemisheth many excellent qualifica- 
tions. To hear of a man that valueth his own judgment but 
according to its worth, and pretendeth to know but so much 
as he knoweth indeed, is no shame to him ; though know- 
ledge is a thing fitter to be used than boasted of: but if a 
man know never so much, and can never so well express it, 


if he think that he is wiser than he is, and excelleth others 
more than indeed he doth, and overvalueth that knowledge 
which he hath, it is a shame which his greatest parts cannot 
excuse or hide. 

8. It exposeth a man to base and shameful mutability. 
He that will be hasty and confident in his apprehensions, is 
so often mistaken, that he must as often change his mind, 
and recant, or do much worse. I know that it cannot be ex- 
pected, that any man should have as sound apprehensions 
in his youth, as in his age, and that the wisest should not 
have need of mutations for the better, and retractions of 
some youthful errors; and he that changeth not, and re- 
tracteth nothing, it seems is in his childish ignorance and error 
still : but when natural frailty exposeth us all to much of 
this disgrace, we should not expose ourselves to so much 
more. A hasty judger, or prefident man, must be a very 
weathercock, or be defiled with a leprosy of error. Whereas 
if men would but be humble, and modest, and self-suspi- 
cious, and suspend their presumption, and not take on them 
to know before they know indeed, how safely might they 
walk, and how seldom would they need to change their 
minds, or either stick in the sink of error, or make many 
shameful retractations ! 

9. Prefidence and false judging engageth a man in a very 
life of sin. For when falsehood goeth for truth with him, 
it will infect his affections, and pollute his conversation : 
and all that he doth in the obedience and prosecution of 
that error will be sin. Yea, the greatest sin that he can but 
think no sin may be committed ; as was the persecution of 
Christ and Christians, by the Jews and Paul, and others 
like them ; and the Papists' bloodiness for their religion 
throughout Christendom. 

10. It disturbeth the peace of all societies. This is the 
vice that disquieteth families : every one is wisest in his 
own eyes : the servant thinketh his own way better than his 
master's. What are all the contentions between husband 
and wife, or any in the family, but that in all their differ- 
ences, every one thinketh himself to be in the right ? His 
own opinion is right, his own words and ways are right ; 
and when every one is wise and just, and every one is in the 
right, the effects are such as if no one were wise or in the 


And in civil societies, seditions, rebellions, oppressions, 
tyranny, and all confusions come from this, that men pretend 
to be sure of what they are not. Rulers take up with false 
reports from idle, malicious whisperers and accusers against 
their inferiors, and have not the justice and patience to sus- 
pend their judgments, till they have searched out the matter, 
and fully heard men speak for themselves. Subjects make 
themselves judges of the secrets of government, and of the 
councils and actions of their rulers, of which they have no 
certain notice, but venture to conclude upon deceitful sus- 
picions. And the contentions and factions amongst nobles 
and other subjects, come from misunderstandings, through 
hasty and ungrounded judgings. But the most woful effects 
are in the churches ; where, alas, whilst every pastor will be 
wiser than another, and the people wiser than all their pas- 
tors, and every sect and party much wiser than all that dif- 
fer from them, their divisions, their separations, their alien- 
ations, and bitter censurings of each other, their obtruding 
their own opinions, and rules and ceremonies upon each 
other, their bitter envying, strife, and persecutions of each 
other, do make sober standers-by to ask as Paul, " Is there 
not a wise man among you?" O happy the world, happy 
kingdoms, but most happy the Churches of Christ, if we 
could possibly bring men but to know their ignorance ! If 
the pastors themselves were not prefident and presumptuous 
overvaluers of their own apprehensions ! and if the people 
knew how little they know ! but now, alas, men rage against 
each other in their dreams, and few of them have the grace 
to awake before death, and find to repentance, that they 
were themselves in error. 

Hear me, with that remnant of meekness and humility 
which thou hast left, thou confident, bitter, censorious man! 
Why must that man needs be taken for a heretic, a schis- 
matic, a refractory, stubborn, self-willed person, an anti- 
christian, carnal, formal man, who is not of thy opinion in 
point of a controversy, of a form, of an order, of a circum- 
stance, or subscription, or such like? It is possible it may 
be so ! and it is possible thou mayest be more so thyself. 
But hast thou so patiently heard all that he hath to say, and 
so clearly discerned the truth on thy own side, and that this 
truth is made so evident to him as that nothing but wilful 
obstinacy can resist it, as will warrant all thy censures and 


contempt? oris it not an overvaluing of thy own under- 
standing, which makes thee so easily condemn all as unsuf- 
ferable that differ from it? Hath not pride made thy silly 
wit to be as an idol, to which all must bow down on pain of 
the heat of thy displeasure ? Do not some of those men 
whom thou so magisterially condemnest, study as hard and 
as impartially as thyself? Do they not pray as hard for 
God's assistance ? Have they not the same books, and as 
good teachers? Do they not live as well, and shew as much 
tenderness of conscience, and fear of erring and sinning as 
thyself? Why then art thou so hasty in condemning them 
that are as fair for the reputation of wisdom as thou art? 

But suppose them mistaken, hast thou tried that they 
are unwilling to be instructed ? It may be you have 
wrangled with them by disputes, which have but engaged 
each other to defend his own opinion : but call them to 
thee in love, and tell them, you are ignorant, and I am wise : 
I will teach you what you know not, and open to them all 
the evidence which causeth your own confident apprehen- 
sions. Wish them to study it, and hear patiently what they 
have to say ; and I am persuaded that many or most sober 
men that differ from you, will not refuse thus to become as 
your scholars, so far as to consider all that you have to offer 
to convince them, and thankfully receive as much of the 
truth as they can discern. 

But, alas, no men rage so much against others as erro- 
neous and blind, as the blind and erroneous ; and no men 
so furiously brand others with the marks of obstinacy, fac- 
tiousness and schism, as the obstinate, factious and schis- 
matical. The prouder the obtruder of his own conceits is, 
the more he condemneth all dissenters as proud, for pre- 
suming to differ from such as he ! and all for want of a hum- 
ble mind. 

11. Moreover it is this pretended knowledge which is 
the cause of all our false reformations. Men are so over- 
wise, that they presently see a beam in their brother's eye, 
which is but a mote ; and they magnify all the imperfec- 
tions of others, pastors and churches, into mountains of 
iniquity. Every mis-expression or disorder, or inconve- 
nient phrase in a prayer, or a sermon, or a book, is an odious, 
damning, intolerable evil. O ! say such, what idolaters are 
they that use a form of prayer, which God did not command ! 


What large consciences have they that can join with a pa- 
rish church ; that can communicate kneeling, and among 
bad men, or those whose conversion is not tried ! What 
abundance of intolerable evils do such men rind in the words, 
and forms, and orders, and circumstances of other men's 
worship, which God mercifully accepteth through Christ, 
taking all these but for such pardonable imperfections as he 
mercifully beareth with in all. And then the reformation 
must be presently answerable to the apprehension of the 

Yea, sometimes the very injudicious sort of zealous peo- 
ple make the cry of the greatness of this or that corruption, 
how antichristian and intolerable it is : and then the refor- 
mation must satisfy this vulgar error, and answer the cry 
and expectation of the people. 

I would here give instances of abundance of mis-reform- 
ings, which all need a reformation, both in doctrine, disci- 
pline and worship, but that I reserve it for another treatise, 
if I live to finish it, and can get it printed, called, " Over- 
doing is Undoing." 

12. Lastly, this vice of pretended certainty and know- 
ledge hath set up several false terms of Christian unity and 
peace, and by them hath done more to hinder the church's 
peace and unity than most devices ever did, which Satan 
ever contrived to that end. By this church- tearing vice, 
abundance of falsehoods, and abundance of things uncer- 
tain, and abundance of things unnecessary, have been made 
so necessary to the union and communion of the churches 
and their members, as that thereby the Christian world hath 
been ground to powder by the names and false pretences of 
unity and peace. Just as if a wise statesman would advise 
his Majesty, that none may be his subjects that are not of 
one age, one stature, one complexion, and one disposition, 
that so he might have subjects more perfectly concordant 
than all the princes on earth besides ; and so might be the 
most glorious defender of unity and peace. But how must 
this be done ? Why, command them all to be of your mind ; 
but that prevaileth not, and yet it is undone. Why then 
they are obstinate, self-willed persons. Well, but yet it is 
undone : Why, lay fines and penalties upon them. Well, 
but yet it is undone : all the hypocrites that had no reli- 
gion, are of the religion which is uppermost ; and the rest 


are uncured. Why, require more bricks of them, and let 
them have no straw, and tell them that their religion is their 
idleness, stubbornness and pride, and let your little ringer 
be heavier than your father's loins. But hearken, young- 
counsellors, Jeroboam will have the advantage of all this, 
and still the sore will be unhealed. Why then banish them, 
and hang them that obey not, till there be none left that are 
not of one mind. But, sir, I pray you, who shall do it ; 
and who shall that one man be that shall be left to be all 
the kingdom ? You are not such a fool as to be ignorant, 
that no two men will agree in all things, nor be perfectly of 
the same complexion. If there must be one king, and but 
one subject, I pray you who shall that one subject be? I 
hope not he that counselleth it ; ' Neque enim lex justior 
ulla est, quam necis artifices arte perire sua.' But hark 
you, sir, shall that one man have a wife or not ? If not, the 
kingdom will die with him : if yea, I dare prognosticate he 
and his wife will not be in all things of a mind. If they be, 
take me for a mistaken man. 

By this vice of pretended knowledge and certainty, it is, 
that the Papacy hath been made the centre of the unity of 
the universal church. Unity we must have, God forbid 
else : there is no maintaining Christianity without it. But 
the pope must be ' Principium Unitatis: and will all Chris- 
tians certainly unite in the pope ? Well, and patriarchs 
must be the pillars of unity : but was it so to the unity of 
the first churches ? or is it certain that all Christians will 
unite in patriarchs? But further, all the mass of Gregory 
the too great, and all the legends in his dialogues, or at least 
all the doctrines and ceremonies which he received, and the 
form of government in his time, must be made necessary to 
church-union. Say you so? But it was not all necessary 
in the apostles' times, nor in Cyprian's times, no nor in Gre- 
gory's own times ; much of those things being used arbi- 
trarily : and what was made necessary by canons of General 
Councils in the empire, mark it, was never thereby made ne- 
cessary in all the rest of the churches. And are you sure 
that mere Christians will take all these for certain truths ? 
Why, if they will not, burn and banish them. This is, as 
Tertullian saith, ' solitudinem facere et pacem vocare.' But 
hark, sir, this way hath been tried too long in vain : mil- 
lions of Albigenses and Waldenses are said by historians to 


be killed in France, Savoy, Italy, Germany, &,c. The French 
massacre killed about thirty on forty thousand. The Irish 
massacre in that little island killed about two hundred thou- 
sand. But were they not stronger after all these cruelties 
than before ? Alas, sir, all your labour is lost, and your 
party is taken for a blood-thirsty generation, and human 
nature which abhorreth the blood-thirsty, ever after breed- 
eth enemies to your way. This is the effect of false princi- 
ples, and terms of unity and peace, contrived by proud, self- 
conceited men, that think the world should take their dic- 
tates for a supreme law, and obey them as the directive 
deities of mankind. 

If all this be not enough to tell you what proud, pre- 
tended certainty is, read over the histories of the ages past, 
and you shall find it written in ink, in tears, in blood, in 
mutations, in subversions of the empires and kingdoms of 
the world, in the most odious and doleful contentions of 
prelates, lacerations of churches, and desolations of the 
earth. And yet have we not experience enough to teach us ! 


The Advantages of a Suspended Judgment, and Humble Un- 
derstanding, ivhich pretendeth to no more Knowledge or Cer- 
tainty than it hath. 

The advantages of a humble mind, which pretendeth not to 
be certain till he is certain, you may gather by contraries 
from the twelve forementioned mischiefs of prefidence ; 
which to avoid prolixity, I leave to your collection. 

Moreover I add: 1. Such a humble, suspended mind 
doth not cheat itself with seeming to have a knowledge, a 
divine faith, a religion when it hath none. It doth not live 
on air and dreams, nor feed on shadows, nor is puffed up 
with a tympanite of vain conceits, instead of true, substan- 
tial wisdom. 

2. He is not [prepossessed against the truth, but hath 
room for knowledge, and having the teachableness of a 
child, he shall receive instruction, and grow in true know- 
ledge, when the proud and inflated wits, being full of no- 
thing, are sent empty away. 


3. He entangleth not himself in a seeming necessity of 
making good all that he hath once received and entertained. 
He hath not so many bastards of his own brain to maintain, 
as the prefident, hasty judgers have: which saveth him much 
sinful study and strife. 

4. He is not liable to so much shame of mutability : he 
that fixeth not till he feel firm ground, nor buildeth till he 
feel a rock, need not pull down, and repent so oft as rash 

5. Unless the world be bedlam 'mad in proud obtrudings 
of their own conceits, methinks such a wary, humble man 
should offend but few, and better keep both his own and the 
church's peace than others. Can persecutors for shame 
hang and burn men for mere ignorance, who are willing to 
learn, and will thankfully from any man receive informa- 
tion ? What if in Queen Mary's days the poor men and 
women had told my Lords of Winchester and London, 'We 
are not persons of so good understandings as to know what 
a spiritual body is, as Paul describeth it, 1 Cor. xv. And 
seeing most say that the sun itself is a body, and not a 
spirit. And late philosophers say, that light is a substance, 
or body, which yet from the sun in a moment diffuseth it- 
self through all the surface of the earth and air, we know 
not how far locality, limitations, extension, impenetrability, 
divisibility, &c. belong to the body of Christ, and conse- 
quently how far it may be really present; we can say nothing, 
but that we know not.' Would my good Lord Bishops have 
burnt them for 'I know not?' Perhaps they would have 
said, ' You must believe the church.' But which is the 
church, my Lord ? ' Why, it is the pope and a general 
council.' But, alas, my Lord, I have never seen or heard 
either pope or council. ' Why, but we have, and you must 
believe us.' Must we believe you, my Lords, to be infalli- 
ble ; or only as we do other men that may deceive and be 
deceived ? Is any infallible besides the pope and his coun- 
cil ? Truly, my Lords, we are ignorant people, and we 
know not what the pope and councils have said ; and we 
are uncertain whether you report them truly, and uncertain 
whether they are fallible or not; but we are willing to hear 
any thing which may make us wiser. Would their Lord- 
ships have burnt such modest persons ? 

Suppose in a church where men are put to profess or 


subscribe to, or against the opinions of Freewill, or Repro- 
bation, or Predetermination, or such like, a humble man 
should say, these are things above my understanding ; I 
cannotreach to know what Freewill is, nor whether all causes 
natural and free be predetermined by Divine premotion, &c. 
I can say neither it is so, nor it is not ; they are above my 
reach ; would they silence and cast out such an humble per- 
son, and forbid him to preach the Gospel of Christ? Perhaps 
they would : but there are not so many hardened to such 
inhumanity, as there are men that would deal sharply with 
one that is as confident as they are on the other side. And 
those few that were thus silenced, would have the more 
peace, that they had procured it not by self-conceited sin- 
gularities; and the silencers of them would be the more 
ashamed before all sober persons that shall hear it. Other 
instances I pass by. 


VII. The Aggravation of this Sin of Prejidence. 

Though there be so much evil in this sin of Presumption, 
as I have noted, yet it is not in all alike culpable or un- 
happy, butdifTereth in both respects, as I shall tell you. 

I. For culpability is worst in these sorts and cases fol- 
lowing : 

1. It is a great sin in those who have least reason to 
think highly of their own understandings, and greatest rea- 
son to distrust themselves : As, 1. In those that are young 
and unexperienced, and must be miraculously wise, if they 
are wiser than old experienced persons (' cseteris paribus'). 
2. In the unlearned or half-learned, who have had but little 
time or helps for study, or at least have made but little use 
of them. 3. In duller wits, and persons that in other matters 
are known to be no wiser than others. 4. In those that take 
up their prefidence upon the slightest grounds, as bare sur- 
mises and reports from others that were uncertain. 5. In 
those that have been oft deceived already, and should by 
their sad experience have been brought to humble self-sus- 

2. And it is an aggravated sin in those whose place and 


condition obligeth them to learn from others. As for the 
wife to be self-conceited of all her apprehensions against 
her husband, unless he be a fool : For the servant to set his 
wit against his master, where he should obey him: For 
children to think that their wits are brighter than their 
parents or masters ; and apprentices and learners to think 
that they know more than their teachers : And for the igno- 
rant people to censure over-hastily the doctrine and practice 
of their pastors, as if they were wiser than they: perhaps 
they are : But it must be some rare person who is fit to be a 
teacher himself, or the teacher some sot that hath intruded 
into the office ; or else it must be a wonder : for God usually 
giveth men knowledge according to the time, and means,, 
and pains that they have had to get it, and not by miraculous 
infusions without means. Doth not the Apostle expressly 
tell you this, Heb. v. 11, 12, " When for the time you ought 
to have been teachers, &c." Men should be wise according 
to the time and means of wisdom which they have had. 

3. It is the greater crime when men will seem wisest in 
other men's matters and concernments. When the subject 
will know best what belongeth to a king or governor ; and 
the people will know best how the pastor should teach them, 
and when he faileth, and whom he should recerve into the 
Church, or exclude; when the servant will know best his 
master's duty, and every man his neighbour's, and least his 

4. It is the greater crime when men will be the judges 
of their own understandings, and think highly of them in 
cases where they should be tried by others. As if an empy- 
ric, or woman do think that they know better how to cure a 
disease than the ablest physicians ; why do they not offer 
themselves to the trial, and before them make good their 
skill by reason? If an inexperienced young student think 
himself able to be a physician, he is not to be the judge,but 
must be tried and judged by physicians : If a self-conceited 
professor, or a young student think himself fit for the ministry, 
he must not presently contrive how to get in, and how to shift 
off examination, but freely offer himself to be tried by able, 
godly ministers, and then by the ordainers, who are to judge- 
But when such persons can think themselves sufficient if no 
body else do, or if but a few ignorant persons do, they are 


unfit to judge, this proves their pride and presumption to be 
a great and heinous sin. 

5. And it is yet more heinously aggravated, when to keep 
up the reputation of their own understandings, they use to 
depress and vilify the wiser, even those whom they never 
knew: As he that aftecteth to be a preacher, and dare not 
pass the examination, hath no way to hide his shame, but 1. 
By crying down the learning which he wanteth, as a human, 
carnal thing : and, 2. By reproaching those that should judge 
of him, and ordain him, as poor carnal persons, who under- 
stand not the things of the Spirit as he doth, and as proud, 
self-seeking men, that will approve of none but those that 
flatter them, and are of their way. Some such there may be; 
but surely all are not such. Why do you not desire the 
judgment of the wisest and most impatial men, but take up 
with the applause of unlearned persons that are of your own 
mind and way, and magnify you for humouring them ? 

So you shall hear empyrics and she-physicians, vilify 
doctors of physic, as men that have less knowledge than 
they, and are so proud, and covetous, and dishonest, that 
there is no trusting them. When pretended knowledge must 
have so base a cloak, it is the greater sin. 

6. And it is the more heinous sin when they venture to 
do heinous mischief by it : As a Papist, a Quaker, or a 
Separatist will in his confidence, be a perverter of others, 
and a condemner of the just, and a defamer of those that are 
against him, and a troubler of the church and the world. 
He that in his self-conceitedness dare resist the wisest, and 
his teachers and rulers, and set countries on fire, is wickedly 

So in the practice of physic, when people will be self- 
conceited, when the lives of others lie upon it: and a silly 
fellow or woman will venture to let blood, to give this or 
that, who know neither the disease nor proper cure. 

7. It is therefore a heinous sin in rulers, who must judge 
for the life and death of others, or for the peace or misery of 
thousands about them. I mean pastors, and commanders in 
armies and navies, and other governors on whom the public 
welfare of the church, or army or navy, or country doth de- 
pend. O how wise should that person be, whose errors may 
cost thousands so dear as their destruction ! Or if their 


understandings be not extraordinary, how cautious should 
they be in judging; upon hearing the wisest, and hearing- 
dissenters, and not only flatterers or consenters : and hear- 
ing men of several minds, and hearing all witnesses and 
evidence, and hearing every man speak for himself: and 
after all considering thoroughly of it: especially of laws and 
wars, and impositions in religion, where thousands of con- 
sciences, say what you can, will expect satisfaction. When 
a woman called to Antigonus to hear her cause, and to do 
her justice, he told her that he could not have leisure; she 
answered, you should not have Avhile to be king then : 
whereupon he heard her, and did her right. Had it been to 
an inferior judge, she had spoken reason. 

8. Lastly, pretended certainty is the greater sin when it 
is falsely fathered on God. But the Pope and Council dare 
pretend, that God hath promised them infallibility, and God 
hath certified them that the consecrated bread is no bread, 
and that our senses are all deceived ; and God hath made the 
Pope the universal ruler of the world or church, and made 
him and his council the only judges, by which all men must 
know what is the word of God. So, when fanatics will pre- 
tend, that by revelation, visions, or inspirations of the Spirit, 
God hath assured them that this or that is the meaning of 
a text which they understand not, or the truth in such 
or such a controversy. Alas ! among two many well-mean- 
ing persons, God is pretended for a multitude of sinful errors; 
and they that preach false doctrine will do it, as the old pro- 
phet spake to the young, as from the Lord : and they that 
rail at godliness, and they that censure, backbite, cast out or 
persecute their brethren, will do it as Rabshakeh ; " Hath 
not God sent me," &c. Men will not make any snares for 
the church, or their brethren's consciences, but in the name 
of God : They will not divide the church, nor cast out in- 
fants, nor refuse communion with their brethren, but in the 
name of God. One man saith, ' God forbiddeth him all 
book-prayers, or all imposed forms of prayer:' And another 
saith, ' God forbiddeth him all but such.' And all belie God, 
and add this heinous abuse of his holy word and name unto 
their sin. 



Some special Aggravations more of this Sin, in Students, and 
Pastors, which should deter them from pretended Knowledge 
or Prejidence. 

To such, I will suppose, that to name the evils may suffice, 
on ray part, without sharp amplifications. Though I have 
spoken to you first in what is said, I will briefly add, 

1. That this sin will make slothful students. Few study 
hard, who are quickly confident of their first conceptions. 

2. While you study, it keepeth out knowledge: you are 
too full of yourselves, to receive easily from others. 

3. It is the common parent of error and heresy. Igno- 
rance is the mother, and Pride the father of them all : and 
prefidence and pretended knowledge, is but proud ignorance 
in another name. 

4. What a life of precious time will you waste in follow- 
ing the erroneous thoughts of your bewildered minds. 

5. As food altereth the temperament of the body while it 
nourisheth, so the very temperament of your minds, and 
wills, and affections, will become vain, and frothy, and sha- 
dowy, or malignant and perverse, according to the quality 
of your error. 

6. It is the common parent of superstition : it defileth 
God's worship with human inventions, with duties and sins 
of our own making. All such men's dreams will seem to 
them to be the laws of God. 

7. It will entail a corrupt education of youth upon us, 
and consequently a corrupt degenerate kind of learning, and 
so a degenerate ministry on the churches. When youths 
are possessed with abundance of uncertainties, under the 
name of learning and religion, it will grow the custom to 
teach, and talk, and live accordingly : do I say, it will do ? 
If the schoolmen's error in this, deserve but half as much as 
Faber, Valla, Hutten, Erasmus, charge upon them; you 
should hear and take warning : not to avoid the most accu- 
rate knowledge by the hardest studies, but to avoid pre- 
tending that you know what you do not. 

8. And you will make vain strife and contention about 
vanity, your very trade and business, when you come abroad 


in the world. They that make uncertainties or errors to be 
their studies and honourable learning, must keep up the ho- 
nour of it by living as they learned, and talking vainly for 
the vanities of their minds. 

9. And you are likely hereby to become the chief in- 
struments of Satan, to trouble the church either with here- 
sies, schisms, or persecutions. 

10. And truly it should much turn your hearts against 
it, to know that it is a continual habit or exercise of pride. 
And pride, the devil's sin, is one of the most heinous and 
odious to God. If you hate any sin, you should hate pride. 
And it is one of the worst sorts of pride too. As nature 
hath three principles, active power, intellect and will, and 
man three excellencies, greatness, wisdom and goodness ; 
so pride hath these three great objects : men are proud that 
they are greater, or wiser, or better than others : that is, they 
think themselves greater, or wiser or better than they are ; 
and they would have others think so too. As for pride of 
beauty, or clothing, or such like corporeal things and ap- 
purtenances ; it is the vice of children, and the more shal- 
low and foolish sort of women. But greater things make up 
a greater sort of pride. O what a number of all ranks and 
ages do live in this great sin of pride of wisdom, or an over- 
valued understanding, who never feel or lament it. 

11. Moreover, your prefidence prepareth you for scepti- 
cism, or doubting the most certain necessary truths : like 
some of our sectaries, who have been falsely confident of so 
many religions, till at last they doubt of all religion. He that 
finds that he was deceived while he was an Anabaptist, and 
deceived when he was a Separatist, and deceived while he 
was an Antinomian or Libertine, and deceived when he was a 
Quaker ; is prepared to think also that he was deceived when 
he was a Christian, and when he believed the immortality of 
the soul, and the life to come. When you have found your 
understandings oft deceive you, you will grow so distrustful 
of them, as hardly ever to^believe them when it is most ne- 
cessary. He that often lieth, will hardly be believed when 
he speaketh truth. And all this cometh from believing your 
first and slight apprehensions too easily, and too soon, and 
so filling up your minds with lies, which when they are dis- 
covered, make the truth to be suspected. Like some fanci- 
ful, lustful youths, who hastily grow fond of some unsuitable, 


unlovely person, and when they know them, cannot so much 
as allow them the conjugal affection which they are bound to. 
12. Lastly, consider what a shame it is to your under- 
standings, and how it contradicteth your pretence of know- 
ledge. For, how little knoweth that man, who knoweth not 
his own ignorance ! How can it be thought that you are 
likely to know great matters at a distance, the profundities, 
sublimities, and subtleties of sciences, who know not yet 
how little you know. 


Proofs of the little Knotoledge that is in the World, to move us 
to a due Distrust of our Understandings. 

If you think this sin of a proud understanding, and pre- 
tended knowledge, doth need for the cure of a fuller disco- 
very of its vanity, I know not how to do it more convincingly, 
than by showing you how little true knowledge is in the 
world, and consequently that all mankind have cause to 
think meanly of their understandings. 

I. The great imperfection of the sciences, is a plain dis- 
covery of it : when mankind hath had above five thousand 
years already to have grown to more perfection ; yet how 
much is still dark, and controverted ! And how much un- 
known in comparison of what we know ! But above all, 
though nothing is perfectly known which is not methodically 
known ; yet how few have a true methodical knowledge! He 
that seeth but some parcels of truth, or seeth them but con- 
fusedly, or in a false method, not agreeable to the things, 
doth know but little, because he knoweth not the place, and 
order, and respects of truths to one another, and consequently 
neither their composition, harmony, strength or use. Like 
a philosopher that knew nothing but elements, and not mixed 
bodies, or animate beings: or like an anatomist that is but 
an atomist, and can say no more of the body of a man, but 
that it is made up of atoms, or at most can only enumerate 
the similar parts : or like a man that knoweth no more of his 
clock and watch, but as the pieces of it lie on a heap, or at 
best, setteth some one part out of its place, which disableth 
the whole engine : or like one that knoweth the chessmen 


only as they are in the bag, or at best in some disorder. 
Who will make me so happy as to show me one true scheme 
of physics, of metaphysics, of logic, yea of theology, which 
I cannot presently prove guilty of such mistake, confusion, 
disorder, as tendeth to great error in the subsequent parts. 
I know of no small number that have been offered to the 
world, but never saw one that satisfied my understanding. 
And I think I scarcely know any thing to purpose, till I can 
draw a true scheme of it, and set each compounding notion 
in its place. 

II. And the great diversity and contrariety of opinions, 
of notions and of methods, proveth that our knowledge in- 
deed is yet but small. How many methods of logic have 
we ! how many hypotheses in physics, yea, how many con- 
tentious volumes written against one another, in philosophy 
and theology itself! What loads of ' Videturs' in the school- 
men ! How many sects and opinions in religion ! Physicians 
agree not about men's lives. Lawyers agree not about men's 
estates; no nor about the very fundamental laws. If there 
be a civil war, where both sides appeal to the law, there will 
be lawyers on both sides. And doth not this prove that we 
know but little! 

III. But men's rage and confidence in these contrarieties 
doth discover it yet more. Read their contentious writings 
of philosophy and theology ; observe their usage of one an- 
other, what contempt, what reproach, what cruelties they 
can proceed to ! The Papist silenceth and burnetii the Pro- 
testant; the Lutheran silenceth and revileth the Calvinist; 
the Calvinist sharply judgeth the Arminians, and so round : 
and may I not judge that this wisest part of the world is low 
in knowledge, when not the vulgar only, but the leaders and 
doctors are so commonly mistaken in their greatest zeal ! 
And that Solomon erred not in saying, " The fool rageth, 
and is confident." 

IV. If our knowledge were not very low, the long expe- 
rience of the world would have long ago reconciled our con- 
troversies. The strivings and distractions about them, both 
in philosophy, politics and theology, have torn churches, 
and raised wars, and set kingdoms on fire, and should in 
reason be to us as a bone out of joint, which by the pain 
should force us all to seek for a cure : and surely in so 



many thousand years, many remedies have been tried : the 
issues of such disingenuous-ingenious wars, do furnish 
men with such experience as should teach them the cure. 
And yet after so many years' war of wits, to be so witless as 
to find no end, no remedy, no peace, doth shew that the wit 
of man is not such a thing to be proud of. 

V. The great mutability of our apprehensions doth shew 
that they are not many things that we are certain of. Do 
we not feel in ourselves how new thoughts and new reasons 
are ready to breed new conjectures in us, and that looketh 
doubtful to us, upon further thoughts, of which long before 
we had no doubt. Besides the multitudes that change their 
very religion, every studious person so oft changeth his con- 
ceptions, as may testify the shallowness of our minds. 

VI. The general barbarity of the world, the few coun- 
tries that have polite learning, or true civility, or Christia- 
nity, do tell us that knowledge in the world is low : when 
besides the vast unknow regions of the world, all that are of 
late discovery in the West Indies, or elsewhere, are found to 
be so rude and barbarous ; some little differing from subtle 
brutes : when the vast regions of Africa, of Tartary, and 
other parts of Asia, are no wiser to this day. When the Ro- 
man Eastern empire so easily parted with Christianity, and 
is turned so much to barbarous ignorance ; this sheweth 
what we are ; for these men are all born as capable as we. 

VII. Especially the sottish opinions, which the Heathen 
and Mahometan world do generally entertain, do tell us how 
dark a creature man is. That four parts of the whole world 
(if not much more, that is unknown) should receive all the 
sottish opinions as they do, both against the light of nature, 
knowing so little of God, and by such vain conceits of their 
prophets and petty deities : that above the fifth part of the 
known world, should receive, and so long and quietly retain, 
so sottish an opinion as Mahometanism is, and build upon 
it the hopes of their salvation."* If the Greek Church can be 
corrupted into so gross a foolery, why may not the Latin, 
and the English, if they had the same temptations ? O what 
a sad proof is here of human folly! 

VIII. But in the Latin Church (be it spoken without 
any comparing Mahometanism with Christianity) the won- 
der is still greater, and the discovery of the fallaciousness of 


man's understanstanding is yet more clear : were there no 
proof of it, but the very being of Popery in the world, and 
the reception of it by such and so many, it affordeth the 
strongest temptation that ever I thought of in the world, to 
the brutist, to question whether instinct advance not brutes 
above man! The brutes distrust not their right disposed 
senses ; but the Papists not only distrust them, but renounce 
them : bread is no bread, and wine is no wine with them, all 
men's senses are deceived that think otherwise: it is neces- 
sary to salvation to believe that God's natural revelations to 
sense here are false, and not to be believed. Every man that 
will be saved must believe that bread is no bread, that quan- 
tity, locality, colour, weight, figure, are the quantity, loca- 
lity, colour, weight, figure, of nothing : and God worketh 
grand miracles by every priest, as frequently as he conse- 
crateth in the mass : and if any man refuse to swear to this 
renunciation of human sense, and the truth of these miracles, 
he must be no priest, but a combustible heretic. And if any 
temporal lord refuse to exterminate all those from their do- 
minions, who will believe their senses, and not think it ne- 
cessary to renounce them as deceived, he must be excom- 
municated and dispossessed himself, his subjects absolved 
from their oaths and allegiance, and his dominions given to 
another: and this is their very religion, being the decree of 
a great General Council, questioned indeed by some few Pro- 
testants, but not at all by them, but largely vindicated : La- 
ter, sub. Innoc. 3. Can. 1. 3. The sum is, no man that will 
not renounce not only his humanity, but his animality, must 
be suffered to live in any one's dominions, and he that will 
suffer men in his dominions, must be himself turned out! 
this is plain truth : and yet this is the religion of popes and 
emperors, and kings, of lords and counsellors, of prelates and 
doctors, universities, churches and famous kingdoms : and 
such as men, all these wise men dare lay their salvation upon; 
and dare massacre men by thousands and hundred thousands 
upon, and burn their neighbours to ashes upon ; and what 
greater confidence of certainty can be expressed ! And yet 
shall men be proud of wit? O what is man ! How dark, how 
sottish and mad a thing ! All these great princes, doctors, 
cardinals, universities and kingdoms, are born with natures 
as capacious as ours. They are in other things as wise: 
they pity us as heretics, because we will not cease to be men : 


The infidel thatdenieth man's reason and immortality, would 
but level us with the brutes, and allow us the preeminence 
among them in subtlety : but all these Papists forswear or 
renounce that sense which is common to brutes with us, and 
sentence us either below the brutes, or unto hell. Pretend 
no more, poor man, to great knowledge. As the sight of a 
grave and a rotten carcase may humble the fool that is proud 
of beauty, so the thought of the Popish, Mahometan and 
Heathen world, may humble him that is proud of his under- 
standing. I tell thee, man, thou art capable of that mad- 
ness as to believe that an ox or an onion is a God ; or to 
believe that a bit of bread is God ; yea more, to believe as 
necessary to salvation, that thy own and all men's senses 
about their proper objects are deceived, and the bread which 
thou seest and eatest is no bread ; yea though it be three 
times in the three next verses (1 Cor. xi.) called bread after 
consecration by an inspired expositor of Christ's words. 

IX. Moreover the poverty of man's understanding ap- 
peareth by the great time and labour that must be bestowed 
for knowledge. We must be learning as soon as we have 
the use of reason, and all our life must be bestowed in it. I 
know by experience, knowledge will not be got without 
long, hard and patient studies. O what abundance of books 
must we read ! What abundance of deep meditations must 
we use ! What help of teachers do we need ! And when 
all is done, how little do we obtain ! Is this an intellect to 
be proud of? 

X. And it is observable how every man slighteth an • 
other's reasons, while he would have all to magnify his own. 
All the arguments that in disputation are used against him, 
how frivolous and foolish are they ! All the books that are 
written against him, are little better than nonsense, or he- 
resy, or blasphemy : contempt is answer enough to most that 
is said against them. And yet the men in other men's eyes, 
are perhaps wiser and better than themselves. Most men 
are fools in the judgments of others! Whatever side or 
party you are of, there are many parties against you, who all 
pity your ignorance, and judge you silly, deceived souls. So 
that if one man be to be believed of another, and if the most 
of mankind be not deceived, we are all poor, silly, cheated 
souls : but if most be deceived, mankind is a very deceiva- 
ble creature. How know I that I must believe you, when 


you befool twenty other sects, any more than I should be- 
lieve those twenty sects, when they as confidently befool 
you ; if no other evidence turn the scales ? 

XI. And verily I think that the wars and contentions, 
and distractions of the kingdoms of the world, do shew us 
that man is a pitiful, silly, deceivable thing. I am not at 
all so sharp against wars and soldiers as Erasmus was ; but 
I should think that if men were wise, they might keep their 
peace, and save the lives of thousands, which must be dearly 
answered for. Were all the princes of Christendom, as wise 
as proud wits conceit themselves to be, how easy were it for 
them to agree among themselves, and equally to distribute 
the charge of two or three armies, which might quickly 
shake in pieces the Turk's dominion, and recover Constan- 
tinople, and free the Greek church from their captivity. 

XII. And what need we more than every days' miscar- 
riages to tell us of our folly ! Do we not miss it in one de- 
gree or other in almost all that we take in hand ! Hence 
cometh the ruin of estates, the ill education of children, the 
dissentions among neighbours and in families. Parents 
have scarce wit enough to breed and teach a child ; nor 
husbands and wives to live together according to their rela- 
tions ; nor masters to teach their servants. If I write a 
book, how many can find folly and error in it : and I as ea- 
sily in theirs. If I preach, how many faults can the silliest 
woman find in it : and I as many perhaps in other men's. 
Do we live in such weakness, and shall we not know it ? 

XIII. And the uncurableness of ancient errors is no 
small evidence of our folly. If our ancestors have but been 
deceived before us, though their error be never so palpable, 
we plead their venerable antiquity, for an honour to their 
ignorance and mistakes. The wisdom of wise ancestors al- 
most dieth with them ; but the errors of the mistaken must 
be successive, lest they be dishonoured. We will deny rea- 
son, and deny Scripture, and deny sense, for fear of being 
wiser for our souls, than some of our forefathers were. 

XIV. The self-destroying courses of mankind, one would 
think, should be enough to evince man's folly. Who al- 
most suffer but by themselves ! Few sicknesses befal us 
which folly brings not on us by excess of eating or drinking, 
or by sloth, or some unwise neglect. Few ruins of estates 
but by our own folly ! Few calamities and relations but by 


ourselves ! What churches distracted and ruined, but by 
the pastors and children of the church themselves ! What 
kingdom ruined without its own procurement. It need not 
be said. ' Quos perdere vult Jupiter hos dementat ;' it is 
enough to say, ' Insaniam eorum non curat :' If he cure not 
our madness, we shall certainly destroy ourselves. Whose 
hands kindled all the flames that have wasted the glory, 
wealth and peace of England in state and church, except 
our own ? Were they foreign enemies that did it, and still 
keep open our wounds, or is it ourselves ? And yet are we 

wise men ? 

XV. But the greatest evidence in all the world of the 
madness of mankind, is the obstinate self-destruction of all 
the ungodly. Consider but 1. The weight of the case : 2. 
The plainness of the case : 3. The means used to undeceive 
them : 4. And yet the number of the madly erroneous ; and 
then bethink you what man's understanding is. 

1. It is their souls and everlasting hopes that are cast 
away ! It is no less than heaven and endless happiness 
which they reject: it is no better than hell and endless mi- 
sery which they run into ; and are these men in their wits ? 

2. It is themselves that do all this ; neither man nor de- 
vils else could do it: they do it for nothing. What have 
the w r retches for their salvation ? a few cups of drink, a filthy 
whore, a little preferment or provision for a corruptible 
flesh, which must shortly lie and rot in darkness ; the ap- 
plause and breath of flatterers as silly as themselves ! O 
profane persons, worse than Esau, who will sell their birth- 
right for so poor a morsel ! Come, see the madness of man- 
kind ! It is a doubt to them whether God or a filthy lust 
should be more loved and obeyed ! It is a doubt with them 
whether heaven or earth be better worth their labour ! 
Whether eternity or an inch of time; whether a soul or a 
perishing body should be more cared for ! Are these wise 
men? Did I say, It is a doubt? Yea, their choice and 
practice sheweth that at the present they are resolved : va- 
nity, and shadows, and dreams are preferred ; heaven is neg- 
lected ; " They are lovers of pleasure more than of God :" 
they set less than a feather in the balance against more than 
all the world, and they choose the first, and neglect the 
latter. This is the wise world ! 

3. And all this they do against common reason, against 


daily teaching of appointed pastors, against the j udgment of 
the most learned and wise men in the world : against the 
express word of God ; against the obligation of daily mer- 
cies; against the warnings of many afflictions; against the 
experience of all the world, who pronounce all this vanity 
which they sell their souls for ; even while men die daily 
before their eyes, and they are certain that they must shortly 
die themselves ; while they walk over the churchyard, and 
tread on the graves of those that went before them ; yet will 
they take no warning, but neglect God and their souls, and 
sin on to the very death. 

4. And this is not the case only of here and there one ; 
we need not go to Bedlam to seek them. Alas ! in how 
much more honoured and splendid habitations and condi- 
tions may they be found ! In what reverend and honoura- 
ble garbs ! And in how great numbers throughout the 
world ! And these are not only sots and idiots, that never 
were told of better things ; but those that would be ac- 
counted witty, or men of learning and venerable aspect and 
esteem. But this is a subject that we use to preach on to 
the people ; it being easy, by a multitude of arguments, to 
prove the madness of all ungodly persons. And is this no- 
thing to humble us, who were naturally like them, and who, 
so far as we are sinners, are, alas ! too like them still ? 

XVI. And the fewness of wise men in all professions, 

doth tell us how rare true wisdom is. Among men whose 

wisdom lieth in speculation, where the effects of it do not 

openly difference it much from prefidence, the difference is 

not commonly discerned : a prating speculator goeth for a 

wise man ; but in practicals the difference appeareth by the 

effects. All men see, that among physicians and lawyers, 

those that are excellent are few. And even among the 

godly preachers of the Gospel, O that it were more easy and 

common, to meet with men suited to the majesty, mystery, 

greatness, necessity and holiness of their works ; that speak 

to God, and from God, like divines indeed, and have the true 

frame of sound theology ready in their heads and hearts ; 

and that in public and private speak to sinners, as beseem- 

etli those that believe that they and we are at the door of 

eternity, and that we speak, and they hear for the life of 

souls, and that are uncertain whether ever they shall speak 

again. Alas! Lord, thy treasure is not only in earthen ves- 


sels, but how ordinarily in polluted vessels, and how com- 
mon are empty, sounding vessels, or such as have dirt or air 
instead of holy treasure! 

And as for philosophers and judicious speculators in di- 
vinity, do I need to say, that the number is too small? Of 
" such as are able judiciously to resolve a difficulty, to answer 
cases of conscience, to defend the truth, to stop the mouths 
of all gainsayers, and to teach holy doctrine clearly and in 
true method, without confusion, or running into any ex- 
tremes ? We bless God, this land, and the other reformed 
churches have had a laudable degree of this mercy : the Lord 
restore it to them and us, and continue the comfortable mea- 
sure that we possess. 

XVII. And it is a notorious discovery of the common 
ignorance, that a wise man is so hardly known. Men that 
have not wisdom to imitate them, have not wit enough to 
value them ; so that as Seneca saith, ' He that will have the 
pleasure of wisdom, must be content with it for itself, with- 
out applause : two or three approvers must suffice him.' The 
blind know not who hath the best eyesight. Swine trample 
upon pearls. Nay, it is well if, when they have increased 
knowledge, they increase not sorrow ; and become not the 
mark of envy and hatred, and of the venom of malignant 
tongues and hands, yea, and that merely for their knowledge 
sake. All the learning of Socrates, Demosthenes, Cicero, 
Seneca, Lucan, and many more ; and all the learning and 
piety of Cyprian, and all the martyrs of those ages ; of 
Boetius, of the African bishops that perished by Hunneri- 
chus ; of Peter Ramus, Marlorate, Cranmer, Ridley, Phil- 
pot, Bradford, and abundance such, could not keep them 
from a cruel death. All the excellency of Greg. Nazianzen, 
Chrysostom, and many others, could not keep them from 
suffering by orthodox bishops ; no nor all the holiness and 
miracles of Martin. Insomuch that Nazianzen leaveth it to 
his people as a mark of the man whom he would have them 
value and choose when he was dead. 'This one thing I re- 
quire, that he be one of those that are envied, not pitied by 
others; who obey not all men in all things; but for the 
love of truth in some things incurreth men's offence. ' And 
of himself he professeth, that, ' Though most thought other- 
wise than he did, that this was nothing to him who cared 
only for the truth, as that which must condemn him or ab- 


solve him, and make him happy or miserable. But what 
other men thought was nothing to him, any more than what 
another dreameth.' Orat. 27. p. 468. And therefore he saith, 
Orat. 26. p. 443. 'As for me, I am a small and poor pastor, 
and to speak sparingly, not yet grateful, and accepted with 
other pastors, which whether it be done by right judgment 
and reason, or by malevolence of mind, and study of con- 
tention, I know not.' And Orat. 32. p. 523. ' I am tired, 
while I fight both with speech and envy, with enemies, and 
with those that are our own. Those strike at the breast, 
and obtain not their desire : for an open enemy is easily 
taken heed of; but these come behind my back and are 
more troublesome.' 

Such obloquy had Jerom, such had Augustine himself, 
and who knoweth not that envy is virtue's shadow? And 
what talk I of others, when all godly men are hated by the 
world, and the apostles and Christ himself were used as they 
were ; and Christ saith, " Which of the prophets did not 
your fathers kill and persecute ?" (Matt, xxiii.) If hating, 
persecuting, slandering, silencing, killing men that know 
more than the rest, be a sign of wisdom, the world hath been 
wise since Cain's age until this. 

Even a Galilseus, a Savonarola, a Campanella, &c. shall 
feel it if they will be wiser than the rest : so that Solomon's 
warning, (Eccles. vii. 16,) concerneth them that will save 
their skin ; " Be not righteous overmuch, neither make thy- 
self over-wise : why wilt thou destroy thyself?" But again I 
may prognosticate with Anthisthenes in Laert. * Then cities 
are perishing, when they are not wise enough to know the 
good from the bad.' And with Cicero, Rhet. 1. 'That 
man's safety is desperate whose ears are shut against the 
truth, so that even from a friend he cannot hear it.' 

XVIII. And this leadeth me to the next discovery. How 
rare wisdom is in the world, in that the wisest men and most 
learned teachers have so small success. How few are much 
the wiser for them ! If they praise them, they will not learn 
of them, till they reach to their degree. Men may delight 
in the sweetness of truth themselves ; but it is a feast where 
few will strive for part with them. A very few men that 
have first sprung up in obscure times have had great suc- 
cess : so had Origen at Alexandria, and Chrysostom at Con- 
stantinople, but with bitter sauce. Pythagoras, Plato and 


Aristotle at Athens, and Augustine at Hippo, had the most 
that history maketh mention of, with Demosthenes and Ci- 
cero in oratory ; Melanchthon at Wirtemburgh, with Lu- 
ther, and Zuinglius in Helvetia, and Calvin at Geneva pre- 
vailed much : and now and then an age hath been fruitful of 
learned, wise and godly men : and when we are ready to ex- 
pect, that each of these should have a multitude of scholars 
like themselves, suddenly all declineth, and ignorance and 
sensuality get uppermost again. And all this is because 
that all men are born ignorant and sensual ; but no man at- 
taineth to any excellency of wisdom, without so long and 
laborious studies, as the flesh will give leave to few men to 
perform. So that he that hath most laboriously searched 
for knowledge all his days, knoweth not how to make others 
partakers of it ; no not his own children of whom he hath 
the education : unless it be here and there one Scaliger, one 
Paraeus, one Tossanus, one Trelcatius, one Vossius, &c. 
How few excellent men do leave one excellent son behind 
them! O what would a wise man give, that he could but 
bequeath all his wisdom to others when he dieth ! 

XIX. And it is evident that great knowledge is more 
rare than prefidence, in that the hardest students, and most 
knowing men, complain more than others of difficulties and 
ignorance : when certainly other men have more cause. They 
that study a little, know little, and think they know much : 
they that study very hard, but not to maturity, oft become 
sceptics, and think nothing certain. But they that follow 
it till they have digested their studies, do find a certainty 
in Xhe great and necessary things, but confess their igno- 
rance in abundance of things which the presumptuous are 
confident in. I will not leave this out, to escape the carp- 
ing of those that will say, that by this character I proclaim 
myself one of the wisest, as long as it is but the confession 
of my ignorance which is their occasion. But I will say as 
Augustin to Jerom, Epist. 29. ' Adversus eos qui sibi viden- 
tur scire quod nesciunt, hoc tutiores sumus, quod hanc ig- 
norantiam nostram non ignoramus.' 

XX. Lastly, every man's nature, in the midst of his pride, 
is conscious of the fallibility and frailty of his own under- 
standing. And thence it is that men are so fearful in great 
matters of being overreached. And wherever any conclu- 
sion dependeth upon a contexture of many proofs, or on any 


long, operous work of reason, men have a natural con- 
sciousness of the uncertainty of it. Yea, though our doc- 
trines of the immortality of our own souls, and of the life of 
retribution after this, and the truth of the Gospel, have so 
much evidence as they have, yet a lively, certain faith is the 
more rare and difficult, because men are so conscious of the 
fallibility of their own understandings, that about things un- 
seen and unsensible, they are still apt to doubt, whether 
they be not deceived in their apprehensions of the evidence. 
By these twenty instances it is too plain that there is 
little solid wisdom in the world; that wise men are few, and 
those few are but a little wise. And should not this suffice 
to make all men, but especially the unlearned, half-learned, 
the young, and unexperienced, to abate their ungrounded 
confidence and to have humble and suspicious thoughts of 
their own apprehensions. 


Inference 5. That it is not the Dishonour, but the Praise of' 
Christ, his Apostles and the Gospel, that they speak in a plain 
manner of the Certain Necessary Things, without the Vanity 
of School-Uncertainties, and feigned unprofitable Notions ? 

I have been myself often scandalized at the Fathers of the 
fourth Carthage Council m , who forbid bishops the reading 
of the heathen books ; and at some good old unlearned 
Christian bishops, who spake to the same purpose, and often 
reproach Apollinaris, iEtius and other heretics for their se- 
cular or Gentile learning, logic, &c. And I wondered that 
Julian and they should prohibit the same thing. But one 
that is so far distant from the action, is not a competent 
judge of the reasons of it. Perhaps there were some Chris- 
tian authors then, who were sufficient for such literature as 
was best for the Church : perhaps they saw that the danger 
of reading the heathens' philosophy was like to be greater 
than the benefit : both because it was them that they lived 
among, and were to gather the churches out of; and if they 
put an honour upon logic and philosophy, they might find 

m Concil. Carlh. 4, Can. 16- 


it more difficult to draw men from that party which excelled 
in it, to the belief of the Scriptures which seemed to have 
so little of it : and they had seen also how a mixture of Pla- 
tonic notions with Christianity, had not only been the origi- 
nal of many heresies, but had sadly blemished many great 
doctors of the churches. 

Whatever the cause was, it appeareth that in those days 
it was the deepest insight into the sacred Scriptures which 
was reckoned for the most solid learning ; philosophy was 
so confounded by differences, sects, uncertainties and false- 
hoods, that made it the more dispicable, by how much the 
less pure. And logic had so many precarious rules and no- 
tions, as made it fitter to wrangle and play with, than to 
further grave men in their deep and serious inquiry in the 
great things of God, and mysteries of salvation. 

But yet it cannot be denied but that true learning of the 
subservient arts and sciences is of so great use to the accom- 
plishing of man's mind with wisdom, that it is one of the 
greatest offences that ever was taken against Christ and the 
holy Scriptures, that so little of this learning is found in 
them, in comparison of what in Plato, Aristotle, Demost- 
henes, or Cicero. But to remove the danger of this offence, 
let these things following be well considered : 

I. Every means is to be judged of by its aptitude to its 
proper use and end : morality is the subject and business 
of the Scriptures : it is not the work of it to teach men logic 
and philosophy, any more than to teach them languages : 
Who will be offended with Christ for not teaching men Latin, 
Greek, or Hebrew, Architecture, Navigation, or Mechanic 
Arts ? And why should they be more offended with him for 
not teaching them Astronomy, Geometry, Physics, Meta- 
physics, Logic, &c. It was none of his work. 

II. Nature is presupposed to grace ; and God in nature 
have before given man sufficient helps to the attainment of 
so much of the knowledge of nature, as was convenient for 
him. Philosophy is the knowledge of God's works of crea- 
tion. It was not this (at least chiefly) that man lost by his 
fall : it was from God, and not from the creature that he 
turned : and it was to the knowledge of God, rather than of 
the creature, that he was to be restored. What need one be 
sent from heaven to teach men the order and rules of speak- 
ing? or to teach men those arts and sciences which they 


can otherwise learn themselves. As it is presupposed that 
men have reason, so that they have among them the common 
helps and crutches of reason. 

III. The truth is, it is much to be suspected, lest as an 
inordinate desire of creature-knowledge was a great part of 
our first parents' sin, so it hath accordingly corrupted our 
nature with an answerable vicious inclination thereunto : 
not that the thing in itself is evil to know God's works ; but 
good and desirable in its place and measure : but it is such 
a good as by inordinacy may become a dangerous evil: 
why should we not judge of this desire of knowing the crea- 
tures, as we do of other creature-affections ? It is lawful 
and meet to love all God's creatures : his works are good, 
and therefore amiable. And yet I think no man is damned 
but by the inordinate loving of the creature, turning his 
heart from the love of God. And as our appetites are law- 
ful and necessary in themselves, and yet nature's pravity 
consisteth much in the prevalency of them against reason, 
which is by reason's infirmity, and the inordinacy of the sen- 
sitive appetite ; even so a desire to know God's works, is 
natural and good ; but its inordinateness is our pravity, and 
a sinful lust. 

Doubtless the mind and fantasy may find a kind of 
pleasure in knowing, which is according to the nature and 
use of the thing known. When it is vain, or low, and base, 
the pleasure is vain, and low, and base : when the object is 
ensnaring and diverting from higher things, it doth this 
principally by delight. Verily this inordinate desire of 
creature-knowledge is a lust, a vicious lust. I have been 
guilty of it in some measure myself, since I had the use of 
reason : 1 have lived a life of constant pleasure, gratifying 
my intellect and fantasy with seeking to know as much 
as I could know: and if I could not say truly, that I re- 
ferred it as a means to the knowledge and love of God, I 
should say that it was all sin : but because I have loved it 
too much for itself, and not referred it to God more purely 
and entirely, I must confess that it was never blameless. 

And the corruption of the noblest faculty is the worst : 
the delights of eating, drinking, venery, are the matter of 
common sensuality, when they are inordinately desired : 
and is not the inordinate desire of creature-knowledge, (if it 


be desired from the like principle, and to the like ends) as 
bad or worse in some i*espects? Consider, 

1. I am sure that it doth as much take up and prepossess 
the mind, which should be employed on God, and take up 
those thoughts and affections which should be holy. Tell 
me why one man should be accounted carnal and ungodly, 
for delighting to see his own houses, fields, woods, corn, 
rivers, cattle, inc., rather than another that hath as much de- 
light to peruse a map of pleasant countries, setting aside the 
covetous desire of having much. Do we not justly ac- 
count it as unfit a work for the Lord's-day to be for pleasure 
perusing maps, as to be for pleasure viewing the woods and 
fields ? many a poor student is as long and perilously en- 
tangled in his thoughts and affections, and kept from God 
and heaven, and holiness, by deep study of languages, cus- 
toms, countries, chronology, logic, physics, mathematics, 
metaphysics, laws, Sec, as worldlings are by overminding 
the world. 

2. And it wasteth their precious time as much as other 
lusts do. One sensualist spendeth his hours in gaming, 
feasting, wantonness, idle courtship, hunting, hawking, 
bowling, and other excess of sports : another spends his 
precious time in hearing comedies ; and another in reading 
play-books and romances ; and another in reading true and 
useful history, and other parts of useful learning : and though 
the matter of the latter be better than the former, a man may 
make up the same sensuality in one as in the other ; in read- 
ing mathematics or history, as in reading, or beholding, and 
hearing comedies. 

3. And some turn this learning to as powerful a perver- 
sion of the mind, as others do their sensual delights. Many 
think so highly of their languages and chronology, and phi- 
losophy, that secretly they are drawn by it to despise the 
Gospel, and to think a holy life to be but an employment for 
women, and persons that live more by affection than by 
judgment: so perniciously doth learning make them mad. 

4. And abundance make it the fuel of their pride, and 
think that they are excellent persons, because they have got 
some ornaments of the mind : as vain women are proud of 
fine clothes instead of real comeliness and worth. I will 
not dishonour some famous writer by naming them here, 


lest I seem to take down their due praise; but in general I 
may say, that it is more than one, of our late famous philo- 
logical and grammatical critics, who openly shew so much 
pride of their kind of worldly knowledge, as may warn hum- 
ble men to fear such temptations, and to see that this learn- 
ing may be made a snare. 

5. And the worst of all is, that while such learned men 
think highly of themselves for that, they are kept from the 
knowledge and sense of their sinful corruption and misery, 
and feel not the need of a Saviour and a Sanctifier ; they cry 
not for grace ; they seek not after God and everlasting hap- 
piness ; they neglect a holy, heavenly life ; they take up 
some easy formalities and words to make up an image of re- 
ligion on ; and then they think that (in their unhumbled, un- 
sanctified state) they have as good right to be esteemed 
godly, as any other ; and if any question it, they are ac- 
counted proud, self-conceited fanatics, who appropriate 
the reputation of holiness to themselves : and to question a 
learned formalist's sincerity, (as Martin and Sulpitius Severus 
did Ithacius his, and his fellow bishops) is to expose him- 
self to the censure of proud hypocrisy. Yea, no man is so 
fit for the church preferment and honour, and to be the 
governor of all religious persons and affairs, as one of these 
unsanctified, learned men is in his own eyes : from whence 
it is that the state of the churches is low in the East and 
West (the Roman I mean), because those that have truly no 
religion must dispose of religion, and the Churches of Christ 
must be instructed and ruled by his real enemies ; and those 
that hate godliness at the heart, must be the teachers of 
godliness, and the chief managers of the sacred work. 

Lay all this together, and think whether our inordinate 
desire of common learning, which is the knowledge of the 
creature, be not the fruit of Adam's sin. 

And if it prove so, consider how far it was the work of 
Christ to cure it. Sure he was sent to destroy the works of 
the devil (not learning, but this inordinate desire of it). And 
he was to mortify it in the same way as he mortified other 
sinful lusts. Therefore as he mortified venereous and all 
sensual lusts, by holy examples, and by condemning them, 
and calling men off from them to spiritual delights ; and as 
he mortified the worldliness in men, by living himself a life 
of poverty and inferiority in the world, and calling men off 


from the love of the world, to the love of God and glory: 
even so no wonder if he mortified in men the inordinate de- 
sire of greater knowledge, by calling them up to higher 
things, and shewing them the vanity of this alone. And as 
he saith, " Love not the world, or the things that are in the 
world : If any man love the world, the love of the Father is 
not in him.' (1 John ii. 15.) When yet the ordinate love of 
the world is lawful: and as he saith, (John vi. 27.) " Labour 
not for the meat that perisheth," when he meaneth, labour 
not for it inordinately : even so no wonder if Christ omit 
this common philosophy, and if Paul bid them take heed 
that none deceive them by vain philosophy, when it is the 
inordinacy only which they condemn. 

If you ask me, when this desire of common learning is 
inordinate? I answer, 1. When it is desired most for the fan- 
tastical, sensual or intellectual delight of knowing; or from 
the overvaluing of the thing known: not but a delight in 
knowledge as such is good and lawful, but not as our chief 
end. 2. When it is desired as a step to serve a proud as- 
piring mind, that we may be magnified as learned men : 
or to serve any worldly, covetous design. 3. When it is 
not duly subordinate and subservient to the love of God, 
and to his service, and the common good : If God be not 
first intended, and all our studies and learning desired purely 
as a means to God, that is as a means to know him, and to 
love him, and to please him, and praise him, and to do him 
service in the world, and enjoy him for ever, but be desired for 
itself or carnal ends, it is a carnal lust. 4. When it hath a 
greater measure of our time and affection, and industry com- 
paratively than its due ; and the study of higher things is 
put behind it, or neglected by it, at least in a great degree. 
5. When it cometh not in due order, but is taken first, and 
in the hours and place which higher things should have. 

In a word ; God, and our duty to him, and the common 
good, and our salvation, are the great and necessary things, 
in comparison of which, all other things are vain : As riches 
and pleasure with its appetite may be used holily, as God's 
mercies, to raise us into spiritual delights, and to serve him 
the better ourselves, and to be helpful to others : And for 
these ends they are given us, and may be sought and used; 
when yet, as they are the fuel of lust, they are the snares of 
Satan, the mammon, the god of this world, the damnation of 


souls ; so is it with the knowledge of the creature; sancti- 
fied and made serviceable to God and holiness it is of great 
utility ; but out of its place it is poison and perdition. 

Yea, as appetite and sensual delight is necessary, while 
we are in a body in which the soul must operate and receive : 
even so is some knowledge of creatures and common things 
(called learning) of necessity, as a means to better. And 
while we see, as in a glass, we must not castaway the glass, 
nor neglect it, though it be but a help to see the species. 

I conclude then, 1. That it is hard to say that any man 
can know too much, except it be 1. Matter of temptation. 
2. And of penal knowledge, raising terrors, and tormenting 
the soul. In these two cases we may know too much; and 
I fear some men's knowledge is much of the first sort. But 
so far am I from dissuading any from true knowledge, or 
studies to attain it, that I think ignorance is the mother, as 
pride is the father of all heresies, and almost all sins: and 
that the lazy student shall never be wise, though one may 
take his years in the university, the greatness of his library, 
or the titles which he hath obtained, instead of wisdom ; and 
another as slothful, may boast that the Spirit hath saved him 
the labour of long and hard studies ; for my part I shall ac- 
count both sorts as they are, and leave them to be admired 
by such as themselves : and verily they have their reward. 
He that will be wise, must spare no pains, and be diverted 
by no worldly things, but take wisdom for his welfare here, 
and the getting and using it for all his work. Never was sloth- 
ful, or impatient, or presumptious person wise. 

2. God hath not made and set before us all his works in 
vain : " Great and wonderful are all his works, sought out of 
them that have pleasure therein :" (Psalm cxi :) the image 
of his power, wisdom, and goodness is imprinted on them all. 
Who can look up to the sun, and moon, and stars ; to the 
vast and numerous globes above us; to this earth, and all 
its furniture and inhabitants, and not see the footsteps of the 
great and wise, and good Creator, and be edified and made 
more holy; that doth not use the eye of sense alone, while 
he winketh with the eye of reason ? Our Redeemer came to 
recover us to the knowledge, love and obedience of our 
Creator, and by faith to lead us up to the love of God, and 
to sanctify us to our Maker's praise and service. Far was it 



from his design to call us from studying the works of crea- 
tion ; which he prepareth us better to understand and use : 
nor would he deprive reason of its spectacles, but help us to 
better than we had before. Man's wit and tongue are apt 
to be so irregular, that we have need of the rules of true 
logic to keep them to order, and save them from deceit. 
Too little true logic and philosophy is much of their unhap- 
piness who think they have enough to deserve veneration 
and applause. 

3. But all this is dreaming, insignificant, incoherent 
nonsense, deliration, worse than children's chat (as it trou- 
bleth the world more), if God be not the beginning, guide, 
and end of it, and if we know not how to please him and be 
saved ; and if all learning be not directly or indirectly a 
learning to know God and life eternal : when conscience is 
awakened all things are as dreams, and signify nothing in 
comparison of God and life eternal, to be obtained by Christ. 
When men come to die, the most learned die in his mind, 
and further than it is divine and holy and felicitating, they 
cry out of all their fame and learning, " Vanity of vanities, all 
is vanity." Though learning be the most splendid of all 
vanities : fear God and keep his commandments, is the end 
of true learning, and the whole learning of man. Of writing 
many books there is no end ; and much reading is a weari- 
ness to the flesh ; and he that increaseth knowledge con- 
tracteth envy and contradiction, and increaseth sorrow : but 
sanctified learning maketh a man indeed ; so it be true, and 
not false pretended learning. 

4. Therefore the industry of a man's study, the most of 
his time, the zeal of his soul, must be laid out on God, and 
the great and endless concernments of his own and others 
souls; and learning must be desired, esteemed, sought and 
used, according to its usefulness to these high and glorious 
ends: Then it is the lower part of wisdom; which all that 
want it must esteem, and honour, and desire; else it is a 
dream and folly, which leaveth the awakened soul in shame. 
But I have been too long on this. 

IV. Consider next, that as this lower sort of learning is 
presupposed by Christ as true, and the desire of it cured as 
it is a lust; so plainness and intelligibleness were altogether 
necessary to his ends ; what came he on earth to do, but 


to reconcile us to God, and make known his kingdom, 
and his love to sinners? To procure us pardon and a spirit 
of vivification, illumination, and sanctification ? And the 
word that must be the means of this must be fitted to its 
end, and be intelligible to the unlearned ; or else he should 
have been the Saviour of a few learned men only, and not of 
the world. Kings and parliaments write their laws in a style 
suitable to the matter : and so do men draw up their cove- 
nants : and princes their pardons, and physicians their bills 
and directions : And none of these useth to write a grammar 
or logic instead of their proper work, nor to fill their writings 
with ludicrous, logical tricks, and toys. He that is but to 
tell men how to be saved from sin and hell, and brought to 
heaven, and live so here that he may live with God and 
angels for ever, must speak in plainness and in good earnest. 

V. And consider that the Scripture is not void of so 
much logic and philosophy as is suitable to its design. In 
a well-fleshed body the distinction and compagination of the 
parts are hid, which in an ugly skeleton are discerned. So 
the Scripture is a body of essentials, integrals and acci- 
dentals of religion, and every unstudied fellow cannot ana- 
tomise it : but it hath its real and excellent method, for all 
that it is hid to the unskilful. There is a method of Scrip- 
ture Theology, which is the most accurate that ever the 
world knew in morality. I have drawn up the body of theology 
into schemes. In which I doubt not but I have shewn, that 
the method of theology contained in the Holy Scriptures, 
is more accurate than any logical author doth prescribe : 
and the Lord's-prayer and decalogue especially will prove 
this, when truly opened : and the doctrine of the Trinity, 
and the Baptismal Covenant, is the foundation of all true 
method of physics, and morality in the world. What if a 
novice cannot anatomise Cicero or Demosthenes, doth it 
follow that they are immethodical? Brandmiller and Flac- 
cher upon the Scripture text, and Steph. Tzegedine, Soh- 
nius, Gomarus, Dudley, Fenner, and many others upon the 
body of theology have gone far in opening the Scripture 
method. But more may be yet done. 

VI. Consider also that the Eternal Wisdom, Word, and 
Son of God our Redeemer, is the fountain and giver of all 
knowledge : nature to be restored, and grace to restore it, 
are in his hands. He is that true light that lighteneth every 


one that cometh into the world: The light of nature and 
arts, and sciences are from his Spirit and teaching, as well 
as the Gospel. Whether Clemens Alexandrinus, and some 
other ancients were in the right or not, when they taught 
that philosophy is one way by which men come to salvation, 
it is certain that they are in the right, that say it is now the 
gift of Christ: And that as the light which goeth before 
sun-rising (yea which in the night is reflected from the 
moon,) is from the sun, as well as its more glorious beams ; 
so the knowledge of Socrates, Plato, Zeno, Cirero, Antonine, 
Epictetus, Seneca, Plutarch, were from the wisdom and 
word of God, the Redeemer of the world, even by a lower 
gift of his Spirit, as well as the Gospel and higher illumina- 
tion : and shall Christ be thought void of what he giveth 
so many in the world ? 

VII. Lastly, let it be considered above all, that the grand 
difference between the teaching of Christ and other men, is 
that he teacheth effectively (as God spake when he created, 
and as he said to Lazarus, Arise :) He giveth wisdom by 
giving the Holy Ghost : All other teachers speak but to the 
ears; but he only speaketh to the heart: were it not for 
this he would have no church. — I should never have else 
believed in him myself, nor would any other, seriously and 
savingly. Aristotle and Plato speak but words, but Christ 
speaketh life and light and love, in all countries, through 
all ages to this day. This above all is his witness in the 
world. He will not do his work on souls, by ludicrous en- 
ticing words of the pedantic wisdom of the world ; but by 
illuminating minds, and changing hearts and lives by his 
effectual operations on the heart. God used no more rheto- 
ric nor logic than a philosopher, when he said only " Let 
there be light," but he used more power. Indeed the first 
chapter of Genesis (though abused by ignorants and cabal- 
ists) hath more true philosophy in it than the presumptuous 
will understand, (as my worthy friend Mr. Samuel Gott lately 
gone to God, hath manifested in his excellent Philosophy ; 
excepting the style, and some few presumptions.) But 
operations are the glorious oratory of God, and his wisdom 
shineth in his works, and in things beseeming the heavenly 
Majesty; and not in childish laces, and toys of wit. 

Let us therefore cease quarrelling, and learn wisdom of 
God, instead of teaching and reprehending him. Let us 


magnify the mercy and wisdom of our Redeemer, who hath 
brought life and immortality to light, and certified us of the 
matters of the world above, as beseemed a messenger sent 
from God ; and hath taught us, according to the matter, 
and our capacity, and not with trifling, childish notions. 


Inference 6. The true and false Ways of restoring the 
Churches, and healing our Divisions, hence opened and 
made plain. 

Having opened to you our disease, it is easy, were not the 
disease itself against it, to discern the cure. Pretended know- 
ledge hath corrupted and divided the Christian world. There- 
fore it must be certain verities, which must restore us, 
and unite us. And these must be things plain and ne- 
cessary, and such as God hath designed to this very use ; 
or else they will never do the work. One would think that 
it should be enough to satisfy men of this, 1. To read the 
Scripture. 2. To peruse the terms of concord in the primi- 
tive church. 3. To peruse the sad histories of the church's 
discord and divisions, and the causes. 4. To peruse the state 
of the world at this day, and to make use of universal expe- 
rience. 5. To know what a Christian is, what Baptism is, 
and what a Church is. 6. To know what man is ; and that 
they themselves, and the churches are but men. But penal 
and sinful infatuation, hath many ages been upon the minds 
of those in the Christian world, who were most concerned in 
the cure; and our sin is our misery, as, I think, to the 
damned it will be the chief part of their hell. 

But this subject is so great and needful, and that which 
the wounds and blood of the Christian world do cry for a 
skilful cure of; that I will not thrust it into this corner, but 
design to write a treatise of it by itself, as a second part 
of this n . 

 This book is since printed with some alteration, and called "The True and Only 
Way of the Concord of the Churches." 



VIII. Of the Causes of this Disease of Prefidence, or proud 
Pretended Knowledge, in order to the Cure. 

The cure of prefidence and pretended knowledge, could it 
be wrought, would be the cure of souls, families, churches, 
and kingdoms. But alas, how low are our hopes ! Yet that 
may be done on some, which will not be done on all or most. 
And to know the causes, and oppugn them, is the chief part 
of the cure, so far as may be hoped for. 

I. The first and grand cause is the very nature of igno- 
rance itself; which many ways disableth men, from know- 
ing that which should abate their groundless confidence. 
For, 1 . An ignorant man knoweth but little parcels and scraps 
of things ; and all the rest is unknown to him : therefore 
he fixeth upon that little which he knoweth ; and having no 
knowledge of the rest, he cannot regulate his narrow appre- 
hensions by any conceptions of them. And all things visi- 
ble to us (not light itself excepted, which, as seen by us, is 
fire incorporated in air ;) being compounds ; the very nature 
or being of them is not known, where any constitutive part 
is unknown. And in all compounds, each part hath such 
relation and usefulness to others, that one part which seemeth 
known, is itself but half-known, for want of the knowledge 
of others. Such a kind of knowledge is theirs, that know- 
ing only what they see, do take a clock or watch to be only 
the index moving by the hours, being ignorant of all the ca- 
sual parts within : or that know nd more of a tree, or other 
plant, than the magnitude, site, colour, odour, &c. Or that 
take a man to be only a body, without a soul ; or the body, 
be only the skin and parts, discerned by the eye in converse. 
Now that which such persons do sensibly apprehend, 
they are confident of, because that nature teacheth them to 
trust their senses ; but not knowing the rest, their little par- 
tial conceptions are lame, defective, and deceitful. For most 
will hence rashly conclude of the negative, that there is no 
more, because they know no more. But if any be more wise 
and modest, yet do they want the conception of the unknown 
parts, to make the rest to be true knowledge, or to tell them 
what is yet unknown : and such use to turn a judicial rule 


into a physical ; that ' non apparere et non esse,' are to them 
all one. 

2. And an ignorant man doth not know what conceptions 
other men have of the same things which he is ignorant of: 
so that he neither knoweth the thing intelligible, (what it is) 
nor yet the act of knowing it, which he never had : but, as a 
man born blind hath no formal conception, either of sight, 
or of light, or visible objects ; so is it here. 

3. Nor hath he usually a true knowledge of his own ig- 
norance ; how imperfect his understanding is, and how much 
to be suspected, as liable to mistake : though in some sen- 
sible matters, it is easy to convince men of a total ignorance ; 
yet when they know any thing, it is hard to convince them 
what more is to be known, and to keep them from false and 
hasty conclusions. A man that cannot read at all, is easily 
convinced that he cannot read : but he that can read a little, 
is apt to think that he readeth rightly, when he doth not. A 
man that never heard of physic, is easily convinced that he 
hath no skill in it : but if he have read, heard of, and tried a 
few medicines ; he is apt to grow conceited, and venture 
men's lives upon his skill. A man that never saw building, 
navigation, or any art or manufacture, is easily convinced 
that he is ignorant of it : but if he have got some smatter- 
ing knowledge, he is ready to think that it is more than it 
is, because he knoweth not what he wants. 

And to err, and know that a man erreth, (at the same time, 
about the same thing,) is a contradiction : for he that erreth, 
judgeth a falsehood to be a truth : but to know that so to 
judge is to err, is certainly not so to judge; for 'intellectus 
vultverum;' that is, truth is the object which it is naturally in- 
clined to. The same light which discovereth error, cureth it : 
and that light which discovereth the thing itself, is it that must 
convince me that I before erred about it, by misapprehensions. 

4. And an ignorant man doth not so much as know the 
difficulties of the case, and what may be said on the other 
side : what contrary evidence convinceth others, or what 
weight there is in the objections, which are, or may be 
brought against him. So that all men being naturally igno- 
rant, and little being known for much that is unknown, even 
to the wisest; alas, the temptation to error and false confi- 
dence is so strong, that few escape it. 

II. Another cause of it is, the radical master sin of pride : 


an unhumbled mind, never well acquainted with its own dark 
and erroneous condition, and its great need of natural and 
supernatural helps. I find it hard to convince men of this ; 
but the forementioned effects do certainly prove it. The 
vice is born with us at the very heart. It is the devil's 
image : he that is not naturally proud, is not a son of Adam. 
It liveth first, and dieth last: and there is nothing that man 
is apter to be proud of, than his reason, which is his huma- 
nity, and next to that of his goodness, and of his greatness. 
Men perceive not this in themselves, because they know not 
what pride is, while it ruleth in them. They think that it 
is only some womanish or childish extrinsical ostentation, 
(boasting) or perking up above others in garb and place, or 
peacock-like looking upon their own train, or setting it up 
for others to look on. But pride is (as I said before) an over- 
valuing ourselves, and a desire that others should overvalue 
us : and how few be there that be not tickled, when their wis- 
dom is applauded, and nettled when it is accounted small : it is 
hard to bear to be accounted and reported a fool, or a person 
of little wit. Many a man spendeth all the studies of his life, 
more for a fame of learning than for learning itself; what is 
pride if this be not? What grosser pride, than for a woman or 
unexperienced lad, to scorn and despise the oldest and hardest 
students in divinity, as dark souls in comparison of them • 
The Quakers in their shops, when I go along London streets, 
say, ' Alas, poor man, thou art yet in darkness :' they have 
oft come into the congregation, (when I had liberty to preach 
Christ's Gospel) and cried out against me as a deceiver of the 
people. They have followed me home, crying out in the 
streets, ' The day of the Lord is coming, when thou siialt 
perish as a deceiver.' They have stood in the market-place, 
and under my window, year after year, crying out to the 
people, ' Take heed of your priests, they deceive your souls :' 
And if they saw any one wear a lace or neat clothing, they 
cried to me, 'These are the fruit of thy ministry.' If they 
spake to me with the greatest ignorance or nonsense, it was 
with as much fury and rage, as if a bloody heart had appeared 
in their faces ; so that though I never hurt, or occasioned 
the hurt of one of them, that I know of, their truculent coun- 
tenances told me what they would have done had I been in 
their power : (this was in 1656, 57, 58, 59.) And yet they 
were poorly clothed : (some of them went through the streets 


stark naked), and cried out over and over all the year, ' Woe 
to the proud !' Wonderful ! wonderful ! O the blindness of 
a corrupted mind! that these poor souls did not perceive 
their superlative pride. How highly did these people think 
of their own wisdom and holiness, while they cried down 
laces, points, and cuffs ! 

And when did I ever know either a true church-tyrant, or 
a true sectarian separating humourist, which were not both 
notorious proud over-valuers of their own conceits. To 
which those that bowed not must be persecuted as unruly 
schismatics by the one sort, and excommunicated, separated 
from, and damned as ungodly, carnal or antichristian by 
the other sort ? 

Several ways doth pride cause pretended knowledge. 
1. By thinking that our understandings are so good as that 
without great study we can know truth from falsehood ; and 
so making us venture to judge of things at the first hearing 
or reading ; which we cannot be capable of judging of under 
long and diligent studies ; because ' recipitur ad modum reci- 
pients. ' Therefore it is that when a man by great success in 
studies hath made things as plain as words can make them, 
so that you would think that all students should presently 
be wise at easy rates by the light which he hath set up to 
them, they are half as long in learning for all that, as if he 
had never given them such a help. And therefore it is, that 
we cannot leave our learning to posterity; because still the 
stop is in the receiver's incapacity. And he cannot be ca- 
pable of the plainest precepts, but by much time and study. 

2. Pride maketh men hasty in concluding, because they 
are not humbled to a just suspicion of their own apprehen- 
sions. And men stay not to prove and try things before 
they judge. 

3. Pride maketh men insensible how much they are ig- 
norant of, in all their knowledge. 

4. And it causeth men to slight the reasons and judgments 
of other men, by which they might learn, or at least might 
be taught to judge considerately, and suspend their own. 

If overvaluing a man's own apprehensions be pride (as 
it is), then certainly pride is one of the commonest sins in 
the world, and particularly among men professing godliness, 
who upon every poor surmise or report are condemning 
those, that do not throughly know, and in every petty con- 


troversy, they are all still in the right, though of never so 
many minds. 

III. Another cause of pretended knowledge is the want 
of a truly tender conscience : which should make men fear, 
lest they should err, lest they should deserve the curse of 
putting " light for darkness, and darkness for light ; evil for 
good, and good for evil :" (Isa. v. 20 :) and should make 
them afraid lest they should defile their minds, resist the 
truth, blaspheme God or dishonour him, by fathering errors 
on him, and lest they should prove snares to men's souls, and 
a scandal and trouble to the Church of God. A tender con- 
science would not have espoused such opinions under one 
or two or many years deliberation, which an Antinomian, or 
other sectary will take up in a few days, (if they were true.) 
0,saith the tender conscience, what if I should err, and prove 
a snare to souls, and a scandal and dishonour to the Church 
of God! &c. 

IV. Another cause of pretended knowledge is a blind 
zeal for knowledge and godliness in the general, while men 
know not what it is they are zealous of. They think it is a 
necessary part of sincerity to receive the truth speedily with- 
out delay : and therefore they take a present concluding, for 
a true receiving it. And he that soonest taketh up that 
which is offered him, probably as a part of godliness, is taken 
for the most resolved downright convert. Which is true in 
case of evident truths, where it is the will that by vice sus- 
pendeth the mind. But not in dark and doubtful cases. 

V. Another cause is, an inordinate trust in man : when 
some admire the learned too much, and some the religious, 
and some this or that particular person, and therefore build 
too confidently on their words : some on great men, some on 
the multitude, but most on men of fame for great learning, 
or great piety. A credit is to be given by every learner to 
his teacher : but the confounding this with our belief of God, 
and making it a part of our religion, and not trusting man 
as man only, that is, a fallible wight, doth cause this vice of 
pretended knowledge, to pass with millions for divine faith. 
Especially when men embody themselves into a sect, as the 
only orthodox or godly party, or as the only true church (as 
the Papists do) ; then i t emboldeneth them to believe any thing, 
which their sect or church believeth. For they think that 
this is the church's faith, which cannot err, or is the safest: 


and that God would not let so many good men err. And 
thus they that should be made their teachers, and the helpers 
of their faith, becoming the lords of it, and almost their gods. 
VI. And it much increaseth their sin, that men are not 
sufficiently acquainted with the original and additional cor- 
ruption of man's nature, anc know not how blind all man- 
kind are. Alas, man is a dark creature ! what error may he 
not hold. What villany may he not do ; yea and maintain ! 
Truly said David, " All men are liars." Pitifully do many 
expound this, as an effect of his unbelief and passion, be- 
cause he saith, " I said in ny haste ;" when it is no more 
than Paul saith ; " Let God be true, and every man a liar." 
(Rom. iii.) And than Solomon and Isaiah say, "All men are 
vanity :" and Jeremiah, " Cursed be he that trusteth in man :" 
all men are untrusty in a great degree ! Weak, false, and 
bad. And his haste was either as Dr. Hammond transla- 
ted it, his flight, or else that his trial and distress made him 
more passionately sensible of the vanity or untrustiness of 
man, than he was at other times. For vanity and a lie to 
the Hebrews were words of the same importance, signifying 
deceivableness and untrustiness. And indeed among man- 
kind there is so great a degree of impotency, selfishness, 
timorousness, ignorance, error, and viciousness, as that few 
wicked men are to be believed, where there is any strong 
temptation to lying. And the devil is seldom unprovided 
of temptations : and abundance of hypocrites are as un- 
trusty as open wicked men : and abundance of sincere godly 
persons, especially women, have loose tongues, and hasty 
passions, and a stretching conscience, but especially injudi- 
cious heads, so that frequently they know not truth from 
falsehood, nor have the tenderness of conscience to be silent 
till they know : so that if one say it, another will say it, till 
a hundred say it, and then it goeth for current truth. 

Good men's overmuch credulity oi one another hath 
filled the church with lies and fables. Kany of the Papist's 
superstitions, purgatory, praying to sainis and angels, pray- 
ing for the dead, &c. were bred by this credulity. It is so 
visible in Venerable Bede, Gregory the fist, yea before them 
in Sulpitius Severns of Martins Life, anl abundance more, 
that to help up Christianity among tht Pagans, they laid 
hold of any old woman's or ignorant mat's dreams, and vi- 
sions, and stories of pretended miracles aid revelations, that 


it made even Melchior Canus cry out of the shameful, ridi- 
culous filth, that hence had filled their legends. Even Ba- 
ronius upon trial, retaineth no small number of them, and 
with his brethren the Oratorians, on their prophesying days, 
told them to the people. I am ashamed, thatl recited one 
out of him, before my treatise of " Crucifying the^World," 
though I did it not, as persuacing auy that it was true: for 
I quickly saw, that Sophronius on whom he fathered it, was 
none of the reporters^of it, that book^being spurious, and 
none of Sophronius's work. 

Indeed I know of such impudent false history lately 
printed, of matters of public fact in these times, yea, divers 
concerning my own words and actions, by persons that are 
far from contemptible, that strangers and posterity will 
scarce believe, that human nature could be guilty of it in 
the open light. And I know it to be so customary a thing, 
for the zealots professing the fear of God, on one side and 
the other, to receive and rashly tell about lies of one an- 
other, that I confess I am grown to take little heed of what 
such say, in such a case ; unless the report continue a year 
uncontrolled ! For it is common for them to tell those things 
as unquestionable, which a few months prove false : and yet 
never to manifest any repentance, but to go on with the 
like ; one month disproving what the former hatched and 

And indeed the very wisest and best of men are guilty 
of so much ignorance, temerity, suspiciousness of other's 
partiality, &c. that we must believe them (though far sooner 
than others, yet) still with a reserve to change our minds, if 
we find them mistaken, and still on supposition that they 
are fallible persons, and that all men are liars. 

VII. Another gieat cause of pretended false knowledge 
and confidence is tie unhappy prejudices which our minds 
contract even in oir childhood, before we have time, and 
wit, and conscienci to try things by true deliberation. Chil- 
dren and youth mist receive much upon trust, or else they 
can learn nothing: but then they have not wit to propor- 
tion their appreheisions to the evidence, whether of credi- 
bility or certainty : and so fame and tradition, and educa- 
tion and the counry's vote, do become the ordinary parents 
of many lies ; anc folly maketh us to fasten so fearlessly in 
our first appreheisions, that they keep open the door to 


abundance more falsehoods; and it must be clear teachers, 
or great, impartial studies, of a self-denying mind, with a 
great blessing of God, that must deliver us from prejudice, 
and undeceive us. And therefore all the world seeth, that 
almost all men are of the religion of their country or their 
parents, be it never so absurd ; though with the Mahome- 
tans they believe the nonsense of a very sot, (once reading 
a quarter of whose Alcoran one would think should cure a 
man of common reason, of any inclination to his belief.) 
And among the Japonians, even the eloquent Bonzii believe 
in Amida and Xaca ; to mention the belief of the Chinese, 
the people of Pegu, Siam, and many other such ; yea, the 
Americans, the Brasilians, Lappians, &c. that correspond 
with devils would be a sad instance of the unhappiness of 
men's first apprehensions and education. And what doth 
the aforesaid instance of Popery come short herein, which 
tells us how prejudice, and education, and company can make 
men deny all men's common sense, and believe common, un- 
seen miracles, pretended in the stead? 

VIII. Another cause is the mistaking of the nature of 
the duty of submitting our judgment to our superiors and 
teachers, especially to the multitude, or the church, or anti- 
quity. No doubt but much reverence and a human belief, 
is due to the judgment of our teachers credibly made known. 
But this is another thing quite different, 1. From knowing 
by evidence. 2. And from believing God; (of which, be- 
fore and after). 

IX. Another cause is base slothfulness, which makes 
men take up with the judgment of those in most reputation 
for power, wisdom, or number, to save them the labour of 
searching after the scientific evidence of things ; or the 
certain evidence of Divine revelations. 

X. Another frequent cause is, an appearance of some- 
thing in the truth, which frighteneth men from it ; either for 
want of a clear, methodical, advantageous representation; 
or by some difficult objection, or some miscarriage in the 
utterance, carriage or life of them that seem most zealous 
for it : such little things deceive dark man : and when he is 
turned from the truth, he thinks that the contrary error may 
be embraced without fear. 

XI. Another great cause of confidence in false conceits, 
is the bias of some personal interest prevailing with a cor- 


rupted will, and the mixture of sense and passion in the 
judgment. For, as interested men hardly believe what 
seemeth against them, and easily believe that which they 
would have to be true ; so sense and passion (or affections) 
usually so bear down reason, that they think it their right 
to possess the throne. Not but that sense is the only dis- 
cerner of its own sensible object as such, (and reason by 
sense as it is intelligible) : but that is not the matter in 
hand. But the sensualist force th his reason to call that 
best for him, which his sense is most delighted with, and 
that worst which most offendeth sense. The drunkard will 
easily judge that his drinking is good for him, and the glut- 
ton that his pleasant meats are lawful, and the time-waster 
that his plays are lawful, and the fornicator, the wrathful 
revenger, &c, that their lusts and passions are lawful, be- 
cause they think that they have feeling on their side. It is 
hard to carry an upright judgment against sense and passion. 

XII. Sometimes a strong, deluded imagination, maketh 
men exceeding confident in error ; some by melancholy, 
and some by a natural weakness of reason, and strength of 
fantasy ; and some by misapprehensions in religion, grow 
to think that every strong conceit which doth but come in 
suddenly, at reading, or hearing, or thinking on such a text, 
or in time of earnest prayer, especially if it deeply affect 
themselves, is certainly some suggestion or inspiration of 
God's Spirit. And hence many errors have troubled poor 
souls and the church of God, which afterwards they have, 
themselves retracted. Hence is the confidence of some is:- 
norant Christians in expounding difficult Scripture pro- 
phecies ; and the boldness of others in expounding dark 
providences ; and also in foretelling by their own surmises, 
things to come. 

XIII. And not a few run into this mischief in some ex- 
tremes, by seeing others run into error on the other side. 
Some are so offended at the credulity of the weak, that they 
will grow confident against plain certainties themselves. As, 
because there are many feigned miracles, apparitions, pos- 
sessions and witchcrafts in the world, divulged by the in- 
credulity of the injudicious ; therefore they will more 
foolishly be confident that there are no such things at all. 
And because they see some weak persons impute more of 
their opinions, performances, and affections to God's Spirit, 


than they ought ; therefore they grow mad against the true 
operations of the Spirit, and confident that there is no such 
thing. Some deride praying by the Spirit, and preaching 
by the Spirit, and living by the Spirit; when as they might 
as well deride understanding, willing, working, by a reason- 
able soul ; no holy thing being holily done without God's 
Spirit, any more than any act of life and reason without the 
soul. And they may, on the same grounds, deride all that 
live not after the flesh, and that are Christians, (Rom. viii. 
5 — 9. 13,) or that love God, or that seek salvation. Yea, 
some run so far from spiritual fanaticisms, that they deny 
the very being of spirits ; and many confidently set up a 
dead image of true religion, in bitter hatred and opposition 
of all that hath life and serious holiness : so mad are some 
made, by seeing some feverish persons dote. 

XIV. Another cause, is, conversing only with those of 
our own mind, and side, and interest ; and not seeking fa- 
miliar, loving acquaintance with those that differ from us : 
whereby men deprive themselves of hearing half that is to 
be heard, and of knowing much that is to be known. And 
their proud vice hardeneth them in this way, to say, ' I have 
read, and I have heard enough of them ; I know all that 
they can say.' And if a man soberly speak to them, their 
vices of pride, presumption and passion, will scarce patiently 
bear him to go on without interruption to the end ; but the 
wizard saith, ' I know already what you will say, and you are 
tedious ; and do you think that so wise a man as I, hath no- 
thing to do but hear such a fool as you talk V Thus proud 
men are ordinarily so full of themselves, that they can scarcely 
endure to hear, or at least learn any thing from others, nor 
restrain their violent list to speak, so long as either just in- 
formation, or human civility requireth. 

XV. Another cause, is, malignity and want of Christian 
love ; whereby men are brought, if not to a hatred, yet to a 
proud contempt of others, who are not of their mind, and 
side, and way. O they are all — as foolish and bad as any 
one hath list to call them ; and he that raileth at them most 
ingeniously and impudently, giveth them but their due. 
And will a man, full of himself and his own, be moved from 
his presumptions, by any thing that such a hated or scorned 
people can say ? Nay, will he not be hardened in his self- 
conceit, because it is such as these that contradict him ? 


Many such causes of this vice there be ; but pride and 
ignorance are the proper parents of it, whatever else be the 
nurse or friend. 


Objections Answered. 

I easily foresee, that besides the aforesaid impediments, 
all these following Objections will hinder the cure of false 
pretended knowledge, and self-conceitedness, and false be- 
lief, if they be not answered. 

Object. I. 'You move men to an impossibility: to see 
without light ; and for an erring man to believe that he err- 
eth. He that hath not light to see the truth, hath not light 
to see his ignorance of it. This is no more, than to persuade 
all men to be wise, and not to err ; which you may do long 
enough to little purpose.' 

Answ. It is impossible indeed for an erring man, while 
such, to know that he erreth : but it is not impossible 1. 
For an ignorant man to know that he is ignorant; (nor for 
a man without light or sight, to know that he seeth not ; 
though he cannot see that he seeth not). For though 
nescience be nothing ; and nothing is not properly and di- 
rectly an object of our knowledge, no more than of our 
sight : yet as we see the limited quantity of substances, 
and so know little from big, by concluding that it hath no 
more quantity than we see ; so we know our own knowledge, 
both as to object and act, and we know the degree of it, and 
to what it doth extend : and so can conclude, IJtnow no 
more. And though nescience be nothing, yet this proposi- 
tion, ' I know no more,' is not nothing. And so nothing is 
usually said to be known reductively ; but indeed it is not 
properly known at all ; but this proposition, ' de nihilo,' is 
known, which is something. (I will not here meddle with 
the question, whether God know nonentities.) 

2. To think, and to know, are not all one : for I may 
think that I may know ; that is, I study to know. Now I 
can know that I study, or think ; and I can perceive, that 
my studies reach not what I desire to reach, but fall short 
of satisfaction : and so as in the body, though emptiness be 


nothing, and therefore not felt as nothing ; yet a hungry 
man feeleth it in the consequents, by accident ; that is, feel- 
eth that by which he knoweth that he is empty : and so it 
is with a student as to knowledge. 

3. And a man that hath so much experience, as we all 
have of the stated darkness of our understandings, and fre- 
quent errors ; may well know, that this understanding is to 
be suspected, and so blind a guide not over-confidently and 
rashly to be trusted. 

4. And a man that knoweth the danger of error, may 
know that it is a thing: that it should fear : and fear should 
make him cautelous. 

5. And though an erring man, while such, cannot know 
that he erreth ; yet, by the aforesaid means, he may cease 
to err, and know that he hath erred. 

6. And lastly, It is a shame for a man to be unacquainted 
with himself, and especially with his understanding, and not 
to know the measure of his knowledge itself. 

Object. II. ' You talk like a Cartesian, that must have all 
that would know, suppose first that they know nothing, no 
not that he feeleth and liveth.' 

Answ. No such matter. Some things we know necessa- 
rily, and cannot choose but know : for the intellect is not 
free of itself, hut only as 'quoad exercitium actus,' it is 
' sub imperio voluntatis.' And it is vain to bid men not to 
know what they cannot choose but know. And it is as vain 
to tell them that they must suppose, (falsely,) that they 
know not what they know, as a means to know : for igno- 
rance is no means to knowledge, but knowledge is. One 
act of knowledge being necessary to more, and therefore 
not to be denied. I have told you before what certain- 
ties are, which must be known, and never forsaken. 

Object. III. ' But your discourse plainly tendeth to draw 
men to scepticism, and to doubt of all things.' 

Answ. 1. I tell you, I describe to you many certainties 
not to be doubted of. 2. And it is indeed your prefidence 
that tendeth to scepticism, as is shewed : for men that be- 
lieve hastily and falsely, find themselves so often deceived, 
that at last they begin to doubt of all things : it is scepti- 
cism which I prevent. 3. But I confess to you, that I am 
less afraid of scepticism in the world, than ever I was ; as 
vol. xv. M 


finding corrupt nature so universally disposed the contrary 
way. As when I first saw the books of Jacob Behmen, and 
some such others, 1 adventured to prognosticate, that the 
Church would never be much endangered by that sect, or 
any other which a man cannot understand and join in, with- 
out great study and acuteness ; because few men will be at 
so much labour; even so 1 say of scepticism; here and 
there a hard, impatient, half-knowing student, may turn 
sceptic; but never any great number. For pride and igno- 
rance, and other causes of self-conceitedness are born in all 
men ; and every man that apprehendeth any thing, is natu- 
rally apt to be too confident of his apprehensions ; and few 
will have the humility to suspect themselves, or the patience 
and diligence to find out difficulties. I must say in my ex- 
perience, that except the congregation which I long in- 
structed, and some few such, I meet with few women, boys, 
or unlearned men, when they are past eighteen or twenty 
years old, but they are in conceit wiser than I, and are still 
in the right, and I am in the wrong, in things natural, civil, 
religious, or almost any thing we talk of, if I say not as they 
say : and it is so hard to abate their confidence, or convince 
them, that I have half ceased to endeavour it, but let every 
one believe and say what he will, so it be not to the disho- 
nour of God, the wrong of others, and the hazard of his 
salvation : for I take it for granted beforehand, that con- 
tradiction more often causeth strife than instruction ; and 
when they take not themselves for scholars, they seldom 
learn much of any but themselves : and their own thoughts 
and experience must teach them that in many years which 
from an experienced man they might have more cheaply 
learned in a few days. 

Object. IV. ' You speak against taking things on trust, 
and so would keep children from believing and learning of 
their parents and masters, and from growing wise.' 

Answ. I often tell you that human faith is a necessary help 
to divine faith ; but it must not be mistaken for divine faith. 
Men are to be believed as fallible men ; but in some things 
with diffidence, and in some things with confidence, and in 
some things, (where it is not the speaker's credit that we 
rely on but a concurrence of testimonies, which make up a 
natural certainty,) belief and knowledge go together, and 
the thing is sure. But man is not God. 


Object. V. ' May not a man more safely and confidently 
believe by the Church's faith, than his own ? That is, take 
that for more certain which all men believe, than that which 
I think I see a divine word for myself?' 

Answ. This is a Popish objection thus confusedly and 
fallaciously often made. 1. Properly, no man can believe 
by any faith but his own, any more than understand with 
any understanding but his own. But the meaning being, 
that we may better trust to the Church's judgment, that this 
or that is God's word, than to our own persuasion that it is 
God's word, from the evidence of the revelation. I further 
answer. 2. That the Church's judgment is one part of our 
subordinate motive ; and therefore not to be put in competi- 
tion with that divine evidence which it is always put in con- 
junction with. And the Church's teaching, is the means of 
my coming to know the true evidences of Divinity in the 
Word. And the Church's real holiness caused by that 
Word, is one of the evidences themselves, and not the least. 
Now to put the question, whether I must know the Scrip- 
ture to be God's Word because I discern the evidences of 
its divinity, or rather because the Church teacheth me that 
it is God's Word, or because the Church saith it is God's 
Word, or because the Church is sanctified by it, are all vain 
questions; setting things conjunct and co-ordinate as op- 
posite. 1. By the Church's judgment or belief, I am moved 
to a high reverence of God's Word,, by a very high human 
faith, supposing it credible that it may be God's Word in- 
deed. 2. Next by the Church's (or minister's) teaching, 
the evidences of its divinity are made known to me. 3. The 
effect of it, in the Church's holiness, is one of these evi- 
dences. 4. And by that and all other evidences I know that 
it is God's Word. 5. And therefore I believe it to be true. 
This is the true order and resolution of our faith. 

3. But because the Popish method is, barely to believe 
the Scripture to be God's Word, because a Pope and his 
Council judgeth so, I add, 1. That we have even of that hu- 
man sort of testimony far more than such. For theirs is the 
testimony of a self-exalting sect of Christians, about the 
third part of the Christian world : but we have also the tes- 
timony of them and of all other Christians; and in most or 
much of the matter of fact, (that the Scriptures were deli- 


vered down from the apostles) the testimony of some hea- 
thens and abundance of heretics. 2. And with these we have 
the evidences of its divinity themselves. 3. But if we had 
their Church's (or Pope and Council's) decrees for it alone, 
we should take it but for a human, fallible testimony. 

For, 1. They cannot plead God's word here as the proof 
of their infallibility : for it is the supposed question, what is 
God's word, which (they say) cannot be known but by their 
infallible judgment. 2. And they cannot plead number ; 
for, 1. The Mahometans are more than the Christians in the 
world : Brierwood reckoneth that they are six parts of thirty, 
and we but five. And yet not therefore infallible nor cre- 
dible. 2. And the heathens are more than the Mahometans 
and Christians (being four-sixth parts of the world), and yet 
not infallible. But of this I have the last week wrote a book 
of the "Certainty of Christianity without Popery;" and 
heretofore my " Safe Religion," and others. 

Object. VI. 'At least this way of believing and knowing- 
things by proper evidences of truth, will loosen the common 
sort of Christians, (even the godly) from their faith and reli- 
gion : for whereas now they go quietly on without doubting, 
as receiving the Scriptures from the Church or their teachers 
as the Word of God, when they fall on searching after proofs, 
they will be in danger of being overcome by difficulties, and 
filled with doubts, if not apostatizing to infidelity, or turn- 
ing Papists.' 

Answ. Either these persons have already the knowledge 
of certain evidence of the divinity of the Scripture, or Chris- 
tianity, or they have none. If they have any, the way of 
studying it more will not take it from them, but increase it : 
else you dishonour Christianity to think that he that know- 
eth it to be of God, will think otherwise if he do but better 
try it. Upon search he will not know less, but more. 

But if he have no such certainty already, 2. 1 further an- 
swer, that I take away from him none of that human belief 
which he had before : if the belief of his parents, teachers, 
or the Church only, did satisfy him before, which was but a 
strong probability, I leave with him the same help and pro- 
bability, and only persuade him to add more and surer argu- 
ments. And therefore that should not weaken but confirm 
his faith. 


Object. ' But you tell him that the Church's or his teach- 
er's judgment or word is uncertain, and that sets him on 

Answ. 1. I tell him of all the strength and credibility 
that is in it, which I would have him make use of. 2. And 
it not alone, but by his teacher's help that I would have him 
seek for that certainty. 3. But if he did take that testimony 
for certain which was not certain ; if he took man for God, 
or took his teachers, or Pope, for inspired prophets, and a 
human testimony for divine, do you think that this error 
should be cherished or cured ? I think that God nor man 
have no true need of a lie in this case : and that lies seldom 
further man's salvation; and that though they do some job 
of present service the next way, at the end we shall find 
that they did more harm than good. And that to say the 
contrary, and that men will cease to be Christians unless 
they be kept to it by deceit, is the way to downright infi- 

And yet that you may see how much more than ordinary 
I favour the weaknesses of such, I will here answer a great 

Quest. ' Whether a man can have a true saving faith, who 
believeth the Gospel or Scripture to be God's Word, and 
Christ to be the Saviour of the world, upon reasons or grounds 
not sure nor cogent and concluding; yea, possibly not true, 
for the most part.' 

Answ. He that readeth Mr. Pink's excellent Sermons, 
and many other such divines, will find them thus describing 
the faith of hypocrites, (that they conclude have no true 
saving faith,) that they believe in Christ, but on the same or 
like reasons as a Turk may believe in Mahomet ; that is, be- 
cause the most, the greatest, the most learned and the best, 
and all the country are of their minds, and in that way their 
parents did educate them in. For my part, I easily confess, 
]. That such a belief which buildeth on unsound grounds, is 
wanting proportionably in its own soundness. 2. And that 
it should not be rested in. 3. Much less cherished against 
all counsels that would cure it. 4. And that though uncer- 
tain reasons are, 1. The first. 2. And the most prevailing 
with him afterwards, yet every true believer discerneth some 
intrinsic signs of divinity at least as probable in the Word 
itself. But yet supposing that wrong motives be his chief, 


and that he discerneth not that in the Word itself which 
most prevaileth with him, I am of opinion that, 1. If the end 
of such a believer be sound, (the reducing of the soul to 
God, and attainment of glory, and the perfect love of God.) 
2. And if that man unfeignedly believe all that is God's Word 
to be true. 3. And if he believe all the substance of the 
Gospel to be God's Word, though by an unsound and non- 
concluding medium as his chief. 4. And if he by this belief 
be brought himself to the actual love of God as God ; this 
unsound believer is sound in the essentials of Christianity, 
and shall be saved. 

The Objection is, ' An uncertain, yea, deceived belief up- 
on false suppositions, is no true belief, and therefore cannot 

I answer, There is a double truth in such a belief: 1. 
That all God's Word is true. 2. That this Gospel is God's 
Word, and Christ is the Messiah. 

You will say, that ' there can be no more, no surer, no 
better in the conclusion, than is in the weaker of the pre- 
mises °.' I answer, I grant it. And all that will follow is, that 
the conclusion is not necessary from these premises ; and 
that the believer was mistaken in the reason of his inference, 
and that he concluded a truth upon an unsound medium : I 
grant all this, and consequently that his faith hath some un- 
soundness or diseasedness in it. But for all this, I see not 
but such a believer may be saved : 1. Because Christ's pro- 
mise is, that whoever " believeth in him shall not perish, 
but have everlasting life," without excepting such as are 
drawn to it by non-cogent arguments. And he that will put 
in an exception against the covenant of grace, must prove 
it, or be injurious to Christ, to his Gospel, and to men's 

2. Because by experience I find, that it is but a small 
part of serious, godly Christians, who believe the Scriptures 
upon cogent evidence, (or at least many do not :) but abun- 
dance take it upon trust from godly preachers or parents, 
and go on without much examining of their grounds ; and 
are not able to bring a cogent proof of the divinity of the 
Scriptures, when they are called to it. And I am not will- 
ing to conclude so great a part of humble, upright Chris- 

° Of which see Smiglecius Logics and Albertinus in his Philosoplt. Disputat. at 


tians, to damnation, as know not Buch reasons for their faith 
as would hold good in strict disputation. Not that our 
charity must bend the Scripture to it. But that Scripture 
commanded such charity ; and it no where condemneth any 
man that believet.i upon uncogent reasons. For he that 
doth so, may yet firmly trust on Jesus Christ, and firmly be- 
lieve that the Gospel is true, as being the very Word of God, 
and may take heaven for his portion, and love God, as God, 
and therefore may be saved. Though yet I think it impos- 
sible that any man should truly believe the Scriptures, and 
not perceive in them some characters of Divinity, which as 
an intrinsical evidence much encourage and induce him to 
believe them : and though this secret gust and perception 
be not the medium that he useth in arguing, or be not the 
chief, yet it may have an effectual force with his soul to 
hold him close to Christ. But if you suppose the man to 
have no spiritual sight and taste of a difference between 
God's Word and a common book, then he cannot be sup- 
posed to be a sound believer. 

As a man that hath one ingredient in his medicine which 
is effectual, may be cured, though in the composition the 
main bulk be vanities ; or as a doctor that hath many insuf- 
ficient sureties, may do well if he have one sufficient one, 
though he more trust the rest ; or as a man's cause may go 
for him in judgment that hath one or two good witnesses, 
and twenty bad ones which he put more trust in ; and as he 
truly proveth his position, who bringeth one sound argu- 
ment for it, tand twenty bad ones : so I think that the com- 
mon way of the illiterate in believing ,is, first to believe 
God's Word to be his Word by human faith ; and after upon 
trial to find a spiritual light and goodness in the Word itself, 
and by both together to believe that it is God's Word. And 
the worse reasons may be the more powerful with him, and 
yet not destroy the sincerity of his faith. 

Nor doth this make his faith merely human : for the 
question now is not, why he believeth God's Word to be 
true, and trusteth on it: for that is, because it is God's Word 
(discerned by him so to be); but he that by an insufficient 
medium (at least with a better, though less understood), doth 
take it to be God's, may yet by a divine faith believe it, be- 
cause he judgeth it his Word. 

If a man should counterfeit himself an angel from heaven, 


and come in some splendid, deceitful appearance in the 
night to an heathen, and tell him that he is sent from God 
to bring him this Bible as his certain Word ; and if the man 
receive it, and believe it on his credit to the death, and by 
that believing it be brought to see an excellency and credi- 
bility, and taste a spiritual sweetness in it, and be brought 
by it (as he may be) to holiness and the love of God, that 
man shall be saved, though I cannot say that the intrinsic 
evidence of the Word alone would have prevailed with him 
without that false belief of a deceiver : when it is once be- 
come a sanctifying belief, then there is no doubt but the 
man hath better evidence than the uncertain word of man : 
he hath the witness in himself. And it is not a glorifying 
faith, till it be a sanctifying faith. But the question is, 
what soundness of reason or proof that this is God's Word, 
is necessary to make it a sanctifying faith ; at least, as most 
prevalent and trusted in? 

By this you may know what I judge of the faith of ho- 
nest, illiterate Papists, and of illiterate Protestants, for there 
are a great number of them, who live in love and obedience 
to God. 

And yet to speak both more concisely and distinctly, I. 
I may believe by historical tradition all that matter of fact, 
which those that saw Christ's and the apostles' miracles, and 
heard their words, did know by sense ; and those that saw 
not, believed on the credit of the reporters. II. And yet I 
may know by reason, through God's help, that these mira- 
cles, and this Scripture impress and efficacy are God's at- 
testation ; and none but God could do it. And of this all 
believers have some perception in various degrees. III. 
And then we know it to be true, because it is sealed by those 
attestations, and is the Word of God. 

Object. VII. ' But would you have men take the matter 
of fact for uncertain (that this is a true Bible and copy, and 
was given the Church by the apostles, &c.) and so not pre- 
tend to be certain of them.' 

Anstv. I have often said, and elsewhere largely proved, 
that as, 1. A human faith of highest probability prepareth 
the way ; so, 2. These things are known by an historical 
evidence, which hath a proper certainty above mere human 
faith : for human faith resteth on men's veracity or fidelity, 
which is uncertain : but there is a history (such as that there is 


such a city as Rome, Venice, &c.) which is evident by a 
surer ground than men's fidelity ; even from such a con- 
currence of consenters and circumstances, as will prove a 
forgery impossible. 

Object. VIII. ' You seem to favour the Popish doctrine 
of ignorance, while you would have all our knowledge con- 
fined to a few plain and easy things, and persuade men to 
doubt all the rest.' 

Answ. 1. I persuade no man to doubt of that which he is 
certain of, but not to lie, and say he is certain when he is 
not. 2. I am so far from encouraging ignorance, that it is 
ignorance of your ignorance which I reprove : I would have 
all men know us much as possibly they can of all that God 
hath revealed. And if the self-conceited knew more, they 
would doubt more ; and as they grow wiser, will grow less 
confident in uncertainties. It is not knowing, but false 
pretending to know, that I am against. Do you think that 
a thousand self-conceited men and women do really know 
ever the more for saying they know, or crying down that 
ignorance, doubting and uncertainty which they have them- 
selves. How many a one (yea preachers) have cried down 
the Popish doctrine of uncertainty of salvation, who had no 
certainty of their own; but their neighbours thought by their 
lives were certainly in the way to hell. 

Object. IX. ' But you would have men resist the Spirit 
that convinceth them, and make so long a work in doubting, 
and questioning, and proving everything, as that Christians 
will come but to a little knowledge in your way.' 

Ansiv. They will have the more knowledge, and not the 
less for trying. Peremptory confidence is not knowledge, 
the next way here is farthest about. Receive all evidence 
from God and man, from the Word and Spirit, with all the 
desire, and all the delight, and all the speed that you possi- 
bly can: Study earnestly; learn willingly ; resist no light; 
neglect no truth. But what is all this to foolish conceit 
that you know what you do not? What is this to the hasty 
believing of falsehoods, or uncertainties, and troubling the 
church and world with self-conceit and dreams ? I remem- 
ber two or three of my old acquaintance, who suddenly 
received from a seducer the opinion of perfection, that we 
might be perfectly sinless in this life: And because I denied 
it they carried it as if I had pleaded for sin against perfec- 


tion ; and they presently took themselves to be perfect and 
sinless, because they had got the opinion that some are such. 
I told them that I desired perfection as well as they, and 
that I was far from hindering or dissuading any from 
perfection ; but wished them to let us see that they are so 
indeed, and never to sin more in thought, word or deed : 
And ere long they forsook all religion, and by drunkenness, 
fornication and licentiousness, shewed us their perfection. 
So here, it is not a conceit that men have faith and know- 
ledge, and quickly saying, I believe ; or turning to the priest 
or party that persuadeth them, which maketh them ever the 
wiser men, or true believers. 

Object. X. ' But that may seem certain to another which 
seemeth uncertain or false to you : therefore every man must 
go according to his own light.' 

Answ. 1. Nothing is certain which is not true: if that 
seem true to you which is false, this is your error : and is 
every man, or any man bound to err, and believe a false- 
hood ? Being is before knowing : If it be not true, you may 
think it to be so, (which is that which I would cure ;) but 
you cannot know it to be so; much less to be certain of it. 
2. If it be certain to you, it is evidently true ; and if so, hold 
it fast, and spare not : It is not any man's certainty, but 
error, which I oppose. 

Object. XL ' But if we must write or utter nothing but 
certainties, you would have but a small library.' 

Answ. 1. The world might well spare a great many un- 
certain writings. 2. But I say not that you must think, say 
or write nothing but certainties: there is a lawful, and in some 
cases, necessary exercise of our understandings about proba- 
bilities and possibilities. The husbandman when he plough- 
eth and soweth is not certain of an increase. 1 . But call not 
that certain which is not. 2. And be not as vehement and 
peremptory in it as if it were a certainty. 3. And separate 
your certainties and probabilities asunder, that confusion 
fill not your minds with error. 

Object. XII. ' While you persuade us to be so diffident of 
men's reports, and to suspend our belief of what men say, 
you speak against the laws of converse. 

Answ. I persuade you not to deny any man such a belief 
as is his due : but give him no more. If a man profess him- 
self a Christian, and say that he sincerely believeth in Christ, 


and consenteth to his covenant, though you may perceive 
no ascertaining evidence that he saith true, yet you must 
believe him, because he is the only opener of his own mind, 
and the laws of God and human converse require it. But 
what is this believing him? Not taking it for a certain truth, 
but taking it for a thing probable, which may be true for 
aught you know, and which you must hope is true; and this 
in different degrees, according to the different degrees of 
the person's credibility. 

If you hear men confidently report any news in these 
times, when half that we hear oft proveth false, you may be- 
lieve the reporter as a fallible person, that is, believe that he 
doth not wilfully lie, and so not uncivilly contradict him ; 
and yet suspend your belief of the thing itself, and whether 
he took it up rashly on uncertain rumours. 

But if you hear a man speak evil of another behind his 
back, when the thing is not notorious and certain other ways, 
the law of justice and charity obligeth you not to believe 
him, but to suspend your belief till you hear both sides, or 
have surer proof; yea, and to suspend, not with an indiffer- 
ency, but with a hope that it is not true which he speaketh. 

Object. XIII. ' But then I shall be as uncharitable in judg- 
ing the reporter (who perhaps is a godly man) to be a liar and 
slanderer, as I should be in believing that the other is guilty.' 

Answ. 1. I say not that you are to conclude that cer- 
tainly he lieth, and that it is false, but to suspend your be- 
lief, and to hope that it is false. 2. He that maketh himself 
the accuser of another man behind his back, in a way of 
talk, doth expose himself to that disadvantage, and maketh 
it our duty to begin our charitable opinion on the side of 
him that is accused, and rather to hope that he is innocent 
(' caeteris paribus') than the accuser. For God forbiddeth 
backbiting and slandering, and biddeth us to speak evil of no 
man. And he that in our hearing backbiteth and speaketh 
evil, how godly otherwise soever, without a clear necessary 
cause, doth forfeit our charity and belief, more than a man 
can do whom we do not see or hear. For if I was bound to 
judge him innocent before this backbiting, I am bound so to 
judge him still. Therefore I do but continue that good 
opinion of my neighbour which I was bound to : And that I 
must suspect the backbiter of a lie, is the consequent of his 
own act, and wrong of himself. For I cannot believe con- 


traries : and it is not his backbiting that will disoblige me 
from my former duty, of judging the other innocent. So 
that it is the reporter that casteth away the reputation of 
his own veracity. 

Object. XIV. ' When you have written all this against 
pretended knowledge, who is more guilty than yourself? 
Who so oppresseth his reader with distinctions ? Are all 
your large writings evident certainties? Even those con- 
troversies in which you have so many adversaries V 

Answ. I put in this objection, because I have a book 
called " Methodus Theologian," which I know will occasion 
such thoughts in many readers. But, 1. It is one thing to 
assert uncertainties, and another thing to anatomise, and 
distinctly, and methodically explain to certain truth. In all 
my large writings, if you find that I call any thing certain 
which is uncertain, that is, which I give not ascertaining 
evidence of, acquaint me with the particulars, and I shall 
retract them. 

2. I never persuaded any man to write or say no more 
than all men certainly know, already, no not all learned 
divines; for then how should we receive edification? Sub- 
jective certainty is as various as men's intellects, where no 
two are of a size. And objective certainty must be tried by 
the evidence, and not by other men's consenting to it. Nor 
must a major vote of dissenters go for a proof of objective 
uncertainty : For Heathens are more than the rest of the 
world ; and Mahometans more than Christians ; and Papists 
more than Protestants ; and the ungodly more than the 
godly ; and yet this is no proof of our own, or the things un- 

3. Part of my writings are against uncertainties ; and to 
deliver the Church from false opinions that go for certain- 
ties ; and these are they that have most contradicters : and 
may I not write against false and uncertain opinions which 
religion is corrupted with, and defend the ancient simplicity, 
without being guilty of the introduction of uncertainties 

4. I deny not but I have many things that are uncertain ; 
but then I acknowledge them uncertain ; and treat of them 
but as they are. 

5. Lastly, If really my writings are guilty of that which 
I here reprehend, false pretended knowledge, the sin is never 


the better for that, nor my accusation of it, ever the less true, 
nor your duty to avoid it ever the less. Think what you will 
of me, so you will but think rightly of sin and duty. If I go 
contary to my doctrine, and you can prove it, take warning 
by me, and do not you the like. 


IX. Directions for the Cure of Pretended Knowledge, or Self- 


The cure of this plague of prefidence or pretended know- 
ledge is it which all the rest is written for ; and must now 
be the last in execution as it was the first in my intention p . 
And could men be persuaded to this following course it 
might be done: but nature's vicious inclination to the vice, 
and the commonness and strength of temptations to it, do 
make me expect to prevail but with a few. 

Direct. I. Labour to understand the true nature and 
principles of certainty before opened. False measures will 
make you judge certainties to be falsehoods or uncertain, 
and falsehoods to be certain truths. And when you know 
the conditions of certainty, try all things by them accurately ; 
and if any would by art, persuade you of the uncertainty of 
nature's just perceptions, by sense or intellect, remember 
that be they what they will, you have no better or surer : 
they are such as our Creator hath given you to trust to for 
your use, even for the ends of life. 

Direct. II. Discern the helps of knowledge from know- 
ledge or certainty itself. Believing your teachers as men, 
and believing historians according to their credibility, and 
reverencing the judgment of seniors, and of the church, are 
all preparative helps to certainty : and human faith is such 
as to Divine faith. But do not therefore think that it is the 
same : nor give men that prerogative of infallibility which 
belongeth to God, or to inspired prophets, who prove their 
word by God's attestation. The belief of logicians is need- 
ful to your understanding logic, and logic is a great help to 

p Because I must not often repeat the same things, I must refer the reader to what 
I have more fully said of this in twenty-seven directions for certainty of knowledge in 
my Christian Directory, Part iii.chap.7. 


your certain discerning of physical and metaphysical and 
moral verities. And yet many rules of your logic may be 
uncertain, and you must not take the helps of your know- 
ledge for evidence itself. 

Some think that nothing is known till we have second 
notions for it, or can define it: when things sensible are 
better known by sensing them, and usually second notions 
deceive men and make them doubt of what they better ap- 
prehended without them. 

Be very suspicious of all words or terms; 1. As ambi- 
guous, as almost all are : and therefore he that cannot dis- 
tinguish them must needs err by confusion. 2. Lest you 
take the names for things, most disputes using to carry con- 
troversies ' de nomine ' as if they were ' de re,' or slide from 
this into that. 

Direct. III. Therefore also trust not too far to the ar- 
tificial forms of argument, without, or instead of the evi- 
dence of the truth of the thing itself. For there are many 
things supposed to the infallibility of your art, which may 
not themselves be infallibly true : and man's wit is con- 
scious of its own fallibility ; and therefore is doubtful lest 
it should be deceived in its collections and ratiocinations ; 
especially when the engine hath many tacklings, and the 
chain many links, we are still in doubt lest some one should 
break : but the evidence of the thing in its own reality, 
which is not wholly laid on the form of an artificial argu- 
ment, which is of great use, doth satisfy more. 

Direct. IV. Take truths in order ; the principles first, 
and the rest in their true exurgence and dependance upon 
them : and take nothing to be well known which is not 
known, not only in a method but in a method clearly suita- 
ble to the things. As words and notions, so rules and me- 
thods must be fetched from the things, and fitted to the 
things, or they are vain. Sense and intellect must first per- 
ceive the things themselves, and be your first tutors in so- 
matology and pneumatology ; and then these must do much 
in making your logic. The foot must be the measure of the 
shoe. And remember that you have but a half, fallacious 
knowledge, till you know the true place, and order, and 
respects of the thing, as well as the nature and quality of it 
in itself; and till you can draw up a true scheme of the 
things which you know : it is dreams that are incoherent. 


Direct. V. Let the great radical verities have your 
greatest confidence, and not only so, but the most of your 
thoughts, and estimation, and time ; and proportionably 
let the lesser things have but that share of your esteem, and 
time, and studies which they deserve ; which comparatively 
will be little. And make them the test of what is further 
offered to you : and believe nothing which is certainly con- 
trary to them. Argue always • a. notioribus/ and reduce not 
certainties to uncertainties, but contrarily. 

Direct. VI. Keep all your perceptions distinct accord- 
ing to the distinction of their natures. Let both your books 
and your intellects be like an apothecary's shop, where there 
are different boxes with different titles for different things. 
Let sensible perceptions be by themselves : and the intellec- 
tive perception of things sensate be by themselves : and the 
intellective perception of its own and the will's acts be by 
themselves : and the collection of the nature of spirits and 
intellective agents thence, be by themselves : and the know- 
ledge of principles, physical and moral, be by themselves : 
and the certainty of conclusions be ranked according to the 
variety of their degrees. The confusion of these different 
things causeth so confused a kind of knowledge, as is next 
to no knowledge, and more fit to trouble than to satisfy. 

Direct. VII. Look to all things, or as many as is possi- 
ble. When half is unknown, the other half is not half 
known. ' Respicere ad omnia' is proper to God : ' Respi- 
cere ad plurima ' is necessary to the competent wisdom of 
a man : to be of a narrow mind and prospect, is the property 
of the ignorant and erroneous. He that seeth only a hand 
or foot knoweth not what a man is by it : and he that seeth 
only a word knoweth not by that what a sentence is. God's 
works are all one. I know not what we shall see in Com- 
menius's Pansophy, which they say is yet to see the light; 
how far he hath reduced all sciences to one. But I little 
doubt but they may and should be all reduced to two, which 
are as the soul and body that yet make up one man, though 
not one nature, viz. 1. The ontological or real part, dis- 
tinguished into that of substances and of modes, where mo- 
rality cometh in, &c. 2. The organical part, which fitteth 
words and notions to things. And I am sure that as the 
knowledge of one thing or of many, much conduceth to fur- 
ther knowledge ; so the ignorance of one thing conduceth to 


ignorance and error about others. It is here as in the know- 
ledge of a clock or watch, or musical instrument. Know all 
or you know little, and next to none. No man is a fitjudge 
of church affairs, who hath not the state of the world in 
some good measure in his eye ; else he will be like most 
sectaries, who judge, and talk, and live, as if the world were 
no bigger than their synagogues or sects. He must have all 
the Scripture in his eye, and all the body of divinity, and all 
the world in his eye ; and God himself, who is more than all, 
who will not, by a narrow mind be cheated into a multitude 
of errors. There are abundance of truths unknown to you 
which, were they known, would rectify your other errors. 

Direct. VIII. Conclude not hastily of negatives. You 
may more easily know, that you do what you do know, than 
know what it is that you do not know. It doth not follow 
that there is no more, because you know no more. St. John 
tells you, that if all that Christ did should be written, the 
world could not contain the books : you cannot therefore 
conclude from what is recorded, that he said and did no 
more than is recorded : though I am sure against popery, by 
my sense and intellect, that there is real bread and wine in 
the sacrament, I am not sure by sense that there is no spiri- 
tual body of Christ : the negative must be otherwise proved. 
I am sure by my five senses (as they are commonly distin- 
guished and numbered) that there are existent all the sensi- 
ble qualities, which are their objects : but whether the world 
may not have more sensible qualities, suited to many other 
sort of senses, which we have no conception, notion or name 
of, is a thing that no mortal man can know. 

You hear many things, and know many things by another 
man, which make his cause seem bad : but do you know how 
many more things may be existent unknown to you, which 
if you knew would change your judgment? 

Allow still room and supposition for abundance of un- 
known things, which may come hereafter to your know- 
ledge, and make things seem to you quite other than they do. 
How can you possibly know how much more may be un- 
known to you ? If I have a servant that stayeth much longer 
than I expected, I may conjecture that he could have no bu- 
siness to stay him, but his negligence ; but there may be many 
accidents to cause it, which I cannot judge of till I hear 
him speak. 


Direct. IX. Be sure that you suspect your first appre- 
hensions of things; and take few conceptions (conclusive) 
for certain, that are not digested. Fasten not over-tenaci- 
ously upon opinions, in the beginning, at the first hearing : 
take it for granted, that your first conceptions of things must 
alter, either as to the truth, or the evidence, or the order, or 
the degree. Few men are so happy in youth, as to receive 
at first such right impressions, which need not after be much 
altered. When we are children, we know as children ; but 
when we become men, childish things are done away. Where 
we change not our judgment of the matter, yet we come to 
have very different apprehensions of it. I would not have 
boys to be mere sceptics ; for they must be godly, and Chris- 
tians. But I would have them leave room for increase of 
knowledge, and not be too peremptory with their juvenile 
conceptions, but suppose that a further light will give them 
another prospect of the same things. 

Direct. X. Choose such teachers, if possible, as have 
themselves attained the things you seek ; even that most 
substantial wisdom which leadeth to salvation. For how else 
shall they teach others, what they have not learned them- 
selves ! O the difference between teachers and teachers ! be- 
tween a rash, flashy, unexperienced, proud wit ; and clear- 
headed, well-studied, much-experienced, godly men ! Happy 
is he that hath such a teacher, that is long exercised in the 
ways of truth, and holiness, and peace ; and hath a heart to 
value him. 

Direct. XI. *Value truth for goodness, and goodness above 
truth ; and estimate all truths and knowledge by their use- 
fulness to higher ends. That is good as a means, which 
doth good. There is nothing besides God that is simply 
good, in, of, and for itself; all else is only good derivatively 
from God the efficient, and as a means to God the final cause. 
As a pound of gold more enricheth than many loads of dirt ; 
so a little knowledge of great and necessary matters, maketh 
one wiser, than a great deal of pedantic, toyish learning. 
No man hath time and capacity for all things : he is but a 
proud fool, that would seem to know all, and deny his igno- 
rance in many things. Even he that with Alstedius, &c. can 
write an Encyclopaedia, is still unacquainted with abundance 
that is intelligible. For my own part, I humbly thank God, 



that by placing my dwelling still as in the church-yard, he 
hath led me to choose still the studies which I thought were 
fittest for a man, that is posting to another world. He that 
must needs be ignorant of many things, should choose to 
omit those which he can best spare. Distinguish well be- 
tween studying and knowing for use, and for lust : for the 
true ends of knowledge, and for the bare delight of knowing. 
One thing is necessary, (Luke x. 42,) and all others, but as 
they are necessary to that one ; mortify the lust of useless 
knowledge, as well as other lusts of flesh and fantasy. 
Dying men commonly call it vanity. Remember what a deal 
of precious time it wasteth ; and from how many greater and 
more necessary things it doth divert the mind ; and with 
what wind it puffs men up ; as is aforesaid. How justly did 
the rude Tartarians think the great libraries, and multitudes 
of doctors and idle priests, among the Chinese to be a foolery ; 
and call them away from their books to arms, as Palafox 
tells us ; when all their learning was to so little purpose as it 
was, and led them to no more high and necessary things 1 

Direct. XII. Yet because many smaller parts of know- 
ledge are necessary to kingdoms, academies and churches, 
which are not necessary, nor greatly valuable to individual 
persons ; let some few particular persons be bred up to an 
eminency in those studies, and let not the generality of stu- 
dents waste their time therein. There is scarcely any part of 
knowledge so small and useless, but it is necessary to great 
societies, that some be masters of it, which yet the genera- 
lity may well spare. And all are to be valued and honoured 
according to their several excellencies. But yet I cannot 
have to study as long as Politian how Virgil should be spelt ; 
nor to decide the quarrels between Phil. Pareus and Gruter, 
nor to digest all his grammatical collections, nor to read all 
over abundance of books, which I allow house-room to. Nor 
to learn all the languages and arts which I could wish to 
know, if I could know them without neglecting greater 
things. But yet the excellent professors of them all I honour. 

Direct. XIII. Above all, value, digest, and seriously live 
upon the most great and necessary certain truths. O that we 
knew what work, inward and outward, the great truths of 
salvation call for from us all ! If you do not faithfully value 
and improve these, you prepare for delusion : you forget 


your premises and principles : God may justly leave you in 
the dark, and give you up to believe a lie. Did you live ac- 
cording to the importance of certain principles, your lives 
would be filled with fruit, and business, and delight, and all 
this great : so that you would have little mind or leisure for 
little and unnecessary things. It is the neglect of things 
necessary, which fills the world with the trouble of things 

Direct. XIV. Study hard, and search diligently anddeeply, 
and that with unwearied patience and delight. Unpleasant 
studies tire and seldom prosper. Slight running thoughts 
accomplish little. If any man think that the Spirit is given 
to save us the labour of hard and long studies, Solomon hath 
spent so many chapters in calling them to dig, search, cry, 
labour, wait for wisdom, that if that will not undeceive them, 
I cannot: they may as well say, that God's blessing is to 
save the husbandman the labour of ploughing and sowing : 
and that the Spirit is given to save men the labour of learn- 
ing to read the Bible, or to hear it, or think of it, or to pray 
to God. Whereas the Spirit is given us to provoke and 
enable us to study hard, and read, and hear, and pray hard, 
and to prosper us herein. 

And as vain are our idle lads, that think their that natural 
wits, or their abode and degrees in the Unversities, will serve 
the turn instead of hard studies ! And so they come out 
almost as ignorant, and yet more proud than they went thi- 
ther, to be plagues in all countries where they come, to teach 
others by example the idleness and sensuality which they 
learned themselves; and being ignorant, yet the honour of their 
functions must be maintained, and therefore their ignorance 
must be hid, which yet themselves do weekly make ostenta- 
tion of in the pulpit, where they should be shining lights ; 
and when their own tongues have proclaimed it, those of 
understanding that observe and loathe it, must be maligned 
and railed at for knowing how little their teachers know. 

Nothing without long and hard studies furnisheth the 
mind with such a stock of truth, as may be called real wis- 
dom. " That God is the rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him," (and not of the lazy neglecters of him) is the 
second principle in religion. (Heb. xi. 6.) They that cannot 
be at this labour, must be content to know but little, and 
not take on them to know much. For they are not able to 


discern truth from falsehood : but while they sleep the tares 
are sowed : or while they open the door, all crowd in that 
can come first; and they cannot make a just separation. 
Ignorant persons will swarm with errors, and he that erreth 
will think that he is in the right: and if he think that it is 
a divine and necessary truth which he embraceth, how zea- 
lously may he pursue it ! 

Direct. XV. Take heed of the bias of carnal interest, 
and of the disturbing passions, which selfish partiality will 
be apt to raise. Men may verily think, that they sincerely 
love the truth, when the secret power of a carnal interest, 
their honour, their profit or pleasure, is it that turneth about 
their judgment, and furnisheth them with arguments, and 
whets their wits, and maketh them passionately confident, 
and they are not aware of it. Is your worldly interest on 
that side that your opinion is for? Though that prove it 
not false, it proveth that you should be very suspicious of 

Direct. XVI. Keep up unfeigned fervent love to others, 
even as to yourselves. And then you will not contemn their 
persons and their arguments, beyond certain cause. You 
will not turn to passionate contentions, and reproaches of 
them when you differ ; and the reverence of your elders, 
teachers, superiors, will make you more ready to suspect 
yourselves than them. Most of our self-conceited pretend- 
ers to knowledge, have lost their love and reverence of dis- 
senters, and are bold despisers of the persons, reasons and 
writings of all that contradict their error. And most that 
venture to cast the churches into flames, and their brethren 
into silence and sufferings, that they may plant their own 
opinions, are great despisers of those that they afflict, and 
either hate them, or would make them hateful, lest they 
should be thought to be unjust in using them like hateful 
persons. " Love that thinketh not evil of others, is not apt 
to vaunt itself." (1 Cor. xiii.) 

Direct. XVII. Reverence the Church of God, but give 
not up your understandings absolutely to any men ; but 
take heed of taking any church, sect, or party, instead of the 
infallible God. With the Universal Church, you must em- 
body and hold concord : it is certain, that it erreth not from 
the essentials of Christianity : otherwise the Church were 
no Church, no Christians, and could not be saved. If a Pa- 


pist say, 'and which is this Church V I answer him, it is 
the universality of Christians, or all that hold these essen- 
tials ; and when I say, that this Church cannot fall from 
these essentials, I do but'say, it cannot cease to be a Church : 
the Church is constituted of, and known by the essentials of 
faith ; and not the essentials of faith constituted by the 
Church, nor so known by it; though it be known by it as 
the teacher of it. 

He that deserteth the Christian universality, in deed 
though not in words, and cleaveth too close to any sect, 
whether Papal or any other, will be carried down the stream 
by that sect, and will fill his understanding with all their 
errors and uncertainties, and confound them with the cer- 
tain truths of God, to make up a mixed religion with ; and 
the reverence of his party, church or sect, will blind his 
mind, and make him think all this his duty. 

Direct. XVIII. Fear error and ungrounded confidence. 
Consider all the mischiefs of it, which the world hath long 
felt, and the churches in the East and West are distracted 
by unto this day ; and which I have opened to you before. 
He that feareth not a sin and mischief, is most unlikely to 
escape it. A tender conscience cannot be bold and rash, 
where the interest of God, the church, and his own and 
others' souls is so much concerned. When you are invited 
to turn Papist, or Quaker, or Anabaptist, or Antinomian, or 
Separatist, think, what if it should prove an error; and as 
great an error as many godly, learned men affirm it to be ? 
Alas, what a gulf should 1 plunge my soul in ! What injury 
should I do the truth ! What wrong to souls ! And shall I 
rashly venture on such a danger, any more than I would do 
on fornication, drunkenness, or other sin ? And doth not 
the sad example of this age, as well as all former ages, warn 
you to be fearful of what you entertain ? O what promising, 
what hopeful, what confident persons, have dreadfully mis- 
carried, and when they once began to roll down the hill, 
have not stopped till some of them arrived at infidelity and 
profaneness, and others involved us in confusions ! And yet 
shall we not fear, but rage and be confident? 

And to see on the other side, what darkness and delu- 
sion hath fallen upon thousands of the Papal clergy, and 
what their error hath cost the world, should make those 
that are that way inclined also fear. 


Direct. XIX. Above all pray and labour for a truly 
humble mind, that is well acquainted with its own defects ; 
and fear and fly from a proud, overvaluing of your own un- 
derstanding. Be thankful for any knowledge that you have, 
but take heed of thinking it greater than it is. The devil's 
sin, and the imitation of Adam, are not the way to have the 
illumination of God's Spirit. It is not more usual with God 
to bring low those that are proud of greatness, than to leave 
to folly, deceit and error, those that are proud of wisdom ; 
and to leave to sin and wickedness, those that are proud of 
goodness. A proud understanding cannot be brought to 
suspect itself, but is confident of its first undigested appre- 
hensions : it either feeleth no need of the Spirit's light, but 
despiseth it as a fancy ; or else it groweth conceited, that 
all its conceptions are of the Spirit, and is proud of that 
Spirit which he hath not. Nothing maketh this peremptory 
confidence in false conceits so common, as pride of a know- 
ledge which men have not. Would the Lord but humble 
these persons thoroughly, they would think, alas ! ' What a 
dark, deceitful mind have 1 ! how unfit to despise the judg- 
ment of them that have laboured for knowledge far more 
than I have done, and how unfit to be confident against such 
as know much more than I?' 

But so deep and common is this pride, that they that go 
in rags, and they that think themselves unworthy to live, 
and are ready to despair in the sense of sin, do yet ordina- 
rily so overvalue their own apprehensions, that even these 
will stiffly hold their vain and unpeaceable opinions, and 
stiffly reject the judgment and arguments of the wisest and 
best that will not be as envious as they. 

Direct. XX. Lastly, Keep in a childlike, teachable, 
learning resolution, with a sober and suspended judgment, 
where you have not sure evidence to turn the scales. When 
Christ saith, " Except ye be converted and become as little 
children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of hea- 
ven :" (Matt, xviii. 3 :) as he hath respect to the humility 
of children in general (and their inception of anew life), so 
in special he seemeth to respect them [as disciples : Set 
children to school and their business is to hear and learn 
all day ; they set not their wits against their masters, and 
do not wrangle and strive against him, and say, it is not so; 
we know better than you. But so abominably is human na- 


ture corrupted by this intellectual pride, that when once lads 
are big enough to be from under a tutor, commonly, instead 
of learning of others, they are of a teaching humour, and 
had rather speak two hours than hear one ; and set then- 
wits to contradict what they should learn, and to conquer 
those that would instruct them ; and to shew themselves 
wiser than to learn to be more wise ; and we can scarcely 
talk with man or woman, but is the wisest in the company, 
and most hardly convinced of an error. 

But two things here I earnestly advise you : 1. That you 
spend more time in learning than in disputing : n^t but that 
disputing in its season is necessary to defend the truth ; 
but usually it engageth men's wits in an eager opposition 
against others, and so against the truth which they should 
receive ; and it goeth more according to the ability of the 
disputants, than the merits of the cause. And he that is 
worsted is so galled at the disgrace, that he hateth the truth 
the more for his sake that hath dishonoured him : and there- 
fore Paul speaketh so often against such disputing, and saith 
that the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle, 
and apt to teach, and in meekness instruct opposers. 

I would ordinarily, if any man have a mind to wrangle 
with me, tell him ; ' If you know more of these things than 
I, if you will be my teacher, I shall thankfully hear and learn,' 
and desire him to open his judgment to me in its fullest evi- 
dence : and I would weigh it as the time and case required ; 
and if I were fully satisfied against it, I would crave leave 
to tell him the reasons of my dissent, and crave his patient 
audience to the end. And when we well understood each 
other's mind and reasons, I would crave leave then to end 
in peace; unless the safety of others required a dispute to 
defend the truth. 

2. And my special repeated counsel is, that you suspend 
your judgment till you have cogent evidence to determine it. 
Be no further of either side than you know they are in the 
right ; cast not yourself into other men's opinions hastily, 
upon slight reasons at a blind adventure. If you see not a 
certainty, judge it not certain. If you see but a probability, 
judge it but probable. " Prove all things, and hold fast 
that which is good." (1 Thess. v.) The Bereans are com- 
mended for searching the Scripture, and seeing whether the 
things were so which Paul had spoken. (Acts xvii.) Truth 


feareth not the light. It is like gold, that loseth nothing by 
the fire. Darkness is its greatest enemy and dishonour. 
Therefore look before you leap : you are bid, " Believe not 
every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God." 
(1 John ii.) Stand still till you know that the ground is 
safe which you are to tread on. When poisoners are as com- 
mon as physicians, you will take heed what you take. It is 
safer when once you have the essentials of Christianity, to 
take too little than too much : for you are sure to be saved 
if you are mere true Christians ; but how far Popery, Anti- 
nomianism, &c, may corrupt your Christianity is a contro- 
versy. Wish them that urge you, to forbear their haste in a 
matter of everlasting consequence : these are not matters to 
be rashly done. And as long as you are uncertain, profess 
yourselves uncertain ; and if they will condemn you for your 
ignorance when you are willing to know the truth, so will 
not God. But when you are certain, resolve in the strength 
of God, and hold fast whatever it cost you, even to the 
death, and never fear being losers by God, by his truth, or 
by fidelity in your duty. 





1 CORINTHIANS viii. 3. 
But if any man love God, the same is known of him. 

CHAP. 1. 

Knowledge is to be estimated more by the End it tendeth to, 

than by itself. 

Having done with that epidemical, mortal disease, self- 
conceitedness, or prefidence, or over-hasty judging, 
and pretending to know that which we know not, which I 
more desire than hope to cure ; I have left but little room 
for the nobler part of my subject, True Saving Knowledge, 
because the handling of it was not my principal design. 

The meaning of the text I gave you before. The true 
paraphrase of it is as followeth : As if Paul had said : ' You 
overvalue your barren notions, and think that by them you 
are wise ; whereas knowledge is a means to a higher end ; 
and is to be esteemed of as it attaineth that end ; and that 
end is to make us lovers of God, that so we may be known 
with love by him ; for to love God and be beloved by him is 
man's felicity and ultimate end ; and therefore that which 
we must seek after and live for in the world; and he is to be 
accounted the wisest man that loveth God most ; when un- 
sanctified notions and speculations will prove but folly.' 

This being the true meaning of the text, I shall briefly 
speak of it by parts, as it containeth these several doctrines 
or propositions. 

JJoct. I. Knowledge is a means to a higher end, ac- 
cording to which it is to be estimated. 


Doct. II. The end of knowledge is to make us lovers of 
God, and so to be known with love by him. 

Doct. III. Therefore knowledge is to be valued, sought 
and used, as it tendeth to this holy blessed end. 

Doct. IV. And therefore those are to be accounted the 
wisest or best-knowing men, that love God most ; and not 
those that are stored with unholy knowledge. 

For the first of these, that ' Knowledge is a means to a 
higher end,' I shall first open it, and then prove it. 

I. Aquinas and some other schoolmen make the vision 
or knowledge of God, to be the highest part of man's felicity : 
and I deny not but that the three faculties of man's soul, vi- 
tal activity, intellect and will, as the image of the Divine 
Trinity, have a kind of inseparability and co-equality. And 
therefore each of their perfections and perfect receptions 
from God, and operations on God, is the ultimate end of 
man : but yet they are distinguishable, though not divisible ; 
and there is such an order among them, as that one may in 
some respects be called the incepter and another the per- 
fecter of human operations ; and so the acts of one be called 
a means to the acts of the other. And thus though the 
vision or knowledge of God be one inadequate conception, 
if not a part of our ultimate end ; yet the love of God, and 
living to God, are also other conceptions or parts of it: yea, 
and the more completive, perfect parts, which we call ' finis 
ultimate ultimus.' 

II. The proof shall be fetched, 1. From the order and 
use of the faculties of the soul. 2. From the objects. 3. 
From the constitution of the acts. 4. From express Scrip- 

I. It is evident to our internal perception ; 1. That the 
understanding is but the guide of the will, and its acts but 
mediate to determine the will : as the eye is to lead the ap- 
petitive and executive faculties, by presenting to them their 
proper objects. To know is but an initial introductory act. 
Yea, 2. It is evident that the soul is not satisfied with 
bare knowing, if no delight or complacency follow : for 
what is that which we call satisfaction, but the complacency 
of the will? Suppose a man to have no effect upon his will, 
no pleasure, no contentation in his knowledge, and what 
felicity or desirable good to him would there be, in all the 
knowledge in the world? Yea, when I name either good or 


desirable every one knoweth that I name an object of the 
will. Therefore if you stop at bare intellection, it is not to 
be called good or desirable as to the intellect, these being 
not proper intellectual objects: though remotely I confess 
they are ; that is, that which is called good, amiable and 
desirable primarily as the proper object of the will, must be 
discerned to be such by the understanding : when yet the 
formal notion of the intellects' object, is but " quid intelligi- 
bile,' which materially is ' Ens, Unum, Verum, Bonum :' But 
goodness is the formal notion of the object of the will, and 
not only the material. 

If any say that I seem here to take part with Epicurus, 
and Cicero's Torquatus, who erred by placing the chief ex- 
cellency of virtue in the pleasure of it; and consequently 
making any thing more excellent which is more pleasant, 
though it be sin itself; I answer, He that will decide that 
great controversy, must distinguish, 1. Between sensitive 
pleasure, and the complacency of the will. 2. Between that 
which is good only to me, and that which is good to others, 
and that which is good in relation to the supreme and final 
will of God. 3. Between the exterior and the interior acts 
of virtue, and then you shall see Cicero and Torquatus easily 
reconciled, thus : — 

1. It is certain that goodness and the will are so essen- 
tially" related to each other, that they must each enter the 
other's definition. To be ' bonum' is to be ' volibile ;' and 
to will is ever ' velle bonum.' 

2. It is certain that God's will is the original and end of 
all created good, which hath its essence in relation to his will. 
And therefore if it were possible for virtue to be unpleasant 
or pernicious to the possessor, it would be good as it is 
suited and related to the will of God. 

3. Therefore it cannot be said, that virtue as virtue is 
better than virtue as it pleaseth God : but it is most certain 
that virtue as virtue is pleasing to God, (as to the objective 
aptitude,) and that virtue as pleasing to God, and conse- 
quently as virtue, is better than virtue, as it is pleasant to 
the possessor. 

4. And it is certain that virtue, as it is profitable, and 
justly pleasing to mankind, to the church, to kingdoms, to 
public societies or multitudes, is better than as it is pleasing 


unto one. Because the good of many is better than of one. 

5. And it is certain that virtue, as itpleaseththe rational 
will, is better than as it pleaseth the mere sensitive appetite, 
which it seldom doth : and therefore sensuality hath no ad- 
vantage hence. 

6. And virtue as it profiteth, though at present it occa- 
sion sorrow or disobedience in its consequents, is better 
than that which at the present only pleaseth, and quickly 
vanisheth. But that profit lieth in this, that it prepareth 
for everlasting, or more durable pleasure. And a long plea- 
sure attained by present sorrow, is better than a momentary 
pleasure ; which is another difference between sensual sinful, 
and spiritual durable delights, 

7. And to end all this controversy between us and 
Epicurus, it is notorious, that the internal vital acts of true 
virtue, are nothing else radically but pleasure itself: for it 
is radically and summarily nothing but the love of God and 
goodness : and love in its properest notion is nothing but 
the complacency of the will. To say, I love it, is but to say, 
it pleaseth me; unless when you speak of either sensual 
appetite and delight, or love as conjunct with some other 
act or passion. And (though Occum here stretch it a little 
too far) it is certain that the external act of man hath no 
virtue in it that is moral, but secondary, and derived from 
the will, even as far as it is voluntary. So that the inform- 
ing root of virtue is will, love or complacency ; which Austin 
useth to call delectation, asserting what I now assert. So 
that the question now is, Whether virtue, which is nothing 
but complacency in good, be better as complacency or as 
virtue ; that is, under one name or another ? or whether it be 
better as virtue, or as virtue? as complacency, or as com- 
placency ? 

If you think I make Cicero and the old philosophers fools, 
by feigning them to agitate such a question ; I answer, 1. 
If they do so, it is not my doing, but their own. 2. But I 
think Cicero meant not so foolishly,but understood Epicurus 
only of sensual pleasure, and not of rational. 3. Or at least, 
of private pleasure of a single person, as opposite to the 
utility and pleasure of multitudes. 4. And whether he had 
so much Theology as to remember that which is it that 
resolveth the whole doubt, I know not, viz. that virtue as 


virtue is objectively pleasing to the will of God : and as 
pleasing to God, it is better than as pleasing to me, and all 
the world. 

So that notwithstanding this objection, thus fully an- 
swered, the acts of the intellect merely as such, without their 
respect to some will, either of God or man, are not so much 
as formally amiable, desirable or good. 

3. 1 further add, that the acts of the intellect may be 
forced, involuntary, displeasing, and both morally and pe- 
nally evil. A man may by God be forbidden to search after, 
and to know some things ; and to know them (as voluntarily 
done) may be his sin. And all know that a man may be 
necessitated to know many things ; and that knowledge may 
torment him : As to know dangers, losses, enmities, injuries, 
future evils; especially sins by an accusing conscience, and 
God's displeasure : and devils and damned souls have such 

Object. ' All this is true of some knowledge, but not of 
the knowledge of God or goodness.' 

Answ. 1. It is granted then that knowledge, as such, is 
not sufficient to be man's felicity, or final act. 2. And as to 
the object, I easily grant that the true knowledge of God is 
the initial part of man's felicity : but that is much, because 
it ever inferreth that love or complacency of the will, which 
is the more completive part. 3. But there is a knowledge 
even of God, which being separated from love, is sin and 
misery. As the devils and damned that believe, and tremble, 
and hate, and suffer, are not without all knowledge of God. 
So much for the first proof, fetched from the order of the 
faculties of the soul. 

II. The second proof is fetched from the objects: it is not 
mere intelligibility that blesseth a man, but goodness, which 
as such is the formal object of the will, though the material 
object of the understanding. It is a pleasant thing for the 
eyes to behold the sun : and as pleasant, it is good ; and also 
as useful to further pleasure of ourselves or others. Nothing 
maketh a man good or happy, but as it is good. Therefore 
the goodness of God, (his transcendent perfection by which 
he is first essentially good in himself, and amiable to him- 
self, and then good and amiable to us all) is the ultimately 
ultimate object of man's soul, to which his intelligibility is 


III. The third proof is from the constitution of these 
several acts : knowledge being but an introductive act, sup- 
poseth not love, as to its essence, though it produce it as an 
effect: but love includeth knowledge in it; as the number 
of two includeth one, when one doth not include two. There- 
fore both together must needs be more perfect than one 

IV. The fourth proof is from express Scripture ; I will 
only cite some plain ones which need no tedious comment. 
1. For love it is said, " We have known and believed the 
love that God hath to us : God is love, and he that dwelleth 
in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our 
love made perfect, (or in this the love with us is perfected) 
that we have boldness in the day of judgment : because as 
he is, so are we, in this world : there is no fear in love, but 
perfect love casteth out fear. He that feareth is not made 
perfect in love." (1 John iv. 16 — 18.) So that love is the 
perfection of man. 

1 Cor. xii. 31; xiii. 2., &c. " Yet shew I unto you a 
more excellent way: though I understand all mysteries, and 
all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. — Charity 
never faileth. 13. The greatest of these is charity." 

Rom. viii. 35. " Who shall separate us from the love 
of God," &c. 

Rom. xiii. 10. " Love is the fulfilling of the law." 

Rom. v. 5. " The love of God is poured out on our 
hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us." 

Gal. v. 6. *' Faith which worketh by love." 

Matt. xxii. 37. " The first and great commandment is, 
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," &c. 

Luke x. 27 ; Deut. x.12 ; xi. 1.13. 22; xix. 9; xiii. 3; 
xxx. 6. 16. 20; Josh. xxii. 5; xxiii. 11; Psal. v. 11; 
xxxi. 23; lxix.36; cxix. 165; cxliv 20. Jam. i. 12: "He 
shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised 
to them that love him." So. ii. 5. 

Prov. viii. 17. " I love them that love me." 

See John xiv. 21 ; xvi. 27; 1 John iv. 19 ; John xxi. 15 — 
17 ; 1 John iii. 22 ; Heb. xi. 6., &c. 

And of knowledge it is said, (John xiii. 17.) " If ye 
know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." 

See James ii. 14. to the end; John xv. 24. " But now 
they have both seen and hated, both me and my Father." 


Luke xii. 47. Knowing God's will, and not doing it, 
prepareth men for many stripes. See Rom ii. And as bar- 
ren knowledge is oft made the aggravation of sin, so true 
knowledge is usually made the cause or means of love and 
obedience, 1 John iv. 8. " He that loveth not, knoweth not 
God." 2 Pet. i. 2. " Grace and peace be multiplied to you, 
through the knowledge of God," 2 Pet. ii. 20, and many 
such like. 

I conclude therefore that the knowledge of creatures is 
not desirable ultimately for itself, but as it leadeth up the 
soul to God. And the knowledge of God, though desirable 
ultimately for itself, yet not as the perfect, but the initial 
part of our ultimate act or end, and as the means or cause of 
that love of God, which is the more perfect part of that ulti- 
mate perfection. 


The End of Knowledge is to make ws Lovers of God, and so to 
be knotvnwith Love by Him. 

This is the second doctrine contained in the meaning of the 
text: where is included, 1. That all knowledge of creatures, 
called learning, must be valued and used but as a means to 
the knowledge and love of God : which is most evident in 
that the whole creation is the work of God, bearing the 
image or impress of his perfections, to reveal him to the in- 
tellectual creature, and to be the means of provoking us to 
his love, and helping us in his service. To deny this there- 
fore is to subvert the use of the whole creation, and to set 
up God's works as an useless shadow, or as an idol in his 

2. It is included as was before proved, that all our 
knowledge of God himself, is given us to kindle in us the 
love of God. It is the bellows to blow up this holy fire. If 
it do not this, it is unsound and dead. If it do this, it hath 
attained its end ; which is much of the meaning of James in 
that chap. ii. which prejudice hindereth many from under- 

3. This love of God hath its degrees and effects. Know- 
ledge first kindleth but some weak initial act of love; which 


through mixtures of fear, and of carnal affections, is hardly 
known to be sincere by him that hath it. But afterwards 
it produceth both stronger acts, and the Holy Ghost still 
working as the principal cause, infuseth or operateth a radi- 
cated habit. So that this holy love becometh like a nature 
in the soul, even a Divine nature, and it becometh in a sort 
natural to us to love God and goodness, though not as the 
brutish nature, which is exercised by necessity, and without 
reason. And this new nature of holy love, is called the new 
creature and the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, and the Spirit 
of adoption ; and is our new-name, the ivhite-stone, the vritness 
in ourselves that Christ is the Saviour, and that we are the 
regenerate children of God, the pledge, the earnest, the first- 
fruits, and the foretaste of life eternal. 

And all the works of a Christian are so far truly holy, as 
they are the effects of holy love : for 1. Holy love is but a 
holy will ; and the will is the man, in point of morality. 
2. And the love of God is our final act upon the final object ; 
and all other gracious acts are some way means subservient 
to this end : and the end is it that informeth all the means, 
they being such only as are adapted to the end. 

And in this sense it is true which is said in the schools, 
(though many Protestants misunderstanding it, have contra- 
dicted it) that love is the form of all other graces : that is, it is 
the heart of the new creature ; or it is that by which the man 
is morally to be reputed and denominated : and it is the 
final grace which animateth or informeth the rest as means. 
And thus it is true, that when you will prove any grace 
to be sincere and saving, or any evidence certain, you must 
prove it to participate of the love of God and goodness, or 
you have failed and said nothing. Yea, you must prove it 
to be conjunct with predominant love, which setteth God 
above all creatures. And if you will prove any good work 
to be acceptable to God, prayer, praise, alms, justice, &c, 
you must prove that it cometh from this predominant love. 
For it is so far and no further acceptable to God. 

And their ignorance is but to be pitied, who tell you that 
this is to make our love of God to be instead of Christ to 
us, or to set up an acceptable righteousness or merit in our- 
selves : for we dream not that our love of God was a sacri- 
fice for our sins, and the expiatory atonement and satisfac- 
tion to justice, nor that merit which procured us love itself, or 


purchased us the Holy Ghost. Our meaning is that good- 
ness is the only proper object of love : and God loveth his 
essential goodness first, and created goodness next : and our 
moral goodness which is his image is holy love, produced by 
and joined with holy wisdom and vitality. And so though 
God love us in Christ, or as related to him, it is as holy 
members of him ; and not that he loveth complacentially 
the haters of God for their relation to Christ, without res- 
pect to any goodness in themselves. And to say that Christ 
maketh us acceptable and amiable to God, is all one as to 
say that he procureth us the pardon of sin, and the gift of 
the Holy Ghost, and maketh us holy lovers of God : or that 
he is indeed our Saviour. He that commendeth health as 
wrought by his physician, doth not set health instead of the 
physician ; Christ is the physician ; the Holy Ghost or holy 
love in us, is our health : to procure and give us the Holy 
Ghost, is Christ's office. He pardoneth our sin when he 
pardoneth the punishment : the privation of the Holy Ghost 
and his operations is our principal punishment : and there- 
fore not all, but the principal part of our pardon lieth in the 
giving us the Holy Ghost. 

But some will say, ' That if God love nothing but good- 
ness, and love us no further than we are good, how then did 
he love us first, and while we were his enemies ? Are not 
Election, Creation, Redemption and Conversion, acts of 
love? And is not our love, the fruit of his love?' 

Answ. Thus names not opened by confounding heads, are 
made the matter of a thousand controversies. As our love 
is nothing but our will, so the word love is taken strictly 
and properly, or largely and less properly. A man's will is 
considered as efficient or as final : as it respecteth a future 
effect, or a present exigent good. And so God's will as it 
is final, and respecteth things existent, either 1. ' In esse 
cognito.' 2. or 'in esse reali,' is called complacence, and 
only complacence is love in the strict and properest sense. 
But God's will as efficient of good, may in a laxer sense be 
called love. God's will is the fountain or efficient cause of all 
good, natural and moral in the world. And so you may call 
God's causing or making good, by the name of love, if you 
please ; remembering that it is but the name that is ques- 
tioned : but his complacency in good foreseen, or existent, 
vol. xv. o 


is strictly called his love. And so still God loveth nothing 
in either sense but good. For 1. He causeth nothing but 
good. 2. And he is pleased in nothing but good as good. 
Quest. ' But how then doth God love his enemies?' 
Ansiv. 1. He maketh us men, which may be called one 
act of efficient love : and he redeemeth them ; and he giveth 
them all the good things which they possess ; and he sanc- 
tifieth some, and maketh them lovers of him, that is, holy. 
And thus he willeth their good, while they are nothing or 
evil ; which is called benevolence, and love efficient. 

2. And he hath true love of complacency in them, 1. As 
they have the good of human nature. 2. And thereby are 
capable of grace, and all the love and service which after they 
may perform. 3. And as they are related to Christ as his 
redeemed ones. 4. And as by relation they are those that 
God foreknoweth will love and serve him here, and in the 
perfections of eternal glory. There is all this good in some 
enemies of God, to be the matter of his complacency. And 
beyond their goodness he hath no complacency in them. 

3. And to clear up all this, still remember that though 
man's will is changed by or upon the various objects, yet so 
is not the will of God. And therefore all these words sig- 
nify no variety or change in God ; but only how his simple 
immutable essential will is variously related to and denomi- 
nated from the connotation of effects and objects. 

4. Also it must be noted, as included in the text, that 
God loveth all that truly love him ; for to be known of him, 
here meaneth to be known with approbation and love as his 
peculiar people. As Psal. i. 6, it is said, " The Lord knoweth 
the way of the righteous ;" and so oft : and of the wicked, 
(Matt. xxv. 12.) " Depart from me, I know you not." God 
owneth with love all those that love him, What parts, what 
quality, what degree soever men are of, whatever difference 
else there be among them, if they are true lovers of God, 
they are certainly approved and beloved by him. This be- 
ing the very heart and essence of the new creature, and the 
Divine nature in us, must needs prove that man to be amia- 
ble to God that hath it. Other things are true marks of a child 
of God, only so far as they participate of love : but love is the 
primary proper character, which proveth us adopted directly 
of itself. 


And here you may resolve the question that seemeth so 
difficult to many : whether when the Scripture either by des- 
cribing the godly, or by promising, doth mention some one 
grace or duty, as the character of a saint, or the condition 
of salvation, it be to be understood with a ' ceeteris paribus,' 
if other graces and duties concur, as supposing them sepa- 
rable ? or absolutely, as supposing that one mark infallible, 
because it never separated from the rest ? 

Answ. The new man hath, 1. Its essential parts; and 
2. Its integrals ; and 3. Its accidents. The essentials are 
ever infallible marks, and are inseparable from each other: 
any one of them will prove us holy, and will prove the pre- 
sence the rest. These essentials are an united trinity of 
graces, holy life, light and love, where each one hath the com- 
mon essence of holiness, which is their objective termination 
upon God ; and each is linked by participation to another. 
Holy vitality is vital activity towards God in mind, will, and 
practice, holy light is that knowledge and belief which kind- 
leth love, and causeth a holy life. Holy love is that com- 
placency of will in God and goodness, which is kindled by 
holy life and light, and operateth in holy practice. Any one 
of these thus described, where love is the heart of all, is an 
infallible mark of holiness. But all other graces and duties 
which are but the integrals of holiness, are in all characters 
and promises to be understood with a ' cseteris paribus ;' 
that is, supposing them to be animated with holy love, and 
caused by holy life and light (knowledgeand belief). 

And that God doth most certainly love all that love him, 
besides the forementioned proofs from Scripture is further 

1. The love of God and goodness is the Divine nature: 
and God cannot but love his own nature in us : it is his 
image, which, as in its several degrees, he loveth for him- 
self, and next to himself. 

2. The love of God is the rectitude of man's soul, its 
soundness, health and beauty : and God loveth the rectitude 
of his creatures. 

3. The love of God is the final,-perfect operation of the 
soul ; even that end which it was created and redeemed for, 
and God loveth to have his works attain their end, and to 
see them in their perfection. 


4. The love of God is the goodness of the soul itself : 
and goodness is amiableness, and must needs be loved by 
him that is goodness and perfection himself. 

5. The love of God is our uniting adhesion to him: and 
God that first draweth up the soul to this union, will not 
himself reject us, and avoid it. 

G. Love is a pregnant, powerful, pleasing grace : it de- 
livereth up ourselves, and all that we have to God: it de- 
lighteth in duty: it conquereth difficulties: it contemneth 
competitors, and trampleth on temptations : it accounteth 
nothing too much, nor too dear for God. Love is the soul's 
nature, appetite and ' pondus,' according to which it will or- 
dinarily act. A man's love, is his will, his heart, himself: 
and if God have our love, he hath ourselves, and our all : so 
that Godcannotbutlove thesoulthattruly lovethhim as God. 

But here are some doubts to be resolved. 

Quest. I. • What if the same soul have love and sin mixed; 
or sincere love in a degree that is sinfully defective, and so 
is consistent with something of its contrary ; God must hate 
that sin ; how then can he love that soul V 

Ansic. Remember still that diversity is only in us, and not 
in God : therefore God's will is related and denominated 
towards us, just as its object is. All that is good in us God 
loveth : all that is evil in us he hateth. Where goodness is 
predominant, there God's love is predominant, or greatest, 
from this relation and connotation. Where sin is predominant, 
God's aversation, displicency or hatred is the chief: and we 
may well expect that the effects be answerable. 

Object. ' But we are beloved as elect before conversion.' 

Answ. That was answered before. That is, God from 
eternity purposed to make us good, and amiable, and happy ; 
if you will call that (as you may) his love. 

Object. * But we are beloved in Christ, for his righteous- 
ness and o-oodness, and not for our own.' 

Answ. The latter is false : the former is thus true : for 
the merits of Christ's righteousness, and goodness, God will 
pardon our sins, and make us good, holy and happy ; and 
will love us as the holy members of his Son ; that is, both 
as related to him, and as holy. 

Object. ' But if God must needs love sincere imperfect 
lovers of him as such, with a predominant love, (which will 
not damn them ;) then sin might have been pardoned with- 


out Christ's death, and the sinner be loved without his 
righteousness, if he had but sincerely loved God.' 

Ansiv. The supposition is false, that a sinner could have 
loved God without pardon and the Spirit, purchased by the 
death and righteousness of Christ. God perfectly loveth the 
perfected souls in glory, for their own holy perfection, but 
they never attained it, but by Christ. And God loveth us 
here, according to the measure of our love to him: but no man 
can thus love him, till his sin be pardoned ; for which he was 
deprived of the Spirit, which must kindle love. And imper- 
fect love is ever joined with imperfect pardon, (whatever 
some falsely say to the contrary ;) I mean that love, which 
is sinfully imperfect. 

Quest. 2. 'Doth not God's loving us make us happy? 
And if so, it must make us holy. And then none that he 
loveth will fall away from him : whereas the fallen angels 
and Adam loved him, and yet fell from him : how then were 
they beloved by him?' 

Answ. I before told you that God's will (or love) is first 
efficient, causing good, and then final, being pleased in the 
good that is caused. God's efficient will or love, doth so 
far make men holy and happy as they are such, even effici- 
ently : but God's will, or love, as it is our ' causa finalis,' 
and the terminating object of our love, and is pleased in us, 
and approveth us, is not the efficient cause of our holiness 
and happiness ; but the objective and perfect constitutive 
cause. Now you must further note, that God's benevolent 
efficient will, or love, doth give men various degrees of ho- 
liness. To Adam in innocency he gave but such a degree, 
and upon such terms, as he could lose and cast away ; which 
he did. But to the blessed in glory, he giveth that which 
they shall never lose. These degrees are from God's efficient 
love, or will; which, therefore, causeth some to persevere, 
when it left Adam to himself, to stand or fall. But it is not 
God's final love of complacency, as such, that causeth our 
perseverance : for Adam had this love, as long as he loved 
God, and stood ; and he after lost it : so that it is not that 
final complacency, which is the ' terminus' of our holiness, 
and constitutive cause of our happiness, which alone will 
secure the perpetuity of either of them. 

Object. ' Thus you make God mutable in his love, as 
loving Adam more before his fall, than after.' 


Answ. I told you, loving, and not loving the creature, 
are no changes in God, but in the creature. It is man that 
is mutable, and not God. It is only the relation of God's 
will to the creature, as varying in itself, and the extrinsic 
denomination, by connotation of a changed object, which is 
changed as to God. As the sun is not changed when you wink 
and when you open your eyes ; nor a pillar changed when 
your motion sets it sometimes on your right hand, and some- 
times on your left. 

5. Lastly, it must be noted, as included in the text 
' That our own loving God, is not the only or total notion of 
our end, perfection, or felicity ; but to be known and loved 
by God, is the other part which must be taken in, to make 
up the total notion of our end.' 

In our love, God is considered as the object : but in God's 
complacential love to us, he is considered as active, and his 
love as an act, and man as the object: but yet not as an ob- 
ject of efficiency, but of approbation, and a pleased will or de- 
light. Here then the great difficulty is, in resolving which of 
these is the highest perfective notion of man's felicity; per- 
fection, or ultimate end ; our love to God, or God's love to us. 
Answ. It is mutual love and union which is the true and 
complete notion of our end ; and to compare God's love and 
ours as the parts, and tell which is the final principal part or 
notion, is not easy, nor absolutely necessary. But I cunceive, 

1. That our love to God is objectively, or as to the ob- 
ject of it, infinitely more excellent than God's love to us, as 
to the object: which is but to say, that God is infinitely 
better than man. God loveth man who is a worm : but we 
love God who is perfect goodness. 

2. God's love to us, as to the agent and the act ' ex parte 
agentis,' is infinitely more excellent than our love to him: 
for it is God's essential will, which loveth us ; and it is the 
will of a worm that loveth God. 

3. That man's felicity, as such, is not the chief notion of 
his ultimate end : but he must love God as God, better than 
his own felicity as such, or better than God as our felicity. 

4. That man's true ultimate end, containeth these five 
inadequate conceptions. l.The lowest notion or part of it, 
is, our own holiness and felicity. 2. The next notion of it, 
is, the perfection of the church and universe, to which we 
contribute, and which we must value above our own ; inclu- 


ding the glory of Christ's humanity. 3. The third notion, 
is, the glory or lustre of God's perfections, as they shine 
forth in us and all his perfected glorious works. 4. The 
fourth notion is, God's own essential goodness, as the object 
of our knowledge, love, and praise. 5. The fifth and highest 
notion is, the active love or complacency of God's fulfilled 
will, in us, and in the whole creation. So that the pleasing 
of God's will, is the highest notion of man's ultimate end : 
though all these five are necessarily contained in it. 


Doct. 3. Therefore Knowledge is to be valued, sought, and used, 
as it tendeth to our Love of God. 

This third doctrine is much of the scope of the text: all 
means are for their end : so far as knowledge is a means of 
love, it must needs hence have the measure of its worth, and 
we the motives of our desires of it, and the direction for our 
using of it. 

1. All knowledge that kindleth not the love of God in 
us, is so narrow and small that it deserveth not indeed the 
name of knowledge ; for the necessary things that such a 
person is ignorant of, are a thousand times more or greater, 
than that little which he knoweth : for, (1.) What is it that 
he is ignorant of? 

1. He hath no sound and real knowledge of God. For 
if he knew God truly, he could not but love him : goodness 
is so naturally the object of the will, that if men well knew 
the infinite Good, they must needs love him : however there 
is a partial knowledge that is separable from sincere love. 

2. He that knoweth not and loveth not God, neither 
knoweth nor loveth any creature truly and effectually either 
as it is of God, or through him, or to him; either as it beareth 
the impress of the glorious efficient, or as it is ordered to its 
end by the most wise director, or as it is a means to lead up 
souls to God, or to glorify and please him, no nor to make 
man truly happy. And can he be said indeed to know any 
creature that knoweth it not in any of these respects, that 
knoweth neither its original, order or use? Doth a dog or a 
goose know a book of philosophy, because he looketh on it, 


and seeth the bulk ? Doth he know a clock or watch, who 
knoweth no more of it, but that it hath such parts and shapes, 
made of iron and brass? It is most evident that an unholy 
personknowethnothing: thatis, no one being, thoughhemay 
know ' aliquid de re aliqua,' something of some being: for 
he that knoweth not the nature, order or use and end of a 
being, but only ' secundum quid,' or some accidents of it, or 
to have a general knowledge that it is a substance, or a some- 
thing, he knoweth not what. As an Epicurean can call all 
things compacted atoms, or matter and motion. An ungodly 
man is just like one that studieth the art of a scrivener or 
printer, to make the letters, and place them by art, but never 
learned to read or know the signification of the letters which 
he maketh or composeth. 

Or if any may be said to have a speculative knowledge 
of all this in the creature (the nature, order and use), yet he 
is without the true practical knowledge, which is it that only 
is knowledge indeed, and of use and benefit to man; for to 
be able to speak or write a true proposition about God or the 
creature, is not properly to know God or the creature, but 
to know names and words concerning them : it is but a logi- 
cal knowledge of notions, and not the knowledge of the 
thing itself, to be able to say and know that this or that con- 
cerning it, is true or false. Nothing more deceiveth man- 
kind, both in point of learning and of religion, and salvation, 
than mistaking the organical or logical knowledge of second 
notions, words, propositions, inferences and methods, for the 
real knowledge of the things themselves ; and thinking that 
they know a thing, because they know what to say of it. 

He knoweth not a country, who is only able by the map or 
hearsay to describe it. He knoweth not motion, light, heat, 
cold, sweet, bitter, that knoweth no more than to give a true 
definition of it. And as this is true of things sensible, which 
must themselves be perceived first by sense, so is it of things 
spiritual, which must themselves be perceived first by intel- 
lection, and not only the notions and definitions of them. 
He that doth not intuitively, or by internal immediate per- 
ception, know what it is to understand, to remember, to will 
and nill, to love and hate, and consequently to be able to do' 
these acts, doth not know what a man is, or what a reasonable 
soul is, and what an intellectual Spirit is, though he could 
(were it possible) without these, learn the definition of a 


man, a soul, a spirit. A definition or world of art spoken by 
a parrot or a madman, proveth not that he knoweth the thing. 
Practical objects are not truly known without a practical 
knowledge of them. He knoweth not what meat is, that 
knoweth not that it must be eaten, and how to eat it: he 
only knoweth his clothing that knoweth how to put it on. He 
only knoweth a pen, a gun, or other instrument, that know- 
eth how to use it. Now the ungodly, not knowing how any 
creature signifieth the Divine perfections, nor how by it to 
ascend to the knowledge and love of God, do indeed know 
nothing with a proper, formal knowledge. 

(2.) And what is it that such men know, or seem to know, 
which may be compared with their ignorance? To give 
them their due praise, they know how to eat as well as a 
dog, though not so subtlely as an ox or sheep, that can dis- 
tinguish grass before he taste it. He can tell how to drink, 
though not by so constant a temperance as a beast. He 
can speak better than a parrot : he can build him a house as 
apt for his use, as a swallow or other birds can do for theirs. 
He can lay up for the time to come, more subtlely than a 
fox, or ant, though nothing so orderly, and by wonderful 
self-conficiency as the bees : he can look upwards, and see 
the birds that soar and fly in the air, though he cannot imi- 
tate them : he can look into the surface of the waters, and 
artificially pass over them in ships, though he cannot live 
in them, or glide through them as the fish : he can master 
those that are weaker than himself, as the great dogs do the 
little ones, and carry away the bone from them all : he can 
glory in his strength, though it be less than a horse's, an 
ox's, an elephant's, or a whale's. He can kill and eat his 
fellow animals, as well as a pike among the fishes, a kite 
among the birds, or a wolf or a dog among the beasts : he 
can more craftily than the fox entrap and ensnare them (the 
fishes, birds and beasts) ; yea, as artificially as a spider 
doth the flies, to make up what he wants, of the hawk, or 
dog for swift pursuit, or of the lion for rapacious strength. 
He can sing ; and so can the linnet, the owsel, the lark and 
nightingale : he can make his bed as soft as the birds their 
nests, or as other creatures that love their ease ; he can 
generate and breed up his offspring, though not with that 
constancy of affection, and accurateness of skill and in- 
dustry, as a hen her chickens, or most other animals do their 


young. Yea, he can live in society, families, common- 
wealths, though much more disorderly, contentiously, and 
to the disturbance, if not destruction of each other, than 
pigeons in their dove-house, or the flight of stares, or larks, 
or lapwings, or the flocks of sheep, and less accurately than 
the bees do in their hive. 

All this and more, we can speak of the praises of the 
knowledge or wisdom of an ungodly man that never learned 
to know or love his God, nor any thing truly worthy of a 
man : and is all this worthy the name of knowledge ? Their 
character could not be more fitly given than here it is by the 
apostle : " They know nothing as they ought to know." But 
of this more next. 


Doct. 4. And therefore those are to be accounted the wisest and 
best knowing Men, that love God most ; and not those that 
are stored with unholy knmvledge. 

This fourth doctrine, is also a discernible part of the mean- 
ing of the apostle in the text. His purpose is to humble 
those that judge themselves wise for that which is no wis- 
dom, but useless, ludicrous notions and self-conceitedness : 
and to shew men wherein true wisdom doth consist. Many 
thousands there are that heartily love God, and are devoted 
to him, and live to his service in the world, who never read 
lo°ic, physics, metaphysics or mathematics; nor laid in that 
stock of artificial notions, which are the glory and utensils 
of the learned world. And yet that these are truly and hap- 
pily wise and knowing, the apostle judgeth, and I thus fur- 
ther prove. 

1. Because they know the things themselves, and not 
only the names and definitions of them : as he that knoweth 
food by eating it, the military art, or navigation by expe- 
rience, or a country by travelling or dwelling in it. Others 
lick the outside of the glass, but taste not the sweet that is 

2. Because they know the greatest and most excellent 
things : God is infinitely greater and better than the crea- 


lures : and heaven incomparably better than the riches and 
pleasures of this earth. To know how to build a city, or a 
navy, and how to govern an army or a kingdom, is more 
than to know how to pick sticks or straws, or to dress and 
undress us. Understanding is valuable by the dignity of 
its objects ; therefore how much doth the wisdom of a holy 
soul excel all the craft and learning of the ungodly ? Let 

not the rich man glory in his riches But let him that 

glorieth glory in this, that he knoweth God ; if he so know 
him as to love him. 

3. Because they know the most necessary things, and 
the most profitable. They know how to be good, and how 
to do their duty, and how to attain their end, and how to 
please God, and how to escape damnation, and how to be 
happy in everlasting joy and glory. And I think he is wise, 
that is wise enough to be happy, and to attain all that the 
soul of man can well desire. 

But who will desire the wisdom that maketh a man never 
the better; and that will not save his soul from hell? What 
soul in hell doth think that wisdom brought him thither? It 
were a thousand times better, not to know how to speak or 
go, to dress or undress us, than not to know how to be holy 
and happy, and to escape sin and everlasting misery. 

4. A holy soul understandeth that which his understand- 
ing was made for ; and for which he hath his life, and time, 
and teaching ; which is but to be good, and love God and 
goodness, and to do good. And wisdom, as is before proved, 
as all other means, is to be estimated by its end. 

But an ungodly man knoweth not that which he was 
made for. He is like a knife that cannot cut ; a ship that 
will not endure the water; a house that is not fit to dwell in. 
What is a man's wit worth, but for its proper end ? If man 
was made but to eat, and drink, and play, and sleep, and 
build, and plant, and stir awhile about the earth, and have 
his will over others, and his fleshly pleasure, and then die, 
then the ungodly may be called wise ; but if he be made to 
prepare for another world, and to know, and love, and 
live to God, they are then worse than bedlams, and more 
dangerously beside themselves. 

5. A holy soul knowing God the beginning and end, 
knoweth all things; because he knoweth them, 1. In the 
chief excellency of their natures, as they bear the impress 


of God ; 2. And in their order as governed by him ; 3. And 
in. their usefulness as tending to him : though neither they, 
nor any others, be well acquainted with their material part, 
which the philosopher thinketh that he knoweth best. Who 
think you best knoweth what money is? He that know- 
eth the king's impress, and the value, and what it is good 
for, and how to get and use it ? or he that can only tell you, 
whether it be copper or silver, or gold, (not knowing well 
what any of these are,) and knoweth nothing of the impress, 
or value, or use? I tell you, the humble, holy person, that 
seeth God in all, and knoweth all things to be of him, and 
by him, and to him, and loveth him in and for all, and serveth 
him by all, is the best philosopher, and hath the greatest, 
most excellent and profitable knowledge. In comparison 
of which, the unholy learning of the world, is well called 
foolishness with God. (For 1 believe not that paraphraser 
who would persuade us, that it is but the fanatic conceits 
and pretensions of the Gnostics, that the apostle here and 
elsewhere speaketh of. But I rest satisfied, that it is pri- 
marily the unholy arts and sciences of the philosophical 
heathens ; and secondarily the Platonic heretics' pretensions 
to extraordinary wisdom, because of their speculations about 
angels, spirits, and other invisible and mysterious things, 
which they thought were peculiarly opened unto them.) 
Doting about questions that engender strife, and not edifi- 
cation, and to increase to more ungodliness, is the true de- 
scription of unholy learning. 

6. The lovers of God are wise for perpetuity : they see 
before them: they know what is to come; even as far as to 
eternity. They know what will be best at last, and what will 
be valued, and serve our turn in the hour of our extremity : 
they judge of things, as all will judge of them ; and as they 
shall constantly judge of them for ever. But others are wise 
but for a few hours, or a present job : they see not before 
them : they are preparing for repentance. They are shame- 
fully mutable in their judgments; magnifying those plea- 
sures, wealth and honours to-day, which they vilify and cry 
out against at death and to eternity ! A pang of sickness, 
the sight of a grave, the sentence of death, the awakening of 
conscience, can change their judgments, and make them 
speak in other language, and confess a thousand times over 
that they were fools : and if they come to any thing like 


wisdom, it is too late, when time is past, and hope is gone. 
But the godly know the day of their visitation, and are wise 
in time ; as knowing the season of all duties, and the duties 
of every season. And as some schoolmen say, that all things 
are known to the glorified, ' in speculo Trinitatis ;' so 1 may 
say, that all things are morally and savingly known, to him 
that knoweth and loveth God, as the efficient, Governor and 
End of all. 

Yet, to avoid mistakes and cavils, remember, that I take 
no true knowledge as contemptible. And when I truly say 
that he knoweth nothing as he ought to know, that doth 
not know and love his God, and is not wise to his duty and 
salvation; yet if this fundamental knowledge be presup- 
posed, we should build all other useful knowledge on it, to 
the utmost of our capacity : and from this one stock, may 
spring and spread a thousand branches, which may all bear 
fruit. I would put no limits to a Christian's desires and 
endeavours to know, but that he desire only to know useful 
and revealed things. Every degree of knowledge tendeth 
to more : and every known truth befriendeth others ; and 
like fire, tendeth to the spreading of our knowledge, to all 
neighbour truths that are intelligible. And the want of ac- 
quaintance with some one truth among an hundred, may 
hinder us from knowing rightly most of the rest ; or may 
breed an hundred errors in us. As the absence of one wheel 
or particle in a watch, or the ignorance of it, may put 
all the rest into an useless disorder. What if I say that 
wisdom lieth more in knowing the things that belong to sal- 
vation, to public good, to life, health, and solid comfort, 
than in knowing how to sing, or play on the lute, or to speak 
or carry ourselves with commendable decency, &c. It doth 
not follow that all these are of no worth at all ; and that in 
their places these little matters may not be allowed and de- 
sired : for even hair and nails are appurtenances of a man, 
which a wise man would not be without ; though they are 
small matters in comparison of the animal, vital and nobler 
parts. And indeed he that can see God in all things, and hath 
all this sanctified by the love of God, should above all men 
value each particle of knowledge, of which so holy an use 
may be made ; as we value every grain of gold. 



Inference 1. By what Measures to estimate Men's Knowledge. 

From hence then we may learn howto value the understand- 
ings of ourselves and others : that is good which doth good. 
Would God but give me one beam more of the heavenly 
light, and a little clearer knowledge of himself, how joyfully 
could I exchange a thousand lower notions for it ! I feel not 
myself at all miserable, for want of knowing the number and 
order of the stars, the nature of the meteors, the causes of 
the ebbing and flowing of the sea, with many hundred other 
questions in physics, metaphysics, mathematics : nor do I 
feel it any great addition to my happiness, when I think I 
know somewhat of such things which others know not. 
But I feel it is my misery to be ignorant of God, and igno- 
rant of my state and duty, and ignorant of the world where 
I must live for ever. This is the dungeon where my wretched 
soul doth lie in captivity night and day, groaning and cry- 
ing out, O when shall I know more of God ! and more of 
the celestial habitations, and more of that which I was 
made to know! O when shall I be delivered from this 
darkness and captivity ! Had I not one beam that pierceth 
through this lantern of flesh, this dungeon were a hell, 
even the outer darkness. I find books that help me to 
names, and notions ; but O for that Spirit that must give 
me light to know the things, the spiritual, great and 
excellent things, which these names import ! O how igno- 
rant am I of those same things, which I can truly and 
methodically speak and write of! O that God would have 
mercy on my dark understanding, that I be not as a clock, 
to tell others that which itself understandeth not ! O how 
gladly would I consent to be a fool in all common arts and 
sciences, if I might but be ever the wiser in the knowledge 
of God ! Did I know better him by whom I live, who up- 
holdeth all things, before whom my soul must shortly ap- 
pear ; whose favour is my life ; whom I hope to love and 
praise for ever ; what were all other things to me ? O for 
one beam more of his light ! for one taste of his love ! for 
one clear conception of the heavenly glory ! I should then 
scarcely have leisure, to think of a thousand inferior specu- 
lations, which are now magnified and agitated in the world. 


But much more miserable do I find myself, for want of 
more love to the blessed God, who is love itself. O happy 
exchange! did I part with all the pleasures of the world, for one 
flame, one spark more of the love of God ! I hate not myself 
for my ignorance in the common arts and sciences ; but my 
God knoweth, that I even abhor and loathe myself, because 
I love and delight in him no more ! O what a hell is this 
dead and disaffected heart ! O what a foretaste of heaven 
would it be, could I but feel the fervours of Divine love ! 
Well may that be called the firstfruits of heaven, and the 
Divine nature and life, which so uniteth souls to God, and 
causeth them to live in the pleasures of his goodness. I 
dare not beg hard for more common knowledge : but my 
soul melteth with grief for want of love ; and forceth out 
tears, and sighs, and cries ; O when will heaven take ac- 
quaintance with my heart, and shine into it, and warm and 
revive it, that I may truly experience the delightful life of 
holy love ! I cannot think them loathsome and unlovely, 
that are unlearned, and want the ornaments of art. But I 
abhor and curse those hateful sins, which have raised the 
clouds, and shut the windows, and hindered me from the 
more lively knowledge, and love of God. Would God but 
number me with his zealous lovers, I would presume to say, 
that he had made me wise, and initially happy. But, alas ! 
such high and excellent things will not be gotten with a 
lazy wish, nor will holy love dwell with iniquity in unholy 
and defiled souls. 

But if wisdom were justified of none but her children, 
how confidently durst I call myself a son of wisdom ? For 
all my reason is fully satisfied, that the learned, ungodly 
doctors are mere fools, and the lovers of God are only wise : 
and O that my lot may be with such, however I be esteemed 
by the dreaming world ! 


Inference 2. To abate our Censures and Contempt of the less 
learned Christians and Churches upon Earth. 

I must confess that ignorance is the great enemy of holi- 
ness in the world ; and the prince of darkness, in his king- 


dom of darkness, oppugneth the light, and promoteth the 
works of darkness by it : and it is found that where vision 
ceaseth, the people perish, even for lack of knowledge : and 
the most ignorant countries are the most ungodly. But I 
must recant some former apprehensions : I have thought the 
Armenians, the Syrians, the Georgians, the Coptics, the 
Abassines, the Greeks, more miserable for want of polite 
literature, than now I judge them. Though I contemn it 
not as the Turks do, and the Muscovites ; yet I perceive 
that had men but the knowledge of the holy Scriptures, yea, 
of the summaries of true religion, they might be good and 
happy men, without much more. If there be but some few 
among them, skilled in all the learning of the world, and ex- 
pert in using the adversaries' weapons against themselves, 
as champions of the truth, the rest might do well with the 
bare knowledge of God, and a crucified Christ. It is the 
malice of assaulting enemies, that maketh all other learning 
needful in some for our defence. But the new creature 
liveth not on such food, but on the bread of life, and living 
waters, and the sincere milk of the sacred Word. 

The old Albigenses and Waldenses in Piedmont, and 
other countries, did many ages keep up the life and comfort of 
true religion, even through-murders and unparalleled cruel- 
ties of the worldly learned church ; when they had little of 
the arts and common sciences. But necessary knowledge 
was propagated by the industry of parents and pastors: 
their children could say over their catechisms, and could 
give account of the principles of religion, and recite many 
practical parts of Scripture : and they had much love 
and righteousness, and little division or contention among 
them ; which made the moderate emperor Maximilian pro- 
fess to Crato, that he thought the Picards of all men on 
earth were most like the apostolic, primitive churches. 

And Brocardus, who dwelt among them in Judea, tells 
us that the Christians there that by the Papists are ac- 
counted heretics, (as Nestorians or Eutychians,) were indeed 
good, harmless, simple men, and lived in piety, and mortify- 
ing austerities, even beyond the very religious sort (the 
monks and friars) of the church of Rome, and shamed the 
wickedness of our learned part of the world. 

And though there be sad mixtures of such superstitions 
and traditions, as ignorance useth to breed and cherish, yet 


the great devotion and strictness of many of the Abassines, 
Armenians, and other of those ruder sort of Christians, is 
predicated by many historians and travellers. And who 
knoweth but there may be among their vulgar, more love to 
God and heaven, and holiness, than among the contentious, 
learned nations, where the pastors strive who shall be the 
greatest, and preach up that doctrine and practice which is 
conformable to their own wills and worldly interests; and 
where the people, by the oppositions of their leaders, are 
drawn into several sides and factions, which, as armies, mili- 
tate against each other. Is not the love of God like to be 
least, where contentions and controversies divert the people's 
minds from God and necessary saving truths ? and where 
men least love one another ; and where mutual hatred, 
cruelty and persecution proclaim them much void of that 
love which is the Christian badge? 

I will not cease praying for the further illumination and 
reformation of those churches : but I will repent of my hard 
thoughts of the providence of God, as if he had cast them 
almost off, and had few holy souls among them. For ought 
I know they may be better than most of Europe. 

And the like I say of many unlearned Christians among 
ourselves. We know not what love to God and goodness 
doth dwell in many that we have a very mean esteem of. 
The breathings of poor souls towards God by Christ, and 
their desires after greater holiness, is known to God that 
kindleth it in them, but not to us. 


Inference 3. By what Measures to judge of the Knowledge 
necessary to Church Communion. 

I know that there are some that would make Christ two 
churches; one political and congregate, as they phrase it, 
and the other regenerate : or one visible and the other invi- 
sible : and accordingly they say, that professed faith is the 
qualification of a member of the church-congregate ; and 
obedience to the Pope, say the Papists, and real love is the 
qualification of the church-regenerate. 

VOL. XV. p 


But as there is but one catholic church of Christ, so is 
there but one faith, and one baptism, by which men are stated 
as members in that church. But as heart-consent and 
tongue-consent are two things, but the latter required only 
as the expression and profession of the former : so heait- 
consenters and tongue- consenters should be the same men ; 
as body and soul make not two men, but one. But if the 
tongue speak that consent which is not in the heart, that 
person is an hypocrite ; and is but analogically or equivo- 
cally called a Christian or member of Christ : and such 
among the sincere are not a distinct church or society, (if 
they were, they should be called the hypocritical church, 
and not the political or congregate church.) But they are 
as traitors in an army, or as stricken ears in a corn-tield. 
But the true church being one, is considered as consenting 
with the heart and with the tongue : as a corn-field hath 
straw, chaff and grain; and as a man hath soul and body. So 
that it is the same church that is visible by baptism and 
profession, and invisible by heart-consent or sincerity. 

But it is the same thing, and not divers, that is in the 
hearts of the sincere, and that is to be professed by the 
tongue : even that voluntary practical faith which is des- 
cribed in baptism, and no other. The same faith which is 
accepted to salvation in the sincere and invisible members 
of the church, as they are called, must be professed by all 
that will, at age, be visible members. 

And the knowledge and belief required in baptism is so 
much as prevaileth with the person to give up himself to 
God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, as his reconciled 
Creator, his Saviour and Sanctifier. And he that hath so 
much knowledge as will do this, hath as much as is necessary 
to his reception into the church. 

Doubtless he that is capable of baptism, is capable of 
church membership ; and he that is capable of church-mem- 
bership, is capable ' de jure,' as to right, of so much church 
communion as he is capable of by real aptitude : An infant 
is not naturally capable of the actions of the adult; nor half- 
witted persons of the receptions and performances of the 
judicious ; some cannot understand a sermon, or prayer, or 
praise, the twentieth part so well as others can do, and so 
cannot receive and do beyond their understanding. Some 


may not so well understand the nature of the Lord's-supper, 
as to be really fit at present to receive it: and some may be 
unfit through some extraordinary doubts, opinions, or lapses ; 
but still ' de jure' a church member hath right to so much 
church communion as their real qualifications make them 
capable of. For that right is part of the definition of a 
church member ; and to be made a church member is the 
work of baptism. 

And here we must consider of the reason why God would 
have baptism to be the profession of that faith which maketh 
us Christians: Sometimes we are called believers, and said 
to be justified by faith, as if it were faith alone that were 
our Christianity ; and yet when it cometh to church-entrance, 
and to the solemn profession of our faith, and reception of 
a sealed and delivered pardon, we must do more than profess 
that we believe with the understanding; we must give up 
ourselves absolutely by a vow and covenant, to God the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, renouncing the flesh, the 
world, and the devil ; which is the act of a resolved will : and 
to will is rationally to love and choose. By which Christ 
telleth us, that (as words of knowledge in Scripture usually 
imply affection, so) the faith that he means and requireth to 
our justification, is not a mere assent or act of intellection ; 
but it is also the will's consent, and a practical affiance: as 
a man believing the skill and fidelity of a physician, doth 
desire, will or choose him for his physician, and practically 
trust him, or cast himself upon his fidelity and care for cure. 
Therefore Christ joineth both together, " He that believeth 
and is baptized, shall be saved;" (Mark xvi. 16;) not prin- 
cipally intending the washing of the flesh, but the answer 
of a good conscience, as Peter expoundeth it : that is, he 
that so believeth as by hearty consent to devote and give up 
himself openly and absolutely, and presently to God the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, shall be saved. 

And so the apostle saith, (Eph. iv. 4, 5.) There is one 
baptism, as part of the uniting bond of Christians : That is, 
there is one solemn covenant between God and man, in which 
we profess our faith, and give up ourselves to God the Father, 
Son and Holy Ghost, and are stated in a gracious relation to 
him and one another. 

And thus it is that baptism is reckoned, (Heb. vi,) among 
the principles ; and that the ancient doctors unanimously con- 


elude, that baptism washeth away all sin, and certainly puts 
us into a present state of life ; that is, the delivering up our- 
selves sincerely to God in the baptismal covenant, is the con- 
dition of our right to the benefits of that covenant from God. 
From all which it is plain, that the head is but the guide 
of the heart, and that God looketh more to the heart than 
to the head, and to the head for the heart : and that we are 
not Christians indeed, till Christ have our hearts indeed ; nor 
Christians by profession, till by baptismal covenant and 
profession we deliver up the heart to Christ. Now so far as 
consent and will may be called love, so far even love is es- 
sential to our Christianity, and to this faith, which is required 
to our baptism and justification : and no other faith is Chris- 
tianity, nor will justify us. 

But to them that are here stalled with the great difficulty, 
how love is that grace of the Holy Ghost which is promised 
to believers, in the covenant, as consequent, if it go before 
it in the covenanters ; I answer at present, that they must 
distinguish between, 1. Love to Christ, as a Saviour of our- 
selves, proceeding principally from the just love of ourselves, 
and our salvation : and love to God above ourselves, for his 
own infinite goodness, as our ultimate end: 2. Between the 
act of love, and a habit : 3. Between that spark of love 
which consisteth in the said consent, and is contained in true 
faith ; and that flame of love which itself carrieth the name, 
as being the most eminent operation of the soul. And if 
hereupon they cannot answer this question themselves, I 
must refer them to the Appendix of the third chapter of my 
" Christian Directory," in which I have largely opened this 
case, with as much exactness as I could reach unto. 

All that remaineth very difficult then as to our judging 
of the knowledge of men to be admitted to Christian church- 
communion, is but, what knowledge is necessary in the adult 
unto their lawful baptism : And to that I say, so much as is 
necessary to an understanding consent to the baptismal 
covenant, or to an hearty giving up themselves to God the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And here we must know that 
the same covenanting words being comprehensive, are un- 
derstood in different degrees, according to man's different 
capacities, even of true believers : insomuch that I do not 
think that any two men in the world, have in all notions and 
degrees just the same understanding of them. And there- 


fore it is not the same distinctness and clearness of under- 
standing which we must expect in all, which is found in 
some, or which is desirable. When one man nameth GOD, 
he hath an orderly conception of his several attributes (in 
which yet all men are defective, and most divines themselves 
are culpably ignorant) : when another man conceiveth but 
of fewer of them, and that disorderly : and these must 
not be accounted Atheists, or denied to believe in the same 
God, or refused baptism ; nor is it several gods that men so 
differently believe in. 

I. He that knoweth God to be a most perfect Spirit, most 
powerful, wise and good; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; 
the Creator of the world; our Owner, Governor, and most 
amiable Lover, Benefactor and End: I think, knoweth as much 
of God, as is of necessity to baptism and church-communion. 

II. He that knoweth that Jesus Christ is God and man, 
the Redeemer of the sinful world, and the Mediator between 
God and man ; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the 
Virgin Mary, fulfilled all righteousness, was crucified as a 
sacrifice for man's sin ; and being dead and buried, rose 
again, and ascended into heaven; and is the Teacher, King, 
and Intercessor of his Church ; and hath made the new 
covenant, and giveth the Holy Ghost to sanctify believers, 
and pardoneth their sins; and will raise our bodies at last, 
and judge the world in righteousness according to his Gos- 
pel, and will give everlasting happiness to the sanctified : I 
think, knoweth as much of Christ, as is necessary to baptism 
and church-communion. 

III. He that knoweth, that the Holy Ghost is God, pro- 
ceeding from the Father and the Son, the Sanctifier of souls, 
by holy Life, and Light, and Love; by the holy Gospel, of 
which he is the inditer, and the seal : I think, knoweth all 
that is necessary unto baptism, concerning the Holy Ghost. 

IV. And as to the act of knowing this Trinity of objects, 
there is a great difference between, 1. Knowing the notions, 
or words, and the matter. 2. Between an orderly, clear, and 
a dark and more confused knowledge. 3. And between apt 
significant words, and such as any way notify a necessary 
true conception of the mind. 4. Between such a knowledge 
as maketh a man willing, and consent to give up himself to 
this Trinity in covenant, and that which prevaileth not for 
such consent. And so, 


1. It is true, that we know not the heart immediately : 
and therefore must judge by words and deeds : but yet it is 
the knowledge of the things, as is aforesaid, that is neces- 
sary to salvation ; because it is the love of the things that is 
chiefly necessary. By what words to express that love or 
knowledge, is not of equal necessity in itself. 

2. There being no man, whose conceptions of God, Christ, 
the Holy Ghost, the Covenant, &c. are not guilty of darkness 
and disorder ; a great degree of darkness and disorder of 
conceptions, may consist with true grace in those of the 
lowest rank of Christians. 

3. The second notions and conceptions of things, (and 
so of God our Redeemer, and Sanctifier,) as they are ' verba 
mentis ' in the mind itself, are but logical, artificial organs ; 
and are not of that necessity to salvation, as the conception 
of the matter or incomplex objects. 

4. Many a man in his studies, findeth that he hath oft a 
general and true knowledge of things in themselves, before 
he can put names and notions on them, and set those in due 
order, and long before he can find fit words to express his 
mental notions by ; which must cost him much study after- 
wards. And as children are long learning to speak, and by 
degrees come to speak orderly, and composedly, and aptly, 
(mostly not till many years use hath taught them :) So the 
expressive ability is as much matter of art, and got by use, in 
men at age : and they must be taught yet as children to 
speak of any thing, new and strange, and which they learned 
not before. As we see in learning arithmetic, geometry, and 
all the arts and sciences. Even so men, how holy internally 
soever, must by study and use, by the help of God's Spirit, 
learn how to speak of holy things, in prayer, in conference, 
in answering such as ask an account of their faith and know- 
ledge : and hypocrites, that are bred up in the use of such 
things, can speak excellently in prayer, conference, or 
preaching ; when true Christians at first, that never used 
them, nor were bred up where they heard them used, cannot 
tell you intelligibly what is in their minds ; but are like men, 
that are yet to learn the very language in which they are to 
talk. I know this by true experience of myself, and many 
others that I have examined. 

5. Therefore, I say again, if men cannot aptly answer me, 
of the very essentials of religion, but speak that which in its 


proper sense is heresy, or unsound and false : yet if when I 
open the questions to them myself, and put the article of faith 
into the question, and ask them e. g. Do you believe that 
there is but one God? or, are there many ? Doth God know 
all things, or not? Is he our owner, or not? Doth he rule us 
by a law, or not, &c? If they, by yea or nay, do speak the 
truth, and profess to believe it ; I will not reject them for 
lack of knowledge, if the rest concur. I meet with few 
censorious professors, (to say nothing of the teachers,) that 
will not answer me with some nonsense or falseness or inep- 
titude, or gross confusion, or defectiveness, if I examine 
them of the foregoing notions of the very baptismal covenant : 
As, What is a spirit ? What doth the word God signify ? 
What is power in God ? What knowledge ? What will ? 
What goodness? What holiness? What is a person in the 
Trinity ? Wliat is the difference between the three persons? 
How is God our end? Had Christ his human soul from the 
Virgin, or only his flesh ? Had he his manhood from man, 
if not his soul, which is the chief essential part? What is the 
union of the Divine and human nature ? Wherein different 
from the union of God and saints, or every creature? With 
an hundred such. In which I must bear with ignorant false 
answers from eminent professors, that separate from others 
as too ignorant for their communion : And why then must I 
not bear with more in those that are new beginners, and have 
not had their time and helps? 

6. But if a man can speak never so well, and profess 
never so confident a belief; if he consent not to the cove- 
nant and vow of baptism, to give up himself presently and 
absolutely to Christ ; I must reject that man from the com- 
munion of the church. But if these two things do but con- 
cur in any, 1 . The aforesaid signification of a tolerable know- 
ledge and belief, by yea or nay, (dost thou believe in God, 
&c. as the ancient churches used to ask the baptized.) 2. 
And a ready professed consent to be engaged by that holy 
vow and covenant to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; 
I will not deny baptism to such, if adult, nor after church 
communion to them, if they are already in the covenant. 

And all this is because that the will is the man ; and if 
any man truly love Jesus Christ, he is a true believer in 
Christ ; and if any man love God, the same is known and 
loved of him, and hath so much knowledge as will save his 


soul. I confess in private catechising and conference, I 
have met with some ancient women that have long lived as 
godly persons, in constant affectionate use of means, and an 
honest godly life, and been of good repute in the church 
where they lived, who yet have spoken downright heresy to 
me, through ignorance, in answering some questions about 
Jesus Christ : but I durst not therefore suspend their com- 
munion, nor condemn their former communion : for as soon 
as I told them better, they have yielded, and I could not 
perceive whether it was from gross ignorance, or from un- 
readiness of notions, or from the want of memory, or what, 
that they spake amiss before. So that I shall be very loath 
to reject one from communion, that sheweth a love of God, 
and Jesus Christ, and holiness, by diligent use of means, 
and an upright life. 

7. And he that will impartially be ruled by the Holy 
Scriptures, will be of the same mind. For no one was ever 
taken to be a church-member at age, without so full a con- 
sent, as was willingly expressed by devotedness to God in 
the solemn covenant : the Jews by the sign of circumcision, 
and the Christians by baptism ; and both by covenanting 
with God were initiated ; and consent is love. But the arti- 
cles and objective degrees of knowledge and belief have 
greatly varied. The Jews were to know and profess more 
than the Gentiles; and the Jews since the Egyptian deliver- 
ance, more than before ; and John baptized upon a shorter 
profession than the apostles did ; and the apostles till 
Christ's resurrection, believed not many great articles of our 
faith, not knowing that Christ must die, and be an expiatory 
sacrifice for sin, and sin to be pardoned by his blood ; nor 
that he was to rise again, and send the Holy Ghost for the 
work which he was sent for, &c. And Acts xix. there were 
disciples that had not heard that there was a Holy Ghost 
(I confidently think, twice baptized). 

And if we mark how the apostles baptized, with what 
orders for it they received from Christ, it will confirm my 
conclusion. For Christ could have given a particular creed, 
and profession of faith, if he had pleased ; but he taketh up 
with the general three articles, of believing the Father, Son 
and Holy Ghost, (Matt, xxviii. 19, 20,) lest any should cast 
out his weak ones, for want of distinctness of knowledge 
and belief. And he maketh the covenant-consent in bap- 


tism the necessary thing, as the end and measure of their 
knowledge. He that hath knowledge enough to cause him 
to thirst, may come and drink of the waters of life. (Rev. 
xxii. 17.) And he that hungereth and thirsteth after righ- 
teousness shall be satisfied ; and he that cometh to Christ, 
he will in no wise cast out. 

And the Apostles baptized so many thousands in a short 
time, that they could not examine each person about a more 
particular knowledge and belief ; (Acts ii. &c.;) nor do we 
read in Scripture of such particular large professions, as go 
much beyond the words of baptism. And though, no doubt, 
they did endeavour to make the ignorant understand what 
they professed and did, and so had some larger creed, yet. 
was it not all so large, as the short creed called the Apostles' 
now is ; several of its articles having been long since added. 
I have spoken all this, not only to ministers, who have 
the keys of admission, but especially for the religious per- 
sons' sakes, who are too much inclined to place godliness in 
words and ability to speak well, in prayer or conference, or 
answering questions, and that make a more distinct know- 
ledge and profession necessary than God hath made : yea, if 
all the articles of the creed are professed, when the under- 
standing of them is not clear and distinct, they deride it, 
and say, a parrot may be taught as much ; and they separate 
from those pastors and churches, that receive such to their 
communion. Many do this of a godly zeal, lest ignorance 
and formality be encouraged, and the godly and ungodly 
not sufficiently distinguished : but their zeal is not accord- 
ing to knowledge, nor to the holy rule ; and they little 
know how much pride often lurketh unobserved, in such 
desires to be publicly differenced from others, as below us, 
and unmeet for our communion : and less know they how 
much they injure and displease our gracious Lord, who took 
little children in his arms, and despiseth not the weak, 
and carrieth the lambs, and refuseth no one any further than 
they refuse him. 

I tell you, if you see but true love and willingness in a 
diligent, reformed, pious and righteous life, there is, cer- 
tainly there is, saving knowledge and faith within ; and if 
words do not satisfactorily express it, you are to think that 
it is not for want of the thing itself, but for want of use and 
exercise, and for want of well studied notions, or for want of 


natural parts, education or art to enable them to act that 
part aright. But if God know the meaning of Abba, Father, 
and of the groans of the Spirit, in his beloved infants, I will 
not be one that shall condemn and reject a lover of God and 
Christ and holiness, for want of distinct particular know- 
ledge, or of words to utter it aright. 


Inference 4. The aptness of the Teaching of Christ, to ingene- 
rate the Love of God and Holiness. 

If love be the end and perfection of our knowledge, then 
hence we may perceive, that no teacher that ever appeared 
in the world, was so fit for the ingenerating of true saving 
knowledge as Jesus Christ; for none ever so promoted the 
love of God. 

1. It was he only that rendered God apparently lovely 
to sinful man, by reconciling us to God, and rendering him 
apparently propitious to his enemies, pardoning sin, and 
tendering salvation freely to them that were the sons of 
death. Self-love will not give men leave to love aright a 
God that will damn them, though deservedly for sin. But 
it is Christ that hath made atonement, and is the propitia- 
tion for our sins, and proclaimeth God's love, even to the re- 
bellious : which is more effectually to kindle holy love in us, 
than all thel precepts of naturalists without this could ever 
have been. His cross, and his wounds and blood were the 
powerful sermons, to preach God's winning love to sinners. 

2. And the benefits are so many and so great which he 
hath purchased and revealed to man, that they are abundant 
fuel for the flames of love. We are set by Christ in the way 
of mercy, in the household of God, under the eye and special 
influence of his love ; all our sins pardoned, our everlasting 
punishment remitted, our souls renewed, our wounded con- 
sciences healed, our enemies conquered, our fears removed, 
our wants supplied, our bodies, and all that is ours under 
the protection of Almighty Love ; and we are secured by 
promise, that all our sufferings shall work together for our 
good. And what will cause love, if all this will not? When 
we perceive with what love the Father hath loved us, that ol 


enemies we should be made the sons of God, and of con- 
demned sinners we should be made the heirs of endless 
glory, and this so freely, and by so strange a means, we may 
conclude that this is the doctrine of love, which is taught 
us from heaven by Love itself. 

3. And especially this work of love is promoted, by open- 
ing the kingdom of heaven to the foresight of our faith ; 
and shewing us what we shall enjoy for ever; and assuring 
us of the fruition of our Creator's everlasting love ; yea, by 
making us foreknow that heaven consisteth in perfect, mu- 
tual, endless love. This will both of itself, draw up our hearts 
and engage all our reason and endeavours, in beginning that 
work which we must do for ever, and to learn on earth to 
love in heaven. 

4. And besides all these objective helps, Christ giveth 
to believers the Spirit of love, and maketh it become as a 
nature in us ; which no other teacher in the world could do. 
Others can speak reason to cur ears, but it is Christ that 
sendeth the warming beams of holy love into our hearts. 

If the love of God and holiness were no better than com- 
mon philosophical speculations, then Aristotle, or Plato, or 
such other masters of names and notions, might compare 
with Christ and his apostles, and Athens with the primitive 
church ; and the schoolmen might be thought the best im- 
provers of theology. But if thousands of dreaming dis- 
puters wrangle the world into misery, and themselves into 
hell, and are ingenious artificers of their own damnation; if 
the love of God and goodness be the healthful constitution 
of the soul, its natural content and pleasure, the business 
and end of life, and all its helps and blessings, the solder 
of just societies, the union of man with God in Christ, and 
with all the blessed ; and the foretaste and firstfruits of 
endless glory ; then Christ the Messenger of love, the Teacher 
of love, the Giver of love, the Lord and commander of love, 
is the best promoter of knowledge in the world. And as 
Nicodemus knew that he was a teacher come from God, be- 
cause no man could do such works unless God were with 
him ; so may we conclude the same, because no man could 
so reveal, so cause, and communicate love, the holy love of 
God and goodness, unless the God of love had sent him. 
Love is the very end and work of Christ, and of his Word 
and Spirit. 



Inference 5. What great Cause Men have to be thankful to 
God for the Constitution of the Christian Religion : and how 
inexcusable they are that will not learn so short and sweet , 
and safe a Lesson. 

So excellent and every way suitable to our case is the reli- 
gion taught and instituted by Christ, as should render it 
very acceptable to mankind. And that on several accounts. 
1. The brevity and plainness of Christian precepts, 
greatly accommodateth the necessity of mankind. I say 
his necessity, lest you think it but his sloth. ' Ars longa, 
vita brevis,' is the true and sad complaint of students. Had 
our salvation been laid upon our learning a body of true 
philosophy, how desperate, would our case have been! For, 
1. Man's great intellectual weakness : 2. His want of leisure, 
would not have allowed him a knowledge that requireth a 
subtle wit and tedious studies. 

1. Most men have wits of the duller sort: such quick- 
ness, subtlety and solidity as is necessary to great and diffi- 
cult studies, are very rare: so rare, as that few such are 
found even among the preachers of the Gospel : of a multi- 
tude who by hard studies, and honest hearts, are fit to 
preach the doctrine of salvation, scarcely one or two are 
found of so fine and exact a wit as to be fit judiciously to 
manage the curious controversies of the schools. What 
a case then had mankind been in, if none could have been 
wise and happy indeed, but these few of extraordinary capa- 
city ! The most public and common good is the best. God 
is more merciful than to confine salvation to subtlety of wit: 
nor indeed is it a thing itself so pleasing to him as a holy, 
heavenly heart and life. 

2. And we have bodies that must have provision and 
employment : we have families and kindred that must be 
maintained : we live in neighbourhoods and public societies, 
which call for much duty, and take up much time. And our 
sufferings and crosses will take up some thoughts. Were it 
but poverty alone, how much of our time will it alienate 
from contemplation ! Whilst great necessities call for great 
care, and continual labour ; can our common, poor labourers, 


(especially husbandmen) have leisure to inform their minds 
with philosophy or curious speculations ? 

Nay, we see by experience, that the more subtle and 
most vacant wits, that wholly addict themselves to philoso- 
phy, can bring it to no considerable certainty and consis- 
tency to this day, except in the few rudiments or common 
principles that all are agreed in. Insomuch that those do 
now take themselves to be the chief or only wits, who are 
pulling down that which through so many ages, from the 
beginning of the world, hath with so great wit and study 
been concluded on before them ; and are now themselves no 
higher than new experimenters, who are beginning all anew 
again, to try whether they can retrieve the errors of man- 
kind, and make any thing of that which they think the world 
hath been so long unacquainted with: and they are yet but 
beginning at the skin or superficies of the world, and are 
got no further with all their wit, than matter and motion, 
with figure, site, contexture, &,c. But if they could live as 
long as Methuselah, it is hoped they might come to know 
that besides matter and motion, there are essential virtues 
called substantial forms, or active natures, and that there is 
a ' vis motiva,' which is the cause of motion, and a ' virtus 
intellectiva,' and wisdom, which is the cause of the order of 
motion, and a vital will and love, which is the perfection 
and end of all : in a word, they may live to know that there is 
such a thing in the world as life, and such a thing as active 
nature, and such a thing as sense and soul, besides corporeal 
matter and motion, and consequently that man is indeed 
man. But, alas ! they must die sooner, perhaps before they 
attain so far, and their successors must begin all anew again, 
as if none of all these great attempts had been made by their 
predecessors, and so, by their method, we shall never reach 
deeper than the skin, nor learn more than our ABC. And 
would we have such a task made necessary to the common 
salvation, even for all the poor and vulgar wits, which is so 
much too hard for our most subtle students ? 

2. And Christianity is as suitable to us, in the benefit 
and sweetness of it. What a happy religion is it that em- 
ployeth men in nothing but receiving good to themselves, 
and in doing good to themselves and others. Whose work 
is only the receiving and improving of God's mercies, and 
loving and delighting in all that is good, rejoicing in the 


taste of God's love on earth, and in the hopes of perfect 
felicity, love and joy for ever. Is not this a sweeter life 
than tiresome, unprofitable speculations? 

O then, how inexcusable are our contemners of religion, 
that live in wilful ignorance and ungodliness, and think this 
easy and sweet religion to be a tedious and intolerable 
thing ! What impudent calumniators and blasphemers are 
they of Christ and holiness, who deride and revile this sweet 
and easy way to life, as if it were a slavery and an irksome 
toil, unnecessary to our salvation, and unfit for a freeman, or 
at least a gentleman, (or a servant of the flesh and world) 
to practise. If Christ had set you such a task as Aristotle 
or Plato did to their disciples ; so many notions, and so 
many curiosities to learn : if he had written for you as many 
books as Chrysippus did; if he had made necessary to your 
salvation, all the arbitrary notions of Lullius, and all the 
fanatic conceits of Campaneila, and all the dreaming hypo- 
theses of Cartesius, and all the astronomical and cosmogra- 
phical difficulties of Ptolomy, Tycho-Brache, Copernicus 
and Galileeus, and all the chronological difficulties handled 
by Eusebius, Scaliger, Functius, Capellus, Petavius, &c. 
And all the curiosities in philosophy and theology of Caje- 
tan, Scotus, Ockam, Gabriel, &c. Then you might have 
had some excuse for your aversation: but to accuse and re- 
fuse, and reproach so compendious, so easy, so sweet, so 
necessary a doctrine and religion, as that which is brought 
and taught by Christ; this is an ingratitude that hath no 
excuse, unless sensuality and malignant enmity may pass 
for an excuse. 

Doth Christ deliver you from the maze of imaginary cu- 
riosities, and from the burdens of worldly wisdom, called 
philosophy, and of Pharisaical traditions, and Jewish ceremo- 
nies, and make you a light burden, an easy yoke, and com- 
mandments that are not grievous ; and after all this, must 
he be requited with rejection and reproach, and your bur- 
dens and snares be taken for more tolerable than your deli- 
verance? You make a double forfeiture of salvation, who 
are so unwilling to be saved. 

Be thankful, O Christians, to your heavenly Master, for 
tracing you out so plain and sweet a way. Be thankful that 
he hath cut short those tiresome studies, by which your 
taskmasters would confound you, under pretence of making 


you like gods, in some more subtle and sublime speculations 
than vulgar wits can reach. Now all that are willing may 
be religious, and be saved : it is not confined to men of 
learning. The way is so sweet, as sheweth it suitable to the 
end. It is but believe God's love and promises of salvation 
by Christ, till you are filled with love and its delights, and 
live in the pleasures of gratitude and holiness, and in the 
joyful hopes of endless glory ! and is not this an easy yoke ? 
Saith our heavenly poet Mr. G. Herbert in his poem called 
" Divinity." 

As men for fear the stars should sleep and nod, 

And trip at night, have spheres supply 'd ; 
As if a star were duller than a clod, 

Which knows his way without a guide : 
Just so the other heaven they also serve, 

Divinity's transcendent sky, 
Which with the edge of wit they cut and carve, 

Reason triumphs, and faith lies by, 
But all his doctrine which he taught and gave, 

Was clear as heav'n from whence it came ; 
At least those beams of truth which only save, 

Surpass in brightness any flame : 
Love God, and love your neighbours, watch and pray, 

Do as you would be done unto. 
O dark instructions! even as dark as day ! 

Who can these Gordian knots undo 3 


Inference 6. How little Reason ungodly men have to be proud 
of their Learning, or of any sort of Knowledge or Wisdom 

As the ancient Gnostics, being puffed up with their corrupt 
Platonic speculations, looked down with contempt upon or- 
dinary Christians, as silly ignorants in comparison of them, 
and yet had not wisdom enough to preserve them from the 
lusts and pollutions of the world ; even so is it with abun- 
dance of the worldly clergy and ungodly scholars in this 
age. They think their learning setteth them many degrees 
above the vulgar, and giveth them right to be reverenced as 
the oracles or rabbies of the world ; when yet, poor souls ! 
they have not learned, by all their reading, studies and dis- 


putings to love God and holiness better than the riches and 
preferments of the world. And some of them not better than 
a cup of strong drink, or than the brutish pleasures of sense 
and flesh. It is a pitiful thing to see the pulpit made a stage 
for the ostentation of this self-shaming, self-condemning 
pride and folly : for a man under pretence of serving God, 
and helping other men to heaven, to make it his errand to 
tell the hearers, that he is a very wise and learned man, who 
hath not wit enough to choose a holy, humble life, nor to 
make sure of heaven, or to save his soul ; nor perhaps to 
keep out of the tavern or alehouse the next week, nor the 
same day to forbear the venting of his worldly, carnal mind : 
What is such learning but a game of imagination, in which 
the fantasy sports itself with names and notions ; or worse, 
the materials which are used in the service of sin, the fuel 
of pride, the blinder and deceiver of such as were too igno- 
rant before, being a mere shadow and name of knowledge ? 
What good will it do a man tormented with the gout, or 
stone, or by miserable poverty, to know the names of vari- 
ous herbs, or to read the titles of the apothecaries' boxes, or 
to read on a sign-post, 'Here is a good ordinary.' And 
what good will it do a carnal, unsanctified soul that must be 
in hell for ever, to know the Hebrew roots or points, or to 
discourse of " Cartesius's Materia Subtilis," and " Globuli 
iEtherei," Sec. Or of " Epicurus and Gassendus' Atoms," or 
to look on the planets in Galileus' glasses, while he casteth 
away all his hopes of heaven, by his unbelief, and his pre- 
ferring the pleasures of the flesh ? Will it comfort a man that 
is cast out of God's presence, and condemned to utter dark- 
ness, to remember that he was once a good mathematician, 
or logician, or musician, or that he had wit to get riches and 
preferments in the world, and to climb up to the height of 
honour and dominion? It is a pitiful thing to hear a man 
boast of his wit, while he is madly rejecting the only felicity, 
forsaking God, esteeming vanity, and damning his soul : the 
Lord deliver us from such wit and learning ! Is it not enough 
to refuse heaven, and choose hell (in the certain causes) to 
lose the only day of their hopes, and in the midst of light, 
to be incomparably worse than mad, but they must needs be 
accounted wise and learned, in all this self-destroying folly? 
As if (like the physician who boasted that he killed men ac- 
cording to the rules of art) it were the height of their ambi- 


tion to go learnedly to hell, and with reverend gravity and 
wit, to live here like brutes, and hereafter with devils for 


Inference 7. Why the ungodly World hateth Holiness, and 

not Learning. 

From ray very childhood, when I was first sensible of the 
concernments of men's souls, I was possessed with some ad- 
miration, to find that every where the religious, godly sort 
of people, who did but exercise a serious care of their own 
and other men's salvation, were made the wonder and oblo- 
quy of the world ; especially of the most vicious and flagiti- 
ous men ; so that they that professed the same articles of 
faith, the same commandments of God to be their law, and 
the same petitions of the Lord's-prayer to be their desire, 
and so professed the same religion, did every where revile 
those that did endeavour to live according to that same pro- 
fession, and to seem to be in good sadness in what they 
said. I thought that this was impudent hypocrisy in the 
ungodly, worldly sort of men ! To take them for the most 
intolerable persons in the land, who are but serious in their 
own religion, and do but endeavour to perform what all their 
enemies also vowed and promised. If religion be bad, and 
our faith be not true, why do these men profess it? If it be 
true and good, why do they hate and revile them that would 
live in the serious practice of it, if they will not practise it 
themselves? But we must nut expect reason, when sin and 
sensuality have made men unreasonable. 

But I must profess that since I observed the course of 
the world, and the concord of the word and providences of 
God, I took it for a notable proof of man's fall, and of the 
verity of the Scripture, and the supernatural original of true 
sanctification, to find such an universal enmity between the 
holy and the serpentine seed, and to find Cain and Abel's 
case so ordinarily exemplified, and him that is born after the 
flesh to persecute him that is born after the Spirit. And 



me thinks to this day it is a great and visible help for the 
confirmation of our Christian faith. 

But that which is much remarkable in it is, that nothing 
else in the world, except the crossing of men's carnal interest, 
doth meet with any such universal enmity. A man may be 
as learned as he can, and no man hate him for it. If he ex- 
cel all others, all men will praise him and proclaim his excel- 
lency : he may be an excellent linguist, an excellent philo- 
sopher, an excellent physician, an excellent logician, an ex- 
cellent orator, and all commend him. Among musicians, 
architects, soldiers, seamen, and all arts and sciences, men 
value, prefer and praise the best ; yea, even speculative theo- 
logy, such wits as the schoolmen and those that are called 
great divines are honoured by all, and meet, as such, but with 
little enmity, persecution or obloquy in the world. Though 
I know that even a Galilseus, a Campanella, and many such 
have suffered by the Roman inquisitors, that was not so 
much in enmity to their speculations or opinions, as through 
a fear lest new philosophical notions should unsettle men's 
minds and open the way to new opinions in theology, and 
so prove injurious to the kingdom and interest of Rome. I 
know also that Demosthenes, Cicero, Seneca, Lucan, and 
many other learned men, have died by the hands or power of 
tyrants. But that was not for their learning, but for their 
opposition to those tyrants' wills and interests. And I know 
that some religious men have suffered for their sins and fol- 
lies, and some for their meddling too much with secular af- 
fairs, as the counsellors of princes, as Functius, Justus Jo- 
nas, and many others. But yet no parts, no excellency, no 
skill or learning is hated commonly, but honoured in the 
world, no not theological learning, save only this practical 
godliness and religion, and the principles of it, which only 
rendereth men amiable to God, through Christ, and saveth 
men's souls. To know and love God, and live as those that 
know and love him, to seek first his kingdom and the righte- 
ousness thereof, to walk circumspectly, in a holy and hea- 
venly conversation, and studiously to obey the laws of God, 
this which must save us, this which God loveth and the de- 
vil hateth, is hated also by all his children ; for the same 
malignity hath the same effect. 

But methinks this should teach all considering men to 


perceive what knowledge it is that is best, and most desira- 
ble to all that love their happiness. Surely this sort of learn- 
ing, wit and art, which the devil and the malignant world do 
no more dispraise, oppose and persecute, (though as it is 
sanctified to higher ends it be good, yet) of itself is com- 
paratively no very excellent and amiable thing. I know Sa- 
tan laboureth to keep out learning itself (that is truly such) 
from the world, because he is the prince and promoter of 
darkness, and the enemy of all useful light: and lower know- 
ledge is some help to higher, and speculative theology may 
prepare for practical ; and the most gross and brutish igno- 
rance best serveth the devil's designs and turn. And even in 
heathen Rome the arts prepared men for the Gospel; and 
learning in the church-reformers hath ever been a great help 
and furtherance of reformation. But yet if you stop in learn- 
ing and speculation, and take it as for itself alone, and not 
as a means to holiness of heart and life, it is as nothing. It 
is Paul's express resolution of the case, that if "we have all 
knowledge without this holy love, we are nothing," but as 
"sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal," (1 Cor. xiii.) 

But surely there is some special excellency in this holy 
knowledge, and love, and obedience, which the devil and 
the malignant world so hate, in high and low, in rich and 
poor, in kindred, neighbours, strangers, or any, where they 
meet with it. It is not for nothing. This is the image of 
God; this is it that is contrary to their carnal minds, and to 
their fleshly lusts, and sinful pleasures. This tells them 
what they must be and do, or be undone for ever, which they 
cannot abide to be or do. 

Let us therefore be somewhat the wiser for this discovery 
of the mind of the devil and all his instruments. I will love 
and honour all natural, artificial, acquired excellencies in 
philology, philosophy and the rest : as these expose not 
men to the world's obloquy, so neither unto mine or any so- 
ber man's. In their low places they are good and may be 
used to a greater good. But let that holy knowledge and 
love be mine, which God most loveth, and the world most 
hateth, and costeth us dearest upon earth, but hath the 
blessed end of a heavenly reward. 



Inference 8. What is the Work of a Faithful Preacher, 
and how it is to be done. 

If that knowledge which kindleth in us the love of God, be 
the only saving knowledge, then this is it that ministers 
must principally preach up and promote. Could we make 
all our hearers never so learned, that will not save their souls ; 
but if we could make them holy, and kindle in them the 
love of God and goodness, they should certainly be saved. 
The holy, practical preacher therefore is the best preacher, 
because the holy, practical Christian is the best and onlv 
true Christian. We work under Christ, and therefore must 
carry on the same work on souls which Christ came into the 
world to carry on. All our sermons must be fitted to change 
men's hearts, from carnal into spiritual, and to kindle in 
them the love of God. When this is well done, they have 
learned what we were sent to teach them ; and when this is 
perfect, they are in heaven. 

Those preachers that are enemies to the^most godly of 
the people, and would make their hearers take them all for hy- 
pocrites, that go any further than obedience to their pastors, 
in church-forms and orders, observances and ceremonies, 
and a civil life, are the great enemies of Christ, his Spirit, 
his Gospel, and the people's souls ; and the eminent ser- 
vants of the devil, in his malignant war against them all. 
All that knowledge, and all those formalities, which are set 
up instead of Divine Love and holy living, are but so many 
cheats, to deceive poor souls till time be past, and their con- 
victions come too late. 

I confess that ignorance is the calamity of our times, 
and people perish for lack of knowledge : and that the heart 
be without knowledge it is not good : and lamentable igno- 
rance is too visible in a great degree, among the religious 
sort themselves ; as their manifold differences and errors too 
openly proclaim : and therefore to build up men in know- 
ledge, is much of the ministerial work. But what knowledge 
must it be ? Not dead opinions, or ineffectual notions, or 
such knowledge as tendeth but to teach men to talk, and 
make them pass for men of parts; but it is the knowledge 

Chap. 13.] TRUE SAVING KNOWLEDGE. "22.9 

of God and our Redeemer, the knowledge of Christ cruci- 
fied, by which we crucify the flesh with all its affections and 
lusts : and by which the world is crucified to us, and we to 
it. If the Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in 
whom the God of this world hath blinded their eyes. When 
there is no truth and mercy, and knowledge of God in the 
land, no wonder if such a land be clad in mourning. When 
men have not so much knowledge of the evil of sin, and their 
own sin and misery, and of the need and worth of Christ, of 
the truth of God's Word, of the vanity of the world, of the 
greatness, wisdom and goodness of God, and of the certain, 
most desirable glory of heaven, as shall humble their souls, 
and turn them from the world to God, and absolutely deliver 
them up to Christ, and mortify fleshly lusts, and overcome 
temptations, and renew them unto the love of God and good- 
ness, and set their hearts and hopes on heaven : This is the 
ignorance that is men's damnation ; and the contrary effec- 
tual knowledge is it which saveth souls. 


Inference 9. Those that know God so Jar as to Love him 
above all, may have Comfort, notwithstanding their remain- 
ing Ignorance. 

A great number of upright-hearted Christians, who love 
God sincerely, and obey him faithfully, are yet under so 
great want of further knowledge, as is indeed a great dis- 
honour to them, and a hindrance of them in their duty and 
comfort, and to many a great discouragement. And O that 
we knew how to cure this imperfection, that ignorance 
might not feed so many errors, and cause so many factions 
and disturbances in the church, and so many sinful miscar- 
riages in its members ! 

But yet we must conclude that the person that hath 
knowledge enough to renew his soul to the love of God, 
shall be loved by him, and shall never perish, and therefore 
may have just comfort under all the imperfections of his 
knowledge. More wisdom might make him a better and 
more useful Christian ; but while he is a Christian indeed, 
he may rejoice in God. I blame not such for complaining 


of ihe dullness of their understandings, the badness of their 
memories, their little profiting by the means of grace : I 
should blame them if they did not complain of these : and 
I think their case far more dangerous to the church and to 
themselves, who have as much ignorance and know it not, 
but proudly glory in the wisdom which they have not. But 
many a thousand Christians, that have little of the notional 
and organical part of knowledge, have powerful apprehen- 
sions of the power, wisdom and love of God, and of the 
great mercy of redemption, and of the evil of sin, the worth 
of holiness, and the certainty and weight of the heavenly 
glory : and by how much these men love God and holiness 
more than the more learned that have less grace, by so much 
they are more beloved of God, and accounted wiser by the 
God of wisdom; and therefore may rejoice in the greatness 
of their felicity. I would have none so weak as to under- 
value any real useful learning ; but if Pharisees will cry out 
against unlearned, godly Christians, *' These people know 
not the law and are accursed ;" remember the thanksgiving 
of your Lord, " I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and 
earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and pru- 
dent, and hast revealed them to babes." And as the (reputed) 
foolishness of God, that is, of God's evangelical mysteries, 
will shortly prove wiser than all the reputed wisdom of men ; 
so he that hath wisdom enough to love God and be saved, 
shall quickly be in that world of light, where he shall know 
more than all the doctors and subtle disputers upon earth ; 
and more, in a moment, than all the books of men can teach 
him, or all their authors did ever here know. " Thus saith 
the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither 
let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man 
glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, 
That he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, 
which exercise loving-kindness and righteousness in the 
earth : for in these things do I delight, saith the Lord." 
(Jer. ix. 23, 24.) 



Questions and Objections answered. 

Quest. 1. ' If so much knowledge will save a man, as help- 
eth him to love God as God, may not heathens or infidels 
at least be saved ? For they know that there is one God 
who is infinitely good and perfect, and more amiable than 
all the world, and the great Benefactor of man, and of the 
whole creation : so that there is no goodness but what is in 
him, or from him, and through him, and finally to him : and 
man's will is made to love apprehended good, and followeth 
the last practical act of the intellect, at least where there 
is no competitor, but ' omnimoda ratio boni.' And all men 
know that God is not only best in himself, but good, yea, 
best to them, because that all they have is from him : and 
they have daily experience of pardoning grace contrary to 
their demerit. It seemeth therefore that they may love 
God as God.' 

Answ. 1. To cause a man to love God as God, there is 
necessary both objective revelation of God's amiableness, 
and such subjective grace which consisteth in a right dis- 
position of the soul. 2. Objective Revelation is considered 
as sufficient either to a well-disposed, or to an ill-disposed 
soul. 3. This right disposition consisteth both in the abate- 
ment of men's inclinations to contrary, sensual objects, and 
in the inclining them to that which is divine and spiritual. 
And now I answer, 

1. It cannot be denied, but that so much of God's amiable- 
ness or goodness is revealed to infidels that have not the 
Gospel, by the means mentioned in the Objection, as is suf- 
ficient to bring men under an obligation to love God as 
God, and to leave them inexcusable that do not. 

2. Therefore, to such, the impossibility is not physical, 
but moral. 

3. And there is in that objective Revelation, so much 
sufficiency, as that if the soul itself were sanctified and well 
disposed, it might love God upon such revelation : which 
Amyraldus hath largely proved. 

4. But to an unholy and undisposed soul, no objective 


Revelation is sufficient without the Spirit's help and opera- 

5. Only the Spirit of Christ the Mediator, as given by 
and from him, doth thus operate on souls, as savingly to re- 
new them. 

6. Whether ever the Spirit of Christ doth thus operate 
on any that hear not of Christ's incarnation, must be known 
either by the Scripture or by experience a . By the Scrip- 
ture I am not able to prove the universal negative, though 
it is easy to prove sanctification incomparably more common 
in the church, than on those without, if any there have it. 
The case of infants, and of the churches, and the world be- 
fore Christ's incarnation, must here come into considera- 
tion. 2. And by experience no man can prove the nega- 
tive ; because no man hath experience what is in the hearts 
of all the persons in the world. 

Quest. 2. 'May a Papist or a heretic by his knowledge 
be a lover of God as God ?' 

Answ. What is said to the former Question is here to be 
reviewed. And further, 1. A Papist and such heretic as 
positively holdeth all the essentials of Christianity, and 
seeth not the opposition of his false opinions hereto, and 
holdeth Christianity more practically than those false opi- 
nions, may be saved in that state, for he is a lover of God : 
but no other Papists or heretics can be saved but by a true 
conversion. 2. There is a sufficiency in the doctrine of 
Christianity which they hold, to save them, as to objective 
sufficiency. And that God giveth not subjective grace of 
sanctification to any such, notwithstanding their errors, is a 
thing that no man can prove, nor any sober, charitable 
Christian easily believe : and experience of the piety of 
many maketh it utterly improbable, though we know not 
certainly the heart of another. 

There are many murmurings against me in this city, be- 
hind my back : for never one man of them to my remem- 
brance to this day, did ever use any charitable endeavour to 
my face, to convince me of my supposed error ; as one that 
holds that a Papist may be saved, yea, that we are not cer- 
tain that none in the world are saved besides Christians ; 

1 Of all this, I have discoursed more largely in my " Catholic Theology," and 
the annexed Eoitome. 


and the Sectaries whisper me to one another to be like Ori- 
gen, a person in these dangerous opinions, forsaken of God, 
in comparison of them. What really I assert about these 
questions, I have here briefly hinted ; but more largely 
opened in my " Catholic Theology:" but I will confess that 
1 find no inclination in my soul, to desire that their doctrine 
may prove true, who hide the glorified love of God, and 
would contract his mercy and man's salvation into so narrow 
a room, as to make it hardly discernible by man, and the 
church to be next to no church, and a Saviour to save so 
very few, as seem scarce considerable among the rest that 
are left remediless. And who would make us believe that 
the way appointed to bring men to the love of God, is, to 
believe that he hath elected that particular person, and left 
almost all the world (many scores or hundreds to one) unre- 
deemed, and without any promise or possibility of salva- 
tion. I am sure that the Covenant of Innocency is ceased, 
and I am sure that all the world was brought under a law of 
Grace, made after the fall to Adam and Noah : and that this 
law is still in force, to those that have not the more perfect 
edition in the Gospel. And that Christ came not to bring 
the world that never hear of him nor can do, into a worse 
condition than Jews and Gentiles were in before : nor hath 
he repealed that law of grace, which he before made them ; 
nor hath God changed that gracious name which he pro- 
claimed even to Moses. (Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.) And I am 
sure that Abraham, the father of the faithful, conjectured 
once, even when God told him that Sodom was ripe for des- 
truction, that yet there might be fifty righteous persons in 
it ; by which we may conjecture, what he thought of all the 
world b . And I know " that in every nation he that feareth 
God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him ;" and 
that " he that cometh to God, must believe that God is, and 
that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him ;" 
and therefore without faith none can please God: and that 
men shall be judged by that same law, which they were un- 
der and obliged by, whatever it be. And they that have 
sinned under the law of Moses, shall be judged by it; and 
they that sinned without that law shall be judged with- 
out it. And I know that God is love itself, and infinitely 

h Read Mai. i. 14. with all the old translations in the Polyglot Bible, and con- 
sider it. 


good ; and will shew us his goodness in such glorious effects 
to all eternity, as shall satisfy us and fill us with joyful 
praise. And as for the Papists, I know that they are se- 
duced by a worldly clergy, and that by consequence many 
of the errors in that church do subvert the fundamentals ; 
and so do many errors of the Antinomians and others among 
us, that are taken for religious persons ; yea, and as noto- 
riously as any doctrines of the Popish councils do. But I 
know that as a logical faith or orthodoxy, which consist- 
eth in holding right notions and words, deceiveth thou- 
sands that have no sound belief of the things themselves ex- 
pressed by these words ; so also logical errors about words, 
notions and sentences, may in unskilful men consist with a 
sound belief of the things which must necessarily be be- 
lieved. And that Christ and grace may be thankfully re- 
ceived by many that have false names and notions, and say- 
ings about Christ and grace. And I know the great power 
of education and converse, and what advantage an opinion 
hath even with the upright, which is commonly extolled by 
learned, godly, religious men, especially if by almost all. 
Therefore I make no doubt but God hath many among the 
Papists, and the Antinomians, to name no others, who are 
truly godly, though they logically or notionally hold such 
errors, as if practically held would be their damnation, and 
if the consequents were known and held : much more when 
thousands of the common people hold not the errors of the 
church which they abide in. And it shall not be my way of 
persuading my own soul, or others to love God, by first 
persuading them that he loveth but few besides them. 
And when such have narrowed God's love and mercy to all 
save their own party, and made themselves easily believe 
that he will damn the rest of the world, even such as are as 
desirous to please God as they are, they have but prepared 
a snare for their own consciences ; which may perhaps when 
it is awakened as easily believe that he will damn them- 
selves. Let us give " all diligence to make our own calling 
and election sure," and leave others to the righteous God, 
to whose judgment they and we must stand or fall. " Who 
art thou that judgest another's servant?" 

As the Covenant of Peculiarity was made only with the 
Israelites, though the Common Law of Grace, made to Adam 
and Noah, was in force to other nations of the world ; so the 


more excellent Covenant of Peculiarity is, since Christ's in- 
carnation, made only with the Christian church, though the 
aforesaid Common Law of Grace be not repealed to all others : 
nor can it be said that they sin not against a law of grace, 
or mercy leading to repentance. 

And as the Covenant of Peculiarity was not repealed to 
the ten tribes, (though the benefits were much forfeited by 
their violation ;) but God had still thousands among them 
in Elias's time, that bowed not the knee to Baal, and such 
as Obadiah to hide the prophets ; though yet the Jews were 
the more orthodox : Even so though the Reformed Churches 
as the two tribes, stick closer to the truth, the kingdoms 
where Popery prevailed have yet many thousands that God 
will save ; and, notwithstanding their errors and corrupt ad- 
ditions, they have the same articles of faith and baptismal 
covenant as we. And if any man think himself the wiser or 
the happier man than I, for holding the contrary, and think- 
ing so many are hated of God more than I do, (and conse- 
quently rendering him less lovely to them ;) I envy not such 
the honour nor comfort of their wisdom. 

Object. III. ' You will thus confirm our ignorant people 
in their presumption, that tell professors of godliness, I love 
God above all, and my neighbour as myself: though I do 
not know, and talk, and pray so much as you do.' 

Answ. Either they do so love God and man, or they do 
not. If they do they are good and happy men, though you 
call them ignorant : yea, he is far from being an ignorant 
man, that knoweth God and Christ, and heaven and holi- 
ness so well, as to be unfeignedly in love with them. But 
if he do not, what say I to his encouragement in presump- 
tion ! But you must take another course to cure him, than 
by calling him to a barren sort of knowledge. You must 
shew him, that the love of God is an operative principle ; 
and where it is will have dominion, and be highest in the 
soul ; and that telling God that we love him, while we love 
not his law, his service, or his children ; yea, while we love 
our appetite, our wealth, our credit, and every beastly lust 
above him ; and while we cannot abide much to think or 
hear talk of him ; this is but odious hopocrisy, which de- 
ceiveth the sinner, and maketh him more abominable to 

But if really you see a poor neighbour, whom you count 


ignorant, live as one that loveth God and goodness ; take 
heed, that you proudly despise not Christ's little ones, but 
love and cherish those sparks that are kindled and loved by 
Christ. The least are called by Christ his brethren, and 
their interest made as his own. (Matt, xxv.) And the least 
have their angels, which see the face of God in heaven. 

Object. IV. ' How then are infants saved, that neither 
have knowledge nor love ?' 

Ansiv. 1. While they have no wills of their own, which 
are capable of holy duties, they are as members of their pa- 
rents, whose wills are theirs ; or who know God, and love 
him, for themselves and their infants. As the hand and 
foot doth not know and love God in itself; and yet is holy, 
in that it is the hand or foot of one that doth know and 
love him. 

2. Sanctified infants have that grace which is the seed 
of holy love, though they have not yet the act nor proper 
habit of love. I call it a seed, because it is a holy disposi- 
tion of the soul ; by which it is (not only physically, as all 
are, but) morally able to love God, when they come to the 
use of reason, or at least mediately to do that which shall 
conduce to holy love. 

3. And in this state being loved of God, and known of 
him as the children of his grace and promise ; they are 
happy in his love to them : for he will give their natures 
their due capacity, in his way, which we are not yet fit to 
be fully acquainted with ; and he will fill up that capacity 
with his love and glory. 

Object. V. ' If this hold, away with universities, and all 
our volumes and studies of physics, mathematics and other 
sciences ; for they must needs divert our thoughts from the 
love of God ! And then Turks, Muscovites, and other con- 
temners of learning are in the right.' 

Answ. There is a right and a wrong use of all these, as 
there is of arts and business of the world. One man so fol- 
loweth his trade and worldly business, as to divert, distract, 
or corrupt his mind, and drown all holy thoughts and love, 
and leave no due place for holy diligence. And another 
man so followeth his calling, as that heaven hath still his 
heart and hope, and his labour is made but part of his obe- 
dience to God, and his way to life eternal ; and all is sancti- 
fied by holy principles, end and manner. And so it is about 


common learning, sciences or arts. And I have proved to 
you, that among too many called great scholars in the 
world, many books, and much reading and acquaintance 
with all the arts of speaking, with grammar, logic, oratory, 
metaphysics, physics, history, laws, &c. is but one of Sa- 
tan's last and subtlest means of wasting precious time, de- 
ceiving souls, and keeping such persons from pursuing the 
ends of their excellent wit, and of life itself, that would not 
have been cheated, diverted and undone, by the grosser way 
of brutish pleasures : but holy souls have a sanctified use 
of all their common knowledge, making it serve their high 
and holy ends. But O that some learned men would in 
time, as well understand the difference between common 
learning (which serveth fancy, pride, or worldly hopes ;) 
and the love of God and a heavenly life ; as they must know 
it when they come to die ! 


Use, Exhort. 1. Not to deceive ourselves by overvaluing a dead 
or an unholy Knowledge. 

It grieveth my soul to observe how powerfully, and how 
commonly Satan still playeth his first deceiving game, of 
calling off man from love, trust, and obedience, to an en- 
snaring and troublesome, or unprofitable sort of knowledge. 
And how the lust of knowing carrieth away many unsus- 
pected to misery, who escape the most dishonourable sort 
of lust! And especially, what abundance in several ways 
take notional knowledge, which is but an art of thinking 
and talking, for real knowledge ; which is our acquaintance 
with God and grace ; and which changeth the soul into the 
image of him that we seek and know ; and filleth us with 
love, and trust, and joy. t 

Two sorts are especially here guilty. 

I. The learned students before described : 

II. The superficial sort of people accounted religious. 

I. I have already shewed how pitiful a thing it is, that 
so many academical wits, and so many preachers, (to say 
nothing of the grossly proud, tyrannical and worldly clergy;) 
do spend so many years in studies, that are used but in the 


service of the flesh, to their own condemnation ; and never 
bend their minds to kindle in themselves the love of God, 
nor a heavenly desire or hope, nor to live in the comfortable 
prospect of glory. How many -preach up that love and ho- 
liness, (as the trade that they must live by) which they ne- 
ver fervently preached to themselves, nor practised sincerely 
one hour in their lives ! How many use to preach funeral 
sermons, and bury the dead, that are unprepared for death 
themselves, and hardened in their security and unholy state, 
by those sights, those studies, those words, which should 
awaken and convince them, and which they plead themselves 
for the conviction of their hearers ! O miserable scholars ! 
Miserable preachers ! Miserable doctors and prelates, who 
study and preach to their own condemnation ; and have not 
knowledge enough to teach them to love God, nor to set 
more by the heavenly glory, than this world ; but by spiri- 
tual words, do both hide and cherish a fleshly and a worldly 
mind ! You will find at death, that all your learning was 
but a dream, and one of the vanities that entangle fools ; 
and you will die as sadly as the unlearned, and be beaten 
with more stripes, than they that knew not their master's 


1. Unholy knowledge is but a carcase, a shadow, the 
activity of a vain mind, or a means without the end, and un- 
fit to attain it. A map is not a kingdom, nor doth it much 
enrich the owner. The names of meats and drinks will not 
nourish you : and to know names and notions, giveth you 
no title to the things so named. You may as well think to 
be saved for being good musicians, physicians or astrono- 
mers, as for being learned divines, if your knowledge cause 
not holy love : it may help others to heaven, but it will be 
but vanity to you ; and you will be as " sounding brass, or a 
tinkling cymbal." (1 Cor. xiii. 1.) You glory in a lifeless pic- 
ture of wisdom ; and hell may shortly tell you, that you had 
better have chosen any thing , to play the fool with, than 
with the notions and words of wisdom mortified. 

2. Nay, such profanation of holy things is a heinous sin. 
Who is more like the devil than he that knoweth most, and 
loveth God least? To know that you should love and seek 
God most, and not to do it, is wilfully to despise him in the 
open light. As the privation of God's love is the chief part 
of hell, so the privation of our love to God is the chief part 


of ungodliness or sin ; yea, and much of hell itself. Know- 
ledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. Unholy knowledge 
is a powerful instrument of Satan's service ; in the service 
of pride, and ambition, and heresy, one learned and witty, 
ungodly man will merit more of the devil by mischieving 
mankind, than any of the common, unlearned sort : and 
none are so likely impenitently to glory in this sin. They 
will be proud of such adorned fetters ; that they can sin 
philosophically, and metaphysically, in Greek and Hebrew, 
and with logical subtlety, or oratorical fluency, prove against 
unlearned men, that they do well in damning their own 
souls, and that God and heaven are not worthy of their 
chief love and diligence ; such men will offend God more 
judiciously than the ignorant, and will more discreetly and 
honourably fool away their hopes of heaven, and more suc- 
cessfully deceive the simple. Their wisdom, like Ahitho- 
phel's, will serve turn to bring them to destroy themselves : 
and is it any wonder if this be foolishness with God 1 
(1 Cor. iii. 19.) 

The understanding of a man is a faculty unfit to be 
abused and prostituted to the slavery of the flesh. The 
abuse of the senses is bad, but of the understanding worse ; 
because it is a nobler faculty. When they that " knew God, 
glorified him not as God, but became vain in their imagina- 
tion, their foolish heart was darkened, and professing them- 
selves wise (philosophers or Gnostics) they became fools ;" 
(Rom. i. 21.28;) "and as they did not like to retain God 
in their knowledge, God gave them up to vile affections." 
And yet many are proud of this mortal tympanite, as if it 
were a sound and healthful constitution ; and think they 
have the surest right to heaven for neglecting it knowingly, 
and going learnedly in the way to hell. 

3. You lose the chief delight of knowledge. O that you 
knew what a holy quietness and peace, what solid pleasure 
that knowledge bringeth, which kindleth and cherisheth 
holy love, and leadeth the soul to communion with God ; 
and how much sweeter it is to have a powerful and experi- 
mental knowledge, than your trifling dreams ! The most 
learned of you all have but the husks or shells of knowledge ; 
and what great sweetness is in shells, when the poorest, 
holy, experienced Christian hath the kernel, which is far 
more pleasant ! O try a more serious, practical religion, 


and I dare assure you, it will afford you a more solid kind of 
nourishment and delight. The pleasure of the speculative 
divine in knowing, is but like the pleasure of a mathema- 
tician or other speculator of nature; yea, below that of the 
moral philosopher : it is but like my pleasure in reading a 
book of travels or geography; in comparison of the true, 
practical Christian's ; which is like their pleasure that live 
in those countries, and possess the lands and houses which 
I read of. 

4. Nay, yet worse, this -unholy knowledge doth often 
make men the devil's most powerful and mischievous in- 
struments : for though Christ oft also so overrule the hearts 
of men, and the course of the world, as to make the know- 
ledge and gifts of bad men serviceable to his church (as 
wicked soldiers oft fight in a good cause, and save the 
lives of better men), yet a worldly mind is more likely to 
follow the way of worldly interest; and it is but seldom 
that worldly interest doth suit with, and serve the in- 
terest of truth and holiness, but more commonly is its 
greatest adversary : therefore most usually it must be ex- 
pected that such worldly men should be adversaries to the 
same truth and holiness which their worldly interest is 
averse to. And hence hath arisen that proud, worldly and 
tyrannical clergy, which hath set up and maintained the Ro- 
man kingdom, under the name of the Holy Catholic Church ; 
and which hath by their Pope and pretended General Coun- 
cils, usurped a legislative and executive power over the 
whole Christian world, and made great numbers of laws 
without authority, and contrary to the laws of Christ ; mul- 
tiplying schisms on pretence of suppressing them, and mak- 
ing so many things necessary to the concord of Christians, 
as hath made such concord become impossible; presump- 
tuously voting other men to be heretics, while their own er- 
rors are of as odious a kind ; yea, when holy truth is some- 
times branded by them as heresy. And when they cannot 
carry the judgments, consciences and wills of all men along 
in obedience to their tyrannical pride, lust and interest, they 
stir up princes and states to serve them by the sword, and 
murder and persecute their own subjects, and raise bloody 
wars against their neighbours, to force them to obey these 
proud seducers. Yea, and if kings and states be wiser than 
thus to be made their hangmen or bloody executioners, to 

Chap. 15.] true saving knowledge. 241 

the ruin of their best subjects, and their own everlasting in- 
famy and damnation, they stir up the foolish part of the sub- 
jects against such rulers, and in a word, they will give the 
world no peace : so that I am past all doubt that the ten 
heathen persecutions so much cried out of, was but a small 
matter as against the Christian's blood, in comparison of 
what hath been done by this tyrannical clergy : and the 
cruellest magistrates still seem to come short of them in 
cruelty, and seldom are very bloody or persecuting, but when 
a worldly or proud clergy stirs them up to it. And all the 
heresies that ever sprang up in the church, do seem to have 
done less harm on one side, than by pretences of unity, or- 
der and government, they have done on the other. O how 
unspeakably great have been, and still are the church's suf- 
ferings, by a proud and worldly clergy, and by men's abuse' 
of pretended learning and authority ! 

5. I will add yet one more considerable mischief; that 
is, that your unholiness and carnal minds for all your learn- 
ing, corrupteth your judgments, and greatly hindereth you 
from receiving many excellent truths, and inclineth you to 
many mortal errors. To instance in some particulars. 

1. About the attributes and government of God. A bad 
man is inclined to doubt of God's particular providence, his 
holy truth and justice, and to think God is such an one as 
he would have him to be. Whereas they that have the love 
of God and goodness, have his attributes, as it were, written 
on their hearts ; that he is good, and wise, and holy, and 
just, and true, they know by an experimental, certain know- 
ledge, which is to them like nature and life itself. (John 
xvii. 3 ; Hos. ii. 20 ; Psal. xxxiv. 8, 8cc.) 

2. The very truth of the Gospel and mystery of redemp- 
tion is far more hardly believed by a man that never felt his 
need of Christ, nor ever had the operations of that Spirit on 
his soul, which are its seal, than by them that have the wit- 
ness in themselves, and have found Christ actually save them 
from their sins : who are regenerated by this holy seed, and 
nourished by this milk. (1 John v. 10—12; 1 Pet. i. 22, 
23 ; ii. 2.) 

3. Yea, the very truth of our soul's immortality, and the 
life and glory to come, is far more hardly believed by them, 
who feel no inclination to such a future glory ; but only a 



propensity to this present life, and the interests and plea- 
sures of it, than by them that have a treasure, a home, a 
heart, and a conversation in heaven, and that long for nearer 
communion with God, and that have the earnest and first- 
fruits of heaven within them. (Matt, vi.20, 21 ; Phil.iii.20, 
21 ; Col. iv, 1—4; Rom. viii. 17—20.) 

4. The evil of sin in general, and consequently what is 
sin in particular, is less known by a man that loveth it, and 
would not have it to be sin, than by one that hateth it, and 
loveth God and holiness above all : they that love the Lord 
hate evil. (1 Cor. ii. 14; John ix. 40.) 

5. Most controversies about the nature of grace, are 
more hardly understood by them that have it not, than by 
them that have it as a new nature in them. And conse- 
quently what kind of persons are to be well thought of, as 
the children of God. The Pharisees were strict, and yet 
haters of Christ and Christians. Many preach and write 
for godliness, that yet when it cometh to a particular judg- 
ment, deride the godly as hypocrites or superstitious. 

6. In cases about the worship of God, a carnal mind, 
how learned soever, is apt to relish most an outside, carnal, 
ceremonious way, and to be all for a dead formality, or else 
for a proud ostentation of their own wits, opinions and 
parts, or some odd singularity that sets them up to be ad- 
mired as some extraordinary persons, or teacheth their own 
consciences so to flatter them : when a spiritual man is for 
worshipping God (though with all decent externals, yet) in 
spirit and in truth ; and in the most understanding, sincere 
and humble manner, and yet with the greatest joy and praise. 
(Rom. viii. 16, 26, 8cc.) 

7. Especially in the work of self-judging, how hard a 
work have the most learned that are ungodly, truly to know 
themselves ; when learning doth but help their pride to 
blind them ! And yet none so apt to say as the Pharisees, 
(John ix. 10,) " Are we blind also?" and to hate those that 
honour them not, as erroneously as they do themselves : and 
therefore Augustine so lamenteth the misery of the clergy, 
and saith that the unlearned take heaven by violence, when 
the learned are thrust down to hell with all their learning ! 
Who are prouder and more self-ignorant hypocrites in the 
world (expecting that all should bow to them and reverence 


them, and cry them up as wise and excellent men,) than the 
unholy, vvorldy, fleshly clergy ? 

8. And in every case that themselves are much concerned 
in, their learning will not keep them from the most blind in- 
justice. Let the case be but such as their honour, or pro- 
fit, or relations and friends are much concerned in, and they 
presently take all right to be on their side ; and all these to 
be honest men that are for them, and all those to be wicked 
hypocrites, heretics, schismatics, factious, or liars, that are 
against, them ; and dare print to the world that most noto- 
rious truths in matters of fact are lies, and lies are truths, 
and corrupt all history where they are but concerned : so 
that experience hath taught me to give little credit to any 
history written by men, in whom I can perceive this double 
character, 1. That they are worldly and unconscionable: 
2. And concerned by a personal interest; especially when 
they revile their adversaries. And money, friends or ho- 
nour will make any cause true and just with them, and can 
confute all evidences of truth and innocency. Learned 
judges are too often corrupt. 

9. And in cases of great temptation, how insufficient is 
learning to repel the tempter, when it is easily done by the 
holy love of God and goodness ! How easily is a man's 
judgment tempted to think well of that which he loveth, and 
ill of that which his heart is against? 

Many such instances I might give you, but these fully 
shew the misery and folly of ungodly scholars, that are but 
blinded by dead notions, and words of art, to think they 
know something, when they know nothing as they ought to 
know ; and to hate truth and goodness, and speak evil of 
the things they know not, while for want of holy love, these 
tinkling cymbals do but deceive themselves, and ascertain 
their own damnation. 

II. I should next have said as much of the vanity and 
snare of the knowledge of such Gnostics, as in an overvalu- 
ing of their own religious skill and gifts, cry out as the Pha- 
risees, " This people that know not the law are cursed.'' 
But what is said is applicable to them. 



Exhort. 2. Love best the Christians that have most Love to 

God and Man. 

If God love those most that have most love, and not those 
that have most barren knowledge ; then so must we, even 
all that take God's wisdom as infallible : of whom can we 
know better, whom to love and value, than of him that is 
wisdom and love itself? There is more savoury worth in 
the experience, affections and heavenly tendency of holy 
souls, than in all the subtleties of learned wits. When a 
man cometh to die, who savoureth not more wisdom in the 
sacred Scripture, and in holy treatises, than in all Aristotle's 
learned works ? And who had not then rather hear the talk 
and prayers of a holy person, than the most accurate logic 
and mathematics ? Alas ! what are these but trifles to a 
dying man ! And what they will be to a dying man, they 
should be much to us all our life ; unless we would never be 
wise till it is too late. 

And among men seeming religious, it is not the religious 
wrangler or disputer, nor the zealous reviler of his brethren, 
that can hotly cry down on one side, ' These men are here- 
tical ;' or on the other. ' These are antichristian,' that are 
the lovely persons : not they that on one side cry out, ' Away 
with these from the ministry and church as disobedient to 
us :' or on the other, ' Away with these from our commu- 
nion as not holy enough to join with us.' It is not they 
that proudly persecute to prove their zeal, nor they that 
proudly separate from others to prove it; but it is they that 
live in the love of God and man, that are beloved of God 
and man. Nature teacheth all men to love those that love 
them. And the Divine nature teacheth us to love those 
much more that love God and goodness. Though love be 
an act of obedience as commanded, yet hath it a nature also 
above mere obedience ; and bare commanding will not cause 
it. No man loveth God or man, only because he is com- 
manded so to do ; but because he perceiveth them to be 
good and amiable. And the most loving are the most 
lovely, so be it their love be rightly guided. Doth it not 
kindle love in you to others, more, to hear their breathings 


after God, and grace, and glory, and to see them loving and 
kind to all, and delighting to do all the good they can, and 
covering tenderly the infirmities of others, and practising 
1 Cor. xiii, and living at peace among themselves, and as 
much as is possible with all men, and loving their enemies, 
and blessing those that curse them, and patiently bearing, 
and forgiving wrongs ; than to come into one congregation 
and hear a priest teach the people to hate their brethren as 
schismatics or heretics; or in another, and hear a man teach 
his followers to hate others asantichristian or ceremonious? 
Or to hear silly men and women talk against things that are 
quite beyond their reach, and shaking the head to talk 
against Dissenters, and say, ' Such an one is an erroneous or 
dangerous man, take heed of hearing him ! Such an one is 
for or against reprobation, free-will, universal redemption, 
man's power, and such like, which they little understand.' 
In a word, the proudly tyrannical, and the proudly schis- 
matical, with all their pretence of learning on one side, or 
of the Spirit and holiness, and gifts on the other, are no whit 
so amiable as the single-hearted, honest, peaceable Chris- 
tian, who preacheth love, and prayeth love, and liveth, and 
breatheth, and practiseth love. Paul saith, that all the law 
is fulfilled in love ; and fulfilling is more than knowing it. 
And Christ himself did not in vain sum up all the com- 
mandments in the love of God and man ; nor in vain ask 
Peter thrice, " Lovest thou me ?" nor in vain so often charge 
it on them, as his new, that is his last commandment, that they 
love one another ! Nor doth his beloved apostle John in vain 
so earnestly write for love. 


Exhort. 3. Plead not against Love or Works of' Love, upon 
Pretence of a Cross Interest of Learning, Knowledge, Gifts, 
Church-order, Discipline, fyc. or any other Thing. 

If Love be that which is most amiable in us to the God of 
Love, then as nothing in the world can excuse him that is 
without it, nor render him lovely indeed to God and man, 
so nothing must be made a pretence against it : and no pre- 


tence will excuse that man, or that society that is against it. 
Even corrections and severities, when they must be used, 
must come from love, and be wholly ordered to the ends and 
interest of love. And when necessity calls for destructive 
executions, which tend not to the good of him that is exe- 
cuted, yet must they tend to the good of the community or 
of many, and come from a greater love than is due to one, 
or else that which otherwise would be laudable j ustice, is but 
cruelty : for the punishment of offenders is good and just, 
because tending to the common good, ' Debentur Reipub- 
licee,' the community have 'jus,' a right to them as a means 
to their good : so that it is love that is the amiableness of 
justice itself. 

If any think that God's justice is a cross instance; let 
him consider, 1. That though the most public or common 
good be our end next the ultimate, yet the true ultimate end 
of all things, is God himself: and the love of God is the 
highest love : and God's justice is not without that love of 
himself, and tendeth to that good which he is capable of re- 
ceiving 5 which is but the fulfilling or complacency of his 
own will, which is, but improperly, called his receiving. 2. 
And we little know how many in another world, or in the 
renewed earth, are to be profited by his justice on the 
damned, as angels and men are, by his justice onthedevils. 

1. LOVE is the life of religion, and of the soul, and of 
the church : and what can be a just pretence for any to des- 
troy or oppose the very life of religion, the life of souls, and 
the life of the church of Christ ? Physic, blood-letting and 
dismembering may be used for life; but to take away life, 
except necessarily for a good that is better than that life, is 
murder. And what is it that is better than the life of reli- 
gion, in all matters of religion? Or than the life of the 
church, in all church-affairs ? Or than the life of men's 
souls, in all matters of soul-concernment? 

2. LOVE is the great command and summary of all the 
law : and what can be a just pretence for breaking the great- 
est command, yea, and the whole law ? 

3. LOVE is God's image ; and he that dwelleth in love, 
dwelleth in God, who is LOVE, and God in him : and what 
can be a pretence sufficient for destroying the image of God, 
which is called by his name ? 

4. There is nothing in man that God himself loveth better 


than our love : and therefore nothing that as better can be 
set against it. 

And yet, alas, what enmity is used in the world against 
the Love of God and man ! and many things alleged as pre- 
tences to justify it ! Let us consider of some few of them. 

1. The great tyrants of the world, such as in several ages 
have been the plagues of their own and neighbour-nations, 
care not what havoc they make of religion, and of men's lives, 
by bloody wars, and cruel persecutions i Destroying many 
thousands, and undoing far more thousands of the country- 
families where their armies come ; and sacrificing the lives 
of the best of their subjects by butcheries or flames! And 
what is the pretence for all this? Perhaps they would be 
lords of more of the world, and would have larger kingdoms, 
or more honour. Perhaps some prince hath spoken a hard 
word of them, or done them some wrong. Perhaps some 
subjects believe not, as they bid them believe ; or forbear 
not to worship God, in a manner which they forbid them. 
Perhaps Daniel will not give over praying for a time; or the 
apostles will not give over preaching; or the three confes- 
sors will not fall down to the golden image ; and so Nebu- 
chadnezzar or the other rulers seem despised : and their 
wills and honour are an interest that with them seemeth to 
warrant all this. But how long will it seem so ? 1 had ra- 
ther any friend of mine had the sins of a thief or drunkard, or 
the most infamous sinner among us to answer for, than the 
sins of a bloody Alexander, Caesar or Tamerlane. 

2. The Roman clergy set up inquisitions, force men by 
cruelties to submit to their church-keys, whose very nature 
is to be used without force ; and they silence, yea, torment 
the faithful ministers of Christ, and have murdered thou- 
sands of his faithful people, raised rebellions against princes, 
and wars in kingdoms : and taught men to hate God's ser- 
vants, as heretics, schismatics, rebels, factious, and what 
not/ And what pretence must justify all this? Why, the 
interest of the pope and clergy : called in ignorance, or craft, 
by the name of the Holy Church, Religion, Unity, and such 
other honourable names ! But must their church live on 
blood, and holy blood ; and be built or preserved by the 
destruction of Christ's church? Must their doctrine be 
kept up, by silencing faithful ministers ; and their worship 
by destroying or undoing the true worshippers of Christ? 


Are all these precious things which die with love, no better 
than to be sacrificed to the clergy's pride and worldly lusts? 

3. Among many schismatics and sectaries, that are not 
miscalled so, but are such indeed ; their discipline consisteth 
in separating from most other Christians, as too bad (and 
that is, too unlovely) to be of their communion ; and their 
preaching is much to make those seem bad, (that is, un- 
lovely) that are not of their way. And their worship is much 
such as relisheth of the same envy and strife, to add afflic- 
tion or reproaches to their brethren ; or to draw the people 
from the love of others unto them : And their ordinary talk 
is backbiting others for things that they understand not ; 
and reporting any lie that is brought them ; and telling the 
hearers something of this minister, or that person, or the 
other that is unlovely ; as if Satan had hired them to preach 
down love, and prate and pray down love; and all this in 
the name of Christ. And the third chapter of James is 
harder than Hebrew to them; they do not understand it; 
but though they tear it not out of the Bible, they leave it 
out of the law in their hearts, as much as the Papists leave 
the second commandment out of their books. And it is one 
of the marks of a good man among them, to talk against 
other parties, and make others odious, to set up them. And 
what are the pretences for all this ? Why, Truth and Ho- 
liness. 1. Others have not the truth which they have. And 
2. Others are not against the same doctrines and ceremo- 
nies, and bishops, and church-orders, and ways of worship, 
which they are against ; and therefore are ungodly, anti- 
christian, or men of no religion. 

But Truth seldom dwelleth with the enemies of love and 
peace. They that are strangers and enemies to it, indeed, 
do often cry it up, and cry down those as enemies to it, that 
possess it. The wisdom that hath bitter envying and heart- 
strife, is from beneath, and is earthly, sensual and devilish. 
I admonish all that care for their salvation, that they set up 
nothing upon love-killing terms. If you are Christ's disci- 
ples, you are taught of God to love each other, you are 
taught it as Christ's last and great commandment ; you are 
taught it by the wonderful example of his life ; and espe- 
cially (John xiii. 14,) by his washing his disciples' feet. You 
are taught it by the Holy Ghost's uniting the hearts of the 
disciples, and making them by charity to live as in commu- 


nity. (Acts iii ; iv.) You are taught it by the effective ope- 
ration of the Spirit on your own hearts : the new nature that 
is in you, inclineth you to it. And will you now pretend 
the necessity of your own interest, reputation, your canons, 
and things indifferent; your little church-orders of your own 
making, yea, or the positive institutions of Christ himself, 
as to the present exercise, against this love? Hath Christ 
commanded you any thing before it, except the love of God ? 
You say, if such and such men be suffered, this and that 
disorder and inconvenience will follow : but is it a greater 
thing than love that you would maintain ? Is it a greater 
evil than the destruction of love, that you would avoid? Did 
not Christ prefer mercy before Sabbath-rest, and before the 
avoiding familiarity with sinners ? Pretend nothing against 
love, that is not better than love ! 

Object. ' But what is this to the love of God, which the 
text speaketh of?' 

Answ. As God is here seen as in a glass, so is he loved. 
He that loveth not his brother whom he seeth daily, how 
shall he love God, whom he never saw? He that saith he 
loveth God, and hateth his brother, is a liar ! What you do 
to his brethren you do as to Christ. If you can find as full 
a promise of salvation to those that observe your canons, 
ceremonies, orders, or are of your opinion and sect, as I can 
shew you for them that love Christ and his servants, then 
prefer the former before love. 

I know that the love and good of church and state and 
of many must be preferred before the love and good of few. 
But take heed of their hypocrisy that make these also incon- 
sistent when they are not ; and make public good and peace 
a mere pretence for their persecutions on one side, or their 
schisms on the other. Love is so amiable to nature itself, 
that few of its enemies oppose it but under pretence of its 
own interest and name : it is as in love to the church and to 
men's souls that the Inquisition hath murdered so many, 
and the laws ' de hereticis comburendis' have been made 
and executed. But this burning, hanging, tormenting, and 
undoing kind of love, needeth very clear proof to make good 
its name and pretences, before impartial men will take it for 
love indeed. Whatever good you seem to do, by the detri- 
ment of love to God and man, you will find it will not bear 
your charges. 



Exhort. 4. Bend all your Studies and Labours to the Exercise 
and Increase of Love, both of God and Man, and all good 

The greatest, best and sweetest work should have the great- 
est diligence. This great commandment must be obeyed 
with the greatest care. The work of love must be the work 
of our whole life: if you cannot learn to pray and preach, no 
nor to follow a worldly trade, without, study and much exer- 
cise, how think you to be proficients in the love of God 
without them? Do this well, and all is done. O happy 
souls that are habituated and daily exercised in tills work : 
whose new nature, and life and study, and business, is holy 

1 . How Divine, how high and noble is this life ; to live 
in a humble friendship with God and all his holy ones ! All 
animals naturally love their like, and converse according to 
their love : and men as men have as much sociable love to 
men as the love of sin and inordinate self-love will allow 
them : and they that truly love God and holiness and saints, 
do shew that they have some connatural suitableness to 
these excellent objects of their love. Nothing more aptly 
denominateth any man divine and holy, than divine and 
holy love. How else should souls have communion with 
God? His common influx all creatures receive: in him 
all live, and move, and have their being; but when his love 
kindleth in us a reflecting love, this is felicity itself. Yea 
it is much nobler than our felicity; for though our felicity 
consist in loving God, and being beloved of him, yet it is a 
far more excellent thing, by reason that God is the object 
of our love, than by reason that it is our felicity: God's 
interest advanceth it more than ours : And though they are 
not separable, yet being distinguishable, we should love God 
far more as God, and perfect goodness in himself, than as he 
or this love is our own felicity. 

2. This life of love is the true improvement of all God's 
doctrines, ordinances, mercies, afflictions, and other provi- 
dences whatsoever ! For the use of them all is to lead us up 
to holy love, and to help us in the daily exercise of it. What 


is the Bible else written for, but to teach us to love and to 
exercise the fruits of love? What came Christ from heaven 
for, but to demonstrate and reveal God's love and loveliness 
to man, by reconciling us to God, and freely pardoning all 
our sins, and promising us both grace and glory, to shew 
us those motives which should kindle love, and to shew ns 
that God is most suitable and worthy of our love, and to fill 
us with the Spirit of love, which may give us that which he 
commandeth us. What is it that we read books for, and 
hear sermons for, but to kindle and exercise holy love? 
What join we for in the sacred worship of the assemblies, 
but that in an united flame of holy love, we might all mount 
up in praise to Jehovah? What is the Lord's-day separated 
to, but the tidings of love, the sufferings, victories, and 
triumphs of our Saviour's love, the tastes and prospects of 
God's love to us, and the lively and joyful exercise of ours 
to him, and to each other? What use are the sacraments of, 
but that being entertained at the most wonderful feast of 
love, we should taste its sweetness, and pour out the grate- 
ful sense of it in holy thanksgiving and praise, and the exer- 
cise of uniting love to one another? W r hat are church 
societies or combination for, but the loving communion of 
saints? which the primitive Christians expressed by selling 
all, and living in a community of love, and steadfastly con- 
tinuing in the apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, and break- 
ing of bread and prayer? What are all God's mercies for 
but that as by love-tokens we should taste that he is love 
and good, and should by that taste be inclined to returns of 
love? Nay, what are civil societies, but loving communions, 
if used according to their natures ? Did they not love each 
other, so many bees would never hive and work together, 
nor so many pigeons dwell peaceably in one dove-house, 
nor fly together in so great flocks. What is the whole 
Christian faith for, but the doctrine of holy love believed, 
for the kindling and exercise of our love? What is faith 
itself but the bellows of love? What is the excellency of 
all good works, and gifts and endowments, but to be the 
exercises of love to God and man, and the incentives of our 
brethren's love ? Without love all these are dead carcases, 
and as nothing, and without it we ourselves are as nothing; 
yea though we give all that we have to the poor, or give 
our bodies like martyrs to be burnt, or could speak with the 


tongue (the orthodoxy and elegancy) of angels, we were but 
" as sounding brass, and as a tinkling cymbal." James knew 
what he said, when he said that " Faith without works is 
dead," because without love it is dead, which those works 
are but the body or the fruit of. 

3. This life of love is the perfection of man's faculties as 
to their intended end and use. As all the operations of the 
lower faculties, vegetative and sensitive, are subordinate to 
the use and operations of the intellectual part, which is the 
higher, so all the acts of the intellect itself, are butsubservient 
and dirigent to the will, or love and practice. The understand- 
ing is but the eye by which the soul seeth what to love and 
choose or refuse, and what to do or to avoid. Love is the 
highest act of our highest faculty ; and complacency in the 
highest infinite good, is the highest of all the acts of love 
This is the state of the soul in its ripeness and mellow sweet- 
ness, when it is delightful, embracing its most desired ob- 
ject, and is blessed in the fruition of its ultimate end. All 
other graces and duties are servants unto this. They are 
the parts indeed of the same new creature, but the hands and 
feet are not the heart. 

4. For love is the very foretaste of heaven; the beginning 
of that felicity which shall there be perfect. In heaven all 
saints shall be as one ; and all united to their glorious Head, 
as he is united to the Father, disparities allowed. (John xvii. 
24.) And what more uniteth souls than love? Heaven is a 
state of joyful complacence; and what is that but perfect 
love ? The heavenly work is perfect obedience and praise : 
and what are these but the actions and breath of love ? 

5. Therefore they that live this life of love, are fitter to 
die, and readier for heaven, than any others. Belief is a 
foresight of it; but love is a foretaste: the firstfruits, and 
our earnest and pledge. He that loveth God, and Christ, 
and angels, and saints, and perfect holiness, and divine 
praise, is ready for heaven, as the infant in the womb 
is ready for birth, at the fulness of his time : But other 
Christians, whose love is true, but little to their fears, and 
damped by darkness, and too much love of the body and 
this world, do go as it were by untimely birth to heaven; 
and those in whom the love of the body is predominant, 
come not thither, in that state at all. The God of grace and 
glory will meet, that soul with his felicitating embracements, 


who panteth and breatheth after him by love : and as love is a 
kind of union with the heavenly society, the angels who love 
us better than we love them, will be ready to convey such souls 
to God. As the living dwell not in the graves among the 
dead, and the dead are buried from among the living, so holy 
souls, who have this life of love, cannot be among the misera- 
ble in hell, nor the dead in sin among the blessed. 

6. Therefore this life of holy love doth strengthen our 
belief itself. Strong reasons that are brought for the im- 
mortality of souls, and the future glory, are usually lost upon 
unsanctified hearers, yea with the doctors themselves that 
use them : When they have persuaded others that there is 
a heaven for believers, and that by arguments in themselves 
unanswerable, they have not persuaded their own hearts ; but 
the predominant love of flesh and earth doth bias their un- 
derstandings, and maketh them think that they can con- 
fute themselves. Their gust and inclination prevaileth 
against belief: and therefore the greatest scholars are not 
always the strongest believers. But holy love, when it is 
the habit of the soul, as it naturally ascendeth, so it easily 
believeth that God, that glory to which it doth ascend. The 
gust and experience of such a soul assureth it that it was 
made for communion with God, and that even in this life 
such communion is obtained in some degree ; and therefore 
it easily believeth that it is redeemed for it, and that it shall 
perfectly enjoy it in heaven for ever. Though glory be here 
but seminally in grace, and this world be but as the womb 
of that better world for which we hope, yet the life that is in 
the embryo and seed, is a confirming argument of the per- 
fection which they tend to. O that men knew what holy 
love doth signify and foretell As the seed or embryo of a 
man becometh not a beast or serpent; so he that hath the 
habitual love of God, and heaven, and holiness is not capa- 
ble of hell, no more than the lovers of worldliness and sen- 
suality are capable of present communion with God, and of 
his glory. God doth not draw men's hearts to himself, nor 
kindle heavenly desires in them in vain. He that hath the 
Spirit of Christ, hath the witness in himself, that Christ and 
his promises of life are true. (1 John v. 10 — 12.) And what 
is this Spirit but the habit of divine and heavenly love, and 
its concomitants? May I but feel my soul inflamed with 
the fervent love of the heavenly perfection, surely it will do 


more to put me quite out of doubt of the certainty of that 
blessed state, than all arguments without that love can do, 

7. And holy love will be the surest evidence of our sin- 
cerity ; which many old writers meant, that called if, ' The 
form of faith and other graces :' as means, as means, are in- 
formed by their aptitudinal respect unto the end ; so love, 
as it is the final act upon God the final object, thus informeth 
all subordinate graces and duties as they are means. And 
as all morality is subjected in the will as the proper primary 
seat, and is in the intellect, executive power, and senses 
only by participation, so far as their acts are imperate by 
will ; so love and volition being really the same thing, it 
may accordingly be said, that nothing is any further accept- 
able to God, than it is good ; and nothing is morally good 
any further than it is voluntary or willed ; and to be willed 
(as good, as end, or as means) and to be loved, are words 
that signify the same. No preaching, praying, fasting, &c, 
no fear of punishment, no belief of the truth, &c, will prove 
us sincere and justified, any further than we can prove, that 
all this either cometh from, or is accompanied with love, 
that is., with a consenting will. " With the heart man be- 
lieveth unto righteousness." (Rom. x.) And, " If thou be- 
lieve with all thy heart, thou mayest be baptized," saith 
Philip to the Eunuch. (Acts viii.) " My son, give me thy 
heart," is Wisdom's invitation. All is nothing without the 
heart, that is, without willingness or love. They that love 
most are more surely forgiven, and have most holiness or 
grace, how unskilful soever they may be in their expressions. 
The sealing Spirit of Adoption is the Spirit of love, and the 
Abba, Father, and the unexpressed groans of filial love are 
understood and acceptable to God. A loving desire after 
God and holiness, is a better evidence than the most taking 
tongue, or largest knowledge. 

8. This life of holy love will make all our religion and 
obedience easy to us ; it will give us an alacrity to the per- 
formance, and a pleasure in the practice of it ; and so our 
obedience will be hearty, willing, and universal. Who is 
averse to that which he loveth, unless for something in it 
which he hateth? All men go willingly and readily to that 
which they truly love. Therefore it is said that the law is 
not made for a righteous man ; that is, a man that loveth 
piety, temperance and justice, and their several works, so 


far hath no need of threatening laws and penalties to con- 
strain him to it : and he that hateth sin, so far hath no need 
of legal penalties to restrain him from it. Thus the law is 
said to be " written in our hearts ;" not as it is merely in our 
knowledge and memory, but as the matter commanded is 
truly loved by us, and the sin forbidden truly hated. Even 
our horses will carry us cheerfully that way which they love 
to go, and go heavily where they go against their wills. 
Win men's love, and the life, and lips, and all (according to 
power) will follow it. 

9. And such persons therefore are most likely to perse- 
vere : men go unweariedly, if they be but able, where they 
go with love. Especially such a love which groweth stronger 
as it draweth nearer the state of perfection which it loveth ; 
and groweth by daily renewed experiences and mercies, as 
rivers grow bigger as they draw nearer to the sea. We 
easily hold on in that we love; but that which men loathe, 
and their hearts are against, they are quickly weary of: and 
the weary person will easily be persuaded to lie down. The 
root or apostacy is already in those persons, who love not 
the end which they pretend to seek, nor the work which they 
pretend to do. 

10. Lastly, holy love is a pregnant, spreading, fruitful 
grace : it kindleth a desire to do good to others, and to draw 
men to love the same God, and heaven, and holiness which 
we love. It made God's Word to be to Jeremiah as a " burn- 
ing fire shut up in his bones, he was weary of forbearing." 
(Jer. xx. 9.) As a fire kindleth fire, and is the active princi- 
ple of vegetation, as I suppose, so love kindleth love, and is 
a kind of generative principle of grace. God's love is the 
first cause ; but man's love maketh them meet instruments 
of God's love : for love will be often praising the God and 
holiness which is loved ; and earnestly desireth that all 
others may love and praise the same. The soul is not in- 
deed converted, till its love is won to God and goodness : a 
man may be terrified into some austerities, superstitions, or 
reformations, but he is not further holy than his heart is 
won. And as every thing that generateth is apt to produce 
its like, so is love, and the words and works of love. And 
as love is the heart of holiness, so must it be of all fruitful 
preaching and conversation ; whatever the words or actions 
are, they are likely no farther to win souls, than they de- 


monstrate the love of God, and of holiness, and of the 
hearers or spectators. As among amorous and vain persons, 
strong love, appearing, though by a look or word, doth kin- 
dle the like more than all compliments that are known to be 
but feigned and affected words ; so usually souls are won to 
God, as by the preacher's words and works of love, the 
love and loveliness of God in Christ, are more fully made 

Quest. ' But how should we reach this excellent life of 
holy love, which doth so far excel all knowledge ?' 

Answ. I have said so much of this in the first part of my 
" Christian Directory," and other writings, that I must heie 
say but little of it, lest I be overmuch guilty of repetitions. 

Direct. 1. Believe God's goodness to be equal to his 
greatness. God's three great primary attributes are coequal, 
viz. his power, his wisdom, and his goodness : and then look 
up to the heavens, and think how great and powerful is that 
God that made and continueth such a frame, as that sun, 
and those stars, and those glorious unmeasurable regions 
where they are : think what a world of creatures God main* 
taineth in life, on this lower orb of earth, both in the seas, 
and on the land. And then think, O what is the goodness 
which is equal to all this power ! 

Direct. 2. ' Consider how communicative this Infinite 
Goodness is : why else is he called LOVE itself?' Why else 
made he all the world ? and why did he make the sun so 
glorious ? why else did he animate and beautify the uni- 
verse, with the life and ornaments of created goodness ? All 
his works shine by the splendour of that excellency which 
he hath put upon them ; all are not equal, but all are good, 
and their inequality belongeth to the goodness of the uni- 
verse. The communicative nature with which God hath en- 
dowed all active beings, (and the most noble most) is an 
impress of the infinite communicative LOVE. Fire would 
communicate its light, heat and motion, to all passive ob- 
jects which are capable of receiving it : how pregnant and 
fertile is the very earth with plants, flowers and fruits of 
wonderful variety, usefulness and beauty ! what plant is not 
natured to the propagation of its kind, yea, to a plenteous 
multiplication ? How many seeds, which are virtual plants, 
doth each of them bring forth at once ; and yet the same 


plant, with all its offspring, perhaps liveth many years for 
further multiplication: so that did not the far greater part 
of seeds yearly perish, there must be very many such earths 
to receive and propagate them : this earth hath not room for 
the hundredth part : To shew us that the active natures even 
of vegetatives, do quite exceed in their pregnant communi- 
cative activity, the receptive capacity of all passive matter ; 
which teacheth us to observe that all created patients are 
inconceivably too narrow to receive such communicative in- 
fluences, as Infinite pregnant LOVE can communicate, were 
there subjects to receive them. 

It is wonderful to observe in all sorts of animals, the 
same multiplying communicative inclination ; and what use 
the God of nature maketh even of sensual LOVE to all gene- 
ration ! Uniting and communicative LOVE is in all creatures 
the incentive principle of procreation. And what a multitude 
of young ones will some one creature procreate, especially 
fishes to admiration ! so that if other fishes, with men and 
other creatures, did not devour them, all the waters on earth 
could not contain them. 

Yea, our moral communicativeness also hath the same 
indication : He that knoweth much, would fain have others 
know the same ; secret knowledge kept to ourselves only 
hath its excellent use ; but it satisfieth not the mind, 'nisi 
te scire hoc sciat alter,' unless others know that you have 
such knowledge, and unless you can make them know what 
you know .\Holy souls therefore have a fervent, but a regular 
desire, and endeavour by commumicative teaching to make 
others wise: but proud, heretical persons, that overvalue 
their conceits, have an irregular, fornicating lust of teach- 
ing, and adulterously invade the charge of others, presuming 
that none can do it so wisely and so well as they. Men 
" will compass sea and land to make a proselyte ;" and tares 
and weeds are as much inclined to propagation as the wheat. 
There is a marvellous desire in the nature of man, to make 
others of their own opinion ; and when it is governed by 
God's laws, it is greatly beneficial to the world. 

And even in affections, as well as knowledge, it is so : 

we would have others love those that we love, and hate what 

we hate. Though where, by the insufficiency of the narrow 

creature, men must lose and want that themselves, which 

vol. xv. s 


they communicate to others, selfishness forbiddeth such 

And doubtless all the creatures in their several ranks, 
have some such impresses from the Creator, by which his 
transcendent perfections may be somewhat observed. That 
God is now so communicative as to give all creatures in the 
world, whatever being, motion, life, order, beauty, harmony, 
reason, grace, glory, any of them possess, is past all ques- 
tion to considering, sober reason. Which tempted Aristotle 
to think that the world was eternal, and some Christians to 
think that though this present heaven and earth were cre- 
ated, as in Genesis i. is said, yet that from eternity some in- 
tellectual world at least, if not also corporeal, did flow from 
the Creator as an eternal effect of an eternal cause ; or an 
eternal accident of the Deity : because they could not re- 
ceive it, that a God so unspeakably communicative now 
(who hath made the sun to be an emblem of his communi- 
cativeness), should from all eternity be solitary and not 
communicative, when yet to all eternity he will be so. But 
these are questions which incapable mortals were far better 
let alone than meddle with, unless we desire rather to be 
lost than to be blessed in the abyss of eternity, and the 
thoughts of Infinite pregnant LOVE. 

But it is so natural for man and every animal to love 
that love and goodness which is beneficent, (not only to us, 
but to all) rather than a mere self-love, that doth no good 
to others, that it must needs conduce much to our love of 
God, to consider that " he is good to all, and his mercy is 
over all his works ;" and that as there is no light in the air but 
from the sun, so there is no goodness but from God in all 
the world, who is more to the creation than the sun is to this 
lower world. And a sun that lighteth all the earth, is much 
more precious than my candle : a Nile which watereth the 
land of Egypt, is more precious than a private well ; it is 
the excellency of kings and public persons, that if they are 
good, they are good to many : and O what innumerable ani- 
mals in sea and land, besides the far greater worlds of no- 
bler wights do continually love ! Study this Universal, Infi- 
nite Love. 

Direct. 3. Especially study Divine love and goodness in 
the face of our Redeemer Jesus Christ, and all the grace 


which he hath purchased and conferreth. As we may see 
that magnitude of the stars in a telescope, which without it 
no eye can discern ; so may we see that glory of the love of 
God by the Gospel of Jesus, which all common natural helps 
are insufficient to discover to such minds as ours. Love is 
the great attribute which Christ came principally to mani- 
fest, as was aforesaid. (John iii. 16; 1 John iii. 1, &c.) 
And love is the great lesson which he came to teach us ; 
and love is the new nature which by his Spirit he giveth us. 
And love is the great duty, which by law and gospel he re- 
quireth of us. Love hath wrought its miracles in Christ to 
the posing of the understandings of men and angels. There 
we may see God in the nearest condescending unity witli 
man: in Christ we may see the Divine wisdom and word 
incorporate in such flesh as ours, conceived in a virgin by 
the power of the Spirit of Love ; by which Spirit this incor- 
porate Word did live, preach, converse familiarly with man; 
work miracles, heal diseases, suffer reproachful calumnies 
and death ; rising, triumphing, ascending, interceding, 
sending the embassies of love to the world, calling home the 
greatest sinners unto God, reconciling enemies, and making 
them the adopted sons of God, forgiving all sin to penitent 
believers, quickening dead souls, illuminating the blind, and 
sanctifying the wicked by the Spirit of life, and light, and 
love ; and making it his office, his work, his delight and glory, 
to rescue the miserable captives of the devil, and to make 
heirs of heaven of those that were condemned to hell, and 
had forsaken life in forsaking God. As this is shining, burn- 
ing love, so it is approaching and self-applying love ; which 
cometh so near us, in ways and benefits so necessary to us, 
and so exceeding congruous to our case, as that it is easier 
for us to perceive and feel it, than we can do things of 
greater distance. The clearer the eye of faith is, by which 
we look into this mysterious glass, the more the wonders of 
love will be perceived in it. He never knew Christ, nor un- 
derstood the Gospel, that wondered not at redeeming, saving 
love ; nor did he ever learn of Christ indeed, that hath not 
learned the lesson, work and life of love. 

Direct. 4. Keep as full records as you can of the parti- 
cular mercies of God to yourselves ; and frequently peruse 
them, and plead them with your frozen hearts. 

These are not the chief reasons of Christian love ; be- 


cause we are such poor inconsiderable worms, that to do 
good to one of us, is a far smaller matter, than many things 
else that we have to think of for that end. But yet when 
love doth choose a particular person for its object, and there 
bestow its obliging gifts, it helpeth that person far more 
than others to returns of thankfulness and love : it is that 
place, that glass which the sun doth shine upon, doth reflect 
its beams, rather than those that are shut up in darkness. 
Self-love may and must be regulated and sanctified, to the 
furthering of higher love. It is not unmeet to say with Da- 
vid, (Psal. cxvi. 1,) " I love the Lord, because he hath heard 
the voice of my supplication." We should say as heartily, 
I love the Lord because he hath prospered, recovered, com- 
forted my neighbour : but this is not all so easy as the other. 
And where God by personal application maketh our greatest 
duty easy, we should use his helps. 

Object. ' But if it be selfishness as some tell us, to love 
one that loveth us, better than another of equal worth, who 
doth not love us, is it not selfishness to love God on so low 
an account as loving us? God may say well, " I love those 
that love me," (Prov. viii. 17,) because to love him is 
highest virtue, but to love us is as inconsiderable as we are. 
Answ. 1. You may love another the more for loving you, 
on several accounts. 1. As it is a duty which God require th 
him to perform (but so you must love him equally for loving 
others also). 2. As he rendereth himself more congruous 
and obliging to you, by choosing you for the special object 
of his love, by which he taketh the advantage of your natu- 
ral self-love, to make your love to him both due and easy, 
as it is said of the reflection of the sun-beams before. 

2. But two things you must take heed of, 1. That you 
undervalue not your neighbour's good, but love another 
for loving your neighbours also, and doing them good ; and 
he that arriveth at that impartial unity as to make the small- 
est difference between his neighbour and himself, doth seem 
to me to be arrived at the state that is most like theirs that 
are one in heaven. 2. And you must not over-love any 
man by a fond partiality for his love to you; as if that made 
a bad man good, or fitter for your love : they that can love 
the worst that love them, and cannot love the best that 
set light by them (deservedly, or upon mistake), do shew 
that self-love overcometh the love of God. But God can- 


not be loved too much, though he may be loved too selfishly 
and carnally. His greatest amiableness is his essential good- 
ness and infinite perfection : the next is his glory shining in 
the universe, and so in the heavenly society, especially 
Christ and all his holy ones ; and so in the public blessings 
of the world, and all societies. And next his goodness to 
yourselves, not only as parts of the said societies, but as 
persons, whose natures are formed by God himself, to a ca- 
pacity of receiving and reflecting love. 

Who findeth not by experience that God is most loved, 
when we are most sensible of his former love to us, in the 
thankful review of all his mercies, and most assured or per- 
suaded of his future love in our salvation? Therefore make 
the renewed commemoration of God's mercies, the incentives 
of your love. 

Direct. 5. ' But yet could you get a greater union and 
communion not only with saints as saints, but with mankind 
as men, it would greatly help you in your love to God : for 
when you love your neighbours as yourselves, you would 
love God for your neighbour's mercies, as well as for your 
own. And if you feel that God's love and special mercies 
to one person, even yourselves, can do so much in causing 
your love, what would your love amount to, if thousand 
thousands of persons to whom God sheweth mercy, were 
every one to you as yourselves, and all their mercies as your 
own ? Thus graces mutually help each other. We love man, 
because we love God ; and we love God the more for our 
love to man. 

Direct. 6. Especially dwell by faith in heaven where love 
is perfect, and there you will learn more of the work of love. 
To think believingly that mutual love is heaven itself, and 
that this is our union with God, and Christ, and all the holy 
ones, and that love will be an everlasting employment, plea- 
sure and felicity, this will breed in us a desire to begin that 
happy life on earth. And as he that heareth excellent mu- 
sic will long to draw near, and join in the concert or the 
pleasure; so he that by faith doth dwell much in heaven, 
and hear how angels and blessed souls do there praise God 
in the highest fervours of rejoicing love, will be inclined to 
imitate them, and long to partake of their felicity. 

Direct. 7. Exercise that measure of love which you have 
in the constant praises of the God of love. For exercise ex- 


citeth, and naturally tendeth to increase, and praise is the 
duty in which pure love to God above ourselves and all, 
even as good and perfect in himself, is exercised. As love 
is the highest grace, or inward duty ; so is praise the highest 
outward duty, when God is praised both by tongue and life. 
And as soul and body make one man, of whose existence 
generation is the cause ; so love and praise, of mouth and 
works, do make one saint, who is regenerated such by be- 
lieving in the Redeemer, who hath power to give the Spirit of 
holiness to whom he pleaseth. But of this more afterwards. 
Di?'ect. 8. Exercise your love to man, especially to saints, 
in doing them all the good you can ; and that for what of 
God is in them. For as this is the fruit of the love of God, 
and the evidence of it ; so doth it tend to the increase of its 
cause : partly as it is an exercise of it, and partly as it is a 
duty which God hath promised to reward. As it is the Spi- 
rit of Christ, even of adoption, which worketh both the love 
of our Father, and our brethren in us ; so God will bless 
those that exercise love, especially at the dearest rates, and 
with the fullest devotedness of all to God, with the larger 
measures of the same Spirit. 


Exhort. 5. Place your Comforts in Health and Sickness in 
Mutual Divine love. 2. See that you sincerely love God. 
How knotvn ? Doubts answered. 

It is of the greatest importance to all mankind, to know 
what is best for them, and in what they should place and 
seek their comforts : to place them most with the proud, in 
the applauding thoughts or words of others, that magnify 
them for their wit, their beauty, their wealth, or their pomp 
and power in the world, is to choose somewhat less than a 
shadow for felicity, and to live on the air, even an uncon- 
stant air. And will such a life be long or happy? Should 
not a man in misery rather take it for a stinging, deriding 
mockery or abuse, to be honoured and praised for that which 
he hath not, or for that which is his snare, or consisteth with 
his calamity ? Would not a malefactor at the gallows take 
it for his reproach to hear an oration of his happiness ? Will 


it comfort them in hell to be praised on earth? This com- 
mon reason may easily call, an empty vanity. 

To place our comforts in the delights of sensuality, had 
somewhat a fairer show of reason, if reason were made for no- 
thing better; andif these were the noblesortof pleasures that 
advanced man above the brutes ; and if they would continue 
for ever, and the end of such mirth were not heaviness and 
repentance, and they did not deprave and deceive men's souls, 
and leave behind them disappointment and a sting. But he 
is unworthy the honour and pleasures of humanity, who pre- 
ferreth the pleasures of a beast, when he may have better. 

To place our comforts in those riches which do but serve 
this sensuality with provisions, and leave posterity in as vain 
and dangerous a state as their progenitors were, is but the 
foresaid folly aggravated. 

To place them in domination, and having our wills on 
others, and being able to do hurt, and exercise revenge, is 
but to account the devils happier than men, and to desire to 
be as the wolf among the sheep, or as the kite among the 
chickens, or as the great dogs among the little ones. 

To place them in much knowledge of arts and sciences, 
as they concern only the interests of the body in this life ; 
or as knowledge is but the delight of the natural fantasy or 
mind, doth seem a little finer, and sublime, and manly; but 
it is of the same nature and vanity as the rest. For all know- 
ledge is for the guidance of the will and practice ; and there- 
fore mere knowing matters that tend to pride, sensuality, 
wealth, or domination, is less than the enjoyment of sensual 
pleasures in the things themselves. And the contemplation 
of superior creatures, which hath no other end than the de- 
light of knowing, is but a more refined sort of vanity, and 
like the mind's activity in a dream. 

But whether it be the knowledge or the love of God, 
that man should place his highest felicity in, is become 
among the schoolmen and some other divines, a controversy 
that seemeth somewhat hard. But indeed to a considering 
man, the seeming difficulty may be easily overcome : the 
understanding and will and executive activity, are not seve- 
ral souls, but several faculties of one soul ; and their objects 
and order of operation easily tell us, which is the first, and 
which the last which tendeth to the other as its end, and 
which object is the most delightful and most felicitating to 


the man, viz. That truth is for goodness, and that good as 
good is the amiable, delectable and felicitating object; and 
therefore that the intellect is the guide of the will, and faith 
and knowledge are for love and its delight. And yet that 
man's felicity is in both, and not one alone, as one faculty 
alone is not the whole soul, though it be the whole soul that 
acteth upon that faculty. Therefore the latter schoolmen 
have many of them well confuted Aquinas in this point. 

And it is of great importance to our Christian practice. 
As the desire of more knowledge first corrupted our nature, 
so corrupted nature, is much more easily drawn to seek after 
knowledge than after love. Many men are bookish that 
cannot endure to be saints : many men spend their lives in 
the studies of nature and theology, and delight to find in- 
crease of knowledge, who are strangers to the sanctifying, 
uniting, delightful exercise of holy love. Appetite is the 
' pondus' or first spring of our moral actions, yea and of our 
natural, though the sense and intellect intromit or illuminate 
the object. And the first act of natural appetite, sensitive 
and intellectual, is necessitated. And accordingly the appe- 
tite as pleased is as much the end of our acts and objects, 
as the appetite as desiring is the beginning : even as (' si 
parvis magna,' &c.) God's will as efficient is the absolutely 
first cause, and his will as done and pleased is the ultimate 
end of all things. It is love by which man cleaveth unto 
God as good, and as our ultimate end. Love ever supposeth 
knowledge ; and is its end and perfection. Neither alone, 
but both together are man's highest state ; knowledge as 
discerning what is to be loved, and love as our uniting and 
delighting adherence to it. 

1. Labour therefore with all your industry, to know 
God that you may love him ; it is that love that must be 
your comforting grace, both by signification, and by its 
proper effective exercise. 1. True love will prove that your 
knowledge and faith are true and saving, which you will 
never be sure of, without the evidence of this and the con- 
sequent effects. If your expressive art or gifts be never so 
low, so that you scarcely know what to say to God or man, 
yet if you so far know God as sincerely to love him, it is 
certainly true saving knowledge, and that which is the be- 
ginning of eternal life. Knowledge, belief, repentance, hu- 
mility meekness, patience, zeal, diligence, &c. are so far and 


no further sure marks of salvation, as they cause or prove 
true love to God and man, predominant. It is a hard thing 
any otherwise to know whether our knowledge, repentance, 
patience, zeal, or any of the rest be any better than what an 
unjustified person may attain: But if you can find that they 
cause or come from, or accompany a sincere love of God, 
you may be sure that they all partake of sincerity, and are 
certain signs of a justified soul. It is hard to know what 
sins for number, or nature, or magnitude, are such as may 
or may not consist with a state of saving grace. He that 
considereth of the sins of Lot, David, Solomon, and Peter, 
will find the case exceeding difficult : But this much is sure, 
that so much sin may consist with a justified state, as may 
consist with sincere love to God and goodness. While a 
man truly loveth God above all, his sin may cause correction 
but not damnation ; unless it could extinguish or overcome 
this love. Some question whether that the sin of Lot or 
David, for the present stood with j ustification : If it excussed 
not predominant habitual love, it intercepteth not justifi- 
cation : If we could tell whether any or many heathens that 
hear not of Christ, have the true love of God and holiness, 
we might know whether they are saved. 

The reason is, because that the will is the man in God's 
account ; and as voluntariness is essential to sin, so a holy 
will doth prove a holy person. God hath the heart of him 
that loveth him. He that loveth him would fain please him, 
glorify him, and enjoy him: and he that loveth holiness 
would fain live a holy life. 

Therefore it is that divines say here, that desire of grace 
is a certain sign of grace, because it is an act of will and 
love. And it is true, if that desire be greater or more power- 
ful than our averseness, and than our desire after contrary 
things, that so it may put us on our necessary duty, and 
overcome the lusts and temptations which oppose them : 
though cold wishes which are conquered by greater unwil- 
lingness and prevailing lusts, will never save men. 

2. And as love is our more comforting evidence, so it is 
our most comforting exercise. Those acts of religion which 
come short of this, come short of the proper life and sweet- 
ness of true religion. They are but either lightnings in the 
brain that have no heat ; or a feverish zeal, which destroy- 
ed! or troubleth, but doth not perform the acts of life ; or else 


even where love is true, but little, and oppressed by fears, 
and grief and]trouble ; it is like fire in green wood, or like 
young green fruits, which is not come to mellow ripeness. 
Love of vanity is disappointing, unsatisfactory and torment- 
ing : most of the calamities of this life proceed from creature- 
love. The greatest tormentor in this world, is the inordinate 
love of life; and the next, is the love of pleasures and ac- 
commodations of life : which cause so much care to get and 
keep, and so much fear of losing, and grief for our losses, 
especially fear of dying; that were it not for this, our lives 
would be much easier to us (as they are to the fearless sort 
of brutes). And the next tormenting affection is the love 
of children, which prepareth men for all the calamity that 
followeth their miscarriages in soul and body : their unna- 
tural ingratitude, their lewdness and debauchery, and pro- 
digality, their folly and impiety would nothing so much tor- 
ment us, were they no more loved than other men. And our 
dearest friends do usually cost us much dearer than our 
sharpest enemies. But the love of God and satisfying 
everlasting good, is our very life, our pleasure, our heaven 
on earth. As it is purest and highest, above all other be- 
cause of the object, so is it yet more pleasant and content- 
ing ; because it includeth the hopes of more, even of those 
greater delights of heavenly, everlasting love, which, as a 
pledge and earnest, it doth presignify. As in nature, con- 
ception and the stirring of the child in the womb, do signify 
that same life is begun, which must shortly appear and be 
exercised in the open world; so the stirrings of holy love 
and desires towards God, do signify the beginning of the 
heavenly life. 

Humility and patience, and diligent obedience, do com- 
fort us by way of evidence, and as removing many hindrances 
of our comfort; and somewhat further, they go. But faith, 
hope, and love, do comfort us by way of direct efficiency : 
faith seeth the matter of our joy ; love first tasteth it, so far 
as to stir up desires after it ; then hope giveth some pleasure 
to us in expecting it. And lastly complacential love delight- 
fully embraceth it, and is our very joy itself, and is that 
blessed union with God and holy souls, the amiable objects 
of true love, which is our felicity itself. To work out our 
comforts by the view of evidences and signs, is a necessary 
thing indeed: but it requireth a considerate search, by an 


understanding and composed mind ; and it is often much 
hindered and interrupted by men's ignorance of themselves, 
and weakness of grace, and darkness or smallness of evi- 
dence, and divers passions, especially fear ; (which in some 
is so tyrannical, that it will not suffer them to believe or 
feel any thing that is comfortable.) But love taketh in the 
sweetness of that good which is its object, by a nearer and 
effectual way, even by immediate taste : As we feel in the 
exercise of our love to a dear friend, or any thing that is 
amiable and enjoyed. 

The readiest and surest way, therefore, to a contented 
and comfortable life, is, (to keep clear indeed our evidence, 
especially sincere obedience, but) especially to bend all our 
studies and religious endeavours, to the kindling and exer- 
cise of holy love ; and to avoid all (though it may come on 
religious pretence of humiliation or fear,) which tendeth to 
quench or hinder it. 

I. In health and prosperity, as you live upon God's love, 
be sure that you do not atheistically overlook it, but take all 
as from it, and savouring of it. The hand of Divine love 
perfumeth each mercy with the pleasant odour of itself, 
which it reacheth to us : every bit that we eat is a love- 
token; and every hour or minute that we live : all our health, 
wealth, friends and peace are the streams which still flow 
from the spring of unexhausted love. Love shineth upon us 
by the sun ; love maketh our land fruitful, our cattle useful, 
our habitations convenient for us, our garments warm, our 
food pleasant and nourishing : Lovekeepeth us from a thou- 
sand unknown dangers night and day; it giveth us the com- 
forts of our callings, our company, our books, our lawful 
recreations : it blesseth means of knowledge to our under- 
standings, and means of holiness to our will, and means of 
health and strength to our bodies. Mercies are sanctified 
to us, when we taste God's love in them, and love him- for 
them, and are led up by them to himself; and so love him 
ultimately for himself, even for his infinite essential good- 
ness. As God is the efficient life of our mercies, and all the 
world (without his love, could never give us what we have ; 
so is God's love the objective life of all our mercies, and love 
them but as such, if we love not in them the love that giveth 

II. And even in adversity, and pain, and sickness, whilst 


God's love is unchanged, and is but changing the way of 
doing good, our thoughts of it should be unchanged also. 
We must not think that the sun is lost when it is set, or 
clouded : we live by its influence in the night, though we see 
not its light, unless as reflected from the moon. Our mothers 
brought us into the world in sorrow; and yet they justly 
accounted it a mercy that we were born: our lives are spent 
in the midst of sorrows, and yet it is a mercy that we live ; 
and though we die by dolour, all is still mercy to believers, 
which faith perceiveth contrary to sense. And here is the 
greatest and final victory which faith obtaineth against the 
flesh, to believe even the ruin of it to be for our oood. Even 
Antonine the emperor could say, that it was the same good 
God, who is the cause of our birth and of our death ; one as 
well as the other is his work, and therefore good : it was not 
a tyrant that made us, and it is not a tyrant that dissolveth 
us. And that is the best man, and the best will, which is 
most pleased with the will of God, because it is his will. 
Yet just self-love is here a true coadjutor of our joy ; for it 
is the will of God, that the justified be glorified : and Infinite 
Love is saving us, when it seemeth to destroy us. 

To live upon the comforts of Divine love in sickness, and 
when death approacheth ; is a sign that it is not the welfare 
of the body that we most esteem; and that we rejoice not 
in God only as the preserver and prosperer of our flesh, but 
for himself and the blessings of immortality. 

It is a mercy indeed, which a dying man must with 
thankfulness acknowledge, if God have given him a clear 
understanding of the excellent mysteries of salvation. Know- 
ledge, as it kindleth and promoteth love, is a precious gift 
of grace, and is with pleasure exercised, and may with plea- 
sure be acknowledged. But all other knowledge is like the 
vanities of this world, which approaching death doth take 
down our esteem of, and causeth us to number it with other 
forsaking and forsaken things. All the unsanctified learn- 
ing and knowledge in the world, will afford no solid peace 
at death ; but rather aggravate nature's sorrows, to think 
that this also must be left. But love and its comforts, if not 
hindered by ignorance or some strong temptation, do then 
shew their immortal nature: and even here we feel the words 
of the apostle verified, of the vanishing nature of knowledge, 
and the perpetuity of holy love ; whilst all our learning and 


knowledge will not give so much comfort to a dying man, as 
one act of true love to God, and holiness kindled in us by 
the communion of his love. Make it therefore the work of 
your religion and the work of your whole lives, to possess 
your minds with the liveliest sense of the infinite goodness 
and amiableness of God, and hereby to live in the constant 
exercise of love. 

III. And though some men hinder love, by an over-fear- 
ful questioning whether they have it, or not; and spend 
their time in doubting and complaining that they have it 
not, which they should spend in exciting and exercising it ; 
yet reason requireth us to take heed lest a carnal mind de- 
ceive us with any counterfeits of holy love. Of which I 
having written more in my " Christian Directory," I shall 
here give you but these brief instructions following. 

It is here of grand importance, I. To have a true concep- 
tion of God as he must be loved. II. And then to know prac- 
tically how it is that love must be exercised towards him. 

I. GOD must be conceived at once, both 1. As in his 
essence. 2. And as in his relations to the world, and to 
ourselves. 3. And as in his works. And those that will 
separate these, and while they fix only on one of them, leave 
out the other, do not indeed love God as God, and as he 
must be loved. 

1. To think in general, that there is an Infinite Eternal 
Spirit of Life, Light and Love ; and not to think of him as 
related to the world as its Creator, Preserver, and Governor ; 
nor as related to us and to mankind as our Owner, Ruler and 
Benefactor ; is not to think of him as a God to us, or to any 
but himself: and a love thus exercised, cannot be true 
saving love. 

2. And because his relations to us result from his works, 
either which he hath done already, or which he will do here- 
after ; therefore without the knowledge of his works, and 
their goodness, we cannot truly know and love God in his 
relations to us. 

3. And yet when we know his works, we know but the 
medium, or that in which he himself is made known to us : 
and if by them we come not to know him, and to love him 
in his perfect essence ; it is not God that we know and love. 
And if we knew him only as related to us and the world, (as 
thathe is our Creator, Owner, Mover, Ruler and Benefactor ;) 


and yet know not what he is in his essence, that is thus re- 
lated ; (viz. that he is the Perfect, First Being, Life, Wis- 
dom and Love ;) this were not truly to know and love him 
as he is God. These conceptions therefore must be conjunct. 

God is nothere known to us, but by the revelation of his 
works and word ; nor can we conceive of him, but by the simi- 
litude of some of his works. Not that we must think that he is 
just such as they, or picture him like a creature; for he is in- 
finitely above them all : but yet it is certain that he hath made 
some impressions of his perfections upon his works ; and on 
some of them so clear, as that they are called his image. 

Nothing is known to us, but either, 1. By sense immedi- 
ately perceiving things external, and representing them to the 
fantasy and intellect. Or, 2. By the intellect's own conceiving 
of other things by the similitude of things sensed. 3. Or by im- 
mediate internal intuition or sensation of the acts of the soul in 
itself. 4. Or by reason's collection of the nature of other things, 
from the similitude and effect of such perceived operations. 

I. By the external senses we perceive all external sensed 
things, and we imagine and know them as so perceived. 

II. By the intellection of these, we conceive of other 
things as like them ; forming universal conceptions, and ap- 
plying them to such individuals as are beyond the reach of 
our senses. (As we think of men, trees, beasts, fishes, &c, 
in the Indies, as like those which we have seen ; and of 
sounds there, as like those which we have heard ; and of 
the taste of fruits, by the similitude of such as we have 
tasted, 8cc.) 

III. How sense itself, intellection itself, volition itself, 
and internal affections are perceived, is no small contro- 
versy among philosophers. That we do perceive them, by 
the great wisdom end goodness of our Creator, we are sure ; 
but how we do it, we can scarcely describe; as knowing it 
better by the experience of that perception itself, than by a 
knowledge of the causes, and nature of the acts. It is most 
commonly said, that the intellect knoweth its own acts by 
reflection, or, as Ockham, by intuition : and that it knoweth 
what sense is, and what volition, by some species or image 
of them in the fantasy which it beholdeth. But such words 
give no man a true knowledge of the thing inquired of, un- 
less withal he read the solution experimentally in his own 
soul. I know not what the meaning of a reflect act is : is it 


the same act which is called direct and reflect? and doth 
the intellect know, that it knoweth by the very same act, by 
which it knoweth other things ? If so, why is it called re- 
flect ; and what is that reflection ? But the contrary is com- 
monly said, that divers objects make divers acts ; and there- 
fore to know e.g. that this is paper, and to know that I know 
this, are two acts, and the latter is a reflecting of the former. 
But the former act is gone, and nothing in the instant that 
it is done ; and therefore is in itself no intelligible object of 
a reflecting act: But, as remembered, it may be known; or 
rather, that remembering is knowing what is past, by a mar- 
vellous retention of some impress of it, which no man can 
well comprehend, so as to give an account of it. And why 
may not the same memory, which retaineth the unexpressi- 
ble record of an act past an hour or many years ago, be also 
the book where the intellect readeth its own act as past im- 
mediately in the foregoing instance ? But surely this is not 
the first knowing that we know. Before the act of memory, 
the intellect immediately perceiveth its own particular acts ; 
and so doth the sense. By one and the same act, we see, 
and perceive that we see ; and by one and the same act, I 
think, we know, and know that we know ; and this by a 
consciousness or internal sense, which is the immediate act 
of the essence of the faculty : and choose whether you will 
say that such two objects may constitute one act; or whe- 
ther you will say, that the latter (the act itself) is not pro- 
perly to be called an object. For the various senses of the 
word object, must be considered in the decision of that. 
Man's soul is God's image: when God knoweth himself and 
his own knowledge, and when he willeth or loveth himself 
and his own will or love ; here we must either say, that him- 
self, his knowledge and will, is not properly to be called an 
object; or else that the object and the act are purely the 
same, without the least real difference ; but we name them 
differently, as inadequate conceptions of one being: and 
why may it not be so in a lower sort in the soul that is God's 
image? that is, that the understanding's most internal act, 
viz. the knowing or perceiving when it knoweth any thing 
that it knoweth. It is not really compounded of an act and 
an object (as the knowledge of distinct objects is); but that 
either its act is not properly to be called its object, or that 


act and object are not two things, but two inadequate con- 
ceptions of one thing. 

And how doth the soul perceive its own volitions ? To 
say that volitions, which are acts of the intellectual soul, 
must be sensate, and so make a species on the fantasy, as 
sensate things do, and be known only in that species, is to 
bring down the higher faculty, and subordinate it to the 
lower, that it may be intelligible ; while it is certain that we 
shall never here perfectly understand the solution of these 
difficulties, is it not pardonable, among other men's con- 
jectures, to say, that the noble faculty of sense (because 
brutes have it) is usually too basely described by philoso- 
phers? And that intellection and volition in the rational 
soul are a superior, eminent sort of sensation, transcending 
that of brutes ; and that ' intelligere et velle' are 'eminenter 
sentire ;' and that the intellect doth by understanding other 
things eminently see or sense, and so understand that it un- 
derstandeth: and that the will doth by willing feel that it 
willeth : when I consult my experience, I must either say 
thus, or else that intellection and volition so immediately 
ever move the internal sense, that they are known by us 
only as acts compounded with that sense. 

But I am gone too far before I was aware. 

IV. The soul thus knowing or feeling its own acts, doth 
in the next place rationally gather, 1. That it hath power to 
perform them, and is a substance so empowered. 2. That 
there are other such substances with the like acts. 3. And 
there is one prime transcendent substance, which is the 
cause of all the rest which hath infinitely nobler acts than 

And thus sense and reason concur to our knowledge of 
God, by shewing us, and perceiving that image in which by 
similitude we must know him. The fiery, ethereal or solar 
nature is (at least) the similitude of spirits : and by conde- 
scending similitude, God in Scripture is called LIGHT, and 
the FATHER of LIGHTS, in whom is no darkness, allow- 
ing and inviting us to think of his glory by the similitude of 
the sun or light. But intellectual spirits are the highest 
nature known to us, and these we know intimately by most 
near perception ; by the similitude of these therefore we 
must conceive of God. 

Cliap. 19. j TRUE SAVING KNOWLEDGE. 273 

A soul is a self-moving life or vital substance, actuating 
the body to which it is united. God is super-eminently 
essential life, perfect in himself, as living infinitely and 
eternally, and giving being to all that is, and motion to all 
that moveth, and life to all thatliveth. 

A reasonable soul is essentially an understanding power : 
and God is super-eminently an infinite understanding, know- 
ing himself and all things perfectly. 

A reasonable soul is essentially a rational appetite or 
will, necessarily loving himself, and all that is apprehended 
every way, and congruously good. God is super-eminently 
an infinite will or love, necessarily loving himself; and his 
own image, which yet he freely made by communicative 

All things that were made by this Infinite Goodness, were 
made good and very good. All his works of creation and 
providence (however misconceived of by sinners) are still very 
good. All the good of the whole creation is as the heat of 
this Infinite, Eternal Fire of Love. And having made the 
world good, in the good of nature, and the good of order, 
and the good of mutual love, he doth by his continual influx 
maintain and perfect it. His power moveth, his wisdom 
governeth,and his love felicitateth. And man he moveth as 
man, he ruleth him by moral laws as man ; and he is his 
perfect lover, and perfect amiable object and end. As our 
Creator making us in this natural capacity and relation ; as 
our Redeemer restoring and advancing us to blessed union 
with himself; and as our Sanctifier and Glorifier preparing 
us for, and bringing us to celestial perfection. And thus 
must God be conceived of that we may love him: and false 
and defective conceptions of him are the great impediments 
of our love : and we love him so little, (much) because we 
so little know him : and therefore it is not the true know- 
ledge of God, which Paul here maketh a competitor with 

II. And as we know God by ascending from his works 
and image, in the same order must our love ascend. The 
first acts of it will be towards God in his works, and the 
next will be towards God in his relation to us, and the 
highest towards God as essentially perfect and amiable in 

vol. xv. T 


I will therefore now apply this to the soul that feareth 
lest he love not God, because he perceiveth not himself 
either to know or love him immediately in the perfection of 
his essence. 

1. Do you truly love the image of God on the soul of 
man ; that is a heavenly life, and light, and love? Do you 
not only from bare conviction commend, but truly love a 
soul devoted to God, full of his love, and living in obedi- 
ence to his laws, and doing good to others according to his 
power? This is to love God in his image? God is infinite 
power, wisdom and goodness, or love: to love true wisdom 
and goodness as such, is to love God in his works. 

Especially with these two qualifications ; 1. Do you love 
to have wisdom and goodness, and love as universal as is 
possible? Do you long to have families, cities, kingdoms, 
and all the world, made truly holy, wise, and united in love 
to one another? The most universal wisdom and goodness 
is most like to God ; and to love this is to love God in his 

2. Do you love wisdom and goodness in yourselves, and 
not in others only ? Do you long to be most like to God 
in your capacity, and more near him and united to him? 
that is, do you long to know him, and his will more clearly, 
and to enjoy a holy communion with him, and his holy ones 
in the fullest mutual love, (loving and being beloved) and to 
delight your souls in his joyful praises, in the communion 
of saints? This is certainly the love of God. Our union is 
by love : he that would be united to God and his saints in 
Jesus Christ, that would fain know him more, and love him 
better, and praise and obey him joyfully in perfection, doth 
undoubtedly love him. 

And here I would earnestly caution you against two 
common deceits of men by counterfeit love. I. Some think 
that they love God savingly, because they love him as the 
God of nature, and cause of all the natural being, order and 
goodness which is in the whole frame of heaven and earth ; 
this is to love somewhat of God, or to love him 'secundum 
quid,' in one respect: but if they love him not also as he is 
the Wise and Holy, and Righteous Ruler of mankind, and 
as he requireth us to be holy, and would make us holy, and 
love not to please his governing will, they love him not as 


God with a saving love. I have elsewhere mentioned the 
saying of Adrian (after Pope) in his Quodlib. that an un- 
holy person may not only love God, as he is the glorious 
cause of the world and natural good, but may rather choose 
to be himself annihilated, and be no man, than that there 
should be no God, were it a thing that could be made the 
matter of his choice: and indeed I dare not say that every 
man is holy, who had rather be annihilated than one king- 
dom should be annihilated, when many heathens would die 
to save their country or their prince; much less dare I say 
that all shall be saved that had rather be annihilated than 
there should be no world, or be no God : but, saith the 
aforesaid schoolman, it is the love of God as our Holy Go- 
vernor, and a love of his holy will, and of our conformity 
thereto, that is saving love. 

II. And I fear that no small number do deceive them- 
selves in thinking that they love holiness, as the image of 
God in themselves and others, when they understand not 
truly what holiness is, but take something for it that is not 
it. Holiness is this uniting love to God and man, and a de- 
sire of more perfect union! To love holiness, is to love this 
love itself; to love all of God that is in the world, and to 
desire that all men may be united in holy love to God and 
one another, and live in his praise, and the obedience of his 
will. But I fear too many take up some opinions that are 
stricter than other men's, and .call some things sin which 
others do not, and get a high esteem of some particular 
church order, and form or manner of worshipping God, which 
is not the essence or holiness, and then they take themselves 
for a holy people, and other men for profane and loose, and 
so they love their own societies, for this which they mistake 
for holiness ; and instead of that uniting love which is holi- 
ness indeed, they grow into a factious enmity to others, re- 
proaching them and rejoicing in their hurt, as taking them 
for the enemies of God. 

2. And as God must be loved in his image on his ser- 
vants, so must he in his image on his Word. Do you love 
the holy laws of God, as they express that holy wisdom 
and love, which is his perfection ? Do you love them as they 
would rule the world in holiness, and bring mankind to true 
wisdom and mutual love? Do you love this Word as it 
would make you wise and holy ; and therefore love it most 


when you use it most, in reading, hearing, meditation and 
practice. Surely to love the wisdom and holiness of God's 
laws and promises, is to love God in his image there im- 
printed, even in that glass where he hath purposely shewed 
us that of himself which we must love. 

3. But no where is God's image so refulgent to us, as in 
his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ: in him therefore must 
God be loved : though we never saw him, yet what he was, 
even the holy Son of God, separate from sinners, the Gospel 
doth make known to us : as also what wondrous love he 
hath manifested to lost mankind : in him are all the trea- 
sures of wisdom and goodness : both an example, and a doc- 
trine, and a law of wisdom, holiness and peace, he hath 
given to the world : In this Gospel faith seeth him, yea, 
seeth him as now glorified in heaven, and made Head over 
all things to the Church ; the King of Love, the great High 
Priest of Love, the Teacher of Love, and the express Image 
of the Father's person: Are the thoughts of this glorious 
image of God now pleasing to you, and is the wisdom, ho- 
liness, and love of Christ now amiable to you in believing? 
If so, you love God in his blessed Son. And as he that 
hath seen the Son hath seen the Father, so he that loveth 
the Son, loveth the Father also. 

4. Yet further, the glory of God will shine most clearly 
in the celestial glorified Church, containing Christ and all 
the blessed angels and saints, who shall forever see the glory 
of God, and love, obey and praise him, in perfect unity, har- 
mony and fervency ! You see not this heavenly society and 
glory, but the Gospel revealeth it, and faith believeth it : 
doth not this blessed society, and their holy work seem to 
you the most lovely in all the world? Is it not pleasing to 
you to think in what perfect joy and concord they love and 
magnify God, without all sinful ignorance, disaffection, dull- 
ness, discord, or any other culpable imperfection? I ask not 
only, whether your opinion will make you say that this so- 
ciety and state is best; but whether you do not so really 
esteem it as that it hath the pleasing desires of your souls ? 
Would you not fain be one of them, and be united to them, 
and join in their perfect love and praise? If so, this is to 
love God in that most glorious appearance where he will 
shew forth himself to man to be beloved. 

But here true believers may be stopped with doubting, be- 


cause they are unwilling to die, and till we die this glory is 
not seen. But it is one thing to love heaven and God there 
manifested ; and another thing to love death which standeth 
in the way. Nature teacheth us to loathe death as death, 
and to desire, if it might be, that this cup might pass by us. 
Though faith make it less dreadful, because of the blessed 
state that followeth : but he that loveth not blood-letting, or 
physic, may love health. It is not death, but God and the 
heavenly perfection in glory which we are called to love. 
What if you could come to this glory without dying, as 
Enoch and Ellas did, would you not be willing to go thither? 

5. And he that loveth God in all these his appearances 
to man, in his works and image on his saints, in the wisdom, 
holiness and goodness of his word, in the wisdom, love and 
holiness of his Son, and in the perfection of his glory in 
the heavenly society, doth certainly also love him in the 
highest respect, even as he is himself that blessed Essence, 
that perfect Greatness, Wisdom and Goodness, or Life, Light 
and Love which is the beginning and end of all things, and 
the most amiable object of all illuminated minds, and of 
every sanctified will, and of all our harmonious praise for 
ever. For whatever become of that dispute, whether we 
shall see God's essence in itself, as distinct from all created 
glory, (the word seeing being here ambiguous) it is sure 
that we can even now have abstracting thoughts of the 
essence of God as distinct from all creatures, and our know- 
ledge of him then will be far more perfect. 

It should be more pleasant to every believer to think that 
God is; even that such a perfect glorious being is existent: 
as if we heard of one man in another land, whom we were 
never likely to see, who in wisdom, love, and all perfections 
excelled all men that ever were in the world, the thoughts 
of that man would be pleasing to us, and we should love 
him because he is amiable in his excellency. And so doth 
the holy soul when it thinketh of the infinite amiableness 
of God. 

6. But the highest love of the soul to God, is in taking 
in all his amiableness together, and when we think of him as 
related to ourselves, as our Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier 
and Glorifier, and as related to all his Church, and to all the 
world, as the cause and end of all that is amiable; and 
when we think of all those amiable works which these rela- 


tions do respect, his creation and conservation of the whole 
world, his redemption of mankind, his sanctifying and glo- 
rifying of all his chosen ones, his wonderful mercies to our- 
selves for soul and body, his mercies to his Church on earth, 
his inconceivable mercies to the glorified Church in heaven, 
the glory of Christ, angels, and men, and their perfect know- 
ledge, love, and joyful praises, and then think what that God 
is in himself that doth all this : this complexion of considera- 
tions causeth the fullest love to God. And though unlearned 
persons cannot speak or think of all these distinctly and 
clearly, as the Scripture doth express them, yet all this is truly 
the object of their love, though with confusion of their appre- 
hensions of it. 

But I have not yet done, nor indeed come up to the point 
of trial. It is not every kind or degree of love to God in these 
respects that will prove to be saving. He is mad that thinks 
there is no God : and he that believeth that there is a God, 
doth believe that he is most powerful, wise and good, and 
therefore must needs have some kind of love to him. And 
I find that there are a sort of Deists or Infidels now spring- 
ing up among us, who are confident, ' That all, or almost all 
men shall be saved, because, say they, all men do love God. 
It is not possible, say they, that a man can believe God to 
be God, that is, to be the best, and to be Love itself, and the 
cause of all that is good and amiable in heaven and earth, 
and yet not love him : the will is not so contrary to the un- 
derstanding, nor can be.' And say the same men, * he that 
loveth his neighbour, loveth God ; for it is for his goodness 
that he loveth his neighbour, and that goodness is God's 
goodness appearing in man : he that loveth sun, and moon, 
and stars, meat, and drink, and pleasure, loveth God, for all 
this is God's goodness in his works; and out of his works 
he is unknown to us : and therefore, they say, that all men 
love God, and all men shall be saved ; or at least, all that love 
their neighbours ; for God by us is no otherwise to be loved. 

For answer to these men, 1. It is false that God is no 
otherwise to be loved than as in our neighbour : I have told 
you before, undeniably, of several other respects or appear- 
ances of God, in which he is to be loved : and he that is not 
known to us as separate from all creatures, is yet known to 
us as distinct from all creatures, and is, and must be so loved 
by us : else we are idolaters if we suppose the creatures to 


be God themselves, and love and honour them as God : even 
those philosophers that took God for the inseparable soul of 
the world, yet distinguished him from the world, which they 
thought he animated, and indeed doth more than animate. 

2. And it is false that every one loveth God who loveth 
his neighbour, or his meat, drink, and fleshly pleasure, or 
any accommodations of his sense. For nature causeth all 
men to love life, and self, and pleasure for themselves : and 
these are beloved even by atheists that believe not that there 
is a God ! and consequently such men love their neighbours 
not for God, but for themselves, either because they are like 
them, or because they please them, or serve their interest, 
or delight them by society and converse, as birds and beasts 
do love each other that think not of a God. And if all 
should be saved that so love one another, or that love their 
own pleasure, and that which serveth it, not only all wicked 
men, but most brute creatures should be saved. If you say, 
they shall not be damned, it is true, because they are not 
moral agents, capable of salvation or damnation, nor capa- 
ble of moral government and obedience ; and therefore even 
the creatures that kill one another are not damned for it : 
but certainly as man is capable of salvation or damnation, 
so is he of somewhat more as the means or way, than brutes 
are capable of, and he is saved or damned for somewhat 
which brutes never do. Many a thousand love the pleasure 
of their sense, and all things and persons which promote it, 
that never think of God, or love him. And it is not enough 
to say that even this natural good is of God, and therefore 
it is God in it which they love ; for it will only follow that it 
is something made and given by God which they love, while 
they leave out God himself. That God is essentially in all 
things good and pleasant which they love, doth not prove 
that it is God which they love, while their thoughts and 
affections do not include him. 

3. But suppose it were so, that to love the creature were 
to love God, is not then the hating of the creature the ha- 
ting of God? If those same men that love meat and drink, 
and sensual delight, and love their neighbours for the sake 
of these, or for themselves, as a dog doth love his master, 
do also hate the holiness of God's servants, and the holiness 
and justice of his word and government, and that holiness 
and order of heart and life which he commandeth them, 


do not these men hate God in hating these? And that they 
hate them, their obstinate aversation showeth, when no rea- 
son, no mercy, no means, can reconcile their hearts and 
lives thereto. 

4. I therefore ask the infidel objector, whether he shall 
be saved that loveth God in one respect, and hateth him in 
another? That loveth him as he causeth the sun to shine, 
the rain to fall, the grass to grow, and giveth life and prospe- 
rity to the world, but hateth him as he is the author of those 
laws, and duties, and that holy government, by which he 
would bring them to a voluntary right order, and make them 
holy, and fit for glory, and would use them in his holy ser- 
vice, and restrain them from their inordinate lusts and wills? 
How can love prepare or fit any man for that which he ha- 
teth or doth not love : if the love of fleshly interest and plea- 
sure prepare or fit them to seek that, and to enjoy it (the 
little time that it will endure), how should this love make 
them fit for heaven, for a life of holiness with God and saints? 
It is this that they love not, and will not love, (for if they 
truly loved it they should have it;) yea, it is this that they 
hate, and will not accept or be persuaded to. And what a 
fond conceit then is it to think that they shall have heaven 
that never loved it, no nor the small beginnings here of the 
heavenly nature and life, and all because they loved the plea- 
sures of the flesh on earth, and loved God and their neigh- 
bours for promoting it? 

5. Yea, I would ask the infidel, whether God will save 
men for rebelling against him? Their love to their flesh and 
to the creature, as it is inordinate, and taketh God's place, 
and shutteth out the love of holiness and heaven, is their 
great sin and idolatry ; and shall this be called a saving- 
love of God ? What gross self-deceit hath sensuality taught 
these men ! 

6. I grant them therefore that all men that believe that 
there is a God, do love somewhat of God, or 'secundum quid,' 
or in some partial respect have some kind of love to God. 
But it is not a love to that of God, which must save, felici- 
tate and glorify souls : meat and drink, and fleshly sports 
do not this ; but heavenly glory, wisdom, holiness and love 
to God, and man for God, and this they love not, and there- 
fore never shall enjoy : nay, that of God which should save 
and felicitate them they hate, and hated holiness is none of 


theirs, nor ever can be, till they are changed. And so much 
to the infidel's objection. 

7. I add therefore in the last place to help men in the 
trial of their love to God, that their love must have these 
two qualifications. 

1. They must love that of God which maketh man happy, 
and is indeed the end of his nature, and sanctification ; and 
that is, not only the comforts of this transitory natural life 
and flesh, but the fore-described union and communion with 
God, in perfect knowledge, love and praise. 2. This love 
to God must be predominant, and prevail against the power 
of alluring objects, which Satan would use to turn our 
hearts from him, and to keep out holy heavenly love. Damn- 
ing sin consisteth in loving somewhat that is good and lovely, 
and that is of God ; but it is not simply in loving it, but in 
loving it inordinately, instead of God or greater things, and 
out of its due time and rank, and measure, and so to hinder 
that love which is our holiness and happiness. Moral good 
consisteth not in mere entity, but in order ; and disorderly 
love even of real good is sinful love. 

Therefore when all is said, the old mark which I have 
many and many times repeated, is it that must try the sin- 
cerity of your love ; viz. ' If 1. in the esteem of a believing 
mind. 2. And in the choice and adherence of a resolved 
will. 3. And in the careful, serious endeavours of your lives, 
you prefer the knowing, loving, obeying and joyful praising 
of God, begun here and perfected in glory, as the benefit of 
our redemption by Christ, before all the interests of this 
fleshly life, the pleasures, profits, and honours of this world ; 
that is, before the pleasures of sin and sensuality for this 
transitory season. Or, in Christ's words, (Matt. vi. 33,) If 

OUSNESS, and trust him to superadd all other things.' This 
is that love of God and goodness which must save us : and 
he that loveth God even in these high respects, a little, and 
loveth his fleshly pleasure so much more, as that he will not 
consent to the regulating of his lusts, but will rather venture 
or let go his salvation than his sins, hath no true saving love 
to God. 

Object. * There is scarce any fornicator, drunkard, glut- 
ton, swearer, or other rash and sensual sinner, but believeth 
that God is better than the creature, and that it were better 


for him to live to God in love and holiness, than to live in 
sinful pleasures : and therefore though he live in sin against 
this knowledge, it seemeth that with the rational will he 
loveth God and goodness best, because hejudgeth them best.' 
Ahsw. 1. It is one thing, what the judgment saith, and 
another thing how it saith it. A speculative judgment may 
drowsily say, that God and holiness are best, when yet it 
saith it but as a dreaming opinion, which prevaileth not 
with the will to choose them, having at the same time so 
strong an apprehension of the pleasures of sin as carrieth 
away the will and practice. 

2. It is one thing therefore to love God under the notion 
of being best, and another thing to love him best. For the 
will can cross such a notion of the understanding ; at least 
by an omission, as appeareth by the sin of Adam, which be- 
gan in the will (or else had been necessitated). The same 
understanding which sluggishly saith God or holiness is 
better, yet may more clearly and vehemently say ' lust is 
pleasant, or pleasure of the flesh is good,' and being here- 
in seconded with the strong apprehensions of sense and fan- 
tasy, the will may follow this simple judgment, and neglect 
the comparate. 

3. It is one thing for the understanding to say, that God 
is more amiable to one that hath a heart to love him, and a 
suitable disposition ; and another thing to say, he is now 
more amiable to me : those can say the first, that cannot 
truly say the latter, and therefore love not God as best, and 
above all. 

4. It is one thing for the understanding sometimes under 
conviction to say, God and holiness are best for me, and I 
ough-t to love then* best, and then to lay by the exercise or 
this judgment in the ordinary course of life, (though it be 
not contradicted) and to live in the continual apprehension 
of the goodness of sensual pleasure : and another thing to 
keep the judgment that God and holiness are best, in ordi- 
nary exercise. For the will doth not always follow the judg- 
ment that we had before, but that which we have at present ; 
and that which we exercise not, we have not at that time in 
act : and it is not a mere power or habit of knowledge which 
ruleth the will, but the present act. Many a man is said to 
know that which he doth not think of, when indeed he doth 
not know it at that time, but only would know it if he 


thought of it: as a man in his sleep is said to know what he 
knew when awake, when indeed he knoweth it not actually 
till he be awake. 

Object. ' But true grace is rather to be judged by the 
habit, than by the present acts.' 

Answ. By the habit of the will it is, that is, by habitual 
love, for that will command the most frequent acts : but 
I propose it to the consideration of the judicious, whether 
an ordinary habit of drowsy knowledge, or belief that God 
and holiness are best, may not be ordinarily kept out of act, 
and consist with a prevailing habit of sensuality or love of 
forbidden pleasure in the will, and with a privation of preva- 
lent habitual love to God and holiness. I suppose with 
most such sinners this is the true case : the understanding- 
said lately, It is best for thee to love God, and live to him, 
and deny thy lust: and it oft forgetteth this, while it still 
saith with sense, that fleshly pleasure is desirable : and at 
other times it saith, Though God be best, thou mayest ven- 
ture at the present on this pleasure ; and so lets loose the 
corrupted will, reserving a purpose to repent hereafter, as 
apprehending most strongly at the present, that just now 
sensual delight may be chosen, though holiness will be best 

Object. ' But if a habit will not prove that we sincerely 
love and prefer God, how shall any man know that he loveth 
and preferreth him, when the best oft sin ; and in the act of 
sin God is not actually preferred.' 

Answ. 1. I told you that a habit of true love will prove 
sincerity, though not a habit of true opinion or belief, which 
is not brought into lively and ordinary act: ineffectual faith 
may be habitual. Yea, such an ineffectual counterfeit half 
love, which I before described to you, may be habitual, and 
yet neither act nor habit saving. 

2. The sins of godly men are not prevalent absolutely 
against the being, operation or effects of the love of God 
and holiness ; for even when they sin, these live, and are 
predominant in all other things, and in the main bent and 
course of life ; but only they prevail against some degree of 
holy love, perhaps both in the act and habit, for such sins 
are not ungodliness, but imperfection of godliness, and the 
effects of that imperfection. 

3. When godly men fall into a great extraordinary sin, it 


is not to be expected that they should comfortably discern 
the sincerity of their love to God either by that sin, or in 
that sin; but they may discern it, 1. By the course of a 
godly life, where the prevalency of the habit appeareth in 
the power and stream of acts ; and 2. By their repentance 
for, and abhorring and forsaking of that sin, which stopped and 
darkened their love to God. And these two together, viz. 
a resolved course of living unto God, and repentance and 
hatred of every sin which is against it, and especially of 
greater sin, will shew the sincerity and power of holy love. 

Object. ' But then one that sinneth daily, e. g. by pas- 
sion, or too much love to the world, or creatures, and by 
omissions, &c, shall never be sure that he sincerely loveth 
God, because this is a course of sin, and he cannot have such 
assurance till he forsake it.' 

Answ. One that ordinarily committeth gross and wilful 
sin ; that is, such sin as he had rather keep than leave, and 
as he would leave if he were but sincerely willing, hath no 
predominant love of Ged ; at least in act ; and therefore can 
have no assurance of it: but one that is ordinarily guilty of 
mere infirmities may at the same time know that the love of 
God doth rule both in his heart and life. The passion of 
fear or of anger, or of sorrow may be inordinate, and yet 
God loved best, because the will hath so weak a power over 
them, that a man that is guilty of them may truly say, I 
would fain be delivered from them. And some inordinate 
love of life, health, wealth, friends, honour, may stand with 
a more prevailing love of God, and the prevalency be well 
perceived. But what greater actual sins (as Noah's or Lot's 
drunkenness, David's adultery and murder, Peter's denial 
of Christ) are or are not consistent with true love to God, 
is a case that I have elsewhere largely handled, and is un- 
meet for a short decision here. 

Object. ' But when I feel my heart, desires and delights 
all cold to God and holiness, and too hot after fleshly, worldly 
things, may I not conclude that I love these better?' 

Answ. Sensible near things may have much more of the 
passionate part of our love, our desires and delights, and yet 
not be best loved by us. For God and things spiritual being 
out of the reach of sense, are not so apt or likely to move our 
sense and passion immediately to and by themselves. As I 
said before, that is best loved, which hath, 1. The highest 


esteem of the understanding. 2. The most resolved preva- 
lent choice of the will. 3. And the most faithful endeavours 
of our life. 

And many a Christian mistaketh his affection to the 
thing itself, because of his strangeness to the place and to 
the change that death will make. If the weakest Christian 
could have without dying, the clear knowledge of God, the 
communion of faith and love by his Spirit ; could he love 
God but as much as he would love him, and answerably 
taste his love, in every prayer, in every promise, in every 
sacrament, in every mercy ; could his soul keep a continual 
sabbath of delight in God, and in his saints and holy wor- 
ship, this seemeth to him more desirable and pleasing than 
all the treasures of the world. And he that desireth this 
communion with God, desireth heaven in reality, though he 
fear the change that death will make, because of the weak- 
ness of faith, and our strangeness to the state of separated 


The Second Part of the Exhortation ; Rest in this, that you are 
known with Love to God. 

2. To be known of God here signifieth to be approved 
and loved of him, and consequently that all our concerns are 
perfectly known to him and regarded by him. 

This is the full and final comfort of a believer. Our 
knowledge and love of God, in which we are agents, are, 1. 
The evidence that we are known with love to God, and so 
our comfort (as is said) by way of evidence. 2. And they 
are our comfort in their very exercise. But the chief part 
of our comfort is from God, not only as the object of our 
love, but as the lover of us and all his saints, even in our 
passive receiving of the blessed effects of his love for ever : 
when a Christian therefore hath any discerning of his inter- 
est in this love of God, by finding that he loveth God and 
goodness, here he must finally anchor his soul, and quietlv 
rest in all temptations, difficulties and tribulations. 

1 . Our enemies know us not, but judge of us by blinding 
interest, and the bias of their false opinions, and by an easy 


belief of false report, or by their own ungrounded suspicions: 
and therefore we are odious to thern, and abused, slandered 
and persecuted by them. But God knoweth us, and will 
justify our righteousness, and bring all our innocency into 
light, and stop the mouth of all iniquity. 

2. Strangers know us not, but receive such characters of 
us as are brought to them with the greatest advantage : and 
even good men may think and speak evil of us (as Bernard 
and others of the Waldenses, and many fathers of many 
godly men that were called heretics, and many called here- 
tics of such fathers). But to us it is a small thing to be 
judged of man, that is not our final judge and knoweth not 
our cause, and is ready to be judged with us ; we have one 
that judgeth us and them, even the omniscient God, who 
knoweth every circumstance of our cause. 

3. Our very friends know us not : no not they that dwell 
with us: in some things they judge us better than we are, 
and in some things worse : for they know not our hearts ; 
and interests and cross dispositions may deceive them; and 
even our bosom friends may slander us and think they speak 
the truth. 

And when they entirely love us, their love may hurt us, 
while they know not what is for our good : but God knoweth 
us perfectly, and knoweth how to counsel us, conduct us, 
and dispose of us : he seeth the inwards and the outwards, 
the onwards and the upwards of our case, which our dearest 
friends are utter strangers to. 

4. We know not ourselves thoroughly, nor our own con- 
cerns : we oft take ourselves to be better or worse than in- 
deed we are: we are oft mistaken in our own hearts, and our 
own actions, and in our interest : we oft take that to be good 
for us that is bad, and that to be bad which is good and 
necessary. We long for that which would undo us, and fear 
and fly from that which would save us: we oft rejoice when we 
are going to the slaughter, or are at least in greatest danger ; 
and we lament and cry when God is saving us, because we 
know not what he is doing. Paul saith, " I know nothing 
by myself, yet I judge not my ownself:" That is, though I 
have a good conscience, yet that is not my final judge: it 
must go with me as God judgeth of me, and not as others or 


Is it not then an unspeakable comfort in all these cases, 
that we are known of God ? 

Desiring to know inordinately for ourselves, was our first 
sin; and this sin is our danger, and our constant trouble: 
but to be to God as a child to his father, who taketh care to 
love him and obey him, and in all things trusteth his father's 
love, as knowing that he careth for him, this is our duty, our 
interest, and our only peace. 

Remember then with comfort, O my soul, 1. Thy Father 
knoweth what it is fittest for thee to do. His precepts are 
wise, and j list, and good : thou knowest not but by his word. 
Love therefore, and submit to all his laws : the strictest of 
them are for thy good : Thy Guide, and not thou, must lead 
the way ; go not before him, nor without him ; nor stay be- 
hind him : in this night and wilderness if thou have not his 
light and presence, how forlorn, erroneous and comfortless 
wilt thou be? He knoweth thy heart, and knoweth thy 
enemies, temptations and dangers, and therefore best know- 
eth how to guide thee, and what to put into his laws and into 
thy duty. 

2. He knowethwhat place, what state of life, of health, of 
wealth, of friends is best for thee. None of these are known 
to thee : He knoweth whether ease or pain be best: the flesh 
is no fit judge, nor an ignorant mind : that is best which 
will prove best at last; which He that foreknoweth all events 
knoweth. That therefore is best which Infinite Wisdom and 
Love doth choose. Ease and pain will have their end : it is 
the end that must teach us how to estimate them : and who 
but God can foretel thee of the end ? 

He knoweth whether liberty or imprisonment be best : 
Liberty is a prison, if sin prevail, and God be not there. A 
prison is a palace, if God by his love will dwell there with 
us. There is no thraldom but sin and God's displeasure; 
and no true liberty but his love. 

3. He knoweth whether honour or dishonour be best for 
thee : If the esteem of men may facilitate their reception of 
the saving truth of God which is preached to them, God 
will procure it, if he have work to do by it ; if not, how little 
is it to be regarded ! What doth it add to me to be highly 
esteemed or applauded by men, who are hasting to the dust, 
where their thoughts of me and all the world are at an end? 
When T see the skulls of the dead, who perhaps once knew 


me, how little doth it now concern me what thoughts of me 
were once within that skull? And as for the immortal soul, 
if it be in the world of light, it judgeth as God judgeth by 
his light : if in hell, I have no more cause to be troubled at 
their malice than at the devil's ; and I have little cause to 
rejoice that those damned souls did once applaud me. 

O miserable men, that have no better than the hypocrites' 
reward, to be seen and honoured of men! God's approba- 
tion is the felicitating honour ! He will own all in me that is 
his own, and all that he owneth is everlastingly honoured. 
" The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous;" (Psal. i. 6;) 
for it is his way : the way which he prescribed them, and in 
which he did conduct them. Good and evil are now so mixed 
in me, that it is hard for me fully to discern them : but the 
all-seeing God doth discern them, and will separate them. 

4. Thy heavenly Father knoweth whether it be best for 
thee to abound or want: and with what measure of worldly 
things it is fittest for thee to be intrusted. Abundance hath 
abundant snares, and cares, and troubling employments 
which divert our thoughts from things of real and perpetual 
worth : provision is desirable according to its usefulness to 
our work and end : It is far better to need little and have 
little, than to have much, and need it all ; for it cannot be 
got, or kept, or used, without some troublesome and hurt- 
ful effects of its vanity and vexation. Let the foolish de- 
sire to be tired and burdened with provision, and lose the 
prize by turning their helps into a snare, and miss of the end 
by overloving the way : my Father knoweth what I want, 
and he is always able to supply me with a word : it doth not 
impoverish him to maintain all the world. His store is not 
diminished by communication. "The Lord is my Shep- 
herd, what then can I need?" (Psal. xxiii. 1.) How often 
have I found that he careth for me, and that it is better to 
be at his finding and provision, than to have been my own 
carver, and to have cared for myself! Blessed be my boun- 
teous Father who hath brought me so near to the end of my 
race, with very little care for provision in my way, and with 
lesser want : necessaries I never wanted, and superfluities 
are not wanted. Blessed be that wise and gracious Lord 
that hath not given me up to greedy desires, nor ensnared 
and burdened me with needless plenty. How safe, how 
easy and comfortable a life is it, to live in the family of such 


a Father, and with a thankful carelessness to trust his will, 
and take that portion as best which he provideth for us ! 
and into what misery do foolish prodigals run, who had 
rather have their portion in their own hand than in their 
father's ! 

5. Thy heavenly Father knoweth with what kind and 
measure of trials and temptations it is fit that thou shouldest 
be exercised : it is his work to permit, and bound, and order 
them : it is thy work to beg his grace to overcome them, and 
watchfully and constantly to make resistance, and in trial 
to approve thy faithfulness to God : " Blessed are they that 
endure temptations ; for when they are tried they shall re- 
ceive the crown of life." (James i.) If he will try thee by 
bodily pain and sickness, he can make it turn to the health 
of thy soul : perhaps thy diseases have prevented some mor- 
tal soul-diseases which thou didst not fear. If he will try 
thee by men's malice, injury or persecution, he knoweth how 
to turn it to thy good ; and in season to bring thee out of 
trouble : he will teach thee by other men's wickedness to 
know what grace hath cured or prevented in thyself; and to 
know the need of trusting in God alone, and appealing to 
his desirable judgment : he that biddeth thee when thou art 
reviled, and persecuted, and loaded with false reports for 
righteousness sake, to rejoice and be exceeding glad, because 
of the great reward in heaven, can easily give thee what he 
doth command, and make thy sufferings a help to this ex- 
ceeding joy. 

If he will try thee by Satan's molesting temptations, and 
suffer him to buffet thee, or break thy peace by melancholy 
disquietments and vexatious thoughts, from which he hath 
hitherto kept thee free, he doth but tell thee from how much 
greater evil he hath delivered thee, and make thy fears of 
hell a means to prevent it, and call thee to thy Saviour to 
seek for safety and peace in him. 

If it please him to permit the malicious tempter to urge 
thy thoughts to blasphemy, or other dreadful sin (as it ordi- 
narily falleth out with the melancholy), it telleth thee from 
what malice grace preserveth thee, and what Satan would do 
were he let loose : it calleth thee to remember that thy Sa- 
viour himself was tempted by Satan to as great sin as ever 
thou wast, even to worship the devil himself; and that he 
vol. xv. u 


suffered him to carry about his body from place to place, 
which he never did by thee : it tells thee therefore that it is 
not sin to be tempted to sin, but to consent ; and that Sa- 
tan's sin is not laid to our charge : and though our corrup- 
tion is such, as that we seldom are tempted, but some cul- 
pable blot is left behind in us, for we cannot say as Christ, 
that Satan hath nothing in us ; yet no sin is less dangerous 
to man's damnation, than the melancholy thoughts which 
such horrid vexatious temptations cause ; both because the 
person being distempered by a disease, is not a volunteer in 
what he doth ; and also because he is so far from loving and 
desiring such kind of sin, that it is the very burden of his 
life ; they make him weary of himself, and he daily groaneth 
to be delivered from them. And it is certain that love is the 
damning malignity of sin ; and that there is no more sin 
than there is will ; and that no sin shall damn men which 
they had rather leave than keep ; and therefore forgiveness 
is joined to repentance : drunkards, fornicators, worldlings, 
ambitious men, love their sin : but a poor, melancholy soul 
that is tempted to ill thoughts, or to despair, or terror, or to 
excessive griefs, is far from loving such a state. The case 
of such is sad at present : but O how much sadder is the 
case of them that are lovers of pleasure more than of God, 
and prosper and delight in sin. 

6. God knoweth how long it is best for me to live. Leave 
then the determination of the time to him ; all men come 
into the world on the condition of going out again : die we 
must, and is it not fitter that God choose the time than we? 
"Were it left to our wills how long we should live on earth, alas, 
how long should many of us be kept out of heaven, by our own 
desires! And too many would stay here till misery made them 
impatient of living. But our lives are his gift, and in his hand, 
who knoweth the use of them, and knoweth how to proportion 
them to that use ; which is the most just measure of them. He 
chose the time and place of my birth, and he chooseth best : 
why should I not willingly leave to his choice also, the time, 
and place, and manner of my departure. I am known of him ; 
and my concerns are not despised by him. He knoweth me as 
his own, and as his own he hath used me, and as his own he 
will receive me. " The Lord knoweth the days of the up- 
right, and their inheritance shall be for ever." (Psal. xxxvii. 


18.) And if he bring me to death through long and painful 
sickness, he knoweth why, and all shall end in my salvation. 
" He knoweth the way that is with me, and when he hath 
tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job xxiii. 10.) He 
forsaketh us not in sickness or in death. " Like as a father 
pitieth his children, the Lord pitieth them that fear him; for 
he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust : 
as for man his days are as grass ; as a flower of the field, so 
he flourisheth : for the wind passeth over it, and it is not, 
and the place thereof shall know it no more : but the mercy 
of the Lord is from everlasting- to everlasting to them that 
fear him." If the ox should not know his owner, nor the 
ass his master's crib, the owner will know his own and seek 
them. That we understand and know the Lord, is matter of 
greater joy and glorying, than all other wisdom or riches in 
the world. (Jer. ix. 24.) But that he knoweth us in life and 
death, on earth and in heaven, is the top of our rejoicing. 
" The Lord is good, and strength in the day of trouble ; and 
he knoweth them that trust in him." (Nah. i. 7.) Sickness 
may so change my flesh that even my neighbours shall not 
know me ; and death will make the change so great, that 
even my friends will be unwilling to see such an unpleasing, 
loathsome spectacle: but while I am carried by them to the 
place of darkness, that I may not be an annoyance to the 
living, I shall be there in the sight of God, and my bones 
and dust shall be owned by him, and none of them forgotten 
or lost. 

7. It may be that under the temptations of Satan, or in 
the languishing weakness or distempers of my flesh, I may 
doubt of the love of God, and think that he hath withdrawn 
his mercy from me ; or at least may be unmeet to taste the 
sweetness of his love, or to meditate on his truth and mer- 
cies : but God will not lose his knowledge of me, nor turn 
away his mercy from me. " The foundation of God standeth 
sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his ; 
and let him that nameth the name of Christ depart from ini- 
quity." (2 Tim. ii. 19.) He can call me his child, when I 
doubt whether I can call him Father: he doubteth not of 
his right to me, nor of his graces in me, when I doubt of my 
sincerity and part in him. " Known unto God are all his 
works." (Acts xv. 18.) What meaneth Paul thus to describe 
a state of grace, (Gal. iv. 9,) " Now after ye have known 


God, or rather are known of God?" but to notify to us, that 
though our knowledge of God be his grace in us, and our 
evidence of his love, and the beginning of life eternal, (John 
xvii. 3,) yet that we are loved and known of him is the first 
and last, the foundation and the perfection of our security 
and felicity. He knoweth his sheep, and none shall take 
them out of his hand. When I cannot through pain or dis- 
temper remember him, or not with renewed joy or pleasure, 
he will remember me, and delight to do me good, and to be 
my salvation. 

8. And though the belief of the unseen world be the 
principle by which I conquer this, yet are my conceptions 
of it lamentably dark : a soul in flesh, which acteth as the 
form of a body, is not furnished with such images, helps, or 
light, by which it can have clear conceptions of the state 
and operations of separated souls : but I am known of God, 
when my knowledge of him is dark and small : and he 
knoweth whither it is that he will take me, and what my 
state and work shall be ! He that is preparing a place forme 
with himself, is well acquainted with it and me : all souls 
are his ; and therefore all are known to him : He that is now 
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as being living with 
him while they are dead to us, will receive my departing 
soul to them, and to himself, to be with Christ, which he 
hath instructed me to commend into his hands, and to de- 
sire him to receive. He that is now making us living stones 
for the New Jerusalem, and his heavenly Temple, doth know 
where every one of us shall be placed. And his knowledge 
must now be my satisfaction and my peace. Let unbe- 
lievers say, " How doth God know?" (Psal. lxxiii. 11.) But 
shall I doubt whether he that made the sun, be Father of 
Lights, and whether he know his dwelling, and his continued 
works? Be still, O my soul, and know that he is God, 
(Psal. xl. 10,) and when he hath guided thee by his counsel, 
he will take thee to glory ; and in his light thou shalt have 
light : and though now it appear not, to sight, but to faith 
only, what we shall be, yet we know that we shall see him as 
he is, and we shall appear with him in glory. 

And to be known of God, undoubtedly includeth his 
practical love, which secureth our salvation and all that 
tendeth thereunto. It is not meant of such a knowledge 
only as he hath of all things, or of such as he hath of the 


ungodly. And why should it be hard to thee, O my soul, 
to be persuaded of the love of God ? 

Is it strange that he should love thee who is Essential 
Infinite Love : any more than the sun should shine upon 
thee, which shineth upon all capable, recipient objects, 
though not upon the incapable, which through interposing 
thing's cannot receive it? To believe that Satan or wicked 
men, or deadly enemies should love me, is hard : but to be- 
lieve that the God of Love doth love me, should in reason 
be much easier than to believe that my father or mother, or 
dearest friend in the world doth love me : if I do not make 
and continue myself incapable of his complacence by my 
wilful continued refusing of his grace, it is not possible that 
I should be deprived of it. (Prov. viii. 17.) " I love them 
that love me." (Psal. cxlvi. 8.) "The Lord loveth the 
righteous." (John xvi. 27.) 

2. Why should it be hard to thee to believe that He 
loveth thee, who doth good so universally to the world, and 
by his love doth preserve the whole creation, and give all 
creatures all the good which they possess? When his mercy 
is over all his works, and his goodness is equal to his wis- 
dom and his power, and all the world is beautified by it, 
shall I not easily believe that it will extend to me? ''The 
Lord is good to all." (Psal. cxlv. 9 ; Luke xviii. 19.) None 
is good (essentially, absolutely, and transcendently,) but he 
alone. "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." 
(Psal. xxxiii. 5.) " The goodness of God endureth continu- 
ally." (Psal. lii. 1.) " He is good and doth good." (Psal. cxix. 
68.) And shall I not expect good from so good a God, the 
cause of all the good that is in the world ? 

3. Why should I not believe that He will love me, who 
so far loved the world, yea, his enemies, as to give his only 
begotten Son, " that whosoever believeth in him, should not 
perish, but have everlasting life?" (John iii. 16.) Having 
given me so precious a gift as his Son, will he think any 
thing too good to give me ? (Rom. viii. 32.) Yea, still he 
followeth his enemies with his mercies, not leaving himself 
without witness to them ; but filling their hearts with food 
and gladness, and causing his sun to shine on them, and his 
rain to fall on them, and by his goodness leading them to 

4. Why should I not easily believe his love, which he 


hath sealed by that certain gift of love, the Spirit of Christ, 
which he hath given ? " The giving of the Holy Ghost, is the 
shedding abroad of his love upon the heart," (Rom. 5.) I 
had never known, desired, loved, or served him sincerely, 
but by that Spirit: and will he deny his name, his mark, 
his seal, his pledge, and earnest of eternal life? Could I ever 
have^truly loved him, his word, his ways and servants, but 
by the reflection of his love? Shall I question whether he 
love those whom he hath caused to love him? When our 
love is the surest gift and token of his love; shall I think 
that I can love him more than he loveth me ; or be more 
willing to serve him than he is willing and ready to reward his 
servants?" (Heb.xi. 6; 1 John iii. 24; iv. 13.) 

5. Shall I not easily hope for good from Him, who hath 
made such a covenant of grace with me in Christ? Who 
giveth me what his Son hath purchased, who accepteth me 
in his most beloved, as a member of his Son? Who hath 
bid me ask, and I shall have? And hath made to godliness, 
the promise of this life, and that to come ; and will with- 
hold no good thing from them that walk uprightly ? Will 
not such a Gospel, such a covenant, such promises of love, 
secure me that he loveth me, while I consent unto his cove- 
nant terms? 

6. Shall I not easily believe that he will love me, who 
hath loved me while I was his enemy, and called me home 
when I went astray, and mercifully received me when I re- 
turned? Who hath given me a life full of precious mercies, 
and so many experiences of his love as I have had. Who 
hath so often signified his love to my conscience ; so often 
heard my prayers in distress, and hath made all my life, not- 
withstanding my sins, a continual wonder of his mercies. O 
unthankful soul, if all this will not persuade thee of the love 
of him that gave it! I that can do little good to any one, yet 
have abundance of friends and hearers, who very easily be- 
lieve that I would do them good, were it in my power; and 
never fear that I should do them harm. And shall it be 
harder to me to think well of Infinite Love and Goodness, 
than for my neighbours to trust me, and think well of such a 
wretch as I ? What abundance of love-tokens have I yet to 
show, which were sent me from heaven, to persuade me of 
my Father's love and care ! 

7. Shall I not easily believe and trust His love, who hath 


promised me eternal glory with his Son, and with all his 
holy ones in heaven ! Who hath given me there a great In- 
tercessor, to prepare heaven for me, and me for it ; and there 
appeareth for me before God. Who hath already brought 
many millions of blessed souls to that glory, who were once 
as bad and low as I am. And who hath given me already 
the seal, the pledge, the earnest and the firstfruits of that 
felicity ! 

Therefore, O my soul, if men will not know thee, if thou 
were hated of all men for the cause of Christ and righteous- 
ness ; if thine uprightness be imputed to thee as an odious 
crime; if thou be judged by the blind malignant world, ac- 
cording to its gall and interest; if friends misunderstand 
thee ; if faction, and every evil cause which thou disownest, 
do revile thee, and rise up against thee ; it is enough, it is 
absolutely enough, that thou art known of God. God is all ; 
and all is nothing that is against him, or without him. If 
God be for thee, who shall be against thee? How long hath 
he kept thee safe in the midst of dangers ; and given thee 
peace in the midst of furious rage and wars ? He hath known 
how to bring thee out of trouble, and to give thee tolerable 
ease ; while thou hast carried about thee night and day the 
usual causes of continual torment ! " His lovingkindness is 
better than life," (Psal. lxiii. 3.) but thou hast had a long 
unexpected life, through his loving kindness. " In his fa- 
vour is life," (Psal. xxx,) and life thou hast had by and with 
his favour. Notwithstanding thy sin, while thou canst truly 
say thou lovest him ; he hath promised, " that all shall work 
together for thy good," (Rom. viii. 28,) and he hath long- 
made good that promise. Only ask thyself again and again, 
as Christ did Peter, whether indeed thou love him? And 
then take his love as thy full, and sure, and everlasting por- 
tion, which will never fail thee, though flesh and heart do 
fail : " For thou shalt dwell in God, and God in thee for 
evermore." Amen. (1 John iv. 12. 15, 16.) 













There is no man that ever understood the interest of man- 
kind, of families, cities, kingdoms, churches, and of Jesus 
Christ the King and Saviour, but he must needs know that the 
right instruction, education, and sanctification of youth, is 
of unspeakable consequence to them all. In the place where 
God most blessed my labours, (at Kidderminster, in Wor- 
cestershire,) my first and greatest success was upon the 
youth. And (which was a marvellous way of Divine mercy,) 
when God had touched the hearts of young men and girls 
with a love of goodness, and delightful obedience to the 
truth, the parents and grandfathers who had grown old in 
an ignorant worldly state, did many of them fall into a liking 
and love of piety, induced by the love of their children, 
whom they perceived to be made by it much wiser and better, 
and more dutiful to them. And God, by his unexpected 
disposing providence, having now twenty years placed me 
in and near London, where, in a variety of places and con- 
ditions, (sometimes under restraint by men, and some- 
times at more liberty,) I have preached but as to strangers, 
in other men's pulpits as I could, and not to any special 
flock of mine, I have been less capable of judging of my 
success. But by much experience I have been made more 
sensible of the necessity of warning and instructing youth 
than I was before. The sad reports of fame have taught it 
to me : the sad complaints of mournful parents have taught 
it me ; the sad observation of the wilful impenitence of some 


of my acquaintances tells it me: the many score (if not 
hundred) bills that have been publicly put up to me to pray 
for wicked and obstinate children, have told it me ; and by 
the grace of God, the penitent confessions, lamentations, and 
restitutions of many converts have more particularly ac- 
quainted me with their case. Which moved me on my 
Thursday's lecture awhile to design, the first of every month, 
to speak to youth and those that educate them. 

And though I have already loaded the world with books, 
finding that God seems to be about ending my life and 
labours, I am urged in my mind by the greatness of the case 
to add yet this Epistle to the younger sort. Which shall con- 
tain I. The important case of youth. II. How it stands with 
them in matter of fact. III. What are the causes of their sin 
and dangerous degeneracy. IV. How great a blessing wise 
and godly youth are to themselves and others. V. How great 
a plague and calamity the ungodly are. VI. What great 
reason ungodly, sensual youth have, presently to repent and 
turn to God. VII. Directions to them how to do it. VIII. 
And some directions to parents about their education. And 
all must be with the brevity of an epistle. 


To begin betimes to live to God, is of unspeakable importance to 


For, 1. You were betimes solemnly dedicated to God, as 
your God, your Father, your Saviour, and your Sanctifier, 
by your baptismal vow. And as that was a great mercy, it 
obliged you to great duty : you were capable in infancy of 
that holy dedication and relation ; and your parents were 
presently obliged, as to dedicate you to God, so to educate 
you for God : and as soon as you are capable of perfor- 
mance, the vow is upon yourselves to do it. If your child- 
hood is not presently obliged to holiness, according to your 
natural capacity, no doubt your vow and baptism should 
have been also delayed. Little think many that talk against 
Anabaptists, how they condemn themselves by the sacred 
name of Christians, while they by perfidious sacrilege deny 
God that which they vowed to him. 


2. All your time and life is given you by God, for one 
end and use ; and all is little enough ; and will you alienate 
the very beginning, and be rebels so soon ? 

3. The youngest have not assurance of life for a day, or 
an hour. Thousands go out of the world in youth. Alas, 
the flesh of young men is corruptible, liable to hundreds of 
diseases, as well as that of old men. How quickly may a 
vein break, and cold seize on your head and lungs, and turn 
to an incurable consumption ! How quickly may a fever, a 
pleurisy, an imposthume, or one of a thousand accidents, 
turn your bodies to corruption ! And O that I knew how 
to make you sensible how dreadful a thing it is to die in an 
unholy state, and in the guilt of any unpardoned sin ! An 
unsanctified soul, that hath lived here but to the flesh and 
the world, will be but fuel for the fire of hell, and the wrath- 
ful justice of the most holy God. And though in the course 
of undisturbed nature, young men may live longer than the 
old, yet nature hath so many disturbances and crosses, that 
our lives are still like a candle in a broken lantern, which 
a blast of wind may soon blow out. To tell you that you 
are not certain in an unsanctified state to be one day or hour 
more out of hell, will, I expect, not move you so much as 
the weight of the case deserveth, because mere possibility of 
the greatest hurt doth not affect men when they think there 
is no probability of it. You have long been well, and long 
you hope to be so : but did you think how many hundred 
veins, arteries and nerves, must be kept constantly in order, 
and all the blood and humours in due temper ; and how the 
stopping of one vein, or distemper of the blood, may quickly 
end you ; it would rather teach you to admire the merciful 
providence of God, that such a body should be kept alive 
one year. 

4. But were you sure to live to maturity of age, alas, 
how quickly will it come ! What haste makes time ! How 
fast do days and years roll on. Methinks it is but as a few 
days, since I was playing with my schoolfellows, who am 
now in the sixty-sixth year of my age : had I no service 
done for God that I could now look back upon, I should 
seem as if I had not lived. A thousand years, and one 
hour, are all one (that is, nothing) when they are past. And 
every year, day and hour of your lives, hath its proper work : 
And how will you answer for it ? Every day offereth you 


more and more mercies ; and will you despise and lose 
them ? If you were heirs to land, or had an annuity, which 
amounted but to a hundred pounds a year, and you were 
every day to receive a proportionable part of it, or lose it ; 
would you lose it through neglect, and say, ' I will begin to 
receive it when I am old ?' Poor labourers will work hard 
all the day, that at night they may have their wages : and 
will you contemptuously lose your every-day mercies, your 
communion with God, your daily blessings and his grace, 
which you should daily beg and may daily receive ? 

5. Either you will repent and live to God, or not ; if not 
you are undone for ever. O how much less miserable is a 
dog, or a toad, than such a sinner ! But if God will shew 
you so great mercy, O how will it grieve you to think of 
the precious time of youth which you madly cast away in 
sin ! Then you will think, ' O what knowledge, what holi- 
ness might I then have gotten ! What a comfortable life 
might I have lived ! O what days and years of mercy did I 
cast away for nothing !' Yea, when God hath given you the 
pardon of your sin, the taste of his love, and the hopes of 
heaven, it will wound your hearts to think that you should 
so long, so unthankfully, so heinously offend so good a God, 
neglect so merciful a Saviour, and trample upon Infinite Di- 
vine love, for the love of so base a fleshly pleasure, — that 
ever you should be so bad, as to find more pleasure in 
sinning than in living unto God. 

6. And be it known to you, if God in mercy convert and 
save you, yet the bitter fruit of your youthful folly may fol- 
low you in this world to the grave. God may forgive the 
pains of hell to a penitent sinner, and not forgive the tem- 
poral chastisement to his flesh. If you waste your estate 
in youth, you may be poor at age. If you marry a wicked 
wife, you may feel it till death, notwithstanding your repent- 
ance. If by drinking, gluttony, idleness, or filthy lust, you 
contract ^any incurable diseases in youth, repentance may 
not cure them till death. All this might have been easily 
prevented, if you had but had foreseeing wisdom. Beggary, 
prisons, shame, consumptions, dropsies, stone, gout, &c, 
which make the lives of many miserable, are usually caused 
by youthful sins. 

7. If ever you think to be men of any great wisdom, and 
usefulness in the world to yourselves or others, your prepa- 


rations must be made in youth. Great wisdom is not gotten 
in a little time. Who ever was an able lawyer, physician, 
or philosopher, without long and hard study? If you will 
not learn in the grammar-schools in your childhood, you 
will be unfit for the University at riper age ; and if, when 
you should be doctors, you are to learn to spell and read, 
your shame will tell you that you should have sooner begun. 
O that you well knew how much of the safety, fruitfulness 
and comfort of all your after-life, dependeth on the prepa- 
rations of your youth, on the wisdom and the grace which 
you should then obtain ! as men's after-trading doth depend 
on their apprenticeship. 

8. O what a dreadful danger is it, lest your youthful sin 
become remediless, and custom harden you, and deceivers 
blind you, and God forsake you for your wilful resistance 
of his grace ! God may convert old hardened sinners : but 
how ordinarily do we find, that age doth but answer the 
preparations of youth, and the vessel ever after savoureth of 
the liquor which first thoroughly tainted it ! And men are 
but such as they learned to be and to do at first. If you 
will be perfidious breakers of your baptismal vows, it is just 
with God to leave you to yourselves, to a deluded under- 
standing, to think evil good, and good evil, to a seared con- 
science, and a hardened heart, and, as " past feeling, to work 
uncleanness with greediness," (Ephes. iv. 19,) and to fight 
against grace and your own salvation, till death and hell 
convince you of your madness. O sport not with the jus- 
tice of a sin-hating God ! Play not with sin, and with the 
unquenchable fire ! To forsake God, is the way to be for- 
saken of him. And what is a forsaken soul, but a miserable 
slave of Satan ! 

9. Yea, did you but know of what moment it is to pre- 
vent all the heinous sins that else you will commit, you 
would make haste to repent, though you were sure to be for- 
given. Forgiveness maketh not sin to be no sin, or to be 
no evil, no shame or grief to the soul that hath committed it. 
You will cry out, ' O that I had never known it !' To look 
back on such an ill-spent life, will be no pleasant thought. Re- 
pentance, though a healing work, is bitter ; yea, ofttimes ex- 
ceedingly bitter : make not work for it, if you love your peace. 

10. Is it a small thing to you, that you are all this while 
doing hurt to others, by drawing them to sin, and plunging 


them into that dangerous guilt which can no way be par- 
doned but by the blood of Christ, upon true conversion? 
When they have joined with you in lust and fleshly pleasure, 
it is not in your power to turn them, that they may join with 
you in sound repentance ; and if not, they must lie in hell 
for ever. Can you, then, make a sport of your own and 
other men's damnation? 

But this leadeth me to the second point. I have shewed 
you of what vast concernment it is to yourselves to be- 
gin betimes a holy life. I will next shew you of what con- 
cernment it is TO OTHERS. 


Of what public concernment the quality of youth is. 

1 . The welfare of the world is of far greater worth than that 
of any single person ; and he hath put off humanity who 
doth not more earnestly desire it. If this world consisted 
but of one generation, then to make that generation wise and 
good would be enough to make it a happy world. But it is 
not so. In heaven, and in the future glorious kingdom, 
" there is neither marrying, nor giving in marriage, but they 
are as the angels," in a fixed everlasting state, and one con- 
tinued generation maketh up the New Jerusalem : being once 
holy and happy, they are so for ever. But here it is not so : 
one generation cometh, and another goeth : if the father be 
as wise as Solomon, the son may be as foolish as Rehoboam. 
O what a great work it is to make a man truly wise and 
good! How many years' study doth it usually require! What 
wisdom and diligence in teachers ! What teachableness and 
diligence in learners; and especially the grace of God ! And 
when all is done, the man quickly dieth, and obtaineth his 
ends in another world. But his children are born as igno- 
rant, and perhaps as bad, as he was born : he can neither 
leave them his knowledge, nor his grace. They must have 
all the same teaching, and labour, and blessing as he had, 
to bring them to the same attainments. The mercy and co- 
venant of God taketh them into his church, where they have 
great advantages and helps, and promiseth them more for 
their relation to a faithful parent, if he or they do make no 


forfeiture of it. But as their nature is the same with others, 
so their actual wisdom must come by God's blessing on the 
use of the same means, which are necessary to the children 
of the worst men. A Christian's child is born with no more 
knowledge than a heathen's, and must have as much labour 
and study to make him wise. 

2. It is certain then, that the welfare of this world lieth 
on a good succession of the several generations; and that all 
the endeavours of one generation, with God's greatest bless- 
ing on them, will not serve for the ages following. All must 
begin anew, and be done over again, or all will be as though 
undone to the next age. And it is not the least blessing 
on the faithful, that their faith and godliness dispose them 
to have a care for posterity, and to devote their children 
wholly to God, as well as themselves, and to educate them 
in his fear. If nature had not taught birds and beasts to 
feed their young, as well as to generate them, their kind 
would be soon extinct. O what a blessed world were it, if 
the blessings of men famous for wisdom and godliness were 
entailed on all that should spring from them ! and if this 
were the common case ! 

3. But the doleful miseries of the world have come from 
the degenerating of good men's posterity. Adam hath his 
Cain, and Noah his Ham, and David his Absalom ; Solomon, 
Hezekiah, and Josiah, left not their like behind them. The 
present state of the Eastern churches, is a dreadful instance. 
What places on earth were more honourable for faith and 
piety, than Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Constantinople, 
Ephesus, Philadelphia, and the rest of those great and noble 
countries? and these also strengthened with the most power- 
ful Christian empire that ever was on earth. And now they 
are places of barbarism, tyranny, and foolish Mahometanism, 
where the name of Christ is made a scorn, and the few 
that keep up that sacred profession, are, by tyranny, kept 
in so great ignorance, that (alas !) the vices of most of them 
dishonour their profession, as much as the persecutions of 
their enemies do. O what a doleful difference is there be- 
tween that great part of the world now, and what it was 
fourteen hundred or one thousand years ago ! 

And alas ! were it not for the name of a pompous Chris- 
tian church, how plain an instance would Rome be of the 
vol. xv. x 


same degeneracy ! and some countries that received the 
blessing of Reformation, have revolted into the darkness of 
popery. What a change was in England by Queen Mary's 
reign ! And how many particular cities and towns are grown 
ignorant and malignant, which in former times were famous 
for religion ! The Lord grant it may never be the case of 
London ! Yea, how many persons of honourable and great 
families have so far degenerated from the famous wisdom 
and piety of their grandfathers, yea, and fathers, as to hate 
that which their parents loved, and persecute those their an- 
cestors honoured ! The names of many great men stand ho- 
noured in history for their holiness to God, and for their 
service to their several countries, whose posterity are the 
men from whom we are in danger. Alas ! in how few such 
houses hath piety kept any long succession ! Yea, some take 
their fathers' virtues to be so much their dishonour, that 
they turn malignant persecutors, to free themselves from the 
supposed reproach of their relations. Yea, some preachers 
of the Gospel, devoted to God by pious parents, become re- 
vilers of their own parents, and despisers of their piety, as 
the effect of factious ignorance. 

4. And on the other side, when piety hath successively, 
as a river, kept its course, what a blessing hath it proved ! 
(But how rare is that !) And when children have proved bet- 
ter than their parents, it hath been the beginning of welfare 
to the places where they lived. How marvellously did the 
Reformation prevail in Germany in Luther's time, when God 
brought out of Popish monasteries many excellent instru- 
ments of his service ; and princes became wise and pious, 
whose parents had been blind or impious ! Godliness or 
wickedness, welfare or calamity, follow the changes and 
quality of posterity. 

Men live so short a time, that the work of educating 
youth aright is one half of the great business of man's life. 
He that hath a plantation of oaks, may work at other em- 
ployment for twenty generations : but he that planteth gar- 
dens and orchards with plants that live but a little time, 
must be still planting, watering, and defending them. 

5. Among the ancient sages of the world, the Greeks and 
Romans, and much more among the Israelites, the care of 
posterity and of the public welfare was the great thing which 


differenced the virtuous and laudable, from those of a base, 
selfish, and sensual disposition. He was the bravest citizen 
of Rome that did most love, and best serve his country. 
And he was the saint among the Jews, who most loved Sion, 
and the security and succession of its holy and peaceable 
posterity. And the Christian faith, hope, and interest, do 
lead us in this respect to a much higher pitch, and to a 
greater zeal for public good, in following Him that whipped 
out profaners from the temple, — even a zeal of God's house 
which eateth us up. It teacheth us, by the cross, most 
effectually to deny ourselves, and to think nothing too dear 
to part with to edify the church of God ; nor any labour or 
suffering too great for the common good. It teacheth us to 
pray for the 'hallowing of God's name, the coming of his 
kingdom, and the doing of his will on earth, as it is done in 
heaven,' before we pray for our daily bread, or any other per- 
sonal interest of our own. Therefore the families of Chris- 
tians should be as so many schools or churches, to train up 
a succession of persons meet for the great communicative 
works to which God calleth all believers, in their several 
measures : it is eminently teachers, but it is also all others 
in their several ranks, who must be " the salt of the earth, 
and the lights of the world." Indeed the Spirit of Holiness 
is so eminently the Spirit of love to God and man, that it 
inclineth every sanctified person to a communicative zeal, 
to make others wise and good and happy. 

6. God in great mercy hath planted, yet more deeply and 
fixedly, the natural love of parents to their children, that it 
might be in them a spring of all this duty ; so that though 
fleshly vice may make men mistake their children's good, as 
most ungodly men do their own, and think it consisteth in 
that in which it doth not ; yet still the general desire of their 
children's welfare, as well as of their own, is deeply rooted, 
and will work for their welfare, as soon as they well know 
wherein it doth consist. And God hath not given them this 
love, only for the good of the individual children, but much 
more for the commonwealth and church ; that, as many sticks 
make one fire, and many exercised soldiers one army, so 
many well-educated children may make up one peaceable 
and holy society. 

7. And accordingly it is much to be observed, that God 
hath not given children a natural love and submissiveness to 


parents, only for the personal benefit of their provision, and 
other helps ; but especially that hereby they may be teach- 
able and obedient to those instructions of their parents by 
which they may become blessings to their generations, and 
may conjunctly make up wise and holy societies, families, 
churches and commonwealths. For these ends it is, that 
God hath bound you, as to reverence your masters, tutors 
and pastors, so especially both to reverence and love your 
parents, that you may be the more capable of their neces- 
sary instruction and advice. 

8. Yea, the great strictness of God, in condemning po- 
lygamy, adultery and fornication, seemeth to be especially 
for the securing of the good education of children, for their 
souls and for the public good. For it is notorious, that con- 
fusion in marriages and generation would many ways tend to 
the depraving of human education, while mothers had not 
the necessary encouragement to perform their part. The 
younger would be awhile esteemed, and afterwards be cast 
off and made most miserable, and families would be like 
wandering beggars, or like exposed orphans ; disorder and 
confusion would deprive children of much of their necessary 
helps, and barbarousness and brutishness would corrupt 

By all this it is most evident, that the great means of the 
welfare of the world must be the faithful and holy endeavours 
of parents, and the willing teachableness and obedience of 
children, that they may escape the snares of folly and fleshly 
lusts, and may betimes get that wisdom and love of good- 
ness which make them fit to be blessings to the places where 
they live. 


How the case standeth with our Youth in matter of fact. 

1. Through the great mercy of God, many families are sa- 
cred nurseries for the church and the kingdom ; and many 
parents have great comfort in the grace of God appearing in 
their children. From their early childhood many are of 
humble, obedient dispositions, and have a love to knowledge, 
and a love to the Word of God and to those that are good 


and virtuous persons. They have inward convictions of the 
evil of sin, and a fear of sinning, and a great dislike of wicked 
persons, and a great love and reverend obedience to their 
parents ; and when they grow up, they diligently learn in 
private and in public : they increase in their love to the 
Scriptures and good books, and to godly teachers and godly 
company ; and God saveth them from temptations, worldly 
deceits, and fleshly lusts ; and they live to God, are bless- 
ings to the land, the joy of their friends, and exemplary and 
useful to those with whom they converse. 

2. But all, even religious parents, have not the like bless- 
ing in their children. (1.) Some of them, though religious 
otherwise, are lamentably careless of the duty which at bap- 
tism they promised to perform in the education of their chil- 
dren, and do but superficially and formally instruct them, 
are too faulty as to the example which they should give them, 
and seem to think that God must bless them because they 
are theirs, and because they are baptized, while they neglect 
their promised endeavours. (2.) And some children when 
they grow up, and are bound to resist temptations, and to 
use God's appointed means for their own good, do wilfully 
resist God's grace, and run into temptations and neglect, 
wretchedly betray themselves, and forfeit the mercies which 
they needed. 

3. In all my observation, God hath most blessed the 
children of those parents who have educated them as fol- 
loweth : (1.) Those that have been particularly sensible what 
they promised for them in the baptismal vow, and made con- 
science of performing it. (2.) Those that have had more care 
of their souls than of their outward wealth. (3.) Those that 
have been most careful to teach them the depravity of cor- 
rupted nature by original sin, and to humble them and teach 
them the need of a Saviour, and of his renewing as well as 
his pardoning grace, and to tell them about the work of the 
Spirit of sanctiflcation, and teach them above all to look to 
the inward state of their souls. (4.) Those that have most 
seriously reminded them of death, judgment, and the life to 
come. (5.) Those that have always spoken of God with the 
greatest reverence, affection and delight. (6.) Those that 
have most wisely laboured to make all the knowledge and 
practice of religion pleasant unto them, by the suitableness 
of doctrines and duties to their capacity. (7.) Those that 


have most disgraced sin to them, especially base and fleshly 
pleasures. (8.) Those that have kept them from the baits of 
sensuality, not gratifying their appetites in meats and drink, 
to bring them to an unruly habit ; but used them to a habit 
of temperance, and neglect of appetite. (9.) Those that have 
most disgraced worldliness and pride to them, used them to 
low things in apparel and possession, told them how the 
proud are hateful to God, set before them the example of a 
crucified Christ, and opened to them the doctrine of morti- 
fication, and self-denial, and the great necessity of true hu- 
mility. (10.) Those have been most watchful to know their 
children's particular inclinations and temptations, and to 
apply answerable remedies, and not carelessly leave them to 
themselves. (11.) Those that have been most careful to 
keep them from ill company, especially, — of wicked youths, 
of their own growth and neighbourhood, — and of tempt- 
ing women. (12.) Those that have most wisely used them 
to the meetest public teachers, and have helped them to 
remember and understand what they hear, especially the 
fundamental truths in the catechism. (13.) Those that have 
most wisely engaged them into the familiarity and frequent 
converse of some suitable, godly, exemplary companions. 
(14.) Those that have most conscionably spent the Lord's- 
days in public and in their families. (15.) Those that have 
done all this, as with reverend gravity, so especially with 
tender endearing love to their children ; convincing them 
that it is all done for their own good ; and that do not by 
imprudent weaknesses, ignorance, passions, or scandal, frus- 
trate their own endeavours. (16.) Those that use not their 
children as mere patients, only to hear what their parents say ; 
but to engage them to constant endeavours of their own, for 
their own good ; especially in the reading of Scripture, and 
the most suitable books, and meditating on them, and daily 
personal prayer to God. (17.) Lastly, those that pray most 
heartily and believingly for God's grace and his blessing on 
their endeavours.— Such men's children are usually blessed. 
4. But it is no wonder, where such means are neglected, 
(much more when parents are ungodly, fleshly, worldly per- 
sons, and perhaps enemies to a holy life,) if the children of 
such are ignorant, deluded, ungodly, and drowned in fleshly 
lnsts. And alas ! it is the multitude of such, and their sad 
conditions, which is the occasion of my writing this Epistle. 


5. (1.) We see to our grief, that many children are of a 
stupid and unteachable disposition, and almost incapable of 
instruction, who yet can as quickly learn to talk of common 
matters as other persons, and can as easily learn a trade, or 
how to do any ordinary business. And though some incon- 
siderate persons overlook the causality of the more imme- 
diate parents' sins, in such judgments on their children, as 
if it were only Adam's sin that hurt them, I have elsewhere 
proved, that this is their great and dangerous mistake. As 
David's child died for the father's sin, the children of glut- 
tons, drunkards, fornicators, oft contract such bodily dis- 
tempers as greatly tend to stupify or further vitiate the mind. 
And their souls may have sad additions to the common 
human depravity. 

(2.) Accordingly many children have more violent pas- 
sions, and carnal desires, than others, which run them into 
wicked ways impetuously, as if they were almost brutes that 
had no reason or power to resist. And all words and cor- 
rections are to them of little force, but they are as blocks, 
that, when you have said and done what you can, go away 
as if they had not heard you. 

(3.) And some have cross and crooked natures, addicted 
to that which is naught, and the more, by how much the 
more you contradict them: Froward and obstinate, as if it 
were a desirable victory to them to overcome their parents, 
and escape all that would make them wise and good : dogged, 
sour, proud, self-willed, and utterly disobedient. 

(4.) And too many have so great an enmity and averse- 
ness to all that is holy, spiritual and heavenly, that they are 
weary to hear you talk of it ; and you persuade them to 
learn, to read, to pray, to meditate or consider, as you per- 
suade a sick man to the meat which he doth loathe, or a 
man to dwell with those that he hateth. They have no appe- 
tite to such things, no pleasure in them; when you have 
said all of God, and Christ, and glory, they believe it not, 
or they savour it not : they are things above their reach and 
love, yea, things against their carnal minds. You tire them 
worse than if you talked in a strange language to them, — 
such enmity is in the heart of corrupted man to God and 
Heaven, till the Grace of the Great Reconciler overcome it 
by a new Life, and Light, and Love. 

(5.) And when custom is added to all these vicious dis- 


positions, alas, what slaves and drudges of Satan doth it 
make them! For instance, 

(1.) Some are so corrupted with the love of sport, that 
gaming or stage-plays, or one such foolery or another, 
becometh so pleasant to them, that they can understand or 
believe nothing that is said against it by God or man; their 
diseased fantasy hath so conquered reason, that they cannot 
restrain themselves ; but in their callings and in religious 
exercises they are weary, and long to be at their sports, and 
must be gone ; neither God, nor Holiness, nor the joys of 
heaven are half so sweet to their thoughts as these are . For 
they have that mark of misery,— (2 Tim. iii. 4.) " They are 
lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God." 

The same I say of sinful mirth, and the company which 
doth cherish it. Little do they believe Solomon: (Eccles. 
vii. 2—4.) " It is better to go to the House of Mourning, 
than to go to the House of Feasting : for that is the end of 
all men, and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is- 
better than laughter : for by the sadness of the countenance 
the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the 
house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of 
mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for 
a man to hear the song of fools : for as the crackling of 
thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of fools." 

It is true, that mirth is very desirable to nature : and God 
is not against it, but much more for it than sinners will be- 
lieve. But it is a rational mirth which beseemeth a rational 
creature, and such as he can justify, and as will make him 
better, and tends to felicity and everlasting mirth ; and not 
the causeless mirth of madmen, who set their house on fire 
and then laugh and sing over it; nor like the mirth of a 
drunken man, whose shame exposeth him to pity or derision ; 
nor any such mirth as leadeth a man from God to sin, and 
keepeth him from the way of manlike and everlasting joy, 
and prepareth for the greatest sorrows. 

(2.) There are some so enslaved to their appetites, that 
their reason hath no power to rule them ; but, like brutes, 
they must needs have what the belly and throat desire. And 
if they be the children of the rich, (who have always full and 
pleasant food,) constant fleshpleasing or true gluttony is 
taken for no sin : and, like swine, they do but live to eat, 
whereas they should but eat to live, and cheerfully serve God. 


But it is never so dangerous as when it turne*h to the 
love of drink. The pleasing of the throat, and the pleasing 
of the brain by mirth, going together, do so much corrupt 
the appetite and fantasy, that their thoughts run after it, and 
reason hath no power to shut their mouths, nor keep them 
from the house of sin. Some sin against an accusing con- 
science, and under their convictions and terrors do drink on ; 
which yet they could forbear, if they knew there were poison 
in the cup. Some are more miserable, and have sinned 
themselves into searedness of conscience and past feeling, 
and perhaps into infidelity and a blinded mind, persuading 
them that there is no great harm or danger in the sin, and 
that it is but some precise people that make so great a matter 
of it. And some, that have purposes to forsake the sin 
when the appetite stirs, forget it all ; and when company 
enticeth, and when they see the cup, they have no power to 
forbear. O what a pitiful sight it is to see men in the flower 
of youth and strength, when they should most rejoice in 
God and holiness, to be still thirsty after a fobidden pleasure, 
and hasting to the tavern or alehouse, as a bird to the snare 
of the fowler, and sweetly and greedily swallowing the poison- 
ous cup which God forbiddeth ! And that false repentance 
to which conscience and experience force them sometimes, 
is forgotten next day when the temptation is renewed : yea, 
the throat-madness, and the merry and belly-devils are within 
them a continual temptation, which the miserable slaves 
cannot resist. 

(3.) And these beastly, fleshly sins do usually make 
them weary of their callings, and of any honest labour : the 
devil hath by this time got possession of their thoughts, by 
the bias of delight and sinful lust; and they are thinking of 
meat or drink, or play, or merry company, when they should 
be diligently at work : and so idleness becomes the nursery 
of temptation, and of all other vices, as well as a constant sin 
of omission and loss of hasty, precious time. And custom 
increaseth the habit, and maketh them good for nothing, and 
like dead men to all for which life is given them, and only 
alive to prepare by sin for endless misery. 

(4.) And usually pride also takes its part, to make the 
sin of Sodom in them complete. (Ezek. xvi. 49.) " Pride, 
fulness, and idleness." They that must be in their jovial 
company, must not seem despicable among them, but must 


be in the mode and fashion, whatever it cost. When they 
make themselves odious in the sight of God, and the pity of 
all wise men, and a terror to themselves, yet they must be 
somebody to their sottish companions, especially of the 
female sex ; lest the image of the devil, and his victory over 
them should not be perfect, if pride were left out, how un- 
reasonable soever. 

(5.) And by this time they have (usually here amongst 
the rich and idle,) a further step towards hell to go, and yet 
a deep gulf to fall into j fleshly lust next entangleth them in 
converse with women, and thence into filthy fornication. 
The devil will seldom lose a soul for want of a temptation : 
either he will provide them one abroad, among their lewd 
companions, or at home some daughter or servant of the 
house, where they can oft get opportunity. And if they 
have sinned once, they are usually like the bird that is 
fast in the lime-twigs : conscience may struggle, but lust 
holds them fast, and the devil saith, ' If once may be par- 
doned, why not twice, and if twice, why not thrice V (Prov. 
xii. 2] — 23.) " And so they go on as the ox to the slaughter, 
and a fool to the correction of the stocks, and know not 
that it is for their lives." (Prov. v. 12—14.) " Till they 
mourn at last (perhaps) when flesh and body are consumed, 
and say, how have I hated instruction, and my heart despised 
reproof, and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor 
inclined my ears to them that instructed me! I was almost 
in all evil," &c. And it is well for the wretches if this 
repentance be true and in time, that though the flesh be 
destroyed, the spirit may be saved: for Solomon saith, 
(Prov, ii. 18, 19.) " Her house inclineth to death, and her 
paths to the dead : none that go unto her return again, nei- 
ther take they hold of the path of life." 

God, I doubt not, recovereth some, but the case is dan- 
gerous. For though age and sickness cure lust, usually 
before that time the conscience is seared and debauched, and 
" they being past feeling, work uncleanness with greedi- 
ness," and, forsaking God, are so forsaken by him that all 
other sin, sensuality, and enmity against a holy life, prevail 
against them, and the unclean devil lets in many more. 
Most debauched drunkards, gluttons, and fornicators, are so 
enslaved to Satan, that they think, say, and do what he would 
have them, and become the enemies and persecutors of 


those that are against their sin ; and the blinded Sodomites 
go on to grope for the door of Lot, as one that reproveth 
them, till the flames of justice stop the rage. 

(6.) And when all these sins have enslaved sensual youths, 
they must have money to maintain them ; and if they have 
it not of their own, and be not the sons of great men, who will 
maintain them in the service of the flesh, they must steal to 
get it, which usually is either by thievish borrowing which 
they cannot pay, or by robbing their parents or masters. 
If all the masters in London knew what thieves the vices 
of their apprentices are, for their own sakes they would take 
greater care to watch over them, and keep them from ill 
company, drunkenness and plays, and would teach them to 
seek pleasure in good books, good company, and serving God. 
I had not known it myself if the confessions and restitution 
of many penitent converts had not made me know it. I 
thank God that he recovereth any, yea, so many ; but I must 
tell foolish youth, that repentance itself, especially when it 
must have restitution, is so bitter, that they would prevent 
that need of it, if they had but the use of reason and fore- 
sight. O what heart-tearing confessions and sad letters 
have I had from many young apprentices in this city ! Much 
ado to escape utter despair they had, when conscience was 
awakened to remember all their sin and danger ! And when 
they knew that they must restore (if possible) all that ever 
they had obtained by deceiving or robbing their masters or 
any others, O what difficulties hath it put them to, both as 
to the shame of confession and the actual restitution ! Some 
have not money ; and to go and confess the sin and debt, and 
promise to pay it if ever they are able, seemeth hard, but 
must be done. Some have rough masters, that will disgrace 
them when they confess it. Some have parents that paid 
dear to put them out as apprentices, and would be inclined 
to cast them ofFif they knew their case. Some marry after, 
and it will grieve their wives to know what they have been, 
and how much they must restore. Wisdom might have 
prevented this ; but if the thorn be got into the conscience 
it must come out, and if the poison be swallowed it must 
come up, what gripes soever the vomit cost. There is no 
playing with hell-fire, nor jesting with the justice of the most 
holy God. One penitent review of fleshly lust and sinful 
pleasure, of falsehood and deceit, (though wholesome, if true 


and timely,) will turn it all into gall and wormwood : ' For 
the end of sinful mirth is sorrow.' 

(7.) And too many there be who escape the gross and dis- 
graceful part of the foresaid sensuality and unrighteousness, 
that yet do but choose another idol, and set themselves 
wholly to rise in the world; and riches, preferment, and 
honour have almost all their hearts and care. They have no 
delight in God and holiness ; nor doth the state of their 
souls, or the thought of their everlasting state, affect them 
in any measure according to its unspeakable weight, nor so 
much as these shadows which they pursue. When great 
travellers that have seen much of the world, and old and 
dying men that have had all that it can do, are forced by 
experience to call all vanity and vexation, unexperienced 
youth that are taken up with the hopes of long prosperity, 
and provision for all that the flesh desireth, have other 
thoughts of it, and will not know that it is deceitful vanity 
till it hath deceived them of their chief hope and treasure. 
And when they have overtaken the shadow which they pur- 
sue so greedily, they find it (what others have done before 
them,) the sweeter the more dangerous, and the parting will 
be the more bitter. Whereas had they sought first God's 
kingdom and its righteousness, and had six days laboured 
in obedience to God, and referred all corporal blessings to 
spiritual uses and everlasting ends, taking them as from 
God to serve him by them, they might then have had enough 
as an overplus to their satisfying treasure. 


How sad a Case it is that I have described. 

I h av e told you the very lamentable case of too many young 
men, especially rich men's sons, and apprentices in this 
city : I told you before of what concern the state of youth 
is to themselves and others. From thence (and, alas! from 
sad experience,) it is easy to gather the dolefulness of the 
case of those that are drowned in fleshly lust, and have 
sinned themselves into the guilt and danger which I have 


described. But I will name some parts of the misery more 
particularly again. 

Review the second chapter, and think what a doleful 
case this is to yourselves. 

1. Do you not know that you are not beasts, but men 
who have reason given them to know, and love, and serve 
their Maker ? And how sad is it to see a man forget all this, 
and wilfully brutify himself! Were the poets' fictions true 
of men turned into trees, and birds, and beasts, how small 
were the misery in comparison of yours ! It is no sin in 
brutes to lust, or to eat and drink too much. They have 
not reason to restrain and rule them ; but lest they should 
kill themselves by excess, God hath made reasonable man 
their governor, and moderateth their appetite in the temper 
of their natures. But for a reasonable creature to subject 
himself to fleshly appetite, and wilfully degrade his soul to 
the rank of brutes, is worse than if he had been made with 
the body and the unreasonableness of brutes. Are you capa- 
ble of no better things than these ? 

2. And what an odious thing is it, — when God hath 
chosen you out of the world to be members of his visible 
church, and given you the great privilege of early entrance 
into his holy covenant, and washed you in the laver of visi- 
ble regeneration, and you are vowed to Christ, renouncing 
the lusts of the flesh, of the world and the devil, that you 
might follow a crucified Christ in the way of holiness to 
everlasting life, — that you should so soon prove false, per- 
fidious traitors and rebels against him that is your only 
hope, and, by wickedness and covenant-breaking, make 
your sin greater than that of Infidels, Turks and Heathens, 
who never were taken into the church and covenant of 
Christ, nor ever broke the vows which you have broken, 
nor so cast away the mercies which you had received ! 

3. And what a doleful case is it, that so much of your 
minds, of your love and delight, which were all made for 
God, should be so misemployed, even in your strength, 
when they should be most vigorous ; and all worse than 
cast away on filth and folly! If your souls be more worth 
than your money, it is more folly and loss to misemploy and 
abuse your souls, your reason, love, and your delight, than 
to abuse or cast away your money. And what a traitor or 
murderer deserveth, that would give his money to hire one 


to kill the king, or his neighbour, I suppose you know ; and 
what deserveth he that will use, not only his money, but 
himself, his soul, his thoughts, his love, his desire and plea- 
sure against the most glorious God that made him ? That 
you cannot hurt him, is no thanks to you while you break 
his laws, and deny him your love and duty, and love more 
that one thing which alone he hateth, and to which he will 
never be reconciled. 

4. And how doleful a case is it, that all the care, and 
love, and labour of your parents, masters, and teachers 
should be lost upon you ! God hath made all this their 
great duty for your good ; and will you despise God and 
them, and wilfully for nothing reject them all? Shall all the 
pain of a child-bearing mother, and all her trouble to breed 
you up, and all the care of your parents to provide for you, 
be but to breed up a slave for the flesh, the world, and the 
devil, and a firebrand for hell ? Shall the prayers of godly 
parents for you, and their teaching and counselling of you, 
and all their desire and care for your salvation, be despised 
by you, and all forgotten and cast away for a swinish lust? 

5. And how doleful a case is it, that so much of so short 
a life should be lost, and a thousand times worse than lost, 
— even turned into sin, to prepare for misery, when (alas !) 
the longest life is little enough for our important work and 
quickly gone, and the reckoning and Judge are hard at 
hand ! All the wealth, wit, or power in the world, cannot 
bring or buy you back one hour of all that precious time 
which you now so basely cast away. O how glad would 
you be ere long of a little of it, on the terms on which you 

. now have it, when you lie dying, and perceive that your 
souls are unready to appear before a righteous God ! Then 
1 O for one year more of precious time !' O that you knew 
how to call again the time which you castaway on sin ! You 
will then perceive with a terrified conscience, that time was 
not so little worth as you once thought it, nor was it given 
you for so base a work. Yea, if God in mercy bring you 
hereafter to true conversion, O how will it wound your hearts 
to think how much of your youth was madly cast away, 
while your God, your souls, and your everlasting hopes, 
were all neglected and despised ! 

6. And, alas, if you should be cut off in that unholy, 
miserable state, no heart on earth can sufficiently bewail 


your case ! How many thousands die young, that promised 
themselves longer pleasure in sin, and repentance after it! 
O foolish sinners ! Cannot you so long borrow the use of 
your reason, as to think seriously whither you must go next? 
Do you never think when the small-pox or a fever hath 
taken away one of your companions, whither it is that his 
soul is gone ? Have you your wit for nothing but to taste 
the sweetness of drink or lust, which is as pleasant to a dog 
or swine as to you ? O, little do you know what it is to 
die ! what it is for a soul to leave the body, and enter into 
an endless world, to come to judgment for all his sin, and 
all his ill-spent days and hours, and for choosing the plea- 
sures of a swine before heaven and the pleasures of a saint ! 
Little know you what it is for devils presently to take away 
to hell a wretched soul which they have long deceived. I 
tell you, the thought of appearing before God, and Christ, 
and angels in another world, and entering on an endless 
state, is so dreadful, even to many that have spent their 
lives in holy preparation, and are indeed in a safe condition, 
that they have much ado to overcome the terror of death. 
Even some of God's own faithful servants are almost over- 
whelmed, when they think of so great a change : and though 
the belief of God's love and the heavenly glory do support 
them, and should make them long to be with Christ, yet, 
(alas!) faith is weak, and the change is great beyond our 
comprehension, and therefore feared. O then in what a 
case is a wicked, unpardoned, unprepared wretch, when his 
guilty soul must be torn from his body, and dragged in ter- 
ror to hear its doom, and so to the dreadful execution! Sin- 
ners ! is this a light matter to you? Doth it not concern 
you? Are you not here mortal? Do you not know what 
flesh is, and what a grave is ? And are not your abused 
souls immortal ? Are you so mad as to forget this, or so 
bad as not to believe it? Will your not believing it, make 
void the justice and the law of God, and save you from that 
hell from which only believing could have saved you? Will 
not the fire burn you, or the sea drown you, if you can but 
run into it drunk or winking ? Is feeling, remediless feel- 
ing easier than believing God in time? Alas ! what should 
your believing friends do to save you ? They see by faith 
whither you are posting. They foresee your terror and your 
undone case; and fain, if possible, they would prevent it: 


but they cannot do it without you. If you will not consent 
and help yourselves, it is not the holiest or wisest friends in 
the world that can help you. They would pull you out of 
the fire in fear, and out of the mouth of the roaring lion, but 
you will not be delivered ! They call and cry to you, ' O 
fear God, and turn to him while there is hope ;' and you 
will not let conscience and reason be awakened. But those 
that go asleep to hell, will be past sleeping there for ever. 
O run not madly into the everlasting fire ! 

7. And indeed your sleepy security and presumption do 
make your case more dangerous in itself, and more pitiful 
to all that know it. O what a sight is it to see a man go 
merry and laughing towards damnation, and make a jest of 
his own undoing ! to see him at the brink of hell, and will 
not believe it! like a madman boasting of his wit, or a 
drunken man of his sobriety; or as the swine is delighted, 
when the butcher is shaving his throat to cut it ; or as the 
fatted lambs are skipping in the pasture, that to-morrow 
must be killed and eaten ; or as the bird sits singing when 
the gun is levelled to kill him ; or as the greedy fish run 
striving which shall catch the bait, that must presently be 
snatched out of their element, and lie dying on the bank ! 

But because I touched much of this in the second chap- 
ter, I will pass by the rest of your own concerns, and a little 
further consider how sad the case of such wretched youths 
is also unto others. 

8. And if parents be wise and godly, and understand 
such children's case, what a grief must it needs be to their 
hearts to think that they have begotten and bred up a child 
for sin and hell, and cannot make him willing to prevent it ! 
to see their counsel set at naught, their teaching lost, their 
tears despised, and an obstinate lad seem wiser to himself 
than all his teachers, even when he is swallowing the devil's 
bait, and cruelly murdering his own soul ! ' Ah !' thinks a 
believing father and mother, ' have I brought thee into the 
world for this ? Hath all my tender, natural love so sad an 
issue ? Is this the fruit of all my sorrows, my care and 
kindness, to see the child of my bowels, whom I dedicated 
in baptism to Christ, — to make himself the child of the de- 
vil, the slave of the flesh and the world, the enemy of God 
and holiness, and his own destroyer ? and all this wilfully, 
obstinately, and against all the counsel and means that I 


can use! Alas! must I breed up a child to become an 
enemy to the Church of God into which he was baptized, 
and a soldier for Satan against Christ? Must I breed up a 
child for hell, and see him miserable for ever, and cannot 
persuade him to be willing to be saved V O what a heart- 
breaking must this be to those whom nature and grace have 
taught to love them with tenderness, even as themselves ! 

9. But if they be wicked parents, and as bad as them- 
selves, the misery is far greater, though they yet feel it not : 

(1.) As the thief on the cross said to his companion, 
"Thou art in the same condemnation, and we suffer justly ; 
for we receive the due reward of our deeds," (Luke xxiii. 
40, 41,) wicked parents, and wicked children are in the 
same gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. They sinned 
together, and they must suffer for ever together, if true faith 
and conversion do not prevent it. 

(2.) It is their wickedness which was much of the cause 
of their children's sin and misery ; and their own deep guilt 
will be more to them than their children's suffering. God 
and conscience will say to them ere long, ' O cruel parents, 
that had no mercy on your children or yourselves ! What 
did nature teach you to love more than yourselves and your 
children? and would you wilfully and obstinately be the 
ruin of both? You would not have done as the mad idola- 
ters, that offered their children in fire to Moloch : And will 
you offer them by sin to Satan and hell? Had a serpent 
stung them, or a bear devoured them, they had done but ac- 
cording to their nature : but was it natural in you to further 
their damnation ? This was work too bloody for a cannibal, 
too cruel for an enemy, fitter for a devil than for a father or 
mother. As your child had from you his vicious nature, it 
was your part to have endeavoured to effect his sanctifica- 
tion and recovery. You should have taught him betimes 
to know the corruption of his nature, and to seek and beg 
the grace of Christ ; to know his God, his duty, the evil of 
sin, the danger of temptations, and his everlasting hopes 
and fears. You should have taught him to know what man 
hath done against himself, by disobeying and departing from 
his God, and what Jesus Christ hath done for his redemp- 
tion, and what he himself must do to be saved. You should 



have taught him early how to live and how to die, what to 
seek and what to shun. You should have given him the ex- 
ample of a holy and heavenly mind and life. You should 
have watched over him for his safety, and unweariedly in- 
structed him for his salvation. But you led him the way to 
despise God's word, to set light by Christ, and holiness, and 
heaven, to hate instruction and reproof, to spend the Lord's- 
day in idleness or worldly vanity, to seek first the world and 
the prosperity of the body, and to glut the flesh with sinful 
pleasure. What wonder if a serpent breed a serpent, and 
quickly teach him to hiss and sting, and if swine teach their 
young to feed on dung and wallow in the mire? This is part of 
the fruit of your worldliness,fieshliness, ungodliness, and neg- 
lect of your own salvation and your child's. Now he is as you 
are, a slave of sin and an heir of hell. Was it this for which you 
vowed him to God in baptism? was it to serve the flesh, the 
world, and the devil, against our God, our Saviour, and our 
Sanctifier? or did the mistake of the liturgy deceive you, 
to think that it was not you, but the godfathers, that were 
bound by charge and vow to bring him up in the faith and 
fear of God, and teach him all that a Christian should know 
for his soul's health ? Was it not you whom God bound to 
do all this ? The sin and misery of your child now is so far 
your curse, as you are guilty of it, and will add to your 
misery for ever.' — Such are the sorrows that wicked parents 
and wicked children do prepare and heap on one another. 
Such miseries will come ; but woe to those by whom they 
come ! it had been good for that man that he had never been 

10. And it is no small grief to faithful ministers, to see 
their labour so much lost : and to see so much evil among 
their flocks, and such sad prognostics of worse to come. He 
is no true minister of Christ (as to his own acceptance and 
salvation,) whose heart is not set on the winning, and sanc- 
tifying, and saving of souls. For what else do we study, 
preach, live, long, or suffer in our work? All faithful teachers 
can say with Paul, that they " are willing to spend and be 
spent for them/' and " now we live if ye stand fast in the 
Lord." (2 Cor. xii. 15 ; 1 Thess. iii. 8.) He told them, 
" weeping, of those that were enemies to the cross of Christ, 
whose God was their belly, who gloried in their shame, and 


minded earthly things," instead of a conversation in heaven. 
(Phil. iii. 18, 19.) When God hath blessed us with the com- 
fortable enj oy men t'of many ancient, holy Christians, who are 
the beauty and honour of the assemblies, and death calls 
home one of them after another to Christ, and the rest are 
ready to depart, alas ! must a seed of serpents come after 
them ? Must those take their places to our grief and shame, 
who are bred up to the world and flesh, in drunkenness, for- 
nication, and enmity to God and to a holy life ? O what a 
woful change is this ! 

If any be likely to be the stain and plague of the church, 
it is such as these : If we preach holy truth to them, lust 
cannot love it. If we tell them of God's word, the fleshly 
mind doth not savour it, nor can be subject to it. (Rom. 
viii. 5 — 7.) If we reprove them sharply, they smart and hate 
us. If we call them to confession and repentance, their 
pride and carnality cannot bear it. If we excommunicate 
them for impenitency, as Christ requireth, or but deny them 
the sacrament as unmeet, they rage against us as our fiercest 
enemies. If we neglect discipline, and admit swine to the 
communion of saints, we harden and deceive them, and 
flatter them in their sin, pollute the church, and endanger 
our souls by displeasing the Chief Pastor. What then shall 
we do with these self-murdering, ungodly men ? 

Many of them have so much reverence of a sacrament, 
or so little regard of it, that they never seek it, but keep 
away themselves. Perhaps they are afraid lest they eat and 
drink damnation to themselves, by the profanation of holy 
things. But do they think that it is safe to be out of the 
church and communion of saints, because it is dangerous 
to abuse it? Are infidels safe because false-hearted Chris- 
tians perish? What! if breaking your vows and covenant 
be damnable, is it not so to be out of the holy covenant? 
What ! if God be a consuming fire to those that draw near 
him in unrepented heinous sin, is it therefore wise or safe to 
avoid him ? Neither those that come not to him, nor those 
that come in their hypocrisy and reigning sin, shall be saved. 

And yet, what to do with these self-suspenders, we know 
not. Are they still members of the churches, or are they 
not ? If they are, we are bound to call them to repentance 
for forsaking the communion of saints in Christ's com- 
manded ordnance. If they are not, we should make it 


known, that Christians and no Christians may not be con- 
founded, and they themselves may understand their case. 
And neither of these can they endure ; but for dwelling in 
the parish, and hearing the liturgy and sermons, they must 
still pass for church-members, lest discipline should exas- 
perate and further lose them. This is that discipline which 
is thought worthy the honour of episcopal dignity and re- 
venues, and is supposed to make the Church of England the 
best in the world, by the same men that would rage, were 
discipline exercised on them ; and they must either be ad- 
mitted to the sacrament in a life of fornication, drunkenness, 
sensuality and profaneness, without any open confession, 
repentance and reformation, or else must pass for church- 
members without any exercise of discipline, while they shun 
the sacramental communion of the church. Such work 
doth wickedness make among us ! 

11. Indeed these are the men that are the trouble of fa- 
milies, neighbours, and of good magistrates, the shame of 
bad ones, and the great danger of the land. All the foreign 
enemies against whom we talk so much, and whom we fear, 
are not so hurtful and dangerous to us as these, — these that 
spring out of your own bowels ; these that are bred up with 
care, and tenderness, and cost in your houses ; these that 
should succeed godly ancestors in wisdom and well-doing, 
and be their glory. Who plot against us but homebred 
sinners ? Who shew greater hatred to the good, and per- 
secute them more? Who are more malignant enemies of 
godliness, scorners of a holy life, hinderers of the word of 
God, and patrons of profaneness, and of ministers and peo- 
ple that are of the same mind ? If England be undone, (as 
the Eastern churches, and many of the Western are un- 
done,) it will be by your own carnal, ungodly posterity. 

He that is once a slave to Satan and his fleshly lust, is 
ready, for preferment or reward, to be a slave to the lust of 
any other. He that is false to his God and Saviour, after 
his baptismal vows, is not likely to be true to his country or 
his king, if he have but the bait of a strong temptation : and 
he that will sell his soul, his God and heaven, for any for- 
bidden gratifications of his appetite, will not stick to betray 
church or state, or his dearest friend, for provision to satisfy 
theselusts. Canyouexpectthathe should loveanymanbetter 
than himself? A wicked, fleshly, worldly man is a soil in 


which Satan may sow the seeds of any sort of actual sin, and 
is fuel dried or tinder for the sparks of hell to kindle in. 
Will he suffer much for God or his country, who will sell 
heaven for nothing ? An evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 
If he hath the heart of an Achan, a Gehazi, an Ahithophel, 
no wonder if he hath their actions and their reward. If he 
be a thief and bear the bag, no wonder if Judas sell his master. 
12. And these wretches, if they live, are likely to be a 
plague to their own posterity : woe to the woman that hath 
such a husband ! And how are the children likely to be 
bred, that have such a father ? Doth not God threaten pu- 
nishment to the third and fourth generation of them that 
hate him, and to visit the iniquity of the fathers on the chil- 
dren ? Were not the children of the old world drowned, 
and those of Sodom and Gomorrah burned, and Achan's 
stoned, and Dathan's and Abiram's swallowed up, and Ge- 
hazi's struck with leprosy, &c. for their fathers' sins ? And 
were not the children of the Amalekites all destroyed, and 
the posterity of the infidel Jews forsaken, the curse coming 
on them and on their children ? And as their children are 
likely to speed the worse for the sins of such parents, so are 
such parents likely to be requited by their children. As 
you shamed and grieved the hearts of your parents, so may 
your children do by you. And by that time, it is probable, 
if grace convert you not, though you have no hatred to your 
own sins, worldly interest may make you dislike those of 
your children. Their lust and appetite do not tempt and 
deceive you, as your own did. Perhaps when they shame 
your family, debauch themselves with drink and other crimes, 
and consume the estates for which you sold your souls, you 
may perceive that sin is an evil and destructive thing; es- 
pecially when they proceed to despise and abuse your per- 
sons, to desire your death, and to be weary of you. Sooner 
or later you shall know much better what sin is. 



The joyful State and Blessing of good Children, to themselves 

and others. 

From what is said in the second and fifth chapters, it is 
easy to gather how joyful a case to themselves, and what a 
blessing to parents and others, it is when children betimes 
are sober, wise, godly and obedient. The difference doth 
most appear when they arrive at mature age, and when they 
come to bring forth to themselves and others the fruits of 
their dispositions. Their end, and the life to come, will 
shew the greatest difference : but yet, even here, and that 
betimes, the difference is very great. 

1. First, As to themselves : How blessed a state is it to 
be quickly delivered from the danger of damnation, and 
God's displeasure, that they need not lie down and rise in 
fear lest they be in hell whenever death removeth them from 
the body ! Can one too soon be out of so dreadful a state? 
Can one who is in a house on fire, or who has fallen into the 
sea, make too much haste to be delivered? If a man deep 
in debt be restless till it be paid, and glad when it is dis- 
charged ; if a man in danger of sickness, or of a condemning 
sentence from the judge, be glad when the fear of death is 
over; how glad should you be to be safe from the great dan- 
ger of damnation ? And till you are sanctified by grace, 
you are far from safety. 

2. And if a man's sickness, pain or distraction be a ca- 
lamity, the cure of which brings ease and joy ; how much 
more ease and joy may it bring, to be cured of all the grie- 
vous maladies of reigning sin? Sanctification will cure 
your minds of spiritual blindness and madness, that is, of 
damnable ignorance, unbelief and error. It will cure your 
affections of idolatrous, distracting and carnal love; of the 
itch of fleshly desires or lusts, of the fever of revengeful 
passions, and malignant hatred to goodness and good men, 
of self-vexing envy and malice against others, of the greedy 
worm of covetousness, and the drunken desire of ambitious 
and imperious minds. It will cure your wills of their fleshly 
servitude and bias, and of that mortal backwardness to God 
and holy things, and that sluggish dulness and loathness to 


choose and do what you are convinced must be done. It 
will make good things easy and pleasant to you ; so that 
you will no more think you have need to beg mirth from the 
devil or to steal it from sin, — as if God, grace and glory had 
none for you. But it will be so easy to you to love and to 
find pleasure in the Bible and good books, in good company 
and good discourse, in spiritual meditations and thoughts, 
in holy sermons, prayers, and church-communion and sacra- 
ments, even in Christ, in God, and the forethoughts of hea- 
ven, that you will be sorry and ashamed to think that ever 
you forsook such joys for fleshly pleasure, and defiled your 
souls with filthy and forbidden things. Is not the feverish and 
dropsical thirst after drink, wealth and honour, better cured, 
than pleased to the sinner's death? And is not a lazy back- 
wardness to duty, better cured by spiritual health, than 
pleased with idleness and sleep ? 

3. You certainly cannot too soon attain the delights of 
faith, hope and love, of holy knowledge and communion 
with God and saints. You cannot too soon have the great 
blessing of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ; 
and live night and day in peace of conscience, — in assurance 
that all your sins are pardoned, and that you are the adopted 
sons of God and heirs of heaven, sealed by his Spirit, ac- 
cepted in your prayers, welcome to God through Christ, and 
that when you die you shall be with him. Can you make 
too great haste from the folly and filth of sin, and the danger 
of hell, into so safe and good a state as this ? 

4. It will be a great comfort to you thus to find, on ar- 
riving at age and the use of your reason, that your baptismal 
blessings ceased not with your infancy by your own rejec- 
tion, but that you are now by your own consent in the bond 
of God's covenant, and have a right to all the blessings of 
it, which the sacrament of Christ's body and blood will con- 
firm ; as you had your entrance by your parents' consent 
and accepted dedication : for the covenant of grace is our 
certain charter for grace and glory. 

5. Is it not a joy to you to be the joy of your parents, 
and to find them love you not only as their children, but as 
God's ? Love maketh it sweet to us to please, and to be 
beloved by those whom we love. If it be not your grief to 
grieve your parents, and your pleasure to please them, you 
love them not, but are void of natural affection. 


6. O what a mercy will you find it, when you come to 
age and business in the world! (1.) That you come with a 
clear conscience, not clogged, terrified and shamed with the 
sins of your youth. (2.) And that you come not utterly un- 
furnished with the knowledge, righteousness and virtue, of 
which you must make use in every condition, all your lives; 
when others are like those lads who will go to the Universi- 
ties before they can so much as read or write. To live in a 
family of your own, and to trade and converse in the world, 
and especially to go to church, to hear, to pray, to commu- 
nicate, to pray in private, to meditate, in a word, to live or 
die like a Christian or a man, and yet without the furniture 
of wisdom, faith, and serious godliness, — is more impossible 
and unwise than to go to sea without provision, or to war 
without arms, or to become a priest without book or under- 

7. Secondly. And you that are young men, can scarcely 
conceive what a joy a wise and godly child is to his wise 
and godly parents ! Read but Prov. x. 1 ; xiii. 1 ; xvii. 2. 
25; xix. 13. 26; xxii.ll; xxiii. 15. 19. 24. &c. The prayers 
and instructions of your parents are comfortable to them, 
when they see the happy fruit and answer. They fear not 
God's judgments upon their houses, as they would do if you 
were Cains, or Hams, or Absaloms: they labour comfortably., 
and comfortably leave you their estates at death, when they 
see that they do not get and leave it for those that will serve 
the devil with it, and consume it on their lusts ; but who 
will use it for God, for the Gospel, and their salvation. If 
you fall sick and die before them, they can rejoice that you 
are gone to Christ ; and they need not mourn as David for 
Absalom, that you go to hell. If you overlive them, they 
leave the world the more easily, when they leave as it were 
part of themselves here behind them, who will carry on the 
work of God for which they lived, and will be blessings to 
the world when they are gone. 

8. Thirdly. O what a mercy is it to church and state, 
to have our posterity to prove better than we have been, 
and do God more service than we have done, and take warn- 
ing bv our faults to avoid the like ! Solomon tells us of one 
poor wise man that saved a city : and God would have spared 
Sodom, had there been but ten righteous persons in it. 
Wherever yet I lived, a few persons have proved the great 


blessings of the place, — to be teachers, guides and exem- 
plary to others, as the little leaven that leaveneth the lump, 
and as the stomach, the liver, and other nutritive parts are 
to the body. Blessed is that church, that city, that country, 
that kingdom, which hath a wise, just and holy people ! The 
nearest good and evil are the greatest : our estates are not 
so near us as wives and children, nor they so near us as our 
bodies, nor they so much to us as our souls. It is more to 
a person, house, or country, what they are, than what they 
have, or what others do for them or against them. 

It is these that are God's children as well as ours, who 
are the blessing so often mentioned in the Scripture, who 
will, as the Rechabites, obey their father's wholesome coun- 
sels, rather than their lusts and carnal companions, and God 
before all : — " Who walk not in the counsel of the ungodly, 
nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the 
scornful. But their delight is in the law of the Lord, and in 
that law they meditate day and night." (Psal. i.) " Lo, such 
children are an heritage of the Lord ; such fruit of the womb 
is his reward. They are as arrows in the hand of a mighty 
man. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. 
They shall not be ashamed ; but they shall speak with the 
enemies in the gate." (Psal. cxxvii. 3 — 5.) Were it not for 
wise and godly children to succeed us, religion, peace, and 
all public good, would be but as we frail mortals are, — like 
the grass or flowers of a few days' or years' continuance ; 
and the difference between a church and no church, between 
a kingdom of Christians and of Infidels, would be but like 
the difference between our waking and our sleeping time, so 
short as would make it the less considerable. 


Undeniable Reasons for the Repentance and speedy Amendment 
of those that have lived a fleshly and ungodly Life : by 
way of Exhortation. 

1. And now the commands of God, the love of my country 
and the church, the love of piety, true prosperity and peace, 
and the love of mankind, even of your own souls and bo- 


dies, do all command me to become once more an earnest 
suitor to the youth of this land, especially of London, who 
have hitherto miscarried, and lived a fleshly, sinful life. 
Thousands such as you are dead in sin, and past our warn- 
ing, and past all hope and help for ever. Thousands that 
laughed at judgment and damnation, are now feeling that 
which they would not believe. By the great mercy of God 
it is not yet the case of you who read these words ; but how 
soon it may be, if you are yet unsanctihed, you little know. 
O that you knew what a mercy it is to be yet alive, and, 
after so many sins and dangers, to have one to warn you, 
and offer you salvation, and to be yet in possibility, and in 
a state of hope ! In the name of Christ I most earnestly 
entreat you, a little while try to use your reason, and use it 
seriously in retired and sober consideration, till you have 
first well perused the whole course of your lives, and remem- 
bered what you have done and how, till you have thought 
what you have got or lost by sinning, and why you did it, 
and whether it was justifiable reason which led you to it, 
and such as you will stand to in your sober thoughts, yea, 
such as you will stand to before God at last. Consider se- 
riously what comes next, and whither you are going, and 
whether your life have fitted you for your journey's end, and 
how your ways will be reviewed ere long, and how they will 
appear to you, and taste at death, judgment, and in the world 
to come. Hold on and think soberly a little while, what is 
in your hearts, and what is their condition, what you most 
love, and what you hate, and whether God or sinful pleasure 
be dearer and more delightful to you, and how you stand 
affected and related to the world to which you are very near. 
Surely reason would be reason if you would but use it ; 
surely light would come in, if you would not shut the win- 
dows, and draw the curtains on you, and rather choose to 
sleep in darkness. Is there nothing within you that grudg- 
eth at your folly, and threateneth you for being wilfully be- 
side yourselves? If you would but spend one half hour in 
a day, or a week, in sober thinking whither you are going, 
what you have done, what you are, and what you must 
shortly see and be ; how could you choose but be deeply 
offended with yourselves, for living like men quite void of 
understanding, against your God, againstyourselves, against 
all the ends and obligations of life, and this for nothing ? 


But, it may be, the distinctness of your consideration 
may make it the more effectual : and if I put my motives by 
way of questions, will you consider them till you have well 
answered them all ? 

1. Are you not fully convinced, that there is a God of 
infinite power, knowledge and goodness, who is the perfect 
governor of all the world ? God forbid that any of you should 
be so bad and so mad, as seriously to doubt of this, which 
the devils believe, while they would draw you to unbelief. 
To doubt of a perfect governing God, is to wink and doubt 
whether there be a sun, to stop your ears against the noto- 
rious testimony of heaven and earth, and every creature. You 
may next doubt whether there be any thing, if you doubt of 
God. For atoms and shadows are hardly perceived with 
more certainty, than the earth, the heavens, and sun. 

2. If you believe that there is a governing God, do you 
not believe that he hath governing laws or notifications of 
his will, and that we owe this God more full, more absolute 
and exact obedience than can be due to any prince on earth, 
and greater love than to our dearest friend, He being infi- 
nitely good and love itself? Can you owe more to your 
flesh, or to any, than to your God that made you men, by 
whom you have life, and health, and time, and all the good 
that ever you received ? Can you give him too much love 
and obedience ? Or can you think that you need to fear 
being losers by him, and that your faithful duty should be 
in vain? 

3. Is it God that needeth you, or you that need him ? 
Can you give him any thing that he wants, or do you want 
what he hath to give ? Can you live an hour without him ? 
Or be kept without him from pain, misery or death ? Is it 
not for your own need, and your own good, that he requireth 
your service ? Do you know what his service is ? It is 
thankfully to receive his greatest gifts, to take his medicines 
to save your souls, and to feast on his prepared comforts. 
He calls you to far better and more needful obedience for 
yourselves, than when you command your child to take his 
meat, to wear his clothes, or, when he is sick, to take a ne- 
cessary remedy. And is such obedience to be refused ? 

4. Hath not nature taught you to love yourselves ? 
Surely you cannot be willing to be damned, nor be iadiffe- 


rent whether you go to heaven or hell ! And can you be- 
lieve, that God would set you on that which would do you 
hurt, and that the devil is your friend and would save you 
from him? Can you believe that to please your throat and 
lust, till death snatch away your souls to judgment, is more 
for your own good than to live here in holiness and the love 
of God, and hereafter to live for ever in glory ? Do you 
think you have lived as if you truly loved yourselves, or as 
self-destroyers ? All the devils in hell, or enemies on earth, 
could never have done so much against you, as, by your sen- 
suality, ungodliness and sloth, you have done against your- 
selves. O poor sinner, as ever thou wouldst have mercy 
from God in thy extremity, be entreated to shew some mercy 
on thyself ! 

5. Hath not nature deeply taught all the world, to make 
a oreat difference between virtue and vice, between moral 
good and evil? If the good and bad do not greatly differ, 
what makes all mankind, even the sons of pride, to be impa- 
tient of being called or accounted bad, and to love to be 
accounted wise and good ? How tenderly do most men bear 
a reproof, or to hear what they do amiss ? To be called ' a 
wicked man, a liar, a perjured man, a knave,' how ill is it 
taken by all mankind ? This certainly proveth that the con- 
science of the great difference between the good and the 
bad, is a common natural notice. And will not God make 
a greater difference, who better knoweth it than man? 

6. If God had only commanded you duty, even a holy, 
righteous, and sober life, and forbidden you the contrary, 
and had only bidden you to seek everlasting happiness, and 
made you no promise of it, should you not in reason seek it 
cheerfully in hope ? Our folly leadeth us to do much in 
vain ; but God setteth no man on any vain employment. If 
he do but bid you to resist temptation, mortify lust, learn 
his word, to pray to him, and to praise him, you may be 
sure it is not to your loss. Of a reward you may be sure, if 
you know not what it will be. Yea, if he set you upon the 
hardest work, or to pass the greatest danger, to serve him 
at the dearest rate, or lose your estate for him, and life 
itself, what reason can there be for fear of being losers by 
obeying God? Yea, the dearest service hath the greatest 
reward. But when he hath moreover ascertained your reward 


by a promise, a covenant sworn and sealed by his miracles, 
by Christ's blood, by his sacraments, and by his Spirit, if 
yet you will be ungodly because you cannot trust him, 
you have no excuse. 

7. Do you know the difference between a man and a 
brute? Brutes have no capacity to think of a God, a Sa- 
viour, and a life to come, to know God's law, study obedi- 
ence, and to fear hell and sin. Brutes have no reason to 
rule their appetites and lusts, nor any hope or joy in fore- 
seen glory. But man is made capable of all this : and can 
you think God maketh such noble faculties in vain? Or 
should we live like the brutes that have no such faculties ? 

8. Do you not certainly know, that you must die ? All 
the world cannothinder it : you must die. And is it not 
near, as well as sure ? How swift is time ! O how quickly 
shall we all be at the end of our race and warfare ! And 
where then is the pleasure of pride, of appetite and lust? 
Neither the dismal carcase, nor the dust or bones retain or 
taste it : and (alas !) the unconverted soul must pay for it for 
ever. Can you think that so short a brutish pleasure, that 
hath so sure and sad an end, is worthy of your incurring the 
grieving of your friends, the offending of God, the hazard of 
your souls, the loss of heaven, and the suffering of God's 
justice in hell for ever? O foolish sinners! I beseech you 
think in time how mad a bargain you are making. O what 
an exchange ! for a filthy lust or fleshly pleasure, to sell a 
God, a Saviour, a Comforter, a soul, a heaven, and all your 
hopes ! 

9. If the devil or deceivers should make you doubt whe- 
ther there be any judgment and life to come, should not the 
mere possibility and probability of such a day and such a 
life be far more regarded by you than all fleshly pleasure, 
which is certainly short and base? Did you ever hear a man 
so mad as to say, ' I am sure there is no heaven or hell for 
souls?' But you are sure that your flesh must rot in a dark 
grave ; you are sure that death will quickly put an end to all 
that this world can afford you. House and land, and all 
that now deceive poor worldlings, will be nothing to you, 
(no more than if you had never seen them,) save the terrible 
reckoning that the soul must make. Sport and mirth, meat 
and drink, and filthy lusts, are all ready to leave you to the 
final sentence of your Judge. And is not even an uncertain 


hope of heaven more worth than certain transitory vanity ? 
Is not an uncertain hell to be more feared and avoided, than 
the forsaking of these certain trifles and deceits? Much 
more when God hath so certainly revealed to us the life to 
come ! 

10. Is it a wise and reasonable expectation, that the 
righteous God should give that man everlasting glory who 
will not leave his whores, his drunkenness, or the basest 
vanity, for all his love and for all his mercies, for the sake 
of Christ or for the hopes of all this glory ? Heaven is the 
greatest reward of holiness, and of the diligent and patient 
seekers of it : heaven is the greatest gift of the great love of 
God : and can you believe that he will give it to the slaves 
of the devil, and to contemning wilful rebels ? May not you 
next think, that the devils may be saved? If you say that 
" God is merciful," it is most true ; and this will be the 
unconverted man's damnation, — that he would for a base lust 
offend so merciful a God, and sell everlasting mercy for 
nothing, and abuse so much mercy all his life. Abused and 
refused mercy will be the fuel to feed the flames of hell, and 
torment the conscience of the impenitent for ever. Doth 
not God know his own mercy better than you do ? Can he 
not be merciful, and yet be holy and just? Is the king un- 
merciful, if he make use of jails and gallows for malefactors? 
It is mercy to the land to destroy such as would destroy 
others. The bosom of Eternal Love is not a place for any 
but the holy. The heavenly paradise is not like Mahomet's, 
— a place of lust and sensual delights. You blaspheme the 
most just and holy God, if you make him seem indifferent to 
the holy and the unholy, to his faithful servants and to the 
despisers of his grace. 

11. If there were any possibility, that unsanctified souls 
should be sanctified and saved in another world, is it not a 
madness to cast everlasting life on so great an uncertainty 
or improbability, when we have life, and time, and helps to 
make our salvation sure? God hath called you to " give all 
diligence to make it sure." (2 Peter i. 10.) He hath made 
infallible promises of it to sanctified believers : he calleth 
you to examine and judge yourselves. (2 Cor. xiii. 5.) And 
do you know the difference between certainty and un- 
certainty in so great a case? O none can now sufficiently 
conceive what a difference there is, between a soul that is 


going out of the body with a joyful assurance that Christ 
will presently receive him, and a soul that, in the guilt of 
sin, must say, ' I am going to an endless life, and know not 
but it may be an endless misery ! I am here now, and know 
not but I maybe presently with devils that here deceived me.' 
Just fear of passing presently to hell-fire, is a dreadful case, 
to be avoided above all earthly sufferings. (Luke xii. 4 ; 
xiv. 33.) Much more when God's threatenings to the impeni- 
tent are most sure. 

12. Do you think in your hearts that you have more 
pleasure, sound content and peace, with your whores, and in 
your sports, drink, or riches, than true believers have in God 
and Christ, in a holy life and the hopes of everlasting glory? 
Judge but by the cause ; is not the love of that God who is 
the Lord of life, and death, and all things ; and is not the 
pleasure of pleasing him, and the sense of pardon and mercy 
through Christ, and the firm expectation of endless joy by 
a promise of God sealed by his Son, by his sacraments, and 
Spirit ; — I say, is not all this, matter more worthy to rejoice 
a soul, than money, and meat, and drink, and lust? Have 
not you those secret gripes of conscience, when you think 
how short the sport will be, and that for all these things you 
must come to judgment, — which much abateth the pleasure 
of your sin? Had you spent that time in seeking first the 
kingdom of God and its righteousness, and in honest, obedi- 
ent labouring in your callings, you need not have looked 
back on it with the gripes of an accusing conscience. If 
you see a true believer sorrowful, it is not for serving and 
obeying God, or for being holy and hating sin; but for serv- 
ing God no better, and hating sin no more. 

13. Have you not often secret wishes in your hearts, that 
you were in the case of those persons whom you judge to be 
of the most holy and heavenly hearts and conversations ? Do 
you not think they are in a far safer and better case than you? 
Unless you are forsaken to blindness of mind, it is certainly 
so. Doth not this shew that you choose and follow that 
which is worse, when your consciences tell you it is worse, 
and refuse that which your consciences tell you is best? 
But it is not such sluggish wishes that will serve: to lie still 
and live idle, and to wish yourselves as rich as the industri- 
ous, is not the way to make you so. 

14. At least, if you have no such wishes now, do you not 


think that you shall wish it at death or judgment ? Do not 
your consciences now tell you that you shall shortly wish, 
* O that I had hated sinful pleasure! O that I had spent 
my short life in obeying and trusting God !' Will you not 
say with Balaam, " Let me die the death of the righteous, 
and let my last end be like his?" O that I were in the case 
of those that mortified the flesh, and lived to God, and laid 
not up their treasure on earth, but in heaven? And why do 
you not now choose what you know you shall hereafter 
deeply wish that you had chosen? 

15. I take it for granted, that your merry, sensual, and 
worldly tempters and companions deride all this, and per- 
suade you to despise it, as if it were but needless, melan- 
choly, and troublesome talk. But tell me, do you think in 
conscience that what they give you is sound reason, and 
such as should satisfy a sober man, who careth what be- 
comes of his soul for ever? If it be, I make a motion to 
you. Bring any of them to me, or to any such man, and in 
your hearing let the case be soberly debated. I will hear 
all that they can say against a holy, sober life, and for the 
world and their fleshly pleasure, and you shall hear what I 
can say on the contrary : and then do but use the reason of 
a man and judge as you shall see the cause. As Elias said 
to the Israelites, " Why halt you between two opinions? If 
the Lord be God follow him ; if Baal be God, follow him." If 
money, preferment, drink, or lust be best, take it: But if God, 
heaven, Christ, faith, hope, and holiness be best, at your 
peril refuse them not, and halt no longer. I suppose you 
sometimes think of the case, or else you are dead in sin : [I 
pray you, then, tell me, or tell yourselves, Which cause 
seemethbest upon the deepest thoughts and consideration? 
But if you will take the laughter or scorns of ignorant sots, 
instead of reason, and instead of sober consideration, you 
are well worthy of the damnation which you so wilfully 

16. But if you think highly of their wit or learning, who 
sin as you, and who encourage and deceive you, I pray you 
answer these two questions. 

(1.) On which side is Christ, and his prophets and apos- 
tles? For which side doth the Scripture speak ? Which 
way went all the saints whose names are now honoured ? 
Were they for the fleshly or the spiritual life ? Were they 


for the love of pleasures more than for the love of God? 
Doth Christ from heaven teach you an earthly or a heavenly 
choice and life? Did he come to cherish sin, or to destroy 
it and save us from it? You can make no doubt of this, if 
ever you read or heard the Bible. And 

(2.) Which do you think were the wiser and better men, 
and worthy to be believed and followed — Christ, and all his 
apostles and saints, that ever were in the world, to this day, 
— or the drunkards, whoremongers and worldlings, who de- 
ride the doctrine sent from heaven? If there be a heaven, is 
drunkenness or sobriety more likely to be the way to it? 
But if indeed you will take the mocks of a swinish sot to be 
wiser than God, than Christ, than prophets and apostles, 
and all that ever went to heaven, and their jeers to be more 
credible than all God's word, what can a man say, with any 
hope, to convince such wretches? 

17. I further ask you, Have you not some secret pur- 
poses hereafter to repent? If not, (alas!) how far are you 
from it, and how forlorn is your case ! But if you have, con- 
science is a witness against you, that you choose and live 
in that case and course which you know is worst. Were it 
not worst, you need not purpose to repent of it. And will 
you wilfully choose known evil, when the very nature of 
man's will is to love good ? 

18. If you believe that the faithful are in a happier case 
than you, tell me, What hindereth yet but that you may be 
like them, and may yet be happy as well as they? Hath 
God put any exception against you in his Word ? Are not 
mercy and salvation proclaimed and offered to you, as 
freely as to them? Did any thing make you so bad as you 
are, but your own choice and doing? And can any thino- 
yet hinder you from pardon and salvation, if you yourselves 
were but truly willing? What, if your parents were bad, 
and bred you up amiss! God hath told you, in Ezek. xviii. 
and xxxiii, that if you will but do your own part yet, and 
take warning and avoid the sin of your parents and give up 
yourselves unfeignedly to him, he will save you, whatever 
your parents were. What, if princes, or lords, or learned 
men should be your tempters, by words or example ! 
None of them can force you to one sin. God is greater and 
wiser than they, and more to be believed and obeyed ; and 

vol. xv. z 


your salvation is not in the power of any of them. What, 
if your old companions tempt you! They can but tempt 
you ; they cannot constrain you to any evil. All the de- 
vils in hell, or men on earth, cannot damn you ; no, nor 
make you sinners, if you do it not your ownselves. Refuse 
not Christ, and he will not refuse you. And when he is 
willing, if you be but willing, — truly willing to be saved 
from sin and misery, and to have Christ, grace, and glory in 
the use of the means which God hath appointed you, — nei- 
ther earth nor hell can hinder your salvation. Who, but 
yourselves, now keep you from forsaking the company, the 
house, or the baits which have deceived you? Who, but 
yourselves, keep you from lamenting your sin and flying to 
Christ, from begging mercy and giving yourselves to God? 
If you think that serious Christians are the happiest persons 
in the world, refuse not to be such yourselves. It will be 
your own doing, your own wilful obstinacy, if you perish. 
But of this I have already said more in my " Call to the 

19. Dare you deliberately resolve or bargain to take your 
fleshly pleasures for your part, instead of all your hopes of 
heaven? I hope none of you are yet so mad. I think it is 
but few (if any) of the witches that make so express a bar- 
gain with the devil. If they did, O how they would tremble 
when they see their glass almost run out, and death at hand ! 
If you dare not make such a bargain in plain words, O do 
not do the same in the choice of your hearts, and in the 
practice of your lives, deceiving yourselves by thinking that 
you do it not, when you do. It is God (and not you) that 
maketh the conditions of salvation and damnation. If you 
choose that life which, God hath told us, is the condition of 
damnation, and if you finally refuse that life which God hath 
made the condition of salvation, it will in effect be all the 
same as to choose damnation and to refuse salvation. He 
that chooseth deadly poison, or refuseth his necessary food, 
in effect chooseth death, and refuseth life. God hath said, 
" If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if, by the Spirit, ye 
mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live." (Rom. viii.) 
Christ tells you, that, unless you are born again and con- 
verted, you cannot enter into his kingdom; (John iii. 3, 5; 
Matt, xviii. 3 ;) and that "without holiness none shall see 


God." Refuse these and choose the world and sinful plea- 
sures, and you refuse salvation, and shall have no better 
than you choose. What you judge best, choose resolvedly; 
and do not cheat yourselves. 

20. Have you no natural love to your parents, or your 
country? O what inhuman cruelty it is, to break the hearts 
of those from whom you had your being, and who were ten- 
der of you when you could not help yourselves ! Doubtless, 
one reason why God hath put so strong a love in parents to 
their children, and made your birth and breeding so costly 
to your mother, and made the milk which is formed in her 
own body to be the first nourishment of your lives, is, to 
oblige you to answerable love and obedience. And if, after 
all this, you prove worse than brutes, and become the grief 
of the souls of those who thus bred, and loved, and nourished 
you, do you think God will not at last make this far sadder 
to you, than ever it was to them? If cruelty to an enemy 
(much more to a stranger, to a neighbour, to a friend !) be so 
hateful to the God of love that it goeth not unrevenged, O 
what will unnatural cruelty to parents bring upon you ! Yea, 
even in this life, as honouring father and mother hath a spe- 
cial promise of prosperity and long life, so dishonouring and 
grieving parents is usually punished with some notable ca- 
lamity, as a forerunner of the great revenge hereaftex - . 

You cannot but perceive that such as live in sensuality, 
lust, and wickedness, are the great troublers of church and 
state. God himself hath said it, "There is no peace to the 
wicked." (Isa. xlviii. 22.) " For the wicked are like the trou- 
bled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and 
dirt: there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. The 
way of peace they knew not; there is no judgment in their 
goings ; they have made them crooked paths ; whosoever 
goeth therein shall not know peace." (Isa. lix. 8.) They give 
no peace to others, and God will deny peace to themselves. 
Yea, the nature of their own sin denieth it to them, as bro- 
ken bones and griping sickness deny ease to the body. And 
can you think that you shall become the shame of the church 
and the troublers of the land, and that God will not trou- 
ble you for it? If you will be enemies of God and of your 
country, you will prove the sorest enemies to yourselves. 

Who is the gainer by all this ? No one in the world ; un- 
less you will call it the ' devil's gain/ to have his malicious, 


cruel will fulfilled. And surely to please the devil and a 
fleshly lust, fancy or appetite, can never compensate all your 
losses, nor comfort you under the sufferings which you wil- 
fully bring upon yourselves. 

Young men, the reason I thus deal with you by way of 
question is, that I may, if possible, engage your own thoughts 
in answering them. For I find most are aptest to learn of 
themselves : and indeed, without yourselves and your own 
serious thoughts, we cannot help you to true understanding. 
He that readeth the wisest lecture to boys or men who take 
no heed to what is said, yea, or who will not make it their 
own study to understand and remember, doth but cast away 
his labour. It is a hard thing to save any man from himself; 
but there is no saving any man without himself; without his 
own consent and labour. If you will but now take these 
twenty questions into your serious thoughts in secret, and 
consider them till you can give them such an answer as rea- 
son should allow, and as you will stand to before God when 
the mouth of all iniquity shall be stopped, I should not 
doubt but you will reap the benefit. 

O what should a man do, who pitieth blind and wilful 
sinners, to make them willing and desirous of their own re- 
covery ! At this point all stops. And must it stop at this? 
Are you not willing? And will you not so much as consider 
the reasons that should make you willing, when heaven or 
hell must be the consequence? O what a thing is a blind 
mind, and a dead and hardened heart ! What a befooling 
thing is fleshly lust! O what need had mankind of a Savi- 
our ! And what need have all of a Sanctifier, and of his holy 
word, and of all the holy means of grace ! 

Poor sinners ! O let not the counsel and tears of your 
teachers be brought in as witnesses against you to your con- 
demnation ! O add not this to all their griefs, that their 
counsel and their sorrows must sink you the more deeply 
into hell ! Alas, it were sadness enough to them to see that 
it is all vain ! Let not this counsel of mine to you be rejected 
to the increase of your guilt and misery : if it do you no 
good, it will leave you worse. Were I present with you, I 
should not think it too much, would that prevail, to kneel 
down to you, and beg that you would but well consider your 
own case and ways, and think before of what will follow, 
and that you would study a wise and satisfactory answer to 


the questions put to you till you are resolved. Your case is 
not desperate ; mercy is yet offered to you ; the day of grace 
is not yet past ; God is not unwilling to receive you ; Christ is 
not unwilling to be your Saviour, if you consent. No diffi- 
culty in the world maketh us afraid of your damnation, but 
your own foolish choice and your wicked wills. Our care 
is neither to make God merciful, to make Christ's merits 
and sacrifice sufficient, nor to get God to promise you par- 
don if you repent and come to him by Christ : all this is 
done already. But that which is undone, is, to make you 
considerate and truly willing, and to live as those that in- 
deed are willing to let go the poisonous pleasures of sin, to 
take God and heaven for your hope and portion, and to be 
saved and ruled by Christ and sanctified by his Spirit, and 
to receive his daily help and mercies to this end, in the use 
of his appointed means; and, without this, you are undone 
for ever. And is there any hurt in all this ? If there were, is 
it worse than the filth of sin, and the plagues that follow 
here and for ever? Worthy is he to hear at last, " Depart 
from me, thou worker of iniquity," and to be thrust away 
from the hopes of heaven, who, after all that can be said and 
done, chooseth sin as more desirable than this God, this Sa- 
viour, this Sanctifier, and this glory. 


General Directions to the willing. 

Though the blindness and obstinacy of fleshly sinners too 
often frustrate great endeavours, yet we may well hope that 
the prayers and tears of parents, and the calls of God, may 
prevail with many ; and I may hope, that some that have 
read what is before written, will say, * We are willing to 
hear and learn that we may be saved : tell us what it is that 
we must do.' And on that hope, I shall give such miscar- 
rying youth some general advice, as well as some counsel 
about their particular cases, and all as briefly as I am able. 
O that the Lord would make you who read this, to be truly 
willing to practise these ten directions following ! How 
happy may you yet be ! 

1. Set your understandings seriously and diligently to 


the work for which they are made, and consider well what 
is your interest and your duty, till you come to a fixed re- 
solution as to what is for your good, and what is for your 
hurt, and what that good or hurt will be. 

Should it be a hard thing to persuade a man in his wits 
to love himself, and to think what is good or hurtful to him- 
self, especially for everlasting? Why are you men, if you 
will live like dogs ? What do you with understandings, if 
you will not use them? For what will you use them, if not 
for your own good and to avoid misery? What good will 
you desire, if not everlasting joy and glory? And what hurt 
will you avoid, if not hell-fire ? Have you reason, and can you 
live as if these were not worth the thinking on? Will you bes- 
tow your thoughts all the day and year upon you know not 
what nor why, and not one hour soberly think of such impor- 
tant things as these? O sirs ! will you go out of the world be- 
fore you well think whither you must go? Will you appear 
before the Judge of souls, to give up your great account be- 
fore you think of it, and how it must be done ? Is he wor- 
thy of the help of grace, that will not use his natural rea- 
son ? I beg it of you, as ever you care what becomes of you 
for ever, that you will some time alone set yourselves for one 
hour seriously to think, who made you, and why; what you 
owe him ; how much you depend on him ; what you have 
done against him ; how you have spent your time ; in what 
case your souls are ; what Christ hath done for you ; and 
what he is or would be to you ; whether you are sanctified 
and forgiven ; what God's Spirit must do for you ; and what 
you must be and do, if you will be saved ; and if it be other- 
wise, whither it is that you must go. 

2. Therefore I next advise and entreat you, that you live 
not as at a great distance from eternity, foolishly flattering 
yourselves with the deceitful promises of long life : and 
were it sure to be an hundred years, remember how quickly 
and certainly they will end. Oh ! time is nothing ! there- 
fore think of nothing in this world as separated from the 
world to come. Whatever you are doing, or saying, or 
thinking, the boat is hastening to the gulf. You are post- 
ing to death and judgment : which way soever you go, by 
wealth or poverty, health or sickness, busy or idle, single or 
married, you are going still to the grave and to eternity. 
Judge then of every thing as it tendeth to that end : and 


think of nothing as not related, as a means, to the near and 
everlasting end. O choose and do what reason and con- 
science tell you, that you will at last earnestly wish you had 
chosen and done ! When you are tempted to be prayerless 
and averse to good, or to run to lust or sinful pleasure, ask 
yourselves seriously, ' How will this look in the final review? 
What shall I think of this at last ? Will it be my comfort, 
or my torment V O judge now as you will judge at last. 

3. My third counsel is, If your consciences tell you that 
you have foolishly sinned against God and your salvation, 
make not light of it; but, presently and openly, go to your 
parents or masters and penitently confess your sinful life 
generally, and your known and open sins in particular. But 
such secret sins as wronged not them and will blast your 
reputation, you are not bound to confess openly, unless 
the ease or future direction of your doubtful and troubled 
consciences require it. But when your vicious fleshly life 
is known, excuse it not, hide not the evil by lies or extenua- 
tion. When you have wronged your parents or masters by 
disobedience, and by robbing them of part of your time and 
service, if not also of their money or goods, go to them with 
sorrow and shame, and confess how foolishly you have 
served the flesh, to the injury of them, and to the offending 
of God, and to the unspeakable hurt of your own souls. La- 
ment your sin, ask them forgiveness, entreat their prayers, 
and their careful government of you for the time to come, 
and sincerely promise reformation and obedience. 

Yea, if you have had familiar companions in your sin, 
go to them, and tell them, ' God and reason have convinced 
me of my sinful folly, who have for brutish and fleshly plea- 
sure wilfully broken the laws of my Creator and Redeemer, 
and, for nothing, undone and lost my soul, if Christ do not 
recover me by sound repentance. O how madly have we 
despised our salvation! How easily might we have known, 
had we but searched and considered the word of God, that 
we were displeasing God, undoing ourselves, and making- 
work for future sorrows ! Should I, when I know this and 
when I know that I am going to death and judgment, yet 
obstinately go on and be a hardened rebel against Christ 
and grace, what can I expect but to be forsaken of God and 
lost for ever? O therefore, as we have sinned together, let 
us repent together ! You have been a snare to inu, and I to 


you. We have been agents of the devil, to draw each other 
to sin and misery : certainly all this must sooner or later be 
repented of. O let us join together in sorrow, reformation, 
and a holy and obedient life. If you will not consent, I here 
declare to you before God, (for I know that he seeth and 
heareth me,) that I will be your companion in sin no more. 
I beg pardon for tempting you. I resolve by God's grace to 
prefer my salvation, and my obedience to God, before a base 
and beastly pleasure. Whatever you say against it, I will 
never more forsake my salvation to follow you, nor ever take 
you to be wiser than God, or better friends to me than my 
Saviour ; neither will I consider your words more to be 
regarded than God's word, nor a merry cup or vanity, 
to be better than heaven, nor temperance and holiness to be 
worse than hell. If you will not be undeceived with me, I 
will pray for you ; but I renounce your sinful company, and 
my warning will be a witness against you to your confusion.' 

Hesitate not at the scorn of fools, nor at the shame of 
such repentance and confession : it may profit others. But, 
however, it is no more than, in hope, you owe them whom 
you have wronged and endangered by sin. And it will lay 
some new obligation on yourselves to amend, by doing what 
you have so professed : and surely conscience and shame 
will somewhat the more hinder you from ever more joining 
with them in the sin which you have so bewailed and re- 
nounced. Think not this too much, for there is no jesting 
with God, and with everlasting joy or misery. 

4. My next counsel is, Presently, understandingly, and 
considerately, renew the covenant which you made in bap- 
tism with God your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. 

Consider whether to be a Christian is not necessary to 
your salvation ; and then consider what it is to be a Chris- 
tian, and whether it be not a far higher thing, than merely 
to take that name upon you, be of that party, to join with 
the right church, and to have the bare words and picture of 
believers; and then consider whether God will be mocked 
with shows and ceremonies, dead formalities, and false pro- 
fessions ; and whether the lifeless carcase or image of Chris- 
tianity will be taken by God instead of the life and power 
of it, and will ever save a soul. Yea, consider whether a 
false, counterfeit Christian, bred up under Christian instruc- 
tions and examples, does not make your guilt far greater. 


and your case more miserable than Americans or Indians 
who never heard what you have heard. When perhaps you 
have spoken against hypocrites yourselves, consider whether 
there be any more notorious hypocrites than such as you, 
who say you are Christians, and yet live to the flesh in the 
odious sins which Christ abhorreth. Think what a dreadful 
thing it is, to profess a religion which condemneth you, and 
to repeat that creed which you believe not, and those peti- 
tions in the LordVprayer which you desire not, and those 
commandments which you break and which will condemn 
you! — To rebel against God, while you say you believe in 
him; to despise Christ's government, while you say you 
trust him for salvation ; to ask for his grace, when you would 
not have it to sanctify you and to save you from sin ; to 
beg mercy of God, and to reject this mercy, and to have no 
mercy on yourselves ! O think what a doleful case it is to 
see distracted sinners such hypocrites, playing with such 
contradictions so near God's bar and in his sight ; and to 
make no better use of prayers and the name of Christians, 
and the profession of the truth, than to give the devil more 
matter to accuse you, and conscience to torment you, and a 
righteous God to say to you at last, ' Out of thy own mouth 
will I judge thee, thou wicked rebel ! Didst thou not con- 
fess, that Jesus was the Christ, and that thou didst believe 
the Gospel and the life to come? and yet thou didst live in 
the wilful disobeying of Christ and the Gospel, and the base 
contempt of God and thy salvation.' 

And who have considered the sad case of hypocrites, 
that call themselves Christians to their own condemna- 
tion when they are none such, then think seriously what the 
covenant was which was made for you in your baptism, and 
which you have taken on you to own. Think what it is de- 
votedly to trust to God as your reconciled Father, and de- 
votedly to trust to Christ as your Saviour, your great Teacher, 
Governor, and Mediator with the Father ; what it is devot- 
edly to trust the Holy Spirit to illuminate, sanctify and 
quicken you in a holy life, and to strengthen and comfort 
you against all your trials and while you are under them. 
Consider what it is to take the flesh, the world, and the de- 
vil, (as they are against this holy life and heavenly hope,) 
for your enemies, and to enlist yourselves under Christ, in 
avowed war to the death against them. Think how you 


have perfidiously broken this covenant, on which all the 
hope of your salvation lieth. And then, if you dare not ut- 
terly renounce all that hope, presently and resolvedly renew 
this covenant. Lament your violation of it to God : do it, 
not only in a passion, but upon serious consideration make 
that choice and resolution which you dare stand to at a dy- 
ing hour, and on which you may believe that God for Christ's 
sake, will accept you, and forgive you. O think what a 
mercy it is to have a Saviour, who, after all your heiuous 
sins, will bring you reconciled as sons to God, for the merits 
of his sacrifice and righteousness, and by his powerful in- 
tercession ; and will send from heaven the Spirit of God in- 
to your hearts, to renew those blind, dead, carnal minds to 
God's holy image ; and will dwell in you and carry on your 
sanctification to the end ! Thankfully and joyfully accept 
this covenant and grace, and again give up yourselves to 
God, your Father, Saviour, and Sanctifier ! but be sure that 
you do it absolutely, without deceitful exceptions and re 
serves ; and that you do it resolvedly, and not only in a 
frightened mood ; and yet that you do it as in the strength 
of the grace of Christ, not trusting the steadfastness of your 
own deceitful, mutable hearts. When you can truly say, 
that you unfeignedly consent, and renew this covenant in 
your hearts, then go the next opportunity to the sacrament 
of the Lord's-supper, and there penitently and faithfully re- 
new it openly in the solemn way that Christ hath appointed 
you ; thankfully profess your trust in Christ, and receive a 
sealed pardon of your sins, and a title to everlasting life ; 
and settle your conversation in the communion of saints, as 
you hope to live with such for ever. 

5. Henceforward set yourselves, as the true scholars of 
Christ, to learn his doctrine ; as his true subjects, to know 
his laws ; as those that trust their souls into his hand, to 
understand and firmly believe his promises for this life and 
for that which is to come ; and as the blessed man, " to de- 
light in the law of the Lord, and meditate in it day and 
night." (Psal. i. 2, 3.) As you were wont to steal some 
hours from God and your masters, to go to the house of sin 
and death, so now get such hours as you lawfully can from 
your other employments and diversions, but especially on 
the Lord's-day ; get alone, beg mercy and grace from God, 
and set yourselves to read the Bible, and with it some cate- 


chisms, and some sound and serious treatises of divinity 
which are the most suitable to your state. 

It is young men who have miscarried, and who, being 
convinced, are willing to turn to God, whom I am now di- 
recting. And therefore supposing that you will ask me what 
books I would recommend to you, I will answer you ac- 
cordingly, supposing still that you prefer the Bible. 

(1.) For the full resolving of your hearts to a sound re- 
pentance and a holy life, read Joseph Alleine's book of 
" Conversion," Richard Alleine's " Vindication of Godliness/' 
and their book of " Covenanting with God," and " The Be- 
liever's Victory over the World," Mr. Whateley's "New 
Birth •" and some of the old sermons of Repentance, such as 
Mr. Stock's, Mr. Perkins', Mr. Dikes's, and Mr. Marbury's; 
Bunny's " Correction of Parson's Book for Resolution," 
John Rogers's " Doctrine of Faith," and William Fenner's 
books ; Samuel Smith " On the first and the fifty-first 
Psalms," and his " Great Assize," and on " The Eunuch's 
Conversion;" Bifield's " Marrow," Mr. Howe's "Blessed- 
ness of the Righteous," and of " Delighting in God." 

And if you would have any of mine, read the " Call to 
the Unconverted," or the " Treatise of Conversion," and 
the " Directions for a Sound Conversion," and " Now or 
Never," and " A Saint or a Brute," or which of all these 
God's providence shall afford you. 

(2.) If you would have help to try your hearts lest they 
be deceived, read Alleine's foresaid " Book of the Covenant," 
and Pinkes's " Trial of Sincere Love to Christ." Many 
books of marks are extant, Bifield's, Rogers's, Harsnet's, 
Berries's, ike, and Mr. Chishull and Mr. Mead of being 
" Almost Christians." If you would have any of mine, read 
the " Right Method for Peace of Conscience," and " Di- 
rections for Weak Christians," in which are to be found the 
characters of the false, the weak, and the strong. 

(3.) For the daily government of heart and life, read the 
"Practice of Piety," Scudder's "Daily Walk," Mr. Reyner's 
" Directions," (three excellent books,) and Mr. Corbet's 
small " Private Thoughts." And if you would have any of 
mine, read my " Family Book," and "The Divine Life, the 
Life of Faith, or the Saint's Rest," and, for those that can 
great ones, " Christian Directory." 


(4.) And it will not be unuseful to read some profitable 
history, especially the Lives of exemplary persons, and the 
funeral sermons which characterize them. I have prefaced 
to two, which are eminently worth your reading, and most 
true, — both young men, — that is, " John Janeway's Life," 
and " Joseph Alleine's Life and Christian Letters ;** and I 
have given you the true exemplary characters (in their fu- 
neral sermons) of Mr. Ashhurst, (an excellent pattern for ap- 
prentices and tradesmen,) Mr. Stubs, Mr. Corbet, Mr. Wads- 
worth, and of Mrs. Baker. Read Mr. Samuel Clark's "Lives," 
his " Martyrology," and his " Mirror," Dr. Beard's " Ex- 
amples," or " Fox's Book of Martyrs." Some Church-his- 
tory, the History of the Reformation from Popery, and the 
history of our own country, will be useful. 

(5.) As you grow up to more judgment, you may read 
methodical sums of divinity, especially Ames's " Marrow," 
and his " Cases of Conscience," (which are translated into 
English,) and Commentaries on the Scriptures by various 
excellent authors. 

Great store of all sorts of good books (through the great 
mercy of God) are common among us : he that cannot buy, 
may borrow. 

But take heed that you lose not your time in reading ro- 
mances, play-books, vain jests, seducing or reviling disputes, 
or needless controversies. 

This course of reading Scripture and good books will be 
many ways to your great advantage. 

(1.) It will, above all other ways, increase your knowledge. 

(2.) It will help your resolutions and holy affections, and 
direct your lives. 

(3.) It will make your lives pleasant. The knowledge, 
the usefulness, and the variety to be found in these works, 
will be a continual recreation to you, unless you are utterly 
besotted or debauched. 

(4.) The pleasure of this will turn you from your filthy, 
fleshly pleasure. You will have no need to go for delight 
to a play-house, a drinking-house, or to beastly lusts. 

(5.) It will keep you from the sinful loss of time, by 
idleness or unprofitable employment or pastimes. You will 
cast away cards and dice, when you find the sweetness of 
useful learning. 


But be sure that you choose the most useful and neces- 
sary subjects, and that you seek knowledge for the love of 
holiness and obedience. 

6. The sixth part of my advice is, forsake ill company ; 
and converse with such as will be helps to your knowledge, 
holiness, and obedience, and not such as will draw you to 
sin and misery. 

You have found by sad experience what power ill com- 
pany hath on fools ; with such persons a merry tale, a laugh, 
a jest, a scorn, a merry cup, and a bad example and persua- 
sion, do more than reason, or God's authority, or the love 
of their souls. A physician may go among the sick and 
mad to cure them ; and a wise man that seeth these will pity 
them, and hate sin the more. But what do you do there, 
where you have already caught the infection of their disease ? 
The mind of a man is known much by the company which he 
chooseth ; and if you choose ill, no wonder if you speed ill. 
" He that walketh with wise men shall be wise ; but a com- 
panion of fools shall be destroyed." (Prov. xiii. 20.) " Who- 
so keepeth the law is a wise son, but he that is a companion 
of riotous men shall shame his father." (Prov. xxviii. 7.) Da- 
vid saith " I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and 
of them that keep thy precepts." (Psalm cxix. 63.) "I 
have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dis-. 
semblers, I have hated the congregation of evil-doers, and 
will not sit with the wicked." (Psalm xxvi. 4, 5.) " Depart 
from me, ye evil-doers, for I will keep the commandments of 
my God." (Psalm cxix. 115.) 

7. Especially be sure that you run not wilfully upon 
temptation, but keep as far from every tempting bait and 
object as you can. Fire and gunpowder, or fire and straw 
must be kept at a sufficient distance. No man is long safe 
at the very brink of danger, especially if it be his own choice, 
and more especially if it be a sin to which his nature is much 
inclined. No wise man will trust corrupted nature very far, 
especially where he hath often fallen already. The best man 
that is, should live in fear when an enticing bait of sin is 
near him. If David, who prayed, " Turn away mine eyes 
from beholding vanity," had better practised it, O what a 
heinous sin had he escaped ! Had he " made a covenant with 
his eyes," as Job did, what wounds had he prevented ! The 
feast that you see not, the cup that is a mile ofF, the person 


that is far distant, the words which you hear not, are not 
those of which you are most in danger. But when tempt- 
ing meat and drink are before you, and the tempting person 
hath secret familiarity with you, and tempting or provoking 
words are at your ears, then (alas !) many have need of more 
grace, resolution, and mortification than they have. 

If you knew well what sin is, and what is the conse- 
quence, you would be more watchful and resolved against 
temptations than against thieves, fire, or the places infected 
by the plague. 

8. Make it the chief study of your lives to understand 
what man's everlasting hope is, to get a lively well-settled 
belief of it, to bring your souls to take it joyfully for your 
true felicity and end, and thence daily to fetch the powerful 
motives of your duty and your patience, and your content- 
ing comfort in life and at your death. 

(1.) The end is the life of all the means. If heavenly 
blessedness be not the chief end for which you live, hope, 
and labour in the world, your whole lives will be but carnal, 
vain, and the way to misery : for the means can be no better 
than the end. God, that is the beginning, is also our 
end; we are made and governed by him and for him. Hea- 
venly glory is the sight of his glory, and the everlasting per- 
fection and pleasure of joyful mutual love. 

But we are not the noblest creatures, next to God in ex- 
cellency and desert, yea, we are sinners who have deserved 
to be cast out from his love. And therefore, as in the way 
we must come to him by a Saviour, so as the blessed end 
we must enjoy him by a Mediator. And to see God's glory 
in Christ, and the heavenly Jerusalem, the blessed society 
of saints and angels, continually flaming in love, joy and 
praises to the most holy God, — this, this is the felicity for 
which we labour, suffer, and hope. 

(2.) And O how great and how needful a work it is, to 
search, study, and pray for so firm a belief of this unseen 
glory, as may so resolve, engage, and comfort us in some 
good measure, as if we had seen it with these eyes ! O what 
men would one hour's being in heaven make us, or one clear 
sight of it ! Faith hath a greater work to do than a dream- 
ing or dead opinion can perform. If it be first not well- 
grounded and well-exercised upon God's love, promise and 
glory from day to day, you will find cause sadly to lament 


the weakness of it. For this use you have great need of the 
help of such books, as open clearly the evident proofs of the 
Christian verity, which I have briefly done in the beginning 
of the second part of my " Life of Faith," and more largely 
in two other books, viz. " The Unreasonableness of Infide- 
lity," and " The Reasons of the Christian Religion." A firm 
belief of the world to come, is that which must make us 
serious Christians, and overcome the snares of worldly vanity. 
Your faith being well settled, set yourselves daily to use 
it, and live by it: dwell in the joyful hopes of the heavenly 
glory. What' is a man that liveth not in the use of reason? 
And you must know that you have as daily use for your 
faith, as for your reason. Without reason, you can neither 
safely eat nor drink ; nor converse with men as a man, but 
as a bedlamite ; nor do any business that concerneth you ; and 
therefore you must live by your reason. And without faith 
you can neither please God, nor obtain salvation, — no, nor use 
your reason for any thing higher than to serve your appetites 
and purvey for the flesh ; and therefore must " live by faith,' 
or live like beasts and worse than beasts, and cannot other- 
wise live to God, or in the hopes of blessedness hereafter. 
O consider that the difference between living chiefly upon 
and for an earthly and fleshly felicity, or a heavenly one, is 
the great difference between the holy and the unholy, and is 
the foregoer of the difference between those in heaven and 
those in hell. 

9. Still remember that the great means of all the good 
that here or hereafter you can expect, is the great Media- 
tor, the great Teacher, Ruler, and Intercessor for 
his people ; and therefore, out of him you can do nothing. 
All duty that you offer to God, must be by his mediation ; 
and so must all mercy which you receive from God. " To 
come to God by him, who is the way, the truth and the life," 
must be your daily work of faith. His blood must wash you 
from all past sin, and from the guilt of daily failings and in- 
firmities. None but he can effectually teach you to know 
God and yourselves, your duty and your everlasting hopes. 
None but he can render your persons, praises and actions 
acceptable to God ; because you are sinners, and unmeet 
for God's acceptance without a Mediator. " All power in 
heaven and earth is given to him," and your lives and souls 
are at his will. It is he that must judge you, and with whom 


you hope to live in glory. Therefore you must so " live by 
the faith of the Son of God, who hath loved you and given 
himself for you," that you may say it is he that liveth in you. 
(Gal. ii. 20, 21.) This is the fountain from whence you must 
daily fetch your strength and comfort. 

10. And still remember that it is by the operation of the 
Holy Spirit that the Father and the Son do sanctify souls, 
and regenerate and breed them up for glory. It is by the 
Holy Ghost that God dwelleth in us by love, and Christ 
dwelleth in us by faith. Therefore see that you rest not in 
corrupted nature, and trust not to yourselves or to the flesh. 
Your souls are dead to God and holiness, and your duties 
dead, till the Spirit of Christ do quicken them. You 
are blind to God and mad in sin, till the Spirit illuminate 
you, and give you understanding. You are like enemies, 
out of love with God, with heaven and holiness, till this 
Spirit reconcile and sanctify your wills. You will have no 
manlike, spiritual and holy pleasure, till the Holy Spirit 
renew your hearts, and make them fit to delight in God. 
O that men knew the great necessity of the illuminating, 
quickening, sanctifying and comforting influence of the 
Spirit of God, how far would they be from deriding it, as 
some profane ones do ! By this Holy Spirit the sacred 
records were written ; and by the miracles of Christ and 
his apostles, and by the evangelists and prophets, they were 
sealed and delivered to the churches. By this Spirit, the 
orders and government of the church were settled ; and by 
Him we are enlightened to understand the Scriptures and 
are inclined to love them, and delightfully to believe and 
obey them. Study therefore obediently these writings of the 
Holy Ghost, and confidently trust them. O be not found 
among the resisters or the neglecters of the Spirit's help and 
motions, when proud self-confidence or fleshly lust do rise 
against them. 

Christ's bodily presence is taken from the earth; he pro- 
mised, instead of it, (which was but in one place at once,) 
to send his Spirit, which is to the soul more than the sun's 
light to the eye, and can shine in all the world at once. 
This is his agent on earth, by whom (in teachers and learn- 
ers) he carrieth on his saving work. This is his advocate, 
who pleadeth his cause effectually against unbelief, fleshly 
lusts, and worldly wisdom. This is the " well of living 


water, springing up in us to everlasting life;" the name, the 
mark of God on souls ; the Divine regenerator, the author 
of God's holy image ; and the Divine nature, even Divine 
life, and light and love ; the conqueror of the world and flesh, 
the strengthener of the weak, the confirmer of the wavering, 
the comforter of the sad, and the pledge, earnest and first- 
fruits of everlasting life. O therefore pray earnestly for the 
Spirit of grace, carefully obey him, and joyfully praise God, 
in the sense of his holy encouragement and help ! 


Additional Counsel to Young Men, who are bred up to Learning, 
and public work, especially to the Sacred Ministry, in the 
Universities and Schools. 

1. It was the case of the London apprentices, who are 
nearest me, and with whom I have oft to do, which first 
provoked me to this work ; it was their case therefore which 
was chief in my intention. But had I as near an opportunity 
to be a counsellor to others, there are three sorts whom I 
should have preferred, for the sake of the church and king- 
dom, to which they are of greater signification : — 

(1.) Those in the schools and universities, who are bred 
up for the sacred ministry. 

(2.) Those in schools, colleges, and in the inns of court, 
who are bred up the knowledge of the law. 

(3.) The sons of noblemen, knights and others, that are 
bred up for some places in the government of the kingdom, 
according to their several ranks. And of these it is first to 
whom I shall most freely speak. 

2. Audi first I shall mention the importance of their case, 
and secondly the danger that they are in of miscarrying, and 
what they should do to escape it. 

3. And indeed their condition, as they prove good or bad, 
is of unspeakable importance. 

(1.) To the church and to the souls of men. 

(2.) To the peace of the kingdom. 

(3.) To themselves. And, 

(4.) To their parents, above the common case of others. 



4. (1.) Of how great importance the quality of the clergy 
is to the church and to men's salvation, many thousands 
have found to their joy and happiness; and, I fear, many 
more thousands have found to their sorrow and destruction. 
And then of what importance the quality of scholars and 
young candidates is to the soundness of the clergy, I 
need not many words to make men of reason and experience 

5. (2.) God who hath instituted the sacred office, and 
by his Spirit qualifieth men for the work, doth usually 
work according to the fitness of their work and their quali- 
fications. As he doth the works of nature according to the 
fitness of natural second causes, (giving more light by the 
sun, than by a star or candle, &c.) so he doth the works of 
morality, according to the fitness of moral causes. Holiness 
is the true morality, and usually wrought by holy means. 
And though it be so supernatural in several respects, (as it 
is wrought by the supernatural revelation or doctrine, or a 
supernatural teacher Christ, by the operation of the Holy 
Ghost a supernatural agent, commonly called * infusion/ 
and ' raising the soul to God' — a supernatural object, and to 
a better state than that of corrupted nature,) though holiness 
be thus supernatural, yet we are natural recipients and agents, 
and it is our natural faculties which grace reneweth, and, 
when thus renewed, they learn to exercise the acts of holi- 
ness. God worketh on us according to our nature, and by 
causes suited to our capacities and to the work. As he 
useth not to give men the knowledge of languages, philoso- 
phy or any art, by the teaching of the ignorant and unskilful, 
so much as by learned and skilful teachers, we must say the 
same of our teachers of sacred truth ; and though grace be 
the gift of the Holy Ghost, experience constraineth all sorts 
of Christians almost to acknowledge what I here assert. 
Why else do they so earnestly contend, that they may live 
under the teachers which they count the best ? Will heretics 
teach men the truth as well as the orthodox ? Why then is 
there such a stir made against heretics in the world ? And 
why are the clergy so eager to silence such as preach down 
that which they approve? Will Papists choose Protestant 
teachers, or will Protestants choose Papists ? 

And as men are unfit to teach others that which they 


know not themselves, so unbelieving and unholy men are 
far less lit to persuade the hearers to faith and holiness, 
than believing, holy teachers are. Though some of them 
may be furnished with the same notions and words which 
serious, godly teachers use, yet usually, even in that, they 
are greatly wanting ; because they have not so thoroughly 
studied saving truth, nor perceived its evidence, nor set 
their hearts upon it, nor deeply received and retained it. 
For serious affection quickeneth the mind to serious consi- 
deration, and causeth men speedily and deeply to receive 
that truth which others receive but slowly, superficially, or 
not "at all. How eagerly and prosperously do men study 
that which they strongly love ! And how hardly do they 
learn that in which they have no delight, much more that 
which they hate, and against which their very natures rise 
in opposition ! 

But if a hypocrite should have good notions and words, 
yet he will be usually greatly wanting in that serious delivery 
which is ordinarily needful to make the hearers serious 
Christians. That which cometh not from the heart of the 
speaker, seldom reacheth the heart of the hearer. As light 
causeth light, so heat causeth heat ; and the dead are unfit 
to generate life. The arrow will not go far or deep, if both 
the bow and arm that shoot it be not strong ; constant ex- 
perience telleth us undeniably of the different success of the 
reading or saying of a pulpit-lesson, as of a dull or a mere 
affected speech, and of the judicious and serious explica- 
tion and application of well-chosen matter which the expe- 
rienced speaker well understandeth, and which he uttereth 
from the feeling of his soul. Neither the love of a benefice 
nor the love of applause will make a man preach in that 
manner, as the love of God, the lively belief of heaven and 
hell, and the desire of saving souls will do. The means will 
be chosen and used, and the work done, agreeably to the 
principle and the end. 

But if a stage hypocrite should learn the knack or art of 
preaching, with affected fervency and seeming zeal, yet art 
and paint will not reach the power and beauty of nature. 
Usually affectation bewrayeth itself; and, when it is dis- 
cerned, the hypocrisy is loathed. And it faileth ordinarily, 
in point of constancy : " Will the hypocrite pray always?" 


(Jobxxvii. 10.) Art will not hold out like nature: when 
the motives of gain (which is their godliness) cease, the plea- 
sures of applause, which are the means, will likewise cease. 
Yea, it usually turneth to a malignant reviling of the serious 
piety which they counterfeited before, or. of the persons 
whose applause they did affect. For where the hypocrisy 
of the preacher is discovered by his contradictory and self- 
condemning words or life, and the people accordingly judge 
of him as he is, his proud heart cannot bear it, but he turn- 
eth a malicious reproacher of these whose applause he 
sought, — thinking, by disgracing them, to defend his own 
esteem, by making their censure of him to seem incredible 
or contemptible. 

And if the hypocrite should hold on his stage-affectation 
with plausible art, yet it will not reach to an answerable dis- 
charge of the rest of his ministerial work. It is from men 
that he expecteth his reward ; and it is in the sight of men, 
on the public stage, that he appeareth in his -borrowed glory. 
But in his family, his conversation, or in his ministerial duty 
to men in private, he answereth not his public show. He 
will not set himself to instruct and win the ignorant and im- 
penitent, zealously to save men from their sins, and to raise 
men's earthly minds to heaven, by praying with them, by 
heavenly discourse, and by a holy conversation ; nor will 
such a person be at much cost or labour to do good. 

6. But (alas !) the far greatest part of bad, unexperienced 
clergymen do prove so hurtful to the church, that they have 
not so much as the hypocrite's seeming zeal and holiness 
with which to cloak their sin or to profit their people. The 
sad case of the Christian world proclaimeth this ; not only in 
the Southern and Eastern churches, Abassia, Egypt, Syria, 
Armenia, the Greeks, Muscovites, &c. ; nor only the Papist 
priests in the West ; but too great a number in the Reformed 
churches. And it is more lamentable than wonderful : for 
there goeth so much to the general planting of a worthy, 
faithful ministry, that it is the great mercy of God that such 
are not more rare. 

(1.) If they have not natural capacity, there is not matter 
for art and ordinary grace to elevate. 

(2.) If this capacity be not improved by diligent and 
long study, (which most of them will not undergo,) it is no 
wonder if it be useless, or much worse. 


(3.) If it be not directed by a sound and skilful teacher, 
but fall into the hands of an erroneous or bad guide, you may 
conjecture what the fruits will be. 

(4.) If good parts and studies be not kept from the mis- 
chievous enmity of a worldly mind and fleshly lusts, how 
easily are they corrupted, and turned against their use and 
end, to the great hurt of the church, and of themselves ! 

(5.) If those that choose prelates or church-governors, 
should be either of corrupted judgments, wicked hearts, or 
vicious lives, how probable is it that they will choose such 
as themselves, or, at least, such as will not much cross their 
lusts ! 

(6.) If such worldly and wicked prelates be the or- 
dainers, examiners, judges, and institutors of the inferior 
clergy, or be their rulers, it is easy to know what sort of men 
they will introduce and countenance, and what sort they will 
silence and discourage. 

(7.) If lay-patrons have the choice of parish pastors, and 
if most or many of them should be such as Christ tells us 
the rich most usually are, — a worldly and sensual sort of 
men, or such as have no lively sense of heavenly things, — 
we may easily conjecture what men such patrons are likely 
to present. 

(8.) If the people, as anciently, have any where the choice, 
when most of them are bad, what men will they choose ? Or if 
they have not the choice, yet they are so considerable that 
their consent or dissent, their love or hatred, will sway much 
with those that live much among them. But I must after- 
wards say more concerning these impediments. 

7. And as all these impediments are likely to make 
worthy pastors to be rare, so it is certain that the naughti- 
ness of such as are here described is likely to make them ex- 
ceedingly hurtful, which is easily gathered from 

(1.) What they will be. 

(2.) What they will do. 

(3.) In what manner they will do it. — In all which, the 
effects may be probably foreseen. 

And, Fiest, It is supposed (i.) that they will be worldly- 
minded men, who will take gain for godliness, accounting 
that to be the better cause ; and they will judge those to be 
the best persons who most befriend their worldly interest. 
They will love the fleece, more than the safety of the flock ; 


and their benefices, more than the benefit of the people's 
souls ; they will serve their bellies more than Christ ; (Phil, 
iii. 18; Rom. xvi. 17 ;) and being lovers of the world, they 
will be real enemies to God. " The love of money (in them) 
will be the root of all evil." As Achan and Gehazi, they 
will think they have reason for what they do ; and, if tempted, 
will with Judas betray their Master. 

(n.) And their fleshly desires will have little restraints, 
except what one sin doth put upon another, or what God's 
controlling providence may give them. Their reputation 
may make them avoid that which would be their disgrace. 
But, secretly, they will serve their appetites, and fleshly 
lusts. For they will neither have God's effectual grace, nor 
much tenderness of conscience to restrain them. 

(in.) And pride will be their very nature. Esteem and 
applause will be taken for their due, and will seem almost 
as necessary to them as the air, and as water to a fish. Am- 
bition will be their complexion, and will actuate their 
thoughts. — All these vices will so corrupt their judgments, 
that there will want little more than worldly interest and 
temptations to turn them to any heresy or ill design. 

(iv.) It is much to be feared, that their profanation of 
holy things will make them worse and more impenitent than 
other men ; partly by the righteous judgment of God in for- 
saking them ; and partly, by the hardening of their own 
hearts, by their long abuse of that truth which should have 
sanctified them. For when they have imprisoned it in un- 
righteousness, and long played, as hypocrites, with that 
which they preached and professed to believe, custom will 
so harden them that their knowledge will have little power 
on their hearts. 

Secondly. And no wonder if the fruit be like the tree. 
These vices will not be idle ; neither will they bring forth 
holy or just effects. 

(1.) It is likely, such persons will make it the chief care 
of their minds to get that which they most love ; and that 
they will study preferment, which is the clergyman's nearest 
way to wealth. 

(2.) And then they must be flatterers of those that can 
prefer them ; or, at least, must not seriously call them to re- 
pentance, or tell them of their sin. 

(3.) In all differences, of what consequence soever, they 


will usually pass their judgment on the side of such as can 
prefer or can hurt them. 

(4.) In religious controversies they will usually be on the 
side that is for their worldly interest, be it right or wrong. 

(5.) They will harden great men in their sins, by flatter- 
ing them. 

(6.) They will harden the profane, by pleasing them 
in their ignorance and ungodliness, to get them on their 

(7.) They will be enemies to serious and religious peo- 
ple, because they discern the vice and hypocrisy which these 
worldly men would conceal ; and because they honour such 
as fear the Lord, while vile persons are contemned in their 
eyes. (Psal. xv. 4.) 

(8.) They will turn their preaching against such, partly 
to vent their malignant spleen, and partly to overcome them 
as their enemies. With this view, they will describe their 
serious piety as • faction, self-opinion and hypocrisy,' will 
raise jealousies against them in the minds of rulers, will in- 
crease the rage and malignity of the rabble, and will exte- 
nuate the sin and danger of the most ungodly sort who take 
their own part. 

(9.) They will shame their office and profession by base 
mutability, turning with the time and tide as temptations 
from their worldly interest lead them. 

(10.) They will, by their making light of godliness, and 
by the scandal or unholiness of their own conversation, 
make the vulgar believe that godliness is either a cheat, or 
a matter of mere words and outward observances ; that it 
only signifies to be of the religion of their rulers, and that it 
is a thing to keep men in some awe and order in a worldly life. 

(11.) Their ignorance often makes them unfit for hard 
controversies ; and yet their pride and malignity will make 
them forward to talk of what they do not understand, and 
from thence to take an occasion to revile those whom they 
dislike ; and, speaking evil of what they never knew, they 
will make up their want of knowledge with outward titles, 
pretended authority, confident affirmation, censorious re- 
proach, and violently oppressing by power the gainsayers. 

(12.) If any man's conscience be awakened, loudly call- 
ing him to true repentance, they will either tell him 'it is 
needless, melancholy trouble/ and give him an opiate of 


some flattering, false comfort, or they will preach him asleep 
again with unsuitable things, or by a cold, dull and formal 
method of managing holy things. 

9. Thirdly. Such are too often the plagues of the 
church and state, as well as injurious to individual souls. 

(1.) Their ignorance or scandalous ambition, their cove- 
to usness and other sins, do render them so contemptible in 
the eyes of many, that it tends likewise to bring into con- 
tempt the church and all religion. When nobles, gentle- 
men, and the common people think basely of the ministry, 
the church, and religion for their sakes, how sad is the case 
of such a people ! The Gospel is half taken away from a 
nation when it is taken out of their esteem and brought un- 
der their reproach and scorn. A scorned clergy will pre- 
pare for the scorning of religion ; and an ignorant, a worldly, 
ambitious, fleshly, and scandalous clergy, will be a scorned 
clergy with too many. Erasmus much disgraced the Ger- 
man Protestants, when he described some of them as having 
a bottle of wine at their girdle, and his translation of the 
New Testament in their hands, ready to dispute for it with 
blows. So do several others, that tell the world how many 
of the Lutheran ministers are given to excess of drink, and 
to unpeaceable reviling of Dissenters. And the same Eras- 
mus much depreciated either bishops or Scotists, when, 
speaking of the Scotist bishop of London who was Dr.. 
Collet's adversary, he said, * I have known some such whom 
I would not call knaves, but I never knew one whom I could 
call a Christian.' Not only drunkenness and brutish sins, 
but factiousness, envy, unpeaceableness, contentiousness, 
and especially a proud and worldly mind, will be, in most 
men's eyes, more ugly in a minister than in others. For 
where there is a double dedication to God, that which is com- 
mon will seem unclean ; and when there should be a double 
holiness, sin will appear to be double sin. 

(2.) And indeed a carnal, worldly clergy are oft the most 
powerful and obstinate hinderers of the peace and quietness 
of church and state. 

(i.) By fitting themselves to the humours of those in 
whose power their preferments are, be it never so much to 
the injury of men's souls, bodies or estates, or against the 
public good and safety ! Or else, leading the people into 
error, for popular applause. 


(if.) By a domineering humour in matters of religion; 
taking themselves to be lawgivers to others ; and taking 
their wits and wills to be uncontrollable ; laying heaven and 
hell upon their own inventions or conceits, and on the con- 
troversies which they endlessly make, but do not under- 
stand ; and hereticating or anathematizing such as take them 
not for oracles, or Rabbies that must not be gainsayed. 

(in.) By corrupting tne Christian religion and the 
church, in departing from the Christian simplicity and pu- 
rity ; and forming their doctrine, worship, and government, 
according to their own carnal minds and worldly interest. 

(iv.) And then militating against the best men that con- 
tradict them or stoop not to them, though it be to the dis- 
traction and division of the churches. And usually they are 
the hardest to be brought to peace and reconciliation, and 
do most against whenever it is attempted by peace-makers, 
who pity the woful case of such a self-disturbing people. 

10. All this hath been so long manifested to the sad 
experience of mankind, in most ages of the Christian world, 
that it is not to be denied or concealed. And should we 
use the honour of the church and clergy as a pretence for 
the denying or the hiding of such grievous sins, it would 
but make us partakers of their guilt, displease the most holy 
God, who will have sin shamed, in whomsoever it may be 
found, and will harden others who are ready to imitate 
them. The Holy Scriptures open and shame the sins even 
of Adam, Noah, Lot, David, Solomon, Peter, and of God's 
chosen people the Jews : and this was not a faulty un- 
covering of their nakedness, but a necessary disgrace of sin, 
a manifestation of the holiness and justice of God, and a 
warning to others that we should not sin with such examples 
before our eyes. (1 Cor. x. 6 — 8.) 

I have written the History of the Bishops and Councils of 
former ages, in which, with their virtues, I have opened their 
miscarriages. Some blame it, as if it were uncovering their 
nakedness. Yet I have said nothing but what is openly pro- 
claimed of them long ago, by their own greatest flatterers ; 
and it was Christ himself that said, " Remember Lot's wife." 
The pit into which so many have fallen must be uncovered ; 
and God and holiness must be honoured, rather than those 
that dishonour them by sin. Sin, confessed and forsaken, 
is not so dangerous, as sin denied and extenuated. He that 


hideth it, shall not prosper. " Sin is a reproach to any 
people." (Prov. xiv. 34 ; vi. 33.) Even God that for- 
giveth it to the penitent, will shame it, — to keep others from 
committing it. He that minceth or hideth it, tempteth 
others to imitate it. 

Alas ! what work have a worldly, proud, and ignorant 
clergy made in most Christian nations, these thirteen hun- 
dred years ! Athanasius, Chrysostom, Isidore-Pelusiota, 
&c. but especially, excellent Gregory Nazianzene have told 
it us, even of their flourishing times, more plainly than I 
now intend to do : — They have loved this present world ; 
some set themselves, by venting new and odd opinions, to 
draw ..disciples after them for applause; some furiously 
hereticating those that differed from them by ambiguous 
words, and making themselves lords of the faith of others, 
and their ignorant dictates the oracles of the church; striv- 
ing who should be thought wisest and best, but especially 
who should be greatest, as if Christ had never judged in that 
controversy ; flattering emperors and princes, till they got 
wealth and power by them, and then overtopping them, and 
troubling the world by rebellious and bloody wars; tearing 
the churches in pieces, on pretence of union, killing and 
burning men on pretence of faith and charity, and cursing 
from Christ his faithful servants, on pretence of using the 
keys of Christ's kingdom ; setting up themselves and a 
worldly kingdom, on pretence of the spiritual government 
of Christ ; making merchandise of souls, on pretence of 
feeding and ruling them ; cherishing the people in ignorance, 
sloth, and carnality, that they might be more obedient to 
their tyranny, and less capable of opposing it ; hating and 
destroying the most conscionable Christians, as heretics, or 
schismatics, because they are the greatest enemies to their 
sin, and desirous of reformation ; provoking princes to be- 
come the bloody persecutors of such, for the upholding of 
their worldly state and dignity; yea, making them their lie- 
tors or executioners, to destroy such as they condemn. 

Such work as this hath destroyed the Greek or Eastern 
churches, and set up Turkish tyranny by dividing Christians, 
weakening, and ruining the emperors, making religion a 
mere image of lifeless formality and ceremony, and a power- 
less dying thing. Such a clergy have darkened and lamentably 
brought low the Christian churches in Muscovy, Armenia, 


Georgia, Mongrelia, Syria, and Abassia, have extirpated 
them in Nubia, and brought them to what they are in Italy, 
Poland, Hungary, Spain France, and most of Germany : 
such a clergy have brought Ireland from the laudable state 
in which it was in the days of Malachias, as Bernard des- 
cribed it, into the barbarous and brutish ignorance and 
bloody inhumanity at which it is now arrived ; they had the 
chief hand in the murder of two hundred thousand persons 
in the late rebellious insurrection. Such a clergy had a 
chief hand in the civil wars in England in the reign of Wil- 
liam Rufus, King Stephen, Henry the Third, King John, &c, 
— the subject of Pryn's History of the Treasons of Prelates. 
And (alas !) such a corrupt sort of ministers keep up the 
division of the German Protestants, under the name of 
Lutherans and Calvinists, about consubstantiation, church- 
images, and doctrines of predestination not understood. 
And had the Low Countries ever had the stirs between 
Remonstrants and Contra-remonstrants, or England and 
Scotland ever had the miserable contentions, wars and 
cruelties between the former episcopal parties and the 
Laudians, or between them and the Presbyterians and Inde- 
pendents, and all the silencings, and woful contentions and 
schisms that have thence followed, if the vices of the clergy 
had not been the cause? And had we continued in this case 
these last twenty years, silencing, reviling, and prosecuting 
about two thousand conscionable preachers, and writing and 
preaching still for the purpose of executing the laws against 
them, the prosecuted people flying from such a clergy as 
from ravening wolves, and some censuring the innocent with 
the guilty, — could all this have been done by a wise, holy, 
and peaceable clergy, that served God in self-denial, and 
knew what it was to seek the good of the church and of 
souls? When we yet continue under the same distractions 
and convulsions, and all cry out that a flood of misery is 
breaking in on the land and likely to overwhelm us all, still 
it is the clergy who cannot or will not be reconciled, but 
animate rulers and people against each other, and cannot or 
will not find the way of peace. Yea, every thing would soon 
be healed, in all probability, could the nation but procure 
the clergy to consent. Certainly there is some grievous 
disease in ourselves, which is likely to prove mortal to such 
a kingdom, and that while so many pray and strive for peace. 


Those men that have no more skill or will to heal the wounds 
and to stop the blood of a fainting church and state, nor 
will by any reason or humble importunity be entreated to 
consent to the cheap and necessary cure, no, nor to hold 
their hands from continued tearing of us, do tell all the 
world that they are sadly wanting in fitness for their sacred 
office, and that this unfitness is likely to cost an endangered 
nation dear. 

Woe, woe, woe, to that church that hath hypocrites, un- 
godly, unexperienced, proud, worldly, fleshly, unskilful, un- 
faithful and malignant pastors, and that hath wolves instead 
of shepherds ! Woe to the land that hath such ! Woe to 
the prince and states that have and follow such counsellors, 
and to the souls that are subverted by them ! Alas ! from a 
bad clergy have sprung the greatest calamities of the 
churches, in all places to this very day. 

11. But will such men's sins prove less woful to them- 
selves than others ? 

No. (1.) It is the sin and guilt itself which is the great- 
est evil. 

(2.) They aggravate their sin and guilt by a perfidious 
violating of a double vow, — their baptismal vow of Chris- 
tianity, — and their ordination vow to be faithful ministers of 

(3.) They aggravate their guilt by their nearness to God 
in their office and works, as Aaron's two sons that were 
struck dead. (Lev. x. 2, 3.) " For God will be sanctified in 
them that come nigh him, and before all the people will he 
be glorified." The examples of the Bethshemites, Uzza, and 
Uzziah, the bad priests and false prophets of old, are terrible. 

(4.) And it greatly addeth to the guilt, to do all this or 
much of it as in the name of God, or bv his commission. 
This is a dreadful taking of God's name in vain, for which he 
will not hold them guiltless. To pretend, that it is by God's 
command that they set up that which he abhorreth ; that 
they corrupt his doctrine, worship, or church-order, that they 
set up their own wills and sinful laws instead of and against 
his laws, that they tear his church by proud impositions and 
wicked anathemas, and interdicts of whole kingdoms, ex- 
communicating and deposing kings, absolving men from 
their oaths of allegiance, tormenting and murdering godly 
men as heretics, silencing faithful ministers, smiting the 


shepherds and scattering the flocks, and then reviling them 
as schismatics, — and all this to uphold a worldly kingdom 
of their own, and keep up their pride, domination and self- 
will, and to have riches as provision for their fleshly lusts ; 
— I say, to do all this as in the name of Christ, with a ' sic 
dicit Dominus', (" thus saith the Lord,") and as for the 
church, for truth, and for souls, is a most heinous aggrava- 

(5.) Indeed, while a poor blind clergyman, has his trade, 
for applause and gain, doth study and preach that word of 
God, which is against him, how dreadful is it to think how 
all that he doth and saith is self-condemnation, that out of 
his own mouth he must be judged, and that all the woes 
which he pronounceth against hypocrites and impenitent, 
carnal and worldly men, his own tongue pronounceth against 

12. And when Satan hath once got such instruments, 
how great an advantage hath he for success against them- 
selves, against the flock, and against the church and cause 
of Christ, above what he might expect by other servants ! 

(1.) They are far more hardly brought to repentance than 

(i.) Because they have, by wit and study, bended that 
doctrine to defend their sin which should be used to bring 
them to repentance. 

(u.) Because their aggravated sin against light doth most 
forfeit that help of grace which should work repentance in 

(m.) And because, being taken for wise and learned men, 
for preachers of truth, teachers of others, and reprovers of 
errors, their reputation is much concerned in it, and their 
unhurabled souls, which look that all others should assent 
and consent to their prescripts, will hardly be brought to 
confess sin and error ; but will sooner (as Papists,) plead 
infallibility, or will conclude, as some councils have done, 
that a layman must not accuse a clergyman, be he never so 
bad. Repentance is hard to all men of carnal interest, but 
to few more than to an unhumbled clergyman. 

And (2.) Whoever accuseth or reproveth them of sin, 
will be represented as an enemy to the church, a dishonourer 
of his ghostly fathers, and one that openeth their nakedness 
which he should cover. And so their ulcers are as a ' noli 


me tangere,' (" touch me not,") and fret as a gangrene un- 

(3.) Their place, office, titles, and learning, with many, 
will give to sin great reputation and advantage. If a drunk- 
ard in the alehouse deride godly men as heretics, schisma- 
tics, hypocrites, or Puritans, sober men will not much re- 
gard it ; but they think they owe more belief and reverence 
to a learned and reverend preacher in the pulpit, even when 
he preacheth against preaching and against those that prac- 
tise what he teacheth them at other times. O how much of 
this work hath Satan done in the world by corrupting sacred 
offices, and by getting his servants into rule and 


church, and by his authority and in his name ! The natural 
enmity between us and the serpent dissuadeth him from 
speaking or sending to us in his own name. Should one say 
in the pulpit, Thus saith the devil, Hate Christ's servants ; 
silence his ministers, call serious godliness hypocrisy,(which 
is the contrary to hypocrisy,) I should not much fear his 
success with any. But if he be a lying spirit in the mouth of 
Ahab's prophets, and can get a prophet to smite Micaiah 
for pretending to more of the Spirit than he had ; or if he 
can get men in the sacred office to say, " Thus saith the 
Lord," when they speak for sin or against the Lord, this is 
the devil's prosperous way. 

13. I have told you what plagues bad clergymen will be, 
and still have been, to themselves, to the souls of men, and 
to the public state of churches and kingdoms ; and, were it 
not lest my writing should be too large, I should tell you 
what blessings on the contrary able and faithful ministers are. 

Briefly, (1.) Christ maketh them the chief instruments for 
the propagating of his truth and kingdom in the world, for 
the gathering of churches, and for preserving and defending 
contradicted truth. " They are the lights of the world, and 
the salt of the earth." All Christians are bound to teach or 
help each other in charity ; but Christ's ministers are set in 
his church, (as parent's in families,) to do it by office. They 
must therefore be qualified above others for it, must be 
wholly dedicated to it, and attend continually on it ; as a 
physician differeth from all neighbours, who may help you 
in your sores or sickness as they can, so do the pastors of 
the church differ from private helpers of your souls. The 


Scripture is preserved and delivered down by the private 
means of all the faithful, but, eminently, by the public office 
of the pastors. It maybe expounded and applied privately 
by any able Christian, but the pastors do it, eminently, by 
office ; and to them especially (though to all Christians com- 
monly,) are committed the oracles of God. " The priest's 
lips must preserve knowledge, and men should inquire of the 
law at his mouth ; for he is the messenger of the Lord of 
Hosts." (Mai. ii. 7.) Never yet was the Gospel well propa- 
gated or continued in any country in the world, but by the 
means of the ministers of Christ. O what difference hath 
there been in their successes, as they differed in ability, 
piety and diligence ! How great an honour is it to be such 
blessed instruments of building up the house of God, and 
propagating the Gospel and the kingdom of Christ, and the 
Christian faith and godliness in the world ! 

(2.) Thus God useth them as his special instruments for 
the convincing, and converting, for the edifying, comforting 
and having of souls. Others may be blest herein ; but the 
special blessing goeth along with those that are specially 
obliged to the work, — who are parents in families, and 
pastors in the church. O how many thousand souls in hea- 
ven will for ever rejoice in the effects of the labours of 
faithful ministers, and will bless God for them. And what 
an honour, what a comfort is it to have a hand in such a 
work ! " He that converteth a sinner from the error of his 
way, doth save a soul from death and covereth a multitude 
of sins." (James v. 20.) 

(3.) And in this they are co-workers with Jesus Christ, 
the great Saviour of souls ; and with the Holy Spirit, the 
Regenerator and Sanctifier. Yea, Christ doth very much 
of the' work of his salvation by them : When he ascended on 
high he gave gifts to men, for the edifying of his body, till 
they all come to a perfect man; (Eph. iv.6 — 16.) and " when 
the Chief Shepherd shall appear, they shall receive a crown 
of glory that fadeth not away ;" (1 Pet. v. 4;) and shall hear 
" Well done, good and faithful servants." Hence are the 
streams of consolation that make glad the city of God, and 
that daily refresh many thousands of precious souls. For 
" how shall men believe without a preacher ? And how 
shall they preach unless they be sent," (qualified, obliged 
and authorised by Christ)? (Rom. x.) 


(4.) In a word, churches, states and Christian kingdoms 
are chiefly blessed and preserved by the labour of the faithful 
part of the ministry : For, (i.) If we have the rare blessing of 
a wise, holy and loving magistracy, it is usually by the suc- 
cess of the labours of the ministry, (n.) There is no better 
means to bring the subjects to the conscionable performance 
of their duty to superiors, (in.) And, by the blessing of 
their labour, the sins of a nation are prevented or healed, 
which would else bring down God's heavy judgments, (iv.) 
They teach people to live in love and peace with one an- 
other ; to abhor contention, cruelty, oppression, injury and 
revenge ; and all of them to do their several duties to pro- 
mote the common good, (v.) When the ignorant, slothful 
and scandalous sort of bad ministers betray souls and would 
bring the ministry and religion into contempt, it is a wise 
and holy ministry that counter-worketh them by labouring 
while others are idle, by doing that wisely which others do 
foolishly, and shewing in their lives the power of that truth 
which others disgrace, and the reality of that holiness, love, 
justice, peace and concord, which others would banish out 
of the world by making it seem but a name or image, (vi.) 
When proud men tear the church by the engines of their 
domineering wits and wills, these humble pastors, as the ser- 
vants of all, will labour to heal it, by Christian meekness 
and condescension. When malignant priests seek to 
strengthen themselves by the multitude of the ungodly, and 
to bring serious piety (which doth molest them,) into con- 
tempt, these faithful pastors open the just disgrace of sin, 
and the great necessity and honour of holiness, endeavour- 
ing that vile persons may be contemned, and that those may 
be honoured that fear the Lord, (Psal. xv. 14,) and distin- 
guishing the precious from the vile, the righteous from the 
wicked, him that sweareth from him that feareth an oath, 
and him that serveth God from him that serveth him not, 
God saith, They are as his mouth. (Jer. xv. 19 ; Mai. iii. 
17,18; Eccles. ix. 2.) 

To ,be short, as an ignorant, worldly, carnal, proud, un- 
holy sort of prelates and priests, are and have been the great 
plague of the churches these thirteen hundred years at least, 
so the skilful, holy, humble, faithful, laborious, patient mi- 
nisters of Christ, have been and still are the great blessings 
of the world ; — for saving souls ; promoting knowledge, 


faith, holiness, love and peace ; opposing error, pride, op- 
pression, worldliness, sensuality and contention ; diverting 
God's judgments by faith and prayer; forsaking all for 
Christ ; patiently suffering for well-doing ; by doctrine and 
example teaching men to difference the Creator from the 
creature, holiness from sin, heaven from earth, the soul from 
the body, the spirit from the flesh, and helping men to pre- 
pare, by a mortified heart and a heavenly life, for a comfort- 
able death and endless happiness. Of such vast importance 
is it to the world whether the clergy be good or bad, skilful 
or unskilful, holy or worldly ; and he is not a true Christian 
that is insensible of the difference, or that thinks it small. 

Now, do I need to say any more, to shew young men de- 
signed for the ministry of what importance it is that they be 
well prepared and qualified for it ? God can and sometimes 
doth turn wolves into faithful shepherds, can convert those 
who, being unconverted, undertake the work that should 
convert others, and can give wisdom and grace to ignorant 
and graceless preachers of wisdom and grace. But this is 
not ordinarily to be expected. For as youth are trained up 
and disposed, they commonly prove when they come to age. 
Their first notions lie deepest, and make way for their like, 
and resist all that is contrary, be it never so true and good 
and necessary. Experience tells this to all the world, — 
those who in youth are trained in heathenism, Mahome- 
tanism, Popery, or any distinct sect of Christians, com- 
monly continue such ; especially if they live among those 
who are for it, and who make it their interest in reputation 
or wealth. If the rulers and times should be but erroneous, 
heretical or malignant in enmity to truth and to serious ho- 
liness, (alas !) how hard is it for ill-taught youth, to resist 
the stream! How hard is it to unteach them the errors 
which they first learned ! A vomit may easily bring up that 
which was but lately eaten ; but the yellow and the green 
humours that lie deep, must cost heart-gripes before they 
will be cast up. False opinions, as well as truths, are usually 
linked together ; and the chain is neither easily cast off nor 
broken. They that have received errors, have received the 
defensatives of those errors : these are like the shell-fish 
that carry their house about them. They have studied what 
to say for their errors, but not what can be said against 
vol. xv. B B 


them ; or, which is worse, by a slight and false considera- 
tion of the arguments for the truth, they have disabled those 
arguments from doing them any good. 

And if they had ever such true notions in their memo- 
ries, if they come not in power on their hearts, and do not 
make them new, spiritual and holy men, these will not mas- 
ter fleshly lusts, overcome ambitious and worldly inclina- 
tions, nor make men fit to propagate that faith and holiness 
which they never possessed. 

It is now that you must get those eminent qualifications 
of knowledge and holiness which you must hereafter use. 
And how will you use that which you have not? 

Yet proud hearts, how empty soever, will be desirous of 
esteem and reputation, and will hardly bear vilifying, con- 
tempt or disregard. Though some few prudent hearers will 
encourage such young men as they think are hopeful, yet 
most men will judge of things and persons as they find 
them. The ignorant, dry and lifeless orations of inexpe- 
rienced and carnal preachers, will not be magnified by such 
as know what judgment and holy seriousness that place and 
sacred work require. Few will much praise or feed on un- 
savoury or insipid food, merely to flatter and please the 
cook. And then when you find that you are slighted for 
your slight and unskilful work, your stomachs will rise 
against those that slight you, and so by selfishness you will 
turn malignant, and will become enemies to those that you 
consider enemies to you, because they are not contented 
with your unholy trifling. All your enmity will turn against 
yourself, and will be like that of Satan against the members 
of Christ, — which is but his own self-tormenting. 

15. Secondly. — The case being so important, I shall 
briefly conjoin your danger and your remedy, beseeching you 
(as you have any care for your souls, your country, the 
church of God, or any thing which faith or reason should 
regard,) that you will soberly weigh the counsel that I give 

The first of your dangers which I shall mention, lieth in 
a too hasty resolving for the sacred ministry. Pious and 
prudent desires and purposes I would not discourage. But 
two sorts of parents in this prove greatly injurious to the 
church : First. Worldly men, that send their sons to the 


universities in order to their worldly maintenance and pre- 
ferment, looking at the ministry merely as a profession or 
trade by which they may be able to live : Secondly. Many 
honest and godly parents ignorantly think it a good work to 
design their children to the ministry, and call it ' devoting 
them to God,' without duly considering whether they are 
likely to be fit for it or not. And when they have been some 
years at the university, they think a parsonage or vicarage 
is their due, ordained they must be, — what else have they 
studied for? It is too late now to change their purposes, 
when they have been at seven years' cost and labour to pre- 
pare for the ministry. They are too old and too proud to 
go apprentices or servants. Husbandmen they cannot be. 
They are used to an idler kind of life than that. To be 
lawyers will cost them more time and study than they can 
now afford, having lost so much ; and there are more already 
than can have practice. Physicians are already so many 
that the younger sort know not how to live, though they 
would, for money, venture on their neighbours' lives, to their 
greater danger than I am willing to express. So that there 
is no way left but for a benefice, to become church-mounte- 
banks and quacks, and undertake the pastoral care of souls, 
before they well know what souls are, what they are made 
for, whither they are going, or how they must be conducted 
and prepared for their endless state. And it seems to some 
to be the glory of a nation, to have many thousand such lads 
at the universities, (more than there be cures or churches in 
the land,) all expecting that their friends should procure 
them benefices. They must be very ignorant and wicked 
indeed that cannot find some ministers so bad as to certify, 
that they are sober and of good lives, and some patrons so 
bad as to like such as they are, and, for favour or somewhat 
worse, to present them ; and some bishop's chaplain bad 
enough to be favourable in examining them, and then some 
bishop bad enough to ordain and institute them. And by 
the time nine thousand such youths have got benefices, 
alas ! in what a case will the churches and the poor people's 
souls be ! 

16. (1.) And what remedy is therefor this? That which 
1 have now to propose is, first to tell you, ' Who they be 
that should be devoted to the ministry ;' and, next, 'What 
both your parents and you should do.' 


The work is so high, and requireth such qualifications, 
and miscarrying in it is of such dreadful consequence, that 
no youth should be resolvedly devoted to the ministry, who 
hath not all these following endowments : 

(i.) He must have a good natural wit and capacity. It 
should be somewhat above the ordinary degree ; but it must 
be of the better rank of ordinary wits, for grace supposeth 
nature, and, by sanctifying it, turns it the right way ; but 
grace doth not use to make wise teachers of natural drones 
or weak-headed lads, who have not wit enough to learn. 
How many and how great things have they to learn and 
teach ! 

(n.) They must have some competent readiness of speech, 
to utter the knowledge which they have got. One that can- 
not readily speak his mind in common things, is not likely 
to come to that ready utterance which will be necessary to 
a preacher. 

(in.) He must be one that is so far hopeful for godliness, 
as to be captivated by no gross sin ; and as to have a love, 
not only to learning, but to religion, to the word of God, to 
good company, prayer, and good books ; and a settled dis- 
like of the things, words and persons, that are against these. 

(2.) He must also shew some sense of the concerns of 
his soul, and some regard for the life to come, and that his 
conscience is under some effectual convictions of the evil of 
sin, and the goodness and necessity of a godly life. The 
youth that hath not these three qualifications, should not 
be intended or devoted to the ministry. To devote an inca- 
pable or an ungodly person to such a holy state and work, 
is worse than of old to have offered to God the unclean, 
which he abhorred, for a sacrifice. To design a graceless 
lad for the ministry, on pretence of hoping that he may have 
grace hereafter, is a presumptuous profanation, and worse 
than to design a coward to be a soldier, a wicked, unsuitable 
person to be a husband or wife, in hopes that they may be 
fit hereafter. 

17. Therefore if your parents have been so unwise as to 
devote that to God which was unfit for his acceptance, it 
concerneth you quickly to look better to yourselves, and 
not to run into the consuming fire. You should be consci- 
ous of your own condition. If you may know, that you 
want, (1.) A competency of natural capacity and ingenuity j 


(2.) Or of ready speech ; (3.) Or of serious piety, love to god- 
liness, and heart-devotedness to God, — do not meddle with 
that calling which requireth all these. 

18. ' But,' you may say, 'What shall we do? We have 
gone so far in this calling that we are fit for nothing else.' 

You are less fit for the ministry than for any thing. That 
which requireth the highest qualifications, will most shame 
and condemn you if you possess them not. If you are not 
fit for physic or law, be some great man's servant ; if not 
that, it is better that you turn to the basest trade or the most 
laborious employment, than that you run into the sad case 
of Hophni and Phinehas, or that of Nadab and Abihu, to 
the utter undoing of yourselves and the loss and danger of 
many others! But if your unfitness be not in your disabi- 
lity but in your ungodliness, whether you be ministers 
or not, you will be for ever miserable unless you consider 
well the great things that should change your hearts and 
lives, and unless you turn unfeignedly to God ; and when 
that is done, I am no discourager of you. But I believe it 
is far better to be a cobler or a chimney-sweeper, or even to 
beg your bread, than to be an ungodly clergyman, with the 
greatest preferments, riches and applause. 

19. * But,' parents may say, ' If we devote none to the 
ministry till godliness appear in them, how few will be so 
devoted ! Children seldom show much savour of religion, 
and some that seem young saints prove old devils.' 

(1.) At the present time we have so many supernumera- 
ries, that we need not fear a want of number. 

(2.) Children cannot be expected to show that under- 
standing in religion which men must have. But if they 
show not a love to it, a conscience regardful of God's au- 
thority and of the life to come, and a dislike of ungodliness 
and sin, you have no reason to presume that they will be fit 
for the ministry. If they had never been baptized, you 
ought not to baptize them in such a state. They must cre- 
dibly profess faith and repentance before they can be adult 
Christians, and so dedicated to God in baptism, much more 
before they are dedicated to him as the guides of the Chris- 
tian churches. 

(3.) And as you can judge but according to probabili- 
ties, if they prove bad after a probable profession, it will not 


be charged upon you. But we all know that a hopeful 
youth is a great preparation to an honest age. 

20. (2.) My next advice to you is, abhor sloth and idle- 
ness. When you are at country schools, your masters 
drive you on by fear. But when you are in the universities 
and at a riper age, you are more trusted with yourselves; 
then all the diligence which fear constrained, will be laid 
aside, and if you be not carried on with constant pleasure 
and love of knowledge, the flesh will prefer its ease, and un- 
willingness and weariness will proceed with so slow a pace, 
as will bring you to no high degree of wisdom. And when 
you have spent your appointed time, and are void of that 
which you should have attained, your emptiness and igno- 
rance will presently appear when you are called out to the 
use of that knowledge which you have not. It is not your 
canonical habit, nor seven or seventeen years spent in the 
university, nor the title of Master of Arts, Bachelor of Di- 
vinity, or Doctor, no, nor that of Bishop, which will pass 
with men in their right wits, instead of knowledge, diligence, 
humility, patience and charity ; nor which, without these, 
will do the work to which you are devoted. And then when 
you find that other men discern that weakness and badness 
which you are loath to know yourselves, it will be likely to 
exasperate you into diabolical malignity. Believe it, the 
high and needful accomplishments of a true divine are not 
easily or speedily attained. 

21. (3.) My next warning is, fear and fly from sensua- 
lity, from fleshly lusts, and all the baits and temptations 
that may endanger you by drawing you into them. 

Sense and appetite are born with us ; they are inordinate 
in our corrupted nature, and the reason and will, which 
should resist and rule them, are weakened and depraved. 
Poor labouring countrymen are not in such danger in this as 
you are. Your bodies are not tired and tamed with labours, 
nor your thoughts taken up with wants and cares. While 
your bodies are at ease, and your studies are arbitrary, fleshly 
lust and appetite have time and room to solicit your fanta- 
sies, and incline you to interrupt your studies, and to think 
of the matters of sensual delight, either with what to please 
your appetite in eating, or of strong drinks or wine that also 
exhilarate, or of some needless or hurtful pastime called re- 


creation such as cards, dice, gaming, 8tc. or to think of women 
and filthy lusts, or to read romances, play-books or other 
corrupting vanities. Far more idle scholars are strongly 
haunted with temptations to self-pollution and other filthy 
lusts, than the poor and afflicted sort of men. 

If these should prevail, (alas !) you are undone ; they 
will offend God, expel his grace, will either wound or sear 
your conscience, destroy all spiritual affections and delights, 
and turn down your hearts from heaven and holiness to filth 
and folly ; — and beasts will be unfit for the pleasures or for 
the work of saints. 

22. Away therefore from idleness ! Pamper not the flesh 
with fulness or delights, and abhor all time-wasting and 
needless recreations. Away from the baits of fleshly lust ! 
Be no more indifferent and unresolved about this, than you 
would be about drinking poison, leaping into a coal-pit, or 
wilfully going among murderers or thieves. Presume not 
on your own strength : he is safest that is furthest from the 
danger. Gunpowder must not stand near the fire. 

23. (4.) Be sure to make a prudent choice of your com- 
panions, especially of your bosom friends. 

It is supposed that a man loveth the company which he 
chooseth, though not that upon which he is cast through 
constraint. Love and familiarity will give them great ad- 
vantage over you. If they be wise, they will teach you wis- 
dom ; if they be holy and spiritual, they will be drawing you 
towards God, and settling you in the resolved hatred of sin 
and love of holiness. But if they be worldly and ambitious, 
they will be filling your heads with ambitious and worldly 
projects ; if they be ungodly hypocrites, that have but the 
dead image and name of Christians, they will be opposing or 
deriding serious godliness,. and pleading for the carcase and 
formalities of piety as better than serious and spiritual de- 
votion : and if they be hardened malignants, they will be 
trying to make you such as they are by lies, revilings, or 
plausible cavils against the things and persons that are spi- 
ritually contrary to their fleshly minds and interests. And 
while you hear not what can be said on the other side, (if 
God preserve you not) it will possess your mind with false 
thoughts of God's servants, and with scorn or contempt of 
such as you hear falsely described. As Papists think of Pro- 
testants as heretics, so you will take serious godliness for 


fanatical self-conceit, and will think the best of Christians as 
you do of Quakers or others — that are mad with fear or pride. 

Wise and religious companions and bosom friends are an 
unspeakable blessing ; but the merciful providence of God 
doth usually choose them for us, yet so as that we must usually 
be also faithful choosers for ourselves. Ill company is a dan- 
gerous snare ; and God often trieth us, by casting us into places 
where such company is. But if we do not choose or love it, 
God will provide us with an antidote ; and we may converse 
with him, even in the presence of the ungodly ; and he will 
teach us, by the experience of their folly and sin, to dislike 
it more than if we had never seen it. 

24. (5.) Especially be most careful in the choice of your 
tutors and instructors. 

Though it be first the part of your parents to choose them 
for you, it is yours to do your best in this matter to save 
yourselves, if your parents by ignorance or malignity do 
choose amiss. And the rulers that allow not men to choose 
their own pastors, yet hitherto allow the parents or the sons 
to choose their own tutors and domestic instructors. 

But this is the grand danger and misery of mankind, that 
the ignorant know not what teachers to choose. Yea, the 
more they need the help of the best, the less they know who 
those are ; but I will tell you as far as you are capable of 

(l.) Usually the common report of men that are sober 
and impartial, commendeth worthy men above others ; for 
knowledge and goodness are like light, which is a self-dis- 
covering thing. 

(n.) Choose not a teacher that preferreth human wis- 
dom before divine, but one that maketh it his business to ex- 
pound the Scripture, and teach you what is the will of God, 
and how to please him and be saved. 

(in.) Choose not one that is of a worldly and ambitious 
mind, and will teach you that which conduceth to get pre- 
ferment and worldly wealth, and not that which besthelpeth 
you to heaven. 

(iv.) Choose not one that is factious and uncharitable, 
violent for a party, either because it is uppermost, or because 
it standeth for some odd opinion or causeless singularity ; 
but one that is of a Christian, catholic charity, that loveth a 
godly man as such, even as he loveth himself, and is for 


wronging no one, but doing good to all, and maintaining 
unity and peace. 

25. (6.) Watch, with great fear, against pride, ambition, 
and worldly ends, in your own hearts and lives. 

The roots of these mortal sins are born in us, and lie very 
deep ; and they not only live, but damnably reign, where 
they are little discerned, bewailed, or suspected ; but woe to 
him that is conquered by them ! "Ye cannot serve God 
and mammon. The love of the world is enmity to God. If 
any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 
Paul spake, weeping, of some persons " whose God was 
their belly, who gloried in their shame, who minded earthly 
things, being enemies to the cross of Christ, when their con- 
versation should have been in heaven." (Phil. iii. 18 — 20.) 
A surprise in passion, even of an ugly sin, is less dangerous 
than such a habit of worldliness and pride. And (alas !) 
how many that have escaped the temptations of sloth and 
sensuality, have been flattered and overcome by this ! Those 
who have had better wits than others, and acquired more 
learning, have thought now that preferment is their due. 
And if they fall into times (which have not been rare,) when 
the malignity of church or state-governors hath made it the 
way to preferment to declaim against some truth, or against 
the most religious men who are opposed to a carnal, sinful 
interest, to revile God's best servants, to cry up some notion 
or error of their own, and to magnify the worst men that 
promote their worldly ends and hopes, (alas !) how doth this 
stream usually carry down the most pregnant wits into the 
gulf of perdition! 

Yea, some, that seemed very humble and mortified while 
they had no great temptation, when wealth and honour have 
been set before them, have lost virtue and wit before they 
were well aware. Worldly interest hath secretly bribed and 
biased the understandings of such people, to take the greatest 
truth for error, duty for sin, and error for truth, and sin for 
duty. They have talked, preached, and written for it, and 
seem to believe that they are indeed in the right ; and can- 
not discern that they are perverted by interest, when an im- 
partial stander-by may easily see the bias by the current of 
their course. If you be servants of the flesh and of the 
world, woe to you when your masters turn you off, and you 
must receive your wages ! 


26. (7.) Above all, therefore, choose like real Christians, 
and take God and heaven for your hope, your all. 

If you do not so, you are not real Christians, nor stand 
to your baptismal covenant ; and if you be here fixed, by the 
grace of God, and by your sober consideration and belief, 
you will then know what to choose and what to do. You 
will be taught to refer all worldly things to spiritual and 
heavenly ends and uses, to count all things as loss and dung 
for Christ, and "to choose the one thing needful, which 
shall never be taken from you," even that which will guide 
you in just and safe ways, saving you from the greatest evil, 
and giving your minds continual peace, even that which 
passeth understanding, and which will be best at last when 
sinners are forsaken. 

27. (8.) My next counsel, therefore, is for the order of 
your studies ; begin with your catechism and practical di- 
vinity, to settle your own souls in a safe condition for life or 
death. Deal not so foolishly as to waste many years in in- 
ferior arts and sciences, before you have studied how to 
please God and to be saved. I unfeignedly thank God, that, 
by sickness and his grace, he called me early to learn how 
to die, and therefore to learn what I must be and how to 
live, and that he thereby drew me to study the sacred Scrip- 
tures, and abundance of practical, spiritual books in Eng- 
lish, till I had somewhat settled the resolution and the peace 
of my own soul, before I had gone far in human learning. I 
then found more leisure and capacity to take in subservient 
knowledge in its proper time and place. And, indeed, I 
had lost most of my studies of philosophy and of difficult 
controversies in theology, if I had fallen on them too young, 
before I came to due capacity ; and so I should have been 
prepossessed with crude or unsound notions, for they would 
have kept out that which required a riper judgment to 
receive it. Such books as I before commended to the 
apprentices, contain the essentials of religion, plainly, affec- 
tionately, and practically delivered, in a manner tending to 
deep impression, renovation of the soul and spiritual expe- 
rience, without which you will be but " like sounding brass 
or a tinkling cymbal." The art of theology without the 
power, (which consists in a holy life, and light and love,) 
is the art of forming a hypocrite. 

Yet before you come to lay exact systems of theology in 


due method in your minds, much help of subservient arts 
and sciences is necessary. However, a council of ancient 
bishops once forbad the reading of Gentile books. 

28. (9.) I next advise you, thoroughly to study the evi- 
dences and nature of the Christian faith, but not to hasten 
too soon and over-confidently on hard controversies, as if 
your judgment of them at maturity must have no change; 
but still suppose, that greater light, by longer study, may 
cause in you much different thoughts of such difficulties. 

29. (10.) And lastly, I advise you, that you begin not 
the exercise of your ministry too boldly, before public, great, 
or judicious auditories. Overmuch confidence signifieth 
pride and ignorance of your imperfection, of the greatness 
of the work, and of the dreadfulness of the Most Holy Ma- 
jesty. But (if you can) at first settle a competent time in 
the house with some ancient experienced pastor, who hath 
some small country chapel, and who needs your help. And, 

(i.) There you may learn as well as teach, and learn by 
his practice that which you must practise ; which, in a great 
house as a chaplain, you will hardly do, but must in that 
case cast yourself into a far different mould. 

(n.) By preaching some years to a small, ignorant people 
where you fear not critical judgments, you will get boldness 
of speech, and freedom of utterance, without that servile 
study of words, and without learning your written notes 
without book, which will be tiresome, time-wasting, and 
lifeless. When freedom and use have brought you to a 
habit of ready speaking about great and necessary things, 
and when acquaintance with ignorant country people has 
taught you to understand their case, you will have a better 
preparation for more public places, (when you are clearly 
called to them,) than you were ever likely to get either in 
universities, among scholars, or in great men's houses. 

Compassion to the church that is plagued with bad mi- 
nisters, and that undergoes exceedingly great loss by weak 
ministers, and the sense of the grand importance of the 
qualifications of pastors in reference to the happiness or 
misery of souls and kingdoms, have drawn me to say more 
than I first intended to young students who have determined 
to enter into the ministry. With the other two sorts, there- 
fore, I shall be very brief. 

Yet I add one earnest warning to you, and to all young 


men, — know that one of the most common and pernicious 
maladies of mankind, is, an unhumbled understanding, 
rashly confident of its own apprehensions, through false and 
hasty judging and prefidence, — the brat of ignorance and 
pride. Of a multitude of persons differing, how few are not 
obstinately confident that they are in the right! — even lads 
that are past twenty years of age ! O dread this vice, and 
suspect your understanding. Be humble ; take time, and 
try, and hear, before you judge. Labour for knowledge ; 
but take not upon you to be sure where you are not, but 
doubt and continue to try till you are sure. 


Counsel to young Students in Physic. 

Supposing what is said to others equally to concern you, I 
briefly add, 

1. Make not the getting of money, and your own worldly 
prosperity, so much your end, as the doing good in the 
world, by the preservation of men's health and lives, and the 
pleasing of God thereby. Selfish, low ends shew a selfish 
mind, that liveth not to God or for the public good. 

2. Undertake not the practice of physic without all these 

(1.) A special sagacity, or a naturally searching and 
conjecturing judgment. For almost all your work lieth in 
the dark, and is chiefly managed by conjecture. 

(2.) Much reading, especially of such of your prede- 
cessors as have been great observers, that you may know 
what hath been the experience of all ages and of those emi- 
nent men who lived before you. 

(3.) The experience of other men's practice. If possible, 
therefore, stay some time first in the house with some emi- 
nent practitioner, whose practice you may see, whose coun- 
sel you may hear, and from whose experience you may 
derive instruction. 

3. Begin with plain and easy cases, and meddle only 
with the safe and harmless remedies. Think not yourselves 
physicians indeed, till you have yourselves got considerable 


experience : there is no satisfactory trusting to other men's 
experience alone. 

4. In cases too hard for you, send your patients to abler 
physicians, and prefer not your own reputation or gain be- 
fore their lives. 

5. Study simples thoroughly, especially the most power- 
ful ; and affect not such compositions, as, by the mixture of 
the less powerful, do frustrate the ingredients which would 
else be more effectual. 

6. Forget not the poverty of many patients, who have 
not money to pay large and chargeable bills to an apothe- 
cary, nor to give large fees to a physician. Multitudes 
neglect physic and venture without it, because physicians 
require so much, and are so much for the gain of their apo- 
thecaries that they have it not to pay. 

7. Take heed of self-conceitedness, rash confidence, and 
too hasty judging. Most of your work is hard ; many things, 
about which you do not think, may occasion your mistake. 
Causes and diseases have marvellous diversities. Most that 
are quick judges, and suddenly confident that all their first 
apprehensions are true, do prove but proud, self-ignorant 
fools, and kill more by ignorance and temerity, than high- 
way robbers or designing murderers do. Though the grave 
may hide your mistakes, they are known to God. 

8. Give not too much physic ; nor give it too often or 
without need; neither venture on things dangerous. Man's 
life is precious ; and nature is the chief physician, which art 
must but help. The body is tender and easily distempered ; 
therefore, rather do too little than too much. Frequent tam- 
pering usually kills at last ; as he that daily washeth a glass, 
at last breaketh it ; and as seamen are bold, because they 
have often escaped ; (but many, if not most, are drowned at 
?ast ;) and as soldiers that have often escaped are bold to 
venture, but are killed at last : — It is usually so with them 
that often take physic, except from a very cautious and skil- 
ful man. Therefore, were I a woman, I would not marry a 
physician, lest his nearness of relation to me and his kind- 
ness should cause him to be often tampering with me, till a 
mistake should kill me. All your neighbours may mistake 
your disease without your hurt, but the mistake of your 
physician may be present death to you. 


9. Direct men first as faithful friends, to the things 
which may prevent the need of physic, such as, 

(1.) A temperate and wholesome diet, avoiding fulness 
and hurtful things. 

(2.) Sufficient labour to suscitate natural heat, keep 
pure the humours, and expel excrements ; teaching them 
likewise to avoid idleness. 

(3.) To keep warm, and avoid occasions of cold, espe- 
cially cold drink, cold places, and cold clothing, either 
when persons are hot, or when nature needeth help in winter. 

(4.) Content and quietness of mind, and cheerful con- 

(5.) Direct them to such familiar remedies at home, in 
their drinks and diet, as are suitable to their distempers, 
and for their preservation, and to such as are safe and harm- 
less. Put them not to a needless dependance on your fre- 
quent help ; neither play upon the fears of weak women in 
making them miserable by administering needless medicines, 
and thus making them like tenants to you, to pay you a 
constant rent for keeping them quiet. 

10. Give them that need it, good counsel for their souls; 
and flatter thein not with false hopes of life, when it tendeth 
to hinder their preparations for death. They and you are 
hasting to such a great change as requireth great and care- 
ful forethoughts. It is sad for them to go out of the world, 
and not at all to know whither they are going, or what will 
be their next habitation ; but much more dreadful is it, to 
be in a state of certain misery in this life, and liable to all 
the untried and indescribable wrath of God in the world of 
spirits. Those who will not send for a divine, will frequently 
hear a physician ; and to warn poor sinners of their danger, 
exhorting them to flee from the wrath to come, — is not a 
work unbeseeming your profession, but such as Christian 
faith and charity bespeak. 



Counsel to Young Students of the Law in London. 

God hath made much use of honest lawyers, as the instru- 
ments of our safety and of the just and orderly government 
of the land. 

They are not bred up in mere idleness and luxury, (as 
too many are of higher birth,) but in such diligent study as 
improveth their understandings, and keepeth them from that 
debauchery which idleness and fulness cherish. 

Their studies and callings make it their interest as to 
know, so also to maintain the laws ; and that is, to maintain 
propriety, just liberty and order, and so to preserve justice 
and the common peace except in countries that have perni- 
cious laws. Injustice in judges and lawyers is like heresy, 
ungodliness and persecution in pastors of the church — di- 
rectly contrary to their very calling and profession; but it 
is more easily and commonly seen and hated, because it is 
against the well-known interest of mankind. Shame, there- 
fore, and the common hatred of the unjust, are in this case 
great restraints of evil. 

But notwithstanding all this, bad men will do badly, and 
turn even the rules of justice to oppression, to serve the 
wills and lusts of those who can promote them, that by them 
they may serve their own. On this account, therefore, it is of 
great importance to the common good, as well as for their 
own benefit, that young men who study the law, may prove 
wise and honest. 

1. And here, first, I warn all such youths, to take heed of 
the sins of sensuality. Alas ! London doth so abound with 
temptations, that, without grace and wise resolution, you 
are unsafe. There are so many sensual, proud, and ungodly 
young men ready to entice you ; so many play-houses, ta- 
verns and filthy houses to entertain you; that if you go with- 
out grace and wit, the flesh and the devil will soon precipi- 
tate you into the slavery of brutish flesh. Then you forfeit 
God's favour and protection; and he may leave you to more 
sin and misery, or to grow up to be the servants of oppres- 
sion, the enemies of piety, and the plagues of the common- 


2. Study hard ; for idleness never yet made good lawyers, 
nor very useful men. 

3. Abhor and avoid ill company, especially of two sorts: 
(1.) Those who would entice you to the aforesaid places 

and practices of voluptuousness, &c. 

(2.) Those that being themselves deceived would deceive 
you, against religion and your salvation. It is too well 
known that such persons in London are not rare, though the 
danger by them is not known enough. Even those that are 
so unchristian and inhuman as to prate against the Chris- 
tian faith, against the truth, authority or sufficiency of the 
sacred Scriptures, the life to come, and against the immor- 
tality of the soul, if not also against the government and 
providence of God, will yet talk as confidently as if they 
were in their wits, yea, and as though they were the greatest 
wits among us. For my part, I could never yet get one 
man of them soberly to join with me in a fair disquisition 
of the truth, and to follow it on till we came to see the just 
conclusion. Most commonly they will fly from me, and re- 
fuse disputes, or will turn all to some rambling rant or jest, 
or, when the truths of religion are stated, they are gone, and 
will proceed no further and come no more. 

Young unfurnished heads are unfit to dispute with the 
devil, or with any such of his messengers. A pest-house is 
not more dangerous to you than companions of this descrip- 
tion. But if they have perplexed you, desire some well- 
studied minister of Christ either to meet them, or to resolve 
your doubts. If you will read what I have written on that 
subject, you may find enough to resolve your mind, if it be 
justly received, viz. in my " Reasons for the Christian Reli- 
gion," my "Unreasonableness of Infidelity," in my " Life of 
Faith," and in " More Reasons for the Christian Religion." 
Avoid also the snares of those that would draw you into 
uncharitable factions, and, on a pretence of right religion, to 
hate, censure, or fly from all that are not just of their sect 
and way; especially the proud faction of church-tyrants, 
who, under a pretence of order and piety, would set up a 
lifeless image of formality, and would burn, banish, silence, 
or persecute all that are not for domination, usurpation and 
worldly interest. 

4. Let not rising and riches be the chief end of your stu- 


dies, but to serve God in the just service of your king and 
country, to promote justice, and to do good in the world. 

5. Live in the familiarity of the most useful men of your 
profession, that is, the wisest and the most conscionable ; 
and choose those pastors, for your best helpers in religion, 
who keep the most closely to God's word, and warp not after 
any dangerous singularities, worldly preferments, or un- 
peaceable and teasing impositions on their brethren ; and 
who live as they preach, — in love, peace and holiness, — as 
men that set their hearts and hopes on future blessedness, 
and that labour for the edification and concord of the church, 
and the saving of men's souls. 


Counsel to the Sons of the Nobility and of Magistrates. 

Though men of your rank are furthest out of the hearing 
of such persons as me, and are usually the greatest con- 
temners of our counsel, yet that will not excuse us from due 
compassion to the land of our nativity, from love and pity to 
yourselves, nor from any probable ministerial attempt to do 
you good. 

Your dangers are much greater than those of other men ; 
or else Christ had never so often told us, how hard it is for 
rich men to be saved ; and how few such escape the idola- 
trous damning love of the world, and become sincere belie- 
vers and followers of a crucified Saviour. Luke xii ; xvi. &c. 
1. One part of your great danger is, that you are com- 
monly bred up among the baits of sensuality. It is not for 
nothing that " fulness of bread " is made one of the sins of 
Sodom, (Ezek. xvi. 49,) and that he who afterwards lay in the 
flames of hell, is described as being " richly clothed and 
faring sumptuously every day." Not that all rich clothes, 
or sumptuous, seasonable feasting, is a sin ; but that both 
these usually signify sensuality and cherish it. It is the 
sure brand of the ungodly, to be " lovers of pleasure more 
than of God." They that but seldom come where tempting 
plenty is of delicious meats and drinks, are too often over- 
come. But they that are bred up where plenty of both these 
vol. xv. c c 


is daily before them, are in greater danger lest their table and 
their drink become a snare. 

Feast not therefore without fear, remember that flesh- 
pleasing sensuality is as damnable in the rich as in the poor ; 
and that the greatest wealth will not allow you to take any 
more for quantity or quality, than is consistent with tempe- 
rance, and than truly tendeth to fit you for your duty. Your 
riches are given you in trust as God's stewards, that with 
them you may be enabled to serve your country, relieve the 
poor and promote good uses ; but not for the purpose of 
serving your fleshly lusts, nor to be abused to excess or for 
cherishing sin. To be sober and temperate, is the interest 
of your own souls and bodies, and, under your great temp- 
tations, it is the more laudable. 

2. Another of your dangers is, the ill examples of too 
many persons of your rank. You are apt to think that their 
wealth, pomp and power make them more imitable than 
others, as being more honourable. And if they wallow in 
drunkenness or filthy lust, or talk profanely, you may think 
that such sins are the less disgraceful. i 

But can you dream that they are the less dangerous and 
damnable? Will God fear them or spare them? Must 
they not dre and be judged as well as the lowest ? Is it not 
an aggravation of their sin, that it is done by men who had 
the greatest mercies, and who were put in trust and honour 
purposely to suppress sin in the world ? As their places 
signify more than others, so do their sins ; and accordingly 
shall they be punished. Doth the quondam wealth, honour 
or pleasures of a Dives, a Pharaoh, an Ahab, a Herod, a 
Pilate, a Nero, ease a lost and tormented soul ? 

3. Another of your temptations will be pride, and over- 
valuing of yourselves, on account of wealth and worldly ho- 
nour. But this is so foolish a sin, and against such noto- 
riously humbling evidence, that, as it is the devil's image, 
it is nature's shame. Is not your flesh as corruptible as a 
beggar's ? Do you not think what is within that skin ; and 
how a leprosy, or the small-pox would make you look ; and 
how you must shortly leave all your glory, and your bodies 
become unpleasant spectacles ? Do you not think what it 
is to lie rotting in a grave and to turn to earth ? Do you not 
know how much more loathsome a thing all the vice and un- 


holiness of your souls is ; and what it is to have to do with 
a holy God, and to be near to judgment and an endless state? 
He is mad in sin, whom such considerations will not humble. 

4. Another of your dangers is from flatterers, who will be 
pleasing and praising you, but who will never tell you of that 
which should humble you and awake you to a sense of your 
everlasting concerns. But in this respect none are so dan- 
gerous as a flattering clergy, who, being themselves carnal 
worldlings, would serve that flesh which is their master, by 
your favour and beneficence. Ahab had such prophets, 
who said, "Go and prosper;" in whose mouths the devil 
was a lying spirit. How many sincere men have been un- 
done by such! 

Remember then what it is to be a sinful man, and what 
need you have of vigilant friends and pastors, that will deal 
faithfully with you, as if it were on your death-bed : and en- 
courage such, and abhor worldly flatterers. Your souls have 
need of as strong physic, and as plain dealing as the souls of 
the poorest men ; bear it, therefore, and thankfully accept it. 

5. One of your greatest dangers here will be, that your 
own fleshly minds and this worldly sort of men (especially 
if they be of the clergy,) will be drawing you to false and 
contemptuous thoughts of serious godliness, and of serious 
godly men. Whereas, if you be not such yourselves, you 
are undone for ever ; and all your flatterers, your big names, 
wealth and honour will neither save you, nor ease your pains 
in hell. As ever you believe that there is a God, believe 
that you owe him the utmost reverence, obedience and love, 
which your faculties can perform. And as ever you care 
what becomes of you for ever, pay him this great due, and 
hate all that would divert you ; and, much more, all those 
diabolical suggestions which would draw you to think that 
to be a needless thing which must be your life and your all. 

6. But, above all, I beseech you, fear and watch, lest you- 
be drawn to espouse any thing, as your interest, which is 
against the interest and command of Christ, and against his 
kingdom, or the good of his church or of the commonwealth. 
As the devil first undid the world, by making deceived Eve 
believe, that God's command was against her interest ; so 
doth he to this day, but with none so much as with nobles 
and rich men. God hath commanded you nothing but what 
is for your own good, nor forbidden you any thing but what 


is for your own hurt and that of others. He needs not you, 
or any one ; you must allow him to be God, and, therefore, 
to be wiser and better than you, and to know better what is 
best and fittest for you and others. But Satan will slander 
to you God's laws, ways and servants ; for he is in favour of 
your continued enmity and separation from God, and there- 
fore would draw you to believe that God and his ways are 
enemies to you, and against your pleasure, honour, domina- 
tion, commodity, or ease. O how many princes and great 
men have been utterly undone, by believing the flesh, the 
devil and his ministers, when they plead that Christianity 
is against their power, honour or other interests ; that the 
Scripture is too precise, and that conscience, obeying God 
before them, is against their power and prerogative; and 
thus have they set themselves as enemies to keep under con- 
science and serious godliness, lest obedience to their wills 
should be thereby hindered. 

Yea, how many also so dote as to think that the interest 
of head, heart, stomach and members, of rulers and subjects, 
stand not in union, but in contrariety and victory against 
each other! Woe to the land that hath such rulers, and to 
the poor tenants that have such landlords ! But, much more, 
woe to such selfish oppressors, that had rather be feared than 
loved, and take it for their honour to be free and able to do 
mischief, and to destroy those whose common welfare should 
be more pleasant to them than their own ; and to them, 
especially, that take serious godliness and godly men to be 
against them, and therefore bend their wit and power to 
suppress them; as if they said, as those in Luke xix. 27, 
" We will not have this man to reign over us !" Such per- 
sons Christ will destroy as his unthankful enemies, and 
" will break them with his iron rod, and dash in pieces as a 
potter's vessel." (Psalm ii.) 

7. If you love yourselves and the common good, get 
good men about you. Read the fifteenth, sixteenth, and one 
hundred and first Psalms. Especially procure faithful teach- 
ers, and godly friends, servants and companions. Read 
much the histories of the lives of wise and godly men, such 
as King Edward the Sixth, and Lord Harrington. Young 
men, imitate such excellent persons as Scripture and other 
history justly commend to your imitation. It will be pro- 
fitable to read the lives of worthy men, such as are gathered 


by Mr. Clark, Dr. Fuller, Thuanus, Beza, the lives of the 
Martyrs, and of such Christian princes as Constantine, 
Theodosius, &c. ; the Emperor Maximilian the Second, 
John Frederick of Saxony, Philip Prince of Hessia, and 
Louis the Pious of France. Read also the lives of such 
Heathens as Titus, Trajan, Adrian, but especially Aurelius 
Antonius and Alexander Severus; of such lawyers, philo- 
sophers, physicians, but especially such divines as Melchior 
Adamus hath recorded in his four volumes ; and of such 
Bishops as Cyprian, Nazianzen, Ambrose, Augustine, Basil, 
Chrysostom, our Usher, and such others. 

8. Live not in idleness, — as the sons of rich men too 
often do ; for that will rust and corrupt your minds, and 
cherish besotting and damning lusts, and will render you 
worthless and useless in the world, and consequently the 
greatest plagues of your country, to which you should be the 
greatest helps and blessings. Make as much conscience of 
improving your hours, as if you were the poorest men: you 
have the highest wages, and ought to do most work for God. 
Let holy and useful studies take up your time one part of 
the day, doing good to others another part, and necessary 
refreshment and exercise another. He in whose hands are 
all your times, has allowed you no part for any thing unpro- 
fitable, much less for any thing that is hurtful. 

O what a blessing to the world are wise and godly magis- 
trates ; and what a curse are the foolish and ungodly ! 

9. Remember that the grand design of the devil and of 
all deceivers, is, to delude and corrupt the rulers of the peo- 
ple, knowing to which ever way they turn how much signi- 
ficance they carry with them by their laws, power and exam- 
ples. Remember likewise how sad it will be to be judged 
as a persecutor or a captain of iniquity. You must there- 
fore have a greater self-suspicion than others, and a greater 
fear of seduction and sin ; and you must watch more care- 
fully against wicked counsel and example, but especially 
against the temptations of your own flesh and corrupted 
nature, and of your wealth and situation in society. 



Counsel to Parents and Tutors of Youth. 

Should I now instruct parents and teachers in what on 
their parts is necessary to their great duty, and to the good 
of youth, it would be more than all I have already written. 
But that is not my intention in the present work ; you may 
see much of it done in my " Christian Directory." Yet because 
so much labour is required at the hands of parents and 
teachers, and such responsibility lies upon them, I beseech 
all such persons that read these lines, to remember, 

1. How near their relation to their children is ; and that 
for a parent to betray their souls to sin and hell, by neglect 
or by ill means, seems more inexcusable cruelty than for the 
devil, that is a known enemy, to do it. 

2. Consider how very much their welfare is entrusted to 
your care. You have the teaching of them before the minis- 
ters, have them always nearer with you, and have greater 
power over them. O that you knew what holy instructions, 
heavenly excitations, and good example God requireth of 
you for their good and how much of the hopes of the church 
and world lie on the holy skill and fidelity of parents, in the 
right education of youth ! 

3. O feed not their sinful desires and lusts ; accustom 
them not to pride, to idleness, to too much fulness or pleas- 
ing of the appetite ; but teach them the reasons why they 
ought to exercise the virtues of temperance and mortifica- 
tion, and shew them the sin and mischief of all sensuality. 

4. Yet use them with tender and fatherly love, making 
them perceive that the abstaining from these evils, is for 
their own good. Cherish their profitable delights; study 
how to make all good delightful to them, and encourage 
them by sparing rewards and prudent commendations. Tell 
them of the wisdom and goodness of God's word, and let 
them read the lives of holy men. 

5. Choose them such callings, habitations and relations 
as will make most for the common good, and for the advan- 
tage of their souls: and not those that will be most subser- 
vient to the covetousness, pride or slothfulness of their na- 


b\ Know their particular inclinations, corruptions and 
temptations, and accordingly keep and restrain them with 
the greatest vigilance, watching against these dangers as 
you would do against death. 

7. Settle them under wise and godly pastors, and in the 
familiar company of godly persons, especially those of their 
own age and usual converse. 

8. Keep them as much as possible from temptations at 
home and abroad, especially those that tend to sensuality, 
and to impiety or corrupting their judgments against religion. 
Thrust them not beyond sea or elsewhere in an unfortified 
state of mind among deceivers, as some cruelly do for the 
sake of a mere ornament. 

9. Remember how you dedicated them to Christ in bap- 
tism, and what was promised to be done, and what renounced 
on their parts, and what you bound yourselves to do. 

10. Remember likewise how much the happiness or mi 
sery of the church of Christ and of the kingdoms of the 
world, doth lie on the right or wrong education of youth, by 
the parents, much niore than by our universities or 


11. Remember thatyour own comfortor sorrow in them, 
lieth chiefly on your own duty or neglect. If they prove to 
be wicked persons and the plagues of the world, and you be 
the cause, it may tear your own hearts. But what a joy is 
it to be the means of their salvation, and of their public ser- 
vice in the world ! 

12. Disgrace sin to them, and commend holiness by 
word and practice. Be yourselves what you would have 
them to be ; and pray daily for them and for yourselves. 
The Lord bless this counsel to them and to you ! 


What are Men's Duties to each other as Elder and Younger. 

1. It is most clear in Scripture and reason that there are 
many special duties, which the elder and the younger, as 
such, owe to each other. The elder are bound, 

(1.) To be wiser than the younger, as having had longer 


lime for acquiring knowledge, and so to be their instructors 
in their several places. 

(2.) Especially, to deliver down to them the Sacred 
Scriptures which they have received, and the memorials of 
God's works done for his church in former days, which were 
committed to them by their fathers. 

(3.) And to go before them in the example of a holy and 
heavenly life. Job xxxii. 4 ; viii. 8 ; Heb. v. 14 ; Tit. ii. 
2, 3 ; 1 John ii. 13, 14 ; Judges vi. 13 ; Psalm xliv. 1 ; 
lxxviii. 3. 5; Deut. i. 21; Exod. xii. 26; Deut. xi. 19; 
Jos. iv. 6. 21, 22 ; Joel i. 3. 

2. Nature and Scripture tell us that the younger owe much 
duty to the elder, which is thus summed up, " Ye Younger, 
submit yourselves to the Elder." (1 Peter v. 5.) This sub- 
mission includeth, especially a reverence to their judgments, 
preferring them before their own; and a reasonable suppo- 
sition that ordinarily the elder are wiser than they, and there- 
fore living towards their elders in a humble and learning 
disposition, not proudly setting their own unfurnished wits 
against the greater experience of their elders, without very 
evident and extraordinary reasons. For the understanding 
of which, note, 

3. (1.) It is certain that mere age doth not make men 
wise or good : none are more sottishly and incurably igno- 
rant than those who are both aged and ignorant, and few are 
so bad as old and obstinate sinners. For they grow worse 
in deceiving and in being deceived, abuse God's mercy yet 
more and more, and are going still further from him, as the 
faithful are growing better and approach nearer to him every 

(2.) It is also certain that God greatly blesseth some 
young men's understandings, and maketh them wiser than 
the aged and their teachers. 

(3.) ' A youth of this description is not bound to think 
that he knoweth not what he doth actually know; nor must 
he believe that every old man is wiser than he;' — all this we 

4. But though, " Better is a poor and a wise child, than 
an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished," 
(Eccles. iv. 13,) yet, (1.) It is certain that knowledge cometh 
much by experience. Long experience is far more powerful 
than that which is short ; and time and converse are neces- 


sary to it. Naturally or ordinarily, long learning and use 
increase knowledge. Do not all take it for granted, that, 
usually, the boys who have been many years at school, are 
better scholars than those who are only beginners ? It is 
the same in all other acquisitions. Therefore the elders in 
former ages were commonly the rulers of the people in the 
church and the commonwealth ; from which circumstance 
pastors and rulers are called elders : and if they were not 
ordinarily the wisest, why did not God make the children 
the ordinary teachers and rulers of their parents, instead of 
parents being the teachers of their own children ? Old men 
may be ignorant and erroneous, as well as wicked ; but 
young men cannot be ripe in wisdom without a miracle. We 
are not, therefore, now to suppose unusual things to be 
usual. Ordinarily, youth is ignorant and raw ; their con- 
ceptions undigested, not well fixed or improved : it is but 
few things that they know ; and their ignorance of the rest, 
maketh them liable to many errors. " For the time, ye 
ought to have been teachers ;" (Heb. v. 11, 12. ;) fitness to 
teach supposeth time ; the young cannot digest strong meats. 
A novice must not be a bishop ; the reason may seem 
strange, — " Lest he be lifted up with pride, and fall into the 
condemnation of the devil." (1 Tim. iii. 6.) One would 
think youth should be most humble, as being conscious of 
defectiveness. But because the ignorant know not that 
more is to be known than ever they attained, therefore they 
know not their own ignorance. 

(2.) And this proud ignorance is so odious a sin, and the 
nurse of so many more, and so great an enemy to wisdom 
and all good, that it is no wonder it is the way to " the con- 
demnation of the devil." 

5. Therefore though young men should not receive any 
falsehood, heresy, or ill example from the aged, yet they 
should still remember, that, ' caeteris paribus,' (other cir- 
cumstances being alike) age hath the great advantage for 
knowledge, and youth must live in a humble and teachable 
sense of ignorance ; other men's abuse of time, and aged 
folly, will not prove them miraculously wise. The aged are 
always the wisest if their improvement bear any equal pro- 
portion to their time, their helps, and opportunities. 

6. It is so odious a sin for lads and young students to be 


self-conceited and unleachable, and to set up their appre- 
hensions with ungrounded confidence against their elders, 
that all should be fearful of that guilt, and ought to enter- 
tain such humble thoughts of their own understandings, as 
to be jealous of their conceptions. For all the following 
vices make up their self-conceited prefidence : 

(1.) It is both great ignorance of the darkness of 
men's understandings, and great ignorance of themselves, — 
to be ignorant that they are ignorant, — and to think they are 
sure of that which they know not. 

(2.) It is an odious sort of pride, to over-value an ig- 
norant understanding, and to be proudly confident of that 
which they have not. 

(3.) It is folly, to think that truth can be known with- 
out sufficient time and trial, and contrary to the world's 
continual experience. 

(4.) It is as absurd and inhuman a subverting of the 
order of the world, for lads to set up their wits by 
groundless self-conceitedness against their elders, as for 
subjects to set their wills against rulers. 

(5.) It is a continual unrighteousness; for there is a 
justice required in our common private judging, as well as 
in the public adjudications and awards of judges. All should 
be heard and tried before we venture peremptorily to judge. 
(6.) It is a nest of continual error in the mind, which is 
the soul's deformity, and contrary to nature's love of truth. 
7. It hath also abundance of mischievous effects. 
(1.) Itkeepeth out that truth or knowledge which should 
be received. It obstinately resisteth necessary teaching, 
whereas the most willing entertainment is little enough to 
get true knowledge, even by slow degrees. As God giveth 
birds an instinct to feed their young, so the young ones by 
instinct hunger and open their mouths. But if they abhor- 
red their meat and were to be crammed, they would com- 
monly perish. The knowledge which such conceited per- 
sons get, must be from themselves, — in their own thinking 
and observation only ; whereas their minds are yet unfur- 
nished with those truths that must let in more. Daily ob- 
jects will occasion error or confusion in their minds that are 
unprepared to improve them ; their own lusts will pervert 
them, and one error will draw in more ; whereas the assist- 


ance of those who, by long and successful study, have rightly 
ordered and digested their conceptions, might be an exceed- 
ing great help to willing learners. 

(2.) Such young persons by pride do forfeit the grace of 
God, which he giveth to the humble, while " he resisteth the 
proud ;" and they are often gven up to the self-conceitedness 
which they so strenuously defend, till their own counsels and 
ways be their utter confusion. 

(3.) The devil hath advantage to set upon and even to 
possess such proud minds, prepared for him by their igno- 
rance. He then becomes their teacher, and leads them to 
almost whatever he wills, against the truth and the Church, 
against themselves and against God. 

(4.) Self-conceit and hasty confidence make them con- 
tinual liars, even while they rage for what they say as being 
actually true : for being themselves usually mistaken for 
want of patient trial, they say what they think, and are not 
to be much believed even when speaking in their utmost 

8. But some one will say, ' Seeing many old men are ig- 
norant and erroneous, and some young men have sounder 
understandings than their elders, how shall I know when I 
am guilty of pride, self-conceit, prefidence, and refusing to 
bow to the judgment of others?' 

Anstv. You will know this by the following marks : 
(1.) When you rashly neglect the judgment and counsel 
of those who have had as good helps and parts as you, and 
far longer time and experience, without so much as hearing 
what they have to say, or taking time to try the cause ac- 
cording to its weight, especially if they be those from whom 
nature or the ties of relationship oblige you to learn. 

(2.) When you more easily suspect such persons than 
your own understandings. 

(3.) When your confidence of your understandings is so 
unproportionable to your time and studies, that you must 
suppose you know by a miracle, or by some rare capacity 
and wit, — as if you had acquired more wisdom in a few 
years than the rest of mankind obtain in many. 

(4.) When you judge suddenly before you take time to 
think, and when you may know that you never heard what 
may be said against you. 

(5.) When you talk the most, in a bold asserting or a 


teaching way, — as if you were oracles to be heard and re- 
verenced ; and not in a humble inquiring way, with that ne- 
cessary doubting which beseemeth learners. " Except ye 
become as little children" in teachable humility, you are not 
fit for the school of Christ. (Matt, xviii. 3.) Even he that 
is a teacher, conscious of his remaining ignorance, must be a 
learner still, and not think himself above it, nor set himself 
to dispute against all that he understands not, but must 
continue humbly to search and try. 

(C.) When those reasons of your own seem good and co- 
gent which are sufficiently confuted, (yet you cannot see it,) 
or which men of the most approved learning and fitness to 
form a judgment do consider to be but folly ; and when other 
men's soundest reasons seem light to you, because you judge 
by a proud and selfish understanding, being confident and 
tenacious of all that is your own, and contemning that which 
is against you. 

(7.) When you can too easily, without certain and co- 
gent reason, dissent from the judgment, not only of those 
whose light and integrity have by self manifestation convin- 
ced the world, but also from the generality of such as are 
commonly known to be the wise, the godly and impartial ; 
yea, perhaps, when you proceed so far as to differ from all 
the Church of Christ. 

(8.) When the greatest number of the wisest men that 
know you, think you not so wise as you think yourselves to 
be, nor your reason so good ; but they pity your self-con- 
ceitedness, — and yet this brings you not to suspect and try. 
(9.) When you are hardly and rarely brought to a hum- 
ble confession of your errors, but in all debates, whatever 
the cause may be, you seem still to be in the right; and 
when you have once said any thing, you will stand to it, and 
justify untruths, or extenuate and excuse them. 

(10.) When you too much affect the esteem of wisdom, 
and love to have your judgments made a rule to others, and 
are unfit for true subjection. 

(11.) In a word, when, instead of being "swift to hear, 
slow to speak, and slow to wrath," you are swift to speak 
and dictate, slow to hear and learn, and swift to wrathful 
censure of those who dissent from you. — These are strong 
signs of pride, self-conceit, great confidence, and unbend- 
ing stubbornness in judging. 


9. So common and hurtful is this sin in mankind, that 
you should still be duly fearful of it. Error, I fear, taketh 
up the greater portion of the thoughts of men ; most per- 
sons are rather deceived than in the right ; man's mind in 
the flesh, is in great darkness ; and, therefore, proud igno- 
rance is a monstrous and pernicious vice. Most of the 
confusions and miseries of the world, of kingdoms, churches, 
and societies, come from it. Yea, though it seems most con- 
trary to scepticism, it tendeth at last to infidelity or atheism. 
For when experience hath convinced such conceited per- 
sons, that their most confident rage was but a mistake, they 
turn themselves to think that there is nothing certain, and 
begin to deny the greatest truths. It is by this one sin of 
proud self-conceitedness in false thoughts, that kingdoms, 
particular churches, and the world itself, through obstinacy, 
seem remediless ; and the wisest men that would gladly at- 
tempt to cure them, can do no good except on themselves 
and a few others. 

10. But this sin is no where more misplaced or unnatu- 
ral, than in children against the counsel of their parents, 
and scholars against that of their tutors, and ignorant per- 
sons against the common consent of the most able and godly 
pastors. What an odious thing is it to see an ignorant lad 
run against all his father's words, and think that he is wiser 
than his parents, and always in the right ! and to hear igno- 
rant persons magisterially judge and despise their wise and 
faithful teachers, before they are capable to understand them, 
or the matter about which they talk ! O how happily 
might parents, pastors, and wise men, promote knowledge 
and goodness in the world, were it not for this selfish confi- 
dence, which shuts the door against their necessary helps ! 


The Conclusion, addressed to Ministers. 

There is another sort of helpers, on whom the welfare of 
youth much depends; — even the ministers of Christ. But I 
presume not here to teach them. In my " Reformed Pas- 
tor," 1 have spoken somewhat freely when I had leave. I 
cannot expect that those who silence me, should hear me ; 


nor will I think that able and faithful ministers need my 
counsel. But all that I will now say, is, humbly to entreat 
those who take no great pains with the young persons in 
their parishes, and who will not be admonished by such as 
me, to read the works of Martin Bucer, who had so great 
a hand in counselling our Reformers in framing the Liturgy, 
especially his book " de Regno Dei, his Censure of the 
Liturgy," — of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Dis- 
cipline, and his vehement pressing of the necessity of Con- 
gregational Discipline, of denying the sacrament to the 
unmeet, and of keeping baptized youths among the Catechu- 
mens, till at a proper age they come to true understanding 
of the covenant, which they made and must renew, and till 
they give credible signs of real godliness by a godly life. 
He also shews what mischievous effects ensue from confirm- 
ing them and admitting them to the Lord's-supper, on their 
barely saying the words of the Catechism, the Creeds, the 
Lord's-prayer, and the Decalogue, without tried understand- 
ing and serious piety ; — what a wrong is thus done to the 
Christian church and religion, by confounding and corrupt- 
ing our communion for want of parish discipline and dis- 
tinctions; — and what little good all canons or laws for 
reformation or religious duty will do, if the ministry be igno- 
rant, worldly and ungodly, and if the churches be not taught 
and guided by able, godly, humble, self-denying and loving 

Read him diligently, I beseech you, for he was no vio- 
lent man, and his books here mentioned were purposely 
written for King Edward, and for the Bishops and the 
Church of England, and were by them kindly accepted. 
His burnt bones were honourably vindicated by the public 
praise, and his memory was by many in Cambridge solemnly 
commended to posterity. Let, I beseech you, his counsel 
in these books be revived, and let true reformation be tried 
by their light. I hope those who will not hear me, or such 
as I am, will hear that great and moderate reformer. And if 
you will add the reading of old Salvian, and of Nic. Cle- 
mangis, it may do you good, by exciting you to do good to 
others, and thus effectually promoting the ends of this ad- 
vice TO YOUTH. 

March 25, 1681. 



























It is many years, since this Prognostication was written, 
(1661, except the thirteen last lines); but it was cast by, lest 
it should offend the guilty. But the author now thinketh, 
that the monitory usefulness, may overweigh the inconveni- 
ences of men's displeasure; at least, to posterity, if not for 
the present age ; of which he is taking his farewel*'. His 
suppositions are such as cannot be denied : viz. 

1. Eccles. i. 9. " The thing that hath been, is that 
which shall be ; and that which is done, is that which shall 
be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." 

2. The same causes, with the same circumstances, will 
have the same effects on recipients, equally disposed. 

3. ' Operari sequitur esse:' as natures are, so they act; 
except where overpowered. 

4. The appetite, sensitive and rational, is the principle of 
motion ; and what any love, they will desire and seek. 

5. Therefore, interest will turn the affairs of the world ; 
and he that can best understand all interests, will be the best 
moral prognosticator; so far as men are causes of the events. 

6. The pleasing of God, and the happiness of their own 
and others' souls, being the interest of true believers ; and 
temporal life, pleasure, and prosperity, being the seeming 
and esteemed interest of unbelievers cross interests, will 
carry them contrary ways. 

7. Contraries, when near and militant, will be trouble- 
some to each other, and seek each others' destruction or 

* This Tract was first printed in 1680. Editor. 


8. The senses and experience of all men, in all ages, are 
to be believed about their proper objects. 

9. Men of activity, power, and great numbers, will have 
advantage for observance and success, above those that are 

modest, obscure, and few. 

10. Yet men will still be men ; and the rational nature 
will yield some friendly aspect towards the truth. 

11. Those that are ignorant, and misled by passion, and 
carried down the stream, by men of malignity or faction, 
may come to themselves, when affliction, experience, and 
considerateness have had time to work ; and may repent, 
and undo somewhat that they have done. 

12. As sense will be sense, when faith hath done its best; 
so faith will be faith, when flesh or sense hath done its worst. 

13. Men that fix on a heavenly, everlasting interest, will 
not be temporisers, and changed by the worldly mens' wills 
or cruelties. 

14. When all men have tired themselves with their con- 
trivances and stirs, moderation and peace must be the quiet 

15. When all worldly wisdom hath done its utmost, and 
mens' endeavours are wringed with the greatest expecta- 
tions ; God will be God, and blast what he nilleth; and will 
overrule all things, to the accomplishment of his most blessed 
will. Amen. 

On these suppositions it is, that the following Prognos- 
tications are founded ; which I must admonish the reader, 
not to mistake for historical narratives : but, I exhort him 
to know what hath been, and what is, if he would know what 
will be; and to make sure of everlasting rest with Christ, 
when he must leave a sinful, restless world. 






on, TILL 


1. Mankind will be born in a state of infancy and nescience, 
that is, without actual knowledge. 

2. Yea, with a nature that hath the innate dispositions 
to sloth, and to diverting pleasures and business ; and more 
than so, to an averseness from those principles which are 
needful to sanctification, and heavenly wisdom. The carnal 
mind will have an enmity against God, and will not mind 
the things of the Spirit, nor be subject to God's law. (Rom. 
viii. 5—8.) 

3. Sound learning, or wisdom, in things of so high a na- 
ture, as are the matters of Salvation, will not be attained 
without hard study, earnest prayer, and humble submis- 
sion to instructions ; and all this a long time patiently en- 
dured, or rather willingly, and delightfully performed. 

4. And if the seeds of wisdom be not born with us, in a 
capacious disposition of understanding ; but contrarily a na- 
tural unapprehensiveness blocks up the way ; even time and 
labour, will never (without a miracle) bring any to any great 
eminency of understanding. 

5. And they that have both capacity, and an industrious 
disposition, must have also sound, and able, and diligent 
teachers; or at least escape the hands of seducers, and of 
partial, factious guides. 


6. There are few born with good natural capacities, much 
less with a special dispositive acuteness ; and few that will 
be at the pains and patience, which the getting of wisdom 
doth require ; and few that will have the happiness of sound 
and diligent teachers ; but fewest of all that will have a con- 
currence of all these three. 

7. Therefore there will be but few very wise men in the 
world ; ignorance will be common, wisdom will be rare. 

8. Therefore error or false opinions will be common. 
For unless men never think of the things of which they are 
ignorant, or judge nothing of them one way or other, they 
are sure to err, so far as they judge in ignorance. But when 
things of greatest moment are represented as true or false, to 
be believed or rejected, the most ignorant mind is naturally 
inclined to pass its judgment or opinion of them one way or 
other ; and to apprehend them according to the light he 
standeth in, and to think of them as he is disposed. So that 
ignorance and error will concur. 

9. He that erreth, doth think that he is in the right, and 
erreth not : for to err, and to know that he erreth in judg- 
ment, is a contradiction, and impossible. (However in words 
and deeds a man may err, and know that he erreth.) 

10. He that knoweth not, and that erreth, perceiveth not 
that evidence of truth, which should make him receive it, 
and which maketh other men receive it ; and therefore know- 
eth not that indeed another is in the right, or seeth any more 
than he. 

1 1 . Especially when every man is a stranger to another's 
mind and soul, as to any immediate inspection : and there- 
fore knoweth not another's knowledge, nor the convincing 
reasons of his judgment. 

12. As no man is moved against his own errors, by the 
reasons which he knoweth not ; so pride, self-love and par- 
tiality thence arising, incline all men naturally to be over- 
valuers of their own understandings, and so over-confident 
of all their own conceptions, and over-stiff in defending all 
their errors. As pride and selfishness are the firstborn of 
Satan, and the root of all positive evil in man's soul j so a 
man is more naturally proud of that which is the honour of 
a man, which is his understanding and goodness, than of 
that which is common to a beast, as strength, beauty, orna- 
ments, &c. Therefore pride of understanding and good- 


uess oft live, when sordid apparel telleth you that childish 
pride of ornaments is dead. And this pride maketh it very 
difficult, to the most ignorant and erroneous, to know their 
ignorance and error, or so much as to suspect their own un- 

13. He that seeth but few things, seeth not much to 
make him doubt, and seeth not the difficulties which should 
check his confidence and stiffness in his way. 

14. He that seeth many things, and that clearly knoweth 
much ; especially, if he see them in their order, and respects 
to one another, and leaveth out no one substantial part 
which is needful to open the signification of the rest. 

15. He that seeth many things disorderly, and con- 
fusedly, and not in due method, and leaveth out some sub- 
stantial parts, and hath not a digested knowledge, doth know 
much, and err much, and may make a bustle in the world of 
ignorants, as if he were an excellent, learned man ; but hath 
little of the inward delight, or of the power and benefits of 

16. He that seeth many things but darkly, confusedly, 
and not in the true place and method, cannot reconcile 
truths among themselves ; but is like a boy with a pair of 
tarrying irons, or like one that hath his clock or watch all 
in pieces, and knoweth not how to set them together. And 
therefore, is inclined to be a sceptic. 

17. This sort of sceptics, differ much from humble Chris- 
tians ; and have oft as high thoughts of their understand- 
ings, as any others : for they lay the cause upon the diffi- 
culties in the objects, rather than on themselves : unless, 
when they incline to brutishness or Sadducism, and take 
man's understanding to be incapable of true knowledge, and 
so lay the blame on human nature as such, that is, on the 

18. Few hope so much as to see the difficulty of things, 
and make them doubt, or sceptical. But far fewer know, 
so much as to resolve their doubts and difficulties : there- 
fore, though (as Bishop Jewel saith of faithful Pastors) I 
say not that there will be few Cardinals, few Bishops, few 
Doctors, few Deans, few Jesuits, few Friars, (there will be 
enow of these,) yet there will be few wise, judicious Divines, 
and Pastors, even in the best and happiest countries. 

19. Seeing he that knoweth not, or that erreth, knoweth 


not that another knoweth, or is in the right, when he is in 
the wrong ; therefore he knoweth not whose judgment to ho- 
nour and submit to, if he should suspect or be driven from 
his own : and therefore is not so happy, as to be able to 
choose the fittest teacher for himself. 

20. In this darkness therefore he either carnally casteth 
himself on the highest and most honoured in the world, 
where he hath the most advantages for worldly ends ; or he 
followeth the fame of the time and country where he is, or he 
falleth in with the major vote of that party, whatsoever it be, 
which his understanding doth most esteem and honour ; or 
else with some person that hath most advantage on him. 

21. If any of these happen to be in the right, he will be 
also in the right materially, and may seem an orthodox, 
peaceable and praiseworthy man : but where they are in the 
wrong, he is contented with the reputation of being in the 
right, and of the good opinion of those whom he concurreth 
with ; who flatter and applaud each other in the dark. 

22. When wise men are but few, they can be but in few 
places ; and therefore will be absent from most of the peo- 
ple, high or low, that need instruction. Besides, that their 
studiousness inclineth them, like Jerom, to be more re- 
tired than others, that know less. 

23. This confidence in an erring mind, is not only the 
case of the Teachers, as well as of the Flocks ; but is usually 
more fortified in them than in others : for they think that 
the honour of learning and wisdom, is due to their place, and 
calling, and name, and standing in the Universities ; how 
empty soever they be themselves. And they take it for a 
double dishonour (as it is) for a Teacher to be accounted 
ignorant; and an injury to their work and office, and to the 
people's souls, that must by their honour be prepared to pro- 
fit by them ; and therefore, they smart more impatiently 
under any detection of their ignorance, than the common 
people do. 

24. It is not mere honesty and godliness, that will suf- 
fice to save Ministers or people from this ignorance, injudi- 
ciousness and error ; there having ever been among the very 
godly Ministers, a few judicious men, that are fit to investi- 
gate a difficult truth, or to defend it against a subtle adver- 
sary, or to see the system of theological verities in their pro- 
per method, harmony and beauty. 


25. Morality hath innumerable difficulties as well as 
School divinity : because that moral good and evil, are or- 
dinarily such by preponderating accidents ; (actions as ac- 
tions, being neither ; but only of physical consideration). 
And the work of a true Casuist is to compare so many ac- 
cidents, and to discern in the comparison which preponde- 
rated, that it requireth both an acute and a large, capa- 
cious, far-seeing wit, to make a man a true resolver of cases 
of conscience. And consequently to be a judicious Pastor, 
that shall not lead the people into errors. 

26. As few Teachers have natural capacity for exactness, 
and a willingness and patience for long, laborious studies ; 
so many by their pastoral oversight of souls, and many by 
the wants of their families (especially in times of persecu- 
tion, when ail their public maintenance is gone, and they 
must live, with their families, on the charity of people, per- 
haps poor and persecuted as well as they) are hindered from 
those studies, which else they would undergo. 

27. It is few that grow to much exactness of judgment 
without much writing (for themselves or others) : for study, 
which is to be exactly ordered and expressed by {.he pen, is 
usually (at last) the exactest study : as the Lord Bacon 
saith, ' Much reading maketh a man full; much conference 
maketh a man ready ; and much writing maketh a man ex- 
act.' There are few Cameros, men of clear judgment, and 
abhorring to write. And there are few Divines compara- 
tively that have opportunity to write much. 

28. They that err in Divinity, do think their falsehoods 
to be God's truth ; and so will honour that which he hates, 
with the pretence of his authority and name. 

29. Therefore they will call up their own, and other men's 
zeal, to defend those falsehoods as for God, and think that 
in so doing they do God service. 

30. And the interest of their own place, and honour, and 
ends, will secretly insinuate when they discern it not, and 
will increase their zeal against opposers. 

31. Therefore, seeing they are usually many, and wise 
men but few, they will expect that number should give the 
precedency to their opinions, and will call those proud, or 
heretical that gainsay them, and labour to defame them, as 
self-conceited, opinionative men. 

32. Therefore too many godly Ministers will be great 


opposers of many of those truths of God, which they know 
not, and which they err about, and will help on the service 
of Satan in the world ; and will be the authors of factions and 
contentions in the churches ; whilst too many are "proud, 
knowing nothing" (in those matters when they think they 
are most orthodox) " but doting about questions, and strifes 
of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmis- 
ings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds (in this) 
and destitute of the truth." (ITim. vi. 4, 5.) 

33. And if many good men will erroneously stand up 
against that truth which any man wiser than themselves 
maketh known, the worldly, and malicious, that have a 
manifold enmity against it, will be ready to strengthen them 
by their concurrence, and to join in the opposition. 

34. Not they that are wisest at a distance, but they that 
are nearest the people, and are always with them, are 
most likely to prevail to make disciples of them, and bring 
them to their mind : so great an advantage it is, to talk 
daily and confidently to ignorant souls, when there is none 
to talk against them, and to make their folly known. 

35. Especially if the same men can get interest in their 
esteem as well as nearness, and make themselves esteemed 
the best or wisest men. 

36. Therefore Jesuitical, worldly Clergymen, will always 
get about great men, and insinuate into nobles, and will 
still defame them that are wise and good, that they may 
seem odious, and themselves seem excellent, and so may 
carry it by deceitful shows. 

37. And they will do their best, to procure all wise and 
good men, that are against their interest, to be banished 
from the palaces of princes and nobles, where they are; 
lest their presence should confute their slanderers, and they 
should be as " burning and shining lights," that carry their 
witness with them, where they come: and also to bring 
them under public stigmatizing censures, and sufferings ; that 
their names may be infamous and odious in the world. 

38. And heretical Pastors will play a lower game, and 
creep into the houses of silly people, prepared by ignorance, 
and soul-disturbers to receive their heresies. 

39. Between these two sorts of naughty Pastors (the 
worldly and the heretical), and also the multitude of 
weak, erroneous, honest Teachers, the soundest and wor- 


thiest will be so few, that far most of/the people (high and 
low) are like to live under the influences and advantages of 
erring men ; and, therefore, themselves to be an erring 

40. In that measure, that men are carnal ; their own car- 
nal interest will rule them. And both the worldly and 
heretical Clergy, are ruled by carnal interests, though 
not the same materially. And the more honest, erring Mi- 
nisters, are swayed by their interests too much ; insomuch, 
that on this account, it was no overvaluing of Timothy, or 
wrong to the other Pastors, that it should plainly be said by 
Paul, " For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care 
fo ryour state. For all seek their own, not the things which 
are Jesus Christ's." (Phil. ii. 21, 22.) " Of your ownselves 
shall men arise, and speak perverse things, to draw away 
disciples after them." (Acts xx. 30.) Besides the grievous 
wolves which would not spare the flocks. 

41. The interest then of the worldly Clergy, will con- 
sist in pleasing the great ones of the world ; for lordships, 
and worldly wealth, and honour, and to be made the rulers 
of their brethren, and to have their wills : And the interest 
of heretics will be to have many to be of their own opinion 
to admire them : and the interest of upright Ministers, will 
be to please God, and propagate the Gospel, increase the 
Church, and save men's souls. Yet so that they have a su- 
bordinate interest, for food and raiment, and families, and 
necessary reputation, which they are too apt to overvalue. 

42. Therefore, it will be the great trade of the worldly 
Clergy, to please and flatter the Rulers of the world, and by 
all artificial insinuations, and by their friends, to work them- 
selves into their favour, and by scorns and calumnies, to 
work out all other that are against their interest. 

43. And it will be the trade of heretics, to insinuate into 
the more ductile people, especially as Ministers of Truth and 
Righteousness, that have somewhat more excellent in know- 
ledge or holiness, than the faithful Ministers of Christ. 

44. And it will be the work of faithful Ministers, to 
save men's souls. But with such various degrees of self- 
denial or selfishness, as they have various degrees of wisdom 
and holiness. 

45. Many great and piously disposed Princes, like Con- 
stantine, will think that to honour and advance the Clergy, 


into worldly power and wealth, is to honour God and the 
Christian Religion: and great munificence is fit for their 
own greatness. 

46. And because such honour and wealth cannot possi- 
bly be bestowed on all ; it must make a great disparity, and 
set some as lords over the rest. 

47. And the unavoidable weakness, passions, and divi- 
sions of the Clergy, will make Rulers think, that there is a 
necessity ; that besides the Civil Government, there should 
be some of their own office, to rule the rest, and to keep 
them in order, obedience, and peace. 

48. Ambition and covetousness, will abuse this munifi- 
cence of Princes : and whilst that any church-preferments 
are so great (beyond the degree of a mere encouraging sub- 
sistence), as to be a strong bait to tempt the desires of a 
proud and worldly mind, the most proud and worldly that 
are within the reach of hope, will be the seekers, by them- 
selves, and by their friends. 

49. Mortified, humble, heavenly men, will either never 
seek them, or with no great eagerness ; their appetite being 
less, and their restraints much greater. 

50. Therefore they that have the keenest appetites to 
church-grandeur and preferments, and are the eager seekers, 
are most likely to find. 

51. Therefore the lovers of wealth and honour, are more 
likely still to be the lords among the Clergy ; except in 
such marvellous happy times, when wise and pious Princes, 
call the more worthy that seek it not, and reject these thirsty 

52. The greatest lovers of worldly wealth and honour, 
are the worst men. (1 Johnii. 15 ; James iv. 4, &c.) 

53. Therefore, except in such times as aforesaid, the 
worst men will be still the rich and powerful in the Clergy, 
for the most part, or at least, the worldly that are very bad. 

54. These carnal minds are enmity to God, and cannot 
be subject to his law. And the friendship of the world is 
enmity to God. And the honour and wealth of these worldly 
men, will be taken by them for their interest : and they will 
set themselves to defend it, against all that would endan- 

ger it. 

55. The doctrine and practice of humility, mortification, 
contempt of the world, forsaking all, taking up the cross, 


Sec, is so much of the Christian Religion, that however the 
worldly Clergy may formally preach it, their minds'and in- 
terests are at enmity to it. 

56. Such men will make Church- canons according to 
their interests and minds. 

57. And they will judge of Ministers and people, accord- 
ing to their interest and mind ; who is sound, and who is 
erroneous ; who is honest, and who is bad ; who is worthy 
of favour, and who is worthy of all the reproaches that can 
be devised against him. 

58. The humble, mortified Ministers and people, that are 
seriously the servants of a Crucified Christ, and place their 
hopes, and portion in another world, have a holy disposition, 
contrary to this worldly, carnal mind ; and their manner of 
preaching, will be of a different relish, and the tenor of 
their lives, of a contrary course. 

59. The generality of the best people in the Christian 
Churches will perceive the difference between the worldly 
and the heavenly manner of preaching, and of living, and 
will love and honour the latter, far above the former ; be- 
cause their new nature suiteth with things spiritual, and 
fitteth them to relish them. 

60. The worst of vicious and worldly men will disrelish 
the spiritual manner of preaching and living, and will join 
with the worldly Clergy against it. 

61. The worldly Clergy being hypocrites, as to Chris- 
tianity and godliness (like Judas that loved the bag better 
than Christ), they will make themselves a Religion, consist- 
ing of the mere corpse and dead image of the true Religion • 
of set words, and actions, and formalities, and orders, which 
in themselves are (many, at least, if not all) good ; but the 
life they will not endure. 

62. This image of true Religion, or corpse of godliness, 
they will dress up with many additional flowers out of their 
own gardens, some tolerable, and some corrupting : that so 
they may have something which both their own consciences 
and the world may take to be honourable Religion ; lest 
known ungodliness should terrify conscience within, and 
shame them in the world without. 

63. This image of Religion, so dressed up, will suit their 
carnal auditors and people too, to the same ends ; and there- 
fore will become their uniting interest. 


64. That which is but a weed among these flowers, the 
more heavenly Ministers and people will dislike, and much 
more dislike the loathsome face of death (or lifelessness) in 
their Religion. 

65. These differences of mind and practice, will engage 
both parties in some kind of opposition to each other. The 
worldly Clergy or hypocrites, will have heart-risings against 
the Ministers and people that think meanly of them, and will 
take it for their interest to bring them down : for enmity is 
hardly restrained from exercise. And Cain will be wroth, 
that Abel's sacrifice is better accepted than his own. 

66. The better Ministers, will be apt through passion, to 
speak too dishonourably of the other: and the rash, and 
younger sort, and the heretical hypocrites that fall in with 
them, will take it for part of a godly zeal to speak against 
them to the people, in such words as Christ used of the 
Scribes and Pharisees. 

67. Hereupon the exasperations of each party, will be 
increased more and more ; and the powerful, worldly Clergy, 
will think it their interest, to devise some new impositions, 
which they know the other cannot yield to, to work them out. 

68. Whether they be oaths, subscriptions, words or actions, 
which they believe to be against God's word, the spiritual, 
and upright part of the Clergy and people, will not perform 
them ; resolving to obey God, rather than man. 

69. Hereupon the worldly part will take the advantage, 
and call them disobedient, stubborn, proud, schismatical, 
self-opinionated, disturbers of the public peace and order, 
" pestilent fellows, and movers of sedition among the people," 
that will let nothing be quiet, but " turn the world upside- 
down:" (Acts xxiv. 5, 6:) and will endeavour to bring them 
to such sufferings, as men really guilty of such crimes deserve. 

70. And because the suffering, and dissenting party of 
Ministers, when silenced, will leave many vacancies in the 
Churches they will be fain to fill them with men, how empty 
and unworthy soever, that are of their own spirit, and will 
be true to their interests. 

71. The exasperation of their sufferings, will make many, 
otherwise sober Ministers, too impatient, and to give their 
tongues leave to take down the honour of the Clergy, whom 
they suffer by more than beseemeth men of humility, cha- 
rity, and patience. 


72. When the people, that most esteem their faithful 
Ministers, are deprived of their labours, by the prohibitions 
of the rest, and themselves also afflicted with them ; it will 
stir up in them an inordinate, unwarrantable, passionate 
zeal ; which will corrupt their very prayers, and make them 
speak unseemly things, and pray for the downfal of that 
Clergy, which they take to be the enemies of God, and god- 
liness. And they will think that to speak easily or chari- 
tably of such men, as dare forbid Christ's Ministers to preach 
his Gospel, and by notorious sacrilege, alienate the persons, 
and gifts that were consecrated solemnly to God ; is but to 
be lukewarm, and indifferent between God and the devil. 

73. And when they take them as enemies to religion, and 
to themselves, the younger and rasher sort of Ministers ; but 
much more the people, will grow into a suspicion of all that 
they see their afflicters stand for : they will dislike not only 
their faults ; but many harmless things, yea many laudable 
customs which they use ; and will grow into some supersti- 
tion in opposition to them, making new sins in the manner 
of worship, which God never forbad or made to be sins ; and 
taking up new duties, which God never made duties; yea 
ready to forsake some old and wholesome doctrines, because 
their afflicters own them; and to take up some new, unsound 
doctrines, and expositions of God's word, because they are 
inclined by opinion, and passion conjoined, to go as far as 
may be from such men, whom they think so bad of. 

74. And the vulgar people that have but little sense of 
religion (that are not by the aforesaid interest, united to the 
afflicting Clergy), having a reverence to the worth of those 
that are afflicted, and an experience of the rawness, and dif- 
fering lives of many that possess their rooms, will grow to 
compassionate the afflicted, and to think that they are in- 
jured themselves, and so to think hardly of the causers of 
all this. 

75. Hereupon the powerful Clergy, will increase their 
accusations against the party that is against them, and de- 
clare to the world in print and from the pulpits, their igno- 
rance, unpeaceableness, unruliness, giddiness, false opinions 
and conceits about the manner of worship, and how unsuf- 
ferable a sort of men they are. 

76. By this time the devil will have done the radical part 
of his work ; which is to destroy much of Christian love to 


one another, and make them take each other for unlovely, 
odious persons : the one part, for persecuting enemies of 
godliness, and hypocrites, and Pharisees : the other for pe- 
vish, seditious, turbulent, unruly sectaries. And on these 
suppositions, all their after characters, affections and prac- 
tices towards each other will proceed. 

77. By this enmity and opposition against each other, 
both parties will increase in wrath, and somewhat in num- 
bers. The worldly afflicting Clergy will multiply not only 
such as are disaffected to them, but downright fanatics, and 
sectaries that will run as far from them as they can, into 
contrary extremes. For when they are once brought into a 
distaste of the old hive, the bees will hardly gather into one 
new one ; but will divide into several swarms and hives. As 
every man's zeal is more against the afflicting party ; so he 
will go further from them : some to be Separatists, some 
Anabaptists, some Antinomians, some Seekers, some Qua- 
kers, and some to they know not what themselves. 

78. For the women, and apprentices, and novices in Chris- 
tianity, that have more passion than judgment, will abun- 
dance of them quite overrun, even their own afflicted Teachers, 
and will forsake them, if they will not overrun their own 
judgments, in forsaking those that do afflict them. 

79. And many hypocrites that have no sound religion ; 
but ignorance, pride, and uncharitableness, will thrust in 
among them, in these discontents ; or spring up in the nur- 
series of these briars of passion, and will bring in new doc- 
trines, and new ways of worship, and make themselves 
preachers, and the heads of sects : by reason of whom, the 
way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 

80. And many unstable persons seeing this, will dread 
and loathe so giddy a sort of men, and will turn Papists, 
upon the persuasions of them that tell them, that there is no 
true unity nor consistency, but at Rome ; and that all must 
thus turn giddy at last, that are not fixed in the papal head. 
And thus they that fly too far from the Common-Prayer- 
Book, will drive men to the mass, and the afflicters will make 
sectaries and the sectaries will make Papists. 

81. When the violent Clergy, instead of a fatherly go- 
vernment of the flocks, have driven the people into passions, 
distempers, and uncharitable disaffections to themselves, and 
have also been the great cause of multiplied heresies, and 


sects by the same means, instead of being humbled and pe- 
nitent for their sin, they will be hardened, and justify all 
their violences, by the giddiness and miscarriages of those 
sectaries, which they themselves have made. 

82. And when they publish the faults of such, for the 
justification of their own violence, they will draw thousands 
into an approbation of their courses, (to think that such a 
turbulent people can never be too hardly called or used) and 
consequently into a participation of their guilt. 

83. By all this, the Dissenters will be still more alienated 
from them ; and many will aggravate the crime of the Mi- 
nisters that conform to their impositions, and obey them ; 
and for the sake of a few that afflict them, they will condemn 
many laudable conforming Ministers, that never consented 
to it; but could heartily wish, that it were otherwise. 

84. And the younger, and more indiscreet, passionate 
sort, will frequently reproach such, as unconscionable tem- 
porizers, that will do any thing for worldly ends, and that 
as hypocrites for a fleshly interest, concur with the cor- 
rupters, and afflicters of the godly. 

85. These censures and reproaches will provoke those 
conforming Ministers, who are not masters of their passions, 
nor conquerors of their pride, to think as badly of the cen- 
surers, as their afflicters do, and to join with them in the dis- 
playing of all enormities, and promoting their further suffer- 
ings, and publishing the folly and turbulency of their spirits, 
with spleen and partiality. 

86. By these kind of speeches, preachings, and writings, 
multitudes of the debauched will be hardened in their sin 
against all religion : for when they observe that it is the 
same party of men, who are thus reproached, that are the 
strictest reprovers of their lewdness, their fornications, tip- 
pling, gaming, luxuries, and ungodliness ; they will think it 
is no great matter, what such a defamed, giddy sort of people 
say, and that really they are worse themselves. 

87. Each party of these adversaries, will characterize the 
adverse party as hypocrites : the passionate sufferers, will 
call the afflicters, Hypocrites, and Pharisees, that have no re- 
ligion, but a formal show of outside ceremonies and words, 
and that tithe mint, and cummin, and wash the outside, 
while within they are full of persecuting cruelty, and are 
wolves in sheep's clothing, loving the uppermost seats, and 


great titles, and ceremonious phylacteries, whilst they are 
enemies to the preaching of the Gospel ol" Christ, and get re- 
venues to themselves, and devour not only the houses, but 
the peace and lives of others, under pretence of long litur- 
gies ; and that devour the living saints, while they keep 
holy days, and build monuments for the dead ones, whom 
their fathers murdered, 8cc. And the powerful Clergy, will 
call the others Hypocrites, and labour to show that the Pha- 
risees' character belongeth to them, and that their pretences 
of strictness in religion, and their long praying and preach- 
ing, is but a cloak to cover their disobedience, and covet- 
ousness, and secret sins ; and that their hearts, and inside, 
is as bad as others, and that their fervency in devotion, is 
but an hypocritical, affected, whining, and canting; and 
that they are worse, than the lesser religious sort of people; 
because they are more unpeaceable, and disobedient, and 
add hypocrisy to their sin. 

88. The ignorant, worldlings, drunkards, and ungodly 
despisers of holiness and heaven, being in all countries most 
contradicted in their way, by this stricter sort of men, and 
hearing them in pulpit, and press so branded for hypocrites, 
will joyfully unite themselves with the censurers ; and so 
they will make up as one party, in crying down the precise 
hypocrites ; and usually make some name to call them by, 
as their brand of common ignominy : and they will live the 
more quietly in all their sins, and think they shall be saved, 
as soon as the precisest, that make more show, but have no 
more sincerity, but more hypocrisy than themselves. 

89. The suffering party, seeing the ungodly, and the con- 
forming afflicters of them thus united, and made one party 
in opposition to them, will increase their hard thoughts of 
the adverse Clergy, and take them for downright profane, and 
the leading enemies of godliness in the world, that will be 
captains in the devil's army, and lead on all the most un- 
godly- against serious godliness, for their worldly ends. 

90. And the young and indifferent sort of people, in all 
countries, that were engaged in neither part, being but 
strangers to religion, and to the differences, will be ready to 
judge of the cause by the persons : and seeing so many of 
the dignified advanced Clergy, and the more sensual sort of 
the people on one side, and so many men of strict lives on the 
other, that suffer also for their religion, and hearing too that 


it is some name of preciseness, that they are reproached by, 
will think them to be the better side ; and so the title of the 
godly will grow by degrees, to be almost appropriated to 
their party, and the title of profane and persecutors to the 

91. All this while the nonconforming Ministers, will be 
somewhat differently affected, according to the different de- 
grees of their judiciousness, experience, and self-denial. 

Some of them will think these passions of the people 
needful, to check the fierceness of the afflicters (which doth 
but exasperate it) ; and therefore, will let them alone, 
though they will not encourage them. 

Some of the younger or more injudicious hot-brained sort 
will put them on, and make them believe, that all commu- 
nion with any conforming Ministers or their Parish Churches 
is unlawful, and their forms of worship, are sinful and anti- 
christian ; and that they are all temporizers, and betrayers 
of truth and purity, that communicate or assemble with 

The judicious, and experienced, and most patient, and 
self-denying sort, will themselves abstain from all that is 
sin; and as far as it is in their choice and power, will join 
with the churches that worship God most agreeably to his 
word and will ; but so, as that they will not be loud in their 
complaints, nor busy to draw men to their opinions in con- 
trovertible points, nor will unchurch and condemn all the 
Churches that have something which they dislike as sinful ; 
nor will renounce the communion of all faulty Churches, lest 
they renounce the communion of all in the world, and teach 
all others to renounce theirs : but they will sometimes com- 
municate with the more faulty Churches, to shew that they 
unchurch them not (so they be not forced in it to any sin) ; 
though usually they will prefer the purest : yea, ordinarily 
they will join with the more faulty, when they can have no 
better, or when the public good requireth it. They will 
never prefer the interest of their nonconforming party, be- 
fore the interest of Christianity, or the public good : They 
will so defend lesser truths, as not to neglect or disadvantage 
the greater, which all are agreed in ; they will so preserve 
their own innocency, as not to stir up other men's passions, 
nor to make factions or divisions by their difference. They 
vol. xv. E E 


will so dislike the pride and vvorldliness of others, and their 
injuries against God and godliness, as not to speak evil of 
dignities, nor to cherish in the people's minds, any disho- 
nourable, injurious thoughts of their kings, or any in autho- 
rity over them : they will labour to allay the passions of the 
people, and to rebuke their censorious, and too sharp lan- 
guage, and to keep up all due charity, to those by whom 
they suffer ; but especially loyalty to their kings and rulers, 
and peaceableness as to their countries. They will teach 
them to distinguish between the cruel that are masters of the 
game, and all the rest that have no hand in it ; and at least 
not to separate from all the rest, for the sake of a few : If 
they will go as far as Martin (in Sulpitius Severus) to avoid 
all communion with Ithacius and Idacius, and the Councils 
of Bishops, that prosecuted the Priscillianists, to the scandal 
of godliness itself: yet not for their sakes to avoid all others, 
that never consented to it : nor with Gildas, to say of all 
the bad Ministers, that he was not ' Eximius Christianus,' 
that would call them Ministers, or Pastors, rather than trai- 
tors. They will persuade the people to discern between 
good and evil, and not to run into extremes, nor to dislike 
all that their afflicters hold or use ; nor to call things lawful, 
by the name of sin, and anti-christianity, nor to suffer their 
passions to blind their judgments, to make superstitiously 
new sin and ditties, in opposition to their adversaries : nor to 
disgrace their understandings and the truth, by errors, fac- 
tions, revilings, or miscarriages ; nor to run into sects, nor 
to divide Christ's house and kingdom, while they pretend 
to be his zealous servants : they will persuade the people to 
patience, and moderation, and peace, and to " speak evil of 
no man," nor by word or deed, to revenge themselves ; much 
less to resist the authority that is set over them by God; but 
to imitate their Saviour, and quietly suffer, and being reviled 
not to revile again; but to love their enemies, and bless 
their cursers. 

92. The more sober sort of the people, will be ruled by 
these counsels, and will do much to quiet the rest. But the 
heretical part, with their own passions, will exasperate many 
novices and injudicious persons, to account this course and 
counsel aforesaid, to be but the effect of lukewarmness and 
carnal compliance with sin, and a halting between two 


opinions, and a participation in the sin of persecutors, and 
malignant enemies of godliness : and they will believe that 
whoever joineth with the Parish Churches, in their way, is 
guilty of encouraging them in sin, and of false worship. 

93. Hereupon they will defame the nonconforming Mi- 
nisters last described, as men of no zeal, neither flesh nor 
fish ; and perhaps as men that would save their skin, and 
shift themselves out of sufferings, and betray the truth. And 
when such Ministers, acquaint them with their unsound 
principles and passions, they will say of them that they 
speak bitterly of the godly, and join with the persecutors in 
reproaching them. 

94. And they will carry about among themselves, many 
false reports and slanders against them; partly because pas- 
sion taketh off charity, and tenderness of conscience ; and 
partly because an opinionative model, and siding religious- 
ness, hath ever more followers, and a quicker zeal, than true 
holiness ; and partly because they will think that human 
converse obligeth them to believe the reports, which those 
that are accounted good men utter; and partly because that 
they will think, that the upholding of their cause (which 
they think is God's) doth need the suppression of these men's 
credit, and reputation that are against it. 

95. But the greater part of the honest nonconformist 
Ministers, will dislike the headiness, and rashness of the 
novices, and the sectaries; and will approve of the aforesaid 
moderate ways. But their opportunities, and dispositions 
of expressing it, will be various. Some of them will do it 
freely, whatever be thought of it ; and some of them that 
have impatient auditors, will think that it is no duty to at- 
tempt that which will not be endured, and that it is better 
to do what good they can, than none. And some will think, 
that seeing the worldly Clergy forbid them to preach the 
Gospel of salvation, they are not bound to keep up any of 
their reputation or interest, as long as they have themselves 
no hand in the extremes, and passions of the people. And 
some that have wives and children, and nothing but the 
people's charity to find them food and raiment, being turned 
out of all public maintenance by their amicters, and prose- 
cuted still with continued violence, will think that it is not 
their duty, to beg their bread from door to door; nor to turn 
their families to be kept on the alms of the parish, by losing- 



the affection of those people, whose charity only they can 
expect relief from : and therefore, they will think that ne- 
cessity, and preservation of their families' lives and health, 
will better excuse their silence, when they defend not those 
that would destroy them, against the overmuch opposition 
of the people ; than the command of their afflicters will ex- 
cuse their silence, if they neglect to preach the Christian 
faith. And some will think, that finding themselves hated 
and hunted by one party ; if they lose the affection of the 
other also, they shall have none to do their office with, nor 
to do any good to ; and that they shall but leave the people 
whom they displease, to follow those passionate leaders, 
that will tempt them to more dangerous extremities, against 
the peace of Christian societies. 

But the most judicious and resolved Ministers, that live 
not on the favour or maintenance of the people, or are quite 
above all worldly interest, will behave themselves wisely, 
moderately, and yet resolvedly ; and will do nothing, that 
shall distaste sober and wise men, nor yet despise the souls 
of the most impotent or indiscreet ; but by solid principles, 
endeavour to build them upon solid grounds ; and to use 
them with the tenderness, as nurses should do their crying 
children. But yet they will not cherish their sin, under the 
pretence of profiting their souls ; nor, by silence, be guilty 
of their blood ; nor so much as connive at those dangerous 
extremes, that seem to serve some present exigence and job ; 
but threaten future ruin to the churches, and dishonour to 
the Christian cause. And therefore, they resolve not to neg- 
lect the duties of charity to the bitterest of their persecutors : 
and the rather, because it will prove in the end, a charity to 
the Church, and to the souls of the passionate, whose charity 
they labour to keep alive. And silence at sin, is contrary 
to their trust and office : and they will not be guilty of that 
carnal wisdom, which would do evil that good may come by 
it ; or that dare not seek to cure the principles of uncharita- 
bleness, divisions, or extremities in the people, for fear of 
losing advantages of doing them good ; or that dare not dis- 
own unlawful schisms and separations, for fear of encourag- 
ing those malignants, that call lawful practices by that 
name. They will do God's work (though with prudence, 
and not destructive rashness, yet) with fidelity and self-de- 
nial. And they will lay at Christ's feet, not only their in- 


terest in the favour of superiors; and their peace, and safety, 
and liberty, and estates, and lives, which are exposed to ma- 
lignant cruelty, among the Cainites of the world; but also 
all the good thoughts, and words, and favour of the religious 
sort of people, yea, and Pastors too. And they will look 
more to the interest of the whole Church, than of a narrow 
party ; and of posterity, than of the present time : as know- 
ing, that at long running, it is only truth that will stand 
uppermost; when malignant violence, and sectarian passions 
are both run out of breath. And therefore, in simplicity, 
and godly sincerity, they will have their conversations in 
the world ; and not in fleshly wisdom, or selfish blinding- 
passions or factions. Let all men use them how they will, 
or judge or call them what they will ; they will not therefore 
be false to God and to-their consciences. And seeing it is 
their office to govern and teach the people, they will not be 
governed by the favour of the most censorious, ignorant or 
proud ; but will guide them as faithful teachers, till they are 
deserted by them, and disabled. But the sober, ancient, 
wise and experienced, will always cleave to them, and for- 
sake the giddy and sectarian way. 

96. In the heat of these extremities, the most peaceable 
and sober part, both of the Conformists and Nonconformists, 
will be in best esteem with the grave and sober people ; but 
in the greatest strait, with both the extremes. 

97. The godly and peaceable Conformists, will get the 
love of the sober, by their holy doctrine and lives : but they 
will be despised by the sectaries, because they conform ; 
and they will be suspected by the proud and persecuting 
Clergy, as leaning to the Dissenters, and strengthening them 
by their favour ; because these Ministers will, in all their 
parishes, more love and honour the godly Nonconformists, 
than the irreligious, ignorant, worldly, dead-hearted multi- 
tude, or the malignant enemies of godliness. 

98. Hereupon these Conformists being taken for the 
chief upholders of the Nonconformists, will be under con- 
tinual jealousies and rebukes. And perhaps, new points of 
Conformity shall be devised, to be imposed on them, which 
it is known their consciences are against; that so they may 
be forced also to be Nonconformists : because secret enemies 
are more dangerous than open foes. 


99. These Conformists being thus troubled, will feel also 
the stirring of passion in themselves; and by the injury, 
will be tempted to think more hardly of their afflicters than 
before : and so will part of them turn downright Noncon- 
formists ; and the other part will live in displeasure, till they 
see an opportunity to shew it. And these are the likeliest 
to cross and weaken the worldly, persecuting Clergy, of any 

100. And as for the moderate Nonconformists, that un- 
derstand what they do, and why, and seek the reconciling of 
all Dissenters ; they will also be loved and honoured by the 
sober, grave and experienced Christians : but both extremes 
will be against them. The Sectaries will say, as before, 
that they are lukewarm, and carnal, selfish, complying men. 
The proud, imposing Clergy will say, that it is they that have 
drawn the people into these extremes ; and then complain of 
them that they cannot rule them. And they will tell them, 
That till they conform themselves, their moderation doth 
but strengthen the Nonconformists, and keep up the repu- 
tation of sobriety among them. And the nearer they come 
to Conformity, the more dangerous they are, as being more 
able to supplant it. And thus the moderate and reconcilers, 
will be as the wedge that is pressed by both sides, in the 
cleft of church-divisions : and no side liketh them, because 
they are not given up to the factious passions or interest of 

101. Only those will, in all these extremities and divi- 
sions, keep their integrity ; who are, 1. Wise. 2. Humble 
and self-denying. 3. Charitable, and principled with a spi- 
rit of love. 4. And do take the favour of God, and heaven 
alone for their hope and portion, whatever becometh of them 
in the world. But the worldly persecuting, and the sec- 
tarian party, will be both constituted by these contrary prin- 
ciples ; 1. Ignorance and error. 2. Pride of their own un- 
derstandings; every one thinking that all are intolerable 
that are not of their mind and way. 3. Uncharitableness, 
malice or want of love to others as to themselves. 4. And 
overvaluing their worldly accommodations, honours and es- 

102. Hereupon the instruments of a foolish shepherd, will 
still be used to the greater scattering of the flocks. And 


because none are so able to dispute against them as the mo- 
derate, therefore they will be taken for their most dangerous 
adversaries : and when they are greatly inclined to the heal- 
ing of these wounds, the violent and lordly will not suffer 
them ; but will pour oil upon the flames, which moderate 
men would quench. And, as if they were blindfolding and 
scourging Christ again, they will follow the people with af- 
flicting wounds ; and then charge the moderate Ministers 
with their discontents ; and charge them to reduce them to 
peace and conformity. And if they cannot get them to love 
and honour those that are still scourging them with scor- 
pions, the scourgers will lay the blame on these Ministers, 
and say, it is all long of them that the people love not those 
that wound them. And they that cry out most for peace 
will not endure it, nor give the peacemakers leave to do any 
thing that will accomplish it : nor will keep the spur out of 
the people's sides, whilst they look that others (spurred more 
sharply) should hold the reins ; which yet at the same time 
they take out of their hands, and forbid them to hold, by 
forbidding them to preach the Gospel. So that it will be 
the sum of their expectations, ' Perform not the office of 
Pastors, nor preach the Gospel of peace and piety to the peo- 
ple any more : but yet, without preaching to them, see that 
you teach them all to love and honour us, while we silence 
you, and afflict them ; or else we will account you intolera- 
ble, seditious schismatics, and use you as such.' 

103. In some kingdoms or countries, it will be thought, 
that the people will be brought to no obedience to the lordly 
Pastors, till their most able or moderate Ministers are kept 
from them, by banishment, imprisonment or confinement: 
which will accordingly be done. 

104. When the Ministers are banished or removed, that 
restrained the people's passions, the people will make 
preachers of themselves ; even such as are suited to their 

105. Where Papists or heretics are shut out by laws, they 
will secretly contribute the utmost of their endeavours, to 
make the sufferings of Dissenting Protestants, as grievous as 
possibly they can ; that in despite of them, their own neces- 
sities may compel them to cry out for liberty ; till they pro- 
cure a common toleration for all, and open the door for 
Papists and heretics, as well as for themselves. 


106. " Surely, oppression will make wise men mad." 
(Eccles. vii. 7.) 

107. Madmen will speak madly, and do madly. 

108. They that speak and do madly, will be thought 
meetest for Bedlam, and for chains. 

109. When the Ministers are banished or removed, and 
the people left to their passions, and their own-made guides 
and teachers ; passionate women, and boys, and unsettled 
novices, will run into unwarrantable words and deeds ; and 
will think those means lawful, which seem to promise them 
deliverance, though they be such as God forbiddeth. 

110. The seditions and miscarriages of some few will be 
imputed to the innocent. 

111. For the sake of such miscarriages, in some king- 
doms, the sword will be drawn against them, and the blood 
of many will be shed. 

112. Hereupon the misguided, passionate youth, being 
by the proud Clergy deprived of the presence of that Mi- 
nistry that should moderate them, are likely enough to think 
rebellion and resisting of authority, a lawful means for their 
own preservation : and will plead the law of nature and ne- 
cessity for their justification. 

113. If any of the sober, wise, experienced Pastors be 
left among them, that would restrain them from unlawful 
ways, and persuade them to patient Buffering; they will be 
taken for complying betrayers of religion, and of the peo- 
ple's lives ; that would have them tamely surrender their 
throats to butchery. 

As in a parenthesis, I will give them some instances for 
this prognostic. 

(1.) The great Lord Du Plessis (one of the most excellent 
noblemen that ever the earth bore, that is known to us by 
any history,) being against the holding of an Assembly of the 
French Churches, against the king's prohibition, was rejected 
by the Assembly, as complying with the courtiers, (because 
they said, the king had before promised, or granted them 
that Assembly) ; but the refusing of his counsel, cost the 
blood of many thousand Protestants, and the loss of all their 
garrisons and powers, and that lowness of the Protestant 
interest there that we see at this day. 

(2.) The great divine, Peter De Moulin, was also against 



the Rochellers' proceedings against the king's prohibitions 
(and so were some chief Protestant Nobles) : but he was re- 
jected by his own party, who paid for it, by the blood of 
thousands, and their ruin. 

(3.) Ilatelyread ofaking of France, thathearing that the 
Protestants made verses and pasquels against the mass and 
processions of the Papists, made a severe law to prohibit it. 
When they durst not break that law, their indiscreet zeal 
carried them to make certain ridiculous pictures of the mass- 
priests and the processions ; which moderate Ministers 
would have dissuaded them from, but were accounted tem- 
porizers and lukewarm : by which the king being exaspe- 
rated, shut up the Protestant churches, took away their 
liberties, and it cost many thousand men their lives. And the 
question was, Whether God had commanded such jeers and 
scorns, and pictures, to be made at so dear a rate, as the root- 
ing out of the Churches, and religion, and the people's lives. 

(4.) Great Camero (one of the most judicious Divines in 
the world) was in Montabon, when it stood out in arms 
against the king (accounted formerly impregnable) : He 
was against their resistance, and persuaded them to submit. 
The people of his own religion reviled him as a traitor : one 
of the soldiers threatened to run him through: In a Scottish 
passion he unbuttoned his doublet, and cried, ' Feri miser/ 
Strike varlet, or do thy worst ; and in the heat, striving to 
get his own goods out of the city, fell into a fever and died. 
The city was taken, and the rest of the holds through the 
kingdom after it, to the great fall of all the Protestants, and 
the loss of many thousand lives. 

114. Where the devil can bring differences to extremities 
of violence, the issues are not hard to be conjecturally fore- 
seen ; but are such as my Prognostics shall no further meddle 
with, than to foretel you, that both sides are preparing for the 
increase of their fury and extremities, and at last for repen- 
tance, or ruinous calamities, if they do, as I have described. 

115. Carnal and discontented Statesmen, and Politicians, 
will set in on both sides, to blow the coals, and draw on 
feuds for their own ends, and head the discontented people 
to their ruin. 

116. But in those countries, where the difference never 


coineth to such disorders, there will be a war bred, and kept 
up in the people's hearts ; and neighbours will be against 
neighbours, as Guelphes and Gibellines. 

117. When kingdoms are thus weakened by intestine 
discontents, it will increase the hopes and plots of foreign 
enemies, and make them think that one party (that suffer) 
will be backward to their own defence, as thinking they can 
be no worse (which is the hopes of the Turks in Hungary). 

118. It will be a great injury, and grief, and danger to 
Christian Kings and States, to have their kingdoms and 
commonwealths thus weakened, and the cordial love, and 
assistance of their subjects made so loose and so uncertain. 

119. And it will be a continual vexation to wise and 
peaceable Princes, to govern such divided, discontented 
people; but to rule a united, loving, concordant, peaceable 
people, will be their delight and joy. 

120. A worldly, covetous, proud, domineering, malig- 
nant, lazy Clergy, will, in most Christian nations, be the great 
plague of the world, and troublers of Princes, and dividers 
of Churches; who, for the interest of their grandeur, and 
their wilk, will not give the sober, and peaceable, and godly 
Ministers, or people, leave to serve God quietly, and live in 
peace. And the impatient, self-conceited sectarian spirit, 
which, like gunpowder, takes fire upon such injuries, is the 
secondary divider of the Churches, and hinderer of Christian 
love and peace ; and by their mutual enmity and abuses, 
they will drive each other so far into the extremity of aver- 
sion and opposition, that they will but make each other 
mad ; and then, like madmen, run and quarrel, while sober 
men stand by and pity them ; but can help neither the one 
party, nor the other, nor preserve their own, or the public 

121. The grand endeavour of the worldly Clergy, will 
be (in most kingdoms of the world) to engage Princes on 
their side, and to borrow their sword, to do their work with, 
against gainsayers : for they have no confidence in the power 
of the Keys ; but will despise them secretly in their hearts, 
as leaden, uneffectual weapons, while they make it the glory 
of their Order, that the power of the Keys is theirs. 

122. If Princes suppress disorders by the sword, the 
said Clergy will ascribe the honour of it to themselves ; and 


say, it was their order, that kept up so much order in the 
Churches : and when they have put Princes to that trouble, 
will assume to themselves the praise. 

123. The devil will set in, and do his utmost, to make 
both Rulers and people believe, that all this confusion is 
long of the Christian Religion, and the strict principles of 
the sacred Scriptures ; and so to make men cast off all Re- 
ligion, and take Christianity to be contrary to their natural 
and civil interests. 

124. And the Papists will every where persuade high 
and low, that all this cometh by meddling so much with the 
Scriptures, and busying the common people with Religion ; 
and leaving every man to be a discerning judge of truth and 
duty, instead of trusting implicitly in the judgment of their 
Church : and so they would tempt Princes tamely to sur- 
render half their government (that is, in all matters of Reli- 
gion) to the Pope ; and persuade the people to resign their 
reason or humanity to him ; (that he who is so far off may 
rule it all over the world, by his missionaries and agents, who 
must live upon the prey ;) and then he knoweth that he shall 
have both swords, and be the Universal King. 

125. To this end, they will strive to make some Rulers 
as bad as they would have them, to do their work, and to 
make the rest thought worse of than they are, that they may 
have a fair pretence for their treasons and usurpations ; 
which was the case of all the writers, that plead for Pope 
Gregory the Seventh, against the German Emperors ; who 
took that advantage, to settle the Cardinal's power of elec- 
tions ; and, in a Council at Rome, to declare the Pope to be 
above the Emperor, and to have power to depose him : and 
as bad was done in the General Council, at Lateran, under 
Innocent the Third. Can. 2, 3. 

126. Concerning Princes, I shall give you no Prognos- 
tics but Christ's ; that it will " be as hard for a rich man to 
enter into heaven, as for a camel to go through a needle's 
eye :" And therefore, you may know what men the rich will 
be, in most countries of the world. 

127. And the rich will be the Rulers of the world; and 
it is meet it should be so : not that men should rule because 
they are rich, but they that rule should be rich ; and not 
exposed to contempt, by a vulgar garb and state. 

128. But some wise and good Princes and Magistrates 


God will raise up, to keep the interest of truth and justice, 
from sinking in barbarousness, and diabolical wickedness. 

129. And where Princes and Magistrates are bad, they 
will seldom do so much hurt as good, or prove very cruel, 
where the worldly and corrupt Clergy do not animate and 
instigate them : their reason, their interest, and their expe- 
rience will lead them, by manlike usage, to seek the people's 
love and quietness, and their kingdom's unity and strength. 
But bloody persecutions (such as that of the Waldenses, 
Piedmont lately, France, Ireland, Queen Mary's, &c.,) are 
ordinarily the effects of Clergy interest and zeal. 

130. The grand design of the devil, through the world, 
will be to corrupt the two great Ordinances of God, Magis- 
tracy and Ministry ; and turn them both against Christ, 
who giveth them their power. The instances of his success, 
are most notorious in the Turkish empire, and the Papal 
kingdom, called by them, the Catholic Church : which 
Campanella, de Regno Dei, doth labour to prove, by all 
the Prophecies cited by the Millenarians, or Fifth Monarchy- 
men, to be the true universal kingdom of Christ; in which, 
by his Vicar the Pope, he shall reign over all the kings 
and kingdoms of the earth. 









1. Because it is made part of our prayers, " Thy will be 
done on earth, as it is in heaven ;" and, " we look for a new 
heaven, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness :" 
I hope their opinion is not true, who think that the earth 
shall still grow more and more like to hell, till the general 
conflagration turn it into hell, and make it the proper seat of 
the damned. Yet, lest this should prove true, I will place 
my chief hopes in heaven; remembering who said, "Sell 
all, and follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven ;" 
(and not on earth.) But supposing that ever the world will 
come to full reformation and concord, (of which I am uncer- 
tain, but do not despair of,) I proceed to my Prognostics of 
the way. 

2. God will stir up some happy King, or Governor, in 
some country of Christendom, endowed with wisdom and 
consideration; who shall discern the true nature of Godliness 
and Christianity, and the necessity and excellency of seri- 
ous Religion ; and shall see what is the corruption and hin- 
drance of it in the world : and shall place his honour and 
felicity in pleasing God, and doing good, and attaining ever- 
lasting happiness: and shall subject all worldly respects 
unto these high and glorious ends. And shall know, that 
wisdom, and godliness, and justice, leave the most precious 
name on earth, and prepare for the most glorious reward in 
heaven : in comparison of which, all fleshly pomp and plea- 
sure is dross and dung, and worthy of nothing but contempt. 


3. This Prince shall have a discerning mind, to know 
wise men from foolish, good from bad; and among the Mi- 
nisters of Christ, to discern the judicious, spiritual, heavenly, 
sober, charitable, and peaceable sort, from self-seeking, 
worldly men ; that make but a trade of the Ministry, and 
strive not so much for heaven, and the people's salvation, as 
they do for worldly honours, power, and wealth. And he 
shall discern how such do trouble the Churches, and the 
world, and cause divisions, and stir up violence, for their 
own worldly interests and ends. 

4. He will take the counsel neither of worldlings, nor true 
fanatics, and dividing persons ; but of the learned, godly, 
self-denying, sober, peaceable Divines ; with his grave and 
reverend senators, judges, and counsellors ; that know what is 
reason and justice, and what belongeth to the public good, as 
well as to the true interest of the Church, and of men's souls. 

5. He will know those men, whom he is concerned to 
use, and to judge of, as far as may be, by personal acquaint- 
ance and observation ; and not by the partial reports of ad- 
versaries, behind their backs : and so he will neither be de- 
ceived in his instruments, nor disappointed by them. 

6. He will call together the wise, peace-making persons; 
and with the strictest charge, commit to them the endeavours 
of reconciling and uniting the several parties ; by drawing 
their differences into the narrowest compass, and stating 
them more correctly, than passionate men do ; and by per- 
suading them to love and peace, and to all such abatements 
and forbearances, as are necessary. And his own prudent 
oversight and authority (like Constantine's at Nice), will 
facilitate the success. 

7. He, and his people will inquire, what terms of concord 
are meet, not only for some one corner or country, but for 
all the Christian world ; that when he hath found it out, he and 
his kingdom may be a pattern to all Christendom, and the 
spring and leaven of an universal concord of all Christians. 

8. Therefore, he will inquire of Vincent. Lerinensis, Ca- 
tholic Terms of Quod 1. Ab omnibus. 2. Ubique. 3. Sem- 
per, receptum est. 

(1.) What all Christians are agreed in, as Christians, 
in the essentials of their religion. 

(2.) What all Christians did agree on, in the apostles' 
time, which was the time of greatest light, love, and purity. 


(3.) What all Christians, in all kingdoms of the world, 
since then, to this day, in the midst of all their other dif- 
ferences, have been, and still are agreed in, as their religion. 
For he will see, that there is no hope of agreeing the dis- 
agreeing world (at least, in many an age), by changing men's 
judgments from what they are, and bringing them all in con- 
troverted things, to the mind of some party; nor to agree 
them on any terms, in which they do not really agree. But 
that their concord must be founded in that, which they are 
indeed all agreed in : leaving the superfluities or additions of 
each party, out of the agreement. 

9. The peace-makers will then find, that the Christian 
religion is contained in three forms. 

(1.) In the Sacramental-covenant with God the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, as the briefest formula. 

(2.) In the Creed, Lord's-prayer, and Decalogue; as the 
summaries of the Credenda, Appetenda, and Agenda mat- 
ters of faith, will (or desire), and practice, as the larger form. 
(3.) In that Canon of Scripture, which all the Churches 
receive, as the largest form or continent. 

And that he who is understandingly, a sacramental co- 
venanter with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, was ever 
taken for a visible Christian. And therefore, baptism was 
called our Christening ; and the baptized taken for Chris- 
tians, before they knew the controversies of this Church, or 
that : and that the competent, explicit understanding of the 
Creed, the Lord's-prayer, and Decalogue, was ever taken for 
a competent understanding of the sacramental-covenant, and 
more. And that he that implicitly receiveth the commonly 
received Canonical Scripture, as God's Word (though he un- 
derstand no more than as followeth), and that explicitly un- 
derstandeth the Creed, Lord's-prayer, and Decalogue, and 
receiveth them, and consenteth to the sacramental-covenant, 
always was accounted, and is still to be accounted a Chris- 
tian. On these terms therefore, the peace-makers will re- 
solve to endeavour the union of the Churches. 

10. Therefore, they will pare off, and cast away (as the 
greatest enemy to unity), all those unnecessary controversies, 
or things doubtful, which Christians (yea, or divines), were 
never agreed in, and which never were the happy and suc- 
cessful means or terms of any extensive concord ; and which 
have long been tried, to be the great occasions of all the scru- 


pies, and contentions, and divisions, and woeful consequents 
in the Churches. And they will once more say," it seemeth 


(Acts xv. 28.) All Christians shall in general, receive the 
canonical Scripture as God's Word j and more particularly, 
the Creed, Lord's-prayer, and Decalogue, as the summary of 
necessaries ; and shall profess, with competent understand- 
ing of it, their consent to the sacramental-covenant; and 
vow, and devote themselves therein to God. And this shall 
be all the title, which they shall be forced to show, for their 
visible, church-communion. And though a higher measure 
of the understanding of the same principles and rules, shall 
be required in teachers, than in the flock ; and accordingly, 
the ordainers shall try their understandings, together with 
their utterance and ministerial readiness of parts : yet shall 
the teachers themselves, be (ordinarily) forced to no other 
subscriptions, professions, or oaths (besides their civil alle- 
giance), than to assent and consent to all aforesaid ; and to 
promise Ministerial fidelity in their places. All Councils, 
called General or Provincial, canons, decretals, articles, for- 
mulas, rubrics, &c. shall be reserved to their proper use ; 
but be no more used for ensnaring and dividing subscrip- 
tions, professions, or oaths ; or made the engines to tear the 

11. When all those superfluities, and foot-balls of con- 
tention, are cast out of the way, the power of the Keys, or 
pastoral government, shall come to be better known and 
exercised, and the primitive discipline set up ; which took 
place before Cyril of Alexandria took up the sword, and 
pride swelled the Bishops into a secular state, and way of 
rule. Then it shall be Church-government, to see that the 
people be duly taken into the sacramental-covenant, and learn 
the Creed, Lord's-prayer, and Decalogue ; and be instructed 
in the Word of God, and live together in sobriety, righte- 
ousness, and godliness. And the Pastors shall leave secu- 
lar matters to the Magistrates ; and be no more troubled, 
nor corrupted by their use of any forcing power : their go- 
vernment shall be a paternal, authoritative exercise of instruc- 
tion, and of love, and no more : like that of a tutor to his 
pupils, a physician in his hospital, aphilosopher in his school, 
(supposing a Divine commission and rule). The Church it- 


self, shall be all their courts, (supposing the Magistrates) 
and the people the witnesses ; and the present incumbent 
Pastors, be the judges, without excommunicating and absol- 
ving Lay-chancellors, Surrogates, Commissaries, or Officials. 
And all the materials of contention being now gone, they 
shall have nothing to do in these courts, but to try, whether 
the people have learned, and understand their catechisms, and 
consent to God's covenant, and communicate in his worship, 
with the Church; and when any are accused of wicked 
living, contrary to sobriety righteousness, and godliness, to 
try, whether these accusations be well proved : and if so, to 
persuade the offenders to repent ; and by plain Scripture-ar- 
guments, to convince them of the sin; and with tears, or 
fatherly tenderness and love, to melt them into remorse, and 
bring them to confess, and forsake the sin. And if this can- 
not be done at once, to try again and again; and pray for 
their repentance. And, when there is no other remedy, ' To 
declare such a one openly incapable of Church-communion; 
and to require the Church, to avoid communion with him, 
and him to forbear intruding into their communion: and to 
bind him over by a Ministerial denunciation of God's displea- 
sure (as against the impenitent), to answer it at thebar of God 
himself; as one that is under his wrath, till he do repent.' 
And this is the utmost of the Pastoral power, that shall then 
be used, (supposing private admonitions :) and this only, in 
that Church or Congregation wherein the sinner had before 
his communion ; and not at a distance, nor in other Churches, 
or parts of the world, where the Pastor hath no charge. Yea, 
this much shall not be exercised irregularly, and at random, 
to the injury of the flock ; but under the rules and remedies 
afterward here expressed. 

12. The primitive Church-form shall be restored: and as 
(where there are Christians enough) no Churches shall be too 
small, so none shall be greater for number or distance, than to 
be one true particular Church; that is, 'a Society of Christians 
united as Pastor and people, for personal communion and as- 
sistance in God's public worship, and holy living : that is, 
so many as may have this personal communion, if not all at 
once, yet 'per vices,' as oft as is fit for them to meet with the 
Church (which all in a family, cannot usually do at once). 
So that, ' Ignatius's Church-mark shall be restored, 'To 



every Church there is one altar, and one Bishop, with his Fel- 
low-presbyters and Deacons.' And there shall no more be 
a hundred, or six hundred, or a thousand altars to one Bi- 
shop, 'primi gradus,' and in one Church of the first form, 
called aparticular Church: nor shall all the particular Churches 
be un-churched, for want of true Bishops; nor all their Pas- 
tors degraded into a new order of teaching-ministers, that 
have no power of Pastoral-government: nor the true Disci- 
pline of the Churches, be made a mere impossible thing; 
whilst it is to be exercised by one Bishop only, over many 
hundred congregations ; which do every one of them, afford 
full work for a present Bishop. Nor shall the Bishop's office 
be thought so little holy, anymore than preaching, and sa- 
cramental-administrations, as to be performable by a lay-de- 
legate, or any one that is not really a Bishop. But the peo- 
ple shall know them, that are " over them in the Lord, which 
labour among them, and admonish them ; and shall esteem 
them very highly in love ; for their work sake ; and shall be 
at peace among themselves." (1 Thess. v. 12, 13.) Such Bi- 
shops as Dr. Hammond in his Annotations describeth; that 
had but one Church, and preached, baptized, catechised, 
visited the sick, took care of the poor, administered the 
Lord's-supper, guided every congregation as at present in 
public worship ; and privately instructed and watched over 
all the flocks, shall be in every Church that can obtain such. 

13. Where the Churches are so great as to need (as most 
will do), and so happy as to obtain, many faithful Presbyters 
or Pastors, whether they shall live together in a single col- 
lege-life, or married, and at a distance ; and whether one as 
the chief, or Bishop, shall be president, and have a negative 
voice, or all be equal in a concordant guidance of the flocks, 
shall be left to the choice and liberty of the several Churches, 
by mutual consent of Pastors, and People, and Magistrates, 
to do and vary, as their several states and exigences shall 
require : and shall neither be called antichristian or odious 
tyranny on the one side, nor made of necessity to the Church's 
communion, or peace, on the other, as long as the true Pasto- 
ral or Episcopal office is exercised in every particular Church. 

14. Neither Magistrates nor other Bishops, shall make 
the Bishops or Pastors' sermons, and prayers for him ; but 
leave it as the work of the speaker's office, to word his own 
sermons and prayers ; and to choose a set form or no set 


form, the same or various, as the case requireth : yet so as 
to be responsible (as after) for all abuses and mal-adminis- 
trations, and not suffered to deprave God's worship, by con- 
fusion or hurtful errors, or passionate and perverse expres- 
sions : but to be assisted, and directed to use his office in the 
most edifying ways, by such kind of helps, as his personal 
weaknesses shall require. And where set forms are used, 
none shall quarrel with them as unlawful. 

15. None of the people shall have the high privileges of 
Church-communion, and sacraments bestowed on them, 
against their wills: no more than a man impenitent and un- 
willing, shall be ministerially absolved from the guilt of sin. 
For every sacramental administration, whether of baptism, 
or of the body and blood of Christ, is as full an act of Mi- 
nisterial absolution as any Pastor can perform : and what he 
doth to particular persons upon their penitence after a lapse, 
that the Pastor doth to the whole Church at the Lord's-supper. 
And as consent is made by Christ, the condition of pardon 
and covenant benefits, which no non-consenter hath a title 
to ; so therefore professed consent is necessary to the sacra- 
mental collation or investiture : and those that are but con- 
strained by the apparent danger of a fine or gaols, are not to 
be accounted voluntary consenters by the Church ; when the 
Lord of the Church will account none for consenters, that 
will not forsake all, and endure fines and gaols, rather than 
to be deprived of the benefits of mystical and visible Church- 
communion. The Magistrate therefore will wisely, and mo- 
derately, bring all the people to hear that which is neces- 
sary to their good ; but will not by penalties, force the un- 
willing to receive either absolutions or communion with the 
Church, in its special privileges. But if the baptized refuse 
Church-communion afterwards, they lamentably punish them- 
selves ; and if it be found meet to declare them excommu- 
nicate, it will be a terrible penalty, sufficient to its proper use. 

16. The Magistrate will not imprison, harm, confiscate, 
banish, or otherwise punish any of his subjects, ' eo nomine,' 
because they are excommunicate : for that is to punish his 
body, because his soul is punished. Nor will he hearken to 
those unbelieving Clergymen, that cry up the power of the 
Keys as their office ; and when they have done, scorn it as 
an ineffectual shadow of power, which will do nothing with- 
out the Magistrate's force. But he will himself hear, and 


judge before he punish, and not be debased to be the Cler- 
gy's executioner, to punish before he have tried the cause : 
because Clergymen's pride and passions, may else engage 
him to be the instrument of their vices and revenge. Yea, 
as he that seeth a man punished in one court, will be the 
more dilatory to bring him to punishment in another, for 
the same crime ; so the Magistrate that seeth a man excom- 
municated for his fault, will rather delay his civil force 
against that man, to see what effect his excommunication 
will have: because the conjunction of the sword against 
the excommunicate as such, doth corrupt Christ's ordinance, 
and make the fruit of it utterly undiscernible, so that no one 
can see whether ever it did any thing at all, or whether all 
was done by the fear of the sword. And verily, a faithful 
Minister, that seeth a sinner come to confession of his fault, 
but when he must else lie in goal and be undone, will be 
loath to take that man for a true penitent. And to force 
Pastors to absolve or give the sacrament to every one that 
had rather take it, than lie in gaol and be undone, is to set up 
such new terms of Church-communion, which Christ will 
give men little thanks for. Church-communion is only a 
privilege due to volunteers and penitents. But yet the Ma- 
gistrate may punish men with fines or other penalties for the 
same faults, for which they are excommunicate, having tried 
and judged them in his own court : but not ' quarterus' ex- 
communicate, but according to the nature of