(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

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

^o/ 



S'y.i 



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF THE 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 






THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF 



THE REV. RICHARD BAXTER: 



A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 



A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF HIS WRITINGS, 



BY THE 



REV. WILLIAM ORME, 



AinHOU OF " THE LIFE OF JOHN OWEN, D.D.j" " BIBLIOTHECA BIBLICA," E/TC 



VOL. XVI. 
IN TWENTY-THREE VOLUMES. 



LONDON: 
JAMES DUNCAN, 37, PATERNOSTER ROW. 



MDCCCXXX. 



.^ 




LONDON: 

PRINTED BY MILLS, JOWETT,. AND MILLS, 
BOLT-COURT, FLEET-STREET, 



THE 

PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF THE 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 



VOLUME XVI. 



CONTAININO 



THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, AND BENEFITS OF SELF- 
ACQUAINTANCE; THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND CATHOLIC 
CHURCH DESCRIBED; CATHOLIC UNITY ; MAKING 
LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION, TOO OFT 
THE ISSUE OF GOSPEL INVITATIONS. 



VOL. XVl. 



R. EDWARDS, CRANt COURT, VLEF.T STREFT, LONDON, 



CONTENTS 

OF 

THE SIXTEENTH VOLUME. 



THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, AND 
BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 

PACK 

Epistle Dedicatory, &c. "^ 

The Text opened ^^ 

Self-knowledge, what ; and how many sorts 34 

How far it is a shame to be ignorant of ourselves 36 

The mischiefs of self-ignorance, 1. It cherisheth atheism. . 37 

2. Causeth ignorance of the life to come 40 

3. And of the evil of sin ibid. 

4. It keepeth the soul from true humiliation 41 

5. It maketh Christ undervalued ibid. 

6. It makes a holy conversation vililied • • 42 

7. It makes men cheated by the world 43 

8. It causeth pride • 44 

9. It makes men run into temptations 45 

10. It makes temptations prevalent 46 

11. It makes men quarrel with God's word and ministers • • ibid. 

12. It destroyeth charity 47 

13. It is the cause of church-divisions 48 

14. It maketh men troublers of the state 51 

15. It causeth errors 52 

16. It makes men unjust .53 

17. It makes men unthankful ibid. 

18. It is an enemy to true peace and joy ibid. 

19. It makes men repine at God's providence, 54 

20. It makes men lose their timCj and neglect preparations 

for death 55 

Use. 

Self-ignorance detected and reproved 55 

Discovered by some effects : 1. By men's unhumbleness .. 59 
2. By the abounding of hypocrisy 61 — 3. By the love 
of flattery, and impatience of plain reproof 63 — 
4. By men's partiality 65 — 5. When every man would 
be a rule to others 68 — 6. By the great change that 
approaching death, or other awaking providences make 
69—7- By men's quarrelling with others in their 
sufferings, and overlooking the great cause in them- 
selves T'i — The discovery prosecuted 15 

YOli, XVI. b 



iv CONTENTS. 

PACE 

Motives. 

I. If you know not yourselves, you cannot repent 7S 

•2. Nor be duly sensible of your misery ibid. 

3. Nor indeed by Christians ^^ 

4. You will not know what to do with yourselves 86 

5. You will not know how to apply the word 88 

6. Nor how to confess or pray ^^ 

7. Nor how to give thanks " -t 93 

8. Nor how to receive the Lord's-supper 96 

9. All your studies will be irrational, preposterous, &c. . . 97 

10. You wiU be much unuseful to others 101 

11. You cannot well proceed to know extrinsic things • • • • 103 

12. How many things have you to know about yourselves 105 

Exhortation 106 

Caution against excessive studying of ourselv.es lOS 

Who need this caution 110 

Information : Why the sincere can discourse so fully and 

savourily about heart-affairs 116 

And why they are so fuU in prayer, and others so empty . . 117 

The excuses of the prayerless answered ........•• 118 

Why the upright are so prone to self-accusing. 123 

Motives to the Ungodly. 

1. If you know not yourselves, you know not whether you 

must dwell in heaven or hell 124 

2. All shall shortly know themselv-es 3 126 

3. And be surprised to find themselves in a mistake 132 

How useful a companion conscience is to converse with. ... 130 

4. It is Satan's chief design to keep yourself ignorant .... 134 

Yet some can go on in known misery 139 

A threefold despair ••.... 141 

In what cases the sincere may go on in sin against knowledge 142 

But the ordinarily self-knowledge would do much 143 

Information : Why faithful ministers search so deep, and 

speak so hardly of unrenewed souls 147 

Questions to the unsanctified 158 

What Christianity is, and who sincere in the covenant • • • - 163 

Who certainly are unregenerate 164 

Exhortation to the Regenerate. 

1. 1. To know their sins, 2. Their graces. 1. For want of 

self-knowledge 168 

1. You confess not sin as you ought to God or man 169 — 
2. You pray not against it, or for grace as you ought 
170 — 3. You are negligent in your watch ibid. — 

4. Seek not help 171—5. Lie in unobserved sins 1/2 



CONTENTS. V 

PAGE 

1. In general. When sin is most unobserved 173 

*2. Particularly, 1. The self-ignorant little think, while they 

are orthodox, what errors they may fall into 176 

2. Or in adversity, what sins prosperity may draw forth . . 17T 

3. Or how soon the resolutions of affliction may decay 178 

4. Or when the heart is warm and heavenly, how quickly 

it may cool and fall to earth 181 

True marks of grace 182 

5. And in prosperity they little think what sins adversity 

may detect or occasion 188 

6. Or what pride may appear in those that are humble . . 189 

7. Some of the greatest sins of Christians too little ob- 

served and lamented : As, 1 . The remnants of infidelity J 9 1 

2. The great imperfection of love to God ibid. 

3, And want of love to one another 192 

8. The insinuations of selfishness in all that we do 193 

9. The eruption of passions that seemed mortified 195 

1 0. Affections mixed w ith carnality, which seemed spiritual ibid . 
Caution against overmuch suspicion or accusation of our- 
selves 196 

2. Sin surpriseth more dangerously : 3. And the remedy is 

neglected, through self-ignorance 198 

II. What hinders believers from knowing their graces: 
1. The sense of the contraries 199 — 2. The smallness 
of grace 200 — 3. Not judging by sure marks : the 

essentials of holiness : what they are 202 

What marks remain uncertain 202 

What sin consist with true grace 203 

4. Overvaluing what we have, by looking at what we 

ought to be 205 

5. Judging upon disadvantage: 1. Surprising ourselves 

unpreparedly. 2. Judging in passion, of fear or grief. 
3. When helps are absent. 4. When our bodies are 
melancholy, or otherwise unfit ibid. — 5. Refusing the 
former judgment of our sincerity, if we have not a 

continued sight of grace 206 

6. The variety and confusion of the soul's operations .... 207 

Motives to labour to know our Sanctijication. 

1. It is a most excellent sort of knowledge 207 

2. It is a most delightful felicitating, knowledge 208 

3. It might sweeten every place and state ibid. 

4. It would much help our belief of Scripture 209 

5. And our trusting on God in all straits 210 

6. And our cheerful progress in religion ibid. 



vi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

7. It may keep you from the terrors of the doubting .... 21 1 

8. And sweeten all your other mercies 212 

9. And debilitate temptations to sensual pleasures ibid. 

10. And sweeten all the service of God ^ 213 

1 1 . And kindle love to God 216 

12. It is necessary to a life of thankfulness 219 

13. You will not else live to the glory of the Gospel 222 

14. It will make all sufferings easy 223 

As, 1. Scorns ibid. — 2. Opposition. 3. Slanders 224 — 

4. Imprisonment and banishment 226 — 5. Personal 
and family crosses 227 — 6. Death ...,....,.,.. 227 
The hindrances of self-acquaintance . 1. External, 2. Minis- 
ters' unskilfulness and unfaithfulness 231 

Direct. I. Live under a skilful, faithful pastor " 236 

In what cases to use their personal helps 239 

Objections against ministers' personal helps, answered .... 240 
Quest. How far a doubting person may rest in the judgment 

of a minister about the state of his soul 245 

The directions applied to both sorts 248 

Hind. 2. Desire not much prosperity; and detest flatterers 252 

Hind. 3. Conversing only with bad men 261 

Direct. 3. Converse with heavenly, exemplary Christians . . 263 

II. Internal hindrances j 1. Pride 265 

Direct. 1. Come to Christ as little children 266 

Hind. 2. An unreasonable love of present ease 267 

Direct. 2. Look to the time to come, and be not too tender 

of present trouble 269 

Hind. 3. Self-love blindeth 270 

Direct. 3. Bring your minds to a just impartiahty 271 

Hind. 4. Not observing the heart in trial, but taking it only 

at the best 273 

Caution : When and how to judge ourselves 274 

Direct. 4. Judge of your habitual state by your actions .... 276 



THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND CATHOLIC CHURCH 

DESCRIBED. 
1 Corinthians xii. 12 283 

CATHOLIC UNITY. 

Ephesians iv. 3 379 

MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

Matthew xxii. 5 598 



THE 



MISCHIEFS OF SELF IGNORANCE, 



AND THE 



BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE: 



OPENED 



IN DIVERS SERMONS AT ST. DUNSTAN'S, WESTj 



AND PUBLISHED 



IN ANSWER TO THE ACCUSATIONS OF SOME, AND THE 
DESIRES OF OTHERS. 



" For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth him- 
self: But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in 
himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden." 

Gat., vi. 3—5, 



VOL. XVI. B 



TO 

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE 

ANNE, 

COUNTESS OF BALCARRES, &c. 

Madam, 

Though it be usual in Dedications to proclaim the ho- 
nour of inscribed names, and though the proclaiming of 
yours be a work that none are like to be offended at that 
know you, they esteeming you the honour of your sex and 
nation ; yet that you may see I intend not to displease you 
by any unsafe or unsavoury applause, I shall presume here 
to lay a double dishonour upon you : The one by prefixing 
your name to these lean and hasty Sermons : the other by 
laying part of the blame upon yourself, and telling the world 
that the fault is partly yours that they are published. Not 
only yours I confess ; for had it not been for some such 
auditors as Christ had, (Luke xx. 20 ; Mark xii. 13,) and 
for the frequent reports of such as are mentioned, Psal. 
XXXV. II, I had not written down all that I delivered, and so 
had been incapable of so easily answering your desires. But 
it was you that was not content to hear them, but have in- 
vited them to recite their message more publicly ; as if that 
were like to be valued, and effectual upon common hearts, 
which through your strength of charity and holy appetite 
is so with yours. My own thoughts went in the middle 
way ; neither thinking as those that accused these sermons 

of injurious tendency, against I know not whom, or 

what, (that have been so long in contention, that they dream 
they are still contending, and fancy every word they hear, 
from those that their uncharitableness calleth adversaries, 
to signify some hostile, terrible thing ; as the scalded head 
doth fear cold water :) nor yet did I think them worthy to 
be tendered by such a publication to the world: But valuing 
your judgment, and knowing that the subject is of great 
necessity, though the manner of handling be dull and dry, I 
hope it may be profitable to some, and I find nothing in it 



IV EPISTLE DEniCATORY. 

to be hurtful unto any, and therefore submit, and leave you 
both to bear the blame, and take the thanks, if any be re- 
turned. 

I perceive you value the subjects which you have found 
in the practice of your soul to be most useful : as they that 
know God would fain have all others to know him; so those 
that know themselves, do love the glass, and would have 
others to make use of it : I wonder not if your experience of 
the benefits of self-acquaintance, provoke you to desire to 
have more partakers in so profitable and so sweet a know- 
ledge. Had you not known yourself, you had never known 
your Saviour, your God, your way, and your end, as you 
have done : you had never been so well acquainted with the 
symptoms and cure of the diseases of the soul ; the nature 
and exercise of grace, the way of mortification, and the 
comfortable supports, refreshments and foretastes of hea- 
venly believers ; you had never so clearly seen the vanity 
of all the pomp and fulness of the world, nor so easily and 
resolutely despised its flatteries and baits, nor so quietly 
borne variety of afflictions; nor imitated Moses, (Heb. xi. 25, 
26,) nor received the holy character, Psal. xv. He that is a 
stranger to himself, his sin, his misery, his necessity, &c., is 
a stranger to God, and to all that might denominate him 
wise or happy. To have taken the true measure of our 
capacities, abilities, infirmities and necessities, and there- 
upon to perceive what is really best for us, and most 
agreeable to our case, is the first part of true, practical, 
saving knowledge. Did the distracted mindless world con- 
sider, what work they have at home for their most serious 
thoughts, and care, and diligence, and of what unspeakable 
concernment and necessity it is, and that men carry within 
them the matter of their final doom, and the beginning of 
endless joy or sorrows, they would be called home from 
their busy idleness, their laborious loss of precious time, 
and unprofitable vagaries, and would be studying their 
hearts, while they are doting about a multitude of imperti- 
nencies, and would be pleasing God while they are purveying 
for the flesh ; and they would see that it more concerneth 
them to know the day of their salvation, and now to lay up 
a treasure in heaven, that they may die in faith, and live in 
everlasting joy and glory, than in the crowd and noise of 
the ambitious, covetous, voluptuous sensualists, to run after 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. V 

a feather, till time is past, and mercy gone, and endless woe 
hath unexpectedly surprised them. Yet do these dead men 
think they live, because they laugh, and talk, and ride, and 
go, and dwell among gnats and flies in the sunshine, and 
not with worms and dust in darkness : They think they 
are awake, because they dream that they are busy ; and that 
they are doing the works of men, because they make a pud- 
der and a noise for finer clothes, and larger rooms, and 
sweeter morsels, and lower congees and submissions than 
their poorer, undeceived neighbours have : they think they 
are sailing to felicity, because they are tossed up and down : 
and if they can play the jacks among the fishes, or the 
wolves or foxes in the flocks of Christ ; or if they can attain 
to the honour of a pestilence, to be able to do a great deal 
of hurt, they are proud of it, and look as high as if they saw 
neither the grave nor hell, nor knew how quickly they must 
be taken down, and laid so low, that " the righteous shall 
see it, and fear, and laugh at them, saying, Lo, this is the 
man that made not God his strength, but trusted in the 
abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his 
wickedness. (Psal. lii. 6, 7.) " Behold these are the ungodly 
that prosper in the world, and increase in riches ; surely 
they are set in slippery places, and cast down to destruction, 
and brought to desolation as in a moment; and utterly con- 
sumed with terrors: as a dream when one awaketh, so, O 
Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image, 
(Psal. Ixxiii.) Though while they lived they blessed them- 
selves, and were praised by men ; yet when they die they 
carry nothing away ; their glory shall not descend after them ; 
like sheep they are laid in the grave : death shall feed on 
them, and the upright shall have dominion over them in the 
morning; man in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts 
that perish ; this their way is their folly ; yet their posterity 
approve their sayings," (Psal. xlix,) as the proverb is, ' At 
last the wolf's skin is brought to the market, and the fox's 
to the furrier.' They shall find that God is not afraid to lay 
the hand of justice on the stoutest of them, and will be as 
bold with silken, shining gallants, as with the poorest worms ; 
and will spit in the face of that man's glory, who durst spit 
in the face of the glory of his Redeemer, and will trample 
upon the interest which is set up against the interest of 
Christ. The juvial world do now think that self-study is 



VI EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

too melancholy a thing ; and they choose to be distracted 
for fear of being melancholy ; and will be mad, in Solomon's 
sense, that they may be wise and happy in their own. (Eccles. 
ii. 2.) " The heart of fools is in the house of mirth, and the 
heart of the wise in the house of mourning." (Eccles. vii. 4.) 
And yet there is most joy in the hearts of the wise, and 
least solid peace in the hearts of fools : they know that 
conscience hath so much against them, that they dare not 
hear its accusations and its sentence : they dare not look 
into the hideous dungeon of their hearts, nor peruse the 
accounts of their bankrupt souls, nor read the history of their 
impious, unprofitable lives, lest they should be tormented 
before the time : they dare not live like serious men, lest 
they should lose thereby the delights of brutes. O sinful 
men ! against what light, both natural and supernatural, do 
they offend ! They see how all things haste away : the names 
of their predecessors are left as a warning to them ; every 
corpse that is carried to the grave, being dead, yet speaketh : 
and every bone that is thence cast up, doth rise as a witness 
against their luxury and lust ; and yet they will have their 
wills and pleasure while they may, whatever it cost them : 
and they will set their houses on fire that they might have 
one merry blaze, and warm them once before they die. 

O Madam, how happy are you (if one on earth may be 
called happy,) that have looked home so often and so se- 
riously, that now you can dwell at home in peace, and need 
not, as the ungodly, be a terror to yourself, nor run away 
from yourself, nor seek a place to hide you from yourself; 
when impious vagrants have so abused their consciences, 
that they dare not converse with them nor meet them alone 
or in the dark ! What a mercy is it, that in the great Recon- 
ciler you are reconciled to your conscience, and that it doth 
not find you out as an enemy, but is a messenger of peace 
and of good tidings to you ! That you need not the smiles 
of great ones to refresh you, nor pompous enterlaiaments, 
compliments, plays or sports to recreate you, and drive 
away your sorrows, but that you can find more blessed and 
delectable company and employment at home : that you can 
daily retire into yourself, and there peruse a richer treasure 
than bodily eyes on earth can see; and there be taken up 
with a far more contenting satisfactory employment, and a 
more fruitful and pleasant converse and recreation, than any 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. Vll 

creature in court or country can afford: that your joy is 
laid up where the hand of violence cannot touch it ; and 
that they that can deprive you of estate, and liberty, and life, 
yet cannot take your comfort from you. That when fleshly 
unthrifts love not home, because all is spent, and they can 
expect no better entertainment there than want, confusion, 
chiding, and distress, you can withdraw from a confused 
troublesome world, into a well-furnished and adorned soul, 
replenished with the precious fruits of the Spirit, and beau- 
tified with the image of your Lord! O Madam, what sweet 
and noble employment have you there, in comparison of 
that which worldlings are troubled with abroad ! There you 
may read the sentence of your justification, as foregoing and 
foreshowing the public final sentence of your Judge : there 
you can converse with God himself, not in his vindictive 
justice, but as he is love : for the love that dwelleth so j)len- 
tifully in you, doth prove that God dwelleth in you, and you 
in him. (1 John iv. 7, 8. 16.) There you may converse with 
Christ your head, that dwelleth in you by faith, (Ephes. iii. 
17,) and with the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in you, and hath 
communion with you, by the beams of his illuminating, 
sanctifying, confirming, and comforting grace : there, as in 
his temple, you are speaking of his glory, (1 Cor. iii. 16, 17 ; 
vi. 19, with Psal. xxix, 9,) and rejoicing in his holy praise, 
and remembering what he hath done for your soul : There you 
can peruse the records of his mercy, and think with gratitude 
and delight, how he did first illuminate you, and draw and 
engage your heart unto himself: what advantage he got 
upon you, and what iniquity he prevented by the mercies 
of your education, and how he secretly took acquaintance 
with you in your youth : How he delivered you from worldly, 
fleshly snares; how he caused you to favour the things of 
the Spirit ; how he planted you in a sound, well-ordered 
church, where he quickened and conducted you by a lively 
faithful ministry, and watered his gifts by their constant, 
powerful preaching of his word, where discipline was for a 
defence, and where your heart was warmed with the com- 
munion of the saints, and where you learned to worship 
God in spirit and in truth ; and where you were taught so 
effectually by God to discern between the precious and the 
vile, and to love those that are born of God, whom the 
world knoweth not, that no subtleties or calamities of the 



vm EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

serpent can unteach it you, or ever be able to separate you 
from that love. You may read in these sacred records of 
your heart, how the Angel of the Covenant hath hitherto 
conducted you, through this wilderness towards the land of 
promise; how he hath been a cloud to you in the day, and a 
pillar of fire by night; how the Lord did number you with 
the people that are his flock, his portion, and the lot of his 
inheritance ; and led you about in a desert land, instructed 
you, and kept you as the apple of his eye. (Deut. xxxii. 9, 
10.) His manna hath compassed your tent; liLs doctrine 
hath dropped as the rain, and his words distilled as the dew ; 
as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers 
upon the grass. As his beloved you have dwelt in safety by 
him, and the Lord hath covered you all the day long, when 
storms have risen, he hath been your refuge ; and when dan- 
gers compassed you on every side, he hath hid you as in his 
pavilion, and his angels have pitched their tents about you. 
and borne you up : You have been fortified in troubles, and 
have been enabled comfortably to undergo them : in war 
and in peace ; in your native country and in foreign lands ; 
among your friends and among your enemies ; in court and 
country ; in prosperity and adversity, you have found that 
there is none like the God of Israel, who rideth upon the 
heaven in your help, and his excellency on the sky : the 
eternal God hath been your refuge, and underneath are the 
everlasting arms." (Deut. xxxiv. 26,27.) You may remember 
the mercies of your younger years, of your married state, and 
of your widowhood : your comforts in your truly noble lord, 
though troubled and interrupted by his death, yet increased 
by the consideration of his felicity v/ith Christ ; your com- 
fort in your hopeful issue, though abated by the injury of 
Romish theft, which stole one of the roses of your garden, 
that they might boast of the sweetness when they called it 
their own : (I may well say, stole it, when all the cheat was 
performed by unknown persons in the dark ; and no impor- 
tunity by you or me, could procure me one dispute or con- 
ference in her hearing, with any of the seducers, before her 
person was stolen away. Though comforts conveyed by 
creatures must have their pricks, yet your experience hath 
partly taught you (and more will do) that by all the mixtures 
of sour and bitter ingredients, your Father doth temper you 
the most wholesome composition ; he chasteneth you for 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. IX 

your profit, that you may be partaker of his holiness, (Heb, 
xii. 10,) and the least degree of holiness cannot be purchased 
at too dear a rate. His rod and staff have comforted you : 
and whatever are the beginnings, the end will be the quiet 
fruit of righteousness, when you have been exercised therein : 
and though man be mutable, and friends, and flesh, and heart 
have failed you, yet God is still the strength of your heart, 
and your portion for ever. (Psalm Ixxiii. 26.) O the variety 
of learning that is contained in the secret writings of a sanc- 
tified heart! The variety of subjects for the most fruitful 
and delightful thoughts, which you may find recorded in the 
inwards of your soul! How pleasant is it there to find the 
characters of the special love of God, the lineaments of his 
image, the transcript of his law, the harmony of his gifts and 
graces, the witness, the seal and the earnest of his Spirit, 
and the foretastes and beginnings of eternal life ! As thank- 
fulness abhors oblivion, and is a recording grace, and keep- 
eth histories and catalogues of mercies; so is it a reward 
unto itself; and by these records it furnisheth the soul with 
matter for the sweetest employments and delights : Is it not 
pleasant to you there to read how God hath confuted the 
objections of distrust? How oft he hath condescended to 
your weakness, and pardoned you when you could not easily 
forgive yourself? How oft he hath entertained you in secret 
with his love? and visited you with his consolations? How 
near him sometimes you have got in fervent prayer, and 
serious meditation ? And when for a season he hath hid his 
face, how soon and seasonably he returned ? How oft he 
hath found you weeping, and hath wiped away your tears, 
and calmed and quieted your troubled soul? How he hath 
resolved your doubts, and expelled your fears ; and heard 
your prayers? How comfortably he hath called you his 
child ; and given you leave, and commanded you to call him 
Father ; when Christ hath brought you with boldness into 
his presence ! How sweet should it be to your remembrance, 
to think how the love of Christ hath sometimes exalted you 
above these sublunary things ! How the Spirit hath taken 
you up to heaven, and shewed to your faith the glory of the 
New Jerusalem, the blessed company of those holy spirits 
that attend the throne of the majesty of God, and the shin- 
ing face of your glorified Head ! By what seasonable and 
happy messengers he hath sent you the cluster of grapes at, 



X EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

the firstfruits of the land of promise ! and commanded you 
oft to take and eat the bread of life ? How oft he hath 
reached to your thirsty soul the fruit of the vine, and turned 
it sacramentally into his blood, and bid you drink it in re- 
membrance of him, till he come and feast you with his fullest 
love, and satisfy you with the pleasure and presence of his 
glory. 

But the volumes of mercy written in your heart, are too 
great to be by me transcribed. I can easily appeal to you 
that are acquainted with it, whether such heart-employment 
be not more pleasant and more profitable than any of the 
entertainments that flashy wit, or gaudy gallantry, or merri- 
ments, luxury, or preferments can afford. Is it not better 
converse with Christ at home than with such as are described. 
Psalm xii. abroad? To dwell with all that blessed retinue, 
(Gal. V. 22, 23,) than with pride, vainglory, envy, dissimula- 
tion, hypocrisy, falsehood, time-wasting, soul-destroying 
pleasures; to say nothing of the filthiness which Christian 
ears abhor the mention of, and which God himself in time 
will judge, (Eph. v. 3— 6; Heb. xiii. 4,) and the rest recited, 
Gal. V. 19 — 21. If ungodly persons do find it more unplea- 
sant to converse at home, no wonder, when there is nothing 
but darkness and defilement ; and when they have put God 
from them, and entertained Satan, so that their hearts are like 
to haunted houses, where terrible cries and apparitions do 
make it a place of fear to the inhabitants. But if their 
souls had such blessed inhabitants as yours, could they meet 
there with a reconciled God, a Father, a Saviour and a 
Sanctifier ; had they souls that kept a correspondence with 
heaven, it would not seem so sad and terrible a life to dwell 
at home, and withdraw from that noise of vanity abroad, 
which are but the drums and trumpets of the devil, to en- 
courage his deluded followers, and drown the cries of mise- 
rable souls. Your dearest friends and chiefest treasure, are 
not abroad in court or country, but above you, and within 
you; where then should your delightful converse be, but 
where your friends and treasure are? (Matt. vi. 21 ; Phil. iii. 
20; Col. iii. 1 — 4.) When there is almost nothing to be 
found in the conversation of the world, but discord and dis- 
traction, and confusion, and clamours, and malice, and trea- 
chery, is it not better to retire into such a heait, where not- 
withstanding infirmities, and some doubts and fears, there 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. XI 

is order, and concord, and harmony, and such peace as the 
world can neither give nor take away? O blessed be the 
hand of love, that blotted out the names of honour, and 
riches, and pleasures, and carnal interest, and accommoda- 
tions, from your heart ; and inscribed his own in characters 
never to be obliterated ! That turned out usurpers, and so 
prepared and furnished your heart, as to make and judge it 
such, as no one is worthy of it but himself. O what a court 
have you chosen for your abode ! How high and glorious ! 
how pure and holy ! unchangeable and safe ! How ambiti- 
ously do you avoid ambition ! How great are you in the 
lowliness of your mind ! How high in your humility ! Will 
no lower a place than heaven content you to converse in ? 
(For heart-converse and heaven-converse are as much one, 
as beholding both the glass and face :) Will no lower corres- 
pondents satisfy you than the host of heaven? Cannot the 
company of imperfect mortals serve your turn ? Nay, can 
you be satisfied with none below the Lord himself? Well, 
Madam, if you will needs have it so, it shall be so : What you 
judge BEST FOR YOU, shall be yours: what you had rather 
be, you are : and where you had rather dwell, you shall : and 
seeing you have understood that " one thing is necessary, 
and have chosen the good part, it shall not be taken from 
you." (Luke x. 41, 42. Having first sought the kingdom of 
God and his righteousness, you shall have such additionals 
as will do you good. (Matt. vi. 33; Rom. viii. 28; Psalm 
Ixxxiv. 11.) You have learned to know while God is yours, 
how little of the creature you need, and how little addition 
it maketh to your happiness (you are wise enough if you 
live to God ; and honourable enough if you are a member of 
Christ; and rich enough if you are an heir of heaven; and 
beautiful enough if you have the image of God: and yet 
having made your choice of these, how liberally hath God 
cast in as overplus the inferior kind, which you tind in losing 
them ! As if he had said to you, as to Solomon, (2 Chron. i. 
11,) " Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not 
asked riches, wealth or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, 
neither yet hast asked long life ; but hast asked wisdom 

and knowledge for thyself wisdom and knowledge is 

granted to. thee ; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, 
and honour ;" as if God would convince even flesh it- 
self that none are like the servants of the Lord : And when 



Xll EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

the envious one hath said, that you serve not God for nought, 
though he hath been permitted to put forth his hand, and 
touch you in your dearest friends and relations; your peace, 
your habitation and estate, yet hath he so restrained him, and 
supported you, as may easily convince you that the worst of 
Christ is better than the best of the world, or sin. 

I have purposely been long in opening the felicity of the 
heart-converse, as a matter of your own experience, both for 
the exciting of you to a life of thankfulness to God, and that 
this undigested treatise which you have drawn out into the 
light, may come to your hands with some supply, in that 
part of the application which doth most concern you : And 
because your name may draw the eyes of many others to 
read this preface, I shall add here a few directions to those 
that would be well acquainted with themselves, and would 
comfortably converse at home. 

Direct. 1. Let him not overvalue or mind the deceitful 
world, that would have fruitful converse wrth God and with 
himself: Trust not such a cheater, as hath robbed so many 
thousands before us, especially when God and common ex- 
perience do call out to us to take heed : The study ofriches, 
and rising, and reputation, and pleasures, agreeth not with this 
study of God, and of our hearts : and though the world will 
not take acquaintance with us, if we come not in their 
fashion, nor see us, if we stand not on the higher ground ; 
vet it is much better to be unknown to others, than to our- 
selves : though they that live upon the trade, do think there 
is no fishing like the sea, yet those that take it but on the 
by, will rather choose the smaller waters, where, though the 
fish be less, yet few are drowned, and made a prey to the 
fish that they would have catched. A retirement therefore 
must be made, from the inordinate pursuit of worldly things, 
and the charms of honours, riches, and delights: and if 
some present loss do seem to follow, it is indeed no loss, 
which tendeth unto gain. He will catch no fish that will 
not lose his fly. Methinks they that sincerely pray, " Lead 
us not into temptation," should not desire to have bolts and 
bars between God and them, and to dwell where salvation 
is most hardly attained ! Desire not to be planted in any 
such place, though it seem a paradise, where God is most un- 
known, and used as a stranger, and where saints are wonders, 
and examples of serious piety are most rare, and where a 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY, Xlll 

heavenly conversation is known but by reports, and reported 
of according to the malice of the servant, and represented 
but as fancy, hypocrisy or faction : vi^here sin most prosper- 
eth, and is in least disgrace; and where it is a greater shame 
to be a saint than to be a swine ; a serious Christian, than 
a seared, stupified sensualist: Bless you from that place 
where the weeds of vice are so rank, as that no good plant 
can prosper near them: where gain is godliness; and im- 
piety is necessary to acceptable observance, and a tender 
conscience, and the fear of God, are characters of one too 
surly and unpliable to be countenanced by men ; where the 
tonp-ue that nature formed to be the index of the mind, is 
made the chief instrument to hide it; and men are so 
conscious of their own incredibility, that no one doth be- 
lieve or trust another: where no words are heart-deep, but 
those that are spoken against Christ's cause and interest, or 
for their own ; where a vile person is honoured, and those 
contemned that fear the Lord : Bless you from the place 
where truth is intolerable, and untruth cloaked with its 
name ; where holiness is looked at as an owl or enemy, and 
yet hypocrisy must steal its honour from it ; where he is a 
saint that is less wicked than infamous transgressors ; and 
where Dives' life is blameless temperance ; and where pride, 
idleness, fulness of bread, and filthy fornication and lascivi- 
ousness, are the infirmities of pious and excellent persons ; 
where great sins are small ones, and small ones are none ; 
and where the greatest must have no reproof, and the phy- 
sician is taken for the greatest enemy, where chaff is valued 
at the price of Vi^heat, and yet the famine is of choice : where 
persons and things are measured by interest; and duty to 
God derided as folly, whenever it crosseth the wisdom of 
the world, and hated as some hurtful thing when it crosseth 
fleshly men in their desires: and where Dives' brethren are 
Tinwarned ; and none are more secure and frolic, than those 
.that to-morrow may be in hell ; and as at the Gladiators' 
sports, none complain less than those that speed worst, 
' quia csesi silent, spectatores vociferantur.' Old travellers 
are usually most addicted to end their days in solitude ; 
learn to contemn the world at cheaper rates than they ; 
neither hope, nor wish to live an Alexander, and die a So- 
crates ; a crowd or concourse, though of the greatest, where 
is the greatest tumult of affairs, and confluence of tempta- 



XIV KPISTLE DEDICATOKY. 

lions, is not the safest place to die in : and 1 have most mind 
to live where I would die. Where men are ' barbari moribus, 
et si non natione ;' Christians in name, and infidels in con- 
versation : the sweetness of their Christian names will not 
preserve them or you from the danger of their unchristian 
lives. It was not the whole of Lot's deliverance to be saved 
from the flames of Sodom, but it was much of it to be freed 
from their malicious rage, and filthy grievous conversations : 
the best medicine against the plague is to keep far enough 
from the place that hath it. The proverb saith, ' He shall 
have fleas that will lie with the dogs.' Desire not that con- 
dition, where all seem friends, but none are friends indeed; 
but they that seem to be your servants, are by flattery serv- 
ing themselves upon you : where few persons or things are 
truly represented ; but men are judged of by the descriptions 
of their enemies, and the lambs have the skins and names of 
wolves : and the best are odious when bold calumniators 
load them with odious accusations. In a word, desire not 
the place where the more men seek, the less they find, and 
the more they find, the less they have ; and the more they 
have, the less they do enjoy : where the more are their pro- 
visions, the less are their supplies ; the more their wealth, 
the more their want ; the more their pleasure, the less their 
peace; the greater their mirth, the less their joy; the 
greater their confidence, the less their safety : where the 
great mistake about their happiness, their best, their end, 
doth make their lives a constant error, and death a doleful 
disappointment: He must needs lie crooked that hath so 
short a bed. 

Direct. 2. Keep all clean and sound within, that there 
may be little of loathsomeness to disaffect you, or terror to 
frighten you from yourselves ; it is a frightful thing to be 
much conversing with a guilty soul, and hearing the accu- 
sations of a conscience not cleansed by the blood of Christ: 
and it is an unpleasant thing to be searching in our wounds, 
and reading the history of a life of folly ; especially of wil- 
ful sin, and of ungrateful neglect of offered grace. Make 
not such work for yourself, if you love it not. We make 
our beds ill, and then we are weary of them, because they 
are so hard : our comforts are more in our own hands than 
in any others : the best friend or pastor cannot do so much 
to promote them, nor the greatest enemy so much to destroy 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. XV 

them, as ourselves. If we will surfeit, and make ourselves 
sick, we must endure it. If wasps and vipers be our guests, 
no wonder if we dwell not quietly at home ; and if we sit not 
at ease, when we carry thorns about us. Folly and concu- 
piscence breed our misery : it is the smoke of our own cor- 
ruptions that troubleth our eyes, and the scent and smart 
of our ulcerated minds that most annoyeth us. We cannot 
waste our peace, and have it. Turk and Pope, and all the 
terrible names on earth, are not so terrible deservedly to a 
sinner as his own : the nearest evil is the most hurtful evil : 
If a scolding wife be such a continual dropping, and trou- 
blesome companion, as Solomon tells us, what then is a 
distempered, troubled mind, and a chiding conscience? It 
is a pity that man should be his own afflicter, but so it is : 
and, as the proverb is, ' He hath great need of a fool, that 
will play the fool himself;' so I may say. He hath great need 
of a tormenter, that will be a tormenter to himself. Folly, 
and lust, and rashness, and passion, are sorry keepers of our 
peace: darkness and filth do make a dungeon, and not a 
delightful habitation of our hearts ; God would take plea- 
sure in them, if we kept them clean, and would walk with 
us in those gardens, if we kept them dressed : but if we will 
defile his temple, and make it unpleasing unto him, he will 
make it unpleasing unto us. Terror and trouble are the 
shadow of sin, that follow it, though the sun shine never so 
brightly. If we carry fire in our clothes, we shall smell it at 
the least. Keep close to God ; obey his will : make sure of 
your reconciliation and adoption ; keep clear your evidences, 
and grieve not the Holy Spirit which sealeth you, and must 
comfort you. And then it will do you good to look into 
your heart, and there you shall find the most delightful 
company ; and the Spirit that you have there entertained, 
will there entertain you with his joys. 

But if disorder have prevailed and made your hearts a 
place of trouble, yet fly not from it, and refuse not to con- 
verse with it : for though it be not at the present a work of 
pleasure, it is a work of necessity, and may tend to pleasure 
in the end : conversing wisely and faithfully with a disor- 
dered, troubled heart, is the way to make it a well-ordered 
and quiet heart. 

Direct. 3. In judging of your present state and actions, 
let one eye be always on the end : this will both quicken 



\ 



XVI EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

you to be serious in the duty, and direct you in all particu- 
lar cases to judge aright. As the approach of death dotli 
convince almost all men of the necessity of studying them- 
selves, and calleth them to it from all other studies ; so the 
considerate foresight of it would do the like in better time. 
And it is the end that communicateth the good or evil to all 
things in the way : and therefore as they have relation to 
the end, they must be judged of. When you peruse your 
actions, consider them as done by one that is entering into 
eternity, and as those that must all be opened in a clearer 
light. If we separate our actions in our considerations from 
their ends, they are not of the same signification, but taken 
to be other things than indeed they are. If the oaths, the 
lies, the slanders, the sensuality and filthiness of impure 
sinners, had not relation to the loss of heaven, and to the 
pains of hell, they were not matters of that exceeding mo- 
ment as now they are. And if the holiness, obedience and 
watchfulness of believers, had no relation to the escaping 
of hell fire, and the attainment of eternal life, they would be 
of lower value than they are. The more clearly men discern 
that God is present, that judgment is at hand, that they are 
near to heaven or hell, where millions have already received 
their reward, the more seriously will they study, and the 
better will they know themselves. 

Direct. 4. Though you mustendeavour to judge yourself 
truly as you are, yet rather incline to think meanly, than 
highly of yourself, and be rather too suspicious than too 
presumptuous. My reasons for this direction are, because 
man's nature is generally disposed to self-exalting; and 
pride and self-love are sins so common and so strong, as that 
it is a thing of wondrous difficulty to overcome them, so far 
as to judge ourselves impartially, and to err as little in our 
own cause, as if it were another's : and because self-exalting 
hath far more dangerous effects than self-abasing, supposing 
them to exceed their bounds. Prudent humility is a quieting 
grace, and avoideth many storms and tempests, which trou- 
ble and shake the peace of others. It maketh men thank- 
ful for that little as undeserved, which others repine at as 
short of their expectations : it telleth the suflPerer that God 
doth afllict him much less than he deserveth ; and causeth 
him to say, " I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because 
I have sinned against him." (Micah vii. 9.) It teacheth 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. XVll 

Tis a cautelous suspicion of our own understandings, and a 
just submission to those that are wiser than ourselves. 
When pride keepeth out wisdom, by keeping out the know- 
ledge of our ignorance. And as Pliny tells us of some na- 
tions, where they are grey-headed in their infancy, and 
black-headed when they are old : so pride maketh many 
wise so soon, that they never come to be truly wise : they 
think in youth that they have more than the wisdom of age, 
and therefore in age they have less than what beseemeth 
them in youth. Every hard report or usage is ready to break 
a proud man's heart ; when contempt doth little disquiet the 
humble, because they judge so meanly of themselves. The 
proud are frequently disturbed, because they climb into the 
seats of others; when humility sits quietly, and no one bids 
it rise, because it knoweth and keepeth its own place. 
Therefore it is, that true contrition having once told us of 
our folly to~the heart, doth make us walk more circum- 
spectly while we live ; and that no man is better resolved 
than he that was once in doubt, and that no man standeth 
faster than he that hath had a fall : and no man is more 
safe, than he that hath had most assaults. If you love your 
safety, desire not either to be, or to seem too high. Be lit- 
tle in your own eyes, and be content to be so in the eyes of 
others. As for worldly greatness, affect neither the thing 
nor the reputation of it : look up, if you please, to the tops 
of steeples, masts and mountains ; but stand below if you 
would be safe. Though the chimney be the highest part of 
the house, it is not the cleanest or the sweetest part ; it is 
scorched more with the fire, and suffocated with the smoke 
than other parts. And for spiritual endowments, desire 
them, and improve them; but desire not inordinately the 
reputation of them. It seldom increaseth a man's humility 
to be reputed humble ; and though humility help you to 
bear applause, yet the remnants of pride are ready to take 
fire, and other sins to get advantage by it. 

Direct. 5. Improve your self-acquaintance to a due ap- 
prehension of what is most suitable, most profitable, and 
necessary for you, and what is most hurtful, unsuitable and 
unnecessary. He that hath taken a just measure of himself, 
is the better able to judge of all things else. How suitable 
will Christ and grace appear, and how unsuitable will worldly 

VOL. XVI. c 



XVlll EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

pomp appear to one that truly knows himself ! How, suit- 
able will serious, fervent worship appear, and how unsuit- 
able the ludicrous shows of hypocrites ! And one pair of 
eyes will be valued above many pair of spectacles ; and one 
pair of legs before two pair of crutches, by one that is not a 
stranger to himself. He that takes grass and provender to 
be his best and most delightful food, hath surely forgotten 
that he is a man, and taketh himself to be but a beast, or 
else he would not choose the food of a beast, nor use him- 
self as a beast. If a man knew aright the capacity and 
tendency of the reasonable nature, and the evil of sin, and 
the necessity and distress of an unrenewed soul, what sweet, 
what longing thoughts would he have of God, and all that 
tendeth to the pleasing and enjoying of him! How little 
would he think himself concerned in the trivial matters of 
honour or dishonour, riches or poverty, favour or displea- 
sure, further than as they help or hinder him in the things 
that are of more regard ! Know yourself, and you will know 
what to love and what to hate ; what to choose and what to 
refuse ; what to hold and what to lose; what to esteem and 
what to slight ; what to fear, and when to be courageous 
and secure : the curing the dotage thus, would cure the 
night-walks of the dreaming, vagrant world. And they that 
find that music cureth not the stone or gout, would know 
that mirth and gallantry, and vainglory, are no preservatives 
from hell, nor a sufficient cure for a guilty soul : and that if 
an aching head must have a better remedy than a golden 
crown, and a diseased body a more suitable cure than a 
silken suit, a diseased soul doth call for more. 

Direct. 6. Value not yourself by mutable accidents, but 
by the essence and substance of Christianity. " A man's 
life consisteth not in the abundance which he possesseth." 
(Luke xii. 15.) Paul knew better what he said, when he ac- 
counted all but loss and dung for the knowledge and fruition 
of Jesus Christ, (Phil. iii. 7, 8,) than they that dote on it as 
their felicity. And is a man to be valued, applauded, and 
magnified for his dung, or for his personal endowments? Is 
that your perfume that stinketh in the nostrils of men of 
sounder senses? Judge not of the person by his apparel, 
when the foolishest and the worst may wear the same. The 
master and inhabitants honour the liouse more than the 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. XIX 

house cloth the master and inhabitants. All the wit and 
learning in the world, with all the riches, honour and ap- 
plause, yea, and all the civility and winning deportment, 
will not make a Christian of an infidel or atheist, nor a happy 
of a. miserable man. As nothing will make a man honourable 
indeed, that hath not the use of reason, which differenceth 
men from brutes; so nothing will make or prove him holy, 
or happy, or safe, that hath not the holy image of God, 
which must difference his children from his enemies. If he 
be unsanctified, and be not a new creature, and have not the 
Spirit of Christ within him, he is an atheist, or infidel, or 
an ungodly wretch, let him be never so rich, or great, or 
honourable. And as a harlot is never beautiful in the eyes 
of the wise and chaste, so a wicked man is never happy in 
the eyes of any but his phrenetic society. 

Direct. 7. Think not that a few, seldom, hasty thoughts 
v/ill bring and keep you in acquaintance with yourself. It 
must be diligent observation, and serious consideration that 
must accomplish this. Many a man walketh where he doth 
not dwell. A transient salute is not a sign of intimate 
familiarity. It is enough sometimes to step into your 
neighbour's house for a charitable visit ; but you must dwell 
in your own : be more busy and censorious at home than 
the proud and malicious are abroad ; and be as seldom and 
tender in censuring others, as such hypocrites are in cen- 
suring themselves. Put on your spectacles at home, when 
you are reading over the register of your consciences ; but 
wear them not as you walk the streets ; but take up with so 
much knowledge of ordinary passengers as you can have 
without them. Think not that you are unconcerned in the 
danger or safety of your neighbour, but remember that you 
are more concerned in your own. It is here most rea- 
sonable to say, that charity begins at home, when self-neg- 
lect will disable you to help another. And if sometimes 
your falls or frailty do find you matter for purging, griping, 
troublesome thoughts, and interrupt your sweeter, comfort- 
able meditations, refuse not the trouble when you have 
made it necessary : it is many a sad and serious thought 
that the ministers of Christ have for the cure and safety of 
their flocks : and should not the people have as serious 
thoughts for themselves ? * None foul their hands,' saith the 
proverb, 'about their own work :' they that bring in the filth, 



XX EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

should not refuse to sweep it out. We must cast out all the 
foul and troublesome work upon our nurses, as long as we 
can help ourselves. Your reason, your wisdom, care and 
diligence, are more your own than any one's else ; and 
therefore should be more used for yourself than for any. 
And if, after much thoughtfulness and labour, you find your 
heart to be no whit better, yet labour and believe. It is not 
the last blow of the axe alone that cuts down the tree, 
though it fall not till the last. The growth of grace, as of 
plants and fruits, and flowers, is not perceived by immediate 
inspection. There is much good obtained when we discern 
it not : and nothing is more certain, than that honest dili- 
gence is never lost in the things of God and our salvation. 
It is worth all our labour, if we grow no better, to keep our 
spark from going out, and to see that we grow no worse. 
And the preventing of evil is here an excellent good. Many 
a thousand eat and drink, that never hope to grow any fat- 
ter or stronger than they are. It is not nothing to be sus- 
tained for our daily work, and to have our oil renewed daily 
as it wasteth. 'The mill gets by going,' saith the proverb, 
' though it stir not from the place.' "O keep the heart with 
all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. iv. 
23.) Actions receive their specification and quality from 
the earth. " Death and life are in the power of the tongue," 
(Prov. xviii. 21,) but the tongue is in the power of the heart. 
Direct. 8. Let not your self-knowledge be merely specu- 
lative, or affective, but also practical. Be not contented 
that you know what you are, and what you have done, nor 
that your heart is much affected with it ; but let all tend to 
action to mend what is amiss, and to maintain, improve, 
and increase what is good : and let the next question be, 
* What am I now to do V or, * What must I be for time to 
come?' It is a lamentable mistake of many that tire them- 
selves with striving, to make deep, affecting impressions on 
their hearts ; and when they have got much sorrow, or much 
joy, they think they have done the greatest matter, and there 
they stop. But affections are the spring that must move to 
action ; and if you proceed not to your duty, affection is 
much lost : and if with smaller affection or passion you can 
steadfastly and resolutely cleave to God, and do your duty, 
you have the principal thing, and are accepted : not that 
outward actions are accepted without the heart ; but that 



I 



EPISTLE DEDICATOliy. XXI 

there is most of the heart, where there is most of the estima- 
tion and will, though less of passion; and there is most of 
will, where there is most endeavour : and inward action is 
the first part of obedience ; and without these no specula- 
tions will avail. However you find your heart, be up and 
doing in the use of means, to make it better, and wait on 
God for further grace. 

Direct. 9. Manage your self-acquaintance prudently, cau- 
telously, and with the help of your skilful friend or pastor. 
Think not that it is a work that you need no helper in : If 
you mistake your accounts, and put down a wrong sum, and 
call yourself confidently what you are not, or deny God's 
graces, whenever through melancholy or distemper you can- 
not find them, and pass false conclusions against God's 
mercies and yourself, this were to turn a duty into a sin and 
snare. 

And you must do it seasonably : Melancholy persons 
are most incapable of it, who do nothing but pore upon 
themselves to little purpose ; such must do more of other 
duty, but lay by much of this till they are more capable, 
and make much use of the judgment of their guides. And 
weaker heads must take but a due proportion of time for 
self-searching meditations, lest they contract that trouble- 
some disease: duties must be used with profitable variety, 
and all done under good advice. But young persons, and 
those that are yet unconverted, have need to fall upon it 
without delay ; and to follow it till they have made sure 
their calling and election. (2 Peter i. 10.) O what a dread- 
ful thing it is, for a man to come rawly and newly to the 
study of his soul, as a thing that he is unacquainted with, 
when sickness is upon him, and death at hand, and he is 
ready to pass into another world ! To be then newly to ask, 
' What am I V and, ' What have I done ?' and, ' Whither am 
I going?' and, ' What will become of me for ever?' is a most 
fearful state of folly. 

Direct. 10. Terminate not your knowledge ultimately ni 
yourself; but pass up unto God in Christ, and to the blessed 
privileges of the saints, and the joyful state of endless glory, 
and there let your meditations be most frequent and most 
sweet. But of this elsewhere. 

Madam, I have added these directions, not ])rincipally 
for you that have learned the art, but for your hopeful sons 



XXll POSTSCRIPT. 

and daughters, who must be taught these things betimes, and 
for your friends, who will be invited hither for your sake. 
They that know you not, will think I have taken too much 
liberty, and spoken too much both of you and to you. But 
I appeal from such : They that know not how easily you 
can pardon any one, except yourself, will aggravate the 
weaknesses which your charity will cover. I Was purposely 
the longer, because the treatise is defective ; and if one 
kingdom do not hold us, and I should see your face no more 
on earth, yet till we meet in the glorious, everlasting king- 
dom, we shall have frequent converse by such means as 
these, notwithstanding our corporal distance. And as I am 
assured of a room in your frequent prayers, so I hope I shall 
remain, 

Madam, 

Your faithful servant, 

And remembrancer at the throne of grace, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

August 25,, 1661. 



POSTSCRIPT. 

Madaim, 
Since the writing of this epistle, finding you under the 
afflicting hand of God, I thought meet to remember you of 
what you know, That God thus traineth up his children for 
their rest: " Whom he loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth 
every son whom he receiveth. If we endure chastening, 
God dealeth with us as with children : and if we be without 
chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then we are bastards 
and not sons." (Heb. xii. 6, 7, 8.) The same flesh that 
would be pleased, will grudge when it is displeased ; 
and that which is our enticing enemy in prosperity, will 
be our disturbing enemy in adversity. " As fleshly minds 
misjudge of the law and service of God, and cannot be sub- 
ject, because of the enmity against him," (Rom. viii. 7,) so 
do they misjudge of his chastisements: and so far as they 
participate of this disease, the best will be repining, and 
tempted to unworthy thoughts of God. Even innocent na- 
ture is loath to suffer; Christ himself saith,"If itbe thy will, 
let this cup pass from me:" and nature, so far as it is corrupted. 



POSTSCRIPT. xxm 

is yet much more averse, because the Hesh is more inordi- 
nately desirous of its ease, and passion more turbulent when 
it is denied ; and the soul hath less apprehension and relish 
of that love of God, which is the cause and end, and should 
sweeten all to a reconciled well composed mind : and it is 
also less satisfied in the will of God, and it is less subject to 
it; and patience is defective, because of the weakness of 
the graces that should support us. Besides which also, a 
tenderness of spirit, and overmuch sensibility, fears and 
trouble, are ordinary effects of the weak and tender nature 
of man, especially of the more weak and tender sex. And 
when all these concur, (the averseness of the most innocent 
nature, the remnants of sin, and the special tenderness of 
your nature and sex) your burden and trial is much the 
greater, and your grief must needs be much the more. But, 
I beseech you, remember, that you have not to do with an 
enemy, but a Father that knoweth what he doth, and nieanetli 
you no hurt, but that which is the fittest means to your 
good, and to your escaping greater hurt; that loveth you no 
less in the greatest of your pain and danger, than in the 
greatest of your prosperity and peace. " That you have a 
Head in heaven that was partaker with us of flesh and blood, 
that he might deliver us from our bondage, which we are in 
through the fear of death, who was made perfect by suffer- 
ing, and is not ashamed to call us brethren ; being in all 
things made like unto us, that he might be a merciful and 
faithful high-priest, in things pertaining to God, to aiiuke 
reconciliation for our sins, who, in that he himself hath 
suffered being tempted, is able to succour them that are 
tempted," (Heb. ii. 10, 11 . 14, 15. 17, 18.) We have not an 
high-priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our 
infirmities, but was in all points tempted or tried as we are, 
but without sin. He that himself, in the days of his flesh, 
did offer up prayers and supplications, with strong crying 
and tears, to him that was able to save him from death," 
(Heb. V. 7,) will not be angry if his servants complain and 
cry to him in their suffering. He that cried out, " My God, 
my God, why hast thou forsaken me !" will pity his poor 
distressed members, and not forsake them, when they think 
themselves forsaken : and if they go beyond their bounds 
in their complainings, he will not therefore disregard then 
moans: but he that honoured the patience of Job, though 



XXIV POSTSCRIPT. 

he so passionately cursed the day of his birth, will love the 
faith and patience of his people, notwithstanding the mix- 
tures of unbelief and impatience ; he is ready with his gra- 
cious excuse," (Matt. xxvi. 41,) " The spirit is willing, but 
the flesh is weak ;" and he considereth that our " strength 
and flesh is not of stones or brass." (Job vi. 12.) " He will 
therefore revive the spirit of the contrite, and will not con- 
tend for ever, nor be always wroth, lest the spirit should 
fail before him, and the souls which he hath made," (Isa. 
Ivii. 15, 16.) " And though no chastening for the present 
seemeth to be joyous, but grievous ; yet the end is, that he 
may make us partakers of his holiness, and afterwards it 
yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that 
are exercised thereby." (Heb. xii. 10, 11.) " Blessed is the 
man that endureth temptation ; for when he is tried he shall 
receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them 
that love him." (James i. 12.) " Blessed is the man whom 
thou chastenest, O Lord, and teacheth him out of thy law, 
that thou raayest give him rest from the days of adversity, 
until the pit be digged for the wicked: for the Lord will 
not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheri- 
tance." (Psal. xciv. 12, 13, 14.) 

Madam, If nothing in all the world be more certain, 
than that there is a God, who is true and just, and delighteth 
in his people when they are lowest in the world: If nothing 
be more sure, than that there is a heaven for persevering pe- 
nitent believers than are our arguments for the comfort of 
God's afflicted ones, no fancies, but fetched as from the 
highest excellencies, so from the surest realities that ever 
were presented to the understanding of a man. And though 
the best of saints have been put to wrestle with the tempta- 
tions that arise from the adversity of believers, and the yjros- 
perity of the wicked, yet this is still the result of all their 
perplexing thoughts ; " Truly God is good to Israel, even to 
such as are of a clean heart. Though sometimes their feet 
are almost gone, and their paths do well nigh slip, and they 
are ready to say, we have cleansed our hearts in vain, and 
washed our hands in innocency ; for all the day are we 
plagued, and chastened every morning; yet they soon learn 
in the sanctuary of God, that the wicked are set in slippery 
places, and cast down into destruction, and brought to de- 
soliition as in a moment, and utterly consumed with terrors 



POSTSCRIPT. XXV 

as a dream when one awaketh, so the Lord when he awaketh, 
will despise their image." (Psal. Ixxiii.) " But mark the per- 
fect man, and behold the upright ; for the end of that man is 
peace." (Psal. xxxvii. 37.) "Because sentence against an 
evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of 
the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil : but though 
a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be pro- 
longed, yet surely I know, that it shall be well with them 
that fear God, which fear before him." (Eccles. viii. 11, 12.) 
If not here, yet certainly at last all shall say, " Verily there 
is a reward for the righteous," (Psal. Iviii. 11.) " Rest there- 
fore in the Lord, and wait patiently for him ; commit your 
way to him ; trust in him, and he shall bring it to pass : for 
the needy shall not alway be forgotten ; the expectation of 
the poor shall not perish for ever." (Psal. ix. 18.) How 
happy are you, that God doth thus save you from the temp- 
tations of prosperity, which you see befool and undo so 
many before your eyes ! And that you are not left in the 
number of those that are men of the world, which have their 
portion in this life ! (Psal. xvii. 14,) " and are given up to 
their own heart's lusts, to walk in their own counsels," (Psal. 
Ixxxi. 12,) and must hear at last, " Remember that thou in 
thy lifetime receivedest thy good things," but that here you 
have your evils, and shall be comforted when the now pros- 
perous wicked are tormented. (Luke xvi. 25.) If heaven 
be enough to make you a felicity, and eternity be long 
enough for your fruition of it, then never think hardly of 
God for any of his chastisements. Lazarus repenteth not 
there that he was poor; nor Job that he was covered with 
sores ; nor David, that he washed his couch with tears, and 
that his sore ran and ceased not. The longest of our sor- 
rows will there be reviewed, as short in respect of our end- 
less joys ; and the sharpest of our pains as nothing to those 
pleasures. Madam, experience as well as faith assureth me, 
that it is good for us that we are afflicted ; and though for 
the sake of others, I shall earnestly beseech the Lord, that 
he will not unseasonably remove such as you from this un- 
worthy generation; yet I doubt not but your removal and 
sufferings in the way, will advantage you for your everlast- 
ing rest. And for myself, I desire, that my lot may still fall 
with those that follow Christ through tribulation, bearing 
the cross, and crucified to the world, and waiting for his ap- 



XXVI POSTTCUIPT. 

pearance, desiring to be absent from the body, and present 
with the Lord ; and not with those that are fed as beasts 
for the slaughter, and prosper a while in their iniquity, till 
sudden destruction come upon them, and at last their sins do 
find them out, " when the wicked shall be turned into hell, 
and all the nations that forget God." (Psal. ix. 17; Numb, 
xxxii. 23 ; 1 Thess. v. 3 ; Phil. iii. 19.) And that these 
words of life may be engraven upon ray heart, (Psal. Ixiii. 3,) 
"Thy lovingkindness is better than life ;" (Psal. Ixxiii. 26;) 
" My flesh and my heart faileth ; but God is the strength of 
my heart, and my portion for ever;" (Rom. viii. 28;) All 
things work together for good to them that love God ;" (John 
xiv. 19;) "Because I live, ye shall live also;" (Col, iii. 
3, 4;) " Our life is hid with Christ in God : when Christ 
who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with 
him in glory ; and that I may be lit for the title of the be- 
loved apostle, (Rev, i. 9,) though as a servant to you and 
the Church of God, 

Your Brother and Companion in Tribulation, and 

in the Kingdom and Patience of Jesus Christ, 

RICH. BAXTER. 

Nov. 1, 1661. 



TO MY DEARLY BELOVED 

THE INHABITANTS 

OP THE 

BOROUGH AND PARISH OF KIDDERMINSTER 

IN THE 

COUNTY OF WORCESTER.* 

As I never desired any greater preferment in this world, 
than to have continued in the work of my ministry among 
you, so I once thought my days would have been ended in 
that desired station : but we are unmeet to tell God how he 
shall dispose of us : or to foreknow what changes he in- 
tends to make. Though you are low in the world, and have 
not the riches which cause men's estimation with the most, 
I see no probability that we should have been separated till 
death, could I but have obtained leave to preach for nothing. 

But being forbidden to preach the Gospel in that dio- 
cese, I must thankfully take the liberty which shall any 
where else be vouchsafed me : and while I may enjoy it, 
I take it not for my duty to be over querulous, though the 
wound that is made by my separation from you be very 
deep. And though to strangers it will seem probable that 
such severity had never been exercised against me, but for 
some heinous crime, yet to you that have known me, I shall 
need to say but little in my defence. The great crime 
which is openly charged on me, and for which I am thought 
unworthy to preach the Gospel, (even where there is no 
other to preach) is a matter that you are unacquainted with, 
and therefore, as you have heard me publicly accused of it, 
I am bound to render you such an account as is necessary 
to your just information and satisfaction. 

It pleased the king's majesty, (in the prosecution of his 
most Christian resolution, of uniting his differing subjects 
by the way of mutual approaches and abatements,) to grant 
a commission to twelve bishops and nine assistants on the 
one side, and to one bishop and eleven other divines and 
nine assistants on the other side, to treat about such altera- 

* Giving ail account of the causes of his being forbidden to preach in the diocese 
of Worcester, by Dr. Gkorgi: Morley, then bishop tlierc. 



XXVlll ADDRESS TO THE 

tions of the Liturgy, as are necessary to the satisfying of 
tender consciences, and to the restoring of unity and peace. 
My experiences in a former treaty (for reconciliation in mat- 
ter of discipline) made me entreat those to whom the nomi- 
nation on the one side was committed, to excuse me from 
the service which 1 knew would prove troublesome to my- 
self, and ungrateful to others ; but I could not prevail. 
(But the work itself, I very much approved, as to be done 
by fitter and more acceptable persons.) Being commanded 
by the king's commission, 1 took it to be my duty to be 
faithful, and to plead for such alterations as T knew were 
necessary to the assigned ends ; thinking it to be treachery 
to his Majesty that entrusted us, and to the Church and 
cause for which we were entrusted, if under pretence of 
making such alterations as were necessary to the two fore- 
mentioned ends, I should have silently yielded to have 
no alterations, or next to none. In the conclusion (when 
the chief work was done by writing) a committee of each 
part, was appointed to manage a disputation in presence (by 
writing also). Therein those of the other part formed an 
argument, whose major proposition was to this sense (for I 
have no copy), * Whatsoever book enjoineth nothing but 
what is of itself lawful, and by lawful authority, enjoineth 
nothing that is sinful :' We denied this proposition ; and at 
last gave divers reasons of our denial; among which one 
was that ' It may be unlawful by accident, and therefore 
sinful.' You now know my crime, it is my concurring with 
learned, reverend brethren, to give this reason of our denial of 
a proposition : yet they are not forbidden to preach for it, 
(and I hope shall not be;) but only I. You have publicly 
heard, from a mouth that should speak nothing but the 
words of charity, truth, and soberness, (especially there) 
that this was * a desperate shift that men at the last extre- 
mity are forced to,' and inferring • that then neither God nor 
man can enjoin without sin.' In city and country this 
soundeth forth to my reproach. I should take it for an act of 
clemency to have been smitten professedly for nothing, and 
that it might not have been thought necessary to afflict me 
by a defamation, that so I might seem justly afflicted by a 
prohibition to preach the Gospel. But indeed is there in 
these words of ours so great a crime? Though we doubted 
not but they knew that our assertion made not everif evil 



INHABITANTS OF KIDDERMINSTER. XXIX 

accident, to be such as made an imposition unlawful, yet 
we expressed this by word to them at that time, for fear of be- 
ing misreported : and I told it to the Right reverend bishop 
when he forbade me to preach, and gave this as a reason: 
and I must confess, I am still guilty of so much weakness 
as to be confident that ' some things not evil of themselves, 
may have accidents so evil, as may make it a sin to him 
that shall command them.' Is this opinion inconsistent with 
all government? Yea, I must confess myself guilty of so 
much greater weakness, as that I thought I should never 
have found a man on earth, that had the ordinary reason of 
a man, that had made question of it ; yea I shall say more 
than that which hath offended, viz. 'That whenever the 
commanding or forbidding of a thing indifferent is like to 
occasion more hurt than good, and this may be foreseen, 
the commanding or forbidding it is a sin. But»yet this is 
not the assertion that 1 am chargeable with, but that ' some 
accidents there may be that may make the imposition sin- 
ful ;' if I may ask it without accusing others, how would 
my crime have been denominated if I had said the contrary? 
Should I not have been judged unmeet to live in any go- 
verned society? It is not unlawful of itself to command out 
a navy to sea : but if it were foreseen that they would fall 
into the enemies' hands, or were like to perish by any acci- 
dent, and the necessity of sending them were small, or none, 
it were a sin to send them. It is not of itself unlawful to 
sell poison, or to give a knife to another, or to bid another 
do it : but if it were foreseen that they will be used to poi- 
son or kill the buyer, it is unlawful ; and I think the law 
would make him believe it that were guilty. It is not of it- 
self unlawful to light a candle or set fire on a straw ; but if 
it may be foreknown, that by another's negligence or wil- 
fulness, it is like to set fire on the city, or to give fire to a 
train and store of gunpowder, that is under the parliament 
house, when the king and parliament are there : I crave the 
bishop's pardon, for believing that it were sinful to do it, or 
command it : yea or not to hinder it (in any such case,) 
when' qui non vetatpeccare cum potest, jubet.' Yea though 
going to God's public worship be of itself so far from being 
a sin, as that it is a duty, yet I think it is a sin to command 
it to all in time of a raging pestilence, or when they should 
be defending the city against the assault of an enemy. It 



XXX ADDRESS TO THE 

may rather be then a duty to prohibit it. I think Paul 
spake not any thing inconsistent with thegovernmentof God 
or man, when he bid both the rulers and people of the church, 
not to destroy him with their me^t for whom Christ died : 
and when he saith that he hath not his power to destruction, 
but to edification. Yea, there are evil accidents of a thing 
not evil of itself, that are caused by the commander: and it 
is my opinion that they may prove his command unlawful. 

But what need I use any other instances than that which 
was the matter of our dispute? Suppose it never so lawful 
of itself to kneel in the reception of the sacrament, if it be 
imposed by a penalty that is incomparably beyond the pro- 
portion of the offence, that penalty is an accident of the com- 
mand, and maketh it by accident sinful in the commander : 
If a prince should have subjects so weak as that all of them 
thought it a sin against the example of Christ, and the ca- 
nons of the General Councils, and many hundred years' 
practice of the church, to kneel in the act of receiving on 
the Lord's-day, if he should make a law that all should be 
put to death that would not kneel, when he foreknew that 
their consciences would command them all, or most of them, 
to die rather than obey, would any man deny this command 
to be unlawful by this accident? Whether the penalty of 
ejecting ministers that dare not put away all that do not 
kneel, and of casting out all the people that scruple it, from 
the church, be too great for such a circumstance, (and so 
in the rest,) and whether this, with the lamentable state 
of many congregations, and the divisions that will follow, 
beino- all foreseen, do prove the impositions unlawful which 
were then in question, is a case that I had then a clearer call 
to speak to than I have now. Only I may say that the 
ejection of the servants of Christ from the communion of 
his church, and of his faithful ministers from their sacred 
work, when too many congregations have none but insuffi- 
cient or scandalous teachers, or no preaching ministers at 
all, will appear a matter of very great moment, in the day of 
our accounts, and such as should not be done upon any but 
a necessary cause, where the benefit is greater than this 
hurt, and all the rest amounts to. 

Havino- given you, to whom I owe it, this account of 
the cause for which 1 am forbidden the exercise of my mi- 
nistry in that country, I now direct these Sermons to your 



INHABITANTS OF KIDDERMINSTER. XXXI 

hands, that seeing I cannot teach you as I would, I may 
teach you as I can. And if I much longer enjoy such li- 
berty as this, it will be much above my expectation. 

My dearly beloved, stand fast in the Lord ; And " fear 
ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revil- 
ings : for the moth shall eat them up a garment, and the 
worm shall eat them like wool : but the righteousness of the 
Lord shall be for ever, and his salvation from generation to 
generation." (Isa. li. 7, 8.) If I have taught you any doc- 
trine of error or impiety, of disobedience to your governors 
in lawful things, of schism or uncharitableness, unlearn 
them all, and renounce them with penitent detestation: but 
if otherwise, " I beseech you mark them which cause divi- 
sions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which you have 
learned, and avoid them : for they are such as serve not our 
Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly ; and by good words 
and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom. 
xvi. 17.) If any shall speak against truth or godliness, re- 
member what you have received ; and how little any(adver- 
sary could say, that ever made such assaults upon you, 
while I was with you : and that is easy for any man to talk 
confidently when no man must contradict him. I denied no 
man liberty upon equal terms, to have said his worst against 
any doctrine that ever I taught you. And how they suc- 
ceeded, I need not tell you: your own stability tells the 
world. As you have maintained true Catholicism, and never 
followed any sect, so I beseech you still maintain the an- 
cient faith, the love of every member of Christ, and common 
charity to all, your loyalty to your king, your peace with all 
men: and let none draw you from catholic unity to a fac- 
tion, though the declaiming against faction and schism 
should be the device by which they would accomplish it. 
And as the world is nothing, and God is all, to all that are 
sincere believers ; so let no worldly interest seem regardable 
to you, when it stands in any opposition to Christ; but ac- 
count all loss and dung for him. (Phil. iii. 8.) And if you 
shall hear that I yet suffer more than I have done, let it not 
be your discouragement or grief; for I doubt not but it will 
be my crown and joy: I have found no small consolation, 
that I have not suffered, for sinful, or for small and indif- 
ferent things : and if my pleading against the ejection of the 
ministers of Christ, and the excommunicating of his mem- 



XXXll ADDRESS. 

bers for a ceremony, and the divisions of his church, and 
the destruction of charity, shall be the cause of my sufter- 
ing (be it never so great,) it shall as much rejoice me to be 
a suffering witness for charity and unity, as if I were a 
martyr for the faith. I participate with Paul in an " ex- 
pectation and hope, that Christ shall be magnified in my 
body whether by life or death : and as to live will be Christ, 
so to die will be gain ; only let your conversation be as it 
becometh the Gospel of Christ ; that whether I ever see you 
more, or be absent, till the joyful day, I may hear of your 
affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind stri- 
ving together for the faith of the Gospel; and in nothing 
terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident 
token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God, 
if to you it shall be given on the behalf of Christ, not only 
to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." (Phil. i. 
20, 21. 27 — 29.) But let no injury from inferiors pro- 
voke you to dishonour the governors that God himself hath 
set over you. " Be meek and patient ; the Lord is at hand ; 
honour all men ; love the brotherhood : fear God ; honour 
the king : for so is the will of God, that with well doing ye 
may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." (1 Pet. ii, 
15. 17.) It is soon enough for you and me, to be justified 
at the bar of Christ (by himself that hath undertaken it) 
against all the calumnies of malicious men. Till then let it 
seem no greater a malicious matter than indeed it is, to be 
slandered, vilified or abused by the world. Keep close to 
him that never faileth you, and maintain your integrity, that 
he may maintain the joys that none can take from you. 
Farewel, my dear brethren, who are my glory and joy in the 
presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming. (1 Thess. 
ii. 18, 19.) 

Your faithful. 

Though unworthy Pastor, 

RICH. BAXTER. 

Nov. tlth, 1661. 



1 



THE 

MISCHIEFS OF SELF IGNORANCE, 



AND 



BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 



2 CORINTHIANS xiii. 5. 
Knoiv ye not your own selves ? 

The Corintliians being much abused by false teachers, to 
the corrupting of their faith and manners, and the question- 
ing of the apostle's ministry, he acquainteth them in my 
text with an obvious remedy for both these maladies ; and 
lets them know, that their miscarriages call them to question 
themselves rather than to question his authority or gifts, 
and that if they find Christ in themselves, they must acknow- 
ledge him in his ministry. 

He therefore first most importunately urgeth them to the 
mediate duty of self-examination : " Examine yourselves, 
whether ye be in the faith : prove your own selves :" Self- 
examination is but the means of self-knowledge. This 
therefore he next urgeth, and that first in general ; and fcJiis 
by way of interrogation, " Know ye not your own selves?" 
and then more particularly he tells them, what it is of them- 
selves, that it most concerneth them to know, " How that 
Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates." As if 
he should say, ' Alas, poor souls ; you have more cause to 
question yourselves than me : go to therefore, examine and 
prove yourselves. It is a shame for a man to be ignorant 
of himself. Know ye not your own selves? Either Christ is 
in you, by faith, and by his Spirit, or he is not : if he be not, 
you are yet but reprobates, that is, disapproved of God, and 
at present in a forsaken, or condemned state yourselves ; 
(which is a conclusion that you will be loath to admit, but 
more concerneth you:) if Christ be in you, it was by the 
means of my ministry ; and therefore that ministry hath been 
powerful and effectual to you, and you are my witnesses ; 
the seal of my ministry is upon your own souls : Christ with- 

VOL. XVI. D 



34 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

in you bears me witness, and therefore of all men, you have 
least cause to question or quarrel with my ministry.' 

This paraphrase opening all that may seem difficult in 
'the text, 1 shall immediately offer you a double observation, 
which the words afford us ; first, as considered in them- 
selves, and then as respecting the inference for which they 
are premised by the apostle. 

The first is, that All men shmdd knovj themselves: or, 
it is a sliamefor a man to be unacquainted with himself. 

The second is, that Not knowing ourselves is the cause of 
other errors : or. The knowledge of ourselves, loould much con- 
duce to the cure of many other errors. 

In handling this, I shall shall shew you, I. What it is to 
know ourselves. 11. How far it is, or is not a shame to be 
ignorant of ourselves. III. What evils follow this io-norance 
of ourselves, and what benefits self-knowledge would pro- 
cure. IV. How we should improve this doctrine by appli- 
cation and practice. Of the first but briefly. 

I. Self-knowledge is thus distinguished according to the 
object. 1. There is a physical self-knowledge : whenaman 
knows what he is as a man ; what his soul is, and what his 
body, and what the compound called man. The doctrine of 
man's nature, or this part of physics is so necessary to all, 
that it is first laid down even in the Holy Scriptures, in Ge- 
nesis, chap, i, ii, iii, before his duty is expressed. And it is 
presupposed in all the moral passages of the word, and in 
all the preaching of the Gospel. The subject is presuppo- 
sed to the adjuncts. The subjects of God's kingdom be- 
long to the constitution ; and therefore to be known before 
the legislation and judgment, which are the parts of the ad- 
ministration. Morality always presupposeth nature. The 
species is in order before the separable accidents. Most 
ridiculously therefore doth ignorance plead for itself against 
knowledge, in them that cry down this part of physics, as 
human learning, unnecessary to the disciples of Christ. 
What excellent, holy meditations of human nature do you 
find oft in Job, and in David's Psalms, (Psal. cxxxix,) con- 
cluding in the praise of the incomprehensible Creator, (ver. 
14,) " I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully 
made : marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth 
right well." 



AND BENEFrr.S OF S EL F-A C Q U/V 1 NT A NCE. 35 

2. There is a moral self-knowledge very necessary. And 
thi.s is, the knowing of ourselves in relation to God's law, 
or to his judgment. The former is the knowledge of our- 
selves in respect of our duty: the second, in respect of the 
reward or punishment. And both of them have respect to 
the law of nature, and works, or to the remedying law of 
grace. 

Tlie ethical knowledge of ourselves, or that which res- 
pecteth the precept of our duty, is twofold. The first is, as 
we have performed that duty. The second, as we have 
violated the law by non-performance or transgression. The 
first is, the knowledge of ourselves as good ; the second as 
evil. And both are either the knowledge of our habits (good 
or evil) or of our acts; how we are morally inclined, dis- 
posed, or habituated; or what, and how we have done : We 
must know the good estate of our nature that we are created 
in; the bad estate of sinful nature that we are fallen into; 
the actual sin committed against the law of nature, and what 
«in we have committed against the law of grace; and whe- 
ther we have obeyed the call of the gospel of salvation or 
not. So that as man's state considered ethically, is three- 
fold, 'institutus, destitutus, et restitutus : infirmatus, defor- 
matus, et reformatus ;' the state of upright nature ; the state 
of sin, original and actual ; and the state of grace ; we must 
know what we are in respect to every one of these. 

And as to the judicial knowledge of ourselves, that is, as 
we stand related to the promises, and threatenings, the judg- 
ment, the reward and punishment; we must know tirst, what 
is due to us according to the law of nature, and then what is 
due to us according to the tenor of the law of grace. By the 
law of nature or of works, death is the due of fallen mankind; 
but no man by it can lay claim to heaven. All men are under 
its curse or condemnation, till pardoned by Christ; but no 
man can be justified by it. By the promise of the Gospel, 
all true believers renewed and sanctified by the Spirit of 
Christ, are justified and made the sons of God and heirs of 
everlasting glory. To know whether we are yet delivered 
from the condemnation of the law, and whether our sins are 
pardoned or not, and whether we are the children of God, 
and have any part in the heavenly glory ; is much of the 
self-knowledge that is here intended in the text, and that 
which most nearly concerneth the solid comfort of our souls- 



3(j THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

II. But is all self-ignorance a shame, or dangerous ? 

Answ. 1. It is no other shame than what is common to 
human frailty, to be ignorant of much of the mystery of our 
natural generation, constitution, integral parts, and temper- 
ament. There is not a nerve, or artery, or vein, nor the 
breadth of a hand from head to foot, but hath something 
unknown to the most excellent philosopher on earth. This 
little world called man, is a compound of wonders. Both 
soul and body have afforded matter of endless controversy, 
and voluminous disputations, to the most learned men ; 
which will not admit of a full decision, till we are past this 
state of darkness and mortality. 

2. There are many controversies about the nature, deri- 
vation, and punishment of original sin, which a humble and 
diligent Christian may possibly be ignorant of. 

3. The degrees of habitual sin, considered simply, or 
proportionably and respectively to each other, may be much 
unknown to many that are willing and diligent to know : 
and so many divers actual sins, such as we know not to be 
sin, through our imperfect understanding of the law; and 
such as through frailty, in a crowd of actions, escape our 
particular observation. And the sinfulness or aggravations 
of every sin, are but imperfectly known and observed by the 
best. 

4. Tiie nature and beauty of the image of God, as first 
planted on created man, and since restored to man redeemed : 
the manner of the Spirit's access, operation, testimony and 
inhabitation, are all but imperfectly known by the wisest of 
believers. 

The frame or admirable composure or contexture of the 
new man in each of the renewed faculties ; the connection, 
order, beauty and special use of each particular grace, are 
observed but imperfectly by the best. 

5. The very uprightness and sincerity of our own hearts, 
in faith, hope, love, repentance and obedience, is usually 
unknown to incipients, or young beginners in religion; and 
to the weaker sort of Christians, how old soever in profes- 
sion, and to melancholy persons, who can have no thoughts 
of themselves but sad and fearful, tending to despair; and 
to lapsed and declining Christians, and also to many an 
upright soul, from whom in some cases of special trial, God 
seems to hide his pleased face. And though these infirmi- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 37 

ties are their shame, yet are they not the characters or 
prognostics of their misery and everlasting shame. 

6. The same persons must needs be unacquainted with 
the justification, reconciliation, adoption and title to ever- 
lasting blessedness, as long as they are uncertain of their 
sincerity. Yea, though they uprightly examine themselves, 
and desire help of their guides, and watch and pore conti- 
nually upon their hearts and ways, and daily beg of God to 
acquaint them with their spiritual condition, they may yet 
be so far unacquainted with it, as to pass an unrighteous 
judgment on themselves, and condemn themselves when God 
hath justified them. 

But, 1. To be totally ignorant of the excellency and 
capacity of your immortal souls. 2. To be void of an effec- 
tual knowledge of your sin and misery, and need of the 
remedy. 3. To think you have saving grace, when you have 
none ; that you are regenerate by the Spirit, when you are 
only sacramentally regenerate by baptism; that you are 
the members of Christ, when it is no such matter; that you 
are justified, adopted, and the heirs of heaven, when it is not 
so ; all this is doleful and damnable unacquaintedness with 
yourselves. 

To be unacquainted with a state of life, when you are 
in such a state, is sad and troublesome, and casts you upon 
many and great inconveniences. But to be unacquainted 
with a state of death, when you are in it, doth fasten your 
chains, and hinder your recovery. To be willing and dili- 
gent to know your state, and yet be unable to attain to 
assurance and satisfaction, is ordinary with many true 
believers : but to be ignorant of it because you have no 
grace to find, and because you mind not the matters of 
your souls, or think it not worth your diligent consideration 
or inquiry: this is the case of the miserable despisers of 
salvation. 

III. The commodities and incommodities to be men- 
tioned, are so many and great, that many hours would not 
serve to open them as they deserve. 

1. Atheism is cherished by self-ignorance. The know- 
ledge of ourselves as men, doth notably conduce to our 
knowledge of God. Here God is known but darkly, and 
as in a glass, (1 Cor. xiii. 12,) and by his image, and not 
as face to face. And, except his incarnate and his wiilteu 



3B THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

word, what glass revealeth him so clearly as the soul of man'f 
We bear a double image of our Maker: his natural image in 
the nature of our faculties ; and his moral image in their 
holy qualifications, in the nature of grace, and frame of the 
new man. By knowing ourselves, it is easy to know that 
there is a God ; and it much assisteth us to know what he is, 
not only in his attributes and relations, but even in the 
Trinity itself. He may easily know that there is a primitive 
being and life, that knoweth he hath himself a derived 
being and life. He must know that there is a Creator, that 
knoweth he is a creature. He that findeth a capacious intel- 
lect, a will and power in the creature, and that is conscious 
of any wisdom, and goodness in himself, may well know that 
* formaliter' or ' eminenter,' ail these are infinite in the first 
cause that must thus have in itself whatsoever it doth com- 
municate. He that knoweth that he made not, and pre- 
serveth not himself, may well know that he is not his own, 
but his that made him and preserveth him, who must needs 
be his absolute proprietary and Lord. He that knoweth 
that he is an intellectual moral agent, and therefore to act 
morally, and therefore to be moved by moral means, and that 
he is a sociable creature, a member of the universe, living 
among men, may well be sure, that he is made to be a sub- 
ject, and governed by laws, and by moral means to be direc- 
ted and moved to his end ; and therefore that none but his ab- 
solute Lord, the Infinite Wisdom, Goodness, and Power, can 
be his absolute and highest sovereign. He that is convinced 
that he is, he lives, he hopeth and enjoyeth all that is good, 
from a superior bounty, may be sure that God is liis princi- 
pal benefactor. And to be ' The first and infinite being, 
intellect, will, and power, wisdom, goodness, and cause of 
all things ; the absolute owner, the most righteous governor, 
and the most bounteous benefactor,' this is to be God. 
This being the description of him that is so called : such a 
description as is fetched from Uis created image man, and 
expressed in the terms that himself hath chosen, and used in 
his word, as knowing that if he will be understood by man, 
he must use the notions and expressions of man : and 
though these are spoken but analogically of God, yet are 
there no fitter conceptions of him that the soul of man, in flesh, 
is capable of. So that the Atheist carrieth about him that 
impress and evidence of the Deity, which may convince him. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 39 

or condemn him for his foolishness and impiety. He is a 
fool indeed, that " saith in his heart there is no God,'' (Psal. 
xiv. I,) when that heart itself in its being, and life, and mo- 
tion, is his witness : and soul and body, with all their facul- 
ties, are nothing but the effects of this Almighty cause. 
And when they prove that there is a God, even by question- 
ing or denying it, being unable, without him, so much as to 
deny him; that is, to think, or speak, or be. As if a fool 
should write a volume, to prove that there is no ink or paper 
in the world, when it is ink and paper by which he writes. 

And whether there be no representation of the Trinity in 
unity in the nature of man, let them judge that have well 
considered, how in one body there are the natural, vital and 
animal parts and spirits : and in one life or soul, there are 
the vegetative, sensitive and rational faculties ; and in one 
rational soul as such, there are an intellect, will and execu- 
tive power, morally perfected by wisdom, goodness and 
promptitude to well doing. As in one sun there are light and 
heat, and moving force. So that man is both the beholder 
and the glass; the reader and the book : he is the index of 
the Godhead to himself: yea, partly of the Trinity in unity: 
of which saith August, de Trinit. lib 1. ' Nee periculosius 
alicubi erratur, nee laboriosiusaliquid quseritur, nee fructu- 
osius,invenitur, quam Trinitas.' We need not say. Who shall 
go up into heaven : Saith Seneca himself by the light of na- 
ture, 'Prope Deus est; tecum est : intusest; sacer intra nos 
Spiritus; sedet bonorum malorumque nostrorum observator 
et custos : hie prout a nobis tractatur, ita nos tractat ipse : 
bonus vir sine Deo nemo est.' God is nigh us ; with 
us; within us; a holy Spirit resideth within us: the ob- 
server of our evil and good, and our preserver : he useth 
us as he is used by us : no good man is without God. Saith 
August. * Deus est in seipso sicut « et w: in mundo sicut 
rector et author : in Angelis sicut sapor et decor : in Eccle- 
sia sicut pater familias in domo : in animo sicut sponsus in 
thalamo : in justis sicut adjutor et protector : in reprobis, 
sicut pavor et horror.' God is in himself as the Alpha and 
Omega ; in the world as its governor and author: in angels 
as their sweetness and comeliness: in the church as the 
master of the family in his house : in the soul, as the bride- 
groom in his bed-chamber: in the righteous, as their helper 
and protector, &c. and as all declareth him, so all should 



40 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

praise him : ' Hunc itaquemens diligat, lingua canat, manus 
scribat, atque in his Sanctis studiisfidelis animus seexerceat/ 
Aug. Let the mind be exercised in loving him, the tongue 
in singing him, the hand in writing him ; let these holy studies 
be the believer's work. 

2. He that knoweth himself, may certainly know thatthere 
is another life of happiness or misery for man to live, when 
this is ended. For he must needs know that his soul is capa- 
ble of a spiritual and glorious felicity with God, and of im- 
material objects, and that time is as nothing to it, and tran- 
sitory creatures afford it no satisfaction or rest: and that the 
hopes and fears of the life to come, are the divine engines by 
which the moral government of the world is carried on ; and 
that the very nature of man is such, as that without such 
apprehensions, hopes and fears, he could not in a connatu- 
ral way be governed, and brought unto the end, to which 
his nature is inclined and adapted ; but the world would be 
as a wilderness, and men as brutes. And he may well know 
that God made not such faculties in vain, nor suited them 
to an end which cannot be attained, nor to a work which 
would prove but their trouble and deceit: he may be sure 
that a mere probability or possibility of an everlasting life, 
should engage a reasonable creature in all possible diligence 
in piety and righteousness, and charity to attain it : and so 
religious and holy endeavours, are become the duty of man 
as man; there being few such infidels or atheists to be found 
on earth, as dare say. They are sure there is no other life for 
man, and doubtless whatsoever is by nature and reason 
made man's duty, is not delusory and vain : nor is it reason- 
able to think that falsehood, frustration and deceit, are the 
ordinary way by which mankind is governed by the most 
wise and holy God. So that the end of man may be clearly 
gathered from his nature : forasmuch as God doth certainly 
suit his works unto their proper use and ends. It is there- 
fore the ignorance of ourselves, that makes men question 

the immortality of souls : and I may add, it is the ignorance fl 

of the nature of conscience, and of all morality, and of the JM 

reason of justice among men, that makes men doubt of the 
discriminating justice of the Lord, which is hereafter to be 
manifested. 

3. Did men know themselves, they would better know 
the evil and odiousness of sin. As poverty and sickness are 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 41 

better known by feeling than by hearsay ; so also is sin. To 
hear a discourse, or read a book of the nature, prognostics 
and cure of the plague, consumption, or dropsy, doth little 
affect us, while we seem to be sound and safe ourselves : but 
when we find the malady in our flesh, and perceive the danger, 
we have then another manner of knowledge of it. Did you 
but see and feel sin as it is in your hearts and lives, as oft 
as you read and hear of it in the law of God, I dare say sin 
would not seem a jesting matter, nor would those be cen- 
sured as too precise, that are careful to avoid it, any more 
than they that are careful to avoid infectious diseases, or 
crimes against the laws of man, that hazard their temporal 
felicity or lives. 

4. It is want of self-acquaintance that keeps the soul 
from kindly humiliation : that men are insensible of their 
spiritual calamities, and lie under a load of unpardoned sin 
and God's displeasure, and never feel it, nor loathe them- 
selves for all the abominations of their hearts and lives, nor 
make complaint to God or man with any seriousness and 
sense. How many hearts would be filled with wholesome 
grief and care, that now are careless and almost past feel- 
ing ! and how many eyes would stream forth tears that now 
are dry, if men were but truly acquainted with themselves ! 
It is self-knowledge that causeth the solid peace and joy of 
a believer, as conscious of that grace that warranteth his 
peace and joy : but it is self-deceit and ignorance that quiet- 
eth the presumptuous, that walk as carelessly, and sleep as 
quietly, and bless themselves from hell as confidently, when 
it is ready to devour them, as if the bitterness of death were 
past, and hypocrisy would never be discovered. 

5. It is unacquaintedness with themselves that makes 
Christ so undervalued by the unhumbled world: that his 
name is reverenced, but his office and saving grace are dis- 
regarded. Men could not set so light by the physician, 
that felt their sickness, and understood their danger. Were 
you sensible that you are under the wrath of God, and shall 
shortly and certainly be in hell, if Christ received by a 
hearty, working, purifying faith, do not deliver you, I dare 
say, you would have more serious, savory thoughts of Christ, 
more yearnings after him, more fervent prayers for his heal- 
ing grace, and sweet remembrance of his love and merits. 



42 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

example, doctrine and inestimable benefits, than lifeless 
hypocrites ever were acquainted with. 

Imagine with what desires and expectations the diseased, 
blind and lame cried after him for healing to their bodies, 
when he was on earth. And would you not more highly 
value him, more importunately solicit him for your own 
souls, if you knew yourselves? 

6. It is unacquaintedness with themselves that makes men 
think so unworthily of a holy, heavenly conversation ; and 
that possesseth them with foolish prejudice against the holy 
care and diligence of believers : Did men but value their im- 
mortal souls, as reason itself requireth them to do, is it pos- 
sible they should venture so easily upon everlasting misery, 
and account it unnecessary strictness in them that dare not 
be as desperately venturous as they, but fly from sin, and 
fear the threatenings of the Lord? Did men but consider- 
ately understand the worth and concernment of their souls, 
is it possible they should hazard them for a thing of naught, 
and set them at sale for the favour of superiors, or the tran- 
sitory pleasures and honours of the world? Could they 
think the greatest care and labour of so short a life to be 
too much for the securing of their salvation? Could they 
think so many studious careful days, and so much toil, to be 
but meet and necessary for their bodies ; and yet think all 
too much that is done for their immortal souls? Did men 
but practically know that they are the subjects of the God 
of heaven, they durst not think the diligent obeying him to 
be a needless thing, when they like that child or servant best, 
that is most willing and diligent in their service. Alas ! 
were men but acquainted with their weakness, and sinful 
failings, when they have done their best, and how much 
short the holiest persons do come of what they are obliged 
to by the laws and mercies of the Lord, they durst not make 
a scorn of diligence, nor hate or blame men for endeavouring 
to be better, that are sure at best they shall be too bad. 
When the worst of men, that are themselves the greatest 
neglecters of God and their salvation, shall cry out against 
a holy life, and making so much ado for heaven, (as if a man 
that lieth in bed should cry out against working too much 
or going too fast,) this shews men's strangeness to themselves. 
Did the careless world but know themselves, and see where 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 43 

they stand, and what is before them, and how much lieth on 
this inch of time ; did they but know the nature and em- 
ployment of a soul, and why their Creator did place them 
for a little while in flesh, and whither they must go when 
time is ended, you should then see them in that serious 
frame themselves, which formerly they disliked in others : 
and they would then confess, that if any thing in the world 
deserved seriousness and diligence, it is the pleasing of God, 
and the saving of our souls. 

7. It is for want of acquaintance with themselves, that 
men are so deceived by the vanities of the world ; that they 
are drowned in the love of pleasures and sensual delights ; 
that they are so greedy for riches, and so desirous to be 
higher than those about them, and to waste their days in the 
pursuit of that which will not help them in the hour of their 
extremity. Did the voluptuous sensualist know aright that 
he is a man, he would not take up with the pleasures and 
felicity of a brute; nor enslave his reason to the violence of 
his appetite. He would know that there are higher pleasures 
which beseem a man; even those that consist in the well- 
being and integrity of the soul, in peace of conscience, in 
the favour of God, and communion with him in the Spirit, 
and in a holy life, and in the forethoughts and hopes of 
endless glory. 

Did the covetous worldling know himself, he would know 
that it must be another kind of riches that must satisfy his 
soul, and that he hath wants of another nature to be supplied j 
and that it more concerneth him to lay up a treasure in 
heaven, and think where he must dwell for ever, than to 
accommodate this perishing flesh, and make provision with 
so much ado, for a life that posteth away while he is pro- 
viding for it : he would rather make him friends with the 
mammon of unrighteousness, and lay up a foundation for the 
time to come, and labour for the food that never perisheth, 
than to make such a stir for that which will serve him so 
little a while; that so he might hear " Well done, thou good 
and faithful servant, &c." rather than " Thou fool, this night 
thy soul shall be required of thee ; then whose shall those 
things be which thou hast provided ?" 

Self-knowledge would teach ambitious men, to prefer 
the calmest, safest station before the highest; and to seek 
tirst the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and to please 



44 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

him most carefully that hath the keys of heaven and hell f 
and to be content with food and raiment in the way, while 
they are ambitious of a higher glory. It would tell them, 
that so dark and frail a creature should 4De more solicitous 
to obey than to have dominion ; and that large possessions 
are not the most congruous or desirable passage to a narrow 
grave ; and that it is the highest dignity to be an heir of 
heaven. Would men but spend some hours time in the 
study of themselves, and seriously consider what it is to be 
a man, a sinner, a passenger to an endless life, an expectant 
of so great a change, and withal to be a professed believer, 
what a turn would it make in the cares, and the desires, and 
conversations of the most ! 

* O amatores mundi (inquit Angust.) cujus rei gratia mi- 

litatis? Ibi quid nisi fragile plenum periculis ? et per 

quot pericula pervenitur ad majus periculum? pereant haec 
omni, et dimittamus hsec vana et inania, conferamus nos ad 
solam inquisitiouem eorum quse finem non habeant.' i. e. 
What strive you for, O worldlings ? what is here but a brit- 
tle glass full of dangers ? and by how many dangers must 
you come to greater dangers ? Away with these vanities 
and toys, and let us set ourselves to see the things that have 
no end. 

8. It is for want of self-acquaintance that any man is 
proud. Did men considerately know what they are, how 
quickly would it bring them low ! Would corruptible flesh, 
that must shortly turn to loathsome rottenness, be stout 
and lordly, and look so high, and set forth itself in gaudy 
ornaments, if men did not forget themselves? Alas, the 
way forgets the end ; the outward bravery forgets the dirt 
and filth within ; the stage forgetteth the undressing-room. 
Did rulers behave themselves as those that are subjects to 
the Lord of all, and have the greatest need to fear his judg- 
ment, and prepare for their account : did great ones live as 
men that know that rich and poor are equal with the Lord, 
who respects not persons ; and that they must speedily be 
levelled with the lowest, and their dust be mixed with the 
common earth, what an alteration would it make in their 
deportment and affairs ! and what a mercy would it prove to 
their inferiors and themselves ! If men that swell with pride 
of parts, and overvalue their knowledge, wit or elocution, 
did know how little indeed they know, and how much they 



AND BENEFITS OF .SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 45 

are ignorant of, it would much abate their pride and confi- 
dence. The more men know indeed, the more they know to 
humble them. It is the novices, that " being lifted up with 
pride, do fall into the condemnation of the devil." (1 Tim. 
iii. 6.) They would loathe themselves if they knew them- 
selves. 

9. It is self-ignorance that makes men rush upon temp- 
tations, and choose them, when they customarily pray 
against them. Did you know what tinder or gunpowder 
lodgeth in your natures, you would guard your eyes and ears, 
and appetites, and be afraid of the least spark ; you would 
not be indifferent as to your company, nor choose a life of 
danger to your souls, for the pleasing of your flesh ; to live 
among the snares of honour or beauty, and bravery, or sen- 
sual delights ; you would not wilfully draw so near the brink 
of hell, nor be nibbling at the bait, nor looking on the for- 
bidden fruit, nor dallying with allurements, nor hearkening to 
the deceiver or his messengers. It is ignorance of the weak- 
ness and badness of your hearts, that maketh you so confi- 
dent of yourselves, as to think that you can hear any thing, 
and see any thing, and approach the snare, and treat with 
the deceiver without any danger. Self-acquaintance would 
cause more fear and self-suspicion. 

If you should escape well awhile in your self-chosen 
dangers, you may catch that at last that may prove your woe. 

Nemo sesc tuto periculis ofFerre tam crebro potest. 
Quem saepe transit casus, aliquando invenit. 

Seneca. 

Temptation puts you on a combat with the powers of the 
earth, and flesh and hell ! And is toil and danger your de- 
light? ' Nunquam periculum sine periculo vincitur,' saith 
Seneca: Danger is never overcome without danger: It is 
necessary valour to charge through all, which you are in; 
but it is temerarious fool-hardiness to seek for danger, and 
invite such enemies when we are so weak. Saith Augustine, 
' Nemo sibi proponat et dicat, habere volo quod vincam ; 
hoc est, dicere, vivere desidero et volo sub ruina.' Goliah's 
" give me a man to fight with," is a prognostic of no good 
success. Rather foresee all your dangers to avoid them ; 
understand where each temptation lieth, that you may go 
another way if possible. ' Castitas periclitatur in deliciis 



46 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

hifmilitas in divitiis ; pietas in negotiis ; Veritas in multilo- 
quio J charitas in hoc mundo/ saith Bernard : * Chastity is 
endangered in delights; humility in riches; piety in busi- 
nesses ; truth in too much talk ; and charity in this world.' 
Alas, did we but think what temptations did with a Noah, a 
Lot, a David, a Solomon, a Peter, we would be afraid of the 
enemy and weapon that such worthies have been wounded 
by, and of the quicksands where they have so dangerously 
fallen. When Satan durst assault the Lord himself, what 
hope will he have of such as we ? When we consider the 
millions that are blinded, and hardened and damned by 
temptations, are we in our wits if we will cast ourselves into 
them? ' Preceps est, qui transire contendit, ubi conspexerit 
alios cecidisse : et vehementer infraanis est, cui non incu- 
titur timor alio pereunte.' Aug. 

10. Self-acquaintance would confute temptations, and 
easily resolve the case when you are tempted. Did you 
considerately know the preciousness of your souls, and your 
own concernments, and where your true felicity lieth, you 
would abhor allurements, and encounter them with that ar- 
gument of Christ, (Mark viii. 36, 37,) " What shall it pro- 
fit a man, if he win the world and lose his soul? or what 
shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" The fear of man 
would be conquered, by a greater fear; as the Lord com- 
mandeth," (Luke xii. 4, 5,) " And I say unto you, my 
friends; be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after 
that have no more that they can do : but I will forewarn 
you whom you shall fear : Fear him, which after he hath 
killed, hath power to cast into hell : yea, I say unto you. 
Fear him." 

IL It is unacquaintedness with themselves, that makes 
men quarrel with the word of God, rejecting it when it suits 
not with their deceived reason, and to be offended with his 
faithful ministers, when they cross them in their opinions 
or ways, or deal with them with that serious plainness, as 
the weight of the case, and their necessity doth require. 
Alas, sirs, if you were acquainted with yourselves, you 
would know that the holy rule is straight, and the crooked- 
ness is in your conceits and misapprehensions ; and that 
your frail understandings should rather be suspected than 
the word of God, and that your work is to learn and obey 
the law, and not to censure it. (James iv. 11.) And that 



AXD BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 47 

quarrelling with the holy word which you should obey, will 
not excuse but aggravate your sin ; nor save you from the 
condemnation, but fasten it and make it greater. You would 
know that it is more wisdom to stoop than to contend with 
God : and that it is not your physicians nor the medicine that 
you should fall out with, nor desire to be delivered from, 
but the disease. 

12. Self-acquaintance would teach men to be charitable 
to others, and cure the common censoriousness, and envy, 
and malice of the world. Hath thy neighbour some mis- 
takes about the disputable points of doctrine, or doubtful 
modes of discipline or worship? Is he for the opinion, or 
form, or policy, or ceremony, which thou dislikest? Or is 
he against them when thou approvest them? Or afraid to 
use them, when thou tliinkest them laudable ? If thou know 
thyself, thou darest not break charity or peace for this. 
Thou darest not censure or despise him: but wilt remember 
the frailty of thy own understanding, which is not infallible 
in matters of this rank ; and in many things is certainly mis- 
taken, and needs forbearance as well as he. Thou wouldst 
be afraid of inviting God or man to condemn thyself, by thy 
condemning others ; and wouldst think with thyself; If 
every error of no more importance in persons that hold the 
essentials of religion, and conscionably practise what they 
know, must go for heresy, or make men sectaries, or cut 
them off from the favour of God, or the communion of the 
church, or the protection of the magistrate, and subject 
them to damnation, to misery, to censures and reproach : 
alas, what then must become of so frail a wretch as I, Of 
so dark a mind, of so blameable a heart and life, that am 
like to be mistaken in matters so great, where I least sus- 
pect it? It is ignorance of themselves, that makes men so 
easily think ill of their brethren, and entertain all hard or 
mis-reports of them, and look at them so strangely, or speak 
of them so contemptuously and bitterly, and use them so 
uncompassionately, because they are not in all things of 
their opinion and way. They consider not their own infir- 
mities, and that they teach men how to use themselves. 
The falls of brethren would not be over-aggravated, nor be 
the matter of insulting or contempt, but of compassion, if 
men knew themselves. This is implied in the charge of the 
Holy Ghost, (Gal. vi. 1, 2,) " Brethren, if a man be over- 



48 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

taken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one 
in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also 
be tempted : bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the 
law of Christ." The Pharisee that seeth not the beam of 
mortal formality and hypocrisy in his own eye, is most cen- 
sorious against the motes of tolerable particular errors in his 
brother's eye. None more uncharitable against the real or 
supposed errors or slips of serious believers, than hypocrites 
that have no saving, serious faith and knowledge, but place 
their religion in opinion and outside shows, and wholly err 
from the path of life. 

13. It is ignorance of themselves that makes men divide 
the Church of Christ, and pertinaciously keep open its 
bleeding wounds, and hinder concord, and disturb its peace. 
How far would self-acquaintance go to the cure of all our 
discords and divisions! Is it possible that the Pope should 
take upon him the government of the antipodes, even of all 
the world, (and that as to spiritual government, which re- 
quiieth more personal attendance than secular,) if he knew 
Jiimself, and consequently his natural incapacity, and the 
terror of his account for such an usurped charge? Self-ac- 
quaintance would depose their inquisitions, and quench 
their flames ; and make them know what spirit they are of, 
that inclineth not to save men's lives, but to destroy them. 
(Luke ix. 55, 56.) Did they know themselves, the Papists 
durst not multiply new articles of faith, and ceremonies, 
and depart from the ancient simplicity of the Gospel, and 
turn the Creed or Scripture into all the volumes of their 
councils, and say. All these decrees or determinations of 
the church are necessary to salvation; and so make the 
way of life more difficult, if not impossible (had they indeed 
the keys) by multiplying of their supposed necessaries. 
Did they but know themselves aright, it were impossible 
they should dare to pass the sentence of damnation on the 
far greatest part of the Christian world, because they are not 
subject to their pretended Vice-Christ. Durst one of the 
most leprous, corrupted sort of Christians in the world un- 
church all the rest that will not be as bad as they, and con- 
demn all other Christians as heretics or schismatics, either 
for their adhering to the truth, or for errors and faults, far 
smaller than their own? Did they know themselves and 
their own corruptions, they durst not thus condemn them- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 49 

selves, by so presumptuous and blind a condemnation of 
the best and greatest part of the Church of Christ, which is 
dearest to him, as purchased by his blood. If either the 
Protestants, or the Greeks, or the Armenians, Georgians, 
Syrians, Egyptians, or Jithiopian Churches, be in as bad 
and dangerous a case, as these usurping censurers tell the 
world they are, what then will become of the tyrannous, su- 
perstitious, polluted, blood-thirsty Church of Rome? 

What is it but self-ignorance that perverteth the unset- 
tled among us, and sends them over to the Roman tents? 
No man could rationally become a Papist, if he knew him- 
self. Let me prove this to you in these four instances. 

1. If he had but the knowledge of his natural senses, he 
could not take them to be all deceived, (and the senses of all 
others as well as his) about their proper object ; and believe 
the priests, that bread is no bread, or wine no wine, when 
all men's senses testify the contrary. 

2. Some of them turn Papists because they see some dif- 
ferences among other Christians, and hear them call one 
another by names of contumely and reproach ; and there- 
fore they think that such can be no true Churches of Christ: 
but if they knew themselves, they would be acquainted with 
more culpable errors in themselves, than those for which 
many others are reproached ; and see how irrational a thing 
it is to change their religion upon the scolding words or 
slanders of another ; or, which is worse, upon their own un- 
charitable censures. 

3. Some turn to the Papists, as apprehending their cere- 
monious kind of religion to be an easier way to heaven than 
ours : but if they knew themselves, they would know that it 
is a more solid and spiritual sort of food that their nature 
doth require, and a more searching physic that must cure 
their diseases ; and that shells and chaff will not feed, but 
choke and starve their souls. 

4. AH that turn Papists, must believe that they were un- 
justified and out of the catholic church before, and conse- 
quently void of the love of God and special grace : for they 
receive it as one of the Romish articles, that out of their 
church there is no salvation. But if these persons were in- 
deed before ungodly, if they knew themselves, they would 
find that there is a greater matter necessary, than believing 

VOL. XVI. , E 



50 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

in the Pope, and turning to that faction ; even to turn to 
God by faith in Christ, without which no opinions or pro- 
fession can save them. But if they had the love of God be- 
fore, then they were justified, and in the church before ; and 
therefore Protestants are of the true church, and it is not 
confined to the Roman subjects: so that if they knew this, 
they could not turn Papists without a palpable contradiction. 

The Papists' fugitives tell us, we are no true ministers, 
nor our ministry effectual and blessed of God. What need we 
more than imitate Paul, when his ministry was accused, and 
call them to the knowledge of themselves, "Examine your- 
selves, whether ye be in the faith ? Prove yourselves : know 
ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, ex- 
cept ye be reprobates?" If they were ungodly, and void of 
the love of God, while they were under our ministry, no 
wonder if they turn Papists. For it is just with God, that 
those that " receive not the love of the truth that they may 
be saved, be given over to strong delusions to believe a lie." 
(2 Thess. ii. 10, 11.) But if they received themselves the 
love of God in our churches by our ministry, they shall be 
our witnesses against themselves. 

And it is others as well as Papists that would be kept 
from church divisions, if they did but know themselves. 
Church governors would be afraid of laying things unne- 
cessary, as stumbling-blocks before the weak, and of laying 
the unity and peace of the church upon them ; and casting 
out of the vineyard of the Lord, and out of their com- 
munion, all such as are not in such unnecessary or little 
things, of their opinion or way. The words of the great 
Apostle of the Gentiles, (Rom. xiv. 15,) so plainly and fully 
deciding this matter, would not have stood so long in the 
Bible, as, 'non-dicta,' or utterly insignificant, in the 
eyes of many rulers of the churches, if they had known 
themselves, as having need of their brethren's charity and 
forbearance. " Him that is weak in the faith receive you, 
but not to doubtful disputations : For one believeth that 
he may eat all things, another that is weak eateth herbs. 
Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not, (much 
less destroy him, or excommunicate him,) and let not 
him which eateth not, judge him that eateth : for God hath 
received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's ser- 
vant? To his own master he standeth or falleth; yea he 



AND BENEFITS OP SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. oi 

shall beholden up, for God is able to make him stand. One 
man esteemeth one day above another ; another esteemeth 
every day alike : let every man be fully persuaded in his own 
mind." (Ver. 13.) " Let us not therefore judge one another 
any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stum- 
bling-block, or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." (Ver. 
17.) " For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but 
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Ver. 
18.) " For he that in these things serveth Christ, is accep- 
table to God, and approved of men." (Chap. xv. 1.) "We 
then that are strong, ought to bear with the infirmities of 
the weak, and not to please ourselves." (Ver. 7.) "Where- 
fore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to 
the glory of God," Self-acquaintance would help men to 
understand these precepts ; and be patient with the weak, 
when we ourselves have so much weakness, and not to vex or 
reject our brethren for little or unnecessary things, lest 
Christ reject or grieve us that have greater faults. 

Self-acquaintance also would do much to heal the divi- 
ding humour of the people ; and instead of separating from 
all that are not of their mind, they would think themselves 
more unworthy of the communion of the church, than the 
church of their's. 

Self-acquaintance makes men tender and compassionate, 
and cureth a censorious, contemptuous mind. It also silen- 
ceth passionate, contentious disputes, and makes men sus- 
picious of their own understandings, and therefore forbid- 
deth them intemperately to condemn dissenters. It also 
teacheth men to submit to the faithful directions and con- 
duct of their pastors ; and not to vilify, forsake and disobey 
them, as if they were above them in understanding, and fit- 
ter to be guides themselves; so that in all these respects, it 
is ignorance of themselves that makes men troublers of the 
church, and the knowledge of themselves would much re- 
medy it. 

14. And it is ignorance of themselves also, that makes 
men troublers of the state. A man that doth not know him- 
self, is unfit for all society : if he be a ruler he will forget 
the common good, and instead of clemency and justice, will 
violently exercise an imperious will. If he be a subject, he 
will be censuring the actions of his rulers, when distance and 
dis-acquaintance makes him an incompetent judge. He 



52 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

will think himself fitter to rule than they, and whatever they 
do, he imagineth that he could do it better. And hence 
comes suspicions and uiurmurings against them, and Co- 
rah's censures, "Ye take too much upon you : are not all 
the people holy?" Were men acquainted with themselves, 
their weaknesses, their concernments, and their duties, they 
would rather inquire whether they obey well, than whether 
their superiors rule well ; and would think the lowest place 
to be most suitable to them ; and would quiet themselves in 
the discharge of their own duty, " making supplications, 
prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving for all men; for 
kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a 
quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty; for 
this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savi- 
our." (1 Tim. ii. 1 — 3.) It would quiet all the seditions 
and tumults of the world, if men were w^ll acquainted with 
themselves. 

I confess, seditions seem to rise from a too great know- 
ledge and regard of ourselves, and of our own commodity. 
' Aliquid commune tuum facere, est seditionis et discordiae 
principium : to appropriate common benefits to ourselves, is 
the spring of discord and sedition. But here, as in other 
things, self-seeking cometh from self-ignorance, and tendeth 
to self-deceit and disappointment. The end of contendings 
answer not the promises that selfishness and passion make 
men in the beginnings. 

Si aeterna semper odia mortales agant 
Ne cjeptus unquam cedat ex aniinis furor. 
Sed arma faelix teneat, infelix pereat. 

Nihil relinquent bella. Seneca. 

And then, 

' En quo discordia cives 

Perduxit miseros, en queis consevimus agros, 

15. Self-acquaintance would end abundance of contro- 
versies, and very much help men to discern the truth. In the 
controversy of freewill or human power; to know ourselves 
as we are men, would be to know that we have the natural 
power and freedom consisting in the self-determining fa- 
culty and principle. To know ourselves as sinful, would 
certify us how much we want of the moral power which con- 
sisteth in right inclinations, and the moral liberty, from vi- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQU A INTANCE. 53 

cious dispositions and habits. Would time permit, I might 
shew itin the instances of original corruption, of the nature of 
grace, of merit, the cause of sin, and many other controversies, 
how much error is promoted by the ignorance of ourselves. 
16. Self-acquaintance maketh men both just and merci- 
ful. One cannot be so much as a good neighbour without 
it, nor yet a faithful friend. It will teach you to put up inju- 
ries, and to forgive ; as remembering that you are likely to be 
injurious to others, and certainly are daily so to God; and 
that it is no great fault that is done against such poor, un- 
worthy persons as ourselves (if it had no higher a respect 
than to us). It is such only that " with all lowliness, and 
meekness, and long-suffering, forbear one another in love," 
(Ephes. iv. 2,) and " recompense to no man evil for evil," 
and " be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." 
(Ver. 21.) He that is drawn to passion and revenge, is over- 
come when he seems to overcome by that revenge. It 
teacheth us to forgive, to know that much is forgiven us by 
Christ, or at least, what need we have of such forgiveness. 
(Ephes. iv. 31, 32.) " Let all bitterness, and wrath, and an- 
anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from 
you, with all malice : and be ye kind one to another, tender- 
hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's 
sake hath forgiven you." O that this lesson were well learned ! 

17. Self-acquaintance will teach us the right estimate of 
all our mercies : when we know how unworthy we are of the 
least, and whatitis we principally need, it will teach us thank- 
fulness for all ; and teach us which of our mercies to prefer. 
Men know not themselves and their own necessities, and 
therefore they slight their chief mercies, accounting them 
burdens, and are unthankful for the rest. 

18. Self-acquaintance is necessary to the solid peace and 
comfort of the soul. Security and stupidity may quiet the 
ungodly for a while, and self-flattery may deceive the hypo- 
crite into a dream of heaven ; but he that will have a dura- 
ble joy, must find some matter of joy within him, as the 
effects and evidence of the love of God, and the prognostics 
of his endless love. To know what Christ hath suffered, 
and done, and merited, and promised, is to know the gene- 
ral and principal ground of our rejoicing : but something is 
wanting to make it peace and joy to us, till we find the 
iruits of his Spirit within us, without which no man can be his, 



54 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE 



(Rom. viii. 9 ; Gal. v. 16, 17. 22. 24, 25.) " If a man think 
himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth 
himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then 
shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another." 
(Gal. vi. 3, 4.) The seal, and witness, and beginnings of 
life, must be within you, if you will know that you are the 
heirs of life. 

19. Self-ignorance causeth men to misinterpret and re- 
pine at the providence of God, and to be froward under his 
most righteous judgments. Because men knovi^ not what they 
have deserved, or what they are, and what is good for them, 
therefore they know not the reason and intent of Provi- 
dence ; and therefore they quarrel v^ith their Maker, and 
murmur as if he did them wrong : when self-acquaintance 
would teach them to justify God in all his dealings, and re- 
solve the blame of all into themselves. The nature of man 
doth teach all the world, when any hurt is done to societies 
or persons, to inquire by whose will, as well as by whose 
hands, it was perpetrated ; and to resolve all the crimes that 
are committed in the world unto the will of man, and there 
to leave the guilt and blame, and not excuse the malefactors 
upon any pretence of the concourse or predetermination of 
the first or any superior cause : and to justify the judge and 
executioner that takes away men's lives, or their estates, as 
long as themselves are proved to deserve it. And surely 
the knowledge of the nature and pravity of man should 
teach us to deal as equally with God, and finally resolve all 
guilt and blame into the free and vitiated will of man. 
Humbling self-knowledge maketh us say with Job, (chap, 
xl. 4,) " Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will 
lay my hand upon my mouth:" and when God is glorifying 
himself on our relations, or ourselves by his judgments, 
it teacheth us with Aaron to hold our peace, (Lev. x. 3,) 
and to say with Eli, " It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth 
him good." (1 Sam.iii. 18.) And with David, (2 Sam. xv. 25,) 
" If I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord he will bring me 
again, and show me it, and his habitation: But if he thus 
say, I have no delight in thee ; behold here am I, let him 
do to me as seemeth good to him." And as the afflicted 
church, (Mic. vii. 9,) " I will bear the indignation of the 
Lord, because 1 have sinned against him." Even a Pharaoh, 
when affliction liath taught him a little to know himself, will 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. e'iS 

say, "The Lord is rigliteous, and I and my people are 
wicked." (Exod. ix. 27.) When Rehoboam and his princes 
are humbled, they say, "The Lord is righteous." (2 Chron. 
xii. 6.) See Ezra ix. 15. 

20. Lastly, it is for want of the knowledge of ourselves, 
that precious time is so much lost, and hastening death no 
more prepared for. Did we carry still about us the sensible 
knowledge of our necessity, our mortality, and the incon- 
ceivable change that is made by death, we should then live 
as men that are continually waiting for the coming of their 
Lord ; and as if we still beheld our graves. For we carry 
about us that sin and frailty, such corruptible flesh, as may 
tell us of death as plainly as a grave or skeleton. So great, 
so unspeakably necessary a work as the seriously diligent 
preparation for our end, could not be so sottishly neglected 
by the ungodly, did they thoroughly and feelingly know 
what it is to be a mortal man, and what to have an immor- 
tal soul ; what it is to be a sinner, and what to pass into an 
endless life of joy or misery. 

And thus I have shewed you some of the fruits, both of 
the knowledge and ignorance of ourselves ; even in our na- 
tural, and moral, and political capacities (though it be the 
second that is directly intended in the text); which may help 
you in the application. 

USE. 

And now I may suppose that the best of you all, the most ho- 
nourable, the most learned, the most religious (of them I dare 
affirm it), will acknowledge, that I want not sufficient reason to 
urge you, with the question in my text " Know ye not your own 
selves?" Judge by the forementioned effects, whether self-ac- 
quaintance, even in the most weighty and necessary respects, 
be common among professed Christians. Doth he duly know 
himself as he is a man, that doubteth of a Deity whose image 
is his very essence, though not the moral image that must 
be produced by renewing grace? Or he that doubteth of a 
particular providence, of which he hath daily and hourly ex- 
perience? Or he that doubteth of the immortality of his soul, 
or of the life to come, which is the end of his creation and 
endowments, and is legibly engraven on the nature and fa- 
culties of his soul ? Do they morally know themselves, that 
make a jest of sin; and make it (heir delight? That bear it 



56 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORA N CE, 

as the lightest burden, and are not so much humbled by all 
the distempers and miseries of their souls, as they would be 
by a leprosy, an imprisonment, or disgrace ? That have as 
cold, unthankful thoughts of Christ, and of his grace and 
benefits, as a sick stomach of a feast? That compli- 
ment with him at the door, but will not be persuaded to let 
him in, unless he will come upon their terms, and dwell with 
their unmortified sin, and be a servant to their flesh, and 
leave them their worldly prosperity and delights, and save 
them for these compliments and leavings of the flesh, when 
sin and the world shall cast them off"? 

Do those men truly know themselves, that think they need 
not the Spirit of Christ for regeneration, conversion, and 
sanctification, nor need a diligent, holy life, nor to be 
half so careful and serious for "their salvation, as they are for 
a shadow of happiness in the world? That would without 
entreaty bestir themselves, if their houses were on fire ; or 
they were drowning in the water, or were assaulted by a 
thief or enemy, and yet think he is too troublesome and 
precise, that entreateth them to bestir themselves for heaven, 
and to quit themselves like men for their salvation, and 
to look about them, and spare no pains for the escaping 
everlasting misery; when this is the time, the only time, 
when all this must be done, or they are utterly undone for 
ever. 

Do they know themselves, and what they want, and 
what indeed would do them good, that itch after sensual 
delights, and glut their flesh, and please their appetites and 
lusts, and waste their time in needless sports, and long for 
honour and greatness in the world, and study for preferment 
more than for salvation, and think they can never stand too 
high nor have too much : as if it were so desirable to fall 
from the highest pinnacle, or to die forsaken by that, for 
which they forsook the Lord. 

Do our feathered, powdered, gawdy gallants, or our 
frizzled, spotted, wanton dames, understand what it is that 
they are so proud of, or do so carefully trim up and adorn? 
Do they know what flesh is, as they would do, if they saw 
the comeliest of their companions, when he hath lain a month 
or twelvemonths in the grave? Do they know what sin is, as 
a sight of hell would make them know, or the true belief of 
buch a state? If they did, they would think that another 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. .57 

garb doth better beseem stich miserable sinners ; and that 
persons in their case have something else to mind and do, 
than toyishly to spruce up themselves, like handsome pic- 
tures for men to look upon, and something else to spend 
their hours in, than dalliance and compliments, and unne- 
cessary ornaments ; and that the amiable and honourable 
beauty, and comeliness, and worth, consisteth in the holy 
image of God, the wisdom and heavenly endowments of the 
soul, and in a heavenly, charitable, righteous conversa- 
tion, and good works ; and not in a curious dress or gaudy 
attire, which a fool may wear as well as a wise man, and a 
carcase as well as a living man, and a Dives that must lie in 
hell, when a Lazarus may lie in sores and rags. 

Do they know themselves that fear no snares, but choose 
the life of the greatest temptations and dangerto their souls, 
because it is highest, or hath most provision for the flesh ? 
and that think they can keep in their candle in the greatest 
storms, and in any company maintain their innocency ? And 
yet cannot understand so much of the will of God, nor of 
their own interest and necessity, and danger, as to resist a 
temptation when it comes, though it offer them but the most 
inconsiderable trifle, or the most sordid and unmanly lust. 

Do they know themselves, that are prying into unre- 
vealed things, and will be wise, in matters of theology, above 
what is written ? That dare set their shallow brains, and 
dark, unfurnished understandings, against the infallible word 
of God ; and question the truth of it, because it suiteth not 
with their lame and carnal apprehensions ; or because they 
cannot reconcile what seemeth to them to be contradiction ; 
nor answer the objections of every bold and ignorant infidel. 
In a~word, when God must not be God unless he please 
them ; nor his word be true, unless it be all within the reach 
of them, that never employed the time and study to under- 
stand it, as they do to understand the books that teach them 
languages, art, and sciences, and treat of lower things : and 
when Scripture truth must be called in question, as oft as an 
ignorant eye shall read it, or an unlearned, graceless person 
misunderstand it : when offenders that should bewail and 
reform their own transgressions of the law shall turn their 
accusations against the law, and call it too precise or strict, 
and believe and practise no more than stands with their 
obedience to the law of sin, and will quarrel with God, when 



58 TH£ MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

they should humbly learn, and carefully obey him; and des- 
pise a life of holy obedience, instead of practising it ; and in 
effect, behave themselves as if they were fitter to rule them- 
selves and the world than God is ; and as if it were not God, 
but they, that should give the law, and be the judge ; and 
God were the subject, and man were God. Do you think, 
that sinful, creeping worms, that stand so near the grave and 
hell, do know themselves, when they think, or speak, or live 
at such rates, and according to such unreasonable arro- 
gancy? Do they know themselves, that reproach their bre- 
thren for human frailties, and difference of opinion in modes 
and circumstances, and errors smaller than their own? And 
that by calling all men heretics, sectaries, or schismatics, 
that differ from them, do tempt men to turn infidels or Pa- 
pists, and to take us all for such as we account each other? 
And that instead of receiving the weak in faith, whom God 
receiveth, will rather cast out the most faithful labourers, and 
cutoff Christ's living members from his church, than forbear 
the imposing of unnecessary things? I dare say, were it not 
for unacquaintedness with our brethren and ourselves, we 
should put those in our bosoms as the beloved of the Lord, 
that now we load with censures and titles of reproach : and 
the restoring of our charity would be the restoring of 
our unity. If blind men would make laws for the banish- 
ment of all that cannot read the smallest characters, you 
would say, they had forgot themselves. Nay, when men 
turn Papists or Separatists and fly from our churches, to 
shun those that perhaps are better than themselves, and to 
get far enough from the smaller faults of others, while they 
carry with them far greater of their own;, when people are 
more apt to accuse the church than themselves, and say the 
church is unworthy of their communion, rather than that 
they are unworthy the communion of the church, and think 
no room in the house of God is clean and good enough for 
them, while they overlook their own uncleanness ; when 
men endure an hundred calumnies to be spoken of their 
brethren, better than a plain reprehension of themselves ; as 
if their persons only would render their actions justifiable, 
and the reprover culpable ; judge whether these men are 
well acquainted with themselves. 

What should we go further in the search ; when in all 
ases and countries of the world the unmercifulness of the 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 5i) 

rich, the murmuring of the poor, the hard usage by superi- 
ors, the disobedience of inferiors, the commotions of the state, 
the wars and rebellions that disquiet the world, the cruelty 
covered with pretences of religion, the unthankfulness for 
mercies, the murmuring under afflictions, too openly declare 
that most men have little knowledge of themselves ; to con- 
clude, that when we see that none are more self-accusing 
and complaining than the most sincere, and none more self- 
justifying and confident than the ungodly, careless souls; 
that none walk more heavily than many of the heirs of life, 
and none are merrier than many that must He in hell for 
ever : that all that a minister can say, will not convince 
many upright ones of their integrity, nor any skill or indus- 
try, or interest, suffice to convince most wicked men that 
they are wicked ; nor if our lives lay on it, we cannot 
make them see the necessity of conversion, nor know 
their misery till feeling tell them it is now too late : when so 
many walk sadly and lamentingly to heaven ; and so many 
go fearlessly and presumptuously to hell, and will not believe 
it till they are there ; by all this judge, what work self-igno- 
rance maketh in the world. 

Fvw^t amvTov is many a man's motto, that is a stranger 
to himself. As the house may be dark within that hath the 
sign of the sun hanging at the door. ' Multi humilitatis um- 
bram, pauci veritatem sectantur,' saith Hieron. A blind man 
may commend the sun, and dispute of light. A man may 
discourse of a country that he knoweth not. It is easy to 
say, men should know themselves, and out of the book or 
brain to speak of the matters of the heart : But indeed to 
know ourselves as men, as sinners, as Christians, is a work of 
greater difficulty, and such as few are well acquainted with : 
Shall I go a little further in the discovery of it ? 

1. Whence is it that most are so unhumbled; so great 
and good in their own esteem ; so strange to true contrition 
and self- abhorrence, but that they are voluntary strangers to 
themselves? To loathe themselves for sin, to be little in 
their own eyes, to come to Christ as little children, is the 
case of all that know themselves aright. (Ezek. xx. 43 ; vi. 9 ; 
Matt, xviii. 3, 4; 1 Sam, xv. 17.) And Christ made himself 
of no reputation, but took upon him the form of a servant, 
and set us a pattern of the most wonderful humiliation that 
ever was performed, to convince us of the necessity of it, that 



60 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

sin to humble us, when he had none. (Phil. ii. 6 — 9.) 
" Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly." (Matt. xi. 28.) 
And one would think it were a lesson easily learned by such 
as we that carry about us within and without so much sensi- 
ble matter of humiliation. Saith Augustin de Verb. Dei. 
' Discite a me, non mundum fabricare, non cuncta visibilia 
et invisibilia, creare, non miracula facere, et mortuos susci- 
tare, sed quoniam mitis sum, et humilis corde.' Had Christ 
bid us learn of him to make a world, to raise the dead, and 
work miracles, the lesson had been strange: but to be meek 
and lowly is so suitable to our low condition, that if we knew 
ourselves we could not be otherwise. 

To be holy without humility, is to be a man without the 
essentials of nature, or to build without a foundation, * Qui- 
sine humilitate virtutes congregat, quasi in ventum pulverem 
portat,' saith Greg, in Psal. 3. PcEnit. It is but carrying 
dust into the wind, to think to gather commendable qualities 
without humility. It is the contrite heart that is the habita- 
tion and delight of God on earth ; the acceptable sacrifice ;, 
(Isa. Ivii. 15; Ixvi. 2 ; Psal. li. 17.) * Tanto quis vilior Deo, 
quanto preciosior sibi : tanto preciosior Deo, quanto propter 
eum vilior est sibi,' saith Greg. Mor. " He that humbleth 
himself shall be exalted, and he that exalteth himself shall 
be brought low." We must not overvalue ourselves, if we 
would have God esteem us ; we must be vile and loathed 
either in his eyes or our own. ' Solet esse specificum elec- 
torum, saith Greg. Mor. quod de se semper, sentiunt infra 
quam sunt.' It is specifical to the elect to think more meanly 
of themselves than they are. ' Recta sacere et inutiles se 
reputare,' as Bernard speaks. But I urge you not to err in 
your humility, nor ' humilitatis causa mentiri,' as August. 
It were low enough, if we were as low, in our own esteem, 
as we are indeed : which self-acquaintance must procure. 
'Quanto quis minus se videt, tanto minus sibi displicet;' 
saith Greg. * Et quanto majoris gratiae lumen percipit, 
tanto magis repreh6nsibilem se esse cognoscit.' He is least 
displeased with himself, that least knoweth himself; and he 
that hath the greatest light of grace, perceiveth most in him- 
self to be reprehended. Illumination is the first part of 
conversion, and of the new creature : and self-discovery is 
not the least part of illumination. There can be no salva- 
tion without it, because no humiliation. Saith Bernard ia 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 6\ 

Cantic. * Soio nemineni absque sui cognitione salvari, de qua 
nimirum mater salutis humilitas oritur, et timor Domini.' 

But how rare this is, let experience determine : to have a 
poor habitation, a poor attire, and perhaps of choice (though 
that is not usual), is much more common than a humble soul, 

* sed tumet animus, sub squallore habitus, ut Hier. et 
multo ilia deformior est superbia, quce latet sub quibusdara 
sigftis humilitatis, inquit idem,' It is the most ill-favoured 
pride that stealeth some rags of humility to hide its shame. 
And saith Jerom truly * Plus est animum deposuisse quam 
cultum: difficilius arrogantia quam auro caremus, aut gem- 
mis.' It is easier to change our clothing than our mind, 
and to put off a gaudy habit than our self-flattering tumified 
hearts. Many a one can live quietly without gold rings and 
jewels, or sumptuous houses and attendance, that cannot 
live quietly without the esteem and applause of men, nor 
endure to be accounted as indeed he is. Saith Ambrose, 

* Qui paupertate contentus est, non est contentus injuria. 

Et qui potest administrationes contemnere, dolet sibi 

aliquem honorificentia esse prselatum.' 

O therefore as you would escape Divine contempt, and the 
most desperate precipitation, know yourselves. For that 
which cast angels out of heaven, will keep you out, if it pre- 
vail. As Hugo acutely saith, ' Superbia in ccelo, nata est, 
sed immemor qua via inde cecidit, illuc postea redire non 
potuit.' Pride was bred in heaven, (no otherwise than as death 
in life) but can never hit the way thither again, from whence 
it fell. Open the windows of our breast to the Gospel light, 
to the laws of conviction, to the light of reason, and then be 
unhumbled if you can. ' Quare enim superbit cinis et 
terra?' saith Origen : ' oblitus quid erit, etquam fragili vas- 
culo contineatur, etquibus stercoribus immersus sit, etqua- 
lia semper purgamenta de sua carne projiciat.' Nature is 
low, but sin and wrath are the matter of our great humilia- 
tion, that have made us miserably lower, 

2. The abounding of hypocrisy showeth how little men 
are acquainted with themselves. I speak not here of that 
gross hypocrisy which is always known to him that hath it, 
but of that close hypocrisy, which is a professing to be what 
we are not, or to believe what we believe not, or to have 
what we have not, or to do what we do not. What article 
of the faith do not most among us confidently profess? 



62 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

What petition of the Lord's Prayer will they not put up? 
Which of the Commandments will they not profess their 
obedience to ? While the stream of their conversation tes- 
tifieth, that in their hearts there is none of the belief, the 
desire, or the obedience in sincerity which they profess. 
Did they know themselves, they would be ashamed of the 
vanity of their profession, and of the miserable want of the 
things professed; and that God who is so nigh their mouths 
is so far from their hearts. If you heard an illiterate man 
profess, that he uuderstandeth all the languages and sciences, 
or a beggar boasting of his wealth, or a parrot taught to say 
that he is a man, would you take any of these to be the 
words of one that knows himself? ' Quid est vita hypo- 
crite (inquit Gregor.) nisi quadam visio phantasmatis, quae 
hie ostenhitin imagine, quod nonhabet in veritate?' Surely 
they are in the dark that spend their days in dreaming 
visions : but they have their eyes so much on the beholders, 
that they have no leisure to peruse themselves : they are so 
careful to be esteemed good, that they are careless of being 
what they seem. ' Quo magis exterius hominibusplaceant, 
eose interius aspicere negligunt, totosque se in verbis prox- 
imorum fundunt, et sanctos se esse astimant, quia sic se 
Jiaberi ab hominibus pensant, ut Gregor. Mor.' 

Especially if they practise not the vicious inclinations 
of their hearts, they tliink they have not the vice they prac- 
tise not, and that the root is dead because it is winter : 
when it is the absence of temptations and occasions, and 
not of vicious habits, or inclinations, that smooths their 
lives with seeming innocency, and keeps their sins from 
breaking forth to their own or others' observation. ' Mul- 
torum, quce imbecillia sunt, latent vitia, saith Seneca ; in- 
strumenta illis explicandae nequitise desunt. Sic tuto ser- 
pens pestifer tractatur, dum riget frigore ; non desunt tamen 
illi venena, sed torpent: ita multorum crudelitas, luxuria et 
ambitio.' The feeble vices of many lie hid : there are 
wanting instruments of drawing forth their wickedness. So 
a poisonous serpent may be safely handled, while he is stiff 
with cold, and yet it is not because he hath no venom, but 
because it is stupified : so it is with the cruelty, luxury and 
ambition of many. The knowledge of yourselves is the 
bringing in of light into your souls, which will awaken you 
from the hypocrite's dream, and make such apparitions 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 63 

vanish. Come near this fire, and the paint of" hypocrisy 
will melt away. 

3. The common impatience of plain reproof, and the 
love of flattery, shew us how much self-ignorance doth 
abound. Most men love those that have the highest esti- 
mation of them, be it true or false. They are seldom of- 
fended with any for overvaluing them. They desire not 
much to be accounted well when they are sick, nor rich 
when they are poor, but to be accounted wise though they 
are foolish, and godly when they are ungodly, and honest 
and faithful when they are deceitful and corrupt, this is a 
courtesy that you must not deny them; they take it for 
their due : They will never call you heretics for such errors 
as these: and why is it, but because they err themselves, 
about themselves, and therefore would have others do so too. 
* Nimis perverse seipsum amat, qui et alios vult errare, 
ut error suus lateat :' saith August. He too perversely 
loveth himself, that would have others err to hide his error. 
A wise man loveth himself so well, that he would not be 
flattered into hell, nor die as Sisera or Samson, by good 
words, as the harbingers of his woe. He loveth his health 
so well, that he thinks not the sweetness or colour of the 
fruit a motive sufficient to encourage him to a surfeit. He 
loveth ingenuous penitence so well, that he cannot love the 
flatterer's voice, that contradicteth it. Faithful reprovers 
are the messengers of Christ, that calls us to repentance, 
that is, to life : unfaithful flatterers are the messenp-ers of 
the devil, to keep us from repentance, and harden us in im- 
penitency unto death : If we know ourselves, we shall know 
that when we are overvalued and overpraised as being more 
learned, wise, or holy than we are, it is not we that are loved 
and praised ; for we are not such as that love or praise sup- 
poseth us to be ; saith August. * Vos qui me multum dili- 
gitis, si talem me asseritis, ut numquam me in scriptis meis 
errasse dicatis, frustra laboratis ; non bonam causam sus- 
cepistis : facile in eo, me ipso judice, superamini. Quoniam 
non mihi placet, cum a charissimis talis esse existimor, qua- 
ils non sum. Profecto non me, sed pro me alium sub meo 
nomine diligunt; si non quod sum, sed quod non sum dili- 
gunt.' It pleased him not to be accounted unerring in his 
writings, and to be taken by his friends to be what he was 
not ; which is not to love him, but another under his name. 



64 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

He that knovvetli himself, perceivelh how much of the com- 
mendation is his due, and how much he can lay just claim 
to : and knoweth it is a dishonour to own the honour that 
is not his own. He loves not to be belied by a praiser, any 
more than by a dispraiser ; lest truth and he be both abused. 
Vices, like worms, are bred and crawl in the inward parts, 
unseen, unfelt of him that carrieth them about him ; and 
therefore by the sweetmeats of flattery and sensuality they 
are ignorantly fed : but it is bitter medicines that must kill 
them; which those only will endure, that know they have 
them, and what they are. * Lenocinantur dulcia delictis : 
austera vero et fortia virtutibus sunt amica.' You speak 
bitterly, saith the impatient sinner to the plain reprover, but 
such are sweet and excellent men that meddle not with the 
sore. But it is bitter things that are wholesome to your 
souls; that befriend your virtues, and kill the worms of 
your corruptions, which sweet things cherish. Saith Jerom in 
Eccles. ' Si cujus sermo non pungit, sed oblectationem facit 
audientibus, ille sermo non est sapiens.' Sermons not pierc- 
ing, but pleasing, are not wise. But, alas, men follow the 
appetite of their vices, not only in choosing their meat, and 
drink, and company, and recreations, but also in the choice 
of the church that they will hold communion with, and the 
preachers that they will hear : and they will have the sweet, 
and that which their corruption loveth, come on it what will, 
• Libenter enim quod delectat, audimus, et ofiendit omne, 
quod nolumus,' saith Jerom : Nay, pride hath got so great 
dominion, that flattery goetb for due civility; and he is ac- 
counted cynical or morose that useth it not. To call men 
as they are, (even when we have a call to do it,) or to tell 
them of their faults with necessary freedom, though with the 
greatest love and caution and deprecation of offence, is a 
thing that most, especially great ones, cannot digest : A 
man is supposed to rail, that speaketh without flattery ; and 
to reproach them that would save them from their sins. 
Saith Jerom, ' Adeo regnat vitium adulationis, quodque 
est gravissimum, quia humilitatis ac benevolentise loco duci- 
tur, ita fit ut qui adulari nescit, aut invidus, aut superbus 
reputetur :' that is, the vice of flattery now so reigneth, ' 
and which is worst, goeth under the name of humility and 
good-will, that he that knoweth not how to flatter is reputed 
envious or proud. Indeed some men have the wit to hate 



AND BE;N£FITS OF S F. LI - A C Q U A I X T ANC K. 05 

Ta feigned hypocritical flatterer, and also modestly to take 
on tiiem to disown the excessive commendations of a friend; 
but these mistaken, friendly flatterers do seldom displease 
men at the heart. ' Quanquam respondeamus nos indignos, 
et calidus rubor ora perfundat, tamen ad laudem suam ani- 
ma intrinsecus Isetatur,' Hieron. We can say we are un- 
worthy, and modestly blush ; but, within, the heart is glad 
at its own commendation. Saith Seneca, ' Cito nobis 
placemus, si invenimus, qui nos bonos viros dicant, qui 
prudentes, qui sanctos : Non sumus modica laudatione con- 
t.enti ; quicquid in nos adulatio sine pudore congessit, tan- 
quam debitum prendimus : optimos nos esse et sanctissimos 
affirmantibus assentimur, cum sciamus ssepe illos mentiri :' 
that is. We soon please ourselves to meet with those that 
call us good men, wise and holy : and we are not content 
with a little praise : whatever flattery heapeth on us without 
shame, we lay hold on it as due ; we assent to them that say 
we are the best and most holy, when we oftentimes know 
ourselves that they lie. All this is for tiie want of the true 
knowledge of themselves. When God hath acquainted a 
sinner effectually with himself, he quickly calleth himself 
by other names, than flatterers do : With Paul he saith, 
*' We ourselves were sometime foolish, disobedient, serving- 
divers lusts and pleasures." (Titus iii. 3.) And (Acts xxvi. 
11,) that he was mad against the saints in persecuting them. 
He then speaks so much against himself, that if tender mi- 
nisters and experienced friends did not think better of him 
than he of himself, and persuade him to more comfortable 
thoughts, he would be ready to despair, and think himself 
unworthy to live upon the earth. 

4. Judge also how well men know themselves, when you 
have observed, what different apprehensions they have of their 
own faults and of other men's ; and of those that are suitable 
to their dispositions, interests or examples, and those that 
are against them. They seem to judge of the actions by 
the persons, and not of the persons by the actions. Though 
he be himself a sensualist, a worldling, drowned in ambition 
and pride, whose heart is turned away from God, and ut- 
terly strange to the mystery of regeneration and a heavenly 
life, yet all this is scarcely discerned by him, and is little 
troublesome, and less odious than the failings of another, 

VOL. XVI. F 



00 THE :\rTSCHTEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

whose heart and life is devoted unto God. The different 
opinions, or modes and circumstances of worship, in another 
that truly feareth God, is matter of their severer censures and 
reproach, than their own omissions, and averseness and enmity 
to holiness, and the dominion of their deadly sins. It seems to 
them more intolerable for another to pray without a book, than 
for themselves to pray without any serious belief, or love, or 
holy desire, without any feeling of their sins, or misery or 
wants ; that is, to pray with the lips without a heart ; to pray 
to God without God, even without the knowledge or love of 
God, and to pray without prayers. It seemed to the hypocri- 
tical Pharisees, a greater crime in Christ and his disciples, to 
violate their traditions, in not washing before they eat, to break 
the ceremonious rest of their sabbath by healing the diseased, 
or plucking ears of corn, than in themselves to hate and per- 
secute the true believers and worshippers of God, and to kill 
the Lord of Life himself. They censured the Samaritans for 
not worshipping atJerusalem,butcensured not themselves for 
not worshipping God, that is a spirit, in spirit and in truth. 
Which makes me remember the course of their successors, the 
ceremonious Papists; that condemn others for heretics, and 
fry them in the flames, for not believing that bread is no bread, 
and wine is no wine, and that bread is to be adored as God, and 
that the souls of dead men know the hearts of all that pray to 
them in the world at once ; and that the Pope is the vice- 
christ, and sovereign of all the Christians in the world ; and 
for reading the Scriptures and praying in a known tongue, 
when they forbid it ; and for not observing a world of cere- 
monies ; when all this enmity to reason, piety, charity, hu- 
manity, all their religious tyranny, hypocrisy, and cruelty, 
do seem but holy zeal and laudable in themselves. To lie, 
dissemble, forswear, depose and murder princes, is a smaller 
matter to them when the Pope dispenseth with it, and when 
it tends to the advantage of their faction, which they call 
the church, than to eat flesh on Friday, or in Lent, to neg- 
lect the mass, or images, or crossing, &c. 

And it makes me remember Hall's description of an hy- 
pocrite, 'He turneth all gnats into camels, and cares not to 
imdo the world for a circumstance. Flesh on Friday is more 
abominable to him, than his neighbour's bed : he abhors 
more not to uncover at the name of .Tesus, than to swear 



AN'D BENEFITS OF S KL F-AC Q U A 1 N" T A XC E. (17 

by the name of God, &,c.' It seems, that prelates were 
guilty of this in Bernard's days, who saith, ' Praslati nostri 
calicem linquunt, et Camelura deglutiunt : dum majora per- 
mittentes, minora discutiunt. Optimi rerum sestimatores, 
qui magnam in minimis, et parvam aut nullam in maxi- 
mis adhibent diligentiam :' i. e. Our prelates strain at 
a gnat, and swallow a camel, while permitting greater 
matters, they discuss (or sift) the less : Excellent estimators 
of things indeed, that in smaller matters employ great dili- 
gence ; but in the greatest, little or none at all. And the 
cause of all this partiality is, that men are unacquainted 
with themselves. They love and cherish the same corrup- 
tions in themselves, which they should hate and reprehend 
in others. And saith Jerom, * Quomodo potest praeses 
Ecclesise auferre malum de medio ejus, qui in delictum 
simile corruerit? aut qua libertate corripere peccantem 
potest, cum tacitus ipse sibi respondeat, eadem se admisisse 
•quse corripit:' i. e. How can a prelate of the church re- 
form the evil that is in it, that rusheth into the like offence? 
Or with what freedom can he rebuke a sinner, when his con- 
science secretly tells him, that he hath himself committed 
the same faults which he reproveth ? 

Would men but first be acquainted with themselves, and 
pass an impartial judgment on the affections and actions 
that are nearest them, and that most concern them, they 
would be more competent, and more compassionate judges 
of their brethren, that are now so hardly used by them. It 
is excellent advice that Austin gives us, ' Quum aliquem 
reprehendere nos necessitas coegerit, cogitemus, utrum tale 
sit vitium, quod nunquam habuimus; et tunc cogitemus nos 
homines esse, et habere potuisse, vel quod tale habuimus 
€t jam non habemus ; et tunc memoria tangat communis 
fragilitatis, ut illam correctionem non odium sed miseri- 
cordia prsecedat : Sin autem invenerimus nos in eodem vitio 
esse, non objurgemus, sed ingemiscamus, et ad sequaliter 
deponendum invitemus:' i. e. When necessity constrain- 
eth us to reprove any one, let us think whether it be such a 
vice as we never had ourselves ; and then let us think that 
we are men, and might have had it : or if we once had such, 
but have not now, then let the remembrance of common 
frailty touch us, that compassion and not hatred may lead 
the way to our reproof: but if we find that we have the 



68 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

same vice ourselves, let us not chide, but groan, and move 
(or desire) that we may both equally lay it by. 

5. It shews how little men know themselves, when they 
must needs be the rule to all other men, as far as they are 
able to commend it ; and that in the matters that men's salva- 
tion dependeth on, and in the smallest, tender, disputable 
points ; and even in those things where themselves are most 
unfit to judge. In every controverted point of doctrine, 
(though such as others have much better studied than them- 
selves,) he that hath strength to suppress all those that dif- 
fer from him, must ordinarily be the umpire ; so is it even 
in the modes and circumstances of worship. Perhaps Christ 
may have the honour to be called the King of the Church, 
and the Scripture have the honour to be called his Laws. 
But indeed it is they that would be the lords themselves; 
and it is their wills and words that must be the laws ; and 
this under pretence of subserving Christ, and interpreting 
his laws ; when they have talked the utmost for councils^ 
fathers, church-tradition, it is themselves that indeed must 
be all these ; for nothing but their own conceits and wills 
must go for the sense of decrees, or canons, fathers, or tra- 
dition. Even they that hate the power and serious practice 
of religion, would fain be the rule of religion to all others : 
And they that never knew what it was to worship God in 
spirit and truth, with delight and love, and suitableness of 
soul, would needs be the rule of worship to all others, even 
in the smallest circumstances and ceremonies. And they 
would be the governors of the church, or the determiners of 
its mode of government, that they would never be brought 
under the government of Christ themselves. If it please 
them better to spend the Lord's-day in plays or sports, or 
compliment or idleness, than in learning the will of God in 

- his word, or worshipping him, and begging his mercy and 
salvation, and seriously preparing for an endless life, they 
would have all others do the like. If their full souls loathe 
the honey-comb, and they are weary of being instructed 
above an hour, or twice a day, they would have all others 
forced to their measure, that they may seem as diligent as 
others, when others are compelled to be as negligent as they. 
Like a queasy-stomached lady, that can eat but one slender 
meal a day, and therefore would have all her servants and 
tenants eat no more, or if they do, accuseth them of excess. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 69 

If the emperor of Constantinople make a law, that no 
subject shall be suffered in his dominions, that will not be 
conformable to him in time, and quality and measure, for 
meats and drink, and sleep, and speech, and exercise, it 
would be an honourable misery, and uniform calamity and 
ruin to his subjects. Alas, did men but know themselves, 
the weakness of their understandings, the sinful bias that 
personal interest and carnal inclinations have set upon their 
wills, they would be less arrogant and more compassionate, 
and not think, by making themselves as gods, to reduce the 
unavoidable diversities that will be found among mankind, 
to a unity in conformity to their minds and wills, and that 
in the matters of God and of salvation ; where every man's 
conscience that is wise and faithful, will be tenacious of a 
double interest (of God and of his soul) which he cannot 
sacrifice to the will of any. But be so just as not to mis- 
take and misreport me in all this, as if I pleaded for liber- 
tinism or disorder, or spoke against government, civil or 
ecclesiastical ; when it is only private ambition, uncharita- 
bleness, and cruelty, and Papal usurpations over the church 
and consciences of men, that I am speaking of; which men, 
I am sure, will have other thoughts of, when God hath made 
them know themselves, than they have while passion hin- 
deretli them from knowing what spirit they are of: they 
will then see, that the weak in faith should have been re- 
ceived, and that catholic unity is only to be founded in the 
luiiversal Head, and End, and Rule. 

6. The dreadful change that is made upon men's minds, 
when misery or approaching death awakes them, doth shew 
how little they knew themselves before. If they have taken 
the true estimate of themselves in their prosperity, how 
come they to be so much changed in adversity? Why do 
they begin then to cry out of their sins, and of the folly o^" 
their worldliness and sensuality, and of the vanity of the 
lionours and pleasures of this life? Why do they then begin 
to wish, with gripes of conscience, that they had better spent 
their precious time, and minded more the matters of eternity, 
and taken the course as those did whom they once derided, 
as making more ado than needs ? Why do they then trem- 
ble under the apprehensions of their unreadiness to die, and 
to appear before the dreadful God, when formerly such 
thoughts did little trouble them? Now there is no suclt 



70 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

sense of their sin or danger upon their hearts. Who is it 
now that ever hears such lamentations and self-accusations 
from them, as then it is likely will be heard ? The same man 
that then will wish with Balaam, that he might "die the 
death of the righteous, and that his latter end might be as 
his," will nowdespiseand grieve the righteous. The same man 
that then will passionately wish that he had spent his days 
in holy preparations for his change, and lived as strictly as 
the best about him, is now so much of another mind, that 
he perceives no need of all this diligence ; but thinks it is 
humourous or timorous superstition, or at least that he may 
do well enough without it. The same man that will then cry, 
' Mercy, mercy — O mercy. Lord, to a departing soul, that is 
laden with sin, and trembleth under the fear of thy judg- 
ment,' is now perhaps an enemy to serious, earnest prayer, 
and hates the families and persons that most use it; or at 
least is prayerless, or cold and dull himself in his desires, 
and can shut up all with a few careless, customary words, 
and feel no pinching necessity to awaken him, importunately 
to cry and strive with God. Doth not all this show, that 
men are befooled by prosperity, and unacquainted with 
themselves, till danger or calamity call them to the bar, and 
force them better to know themselves. 

Your mutability proveth your ignorance and mistakes. 
If indeed your case be now as good as present confidence or 
security do import, lament it not in your adversity ; fear it 
not when death is calling you to the bar of the impartial 
Judge! Cry not out then of your ungodliness and sen- 
suality ; of your trifling hypocrisy, your slight contemptu- 
ous thoughts of God, and of your casting away your hopes 
of heaven, by wilful negligence and delays ! If you are sure 
that you are now in the right, and diligent, serious believers 
in the wrong, then stand to it before the Lord : Set a good 
face on your cause if it be good ; be not down in the mouth 
when it is tried ; God will do you no wrong : If your cause 
be good, he will surely justify you, and will not mar it : 
Wish not to die the death of the righteous : say not to 
them, " Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out." 
(Matt. XXV. 8.) If all their care, and love, and labour, in 
*' seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness," 
be a needless thing, wish not for it in your extremity, but 
call it needless then. If fervent prayer may be spared now 



AND BENEFITS 0J< SELF-ACQU AI A T A NGE. 71 

while prayer may be heard, and a few lifeless words that 
you have learned by rote may serve the turn, then call not 
on God when answering is past, seek him not when he will 
not be found. " When your fear cometh as desolation, and 
your destruction as a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish 
come upon you," (Prov. i. 27, 28,) cry not " Lord, Lord, 
open unto us, when the door is shut." (Matt. xxv. 10, 11.) 
Call them not foolish then that slept, but them that watched, 
if Christ was mistaken, and you are in the right. (Matt. xxv. 
2. 8 ; Prov. i. 22.) 

O sirs, stand but at the bedside of one of these ungodly, 
careless men, and hear what he saith of his former life, of 
his approaching change, of a holy or carnal course, whether 
a heavenly or worldly life is better, (unless God have left 
him to that deplorable stupidity which an hour's time will 
put an end to) ; hearken then whether he think that God or 
the world, heaven or earth, soul or body, be more worthy of 
man's chief care and diligence; and then judge whether 
such men did know themselves in their health and pride, 
when all this talk would have been derided by them as too 
precise, and such a life accounted over-strict and needless, 
as then they are approving and wishing they had lived. 
When that minister or friend should have once been taken 
for censorious, abusive, self-conceited, and unsufFerable, 
that would have talked of them in that language as when 
death approacheth, they talk of themselves ; or would have 
spoke as plainly, and hardly of them, as they will then do of 
themselves. Doth not this mutability show, how few men 
now have a true knowledge of themselves? 

What is the repentance of the living, and the despera- 
tion of the damned, but a declaration that the persons re- 
penting and despairing, were unacquainted with themselves 
before? Indeed the erroneous despair of men, whiie grace is 
offered them, comes from ignorance of the mercy of God, 
and willingness of Christ to receive all that are willing to 
return. But yet the sense of sin and misery, that occasion- 
eth this erroneous despair, doth show that men were before 
erroneous in their presumption and self-esteem. Saith Ber- 
nard in Cant. * Utraque C^ognitio, Dei scilicet et tui, tibi 
necessaria est ad salutem, quia sicut ex notitia tui venit in 
te timor Dei, atque ex Dei notitia itidem amor ; sic e contra, 
de ignorantia tui superbiu, ac de Dei ignorautia veuit de- 



72 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

sparatio ;' that is, Both the knowledge of God and of thy- 
self is necessary to salvation ; because as from the know- 
ledge of thyself, the fear of God cometh into thee, and love 
from the knowledge of God : so on the contrary, from the 
ignorance of thyself cometh pride ; and from the ignorance 
of God comes desperation. ' Quid est sapientia (inquit 
Seneca?) Semper idem velle, et idem nolle : At non potest 
idem semper placere nisi rectum :' Wisdom appeareth in 
always willing, and always nilling the same thing : but it is 
only right and good that can always please. 

Poor men that must confess their sin and misery at last, 
would show a more seasonable acquaintance with themselves, 
if they would do it now, and say with the prodigal, " I will go 
to my father, and say to him. Father I have sinned against 
heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called 
thy son." In time this knowledge and confession may be sav- 
ing. Even a Seneca could say, without the Scripture, * Initium 
est salutis, notitia peccati ; nam qui peccare se nescit, corrigi 
nonvult. Ideo quantum potes,teipsum argue. Inquire in te ; 
accusatoris primum partibus fungere ; deinde judicis, novis- 
sime deprecatoris.' i. e. The knowledge of sin is the beginning 
of recovery (or health) : for he that knows not that he sinneth, 
will not be corrected. Reprehend thyself therefore as much as 
thou canst. Inquire into thyself: first play the part of an ac- 
cuser, then of a judge : and lastly, of one that asketh pardon. 
It is not because men are innocent or safe, that we now 
hear so little confession or complaint ; but because they are 
sinful and miserable in so great a measure, as not to know 
or feel it. ' Quare vitia sua nemo confitetur (inquit Seneca?) 
Quia etiam nunc in illis est. Somnium narrare, vigilantis 
est; et vitia sua confiteri, sanitatis judicium est:' i. e. 
Why doth no man confess his vices? Because he is yet 
in them. To tell his dreams is the part of a man that is 
awake : and to confess his faults, is a sign of health. If 
you call a poor man rich, or a deformed person beautiful, 
or a vile, ungodly person virtuous, or an ignorant barbarian 
learned, will not the hearers think you do not know them? 
And how should they think better of your knowledge of 
yourselves, if any of you that are yet in the flesh, will say 
you are spiritual? And those that hate the holiness, and 
justice, and government of God, will say they love him t 
Or those that are in a state of enmity to God, are as neai 



AND BENEFITS Of SELF-ACQU A IN TANCi:. 73 

to hell as the execution is to the sentence of the law, will 
persuade themselves and others, that they are the members 
of Christ, the children of God, and the heirs of heaven ? 
And take it ill of any that would question it, though only 
to persuade them to make it sure, and to take heed what 
they trust to, when endless joy or misery must be the issue? 

7. Doth it not manifest how little men know themselves, 
when in every suffering that befals them, they overlook the 
cause of all within them, and fall upon others, or quarrel 
with every thing that standeth in their way ? Their con- 
tempt of God doth cast them into some affliction, and they 
quarrel with the instruments, and meddle not with the mortal 
cause at home- Their sin finds them out, and testifieth 
against them; and they are angry with the rod, and repine 
at providence, as though God himself were more to be sus- 
pected of the cause than they : yea, it is become with many, 
a serious doubt, whether God doth not necessitate them to 
sin; and, whether they omit not duty merely because he 
will not give them power to perform it ; and, whether their 
sin be any other than a relation unavoidably resulting from 
a foundation laid by the hand of God himself. Do men 
know themselves, that will sooner suspect and blame the 
most righteous, holy God, than their own unrighteous, car- 
nal hearts? Man drinketh up iniquity like water., but there 
is no unrighteousness with God. Saith Innocent, ' Con- 
ceptus est homo in fcetore luxuriaj quodque deterius est, in 
labepeccati; natus ad laborem, timorem, dolorem. Sec. Agit 
prava, quibus offendit Deum ; ofFendit proximura ; offendit 
seipsum ; agit turpia, quibus poUuit famam, polluit per- 
sonam, polluit conscientiam : agit vana, quibus negligit 
Sana; negligit utilia; negligit necessaria.' Man is con- 
ceived in the filth or stink of luxury (or lust), and which is 
worse, in the stain of sin ; born to labour, fear, and pain, 
&c. He doth that which is evil, to the offence of God, hia 
neighbour, and himself: he doth that which is filthy, to the 
polluting of his fame, his person, and his conscience ; he 
doth that which is vain, neglecting what is sound, and pro- 
fitable, and necessary. And is not such a frail and sinful 
wight, more likely to be the cause of sin than God? and ta 
be culpable in all the ill that doth befal us ? 

And it shows, that men little know themselves, when all 
their complaints are poured out more fluently on others thaa 



74 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

themselves : like sick stomachs, that find fault with eveiy 
dish, when the fault is within them ; or like pained, weak, 
or froward children, that quarrel with every thing that 
toucheth them,whenthecauseisin themselves. If they want 
peace, content, or rest, they lay the blame on this place or 
that, this or that person or estate : they think if they had 
their mind in this or that, they should be well ; and there- 
fore they are still contriving for somewhat which they want, 
and studying changes, or longing after this or that, which 
they imagine would work the cure : when, alas poor souls, 
the sin, the sickness, the want is in themselves! It is a 
wiser mind, a better, more holy, heavenly will, that is want- 
ing to them ; without which nothing in the world will solidly 
content and comfort them. Seneca can teach them this 
much by the light of nature, * Non longa peregrinatione, nee 
locorum varietatibus, tristitiam mentis gravitatemque; dis- 
cuties: animum debes mutare, non ccelum: licet vastumtra- 
jeceris mare, sequuntur te, quocunque perveneris, vitia. 
Quid miraris tibi peregrinationes non predesse, cum te cir- 
cumferas ? Premit te eadem causa quse expulit. Quid 
terrarum juvare novitas potest? Quid cognitio urbium aut 
locorum? In irritum cedit ista jactantia. Onus animi de- 
ponendum est, non ante tibi uUus placebit locus. Vadis 
hue et illuc, ut excutias incidens pondus, quod ipsajacta- 
tione incommodius fit : sicut in navi onera immota miniis 
urgent, insequalitur convoluta citius eam partem, in quam 
incumbunt, demergunt. Quicquid facis, contra te facis : et 
motu ipso noces tibi : segrum enim concutis. At cum istud 
exemeris malum omnis mutatio loci jucundus fiet. In ultimas 
expellaris terras licet, in quolibet Barbariae angulo culloce- 
ris, hospitalis tibi ilia qualiscuaque sedes erit. Magis quis 
veneris, quam quo, interest.' That is, it is not by long tra- 
vels, or by change of places, that you can discuss the sad- 
ness and heaviness of the mind. It is the mind, and not the 
climate that you should change ; though you pass the vast- 
est sea, your vices will follow you whithersoever you go. 
Why marvellest thou, that travels avail thee not, when thou 
carriest about thyself? The same cause that drove thee 
away, doth follow thee. What can the novelty of countries 
avail ? Or the knowledge of cities and places ? This tossing 
u[) and down is vain ; it is the load of thy mind, that 
must be laid down ; till that be done, no place will please 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-A CQP AINTANCE. 75 

thee : thou goest up and down to shake off a burden that is 
fastened on thee ; which even by thy motion doth become 
more troublesome. As in a ship, the settled weight is least 
troublesome, when things unequally thrown together, do 
sink the part in which they lie. What thou dost, thou dost 
it against thyself, and hurtest thyself by the very motion ; 
for thou shakest a sick person. But when once thou hast 
taken out of thyself the evil, every change of place will be 
pleasant. Though thou be expelled into the remotest lands, 
or placed in any corner of Barbary, it will be however to 
thee a seat of hospitality : it more concerneth thee to know 
who (or what) thou art thyself that comest thither, than 
whither it is that thou comest. 

Did you know yourselves in all your griefs, it is there 
that you would suspect and find your malady, and there 
that you would most solicitously seek the cure. 

By this time, if you are willing, you may see, where lieth 
the disease and misery of the world, and also what must be 
the cure. Man hath lost himself, by seeking himself; he 
hath lost himself in the loss of God : he departed from God, 
that he might enjoy himself; and so is estranged from God 
and himself. He left the sun, and retired into darkness, 
that he might behold himself, and not the light ; and now 
beholdeth neither himself nor the light : for he cannot be- 
hold himself but by the light. As if the body should for- 
sake the soul, and say, I will no longer serve another, but 
will be my own. What would such a selfish separation pro- 
cure, but the converting of a body into a loathsome carcase, 
and a senseless clod? Thus hath the soul dejected itself, 
by turning to itself, and separating from God ; without 
whom it hath neither life, nor light, nor joy. By desiring a 
selfish kind of knowledge of good and evil, withdrawing 
from its just dependance upon God, it hath involved itself 
in care and misery, and lost the quieting, delighting know- 
ledge which it had in God. And now poor man is lost in 
error; he is straggled so far from home, that he knowetli 
not where he is, nor which way to return, till Christ in mercy- 
seek and save him. (Matt, xviii. 11; Luke xix. 10.) 

Yet could we but get men to know that they do not 
know themselves, there were the gre?.tcr hope of their re- 
covery. But this is contrary to the nature of their distem- 
per. An eye that is blinded by a suftiisiou oy cataract. 



76 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

seeth not the thing that blindeth it: it is the same light 
that must shew them themselves, and their ignorance of 
themselves. Their self-ignorance is part of the evil which 
they have to know. Those troubled souls that complain 
that they know not themselves, do shew that they begin at 
least to know themselves. But a Pharisee will say " Are 
we blind also?" (John ix. 40.) They are too blind to know 
that they are blind. The Gospel shall be rejected, the apos- 
tles persecuted, Christ himself abused and put to death, the 
nation ruined, themselves and their posterity undone by the 
blindness of these hypocrites, before they will perceive that 
they are blind, and that they know not God or themselves. 
Alas, the long calamities of the church, the distempers and 
confusions in the state, the lamentable divisions and dissen- 
tions among believers, have told the world, how little most 
men know themselves ; and yet they themselves will not 
perceive it. They tell it aloud to all about them, by their 
self-conceitedness and cruelty, uncharitable censures, re- 
proaches and impositions, that they know not themselves, 
and yet you cannot make them know it. Their afflicted 
brethren feel it to their smart ; the suffering, grieved 
churches feel it; thousands groan under it, that never 
wronged them ; and yet you cannot make them feel it. 

Did they well know themselves to be men, so many would 
not use themselves like beasts, and care so little for their 
most noble part. Did they know themselves aright to be 
but men, so many would not set up themselves as gods ; 
they would not arrogate a divine authority in the matters of 
God, and the consciences of others, as the Roman prelates 
do : nor would they desire so much that the observation, 
reverence, admiration, love, and applause of all should be 
turned upon them ; nor be so impatient when they seem to 
be neglected ; nor make so great a matter of their wrongs, 
as if it were some Deity that were injured. 

O what a change it would make in the world, if men 
were brought to the knowledge of themselves ! How many 
would weep, that now laugh, and live in mirth and pleasure ! 
How many would lament their sin and misery, that now are 
pharisaically confident of their integrity ! How many would 
seek to faithful ministers for advice, and inquire what they 
should do to be saved, that now deride them, and scorn their 
counsel, and cannot bear their plain reproof or come not 



AND BENEFITS OK SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 77 

neai" them! How many would ask directions for the cure 
of their unbelief, and pride and sensuality, that now take 
little notice of any such sins within them! How many 
would cry day and night for mercy, and beg importunately 
for the life of their immortal souls, that now take up with a 
few words of course, instead of serious, fervent prayer! Do 
but once know yourselves aright, know what you are, and 
what you have done, and what you want, and what is your 
danger; and then be prayerless and careless if you can: 
Then sit still and trifle out your time, and make a jest of holy 
diligence, and put God off with lifeless words and compli- 
ments if you can. Men could not think so lightly and con- 
temptuously of Christ, so unworthily and falsely of a holy 
life, so delightfully of sin, so carelessly of duty, so fearlessly 
of hell, so senselessly and atheistically of God, and so dis- 
regardfully of heaven as they now do, if they did but 
thoroughly know themselves. 

And now, sirs, methinks your consciences should begin 
to stir, and your thoughts should be turned inwards upon 
yourselves, and you should seriously consider what measure 
of acquaintance you have at home, and what you have done 
to procure and maintain such acquaintance. Hath con- 
science no use to make of this doctrine, and of all that hath 
been said upon it? Doth it not reprove you for your self- 
neglect, and your wanderings of mind, and your alien, un- 
necessary fruitless cogitations? Had you been but as strange 
to your familiar friend, and as regardless of his acquaintance, 
correspondence and affairs, as too many of you have been 
of your own, you may imagine how he would have taken it, 
and what use he would have made of it: some such use it 
beseemeth you to make of estrangedness to yourselves. 
Would not he ask, • What is the matter that my friend so 
seldom looketh at me; and no more mindeth me or my 
affairs ? What have I done to him ? How have I deserved 
this ? What more beloved company or employmenthath he 
got?' You have this and much more to plead against your 
great neglect and ignorance of yourselves. 

In order to your conviction and reformation, I shall first 
shew you some of those reasons, that should move you to 
know yourselves, and consequently should humble you for 
neglecting it : and then I shall shew you what are the hiu- 



78 THE iVIISCHIEFS 01' SE L I'-IG XOK ANCE, 

drances that keep men from self-acquaintance, and give you 
some directions necessary to attain it. 

In general consider, it is by the light of knowledge that 
all the affairs of your souls must be directed: and therefore 
while you know not yourselves, you are in the dark, and un- 
fit to manage your own affairs. Your principal error about 
yourselves will have influence into all the transactions of 
your lives; you will neglect the greatest duties, and abuse 
and corrupt those which you think you do perform. While 
you know not yourselves, you knov^? not what you do, 
nor what you have to do, and therefore can do nothing well. 
For instance : 

1. When you should repent of sin, you know it not as 
in yourselves, and therefore cannot savingly repent of it. If 
you know in general that you are sinners, or know your 
gross and crying sins, which conscience cannot overlook, 
yet the sins which you know not, because you will not know 
them, may condemn you. How can you repent of your 
pride, hypocrisy, self-love, self-seeking, your want of love, 
and fear, and trust in God, or any such sins, which you 
never did observe ? Or if you perceive some sins, yet if you 
perceive not that they reign and are predominant, and that 
you are in a state of sin, how can you repent of that estate 
which you perceive not? Or if you have but a slight and 
superficial sight of your sinful state and your particular sins, 
you can have but a superficial, false repentance. 

2. If you know not yourselves, you cannot be duly sen- 
sible of your misery. Could it be expected that the Phari- 
sees should lament, that they were of their father the devil, 
as long as they boasted that they were the children of God? 
(John viii. 41. 44.) Will they lament that they are under 
the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the bondage of 
the devil, that know not of any such misery that they are in, 
but hope they are the heirs of heaven? What think you is 
the reason, that when Scripture telleth us that few shall be 
saved, and none at all but those that are new creatures, and 
have the Spirit of Christ, that yet there is not one of many 
that is sensible that the case is theirs? Though Scripture 
peremptorily concludeth, " That they that are in the flesh 
cannot please God," and that " to be carnally minded is 
death, (Rom. viii. 6 — 8,) and that " without holiness none 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 7.9 

shall see God," (Heb. xii. 14,) and that all " they shall be 
damned that believe not the truth, but have pleasure in un- 
righteousness," (2 Thess. ii. 12,) and that " Christ will come 
in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not 
God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ; 
who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the 
presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power, when he 
shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all 
them that do believe." (2 Thess. i. 7 — 10.) And would not 
a man think that such words as these should waken the 
guilty soul that doth believe them; and make us all to 
look about us ? I confess it is no wonder, if a flat atheist 
or infidel should slight them and deride them I But is it 
not a wonder if they stir not those, that profess to believe 
the word of God, and are the men of whom these Scriptures 
speak? And yet among a thousand that are thus condemned 
already ; (I say, by the word, that is the rule of judgment, 
even condemned already ; for so God saith, John iii. 18,) 
how few shall you see that with penitent tears lament their 
misery ? How few shall you hear, with true remorse, com- 
plain of their spiritual distress, and cry out as those that 
were pricked at the heart, (Acts ii. 37,) Men and brethren, 
what shall we do ? In all this congregation, how few hearts 
are affected with so miserable a case ! Do you see by the 
tears, or hear by the complaints of those about you, that 
they know what it is, to be unpardoned sinners, under the 
wrath of the most holy God ! And what is the matter that 
there is no more such lamentation ? Is it because there are 
few or none so miserable ? Alas ! no : the Scripture, and 
their worldly, fleshly, and ungodly lives, assure us of the 
contrary. But it is because men are strangers to themselves : 
they little think that it is themselves, that all the terrible 
threatenings of God do mean. Most of them little believe 
or consider what Scripture saith ; but fewer consider what 
conscience hath to say within, when once it is awakened, 
and the curtain is drawn back, and the light appeareth. 
The first proposition inferreth not the conclusion ; and the 
assumption they overlook. Did all that read and hear the 
Scriptures know themselves, I will tell you how they would 
hear and read it. When the Scripture saith, " To be car- 
nally minded is death :" and " If ye live after the flesh ye 
shall die," (Rom. viii. 8. 13,) the guilty hearer would say, T am 



W THE MI.SCHIEF6 OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

carnally minded: and I live after the flesh: therefore I must 
turn or die. When the Scripture saith, " Where your trea- 
sure is, there will your heart be also," (Matt. vi. 21,) The 
guilty conscience would assume, my heart is not in heaven, 
therefore my treasure is not there. When Scripture saith, 
" Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye 
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven," (Matt, xviii. 3,) 
and " Except a man be regenerate and born again, he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God," (John iii. 3. 5,) and " If 
any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things are 
passed away, behold all things are become new," (2 Cor. v. 
17,) and " If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same 
is none of his," (Rom. viii. 9,) The guilty hearer would 
assume, I was never thus converted, regenerate, born again, 
and made a new creature : I have not the Spirit of Christ : 
therefore I am none of his, and cannot enter into the king- 
dom of heaven, till this change be wrought upon me. When 
the Scripture saith, " Whoremongers and adulterers God 
will judge," (Heb. xiii. 4,) The guilty hearer would say, 
How then shall I be able to stand before him? 

Yea, did but hearers know themselves, they would per- 
ceive their danger from remoter principles, that mention the 
dealing of God with others. When they hear of the judg- 
ment of God upon the ungodly, and the enemies of the 
■church, they would say, " Except 1 repent, I shall likewise 
perish." (Luke xiii. 3. 5.) When they hear that "judgment 
must begin at the house of God," they would infer " What 
shall be the end of them that obey not the Gospel of God? 
And when they hear that " the righteous are scarcely saved," 
they would think " Where then shall the ungodly and sinner 
appear?" (1 Peter iv. 17, 18.) 

3. If you know not yourselves, you cannot be Christians : 
you cannot have a practical belief in Christ ; for he is 
offered to you in the Gospel, as the remedy for your misery ; 
as the ransom for your enthralled souls ; as the propitiation 
for your sin, and your peace-maker with the Father ; without 
whose merit, satisfaction, righteousness, and intercession, 
your guilty souls can have no hope. And can you savingly 
value him in these respects, if you know not that sin and 
misery, that guilt and thraldom, in which your need of 
Christ consisteth ? Christ is esteemed by you according to 
the judgment you pass upon yourselves. 



AND BENEFI'JS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 81 

They that say they are sinners, from a general brain- 
knowledge, will accordingly say Christ is their Saviour and 
their hope, with a superficial belief, and will honour him 
with their lips with all the titles belonging to the Redeemer 
of the world: but they that feel that they are deadly sick of 
sin at the very heart, and are lost for ever if he do not save 
them, will feel what the name of a Saviour signifieth, and 
will look to him as the Israelites to the brazen serpent, and 
cast themselves at his feet, for the crumbs of grace, and will 
yield up themselves to be saved by him, in his way. An in- 
eflectual knowledge of yourselves, may make you believe in 
a Redeemer, as all the city do of a learned, able physician, 
tliat will speak well of his skill, and resolve to use him when 
necessity constraineth them; but at present they find no 
such necessity. But an effectual sight and sense of your 
condition, will bring you to Christ, as a man in a dropsy or 
consumption comes to the physician; that feels he must 
have help or die. Saith Bernard, 'Filium Dei non reputat 
Jesum, qui ipsius non terretur comminationibus, &c.' You 
will not take the Son of God for a Saviour, if you be not 
afirighted by his threatenings. And if you perceive not 
that you are lost, you will not heartily thank him that came 
to seek and save you. ' Non consolantur Christi lachryma; 
cachinnantes ; non consolantur panni ejus ambulantes in 
stolis ; non consolantur stabulura et praesepe amantes 
primas cathedras in synagogis.' Saith Bernard, Christ's 
tears do not comfort them that laugh : his rags do not com- 
fort them that (love to) walk in robes : his stable and man- 
ger comfort not them that love the highest seats in the sy- 
nagogues. Can you seek to Christ to take you up, till you 
find that you have fallen and hurt you ? Will you seek to 
him to fetch you from the gates of hell, that find not that 
you are there? 

But to the self-condemning soul thatknoweth itself, how 
welcome would a Saviour be? How ready is such a soul for 
Christ? Thou that judgest thyself art the person that must 
come to Christ to justify thee. Now thou are ready to be 
healed by him, when thou findest that thou art sick, and 
dead : hast thou received the sentence of death in thyself? 
Come to him now and thou shalt have life. (John v. 40; 
1 John v. 11.) Art thou weary and heavy laden? Come to 

VOL. XVI. G 



82 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

Iiira for rest : come and fear not ; for he bids thee come. 
(Matt. xi. 27,28.) Dost thou know that " thou hast smned 
against heaven and before God, and art not worthy to be 
called a son?" Do but cast thyself then at his feet, and tell 
him so, and ask forgiveness, and try whether he will not 
welcome and embrace thee, pardon and entertain thee, clothe 
thee and feast thee, and rejoice over thee as one that " was 
lost and is found, was dead and is alive." (Luke xv.) For " he 
came to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke xix. 
10.) While tliou saidst, " I am rich and increased in goods, 
and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art 
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked ;" 
thou wouldst not " buy the tried gold that thou mightestbe 
rich, nor his white raiment that thou mightest be clothed, 
that the shame of thy nakedness might not appear; nor 
Christ's eyesalve that thou mightest see." (Rev. iii. 17, 18.) 
But now thou art poor in spirit, and findest that thou art 
nothing, and hast nothing, and of thyself canst do nothing 
that is acceptably good, (John xv. 5,) and that of thyself 
thou art insufficient to think any thing that is good; (2 Cor. 
iii. 5;) now thou art readier for the help of Christ, and a 
patient fit for the tender healing hand of the physician. 
Whilst thou saidst, " God, I thank thee that I am not as 
other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, nor as this 
publican, thou wast farther from Christ and justification, 
than now thou standest as afar off, and darest scarcely 
look up to heaven, but smitest on thy breast and sayest. Lord 
be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke xviii. 11 — 14.) Not that 
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or any that are ungodly, are 
justified or can be saved, while they are such : not that a 
smiting on the breast, with a " Lord be merciful to me a 
sinner," will serve their turn while they continue in their 
wicked lives : but when thou art brought to accuse and con- 
demn thyself, thou art prepared for his grace that must 
renew and justify thee. None sped better with Christ than 
the woman that confessed herself a dog, and begged but for 
the children's crumbs : and the centurion that sent friends to 
Christ to mediate for him, as being unworthy to come him- 
self, and unworthy that Christ should enter under his 
roof: For of the first Christ said, " O woman, great is thy 
faitli : be it unto thee even as thou wilt;" (Matt. xv. 27, 28;) 



AND BENEFI'lS OF SELF-ACQU A i N T A N CK. 83 

And of the second he saith with admiration, " I have not 
found so great faith, no not in Israel." (Luke vii. 6 — 9.) 
Though thou art ready to deny the title of a child, and to 
number thyself with the dogs, yet go to him and beg his 
crumbs of mercy. Though thou think that Christ will not 
come to such a one as thou, and though thou beg prayers of 
others, as thinking he will not hear thy own, thou little 
thinkest how this self-abasement and self-denial prepareth 
thee for his tenderest mercies, and his esteem. When thou 
art contrite (as the dust that is trodden under feet), and poor, 
and tremblest at the word, then will he look at thee with 
compassion and respect. (Isaiah Ixvi. 2.) " For thus saith 
the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name 
is Holy ; I dwell in the high and holy place : with him also 
that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit 
of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones : 
for I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always 
wroth; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls 
which I have made." (Isaiah Ivii. 15.) When thou art using 
the self-condemning words of Paul, (Rom. vii. 14 — 25,) " I 
am carnal, sold under sin : what I would, that do I not; and 
what I hate, that do I. For I know that that in me, that is, 

in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing I find a law, that 

when I would do good, evil is present with me . A law 

in my members warring against the law of my mind, and 

bringing me into captivity to the law of sin " when thou 

criest out with hira " O wretched man that I am, who shall 
deliver me, from the body of this death ;" thou art then fitter 
to look to thy Redeemer, and use the following words, " I 
thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." When thou 
didst exalt thyself, thou wast obnoxious to the storms of 
justice, which was engaged to bring thee low : but now thou 
humblest thyself, thou liest in the way of mercy, that is 
engaged to exalt thee. (Luke xiv. 11 ; xviii. 14.) Mercy 
looketh downward, and can quickly spy a sinner in the dust; 
but cannot leave him there, nor deny him compassion and 
relief. Art thou cast out as helpless, wounded by thy sin, 
and neglected by all others that pass by ? Thou art the 
fittest object for the skill and mercy of Him that washeth 
sinners in his blood, and tenderly bindeth up their wounds, 
and undertakes the perfecting of the cure, though yet thou 
must bear the surgeon's hand, till his time of perfect cure be 



84 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

come. (Luke x. 33—35.) Now thou perceivest the greatness 
of thy sin and misery, thou art fit to study the greatness of 
his mercy ; and with all saints (to strive) " to comprehend 
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and 
to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." 
(Ephes. iii. 18, 19.) Now thou hast " smitten upon the 
thigh," and said, " What have I done?" (Jer. xxxi. 19; 
viii. 6,) thou art fitter to look unto him that was wounded 
and smitten for thy transgressions, and to consider what he 
hath done, and suffered : how he " hath borne thy grief and 
carried thy sorrows, and was bruised for thy iniquities ; the 
chastisement of our peace was laid upon him, and we are 
healed by his stripes : all we like sheep have gone astray : 
we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath 
laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah liii. 4 — 6, &c.) 
Art thou in doubt whether there be any forgiveness for thy 
sins; and whether there be any place for repentance? 
Remember that Christ is " exalted by God's right hand to 
be a prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, 
and forgiveness of sins. (Acts v. 31.) And that he himself 
hath spoken it, that " all manner of sin and blasphemy shall 
be forgiven unto men, except the blasphemy against the 
Spirit. (Matt. xii. 32.) And this forgiveness of sins thou art 
bound to believe as an article of thy creed : that it is pur- 
chased by Christ, and freely offered in the Gospel. Mercy 
did but wait all this while, till thou wast brought to under- 
stand the want and worth of it, that it might be thine. When 
a Peter that denieth Christ with oaths and cursing, goeth 
out and weepeth, he speedily finds mercy from him without, 
that he but now denied within. When so bloody a perse- 
cuter as Paul findeth mercy, upon his prostration and con- 
fession ; and when so great an offender as Manasseh is for- 
given upon his penitence, in bonds ; when all his witchcraft, 
idolatry and cruelties are pardoned, upon a repentance that 
might seem to have been forced by a grievous scourge ; 
what sinner that perceives his sin and misery, can question 
his entertainment if he come to Christ. Come to him sinner, 
with thy load and burden ; come to him with all thy acknow- 
leged unworthiness: and try whether he will refuse thee. 
He hath professed that " him that cometh to him he will in 
no wise cast out." (John vi. 37.) He refused not his very 
murderers, when they were pricked at the heart and inquired 



AND BENEFITS OF .SELF-A CQU A 1 NT A X CE. 85 

after a remedy; (Acts ii. 37;) and will he refuse thee? 
Hath our Physician poured out his blood to make a medicine 
for distracted sinners; and now is he willing to work the 
cure? ' Fusus est sanguis medici, et factum est medica- 
mentum frenetici/ saith Augustine. O sinner ! now thou 
art brought to know thyself, know Christ also and the cure 
is done. Let thy thoughts of the remedy be deeper, and 
larger, and longer, than all thy thoughts of thy misery: it is 
thy sin and shame if it be not so. Why wilt thou have 
twenty thoughts of sin and misery, for one that thou hast of 
Christ and mercy ? when mercy is so large, and great, and 
wonderful as to triumph over misery: and grace aboundeth 
much more where sin hath abounded. (Rom. 5. 20.) ' Inspice 
vulnera pendentis; sanguinem morientis ; pretium redi- 
mentis ; cicatrices resurgentis. Caput habet inclinatum ad 
osculandum; cor apertum ad diligendum; brachia extensa 
ad araplexandum, totum corpus expositum ad redimendum,' 
saith Augustin. Behold the wounds of Christ as he is hang- 
ing; the blood of him dying, the price of him redeeming, 
the scars of him rising. His head is bowed to kiss thee : 
his heart open to love thee ; his arms open to embrace thee; 
his whole body exposed to redeem thee. 

* Homo factus esthorainis factor, utsugeret uberaregens 
sydera; ut esuriret panis; ut siteret fons ; dormiret lux, ab 
itinere via fatigaretur ; falsis testibus Veritas occultaretur ; 
Judex vivorum et raortuorum a judice mortali judicaretur; 
ab injustis justitia damnaretur ; flagellis disciplina caedere- 
tur spinis botrus coronaretur; in ligno fundamentum sus- 
penderetur; virtus infirmaretur ; salus vulneraretur; vita 
moreretur,' saith Augustin: that is. The Maker of man was 
made man ; that he might suck the breasts that rules the 
stars; that bread might hunger; the spring (or fountain) 
might thirst; the light might sleep; the way might be weary 
in his journey; that the truth might be hidden by false wit- 
nesses: that the Judge of quick and dead might be judged 
by a mortal judge : justice might be condemned by the 
unjust; discipline might be scourged ; the cluster of grapes 
might be crowned with thorns; the foundation might be 
hanged on a tree ; that strength might be weakened ; that 
health might be wounded ; and that life itself might die. 
This is the wonderful mystery of love, which will entertain 
the soul that comes to Christ, and which thou must study 



80 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGN OliANCE, 

to know when thou knowest thyself. But till then all these 
will be riddles to thee, or little relished : and Christ will 
seem to thy neglecting heart to have died and done all this 
in vain. 

And hence it is, that as proud, ungodly, sensual men, 
were never sound believers, so they ofttimes fall from that 
opinionative common faith which tliey had, and of all men 
do most easily turn apostates : it being just with God that 
they should be so far forsaken as to vilify the remedy, thai 
would not know their sin and misery, but love it, and perti- 
naciously hold it, as their felicity ! 

4. If you know not yourselves, you will not know what 
to do with yourselves, nor to what end, and for what work 
you are to live. This makes the holy work neglected, and 
most men live to little purpose, wasting their days in matters 
that themselves will call impertinent when they come to 
die ; as if they were good for nothing else: whereas if they 
knew themselves, they would know that they are made and 
fitted for more noble works. O man, if thou were acquainted 
well with thy faculties and frame, thou wouldst perceive the 
name of God thy Maker, to be so deeply engraven in thy 
nature, even in all thy parts and powers, as should convince 
thee that thou wast made for him; that all thou art and all 
thou hast, is nothing worth, but for his service : as all the 
parts and motions of a clock or watch are but to tell the 
hour of the day. Thou wouldst know then the meaning of 
sanctification and holiness ; that it signifieth but the giving 
God his own, and is the first part of justice, without which 
no rendering men their due can prove thee just. Thou 
wouldst then know the unreasonableness and injustice of 
ungodliness and all sin : and that to serve thy fleshly lusts 
and pleasures with those noble faculties that were purposely 
formed to love and serve the Eternal God, is more absurd 
and villainous, than to employ the highest officers of the 
king in the sweeping of your chimnies, or the serving of 
your swine. Remember it, unreasonable, brutish man, the 
next time thou art going to thy lusts and sensual delights. 
It is no wiser a course thou takest : it is no more honoura- 
ble or just: but as much worse, as God is to be preferred 
to a king ; and as thy sin is worse than the serving of thy 
swine. O man, didst thou but know thyself, and for what 

employment thy faculties are made, thou wouldst lift up thy 

s 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQU Al N T A NC K. 87 

head, and seriously think who holds the reins? wliu keeps 
the breath yet in thy nostrils, and continueth thee in life? 
and where it is that thou must shortly fix thy unchangeable 
abode ; and what is now to be done in preparation for such 
a day : ' Os homini sublime dedit, &c.' Thou wouldst know 
that thou hadst not that reason, and that will and executive 
power, to roll in the earth, and be but a cunning kind of 
beast, that hath wit to play the fool, and can ingeniously live 
below understanding, and do that with argument which 
other brutes can do without it. Thou wouldst know that 
thy higher faculties were not made to serve the lower : thy 
reason to serve thy sensual delights. The horse was not 
made to ride the man, nor the master to follow and attend 
the dog. O man! hadst thou not lost the knowledge of thy- 
self, thou wouldst be so far from wondering at a holy life, 
that thou wouldst look upon an unholy person as a monster, 
and wouldst hear the deriders and opposers of a holy life, as 
thou wouldst hear him that were deriding a man because he 
is not a swine, or were reproaching men of honour and 
learning, because they live not as an ass. 

I confess, my soul is too apt to lose its lively sense of all 
these things ; but whenever it is awake, I am forced to say, in 
these kind of meditations, If I had not a God to know and think 
on, to love and honour, to seek and serve, what had I to do 
with myunderstanding, will, and all my powers? What should 
I do with life and time ? What use should I make of God's 
provisions? What could I find to do in the world, that is 
worthy of a man? Were it not as good lie still, and sleep 
out my days, and professedly do nothing, as to go dreaming 
with a seeming seriousness, and wander about the world as 
in my sleep, and do nothing with such a troublesome stir, 
as sensual, worldly persons do ? Could not I have played 
the beast without a reasonable free-workins; soul ? Let them 
turn from God, and neglect the conduct of the Redeemer, 
and disregard the holy approaches, and breathings, and 
workings of the soul towards its beloved centre and felicity, 
that know not what an immortal soul is, or know how else 
to employ their faculties, with satisfaction or content unto 
themselves. I profess here, as in his presence that is the 
Father of spirits, and before angels and men, I do not, I 
know not what else to do with my soul that is worth tiie 
doing, but what is subservient to its proper object, its end 



S8 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

and everlasting rest. If the holy service of God, and the 
preparation for heaven, and making after Christ and happi- 
ness, be forbidden me, I have no more to do in the world, 
that will satisfy my reason, or satisfy my affections, or that 
as a man or a Christian I can own. And it is as good not live, 
as to be deprived of the uses and ends of life. Though my 
love and desires are infinitely below the Eternal goodness, 
and glory, which they should prosecute and embrace, yet do 
my little tastes and dull desires, and cold affections consent 
unfeignedly to say. Let me have God or nothing: Let me 
know him and his will, and what will please him, and how 
I may enjoy him: or, O that I never had an understanding 
to know any thing! Let me remember him; or, O that I had 
never had a memory ! Let me love him and be beloved of 
him; or, O that I never had such a thing as love within me- 
Let me hear his teachings, or have no ears : Let me serve 
him with my riches, or let me have none; and with any in- 
terest or honour, or let me be despised. It is nothing that 
he gives not being to : and it is useless that is not for his 
glory and his will. If God have nothing to do with me, I 
have nothing to do with myself, and the world hath nothing 
to do with me. 

Let dark, and dreaming, doating sinners, declare their 
shame, and speak evil of what they never knew, and neglect 
the good they never saw ; let them that know not themselves 
or God, refuse to give up themselves to God, and think a 
life of sensuality more suitable to them. But " Lord lift thou 
up the light of thy countenance on me," (Psal. iv,) and let 
me no longer be a man, nor have reason, or any of thy 
talents in my trust, than 1 shall be thine, and live to thee. 
I say as Bernard, ' Dignus plane est morte, qui tibi Christe 
recusal vivere ; et qui tibi non sapit, desipit; et qui curat 
esse nisi propter te, pro nihilo est et nihil est. Propter 
teipsum Deus fecisti omnia ; et qui esse vult sibi, et non tibi, 
nil esse incipit inter omnia.' Worthy is that man, O Christ to 
die, that refuseth to live to thee: and he that is not wise to 
thee, is but a fool ; and he that careth to he unless it be for 
thee, is good for nothing, and is nothing. For thyself, O 
God, hast thou made all things ; and he that would be to 
himself and not to thee, among all things beginneth to be 
nothing. 

5. If you know not yourselves, you know not how to 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 80 

apply the word of God, which you read or hear ; you know 
not how to use either promises or threatenings, to the bene- 
fit of your souls: nay, you will misapply them to your hurt. 
If you are unregenerate, and know it not, you will put by all 
the calls of God, that invite you to come in and be converted, 
and think that they belong to grosser sinners, but not to 
you. All the descriptions of the unsanctified and their 
misery, will little affect you ; and all God's threateninos to 
such will little move you ; for you will think they are not 
meant of you; you will be pharisaically blessing yourselves, 
when you should be pricked at the heart, and laid in contri- 
tion at the feet of Christ : you will be thanking God that 
you are not such as indeed you are; you will be making 
application of the threatenings to others, and pitying them 
when you should lament yourselves; you will be thundering 
when you should be trembling ; and speaking that evil of 
others that is your own ; and convincing others of that 
which you had need to be convinced of; and wakening 
others by talking in your sleep ; and calling other men hy- 
pocrites, proud, self-conceited, ignorant, and other such 
names that are indeed your own ; you will read or hear your 
own condemnation, and not be moved at it, as not knowino- 
your own description when you hear it, but thinking that this 
thunderbolt is levelled at another sort of men. All the words 
of peace and comfort, you will think are meant of such as 
you. When you read of pardon, reconciliation, adoption, 
and right to everlasting life, you will imagine that all these 
are yours. And thus you will be dreaming-rich and safe, 
when you are poor and miserable, and in the greatest peril. 
And is it not pity that the celestial, undeceiving light should 
be abused to so dangerous self-deceit? And that truth 
itself should be made the furtherance of so great an error ? 
And that the eyesalve should more put out your eyes ? Is 
it not sad to consider, that you should now be emboldened 
to presumption, by that very word which (unless you be 
converted) will judge you to damnation? And that self- 
deceit should be increased by the glass of verity that should 
undeceive you? 

How can you know what promise or threatening doth 
belong to you, while you know not what state your souls 
are in. Can you tell what physic to take, till your disease 
be known? Or choose your plaister till you know your sore? 



.90 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNOllANCE, 

6'. If you know not yourselves, you know not how to con- 
fess or pray. This makes men confess their sins so seldom, 
and with so little remorse to God and man ; you hide them 
because they are hidden from yourselves ; and therefore God 
will open them to your shame : whereas if they were opened 
to you, they would be opened by you, and covered by God. 
Saith Augustine ' Non operui, sed aperui ut operires; non 
cselavi, ut tegeres: nam quando homo detegit, Deus tegit. 
Cum homo cselat, Deus nudat : cum homo agnoscit, Deus 
ignoscit.' I did not cover, but open that thou mayest cover : 
I concealed not, that thou mightest hide. For when man dis- 
closeth, God covereth : when man hideth, God maketh bare : 
when man confesseth, God forgiveth. For want of self- 
acquaintance it is that men hypocritically confess to God in 
way of custom, the sins which they will deny or excuse to 
man ; and will tell God formally of much, which they cannot 
endure to be told of seriously by a reprover : or, if they con- 
fess it generally with a seeming humility to others, they 
cannot bear that another should faithfully charge it upon 
them, in order to their true humiliation and amendment. 
' Indicia verse confessionis sunt, si utunusquisque se pecca- 
torem dicit, id de se dicenti alteri non contradicat. Nam 
non peccator sed Justus videri appetit, cum peccatorem 
se quisque nuUo arguente confitetur ; superbise quippe 
vitium est, ut quod de se fateri quis sua sponte dignatur, 
hoc sibi dici ab aliis dedignetur,' saith Bernard. It is the 
sign of true confession, if, as every one saith he is a sinner, 
he contradict not another that saith it of him. For he de- 
sireth not to seem a sinner, but righteous, when one con- 
fesseth himself a sinner when none reproveth him. It is 
the vice of pride, for a man to disdain to have that spoken 
to him of others, which he stuck not to confess of his own 
accord concerning himself. 

And for prayer, it is men's ignorance of themselves that 
makes prayer so little in request : hunger best teacheth 
men to beg. You would be oftener on your knees, if you 
were oftener iu your hearts. Prayer would not seem needless, 
if you knew your needs. Know yourselves, and be prayer- 
less if you can. When the prodigal was convinced, he pre- 
sently purposeth to confess and pray. When Paul was 
converted, Ananias hath this evidence of it from God, 
" Behold he prayeth." (Acts ix. 11.) Indeed the inward 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAIN'J'ANCE. 91 

paf t of prayer, is the motion of a returning soul to God : 
Saith Hugo, 'Oratio est piae mentis et humilis ad Deuni 
conversio, fide, spe, et charitate subnixa.' Prayer is the 
turning of a pious, humble soul to God, leaning upon faith, 
hope and love. It is * Oranti subsidiura, Deo sacrificium, 
dffimonibus flagellum.' The relief of the petitioner, the 
sacrifice of God, the scourge of devils. 

And self-knowledge would teach men how to pray. Your 
own hearts would be the best prayer-books to you, if you 
were skilful in reading them. Did you see what sin is, and 
in what relation yon stand to God, to heaven and hell, it 
would drive you above your beads and lifeless words of 
course, and make you know, that to pray to God for par- 
don and salvation, is not a work for a sleepy soul. Saith 
Gregory, ' lUe Deo veram orationem exhibit qui semetipsum 
cognoscit, quia pulvis sit ; humiliter videt, qui nihil sibi 
virtutis tribuit,' &c. He oiFereth the truest prayer to God, 
that knoweth himself, that humbly seeth he is but dust, and 
ascribeth not virtue to himself, 8cc. Nothing quencheth 
prayer more than to be mistaken or mindless about our- 
selves. When we go from home this fire goes out; but 
when we return, and search our hearts, and see the sins, the 
wants, the weaknesses that are there, and perceive the dan- 
ger that is before us, and withal the glorious hopes that are 
offered us, here is fuel and bellows to inflame the soul, and 
cure it of its drowsiness and dumbness. Help any sinner to 
a clearer light, to see into his heart and life, and to a live- 
lier sense of his own condition, and I warrant yon he will be 
more disposed to fervent prayer, and will better understand 
the meaning of those words, " That men ought always to 
pray and not to faint;" (Luke xviii. 1 ;) and " Pray without 
ceasing." (1 Thess. v. 17.) You may hear some impious 
persons now disputing against frequent and fervent prayer, 
and saying, 'What need all this ado V But if you were able 
to open these men's eyes, and shew them what is within 
tliem and before them, you would quickly answer all their 
arguments, and convince them better than words can do, 
and put an end to the dispute. You would set all the pray- 
erless families in town and country, gentlemen's and poor 
men's, on fervent calling upon God, if you could but help 
them to such a sight of their sin and danger, as shortly the 
stoutest of them must have. Why do they pray, and call 



92 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNOK ANCE, 

Ibr prayers, when they come to die, but that they begin a 
little better to know themselves ? They see then that youth, 
and health, and honour, are not the things, nor make them 
so happy, as befooling prosperity once persuaded them. 
Did they believe and consider what God saith of them, and 
not what flattery and self-love say, it would open the mouths 
of them that are most speechless. But those that are born 
deaf are always dumb. How can they speak that language 
with desire to God, which they never learned by faith from 
God or by knowledge of themselves? 

And self-knowledge would teach men what to ask. They 
would feel most need of spiritual mercies, and beg hardest 
for them ; and for outward things, they would ask but for 
their daily bread, and not be foolishly importunate with 
God for that which they know not to be suitable or good 
for them. ' Fideliter supplicans Deo pro necessitatibus 
hujus vitse, et miserecorditer auditur, et miserecorditer non 
auditur. Quid enim infirmo sit utilius magis novit medicus 
quam eegrotus,' saith Prosper. It is mercy to be denied 
sometimes when we pray for outward things : our physi- 
cian, and not we must choose our physic, and prescribe our 
diet. 

And if men knew themselves, it would teach them on 
what terms to expect the hearing of their prayers. Neither 
to be accepted for their merits, nor yet to be accepted with- 
out that faith and repentance, and desire that seriousness, 
humility, and sincerity of heart, which the very nature of 
prayer to God doth contain or pre-suppose. " He that 
nameth the name of Christ, must depart from iniquity," 
(2 Tim. ii. 19,) and must " wash himself and make him clean, 
and put away the evil of his doings from before the eyes of 
God, and cease to do evil, and learn to do well." (Isa. i. 16, 
17.) As knowing that though a Simon Magus must repent 
and pray, (Acts viii. 22,) and the " wicked in forsaking his 
way, and thoughts, and returning to the Lord, must seek 
him while he may be found, and call upon him while he is 
near ;" (Isa. Iv. 6, 7 ;) and the prayers of a humble publican 
are heard, when he sets his prayer against his sins : yet if 
he would cherish his sin by prayer, and flatter himself into 
a presumption and security in a wicked life, because he 
useth to ask God forgiveness : if he thus " regard iniquity 
in his heart, God will not hear his prayers;" (Psal. Ixvi. 18;) 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE, 93 

and " we know that such impenitent sinners God heareth 
not." (John ix. 31.) And thus the prayers of the wicked, 
as wicked, (which are not a withdrawing from his wicked- 
ness, but a bolster of his security, and as a craving of pro- 
tection and leave to sin) are but " an abomination to the 
Lord." (Prov. xvii. 8 ; xxviii. 9.) ' Ferrum prius extrahen- 
dum :' The bullet, the thorn must be first got out, before any 
medicine can heal their wounds. Saith Augustine, * Plus 
Deo placet latratus canum, mugitus bonuni, grunnitus por- 
corum, quani cantus clericorum luxuriantium.' The bark- 
ing of dogs, the lowing of beasts, the grunting of swine, 
doth please God better than the singing of luxuriant clergy- 
men. Did men know themselves, and who they have to do 
with in their prayers, they would not go from cards, and 
dice, and gluttony, and fornication, and railing, lying, or 
reviling at the servants of the Lord, to a few hypocritical 
words of prayer, to salve all till the next time, and wipe 
their mouths, as if one sin had procured the forgiveness of 
another. Nor would they shut up a day of worldliness, 
ambition, sensuality, or profaneness, with a few heartless 
words of confession and supplication ; or with the words of 
penitence, while their hearts are impenitent, as if when they 
have abused God by sin, they would make him amends, or 
reconcile him by their mockery. Nor would they ihink to 
be accepted by praying for that which they would not have; 
for holiness, when they hate it, and for deliverance from the 
sins which they would not be delivered from, and would not 
have their prayers granted. 

7. If you know not yourselves, it will unfit you for 
thanksgiving: your greatest mercies will be least esteemed; 
and the lesser will be misesteemed. And while you are un- 
thankful for what you have, you will be absurdly thanking 
God for that which indeed you have not. 

What inestimable mercies are daily trodden under feet 
by sinners, that know not their worth, because they know 
not Iheir own necessities ! They have time to repent, and 
make preparation for an endless life : but they know not the 
worth of it, but unthankfully neglect it, and cast it away on 
the basest vanities : as if worldly cares, or wicked company, 
or fleshly lusts, or cards, or dice, or revellings, or idleness, 
were exercises in which they might better improve it, than 
tlie works of holiness, justice, and mercy, which God hath 



94 THE MISCHIEFS OF SP:LF-IGN O 11 A NCE, 

made the business of their lives : or, as if the profits, and 
pleasures, and vainglory of this world, did better deserve it 
than their Creator, and their own souls, and the heavenly 
inheritance. But if their eyes were opened to see where 
they stand, and what they are, and what are their dangers 
and necessities, how thankful would they be for one year, 
one month, one day, one hour, to repent and cry to God 
for mercy ! And how sensibly would they perceive that a 
hundred years' time is not too long to spend in serious 
preparation for eternity ! 

They have now the faithful ministers of Christ, inviting' 
them in his name to come to him and receive the riches of 
his grace, and " beseeching them in his stead to be recon- 
ciled unto God." (Matt, xxii ; 2 Cor. v. 19, 20.) But they 
stop their ears, and harden their hearts, and stiffen their 
necks, and love not to be disturbed in their sins, but are 
angry with those that are solicitous for their salvation, and 
revile them as too precise and strict, that tell them of the 
one thing needful, and persuade them to choose the better 
part, and tell them where their sin will leave them. They 
take them for their friends that will encourage them in the 
way that God condemneth, and be merr}"^ with them in the 
way to endless sorrow, and flatter them into security and 
impenitency till the time of grace be past ; but they hate 
them as their enemies that faithfully reprove them, and tell 
them of their folly, and call them to a safer, better way. 
Alas, sirs, there would not be so man}!- nations, congrega- 
tions, and souls now left in darkness and misery by their 
own doing, having driven away the mercy of the Gospel, and 
thrust their faithful teachers from them, if they knew them- 
selves. Men would not triumph in their own calamity, 
when they have expelled their faithful teachers, (the dust of 
whose feet, the sweat of their brows, the tears of their eyes, 
and the fervent prayers and groans of their hearts must wit- 
ness against them,) if they knew themselves. They would 
not be like a madman that glorieth that he hath beaten away 
his physician and his friends, and is left to himself, if they 
knew themselves. When they have the earnest calls of the 
Word without, and convictions and urgings of the Spirit 
of God, and their consciences within, they would not wil- 
fully go on, and cast these mercies at their heels, if they 
knew themselves. 



AND BENEFITS OF S ELF-AC QUAIN lANCE. 95 

They have leave to join in the communion of saints, and 
to enjoy the benefit of holy society in prayer, and con- 
ference, and mutual love and sjDiritual assistance, and in the 
jDublic worship of God : but they pass these by, as having 
more of trouble and burden than of mercy, because they 
little know themselves. 

And their inferior mercies of health, and wealth, and 
food, and raiment, and friends, and accommodations, they 
misesteem and misuse ; and value them but as provision 
for the flesh, and the satisfaction of their sensual and 
inordinate desires, and not as their necessary provision for 
J.heir duty in the way to heaven ! And therefore they are 
most thankful for their greatest snares : for that honour and 
abundance which are stronger temptations than they can 
overcome : for those fleshly contentments and delights, 
which are the enemies of grace, and the prison of their no- 
blest faculties, and the undoing of their souls. If they could 
for shame speak out, they would thank God more for a 
whore, or a successful game, or the favour of their earthen 
gods, or for preferment, or commodity, lands or houses, 
than ever they did for all the offers of Christ and grace, and 
all tlie invitations to a holy life. For there is much more 
joy and pleasure in their hearts for the former than the latter. 
And self-ignorance will also corrupt your thanksgiving, 
and turn it into sin and folly. Is it not shame and pity to 
hear an unpardoned enemy of holiness, and of God, to 
thank God that he is justified and reconciled to God, and 
adopted to be his child, and made a member of Jesus Christ? 
And to hear a carnal, unregenerate person give thanks for 
his regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Ghost? As 
it is to hear a leper give thanks for perfect health, or a fool 
or madman thank God for making him wiser than his neigh- 
bours? Is it not pity to hear a miserable soul thank God 
for the grace which he never had? and one that is near eter- 
nal misery to thank God for making him an heir of glory? 
O how many have thanked God pharisaically for the pardon of 
their sins, that must for ever suffer for those sins ! How many 
have thanked him for giving them the assured hopes of 
glory, that must be thrust out into endless misery ! As I 
have known many, that by their friends and by themselves 
have been flattered into confident hopes of life, when they 
were ready to die, have thanked God that they were pretty 



Df) THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IG XOR A NCE, 

well, and the worst was past ; which, in the eyes of judici- 
ous standers-by, was not the least aggravation of their sad 
and deplorable state. Methinks it is one of the saddest 
spectacles in the world to hear a man thanking God for the 
assurance of salvation, that is in a state of condemnation, 
and likely to be in hell for ever ! These absurdities could not 
corrupt your highest duties, and turn them into sin, if you 
knew yourselves. 

A man that knoweth his own necessities and unworthi- 
ness, is thankful for a little to God and man. Mercy is as 
no mercy, where there is no sense of need or misery. * Sa- 
pientinotum est quanti resqueequetaxandasit,' saith Seneca. 
Therefore God useth to humble them so low in the work of 
conversion, whom he meaneth ever after to employ in the 
magnifying of his grace. And then that which is folly and 
hypocrisy from a Pharisee, will be an acceptable sacrifice 
from a humble, grateful soul ; and he that by grace is dif- 
ferenced from other men, may (modestly) thank God that 
he is not as other men. For had he nothing more to thank 
God for, than the ungodly world, he would be rejected and 
perish with the world : and if he have more than the world, 
and yet be no more thankful than the world, he would be 
guilty of greater unthankfulness than the world. 'Non est 
superbia elati, sed confessio non ingrati : et habere te cog- 
nosce, et nihil ex te habere ; ut nee superbus sis, nee ingra- 
tus : Die Deo tuo, quoniam sanctus sum quia sanctificasti 
me : quia accepi, non quae habui ; quia tu dedisti, non qua; 
ego merui :' saith Augustine. This is not the pride of 
one lift up, but the acknowledgement of one that is not un- 
thankful : Know that thou hast, and know that thou hast 
nothing of thyself, that thou mayest neither be proud, nor 
yet unthankful. Say to thy God, 1 am holy, for thou hast 
sanctified me : for I have received what I had not ; and 
thou hast given me what I deserved not. The thanksgiv- 
ing of a faithful soul is so far from being displeasing to 
God as a pharisaical ostentation, that it is a great and ex- 
cellent duty, and a most sweet and acceptable sacrifice. 

" Offer unto God thanksgiving He that ofFereth praise 

glorifieth me." (Psal. 1. 14. 23.) 

8. And as to the Lord's-supper, what work they are 
there like to make that are unacquainted with themselves, 
you may conjecture from the nature of the work, and the 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 97 

command of self-examination and self-judging. Though 
some may be welcomed by Christ, that have faith and love, 
though they doubt of their sincerity, and know not them- 
selves to be children of God ; yet none can be welcome 
that know not themselves to be sinners condemned by the 
law, and needing a Saviour to reconcile and justify them. 
Who will be there humbled at the feet of grace, and thank- 
ful for a Redeemer, and hunger and thirst for sacramental 
benefits, that knowetli not his own unworthiness and neces- 
sities? O what inestimable mercy would appear in a sacra- 
ment to us, in the offers of Christ and saving grace, and 
communion with God and with his saints, if our appetites 
were but quickened by the knowledge of ourselves ! 

9. And 1 beseech you consider, whether all your studies, 
and learning, and employments, be not irrational, prepos- 
terous and impertinent, while you study not first to know 
yourselves ? You are nearest to yourselves, and therefore 
should be best acquainted with yourselves. What should 
you more observe than the case of your own souls ! and 
what should you know better than what is within you, and 
what you carry still about you, and that which raethinks 
you should always feel ; even the bent of your own estima- 
tions and affections ; the sicknesses of your souls ; your guilt, 
your wants and greatest necessities. All your learning is 
but the concomitant of your dotage till you know your- 
selves. Your wisest studies are but the workings of a dis- 
tracted mind, while you study not yourselves, and the things 
of everlasting consequence. The wise man was but derided 
by the standers-by, that fell overhead into a ditch, whilst he 
was busily taking the height of a star. To study whether 
it be the sun or earth that moveth, and not consider what 
motion is predominant in thy soul and life, is a pitiful, pre- 
posterous study : To think more what stars are in the firma- 
ment, than what grace is in thy heart ; and what planet 
reigneth, than what disposition reigneth in thyself; and 
whether the spirit or the flesh have the dominion, is but to 
be learnedly besides thyself. 



• Ill 



urn ego jure 



Despiciam, qui scit quanto sublimior Atlas 
Omnibus in Lybia sit niontibus ; bic tameu idem 
Tgnoret quantum ferrata distet ab area. 

VOL. XVI. H 



93 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

Is it not a laborious madness to travel into far countries, 
and compass sea and land, to satisfy a curiosity ; and to be 
at so much cost and pains to know the situation, govern- 
ment, and manners, of the cities and countries of the world, 
and in the meantime to be utterly strange at home, and 
never bestow one day or hour in a serious survey of heayt 
and life? To carry about a dark, unknown, neglected soul, 
while they are travelling to know remotest things that less 
concern them ? Methinks it is a pitiful thing, to hear men 
ingeniously discoursing of the quality, laws and customs of 
other nations, and of the affairs of princes, and common- 
wealths, and of the riches and commodities of sea and land, 
and to be mute when they should express their acquaintance 
with themselves, either in confession and prayer to God, or 
in any humble, experimental conference with men. To 
trade abroad, and utterly neglect the trade of godliness at 
home. To keep correspondence with persons of all de- 
grees, and to have no correspondence with themselves. To 
keep their shop-books and accounts with diligence, and 
never regard the book of conscience, nor keep account of 
that for which they must ere long be accountable to God. 
It is a pitiful thing to see men turn over voluminous histo- 
ries, to know what hath been done from the beginning of 
the world, and regard no more the history of their own 
lives, nor once look back with penitent remorse upon their 
ungodly, careless conversations, nor say, 'What have we 
done?' To see men have well-furnished libraries, and read 
over a multitude of books, and never read the state and re- 
cords of their souls ! 

Quid juvat inimensos scire atque evolvere casus, 
Si facienda fugis, si fugienda lacis ? 

It maketh you but objects of wonder and compassion, to 
read laws and records, and understand all cases, and never 
endeavour to understand the case of your immortal souls ! 
To counsel others for their temporal estates, and never un- 
derstand your own spiritual state ! To study the mysteries of 
nature, and search into all the works of God, except yourselves, 
and that which your happiness or misery doth depend on ! 
To study the nature, and causes, and signs of bodily diseases, 
and their several remedies, and never study the diseases of 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. iJU 

your own souls, nor the precious remedy which mercy hath 
provided you. To cure the sicknesses of other men's bodies, 
and never feel a stony, proud or sensual heart, nor use any 
care and industry for the cure ! To know the matters of all 
arts and sciences, to be able to discourse of them all to the 
admiration of the hearers, is but an aggravation of thy la- 
mentable folly, if thou be all this while a stranger to thyself, 
and that because thou art mindless of thy soul's condition. 
You would but laugh at such a learned fool that knew not 
how to dress himself, or eat, or drink, or go, and yet could 
talk of the profoundest speculations in metaphysics or other 
sciences. It is more necessary to know yourselves, your 
sin, your duty, your hopes, your dangers, than to know how 
to eat, or drink, or clothe yourselves. Alas, it is a pitiful 
kind of knowledge, that will not keep you out of hell ; and 
a foolish wisdom that teaches you not to save your souls. 
'Per veram scientiam itur ad disciplinam; per disciplinam 
ad bonitatem ; per bonitatem ad beatitudinem,' saith Hugo. 
Till you know yourselves, the rest of your knowledge is but 
a confused dream : When you know the thing, you know 
not the end, and use, and worth of it. Self-knowledge will 
direct you in all your studies, and still employ you on that 
which is necessary, and will do you good, when others are 
studying but unprofitable, impertinent things ; and indeed 
are but "proud, knowing nothing (when they seem to excel 
in knowledge) but doting about questions and strifes of 
words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 
perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute 
of the truth, that take gain for godliness." (1 Tim. vi. 4, 5.) 
Self-knowledge will help you in all your studies, to know, 
' Quo ordine, quo studio, quo fine unumquodque scire opor- 
teat. Quo ordine ; ut illud prius, quod maturius movet ad 
salutem : Quo studio; ut illud ardentius, quod vehementius 
ad amorem: Quo fine; ut non ad inamen gloriam et osten- 
tationem, sed ad tuam et aliorum salutem,' saith Bernard. 
You will know in what order, with what study, and to 
what end every thing should be known: In what order, that 
that may go first, that most promoteth our salvation: With 
what study or desire ; that we may know that most ardently, 
which most vehemently provoketh love : To what end, that 
it be not for vainglory and ostentation, but for your own and 
other men's salvation. 



100 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

And as it is ourselves and our own affairs that are nearest 
to us, and therefore first in order to be known ; so it is our- 
selves that we have a special charge of, and that we are most 
obliged to study and to know ; and it is our own condition 
and soul affairs that most concern us. Though sun, and 
moon, and earth, be not little things in themselves ; yet the 
knowledge of them is a small, inconsiderable matter to thee, 
in comparison of the knowledge of thyself. The words even 
of Seneca are so pungent on this subject, that I shall recite 
some of them to shame those professed Christians that are 
so much short of a heathen. ' Quid ad virtutem viam sternit 
syllabarum enerratio, verborum diligentia et fabularum me- 
moria, et versuum lex et modificatio ? Quid ex his metum 
demit, cupiditatem fraenat?' What furtherance to virtue 
is the enarration of syllables, the diligence of words, the re- 
membering of fables, and the law and modification of verses? 
What of these taketh away fear, and bridleth concupi- 
scence ? ' Metiri me geometer docet latifundia : potius 
doceat quomodo metiar quantum homini satis sit: Docet 
quomodo nihil perdam ex finibus meis : at ego discere volo 
quomodo totum hilaris amittam. Scis rotunda metiri : si 
artifex es, metire hominis animum ; die quam magnus, die 
quam pusillus sit. Scis quse recta sit linea : quid tibi pro- 
dest si quid in vita rectum sit ignoras?' The geometrician 
teaeheth me to measure spacious grounds : let him rather 
teach me to measure how much is sufficient for a man : He 
teaeheth me how I may lose nothing of my possessions : but 
that which I would learn is, how I may lose all with a cheer- 
ful mind. Thou canst measure rounds ; if thou be an artist, 
measure the mind of man; tell him how great it is, or how 
little or low. Thou knowest a straight line : and what the 
better art thou if thou know not what is right or straight in 
thy own life ? * Hoc scire quid proderit, ut solicitus sim, 

quum Saturnus et Mars ^ contrario stabunt? Ilia li- 

beralium artium conseetatio molestos, intempestivos, ver- 
bosos, sibi placentes facit, et ideo non discentes neeessaria, 
quia supervacua didicerunt.' What good will it do me, 
that 1 should be solicitous to know when Saturn and Mars 

will stand in opposition? This diligent study of the 

liberal arts, doth make men troublesome, unseasonable, 
wordy, self-pleasing, and such as therefore learn not things 
necessary, because they have learned things superfluous. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 101 

When our nearer, greater works are done, then those 
that are more distant will be seasonable, and useful, and ex- 
cellent in their proper places. When men understand the 
state and affairs of their souls, and have made sure of their 
everlasting happiness, they may then seasonably and wisely 
m mage political and economical affairs, and prudently or- 
der and prosecute their temporal concernments : when they 
" first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness," su- 
bordinate things may be seasonably considered. But for a 
man to be taken up about matters of law, or trade, or plea- 
sure, when he mindeth not the matters of his salvation ; and 
to study languages, arts and sciences, when he studieth not 
how to escape damnation, is not to be learned, but to dote ; 
nor to be honourably or prudently employed, but to walk as 
a ' noctambulo,' a man in a dream, and live besides the rea- 
son of a man, as well as below the faith of a Christian : 
These seemingly wise and honourable worldlings, that la- 
bour not to know what state and relation they stand in to- 
wards God, and his judgment, do live in a more pernicious 
distraction than he that is disputing in mood and figure 
while his house is burning over his head, or he that is learn- 
ing to fiddle or dance, when he is assaulted by an enemy, 
or to be tried for his life. 

Even works of charity seem but absurd, preposterous 
acts, in those that are not charitable to themselves. To be 
careful to feed or clothe the bodies of the poor, and sense- 
less of the nakedness and»misery of your own souls, is an 
irrational, distracted course of mercy : As if a man should 
be diligent to cure another of a bile, while he minds not the 
plague or leprosy upon himself: or should be busy to pull 
a thorn out of another's finger, and senseless of a stab that 
is given himself in the bowels or at the heart. To love your- 
self, and not your neighbour, is selfish, unsociable and un- 
charitable. To love neither your neighbour nor yourself, is 
inhuman : To love your neighbour and not yourself, is pre- 
posterous, irrational, and scarcely possible. But to love 
first yourself (next God,) and then to love your neighbour 
as yourself, is regular, orderly. Christian charity. 

10. Consider also, that the ignorance of yourselves doth 
much unfit you to be useful unto others. If you are Magis- 
trates, you will never be soundly faithful against the sin of 
others, till you have felt how hurtful it is to yourselves. If 



102 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNOIi ANCE, 

you are Ministers, you will scarcely ever be good at heart- 
searching work, till you have searched your own : nor will 
you know the deceitfulness of sin, and the turnings and 
windings of the crooked serpent, till you have observed 
them in yourselves : nor will you have due compassion on 
the ignorant, impenitent, ungodly, unconverted, or on the 
tempted, weak, disconsolate souls, till you have learned 
rightly to be affected with sin and misery in yourselves. If 
men see a magistrate punish offenders, or hear a minister re- 
prove them, that is as bad or worse himself, they will but 
deride the justice of the one, and reproofs of the other, as 
the acts or words of blind partiality or hypocrisy; and ac- 
cost you with a ' Medice cura teipsum,' Physician heal thy- 
self: with a ' Loripidem rectus derideat, jEthiopem abbus,' 

&,c. And a ' Primus jussa subi,' &c. And a* Qui al- 

terum incusat probri, ipsum se intueri oportet.' First sweep 
before your own door. It is ridiculous for the blind to re- 
proach the purblind. ' Quae in aliis reprehendis, in teipso 
maxime reprehende.' Reprehend that more in thyself, which 
thou reprehendest in another. The eye of the soul is not 
like the eye of the body, that can see other things, but not 
itself. There are two evils that Christ noteth in the reproofs 
of such as are unacquainted with themselves, in Matt. vii. 
3,4. Hypocrisy and unfitness to reprove. " Why beholdest 
thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest 
not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how wilt thou say 
to thy brother. Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, 
and behold, a beam is in thy own eye ? Thou hypocrite, 
first cast the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou 
shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's 
eye." Thy own vices do corrupt thy judgment, and cause 
thee to excuse the like in others, and to accuse the virtue 
that in others is the condemner of thy vice, and to repre- 
sent all as odious that is done by those that by their piety 
and reproofs are become odious to thy guilty and malicious 
soul. Dost thou hate a holy, heavenly life, and art void of 
the love of God, and of his servants ? Hast thou a carnal, 
dead, unconverted heart? Art thou a presumptuous, care- 
less, worldly wretch ? Hast thou these beams in thy own 
eye ? And art thou fit to quarrel with others that are bet- 
ter than thyself, about a ceremony, or a holy day, or a cir- 
cumstance of church-government or worship, or a doubtful. 



AND BLNEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 103 

controverted opinion ? And to be pulling these motes out 
of thy brother's eye? (Yea, rather wouldst pull out his 
eyes, to get out the mote:) First get an illuminated mind, 
and a renewed, sanctified heart ; be acquainted with the 
love of God, and of his image ; and cast out the beam of 
infidelity, ungodliness, worldliness, sensuality, malice and 
liypocrisy, from thine own eye ; and then come and play 
the occulist with thy brother, and help to cure him of his 
lesser involuntary errors and infirmities. Till then the beam 
of thy sensuality and impiety will make thee a very incom- 
petent judge of the mote of a different opinion in thy bro- 
ther. Every word that thou speakest in condemnation of 
thy brother, for his opinion or infirmity, is a double con- 
demnation of thyself for thy ungodly, fleshly life. And if thou 
wilt needs have "judgment to begin at the house of God," 
for the failings of his sincere and faithful servants, it may 
remember thee to thy terror, " what the end of them shall 
be that obey not the Gospel of God." And if you will con- 
demn the righteous for their lamented weaknesses, " Where 
think you the ungodly and the sinner shall appear?" (1 Pet. 
iv. 17, 18.) 

11. If you begin not at yourselves, you can make no 
progress to a just and edifying knowledge of extrinsic things. 
Man's self is the alphabet or primer of his learning. * Non 
pervenitur ad summa nisi per inferiora.' You cannot come 
to the top of the stairs, if you begin not at the bottom. 
' Frustra cordis oculum erigit ad videndum Deum, qui non- 
dum idoneus est ad videndum seipsum : Prius enim est ut 
cognoscas invisibilia spiritus tui, quam possis esse idoneus 
ad cognoscendum invisibilia Dei; et si non potes te cog- 
noscere, non prsesumas apprehendere ea quae sunt supra te 
(inquit. Hug. de Anim.)' i. e. In vain doth he lift up his 
heart to see God, that is yet unfit to see himself. For thou 
must first know the invisible things of thy own spirit, be- 
fore thou canst be fit to know the invisible things of God. 
And if thou canst not know thyself, presume not to know 
the things that are above thyself. You cannot see the face 
which it representeth, if you will not look upon the glass 
which representeth it. God is not visible, but appeareth to 
us in his creatures; and especially in ourselves. And if we 
know not ourselves, we cannot know God in ourselves. 
' Prajcipuum et principale est speculum ad videndum Deum 



104 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

animus rationalis intuens seipsum (inq. Hug.)' The princi- 
pal glass for the beholding of God, is the reasonable soul 
beholding itself. 

And you will make but an unhappy progress in your 
study of the works of God, if you begin not with yourselves. 
You can know but little of the works of nature, till you 
know your own nature : and you can know as little of the 
works of grace, till self-acquaintance help you to know the 
nature and danger of those diseases that grace must cure. 
The unhappy error of presumptuous students, about their 
own hearts, misleadeth and perverteth them in the whole 
course of their studies ; that by all, they do but profit in 
misapplied notions and self-deceit. It is a lamentable sight 
to see a man turning over fathers and councils, and diligently 
studying words and notions, that is himself in the gall of 
bitterness and bond of iniquity, and never knew it, nor stu- 
dielh the cure. And it is a pitiful thing to see such in a 
pulpit, teaching the people to know the mysteries of salva- 
tion, that know not, nor ever laboured to know what sins are 
predominant in their own hearts and lives ; or, whether they 
stand before God in a justified or a condemned state! To 
hear a poor, unsanctified man, as boldly treating of the mys- 
teries of sanctification, as if he had felt them in himself: 
and a man that is condemned already, and stayeth but 
awhile till the stroke of death, for final execution, to treat as 
calmly of judgment and damnation, as if he were out of 
danger ; and exhorting others to escape the misery which 
he is in himself, and never dreameth of it! This sheweth 
how sad a thing it is for men to be ignorant of themselves. 
To see men run out into damnable and dangerous errors on 
each hand, some into the proud self-conceitedness of the 
fanatics, enthusiasts and libertines, and some into contempt 
and scorn of holiness, and every one confident even to rage 
in his own distractions; this doth but shew us, whither 
men will go, that are unacquainted with themselves. 

This also maketh us so troubled with our auditors, that 
when they would learn the truth that should convert and 
save them, are carping and quarrelling with us, and hear us 
as the Pharisees and Herodians heard Christ, to catch him 
in his words. (Mark xii. 13.) As if a dying man in a con- 
sumption, imagining that he is well, should go to the phy- 
sician to make a jest of him, or seek to ruin him for telling 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. [05 

him that he is sick. And how frowardly do they reject the 
wisest counsel, and cast the medicine with unthankful in- 
dignation into the face of the physician ! And they must 
tell us themselves what medicine must be given them, what 
doctrine, and what administrations they must have. But 
self-acquaintance would teach them to understand that of 
Augustine, * Novit medicus quid salutiferuni, quidve con- 
trarium petat segrotus. Mgtoii estis, nolite ergo dictare 
qusB vobis medicamnia velit opponere.' 

Yea, they that will not be directed or healed by us, will 
blame us if others be not healed, and hit the minister in the 
teeth with the errors and faults of his unteachable hearers. 
Though we do our best in season and out of season, and 
they cannot tell us what we have neglected on our part, that 
was like to do the cure (though I confess we are too often 
negligent) : and though we succeed to the conversion of 
many others, yet must we be reproached with the disobe- 
dience of the impenitent ! As if it were not grief enough to 
us, to have our labours frustrated, and see them obstinate in 
their sin and misery, but we must also be blamed or derided 
for our calamity ! 

Fecerit el postquani quicquid jubet ipsa medeiidi 

Norma, nisi valeat subitoque revixerit aeger, 

Murtnurat insipicns vulgus, linguaque loquaci, 

Et loquitur de te ccnvitia, talia jactans, 

Heu raihi, quam stultum est medicorum credere nugis ! 

As if they knew not the power of the disease ; and what 
a wonder of mercy it is that any and so many are recovered. 

Non est in medico semper relevetur ut asger ; 
Interdum docta plus valet arte malum. 

None would die if physicians could cure all : and none 
would perish if ministers could save all. * Rhetor non sem- 
per persuadebit, nee medicus semper sanabat,' saith the phi- 
losopher. They cast away the medicine, and then blame 
the physician. ' Crudelem vel infaelicem medicum intem- 
perans asger facit.' An intemperate, unruly patient maketh 
the physician seem cruel and unsuccessful. 

12. Lastly, consider but how many great and necessary 
things concerning yourselves you have to know, and it will 
shew you how needful it is to make this the first of your 
studies. To know what you are as men ; with what facuU 



106 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

ties you are endowed, and to what use ; for what end you 
live ; in what relation you stand to God and to your fellow- 
creatures; what duties you owe ; what sin is in your hearts ; 
and what hath been by commission and omission in your 
Jives ; what humiliation, contrition, and repentance you 
have for that sin ; whether you have truly entertained an 
offered Christ ; and are renewed and sanctified by his Spi- 
rit; and unreservedly devoted to God, and resolved to be 
entirely his : whether you love him above all, and your 
neighbours as yourselves : whether you are justified and 
have forgiveness of all your sins : whether you can bear af- 
flictions from the hand, or for the sake of Christ, even to the 
forsaking of all the world, for the hopes of the heavenly, 
everlasting treasure : how you perform the daily works of 
your relations and callings : whether you are ready to die, 
and are safe from the danger of damnation. O did you but 
know how it concerneth you to get all these questions well 
resolved, you would find more matter for your studies in 
yourselves, than in many volumes. You would then per- 
ceive that the matters of your own hearts and lives, are not 
so lightly and carelessly to be passed over, as they ordina- 
rily be by drowsy sinners : To consider but * quid, quis, 
qualis sis; quid in natura, quis in persona, qualis in vita 
(ut Bern.)' would find you no small labour. And it would 
redound (saith another) ' in utilitatem sui, charitatem prox- 
imi, contemptum mundi, amorem Dei :' To our own profit, 
charity to our neighbour, the contempt of the world, and 
the love of God. 

If you have but many and weighty businesses to think 
on in the world, you are so taken up with care, that you 
cannot turn away your thoughts. And yet do you find no 
work at home, where you have such a world of things to 
think on, and such as of all the matters in the world, do 
most nearly concern you? 

Having shewed you so much reason for this duty, let me 
now take leave to invite you all, to the serious study of 
yourselves. It is a duty past all controversy, agreed on by 
heathens as well as Christians, and urged by them in the 
general, though many of the particulars to be known are be- 
yond their light : It brutifieth man to be ignorant of him- 
self. " Man that is in honour and understandeth not (him- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 107 

self especially) is as the beasts that perish." (Psal. xlix. 20.) 
Saith Boetius, ' Humana natuva infra bestias redigitur, si se 
nosse desierit : Nam cseteris animantibus sese ignorare na- 
tura est ; hominibus vitio venit.' It is worse than beastly 
to be ignorant of ourselves, it being a vice in us, which is 
nature in them. 

Come home you wandering, self-neglecting souls ; lose 
not yourselves in a wilderness or tumult of impertinent, 
vain, distracting things ; your work is nearer you ; the 
country that you should first survey and travel, is within 
you ; from which you must pass to that above you : when 
by losing yourselves in this without you, you will find your- 
selves before you are aware, in that below you. And then 
(as Gregory speaks) he that was ' stultus in culpa,' a fool 
in sinning, will be ' sapiens in poena,' wise in suffering ! You 
shall then have time enough to review your lives, and such 
constraining help to know yourselves, as you cannot resist. 
O that you would know but a little of that now, that then 
you must else know in that overwhelming evidence which 
will everlastingly confound you ! And that you would now 
think of that for a timely cure, which else must be thought 
of endlessly in despair. Come home then, and see what 
work is there. Let the eyes of fools be in the corners of the 
earth ! Leave it to men besides themselves, to live as with- 
out themselves, and to be still from home, and waste that 
time in other business, that was given them to prepare for 
life eternal. ' Laudabilior est animus, cui nota est infirmitas 
propria, quam qui ea non perspecta, mania mundi, vias sy- 
derura, fundamenta terrarum, et fastigia coelorum scrutatur, 
(inquit August.)' The soul is more laudable that knows its 
own infirmity, than he that without discerning this doth 
search after the compass of the world, the courses of the 
stars, the foundations of the earth, and the heights of the 
heavens. Dost thou delight in the mysteries of nature ? 
Consider well the mysteries of thy own. * Mirantur aliqui 
altitudines montium, ingentes fluctus maris, altissimos 
lapsus fluminum, et oceani ambitum, et gyros syderum, et 
relinquunt seipsos, nee mirantur,' saith Augustine. Some 
men admire the heights of mountains, the huge waves of 
the sea, the great falls of the rivers, the compass of the 
ocean, and the circuit of the stars, and they pass by them 
themselves without admiration. The compendium of all 



108 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

that thou studiest without thee, is near thee, even within 
thee, thyself being the epitome of the world. If either ne- 
cessity or duty, nature or grace, reason or faith, internal in- 
ducements, external repulses, or eternal attractives and mo- 
tives, might determine of the subject of your studies and 
contemplations, you would call home your lost, distracted 
thoughts, and employ them more on yourselves and God. 

But before I urge this duty further, I must prevent the 
misapplication of some troubled souls. I must confess it is 
a grievous thing for a guilty soul to judge itself, and see its 
own deformity and danger: and I observe many troubled, 
humbled souls, especially where melancholy much prevails, 
are exceeding prone to abuse this duty, by excess and mis- 
doing it. Though wandering minds must be called home, 
we must not run into the other extreme, and shut up our- 
selves, and wholly dwell on the motions of our own distem- 
pered hearts. Though straggling thoughts must be turned 
inward, and our hearts must be watched, and not neglected, 
yet must we not be always poring on ourselves, and neglect 
the rest of our intellectual converse. To look too long on 
the running of a stream, will make our eyes misjudge of 
what we after look on, as if all things had the same kind of 
motion. To look too long on the turning of a wheel, will 
make us vertiginous, as if all turned round. And to pore 
too long on the disordered motions, the confused thoughts, 
the wants, the passions of our diseased minds, will but 
molest us, and cast us into greater disquiet and confusion. 
The words of Anselme notably express the straits that 
Christians are here put to, ' O nimis gravis Angustia, si me 
inspicio, non tolero meipsum : si non inspicio, nescio meip- 
sum : si me considero, terret me facies mea : si me non con- 
sidero, fallit me damnatio mea ; si me video, horror est 
intolerabilis : si non video, mors est inevitabilis.' O griev- 
ous strait! If I look into myself, I cannot endure myself: if 
I look not into myself, I cannot know myself. If I consider 
myself, my own face afFrighteth me : if I consider not myself, 
ray damnation deceiveth me : if I see myself the horror is 
intolerable : if I see not myself, death is unavoidable. 

In this strait we must be careful to avoid both ex- 
tremes ; and neither neglect the study of ourselves, nor yet 
exceed in poring on ourselves. To be carelessly ignorant of 
ourselves, is to undo ourselves for ever : To be too much 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 109 

about ourselves, is to disquiet rather than to edify ourselves ; 
and to turn a great and necessary duty into a great un- 
necessary trouble. 

Consider, 1. That we have many other matters of great 
importance to study and know when we know ourselves. 
We must chiefly study God himself, and all the books of 
Scripture, Nature, and Governing Providence, which make 
him known. What abundance of great and excellent truths 
have we in all these to study! What time, what industry 
is necessary to understand them! And should we lay out 
all this time about our own hearts and actions, which is but 
one part of our study ? What sinful omissions should we be 
guilty of in the neglecting of all these ! It is indeed but the 
burying of our talent of understanding, to confine it to so 
narrow a compass as ourselves, and to omit the study of God, 
and his word and works, which are all with delight and dili- 
gence to be studied. 

We have also Christ and his Gospel mysteries and bene- 
fits to study. We have the church's ease, its dangers, suf- 
ferings, and deliverances to study : we have the state of our 
neighbours and brethren to consider of: the mercies, and 
dangers, and sufferings both of their souls and bodies : we 
have our enemies to think of with due compassion: and our 
duty to all these. 

2. And as it is negligence and omission to be all at 
home, and pass by so great a part of duty ; so is it a double 
frustration of our labour, and will make even this study of 
ourselves to be in vain. (1.) We cannot come by all our 
study to the true knowledge of ourselves, unless we also 
study other things besides ourselves : For we are related to 
God, as his creatures, as his own, as his subjects, and as his 
dependent children, as his redeemed, and his sanctified 
ones, (or such as should be such.) And if we know not 
God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; as our Owner, 
Ruler and Benefactor; and know not what his creation, re- 
demption, sanctification, his title, government, and benefits 
mean, it is not possible that we should know ourselves. 
Mutual relations must be known together, or neither can be 
known. 

(2.) And if we could know ourselves, and know no more, 
it were but to know nothing, and lose that knowledge : for 
this is but the entrance into wisdom, and the means and way 



110 THE MISCHIEFS OF SE L P-IGNOR A NCE, 

to higher knowledge. This learning of our alphabet or 
primer is lost, if we learn no farther ; you are therefore to 
study and know yourselves, that you may advance to the 
knowledge of Christ and his grace, and be acquainted with 
the remedy of ail that you find amiss at home : and that 
by Christ you may be brought unto the Father, and know 
God as your happiness and rest ; you are not your own ulti- 
mate ends, and therefore must go farther in your studies 
than yourselves. 

3. We shall never attain to rectitude or solid comfort 
and content, unless our studies go farther than ourselves : 
for we are not the rule to ourselves, but crooked lines ! And 
cannot know what is right and wrong, if we study not the 
rule as well as ourselves. And alas, we are diseased, misera- 
ble sinners. And to be always looking on so sad a specta- 
cle, can bring no peace or comfort to the mind. To be still 
looking on the sore, and hearing only the cry of conscience, 
will be but a foretaste of hell. When we would be humbled 
and have matter of lamentation, we must look homeward, 
where the troubling thorns and nettles of corruption grow. 
But if we would be comforted and lift up, we must look 
higher, to Christ and to his promises, and to everlasting life : 
our garden beareth no flowers or fruits that are so cordial. 

This much I have spoken by way of caution. 1. That 
you may not think 1 am driving you into the extreme of 
solitude, and confining or imprisoning you at home. 2. 
Because some scarcely know how to avoid a fault, without 
running into another on the other side of the way : nor how 
to understand the right use of a doctrine, but are turning it 
into an abuse, and building sin upon the foundation of 
righteousness. 

Two sorts of persons have great need of this caution, 
that they dwell not too much on themselves. One is poor 
melancholy people, that can think of almost nothing else : 
their distemper disposeth them to be always poring on them- 
selves, and fixing their thoughts on their sin and misery, and 
searching into all their own miscarriages, and making them 
worse than indeed they are : you cannot call off their thoughts 
from continual self-condemning, and musing on their own 
misdoings and unhappiness. They have a God, a Christ, a 
heaven, a treasure of precious promises to meditate on : and 
they cannot hold their thoughts to these, (unless as they 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. Ill 

aggravate their sin and sorrows) but live as if they had 
nothing to think on but themselves, and were made to be 
their own tormentors : day and night, even when they should 
labour, and when they should sleep, they are busy in a 
fruitless vexation of themselves. These poor afflicted souls 
have need to be called from the excessive study of them- 
selves. 

Another sort is, those Christians that are wholly taken up 
in inquiring, whether they have saving grace or not; while 
they neglect that exercise of their grace, in doing all the 
good they can to others, and following on the way of faithful 
duty, which might do more to their assurance than solitary 
trials. 

The former sort by overdoing in this one part of their 
work, disable themselves to all the rest : they tire and dis- 
tract their minds, and raise such fears as hinder their under- 
standings, and cast their thoughts into such confusion, that 
they quite lose the command of them, and cannot gather 
them up for any holy work : yea, while they study nothing 
but themselves, they lose even the knowledge of themselves : 
they gaze so long upon their faults and wants, till they can 
see nothing else, and know no apprehensions but dark and 
sad; and wilfully unlearn the language of thanksgiving and 
praise; and the burden of all their thoughts and speeches, 
is Miserable and Undone; as if there were for them no mercy, 
no help, no hope, but they were utterly forsaken and cast off 
by God. 

The other sort do so exceed in the measure of that self-love, 
which in itself is good, that they neglect the study of the 
love of God, and are still thinking what they are and have 
been, when they should consider what they must be. They 
spend so much time in trying their foundation, that they can 
make but little progress in the building : they are like mu- 
sicians, that will spend all the day in setting instruments in 
tune ; or like a mower that spends most of his time in 
whetting. They are all day preparing their tools, while they 
should be working ! and putting on their armour, and pre- 
paring their weapons, when they should be fighting : and 
inquiring which is the way, while they should be travelling. 
They leave undone too much of their work without doors, 
while they confine themselves to that within : and that within 
goes on the worse, because they neglect that without doors, 



112 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-J G NORA NCE, 

which should further it. When they should instruct the 
ignorant, exhort the obstinate, confirm the weak, or comfort 
the afflicted, they are complaining of their own ignorance, 
obstinacy, weakness, or affliction; and help not others, be- 
cause they feel such need of help themselves; as if they 
were like beggars, that had nothing to give, but must live 
l)y asking and receiving. They understand not that it is 
one of the mysteries of godliness, that teaching others doth 
inform themselves, and the light which they bring in for 
others, will serve themselves to work by; and that reproving 
others doth correct themselves ; and exhorting others doth 
prevail with themselves ; and persuading the obstinate wills 
of others, doth tend to bend and resolve their own ; and that 
comforting others doth tend to revive and raise themselves: 
their own spirits may be a little revived, by the very smell 
of the cordials they prepare for others. In this case, giving 
is both begging and receiving. Doing good is not the least 
effectual kind of prayer ; and that we may be so employed, 
is not the smallest mercy. Many a one hath thus grown 
rich by giving : many a one hath convinced himself, by 
confuting his own objections from another: and many a one 
hath raised and comforted himself, by offering comfort to 
others that have the same infirmities ; and have banished 
their own excessive doubts and fears, by frequent compas- 
sionate answering the same in others, whose sincerity 
they have less suspected than their own. 

None thrive more than they that grow in the sunshine of 
God's blessing : and God blesseth those most that are the 
most faithful in his work : and the work of love is the work 
of God. To do good, is to be most like him : and they that 
are most like him, do best please him : In subordination to 
Christ, in whom we are accepted, we must, by his Spirit, be 
made thus acceptable in ourselves : we must be amiable if 
we will be loved. And those that God loveth best, and is 
most pleased with, are like to receive most plenteously 
from his love. It is necessary therefore to our own safety, 
and holiness, and consolation, that we look much abroad at 
the necessities of others, and study our brethren and the 
church of God, as well as ourselves : that we " look not 
every man on his own things, but every man also on the 
things of others," (Phil, ii.4.) 

There may be somewhat of inordinate selfishness even 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-AC QU A 1 NTT A NC E. 113 

i^bout our souls ; and sinful selfishness is always a losing 
course. As he that will be a self-saver, in point of estate, 
or honour, or life, taketh the ready way to lose them, (Matt. 
xvi. 15,) so he that for the saving of his soul, will con- 
fine all his care and charity to his own soul, taketh not the 
way indeed to save it. We keep not ourselves; we quicken 
not, we comfort not, we save not ourselves ; but only as 
agents under Christ, manuring the land, and sowing the 
seed, to which he alone can give the blessing : it is not there- 
fore our inordinate self-studying that will do it : With all 
our care, vs^ithout his blessing-, we cannot add one cubit to 
the stature of our graces: therefore it must needs be our 
safest course, to be as careful and faithful as we can in 
duty, and lay out most of our study to please him ; and then 
if we come not to assurance of his love, or discern not his 
image and grace upon us, yet we must trust him with our 
souls, and leave the rest to his care and goodness, that hath 
undertaken that none shall be losers by him, nor be ashamed 
or frustate of their hopes, that wait upon him : " Let us 
commit the keeping of our souls to him in well doing, as 
unto a faithful Creator." (1 Peter iv. 19.) " As the eyes of 

servants look to the hand of their masters so our eyes 

(in a way of duty) must wait upon the Lord our God, till he 
have mercy upon us." (Psal. cxxiii. 1, 2.) And though we 
" grow weary of crying, and our throat be dried, and our 
eyes fail while we wait for God," (Psal. Ixix. 3,) yet " our 
hope is only in him, and therefore we must continue to wait 
upon him." (Psal. xxxix. 7.) " And they that wait for him 
shall not be ashamed." (Isa. xlix. 23.) 

It is not the pretended necessity of one work, that will 
■excuse him that hath many as necessary to do; especially 
when they are conjunct in nature and necessity, and must 
go together, to attain their end. Concerning God, as we 
may well say that we must love and serve him only, and 
none but him, because we must love nothing but for his 
sake, and as a means to him the end of all ; and so while it 
is God in all things that we love, we are more properly said 
to love God than the creature by that act, because he is the 
ultimate first intended end, and principal object of that love; 
and as the means, as a means, hath its essence in its relation 
to the end ; so the love of the means, as such, is accordingly 

VOL. XVI. I 



114 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

specified: and so we may say of our study and knowledge 
of God, that nothing but God is to be studied or known; 
because it is God in the creature that must be studied : It 
is a defective similitude (as all are) to say, ' As it is the face 
that we behold the glass for :' for God is more in the crea- 
ture than the face in the glass. But though all the means 
be united in the end, yet are they various among themselves. 
And therefore though we must study, know, and love no- 
thing but God, yet we must study, know, and love many 
things besides ourselves : the means that are many, must all 
be thought on. More strings must be touched than one 
(how near soever) if we will have any music. More letters 
must be learned than /, or we shall never learn to read. 

All men will confess, that to confine our charity to our- 
selves, and to do good to no others, is unlike a Christian. 
To deny to feed and clothe our brother in his need, is to 
deny it unto Christ: and it will be no excuse, if we were 
able, to say, ' I laid it out upon myself.' And the objects of 
our charity must be the objects of our thoughts and care : 
and it will not suffice for our excuse to say, ' I was taken 
up at home, I had a miserable soul of my own to think on.* 

And yet if these self-studying souls, that confine almost 
all their thoughts unto themselves, would but seek after 
God in themselves, and see his grace and benefits, it were 
the better : but, poor souls, in the darkness of temptation, 
they overlook their God ; and most of their study of them- 
selves, is to see Satan and his workings in themselves : to 
find as much of his image as they can, in the deformities 
or infirmities of their souls ; but the image of God they 
overlook, and hardly will acknowledge. And so, as noble 
objects raise the soul, and amiable objects kindle love, and 
comfortable objects fill it with delight; and God, who is 
all in one perfection, doth elevate and perfect it, and make 
it happy ; so inferior objects do depress it ; and ugly, loath- 
some objects fill it with distaste and loathing; and sad and 
mournful objects turn it into grief: and therefore to be still 
looking on our miseries and deformities, must needs turn 
calamity and woe into the temperament and complexion of 
the soul. 

This much I thought needful to be spoken here, to pre- 
vent misunderstanding and misapplication ; that while I am 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 115 

pressing you to study and know yourselves, I may not en- 
courage any in extremes, nor tempt them to make an ill use 
of so great and necessary a doctrine. And indeed the ob- 
servationof the sad calamity of many poor,drooping, afflicted 
souls, that are still poring excessively on their own hearts, 
commanded me not to overpass this caution. And yet when 
I have done it, I am afraid lest those in the contrary extreme, 
will take encouragement to neglect themselves, by my re- 
prehensions of those that are so unlike them. 

And therefore I must add, to save them from deceit; I. 
That it is but a very i'ew that are faulty in over-studying 
themselves, in comparison of the many thousands that err 
on the other hand, in the careless neglecting of themselves. 
2. And that it is symptomatically and effectively far more 
dangerous to study yourselves too little than too much. 
Though it be a fault here to exceed, yet it is for the most part 
a sign of an honest heart to be much at home, and a sign of 
an hypocrite to be little at home and much abroad. Sincerity 
maketh men censurers of themselves; for it maketh them 
more impartial, and willing to know the truth of their con- 
dition : it cureth them of that folly, that before made them 
think that presumption shall deliver them, and that they 
shall be justified by believing promises of their own, though 
contrary to the word of God ; yea, by believing the promises 
of the devil, and calling this a faith in Christ : They are 
awakened from that sleep in which they dreamed, that 
winking would save them from the stroke of justice, and 
that a strong conceit that they shall not be damned, will 
deliver them from damnation; and that they are safe from 
hell if they can but believe that there is no hell, or can but 
forget it, or escape the fears of it. These are the pernicious 
conclusions of the ungodly; discernible in their lives, and 
intimated in their presumptuous reasonings, though too 
gross to be openly and expressly owned : and therefore they 
are indisposed to any impartial acquaintance with them- 
selves. 

But grace recovereth men from this distraction, and 
makes them know that the judgment of God will not follow 
the conceits of men ; and that the knowledge of their dis- 
ease is necessary to their cure, and the knowledge of their 
danger is necessary to the prevention ; and that it is the 



IKJ THE MISCHIEFS OP SELF-IGNORANCE, 

greatest madness to go on to hell, for fear of knowing that 
we are in the way ; and to refuse to know it, for fear of be- 
ing troubled at the news. 

And an upright soul is so far fallen out with sin, that he 
taketh it seriously for his enemy, and therefore is willing to 
discover it, in order to its destruction, and willing to search 
after it in order to a discovery. 

And he hath in him some measure of the heavenly illu- 
mination, which maketh him a child of light, and disposeth 
him to love the light, and therefore cometh to it, " that his 
deeds may be made manifest." (John iii. 21.) Hypocrites 
are quick-sighted in discovering the infirmities of others ; 
but at home they shut the windows, and draw the curtains, 
that they may not be disturbed or frightened in their sin : 
Thieves and sleepers choose not light ; darkness suits the 
works of darkness. It is a good sign when a man dare see 
his own face in the glass of God's word ; and when he dare 
hear his conscience speak. I have ever observed it in the 
most sincere-hearted Christians, that their eye is more upon 
their own hearts and lives, than upon others : and I have 
still observed the most unsound professors to be least cen- 
sorious and regardful of themselves, and hardly drawn to 
converse at home, and to pass an impartial judgment on 
themselves. 

Hence therefore you may be informed of the reason of 
many other differences between sincere believers and the un- 
godly. As, 1. Why is it that the sincere are so ready to 
discourse about matters of the heart; and that they so much 
relish such discourse ; and that they have so much to say 
when you come to such a subject. It is because they know 
themselves in some good measure. They have studied, and 
are acquainted with the heart, and therefore can talk the 
more sensibly of what is contained in a book which they 
have so often read, and are so conversant in. Talk with 
them about the matters of the world, and perhaps you may 
find them more simple and ignorant than many of their 
neighbours : but when you talk about the corruptions of 
the heart, and the secret workings of them ; the matter, and 
order, and government of the thoughts, and affections, and 
passions ; the wants and weaknesses of believers ; the na- 
ture and workings of inward temptations ; the ways of grace. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 117 

and of the exercise of each grace ; the motions and opera- 
tions of the Spirit upon the heart; the breathings of love 
and desire after God ; the addresses of the soul to Christ 
by faith, and dependance on him, and receivings from him ; 
about these secret matters of the heart, he is usually more 
able in discourse than many learned men that are unsanc- 
tified. ^ 

And hence it is that upright, self-observing souls are so 
full in prayer, and able to pour out their hearts so enlargedly 
before the Lord, in confessing their sins, and petitioning 
for grace, and opening their necessities, and thanking God 
for spiritual mercies ! Some that are themselves acquainted 
with themselves, and the workings of grace, despise all this, 
and say, * It is but an ability to speak of the things which 
they are most used to.' I doubt not but mere acquired 
abilities and custom may advance some hypocrites, to pray 
in the language of experienced Christians. And I doubt 
not but natural impediments, and want of use, and of right 
education, may cause many to want convenient expressions, 
that have true desires, but the question is, from whence it 
comes to pass, that so great a number of those that are most 
careful and diligent for their souls, are so full in holy con- 
ference and prayer, when very few others that excel them 
in learning and natural parts, have any such ability? And 
doubtless the chief reason is, that the care and study of 
these Christians hath been most about their spiritual estate ; 
and that which they set their hearts upon, they use their 
tongues upon : generally it cannot be imagined, why they 
should use themselves to those studies and exercises which 
procure those abilities, but that they more highly esteem, 
and most seriously regard the matters that concern their 
salvation, which are the subject. I doubt not, but God be- 
stoweth his gifts upon men in the use of means, and that it 
is partly use that maketli men able and ready in these ser- 
vices of God. But what reason can be given, why one part 
of men use themselves to such employments, and another 
part are unable through disuse, but that some do set their 
hearts upon it, and make it their business to know them- 
selves, their sins, and wants, and seek relief, when by the 
others all this is neglected. Some hypocrites may be moved 
by lower ends, both in this and in other duties of religion; 
but that is no rule for our judging of the intentions of the 



118 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

generality, or of any that are sincere. As a man that hath 
lived in the East or West Indies, is able to discourse of the 
places and people which he hath seen ; and perhaps another 
by a map or history may say somewhat of the same subject, 
though less distinctly and sensibly ; but others can say no- 
thing of it: so a man of holy experience in the mysteries of 
sanctification, that is much conversant at home, and ac- 
quainted with his own heart, is able (if other helps concur) 
to speak what he feels, to God and man, and from his par- 
ticular observation and experience, to frame his prayers and 
spiritual conference ; and an hypocrite from reading and 
common observation, may do something affectedly that is 
like it: But careless, self-neglecting worldlings, are usually 
dumb about such matters, and hear you as they do men of 
another country, that talk in a language which they do not 
understand, or at least cannot make them any answer in. 

But if any of you will needs think more basely and ma- 
liciously of the cause of holy prayer and conference in be- 
lievers, let us leave them for the present (to the justification 
of him that gave them the spirit of supplication, which you 
reproach), and let us only inquire what is the reason that 
men that can discourse as handsomely as others, about 
worldly matters, have nothing to say (beyond a few cold, 
affected words, which they have learned by rote) either to 
God or man, about the matters of the soul, the methods of 
the Spirit, the workings of a truly penitent heart, or the 
elevations of faith, and the pantings of desire after God. 
Why are you dumb when you should speak this language, 
and frequently and delightfully speak it? Is it because 
your reason is lower than those men's that do speak it, 
whom you despise ? and that you are naturally near kin to 
idiots? No 5 you are wise enough to do evil : you can talk 
of your trades, your honours or employments, your ac- 
quaintance and correspondencies all the day long; you are 
more wordy about these little things, than the preachers 
themselves, that you count more tedious, are about the 
greatest. You are much longer in discoursing of your de- 
lusory toys, than the lovers of God, whose souls long after 
him, are in those prayers, which trouble you with their 
length : Many a time have I been forced to hear your dream- 
ing, incoherent dotage : how copious you are in the words 
that signify no greater matters than flesh-pleasing, or fanci- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 119 

fill honours and accommodations ; I had ahiiost said, than 
chaff, or straw, or dirt. One may hear you from morning to 
night, from day to day, discoursing in variety of company, 
on various subjects, with freedom and plausible ingenuity ; 
and when all is set together, it is but a hodgepodge of earth 
and flesh, and windy vanity, a frothy puddle. As the ridi- 
culous orator, ' Magno Conatu et hiatu hihil dicitis :' You 
strain and gape an hour or a day together to say nothing. 
Set all the words of a day together, and peruse them at 
night, and see what they are worth : there is little higher 
than visible materials, (that I say not, than the dunghill or 
your shadows) than meat and drink, and play and compli- 
ment, than houses, or lands, or domineering affections or 
actions, in many hours or days discourse. I think of you 
sometimes, when I see how ingeniously and busily children 
do make up their babies of clouts, and how seriously they 
talk about them, and how every pin and clout is matter of em- 
ployment and discourse, and how highly they value them, 
and how many days they can unweariedly spend about them. 
Pardon my comparison : If you repent not of your dis- 
courses and employments more than they, and do not one 
day call yourselves far worse fools than them, then let me 
be stigmatized with the most contumelious brand of folly. 

It is not then your want of natural faculties and parts 
that makes you mute in the matters of God and your salva- 
tion, when men of meaner parts than you do speak of those 
things with the greatest freedom and delight. 

And surely it is not for want of an ingenuous education ; 
as you would take it ill to be thought below them in natural 
endowments, so much more in those acquisitions and furni- 
ture of the mind, which comes by breeding and due culture 
of your naturals. You would disdain in these to be com- 
pared with many poor rustics and mechanics, that are almost 
as fluent in speaking of the great things of immortality, as 
you are in talking of your transient occurrences, your sub- 
lunary felicities, and the provisions of your appetites and 
your skins. What then can be the cause of this dumb dis- 
ease, but that you are unacquainted with yourselves? And 
as you have not a new-birth, and a divine nature, and the 
Spirit of Christ, to be either the spring and principle, or the 
matter of your discourse; so you have not the due know- 
ledge of your bin and misery, which should teach you in the 



120 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

language of serious penitents, before you have the language 
of justified believers. 

If you say again, * It is because we have not been used 
to this kind of speech.' I answer, And whence is it that you 
have not been used to it? If you had known the greatness 
and goodness of the Lord, as sensibly as they, would not 
you have used to pray to him and speak of him as well as 
they? If you had known and considered your sin, and 
wants, and miseries, or dangers, as well as they, would you 
not have been used to beg mercy, pardon and relief, and to 
complain of your distress as much as they? If you did as 
highly value the matters of eternal consequence as they do, 
and laid them to heart as seriously as they, would not your 
minds and hearts have appeared in your speeches, and made 
you use yourselves to prayer and holy conference as well as 
others ? 

If you say, ' That many have that within them which 
they are not able to express, or which they think not meet 
to open unto others,' I answer : 

1. As to ability, it is true of those that have the impedi- 
ments of some natural disability, or excessive bashfulness, 
melancholy, or the like disease ; and of those that are so 
lately converted, that they have not had time to learn and 
use themselves to a holy language : But what is this to them 
that are of as good natural parts and free elocution as other 
men, and suppose themselves to have been true Christians 
long? 

2. And as to the point of prudence vi^hich is pleaded for 
this silence, it is so much against nature, and so much against 
the word of God, that there is no room at all for this pre- 
tence, unless it be for inferiors, or such as want an oppor- 
tunity to speak to their superiors or to strangers ; or unless 
it be only for some particular omissions when the thing 
would be unseasonable. 

Nature hath made the tongue the index of the mind; 
especially to express the matters of most urgency and con- 
cernment. Do you keep silent ordinarily the matters which 
you most highly esteem; which you most often think of; 
which you take your life and happiness to consist in ; and 
which you are most deeply affected with, and prefer before 
all other matters of the world ? What a shameful pretence 
is it, for those that are dumb to prayer and holy conference. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 121 

for want of any sense of their condition, or love to God, 
which should open their lips, to talk on them? Is it for 
want of tongues, or because their prudence directeth them 
to silence? When they hold not their tongues about those 
matters, which they must confess are ten thousandfold less 
regardable, they can discourse unweariedly about their 
wealth, their sport, their friend, their honour, because they 
love them : And if a man should here tell them, that the 
heart is not to be opened or exercised by the tongue, they 
would think he knew not the natural use of heart or tongue : 
and yet while they pretend to love God above all, they have 
neither skill nor will to make expression of it, you strike 
them dumb when you turn the stream of conference that 
way ; and you may almost as well bid them speak in a 
strange language, as pray to God from the sense of their 
necessities, and yet they say, their hearts are good. 

Let the word of God be j udge whether a holy, experienced 
heart should hide itself, and not appear in prayer and holy 
conference by the tongue. " Pray continually." (1 Thess. 
V. 17.) " Christ spake a parable to this end, that men ought 
always to pray and not wax faint." (Luke xviii. L) "Be 
careful for nothing ; but in every thing by prayer, and sup- 
plication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made 
known unto God." (Phil. iv. 6.) 

And how they must pray, you may gather from 2 Chron. 
vi. 29. In case of dearth, pestilence, blasting, mildews, 
locusts, caterpillars, enemies, sicknesses or sores, " Then 
what prayer or supplication soever shall be made of any 
man, or of all the people, when every one shall know his 
own sore, and his own grief, and shall spread forth his 
hands in this house, then hear thou from heaven, &c." I 
am not speaking of the prescribed prayers of the church, 
nor denying the lawfulness of such in private : but if you 
have no words but what you say by rote, and pray not from 
the knowledge of your own particular sore and grief, it is 
because you are too much unacquainted with yourselves, 
and strangers to those hearts where the greatest of your 
sores and griefs are lodged. 

And whether good hearts should be opened in holy con- 
ference (as well as prayer), you may easily determine from 
the command of God, "As every man hath received the 
gift, so minister the same one to another, as good stewardi* 



122 THE MISCHIEFS OF SKLF-IGNORANCE, 

of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him 
speak as the oracles of God." (1 Pet. iv. 10, 11.) " Let no 
corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that 
which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister 
grace unto the hearers." (Eph. iv. 29.) " Exhort one an- 
other daily, while it is called to-day, lest any of you be hard- 
ened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb. iii. 13.) " The 
mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue 
talketh of j udgment : The law of his God is in his heart, &.c." 
(Psal. xxxvii. 30, 31.) "Let my mouth be filled with thy 
praise and with thy honour all the day." (Psal. Ixxi. 8.) 
" The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life. The lips 
of the righteous feed many." (Prov.x. 11. 21.) And Christ 
himself decideth it expressly, " Out of the abundance of the 
heart the mouth speaketh : A good man out of the good 
treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things." (Matt. 
xii. 34, 35.) 

For a man that hath no heart to prayer or holy con- 
ference, but loathes them, and is weary of them, and had 
rather talk of fleshly pleasures, to pretend that yet his heart 
is good, and that God will excuse him for not expressing 
it ; and that it is his prudence, and his freedom from hypo- 
crisy, that maketh his tongue to be so much unacquainted 
with the goodness of his heart, this is but to play the hy- 
pocrite to prove that he is no hypocrite, and to cover his 
ignorance in matters of his salvation, with the expression 
of his ignorance of the very nature and use of heart and 
tongue, and to cast by the laws of God, and his own duty, 
and cover this impiety with the name of prudence. If heart 
and tongue be not used for God, what do you either with a 
heart or tongue 1 

The case is plain, to men that can see that it is your 
strangeness to yourselves, that is the cause that you have 
little to say against yourselves, when you should confess 
your sins to God ; and so little to say for yourselves, when 
you should beg his grace ; and so little to say of yourselves, 
when you should open your hearts to those that can advise 
you: but that you see not that this is the cause of your 
dumbness, who see so little of your own corruptions, is no 
wonder, while you are so strange at home. Had you but 
so much knowledge of yourselves as to see that it is the 
strangeness to yourselves that maketh you so prayerles& 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 123 

and mute ; and so much sense as to complain of your dark- 
ness, and be willing* to come into the light, it were a sign that 
light is coming in to you, and that you are in a hopeful way 
of cure. But when you neither know yourselves, nor know 
that you do not know yourselves, your ignorance and pride 
are likely to cherish your presumption and impiety, till the 
light of grace, or the fire of hell, have taught you better to 
know yourselves. 

2. And here you may understand the reason why people 
fearing God are so apt to accuse and condemn themselves, 
to be too much cast down ; and why they that have cause of 
greatest joy, do sometimes walk more heavily than others. 
It is because they know more of their sinfulness, and take 
more notice of their inward corruptions and outward fail- 
ings, than presumptuous sinners do of theirs. Because they 
k .low their faults and wants, they are cast down ; but when 
they come further to see their interest in Christ and grace, 
they will be raised up again. Before they are converted, 
they usually presume, as being ignorant of their sin and 
misery : in the infancy of grace they know these, but yet 
languish for want of more knowledge of Christ and mercy. 
But he that knoweth fully both himself and Christ, both 
misery and mercy, is humbled and comforted, cast down 
and exalted. As a man that never saw the sea, is not afraid 
of it ; and he that seeth it but afar off, and thinks he shall 
never come near it, is not much afraid of it: he that is 
drowned in it, is worse than afraid : and he that is tossed 
by the waves, and doubteth of ever coming safe to harbour, 
is the fearful person : he that is tossed but hath good hopes 
of a safe arrival, hath fears that are abated or overcome with 
hope : but he that is safe landed is past his fears. The first 
is like him that never saw the misery of the ungodly: the 
second is like him that seeth it in general, but thinks it doth 
not belong to him : the third is like the damned that are past 
remedy : the fourth is like the humbled, doubting Chris- 
tian, that seeth the danger, but doth too much question or 
forget the helps : the fifth is like the Christian of a stronger 
faith, that sees the danger, but withal seeth his help and 
safety : the sixth is like the glorified saints, that are past 
the danger. 

Though the doubting Christian know not his sincerity, 
and therefore knoweth not himself so well as the strong be- 



124 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

liever doth, yet in that he knoweth his sinfulness and un- 
worthiness, he knoweth himself better than the presumptu- 
ous world. 

These two remarks, with the foregoing caution, having 
interposed (somewhat out of place), I now return to prose- 
cute my exhortation, that no matters may seem so sweet, so 
honourable, so great, or necessary, as to pass with you for 
excuses for the neglecting of the most diligent and impartial 
study of yourselves. 

All persons to whom I can address this exhortation, are 
either godly or ungodly ; in the state of sin, or in the state 
of grace. And both of them have need to study themselves. 
I. And to begin with the unrenewed, carnal sort, it is 
they that have the greatest need to be better acquainted 
with themselves. O that I knew how to make them sensi- 
ble of it; if any thing will do it, raethinks it should be done 
by acquainting them how much their endless state is con- 
cerned in it. In order hereunto, let me yet add, to all that 
is said already, these few considerations : 

1. If you know not yourselves, you know not whether 
you are the children of God, or not; nor whether you must 
be for ever in heaven or hell ; no, nor whether you may not 
within this hour behold the angry face of God, which will 
frown you into damnation. And is this a matter for a man 
of reason to be quietly and contentedly ignorant of? It is a 
business of such unspeakable concernment, to know whe- 
ther you must be everlastingly in heaven or hell, that no 
man can spare his cost or pains about it, without betraving 
and disgracing his understanding. You are sure you shall 
be here but a little while : those bodies you all know, will 
hold your souls but a little longer : as you know that you 
that are now together here attending, must presently quit 
this room and be gone ; so you know that when you have 
stayed a little longer, you must quit this world, and be gone 
into another. And I think there is not the proudest of you 
but would be taken down, nor the most sluggish or dead- 
hearted but would be awakened, if you knew that you must 
go to endless misery, and that your dying hour would be 
your entrance into hell. And if you know not yourselves, 
you know not but it may be so. And to know nothing to 
the contrary, would be terrible to you if you well considered 
it, especially when you have so much (jause to fear it. O, 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQU A I NT A NCF:. 125 

sirs, for a man to sit here senselessly in these seats, that 
knows not but he may burn in hell for ever, and knows 
not because he is blind and careless; how unsuitable is it 
to the principle of self-preservation? And how much 
unbeseeming the rational nature, to have no sense or 
care, when you look before you into the unquenchable 
fire, and the utter darkness, where, as the heathen poet 
speaks, 

Nee mortis poenas mors altera finiet hujus; 
Horaque erit tantis ultima nulla malis. 

If any of you think that all these matters are to be put to 
the adventure, and cannot now be known, you are danger- 
ously mistaken. As you may certainly know by Scripture 
and the light of nature, that there is a future life of joy to 
the godly, and of misery to the wicked, so may you know by 
a faithful trial of yourselves, to which of these at present you 
belong, and whether you are under the promise or the 
threatening ; know yourselves, and you may know whether 
you are justified or condemned already, and whether you 
are the heirs of heaven or hell. Surely He that comforteth 
his servants with the promise of glory to all that believe 
and are new creatures, and sanctified by his Spirit, did sup- 
pose that we may know whether we believe, and are renewed 
and sanctified or not : or else, what comfort can it be to us? 
If blinded infidels, have no means to quiet themselves but 
their unbelief, and a conceit that there is no such life of 
misery, they have the most pitiful opiate to ease them in the 
world ; and may as well think to become immortal, by a con- 
fident conceit that they shall never die. If they befool 
themselves with the ordinary questions, /Where is hell, and 
what kind of fire is it? &c.' I answer them with Augustine, 
' Melius est dubitare de occultis, quam litigare de incertis: 
Ilium quippedivitem in ardore poenarum, et ilium pauperem 
in refrigerio gaudiorum esse intelligendos non dubito : sed 
quomodo intelligenda illaflamma ininfernoille sinus Abrahse, 
ilia divitis lingua, ille digitus pauperis, ilia sitis tormenti, 
ilia stilla refrigerii, vix fortasse a mansuete quserentibus, 
contentiose autem sectantibus nunquam invenitur ;' that is. 
It is better to be in doubt about things that are hidden from 
us, than to quarrel about things that are uncertain to us. I 
am past doubt that we must understand that that rich man 



126 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

was in the heat of pain, and the poor man in a refreshing 
place of joys: But how to undertand that flame in hell, 
that bosom of Abraham, that tongue of the rich man, that 
finger of the poor man, that thirst of torment, that drop for 
cooling or refreshment, perhaps will hardly be found by the 
most humble inquirers, but never by contentious strivers. 

So that I may conclude, that the greatness and dreadful- 
ness of the case, should make every person that hath an eye 
to see, an ear to hear, and a heart to understand, to read and 
inquire and consider, and never rest till they know them- 
selves, and understand where it is that they are going to 
take up their abode to everlasting. 

2. Consider, that all men must shortly know themselves. 
Presumption will be but of short continuance. Be never 
so confident of being saved without holiness, you will 
speedily be undeceived. If the Spirit's illumination do not 
convince and undeceive you, death will undoubtedly do it 
at the farthest. Thousands and millions know their sin and 
misery now when it is too late, that would not know it when 
the remedy was at hand. Sinners, your souls are now in 
darkness: your bodies are your dungeon; but when death 
brings you out into the open light, you will see what we 
could never make you see. O how glad would a faithful 
minister of Christ be, if by any information he could now 
give you half the light that you shall then have, and now 
make you know at the heart with the feeling of repentance, 
that which you must else quickly know, even at the heart 
with the feeling of despair. Sirs, I hope you think not that 
I speak mere fancies to you, or any think that is ques- 
tionable or uncertain : you cannot say so without denying 
yourselves to be Christians ; no, nor without contradicting 
the light of nature, and debasing your souls below the 
heathen, who believe an immortality of souls in a different 
state of joy or misery in the life to come: and if you are 
once below heathens, what are you better than brute beasts? 
Better in your natural faculties and powers, as not being 
made brutes by your Creator; but worse as to the use of 
them, and the consequents to yourselves, because you are 
voluntary, self-abusing brutes. But to live here as a brute, 
will not make you die and be hereafter as a brute : to believe 
you shall die as a beast will not prevent the miserable life 
of an impenitent sinner. It will not make your souls to be 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 127 

mortal, to believe they are mortal ; no more than it will 
make a beast to be immortal, if he could but think so. The 
coffin-maker and the grave-maker, if they never read a book, 
can tell you that is no controversy whether you must go 
hence. And faith and reason can both assure you, that your 
souls lie not down with your bodies in the dust, nor are 
annihilated by the falling of your earthly tabernacle; no 
more than the spirits when the glass is broken that held 
them, or than your bodies are annihilated when you put off 
your clothes, or rise out of your beds : or than the bird is 
annihilated that is got out of the shell : or the infant that is 
by nature cast out of the womb : nor any more than the 
angels that appeared to the apostles or others, were annihi- 
lated when they disappeared : or, (if I must speak more 
suitably to the ungodly,) no more than the devil that some- 
times appeareth in a bodily shape is annihilated when that 
appearance vanisheth. As I suppose there is never a person 
in all this populous city, that was here but sevenscore years 
ago, so I suppose there is none of you that are here to-day, 
that expect to be here so long a time : they are gone before 
you into a world where there is no presumption or security: 
and you are going after them, and are almost there. As 
easily as you sit here, I tell you all, you are going after 
them apace, and are almost there. 

O sirs, that world is a world of light. To the damned 
souls it is called outer darkness, because they have none of 
the light of glory or of comfort: but they shall have the 
light of a self-accusing, self-tormenting conscience, that is 
gone out of the darkness of self-ignorance and self-deceit, 
and is fully cured of its slumber and insensibility. 

Do you now take a civilized person for a saint? You will 
not do so long. 

Doth the baptism of water only go with you now for the 
regeneration of the spirit ? It will not be so long : you will 
shortly be undeceived. 

Doth a ceremonious Pharisee thank God for the sincerity 
and holiness which he never had? He will shortly be taught 
better to know the nature of holiness and sincerity, and that 
God justifieth not all that justify themselves. 

Doth a little formal, heartless, hypocritical devotion, now 
cover a sensual, worldly mind ? The cover will be shortly 



128 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

taken off, and the nakedness and deformity of the Pharisee 
will appear. 

Doth the name of a Christian, and the heartless use of 
outward ordinances, and that good esteem of others, now 
go for godliness and saving grace ? The autumn is at hand, 
when these leaves will all lie in the dirt, and will go for fruit 
no longer. 

Do you now take it for true religion to be hot for lust, 
and pride, and gain, and cold for God and your salvation? 
and to obey God as far 'as will stand with your outward 
prosperity, and as the flesh, or your other masters will give 
leave? This is an opinion that never accompanied any man 
beyond the grave. 

Do you think to be saved by all that devotion, which gives 
God but the leavings of the flesh and world, and by a reli- 
gion that gives him but the outer rooms (when pleasure and 
gain are next your hearts), and that makes himbut an under- 
ling to your covetousness and ambition ? Think so if you 
can, when you are gone hence. 

Cannot the preacher now make the ungodly to know 
that they are ungodly, the unsanctified to know they are 
but carnal, and the pharisee to know that his religion is vain? 
Death can convince the awakened soul of all this in a moment. 

You can choose whether you will believe us ; but death 
■will so speak as to be believed. You must be voluntary in 
knowing your misery now; but then you shall know it 
against your wills. You must open the windows, or must 
open your eyes, if you will see yourselves by the light which 
we bring to you ; but death irresistibly throws open all. To 
say in pride and obstinacy, ' I will not believe it,' will now 
serve turn to quiet your consciences, and make you seem 
as safe as any ; but when God saith You shall feel it, your 
unbelief is ineffectual : it can then torment you, but it can 
no longer ease you. There is then no room for ' I will not 
believe it.' God can without a word persuade you of that 
which you were resolved you would never be persuaded of. 

This day Avhile you all sit here in the body, you are every 
one affected according as you apprehend your state to be, 
whether it be indeed as you apprehend it or not ; but when 
death hath opened you the door into eternity, you will be 
all affected with your conditions as they are indeed. 



AND BENEFITS OF SEL F- A C QU A I N T AN C E. 129 

To-day, you are here quiet, because you think your souls 
are safe : and some are troubled that think they are in a 
state of misery : and it is likely that some on both sides are 
mistaken : and the quiet of one, and the disquiet of another, 
may arise for want of the knowledge of yourselves : but 
death will rectify both these errors: and then if you are un- 
sanctified, no false opinions, no unbelief, no confident con- 
ceits of your integrity, will abate your desperation, or give 
any ease to your tormented minds : nor will there be any 
doubts, or fears, or despairing, self-afflicting thoughts, to 
disquiet those that Christ hath justified, or abate their joys. 
O how man}'^ thousands will then think much otherwise 
of themselves than they now do ! Death turns you out of 
the company of flatterers, and calls you out of the world of 
error, where men laugh and cry in their sleep ; and bringeth 
you among awakened souls, where all things are called by 
their proper names ; and all men are taken by themselves to 
be as they are indeed. Serious religion is not there a 
derision ; nor loving, and seeking, and serving God with 
all the heart, and soul, and might, is not there taken for un- 
necessary preciseness. Holiness is notthere called humour 
or hypocrisy : nor is the pharisaical ceremonious hypocrite 
taken for a man of the most prudent, safe and moderate 
religion. God judgeth not as man, by outward appearances, 
but with righteous judgment: " That which is highly es- 
teemed among men, is abomination in the sight of God." 
(Luke xvi, 15.) And he will make you then to judge of 
yourselves as he hath judged you. Though wisdom now be 
justified but of her children, it shall then be justified by all: 
not by a sanctifying, but a constrained, involuntary, torment- 
ing light : and though now men can believe as well of 
themselves, as self-love and the quieting of their con- 
sciences doth require, yet then they will have lost this mas- 
tery over their own conceits. 

O therefore, beloved hearers, seeing you are all going 
into an irresistibly convincing light, and are almost in 
that world where all must fully know themselves : seeing 
" nothing is covered that shall not be revealed, nor hid that 
shall not be made known," (Matt, x.26,) and no unsanctified 
hypocrite doth flatter himself into such high presumption, 
but a dying hour will take him down, and turn it all 

VOL. XVI. K 



130 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGX K A NC E, 

into endless desperation, if true conversion prevent it not; 
I beseech you be more conversant with conscience than you 
have been : be ashamed that a wanton sot, that knoweth 
nothing better than flesh to adorn and to be careful of, 
should bestow more hours in looking into the glass, than 
you bestow to look into God's word and your own hearts : 
yea, more in a year, than you have thus bestowed in all 
your lives! 

O that you knew what a protitable companion conscience 
is for you to converse with ! You would not then think 
yourselves so solitary as to be destitute of company and em- 
ployment, while you have so much to do at home, and one 
in your bosom that you have so much business with. 

And it is a necessary and inseparable companion. If the 
wife of your bosom should be a shrew, you must not there- 
fore be a stranger to her, because of nearness, necessity 
and business. If conscience should give you some foul 
words, and chide you when you had rather be flattered; yet 
there is no running from it for more pleasant company : 
Home is homely : It is there that you must dwell: conscience 
is married to you : please it on safe terms as well as you can; 
but do not think to overrun it: for it will follow you; or 
you must return to it home again, when you have gone 
your furthest, and done your worst. You have taken con- 
science for better and for worse. There is no expectation 
of a divorce : no, not by death : it will follow you to eternity. 
And therefore be not strange to conscience, that will be your 
comforter or tormenter at the hour of death ; that can do so 
much to make sickness, and all suffering light or grievous ; 
and to make death welcome or terrible to you: Fly not from 
conscience that must dwell with you for ever. 

O foolish sinners ! Do you want company and business 
to pass away your time ? Are you fain to go to cards or dice 
to waste this treasure, which is more precious than your 
money ? Do you go to an alehouse, a playhouse, or other 
such pest-house, to seek for company or pastime? (I say not, 
to Bedlam; for that is as much more honourable than 
your sinful society, as the place that cureth or restraineth 
the mad, is better than that which makes them mad.) Do 
you forget what company and business you have at home? 
As you love your peace and happiness, instead of conversing 



AND BP.NEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 131 

with vain, lascivious, or ungodly persons, O spend that 
time in converse with your consciences ! You may there 
have a thousand times more profitable discourse. Be not 
offended to give conscience a sober, faithful answer, if it 
ask you. What have you done with all your time ? and how 
you have lived in the world? and how you have obeyed the 
calls of grace? and how you have entertained Christ into 
your hearts ? and whether you have obeyed him or his 
enemy? and whether you have been led by the Spirit or the 
flesh ? and what forwardness the work of your salvation is in, 
for which you came into the world ? and what assurance 
you have of your justification and salvation? and what rea- 
diness to die ? Think it not presumption in conscience thus 
to examine you : though you have perhaps unthankfully 
disdained to be thus examined by your pastors, your ex- 
ternal guides, whose office is to help you, and watch for your 
souls ; yet do not disdain to be accountable to yourselves. 
Accountable you must be ere long to God: and that friend 
that would help you to make ready such accounts, on which 
so great a weight dependeth, methinks should be welcomed 
with a thousand thanks. Ministers and conscience should 
be acceptable to you, that come on so necessary a work. 

The chidings of conscience are more friendly language 
than the flattery of your ignorant or proud associates: and 
should be more grateful to you than " the laughter of fools, 
which is like the crackling of thorns in the fire." (Eccles. 
vii. 6.) Thy own home, though it be a house of mourning, is 
better for thee than such a sinful house of mirth. Hear but 
what conscience hath to say to you. No one will speak 
with you, that hath words to speak, which more nearly con- 
cern you. I beseech you, sirs, be more frequent and familiar 
with conscience than most men are. Think not the time 
lost, when you walk and talk with it alone. Confer with it 
about your endless state, and where you are likely to be for 
€ver; and what way you are in; and what thoughts you 
will have of your sins and duties, of the world and God, of 
yielding or overcoming at the last. Is there no sense in 
this discourse ? Thou art dead and senseless if thou think 
so. Is idle talk and prating better ? I hope you are not so 
distracted as to say so. If you have not blinded, deceived 
or bribed it, I tell you, conscience hath other kind of dis- 
course for you ; more excellent and necessary thinsfs to talk 



132 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

of, than wantons, or worldlings, or pot-copipanions have. 
It is better to be giving conscience an account, what busi- 
ness thou hast had so often in such company; and how thou 
wouldst have looked, if death had found thee there, than 
without leave from God or conscience, to go thither again. 

The thriving way is neither to be still at home, nor still 
abroad ; but to be at home when home-work is to be done ; 
and to be abroad only for doing and for getting good, in a 
way of diligent, Christian trading; and to bring that home 
that is got abroad : But never to go abroad upon loitering, 
vain, expensive occasions. When you have done with con- 
science, converse with others that your business lieth with, 
and go abroad when it is for your Master's work : but go 
not upon idle errands : Converse not with prodigal wasters 
of your time, and enemies to your souls. 

One time or other conscience will speak, and have a 
hearing: the sooner the better: put it not off to a time so 
unseasonable as death; 1 say not unseasonable for con- 
science to speak in; but unseasonable for it to begin to 
speak in; and unseasonable for those terrible words that 
need a calmer time for answer ; and unseasonable for so 
many things and so great, as self-betrayers use to put off 
until then, which need a longer time for due consideration 
and despatch. 

3. And I beseech you consider, with what amazing hor- 
ror it must needs surprise you, to find on a sudden and un- 
expectedly when you die, that all is worse with you than 
you imagined or would believe ! After a whole life of confi- 
dent presumption, to be suddenly convinced by so dreadful 
an experience of your so long and wilful a mistake ! To find 
in a moment, that you have flattered your souls, into so 
desperate a state of woe ! To see and feel all the selfish 
cavils and reasonings confuted, in one hour, which the 
wisest and holiest men on earth could never beat you 
from before ! O, sirs, you know not what a day, what a 
conviction, that will be ! You know not what it is for a 
guilty soul to pass out of the body, and find itself in the 
plague of an unsanctified state, and hated of the holy God, 
that never would know it till it was too late. You know not 
what it is to be turned, by death, into the world of spirits, 
where all self-deceit is detected by experience ; and all must 
undergo a righteous judgment; where blindness and self- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 133 

love can iio more persuade the miserable that they are happy ; 
the unholy, that they^ are sanctified ; the fleshly-minded 
men, that they are spiritual; the lovers of the world, that 
they are the lovers of God. Men cannot there believe 
what they list ; nor take that for a truth which makes 
for their security, be it never so false : men cannot there be- 
lieve that they are accepted of God, while they are in the 
bonds of their iniquity ; or that their hearts are as good as 
the best, while their tongues and lives are opposite to good- 
ness, or that they shall be saved as soon as the godly, though 
they be ungodly. 

It is easy for a man to hear of waves, and gulfs, and ship- 
wreck, that never saw the sea; and without any fear to hear 
of battles, that never saw the face of an enemy; and with- 
out any trouble to hear of sickness and tormenting pains, 
and burning, and cutting off of limbs, that never felt or saw 
such things. It is easy for you here in these seats, in the 
midst of health, and peace, and quietness, to hear of a de- 
parting soul, and where it shall appear, and what it shall 
there see, and how great a discovery death will make. But, 
O sirs, when this must be your case, (as you know it must 
be, alas, how speedily!) these matters will then seem con- 
siderable : they will be new and strange to those that have 
heard of them a hundred times, because they never heard of 
them sensibly till now. One of those souls that have been 
here before you, and have passed that way into eternity, 
have other thoughts of these things than you have! O how 
do they think now, of the fearless slumber and stupidity of 
those that they have left behind ! What think they now 
of those that wilfully fly the light, and flatter themselves 
in guilt and misery, and make light of all the joys and tor- 
ments of the other world ? Even as the damned rich man 
in Luke xvi, thought of his poor brethren, that remained in 
prosperity and presumption upon earth, and little thought 
what company he was in, what a sight he saw, and what he 
did endure ! 

Poor careless souls, you know not now what it is, for the 
ungodly to see that they are ungodly, by the irresistible 
light of another world; and for the unholy to feel in hell 
that they are unholy, and to be taught by flames and the 
wrath of the Almighty, what is the difference between tlitf 



134 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE 



sanctified and the carnal ; between an obedient and a rebel- 
lious life. While you sit here you little know these things. 
You see them not : you feel them not : and the Lord grant 
you may never so know them by woful experience: that you 
may escape such a knowledge, is the end of all that I am 
saying to you : But that will not be, but by another kind of 
knowledge, even the knowledge of belief and serious con- 
sideration. 

For your souls' sake therefore come into the light, and 
try yourselves, and huddle not over a work of such unspeak- 
able consequence, as the searching of your hearts and judg- 
ing of your spiritual state! O be glad to know what you 
are indeed ! Put home the question, ' Am I sanctified or 
not? Am I in the Spirit or in the flesh?' Be glad of any 
help for the sure resolution of such doubts. Take not up 
with slight and venturous presumptions. It is your own 
case ; your nearest and your greatest case ; all lies upon it: 
who should be so willing of the plainest dealing, the speediest 
and the closest search as you ? O be not surprised by an 
unexpected sight of an unrenewed, miserable soul at death! 
If it be so, see it now, while seeing it may do good : if it be 
not so, a faithful search can do you no harm, but comfort 
you by the discovery of your sincerity. Say not too late, 
' I thought I had been born again of the Spirit, and had been 
in a state of grace : I thought I had been a child of God, and 
reconciled to him, and justified by faith !' O what a heart- 
tearing vv^ord would it be to you, when time is past, to say, 
' I thought it had been better with me !' 

4. Consider also, that it is one of Satan's principal de- 
signs of your damnation, to keep you ignorant of yourselves. 
He knows if he can but make you believe, that you are re- 
generate when you are not, you will never seek to be regene- 
rate: and that if he can make you think that you are godly, 
when you are ungodly, and have the Spirit of Christ, while 
you are servants to the flesh, he may defeat all the labours 
of your teachers, and let them call on you to be converted 
till their hearts ache, to no purpose, but leave you as you 
are : He knows how light you will sit by the physician, if he 
can but make you believe that you are well ! and how little 
care you will take for a pardon, if you think that you need 
it not, or have one already. In vain we mav call on vou till 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 135 

we are hoarse, to turn and become new creatures, and give 
up yourselves to Christ, if you think that you are good 
Christians, and are in the way to heaven aheady. 

And when you know beforehand, that there lieth the 
principal game of the deceiver, and that it will be his chief 
contrivance, to keep you unacquainted with your sin and 
danger, till you are past recovery, one would think there 
should be no need to bid you to be diligent to know your- 
selves. 

5. And I beseech you consider also, that without this 
design there is no likelihood that Satan could undo you : if 
he keep you not ignorant of yourselves, he is never likely to 
keep you in his power : you come out of his kingdom when 
you come out of darkness. He knoweth that if once you 
did but see how near you stand to the brink of hell, you 
would think it time to change your standing. 

There is a double principle in nature, that would do 
something towards your repentance and recovery, if your 
eyes were opened to see where you are. 

1. There is since the seduction and ruin of man, by Sa- 
tan's temptations, an enmity put into the whole nature of 
man against the whole satanical, serpentine nature; so that 
this natural enmity would so much conduce to your deliver- 
ance, as that you would not be contented with your relation, 
if you knew that you are the drudges of the devil; nor 
would you be charmed into sin so easily, if you knew that 
it is he indeed that doth invite you ; nor would you datice 
after his pipe, or take his bait, if you perceived indeed that 
it is his : no language would be so taking with you, which 
you knew was uttered by his voice. It would do much to 
affright you from his service, if you knew that it is he indeed 
that setteth you on to work, and is gratified by it. He 
keepeth men in his bondage, by making them believe that 
they are free : he persuadeth men to obey him, by persuading 
them that it is God that they obey : and he draweth them 
to hell by making them believe that they are following 
Christ to heaven ; or at least, that they are following the in- 
clination of their nature in a pardonable infirmity. 

2. And the natural principle of self-love, would in order 
to self-preservation, do much to drive you from your sinful 
state, if you did but know what a state it is. There is no 
nian so far hateth himself, as to be willing to be damned. 



136 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

You cannot choose an habitation in hell ; for such a place 
can never be desired. Surely he that cannot choose but to fly 
from an enemy, or a bear that did pursue him, or fly from 
fire, or water, or pestilence, when he perceives his danger, 
would fly from hell if he perceived his danger. 

I beseech you all, that are secure in an unsanctified 
state, do but look inwards, and help me in preaching this 
doctrine to your hearts, and tell yourselves, whether you do 
think that your state is good, and that you are the children 
of God as well as others ; and that though you are sinners, 
yet your sins are pardoned by the blood of Christ, and that 
you shall be saved if you die in the state that you are in ? 
And are not these thoughts the reason why you venture 
to continue in your present state, and look not after so 
great a change as Scripture speaketh of as necessary ? 

And I pray you deal plainly with your hearts, and tell me, 
you careless sinners, young or old, that sit here as quietly 
as if all were well with you. If you did but know that you are 
at this hour unregenerate, and that without regeneration 
there is no salvation : if you did but know that you are yet 
carnal and unholy, and that " without holiness none shall 
see God :" if you did but know that you are yet in a state of 
enmity to God while you call him Father, and of enmity to 
Christ while you call him your Saviour, and of enmity to 
the Holy Spirit, while you call him your Sanctifier : if you 
did but know that your sins are unpardoned, and your souls 
unjustified, and that you are condemned already, and shall 
certainly be damned if you die as you are. Could you live 
quietly in such a state? Could you sleep, and eat and drink 
quietly, and follow your trades, and let time run on without 
repenting and returning unto God, if you knew that you are 
past hope, if death surprise you in this condition ? For the 
Lord's sake, sirs, rouse up yourselves a little, and be serious 
in a business that concerneth you more than ten thousand 
natural lives ; and tell me, or rather tell yourselves. If you 
did but know that while you sit here, you are unrenewed, 
and therefore under the curse of God, and in the bondage of 
the devil, and are hastening towards perdition, and are 
gone for ever, if you be not sanctified and made new crea- 
tures before you die: could you then put off" this sermon 
with a sleepy, careless hearing, and go home and talk of 
common matters, and no more mind it, as you have done by 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 137 

sermons until now ? Could you forbear going alone, and 
there bethink yourselves, ' O what a sinful, dreadful condi- 
tion are we in ! What will become of us, if we be not rege- 
nerate before we die! Had we no understandings, no hearts, 
no life or sense, that we have lingered so long, and lived so 
carelessly in such a state ! O where had we been now, if 
we had died unregenerate ! How near have we been oft to 
death ! How many sicknesses might have put an end to 
life and hope! Had any of them cut off the slender thread 
that our lives have hanged on so long, and had we died be- 
fore this day, we had been now in hell without remedy.' 
Could any of you that knew this to be your case, forbear to 
betake yourselves to God, and cry to him in the bitterness 
of your souls, O Lord, what rebels, what wretches have we 
been ! We have sinned against heaven and before thee, and 
are no more worthy to be called thy children ! O how sin 
hath captivated our understandings, and conquered our 
very sense, and made us live like men that were dead, as to 
the love and service of God, and the work of our salvation, 
which we were created and redeemed for ! O Lord, have 
mercy upon these blind and senseless miserable souls ! Have 
mercy upon these despisers and abusers of thy mercy ! O 
save us or we perish ! Save us from our sins, from Satan, 
from thy curse and wrath I Save us, or we are undone and 
lost for ever ! Save us from the unquenchable fire, from the 
Avorm that never dieth ! from the bottomless pit, the outer 
darkness, the horrid gulf of endless misery! O let the 
bowels of thy compassion yearn over us! O save us for thy 
mercy sake; shut not out the cries of miserable sinners. 
Regenerate, renew and sanctify our hearts ; O make us new 
creatures ! O plant thine image on our souls, and incline 
them towards thee, that they may be wholly thine ! O make 
us such as thou commandest us to be ! Away with our sins, 
and sinful pleasures, and sinful company ! We have had too 
much, too much of them already ! Let us now be thine, asso- 
ciated with them that love and fear thee; employed in the 
works of holiness and obedience all our days! Lord, we are 
willing to let go our sins, and to be thy servants : or if we 
be not, make us willing.' 

What say you, sirs, if you knew that you were this hour 
in a state of condemnation, could you forbear making haste 



138 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

with such confessions, complaints, and earnest supplications 
to God ? 

And could you forbear going presently to some faithful 
minister, or godly friend, and telling him your case and 
danger, and begging his advice, and prayers, and asking 
him, what a poor sinner must do to be recovered, pardoned 
and saved, that is so deep in sin and misery, and hath des- 
pised Christ and grace so long ? Could you tell how to 
sleep quietly many nights more, before you had earnestly 
sought out for help, and made this change? How could you 
choose but presently betake yourselves to the company, 
and converse, and examples of the godly that are within 
your reach ? (For whenever a man is truly changed, his 
friendship and company is changed, if he have opportunity.) 
And how could you choose but go and take your leave of 
your old companions, and with tears and sorrow tell them, 
how foolishly and sinfully you have done, and what wrong 
you have done each other's souls, and entreat them to 
repent and do so no more, or else you will renounce them, 
and fly from their company as from a pesthouse? 

Can a man forbear thus to fly from hell, if he saw that 
he is as near it as a condemned traitor to the gallows ? He 
that will beg for bread, if he be hungry, and rather lay by 
shame than famish, would beg for grace, if he saw and felt 
how much he needeth it: and seeing it, is the way to feel 
it. He that will seek for medicines when he is sick, and would 
do almost any thing to escape a temporal death, would he 
not seek out to Christ, the remedy of his soul, if he knew 
and felt that otherwise there is no recovery ? and would he 
not do much against eternal death ? " Skin for skin, and all 
that a man hath, he will give for his life;" was a truth that 
the devil knew and maketh use of in his temptations. And 
will a man then be regardless of his soul, that knows he 
hath an immortal soul ? and of life eternal, that knows his 
danger of eternal death ? 

0,sirs, it is not possible, but the true knowledge of your 
state of sin and danger, would do very much to save you 
from it. For it is a wilful, chosen state. All the devils in 
hell cannot bring you to it, and continue you in it against 
your will. You are willing of the sin, though unwilling of 
the punishment. And if you truly knew the punishment. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 139 

and your danger of it, you would be the more unwilling of 
the sin; for God hath affixed punishment to sin for this 
end, that they that else would love the serpent, may hate it 
for the sting. Will you not say, he is a beast and not a 
man, that will avoid no danger but what he seeth? Fore- 
seeing is to a man, what seeing is to a beast: if he see it 
before his eyes, a beast will not easily be driven into a coal- 
pit or a gulf; he will draw back and strive, if you go about 
to kill him. And is he a man, or some monster that wants 
a name, that will go on to hell, when he seeth it as it were 
before him? and that will continue in a state of sin, when 
he knows he must be damned in hell for ever, if he so con- 
tinue to the end ? Indeed sin is the deformity and mons- 
trosity of the soul. He is a monster of blindness that seeth 
not the folly and peril of such a state, and that a state of 
holiness is better. He is a monster of stupidity that finds 
himself in such a state, and doth not feel it, but maketh 
light of it. And he is a monster of slothfulness, that will 
not stir when he finds himself in such a case, and seek for 
mercy, and value the remedy, and use the means, and for- 
sake his sinful course and company, till further mercy take 
him up and bring him home, and make him welcome, as 
" one that was lost but now is found, was dead but is alive." 

I do not doubt, for all these expostulations, but some 
men may be such monsters, as thus to see that they are in 
a state of wrath and misery, and yet continue in it. 

As, 1. Such as have but a glimmering, insufficient sight 
of it, and a half belief, while a greater belief and hope of the 
contrary (that is, presumption) is predominant at the heart : 
But these are rather to be called men ignorant of their 
misery, than men that know it; and men that believe it not, 
than men that do believe it, as long as the ignorance and 
presumption is the prevailing part. 

2. Such as by the rage of appetite and passion are hur- 
ried into deadly sin, and so continue, whenever the tempter 
ofFereth them the bait against their conscience, and some 
apprehension of their misery. But these have commonly a 
prevalent self-flattery secretly within, encouraging and up- 
holding them in their sin, and telling them, that the re- 
luctancies of their consciences are the Spirits' strivings 
against the flesh, and their tits of remorse are true repen- 



140 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

tance : and though they are sinners, they hope they are 
pardoned, and shall be saved, so that these do not know 
themselves indeed. 

3. Such as by their deep engagements to the world, and 
love of its prosperity, and a custom in sinning, are so hard- 
ened, and cast into a slumber, that though they have a 
secret knowledge or suspicion that their case is miserable, 
yet they are not awakened to the due consideration and feeling 
of it; and therefore they go on as if they knew it not: but 
these have not their knowledge in exercise. It is but a candle 
in a dark lantern, that now and then gives them a convinc- 
ing flash, when the right side happens to be towards them ; 
or like lightning, that rather frightens and amazeth them, 
than directeth them. And (as I said of the former) as to 
the act, their self-ignorance is the predominant part, and 
therefore they cannot be said indeed to know themselves. 
Now and then a convinced apprehension, or a fear, is not 
the tenor of their minds. 

4. Such as being in youth or health, do promise them- 
selves long life, or any others that foolishly put away the 
day of death, and think they have yet time enough before 
them ; and therefore though they are convinced of their 
misery, and know they must be converted or condemned, 
do yet delay, and quiet themselves with purposes to repent 
hereafter, when death draws near, and there is no other 
remedy but they must leave their sins, or give up all their 
hopes of heaven. Though these know somewhat of their 
present misery, it is but by such a flashy, ineffectual know- 
ledge as is afore described ; and they know little of the 
wickedness of their hearts, while they confess them wicked. 
Otherwise they could not imagine that repentance is so 
easy a work to such as they, as that they can perform it 
when their hearts are further hardened, and that so easily 
and certainly, as that their salvation may be ventured on it 
by delays. Did they know themselves, they would know 
the backwardness of their hearts ; and manifold difficulties 
should make them see the madness of delays, and of longer 
resisting and abusing the grace of the Spirit that must con- 
vert them, if ever they be saved. 

5. Such as have light to show them their misery, but 
live where they hear not the discovery of the remedy, and 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 14f 

are left without any knowledge of a Saviour : I deny not 
but such may go on in a state of misery, though they know 
it, when they know no way out of it. 

6. Such as believe not the remedy, though they hear of 
it, but think that Christ is not to be believed in, as the Sa- 
viour of the world. 

7. Such as believe that Christ is the Redeemer, but be- 
lieve not that he will have mercy upon them, as supposing 
their hearts are not qualified for his salvation, nor ever will 
be, because the day of grace is past, and he hath concluded 
them under a sentence of reprobation ; and therefore think- 
ing that there is no hope, and that their endeavours would 
be all in vain, they cast off all endeavours, and give up 
themselves to the pleasures of the flesh, and say, ' It is as 
good to be damned for something, or for a greater matter, 
as for a less.' 

So that there are three sorts of despair that are not 
equally dangerous. 1. A despair of pardon and salvation, 
arising from infidelity, as if the Gospel were not true, nor 
Christ a Saviour to be trusted with our souls, if predomi- 
nant, is damnable. 2. A despair of pardon and salvation, 
arising from a misunderstanding of the promise, as if it 
pardoned not such sins as ours, and denied mercy to those 
that have sinned so long as we ; this is not damnable neces- 
sarily of itself, because it implieth faith in Christ ; and not 
infidelity, but misunderstanding hindereth the applying, 
comforting act : and therefore this actual personal despair, 
is accompanied with a general actual hope, and with a par- 
ticular personal, virtual hope. 3. A despair of pardon and 
salvation, upon the misunderstanding of ourselves, as think- 
ing both that we are graceless, and always shall be so, be- 
cause of the blindness and hardness of our hearts. Of this 
despair, I say as of the former, it is joined with faith, and 
with general and virtual hope ; and therefore is not the des- 
pair that of itself condemneth. Many may be saved that 
are too much guilty of it. 

But if either of these two latter sorts shall so far prevail, 
as to turn men off from a holy, to a fleshly, worldly interest 
and life, and make them say, * We will take our pleasure 
while we may, and will have something for our souls before 
we lose them,' and do accordingly ; this kind of despera- 



142 THE MISCHIEFS OF S ELF-IGNOK A NCE, 

tion is damnable by the effects, because it takes men off the 
means of life, and giveth them up to damning sins. 

Thus I have showed you of seven sorts of persons that 
may know themselves, their sin and danger, with such an 
ineffectual, partial knowledge as I have described, and yet 
continue in that sin and misery. 

And in two cases, even sound believers may possibly go 
on to sin, when they see the sin : and not only see the dan- 
ger of it, but despairingly think it greater than it is. As, 
1. In case of common, unavoidable failings, infirmities, and 
low degrees of grace : We are all imperfect, and yet we all 
know that it is our duty to be perfect (as perfection is op- 
posed to sinful, and not to innocent imperfection), and yet 
this knowledge maketh us not perfect. We know we should 
be more humbled, and more believing, and more watchful, 
and love God more, and fear and trust him more, and be 
more fruitful and diligent, and obedient and zealous; and 
yet we are not what we know we should be in any of these. 
In these we all live in sin against knowledge ; else we 
should be all as good as we know we ought to be, which no 
man is. And if through temptation any of us should be 
ready to despair, because of any of these infirmities, be- 
cause we cannot repent, or love God, watch, or pray, or 
obey more perfectly, or as we should, yet grace ceaseth not 
to be grace, though in the least degree, because we are 
ready to despair for want of more. Nor will the sincerity 
of this spark, or grain of mustard seed, be unsuccessful, as 
to our salvation, because we think so, and take ourselves to 
be insincere, and our sanctification to be none : Nor yet be- 
cause we cannot be as obedient and good as we know we 
should be. For the Gospel saith not, ' He that knoweth he 
hath faith or sincerity shall be saved ; and he that knoweth 
it not, shall be damned: or, he that is less holy or obedient 
than his conscience tells him he should be, shall be damned.' 
But " He that believeth and repenteth, shall be saved," whe- 
ther he know it to be done in sincerity or no : and " he that 
doth not, shall be damned," though he never so confidently 
think he doth. So that in the degrees of holiness and obe- 
dience, all Christians ordinarily sin against knowledge. 

2. And besides what is ordinary, some extraordinarily in 
the time of a powerful temptation go further than ordinarily 



AXD BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. J 43 

they do. And some under dull, phlegmatic melancholy, or 
choleric diseases or distempers of body, or mider a diseased, 
violent appetite, may transgress more against their know- 
ledge, than otherwise they would do : When the spirits are 
flatted, the thoughts confused, the reason weakened, the 
passion strengthened, and the executive faculties undis- 
posed, so that their actions are but imperfectly human or 
moral ; (imperfectly capable of virtue or vice, good or evil) 
it is no wonder here, if poor souls not only perceive their 
sin, but think it and the danger to be tenfold greater than 
they are, and yet go on against their knowledge, and yet 
have true grace. 

This much I have said, both to stay you from misunder- 
standing what I said before, concerning the power of con- 
viction to conversion (for few auditories want hearers that 
will be still excepting, if caution stop not every hole), and 
also to help you to the fuller understanding of the matter 
itself, of which I treat. But ' exceptio firmat regulam in non 
exceptis,' exceptions strengthen and not weaken any rule 
or proposition in the points not excepted. Still I say, that 
out of these cases, the true knowledge of a sinful, miserable 
state, is so great a help to bring us out of it, that it is hardly 
imaginable, how rational men can wilfully continue in a 
state of such exceeding danger, if they be but well acquaint- 
ed that they are in it. I know a hardened heart hath an un- 
reasonable, obstinate opposition against the means of its 
own recovery : but yet men have some use of reason and 
self-preserving love and care, or they are not men (and if 
they be not men, they cannot be sinful men). And though 
little transient lightnings often come to nothing, but leave 
some men in greater darkness ; yet could we but set up a 
standing light in all your consciences, could we fully con- 
vince and resolve the unregenerate, that they cannot be 
saved in the carnal state and way that they are in, but must 
be sanctified or never saved ; what hopes should we have, 
that all the subtleties and snares of Satan, and all the plea- 
sures and gain of sin, and all the allurements of ungodly 
company, could no longer hinder you from falling down 
at the feet of mercy, and begging forgiveness, through the 
blood of Christ, and giving up yourselves in covenant to the 
Lord, and speedily and resolutely betaking yourselves to 
an holy life! Could I but make you thoroughly known un- 



144 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IG NOK ANCE, 

to yourselves, I should hope that all the unsanctified that 
hear me, would date their conversion from this very day ; 
and that you would not delay till the next morning, to be- 
wail your sin and misery, and fly to Christ, lest you should 
die and be past hope this night. 

And doth so much of our work, and of your recovery, 
lie upon this point, and yet shall we not be able to accom- 
plish it? Might you be brought into the way to heaven, if 
we could but persuade you that you are yet out of the way; 
and will you be undone, because you will not suffer so small 
and reasonable a part of the cure as this is? O God forbid ! 
O that we knew how to illuminate your minds so far, as to 
make you find that you are lost ! how ready would Christ be 
then to find you, and to receive and welcome you, upon 
your return ! Here is the first difficulty, which if we could 
but overcome, we should hope to conquer all the rest. Had 
we but a wedge to cleave this knot, the rest would the more 
easily be done. Could we draw but this one pin of self- 
deceit, the frame of Satan's building were like to tumble 
down. O that any of you that know the nature of self- 
deceit, and know the accesses to the inwards of a sinner, 
and know the fallacious reasonings of the heart, could tell 
us but how we might undeceive them ! O that any of you 
that know the nature of human understanding, with its seve- 
ral maladies, and their cure, and know the power of saving 
truth, could tell us what key will undo this lock! what 
medicine will cure this disease, of wilful, obstinate, self-de- 
ceiving ! Think but on the case of our poor people, and of 
ours, and sure you cannot choose but pity both them and 
us. We are all professors of the Christian faith, and all say 
we believe the word of God. This word assureth us, that 
all men are fallen in Adam, and are by " nature children of 
wrath," and increase in sin and misery, till supernatural 
grace recover them. It tells us, that the Redeemer is be- 
come by office, the Physician or Saviour of souls, washing 
away their guilt by his blood, and renewing and cleansing 
their corrupted natures by his Spirit. It tells us, that he 
will freely work the cure, for all that will take him for their 
Physician, and will forgive and save them that penitently 
fly to him, and value, and accept, and trust upon his grace: 
and that except they be thus made new creatures, all the 
world cannot save them from everlasting wrath. This is the 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-A CQU AINT A NC K. 145 

doctrine that we all believe, or say we do believe. Thus 
doth it open the case of sinners. We come now, according 
to our office, and the trust reposed in us, and we tell our 
hearers what the Scripture saith of man, and what it com- 
mandeth us to tell them. We tell them of their fall, their 
sin and misery; of the Redeemer, and the sure and free sal- 
vation, which they may have if they will but come to him. 
But, alas, we cannot make them believe that they are so 
sick, as to have so much need of the Physician: and that 
they are dead, and have need of a new creation, as to the 
inclinations of their hearts, and the end, and bent, and busi- 
ness of their lives. We are sent to tender them the mercy 
of Christ, but we cannot make them believe that they are 
miserable. We are sent to offer them the riches, and eye- 
salve, and white raiment of the Gospel ; but we cannot make 
them know that they are poor, and blind, and naked. We 
are sent to call them to repent and turn, that they may be 
saved ; and we cannot make them know that they are so 
far out of the way, as to need a change of heart and life. 
Here they sit before us, and we look on them with pity, and 
know not how to help them. We look on them, and think, 
Alas, poor souls, you little see what death will quickly make 
you see ! You will then see that there is no salvation, by all 
the blood and merits of Christ, for any but the sanctified : 
but O that we could now but make you understand it! We 
lookonthem^with compassion ; and think, Alas, poor souls, 
as easily and quietly as you sit here, a change is near ! It 
will be thus with you but a little while, and where will you 
be next ? We know, as sure as the word of God is true, 
that they must be converted and sanctified, or be lost for 
ever: and we cannot make them believe, but that the work 
is done already. The Lord knoweth, and our consciences 
witness to our shame, that we be not half so sensible of their 
misery, nor so compassionate towards them as we ought to 
be. But yet sometimes our hearts melt over them, and fain 
we would save them from the "wrath to come;" and we 
should have great hopes of the success, if we could but 
make them know their danger. It melts our hearts to look 
on them, and think that they are so near damnation, and 
never likely to escape it, till they know it ; till they know 
.that their corruption is so great, that nothing but the quick- 

yOL. XVI. L 



146 THE MISCHIEFS OF SEL i-IG NOR ANCE, 

ening Spirit can recover them, and nothing less than to be- 
come new creatures will serve the turn. But if we would 
never so fain we cannot make them know it. O that we 
knew how to acquaint them with their case! O that we 
knew how to get within them, and to open the windows, 
that the light of Christ might show them their condition! 
But when we have done all, we find it past our power. We 
know they will be past help in hell, if they die before they 
are regenerate. And could we but get themselves to know 
it, we could not but hope that they would better look about 
them and be saved. But we are not able. It is more than 
we can do. We cannot get the grossest worldling, the basest 
sensualist, the filthiest lecher, the proudest child of the 
spirit of pride, to know that he is in a state of condemnation, 
and must be sanctified or be damned. Much less can we pro- 
cure the formal Pharisee, thus to know himself. We can 
easily get them to confess that they are sinners, and deserve 
damnation, and cannot be saved without Christ ; but this 
will not serve : the best saint on earth must say as much as 
this comes to. There are converted and unconverted sin- 
ners, sanctified and unsanctified sinners, pardoned and un- 
pardoned sinners, sinners that are members of Christ, and 
the children of God, and heirs of heaven ; and sinners that 
are not so, but contrary. They must know not only that 
they are sinners, but that they are yet unconverted, unsanc- 
tified, unpardoned sinners ; not only that they cannot be 
saved without Christ, but that they have no special interest 
in Christ: they will not turn, while they think they are 
turned already : they will not so value and seek for conver- 
sion, and remission, and adoption, as to obtain them, while 
they think they have them already. They will not come to 
Christ that they may have life, while they think they have 
part in Christ already. Paul after his conversion was a sin- 
ner, and had need of Christ: but Paul, before his conver- 
sion, was an unsanctified, unjustified sinner, and had no 
part in Christ : This is the state of sin and misery that you 
must come out of, or you are lost : and how can you be 
brought out of it, till you know that you are in it? 

O therefore that we knew how to make you know it ! 
How should we make poor sinners see that they are within 
a few steps of everlasting fire, that we might procure them, 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 147 

to run away from it, and be saved ! V/e cry so often, and 
lose our labour, and leave so many in their security and 
self-deceits, that we are too discouraged, and remit our de- 
sires, and lose our compassion ; and ourselves, alas, grow 
dull, and too insensible of their case, and preach too often 
as coldly as if we could be content to let them perish. We 
are too apt to grow weary of holding the light to men asleep, 
or that shut their eyes and will not see it. When all that 
we have said is not regarded, and we know not what more 
to say than hath been said so long in vain, this damps our 
spirits ; this makes so many of us preach almost as care- 
lessly as we are heard. Regardless, sleepy hearers, make 
regardless, sleepy preachers. Frequent frustration abateth 
hope: and the fervour and diligence of prosecution ceaseth, 
as hope abateth. This is our fault : your insensibility is no 
good excuse for ours : but it is a fault not easily avoided. 

And when we are stopped at the first door, and cannot 
conquer Satan's out-works, what hope have we of going fur- 
ther? If all that we can say, will not convince yon that 
you are yet unsanctified and unjustified, how shall we get 
you to the duties that belong to such, in order to the attain- 
ment of this desirable state ? 

And here I think it not unreasonable to inform you of 
the reason why the most able, faithful ministers of Christ do 
search so deep, and speak so hardly of the case of unrenewed 
souls, as much displeaseth many of their hearers, and makes 
them say, they are too severe and terrible preachers. The 
zealous Antimonian saith, they are legalists ; and the pro- 
fane Antinomian saith, they rail and preach not mercy, but 
judgment only, and would drive men to despair, and make 
them mad. But will they tell God he is a legalist for making 
the law, even the Gospel law as well as the law of nature, 
and commanding us to preach it to the world ? Shall they 
escape the sentence by reproaching the law-maker ? Will 
not God judge the world • and judge them by a law ; and 
will he not be just and beyond the reach of their reproach? 
O, sinner, this is not the smallest part of thy terror, that it 
is the Gospel that speaks this terror to thee, and excludes 
thee from salvation, unless thou be made new : it is mercy 
itself that thus condemneth thee, and judgeth thee to end- 
less misery. You are mistaken, sirs, when you say we preach 
not mercy, and say we preach not the Gospel, but the law : 



148 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

It is the Gospel that saith, " Except a man be born again, 
he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven ! and that if any 
man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his." 
(John iii. 3. 5; Rom. viii. 9.) The same Gospel that saith, 
" He that believeth shall be saved," saith also, that " He 
that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark xvi. 16.) Will 
you tell Christ, the Saviour of the w^orld, that he is not 
merciful, because he talks to you of damnation ? Mercy it- 
self, when it tells you that "there is no condemnation," 
doth limit this pardon to them "that are in Christ Jesus, 
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom. 
viii. ].) It is sanctifying mercy that must save you, if 
ever you be saved, as well as justifying mercy. And will 
you refuse this mercy, and by no entreaty yield to have it, 
and yet think to be saved by it? What, saved by that mercy 
which you will not have? And will you say, we preach not 
mercy, because we tell you, that mercy will not save you, 
if you continue to reject it? To be saved by mercy with- 
out sanctification, is to be saved and not saved ; to be saved 
by mercy without mercy ; your words have no better sense 
than this : And are those afraid, lest preachers should make 
them mad by showing them their need of mercy, that are no 
wiser than to cast away their souls upon suoii senseless, 
self-contradicting conceits as these ? 

I beseech you, tell us whose words are they, think you, 
that say, " Without holiness none shall see God?" (Heb.xii. 
14.) and that "He that is in Christ, is a new creature," 
(2 Cor. v. 17,) and such like passages which offend you ; 
Are they ours, or are they God's ? Did we indite the Holy 
Scriptures, or did the Holy Ghost? Is it long of us, if there 
be any words there that cross your flesh, and that you call 
bitter? Can we help it, if God will save none but sanctified 
believers ? If you have any thing to say against it, you must 
say it to him : we are sure that this is in his word : and we 
are sure he cannot lie : and therefore we are sure it is true : 
We are sure that he may do with his own as he list, and that 
he oweth you nothing, and that he may give his pardon and 
salvation to whom, and upon what terms he please : and 
therefore we are sure he doth you no wrong. But if you 
think otherwise, reproach not us that are but messengers ; 
but prepare your charge, and make it good against your 
Maker, if you dare and can : You shall shortly come before 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 149 

him, and be put to it to justify yourselves : if you can do it 
by recrimination, and can prevent your condemnation, by 
condemning the law and the Judge, try your strength and 
do your worst. 

Ah, poor worms ! dare you lift up the head, and move a 
tongue against the Lord ! Did Infinite wisdom itself want 
wisdom, to make a law to rule the world ? And did Infinite 
goodness want goodness to deal mercifully, and as was best 
with man! And shall justice itself be judged to be unjust? 
and that by you ! by such silly, ignorant, naughty and un- 
righteous ones as you! as if you had the wisdom and good- 
ness, which you think God wanted when he made his laws! 

And whereas you tell us of preaching terribly to you, we 
cannot help it, if the true and righteous threatenings of God 
be terrible to the guilty. It is because we know the terrors 
of the Lord, that we preach them, to warn you to prevent 
them. And so did the apostles before us. (2 Cor. v. 11.) 
Either it is true that the unquenchable fire will be the por- 
tion of impenitent, unbelieving, fleshly, worldly, unsancti- 
fied men, or it is not true : If it were not true, the word of 
God were not true : and then what should you do with any 
preaching at all, or any religion I But if you confess it to 
be true, do you think in reason it should be silenced? Or 
can we tell men of so terrible a thing as hell, and tell them 
that it will certainly be their lot, unless they be new crea- 
tures, and not speak terribly to them ! O, sirs, it is the won- 
der of my soul that it seemeth no more terrible, to all the 
ungodly that think they do believe it. Yea, and I would it 
did seem more terrible to the most, that it might affright 
you from your sin to God, and you might be saved. If you 
were running ignorantly into a coalpit, would you revile 
him that told you of it, and bid you stop if you love your 
life ! would you tell him that he speaks bitterly or terribly 
to you ? It is not the yjreacher that is the cause of your 
danger : he doth but tell you of it, that you may escape. If 
you are saved, you may thank him : but if you are lost, you 
may thank yourselves. It is you that deal bitterly and ter- 
ribly with yourselves. Telling you of hell doth not make 
hell : warning you of it, is not causing it : nor is it God 
that is unmerciful, but you are foolishly cruel and unmerci- 
ful to yourselves. Do not think to despise the patience 
and mercy of the Lord, and then think to escape by accus- 



150 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

ing him of being unmerciful, and by saying, it is a terrible 
doctrine that we preach to you impenitent sinners ! I con- 
fess to thee it is terrible, and more terrible than thy sense- 
less heart imagineth, or is yet aware of: One day, if grace 
, prevent it not, thou shalt find it ten thousand times more 
terrible than thou canst apprehend it now. When thou 
seest thy Judge with millions of his angels coming to con- 
demn thee, thou wilt then say his laws are terrible indeed. 
Thou hast to do with a holy; jealous God, who is a "con- 
suming fire," (Heb.xii.29,)and can such a God be despised, 
and not be terrible to thee? He is called, "The great, the 
mighty, and the terrible God." (Neh. ix. 32; Deut. vii. 21.) 
" With God is terrible majesty." (Job xxxvii. 22.) " He is 
terrible out of his holy place." (Psal. Ixviii. .35.) " He is 
terrible to the greatest, even to the kings of the earth." 
(Psal. Ixxvi. 12.) It is time for you therefore to tremble 
and submit, and think how unable you are to contend with 
him : and not revile his word or works, because they are 
terrible ; but fear him for them, and study them on purpose 
that you may fear and glorify him. And as David, " Say 
unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works ! Through the 
greatness of thy power shall thy enemies submit themselves 

unto thee Come and see the works of the Lord! He 

is terrible in his doings towards the children of men." 
(Psal. Ixvi. 3. 5.) " Let them praise thy great and terrible 
name, for it is holy." (Psal. xcix. 3.) And will you reproach 
God, or his word, or works, or ministers, with that which is 
the matter of his praise? If it be terrible to hear of the 
wrath of God, how terrible will it be to feel it? Choose not 
a state of terror to yourselves, and preaching will be less 
terrible to you. Yield to the sanctifying work of Christ, 
and receive his Spirit : and then that which is terrible to 
others will be comfortable to you. What terror is it to the 
regenerate (that knoweth himself to be such), to hear that 
none but the regenerate shall be saved ? What terror is it to 
them that mind the things of the Spirit, to hear of the misery 
of a fleshly mind, and that they that live after the flesh shall 
die? (Kom. viii. 8. 13.) The word of God is full of terror to 
the ungodly : but return with all your hearts to God, and 
then what word of God speaks terror to you ? Truly, sirs, 
it is more in your power than ours, to make our preaching 
easy and less terrible to you ! We cannot change our doc- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-A CQU A i NJ'A NCE. 151 

trine, but you may change your state and lives : we cannot 
preach another Gospel ; but you may obey the Gospel 
which we preach. Obey it, and it will be the most com- 
Ibrtable word to you in the world. We cannot make void 
the word of God ; but you may avoid the stroke by penitent 
submission. Do you think it is fitter to change our Mas- 
ter's word, and falsify the laws of God Almighty ; or for 
you to change your crooked courses, which are condemned 
by this word, and to let go the-sin which the law forbiddeth ? 
It is you that must change, and not the law. It is you that 
must be conformed to it, and not the rule that must be 
made crooked to conform to you. 

Say not as Ahab of Michaiah, of the minister : " I hate 
him, for he prophesieth not good of me, but evil ;" (1 Kings 
xxii. 8 ;) For a Balaam could profess that if the king " would 
give him his house full of silver and gold, he could not go 
beyond the word of the Lord his God, to do less or more," 
(Numb. xxii. 19,) or " to do either good or bad of his own 
mind," as he after speaks, xxiv. 13. What good would it 
do you for a preacher to tell you a lie, and say that you 
may be pardoned and saved in an impenitent, unsanctified 
state ? Do you think our saying so, would make it so ? Will 
God falsify his word to make good ours? Or would he not 
deal with us as perfidious messengers that had betrayed our 
trust, and belied him, and deceived your souls ? And would 
it save or ease an unregenerate man to have Christ con- 
demn the minister for deceiving him, and telling him that 
he may be saved in such a state? 

Do but let go the odious sin that the word of God doth 
speak so ill of, and then it will speak no ill of you. 

Alas, sirs, what would you have a poor minister do, 
when God's command doth cross your pleasure ; and when 
he is sure to offend either God or you ? Which should he 
venture to offend ? If he help not the ungodly to know 
their misery, he ofiendeth God : if he do it, he offendeth 
them. If he tell you, that " All they shall be damned that 
believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness,'' 
your hearts rise against him for talking of damnation to 
you : and yet it is but the words of the Holy Ghost, (2 Thess. 
ii. 12,) which vv'e are bound to preach ! If he tell you that 
"If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," you will be angry, 
(especially if he closely apply it to yourselves :) and if he 



152 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

do not tell you so, God will be angry ; for it is his express 
determination. (Rom, viii. 13.) And whose anger think you 
should a wise man choose ; or whose should he most reso- 
lutely avoid ; the anger of the dreadful God of heaven, or 
yours ? Your anger we can bear, if there is no remedy ; but 
his anger is intolerable. When you have fretted, and fumed, 
and railed, and slandered us and our doctrine, we can live 
yet ; or if you kill the body, you can do no more : you do 
but send us before, to be witnesses against you, when you 
come to judgment. But who can live, when God will pour 
out wrath upon him ? (Numb. xxiv. 23.) We may keep your 
slanders and indignation from our hearts ; but it is the heart 
that the heart-searching God contendeth with : and who 
can heal the heart which he will break ? You may reach the 
flesh ; but he that is a Spirit can afflict and wound the spi- 
rit : " And a wounded spirit (and wounded by him) who 
can bear?" (Prov. xviii. 14.) Would you not yourselves 
say he were worse than mad, that would rather abuse the 
eternal God, than cross the misguided desires of such worms 
as you ; that would displease God to please you, and sell 
his love to purchase yours ? Will you be instead of God to 
us when we have lost his favour ? Will you save us from 
him, when he sendeth for our souls by death, or sentenceth 
us to hell by judgment? Silly souls! how happy were you, 
could you save yourselves ! Will you be our gods if we for- 
s&,ke our God ? What you that are but skinfuls of corrup- 
tion ! that will shortly be choked with your own filth and 
phlegm, and by your friends be laid to rot in silent, undis- 
cerned darkness, lest the loathsome sight or smell of you 
should annoy them ! Blame not God to use them as enemies 
and rebels, that will change him for such earthen gods as 
you. We have one God, and but one, and he must be 
obeyed, whether you like or dislike it : " There is one Law- 
giver that is able to save and destroy," James iv. 12,) and 
he must be pleased, v./hether it please your carnal minds or 
not : If your wisdom now will take the chair, and judge the 
preaching of the Gospel to be foolishness, or the searching 
application of it to be too much harshness and severity, I 
* am sure you shall come down ere long, and hear his sen- 
tence that will convince you, that the " wisdom of the world 
is foolishnessS with God, and the foolishness of God (as 
blasphemy dare call it) is wiser than men." (1 Cor. iii. 19 j 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 15S 

i* 25.) And God will be the final Judge, and his word shalF 
stand when you have done your worst. The worst that the 
serpent can do, is but to hiss awhile and put forth the sting, 
and bruise our heel : but God's day will be the bruising of 
his head, and " Satan shall be bruised under feet." (Rom. 
xvi. 20.) 

The sun will shine, and the light thereof discover your 
deformities, whether you will or not. And if adulterers or 
thieves, that love the works of darkness, will do their worst 
by force or flattery, they cannot make it cease its shining, 
though they may shut their eyes, or hide themselves in 
darkness from its light : Faithful teachers are the " lights 
of the world." (Matt. v. 14.) They are not lighted by the 
Holy Ghost, to be " put under a bushel, but on a candle- 
stick, that they may give light to all that are in the house." 
(ver. 15.) What would you do with teachers but to teach 
you ? and what should they make known to you, if not your- 
selves ? Shall not the physician have leave to tell you of 
your diseases? 

Verily, sirs, a sinner under the curse of the law, unsanc- 
tified and unpardoned, is not in a state to be jested and 
dallied with, unless you can play in the flames of hell: it i» 
plain dealing that he needs. A quibbling, toyish, flashy 
sermon, is not the proper medicine for a lethargic, misera- 
ble soul, nor fit to break a stony heart, nor to bind up a 
heart that is kindly broken. Heaven and hell should not 
be talked of in a canting, jingling, or pedantic strain. A 
Seneca can tell you that it is a physician that is skilful, 
and not one that is eloquent, that we need. If he have also 
fine and neat expressions, we will not despise them ; nor 
overmuch value them: ' urendum, secandum:' It is a cure 
that we need ; and the means are best, be they never so 
sharp, that will accomplish it. Serious, reverent gravity 
best suiteth with matters of such incomprehensible concern- 
ment. You set not a schoolboy to make an oration, to 
give an assaulted city an alarm, or to call men out to quench 
a common fire. You may play with words when the case 
will bear it: but as dropping of beads is too ludicrous for 
one that is praying to be saved from the flames of hell ; so 
a sleepy, or a histrionical, starched speech, is too light and 
unlikely a means to call back a sinner that is posting to per- 
dition, and must be humbled and renewed by the Spirit, ov 



154 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

be for ever damned. This is your case, sirs : and do you 
think the playing of a part upon a stage doth fit your case ? 
O, no ! So great a business requireth all the serious earnest- 
ness in the speaker that he can use. I am sure you will 
think so ere long yourselves ; and you will then think well 
of the preachers that faithfully acquainted you with your 
case: and (if they succeed to your perdition) you will curse 
those that smoothed you up in your presumption, and hid 
your danger, by false doctrine, or misapplication, or seeming 
to discover it, indeed did hide it, by an hypocritical light, 
not serious mention of it. God can make use of clay and 
spittle to open the eyes of men born blind ; and of rams- 
horns to bring down the walls of Jericho : but usually he 
fitteth the means unto the end, and works on man agreeably 
to his nature: and therefore if a blind understanding must 
be enlightened, you cannot expect that it should be done by 
squibs and glowworms, but by bringing into your souls the 
powerful celestial truth, which shall show you the hidden 
corners of your hearts, and the hidden mysteries of the 
Gospel, and the unseen things of the other world. If a 
hardened heart be to be broken, it is not stroking, but 
striking that must do it. It is not the sounding brass, the 
tinkling cymbal, the carnal mind puffed up with superficial 
knowledge, that is the instrument fitted to the renewing of 
men's souls : but it is he that can acquaint you with what 
he himself hath been savingly acquainted : the heart is not 
melted into godly sorrow, nor raised to the life of faith and 
love, by the bubbles of a frothy wit, or by a game at words, 
or useless notions, but by the illuminating beams of sacred 
truth, and the attraction of Divine displayed goodness, com- 
municated from a mind that by faith hath seen the glory of 
God, and by experience found that he is good, and that 
liveth in the love of God : such a one is fitted to assist you 
first in the knowledge of yourselves, and then in the know- 
ledge of God in Christ. 

Did you consider what is the ofiice of the ministry, you 
would soon know what ministers do most faithfully perform 
their ofiice, and what kind of teaching and oversight you 
should desire : and then you would be reconciled to the 
light: and would choose the teacher (could you have your 
choice) that would do most to help you to know yourselves, 
and know the Lord. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELl-A CQU A INTANCE. 155 

I beseech you judge of our work by our commission, and 
judge of it by your own necessities. Have you more need 
to be acquainted with your sin and danger? or to be pleased 
with a set of handsome words, which when they are said, do 
leave you as they found you ; and leave no light, and life, and 
heavenly love upon your hearts: that have no substance that 
you can feed upon in the review ? 

And what our commission is you may find in many places 
of the Scripture, (Ezek. iii. 18—21,) " When I say unto the 
wicked, thou shalt surely die ; and thou givest him not warn- 
ing, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to 
save his life ; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, 
but his blood will I require at thy hand : yet if thou warn the 
wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his 
wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast de- 
livered thy soul: " And " If thou warn the righteous 

man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall 
surely live, because he is warned, also thou hast delivered 
thy soul." 

And what if they distaste our doctrine, must we forbear ? 
(Ezek. iii. 11.) " Tell them, thus saith the Lord God, whe- 
ther they will hear, or whether they will forbear." So 
Ezek. xxxiii. 1 — 10. 

You know what became of Jonah for refusing to deliver 
God's threatenings against Nineveh. 

Christ's stewards must give to each his portion. He 
himself threateneth damnation to the impenitent, the hypo- 
pocrites, and unbelievers. (Luke xiii. 3. 5; Mark xvi. 16; 
Matt. xxiv. 51.) Paul saith of himself, " If I yet pleased 
men, 1 should not be the servant of Christ." (Gal. i. 10.) 
Patience and meekness is commanded to the ministers of 
Christ, even in the instructing of opposers, but to what end? 
But " that they may escape out of the snare of the devil, 
who are taken captive by him at his will." So that with 
all our meekness we must be so plain with you, as to make 
you know that you are Satan's captives, taken alive by him 
in his snares, till God by giving you repentance shall recover 
you, (2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.) 

The very office of the preachers sent by Christ was " to 
open men's eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, 
and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may re- 
ceive remission of sins, and inheritance with the sanctified 



156 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

by faith in Christ," (Acts xxvi. 18,) which telleth you, that 
we must let men understand, that till they are converted and 
sanctified, they are blind, and in the dark, and in the power 
of Satan, far from God ; unpardoned, and having no part iu 
the inheritance of saints. 

Christ tells the Pharisees, that they were of their father 
the devil, when they boasted that God was their Father ; 
(John viii. 44 ;) And how plainly he tells them of their hy- 
pocrisy, and asked them how they can escape the damna- 
tion of hell, you may see in Matt, xxiii. 

Paul thought it his duty to tell Elymas, (Acts xiii. 10,) 
that he " was full of all subtlety and mischief, the child of 
the devil, and the enemy of all righteousness, a perverter of 
the right ways of the Lord." And Peter thought meet to 
tell Simon Magus, that he had " neither part, nor lot in that 
matter; that his heart was not right in the sight of God ;" 
that he was in " the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. 
(Acts viii. 21—23.) 

The charge of Paul to Timothy is plain and urgent, (2 
Tim. iv. 1, 2,) " I charge thee before God, and the Lord 
Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his 
appearing, and his kingdom. Preach the word, be instant in 
season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort." And 
to Titus, (chap. i. 13,) " Rebuke them sharply, that they 
may be sound in the faith." 

Judge now, whether ministers must deal plainly or deceit- 
fully with you, and whether it be the searching, healing 
truth that they must bring you, or a smooth tale that hath 
no salt or savour in it: And would you have us break these 
laws of God, for nothing but to deceive you and tell you a 
lie, and make the ungodly believe that he is godly, or to hide 
the truth that is necessary to your salvation? Is the know- 
ledge of yourselves so intolerable a thing to you ? 

Beloved hearers, either it is true that you are yet un- 
sanctified, or it is not: If it be not, it is none of our desire 
you should think so : we do all that we can to cure the mis- 
takes of troubled Christians, that think themselves worse 
than indeed they are. But if it be true, tell me, why would 
you not know it ? I hope it is not because you would not be 
remembered of your woe, and so tormented before the time. 
I hope you think not that we delight to vex men's con- 
sciences with fear, or to see men live in grief and trouble. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 157 

rather than in well-grounded peace and joy. And if indeed 
you are yet unregenerate, that is not long of us that tell you 
of it, but of yourselves that wilfully continue it. Do we 
make you ungodly, by telling you of your ungodliness? Is 
it we that hinder the forgiveness of your sins, by letting you 
know that they are not forgiven? O no! we strive for 
your conversion to this end, that your sins may be forgiven 
you ; and you hinder the forgiveness of them, by refusing 
to be converted. When God forsaketh stubborn souls for 
resisting his grace, note, how he expresseth his severity 
against them, " That seeing they may see and not perceive, 
and hearing they may hear and not understand, lest at any 
time they should be converted, and their sins should be for- 
given them. (Mark iv. 12.) You see here, that till they are 
converted, men's sins are not forgiven them. And that who- 
ever procureth the forgiveness of their sins, must do it by 
procuring their conversion ; and that the hindering of their 
conversion is the hindering of their forgiveness. And that 
blindness of mind is the great hindrance of conversion ; 
when men do not perceive the very things which they see, 
(not knowing the reason, and the sense, and the end of 
them, but the outside only :) nor understand the things 
which they hear : And therefore undoubtedly the teacher 
that brings you a light into your minds, and first showeth 
you yourselves, and your unconverted and your unpardoned 
state, is he that takes the way to your conversion and for- 
giveness : as the forecited text showeth you, " I send thee 
to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light," 
(Acts xviii. 26,) (that they may first know themselves, and 
then know God in Jesus Christ), " and from the power of Sa- 
tan," (who ruled them as their prince, and captivated them as 
their gaoler)," unto God" (whom they had forsaken as a guide 
and governor, and were deprived of as their protector, por- 
tion and felicity,) " that they may receive forgiveness of sins" 
(which none receive but the converted,) " and an inheritance 
among them that are sanctified," for glory is the inheritance 
of the saints alone; (Col. i. 12;) and all this " through faith 
that is in me" (by believing in me, and giving up themselves 
unto me, that by my satisfaction, merits, teaching. Spirit, 
intercession, and judgment, it may be accomplished). 

Truly sirs, if we knew how to procure your conversion 
and forgiveness, without making you know that you are 



158 THE MISCHIEFS OF .SELF-IGNORANCE, 

unconverted and unpardoned, we would do it, and not trou- 
ble you needlessly with so sad a discovery. Let that man 
be accounted a butcher of souls, and not a physician for 
them, that delighteth to torment them. Let him be ac- 
counted unworthy to be a preacher of the Gospel, that en- 
vieth you your peace and comfort. We would not have 
you think one jot worse of your condition than it is. Know 
but the very truth, what case you are in, and we desire no 
more. 

And so far are we by this from driving you to despera- 
tion, that it is your desperation that we would prevent by it; 
which can no other way be prevented. When you are past 
remedy, desperation cannot be avoided : and this is neces- 
sary to your remedy. There is a conditional despair, and 
an absolute despair. The former is necessary to prevent the 
latter, and to bring you to a state of hope. A man that hath 
the tooth-ach, may perhaps despair of being eased without 
drawing the tooth ; or a man that hath a gangrened foot 
may despair of life, unless it be cut off; that so by the cure 
he may not be left to an absolute despair of life. So you must 
despair of being pardoned or saved without conversion, that 
you may be converted, and so havehopeof your salvation, and 
be saved from final, absolute despair. I hope you will not 
be offended with him, that would persuade you to despair of 
living, unless you will eat and drink. You have no more 
reason to be ofi'ended with him that would have you despair 
of being pardoned or saved without Christ, or without his 
sanctifying Spirit. 

Having said so much of the necessity of ministers endea- 
vouring to make unregenerate sinners know themselves, I 
shall next try what I can do towards it, with those that hear 
me, by proposing these few questions to your consideration. 

Quest. 1. Do you think that you were ever unsanctified, 
and in a state of wrath and condemnation or not ? If not, 
then you are not the offspring of Adam; you are not then of 
the human race; for the Scripture telleth you that " We are 
conceived in sin, (Psal. li. 5,) And " that by one man sin 
entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed 
upon all men, for that all have sinned. And that by the 
offence of one judgment came upon all men to condem- 
nation," (Rom. V. 12, 18,) And that " All have sinned, and 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQU A I N T ANC K. J 59 

come short of the glory of God." (Rom. iii. 23.) " If we say 
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is 
not in us," (1 John i. 8, 10,) And " the wages of sin is 
death." (Rom. vi. 23.) 

And I hope you will confess that you cannot be par- 
doned and saved without a Saviour, and therefore as yoii 
need a Saviour, so you must have a special interest in him. 
It is as certain that Christ saveth not all, as that he saveth 
any : for the same word assureth us of the one, and of the 
other. 

Quest. 2. But if you confess that once you were chil- 
dren of wrath, my next question is. Whether you know how, 
and when you were delivered from so sad a state ? or at least, 
whether it be done, or not? Perhaps you will say, it was 
done in your baptism, which vvasheth away original sin. But 
granting you, that all that have a promise of pardon before, 
have that promise sealed, and that pardon delivered them 
by baptism, 1 ask you. 

Quest. 3. Do you think that baptism by water only will 
save, unless you be also baptized by the Spirit? Christ 
telleth you the contrary, with a vehement asseveration, 
(John iii. 5,) " Verily, verily, I say unto thee. Except a man 
be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the 
kingdom of God." And Peter tells you that it is " not the 
putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good 
conscience towards God." (1 Pet. ii. 21.) " If therefore you 
have not the Spirit of Christ," for all your baptism, " you are 
none of his;" (Rom. viii. 9;) For " that which is born of the 
flesh is (but) flesh," and you must be born of the Spirit if you 
will be spiritual. (John iii. 6.) 

I shall further grant you, that many receive the Spirit of 
Christ even in their infancy, and may be savingly as well as 
sacramentally then regenerate. And if this be your case, 
you have a very great cause to be thankful for it. But I next 
inquire of you. 

Quest. 4. Have you not lived an unholy, carnal life, since 
you came to the use of reason? Have you not since then 
declared, that you did not live the life of faith, nor walk after 
the Spirit but after the flesh ? If so, then it is certain that 
you have need of a conversion from that ungodly state, what- 
ever baptism did for you ; and therefore you are still to in- 
quire, whether you have been converted since yon came to age. 



160 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

And I must needs remember you, that your infant cove- 
nant made in baptism, being upon your parents' faith and 
<:onsent, and not your own, will serve your turn no longer 
than your infancy, unless when you come to the use of rea- 
son, you renew and own that covenant yourselves, and have 
a personal faith and repentance of your own. And what- 
ever you received in baptism, this must be our next inquiry. 
Quest. 5. Did you ever since you came to age, upon 
sound repentance, and renunciation of the flesh, the world, 
and the devil, give up yourselves unfeignedly by faith, to 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; and show by the 
performance of this holy covenant, that you were sincere in 
the making of it? 

I confess it is a matter so hard to most, to assign the time 
and manner of their conversion, that I think it no safe way 
£)f trial. And therefore I will issue all in this one question. 
Quest. 6. Have you the necessary parts of the new crea- 
ture now? Though perhaps you know not just when, or how 
it was formed in you? The question is, whether you are now 
in a state of sanctification ? And not, whether you can 
tell just when you did receive it? He that would know, 
whether he be a man, must not do it by remembering when 
he was born, or how he was formed ; but by discerning the 
rational nature in himself at present. And though grace be 
more observable to us in its entrance, than nature (as finding, 
and entering into a discerning subject, which nature doth 
not): yet it beginneth so early with some, and so obscurely 
with others, and in others, the preparations are so long or 
notable, that it is hard to say when special grace came in. 
But you may well discern, whether it be there or not. And 
that is the question that must be resolved, if you would know 
yourselves. 

And, though I have been long in these exhortations, to 
incline your wills, I shall be short in giving you those evi- 
dences of the holy life,' which must be before your eyes while 
you are upon the trial. 

In sum, if your very hearts do now unfeignedly consent 
to the covenant which you made in baptism, and your lives 
express it to be a true consent, I dare say you are regene- 
rate, though you know not just when you first consented. 

Come on then, and let us inquire what you say to the 
several parts of your baptismal covenant. 



AND BKNEFITS OF SELF-A C QU A INTANC K. 16f 

1. If you are sincere in the covenant you have made with 
Christ, you do resolvedly consent, that God shall be your 
only God, as reconciled to you by Jesus Christ. Which is, 
1. That you will take him for your Owner or your absolute 
Lord, and give up yourselves to him as his own. 

2. That you will take him for your supreme Governor, 
and consent to be subject to his government and laws, 
taking his wisdom for your guide, and his will for the rule 
of your wills and lives. 

3. That you will take him for your chiefest Benefactor, 
from whom you receive and expect all your happiness, and 
to whom you owe yourselves and all, by way of thankfulness. 
And that you take his love and favour for your happiness 
itself, and prefer the everlasting enjoyment of his glorious 
sight and love in heaven, before all the sensual pleasures of 
the world. 

I would prove the necessity of all these by Scripture as 
we go, but that it is evident in itself; these three relations 
being essential to God, as our God in covenant. He is not 
our God, it" not our Owner, Ruler, and Benefactor. You 
profess all this, when you profess but to love God, or to 
take him for your God. 

2. In the covenant of baptism you do profess to believe 
in Christ, and take him for your only Saviour. If you do 
this in sincerity, 1. You do unfeignedly believe the doctrine 
of his Gospel, the articles of the Christian faith, concerning 
his person, his offices, and his sufferings and works. 2. 
You do take him unfeignedly for the only Redeemer and 
Saviour of mankind, and give up yourselves to be saved by 
his merits, righteousness, intercession, Slc. as he hath pro- 
mised in his word. 3, You trust upon him and his promises, 
for the attainment of your reconciliation and peace with 
God, your justification, adoption, sanctification, and the 
glory of the life to come. 4. You take him for your Lord 
and King, your Owner and Ruler by the right of redemp- 
tion ; and your grand Benefactor, that hath obliged you to 
love and gratitude, by saving you from the wrath to come, 
and purchasing eternal glory for you by his most wonderful 
condescension, life and suflferino-s. 

3. In the baptismal covenant, you are engaged to the 
Holy Ghost. If you are sincere in this branch ofyour cove- 

VOL. XVI. M 



162 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

nant, 1. You discern your sins as odious and dangerous, as 
the corruption of your souls, and that which displeaseth the 
most holy God. 2. You see an excellency in holiness of 
heart and life, as the image of God, the rectitude of man, 
and that which fits him for eternal blessedness, and maketh 
him amiable in the eyes of God. 3. You unfeignedly desire 
to be rid of your sin, how dear soever it hath been to you ; 
and to be perfectly sanctified by the Holy Spirit, by his de- 
grees, in the use of the means which he hath appointed: and 
you consent that the Holy Ghost, as your Sanctifier, do 
purify you and kindle the love of God in you, and bring it to 
perfection. 

4. In baptism, you profess to renounce the world, the flesh, 
and the devil ; that is, as they stand for your hearts against 
the will and love of God, and against the happiness of the 
unseen world; and against your faith in Christ your Sa- 
viour ; and against the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost. 
If therefore you are sincere in this part of your covenant, 
you do upon deliberation perceive all the pleasures, profits, 
and honours of this world, to be so vain and worthless, that 
you are habitually resolved to prefer the love and favour of 
God, and your salvation, before them ; and to be ruled by 
Jesus Christ, and his Spirit and word, rather than by the de- 
sires of the flesh, or the world's allurements, or the will of 
man, or the suggestions of the devil ; and to forsake all 
rather than forsake the Father, the Saviour, the Sanctifier, 
to whom you are devoted, and the everlasting life, which 
upon his promise you have taken for your hope and por- 
tion. This is the sense of baptism, and all this in profes- 
sion being essential to your baptism, must be essential to 
your Christianity. Your parents' profession of it was ne- 
cessary to your infant title to the outward privileges of the 
church. Your own personal profession is necessary to your 
continuance of those privileges,and your visible Christianity 
and communion with the adult. And the truth of what you 
profess, is necessary to your real Christianity before God, 
and to your title to salvation : and this is it that is to be now 
inquired after. You cannot hope to be admitted into hea- 
ven, upon lower terms than the sincerity of that profession 
which entereth you into the church : while we tell you of 
ao higher matters necessary to your salvation, than the sin- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 163 

cerity of that which is necessary to baptism and Christianity, 
I hojje you will not say we deal too strictly with you. In- 
quire now by a diligent trial of your hearts, whether you 
truly consent to all these articles of your baptismal vow or 
covenant. If you do, you are regenerate by the Spirit : if 
you do not, you have but the sacrament of regeneration ; 
which aggravateth your guilt, as a violated profession and 
covenant must needs do. And I do not think, that any man 
worthy to be discoursed with, will have the face to tell you, 
that any man, at the use of reason, is by his baptism, (or 
any thing else) in a state of justification and salvation, whose 
heart doth not sincerely consent to the covenant of baptism, 
and whose life expresseth not that consent. 

Hence therefore you may perceive that it is a thing un- 
questionable, that all these persons are yet unregenerate, 
and in the bond of their iniquity. 

I. All those that have not unfeignedly devoted themselves 
to God, as being not their own, but his. His by the title of 
creation, (Psal. c. 3,) " Know ye that the Lord he is God ; 
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves, we are his 
people, and the sheep of his pasture." And his by the title 
of redemption; for "we are bought with a price." (1 Cor. vii. 
23.) And he that unfeignedly taketh God for his owner, 
and absolute Lord, will heartily give up himself unto him ; 
as Paul saith of the Corinthians, (2 Cor. viii. 5,) "They first 
gave up their own selves to the Lord, and to us by the will 
of God." 

And he that entirely giveth up himself to God, doth with 
himself surrender all that he hath in desire and resolution., 
As Christ with himself doth give us all things," (Rom. viii. 
32,) and " addeth other things to them that seek first his 
kingdom and its righteousness, (Matt. vi. 33,) so Christians 
with themselves do give up all they have to Christ. 

And he that giveth up himself to God, will live to God: 
and he that taketh not himself to be his own, will take no- 
thing for his own ; but will study the interest of his Lord, 
and think he is best disposed of, when he honoureth him 
most, and serveth him best, (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20,) " Ye are not 
your own, for ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify 
God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 

If any of you devote not yourselves unfeignedly to God, 
and make it not your first inquiry, what God would have 



164 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

you be and do, but live to yourselves, and yet think your- 
selves in a state of life, you are mistaken, and do not know 
yourselves. What abundance might easily see their miserable 
condition in this discovery, who say in effect, " Our lips are 
our own : who is Lord over us?*' (Psal. xii. 4,) and rather 
hate and oppose the interest of God and holiness in the 
world, than devote themselves to the promoting of it ! (Deut. 
xxxii. 6.) " Do ye thus requite the Lord, ye foolish people 
and unwise ? Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? 
Hath he not made thee, and established thee ?" 

2. All those are unregenerate and in a state of death, 
that are not sincerely subjected to the governing will of 
God, but are ruled by their carnal interest and desires ; and 
the word of a man that can gratify or hurt them, can do 
more with them than the word of God : To shew them the ^ 
command of a man that they think can undo them if they 
disobey, doth more prevail with them, than to shew them 
the command of God, that can condemn them unto endless 
misery. They more fear men that can kill the body, than 
God, that can destroy both soul and body in hell fire. When 
the lust of the flesh, and the will of man do bear more sway 
than the will of God, it is certain that such a soul is unre- 
generate. (Rom. vi. 3, 4, 6.) " Know ye not that so many of 
us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his 
death ? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into 
death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead, by the 
glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness 

of life Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with 

him, that the body of sin might be destroyed ; that hence- 
forth we should not serve sin, (ver. 16.) Know ye not 

that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his 
servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, 
or of obedience unto righteousness? Forasmuch then as 
Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves like- 
wise with the same mind ; for he that hath suffered in the 
flesh hath ceased from sin : that he no longer should live the 
rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the 
will of God." (1 Pet. iv. 1,2.) 

3. All those are unregenerate, that depend not upon God 
as their chief benefactor; and do not most carefully apply 
themselves to him, as knowing that " in his favour is life," 
(Psal. XXX. 5,) and that " his loving-kindness is better than 



AND BENEFITS OF SE LF-AC QU A I N T ANC F,. 1(35 

life," (Psal, Ixiii. 3,) and that to his judgQient we must fi- 
nally stand or fall: but do ambitiously seek the favour of 
men, and call them their benefactors, (Luke xxii. 25; Matt* 
xxiii. 9,) whatever become of the favour of God. He is no child 
of God that preferreth not the love of God before the love 
of ail the world. He is no heir of heaven, that preferreth 
not the fruition of God in heaven, before all worldly glory 
and felicity. " If ye be risen with Christ, seek the things 
that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of 
(lod : Set your affections on things above, not on things on 
the earth." (Col. iii. 1 — 3.) The love of God is the sura of 
holiness; the heart of the new creature ; the perfecting of 
it is the perfection and felicity of man. 

4. They are certainly unregenerate, that believe not the 
Gospel, and take not Christ for their only Saviour, and his 
promises of grace and glory, as purchased by his sacrifice 
and merits, for the foundation of their hopes, on which they 
resolve to trust their souls for pardon and for peace with 
God, and endless happiness. "Neither is there salvation in 
any other : for there is none other name under heaven given 
among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts iv. 12.) 
" This is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and 
this life is in his Son : He that hath the Son, hath life ; and 
he that hath not the Son, hath not life." (1 John v. 11, 12.) 

When our happiness was in Adam's hands, he lost it : it 
is now put into safer liands, and Jesus Christ the second 
Adam is become our treasury. He is the head of the body, 
from whom each member hath quickening influence. (Eph. 
i. 22.) The life of saints is in him, as the life of the tree is 
in the root, unseen. (Col. iv. 3, 4.) Holiness is a living un- 
to God in Christ; though we are dead with Christ, to the 
law, and to the world, and to the flesh, we are alive to God. 
So Paul describeth our case in his own, " I through the 
law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God : I am 
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but 
Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the 
flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, 
and gave himself for me." (Gal. ii. 19, 20.) " Likewise 
reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but 
alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. vi. ' 
11.) " Christ is the vine, and we are the branches; with- 
out him we can do nothing : If you abide not in him, and 



16G THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

his v/ords in you, you are cast forth as a branch, and 
withered, which men gather and cast into the fire, and they 
are burned." (John xv. 1. 5 — 7.) In baptism you are married 
unto Christ, as to the external solemnization; and in spi- 
ritual regeneration your hearts do inwardly close with him, 
entertain him, and resign themselves unto him by faith and 
love ; and by a resolved covenant become his own : and 
therefore baptism and the Lord's-supper are called Sacra- 
ments ; because as soldiers were wont, by an oath, and list- 
ing their names, and other engaging ceremonies, to oblige 
themselves to their commanders, and their vow was called 
a Sacrament : so do we eno-aoe ourselves to Christ in the 
holy vow or covenant entered in baptism, and renewed in 
the Lord's-supper. 

5. That person is certainly unregenerate, that never was 
convinced of a necessity of sanctification, or never perceived 
an excellency and amiableness in holiness of heart and life, 
and loved it in others, and desired it himself; and never 
gave up himself to the Holy Ghost, to be further sanctified 
in the use of his appointed means ; desiring to be perfect, 
and willing to press forward towards the mark, and to 
abound in grace. Much less is that person renewed by the 
Holy Ghost, that hateth holiness, and had rather be without 
it, and would not walk in the fear and obedience of the Lord. 

The spirit of holiness is that life by which Christ quick- 
eneth all that are his members. He is no member of Christ 
that is witliout it. (Rom. viii. 9.) " According to his mercy, 
he saveth us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing 
of the Holy Ghost." (Titus iii. 5.) 

6. That person is unregenerate, that is under the do- 
minion of his fleshly desires, and " mindeth the things of 
the flesh above the things of the Spirit ;" and hath not mor- 
tified it so far, as not to live according to it. A carnal 
mind, and a carnal life, are opposite to holiness, as sickness 
is to health, and darkness unto light. "There is no con- 
demnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not 

after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are 

after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh : but they that 
are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be car- 
nally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life 
and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; 
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be : 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 167 

So then they that are in the flesh, cannot please God- 



For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if by the Spi- 
rit ye mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom. 
viii. 1 — 14.) " Now the works of the flesh are manifest, 
which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 
idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, 
strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, 
revellings, and such like ; of which I tell you before, as I 
have also told you in time past, that they which do such 
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit 
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, 
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance : against such there 
is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the 
flesh, with the affections and lusts." (Gal. v. 18 — 25.) 

7. Lastly, That person is certainly unregenerate, that so 
far valueth and loveth the world, or any of the carnal ac- 
commodations therein, as practically to prefer them before 
the love of God, and the hopes of everlasting glory : seek- 
ing it first, with highest estimation, and holding it fastest; 
so as that he will rather venture his soul upon the threatened 
wrath of God, than his body upon the wrath of man ; and 
will be religious no further than may consist with his pros- 
perity or safety in the world, and hath something that he 
cannot part with for Christ and heaven, because it is dearer 
to him than they : Let this man go never so far in religion, 
as long as he goeth further for the world, and setteth it 
nearest to his heart, and holds it fastest, and will do most 
for it, and consequently loveth it better than Christ, he is 
no true Christian, nor in a state of grace. 

The Scriptures put this also out of doubt, as you may 
see Matt. x. 37, 38 ; Luke xiv. 25, 27. 33 ; " He that loveth 
father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me, &c. 
Whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, can- 
not be my disciple. Whoever he be of you that forsaketh 
not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." " Know 
ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God ? 
whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy 
of God." (James iv. 4.) No wonder then if the world must 
be renounced in our baptism. " Love not the world, neither 
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.) 

You see by this time, what it is to be regenerate, and to 



UJ8 THE MISCHIEF^; OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

be a Christian indeed, by what is contained even in our 
baptism : and consequently how you may know yourselves, 
whether you are sanctified, and the heirs of heaven, or not. 

Again therefore I summon you to appear before your 
consciences : And if indeed these evidences of regeneration 
are not in you, stop not the sentence, but confess your sin- 
iui, miserable state, and condemn yourselves, and say no 
longer, I hope yet that my present condition may serve turn, 
and that God will forgive me, though I should die without 
any further change: Those hopes that you may be saved 
without regeneration, or that you are regenerate when you 
are not, are the pillars of Satan's fortress in your hearts, and 
keep you from the saving hopes of the regenerate, that will 
never make you ashamed. Uphold not that which Christ is 
engaged against: down it must, either by grace or judg- 
ment: and therefore abuse not your souls by under-prop- 
ping such an ill-grounded, false, deceitful hope. You have 
now time to take it down so orderly and safely, as that it 
fall not on your heads, and overwhelm you not for ever. But 
if you stay till death shall undermine it, the fall will be 
great, and your ruin irreparable. If you are wise, therefore 
know yourselves in time. 

II. I have done with that part of my special exhortation 
which concerned the unregenerate : I am next to speak to 
Uiose of you that by grace are brought into a better stale : 
and to tell you, that it very much concerneth you also, even 
the best of you, to labour to be well acquainted with your- 
selves : and that both in respect of, ] . Your sins and wants ; 
and, 2. Your graces and your duties. 

I. Be acquainted with the root and remnant of your sins: 
with your particular inclinations and corrupt affections ; 
with their quality, their degree and strength : with the 
weaknesses of every grace : with your disability to duty ; 
and with the omissions or sinful practices of your lives. 
Search diligently and deeply ; frequently and accurately pe- 
ruse your hearts and ways, till you certainly and thoroughly 
know yourselves. 

And I beseech you, let it not suffice you that you know 
your states, and have found yourselves in the love of God, 
in the faith of Christ, and possessed by his Spirit. Though 
this be a mercy worth many worlds, yet this is not all con- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELl'-A C QU A INTANCE. 169 

earning yourselves that you have to know. If yet you 
say that you have no sin, you deceive yourselves. If yet 
you think you are past all danger, your danger is the greater 
for this mistake. As much as you have been humbled for 
sin ; as much as you have loathed it ; as often as you have 
confessed it, lamented it, and complained and prayed against 
it, yet it is alive: though it be mortified, it is alive. It is 
said to be mortified as to the prevalency and reign, but the 
relics of it yet survive: were it perfectly dead, you were 
perfectly delivered from it, and might say, you have no sin : 
but it is not yet so happy with you. It will find work for 
the blood and Spirit of Christ, and for yourselves, as long 
as you are in the flesh. And, alas, too many that know 
themselves to be upright in the main, are yet so much un- 
acquainted with their hearts and lives, as to the degrees of 
grace and sin, as that it much disadvantageth them in their 
Christian progress. Go along with me in the careful obser- 
vation of these following evils, that may befal even the re- 
generate by the remnants of self-ignorance. 

1. The work of mortification is very much hindered, be- 
cause you know yourselves no better, as may appear in all 
these following discoveries. 

(1.) You confess not sin to God or man ^o penitently and 
sensibly as you ought, because you know yourselves no 
better. Did you see your inside with a fuller view, how 
deeply would you aggravate your sin! how heavily would 
you charge yourselves ! repentance would be more intense 
and more effectual ; and when you were more contrite, 
you would be more meet for the sense of pardon, and for 
God's delight. (Isa. li. 15; Ixvi. 2.) It would fill you more 
with godly shame and self- abhorrence, if you better knew 
yourselves. It would make you more sensibly say with 
Paul, " I see another law in my members, warring against 
the law of ray mind, and bringing me into captivity to the 
law of sin, which is in my members. O wretched man that 
I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!" 
(Rom. vii. 23, 24.) And with David, " I will declare my 
iniquity ; I will be sorry for my sin. They are more than 
the hairs of my head. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, 
and mine iniquity have I not hid : I said I will confess my 
transgressions to the Lord, and thou forgayest the iniquity 
of my sin." (Psal. xxxviii. 18; xl. 12; xxxii. 5.) Repen- 



170 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

tance is the death of sin : and the knowledge of ourselves, 
and the sie;ht of our sins is the life of repentance. 

(2.) You pray not against sin, for grace and pardon, so 
earnestly as you should, because you know yourselves no 
better. O that God would but open these too-close hearts 
unto us, and anatomize the relics of the old man, and show 
us all the recesses of our self-deceit, and the filth of world- 
liness, and carnal inclinations that lurk within us, and read 
us a lecture upon every part; what prayers would it teach us 
to indite ! That you may not be proud of your holiness, let 
me tell you, Christians, that a full display of the corruptions 
that the best of you carry about you, would not only take 
down self-exalting thoughts, that you be not lifted up above 
measure, but would teach you to pray with fervour and im- 
portunity, and waken you out of your sleepy indifference, 
and make you cry, " O wretched man that I am, who shall 
deliver me !" If the sight of a lazar, or cripple, or naked 
person, move you to compassion, though they use no words : 
if the sight of a man that is gasping for want of your relief. 
Will affect you : surely the sight of your own deformities, 
wants and dangers, would affect you if you saw them as 
they are. How many a sin do you forget in your confes- 
sions that should have a particular repentance ! And how 
many wants do you overlook in prayers, that should have 
particular petitions for a merciful supply ! And how many 
are lightly touched, and run over with words of course, that 
would be earnestly insisted on, if you did but better know 
yourselves ! O that God would persuade you better to study 
your hearts, and pray out of that book whenever you draw 
nigh to him, that you might not be so like the hypocrites, that 
draw near to him with the lips, when their hearts are far 
from him. To my shame I must confess, that my soul is 
too dry and barren in holy supplications to God, and too 
little affected with my confessed sins and wants : but I 
am forced to lay all in a very great measure upon the im- 
perfect acquaintance that I have at home : I cannot think I 
should want matter to pour out before the Lord in confes- 
sion and petition, nor so much want fervour and earnestness 
with God, if my heart and life lay open to my view, while I 
am upon my knees. 

(3.) It is for want of a fuller knowledge of yourselves that 
you are so negligent in your Cliristian watch, that you do 



AND BLNEl'ITS OF SE Ll-AC QU A I N T AN CP:. 171 

no better guard your senses ; that you make no stricter a 
covenant with your eyes, your appetites, your tongues : 
that you no more examine what you think, affect and say : 
what passeth in your heart and out of it : that you call not 
yourselves more frequently to account; but days run on, 
and duties are carelessly performed as of course, and no 
daily or weekly reckoning made to conscience of all. The 
knowledge of your weaknesses, and readiness to yield, and 
of your treacherous corruptions that comply with the ene- 
my, would make you more suspicious of yourselves, and to 
walk more "circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,"(Eph. 
V. 15,) and to look under your feet, and consider your ways 
before you were too bold and venturous. It was the con- 
sciousness of their own infirmity, that should have moved 
the disciples to watch and pray. " Watch and pray that ye 
enter not into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but 
the flesh is weak." (Matt. xxvi. 41.) And all have the same 
charge, because all have the same infirmity and danger. 
" What I say to you, I say unto all, Watch." (Mark xiii. 37.) 
Did we better know how many advantages our own cor- 
ruptions give the tempter, that charge of the Holy Ghost 
would awake us all to stand to our arms and look about us: 
" Watch ye, stand fast in the faith : quit you like men, be 
strong." (1 Cor. xvi. 13.) "Put on the whole armour of 
God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the 
devil : for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against 
principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness 
of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places," 
8lc. (Eph. vi. 1 1 — 14.) When men know not whose legs they 
stand upon, they grow heedless of their way, and quickly slide. 

The knowledge of ourselves doth show us all the advan- 
tages of the tempter : what he hath to work upon, and what 
in us to take his part, and consequently where he is most 
likely to assault us : and so puts us into so prepared a pos- 
ture for defence, as very much hindereth his success. But 
so far as we do not know ourselves, we are like blind men 
in fencing, that the adversary may hit in what part he please : 
we have so many hidden enemies in our houses, as will 
quickly open the door to more. What sin may not Satan 
tempt a man into, that is not acquainted with the corruptions 
and frailties of his own heart ! 

(4.) Tt is for want of self-acquaintance that we make not 



172 THE MISCHIEFS uF SELF-J G N OR A N CE, 

out for help against our sin to ministers or other friends 
that could assist us : and that we use the confirmino; ordi- 
nances with no more care and diligence. All the abilities 
and willingness of others, and' all the helps of God's ap- 
pointment, will be neglected, when we should employ them 
against our sins, so far as self-ignorance doth keep us from 
discerning the necessity of them. 

(5.) It is for want of a fuller knowledge of ourselves, that 
many lie long in sins unobserved by themselves : and many 
are on the declining hand, and take no notice of it. And 
how little resistance or mortifying endeavours we are likely 
to bestow upon unknown or unobserved sins, is easy to con- 
ceive. How many may we observe to have notable blemishes 
of pride, ostentation, desire of pre-eminence and esteem, 
envy, malice, self-conceitedness, self-seeking, censorious- 
ness, uncharitableness, and such like, that see no more of it 
in themselves, than is in more mortified men ! How ordi- 
narily do we hear the pastors that watch over them, and 
their friends that are best acquainted with them, lamenting 
the miscarriages, and the careless walking and declining of 
many that seem religious, when they lament it not them- 
selves, nor will be convinced that they are sick of any 
such disease, any more than all other Christians are ! Hence 
comes the stiffness of too many such, against all that can be 
said to humble and reform them : and that they are so im- 
patient of reproof, and think reprovers do them wrong ; and 
it is well if it abate not Christian love, and procure not some 
degree of hatred or displeasure. Like a man that is enter- 
ing into 9, consumption, and takes it for an injury to be told 
so, till his languishing and decay convince him. Hence it 
is that we have all need to lament in general our unknown 
sins, and sav with David, " Who can understand his errors? 
Cleanse thou me from secret faults." (Psal. xix. 12.) Hence 
it is that we can seldom tell men of the most discernible 
faults, but they meet us with excuses, and justify themselves. 

There are few of us, I think, that observe our hearts at 
all, but find both upon any special illumination, and in the 
hour of discovering trials, that there were many distempers 
in our hearts, and many miscarriages in our lives, that we 
never took notice of before. The heart hath such secret 
corners of uncleanness, such mysteries of iniquity, and 
depths of deceitfulness, that many fearing God, are strangely 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 17."3 

unacquainted with themselves, as to the particular motions 
and degrees of sin, till some notable providence, or gracious 
light assist them in the discovery. I think it not unprofit- 
able here to give you some instances, of sin undiscerned by 
the servants of the Lord themselves that have it, till the light 
come in that makes them wonder at their former darkness. 

In general, fust observe these two. 1. The secret habits 
of sin, being discernible only by some acts, are many times 
unknown to us, because we are under no strong temptation 
to commit those sins. Audit is a wonderful hard thing for 
a man that hath little or no temptation to know himself, and 
know what he should do, if he had the temptations of other 
men. And O, what sad discoveries are made in the hour of 
temptation! What svv^arms of vice break out in some, like 
vermin, that lay hid in the cold of winter, and crawl about 
when they feel the summer's heat ! What horrid corruptions 
which we never observed in ourselves before, do show them- 
selves in the hour of temptation ! Who would have thought 
that righteous Noah had in the ark such a heart, as would 
by carelessness fall into the sin of drunkenness! Or that righ- 
teous Lot had carried from Sodom the seed of drunkenness 
and incest in him! Or that David, a man so eminent in holi- 
ness, and a man after God's own heart, had a heart that had 
in it the seeds of adultery and murder ! Little thought 
Peter, when he professed Christ, (Matt. xvi. 16,) that there 
had been in him such carnality and unbelief, as would so 
soon have provoked Christ to say, " Get thee behind me 
Satan, thou art an offence unto me : for thou savourest not 
the things that be of God, but those that be of men," (ver. 22, 
23.) And little did he think when he so vehemently professed 
his resolution rather to die with Christ than deny him, that 
there had been then in his heart the seed that would bring 
forth this bitter fruit. (Matt. xxvi. 74, 75.) Who knows 
what is virtually in a seed, that never saw the tree, or tasted 
of the fruit? 

Especially when we have not only a freedom from temp- 
tations, but also the most powerful means to keep under 
vicious habits, it is hard to know how far they are mortified 
at the root. When men are among those that countenance 
the contrary virtue, and where the vice is in disgrace, and 
where examples of piety and temperance are still before their 
eyes: if they dwell in such places and company, where au- 



174 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

thority and friendship and reason do all take part with good, 
and cry down the evil, no wonder if the evil that is unmorti- 
iied in men's hearts, do not much break out to their own or 
others' observations through all this opposition. The in- 
stance of King Joash is famous for this, who " did that which 
was right in the sight of the Lord, all the days of Jehoiada 
the priest that instructed him,*' (2 Kings xii. 2,) but " after 
his death, when the princes of Judah flattered him with their 
obeisance, he left the house of God and served idols, till 
wrath came upon the land ; and was so hardened in sin, as 
to murder Zechariah the prophet of God, and son of that 
Jehoiada that had brought him out of obscurity, and set him 
upon the throne, even because he spake in the name of the 
Lord against his sin. (2 Chron. xxiv. 20. 22.) 

Who would have thought that it had been in the heart 
of Solomon, a man so wise, so holy, and so solemnly engaged 
to God, by his public professions and works, to have com- 
mitted the abominations mentioned 1 Kino;s xi. 4.? 

If you say, ' That all this proveth not that there was any 
seed or root of such a sin in the heart before, but only that 
the temptation did prevail to cause the acts first, and then 
such habits as those acts did tend to ;' I answer, 1. I grant 
that temptations do not only discover what is in the heart, 
but also make it worse when they prevail ; and that is 
no full proof that a man had a proper habit of sin before, 
because by temptation he commits the act : for Adam sinned 
by temptation without an antecedent habit. 2. But we 
know the nature of man to be now corrupted, and that this 
corruption is virtually or seminally all sin, disposing us to 
all ; and that this disposition is strong enough to be called 
a general habit. When grace in the sanctified is called a 
nature, (2 Peter i. 4,) there is the same reason to call the 
sinful inclination a nature too ; which can signify nothing 
else than a strong and rooted inclination. Knowing there- 
fore that the heart is so corrupted, we may well say, when 
the evil fruit appears, that there was the seed of it before. 
And the easy and frequent yielding to the temptation, shows 
there was a friend to sin within. 3. But if it were not so, 
yet that our hearts should be so frail, sodefectible, mutable, 
and easily drawn to sin, is a part of self-knowledge necessary 
to our preservation, and nut to be disregarded. 4. I am 
sure Christ himself tells us, that " out of the lieart proceed 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQU A INTANC F. I7e> 

the sins of the life, (Matt. xv. 19,) and that the " evil things 
of evil men come out of the evil treasure of their hearts." 
(Matt. xii. 35.) And when God permitted the fall of good 
King Hezekiah, the text saith, " God left him to try him, 
that he might know all that was in his heart," (2 Chron, 
xxxii. 31,) that is, that he might show all that was in his 
heart, so that the weakness and the remaining corruption of 
Hezekiah's heart were shewn in the sin which he committed. 
2. And as the sinful inclinations are hardly discerned,^ 
and long lie hid till some temptation draw them out ; so the 
act itself is hardly discerned in any of its malignity, till it 
be done and past, and the soul is brought to a deliberate 
review. For while a man is in the act of sin, either his 
understanding is so far deluded, as to think it no sin in its 
kind, or none to him that then committeth it; or that it is 
better venture on it than not, for the attaining of some seem- 
ing good, or the avoiding of some evil : or else the restrain- 
ing act of the understanding is suspended, and withdrawn ; 
and it discerneth not practically the pernicious evil of the 
sin, and forbiddeth not the committing of it, or forbids it so 
remissly and with so low a voice, as is drowned by the cla- 
mour of contradicting passion : so that the prohibition is not 
heard. And how can it be then expected, that when a man 
hath not wit enough in use, to see his sin so far as to forbear 
it, he should even then see it so far as rightly to judge of 
himself and it ? And that when reason is low, and sensuality 
prevaileth, we should then have the right use of reason for 
self-discerning ? When a storm of passion hath blown out 
the light, and error hath extinguished it, we are unlikely 
then to know ourselves. When the sensual part is pleasing 
itself with its forbidden objects, that pleasure so corrupts 
the judgment, that men will easily believe that it is lawful^ 
or that it is not very bad : so that sin is usually least known 
and felt, when it is greatest and in exercise, and one would 
think should then be most perceptible. Like a phrensy or 
madness, or other deliration, that is least known when it is 
greatest and most in act, because its nature is destructive 
to the reason that should know it: like a spot in the eye^ 
that is itself unseen, and hindereth the sight of all things 
else. Or as the deeper a man's sleep is, the less he knoweth 
that he is asleej). ' Somniuai narrare vigilaatis est,' saith 
Seneca: It is men awake that tell their dreams. 



176 THE MJSCHIEFiJ OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

And thus you see that through self-ignorance it comeij to 
pass, that both secret habits, and the most open acts of sin 
are ofttimes little known. A man that is drunk, is in an unfit 
state to know what drunkenness is, and so is a man that is 
in his passion : you will hardly bring him to repentance till 
it be allayed. And so is a man in the brutifying heat of lust : 
or in the childish use of such recreations as he doteth on : 
or in the ambitious pursuit of his deluding honours : and 
therefore abundance of unknown sin, may remain in a soul 
that laboureth not to be well acquainted with itself. 

And as I have showed you this in general, both of habits 
and acts of sin, let us consider of some instances in particu- 
lar, which will yet more discover the necessity of studying 
ourselves. 

]. Little do we think what odious and dangerous errors 
may befal a person that now is orthodox! What a slippery 
mutability the mind of man is liable unto! How variety of 
representations causeth variety of apprehensions : like some 
pictures that seem one thing when you look on them on one 
side, and another thing when on another side; if you change 
your place, or change your light, they seem to change. In- 
deed God's word hath nothing in it thus fitted to deceive: 
but our weakness hath that which disposeth us to mistakes. 
We are like an unlearned judge that thinks the cause is 
good which he first hears pleaded for, till he hear the con- 
futation by the other party, and then he thinks the other 
hath the best cause, till perhaps he hear both so long, till 
he know not whose cause is the best: The person that now 
is a zealous lover of the truth, (when it hath procured enter- 
tainment by the happy advantage of friends, acquaintance, 
ministers, magistrates, or common consent being on its side) 
may possibly turn a zealous adversary to it, when it loseth 
those advantages : When a minister shall change his mind, 
how many of the flock may he mislead ! 

When you marry, or contract any intimate friendship with 
a person of unsound and dangerous principles, how easily 
are they received ! 

When the stream of the times and authority shall change, 
and put the name of truth on falsehood, how many may be 
carried down the stream! 

How zealous have many been for a faithful ministry, that 
have turned their persecutors, or made it a great part of 



AND BEXEFITS OF S ELF-A C Q U A I NT A NO PI. 177 

their religion to revile them, when once they have turned 
to some sect that is possessed by the malicious spirit, 
(especially the Papists and Quakers are famous for such 
language of reproach: though the former excel the latter 
much in the slandering part, and the latter excel in the open 
bawling and incivility of speech.) 

And O that we could stop here, and could not remem- 
ber how faithfully and honestly some have seemed to love 
and obey the word of God, and to delight in the communion 
of saints, that by seducers have been brought to deny the 
Divine authority of the Scriptures, and to turn their backs 
on all God's public ordinances of worship, and excommuni- 
cate themselves from the society of the saints, and vilify 
or deny the works of the Spirit in them! Little did these 
men once think themselves, whither they should fall, under 
the conceit of rising higher : and little would they have 
believed him that had told them what a change they would 
make. Had these men known themselves in time, and 
known what tinder and gunpowder was in their hearts, they 
would have walked more warily, and it is likely have escaped 
the snare; but they fell into it, because they feared it not: and 
they feared it not, because they knew not or observed not, 
how prone they were to be infected. 

2. Little do many think in their adversity, or low estate, 
what seeds are in their hearts, which prosperity would turn 
into very odious, scandalous sins, unless their vigilancy,and 
a special preservation, do prevent it. Many a man that in 
his shop, or at his plough, is censuring the great miscar- 
riages of his superiors, doth little think how bad he might 
prove, if he were in the place of those he censureth. Many 
a poor man that freely talks against the luxury, pride, and 
cruelty of the rich, doth little think how like them he should 
be, if he had their temptations and estates. How many per- 
sons that lived in good repute for humility, temperance, and 
piety, have we seen turn proud, and sensual, and ungodly, 
when they have been exalted ! I would mention no man's case 
by way of insulting or reproach, but by way of compassion, 
and in order to their repentance that survive. I must say that 
this age hath given us such lamentable instances, as should 
make all our hearts to ache and fear, when we consider the 
crimes and their effects. Would the persons that once 

VOL, XVI. N 



178 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

walked with us in the ways of peace, and concord, and obe- 
dience, have believed that man that should have foretold 
them twenty years ago, how many should be puffed up and 
deluded by successes, and make themselves believe, by the 
ebullition of pride, that victories authorized them to denv 
subjection to the higher powers, and by right or wrong to 
take down all that stood in their way, and to take the go- 
vernment into their own hands, and to depose their rightful 
governors, never once vouchsafing to ask themselves the 
question that Christ asked, Luke xii. 14, " Man, who made 
me a judge, or a divider over you?" As if authority had 
been nothing but strength, and he had the best right to 
govern, that could make tire greatest force to compel obedi- 
ence. Little were the seeds of all this evil discerned in the 
heart, before prosperity and success did cherish them, and 
bring them to that, which with grief we have long observed. 
They would have said as Hazael, " Am I a dog that I should 
do this ?" If one had told them before, that when God hath 
charged every soul to be subject on pain of condemnation, 
and they had vowed fidelity, they should break all these 
bonds of commands and vows; and all because they were 
able to do it: when they would not justify him that should 
do any mischief to themselves, and think it warrantable be- 
cause he was able : when the ministers of the Gospel, and 
their dearest friends, bore witness against the sin, the heart 
could not, by all this be brought to perceive its guilt ; or 
that it was any sin to overturn,-overturn, overturn, till they 
had overturned all, and left not themselves a bough to stand 
upon. And how hardly to this day, do the notable disco- 
verings of God, and the plainness of his word, and the con- 
tinued witness of his servants, prevail for kindly true repent- 
ance ! The unrighteous usage of magistracy and ministry, 
and the licentious indulgence of the open enemies and re- 
vilers of both, and of all the ordinances and churches of the 
Lord, do proclaim aloud to all that fear God, ' The depths 
and deceits of the heart are wonderful, and you little think 
what an hour of temptation may discover in you, or bring 
you to : O therefore know yourselves, and fear, and watch.' 
3. A man that in adversity is touched with penitent and 
mortifying considerations, and strongly resolveth how holily 
and diligently he will live hereafter, if he be recovered oc 



i 



AND BENEFITS OF S E LF- A C QU A I N T ANCE. 179 

delivered from his suffering, doth ofttimes little think what a 
treacherous heart he hath, and how little he may retain of 
all this sense of sin or duty, when he is delivered^ and that 
he will be so much worse than he seemed or promised, as 
that he may have cause to wish he had been afflicted still. 
O how many sick-bed promises are as pious as we can de- 
sire, that wither away and come to almost nothing, when 
health hath scattered the fears that caused them ! How many 
with that great imprisoned Lord, do, as it were, write the 
story of Christ upon their prison walls, that forget him 
when they are set at liberty ! How many are tender-con- 
scienced in a low estate, that when they are exalted, and 
converse with great ones, do think that they may waste their 
time in idleness and needless scandalous recreations, and 
be silent witnesses of the most odious sins from day to day ; 
and pray God be merciful to them when they go to the house 
of Rimmon ; and dare scarcely own a downright servant, 
or hated and reproached cause of God! O what a preserva- 
tive would it be to us in prosperity, to know the corruption 
of our hearts, and foresee in adversity what we are in dan- 
ger of! We should then be less ambitious to place our 
dwellings on the highest ground, and more fearful of the 
storms that there must be expected. How few are there 
(to a wonder) that grow better by worldly greatness and 
prosperity ! Yea, how few that hold their own, and grow 
not worse ! And yet how few are there (to a greater wonder) 
that refuse, or that desire not this perilous station, rather 
than to stand safer on the lower ground ! Verily, the 
lamentable fruits of prosperity, and the mutability of men 
that make great professions and promises in adversity, 
should make the best of us jealous of our hearts, and con- 
vince us that there is greater corruption in them, than most 
are acquainted with, that are never put to such a trial. The 
height of prosperity shews what the man is indeed, as much 
as the depth of adversity. 

Would one have thought that had read of Hezekiah's 
earnest prayer in his sickness, and the miracle wrought to sio-- 
nify his deliverance, (2 Kings xx. 2, 3. 9,) and of his writ- 
ten song of praise, (Isa. xxxviii,) that yet Hezekiah's heart 
should so deceive him, as to prove unthankful ? You may 
see by his expressions, his high resolutions to spend his life 
in the praise of God, " The living, the living, he shall praise 



180 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

thee, as I do this day : the fathers to the children shall make 
known thy truth. The Lord was ready to save me: there- 
fore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all 
the days of our life in the house of the Lord !" (Isa. xxxviii. 
19, 20.) Would you think that a holy man, thus wrapt up in 
God's praise, should yet miscarry, and be charged with in- 
gratitude? And yet in 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, it is said of 
him, " But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the 
benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore 
there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem." 
And God was fain to bring him to a review, and humble him 
for being thus lifted up, as the next words shew, (ver. 26.) 
" Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride 
of his heart." sirs, what Christian that ever was in a deep 
affliction, and hath been recovered by the tender hand of 
mercy, hath not found how false a thing the heart is, and 
how little to be trusted in its best resolutions, and most con- 
fident promises ! Hezekiah still remained a holy faithful man ; 
but yet thus failed in particulars and degrees. Which of us 
can say, who have had the most affecting and engaging de-. 
liverances,that ever our hearts did fully answer the purposes 
and promises of our afflicted state ! and that we had as 
constant sensible thanksgivings after, as our complaints and 
prayers were before ! Not I ; with grief I must say. Not I, 
though God hath tried me many a time. Alas, we are too 
like the deceitful Israelites, (Psal. Ixxviii. 34.) " When he 
slew them, then they sought him ; and they returned and 
inquired after God : and they remembered that God was 
their rock, and the high God their Redeemer. Nevertheless 
they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto 
him with their tongues : for their heart was not right with 
him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. Prosperity 
oft shews more of the hypocrisy of the unsound, and the in- 
firmity of the upright, than appeared in adversity. When 
we feel the strong resolutions of our hearts to cast off our 
sin, to walk more thankfully and fruitfully, and accurately 
with God than we have done, we can hardly believe that 
ever those hearts should lose so much of those affections 
and resolutions, as in a little time we find they do. Alas, 
how quickly and insensibly do we slide into our former in- 
sensibility, and into our dull and heavy fruitless course, 
when once the pain and fear is gone ! And then when the 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 181 

next affliction comes, we are confounded and covered with 
shame, and have not the confidence with God in our prayers 
and cries as we had before, because we are conscious of 
our covenant-breaking and backsliding ; and at last we grow 
so distrustful of our hearts, that we know not how to believe 
any promises which they make, or how to be confident of 
any evidence of grace that is in them ; and so we lose the 
comfort of our sincerity, and are cast into a state of too 
much heaviness and unthankful denial of our dearest mer- 
cies : And all this comes from the foul, unexpected relapses, 
and coolings, and declinings of the heart that comes not up 
to the promises we made to God in our distress. 

But if exaltation be added to deliverance, how often doth 
it make the reason drunk, so that the man seems not the 
same ! If you see them drowned in ambition, or worldly cares 
or pleasures ; if you see how boldly they can play with the 
sin, that once they would have trembled at ; how powerful 
fleshly arguments are with them ; how strangely they now 
look at plain-hearted, zealous, heavenly Christians, whose 
case they once desired to be in ; and how much they are 
ashamed or afraid, to appear openly for an opposed cause 
of Christ, or openly to justify the persons that he justifieth, 
as if they had forgot that a day is coming, when they will 
be loath that Christ should be ashamed of them, and refuse 
to justify them, when the grand accuser is pleading for their 
condemnation ! I say, if you see these men in their pros- 
perity, would you not ask with wonder, ' Are these the 
men that lately in distress, did seem so humble, penitent, 
and sincere : that seemed so much above these vanities : 
that could speak with so much contempt of all the glory and 
pleasures of the world : and with so much pity of those 
vertiginous men, that they now admire?' 

O what pillars have been shaken by prosperity! What 
promises broken ! What sad eruptions of pride and worldli- 
ness ! What openings and sad discoveries of heart, doth this 
alluring, charming trial make? And why is it that men know 
not themselves when they are exalted, but because they did 
not sufficiently know themselves when they were brought 
low, nor suspected enough the purposes and promises of 
their hearts, in the day of their distress ! 

4. We would little think, when the heart is warmed and 
raised even to heaven, in holy ordinances, how cold it will 



182 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

grow again, and how low it will fail down! And when we 
have attained the clearest sight of our sincerity, we little 
think how quickly all such apprehensions may be lost; and 
the misjudging soul, that reckons upon nothing but what 
it sees, or feels at present, may be at as great a loss, as if it 
had never perceived any fruits of the Spirit, or lineaments 
of the image of God upon itself. How confident upon good 
grounds, is many an honest heart of its sincerity ! How cer- 
tain that it desireth to be perfectly holy ! 1. That it would 
be rid of the nearest, dearest sin. 2. That it loves the saints. 

3. That it loves the light of the most searching ministry. 

4. And loveth the most practical, sanctifying truths. 5. 
And loves the ministry and means that have the greatest and 
most powerful tendency to make themselves more holy (all 
of which are certain evidences of sincerity). How clearly 
may the heart perceive all these, and write them down ; and 
yet ere long have lost the sight and sense of them all, and 
find itself in darkness and confusion, and perhaps be per- 
suaded that all is contrary with them ! And when they read 
in their diary, or book of heart-accounts, that at such a day 
in examination they found such or such an evidence ; and 
such a one at another ; and many at a third ; yet now they 
maybe questioning, whether all this were not deceit, because 
it seems contrary to their present sight and feeling; for it 
is present light that the mind discernethby, and not by that 
which is past and gone, and of which we cannot so easily 
judge by looking back. They find in their accounts. At such 
a time I had my soul enlarged in prayer; and at such a time 
I was full of joy ; and at another time I had strong assurance, 
and boldnesss with God, and confidence of his love in Christ, 
and doubted not of the pardon of all my sins, or the justifi- 
cation or acceptance of my person: But now, no joy, no 
assurance, no boldness, or confidence, or sense of love and 
pardon doth appear ; but the soul seemeth dead, and carnal, 
and unrenewed: As the same trees that in summer are beau- 
tified with pleasant fruits and flowers, in winter are deprived 
of their natural ornaments, and seem as dead, when the life 
is retired to the root. The soul that once would have defied 
the accuser, if he had told him that he did not love the bre- 
thren, nor love the sanctifying word and means, nor desire 
to be holy, and to be free from sin, is now as ready to believe 
the accusation, aud will sooner believe the tempter than the 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 183 

minister that watcheth for them, as one that must give 
account. Yea, now it will turn the accuser of itself, and say 
as Satan, and falsely charge itself with that which Christ 
will acquit it of. (And must Christ be put to justify us 
against ourselves, as well as against Satan !) The same 
work that a well composed believer hath in confuting the 
calumnies of Satan, the same hath a minister to do in con- 
futing the false accusations of disturbed souls against them- 
selves. And how subtle! how obstinate and tenacious are 
they ! As if they had learned some of the accuser's art ; such 
as the uncharitable and malicious are against their neigh- 
bours, in picking quarrels with all that they say or do, in 
putting the worst construction upon all, in taking every 
thing in the most uncharitable sense, in aggravating the 
evil, and extenuating the good, in feigning things against 
them that they are not guilty of, and denying or hiding all 
that is commendable; just such are poor disquieted souls 
against themselves : so unjust, and so censorious, as that if 
they dealt as ill by others, they would have the more cause 
for some of these accusations of themselves. 

And there is not a soul so high in joy and sweet as- 
surance, but is liable to fall as low as this. And it makes 
our case to be much more grievous than otherwise it would 
be, because we know not ourselves in the hour of our con- 
solations, and think not how apt we are to lose all our joy, 
and what seeds of doubts, and fears, and grief, are still within 
us, and what cause we have to expect a change. And there- 
fore when so sad a change befalleth us, so contrary to our ex- 
pectations, it surpriseth us with terror, and casteth the poor 
soul almost into despair. Then crieth the distressed sinner, 
• Did I ever think to see this day ! are my hopes and com- 
forts come to this! Did I think so long that I was a child of 
God, and must I now perceive that he disowneth me ! Did 
I draw near him as my father, and place my hope in his 
relief; and now must my mouth be stopped with unbelief, 
and must I look at him afar off, and pass by the doors of 
mercy with despair ! Is all my sweet familiarity with the 
godly, and all my comfortable hours under the precious 
means of grace, now come to this !' O how the poor soul 
here calls itself * O vile apostate, miserable sinner! O that 
I had never lived to see this gloomy day ! It had been bet- 



184 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

ter for me never to have known the way of righteousness, 
than thus to have relapsed; and have all the prayers that 
I have put up, and all the sermons I have heard, and the 
books that I have read, to aggravate my sin and misery.' 
O how many a poor Christian in this dark misjudging case, is 
ready with Job, to curse the day that he was born, and to say 
of it, " Let it be darkness, let not God regard it from above, 
neither let the light shine upon it: let it not be joined to 
the days of the year : let it not come into the number of the 

months: Because it shut not up the doors of the womb, 

and hid not sorrow from mine eyes. Why died I not from 
the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came 
out of the belly ? Why did the knees prevent me, or why 
the breasts that I should suck? For now should I have lain 

still and been quiet Wherefore is light given to him that 

is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul : which long 

for death, and it cometh not which rejoice exceedingly, 

and are glad when they can find the grave. Why is light 
given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged 
in!" (Job iii.) Such are the lamentations of distressed 
souls, that lately were as in the arms of Christ. Their lives 
are a burden to them; their food is bitter to them; their 
health is a sickness to them; their liberty is as a prison to 
them ; their dearest relations are become a»8 strangers ; and 
all their comforts are turned into sorrows, and the world 
seems to them as a howling wilderness, and themselves as 
desolate, forsaken souls. They are still as upon the cross, 
and will own no titles, but vile, unworthy, lost, undone, 
forlorn and desolate ; as if they had learned no words from 
Christ, but " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me !" 
And much of this comes from the ignorance of ourselves 
in the time of peace and consolation. We are as David, 
(Psal. XXX. 6, 7,) that saith " In my prosperity I said, I shall 
never be moved : Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my 
mountain to stand strong : but thou hidest thy face and I 
was troubled." One frown of God, or withdrawing the light 
of his countenance from us, would quickly turn our day into 
night, and cover us with sackcloth, and lay us in the dust. 
Take warning, therefore, dear Christians, you that are 
yet in the sunshine of mercy, and were never at so sad a loss, 
nor put to grope in the darkness of mistake and terror. No 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 185 

man is so well in health, but must reckon on it that he may 
be sick. When you feel nothing but peace and quietness 
of mind, expect a stormy night of fears, that may disquiet 
you : When you are feasting upon the sweet entertainments 
of your Father's love, consider that feasting is not likely to 
be your ordinary diet, but harder fare must be expected. 
Look on poor Christians, in spiritual distress, with compas- 
sion ; hear their sad complaints, and the bills for prayer 
which they here put up, and join in hearty prayer for them, 
and remember that this may prove your case. If you say. 
To what purpose should you know beforehand, how sub- 
ject you are to this falling sickness : I answer, not to anti- 
cipate, or bring on your sorrows ; but if it may be, to pre- 
vent them ; or if that may not be, at least to prevent the 
extremity and terror, and to be provided for such a storm. 
When you are now in health of body, and not disabled by 
melancholy, or other corruptions of your fantasy, or pas- 
sion, nor overwhelmed with the troubles of your mind, you 
have leisure calmly to understand the case of such misjudg- 
ing and distressed souls ; and accordingly you may avoid 
the things that cause it: and you may be furnished with 
right principles, and with promises, and experiences, and re- 
corded evidences of grace ; and when comfort is withdrawn, 
you may by such provision understand, that God changeth 
not, nor breaks his covenant, nor abates his love, when your 
apprehensions change : and that this is no sign of a for- 
saken soul : and that the ceasing of our feast, and with- 
drawing of the table, is not a turning us out of the family. 
Expect some sicknesses, and you will the better know the 
use of the physician, and will lay up promises, and prepare 
your cordials : and this will prove an exceeding ease, when 
the hour of your trial comes. 

And what I have said of the loss of comfort may be said 
also of the diminished and interrupted operations of all 
grace. We little think, in the vigour of our holy progress, 
what falls, and swoonings, and languishings we may find. 
When you have access with boldness in prayer unto God, 
and lively affections and words at will, and comfoi;table re- 
turns, remember that you may come to a sadder case ; and 
that many a true Christian hath such withdrawings of the 
spirit of prayer, as makes them think they are possessed 
with a dumb devil, and question whether ever they prayed 



186 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

acceptably at all, and cannot so much as observe the groan- 
ings of the Spirit in them. (Rom. viii. 26.) 

When you are warm and vigorous in the work of God, 
and find delight in all the ordinances, remember that you 
are subject to such sicknesses as may take away your appe- 
tite, and make you say, I have no mind to hear, or read, or 
pray: methinks I feel no sweetness in them! I was wont to 
go up with comfort to the house of God ; I was glad when the 
Lord's-day was come, or nigh : it did me good to see the 
faces of the saints : O the meltings, the strivings, the lively 
workings of soul that I have had in their sweet communion ! 
when they have preached and prayed as full of the Holy 
Ghost, and of faith : but now I do but force myself to duty: 
I go to prayer as against my will : T feel small relish in the 
word of life. O how many Christians that little thought of 
such a day, cry out that spiritual death is upon them ; that 
they are dead to prayer, and dead to meditation, and dead 
to holy conference; and that once they thought they were 
dead to the world, and now they find they are dead to God. 
Understand before that you are liable to this, and you may 
do much to prevent it : and if you should fall into a sick- 
ness and loss of appetite, you may be able to difference it 
from death. 

When you are sweetly refreshed at the table of the Lord, 
and have there received a sealed pardon, as from heaven in- 
to your bosoms, and have found delightful entertainment 
with the Lord, remember that the day may come, when dul- 
ness, and unbelief, and fears, may so prevail, as to make 
that an ordinance of greatest terror to you, and you may sit 
there in trembling, lest you should eat and drink your own 
damnation : and you may go home in fears, lest Satan have 
there taken possession of you, or lest it have sealed you up 
to wrath : or you may fly from that feast which is your due, 
and Christ invites you to, through fears, lest it belong not 
to you, and should but harden you more in sin : for, alas, 
this sad and sinful case is too often the case of true be- 
lievers, that little feared it in their spiritual prosperity. So 
that the very high expectations of such workings of soul, 
which they cannot often or ordinarily reach, and the frus- 
trating of those expectations, doth so often turn the table 
of the Lord into the bitterness of wormwood, into distract- 
ing fears and troubles, that I cannot tell whether any other 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 187 

part of worship occasion so much distress to many that are 
upright at the heart as this doth, which is appointed for 
their special consolation. 

So when you are clear and vigorous in the life of faith, 
and can abhor all temptations to unbelief, and the beams of 
sacred verity in the Scriptures, have shewed you that it is 
the undoubted word of God, and you have quietly bottomed 
your soul on Christ, and built your hopes upon his promises, 
and can with a cheerful contempt let go the world for the 
accomplishment of your hopes ; remember yet that there is 
a secret root of unbelief remaining in you, and that this 
odious sin is but imperfectly mortified in the best: and that 
it is moFe than possible that you may see the day when the 
tempter will assault you with questionings of the word of 
God, and trouble you with the injections of blasphemous 
thoughts and doubts, whether it be true or not ! And that 
you that have thought of God, of Christ, of heaven, of the im- 
mortal state of souls, with joy and satisfied confidence, may 
be in the dark about them, affrighted with ugly suggestions 
of the enemy, and may think of them all with troublesome, 
distracting doubts, and be forced to cry with the disciples, 
** Lord increase our faith." (Luke xvii. 5.) And as he, 
Mark ix. 24, " Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief." 
Yea, worse than so ; some upright souls have been so amazed 
and distracted by the tempter, and their distempered hearts, 
as to think they do not believe at all, nor yet are able sin- 
cerely to say, " Lord help thou my unbelief." When yet at 
that time their fears and their abstaining from iniquity 
shew, that they believe the threatenings, and therefore in- 
deed believe the word. Now if we did but thoroughly know 
ourselves, when faith is in its exercise and strength, and 
consider whither the secret seeds of remaining unbelief may 
bring us, being forewarned, we should be fore-armed, and 
should mortify our faith the better, and be provided against 
these sad assaults. And if the malignant spirit be suffered 
to storm this fortress of the soul, we should more manfully 
resist : and we should not be overwhelmed with horror, as 
• soon as any hideous and blasphemous temptations do as- 
sault us. (When Christ himself was not exempted from the 
most blasphemous temptation, even the worshipping of the 
devil instead of God ; though in him there was no sinful 
.dispositit)n to entertain it. Matt, iv. 9^ 10; John xiv. 30.) 



188 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

watch and pray. Christians, in your most prosperous 
and comfortable state ! Watch and pray, lest ye enter into 
temptation : for you little think what is yet within you ; 
and what advantage the deceiver hath ; and how much of 
your own to take his part ; and how low he may bring you, 
both in point of grace and peace, though he cannot damn 
you. 

1 am troubled that I must tell you of so sad a case, that 
even the children of God may fall into, lest by troubling 
you with the opening of your danger, I should do any thing 
to bring you into it. But because self-ignorance, and not 
being beforehand acquainted with it, may do much more, I 
have timely shewed you the danger with the remedy. 

5. Another instance of the darkness even of a heart that 
in part is sanctified, is in the successes of the temptations of 
adversity. When we want nothing, we think we value not 
the world, and we could bear the loss of all, but when po- 
verty or danger comes, what trouble and unseemly whining 
is there, as if it were by a worldling that is deprived of his 
idol, and all the portion that ever he must have ! And by 
the shameful moan and stir that we make for what we want, 
we shew more sinful overvaluing of it, and love to it, than 
before we observed or would believe. O how confidently 
and piously have I heard some inveigh against the love of 
the world, as if there had been no such thing in them ; who 
yet have been so basely dejected, when they have been un- 
expectedly stripped of their estates, as if they had been quite 
undone ! 

How patiently do we think we could bear affliction, till 
we feel it ! and how easily and piously can we exhort others 
unto patience, when we have no sense of what they suffer ! 
But when our turn is come, alas, we seem to be other men. 
Suffering is now another thing ; and patience harder than we 
imagined. And how inclinable are we to hearken to temp- 
tations, to use sinful means to come out of our sufferings ! 
Who would have thought that faithful Abraham should have 
been so unbelieving, as to equivocate in such a danger, and 
expose the chastity of his wife to hazard, as we read in Gen. 
xii. 12, 13. 19? and that he should fall into the same sin 
again, on the same occasion, (Gen. xx,) to Abimelech, as 
before he had done with Pharaoh ! and that Isaac should, 
after him, fall into the same sin, in the same place ! (Gen. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 189 

xxvi. 7.) The life of faith doth set us so much above the 
fear of man, and shew us the weakness and nothingness of 
mortal wornas, and the faithfulness and all-sufficiency of 
God, that one would think the frowns and threatenings of a 
man should signify nothing to us, when God stands by, and 
giveth us such ample promises and security for our con- 
firmation and encouragement : and yet what base dejected- 
ness, and sinful compliances are many brought to, through 
the fear of man, that before the hour of this temptation, 
could talk as courageously as any ! This was the case of 
Peter, before-mentioned, and of many a one that hath a 
wounded conscience, and wronged their profession by too 
cowardly a disposition ; which if it where foreknown, we 
might do more for our confirmation, and should betake our- 
selves in time to Christ, in the use of means for strength. 
Few turn their backs on Christ, or a good cause in time of 
trial, that are jealous of themselves beforehand, and afraid 
lest they should forsake him: Few fall that are afraid of 
falling : but the self-ignorant and self-confident are careless 
of their way, and it is they that fall. 

6. Another instance that I may give you, is, in the un- 
expected appearances of pride in those that yet are truly 
humble. Humility speaks in their confessions, aggravating 
their sin, and searching heart and life for matter of self-accusa- 
tion: they call themselves "Less than the least of all God's 
mercies." They are ready, with the woman of Canaan, (Matt. 
XV. 27,) even to own the name of dogs, and to confess them- 
selves unworthy of the children's crumbs, and unworthy to 
tread upon the common earth, or to breathe in the air, or to 
live upon the patience and provisions of God : they will 
spend whole hours, and days of humiliation, in confessing 
their sin, and bewailing their weaknesses and want of grace, 
and lamenting their desert of misery. They are often cast 
down so much too low, that they dare not own the title of 
God's children, nor any of his special grace, but take them- 
selves for mere unsanctified, hardened sinners ; and all that 
can be said, will not convince them that they have any sav- 
ing interest in Christ, nor hinder them from pouring out un- 
just accusations against themselves. And all this is done 
by them in the uprightness of their hearts, and not dissem- 
blingly. And yet would you think, that with all this humi- 
lity, there should be any pride? and that the same persons 



1.90 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

should lift up themselves and resist their helps to further 
humiliation? Do they think in their dejections, that it is 
in their hearts so much to exalt themselves? I confess 
many of them are sensible of their pride, even to the in- 
crease of their humility ; and as it is said of Hezekiah, " do 
humble themselves for the pride of their hearts, so that 
God's wrath doth not come upon them." (2 Chron. xxxii. 
26.) But yet too few are so well acquainted with the power 
and rootedness of this sin at the heart, and the workings of 
it in the hour of temptation, as they should be. Observe it 
but at such times at these, and you will see ^Aa^ break forth, 
that before appeared not. 1. When we are undervalued 
and slighted, and meaner persons preferred before us ; and 
when our words and judgments are made light of, and our 
parts thought to be poor and low; when any blot or disho- 
nour is cast upon us, deserved or undeserved ; when we are 
slandered or reproached, and used with despite : Wliat a 
matter do we make of it, and how much then doth our pride 
appear in our distaste, and offence, and impatience ! So 
that the same person that can pour out words of blame and 
shame against himself, cannot bear half as much from others, 
without displeasure and disquietness of mind. It would 
help us much to know this by ourselves, in the time of our 
humility, that we may be engaged to more watchfulness 
and resistance of our pride. 

2. When we are reproved of any disgraceful sin, how 
hardly goes it down, and how many excuses have we ! How 
seldom are we brought to downright penitent confessions ! 
What secret distaste is apt to be rising in our hearts, against 
the reprover! And how seldom hath he that hearty thanks, 
which so great a benefit deserves ! And would any think in 
our humiliations and large confessions unto God, that we 
were so proud ! To know this by ourselves, would make us 
more suspicious and ashamed to be guilty of it. 

3. When any preferment or honour is to be given, or any 
work to be done that is a mark of dignity, how apt are we 
to think ourselves as fit for it as any, and to be displeased, 
if the honour or employment do pass by us ! 

4. When we are admired, applauded, or excessively 
esteemed and loved, how apt are we to be too much pleased 
with it ! which sheweth a proud desire to be somebody in 
the world ; and that there is much of this venom at the bot- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-AC QUA J NT A NCE. 191 

torn ill our hearts, even when we lay ourselves in the dust, 
and walk in sackcloth, and pass the heaviest judgment on 
ourselves. 

7. Another instance of our unacquaintedness with our 
hearts, and the latent, undiscerned corruption of them, is 
our little discerning or bewailing those secret master-sins, 
which lie at the root of all the rest, and are the life of the 
old man, and the cause of all the miscarriages of our lives. 
As, 1. Unbelief of the truth of the Holy Scriptures, of the 
immortality of the soul, and the life of joy or misery here- 
after, and the other articles of the Christian faith. What 
abundance of Christians are sensible of their unbelief, as to 
the applying acts of faith that tend to their assurance of 
their own salvation, that are little sensible of any defect in 
the assenting act, or of any secret root of unbelief about 
the truth of the Gospel revelations ! And yet, alas, it is 
this that weakeneth all our graces : it is this that feedeth 
all our woe ! O happy men, were we free from this ! What 
prayers should we put up ! What lives should we lead ! How 
watchfully should we walk! With what contempt should 
we look on the allurements of the world ! With what dis- 
dain should we think on fleshly lusts ! With what indigna- 
tion should we meet the tempter, and scorn his base, unrea- 
sonable motions, if we did but perfectly believe the very 
truth of the Gospel, and world to come ! How careful and 
earnest should we be, to make our calling and election sure! 
How great a matter should we make of sin, and of helps and 
hindrances in the way to heaven ! How much should we 
prefer that state of life that furthereth our salvation, before 
that which strengtheneth our snares by furthering our pros- 
perity and pleasure in the world, if we were not weak- or 
wanting in our belief of the certain verity of these things ! 
Did we better know the badness of our hearts herein, it 
would engage us more in fortifying the vitals, and looking 
better to our foundation, and winding up this spring of faith, 
which must give life to all right motions of the soul. 

2. How insensible are too many of the great imperfection 
of their love to God! What passionate complaints have we 
of their want of sorrow for their sin, and want of memory, 
and of ability to pray, &c. when their complaints for want 
of love to God, and more affecting knowledge of him, are so 
cold and customary, as shews us they little observe the 



192 THE MISCHIEFS OF S E LF-IG XOR A NCE, 

greatness of this sinful want ! This is the very heart, and 
sum, and poison of all the sins of our soul and life. So much 
as a man loves God, so much he is holy: and so much he 
hath of the Spirit and image of Jesus Christ : and so much 
he hath of all saving graces : and so much he will abhor 
niquity ; and so much he will love the commands of God. 
As love is the sum of the law and prophets, so should it be 
the sum of our care and study through all our lives to ex- 
ercise and streno-then it. 

3. How little are most Christians troubled for want of 
love to men ; to brethren, neighbours and enemies ! How 
cold are their complaints for their defects in this, in com- 
parison of other of their complaints ! But is there not cause 
of as deep humiliation for this sin, as almost any other? It 
seems to me that want of love is one of the most prevalent 
diseases among us, when I hear it so little seriously lament- 
ed. I often hear people say, O that we could hear more at- 
tentively and affectionately, and pray more fervently, and 
weep for sin more plenteously : But how seldom do I hear 
them say, O that we did love our brethren more ardently, 
and our neighbours and enemies more heartily than we do, 
and set ourselves to do them good ! There is so little pains 
taken to bring the heart to the love of others, and so few 
and cold requests put up for it, when yet the heart is back- 
ward to it, that makes me conclude that charity is weaker 
in most of us than we observe. And indeed itappeareth so 
when it comes to trial : to that trial which Christ will judge 
it by at last. (Matt, xxv.) When love must be shewed by 
any self-denial, or costly demonstration, by parting with 
our food and raiment to supply the wants of others, and by 
hazarding ourselves for them in their distress, then see how 
much we love indeed ! Good words cost little : So cheap an 
exercise of charity as is mentioned. James ii. 15, 16, " De- 
part in peace, be warmed, and filled," is an insufficient evi- 
dence of the life of grace, and will do as little for the soul 
of the giver, as for the body of the receiver. And how little 
hazardous or costly love is found among us, either to ene- 
mies, neighbours, or to saints ! Did we better know our 
hearts, there would be more care and diligence used to bring 
them to effectual, fervent love, than to those duties that are 
of less importance ; and we should learn what this meaneth, 
" I will have mercy and not sacrifice," (Matt. ix. 13; xii. 7,) 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 193 

which Christ sets the Pharisees twice to learn. More in- 
stances of greatest duties extenuated 1 might add, but I 
proceed. 

8. Another instance of unobserved corruption of the 
heart, is, the frequent and secret insinuations of selfishness 
in all that we do towards God or man : When we think we 
are serving God alone, and have cleansed our hearts from 
mixtures and deceit, before we are aware, self-interest, or 
self-esteem, or self-conceit, or self-love, or self-will, or self- 
seeking, do secretly creep in and mar the work. We think 
we are studying, and preaching, and writing purely for God, 
and the common good, or the benefit of souls ; and per- 
haps little observe how subtlely selfishness insinuates, and 
makes a party, and biaseth us from the holy ends, and the 
simplicity and sincerity which we thought we had carefully 
maintained : So that we are studying, and preaching, and 
writing for ourselves, when we take no notice of it. 

When we enter upon any office, or desire preferment, or 
riches, or honour in the world, we think we do it purely for 
God, to furnish us for his service, and little think how much 
of selfishness is in our desires. 

When we are doing justice, or shewing mercy, in giving 
alms, or exhorting the ungodly to repent, or doing any other 
work of piety or charity, we little think how much of selfish- 
ness is secretly latent in the bent and intention of the heart. 

When we think we are defending the truth and cause of 
God, by disputing, writing, or by the sword; or when we 
think we are faithfully maintaining on one side order and 
obedience against confusion and turbulent, disquiet spirits, 
or the unity of the church against division ; or on the other 
hand, that we are sincerely opposing Pharisaical corruptions 
and hypocrisy, and tyranny, and persecution, and are de- 
fending the purity of divine worship, and the power and 
spirituality of religion ; in all these cases we little know 
how much of carnal self may be secretly unobserved in the 
work. 

But above all others, Christ himself, and the Holy Ghost 
that searcheth the hidden things of the heart, hath warned 
one sort to be suspicious of their hearts ; and that is, those 
that cannot bear the dissent and infirmities of their brethren 
in tolerable things, and those that are calling for fire from. 

VOL. XVI. o 



194 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

heaven, and are all for force and cruelty in religion ; for 
vexing, imprisoning, banishing, burning, hanging, or other- 
wise doing as they would not be done by, proportionably in 
their own case. He tells his two disciples, in such a case, 
" Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of," (Luke ix. 
55.) As if he should say, ' You think you purely seek my 
honour in the revenge of this contempt and opposition of 
unbelievers, and you think it would much redound to the 
propagation of the faith : and therefore you think that all 
this zeal is purely from my Spirit : but you little know how 
much of a proud, carnal, selfish spirit is in these desires ! 
You would fain have me and yourselves with me to be openly 
vindicated by fire from heaven, and be so owned by God 
that all men may admire you, and you may exercise a do- 
minion in the world ; and you stick not at the sufferings 
and ruin of these sinners, so you may attain your end : But 
I tell you this selfish, cruel spirit, is unlike my Spirit, which 
inclineth to patience, forbearance and compassion.' 

" Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye who 

art thou that judgest another man's servant? Why dost thou 
judge thy brother, and why dost thou set at nought thy 
brother? We shall all stand before the judgment seat of 
Christ. Every one of us shall give account of him- 
self to God We then that are strong, ought to bear 

the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 
Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to 
edification." (Rom. xiv. 1, 2, &-c. ; xv. 1, 2.) " Brethren, if 
a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore 
such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, 
lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, 
and so fulfil the law of Christ." (Gal. vi. 1, 2.) 

So also men are foully and frequently mistaken, when 
they are zealously contending against their faithful pastors 
and their brethren, and vilifying others, and quenching love, 
and troubling the church, upon pretence of greater know- 
ledge or integrity in themselves, which is notably discovered, 
and vehemently pressed by the apostle, James iii. 1, &c., 
where you may see how greatly the judgment of the Spirit 
of God, concerning our hearts, doth differ from men's judg- 
ment of themselves. They that had a masterly, contentious, 
envious zeal, did think they were of the wiser sort of Chris- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 195 

tians, and of the highest form in the school of Christ; when 
yet the Holy Ghost telleth them that their wisdom descended 
not from above, but was earthly, sensual and devilish, and 
that their envy and strife doth bring confusion, and every 
evil work ; and that the wisdom from above is neither un- 
holy nor contentious, but " first pure, and then peaceable, 
gentle and easy to be entreated." (James iii. 17.) 

You see then how often and dangerously we are deceived 
by unacquaintedness with ourselves ; and how selfish, carnal 
principles, ends and motives, are often mixed in the actions 
which we think are the most excellent for wisdom, zeal and 
piety, that ever we did perform. O therefore, what cause 
have we to study, and search, and watch such hearts, and 
not too boldly or carelessly to trust them ! 

And it is not only hypocrites that are subject to these 
deceitful sins, who have them in dominion, but true be- 
lievers, that have a remnant of this carnal, seltish principle 
continually offering to insinuate and corrupt their most ex- 
cellent works, and even all that they do. 

9. The strong eruption of those passions that seemed to 
be quite mortified, doth shew that there is more evil lurking 
in the heart than ordinarily doth appear. How calmly do 
we converse together ! How mildly do we speak, till some 
provoking word or wrong do blow the coals, and then the 
dove appeareth to partake of a fierce nature ; and we can 
perceive that in the flame, which we perceive not in the 
spark. When a provocation can bring forth censorious, 
reviling, scornful words, it shews what before was latent in 
the heart. 

10. We are very apt to think those affections to be 
purely spiritual, which in the issue appear to be mixed with 
carnality. Our very love to the assemblies and ordinances 
of worship, and to ministers, and other servants of the Lord ; 
to books, and knowledge, are ordinarily mixed ; and good 
and bad are strangely complicate, and twisted together in 
the same affections and works. And the love that beginneth 
in the Spirit, is apt to degenerate into carnal love, and to 
have too much respect to riches, or honour, or personage, 
or birth, or particular concernments of our own, and so it is 
corrupted, as wine that turneth into vinegar, before we are 
aware. And though still there be uprightness of heart, yet 



196 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

too much hypocrisy is joined with it, when it is little per- 
ceived or suspected. 

And thus in ten instances I have shewed you how much 
the servants of Christ themselves may be mistaken or unac- 
quainted with their hearts ; and how the work of mortifica- 
tion is hindered by this covering of so many secret, unob- 
served sins. 

But I must here desire you to take heed of running into 
their extreme, who hereupon conclude that their hearts be- 
ing so dark and so deceitful, are not at all to be understood ; 
and therefore they are still so suspicious of the worst, as 
that they will not be persuaded of the grace that plainly 
worketh in them, and will condemn themselves for that 
which they are not guilty of, upon suspicion that they may 
be guilty and not know it, and think that all the sin that 
they forbear, is but for want of a temptation ; and that if 
they had the same temptations, they should be as bad asi 
any others. 

I would entreat these persons to consider of these truths^ 
for their better information : 

1. Temptations do not only shew the evil that is in the 
heart, but breed much more, and turn a spark into a flame y 
as the striking of the steel upon the flint, doth by the col- 
lision and tinder make fire where was none, Adam was 
made a sinner by temptation. 

2. There is no Christian so mortified, but hath such rem- 
nants of corruption and concupiscence, as would quickly 
bring forth heinous sins, if temptations beyond strength 
were let loose upon him. What need you more proof than 
the sad instances of Noah, Lot, David, Solomon and Peter? 
It did not prove that any of these were graceless hypocrites 
before, because they fell so foully by temptations. And yet 
these objectors think they are graceless, because some strong 
temptations might make them fall. 

3. Is it not God's way of saving men, to give them so 
much inward grace as no temptation can overcome, but ta 
preserve and bring them safe to heaven, by moral, sapiential 
conduct, together with internal changes of their hearts. 
And therefore he keepeth men from sin, by keeping them 
from temptations that are too strong for them. All human 
strength is limited : and there are none on earth have such. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 107 

a measure of grace, but a temptation may be imagined so 
strong as to overcome them. And if God should let Satan 
do his worst, there must be extraordinary assistances to pre- 
serve us, or we should fall. Bless God if he " lead you not 
into temptation, but deliver you from the evil," by keeping 
you far enough from the snare. This is the way of preserva- 
tion that we are taught to pray and hope for. 

4. And therefore it is our own duty to keep as far from 
temptations as we can ; and if we have grace to avoid the 
sin by avoiding the temptation, we have such grace as God 
useth for the saving of his own : not that he hath saving 
grace that would live wickedly, if he were but tempted to it 
by those ordinary trials that human nature may expect : 
but the soul that preferreth God and glory before the plea- 
sures of sin for a season, if it so continue, shall be saved, 
though possibly there might have been a temptation so 
strong as would have conquered the measure of grace that 
he had, if it had not been fortified with new supplies. It is 
therefore mere dotage in those that could find in their hearts 
to put themselves upon some temptation, to try whether 
they are sincere by the success. Avoid temptation, that 
you may avoid the sin and punishment. Make not your- 
selves worse on pretence of discovering how bad you are. 
Put not gunpowder or fuel to the sparks of corruption that 
still remain in you, on pretence of trying whether they will 
burn. All men are defectible, and capable of every sin, and 
must be saved from it by that grace which worketh on na- 
ture according to that nature, and prevaileth with reason 
by means agreeable to reason. If we think we are wicked, 
because we find that we have hearts that could be wicked, 
were they let alone, and because we are not removed so far 
from sin as to be incapable of it, we may as well say Adam 
was wicked in his innocency, much more David, Solomon, 
and Peter, before their falls. It is not he that can sin that 
shall be punished : but he that doth sin, or would sin if he 
could, and had rather have the sin for its pleasure or com- 
modity to the flesh, than be free from it, and be holy, in or- 
der to salvation, and the favour and pleasing, and enjoying 
of God in endless glory. 

5. Lastly, Let such persons try themselves by their con- 
quest over the temptations which they have, and not by 
imaginary conflicts with all that they think may possibly 



198 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

at any time assault them. You have still the same flesh to 
deal with, and the same world and devil, that will not let 
you go to heaven without temptation : If the temptations 
which you have already, keep you not from preferring the 
love and fruition of God before the pleasure of the flesh ; 
and a life of faith and holiness, before a life of infidelity and 
impiety, and sensuality, so that you had rather live the for- 
mer than the latter, I am sure then your temptations have 
not kept you from a state of grace. And you may be as- 
sured, that for the time to come, if you watch and pray, you 
may escape the danger of temptation ; and that God will 
increase your strength if he increase your trials : Be not 
secure, be you never so holy. Think not that you have a na- 
ture that cannot sin, or cannot be tempted to a love of sin : 
but " let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he 
fall. There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is 
moderate, or common to man : but God is faithful, who will 
not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but 
will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that 
you may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. x. 12, 13.) 

And thus I have shewed you how self-ignorance hinder- 
eth the conquest and mortifying of sin, even in the godly, 
and now shall add some further motives. 

2. Not knowing ourselves, and the secret corruptions of 
our hearts, doth make sin surprise us the more dangerously, 
and break forth the more shamefully, and wound our con- 
sciences the more terribly. The unsuspected sin hath least 
opposition, and when it breaks out doth like an unobserved 
fire, go far before we are awakened to quench it. And it 
confoundeth us with shame, to find ourselves so much worse 
than we imagined. It overwhelmeth the soul with despair- 
ing thoughts to find itself so bad, when it thought it had 
been better. It breedeth endless suspicions and fears, when 
we find our former opinions of ourselves confuted, and that 
contrary to our expectations we are surprised where we 
thought we had been safe : We are still ready to think what 
ever we discern that is good within us, that we may as well 
be mistaken now as we were before. And thus our present 
self-ignorance, when discovered, may hinder all the com- 
forts of our lives. 

3. Lastly, Not knowing ourselves, and our particular 
sins, and wants, and weaknesses, doth keep us from a parti- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 199 

cular application of the promises, and from seeking those 
particular remedies from Christ, which our case requireth : 
And so our mercies lie by neglected, while we need them, 
and do not understand our need. 

And thus I have shewed you why you should labour to 
know vour sinfulness. 

II. I am next to persuade believers to know their graces 
and their happiness. Good is the object of voluntary know- 
ledge, but evil of forced involuntary knowledge, unless as 
the knowledge of evil tendeth to some good. Therefore me- 
thinks you should be readiest to this part of the study of 
yourselves : and yet, alas, the presumptuous are not more 
unwilling to know their sin and misery, than some perplexed 
Christians are backward to acknowledge their grace and 
happiness. How hard is it to convince them of the tender 
love of God towards them, and of the sincerity of their love 
to him ; and to make them believe that they are dear to 
God when they loathe themselves ! How hard is it to per- 
suade them that the riches of Christ, the promises of the , 
Gospel, and the inheritance of the saints, belong to them ! 
And the reasons, among others, are principally these: 

1. The remnant of sins are so great, and so active and 
troublesome, as that the feeling of these contrary disposi- 
tions doth hinder them from observing the operations of 
grace. It is not easy to discern the sincerity of faith among 
so much unbelief, or the sincerity of love where there is so 
much averseness : or of humility where there is so much 
pride : or of repentance and mortification, where there is so 
much concupiscence and inclination to sin : especially when 
grace by its enmity to sin doth make the soul so suspicious 
and sensible of it, as that the observation of it turns their 
mind from the observation of the contrary good that is in 
them. Health is not observed in other parts, when the feel- 
ing of the stone, or but the tooth-ach, takes us up. The 
thoughts are called all to the part affected ; and sickness 
and wounds are felt more sensibly than health. The fears 
of misery and sin, are more easily excited, and more pas- 
sionate than love and hope, and all the affections that are 
employed in the prosecution of good. And in the midst of 
fears it is hard to feel the matter of our joys : fear is a ty- 
rant if it exceed, and will not permit us to believe or ob- 



200 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

serve the cause of hope. ' Quod nimis metuunt miseri, hos 
facile credunt, et nunquam amoveri putant,' saith Seneca. 
What we too much fear, we too easily believe, and hardly 
believe that it is gone, and the danger past. These fears are 
useful to our preservation, but they too often pervert our 
judgments, and hinder our due consolation. ' Qui insidias 
timet, in nullas incidet: nee cit5 perit ruina, qui ruinam 
timet. Semper metuendo sapiens vitat malum,' saith Seneca. 
He that feareth snares, doth not fall into them: nor doth he 
quickly perish by ruin, that feareth ruin: A wise man 
escapeth evil by always fearing it. And the Holy Ghost 
saith, " Happy is the man that feareth alway ; but he that 
hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief." (Prov.xxviii. 14.) 

Moderate fears then are given to believers for their ne- 
cessary preservation, that walking among enemies and snares, 
they may take heed and escape them. But when this pas- 
sion doth exceed, it abuseth us, and drowns the voice of 
reason : it maketh us believe that every temptation is a sin, 
and every sin is such as cannot stand with grace, and will 
hardly ever be pardoned by Christ. Every sin against know- 
ledge and conscience doth seem almost unpardonable : and 
if it were deliberate after profession of religion, it seems to 
be the sin against the Holy Ghost. As children and other 
fearful persons that fear the devil by way of apparitions, 
do think in the dark he is ready to lay hold on them, and 
they look when they see him : so the fearful Christian is still 
thinking that thing he feareth is upon him, or coming upon 
him. The fear of an unregenerate, unpardoned state, doth 
make him think he is in it ; and the fear of the wrath of God 
doth make him think that he is under it ; and the fear of 
damnation makes him imagine he shall be damned. It is 
wonderful hard in a fearful state, or indeed in any passion 
that is strong, to have the free use of judgment for the know- 
ing of ourselves, and to discern any grace, or evidence or 
mercy, which is contrary to our fears, especially when the 
feeling of much corruption doth turn our eyes from the ob- 
servation of good, and we are still taken up with the matter 
of our disease. 

2. Another cause that we hardly know our graces, is be- 
cause they are weak and small ; and therefore in the midst 
of so much corruption are oftentimes hardly discerned from 
none. A little faith, even as a grain of mustard-seed, may 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 201 

save us : a little love to God that is sincere will be accepted ; 
and weak desires may be fulfilled : but they are frequently 
undiscerned, or their sincerity questioned by those that have 
them, and therefore bring but little comfort. Peter's little 
faith did keep him from drowning, but not from doubting 
and fearing he should be drowned, nor from beginning to 
sink. " He walked on the water to go to Jesus; but when 
he saw the wind boisterous he was afraid, and beginning to 
sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately 
Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him, and said unto 
him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt !" 
(Matt. xiv. 29, 30, 31.) So the little faith of the disciples 
kept them from perishing, but not from their fear of perish- 
ing. " When a great tempest arose, so that the ship was 
covered with waves, they cry, Lord, save us, we perish : and 
he saith to them. Why are ye afraid, O ye of little faith?" 
The little faith of the same disciples entitled them to the 
fatherly protection and provision of God : but it kept them 
not from sinful cares and fears, about what they should eat 
or drink, or wherewith they should be clothed, as is inti- 
mated in Matt. vi. 25. 28, 30. " Take no thought for your 
life, what you shall eat, or drink, or for your body what you 

shall put on Why take you thought for raiment? If 

God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and 
to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more 
clothe you, O ye of little faith ?" So in Matt. xvi. 7, 8. The 
seed that Christ likeneth his kingdom to, (Matt. xiii. 31,) 
hath life while it is buried in the earth, and is visible while 
a little seed ; but is not so observed as when it cometh to 
be as a tree. Though God, " despise not the day of little 
things," (Zech. iv. 10,) and though he " will not break the 
bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax," (Isaiah xlii. 3,) 
yet ourselves or others cannot discern and value these ob- 
scure beginnings, as God doth. But because we cannot 
easily find a little faith, and a little love, when we are look- 
ing for it, we take the non-appearance for a non-existence, 
and call it none. 

3. Sanctification is oft unknown to those that have it, 
because they do not try and judge themselves by sure infal- 
lible marks, the essentials of the new man; but by uncer- 
tain qualifications, that are mutable and belong but to the 
beauty and activity of the soul. 



202 THE MISCHIEFS OF SKLF-IGNOR A NCE, 

The essence of holiness, as denominated from the object, 
is the consent to the three articles of the Covenant of Grace. 
1. That we give up ourselves to God, as our God and recon- 
ciled Father in Jesus Christ. 2. That we give up ourselves 
to Jesus Christ, as our Redeemer and Saviour, to recover us, 
reconcile us, and bring us unto God. 3. That we give up 
ourselves to the Holy Ghost as our Sanctifier, to guide and 
illuminate us, and perfect the image of God upon us, and 
prepare us for glory. 

The essence of sanctification, as denominated from its 
opposite objects, is nothing but our renunciation and rejec- 
tion of the flesh, the world, and the devil ; of pleasures pro- 
fits, and honours, as they would be preferred before God, 
and draw us to forsake him. 

The essence of sanctification, as denominated from our 
faculties, which are the subject of it, is nothing but this pre- 
ferring of God, and grace, and glory, above the said plea- 
sures, profits, and honours, 1. By the estimation of our 
understandings. 2. By the resolved habituate choice of our 
wills. 3. And in the bent and drift of our endeavours in 
our conversations. In these three acts, as upon the first 
three objects, and against the other three objects, lieth all 
that is essential to sanctification, and that we should judge 
of our sincerity, and title to salvation by, as I before shewed. 

But besides these, there are many desirable qualities 
and gifts, which we may seek for, and be thankful for ; but 
are not essential to our sanctification. Such are, 

1. The knowledge of other truths, besides the essentials 
of faith and duty, and the soundness of judgment, and 
freedom from error in these lesser points. 

2. A strong memory to carry away the things that we 
read and hear. 

3. A right order of our thoughts, when we can keep them 
from confusion, roving, and distraction. 

4. Freedom from too strons; affections about the crea- 
tures, and from disturbing passions. 

5. Lively affections and feeling operations of the soul 
towards God, in holy duty, and tender meltings of the heart 
for sin ; which are very desirable, but depend so much on 
the temperature of the body, and outward accidents, and are 
but the vigour, and not the life and being of the new crea- 
ture, that we must not judge of our sincerity by them. Some 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 203 

Christians scarce know what any such lively feelings are ; 
and some have them very seldom, and, I think, no one con- 
stantly: and therefore if our peace, or judgment of our- 
selves, be laid on these, we shall be still wavering and un- 
settled, and tossed up and down as the waves of the sea : 
sometimes seeming to be almost in heaven, and presently 
near the gates of hell : when our state doth not change at 
all, as these feelings and affectionate motions of the soul do ; 
but we are still in our safe relation to God, while our first 
essential graces do continue, though our failings, dulness, 
weaknesses and wants, must be matter of moderate filial 
humiliation to us. 

6. The same must be said of all common gifts, of utter- 
ance, in conference or prayer, and of quickness of under- 
standing, and such like. 

7. Lastly. The same must be said also of all that rectitude 
of life, and those degrees of obedience that are above mere 
sincerity; in which one true Christian doth exceed another; 
and in which we should all desire to abound ; but must not 
judge ourselves to be unsanctified, merely because we are 
imperfect; or to be unjustified sinners, merely because we 
are sinners. 

In our judging of ourselves by our lives and practices, 
two extremes must be carefully avoided : on the left hand 
that of the profane, and of the Antinomians. The former 
cannot distinguish between sinners and sinners, sanctified 
and unsanctified, justified and unjustified sinners ; and when 
they have once conceited that they are in the favour of God, 
whatever they do, they say, * We are but sinners, and so are 
the best.' The latter teach men, that when once they are 
justified, they are not for any sins to doubt again of their 
justified state, lest they should seem to make God change- 
able. 

On the other hand must be avoided this extreme of per- 
plexed doubting Christians, that make all their sins, or 
too many of them, to be matter of doubting, which should 
be but matter of humiliation. 

I know it is a very great difficulty that hath long per- 
plexed the doctors of the church, to define what sins are 
consistent, and what inconsistent with a state of holiness 
and salvation (which if any distinguish by the names of 
mortal and venial, taking the words in no other sense, I 



204 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

shall not quarrel with them). At present I shall say but 
this, for the resolving of this great and weighty question. 

1. It is not the bare act of sin in itself considered, that 
must determine the case ; but the act compared with the 
life of grace, and with true repentance. Whoever hath the 
love of God and life of grace, is in a state of salvation ; and 
therefore whatever sin consisteth with the fore-described 
essentials of sanctification, (viz. the habitual devotion of the 
soul to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the 
habitual renunciation of the flesh, the world, and devil,) con- 
sisteth with a state of life. And true repentance proveth 
the pardon of all sin : And therefore whatever sin consisteth 
with habitual repentance, (which is the hatred of sin, as sin) 
and hath actual repentance when it is observed, and there is 
time for deliberation, consisteth with a state of grace. Now 
in habitual conversion or repentance, the habitual willingness 
to leave our sin, must be more than our sinful habitual 
willingness to keep it. Now you may by this, much discern, 
as to particular acts, whether they are consistent with 
habitual hatred of sin. For some sins are so much in the 
power of the will, that he that hath an habitual hatred of 
them, cannot frequently commit them. And some sins are 
also of so heinous a nature or degree, that he that habitually 
hateth sin, cannot frequently commit them ; not at all, while 
his hatred to them is in act. And he that truly repenteth 
of them, cannot frequently return to them; because that 
sheweth that repentance was indeed either but superficial, 
or not habitual. But some sins are not so great and heinous, 
and therefore do not so much deter the soul, and some are 
not so fully in the power of a sanctified will (as passions, 
thoughts, &c.), and therefore may oftener be committed in 
consistency with habitual repentance or hatred of sin. To 
examine particulars, would be tedious and digressive. 

2. And I must further answer, that our safety, and con- 
sequently our peace and comfort, lieth in flying as far from 
sin as we can : And therefore he that will sin as much as 
will consist with any sparks of grace, shall bury those sparks 
by his sin, and shall not know that he hath any grace, nor 
have the comfort of it ; as being in a condition unfit for 
actual assurance and comfort, till he be brought to actual 
repentance and amendment. 

Thus have I shewed you, by what you must try your 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 205 

sanctification, if you will know it ; which I before proved to' 
you from Scripture ; and further may do, when the occasion 
will excuse me from the imputation of disproportion and 
unseasonableness, in repeating the proofs of all that we 
speak in explication or application of the principal point. 

4. Another cause that many Christians are ignorant of 
their state of grace, is their looking so much at what they 
should be, and what others are that have a right degree of 
grace, and what is commanded as our duty, that they observe 
not what they have already, because it is short of what they 
ought to have. We are thus too much about outward mer- 
cies too. We mourn more for our friend that is dead, than 
we rejoice in many that are alive. We are more troubled 
for one mercy taken from us, than comforted in many that 
are left us. We observe our diseases and our sores, more 
sensibly than our health. David for one Absalom is so 
afflicted, that he wished he had died for him though a rebel! 
when his comfort in Solomon, and his other children is laid 
aside. As all the humours flow to the pained place, so do 
our thoughts, as was aforesaid, and so we overlook the mat- 
ter of our comfort. 

5. And it very much hindereth the knowledge of our 
graces, that we search upon so great disadvantages as hinder 
a true discovery. Among many others, I will instance but 
in two or three. 

1. We surprise our souls with sudden questions, and look 
for a full and satisfactory answer, before we can well recol- 
lect ourselves, and call up our evidences ; and we expect to 
know the sum or product, before our consciences have had 
leisure deliberately to cast up their accounts. Yea, when 
we have set to it, and by diligent search with the best 
assistances, have discovered our sincerity, and recorded the 
judgment, if conscience cannot presently recal its proofs, 
and make it out upon every surprise, we unjustly question 
all that is past, and will never rest in any judgment, but are 
still calling over all again, as if the cause had never been tried. 
And then the judgment passeth according to our present 
temper and disposition, when many of the circumstances 
are forgotten, and many of the witnesses are out of the way, 
that last assisted us. 

2. Perhaps we judge (as I said before) in the fit of a pas- 
sion of fear or grief, which imperiously overruleth or dis- 



200 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

turbeth reason : and then no wonder, if in our haste we 
say, that all men that would comfort us are liars. And if 
with David, (Psal. Ixxvii. 2, 3. 7, 8, 9.) In the " day of our 
trouble, our souls do even refuse to be comforted ;" and if 
we remember God, and we are troubled more, and if 
" our spirit be overwhelmed in us : when he holdeth our 
eyes waking, and we are so troubled that we cannot speak." 
And if we question whether " the Lord will cast off for ever, 
and will be favourable no more :" Whether " his mercy be 
clean gone for ever, and his promise fail for evermore :" whe- 
ther " he hath forgotten to be gracious, and hath shut up 
his tender mercies in displeasure :" till a calm deliver us 
from the mistake, and make us say, ' This is our infirmity.' 
we think that God doth cast off our souls, and " hideth his 
face from us," when " our soul is full of troubles, and our 
life draweth nigh unto the grave : when we are afflicted and 
ready to die from our youth up, and are distracted, while we 
suffer the terrors of the Lord;" as he complaineth, Psal. 
Ixxxviii. 3. 14, 15, 16. Passion judgeth according to its 
nature, and not according to truth. 

3. Or perhaps we judge, when our friends, our memory, 
and other helps are out of the way, and we are destitute of 
due assistance. 

4. Or when our bodies are weak or distempered with 
melancholy, which representeth all this in black and terrible 
colours to the soul, and will hear no language hnt forsaken, 
miserable, and undone. You may as well take the judg- 
ment of a man half drunk, or half asleep, about the greatest 
matters of your lives, as to take the judgment of conscience 
in such a state of disadvantage, about the condition of your 
souls. 

5. Another hindrance to us, is, that we cannot take 
comfort from the former sight of grace that we have had, 
unless we have a continued present sight. And so all our 
labour in trying, and all our experiences, and all God's 
former manifestations of himself to the soul are lost, as to 
our present comfort, when our grace is out of sight : like 
foolish travellers, that think they are out of the way, and 
are ready to turn back, when ever any hill doth interpose, 
and hinder them from seeing the place they go to. As if it 
were no matter of comfort to us, to say, 1 did find the evi- 
dences of grace ; I once recorded a judgment of my sin- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. "207 

cerity : but the former is still questioned rather than the 
latter. When with David, we should " consider the days of 
old, the years of ancient times, and call to remembrance our 
songs in the night, and commune with our hearts in such a 
diligent search," and remembrance of the mercies formerly 
received. [(Psal. Ixxvii. 5, 6, 7.) 

6. Lastly, The operations of man's soul are naturally so 
various, and from corruption are so confused and so dark, 
that we are ofttimes in amaze and at a loss, when we are 
most desirous to judge aright; and scarce know where, in 
so great disorder, to find any thing that we seek ; and know 
it not when we find it : so that our hearts are almost as 
strange to themselves as to one another ; and sometimes 
more confident of other men's sincerity than our own, where 
there is no more matter for our confidence. 

Having thus shewed you the causes of our ignorance of 
our sanctification, I shall briefly tell you some reasons that 
should move you to seek to be acquainted with it, where 
it is. 

1. The knowledge of God is the most excellent know- 
ledge ; and therefore the best sort of creature-knowledge is, 
that which hath the most of God in it. And undoubtedly 
there is more of God in holiness, which is his image, than in 
common things. Sins and wants have nothing of God in 
them; they must be fathered on the devil and yourselves, 
and therefore the knowledge of them is good but by acci- 
dent, because the knowledge even of evil hath a tendency to 
good : and therefore it is commanded and made our duty, 
for the good which it tendeth to. It is the Divine nature 
and image within you, which hath the most of God ; and 
therefore to know this is the high and noble knowledge. To 
know Christ within us, is our happiness on earth, in order 
to the knowledge of him in glory " face to face," which is 
the happiness of heaven. To " know God, though darkly 
through a glass," and but in part, (1 Cor. xiii. 12,) is far 
above all creature-knowledge. The knowledge of him 
raiseth, quickeneth, sanctifieth, enlarge th, and advanceth all 
our faculties. It is " life eternal to know God in Christ." 
(John xvii. 3.) Therefore where God appearetli most, there 
should our understandings be most diligently exercised in 
study and observation. 



208 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

2. It is a most delightful felicitating knowledge, to know 
that Christ is in you. If it be delightful to the rich to 
see their wealth, their houses, and lands, and goods, and 
money : and if it be delightful to the honourable to see 
their attendance, and hear their own commendations and 
applause ; how delightful must it be to a true believer to 
find Christ within him, and to know his title to eternal life? 
If the knowledge of " full barns," and " much goods laid up 
for many years," can make a sensual worldling say, " Soul, 
take thy ease, eat, drink and be merry," (Luke xii. 19, 20,) 
methinks the knowledge of our interest in Christ and hea- 
ven, should make us say, " Thou hast put gladness in my 
heart, more than in the time that their corn and wine in- 
creased," (that is, more than corn and wine could put into 
theirs.) (Psal. iv. 7.) " Return unto thy rest, O my soul, 
for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." (Psal. cxvi. 7.) 
If we say with David, " Blessed are they that dwell in thy 
house ; they will be still praising thee," (Psal. Ixxxiv. 4,) 
much more may we say. Blessed are they in whom Christ 
dwelleth, and the Holy Ghost hath made his temple, they 
should be still praising thee. " Blessed is the man whom 
thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he 
may dwell in thy courts : we shall be satisfied with the 
goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." (Psal. 
Ixv. 4.) But this is upon supposition, that he be first blessed 
by Christ's approach to him, and dwelling in him. 

If you ask, ' How is it that Christ dwelleth in us ;' 
I answer, 1. Objectively, as he is apprehended by our faith 
and love : as the things or persons that we think of, and love 
and delight in, are said to dwell in our minds or hearts. 
2. By the Holy Ghost, who as a principle of new and hea- 
venly life, is given by Christ the head, unto his members ; 
and as the agent of Christ doth illuminate, sanctify, and 
guide the soul. " He that keepeth his commandments, 
dwelleth in him, and he in him : and hereby we know that 
he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." 
(1 John iii. 24.) That of Ephes. iii. 17, may be taken in 
either, or both senses comprehensively, " That Christ may 
dwell in your hearts by faith." 

3. Did you know that Christ is in you by his Spirit, it 
might make every place and condition comfortable to you I 
If you are alone, it may rejoice you to think what company 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 209 

dwelleth continually with you in your hearts. If you are 
wearied with evil company without, it may comfort you to 
think that you have better within : when you have com- 
munion with the saints, it is your joy to think that you have 
nearer communion with the Lord of saints. You may well 
say with David, (Psal. cxxxix. 18,) " When I awake I am 
still with thee." " I have set the Lord always before me ; 
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." 
(Psal. xvi. 8.) 

4. Did you know Christ within you, it would much help 
you in believing what is written of him in the Gospel. 
Though to the ungodly the mysteries of the kingdom of God 
do seem incredible, yet when you have experience of the 
power of it on your souls, and find the image of it on your 
hearts, and the same Christ within you, conforming you to 
what he commandeth in his word, this will work such a 
suitableness to the Gospel in your hearts, as will make the 
work of faith more easy. Saith the apostle, (1 John iv. 14, 
16,) " We have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent 
the Son to be the Saviour of the world;" (there is their out- 
ward experience;) " and 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 :" (there is their 
faith confirmed by their inward evidence: no wonder if 
they that have God dwelling in them by holy love, do be- 
lieve the love that God hath to them.) This is the great 
advantage that the sanctified have in the work of faith, above 
those that much excel them in disputing, and are furnished 
with more arguments for the Christian verity ; Christ hath 
his witness abiding in them. " The fruits of the Spirit bear 
witness to the incorruptible seed, the word of God that liveth 
and abideth for ever," (1 Peter i. 23.) The impress on the 
heart bears witness to the seal that caused it. And it is not 
a weak and ineffectual argument for the truth of the Gospel, 
that believers use to fetch from within, when they plead the 
effects of it on their souls. Labour to know the truth of 
your sanctification, that you may be confirmed by it in the 
truth of the word that sanctifieth you," (Johnxvii. 17,) and 
may " rejoice in him that hath chosen you to salvation, 
through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." 
(2 Thess. ii. 13.) 

VOL. XVI. P 



210 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

5. If you can come to the knowledge of Christ within 
you, it will be much the easier to you to trust upon him, and 
fly to him in all your particular necessities, and to make use 
of his mediatorship with holy confidence. When others fly 
from Christ with trembling, and know not whether he will 
speak for them, or help them, or have any regard to them, 
but look at him with strange and doubtful thoughts, it will 
be otherwise with you that have assurance of his continual 
love and presence. Nearness breedeth familiarity, and over- 
cometh strangeness : familiarity breedeth confidence and 
boldness : when you find Christ so near you, as to dwell 
within you, and so particular and abundant is his love to 
you, as to have given you his Spirit, and all his graces, it 
will breed a sweet delightful boldness, and make you run to 
him as your help and refuge, in all your necessities. When 
you find the great promise fulfilled to yourselves, " I will 
put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds will I write 
them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more ;" 
you will " have boldness to enter into the holiest by the 
blood of Jesus ; by the new and living way which he hath 
consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. 
And having an high priest over the house of God, you may 
draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having 
your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience," (or the con- 
science of evil) " as your bodies are washed" (in baptism) 
" with pure water." (Heb. x. 16 — 22.) " In Christ we may 
have boldness and access with confidence, by the faith of 
him." (Ephes. iii. 12.) This intimate acquaintance with our 
great High Priest that is " passed into the heavens," and yet 
abideth and reigneth in our hearts, will encourage us to 
" hold fast our profession, and to come boldly to the throne 
of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in 
time of need." (Heb. iv. 14. 16.) When by unfeigned love, 
we •' know that we are of the truth, and may assure our hearts 
before him, and our heart condemneth us not, then we have 
confidence towards God ; and whatever we ask we receive 
of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those 
things that are pleasing in his sight." (1 John iii. 18 — 22.) 

6. When once you know that you have Christ within 
you, you may cheerfully proceed in the way of life ; when 
doubting Christians, that know not whether they are in the 



AND BENEFITS OF S KLF- A C QU A I NT A V CE. 211 

way or not, are still looking behind them, and spend their 
time in perplexed fears, lest they are out of the way, and go 
on with heaviness and trouble, as uncertain whether they 
may not lose their labour ; and are still questioning their 
groundwork, when the building should go on. It is an un- 
speakable mercy, when a believing soul is freed from these 
distracting, hindering doubts, and may boldly and cheerfully 
hold on his way, and be walking or working, when other 
men are fearing and inquiring of the way ; and may with 
patience and comfort wait for the reward, the crown of life, 
when others are still questioning, whether they were ever 
regenerate, and whether their hopes have any ground. We 
may be " steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the 
work of the Lord, when we know that our labour is not in 
vain in the Lord." (1 Cor. xv. 58.) We may then " gird up 
the loins of the mind, and in sobriety hope unto the end, for 
the grace that is to be brought us, at the revelation of Jesus 
Christ." (1 Peter i. 13.) 

7. When you are assured that you have Christ within 
you, it may preserve you from those terrors of soul that 
affright them that have no such assurance. O ! he that know- 
eth what it is to think of the intolerable wrath of God, and 
says, ' I fear I am the object of this wrath, and must bear 
this intolerable load everlastingly,' may know what a mercy 
it is to be assured of our escape. He that knows what it is 
to think of hell, and say, * I know not but those endless 
flames may be my portion,' will know what a mercy it is to 
be assured of a deliverance, and to be able to say, " I know 
I am saved from the wrath to come;" (1 Thess. i. 10;) And 
that we " are not of them that draw back to perdition, but 
of them that believe to the saving of the soul ;" (Heb. x. 39 ;) 
And that " God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to ob- 
tain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, 
that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with 
him:" we may " comfort ourselves together, and edify one 
another," when we have this assurance. (1 Thess. v. 9 — 11.) 

They that have felt the burden of a wounded spirit, and 
know what it is to feel the terrors of the Lord, and to see 
hell fire as it were before their eyes, and to be kept waking 
by the dreadful apprehensions of their danger, and to be pur- 
sued daily by an accusing conscience, setting their sins in 
order before them, and bringing the threatenings of God Id 



212 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

their remembrance ; these persons will understand, that to 
be assured of" a Christ within us, and consequently of a 
Christ that is preparing a place of glory for us, is a mercy that 
the mind of man is now unable to value, according to the 
ten thousandth part of its worth. 

8. Were you assured that Christ himself is in you, it 
would sweeten all the mercies of your lives. It would assure 
you, that they are all the pledges of his love; and love in 
all, would be the kernel and the life of all : Your friends, 
your health, your wealth, your deliverances, would be steeped 
in the dearest love of Christ, and have a spiritual sweetness 
in them, when to the worldling they have but a carnal, un- 
wholesome, luscious sweetness ; and to the doubting Chris- 
tians they will be turned into troubles, while they are ques- 
tioning the love, and meaning of the Giver ; and whether 
they are sent for good to them, or to aggravate their con- 
demnation; and the company of the Giver will advance your 
estimation of the gift. Mean things with the company of 
our dearest friends are sweeter than abundance in their ab- 
sence. To have money in your purses, and goods in your 
houses, and books in your studies, and friends in your near 
and sweet society, are all advanced to the higher value, when 
you know that you have also Christ in your hearts; and that 
all these are but the attendants of your Lord, and the fruits 
that drop from the tree of life, and the tokens of his love, 
importing greater things to follow. Whereas in the crowd, 
of all those mercies, the soul would be uncomfortable, or 
worse, if it missed the presence of its dearest friend : and in 
the midst of all, would live but as in a wilderness, and go 
seeking after Christ with tears, as Mary at his sepulchre, 
because they had " taken away her Lord," (as she thought) 
" and she knew not where they had laid him." (John xx. 13.) 
All mercies would be bitter to us, if the presence of Christ 
do not put into them that special sweetness which is above 
the estimate of sense. 

9. This assurance would do much to preserve you from 
the temptation of sensual delight. While you had within 
you the matter of more excellent contentment, and when 
you find that these inferior pleasures are enemies to those 
which 'are your happiness and life, you would not be easily 
taken with the bait. The poorest brutish pleasures are made 
much of by them that never were acquainted with any better. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 2J3 

But after the sweetness of assurance of the love of God, how 
little relish is there to be found in the pleasures that are so 
valued by sensual unbelievers ! Let them take them for me, 
saith the believing soul ; may I but still have the comforts 
of the presence of my Lord, how little shall I miss them! 
How easily can I spare them! Silver will be cast by, if it 
be set in competition with gold. The company of common 
acquaintance may be acceptable, till better and greater 
come; and then they must give place. Men that are taken 
up with the pleasing entertainment of Christ within them, 
can scarce afford any more than a transient salutation or 
observance to those earthly things that are the felicity of 
the carnal mind, and take up its desires, endeavours and 
delight; when the soul is tempted to turn from Christ, to 
those deceiving vanities that promise him more content and 
pleasure, the comfortable thoughts of the love of Christ, and 
his abode within us, and our abode with him, do sensibly 
scatter and confound such temptations. The presence of 
Christ, the great reconciler, doth reconcile us to ourselves, 
and make us willing to be more at home. He that is out of 
love with the company that he hath at home, is easily drawn 
to go abroad. But who can endure to be much abroad, 
that knoweth of such a guest as Christ at home? We shall 
say as Peter, " Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the 
words of eternal life ; and we believe, and are sure, thou art 
that Christ the Son of the living God." (John vi. 68, 69.) 
And as Matt. vii. 4, when he saw him in a little of his glory, 
?* Master, it is good for us to be here." And if the riches 
of the world were offered to draw a soul from Christ, that 
hath the knowledge of his special love and presence, the 
tempter would have no better entertainment than Simon 
Magus had with Peter, Their money perish with them 
that think Christ and his graces to be no better than money. 
(Acts viii. 20.) 

10. How easy and sweet would all God's service be to 
you, if you were assured that Christ abideth in you! What 
delightful access might you have in prayer, when you know 
that Christ himself speaks for you ! Not as if the Father 
himself were unwilling to do us good, but that he will do it 
in the name, and for the sake and merits of his Son : which 
is the meaning of Christ in those words, which seem to deny 
his intercession, " At that day ye shall ask in my name j 



214 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGN O Ji ANCE, 

and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you : 
lor the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved 
me, &c." (John xvi. 26.) I appeal to your own hearts. 
Christians, whether you would not be much more willing 
and ready to pray ; and whether prayer would not be a 
sweeter employment to you, if you were sure Christ's abode 
within you, and intercession for you, and consequently that 
all your prayers are graciously accepted of the Lord ? You 
would not then desire the vain society of empty persons ; 
nor seek for recreation in their insipid, frothy, insignificant 
discourse. The opening of your heart to your heavenly 
Father, and pleading the merits of his Son, in your believing 
])etitions for his saving benefits, would be a more contenting 
kind of pleasure to you. 

How sweet would meditation be to you, if you could 
still think on Christ, and all the riches of his kingdom, as 
your own ! Could you look up to heaven, and say with 
grounded confidence, ' It is mine, and there I must abide 
and reign for ever !' Could you think of the heavenly host, 
as those that must be your own companions, and of their 
holy employment as that which must be your own for ever, 
it would make the assent of your minds to be more frequent, 
and meditation to be a more pleasant work. Were you but 
assured of your special interest in God, and that all his 
attributes are by his love and covenant engaged for your 
happiness, experience would make you say, " In the multi- 
tude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts do delight my 
soul." (Psal. xliv. 19.) " I will sing unto the Lord as long as 
I live : I will sing praise to my God while I have my being : 
my meditation of him shall be sweet ; I will be glad in the 
Lord." (Psal. civ. 33, 34.) Could you say with full assur- 
ance, that you are the children of the promises, and that 
they are all your own ; how sweet would the reading and 
meditation on the Holy Scriptures be to you! How dearly 
would you love the Word ! What a treasure would you 
judge it! " Your delight would be then in the law of the 
Lord, and you would meditate in it day and night." (Psal. 
i. 2.) To find such grounds of faith, and hope, and riches 
of consolation in every page, and assuredly to say, ' All this 
is mine,' would make you better understand why David did 
iudite all the cxix. Psalm, in high comriiendations of the 
word of God, and would make you join in his afiiectionate 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 



215 



expressions, " O how I love thy law ! it is my meditation 
all the day ! Thou through thy commandments hast made 
me wiser than mine enemies ; for they are ever with me." 
(Psal. cxix. 97—99.) 

Sermons also would be much sweeter to you, when you 
could confidently take home the consolatory part, and use 
our ministry as a help to your faith, and hope, and joy ; 
whereas your doubts and fears, lest you are still unregene- 
rate, will turn all that you hear, or read, or meditate on, into 
food and fuel for themselves to work upon ; and you will 
gather up all that tends to your disquietment, and say. It 
is your part ; and cast away all that tendeth to your con- 
solation, and say, it belongeth not to you. And the most 
comforting passages of the word will be turned into your 
discomfort : and the promises will seem to you as none, 
while you imagine that they are none of yours : and the 
loss of your peace and comfort will not be the worst: But 
this will increase your backwardness to duty ; and when 
your delight in the worship of God is gone, your inclina- 
tion to it will abate, and it will seem a burden to you, and 
be as meat to the stomachs of the sick, that with the most 
careful preparation, and much entreaty, can hardly be 
brought to get it down, and can bear but little, and that 
which is suited to their diseased appetites. 

The same I may say of the sacrament of the Lord's-sup- 
per. How sweet will it be to you, if you are assured, that 
the same Christ that is there represented as broken and 
bleeding for your sins, doth dwell within you by his Spirit ! 
What welcome entertainment would you expect to find, if 
you knew that you brought the feast, and the master of the 
feast with you in your hearts ; and had there entirely enter- 
tained him, with whom you expect communion in the sacra- 
ment ! How boldly and comfortably would your hungry 
souls then feed upon him ! With what refreshing acts of 
faith would you there take the sealed promise and pardon of 
your sins ! Whereas when you come in fears and doubting, 
and must take the body and blood of Christ in their repre- 
sentations, with your hand and mouth, while you know not 
whether you receive him with the heart, and whether you 
have any special interest in him, O what a damp it casteth 
on the soul! How it stifleth its hopes and joys, and turneth 
the sacrament, which is appointed for their comfort, into 



2J6 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

their greater trouble ! It hath many a time grieved me to ob- 
serve that no ordinance doth cast many upright souls into 
greater perplexities, and discouragements, and distresses, 
than the Lord's-supper, because they come to it with double 
reverence, and by the doubtings of their title, and question- 
ing their preparedness, and by their fears of eating and 
drinking unworthily, their souls are utterly discomposed 
with perplexing passions, and turned from the pleasant ex- 
ercise of faith, and the delightful intercourse that they 
should have with God ; and they are distempered and put 
out of relish to all the sweetness of the Gospel : and then 
they are frightened from the sacrament by such sad expe- 
riences, and dare come thither no more, for fear of eating 
judgment to themselves. And should not Christians labour 
to remove the cause of such miserable, distracting fears, 
that so much wrong both Christ and them, and to recover 
their well-grounded peace and comfort? 

11. Your love to God, which is the heart and life of the 
new creature, doth so much depend upon your knowledge 
of his love to you, as should make you much more desirous 
of such a knowledge. Love is the end of faith ; and faith 
the way to love. So much of love as is in every duty, so 
much holiness is in it, and no more. Love is the sum of the 
commandments. It is the fulfilling of the law. (Rom. xiii. 
10; Matt.xxii.37; Markxii.33.) Though God loved us first, 
as purposing our good, before we loved him; (1 John iv. 9, 
10 ;) and we therefore love him, because he first loved us, 
(ver. 19 ;) yet doth he love us by complacency and acceptance, 
because we love the Father and the Son: "For the Father 
himself loved you, because ye loved me, and have believed that 
I came out from God." (John xvi. 27.) And what will more 
effectually kindle in you the fervent love of Christ, than to 
know thathelovethyou.and dwellethin you? All this is ex- 
pressed by Christ himself; " At that day ye shall know that 
I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you : He that hath 
my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, 
and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will 

love him, and will manifest myself unto him. If a man love 

me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and 
we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 
xiv. 20 — 23.) " If any man love God, the same is known of 
him," 1 Cor. viii. 3,) with a knowledge of special love and 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 217 

approbation. This is no disparagement to faith, whose na- 
ture and use is to work by love. (Gal. v. 6.) What a man 
loveth, such he is. The love is the man. Our love is judged 
by our life, as the cause by the effect: but the life is judged 
by the love, as the fruits by the tree, the effects of the cause. 
' Mores autem nostri non ex eo ; quod quisque novit, sed ex 
eo quod diligit, dijudicari solentinec faciunt bonos vel 
malos mores, nisi boni vel mali amores,' saith Augus- 
tine; that is, our manners are not used to be judged of ac- 
cording to that which every man knoweth, but according to 
that which he loveth : it is only good or evil love, that 
maketh good or evil manners. If Plato could say, (as Au- 
gustine citeth him, lib. viii. de Civit. Dei,) ' Hoc est philo- 
sophari, scilicet Deum amare :' To be a philosopher, is to 
love God. Much more should we say, ' Hoc est Chris- 
tianum agere,' this is the doctrine and work of a Christian, 
even the love of God. Indeed it is the work of the Redeemer, 
to recover the heart of man to God, and to bring us to love 
him by representing him to us as the most amiable, suitable 
object of our love : and the perfection of love, is heaven it- 
self. ' O jugum sancti amoris, (inq. Bernard.) quam dulciter 
capis, gloriose laqueas, suaviter premis, delecianter oneras, 
fortiter stringis, prudenter erudis !' that is. The yoke of holy- 
love, O how sweetly dost thou surprise ! How gloriously 
dost thou enthral ! How pleasantly dost thou press ! How 
delightfully dost thou load ! How strongly dost thou bind ! 
How prudently dost thou instruct! ' O fselix amor ex quo 
oritur strenuitas morum, puritas affectionum, subtilitas intel- 
lectuum, desideriorum sanctitas, operum claritas, virtutum 
fa^cunditas meritorum dignitas, praemiorum sublimitas.' O 
happy love, from which ariseth the strength of manners, the 
purity of affections, the subtlety of intellects, the sanctity 
of desires, the excellency of works, the fruitfulness of vir- 
tues, the dignity of deserts, the sublimity of the reward! 
I appeal to your own consciences, Christians, would you 
not think it a foretaste of heaven upon earth, if you could 
but love God as much as you desire? Would any kind of 
life that you can imagine, be so desirable and delightful to 
•you! Would any thing be more acceptable unto God? And 
on the contrary, a soul without the love of God, is worse 
than a corpse without a soul. " If any man love not the 



218 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha."(l Cor. 
xvi. 22.) 

And do I need to tell you what a powerful incentive it 
is to love, to know that you are beloved ? It will make 
Christ much more dear to you, to know how dear you are to 
him. What is said of affective love in us, may partly be 
said of attractive love in Christ. " Many waters cannot 
quench love, neither can the floods drown it:" (Sol. viii. 7:) 
no riches can purchase what it can attract. When you find 
that he hath set you " as a seal upon his arm and heart," 
(ver. 6,) and that you are dear to him as the " apple of his 
eye," what holy flames will this kindle in your breast ! If 
it be almost impossible with your equals upon earth not to 
love them that love you, (which Christ telleth you that 
even publicans will do. Matt. v. 46,) how much more 
should the love of Christ constrain us abundantly to love 
him, when being infinitely above us, his love descendeth, 
that ours may ascend ! His love puts forth the hand from 
heaven to fetch us up. 

O Christians, you little know how Satan wrongeth you, 
by drawing you to deny, or doubt of the special love of God ! 
How can you love him that you apprehend to be your ene- 
my, and to intend your ruin? Doubtless not so easily as if 
you know him to be your friend. In reason is there any 
more likely way to draw you to hate God, than to draw you 
to believe that he hateth you? Can your thoughts be plea- 
sant of him ; or your speeches of him sweet ? or can you at- 
tend him, or draw near him with delight, while you think 
he hateth you, and hath decreed your damnation ? You 
may fear him, as he is a terrible avenger ; and you may con- 
fess his judgments to be just: but can you amicably em- 
brace the consuming fire, and love to dwell with the ever- 
lasting burnings ? 

O, therefore, as ever you would have the love of God to 
animate, and sanctify, and delight your souls, study the 
greatness of his love to you, and labour with all possible 
speed and diligence, to find that Christ by his Spirit is 
within you. It is the whole work of sanctification that Sa- 
tan would destroy or weaken by your doubts : and it is the 
whole work of sanctification that by love would be promoted, 
if you knew your interest in the love of Christ. 



AND BENEFITS Ol" SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 219 

12. It is the knowledge of Christ dwelling in you, and 
so of the special love of God, that must acquaint you with a 
life of holy thankfulness and praise. These highest and 
most acceptable duties, will be out of your reach if Satan 
can hide from you that mercy which must be the chiefest 
matter of your thanksgiving. Will that soul be in tune for 
the high praises of the Lord, that thinks he meaneth to use 
him as an enemy? Can you look for any cheerful thanks- 
sivina; from him that looks to lie in hell ? Will he not rather 
cry with David, " In death there is no remembrance of thee : 
In the grave who shall give thee thanks?" (Psal. vi. 5.) 
" What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the 
pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?" 
(Psal. XXX. 9.) Shall the damned praise thee, or shall they 
give thee thanks that must be scorched with the flames of 
thine indignation? Can you expect that joy should be in 
their hearts, or cheerfulness in their countenances, or praises 
in their mouths, that think they are reprobated to the fire 
of hell ? Undoubtedly Satan is not ignorant, that this is 
the way to deprive God of the service which is most accept- 
able, to him and you of the pleasures of so sweet a life. And 
therefore he that envieth both, will do his worst to damp 
your spirits, and breed uncomfortable doubts and fears, and 
wrongful suspicions in your minds. Whereas the know- 
ledge of your interest in Christ, would be a continual store- 
house of thanksgiving and praise, and teach your hearts as 
well as your tongues, to say with David, " Blessed is the 
man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered ; 
blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not ini- 
quity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Be glad in 

the Lord, and rejoice ye righteous, and shout for joy all ye 
that are upright in heart." (Psal. xxxii. 1, 2. 11.) "Bless 
the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy 
name : Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his bene- 
fits : who forgiveth all thine iniquities : who healeth all 
thy diseases : who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and 
crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." 
(Psal. ciii. 1 — 4.) " O Lord, my God, I cried unto thee, and 
thou hast healed me : O Lord, thou hast brought up ray soul 
from the grave ; thou hast kept me alive that I should not 
go down to the pit. Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, 
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness : for his 



220 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

anger endureth but for a moment: in his favour is life." 
(Psal, XXX. 2—5.) Thanksgiving would be the very pulse 
and breath of your assurance of Christ dwelling in you. 
You would say with Paul, " Blessed be the God and Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spi- 
ritual blessino;s in celestials in Christ: According as he 
hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, 
that we should be holy and blameless before him in love : 
Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by 
Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of 
his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he 
hath made us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have re- 
demption through his blood, the remission of sins accord- 
ing to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded 
toward us," &,c. (Eph. i. 3 — 8.) Thus faith and assurance, 
as they have an unspeakable store to work upon, so it is na- 
tural to them to expatiate in the praise of our Redeemer, and 
to delight in amplifications and commemorations of the 
ways of grace. Just so doth Peter begin his first epistle, 
" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us 
again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ 
from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, 
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who 
are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, 
ready to be revealed in the last time, wherein ye greatly re- 
joice," &c. 

No wonder if the heirs of heaven be inclined to the lan- 
guage and the work of heaven. I think there are few of you 
that would not rejoice, and by your speech and countenance 
express your joy, if you had assurance but of the dignities 
and dominions of this world. And can he choose but ex- 
press his joy and thankfulness, that hath assurance of the 
crown of life ? What fragrant thoughts should possess that 
mind that knoweth itself to be possessed by the Spirit of the 
living God ! How thankful will he be that knows he hath 
Christ and heaven to be thankful for! What sweet delights 
should fill up the hours of that man's life, that knows the 
Son of God living in him, and that he shall live in joy 
with Christ for ever! How gladly will he be exercised in 
the praises of his Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, that 
knows it must be his work for ever ! No wonder if this joy 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 221 

be a stranger to their hearts, that are strangers to Christ, or 
strangers to their interest in his love : No wonder if they 
have no hearts for these celestial works, that have no part in 
the celestial inheritance, or that know not that they have 
any part therein. How can they joyfully give thanks for 
that which they know not that they have or ever shall have, 
or have any probability to attain! 

But to that man that is assured of Christ within him, 
heaven and earth, and all their store, do offer themselves as 
the matter of his thanks, and do furnish him with provisions 
to feed his praises. What a shame is it that an assured 
heir of heaven should be scant and barren in comfort to 
himself, or in thanks and praise to Jesus Christ, when he 
hath so full a heap of love and mercy to fetch his motives 
from, and hath two worlds to furnish him with the most pre- 
cious materials ; and hath no less than Infinite goodness, 
even God himself, to be the subject of his praise ! " O give 
thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, because his mercy en- 
dureth forever (whatever others du) : Let Israel say, let the 
house of Aaron say, let them that fear the Lord say, that 
his mercy endureth for ever." (Psal. cxviii. 1 — 4.) The know- 
ledge of our interest fitteth us for his praise. "Thou art 
my God, and I will praise thee : thou art my God, I will 
exalt thee." (Psal. cxviii. 28.) " O Lord, truly I am thy ser- 
vant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: 
thou hast loosed my bonds ; I will offer to thee the sacrifice 
of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord !" 
(Psal. cxvi. 16, 17.) " His praise is for the congregation of 
his saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him ; let the 
children of Zion be joyful in their King." (Psal. cxlix. 1, 2.) 
" Let them praise the name of the Lord ; for his name alone 
is excellent, his glory is above the earth and heaven. He 
also exalteth the horn of his people ; the praise of all his 
saints, even of the children of Israel, a people near unto 
him." (Psal. cxlviii. 13, 14.) " I will also clothe his priests 
with salvation, and his saints shall shout aloud for joy." (Psal. 
cxxxii. 16.) Praise is a work so proper for the saints, and 
thanksgiving must be fed with the knowledge of your mer- 
cies, that Satan well knovveth what he shall get by it, and 
what you will lose, if he can but hide your mercies from 
you. The height of his malice is against the Lord, and the 
next is against you : and how can he shew it more than by 



222 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

drawing you to rob God of his thanks and praise, when he 
hath blessed and enriched you with the chiefest of his mer- 
cies ! Labour therefore. Christians, to know that you have 
that grace that may be the matter and cause of so sweet 
and acceptable an employment as the praises of your Lord, 
13. Moreover, you should consider that without the 
knowledge of your interest in Christ, you cannot live to 
the honour of your Redeemer, in such a measure as the Gos- 
pel doth require. The excellency of Gospel-mercies will 
be veiled and obscured by you, and will not be revealed 
and honoured by your lives. Your low and poor dejected 
spirits will be a dishonour to the faith and hope of the 
saints, and to the glorious inheritance, of which you have 
so full a prospect in the promises. If you take the son of a 
prince in his infancy, and educate him as the son of a 
ploughman, he will not live to the honour of his birth, which 
he is not acquainted with. The heirs of heaven, that know 
not themselves to be such, may live like the heirs of heaven 
as to uprightness and humility, but not in the triumphant 
joy, nor in the courageous boldness, which becometh a be- 
liever. What an injury and dishonour is it to our Redeemer, 
that when he hath done and suffered so much to make us 
happy, we should walk as heavily as if he had done nothing 
for us at all ! And when he hath so fully secured us of ever- 
lasting happiness, and told us of it so expressly that our 
joy may be full, we should live as if the Gospel were not 
the Gospel, and such things had never been promised or re- 
vealed ! When heaven is the object, and the promise of God 
is the groundwork of our faith, we should live above all 
earthly things, as having the honours and pleasures of the 
world under our feet, accounting all as " loss and dung for 
the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ," (Phil. iii. 
8,) whom we should love, though " we have not seen him ; 
in whom though now we see him not, yet believing we 
should rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, as 
those that must receive the end of their faith, the salvation 
of our souls." (1 Pet. i. 8, 9.) And how can we do this, if 
we are still questioning the love of Christ, or our interest 
in it! 

Believers should with undaunted resolution charge 
through the armies of temptation, and conquer difficulties, 
and suffer for the name of Christ with joy ; accounting it a 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 223 

blessed thing to be persecuted for righteousness sake, be- 
cause that " theirs is the kingdom of heaven :" Because of 
the greatness of the reward, they should "rejoice and be ex- 
ceeding glad." (Matt. v. 10. 12.) And how can they do 
this, that believe not that the reward and kingdom will be 
theirs ! 

The joys of faith and confidence on the promise and 
strength of Christ, should overcome all inordinate fears of 
man ; " For he hath said, I will never fail thee nor forsake 
thee." So that we may boldly say, " The Lord is my helper, 
and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Heb. xiii. 
5, 6.) And how can we do this, while we are questioning 
our part in the Christ and promise that we should thus 
boldly trust upon ! 

14. Lastly consider, that the knowledge of your part in 
Christ, may make all sufferings easy to you. You will be 
so much satisfied in God your portion, as will abate the de- 
sires, and drown the joys and sorrows of the world. You 
will judge the "sufferings of this present time unworthy to 
be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us." 
(Rom. viii. 18.) You will choose rather " to suffer affliction 
with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin 
for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches 
that the treasures of the world, as having respect to the re- 
compence of the reward." (Heb. xi. 25, 26.) All this must be 
done, and will be done by true believers, that have an as- 
surance of their own sincerity ; they must and will forsake 
all, and take up the cross and follow Christ, in hope of a 
reward in heaven, as it is offered them in the Gospel, when 
they know their special interest in it. For these are Christ's 
terms which he imposeth on all that will be his disciples. 
(Luke xiv. 33 ; xviii. 22. 24, 25.) But you may certainly per- 
ceive that it will be much more easy to part with all, and 
undergo and do all this, when we have the great encourage- 
ment of our assured interest, than when we have no more 
but the common offer. To instance in some particulars. 

1. Do you live where serious godliness is derided, and 
you cannot obey the word of God, and seek first the king- 
dom of God, and its righteousness, without being made the 
common scorn, and the daily jest and by-word of the com- 
pany? Let it be so: If you know that you have Christ 
within you, and are secured of the everlasting joys, will you 



224 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

feel, will you regard such things as these? Shall the jest of 
a distracted, miserable fool, abate the joy of your assured 
happiness? Princes and noblemen will not forsake their 
dominions or lordships, nor cast away the esteem and com- 
fort of all they have, because the poor do ordinarily re- 
proach them as proud, unmerciful oppressors. They think 
they may bear the words of the miserable, while they have 
the pleasure of prosperity. And shall not we give losers 
leave to talk? We will not be mocked out of the comfort of 
our health or wealth, our habitations or our friends: and 
shall we be mocked out of the comfort of Christ, and of the 
presence of the Comforter himself! If they that go naked 
deride you for having clothes, and they that are out of doors 
in the cold and rain, deride you that are warm and dry with- 
in ; or they that are sick deride you for being well, this will 
but make you more sensible of your felicity, and pity them 
that have added such folly to their wants : so will it increase 
the sense of your felicity, to find that you are possessed of 
so unspeakable a mercy, which others have not so far tasted 
of as to know its worth. If you have the feast, you may 
bear the words of famished, unhappy souls that speak 
against it because they taste it not: if you are in your 
Father's arms, you may bear the scorns of such as stand 
without the doors. 

2. If you have the contradictions and opposition of the 
ignorant or malicious, speaking evil of things they know 
not, and persuading you from the ways of righteousness, 
how easily may all this be borne while you have Christ with- 
in you to strengthen and encourage you ! Had you but his 
example before you, who is " the Author and Finisher of 
your faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured 
the cross, despising the shame, and endured such contra- 
diction of sinners against himself, it should keep you from 
being weary and fainting in your minds." (Heb. xii. 2, 3.) 
But when you have his presence, liis Spirit, and his help, 
how much should it corroborate and confirm you ! 

3. How easy may you bear the slanders of your own or 
the Gospel's enemies, as long as you are sure of your interest 
in Christ ! How easily may you suffer them to call you by 
their own names, " pestilent fellows, and movers of sedition 
among the people, ringleaders of a sect, profaners of the 
temple," as Paul was called, (Acts xxiv. 5, 6,) as long as 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 2*25 

you have Christ within you, that was called Beelzebub for 
your sakes. (Matt. x. 25.) Your Judge that must finally 
decide the case, is your dearest friend, and dwelleth in you : 
It is "he that will justify you ; who is he that condemneth 
you?" (Rom. viii. 33, 34.) His approbation is your life 
and comfort. How inconsiderable is it as to your own feli- 
city, what mortal worms shall say or think of you ? What if 
they call you all that is naught, and stain your names, and 
obscure your innocency, and make others believe the falsest 
accusations that Satan can use their tongues to utter of 
you? You have enough against all this within you : What 
if you go for hypocrites, or factious, or what malignity can 
call you, until the day of judgment? As long as you have 
so good security of being then fully cleared of all, and your 
righteousness vindicated by your Judge, how easily may you 
now bear the slanders of men, that prove themselves wicked, 
by falsely affirming it of you ! You can endure to be called 
poor, so you be not poor ; and to be called sick, as long as 
you are well. And you may well endure to be called proud, 
while you are humble ; and factious, while you are lovers of 
unity and peace ; or hypocrites, while you are sincere. How 
boldly may you say with the prophet, " The Lord God will 
help me, therefore shall I not be confounded ; therefore 
have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not 
be ashamed : He is near that justifieth me: Who will con- 
tend with me ? Let us stand together : Who is mine adver- 
sary ? Let him come near to me : Behold the Lord God will 
help me ; who is he that shall condemn me ? Lo, they shall 
all wax old as a garment : the moth shall eat them up." 
(Isaiah 1. 7—9.) 

Had you but Paul's assurance and experience of Christ 
dwelling in you, you might imitate him in a holy contempt 
of all the slanders and revilings of the world : " For I think 
that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were men 
appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle to the 
world, and to angels, and to men : We are fools for Christ's 
sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are 
strong : ye are honourable, but we are despised : Even unto 
this present hour, we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, 
and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place ; and 
labour working with our own hands : being reviled, we 

VOL. XVI. Q 



2*26 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF IGNORANCE, 

Viless : being persecuted, we suffer it : being defamed, we 
entreat: we are made as the filth of the earth, and are the 
offscouring of all things unto this day." (1 Cor. iv. 9 — 13.) 
Thus may we " do and suffer all things through Christ that 
strengtheneth us." (Phil. iv. 13.) What matter is it what 
men call us, if God call us his children and friends, and 
Christ be not ashamed to call us brethren ? With us it will 
be a very small thing to be judged of man, while we know 
"the Lord that must judge us, is on our side." (1 Cor. iv. 
3,4.) It lieth not on our hands to justify ourselves: it is 
Christ that hath undertaken to answer for us ; and made it 
the work of his office to justify us; and to him we may 
boldly and comfortably leave it : and let all the accusers 
prepare their charge, and deal with him, and do their worst. 
4. How easily may you bear imprisonment, banishment, 
or other persecution, as long as you are assured of the love 
of Christ! Can you fear to dwell where Christ dwells with 
yon ? If he will go with you through fire and water, what 
need you fear? Those owning, appropriating words, will 
make us venture upon the greatest perils, " Fear not, for T 
have redeemed thee ; I have called thee by thy name, thou 
art mine : when thou passest through the waters, I will be 
with thee ; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow 
thee : when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be 

burnt For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of 

Israel, thy Saviour." Who would not with Peter cast him- 
self into the sea, or walk with confidence upon the waters, 
if Christ be there, and call us to him? (Matt, xiv. 28, 29 ; 
John xxi. 7.) 

The eleventh chapter to the Hebrews doth recapitulate 
the victories of faith, and shew us what the hope of unseen 
things can cause believers patiently to undergo. How cheer- 
fully will he endure the foulest way, that is assured to come 
safe to such a home? What will a man stick at, that knows 
he is following Christ to heaven ; and knoweth that he 
" shall reign with him, when he hath suffered with him ?" 
(2 Tim. ii. 12.) W^howill refuse bloodletting, that is assured 
beforehand that it shall procure his health? He is unwor- 
thy of Christ, and of salvation, that thinks any thing in the 
world too good to lose for them. (Matt. x. 37.) What mat- 
ter is it, whether death finds us in honour or dishonour, in 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 227 

our own country or in another, at liberty or in prison, so we 
are sure it finds us not in a state of death ? Who would not 
rather pass to glory by as straight a way as John Baptist, 
Stephen, or other martyrs did, than with their persecutors, 
to prosper in the way to misery 't Who can for shame repine 
at the loss of temporal commodities, that is secured of the 
eternal joys? If assurance of the love of God, would not 
embolden you to patient suffering, and to lay down life and 
all for Christ, what do you think should ever do it? 

But when you are afraid lest death will turn you into 
hell, what wonder if you timerously draw back? When you 
know not whether ever you shall have any better, no won- 
der if you are loath to part with the seeming happiness 
which you have. Those doubts and fears enfeeble the soul, 
and spoil you of that valour that becomes a soldier of Christ. 

5. All personal crosses in your estates, your families, 
your friends, your health, will be easily borne, if you are 
once assured of your salvation. To a man that is passing 
into heaven, all these are almost in-considerable things. 
What is Lazarus the worse now for his sores or rags ? Or 
what is the rich man the better for his sumptuous attire and 
fare ? (Luke xvi.) Whether you be poor or rich, sick or 
sound ; whether you are used kindly or unkindly in the 
world, are questions of so small importance, that you are 
not much concerned in the answer of them : but whether 
you have Christ within you, or be reprobates ; whether you 
are the heirs of the promise, or are under the curse, are 
questions of everlasting consequence. 

6. Lastly, You may comfortably receive the sentence of 
death, when once you are assured of the life of grace, and that 
you have escaped everlasting death. Though nature will be 
still averse to a dissolution, yet faith will make you cheerfully 
submit, "desiring to depart and be with Christ," as the best 
condition for you. (Phil. i. 23.) When you "know that 
if the earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, you 
have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eter- 
nal in the heavens;" you will then "groan earnestly, desiring 
to be clothed upon with your house, which is from heaven : 
not to be unclothed, (for the union of soul and body, is the 
constitution of the man, which nature cannot but desire,) 
but to be clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed 
up of life. This God doth work you for, who giveth you 



228 THE MISCHIEFS OF S ELF-IGNOU ANCE, 

the earnest of the Spirit: therefore as men that know while 
you are at home in the body, you are absent from the Lord; 
and that walk by faith, and not by sight, you would be 
always confident, and willing rather to be absent from the 
body, and present with the Lord." (2 Cor. v. 1—8.) 

Though it be troublesome to remove your dwelling, yet 
you would not stick upon the trouble, if you were sure to 
change a cottage for a court : nor would you refuse to cross 
the seas, to change a prison for a kingdom. The holy de- 
sires of believers, do prepare them for a safe death; but it 
is the assurance of their future happiness, or the believing 
expectation of it, that must prepare them for a death that is 
safe and comfortable. The death of the presumptuous may 
be quiet, but not safe : the death of doubting, troubled be- 
lievers may be safe, but not quiet: the death of the ungodly, 
that have awakened, undeceived consciences, is neither safe 
nor quiet : but the death of strong believers, that have at- 
tained assurance, is both. And he that findeth Christ with- 
in him, may know, that when he dieth, he shall be with 
Christ: his dwelling in us by faith, by love, and by his Spi- 
rit, is a pledge that we shall dwell with him. Christ within 
us, will certainly carry us unto Christ above us. Let Soci- 
nians question the happiness of such departed souls, or 
doubt whether they be in heaven before the resurrection ; I 
am sure that they are with Christ, as the forecited places 
shew, (2 Cor. v. 7, 8 ; Phil. i. 23,) and many other. We are 
following him, that when he had conquered death, and went 
before us, did send that message to his doubting, troubled 
disciples, (which is to me so full of sweetness, that methinks 
I can scarce too often recite it,) " Go to my brethren, and 
say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, 
and to my God and your God," (John xx. 17.) O piercing, 
melting words, which methinks do write themselves upon 
my heart, whenever I read them with attention and consi- 
deration ! Know once that you are his brethren, and that his 
Father is your Father, and his God is your God, and that he 
is ascended and glorified in your nature ; and then how can 
you be unwilling to be dismissed from the bondage of this 
flesh, and be with Christ! For in his " Father's house are 
many mansions ! and he is gone before to prepare a place 
for us ; and will come again and receive us unto himself, 
that where he is, there we may be also." (John xiv. 2, 3.) 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 2'Z9 

And that this is his will for all his servants, he hath de- 
clared in that comfortable promise, (which also I have found 
so full of sweetness, that I value it above all the riches of 
the world,) " If any man serve me, let him follow me ; and 
where I am, there shall also my servant be : if any man 
serve me, him will my Father honour." (John xii. 26.) The 
Spirit of Christ within you, is the earnest of all this : Be 
assured of your faith, and hope, and love, and you may be 
assured to possess the good believed, and hoped for, and 
loved. " The incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth 
for ever," of which you are new born, (1 Peter i. 23,) doth 
tend to the "incorruptible crown, (1 Peter v. 4,) even the 
" crown of righteousness, which the righteous Judge will 
give to all that love his appearing." (2 Tim. iv. 8.) "And 
so shall we ever be with the Lord," as the apostle com- 
fortably speaks, 1 Thess. iv. 17, and seasonably annexeth the 
use of such a cordial, " Wherefore comfort one another with 
these words." (ver. 18.) 

Whether we are to die by the decay of nature, or by the 
storm of any violent disease, or by the hand of persecutors, 
or any other instruments of Satan, the difference is small : 
they are but several ways of landing at tbe shore of happi- 
ness, which we were making towards, through all the duties 
and difficulties of our lives. May we by any death be sent 
to Christ, let them domineer awhile that stay behind, and 
are conquerors and happy in their dream ; we shall neither 
miss nor desire their felicity. May I die assured of the love 
of God, how little regardable is it, whether I be poor or rich 
till then ; or in what manner death shall do its execution l 
And how little cause have blessed souls to envy them that 
are left on earth, in a quiet and prosperous passage to dam- 
nation ! 

And what an ease and pleasure is this to a man's mind 
through all his life, to be able, with well-grounded comfort, 
to think of death ! What cares can vex him that hath se- 
cured his everlasting state? What losses should afflict him 
that is sure he shall not lose his soul, and is sure to gain 
eternal life ? What fears should disquiet him that is sure to 
escape the wrath of God ? What wants should trouble 
him that knoweth he is an heir of heaven ? Why should 
the indignation or threatenings of man, be any temptation 
to turn him out of the way of duty, or dismay his mind. 



230 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-i G NOKANCE, 

who knoweth that they can but " kill the body," and dis- 
miss the soul into his blessed presence, whom itloveth, and 
laboureth and longs to see ? What should inordinately 
grieve that man that is certain of eternal joy ? What else 
should he thirst for, that hath " in him the well of living 
waters, springing up to everlasting life?" (John iv. 14.) And 
what should deprive that man of comfort, that knoweth he 
hath the Comforter within him, and shall be for ever com- 
forted with his master's joy ? And what should break the 
peace and patience of him that is assured of everlasting 
rest? If the assurance of a happy death cannot make it 
welcome, and cannot make affliction easy, and fill our lives 
with the joys of hope, I know not what can do it. 

But, alas for those poor souls that know not whither 
death will send them, or at least have not good grounds of 
hope; what wonder if " through the fear of death they be all 
their lifetime subject to bondage!" (Heb. ii. 15.) Me- 
thinks in the midst of their wealth and pleasure, they should 
not be so stupid as to forget the millions that are gone be- 
fore them, that lately were as jovial and secure as they ; and 
how short their dreaming feast will be. Methinks all the 
beauty of their fleshly idols should be blasted with those 
nipping frosts and storms, that in their serious forethoughts 
come in upon them, from the black and dreadful regions of 
death ! Methinks at any time it should damp their mirth, and 
allay the ebullition of their frenetic blood, to remember, ' For 
all this I must die,' and it may be " this night, that the fool 
must deliver up his soul; and then, whose shall those things 
be which he hath provided !" (Luke xii. 19,20.) Then who shall 
be the lord, and who the knight or gentleman ? And who shall 
wear the gay attire? and who shall domineer, and say, ' Our 
will shall be done, and thus we will have it?' Then where is the 
pleasure of lust, and merry company, and meat, drink, and 
sports? Methinks, Solomon's memento, (Eccles.xi. 9,) should 
bring them to themselves. " Rejoice, O young man, in thy 
youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, 
and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine 
eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will 
bring thee into judgment." And as the sound of these 
words ' I must shortly die,' methinks should be always in 
your ears ; so in reason, the question ' Whither I must then 
go,' should be always as it were before your eyes, till your 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 231 

souls have received a satisfactory answer to it. O what an 
amazing dreadful thing it is, when an uusanctified, unpre- 
pared soul must say, * I must depart from earth, but I know 
not whither! I know not whether unto heaven or hell; 
here I am now, but where must I be for ever!' When men 
believe that their next habitation must be everlasting, me- 
thinks the question, * Whither must I go ?' should be day and 
night upon their minds, till they can say upon good grounds, 
* 1 shall go to the blessed presence of the Lord :' O had you 
but the hearts of men within you, methinks the sense of this 
one question, ' Whither must I go when I leave the flesh?' 
should so possess you, that it should give your souls no 
rest till you are able to say, ' We shall be with Christ, be- 
cause he dwelleth in us here, and hath sealed us and given 
us the earnest of his Spirit ; or at least, till you have good 
hopes of this, and have done your best to make it sure. 

And thus I have told you of how great importance it is 
to believers, to attain assurance of the love of God, and to 
know that Christ abideth in them. And now I think you 
will confess, I have proved the necessity of Self-knowledge, 
both to the unregenerate and the regenerate, though in se- 
veral degrees : and having opened the disease, and shewed 
you the need of a remedy, I am next to direct you in the 
application for the cure. 

I doubt not but there are many of the hearers, that by 
this time, are desirous to be instructed, how this self-know- 
ledge may be attained : for whose satisfaction, and for the 
reducing of all that hath been spoken into practice, I shall 
next acquaint you with the hindrances of self-knowledge 
(the removing of them being not the least point in the cure), 
and with the positive directions to be practised for the at- 
tainment of it. And because the hindrances and helps are 
contrary, I shall open both together as we go on. 

The hindrances of self-knowledge are some of them 
without us, and some within us; and so must be the helps. 

I. The external hindrances are these. 

1. The failing of ministers in their part of the work, 
through unskilfulness or unfaithfulness, is a great cause 
that so many are ignorant of themselves. They are the 
lights of the world; and if they are eclipsed, or put under a 
bushel; if they are darkened by the snuff of their own cor- 



2.32 TH£ MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNOR ANCJE, 

ruptions; or if they feed not their light by the oil of dili- 
gent studies, and other endeavours ; or if they will not go 
along with men into the dark and unknown corners of the 
heart, what wonder if men's hearts remain in darkness, when 
those that by office are appointed to afford them light, do 
fail them ? It is not a general dull discourse, or critical 
observations upon words, or the subtle decision of some 
nice and curious questions of the schools, (though these 
may be useful to their proper ends,) nor is it a neat and 
well-composed speech, about some other distant matters, 
that is likely to acquaint a sinner with himself. How many 
sermons may we hear (that to other ends are not unprofit- 
able) that are levelled at some mark or other, that is very 
far from the hearers' hearts, and therefore are never likely to 
convince them, or prick them, or open and convert them ? 
And if our congregations were in such a case, as that they 
needed no closer quickening work, such preaching might 
be borne with and commended ; but when so many usually 
sit before us, that must shortly die, and are unprepared, and 
that are condemned by the law of God, and must be par- 
doned or finally condemned ; that must be saved from their 
sins, that they may be saved from everlasting misery, I 
think it is time for us to talk to them of such things as most 
concern them ; and that in such a manner as may most 
effectually convince, awake, and change them. When we 
come to them on their sick-beds, we talk not then to them of 
distant or impertinent things : of words, or forms, or parties, 
or by-opinions; but of the state of their souls, and their 
appearing before the Lord, and how they may be ready, 
that death may be both safe and comfortable to them : 
(though a superstitious miserable fellow, that knoweth no 
better things himself, may talk to the sick of beads, and 
relics, and of being on this side or that, for this ceremony 
or the other, and may think to conjure the unholy spirit out 
of him, by some affected words of devotions, uttered from a 
graceless, senseless heart; or to command him out by Papal 
authority, as if they would charm his soul to heaven, by 
saying over some lifeless forms, and using the Gospel as a 
spell: yet ministers indeed, that know themselves what faith 
and what repentance is, and what it is to be regenerate, and 
to be prepared to die, do know that they have other work to 
do.) The Gospel offereth men their choice, whether they 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. '233 

will have holiness or sin ; and to be ruled by Christ, or by 
their fleshly lusts; and so whether they will have spiritual, 
or carnal, eternal, or transitory joys. And our work is to 
persuade them to make that choice which will be their hap- 
piness if we can prevail, and which eternal joy depends 
upon ; whether we come to them in sickness or in health, 
this is our business with them. A man that is ready to be 
drowned, is not at leisure for a song or dance : and a man 
that is ready to be damned, methinks should not find him- 
self at leisure to hear a man shew his wit and reading only, 
if not his folly and malice against a life of holiness : nor 
should you think that suitable to such men's case, that doth 
not evidently tend to save them. But, alas, how often have 
we heard such sermons, as tend more to diversion than 
direction, to fill their minds with other matters, and find men 
something else to think on, lest they should study them- 
selves, and know their misery ! And whereas there may be 
so much ingenuity in the sinner, as to perceive that the dis- 
course of idle tongues, or the reading of a romance is un- 
suitable to one in his condition ; and therefore will not, by 
such toys as these, be called off from the consideration of 
his ways. A preacher that seems to speak religiously, by 
a sapless, dry, impertinent discourse, that is called a sermon, 
may more plausibly and easily divert him : and his con- 
science will more quietly suffer him to be taken off the 
necessary care of his salvation, by something that is like it, 
and pretends to do the work as well, than by the grosser 
avocations, or the scorns of fools : and he will more tamely 
be turned from religion, by something that is called religion, 
and which he hopes may serve the turn, than by open wick- 
edness, or impious defiance of God and reason. But how 
oft do we hear applauded sermons, which force us, in com- 
passion to men's souls, to think, O what is all this to the 
opening a sinner's heart unto himself, and shewing him his 
unregenerate state ! What is this to the conviction of a self- 
deluding soul, that is passing unto hell with the confident 
expectations of heaven ! To the opening of men's eyes, and 
turning them from darkness unto light, and from the power 
of Satan unto God ! What is this to shew men their undone 
condition, and the absolute necessity of Christ, and of re- 
newing grace ! What is in this to lead men up from e^rth 
to heaven, and to acquaint them with the unseen world, ind 



234 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

•to help them to the life of faith and love, and to the mortify- 
ing and the pardon of their sins! How little skill have 
many miserable preachers, in the searching of the heart, and 
helping men to know themselves, whether Christ be in them, 
or whether they be reprobates ! And how little care and 
diligence are used by them to call men to the trial, and help 
them in the examining and judging of themselves, as if it 
were a work of no necessity I " They have healed also the 
hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying. Peace, 
peace; when there is no peace, saith the Lord," (Jer. vi. 14.) 
And Ezek. xiii. 10 — 12. " Because, even because they have 
seduced my people, saying, peace ; and there was no peace; 
and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed it with un- 
tempered mortar: Say unto them that daub it with untem- 
pered mortar, that it shall fall : there shall be an overflow- 
ing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall, and a 
stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall 
it not be said unto you. Where is the daubing wherewith ye 
have daubed it?" 

It is a plain and terrible passage, Prov. xxiv. 24, " He 
that saith to the wicked. Thou art righteous; him shall the 
people curse; nations shall abhor him." Such injustice in 
a judge, or witnesses, is odious, that determine but in order 
to temporal rewards or punishments : (Lev. xix. 15 ; Prov. 
xviii. 5 ; xxviii, 21.) But in a messenger that professeth to 
speak to men in the name of God, and in the stead of Jesus 
Christ, when the determination hath respect to the con- 
sciences of men, and to their endless joy or torment, how 
odious and horrid a crime must it be esteemed, to persuade 
the wicked that he is righteous ; or to speak that which 
tendeth to persuade him of it, though not in open, plain ex- 
pressions! What perfidious dealing is this against the 
Holy God! What an abuse of our Redeemer, that his pre- 
tended messengers shall make him seem to judge clean con- 
trary to his holiness, and to his law, and to the judgment 
which indeed he passeth, and will pass on all that live and 
die unsanctified! What vile deceit and cruelty against the 
souls of men are such preachers guilty of, that would make 
them believe that all is well with them, or that their state is 
safe or tolerable, till they must find it otherwise to their woe ! 
When diseased souls have but a short and limited time 
allowed them for their cure, that a man shall come to them,. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 235 

as in the name of their physician, and tell them that they 
are pretty well, and need not make so much ado about the 
business, and thus keep them from their only help till it be 
too late ! What shame, what punishment can be too great 
for such a wretch, when the neglect and making light of 
Christ and his salvation, is the common road to hell? (Heb. 
ii. 3 ; Matt. xxii. 5.) And most men perish, because they 
value not, and use not the necessary means of their recovery ; 
for a man in the name of a minister of the Gospel, to cheat 
them into such undervaluings and neglects, as are likely to 
prove their condemnation : what is this but to play the minis- 
ter of Satan, and to do his work, in the name and garb of a 
minister of Christ? It is a damnable treachery against 
Christ, and against the people's souls, to hide their misery, 
when it is your office to reveal it ; and to let people deceive 
themselves in the matters of salvation, and not to labour 
diligently to undeceive them ; and to see them live upon 
presumption and ungrounded hopes, and not to labour with 
faithful plainness to acquaint them with their need of better 
hopes. But some go further, and more openly act the part 
of Satan, by reproaching the most faithful servants of the 
Lord, and labouring to bring the people into a conceit, that 
seriousness and carefulness in the matters of God and our 
salvation, are but hypocrisy and unnecessary strictness : 
and in their company and converse they put so much coun- 
tenance on the ungodly, and cast so much secret or open 
scorn upon those that would live according to the Scrip- 
tures, as hardeneth multitudes in their impenitency. O 
dreadful reckoning to these unfaithful shepherds, when they 
must answer for the ruin of their miserable flocks ! How 
great will their damnation be, which must be aggravated by 
the damnation of so many others I When the question is, 
' How come so many souls to perish?' The answer must be, 
* Because they set light by Christ and holiness, which should 
have saved them.' But what made them set light by Christ 
and holiness ? It was their deceitful confidence, that they 
had so much part in Christ and holiness, as would suffice to 
save them, though indeed they were unsanctified strangers 
to both. They were not practically acquainted with their 
necessities. But how came they to continue thus ignorant 
of themselves till it was too late ? Because they had teach- 
ers that kept them strange to the nature of true holiness, and 



'236 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-lGNORA NCE, 

did not labour publicly and privately to convince them of 
their undone condition, and drive them to Christ, that by 
him they might have life. Woe to such teachers that ever 
they were born, that must then be found under the guilt of 
such perfidiousness and cruelty ! Had they ever felt them- 
selves, what it is to be pursued by the law of conscience, and 
with broken hearts to cast themselves on Christ as their 
only hope and refuge, and what it is to be pardoned, and 
saved by him from the wrath of God ; and what it is to be 
sanctified, and to be sensible of all his love, they would take 
another course with sinners, and talk of sin, and Christ, and 
holiness at other rates, and not deceive their people with 
themselves. 

Direct. 1. My first direction therefore to you, is in order 
to the knowledge of yourselves, that if it be possible, you 
will live under a faithful, soul-searching, skilful pastor; and 
that you will make use of his public and personal help, to 
bring you, and keep you in continual acquaintance with 
yourselves. 

As there is a double use of physicians; one general, to 
teach men the common principles of physic, and read them 
lectures of the nature of diseases, and their causes and reme- 
dies; and the other particular, to apply these common pre- 
cepts to each individual person as they need : so is there a 
double use of ministers of the Gospel ; one to deliver pub- 
licly the common doctrines of Christianity, concerning man's 
sin and misery, and the remedy, &c. ; and the other to help 
people in the personal application of all this to themselves. 
And they that take up only with the former, deprive them- 
selves of half the benefit of the ministry. 

1. In public, how skilful and diligent should we be, in 
opening the hearts of sinners to themselves ! The pulpit 
is but our candlestick, from which we should diffuse the 
holy light into all the assembly: not speaking the same 
things of all that are before us, as if it were our work to 
trouble men, or only to comfort them : but as the same light 
will shew every man the things which he beholdeth in their 
varieties and differences ; (we see by the same sun a man to- 
be a man, and a beast to be a beast, and a bird to be a bird ;) 
so the same word of truth which we deliver, must be so dis- 
covering and discriminating, as to manifest the ungodly to 
be ungodly; and the carnal to be carnal; the worldling to be 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 237 

a worldling; the hypocrite to be a hypocrite, and the ene- 
mies of holiness to be as they are ; and the sincere to be 
sincere ; and the renewed soul to be indeed renewed. The 
same light must shew the excellency of sanctification, and 
the filthiness of sin : the glory of the image of Christ, and 
the deformity of that spiritual death which is its privation. 
It must shew the rishteous to be " more excellent than his 
neighbour," (Prov. xii. 26,) and help men to " discern be- 
tween the righteous and the wicked; between him that 
serveth God and him that serveth him, not." (Mai. iii. 18.) 
We must not be like the miserable ungodly preachers, that 
cannot describe the state of grace with clearness and feel- 
ingly, because they never knew it : or that dare not discover 
the unsanctified, lest they detect themselves, nor judge them 
according to their office, lest they condemn themselves; and 
that preach to the ungodly as if all were well with them ; 
and they dare not awaken the consciences of others, lest 
they should awaken and affright their own : and therefore 
are ready to scorn at all distinguishing preachers, and to 
take the discovery of regeneration to be but the boasting of 
hypocrisy, as if he that would differ from the most, or did 
pretend to the special privileges of the saints, did but as 
the Pharisee, " Thank God that he is not like other men;" 
or say, "Stand by, I am more holy than thou:" And if 
these preachers could prove that all men should be saved 
that will but say that they are Christians, they might then 
have hope of being saved themselves, without that serious 
piety which they so distaste. No wonder therefore if they 
preach in the language of Corah, "Ye take too much upon 
you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, 
and the Lord is among them : wherefore t;hen lift you up 
yourselves above the congregation of the Lord ! " (Numb. 
xvi. 3.) But the Lord saith, " If yod take forth the precious 
from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth : Let them return 
unto thee, but return not thou unto them." (Jer. xv. 19.) 
If you love not differencing preaching, make no difference 
from the true members of Christ by your hypocrisy or un- 
godly living; be such as they, and we shall not difference 
you from them. Read but the first psalm, and the fifteenth 
psalm, and the third of John, and the eighth to the Romans, 
and the first Epistle of John, and then tell me whether the 
Scripture be not a differencing word, condemning some. 



238 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IG XOR A NCE, 

and justifying others, and shewing the true state of the dif- 
ference between them. What is there no difference between 
the heirs of heaven and hell? Or is the diffei'ence no more 
than that one hath the name of a Christian, and not the 
other ? Or that one had the hap to be born where the Gos- 
pel was received, and Christianity was the religion of the 
country, and the other the unhappiness to be born where it 
was not known? O no, when the dreadful differencing day 
is come, men shall find that there was another kind of dif- 
ference between the way of life and death : when many shall 
say, " Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? 
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done 
many wonderful works ? " To whom Christ will profess, 
" I never knew you : depart from me ye that work iniquity." 
(Matt. vii. 22, 23.) When " many shall come from the east 
and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the 
kingdom shall be cast out into outter darkness : there shall 
be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. viii. 11, 12.) 
What a difference will appear between those that now con- 
verse together, and sit here in the same seats, between 
whom the world that judgeth by the outside, discerns but 
little or no difference ! When those things shall be exe- 
cuted that are written in Matt. xxv. and 2 Thess. i, O what 
a difference will then appear ! When of those that were in 
the same church, the same house, the same shop, the same 
bed, one shall be taken, and the other left: and the felicity 
that was hid in the seed of grace, shall shine forth to the 
astonishment of the world, in the fulness of eternal glory ! 

I know preachers are ordinarily hated that thus differ- 
ence between the godly and the ungodly ; the very names 
of difference are matter of scorn to guilty souls, because 
they imply the matter of their terror. I have often noted 
this with admiration, in the success of Christ's own doctrine 
upon the Jews, (Luke iv. 18, 19, 22,) when he had so preach- 
ed the Gospel, as that he had the testimony of the multitude 
that wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of 
his mouth, yet some were cavilling and believed not ; and 
verse 25, 26, 27, he saith, " I tell you of a truth, many 
widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven 
was shut up three years, &,c.; But unto none of them was 
Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, to a woman 



AXD BExVEFlTS OF SELF-ACQU AINTAN C£. "239 

that was a widow : And many lepers were in Israel in the 
time of Eliseus the prophet : and none of" them were cleans- 
ed, saving Naaman the Syrian : " But how was this differ- 
encing doctrine of Christ entertained by the Jews? It is 
said, ver. 28, 29, " All they in the synagogue when they 
heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and 
thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the 
hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him 
down headlong." Read it, and consider what moved these 
men to so much rage against Christ himself for preaching 
this doctrine, which restrained the fruit of the Gospel to a 
few ; and then you will not wonder, if those preachers that 
imitate Christ in this, be used no better than their master. 

But let ministers know that this is their duty, to shew 
every man himself, his deeds, and state, as indeed they are: 
and let Christians choose and love such ministers. Choose 
not the glass that makes you fairest, but which is truest, 
and representeth you to yourselves as God accounteth you, 
whether he do it with more eloquence or less, with smot ther 
or with rougher language ; hear liim if you may, that will 
best acquaint you with the truth of your condition, and 
choose not those that speak not to the heart. 

2. And when you have heard the best, the clearest, the 
most searching preacher, do not think that now you can do 
all the rest of the work yourselves, and that you have no 
further need of help, but make use of their more particular 
personal advice, not needlessly, but in these following cases. 

1. In case that after your most diligent self-examination, 
you are yet at uncertainty and doubt, whether you are truly, 
sanctified or not, the settling of your states for all eternity, 
and the well-grounding of your hopes and comforts, is a 
matter of such unspeakable moment, as that you should not 
remain in careless, negligent xmcertainty, while God hath 
provided you any further means that may be used for assur- 
ance. Yea, if you were not troubled with doubting, yet if 
you have opportunity of openingyour evidences to a judicious, 
faithful minister or friend, I think it may be worth your la- 
bour, for the confirmation of the peace and comforts which 
you have. You cannot make too sure of everlasting happiness. 

2. And not only in the first settling of your peace, but 
also when any notable assault or dangerous temptation shall 
afterward shake it, which vou cannot overcome without 



240 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

assistance, it is seasonable to betake yourselves to a phy- 
sician. 

And also in case of any dangerous lapse or declining, 
that hath brought you into a state of darkness. The sick 
and wounded must have help: they are not sufficient for 
themselves. 

4. Also in case of any particular corruption or tempta- 
tion, your particular sinful inclinations may, cautiously, be 
opened to a faithful guide, that by his prudent and lively 
counsel you may be strengthened. 

If you say, ' To what end do ministers preach to me, 
and why do I hear them opening the natures of grace and 
of hypocrisy, if 1 cannot judge of myself by the doctrine 
which they preach?' I answer, 1. You may and must judge 
yourselves by the public common helps, as far as you are 
able : but a personal applying help, added unto this, is a 
further advantage. And humility should teach you, not to 
think better of your understandings than there is cause ; 
nor to think you are so wise as to need but one help, when 
God hath provided you two : or that you need but the lesser, 
when he hath provided you a greater. And doth not your 
own experience convince you? Do you not find, that after 
the best public preaching, you are yet in doubt, and at a 
loss about your spiritual state, and therefore that you have 
need of further help ? 

2. I further answer you : There is so great a diversity of 
particular circumstances in the cases of particular persons, 
that a great deal of help is necessary to most, to pass a right 
judgment, when they do understand both the law and the 
fact. Will you think it enough that you have the statutes 
of the land, and the law-books, to judge of all your own 
cases by? Or will you not think that you have also 
need of the counsel of the wisest lawyer (in your weightiest 
cases) to help you to judge of your cause by the particular 
application of the law to it? So in physic, who is so 
foolish, as to think that by the help of the most learned 
book, or approved recipes, he is able to be his own physi- 
cian, without any more particular advice ? You must be 
long in studying law or physic, before you can understand 
them so well as those that have made them the study and 
business of their lives. It is not having or reading a book 
only, or hearing a lecture of them, that can make you as un- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE, 241 

derstanding as the masters of the profession ; and also to have 
all passages at hand that must be observed in the judging 
of your cause. So is it in matters of the soul. When you 
have heard much, and understand much, you cannot in 
modesty think that all the sense of Scripture, about those 
points, is known as exactly to you, as to your most judi- 
cious teachers ; and that you are as able at once to see all 
the passages of the word, and of the fact, as may enable you 
to pass so clear a judgment on it. Perhaps you vsrill say, 
that you know your own hearts and actions better than they 
do. I answer, you do so, or should do so, as to the matter 
of fact ; and it is you that they must know it from : and yet 
when you have done, you may not be able to judge of your 
state by those acts which you say you know. You must 
shew the lawyer all your evidences : he cannot see them, 
till you shew them him ; and yet when he seeth them, he 
can judge of them whether they are good or bad, and of 
your title by them; better than you can that have the keep- 
ing of them, because he better understands the law. The 
physician feeleth not your pain, nor knoweth it till you tell 
it him ; and yet when you have told it him, he knows better 
than you what it signifieth, and whither it tendeth, and 
whether it be curable or not ; and what must cure it. 

But perhaps you will say, that when you have gone to 
ministers, and opened your case to them, they cannot re- 
solve you, but you are still in doubt. 

I answer, 1. Perhaps when they have resolved them, 
yet you would not be resolved. Have they not told you 
the truth and you would not believe it? Or directed you 
to remedies which you would not use? They cannot, when 
they have told you the truth, compel you to believe it; nor 
when they have told you what will do the cure, they cannot 
make you use it if you refuse. 

2. And what if the nature of the disease be obstinate, 
and will not be cured easily and at once, but with time, 
and diligence, and patience ? Will you therefore think the 
means are vain ? Must you at once, or in a short time, 
be resolved, and delivered from all your doubts, about your 
title to eternal life, or else will you cast off all advice? 
Should you do so by your bodies, you may know what were 
likely to be the issue : should your children learn ilms of 

VOL. XVI. R 



242 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

their teachers, they were likely to make unhappy scholars. 
As you will not have done with Christ, if he cure you not 
at once, nor give over praying, if you have not all your de- 
sires at once, (if you love yourselves,) so you must not have 
done with the counsel of your guides, if they satisfy not 
your doubts at once : As you cease not hearing Ihem in 
public, though you have still your doubtings ; so why 
should you cease advising with them personally upon that 
account? Use God's means, and be thankful, if by degrees 
they do cure, and prevail at last. 

Object. ' But I find it is God only that can speak peace; 
and therefore it is vain to hang on men.' 

I answer, God speaketh by his Word and Spirit : his 
word is to be delivered, expounded, and applied to you by 
his ministers : if therefore you will have it from God, you 
must not refuse his own appointed ordinary means. The 
Spirit comforteth by the promise : As in conversion God 
useth not to do it by the Spirit, without, but in, and by the 
ministry of the word, so also in all our directions, and satis- 
faction and comfort afterwards. As he that will run from 
the ministry of the word, because it is God that must con- 
vert, doth indeed run from God, and is not likely to be con- 
verted ; so is it in point of assurance and consolation. The 
teachers of the church " are to be accounted of as the mini- 
sters of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God," 
(1 Cor. iv. 1,) " by whom the people have believed;" (1 Cor. 
iii. 5 ;) " not having dominion over their faith, but being 
helpers of their joy;" (2 Cor. i. 24;) " who are comforted in 
all their tribulations, that they might be able to comfort 
them that are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith they 
themselves are comforted of God." (ver. 4.) They are to 
be " faithful and wise stewards, whom the Lord maketh 
rulers over his household tg give them their portion of meat 
in due season." (Luke xii. 42.) Thus Christ has given 
"authority to his servants, and appointed to every man his 
work, (Mark xiii. 34,) and given pastors and teachers to 
his church, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of 
the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till 
we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge 
of the Son of God to a perfect man." (Eph. iv. 11 — 13.) 
These therefore being Christ's officers, and this their ap- 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 243 

pointed work, we must receive so much of God's mercies 
by their hands, as belongeth to their office to administer. 
" If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one 
among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness, then 
God is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from 
going down to the pit; I have found a ransom. (Job xxxiii- 
23, 24.) 

So that you see it is God's way to shew to man his up- 
rightness, and to speak peace to souls by his messengers 
and interpreters that are fitted and authorised thereto. 

Object, ' But it is but few that are able thus to discuss 
the case of unsettled, doubting souls, and to give them clear 
and safe directions, that may save both from presumption 
and despair: in many places the ministers are senseless of 
these things, and unacquainted with the concernments and 
works of conscience, and have nothing to say to us, unless 
to deride us as scrupulous and precise; and bid us not 
trouble our heads about such matters, seeing God is merci- 
ful, and Christ died for sinners. They will discourse with 
us long enough about news, or worldly businesses, or opi- 
nions, or controversies; but when we open to them the 
state of our souls, and desire their advice for the " makino- 
our calling and election sure," they have no sense or savour 
of such discourse : and many ministers that are truly con- 
scientious, are yet so unskilful and so weak, that we have 
no encouragement to acquaint them with our state.' 

To this I answer : It cannot be denied but all this is too 
true; and it is matter of lamentation, and must send us to 
God with the old petition which Christ himself hath put 
into our mouths, (Matt. ix. 37, 38,) " The harvest truly is 
plenteous, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the 
Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into 
his harvest." 

But consider that this is no wonder, or unusual thing : 
For all this, there is no nation under heaven that hath more 
able, faithful ministers of Christ, than are in these nations. 
Alas, how much of the church is guided by mere ignorant 
readers ! And how much by superstitious deceivers ! Did 
you know the case of the poor Christians in the Ethiopian, 
the Greek, and the Roman churches, you would bless God 
that it is so well with us: even when the church was in a 
narrower room, yet God complained, (Jer. xii. 10,) " Many 



244 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

pastors have destroyed my vineyard : they have trodden my 

portion under foot : they have made my pleasant portion a 

desolate wilderness : they have made it desolate : and being 

desolate it mourneth unto me :" And Jer. xxiii. 1, 2. " Woe 

be to the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my 

pasture, saith the Lord : therefore thus saith the Lord God 

of Israel against the pastors that feed my people : Ye have 

scattered my flock and driven them away, and have not 

visited them : behold I will visit on you the evil of your 

doings, saith the Lord. And I will set up shepherds over 

them, that shall feed them, and they shall fear no more, nor 

be dismayed." Then was the church fain to take up this 

lamentation, Jer. x. 19 — 21. " Woe is me, my hurt! for my 

wound is grievous : but I said, truly this is a grief, and I 

must bear it : my tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords 

are broken : my children are gone forth of me, and they 

are not : there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, 

and to set up my curtains: for the pastors are become 

brutish, and have not sought the Lord : therefore they shall 

not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered." 

But the voice of healing mercy saith, " Only acknow- 
ledge thine iniquity, &c. Turn, O backsliding children, 

&c. and I will give you pastors according to my heart, 

which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." 
(Jer. iii. 13 — 15.) 

You see in all other professions (that require not super- 
natural illumination), there are but few that attain to excel- 
lency: it is but in few that nature layeth the foundation, or 
giveth that capacity, to be excellent, which grace doth ele- 
vate and improve. 

Take therefore the advice of the ablest you can get : If 
most physicians are weak and ignorant, do not therefore 
cast ofl'all, nor yet cast yourselves upon one that is likely to 
kill you, because he is your neighbour. I will not persuade 
you to go always to the minister of your parish, to open the 
case of your souls, be he fit or unfit; but to the fittest that 
you can have access to : the Papists themselves will give 
men leave to choose others for their confessors. Where 
there is most of the heavenly illumination, and holy skill in 
the matters of the soul ; where there is the soundest and 
most exact judgment, joined with experience and tender 
compassion, and faithful plainness, and cautelous secresy. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 245 

there open your hearts if you have opportunity, and take 
the help of such faithful counsellors to acquaint you with 
yourselves. 

Object. ' But such ministers being few, and having more 
of greater work than they can turn them to, are not to be 
spoken with as oft as my necessity requireth help.' 

Answ. Use then the best that are at leisure ; and it is 
not only ministers that you must use, but any other Chris- 
tian friend that hath such abilities and qualifications, as fit 
them to assist you : whosoever hath the light, refuse not 
to come to it ; God's gifts and graces may be helpful to you 
in a parent, a husband, a neighbour, and not only in a mi- 
nister. 

Quest. ' But how far may a dark and doubting person 
take up and rest in the judgment of a minister, or of others, 
about the state of his soul, when he is not satisfied himself?' 

Answ. This question is of very great use, and therefore 
the more carefully to be resolved ; I shall answer it there- 
fore, 1. Negatively, and, 2. Affirmatively. 

1. No man's judgment of your state is to be taken as 
absolutely infallible or Divine : nor is man to be believed 
as God is, with a Divine belief. When they tell you, that ' If 
you are regenerate, you are justified/ then they do but tell 
you what God hath told you, and therefore this is to be 
taken as of infallible certainty, not as it is their word, but 
as it is God's: So also when they tell you, that ' If you are 
unconverted you are not forgiven.* But when they tell you, 
that ' you are converted or unconverted, pardoned or un- 
pardoned,' this judgment is not to be taken as infallible or 
Divine. 

2. For the bare matter of fact (whether you repent or 
not; whether you had rather be holy or unholy, &c.) there 
is no minister that can know your heart so well as your- 
selves may know it, except in case when melancholy or pas- 
sion, or a weakness of understanding on one side, or a wil- 
fulness of presumption on the other side, doth make men 
judge of their own condition quite contrary to the evidence 
that appeareth in their lives to others. 

3. It is not safe to rest on the judgment of one that is 
either an enemy or stranger to the workings of a careful, 
troubled soul ; or one that is drunk with any heresy, or fond 
of any private opinion of his own, and layeth out his zeal to 



246 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

form people into his opinion, as if the life of religion lay in 
that: nor yet of a weak unskilful man. 

4. It is not safe for you to rest much in the judgment of 
one that knows you not, and is not acquainted (by himself, 
or by the report of others, or some good evidence) of the 
bent and manner of your lives, but must judge only by the 
present expressions of your own mouths. 

5. It is not safe for you to rest on the judgment of any one 
single person, when the judgment of most of your judicious 
acquaintance is contrary to it. So much for the negative. 

2. AflSrmatively, I answer, 

1. By a Divine faith you are bound to believe all the 
promises of Scripture that your pastor (or any other) shall 
acquaint you with. 

2. As a disciple of Christ, you are bound to learn the 
meaningof those promises (and other passages of the Scrip- 
ture) from your teachers, duly authorised to instruct you : 
and with such a human belief, as a scholar oweth to his 
teacher in arts or sciences, you are bound to believe your 
teachers concerning the meaning of the promises, in cases 
wherein you are unable yourselves to understand the word 
by its proper light and evidence, as well as they ; and in 
case you see no evidence of falsehood in their exposition, 
nor have any special reason to distrust them. He that will 
believe nothing that his teacher telleth him, in order to his 
own understanding, shall never understand by teaching. If 
you know as much as he already, you need no teacher : if 
you do not, you must believe him, or else you can never 
learn of him. But this is not to take him for omniscient, or 
infallible in himself, but to credit him as a man. 

3. You are bound, when he judgeth of your particular 
case, upon your opening to him the matter of fact, to allov^ 
him so much credit as is due to the proportion of his under- 
standing. You tell him how you feel your hearts affected, 
and what the actions of your lives have been ; when you 
have told it him, he judgeth by God's word, whether this be 
a state of saving grace which you describe, or not ; if upon 
much stronger parts, or longer study, and more experience, 
he know more of the meaning of the word, and of the nature 
of grace, and so be abler to judge than you, modesty re- 
quireth that you do in that measure submit your understand- 
ing unto his, and believe him according to the measure of 



AND Bi:NEFlT.S OF SEL K-ACQU AINTANCE. 247 

his skill, upon supposition that you deceive him not in 
your information. Even as you will believe a lawyer about 
your title to your lands, when you have shewed him your 
evidence; or a physician about your disease, when you have 
told him what you feel, as I said before. 

4. You are bound to add also, all that credit that his 
honesty and fidelity requireth, if he be a godly man unwill- 
ing to deceive you. 

5. And you are bound to add so much belief, as in the 
case is due to a stander-by that is out of the dust, and is not 
blinded by self-love, or partiality, or passions, or any selfish 
bias, as most men are to themselves. 

6. If you are darkened by melancholy, or any other weak- 
ening distemper, that maketh you incapable of judging for 
yourselves, you are bound to allow another so much credit^ 
as the advantage of his sounder understanding, and more 
composed judgment doth require. If every child, or sick 
person, will believe nobody that doth not say as they, 
their self-conceitedness and their distrust of others will be 
their wrong. 

7. In the manner of reception, you are bound to do all 
this with such a submission as belongeth to an officer of 
Christ : not that you are to believe any falsehood that he 
bringeth you, and fathereth upon Christ; nor to put out 
your own eyes, and see with his, but to learn of him to 
understand yourselves, and receive what he bringeth you, 
according to his office : as a child is bound to submit to any 
tutor or teacher that the parents shall set over him. The 
same truth must be received as from a double obligation, 
when besides its proper evidence it is delivered by a mes- 
senger of Christ. 

8. You may yet more boldly and confidently give credit 
to the judgment of such a minister of Christ, when he is not 
singular, but speaks according to the concurrent judgment 
of the generality of able, experienced men, modesty will 
forbid you to think yourselves wiser than all the able minis- 
ters about you. 

9. You have the less reason to suspect his judgment, 
when you may be sure that he is not perverted by any self- 
interest or self-respect, and frustrateth not the truth for fear 
of displeasing you, or bringing any discredit or suffering on 
hiraselt. 



248 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

10. Lastly, When all these things concur, you may with 
the greater confidence rest upon his judgment. And though 
still he is but an imperfect man, and no absolute certainty of 
your estate can be had from his bare judgment (though 
from his doctrine, and the effects and signs there may), yet 
such a judgment should weigh very much with you, to the 
raising of fear, and care in the ungodly, and for the quieting 
of a troubled souh 

Let us a little now apply this direction to both parties. 
Beloved hearers, if any of you can look before you to eter- 
nity, and do not with awakened thoughts conclude, that all 
probable means should be used in time, to make sure of your 
final justification at the dreadful day of God, that man wants 
either the faith of a Christian, or the feeling of a considerate 
man. Are you all desirous to be sure beforehand, what 
sentence shall pass upon you then, or are you not? If you 
are, come on, and let me make a motion that you cannot 
reasonably refuse : the business is of unspeakable conse- 
quence: to be deceived, may be to be undone for ever. 
Will you advise with those that God hath appointed to give 
you advice in so great a case? Well then! will you go and 
faithfully open your state (supposing you have the need be- 
fore expressed,) to some able, faithful minister of Christ ? 
Not to an ignorant, or a carnal, unexperienced man, bat 
unto one that is skilled in spiritual affairs, and that will be 
faithful to you, and deal with that serious gravity and reve- 
rence as beseems him that is helping to prepare a soul for 
the bar of Christ. Will you (if you never did it) tell him, 
whether ever you were convinced of your sin and misery ? 
And whether ever you saw the need of Christ ? And whether 
you have loathed yourselves for your iniquities, and fled to 
Christ as your only refuge from the wrath of God, and have 
turned away with resolution from your former ungodly, care- 
less life, and have changed your company, your business, 
and your delights ? Whether you make it your chief busi- 
ness to please God, and to save your souls ? and resolve 
to take up with the hopes of heaven as your only portion, 
and not to hazard it for any worldly interest, or fleshly plea- 
sure whatsoever? " Whether in your eyes a vile person be 
contemned, but you love and honour them that fear the 
Lord ?" Tell these and other such particulars of your state 
to your faithful pastors : answer them to these, and suck 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 240 

like questions, and then take their judgment (with the cau- 
tions before expressed) of your spiritual state. Hear what 
they will tell you of it. Might not this course convince 
thee of thy miserable state, that never hadst any such evi- 
dences as these to shew ! and might it not awaken thee in 
time, to bethink thee of a safer course ? Go to any faithful 
minister in the world, and tell him the plain truth, that yet 
thou art a secret fornicator, or drunkard, or pot-companion, 
or flesh-pleaser in some sensual way ; or if thou sinnest not 
so grossly, that yet thou art a formal hypocrite, and hast a 
secret enmity to those that are most seriously religious, and 
live the most heavenly lives, and that thou art thyself a 
stranger to all the aforesaid passages of sanctification : and 1 
dare assure thee that he will tell thee, if thou art thus indeed, 
thou art in the " gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity," 
and must be speedily renewed, and sanctified, and j ustified, or 
thou art undone for ever. I tell thee, there is not a man 
that is worthy the name of a minister in all the world, but 
will pass this judgment on the condition of thy soul. And 
yet wilt thou bear it out with a senseless heart, a seared con- 
science, and a brazen face; and still live as carelessly as if 
all were well with thee ! What is thy soul of no more worth? 
Is it so small a matter with thee, what becometh of thee? 
Or is the judgment of able, faithful ministers, in the way of 
their own office, of no more regard with thee? What not 
when all the aforesaid requisites concur ! They shew thee the 
plain word of God against thee ; and that his threatening 
contains the virtual sentence of thy condemnation: they are 
by office the interpreters of the law of God to you ; it hath 
been the study of their lives : the matters in question are 
such as they have had experience of in themselves, and 
others: they have judged as hardly of themselves, and of 
their own case, as now they do of yours, when theirs was 
the same as yours is now. Do they pronounce you misera- 
ble, as being strangers to the Spirit of Christ ? So they did 
by themselves, when they saw their sin ; and therefore they 
are impartial : they have had before them multitudes, (alas 
too many) in your case : and you will regard the judgment 
of a physician, that hath had many hundreds in hand that 
had the same disease as you. They are men that are not 
willing to deceive you. They deny themselves, in telling 
you of your danger : they know that smoother words would 



250 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

please you better ; and they have natures that desire men's 
love and favour, rather than displeasure and ill-will. They 
are more impartial than you are, and have not your self- 
interest and passion to blind them : they are not abused in 
their judgment by the temptations of evil company, or of 
worldly, fleshly things, as you are ; for these temptations 
more hinder us from judging ourselves than other men: 
They are the messengers of Christ, appointed to give to each 
their portion ; and should not their judgment be regarded, 
in the business committed to their trust? And it is not one 
man or two, or a hundred only, that are of this mind. Open 
thy case to all the judicious, faithful ministers in the land, 
or in the world, and open it truly, and they will all tell thee, 
that ' If thou die without converting, sanctifying grace, 
thou art lost for ever ;' and that all the world cannot save 
thee from the everlasting wrath of God. Try as many of 
them as you will, and see if all of them tell you not the same 
thing. And is all this nothing to thee, presumptuous sin- 
ner, that in the judgment of all the most able, faithful mi- 
nisters of Christ, thy soul should be in a state of death ? 
Art thou wiser than all the best and wisest, in the matters of 
their own profession? If all the physicians in the country 
should tell thee, that ' Thou hast a disease that will certainly 
be thy death, unless thou take some one effectual medicine 
in time,' I think thou wouldst not slight their judgment, and 
say, they are too censorious, that .thou knowest thy condi- 
tion better than they? I think it would affright thee to 
seek after the remedy. And why should not the judgment 
of the faithful ministers, about the state of thy soul, be so 
far regarded, as to awaken thee to a more careful inquiry, 
and stir up a preventing and remedying fear? If the judg- 
ment of Christ's officers be not regardable, then there is no 
matter of terror in excommunication ; nor no matter of 
comfort in ministerial absolution. 

O the madness of a hardened sinner ! that when he 
sheweth by the fruits of an ungodly life, that he is a stranger 
to sanctification, and liveth in the sins which the Scripture 
threateneth damnation to, and hath no evidence of true con- 
version to shew, will yet be confident of pardon and salva- 
tion, let God and all his ministers say what they will against 
it! and will rather be offended with his spiritual physicians, 
for telling him of the danger of his state, and rail at them 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 251 

as if they did him wrong, than he will see his danger and 
prevent his misery ! Let such a one hear the word of God, 
if he have ears to hear, " Lest there should be among you a 
root that beareth gall and wormwood, and it come to pass 
when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless him- 
self in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk 
in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to 
thirst : The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of 
the Lord, and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, 
and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie 
upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under 
heaven. And the Lord shall separate him unto evil," &c. 
(Deut. xxix. 18—21.) 

And on the other side, is there any soul among you, that 
in doubts and troubles, hath opened his case to the faithful 
ministers of Christ, and their judgment is, that your state is 
safe? Is this the judgment, not only of the weakest, but 
the wisest; not only of strangers, but of those that know 
you best ; not only of one or two, but of all, or most of the 
judicious ministers that ever you opened your case to ; even 
of the most honest and impartial, that would not flatter you 
nor deceive you? Yea, and perhaps, when desertions, or 
melancholy, or passion, or ignorance, do make you unmeet 
to judge of yourselves. And doth all this seem nothing to 
you ; or a small matter? It is not nothing; it is not small. 
I confess it is no ground of certainty : they are but men: it 
is a human testimony; but yet it is a testimony that may 
weigh down many of your own surmises, and take off much 
of your distressing fears, and may give much ease to trou- 
bled souls, while they are seeking after surer knowledge. 
It is a ground of comfort, not to be despised, or made light 
of. Till you can come to see your evidences yourselves, 
and to be acquainted with the indwelling Spirit as your wit- 
ness, you may much quiet your minds, and take much com- 
fort, in this judgment and witness of the servants of the 
Lord, that have a spirit of discerning, and have that grace 
which acquainteth them with the nature of grace in others, 
and that have been long exercised in the discerning of men's 
states. It is possible an hypocrite (especially one that wil- 
fully giveth them a false relation of himself) may deceive 
them ; but it is probable that it is not one of many they are 
deceived in, when they know or have a good description of 



252 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

the person. If in a lawsuit, all the ablest lawyers tell you 
that your cause is good, it is possible they maybe deceived, 
but it is not likely. If in a fever, all the ablest physi- 
cians tell you the danger is past, it is possible yet that they 
may be all deceived : but yet I think you would take some 
comfort in such a testimony ; so should you here. Though 
the judgment of ministers be not infallible, it may be much 
better than your own, though about yourselves ; and it may 
be set against the jealousies and fears of a disquiet soul, 
and against abundance of the molesting suggestions of the 
accuser. 

I do not by all this draw you to lay too much on man ; 
I advance them not too high, and make them not lords of 
your faith, but helpers of your joy. I draw you not to any 
deceitful course, nor into any way of danger to your souls. 
I bid you not fully and finally rest in the judgment of man ; 
I bid you not neglect any means to come to fuller know- 
ledge, and certainty of your own sincerity. 1 bid you not 
forbear any means that tend to the getting of true grace. 
If you have it, and know it not, the same means (for the 
most part) may increase it, which you use to get it : and if 
you have it not, when it is thought you have it, the means 
may work it, that are intended to increase it. Do all that 
you can to repent, believe, and love God, and live to him, 
whether you ever did these before or not. But yet let the 
judgment of your faithful pastors, the officers and expe- 
rienced servants of the Lord, keep off despondency and des- 
pair, that would disable you from the use of the means, and 
would weaken your hands, and make you sit down in un- 
profitable complaints, and give up all as hopeless. Let their 
judgment quiet you in the way of duty ; lean on them in 
the dark, till you come into the light. Yea, be glad that 
you have so much encouragement and hope, from those that 
are by Christ appointed to subserve the Spirit, in the com- 
forting as well as the sanctifying work, and to shew to man 
his uprightness, and to say to the righteous, " It shall be 
well with him." (Isa. iii. 10.) I tell you, all the wealth of 
the world is not worth even this much ground of comfort : 
Live upon this much, till by diligent attendance, and waiting 
on the Spirit of grace and comfort, you can get higher. 

2. The second extrinsic hindrance of Self-knowledge is 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 253 

prosperity, and the flattery that usually attendeth it. The 
one disposeth men to be deceived, and the other putteth the 
hood over their eyes, and tells them the falsehoods which de- 
ceive them. 

When men prosper in the world, their minds are lifted 
up with their estates ; and they can hardly believe that they 
are indeed so ill, while they feel themselves so well ; and 
that so much misery is joined with so much content and 
pleasure. They cannot taste the bitterness of their sin, and 
God's displeasure, while the sweetness of worldly delights 
and honours is in their mouths. The rich man in Luke xvi, 
it is likely would have given a man but an unwelcome enter- 
tainment, that had come to tell him that within a few days 
or years he sliould lie in hell, and not be able to get a drop 
of water to cool his tongue ! What need we doubt of that, 
when his five brethren, that he left on earth behind him, 
would not be persuaded (to know their danger of those 
flames, and to use the necessary means to escape them), 
though one had come to them from the dead! (Luke xvi. 31.) 
You plead against their feeling, when you tell them of their 
misery, when they feel prosperity. Their fleshly appetite 
and sense, which is in them the reigning faculty, doth tell 
them they are well and happy : and that which must con- 
fute this, and tell them that they are miserable, must be an 
inward sense of the sin and diseases of their souls, and a 
foreseeing faith that must look before them unto eternity, 
and fetch its proofs from the word of God, and fetch its 
motives from another world: And, alas, they have no such 
inward sense, nor no such faith as can prevail against their 
sensual feeling. And therefore it is a matter of lamentable 
difficulty, to make a prospering sinner well acquainted with 
his misery. He is drunken with fleshly pleasures and con- 
tentments : and when the drink is in a man's head, you can 
hardly make him sensible of his misery, though he be a 
beggar, or a prisoner, or were to die within a week. The 
devil is therefore willing to reach his servants as full a cup 
of prosperity as he can, that their drunkenness may keep 
them from the true use of their reason : for if they once 
come to themselves, they will come home to God. When 
misery brought the prodigal to himself, he resolveth pre- 
sently of going to his father. (Luke xv.) The bustle of his 
worldly business, and the chattering, vain discourse that 



2oi THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

is in his ears, and the mirth and sport that takes him up, 
will not allow him so much of reason, as seriously to con- 
sider of his soul's condition. Alas, when poor men, that 
must labour all day for food and raiment, can find some time 
for serious converse with God, and with their consciences, 
the sreat ones of the world have no such leisure. How many 
are going apace towards hell, and say they cannot have 
while to bethink themselves what way they are in, or whi- 
ther it is that they are going ! That which they have all their 
time for, they have no time for, because they have no hearts 
for it. Prosperity doth so please their flesh, that they can 
give no heed to conscience or to reason : it doth so charm 
their minds, and enslave their wills to sense and appetite, 
that they cannot abide to be so melancholy, as to prepare 
for death and judgment, or to consider seriously how this 
will relish with them at the end ; nor scarcely to remember 
that they are men, that should rule their senses, and be 
ruled by God, and that have another life to live. 

And as prosperity in itself is so great a hindrance to the 
knowledge of yourselves, so flatterers, that are the flies of 
summer, are always ready to blow upon the prosperous, and 
increase the danger. What miserable men are extolled as 
wise, and virtuous, and religious, if they be but rich and 
oreat ! their vices are masked, or extenuated, and made but 
little human frailties ; though they were swinish gluttons or 
drunkards, or filthy fornicators, or mere flesh-pleasing, sen- 
sual brutes, that waste most of their lives in ease and sports, 
and eating and drinking, and such delights ; yet with their 
flatterers all these shall go for prudent, pious, worthy per- 
sons, if they can but seek when they have done, to mock 
God and their consciences with some lip-service and lifeless 
carcase of religion. O happy men, if God would judge of 
them as their flatterers do ; and would make as small a mat- 
ter of their wickedness, and as great a matter of their out-, 
side hypocritical, heartless worship ! But they must be 
o-reater than men or angels, and higher than either earth or 
heaven, before God will flatter them. When they can make 
him afraid of their high looks or threatenings, or when they 
can put him in hope of rising by their preferment, then they 
may look that he should comply with their parasites, and 
compliment with his enemies, and justify the ungodly; but 
not till then. O did they consider how little flattery doth 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. *255 

secure them, and how little the Judge of all the world re- 
gards their worldly pomp and splendour ; yea, how greatly 
their greatness doth aggravate their sin and misery, they 
would frown their flatterers out of doors, and call for plain 
and faithful dealers. Of all the miseries of worldly great- 
ness, this is not the least, that usually such want the neces- 
sary blessing of a glass that will truly shew them their faces ; 
of a friend at hand that will deal plainly and justly with 
their souls. Who tells them plainly of the odiousness, and 
bitter fruits of sin ; and of the wrath of God, and endless 
misery ? How few such true and faithful friends have they ! 
and what wonder ! when it is a carnal inducement that 
draweth men to follow them : It is their wealth and honour, 
and their power, to do men good or hurt in outward things, 
that makes their friends. They are attended by these flies 
and wasps, because they carry the honey-pot which they ' 
love. And God saith to his followers, " Love not the world, 
nor the things that are in the world : if any man love the 
world, the love of the Father is not in him." (i John ii. 15.) 
And it is for love of worldly things, even the lust of the 
flesh, the lust of the eye, and pride of life, &c., which are 
not of the Father, but of the world : (1 John ii. 16:) it is for 
these that great men have their friends and followers for the 
most part : and therefore it is plain, that the worst sort of 
men are ordinarily their friends ; for those are the worst 
men, that have not the love of the Father in them, but are 
the friends of the world, and therefore the enemies of God. 
(James iv. 4.) And the best, though fit to be their truest 
friends, are seldom their followers, as knowing that the at- 
tractive of the sensual world is a shadow unfit to deceive 
those that are acquainted with its vanity, and a snare unfit 
to take those that have observed how Satan lays and baits 
the trap, and how they have fared that have been taken in 
it. A despised Christ that hath the words of eternal life, is 
much more followed by men that have the heavenly relish. 
Such gracious souls, whose appetites are not corrupted by 
the creature and their sickness, have more mind to flock af- 
ter a spiritual and powerful messenger of Christ, that talks 
to them of his kingdom, and the righteousness thereof, 
which they first seek, than to gape after the preferment and 
vainglory of prosperity. Christ, that despised the offer of 



256 THE MISCHIEFf. OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

all the kingdoms and glory of the world, (Matt. iv. 8, 9,) 
doth teach his followers to despise them. 

Seeing then the ordinary attendants of the prosperous 
are the worst of men, that seek themselves, and are purvey- 
ing for the flesh, what wonder if they be flatterers, that have 
netther skill, nor will to speak that unpleasing language 
of reproof, that should make the prosperous know them- 
selves! O how seldom (or never) do they hear, what the 
poor can hear from every mouth ! If a man of low degree 
be wicked, or off'end, his enemy dare tell him of it, and 
his friend dare tell him of it, and his angry neighbour or 
companion will be sure to tell him of it; and they dare 
tell him frequently till he amend, and tell him plainly, 
and set it home. But if great ones be as bad, and need 
more help, as having more temptation, yet, alas, they naay 
sin, and sin again, and perish, for any body that will deal 
faithfully with their souls, except some faithful minister of 
Christ, whose plainness is taken but for a thing of course. 
And usually, even ministers themselves are some of them so 
unfaithful, and some so fearful, and some so prudently cau- 
telous, that such persons have no such help from them to 
know themselves, as the poorer sort of people have. If we 
deal freely with them, and set it home, it will be well taken ; 
or if it offend, yet offence may be easily borne, as bringing 
no ill consequents to our ministry : But if we deal so with 
the great ones of the world, what outcries would it raise, 
and by what names should we and our preaching be called ! 
If it were not for fear, lest some malicious hearers would 
misunderstand me, and misapply my words, as spoken of 
those we are bound to honour, and as tending to diminish 
the reputation of any of our superiors (which I detest), I 
should have shewed you all this in Scripture instances. 
When Haman could not bear the omission of one man's 
obeisance, what wonder if such cannot bear to be spoken 
to, as indeed they are ! Not only an Aliab hateth one faith- 
ful plain Michaiah, because he prophesieth not good of him, 
but evil; (1 Kings xxii. 8;) but Asa, that destroyed idola- 
try, can imprison the prophet that reproveth him for his sin. 
(2 Chron. xvi. 10.) I will not tell you of the words that 
were spoken to Amos by the priest of Bethel, (Amos vii. 
10—13,) or to the prophet, (2 Chron. xxv. 15, 16,) lest 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 257 

malice misinterpret and misreport me: for it is none of 
my intent to fix on any particular persons, but to tell you 
in general, the lamentable disadvantage that the great and 
presperous have, as to the knowledge of themselves ; how 
little plaindealing they have, and how hardly most of them 
can bear it; though yet I doubt not but it is borne and 
loved by those that have true grace: and that if David sin, 
he can endure to hear from Nathan " Thou art the man," 
and this shall befal thee ! And an Eli can bear the prophesy 
of Samuel, and say, " It is the Lord, kt him do what seem- 
eth him good." (1 Sam. ii. 27; iii. 17, 18.) And an Hezekiah 
can say, " Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast 
spoken ;" (2 Kings xx. 19;) and Josiah can bear the threat- 
enings of Huldah. (2 Chron. xxxiv; 2 Kings xxii.) And it 
is a double honour in persons that have so great tempta- 
tions, to love the plain discoveries of their sin: but a Joash 
will slay even Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, that set him 
up: and a Herod, that hath so much religion as to fear 
John, as knowing that he was a just man, and an holy, and 
to observe (or save him) ; and when he heard him, to do many 
things, and hear him gladly, had yet so much love to his 
fleshly lust, and so little power to resist a flatterer, as that 
he could sell both the head of John and his own soul, for so 
pitiful a price as this. (Mark vi. 20. 25. 27, 28.) So true is 
that of Christ himself, " For every one that doeth evil 
hateth the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deeds 
should be reproved (or discovered) : but he that doeth truth, 
cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, 
that they are wrought in God." (John iii. 20, 21.) 

And indeed there is none that mofe opposeth Micaiah 
than Zedekiah, as being concerned for the honour of his 
flattering prophecy, to bring plaindealing into disgrace. 
It is he that smiteth him, and saith, " Which way went the 
Spirit of the Lord from me, to speak unto thee? " (1 Kings 
xxii. 24.) As Plutarch compareth the flatterer to a painter, 
that having made a picture of cocks which was very bad, 
he bid his boys be sure to keep the living cocks out of his 
sight, lest their appearance should shew the faultiness of 
his picture : so, saith Plutarch, doth the flatterer do what 
he can to keep away plaindealing faithful friends, lest his 
fraud and falsehood should be detected by them. But, saith 

VOL. XVI. s 



258 THE MTSCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

Solomon, " He that rebuketh a man, afterward shall find 
more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue." (Prov. 
xxviii. 23.) And " Faithful are the wounds of a friend ; but 
the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." (Prov. xxvii. 6.) 
When prosperity is vanished, the flatterer and the faithful 
dealer will be better known. Deceitful prosperity, and de- 
ceitful men, will at once forsake you. None of them will 
admire or applaud you when you are low, and the tide is 
gone, and hath left you in contempt : these kind of men 
will be as ready as any to reproach you ; as Shemei that 
honoured David in his prosperity, but curseth him, and re- 
vileth him as a rebel against Saul, and casteth stones at 
him, when he saw him flying in distress. Plutarch likeneth 
flatterers to lice, that forsake the bodies of the dead, be- 
cause the blood is gone that did maintain them. Commonly 
men in misery, or at death, have better thoughts of faithful 
plainness, and worse of smoothing man-pleasers, than before. 
But whom can the prosperous blame so much as them- 
selves, if they are undone by the deceit of flatterers? It 
is their own choice; they love to have it so ; they will not 
endure faithful dealing. When they contract those diseases 
which will not be cured without bitter medicines, they hate 
the physician that offereth them : their appetites and sensual 
lust, and not their believing-reason, doth choose their work, 
their pleasures and their company, and prescribe what lan- 
guage must be spoken to them. And he that resolves to 
cast away the remedy, and will please his appetite and fancy, 
come on it what will, must take what he gets by it, and 
bear the endless wrath of God, that could not bear the ne- 
cessary warnings and self-knowledge that should have pre- 
vented it. Did these men hate sin, and the messengers of 
Satan, they would not hate the justice and messengers of 
God : but while they damnably love fleshly pleasures, they 
cannot savingly love the word that chargeth them to let go 
those pleasures, nor the persons that cross them in the 
things they love. And thus poor worldlings are ruined by 
their own desires : it seemeth so sweet to them to live in 
sin, that they cannot endure to know the bitter fruits of mi- 
sery, which it will at last bring forth. They are conquered 
by their fleshly lusts, and therefore they hate the messengers 
of tliat Spirit which would fight against them. Satan doth 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-A CQU A I NTA NC K. 259 

perfect his former victories in them, by dispelling or dis- 
persing the auxiliaries of Christ, that were sent for their 
rescue and relief. They live as if they were purposely made 
great, that they may be able to drive away the messengers 
of salvation, and to keep the voice of mercy far enough 
from their ears; and to command that which the Gadarenes 
did entreat, that Christ would go out of their coasts, (Mark 
V. 17,) because they would not be troubled with him. They 
so much love the way to hell, that they cannot abide to be 
told whither it leadeth them, and therefore they come thi- 
ther before they are aware, and must know themselves by 
the unquenchable fire, because they would not know them- 
selves by the discovering recovering light. And thus by 
prosperity and flattery, Satan pursues and wins his game. 

Direct. 2. In opposition to this hindrance, two things 
are to be done. 1. Desire not so perilous a station as worldly 
prosperity and greatness is. Love not, and seek not a con- 
dition so hazardous to your souls. Leave that to them that 
take it for their portion, as not believing what they must 
lose and suffer by it; or what God hath revealed of the life 
to come. 

Or if you be in such prosperity, not by your desire, but 
by the will and providence of God, let your fear and watch- 
fulness be doubled, as your dangers are : Be not like those 
sensualists, that " feed themselves without fear." (Jude 12.) 
Use not prosperity to the pleasing of the flesh, and the 
prospering of your lusts, but deny yourselves in the midst 
of your abundance; and turn it into an adversity to your 
sensual inclinations, by taming the body and bringing it 
into subjection, and suspecting yourselves, and walking 
humbly with God and man. 

And when adversity is upon you, improve the opportu- 
nity for the knowledge of yourselves. Then take a just 
survey of your former course of life. Then try your ways, 
when the drunkenness and deceits of prosperity are past, 
and the hand of God hath brought you into a sober and 
considerate state. O how many souls do know that in one 
day, when adversity hath made them wise and sensible, 
which before they knew and would not know ; they saw it, 
but did not understand and feel it! Then on a sudden they 
are able to pass a right judgment, upon their yielding to 
temptations, and the value of the things that tempted them. 



260 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

and upon their worldly designs, and fleshly wisdom, and 
their neglects of God, and heaven, and duty, than before 
they could do, though they had never so much instruction, 
and though they could speak the same words of sin as now. 
Affliction taketh away the deceiving advantages of fleshly 
objects, and unmasketh the glory and profit of the world, 
and awakeneth the rational faculties to perform their office, 
and therefore is an excellent opportunity for self-acquaint- 
ance. The prodigal came to himself, when he was denied 
to fill his belly with the food of swine. (Luke xv. 16, 17,) 
Nature teacheth men to understand, that it is the principal 
lesson that affliction readeth to us, to know ourselves, and 
our ways, as they are related to God and to his judgment. 

2. If you are in prosperity, be the more suspicious of 
flatterers, and drive them away with the greater detestation : 
be more careful to keep them from you, than to keep your 
bodies clean from vermin. And be the more solicitous to 
procure such faithful overseers and physicians for your 
souls, as will do their best to save you, though they dis- 
please you. O that you knew what an advantage it is to 
have a faithful pastor, and a faithful friend, that seek not 
yours but you, and make no advantage to themselves by 
flattering you, but choose the means that tend most to your 
salvation ! And O that you knew the great disadvantage 
of those that want such a pastor, and such a friend ! You 
would then be sure to give it as your strictest charge to 
both, to deal plainly with you, and never to hide or exte- 
nuate your sin or danger. You would charge your teachers^ 
' Whatever you do, deal faithfully with my soul ! If you 
see me in any dangerous course, I beseech you tell me of it: 
if I should be hardened against your warnings and reproofs, 
I beseech you deal not lightly with me, but labour to awaken 
me, and set it home, and pull me out of the fire, and save 
me as with fear. (Jude 23.) O suffer me not to be quiet 
in my sins.' The like charge also you would give to your 
friends that are about you, and converse with you ; choose 
such pastors, and choose such friends as are fittest, thus to 
prove your friends indeed : and charge them, and entreat 
them as they love your souls, and as they will answer it be- 
fore God, that they suffer you not to sin for fear of displeas- 
ing you by plain reproofs ; and resolve to submit and take it 
well, A stander-by hath the great advantage of impartiality, 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 261 

and therefore may see that in you which you observe not 
in yourselves; an object too near the eye, or too far off, 
is not well discerned : self-love doth not hinder us so much 
in judging of other men's cases as our own. Friendly and 
faithful dealing in the matters of eternal consequence, is the 
principal use and benefit of friendship. This differenceth 
the communion of saints from Beelzebub's swarm of flies 
and caterpillars. Thus " two are better than one : for if 
they fall, the one will lift up his fellow : but woe to him 
that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to 
help him up." (Eccles. iv. 9, 10.) Much more woe to him 
that hath a multitude to cast him and to keep him down. 

Hind. 3. The third extrinsical impediment to self-know- 
ledge, is conversing only with such as are as bad as our- 
selves ; and not with such whose lives display the spiritual 
endowment, and excellencies which we want. Among the 
Ethiopians, it seemeth no deformity to be black : Seneca 
saith, that " no man is to be upbraided with that which is 
• vitium humani generis,' the common fault of all the world, 
or of the country where he lives :" for this were but to up- 
braid him that he is a man, or that he was born in such a 
time or place. Though Christians that know better the 
common disease, do know that there must be a common 
humiliation and remedy ; yet these indeed are the thoughts 
of most ; they know not that it is a matter of dishonour and 
lamentation, to be no better than the most, and to lie in the 
common corruptions of the world, and to have no better 
hearts than they had by nature. To hear preachers talk of 
holiness, and a Divine nature, and a new birth, and of 
being made new creatures, and of living in the love of God, 
and in the joyful hopes of endless glory, doth seem to them 
but as the talk of a world in the sun, or the description of 
an angel, which humbleth not them at all, for not being 
such, nor exciteth in them any great desires to be such : 
as long as they see not the persons that are such, they think 
these are but devout imaginations, or the pious dreams of 
melancholy men ; and that indeed there are no such persons 
in the world : or if there be, that they are but as the Papists' 
saints, here and there one to be admired and canonized, and 
not upon pain of damnation to be imitated. They judge of 
all the world, or almost all, by those about them ; and they 
think that God should be unmerciful if he should condemn 



262 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-TGNOR ANCE, 

SO great a number as they see are like themselves; and 
should save none but those few transcendent souls that they 
are described, but are unacquainted with. 

It sometimes melteth my heart, in pity of many great 
ones of the world, to think how hard a matter it is for them 
to know indeed what holiness is ; when they seldom hear so 
much as one heavenly prayer or discourse, or any serious 
talk of the matters of sanctification, and communion with 
Christ. When profaneness and inhuman wickedness dwell 
about them, and make such as are but civil and temperate, 
and good-natured persons, to seem saints: when they see 
but few that fear the Lord, and love him unfeignedly, and 
live by faith : and those few are perhaps of the more cold, 
and timerous, and temporizing strain, that shew forth but 
little of the heavenly nature, and the virtues of their holy 
faith ; that dare scarce open their mouths to speak against 
the wickedness which they see or hear ; that dare not dis- 
course like the saints of the Most High, and the heirs of 
heaven, for fear of being made the scorn and by-word of 
the rest, or of falling under the frowns and dislike of their 
superiors ; so that they live among others almost like com- 
mon men, save only that they run not with them to their 
excess of riot ; and think it enough that by such forbearance 
of gross sin, they are in some measure evil spoken of: When 
they that should " let their light so shine before men, that 
they might see their good works, and glorify their Heavenly 
Father, do hide their religion, and put their light as under 
a bushel, and not in a candlestick, that it might give light 
to all that are in the house;" (Matt. v. 15, 16;) and so 
when religion never appeareth in its proper splendour and 
power, and heavenly tendency, to those great ones that have 
no better company, what wonder if they never know them- 
selves, nor truly understand the nature, necessity, or excel- 
lency of religion ? When they know it, for the most part, 
but by hearsay, yea, and when they hear it more reproached 
than applauded, it must be a miracle of mercy that must 
make such men to be sincerely and heartily religious. When 
they see so many about them worse than themselves, and 
so few better, and those few that are better do hide it, and 
live almost as if they were no better ; and when the godly, 
whom they see not, are described to them by the serpent's 
seed, as if they were but a company of whining, melancholy. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQU A J NT A NCE. 263 

brain-sick hypocrites, who can expect that ever such men 
should savingly know themselves or Christ, unless a wonder 
of mercy rescue them, and bring them from this darkness 
and delusion into the light? O how oft have I wished in 
compassion to many of the great ones of the world, that 
they had but the company which we that are their inferiors 
have ! That they did but hear the humble, holy, heavenly 
language, that we have heard ! And hear the faithful fer- 
vent prayers that many poor Christians pour out before the 
Lord ! and saw but the humble, harmless, exemplary, and 
heavenly lives of many poor Christians, that are represented 
\o them as the filth and the offscouring of the world, and 
perhaps no more regarded than Lazarus was at the rich 
man's gate. (Luke xvi.) Did they but see and hear, and 
know such holy and heavenly believers, and were as well 
acquainted with them as we are, how many of them would 
better know themselves, and see what they want, and what 
they must be, and better discern between the righteous and 
the wicked, between those that fear God, and those that fear 
him not? (Mai. iii. 18.) 

Direct. 3. It will therefore be a great help to the know- 
ledge of yourselves, if you will converse with those that 
bear the holy image of their Creator, (Col. iii. 10,) and 
whose lives will tell you what it is to live by faith, and 
what it is to walk in the Spirit, to mortify the flesh, and to 
live above all the alluring vanities of the world. We can 
more sensibly perceive the nature of holiness, when we see 
it in action before our eyes, than when we only read a de- 
scription of it. Who could have known what life is, or 
what reason is, by bare reading or hearing their descriptions, 
if he knew them not in himself and others, by another kind 
of demonstration ! Many thousands can honour the name 
of a saint, and the Scripture descriptions of a saint, that 
hate the life of holiness, when it appeareth to them in prac- 
tice, and cannot endure a saint indeed. It will most con- 
vincingly tell you what you want, when you see what others 
have. To see how naturally they breathe after heaven, will 
most convincingly shew you the dulness and earthliness of 
your minds : to see how easily they can love an enemy, and 
forgive a wrong, will acquaint you most sensibly with the 
ulcers of your passionate, revengeful minds. Do but lay by 
your prejudice and partiality, and sec whether there be not 



204 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

in serious Christians another spirit than in the world : and 
whether they live not upon the things above, which your 
belief and love did never reach? Look upon believers, and 
consider why they pray, and watch, and study to please God, 
and then bethink yourselves, whether you have not as much 
cause to do so as they : and so you may perceive your negli- 
gence by their diligence; your senselessness by their tender- 
ness of heart and conscience; your fleshliness by their spi- 
rituality ; and the rest of your sins by the lustre of their graces. 
Saith Gregory 'Qui plenissime intelligere appetit qualis sit, 
talis debet aspicere qualis non est ; ut in bonorum forma me- 
tiatur quantur ipse deformis est : ' that is. He that would 
fully understand what he is, must look on such as are better 
than himself, that in the comeliness of the good, he may take 
the measure of his own deformity. As Isidore saith, ' Mi- 
nus homo seipsum ex seipso considerat:' Men know 
not themselves by themselves alone. 

Hence, therefore, the servants of God may see how ex- 
actly they should live, and of what consequence it is that 
they be eminently holy ! when it is they that by their hea- 
venly excellency must convince the world of their sinfulness 
and misery. O Christians, do you live such exemplary and 
convincing lives? Is there indeed that excellency of holi- 
ness appearing in you, which may shew men, to the glory 
of your Redeemer, how the heirs of heaven do differ from 
the world? Alas, our common careless living, doth wrong- 
to multitudes as well as to ourselves ; and is a cruelty to 
the souls whose salvation we are bound by our examples to 
promote. What then do those men, that by their vicious, 
scandalous conversation, do harden the ungodly, and cause 
them to think contemptuously, and to speak scornfully of 
the holy way ! O, woe to them, if they repent not, by whom 
such offence cometh ! 

Especially ministers should see that their lives be a con- 
tinual lecture ; as Jerom saith, ' Episcopi domus et con- 
versatio quasi in speculo posita, magistra est publicee dis- 
ciplinse : quicquid fecerit, id sibi omnes faciendum putant.' 
That is, The house and conversation of a bishop, is set as in 
a glass (or to be beheld) as the teacher of public discipline: 
all think they should do whatever he doth. • And therefore 
Chrysostom concludeth * That a priest that is bad, doth 
acquirebyhispriesthood,notdignity but.disgrace : For (saitb 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 265 

he) thou sittest in judgment on thyself: If thou live well and 
preach well, thou instructestthe people : if thou preach well 
and live ill, thou condemnest thyself. For by living well 
and preaching well, thou instructest the people how to live : 
but by preaching well and living ill, thou instructest God as 
it were how to condemn thee.' 

And hence it is also that the servants of God should have 
the care of their fame, as well as of their conversation; be- 
cause the reputation of religion dependeth much on the re- 
putation of the religious : and reputation doth much to the 
encouraging or discouraging of the ungodly that are stran- 
gers to the things themselves. Saith Augustine, * Con- 
scientia necessaria est tibi, fama proximo tuo : qui famam 
ancupans negligit conscientiam, hypocrita est : qui confidens 
conscientiae negligit famam, crudelis est.' That is. Con- 
science is necessary for thyself: and thy good name is ne- 
cessary for thy neighbour. He that hunteth aftfer fame, and 
neglecteth conscience, is an hypocrite : and he that so 
trusteth to a good conscience as to neglect his good name, is 
cruel (to others). When we mind our fame for the good of 
others, and the service of God, and not to please a proud 
vainglorious mind; and when we do it without immoderate 
care, seeking it only by righteous means, and referring the 
issue to the will of God, as being prepared for evil report as 
well as good, this is but to improve our talent to our mas- 
ter's use. 

II. I come next to the internal impediments to self- 
acquaintance, especially in the worser sort of men. 

1. The first that I shall acquaint you with is, That na- 
tural deep-rooted sin of pride, which strongly inclineth men 
to think well of themselves, and to desire that all others do 
so too : so that where pride is not discovered and subdued 
by grace, men will scarce endure to be closely questioned 
by ministers or other friends about their sin, and the condi- 
tion of their souls. What ! question them whether they are 
ungodly, unsanctified, the servants of sin and Satan ; in a 
state of death and condemnation ! Their hearts will rise with 
indignation against him that will put such questions to them. 
What! question them whether they have any saving grace ! 
Whether they are regenerate, pardoned, and have any well- 
grounded hopes of heaven ! They love not the searching 



266 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

word of God ; they love not the distinguishing passages of 
Scripture ; they love not a faithful searching minister, be- 
cause they would dishonour and trouble them with such 
doubts as these. A proud man judgeth not of himself as he 
is, but as his tumified, distempered fancy representeth him to 
himself to be : To " think himself something when he is no- 
thing," and so to be wilfully his own deceiver, is his disease. 
(Gal. vi. 3.) And as pride is one of the deepest-rooted sins 
in man, and of greatest strength, and most hardly extirpated 
and overcome, so true self-acquaintance must be accordingly 
difficult, it being carried on but by such degrees as we get 
ground and victory against our pride. As melancholy men 
that are wise in all other things, may be far from the right 
use of reason in some one point, where the fantasy is crazed, 
and the distemper lieth ; so a proud man, how wise soever 
in any other matters, as to the right knowledge of himself, 
is like one that is crackbrained, and hath not indeed the 
right use of reason : pride was his tirst tutor, and taught 
him what to believe of himself: so that Christ who comes 
after with a humbling doctrine, cannot be believed, nor 
scarce with any patience heard. O what a disease is to be 
cured, before a proud person will well know himself! What 
labour do we lose in all our sermons ! Yea, how oft doth the 
medicine irritate the disease ! So that a poor wretch that 
is under the wrath of God, and knoweth not when he is 
gone out of the assembly, whether the justice of Heaven will 
not take vengeance on him before he can come hither again, 
yet cannot abide to hear of this, but with Ahab, hateth the 
preacher that prophesieth evil of him, be it never so true. 
It is pride that leadeth up that army of corruptions, that here 
strive against the light of truth, that is sent to convince and 
convert the guilty. And is a man like to be saved by the 
word, while he hateth it, and bends his thoughts and pas- 
sions all against it? 

Direct. 1. He therefore that will ever know himself, must 
first let in so much of the light as may take down his arro- 
gancy, and bring him as a little child to the school of Christ. 
First know what thou art as a man ; and then know what thou 
art as a sinner, and sentenced by God, that so thou mayest 
come to know what thou art as one that is under the hopes 
and duties of the redeemed. When thy proud heart re- 
belleth against conviction, remember with whom thou hast 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 2(57 

to do. Will God speak submissively to thee for fear of 
offending thee ? Will he cry thee mercy for handling thee 
so roughly as to tell thee thou art yet the child of wrath ? 
Is he afraid to talk to thee of death or of damnation? Will 
he recal his threatenings, and repent him of the severity of 
his laws, because such worms are angry with them, or will 
not believe them ? Perhaps thou mayest make a false- 
hearted, frightful, man-pleasing minister, to change his 
strain or plainer dealing, and become thy flatterer, or be 
silent : but will God be silenced ? Will he stoop to thee, and 
bend or stretch his word to humour thee? O no ; he will 
one day tell thee what thou art with another voice than this 
of a mortal and despised man, and in another manner than 
preachers tell it thee. If thou canst frown the preacher out 
of the pulpit, or out of his fidelity to God and thee, yet canst 
thou not frown God out of heaven. He will speak to thee 
more terribly than the most terrible preacher that ever thou 
heard : and if thy pride shall rise up, and tell him that he 
doth thee wrong, how quickly will thy " mouth be stopped," 
and thou be forced to confess thy guilt ! (Rom. iii.5, 6. 19.) 
O stoop, man, to the humbling word of grace, or God will 
make thee stoop to the words and strokes of wrath ! Fear 
him that will make the proudest fear, before he hath done 
with them. Judged thou must be ; by thyself, to self- 
abasing and conversion, or by God to desolation and con- 
fusion: and canst thou easier bear God's judgment than thy 
own! Stoop, foolish self-deluding dust! Stoop, sinful wretch, 
and know thy misery ! If thou stand it out a little longer, 
an undiscerned blow may bring thee down; and thou shalt 
not see the hand tha^ strikes thee, till thou art humbled in 
the grave and hell. O how absurd, yet pitiful a sight is it, 
to see poor sinners brave it out against the humbling mes- 
sage of the Lord, as if they could make good their cause 
against him! And scorn to know that they are going to 
hell, till they are there ! And then will pride preserve them 
from the knowledge of it ? It is shameful folly to be proud 
and obstinate, where a man knoweth beforehand that he 
must submit at last, and is not able to stand it out. 

2. The second intrinsical impediment to self-acquaint- 
ance is an unreasonable tenderness of ourselves ; when an 
inordinate love of ease and quietness of mind doth prevail 
with us to hold fast all that thus quieteth us at the present. 



268 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF IGNORANCE, 

without regard of due provision for the time to come ; in 
this there is a mixture of unreasonableness and self-love : it 
is indeed the very brutish disposition. A beast will not 
willingly be dieted for his future health: let hira have at 
present what he loveth and you please hira, though you feed 
him for the slaughter! for he hath not reason to foresee 
what followeth. An ox must be bound, and cast and held 
down by force, if you will shoe him, though it be to the 
keeping of his feet from hurt ; or if you will pull out a thorn, 
or do any thing for his good that hurteth him at the present. 
You please not your horse by letting him blood, though you 
save his life by it. Fleshly-minded men have thus brutified 
themselves, so that they judge of things by present feeling, 
and have not reason and faith to look before them, and j udge 
of things by what they tend to, even by the good or hurt 
that will follow in the end. It is a very terrible troublesome 
thing for a man that is unregenerate, unjustified, and un- 
reconciled to God, to know it ; for a man that hath any 
feeling left, to find himself in a state of condemnation: this 
is to stir up all the terrors of his soul, and cast him into 
perplexing fears and disquietments of mind; so that he can- 
not eat or drink, or sleep in quietness, but the troublesome 
thoughts of sin and everlasting wrath torment him : and the 
inconsiderate man that judgeth of things by present feeling, 
will not endure this ; and therefore must needs have the 
windows shut, and the light removed, that sheweth him these 
perplexing sights. As most men hate those that speak 
against them, be the matter never so true, so they cannot 
endure those thoughts that do accuse them, nor to have a 
reprover so near them, even in their own breasts : a con- 
science within them, to preach to them night and day ; not 
one hour in a week, but wherever they go, and whatever 
they are doing ; to be so near, so constant, so precise, and 
so severe and terrible a preacher, as usually a newly enlight- 
ened and awakened conscience is ; this seemeth intolerable 
to them ; and whatever come of it, this preacher must be 
silenced, as turbulent and vexatious, and one that would 
make them melancholy or mad. " And this is the condemna- 
tion (of these miserable souls,) that light is come into the 
world, and they loved darkness rather than light, because 
their deeds were evil : for every one that doeth evil, hateth 
the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. '269 

be reproved," (John iii. 19, 20.) And thus while men are so 
tender of themselves, that they will do nothing that troubleth 
or hurteth them at the present, they venture upon all the 
miseries that they are forewarned of. 

Direct. 2. Be not unreasonably tender of a little dis- 
turbance at the present, nor unbelievingly careless of the 
misery to come. Cannot you endure to know your sin and 
misery, and yet can you endure to bear it? Will you go to 
hell for fear of knowing that you are in the way? Must you 
not know it with everlasting woe and vengeance when you 
come thither, if by knowing your danger you prevent not 
your coming thither? Is it easier to bear God's wrath for 
ever, than to find at present that you have offended him ? 
Sirs, the question is. Whether you are under the condemna- 
tion of the law, or not? Whether you are regenerate and 
justified, or yet in your sin? If you are justified, far be it 
from me to persuade you to think that you are under con- 
demnation: I leave that to Satan and the malicious world, 
who are the condemners of those that Christ doth justify. 
But if you are unregenerate and unjustified, what will you 
do at death and judgment? Can you stand before God, or 
be saved upon any other terms? You cannot; if God be to 
be believed, you cannot: and if you know the Scriptures, 
you know you cannot ! And if you cannot be saved in an un- 
renewed, unjustified state, is it not needful that you know it? 
Will you cry for help before you find yourselves in danger ? 
or strive to get out of sin and misery, before you believe 
that you are in it ? If you think that you have no other sin 
than the pardoned infirmities of the godly, you will never 
so value Jesus Christ, and pray and strive for such grace as 
is necessary to'^them that have the unpardoned, reigning sins 
of the ungodly. If it be necessary that you be saved, it is 
necessary that you value and seek salvation ; and if so, it is 
necessary that you know your need of it, and what you must 
be and do if you will obtain it! It is a childish or brutish 
thing, below a man of reason, to stick at a little present 
trouble, when death cannot otherwise be prevented: If you 
can prove that ever any was converted and saved by any 
other way than by coming to the knowledge of their sin and 
misery, then you have some excuse for your presumption : 
but if Scripture tell us of no other way, yea, that there is no 
other way, and you know of none that ever was saved by any 



270 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

Other, I think it is time to fall to work, and search and try 
your hearts and lives, and not to stop at a straw when yoii 
are running for your lives, and when damnation is as it were 
at your backs. You should rather think with yourselves. If 
we can so hardly bear the forethoughts of hell, how shall 
we be able everlastingly to bear the torments? 

And consider, that Christ hath made the discovery of your 
sin and misery to be now comparatively an easy burden, in 
that he hath made them pardonable and curable : If you had 
not had a Saviour to fly to, but must have looked on your 
misery as a remediless case, it had then been terrible indeed ; 
and it had been no great mistake to have thought it the best 
way to take a little ease at present, rather than to disquiet 
yourselves in vain. But through the great mercy of God, 
this is not your case; you need not despair of pardon and 
salvation, if you will but hear while it is called to-day. The 
task that you are called to, is not to torment yourselves as 
the damned do with the thought of unpardonable sin, and of 
a misery that hath no help or hope ; but it is only to find out 
your disease, and come and open it to the physician, and 
submit to his advice, and use his means, and he will freely 
and infallibly work the cure. It is but to find out the folly 
that you have been guilty of, and the danger that you have 
brought yourselves into, and come to Christ, and with hearty 
sorrow and resolution to give up yourselves unto his grace, 
to cast away your iniquities, and enter into his safe and com- 
fortable service. And will you lie in hell and say, ' V/e are 
suffering here, that we might escape the trouble of foresee- 
ing our danger of it, or of endeavouring in time to have pre- 
vented it ! We died for fear of knowing that we were sick ! 
We suffered our house to burn to ashes for fear of knowing 
that it was on fire ! O, sirs, be warned in time, and own not, 
and practise not such egregious folly, in a business of ever- 
lasting consequence. Believe it, if you sin, yoa must know 
that you have sinned : and if you are in the power of Satan it 
cannot long be hid. Did you but know the difference between 
discovering it now while there is hope, and hereafter when 
there is none, I should have no need to persuade you to be 
willing to know the truth, whatever it should cost you. 

Hind. 3. Another great impediment of the knowledge of 
ourselves, is, that self-love so blindeth men that they can 
see no great evil in themselves or any thing that is their own : 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 271 

It makes them believe that all things are as they would have 
them be ; yea, and better than they would have them : for 
he that would not indeed be holy, is willing by himself and 
others to be thought so : did not the lamentable experience 
of all the world confirm it, it were incredible that self-love 
could so exceedingly blind men. If charity think no evil 
of another, and we are very hardly brought to believe any 
great harm by those we love ; much more will self-love cause 
men to see no evil by themselves, which possibly they can 
shut their eyes against, it being more radicated and powerful 
than the love of others. No arguments so cogent, no light 
so clear, no oratory so persuading, as can make a self-lover 
think himself as bad as indeed he is, till God by grace or 
terror shall convince him. When you are preaching the 
most searching sermons to convince him, self-love confuteth 
or misapplieth them ; when the marks of trial are most 
plainly opened, and most closely urged, self-love doth frus- 
trate the preacher's greatest skill and diligence : When 
nothing of sense can be said to prove the piety of the im- 
pious, and the sincerity of the formal hypocrite, yet self-love 
is that wonderful alchymist, that can make gold not only of 
the basest metal, but of dross and dirt. Let the most unde- 
niable witness be brought to detect the fraud and misery of 
an unrenewed soul, self-love is his most powerful defender. 
No cause so bad which it cannot justify ; and no person so 
miserable but it will pronounce him happy, till God by grace 
or wrath confute it. Self-love is the grand deceiver of the world . 
Direct. 3. Subdue this inordinate self-love, and bring 
your minds to a just impartiality in judging. Remember 
that self-love is only powerful at your private bar ; and it is 
not there that your cause must be finally decided : it can do 
nothing at the bar of God ; it cannot there justify, where it 
is condemned itself: God will not so much as hear it, 
though you will hear none that speak against it. Self-love 
is but the vicegerent of the grand usurper, that shall be de- 
posed, and have no show of power, at Christ's appearing, 
when he will judge his enemies. 

And here it will be a helpless cause, to see your own sin 
and misery in others : and put the case as if it were theirs, 
and then see how you can discern the evil of it. O how easy 
is it with the most, to see and aggravate the faults of others ! 
How safe were we, if we were as impartial to ourselves ! 



272 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

And also it will be very useful to desire often the help 
of more impartial judgments than your own: 'Fit enim 
nescio quomodo (inquit Cicero) ut magis in aliis cernamus, 
quam in nobis met ipsis, siquid delinquitur.' Others can 
quickly spy our faults, as we can quickly find out theirs : 
Therefore as poets and painters do expose their works be- 
fore they finish them, to the common view, that so what is 
blamed by many may be considered and amended ; so should 
we, in order to the judging of ourselves, observe both what 
our friends and enemies say of us, and the more suspiciously 
try what others blame. But especially have some near, ju- 
dicious friends, that will prudently and faithfully assist you. 
A true friend is an excellent looking-glass. Saith Seneca, 
' Deliberate well first in the choosing of a friend, and then 
with him deliberate of all thino-s.' 

And if you would have the benefits of friendship, dis- 
courage not plaindealing. ' Magis amat objurgator sanans 
(inquit August.) quam adulator dissimulans.' I know a re- 
prover should be wise, and love must be predominant if he 
will expect success : for if he speak ' lacerato animo,' as Au- 
gustine saith, it will seem but 'punientis impetus,' and not 
' corrigentis charitas.' But we must take heed of judging 
that we are hated, because we are reproved ; that is, that a 
friend is not a friend, because he doth the office of a friend. 
Of the two, it is fitter to say of a reproving enemy, * He 
dealeth with me like a friend,' than of a reproving friend, 
' He dealeth with me like an enemy :' for, as Augustine saith, 
' Accusare vitia ofiicium est bonum, quod cum mali faciunt, 
alienas partes agunt.' It is a good office to speak ill of vice, 
which when bad men do, they play another's part. It is a 
happy enmity that helpeth you to deliver you from sin and 
hell ; and a cruel friendship that will let you undo your 
soul for ever, for fear of displeasing you by hindering it. 

There are two sorts that deprive tl\emselves of the saving 
benefit of necessary reproof, and the most desirable fruits 
of friendship : the one is the Hypocrite, that so cunningly 
hideth his greatest faults, that his friend and enemy never 
tell him of them : he hath the happiness of keeping his 
physician unacquainted with his disease, and consequently 
of keeping the disease. The other is the Proud, that can 
better endure to be ungodly than to be told of it, and to 
live in many sins, than to be freely admonished of one. 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 273 

Consider therefore, that it will prove self-hatred in the 
effect, which is now called self-love : and that it would seem 
but a strange kind of love from another, to suffer you to fall 
into a coal-pit, for fear of telling you that you are near it ; 
or to suffer you to fall into the enemy's hands, lest he should 
affright you, by telling you that they are near. If you love 
another no better than thus, you have no reason to call 
yourself his friend : and shall this be your wisest loving of 
yourselves? If it be love to damn your souls for fear of 
knowing your danger of damnation, the devil loveth you. 
If it be friendship to keep you out of heaven, for fear of dis- 
quieting you with the light that should have saved you, then 
you have no enemies in hell. The devil himself can be con- 
tent to grant you a temporal quietness and ease, in order to 
your everlasting disquietness and woe. Let go your hopes 
of heaven, and he can let you be merry awhile on earth ; 
while the strong armed man keepeth his house, the things 
that he possesseth are in peace. If it be not friendship, but 
enmity, to trouble you with the sight of sin and danger, in 
order to your deliverance, then you have none but enemies 
in heaven: for God himself doth take this course with the 
dearest of his chosen. No star doth give such light as the 
sun doth : no minister doth so much to make a sinner know 
himself, as God doth. Love yourselves therefore in the way 
that God loveth you : be impartially willing that God and 
man should help you to be thoroughly acquainted with your 
state : love not to be flattered by others, or yourselves. Vice 
is never the more lovely, because it is yours : and you know 
that pain is never the more easy or desirable to you, because 
it is yours. Your own diseases, losses, injuries, and mise- 
ries, seem the worst and most grievous to you: and why 
should not your own sins also be most grievous ? You love 
not poverty or pain, because it is your own ; O love not sin, 
because it is your own! 

Hind. 4. Another impediment to self-acquaintance, is, 
that men observe not their hearts in a time of trial, but take 
them always at the best, when no great temptation puts 
them to it. A man that never had an opportunity to rise in 
the world, perhaps doth think he is not ambitious, and de- 
sireth not much to be higher than he is, because the coal 
was never blown. When a little affront doth ferment their 

VOL. XVI. T 



274 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

pride into disquietness and desires of revenge ; or applause 
doth ferment it into tumour or self-exaltation, they observe 
not then the distemper when it is up and most observable, 
because the nature of sin is to please and blind, and cheat 
the mind into a consent. And when the sin seems past, 
and they find themselves in a seeming humility and meek- 
ness, they judge of themselves as then they find themselves, 
as thinking that distemper is past and cured, and they are 
not to judge of themselves by what they were, but what 
they are. And by that rule every drunkard or whoremonger 
should judge themselves temperate, and chaste, as soon as 
they forbear the act of sin. And what if poverty, age, or 
sickness, hinder them from ever committing either of them 
again ? For all this, the person is a drunkard or fornicator 
still ; because the act is not pardoned, nor the heart sancti- 
fied, and the habit or corrupt inclination mortified. And 
thus passionate persons do judge of themselves by their 
milder temper, when no temptation kindleth the flame. But 
little doth many a one know himself, what corruption is la- 
tent in his heart, till trial shall disclose it, and draw it into 
sight. ' Jam diu diabolus (inq. Aug.) sopitum ignem sine 
uUis flammis occultat, donee duas faculas jungens ambas 
simul accendat,' &c. If these persons be not always sinning, 
they will not take themselves for sinners : but he that hath 
once sinned knowingly, in God's account continueth in the 
sin, till his heart be changed by true repentance. 

Yet, on the other side, I would not wrong any upright soul, 
by persuading them to judge of themselves, as they are at the 
worst, in the hour of temptation ; for so they will be mis- 
taken as certainly, though not as dangerously as the other. 
You may ask them, ' What is to be done in such a diffi- 
cult case? If we must neither judge of ourselves as we are 
at the best out of temptation, nor yet as we are at the worst 
in the hour of temptation, when, and how then shall we 
judge of ourselves?' 

I answer, it is one thing to know our particular sins, and 
their degrees, and another thing to know our state in general, 
whether we are justified and sanctified or not. To discern 
what particular sin is in us, and how apt it is to break forth 
into act, we must watch all the stirrings and appearings of it, 
in the time of the temptation : but to discernwhether itbeim- 
mortified and have dominion, wc must observe these rules : 



AND BENEFITS OF SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 275 

1 . There is no man on earth that is perfectly free from sin : 
and therefore it is no good consequence that sin reignethunto 
death, because it is not perfectly extinguished, or because it 
is sometimes committed, unless in the cases after expressed, 

2. No sin that is truly mortified and repented of, shall con- 
demn the sinner: for pardon is promised to the truly penitent. 

3. Whatever sin the will, according to its habitual incli- 
nation, had rather leave than keep, is truly repented of and 
mortified. For the will is the principal seat of sin; and 
there is no more sinfulness, than there is wilfulness. 

4. There are some sins which cannot be frequently com- 
mitted in consistency with true grace, or sincere repen- 
tance ; and some which may be frequently committed in 
consistency with these. As where sins are known and great, 
or such as are easily subject to the power of a sanctified 
will, so that he that will reject them, may : as one such sin 
must have actual repentance, if actually known; so the fre- 
quent committing of such will not consist with habitual re- 
pentance. Whereas those sins, that are so small as upright 
persons, perhaps may not be suflSciently excited to resist- 
ance ; or such as upon the sincere use of means are still un- 
known, or such as a truly sanctified will may not subdue, 
are all of them consistent with repentance and a justified 
state : and in this sense we reject not that distinction be- 
tween moral and venial sin ; that is, between sin incon- 
sistent with a state of spiritual life, and sin consistent with 
it, and consequently pardoned. He that had rather leave 
the former sort, (the mortal sins,) will leave them ; and he 
that truly repents of them, will forsake them. But for the 
other (consistent with life) we must say, that a man may 
possibly retain them, that yet had rather leave them, and 
doth truly repent of them. 

5. A sin of carnal interest (esteemed good, in order to 
something which the flesh desireth ; and so loved and de- 
liberately kept) hath more of the will, and is more inconsis- 
tent with repentance, than a sin of mere passion or surprise, 
which is not so valued upon the account of such an interest. 

6. They that have grace enough to avoid temptations to 
mortal or reigning sin, and consequently that way to avoid 
the sin, shall not be condemned for it, whatever a strono-er 
temptation might have done. 

7. Where bodily diseases necessitate to an act, or the 



276 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

omission of an act, the will is not to be charged with that 
which it cannot overcome, notwithstanding an unfeigned 
willingness. As if a man in a frenzy or distraction should 
swear or curse, or blaspheme ; or one in a lethargy, or po- 
tent melancholy, cannot read, or pray, or meditate, &c. 

8. As frequent commissions of venial sins (or such as 
are consistent with true grace) will not prove the soul un- 
sanctified ; so the once committing of a gross sin by sur- 
prise, which is afterward truly repented of, will not prove 
the absence of habitual repentance, or spiritual life, so as 
the frequent committing of such sins will. 

So that I conclude, in order to the detection of the sin 
itself, we must all take notice of ourselves as at the worst, 
and see what it is that temptation can do : but in order to 
the discovery of our state, and whether our sins are par- 
doned or no, we must especially observe whether their erup- 
tions are such as will consist with true habitual repentance, 
and to note what temptations do with us. To this end. 

Direct. 4. Observe then the workings and discoveries of 
the heart, and judge of its abundance, or habits, by your 
words and deeds. Note what you were when you had op- 
portunity to sin, when the full cup of pleasure was held out 
to you, when preferment was before you, when injury or 
provoking words did blow the coal : if then sin appeared, 
judge not that you are free, and that none of the roots are la- 
tent in your hearts : or if you are sui'e that such dispositions 
are hated, repented of and mortified, yet you may hence 
observe what diseases of soul you should chiefly strive 
against, to keep them under, and prevent a new surprise or 
increase. It is usual for such licentiousness, such self- 
seeking, such ugly pride and passion, to break forth upon 
some special temptations, which for many years together 
did never appear to the person that is guilty, or to any other, 
that it should keep the best in fear and self-suspicion, and 
cause them to live in constant watchfulness, and to observe 
the bent and motions of their souls ; and to make use after- 
ward of such discoveries as they have made to their cost in 
time of trial. 

And it much concerneth all true Christians, to keep in 
remembrance the exercise and discoveries of grace, which 
formerly upon trial did undoubtedly appear, and did con- 
vince them of the sincerity which afterward they are apt 



vVND BENEFITS Of SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 277 

again to question. Will you not believe that there is a sun 
in the firmament, unless it always shine upon you ; or that 
it is hot, unless it be always summer ? Will you not believe 
that a man can speak, unless he be always speaking ? It is 
weakness and injurious rashness in those Christians, that 
upon every damp that seizeth on their spirits, will venture 
to deny God's former mercies, and say, that they had never 
special grace, because they feel it not at present : that they 
never prayed in sincerity, because some distemper at pre- 
sent discomposeth or overwhelmeth them: that their for- 
mer zeal and life was counterfeit, because they are grown 
more cold and dull ; that former comforts were all but 
hypocritical delusions, because they are turned now to sor- 
rows ;, As much as to say, ' Because I am now sick, I was 
never well, nor so much as alive.' O were it not for the 
tender compassions of our Father, and the sure performance 
of our Lord and Comforter, and that our peace is more in 
his hand than our own, (though more in our own than any 
others,) it could never be that a poor distempered, imperfect 
soul should here have any constancy of peace, considering 
the power of self-love and partiality on one side, and of 
grief and fear, and other passions on the other ; and how 
little a thing doth shake so moveable and weak a thing, 
and muddy and trouble a mind so easily disturbed ; and how 
hard it is again to quiet and compose a mind so troubled, 
and bring a grieved soul to reason, and make passion un- 
derstand the truth, and to cause a weak, afflicted soul to 
judge clean contrary to what they feel ! All this considered, 
no wonder if the peace and comfort of many Christians be 
yet but little, and interrupted, and uneven : and if there be 
much crying in a family that hath so many little ones, and 
much complaining where there are so many weak and poor; 
and many a groan where there is so much pain. To shew 
us the sun at midnight, and convince us of love while we 
feel the rod ; and to give us the comfortable sense of grace, 
while we have the uncomfortable sense of the greatness- of 
our sin; to give us the joyful hopes of glory, in a troubled, 
melancholy, dejected state : all this is a work that requireth 
the special help of the Almighty, and exceeds the strength 
of feeble worms. Let God give us never so full discoveries 
of his tenderest love and our own sincerity, as if a voice 
from heaven had witnessed it unto us, we are questioning 



278 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-IGNORANCE, 

all if once we seem to feel the contrary, and are perplexed 
in the tumult of our thoughts and passions, and bewildered 
and lost in the errors of our own disturbed minds. Though 
we have walked with God, we are questioning whether in- 
deed we ever knew him, as soon as he seemeth to hide his 
face. Though we have felt another life and spirit possess 
and actuate us than heretofore, and found that we love the 
things and persons which once we loved not, and that we 
were quite fallen out with that which was our former plea- 
sure, and that our souls broke off from their old delights, 
and hopes, and ways, and resolvedly did engage themselves 
to God, and unfeignecUy delivered up themselves unto him ^ 
yet all is forgotten, or the convincing evidence of all forgot- 
ten, if the lively influences of heaven be but once so far 
withdrawn, as that our present state is clouded and afflicted, 
and our former vigour and assurance is abated. And thus 
unthankfully we deny God the praise and acknowledgment 
of his mercies, longer than we are tasting them, or they are 
still before us : all that he hath done for us is as nothing, 
and all the love which he hath manifested to us, is called 
hatred ; and all the witnesses that have put their hands to 
his acts of grace, are questioned, and his very seals denied, 
and his earnest misinterpreted, as long as our darkened, 
distempered souls are in a condition unfit for the apprehen- 
sion of mercy, and usually when a diseased or afflicted 
body doth draw the mind into too great a participation 
of the affliction. And thus as we are disposed ourselves, 
so we judge of ourselves and of all our receivings, and all 
God's dealings with us. When we feel ourselves well, all 
goes well with us, and we put a good interpretation upon all 
things : and when we are out of order, we complain of every 
thing, and take pleasure in nothing, and no one can con- 
tent us, and all is taken in the worse part; as the poet said, 

Lieta fere laetus cecini, cano tristia tristis. 

You shall have a merry song from a merry heart, and a 
sad ditty from a troubled, grieved mind. 

And thus while the discoveries both of sin and grace, 
are at present overlooked, or afterwards forgotten, and al- 
most all men judge of themselves by present feeling, no 
wonder if few are well acquainted with themselves. 

But as the word and the works of God must be taken 
together, if they be understood, and not a sentence, part 



AND BENEFITS OF SEEF-ACQU AINTANCE. 279 

or parcel taken separated from the rest, which must make 
up tlie sense; so also the workings of God upon your souls 
must be taken altogether, and you must read them over from 
the first till now, and set altogether, and not forget the let- 
ters, the part that went before, or else you will make no 
sense of that which followeth. And I beseech all weak and 
troubled Christians to remember also, that they are but 
children and scholars in the school of Christ ; and therefore 
when they cannot set the several parts together, let them 
not overvalue their unexperienced understandings, but by 
the help of their skilful, faithful teachers, do that which of 
themselves they cannot do. Inquire what your former mer- 
cies signify : open them to your guides, and tell them how 
God hath dealt with you from the beginning, and tell them 
how it is with you now ; and desire them to help you to per- 
ceive how one conduceth to the right understanding of the 
other. And be not of froward, but of tractable, submissive 
minds ; and thus your self-acquaintance may be maintained, 
at least to safety, and to some degree of peace, if not to the 
joys, which you desire, which God reserveth for their pro- 
per season. 

I should have added more on this necessary subject, but 
that I have said so much of it in other writings, especially 
in the " Saints' Rest," part iii. chap. 7 ; and in my " Treatise 
of Self-denial," and in " The Right Method for Peace of 
Conscience." 

I must confess I have written on this subject as I did 
of Self-denial, viz. with expectation that all men should 
confess the truth of what I say ; and yet so few be cured by 
it of their self-ignorance, as that still we must stand by, 
and see the world distracted by it, the church divided, the 
love of brethren interrupted, and the work of Satan carried 
on by error, violence, and pride ; and the hearts of men so 
strangely stupitied, as to go on incorrigibly in all this mis 
chief, while the cause and cure are opened before them, and 
all in vain, while they confess the truth ; so that they will 
leave us nothing to do, but exercise our compassion, by 
lamenting the deliration of frenetic men,, while we are un- 
able to serve the church, their brethren, or their own souls, 
from the dilacerations and calamitous effects of their furious 
self-ignorance. But Christ that hath sent us with the light, 
which may be resisted, and abused, and in part blown out, 



280 THE MISCHIEFS OF SELF-I GNOR A N CE, &C. 

will speedily come with light irresistible, and will teach 
the proud, the scornful, the unmerciful, the self-conceited, 
the malicious, and the violent, so effectually to know them- 
selves, as that no more exhortations shall be necessary for 
the reception of his convictions; nor will he or his servants 
any more beseech men to consider and know their sin and 
misery, nor be beholden to them to believe and confess 
it. (See Jude 14, 15.) And is there no remedy for a 
stupified, inconsiderate soul? Is there no prevention of so 
terrible a self-knowledge, as the light of judgment, and the 
fire of hell v.'ill else procure? Yes, the remedy is certain, 
easy, and at hand : " Even to know themselves till they are 
driven to study, and seek and know the Father, and his Son 
Jesus Christ," (John xvii. 3,) and yet is the salvation of 
most as hopeless almost as if there were no remedy, because 
no persuasion can prevail with them to use it. Lord, what 
hath thus locked up the minds and hearts of sinners against 
thy truth and thee ! What hath made reasonable man so 
unreasonable, and a self-loving nature so mortally to hate 
itself! O thou that openest, and no man shutteth, use the 
key that openeth hearts ; come in with thy wisdom, and thy 
love, and all this blindness and obstinacy will be gone. At 
least commit not the safety of thy flock to such as will not 
know themselves: but " gather thy remnant, and bring them 
to their folds, and let them be fruitful and increase ; and set 
up shepherds over them, which shall feed them, and let them 
fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor be lacking." (Jer. xxiii. 
3, 4.) " Ordain a place for them, plant them, and let them 
dwell therein unmoved ; and let not the children of wicked- 
ness waste them any more." (1 Chron. xvii. 9.) " As a 
shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among 
his sheep that are scattered, so seek out thy sheep, and de- 
liver them out of all places where they have been scattered 
in the cloudy and dark day." (Ezek. xxxiv. 12.) "Save 
thy people, and bless thine inheritance : feed them also, 
and lift them up for ever." (Psal. xxviii. 9.) 



END OF SELF-IGNORANCE, AND SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. 



281 



THE TRUE CATHOLIC, 



AND 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED; 

AND THE VANITY OF THE PAPISTS. AND ALL OTHER SCHISMATICS. 
THAT CONFINE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO THEIR SECT, 
DISCOVERED AND SHAMED. 



THE PREFACE. 

Reader, 

The tumultuary contentions and distractions about the 
catholic church, which have been raised by many heretical 
and schismatical firebrands, have moved me to publish these 
popular sermons, in order to the satisfaction and settlement 
of such minds as have been ensnared to a misunderstanding 
of this article of the Creed. It grieved me to hear so many 
Christians, that were all baptized into the catholic church, 
and there received the badge of Christianity and Catholi- 
cism, to be doubtfully inquiring which is the true catholic 
church, and many dividers confining it to their sects : and 
lastly, the Seekers, (instructed by the Papists) with seeming 
seriousness questioning whether there be any church and 
ministry at all? But never any sect did cause my admira- 
tion so much as the Papist ! That ever so many princes and 
learned men should so odiously vilify the catholic church, 
and that under pretence of magnifying it, and appealing to 
it. They are not contented in their doctrine of transub- 
stantiation, to deny sense and reason, ('Et contra rationem 
nemo sobrius') and in many wri-tings to speak diminutively 
and dishonourably of the Holy Scriptures, (too like to infi- 
dels : 'Et contra Scripturas nemo Christianus;') but they 
also cut off themselves (as sectaries) from the universal 
church, as far as an uncharitable, odious condemning of the 
far greatest part of the church can do it, and call the church 
(even that greatest part) by the name of heretics and schis- 
matics ; (' Et contra ecclesiam nemo pacificus.') And as con- 
fidently and conteniiously do they labour to cut off the 



282 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

main body of believers, and to appropriate the cathulic 
church to themselves, and to make their corrupted sect to 
be the whole, as if the catholic church had been limited to 
the Roman in the Scripture, or the Creed ; or as if they had 
the consent of Christ himself for the divorcing of his spouse. 
And the men that call charity th^ form, and soul, and life of 
the new creature, do seem to be insensible of the brand ol 
their unhappiness ; and that there is no greater uncharitable- 
ness to be found on this side hell, than the malicious reproach- 
ing, condemning, and unchurching of the far greatest part of 
the church of Christ ; except that of infidels,who condemn the 
whole. When you hear them glorifying of their charity, come 
hither and rub your eyes, and see what Popish charity is. 

For the right understanding of this following discourse, 
I shall only desire the reader to observe, 1. That it is not a 
particular church, but the universal, that I am here inquir 
ing after. 2. That I do not intend hereby to equalize the 
several parts of the catholic church, as to purity of doc 
trine, discipline, or worship. 3. That yet I would have all 
Christians join themselves in actual particular communion 
with the purest churches, if they can obtain it, without 
greater hurt to themselves or others, than the benefits will 
countervail. And that I do not intend that we must hold local 
communion with every congregation, which must be owned 
as a part of the catholic church. It is possible they may 
require a participation in some sin of all those that they 
will admit to their communion: and in such cases, (when 
they exclude us) we can hold but such a general distant 
communion, which they cannot prohibit. 4. That when I. 
condemn the schism and uncharitableness of the Papists, 
or any others, I yet condemn not, but commend our exercise 
of charity to them, as far as I can discern it. 

Lastly, be advertised, that whereas in another book, that 
comes out with this, (called " Catholic Unity,") I have again 
taken up many of the particulars wherein the godly are 
united ; I think it need not offend the reader, as an unne- 
cessary repetition, that being but the application of the 
truth which is here asserted. There 1 labour to convince 
the ungodly, that concord can be obtained by no other 
means, and no other terms, than those which I have here 
shewed the godly are all agreed in. 

Reader, If indeed thou love the church of Christ, join 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 283 

with me in thy heartiest daily prayers, and iu thy faithful 
diligent endeavours, for the destroying of divisions, and 
the repairing of decayed charity, and restoring of catholic 
principles and affections to all the members of the church, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

December 12, 1669. 



THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND CATHOLIC 
CHURCH DESCRIBED. 



1 CORINTHIANS xii. 12. 



For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the 
■members of that one body, being many, are one body : so also 
is Christ. 

It is a pitiful case with the poor afflicted church of Christ, 
that almost all the members cry out against division, and 
yet cause and increase it, while they speak against it. And 
that all cry up unity, and yet very few do any thing that is 
very considerable to promote it ; but multitudes are destroy- 
ing unity, while they commend it : and those few that would 
heal and close the wounds, are not able by the clearest rea- 
sons, and most importunate requests, to hold the hands of 
others from opposing it ; and to get leave of the rest to do 
that work, which they will not do themselves while they 
extol it. You would think this were rather the description of 
a bedlam, than of a Christian ! to set all on fire, and furiously 
to rail at all that would quench it, and at the same time 
to rail as much at incendiaries, and cry out for concord, and 
against division, and call other men all that is naught, for 
doing that which they do themselves, and will not be per- 
suaded from ! But to the injurious dishonour of Christianty 
itself it is thus with millions of professed Christians! thus 
is the church used : the sin and shame is made so public, 
that no charity can much excuse it, and no shift can cover 
it from the reproachful observation of those that are with- 
out. Alas, our flames do rise so high, that Turks, and Jews, 
and Heathens stand looking on them, and ask, ' What is the 
matter that these Christians thus irreconcileably worry one 
another?' Do we need any proof, when we feel the bmart? 



284 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

When we see the blood ? When we hear the noise of re- 
vilers at home, and see the scornful laughters of those 
abroad? When almost all Christendom is up in arms? 
When the churches are so many by-names, and broken into 
so many odious fractions; and so many volumes fly abroad, 
containing the reproaches and condemnations of each other ? 
And (which is enough to break an honest heart to think or 
speak of) that all this hath continued so long a time ! And 
they be not so wise as the passionate, or the drunken, that 
in time will come to themselves again; and that it hath 
continued notwithstanding the greatest means that are used 
for the cure : Mediation prevaileth not : pacificatory en- 
deavours have done almost nothing : nay, sin gets advantage 
in point of reputation, and dividing is counted a work of 
zeal, and ministers themselves are the principal leaders of 
it ; yea, and ministers of eminent parts and piety ; and piety 
itself is pretended for this, which is the poison of piety ; 
and pacification is become a suspected or derided work ; 
and the peace-makers are presently suspected of some 
heresy ; and perhaps called dividers for seeking reconcilia- 
tion. It made my heart ache with grief, the other day, to 
read over th6 narrative of the endeavours of one man (Mr. 
John Dury), to heal the Protestant churches themselves, 
and to think that so much ado should be necessary to make 
even the leaders of the Christian flocks to be willing to cease 
so odious a sin, and come out of so long and doleful a mi- 
sery ; yea, and that all should do so little good, and get 
from men but a few good words, while they sit still and 
suffer the flames to consume the deplorable remnant: yea, 
such havock hath division made, and cut the church into so 
many pieces, that it is become one of the commonest ques- 
tions among us, which of these pieces it is that is the Church ; 
one saith, * We are the catholic church ; ' and another 
saith, * No, but it is we ! ' and a third contendeth that it is 
* only they :' and thus men seem to be at a loss; and when 
they believe the holy catholic church, they know not what 
it is, which they say, they believe. Though I dare not pre- 
sume to hope of much success in any attempts against this 
distraction, after the frustration of the far greater endea- 
vours of multitudes that have attempted it with far greater 
advantage, yet I have resolved by the help of Christ to bear 
witness against the sin of the dividers, and leave my testi- 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBE]). 285 

moyn on record to posterity, that if it may not excite some 
others to the work, yet at least it may let them know, that 
all were not void of desires for peace in this contentious age. 
To which purpose I intend, 1. To speak of the unity 
and concord of the catholic church. 2. Of the unity and 
concord of Christians in their particular churches, and in 
their individual state. And the first discourse I shall ground 
upon this text, which from the similitude of a natural body 
doth assert, 1. The multiplicity of the members: and 

2. The unity of the body or church of Christ, notwithstand- 
ing the multiplicity of the members. The members are here 
said to be many for number, and it is intimated (which after 
is more fully expressed) that they are divers for office, and 
use, and gifts. The church here spoken of is the universal 
church, as it is both in its visible and mystical state : It is 
not only a particular church that is here meant ; nor is it 
the catholic church only as mystical, or only as visible, 
but as it containeth professors and believers, the body and 
soul, which make up the man, having both ordinances and 
spirit in their possession. That it is the catholic church is 
apparent: 1. In that it is denominated in the text from 
Christ himself, " So also is Christ." And the universal 
church is more fitly denominated from Christ as the Head, 
than a particular church. It is not easy to find any text of 
Scripture that calleth Christ the Head of a particular con- 
gregation (as we use not to call the king the head of this, 
or that corporation, but of the commonwealth), though he 
may be so called, as a head hath respect to the several 
members : but he is oft called the Head of the catholic 
church. (Ephes. i. 22 ; iv. 15 ; Col. i. 18 ; ii. 19 ; Ephes. v.23.) 
The head of such a body is a commoner phrase than the 
head of the hand or foot. 2. Because it is expressly called 
" the body of Christ," which title is not given to any par- 
ticular church, it being but part of the body, verse 27. 

3. It is such a church that is here spoken of, to which 
was given apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, 
helps, governments, tongues. Sec. verse 28, 8, 9, 10. But 
all particular churches had not all these ; and it is doubtful 
whether Corinth had all that is here mentioned. 4. It is that 
church which all are baptized into, Jews and Gentiles, bond 
and free : but that is only into the universal church. The 
Spirit doth not baptize, or enter men first or directly into a 



286 THE TRUE GATHOLIC, AND 

particular clmrcli ; no, nor the baptism of water neither 
always, nor primarily. The scope of the chapter, and of 
the like discourse of the same apostle, (Ephes. iv,) do shew 
that it is the catholic church that is here spoken of. 

The sense of the text then lyeth in this doctrine. 

Doct. The universal church being the body of Christ is 
but one, and all true Christians are the members of which 
it doth consist. 

Here are two propositions ; first, that the catholic 
church is but one. Secondly, that all Christians are mem- 
bers of it, even all that by the one spirit are baptized into 
it. These are both so plain in the text, that were not men 
perverse or very blind, it were superfluous to say anymore to 
prove them. And for the former propositions, that the 
catholic church is but one, we are all agreed in it. And 
therefore I will not needlessly trouble you with answering 
such objections as trouble not the church, which are fetched 
from the difference of the Jewish church, and the Gentile 
church, (or strictly catholic) or between the called (the true 
members) and the elect uncalled ; or between the church 
militant and triumphant. 

And as for the second proposition, that the catholic 
church consisteth of all Christians, as its members, it is 
plain in this text, and many more. It is all that (heartily 
say " Jesus is the Lord," (verse 3,) and all that " are bap- 
tized by one Spirit into the body," (verse 13,) and all that 
Paul wrote to, and such as they: and yet some of them were 
guilty of division, or schism itself, and many errors and 
crimes, which Paul at large reprehendeth them for. The 
Galatians were members of this church; (Gal.iii. 26 — 29;)for 
all their legal conceits and errors, and for all that they dealt 
with Paul as an enemy for telling them the truth. This 
church consisteth of all that have the " one Spirit, one 
faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, &,c." and of 
all that " have so learned Christ, as to put off the old man, 
and to be renewed in the spirit of their minds, and put on 
the new man, which after God is created in righteousness 
and true holiness." (Ephes. iv. 4 — 6. 20 — 24.) This church 
consisteth of all that " Christ is a Saviour of," and that are 
" subject" unto Christ, and for " whom he gave himself, 
that he might sanctify and cleanse them by the washing of 
water by the word." (Ephes. v. 23 — 26.) It containeth all such 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 287 

as the Romans then were to whom Paul wrote, (Rom. xii. 4,5, ) 
however differing among themselves to the censuring of each 
other. It containeth in it all " such as shall be saved." 
(Acts ii. 47.) These things are beyond all just dispute. 

When I say, that all Christians are members of the 
catholic church, I must further tell you that men are called 
Christians, either because they are truly and heartily the 
discijjles of Christ; or else because they seem so to be by 
their profession. The first are such Christians as are justi- 
fied and sanctified, and these constitute the mystical body 
of Christ, or the church as invisible : professors of this in- 
ward true Christianity doth constitute the church as visible 
o men. Professors of some pieces only of Christianity, 
leaving out or denying any essential part of it, are not pro- 
fessors of Christianity truly, and therefore are no members 
of the visible church: and therefore we justly exclude the 
Mahometans. 

And whereas it is a great question. Whether heretics are 
members of the catholic church ? The answer is easy : 
contend not about a word. If by a heretic you mean a man 
that denieth or leaves out any essential part of Christianity, 
he is no member of the church : but if you extend the word 
so far as to apply it to those that deny not, or leave not out 
any essential part of Christianity, then such heretics are 
members of the church. It is but the perverseness of men's 
spirits, exasperated by disputation, that makes the Papists 
so much oppose our distinction of the fundamentals of 
religion from the rest: when at other times they confess the 
thing in other words themselves. By the fundamentals we 
mean the essentials of the Christian faith, or religion : And 
do they think indeed that Christianity hath not its essential 
parts ? Sure they dare not deny it, till they say, ' it hath no 
essence, and so is nothing, which an infidel will not say V 
Or do they think that every revealed truth, which we are 
bound to believe, is essential to our Christianity? Sure they 
dare not say so, till they either think that no Christian is 
bound to believe any more than he doth believe, or that he 
is a Christian that wants an essential part of Christianity, or 
that Christianity is as many several things, as there be per- 
sons that have several degrees of faith or knowledge in all 
the world. For shame therefore, lay by this senseless cavil, 
and quarrel not with the light by partial zeal, lest you prove 



288 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

your cause thereby to be darkness. But if you perceive a 
difficulty (as who doth not, though it be not so great as some 
would make it) in discerning the essential parts from the in- 
tegrals, do not therefore deny the unquestionable distinction, 
but join with us for a more full discovery of the difference. 

In a few words, every man that doth heartily believe in 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by a faith that work- 
eth by love, is a true Christian. Or every one that taketh 
God for his only God, that is his Creator, Lord, Ruler, and 
felicity, or end, and Jesus Christ for his only Redeemer, that 
is, God and man; that hath fulfilled all righteousness, and 
given up himself to death on the cross in sacrifice for our 
sins, and hath purchased and promised us pardon, and grace, 
and everlasting life ; and hath risen from the dead, ascended 
into heaven, where he is Lord of the church, and intercessor 
with the Father, whose laws we must obey, and who will 
come again at last to raise and judge the world, the righ- 
teous to everlasting life, and the rest to everlasting punish- 
ment: and that taketh the Holy Ghost for his Sanctifier, and 
believeth the Scriptures given by his inspiration, and sealed 
by his work, to be the certain word of God. This man is a 
true Christian, and a member of the catholic church; which 
will be manifested when headjoineth a holy, sober and righ- 
teous life, using all known means and duties, especially 
baptism at first, the Lord's-supper afterward, prayer, confes- 
sion, praise, meditation, and hearing the word of God, with 
a desire to know more, that his obedience may be full : living 
under Christ's ministers, and in communion of saints, deny- 
ing himself, mortifying the flesh and world, living in charity 
and justice to man ; he that doth this is a true Christian, and 
shall be saved, and therefore a member of the catholic 
church as invisible ; and he that professeth- all this, doth 
profess himself a true Christian, and if he null not that pro- 
fession, is a member of the catholic church as visible. These 
things are plain, and in better days were thought sufficient. 

He that hath all that is contained but in the ancient 
Creed, the Lord's-prayer and Ten Commandments, with bap- 
tism and the Lord's-supper, in his head, and heart, and life, 
is certainly a member of the catholic church. In a word, it is 
no harder to know who is a member ofthis church, than it is 
to know who is a Christian. Tell me but what Christianity is, 
and I will soon tell you how a Church member maybe known. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 289. 

But because it will tend both to the further clearing of 
this, and the text itself, I shall next shew you in what 
respects the members of the church are divers, and then in 
what respects they are all one, or in what they are united. 

And as the text tells you, that the members are many 
numerically, so they are divers in their respects. 

1. They are not of the same age or standing in Christ. 
Some are babes, and some are young men, and some are 
fathers, (1 John ii. 12 — 14.) Some are novices, or late 
converts, and raw Christians, (1 Tim. iii. 6,) and some are 
of longer standing, that have " borne the burden and heat of 
the day." (Matt. xx. 12.) 

2. The members are not all of the same degree of strength. 
Some are of small understanding, that reach little further 
than the principles of holy doctrine, and have need to be 
fed with milk, being unskilful in the word of righteousness: 
Yea, they have need to be taught the very principles again, 
not as being without a saving knowledge of them (for they 
are all taught of God, and these laws and principles are 
written in their hearts) j but that they may have a clearer, 
more distinct and practical knowledge of them, who have 
but a darker, general, less effectual apprehension. (Heb. v. 
11 — 13; vi. 1.) And some being at full age, are fit for 
" stronger meat," that is harder of digestion. (Heb. v. 14.) 
Who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern 
both good and evil. Some have faith and other graces but 
as a " grain of mustard-seed," and some are thriven to a 
greater strength. (Matt, xviii. 20 ; xii. 31.) Some grow in 
grace, and are able to resist a temptation, and do or suffer 
what they are called to, (2 Pet, iii. 18,) being " strengthened 
with might by the Spirit in the inner man, according to 
the glorious power of grace," (Ephes. iii. 17; Col. i. 11,) 
being " strong in faith, giving glory to God." (Rom. iv. 
20.) Having accordingly " strong consolation/' (Heb. vi. 
18.) And some are " weak in the faith," apt to be offended, 
and their consciences to be wounded, and themselves in 
greater danger by temptations, whom the stronger must 
receive, and take heed of offending, and must support them, 
and bear their infirmities." (Rom. xiv, 1, 2. 21; xv. 1; 1 
Cor. viii. 7. 10—12 ; ix. 22 ; 1 Thess. v. 14 ; Acts xx. 35.) 

3. Moreover the members have not all the same stature 

% OL. XVI. u 



2J)0 the true catholic, and 

or degree of gifts; nor in ail things the same sort of gifts; 
some excel in knowledge, and bome in utterance ; some in 
one sort of knowledge, and some in another; and some are 
weak in all. But of this the chapter speaks so fully, that 
I need say no more but refer you thither. 

4. The members are not altogether of the same com- 
plexion. Though all God's children be like the Father, be- 
ing holy as he is holy, yet they may be known from one 
another. Some are naturally more mild, and some more 
passionate: some of colder and calmer temper, and some so 
hot, that they seem more zealous in all that they say or do : 
some of more orderly, exact apprehensions, and some of 
more confused : some of quick understanding, and some 
dull. (Heb. V. 11.) 

5. The members are not all of the same degree of spiritual 
health. Some have much quicker and sharper appetites to 
the bread of life than others have : some are fain to strive 
with their backward hearts before they can go to secret 
duties, or hold on in them, and before they can get down 
the food of their souls : and some go with cheerfulness, and 
find much sweetness in all that they receive : some are of 
sounder understandings, and others tainted with many errors 
and corrupt opinions: as appears in Paul's writings to the 
Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and others. Some relish 
only the food that is wholesome, and some have a mind of 
novelties, and vain j anglings, and contentions, needless dis- 
putes, like stomachs that desire coals and ashes, or hurtful 
things. Some in their conversations maintain their integrity, 
and walk blamelessly, and without offence. (Luke i. 6; Phil. 
2. 13.) And some are overcome by temptations, and give 
offence to others and grievously wound themselves; as 
David, Lot, Noah, Peter, &,c. And being overcome with 
creature-respects many good men walk not uprightly in some 
things, nor according to the truth of the Gospel, and others 
that are good also are led away in a party by the example of 
their miscarriages, and the high estimation of their parts 
and persons, (Gal. ii. 1 1 — 14.) Some are firm and stedfast in 
the truth, and some hold it with shaking, and are of looking 
behind them, and sometimes are declining and going back- 
ward, and have need to be called upon to return to their first 
love, and to strengthen the things that remain: yea, some 



CATHOLIC CHUKCH DESCUIBED. 291 

grow to forsake many excellent truths ; and neglect many 
weighty duties, yea, to oppose these truths and duties, and 
speak against them, as thinking them to be none. Hence it 
follows that some live in a holy peace and joy, as health is 
mostly accompanied with ease ; when others live in con- 
tinual lamentations and complaints ; and some in too much 
stupidity and carelessness ; and some with dangerous mix- 
tures of an ungrounded, misguided, deluding peace. 

6. Hence also it follows, that the members are not all 
of the same usefulness and serviceableness to the church 
and cause of Christ. Some are as pillars to support the rest, 
(Gal.ii.9; 1 Thess. v. 14,) and some are a trouble to others, 
and can scarce go any further than they are guided and sup- 
ported by others. Some lay out themselves in the helping 
of others: and some are as the sick, that cannot help them- 
selves, but trouble the house with their complaints and neces- 
sities, which call for great and continual attendance. Some 
are fit to be teachers of others, and to be pastors of the flock, 
and guide the Lord's people in the way of life, and give the 
children their meat in season, rightly dividing the word of 
truth. And some are still learning, and never come to much 
knowledge of the truth, and do no great service to God in 
their generations : yea, too many weary their teachers ami 
brethren by their frowardness and unfruitfulness : and too 
many do abundance of wrong to the church, and Gospel, and 
the world by their offensive miscarriages : yea, too many 
prove as thorns in our sides, and by some error in their 
understandings, cherished and used by the too great rem- 
nant of pride, self-conceitedness, passion and carnality, are 
grievous afflicters of the church of Christ, and causes of dis- 
tention ; one saying I am of Paul, and another 1 am oi' 
Apollos, and another I am of Christ, as if Christ were 
divided, or else appropriated to them, and Paul or Apollos 
had been their saviours. (1 Cor. iii. 1 — 5.) Some live so 
as that the church hath much benefit by their lives, and 
much loss by their death : and some are such troublers of 
it, by their weakness and corrupt distempers, that their 
death is some ease to the places where they lived. And yet 
all these may be truly godly, and living members of the 
catholic church. 

7. Moreover, the members are not all the same in regard 
of office. Some are appointed to be pastors, teachers, elders, 



292 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

overseers, to be stewards of God's mysteries, and to feed 
the flock, taking heed to them all, as being over them in the 
Lord, as their rulers in spiritual things. (Ephes. iv. 11 ; Acts 
xiv. 23 ; Tit. i. 5 ; 1 Cor. iv. 1 ; Acts xx. 17. 28 ; 1 Thess. 
V. 12; Heb. xiii. 7. 17.) And some are the flock, com- 
manded to learn of them, to have them in " honour, and 
highly esteem them for their work sake, and to obey them." 
(1 Thess. V. 12; Heb. xiii. 17; 1 Tim. v. 17.) In this chapter 
saith Paul, " If the whole body were an eye, where were 
the hearing? If the whole where hearing, where were the 
smelling? Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all 
teachers?" (1 Cor. xii. 17.29.) As there are diversity of 
gifts, so also of offices : for God hath designed men to use 
the gifts they have in such order and manner as may edify 
the church. All the body is not the bonds, or nerves, and 
ligaments, by which the parts are joined together. (Eph. iv. 
16.) All are not " pastors and teachers, given for perfecting 
of the saints, the work of the ministry, and edifying of the 
body of Christ." (Ephes. iv. 11—13.) 

8. Consequently the members have not all the same em- 
ployment : magistrates must rule by force, and ministers 
must guide or rule by the light and force of the word of 
God : all must not administer sacraments : all must not be 
the overseers of the flock. Masters and parents have their 
own work, and servants and children have theirs. Nay, dif- 
ference of understanding may cause a great deal of difference 
among ministers and people in the manner of God's worship, 
when yet all worship him acceptably and in sincerity. Some 
may be too much ceremonious in meats, and drinks, and 
observation of days. (Rom. xiv. and xv.) In gestures, ves- 
tures, and other circumstances, sinfully laying much more 
in these than God would have them : and others may be as 
rigorous against them: and others more temperate between 
both. Some may pray and praise God in forms composed 
by themselves or others, or read them in a book: and some 
may abhor all this as unlawful ; and some may be so wise 
as to know that it is a matter that God hath left in itself 
indifferent, and is to be determined according to the suita- 
bleness of times and persons. And thus many modal cir- 
cumstantial differences there may be in the true worshipping 
of God, by the members of this one universal church. 

9. And from what is said already, it follows, that all the 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. ^3 

members of the church are not all equally to be honoured 
and loved. Even among the elders, there are some that are 
worthy of double honour, and some of more than they 
(1 Tim. V. 17.) Some are of high and excellent gifts and 
graces ; and as more of God doth shine forth in them, so a 
greater love and honour is due to them. Some are so emi- 
nently self-denying, and of public spirits, and wholly carried 
to the service of God, and the good of the church, that few 
others are " like-minded, naturally caring for the people's 
state, but all do too much seek their own, and too little 
the things that are Jesus Christ's." (Phil. ii. 20, 21.) The 
body hath some parts that are less honourable, and less 
comely :" (1 Cor. xii.22 — 24 :) though these also have their 
honour and comeliness : those that most honour God shall 
be most honoured ; (I Sam. ii. 30 ; Job xii. 26 ;) and they 
that will be the " servants of all, shall be the greatest." 
Luke xxii, 26; Matt, xxiii. 11.) 

10. To conclude, from all this imparity it will follow, 
that the members will not have an equal degree of glory, as 
not having an equal preparation and capacity. All are not 
in Abraham's bosom, as Lazarus was. "To sit on Christ's 
right hand and left in his kingdom will not be the lot of all, 
but of those to whom the Father will give it." (Matt. xx. 
23.) All are not to sit on thrones, in full equality with the 
apostles. (Luke xx^ZO.) There are of the first for time of 
coming in, that shall be last of dignity, and of the last that 
shall be first. (Matt. xix. 30 ; xx. 16.) All shall not be 
rulers of five cities, but only they that have double fire 
talents. (Matt, xxv.) And thus I have shewed you the dis- 
parity of the members, wherein they differ. 

Secondly. I am now to shew you the unity of them, and of 
the body which they constitute. Themembersof the catholic 
church are united in all these following respects : 

1. They have all but" one God, the fountain of their be- 
ing and felicity, and are all related to him as children to 
one Father, reconciled to them, and adopting them in Jesus 
Christ. (John i. 12.) " Ye are all the children of God by 
faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal. iii. 26.) "There is one God 
and Father of all," &c. (Gal. iv. 5, 6 ; Eph. iv. 6.) 

2. The members of the church have all one Head, the Re- 
deemer, Saviour, Mediator, Jesus Christ. (Ephes. iv. 5.) As 
the commonwealth is denominated from the unity of the 



204 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

sovereign power that heads it ; so the church is hence prin- 
cipally denominated one from Christ, who is the Head, the 
Sovereign, and the Centre of it. And therefore it is called 
frequently his body, and he the Head of it. (Ephes. iv. 15 ; 
i. 22; Col. i. 18; ii. 19; Ephes. v. 23; Col. iii. 15; Rom. 
\ii. 4, 5 ; 1 Cor. x. 17; Ephes. ii. 16.) He is the founda- 
tion, and the church is the building that is erected upon 
him, "and other foundation can no man lay." (1 Cor. iii. 
11, 12.) " From this head the whole body fitly joined to- 
gether, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, 
according to the effectual working of the measure of every 
part, maketh increase of the body to the edifying of itself in 
love." (Ephes. iv. 16.) All therefore are members of the 
catholic church that are members of Christ. He is " the 
chief corner-stone that is laid in Zion, elect and precious, 
and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded ; to 
whom coming as to a living stone, we also as lively stones 
are built up a spiritual house." (1 Pet. ii. 4 — 6.) As this 
" One died for all," (2 Cor. v. 14,) because all were dead, so 
by the righteousness of this One, the free gift cometh on all 
to justification of life, and by the obedience of this One 
shall many be made righteous." (Rom. v. 18, 19.) " And by 
one Jesus Christ we shall reign in life." (Rom. v. 17.) " In 
him the church of Jews and Gentiles are made one." (Ephes. 
ii. 14, 15.) " To this one Husband we are all espoused." 
(2 Cor. xi. 2.) So that we " are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 
iii. 28.) And " to us there is but one God the Father, of 
whom are all things, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, 
by whom are all things, and we in him." (1 Cor. viii. 6.) 

3. The whole catholic church (strictly taken, as com- 
prehending only the living members) have only one Holy 
Ghost dwelling in them, illuminating, sanctifying and guid- 
ing them, and are animated as it were by this one Spirit. 
" By this one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, and 
have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (1 Cor. xii. 13.) 
And " whoever hath not this Spirit of Christ, the same is 
none of his." (Rom. viii. 9.) " By this one Spirit we have 
all access to the Father." (Ephes. ii. 18.) And through this 
t^irit we are " one habitation of God." (Ephes. ii. 22.) And 
therefore " he that is joined to the Lord is called one Spirit." 
(I Cor. vi. 17.) And it is said of Christ, so may it be of the 
Spirit in a sort, " He that sanctifieth, and they that are 



CATHOLIC CHUKCH DESCRIBED. 295 

sanctified are all one." (Heb. ii. 11.) This is the scope of 
the chapter that my text is in. 

4. The church is one as to their principal, ultimate end. 
The same God is their end who is their beginning. The 
same eternal glory with him, is purchased and prepared for 
them, and intended by them through their Christian course. 
The wicked have a lower end, even flesh and self: but all 
the members of Christ are united in the true intention of 
this end. They are all the " heirs of life, and partakers of 
the inheritance of the saints in light, and have all lain up 
their treasure in heaven." (Matt. vi. 20, 21 ; Col. i. 12 ; Gal. 
iv. 7; Rom. viii. 17; 1 Pet. iii. 7; Tit. iii. 7; Gal. iii. 29; 
Heb. i. 14 ; Ephes. iii. 6.) "All that are risen with Christ, 
do seek the things that are above," (Col. iii. 1,) " and have 
their conversation with him in heaven." (Phil. iii. 20, 21.) 

5. All the members of the catholic Gospel-church have 
one Gospel to teach them the knowledge of Christ. (Gal. i. 
10, 11.) And one word of promise to be the charter of their 
inheritance, (1 Tim. iv. 8; Heb. ix. 15; Gal. iii. 22. 29,) 
and one holy doctrine to be the instrument of their regenera- 
tion, and the '• seed of God abiding in them." (1 Pet. i. 
23. 25; Luke viii. 11.) It is but one that God hath ap- 
pointed for them ; and it is one in the substance that is the 
instrument of their change. 

6. It is one kind of faith, that by this one holy doctrine 
is wrought upon their souls. Though the degrees be vari- 
ous, yet all believe the same essential points of faith, with a 
belief of the same nature. There is " one faith ;" (Ephes. iv. 
5 ;) and in all these essentials the church is of " one mind," 
(John xvii. 21 ; Acts iv. 32 ; 1 Pet. iii. 8 ; 1 Cor. xv. 2—4,) 
though in lesser things there be exceeding great diversity. 

7. There is one new disposition, or holy nature wrought 
by the Spirit of God in every member of the catholic church. 
This is called their holiness, and the new creature, and the 
divine nature, and the image of God. (1 Pet. i. 16 ; 2 Pet. i. 
4 ; John iii. G.) "That which is born of the Spirit, is spirit." 
(Col. iii. 10 ; 2 Cor. v. 17.) 

8. The affections which are predominant in all the mem- 
bers of the church, have one and the same object. Sin is the 
chiefest thing that all of them hate, and the displeasure of 
God the chief thing they fear, and God in Christ is the. 
prime object of their love ; and they have all the same ob- 



290 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

ject of their desires and hopes, even the favour of God, and 
everlasting life : and they all chiefly rejoice in the same 
hopes and felicity ; as were easy to manifest and prove in 
the particulars, as to all the essentials of Christianity that 
are the objects of the will. (Phil. i. 27; ii. 3 ; Ephes. iv. 4; 
Matt. xxii. 37, 38 ; Rom. viii. 28 ; 1 Cor. ii. 9.) And thus they 
are all of one heart and soul, as uniting in the same objects. 

9. They have also one rule or law to live by, which is 
the law of faith, of grace, of liberty, of Christ. (Rom. iii. 
27 ; viii. 2 ; James i. 25 ; Gal. vi. 2.) And as one law is 
appointed for them all, so one law in the points of absolute 
necessity is received by them all ; for *' it is written in their 
hearts," and put into " their inward parts." (Jer. xxxi. 32 ; 
Heb. viii. 10. 16.) Though in the other points of the law of 
Christ there be much diversity in their reception and obe- 
dience. All of them are sincerely obedient to what they 
know, and all of them know that which God hath made of 
necessity to life. 

10. Every member of the church is devoted to God in 
one and the same covenant. As the covenant on Christ's 
part is one to them all ; so is it one on their part. They all 
renounce the world, the flesh and the devil, and give up 
themselves to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And 
this being used by God's appointment, to be solemnly done 
in baptism, therefore baptism is called the principle or 
foundation. (Heb. vi. 1.) And there is said to be one bap- 
tism, (Ephes. iv. 5,) and baptism is said to save us ; " Not 
the putting away the filth of the flesh, (that is, not the out- 
ward washing,) but the answer of a good conscience to God," 
(1 Pet. iii. 21,) that is, the sincere, internal covenant of the 
heart, and delivering up ourselves to Christ. So also the 
fathers, when they (usually) speak of the necessity of bap- 
tism, they mean principally our becoming Christians, and 
entering into the holy covenant, which was done by bap- 
tism. Though if any be so weak as to think that this out- 
ward baptism is to be delayed, (as Constantine and many of 
the fathers did,) if in the meantime he make and profess his 
covenant with Christ, he is to be taken as a Christian and 
church-member: but as a soldier without colours, or a king 
not crowned ; he is a Christian not orderly admitted, which 
is his sin. 

11. Every member of the catholic church hath the same 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 297 

instrumental founders of his faith under Christ, that is, 
the prophets and apostles, infallibly inspired by the Holy 
Ghost. "We are built upon the foundation of the apostles 
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner 
stone ; in whom all the building fitly framed together grow- 
eth unto an holy temple in the Lord." (Ephes. ii. 20, 21.) 
These were the eye-witnesses of the resurrection of Christ, 
and the ear-witnesses of his holy doctrine, who have deli- 
vered it to us as confirmed by the miracles of the Holy 
Ghost by Christ, and by themselves. And though possibly 
some ignorant Christian may not well understand his rela- 
tion to these founders of his faith, yet from them he had it, 
and is thus related to them : and commonly this is under- 
stood and acknowledged by them. 

12. Every member of the church is related to all tho 
body, as a member of it : and are " no more strangers and 
sojourners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the 
household of God." (Ephes. ii. 19.) But this the very term 
itself doth sufficiently import to you. 

13. Every member of the church hath an habitual love 
to each particular member of the same church. Though 
mistakes and infirmities may occasion fallings out, even as 
with Paul and Barnabas, to a parting ; and there may be 
dislikes and bitterness against one another upon misunder- 
standings, and not discerning God's graces in each other; 
yet still, as Christians, they are heartily loved by eacli 
other ; and did they know more of the truth of each other's 
Christianity, they would love each other more. Every mem- 
ber is united by love to the rest ; for this is a lesson that is 
taught us inwardly of God : "And by this we know that we 
are translated from death to life." (1 Pet. i. 22 ; 1 John iii. 11. 
14. 23 ; iv. 12. 20, 21. 8 ; 1 Thess. iv. 9 ; John xiii. 34, 35.) 

14. Every member of the church hath a special love to 
the whole, and desire after the church's welfare and prospe- 
rity. Yea, their love to the body exceedeth their love to 
the particular members, (Psal. cxxii. 2,) and therefore they 
desire and pray for its safety and increase. 

15. Every member of the church hath a special love to 
the more noble sort of members. As every man is more 
careful of the heart, the stomach, the lungs, the liver, than 
of his finger; so are Christians, as Christians, in greatest 
love to those that have most of Christ in tlietii, and on whoui 



298 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

the church's welfare doth most depend, of them are they 
most solicitous, so far as they understand it. This is true 
both of men's graces, gifts and offices. He that loveth 
grace, loveth those most that have most grace. And he 
that loveth the church, honoureth those in a special man- 
ner whom he discerneth best gifted for the benefit of the 
church, and to employ his gifts most faithfully thereto. 
And though I will not say but it is possible for some Chris- 
tians to be converted by a private man, and die before they 
know a church-officer, and for some weak ones in a temp- 
tation to deny and disclaim, or quarrel with their officers ; 
yet so far as any true Christian is acquainted with the ne- 
cessity or usefulness of the ministry to the church's good, 
and God's honour, (as ordinarily all know it in some measure ; 
and they that know it not are in some fit of a frensy,) so 
far they cannot choose but love and honour them. And 
thus far all Christians join for the ministry : as God's inten- 
tion was for all their good in giving pastors, teachers and 
gifts of special service for the church. (Ephes. iv. 11—14.) 

16. Ail members have an inward inclination to hold 
communion with fellow members, so far as they discern 
them to be members indeed. As fire would to fire, and 
water would to water, and earth to earth, and every thing to 
its like ; so Christians would have actual communion with 
Christians, as delighting in each other, and loving Christ in 
each other, and finding benefit by each other's communion. 
Though I know that this inclination may be much kept from 
execution, and communion much hindered, by mistakes 
about the nature, and manner, and requisites of it, and by 
infirmities and passions of our own. Brethren may fall out, 
but there is naturally in them a brotherly love, and when 
the mistake or passion is over, they will get together again. 
(Acts ix. 32, 33 ; ii. 42. 44 ; Heb. x. 25 ; Psal. xvi. 3.) 

17. There is in every true member of the church an in- 
ward inclination and propensity to all the instituted means 
of grace, and a suitableness of spirit to them, which fitteth 
them to relish them, and highly to value them : and ordina- 
rily this disposition is brought forth into act. The word of 
God is engrafted or innaturalized to them. (James i. 21.) It 
is to them as milk to the new-born babe. (1 Pet. ii. 1, 2.) 
The Lord's-supper is sweet to him, as representing Christ 
sacrificed, and oftering him Christ the food of the soul, and 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 299 

affording him special communion with the saints. " Foi- the 
cup of blessing which we bless is the communion of the 
blood of Christ ; and the bread which we break is the com- 
munion of the body of Christ ; for we being many are one 
bread, and one body ; for we are all partakers of that one 
bread. (1 Cor. x. 16, 17.) The same holy disposition have 
they to prayer, confession, the praises of God, and all other 
parts of his service. Though it is too true, that as diseases 
may put our mouths out of relish to our meat ; so tempta- 
tions may bring some Christians to mistakes about some 
ordinances, especially as to the manner, and so may make 
them guilty of too long forbearance of them. 

18. So also every member of the church hath in the main 
the same holy employment and conversation, that is, the 
service of God, so far as they know his will, is the business 
of their lives. (Rom. xii. 1.) "We are his workmanship, 
created to good works in Christ Jesus." (Ephes. ii. 10, 11.) 

19. And every member hath an inward enmity to that 
which is destructive to itself, or to the body, so far as he 
knoweth it, that is, 1. To sin in general. 2. To all known 
sin in particular. And, 3. Specially to divisions, distrac- 
tions, and diminution of the church. These things their in- 
ward disposition is against ; and when they are led to them, 
it is by temptation producing mistakes and passions against 
the bent of their hearts and lives. They abhor that which 
is destructive to the body, as such. 

20. Lastly. They shall all at the end of their course ob- 
tain the same crown of glory, and see and enjoy the same 
blessed God and glorified Redeemer, and be members of 
the same celestial Jerusalem, and be employed everlastingly 
in the same holy love, and joy, and praise, and glorify and 
please the Lord in all, and centre, and be united perfectly 
in him. (John xvii. 21. 23, 24.) " For of him, and through 
him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever. 
Amen." (Rom. xi. 36.) 

And tlius I have shewed you in twenty particulars the 
unity of the saints ; though it is not from every one of these 
that they are called one church, yet all these are inseparable 
as to possession from the true members, and as to profession 
from the seeming members that are adult. 

Use 1. The truth being thjis plain and certain as it is, 
that the catholic church is one, and consisteth of trufe 



300 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

Christians, as its real living members, and of all professors 
of true Christianity, as its visible members, we have here 
too great occasion of sad lamentation, for the common igno- 
rance of the contenders of the world about this matter, and 
the great inconsiderateness and abuse of this unques- 
tionable verity. To four sorts of people I shall direct my 
expostulations. 1. To the Seekers, or whoever else deny 
the very being of the catholic church. 2. To the blind 
contending parties of these times, and the offended ignorant 
people, that are much perplexed among so many pretenders, 
to know which is the church. 3. To the several sects that 
would appropriate the church to themselves only. 4. To 
the Papists, that ask us for a proof of the continued visi- 
bility of our church, and where it was before Luther. To 
these in order : and. 

First, For the Seekers ; because it is not their persons 
that I have to speak against, but the errors which they are 
said to hold, and because they purposely hide their opinions ; 
and because I meet with them of so many minds, I shall 
therefore deal only with the opinions commonly supposed 
to be theirs, not determining whether indeed they are theirs, 
or no: for I care not who maintains them, so I do but 
effectually confute them. And here are four degrees of this 
error supposed to be held by the Seekers. 1. Some of 
them are said to deny the universal mystical church itself. 
2. Some are said to deny only the universal visible church, 
as such; 3. Some yielding both these, deny the universal 
church as political only. 4. Some only deny the truth of 
particular churches, as political, that is, the truth of the 
ministry. Of these in order : 

1. Let that man that questioneth the being of the ca- 
tholic mystical church, and yet pretends to believe in Christ, 
read but these three or four arguments, and blush. 

Argum. 1. If there be no such universal church, then 
there are no Christians : for what is the church but all the 
Christians of the world ? And I pray inquire better, whe- 
ther there be any Christians in the world or not ? Read the 
church history, and the books of the infidels, and see whe- 
ther there have been Christians in the world since the 
apostles. He that believeth not that there are Christians 
In the world, when he dwells among them, and daily con- 
verseth with them, deserveth to be otherwise disputed with 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 301 

than by argument. He hath only cause to doubt whether 
there be any Christian magistrate in this part of the world, 
that such as he are suffered to rave against Christianity. 

And certainly he that thinks there are no Christians in 
the world, is none himself, nor would be thought one. 

Argum. 2. If there be no church, there is no Christ: 
nobody, no head: no kingdom, no king: no wife, no 
husband: no redeemed ones, no Redeemer or Mediator. 
Tliough the person of Christ should be the same, yet the office 
and relation must cease, if the church cease. This is beyond 
all dispute. And if this be your meaning, that there is no 
Christ, no Mediator, no Head, or Teacher, or King of the 
church, speak out, and call yourselves infidels as you are. 

Argum. 3. li' there be no church or Christians, then 
there is no salvation : for salvation is promised to none but 
Christians, or members of Christ. He is the " Saviour of his 
body." (Ephes. v. 23.) And he that thinks there is none 
on earth that shall be saved, it seems expecteth no salvation 
himself : and how much the world is beholden to him for 
his doctrine, and how ready they will be to receive it, if 
they be in their wits, is easy to be conjectured. 

Argum. 4. If there be no church, there is no pardon of 
sin, or adoption, nor any fruit of the promise. For the 
church only are the heirs of promise, pardoned, adopted, 
(I would heap up plain Scriptures for these things, if I 
thought it to any purpose.) And he that thinks the pro- 
mises are ceased, and the pardon of sin and adoption ceased, 
doth sure think the Gospel and Christianity are ceased, 
or never were. 

2. As to the second opinion, let them that deny the 
church as visible, consider of the same arguments again, 
with the necessary addition, and be ashamed. 

Argum. 1. If there be no visible church, there are no 
visible Christians ; for Christians are the church : And if 
there are no visible Christians, then no man can say, that 
there are any Christians at all : For how do you know it if 
they are not visible ? 

Argum. 2. And consequently no man can tell that 
there is a Christ, the head and king of the church : for who 
can judge of that which is inevident ? And if you know not 
that there is a choirch, you cannot know that there is a Christ. 



302 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AIS D 

Argnm. o. And thus you must be uncertain of any to 
be saved, because they are not visible. 

Argum. 4. And you must be uncertain of the continu- 
ance of the force of the promise, and of pardon, and sanc- 
tification. 

Aigum. 5. Experience and sense itself confutes you. 
Open your eyes and ears : do you not see Christians in 
holy exercises? Do you not hear them make profession of 
their faith ? It is a fine world, when we must be fain to 
dispute whether there be such a people whom we every day 
converse and talk with ! You may better question, whether 
there be any Turks or Jews in the world ! And as well 
question, whether there be any men in the world ! And 
how should such be disputed with ! 

3. Fovtlie third opinion,which yields an universal visible 
church, but not a political, it is a gross contradiction. 

Argum. Where there is a sovereign, and subjects, and 
ruler, and such as are under his rule, there is a political 
body or society. For the ' pars imperans,' and ' pars sub- 
dita,' do constitute every commonwealth : and the rela- 
tions of these two parties, the ruling part, and the ruled 
part, is the form of the republic. This is undeniable. Bui. 
here are these two parts : for Christ is the ruling part, and 
the church or Christians are the ruled part : and therefore 
you must either deny that there is a Christ to be King, or 
that there are Christians his subjects ; or else you must 
confess a political church. 

But some of this opinion say, ' We confess there is a 
visible body headed by Christ, who is to us invisible, though 
visible in the heavens; but this makes not the church to be 
visibly political, unless ' secundum quod ;' but here is no 
visible universal head.' 

Anstv. 1. We perceive now whereabout you are, and 
from whom, and for whom you fetch your arguments. You 
must have a Pope, it seems, or else no visible political 
church : We deny that either Pope or, General Council are 
the visible heads of the church. We maintain that the 
church is no otherwise visible in its policy, than in these 
respects. 1. As the body is visible, and their obedience. 
As 2. The laws are visible by which they are governed. 
3. As the inferior officers or ministers are visible. And 4. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 303 

As Christ the Head is visible in heaven, there is no other 
visibility of polity to be here expected. 

4. The next opinion denieth only, that there are any true 
particular political churches. Against this I argue thus : 

Argum. 1. If there be no particular churches, there is no 
universal church : for there can be no whole, if there be no 
parts : and political particular churches are those principal 
constitutive parts of the universal, which the Scripture 
mentioneth. But 1 have proved that there is an universal 
church, which is the whole : therefore there are particular 
political churches, which are parts. 

Argum. 2. If there be particular Christian societies with 
overseers, then there are particular political churches : for 
a church hath but two essential parts ; the guiding or ruling- 
part, which is the elders or overseers, and the guided and 
ruled part, which are the people. Now here are both these : 
therefore there are particular political churches. That here 
are Christian assemblies methinks I should not need to 
prove, to men that see them day to day, and plead against 
them. The only question, therefore, remaining is, Whether 
the elders or teachers be true officers or elders, or not? 
And in the upshot this is all the question, and you can stick 
on no other (nor well on this) without declaring yourselves 
to be infidels: and this isaquestion that belongs not to this 
place, but I purposely refer you to what I have already pub- 
lished hereupon. 

II. My next address is, to them that are so solicitous to 

know which is the true church among all the parties in the 

world that pretend to it. Silly souls I they are hearkening 

to that party, and to that party, and turn it may be to one, 

and to another, to find the true universal church ; I speak 

not in contempt, but in compassion : but I must say, you 

deal much more like bedlams than Christians, or reasonable 

men. You run up and down from room to room to find 

the house, and ask, is the parlour it? or is the hall it? or 

is the kitchen, or the coal-house it? Why, every one is a 

part of it ; and all the rooms make up the house. You are 

in the wood, and cannot find it for trees: But you ask, 

which of these sort of trees is the wood? Is it the oak, or 

the ash, or the elm, or poplar? or is it the hawthorn, or 

the bramble ? Why, it is all together. You are studying 

which of the members is the man : Is the hand th^^ man? 



304 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

or is it the foot? or is it the eye? or the heart? or which 
is it? Why, it is the whole body and soul, in wliich 
all parts and faculties are comprised. You wisely ask, 
Which part is the whole? Why, no part is the whole. 
Which is the catholic church ? Is it the Protestants, the 
Calvinists, or the Lutherans, the Papists, the Greeks, the 
^Ethiopians, or which is it ? Why, it is never any one of 
them, but all together that are truly Christians. Good 
Lord ! what a pitiful state is the poor church in, when we 
must look abroad and see such abundance running up and 
down the world, and asking which is the world ? Whether 
this country be the world, or that country be the world ? 
They are as it were running up and down England to look 
for England, and ask, whether this town be England, or 
whether it be the other ? They are as men running up and 
down London to inquire for London, and ask, whether this 
house be London, or that street be London ? or some other? 
Thus are they in the midst of the church of Christ inquiring 
after the church, and asking, Whether it be this party of 
Christians, or whether it be the other? Why, you doating 
wretches, it is all Christians in the world of what sort soever, 
that are truly so, that constitute the catholic church. 

Indeed if your question were only. Which is the purest, 
or soundest, or safest part of the church, then there were 
some sense in it, and I could quickly give you advice for 
your resolution ; but that is reserved for a following part of 
the discourse. If you only ask, whether the parlour or the 
coal-house be the better part or room of the house ? or 
whether the oak or the bramble be the better part of the 
wood ? I should soon give you an answer. So if you ask. 
Whether the Protestants, or Papists, or Greeks, be the 
sounder part of the church ? I should soon answer you. 
The same family may have in it both infants and men at 
age, sound men and sick men ; some that have but small 
distempers, and some that have the plague or leprosy : and 
yet all are men, and members of the family : and so hath 
the church of God such members. 

* Object. But will you make all sects and heretics in the 
world to be members of the catholic church?' 

Answ. No : there are none members of the church but 
Christians. If you call any Christians heretics, those are 
members of the church : but those heretics that are no 



CATHOLIC t'HURCH UES( lllBEU. ^Ofi 

Christians, are no church-members. If they deny any essen- 
tial point of Christianity, they are not Christians, but ana- 
logically, equivocally, or ' secundum quid.' I tell you, all 
that are true believers, justified and sanctified, are true liv- 
ing members of the church : and all that profess true faith 
and holiness, are true members, and no others, at age and 
use of reason. Your inquiry, therefore, should be. Which 
are true Christians? And what is true Christianity? And 
what heresies deny the essentials of Christianity? And 
then you may soon know who are of the church. 

Object. 'Abundance of the errors now common in the 
world, do subvert the foundation, or destroy the essentials 
of Christianity, ' 

Arisw. It is not every consequential destroying of the 
essentials that will prove a man no Christian. For almost 
every error in the matters of faith and morality doth conse- 
quentially subvert the foundation, because of the con- 
catenation of truths together, and their dependance on each 
other. And so every ntian on earth should perish if this 
were inconsistent with Christianity : for all men err in mat- 
ters revealed and propounded by God in Scripture to their 
knowledge and belief. He that holdeth fast the essentials 
of religion by a practical belief, shall be saved by it, though 
he hold any opinions which consequently subvert the truth, 
and doth not understand that they do subvert it : for this 
is the best men's case. But if he so hold the error, as see- 
ing that it overthrows an essential point, and so holdeth not 
that point which it is against, this man is not a Christian. 
Every drop of water is contrary to fire, and yet a great fire 
is not put out by a single drop. Every degree of sickness, 
or natural decay, hath a contrariety to health and life : and 
yet every man is not dead that is sick ; nor any man, I think: 
nor is it every sickness that procureth death. The promise 
is, " He that believeth shall be saved :" and, therefore, as 
long as he believeth all the essential verities, it is no con- 
trary opinion that can unchristen him, or unchurch him. 

* Object, But how shall we know a visible Christian by 
this, when we know not whether he hold the truth, or not;' 

Answ. By men's profession the visibility of their faith 
is easily discerned. If they say they believe that Christ 
rose from the dead, 1 am to take them as believers of it, not- 

VOL. XVI. X 



306 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AISTD 

withstanding they should hold some error, that hath a remote 
opposition to it. But if they directly deny it, 1 have no reason 
to think they believe it ; and if they will hold two directly 
contradictory propositions, they are madmen, and to be be- 
lieved in neither. The Lutherans maintain, That Christ hath 
a true human nature ; and yet some of them say. That it is 
everywhere. Though this be contrary to the former by con- 
sequence ; yet I am bound to judge that they take Christ to 
be true man still, because indeed they do so, not seeing the 
contradiction. 

But if a man by his contradiction in other terms, do ma- 
nifest that he doth not believe the truth which he professeth 
to believe, but speaks the words while he denies the sense; 
this is to deny the matter itself: for it is the sense that is 
the doctrine : and so he denies himself to be a Christian. 
For example : If he say, that Christ is risen, and by Christ 
tell you he meaneth his own spirit; and by rising he mean- 
eth his rising from sin, as the Familists do, and no more : 
this is to deny the resurrection of Christ. 

Object. ' But will you dishonour Christ and his church 
by taking in all sects and erroneous persons, that held the 
essentials : What a linseywoolsey garment will this be ? 
What a large and mingled church will you make?' 

Answ. The largeness is no dishonour to it : but by over- 
narrowing it many sects do dishonour it. The corruptions 
and infirmities are indeed a dishonour to it: but that reflects 
not at all on Christ, yea, it maketh for his honour, both 
that he is so exceeding compassionate as to extend his love 
and mercy so far, and to bear with such distempers, and 
pardon such miscarriages of his servants: And should your 
eye be evil because he is good ? O how ill doth it beseem 
that man that needeth exceeding mercy himself, even to save 
him from damnation, to be opening his mouth against the 
mercy of Christ to others ! Yea, to repine at, and even re- 
proach the mercy that he liveth by, and must save him, if 
ever he be saved. Why man, hast not thou as much need 
of tender indulgence and mercy thyself, to keep thee in the 
church, and in the favour of God, and bring thee to heaven, 
as Anabaptists, Separatists, Arminians, Lutherans, and many 
such sects have, to continue them in the number of catholic 
Christians? If thou have not their errors, thou hast others. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 307 

and perhaps as bad, whicli thou little thinkest of: and if 
thou have not their errors, hast thou not sins that are as 
provoking to God as they ? Really, speak thy heart man, be 
thou Papist or Protestant, or what thou wilt, wouldst thou 
have God less merciful than he is? Or wouldst thou wish 
him to be so little merciful as to damn all that be not of thy 
opinion, or to unchristen and unchurch all these that thou 
speakest against? Or wouldst thou have him to condemn 
and cast away all men that have as great faults as the errors 
of these Christians are? And consequently to condemn thy- 
self? Moreover it is Christ's honour to be the healer of 
such great distempers, and the cure at last shall magnify 
his skill. In the meantime the church, though black, is yet 
comely in the eyes of Christ, and of all that see by the light 
of his Spirit. And our tenderhearted Saviour disdaineth 
not to be the physician of such an hospital as hath many 
sorts of diseases in it, and many of them very great. And 
when pharisees make it his reproach that he thus converseth 
with publicans and sinners, he takes it as his glory to be 
the compassionate physician of those that are sick. 

I beseech you therefore, poor, peevish, quarrelsome 
souls, give others leave to live in the same house with you : 
Do not disown your brethren, and say, they are bastards, 
because they somewhat differ from you in complexion, 
in age, in strength, in health, in stature, or any of the 
points wherein I told you a little before that the members 
of the church do usually differ in. Shew not yourselves so 
ignorant or froward as to make a wonder of it, that God 
should be the Father both of infants, and men at age, of 
weak and strong, and that the sick and sound should both 
be in his family. Doth such cruelty beseem the breast of 
a Christian, as to wish God to cast out all his children from 
his family that are weak and sick? Do not make it such a 
matter of wonder, that God's house should have so many 
rooms in it ; and think it not a reproach to it, that the kitchen 
or the coal-house is a part of the house. Wonder not at it 
as a strange thing, that all the body is not a hand or eye ; 
and that some parts have less honour and comeliness than the 
rest. Hath God told you so plainly and fully of these matters, 
and yet will you not understand, but remain so perverse? 
I pray hereafter remember better that the catholic church 
is one, consisting of all true Christians as the members. 



308 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

III. My next address is to those several sects (I call 
them not so in reproach, but because they make themselves 
so), that sinfully appropriate the catholic church to them- 
selves. Thus did the Donatists in Augustine's time, to whom 
he gives a confutation of very great use to all that are guilty 
of that sin in our days. But I shall only speak particularly 
now to these three sects that are most notoriously guilty : L 
The Quakers*. 2. Some Anabaptists. And, 3. The Papists. 

1. The Quakers are but a few distempered people, risen 
up within a few years in this corner of the world : and yet 
they are not ashamed to condemn the most godly Christians, 
ministers and churches of the world, that are not of their 
way; as if the church were confined to these few poor, dis- 
tracted, erroneous persons do not think that they are all of 
a mind among themselves ; some of them plainly deny the 
very essentials of Christianity. And for these to reproach 
the church is no wonder: but to appropriate it to themselves 
that are no members of it, as if Turks or heathens should 
have persuaded the world that they are the only Christians. 
In the meantime I thank God that Christianity is in so much 
esteem, that even the enemies of it do pretend to it : But for 
those that go under that name, and deny not the fundamen- 
tals, let them consider what I said before to the Seekers: If 
there be no church, there is no Christ: no body, no head: 
And no church, no Christians; and no justification or salva- 
tion. And therefore I would know of them, where was the 
true church before the other day that the Quakers rose? If 
there were any, where was it? If there were none, then there 
was no Christ, no head ! I remember what a boy told them 
lately near us, * Your church and religion (saith he) cannot 
be the right, for I can remember since it first begun.' Surely 
Christ had a church before the Quakers. 

2. The rigid Anabaptists do run the same strain, and 
appropriate the church to their sect alone ; and this upon 
the Popish conceit, that baptism is either necessary to sal- 
vation, or else to the being of a member of the church. None 
but the re-baptized, or those that are baptized at age, are 
taken by them to be members of the church ; (though I 
know that many of the Anabaptists are more moderate, and 
make re-baptizing necessary only in point of duty, and ' ad 

' It is necessary to remark, lliat the people called Quakers and Anabaptisis, iit 
i!ic pre-ent dny, dilier very inateriailj from the sects so Cfilled^iii Mr. Baxter's time 



CATHOLIC CH UUCH UtSCRI BIl D. 309 

bene esse.' Of" these men 1 would also know, 1. Where 
was a church that was against infant-baptism, since the days 
of the apostles, (much less among them) till within these five 
hundred or six hundred years at most, (perhaps these two 
hundred or three hundred ?) Had Christ a visible church of 
such in all ages ? If so, tell us where it was, and prove it. 
If not, tell us how Christ could be a king without a king- 
dom, a head without a body. 2. And can your hearts endure 
so cruel a doctrine, as to unchurch all the churches of the 
world, except so few and such as believe you? 3. And 
would you have men in their wits believe that Christ hath 
been so many hundred years without a visible church? Or 
that his church hath had a false constitution, and that now 
he is constituting his church aright in the end of the world? 
4. Your error is so much the greater and more cruel, as your 
party is the smaller, and more lately sprung up; that ever it 
can enter into your hearts to imagine that God hath no 
church in all the world but you. But I shall say no more to 
you particularly, partly, because you are an impatient gene- 
ration, that take a confutation for a persecution ; and 
partly, because I shall offend the more sober, by such need- 
less words, to so gross an error ; and chiefly because that 
which I shall speak to the next party, will also be useful to 
your information. 

3. The principal sect that appropriate the church to 
themselves, is the Papists. And to them I shall more largely 
open my mind. They make a great noise against all other 
parties with the name of the Roman Catholic church, and 
the confident ostentation that it is only they. They make 
the Pope the visible head of it, and exclude all from the 
church, besides his subjects \ and all that are not of that 
church they exclude also from salvation, with an ' extra 
ecclesiam nulla salus.' What shall we say to these things? 
1. Surely it must needs be some admirable qualification 
that must thus advance the church of Rome to be the whole 
and only catholic church ! And what should this be? Is it 
their extraordinary holiness? I know they talk much of the 
holiness of their church : but they dare not put it upon that 
issue, and let us take that for the church which we find to 
be most holy. On those terms I think we should soon be 
resolved, by a little observation and experience. However 
it would not serve their turn, unless they could prove thai 



310 THJ:: TllUE CATHOLIC, AND 

none are holy at all but they. What then is the ground oF 
this pretended privilege? Why, because they take the bishop 
of Rome for the universal bishop, aod are under his govern- 
ment. And is this it that salvation is confined to ? 

2. And surely it must be some very heinous matter, that 
all the rest of the Christian world must be unchurched and 
damned for ; and what is that? Is it for denying any article 
of the faith? Which is it that we deny? When they would 
set them against Protestants, they boast that the (i reeks are 
in all things of their mind, except the Pope's supremacy ; 
and therefore this is the only heresy that might unchurch 
and damn them. And it is not for ungodliness ; for we are 
ready to join with them in severer censures of ungodliness 
than we know how to bring them to. The damning crime is, 
that we believe not the church of Rome to bo the mistress of 
all the churches, and the Pope to be their head. And indeed 
is this a damning sin, and inconsistent with Christianity, or 
church-membership? I prove the contrary, that the catholic 
church is not confined to the Roman, but containeth in it all 
that I have mentioned before. 

Argum. 1. If many are true Christians that believe not in 
the Pope, or Roman church, as the ruler of the rest, then 
many may be church-members and saved that believe not in 
them : but the antecedent is certain. For, 

1. He that truly believes in God the Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost, renouncing the flesh, the world, and the devil, 
is a Christian : but so do many millions that believe not in 
the Pope or Roman sovereignty. 

2. He that hath the sanctifying Spirit of Christ is a Chris- 
tian : for Christ giveth it to no other : but so have millions that 
believe not theRoman sovereignty, as I shall further shew anon. 

3. Those that have all that is essential to a Christian, 
are true Christians : but so have millions that believe not the 
Roman sovereignty. For they have faith, hope, charity, 
repentance, and sincere obedience, and therefore are true 
Christians. If you say, that the belief of the Roman sove- 
reignty is essential to Christianity, you must well prove it, 
which yet was never done. 

I prove the contrary by many arguments. 

1. No Scripture tells us that your sovereignty is a truth, 
much less of the essence of Christianity. Therefore it is 
not so to be believed. What Bellarmin brings but to prove 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 311 

the ti uth of it, 1 have manifested to be utterly impertinent 
in my book against Popery. 

2. If it had been essential to Christianity, and necessary 
to salvation, to believe the sovereignty of the church of 
Rome, the apostles would have preached it to all the people, 
whose conversion they endeavoured, and have established 
the churches in it : but there is not a word in Scripture, or 
any church history, that ever the apostles, or any preachers 
of those times, did teach the people any such doctrine : much 
less that they taught it all the people. And sure they would 
not have omitted a point of necessity to salvation. 

3. If the sovereignty of the Pope, or of Rome, is of 
necessity to Christianity and salvation, then the apostles 
and pastors of the primitive church would either have bap- 
tized men into the Pope or Roman church, or at least have 
instructed their catechumens in it, and required them to 
profess their belief in the Pope and Roman church. But 
there is not a word in Scripture, or any church records, 
intimating that ever such a thing was once done either by 
orthodox or heretics ; that ever any did baptize men into 
the name of the Pope or Roman church, or did require of 
them a confession of the Roman sovereignty ; no, nor ever 
taught any church or Christian to obey the church of Rome, 
as the ruler of other churches. Paul was more certainly an 
apostle at Rome (a bishop they call him) than Peter, and 
you may know his practice by 1 Cor. i. 14, 15, " I thank 
God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gains, lest 
any should say that I baptized in my own name." The 
ancient forms of baptism are recorded in Scripture and 
church history ; but this is never in. He that believed in 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for remission, justifi- 
cation, sanctiiication, and everlasting life, was baptized as a 
Christian. 

4. If the sovereignty of the Roman church were neces- 
sary to Christianity and salvation, we should have had it in 
some of the creeds of the primitive church, or at least in the 
exposition of those creeds. But there we have no such 
thing. For their affirmation, that the word catholic church 
in the creed, signifieth as much as the Roman catholic 
church doth signify no more to us, but the dreaming un- 
grounded confidence of the affirmers. 

5. Thousands and millions were saved in the primitive 



31-2 THE IRLK CATHOLIC, AND 

church, without ever believing or confessing the Roman 
sovereignty : therefore it is not essential to Christianity. No 
man can prove that one Christian believed Rome to be the 
mistress of other churches for many hundred years after 
Christ, much less that all believed it. 

6. If it be an article of faith, and so essential to Chris- 
tianity, that Rome is the mistress of other churches, then 
either it was so before there was a church at Rome, or else 
it begun after. Not before : for when there was no church, 
it could not be the mistress of all churches. Not after: for 
then Christianity should have altered its specific nature, and 
become another thing, by the adding of a new essential part. 
But Christianity is the same thing since there was a church 
at Rome, as it was for many years before. And the catholic 
church is the same thing;, ft was many vears a catholic 
church before there was any church at Rome at all. 

7. If it be necessary to Christianity or salvation to be- 
lieve that Rome is the mistress and head of the catholic 
church, then it is as necessary to know who it is that is this 
head and mistress ; whether it be the Pope, or the particular 
Church of Rome, or the General Council. For else the bare 
name of Rome should be the thing of necessity. But if we 
knownot what that name dothsignify, itisnomore to us than 
a nonsensical word, which a parrot may utter. But what it 
is that is this head or sovereignty the Papists themselves are 
utterly disagreed in. The Council of Constance and Basil 
defined. That the General Council is the head, above the 
Pope, and may judge and depose him, as they did divers. 
The Laterane Council thought otherwise : and Bellarmin 
saith the aforesaid council, 'judged the judge of the whole 
world,' and maintained the Pope to be the head and seat of 
sovereignty. The Italians go one way, and the French ano- 
ther. But if these be true General Councils, then the mat- 
ter is determined against the Pope : and therefore is an 
article of faith to be believed on pain of damnation, that 
the council is above the Pope: and yet it is also an article 
of faith to be believed on the same penalty, that the Pope is 
above the General Council ; for the Council at the Lateran 
under Leo X, hath determined it, sess. 11. So that councils 
are contrary, and articles of faith are contrary, and he that 
will be a Papist must believe contradictions. If to evade 
this any say, that either the Council of Constance, or thai 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 313 

at the Lateran, were not true General Councils, or not 
approved by the Pope : For that of Constance Bellarmin 
answers after Turrecremato, Campegius, Sanders, &c., that it 
was a true and approved Council. (Lib. 2. de Concil. cap. 19.) 
But they say, • That it determined only that the Council is 
above the Pope in case of a schism, when the true Pope is not 
known.' But Bellarmin dare not stand to this answer: for the 
express words of the Council are, that ' A General Council 
hath immediate authority from Christ, which all are bound to 
obey, though of Papal dignity.' Can plainer words be 
spoke? But Bellarmin's other shift is worse, 'that P. 
Martin 5. confirmed all that was done in this council, con- 
ciliariter; but this (saith he) was not conciliariter.' See 
wliat juggling the articles of the Romish faith are liable to, 
and how clear an interpreter of the Scriptures, and decider 
of controversies we have, that speaks so enigmatically when 
he seems to speak most plainly, even in confirming a Gene- 
ral Council, that his own cardinals, nor the Council itself, 
are able to understand him. But perhaps the Council at 
the Lateran was false, that determineth of the contrary, 
that the Pope is above councils : no, not in the judgment 
of Bellarmin and his party. For (Lib. 2. de concil. cap. 17,) 
he saith, that 'vix dici potest,' it can scarcely be said that 
the council was not general. And the Pope was in it, and 
confirmed it, and the non-reception of it by others he saith is 
nothing, because decrees of faith are immutable, and the not 
receiving cannot change them. What a case then are they 
in that must needs be damned? Whether they believe the 
Pope to be the supreme, or the Council to be the supreme? 
One council is against one way, and the other against the 
other way, and both councils confirmed by undoubted 
Popes. But yet they have a remedy, and that is, that yet 
the matter is doubtful : and where is the doubt? Why it is, 
whether the council defined this as an article of faith, or no? 
And therefore saith Bellarmin, ' they are not properly he- 
retics that hold the contrary, but cannot be excused from 
great temerity.' So that you see what certainty the Papists 
are at in their faith. It cannot be known, nor will any suc- 
ceeding Popes determine it, when a council hath decided a 
point, whether or no they intended it as an article of faith, 
(And yet in the Trent oath they are to swear obedience to- 
all things defined .ind declared bv the sacred canons and 



314 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

cecumeuical councils.) One council decrees, that the Pope 
is highest, another or two decree, that the council is 
highest, and the Pope must obey them : yea, both these are 
confirmed by the Pope. The subjects are sworn to obey 
both contradictories : and yet after this contrary decision, 
the case is still undecided with them, and for fear of losing- 
half their party, they dare not say that either are properly 
heretics. (Mark, properly.) ' Yea, (saith Bellarrain, de 
concil. lib. 2. c. 13,) though afterwards in the Florentine 
and Lateran Council the question seems to be defined, 
(having before been contrarily defined at Constance and 
Basil) yet to this day it remaineth a question among Catho- 
lics, because the Council of Florence seems not to define it 
so expressly : and of the Council of Lateran, which most 
expressly defined it, some doubt). So that as there is no 
understanding their councils in their highest degrees, so 
we have the confession of the Papists themselves, that it is 
yet undetermined, and no point of faith, which is the sove- 
reign power in the church : and if it be not so much as 
determined, then much less is it essential to Christianity. 
And if it be not necessary to know who hath the sovereignty, 
then it cannot be necessary to know that it is in the 
church of Rome: For the name of the Church of Rome is 
nothing but a sound, without the thing that is signified by 
it: Moreover, the Pope is not the church of Rome ; for it 
was never heard that one man was called a church : and a 
General Council is not the churches of Rome: for if there 
be such a thing, it representeth all churches as much as 
Rome. And therefore which ever be the sovereign, it cannot 
be the church of Rome. And as for the particular Roman 
clergy or people, no man that ever 1 heard of did yet afiirm 
that it was the sovereign ruler of the churches. It is only 
the Pope and Council that are competitors. 

If any say. That it is the Pope and Council only con- 
junct. I answer, 1. That two that are both fallible, set to- 
gether, will not make one infallible power. 2. Then the far 
greatest part of the Papists are erroneous in holding the 
contrary: for almost all make either the Pope or the Coun- 
cil to be the seat of supremacy and infallibility. 3. Then 
what is become of the church when these two disagree, as 
frequently tliey have done? 4. The Pope and Council agree- 
ing do often contradict a former Pope and Council agreeing. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. ,'315 

5. Then the church is without a head, all this while thai 
there is no council in being. See Bellarmin's urguraentti 
against this opinion. 

8. Another argument to prove that it is not essential to 
Christianity, to believe the sovereignty of the Pope or 
church of Rome is this, it is not necessary to salvation to 
know that there is such a place as Rome in the world, or 
whether there be one, or two, or ten places of that name, 
or which of them it is that hath the sovereignty : and there- 
fore it cannot be necessary to believe that it is the catholic 
or mistress church : Would God lay men's salvation upon 
the title of a city, many thousand miles from some parts of 
his church, which they have no knowledge of? Many Pa- 
pists say, that heathens have sufficient means of salvation 
that never heard of Christ ; and yet will they damn Chris- 
tians that never heard of the city or Pope of Rome? For 
about three hundred years after Christ it was the seat of the 
greatest idolatry, impiety, and persecuting cruelty in the 
world. And would God all that while so advance that wicked 
place as to make it essential to Christianity to believe Rome 
to be the seat of the sovereignty of the church ! 

9. We have no certainty of faith that Rome shall not be 
burned, or be possessed by Mahometans, or turn to infi- 
delity : therefore we have no certainty that it shall be any 
church at all, much less the true ruling; or catholic church. 

10. If it were necessary to salvation to believe Rome's 
sovereignty, God would aiFord the world sufficient evidence 
of it, and commission preachers to preach it to the world : 
" For how should they believe without a preacher; and how 
shall he preach except he be sent?" But no such commis- 
sions are proved to be given to any from the Lord. 

Having thus backed my first argument, and proved others 
besides Papists to be Christians, and consequently mem- 
bers of the catholic church, I may proceed to the rest. 

Argum. 2. If millions besides Papists have the Spirit of 
God, and true faith, and charity, and holiness, then are they 
members of the catholic church. For out of the church is 
no salvation ; but all that have the Holy Ghost and charity 
shall be saved, as the Papists confess, if they continue in it. 
But that many besides Papists have charity and sanctifica- 
tion, we have large experience to persuade us to conclude; 



31(5 THK TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

For though no man can know the certain truth of another 
man's profession, or heart ; yet as far as men can know by 
one another, we have ground to be exceeding confident of 
the sanctity and charity of multitudes among us. I profess 
if it were but this one thing that hindered me, I could not be 
a Papist upon any terms ; I live among humble, holy, and 
heavenly people, that live in continual breathings after God, 
hating a sinful thought, in great mortification, and willing- 
ness to know God's will, that they may obey it : and ac- 
cordingly abundance have ended their lives in peace and 
joy in the Holy Ghost: None of these were Papists: and 
now it is impossible for a man to be a Papist, that will not 
conclude all these to be out of the catholic church, and con- 
sequently to be unsanctified and condemned. And if so, I am 
resolved never to be aPapist. If 1 cannot be a Papist without 
condemning a multitude of the holiest persons that ever i 
could meet with, and shutting my eyes against the admirable 
lustre of their graces, let them be Papists that will for me. 

Arsum. 3. The Lord Jesus shed his blood for all Chris- 
tians as well as Papists, with a special intent to sanctify and 
save all that are such indeed. Therefore they are members 
of the catholic church. (Ephes. v. 25 — 27.) 

Argum. 4. All Christians are subject to Christ, though 
they be not subject to the Pope : therefore they are the 
church of Christ. (Ephes. v. 24.) 

Argum. 5. Those that are loved of the Father, and recon- 
ciled to him, are to be taken for members of the church. But 
all that believe in the Son, and love him, are loved by the 
Father, and reconciled to him. (John xvi. 27 ; Rom. v. 1, 2.) 

Argum. 6. All that are justly baptized are visible mem- 
bers of the church : but many are justly baptized that be- 
lieve not the sovereignty of Rome. Therefore, &c., the 
minor is evident by the Scripture-direction for baptizing, 
and examples of it ; and millions at this day in the church 
of God confirm it to us. 

Argum. 7. They that have a promise of pardon, and are the 
adopted sons of God, and heirs of glory, are members of the 
church (beyond all question) : but so are all that believe in 
Christ, and love God, whether they believe in the Pope or 
not; as you may see expressly, John i. 12; iii. 15, 16. 18; 
xvii. 20-^22. 24 ; Mark xvi. 16 ; John iii. 36 ; v. 24 ; vi. 35. 



C A r H O L I C V II V ECU DESCRIBED. 317 

40.47; vii. 38; xi.25, 26; xii.46; Rom. iii. 22.26 ; iv. 11. 
24 ; ix. 33 ; x. 9 ; Gal. iii. 22 ; 2 Thess. i. 10 ; Heb. iv. 3 ; 
Acts V. 14 ; 1 Pet. ii. 6 ; 1 John v. 1. 5. 10 ; Acts xiii. 39. 

Argum. 8. If they must live in heaven with us, we have 
reason to take them for members of the church on earth. 
But all that truly love God, and believe in Christ, shall live 
in heaven with us, though they never believed in the Pope. 
Therefore, &c. 

Argum. 9. They that are united in all the twenty parti- 
culars in the beginning expressed, are certainly members of 
the catholic church : but so are many that believe not in the 
Pope. Therefore, 

Argum. 10. The Papists* doctrine goes against the cer- 
tain experience of the sanctified. Some measure of assurance 
I have myself of the love of God in me ; and much more 
many others have, as I see great reason to believe. Now 
popery binds me to conclude that I am void of charity, and 
all saving, special grace, because I believe not in the Pope ; 
that is, to renounce the experience of God's grace in ray 
soul, and unthankfully to deny all these mercies of God. 
So that as sure as any Protestant can be of charity or saving 
grace in himself, so sure may he be that popery is false doc- 
trine, and that is enough. 

Having spoken thus much to these several sects that 
would appropriate the catholic church to themselves, I shall 
once more speak to tiiem altogether. Whether you are Pa- 
pists, or what sect soever that are guilty of this grievous 
crime, I beseech you think of these following aggravations 
of your sin: 

1. How evidently is your doctrine against the merciful 
nature of God, and contrary to that abundant grace which 
he hath manifested to mankind. Is lie love itself; and his 
mercy over all his works reaching unto the heavens, and un- 
conceivable by sinners ? Hath he not thought the blood of 
his Son too dear for us ? And yet can you believe those men 
that would persuade you- that the far greatest part of the 
Christians of the world are out of the church, and shall be 
damned, because they believe not in the Pope of Rome, or 
because they are not rebaptized, or the like, how holy so- 
ever they are in other respects? Is this like God ; or hath he 
thus described himself in his word ? We are as willing as 
you to know the truth ; and study, and pray, and s(>pk as 



318 THE TRUF, CATHOLIC, .WD 

much after it, and would most gladly find it at any rates: 
and the more we search," and study, and pray, the more con- 
fident we are that your way is wrong : And must we yet be 
all unchristened that are not of your opinion ? 

2. How much do you wrong and dishonour the Lord 
Jesus in many respects! l.Hath he purchased his church 
with his own blood ; and now dare you presume to rob him 
of the far greater part of his purchase, because they be not 
of your opinion? I would not stand before him with the 
guilt of such a sin for all the world. 2. Dare you charge so 
great unmercifuluess on Christ, that hath so wonderfully 
shewed his mercy, and at so dear a rate? After all his blood 
and sufferings, dare you feign him to say to the world, ' Be- 
lieve in me, and love me never so much ; if you obey not 
the church of Rome, you cannot be my disciples, or be 
saved ?' Yea, and would he lay our salvation on this, and 
yet not reveal it to us, but say so much against it? Let him 
be of these men's minds that can, for I cannot. 3. More- 
over, the weaknesses and diseases of the saints do honour 
the skill of Christ their Physician, that hath undertaken the 
cure, and in due time will accomplish it. And will you go 
and turn them all out of his hospital, and say they are none 
of his patients? 

3. Your design is against the very nature of the catholic 
church, and the communion of saints. The design of Christ 
in the work of redemption was to gather all into one body, 
and bring them to God. To break down the partition-wall 
between Jew and Gentile, and take away the ordinances and 
ceremonies that occasioned the division, and to unite them 
all in himself the universal head. (Ephes. ii. 13 — 15.) "That 
he might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, 
having slain the enmity thereby." (verse 16.) To this 
end, "When he ascended, he gave pastors and teachers, as 
well as apostles, prophets and evangelists, for the perfect- 
ing of the saints, for the v»'ork of the ministry, for the edify- 
ing of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of 
the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a 
perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of 

Christ, that we may grow up into him in all things, 

which is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body 
fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every 
joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 319 

measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto 
the edifying of itself in love." (Ephes. iv. 11, 12. 15, 16.) 
In these several particulars you directly strike at the very 
nature of the catholic church. 1. The church is but one, 
and you tear off a member, and call it the whole, and so 
would make it many, or divide it. It was the design of 
Christ to unite all the differing parts ; and you cross his 
design, and go about to separate that which he hath con- 
joined and cemented, even by his precious blood. 2. The 
church is united and centered in Christ, and knows no other 
head : and Papists would set up a mortal and incapable 
man, and have all unity in him as a vicar head : and having 
not a word for this from Christ, they pervert one text, " The 
eye cannot say to the hand, &c., or the head to the feet, I 
have no need of you." (1 Cor. xii. 21.) See here, say they, 
is a visible head : But, 1. It is visible to any man that will 
understand, that the term head is used of the natural body's 
head, by way of similitude : but when the thing assimilate 
(the mystical body) is mentioned, there is not a word of a 
head ; but the application is of the more honourable or 
comely parts in general : many such heads there be, that is, 
more honourable parts, but no Universal Governor, that is 
it they should prove ; they may else as well pretend, that 
beside the Pope who is the head, there must be one or two 
universal eyes, and two universal hands, or feet, for the 
whole churcli. Thus men abuse themselves, when they will 
dare to wrest the Scripture to their interests. 2. But if it 
had spoke of one universal head, must it needs be the Pope, 
or an earthly man ? I must profess that very chapter is so 
full and plain against popery, that were there no more I 
could hardly be a Papist. For mark, I pray you, 1. The 
Lord Jesus himself is expressly named in verse 12. And 
yet must we seek for another exposition of the word head ? 
" All the members of that body being many, are one body ; 
even so is Christ." It is Christ that the church is united in. 

Object. ' But Christ may say to the feet, I have no need 
of you.' 

Ansio. For himself he hath no need of any creature: But, 
1. For the completing of the body he hath need of the mem- 
bers, which is the thing here mentioned. 2. And to his own 
glory he hath use for them. He that said of a colt, when he 
was to ride into .Terusalem, " The Lord hath need of him," 



320 THE TRUK CATHOLIC, A N' D 

may as well be said to have need of his members. 3. If 
neither prophet, apostle, or teacher, were head of the church, 
then the Pope is not : for he pretends not to be greater than 
Peter the apostle. But none of these were the head, as is 
most plain, " Now ye are the body of Christ, and members 
in particular ; and God hath set some in the church, first 
apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers," (verse 27, 
28.) So that Christ only is made the head, and apostles 
are all together numbered with the prime or most honour- 
able members, and no more. 

So (Colos. i. 18—20,) " And he is the head of the body, 

the church : For it pleased the Father, that in him should 

all fullness dwell, and having made peace by the blood of 
his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself." What 
a daring vile attempt is it of that man, that would tear the 
greater half of the members from his body, when it hath 
cost him so dear to unite them in himself. 

4. Moreover, your course is dishonourable to the church 
and cause of Christ. I know his flock is small; but to narrow 
it, as you would do, is exceedingly to dishonour it. To make 
men believe that God hath no more in all the world but 
your party, is to raise temptations and hard thoughts of God 
in the minds of men without any cause. 

6. And if such a dividing censuremustneeds be past, there 
is none less fit to do it than you, that are commonly forvvard- 
est to divide. If most of the Christian world must needs be 
unchurched, to whose share were it more likely to fall than 
to you? Quakers 1 will say nothing to, their folly being so 
gross. Anabaptists are setting up a' new church-entrance 
in the end of the world : and if they know any thing of church 
history, they must needs know that, comparatively, there 
are few in heaven that were of their mind on earth. And 
for the Papists, we have much ado to maintain our charity, 
in proving them to be a church at all. And the truth is, the 
question hath some difiiculty, whether the church of Rome 
be a true church or no : to which I give this true and plain 
answer in brief. 

The word church signifieth four things (pertinent to our 
present purpose.) 1. The universal or catholic church as 
visible : so the church of Rome is not the church at all. 
2. The universal church as invisible: so the church of Rome 
is not the church. 3. A particular political church of Christ's 



CATHOLIC CHUUCIl DESCRIBED. 321 

institution. And 4. A community or mere country or com- 
pany of Christians, as part of the catholic church. Now as 
to these two last, the church of Rome signifieth, 1. Either 
all the Papists formally as such, that is, as united to a pre- 
tended universal bishop. And in this formal respect the 
church of Rome is a false church, and no true church at all 
of Christ's appointing. 2. By the church of Rome may be 
meant, the persons that live under the Papal captivity and 
subjection; not as his subjects formally, but as Christians, 
and the subjects of Christ: and thus all Christians in the 
church of Rome are a part of the universal church of Christ : 
A part, and but a part, as Christians : no part, but the plague 
of the church, as Papists. This is the plain truth. Your 
errors are great and numerous ; yet we are willing to extend 
our charity as far as is possible, to take you for brethren : 
and will you be so froward as to unchurch others, even all 
the rest of the Christian world, that have need of so much 
charity to yourselves? You cry out of the heresy of the 
Jacobites, Georgians, Syrians, Armenians, &c. Some are 
Nestorians, some are Eutychians, and I know not what : 
but woe to Rome if worse men, and more erroneous than 
they, may not be of the church, and saved. Shall I set 
down the words of one of your own monks that dwelt among 
them ii> Judea ? It is Bochardus Descript. Terra sanct. 323, 
324, 325, 326. " Sunt in Terra promissionis," &c. " There 
are in the Holy Land (saith he), men of every nation under 
heaven : and every nation liveth after their own rites : and 
to speak the truth, to our great confusion, there are none 
found in it that are worse, and of more corrupt manners than 
the Christians :" (he means the Papists.) Page 235, he saith, 
" Moreover those that we judge to be damned Heretics, 
Nestorians, Jacobites, Maronites, Georgians, and the like, I 
found to be for the most part good and simple men, and liv- 
ing sincerely towards God and men, of great abstinence," 

&c. And page 324, he tells you, "That the Syrians, 

Nestorians, Nubians, Jabeans, Chaldeans, Maronites, Ethi- 
opians, and many other nations of Christians there inhabit, 
and some are Schismatics, not subject to the Pope; and 
others called Heretics, as the Nestorians, Jacobites," 
&c. " But (saith he) there are many in these sects exceed- 
ing simple (or plain), knowing nothing of heresies, devoted 

VOL. XVI. Y 



322 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

to Christ, macerating the flesh with fastings, and wearing 
the most simple garments, so that they even far exceed the 
very religious of the Roman church." 

Thus by the testimony of your own eye-witnesses, even 
these that you cast out for heretics and schismatics, are 
far beyond even the religious of your church : What then 
are the reformed churches ? Truly sirs, it is intolerable for 
the parlour to say, * I am all the house ;' but for the chim- 
ney, kitchen, or coal-house, it is more intolerable. If your 
chief servant shall say, * the rest are no servants,' it is not 
well: but for the scullion or groom to say so, is worse. If 
the oak say, * I am the whole wood,' it is ill ; but if the 
bramble say so, it is worse. If the best of your children 
should say, that all the rest are bastards, it is not well ; but 
if the most vicious and deformed say so, it is worse. 

And as you are unfit for quality to exclude all others, so 
also for number you are very unfit. As for the Anabaptists, 
and such inconsiderable parties, that are not past the thou- 
sandth part of the church, or perhaps the many thousandth 
part of. it (when yet the whole visible church is supposed 
to be but the sixth part of the world) ; I do admire how any 
Christian can make himself believe that the love and grace 
of Christ is confined to so narrow a room, and his church 
so small. I think he that believeth once that Christ hath 
not one of so many thousands, is next to believing that he 
hath no church at all, and consequently that there is no 
Christ at all. 

And for the Papists, how deeply also are they guilty in 
this ! As I said, in their greatest height now they are not 
near one half the Christians in the world : a great part of 
their church are the poor Americans, whom they drive to 
baptism, as cattle to the water, (yet not leaving it to their 
choice so much as to drink when they come thither :) so 
that their own writers tell us, that multitudes of them 
know nothing of Christianity but the name, and many for- 
get that too. Awhile ago the Papists were but a small part 
of the church, before Tenduc, Nubia, and other kingdoms 
fell away. One of their own bishops, and a legate there 
resident, speaks upon his own knowledge of the state of the 
church in the eastern parts, " That in the easterly parts of 
Asia alone, the Christians exceeded in multitudes both the 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED, 323 

Greek and Latin churches," (Jacob a Vitriaco Histor. 
Oriental, cap. 77.) And a most learned writer of their own, 
(Melch. Canus Loc. Theol. lib. 6. cap. 7, fol. 201,) saith, 

" Pugnatum est," &c. " Both the Greeks, and almost all 

the rest of the bishops of the whole world, did vehemently 
fight to destroy the privilege of the Roman church ; and 
they had on their side both the arms of emperors, and the 
greater number of churches, and yet they could never bring 
it to pass, that the power of this one Roman Pope should be 
abrogated." You see here by their own most express con- 
fession which way the most of the churches went, and that 
almost all or most of all the bishops of the world were against 
them, (and so where our church was before Luther:) and 
yet are these men a competent number to condemn all the 
rest of the churches of Christ, and appropriate all the catho- 
lic church to themselves ? O what a world of faction do we 
live in! lam bitterly censured on one side for believing 
that any Papists are parts of the catholic church : and, on 
the other side, we cannot persuade the Papists, that any 
other are parts of it : and so they Vt'ill needs be either the 
whole church, or none of it. 

6. This factious course of unchurching all the Christians, 
saving yourselves, is contrary to the very internal nature of 
Christianity. Every Christian as a Christian is taught of 
God to love the brethren, and by this all must know that we 
are Christ's disciples ; and " he that loveth not his brother 
abideth in death." There is a holy disposition to unity and 
closure in all Christians. And if you have not this dispo- 
sition yourselves, you are but hypocrites : if you have it, 
how dare you sin against it ? Though you must not unite 
with any in their sin, you must unite with all that are Chris- 
tians in their Christianity. 

7. Moreover, your course is contrary to Christian humi- 
lity, and proclaimeth the most abominable pride of the di- 
viders. That you should call all the rest of the Christian 
world Schismatics and Heretics, and say, that none are 
Christians but you : Why, what are you above other men, 
that you should say, ' Come not near me, I am holier than 
thou ■? ' Have none in the world, think you, faith, hope, and 
charity, but you ? Can you indeed believe that none shall 
be saved but you ? Alas, that you should not only so much 
overlook God's graces in your brethren, but also be so in- 



324 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

sensible of your own infirmities ! Have you so many errors 
and sins among you, and yet are none of the church but you? 
Methinks an humble soul should say, * Alas, I am so bad, 
that I am more likely to be cast out than they ; T am un- 
worthy of the communion of saints ! 

8. Yea, you trespass against common reason itself. Do 
you think it reasonable for us to believe, that all those that 
we see walk uprightly with God and men, earnest in prayer, 
and study to know the truth ; holy, and humble, and heavenly 
Christians, are yet out of the church, and state of life, be- 
cause they be not re-baptized with the Anabaptists, or be- 
cause they believe not in the Pope of Rome, with the 
Papists ? It is hard to imagine that he that pretends to 
believe such unreasonable things as these, doth well believe 
Christianity itself. 

9 . And how could you honour and gratify the devil more, 
and magnify his kingdom, than by teaching men that most 
of the churches are his? Will you not be content to let 
him go away with all the unbelieving world, and all the 
hypocrites also in the church, but you will proclaim him 
the king of Christ's inheritance, even of the best and greatest 
part of his disciples, because they are not of your opinion, 
or your sect? What dealing is this for a Christian to be 
guilty of? 

10. Lastly, consider what uncomfortable doctrine it is 
that you deliver, especially to yourselves? You will not 
believe that all these sects and differing parties that hold 
"the essentials are members of the catholic church: You scorn 
at such a church, and say. What a medley church is this! 
Will Christ entertain men of so many opinions, and of so much 
corruption ? Yea; or else woe to you, and such as you are ! 
Methinks you should rather say, ' Alas, what will become 
of me, if sinners and erring persons may not be Christians, 
but must all perish ? O what sins have 1 that are greater than 
many of their errors 1 And who is more likely to err than 
such an ignorant wretch as I ! ' Take heed lest you cut a 
shoe too little for your own foot; and lest you shut out so 
many that you must yourselves go out with the first. I must 
profess, after long, impartial studies, if I were of the opinion 
that most of the Christian world are, out of the catholic 
church, I could not believe that the Papists are in it. 

Consider now of these aggravations of your sin : To 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 325 

think and say, 1. That one piece of the church is the whole 
church : 2. Yea, and a piece that is no greater : 3. That 
none of the best, nor far from the worst : 4. Nor any of 
the ancientest, whatever is pretended. 5. And to exclude 
the greatest part of Christians for such a matter, as not be- 
lieving in the Pope of Rome : And 6. Lastly, to do all this in 
pretence of unity, even to cast away the most of the church 
to unite it. What an unreasonable, unchristian course is 
this ! Dividing spirits may plead what they will, but God 
will one day shew them their sin in a fouler shape than here 
I have opened it, though it seem to them but pious zeal. 
V. My next address is to the Papists, for answer to their 
great question, 'Where was your church before Luther? 
Give us a catalogue of the persons of all ages that were of 
your church? ' 

Answ. Of OUR CHURCH ! Why, sirs? Do you think we 
have a catholic church by ourselves? Is there anymore 
universal churches than one ? Do you not know where the 
catholic church was before Luther, and in all ages ? Why, 
there was our- church ; for we have no other, we know but 
one. Do you not know where there were any Christians be- 
fore Luther, or in all ages? Or would you have us give you 
a catalogue of Christians? Wherever there were true Chris- 
tians, there was our church. Would you have the world 
believe that there were no Christians but the subjects of the 
Pope ? Can you believe it yourselves ? Doth not your 
Canus confess, as before cited, that most of the churches and 
bishops of the whole world were against the privileges of 
the church of Rome, and had the arms of emperors on their 
sides ? Doth not your Reinerius long ago say, or whoever 
was the author of that conclusion, " The churches of the 
Armenians, Ethiopians, and Indians, and the rest which the 
apostles converted, are not under the church of Rome." 
(Contr. Waldens. Catal. in Biblioth. Patr. T. 4. Page 773.) 
What fuller confessions can we desire? Nay, do we not 
know how small a part of the world did believe your uni- 
versal sovereignty till almost a thousand years after Christ; 
and none at all for many hundred years after him, that any 
credible history tells us of? and yet do you ask us, where 
was our church? 

But you must have us tell you where was a church that 
had all our opinions? To which I answer, 1. When you 



326 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

have shewed us a catholic church that held all your opinions, 
we shall quickly tell you of one that held ours. 2. It is not 
all our opinions that are essential to a Christian, and the 
catholic church. It is Christianity that makes us Christians 
and members of the church : It is not inferior truth. That 
which makes us Christians and catholics, all true Christians 
in the world have as well as we : And, therefore, we are of 
the same catholic church. iEthiopians, Syrians, Armenians, 
Egyptians, Georgians, Jacobites, the manynations of Greeks, 
Muscovites, and Russians, and all other that are against the 
Roman sovereignty, are of the same religion and catholic 
church as we : and so are all among yourselves too that are 
Christians indeed. The points which we agree in make us 
all Christians, and church-members : but the points in which 
we differ from the Papists do make us so much sounder and 
safer Christians than these, that I would not be one of them 
for all the world. A sound man is but a man ; and so is a 
man that hath the plague : but yet there is some difference, 
though not in their manhood. 

If, therefore, you will at any time try whether your doc- 
trines or ours be the sounder, we are heartily willing to ap- 
peal to antiquity ! Spit in his face, and spare not, that will 
not stand to this motion : That the oldest way of religion 
shall carry it: and they that are of latest beginning shall be 
judged to be in the wrong. I abhor that religion that is less 
than sixteen hundred yisars of age, and therefore I cannot 
be a Papist. I confess in the streams of after-ages there 
have been divisions in the integrals of Christianity, or the 
points that tend to the soundness of the churches. And in 
this, I say, let the oldest be the best. But for the essentials 
of Christianity, and the Church, there never was division 
among true Christians : for they could not be Christians 
that wanted any essential part. And, therefore, that one 
church which contained all the Christians in the world was 
our church before Luther ; and the catalogues of the pro- 
fessors are our church rolls : but we count by thousands, 
and by countries, and not by names. 

But perhaps you will say, ' You cannot be of the same 
church with the Greeks, or us, or the other parties that you 
name; for we and tliey do all renounce you.' I answer, as 
if it were in your power who shall be no member of Christ 
and his church by your renouncing him ! Your renouncing 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 327 

may prove you no Christians yourselves perhaps, by proving 
you, in some cases, uncharitable : but it can do nothing to 
unchurch or unchristen others. If I should say myself, I 
am no member of the church, that doth not make me none, 
as long as I am a Christian : much less can your saying so. 
Saith Paul, " If the foot shall say, because I am not the 
hand, I am not of the body : is it therefore not of the 
body ? and if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, 
I am not of the body: is it therefore not of the body?" 
(1 Cor. xii. 15, 16.) The words of a man's mouth make not 
another to be what he is not, or cease to be what he is. 
Every one is not a bastard, or a whore, that another in rail- 
ing passion calleth so. If Christ do but consent we will be 
members of his body, whether the Pope will or not. 

And now, beloved hearers, you have been acquainted 
from the Word of God of the nature and unity of the ca- 
tholic church, 1 beseech you resolve to retain this doctrine, 
and make use of it for yourselves and others. If any man 
ask you what church you are of, tell him, that you are of 
that particular church where you dwell : but for the ca- 
tholic church you know but one, and that you are of. 
Thrust not yourselves into a corner of the church, and there 
stand quarrelling against the rest : make not sectaries of 
yourselves, by appropriating Christ, and the church, and 
salvation to your party : abhor the very thoughts and name 
of any universal church of Christ, which is of narrower ex- 
tent than Christianity, and containeth fewer than all true 
Christians, and is pretended to be confined to a sect. It is 
not the Papists that are the catholic church, nor is it the 
Greeks, no, nor the Protestants, much less the new pre- 
lates alone ; but it is all Christians through the world, of 
whom the Protestants are the soundest part, but not the 
whole. Again, consider what a lamentable case it is, that 
so great a part of the church do seem to be at a loss about 
the church, as if they knew not where it is ? That they run 
up and down the house of God, complaining that they can- 
not find the house, and know not which room it is that is 
the house. But in the house of God are many rooms and 
mansions : one for Greeks, and one for ^Ethiopians, one for 
Armenians, and Georgians, and Syrians ; one for many that 
are called Papists ; one for Lutherans and Arrainians ; one 
for Anabaptists, and one for many that are truly guilty of 



•^^^ THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

schism and separation from particular churches : there is 
room for Episcopal, Presbyterians, Independents and Eras- 
tians : there is room for Augustinians, called Jansenists, and 
room for Calvinists : but yet no room for any but Chris- 
tians and catholics. Alas, that after so many warnings in 
plainest words of Scripture, and the history of so many ages, 
so many Christians should yet be so carnal, as to be saying, 
I am of Paul, and 1 am of Apollos, and I of Cephas, that is, 
Peter : Yea, that after Cephas is here named as a party, the 
Papists should be so wilfully blind as still to make him the 
head of a party ! That one is for Rome, and another for 
Constantinople, and another for Alexandria! When that 
Augustine hath so long ago decided this point against the 
Donatists, and told them which is the catholic church, even 
that which begun at Jerusalem, and is extended over the 
world wherever there be Christians : alas, that still men are 
so stupid in their divisions, as to be crying out, * Here is 
Christ, and there is Christ : here is the church, and there is 
the church: we are the church, and you are none of it:' 
When the body of Christ and its unity is so frequently and 
plainly described in the Scripture. I know that none are 
members of the church that deny any essential point of 
Christianity : but I know that many other mistaken parties 
are. Consider what an uncharitable, dangerous thing it is 
to give Christ's spouse a bill of divorce, or cast his children 
out of his family. And in the name of God take heed whilst 
you live, 1. That you never confine the church to a sect or 
party. 2. Nor ever cast out the least true Christians, seeing 
Christ will never cast them out. 

But because this disease hath miserably tormented us 
for so many ages, and because we see so many sick of it at 
this day, distractedly looking for the catholic church in 
this or that party, and thinking that all others are shut out, 
1 shall here tell you what are the causes of this distraction, 
and in the discovery of the causes you may see the reme- 
dies. And withal I shall shew you the hindrances of the 
concord and peace of the church, while so many seem to be 
all for peace ! For it may seem a wonderful thing to hear 
almost all men cry up the church's peace and concord, and 
yet that it flieth further from us, when it is in our power to 
be possessors of it^ if we were but truly and generally will- 
ing, as we pretend to be, and think that we are. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 329 

1. Some men understand not the nature of the union and 
concord of the church, nor how much is to be expected in 
this life, and therefore looking for more than is to be looked 
for, they think we have no unity, because we have not that 
which they ignorantly expect : and thereupon finding greater 
unity in this or that sect among themselves than they find 
in the whole body, they presently conclude that that sect is 
the church : they see a great many differing parties, and 
hear them condemning one another, and therefore they fool- 
ishly think that all these cannot possibly be of the true 
church : and then they hear the Papists boast of their unity, 
as having one head, and one judge of controversies, and one 
expounder of Scripture, and being all of one belief, and 
therefore they think that the Papists are the true church. 

But consider before you run past your understandings 
of these two things : First, There is no perfect concord to be 
expected upon earth : this is the glory that is proper to the 
life to come. You may easily see this if you were but con- 
siderate. For, 1. There can be no perfect concord, but 
where there is perfect light and knowledge : for while we 
are ignorant, we shall unavoidably err and differ. What do 
we quarrel about but matter of opinion ? One thinks this is 
the right, and another thinks that is the right : And if we had 
all so much knowledge as to resolve all these doubts, do 
you think we should not be sooner agreed? Doubtless our 
disagreements are much for want of knowledge; we quarrel 
in the dark : if such a light would come among us, as would 
shew us all the truth, it would soon make us friends. But 
this is not to be expected in this life : even Paul saith, that 
here we know but in part ; we understand as children ; and 
think and speak as children ; and is it any wonder to have 
children fall out? " But when that which is perfect is come, 
then that which is in part shall be done away : Now we see 
through a glass darkly ; but then face to face : Now we 
know in part; but then we shall know even as we are known." 
(1 Cor. xiii. 9—12.) And therefore we find even Paul and 
Barnabas so far disagreed as to part asunder, because they 
had not both so much knowledge as to know whether Mark 
should be taken with them or not. In heaven only we shall 
know perfectly : and therefore in heaven only we shall be 
united, and agree perfectly. 

2. And we can never be perfect in union and agreement 



330 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

among ourselves till we are perfect in union and agreement 
with Christ. For we cannot regularly be nearer to each 
other than we are to our Centre : for it is the Centre only in 
which we must unite. It is not possible to be more nearly 
united among ourselves by a Christian union than we are to 
Christ: and therefore seeing it is only in heaven that we 
are perfectly united to Christ, and at agreement with him, 
it is only in heaven that we must be perfectly united among 
ourselves. You marvel that we so much differ from one an- 
other, but you forget how much we all differ yet from Jesus 
Christ; and that this is the difference that must be first 
made up before we do any good of the rest. 

3. Moreover, we can never be perfectly united and agreed 
till we are perfectly holy, and every grace be perfect in us : 
for holiness is that new nature in which we must be one ; 
and every grace hath a hand in our accord. When we are 
perfect in love, and perfect in humility, and meekness, and 
patience, and perfect in self-denial, and all other graces, 
then, and never till then, shall we be perfect in our union 
and agreement among ourselves : while there is the least 
sin in the soul it will hinder our full agreement with God 
and men. It is sin that woundeth both the soul and the 
church, and makes all the debate and divisions among us ; 
and when all sin is gone, then all differences will be done, 
and never till then. What an ignorant thing then is it of 
you to wonder so much at our many differences, and yet 
not to wonder at our sinfulness, and unholiness, and differ- 
ence with Christ, in whom we must agree. Well, remember 
hereafter, that unity and concord is here to be expected but 
according to the proportion of our holiness, and therefore 
so much sin and ignorance as remains, no wonder if so much 
division remain. 

The second thing which I desire you to remember is 
this : That in all the essential matters of Christianity there 
is as true a union among all the differing sorts of Christians, 
as there is among the Papists ; or any one sect : even in all 
the Twenty points of union, which I named at the beginning. 
And this is the union that is most to be esteemed ; or at 
least, this is enough to make us of one Christ. As the great 
essential points of faith are of far greater moment and ex- 
cellency than our several controverted by-opinions, so is a 
union in these great essential points more excellent than an 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 331 

union in smaller matters : though both together is best of 
all, if joined with the truth. 

To these let me add also a third consideration ; that it 
is no wonder to find the Papists as a sect agreed among 
themselves ; for so are other sects as well as they : yea, let 
me add more, that I know, not of any one sect in the world 
that differ so much among themselves as the Papists do. 
The Greeks are kept from so much difference by their want 
of learning, which keeps them from meddling so much with 
niceties, and running into so many controversies as the Pa- 
pists do. The like may be said of the Ethiopians, Arme- 
nians, and many more. The Protestants differ not in half, 
nor a quarter so many points as the Papists do. Nay, the 
very Anabaptists themselves do not differ among themselves 
in the tenth part so many points as the Papists. If the many 
hundred differences among their commentators, schoolmen, 
casuists, and other writers, were collected and presented to 
your view, I much doubt whether there be any one sect on 
the face of the earth that hath the twentieth part so many 
differences among themselves as the Papists have. Though 
they think they salve all by saying that they differ not in 
articles of faith, yet their differences are never the fewer for 
that. And others may say more in that than they can do. 

Well! remember this advice : expect not a heavenly per- 
fection of unity and concord till you come to heaven. 

2. Another cause of our distractions and hindrance of 
concord is, that very few men have peaceable spirits, even 
when they are extolling peace. A peaceable spirit must 
have these qualifications, which most men want. 1. He 
must be united to Christ, the head and centre of union, and 
have a sanctified nature, and value God's honour above all 
things else, that so his desires of peace may flow from a 
right principle, and may proceed upon right grounds, and to 
right ends ; and he may seek a holy peace : And, alas, how 
few such spirits have we ! 

2. A peaceable spirit must be a public spirit, highly 
esteeming the welfare of the whole body, above any interest 
of his own, or of any sect or party. The great grace of self- 
denial is of necessity herein. No man hath a Christian, peace- 
able spirit, that doth not most highly value the peace and 
prosperity of the universal church, so far as to submit to 
losses or sufferings himself for the obtaining of it \ and that 



332 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

had not rather his party suffered than the whole. But, alas*, 
how rare is a public spirit in any eminency ! how private and 
selfish are the most ! The good of the church can no further 
be endeavoured, with too many, than self will give leave, 
and than their party will give leave : these must be made 
the masters of the consultation. 

3. A peaceable spirit must be a charitable spirit; loving- 
all the saints as saints ; and that with a pure heart, and fer- 
vently : this would put by the matter of contentions : this 
would provoke men to healing endeavours ; and it would put 
the best construction on men's opinions, words and actions, 
that they can bear : " Charity suffereth long, and is kind : 
Charity envieth not : Charity vaunteth not itself, is not 
puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeking not her 
own; is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth 
not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; beareth all things ; 
believeth all things ; hopeth all things; endureth all things." 
(1 Cor. xiii. 4 — 7.) O what an effectual healer is charity! 
what a tender hand will it bear to any distressed member ! 
much more to the whole church. What causeth our distrac- 
tions more than want of charity ; what else makes men look 
so scornfully, and speak so disgracefully of every sort of 
Christians, but themselves ? And to endeavour to make 
others as odious as they can ; and to make mere verbal dif- 
ferences seem real, and small ones seem exceeding great; 
and to find out a heresy or a blasphemy in the smallest error, 
and perhaps in a harmless word : All is blasphemy with 
some men, or error at least, which they do not understand. 
Alas, we have real heresies and blasphemies enough among 
Arians, Socinians, Ranters, Quakers, Seekers, Libertines, 
Familists, and many others ; let us reject these that are to 
be rejected, and spare not ; but we need not feign heresies 
and blasphemies where they are not, as if we wanted matter 
for our indignation. 

4. A peaceable spirit must be in some measure meek and 
patient, with a humble consciousness of its own frailties and 
offences: but, alas, what passionate, rash and turbulent 
spirits do abound in the poor divided church ! Such as are 
made of gunpowder, and speak fire and sword ; that will do 
no right, nor bear any wrong ; that will speak well of few but 
their own party, and yet cannot endure to be ill spoken of 
themselves ; that are possessed with the " wisdom wiiich is 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 333 

from beneath, which is earthly, sensual and devilish," and are 
strangers to the heavenly " wisdom, which is first pure, and 
then peaceable; gentle, and easy to be entreated." (James 
iii. 15. 17.) Even preachers of peace are some of them be- 
come the fervent agents of the divider, and go up and down 
with destroying rage, and make their tongues the bellows of 
hell, resisting the peaceable endeavours of their brethren. 

5. A peaceable spirit must have a high esteem of peace, 
and be zealous for it, and industrious to obtain it. Only 
against ungodliness and unpeaceableness must he be un- 
peaceable. Many have a good wish and a good word for 
peace, as hypocrites have for godliness, but this will not 
serve the turn. He that is not for us is against us, and he 
that gathereth not with us scattereth abroad. The wicked 
and unpeaceable are zealous and industrious against peace ; 
and those that are for peace are cold and indifferent for the 
greater part ; and the zealous and industrious are so few, that 
their voices cannot be heard in the contentious crowd. The 
unpeaceable are commonly the loudest, and are actuated by 
a fervent zeal, which nature agreeth with, and Satan cherish- 
eth and excites : such will, even as the Quakers, go up and 
down from one assembly to another, and in the market- 
places, and other places of concourse, revile, and rail, and 
reproach the ministry, and speak as earnestly as if they were 
the agents of Christ, And others are busy in secret, that 
will not incur the disgrace of such visible impiety. And 
when the enemies of unity and peace are many, and hot, and 
loud, and the friends of unity and peace are either few, or 
cold, and dull, and silent, what is likely to be the issue but 
even the mischiefs which we feel ? Forsooth, some dare not 
be fervent for peace, lest they be censured for their fervour 
to be unpeaceable: these shew how much they love the 
praise of men, and stick yet in the power of self. There is 
need of zeal for peace, as well as for other parts of holiness. 
All the resistance that the enemies of hell and earth can 
make will be made against it : and will be carried on against 
all by sleepy wishes, and sitting still ! I am sure this agrees 
not with the precepts of the Spirit. " Follow peace with all 
men." (Heb. xii. 14.) " If it be possible, as much as in you 
lieth live peaceably with all men." (Kom. xii. 18.) It is a 
sorry surgeon, or physician, that will think it enough to 
wish well to their patient ; the house of God will be neither 



334 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

built nov repaired without zeal, and industry, and patience 
in the work. If men's hearts were set upon the church's 
peace, and they did but feel the disjointing of her members, 
the breaking of her bones, and the smart of her wounds, as 
sensibly as they feel the like in their own bodies ; and if 
ministers and other Christians, were as sensible of the evil 
of divisions as they are of drunkenness, and whoredom, 
and such other sins ; and if we were all awakened to quench 
the flames of the church, as earnestly as we would do the 
fire in our houses, and would preach for peace, and pray 
for peace, and plead, and labour, and suffer for peace, then 
some good might be done on it against the rage and multi- 
tude of dividers. 

3. One of the greatest hindrances of concord and peace, 
is the setting up of a false centre, and building peace on 
grounds that will never bear it. Christian unity is no where 
centered but in Christ the head, and no way maintained but 
by the means which he hath ordained to that end. But the 
miserable world will not discern or take up with this. The 
Papists are of two churches ; for they have two heads, or 
sovereigns, which specify the society. One of the Popish 
churches make the Pope the head and centre, and all the 
church must unite in him, or it can be no church ! The other 
Popish church do make a general council the head, and the 
Pope only the subordinate sovereign in the vacancy. And 
these think to have the whole church to unite upon these 
terms. But it will never be. As Divine faith will have no 
formal object but Divine veracity, so neither can Christian 
unity have any universal proper centre but Christ. As at 
the building of Babel, when men would unite for their 
future security in their own devices, it brought them to 
utter confusion, which the world groaneth under to this day; 
so when men will build a Babel of their own invention, for 
the preventing of the inundation of heresies, they are upon 
the most dreadful work of confusion. The church is taught 
by the Scripture, and the Holy Ghost within them, to take 
up nowhere short of God; to call no man on earth the father 
or master of our faith, nor to trust in man, and make flesh our 
arm. Man is too dark and too weak a creature to be the 
head or centre of the church-deluded Papists ! You think 
you befriend the church's unity, when you hang it by a hair, 
and build it on the sand, and found it on mere weakness : 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCUIBED. 335 

could you prove that ever God had promised abilities and 
gifts to the Pope of" Rome, proportionable to such a work, 
we should most gladly look out to him for the exercise of 
those abilities. God setteth none on work but he furnisheth 
them with a suitableness for it. Have all Popes or councils 
prophetical and apostolical inspirations and directions? 
What! those that have been censured, and some of them 
deposed, for blasphemy, heresy, sodomy, adultery, murder, 
simony, and such works of darkness! The Spirit useth not 
to dwell in such persons, nor light to have communion with 
such darkness. Nay, if all Popes were holy, yea, as holy as 
Peter, they were too weak to bear up with the unity of the 
church. It is Christ, and not Peter, that is called the rock, 
on which the church is built, against which the gates of hell 
shall not prevail. This rock is Christ. (1 Cor. x. 4.) The 
church is the spouse of Christ, and must not be made a 
harlot, by being wedded to the Pope, or any other. Nothing 
hath more hindered the fuller union of the church than this 
idol, self-exalting head, and false centre of union. 

And if any would unite the church in kings, in councils, 
in any human devices, they will but divide it. 

4. And the same course take they that must needs build 
our union on insufficient, subordinate means. Some must 
have confessions in words of their own, to which all that will 
be accounted Christians must subscribe ; or at least, that 
would have communion with them. Though we would sub- 
scribe to the whole Scripture, or any confession drawn up 
in its phrase and matter, yet this will not serve for union and 
communion. They tell us, heretics will subscribe to the 
Scripture : and I tell them, that heretics may subscribe 
also to their confessions, and force a sense of their own upon 
them : and that God never left them to make better confes- 
sions, and fitter to discover heresies, than Scripture doth afford. 
But if heretics will subscribe to the Scriptures, or confes- 
sions taken wholly out of them, they should be no heretics 
in our account till they discover that they maintain some 
heresy against the sense of the Scripture, or confession 
which they subscribed to ; and then they are to be censured 
by the churches accordingly ; not for want of subscribing 
to a sufficient confession, but for abusing and contradicting 
the confession which they did subscribe; and so to be cor- 
rected for it as a crime against a sufficient law and rule; and 



336 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

we must not think to prevent it by making a better law or 
rule, which shall tie them more strict, and which they cannot 
break. It is a strange rule, which can necessitate the sub- 
ject to observe it, and which cannot be violated. And it is 
a wild head that must have new laws and rules made, be- 
cause he sees that malefactors can break these ! The law is 
sufficient to its own part, which is to be the rule of duty, 
and of judgment. It tells men sufficiently what they must 
believe and do ; but if they will not do it, itjudgeth them as 
offenders. You will never form a confession, or make a law 
that cannot be misinterpreted and broken. The Papists have 
set up whole volumes of councils and decrees for the rule 
forsooth, because the Scripture is dark, and all heretics 
plead Scripture. And what have they done by it, but cause 
more darkness, and set the world and their own doctors too 
in greater contentions, so that now councils cross councils, 
and they can neither agree which be true approved councils, 
and which not ; nor when they intend a decree to be an arti- 
cle of faith, and when not ; no, nor what sense to take their 
words in, and how to reconcile them. And thus men lose 
themselves, and abuse the church, because God's word will 
not serve their turn as a rule for us to unite upon. This is 
the one rule that God hath left, and men will needs blame 
this as insufficient, and mend God's works by the devices of 
their addle brains, and then complain of divisions, when they 
have made them ! One company of bishops must needs 
make a company of canon laws for the church, and all must 
be schismatics that will not be ruled by them : another 
company that are of another mind make contrary canons, 
and those must be obeyed, or else we are schismatics. They 
must make us our sermons, and call them Homilies, and make 
us our prayers, and call them a Liturgy : and the fruit of 
their brains must be the rule of all others, or else they are 
schismatics. So wise and holy are they above all their 
brethren, that none must publicly speak to God in any words 
but what they put into their mouths. (Read Dr. Heylin's 
Discourse of Cant. 5. 5. against ministers praying in the 
church in any other words but what is in the common-prayer- 
book.) So they do also by their vestures, and gestures, and 
other ceremonies : Nothing hath more divided the church 
than the proud impositions of men, that think so highly of 
their own words and forms, and ceremonious devices, that 



CATHOLIC CHUKt H DESCRIBED. 337 

no man shall have communion with Christ and the church 
in any other way. Never will the church unite on such 
terms. The rule that all must agree in must be made by one 
that is above all, and whose authority is acknowledged by 
all. Experience might tell these men, that they are building 
but a Babel, and dividing the church. In the Lord's-supper, 
where they have limited us to a gesture, we are all in pieces. 
In singing psalms, where they left us free, we have no dis- 
sention. ^ In the places where garments and other ceremonies 
are not imposed, God's worship is performed without conten- 
tion, and with as little uncomeliness as with them. Proud 
quarrelsome men, that must needs be lording it over the 
church, and turning legislators, may set all on fire for the 
promoting of their ways, and rail at all that will not be under 
their yoke: but when they have all done, they will find they 
are but busily dividing the church, and their canons are but 
fiery engines to batter its unity and peace. A thousand years 
experience and more, might have taught us this to our cost. 
Never will the church have full unity, till the Scripture-suf- 
ficiency be more generally acknowledged. You complain of 
many opinions and ways, and many you will still have, till 
the one rule, the Scripture, be the standard of our religion. 
As men that divide and separate from us, do use to accuse 
the ministers, and then be every man a teacher to himself; 
so they use to accuse the Scriptures, and, as the Papists, 
call them dark, and dangerous, and insufficient : and then 
every sect must make us a new rule, when they have dis- 
paraged that which Christ hath given us. Then one makes 
the Pope a rule by his decretals, and another a council, and 
another the bishops, canons or articles, and another his own 
suggestions and impulses. Stick close to this one Bible, 
and let nothing come into your faith or religion but what 
comes thence ; and when controversies arise, try them by 
this ; and if you cannot do it yourselves, then take the help 
of ministers or synods, and use them not as masters, but as 
helpers of your faith; not to make you another rule, but to 
help you to understand this only rule, and thus may you 
come to be of one religion, but never otherwise. 

5. To these I may add the damnable sin of pride and 
selfishness, touched at before. All men would have peace: 
but most would have it on their own terms ; yea, and most 

VOL. XVI. z 



338 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

parties would be the very centre of the churches. If all the 
world will come over to them, they will be at peace with 
them, otherwise not. If we will all swear allegiance to the 
Pope, and turn to them, we shall have concord with the 
Papists. Ifwe will all renounce Presbyterian ordination, 
and submit to Episcopacy, with all their canons, forms and 
ceremonies, we shall have concord with the rigid of that 
party. If we- will all be for an office of unordained eldei-s, 
that have no power to meddle with preaching or sacraments, 
we shall have peace with the more rigid sort of that way. If 
we will causelessly separate, and make the major vote of the 
people to be church-governors, we may have peace with men 
of that way. And if we will be re-baptized, we may have 
peace with the Anabaptists. But can all the catholic church 
unite upon these private, narrow terms? Every man would 
be the Pope or the general council himself : or rather every 
one would be the God of the world ; that all men may receive 
the law at his mouth, and his name may be honoured, and 
his kingdom may be set up, and his will may be done through- 
out the world: this is the nature of self-idolizing pride. And 
hence it is that the church hath as many dividers, as unsanc- 
tified men; because every unsanctified man is thus made an 
idol by his pride, and knows no further end but self. Is 
there never a man of you that hears me this day, that would 
not have all the town, and country, and world to be of one 
mind? I think there is not one but wisheth it. But what 
mind must it be? It must be of your mind ! Or else it will 
not satisfy you! And alas you are so many, and of so many 
minds among yourselves, that this way will never unite the 
world! One must have all of his mind, and another must have 
all of his mind, when no man well agrees with another, and 
yet none will be brought to another's mind. But God is 
one, and his mind is certainly right and good : and the Spirit 
is one, and the Scripture indited by it is one ; and if you 
would come to that as the only rule, you might be of one 
religion, and mind, and way : but till then you do but labour 
in vain. But you will say still, that every sect pretendeth 
to the Scripture, and there is so many expositions of it, that 
we see no hopes that this way should unite us : To this I 
next answer. 

6» It is the bane of unity when men must make every in- 



CATHOLIC CHlfRCH DESCRIBED. 339 

ferior opinion the seat of unity, and will not unite in the 
essentials of Christianity, endeavouring in love to accord as 
well as they can in the rest. Though the truth of the whole 
Scripture, that is known to be holy Scripture must be ac- 
knowledged ; yet the understanding of the meaning of the 
whole Scripture is not of necessity to salvation, or church 
unity : otherwise woe to every one of us I For there is no 
man on earth that hath the perfect understanding of all the 
holy Scriptures. And yet all that is in it propounded to be 
believed is ' de fide' matter of faith, and it is our duty to believe 
it, and understand it, and our sin that we do not ; but not a 
sin that proves us graceless, or unjustified. I wonder the 
Papists have not venial errors in matter of faith, as well as 
venial sins against moral precepts! But all that is 'defide,' 
must with some of them be fundamental or essential to 
Christianity. The Scripture is a full and beautiful body, 
which hath its flesh, and skin, and a multitude of nerves, and 
veins, and arteries, as well as the head, the heart, and stomach, 
and other natural parts ; without which parts, that are the 
seat or chief instruments of the animal, vital and natural 
spirits, the body were no body. All in the Scripture is true 
and useful, but all is not essential to Christianity. And in 
the essentials all Christians do agree; and if you would 
know how such should behave themselves to one another, 
hear the Holy Ghost himself, (Phil. iii. 12—16,) " Not as 
though I had already attained, or were already perfect ; but 
I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I 
am apprehended of Christ Jesus : Brethren, I count not 
myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, for- 
getting those things which are behind, and reaching forth 
to those things that are before, I press towards the mark for 
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us 
therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded; and if in 
any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this 
unto you : Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, 
let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." 
So 1 Cor. iii. 11 — 15. " Other foundation can no man lay, 
than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man 
build on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, 
hay, stubble, every man's work shall be made manifest : for 
the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, 
and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If 



•540 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

any man's work abide which he liath built thereupon, he shall 
receive a reward: If any man's work shall be burnt, he shall 
suffer loss ; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." 
Errors may bring heavy judgments in this life, and out of this 
fire the erroneous may escape, and not fall into the eternal 
fire ; for thus will God " sit as a refiner, and purifier of silver, 
and will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and 
silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteous- 
ness." (Mai. iii. 2,3.) Dislike every error, and escape as many 
as you can ; but think not that every error must dissolve 
our unity, or that every truth is necessary to our unity. 

And where you say that all sorts do plead the Scriptures, 
T answer, 1. That all sorts of Christians in the essentials do 
rightly understand the Scripture. 2. And for the rest, their 
very pleading that, shews that all sorts are convinced that 
it is the rule of truth, even where they do not understand it. 
3. And this is no proof of the insufficiency of Scripture, but 
of the imperfection of men's understandings; and instead of 
seeking for another rule, you should labour for a better un- 
derstanding of this, and use the help of ministers thereto. The 
law of the land is the rule of the subjects' actions, and 
tenures ; and yet what controversies are about it, even 
among the wisest lawyers ! and one pleadeth it for one cause, 
and another saith that the law is for the contrary cause ! 
Yea, one judge differs from another. What then! must we 
cast away the law? Let us know where to have a better 
first! But rather, men should labour to know it better, and 
meddle not contentiously with theniceties of it without need. 
And thus we must do about the law of God. Agree in the 
essentials, and learn the rest as well as we can. 

7. Another great impediment to our concord is, abun- 
dance of dividing, unpeaceable principles, that be grown into 
credit, or entertained in the world : and if such principles 
meet with the most peaceable disposition, they will make 
the man become unpeaceable. For the best men that are 
will think they must obey God ; and therefore when they 
mistake his will, they will think they will do well when they 
are sinning against him. There are too few in the world of 
a peaceable principle : Some lay all peace, as is said, on the 
opinions of their own parties ; and some lay it on a multi- 
tude of such low opinions, and such doubtful things, that 
they might know can never be the matter of universal con- 



CATHOLIC CHUKCU DESCRIBED. 341 

sent: Some think they must not silence any thing which 
they conceive to be a truth, for the peace of the church, or 
the promoting of greater undoubted truths. Some think tliey 
ought to reproach and disgrace all that are not of their mind; 
and some think they ought to destroy them, or cast them 
out, and think this a part of their faithfulness to the truth of 
Christ, and that this is but to help him against his enemies. 
And there is no more desperate principle of division and 
persecution than this uncharitableness, which makes the 
children of God, and the members of Christ, to seem his ene- 
mies, and then use them as his enemies : To dress them in 
a false attire, as they did Christ, and then smite him : To 
put them in the shape of schismatics, or heretics, or devils, 
as the Papists do when they burn them, and then use them 
accordingly. Many more unpeaceable principles I might re- 
cite ; and if it were not too tedious, I think it would be useful. 
8. Another hindrance of unity and peace is, a carnal 
zeal in matters of religion, which is frequently mistaken for 
the true zeal of the saints. When men are confident that 
their opinions are the truth, »and overvalue them as to the 
necessity, because they are their own, though they observe 
not the reason, they presently think they must be hot against 
all the gainsayers of their opinions ; and herein they place 
the most, or at least too much of their religion. 

There is not one of many that hath this zeal, but thinks 
it is of God, and is part of their holiness. When as it is often 
from the devil and the flesh, even when the doctrine is true 
which they contend for. You may know it from true zeal by 
these following marks. 1. It is more for controversies and 
speculations than for practical holiness. 2. It is selfish, and 
kindled by an overvaluing their own conceits or ways. 

3. It is private, and would promote a lower truth to the loss 
of a greater, or a doubtful point to the loss of undoubted 
truth ; or a single truth to the loss or hindrance of the body 
of common truth ; and it is hotter for a party than for the 
catholic church, and will promote the interest of an opinion 
or party, to the wrong of the common interest of the church. 

4. It is blind, and carries men to sinful means; as resisting 
authority, order, or ordinances, or the like. 5. It is unmer- 
ciful and unpeaceable, and little sensible of the case of others, 
or smart of the divided church. Many are calling for fire 
from heaven for the cause of Christ, that little " know what 



342 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

spirit they are of." (Luke ix. 55.) O how true is this of 
many, that think they excel in knowledge or zeal, and are 
but defending the truth against erroneous adversaries! But 
" who is the wise man, and endowed with knowledge among 
you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works 
with meekness of wisdom : But if ye have bitter envying 
and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the 
truth : This wisdom descended! not from above, but i^s 
earthly, sensual, devilish : for where envying and strife is, 
there is confusion, and every evil work : But the wisdom 
that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and 
easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without 
partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righte- 
ousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James iii, 
13 to the end.) But of this 1 have formerly spoken at large 
in many sermons on these words of James. Dividing zeal 
is a grievous distracter of the church's peace. 

6. Another hindrance is, that of the many that are for 
peace and unity, there are few that have any great skill to 
promote it, and those few that have skill, want opportunity 
or interest, and are cried down by the opposers. There is a 
great deal of skill necessary to discern and manifest the true 
state of controversies, and to prove verbal queirrels to be but 
verbal, and to take off the false visors which ignorance 
and passion puts on them, to aggravate the differences 
that are debated. There is much wisdom necessary for the 
securing of truth, while we treat for peace, and the main- 
taining peace, while we defend the truth. Alas, how few 
escape one of the extremes in most differences themselves, 
and, therefore, are unfit reconcilers of others. Few are pos- 
sessors of that blessed light that doth shew the error of 
both extremes, and must be the means of our concord, if 
ever we agree ! Few know that truth between contrary errors 
in which both must meet. How much skill also is necessary 
to deal with touchy, froward spirits, and to handle both 
nettles and thorns that must be dealt with. And how few 
men of wisdom and peace are much regarded by the fire- 
brands of the churches ! And how few of them have lan- 
guage, and health, and maintenance, and authority, and a 
skilful activity to set others on work, which are almost need- 
ful for this healing design? And what abundance of private 
wishes have been buried by the most skilful men for want of 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 343 

opportunities ! And how many private writings cast by, that 
have that in them that deserved public entertainment, and 
might have been very fit instruments for this healing work. 

10. And the various carnal interests of the world, are 
an exceeding hindrance to the church's peace. The inte- 
rest of one prince lieth for one party ; and another is for 
another party : one prince thinks it for his interest to unite, 
and another thinks it for his interest to divide, or secretly 
to cherish and continue divisions. The ministry also have 
too oft a carnal interest, which lieth usually in siding with 
the prince \ and the great carnal interest of the Roman clergy 
lieth sticking close to the Pope. The people hereupon are 
commonly in such distractions and disturbances, by wars, or 
secular cares and wants, that motions of peace can scarcely 
be heard, or attended to ; but the noise of guns, drums, and 
lamentations, and reproaching of enemies, drowneth all. 
And when the crossing of secular interests hath made them 
one another's enemies, they will hardly treat as friends for 
unity in religion, or the healing of the church. 

11. And it is no small hindrance that the princes of the 
earth are commonly so bad, as either to be strangers to the 
true interest of Christ and his church, or else to prefer their 
own before it. It is they that have the greatest interests 
and opportunities, and might do most for unity if they would. 
And withal they think that nobody should meddle without 
their leave ; and commonly when they do nothing themselves, 
they will not suffer the ministers to do it that are their sub- 
jects. How easy were it with the Christian princes and 
states, if they had so much wit and grace to agree together, 
to bring the churches in their dominions to much agreement. 
But alas, highest places have greatest temptations, and 
therefore too oft the worst men : so that they that should 
do it, and might do it, have no heart to it. And the princes 
are very rare that prefer Christ's interest before their own ; 
and have truly learned the lesson of denying themselves, and 
forsaking all they have for him. The great work of con- 
verting the heathen world should be promoted by them ; 
but how little is there done in it by any princes ! 

12. Moreover, the multitude are everywhere almost averse 
to holy unity and peace : Their dispositions are against it : 
their principles are against it: their parts unfit for it: and 
yet how to do it without them will be hard. For 1. They 



344 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

have all of them almost conceits of their own fitness; and 
think all matters in religion should be regulated by them. 
They detest that a few should overtop them, and do the 
work while they stand by ; and they grow to a hatred of 
those few, because they are counted wiser and better than 
they ; yea, they naturally hate the godly, and the practical 
truths of God : and yet the greater vote must carry it, or 
else the swarm will be about your ears : When it is a hun- 
dred to one, but a hundred for one in most places of the 
world, are in the wrong, if not bitter enemies to the right. 
And in the best parts of thew orld, it is a wonder if the greater 
part be not the worse. Or if in a corner or two it should be 
better, what is that to all the Christian world? 2. At least 
if they will not be passively peaceable, how little can we 
do, when it is they that must, in part, consent, and it is they 
that have the strength to resist. 

13. And even among the godly the peacemakers are far 
the smaller number, 1 mean as to the healing of our common 
divisions. For the younger sort of Christians, in age, or 
grace, or gifts, are the greatest number: and these also are 
of the most active, hot dispositions, and will be forwardest 
in all agitations, and will not stand by. And alas, how few 
of them have meekness, prudence, and charity, answerable 
to their heat and activity! They will lead their leaders; 
and their way must carry it, or else all are censured and 
trod down by them : and how ordinarily is their way un- 
peaceable and confusive ! And how seldom doth it end ac- 
cording to their expectations, for the churches' good. But 
for the wise and judicious, experienced, sober, peaceable 
men, alas, how few are they ; till they grow aged few attain 
to this. And yet nothing will be done for the peace and 
welfare of the church but by the conduct and direction of 
these few experienced, judicious, moderate men. None else 
can do it : and yet few other will suffer them to do it. And 
thus we see here in these nations, that even religious men 
have been the hinderers of our peace. 

14. And withal, the devil, who is the great enemy of 
peace and unity, is still watching to cast in some bone of 
contention, and to make use of the opinions and passions of 
all, both good and bad, for the accomplishing of his ends. 
And alas, his subtlety overreacheth not only the ignorant 
people, but the most learned divines, and prudent princes- 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 345 

They shall not manage their affairs of state so carefully, but 
he will engage them against Christ and the peace of the 
church, before they are aware : He will do his utmost to make 
the interest of Christ and the prince, of the church and the 
commonwealth, to seem to stand at an enmity to each other, 
and make princes walk in a jealousy of Christ, and his Gos- 
pel, and ministers, lest they should encroach upon their 
honour and greatness : and too oft he engageth them in flat 
opposition, till this stone fall upon them, and grind them to 
powder. 

And the ministers of the Gospel shall scarcely manage 
their work so wisely, but he will cast in some wildfire, and 
find some occasion to make a dissention by. Either the 
subtlety of men too wise and learned, in their own eyes, 
shall start some dividing, fruitless controversies ; or the zeal 
of men that are orthodox over much, shall rise up unpeace- 
ably against all dissenters : or he will entangle the godly in 
some dangerous errors ; or he will seek to make men lay 
snares for their brethren, by needless impositions, under 
pretence of order, and decency, and unity, and authority: 
or some passionate words shall kindle the fire. There are 
many unsound hypocrites among the godly ministers ; and 
there is too much pride and passion in the best, and Satan 
knows how to make use of all : What saith he to the proud, 
Shall such a one be preferred before thee ? Shall he bear 
away the applause ? Shall he eclipse and stand in the way 
of thy reputation ? Did he not speak dishonourably of thee ; 
or carry himself disregardfully towards thee ? Did he not 
disgrace thee by such an opposition or dispute ? A hundred 
temptations hath Satan at hand to kindle dissention, even 
among the ministers of Christ : and where he meets with 
proud hearts he seldom misseth of his purpose. If the dis- 
ciples were striving which should be the greatest, and if 
Paul and Barnabas fall out to a parting, no wonder if pride 
and dissention be yet found among the most renowned men. 
Though it is a sad case that it should be so, when we daily 
preach humility to our people, and know, that except con- 
version make us like little children, we can in no wise enter 
into the kingdom of God. (Matt, xviii. 3.) 

How hard a task hath a peaceable minister to keep one 
congregation of Christians in peace. But differences will be 
rising, and one will be provoking another by injuries, or 



346 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AN-^D 

haid words, and few can bear, and forbear, and forgive : 
Yea, a master of a family finds it hard to keep one small 
family in peace. Yea, two persons will find somewhat to do 
to keep peace, especially if they have much trading, or deal- 
ing with each other, or any crossing in matters of commodity. 
Yea, husband and wife, that are as one flesh, have much ado 
to avoid dissentions. No wonder then if the enemy of peace 
can disturb the church of Christ. 

15. Another cause of divisions is, living among, and 
hearkening to schismatical persons that are still blowing the 
coals. It is a dangerous case, especially to young, unexpe- 
rienced Christians, to fall among those that make it their reli- 
gion to vilify others as enemies of Christ: When they hear one 
sect only extolled, and all others spoken of as ignorant, or 
carnal, or enemies to the church, it is two to one but this 
imprinteth a schismatical disposition in the hearers' minds. 
Conversing only with one party doth usually occasion great 
uncharitableness towards all others, and sear the conscience, 
so that it grows insensible of revilings, and opprobrious 
speeches, against those that differ from them. 

16. And the unity of the church is exceedingly hindered 
by an unworthy privacy and retiredness of most Christians 
that live like the snail in a shell, and look but little abroad 
into the world. Some know not the state of the world, or 
of the church, nor much care to know it; but think it is 
with all the world as it is with us in England : when as if 
they knew the fewness of Christians, the huge numbers of 
infidels, the corruptions of other churches, in comparison of 
ours, it would surely set them lamenting, and praying that the 
kingdom of Christ might come. Yea, many ministers are of 
so base a privacy of spirit, that they look little further than 
their own parishes, and think if all be well there, all is well 
everywhere ; and seldom inquire how it goes with the church 
in the rest of the world : nor will scarcely be brought to as- 
sociate and keep correspondence with their brethren, for the 
union and communion of the several churches and the com- 
mon good : far unlike the temper of Paul and the other 
apostles and servants of Christ in those days. They have 
not a care of all the churches. They long not to hear of 
their welfare. They would think it much to travail and la- 
bour for it the thousandth part so much as they. They can- 
not say, " who is weak, and I am not weak," 8cc. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 347 

17. Yea, some are drawn from the church's unity and 
peace by misunderstanding those texts of Scripture that call 
for separation from the world, and that speak of the fewness 
of those that shall be saved. I have heard of one that turned 
Separatist upon this conceit, because he thought that, seeing 
the flock of Christ is little, the Protestants were too many 
to be it : at last the separated church grew so big, that he 
thought, surely this is not the little flock, and so turned to the 
Anabaptists : at last the Anabaptists' church so increased, 
that he thought, surely this is too big to be the little flock ; 
and so went seeking about for the least, as thinking that 
must needs be in the right. Alas, what low thoughts have 
such of the church of God ! Yea, and of the love and gra- 
cious nature of God, and of the great design of Christ in the 
work of redemption ! But the main cause of the delusion 
of these poor souls is, because they know not the state of the 
world abroad. If they did but know that it is the sixth part 
of the world that are baptized common Christians, and not 
past a sixth or seventh part of that sixth part that are com- 
mon Protestants, but all the rest are Papists, and Greeks, 
and many sorts of more ignorant, unreformed Christians ; 
and among the Protestants, no country for godliness is like 
to England ; they would not go about to pen up the church 
into a narrower room. To believe that Christ died, and 
made so much ado for so small a part of the world, as comes 
not to one of forty, or fifty, or an hundred thousand, is next 
to flat infidelity itself; which thinks he died for none at all. 
And for the command, " Come out from among them, 
and be ye separate," it is pity that any Christian should 
need be told, that it speaks only to the church to come out 
of the heathen, infidel world, (such as are Jews, and Maho- 
metans, and heathens ;) but there is never a word in all the 
Bible that bids you * Come out of the church, and be ye 
separate !' Wonderful ! that God should be so abused by 
misunderstanding Christians ! Because he commands men 
to come out of the infidel world into the church, they plead 
it as if he commanded them to come out of the church 
into a separated sect. The church is the house of Christ; 
forsake it not, while he stays in it : forsake it not, for he hath 
promised never to forsake it. Particular churches indeed 
he may cast off, but never the universal. Dwell therefore 
where he dwells. 



348 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

18. Another hindrance of peace is, that so many Chris- 
tians as they have carnal dispositions, so they are still look- 
ing at carnal means. The endeavours of the ministry they 
account as nothing ; but they are still looking what the 
Magistrate will do : and till he force them they will not stir, 
and till he do it they think there is nothing done : such base 
thoughts have some, even ministers, of their own callings. 
And hence it is that such men are always on the stronger 
side, and of the king's religion ; or else are seeking carnal 
advantages to carry on their cause. So the Jesuits are more 
busy to get the princes of the world engaged for them, and 
the arms of the nations employed for their ends, than we 
are to treat of unity and peace: And every party, instead of 
seeking peace, is seeking to get highest, that they may be 
able to force all others to their will : and we can never get 
any peaceable debates upon equal terms, because the several 
parties do seldom stand on equal terms : but still one is up, 
and another is down : and he that is in the saddle will not 
light to treat of peace, nor hearken to any equal motions, 
but must have his will, and nothing less will serve the turn: 
and when he is down, and the other party is up, the case is 
the same. Still he that is lowest is most reasonable and 
peaceable, (except some impious, implacable spirits :) but the 
party that is highest will not be brought to reason. And thus 
the peace of the church is hindered, to our grief and shame. 
19. Another great hindrance of unity and concord is the 
great weaknesses and miscarriages of the professors of god- 
liness, partly because of hypocrites among them, and partly 
because they are sanctified but in part. Among others, by 
these several ways, they do disturb our peace. 

1. By an ignorant quarrelling with their teachers, think- 
ing themselves fit to correct their guides before they are 
considerably grounded in the catechism. 

2. By entertaining false opinions, and making a dis- 
turbance for them. 

3. By the great diversity of opinions among themselves, 
by which they become a scorn or stumbling-block to many 
about them. 

4. By the uncharitable bitterness of their spirits, in rash 
censures and contendings. 

5. By their scandalous lives, and falls, disgracing their 
profession, and hardening and alienating the minds of others. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 349 

And, 6. By their imprudent and intemperate dealing with 
others ; using proud or provoking language, or carriage that 
more savoureth of contempt than of compassion. And thus 
the children of the church do divide it. Especially by their 
childish fallings out with one another, and hearkening to 
malicious, contentious hypocrites, that would lead them to 
despise their guides, and break them into shreads among 
themselves. (Rom. xvi. 17.) 

20. Lastly, The greatest hindrance of our unity is, the 
ungodliness of the most that profess themselves Christians, 
whereby they become incapable matter for our truest, nearest 
union, and yet think that we must be united to them all : 
when they will not join with us in the vitals of Christianity, 
but stick in the bark, and take up with the name, yet do 
they think that we must join with them, and be of their 
communion and opinions in all external things, and if we 
differ from them they think we are schismatics. Men lay 
the church's unity too much in mere speculations, which 
they call the Articles of faith, and too little in practical, 
and holiness of life, whereas there is no article of faith, but 
is for practice ; and as truly as the understanding and will 
are both essential to the soul ; so truly the sanctity of un- 
derstanding and will are both essential to a Christian : And 
as the holiness of the heart is as essential as faith to a real 
Christian, or member of the church regenerate ; so the pro- 
fession of holiness is as essential as the profession of faith 
to make a man a member of the church visible or congre- 
gate. And therefore as we can have no inward union and 
communion with any but the truly sanctified, so can we 
have no visible church-union or communion but with those 
that profess to be truly sanctified. It is a shameful thing 
to hear every drunkard and scorner at godliness to rail at 
the many divisions in the church, and to call for unity and 
concord, when it is he, and such as he, that hinder it, that 
will not be united to Christ himself, nor join with us in the 
only centre of union, nor in the greatest and most necessary 
things, without which all Christian union is impossible. 
But because I take this to be a necessary point, I shall 
handle it, God willing, more fully by itself. 

To conclude all, let me exhort all Christians to drink in 
this truth into their judgments and affections. If you are 
Christians indeed, you are catholics. And if so, you must 



350 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

have, 1. Catholic principles. And, 2. Affections. I be- 
seech you look to both these well. 

And as you keep the great catholic principle, which is 
the subject of our discourse, viz. to know what a true ca- 
tholic is, and which is the catholic church, that so you may 
not do as the Papists, that take up a sect under the abused 
name of Catholicism, and plead against the catholic church 
for that sect under the name of the catholic church ; so also 
you must know and keep close to the true catholic rule ; 
and not do as the Papists, that have honoured a private and 
crooked rule by that name, to the church's trouble, and their 
own delusion : and also you must keep close to the true 
catholic governor of the church, and judge of controversies, 
and turn not aside with Papists and others, to an usurper, 
or a private judge. In these three your Catholicism must 
much consist. The first, what the catholic church is, and 
what a true catholic, I have said as much to as I conceive 
necessary. The other two I shall say a little more to, viz. 
the catholic rule, and the catholic judge, and then of the 
fourth and last, which is, the catholic spirit or affections. 

1. We are all agreed that the will of God revealed, must 
be, and is, the catholic rule of faith and life. But we are 
not all agreed which is this revelation of the will of God. 
That the book of the creatures and the principles of nature 
do reveal much natural-moral verity and duty we are agreed : 
but the doubt is of supernatural revelation. And of this we 
are agreed, that ' whatsoever is certainly delivered to the 
church by prophet or apostle, or any person infallibly prov- 
ing a Divine inspiration or command to deliver what he 
speaks, must be received as from God. And whatever is so 
revealed concerning faith or duty, by way of imposition, is 
our rule : and if revealed to all, it is the rule to all.' We are 
agreed also, that the holy Scriptures containing those books 
which the Reformed churches take for the canon, are a Divine, 
infallible revelation concerning faith and duty. And there- 
fore we are all agreed that the holy Scriptures are the rule. 
But whether they be the whole rule we are not agreed. The 
Reformed churches say, that the sign is but to make known 
the doctrine signified : and that while the inspired apostles 
were themselves alive, their own voices were the sign, and 
instead of a written word to all that heard them, and more. 
But knowing that they must die, and that the word of per- 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. S51 

.sons not infallibly inspired, is no rule of faith, and how 
hardly things not written are preserved from alteration and 
deprivation, therefore they left their doctrine in writing, for 
the easier and surer, and more universal communication and 
preservation. And that universal, infallible tradition hath 
delivered us down both this Scripture, and also (by itself) 
the sum of Christianity, in the creed and baptismal covenant, 
and in the hearts of the faithful from age to age. So that 
we make very high account of tradition, as bringing us in 
one hand the essentials of Christianity, and in the other the 
whole body of sacred doctrine in the Scriptures, containing 
all these essentials, and more. And this is the rule of our 
faith and life : Yet we confess, that if any could prove a cer- 
tain delivery of any more from the apostles to the church, 
we are ready to receive it, which way ever it be delivered. 
But the Papists add, that partly tradition, and partly the 
canons and decrees of the church, are to be received as the 
rule as well as Scripture, and that much is revealed by ver- 
bal tradition to that end, which is not in Scripture, which is 
with equal pious affection and reverence to be received ; 
and that the church, which is the keeper of this tradition, 
is only the Roman church, or all that believe in the Pope of 
Rome, as the universal head or sovereign of the church. 

Now the question is, 'Whether theirs or ours be the 
catholic rule ?' 

And here the wickedness of factious disputers hath done 
the church a world of wrong on both sides. Some are so 
mad in their contentious, that they care not what they say 
scarcely, so they do but cry down one another. The Papists 
cannot cry up their tradition, but they must speak so re- 
proachfully, impiously, foolishly, of the Scriptures, as if they 
were stark infidels. To omit others, the reading of Rush- 
worth's Dialogues, and White's Additions and Defence, is a 
notable bait to tice men to infidelity, and those dialogues 
contain the very same arguments which the new apostate 
infidels use. And on the other side, many to say as much 
as they can against the Papists, do so cry down traditions, 
that they (' tantum non') disable themselves to make good 
the Scripture itself. Operverseness ! O doleful fruits of con- 
tentions ! Whereas a true catholic should be glad of any 
light from heaven whatsoever: and must know, that God 



352 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

in great mercy to liis church hath by these two hands de- 
livered us his will : not some part in Scripture, and the rest 
by unwritten traditions, as say the Papists ; but some part 
by such tradition, and all by Scripture, and that Scripture 
by tradition. So that God hath given us two strings to one 
bow : and the Papists will have two bows also ; and others 
will have but one string. 

Well; L I prove that the Scripture is the catholic rule. 

That is the catholic rule of faith, which the whole church 
in all ages and places hath received as the rule : But such 
is the Scripture. Papists and Protestants, Greeks and Arme- 
nians, Abassines and all Christians, confess that the canoni- 
cal Scriptures are the revelation of the will of God : so that 
this must be catholic, which the catholic church receiveth. 

2. And I prove that the Papists' rule is a sectarian, 
crooked rule, and not catholic. 1. That is not the catholic 
rule of faith which the catholic church did never receive : 
But such is the popish rule of Roman tradition : Therefore if 
you take it in the general, viz. the traditions of the Roman 
church to be received by her peculiar authority, (i.) The Re- 
formed churches now disown it. (2.) The Greeks and other 
Eastern and Southern churches now disown it. (3.) The 
primitive church did never own it : so that all the church 
was once a stranger to their rule, and the most of it is an 
adversary to it at this day. And can that be the catholic 
rule which most of the catholic church disclaims? The 
Eastern and Southern churches think that the Roman tra- 
ditions are of no more authority than their own ; nay, of far 
less, and much of them false. 2. If you look to their addi- 
tions of the apocryphal books, to the canon of the Scrip- 
tures, the ancient catholic church was against them ; as Dr. 
Reignolds, and newly Dr.Cosin at large, and through every 
age hath shewed. 3. If you come to particulars : the very es- 
sence of the Roman Catholicism and church, and the univer- 
sal headship still of their Pope, which are the master points 
of their tradition, are denied and detested by the far greater 
part of the catholic church on earth to this day. And is 
this a catholic rule which the catholic church denieth? A 
great stir the Papists make about catholic tradition, and the 
judgment of the catholic church. But what good would 
this do them if we were as much for tradition as they? When 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 353 

the most of the catholic church condetnneth them and their 
traditions, or own them not, even in the principal points 
essential to their religion ? 

And what have they to say to this? Nothing but what 
any thief may say of a true man when he hath cut his purse, 
even to call him thief first ! Forsooth, most that are called 
Christians, by far, are all heretics, and therefore none of 
the catholic church ; and therefore their votes are no im- 
peachment to the papal claim. And how prove you that ? 
' Why the Pope saith so, and so do his faction.' Why, but 
he is a party ! How know we that he saith true? Why, here 
you must leave them : ' He saith that he saith true ; there- 
fore he saith true : He saith that the most of the church are 
not of the church, but heretics, and that none but his sub- 
jects are of the church, therefore it is true.' And so he 
must be the judge in his own cause, and be believed by the 
catholic church on his own authority. Read but the third 
section of Rushworth's Second Heathenish Dialogues, and 
see what a silly shift the self-conceited disputant is at in 
answering this objection, ' All Christians agree in the ac- 
ceptation of the Scripture, and far fewer in divers points of 
doctrine : for the churches of the Roman communion are no 
such extraordinary part of Christendom, compared to all the 
rest. Answ. For the extent of the churches I cannot cer- 
tainly tell you the truth, because I fear many are called 
Christians, who have little either in their belief or lives to 
verify that name : But you know in witnesses the quality is 
to be respected, as well and more than the quantity : so 
that those countries in which Christianity is vigorous, are 
to be preferred before a greater extent of such where little 
remains more than the name. Suppose, in a suit at law, 
one party had seven legitimate witnesses, the other as many, 
and besides them twenty knights of the post, (known per- 
jured knaves,) would you cast the cause for this wicked 
rabble?' Thus Rushworth. 

And is this all? And is this a catholic cause or rule? 
You see now from their most violent subtle disputers, that 
they dare not stand to the major vote. They cannot deny 
but the Papists are the far smaller number: And most must 
not carry it ! How then ? Why we must be judged by the best, 
and not by the most. Content: And I must solemnly pro- 

VOL. XVI. A A 



354 The true catholic^ anb 

fess, that if my salvation lay upon it, and 1 were to go to- 
morrow, either to heaven or hell, according to my choice of 
the holier party to trust ray faith upon, I should make as 
little doubt whether the Reformed or the Roman professors 
be more holy, (as far as ever I was able to discern,) as I 
should do whether the Latin or the Greek church be the 
more learned. If godliness and honesty of witnesses must 
carry it, I must live and die where I am. But especially 
when the Papists are worsted at both, and have neither the 
greater part, nor the more honest, (of which I am quite past 
doubt, as I am whether England be better and greater than the 
Orcades,) where then is their catholic faith and rule? 

As for ail the heathenish cavils of Rushworth against the 
certainty of Scripture, because of the language, the transla- 
tions, and such blind, malignant exceptions, I shall answer 
them, if God will, in a more fit place. 

2. Having spoken of the catholic rule, let me next advise 
you to keep close to the Catholic Governor and Judge. And 
who is that? Even Jesus Christ himself, and none but he. 
Why, but is there not a visible head and catholic judge of 
controversies on earth? To deny this seems an intolerable 
absurdity to a Papist : Then every man may believe what he 
list, or what his own fancy leads him to? Answ. 1. And if 
the Pope can cure heresy or infidelity, why doth he suffer 
most of the world to be infidels, and most of professed 
Christians to be, in his judgment, heretics? And if he can 
decide all controversies, why suffers he so many hundreds to 
be undecided among his followers. And it seems by the 
late determination of the Five Jansenian Articles, that neither 
lie norhis subjects know whenhe hath decided a controversy, 
and when not. He said he condemned five points of the 
doctrine of Jansenius: the Jesuits say so too : the Jansen- 
ists say, It is not so, they are none of his doctrines, nor to 
be found in him in word or sense. 2. The catholic judge 
doth not contradict the catholic rule ; but the Pope and his 
Council doth. 3. The catholic Judge contradicteth not him- 
self, but so do Popes and Councils. 4. That is not the catholic 
judge whom most of the catholic church disowneth, and never 
did own : but most of them never owned the Pope. But of 
all this I entreat the unsatisfied reader to peruse what I have 
written in the Second and Third Disputation against Popery. 



if^K 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 605 

Object. 'But what! Will you have no visible judge of 
controversies r Amw. Yes: but not over all the catholic 
church. Quest. ' But who then shall be judge?' A^sw;. The 
case is plain, if men were but impartial. Discerning is one 
thing, teaching is another, and deciding or determining is 
another. A discerning judgment, as far as they are able, 
belongs to all: A directing or teaching judgment occasion- 
ally and ' ex charitate' belongs to all that are able ; and pub- 
licly and ordinarily, ' ex officio,' it belongs to all pastors and 
teachers. Neither of these is the judgment now inquired 
after, but the third. If a man know not the articles of faith, 
the teachers of the church are to instruct him. But if a man 
deny the articles of faith, the same teachers of the church 
are to endeavour to convince him of his error, and better 
inform him : and thus far judicial decisive power is unneces- 
sary. But if he will not be convinced, but still deny the arti- 
cles of the faith, then comes in the judicial decisive power in 
order to his punishment. The articles of faith are to be dis- 
cerned, and judged by, but not judged themselves any other- 
wise than to be taught : but it is the heretic or offender that 
is to bejudged. And the judgment being in order to execution, 
there is a twofold judgment, as there is a twofold execution. 

1. If the question be. Who shall be taken for a heretic, in order 
to the corporal punishment or forcible coercion of him by the 
sword, here the magistrate only is the judge : and it is, 1. A 
vile usurpation in the Pope to take this power out of his hands. 

2. And it is an intolerable abuse of magistrates ! It makes them 
but like hangmen, or mere executioners, when the Pope and 
his clergy must be the judges of heresies, and the magistrate 
must but execute their judgment : What if the church or 
Pope judge a catholic to be a heretic, must the magistrate 
therefore burn an innocent member of Christ? They confess 
themselves that the Pope may err in matter of fact, and 
judge a man to be a heretic that is none: and if he could not 
err, yet surely his clergy may : Yea, they confess a General 
Council may, and say, they did err in condemning Pope 
Honorius of heresy. And must kings, and judges, and all 
magistrates, hang and burn all innocent people that the 
Popish clergy shall falsely judge heretics? Will it justify 
them before God to say. The Pope or bishops bid us burn 
them ? No, I had rather be a dog, than be a king upon these 
conditionii. 3. And indeed it ia impossible for the Pope him- 



356 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AKD 

self to be judge of all men through the world that are guilty 
of heresy. For he is many hundred or thousand miles off; 
and there must be a present j udge that shall hear the cause and 
witnesses; and there must be many thousand of these judges 
to the whole world : and can the Pope or Council then serve 
alone? If every heretic in England escape till a Pope or 
Council have the hearing or judging of him, he will not fear. 

Object. ' But the Pope and Council are to judge what is 
heresy, and what not, though not to judge all particular 
causes; and then the bishops must judge the causes.' 

Ansio. God hath told us already in his word, which are 
the articles of our faith, and the universal church hath de- 
livered us all the essential articles in creeds, professions, 
and the baptismal covenant ! And therefore here is no work 
for a judge, but for a teacher. The pastors of the church 
must teach us ' ex officio,' with authority, which are the arti- 
cles of faith; but they have no power to judge an article to be 
no article, nor to make any new article : and to judge an 
article to be an article, any man may do by judgment of 
discerning, and any teachers by a judgment of direction. If 
moreover you would have no article of faith to be believed 
to be such, but on the word or credit of the Pope or Council, 
and so resolve our faith into them, I have fully confuted this 
in my Third Dispute against Popery ! The word of God must 
be believed, whether men know the mind of the Pope and 
Council, or not: but this is the highest arrogancy of the 
Papal sect, that they must not have God's own laws be- 
lieved, or received by any, but upon their word and credit : 
and so we must know that they are authorized hereto, and 
infallible, before we know the articles of our faith ; and so 
we must believe in Christ's vicar before we can believe in 
Christ? This is the ground of the Papal cause. Well, I 
think I may take it for granted by this time, that with rea- 
sonable, impartial, considerate men the case is plain, that it 
is magistrates, and not the Pope, that are judges who is to 
be corporally punished for heresy ! And if every bishop must 
do it, then, 1. They must prove every bishop infallible; and, 
2. Then they have not one catholic judge of faith but many. 

And what if we had granted them a power in the Pope 
or Council to judge of God's law, and what is an article of 
faith, and what is heresy? Yet this will be far from restrain- 
ing heresies, as long as there is no judge of the particular 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. S57 

case : And if we have as many judges of the cause and person 
as there be bishops, then we have not one catholic judge of 
persons and causes ; and if we must have fallible bishops, 
yea, and Popes, to judge of the person and fact, then we 
have but fallible restrainers of heresy. 

2. The second sort of judgment is in order to church 
punishments. When the question is not. Who shall be 
punished by the sword? But Who shall be avoided by the 
church as a heretic ? Here it is the church that is to judge ; 
even that church that must avoid or reject them from com- 
munion. And therefore as communion is of narrower or 
wider extension, so must excommunication, and judging of 
heretics be. If the question be only, whether this man be 
to be avoided as a heretic by this particular church where 
he liveth? That church must judge. If the question be. 
Whether he be to be avoided as a heretic by all the churches 
of the country or nation, it is all these churches that must 
judge. For who should judge but those that must practise, 
and answer for their practice? And how can the Pope or 
Council be able to judge persons and causes that they know 
not ; and to judge so many millions throughout the world? 
If you could prove that the whole catholic church were 
bound to take notice of this individual heretic, and were 
capable of actual communion, and avoiding communion 
with him, and of congregating to judge him, then I should 
consent that all Christendom should meet to excommuni- 
cate a heretic, if they had no better work the while to do. 
But the case is plain, that the church that must execute, 
must judge: the church that must avoid the communion of 
the heretic, must judge him to be avoided : and I think the 
Pope and General Councils will not undertake all this work. 

You have nothing therefore to say, but to recur to the 
former way in your objection, viz. That it is the work of 
Pope and General Councils to judge what is faith and he- 
resies, and the work of provincial synods or bishops to judge 
the offenders by their canons. 

Ansiv. That is plainly ; the Pope and Council must make 
the law, and the bishops judge by it. But, 1. God hath 
made the church's law already : we know but this one Law- 
giver to the church, to constitute articles of faith and spi- 
ritual duty. And is this all that you make such a noise 
about, when you say, Who shall be judge of faith, and heresy. 



^1-S8 TflF, TRUK CATHOLIC, AKD 

and controversy? That is, Who shall make laws against 
them, to tell us which is faith, and which is heresy? Why 
God hath done this already in the Scripture. 2. And this 
will not answer your own expectations in resolving your 
doubt: For if the Pope's legislation be all his judging of 
controversies, there will be never the fewer controversies or 
heresies in the world : for there is no \q.w that hath a virtue 
sufficient to compel all the subjects to obey it. If God's law 
cannot do it, neither can the Pope's. 

Object, ' But every heretic pleadeth Scripture, and saith, 
it is for him; and shall there be no judge to put an end to all 
these controversies about the sense of Scripture?' 

Answ. 1. If there be any absolute judge of the sense of 
Scripture, his work is to give the world a decisive commentary 
upon it: which no Pope or Council hath done. 2. And 
he should actually decide all the controversies afoot, which 
the Pope dare not attempt; but leaves hundreds undecided 
among themselves, and more than ever were among the 
Protestants. 3. It is the work of a teacher, and not a catho- 
lic judge, to acquaint men with the meaning of the law. 4. 
For all their malignant accusation of the Scriptures, they do 
as plainly deliver us the articles of Christian faith, and 
the necessary Christian duties, as any Pope or Council 
hath done. And if all the work for a Pope or Council be to 
teach God how to speak or mend his word, and make sense 
of it, when God hath made it but nonsense, in their pre- 
sumptuous judgments, then we can well spare such a judge 
as this. 5. There is as much contention among yourselves 
about the meaning of the canons of Councils, and the Pope's 
decretals : and who must be judge of all these controversies? 
Even the late Council of Trent is pleaded by one party for 
one side, and another for the contrary: yea, even by the par- 
ticular divines that were members of the Council: and yet 
no deciding judge steps up, but let the contenders worry 
one another, and there is no end of their disputes. 

So that the case is as plain as can be desired, 1. That 
constituting by a law or universal rule, to determine what 
shall be taken for faith, and what for heresy, this God hath 
done, who is the only Universal Lawgiver, and we need no 
Pope for it. 2. To judge who is to be corporally punished 
as a heretic belongs to the magistrate in his own jurisdic- 
tion, and not to the Pope or bishops: (as hath been made 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 35U 

good in all ages against tiiem, since they claimed it, as the 
many tractates of Goldastus' collection manifests.) 3. To 
judge who shall be cast out of the communion of the church 
as a heretic, and avoided, belongs to the church that hath 
communion with him, and that is to avoid him; and to all 
other churches, so far as they are naturally capable of com- 
munion and non-communion with him, and of the cognizance 
of the case, and bound to take notice of it. So that all 
human judgment is but limited, and 'ad hoc,' the judgment 
being but in order to the execution. 4. And therefore the 
absolute final judgment is only that of Christ himself, to 
whom we must make our appeals, and from whom there is 
no appeal : And this is the true decision of this question, 
that makes so loud a noise, ' Who shall be judge of contro- 
versies in faith, and of heresies?' And thus you see that 
■Scripture is the catholic rule, and Christ the catholic judge, 
jjind the magistrate the judge 'ad hoc,' who shall be corporally 
punished, and the pastors and church where communion or 
avoiding the party is a duty, are judges 'ad hoc,' whether he 
be to be avoided. And this is the next catholic principle. 

Before I come to speak of the last, (which is, catholic 
affections) I shall briefly name some principles contrary to 
the catholic principles, which I would warn you to avoid : 
and I shall not stand upon them, but touch them. 

1. It is a private and not-catholic principle, to hold that 
we are not baptized into the catholic church, but into a par- 
ticular church only. As the case of the eunuch, (Acts viii,) 
and the baptismal institution shew. 

It is a private principle, contrary to Catholicism, to hold 
that an authorized minister of Christ, is only a minister in that 
church which is his special charge, and where we confess he 
is bound to exercise his ordinary labours, and that he may 
not preach, baptize, administer the Lord's-supper, yea, and 
rule 'pro tempore,' as a minister in another church to which 
he is called. As physicians must first have a general licence, 
upon exploration and approbation, to practise physic when 
they are called, and afterward may have a special call and 
engagement to a particular hospital or city as their charge, 
and so do practise occasionally upon a particular call abroad, 
but ordinarily at home, as to their special charge, but to both 
as physicians; so is it with a pastor in the church of Christ. 

3. It is a private and uncatholic principle, that a minister 



360 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

is so bound to that one congregation wliich is his special 
charge, as that he must prefer them and their service before 
the more public service of the cliurches, and must neglect 
opportunities of doing apparently much greater good, for 
fear of neglecting them. All our obligations are strongest 
to our ultimate end, and next to that which is next that end, 
and so more to the public than to any particulars as such. 

4. And it is a private uncatholic principle, that a minister 
should more fear or avoid the offending or hurting of his 
own particular flock, than the offending and hurt of the 
catholic church, or of many particular churches, where the 
interest of Christ and the Gospel is greater, we are more 
obliged to God, and the catholic church, than we can be to 
any manor particular church. A physician of an hospital, *cai- 
teris paribus,' must prefer his own charge before any others, 
and rather neglect a stranger's life than theirs : but he should 
rather neglect one of his own charge, than a prince, or many 
considerable persons abroad, or all his own charge, than per- 
sons, or cities, or countries of far more public use and interest. 

5. It is a private uncatholic principle, that ministers may 
satisfy their consciences if they stay at home, and only look 
after their own congregations, and never go to the assem- 
blies of the ministers, where more public aftairs of the 
churches are transacted, nor by preaching abroad where 
necessity requireth it, be helpful to other places. 

6. And it is an uncatholic principle, to hold that the 
assemblies and associations of pastors, and concatenation 
of churches by them, is a needless thing ; or that they are 
not to be ordinary, and fixed, for a certain settled way of the 
communion of churches and brethren, but only occasional, 
and seldom ; and that it is indifferent whether we be there. 

7. And it is an uncatholic dividing principle to hold, that 
when the churches agree upon a circumstance of worship 
as convenient, any particular persons shall walk singularly, 
and refuse to consent to that agreement, unless it be against 
the word of God. 

8. It is not according to catholic principles, for any man 
of another church to make light of the reproofs, advice or 
teaching, of any faithful minister of Christ, because they are 
not members of his chars:e. 

9. Nor is it a catholic principle for a minister to hold, 
that a fit person of another church may not have communion 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 301 

with him and his charge, and partake of the ordinances 
among them, when they are for a time cast into their neigh- 
bourhood, and give sufficient testimony of their fitness. 

10. It is a dividing uncatholie principle, to think that 
for every disorder, or gross sin, that (against our wills) is 
connived at in the church, we must therefore withdraw from 
the communion of that church, before sufficient means and 
patience have been used with them, and before the church 
do own the sin. 

11. It is a dividing uncatholie principle, to hold that we 
must necessarily require the profession of more than the 
essentials of Christianity in order to the baptizing of any 
into the church, or that profession is no satisfactory evi- 
dence, (though there be no proof on the contrary to invalidate 
it,) unless there be some other discovery of the truth of grace. 
To deny the catholic qualification of visible members is not 
catholic. 

12. It is a dividing, and not a catholic principle, that 
we must needs preach, profess, or declare every thing that 
we take to be a truth, though to^the apparent hazard of the 
church, and hindrance of the great essential truths ; and 
that no truth must be silenced for the church's peace, and 
the advantage of the more necessary truths. And that we 
may not hold communion with those that agree not with us 
in some integrals of the Christian faith, though they agree 
in the essentials, and forfeit not the communion of the 
church by wicked lives. 

Too many more such principles might be named, but I 
only warn you briefly of these few. 

3. The last part of my advice is, that you labour to pre- 
serve a catholic spirit and affections. And a catholic spirit 
consisteth, 1. In a catholic love. 2. A catholic compassion. 
3, A catholic care. And 4. A catholic endeavour to be 
serviceable to all. 

I. A catholic love consisteth in these particulars, 1. That 
you love a Christian as a Christian, for the sake of Christ, 
and not for by-respects only : Not chiefly because he is rich, 
or honourable, or of eminent place, or parts, or personage, 
or because he loveth you, or any such lower respects; 
though these may have their parts in subserviency to the 
main ; but the chief reason of your love must be, because 
he is a member of Christ, and beareth his image, and is ser- 



.362 THK THUK CATHPLiC, ANi) 

viceable to the glory of God, and one that is likely to join 
with you in his everlasting praise*, , 

2. That your love may be catholic, it must be a love to 
3.U that are Christians, as far as you can discern them, and 
have opportunity to observe them. Though he should differ 
from you in many points of religion, yet if he hold the 
essentials, and manifest the grace of God in jiis life, you 
Biust love him with the special love of a Christian. Though 
he have fallen out with you, or wronged you by word or 
cleed, or have a low esteem of you, and slight you, whether 
deservedly or in a mistake, yet if he manifest the image of 
God, by his holy profession and conversation, you must 
aflford him this special Christian love. Though he be a very 
weak Christian of parts, or graces, and subject to passions 
and infirmities, (consistent with grace) and his profession 
reach not to that height as may make him eminent, nor his 
life to that degree of diligence as may make you confident 
of his sincerity, yet if he have a profession of true faith, and 
repentance, and holiness, seemingly serious, and not invali- 
dated or disproved by a contrary profession or practice, you 
must allow him the special love of a Christian. He that 
loveth a Christian as a Christian, must needs love all Chris- 
tians that he discerneth to be such : and he must not by 
uncharitableness hinder that discerning. 

3. And catholic love will be somewhat suitable to the 
excellency of the object, which is a member of Christ. He 
that loveth a Christian truly, doth love him above gold, and 
silver, and worldly things ; and therefore can part with his 
substance to relieve him, and venture his life for him, when 
God and his honour do require it. And therefore it is that 
Christ will not at the last day barely ask. Whether we have 
IjOved him in his members? but whether our love were such 
as could carry us to clothe, and feed, and visit, and relieve 
them to our power. 

4. Lastly, catholic love must be diversified in the degree 
according to the apparent degree of men's graces and ser- 
viceableness to God, He that loveth men as Christians and 
godly, will love those best where he seeth most Christianity 
;£Mid godliness, and those least where he seeth least of it. 

There is, 1. A common love of men as men ; and this you 
owe to all, even to an enemy ; and this may consist with a 
dislike or hatred of them as wicked, and God's enemies. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCBIBED. 3G3 

2. There is a love to men for some lovely, natural, or acquired 
parts; as wit, learning, eloquence, gentleness, a loving na- 
ture, and the like : and this is proper to them that are the 
qualified objects of it ; you owe it not to all, and yet you may 
allow it to those that are no saints. But this is not the 
catholic love which I speak of. 3. There is the before- 
described love to a Christian, as a Christian ; and this is the 
•catholic love which is due to all that seem Christians. 
4. There is a special degree of this love, which you owe to 
stronger and more excellent Christians, and to those whose 
profession and conversation doth put you into a more con- 
fident persuasion of their sincerity, than you have of many 
or most common professors. And this special degree is not 
due to all Christians. As we have but very small and doubt- 
ful persuasions of some men's sincerity, and more confident 
persuasions of others; so our love must be greater to one 
than to another, even where a special Christian love is due 
to them all. 5. There is a special suitableness in the spirits 
of but few, even of those that are stronger Christians, where- 
by they are fitted to be your bosom friends. And this extra- 
ordinary love of a bosom friend, such as was between David 
and Jonathan, and should be between husbands and wives, 
is not due to all, no, not all that all are strong Christians. 

For natural love to parents, and children, and other na- 
tural relations ; and for grateful love to benefactors, I shall 
say nothing to them, as not pertaining to our business ; nor 
yet of the heavenly degree of love which is proper to glory. 
But I have shewed you what that special Christian love is 
which is truly catholic ; and that it must be to all, and to 
all with a high degree ; but not to all with an equal degree, 
but must be much diversified by their degrees of grace. 

The love which is called, " The fulfilling of the law," con- 
taineth all the sorts beforementioned ; but the love which is 
the new commandment of the Gospel, is this special endear- 
edness of Christians to one another in their new relation, even, 
1. As they believe in the Messiah as come, in whom they 
are all fellow-members and brethren. And 2. As they are 
disposed and elevated to this love, by a special measure of 
sanctification by the Spirit, proper to Gospel times. 

This is the love to the brethren, by which we may know 
that we are translated from death to life, and so that we are 
true catholic Christians. (1 John iii. 14.) " He that hath 



364 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

not this love abideth in death. By this it is that all men 
must know us to be Christ's disciples, that is, catholic 
Christians. (1 John xiii. 33.) If Christ have more skill in 
knowing his own sheep and sheepraark than the Papists 
have, then this is a better mark of a catholic than believing 
in the Pope, as the universal sovereign of the church : even 
loving one another as Christians, for Christ's sake, and that 
" with a pure heart fervently." (1 Pet. i. 22.) " Not in word 
and tongue, but in deed and in truth," so as to part with 
worldly goods for our brethren's relief. (1 John iii. 17, 18; 
Matt. XXV. 34. 40. 

Reader, thou art a blessed man if thou hast this charita- 
ble catholic spirit, that thou canst love all Christians, as far 
as thou canst discern them, with a special Christian love. 
When others hate and reproach all those that are not of 
their sect, or at least have no special Christian love for them, 
let them be dear to thy heart, and amiable, because of the 
image and interest of thy Lord, even when thou art called 
to disown and rebuke (yea, or chasten, if a governor) their 
errors and imperfections. This lesson is written in the very 
heart of a true catholic ; for " they are all taught of God to 
love one another." (1 Thess. iv. 9.) Those, therefore, that 
malign all dissenters, and malice those that are not of their 
party, do carry about with them the brand of sectaries, how 
much soever they may seem to detest them. Those that 
deny the essentials of Christianity are not the objects of 
Christian love, but of common love only ; but whatever in- 
firmities are consistent with Christianity are insufficient 
to excuse us from this special love. 

And here let me mind you of one other principle, which 
is notoriously uncatholic, while it pretendeth to be most 
catholic, and is here most fitly to be mentioned, as being the 
bane of catholic. Christian love ; and that is the doctrine of 
many Papists, and some few Protestants, that make the ne- 
cessary qualification of a church-member to be (the reality, 
' coram Deo,' and the profession, ' coram Ecclesia,' of) a 
kind of dogmatical faith, which is short of justifying faith. 
From whence it followeth, that visible church-members, as 
such, are not to be taken by us for true living members of 
the body of Christ; but that esteem is due only to some 
few that manifest their holiness by an extraordinary profes- 
sion, or fuller discovery : and consequently, that we are not 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 3f)5 

bound to love any as living members of Christ, but such 
eminent professors : and so the special catholic love, which 
is the new commandment, and the badge of a disciple, is 
turned into a common love specifically different from it, and 
answerable to the common not-justifying faith : and the 
special catholic love is reserved as another thing for some 
few of the visible church : whereas indeed we may say of 
all that are duly visible members, by profession of a saving 
faith, not nulled, that as it is the same faith with that of the 
holiest saints which they profess, so it is the same specific 
love that is due to the holiest saint that they must be loved 
with : a great difference there must be in degree, but none 
in kind. We love none of them as infallibly known to be 
true living Christians, but all of them as probably such by 
profession ; but with very different degrees, because of the 
different degrees of probability. 

And let me add another principle, that tendeth to cor- 
rupt this catholic love, and that is theirs that would have 
the church lie common ; and men that profess not saving 
faith, or that null that profession by a wicked, impenitent 
course of life, to be permitted in the church, and discipline 
laid aside, and so the common and unclean to be numbered 
with the visible saints. And so when the permitted members 
are such as by right are no members, nor so much as seeming 
saints, they cannot be the objects of catholic love. Destroy 
the object and you destroy the art. 

II. The second catholic affection in compassion towards 
a Christian as a Christian in his sufferings. A sensibleness 
of their sufferings, as if we suffered with them, " And whe- 
ther one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or 
one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." 
(Heb. xiii. 3 ; 1 Cor. xii. 26.) "Rejoice with them that do 
rejoice, and weep with them that weep: Be of the same 
mind one towards another." (Rom. xii. 15, 16.) " Who is 
weak, and I am not weak ? Who is offended, and I burn 
not? " (2 Cor. xi. 29.) A true catholic is grieved to see his 
brother's calamity, and especially to hear of the dangers, 
and losses, and sufferings of the churches : be they never so 
distant from him, it is near to his heart, for their interest 
is his own. 

He that feels nothing but his own afflictions, and can make 
a small matter of the losses and sufferings of the church. 



o66 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

perhaps under pretence of trusting God, so that if all be 
but well with himself, is certainly no catholic or Christian. 
And he that little feels the losses of the church, if his own 
sect or party do but gain or increase by it, doth shew that 
he hath more of a sectary than of a Christian. Catholic 
compassion (to which I adjoin also catholic rejoicing) do 
prove a true catholic. 

III. Another catholic affection is a special care of the 
common Christian state and cause,- and of the case of all our 
brethren that are known to us. I mean not that care which 
belongs to God only, and which we are forbidden to use, 
even for ourselves ; but, 1. An estimation of the interest of 
the church and brethren as their own, and 2. An ordinate 
solicitousness about their welfare, containing an earnest de- 
sire of it, and a care to use the means that should obtain it. 
A catholic spirit is busily careful about the church's and bre- 
thren's welfare as well as his own. " That there should be 
no schism in the body, but that the members should have 
the same care one for another." (1 Cor. xii. 25.) Timothy 
naturally cared for the state of the churches : Such a care 
by grace he had of the churches, as he had by nature of 
himself; proceeding from so deep a love, as was a kind of 
new nature to him. (Phil. ii. 20.) " That our care for you 
in the sight of God might appear to you." (2 Cor. vii. 12.) 
Titus had an earnest care for the Corinthians. (2 Cor. viii. 
16.) Every pastor must have a care of his church, (1 Tim. 
iii. 5,) but not stop there; but with Paul, " have a care of all 
the churches," (2 Cor. xi. 28,) though not an apostolical 
charge of them like his. Carelessness of the church and 
brethren is not catholic. 

IV. Lastly, A true catholic spirit must appear in catholic 
endeavours, for the good of all the members of the church. 
1. It is contrary to a base, covetous, selfish spirit, which 
causeth men to mind and seek only their own, and not the 
things of .Jesus Christ, and of their brethren : and will not 
allow men to part with any more than some inconsiderable 
pittance out of their superfluity, for their brethren's relief, 
or the church's service. " But whoso hath this world's 
goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his 
bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of 
God in him?" (1 John iii. 17.) He that cannot pinch 
himself, and deny himself even in his daily bread for the 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 367 

church and brethren, when God requireth it> is not a true 
catholic Christian. 

2. And it is contrary much more to a spirit of malignity, 
by which men envy the good of others, or of those that are 
not of their party ; and yet more to persecution, when men 
would tread down and destroy their brethren, and the in- 
heritance of the Lord, in a selfish, devilish zeal. 

3. But yet it is not contrary to a charitable, moderate 
correction of offenders, which tendeth either to their own 
or the church's good, and is necessary to the restraint of 
iniquity, and the preserving of others from the infection of 
error ; and therefore the sword of the magistrate and the 
discipline of the church must both be employed in the cause 
of God ; and this is so far from being contrary to the endea- 
vours of a catholic spirit, that it is a necessary part of it. 
Correction first, proceedeth from love, and secondly, tendeth 
to good, and thirdly, is not used but in necessity ; and this 
differeth from persecution, as the whipping of a child, from 
the malignant hurting of the innocent. 

Quest. ' But how can the endeavours of a private Chris- 
tian be extended to the catholic church ?' 

Ansio. 1. His daily and earnest prayers to God may be 
extended to the whole ; and must be. He is not of a ca- 
tholic spirit that is not disposed to fervent prayers for the 
universal church of Christ. 2. And his actual assistance 
must reach as far as he can extend it ; and then he that doth 
good to a part of the church, may well be said to do good 
to the catholic church in that part. 

Quest. ' But what good is it that we should do V 

Armu. Besides that of prayer before-mentioned, 1. Main- 
tain catholic truths and principles ; earnestly contend for 
the catholic faith ; and resist dividing, uncatholic principles 
and errors. 2. Maintain catholic affections in others to 
your power, and labour to draw them from privateness of 
spirit, and selfish or dividing affections. 3. Endeavour the 
actual healing of breaches among all catholics as soon as 
you perceive them. To that end, 1. Acquaint youreelves 
with healing truths ; and labour to be as skilful in the work 
of pacifying and agreeing men, as most are in the work of 
dividing and disagreeing. Know it to be a part of your ca- 
tholic work to be peace-makers ; and therefore study how 
to do it a!5 a workman that needeth not be ashamed. I 



368 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, AND 

think most divines themselves in the world do study differ- 
ences a hundred hours, for one hour that ever they study 
the healing of differences ; and that is a shameful dispro- 
portion. 2. Do not bend all your wits to find what more 
may be said against others, and to make the differences as 
wide as you can, but study as hard to find out men's agree- 
ments, and to reduce the differences to as narrow a compass 
as is possible. 3. And to that end, be sure that you seethe 
true state of the controversy, and distinguish all that is 
merely verbal, from that which is material ; and that which 
is but about methods, and modes, and circumstances, from 
that which is about substantial truths ; and that which is 
about the inferior truths, though weighty, from that which 
is about the essentials of Christianity. 4. Be as industri- 
ous for peace among others as if you smarted by it yourself; 
seek it, and beg it, and follow it, and take no nay. Make 
it the work of your lives. When once God hath so awakened 
the hearts of his servants to see the beauty, and feel so 
much of the necessity of unity and peace in the church, as 
shall make them generally more zealous, and diligent, and 
unwearied in seeking them, than dividers are in seeking to 
destroy them, then may we expect a healing, and strength, 
and glory to the catholic church: but wishing will not 
serve the turn, nor will we much thank wishers for it if we 
be healed. 

Lastly. Lay the unity of the church upon nothing but 
what is essential to the church. Seek after as much truth, 
and purity, and perfection as you can : but not as necessary 
to the essence of the church, or any member of it; nor to 
denominate and specify your faith and religion by. Tolerate 
no error or sin, so far as not to seek the healing of it : but 
tolerate all error and sin, consisting with Christian faith 
and charity, so far as not to unchristian and unchurch men 
for them. Own no man's errors, or sins, but own every 
man that owneth Christ, and whom Christ will own, not- 
withstanding those errors and infirmities that he is guilty 
of. Bear with those that Christ will bear with ; especially 
learn the master-duty of self-denial: for it is self that is the 
greatest enemy to Catholicism. Self-conceitedness, and self- 
love, and self-willedness, and selfish interests, are the things 
that divide, and would make as many religions in the world 
as self's. Even among many accounted orthodox, ])ride and 



CATHOLIC CHURCH DKSCRlBFiU. 369 

selfishness causeth them so far to overvalue their own judg- 
ments, as to expect that all should be conformable to them, 
and bow to their arguments which have no strength, if not 
to their sayings and wills without their arguments ; and to 
disdain, and passionately censure and reproach all that dis- 
sent and gainsay them. And thus every man, so far as he 
is proud and selfish, would be the Pope or centre of the ca- 
tholic church. And therefore it is observable that Christ 
hath told us, " That except .we be converted, and become 
as little children, we cannot enter into his kingdom." (Matt, 
xviii. 3.) " And if we deny not ourselves we cannot be his 
disciples." (Luke ix. 23.) But of this I have spoken in 
another treatise. 

And thus I have plainly from the word of God declared 
to you the true nature of Catholicism, and which is the ca- 
tholic church, and who a catholic. I hope it may do some- 
what to cure the frensy of the world, that makes men cry. 
Here is the church, and there is the church. That makes 
one sect say. We are the church, and another say. We are 
the church. I hope it may do somewhat to the confound- 
ing of the arrogancy and presumption of all sects, especially 
the sect of Papists, that being but a piece of the church, 
and that none of the best, dare pretend to be the whole, and 
restrain the name of Catholics or Christians to themselves ! 
And I hope it may do somewhat to awake the servants of 
Christ to more catholic considerations, and principles, and 
affections, and endeavours, that those that have lived too 
much to themselves, and too much to their own parties, as 
if the church had been confined to their narrow provinces, 
may hereafter look more abroad into the world, and remem- 
ber the extent of the kingdom of Christ, and not think so 
dishonourably of it as they have done. I hope also it may 
help to abate the censoriousness and presumption of those 
that would rob Christ of the greatest part of his inheritance, 
and deliver it up to Satan, his enemy. And I hope it may 
somewhat disgrace the dividing principles and practices of 
these times, and turn soldiers into surgeons, wounding into 
healing, and excite in some a stronger desire for unity and 
peace, and cause them to extend their care and charity fur- 
ther than they have done. However, this here described, is 
the catholic church which God will own. This is it that is 

VOL. XVJ. B B 



.370 THE TRUE CATHOLIC, &C. 

built on Christ the Rock, which the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against. Here is the safe standing, from whence 
you may look with boldness, thankfulness, and compassion, 
upon the many sects, and furious contentions of the world ; 
and lament their giddiness, without being brought your- 
selves to a loss about the truth of your church or faith : and 
may see the folly of them that are puzzled to find out the 
true catholic church and religion. And here you may see 
the admirable privilege of a truly regenerate, sanctified 
person, that is most certainly a member of the true catholic 
church, whoever deny it. To conclude, you may hence see 
that it is not as Romanists, Greeks, Armenians, Abassines, 
Jacobines, Lutherans, Calvinists, Arminians, &c., that men 
are saved, but as catholic Christians, aspiring to the higjiest 
perfection. 



END OF TRUE CATHOLTC, AND CATHOLIC CHURCH DESCRIBED. 



.371 



CATHOLIC UNITY: 

OB 

THE ONLY WAY TO BRING US ALL TO BE OF 

ONE RELIGION. 

ro BE READ BY SUCH AS ARE OFFENDED AT THE DIFIEPENCES IN RELIGION, 
AND ARE WILLING TO DO THEIR PART TO IIEAI. THEM. 



2o all those in the several Parishes of these Nations, that com- 
plain of the Disagreements in Matters of Religion. 

MEN AND BRETHREN, 

As in the midst of all the impiety and dishonesty of the 
world, it is some comfort to us, that yet the names of piety 
and honesty are still in credit, and ungodliness and disho- 
nesty are terms of disgrace ; so that those that will be un- 
godly and dishonest, are fain to use the mask and veil of 
better names, to hide their wickedness ; so also it is some 
comfort to us, in the midst of the uncharitableness and dis- 
cords of this age, that yet the names of Love and Concord 
sound so well, and are honoured by those that are farthest 
from the things : for thus we seem agreed in the main cause, 
and have this advantage in our debates, that whatever shall 
be proved to be against love, and unity, and peace, we are 
all of us obliged by our professions to disown. 1 may sup- 
pose that all that read these words, will speak against the 
uncharitableness, and contentions, and divisions of the pre- 
sent times as well as I. Doth it grieve my soul to hear 
professed Christians so censoriously condemning, and pas- 
sionately reviling one another, while they are proudly justi- 
fying themselves? I suppose you will say, it grieves you 
also. Do I mourn in secret, to see so many divisions and 
subdivisions, and church set up against church, and pastors 
against pastors, in the same parishes ; and each party la- 
bouring to disgrace the other and their way, that they may 
promote their own ? I suppose you will say, you do so too. 



«'^72 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

Do I lament it as the nation's shame, that in religion men 
are of so many minds, and manage their differences so un-  
peaceably, that it is become the stumbling-block to the un- 
godly, the grief of our friends, and the derision of om 
enemies ? I know you will say, that this also is your lamen- 
tation. And is it not a wonder indeed, that such a misery 
should be continued, which all men are against; and which 
cannot be continued but by our wilful choice ? Is it not 
strange that we are so long without so great a blessing as 
Unity and Peace, while all men say they love it and desire 
it; and while we may have it if we will ? But the cause is 
evident ; while men love unity, they hate the holiness in 
which we must unite : while they love peace, they hate the 
necessary means by which it must be obtained and main- 
tained : the way of peace they have not known; or know- 
ing it, they do abhor it. As well as they love unity and 
peace, they love the causes of discord and division much 
better. The drunkard, and whoremonger, and worlding say 
they love the salvation of their souls : but yet while they 
love and keep their sins, they will miss of the salvation 
which they say they love. And so while men love their un- 
godliness and dividing ways, we are little the better for 
their love of peace. If men love health, and yet love poison, 
and hate both medicine and wholesome food, they may miss 
of health, notwithstanding they love it. 

Where know you a parish in England, that hath no dis- 
agreements in matters of religion ? In this parish where I 
live, we have not several congregations, nor are we divided 
into such parties as in many other places ; but we have here 
the great division ; some are for heaven, and some for earth; 
some love a holy, diligent life, and others hate it ; some 
pray in their families, and teach them the word and fear of 
God, and others do not; some spend the Lord's-day in holy 
exercises, and others spend much of it in idleness and 
vanity ; some take the service of God for their delight, and 
others are weary of it, and live in ignorance, because they 
will not be at the pains to learn : some make it the princi- 
pal care and business of their lives to prepare for death, 
and make sure of everlasting life ; and others will venture 
their souls on the wrath of God, and cheat themselves by 
their own presumption, rather than be at this sweet and 
necessary labour to be saved. Some hate sin, and make it 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 373 

their daily work to root out the relics of it Irom their hearts 
and lives ; and others love it and will not leave it, but hate 
those that reprove them, and endeavour their salvation. 

And as long as this great division is unhealed, what 
other means can bring us to any happy unity '! It would 
make a man's heart bleed to consider of the folly of the un- 
godly rout, that think it would be a happy union, if we 
could all agree to read one form of prayer, while some love, 
and others hate the holiness which they pray for: and if we 
could all agree to use the sign of the cross in baptism, 
while one half either understand not the baptismal covenant, 
or wilfully violate it, and neglect, or hate, and scorn that 
mortified holy life, which by that solemn vow and covenant 
they are engaged to. They are solicitous to bring us all to 
unity in the gesture of receiving the sacrament of the Lord's- 
supper, while some take Christ and life, and others take 
their own damnation. When they should first agree in be- 
ing all the faithful servants of one Master, they make a 
great matter of it, that the servants of Christ and of the 
devil may use the same bodily posture in that worship where 
their hearts are as different as Spirit and tlesh. Poor people 
think that it is the want of uniformity in certain ceremonies 
of man's invention, that is the cause of our great divisions 
and distractions ; when, alas ! it is the want of unity in 
matters of greater consequence, even of faith, and love, and 
holiness, as I have here shewed. If once we were all chil- 
dren of one Father, and living members of one Christ, and' 
all renewed by one sanctifying Spirit, and aimed at one end, 
and walked by one rule, (the word of God,) and had that 
special love to one another which Christ hath made the 
mark of his disciples, this were an agreement to be rejoiced 
in indeed, which would hold us together in the most com- 
fortable relations, and assure us that we shall live together 
with Christ in everlasting blessedness. But, alas ! if our 
agreement be no better, than to sit together in the same 
seats, and say the same words, and use the same gestures 
and ceremonies, our hearts will be still distant from each 
other, our natures will be contrary, and the malignity of un- 
godly hearts will be breaking out on all occasions. And as 
now you hear men scorning at the practice of that religion 
which themselves profess, so if God prevent it not, you may 
shortly see another war take off their restraint and let theni. 



374 CATHOLIC UNIIY. 

loose, and then they will seek the blood of those that now 
they seem to be agreed with. At furthest we are sure, that 
very shortly we shall be separated as far as heaven and hell, 
if there be not now a nearer agreement than in words and 
outward shows and ceremonies. 

It being then past doubt, that there is no happy, lasting 
unity, but in the Spirit and a holy life, what hindereth us 
from so safe, so sweet, so pure a peace ? Why might not all our 
parishes agree on such necessary, honourable and reasonable 
terms? Why is there in most places, but here and there a 
person, or a family, that will yield to the terms of an ever- 
lasting peace, and live as men that believe they have a God 
to serve and please, and immortal souls to save or lose? Is 
not God willing that "all should be saved, and come to the 
knowledge of the truth ;" (1 Tim. ii. 4 ;) and that all should 
agree in so safe a path ? Why then doth he invite all, and 
tender them his saving mercy, and send his messengers to 
command and importune them to this holy concord? He 
would take them all into the bond of his covenant : how 
often would Christ have gathered all the children of Jerusa- 
lem to him, as the hen gatbereth her chickens under her 
wings; but it was they that would not. (Matt, xxiii. 37.) 
He would have the Gospel preached to every creature, (Matt, 
xvi. 15, 16,) and would have the kingdoms of the world be- 
come the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ. 

What then is the cause of this sad division in our pa- 
rishes ? Are ministers unwilling that their people should all 
agree in holiness? No, it would be the greatest favour you 
could do them, and the greatest joy that you could bring to 
their hearts : they would be gladder to see such a blessed 
unity, than if you gave them all that you have in the world. 
O how a poor minister would boast and glory of such a pa- 
rish! He would bless the day that ever he came among them; 
and that ever he was called to the ministry ; and that ever 
he was born into the world for their sakes. How easy would 
all his studies and labours be, if they were but sweetened 
with such success ! How easily could he bear his scorns 
and threatenings, and abuses, and persecution from others, 
if he saw but such a holy unity among his people to encou- 
rage him! So far are your teachers from excluding you 
from this happiness, that it is the end of their studies, and 
preaching, and prayers, yea, and of their lives, to bring you 



CATHOLIC UNITY. .*{75 

to partake of it. And glad would they be to preach to you, 
and exhort you, in hunger and thirst, in cold and naked- 
ness, in all the contempt and derision of the world, if there- 
by they could but bring their parishes to agree in a life of 
faith and holiness. 

And surely our difference is not because the godly will 
not admit you to join with them in the ways of God ; for 
they cannot hinder you if they would ; and they would not 
if they could. It is their joy to see the house of God filled 
with guests that have on the wedding garment. 

We must conclude therefore, that it is the ungodly that 
are the wilful and obstinate dividers. They might be united 
to Christ, and reconciled to God, and they will not. They 
might be admitted into the communion of saints, and into 
the household of God, and partake of the privileges of his 
children ; and they will not. They have leave to read, and 
pray, and meditate, and walk with God in a heavenly con- 
versation, as well as any of their neighbours ; but they will 
not. It is themselves that are the refusers, and continue 
the division, to the displeasing of God, and the grief of 
their friends, and the gratifying of Satan, and the perdition 
of their own immortal souls. We might all be united, and 
our divisions be healed, and God much honoured, and 
ministers and good Christians be exceedingly comforted, 
and the church and commonwealth be delivered and highly 
honoured, and themselves be saved from everlasting misery, 
if we could but get the hearty consent of these foolish, ob- 
stinate, ungodly men. 

What say you, wretched souls, can you deny it? How 
long have your Teachers been labouring in vain, to bring 
you to the hearty love of God, and heaven, and serious ho- 
liness ! How long have they been persuading you to set up 
reading, and catechising, and constant fervent prayer in 
your families, and yet it is undone ! How long have they in 
vain been persuading the worldling from his worldliness, 
and the proud person to humility, and the sensual beast 
from his tippling, and gluttony, and other fleshly pleasures ! 

And besides this, most of the disorders and divisions in 
the churches are caused by ungodly men. I will instance in 
a few particulars. 

1. When wc ask any godly, diligent ministers, either in 
London, or the country, why they do not unanimously catc- 



.376 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

chise, instruct and confer with all the inhabitants of their 
parishes, man by man, to help them to try their spiritual 
state, and to prepare in health for death and judgment? 
they usually answer us, that, alas ! their people will not con- 
sent, but many would revile them if they should attempt it. 

2. When we ask them why they do not set up the prac- 
tice of discipline, which they so unanimously plead for ; and 
why they do not call their people to confirmation, or open 
profession of faith and holiness in order thereto? they tell 
us, that their people will not endure it; but many will ra- 
ther set themselves against the ministry, and strengthen the 
enemy that now endangereth the church's safety, or turn to 
any licentious sect, than they will thus submit to the un- 
doubted ordinances of Christ, which the churches are so 
commonly agreed in as a duty. 

3. We have an ancient, too-imperfect version of the 
Psalms, which we sing in the congregations ; and in the 
judgment of all divines that ever I spoke with about it, (of 
what side soever,) it is our duty to use a better version, and 
not to perform so excellent a part of the public worship, so 
lamely, and with so many blemishes. And if you ask the 
ministers why they do not unanimously agree on a reformed, 
corrected version, most of them will tell you, that their 
people will not bear it, but proudly and turbulently re- 
proach them, as if they were changing the word of God. 

4. In many places the sacrament of baptism is more 
often used in private houses, than in the public assemblies ; 
and if we ask the reason of so great a disorder, the minis- 
ters will tell us that it is the unruliness and wilfulness of 
the people, that proudly set themselves above their guides, 
and instead of obeying them, must rule them, and have their 
humours and conceits fulfilled, even in the holy things of 
God, or else they will revile the pastors, and make divisions 
in the church : and this is done by them that in other cases 
do seem sufficiently to reverence the place of public assem- 
bly as the house of God, and that speak against private 
meetings, though but for prayer, repeating sermons, or 
singing to the praise of God, while yet themselves are wil- 
fully bent for such private meetings as are set up in opposi- 
tion to the public, and that for the administration of soi 
great an ordinance as the sacrament of baptism, and in 
cases where there is no necessity of privacy : And who 



CATHOLIC UNITY. .377 

knows not that our sacramental covenant with God, and en- 
gagement to a Christian life, and reception into a Christian 
state and privileges, is fitter to be done with the most honour- 
able solemnity, than in a conventicle, in a private house? 

Too many more such instances I could give you, which 
shew who they be that are the enemies of our unity ; even 
those that cry outagainst divisions while they cause them, and 
cry up unity, concord and obedience, while they destroy them. 

And shall we thus continue a division that doth prog- 
nosticate our everlasting division ? Is there no remedy for 
so great a misery, when yet our poor ungodly neighbours 
may heal it if they will? What if the ministers of the several 
parishes should appoint one day of public conference with 
all the people of their parishes together, and desire all that 
are fit to speak, to debate the case, and give their reasons, 
why they concur not in their hearts and lives with the holy 
diligent servants of the Lord? And let them hear the reasons 
why the godly dare not, and cannot come over to their neg- 
ligent ungodly course ? And so try who it is long of among 
them, that they are not of one mind and way ? What if the 
ministers then urged it on thefn, to agree all before they 
parted, to unite on the terms which God will own, and all 
unanimously to take that course that shall be found most 
agreeable to his word ; and whoever doth bring the fullest 
proof that his course is best, in reason, the rest should pro- 
mise to join with him ? What if we call the people together, 
and bespeak them as Elijah did, (1 Kings xviii. 21,) " How 
long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, 
follow him : but if Baal, then follow him." If a careless, 
ungodly, worldly, fleshly life be best, and most please God, 
and will comfort you most at death and judgment, then hold 
on in the way that you are in, and never purpose hereafter 
to repent of it, but let us all become as sensual as you. But if 
it be only the life of faith and holiness, and seeking first the 
kingdom and righteousness of God, that God, and Scripture, 
and reason will justify, and that will comfort the soul in the 
hour of extremity, and that you shall wish a thousand times 
you had followed, in everlasting misery, when wishing is too 
late, if now you continue to neglect it; doth not common 
reason then require, that we all now agree to go that way 
which all will desire to be found in at the last? 

One would think, if a minister should treat thus with his 



378 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

parishioners, and urge such a motion as this upon them, they 
should not have the hearts or faces to deny, or delay such a 
necessary agreement and engagement that would make their 
parish and their souls so happy, and which nothing but the 
devil and the befooled, corrupted minds of sinners hath any 
thing to say against ! And yet it is likely we should either 
have such an answer as Elijah had, even silence, (" The 
people answered him not a word." ver. 21,) or else some 
plausible promise, while we have them in a good mood, 
which would quickly be broken and come to nothing. For 
indeed they are all engaged already by their baptismal 
covenant and profession of Christianity, to the very same 
thing; and yet we see how little they regard it. 

But yet because it is our duty to use the means for the 
salvation and concord of our people, and wait on God by 
prayer for the success, I have here shewed you the only way 
to both. Read it impartially, and then be yourselves the 
judges, on whom the blame of our greatest and most dan- 
gerous divisions will be laid ; and for shame, either give over 
complaining that men are of so many minds, and profess 
yourselves the enemies of unity and peace ; or else give over 
your damning, and dividing course, and yield to the Spirit 
of Christ, that would unite you to his body, and walk in com- 
munion with his saints : And let not these warnings be here- 
after a witness against you to your confusion, which are in- 
tended for your salvation, and the healing of our discords, 
by 

An unworthy Servant of Jesus Christ, for the calling 
and edifying of his members, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

December 10, 1659. 



.379 
CATHOLIC UNITY. 



EPHESIANS iv. 3. 
Endeavouring to keep the unitij of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

It seems that unity and felicity are near kin, in that the 
world is so like affected to them both. As our felicity is iu 
God, and we lost it by falling from God, so our unity is in 
God, and we lost it by departing from this Centre of unity. 
And as all men have still a naturtil desire after felicity in 
general; but God who is their felicity, they neither know nor 
desire, so have we still a natural desire after unity in itself con- 
sidered ; but God who is our unity, is little known or desired 
by the most. And as nature can perceive the evil of misery 
which is contrary to felicity, and cry out against it, and yet 
doth cherish the certain causes of it, and will not be per- 
suaded to let them go ; so nature can perceive the evil of 
division, which is contrary to unity, and cry out against it, 
and yet will not forbear the causes of division. And there- 
fore as we say of felicity, Nature by philosophy seeks it ; 
Divinity findeth it, and Religion possesseth it: so we may 
say of true unity ; Philosophy or nature seeks it. Divinity 
findeth it, and Religion or holiness possesseth it. And as 
most of the world do miss of felicity, for all their high esteem 
of it, and fall into misery, for all their hatred of it, because 
they love not the object and way of felicity, and hate not 
the matter and way of misery. Even so most of the world 
do miss of unity, for all their high esteem of unity, and fall 
into miserable distractions and divisions for all their hatred 
of divisions, because they love not the centre and way of 
unity, and hate not the occasion and causes of division. 
And as the very reason why the most are shut out of happi- 
ness, is their own wilful refusing of the true matter and 
means of happiness, and no one could undo them but them- 
selves, for all that they are loath to be undone : even so 
the very reason why the world attaineth not to unity, is their 
own wilful refusing of the true centre and means of unity; 
and it is themselves that are the wilful causes of their own 
divisions, even when they cry out against divisions. And 
as there is no way to happiness, but by turning to God from 



380 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

whom we fell, that in him we may be happy ; and no way to 
God but by Jesus Christ as the Saviour, and the Holy Ghost 
as the Sanctifier ; so there is no way to true unity, but by 
turning to God that we may be one in him; and no way to 
him, but being united to Christ, and being quickened by that 
one most Holy Spirit that animateth his members. And yet 
as poor souls do weary themselves in vain, in seeking felicity 
in their own ways and devices ; so they do deceive them- 
selves in seeking unity in ways that are quite destructive to 
unity. One thinks that we must be united in the Pope, and 
another in a General Council ; another saith, we shall never 
have unity till the magistrate force us all one way ; and yet 
they would not be forced from their own way. Another 
turns atheist, or infidel, or impious, by observing the divi- 
sions that be among Christians, and saith, ' It is this Scrip- 
ture, and religion, and Christ, that hath set the world toge- 
ther by the ears ; and we shall never have unity till we all 
live according to nature, and cast off the needless cares 
and fears of another life:' And thus the miserable, deluded 
world are groping in the dark after unity and felicity, while 
both are at hand, and they wickedly reject them ; and many 
of them become so mad, as to run away from God, from 
Christ, from the Spirit, as if He were the cause of misery and 
division, who is the only Centre of felicity and unity. And 
thus as it is but few that arrive at happiness for all their desire 
of it, so it is but few that attain to unity ; to such a unity as 
is worth the attaining to. 

I dare presume to take it for granted, that all you that 
hear me this day, would fain have divisions taken away, and 
have unity, and concord, and peace through the world. What 
say you? would you not have us all of one mind, and of one 
religion? And would you not fain have an agreement, if it 
might be, through all the world ? I am confident you would. 
But you little think that it is you, and such as you, that are 
the hinderers of it. All the question is. What mind that is 
that all should be one in? And what religion that is that all 
men should agree in? Every man would have all men of one 
mind, and one religion ; but then it must be of his mind, and 
of his religion ; and so we are never the nearer an agreement. 

Well ! what would you give now to be certainly told the 
only way to unity and agreement ? There is but one way ; 
when you have sought about as long as you will, you must 



CATHOLIC UxMTT. ;)8I 

come to thatoneway, or you will be never the nearer it. What 
would you give to know undoubtedly, which is that one way ! 
O that the world were but willing to know it, and to follow 
it when they know it. Well ! I dare promise you from the 
information of the Holy Ghost, here given us in this text, that 
now I have read to you, to tell you the only way to true unity; 
and blessed is he that learneth it, and walketh in it. 

This text is a precept containing the work required of us, 
with its double object; the one the means to the other. The 
next verse is an exposition of this. As the natural man hath 
one body, and one soul, which constitute it a man, so the 
church which is the mystical body of Christ, is one body, 
consisting of many members united by one Spirit. Every 
commonwealth or political body, hath, 1. Its constituent 
causes that give it its being and its unity; and, 2. Its ad- 
ministration and preserving causes, as laws, execution, obe- 
dience, &c., that exercise and preserve, and perfect its being. 
The constitutive cause is the sovereign and the subject con- 
joined in their relation. So is it with the church, which is a 
political body, but of a transcendent kind of policy. The 
constitutive causes of the church, are Christ and the members 
united in one Spirit: and this is the final part of the duty here 
required, "to keep the unity of the Spirit." The preserving 
cause is the peaceable behaviour of the members : and this 
is the mediate duty here required "in thebond of peace." Our 
own endeavours are hereto required; because as every natural 
body must be eating and drinking, and fit exercise and usage 
be a cause of its own preservation, and not forbear these 
under pretence of trusting the all-sufficiency of God; and as 
every political body, must by government and arms, in case 
of need, preserve themselves under God ; so must the body 
of Christ, the church, be diligent in using their best endea- 
vours to preserve the being and wellbeing of the whole. 
So that you see here are two causes of the church's unity 
expressed: 1. The principal constitutive cause, in which our 
unity consisteth ; and that is, " the Spirit." 2. The preserving 
cause, by which our unity is cherished, and that is " peace," 
which therefore is called "the bond "of it. The fifth and sixth 
verses do open this unity of Spirit in its parts, effects, and 
ends. " There is one hope of our calling," that is, one heaven 
or life eternal, which is the end of our Christianity and church 
constitution. " There is one Lord," Jesus Christ ; one head, 



382 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

one Saviour, one sovereign Redeemer, to whom by this Spirit 
the members are all united. " Theie is one faith," both one 
sum of holy doctrine, which all that will be saved must be- 
lieve which was used to be professed by the adult at bap- 
tism, and one internal saving faith, which this Spirit causeth 
in our spirits, and useth it as a means of our union with 
.Christ, in whom we do believe. " There is one baptism," or 
solemn covenanting with God the Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost ; and the same promise there to be made by all. And 
" there is one God the Father of all," from whom we fell, and 
to whom we must be recovered, and who is the end of all, and 
to whom Christ and all these means are the way. So that 
all these are implied in, and conjunct with the " unity of 
the Spirit." 

The sense of the text then briefly is this : As all the living 
true members of Christ and the church, have one Spirit, and 
so one faith, by which they are all united to Christ the head, 
and so to the Father in and by him ; which union in one 
Spirit is your very life, and it that constituteth you true 
members of Christ and his church ; so it must be your care 
and great endeavour to preserve this Spirit in you, and this 
vital unity, which by this Spirit you have with Christ and 
one another : and the way to preserve it, is by the bond of 
peace among yourselves.' It is here evident then, that all 
the members of Christ and his body, have one Spirit, and in 
that is their union. All the question is, What Spirit this is ? 
And that is left past all doubt in the chapter ; for though 
the common gifts of the Spirit are sometimes called by that 
name, yet these are no farther meant in the text than as 
appurtenances or additions to greater gifts. As godliness 
hath the promise of the common mercies of this life, as well 
as of the special mercies of the life to come; but yet with 
great difference, the latter being absolutely promised, and 
the former but limited, so far as God sees best for us: even 
so the Spirit gave to the members of the church both sanc- 
tifying grace, and common gifts; but with great difference; 
giving sanctification to all, and only the members of Christ ; 
but giving common gifts also to some others, and to them 
but with limitation, for sort, and season, and measure, and 
continuance, as God shall see good. It is then the same 
Holy Ghost as our Sanctifier, into whose name we are bap- 
tized, as well as into the name of the Father and Son, and in 



CATHOLIC UNITY. :i83 

whom we all profess to believe, that is here meant in my 
text. And it is only the sanctified that are the people united 
to Christ, and to one another. This is proved expressly by 
that which foUoweth. It is those that have the " one hope, 
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God the Father." (ver. 
6, 7.) It is the saints and body of Christ that are to be 
perfected by the ministry, (ver. 12.) It is those that must 
come in the unity of faith, and knowledge of the Son of God 
to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness 
of Christ ; and that grow up in all things in Christ the head : 
It is the body that is united to him, and compacted in love, 
and edifieth itself in love. (ver. 13. 15, 16.) It is those that 
have so learned Christ, as to put off the old man that is 
corrupt, and are renewed in the spirit of their minds, and 
put on the new man, which after God is created in righteous- 
ness and true holiness." (ver. 20 — 24.) If therefore any 
words be plain, it is plain that it is true saints only that are 
here spoken of, that.have the " unity of Spirit," which they 
must preserve in the " bond of peace." And therefore I shall 
make this observation the ground of my discourse. 

Doct. • The true unity of the catholic church of Christ 
consisteth in this, that they have all one sanctifying Spirit 
within them.' 

By the Holy Ghost within them they are all united to 
Christ and to one another: by this one Spirit they are all made 
saints, or a holy people, having one heaven for the matter 
of their hopes, one Christ their head, one sum of Christian 
doctrine, which they believe, containing all the essentials of 
Christian faith ; and one living principle of faith to believe it ; 
one solemn covenant with Christ; and one God the Father, 
their end and all. 

It is only the sanctified that have true Christian unity ; 
and it is unholiness or ungodliness that is the cause of the 
miserable divisions of the world. Now, sirs, you see the 
only way to unity: even to have one sanctifying Spirit 
within us, and be all a holy people, and there is no way 
but this. Now you see the principal cause of division; 
even unholiness, and refusing the Spirit of grace. 

In handling this point, I. I shall give you some proposi- 
tions that are necessary for the fuller understanding of it. 
II. I shall demonstrate the point to you by a fuller evidence 
of reason. III. I shall make application of it. 



384 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

I. P/vp. 1. Though it be only the sanctified that have 
the true union of members with Christ and the body; yet 
all that make profession of sanctification, and null not that 
profession: have an extrinsic, analogical union in profession: 
as the wooden or dead leg is united to the body, and the 
dead branch to the vine. And so even hypocrites must not 
only dwell among us, but be of the same visible church with 
us, as the chaff and tares are of the same corn field. And 
as long as they seem saints we must value them and use 
them as saints, and love them, and have communion with 
them as saints : not as conceiving them certainly to be such, 
but probably, and by that human faith, by which we are 
bound to believe their profession ; not as we believe God, 
who is infallible, but as men that are fallible ; and this in 
several degrees, according to the several degrees of their 
credibility, and the probability of their profession. So that 
you must not after this mistake me, as if I tied our external 
church-communion only to true saints ; for then we must 
have communion with none; because being not able to search 
the hearts, we know not what professors are sincere. But 
yet even this external church-communion belongs only to 
them that make profession of love and holiness, as well as 
of belief; and no lower profession must serve the turn. 

Prop. 2. There is a common unity of human nature that 
we have with all men, and a common peace, that as much 
as in us lieth we must hold with all. (Rom. xii. 18.) But 
this is nothing to the unity in question, which belongeth to 
our happiness. The devils have a unity of nature, and some 
order and accord in evil ; for if " Satan be divided, how 
can his kingdom stand?" (Matt. xii. 26.) 

Prop. 3. The unity of the saints in the spirit of holiness, 
consisteth in this life with much imperfection and discord, 
according to the imperfection of their holiness. But as 
grace is the seed of glory, and the beginning of eternal life, 
•for all its weakness, and the sins that accompany it, (John 
xvii. 3,) so the unity of the Spirit of holiness is the seed and 
beginning of the perfect unity in heaven, for all the differ- 
ences and discord that here accompany it. 

II. Having shewed you the only bond of unity, I come 
now by fuller evidence, to convince you of the truth of what 
is said, and even to force it into your understandings, if you 
will but use your reason, and believe the word of God. It 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 385 

is unholiness and ungodliness that causeth our discord ; and 
it is the spirit of holiness that is the uniting principle; and 
there is no true Christian unity to be had with ungodly men : 
never think of unity by any other way than sanctification : 
You are as on the other side of the river, and cannot be 
united to the servants of Christ till the Spirit convert you, 
and pass you over. You are dead men, and unfit to be 
united to the living ; and it is the " Spirit that quickeneth," 
and this life must be our union. You madly rail against 
division, and yet stand at a distance from Christ and his 
church, and maintain the greatest division in the world. Be- 
lieve it, you do but doat and dream, if you think to have true 
Christian unity on any other terms, than by the sanctifying 
Spirit of Christ. And this I shall now evince as foUoweth. 

1. You know surely that there can be no Christian unity, 
but in God as your Father, and the centre of unity : All the 
true members of the catholic church must say " Our Father," 
and be as his children united in him. If you will have unity 
without the favour of God, it must be the unity of rebels, 
and such a concord as is in hell : the family of God do all 
unite in him. As all the kingdom is united in one king, so 
is all the church in God. Can you think it possible to have 
unity as long as you will not unite in God? Well then, 
there is nothing plainer in the Scripture, than that all men 
by nature are departed from God, and none are united to him 
but those that are regenerate and made new creatures ; not 
a man is his child by grace, and in his favour, but only those 
that are sanctified by his Spirit. (John iii. 3 — 5 ; Matt, xviii. 
3 ; 2 Cor. v. 17 ; Heb. xii. 14.) So that there is no true unity 
without sanctification, because there is no reconciliation 
with God, nor unity with him, without it. 

2. There can be no true Christian unity but in Christ the 
Redeemer and Head of the Church : For how can the mem- 
bers be united but in the head? Or the scholars but in their 
teacher? Or the subjects but in their sovereign? You know 
there is no Christian unity but in Christ. Well then. What 
unity can we have with those that are not in Christ? The 
unsanctified have indeed the name of Christians ; but what is 
that to the nature ? Some branches not bearing fruit are said 
to be in him the Vine, by outward profession : but they are 
dead and withered, and must be cut off and cast away for 

VOL. XVI. c c 



.386 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

the fire ; and so are unfit for communion with the Vine. 
(John XV.) " He that is in Christ is a new creature : old 
things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 
(2 Cor. V. 17.) " If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, 
(which is this sanctifying Spirit) the same is none of his." 
1 pray you mark the plainness of these passages. All you 
that are unconverted and unsanctified are out of Christ, and 
none of his, though you may talk and boast of him as long 
as you will. And, therefore you cannot have unity with 
Christians till you will first have unity with Christ himself. 
Till you are ingrafted into him, you are not ingrafted into 
the catholic church, but only seem to be what you are not. 

3. The dead cannot be united to the living : Who will 
be married to a dead corpse ? Or would be tied to it, and 
carry it about? It is life that must unite us. The unsancti- 
fied are dead in sin, (Ephes. ii. 5,) and the Spirit is given to 
quicken the dead, that they may be fit for converse. What 
union can there be between a block and a man ; or a beast 
that hath but a sensitive life, and a man that hath a rational 
soul ? So what union between the sensual world and the 
sanctified believer? If you could have unity without the 
Sanctifying Spirit, why are you then baptized into the name 
of the Holy Ghost as your sanctifier? To have a unity of 
being is common to us with the devils ; for they are God's 
creatures, and so are we. To have a union of specific being 
is common to us with all the damned, for they are men as 
well as we ; and common to the devils among themselves. 
But it must be a unity in the Spirit of holiness that must 
prove us happy, and afford us comfort. 

4. There is no possibility of having unity with those 
that have not the same ultimate principal end. But the 
sanctified and the unsanctified have not the same end, nay, 
have contrary ends. If one of you will go to York, and the 
other to London, how can you possibly go one way? This 
is the great difference that sets the world and the sanctified 
by the ears : You serve mammon, and they serve God : you 
have one portion, and they another : your portion is in this 
life. (Psalm xvii. 14.) Here you have your good things, 
(Luke xvi. 25,) and here you lay up your treasure. (Matt, 
vi. 19, 21.) Your belly is your god, and you mind earthly 
things. (Philip, iii. 18.) But it is the Lord that is the 



CATHOLIC UNITY. t}S7 

portion of the saints. (Psal. xvi. 5.) They lay up a trea- 
sure in heaven, (Matt. vi. 20,) and there they have their 
conversations. (Philip, iii. 20.) Being risen with Christ, 
they seek the things that are above, where Christ sitteth at 
the right hand of God; for they are dead, and their life is 
hid with Christ in God. (Col. iii. 1. 3, 4.) The business 
that the saints, and that the ungodly have in the world, is 
clean contrary. Their business is for heaven, and yours is 
for earth ; they are sowing to the Spirit, in hope of everlast- 
ing life, and you are sowing to the flesh, and shall reap cor- 
ruption. (Gal. vi. 6, 7.) They are making provision for 
another life, that never shall have end ; and you are making 
provision for the flesh, to satisfy its desires. (Rom. xiii. 14.) 
And how is it possible for these to be united? What con- 
cord between light and darkness? Or Christ and Belial? Or 
righteousness with unrighteousness? (2 Cor. vi. 14, 15.) 
" Can two walk together, except they be agreed? " (Amos 
iii. 3.) We must better agree of our business in the world, 
and of our journey's end, before we can keep company with 
you. While you are for earth and we for heaven, it is not 
possible that we should go one way. While one is for the 
world, and another for God, they must needs differ: for 
God and the world are masters that are irreconcileable. If 
you will cleave to one, you must despise the other. 

The work of the butcher and the soldier is to kill ; and 
the work of the surgeon and physician is to cure. And do 
you think these will ever take one course? The soldier 
studies how to wound and kill : the surgeon studies how to 
close these wounds and heal them : and surely these must 
go contrary ways. Sirs, as long as your business is prin- 
cipally for the flesh and the world, and the business of the 
sanctified is against the flesh and world, and for the Spirit 
and the world to come, how is it possible that you should 
be agreed? You must bring heaven and earth together first; 
yea, heaven and hell together first, before you can have a 
Christian unity and agreement between the sanctified and 
the unsanctified. • 

5. There is no unity to be had, but in the Gospel. The 
apostle tells us, " there is one faith." (Eph. iv, 5.) If an 
angel from heaven would preach another Gospel, he must 
be accursed. (Gal. i. 10, 11.) But the unsanctified do not 
truly and heartily entertain this Gospel. You think and say 



388 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

you truly believe it, when you do not. If you truly believed 
it, your lives would shew it. He that indeed believes an 
everlasting glory, will surely look after it, more than after 
the world or the flesh. 

6. There is no Christian unity, but in the Christian na- 
ture. Contrary natures cannot close. Fire and water, the 
wolf and the lamb, the bear and the dog, will not well unite. 
The sanctified have a new, divine and heavenly nature. (John 
iii. 6 ; 2 Pet. i. 4 ; 2 Cor. v. 17.) Their disposition is another 
way than it was before. But the unsanctified have the old 
corrupt fleshly nature still : one is as the fire, still bending 
upward ; the other as the earth or stone, still bending down- 
ward to the earth : And how can these agree together? 

7. There is no Christian unity to be had, where the affec- 
tions run quite contrary ways. But so it is with the sancti- 
fied and the unsanctified. One loves God above all, and 
cannot live without holy communion with him, and retireth 
into him from the distractions of the world, andmaketh him 
his rest, content, and solace : the other mentions the good- 
ness of God, but findeth no such sweetness in him, nor de- 
sires after him. One tr&ads a world underfoot as dirt, or 
valueth and useth it but as the help to heaven : and the other 
makes it his happiness, and sets his heart on it. One de- 
lighteth in holiness, and the other hateth it, or regardeth it 
not. One hateth sin as a serpent, or as death ; and the other 
makes it his meat, and drink, and business. And how is it 
possible for men of such contrary affections to be agreed, 
and nature at such enmity to unite ? 

8. The sanctified and unsanctified are moved by contrary 
objects : one lives by faith on things that are out of sight, 
and strives for heaven as if he saw it, and strives against 
hell as if he saw it; for his " faith is the evidence of things 
not seen." (Heb. xi. 1. 7.) " We live by faith, and not by 
sight. (2 Cor. v. 7 ; 2 Cor. iv. 18.) But the unsanctified live 
upon things that are seen, and things believed little move 
them, because they are not heartily believed. 

9. The hol^ and the unholy do live by contrary laws. 
One liveth by the law of God, and there asketh counsel what 
he must think, or say, or do, resolving to obey God, before 
his flesh, and all the world. The other will say, he will be 
ruled by God's laws, till his flesh and carnal interest con- 
tradict it, and then he will take his lusts for his law: his 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 389 

pride is a law to him, and the pleasures and profits of the 
world are a law to him ; and the will of great ones, and the 
customs of men are his law. And how is it possible for men 
to agree that walk by such contrary rules as these? 

10. There is no true unity but in the covenant with 
Christ. As marriage uniteth man and wife, so every truly 
sanctified man hath delivered up himself to Christ in a pe- 
remptory absolute covenant, and hath quit all claim of inte- 
rest in himself, and is wholly God's. But the unsanctified 
will not be brought to this, any further than the lips, and 
therefore they cannot be well united. 

11. The true members of the church are " built on the 
foundation of the apostles and prophets," (Eph. ii. 20,21.) 
Butthe unsanctified regard them not,if they cross theirminds. 

12. There is no true Christian unity, but with the holy 
catholic church. The body is but one. (1 Cor. xii. 12, 13; 
Eph. iv. 4.) But the unsanctified are not of the holy catholic 
church, but only in the visible external communion of it. 

13. There can be no true Christian unity with the saints, 
without a special love to the saints. For by this " we know 
that we are passed from death to life, because we love the 
brethren ; he that loveth not his brother abideth in death." 
(1 John iii. 14.) " By this must all men know that we are 
Christ's disciples." (John xiii. 35.) Love is the bond and 
cement of the church. He that doth not heartily love a godly, 
sanctified man, because he is such, hath no true unity with 
the church. But the ungodly love them not as such : they 
see no such beauty and loveliness in holiness. Though 
Scripture calls it God's image, they be not in love with 
God's image, but think it a conceit, or hypocritical pre- 
tence, or a wearisome thing. Why ! poor carnal wretches, 
do you hate the godly, and yet would you have unity with 
them? Do you hate them, and yet cry out against divisions, 
when your hearts are thus divided from God and his servants ? 
You must learn to love them with a special love, and Christ 
in them, before you can be united with them. 

14. There is no unity to be had without a love to the 
body that you are united to. You must love the church, 
and long for its prosperity, and the success of the' Gospel, 
and the downfal of wickedness. Thus do the saints ; but 
thus do not the ungodly. Nay, many of them are glad 
when they hear of any evil befal the godly. 



3D0 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

15. There is no unity without a singular respect to the 
special members that are ligaments and chief instruments 
of unity ; even the officers of the church and most useful 
members. The overseers of the church must " be highly 
esteemed in love for their work sake." (1 Thess. v. 12.) 
Thus do the godly, but not the ungodly. 

16. There must be an inward inclination to the com- 
munion of saints, before there can be any agreement and 
unity. All that are of the holy catholic church, must desire 
the communion of saints. Their " delight must be in them." 
(Psalm xvi. 3.) But the ungodly have no such delight in 
their communion. 

17. If you will have unity and communion with the 
church, you must have a love to the holy ordinances, which 
are the means of communion ; as to the word of God, heard 
and read, to prayer, sacraments, confession, &,c. ; but the un- 
godly either have a distaste of these, or but a common delight 
in the outside, and not in the spirit of the ordinance. And, 
therefore, they cannot agree with the church ; when you 
loathe that which is our meat and drink, and we cannot feed 
at one table together, what an agreement can there be ? 

18. If you will agree, you must work in the same vine- 
yard, and labour in the same employment, and walk the 
same way as the sanctified do : And that is in the way of 
holiness and righteousness, " giving all diligence to make 
your calling and election sure." (2 Pet. 1. 10.) If you live 
to the flesh, and they live to the Spirit, (Rom. viii. 5, 13,) 
What unity and agreement can there be? 

19. There is no unity to be had, unless you will join in 
a defensive and offensive league, and in opposition to that 
which would tend to our destruction. What commonwealth 

-will unite with them that defend their enemies and rebels ? 
There is an enmity put in the beginning between the seed 
of the woman and of the serpent. (Gen. iii. 15.) " Because 
we are not of the world, the world hate us." (John xv. 19.) 
If you will be united to the church and people of Christ, 
you must be at enmity with sin, and hate it, and join for 
the destroying of it ; and you must be soldiers in Christ's 
army, which the devil and his army fight against; and you 
must fight against the flesh, the world, and the devil, and 
not live in friendship with them. But this the unsanctified 
will not do. 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 391 

20. And therefore because you will not be united to them 
in the state and kingdom of grace, you shall not be united 
with them in the state and kingdom of glory. 

And thus I have made it plain to you, that none can 
have true union with the church of Christ, but only they 
that are sanctified by the Spirit. 

Use 1. By this time you may see, if you are willing to 
see, who it is long of that the world is all in pieces by di- 
visions, and who are the greatest hinderers of unity. Even 
unsanctified, ungodly men. And you may see how fit these 
men are to cry out against divisions, that are the principal 
causes of them : and how wisely they deal to cry up unity, 
and in the meantime resist the only ground and way of 
unity : As Joshua said to Achan, " Why hast thou troubled 
us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day;" (Jos. vii. 25 ;) 
So I may say to all the ungodly, ' Why trouble you the 
church, and hinder unity ? You shall one day have trouble 
yourselves for this.' They cry out against the ministry and 
others that fear God, as Ahab did to Elijah, " Art thou he 
that troubleth Israel?" But saith Elijah, " It is thou and 
thy father's house that trouble Israel, in that ye have for- 
saken the commandments of the Lord." (1 Kings xvii. 17, 
18.) Sirs, I tell you, (and I may confidently tell you when 
I have proved it so fully,) that it is the ungodly that are the 
great dividers of the world. It is you that make the breach, 
and keep it open. We are willing to agree to any thing 
that is reasonable or possible ; but there is no possibility of 
agreeing with the ungodly, unless they will turn. It would 
make any honest heart to ache, to see these wretches set all 
on fire, and then cry out against others as the authors of it. 
As Nero set Rome on fire, and then persecuted the Chris- 
tians for it, as if it had been done by them. They pluck up 
the foundations, and hold most damnable, practical errors ; 
and when they have done, they go about reviling other men 
as erroneous. I speak not in the excuse or extenuation of 
other men's errors : I have spoke my part against them also : 
but I tell you, it is the profane and ignorant rabble, and all 
the ungodly, whether gentlemen,scholars,or of what rank so- 
ever, that are the great dividers, and stand at the greatest 
distance from Christian unity. O what a happy church 
should we have, for all the sects that trouble us so much, if 
it were not for ungodliness that animateth some of those 



^"^^ CATHOLIC LNITV. 

sects, and virtually containeth many more ! Had we none 
but men fearing God to deal with, we should have no oppo- 
sition to the essentials of religion ; and we should still have 
the comfort of agreeing with them in all things necessary to 
salvation. They would carry on their differences in Chris- 
tian meekness, charity and moderation ; and at the worst 
our agreement would be greater than our disagreement. 
But when we have to deal with haters of holiness, or at 
least with men that are strangers to the sanctifying work of 
the Spirit, we have predominant pride, and selfishness, and 
covetousness to strive against: We have radicated infidelity, 
and enmity to God and holiness, giving life and strength to 
all their errors, and making them stubborn, and wilful, and 
scornful, against the clearest truths that can be shewed 
them. There is no dealing effectually with a carnal heart, 
for any but God himself. Unless we can create light in 
them, as well as reveal the truth to them, what good can we 
do them? What good doth the sun to a man that is blind ? 
They have understandings left, and therefore they can err ; 
but they have no heavenly light in them, and therefore they 
cannot choose but err. They have wills, and therefore are 
capable of sin ; but they have no holy rectitude of them, 
and therefore sin they will with obstinacy. When we dis- 
pute with the godly, that err through weakness, we deal with 
men that have eyes in their heads, and life in their souls, 
and some savour and experience of the matters of God. But 
when we dispute with the ungodly, we deal with the blind, 
we talk to the dead, we offer the bread of life to men that 
have no appetite or savour of it ; yea, we speak for God, to 
enemies of God ; and for truth, to the natural enemies of 
such truths; and the more obstinate enemies, because they 
know it not. Had we nothing but mistakes to argue against, 
and had we but to do with men that have the free use of 
their reason, we should do well enough with them. But 
when we must persuade the deaf, the distracted, and the 
dead ; when we must dispute with pride, and passion, and 
enmity, and persuade a lion to become a lamb, and a ser- 
pent to lay by his venom, no wonder if we find a difficult 
task of it. tiad we none but the godly to deal with, we 
should have abundant advantage for success; we should 
deal with men that love the truth, and are willing to use right 
means to discover it : they would pray with us ibr truth, as 



CATHOLIC UNIl Y. 393 

well as dispute; they would with meekness search the 
Scripture, and see whether these things be so or not: they 
would yield to light when it appeareth to them, and not im- 
prison it in unrighteousness. And it would move us to 
more tender dealing with them, while we see and love Christ 
in them, and when we remember that the men that we now 
dispute with, we must live with in heaven, and join with in 
the everlasting praises of the Lord. I profess, sirs, I speak 
to you from sad experience, I have been troubled with Anti- 
nomians, and Anabaptists, and other errors in well-meaning- 
men, as much as most: and many a day's work they have 
made me in writing and disputing against them. But, alas! 
this is nothing to the trouble that the profane, ungodly do 
put me to. I thank God I have dealt with all these errors 
with so good success, that I live in peace by them ; and I 
know not of an Anabaptist, or Socinian, or Arminian, or 
Quaker, or Separatist, or any such sect in the town where I 
live ; except half a dozen Papists that never heard me. 
But infidels, atheists, ungodly wretches, I am pestered with 
still : one heresy called drunkenness, that denieth the use 
of reason itself, doth still walk the streets in despite of all 
that I can say, or all that the magistrates will do ; and none 
of us all are able to confute them. In one hour's time they 
will fetch more arguments from the alehouse, than all the 
reason in the town can effectually answer. 

And as the ungodly are most desperately principled, of 
any heretics in the world, both for the quality and the radi- 
cation of their errors ; so there are far greater numbers of 
them, than of all other heresies set together. It may be we 
have one or two Anabaptists in a parish, and in some pa- 
rishes none ; in some few it may be twenty : but O that I 
could say, I had not twenty, and twenty, and twenty, and 
twice twenty more, unsanctified, ungodly persons in my 
parish, though I hope there are as many better, as in any pa- 
rish I know. Alas, sirs, into how many parishes may you 
go, and find gross ignorance, profaneness, worldliness, con- 
tempt of God and heavenly things, to be their common air 
which they breathe in, and the natural complexion of the 
inhabitants, as blackness is to the ^Ethiopians. It is a 
blessed parish, that of three thousand inhabitants, hath not 
above two thousand natural heretics, even ungodly persons 
that are strangers to sanctification. And who then do you 



394 CATHOLIC UNITY. 



think is most likely to be the cause of our distractions and 
divisions? 

Moreover, let me tell you, profaneness and ungodliness 
is not a single error or heresy ; but it is the sum of all the 
heresies in the world. You will think this strange, when 
you see so many that join with us in a sound profession, 
and some of them zealous defenders of the truth ; and many 
of them cry out against errors : but, alas! they believe not 
that which they think they do believe. They hold not that 
which they say they hold. There is much in their creed, 
that was nev^r in their belief. Doubtless ungodliness is the 
nest of all the heresies in the world. 

Will you give me leave to instance in some particulars. 
The greatest error in the world is atheism, when men deny 
the Godhead itself. And do not the most of the ungodly 
deny him in their hearts ? If he be not just, he is not God ; 
and they deny and hate his justice : If he be not holy, he is 
not God ; and they deny in their hearts, and hate his holi- 
ness : If he be not true, he is not God; and they commonly 
believe that he is not true. Shew them where he hath said, 
that none but the converted, the sanctified, the regenerate, 
the heavenly, the self-denying shall be saved ; and they will 
not believe that this will be made good, but hope it is false. 
If he be not wise, and be not the Governor of the world, he 
is not God. And these wretches quarrel with his holy laws, 
as if they could tell how to mend them themselves, and 
were wiser to make a law than God is ; and by flat rebellion 
deny his government. So that we may truly say with 
David, (Psal. xiv,) that these fools say in their hearts, that 
" There is no God ;" or else they durst not say and do in his 
presence as they do. 

Moreover, idolatry, which is the setting up of false gcds, 
is a most abominable, damning sin. And every ungodly 
man is guilty of it. Covetousness is idolatry, (Ephes. v. 5,) 
and the sensual make their belly their God. (Phil. iii. 19.) 
And pride and selfishness, which are the heart of the old 
man, are nothing else but making ourselves our idols. 
Every unsanctified man is his own idol ; giving to himself 
the honour, and pleasure, and love that is due to God alone; 
and setting up his own will instead of God's. 

Polytheism, which is the feigning of many gods, is a 
most damnable error : And how many gods have all that are 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 395 

ungodly ! No man departeth from the one true God, but 
he makes to himself many false gods in his stead. His 
wealth, and his credit, and his throat, and his recreations, 
and the rulers that are capable of hurting him, are all as his 
gods, and to them he gives that which is due to God only. 

Infidelity is one of the most damning errors in the 
world; when men believe not in Christ that bought them: 
but this is the case of all the unsanctified. An opinion they 
have that the Gospel is true ; and Christ is the only Lord 
and Saviour ; but infidelity is predominant in them, and 
therefore should denominate them ; or else they should be 
saved, if they were true believers. Never did they give an 
hour's true entertainment to Christ in their hearts. 

To set up a false Christ, is one of the most damning sins 
in the world. And what else do all the ungodly, that place 
their hopes for pardon and salvation, either in their own 
good works or carnal shifts, or at least, by false conceptions 
do make Christ not indeed to be Christ ? 

To have many saviours, is a damnable error. And how 
many do the ungodly make to themselves, while they depart 
from the Lord Christ ? 

To deny the Holy Ghost, is a damnable error. And 
what else dq all the ungodly in the world, that will not be 
sanctified by him? This is the most palpable error that 
they are guilty of: They are baptized into the name of the 
Holy Ghost as their Sanctifier, and yet they will not be 
sanctified by him : nay, some of them make a mock of the 
Spirit, and of sanctification. And some of them will hearken 
to false, deceiving spirits, instead of the Holy Spirit of God. 
Some heretics have denied some parts of the Scripture, 
and infidels deny it all. And what less do all ungodly men, 
that believe it not heartily, and will not obey it, but deny it 
in parts, and refuse subjection to it? They will not be so 
holy, not they, let the Scripture say what it will. Are not 
all the ungodly against the Scripture? Many a time have I 
heard them, when the times more encouraged them, deriding 
the Bible, and those that did but carry a Bible, or speak of 
the Scripture, or read it in their houses. Certainly, he that 
fights against the Scripture in his life, is more against it 
than he that only denies it with his tongue. 

Moreover, the Pelagian heretics denied original sin, and 
justified man's nature : and so doth profaneness in a very 



396 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

great measure. Never were the ungodly truly humbled for 
their original sin, nor saw any such matter in themselves, 
as to make them abhor themselves : And what is this but 
actually to deny it? 

The same Pelagians made light of grace, which is God's 
image upon the soul. But in this the ungodly go quite be- 
yond them: they make a matter of nothing of holiness, but 
account it a fancy, or a needless thing ; and many of them 
hate it, and if the times did but favour their malice, there 
were no living near them for any that fear God : In this they 
are devils in flesh ; I cannot liken them to any heresy, but 
devilism, they go so far beyond the professors of them all. 

One sect is against those that are their opposers, and 
another sect against their opposers; but ungodliness is 
against all that are godly of every party whatsoever ; and 
is in open arms or secret enmity against the army of Christ, 
and against himself. 

The Simonians, and Nicolaitans, and Gnostics of old, 
did hold that men might do any outward action, when there 
is no other way to escape suffering, as long as they keep 
their hearts to God. So think the ungodly, as appeareth 
by their practice : Before they will lose their estates and be 
brought to poverty, or before they will lie in prison, or be 
burnt at a stake, they will say any thing, or do any thing : 
they would worship a piece of bread as if it were God ; 
they would turn to Papists or any that can do them a mis- 
chief, if it were the Turks. 

Alas ! the particular sects among us, do play a small 
game in comparison of the ungodly ; and hold but petty 
errors to theirs : one sect is against one ordinance, and an- 
other sect is against another ordinance; but the ungodly 
are against all. The sectaries are against something in the 
manner or outside of the work, but the ungodly are against 
the spirit and life, and substance of the duty itself: one sect 
depraveth the doctrine of faith; and another the doctrine of 
repentance, and another the doctrine of obedience : but the 
ungodly deprave all the doctrine of holiness ; yea, deny it, 
and not only deprave it : they sweep away all before them, 
and go by wholesale : they stand not to speak as other 
heretics, against this grace or that grace, but against all : 
it is godliness itself that the ungodly are against. 

The sectaries oppose all parts of the catholic church. 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 397 

saving their own: but the ungodly are against the holy 
catholic church itself; as it is a church, and as it is holy, 
they are against it. The church is a society combined for 
holy obedience to Christ; and the ungodly are against that 
holy obedience. 

The sectaries would have no communion of saints, but in 
their own way. But the ungodly are against the communion 
of saints in itself; for they are against the saints that hold 
this communion. 

The Papists and Quakers are against our ministry, and 
rail at them, and labour to bring them into hatred. So do 
the worst sort of the ungodly, even of them that say they 
are Protestants, and of our religion. In their houses, and in 
the alehouses, in their ordinary discourse, they are cavilling 
against the ministers, or reproaching them : and some of 
them are more bitter haters and revilers of them, than almost 
any heretics that we meet with : yea, some of them are glad 
to hear the Quakers and Anabaptists reproach them, and 
secretly set them on : only they are ashamed to own these 
revilers, because they see them come off in the end with so 
much disgrace. But if they were but sure that Papists, or 
Quakers, or any sect that is against a godly ministry, had 
power in their hands to go through with their work, the 
multitude of the ungodly among us would soon join with 
them. How plainly did this appear in our late wars? When 
few ministers of noted diligence and piety, that desired to 
have lived at home in quietness, could be suffered to live 
among them ; but the ungodly rise up against them as if 
they had been Turks or Jews, and drove them into garrisons 
to save their lives. The Separatists and Quakers, and other 
sects, dispute against the ministry with cavils and railings ; 
but the ungodly would dispute them down with halters and 
hatchets, if the merciful Governor of the world did not tie 
their hands. 

The Quakers, and many Anabaptists and Separatists, are 
against tithes, and all settled maintenance of the ministry. 
And do I need to tell you, that the ungodly, covetous world- 
lings are of the same mind? What need had ministers else 
to sue for their tithes ? Were it not for fear of treble da- 
mages, the ministers in many parishes of England would not 
have bread to their mouths, nor clothes to their backs, be- 



398 CATHOLIC uisriTy. 

fore they got it by suit at law. How commonly do thev 
think that all is won, and is currently their own, that they 
can but defraud the minister of? If it were not that they 
are under disgrace, the Quakers would soon have disciples 
enough upon this very account, because they are against 
tithes. And gladly do the ungodly covetous people hearken 
to that doctrine, and get their books, and would fain have 
that opinion take as orthodox. If the prince and parliament 
would but turn Quakers, and cry down tithes, yea, and mi- 
nistry too, the miserable ungodly multitude would quickly 
be of that religion, and entertain their laws with ringing of 
bells, and shouts, and bonfires. 

Another heresy there is, even the old sect of Anabap- 
tists, that are against Christian magistracy ! And another 
heresy, the Libertines, that would have the magistrates give 
men leave to sin. And are not all the profane of the same 
opinion ! They dare not speak so freely indeed against the 
magistrates as against the ministry, unless when they are up 
in arms against him, but their very hearts detest that magis- 
trate that takes part with godliness, and promotes religion, 
and puts down alehouses, and punisheth swearers, and 
profaners of the Lord's-day. They are commonly for the 
doctrine that Dell preached to the Parliament, that ' They 
should let Christ alone with reformation, and let him do his 
work himself:' or as another hath written, that * He will 
never serve such a God that is not able to defend his own 
cause without the magistrate's sword.' The wretches might 
as well have said ' We will have no such God as cannot 
govern us himself without a magistrate ; or cannot defend 
us against enemies without wars ; or cannot preserve our 
estates without the charge and trouble of law-suits; or save 
our goods or lives, without punishing thieves or murderers; 
or that cannot teach the world, without ministers, or give 
us corn without ploughing and sowing; we will never serve 
such a God as cannot preserve our lives without meat and 
drink, and clothes ; and lighten the world himself without a 
sun.' God can do all this! But must these dunghill worms 
impose it on him, and give him a law, and take down his 
creatures and institutions, and means, and bid him do all 
without them himself, or else he is no God? O wretched 
blasphemers! Why how much of this blasphemy are the 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 3fJ9 

ungodly guilty of, that hate the magistrate, or any other that 
executes God's laws, and would hinder them from sin, and 
drive them to the means that should make them better! 

The Antinoraians corrupt the doctrine of faith, and take 
it to be a believing that their sins are pardoned, that Christ 
hath even repented and believed in their stead ; and he that 
hath this belief they think is safe, and that a man cannot 
thus believe too much or too soon. And this is just the 
common faith of the ungodly : they trust in Christ to save 
and pardon them, even without sanctification or conversion; 
and trust they will, let ministers say what they can : pre- 
sumption is taken to be true believing, and by it they think 
to be saved. They believe that God will save them, and 
therefore thev think thev are true believers. 

The Antinomians say, that no man should be discouraged 
from such a belief by any sin whatsoever. And this the 
ungodly hold and practise. The Antinomians hold that no 
man should stay for any evidences of grace in himself, before 
he thus believe that he is a child of God, and justified. And 
this the ungodly hold and practise. They believe and hope 
that they are justified and shall be saved, when they have 
not a word of proof for their hopes, nor any reason why they 
should be saved more than the rest of the world that will be 
condemned : only they believe it and hope it, and that they 
think shall serve the turn. 

The Antinomians are against repenting and grieving for 
sin, and confessing it, as a means of pardon. And I am sure 
the ungodly are practically against it. Repent, and mourn, 
and turn from sin, they will not; nor confess any more but 
what they know not how to deny ; but as much as they can 
they will hide it, excuse it, and defend it. 

The Antinomians would not have one of their believers, 
if he fall into the grossest sins, to make the least question of 
his pardon and justified state for that. And so it is with the 
ungodly : they will confess, when they swear or are drunk, 
that they sin, (because they cannot deny it) but they will 
not believe that they are graceless and unpardoned ; but all 
are sinners ; and the best have their faults, and so have they; 
and this is the worst they can make of their sin. 

The Pelagians say, that the will of man is so free, that he 
can turn and become a new creature at any time. And if 
this were not the opinion of the ungodly, how could they 



400 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

put off conversion, and say, It is time enough hereafter : but 
that it seems they think they can turn at any time, as if they 
had the Spirit and grace of God at their command. 

And yet they hold the contrary to this. (And this is no 
wonder; for there is the very Babel of confusion in the soul 
of the unsanctified.) The Antinomians say, that man can do 
nothing to his own conversion, but is merely passive : If 
God have justified him before he was born, he shall be a 
justified person; and if God will give him grace, well and 
good ; if not, he cannot help it. Just so say many of the 
ungodly: 'If we are elected we shall be saved; if not, let 
us do what we can, we cannot be saved : if God will not 
give us grace, we cannot have it; and if we perish, what 
remedy?' As if God did deny his grace to any of you, but 
those that forfeit it by wilful sin ! Or as if your willing- 
resisting it were no fault or forfeiture : Or as if God did 
predestinate any besides the sanctified to salvation. 

Abundance more such heresies I might reckon up, that 
are all comprised in ungodliness. Some infidels question 
the immortality of the soul : and so do many of the ungodly : 
I have heard some of them flatly deny it, and others of them 
do not well believe it. 

Some infidels question whether there be any hell. And 
so do the ungodly in their hearts, or else they dare never 
so boldly venture on it, and so merrily live in the sudden 
danger of it. 

Some infidels question the joys of heaven. And if the 
ungodly did not so in their heart, they would not think a 
holy life too much ado to get it, nor would they part with it 
for the pleasure of a filthy sin. 

There is never an article of the Creed but some heretic or 
other doth oppose it. And the ungodly are against them 
altogether, even while they profess to believe them all. 

There is never a one of the Ten Commandments, but 
ungodliness is against it. There is never a petition in the 
Lord's- prayer, but ungodliness is against it; for all that they 
are content to use the words. Instead of hallowing the 
name of God, they dishonour it; and instead of living to 
the glory of God, they seek themselves and their own honour. 
The kingdom of Christ they are enemies to : in the church 
without them, they love not his government. In their hearts 
within, they will not endure it ; and the coming of his glo- 



catholic: unity. 401 

nous kingdom they are afraid of. Instead of doing his will, 
they will quarrel with it, and murmur at it, and disobey it,, 
and do their own wills, and would have God do their wills 
too, and have all others do them. Instead of being content 
with daily bread to fit them for God's service, they drown 
themselves in pleasure, or in worldly cares, to make provi- 
sion to satisfy their flesh. Instead of valuing and accepting 
the forgiveness of sin, as purchased by Christ, and offered 
m the Gospel, they have slight apprehensions of so great a 
mercy, and refuse the conditions of it as too hard, and run 
deeper into debt, and wilfully sin more. Instead of avoiding 
temptations, and flying to Christ for deliverance from evil, 
they tempt themselves, and run into temptations, and seek 
after them, and love the evil of sin, and are loath to leave it 
and be delivered from it. So that they are against every 
petition in the Lord's-prayer, though they use the words. 

They are also against every ordinance of God, and lick 
up the vomit of all sects that do oppose them. One sect is 
against the Lord's-day ; and so are the ungodly against the 
sanctifying of it, and spending it in holy worship, and de- 
lighting themselves thereon in God. Else what need so 
many acts to restrain them from sports and other profana- 
tion of it? And all will not do. 

Another sect is against praying but by the book, and 
would have ministers restrained from praying in any other 
words than are commanded him. And the ungodly easily 
receive this opinion, and reproach all other prayers as ex- 
temporate and disorderly. 

Another sect is against church-government by any but 
magistrates ; these are called Erastians. And the ungodly 
are not only against it, but detest it, and reproach it. Let 
them be called to public repentance and confession for any 
public sin, and try whether they be not against this disci- 
pline. I know no outward duty that they are more against. 
They will hear us preach with some patience and quietness; 
but when we come to reprove them personally, and recover 
them from scandalous sins by necessary discipline, they 
storm and rage against us, and will not endure it. 

Some Separatists are for the people's governing of the 
church by a major vote, and consequently ruling those that 
God doth call their rulers, and commandeth them to obey, 

VOL. XVI. D n 



402 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

(Heb. xiii. 17.) And so are the ungodly; they would rule 
their rulers, the ministers, and have them administer the 
ordinances of God according to their fancies, but they will 
not be ruled by them. Let the minister but require them to 
come to him to be instructed or catechised, and they will 
not be ruled by him, they are too old to be catechised : let 
him call them to any necessary profession or other duty, 
and they will do what they list. Let him but cross any of 
their conceits and customs, and they will sooner revile him 
than be ruled by him. 

The Separatists will withdraw themselves from our 
churches and God's ordinances, if things be not suited to 
their mind. And so will many of the ungodly. Most 
parishes in England, that I hear of, where any kind of disci- 
pline is exercised, have more Separatists than communicants. 
The far greater part of many parishes forbear the communion 
of the church in the Lord's-supper, and have done many 
years together ; even because they cannot be admitted with- 
out examination, or without some necessary or lawful pro- 
fession, or because they cannot have the sacrament kneeling, 
or put into their hands, or the like. They will separate and 
be without the sacrament, or take it in a separate society, 
rather than they will be ruled by the pastors of the church 
in a gesture or undoubtedly lawful thing. 

Another sect of late will not sing David's Psalms ; and 
the ungodly will not do it heartily and reverently, but only 
with the voice. 

Another sect, the Anabaptists, are against baptizing in- 
fants. And the ungodly do not holily and heartily devote 
themselves and their infants to God ; they do not themselves 
renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, and take God 
for their God, and Christ for their Saviour, to heal and rule 
them, and the Holy Ghost for their Sanctifier to make them 
holy : And how then can they do this for their children, 
which they refuse themselves ? When they have offered 
their children to God in baptism, they bring them up to the 
flesh, and the world, and the devil, in their lives, and teach 
them to break the covenant which they made. So that they 
are far worse than Anabaptists. 

Another late sect will not pray morning and evening in 
their families, nor crave God's blessins: on their meat, nor 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 40.1 

teach their children and servants the duties of religion: and 
so it is with the ungodly. How many of you that hear me 
to-day, have prayerless families ; that let your people go 
about their labour as an ox to the yoke, without calling upon 
God! How few use to instruct and admonish their families, 
and help to prepare them for death and judgment ! All that 
are about you may see that you are guilty of this heresy. 

Another sect of late is risen up, that will not keep any 
constant times of prayer neither in family or in private, but 
only when they find themselves in a good mood, then they 
will pray. And so is it with many of the profane. 

I am weary of mentioning these desperate errors : more 
of them might be mentioned, and the case made plain, that 
almost all the heresies in the world are met together in the 
ungodly and unsanctified. 

Would you see the sum of all my charge, in order? It is 
this: 1. Many sects that trouble us much, yet do hold no 
errors but what may stand with Christianity and salvation. 
But the ungodly err in the essentials, and overthrow the very 
foundation of religion. Their errors will not consist with 
grace or salvation. They are damnable heresies. Yea, be- 
side all that the sects aforesaid hold, they have many damn- 
ing heresies of their own. These deadly heretics hold, that 
the world is rather to be sought than everlasting glory; that 
the pleasure of sin is to be chosen before the holiness of the 
saints ; that their flesh is to be pleased before God ; that it 
is better venture on their beloved sins, and keep them yet a 
little longer, than presently forsake them ; that the way to 
heaven which God commandeth, and Christ and all his apos- 
tles went in, is Puritanism and preciseness, and godliness is 
more ado than needs ; and that the body must have more 
care and diligence than the soul ; and the trifles of this 
world be more looked after than the one thing necessary! 

These, and abundance such damnable heresies do dwell 
in our cities and countries, in the minds of those that cry 
out against heresies. Ungodliness is the greatest heresy in 
all the world. 

2. Other heretics have some of therfi but one or two 
errors, but the ungodly have all these together : they are 
the sink of all errors. As all God's graces make up the new 
creature in the sanctified ; so all deadly errors and vices go 
to make up the body of ungodliness, when it is complete. 



404 CATHOLIC UNITY, 

Its name is Legion, for there are many of these evil spirits 
in it. The Anabaptist hath a scab, and the Separatist hath 
a wound ; but the ungodly multitude have the leprosy and 
plague sores from top to toe. 

Profaneness is a hodgepodge and gallimaufry of all 
the heresies of the world in one. 

3. Many other heretics do err but in speculation, and 
only the brain is infected, and they do not at the heart digest 
their own mistakes. But the heresies of the profane un- 
godly people are practical, and have mastered the will : the 
poison is working in the heart and vital parts, so that it is 
far the more mortal for this. 

4. Many sects at least do not practise their errors ; but 
the ungodly live upon them: yea, their lives are worse than 
their opinions; they say bad, and do worse. You may see 
more heresy than you can hear from them. 

5. Some erring persons have the substance of Christian 
truth mixed with their error, by which the power of the 
venom is abated, and they do good in the church as well as 
hurt. But the ungodly do not savingly, heartily, and prac- 
tically, hold fast any the most fundamental truth. 

6. Some sects are meek and temperate in their way ; but 
the ungodly are carried on with fury and malice, against the 

 whole body of the holy catholic church. 

7. And some heretics are so thin and few, that where 
we have one of them to do hurt, we have a hundred or a 
thousand to contradict them. But the unsanctified and un- 
godly are the greater number, and think they should rule 
because they are the most; and the flock of Christ is a little 
flock. And so many thousands swarming all over the 
world, and making up the far greatest part of the world, is 
likely to do more against the truth and peace, than here and 
there a poor sectary in a corner. 

8. And lastly, the errors of some others are easier cured; 
but the whole nature of the ungodly is turned as it were into 
error ; it is rooted so at the heart, that no power on earth is 
able to cure it, till God Almighty by insuperable light and 
life of grace, will flo the cure. 

And now I beseech you, judge impartially, who they be 
tliat are the deadly and dangerous heretics, and who are the 
hinderers of unity in the church. And how unfit these 
miserable people are to call for unity, and cry out against 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 405 

our many religions, who are heartily of no religion them- 
selves, but against the life and practice of all. To hear an 
ungodly man go crying out of sects, of Separatists, of Ana- 
baptists, and this and that, is as if we should hear a blacka- 
moor scorn one for a spot on his face ; or a murderer rebuke 
a man for an angry word ; or a soldier that kills as many as 
he can, cry out of the surgeons for curing no more, or blame 
others for a foul word ; or a common whore reproach another 
for a wanton word, or uncomely garments : or as if a mad- 
man should revile men for every slip he findeth in their 
speeches, and call them fools. O that we knew how to cast 
out this master-devil of ungodliness ! this Beelzebub the 
prince of devils ! and then I should not fear the rest; no, 
not all the sects and errors in the world, that are found with 
true godliness. 

Yet still remember these two cautions. 1. I do not ex- 
cuse the errors of the best; and I lament that they have 
lamentably wronged the church, and in some respects they 
have the greatest aggravations. 2. And I still confess that 
some of the unsanctified are so civil and orthodox, as to be 
very useful in the church, and helpful against sects and here- 
sies, because they are right in the brain as to speculation, 
and right in the tongue; and their error is kept buried deep 
in the heart, and therefore they err more to themselves than 
to others. I doubt not but many such are profitable preachers 
and defenders of the truth ; and the church must be thankful 
to God for their gifts. And yet all that I have affirmed standeth 
good, that ungodliness is the transcendent heresy and schism. 

Use 2. By what hath been said, you may easily perceive 
how little cause the Papists, or ceremonious, or any others, 
have to glory in such members of their churches as I have 
described. Can they expect a unity of the Spirit with these? 
If they glory that they have men and multitudes on their 
side, so may the Turks that have more than they; and so 
may the heathens that have more than either. And yet 
when a Papist hath deceived a poor licentious or ignorant 
man, or a proud or vicious silly woman, they glory in their 
convert. Never yet did I know any Protestant turn Papist, 
that was not an ungodly wretch before, and without the 
power of the religion which he professed. Do not say I 
speak censoriously, or uncharitably in this ; for I think, upon 
consideration, all Papists will confess it: For they teach. 



406 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

that all that be not of their church are void of chanty, and 
cannot so be saved ; and that all must therefore come in to 
their church, because there is no charity or salvation with- 
out it. Though this be false, yet you see by it, that they 
confess that never any but graceless, unsanctified Protestants 
did turn to them ; nor can they invite any to them but un- 
godly people. And whoever turneth Papist, doth thereby 
confess that he was ungodly before, and that he was not an 
honest, godly man ; for in turning Papist, he professeth to 
go into that church out of which there is no salvation, and 
consequently no charity or saving grace. And if indeed 
you desire none but the ungodly to turn to you, take them 
if they will needs go, and try whether you can do any more 
good on them than we have done. I think we have little 
cause (but for their own sakes) to lament our loss of such 
as these ; and that you have little cause to glory in your 
proselytes. And I have yet seen none that shew us any 
more holiness since their change, than they had before. A 
fair church you have, that is the common sty for all that 
will come to you ; and that is glad of any to make up the 
number, that you may have that in quantity, that is want- 
ing in quality. 

Use 3. From hence also let Quakers and Papists, and all 
reproachers of our churches, take notice, how groundlessly 
they hit us in the teeth with the ungodly that live among us. 
* These are your Protestants,' say they ; * these are your 
churches: these are the fruit of your ministry!' say the 
Quakers. No, these are the enemies of our ministry and 
doctrine ; these are they that join with you, and such as 
you, to reproach us and revile us ! These are the obstinate 
despisers of our ministry, that instead of learning of us do 
revile us ; and instead of obeying our doctrine do make a 
mock at it. If they are any of them brought to a sound 
confession, and restrained from any vice, they may thank 
the doctrine which we preach for that (unless they do it 
only for fear of the laws). But their profaneness is it that 
we have endeavoured to cure them of, and cannot; for they 
are obstinate. 

If Papists or Quakers accuse our doctrine as dead and 
weak, because it cannot cure all our hearers ; what forget- 
ful dotards are they, that observe not how they condemn 
themselves ? Do the Quakers or Papists change us all to 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 407 

their opinions, by their books or preaching ? Beyond sea 
they are fain to keep men in their church by fire and sword, 
for fear of losing them : and here, it is but here and there 
an ignorant, ungodly wretch, or a proud, raw novice, that 
turns to them. 

You may therefore as well hit us in the teeth with your- 
selves, that revile us, and say, ' We are the fruit of your 
ministry,' as with the ungodly, and tell us that * they are the 
fruit' of our ministry. For though they live among us, they 
are not of us. And we teach men no more to be ungodly 
than to be Quakers or Papists. If you say, that they are in 
our churches; I answer. Where discipline is exercised, the 
most of them are out, and the rest we weed up as fast as 
they so discover themselves, that we may do it without dan- 
ger of pulling up the wheat with them. Many of us reject 
them by discipline ; and all of us rebuke and disown them 
by doctrine. If Jews and heathens were among us, we could 
not preach more against them, than we do against the un- 
godly ; nor could we labour harder to cure them. Tell us 
not therefore of them ; they are none of ours, they disown 
us, and we disown them : they are our persecutors, as you 
are, that hate us when we have done our best for them, 
and love us least when we love them most ; and cast back 
all our instruction in our faces, or cast it behind their backs 
and tread it under feet. They are those against whom we 
shake off the dust of our feet : they are not our disciples, 
but such as refuse to be Christ's own disciples. 

Nay, I wonder that Papists and Quakers do not to their 
shame observe, that it is likely to be some evil spirit that sets 
them awork to rail against us, seeing all the drunkards, 
and whoremongers, and covetous wretches, and ungodly, 
malicious people in our parishes, be of their mind, and rail 
against us as they do : It is likely to be the same cause that 
hath the same effect. If it be the devil that sets the pro- 
fane to revile us, judge who it is that sets these sects to 
speak the same, or like words against the same persons. 

And you that are profane and ungodly, I pray you here 
take notice what a case you are in ! You are so vile, that 
few besides yourselves will own you. We disown you : 
you are none of ours, because you will be none of Christ's. 
And the very Quakers, and other sects, disown you, and hit 
us in the teeth with you, as if you were our shame : AH 



408 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 



these bear witness against your ungodliness : and therefore 
if yet you will be ungodly, when Quakers are against you, 
and all are against you almost as well as we; if you will 
hear neither ministers nor sectaries, neither teachers nor 
railers. how many witnesses will rise up against you, and 
how speechless will you be ! 

Use 4. I have been all this while but about preparatives-; 
and now I come to the work that I intended. Do not think 
that I have spoken all this of the ungodly, to hinder a 
union and Christian concord, but to prepare for it, by telling 
you the reason of our distance, and division, and what must 
be removed before we can be one. Truly, sirs, I come to 
you with peaceable intentions. I come upon a treaty with 
you, to see whether you will become one with us, and be 
reconciled or not. For the Lord's sake attend me consi- 
derately and impartially, for it is a weighty business that I 
have to propound to you, and a most excellent motion that 
I have to make. As you regard the God of unity that sends 
to you, and Christ the Prince of Peace, and the Spirit who 
is the principle of unity, and the church that is the seat of 
unity, and yourselves that may have the blessing of unity, 
hearken to the motion of peace and unity that I have to 
make to you from the Lord. Sirs, what think you ! hath 
the world been long enough divided or not ? Are we cut 
into shreds enough, and broken into pieces enough or not? 
Are our distances from one another great enough, and our 
spirits bitter enough or not? Is it not time, think you, to 
sound a retreat to our foolish wars ? You call for unity : 
you talk for unity, and against sects and divisions : do you 
mean as you speak; and are you in good earnest, or are 
you not? Would you have us be all of one mind and way, or 
not? You talk against being of so many religions: is it 
the true desire of your hearts, that we should be all of one 
religion ? If it be, hold fast to this. So far we are agreed. 
Let us lay this as a groundwork ; We must be all of one 
church, one faith, one religion, if we will be saved. 

Well then, it lies next before us, in order to inquire. 
What one religion and way we must be of; and what is our 
distance, and what course must be taken to make us one? 
Are you willing to lay by passion, and scorn, and hatred, 
and bitterness, and come to a treaty about the matter? O, 
sirs, if you were but all truly willing to search out the busi.» 



CATHOLIC UNITY". 409 

ness, and to be ruled by God and reason, we should soon be 
agreed for all our differences. And how happy would this 
be for the troubled church; how happy for the offended, 
distracted world; how happy for your own souls! Well; 
what terms shall we agree upon? Somebody must begin 
the motion, sitting still will not heal us. I will make a mo- 
tion that never a man of you, that hath the face of a Chris- 
tian, can tell what justly to except against. Let us set the 
word of God before us, and take the best helps on both 
sides to understand it, and let this decide the case with us. 
What say you ; will you stand to the word of God ? Shall 
we appeal all to Christ, and try our differences by his re- 
vealed word? If this may carry it, we shall soon be agreed. 
But if any of you have catched the popish perverseness, 
and say, ' The Scripture is dark, and a dead letter ; every 
sect pleads Scripture for their way : this will not serve our 
turn; we must have a living judge;' I answer such a one 
as followeth : 1. Is the Scripture the law of God or not? If 
you say not, you may as well say you are infidels. If you 
confess it is, then it must have the use of a law. And, 2. 
Must not subjects understand a law to live by it, though 
they be not judges? And when estate and life depend on 
our obedience to the law ; if this law be now so dark that 
the subjects cannot understand it, then it is no law, as not 
being capable of the use and ends of a law. And so if 
our salvation or damnation lie on our obedience to God's 
word and law, it is an intolerable reproach to God and it, to 
say it is such as we cannot understand. 3. Must we not be 
judged by this law? Undoubtedly we must. And then 
should we not measure our causes by it now ? 4. May not 
arbitrators make use of a law to decide a controversy, be- 
fore it come to the judge? Doubtless they may. 5. What 
judge would you have? There are but two in the world, 
that pretend to be the universal, infallible judge of contro- 
versies ; and that is the Pope and a General Council. For 
a General Council, there is none in the world, nor likely to 
be to the end of the world. God forbid we should defer 
our peace till then ! And its decrees are as dark, and much 
more uncertain than the word of God. And for the Pope, 
he is the head of a sect or party, and therefore not fit to be 
judge: _you may well know he will judge on his own side. 
He must be judged by this word of God himself. He is to© 



410 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

far off, of all conscience, for us to go or send to. Where 
Rome is, the most of you know not: a shorter journey may 
better dispatch our work. The Papists themselves tell us, 
that many popes have been murderers, adulterers, simonists, 
perjured persons, and some heretics and infidels. And must 
such as these be our only judges? They have erred often 
already, and therefore they may deceive us : and if you 
send for the Pope's sentence, you must take the messenger's 
word that he was there, and that it is true. 

But yet if all this will not serve turn, I will make a mo- 
tion, that none can gainsay that hath the face of a Chris- 
tian. Let us first agree in all those points that Papists and 
Protestants, Calvinists and Lutherans, Arminians and Ana- 
baptists, and Separatists, and all parties that desire to be 
called Christians, are agreed in ! What, say you, is not this 
a reasonable motion ! O happy you, and happy the places 
where you live, if you would but stand to it ! 

And let us consider of this motion, first in the general 
state of our difference, and then in the particular parts of it! 

Truly, sirs, the main difference in this world is between 
the godly and the ungodly ; and all other differences that 
are not parts of this, are nothing to this, being of lesser 
danger and easier toleration or cure. The whole world is 
divided into two armies : Christ is the Captain-general of 
one, and the saints only his true soldiers, and the seeming 
saints his seeming soldiers. The devil is the general of the 
other, and all the unregenerate or ungodly are his soldiers. 
An enmity is put, since the beginning, between the seed of 
the woman and of the serpent, (Gen. iii. L5.) And there is 
no middle state, nor one man on earth that is not in one of 
these armies. I come not to reconcile the commanders, 
Christ and Satan, for they are irreconcileable ; but to re- 
concile you to Christ, and draw you from a deceiver. I 
tell you, sirs, this great difference between the holy and the 
unholy, is the first that must be healed. We can go no far- 
ther with you, if you will not begin here at the heart of the 
difference. When this is done, you shall see, before I have 
done with you, that I will quickly tell you how we may do . 
well, for all our other differences. You know if one of us 
believe that there is a God, and another that there is none, 
it were foolery for us to dispute how God must be wor- 
shipped, before we are agreed that there is a God. So here. 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 411 

when it is the nature of ungodliness to make men false to 
the very truths that they do profess, and heartily to be of 
no religion at all, it is in vain to dispute about circumstances 
and modes with such kind of men. Who would dispute 
whether infants should be baptized, with a man that knows 
not what baptism is ? ' Even an accepting of God for our God, 
and Christ for our Lord and Saviour, and the Holy Ghost for 
our Sanctifier ; and an absolute delivering up ourselves to the 
blessed Trinity in these relations, by a solemn covenant pro- 
fessed and sealed by water, renouncing the flesh, the world, and 
the devil.' O were but this much practically known, we should 
be all united in this one baptism. Still I say, unholiness is 
the great point of difference, and the dungeon of confusion, 
and puddle, where all the heresies of the world are blended 
and made into a body that is something worse than heresy. 
When you cry up unity, and cry down holiness, you are 
distracted, and know not what you say. You talk of joining 
us together, and you cast away the glue and solder. You 
talk of building the church in unity, and you cast away the 
lime and mortar, the pins and nails, and all that should 
fasten them. You complain that the garment of Christ is 
rent, and you throw away the needle and thread that should 
sew it up. You see our wounds and blood, and take on you 
to have pity on the church, and call for healing ; but you 
hate and cast away the only salve. Do you not yet know 
the church's unity is a unity of the Spirit, and of Holi- 
ness ? And that there is no way in the world for us and 
you to be united, unless you will be sanctified, and live in 
the Spirit, as you have done in the flesh? 

Sirs, let us come nearer the matter : I know our towns 
and countries have two sorts of persons in them ; some are 
converted, and some unconverted ; some holy, and some 
unholy ; some live for heaven, and some are all for earth ; 
some are ruled by the word of God, and some by their own 
flesh or wills. W ever these agree and be united, one 
party must come over to the other. Either the godly must 
become ungodly, or the ungodly must become saints and 
godly: Which must it be? Which do you think in your 
consciences is the way? Must we yield to you, or should 
you come away to us ? (Pardon that I number myself with 
the sanctified ; for I dare not deny the mercies of God, 
and the privileges of his house.) Let us come fairly to de- 



412 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

bate the case, and lay our reasons together, and I will here 
protest to you, if you can give us better reasons why we 
should forsake a godly life, I will turn to you ; and if we can 
give you better reasons why you should embrace a holy 
life, will you here promise to turn to us ? And let them carry 
it that have the better cause, and let us be resolved to go 
away united, and fall all together into that one way that 
shall be proved to be the best. 

Well, let us come to a debate, and see whether we 
must come to you, or you to us. 

1. If we ever agree and unite, you know it must be on 
terms that are possible. He that propoundeth impossibili- 
ties to be agreed on, is the enemy of agreement. But it is 
impossible for us to come to you, and so to unite with you. 
This I now prove. (1.) It is impossible to have any univer- 
sal unity but in an universal head and centre, and that is 
only God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As I told you 
the army must unite in the general, the kingdom in the 
sovereign, the family in the master, the school in the school- 
master. In order of nature, you must unite with God in 
the Redeemer by the sanctifying Spirit, before you can unite 
with us. But while you are unsanctified you are divided 
from God. Do you not feel your minds strange to him, 
your hearts draw back from him, and find by his strange- 
ness to you that there is a division? It is impossible for 
us to be united to you, till Christ be united to you. For 
it is against nature, seeing he is the centre, and the head 
and fountain of life : And what good would it do you to be 
one with us, and not with him? God is against any unity 
without him: Ifyou will not begin with him, he will take 
it but as a treasonable conspiracy, and will break it. We 
dare not go without him, lest he be angry and destroy us : 
Soldiers must not make either peace or war, nor so much as 
treat without the general. Do you not remember how Jeho- 
saphat had like to have sped by a friendship and confede- 
racy with Ahab? 

(2.) Moreover the godly and ungodly are of contrary 
natures : I told you God hath put an enmity between them. 
You must change your nature or we ours, before we can 
unite. You may as well think else to unite fire and water, 
or to build in the air, or to incorporate fire and gunpowder; 
or to reconcile men and serpents ; and marry the dog and 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 41 



n 



the bear together. Sirs, these things are mere impossibili- 
ties. There is no agreement between Christ and Belial, 
righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, death 
and life, the members of Christ, and the members of a harlot, 
or a drunkard, or such like. (2 Cor. xvi. 14.) We have 
contrary spirits, how then can we be one? One hath the 
spirit of holiness, and the other the spirit of profaneness ; 
one is led by the Spirit of God, and the other by the flesh. 
We live not by one law : God's will revealed in his word is 
our law; and the will of the flesh, and the course of the 
world is your law. We live not on one sort of food, how 
then can we accord together ? Christ and his heavenly truth, • 
and Holy Spirit and ordinances, is the meat and drink of the 
saints ; they cannot live without them. And the world and 
fleshly delights are your food; you cannot be without it. Your 
food would be our poison, your worldly cares, your drunken- 
ness, and profaneness, would be a torment to an honest 
heart. They cannot live without some communion with 
God in faith and love, by prayer and meditation ; and your 
heart is against it. They have not the same end as you 
have. Their work is all for heaven, and yours is all princi- 
pally for earth. Their work and yours are contrary : they 
go one way, and you another : so that it is impossible to be 
united and agree, till one side change. And we cannot pos- 
sibly turn to you ; God holds us fast by his Love and Spirit, 
and will not let us go, nor suffer us ever to be willing to go. 
Do you not read Christ telling you, that it is impossible to 
deceive the elect? that is, so far as to turn them away from 
Christ. We are kept by the mighty power of God, through 
faith, to salvation. And who can break away from the 
upholding arms of Almighty power ! Christ hath such hold 
of us, that he is resolved none shall take us out of his hands, 
(Johnx.28,) so that we cannot come over again to you. 

But you may come over to us if you will. God calls 
you, and Christ would welcome you, and the Holy Ghost 
would help you : The door is set open by the blood of 
Christ : the promise is to you and to your children, that 
you may and shall have Christ and life if you will come in, 
and accept the offer. The devil cannot hinder you against 
your wills, he holds you but in the fetters of your own wil- 
fulness, by his mere deceits. Seeing, therefore, that you 
may come over to the sanctified, and they cannot possibly 



414 CATHOLIC UNITV. 

come to you, let any reasonable man be judge on what terms 
we should unite and agree. 

2. Moreover, if we agree, it must be on terms of wisdom 
and honesty. A dishonest agreement is not to be desired, 
but abhorred. For you to leave your ungodliness, and turn 
to the love and fear of God, is an honest course of agree- 
ment ; for it is but to leave dishonesty itself and become 
honest. I hope none of you dare charge the way of God and 
godliness with any dishonesty : God calls you to nothing 
but what is holy, and just, and good ; and, therefore, honesty 
requireth you to yield. 

But for the sanctified to become unsanctified ; for the 
godly to become ungodly, to be one with you, this were the 
basest dishonesty in the world. We know your way to be 
of the devil and the flesh : and is it honest then to join with 
you in it? We have tried too long already in the days of 
our ignorance, and have found it dishonest and deceitful ; 
and would you have us go against our own experience ? 
We were once in the way that you are in, and were forced 
to renounce it, or else we had been undone body and soul 
for ever ; and should we lick up the vomit which we were 
forced to cast out ? We were once agreed with you, and 
God constrained us to break that agreement; and shall we 
renew it again ? Alas, your way hath cost us dear ; many a 
bitter repenting day, and many a sad thought, to the break- 
ing of our hearts, and the very sense of God's displeasure; 
a taste of hell was cast into our consciences ; many a groan, 
and tear, and prayer it cost us, before we could recover the 
hurt that we caught in the way of ungodliness ; and yet we 
have not fully recovered it to this day. And would you 
have us stark mad, to forget so soon our former sorrows, and 
turn to a life that hath cost us so dear already ? No, we have 
paid too dear for it, and smarted too much for it, to go that 
way any more : it brought us to the very brink of hell ; and 
if we had but died in that condition, we had been damned 
at this hour: And would you be so unreasonable as to wish 
us to go back again? No, by that time you know as much 
of an unsanctified state as we do, you will run from it your- 
selves as fast as you can run; as the Israelites did from the 
cry of the company of Dathan and Abiram, " Lest the earth 
should swallow them up also." (Numb. xvi. 34.) 

We are certain that the Lord, whom we serve, is the only 



CA IHOLIC UNITY. 415 

God ; and that he, and none but he should rule us ; and 
that we have grievously wronged him, by disobeying him so 
long. And yet would you have us again forsake him? If 
we should lie in tears till we die, it were too little to satisfy 
his justice for one of the sins we have already committed; 
and if it had not been for the wonderful love and suffering 
of the Son of God, we had been lost for ever : And yet must 
we turn to this course again ? God forbid. It was not so 
wise nor honest a course. " We ourselves," saith Paul, 
" were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers 
lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and 
hating one another." (You hear how he calls his former life.) 
" But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour 
toward man appeared ; not by works of righteousness which 
we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the 
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." 
(Titus iii. 3, 4, 5.) And should Paul have turned a fool 
again, and be deceived and disobedient again, to agree with 
the rest of the deceived world? O sirs, we have seen that which 
you have not seen, and tasted that which you never tasted. 
Had you seen and tasted the love of God in Christ, and the de- 
lightful hopes of eternal life, and felt the comfort of his service, 
and the joys of the Holy Ghost, you would neverwish us to 
come back again to agree with you in sin ; but you would abhor 
yourselves the very thoughts of your former folly. Why, you 
may better persuade a man to repent that he was born, and to 
go into the womb again, than to persuade us to repent that we 
are newborn, and return to our former state of death. Death is 
not so sweet to us, nor hell, nor the wrath of God so lovely, 
nor sin, with all its pleasure, so desirable, that we should turn 
to them for peace with you. If we have escaped them once, 
and will not take that for a warning to come there no more, 
we deserve to pay for it. 

Why, sirs, we have made a solemn covenant with God, 
in the face of the congregation, in our baptism, and oft re- 
newed it in the Lord's-supper, and vowed that we would be 
his, and absolutely and unreservedly his. And would you 
wish us to break so solemn a covenant ? What honesty is 
in such perfidiousness ? We have renounced the flesh, the 
world, and the devil ; and should we turn to them again for 
peace with you ? O what a cursed peace were that ! Let 



416 CATHOLIC UNITV. 

me tell yon, that we have not found Got! so bad a master, as 
to forsake him for the sake of you or any creature. We have 
tried him, and found him better to us than all the world. 
He hath never given us cause to forsake him. And if we 
should now, after all the trials of his love, turn back to the 
way of sin and ungodliness, the devil himself would charge 
us with dishonesty. What! must the godly turn drunkards, 
and worldlings, and haters of godliness to have peace with 
you ? Why, you may next persuade us even to turn devils, 
that we may be reconciled to you. The God that made us, 
hath forbid us upon pain of his hot displeasure, to walk in 
your ways. He saith to every one of us, as to Jeremiah, 
" Let them return unto thee, and return not thou unto them." 
(Jer. XV. 19.) And should we obey God or men? Judge 
you whether. Why, sirs, are you so utterly unreasonable 
as to wish us, or any man living, to love you better than 
God, or to regard you more than God, or obey you before 
God ? Or should we be so much worse than mad, as to yield 
to you if you did desire it? Why, what are you in compa- 
rison with the Almighty ! O poor worms, that are even 
dying while you are speaking! that are but as bubbles ready 
to burst, when you are swelled to the highest in ungodly 
pride ! That even while you are eating, and drinking, and 
making merry, are passing on apace to weeping and gnash- 
ing of teeth, and everlasting woes and lamentations ! What 
should we regard such dust and dirt as you are, before the 
glorious God ! It were far greater wisdom and honesty, for 
your children to set up a dog or a toad, and say, ' This is 
more to be loved and honoured than my father.' If a traitor 
against an earthly prince deserve to be hanged, drawn and 
quartered ; certainly that man that would forsake God and 
his laws, to please such silly worms as you, did deserve to 
be hanged in the flames of hell, and to be tormented by in- 
fernal fiends, and ground to powder by the wrath of the 
Almighty ! Well ! if you have eyes that can see, you may 
see now past doubt, that we cannot turn to you that are un- 
godly, with any wisdom or honesty in the world, nor without 
the highest madness and dishonesty. But can you say so 
of your turning in to us ? Is it contrary either to wisdom, 
or honesty, for you to turn unfeignedly to God, and to be- 
come a sanctified godly people ? Methinks you should not 



CATHOLIC UNITY. 417 

have such a thought in your hearts : and, therefore, if we 
be not all of a mind, and go not all one way, it is most ap- 
parent that it is not long of us, but of you. 

3. If we do unite and agree, it must be upon terms of 
safety. This much I hope you cannot deny us. You would 
not surely wish us to agree to our own destruction, and to 
make a bargain with you, that we may all join together in 
cutting our own throats? Do you think that this were a 
wise combination? How much less should we make an 
agreement to go the certain way to hell, and to join to- 
gether in damning our own souls for ever? Sirs, if you dis- 
like the way of holiness, do but find out any other way that 
will safely bring a man to heaven, and we will promise you 
tojoininit. But unholiness will never do it. God hath 
told us as plain as can be spoken, " That except a man be 
born again, and be converted, he cannot enter into the king- 
dom of heaven:" (John iii. 3, 5 ; Matt, xviii. 3 :) "And 
that without holiness no man shall see the Lord:" "And 
that the righteous themselves are scarcely saved :" (1 Peter 
iv. 18:) " And that if any man be in Christ, he is a new 
creature ; old things are passed away, and all things become 
new:" (2 Cor. v. 17:) And that " if any man have not the 
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom. viii. 9.) So that 
if God know who shall be saved, it is as certain as any thing 
in the world, that no unsanctified man can be saved. If 
leaping into the water be the way to drowning, or leaping 
into the fire be the way to burning, or leaping down from 
the top of a steeple be the way to break your necks, as sure 
is an unholy life the way to everlasting torment. And would 
you wish us to undo ourselves everlastingly for your friend- 
ship? What can you say to this now? If you say that 
your way is not so dangerous, it is but our precise unchari- 
table conceit: We have shewed you the Word of God for 
it ; and forty times more we could easily shew you ! And 
shall we believe you, or such as you, before God? You are 
liars, but God cannot lie. You see not what is done in 
another world ; but God seeth it. You know not what is 
in heaven or hell ; but God knoweth. And shall we not 
believe God that knoweth and disposeth of all, better than 
moles that never saw it, and ignorant souls that never knew 
it? God saith, that " fornicators, adulterers, drunkards^ 

VOL. XVI. E E 



418 CATHOLIC UNITY. 

covetous persons, revilers, or the like, shall not inherit the 
kingdom of God." (1 Cor. vi. 10, 11.) And that "they 
that are in the flesh cannot please God;" and that " if you 
live after the flesh ye shall die." (Rom. viii, 5, 6, 7. 13.) And 
would you have us believe you, that there is no danger in a 
fleshly life ? Sirs, we desire heartily to be united and agreed 
with you, but we are loath to buy it so dear, as the loss of 
God and heaven conies to. We are willing of concord with 
you, but we are loath to be damned with you : And do you 
blame us for this ? And, alas, if you should tell us a thou- 
sand times, that you hope there is no such danger, or that 
you hope to escape as well as the godly, this is but poor 
security to us. Shall we be so mad, as to venture ourselves 
on such words as these, against the word of the Ruler of the 
world? What security can you give us, that we shall escape 
damnation if we turn ungodly ? Are you able to save us 
from the wrath of God ? Will you undertake to stand be- 
tween us and his displeasure? What say you? If we will 
forsake a l\oly life, and live as careless worldlings do, and 
neglect God and our souls, and please the world and our 
flesh, will you undertake to answer for us in judgment? 
And will you venture to bear the punishment that we should 
bear? If you dare not undertake to save us harmless, why 
will you persuade us to do as you do? Nay, if you would 
undertake it, he were a madman that would trust you, and 
venture his salvation upon such undertakings ; for we know 
you are not able to make them good. Alas ! poor souls, 
how unable will you be to save yourselves, or to stay out of 
hell an hour longer, when devils have commission to can-y 
you away ! And shall we trust our souls upon your boast- 
ing words, when we know you are unable to help yourselves ? 
Let us see first what you can do for yourselves or us, against 
the present hand of God. Can you keep off death, and re- 
buke diseases, and live here in health and wealth for ever, 
whether God will or no? How comes it to pass then that 
here is never a one of you near two hundred years of age ? 
Let us see you chide back approaching death, and raise the 
dead bodies from their graves, and heal all the diseases that 
cut off" mankind : If you cannot do these smaller matters, 
would you have us believe that you can save us from 
damnation ? Why, sirs, must your neighbours lie some of 



CA'J'HOl.K' UNITY. 411^ 

them in poverty, and some in pain, some sick of one disease, 
and some of another, and you look on them and cannot cure 
them, or relieve them, and yet must we venture our souls 
upon your vv^ords ! You cannot make an old man young 
again ; and can you make the word of God prove false, or 
save those that God hath said shall perish, and bring un- 
sanctified men to heaven whether God will or no ? Well, 
sirs, let them that hate their souls, or care not whether they 
are saved or damned, forsake the Lord and a holy life, and 
join with you and see whether you can save them: but for 
ray part I believe the word of God, and upon this word only 
I am resolved to build my hopes, and venture my soul, and 
all that little that I have in this world : trust you on what 
you please, this shall be ray trust : and they that can find a 
surer ground to build upon, let them take their course. 

But I must tell you, that if you would wish us all to cast 
away God and Christ, and heaven, to agree with you, you 
are monsters and not men ; and if you are so cruel as to de- 
sire us to damn our souls fo