(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"

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2012 



http://archive.org/details/practicalworksof17baxt 



s -■■ 



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 






y 



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF 



THE REV. RICHARD BAXTER: 



WITH 



A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 

AND 

A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF HIS WRITINGS, 

BY THE 

REV. WILLIAM ORME, 

AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE OF JOHN OWEN, D.D. J " " BIBLIOTHECA BIBLICA," ETC 



IN TWENTY-THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. XVII. 



LONDON: 

JAMES DUNCAN, 37, PATERNOSTER ROW. 



MDCCCXXX. 






LONDON : 

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



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF THE 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 



VOLUME XVII. 



CONTAINING 



SERMONS. 



LONDON 
PRINTED RY MILLS, JOWETT, AND MILLS. 
Bolt-court, Fleet-street. 



CONTENTS 

OF 

THE SEVENTEENTH VOLUME. 



THE VAIN RELIGION OF THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 

PAGE 

To the Reader iv 

The Introduction ▼* 

Doct. There is a seeming religiousness which is but self-de- 
ceiving, and will prove in vain 9 

Ten particulars that constitute the hypocrite's vain religion. . ibid. 
Ten things that are yet wanting to the hypocrite, that prove 

his religion vain . . J 2 

By what means and method the hypocrite makes shift to de- 
ceive himself by his religion 17 

What moveth the hypocrite to this self-deceit, and what are the 

reasons and uses of his vain religion 22 

In what respects the hypocrite's religion is not vain 32 

In what respects his religion is vain 35 

Use 1. Why a seeming, outside, hypocritical religion is so 

common in comparison of serious faith and godliness. . 36 

Why popery hath so many followers 38 

Use 2. To awaken the self-deceiving hypocrite 40 

Ten infallible marks of grace, which are in all that are sound 
believers, and set together, describe his state; premised 
to prevent the misapplication of what followeth, and 

groundless trouble of the sincere 41 

Terror to the self-deceiver. 1. His religion being vain, his 

hopes and comforts are all vain 44 

2. It will deceive him in his extremity 47 

The detection of the hypocrite, by his contradicting all the 
parts of his christian profession : showing that all the 
ungodly among us, that profess to be true Christians, 

are hypocrites 5 

The hypocrite's unbridled tongue 62 

Sins of the tongue ibid . 

What the text means , 63 

Three sorts especially reproved ibid. 

1 . The deriders, scorners, revilers, or opposers of serious godli- 

ness ; their terror in the aggravation of their sin ... . 64 

2. Those that uncharitably reproach each other, for lesser dif- 

ferences in religion 69 

Of the common malicious Use of the nicknames — puritans, pre- 
cisians, zealots, Sec, , , , , , 72 



iv CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Bishop Downame's testimony of the use of the word puritan in 

his time 73 

The testimony of Dr. Robert Abbot, regius professor of divi- 
nity in Oxford, and Bishop of Salisbury ibid. 

Mr. Robert Bolton's testimony at large ibid. 

His further description of the formal hypocrite 74 

Bishop Hall's character of a hypocrite 78 

3. The sinfulness of passionate reproachful speeches against 
superiors, when we suffer by them for religion's sake ; 
proposed to the consideration of suffering tempted 
Christians, how sincere soever 80 

How far we may mention such sins of others 85 

Two causes of men's frowardness of speech 86 

Who is indeed the hypocrite. The impudency of our common 
hypocrites that take serious godliness for hypocrisy. If 
we will be Christians indeed, we must be content to be 
so, though we are not thought to be so ; and to be ac- 
counted hypocrites, when we have done most to approve 
our hearts and ways to God 87 

Eight directions to the hypocrite, to save him from a vain 

religion 91 

THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY.— Proverbs i. 32,33 96 

REPENTANCE.— Ezekiel xxxvi. 31 122 

RIGHT REJOICING.— Luke x. 20 155 

WHAT LIGHT MUST SHINE IN OUR WORKS.— 

Matthew v. 16 190 

THE CURE OF MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH 
SORROW, BY FAITH AND PHYSIC— 2 Corin- 
thians ii. 7 236 

HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY; OR THE PUBLIC 
GOOD IS THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE.— Galatians 
vi. 10 291 

THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION OF GOD-REDEEMER; 
AND THE NECESSITY OF BEING DEVOTED 
AND LIVING TO HIM.— 1 Corinthians vi. 19,20. 341 

THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST; AND 
THE NECESSITY OF MAN'S SUBJECTION, 
DEPENDENCE, AND CHIEFEST LOVE TO 
HIM.— Psalm ii. 10—12 381 

JUDGMENT.— 2 Corinthians v. 10, 11.. 422 

DEATH, THE LAST ENEMY TO BE DESTROYED.— 

1 Corinthians xx. 26 527 

some imitable passages of the life of 
Elizabeth, late wife of mr. Joseph 

BAKER ... 596 



THE 

VAIN RELIGION 



OF THE 



FORMAL HYPOCRITE, 

AND 

THE MISCHIEF OF AN UNBRIDLED TONGUE, 

AS AGAINST RELIGION, RULERS, OR DISSENTERS, 
DESCRIBED IN 

SEVERAL SERMONS 

PREACHED AT THE ABBEY IN WESTMINSTER, 

BEFORE 

MANY MEMBERS OF THE HONOURABLE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 

MDCLX. : 

AND 

THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY 

THE OCCASION OF HIS DESTRUCTION 

A SERMON 

PREACHED AT COVENT GARDEN. 

BOTH PUBLISHED TO HEAL THE EFFECTS OF SOME HEARERS' 
MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND M1SREPORTS. 



VOL. XVII. B 



TO THE READER. 



Though God be not the author of sin, he knows why he per- 
mitteth it in the world. He will be no loser, and Satan shall 
be no gainer by it in the end. The malice of the devil and 
wicked men is, ordinarily, the destruction of the cause which 
they most desire to promote; and an advantage by accident to 
the cause and persons which they would root out from the 
earth. Were there no more to prove this than the instances of 
Joseph's brethren, of Pharaoh, and the murderers of our Lord, 
it were enough. We usually lose more by the flatteries of 
Satan and the World, than by their violence. If these hasty, 
coarse, unpolished sermons, shall prove beneficial to the souls 
of any, this also may come in among the lower rank of in- 
stances. If the devil had let me alone, they might have been 
cast aside, and no further molested him or his kingdom, for 
aught I know, than they did upon the preaching of them. But 
seeing he will needs, by malicious misreports, and slanders, 
kindle suspicion, and raise offence, against them and the author, 
let him take what he gets by it. He hath never yet got much 
from me, by violence, or by his foul-mouthed slanderous instru- 
ments : no, not when the impudence or multitude of their slan- 
ders have forced me to be silent; lest I trouble the reader, or 
misspend my time. 

The first of these discourses, being intended to undeceive the 
formal hypocrite, and to call men from a vain, to a saving, seri- 
ous religion, and to acquaint them that cry out against hypo- 
crisy, where the hypocrite is to be found, it seems, provoked 
the ignorant or the guilty ; in so much that the cry went, that 
I preached down all forms of prayer, and all government and 
order in the church : when there is not a syllable that hath any 
such sense ; but it seems what I spoke against the carcass, was 
interpreted to be spoken against the body of religion. 

The words of Mr. Bolton, and other divines, which I have 

b2 



4 TO THE READER. 

cited against the reproachers of serious piety, are added since 
the preaching of the rest, as heing more fit to be presented here 
to the eye, than in the pulpit to the ear. 

The petulancy of men on both extremes constrained me to 
add, " The Bridle for their Tongues/' 

The second discourse, I understand, offended some few of the 
gallants, that thought they were too roughly handled ; let them 
here peruse it, and better concoct it, if they please. 

I only add this observation to the heirs of heaven, that are 
above this world, and live by faith. 

Few rich men are truly religious ; it is as hard for them to 
be saved, as for a camel to go through a needle's eye. Yet 
rich men will every where be the rulers of the world, and so (as 
to outward protection or opposition) the judges in matters of 
religion. Judge, therefore, whether dominion and earthly reign 
be the portion of the saints (as Jewishly some of late imagine) ; 
and what usage we must ordinarily expect on earth ! and what 
condition the church of Christ is like to be in to the end. As his 
kingdom, so ours, is not of this world. A low, despised, suffer- 
ing state, is it that believers must ordinarily expect, and prepare 
for, and study to be serviceable in. If better (may I call it bet- 
ter) come, take it as a feast, and grudge not when the table is 
withdrawn ; and look not it should be our every day's fare. 
But yet, value the more highly those few of the rich, and great, 
and rulers, that are above this world, and devote their power and 
riches to the Lord, and are holy and heavenly in the midst of 
so great temptations and impediments. 

The Lord teach us to use this transitory world as not over- 
using it, that we may never hear, "Remember that thou in thy 
lifetime receivedst thy good things. (Luke xvi. 25.) How 
shortly will they find themselves everlastingly undone, that made 
not sure of a more enduring portion ! Reader, that thou mayest 
savingly remember these common but necessary, though much 
neglected, truths, is the end of these endeavours, and shall be 
the matter of my heart's desire and prayers, while the Lord 
eontinueth me 

His servant for the promoting the increase 
and edification of his church, 
November 15, 1660. R. BAXTER. 

Postscript. Readers, meeting, in his consideration of the 
Liturgy, with these following words of the Rev. D. Gauden, " I 



TO THE READER. O 

cannot but commend the candour, justice, and integrity of Mr. 
Baxter, who lately professed to me, that he saw nothing in the 
Liturgy, which might not well bear a good construction, if men 
looked upon it as became Christians, with eyes of charity," I was 
sensible of the great respects of this learned and Reverend man; 
but, lest you misunderstand both him and me, I think it best to 
tell you more fully what were my words. Speaking for refor- 
mation of the Common Prayer Book, and an addition of other 
forms in scripture phrase, with liberty of choice, &c. I said, 
"That for the doctrine of the Common Prayer Book, though I 
had read exceptions against divers passages, I remembered not 
anything that might not receive a good construction, if it were 
read with the same candour and allowance, as we read the writ- 
ings of other men." So that it was only the truth of the doctrine 
that I spoke of; against which I hate to be peevishly quarrel- 
some, when God hath blest this church so wonderfully, with a 
moderate and cautelous, yet effectual, reformation in matter of 
doctrine : the more pity is it that the very modes of worship and 
discipline should be the matter of such sharp and uncharitable 
discords, which must one day prove the grief of those that are 
found to have been the causes of it, and of the sufferings of the 
church on that occasion. 



THE VAIN RELIGION OF THE FORMAL 
HYPOCRITE, &c. 



JAMES i. 26. 

Jf any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his 
tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 

Beloved hearers, I may suppose that we are all come hither 
to-day for the great end of our lives ; and to labour in that 
work for which we are created, preserved, instructed, and fur- 
nished with the helps and means of grace ; even to prepare for 
death that is coming to arrest us, and for the presence of our 
Judge, who stands at the door ; and to make our calling and 
election sure, that the glory of the saints may be our lot, when 
the world of the ungodly are cast into endless misery and des- 
pair. And I hope I may suppose that, in order to this end, 
you would gladly be acquainted with the, causes of damna- 
tion, that you may avoid them ; with your greatest clangers, that 
you may escape them ; and with the hinderances of your salva- 
tion, that you may overcome them. When we read in the Gos- 
pel, that salvation is to be offered unto all, and no man is ex- 
cepted or shut out, but such as shut out and except themselves ; 
and yet read that there are but few that find the " strait gate," 
and the " narrow way," and that the " flock is little" that shall 
have the "kingdom," and that "many shall seek to enter that 
shall not be able," (Matt. vii. 13, 14; Luke xii. 32, and xiii. 24.) 
we must needs conclude that some powerful enemy standeth in 
the way, that can cause the ruin of so many millions of souls ; 
but when we go further and find what rich preparations God 
hath made, and what means he hath used, and what abundant 
helps he offereth and affordeth to bring men to this blessed 
state of life, it force th us to admire that any enemy can be so 
strong, as to frustrate so many, and such excellent means. But 
when we yet go further, and find that salvation is freely offered, 
and that the purchase is made by a Saviour to our hands, and 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 7 

that hearty consent is the condition of our title, and nothing but 
our wilful refusal can undo us ; when we find that salvation is 
brought down to men's wills, and also what motives and convinc- 
ing helps, and earnest persuasions, are appointed and used to 
make men willing ; we are then surprised with yet greater admira- 
tion, that any deceiver can be so subtle, or the heart of man can 
be so foolish, as to be drawn (in despite of all these means) to 
cast away the immortal crown that else no enemy could have 
taken from him. And now we discern the quality of our enemy, 
of our snares, of our danger, and of our duty ; it is not mere 
violence, but deceit, that can undo us ; not force, but fraud, that 
we have to resist. And were not the mind of a carnal man ex- 
ceeding brutish, (while he seemeth wise for carnal things,) it 
were a thing incredible that so many men could, by all the sub- 
tlety of hell be drawn, in the day-light of the gospel, deliberately 
and obstinately to refuse their happiness, and to choose the 
open way of their damnation, and leave their friends lamenting 
their calamity, that might have mercy, and cannot be persuaded 
to consent. 

That Satan is the great deceiver, and layeth the snare, and 
manageth the bait, we are all convinced ; that the world, and 
all our fleshly accommodations are the instrumental deceivers ; 
the snare, the bait which Satan useth, is also a thing that 
we all confess. But that beside the devil and the world, a 
reasonable creature should be his own deceiver, and that in 
a business of unspeakable, everlasting consequence ; and that 
religion itself, (a seeming religiousness that indeed is vain,) 
should be made by himself the means of his deceit, this is a 
mystery that is opened to you in my text, and requireth our 
most careful search and consideration. 

When Satan and the World have wounded us by their 
deceits, religion is it that helpeth us to a cure. He that is 
deceived by pleasures and profits, and the vain glory of the 
world, must be undeceived and recovered by religion, or he 
must perish. But that religion itself should become his deceit, 
and the remedy prove his greatest misery, is the most stu- 
pendous effect of Satan's subtlety, and a sinner's fraudulency, 
and the saddest aggravation of his deplorable calamity. And 
yet, alas, this is so common a case, that where the gospel is 
preached, it seems to be Satan's principal game, and the 
highway to hell. There is no other name by which we can 
be saved, but by Jesus Christ, the only mediator between 



S THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

sinful man and the offended Majesty; and yet, what is therein 
all the world that is more ahused to the deceiving of men's 
souls, than the name and grace ©f Jesus Christ? Men that 
may he saved by an effectual faith, are cheated and destroyed 
by false faith and presumption. The merciful nature of God 
is the ground-work of all the comforts of the godly ; and 
yet there is nothing that is more abused to the deceiving of 
men's souls ; that will profess that they trust in the mercies 
of God, while they are labouring to be miserable by the re- 
fusing and resisting the mercy that would save them. The 
free promises of the gospel do support true believers, but are 
abused to the deceiving of the presumptuous world. And so 
the Apostle telleth us that many do by their religion ; they 
will have a religion to deceive themselves, but not to save 
them. 

It is the hypocrite that is the subject in my text, who is de- 
scribed by his double property. 1. That he seemeth to be religi- 
ous. 2. That his obedience answereth not this seeming or profes- 
sion ; the instance is given in the bridling of his tongue, because 
that was the point that the Apostle had some special reason to in- 
sist on, with those to whom he immediately directed his epistle. 
Though it is plain, in verses 22, 23, &c, that it is the whole 
work of obedience that he implieth, where he instanceth in this 
particular. The sin of the tongue which he specially intendeth 
to reprove, was the bitter reproaching of their brethren, upon the 
account of their differences in matters of religion, and the vilify- 
ing of others, and uncharitable passionate contendings and cen- 
sures, upon pretence of knowing more than others; as appeareth 
in the third chapter throughout. 

The predicate is double; one by way of supposition, viz., that 
this hypocrite doth but deceive his own heart ; the other by way 
of assertion, viz., that his religion is vain. 

Whether 6pvjpcry.o; and 0pjoWa be fetched as far as from 
Orpheus, the Thracian, as Erasmus and many others imagine, 
is of no great moment to our understanding of the text, it being 
evident that it is the worshipping of God that is here meant by 
religion; and it is men addicted to his worship that are called 
religious. The seeming, here spoken of, refers both to himself and 
others ; he that seemeth to himself to be religious, or is judged 
so by other men. By bridling the tongue, is meant, restraining 
it from evil speech. By deceiving himself, is meant the mistake 
of his judgment concerning the sincerity and acceptableness 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 9 

and reward of his religion, and the frustrating of his own expect- 
ations hereupon ; his religion is said to be in vain, in that it shall 
not attain the ends of an unfeigned, true, religion, of which more 
anon. The sense of the text, then, is contained in these two 
propositions : 

1. There is a seeming religiousness which is but self-deceiv- 
ing, and will prove in vain. 

2. Where sincere obedience doth not accompany the profes- 
sion of religion, and, in particular, when such men bridle not 
their tongues, their religion is but vain, and self-deceiving. 

These two being contained in the text, the former comprised 
in the latter, I shall handle them together, and show you, 
I. What this seeming religion is, and how it differeth from true 
religion. II. Wherein this self- deceiving by a seeming religion 
doth consist. III. Whence it is that men are so prone to this 
self-deceit. IV. In what respects this religion is vain, and 
why. V. And then we shall consider how to improve these 
truths by a due application. 

I. Concerning the first I must show you, 1. W r hat this seem- 
ing religion is made up of. 2. And what it wants, which maketh 
it delusory and vain. 

In general, this vain religion is made up sometimes of all 
that, 1 . A laudable nature or temperature of body ; 2. And good 
education, and excellent means ; 3. Assisted by the common 
workings of the spirit, can produce. 

More particularly, 1. A vain religiousness may have a great 
deal of superficial opinionative knowledge, and so may have the 
truest religion for its object : the true doctrines of faith may be 
believed by a faith that is not true ; the hypocrite, as to the ma- 
terials of his creed, may be orthodox ; when ignorance abound- 
eth, he may be a knowing man, and pity the ignorance of 
others ; when errors abound, he may be of the right opinion in 
religion, and speak much against the errors of the times, as one 
that is wiser than the giddy, heretical, sort of people ; he may 
" know the will of God, and approve the things that are more 
excellent, being instructed out of the la v w, and be confident that 
he himself is a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in 
darkness, an instructer of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which 
hath the form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law. (Rom. 
ii. 18 — 20.) He may know as much materially as the upright 
may, and be able to convince gainsayers, and be a notable 
champion for the defending of the truth against the many adver- 



10 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

saries that oppose it ; and so may be eminently useful in his 
generation. 

2. He that is but religious in vain, may be frequent in the 
worshipping of God ; and may " seek him daily, and delight to 
know his ways, and to approach him, and ask of him the ordi- 
nances of justice," as if he were one of the people that "did 
righteousness," and " forsook not the ordinances of their God." 
(Isaiah lviii. 1, 2.) He may be oft in fasting, and punctual in 
keeping holy days and ceremonies, (as verse 3, Isaiah i. 1 2 — 15 ; 
Luke xviii. 11 — 13.) and exercise much severity on himself, 
" after the commandments and doctrines of men, in things that 
have a show of wisdom, in will-worship, and humility, and 
neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of 
the flesh." (Col. ii. 20—22, 13.) Though he be slow-paced in 
the right way, he is swift in his mistaken paths. Though he 
liketh not preciseness, zeal, and forwardness, in the spiritual 
works that God prescribeth, yet, when it comes to his own, or 
other men's inventions, he will be religious and " righteous over- 
much," (Eccles. vii. 16.) and forward, to offer the sacrifice of a 
fool, that considereth not that he is but doing evil, while he 
thinks to please God with the sacrifice of his services, though 
he turn away his ear from an obedient hearing the word that 
should direct him. (Eccles. v. 1, 2; Prov. xxviii. 9.) 

3. He that is but religious in vain, may see the evil of discord 
and divisions, and inveigh much against schismatics, and see 
the excellencies of unity and peace; and therefore may join 
himself with the visible catholic church, and with the christians 
and congregations that are most for unity. There have always 
been hypocrites in the most orderly peaceable societies of 
believers, and still will be. 

4. The self-deceiving hypocrite is oft-times very sensible of 
the evil of vertiginous mutability in religion; and, therefore, he 
may be much resolved to continue what he is, and may cast 
many a jeer at the weather-cocks of the times, and the uncon- 
stancy and levity of ignorant or temporising men; and may 
stand to his party and profession, against much opposition, as 
glorying in his constancy, and being ashamed to be thought a 
changeling, or such a turn-coat as others whom he merrily 
derideth. 

5. An hypocrite that hath no other religion but delusory 
and vain, may observe the weaknesses of persons that are of 
lower education and parts ; and may loath their indiscretion in 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 11 

conference and behaviour, and their unhandsome expressions 
in prayer and other duties, and shake the head at them, as 
silly, contemptible, self-conceited fellows ; and his heart may 
rise against their disorder, tautologies, and affectations : and it 
is like enough that hereupon he will jest at conceived prayer, 
or extemporate (as they call it), and bless himself as safe in his 
parrot-like devotions, because the same Spirit teacheth not fine 
words and rhetorical language to all that it teacheth to pray 
with unutterable sighs and groans, (Rom. viii. 26, 27 ;) though 
the Searcher of hearts (who is not delighted with compliments 
and set speeches) doth well understand the meaning of the Spirit. 

5. The self-deceiving hypocrite doth frequently pretend to 
be a man of moderation in matters of religion, as distasting 
the hair-brained zealots, as he counteth them, that cannot be 
conteiit to have their faith and religion to themselves before 
God, and to live and talk as others do, but must be singular, 
and make a stir with their religion, and turn the world upside 
down. The true zeal of the godly is usually distasteful to 
him, and the corrupt zeal of schismatical persons doth cause 
him to bless himself in his lukewarmness, and to take his most 
odious indifferency, and want of fervent love to God and his 
holy ways, to be his virtue. 

6. This self-deceiving hypocrite doth frequently pretend 
to an exceeding great reverence in the managing of the out- 
ward part of worship ; and to an extraordinary zeal about the 
circumstantials of religion. He accounts them all schismatical 
and profane that place not as much of their religion as he doth 
in gestures and forms and other accidents of worship, acquaint- 
ing us that the pharisaical temper in religion is natural, and 
will continue in the world. 

7. If the temptation of the hypocrite lie on the other 
side, he can withdraw himself into some small or separating 
society, and place his religion in the singularity of his 
opinions, or in the strictness of the way and party that he 
owneth, and in his conceited ability in his conceived or ready 
expressions in prayer ; and can cry out as much upon the for- 
malist, as the formal hypocrite upon him, and glory in his 
zeal, as the other in his moderation. It is in the heart that 
hypocrisy hath its throne, from whence it can command the 
outward acts into any shapes that are agreeable to its ends ; 
and can use materials of divers natures, as the fuel and 
nutriment of its malignity. And whatever party such are 



12 THE VAIN RKUGION OF 

joined to, and whatever way they have been trained up \o, 
whetlier formality, or schism, or more regular, sober, equal, 
ways, in all of them their religion is but vain, and they do 
but deceive themselves bv all. 

8. The religion that is but delusory and vain, may be 
accompanied with much alms, and works of seeming justice, 
and charity. (Matt. vi. 1, 2; Luke xviii. 11, J 2.) He may 
have many virtues called moral ; and be a man of much 
esteem with others, even with the best and wisest, for his 
seeming wisdom, and piety, and justice. He may be no 
extortioner, unjust, adulterer, but as to gross sins seem blame- 
less, (Luke xviii. 11, 12; Phil. iii. 6,) and be much in 
reproaching the scandalous lives of others, and thank God 
that he is none such. (Luke xviii. 1 1 .) 

9. He that hath but a vain religion, may, in his judgment, 
approve of saving grace, and like the more zealous, upright, 
self-denying, heavenly lives of others ; and wish that he might 
die their death, and wish himself as happy as they, so it might 
be had on his own terms ; and he may have some counterfeit 
of every grace, and think that it is true. (Numb, xxiii. 10; 
Jam. ii. 14, &c; 1 Cor. xiii. 1—3 ; Mark v. 20.) 

10. None will be more forward to call another hypocrite, than 
the hypocrite ; nor to extol sincerity and uprightness of heart 
and life. And thus you see what this vain religion is madeupwith. 

2. If you marvel what the hypocrite yet wants, that, makes 
his religion delusory and vain, I shall now tell you, I hope, to 
your conviction and satisfaction. 

1. For all his fore-mentioned religion, he wants the Spirit of 
Christ, to dwell as his sanctifier within him; and "if any man 
have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his." (Rom. 
viii. 9.) But because this is known by the effects, I add, 

2. He wants that spiritual new birth, by which he should 
be made spiritual, as his first birth made him carnal. (John 
iii. 5, 6 ; Rom. viii. 6< — 8.) He is born of the will of the 

-flesh, and of man, but not of God. (John i. 13.) From the 
first man Adam he is become a living soul, but by the second 
man Christ, the Lord from heaven, he is not yet quickened 
in the spirit. (1 Cor. xv. 45, 46.) He is not born again of 
the incorruptible, seed, the word of God, that liveth and 
abideth for ever. (1 Pet. i. 23.) He is not yet saved by the 
washing of regeneration (save only as to the outward baptism) 
and by renewing of the Holy Ghost, which is shed by Christ 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 13 

on all his members, that, being justified by his grace, they 
should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 
(Tit. iii. 5, 6.) They are not new creatures, old things being 
not past away, and all things with them become new : and 
therefore it is certain they are not in Christ. (2 Cor. v. 17.) 
They have not put off the old man with his deceitful lusts, and 
deeds, nor have they put on the new man, which after God is 
created til righteousness, and true holiness. (Eph. iii. 22 — 24 ; 
Col. iii. 9, 10.) They have but patched up the old unsancti- 
fied hearts, and smoothed over their carnal conversations with 
civility and plausible deportment, and so much religion as may 
cheat themselves, as well as blind the eyes of others : but 
they are strangers to the life of God, (Eph. iv. 18,) and never 
were made partakers of the divine nature, which all the chil- 
dren of God partake of, (2 Pet. i. 4,) nor of that holiness, 
without which none shall see the Lord. (Heb. xii. 14.) 

3. Though he make a slight and customary confession of 
his sins, unworthiness, and misery, yet he is not kindly hum- 
bled at the heart, nor made truly vile in his own eyes, nor 
contrite and broken-hearted, nor emptied of himself, as seeing 
himself undone by his own iniquities, crying out unclean, and 
loathing himself for all his abominations, weary of his sin, 
and heavy-laden, as all must be that are fit for Christ. Read 
Isa. lvii. 15, andlxvi.2; Psalm li. 17? and xxxiv. 18 ; Lev. xiii. 
44, 45; Ezek. xxxvi. 31, and xx. 43, and vi. 9 ; Matt. xi. 28 ; 
Rom. vii. 24. 

4. This man's religion must needs be vain, for he wanteth 
the life of faith itself, and heartily believeth not in Christ. He 
hath but an opinion of the truth of Christianity, through the 
advantage of his education and company ; and thereupon doth 
call him selfa Christian, and heartlessly talk of the mystery of 
redemption as a common thing : but he doth not with a 
humble, broken heart, betake himself to Christ as his only 
refuge from the wrath of God, and everlasting misery, as he 
would lay hold on the hand of his friend, if he were drowning. 
The sense of the odiousness of sin, and of the damnation 
threatened by the righteous God, hath not yet taught him to 
value Christ, as he must be valued by such as will be saved by 
him. These hypocrites do but talk of Christ, and turn his 
name as they do their prayers, into the matter of a dry and 
customary form. They fly not to him as the only physician of 
their souls, in the feeling of their festering wounds : they cry 



14 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

not to him as the disciples in the tempest, "Save, Master, we 
perish." They value him not practically, (though notionally 
they do,) as the pearl for which they must sell all/ (Matt. xiii. 
44 — 46.) Christ doth not dwell in his heart by faith, nor 
doth he long with all the saints to comprehend what is the 
breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the 
love of Christ which passeth knowledge. (Eph. iii. 17 — 19.) 
He counteth not all things loss for Christ, and the excellency 
of his knowledge; nor doth he count them as dung, that he 
may win Christ, and be found in him, not having his own 
righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ ; 
(Phil. iii. 8 — 10;) nor can he truly say, that he desireth to 
know nothing but a crucified Christ, (1 Cor. ii. 2,) and that 
" the life that he now liveth in the flesh, he liveth by the faith 
of the Son of God, that loved him, and gave himself for him." 
(Gal. ii. 20.) He is not taken up with that admiration of the 
love of God in Christ, as beseems a soul that is saved by him 
from the flames of hell, and that is reconciled to God, and 
made an heir of life everlasting. He hath not understand- 
ingly, deliberately, seriously, and unreservedly, given up himself 
and all that he hath to Christ ; and thankfully accepted Christ 
and life, as given on the gospel terms to him. This living effec- 
tual faith is wanting to the hypocrite, whose religion is vain. 

5. This vain religion doth never practically show the soul the 
amiableness and attractive goodness of God, so far as to win the 
heart to a practical observation of him, and adhering to him, 
above all ; nor so far as to advance him, above all the creatures, 
in the practical judgment, will, and conversation ; nor doth he 
cause the soul to take him for its portion, and prefer his favour 
before all the world, and devote itself and all unto his interest 
and will, and give him the superlative and sovereign honour, 
both in heart and life. (Psalm lxiii. 3, and xxx. 5, and iv. 6, 7, 
and xvi. 5, and xvii. 4 ; Matt. x. 37.) 

6. This vain religion is always without that serious belief of 
the life to come, which causeth the soul to take it for its happi- 
ness and treasure, and there to set its desires and its hopes, and 
to make it his principal care and business to attain it, and to 
make all the pleasures and profits and honours of the world to 
stoop to it, as preferring it before them all. (Matt. vi. 20, 21, 
and ver. 33 ; Luke xviii. 22, 23, and xiv. 33 ; Col. iii. 1 — 5 ; 
Phil. iii. 18— »20.) The hypocrite taketh heaven but for a re- 
serve, and as a lesser evil than hell, and seeks it but in the 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 15 

second place, while his fleshly pleasures and interest have the 
pre-eminence, and God hath no more but the leavings of the 
world ; and he serveth him but with so much as his flesh can 
spare. 

7. This vain religion consisteth principally in external ob- 
servances. If he be a formalist that hath it, his religion lieth 
in his beads and prayer-books, in going so oft to church, 
and keeping holy days and fasting days, and saying over such 
and such words, and using such and such gestures and cere- 
monies, and submitting to church orders, and crying down 
sectaries and preciseness, and jeering at the simplicity 
of plain-hearted Christians that never learned the art of 
dissimulation. Their religion is but a pack of compliments, 
a flattering of God, as if they would mock him with cap and 
knee who will not be mocked; (Gal. vi. 7 ;) while they draw 
near to him with their lips, their hearts are far from him. 
(Matt. xv. 7 — 9.) They wash the outside, and pay tithe of all, 
and give some alms, and forbear disgraceful sins, which would 
make them be esteemed ungodly among men. (Matt. xv. 2, 3; 
Mark vii. 4, 8; Matt, xxiii. 25, 26, &c, vi. 1, 4, 6, &c; 
Isa. i. 1 1 — 14, lviii. 1, 2.) But these self-deceivers are strangers 
to the inward spiritual work of holiness : their hearts are not 
busy in the worship of God, by fervent desire and exercise of 
other graces, while their tongues are put into an artificial pace, 
and they are acting the part of men that seem to be religious. 
If they be cast into the sectarian mould, they place their 
religion in the strictness of their principles and parties, and in 
contending for them, and in their affected fervour, and ability 
to speak and pray extempore : but the humble, holy, inward 
workings of the soul toward God, and its breathings after him, 
and the watch that it sets over the heart, this hypocrite is much 
a stranger to. 

If he be brought up among the orthodox in well-ordered 
churches, he placeth his religion in the holding of the truth, 
and taking the right side, and submitting to right order, and 
using God's ordinances : but the most of an upright man's em- 
ployment is at home, within him ; to order his soul, and exer- 
cise grace, and keep down sin, and keep out of the world, and 
keep under the flesh and carnal self, and do the inward part of 
duty ; and he is as truly solicitous about this as about the out- 
ward works, and contenteth not himself to have said his prayers, 
unless, indeed, his heart have prayed ; nor to have heard, unless 



]6 THE VAIN llliMGION OF 

he have profited, or heard with obediential attention : and he 
makes conscience of secret duties, as well as of those that are 
done in the sight of men ; but this the hypocrite comes not up 
to, to trade in the internal spiritual part. 

8. The religion that is vain is without an universal hatred of 
known sin, and an actual conquering of it, so far as to live out 
of gross sin, which some call mortal, and to be weary of infir- 
mities, and to be truly desirous to be rid of all ; and to be wil- 
ling to use God's means against it. Thus it is with the sincerely 
religious, but not with these hypocrites that deceive themselves. 
(John iii. 19, 20; Rom. vii. 24; Luke xiii. 3, 5; Rom. viii. 
t* — 14 ; Gal. vi. 7, 8.) The hypocrite hath not only some parti- 
cular sin, which all his religion makes him not willing to see 
to be a sin, or to forsake ; but his very state is sinful in the 
main, by the predominancy of a selfish carnal interest and prin- 
ciple ; and he is not willing of close plain dealing, much less of 
the diligent use of means himself to overcome that sin, because 
he loveth it. 

9. This vain religion is not accompanied by an unfeigned 
love to a life of holiness, which every true believer hath; delight- 
ing to meditate in the law of God, with a practical intention to 
obey it, and delighting in the inward exercise of grace, and 
outward ordinances as advantages hereunto; desiring still more 
of the grace which he hath tasted, and grieving that he know- 
eth, and trusteth, and loveth, and feareth, and obeyeth God so 
little, and loving to reach higher, to know, and love, and fear 
him more. (Psalm i. 2, and cxix. 1 — 5, 9, 10, &c; Heb. xii. 14 ; 
2 Peter iii. 11 ; Matt. vii. 13, 14.) But the self-deceiver either 
hath a secret dislike of this serious diligence for salvation, and 
loving God with all the soul and might, (because he is conscious 
that he reacheth it not himself,) or, at least, he will not be brought 
to entertain a*ny more than will stand with his carnal ends. 

10. A vain religion doth not so far reveal the excellency of 
Christ's image in his servants, as to cause an entire love to them 
as such ; and to delight in them above the most splendid and 
accomplished persons that are strangers to the life of grace, and 
so far to love them as, when Christ requireth it, to part with our 
substance, and hazard ourselves for their relief. Thus do the 
truly religious. (Psalm xvi. 2. and xv. 4; 1 John iii. 14 ; 
Matt. x. 40 ; xi. 42 ; and xxv. 34, 35, 40, 42, 45, 46.) But the 
hypocrite either secretly hateth a heavenly, holy life, and, con- 
sequently the people that are such, (because they seem to con- 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 17 

demn him by overgoing him, and differing from him ; or, at 
least, he only superficially approveth of them, but will forsake 
both Christ and them in trial, rather than forsake his earthen 
god. I have now showed you what the self-deceiver wants, 
in which you may see sufficient reason why his religion is but 
vain. 

II. We are next to show you how these hypocrites do deceive 
themselves, and wherein their self-deceit consisteth. It may 
seem strange that a man of reason should do such a thing as 
this, when we consider that truth is naturally the object of the 
understanding, and that all men necessarily love themselves, 
and therefore love what they know to be simply good for them. 
How then can any man that hath the use of reason be willing 
to be deceived, yea, and be his own deceiver, and that in mat- 
ters of unspeakable consequence ! But it is not as falsehood, 
nor as deceit, that they desire it, but as it appeareth necessary to 
the carnal ease and pleasure which they desire. 

The way by which they deceive their own hearts consisteth 
in these following degrees : — 

1. The hypocrite resisteth the spirit of grace, and rejecteth 
the mercies offered in the gospel ; and so, by his refusal, is de- 
prived of a part in Christ, and of the life of grace, and the 
hopes of glory which were tendered to him. 

2. But withal, he is willing of so much of this mercy as con- 
sisteth with his sinful disposition and carnal interest : he is wil- 
ling enough to be happy in general, and to be saved from hell- 
fire, and to be pardoned, and to have such a heaven as he hath 
framed a pleasing imagination of. 

3. And therefore he maketh him up a religion of so much of 
Christianity as will stand with his pleasures, profits, and repu- 
tation in the world, that so he may not be left in despair of 
being saved, when he must leave the world that he most loved. 
The cheap and the easy parts of Christianity, and those that are 
most in credit in the world, and that flesh and blood have least 
against, these he will cull out from among the rest, and make 
him a religion of, passing by the dearer and more difficult and 
spiritual parts. 

4. Having gone thus far, he persuadeth his own heart that 
this kind of religion which he hath patched up and framed to 
himself is the true religion, the faith, the hope, the charity, the 
repentance, the obedience, to which salvation is promised ; and 
that he is a true Christian, notwithstanding his defects ; and 

VOL. XVII. c 



18 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

that his spots arc but such as are consistent with grace ; and 
that his sins are but pardoned infirmities ; and that he hath 
part in Christ, and the promises of life, and shall be saved, 
though he be not of the preciser strain. When he committeth 
any sin, he confidently imagineth that his confession and his 
wishing it were undone again, when he hath had all the plea- 
sure that sin can give him, is true repentance; and that, as a 
penitent, he shall be forgiven : and thus, while he thinketh him- 
self something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. (Gal. 
vi. 3.) He hath a counterfeit of every grace of God; a 
counterfeit faith, and hope, and love, and repentance, and zeal, 
and humility, and patience, and perseverance : and these he 
will needs take to be the very life and image of Christ, and the 
graces themselves that accompany salvation. 

5. Having got this carcass of religion without the soul, he 
makes use of all those things to confirm him in his deceit, 
which are appointed to confirm true Christians in their faith 
and hope. When he reads or thinks of the infinite goodness, 
love, and mercy of God, he thinks God could not be so good and 
merciful, if he should refuse to save all such as he. When he 
readeth of the undertaking and sacrifice of Christ, and how he 
is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, he confidently, 
hence, concludeth that a Saviour so gracious, that hath done 
and suffered so much for sinners, cannot condemn all such as 
he. When he readeth of the extent and freeness of grace in 
the promises of the gospel, he concludeth that these promises 
belong to him, and that grace could not be so free and so ex- 
tensive, if it did shut out all such as he. When he observeth 
the mercies of God upon his body, in his friends, and health, 
and credit and prosperity, he concludeth that surely God loveth 
him as a child, in that he dealeth so fatherly with him. If he 
suffer adversity, he thinks that it is fatherly chastisement of God, 
and therefore proveth him to be his son, and that he shall have 
his good things in the world to come, because he hath his evils 
here. If he suffer any thing for a good cause, or a cause that 
he taketh to be good, he taketh himself to be a confessor, and 
marked out for life eternal. If he give any considerable alms, 
he applieth all the promises to himself that are made to those 
that are truly charitable, though he giveth but the leavings of 
the flesh, and giveth but on common compassions, or for ap- 
plause, or for some common end, and not as to Christ whom he 
honoureth in his members, as one that hath resigned all unto 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 19 

hint. If he pray, from the lips only, or only for pardon, and 
such other mercies as flesh itself would be glad to have, without 
the inexpressible groans of the spirit for spiritual mercies, 
(Rom. viii. 2(5,) he presently applieth all the promises to him- 
self that are made to the upright that call upon God : and 
thus love, mercy, and Christ himself, are abused by him, to this 
damning work of self-deceit. 

6. Moreover, he makes use of all the ordinances of God, to 
the deceiving of his own heart. The outward part of baptism 
persuades him that he is inwardly regenerate. He receiveth the 
Lord's supper that he may confirm his presumption, and in- 
crease his self-deceit, as the godly receive it to confirm and 
increase their saving faith. He joineth with the chureh in 
those prayers and praises that are fitted to the true believer's state 
that he may thence more confidently deceive his own heart, 
with the conceit that he is a true believer. And thus he turneth 
the bread of life, and all the helps and means of grace, to the 
strengthening of his sin, and the furthering of his perdition. 

7. Moreover, this miserable self-deceiver does usually get 
into such company as may further his self-deceit, and maketh 
use of them to that end. If he get into any holy, well-ordered 
church of Christians, it is that, by his outward communion with 
the saints, he may seem to himself to have inward communion 
with them. If he get among able godly ministers, and other 
judicious Christians, and finds that he is well esteemed of by 
them, he is confirmed hereby in his presumption and self- 
deceit : when, alas ! we must, in charity, judge of men as they 
profess and seem, and leave the infallible judgment of the 
heart to God. Usually, this self-deceiving hypocrite doth asso- 
ciate with some carnal or factious men, with whom he makes 
himself a party : and such will smooth him up, and make a 
saint of him, either because they are as bad themselves, and 
dare not condemn him, lest they condemn themselves, or be- 
cause they are flatterers and daubers, or men that were never 
themselves acquainted with those saving operations of the spirit 
which he wants, or because they are partial to one of their own 
faction. And thus a formal hypocrite may be stroked by 
formalists, and a schismatical hypocrite may be soothed up by 
those of his own sect (as lamentable experience telleth us that 
such do) to the increase of their pernicious self-deceit. 

Yet more than so; if these hypocrites fall in company with 
the notoriously profane, from them they will fetch some con- 

c 2 



20 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

firmation of their self-deceit : when they hear them swear and 
curse, and rant, and see them drunk, they secretly with the 
Pharisee rejoice and say, " I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as 
this publican." And this is one reason why such hypocrites 
are well content to have some servants in their families, or some 
neighbours or company about them that are notoriously pro- 
fane, that their deluded consciences, considering that they 
are more civil and religious themselves, may hence gather com- 
fort, that they are the servants of God, and in a state of grace. 

Hence also it is, that those of them that go on the schismati- 
cal side, do purposely go into separated societies, that, by with- 
drawing from so many, and (as they speak) coming out from 
among them, they may seem to themselves to be fellow-citizens 
with the saints, and to be of the little flock that shall have the 
kingdom. This is the use that self-deceivers make of their 
companions. 

8. Moreover, the hypocrite confirmeth his self-deceit, by 
observing the great numbers of ungodly persons, worse than he, 
that are in the world : this makes him think that God should 
be unmerciful, and heaven be empty, if all such as he should 
be shut out : the damnation of so many seemeth so incredible 
to him, that it much increaseth his confidence and self-deceit. 

9. And he deceiveth himself also by a mis-observing and 
mis- applying the faults and infirmities of the servants of the 
Lord, and the scandalous lives of many hypocrites like himself. 
When he readeth of Noah's drunkenness and incest, and David's 
adultery and murder, and Peter's denial of his Master, with curs- 
ing and swearing, he considered! not how much these singular 
actions were contrary to the scope of their lives, nor by what 
serious repentance they did rise, and do so no more ; but he 
hence coneludeth that sure he is in a state of grace, that hath 
no such heinous sins as these : though indeed he hath more 
heinous continually within him, (even a love of the world and 
pleasure above God, a secret root of unbelief, a servitude to 
the flesh, &c.) when he seeth any about him that profess the 
fear of God, prove hypocrites or apostates, or fall into any 
scandalous sin, he strengtheneth his presumption by it, and con- 
eludeth that this profession of greater holiness than he himself 
hath, is but hypocrisy ; and that he is as good as those that 
seem more devout, though he make not so much ado with his 
religion : or at least that he shall be saved, when those are so 
bad that are accounted better : if there be but a Ham in the 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 21 

Ark and family of Noah, an Ishmael in Abraham's house, an 
Esau in Jacob's, an Absalom in David's, a Judas among the dis- 
ciples of Christ, these self- deceivers will thence fetch matter 
for their own delusion and perdition, as if the rest were all t as 
bad, or sanctification were not necessary to salvation. 

10. The self- deceiver also is confirmed in his presumption, 
by taking to himself the comforts that ministers hold forth, for 
truly humbled, upright souls, that are apt to be too much dis- 
quieted and cast down. Our congregations are mixed of godly 
and ungodly, and broken-hearted and hard-hearted, dejected 
and self-confident sinners (besides all those that are well 
settled in their spiritual peace). And as we cannot tell how 
to tell the wicked of their misery, nor open the hypocrite's self- 
deceit, but the self-suspecting humbled soul, will mis-apply it 
to themselves, and be more dejected by it, and say, it is thus 
with me ; so we cannot tell how to comfort the distressed, 
and clear up the evidences of a drooping soul, but the pre- 
sumptuous hypocrite will lay hold upon it, and think that it 
belongs to him. Every comfortable book or scripture that he 
readeth, and every comfortable sermon or discourse which he 
heareth, is abused to increase his self-deceit. 

11. It increaseth the hypocrite's self-deceit, when he findeth 
some partial reformation in himself, and that he hath mended 
many things that were amiss ; this he takes for a true conver- 
sion, and thinks that the civilizing and smoothing of his life, 
the change of his opinion, and the taking up a form of godli- 
ness, are true sanctification ; and that he is not the man that 
once he was, and therefore is in a safe condition. Though, alas! 
he hath never yet known by experience the new heart, the new 
ends, the new resolutions, affections, and conversation of a saint. 

12. Lastly, he deceiveth himself by misunderstanding the 
nature of hypocrisy. Because he perceiveth not that he is a gross 
dissembler, but meaneth as he speaks, so far as he goes, there- 
fore, he thinks that he is no hypocrite ; whereas, besides the 
gross hypocrite that knoweth that he doth dissemble, and only 
deceiveth others, there are also close hypocrites, that know 
not they are hypocrites, but deceive themselves. And these 
are they that my text here speaks of, when it saith, i{ He de- 
ceiveth his own heart." It is hypocrisy (to seem better than 
one is, and to profess to be a sincere Christian when he is 
none,) though he confidently think that he is what he profess- 
eth himself to be. 



22 THE VAIN RELIGION OK 

III. But what is it that can move a reasonable creature to be 
wilfully guilty of such self-deceit in the day-light of the gos- 
pel, when he hath so much help to see his way ? 

Answer. 1. They are first deceived by the vanities of the 
world, and the pleasures of sin, before they deceive themselves 
by their religion. Their religious self-deceiving is but subservient 
to their fleshly servitude, and the world's deceit. They are 
carnal from the birth, (for that which is born of the flesh 
only, is but flesh, John iii. 6,) and custom in sinning fixeth 
and increaseth their sinful disposition. Their hearts are en- 
gaged to their worldly accommodations, and to their vain 
glory, and the things that please the flesh ; they are willing 
slaves to their concupiscence. And therefore they cannot ad- 
mit of that religion which would deprive them of that which 
they most dearly love. Christ speaks too late to them. They 
tell him they are promised already. Their affections are pre- 
engaged : sin hath taken up the chiefest rooms : and the heart 
that loveth sensuality and prosperity best, cannot love God best 
too : for it can have but one best. The nature of true sancti- 
fication is to take down the darling of a carnal heart, and to 
cross it in its dearest loves, and to lay that at our feet that 
before was our treasure, and to tame the body, and to bring it 
into subjection, which before was in the throne. The motions 
of such a change will not be acceptable, till they are made so 
effectual as to cause that change : the command will be unplea- 
sant, till the heart be suited to the nature of the command. 
He that seeth what care and labour there is to gather a worldly 
treasure, and what a stir is made in the world about it, can 
never expect that all this should be vilified and despised at a 
word, and that any doctrine (how true and heavenly soever) 
can be welcome to these worldly men, that would debase their 
glory, and imbitter their delights, and make their idol seem but 
dung. The doctrine of Christ would take the old heart out of 
their bodies : and they will not easily leave their hearts. It 
doth not only command the drunkard to live soberly, and the 
glutton temperately, and the lascivious filthy sinner chastely, and 
the proud person humbly, and the covetous to live contentedly 
and liberally ; but it commandeth the hearty forsaking of all 
for the sake of Christ, (Luke xiv. 33,) and the accounting them 
but as loss and dung that we may win him, (Phil. iii. 7 — 9.) and 
mortifying of that flesh which before we daily studied to please, 
(Col. iii. 4 — 5,) and the crucifying of its affections and lusts, 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 23 

(Gal. v. 24,) and the denial even of ourselves. (Luke ix. 23, 
24.) And for a carnal mind to love and yield to such com- 
mands, were no other than to cease to be a carnal mind. All 
this is largely expressed by the Apostle, (Rom. viii. 1, &c,) 
They that are in Christ Jesus, " 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 carnally 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. So they that are in the flesh 
cannot please God — For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die : 
but if ye then through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the 
body, ye shall live." 

You see here why it is that the self-deceiver will not enter- 
tain the power of godliness, nor be religious seriously according 
to the true intent of the gospel, and the nature of Christianity, 
even because he is engaged to a contrary object, and hath 
another game in chase, which he will not leave, and which 
true religion requireth him to leave, and will not give him 
leave to follow. And therefore he parteth with the religion 
which would have parted him from that which he will not part 
with. 

2. But withal, he is all this while under the threatenings of 
the law of God, and conscience is ready to bear witness against 
him ; and betwixt law and conscience, the poor wretch is as 
the corn between two mill-stones ; he would be ground to 
powder, and tortured with terrors before his time, if he had 
not some opiate, or intoxicating medicine, to ease him by de- 
ceiving him, and to abate his fears, and to quiet his conscience 
as long as a palliate cure will serve turn. So that here are two 
things for which the self-deceiving hypocrite is fain to fall 
into his vain religion : the one is, that it may be a cloak to the 
sin which he will needs keep : the other is, that it may save 
him from the terrors and disquietments that for this sin his 
conscience would else afflict him with. A belief that he may 
be saved, for all his sin, is the relief that he hath against the 
terrors of the law of God. He therefore chooseth out such 
parcels of religion as may serve him for this use, and yet will 
not separate him from the sin that he delighteth in. The 
power of godliness will not consist with his covetous, proud, or 
fleshly life 5 but the form and outside will. And therefore this 



24 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

regeneration, and mortification, and self-denial, and subjection 
to the whole will of God, and this heavenly-mindedness and 
watching the heart, and walking with God, and living above 
the trifles of this world, and making it the chief business to 
prepare for another ; this kind of religion, which is religion 
indeed, he cannot (because he will not) entertain. This is the 
strait gate and narrow way, that few men find. Here he must 
be excused. God is no God for him upon these terms ; (and 
he can not and will not be his God upon any other terms;) Christ 
is no Christ for him unless he will excuse him from this trou- 
ble, and bear with him in his carnal course ; that is, unless he 
will be indeed no Christ to him. Heaven is no heaven for him, 
unless he may pass to it through prosperity and sin ; and un- 
less he may have it without the trouble of a holy life ; that is, 
unless God will be unjust or false, and heaven cease to be hea- 
ven, and God cease to be God. 

But yet these men are convinced that God is their rightful 
governor, and that, indeed, they should love him, and serve 
him with all their heart and might, and that without true reli- 
gion and godliness there is no salvation. To be irreligious and 
profane, they know is a state that can afford no comfort, or 
shelter from the wrath of God ; and therefore some religion 
they must have : they are not able to endure the thoughts of 
lying under the curse of God. To conclude themselves to be 
utterly graceless, and the children of the devil, and in a state 
of condemnation, is so terrible, that they are not able to 
endure it : then every sermon they hear would torment them, 
and every chapter they read would torment them ; and their 
pleasures would all be imbittered to them, and nothing that 
they enjoy in all the world would quiet and content them. 
(No, nor shall do long.) And therefore they must needs take 
up some religion, to quiet them for a little while, and to make 
them hope, that for all their sins, they are not so bad, nor in 
so dangerous a case as preachers tell them ; some religion they 
must needs have for fear of being damned : a sound and 
serious religion they will not have, because they love the world 
and sin, which it would deprive them of; and therefore they 
patch up a vain religion, composed of so much truth and duty 
as will stand with their prosperitv and pleasures : which will 
not save them, but sufficeth to deceive them. 

Two parts make up this self-deceiving frame, as consistent 
with their sins : the one is the formal, outward, easy, cheap 



"the formal hypocrite. 25 

part of duty to God and man in their practice ; leaving out the 
spiritual, inward, difficult, dear, self-denying part. The other 
is, the strictest parts of religion in bare opinion and notion, 
while they shut it out of their hearts and lives. For both these 
may stand with a sensual, worldly, selfish life. He may read 
or say his prayers, and be a worldling still : he may come to 
church, and, with the greatest ceremony and seeming reverence, 
receive the sacrament, and bow before the Lord his Maker, and 
yet be sensual or a worldling still. And he may be of the 
strictest party or opinion, and notionally condemn all sin, and 
justify the most holy life, and yet be sensual and worldly still. 
And therefore this much he may be persuaded to take up, to 
save himself from the lashes of his conscience. And so the 
use of the hypocrite's religion is to be a screen betwixt him and 
the flames of wrath, that would scorch him too soon, if he 
were of no religion : and to be to him as a tent or penthouse to 
keep off the storms that would fall upon him, while he is 
trading for the world, and working for the flesh. His religion 
is but the sheath of his guilty conscience, to keep it from wound- 
ing him, and cutting his fingers, while they are busy in the 
brutish service of his lusts. It is but a glove to save his skin, 
when he hath to do with the nettles and thorns of the threaten- 
ings of God, and the thoughts of vengeance, that else would 
rack his guilty soul. It is but as his upper garment, to save 
him from a storm, and then to be laid by as an unnecessary 
burden, when he is at home. The hypocrite's religion is but 
as his shoe : he can tread it in the dirt, so it will but save his 
foot from galling. As a man that hath an unquiet scolding wife, 
is fain to speak her fair by flatteries, lest he should have no 
rest at home ; or as a thief is fain to cast a crust to the dog 
that barketh at him, to stop his mouth ; so is an ungodly, sen- 
sual person fain to flatter his conscience with some kind of 
religiousness, and to stop his mouth with some kind of devo- 
tion and seeming righteousness, that may deceive him into a 
belief that he is a child of God. Religion is the sovereign in 
a gracious soul, and the master in an upright conscience, and 
ruleth above all worldly interests. But with the unregenerate, it 
is but an underling and servant, that must do no more than the 
flesh and the world will give consent to ; and is regarded no 
further than for mere necessity; and when it hath done the work 
which the hypocrite appointed it, it is dismissed and turned 
out of doors. God is acknowledged and confessed by the hypo- 



26 THE VAIN RELIGION OK 

crite, but not as God. Christ is believed in and accepted, but 
not as Christ, but as an underling to the world, and a journey- 
man to do some job of work for a distressed, wrangling, con- 
science ; or as an unwelcome physician to give them a vomit 
when they have taken some extraordinary surfeit of sensual 
delight. When they have fallen into great affliction, or into any 
foul, disgraceful sin, then, perhaps, they take up their prayer- 
books, or call upon Christ, and seem devout and very penitent. 
But their piety is blown over with the storm. The effect ceaseth 
with the cause. It was not the love of God, or of his holy 
ways and service, that set them upon their devotions, but some 
tempest of adversity, or shipwreck of their estates, or friends, 
or consciences ; and when the winds are laid, and the waves 
are still, their devotion ceaseth with their danger. 

3. Add hereunto (to show you. the reason of the hypocrite's 
self-deceit) that he is one that never practically saw the amia- 
bleness of holiness in itself; and never had a heart that was 
touched with the love of it by the spirit of holiness ; and there- 
fore he taketh it but for mere necessity; and therefore he taketh 
up no more than he thinks is of necessity to save him from 
damnation, when he can live in the pleasures of the world no 
longer. God never had his heart. He had rather be about his 
sports or worldly business, if he durst, and thought he could be 
so excused. He loveth a pair (pack) of cards, or dice, or a harlot, 
or his ambitious designs and honours, better than he loveth the 
Holy Scriptures, and the heavenly discourse or contemplation 
of the life to come. And therefore he will have no more reli- 
gion than needs he must, because he taketh it not for love, but 
need. The matters of the world and the flesh are his diet, and 
his extraordinary successes and prosperity are his feast; and 
therefore he will take as much of them as he can and dare : 
but religion is but his physic, and therefore he will take it as 
little and seldom as he dare. Had he but seen the face of 
God by faith, and had he but the heart of a true believer, that 
is suited by holiness to the holy works that God commandeth, 
as the heart of a true friend is suited to the will of him whom 
he loveth, he would then be no longer religious against his will, 
and consequently in vain ; but he would think the most pure 
and heavenly mind, and life, and the highest degree of love 
and holiness, to be the best and most desirable state for his 
soul, as every true believer doth. Had this hypocrite any true 
love to God, as he deceitfully pretends to have, he would love 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 27 

his image, and word, and ways; and then he would love best 
that kernel and marrow of religion, that life and soul of wor- 
ship and obedience, which now he favoureth not, but shifteth 
off as a needless, or tedious, or unattainable thing. 

The nature and use of these hypocrites' religion, is to save 
them from religion : they carry an empty gilded scabbard, 
accusing the sword of a dangerous keenness, as a thing more 
perilous than necessary to their use. When they seem most 
zealous, they are but serving God that they may be excused 
from serving him ; and they worship him on purpose to shift 
off his worship. They offer him the lips, that the heart may 
be excused ; and compliment him with cap and knee, that they 
may excuse themselves from real holiness : they offer him the 
empty purse for payment, and tender him a sacrifice of husks 
and shells, and lifeless carcasses: they will abound in the shadow 
and ceremony, that they may be excused from the spiritual life 
and substance. Alas ! that dead-hearted hypocrite that sits 
there, and heareth all this, is so great a stranger to the opening 
of the heart, and the deep entertainment of saving truth, and 
to the savoury relish of the searching, healing, quickening pas- 
sages of holy doctrine, and to the thankful welcoming of an offered 
Christ, and to the lookings and longings of the soul after God, and 
to the serious desires, and hopes, and labours of a gracious soul 
for life eternal, that he is idle, asleep, and dead as to all this 
spiritual work, and if he had not some customary service to 
perform, and some ceremonies or external task to do, and some 
bodily worship to be employed in, he would find little or no- 
thing to do in the assemblies, but might sit here as a brute, 
or as one of a strange language, that comes but to see and to 
be seen. And therefore if there be not somewhat more suit- 
able to him than power and spirituality, it seemeth as no 
worship to the formal hypocrite. It is the pretty jingles and 
knacks of wit, and the merry jeers at the preciser sort, or some 
scraps of Greek and Latin authors, or shreds of fathers and 
philosophy, or at best an accurate, well-set speech, that makes 
the sermon acceptable to this hypocrite's ears. It is not spirit 
and life within him that brought him hither, nor is it spirit and 
life that he favoureth, and that he came for. And therefore it 
is that this sort of hypocrites are usually most impatient of a 
misplaced word, or of a worship performed in the primitive 
simplicity. If a man deliver the Lord's supper but as Christ 
did, and receive it but as the Apostles did, or serve God but 



28 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

as the churches in their days, he will seem unreverent, and slo- 
venly, and sordid to these self- deceiving formalists. They are 
set upon excess of ceremonies, because they are defective in the 
vital parts, and should have no religion if they had not this. 
All sober Christians are friends to outward decency and order ; 
but it is the empty self-deceiver that is most for the unwarrant- 
able inventions of men, and sticketh in the bark of God's own 
ordinances, that taketh the garments for the man, and useth 
the worship of God, but as a masque or puppet-play, where 
there is great doings, with little life, and to little purpose. The 
chastest woman will wash her face ; but it is the harlot, or 
wanton, or deformed, that will paint it. The soberest and the 
comeliest will avoid a nasty or ridiculous habit, which may 
make them seem uncomely, where they are not ; but a curious 
dress, and excessive care, doth signify a crooked or deformed 
body, or a filthy skin, or, which is worst, an empty soul, that 
hath need of such a covering. Consciousness of such greater 
want, doth cause them to seek these poor supplies. The 
gaudiness of men's religion is not the best sign that it is sincere. 
Simplicity is the ordinary attendant of sincerity. It hath long 
been a proverb, " the more ceremony, the less substance \ and 
the more compliment, the more craft." 

And yet if it were only for want of inward true religion 
that the hypocrite setteth up his shows, it were bad enough, 
but not so bad as with most of them, or all, it is. For it is an 
enmity to religion that accompanieth .their religion. As in 
lapsed man, the body, that was before the soul's obedient at- 
tendant, is become its master, and the enemy of its perfection 
and felicity ; so, in the carnal religion of the hypocrite, the 
outside, which should be the ornament and attendant of the 
inward spiritual part, hath got the mastery, and is used in an 
enmity against the more noble part which it should serve 5 
and much more are his humane inventions and mixtures thus 
destructively employed. His bellows do but blow out the 
candle, under pretence of kindling the fire. He sets the body 
against the soul, and sometime the cloathing against both. 
He useth forms to the destruction of knowledge, and quench- 
ing of all seriousness and fervour of affection. By preaching, 
he destroyeth preaching, and prayeth till prayer is become no 
prayer, but the image or carcass of prayer at the best. And useth 
his words to the destruction of the due principle, sense, and ends. 
Having still his carnal self for his end, he preacheth, and 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 29 

prayeth, and serveth God in a manner that seems most suitable 
to his end ; so that it is not God's means that he useth, when 
he useth them, but his own ; nor doth he indeed worship God, 
while he seems to worship ; nor is indeed religious, but seems 
religious. It is materially, perhaps, God's work that he doth, 
and his means he useth, but formally they are his own, and 
not God's at all ; when we meet with abundance of our people 
that are most nimble in their accustomed forms, that know 
not what religion or Christianity is, nor who Christ is, nor 
almost any of the substance of the gospel, it assures us that it 
is easy to be infidels with christian expressions in their mouths, 
and that it is easier to teach a parrot to speak, than to be a 
man. As their bodies are but the prisons, or dungeons of 
their souls, so their formal words and ceremonies are used to 
be the prison and dungeon, or rather the grave, of true devo- 
tion. Their religion is excessively laced, but so scant of 
cloth, that it covereth not their nakedness, nor keeps them 
warm. It is always winter with the hypocrite in his formal 
lifeless services, and yet sometime his leaf doth never fall. He 
is like the box-tree that knows no fruit, and yet its leaves 
are always green. Wherever his heart is, the formalist's 
prayers are always ready, for his prayer-book or memory is still 
the same ; he can say them between sleeping and waking in his 
bed, and as he is dressing or washing him, and the interpo- 
sition of a friend, or some intervenient word or business, is 
so small a rub, that it seldom puts him out of his way. Though 
he cannot make spiritual his common business, he can make 
his spiritual business common. Though he have not the 
art, the heart, to manage his trade or worldly business with 
a holy and heavenly mind, yet he can manage his holiest bu- 
sinesses with such a mind as he doth his trade. If you would 
know whether he be praying or playing, preaching or prating, 
serving God, or himself and the flesh, you must not search 
deep for an internal difference, but must discern it by the show 
and sound of words. He is not one of them that are above 
ordinances, as turning every day into a sabbath, and every 
thought into a prayer, and every morsel into a sacrament ; but 
he cannot turn every sabbath into a common day, and every 
prayer into common thoughts, and every sacrament into 
common food ; and therefore that which is holy to others, is 
to him unclean. Hypocrisy is a natural popery ; it filleth the 
places of worship with images. Instead of prayer, there is 



30 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

the image of prayer; and instead of preaching, hearing, prais- 
ing God, and other parts of worship, there is the image of 
worship ; and instead of Christians, believers, saints, (and I 
was going to say, of men,) there are so many images of these. 
Church images are usually handsomely adorned, and placed ill 
a posture of reverence and devotion, and so are they. But 
life they have none, but merely natural. They are seeing, 
hearing, speaking images, but images they are. They have 
eyes, but see not; ears, but hear not; hearts, but understand not. 
And they are enemies to the life and power of religion, in 
others as well as in themselves. The publicans were not so 
bitter persecutors of Christ, as the Scribes and Pharisees were. 
He can hate and reproach the faithful by the Spirit, though 
he cannot, or will not, pray by the Spirit ; for he hath the 
spirit of malignity, though not the spirit of supplication. He 
can rail without book, though he cannot pray without book. 
Were it as natural and easy to be a saint, as to scorn a saint, 
and to worship God in spirit and in truth, as to hate such 
worship, the man might become a saint yet before he dies. But 
his vain religion changeth not his nature, and therefore de- 
stroyeth not his serpentine enmity against the holy nature 
and practice of believers, though perhaps the times may stop 
his hissing, or hinder him from putting forth his sting. These 
spiritual worshippers and heavenly, diligent sort of Christians, 
that make it the main business of their lives to honour God, 
and save their souls, are usually the greatest eyesore of the 
formalist. Many a disdainful thought he hath of them, and 
many a bitter gird he gives them : forgetting that their Re- 
deemer heareth all, who is coming " with ten thousand of his 
saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that 
are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they 
have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which 
ungodly sinners have spoken against him. " (Jude, 14, 15.) The 
humble, spiritual, heavenly believers, are they that condemn 
the hypocrite by their lives ; were it not for them, he could 
easily believe that he is a saint himself, and should undoubt- 
edly be saved. He looketh on the openly ungodly but as the 
beauty-spots of the assemblies that serve to set out the piety 
of such as he. If he saw no better than himself, he could ea- 
sily take himself for one of the best. Every dotted post and 
glow-worm would be more resplendent and observable in the 
absence of all greater lights. They hate the sun for making 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 31 

their candle to be but a scarce- discerned flame. The life of 
a holy, heavenly person doth as much gall the conscience of 
the hypocrite, and proclaim his misery, and bear a terrible 
witness against him, as a searching, powerful sermon doth. And 
therefore, as it is a vexation to him to live under such a search- 
ing minister as is always rubbing on the galled place, and 
causing conscience to torment him before his time ; so is it 
a trouble to him to live among these heavenly believers, and 
to be daily condemned by their lives, and galled by their re- 
proving practices. 

By this time you may see the reason and use of the hypo- 
crite's religion; the self-denying part of religion he cannot 
abide ; the life and power of it is above him, and seems against 
him; the fears of hell and gripes of conscience he cannot 
abide ; some hopes of heaven he must have awhile to keep him 
from despair, and therefore he must have some religion to 
deceive his heart, and maintain his hopes. And therefore he 
fitteth his religion to these uses, and takes up with so much 
as will not much trouble him, or undo him in the world, or 
absolutely forbid his sinful pleasures. And though sometime 
he be afraid lest the power and life of godliness will prove ne- 
cessary to his salvation, yet he revives his fainting hopes by 
running for comfort to his lifeless form. The rest he hath no 
mind to, and therefore will hope to be saved without it, till 
his deceit have brought him to the place of desperation, where 
is no hope. As a merchant in a storm is loth to cast his goods 
into the sea, and therefore hopes he may save himself and 
them, till he and they are drowned together ; or as a patient 
that abhors his physic, or loves some forbidden thing too well, 
is hoping still that he may escape, though he use the thing 
he loves, and forbear the medicine which he loathes till he be 
past remedy, and he consents too late ; so is it often with 
the self-deceiving hypocrite : he loves not this strict, and holy, 
and heavenly, and self-denying life, and therefore he will hope 
that God will save him without it, as long as he is religious 
in a way that he accounts more wise, and safe, and moderate, 
and comely, and suited to the nature and infirmity of man. 
These are his hopes, and to deceive his heart, by maintaining 
these, it is that he is religious, till either grace convert, or 
justice apprehend him, and his hopes and he are swallowed up 
by convincing flames and utter desperation. 



32 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

IV. We are next to show you in what respect it is that this 
religion is called vain. And first, negatively, it is not vain to 
his own carnal ends, but to the true ends of religion. 

1. He intendeth by it the quieting of his own accusing 
conscience, and the keeping up his hopes of salvation, and 
keeping off the terrors of the Lord, and so consequentially the 
deceiving of his own heart \ and to these ends it is not in vain. 
Here he sitteth as quietly as if all were well between God and 
him, and heareth the threatenings as securely as if they con- 
cerned not him at all, and applieth the promises as boldly 
as if he were one of the heirs of promise ; you would little 
think that this man must shortly be cast into utter darkness, 
from the presence of the Lord, and have " his portion with the 
hypocrites." (Matt. xxiv. 51.) His everlasting horrors appear not 
now to himself upon his heart, nor to others in his face ; what 
sign can you see of the curse of the law, or the wrath of God 
in that man's countenance ? what sign of his spiritual capti- 
vity and slavery, and of the load of sin that lieth upon his 
soul, unless it be that he feels it not ? what sign of a man in 
so great danger of eternal torment, unless it be that he little 
feareth it ? Doth he sit there like a man that is within a step 
of hell, and shall shortly be there with the devil and his angels 
as sure as he is here, unless he be saved by that grace and 
holiness which he now resists ? No ; he is as confident to be 
saved as the precisest of you all ; he is as little troubled with 
the fears of hell or the wrath of God as those that are dis- 
charged from it by justification, and perhaps much less. For 
all this he is beholden to his vain religion, that in the point of 
self-deceiving is not vain. As solid evidences promote the 
comforts of true believers, so this superficial kind of religion 
promoteth the present peace of the presumptuous. 

2. This religion is not vain as to the frustration of all the 
means of grace, and hindering the conversion and salvation of 
the hypocrite. This is his armour of defence against the sword 
of the Spirit, that would pierce his heart, and let out his close 
corruption, and separate him from his beloved sin. What 
tell you him of repentance and conversion ? He thinks he 
needeth no conversion, or is converted long ago ! What ! is 
he not a Christian, a Protestant, a religious man ? Tell swear- 
ers, and cursers, and drunkards, and extortioners, and cruel 
landlords, and fornicators, of conversion \ tell these that they 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 33 

are slaves of Satan, and under the wrath and curse of God, that 
are indeed so, past all controversy ? but tell not him of it 
that makes no doubt but he is a member of Christ, a child of 
God, and an heir of heaven. He loveth to hear a minister 
rouse up the profane and grossly sensual offenders, and seems 
in pity to wish for their conversion, and perhaps will exhort 
them to turn and mend their lives himself. But he little thinks 
that he is faster in the prison of Satan than they, and that he 
is himself in the same condemnation. 

Do you go about to tell him of the necessity of the fear of 
God, and of loving him above all, and of trusting him, and 
serving him as our only Lord ? Why, all this he will confess, 
and perhaps is as forward to say as you, and verily thinks that 
he is one that doth it ; you may as soon make him believe 
that he is not an Englishman, as that he is not a Christian, and 
that he loveth not himself, as that he loveth not God ; even 
while he loveth not to think of him, to speak of him, to call 
upon him, to obey him ; while he loveth not his word, his ways, 
or servants, or while he loveth the world and the pleasures of 
sin more heartily, and seeketh them more eagerly, and cleaveth 
to them more tenaciously, yet if you would persuade him that 
he hath not a heart as true to God as any of you all, you will 
lose your labour. 

Do you tell him of hypocrisy ? he will tell you that it is the 
thing he hateth : who speaks against it more than he ? And 
because the world shall see he is no hypocrite, he will call them 
all hypocrites that are faithful to God and to their souls, and will 
not sit down in his truly hypocritical vain religion, but will be 
more holy and diligent than he. What can you say to such a 
man in order to his conversion, which his self-deceiving religion 
will not frustrate ? Do you tell him of hell-fire, and of the wrath 
of God against the ungodly ? All this he can hear as calmly as 
another man ; for he thinks that he is none of the ungodly, he 
hath scaped the danger; let them be afraid of it whom it doth 
concern. If you tell him of his sins, he can tell you that all men 
are sinners ; we are imperfect ; and you shall never persuade 
him that his reigning, deadly sins are any other than such human 
frailties and infirmities as may stand with grace. Do you put 
him upon the inward practice of religion, and the fuller devoting 
of his soul to God, and the life of faith, and a heavenly mind ? 
He will tell you, that in his measure, he doth all this already ; 
though none of us are so good as we should be; and his heart 
being unseen to you, he thinks you must believe him. Do you 

D , 



34 THE VAIN RELIGION OK 

blame him for his slightness and formality in religion, and put 
him upon a more serious, diligent eourse, and to live as one that 
seeketh heaven with all his heart, and soul, and might ? Why, he 
thinks you do but persuade him to some self-eonceited over- 
zealous party, and draw him from his moderation to be righte- 
ous over mueh, and to make too much ado with his religion. 
Unless he be an hypocrite that falleth into the schismatical 
strain, and then he will make a greater bustle with his opinions 
and his outside services then you can desire. So that one with 
his mere book-prayers, forms, and ceremonies, and the other 
with his mere extemporate words, and affected outside seeming 
fervour, and both of them by a mere opinionative, lifeless, carnal 
kind of religion, subject to their fleshly ends and interests^ do so 
effectually cheat their souls that they are armed against all that 
you can say or do, and you know not how to get within them, 
or fasten any saving truths upon their hearts. 

3. This vain religion is not vain as to the preserving of his 
reputation in the world. It saveth him from being numbered with 
the filthy rabble, and from being pointed at as notoriously vici- 
ous, or branded with the disgraceful characters of the scandal- 
ous. Men say not of him, ( There goeth a drunkard, a swearer, 
a curser, a fornicator, or a profane ungodly wretch/ He may 
be esteemed civil, ingenuous, discreet, and perhaps religious, 
and be much honoured by wise, religious men ; though most 
commonly his formal, or opinionative, heartless kind of religion 
is discerned or much suspected by experienced, judicious Chris- 
tians, by his sapless, unexperienced, common and carnal kind of 
discourse and duty, sticking most in opinions, parties, or some 
outside things, and by his temporizing, and reserve, and uneven 
kind of conversation ; yet it is not always so ; but sometime he is 
as far unsuspected as the best ; perhaps he may be esteemed a 
reverend preacher, or a discreet, religious, well-accomplished 
gentleman, and may be set in the head of church or common- 
wealth, as a leader of the saints on earth, that shall be thrust 
into the place of hypocrites, and not come near the meanest of 
the saints in heaven. 

4. Lastly, (but better than all this,) his religion is not vain 
as to the good of others. He may, by the perfume and odour 
of his gifts, be kept from stinking to the annoyance of others, 
while he is dead in sin. He may be very serviceable in the 
church of God ; a judicious, earnest expounder of the Scripture, 
and preacher and defender of the truth ; in his place as a 
magistrate, or master of a family, he may be a severe corrector 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 35 

of profaneness, and promoter of godliness ; it being much 
easier to drive others from their sin, than to forsake their own, 
and to drive on others to a godly life, than to practise it them- 
selves : and by their owning godliness, and disowning sin, they 
persuade themselves the more effectually that they are truly 
godly. The Church cannot well spare the gifts and services of 
hypocrites, and many ungodly men. As bad or sick physicians 
may be God's instruments to cure our bodies, and a wicked 
carpenter may make a good house ; so a wicked minister may 
well expound and apply the Scriptures ; and he that refuseth 
the grace of Christ, may prevail with others to accept it ; the 
sign-post that stands out of door itself, may invite others into 
the house ; and the hand upon a post that goes not one step of 
the way, may point it out to others. There is more self-denial 
required to the forsaking of their own sins, than to persuade 
others to forsake theirs ; a covetous man cares not how liberal 
others be ; nor a glutton, drunkard, or fornicator, how tempe- 
rate and chaste his neighbours be. And hence it is that many 
of these that refuse a holy life themselves, are willing their child- 
ren or servants should embrace it. The end of the balance that 
goeth down itself, doth cause the other to go up. Other men's 
souls are more beholden to hypocrites than their own. They 
are like the common mariners, that enrich the merchant by 
'fetching home his treasure, when they have nothing but a poor 
maintenance themselves ; or like tailors, who make ornaments 
for others, which they never wear themselves ; or like carpen- 
ters, that build fair houses which they never dwell in; or like 
the cook, that dresseth meat which he eateth not. God giveth 
hypocrites their usual gifts, for the service of the Church more 
than for themselves. He sometimes maketh those to be nur- 
sing fathers to his Church that are butchers of their own souls, 
and makes those his instruments to undeceive others, that 
deceive themselves. And thus far their religion is not vain. 

But 1. It is vain as to God's special acceptation. True religion 
pleaseth God ; but the self-deceiver's opinion he abhorreth. He 
hath no pleasure in fools. (Eccl. v. 4.) He asketh such, To 
what purpose is the multitude of their sacrifices? (Isaiah i. 11,) 
and saith, he is full of their burnt offerings, and delights not in 
them. When they come to appear before him he asketh them, 
Who required this at their hands, to tread in his courts ? and 
bids them, bring no more vain oblations ; incense is an abomi- 
nation to him ; the calling of their assemblies he cannot away 
with, and their solemn meetings are iniquity ; (ver. 12, 13 j) their 

"d2 



36 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

appointed feasts his soul hateth, they are a trouble to him, he is 
weary to bear them. When they spread forth their hands, he 
will hide his eyes; when they make many prayers, he will not 
hear ; because they do not forsake their sins, (ver. 14,) because 
they turn away their ear from hearing his law, their prayer is 
abomination to him. (Pro. xxviii. 9. and xv. S. and xxi. 27.) 
When they have sinned, instead of repenting and forsaking it, 
they think to please God by their religion, and stop the mouth 
of justice with their services ; whereas they do but provoke him 
more, by adding hypocrisy to iniquity. Were they truly willing 
to let go their sins, and to please God by universal obedience, he 
would willingly accept them, and be pleased with their services. 
But when men's religion, their prayers and other duties, are not 
used against their sins, but for them, not to kill them, but to 
cover them, not to overcome them, but as it were to bribe God 
to give them leave to sin, because they are not willing to forsake 
it, this is the self-deceiving religion of hypocrites, that is in 
vain. 

2. And this religion is in vain, as to any promoting of a work 
of sanctification upon his soul. It weaneth him not from the 
world ; it crucifieth not the flesh, with its affections and lusts ; 
it doth not further his self-denial, nor driveth him to Christ, by 
a faith unfeigned ; it never raiseth him to a heavenly life, nor 
kindleth the love of God within him; it is dead and ineffectual, 
and cannot produce these high effects. Yea, on the contrary, 
it hardeneth him in sin and self-deceit; it hindereth his repen- 
tance ; it emboldeneth him in his fleshly, worldly life, and quiet- 
eth him in the neglect of Christ and heaven. 

3. Moreover this kind of religion is vain as to any solid peace 
of conscience. It affordeth him none, of the well-grounded, 
durable comforts of the saints; but, on the contrary, keep sout 
solid comfort by feeding him with airy, delusory conceits ; and 
making him to be but his own comforter, upon fancies and con- 
fidence of his own, when the Spirit of Christ is not his com- 
forter ; nor doth the word of God speak any peace at all unto him. 

4. Lastly, his religion is in vain, as to his salvation. As he 
had but an image of true religion, so he shall have but an image 
of heaven. Some dreams and self-created hopes of happiness 
may accompany him to the door of eternity, but there they will 
leave him to everlasting horror. 

V. Use. 1. From what hath been said, you may see the reason 
why an outside, formal, seeming religiousness, is a thing so com- 
mon in the world, in comparison of the life and power of godliness. 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 37 

It is an easier thing to bring men to the strictest opinion, than to 
bring them to the affectionate and deep reception and practice of 
the truth. A strict opinion may be held without any great cost and 
trouble to the flesh. It is the practice that bereaveth a sinner of 
the pleasure of his sin. It is the common trick by which most 
hypocrites cheat their souls, to turn to the side and opinion, and 
assemblies and company, which they think to be the best; that so 
they may persuade themselves the more easily, that they are as 
good as those opinions and that company doth import, and 
that they are truly such as those they join with. As men are 
taken by others for such as those they correspond with; so 
hypocrites take themselves for such. As if it would prove that a 
man is sound, because he dwelleth with them that are so ? Or as 
it would prove a man rich or honourable, that he converseth with 
such ? As God will not save any nations on earth, because they 
are such nations ; nor will he save men because they are of such 
or such a trade, or because they are skilled in this or that art or 
science ; no more will he save men for being of this or that party 
or sect, in matters of religion. One thinks when he hath lived 
a fleshly life, he shall be saved for hearing or saying the common 
prayer, or because he is for prelacy and ceremonies ; another 
thinks he shall be saved, because he can pray without a book, 
or form of words, or because he frequenteth the private meet- 
ings of those that more diligently redeem their time for spirit- 
ual advantages than others do ; another thinks he shall be saved 
because he is mocked as a Puritan or as too strict, as others are 
that are serious believers, and diligent in the things of God ; 
and another thinks that he shall be saved because he is re-bap- 
tized, or because he joineth with some separate congregation, 
which pretendeth to be more strict than others. But none shall 
be saved, on any such account as these. Cain could not be 
saved, for being the first born in the family of Adam ; Ham 
could not be saved for being in the ark and family of Noah • 
nor Esau for being in the house of Isaac ; nor Absalom for be- 
ing the son of David ; nor Judas for being a disciple in the 
family of Christ. Even Mary that brought him forth, could not 
have been saved by him, if she had not had a better title ; and 
had not borne him in her heart. (Mark iii. 34, 35.) When they 
talk to him of his mother and his brethren, Christ looked upon 
those that sat about him, and told them that, whosoever shall do 
the will of God, the same is his brother, his sister, and his mother. 
It is no outward badge and livery, but a heart-title, that must 



38 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

prove you the heirs of heaven. You may be snatched out of 
the purest Church on earth, and from the purest ordinances, 
and out of the arms of the most upright Christians, and cast 
into hell, if you have no better evidences than such, to show for 
your salvation. If ever you be saved, it must not be because 
you are Papists, or Protestants, Lutherans, or Calvinists, Armi- 
nians, Antinomians, Anabaptists, Independents, Presbyterian, 
or Prelatical ; formally and merely as such ; but because you 
are true Christians, that have the Spirit of Christ, (Rom. viii. 9,) 
and are conformed to him, in his sufferings, death, and resurrec- 
tion, and live in sincere obedience to his will. But hypocrites 
that want the inward life and power of religion, and are consci- 
ous of their wilful sins, would fain borrow something from the 
parties which they join with, or the opinions which they take up, 
or the formal outward worship which they perform, or the alms 
which they give, to make up the want, and cheat their souls 
with a self-created confidence, that they shall be saved. 

But more specially you may hence observe the reason that 
popery hath so many followers, and that it is so easy a thing 
to make an infidel, whoremonger, or drunkard, to turn a 
papist, when yet it is not easy to bring them to faith, and 
chastity, and temperance, much less to the unfeigned love of 
God, and to a holy, heavenly life. Though I doubt not but 
there are many sincere-hearted Christians among the papists, 
yet popery itself is of an hypocritical strain, and is notably 
suited to the hypocrite's disposition. It is revived Pharisaism : 
I marvel that they tremble not when they read themselves so 
lively characterized by Christ, with the addition of so many 
terrible woes, as in Matt, xxiii., and other places, frequently 
they are : " Woe to the scribes, pharisees, hypocrites." They 
bind heavy burdens of external observances, to lay upon the 
consciences of their proselytes : they make broad their phylac- 
teries ; and in variety of holy vestures, they make ostentation 
of such a religion, as a peacock may have when he spreads 
his tail. They contend for superiority and titles to be called 
rabbi, pope, cardinal, patriarch, primate, metropolitan, arch- 
bishop, diocesan, abbot, prior, father, &c, to the great disturb- 
ance of all the nations of the christian world. Thev must needs 
be the fathers and masters of our faith : they shut the kingdom 
of heaven against the people, forbidding all to read the scrip- 
tures in their vulgar tongue, without a special license from 
their ordinary : and commanding them to worship God in a 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 39 

strange tongue which they do not understand : by the numbers 
of their masses and prayers for the dead, they delude the souls, 
and devour the patrimony of the living. In temples, and 
altars, and images, and ornaments consisteth no small part of 
their religion : they make more of tithing mint, anise and 
cummin, than of judgment, mercy, and faith, the weightier 
matters of the law. The outside they make clean, and appear 
as beautiful to men, as ceremonies and outward pomp can 
make them. They make it a part of their religion to murder 
the living saints, and keep holy days for the dead : they build 
the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the 
righteous, and say, if we had lived in the days of our fathers, 
we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of 
the prophets. Thus, Matt, xxiii., is their description. They 
have their touch not, taste not, handle not, after the com- 
mandments and doctrines of men, their voluntary humility, 
and worshipping of angels, and other rudiments of the world, 
and things that have a show of wisdom in will-worship and 
humility, and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to 
the satisfying of the flesh. (Col. ii. 19 — 23.) How easy a 
thing is it to bring an ungodly man to be of a religion that 
consisteth in such things as these ! in eating fish on certain 
days instead of flesh ; and saying over so many Pater Nosters, 
and Ave Marias, and naming so oft the name of Jesus; in 
worshipping a piece of consecrated bread with divine worship ; 
in bowing and praying before an image ; in praying to the souls 
of such as the pope tells them are saints in heaven; in crossing 
themselves, and being sprinkled with holy water, and using Agnus 
Deis, and consecrated grains and annulets; in dropping of beads; 
in saying such words as a prayer at such a canonical hour, and such 
words the next canonical hour ; in hearing a mass in Latin, and 
saving a Latin prayer ; in being anointed with hallowed oil, and 
burning hallowed candles on the altars by day-light ; in going so 
many miles to the chapel of a saint in pilgrimage; in carrying 
about them a bone, or some other supposed relic of a supposed 
saint; in confessing their sins so often to a priest, and doing- 
penance, if he impose it on them. And so while they live in 
whoredom, or drunkenness, or swearing, or lying, or all these, 
and many other such, it is but confessing and doing penance, 
and to it again ; on which account (whatever some of them 
say for the necessity of contrition) it is usual with them, to 
venture upon the sins of whoredom, drunkenness, and the rest, 



40 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

because they have so easy and cheap a remedy at hand. And 
therefore I wonder not that among infidels (who, after baptism, 
apostatize to deny the holy scriptures, and the immortality of 
the soul, and the life to come,) and among common swearers, 
and cursers, and whoremongers, and drunkards, the papists 
find their labours most successful, and that no fish will so easily 
take their bait : nor do I wonder that it is a point of the 
popish faith that none but the children of the devil, that are 
void of the love of God, and are unjustified, can possibly turn 
papists. (For they tell us that all are such till they are papists; 
saving that they are many of them for the salvation of heathens.) 
A poor wretch that is captivated to his odious lusts, and goes 
under a galled accusing conscience, will be content to take a 
popish cure, and quiet his soul with a few compliments, and 
formalities. But to bring one of these men to a thorough con- 
version, to a true humiliation, to a deep hatred of all sin, and 
a love of holiness, to close with Christ as his only refuge from 
the wrath of God, and to give up himself without any reser- 
vation, and all that he hath to the will and service of the Lord, 
to love God as his portion, and the infinite transcendent good; 
to take all the honour and riches of the world as loss and dung, 
and use all in due subserviency to everlasting happiness; to 
crucify the flesh, and mortify all his earthly inclinations, and 
live a life of self-denial, and to walk with God, and serve him 
as a Spirit, in spirit and in truth, and to keep a watch over 
thoughts, affections, words, and deeds, to live by faith upon a 
world and happiness that is to us unseen ; and to live in prepa- 
ration for their death, and wait in hope to live with Christ ; 
this is Christianity and true religion ; and this is it that they 
will not so easily be brought to. It is easier to make an hun- 
dred papists than one true regenerate Christian. Children can 
make them a baby of clouts; and the statuary can make a man 
of alabaster or stone : but none can give life, which is essential 
to a man indeed, but God. There needeth the Spirit of the 
living God, by a supernatural operation, and a kind of new 
creation to make a man a real holy christian. But to bring a 
man to make such a congee, or wear such a vesture, or sav 
such and such words, and make to himself a mimical religion, 
this may be done, without any such supernatural work. O there- 
fore take heed of cheating your souls by hypocritical formali- 
ties, instead of the life and power of religion. 

Use 2> And now, O that the Lord of life would help you so 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 41 

to apply this truth, and help you so to apply it to yourselves, 
that it might be as a light set up in the assembly and in all 
your consciences, to undeceive the miserable self- deceivers, and 
to bring poor hypocrites into some better acquaintance with 
themselves, and to turn their seeming, vain religion into that 
which is real, serious, and saving 1 

And now I am to search and convince the hypocrite, I 
could almost wish that all the upright, tender souls that are 
causelessly in doubt of their own sincerity, were out of the 
congregation, lest they should misapply the hypocrite's portion 
to themselves,, and think it is their case that I am describing : 
as it is usual with ignorant patients, especially if they be a lit- 
tle melancholy, when they hear or read the description of many 
dangerous diseases, to think that all or some of them are theirs, 
because they have some symptoms very like to some of those 
which they hear or read of. Or lest their fearful souls should 
be too much terrified, by hearing of the misery of the hypocrite; 
as a fearful child, that is innocent, will cry when he sees another 
whipped that is faulty. But if thou wilt stay and hear the hypo- 
crite's examination, I charge thee, poor humbled, drooping soul, 
that thou do not misunderstand me, nor think that I am speak- 
ing those things to thee, that are meant to the false-hearted ene- 
mies of the Lord ! and do not imagine that thou art condemned 
in his condemnation ; nor put thyself under the strokes that are 
given him ; but rejoice that thou art saved from this state of 
self-deceit and misery. And that thou mayest have some shel- 
ter for thy conscience against the storm that must fall on others, 
look back on the foregoing description of the hypocrite, and 
thou mayest find that thou hast the saving graces, which thou 
discovered him to want. Let these at present be before thine 
eyes, and tell thee, thou art not the person that I mean. 

1. Thou art humbled to a loathing of thyself for thy trans- 
gressions. 

2. Thou art willing to give up thyself to Christ, without 
reserve, that, as thy 'Saviour, he may cure thy miserable soul, 
upon his own terms. 

3. The favour of God is dearer to thee than the favour of 
the world, or the pleasures and prosperity of sinners : and thou 
longest more to love him better, and to feel his love, than for 
any of the honours and advancements that flesh and blood desire. 

4. It is the life to come that thou takest for thy portion, and 
preferrest before the matters of this transitory life. 



42 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

5. Thy religion employeth thee about thy heart, as much as 
about the outside and appearing part ; it is heart sins that thou 
observest and lamentest, and a better heart that thou daily 
longest, and prayest, and labourest for. 

6. Thou livest not in any gross and deadly sin ; and thou 
hast no infirmity but what thou longest and labourest to be rid 
of; and goest on in the use of Christ's holy means and reme- 
dies for a cure. 

7. Thou dislikest not the highest degree of holiness, but 
lovest it and longest after it, and hadst rather be more holy 
than be more honourable or more rich. 

8. Thou unfeignedly lovest the image of Christ on the souls 
of all his servants where thou canst discern it ; and seest a 
special excellency in a poor, humble, heavenly Christian, though 
never so low or despicable in the world, above all the pomp and 
splendour of the earth ; and thou lovest them with a special 
love ; and the holier they are, the better dost thou love them. 

9. Thou lovest the most convincing, searching sermons, and 
wouldest fain have help to know the worst that is in thy heart ; 
and comest unto the light that thy heart and deeds may be 
made manifest. 

10. All this is the bent and bias of thy soul ; thy habitu- 
ated, ordinary case : though there be not alway the same oppor- 
tunity for the acts, nor the same degree of life in acting. It is 
not only a good mood that thou art frightened into by some 
affliction, and then returnest to thy carnal course of life again ; 
but thou heartily continuest thy consent to the covenant which 
thou hast made with Christ, and wouldest not turn back to a 
worldly, carnal, or formal life, nor change thy Master, nor 
forsake the holy course which thou art engaged in for all the 
world. 

This is the truth of thy case, poor, doubting, troubled Chris- 
tian ! thou canst not deny it without much injury to thyself 
and God. And therefore be not now troubled at that which I 
shall say to the self-deceivers. 

And now I am to speak to the self-deceiver, I perceive my 
task to be exceeding difficult : to get within him that is so 
guarded ; and to pierce his heart that is so armed ; and to 
open his eyes that is willing to be blind ; and to undeceive him 
that hath so long deceived, and that studieth to deceive him- 
self, and is engaged in that unhappy work, by such subtle ene- 
mies that further his deceit, and by so many allurements, and 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 43 

such strong corruptions, and by a seeming necessity for the 
quieting of his conscience ; all this is not an easy work. But 
we must attempt it, and leave the success to grace. And, first, 
let me solemnly profess before you all, (for the removing of 
your prejudice, and the calming of your resisting hearts,) 
that it is none of my desire, by the discovery of your 
hypocrisy, to shame you before others, or to make you 
seem more miserable than you are, or to disturb and grieve 
you any more than is necessary to the escaping of your 
exceeding danger, and than your own salvation and comforts 
do require. But when we know that religion is your business 
in the world ; and that an endless world shall presently receive 
you ; and that Christ is coming ; and your souls are ready to 
quit their residence, and take their leave of your flesh till the 
resurrection ; and when we know that hypocrisy and self-deceit 
is the thing that you are most in danger of, and that you must be 
saved from it, or be in hell for ever ; and that the enemies of 
your souls will do all they can to keep their possession in 
peace, and to continue your deceit till you are past remedy ; 
what would you have us do in such a case ? would vou wish 
us to be silent, and betray your souls, and damn our own for 
fear of disquieting and displeasing you ? How hard are your 
hearts, if you would wish us to do thus ! 

Be awakened, therefore, O all ye self-deceivers 1 and know 
that hypocrisy, as the harlot's paint, is but a base and bor- 
rowed beauty ; that will vanish away when you draw near the 
fire ; and that self-deceit will quiet you so short a time, that it 
is as good let go your delusory peace, and comfortable dream to 
day as to-morrow; and it is better now to begin and examine 
yourselves, than stay till the dreadful judge examine you, who 
is even at the door ! The discovery of your case is the one half 
of your cure : and as you have been your own deceivers, let us 
in justice find you so equitable to yourselves, as to be willing of 
the light that must undeceive you ; and to go along with us 
into your consciences, and help us in the search, and impartially 
pass a preventing judgment, that Christ may not pass a con- 
demning judgment. 

And in order to your conviction and recovery, I shall first 
acquaint you with your misery, that so it may awaken you to 
look about you, while there is time and hope. If it were God's 
way to work by ocular demonstrations, and the christian life 
were a life of sense, and you had heaven and hell this hour 
open to your sight, how little need should 1 have to plead 



44 THE VArN RELIGION OF 

this cause with you any further ? you would then see and hear 
that vengeance that would awake you ; and make you pre- 
sently fly into your hearts, and charge conscience to deal im- 
partially with you, lest self-deceit should bring you to those 
flames. But it is a life of faith that we are to call you to, and 
a word of faith that we have to preach ; but of things that are as 
sure as if you saw them. 

And 1. If thy religion be vain, thy hopes and comforts, that 
are built upon it, are all but vain. How vain is that hope that 
will vanish when the enjoyment is expected, and will end in 
endless desperation ! What though thou sit here with so great 
hopes and confidence of salvation as maketh thee even scorn 
the man that questions it, art thou ever the better when death 
awakeneth thee, and thy confident dream is at an end ? When 
thou art dying wilt thou hope? Perhaps thou mayest: but 
when thou art burning wilt thou hope ? When thou art 
tormented wilt thou hope ? Desperation will then be essen- 
tial to thy misery. The devils that now> feed thy hope by 
their deceits, will then as readily keep awake thy conscience, 
and exasperate thy despairing soul. If now thou wilt hope 
under the threatenings of God (that thou mayest be saved in thy 
present state) wilt thou then hope under his execution ? Thy 
flatterers and prosperity may cherish thy deceitful hopes for a 
time, but who will maintain them, when God commandeth des- 
peration to torment thee ? (Job xxvii. 8, 9.) " For what is the 
hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh 
away his soul ? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh 
upon him ?" As Sands turneth it : — 

What hope hath the prevailing hypocrite, 
When God shall chase his soul to endless night ? 
Will God relieve him in his agonies ? 
Or from the depth of sorrows hear his cries ? 

His worldly glory will then desert him, and leave him to the 
fiuit of his deserts: his fruition will perish with his hopes. 
(Job xxvii. 22, 23.) u For God shall cast upon him and not 
spare : he would fain flee out of his hand. Men shall clap 
their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place." Or 
as Sands turneth it : 

God shall transfix him with his winged dart; 

Though he avoid him like a flying hart. 

Men shall pursue with merited disgrace ; 

Hiss, clap their hands, and from his country chase. 

Hopes that are built by self-deceit have no foundation but 
sand and water, and in trial they will fall, and their fall will be 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRTTE. 45 

great and terrible. (Matt. vii. 23, 24; Job viii. 11 — 15.) "Can 

the rush grow up without mire ? Can the flag grow without 

water ? Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it 

withereth before any other herb : so are the paths of all that 

forget God ; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish : whose hope 

shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web. He 

shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand : he shall hold 

it fast, but it shall not endure." Or — 

Can bull-rushes but by the rivers grow ? 

Can flags there flourish where no waters flow ? 

Yet they, when green, when yet untouch'd of all 

That clothe the spring, first hang their heads, and fall. 

So double-hearted hypocrites ; so they 

Who God forget, shall in their prime decay. 

Their airy hopes, as brittle as the thin 

And subtle webs which toiling spiders spin : 

Their houses full of wealth and riot, shall 

Deceive their trust, and crush them in their fall, &c. 

Job. xxxvi. 13. " The hypocrites in their heart heap up 
wrath : they cry not when he bindeth them." Or as the para- 
phrase : — 

For the deluder hastens his own fall, 
Nor will in trouble on th' Almighty call. 
Who on the beds of sin supinely lie, 
They in the summer of their age shall die. 

And what we say of the hypocrite's hope, we may say also of 
all his pleasures and delights. He may now be as*merry as the 
most righteous of his neighbours, and seem the most happy, 
because the most jocund ; and abound with medicines against 
melancholy, and all wise and sober consideration : even his 
business, his cups, his wantonness and uncleanness, or, at least, 
his less disgraceful pleasures and recreations, which fortify his 
mind against the fears of death and judgment, and all the 
threatenings of God — 

As sleepy opium fortifies the brain, 
Against the sense of sicknesses and pain. 

And if this mirth could always last, how happy a man were 

the self-deceiver ! But, saith Solomon, (Eccles. vii. 6.) " As the 

crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool." 

As thorns beneath a cauldron catch the tire, 
Blaze with a noise, and suddenly expire ; 
Such is the causeless laughter of vain fools j 
This vanity in their distemper rules. 

And as Job xx. 4 — 9. " Knowest thou not this of old, since 
man was placed upon earth that the triumphing of the wicked 
is short, and the joy of the hypocrite for a moment ? Though 
his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reacheth 



46 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

to the clouds; yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung; 
they which have seen him shall say, Where is he ? He shall 
flee away as a dream, and shall not be found ; yea, he shall be 
chased away as a vision of the night. The eye also which saw 
him shall see him no more ; neither shall his place any more 
behold him." Or, as the aforesaid Paraphrase — 

This is a truth with which the world began, 
Since earth was first inhabited by maw; 
Sin's triumph in swift misery concludes, 
And flattering joy the hypocrite deludes. 
Although his excellence to heaven aspire ; 
Though radiant beams his shining brows attire; 
He as his dung shall perish on the ground ; 
Nor shall th' impression of his steps be found ; 
But like a troubled dream shall take his flight ; 
And vanish as a vision of the night; 
No mortal eye shall see his face again, 
Nor sumptuous roofs their builder entertain. 

Thus as the hypocrite's religion is vain, so all his hopes and 
joys will be vain, and will deceive him, as he deceived him- 
self. As Zophar concludeth of him : (Job xi. 20 :) " But the 
eyes of the wicked shali fail, and they shall not escape, 
and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost." Poor 
soul ! thy religion also is so vain, that it giveth thee no solid 
satisfaction or delight : thou art fain to go to thy lands, or 
friends, or pleasures, or carnal accommodations for delight: 
thy religion, which should let thee into heaven, and there refresh 
thee with the foretastes of everlasting pleasures, and should 
daily fetch thee fresh delights from the face of God, alas ! is an 
impotent lifeless thing ; acquainted with shadows, but strange 
to the invisible substance ; acquainted with formal shows and 
ceremonies, but unacquainted with God ; acquainted with the 
letter, but not with the spirit; familiar with the orders of the 
church, but strange to the foretastes of heaven. If thou 
hadst no other comfort but what thy dead religion brings thee 
from the face of God, thy pensive heart would be better dis- 
posed to consideration and recovery than it is. If thou hadst 
a faith that brought thee in any solid, stablishing content, 
what needest thou be hunting abroad the world among thy 
crowd of vanities and deceits, to beg or borrow some short 
delight, which thou must return with griping usury? and what 
needest thou so many pitiful shifts to muzzle thy conscience, 
and to keep that peace a little longer, which will end in sorrow, 
and will part with thee as the devil went out of the possessed 
person (Mark ix. 26) that rent him, and left him as a dead 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 47 

man ? That religion is certainly vain, that is not sufficient to 
acquaint the soul with matter of solid comfort and content, 
but leaves that felicitating work to worldly transitory things, 
while itself is used only as a screen, to keep hell-fire from 
scorching the conscience, or as children's rackets, to quiet them 
when they are aot to crv. 

2. But the vanity of a superficial religion will most appear in 
the hour of extremity ; when their help, as well as their hope and 
comfort, will to them prove vain. Prosperity will not always last : 
as sure as winter followeth summer, and as the darksome night 
succeeds the day, so sure will adversity take its turn : sickness will 
follow the longest health, and death succeed the longest life; and 
your house of darkness in the dust will hold you longer than 
your present habitations, And when thou seest all things fail, O 
what wouldest thou give for a hope and help that will not fail, 
that thou mightest be received into the everlasting habitations ! 
The conscience that is now asleep, will be shortly awakened in 
such a manner, that it will be utterly past the skill and power 
of thyself, and all the friends thou hast, to cast it asleep, or 
quiet it again. And then, what wouldest thou not give for a 
lenitive to pacify it! no wonder if thou sit here as senseless as 
if no harm were near thee : it is now in thy power not to 
believe that there is a hell for hypocrites, or that it is thy own 
inheritance : but the day is near, (if a supernatural change 
prevent it not,) when it shall no more be in thy power, but 
sight and feeling shall convince thee whether thou wilt or 
no. Now we must entreat thy own consideration, and solicit 
thee for thy own consent, to know thy grievous sin and misery, 
and yet leave thee unconvinced, because thou art unwilling 
to know the truth, and because we cannot show thee heaven 
and hell while we are speaking of them : but then God will not 
crave, but force thy consideration : nor will he ask thy consent 
to feel thy misery : but the less thou art willing, the more thou 
hast to feel. And which way then wilt thou look for help ? 
which way ever it be, it will be all in vain, because thy religion 
was but vain; wilt thou look to thy duties and supposed honesty, 
whose sincerity now thou art so confident of? alas, this is the 
vain religion that could deceive thee, bnt cannot save thee. 
Thou art like a man in a falling house, that hath nothing to 
lay hold on, but that which is falling, and it is that will break 
him unto death. Or like a drowning man that hath nothing 
but a handful of water to lay hold upon j which is it that will 



48 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

choke him, but is vain to save him. It is thy superficial} 
hypocritical, complimental services that will fall with thee, 
and fall upon thee, that will thus both deceive thee, and choke 
thee in the time of thy distress. To be told now that thy religion 
is vain, is a thing that thy dead, unbelieving heart can too 
easily bear ; but to find then, when thou lookest for the benefit 
of it, that it is vain, is that which is not borne so easily, but 
will overturn the stoutest heart with terrors. If thou wert a 
man of no religion, and so hadst none to deceive and quiet 
thee, thou couldst scarcely keep off thy terrors now : if thou 
hadst not thy hollow-hearted prayers, thy affected zeal, or 
forms, and shows, and tasks of duty, thy profession, with its 
secret exceptions and reserves, thy smoothed outside, with the 
good conceit thou hast of thyself, and the good esteem that 
other men have of thee ; if thou hadst not these to flatter thy 
conscience, and cloak thee from the storms of threatened 
wrath, thou wouldest perhaps walk about like another Cain, 
and be afraid of every man thou seest, and tremble at the 
shaking of a leaf, and still look behind thee as afraid of a 
pursuit. But, alas ! it will be ten thousand times more terrible 
to find thy confidence prove deceit ; and thy religion vain, 
when God is judging thee, when hell is before thee, and thou 
art come to the last of thine expectations! nay, then to find not 
only that thy superficial religion was vanity, and lighter than 
vanity, nothing, and less than nothing ; but that it was thy 
sin, and that which will now torment thee, and the remem- 
brance of it be to thee as the remembrance of drunkenness to 
the drunkard, and of fornication to the unclean, and of cove- 
tousness to the worldling, the rust of whose money will eat 
his flesh, and burn like fire. O what a doleful plight is this ! 
when the sentence is ready to pass upon thee, and hell is gaping 
to devour thee, and thou lookest for help to thy vain religion, 
and criest out, ' O now, or never help ! help me, or I am a 
firebrand of unquenchable wrath : help me, or I must be tor- 
mented in those flames : help me now, or it will be too late, 
and I shall never, never more have help ! ' Then to have thy 
self-deceit discovered, and thy seeming religion condemn thee, 
and torment thee, instead of helping thee, what anguish and 
confusion will this cast thy hopeless soul into, such as no heart 
can here conceive ! Thy guilty soul will be like a hare among 
a company of dogs : whichsoever of thy duties thou fliest for 
help to, that will make first to tear thee, and devour thee. 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 49 

Like a naked man in the midst of an army of his deadly ene- 
mies : whichsoever he flieth to for pity and relief, is like to be 
one of the first to wound him. Poor self-deceiver ! what wilt 
thou then do, or whither wilt thou betake thy soul for help ? 
The reason why thou canst now make shift with a lifeless shadow 
of religion, is, because thou hast thy sports or pleasures, thy 
friends and flatterers, thy worldly business to divert thy thoughts, 
and take thee up, and rock the cradle of thy security ; and thy 
piety is not yet brought unto the fire, nor thy heart and duties 
searched by the all-discovering light : but when the light comes 
in, and when all thy fleshly contents are gone, and when thou 
comest to have use for thy religion, and seest that, if it prove 
unsound, thou art lost for ever, O then it is not shadows, and 
shows, and compliments, that will quiet thee. That will not 
serve turn then, that serves turn now. Thou wilt find then that 
it was easier deceiving thyself than God. (Gal. vi. 3 — 5, 7.) "For 
if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, 
he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work : 
For every man shall bear his own burden. Be not deceived ; 
God is not mocked : for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall 
he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh 
reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the 
Spirit reap life everlasting." 

But perhaps thou wilt say, it is not any duties, but Christ 
that I must trust to : he will be my help, and he is sufficient, 
and will not deceive the soul that trusteth in him. 

Answer. Undoubtedly he is sufficient, and will not deceive 
thee. But doth he deceive thee, if he give thee not the salvation 
which he never promised thee? he never promised salvation to 
an hypocrite (without conversion). It is the upright soul devoted 
to him, that takes him for the absolute master of his life, and 
for his only portion and felicity, to whom Christ hath promised 
salvation: and his promise shall be made good, and the sincere 
shall find that Christ deceives them not. But where did he 
ever promise salvation to a superficial pharisee ? to such a seem- 
ing Christian as thou ? show such a promise from him if thou 
canst ; and then trust it and spare not. But thou dost not trust 
him, but thy own deceit, if he have given thee no such promise 
to trust on. Nay, rather, should he not deceive all the world, 
if he should save such superficial hypocrites, when he hath pro- 
fessed in his word that he will not save them ? and if he should 
not condemn such heartless formalists, when he hath so often 

VOL. XVII, E 



50 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

told us that he will condemn them ? surely he that breaks his 
word is liker to he a deceiver, than lie that keepeth it. Be it 
known to thee therefore (and O that thou wouldest know it while 
there is a remedy at hand) that if thou trust that Christ should 
save an unsanctified false-hearted person, whose soul was never 
renewed and revived by the Holy Ghost, and absolutely given 
up to God, and that setteth not up God and his service above 
all the interest of the flesh, and the commodities and content- 
ments of the world, thou dost not then trust Christ, but thy 
own deceits and lies ; and it is not Christ that is the deceiver, 
but thou art a deceiver of thyself, that makest thyself a false 
promise, and trustest to it ; and when thou hast done, sayest, 
thou wilt trust to Christ : yea, trustest thyself against Christ, 
and trustets that he will break his word, and not that he will 
make it good. See whether he resolve not to condemn all such. 
Matt. x. 37, 38; Luke xiv. 27, 33; Matt. vii. 26, 27; James 
ii. 14 ; Heb. xii. 14 ; Rom, viii. 9. with the texts before cited, 
and abundance such. Christ will be a Saviour ; but he is the 
Saviour of the body, and not of the affixed hypocrites. (Eph. v. 
23.) And his body is the church which is subject to him. 
(Verse 24.) " He will save to the utmost :" but whom? "even 
all that come to God by him," (Heb. vii. 2, 5,) but not those 
that make the world their God, and would put God off with a 
few running heartless words and duties. It is the living fruitful 
branches that he will save : but the withered branches he cast- 
eth forth, to be burned in the fire. (John xv. 2 — 7-) " No 
man can serve God and Mammon : " nor live both to the Spirit 
and the flesh : he that hath two hearts, hath none that is accept- 
able unto God : he that hath two faces (a face of devotion in 
his formal customary services, and a face that smiles on the 
world and fleshly pleasures when he hath done) hath none that 
God will ever smile upon. The leaves of the barren fig-tree 
saved it not from the curse of Christ. (Matt. xxi. IS, 19.) 
" Hew it down and cast it into the fire," shall be the sentence 
of the most flourishing tree that is fruitless. (Luke xiii. 7.) 
"The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, 
and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, 
receiveth blessing from God : but that which beareth thorns and 
briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing ; whose end is to be 
burned." (Heb. vi. 7, 8.) So that if thy religion be vain, the 
blood of Christ, and all the treasures of his grace will be vain 
to thee ; that are saving unto others. An infidel may then as 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 51 

well expect to be saved by the Christ whom he rejected, as thou. 
Nay it is Christ himself that will condemn thee : it is his own 
mouth that will say to such as thee, " Depart from me, ye that 
work iniquity." And though thou couldest say, "Lord, Lord, 
I have prophesied, or cast out devils, or done many wonderful 
works in thy name," he " will profess to thee that he never knew 
thee," or owned thee. (Matt. vii. 22, 23.) If crying would 
then serve, I know thou wouldest not spare thy cries. But he 
must so pray as to be accepted and heard on earth, that looks 
to be accepted and regarded then ; when the miserable soul, 
with endless horrors in its eye, is looking round about for help, 
and findeth none; when all the creatures say, we cannot, and 
he that can shall say, T will not; who can apprehend the calamity 
of such a soul ? what soul so sleepy and regardless now, that 
will not then cry, " Lord, Lord, open to us," when the door 
is shut, and it is too late ? (Matt. xxv. 10 — 12.) Then if thou 
roar in the anguish of thy soul, and cry out to him that saveth 
others ( Condemn me not, O Lord, but save me also ! now Lord 
have mercy on a miserable sinner ! save me, or 1 am lost for 
ever : save me, or I must burn in yonder flame : turn not thy 
heart against an undone perishing soul ; if thou cast me off, I 
have no hope !' a thousand such cries would be in vain, because 
thou hadst but a vain religion. (Prov. i. 24, &c.) " Because I 
have called and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand and 
no man regarded, but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and 
would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity ; 
I will mock when your fear cometh ; when your fear cometh as 
desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when 
distress and anguish cometh upon you ; then shall they call 
upon me, but I will not answer ; they shall seek me early, but 

they shall not find me : Therefore they shall eat of their 

own way, and be filled with their own devices," saith the Lord. 

And when hell hath once taken thee into its possession, if 
thou cry and roar there ten thousand millions of ages it will be 
all in vain. Thy strongest and thy longest cries cannot procure 
thee a drop of water to cool thy tongue, tormented in those 
flames. (Luke xvi. 24 — 26.) 

In a word, if thy religion be vain, all is vain to thee ; thy life 
itself is vain. (Eccles. vi. 12.) Thou walkest in a vain show. 
(Psalm xxxix. 6.) Thou disquietest thyself in vain, in all thy 
labours; (Psalm xxxix. 6, and cxxvii, 1,2;) and vanity and 
vexation is all that thou shalt possess. (Eccles. i. 2, 14 ; Prov. 

E 2 



52 THE VAIN RELIGION OP 

xxii. 8.) And if conscience, when thy day of grace is past, 
shall force thee upon the review to say, c My piety was but 
seeming and self-deceit, and all my religion was vain ;' it will 
be the voice of utter desperation, and will stab the heart of all 
thy hopes. This, and no better, being the self-deceiver's case, 
is not conscience now at work within you, and asking, as each 
of the disciples did, (Matt. xxvi. 24, 25,) " Is it I?" If thou 
have a heart within thee, beseeming a reasonable creature, by 
this time thou art afraid of self-deceit, and willing to be 
searched, and to know thy hypocrisy while it may be cured. 
For my part, I shall pronounce no one of you personally to be 
an hypocrite, as knowing that hypocrisy is a sin of the heart, 
which, in itself, is seen by none but God and him that hath it. 
But my business is only to help such to know and judge them- 
selves. Could I name the man to you in the congregation that 
had none but a seeming, vain religion, I am persuaded you 
would all look upon him as a most unhappy, deplorable wretch. 
Alas ! sirs, hypocrites are not so rare among us, as some imagine. 
There are few, or none, but saints and hypocrites in this assem- 
bly, or in most of the assemblies in the land. I think here are 
none that make not a profession of the christian faith, and of 
love to God. All, therefore, that have not this faith and love, 
must needs be hypocrites, as professing to be what they are not. 
In your baptism you engaged and professed yourselves the disci- 
ples of Christ, and gave up yourselves in solemn covenant to God 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This covenant, you will say, 
you stand to yet ; and none of you will be known to have re- 
nounced your Christianity. As Christians, you use to come to 
these assemblies, and here to attend God in the use of his or- 
dinances, and some of you to renew your covenant with him 
in the sacrament of the Lord's supper. I meet with none that 
will say, 6 J am no Christian, nor a servant of the God of heaven; 
I am an infidel, and rebel against the Lord/ I think there is 
none of you but would take it ill if I should call you such, or 
should deny you to be Christians and men fearing God. If, 
therefore, you are not such, indeed, you must needs be hypo- 
crites. What say you ? Is there any of you that profess your- 
selves to be ungodly, unbelievers, and servants of the devil; and 
will take this as your current title, disclaiming the love and 
service of the Lord ? I think you will not. If you are such 
as you profess, you are all saints, and shall be saved. If any of 
you be not such, they can be nothing else but hypocrites. 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 53 

Seeing, therefore, that you are all either saints or hypocrites, 
come now to the bar, and refuse not a trial that may prevent 
the terrors of another kind of trial that you cannot refuse. 

And here let me set before you your profession, and then 
try yourselves whether you are such as you profess yourselves 
to be or not. And I think I may take it for granted that the 
Articles of the Creed and the Baptismal Covenant is the least 
that every one of you do profess ; and that the desires, implied in 
the petitions of the Lord's Prayer, you all profess to be your 
own desires, and that you take the Ten Commandments for 
part of the rule of your obedience. Let us peruse them briefly 
in the several parts. 

1 . Do you not all say that you " believe in God the Father 
Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth," and that you will " have 
no other Gods but him ?" and are you not accordingly engaged 
in covenant with him ? You will not deny it. And what is the 
meaning of this much of your profession ? It is no less than to 
take God for the only infinite good, to be loved with the chiefest 
love, and to take him for your absolute Lord and Governor, 
the owner of you and all you have, to whom you owe universal, 
absolute obedience ; and that you are truly willing to love him 
above all, and fear him, and trust him, and obey him accord- 
ingly, though your flesh and all the world should be against it. 
He that meaneth not all this, doth dissemble or lie, when he 
saith he taketh God to be his God : for to be God, is to be this 
much to us. 

And really is it thus with you as you profess ? Speak but as 
men that dare not lie before the Lord that knows your hearts. 
Do you indeed love God as God, with your superlative love ? 
Are your hearts set upon him ? Do you make it your principal 
care to please him ? Is it your delight to do his will ? Is it 
sweeter to you to think and speak of him than of the world ? 
Doth it grieve you most to offend him ? In a word, you are 
not such strangers to nature but you know what love is : and 
you are not such strangers to your own hearts, but you know 
what it is to love your pleasure, your profit, your honour, and 
your friend. Can conscience say before the Lord that you love 
him better than all these? If not more passionately, yet more 
deeply, effectually, and resolvedly — with a love that will cause 
you to deny and part with all for him. If you thus truly love 
him as God, and above all, how comes it to pass that you seek 
the world more carefully and eagerly than him ; and that you 



54 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

are more pleased with worldly thoughts, and speeches, and em- 
ployments, than with divine ? Were not the hypocrite justly 
blinded, and a wilful stranger to himself, he could not but 
know that he loveth not God as God, and above all. And to 
love him> in subordination to your flesh and its contents, is not 
at all to love him as God; as it is no degree of conjugal love 
to love a wife but as a servant, nor no degree of the love due 
to your sovereign to love him as an equal or as a slave. 

And if really you take God for your absolute Lord and Go- 
vernor, why is it then that you take no pleasure in his laws, but 
count them too strict, and had rather be at your own dispose ? 
Why is it that you obey your fleshly desires, before and against 
the God whom you acknowledge ? Why will you not be per- 
suaded to that holiness, justice, and charity, which you know his 
law commandeth you ? W T hy do you wilfully continue in those 
sins which conscience tells you God forbids ? Will you live in 
wilful disobedience, and love your sins, and loath your duty, and 
obstinately continue thus, and yet profess that you take God 
for your God, and, consequently, for your Lord and Governor ? 
and yet will you not confess that you are dissembling hypo- 
crites ? 

2. Do you not all profess that you "believe in Jesus Christ ;" 
and have you not, in covenant, taken him for your Saviour 
and Lord ? and do you so, indeed, or do you not, play the hypo* 
elites ? If you believe in Christ, and take him for your Saviour, 
you then take your sins for the disease and misery of your souls, 
and you are so grieved for them, and weary of them, and hum- 
bled in the apprehension of your lost estate, that you fly to 
Christ as your only refuge from the wrath and curse of the 
offended Majesty, and value his justifying and healing grace 
before all the riches of the world ; and you are willing to take 
his bitterest medicines, and use the means appointed by him for 
the destruction of your sin and the perfecting of his graces. 
And is it thus with you that have unhumbled hearts, that never 
felt the need of Christ, as condemned miserable men must do ; 
and that love the sin that he would cure, and are unwilling to be 
mortified and sanctified by his grace? Unless a carcass be a 
man, such hypocrites as these are no true Christians, and have 
but a seeming, self-deceiving faith. 

3. Do you not all profess " to believe in the Holy Ghost ;" 
and are you not engaged to him in covenant as your Sanctifier; 
and do you not grossly play the hypocrites here ? If not, how 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 55 

comes it to pass that you stick in your natural state, as if you had 
no need of sanctification 5 and live as quietly without any ac- 
quaintance with true regeneration, and the Spirit to dwell and 
rule within you, as if you needed no such change ? Or else, 
that you take up with a formal, an affected, or a forced kind of 
religion, instead of sanctification and spiritual devotion ? And 
how comes it to pass that you distaste the highest degrees of 
holiness ; and that you will not be brought to the mortification, 
self-denial, and unreserved obedience, which are the essence of 
sanctification ? As for the more debauched, profane sort of 
hypocrites that can make a common mock of godliness, and 
scorn at the very name of holiness and sanctification, and deride 
at all that pretend to have the Spirit, I had rather tremble at the 
thought of their misery than now stand to reprove that noto- 
rious hypocrisy, which professeth to believe in the Holy Spirit 
which they deride, and covenanteth with the Sanctifier, while they 
hate and mock, or, at least, do obstinately refuse, sanctification, 
When God himself tells us, (Rom. viii. 9,) "That if any man 
have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his i" and 
therefore to deride a man for professing that he hath the Spirit, 
is to deride him for professing to be a Christian. 

4. Do you not all profess to " believe the holy Catholic 
Church ;" that is, that Christ hath a people dispersed through 
the world, that are sanctified by his Spirit, and made a holy 
peculiar people, whom he loveth as his spouse and as his own 
body, of which number you must be if you will be saved ? And 
yet, at the same time, the members of this church you contemn, 
the holiness of it you secretly hate, and the faithful pastors in it 
you despise and disobey. Is not this hypocrisy ? 

5. You all profess to " believe the communion of saints ;" that 
is, that the true members of the Catholic Church are all saints, 
that have one and the same Spirit, and walk by the same holy 
law or rule, and in holiness must converse together, and join to- 
gether for the public worshipping of God, according to his own 
institution ; and must purely and fervently love each other with 
such a charity as shall make one as ready to relieve another, 
when God calls for it, as if our riches did belong, in common, 
to the saints. This is the meaning of this article of your 
creed. And do I then need to ask you whether those that pro- 
fess this are hypocrites, if they hate the saints and their inward 
spiritual communion ; and if they love them but with that life- 
less charity that James describeth ? (James ii. 14, 15, &c,) or 



56 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

if they despise or hate the discipline, ordinances, and holy com- 
munion of the church ; and if they live in communion with 
drunkards, with harlots, with worldlings, or sensual, vain, or 
ambitious men, and fly from the " communion of saints?" What 
dost thou when thou sayest, t€ I believe the communion of 
saints," but say, ' I am a dissembling hypocrite/ if it be thus 
with thee ? 

6. You all profess to " believe the forgiveness of sins ;" that 
is, that through the blood of Christ all true repenting and be- 
lieving sinners shall be forgiven, and are not shut up under re- 
mediless despair"; and also I think you all profess that you do 
repent yourselves, that forgiveness may be yours ; and yet you 
love your sin ; you love not to be told of it ; you will not believe 
it to be sin, as long as you can strive against conviction ; and 
when you must needs confess it, you will not forsake it ; but 
while you seem to reform by parting with so much as you can 
spare, your dearer sins, which pleasure and honour and profit 
are much engaged in, you will not forsake ; though repentance 
do consist in turning from sin to God, and Christ hath assured 
you that " except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.'* (Luke 
xiii. 3, 5.) Is not this, therefore, palpable hypocrisy, to pro- 
fess repentance for remission of sin, and still keep the sin which 
you say you repent of, as if you thought to mock God with 
names and shows ? 

7. You all profess to " believe the resurrection of the body, 
and that Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the 
dead $" but do you live as men that believe it indeed, that they 
are passing unto such a judgment ? If you seriously expected 
to be judged for your lives, for the words you speak, the deeds 
you do, the time you spend, the means of grace which you 
neglect or use, and for all that you receive and do, is it possi- 
ble you could so waste your time, and neglect the means of 
your salvation, and sin so boldly and obstinately as you do ? 

8. You all profess that you (e believe the life everlasting," 
that the righteous shall go into their Master's joy, and the rest 
into everlasting punishment in hell. (Matt. xxv. 13.) But 
do you not play the hypocrites ? Can you heartily believe that 
you stand so near to heaven or hell, to everlasting joy or 
torments, and make no greater a matter of it, nor make no 
better preparation for it, nor bestir yourselves no more in a case 
of such unspeakable weight ? If you believe sincerely the glory 
of Heaven, you set your hearts on it more than upon Earth, 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 57 

and take it for your portion, and most desirable felicity. But 
do I need to tell the worldly, fleshly hypocrite how far he is 
from this. 

9. You profess, as the sum of the ten commandments, that 
you love God above all, and your neighbours as yourselves. 
But doth not your selfishness, and quarrelling with your neigh- 
bours, when they do but stand in the way of your honour or 
commodity, convince you of hypocrisy in this profession ? 

10. In the use of the Lord's Prayer, what word do you speak 
that is not in hypocrisy ? Do you first and principally desire 
the hallowing of God's name, the coming of his kingdom, and 
the doing of his will ? when you are far more tender of your 
own names than of God's, and more regardful of your own 
honour ? And when you care more for your own prosperity 
than for the prosperity of the church and gospel, and do your- 
selves become the hinderers of his kingdom and government 
in the church and in the souls of men ? And when you cannot 
abide to do his will, when it crosseth the interest of your 
flesh, but dislike it as too strict, and had rather the word and 
will of God were agreeable to yours, than you will conform 
your own to his ? 

Do you only desire your daily bread, and that in subordina- 
tion to the honour, and kingdom, and will of God. Or rather 
do you not play the hypocrites in saying so, when it is not daily 
bread that will content you; but plenty and prosperity is 
sweeter to you than holiness ? 

When you pray for " the forgiveness of your sins, as you 
forgive others," you intimate that you are weary of your sins, 
and hate them, and would forsake them ; and that you forgive 
all that have wronged you, out of the sense of your own trans- 
gressions, and of the love of Christ. But is all this so, or is 
it mere dissembling, when you forsake not your sin, nor are 
willing to forsake it, and when your consciences know that 
there be some that you forgive not ? 

You pray against " being led into temptation," and yet you 
love it, and cast yourselves into it. Into tempting company, 
and tempting talk, and tempting employments. And for re- 
creation, meat, drink, apparel, houses, attendants, estate, re- 
putation, and almost all things else, you love and choose that 
which is most tempting. 

You pray to be " delivered from evil," when the evil of your 
pride, flesh-pleasing, and worldliness, you so love, that indeed 



58 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

you would not be delivered from them. What can you say 
to excuse all this from palpable hypocrisy. 

To conclude, you pretend to all that is necessary to salva- 
tion, but have you that in reality which you pretend to ? 

1. You think yourselves wise enough to be saved. But is it 
not folly that goes under the name of wisdom ? When you 
should be converted, and lead a holy life, you are wise enough 
to give reasons for the contrary, and wise enough to confute 
the preacher, and prove him a fool, instead of obeving the call 
of God. You are wise enough to prove the physician to be 
ignorant, and to cast away the medicine that should heal you. 
And what if nobody could deal with you in subtletv of argu- 
ment, but you could say that against the necessary means of 
your own salvation, that none can answer ? When you die by 
your wisdom, and have disputed yourselves out of the reach 
of mercy, will you not bewail it then as folly ? Is he wiser, 
that, being" hungry, eats his meat, or he that gives such reasons 
for his refusing it, and pleadeth so learnedly against eating and 
drinking, that none can answer him ? Is the condemned man 
wiser that makes friends for a pardon, or he that with unan- 
swerable subtlety reasoneth against it, till the ladder be turned ? 
Such is your vain and seeming wisdom. You are not wise 
enough to be cured, but to give reasons why you should con- 
tinue sick. In the issue, it will prove that you were not wise 
enough to be saved, but notably wise to resist salvation, and 
plead yourselves into hell. 

2. You pretend that you have a saving Faith, when your 
hearts refuse that salvation from sin, and that rule of Christ 
which is the object of faith, and when you will not believe the 
doctrines, precepts, or threatenings that cross your own con- 
ceits ; and when your belief of heaven will not carry your hearts 
from earth, nor work you to a holy, heavenly life. 

3. You pretend to repentance, as I said before, while you 
hold fast the sin, and give not up yourselves to God ; when as 
if your neighbour, or master, or husband, should but beat one 
of you, and tell you when he hath done that he repenteth, and 
do this as often as you commit your wilful sins, and say you 
repent, I am confident you would not take it for true repen- 
tance. You repent, but will not confess when it is to your 
disgrace, as long as you can hide your sin. You repent, but 
will not make restitution or reparation of injuries to your 
power. You repent, but your heart riseth against him that 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 59 

reproveth you* You repent, but you had rather keep your sins 
than leave them. What is this but to deceive your own hearts, 
and to mock yourselves with a seeming, vain, and mock re- 
pentance ? 

4. You pretend to love God above all, (as was before said,) 
when you love not his image, ways, or communion, but love 
that which he hateth, and still prefer the world before him. 

5. You pretend that you have true desires to be godly, and 
what God would have you be ; but they are such desires as the 
sluggard hath to rise, and as the slothful hath to Work : that 
is, if it could be done with ease, and without labour ; you lie 
still, and use not the means with diligence for all your desires. 
When you can sit and have your work done with wishes, and 
your families maintained, and your necessities all supplied with 
wishes, you may think to come to heaven with wishes. The 
good desires that the poor may be warmed, and clothed, that 
James speaks of, (Jam. ii. 15,) did neither relieve the poor, nor 
save the wisher. "The desire of the slothful killeth him; 
for his hands refuse to labour." (Prov. xxi. 25.) Up and 
be doing according to thy desires, or else confess that thy 
wishes are hypocritical* and that thou deceivest thy own heart 
by vain desires* 

6. You also pretend to be sincere worshippers of God. You 
pray, and you read the Scripture, and good books, and you hear 
the word, and receive the Lord's supper. But I have before 
shown you your hypocrisy in these; you pray against the sin 
that you love and would not leave ; you pray for holiness, when 
you hate it, or desire it not in any degree to cross your flesh ; 
you serve God, with mere words (whether of your own conceiv- 
ing or of others' prescribing) with some forced acknowledgment 
of that God that hath not your hearts or lives. Let Christ pass 
the sentence on you, and not me : (Matt. xv. 7 — 9.) " Ye hypo- 
crites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 'This people 
draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me 
with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they 
do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments oi 
men/ ' You like that teaching that sooths you in your own 
opinions, and galleth not your consciences in the guilty place. 
A minister you would have, that should stand like an adorned 
idol that hurts nobody, and toucheth not your sores; or that 
is but like a piir of organs, or a tinkling cymbal, to tickle your 
fancy, and make church worship to be as a kind of religious stage- 



60 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

play to you. But a true minister of Christ, to open to you the 
doctrine of the kingdom, and roundly to awaken you from secu- 
rity in sin, and to call you up to the most serious, holy, heavenly 
life, and follow you, and let you take no rest, till you yield and 
practise it ; and to call you to open confession of your open scan- 
dalous sins, that you may make such reparation to the wronged 
honour of God and souls of men, as you are capable of; and 
accordingly to absolve you, or to bind you over to answer it at 
the bar of God, and charge the Church to avoid communion 
with you, if you are impenitent and incorrigible ; such a minis- 
ter as this (which is the minister of Christ's appointment) you 
abhor ; at least, when he comes to touch your sores. Then you 
are too proud to be taught and ruled by such as these, though 
you hypocritically profess to be ruled by Christ, who ruleth his 
Church by his Spirit, word, and ministers, conjunct. Then you 
say, ( Who gave you authority to do thus and thus by me }' As if 
you knew not that Christ in Scripture hath described, confirmed, 
and limited the ministerial office. Like condemned traitors, 
that should say to him that bringeth them a pardon, ( Who 
gave you authority to make so bold with me?' or like a man 
that hath the plague or leprosy, that asketh the physician, 
6 Who gave you authority to tell me that I am sick, and put 
me to such medicines as these?' or as the Israelite to Moses, 
(Exod. ii. 14,) " Who made thee a prince and a judge over us ?" 
" not understanding that God by his hand would deliver them," 
saith Stephen ; (Act. vii. 25 ;) or as the Jews to Christ, when he 
was teaching men the way to heaven, (Matt. xxi. 23,) " By what 
authority doest thou these things ? and who gave thee this autho- 
rity ?" So because you hate the way of your recovery, you will 
not be saved without authority, nor be satisfied of their autho- 
rity that would save you, but are like a beggar that should proudly 
refuse a piece of gold, and ask, c By what authority do you give 
it me V A minister that agreeth with God's description you 
cannot abide. (Acts xx. 18 — 36; Heb. xxiii. 7 3 17; 1 Cor. iv. 
1 ; 1 Thes. v. 12, 13 ; 1 Tim. v. 17, 20, and 2 Tim. iv. 1.) So 
that, indeed, it is but a mock-minister, a mock-sacrament, a 
mock-praver, and so a seeming, vain religion which you desire. 
7. Lastly, you pretend also to sincere obedience. If we ask 
you, whether you are willing to obey God ? you will say, God 
forbid that any should deny it. But when it comes to the par- 
ticulars, and you find that he commandeth you that which flesh 
and blood is against, and would cost you the loss of worldly 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 61 

prosperity, then you will be excused ; and yet, that you may 
cheat your souls, you will not professedly disobey ; but you will 
persuade yourselves that it is no duty, and that God would not 
have you do that which you will not do. Like a countryman's 
servant, that promiseth to do all his master bids him ; but when 
he cometh to particulars, thrashing is too hard work, and mow- 
ing and reaping are beyond his strength, and ploughing is too 
toilsome ; and in conclusion, it is only an idle life with some 
easy chars, that he will be brought to. This is the hypocrite's 
obedience. He will obey God in all things, as far as he is 
able, in the general : but when it comes to particulars, to deny 
himself, and forsake his worldly prosperity for Christ, and to 
contemn the world, and live by faith, and converse in heaven, 
and walk with God, and worship him in spirit and truth, to love 
an enemy, to forgive all wrongs, to humble himself to the 
meanest persons, and to the lowest works ; to confess his faults 
with shame and sorrow, and ask forgiveness of those he has 
injured ; these and other such works as these he will not be- 
lieve to be parts of obedience, or at least, will not be brought to 
do them. 

Poor souls, I have stood here a great while to hold you the 
glass, in which, if you were willing, you might see yourselves. 
But if you will yet wink, and hate the light, and perish in your 
self-deceiving, who can help it ? 

Briefly and plainly, be it known to thee again, whoever thou 
art that hearest this, that if thou have not these five characters 
following, thy religion is all but vain and self-deceiving. 

1. If God's authority, as he speaketh by his Spirit, word, and 
ministers, be not highest with thy soul, and cannot do more 
with thee than Kings and Parliaments and than the world and 
flesh. (Matt.xxiii. 8—10.) 

2. If the unseen everlasting glory be not practically more 
esteemed by thee, and chosen, and sought, than any thing, or all 
things in the world. (Matt. vi. 21 ; Col. iii. 2; John vi. 27 ; 
2 Tim. iv. 8, 9 ; Matt. xxii. 5 ; Luke xviii. 22, 23 ; Phil. iii. 20.) 

3. If thou see not such a loveliness in holiness, as being the 
image of God, as that thou unfeignedly desirest the highest 
degree of it. (Matt, v, 20; Psalm cxix. 1 — 3, &c. ; Phil. iii. 
12— 14.) 

4. If any sin be so sweet arid clear to you, or seem so neces- 
sary, that you consent not and desire not to let it go. (Matt. 
six". 22; Phil. iii. 8; Psalm lxvi. 18.) 



62 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

5. If any known duty seem so costly, dangerous, troublesome, 
and unpleasant, that ordinarily you will not do it. (Matt. xvi. 
24—26 j Psalm cxix. 6.) 

In a word, God must be loved and obeyed as God ; Christ 
must be entertained as Christ 5 Heaven must be valued and 
sought as Heaven ; and holiness loved and practised as holi- 
ness ; though not to the height of their proper worth (which 
none on earth is able to reach,) yet so, as that nothing be 
preferred before them. 

But yet there is one more discovery, which, if I pass by, you 
will think J baulk a chief part of my text. 

An unbridled tongue in a professor of religion is enough to 
prove his religion vain. 

By an unbridled tongue is not meant all the sins of our speech. 
" If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and 
able also to bridle the whole body. For in many things we 
offend all." (Jam. iii. 2.) Every unwarrantable jest, or angry 
word, or hasty, rash expression, is not enough to prove a man's 
religion to be in vain. Though Christ says that we shall 
" answer for every idle word/' he doth not say, " we shall be 
condemned for every idle word." But when the tongue is un- 
bridled, and is not kept under a holy law, but suffered to be the 
ordinary instrument of wilful known sin, or of gross sin, which 
men might know and will not ; this proves the person void of 
holiness, and, consequently, his religion vain. 

It is true, every hypocrite hath not an unbridled tongue : 
some of them have the bridle of moral precepts, and some of 
religious education, and some of the presence and awe of per- 
sons whom they esteem ; common knowledge, with natural 
mansuetude and moderation doth bridle the tongues of many 
an hypocrite ; but as every wicked man is not a drunkard, or 
fornicator, and yet every drunkard or fornicator (that liveth in 
it) is a wicked man ; so every hypocrite hath not an unbridled 
tongue, (his vice may be some other way ;) but every man that 
hath an unbridled tongue is an hypocrite, if withal he profess 
himself a Christian. 

The sins of the tongue are of three sorts. 1. Such as are 
against piety. 2. Such as are against justice. 3. Such as are 
against charity. 

1, Against piety, that is, directly against God, are blasphemy, 
perjury, rash swearing, swearing by creatures, light and unreve- 
rent using of God's name and attributes, and words and works 1 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 63 

pleading for false doctrine, or false worship, disputing' against 
truth and duty ; scorning at godliness, or reasoning against it. 
These and such impieties of the tongue, are the evidences of pro- 
faneness in the speaker's heart; though some of them much more 
than others; and if the tongue is not here bridled, all is in vain. 

2. Sinful speeches against justice and charity are these :— 
reproaching parents, or governors, or neighbours ; railing and 
reviling, cursing, provoking others to do mischief, or commit 
any sin, disputing against and dissuading men from truth and 
duty; and hindering them by your speeches from a holy life, 
and the means of their salvation ; calling good, evil, and evil, 
good ; lying, slandering, false-witness bearing, backbiting ; 
extenuating men's virtues, and aggravating their faults beyond 
the certain apparent truth ; receiving, and reciting, and carrying 
on evil reports, which you know not to be true ; endeavouring 
to cool men's love to others, by making them seem bad, when 
we cannot prove it , mentioning men's faults and failings with- 
out a call and just occasion ; unchaste, immodest, ribald speeches ; 
cheating and deceitful words to wrong others in their estates ; 
with other such like. 

But undoubtedly that sin of the tongue which the Apostle 
here had particular respect to, was the reproaching of fellow- 
Christians, especially upon the occasion of some differences of 
judgment and practice in the smaller matters of religion ; the 
Judaizing Christians gave liberty to their tongues to reproach 
those that refused the use of those ceremonies which they used 
themselves, and placed much of their religion in ; the quarrel 
was the same that was decided by the Apostles, Acts xv., and 
by Paul, Romans xiv. and xv., and throughout the Epistle to the 
Galatians. And this is the religion that James calls vain here, 
which was much placed in ceremonies, with a pretence of 
highest knowledge, and a censorious vilifying of all that would 
not do as they. 

There are especially three sorts that use to reproach each 
other about the matters of religion. 

1. Those that are hardened to that height of impiety, as to 
make a mock at seriousness and diligence in the practice of 
Christianity itself, hating and reproaching them that dare not 
sell their souls at as base a price as they. 

2. Those that have so far extinguished charity by faction and 
self-conceit, as to confine their love and honour to their party, 
and to speak evil of those that are not of their own opinions. 



64 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

3. Those that give liberty to their tongues unseasonably, un- 
measurabiy, or unwarrantably to speak hardly of those that they 
suffer by upon religious accounts ; though, perhaps, they are 
their superiors whom they are bound to honour. 

1. The first sort are arrived at such a measure of malicious- 
ness and misery, that they are as mad men, the objects of com- 
passion to all men save themselves. Their sin and misery is so 
notorious, that I need not say anything to discover it to others 
that have anything of reason and true religion ; and for them- 
selves, being so far forsaken of God, as to hate and reproach the 
means of their salvation, no wonder if withal they are given over 
to that blindness as not to understand the words that should 
convince them, and neither to see their shame, nor the light 
that would discover it ; and to such impenitency, as not to feel 
or fear the wrath and threatenings of the Almighty ; but boldly 
to rage on, till hell hath brought them to their wits. (Prov. 
xiv. 16.) "A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil, but 
the fool rageth, and is confident." Yet this much, briefly, I 
shall say to these, if any of them be this day my auditors, 
that I may not leave them as utterly past hope. 

1. Thou art one of the most self-condemned, stigmatized, 
slaves of Satan, in the world. Thou bearest openly so un- 
doubted a brand of wickedness, that there is no room for any 
rational hope in thy self, or any of thy friends, that ever thou 
shouldest be saved, if thou die in such a state ; some hope is left 
that yet thou mayest be converted, but none that thou shouldest 
be saved without conversion. It is possible with God that can 
do all things, that yet thy wilful blindness may be cured, and 
thy tongue may unsay all that thou hast said ; and thou mayest 
cry out of thy folly, and cry shame against thyself, for that 
which now thou gloriest in. It is possible for God of such a 
stone to make a child of Abraham ! and to melt that hardened 
heart of thine, and lay it bleeding at the feet of Christ, and 
to make thee wish with tears or groans, that such thoughts 
had never entered into thy heart, nor such words of malice pro- 
ceeded from thy mouth. And happy art thou, if God will have 
so much mercy on thee, that hast derided mercy, as to vouch- 
safe thee such a change. And pray for it, and pray hard, and 
pray again, if thou love thy soul ; for this is thy hope, and thou 
hast no other. For that ever such a wretch as thou shouldest be 
saved, in the state that now thou art in, is as impossible as for 
God to lie, and as impossible as for the devils to be saved. I 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 65 

wonder (but that such a forsaken soul is a senseless block, and 
as a lifeless carcass,) that thou dost not quake with the fears 
of hell, which way ever thou goest ; and that thou art not still 
thinking whither thou art going, and how the devils are ready to 
take thy soul as soon as death hath opened the door and let it 
out into Eternity ? As carelessly or scornfully as thou sittest 
here, I wonder that thou dost not tremble to consider, where it 
is that thou must shortly be, and where thou must abide for 
ever. It is one of the most notable discoveries of the power- 
ful craft of Satan, that he is able to keep such a garrison as thy 
heart in so much peace, and to quiet a poor wretch that is un- 
certain to be one hour out of hell ! that thy sleep is not broken 
with terrible dreams, and that thou dost not eat thy meat in 
terrors, and that ever a smile should be seen in thy face ! that 
thy business, or company, or sports, or pleasures, should once 
put out of thy mind thy endless misery. While I am speaking, 
and thou art hearing, hell-fire is burning, and the devils are 
waiting, and, thy blinded soul is posting on, and, for aught thou 
knowest, may be there this night. Poor sinner ! for my part, I 
know thee not! and, therefore, cannot justly be suspected to 
bear thee any ill will, or to speak these words with a desire of 
thy hurt. I know this is language that the guilty do not love 
to hear. But I must tell thee, who reproachest and deridest a 
serious, holy life, that, except the blasphemers of the Holy Ghost, 
there are few in the world in more certain misery than thou. 
Other sinners, though miserable, may have some cloak to hide 
their misery. Though the drunkard shall not enter into heaven, 
he may flatter himself with the remembrance that Noah was 
once overtaken with that sin. Though the fornicator or adul- 
terer shall not enter into the kingdom of God, (Eph. v. 5,) he 
mav cheat himself awhile with the remembrance of David's guilt. 
Though the false-hearted, temporizing, self-saving hypocrite 
shall not be saved, he may deceive himself, by the instance of 
Peter's denying his master, and his dissimulation, (Gal. ii.,) but 
what cloak hast thou to hide thy misery ? Did ever any true 
disciple of Christ either hate or reproach his servants and his 
ways ? What godly man hath made a mock at godliness (unless 
it were when he was ungodly ?) If any should think that an act of 
drunkenness or fornication might consist with grace, no man 
that understands himself can think that a scorner at an holy 
life, hath himself the holiness which he scorneth ! I would not 
for a world be in the case of that wretch, that speaks well of 
vol, XVH, F 



G6 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

holiness in others, while he lives in fornication, luxury, or world- 
liness himself, though he think that he cuts scores hy daily cry- 
ing to God for mercy. But 1 would much less for a thousand 
worlds be in the case of him that neither is godly, nor can speak 
well of it; that is not only void of the Spirit of Christ, but 
speaks against it; that is not only void of the holy image of 
God, but hateth it, and reproacheth it in others. O rather let 
me have no tongue to speak, no soul to think, than ever 1 should 
speak or think thus maliciously of the image, and ways, and ser- 
vants of the Lord ! 1 had rather be a dog, or a toad, than one of 
those men that use to mock at serious, diligent serving of the 
Lord, or that maliciously reproach his servants, and bend 
their wits and tongues against them ; so legibly is the mark of 
the devil upon them, that I must needs tell you that are true 
believers, you are much to be blamed that you look not on them 
with more compassion, and weep not for them, as for men that 
are within a step of hell, when you hear them rail at the laws 
or servants of the Lord. J mean those of whom the Apostle 
saith, " For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and 
now tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the 
cross of Christ, (that is, to the self-denying mortified state of 
Christians, and following him even 'throu//{i sufferings,) whose 
end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is 
their shame, who mind earthly things." (Phil. iii. 18, 19.) "That 
not only do wickedly, but teach men so to do;" (Matt. v. 19.) 
"and have pleasure in them that do it;" (Rom. i. 32;) "and think 
it strange that we run not with them to the same excess of riot, 
speaking evil of us, who shall give account to him that is ready 
to judge the quick and the dead." (I Pet. iv. 4, 5.) 

2. Thou bearest most eminently the image of the devil, and 
most expressly speakest his mind, and art most openly employed 
in his works. What is the devil but an apostate spirit, filled 
with enmity against God and his servants, and hating holiness; 
the malicious accuser of the brethren, slandering and reproach- 
ing them, and seeking their destruction ! And shall a malicious, 
lying sinner live, that imitateth Satan in his enmity to God ? 
O that thou knewest whom thou servest ! And that thou knew- 
est whom thou speakest against ! Woe be to him that striveth 
with his Maker. (Isa. xlv. 2.) It is hard for thee to kick against 
the pricks. (Acts ix. 5.) Whoever hardened himself against him, 
and hath prospered ? (Job ix. 4.) If Satan were to speak with 
open face, what would he say, but as the tongues of the malici- 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 67 

ous enemies of holiness ; even to speak evil of the ways and 
servants of the Lord ? Might he appear and speak himself in 
the assemblies and councils of the great ones of the earth, he 
would speak against the same men, and to the same purpose, as 
those that I have described. Your tongues are his instruments. 
You speak what he secretly suggesteth, as verily as if he had 
written you your instructions, and you had read it in his words: 
he hateth holiness, and, therefore, he tempteth you to hate it. 
He would bring it into hatred in the world, and, therefore, he 
speaks disgracefully of it by your tongues. His will is your will; 
and your words are his words ; and the pleasantest music that 
vou could make him. O how it pleaseth him to make a reason- 
able creature reproach the word and ways of the Creator ! How 
eager was he to have got Job to have spoken evil of God ! 

3. Be it known to thee, thou reviler, that if ever thou be 
saved thyself, it must be in that way that thou revilest. Thy 
hope lieth in it. As sure as thou livest, there is no other way 
to life eternal. Without holiness none shall see God. (Heb. 
xii. 14.) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 
(Matt. v. 8.) When thou hast done all, thou must come back, 
and go that way thyself, or burn for ever. Either thou must be 
such as those that thou dost speak against, or thou art everlast- 
ingly undone. And if thou think to be such a one thyself, and 
to come to heaven by the very way that now thou dost revile, 
canst thou yet revile it ? And if thou perish in hell for want 
of holiness, thou shalt then have enough of thy rebellion. Then 
thou shalt cry out against thy own malicious reproaches a 
thousand times more than ever thou didst against the servants 
of the Lord. Though the very distinction between the godly 
and ungodly be now thy scorn, yet I shall be bold to tell thee, 
in the words of Enoch, yea of God, (Jud. xiv. 16,) " Behold the 
Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judg- 
ment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among 
them, of all their ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly 
committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly 
sinners have spoken against him. " Now you have your day, 
and judgment must begin at the house of God. And if it 
first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not 
the gospel of God ! And if the righteous scarcely be saved, 
where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear ? (1 Pet. iv. 17, 
IS.) u Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the 
ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the 

f2 



68 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

seat of the scornful ! But his delight is in the law of the Lord ; 
and in his law doth he meditate day and night." " The ungodly 
are not so : but like the chaff which the wind driveth away : 
therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor 
sinners in the congregation of the righteous : for the Lord 
knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly 
shall perish." (Psal. i.) This is scripture distinction, which 
God will make good. 

I make no question, but the worst of you will put by all this 
in your self-deceit, and say, it is not holiness that we speak 
against, but it is hypocrisy, or schism, or some such accusation 
that malice shall suggest, will be your mask. But will you 
answer me these few questions. 

Quest. 1 . Why then do you not imitate them so far as they 
do well ? Why are you not as much in works of holiness as 
they ? In reading, and meditating on the word of God, in holy 
conference, and secret prayer, and instructing your families, &c. 
And then leave them, and spare not where they do amiss. 

Quest, 2. Why do you not hate the sins of the notoriously 
ungodly, who show them without shame ? Nay, why do you 
make such men your companions ? 

Quest. 3. Why go you to the heart, that is unseen, and ar- 
rogate the prerogative of God, to censure men of hypocrisy, 
and such secret sins that are out of your discerning? If you 
know your heart by outward actions, insist upon your proofs. 

Quest. 4. Why speak you not of their good as well as of the 
supposed evil ? Why are you not more in speaking well of 
what is well, than in speaking ill of what is ill ? 

Quest. 5. Why is it that you speak of men that you know 
not ? And of others that are innocent, for the sake of those 
you imagine to be guilty ? And why do you so greedily snatch 
at any matter of reproach, and take it by hearsay from the most 
ignorant, rash, or malicious mouths. 

Quest. 6. If it be hypocrisy, or other vice, that you so hate, why 
do you not hate them in yourselves ? Why live you so viciously 
while you profess obedience to the Lord ? And why do you 
take on you to believe a heaven and hell hereafter, and to give 
up yourselves in covenant to God, and live so contrary to that 
professed belief and covenant ? 

Quest. /. Do you not feel that it is partly malice, and partly 
the recrimination of a guilty galled conscience, that fain would 
steal a little peace by thinking others to be as bad as you ? 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 69 

I shall dismiss this unhappy sort of men with these two re- 
quests : 1. You are the men that of all others have the most 
notable advantage from your conviction, of the misery of your 
present state : and therefore, I beseech you, take that advan- 
tage. One would think it should be the easiest matter in the 
world, for such as you to know that you are ungodly, that hate 
godliness and oppose it. You have no plausible pretence for 
self-flattery or self-deceit. And therefore confess your misery, 
and look out to Christ, for help and pardon, while there is hope 
and time. 

2. For the time to come, will you but try a serious, holy life 
before you speak against it any more ? For shame, speak not 
evil of the things you know not, as those brutes described, 
Jud. x. And holiness was never well known but by experi- 
ence. O that you would be entreated but to yield to this most 
equal motion ! Away with your worldly, fleshly lives ; and live 
in faith and holiness, a just, a spiritual, and a heavenly life, but 
one year, or one quarter, or one month, and then if, by experi- 
ence, you find just cause for it, reproach a holy life, and spare 
not. 

II. To the second sort, (that speak evil of men upon differ- 
ences of opinion, especially while they profess the same religion, 
in all the essential, necessary parts,) I shall propose these ag- 
gravations of their sin, for their humiliation. 

1. Consider, can you think it agreeable to the law of Christ, 
to reproach men behind their backs, and unheard, for that which 
you never soberly and christianly told them to their faces'? 
Did you lovingly first admonish them, and impartially hear 
what they can say for themselves ? What is your end in speak- 
ing against your brother ? Is it to do him hurt, or good ? If 
hurt, be sure you do him justice ; and backbiting is not the 
way of justice. If good, you cross your own intention. For 
what good can it do him, that another hears him evil spoken of? 

2. If you are Christ's disciples, it must be known to all men 
by your special love to one another. (John xiii. 25.) And is 
reproach and evil speaking the fruit or evidence of such love ? 
Can you talk so of the friends that are most dear to you, or that 
you love indeed ? How do our hearts rise against that man, 
that speaks reproachfully of our clearest friends ! Love would 
scarce suffer you to endure such abuse of Christians in another, 
without a serious reprehension : much less to be the abuser of 
them vourselves. 



70 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

3. Your evil speaking of your brethren dcstroyeth love in 
others, as it proves the. want of it in yourselves. And to destroy 
their love is to destroy their souls. You do your worst to quench 
the love, both of him that you speak evil of, and of them to 
whom you speak it. Good is the object of love; and therefore to 
speak [well] of men, and manifest them to be lovely, is the only 
way to make them loved. Evil is the object of hatred : and 
therefore to speak evil of them, is to make them seem hateful, 
and draw men to the guilt of hating them. To praise a man 
will do more to make him loved, than if you only entreat ano- 
ther to love him ; and to dispraise a man will do more to make 
him hated, than if you directly persuade another to hate him. 
And what service you do the devil, and what disservice unto 
Christ, by destroying love, and sowing hatred among his ser- 
vants, were you impartial you might easily discern. 

4. Is it not shame and pity, that the followers of Christ 
should imitate the devil, and ungodly men, as by detraction and 
reviling w^ords they do ? You aggravate your brethren's faults ; 
and find faults where there are none ; and so do Satan and un- 
godly men. You have a secret desire to make them seem con- 
temptible and vile ; and so have Satan and ungodly men. And 
hereby you seem to justify the wicked, and encourage them in their 
reproaching. They think they may boldly speak such a language 
of you all, as they hear you speak of one another. O what 
pity is it to hear the professed children of the Lord, to use 
the hell-bred language of his enemies, as if they had gone to 
school to Satan ! 

4. Are there not tongues enough sharpened against us in 
the world, but we must wound each other with our own ? Is it 
not enough, if we are the seed of Christ, that every where the 
serpent's seed do hate us ; and that all manner of evil is falsely 
spoken of us, and that we are not made as the scorn and the 
offspring of all things, but we must also hate and reproach each 
other ? Have you not load enough from the world ? Have you 
not enemies enough to do the work of enemies, but friends 
must do it ? And hath not Satan instruments and tongues 
enough of his own, but we must use those that are Christ's 
against himself ? 

6. If thou hate thy brother, yet sure thou dost not hate thy- 
self. Why then dost thou hurt and shame thyself? His hurt 
is but to be defamed, which is little, if any thing at all (for it 
is much in himself whether it shall hurt him.) But thy hurt 



THE FORMAL HYPOCR1IE. J\ 

that doeth it, is to provoke God against thee, and incur his wrath? 
and wound thy soul hy the guilt of sin. And if another hurt thee 
in the heel, wilt thou therefore stab thyself to the heart ? If 
another be bad, wilt thou become so by unjust defaming him ? 
And how dost thou cross thine own intentions ? The stone 
that thou castest at him, flies back in thy face. Thou pro- 
claimest thy own transgression and shame, when thou art un- 
charitably proclaiming his. Is not a backbiter, a reviler, is not 
a malicious calumniator, a worse name (which thou takest to 
thvself) than that which thou canst fasten on him whom thou 
dost reproach ? 

7. Thy uncharitable speeches are a dangerous sign of an 
unhumbled and unpardoned soul. If thou canst not forgive, 
thou art not forgiven. Did you know yourselves, it would 
teach you to deal more compassionately with others. You 
would have the act of oblivion as extensive as you could, if 
you knew what danger you are in yourselves. Do you not 
know as much by yourselves as you have to reproach your bro- 
ther with ? Do you not then invite both God and man to take 
you at the worst, and use you as you use your brother ? Me- 
thinks you should rather be desirous of a more tender and in- 
dulgent way, as knowing what need yourselves have of it. 

If you say, O but he hath done thus and thus against me. 
Let conscience say what you have done yourselves against God 
and others. If you say, he is a schismatic, an hypocrite, or 
this or that ; remember that malice is blind, and never wants 
matter of accusation or reproach, and innocency is no defence 
against it : else Christ and his prophets and apostles had been 
better used by the world. And ask conscience whether more 
than you can truly say of him, may not be said against your- 
selves. If all such must be defamed, how infamous will 
you be ? 

8. If you will speak ill, you must hear ill. You teach men 
how to use you. " Si mihi pergit qua? vnlt dicere, quae non 
vult audiet." 

" Benedictis si certasset, audisset bene," saith the comedian. 
And God usually in justice suffereth it to be. And as those 
that by violence trample down others, when they feel them- 
selves; on the higher ground, do oft live to be trampled on 
themselves ; so those that take their advantages to insult and 
defame others, do usually live to be defamed. " For with wh&l 



7*2 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. Judge 
not therefore, that ye be not judged." (Matt. vii. 1, 2.) 

To which of these two former ranks you should refer the 
common names of scorn that religious persons have been most 
loaded with among us, you must judge by the particular occa- 
sion and person. It is not my intention or desire to plead for 
any faction, disobedience, irregularity, or hypocrisy ; much 
less to palliate heresies or odious crimes that are cloaked with 
the name or profession of religion. Jt is the hypocrite that I 
am all this while detecting. But 1 must say that it hath been the 
highest brand or character of hypocrisy and impudent profaneness 
conjunct ; and one of the most crying transgressions of this land, 
that men, baptized into the name of Christ, have made a scorn at 
the diligent serving of him, and lived in the hatred of that re- 
ligion in the life and practice, which themselves profess. And 
that if upon some small circumstantial differences, any of their 
superiors have encouraged them to use any nickname of re^- 
proach against their most conscientious brethren, they have 
been glad of the occasion, and used those reproaches against the 
serious practice of religion, which others pretend to use only 
against men's different opinions, which they account their ex- 
orbitances or mistakes. How the names of zealots, precisians, 
puritans, and such like, have been used in this land ; and what 
sort of people have been made thereby (and by the discounte- 
nance of those that should have cherished a diligent, holy life) 
to be the common scorn ; and how great a hinderance this hath 
proved to the salvation of many thousand souls, is a thing that 
is much more sad to mention, than difficult to prove. And 
when one nickname is grown out of use, the serpentine enmity 
watcheth for the opportunity that is afforded by differences and 
discountenance of the times, to take up another that may have 
a sharper sting. The dead form of religion, and as much as 
you will of words and shows, they can reverence or endure: 
but life, and seriousness, and practice, is the thing they hate. 
Just like a bear, or other ravenous creature, that will let their 
prey alone while it seem dead and stirs not ; but if it stir, 
they leap upon it, and tear it into pieces. And therefore it 
is that the diligent zealous exercise of religion among the Pa- 
pists, by images, and tautologies, and lifeless ceremonies and 
forms, is not half so much hated or reproached by the vulgar, 
as the serious exercise of unquestionable duties, that all are 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. *Jo 

in words agreed in, is here with us. To pray in our families ; 
to instruct our children or servants in the necessary points of 
faith and duty ; to exhort a drunkard, a swearer, a covetous 
person, or other ungodly ones to repent, and to give up them- 
selves to a holy life ; to take up any serious speech of death 
and judgment, and the life to come, and the necessary prepa- 
rations thereto ; these and such like are the odious marks of a 
zealot, a precisian, or puritan, with the ungodly rabble : so 
that serving the great and glorious God is with them become a 
matter of scorn ; while serving the devil is taken for their glory, 
if they can but do it in the plausible less, disgraceful mode. 

But because some of the chief accusers of the brethren would 
needs persuade men, that the ordinary usage of the foremen- 
tioned nicknames hath been less impious and more justifiable, 
against a sort of people only whom they feign to be unfit for 
human society, I shall only appeal now to the godly bishops, 
and conformable ministers, that mention it. 

Bishop G. Downame (who, though he had written so much 
for bishops, hath written as much to prove the Pope to be the 
Antichrist) in his sermon called Abraham's Trial, p. 72, saith : 
"And even in these times, the godly live among such a gene- 
ration of men, as that if a man do but labour to keep a good 
conscience in any measure, though he meddle not with matters 
of state, or discipline, or ceremonies ; (as for example, if a 
minister diligently preach, or in his preaching seek to profit, 
rather than to please, &c. — Or if a private Christian makes 
conscience of swearing, sanctifying the sabbath, frequenting 
sermons, or abstaining from the common corruptions of the 
time) he shall straightway be condemned for a puritan, and 
consequently be less favoured, than either a carnal gospeller, 
or a close papist/ 5 &c. Such were the times then. ' 

Dr. Robert Abbot, public professor of divinity in Oxford, 
and after bishop of Salisbury, in a sermon on Easter-day, 1615, 
saith : " That men, under pretence of truth, and preaching 
against the puritans, strike at the heart and root of faith and 
religion, now established among us : that this preaching against 
the puritans was but the practice of Parson's and Campian's 
counsel, when they came into England to seduce young stu- 
dents ; and when many of them were afraid to lose their places 
if they should professedly be thus, the counsel they then gave 
them was, that they should speak freely against the puritans, 
and that should suffice/' &c. So he. 



74 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

Of Archbishop Laud's tract of Doctrinal Puritanism, drawn 
up for, and presented to, the Duke of Buckingham, see Pryne, 
in his Tryal, p. 156. Divers bishops have affirmed the Jesuits 
were the masters of this nickname here in England, and the 
promoters of it. 

But of the common sense of this word, and the use of it, 
I shall now call in no more witnesses but Mr. Robert Bolton, a 
man that frequently published his judgment for conformity to 
prelacy and ceremonies; in his Discourse of Happiness, p. 163, 
he thus speaketh : 

" I am persuaded there was never poor persecuted word, 
since malice against God first seized on the damned angels, and 
the graces of heaven dwelt in the heart of man, that passed 
the mouths of all sorts of unregenerate men, with more distaste- 
fulness and gnashing of teeth than the name of puritan doth 
at this day ; which notwithstanding as it is now commonly meant 
(N. B.) and ordinarily proceeds from the spleen and spirit of 
profaneness, and good fellowship, as an honourable nickname, 
that I may so speak, of Christianity and grace. And yet for 
all this I dare say, that there is none of them all, but when 
they shall come unto their beds of death, and are to grapple 
immediately with the painful terrors of the king of fears, and 
to stand or fall to the dreadful tribunal of the living God, — 
then (except the Lord suffer them to fall into the fiery lake with 
senseless hearts and seared consciences) would give ten thousand 
worlds, were they all turned into gold, pleasures, and impe- 
rial crowns, to change their former courses of vanity, &c, into 
a life of holy preciseness, strictness, sincerity, and salvation. 
Oh ! when the heavens shall shrivel together like a scroll, and 
the whole frame of nature flame about their ears ; when the 
great and mighty hills shall start out of their places like frighted 
men ; and the fearful reprobate cry and call upon this moun- 
tain, and that rock, to fall upon him; when as no dromedary 
of Egypt, nor wings of the morning, shall be able to carry 
them out of the reach of thy revenging hand ; no top of Car- 
mel, no depth of sea, or bottom of hell, to hide them from 
the presence of him that sits upon the throne, and from the 
wrath of the Lamb ; no rock, nor mountain, nor the great 
bodv of the whole earth, to cover them from the unresistable 
power that laid the foundations of them ; no arm of flesh, or 
armies of angels, to protect them from those infinite rivers of 
brimstone which shall be kept in everlasting flames by the anger 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. /5 

of God, when their poor and vvoful souls shall infinitely desire, 
rather to return into the loathed darkness of not being, and to 
be hid for ever in the most abhorred state of annihilation, than 
now to become the everlasting objects of that unquenchable 
wrath, which they shall never be able to avoid or to abide, and 
to be chained up by the Omnipotent hand of God among the 
damned spirits, in a place of flames and perpetual darkness, 
where is torment without end, and past imagination : I say, at 
that dreadful day (and that day will come) what do you think 
would thev give for part in that purity which now they perse- 
cute ? and for the comforts of true-hearted holiness that now 
they hate ? and yet without which (as it will clearly appear, 
when matters are brought before that high and everlasting 
Judge) none shall ever see the Lord, or dwell in the joys of 
eternity. Nay, I verily think there are no desperate despisers 
of godliness, or formal opposites to grace, which do now hold 
holiness to be hypocrisy, sanctification singularity, practice of 
sincerity too much preciseness, — but when the pit of destruc- 
tion hath once shut its mouth upon them, and they are sunk 
irrecoverably into that dungeon of fire, would be content, with 
all their hearts, to live a million of years as precisely as ever 
saint did upon earth — to redeem but one moment of that tor- 
ment.'* So p. 159. "The common conceit of these men is, that 
civil, honest men are in the state of grace, and that formal 
professors are very forward, and without exception, but true 
Christians indeed, are puritans, irregularists, exorbitants, tran- 
scendants to that ordinary pitch of formal piety, which in their 
carnal comprehensions they hold high enough for heaven : they 
either conceit them to be hypocrites, and so the only objects 
for the exercise of their ministerial severity, and the terrors of 
God ; or else, though the Lord may at last pardon perhaps their 
singularities and excesses of zeal, yet, in the mean time, they 
dissweeten and vex the comforts and glorv of this life, with 
much unnecessary strictness and abridgment. 

"Now, of all others, such prophets as these are the only 
men with the formal hypocrite ; exactly fitted and suitable to 
his humour ; for however they may sometimes declaim boiste- 
rously (N. B.) against gross and visible abominations, (and that 
is well) yet they are no searchers into, nor censurers of, the 
state of formality ; and therefore do rather secretly encou- 
rage him to sit faster upon that sandy foundation, than help to 
draw him forward to more forwardness," &c. 



76 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

See also his Description of a puritan, p. 132. 

So, in his Direction for Walking with God, p. 172, 

"Good fellow-meetings and ale-house revellings, are the 
drunkard's delight : hut all the while he sits at it, he is perhaps 
in a hodily fear of the puritan constable/' 

Many such passages tell you how the word puritan was com- 
monly interpreted in Oxford, Northamptonshire, and where- 
ever learned and holy Mr. Bolton was acquainted. 

And having mentioned his testimony of the use of the word, I 
shall add somewhat of his discovery of this spirit of malignity 
and detraction that worketh in the anti-puritans. In his Dis- 
course of Happiness, p. 190, he saith:— 

(C The reverence and respectful carriage to godly ministers, 
which may sometimes be found in the formal hypocrite, doth 
grow towards distaste and disaffection, when they press them 
by the powerful sense, and piercing application of some quick- 
ening scriptures, to a fervency in spirit, purity of heart, pre- 
ciseness in their walking, supernatural singularity above ordinary 
and moral perfections, excellency of zeal, and a sacred vio- 
lence in pursuit of the crown of life : to an holy strictness, 
extraordinary striving to enter in at the strait gate, and tran- 
scendant eminency over the formal righteousness of the Scribes 
and Pharisees, to a nearer familiarity with God by prayer, daily 
examination of conscience, private humiliations, meditation 
upon the endless duration in a second life ; to a narrow watch 
over the stirrings and imaginations of the heart, and expression 
of holiness in all the passages of both their callings, &c. — 
Points and ponderations of which nature are ordinarily to him 
as so many secret seeds of indignation, and many times breed 
in his formal heart, cold affections, exasperation, and es- 
trangement, if not meditation of persecution and revenge. 
Sanctification, preciseness, purity, holiness, zeal, strictness, 
power of godliness, spiritual men, holy brethren, saints in Christ, 
communion of Christians, godly conferences, conceived prayers, 
sanctifying the sabbath, family exercises, exercise of fasting, 
and mortifying humiliations, and such like; are commonly to 
men of this temporising temper, and hike- warm constitution, 
terms of secret terror, and open taunting. — And sometimes 
they villanously sport themselves with them, and make them 
the matter of their hateful and accursed jests, that so they 
may keep under as much as they can, in disestimation and 
contempt, the faithful professors and practisers thereof, whom 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 77 

naturally they heartily hate, and also seem thereby to bear out 
the heartless flourishes of their own formality with greater 
bravery. Hereupon it is, that if they take a child of God but 
tripping in the least infirmity, (against which too, perhaps, he 
strives and prays with many tears, &c.) slipping only in some 
unadvised precipitant passage of his negociations, &c, — O then 
they take on unmeasurabiy ! they cry out, these are your men 
of the Spirit ; these are the holy brethren ; these are your pre- 
cise fellows ; these are they which make such show of purity 
and forwardness! you see now what they are, when matters 
come out, and their dealings are discovered, when it comes to 
the trial indeed, or to a matter of commodity, &c. Are they 
not proud ? are they not malicious ? are they not hard-hearted 
and covetous as well as others, &c. When by the mercies of 
God (in their sense) they are neither so nor so ; but such cen- 
sures as these are very often the mere evaporations of pure 
malice, and the bitter ebullitions and overflowings of their 
gall," &c. 

And p. 164. "The ordinary conceit which unregenerate men 
entertain of these (experimental ministers) is — that they are 
troublers of Israel, preachers of terror, transgressors of policy, 
unfit to prophesy at Court, or in the King's Chapel, pestilent 
fellows, seditioners, factionists, born only to disquiet the world, 
and vex men's consciences. — In these days of ours especially, 
which are strangely profane, and desperately nought, in what 
man soever the power of grace, undaunted zeal, resolute since- 
rity, are more working, eminent, and remarkable, ordinarily the 
more and more implacable, outrageous, and inflamed opposites 
shall that man find, wheresoever he lives. " 

And p. 10. " The formal hypocrite is moved to think his state 
good, and the way of his life to be right, from a prejudice which 
he conceives from the imputations which the world layeth upon 
the children of God ; such as are pride, hypocrisy, singularity, 
melancholy, simplicity," &c. 

Page 38. " His form of godliness in his conceit is the only 
true state of salvation : whatsoever is short of him is profane- 
ness ; whatsoever is above him is preciseness. But, when upon 
his death-bed, he awaketh." 

And Direct, for Walk. p. 131. "The more forward he is in 
the narrow way, the more furiously is he persecuted by the spite 
of tongues : the most resolute for God's glory, and in good 
causes, is ordinarily railed against, and reviled. The foul spirit 



78 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

of good fellowship, as they call it, is still foaming out against 
God's chiefest favourites the foulest censures : that they are 
hypocrites, humorists, factionists, traitors, pestilent fellows, 
and all that is nought. — There is no creature that ever God 
made, not Satan himself excepted, which is more maliciously 
set against and censured than good men. Neither should any 
have so bad a name as they, could the hellish mists of virulent 
tongues obscure and stain the glory of their reputation." 

And p. 43. "At this day, professors of the gracious way be 
in greatest disgrace with the most ; and a drunkard, and swag- 
gering good fellow, an usurer, a son or daughter of Belial, shall 
find more favour, applause, and approbation with the world, 
than a man which makes conscience of his ways, &c." 

Page 350. "They cry, these forward professors will all turn 
fantastical, familists, anabaptists, arians, any thing ; which 
cry awakes the eye of state jealousy, and so, by an unworthy 
consequent, draws upon those who are true of heart, even 
God's best servants, and the king's best subjects, discounte- 
nance, suspicions, if not molestations, unnecessarily, cause- 
lessly." 

And p. 351, 352, out of Austin's Epistles, p. 137, he shows, 
that it was so in his time. " They everv way, and infinitely 
labour, that when some professors of holiness have foully fallen 
indeed, or be only so slandered, the world would believe that 
they are all such ; do you not think in his time the world did 
thus exult and exclaim, or in the like manner, upon Lot's fall ? 
6 Here now you see puritan Lot, who could not endure the good 
fellowship of the Sodomites, he is now himself seized on by 
incest '. they are all such, I warrant you:'" citing Du Barta's 
translation by Silvester, p. 412. 

Base, busy stranger ! com'st thou hither thus 
Controller-like, to prate and preach to us? 
No puritan, thou shalt not here do so, &c. 

Thus you hear, from a conformable divine, how men calling 
themselves Christians, and being (some of them) formally reli- 
gious, do prove themselves self-deceiving hypocrites, by their 
unbridled tongues, in reviling at those as Puritans, and too 
precise, that will not be self-deceiving formalists as well as 
they. I shall only add some of Bishop Hall's characters of an 
hypocrite, that you may see what formality is in the judgment 
of knowing men. 

Page 169. "Walking early up into the city, he turns into 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. /9 

the great church, and salutes one of the pillars on one knee ; 
worshipping that God which at home he cares not for, while 
his eye is fixed on some window, or some passenger, and his 
heart knows not whither his lips go. He rises, and looking 
about with admiration, complains on our frozen charity, com- 
mends the ancient — with the superfluity of his usury, he builds 
an hospital, and harbours them whom his extortion hath spoiled: 
so while he makes many beggars, he keeps some. He turneth 
all gnats into camels, and cares not to undo the world for a 
circumstance. Flesh on a Friday is more abomination to him 
than his neighbour's bed. He abhors more not to uncover at 
the name of Jesus, than to swear by the name of God," &c. 
So Bishop Hall. 

But perhaps you will say, these persons whom you describe, 
that will make a mock of godliness itself, are not to be num- 
bered with hypocrites, but with the openly profane. 

To which I answer, 1. Even these profess themselves to be 
Christians, and therefore are hypocrites when they are not 
what they do profess. 2. They persuade themselves that they 
are as truly godly as those that they reproach, and do not 
think that it is godliness, indeed, for which they do reproach 
them, but for engrossing the name or reputation of godliness 
to themselves, and for some differing manner or way of worship. 
For this is one of the most notable cheats by which the 
devil undoes the empty, formal hypocrite \ finding that this 
man doth own Christianity in his opinion, but is void of the 
true spirit, and power, and life of Christian religion ; he raiseth 
some controversies between the serious Christian and the hy- 
pocrite, about some controvertible points of doctrine, or about 
some modes or circumstances of discipline and external wor- 
ship, and when they fall into two sides, the hypocrite thinks 
that it is but in these controversies that the difference lies. 
The question, thinks he, is not whether men should be regene- 
rate, godly, and religious, but whether my way of religion or 
the puritan's and precisian's be better ! And presently he 
hence concludes, that indeed it is he that is the more truly 
religious. For, saith he, my judgment is sound, and the Pu- 
ritan's is erroneous ; I am of the judgment of the church, 
which he is against ; the reverend prelates or doctors are more 
of my side than on his ; I am for order, and he is for coufu- 
sion and irreverence, and followeth the humours and fancies 
of his own brain. And thus the devil turneth his eye from the 



80 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

main difference, and makes him believe that it is these con- 
troversies that are all that sets them at a distance. But alas ! 
man, thou overlookest the point that thy life and soul lieth 
on. Agree first in the serious hearty entertainment and practice 
of the substance of that holy truth which you are both in point 
of opinion agreed in, and do not condemn thyself in the 
things which thou allowest ; contradict not thy creed and pro- 
fession by thy fleshly, worldly, negligent, careless, and ungodly 
life, but love God with all thy heart and might, and first seek 
his kingdom and his righteousness, which thou confessest 
thou shouldest do, and then the principal difference is healed, 
and thou hast escaped the principal danger of thy soul, and 
then it is not a few circumstantial differences that will divide 
your hearts, or divide you from each other in the life to come. 
Men that differ about bishops, and ceremonies, and forms of 
prayer, may be all true Christians, and dear to one another, 
and to Christ, if they be practically agreed in the life of god- 
liness, and join in a holy, heavenly conversation. But if you 
agree in all your opinions and formalities, and yet were never 
sanctified by the truth, you do but agree to delude your souls, 
and neither of you will be saved for all your agreement. 

III. The third sort to be spoken to, is those that let out 
their passion in hard speeches against superiors or others, that 
they think do wrong or persecute them on a religious account. 
At this time I will suppose the injury be real, and the complaint 
be just, it yet beseems not Christians to revile. 

1. Consider how contrary this is to the example of our 
Lord ; and that he left us his example in this particular, with 
a special recommendation for our imitation. When he was 
falsely accused, and the High Priest urged him to answer for 
himself, (Matt. xxvi. 62, 63,) he was silent, to show that he 
could bear a false accusation, without so much as vindicating 
his innocency by a just defence. O learn both the lesson and 
motives recommended to you, 1 Pet. ii. 18, to the end. " Ser- 
vants be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the 
good and gentle, but also to the forward. For this is thank- 
worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, 
suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it if, when ye are buf- 
fetted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently ? But if, when 
ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is ac- 
ceptable with God, For even hereunto were ye called, because 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 81 

Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should 
follow his steps who did no sin, neither was guile found in 
his mouth ; who, when he was reviled, reviled not again ; 
when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to 
him that judgeth righteously." Here is the description of 
your duty, and your example. Are you used worse than Christ 
was used ? (Isa. liii. 7, 8.) He was oppressed, and he was af- 
flicted, yet he opened not his mouth ; he is brought as a lamb 
to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, 
so he openeth not his mouth. And if you will come to him, 
and be his disciples, you must learn of him to be meek and 
lowly in heart, that you may find rest unto your souls. (Matt. 
xi. 28, 19.) 

2. Consider, as our kingdom is not of this world, so we are 
not to strive for worldly pre-eminence, nor with carnal wea- 
pons, but must know that our greatness here is in being the 
least, and our dignity in being the servants of all ; and our gain 
is by our loss, and our honour by evil reports, and by disgrace, 
and our advancement by our debasement, and our prefer- 
ment by being kept from worldly honour, and our joy by sorrow, 
and our exaltation by humiliation. And therefore it is con- 
trary to our state of faith to murmur at them that deprive us 
of the pleasures of sense, or the ease and privileges of the 
flesh. Mark the description of Christianity in the gospel, and 
see how much of it consisteth in contempt of the esteem and 
honours of the world, and of all the accommodations and 
pleasures of the flesh, because of the expectation of the unseen 
eternal pleasures ; and in the forsaking all, and taking up our 
cross, and following a crucified Christ ; and in patience, and 
meekness, and forbearing arid forgiving ; and rather than seek 
either verbal or actual revenge, to give the cloak also to him 
that takes away our coat, and turn the other cheek to him that 
smiteth us. Unmortified passion, and untamed nature, will 
not give some men leave to understand these passages of Christ, 
but they search for some such figure so to expound them by 
as shall annihilate the plain and proper sense. Self-love so 
blindeth men, that when they read these gospel precepts, they 
feel not their consciences touched and bound by them, but 
they read them as if they read them not, and retain no more 
than if it were nonsense which they read. Had the commands 
aforesaid (of patience, forbearing, and forgiving,) but as much 
force and efficacy upon the souls of most professors as the com- 
VOL. XVII. g 



82 THK VAIN RELIGION OF 

mandments have that arc against swearing, and cursing, and 
drunkenness, and fornication ; we should have much better 
maintained our imiocency and our peace, and have more 
honoured our profession by showing the world Christianity 
exemplified in its proper, genuine nature and effects. 

3. Consider, it is not oppression, persecution, or hard usage 
that will exempt us from the obligation of the fifth command- 
ment, which requireth us to honour our superiors, our natural, 
and civil, and ecclesiastical fathers. It is the evil and froward, 
and not only the good and the gentle, that we must honour 
and obey. And the reason is plain from their original end. 
It is not as our trustees, or agents, or friends only, that our 
rulers must be honoured, but as the officers of the God of 
heaven ; nor is it only as they do good to us, but as they preserve 
order and justice in the world, and are the pillars of the Com- 
monwealth. If magistrates should deal ever so hardly with 
you and me, yet still their office is of necessity to the common 
good. And if their office be necessary, their honour is neces- 
sary, for when they are dishonoured and despised, they are dis- 
abled. And therefore, for the common good, we must be 
careful to keep up the honour of our governors, even when we 
suffer by them ourselves. Princes were none of the best when 
the apostles commanded the churches to honour them, and 
obey them, and this not only for fear of their penalties, but for 
conscience' sake. (Rom, xiii. 5.) Of old it was they that walked 
after the flesh, in the lust of uncleanness, that were presump- 
tuous and self-willed, and despised government, and were not 
afraid to speak evil of dignities ; whereas the angels that are 
greater in power and might, bring not railing accusations 
against them before the Lord. (2 Pet. ii. 10, 11 ; Jude 8,9.) 

4. Consider, that reviling is a tongue-revenge, and revenge 
is God's, and he is engaged to repay, and hath commanded 
us not to avenge ourselves. As we must not step into the judge's 
tribunal whenever we think he is negligent in his adminis- 
trations, so much less must we accuse God of negligence or in- 
justice, by stepping into his throne. And though the railers of 
these times excuse their sin with the name of justice, they must 
show their commissions for the executing of that justice, before 
it will pass in heaven for an excuse. Is not God severe enough ? 
will not his judgment be terrible enough? would you wish 
men to suffer more than he will inflict on the impenitent ? 
what ! more than hell ? and will it not be soon enough ? are 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 83 

vou so hasty for so dreadful a revenge ? can you not stay when 
the Judge is at the door ? Mark both the usage and remedy 
of believers, in James v. 5 — 8. To the rich and great ones of 
the world he saith, " Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and 
been wanton ; ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of 
slaughter 1 Ye have condemned and killed the just, and he 
doth not resist you." There is your usage. " Be patient, there- 
fore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord." There is the 
remedy. But must we stay so long ? He thus repeateth his 
advice : ie Be ye also patient : stablish your hearts ; for the 
coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Let your moderation be 
known to all men ; the Lord is at hand." (Phil. iv. 5.) " Shall 
not God avenge his own elect, that cry night and day unto 
him, though he bear long with them ? I tell you that he will 
avenge them speedily." (Luke xviii. 7> 8.) There is no contra- 
diction between crying long and avenging speedily. 

5. Consider what compassion, rather than reproach, you owe 
to those by whom you suffer. They do themselves much more 
hurt than they do you. Are they great ? They have the more 
to answer for, and their fall will be the greater. (James v. 1 — 3.) 
If you are yourselves believers, go into the sanctuary, and ask 
the Scriptures what will be their end ; and then deny them 
compassion if you can. Alas ! consider they are, at the worst, 
but such as you were formerly yourselves as to the main, Paul 
makes a sad confession of his own persecution of the church, 
when he was before Agrippa, and cloth not complain that he was 
himself so hardly used. "I verily thought," saith he, "with 
myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of 
Jesus, Many of the saints I shut up in prison (little thinking 
that they were saints) ; I gave my voice against them, I pu- 
nished them oft in every synagogue ; and being exceedingly 
mad against them, I persecuted them." (Acts xxvi, 9 — 12.) He 
would not tell Agrippa that he was mad, but he might speak 
more freely of himself. Oh ! Sirs, pity poor men who have 
the temptations of worldly greatness and prosperity, and must 
go through a camel's eye if they will come to heaven ; who 
stand so high that sun and wind have the greatest force upon 
them ; who see so much vanity, and little serious exemplary 
piety ; who hear so much flattery and falsehood, and so little 
necessary truth, saith Seneca, " Divites cum omnia habeant, 
unum illis deest; scilicet, qui verum dicat : si enini in cliente-r 

g2 



84 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

lam fyelicis hominis potentumquc perveneris, aut Veritas, aut 
amicitia perdenda est/' If you were in their places, you know not 
how far you might be prevailed upon against yourselves. If little 
temptations can make you miscarry in your places so oft and 
foully as you do, what would you do if you had the strongest 
baits of the world, and allurements of the flesh, and the most 
dangerous temptations that Satan could assault you with ? 
Have you not seen of late before your eyes, how low some have 
fallen from high professions, and how shamefully the most pro- 
mising persons have miscarried, that were lifted up and put to 
the trial of such temptations of prosperity as they had never 
been used to before ? Oh ! pity those that have such dangerous 
trials to pass through, and be thankful that you stand on safer 
ground ; and do not cruelly envy them their perils, nor reproach 
them for their falls, but pray, and daily pray, for their recovery. 

6. Consider this speaking evil of those by whom you suffer, 
hath too much of selfishness and corrupted nature in it to be 
good. If another suffered as you do, and you were ad- 
vanced as another is, would not you speak more mildly then ? 
Or, if not so, yet the proneness of nature to break out into re- 
viling words, though .it were for religion and for God, doth 
intimate to you that it hath a suspicious root. Do you find it 
as easy to be meek and patient, and forgive a wrong, and love 
an enemy ? Take heed lest you serve Satan in vindicating the 
cause of God. It is an unfit way of serving God, to do it by 
breaking his commands. Read seriously the description of a 
contentious, hurtful, foul-tongued zeal, in James iii., and then 
tell me what thanks Christ will give you for it. The two great 
disciples, James and John, thought it would have notably 
honoured Christ, and curbed the raging spirit of the ungodly, 
if he would have let them call for fire from heaven, to consume 
a town that refused to receive him. But doth Christ encourage 
their destroying zeal ? No ; but he tells them, " Ye know not 
what spirit ye are of." They little knew how unlike to the 
tender, merciful, healing spirit of Christ that fiery hurting spirit 
was, that provoked them to that desire, nor how unpleasing 
their temper was to Christ. This is the very case of many 
thousand Christians that are yet young, and green, and harsh, 
and have not attained to that mellowness, and sweetness, and 
measure of charity, that is in grown, experienced Christians. 
They think their passions and desires of some plagues on the 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 85 

contemners of the gospel, are acceptable to God, and blame 
the charitable as too cold, when they little know what spirit it 
is that raiseth that storm in them, and how unlike, and unac- 
ceptable it is to Christ. Were you as zealous to serve all others 
in love, and to stoop to their feet for their salvation, and to 
become all things lawful to all men, that you may win some, 
this saving zeal would be pleasing to your Lord, who comes to 
do the work of a physician, and not of the soldier, to save, and 
not to destroy, and therefore most approves of those that serve 
him most diligently in his saving work. 

7. Lastly, consider, your passions and evil speakings will but 
increase your suffering, and make it seem just, if otherwise it 
were unjust. If you are not meek, you have not the promise 
of inheriting the earth. (Matt. v. 5.) If you honour not your 
parents or superiors, you have not the promise that your " days 
shall be long in the land." And your evil speaking will make 
men conclude that you would do evil if you could and durst; as 
it is said to be Zoilus's answer, when he was asked why he spoke 
evil of Plato, and such worthy men, " Quoniam malum facere 
cum velim non possum— ^Because I would do them hurt and 
cannot." Give not occasion for such a charge. 

Finally, " Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of 
another : love as brethren : be pitiful : be courteous : not ren- 
dering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but, contrariwise, 
blessing, knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should 
inherit a blessing ; for he that will love life, and see good days, 
let him refrain his tongue from evil." (1 Peter iii. 8 — 11.) "But 
if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye : and be not 
afraid of their terror, nor be troubled." (ver. 14.) 

But I suppose you will here say, f Is it not lawful to call a 
spade a spade ? Is not a wo against them that call evil good ? 
May not a man speak of the hurtful crimes of others ?' I an- 
swer, first, Yes, when, as a magistrate, a minister, or a brother, 
you have just cause to tell them of it lovingly, though plainly, 
to their faces, in order to their recovery: secondly, and when 
you have a just call to speak of it to others, either in seeking 
justice, or in charity and mercy, for the preservation of those that 
else will be more hurt by the silencing of men's faults, than you 
do hurt by mentioning them. 

But, 1. You may not slander men as guilty of what indeed 
they are not. 

2. You may not make men's faults seem worse than they are. 



8() THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

3i You must endeavour the good of the person as much as 
you can, while you blame the sin. 

4. You must not mention men's faults without a call ; unless 
the good of himself or others do require it. 

5. You must not do it with a revengeful mind) for personal 
injuries. 

6. You must manifest love and compassion in all. 

7. You must difference between reigning sins, and human 
frailties ; and between a course of sin and an unusual fall ; and 
between a sin repented of, and not repented of ; and must 
censure but as you find God censure in his word. 

8. You must be more ready to speak of the good that is in 
the same men as you have a call, than of the evil ; and not 
maliciously stick only in the galled place. 

9. Let it be as far as may be to his face. 

10. Let it be according to the common rule of equity. Do 
as you would be done by. Not measuring your duty to 
others, by a corrupt impatience of bearing such yourselves ; 
but speaking nothing for matter or manner to another, which 
you would think unmeet to be spoken to you, if you were in his 
case. 

11. And especially be tender of the honour of superiors, yea, 
though they were evil, and do you wrong. 

12. And foresee the consequence, whether your words are 
not like to do more hurt than good. 

And if still you think that sufferings will justify reviling, con- 
tumelious complaints, consider these two causes of your 
mistake. 

1. You make a great matter of a little one. As there is not 
so great good in the prosperity of the flesh, as worldlings think; 
so neither is there so great evil in the loss of it ; what great 
harm is poverty, imprisonment, reproach, or death ? Nay, you 
have a promise that all shall work together for your good. 
(Rom. viii. 28.) 

2. You make a strange matter of that which is the ordinary 
condition of believers, to be hated of all men ; to have all man- 
ner of evil spoken falsely of you ; to be persecuted from one 
city to another ; to be killed all the day long, and counted as 
sheep to the slaughter. Do these seem strange matters to you ? 
Did you never read or hear the Gospel ? nor know the terms 
of Christ till now ? Did you never read of forsaking all for 
Christ, if indeed you would be his disciples ? Did you never 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 87 

count what it must cost you to be saved ? Did you not renounce 
the world and the flesh in your baptismal, oft-renewed covenant, 
(1 Peter iv. 12, 13.) "Beloved, think it not strange concerning 
the fiery trial, as if some strange thing happened to you ; but 
rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufTerings.' , 
And will you think so strange of smaller matters, as to think 
they excuse your impatience, and evil speeches ? 

By this time you may see, if you are willing to see, that all 
among us that are not real saints, are hypocrites, if they profess 
themselves Christians and the servants of God \ and that mise- 
rable, ungodly souls, that call such hypocrites, as are more dili- 
gent than themselves for their salvation, do but discover their 
ignorance and malignity, and condemn themselves in betraying 
their hypocrisy, while they reproach the practice of the same 
christian religion which themselves profess ; and the obedience 
to that Scripture which they confess, themselves, to be the word 
of God. All the profane, and unsanctified among us, that call 
themselves Christians, are certainly hypocrites. And for the 
godly it is the very same religion, that is professed by them and 
you ; it is the same engagement and vow that you all made to 
God in baptism ; and suffer but reason impartially to tell you, 
when two men have entered the same covenant, and one never 
mindeth it so as to keep it ; and the other makes it his chiefest 
care ; which of these is like to be the dissembler in his cove^ 
n ant ? When two men profess themselves the servants of God, 
and as such place their hopes in heaven, and one of them makes 
a jest of sin, and serveth the flesh and world which he hath re- 
nounced, and hates those that diligently serve the Lord ; and 
the other maketh it the principal care and business of his life to 
serve and please him, insomuch as he is reproached for it, as 
making more ado about it than he needs ; which Of these are 
hypocrites, and which are serious, in the performing of their 
covenants, and living according to their profession ? If two 
servants promise to do your work, and one labour as hard as he 
can, and the other sit down and deride him for making so much 
ado, which was it that played the hypocrite in his promise ? If 
diligence in God's service be a sign of hypocrisy, then promise- 
keeping is hypocrisy, and promise-breaking is sincerity ; and 
then you may transfer the case to God, who will be the rewarder 
of them only that diligently seek him. (Heb. xi. 6\) And say that 
it is his faithfulness to break his promises, and his unfaithfulness 
to keep them. But who will spend words on such impious 



88 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

absurdities ? so gross, that the devil would [have showed him- 
self a fool to vent them, if he had not made his followers such 
fools as to believe them. But for the faithful servants of the 
Lord, let them know, that they must serve him on such terms ; 
they must live above the judgment and reputation of this world; 
and be content that God, the searcher of hearts, shall be their 
judge, who knoweth both sincerity and hypocrisy ; and will 
bring forth their righteousness as the light. Christians, you 
must not only be sincere, but also patiently expect to be ac- 
counted hypocrites, and pointed at as the only dissemblers of 
the world ; you must not only be honest, but patiently expect 
to be accounted dishonest. You must not only be wise and 
sober, but patiently expect to be accounted fools and madmen. 
You must not be liberal, charitable, and contemners of the 
world, but patiently expect to be called covetous, even though 
you give away all that you have. You must not only be chaste 
and temperate ; but also patiently expect to be defamed as in- 
continent and licentious, and as Christ was called, a wine-bibber, 
a friend of publicans and sinners. A minister must not only lay 
out himself wholly for the saving of men's souls, and spend him- 
self and all that he hath on his Master's work; but also patiently 
expect to be accounted unfaithful, covetous, and negligent, and 
murmured at by almost all whose unreasonable desires he doth 
not answer, and be censured by almost all whose wills and 
humours he doth not fulfil 5 and that is, most, that have a self 
that ruleth at home, and, therefore, they think should be the 
idol of others, as it is their own ; and that are but unacquainted 
with the reasons of those things that do displease them. It is 
little comfort to us to do good, if we cannot bear the estimation 
of doing evil, and cannot lose all the observation, acknowledg- 
ment and applause of man, as if we had never done the good at 
all. It is far from christian perfection to be honest, and godly, 
and sincere, if we must needs be accounted to be as we are, 
and cannot patiently be esteemed dishonest, ungodly, and 
hypocritical ; and be judged worst when we are best ; what 
have the servants of Christ lost their lives for in flames, and by 
other sorts of torments, but for the best of their service, and 
greatest of their piety and fidelity? When dogs bark at pas- 
sengers, commonly it signifieth but two things, namely, that they 
are persons they know not, or that they hate ; but it is no sign 
that the persons are bad, or poor, or sick; for be they never so 
bad and miserable, if they know them, and love them, the dogs 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 89 

will not bark at them. See that thou be not an hypocrite, 
and then it must be accounted a small matter by thee, to be 
called an hypocrite; yea, if persons that fear God themselves 
shall so esteem thee, it is no other affliction but what thou must 
be armed for, and patiently undergo. Even from the godly, 
through mistake, we often suffer most for our greatest duties, 
and are censured most for that which God and conscience most 
approve us for ; and lose our reputations for that which God 
would be greatly offended with us if we did otherwise. As ever 
then you would not prove yourselves hypocrites, see that you 
look not for the hypocrite's reward, as Christ calls it, Matt. vi. 
2, which is, to be approved of men ; be they good or bad men, 
their overvalued applause may be but the hypocrite's reward. To 
be content and patient in doing well, and being judged to do ill, 
and being good, and being judged to be bad, is the property of 
him that is sincere indeed; therefore, to be unthankfully re- 
quited and reviled, and spit upon, and buffeted, and shamefully 
used and put to death, even by those whose lives and souls he 
had, with greatest care and condescension, pitied, this was the 
pattern of love and self-denial that was set us by our Lord. 
And though we cannot reach his measure, and distempered 
Christians find much struggling before they can bring themselves 
to patience, under such ingratitude and unworthy usage from 
the world, especially from their mistaken froward brethren, yet, 
in some prevailing measure, it must be done. For he that can- 
not serve God without the hypocrite's reward, is but an hypo- 
crite. If he will not be a Christian, obedient, charitable, dili- 
gent, faithful, for heaven and the pleasing of God alone, he is 
not a Christian indeed. And, alas, what a pitiful reward is it, 
to be thought well of, and applauded by the tongues of mortal 
men ! How few were ever the more holy by applause ! But 
thousands have been hurt, if not undone, by it. Thou givest all 
thou hast to the poor : thou spendest thyself wholly, and all 
that thou hast, for the service of God, and the good of others ; 
it is well ; it must be so. But, after all, thou art censured, slan- 
dered, vilified, and unthankfully and unmannerly used. And what 
of that ? what harm dost thou fear by it ? What advantage thy 
pride and selfishness might have taken, even by due applause 
and thankfulness, it is easy to perceive. But now the temptation 
is taken out of thy way ; thou art secluded from all creature-com- 
forts ; and so art directed, and almost forced, to look up to the 
love of God alone ; now thou hast no other reward before thee, it 



90 THE VAIN RELIGION OF 

is easier to look singly on the saints' reward. When God hath 
no competitor, to whom else canst thou turn thy thoughts ? 
when all others abuse thee, it is easier to have recourse to him. 
When earth will scarce afford thee any quiet habitation, thou 
wilt surely look to heaven for rest. 

Thus much I thought meet to interpose here for the confir- 
mation of the sincere, on occasion of the world's unjust accusa- 
tions ; and so to persuade them to be satisfied in the portion of 
the sincere. I now return again to the self-deceiver. 

And here I shall conclude all with these two requests to you, 
which, as one that foreseeth the approaching misery of self- 
deceivers, I earnestly entreat you, for the sake of your immortal 
souls, that you will not deny me. The first \s, that you will be 
now but as willing to try yourselves, as I have been to help you ; 
and as diligent and faithful when you are alone, in calling your 
own hearts to a close examination, as I have been to hold the 
light here to you. O refuse not, delay not, to withdraw your- 
selves sometimes from the world, and set yourselves as before 
the eye of God, and there bethink yourselves whether you have 
been what you have vowed and professed to be ! And whether that 
God hath been dearest to your hearts, and obeyed in your lives, 
and desired as your happiness, who hath been confessed and 
honoured with your lips ? Consider therefore, that God judgeth 
not as man ; nor will he think ever the better of you, for think- 
ing well of yourselves. And that there must go more to prove 
your approbation with God, than commonly goes to keep up your 
reputation in the world. The religion that serveth to honour 
you before men, and to deceive yourselves, will never serve to 
please the Lord and save your souls. And the day is at hand 
when nothing but God can give you comfort, and when self- 
deceivers will become, everlastingly, self-tormentors. O there- 
fore go willingly and presently to the word, to your lives, and 
hearts, and consciences, and try yourselves, and try again, and 
that with moderate suspicion, that in so great a business you 
may not be deceived, and be self-deceivers. 

2. My second request is, that if you do discover, or but 
justly suspect yourselves of hypocrisy and self-deceit, you would 
stick there no longer, but presently change your vain religion, 
your seemings and formalities, for the power of godliness and 
sincerity of heart. 

But I suppose that some of you will say, there lies the diffi- 
culty. O that we could do it ! But how should it be done ? 



THE FORMAL HYPOCR1TK. 91 

I answer : if thou really be willing to be above hypocrisy, 
and a vain religion, the cure is half wrought, at least ; and I 
will not tire thee now with many, but help and try thee by these 
few, directions. 

In general, be what thou hast promised and vowed to be, in 
thy baptism, and what thou still dost profess to be, a Chris- 
tian, and it will serve thy turn : what that is, I have told you 
before. 

More particularly. Direct. 1. Deliberately renew thy cove- 
nant with God : and wish a grieved heart, bewailing that thou 
hast been a covenant-breaker, give up thyself presently to God 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; as thy Creator, Redeemer, 
and Sanctifier, thy Owner, thy Ruler, and thy Father. 

2. Renounce sincerely the devil, the world, and the flesh, and 
be at a point with all below ; and quit all conceits and hopes 
of felicity, or rest, on earth t and absolutely devote and resign thy- 
self, and all thou hast, to the will and service of thy Lord, without 
any secret exceptions or reserves. This is the property and plague 
of hypocrites, that secretly they have exceptions and reserves in 
giving up themselves to God. They will follow him, except it 
would disgrace them, or undo them, in the world ; he shall have 
all, provided the flesh may not be too much pinched* That is, 
in plain English, they take him not for God, but for a second 
to themselves and the world, and will give him but what the 
flesh can spare. 

3. Fix the eye of lively faith of God upon the everlasting 
joys, and there take up thy whole reward, and look for no 
other. Quit all expectations of a reward from men. Let it 
seem a small thing to thee, what any mortal man shall think 
or speak of thee ; unless as God's honour or interest is con- 
cerned in thine. I have told you before, he is an hypocrite that 
will not be godly without the hypocrite's reward; and that can 
sail no further than he is moved by the wind of man's applause, 
or some other worldly end. 

4. Stick not in any externals of religion, nor in notions and 
barren, ineffectual opinions. So far art thou religious, as 
thy soul is engaged unto God, and thy life employed for him ; 
and so far thou dost truly worship him as thy heart is drawn up 
to him in love, and as thou dost fear him, admire him, trust him, 
and take thy pleasure in him. Think not, that it is a saving 
religiousness, to be of such or such an opinion, or such a party, 
or such a church, or to say over so many words or prayers, or 



92 THE VAIN KELTGION OF 

to keep a task of outward duties, or to be of a ready, voluble 
tongue, in preaching, prayer, or discourse, religion lieth in the 
heart and life. 

5. Indulge not thyself in one known sin. Retain no gross 
or wilful sin. Plead for no infirmity, but make it the business 
of thy life to extirpate the relics of the body of death. Be 
willing of the most searching word, and of the plainest reproof, 
and of the help thou canst get against so dangerous an enemy. 

6. Stint not thyself in any low degree of holiness ; but love, 
and long, and strive, after the highest. If thou bear a secret 
core of distaste against those that outgo thee, it is a mortal sign. 
Thou must be perfect in desire, or thou art not sincere. 

7. Walk always as in the presence of the holy, dreadful, 
heart-searching God : remember that he seeth thy ends, thine 
affections, and all thy thoughts. Be the same, therefore, in secret 
as thou art in public ; sincerely search the word of God, and 
know what it is that he would have, and that resolve on, if all 
the world should be against it. Unresolvedness is hypocrisy ; and 
temporizing, or "following the greater side, for the security of the 
flesh, is no better. Never think that thou canst be too holy or 
too obedient. But make it thy study to do God all the service 
that thou canst, whatever suffering or cost it put thee to. Be 
not ashamed openly to own the cause of Christ. In the pre- 
sence of the greatest, remember that thy Master is so much the 
greater, that they are worms and vanity to him. Take heed 
of culling out the easy and cheap part of religion, and laying 
by the difficult and dear. Thy religion must be as the heart 
in thy breast, which is always working, and by which thou livest; 
which cannot stop long, but thou wilt die. But the hypocrite's 
religion is like the hat upon his head, for ornament and shelter 
from the weather, and not for life : in the night when none 
seeth him he can lie without it ; and in the day he can put it 
off for the sake of a friend, and perhaps stand bare in the pre- 
sence of a greater person that expecteth it. So can the hypo- 
crite too often dispense with his religion. 

8. Be hearty and serious in all thou doest. Hear, and read, 
and pray, as for thy life. Sincerity consisteth much in serious- 
ness. Remember that thou art almost at another world ! While 
I am speaking, and thou art hearing, we are both hastening to 
our endless state. O how should men live on earth, that must 
live here for so short a time, and must live for ever in heaven 
or hell ! these things are true, and past all question : and there- 



THE FORMAL HYPOCRITE. 93 

fore, for your souls' sake, lose not heaven by trifling. Pray not 
in jest, and resist not sin in jest, lest you be damned in good sad- 
ness. When you are at work for eternity, it is time to do it 
with all your might. O what inconceivable mercies are now 
offered to you ! O what an excellent price is in your hands ! 
And nothing is so likely to deprive you of the benefit, as dream- 
ing and dallying, when you should be up and doing ; as if 
this were not your business, but your play ; and salvation and 
damnation were matters of sport ! O do but set yourselves to 
the pleasing of God, and the saving of your souls with all your 
might, and ply it with diligence as your chiefest work, and then 
you are out of the danger of the hypocrite ! But if still you 
will give the world the pre-eminence, and your flesh must be 
pleased, and your prosperity secured, and God must have but 
compliments, or the leavings, your misery is at hand, and 
vengeance shall undeceive those hearts that would not be unde- 
ceived by the word. And you shall remember, to the increase 
of your anguish, that you were told this day, that your seeming, 
trifling religion would prove vain. But I beseech you, as you 
are men, as you love your souls, dismiss us with some better 
hopes; and now resolve to be downright Christians. Which, 
as I have begged of you, I shall now beg of God. 



THE 

FOOL'S PROSPERITY; 

A SERMON 

PREACHED AT COVENT GARDEN: 

PUBLISHED UPON OCCASION OF SOME OFFENCE AND 

MISREPORTS. 



THE 

FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 



PROV. i. 32, 33. 



For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the 
prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearken- 
eth unto me, shall be quiet from fear of evil. 

The bounteous offers and vehement exhortations of Christy here 
in this chapter, were accompanied with a foresight and predic- 
tion of their rejection, by many : yet doth not that prevent the 
offers and exhortations; but occasion the prediction of the 
calamity of the refusers. God will not go out of his way, be- 
cause the ungodly will not walk with him. He will do the part 
of a righteous Governor, though he foresee that men will not do 
the part of obedient subjects. But his primary end shall be 
attained upon the righteous, in the successes of his grace, as 
his secondary end shall be upon the disobedient, in the honour 
of his vindictive justice. This is the sense of the words which 
I have now read to you. Which, 1. Describe the ungodly. 
1. By their present way of sin. 2. And by their future state 
of misery. Their sin is described by: 1. The occasion. 2. 
The act. 3. The habit. Prosperity and ease is the occasion : 
turning away from God, and rejecting his counsel, is the act ; 
and folly, or simplicity, is part of the habit. Simplicity is here 
taken for sinful foolishness, and not, as it is often, for com- 
mendable sincerity. Whether you read it, the turning away, 
or the ease, of the simple, it is all one as to the scope and use 
that I shall now make of it, both being included as to the sense 
in the other words. Folly is mentioned both as the cause of 
their abuse of prosperity, and as the effect of prosperity so 
abused. Because they are fools, they turn God's mercies to 
their own destruction: and because they prosper, they are 
confirmed in their folly. 

2. The words describe the godly. 1 . By their obedience ; 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 97 

they " hearken unto Christ." 2. By their privilege or reward ; 
they u shall dwell safely, and be quiet from fear of evil." 

We shall begin with the first, and show you, 1. That it is 
so, that " the prosperity of fools destroyeth them." 2. How folly 
and prosperity concur to their destruction ; or how prosperity 
befooleth and destroyeth them. 3. How we should all improve 
this truth to our best advantage. 

I. Scripture and experience concur in proving the truth of 
the conclusion. 

1. Though God tell us in his word of a difficulty that all 
must conquer that will be saved, yet it is a greater, extraordi- 
nary difficulty that he tells us of, as to the rich and prosperous 
in the world ; such a difficulty as is pathetically expressed by 
this interrogation, (Luke xviii. 24;) " How hardly shall they that 
have riches enter into the kingdom of God ! " Such a difficulty 
as is expressed by his proverbial comparison ; (v. 25 ;) " For 
it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a 
rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. " Such a difficulty 
as cast the hearers into admiration, and made them ask, (v. 26,) 
" Who then can be saved? " Such a difficulty as is to man an 
impossibility, (v. 27,) and leaves only this hope that, " Things 
are possible to God, that are impossible to man." 

2. And though it is said of men indefinitely that it is but 
few that shall be saved ; yet is it noted of the rich and prosper- 
ous that it is few of them among those few, or few in compari- 
son of other sorts of men, that shall be saved ; (Job vii. 48 ;) 
u Have any of the Rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him }" 
(1 Cor. i. 26 ;) " For ye see your calling, brethren, how th?*t not 
many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many 
noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of 
the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the 
weak things of the world to confound the things which are 
mighty ; and base things of the world, and things which 
are despised, hath God chosen; yea, and things that are 
not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should 
glory in his presence.'"' And therefore Scripture speaketh 
in such general language, as if salvation had been almost 
appropriated to the poor, and the rich had been excluded, be- 
cause of the rarity of their salvation ; (Luke vi. 24, 25 ;) " But 
wo unto vou that are rich ! for ye have received your consola- 
tion : wo unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger: wo 
unto you that laugh now ! for ye shall mourn and weep," (Jam. 

VOL. xvn. u 



98 THE FOOr/s PROSPERITY. 

ii. 5, (5.) " Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen 
the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom 
which he hath promised to them that love him ? But ye have 
despised the poor, Do not rich men oppress you, and draw 
you before the judgment seats ? Do they not blaspheme that 
worthy name by the which ye are called ?" And therefore when 
Christ would describe a wicked, miserable man, he doeth it in 
these words, (Luke xvi. 19,) " There was a certain rich man 
which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sump- 
tuously everyday." And, (Luke xii. 16, 19;) " The ground 
of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully," &c. And when 
he would describe a godlv, happy man, he doeth it under the 
name of Lazarus. (Luke xvi. 20.) Judge now by the success, 
as it is discovered in the Scripture, what good prosperity doth 
to fools. 

I might turn you to David's observations in Psalm xxxvii. and 
lxxiii. | and mind you why it is that Christ himself went before 
us in a state of chosen poverty ; (2 Cor. viii. 9 ;) and why his 
disciples followed him in this tract ; and why he called them 
so much to deny and forsake the riches of the world, and tried 
them so oft by selling all, and following him in hopes of a hea- 
venly reward. But the point is evident in what is said in my 
text, and these annexed testimonies. 

2. But yet to make you more apprehensive of it, I shall 
adjoin the testimony of experience : and tell me whether pro- 
sperity be not the. destruction of fools, when vou have noted the 
fruits of it, in these few observations. 

1. Where do you find less serious care and labour for salva- 
tion than among the prosperous great ones of the world ? What 
abundance of them are dead-hearted, senseless, disregarders of 
everlasting things ! What abundance of them are of no reli- 
gion, but the custom of their country and the will of their 
superiors, which are their Bible, their law and gospel, and their 
creed ! What abundance of them are addicted to that wor- 
ship which Christ pronounceth vain, which is measured by the 
traditions of men, and consisteth merely in ceremonious shows ! 
How few of them are acquainted with the spiritual worship of 
that God who, being a Spirit, can accept no worship but what 
is spiritual. Alas ! poor souls, they drown their reason in sen- 
suality, and are fed as for the slaughter, and think not seriously 
whither they are going till prosperity hath ceased to deceive 
them, and Satan is content to let them see that they have lost 



the fool's prosperity. 99 

and he hath won the game. They are of the religion described 
by the apostle, (1 Tim. vi. 5,) that taketh gain for godliness; 
but if godliness must go for gain, they will have none. To op- 
press their tenants, and devour widows' houses, and cloak it 
with a long pharisaical lip-service, or wipe their mouths with 
some customary complimentary prayers, and offer God to be a 
sharer in the prey, this is the commonest religion of the rich. 
But they cannot endure to be so pure as to devote themselves 
to God in that pure and undefiled religion which visiteth the 
fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keepeth men un- 
spotted from the world. (James i. 27.) What houses or com- 
pany can you go into, where religion is more bitterly derided, 
more proudly vilified, more slanderously reproached, or more 
ingeniously abused and opposed, than among the rich and full- 
fed worldlings ? 

And if there be here and there a person fearing God among 
them, he passeth for a rarity or wonder. And a little religion 
goes a great way, and is applauded and admired as eminent 
sanctity, in persons of the higher rank. If a poor man or 
woman dwell, as it were, in heaven, and walk with God, and 
think, and speak, and live by rule, it is scarce regarded; po- 
verty, or want of a voluble tongue, or the mixtures of unavoid- 
able frailties, or some imprudent passages that come from the 
want of a more polishing culture and education, doth make 
their piety but matter of jesting and reproach to the Dives of 
the world ; but if a lord, or knight, or lady, have but half their 
piety, humility, and obedience to God, how excellent are they 
in their orb ! Nay, if they do but countenance religion, and 
befriend the servants of the Lord, and observe a course of cold 
performances, with the mixture of such sins for which a poor 
man should be almost excommunicate, what excellent religious 
persons are they esteemed ? 

2. What families are worse ordered, and have less of serious 
piety, than the rich? If our splendid gallants should be desired 
to call their families constantly to prayer ; to instruct them all 
in the matters of salvation; to teach them the word of God 
with that diligence as is commanded, Deut. vi. 11, and to help 
them all in their preparations for death and judgment; to cate- 
chise them, and take an account of their proficiency, to curb 
profaneness and excess; and to say, with Joshua, (xxiv. 15,) 
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord;" how 
strange and precise a course would it seem to them ! Should 

h 2 



100 THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 

they purge their families of ungodly servants, and imitate 
David, (Psalm ci,) that would not let the wicked dwell in his 
sight; should they spend the Lord's days in as serious endeavours 
for the spiritual benefit of their families and themselves, as poor 
men do that fear the Lord, what wonders of piety would they seem ! 

3. In their entertainments, visitations, and converse, how rare 
is serious, holy conference among them ! How seldom do you 
hear them remembering their guests and companions of the 
presence of the Holy God, of the necessity of renewing, con- 
firming, and assisting grace ; of the riches of Christ revealed in 
the gospel ; of the endless life of joy or misery which is at 
hand. How seldom do you hear them seriously assisting each 
other in the examining of their hearts, and making their calling 
and election sure, and preparing for the day of death and judg- 
ment ! A word or two in private with some zealous minister 
or friend, is almost all the pious conference that shall be heard 
from some of the better sort of them. Should they discourse 
as seriously of the life to come, and the preparation necessary 
thereto, as they do about the matters of this life, they would mar 
the mirth and damp the pleasure of the company, and be taken 
for self-conceited hypocrites, or men of an unnecessary strictness 
and austerity, inconsistent with the jocund lepidity and sensual 
kind of delight wherewith they expect to be entertained. The 
honest, heart-warming, heavenly discourse that is usual among 
poor serious Christians, would seem, at the tables of most of our 
great ones, but an unseasonable interruption of their more na- 
tural and acceptable kind of converse. 

4. What men do more carelessly cast away their precious 
time than these Dives do ? They think they have a license to 
be idle and unprofitable, because they are rich ; that is, to 
abuse or hide their talents, because they have more than other 
men; forgetting that, to whom much is given, of them shall 
much be required. Because they have no poverty or family 
necessities to constrain them to a laborious life, they think they 
may lawfully take their ease, and live as drones on other men's 
labours, as if they owed nothing to God or the commonwealth, 
but all to their own flesh. Their morning hours, which are most 
seasonable for meditation, and holy addresses unto God, and the 
works of their calling, are, perhaps, consumed in excess of sleep : 
the next are wasted in long attiring and curious adorning of 
their flesh ; from thence they pass to vain discourse, to needless 
recreations, to eating and drinking, and so to their vain talk and 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 101 

recreations again, and thence to the replenishing of their bellies, 
and so to sleep : and thus the words of the fool, that Christ de- 
scribeth in Luke xii. 19, are turned by them into deeds, and it 
is the language of their sensual lives; "Soul, thou hast much 
goods laid up for many years \ take thine ease, eat, drink, and 
be merry." Sleeping and sporting, and jesting, and idle talk- 
ing, and eating and drinking, and dressing and undressing, with 
worldly cares and passions intermixed, are the very business 
and employment of their lives. Thus contemptuously do they 
waste their precious hours, while God stands by, and time makes 
haste, and death draws near, and their miserable souls are un- 
prepared, and heaven or hell are hard at hand ; and this is all 
the time of preparation that ever shall be allowed them. O do 
but look on these distracted, piteous souls that have but a 
short, uncertain life to provide for a life that hath no end, and 
see how they forget or senselessly remember the matters of 
infinite concernment ! See how they trifle away that time that 
never will return ! How they sport and prate away those hours 
which shortly they would recal, were it possible, with the loud- 
est cries, or recover with the dearest price ! When they know 
not but, in a laughter, or a merry jest, their breath may be stop- 
ped by an arrest from heaven ; or justice may surprise their 
miserable, unready souls with the cards in their hands, or the 
cup at their mouths, when they have not the least assurance of 
being out of hell an hour, and yet can sell this time for no- 
thing, and basely cast it away on toys, which is all that ever 
they shall have to prevent everlasting misery, or to procure 
everlasting joy. Stand by a while, and hearken to the discourse 
of sensual gallants, and mark how days and weeks are spent, 
and then tell whether the prosperity of such fools be not made 
the occasion of befooling and destroying them ? 

5. What men in the world do live so sensual a life as rich 
and prosperous worldlings live ? the difference between the 
sanctified and the unsanctified, the children of God and of the 
devil, is, that one of them liveth after the Spirit, and the other 
liveth after the flesh, as in Romans viii. to ver. 14, you may 
read at large. And how few of these Dives do think the damn- 
ing sin of flesh-pleasing to be any sin in them at all ? If they 
do not eat till they are sick, or drink till they are drunk, their 
consciences scarce control them in their voluptuousness : they 
never well understood the meaning of such passages as these ; 
(Rom. xiii. 14 ;) "Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the 
(desires or) lusts thereof." (Rom. viii. 13.) "If ye live after the 



102 THE FOOl/s I'KOSPKMTY. 

flesh ye shall die." (1 Cor. ix. 27.) "I keep under my body and 
bring it into subjection," &c. They understand not how far the 
flesh is their enemy; or else (as they have verbally renounced 
it) they would use it as an enemy. 

6. In their prosperity these fools have not the wit to love or 
bear the means of their preservation or recovery. They have 
the sorest maladies, and are most impatient of the remedies. 
They are in the stream of temptations, and have greater need 
of help than others ; and yet there is none that reject it with 
more contempt and pride. Plain-dealing preachers, which honest 
humble souls delight in, do seem intolerable saucy fellows to 
these sons of pride. If we tell them but of the sin that God 
hath most plainly condemned in his word, or of the judgment 
which he hath there denounced, aud make the most prudent 
and modest application of it unto them, we seem to wrong 
them, and stir up their pride and enmity against us, and pro- 
voke them to slanderous recriminations, or revenge. It troubles 
them not to commit it, or to keep it, but to hear of it ; and they 
take us to be more faulty for admonishing them of it, than them- 
selves for being guilty of it. Though we are by office the mes- 
sengers of Christ, that will tell them of it shortly to their faces, 
and fear not the proudest son of Belial, yet are they too 
stout to be admonished by such as we, but reject our message 
with hatred and disdain. And, indeed, it is a wonder of mercy 
that the prevalency of this impatient guilt and malice hath not, 
ere this, turned plain and faithful preaching into some toothless 
formalities, or homilies, and silenced the preachers for the 
security of the offenders ; and expelled the physicians lest they 
displease the sick. The Lord still prevent it. If we tell them 
with the greatest caution but of the necessary truths, without 
which a sinful soul is never like to be humbled or saved, we are 
taken to be turbulent, and injurious to the ease or honour of 
these auditors. They must hear of the necessity of regenera- 
tion and holiness, and of the weight and worth of things eternal, 
and yet they cannot bear to hear it. They must have heart- 
searching and heart-breaking truths, in a searching, awakening 
manner, brought home to them, if ever they will be saved by 
them ; but they cannot endure it. The surgeon is intolerable 
that would search their sores ; and yet there is no other way to 
heal them. Alas ! the heart of man is so hard, that all the skill 
and industry of the preacher can scarce sufficiently sharpen and 
set home the truth that it may enter ; but nothing that is sharp 
can be endured bv these tender «ouK Such language as Christ 



the fool's PROSPERITY. 10t3 

and his prophets and apostles used, doth seem too rough for 
silken ears. Their honour must not be blotted with the men- 
tion of their odious sins, and deplorable misery. To be a glut- 
ton, or a drunkard, or a wanton, or a filthy fornicator, or a 
malicious Cain, they can endure \ but to be told, " Thou art 
the man," though it be in secret, and with love and tenderness, 
they cannot bear. The minister is thought to wrong them that 
shall secretly and faithfully admonish them, and tell them truly 
what will be the end : but Christ will execute all his threaten- 
ings, and make them feel what now they hear, and yet con- 
strain them to confess that he doth not wrong them. We 
wrong them now, if we tell a gentleman of his impiety, and 
sensuality, and pride, and of his vilifying precious time, and 
casting it away on cards, and idleness, and unprofitable talk; 
yea, though he be so far forsaken of common grace and reason, 
as to hate and deride the serious practice of his own profession, 
and the way that the God of heaven hath prescribed as flatly 
necessary to salvation, yet cannot he endure to hear of his 
enmity against the Lord, nor to be told that he beareth the 
image of the devil, while he is against the image and laws of 
Christ. Should we but privately read a text to them that con- 
demneth them, they are as angry with us as if we made the 
Scripture which we read ; and it were not the word of God, but 
ours. If we tell them that " Without holiness none shall see 
God," (Heb. xii. 14,) and that " Except they be regenerated, 
converted, and become as little children (in humility beginning 
the world anew) they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven/' 
(Matt, xviii. 3 ; John iii. 3. 5, 6,) that " If any man have not 
the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his," (Rom. viii. 6,) or 
that " Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge," (Heb. 
xiii. 4,) and that "The unrighteous, the fornicators, effeminate, 
covetous, extortioners, drunkards, or revilers, shall not inherit 
the kingdom of God," (1 Cor. vi. 9—11 ; Eph. v. 3—6,) they 
think we talk too precisely or presumptuously to them. You 
would think by their proud contempt of his threatenings, and 
their boldness and carelessness in sin, that these silk-worms did 
imagine that they had conquered heaven, and the Righteous 
God were afraid to meddle with them ; or that he would reverse 
his laws, and pervert his judgment for fear of dishonouring or 
offending them. Little do they think how many Dives are now 
in hell. But methinks they might easily believe, that their 
honourable flesh is rotten, and turned to common earth ; and 



104 the fool's prosperity. 

death will make bold to tell them, also, when their turn is come, 
that they have been pampering but a piece of clay ; and that it 
was not worth the loss of heaven, not the suffering of hell, to 
spend so much time, and care, and cost, to feed up a carcass for 
the worms. We must now submissively ask their leave, to tell 
them what God hath said against them. But God will not ask 
them leave to make it good upon the highest, the proudest, and 
most secure of them all; "For God shall wound the head of his 
enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in 
his trespasses." (Psalm lxviii. 21.) "He is not a God that hath 
pleasure in wickedness ; neither shall evil dwell with him. The 
foolish shall not stand in his sight ; he hateth all the workers 
of iniquity." (Psalm v. 3, 4.) The ungodly (that delight not in 
the law of the Lord) are like the chaff that the wind driveth 
away; they shall sit not in judgment, nor sinners in the assem- 
bly of the righteous." (Psalm i.) " The wicked shall be turned 
into hell, and all the nations that forget God/' (Psalm ix. 17.) 
Cannot you endure to hear and consider of these things ? How 
then will you endure to feel them ? God will not flatter you. 
If all your greatness enable you not to repulse the assaults of 
death, nor to chide away the gout or stone ; and all your honour 
and wealth will not cure a fever, or ease you of the toothach; 
how little will it do to save you from the everlasting wrath of 
God ! or to avert his sentence which must shortly pass on all 
that are impenitent ! And yet prosperity so befooleth sensual 
men, that they must hear of none of this; at least not with any 
close and personal application. If you speak as Christ did to 
the Pharisees, (Matt. xxi. 45,) that they perceived that he spake 
of them, they take you for their enemy for telling them the 
truth, (Gal. iv. 16,) and meet our doctrine as Ahab did Elijah 
(2 Kings xxi. 20,) " Hast thou found me, O mine enemy !" and, 
(1 Kings xviii. 17,) " Art thou he that troubleth Israel ?" or as 
the same Ahab of Micaiah, (1 Kings xxii. S,) "There is one 
man (Micaiah) of whom we may inquire of the Lord ; But I 
hate him ; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but 
evil." Or as Amaziah the priest said of Amos to King Jero- 
boam, " He hath'conspired against thee ; the land is not able to 
bear all his words." (Amos vii. 10, 13.) "Prophesy not again 
any more at Bethel ; for it is the king's chapel, and it is the 
king's court." They behave themselves to faithful ministers 
as if it were a part of their inviolable honour and privilege, to 
be mortally sick without the trouble of a physician, and to have 



the fool's prosperity. 105 

nobody tell them that they are out of their way, till it be too late 
or that they are in misery till there be no remedy ; and that 
none should remember them of heaven till they have lost it ; 
nor trouble them in the way to hell, and seek to save them, lest 
he should but torment them before the time. And thus pro- 
sperity makes them willingly deaf and blind, and " turn away 
their ears from the hearing of the law," and then their prayers 
for mercy in their distress are rejected as abominable by the 
Lord. (Prov. i. 24—33 ; xxviii. 9.) 

7. Yea, if there be any persecution raised against the church 
of Christ, who are the chief actors in it, but the prosperous, 
blinded, sensual great ones of the world ? The princes make it 
their petition against Jeremiah to the king ; " We beseech thee 
let this man be put to death : for thus he weakeneth the hands 
of the men of war — and the hands of all the people in speaking 
such words unto them : for this man seeketh not the welfare of 
his people but the hurt." (Jer. xxxviii. 4.) It was the presidents 
and princes that said of Daniel, "We shall not find any occa- 
sion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning 
the law of his God." (Dan. vi. 5.) Were it not lest some mali- 
cious hearer should misapply it, and think I sought to diminish 
the reputation of magistrates, while I show the effects of the 
prosperity of fools, I should give you abundance of such lamenta- 
ble instances, and tell you how commonly the great ones of the 
world have in all ages set themselves, and taken counsel, against 
the Lord and against Christ. (Psal. ii.) And stumbled upon the 
corner-stone, and taken no warning by those that have been 
thus broken in pieces before them. How ready is Herod to 
gratify a wanton dancer with a prophet's head ! In a word, 
as Satan is called the prince of this world, no wonder if he rule 
the men of the world, that have their portion in this life. (Psal. 
xvii. 14.) " And to command his armies, and engage them 
against the servants of the Most High that run not with them 
to the same excess of riot. (1 Pet. iv, 4.) And as James saith (as 
before cited) " Do not the rich oppress you, and draw you 
before the judgment seats ? Do they not blaspheme that worthy 
Name by which you are called ? " (Jam. ii. b', 7.) 

S. And in all this sin and misery how senseless and secure 
are the prosperous fools ! As merry within a year, or month, or 
week of hell, as if no harm were near. How wonderful hard it 
is to convince them of their misery ! The most learned, wise, 
or godly man, or the dearest friend they have in the world, shall 



106 the fool's prosperity. 

not persuade them that their case is such as to need a conver- 
sion and supernatural change. They cannot ahide to take off 
their minds from their sensual delights and vanities, and to 
trouble themselves about the things of life eternal, come on it 
what will ; they are resolved to venture, and please their flesh, and 
enjoy what the world will afford them while they may, till sud- 
denly God surpriseth them with his dreadful call, " Thou fool ! 
this night shall thy soul be required of thee ; then whose shall 
those things be which thou hast provided ? " (Luke xii. 20.) 
" So is he that layeth up riches for himself, and is not rich 
towards God." (v. 21.) 

II. I shall next show you how it is that prosperity thus de- 
stroyeth fools. Briefly, 1. By the pleasing of their sensitive 
appetite and fancy, and so overcoming the power of reason. 
" Perit omne judicium cum res transit in affectum." Violent 
affections hearken not to reason. The beast is made too head- 
strong for the rider. (Deut. xxxii. 15.) " Jerusalem waxed fat, 
and kicked — then he forsook God that made him, and lightly 
esteemed the rock of his salvation." 

2. " The friendship of the world is enmity to God : and if 
any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him." 
(Jam. iv. 4 ; 1 John ii. 15.) And undoubtedly, the more amiable 
the world appears, the more strongly it doth allure the soul to 
love it. And to the prosperous it appeareth in the most enticing 
dress. 

«'3. And hereby it taketh off the soul from God. We cannot 
love and serve God and Mammon. The heart is gone another 
wav when God should have it. It is so full of love, and desire, 
and care, and pleasure about the creatures, that there is no room 
for God. How can they love him with all their hearts who 
have let out those hearts to vanity before? 

4. And the very noise and bustle of these worldly things 
diverts their mind, and hindereth them from being serious } 
and from that sober consideration that requireth some retire- 
ment and vacancy from distracting objects. 

5. And the sense of present ease and sweetness doth make 
them forget the change that is near. Little do they think what 
is necessary to comfort a departing soul, when they are in the 
heat of pride and lust, or taken up with their business and de- 
lights. In the midst of bravery and plenty, feasting and sport- 
ing, and such other entertainments of the senses, it is hard to 
hold communion with God, and study the life to come in such 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 107 

a college or library as this. Prosperity and pleasure make men 
drunk ; and the tickled fancy sports itself in abusing the cap- 
tivated mind. And these frisking lambs, and fattened beasts 
forget the slaughter; they think in summer there will be no 
winter; and their May will continue all the year. Little do 
do they feel the piercing, griping, tearing thoughts, that at 
death or judgment must succeed their security and mirth. O 
how hard do the best men find it, in the midst of health and 
all prosperity, to have such serious thoughts of heaven, and of 
the change that death will shortly make, as they have in sick- 
ness and adversity, when death seems near, and deluding things 
are vanished and gone ! The words of God have not that force 
on a sleepy soul in the hour of prosperity, as they have when 
distress hath opened their ears. The same truths that now 
seem common, lifeless, inconsiderable things, will then pierce 
deep, and divide between the joints and marrow, and work as 
if they were not the same that once were laughed at and dis- 
regarded. (Eccles.vii. 2, 3, 4.) ie It is better to go to the house 
of mourning than to the house of feasting ; " (do you believe 
this ?) "For that is the end of all men, and the living will lay 
it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter ; for by the sadness 
of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the 
wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the 
house of mirth." I beseech you take patiently your character 
and name here from the word of God. 

6. Moreover these fools are by prosperity so lifted up with 
pride, that God abhors them, and is as it were engaged to abase 
them. For " The Lord will destroy the house of the proud. 
(Prov. xv. 25.) Every one that is proud in heart is an abomi- 
nation to the Lord ; though hand join in hand, he shall not be 
unpunished." (Prov. xvi. 5.) " He scattereth the proud in the 
imagination of their hearts : He hath put down the mighty 
from their seats, and exalted them of low degree : He hath 
filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent 
empty away." (Luke i. 51, 52, 53.) " In the things wherein 
they deal proudly, he is above them." (Exod.xviii. 11.) " For 
every one that exalteth himself shall be abased : and he that 
humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke xviii. 14.) " For God 
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." (1 Pet. v. 5.) 

7. But no way doth their prosperity so desperately precipi- 
tate them, and make them the scorn of heaven, and the foot- 
ball of divine contempt, as by engaging them in opposition to 
the word, and ways, and servants of the Lord. When it hath 



108 the fool's prosperity. 

drawn them to those sins which God condemned), and his mi- 
nisters must reprove, and hath puffed them up with pride, which 
makes them impatient of his reproofs, and hath increased their 
worldly interest and treasure, and fleshly provision, which he 
commandeth them to deny, this presently involveth them in a 
controversy with Christ before they are aware, and casteth them 
into the temptation of Herod when he was contradicted in his 
lust ; and they think they are necessitated to stop the mouths 
that dare reprove them, and to keep under the people, and doc- 
trine, and discipline of Christ, that are so contrary to them, and 
cross them, and dishonour them in their sin ; and to pluck 
away this thorn out of their foot, and cast it from them. And 
thus their prosperity and carnal wisdom that is employed to 
secure it, engageth the earth-worms in a war with Christ ; and 
then you may conjecture how long they can endure to kick 
against the pricks, and irritate the justice and jealousy of the 
Almighty, and presu me to abuse the apple of his eye ; and who 
will have the better in the end ? The stubble is more able to 
resist the flames, and a fly to conquer all the world, than these 
daring lumps of walking clay to conquer God, or escape his 
vengeance. (Isa. xxvii. 4.) " Who would set the briers and 
thorns against me in battle ? I would go through them ; I would 
burn them together/' (Isa. xlv. 9.) " Wo to him that striveth 
with his Maker ! let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of 
the earth." (Job ix. 4.) " Who hath hardened himself against 
him and hath prospered ? " " They all imagine a vain thing, 
that set themselves and take counsel together against the Lord, 
and his anointed, to break his bonds, and cast away his cords 
from them. He that sitteth in heaven will laugh ; the Lord will 
hold them in derision : then shall he speak to them in his wrath, 
and vex them in his sore displeasure. — He shall break them 
with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 
Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings ! be instructed, ye judges of 
the earth : serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with tremblihg: 
kiss the son lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, when 
his wrath is kindled but a little ; blessed are all they that put 
their trust in him." (Psal. ii.) " They think it is but a few con- 
temptible or hateful men that they set themselves against ; for- 
getting Acts ix. 4,5; Luke x. 16; 1 Thes. iv. 8, that tell 
them all is done to Christ : and Matt, xviii. 6 ; " Whoso 
shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were 
better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, 
and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matt. xxi. 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY". 109 

44.) " And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken ; 
but on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it will grind him to 
powder." I will conclude this with Amaziah's case, (2 Chron. 
xxv. 16.) "Art thou made of the king's counsel? For- 
bear ; why shouldest thou be smitten ? Then the prophet for- 
bare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy 
thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened," &c. 

III. Before I tell you what use to make of the doctrine of 
this text, I shall first tell you, by way of caution, what use you 
should not make of it. 

1. Though the prosperity of fools destroy them, do not hence 
accuse God that giveth them prosperity. 2. Nor do not think 
to excuse yourselves. 3. Nor do not think that riches are 
evil : for the things are good, and the mercies in themselves, 
and being rightly used, may further their felicity. But it is the 
folly and corruption of their hearts that thus abuse them, 
and make good an occasion of evil. I may allude to Paul's 
words concerning the law, (Rom. vii. 7, 13,) Are they sin? 
or is that which is good made death to them ? " God forbid. 
But sin, that it might appear sin, working death by that which is 
good." Because they are carnally sold under sin. 

4. Nor must you cast away your riches, or refuse them when 
offered by God. But take them as a faithful steward doth his 
master's stock, not desiring to be overburdened or endangered 
with the charge, but bearing what is imposed on you, resolving 
to improve it all for God. Not loving nor desiring wealth, au- 
thority, or honour, nor yet so lazy, timorous, or distrustful as not 
to accept the burden and charge, when God may be served by 
it. To cast away or hide your talents, is the part of an unpro- 
fitable servant. 

5. Take heed lest, under pretence of contemning riches and 
prosperity, you be tempted to contemn your governors, or to 
speak evil of dignities, or diminish the honour of those that are 
set over us, whose honour is necessary to the ends of govern- 
ment, and therefore to the people's good. Though James re- 
proves the church for partiality in over-honouring a man for a 
gold ring, or gay apparel, yet doth he not go about to abate the 
honour of authority. Magistracy and riches must be here dis- 
tinguished. 

6. Take heed lest, while you declaim of the misery of the 
rich, you think to be saved merely for being poor; for, poor 
or rich, if you be ungodly, you must turn, or die. God doth 



] 10 THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 

not condemn men for their riches, but their sin ; nor save any 
for their poverty, bufc their faith and piety, through Christ. 
But the uses you should make of the text are these: — » 

1 . Grudge not at the prosperitv of ungodly men, but com- 
passionate them in their danger and misery. 

2. Be not afraid of the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalm 
xlix. 16 — 19.) It is they that should be afraid that have so 
low to fall. 

3. Take heed that you desire not riches or prosperity, unless 
you desire that the way to heaven should be made harder to 
you, that is so hard already. Be contented with food and rai- 
ment. Desire but your daily bread, unless as it is needful for 
your Master's service, and the relief of others. 

4. Honour those ever, with a double honour, that are great 
and godly, that are rich and religious ; not because they are 
rich, but because they are so strong and excellent in grace as to 
overcome such great temptations ; and to be heavenly in the 
midst of earthly plenty, and to be faithful stewards of so much. 
Religious, faithful princes, and magistrates, cannot easily be 
valued and honoured too much. What wonders are they 
in the most part of the earth ! What a blessing to the peo- 
ple that are ruled by them ! Were they not strong in faith, 
they could not stand fast in such a stormy place. Where is 
there in the world a more lively resemblance of God than a 
holy prince or governor, that liveth no more to the flesh than 
the poorest, for all his abundance of fleshly accommodations, 
and that devoteth and improveth all his power, and honour, and 
interest, to the promoting of holiness, love, and concord ? 

5. Let great men have a double interest in your prayers. 
They have a double need of grace and help ; and we have a 
double need that they should be gracious. Oh ! think how 
hard it is to save their faith, their innocency, and their souls, 
and to save the gospel and the public peace in the midst of so 
many and great temptations ; and, therefore, pray hard where 
prayer is so needful. 

And, O that I were now able to speak such enlightening 
and awakening words to you, as might show you at once your 
worldly prosperity and the heavenly glory in their proper value ! 
and that God would now open your eyes and hearts accordinglv, 
to esteem and seek them. Gentlemen, will you give this once 
an impartial hearing, to one that envieth not your wealth, but 
foreseeth the end of it ; and how it will forsake you, and in 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. Ill 

how deplorable a case you will then be found, if you have not 
laid up a treasure in heaven, and secured the everlasting riches. 
I grudge you not your prosperity, for God doth not grudge it 
you: yea, the devil* himself can afford it you for a time, while 
you serve him by it, and are captivated to his will in these 
golden fetters. And say not that it is I that call such fools : 
you see here it is God, that knoweth what he saith, and feareth 
not to speak it. But let me, with due submission, propound to 
your sober consideration these questions which your consci- 
ences are concerned to resolve. 

Quest. 1. Can any thing prove him truly wise that directly 
contradicteth the wisdom of the Lord, and valueth most the 
things that are most vilified by the doctrine and example of 
Christ and his apostles, and vilifieth that which Christ ex- 
tolleth ? 

Quest. 2. Can any thing prove that man to be wise that is 
not wise enough to be saved ? Surely it altereth the case but 
little, whether Satan be served in English, or in Latin, Greek, 
or Hebrew, in Spanish, Italian, or French : or whether you go 
towards everlasting wo in leather or in silk; and a miserable 
unsanctified soul do dwell in a comely or deformed body; and 
in a stately building or a smoky cottage; and be titled a 
lord, a knight, or a ploughman; and whether he feed on the 
most delightful or the coarsest food. Alas ! all this will soon 
be nothing. " The belly for meats, and meats for the belly ; but 
God will destroy both it and them." (1 Cor. vi. 13.) It is the 
endless life that puts the estimate upon all things here. 

Quest. 3. Is he wise that preferreth a feather to a kingdom; 
an hour to eternity ; earth to heaven ? If you say you do not so, 
let your thoughts, your desires, your delights, your cares, and 
vour labour and diligence, be the witnesses, and conscience and 
God shall finally judge. A man of reason should never make 
such a matter of nothing, as if there were so great a difference 
between riches and poverty, honour and dishonour, and a man's 
life or happiness consisted in his abundance. As it is usually 
the badge of empty, childich, brain-sick women, to value a curi- 
osity of attire, and to have mind and time for so many toys, 
and to make ostentation of their pride and folly, by their 
curled, spotted, gaudy vanity, as if they were afraid lest they 
should be unacquainted with it, and should think them wise ; so 
is it but a more plausible deliration in those that are more taken 
up with names, and titles, and commands, with houses and 



112 THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 

lands, and pompous attendance ; and yet more brutish, where 
lust, and sports, and meats, and drinks, are taken for felicity, 
while God and heaven stand by neglected, and men forget that 
they are called Christians, and that they are men. 

Quest. 4. Is it wisdom to esteem men by their prosperity and 
pomp, and to admire a gilded post or an ignorant, adorned wan- 
ton ; and yet to overlook the divine and heavenly nature of the 
sanctified, and the beauty of holiness, and the image of God 
upon an humble, gracious soul, when that which is highly 
esteemed among men, is abomination in the sight of God ? 
(Luke xvi. 15.) 

Quest. 5. Is it wisdom to be feasting, and playing, and 
dancing, while the soul is under the wrath of God, and in the 
gall of bitterness, and bonds of its iniquity ? and by the noise, 
and business, and pleasures of the world, to be diverted and 
hindered from the speedy settling and securing your everlasting 
state ? Should not a man of reason, without delay, the first 
thing he doeth, make sure of his title to eternal happiness, when 
he is not sure of another hour; and if he miscarry in this, he 
is undone for ever ? Should that time be laughed and played 
away that hasteth so fast, and is all so short for so great a work 
as the securing our salvation ? Should men and women be 
courting, and complimenting, and fooling away their precious 
time, when the work is undone for which they were born into 
the world, and for which they have their lives, and all their mer- 
cies ? 

Quest. 6. Should all this be done by those that sin against 
their knowledge, and confess all this while that the world is 
vanity, and know it will leave them, and that all this is true ? 

Oh ! Sirs, it must needs be the grief of a foreseeing man to 
think, when you forget it, what a change is coming, and what a 
sad preparation you are making, and how little a while the 
music, the feast, the cards and dice, the filthy lusts and wanton 
dalliance, will continue ! and what a lump of self-tormenting 
desperation' will seize upon those careless scornful hearts that 
now will not be awakened and warmed, nor understand any 
further than they see or feel ! In compassion to those that 
are passing hence to another world, I beseech you, sometime 
withdraw yourselves from sensual divertisements, and soberly 
bethink you whether this be the place and company that you 
must be with for ever ; how long this merry life will last ; and 
whether this be the work that the God of heaven did send you 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 113 

about into the world ; and whether it would be more comfort- 
able to your review when time is gone, to think of your days of 
sensual delight, or of a holy, and humble, and heavenly conver- 
sation ; and to hear with Dives, (Luke xvi. 25,) " Son, remem- 
ber that thou, in thy lifetime, receivedst thy good things, and 
Lazarus evil things ; but now he is comforted and thou art tor- 
mented." O then you would wish that you had never heard 
those airy titles, and never possessed those sumptuous houses, 
nor never tasted those delicious feasts, nor never worn that gay 
attire, nor never known thpt'deceiving company, nor been pol- 
luted and brutified with those beastly lusts ! Then conscience 
will force the now befooled Dives to cry out, ( O that I had 
been the most despised man on earth while honour did befool 
me ! O that I had lain in medicinal poverty and rags when 
I took this mortal surfeit of prosperity ! O that I had lain in 
tears and sorrow, when I was infatuated by fleshly mirth and 
pleasure, and that I had been among the saints that foresaw 
and provided for this day 3 when I drowned the voice of Christ 
and conscience with the laughter of a fool and the noise of 
worldly business and delights ! O then, how revengefully will 
you befool yourselves, that you had time and knew no better 
how to use it ! and how sensibly will you justify the wisdom of 
believers who bent their care for things eternal ! I am ashamed 
of my heart that melts not in compassion in the foresight of 
your wo ; and that I beg not of you with tears and importu- 
nity to prevent it, and to have mercy on yourselves. Paul had 
a better heart than I, that ceased not to warn every one, day and 
night, with tears, (Acts xx. 31,) and speaketh thus of such as 
you; (Phil. hi. 18, 19;) " For many walk, of whom I have told 
you often, and now tell you even weeping, the enemies of the 
cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their 
belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly 
things." When the conversation of believers is in heaven, from 
whence they look for the Lord their Saviour. 

I suppose you are afraid of the austerities of religion ; and 
the devil would persuade you that it is but a self-tormenting or 
hypocritical life that we commend to you under the name of 
godliness, especially when you see the sadness of some honest 
souls that are abused by Satan through the advantages of me- 
lancholy : but I must profess it is sorrow that I call you from, 
and would prevent : it is no unnecessary grief that I would per- 
suade you to, but to a life of heavenly peace and joy. If Satan 

VOL. XVII. i 



114 THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 

have abused any servants of Christ, by darkening, and troubling, 
and discomforting their minds, which is his ordinary endeavour 
when he can no longer keep men quiet, and careless, and presump- 
tuous in their misery. This is clean contrary to the nature of 
religion and the commands of Christ, that chargeth them always 
to rejoice. Do you think that I cannot have more solid joy 
with my daily bread, in the apprehensions of the love of God, 
and the belief of his promises of eternal life, than foolish 
mirth comes to, that is likened to the crackling of thorns in the 
fire? (Eccles. vii. 6.) You are for l.jrth, and we are for mirth; 
but it is a hearty, solid, spiritual, grounded, lasting mirth that 
we invite you to ; and it is a beastly, sensual pleasure that un- 
godly men desire. For my part, it is almost half my work to 
promote the joys of true believers, and to dissuade them from 
such causeless despondencies and troubles as would rob them of 
their comforts, and God of their love, and thanks, and praise. 
Had you but tasted once the difference between this inward 
feast and yours, I should need no more words with you to per- 
suade you that godliness is a life of joy. Dare any of you say, 
and stand to it, that there is not greater matter for joy in the 
love of Christ than in the love of a harlot ? in the assurance of 
salvation than in lands and lordships ? in the foresight of hea- 
ven than in the company of light-headed, voluptuous people, 
that have not wit enough to be serious, nor faith enough to 
foresee that which will so sadly and speedily spoil the sport ? 
To be foolishly merry in the midst of misery, doth but make 
you the objects of greater compassion. Be as merry as you 
can, so it be grounded, and durable, and caused by that 
which God, and faith, and solid reason will approve, and doth 
not tend to greater sorrows. Bethink you well whether Christ 
and his apostles lived not a more comfortable life than you : 
and imitate them in their way of mirth ana spare not. 

But if you are unsanctified, sensual, worldly men, lay by your 
mirth till you are fitter for it, and take your portion from the 
apostle James, (v. 1 — 3, 5,) "Go to now ye rich men; weep 
and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your 
riches are corrupted, and your garments moth-eaten ; your 
gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a wit- 
ness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye 
have heaped treasure together for the last days. Ye have lived 
in pleasure on earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished 
your hearts as in a day of slaughter." 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 115 

What pity is it to see men destroy themselves with the 
mercies of the Lord ! What pity is it to see them so eager for 
prosperity, and so regardless of the proper use and benefit of it? 

be not like the bee that is drowned in her own honey ! And 
do not so greedily desire a greater burden than you can bear ; 
and to have more to answer for, when you have been so unfaith- 
ful in a little. And if you believe Christ, who tells you how 
hardlv rich men come to heaven, and how few of them are 
saved, long not for your danger, and grudge not if you have not 
these exceeding difficulties to overcome. You would be afraid 
to dwell in that air where few men escape infection ; or to feed 
on that diet that most are killed by. It is evident by the effects 
that prosperity befooleth and undoeth the most ; we find you on 
your sick beds in a more tractable frame. 

1. Then a man may speak to you about the case of your im- 
mortal souls, with less contempt than now we meet with. You 
look not then for laced speeches, but will more patiently hear 
our plain discourses of eternal life. 2. Then you will seem 
serious yourselves, and speak almost like those that you called 
precisians and puritans, for remembering you of these things in 
your prosperity. 3. Then you have some better relish of truth 
and duty ; and judge better of the matter and manner of ex- 
hortation and prayer than you do now. 4. Then you have 
more charity and moderation to others ; and are not enraged to 
the destroying of those that are not of your opinions in all your 
formalities. 5. You would then shake the head at him that 
should offer you cards, or dice, or fleshly vanities ; and you 
would tell ethers that it is wiser to be delighted in the law of 
God, and meditate in it day and night. 6. Then you will speak 
as contemptuously of the honour, and pleasures, and profits of 
the world, and of pleasing men before the Lord, as we do now. 
7. And then you will confess the preciousness of time; the folly 
of misspending it ; and that one thing is necessary, for which we 
can never (regularly) do too much. And why are you not now 
of the mind that you will be at death or judgment, but that 
your folly doth turn your prosperity to your bane ? Once more 

1 beseech you, for the Lord's sake, retire from the deceiving 
world to God ; and if you care where you live to all eternity, 
choose your abode ; and now set your heart upon it, and seek 
it as your happiness. If all these warnings are refused, con- 
science shall tell you when you would not hear it, that vou were 
warned. 

i 2 



1 16 THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 

Had time allowed it, I should next have delivered my mes- 
sage to the humble, upright souls. All you " that hearken to 
the Lord, shall dwell in safety, and be quiet from the fear of 
evil." (Isaiah iii. 10.) " Say to the righteous, it shall be well with 
him. — Wo to the wicked ; it shall be ill with him." (Eccles. 
viii. 12.) " Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his 
days be prolonged, yet surely I know it shall be well with them 
that fear God." (Psalm lxxiii. 1.) "Truly God is good to Israel; 
even to such as are of a clean heart." (Psalm xxxvii. 5, 28, 34, 
37.) " Commit thy way unto the Lord ; trust in him and he 
shall bring it to pass. For the Lord loveth judgment, and for- 

saketh not his saints : they are preserved for ever wait on 

the Lord and keep his way and when the wicked are cut 

off, thou shalt see it. Mark the perfect man, and behold the 
upright : for the end of that man is peace." 

If you say, ' How are they safe that are so tossed by suffer- 
ings ?' I answer, 1. Is he not safe that hath the promise of God 
for his security, and is related to him as his child, and hath 
Christ for his head and Saviour ? 2. Is he not safe that is de- 
livered from the wrath of God and the flames of hell, and dare 
look before him to eternity with hope and comfort ? And shall 
live with Christ in joy for ever ? 3. Is he not safe that hath no 
enemy, but what is in his Father's power. 4. And that hath no 
hurt but what shall certainly procure his good ? 5. Nor any 
but what we may rejoice in ; and is sure shall be the matter of 
his thanks when it is past ? That shall lose nothing but what 
he hath already forsaken, and esteemeth but as dross and dung? 
How often have we told God in our prayers, that we had rather 
have the light of his countenance in adversity, than be strange 
to him in prosperity ? And that he would not refuse that state 
of suffering, that should be blest to the destruction of our sins, 
and the furthering our communion with God, and our assurance 
of salvation, and in which we might most serve and honour him 
in the world. Did we live by sense, we should misjudge of our 
estate : but seeing we live by faith, and in the way can see the 
end, we can say that we are safe in the thickest of our enemies, 
and will not fear what man can do, while the Almighty is our 
rock and fortress : well ma# we be quiet from that fear of evil, 
when we are saved from the great everlasting evil ! No evil 
shall follow us into heaven : no malice shall there defame us ; 
nor virulent tongue blaspheme our holy profession or our 
Lord j for the mists of hellish blasphemies shall never ascend to 



THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY. 117 

blot the glory of Christ or of his saints. Who then shall take us 
out of his hands ? Who shall condemn us ? It is he that justi- 
fieth us ; not only against the calumnies of malice, but also 
against the accusations of Satan for our sin. How safe and 
quiet are those millions of souls, that are now with Christ ? 
How little are they annoyed, or their joy or melody interrupted, 
by all the rage of earth or hell ! The glory of the sun may 
sooner be darkened or blemished by obloquy, than their celestial 
glory ; for they are glorified with the glory of their Lord ; and 
rejoice with his joy, and live because he liveth. Be of good 
cheer, Christians ! the haven is within the sight of faith ; we 
are almost there \ adversity is our speediest and surest passage : 
and then let sin, and rage, and malice, do their worst. 



SERMON OF REPENTANCE, 



PREACHED BEFORE THE 



HONOURABLE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 

ASSEMBLED IN PARLIAMENT 
AT WESTMINSTER, 

AT THEIR LATE SOLEMN FAST FOR THE SETTLING 
OF THESE NATIONS, 

APRIL 30, 1660. 



Tuesday, May 1, 1660. 

Ordered, 

That the Thanks of this House be given to Mr. Baxter, 
for his great pains in carrying on the work of preaching and 
prayer, before the House, at Saint Margaret's, Westminster, 
yesterday, being set apart by this House for a day of fasting 
and humiliation ; and that he be desired to print his sermon, 
and is to have the same privilege in printing the same that 
others have had in the like kind, and that Mr. Swinfin do give 
him notice thereof. 

W. JESSOP, 

Clerk of the Commons' House of Parliament, 



TO THF, 



HONOURABLE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 

ASSEMBLED IN PARLIAMENT. 

As your order for my preaching persuadeth me you meant 
attentively to hear, so your order for my publishing this sermon 
persuadeth me that you will vouchsafe considerately to read it; 
(for you would not command me to publish only for others 
that which was prepared for and suited to yourselves ;) which 
second favour if I may obtain, especially of those that need 
most to hear the doctrine of repentance, I shall hope that the 
authority of the heavenly Majesty, the great concernment of 
the subject, and the evidence of reason, and piercing beams of 
sacred verity, may yet make a deeper impression on your souls, 
and promote that necessary work of holiness, the fruits whereof 
would be effectual remedies to the diseased nations, and would 
conduce to your own everlasting joy. Shall I think it were 
presumption for me to hope for so high a reward for so short a 
labour ? Or shall I think it were uncharitableness not to hope 
for it ? That here is nothing but plain English, without any of 
those ornaments that are by many thought necessary to make 
such discourses grateful to ingenious, curious auditors, proceeded 
not only from my present want of advantages for study, (hav- 
ing and using no book but a Bible and a Concordance,) but 
also from the humbling and serious nature of the work of the 
day and from my own inclination, less affecting such ornaments 
in sacred discourses than formerly I have done. It is a very 
great honour that God and you have put upon me, to conclude 
so solemn a day of prayer, which was answered the next morn- 
ing by your speedy, and cheerful, and unanimous acknow- 
ledgment of His Majesty's authority. May I have but the se- 
cond part, to promote your salvation, and the happiness of 
this land, by your considering and obeying these necessary 
truths, what greater honour could I expect on earth ? Or how 
could you more oblige me to remain 

A daily petitioner to heaven for these mercies, 

on vour own and the nation's behalf, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 



SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 



EZEK. xxxvi. 31. 



Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings 
that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own 
sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations. 

The words are a part of God's prognostics of the Jews' res- 
toration, whose dejection he had before described. Their disease 
began within, and there God promiseth to work the cure. Their 
captivity was but the fruit of their voluntary captivity to sin, 
and their grief of heart was but the fruit of their hardness of 
heart, and their sharpest suffering of their foul pollutions, and 
therefore God promiseth a methodical cure, even to take away 
their old and stony heart, and cleanse them from their filthi- 
ness, and so to ease them by the removing of the cause. How 
far, and when, this promise was to be made good to the Jews, 
as nationally considered, is a matter that requires a longer dis- 
position than my limited hour will allow, and the decision of 
that case is needless, as to my present end and work. That 
this is part of the gospel covenant, and applicable to us believ- 
ers now, the Holy Ghost, in the epistle to the Hebrews, hath 
assured us. 

The text is the description of the repentance of the people, 
in which the beginning of their recovery doth consist, and by 
which the rest must be attained. The evil which they repent 
of is, in general, all their iniquities, but especially their ido- 
latry, called their abominations. Their repentance is foretold, 
as it is in the understanding and thoughts, and as in the will 
and affections. In the former, it is called " remembering their 
own evil ways." In the latter, it is called " loathing themselves 
in their own sight, for their iniquities and abominations/' 
Montanus translates it^reprebabitis in vos; but in c. 20, v. 43, 
fastidietis vos. The same sense is intended by the other ver- 
sions. When the Septuagint translates it by displeasure, and 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 123 

the Chaldee by groaning, and the Syriac by the wrinkling of 
the face, and the Sept., in c. xx. 43, by smiting on the face ; 
the Arabic here perverts the sense by turning all to negatives, 
ye shall not, &c, yet in c. xx. 43, he turns it by the tearing of 
the face. I have purposely chosen a text that needs no long 
explication, that in obedience to the foreseen straits of time 
I may be excused from that part, and be more on the more ne- 
cessary. This observation contains the meaning of the text, 
which, by God's assistance, I shall now insist on, viz. : 

The remembering of their own ihiquities, and loathing them- 
selves for them, is the sign of a repenting people, and the 
prognostic of their restoration, so far as deliverance may be 
here expected. 

For the opening of which, observe these things following. 

2. ft is not all kind of remembering that will prove you 
penitent. The impenitent remember their sin that they may 
commit it; they remember it with love, desire, and delight ; the 
heart of the worldling goeth after his airy or earthern idol. 
The heart of the ambitious feedeth on his vain glory, and the 
people's breath, and the filthy fornicator is delighted in the 
thoughts of the object and exercise of his lust. But it is a 
remembering, 1. From a deep conviction of the evil and odi- 
ousness of sin. 2. And with abhorrence and self-loathing. 
5. That leadeth to a resolved and vigilant forsaking, that is 
the proof of true repentance, and the prognostic of a people's 
restoration. 

3. And it is not all self-loathing that will signify true re- 
penting, for there is a self-loathing of the desperate and the 
damned soul that abhorreth itself, and teareth and tormenteth 
itself, and cannot be restrained from self-revenge, when it finds 
that it hath wilfully, foolishly, and obstinately been its own 
destroyer. But the self-loathing of the truly penitent hath 
these following properties : 

1. It proceedeth from the predominant love of God, whom 
we have abused and offended. The more we love him, the 
more we loathe what is contrary to him. 

2. It is much excited by the observation and sense of his 
exceeding mercies, and is conjunct with gratitude. 

3. It continueth and increaseth under the greatest assurance 
of forgiveness, and sense of love, and dieth not when we think 
we are out of danger. 

4. It containeth a loathing of sin as sin, and a love of ho- 



121 A SEKMON OF REPENTANCE. 

liness as such, and not only a love of ease and peace, and a 
loathing of sin, as the cause of suffering. 

5. It resolveth the soul against returning to its former course, 
and resolveth it for an entire devotedness to God for the time 
to come. 

6. It deeply engageth the penitent in a conflict against the 
flesh, and maketh him victorious, and setteth him to work in 
a life of holiness, as his trade and principal business in the 
world. 

7. It bringeth him to a delight in God and holiness, and a 
delight in himself, so far as he findeth God, and heaven, and 
holiness within him. He can, with some comfort and content, 
own himself and his conversation so far as God (victorious 
against his carnal self) appeareth in him. For as he loveth 
Christ in the rest of his members, so must he in himself. 
And this is it that self-loathing doth prepare for. 

This must be the self-loathing that must afford you comfort, 
as a penitent people in the way to restoration. 

Where you see it is implied, that materially it containeth 
these common acts. 1. Accusing and condemning thoughts 
against ourselves. It is a judging of ourselves, and makes us call 
ourselves, with Paul, foolish, disobedient, deceived ; yea, mad ; 
(as Acts xxvi. 11;) and with David to say, I have done foolishly. 
(2 Sam. xxiv. 10.) 2. It containeth a deep distaste and dis- 
pleasure with ourselves, and a heart-rising against ourselves. 

3. As also an holy indignation against ourselves, as appre- 
hending that we have played the enemies to ourselves and God. 

4. And it possesseth us with grief and trouble at our miscar- 
riages. So that a soul in this condition is sick of itself, and 
vexed with its self-procured wo. 

2. Note also, that when self-loathing proceedeth from mere 
conviction, and is without the love of God and holiness, it is 
but the tormentor of the soul, and runs it deeper into sin, 
provoking men here to destroy their lives ; and in hell it is the 
never-dying worm. 

3. Note also, that it is themselves that they are said to loathe, 
because it is ourselves that conscience hath to do with, as wit- 
ness, and as judge ; it is ourselves that are naturally nearest 
to ourselves, and our own affairs that we are most concerned in. 
It is ourselves that must have the joy or torment, and therefore 
it is our own actions and estate that we have first to mind. 
Though yet, as magistrates, ministers, and neighbours, we must 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 125 

next mind others, and must loathe iniquity wherever we meet it, 
and a vile person must be condemned in our eyes, while we 
honour them that fear the Lord. (Psalm xv. 4.) 

And as by nature, so in the commandment, God hath given 
to everv man the first and principal care and charge of himself, 
and his own salvation, and consequently of his own ways, so 
that we may with less suspicion loathe ourselves than others, 
and are more obliged to do it. 

4. Note also, that it is not for our troubles, or our disgrace, 
or our bodily deformities, or infirmities, or for our poverty and 
want, that penitents are said to loathe themselves, but for their 
iniquities and abominations. For, 1. This loathing is a kind 
of justice done upon ourselves, and therefore is exercised, not 
for mere infelicities, but for crimes. Conscience keepeth in its 
own court, and meddleth but with moral evils, which we are 
conscious of. 2. And also it is sin that is loathed by God, and 
makes the creature loathsome in his eyes ; and repentance 
conformeth the soul to God, and therefore causeth us to loathe 
as he doth, and on his grounds. And, 3. There is no evil but 
sin, and that which sin procureth, and therefore it is for sin 
that the penitent loathes himself. 

5. Note also, that it is here implied, that, till repentance, there 
was none of this remembering of sin, and loathing of themselves. 
They begin with our conversion, and, as before described, are 
proper to the truly penitent. For, to consider them distinctly, 
1. The deluded soul that is bewitched by its own concupis- 
cence, is so taken up with remembering of his fleshly pleasures, 
and his alluring objects, and his honours, and his earthly busi- 
nesses and store, that he hath no mind or room for the remem- 
bering of his foolish, odious sin, and the wrong that he is doing 
to God, and to himself. Death is oblivious, and sleep hath 
but a distracted ineffectual memory, that stirreth not the busy 
dreamer from his pillow, nor despatcheth any of the work he 
dreams of. And the unconverted are asleep, and dead in sin. 
The crowd of cares and worldly businesses, and the tumultuous 
noise of foolish sports, and other sensual passions and delights, 
do take up the minds of the unconverted, and turn them from 
the observation of the things of greatest everlasting conse- 
quence. They have a memory for sin and the flesh, to which 
they are alive, but not for things spiritual and eternal, to which 
they are dead. They remember not God himself as God, with 
any effectual remembrance. God is not in all their thoughts. 



126 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

(Psal. x. 4.) They live as without him in the world. (Eph. ii. 
12.) And if they remember not God, they cannot remember 
sin as sin, whose malignity lieth in its opposition to the will 
and holiness of God. They forget themselves, and therefore 
must needs forget their sinfulness. Alas ! they remember not 
effectually and savingly, what they are, and why they were 
made, and what they are daily nourished and preserved for, and 
what business they have to do here in the world. They forget 
that they have souls to save or lose, that must live in endless 
joy or torment. You may see by their careless and ungodly 
lives that they forget it. You may hear by their carnal frothy 
speech that they forget it. And he that remembereth not 
himself, remembereth not his own concernments. They 
forget the end to which they tend. The life which they 
must live for ever. The matters everlasting, whose great- 
ness and duration, one would think, should so command 
the mind of man, and take up all his thoughts and cares 
in despite of all the little trifling matters that would avert 
them, that we should think almost of nothing else; yet 
these, even these, that nothing but deadness or madness should 
make a reasonable creature to forget, are daily forgotten by the 
unconverted soul, or ineffectually remembered. Many a time 
have I admired that men of reason are here to-day, and in endless 
joy or misery to-morrow, should be able to forget such inex- 
pressible concernments ! Methinks they should easier forget 
to rise, or dress themselves, or to eat, or drink, or any thing, 
than to forget an endless life, which is so undoubtedly certain, 
and so near. A man that hath a cause to be heard to-morrow, 
in which his life or honour is concerned, cannot forget it ; a 
wretch that is condemned to die to-morrow-, cannot forget it. 
And yet poor sinners, that are continually uncertain to live an 
hour, and certain speedily to see the majesty of the Lord, to 
their unconceivable joy or terror, as sure as now they live on 
earth, can forget these things for which they have their me- 
mory ; and which one would think should drown the matters of 
this world, as the report of a cannon doth a whisper, or as the 
sun obscureth the poorest glow-worm. O wonderful stupidity of 
an unrenewed soul ! O wonderful folly and distractedness of 
the ungodly ! That ever men can forget, I say again, that they 
can forget, eternal joy, eternal wo, and the Eternal God, and 
the place^of their eternal, unchangeable abode, when they stand 
even at the door, and are passing in, and there is but the thin 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 127 

veil of flesh between them and that amazing sight, that eternal 
gulf; and they are daily dying, and even stepping in. O could 
vou keep your honours here for ever ; could you ever wear that 
gay attire, and gratify your flesh with meats, and drinks, and 
sports, and lusts ; could you ever keep your rule and dignity, 
or vour earthly life in any state, you had some little poor excuse 
for not remembering the eternal things, (as a man hath, that 
preferreth his candle before the sun,) but when death is near 
and inexorable, and you are sure to die as you are sure to live; 
when every man of you that sitteth in these seats to day can 
say, ( I must shortly be in another world, where all the pomp 
and pleasure of this world will be forgotten, or remembered but 
as my sin and folly,' one would think it were impossible for any 
of you to be ungodly, and to remember the trifles and nothings 
of the world, while you forget that everlasting all, whose reality, 
necessity, magnitude, excellency, concernment, and duration 
are such, as should take up all the powers of your souls, and 
continually command the service and attendance of your 
thoughts against all seekers, and contemptible competitors 
whatsoever. But alas, though you have the greatest helps, (in 
subservience to these commanding objects,) yet will you not re- 
member the matters which alone deserve remembrance ; some- 
times the preachers of the gospel do call on you to remember; 
to remember your God, your souls, your Saviour, your ends, and 
everlasting state, and to remember your misdoings, that you 
may loathe yourselves, and in returning may find life ; but some 
either scorn them, or quarrel with them, or sleep under their 
most serious and importunate solicitations, or carelessly and 
stupidly give them the hearing, as if they spoke but words of 
course, or treated about uncertain things, and spoke not to them 
from the God of heaven, and about the things that every man 
of you shall very shortly see or feel. Sometimes you are called 
on by the voice of conscience within, to remember the unrea- 
sonableness and evil of your ways; but conscience is silenced, 
because it will not be conformable to your lusts. But little do 
you think what a part your too late awakened conscience hath 
yet to play, if you give it not a more sober hearing in time. 
Sometimes the voice of common calamities, and national or 
local judgments, call on you to remember the evil of your ways; 
but that which is spoken to all, or many, doth seem to most of 
them as spoken unto none. Sometimes the voice of particular 
judgments, seizing upon your families, persons or estates, doth 



128 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

call on you to remember the evil of your ways ; and one would 
think the rod should make you hear. And yet you most disre- 
gardfully go on, or are only frightened into a few good pur- 
poses and promises, that die when health and prosperity revive. 
Sometimes God joineth all these together, and pleadeth both by 
word and rod, and addeth also the inward pleadings of his Spirit; 
he sets your sins in order before you, (Psalm 1. 21,) and expos- 
tulated! with you the cause of his abused love, despised sove- 
reignty, and provoked justice ; and asketh the poor sinner, 
' Hast thou done well to waste thy life in vanity, to serve thy 
flesh, to forget thy God, thy soul, thy happiness ; and to thrust 
his services into corners, and give him but the odious leavings 
of the flesh ?' But these pleas of God cannot be heard. O 
horrible impiety! By his own creatures; by reasonable creatures 
(that would scorn to be called fools or madmen) the God of 
heaven cannot be heard ! The brutish, passionate, furious sin- 
ners will not remember. They will not remember what they 
have done, and with whom it is that they have to do, and what 
God thinks and saith of men in their condition ; and whither it 
is that the flesh will lead them ; and what will be the fruit and 
end of all their lusts and vanities ; and how they will look 
back on all at last ; and whether an holy or a sensual life will 
be sweetest to a dying man ; and what judgment it is that 
they will all be of, in the controversy between the flesh and 
Spirit, at the latter end. Though they have life, and time, and 
reason for their uses, we cannot entreat them to consider of 
these things in time. If our lives lay on it, as their salvation, 
which is more, lieth on it, we cannot entreat them. If we should 
kneel to them, and with tears beseech them^ but once a day, 
or once a week, to bestow one hour in serious consideration of 
their latter end, and the everlasting state of saints and sinners, 
and of the equity of the holy ways of God, and the iniquity of 
their own, we cannot prevail with them. Till the God of heaven 
doth overrule them we cannot prevail. The witness that we 
are forced to bear is sad ; it is sad to us ; but it will be sadder 
to these rebels that shall one day know that God will not be 
outfaced ; and that they may sooner shake the stable earth, and 
darken the sun bv their reproaches, than outbrave the Judge of 
all the world, or by all their cavils, wranglings, or scorns, escape 
the hands of his revenging justice. 

But if ever the Lord will save these souls, he will bring their 
misdoings to their remembrance. He will make them think of 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 129 

that which they were so loath to think on. You cannot now 
abide these troubling and severe meditations ; the thoughts of 
God, and heaven, and hell ; the thoughts of your sins, and of 
your duties, are melancholy, unwelcome thoughts to you ; but 
O that you could foreknow the thoughts that you shall have of 
all these things ! even the proudest, scornful, hardened sinner, 
that heareth me this day, shall shortly have such a remem- 
V ranee, as will make him wonder at his present blockishness. O 
when the irresistible power of heaven shall open all your sins 
before you, and command you to remember them, and to re- 
member the time, and place, and persons, and all the circum- 
stances of them, what a change will it make upon the most 
stout or stubborn of the sons of men ; what a difference will there 
then be between that trembling, self-tormenting soul, and the 
same that now in his gallantry can make light of all these 
things, and call the messenger of Christ who warneth him, a 
puritan, or a doating fool ! Your memories now are somewhat 
subject to your wills ; and if you will not think of your own, 
your chief, your everlasting concernments, you may choose. If 
you will choose rather to employ your noble souls on beastly lusts, 
and waste your thoughts on things of nought, you may take your 
course, and chase a feather with a childish world, till, overtaking 
it, you see you have lost your labour. But when justice takes 
the work in hand, your thoughts shall be no more subject to 
your wills ; you shall then remember that which you are full 
loath to remember, and would give a world that you could forget. 
O then one cup of the waters of oblivion would be of inestima- 
ble value to the damned ! O what would they not give that they 
could but forget the time they lost, the mercy they abused, the 
grace which they refused, the holy servants of Christ whom they 
despised, the wilful sins which they committed, and the many 
duties which they wilfully omitted ! I have often thought of their 
case when I have dealt with melancholy or despairing persons. 
If I advised them to cast away such thoughts, and turn their 
minds to other things, they tell me they cannot ; it is not in 
their power ; and I have long found that I may almost as well 
persuade a broken head to give over aching. But when the 
holy God shall purposely pour out the vials of his wrath on the 
consciences of the ungodly, and open the books, and show them 
all that ever they have done, with all the aggravations, how 
then shall these worms be able to resist ? 

And now I beseech you all, consider, is it not better to re- 

VOL. XVII. K 



130 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

member your sins on earth, than in hell ? Before your physician, 
than before your Judge ? For your cure, than for your torment ? 
Give me leave, then, before I go any further, to address myself 
to you as the messenger of the Lord, with this importunate re- 
quest, both as you stand here in your private, and in your pub- 
lic capacities. In the name of the God of heaven, I charge you, 
remember the lives that you have led ! remember what you have 
been doing in the world ! remember how you have spent your 
time ! and whether, indeed, it is God that you have been serving, 
and heaven that you have been seeking, and holiness and righte- 
ousness that you have been practising in the world till now ! 
Are your sins so small, so venial, so few, that you can find no 
employment on them for your memories? or is the offending of 
the Eternal God so slight and safe a thing as not to need your 
consideration ? God forbid you should have such atheistical 
conceits ! Surely God made not his laws for nought ; nor doth 
he make such a stir by his word, and messengers, and provi- 
dences, against an harmless thing ; nor doth he threaten hell to 
men for small, indifferent matters ; nor did Christ need to 
have died, and done all that he hath done, to cure a small and 
safe disease. Surely that which the God of heaven is pleased 
to threaten with everlasting punishment, the greatest of you all 
should vouchsafe to think on, and with greatest fear and sober- 
ness to remember. 

It is a pitiful thing, that with men, with gentlemen, with pro- 
fessed Christians, God's matters, and their own matters, their 
greatest matters, should seem unworthy to be thought on; when 
they have thoughts for their honours, and their lands, and 
friends ; and thoughts for their children, their servants, and pro- 
vision ; and thoughts for their horses, and their dogs, and sports. 
Is God and heaven less worthy than these ? are death and 
judgment matters of less moment ? Gentlemen, you would 
take it ill to have your wisdom undervalued, and your reason 
questioned ; for your honour's sake do not make it contemptible 
yourselves in the eyes of all that are truly wise. It is the noble- 
ness of objects that most ennobles your faculties, and the base- 
ness of objects doth debase them. If brutish objects be your 
employment and delight, do I need to tell you what you make 
yourselves ? If you would be noble indeed, let God and ever- 
lasting glory be the object of your faculties ; if you would be 
great, then dwell on greatest things; if you would be high, then 
seek the things that are above, and not the sordid things of 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 131 

earth, (Col. iii. 1 — 3,) and if you would be safe, look after the 
enemies of your peace ; and as you had thoughts of sin that led 
you to commit it, entertain the thoughts that would lead you to 
abhor it. O that I might have but the grant of this reasonable 
request from you, that among all your thoughts you would be- 
stow now and then an hour in the serious thoughts of your 
misdoings, and soberly in your retirement between God and 
your souls remember the paths that you have trod ; and whether 
you have lived for the work for which you were created! One 
sober hour of such employment might be the happiest hour that 
ever you spent, and give you more comfort at your final hour, 
than all the former hours of your life ; and might lead you into 
that new and holy life, which you may review with everlasting 
comfort. 

Truly, gentlemen, I have long observed that Satan's advan- 
tage lieth so much on the brutish side, and that the work of 
man's conversion is so much carried on by God's exciting of 
our reason ; and that the misery of the ungodly is, that they 
have reason in faculty, and not in use, in the greatest things, 
that I persuade you to this duty with the greater hopes : if the 
Lord will but persuade you to retire from vanity, and soberly 
exercise your reason, and consider your ways, and say, what 
have we done ? And what is it that God would have us do ? 
And what shall we wish we had done at last ? I say, could 
you now be but prevailed with to bestow as many hours on this 
work, as you have cast away in idleness, or worse, I should 
not doubt but I should shortly see the faces of many of you in 
heaven that have been recovered by the use of this advice. It 
is a thousand pities, that men that are thought wise enough to 
be entrusted with the public safety, and to be the physicians of 
a broken state, should have any among them that are untrusty 
to their God, and have not the reason to remember their mis- 
doings, and prevent the danger of their immortal souls. Will 
you sit all day here to find out the remedy of a diseased land ; 
and will you not be entreated by God or man to sit down one 
hour, and find out the disease of, and remedy for, your own 
souls ? Are those men likely to take care of the happiness of so 
many thousands, that will still be so careless of themselves ? Once 
more therefore, I entreat you, remember your misdoings, lest 
God remember them : and bless the Lord that called you this 
day, by the voice of mercy, to remember them upon terms of 
faith and hope. Remembered they must be, first or last. And 

k2 



132 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

believe it, this is far unlike the sad remembrance at judgment, 
and in the place of wo and desperation. 

And I beseech you observe here, that it is your own mis- 
doings that you must remember. Had it been only the sins of 
other men, especially those that differ from you, or have wronged 
you, or stand against your interest, how easily would the duty 
have been performed ? How little need should I have had to 
press it with all this importunity ? How confident should I be 
that I could convert the most, if this were the conversion ? 
It grieves my soul to hear how quick and constant, high and 
low, learned and unlearned, are at this uncharitable, contume- 
lious remembering of the faults of others : how cunningly they 
can bring in their insinuated accusations : how odiously they 
can aggravate the smallest faults, where difference causeth 
them to distaste the person : how ordinarily they judge of actions 
by the persons, as if any thing were a crime that is done by 
such as they dislike, and all were virtue that is done by those 
that fit their humours : how commonly brethren have made it a 
part of their service of God to speak or write uncharitably of 
his servants, labouring to destroy the hearer's charity, which 
had more need, in this unhappy time, of the bellows than the 
water ! How useful it is with the ignorant that cannot reach 
the truth, and the impious that cannot bear it, to call such here- 
tics that know more than themselves, and to call such precisians, 
puritans, (or some such name which hell invents as there is 
occasion,) who dare not be so ,bad as they ! How odious, men 
pretending to much gravity, learning, and moderation, do labour 
to make those that are dearer to God ; and what an heart they 
have to widen differences, and make a sea of every lake ; and 
that, perhaps, under pretence of blaming the uncharitable- 
ness of others ! How far the very sermons and discourses of 
some learned men are from the common rule of doing as we 
would be done by : and how loudly they proclaim that such 
men love not their neighbours as themselves ; the most uncha- 
ritable words seeming moderate, which they give ; and all 
called intemperate that savoureth not of flattery, which they 
receive ! Were I calling the several exasperated factions now 
in England to remember the misdoings of their supposed adver- 
saries, what full-mouthed and debasing confessions would they 
make ! What monsters of heresy, and schism, of impiety, 
treason, and rebellion, of perjury and perfidiousness, would too 
many make of the faults of others, while they extenuate their 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 133 

own to almost nothing ! It is a wonder to observe how the case 
doth alter with the most, when that which was their adversary's 
case becomes their own. The very prayers of the godly, and 
their care of their salvation, and the fear of sinning, doth seem 
their crime in the eyes of some that easily bear the guilt of 
swearing, drunkenness, sensuality, filthiness, and neglect of 
duty in themselves, as a tolerable burden. 

But if ever God indeed convert you, (though you will pity 
others, yet) he will teach you to begin at home, and take the 
beam out of your own eyes, and to cry out, 6 I am the misera- 
ble sinner.' 

And lest these generals seem insufficient for us to confess on 
such a day as this, and lest yet your memories should need more 
help, is it not my duty to remind you of some particulars ? 
which yet I shall not do by way of accusation, but of inquiry. 
Far be it from me to judge so hardly of you, that when you 
come hither to lament your sins you cannot with patience en- 
dure to be told of them. 

1. Inquire, then, whether there be none among you that live 
a sensual, careless life, clothed with the best, and faring deli- 
ciously every day ? In rioting and drunkenness, chambering 
and wantonness, strife and envying, not putting on Christ, nor 
walking in the Spirit, but making provision for the flesh, to 
satisfy the lusts thereof. (Rom. xiii. 13, 14.) Is there none 
among you that spend your precious time in vanities, that is 
allowed you to prepare for life eternal ? That have time to 
w r aste in compliments, and fruitless talk, and visits, in gaming, 
and unnecessary recreations, in excessive feasting and enter- 
tainments, while God is neglected, and your souls forgotten, and 
vou can never find an hour in a day to make ready for the life 
which y° u must live for ever ! Is there none among you that 
would take the man for a puritan or fanatic that should em- 
ploy but half so much time for his soul, and in the services of 
the Lord, as you do in unnecessary sports and pleasures, and 
pampering your flesh? Gentlemen, if there be any such among 
vou as you, love your souls, remember your misdoings, and be- 
wail these abominations before the Lord, in this day of your 
professed humiliation ! 

2. Inquire whether there be none among you, that, being stran- 
gers to the new birth, and to the inward workings of the Spirit 
of Christ upon the soul, do also distaste a holy life, and make it 
a matter of your reproach, and pacify your accusing consciences 



134 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

with a religion made up of mere words, and heartless outside, 
and so much obedience as your fleshly pleasures will admit, 
accounting those that go beyond you, especially if they differ 
from you in your modes and circumstances, to be but a com- 
pany of proud, pharisaical, self-conceited hypocrites, and those 
whom you desire to suppress. If there be one such person here, 
I would entreat him to remember that it is the solemn assevera- 
tion of our Judge, that " except a man be converted, and be 
born again, of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into 
the kingdom of heaven ; (John iii. 3 — 5 ; Matt, xviii. 3 ;) that 
"if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his;" 
(Rom. viii. 9 ;) that " if any man be in Christ, he is a new 
creature ; old things are passed away, and all things are become 
new;" (2 Cor. v. 17;) that " without holiness none shall see 
God;" (Heb. xii. 14 ;) that " the wisdom that is from above 
is first pure, and then peaceable;" (Jam. iii. 17;) that " God 
is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in 
spirit, and in truth;" (John iv. 23, 24^;) that " they worship 
in vain that teach for doctrines the commandments of men ;" 
(Matt. xv. 8, 9 ;) and that " except your righteousness shall ex- 
ceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no wise enter 
into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. v. 20.) And I desire you 
to remember that it is hard to kick against the pricks, and to 
prosper in rage against the Lord : and that it is better for that 
man that offendeth one of his little ones to have a millstone 
fastened to his neck, and to have been cast into the bottom of 
the sea. (Matt, xviii. 6.) It is a sure and grievous condemna- 
tion that waiteth for all that are themselves unholv : but to the 
haters or despisers of the holy laws and servants of the Lord 
how much more grievous a punishment is reserved ! 

3. Inquire also whether there be none among you that let 
loose your passions on your inferiors, and oppress your poor 
tenants, and make them groan under the task, or at least do 
little to relieve the needy, nor study not to serve the Lord with 
your estates, but sacrifice all to the pleasing of your flesh, unless 
it be some inconsiderable pittance, or fruitless drops, that are 
unproportionable to your receivings. If there be any such, let 
them remember their iniquities, and cry for mercy before the 
cry of the poor to heaven do bring down vengeance from him 
that hath promised to hear their cry, and speedily to avenge 
them. (Luke xviii. 7, 8.) 

4. Inquire whether there be none that live the life of Sodom, 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 135 

in pride, fulness of bread, and idleness ; (Ezek. xvi, 49 ;) and 
that are not puffed up with their estates and dignities, and are 
strangers to the humility, meekness, patience, and self-denial of 
the saints : that ruffle in bravery, and contend more zealously 
for their honour and pre-eminence, than for the honour and in- 
terest of the Lord. For pride of apparel, it was wont to be 
taken for a childish or a womanish kind of vice, below a mun ; 
but it is now observed among the gallants, that (excep in 
spots) the notes of vanity are more legibly written on the hair 
and dress of a multitude of effeminate males, than on the fe- 
males ; proclaiming to the world that pride, which one would 
think even pride itself should have concealed ; and calling by 
these signs to the beholders to observe the emptiness of their 
minds, and how void they are of that inward worth, which is 
the honour of a Christian, and of a man. It being a marvel to 
see a man of learning, gravity, wisdom, and the fear of God, 
appear in such an antic dress. 

I have done with the first part, (C the remembering of your 
own evil ways and doings." I beseech you practically go along 
with me to the next ; " The loathing of yourselves in your own 
eyes, for all your iniquities and abominations." 

Every true convert doth thus loathe himself for his iniquities : 
and when God will restore a punished people upon their repent- 
ance he bringeth them to this loathing of themselves. 

1. A converted soul hath a new and heavenly light to help 
him to see those matters of humbling use, which others see not. 

2. More particularly, he hath the knowledge of sin, and of 
himself. He seeth the odious face of sin, and seeth how much 
his heart and life in his sinful days abounded with it, and how 
great a measure yet remains. 

3. He hath seen by faith the Lord himself; the majesty, the 
holiness, the jealousy, the goodness of the eternal God whom 
he hath offended, and therefore must needs abhor himself. (Job 
xlii. 6.) 

4. He hath tasted of God's displeasure against him for his 
sin already. God himself hath set it home, and awakened his 
conscience, and held it on, till he hath made him understand 
that the consuming fire is not to be jested with. 

5. He hath seen Christ crucified, and mourned over him. This 
is the glass that doth most clearly show the ugliness of sin, and 
here he hath learned to abhor himself. 

6. He hath foreseen, by faith, the end of sin, and the doleful 



136 A SEKM0N OF REPENTANCE. 

recompense of the ungodly ; his faith beholdeth the misery of 
damned souls, and the glory which sinners cast away. He 
heareth them beforehand repenting, and lamenting, and crying 
out of their former folly, and wishing in vain that all this were 
to do again, and that they might once more be tried with 
another life, and resolving then how holily, how self-denyingly 
they would live ! He knows that if sin had had its way he had 
been plunged into this hellish misery himself; and therefore he 
must needs loathe himself for his iniquities. 

7. Moreover, the true convert hath had the liveliest taste of 
mercy, of the blood of Christ, of the offers and covenant of 
grace, of reprieving mercy, of pardoning mercy, of healing and 
preserving mercy, and of the unspeakable mercy contained in 
the promise of everlasting life ; and to find that he hath sinned 
against all this mercy doth constrain him to abhor himself. 

8. And it is only the true convert that hath a new and holy 
nature, contrary to sin ; and, therefore, as a man that hath the 
leprosy doth loathe himself because his nature is contrary tohis 
disease, so is it (though operating in a freer way) with a con- 
verted soul as to the leprosy of sin. Oh ! how he loathes the rem- 
nants of his pride and passion ; his excessive cares, desires, and 
fears ; the backwardness of his soul to God and heaven ! Sin is 
to the new nature of every true believer, as the food of a swine 
to the stomach of a man ; if he have eaten it, he hath no rest 
until he hath vomited it up ; and then when he looketh on his 
vomit, he loatheth himself to think how long he kept such filth 
within him ; and that yet in the bottom there is some remains. 

9. The true convert is one that is much at home, his heart is 
the vineyard which he is daily dressing, his work is ordinarily 
about it, and, therefore, he is acquainted with those secret sins, 
and daily failings, which ungodly men that are strangers to them- 
selves do not observe, though they have them in dominion. 

10. Lastly, a serious Christian is a workman of the Lord's, 
and daily busy at the exercise of his graces, and, therefore, hath 
occasion to observe his weaknesses, and failings, and from sad 
experience is forced to abhor himself. 

But with careless unrenewed souls it is not so ; some of them 
may have a mild, ingenuous disposition, and the knowledge of 
their unworthiness ; and customarily they will confess such sins 
as are small disgrace to them, or cannot be hid ; or under the 
terrible gripes of conscience, in the hour of distress, and at the 
"approach of death, they will do more ; and abhor themselves, 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 137 

perhaps, as Judas did; or make a constrained confession through 
the power of fear ; but so far are they from this loathing of 
themselves for all their iniquities, that sin is to them as their 
element, their food, their nature, and their friend. 

And now, honourable, worthy, and beloved auditors, it is my 
duty to inquire, and to provoke you to inquire, whether the re- 
presentative body of the Commons of England, and each man of 
you in particular, be thus affected to yourselves or not. It con- 
cerns you to inquire of it, as you love your souls, and love not to 
see the death marks of impenitency on them. It concerneth us 
to inquire of it, as we love you and the nation, and would fain 
see the marks of God's return in mercy to us, in your self-loath- 
ing and return to God. Let conscience speak as before the 
Lord that sees your hearts, and will shortly judge you, have you 
had such a sight of your natural and actual sin and misery, of 
your neglect of God, your contempt of heaven, your loss of 
precious, hasty time, your worldly, fleshly, sensual lives, and your 
omission of the great and holy works which you were made for? 
Have you had such a sight and sense of these as hath filled your 
souls with shame and sorrow ? and caused you in tears, or hearty 
grief, to lament your sinful, careless lives, before the Lord. Do 
you loathe yourselves for all this, as being vile in your own eyes, 
and each man say, ' What a wretch was I ! what an unreason- 
able, self-hating wretch, to do all this against myself ! what an 
unnatural wretch ! what a monster of rebellion and ingratitude, 
to do all this against the Lord of love and mercy ! what a de- 
ceived, foolish wretch, to prefer the pleasing of my lusts and 
senses, a pleasure that perisheth in the fruition, and is past as 
soon as it is received, before the manly pleasures of the saints, 
and before the soul's delight in God, and before the unspeakable 
everlasting pleasures ! Was there any comparison between the 
brutish pleasures of the flesh, and the spiritual delights of a 
believing soul, in looking to the endless pleasure which we shall 
have with all the saints and angels in the glorious presence of 
the Lord ? Was God and glory worth no more, than to be cast 
aside for satiating of an unsatisfiable flesh and fancy, and to be 
sold for a harlot, for a forbidden cup, for a little air of popular 
applause, or for a burdensome load of wealth and power, for so 
short a time ? Where is now the gain and pleasure of all my for- 
mer sins ? What have they left but a sting behind them ? How 
near is the time when my departing soul must look back on all 
the pleasures and profits that ever I enjoyed, as a dream when 



138 A SEBMON OF REPENTANCE. 

one awaketh ; a6 delusory vanities, that have done all for me 
that ever they will do, and all is but to bring* my flesh unto cor- 
ruption, (Gal. vi. 8,) and my soul to this distressing grief and 
fear ? and then I must sing and laugh no more ! I must brave it 
out in pride no more ! I must know the pleasures of the flesh no 
more ! but be levelled with the poorest, and my body laid in 
loathsome darkness, and my soul appear before that God whom 
I so wilfully refused to obey and honour. O wretch that I am ! 
where was my understanding, when I played so boldly with the 
flames of hell, the wrath of God, the poison of sin ! when God 
stood by and yet I sinned 1 when conscience did rebuke me, and 
yet I sinned ! when heaven or hell were hard at hand, and yet I 
sinned ! when, to please my God, and save my soul, I would not 
forbear a filthy lust, or forbidden vanity of no worth S when I 
would not be persuaded to a holy, heavenly, watchful life, though 
all my hopes of heaven lay on it ! I am ashamed of myself; I 
am confounded in the remembrance of my wilful, self-destroying 
folly ! I loathe myself for all my abominations ; O that I had 
lived In beggary and rags when I lived in sin ! And O that I 
had lived with God in a prison, or in a wilderness, when I re- 
fused a holy, heavenly life, for the love of a deceitful world ! 
Will the Lord pardon what is past, I am resolved through his 
grace to do so no more, but to loathe that filth that 1 took for 
pleasure, and to abhor that sin that I made my sport, and to die 
to the glory and riches of the world, which I made my idol ; 
and to live entirely to that God that I did so long ago and so un- 
worthily neglect ; and to seek that treasure, that kingdom, that 
delight, that will fully satisfy my expectation, and answer all my 
care and labour, with such infinite advantage. Holiness or 
nothing shall be my work and life, and heaven or nothing shall 
be my portion and felicity. 

These are the thoughts, the affections, the breathing of every 
regenerate, gracious soul. For your souls' sake inquire now, is 
it thus with you ? Or have you thus returned with self-loath- 
ing to the Lord, and firmly engaged your souls to him at your 
entrance into a holy life ? I must be plain with you, gentle- 
men, or I shall be unfaithful ; and I must deal closely with you, 
or I cannot deal honestly and truly with you. As sure as you 
live, yea, as sure as the word of God is true, you must all be 
such converted men, and loathe yourselves for your iniquities, or 
be condemned as impenitent to everlasting fire. To hide this 
from you is but to deceive you, and that in a matter of a thou- 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 139 

sand times greater moment than your lives. Perhaps I could 
have made shift, instead of such serious admonitions, to have 
wasted this hour in flashy oratory, and neat expressions, and 
ornaments of reading, and other things that are the too common 
matters of ostentation with men that preach God's word in 
jest, and believe not what they are persuading others to believe. 
Or if you think I could not, I am indifferent, as not much 
affecting the honour of being able to offend the Lord, and 
wrong your souls, by dallying with holy things. Flattery in 
these things of soul concernment is a selfish villany, that hath 
but a very short reward, and those that are pleased with it to- 
day, may curse the flatterer for ever. Again, therefore, let me 
tell you that which I think you will confess, that it is not your 
greatness, not your high looks, not the gallantry of your spirits 
that scorns to be thus humbled, that will serve your turn when 
God shall deal with you, or save your carcasses from rottenness 
and dust, or your guilty souls from the wrath of the Al- 
mighty. Nor is it your contempt of the threatenings of the 
Lord, and your stupid neglect, or scorning at the message, 
that will endure when the sudden, irresistible light shall 
come in upon you, and convince you, or you shall see 
and feel what now you refuse to believe! Nor is it your 
outside, hypocritical religion, made up of mere words, or cere- 
monies, and giving your souls but the leavings of the flesh, 
and making God an underling to the world, that will do any 
more to save your souls than the picture of a feast to feed your 
bodies. Nor is it the stiffest conceits that you shall be saved 
in an unconverted state, or that you are sanctified when you 
are not, that will do any more to keep you from damnation 
than a conceit that you shall never die will do to keep you here 
for ever. Gentlemen, though you are all here in health and 
dignity, and honour, to day, how little a while is it, alas ! how 
little, until you shall be every man in heaven or hell ! Unless 
you are infidels you dare not deny it. And it is only Christ and 
a holy life that is your way to heaven ; and only sin, and the 
neglect of Christ and holiness, that can undo you. Look, there- 
fore, upon sin as you should look on that which would cast you 
into hell, and is daily undermining all your hopes. O that this 
honourable assembly could know it in some measure as it shall 
be shortly known ! and judge of it as men do, when time is past, 
and delusions vanished, and all men are awakened from their 
fleshly dreams, and their naked souls have seen the Lord ! O 



140 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

then what laws would you make against sin ! How speedily 
would you join your strength against it as against the only 
enemy of your peace, and as against a fire in your houses, or a 
plague that were broken out upon the city where you are 1 O 
then how zealously would you all concur to promote the interest 
of holiness in the land, and studiously encourage the servants 
of the Lord ! How severely would you deal with those, that by 
making a mock of godliness, do hinder the salvation of the peo- 
ple's souls ? How carefully would you help the labourers that 
are sent to guide men in the holy path ! and yourselves 
would go before the nation as an example of penitent self loath- 
ing for your sins, and hearty conversion to the Lord ! Is this 
your duty now ? or is it not ? If you cannot deny it, I warn you 
from the Lord do not neglect it ; and do not by your diso- 
bedience to a convinced conscience prepare for a tormenting 
conscience. If you know your Master's will, and do it not, you 
shall be beaten with many stripes. 

And your public capacity and work doth make your repent- 
ance and holiness needful to others as well as to yourselves. 
Had we none to govern us, but such as entirely subject them- 
selves to the government of Christ ; and none to make us laws, 
but such as have his law transcribed upon their hearts, O what 
a happy people should we be ! Men are unlikely to make strict 
laws against the vices which they love and live in; or if they 
make them, they are more unlikely to execute them. We can 
expect no great help against drunkenness, swearing, gaming, 
filthiness, and profaneness, from men that love these abomina- 
tions so well, as that they will rather part with God and their 
salvation than they will let them go. All men are born with a 
serpentine malice and enmity against the seed of Christ, which 
is rooted in their very natures. Custom in sin increaseth this to 
malignity 5 and it is only renewed grace that doth overcome it. 
If, therefore, there should be any among our rulers that are not 
cured of this mortal malady, what friendship can be expected 
from them to the cause and servants of the Lord ? If you are 
all the children of God yourselves, and heaven be your end, and 
holiness your delight and business, it will then be your principal 
care to encourage it, and help the people to the happiness that 
you have found yourselves. But if in any the original (increased) 
enmity to God and godliness prevail, we can expect no better 
(ordinarily) from such, than that they oppose the holiness which 
they hate, and do their worst to make us miserable. But wo 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 141 

to him that strive th against his Maker v Shall the thorns and 
hriars be set in battle against the consuming fire and prevail ? 
(Isaiah xxvii. 4, 5.) Oh ! therefore, for the nation's sake, begin 
at home, and cast away the sins which you would have the 
nation cast away ! All men can say, that ministers must teach 
by their lives, as well as by their doctrines ; (and wo to them 
that do not !) and must not magistrates as well govern by their 
lives, as by their laws ? Will you make laws which you would 
not have men obey ? Or would you have the people to be better 
than yourselves ? Or can you expect to be obeyed by others, 
when you will not obey the God of heaven and earth your- 
selves ? We beseech you, therefore, for the sake of a poor dis- 
tressed land, let our recovery begin with you. God looks so 
much at the rulers of a nation in his dealings with them, that 
ordinarily it goes with the people as their rulers are. Until 
David had numbered the people, God would not let out his 
wrath upon them, though it was they that were the great 
offenders. Jf we see our representative body begin in loathing 
themselves for all their iniquities, and turning to the Lord with 
all their hearts, we should yet believe that he is returning to us, 
and will do us good after all our provocations. Truly, gentle- 
men, it is much from you that we must fetch our comfortable or 
sad prognostics of the life or death of this diseased land. 
Whatever you do, I know that it shall go well with the righte- 
ous ; but for the happiness or misery of the nation in general it 
is you that are our best prognostication. If you repent your- 
selves, and become a holy people to the Lord, it promiseth us 
deliverance ; but if you harden your hearts, and prove despisers 
of God and holiness, it is like to be our temporal, and sure to be 
your eternal undoing, if saving grace do not prevent it. 

And I must needs tell you, that if you be not brought to loathe 
yourselves, it is not because there is no loathsome matter in 
you. Did you see your inside you could not forbear it. As I 
think it would somewhat abate the pride of the most curious 
gallants, if they did but see what a heap of phlegm, and filth, 
and dung, (and perhaps crawling worms,) there is within them ; 
much more should it make you loathe yourselves if you saw 
those sins that are a thousand times more odious. And to 
instigate you hereunto, let me further reason with you. 

1 . You can easily loathe an enemy ; and who hath been a 
greater enemy to any of you than yourselves ? Another may 
injure you ; but no man can everlastingly undo you, but your- 
selves. 



142 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

2. You abhor him that kills your dearest friends ; and it is 
you by your sins that have put to death the Lord of life. 

3. Who is it but yourselves that hath robbed you of so much 
precious time, and so much precious fruit of ordinances, and of 
all the mercies of the Lord ? 

4. Who is it but yourselves that hath brought you under 
God's displeasure ? Poverty could not have made him loathe 
you, nor anything besides your sins. 

5. Who wounded conscience, and hath raised all your doubts 
and fears ? Was it not your sinful selves ? 

6. Who is it but yourselves that hath brought you so neat 
the gulf of misery, and endangered your eternal peace ? 

7. Consider the loathsome nature of your sins, and how then 
can you choose but loathe yourselves ? 

1. It is the creature's rebellion or disobedience against the 
Absolute Universal Sovereign. 

2. It is the deformity of God's noblest creature here on earth, 
and the abusing of the most noble faculties. 

3. It is a stain so deep that nothing can wash out but the 
blood of Christ. The flood that drowned a world of sinners 
did not wash away their sins. The fire that consumed the Sodom- 
ites did not consume their sins. Hell itself can never end it, 
and, therefore, shall have no end itself. It dieth not with you 
when you die ; though churchyards are the guiltiest spots of 
ground, they do not bury and hide our sin. 

4. The church must loathe it, and must cast out the sinner as 
loathsome, if he remain impenitent ; and none of the servants 
of the Lord must have any friendship with the unfruitful works 
of darkness. 

5. God himself doth loathe the creature for sin, and for no- 
thing else but sin, "My soul loathed them;" (Zech. xi. 8;) 
" When the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the pro- 
voking of his sons and daughters;" (Dent, xxxii. 19;) " My 
soul shall abhor you;" (Lev. xxvi. 30;) "When God heard this, 
he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel ;" (Psalm lxxviii. 59;) 
" He abhorred his very sanctuary ;" (Lam. ii. 7 ;) " For he is of 
purer eyes than to behold iniquity." (Hab. i. 13.) In a word, 
it is the sentence of God himself, that a " wicked man is loath- 
some and cometh to shame," (Prov. xiii. 5,) so that you see 
what abundant cause of self-abhorrence is among us. 

But we are much afraid of God's departure, when we see 
how common self-love is in the world, and how rare this peni- 
tent self-loathing is. 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. J 43 

1. Do they loathe themselves that on every occasion are con- 
tending for their honour, and exalting themselves, and venturing 
their very souls, to be highest in the world for a little while ? 

2. Do they loathe themselves that are readier to justify all 
their sins, or at least to extenuate them, than humbly confess 
them ? 

3. Do they loathe themselves for all their sins that cannot 
endure to be reproved, but loathe their friends and the ministers 
of Christ that tell them of their loathsomeness ? 

4. Do they loathe themselves that take their pride itself for 
manhood, and christian humility for baseness, and brokenness of 
heart for whining hypocrisy or folly, and call them a company 
of priest-ridden fools that lament their sin, and ease their souls 
by free confession? Is the ruffling bravery of this city, and the 
strange attire, the haughty carriage, the feasting, idleness, and 
pomp, the marks of such as loathe themselves for all their 
abominations ? Why then was fasting, and sackcloth, and 
ashes, the badge of such in ancient times ? 

5. Do they loathe themselves for all their sins, who loathe those 
that will not do as they, and speak reproachfully of such as run 
not with them to the same excess of riot, (1 Peter iv. 4,) and 
count them precisians that dare not spit in the face of Christ, 
by wilful sinning as venturously and madly as themselves ? 

6. Or do they loathe themselves for all their sins, that love 
their sins even better than their God, and will not by all the 
obtestations, and commands, and entreaties of the Lord, be per- 
suaded to forsake them ? How far all these are from this self- 
loathing, and how far that nation is from happiness, where the 
rulers or inhabitants are such, is easy to conjecture. 

I should have minded you what sins of the land must be re- 
membered, and loathed, if we would have peace and healing. 
But as the glass forbids me, so alas, as the sins of Sodom, they 
declare themselves. Though through the great mercy of the 
Lord, the body of this nation, and the sober part, have not 
been guilty of that covenant-breaking, perfidiousness, treason, 
sedition, disobedience, self- exalting, and turbulency, as some 
have been, and as ignorant foreigners through the calumnies of 
malicious adversaries may possibly believe ; yet must it be for 
a lamentation through all generations, that any of those who 
went out from us have contracted the guilt of such abomina- 
tions, and occasioned the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme; 
and that any in the pride or simplicity of their hearts have 



144 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

followed the conduct of Jesuitical seducers, they know not 
whither or to what. 

That profaneness aboundeth on the other side, and drunken- 
ness, swearing, fornication, lasciviousness, idleness, pride, and 
covetousness, doth still survive the ministers that have wasted 
themselves against them, and the labours of faithful magistrates 
to this day ! And that the two extremes of heresy and profane- 
ness do increase each other ; and while they talk against each 
other, they harden one another, and both afflict the church of 
Christ. But especially wo to England for that crying sin, the 
scorning of a holy life, if a wonder of mercy do not save us. 
That people, professing the christian religion, should scorn the 
diligent practice of that religion which themselves profess ! 
That obedience to the God of heaven, that imitation of the 
example of our Saviour, who came from heaven to teach us holi- 
ness, should not only be neglected, unreasonably and impiously 
neglected, but also by a transcendent impious madness should be 
made a matter of reproach ! That the Holy Ghost, into whose 
name, as the Sanctifier, these men were themselves baptised, 
should not only be resisted, but his sanctifying work be made a 
scorn ! That it should be made a matter of derision for a man 
to prefer his soul before his body, and heaven before earth, and 
God before a transitory world, and to use his reason in that for 
which it was principally given him, and not to be wilfully mad 
in a case where madness will undo him unto all eternity! Judge, 
as you are men, whether hell itself is like much to exceed such 
horrid wickedness ! And whether it be not an astonishing won- 
der that ever a reasonable soul should be brought to such a 
height of abomination ! That they that profess to believe the 
holy catholic Church, and the communion of saints, should de- 
ride the holiness of the church, and the saints, and their com- 
munion ! That they that pray for the hallowing of God's name, 
the coming of his kingdom, and the doing of his will, even as it 
is done in heaven, should make a mock at all this that they 
pray for ! How much further, think you, is it possible for wicked 
souls to go on sinning ? Is it not the God of heaven himself 
that they make a scorn of? Is not holiness his image ? Did 
not he make the law that doth command it ; professing that 
none shall see his face without it? (Heb. xii. 14.) O sinful 
nation ! O people laden with iniquity ! Repent, repent speedily, 
and with self-loathing, repent of this inhuman crime, lest God 
should take away your glory, and enter himself into judgment 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 145 

with you,' 1 ' d plead against you the scorn that you have cast 
upon the Ct ator, the Saviour, the Sanctiner, to whom you were 
engaged in g »ur baptismal vows ! Lest when he plagueth and con- 
demned yu% he "* \y, " Why persecuted you me?" (Acts ix. 4.) 
" Inasmuch as *"L .1 it to one of the least of these mv brethren, 
ye did it unto e ^- ~ lP Read Prov. i. 20, to the end. When Israel 
mocked the mt u ^ lia Vers of the Lord, and despised his words, and 
misused his prc lce 01 , his wrath arose against his people till there 
was no remedy , \2 Chrorr. xxvi. 16 ;) and O that you who are 
the physicians of this diseased lanu 1 tmsaM .specially call them to 
repentance for this, and help them against it for the time to 
come ! • ' *,, r 

Having called you first to remember your misdoings, anal, se- 
condly, to loathe yourselves in your own eyes for them, I must 
add a third, that you stop not here, but proceed to reforma- 
tion, or else all the rest is but hypocrisy. And here it is that 
1 most earnestly entreat this honourable assembly for their 
best assistance. O make not the forementioned sins your own, 
lest your hear from God, "quod minus crimine, quam absolu- 
tione peccatum est." Though England hath been used to cry 
loud for liberty, let them not have liberty to abuse their Maker, 
and to damn their souls, if you can hinder it. " Optimus est 
reipublicae status, ubi nulla libertas deest, nisi licentia pereundi," 
as Nero was once told by his unsuccessful tutor. Use not 
men to a liberty of scorning the laws of God, lest you teach them 
to scorn yours ; for can you expect to be better used than 
God. And " cui plus licet quam par est, plus vult quam licet." 
(Gell. i. 17., c. 14.) We have all seen the evils of liberty to 
be wanton in religion. Is it not worse to have liberty to deride 
religion? If men shall have leave to go quietly to hell them- 
selves, let them not have leave to mock poor souls from heaven. 
The suffering to the sound in faith is as nothing ; for what is 
the foaming rage of madmen to be regarded ? But that in 
England God should be so provoked, and souls so hindered 
from the paths of life, that whoever will be converted and saved 
must be made a laughing stock, which carnal minds cannot 
endure ; this is the mischief which we deprecate. 

The eyes of the nation, and of the christian world, are much 
upon you, some high in hopes, some deep in fears, some 
waiting in dubious expectations for the issue of your counsels. 
Great expectations, in deep necessities, should awake you to 
the greatest care and diligence. Though I would not, by omit- 

VOL, XVII. L 



146 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

ting any necessary directions or admonitions to yj ,invite the 
world to think that I speak to such as cannot eni e to hear > 
and that so honourable an assembly doth call the> flinisters of 
Christ to do those works of their proper of dle -, w ,ich y et the y 
will be offended if they do, yet had I rath tna) m the defec_ 
tive part than by excess, and therefore sl/ aitnf3t P resume to 
be too particular. Only in general, in the P eres , °*" Christ, anc * 
on the behalf of a trembling, yet honing iv tali, I most ear- 
nestly beseech and warn you * JU - M / ou own &nd promote the 
power and practice < >r Godliness in the land, and that as God, 
whose ministers ytftt are, (Rom. xiii. 4,) is a rewarder of them 
that diligently seek him, (Heb. xi. 6,) and hath made this 
a principal article of our faith, so you would imitate your ab- 
solute Lord, and honour them that fear the Lord, and encourage 
them that diligently seek him. And may I not freely tell you 
that God should have the precedency ? And that you must 
first seek his kingdom, and the righteousness thereof, and he 
will facilitate all the rest of your work. Surely no powers on 
earth should be offended, that the God from whom, and for 
whom, and through whom, they have what they have, is pre- 
ferred before them, when they should own no interest but his, 
and what is subservient to it. I have long thought that pre- 
tences of a necessity of beginning with our own affairs, hath 
frustrated our hopes from many parliaments already ; and I 
am sure that by delays, the enemies of our peace have got 
advantage to cross our ends and attain their own. Our cala- 
mities begun in differences about religion, and still that is the 
wound that most needs closing. And if that were done, how 
easily, I dare confidently speak it, would the generality of 
sober, godly people, be agreed in things civil, and become the 
strength and glory of the sovereign, under God. And though, 
with grief and shame, we see this work so long undone, (may 
we hope that God hath reserved it to this season,) yet I have 
the confidence to profess, that, as the exalting of one party, by 
the ejection and persecuting of the rest, is the sinful way 
to your dishonour and our ruin, so the terms on which the 
differing parties most considerable among us may safely, easily, 
and suddenly unite, are very obvious, and our concord a very 
easy thing, if the prudent and moderate might be the guides, 
and selfish interests and passion did not set us at a further 
distance than our principles have done. And to show you the 
facility of such an agreement, were it not that such personal 



matters ar 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 14/ 

much liable to misinterpretations, I should tell 
yo"u"tl7at"tl t late reverend Primate of Ireland consented, in less 
than half I i hour's debate, to five or six propositions which 
I offered h\fn, as sufficient for the concord of the moderate 
Episcopal arid Presbyterians, without forsaking the principles 
of their parties. O &£ the Lord would yet show so much 
mercy to a sinful nation, as ft put it into your hearts to promote 
but the practice of those cnr^n principles which we are 
all agreed in 1 I hope there is no cont/ overs y amon 6 US whet ; ier 
God should be obeyed, and hell avoided and h ** v ™ ™& 

sought, and Scripture be the rule and test o. oul l ° ' . 

' ft ^r±her the 
sin abhorred and cast out. O that you would but iu. t 

practice of this with all your might ! We crave not of j,. v 
any lordship or dominion, nor riches, nor interest in your tem- 
poral affairs ; we had rather see a law to exclude all ecclesi- 
astics from all power of force. The God of heaven that will 
judge you and us will be a righteous judge betwixt us ? whether 
we crave any thing unreasonable at your hands. These are 
the sum of our requests : 1. That holiness may be encouraged, 
and the overspreading profaneness of this nation effectually 
kept down. 2. That an able, diligent ministry may be en- 
couraged, and not corrupted by temporal power. 3. That 
discipline may be seriously promoted, and ministers no more 
hindered by magistrates in the exercise of their office than phy- 
sicians and schoolmasters are in theirs, seeing it is but a go- 
vernment like theirs, consisting in the liberty of conscionably 
managing the works of our own office that we expect. Give 
us but leave to labour in Christ's vineyard with such encourage- 
ment as the necessity of obstinate souls requireth, and we will 
ask no more. You have less cause to restrain us from dis- 
cipline than from preaching. For it is a more flesh-displeas- 
ing work that we are hardlier brought to. I foretel you that 
you shut out me, and all that are of my mind, if you would 
force us to administer sacraments without discipline, and 
without the conduct of our own discretion, to whom the ma- 
gistrate appoints it, as if a physician must give no physic but 
by your prescript. The antidisciplinarian magistrate I could 
as resolutely suffer under as the superstitious, it being w T orse 
to cast out discipline, than to err in the circumstances of it. 
The question is not, whether bishops or no, but whether dis- 
cipline or none ? And whether enough to use it ? 4. We ear- 
nestly request that scripture sufficiency, as the test of our re- 

l 2 



148 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 



ligion, and only universal law of Christ, may be laintained, 
and that nothing unnecessary may be imposed as n« essary, nor 
the church's unity laid on that which will not beaitct, nor ever 
did. O that we might but have leave to serve liod only as 
Christ hath commanded us, and to go to b^averi in the same 
way as the apostles did ! These are our desires, and whether 
they are reasonable, God will jud^e. 

Give first to God the things that are God's, and then give 
Caesar the things that are Caesar's. Let your wisdom be first 
pure, and then peac 2a ble. Not but that we are resolved to be 
loyal to sovereign though you deny us all these. Whatever 
inalic;j Lls men p re tend, that is not, nor shall not, be our dif- 
.^rence. I have proved more publicly, when it was more dan- 
gerous to publish it, that the generality of the orthodox, sober 
ministers, and godly people of this nation, did never consent 
to king-killing, and resisting sovereign power, nor to the change 
of the ancient government of this land, but abhorred the 
pride and ambition that attempted it. I again repeat it, the 
blood of some, the imprisonment and displacing of others, the 
banishment or flight of others, and the detestations and public 
protestations of more ; the oft-declared sense of England, 
and the wars and sad estate of Scotland, have all declared 
before the world, to the shame of calumniators, that the ge- 
nerality of the orthodox, sober protestants of these nations, 
have been true to their allegiance, and detesters of unfaithful- 
ness and ambition in subjects, and resisters of heresy and 
schism in the church, and of anarchv and democratical confu- 
sions in the commonwealth. And though the land hath ringed 
with complaints and threatenings against myself, for publishing 
a little of the mixture of Jesuitical and familistical contrivances, 
for taking down together our government and religion, and 
setting up new ones for the introduction of popery, infidelity, 
and heresv, yet I am assured that there is much more of this 
confederacy for the all-seeing God to discover in time, to the 
shame of papists, that cannot be content to write themselves 
for the killing of kings when the pope hath once excommuni- 
cated them, and by the decrees of a general council at the 
Lateran, to depose princes that will extirpate such as the pope 
calls heretics, and absolve all their subjects from their fidelity and 
allegiance, but they must also creep into the councils and 
armies of protestants, and taking the advantage of successes 
nnd ambition, withdraw men at once from their religion and 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. J 49 

allegiance, iat they may cheat the world into a belief that 
treasons art he fruits of the protestant profession, when these 
masked jug ers have come by night, and sown and cherished 
these Romis. tares. As a papist must cease to be a papist 
if he will be truly and fully loyal to his sovereign, (as I am ready 
to prove against any adversary,) so a protestant must so far 
cease to be a protestant, before he can be disloyal. For Rom. 
13. is part of the rule of his religion Unhappily there hath 
been a difference among us which is &£ higher power, when 
those that have their shares in the sovereignty are divided, but 
whether we should be subject to the higher pow'w r , 1S no question 
with us. 

Gentlemen, I have nothing to ask of you for myself, nor any 
of my brethren, as for themselves, but that you will be friends 
to serious preaching and holy living, and will not ensnare our 
consciences with any unscriptural inventions of men. This I 
would beg of you as on my knees : 1. As for the sake of Christ, 
whose cause and people it is that I am pleading for. 2. For 
the sake of thousands of poor souls in this land, whose salva- 
tion or damnation will be much promoted by you. 3. For the 
sake of thousands of the dear servants of the Lord, whose 
eyes are waiting to see what God will do by your hands. 
4. For your own sakes, who are undone if you dash yourselves 
on the rock you should build on, and set against the holy God, 
and turn the cries of his servants to heaven for deliverance 
from you. (Luke xviiL 8.) If you stumble on Christ, he will 
break you in pieces ; but if he fall upon you, he will grind you 
to powder. 5. For the sake of your posterity, that they may not 
be bred up in ignorance or ungodliness. 6. For the honour 
of the nation and yourselves, that you turn by all the suspi- 
cions and fears that are raised in the land. 7- For the honour 
of sound doctrine and church-government, that you may not 
bring schism into greater credit than now you have brought it 
to deserved shame. For if you frown on godliness under 
pretence of uniformity in unnecessary things, and make times 
worse than when libertinism and schism so prevailed, the people 
will look back with groans, and say, ' What happy times did 
we once see !' And so will honour schism, and libertinism, 
and usurpation, through your oppression. S. Lastly, I beg this 
of you, for the honour of sovereignty, and the nation's peace. 
A prince of a holy people is most honourable. The interest 
of holiness is Christ's own. Happy is that prince that espous- 



150 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

eth this, and suhjecteth all his own unto it. (Sel Psalm i. 1, 
2, and ci., and xv. 4.) It is the conscionable, yNjdent, godly 
people of the land, that must be the glory and strLigth of their 
lawful sovereign. Their prayers will serve him better than the 
hideous oaths and curses of the profan:. Wo to the rulers 
that set themselves against the interest of Christ and holiness ! 
(Read Psalm ii. ;) or that make snares for their consciences, that 
they may persecute them as disobedients, who are desirous to 
obey their rulers in subordination to the Lord. (See Dan. iii., 
and vi. 5, 10, 13.) I have dealt plainly with you, and told you 
the very Vfuto. If God have now a blessing for you and us, 
you 'will obey it, but if you refuse, then look to yourselves, and 
answer it if you can. I am sure, in spite of earth and hell, it 
shall go well with them that live by faith. 



RIGHT REJOICING: 

OR, THE 

NATURE AND ORDER 

OF 

RATIONAL AND WARRANTABLE JOY; 

DISCOVERED IN A 

SERMON PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S 

BEFORE THE 

LORD MAYOR AND ALDERMEN, 

AND THE SEVERAL COMPANIES OF THE CITY OF LONDON. 

On May 10th. 1660, 

APPOINTED BY BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT TO BE A DAY OF SOLEMN 

THANKSGIVING FOR GOD'S RAISING UP AND SUCCEEDING HIS 

EXCELLENCY, AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS, 

IN OBDER TO 

HIS MAJESTY'S RESTORATION, 

AND THE SETTLEMENT OF THESE NATIONS. 



TO THE 



RIGHT HONOURABLE THOMAS ALLEYNE, 

LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON, 



WITH THE 



RIGHT WORSHIPFUL ALDERMEN, 

HIS BRETHREN. 



As, in obedience to your favourable invitation, this Sermon 
was first preached ; and the Author, conscious of his great un- 
worthiness, employed in so honourable a work ; so is it your 
pleasure, against which my judgment must not here contest, 
that hath thus exposed it to the public view; which yet I must 
confess doth not engage you in the patronage of any of the 
crudities and imperfections of this hasty work, it being the 
matter, which is of God, that so far prevailed for your accept- 
ance as to procure your pardon of the manner, which is too 
much my own. Rejoicing is so highly valued, even by nature, 
that I thought it a matter of great necessity to help to rectify 
and elevate your joys. The corruption of a thing so excellent 
must needs be very bad j and it being the great and durable 
good that must feed all great and durable joy ; and seeing these 
little transitory things can cause but little and transitory delight, 
I thought it my duty to insist most on the greatest on 
which, in your meditations, you must most insist; which I 
repent not of, especially now you have given my doctrine a 
more loud and lasting voice, because it is only our heavenly 
interest that may be the matter of universal continued de- 
light : and so the subject may make the sermon to be of 



154 TO THE RIGHT HON. THOMAS ALLEYNE. 

the more universal and continued use, when a subject of 
less excellency and duration than heaven would have de- 
pressed and limited the discourse, as to its usefulness. And 
also I was forced in this, as in all these sublunary things, to 
estimate the mercy in which we did all so solemnly rejoice but 
as a means, which is so far to be valued as it conduceth to its 
end; and is something or nothing as it relateth to eternity. 
Since I placed my hopes above, and learned to live a life of 
faith, I never desire to know any mercy in any other form or 
name, nor value it on any other account, as not affecting to 
make such reckonings which I daily see obliterated in grief and 
shame by those that make them ; and remembering who said, 
that if we had known Christ himself after the flesh, henceforth 
we know him so no more. As it was my compassion to the 
frantic merry world, and also to the self-troubling melancholy 
Christian, and my desire methodically to help you in your re- 
joicings about the great occasions of the day, which formed 
this exhortation to what you heard, and chose the subject which, 
to some, might seem less suitable to the day; so, if the publi- 
cation may print so great and necessary a point on the hearts of 
any that had not the opportunity to hear, as God shall have the 
praise, and they the joy, so you shall have, under God, the 
thanks, and I the attainment of my end, which is my reward : 
I rest, 

Your servant in the work of Christ, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 



RIGHT REJOICING. 



LUKE x. 20. 

Notivithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject 
to you ; but rather rejoice because your names are written 
in heaven. 

Right Honourable, Worshipful, and Beloved Auditors, 

If any of you shall say, upon the hearing of my text, that I 
have chosen a subject unsuitable to the occasion, and that a 
" rejoice not" is out of season on a day of such rejoicing, they 
may, I hope, be well satisfied by that time they have considered 
the reason of these words, as used by Christ to his disciples, 
and the greater joy that is here commanded, and so the reason 
of my choice. 

When Christ had sent forth his seventy disciples to preach 
the gospel through the cities of Judea, and to confirm it by 
miraculous cures, for which he endued them with power from 
above, upon their return they triumph especially in this, that 
" the devils themselves were subject to them through the name 
of Christ." (Ver. 17.) A mercy which Christ is so far from 
extenuating that, 1. He sets it forth more fully than they, 
(ver. 18,) " I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven/' 

2. He promised them yet more of it, " giving them power to 
tread on serpents, and on scorpions, and over all the power of 
the enemy, and that nothing should by any means hurt them." 

3. He rejoiceth in spirit, and thankfully acknowledged it to the 
father himself. (Ver. 21.) And yet he seems here to forbid them 
to rejoice in it, commanding them another joy. What ! was 
it not a mercy to be rejoiced in ? Or is there any contradiction 
in the words of Christ ? Neither: he doth not absolutely forbid 
them to rejoice in it ; but he saw that their corruption took an 
advantage by it, to puff them up with pride and vain glory, and 
that they savoured it too carnally, and were much taken with it, 
as it was a visible triumph and honour to themselves the instru- 
ments, and too much overlooked the end and use of it. Christ 



156 RIGHT REJOICING. 

therefore aggravateth the mercy in its proper notion, as it was 
to the honouring of the father and himself, and the advancement 
of his kingdom, and the saving of men's souls, by the confirma- 
tion of the gospel, and the fall of Satan. But the shell or 
grosser substance of the mercy applied to a wrong end, and by 
corruption made another thing, being deprived of its proper 
soul, this Christ admonisheth them to keep out of their esti- 
mation and affection. He meeteth his returning messengers 
rejoicing too much in themselves: and this proud, inordinate, 
selfish joy is it that he would take from them by his cau- 
tion or prohibition, " In this rejoice not." But that they may 
see that he doth not envy them their comforts, he showeth them 
cause of a greater joy, which he alloweth and commandeth them, 
as more suitable to his ends and their felicity : ic But rather re- 
joice that your names are written in heaven." 

For better understanding of this you may observe ; 1. What 
matter of joy the subjection of the devils might afford them. 
2. What manner of joy they were affected with, which Christ 
forbad them. 3. What manner of joy it is that Christ alloweth 
them, when he seemeth to restrain it wholly to their heavenly 
interest. 

1. No doubt, to have the devils subject to them was a great 
mercy, in which they might rejoice. For, 1. It was the gift of 
Christ : and all is perfumed that hath touched his hand. Nothing 
but good can come from him that is so good, by way of gift. 

2. It was a gift foretold by the prophets, as reserved for the 
gospel time, that is eminently called the kingdom of God : and 
an extraordinary gift in respect to the precedent and subsequent 
generations. It was no usual thing for men to exercise such 
authority over the very devils, as to command them to come 
forth, and to heal the bodies that they had long afflicted. 

3. It was a victory over the strongest enemy, that can make 
more effectual resistance than the most numerous armies of poor 
mortals, and would laugh at your horse and arms, your fire and 
sword, your greatest cannons : and cannot be expugned but by 
the power of the Almighty. A stronger than he must come 
upon him, and bind him, and cast him out of his possession, 
before he will surrender the garrison, goods, and prisoners, 
which he hath held in peace, (Luke xi. 31, 22.) 

4. It was a victory over the most subtle enemy, that is not 
conquerable by any stratagems of human wit. 

5. It was a victory over the most malicious enemy ; that 



RIGHT REJOICING. 157 

sought more than the subversion of men's temporal peace, and 
by afflicting the body intended the hurting of the soul. 

6. It was a conquest of him that had long possession, and 
one way or othe f r kept in bondage the prisoners that justice had 
subjected to his rage. 

7. It was a victory exceeding honourable to Christ, whose 
very messengers, by his name alone, could make the powers of 
hell submit. He that refused to be made a king, as having not 
a kingdom of this world, (John xviii. 36,) and that had not a 
place to lay his head on ; (Matt. viii. 22 ;) commanded him 
that had presumed to tempt him with all the kingdoms and 
the glory of the world ! (Matt. iv. 8, 9 ;) and that not only by 
the bare word of his mouth, but by the word of his meanest, 
most despised messengers ; which made the people stand 
amazed, saying, what manner of man is this ? 

8. It was a victory tending to the successes of the gospel, to 
convince the unbelieving world, and so to enlarge the kingdom 
of Christ, and to save the people's souls. 

9. And also from so great a work it was no small honour that 
accrued to the instruments: an honour which, in its proper 
place, they might lawfully regard. 

10. And all this was aggravated by the congruency of the 
mercy to the low, despised condition of the instruments, (and of 
Christ himself,) when they were destitute of all common advan- 
tages and means, for the carrying on of so great and necessary 
a work, surpassing all the strength of flesh : how seasonable 
was it that the Omnipotency of heaven should then appear for 
them, and thus engage itself for their success. So that in all 
this you may easily see that here was abundant matter for a 
rational, warrantable joy to the disciples. 

11. But where then was their fault ? And what was that joy 
which Christ forbad them ? Answer. Having already told you in 
general, I shall tell you more particularly. 1 . They looked too 
much at the matter of dominion over the subjected and ejected 
devils and relished most delightfully the external part. As the 
Jews looked for a Messiah that should come in grandeur, and 
bring the nations under his dominion ; so the disciples that 
had yet too much of these conceits began to be lifted up with 
the expectation of some earthly glory, when they saw the powers 
of hell submit, and Christ thus begin with the manifestation of 
his omnipotency. But the great end of these miracles they too 
much overlooked : they too much left out of the rejoicings the 



158 RIGHT REJOICING. 

appearances of God, the advantages of faith, the promotion 
of the spiritual kingdom of Christ, and the greater mercies of 
the gospel, as to themselves and others. 

2. They took too great a share of the honour to themselves, 
being more affected to see what great things they were made 
the instruments to accomplish, than what honour did thereby 
accrue to God and benefit to man ; and thus, while they arro- 
gate too much to themselves, and withal too much overlook those 
higher, greater mercies, to which all their miracles were but 
means, they deservedly fall under Christ's reproof; and he is 
employed in the cure of their diseased joys, by amputation of 
the superfluities, and rectifying the irregularities, and supplying 
the defects, lest Satan should take possession of their souls, 
by carnality, selfishness, and pride, when they thought they had 
conquered him, by dispossessing him of men's bodies. 

III. By this you may understand what joy it is that Christ al- 
loweth and commandeth them. 

1 . As to themselves, to kill their pride, and to increase their 
kindly joy and thankfulness, and to advance their estimation of 
the riches of the gospel, and rectify their judgment of the work 
and kingdom of their Lord, he calls them to mind that higher 
mercy, which is worthy of their greatest joy. An interest in 
heaven is another kind of mercy than healing the sick, or cast- 
ing out devils here on earth. 

2. In reference to his honour, he would have them first look 
at the greatest of his gifts, and not forget the glory which he 
finally intends them, while they are taken up with these wonders 
in the way ; for his greatest honour ariseth from his greatest 
mercies. 

3. As to the degrees of their rejoicing, he would not have 
them give the greater share to the lesser mercy, but to rejoice so 
much more in their heavenly interest, as that all other joy should 
be as none in comparison of it: so that this "Rejoice not in 
this," &c. is as much as if he had said, ' Let your rejoicing in 
this power over the devils be as nothing in comparison of your 
rejoicing that your names are written in heaven.' Just as he 
forbiddeth care and labour for these earthly things, when he 
saith, " Care not what ye shall eat," &c. ; (Matt. vi. 25 ;) "La- 
bour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endur- 
eth to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you/' 
(John vi. 27.) Our care and labour for earthly things must be 
nothing, in comparison of the care and labour we are at for hea- 



RIGHT REJOICING. 159 

ven : and so our joy, in the greatest of these outward mercies, 
should be as nothing, in comparison of our joy in higher things. 

4. As to the nature and order of the thing, he alloweth them 
no joy in this, or any temporal or created thing whatsoever, 
but as it proceedeth from God, and tendeth to him as our ulti- 
mate end. We must not rejoice in our victories over Satan, or 
any other enemy, for itself, and as our end, but as it is a means 
to the glory of God and men's salvation. In all which, it is 
evident that Christ doth but regulate and advance their joy, 
and calleth them first to rejoice in that which is their end and 
all, and animateth all their lower mercies; he then alloweth and 
requireth them to rejoice, even in this, which he seemed to for- 
bid them to rejoice in, viz., that the devils were subject to them, 
so they do it in due subordination to its end. 

The only difficulty in the preceptive part of the text is, what 
is meant here by the " Writing of their names in heaven/' In a 
word, the meaning is, that they are " fellow citizens of the 
saints, and of the household of God;" and having a room among 
the saints on earth, have a title to the celestial glory. As in 
some well-ordered cities there were rolls kept of the names of 
all the citizens, or freemen, as distinct from all the inferior, 
more servile, sort of subjects ; and as muster-rolls are kept of 
the listed soldiers of the army, so all that are saints are en- 
rolled citizens of heaven, that is, are the heirs of the heavenly 
felicitv. 

We are decreed to this state before the foundations of the 
world ; we are redeemed to it by the death of Christ ; but we 
are not actually entered into it till we are sanctified by the Holy 
Ghost, and heartily engaged to God the Father, Son, and Spirit, 
in the holy covenant. 

The doctrine of the text is contained in this proposition — 
To have our names written in heaven is the greatest mercy, 
and first, and chiefly, and only for itself to be rejoiced in ; which 
so puts the estimate on all inferior mercies, that further than 
they refer to this they are not to be the matter of our joy. 

Though we had seen the devils subjected to our ministration, 
departing from the possessed when we command them in the 
name of Christ, and the bodies of the afflicted miraculously re- 
lieved ; yet all this were not, comparatively, to be rejoiced in, 
not as separated from our title to the heavenly glory. 

When I have, first, given you the reasons of the prohibition 
— " Rejoice not in this/' and then of the command—" But ra- 



160 RIGHT REJOrCING. 

ther rejoice," &c. you may, by fuller satisfaction about the sense 
and truth of the proposition, be better prepared for the further 
application. 

I. " Rejoice not," though the devils themselves were subject 
to you, further than as this refers to heaven; 1. Because all 
these common mercies may possibly consist with the present 
misery of the persons that receive them. A man may be the 
slave of the devil, as to his soul, when he is casting him out of 
another man's body. He may be conquered by his own concu- 
piscence, that hath triumphed over many an enemy. These times 
have showed it, to our grief, that heresy, and pride, and ambi- 
tion, and self-conceit, may conquer those that have been famous 
for their conquests. He may be a slave to himself that is the 
master of another. 

And what I say of the instance in my text, you may, upon a 
parity or superiority of reason, all along give me leave to ap- 
ply to the great occasion of the day, it being a matter of much 
greater glory to conquer infernal powers than mortal enemies, 
and to have the devils subject to us than men. To be such a 
conqueror of men or devils is no sure proof of the pardon of 
sin, the favour of God, and saving of your souls. Alas ! how 
many, called valiant, are the basest cowards in the warfare that 
their everlasting life dependeth on ? How many that are re- 
nowned for their victories by men, are wretches despised and 
abhorred by the Lord ? What Christian so poor and despica- 
ble in the world that would change his state with a Catiline 
or Sejanus, yea, with a Caesar or Alexander, if he might ? 
Could you see the inside of a glittering gallant, or an adored 
prince, that is a stranger to the life of faith, what a sad dis- 
parity would you see ? The vermin of the most filthy lusts con- 
tinually crawling in the soul, while the body is set out by the 
most exquisite ornaments that pride can invent, and their purses 
can procure, for the increasing of their esteem in the eyes of 
such as judge of souls by the colour and cover of the bodies. 
To see the same man sumptuously feasted, attended, honoured, 
magnified by men, and at the same time dead in sin, unac- 
quainted with the life and comforts of believers, and under the 
curse and condemnation of the law of God, would tell you that 
such a wretch is far from the state in which a reasonable man 
is allowed to rejoice. There are not more naked leprous souls 
in the world, than some that are covered with a silken, laced, 
painted case : nor any more poor and sordid, than such as 



RIGHT REJOICING. 161 

abound with earthly riches. And for such a one to rejoice is as 
unseemly as for a man to glory that his gangrened foot hath a 
handsome shoe ; or that his diseased, pained flesh doth suffer 
in the fashion; or that his wounds and ulcers are searched with 
a silver instrument. God seeth the rottenness and filth that is 
within these painted sepulchres, and therefore judgeth not of 
them as the ignorant spectator, that seeth no further than the 
smoothed, polished, gilded outside. And therefore we find his 
language of such to differ so much from the language of the 
world. He calls those poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked, 
and foolish, and mad, and dead, and cursed, that perhaps hear 
nothing lower from the world than honourable, worshipful, 
rich, and wise ; and men are admiring them, while God is loath- 
ing them : and men are applauding them, while God con- 
demneth them. And hence it is that the servants of the Lord 
do lament the case of those that worldlings count most happy. 
What Paul speaks of those " whose God is their belly, whose 
glory is their shame, and who mind earthly things," he doth it 
weeping; (Phil. iii. IS, 19;) when a frantic sensualist would 
have derided his compassionate tears, and bid him keep them 
for himself. 

2. Rejoice not in these outward common things compara- 
tively, or for themsevles, because they are not only consistent 
with most deplorable misery, but also are the strong and 
ordinary means of making men miserable, and fixing them in 
it, and increasing it. Many that have seemed humble, fruitful, 
flourishing, and steadfast, while they dwelt in the vallies of a 
mean, a low, afflicted state, have proved sun- burnt, weather- 
beaten sinners, apostates, proud, vain glorious and barren, when 
they have removed their habitations to the mountains of pros- 
perity. Alas ! we find it hard enough to be serious, faithful 
Christians, under the less and ordinary temptations of a poor, 
or mean, or suffering condition. And I should rejoice if I were 
but to pass to heaven as a camel must pass through a nee- 
dle's eye. We have difficulties enough already, unless our 
wisdom, strength, and courage, were greater to encounter them ; 
and shall we rejoice if these difficulties be increased to impos- 
sibilities, (as with men,) leaving us no hope but that human 
impossibilities are conquerable by Divine Omnipotency. (Luke 
xvui. 27.) Ts it not hard enough to have a lowly mind in a low 
condition ; but much more in a high. To despise the world 
when the world despiseth us. To walk in heaven when faith is 
not interrupted by the noise or shows of the distracted actors 

VOL. XVII. M 



162 RIGHT REJOICING. 

of these bedlam tragedies. And to converse with our everlasting 
company, when we are freest from these crowds and tumults. 
And shall we rejoice that we, who already stumble at straw, 
have rocks of offence and mountains of difficulty cast before us ? 
How few are advanced to higher measures of faith and holiness 
by their advancements in the world ? For the most part, if they 
seemed to have something of plain honesty and fidelity before, 
when they come to be advanced, it is drowned in carnal poli- 
cies, self-love, and hypocritical dissimulation. And if they 
seemed before to be humble and heavenly, and to live to God, 
and to his interest and service, how strangely doth prosperity 
and dignity transform them, and make them forget their former 
apprehensions, their convictions, purposes, and vows, yea, their 
God, their happiness, and themselves. And should we not be 
very cautelous how we rejoice in an air that few men have their 
health in ? and in a diet how sweet soever, that corrupts and 
kills the most that use it ? in the tables that prove snares, 
and the sumptuous houses that are traps to the inhabitants ? 

3. Rejoice not in these common things, for they are but such 
as are often made the devil's tools to do his work by, and are 
used against the Lord that gave them, to the hinderance of the 
gospel, and injury of the church of Christ. While men are low, 
and live by faith, they do good with the little which they have ; 
and have the blessing of the will, (when they are unable for the 
deed,) and of hearts disposed to do good if they had opportu- 
nity ; when usually those that are lifted up, having more of 
power, and less of will, do less when they might and should do 
more ; and use their talents to aggravate their sin and condem- 
nation ; to further piety, or charity, they have power without 
will ; but to hinder it, they have both power and will. And 
while the poor of the world, that are rich only in faith, would 
help on the work of God, and cannot, (by the great assist- 
ances which the great might give.) and the rich and honourable 
can and will not, but can and will promote the interest of the 
flesh, you may easily see the case of the church, how sure it is 
to know the adversity, and how much of our expectation must 
be from God, and how little from any of the sons of men. Is it 
as common for one that is very rich to part wtth all to follow 
Christ for the hopes of heaven, as it is for one that hath not 
much in the world, to part with ? Is it as common for one that 
hath many thousands a year, to cast all his substance into the 
treasury, as for a widow to do it that hath but two mites ? 
(Luke xxi, 2.) 



RIGHT REJOICING. 163 

4. O how much easier were it like to go with the church of 
God if greatness and ungodliness were not so commonly con- 
junct ! But usually, as riches, and dignities, and honours, do 
much increase their carnal interest, so do they increase their 
carnal mindedness, and their engagements against that life of 
faith and holiness which is contrary to their interests ; so that 
none are such malignant adversaries to godliness, and none 
have such advantage to execute their malice. Seeing, then, that 
all such honours and advancements are made hy corruption too 
ordinary instruments of the vilest works of serving Satan, and 
opposing Christ, and oppressing piety, honesty, and innocence, 
rejoice not in them as for themselves, nor any way but in sub- 
servience to your heavenly rejoicings. 

5. And it should much abate our carnal joy to consider that 
all these things are such as may end in misery, and leave the 
owner in everlasting wo. He that is feasting in purple and 
fine linen to-day, may be to-morrow in remediless torments, 
and want a drop of water to cool his tongue. (Luke xvi.) He 
that is to-day triumphing over mortal enemies, may to-morrow 
be led in triumph to hell fire, and lie in chains of darkness till 
the judgment of the great day. He that is now prophesying 
in the name of Christ, and casting out devils, and doing many 
great and wonderful works, may shortly be condemned at his 
bar with a " depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew 
you." (Matt. vii. 22, 23.) And who would be merry at a feast that 
he must cast up again, in griping pain, or mortal sickness ? You 
see now where the great ones of the world do take their places, 
and how they are admired and honoured by men ; but you see 
not where the tide will leave them, and how they shall be used 
by infernal spirits, if they have not a better preventive and secu- 
rity than all the renown and dignities of the world. Be cau- 
telous, therefore, in your rejoicing for that which may end in 
everlasting sorrows. 

Yea, more than so, these outward honours and successes may 
plunge men deeper in perdition than ever they hau «, — without 
them. And thousands shall wish that they had never known them 5 
and that they had rather been the lowest and obscurest persons, 
than by the temptations of prosperity to have been led into that 
misery. And should you not be very cautelous in your rejoicing 
in that which you may possibly wish you had never known ? 
You see then the reasons for the prohibition, " Rejoice not." 

II. But, on the contrary, that the precept " Rejoice that your 

M 2 



164 RIGHT REJOICING. 

names are written in heaven," is backed with such reasons 
from the nature of the thing, as should much excite us to the 
practice, is a truth so manifest, that a tedious demonstration of 
it might seem at best unnecessary, and so an error, in these 
straits of time. 1. What should be rejoiced in, if not the 
Lord of life himself, who is the everlasting joy and glory of the 
saints ? If felicity itself cannot make us happy, and life itself 
is insufficient to quicken us, and the sun itself cannot illuminate 
us, it is in vain to expect this light, this life, this happiness and 
joy from any other. From others we may have joy derivatively 
at the second hand, but only from God as the original and first 
cause. Other things may be means of the conveyance, but 
God is the matter of our joy. A creature may be his medicine, 
but he is our life and health itself, Comfort may be offered by 
others, but it is he that gives it. Others may direct us to it, 
but he effecteth it. If God be not to be rejoiced in, the affection 
of joy is made in vain; for he is goodness itself, and there is 
nothing lovely or delectable but what is in him. And what 
is heaven but the fruition of God ? 

2. It is congruous that we now rejoice in that which we must 
everlastingly rejoice in. Heaven is the state of everlasting joy, 
and, therefore, the foresight of it by faith is the only way to 
rational, solid comfort here. If you knew the place in which 
you should live but an hundred years in earthly pleasures, or 
the friend in whom you should as long have sweet delight, 
the foreknowledge of it would make that place and friend more 
delightful to you than any other. Mutable joys are the shame 
of man, and show his levity, or his folly in choosing these things 
to comfort him that are, insufficient to perform it. But if your 
heavenly interest be the matter of your joy, you may rejoice to- 
morrow as well as to-day, and the next day as Well as to- 
morrow, and the next year as well as this. If prosperity be 
your joy, your joy must be short, for your worldly prosperity 
will be so. If victory and dignity, and overtopping others, be 
your joy, it will be short ; for death is ready to leave the con- 
queror, the honourable, the prince, with the conquered, and 
the meanest subject. If the solemnity and feasting of such a 
day as this should be the greatest matter of your joy, the day 
will have a night, and the feast an end, and so will your joy. 
But if heaven be the matter of your joy, you may go on in your 
rejoicing, and every day may be your festival : for God is the 
same both yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. You only have 



EIGHT REJOICING. 165 

the day that hath no night, and the feast that hath no end, or 
intermission, unless as it is caused by your errors and misappre- 
hensions. There can nothing fall out of so hurtful a nature as 
to turn your feast into gall and wormwood, for God will be still 
God, and Christ still your head, and heaven will be heaven, and 
nothing is of any considerable moment to put into the scales 
against your happiness. Jf once you have a God, a Christ, a 
heaven to rejoice in, you may rationally indulge a constant joy, 
and may rationally rejoice in poverty, reproach, contempt, and 
calumny, in imprisonment, banishment, sickness, or in death, as 
in a prosperous state : and you transgress the laws of reason if 
you do not. 

3. Rejoice if your names are written in heaven ; for this is a 
divine, a pure, a profitable, and a warrantable joy. When God 
and his ministers rebuke your mirth, it is not this holy mirth 
that they rebuke, but your dreaming mirth, or waking folly. As 
we beat down your presumption, but to set up your faith ; and 
beat down men's deceitful hopes, to prepare them for the hopes 
that will not fail them, and not to bring them to despair ; so do 
we call you from your frothy, foolish, childish mirth, that we may 
lead you to the highest joys. Here is joy that you need not be 
ashamed of ; of which you can scarcely take too much; of which 
you need not to repent. Be as joyful and merry as you will, if 
this may but be the matter of your joy. The more you are thus 
joyful, the more acceptable to God. It is Satan, and not God, 
that is the enemy of this joy ; that pleads against it, and fills a 
Christian's mind with groundless scruples, and doubts, and 
objections against it. O that our souls and our assemblies did 
more abound with this holy joy ! And O that Christians under- 
stood the excellency and usefulness of it, and would set them- 
selves more constantly to the promoting and maintaining of it 
in themselves ! Whoever of you that is most joyful in the 
Lord, I dare persuade you to be more joyful yet; and so far 
should you be from checking yourselves for this holy joy, that 
the rest of your duties should intend it, and you should make it 
your work by the help of all God's ordinances and mercies to 
increase it. He is the best Christian that hath most love, and 
joy, and gratitude ; and he that is best at this, is like to be best 
in the performance of his other duties, and in the conquest of 
remaining sins. But more of this in the application. 

And now 1 am approaching to a closer application, I hope I 
may suppose that 1 have removed the objection that met me in 



166 RIGHT RKJOKING. 

the beginning, and that by this time you see that I am not un- 
seasonably suppressing your warrantable joy ; but, 1. Prevent- 
ing that which is unwarrantable; and, 2. Showing you the 
higher joys, which must animate these, or they will be but dead, 
corrupted things ; it is only the regulation and the exaltation 
of your joys that I am endeavouring : and, for the first, my 
text afTordeth me so full instruction, that you may see this 
observation meeting you in the first perusal of the words. 

That when the Lord hath vouchsafed us matter of rejoicing 
in his wonders of mercy, and our great successes, the best of us 
are too prone to take up a selfish, carnal joy, and have need of 
Christ's prohibition or caution, " rejoice not in this." 

The soul is active, and will be doing ; and there is nothing 
that it is more naturally inclined to than delight. Something 
or other, which may be suitable to it, and sufficient to answer 
its desires, it fain would be rejoicing in. And the spiritual part 
of all our mercies is pure and refined, and too subtle for the dis- 
cerning of our carnal minds, and, therefore, is invisible to the 
dark, ungodly world ; and, also, it is contrary to the interest of 
the flesh, and to the present bent of man's concupiscence : and 
therefore it is that spiritual mercies are not perceived, nor 
relished by the flesh ; yea, that they are refused, as food by a 
sick stomach, with enmity and loathing, as if they were judg- 
ments or plagues, and not mercies ; and hence it is that a car- 
nal mind doth as unwillingly accept of any mercies of this sort, 
as if it were some heavy service that made God almost beholden 
to him to accept them. But the objects of sense, the matters 
of commodity, or honour, or sensual pleasure, are such as the 
worst of men are more eager after tjian any other ; they are 
things that flesh itself doth savour, and can judge of, and is 
naturally, now, too much in love with. And, therefore, there 
being too much of this concupiscence yet within us, the best 
have need, as to be excited to the spiritual part of their rejoic- 
ing, so to be warned and called off from the carnal part. Our 
successes, and our other common mercies, have all of them both a 
carnal and a spiritual part ; somewhat that is suited to our 
bodies, and somewhat to our souls. And as we are all too 
prone to be sensible and regardful of our bodily affairs and in- 
terests, and too insensible and neglectful of the matters of our 
souls ; so we can easily pick out so much of providences and 
mercies as gratify and accomodate our flesh; and there we 
would stop and know no more ; as if we had no spiritual part to 



RIGHT REJOICING. 167 

mind, nor the mercy of any spiritual part to be improved. To 
rejoice in mere prosperity and success may be done without 
grace, by pride, and sensuality, as easily as a drunkard can be 
merry with his cups, or any other sinner in his sin. Think it 
not needless, then, to hear this admonition, take heed that you 
rejoice not carnally in the carcass, or outside only of your 
mercies ; as such an outside religion, consisting in the shell of 
duty, without God, who is the life and kernel, is not religion 
indeed, but an hypocritical, self-deceiving show; so you may 
turn a day of thanksgiving into a clay of fleshly mirth, more 
sinful than a morris-dance or may-game, because of the aggra- 
vation of conjunct hypocrisy, if you set not a faithful guard upon 
your hearts. 

For the rectifying, therefore, and elevating of your joys, I am 
first to tell you, that there is matter of far greater joy before you 
than all the successes or prosperity of the world : and if it be 
not, yet being freely offered you, your acceptance may quickly 
make it such. Eternal joy and glory is at hand, the door is 
open, the promise is sure, the way made plain, the helps are 
many, and safe, and powerful ; you may have the conduct of 
Christ, and the company of thousands, (though the smaller 
number,) if you will go this way : there are passengers every 
day going on, and entering in ; many that were here the last 
year, are this year in heaven ; yea, many that were yesterday on 
earth, are in heaven to day. It is another kind of assembly and 
solemnity than this that they are now beholding, and you may 
behold. One strain of that celestial melody doth afford more 
ravishing sweetness and delight than all that ever earth could 
yield. If a day in God's courts here, be better than a thousand 
in common employments or delights, then, sure, a day in heaven 
is better than ten thousand. That is the court ; and (except 
the church, which is a garden that hath some celestial plants, 
and is a seminary or nursery for heaven) this world is the dung- 
hill. There all is spiritual, pure, and perfect ; the soul, the 
service, and the joy ; but here they are all so mixed with flesh, 
and, therefore, so imperfect and impure, that we are afraid of 
our very comforts, and are fain, upon the review, to sorrow over 
many of our joys. We come now from cares and troubles to 
our feasts ; and our wedding garments smell of the smoke ; and 
a secret disquietness in the midst of our delights doth tell us, 
that the root of our troubles doth remain, and that yet we are 
not where we should be, and that this is not our resting place. 



168 RIGHT REJOICING. 

We lay by our cares and sorrows on these days with our old 
clothes, to take them up again to morrow, and alas ! they are 
our ordinary week-day habits : and it were well if it were 
only so ; but even in laughter the heart is sorrowful ; and in 
our sweetest joys we feel sueh imperfections as threateneth a 
relapse into our former troubles. But the face of God admitteth 
no such imperfections in the joy of the beholders ; there we 
shall have joy without either feeling or fear of sorrow ; and 
praises without any mixtures of complaint. Our sweetest love 
to the Lord of love will feel no bounds, and fear no end. O 
what unspeakable delights will fill that soul that now walks 
mournfully, and feedeth upon complaints and tears ! How the 
glory of God will make that face to shine for ever, that now 
looks too dejectedly, and is darkened with griefs, and worn with 
fears, and daily wears a mourning visage ! No trouble can 
enter into the heavenly Jerusalem : nor is there a mournful 
countenance in the presence of our King ! Self-troubling was 
the fruit of sin and weakness, of ignorance, mistakes, and pas- 
sion, and, therefore, is unknown in heaven, being pardoned and 
laid by with our flesh among the rest of our childish weaknesses 
and diseases. That poor, afflicted, wounded soul, that breathes 
in trouble as its daily air, and thinks it is made up of grief and 
fear, r shall be turned into love and joy, and be unspeakably 
higher in those heavenly delights than ever it was low in sorrow. 
O blessed face of the most glorious God ! O happy presence of 
our glorified head ! O blessed beams of the eternal love, that 
will continually shine upon us ! O blessed work ! to behold, to 
love, to delight, and praise ! O blessed company of holy 
angels, and perfect saints, so perfectly united, so exactly suited, 
to concord in those felicitating works ! Where all these are 
what sorrow can there be ? what relics of distress, or smallest 
scars of our ancient wounds ! Had I but one such friend as the 
meanest angel in heaven to converse with, how easily could I 
spare the courts of princes, the popular concourse, the learned 
academies, and all that the world accounteth pleasure, to live in 
the sweet and secret converse of such a friend ! How delight- 
fully should I hear him discourse of the ravishing love of God, 
of the glory of his face, the person of our Redeemer, the con- 
tinued union of the glorified human nature with the divine, and 
of the head, with all the glorified members, and his influences 
on his imperfect ones below ! Of the dignity, quality, and work 
of saints and angels, and of the manner of their mutual con- 



RIGHT REJOICING. 169 

verse. How gladly would I retire from the noise of laughter, 
the compliments of comic gallants, the clutter and vain-glory of 
a distracted world, or any of the more mainly inferior delights, 
to walk with one such heavenly companion ! O how the beams 
of his illuminated intellect would promote my desired illumina- 
tion ! And the flames of his love to the most glorious God 
would reach my heart ; what life and heavenly sweetness there 
would be in all his speeches ! That little of heaven that I have 
perceived on some of the servants of the Lord, that are conver- 
sant above in the life of faith, doth make them more amiable, 
and their converse much more delectable to me, than all the 
feastings, music, or merriments in the world. O then what a 
world of joy and glory will that be, where we shall not only con- 
verse with them that have seen the Lord, and are perfected in 
the beatifical vision and fruition, but also shall ourselves ever- 
lastingly behold him, and enjoy him in perfection ! That world 
all true believers see ; they see it by faith in the holy glass which 
the Spirit in the apostles and prophets hath set up : and they 
have the earnest and first-fruits of it themselves, even that Spirit 
by which they are sealed hereunto ; that world we are ready to 
take possession of ; we are almost there ; we are but taking our 
leave of the inhabitants and affairs of earth, and better putting 
on our heavenly robes, and we are presently there. A few nights 
more to stay on earth, a few words more to speak to the sons of 
men, a few more duties to perform, and a few more trouble- 
some steps to pass, will be a small inconsiderable delay. This 
room will hold you now but an hour longer, and this world but 
a few hours more, but heaven will be the dwelling-place of 
saints to all eternity. These faces of flesh that we see to day, 
we shall see but a few times more, if any; but the face of God 
we shall see for ever. That glory no dismal times shall darken, 
that joy no sorrow shall interrupt, no sin shall forfeit, no enemy 
shall endanger or take from us, no changes shall ever dispossess 
us of. And should not a believer then rejoice that his name is 
written in heaven ? and that every providence wheels him on, 
and whether the way be fair or foul it is thither that he is 
travelling ? O sirs ! if heaven be better than vanity and vexation; 
if endless joy be better than the laughter of a child that ends in 
crying ; and if God be better than a delusory world, you have 
then greater matters set before you to be the matter of your joy 
than prosperity and success, or any thing that flesh and blood 
delights in. 



170 RIGHT REJOICING. 

And this being so, I am next, in faithfulness to your souls? 
Obliged to call you to inquire, whether the rejoicing of this day, 
and the rejoicing of your lives, do here begin ? Is God the begin- 
ning and the end of all ? O that the Lord would awaken you 
to perceive, in all your mirth, how nearly it concerneth you to 
know first whether your names are written in heaven ; and 
whether your chiefest joy be fetched from thence. 

Alas ! sirs, it is a most pitiful sight to see men frisk about in 
jollity, with the marks of death and wrath upon them ; and to 
see men so franticly merry in their sin, as to forget the 
misery that will so quickly mar their mirth ; and to see men 
live as quietly and pleasantly as if all were well with them, when 
they have taken no successful care for their precious souls, nor 
made any considerable sure provision for their endless life ! 
Poor sinner ! the Lord who sent me on this message to thee, 
knows that I envy thee not thy mirth or pleasure, but only would 
have it better for thee, or have thee set thy mind on better. But 
let me so far interrupt thee in thy mirth, as to ask thee whether 
thou art sure of heaven ? Or, at least, whether thou hast given 
diligence to make it sure ? (2 Peter i. 10.) If this night thy soul 
be called away, canst thou truly say that thou art an heir of 
life, and hast laid up thy treasure there beforehand ? If thou 
say that thou hopest well, and no man can do more, and thus 
dost desperately cast thy everlasting life upon a careless venture, 
I must tell thee first that assurance may be bad. Would God 
bid us rejoice that our names are written in heaven, if it were 
a thing that could not by any means be known ? Would he 
bid us give diligence to make our calling and election sure, if 
it were a thing that could not by any diligence be tatained ? 
And I must add, that presumption is no sign of a safe condi- 
tion. It shall not go well with you because you imagine it 
shall go welL A man in a dropsy or consumption will not live 
by saying that he hopes he shall not die. Yea, more, I must 
add, that a careless venturousness is a mark of misery. For a 
man that valueth God and his salvation, cannot put off a matter 
of such eternal consequence so slightly and disregardfully. 
And a fear and care about your salvation would be a far better 
sign. For the most part they are safest that fear their danger, 
and they are in the saddest case that are never sad at the con- 
sideration of their case. It is not your bold and confident 
conceits that will open heaven to you, and therefore, I beseech 
you, presently look out for surer grounds of peace than these. 



RIGHT REJOICING. 171 

Jf you say, How can it be known to me whether my name 
be written in heaven or not ? I shall briefly, but satisfactorily, 
answer it. 

In general, if thou know that thou art one that God hath 
promised heaven to, thou mayest know thy title, which is 
meant by the writing of thy name in heaven, and thou mayest 
know that this promise shall be made good. 

More particularly, 1. If thou hast had such an effectual 
sight of the vanity of earth, and of the heavenly felicity, that 
heaven hath the pre-eminence in thy practical estimation and 
choice, and thou hast resolved that heaven or nothing shall be 
thy happiness, and art so far at a point with all things under 
the sun, as that thou art resolved to stick closer to Christ than 
unto them, and whatever it cost thee to take the fruition of 
God for ever as thy portion -, if, upon consideration of the dif- 
ference between heaven and earth, God and the creatures, 
eternity and time, thou hast heartily devoted thyself to God, 
aud art willing to be his servant upon the terms that he invit- 
eth thee on, thou mayest be assured that thy name is written in 
heaven. (Matt. vi. 19, 21, and xvi. 24 — 26, and xiii. 45,46; 
Luke xviii. 33.) 

But if earth be the place of thy highest estimation and choice, 
where thou placest thy chief affections, and which thou adhe- 
rest to more resolutely than to God, and which thou wilt not 
leave whatever thou lose by it, then, as earth hath thy heart, 
so earth is thy treasure, and thy name is not written in heaven, 
but in the dust. 

2. If the obtaining of heaven be the principal part of thy 
care and business, the principal work which thou mindest in 
the work, it is certain that thy name is written in heaven : 
(Col. iii. 1 — 4:) otherwise not. 

3. If, finding thyself lost and filthy in thy sin, thou see the 
necessity and sufficiency of Christ, and, being desirous of his 
graco and righteousness, dost unfeignedly take him for thy Sa- 
viour and Lord, and give up thyself to be healed, and justified, 
and saved by him, as the only physician of souls, thou art then 
his member, and thy name is written in heaven. (Job. i. 12, 
and iii. 16, 18.) 

4. If the heavenly nature be most amiable in thine eyes, and 
the heavenly life be it that thou most desirest ; if thou hadst 
rather be holy than be unholy, and hadst rather perfectly 
obey the Lord, than live in sin, and longest to be better, and 



172 RIGHT REJOICING. 

studiest to live in obedience to the Lord, thy name is in heaven, 
and thither thou art passing, and it will be thy reward. But 
if thou love not holiness, but hadst rather be excused from it, 
and live in thy sins, thou art as yet no heir of heaven. (Job 
iii. 19 ; and xii. 26 ; Psalm i. and cxix.) 

5, If thy name be written in heaven, thou hast a special love 
to the heirs of heaven. And the more of heaven thou findest 
in their hearts and lives, the more amiable they are unto thee, 
and the sweeter is their converse. (Job iii. 14 ; Psalm xv. 4.) 

I shall name no more. These evidences are sure. By these 
you may know, while you sit here in these seats, yea, if you 
lay in the darkest dungeon, that you are the heirs of heaven, 
and vour names are there. 

But where there is no such work, no high estimation of heaven, 
and resolution for it, no mortification or conquest of the world, 
no prevalent care and diligence for heaven, no resignation of 
the soul to Christ, that by faith and holiness we might follow 
him to that glory, no love to holiness, and no delight in the 
heirs of heaven, such persons are yet aliens to the heavenly 
nature and inheritance, and cannot rejoice that their names are 
written in heaven. 

And now I have set the glass before you, I earnestly entreat 
you that you will here seriously view the complexion of your 
souls. It more nearly concerneth you to know whether vour 
names are written in heaven, and where it is that you must 
dwell for ever, than to know how to manage your trades and 
business, or to know whether you shall stir from this place 
alive, or ever see another day. O sirs, take heed of living 
in self-deceit till your trying and recovering time is past ! This 
is it that your enemy aims at ; he will do all that malice and 
subtlety can do to keep such matters from your sober thoughts, 
or to make you groundlessly presume that you are safe, or 
securely to cast your souls upon a desperate venture, under 
pretence of trusting in Christ, till he hath you where he would 
have you, and then he will himself take off the veil, and let 
you know that you had time and light to have acquainted you 
with your disease and misery, while you might have had a free, 
and sure, and full remedy. Then you shall know that it was 
along of your self-deceit if you would not understand and 
believe in time, that if you lived after the flesh, you should die, 
(Rom. viii. 13,) and that it is the pure in heart that shall see 
God. (Matt. v. S.) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not 



RIGHT REJOICING. 173 

inherit the kingdom of God ? Be not deceived ; neither for- 
nicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor 
thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extor- 
tioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.) 
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, 
nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in 
the kingdom of Christ, and of God. Let no man deceive you 
with vain words, for because of these things cometh the wrath 
of God on the children of disobedience. (Ephes. v. 5, 6.) And 
can any thing justify the rejoicing of men in so sad a state ? 

Give me leave, therefore, to make a little closer application 
of the several parts of my text to the several sorts of persons 
whom they do concern. And first to all that yet are not 
become the heirs of heaven : Rejoice not though devils were 
subject to you, till your souls are subject to him that bought 
them. Rejoice not though you had conquered all the world, 
and had your wills of all your adversaries, as long as you are 
conquered by your fleshly lusts, and Satan leads you captive at 
his will. (2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.) Rejoice not though you had all 
the riches of the earth, as long as you are void of the riches 
of grace, and have nothing to do with the riches of glory. 
Rejoice not though all men should honour you, and bow to you, 
and proclaim your fame, as long as you are the drudges of the 
devil and the flesh, and the God of heaven proclaimeth you 
his enemies, and resolveth on your destruction, if you do not 
• soundly and seasonably repent. (Luke xix. 27, and xiii. 3, 5.) 
Be not offended with me, that, on a day of thanksgiving, I 
thus far forbid you to rejoice, for it is not you that are qualified 
for it, or have any part or fellowship in this business, being in 
the gall of bitterness, and bonds of your iniquity, your hearts 
being not right in the sight of God. Though the invitation 
be general, it supposeth that you come prepared, and therefore 
even he that calls men to his joys, will find out him that hath 
not on the wedding garment, " and will bind him, and cast him 
into outer darkness, where shall be weeping, and gnashing 
of teeth." (Matt. xxii. 12, 13.) 1. Alas! sirs, if God would 
allow you to rejoice, how willingly could I allow it you. But 
hear whether he approve it. (Jam. v. 1, 3.) " Go to now ye 
rich men, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming on 
you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments moth- 
eaten ; your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them 
shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it 



174 RIGHT REJOICING. 

were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days/ 
(Luke vi. 24 — 26.) " Wo unto you that are rich, (if you have 
no better riches,) for ye have received your consolation. Wo 
unto you that are full, for ye shall hunger. Wo unto you 
that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep. Wo unto you 
when all men shall speak well of you/' &c. ; you may find your 
lesson, Joel. ii. 12, 13, "Therefore also now, saith the Lord, 
turn ye even to me with all your heart, with fasting, and with 
weeping, and with mourning ; and rend vour heart/' You see 
what God calls such men to. And if he allow you not to rejoice 
till you are converted, if I or any man should flatter or cheat 
you into joy, it would be but a curse to you, and not a benefit. 

2. Were your joy but reasonable, I would not discourage it. 
But a madman's laughter is no very lovely spectacle to your- 
selves. And I appeal to all the reason in the world, whether 
it be reasonable for a man to live in mirth that is yet unrege- 
nerate, and under the curse and wrath of God, and can never 
say, in the midst of his greatest pomp or pleasure, that he is 
sure to be an hour out of hell, and may be sure he shall be 
there for ever, if he die before he have a new, a holy, and a 
heavenly nature, though he should die with laughter in his 
face, or with a jest in his mouth, or in the boldest presumption 
that he shall be saved, yet, as sure as the word of God is true, 
he will find himself everlastingly undone, as soon as ever his 
soul is departed from his body, and he sees the things that 
he would not believe. Sirs, is it rational to dance in Satan's 
fetters, at the brink of hell, when so many hundred diseases 
are all ready to mar the mirth, and snatch away the guilty soul, 
and cast it into endless desperation ? I exceedingly pity the 
godly in their unwarrantable, melancholy griefs; and much 
more an ungodly man that is. bleeding under his wounds of 
conscience. But a man that is merry in the depth of miserv, 
is more to be pitied than he. Methinks it is one of the most 
pitiful sights in all the world to see a man ruffle it out in bra- 
verv, and spend his precious time in pleasures, and melt into 
sensual, foolish mirth, that is a stranger to God, and within a 
step of endless wo ! When I see their pomp, and feasting, 
and attendance, and hear their laughter, and insipid jests, and 
the fiddlers at their doors or tables, and all things carried as 
if they had made sure of heaven, it saddeneth my heart to think, 
alas ! how little do these sinners know the state that they are 
in, the God that now beholdeth them, the change that they 



RIGHT REJOICING. 17& 

are^near ! How little do they think of the flames that they are 
hastening to, and the outcries and lamentations that will next 
ensue. 

3. Your mirth is disingenuous and dishonest as long as you 
are without a title to heaven. You slight the Lord that can 
find such matters of rejoicing, when you have uot his favour to 
rejoice in, and are under his displeasure. While you are re- 
fusing Christ, abusing grace, resisting the Spirit, serving the 
flesh, and undoing your own souls, it cannot be an honest or 
ingenuous thing for such as you to live in joy. 

4. If your mirth were truly honourable to you, it were the 
more excusable. But to laugh in sin and misery, and make 
merry so near the endless wo, is a greater shame to your un- 
derstandings, than to make sport to set your house on fire. 
This is the laughter of which Solomon might well say, " Thou 
art mad/' and the mirth of which he saith, " What doth it." 
(Eccl. ii.2.) 

5. Would thy mirth do thee any good, we would not dis- 
courage it, yea, if it did not do thee harm. But O how many 
are now in sonow by the means of their unseasonable, sinful 
mirth ! They are too jocund to hear the preacher, or their 
consciences, or to observe the checks and motions of God's 
Spirit, or to spend now and then an hour in retired, sober 
thoughts of their everlasting state. Should we but presume to 
call them to exercise their reason, and mind them of these most 
needful things, and tell them, " O poor distracted mortals, 
your time is given you for greater things than to fiddle, and 
dance, and drink, and jest, and prate, and compliment it away !" 
should we not be thought morose, or melancholy, or fanatics ? 
And should we not have some such answer as their ancestors 
in Sodom gave to Lot ? (Gen. xix. 9.) " Stand back. This one 
fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now 
will we deal worse with thee than with them ;" we will take a 
course with these controllers. Alas ! it is this foolish mirth that 
casteth men's reason and conscience asleep, and drowns the 
voice of sober words, so that God himself cannot be heard. 
Could we but get men to retired soberness and seriousness, we 
should hope that we might find a friend within them, and that 
we speak to men, and that reason would take part with the 
most reasonable motions that are made to them from the 
Lord. 

6. Lastly, Would your groundless mirth endure, we would 



1/6 RIGHT REJOICING. 

not say so much against it. But, alas ! to be merry for a day, 
and then to lie in misery for ever, is a thing deserving no encou- 
ragement. We see it is a merry world with many that have 
least cause of mirth ; hut how long will they continue it ? To 
see a man laugh, and play, and feast in a chariot, that drives on 
so fast to death, in a vessel that is on so swift a stream that ends 
in the gulf of endless horror, is a doleful sight. O how quickly 
will that merry countenance turn sad ! those proud looks be 
turned to an earthy paleness ; and those wanton eyes be moul- 
dered to dust, and leave the empty holes to warn the next 
spectators to use his eyes more wisely while he hath them ? 
How quickly will these same sensual persons exchange their 
mirth for sighs, and groans, and endless torments, and fruitless 
lamentations, when they shall have everlasting leisure to peruse 
their lives, and to consider their ways, which now there is no per- 
suading them to consider of? Who can encourage such hurt- 
ful and unseasonable mirth as this ? " Rejoice not, O Israel, for 
joy, as other people, for thou hast gone a whoring from thy 
God." (Hos. ix. 1.) "Rejoice not in a thing of nought," 
(Amos vi. 13,) much less in the sufferings of your brethren; 
(Obad. 12,) and, least of all, in any hurt that befals the church. 
If enmity to holiness, and exalted impiety, should take occa- 
sion to triumph, we answer, as Micah, vii. 8, 9, " Rejoice not 
against me, O mine enemy, when I fall I shall arise : when I 
sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me : I will bear 
the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, 
until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me : he will 
bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness." 
If you think I have stood too long on the first part of my 
text, it is not to rebuke your holy joy, but only to promote it, 
and repress that carnal joy which is more destructive to it than 
sorrow itself. As you must " seek first the kingdom of God and 
its righteousness, and then other things shall be added to you," 
(Matt. vi. 33 ;) so must you rejoice first in the kingdom of hea- 
ven, and the righteousness that is the way thereto, and then 
you may add a moderate rejoicing in the things below in a due 
subordination thereunto. You have the sum in the words of the 
Holy Ghost, "Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory 
in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; 
let not the rich man glory in his riches ; but let him that gio- 
rieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that 
I am the Lord," &c. (Jer. ix. 23, 24.) 



RIGHT REJOICING. 177 

2. My next address must be to them whose names are written 
in heaven, and that with a twofold exhortation. 

I. u Rejoice that your names are written in heaven." It is 
you, Christians, that joy of right belongs to. Little know the 
lovers of pleasure more than God that they lose a thousand fold 
more pleasure than they win : and that by running from a holy 
life for pleasure, they run from the fire into the water for heat, and 
from the sun into a dungeon for light. O show the unbelieving- 
world, by your rejoicing, how they are mistaken in their choice ! 
Be ashamed that an empty sot, and one that must be for ever a 
firebrand in hell, should live a more joyful life than you ! O do 
not so wrong your Lord, your faith, your endless joys, as to 
walk in heaviness, and cast away the joy of the Lord which is 
your strength, and to be still complaining, when those that are 
prepared for the slaughter are as frolic as if the bitterness of 
death were past. It is well that you have so much life as to 
feel your sicknesses ; but it is not well, that because you are yet 
diseased, the life of grace and of glory should be so ineffectual 
to your comfort. And yet, alas ! how common is it to see the 
most miserable frisk and fleer, while the heirs of life are sinfully 
vexing themselves with the inordinate fears of death. Lift up 
thy head, Christian, and remember whence came thy graces, 
even thy least desires, and whither do they tend. Where is thy 
Father and thy Head, and the most dear of thy companions ? 
Where is it that thou must live to all eternity ? Doth it be- 
seem a companion of angels, a member of Christ, a child of 
God, an heir of heaven, to be grieved at every petty cross, and 
to lay by all the sense of his felicity, because some trifle of the 
world falls cross to his desires and commodity ? Is it seemly 
for one that must be everlastingly as full of joy as the sun is full 
of light, to live in such a self-troubling, drooping state, as to 
disgrace religion, and frighten away the ungodly from the doors 
of grace, that, by your joyful lives, might be provoked to enter? 
I know, as to your happiness, the matter is not comparatively 
great ; because if mistakes and the devil's malice should keep 
you sad here a hundred years, yet heaven will wipe away all 
tears, and those joys will be long enough when they come; and 
as the joy of the ungodly, so the sorrows of the humble, up- 
right soul will be but for a moment ; and though you weep and 
lament when the world rejoiceth, as their joy shall be turned 
into sorrow, so your sorrow shall be turned into joy, and your 
joy shall no man take from you. But, in the mean time, is it 

VOL. XVII. N 



178 RIGHT REJOICING. 

not shame and pity that you should live so unanswerable to the 
mercies of the Lord ? that you should sinfully grieve the com- 
forting Spirit by the wilful grieving of yourselves, and that you 
should peevishly cast away your precious mercies, when you so 
much need them, by reason of the troubles of a vexatious 
world, which you cannot avoid ? That you, even you, that are 
saved by the Lord, should still be questioning it, or unthankfully 
denying his great salvation, and so much hinder the salvation of 
others 'M For the Lord's sake, Christians, and for your soul's 
sake, and in pity to the ungodly, yield not to the tempter, that 
would trouble you when he cannot damn you ? Is God your 
Father, and Christ your Saviour, and the Spirit your Sanctifier, 
and heaven your home ? And will you make all, for the pre- 
sent, as nothing to you, by a causeless, obstinate denial ? If 
you are in doubt, let not mere passionate fears be heard; and 
let not the devil, the enemy of your peace, be heard : but peruse 
your evidences, and still remember, as the sum of all, that the 
will is the man, and what you would be that you are before the 
Lord. If you cannot see the sincerity of your hearts, go to 
your faithful, able guides, and open the case to them, and let 
not passion prevail against the Scripture and reason which they 
bring. Yea, if in your trouble you cannot by all their helps 
perceive the uprightness of your hearts, I must tell you, you 
may stay yourselves much upon their judgment of your state. 
Though it cannot give you full assurance, it may justly help to 
silence much of your self-accusations, and give you the comfort 
of probability. If a physician that feels not what you feel, 
shall yet, upon your speeches and other evidences, tell you that 
he is confident your disease is not mortal, nor containeth any 
cause of fear, you may rationally be much encouraged by his 
judgment, though it give you no certainty of life. As wicked 
men through contempt, so many godly people through melan- 
choly, do lose much of the fruit of the office of the ministry, 
which lieth much in this assisting men to judge of the life or 
death of their souls. 'Alas!' say they, i he feels not what I 
feel : he used to judge charitably, and he knoweth not me so 
well as I know myself.' But when you have told him faithfully, 
as you do your physician, what it is that you know by yourself, 
he is able to pass a far sounder judgment of your life or death 
than yourselves can do, for all your feeling : for he knows better 
what those symptoms signify, and what is used to be the issue of 
such a case as yours. Be not then so proud or wilful as to re- 



RIGHT REJOICING. 17$ 

fuse the judgment of your faithful pastors, about the state of 
your souls, in a confidence on your own. 

And look not for more, as necessary to your comforts, than 
God hath made necessary. Is it nothing to have a title to eter- 
nal life, unless you be also as holy as you desire ? Yea, is it no- 
thing to have a desire to be more holy? Will you have no 
comfort, as long as you have distractions, or dulness, or such 
like imperfection in duty ; and till you have no disease of soul 
to trouble you, that is, till you have laid by flesh, and arrived at 
your perfect joy ? Dare not to disobey the voice of God : u Be 
glad in the Lord, and rejoice ye righteous; and shout for joy 
all ye that are upright in heart." (Psalm xxxii. 11.) " Rejoice 
evermore." (1 Thess. v. 16.) Let it be something that heaven 
cannot weigh down that shall suppress thy joy. Art thou in 
poverty, and is not heaven sufficient riches ? Art thou in dis- 
grace, and shalt thou not have honour enough in heaven ? Art 
thou in danger from the injustice or the wrath of man, and is he 
not Almighty that hath undertaken to justify thee ? (Rom. 
viii. 33, 34.) Dost thou languish under pining sicknesses, and is 
there not everlasting health in heaven ? Art thou weak in 
knowledge, in memory, in grace, in duty ; troubled with uncom- 
manded thoughts and passions; and was it not so on earth with 
all who are now in heaven ? O Christians ! make conscience of 
obeying this command ; " Rejoice that your names are written 
in heaven." Did you but know how God approveth such re- 
joicing, and how much it pleaseth him above your pining sor- 
rows ; and how it strengthened! the soul, and sweeteneth duty, 
and easeth suffering, and honoureth religion, and encourageth 
others, and how suitable it is to gospel grace, and to your high 
relations and ends, and how much better it serves to subdue the 
very sins that trouble you, than your fruitless, self-weakening 
complainings do. I say, did you well consider all these things, 
it would sure revive your drooping spirits. 

And do not say now, c I would rejoice if I were sure that my 
name were written in heaven ; but I am not sure.' For, 1 . Who 
is it long of that you are not sure ? You may be sure that he that 
valueth and seeketh heaven as better than earth, and that loveth 
the holy way to heaven, and the most heavenly people, is indeed 
an heir of heaven ; and you may be sure, if you will, that this 
is your own case : and yet you say you are not sure that your 
names are written in heaven. If God give you his grace, and 

n 2 



180 RIGHT REJOICING. 

you deny it, will you therefore deny your right to glory, and 
make one sin the excuse for another ? 

2. And if you are not sure, is it nothing to have your proba- 
bilities, and hopes, and the judgment of your able, faithful pas- 
tors, that your souls are in a safe condition ? We dare not say 
so to the careless world, nor to the most of men, as we do to you. 

Especially take heed lest melancholy habituate you to fears 
and griefs ; and then religion must bear the blame, and you 
undergo a calamitous life, though you are the heirs of heaven. 
To this end, 1 . Use not musing, serious thoughts beyond the 
strength of your brain and intellect. 2. Place not too much of 
your religion in the perusals and study of your hearts ; but (for 
such as are inclined to melancholy) it is the fruitfulest way to 
be much in expending duties abroad, and labouring to do good 
to others, Such duties have less of self, and have much of God, 
and divert the troubling, melancholy thoughts, and bring in 
more comfort by way of reward, than is usually got by more 
direct inquiring after comfort. 3. Use not too much solita- 
riness and retiredness : man is a sociable creature; and as his 
duty lieth much with others, so his comfort lieth in the same 
way as his duty. 4. Take heed of worldly sorrows, and there- 
fore of overvaluing worldly things. 5. Take heed of idleness, 
or of thinking that the duties of holiness are all that you 
have to mind ; but make conscience of being diligent in a par- 
ticular calling, which diverts the hurtful^ troubling thoughts, 
and is pleasing unto God. 6. Take not every sickness of your 
souls for death, but rejoice in that life which enableth you to be 
troubled at your diseases. Keep under melancholy by these 
means, (and the advice of the physician,) and you will escape a 
very great hinderance to this high and holy duty of heavenly 
rejoicing. 

II. But you think, perhaps, that I have all this while forgotten 
the duty proper to the day : No ; but I was not fit to speak for 
it, nor you fit to hear and practise it, till the impediment of 
carnal rejoicing was removed, and till we had begun with hea- 
venly joy. It is heaven that must animate all our comforts. 
They are so far sweet as heaven is in them, and no further. Now, 
therefore, if you first rejoice for your heavenly interest 1 , I dare 
safely then persuade you to rejoice in the mercies which we are 
to be thankful for this day. And though some of them are but 
yet in the birth, if not in the womb, and we are yet uncertain 



RIGHT REJOICING, 181 

what they will prove, that will not excuse us for any unthank- 
fulness for the first conception or infancy of our mercies. And 
though Satan seek to get advantage hy them, that will not ex- 
cuse us for our overlooking the mercy in itself. And though 
there are yet ahundance of fears and troubles on the hearts of 
many of Christ's servants through the land, we cannot by any 
such accidents be excused from the thankful observation of the 
workings of the Lord. All mercies on earth, even spiritual mer- 
cies, have their mixtures of trouble, and their imperfections ; but 
must not therefore be denied or extenuated. And though many 
that are dear to us, smarting by the change, will be offended 
and grieved at our most moderate thanksgiving, we must not 
therefore offend the Lord by our disregardfulness of his works. 
There are these things to be commemorated by us this day, 
which I dare not overlook. 1. That God hath so honoured his 
justice and impartiality, as to show how he hateth sin in whom- 
soever. And indeed the justice of God itself would seem more 
amiable to us, were we not so selfish as to think hardly of all 
that is hurtful unto us. Justice demonstrated the holiness of 
God, and all the appearances of his holiness are lovely in 
themselves. 

2. That the holy God hath disowned heresy and divisions on 
the one side, as well as impiety and profaneness on the other ; 
and that his wisdom thought meet to acquaint us experimentally 
with the hurtfulness of both, and our danger of both, as he did in 
former ages of the church. We first found the serpentine malice 
of the ungodly, and God delivered us when they would have 
swallowed us up. But while we only heard and read of heresy 
and schism, and that too often abusively applied to many of the 
• most peaceable servants of the Lord, we understood not the 
mischief of those evils, but were ready to take the very names 
to be but the reproaches of piety itself. But God saw meet to 
let out a flood of this sort of calamities, and to suffer heresy to 
disgrace itself by its unrighteous fruits, that by those fruits we 
might the better know it. We never knew before how much 
we are beholden to him for saving us from this sort of evils ; 
and should never have sufficiently hated them, if we had not 
smarted by them. 

3. It is a mercy to be thankful for, that thus the church is 
notably fortified against ever relapsing into heresy or schism for 
the time to come. 

4. And that the frailties of men professing godliness having 



182 RIGHT REJOICING. 

so lamentably appeared, they are taught to take heed of spiri- 
tual pride, and to know and distrust themselves, and not to be 
high-minded, but to fear. 

5. It is a very great mercy, for which I must profess I was 
thankful from the first appearance of it,* that so many that I hope 
are dear to God, have the advantage of his frowns to further their 
conviction, and repentance, and salvation. As prosperity was 
the temptation by which ambition got advantage, and Provi- 
dence misunderstood was pleaded against the holy rule, what a 
mercy it is that Providence also should undeceive them, and 
vindicate itself, and teach men hereafter by the example of this 
age to stay till the end before they take the sense of Providence, 
or rather to adhere to the holy word because the longest liver 
shall be too short-lived to see the end, so far as to furnish him 
for such an interpretation. And therefore that word that is 
the glass in which we can foresee the end must be our guide. 
I had rather have my friend poor and penitent, than wealthy 
and impenitent ; and rather in a prison, than in the chains of 
pride. And am glad that God hath taken away the snare that 
brought so many souls to so sad a pass ; and hath undeceived 
them in part, that had carnal thoughts of the happiness of 
saints, and looked for temporal reign and dignity; forgetting 
that rich men must pass through a needle's eye to heaven, and 
that lowliness, meekness, humility, patience, forbearing, forgiv- 
ing, self-denial, contempt of this world, and living all upon 
things unseen, is the life that Christ by his doctrine and exam- 
ple taught us, and how ill prosperity befriendeth these. I am 
in far more hope to see many Peters go out and weep bitterly, 
than I was when they prospered in a sinful way. And if yet 
any be so far unhumbled, as to deny it to have been a sinful 
way, I am in far greater hope of their conviction now than 
heretofore. In their greatness few durst tell them of their 
crimes ; and those of us that did it were voluminously reproached, 
threatened, calumniated, and represented as turbulent to the 
world. (It being usual with base-spirited men to take the 
judgment of the greatest for their rule, and to think all suffering 
to be just and honourable that is inflicted by such as few dare 
to contradict.) But now, I hope, plain dealing may recover 
many that before lived under flatteries, and were above reproof 

* We kept this thanksgiving voluntarily in Worcestershire, by agreement 
among the associated ministers, as we do here this day. See the agreement 
published by The IVeehly Mercury. 



RIGHT REJOICING. 183 

I must profess that my hopes of the saving of many that are 
dear to me, by the furtherance of this providence, is matter of 
so much thankfulness tome, that were I sure to suffer with 
them I would yet give thanks. 

6. It is matter of thanksgiving to me that God hath so far 
owned an unanimous, painful, faithful ministry, (for all their 
many sad infirmities,) as first to break the profane opposers of 
them, and then to scatter the adversaries on the other side. 
Ever since I heard it so familiar among them to call Christ's 
faithful servants by so many reproachful names, as priests, (in 
scorn,) presbyters, drivines, jack presbyters, black-coats, pul- 
piteers, &c.j and their friends priest-ridden ; to suffer quake rs 
openly in the streets to revile them as deceivers, dogs, wolves, 
hirelings, false prophets, liars, and all the names that hell could 
teach them, I waited in fear for the judgments of the Lord ; 
which he hath executed in our sight, and caused us to know, 
that his delays are no desertions of his servants, nor justifica- 
tion of our revilers. And let it stand as a warning to you that 
have seen it, and you that have executed the punishments of 
God upon the reproachers, that you take heed of falling into the 
same crime, an** ^ouing on the rock on which they have been 
broken ; but let all England hear and fear, and do no more so 
malignantly or presumptuously. 

And O that the unworthy ministers of Christ may remember 
that we are not vindicated and delivered to contend, or to imi- 
tate our afflicters, in seeking greatness to ourselves, nor to live 
in idleness, and neglect the souls committed to our care. 

7. It is very great cause of thankfulness in my eyes, that 
firom first to last God hath been so tender of the honour of his 
unanimous sober people, and his cause, of the innocency and 
consciences of his servants ; as to execute his afflictions mostly 
by the hands of erring men ; and to keep the rest by impri- 
sonments, seclusions, and other means, so far from all appear- 
ance of consent or irregularities : and that at last he hath put 
an opportunity into their hands to declare to the world their 
innocency in things with which they were reproached ; and 
that while profane opposers of religion did boast and vapour, 
and swear and curse, and drink healths for His Majesty's res- 
titution, it is those whom they reproached that have silently 
and effectually accomplished it, and that with speed, as soon as 
they had power. 

8. It is some matter of thankfulness to me, that whereas, to 



184 RIGHT REJOICING. 

our perpetual shame we could not in so many years compose 
the disagreements in church affairs among us, we are not alto- 
gether without hope that agreement may be now more effectually 
procured; not only because those carnal advantages that hin- 
dered it with some are taken from them, and suffering will dis- 
pose some more to peace ; but because we are persuaded the 
disposition, and we are sure the interest, of His Majesty stand- 
eth for our reconciliation and unity. And verily we are the 
most inexcusable people in the world, if our own long and 
sad experience do not resolve us to do the utmost in that 
work ourselves, which, if we are not horridly proud and wilful, 
is easy to accomplish. 

9. And it is matter of thanksgiving that God hath been all 
along so wonderfully seen in the work ; which makes us hope 
that the issue will yet be for our good. The first sparks that 
set fire on the last foundation are yet much unknown, but 
were so little as makes it the more strange. The wonderful 
whirlwind that suddenly finished the subversion was marvel- 
lous, though sad, because of the wickedness of men. The in- 
troducing of the remnant of the members ; the stop that was 
given them, when they had voted in a committee a liberty in 
religion, that excepted not popery ; the casting them out by 
those that set them up ; the discoveries of the fallaciousness of 
some of their chiefs, who were then tempted into a compliance 
with the army, and were fabricating a new form of a Common- 
wealth ', the breaking of them and of the army, in part by the 
returning members ; the unexpected stop that was given first to 
their, proceedings by His Excellency in the North ; the expedi- 
tiousness, the constancy, the unanimity and strange successful- 
ness of that attempt, that an army who thought themselves only 
fit to be the nation's security for liberty and religion, and were 
thought necessary to be entailed upon us to that end ; that 
were so heightened in their own and other men's esteem, by 
their many and wonderful successes, should in a moment (we 
scarce know how) fly all into pieces as a grenado that is fired ; 
that Ireland at the same time should be so strangely and easily 
reduced, and that by sober, faithful hands, and by so few, and 
with such speed ; that this famous city should be so unani- 
mously excited to concur so eminently, and contribute very much 
to the success ; that His Excellency should conquer without any 
blows ; and that all be despatched that since is done with no 
considerable resistance ; all this, and much more, do make us 



RIGHT REJOICING. 185 

wonder at the hand of God. And seldom is there so wonderful 
an appearance of the Lord, but it holds forth matter that is 
amiable as well as admirable to his church. 

Lastly. That all this is done with little or no effusion at all of 
blood, when so much blood was shed in the foregoing changes, 
advanceth the wonder to a greater height : and I hope His Ma- 
jesty and the two Houses of Parliament will take notice how 
God hath gone before them in a tender and unbloody change, and 
will not hearken to them that protest against revenge, while 
they would use it under the name of justice. When the wheel 
of Providence turneth so fast, if all that have the advantage of 
executing their wills under the name of justice should take their 
advantage, you know what names and sufferings multitudes of the 
most useful members in such nations, in the several vicissitudes, 
must incur to the detriment of the commonwealth and gover- 
nors. 

III. You see what cause we have of thankfulness ; but I must 
tell you that these, as all inferior mercies, are imperfect things, 
and being but means to greater matters, the heavenly interest 
first treated on, they are no further significant or valuable than 
they have some tendency to their end : and I must further tell 
you, that it is much committed into the hands of man, under 
God, whether such beginnings shall have a happy or unhappy 
end. If Christ become to many a stumbling-stone, and be set 
for the fall of many in Israel, (Luke ii. 34,) and if the gospel 
itself prove the savour of death to some, no wonder if it be 
yet possible and too easy for a sinful land to turn these fore- 
mentioned mercies and successes into most heavy judgments, 
and to rob themselves of all the honour and the benefit. And 
therefore, above all, for the Lord's sake, and for a poor, tired, 
yet hoping nation's sake, and for the sake of the cause of 
Christ through the world, I beseech you all, from the highest 
to the lowest, that you will be awakened to an holy vigilancy, 
and look about you in your several places, lest the enemy of 
Christ and you should play his aftergame more successfully than 
now you can foresee : and lest the return of a sinful nation to 
their vomit should make the end yet worse than the beginning. 
It s is not enough to have begun ; the fruit of all is yet behind. 
I must here deal plainly with you, however it be taken, lest I 
be charged with unfaithfulness at the dreadful tribunal, to which 
both you and I are hastening. If these beginnings, through 
your neglects, or any others that have been the instruments, 



186 RIGHT REJOICING. 

should now be turned to the reviving and strengthening of pro- 
faneness, and malignity against the holy ways of God ; to the 
introduction of mere formality in religion; to the casting out, or 
weakening the hands of the faithful ministers in the land ; to 
the destruction of order and discipline in the churches; to the 
suppression of orderly and edifying meetings for mutual assist- 
ance in the matters of salvation ; or to the cherishing of igno- 
rance or popery in the people, it will blast the glory of all that 
you have done, and turn the mercy into gall. Believe it, the 
interest of Christ and holiness will be found at last the surest 
ground for any prince to build his interest upon ; and the own- 
ing of corrupt and contrary interests that engage men in quar- 
rels with the interest of Christ, is it that hath undone so many 
princes and states already, that it should make the greatest 
learn at last, to account it their highest honour to be the servants 
of the King of Saints, and to devote their power to the ac- 
complishment of his will. I need not tell you that it is the 
sober, godly, conscionable sort of men that know what they do, 
and why, that will be the honour of their governors, and the 
most useful of their subjects, and not the barbarous, malignant 
rabble, that understand not what belongs to the pleasing of 
God, the happiness of themselves, the good of the Common- 
wealth, or the honour of their king. And do you not think that 
remissness, to say no worse, of magistrates, who should re- 
strain the insolencies of such, is not a great dishonour to our 
nation, and a great temptation to many in the country, that 
stand at a distance from the fountain of affairs, to continue 
their fears lest we have changed for the worst ? Put yourselves 
in their cases, and tell me whether you could, with equal cheer- 
fulness, keep this day, if you were used, as many able, faithful 
ministers and people are in the cities and countries of the land, 
who have their persons assaulted, their windows battered, their 
ministrations openly reviled, and that go in danger of their 
lives from the brutish rabble that were formerly exasperated by 
the magistrates punishing them, or the minister's reproof, or 
crossing them in their sins. As physicians are judged of, not 
so much by the excellency of their remedies, as by their suc- 
cess, and the people think of them as they see the patients live 
or die, so will they do by your great performances which you 
mention before the Lord this day. Should they prove to the 
suppression of serious godliness, and the setting up of the wicked 
of the land, I need not tell you what a name it will leave unto 



RIGHT REJOICING. 187 

the actors to all generations. But if you vigilantly improve 
them, as you have given us abundant reason to expect, then the 
issue shall be the healing concord of the churches, the curbing 
of profaneness, the promoting of a plain and serious ministry, 
and of the diligent service of the Lord. This is it that will 
make your names immortal, that have been the happy instru- 
ments of so blessed a work. How joyfully, then, will the sub- 
jects commemorate the happy introduction of their sovereign! 
With what love and honour will they hear his name ! How 
readily will they obey him ! How heartily will they pray for 
him 1 How precious will your memory be ! And this will be 
numbered among the wonderful deliverances of England. If 
godliness be persecuted, or made a common scorn in the land, 
the Holy God will vindicate his honour, and make their names a 
scorn and curse that shall procure it; but if you exalt him, he 
will exalt you. Protect his lambs, and he will be your Protec- 
tor. He is with you while you are with him. (2 Chron. xv. 2.) 
" Those that honour him, he will honour ; and those that 
despise him shall be lightly esteemed." (1 Sam. ii. 30.) 



WHAT LIGHT MUST SHINE 
IN OUR WORKS. 



WHAT LIGHT MUST SHINE IN OUR 

WORKS. 



MATTHEW v. 16. 



Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your 
good works y and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

The work designed for this time is to resolve this practical 
case, ( What is that light which must shine before men in the 
works of Christ's disciples for the glorifying of God ?' 

But the explication of the text is therein included. 

The Son of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, who " giveth light to 
every one that cometh into the world/' or, coming into the 
world, giveth light to all, from his fulness hath bespangled the 
inferior heavens, his church, with many refulgent stars, appointed 
freely to communicate the heavenly light which they had freely 
received. In his corporeal presence he prepared them; and his 
Spirit having moved on the darkened world, he irresistibly said, 
at the descent of the Holy Ghost, " Let there be light, and there 
was light, beginning at Jerusalem, but not fixed to any deter- 
minate place ; but what he gave them necessarily and antece- 
dently they were to exercise as free agents, by a command more 
resistible, which he here gives them. Having told them their 
office, and given them their names, ver. 14., "Ye are the lights of 
the world," he next tells them how they must be useful. They 
must be conspicuous, 1. Because the church where they are 
placed " is like a city on a hill which cannot be hid." 2. Because 
it is the end of him that lighteth them, and sets them up, not 
to put them under a bushel, but on a candlestick, to give light 
to all his house. And therefore no men's silencing or prohibi- 
tions, no difficulties or sufferings, will excuse them from their 
duty : lights they are, and shine they must ; but lest they 
should think that it is preaching only which he meaneth, he 
here, commanding them their duty, lets them know that the 
splendour of Christianity is in works as well as words ; and 



WHAT LIGHT MUST SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 191 

thereby giveth us cause to think that it is all his disciples, or 
Christians, that he speaketh to, though first and eminently to 
the apostles and teachers of the world. 

1. By " light" he meaneth both the illuminating knowledge, 
which must be uttered by words, and the splendour or glory of 
holiness which must be refulgent in their lives. 

2. He calls it " your" light, as being their own in his graces, 
as the subjects, and their own in exercise, as the actors, though 
both under him. 

3. It must " shine," that is, appear in its splendour, for the 
illumination and conviction of the world. 

4. It must " so" shine as is fittest to attain these ends : it is 
not every twinkling that will answer their great obligations. 

5. It must be "before men;" that is, both those within, and 
especially those without the church, that are but men. 

6. It must be a light shining in "good works," and their own 
works : for that is the grand difference between the disciples of 
Christ and others. He teacheth them not only to know and 
talk well, but to do well ; and he maketh men such as he teach- 
eth them to be : " Non magna loquimur, sed vivimus," said Ter- 
tullian. 

7. "That men may see," doth signify both the necessary re- 
fulgent quality of their works, and also the end of God and 
them. 

8. But it is not hypocritical ostentation of what they are not, 
nor of what they are and have, as for their own glory, to be 
honoured and praised of men, but for the glorifying of God. 

Who is called " their Father," to show their obligation to 
him, and to encourage them by the honour and comfort of their 
relation, and to show why their works will tend to the glorifying 
of God, even because they are so nearly related to him. 

And he is said to be " in heaven," because there he appeareth 
operatively in his glory to the beautifying [beatifying] of holy 
spirits. As the soul is said to be in the head, and we look a man 
in the face when we talk to him, as if there principally we saw 
the man ; because it is in the head that it operateth by reason. 
So much of the meaning of the words. 

Many doctrines the text affordeth us : as, 

1. Christ's disciples are the lights of the world, both in the 
splendour of wisdom and holiness. 

2. Their most eminent and convincing splendour is in their 
good works. 



192 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

3. Their light and good works are their own, though by #re 
grace of Christ ; and it is no injury to Christ, or his righteous- 
ness, or grace, to say, that they are their own. 

4. The splendour of Christians in their good works must be 
such as may be seen of men. 

5. The glorifying of God must be the end of our good works, 
and of their appearance unto men. 

6. As bad as corrupted nature is, there is yet something in 
mankind which tendeth to the approving of the good works of 
Christians, and to their glorifying God thereupon. 

7. God is glorified even by common men, when they approve 
of the glory of holiness in believers ; it is not only by saints that 
God is glorified. 

8. As contrary as holiness is to corrupted nature, there is such 
resplendent goodness in true Christians' works, which common 
men may glorify God for : and so somewhat in them, and in. 
Christianity, which hath such agreeableness as may tend to 
further good. 

9. The excellency and splendour of the good works of Chris- 
tians, especially teachers, is a grand means, ordained by God 
himself for the conviction of the world, and the glorifying of 
God. 

But the resolving the question, What the splendour of these 
works must be, is my present undertaken task. 

God is not glorified by our adding to him, but by our receiv- 
ing from him ; not by our making him greater, or better, or 
happier than he is, but by owning him, loving him, and declaring 
him as he is, that we and others may thereby be wise, and good, 
and happy. 

He is his own glory, and ours; and by his own light only we 
must know both him and all things. We are not called to 
bring our candle to show the world that there is a sun, but to 
persuade them into its light, to open the windows and curtains, 
to disperse the clouds, and to open the eyes of blinded sinners. 

I. The way of doing this, and glorifying God, is in the 
order following. 

1. The first thing that our works must show is their own 
goodness ; they can never prove the cause good until it is clear 
that they are good themselves ; therefore, doubtless, Christ here 
intendeth that we must abound especially in those good works 
which the world is capable of knowing to be good, and not only 
in those which none but Christians themselves approve. If 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 193 

believers and unbelievers agreed in no common principles, we 
were not capable of preaching to unbelievers, nor convincing 
them, nor of conversing with them. There are many excellent 
things which nature doth approve, and which both parties are 
agreed to be good; by the advantage of these, as granted 
principles, we must convince them of the conclusions which 
they yet deny ; and not as the scandalous Christian, so absurdly 
affect singularity, as to make light of all good which is taken 
for good by unbelievers, and to seek for eminency in nothing 
but what the world thinks evil. There is a glory in some good 
works, which all do honour, and which manifesteth itself. 

2. And then the goodness of the work doth manifest the 
goodness of the doer. Every man's work is so far his own, that 
he is related to it, and by it, either as laudable, or as culpable ; as 
it is Gal. vi. 4, 5 ; " 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 burthen." God himself will judge 
men according to their works ; and so will men ; and so must we 
(much) do by ourselves ; for it is the rightest judging which is 
likest God's. 

This subordinate honour God grants to his servants : 

Jf their works were not an honour to them, as the next agents, 
they could be none to him in their morality, as man's acts ; 
though they might, as acts in general, be ordered tofgood by his 
own goodness. If God's natural works of creation (sun, and 
moon, and earth, &c.) were not praiseworthy in themselves, 
God would not be praised for them as their Maker. * There 
are works that God is said to be dishonoured by ; (Rom. ii. 23, 
24 ;) and what are they but such as" are really bad, and a dis- 
honour to the authors ? It is so far from being true, that no 
praise, or honour, or comfort from good works, is to be given to 
man ; that God himself is not like else to be honoured by them 
as morally good, if the actors be not honoured by them ; the 
world must first be convinced that Christians are far better 
than other men, and the righteous more excellent than his 
neighbour, before they will glorify God as the author of their 
goodness. In God's own judgment, "Well done/' is the first 
word, and " Good and faithful servant," is the second, and 
" Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," is the third. 

Two sorts of scandalous persons rob God of his honour in 
his saints. 

1 . Those that professing Christianity live wickedly, or, at least, 
vol. xvn. o 



194 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

no better than other men ; whose lives tell the world that Chris- 
tians are but such as they. 

2. Those that slander and belie true believers, and would 
hide their goodness, and make them odious to the world. 

As for them that say only that we have nc righteousness in 
ourselves by which we can be justified, I shall not differ with 
them, if they do but grant that all shall be judged according to 
their works ; and that he that is accused as an infidel, impeni- 
tent, an hypocrite, or an unregenerate, ungodly person, must 
against that accusation be justified by his own faith, repentance, 
sincerity, and holiness, or be unjustified for ever. 

3. The next thing to the work, and the person that is hereby 
honoured, is the christian religion itself, with the Spirit's opera- 
tions on the souls of Christians ; the outward doctrine and exam- 
ple of Christ, who teacheth his servants to be better than the 
world ; and the inward sanctification of the Spirit, which maketh 
them better. The air and food are commended which make 
men healthy, and the medicines are praised which cure the dis- 
ease ; that is accounted good, as a means and cause which doth 
good, and which maketh men good ; if Christians were more 
commonly and notoriously much better than all other men, the 
world would believe that the gospel and the christian religion 
were the best. 

But when scandalous Christians appear as bad, or worse than 
infidels, the world thinks that their religion is as bad, or worse, 
than theirs. 

4. The next ascent of honour is to the Maker or Author of 
our religion ; the world will see that he is good that maketh so 
good a law and gospel, and that maketh all his true disciples so 
much to excel all other men. And here the first honour will be to 
the Holy Spirit, which reneweth souls, and maketh them holy ; 
and the next will be to the Son, our Saviour, who giveth us both 
the word and Spirit ; and the highest or ultimate glory will be to 
God the Father, who giveth us both his Son and his Spirit. 

And thus honour ascendeth to the highest by these steps, and 
the world beginneth at that which is nearest to them, and rea- 
son will proceed by these degrees ; 1. The excellent holy lives of 
Christians are better than those of other men. 2. Therefore Chris- 
tians are better than other men. 3. Therefore their religion is 
the best, or the word and work which make them such. 4. 
Therefore the Spirit is good which makes them good ; the 
Saviour is good who giveth them the word and Spirit, and God, 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 195 

the Fountain of all, even the Father of mercies, is the Fountain 
of all good, and consequently the end of all. And thus God is 
known and glorified by our works. 

II. The works which thus glorify him are first to be described 
in general, and then enumerated in special. 

1. In general, 1. They must be such as make or show men 
to be in their places like to God ; they must be such as repre- 
sent the particular perfections of God, which are called his 
communicable attributes ; and such as declare his relations to us; 
and such as declare his attributes, as so related, and his works. 

As, 1 . We must so live that men may see that indeed we take 
not ourselves to be our own, but God to be our absolute 
owner ; and that it is not ourselves, but he, that must of right 
dispose both of us and ours , and that we willingly stand to his 
disposal. (1 Cor. vi. 19.) " Ye are not your own." 

2. We must so live as may declare that we are not lawless, 
nor the mere servants of men, but the resolved subjects of God, 
the sovereign King of all ; and that really we are ruled by his 
laws and will, and not by our own lusts or wills, nor by the wills 
of any, but as under him ; and that we fear not any hurt to the 
flesh, or them that can but kill the body, in comparison of that 
one Lawgiver and Judge, who is able to save or destroy for ever ; 
(Luke xii. 4 ; James iv. 12 ; 1 Cor. vii. 23 ;) and that we are 
moved more by his promises, than by all that mortal men can 
give us ; and trust wholly to the heavenly reward of glory, and 
not to the transitory prosperity of this world, believing that God 
is true and just, and none of his word shall never fail. (1 Peter 
i. 3.) " We are begotten again unto a lively hope, through the 
resurrection of Christ to an inheritance incorruptible," &c. 

3. We must so live as may declare that God is our grand bene- 
factor, from whom we have all the good that ever we received, 
and from whom we hope for all that ever we shall possess ; and 
that he is infinitely good, the original and end of all created 
good : we must live as those that believe that we are made for 
God, even to glorify him, and please his blessed will ; not by 
making him beholden to us, but by a willing receiving of his 
mercies, and a willing improvement of them to our own felicity; 
and as those that believe that his love is better than life itself, 
and that to know him, and love him, and glorify him for ever, is 
the ultimate end and happiness of man. (Psalm iv. 7, 8, and 
lxiii. 3, and lxxiii. 25, 26, 28; Phil. iii. 7, 8; Matt. vi. 33; 
1 Peter i. 5, 6, 8, 9 ; 2 Cor. v. 1.) 

2, And we must so live in relation to Christ, and to his Spirit, 

o 2 



]96 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

as may declare to the world that the mercy of the Father is con- 
veyed to us by the Son, and the grace of the Father and the Son 
by the Spirit ; and what wonders of wisdom, goodness and 
power, truth and justice, holiness and mercy, are manifest in 
Christ, and his mediation to mankind. (Gal. ii. 20; Eph. iii. 
16, 17; Phil.i. 20, 21 ; John xvii. 10.) 

3. In some the works that glorify God must have these three 
parts of his likeness upon them. 

1. They must be works of light, like the light which from the 
Father of lights doth illuminate us. Christians must be much 
wiser than the men of the world, in holy, though not in worldly 
things. (Col. i. 9, 28, and iii. 16.) Darkness is the state of 
Satan's kingdom, and ignorant Christians are scandalous, and a 
dishonour to Christ ; not those that are ignorant of unnecessary, 
unprofitable, or unrevealed things but those that are ignorant of 
revealed, necessary, saving truths. (1 Cor. iii. 2; Heb. v. 11, 12.) 

2. They must be works of holy love to God and man, which 
show that God and goodness have our hearts, and that we would 
imitate God in doing good to all, according to our places and 
power. (Gal. vi. 10; Rom. xiii. 10 — 12.) 

3. They must be works of life and power, where serious dili- 
gence expresseth zeal ; and that we set ourselves no lower 
bounds, than with all our heart, and mind, and might. (2 Tim. i. 
7; Rom. xii. 11.) Thus much for the general description of them. 

II. The description of a Christian, whose works glorify God, 
according to scripture and experience, may be given you in the 
following particulars. 

I. He is one that placeth his saving religion in the practical 
knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ the Saviour, 
whom he hath sent. (John xvii. 3.) He puts no limits to his en- 
deavours after useful knowledge, but what God hath put by his 
word or providence ; he would abound in holy wisdom, and 
thinks it worth his greatest diligence, and is still upon the in- 
creasing hand; he hath so much knowledge of the lesser 
matters of religion, as to keep him from scandalous miscarriages 
about them ; but it is the knowledge of God, and of a crucified 
and glorified Christ, in which he taketh wisdom to consist. (John 
xvii. 3 ; 1 Cor. ii. 2.) This is the light in which he hath his 
daily conversation, the light which governeth his will and 
practice, which feedeth his meditations, his prayers, and 
his discourse ; which repelleth his temptations, which maintain- 
ed! his hope, and is his daily work of recreation, his food, and 
feast. 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 197 

For they will now perceive. 1. That his religion is not a 
matter of names and words, and trifling controversies, but hath 
the greatest and most excellent subject in the world; and as 
nature teacheth all to reverence God, so it will tell them that 
they must reverence that religion, that conversation, and that per- 
son, who is most divine, and where the most of God appeareth. 

2. And they will see that his religion consisteth not in un- 
certainties, which no man can be sure of when he hath done his 
best ; but in things so sure as none should doubt of; which will 
easily bring men over to consent, and shame or silence con- 
tradicters. 

3. And then they will see that it is a religion which all sober 
persons are united in, and doth not lose its authority or reve- 
rence, by the divisions, wranglings, and digladiations of sects of 
different minds ; for God is denied by no sober man, nor the 
essentials of Christianity by any true Christian. 

4. And men will see that our religion is no matter of indiffe- 
rency, which one may do well enough without, but of absolute 
necessity to salvation, and that which man was made and re- 
deemed for ; and a religion of the greatest subject, the greatest 
certainty, the greatest consent, and the greatest necessity, will 
honour itself and its author in the world, if it be rightly repre- 
sented in the lives of them that do profess it. 

But when men's overdoing shall pretend that all this is too 
little, and shall seek to raise it, as to more perfection, by their 
own inventions, or uncertain opinions in doctrine, worship, 
church-discipline, or practice, they presently cast it as a foot- 
ball before the boys in the streets, and make it a matter of 
doubtful, endless disputations, of multiplied sects, of pernicious 
contentions, and cruel persecutions ; and then the reverence and 
glory of it is gone, and every philosopher will vie with it in sub- 
tilty, and every stranger will presume to censure it, if not to 
blaspheme it, and deride it. And thus overdoers are the 
scandals of the world. 

II. The Christian that will glorify God, and his profession, 
must be conscionable in the smallest matters, but he must ever 
describe and open the nature of his religion, as consisting in 
great and certain things, and not talk too much of smaller mat- 
ters, as if it were those that men were to be saved by. Tell men 
of the necessity of believing, fearing, obeying, trusting and lov- 
ing God, and of coming to him by Jesus Christ, the great Medi- 
ator between God and man ; tell them of the intrinsic evil of 



198 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

sin, and of God's justice, and of man's corruption, and of the 
nature and excellency of holiness, and of the necessity of being- 
new-born of the Holy Spirit, and of mortifying the desires and 
deeds of the flesh ; and tell them of judgment, heaven, and hell, 
especially the certainty and excellency of the everlasting pro- 
mised glory 5 persuade them to believe all this, to think much 
of all this, and to be true to what they know, and to make it 
the work of life to be always prepared for death. Let this be 
your discourse with sinners, (as I told you in the first character 
it must be your own religion,) and then men will perceive that 
religion is a matter that doth indeed concern them, and that 
they are indeed great and necessary things in which you differ 
from ungodly men • but the scandalous Christian talketh most 
of external church orders, and forms, and opinions, and parties, 
and thereby maketh the ignorant believe that the difference is 
but that one will sit when the other kneeleth ; and one will 
pray by the book, and the other without book ; and one is for 
this church government, and another for that; and one for pray- 
ing in white, and the other in black. And talking too much of 
such things as these deceiveth the hearers ; some it maketh 
formal hypocrites, who take up this for their religion, and- the 
rest it hardeneth, and maketh them think that such people are 
only more humourous, and self-conceited, and giddy, and 
factious than others, but no whit better. 

I[[. The genuine Christian hath an humble and cautelous un- 
derstanding ; sensible when he knoweth most how little he 
knoweth, and how much he is still unacquainted with, in the 
great mysterious matters of God. His ignorance is his daily 
grief and burden, and he is still longing and looking for some 
clearer light. Not a new word of revelation from God, but a 
clearer understanding of his word. He knoweth how weak and 
slippery man's understanding is, and he is humbly conscious of 
the darkness of his own. Therefore he is not conceitedly wise, 
nor a boaster of his knowledge ; but saith, as Paul, (1 Cor. 
viii. 2,) " If any man think that he knoweth any thing (that is, 
is proudly conceited of his own knowledge,) he knoweth nothing- 
yet as he ought to know." 

And hence it is that though he daily grow in the firmer ap- 
prehension of necessary truths, yet he is never confident and 
peremptory about uncertain, doubtful things ; and therefore he 
is not apt to be quarrelsome and contentious, nor yet censorious 
against those that differ from him in matters of no greater 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 199 

moment. And hence it is that he runneth not into sects, nor 
burnetii with the feverish dividing zeal, nor yet is scandal- 
ously mutable in his opinions ; because, as one that is conscious 
of his ignorance, he doth not rashly receive things which he un- 
derstands not, but suspendeth his judgment till evidence make 
him fit to judge ; and joineth with neither of the contending 
parties, till he is sure to know, indeed, which of them is right : 
and thus he avoideth that dishonouring of religion which the 
scandalous Christian is wofully guilty of ; who, with an unburn- 
bled understanding, groweth confident upon quick and insufficient 
information, and judgeth before he understandeth the case, and 
before he hath heard or read, and considered, what on both sides 
may be said, and what is necessary to a true understanding. 
And thus, either by audacious prating of what he never under- 
stood, or reviling and censuring men wiser than himself, or by 
making himself a judge where he hath need to be many years 
a learner, or making a religion of his own mistakes, and setting 
up dividing sects to propagate them, or else by shameful muta- 
bility and unsettledness he becometh a scandal to harden un- 
believers, and a disease to the church, and a shame to his pro- 
fession ; read James iii. 15 — 17. Conceited wisdom kindleth 
a contentious zeal, and is not of God, but from beneath. 

IV. The Christian who glorifieth God by his religion is one 
that so liveth that men may perceive that his carnal interest is 
not the end and ruler of his life; but that God is his end, and 
to please him is his work and his reward, in which he is com- 
forted, though the flesh and the world be never so much dis- 
pleased ; and that- the perfect light and love of God in the un- 
seen glory of another life is the sanctifying sum of all his hopes, 
for which all the world must be forsaken. To talk much of 
heaven, and to be as much and eager for the world as others, 
is the way by which the scandalous hypocrite doth bring reli- 
gion into contempt. It is no high, nor very honourable work, 
to talk of the vanity of the world; but to live above it, and to 
be out of the power of it : nor is it any great matter to speak 
honourably of heaven ; but to live as believing seekers of it, and 
as those that have there their treasure and their hearts, (Matt, 
vi. 20, 21,) and are comforted more by the hopes of the life to 
come, than by all their possessions or pleasures in the world. If 
we will glorify God, our lives must persuade men that he will 
certainly be our everlasting portion, and the sure and plentiful 
rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. xi. 6.) It is 



200 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

much of the use of a true Christian's life to convince unbelievers 
that there is a heaven for saints ; and the scandalous worldling 
persuadeth them that there is none. (Matt. v. 5, 11, 12; Phil, 
iii. 26, 21; Col. iii. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.) 

V, Therefore it glorifieth God and our religion when Chris- 
tians live in greater joy, or at least in greater contentedness and 
peace than other men. When they can answer all the crosses 
in the world sufficiently with this, that " God is their God, and 
his love shall be their endless joy ;" (Psalm lxxiii. 1, and lxxxiii. 
25, 26 ;) and when they can live by faith, and not by sight ; 
(2 Cor. v. 7;) and can rejoice in hope of the glory of God; 
(Rom. v. 3, 5 ;) and can comfort themselves and one another 
with this, that they shall for ever be with the Lord ; (1 Thes. iv. 
17, 18;) and can trust him to the death, who hath said, I 
will never fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Heb. xiii. 5.) If you 
would have other men honour your God and your religion, and 
desire to be such as you, you must really show them that you 
are on safer grounds, and in a happier state than they ; and 
that you will hardly do, if you be not more comfortable than 
they, or at least settled in more peace and contentedness of mind, 
as those that have a certain cure for the fears of death, and the 
danger that ungodly men are in of the revenging justice of the 
final Judge. 

I confess it is possible for trembling, troubled, and distressed 
Christians to be saved. But O that they knew what a scandal 
they are to unbelievers, and what a dishonour to God, whom 
their lives should glorify ! What man will fall in love with 
terrors and unquietness of mind ? If you would glorify God by 
your fears and tears, they must be such as are accompanied with 
faith and hope ; and you must not only show men what would 
make you happy, if you could obtain it, but also that it is at- 
tainable. Happiness is every man's desire, and none will come 
to Christ unless they believe that it tendeth to their happiness ; 
they take up with the present pleasures of the flesh, because 
they have no satisfying apprehensions of any better. And if 
no man show the first fruits of any better here, they will hardly 
believe that they may have better hereafter ; it is too hard a talk 
to put a poor drunkard, fornicator, or a poor, covetous worldling 
on, to believe that a poor, complaining, comfortless Christian is 
happier than he ; and that so sad and unquiet a life must be 
preferred before all his temporal contentments and delights. 
You must show him better, or the signs and fruits of better, 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 201 

before he will part with what he hath : you must show him the 
bunch of grapes, if you will have him go for the land of pro- 
mise, when he is told of giants that must be overcome : and O 
what a blessing is reserved for every Caleb and Joshua, that en- 
courage souls, and glorify the promise ! And how much do 
dejected discouragers of sinners dishonour God, and displease 
him ! I have known some ungodly men, when they have seen 
believers rejoicing in God, and triumphantly passing through 
sufferings in the joyful hopes of glory, to sigh and say, 6 would 
I were such a one, or in his case ;' but I have seldom heard any 
say so of a person that is still sad, or crying, or troubling them- 
selves and others with their scruples, crosses, or discontents ; 
unless it be in respect to their blameless living, perhaps con- 
doling them, they may say, e would I had no more sin to trouble 
me than you have/ I confess that some excellent Christians do 
show no great mirth in the way of their conversation ; either 
because they are of a grave and silent temper, or taken up with 
severe studies and contemplations, or hindered by bodily pains 
or weakness. But yet their grave and sober comforts, their 
peace of conscience, and settled hopes, and trust in God, deli- 
vering them from the terrors of death and hell, may convince 
an unbeliever that this is a far better state than the mirth 
and laughter of fools in the house of feasting, and in the 
vanities of a short prosperity. The grave and solid peace and 
comfort of those that have made their calling and election sure 
is more convincing than a lighter kind of mirth. (John, 
xvi. 22.) 

VI. The dominion of love in the hearts of Christians, appear- 
ing in all the course of their lives, doth much glorify God and 
their religion ; I mean a common hearty love to all men, and 
a special love to holy men, according to their various degrees of 
loveliness. Love is a thing so agreeable to right reason, and to 
social nature, and to the common interest of all mankind, that 
all men commend it; and they that have it not for others, would 
have it from others : who is it that loveth not to be lovecl ? and 
who is it that loveth not the man that he is convinced loveth him, 
better than him that hateth him, or regardeth him not ? And do 
vou think that the same course, which maketh men hate your- 
selves, is like to make them love your religion ? Love is the 
powerful conqueror of the world ; by it God conquereth the en- 
mity of man, and reconcileth to himself even malignant sinners ; 
and by it he hath taught us to conquer all the tribulations and per- 



202 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

secutions by which the world would separate us from his love ; 
yea, and to be more than conquerors through him that loved us, 
and thereby did kindle in us our reflecting love, (Rom. viii. 34 — 
36 f ) and by it he hath instructed us to go on to conquer both his 
enemies and our own; yea, to conquer the enmity rather than the 
enemy, in imitation of himself, who saveth the sinner, and kills 
the sin ; and this is the most noble kind of victory. Every 
soldier can end a fever, or other disease, by cutting a man's 
throat, and ending his life ; but it is the work of the physician 
to kill the disease, and save the man The scandalous pastor is 
for curing heresy in the Roman way, by silencing sound preach- 
ers, and tormenting and burning the supposed heretics ; or, at 
least, to trust for the acceptance and success of his labours to the 
sword ; and if that which will restrain men from crossing the 
pastor, would restrain them from resisting the spirit of God, 
and constrain them to the love of holiness, it were well ; then 
the glory of conversion should be more ascribed to the magis- 
trate and soldier thail to the preacher. But the true pastor is 
armed with a special measure of life, light, and love, that he 
may be a meet instrument for the regenerating of souls, who by 
holy life, and light, and love, must be renewed to their father's 
image. Every thing naturally generateth its like, which hath a 
generative power. And it is the love of God which the preacher 
Is to bring all men to that must be saved ; this is his office, 
this is his work, and this must be his study ; he doth little or 
nothing if he doth not this. Souls are not sanctified till they 
are wrought up to the love of God and holiness. And, there- 
fore, the furniture and arms which Christ hath left us in his 
word are all suited to this work of love. We have the love of 
God himself to preach to them ; and the love of an humbled, 
dying, and glorified Redeemer; and all the amiable blessings of 
heaven and earth to open to them ; and all the loving promises 
and invitations of the gospel ; and must not our hearts, our 
ministry, and our lives be answerable to all this ? Believe it, it 
must be a preacher, whose matter and manner of preaching and 
living doth show forth a hearty love to God, and love to godli- 
ness, and love to all his people's souls, that is the fit instrument 
to glorify God by convincing and converting sinners. God can 
work bv what means he will : bv a scandalous, domineering-, 
self-seeking preacher, but it is not his ordinary way. Foxes and 
wolves are not nature's instruments to generate sheep. I never 
knew much good done to souls by any pastors but such as 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 203 

preached and lived in the power of love, working by clear con- 
vincing light, and both managed by a holy, lively seriousness. 
You must bring fire if you kindle fire. Trust not here to the 
Cartesian philosophy, that mere motion will turn another element 
into fire. Speak as loud as you will, and make as great a stir 
as you will, it will be all in vain to win men's love to God and 
goodness, till their hearts be touched with his love and amiable- 
ness ; which usually must be done by the instrumentality of the 
preacher's love. Let them hate me, so thev do but fear me and 
obey me, is the saying of such as set up for themselves, (and 
but foolishly for themselves,) and, like Satan, would rule men to 
damnation. If love be the sum and fulfilling of the law, love 
must be the sum and fulfilling of our ministrv. But yet by 
love I mean not flattery ; parents do love as necessarily as any, 
and yet must correct ; and God himself can love and yet cor- 
rect ; yea, he chasteneth^every son that he receiveth ; (Heb. xii. 
6, 7 ;) and his love consisteth with paternal justice, and with 
hatred of sin, and plain and sharp reproof of sinners ; and so 
must ours ; but all as the various operations of love, as the 
objects vary. 

And what I say of ministers, I say of every Christian in this 
place. Love is the great and the new commandment, that is, 
the last which Christ would leave, at his departure, to his disci- 
ples. O could we learn of the Lord of love, and Him, who 
calleth himself love itself, to love our enemies, to bless them that 
curse us, and to do good to the evil, and pray for them that 
hurt and persecute us, we should not only prove that we are 
genuine Christians, the children of our heavenly father ; (Matt. 
v. 44, 45 ;) but should heap coals of fire on our enemies' heads 
and melt them into compassion and some remorse, if not into a 
holy love. I tell you it is the Christian who doth truly love his 
neighbour as himself; who loveth the godly as his co-heirs of 
heaven, and loveth the ungodly with a desire to make them truly 
godly ; who loveth a friend as a friend, and an enemy as a man 
that is capable of holiness and salvation. It is he that liveth, 
walketh, speaketh, converseth, yea, sufTereth, which is the 
great difficulty in love, and is, as it were, turned, by the love of 
God shed abroad upon his heart, into love itself ; who doth 
glorify God in the world, and glorify his religion, and really re- 
buke the blasphemer, that derideth the Spirit in believers, as if 
it were but a fanatical dream. 

And it is he that by tyranny, cruelty, contempt of others, and 



204 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

needless, proud singularities and separations, magisterially con- 
demning and vilifying all that walk not in his fashion, and pray 
not in his fashion, and are not of his opinion, where it is like 
enough he is himself mistaken, that is the scandalous Christian, 
who doth as much against God, and religion, and the church, 
and men's souls, as he doth against love. And though it be 
Satan's way, as an angel of light, and his ministers way, as min- 
isters of righteousness, to destroy Christ's interest by dividing 
it, and separating things that God will have conjoined, and so 
to pretend the love of truth, and love of order, as the love of 
godliness, or discipline, against the love of souls, and to use even 
the name of love itself against love, to justify all their cruelties, 
or censures, and alienations 3 yet God will keep up that sacred 
fire in the hearts of the sound Christians which shall live and 
conquer these temptations, and they will understand and regard 
the warning of the Holy Ghost. (Rom. xvi. 17.) " I beseech you 
mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the 
doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them," (in their sin- 
ful, dividing, offensive ways,) " for they that are such serve not the 
Lord Jesus," (though they may confidently think they do,) " but 
their own bellies," or carnal interests, though, perhaps, they 
will not see it in themselves ; " and by good words, and fair or 
flattering speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple." The 
word is TuV a*a>ca>v, hominum minim e malorum, no bad men, or 
harmless, well-meaning men ; who in case it be not to mortal 
errors, perhaps, may be in the main sincere, and may be saved 
when their stubble is burnt ; but whether sincere or not, they 
are scandals in the world, and great dishonourers of God, and 
serve Satan when they little think so, in all that they do con- 
trary to that universal love, by which God must be glorified, 
and sinners overcome. 

VII. A public mind that is set upon doing good, as the 
work of his life, and that with sincere and evident self-denial 
doth greatly glorify God in the world. As God maketh his 
goodness known to us by doing good, so also must his children 
do. Nothing is more communicative than goodness and love; 
nothing will more certainly make itself known whenever there 
is opportunity. That a worldly barren love, which doth not 
help, and succour, and do good, is no true Christian love, St. 
James hath told us fully in his detection of a dead and barren 
faith. No man in reason can expect that others should take 
him for a good man, for something that is known to no one 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 205 

but himself, save only that public converse and communion 
must be kept up by the charitable belief of professions, till they 
are disproved. The tree is known by its fruits, and the fruits 
best by the taste, though the sight may give some lower degree 
of commendation. The character of Christ's purified, peculiar 
people, is, that they are zealous of good works. (Tit. ii. 14.) 
The scandalous Christian may be zealous against others, and 
zealous to hurt them, to persecute them, to censure them, to 
disparage them, and to avoid them, but the genuine Christian 
is zealous in loving them, and doing them all the good he can. 
To do a little good upon the by, and from a full table to send 
an alms to Lazarus at the door, yea, to give to the needy as 
much as the flesh can spare, without any suffering to itself, 
or any abatement of its grandeur, pomp, and pleasure in the 
world, will prove you to be men not utterly void of all com- 
passion, but it will never prove you to be Christians, nor better 
than infidels and heathens. Look not that men should think 
you better than your fruits do manifest you to be, nor that 
they take you to be good for saying that you are good, nor 
judge you to excel others any further than your works are 
better than others. And marvel not if the world ask, 
c What do you more than others ?' when Christ himself doth 
ask the same, (Matt. v. 47.) " If ye salute your brethren, and 
those of your own opinion and way, and if ye love them that 
love you, and say as ye say, do not even publicans and infidels 
do the same?" (Matt. v. 46.) Marvel not if men judge you 
according to your works, when God himself will do so, who 
knoweth the heart. He that is all for himself, may love himself, 
and think well of himself, but must not expect much love from 
others. Selfishness is the bile or imposthume of societies, 
where the blood and spirits have an inordinate afflux, till their 
corruption torment or gangrene the part. While men are all 
for themselves, and would draw all to themselves, instead of 
loving their neighbour as themselves, and the public good above 
themselves, they do but hurt and destroy themselves, for they 
forfeit their communion with the body, and deserve that none 
should care for them, who care for none but themselves. To 
a genuine Christian, another's good rejoiceth him as if it were 
his own, (and how much, then, hath such an one continually 
to feed his joy,) and he is careful to supply another's wants 
as if they were his own. But the scandalous, selfish hypocrite 
doth live quietly, and sleep easily, if he be but well himself, 



206 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

and it go well with his party, however it go with all his neigh- 
bours, or with the church, or with the world. To himself, he 
is fallen, to himself he liveth, himself he loveth, himself he 
seeketh, and himself, that is, his temporal prosperity, he will 
advance and save, if he can, whatever his religion be, and yet 
himself he dcstroyeth, and will lose. It is not well considered 
in the world, how much of sin consisteth in the narrow con- 
traction of men's love, and regard unto their natural selves, 
and how much of goodness consisteth in a community of love, 
and what a glory it is to the government and laws of God that 
he maketh it so noble and necessary a part of every man's 
duty, to love all men, and to do good to all, as he is able, 
though with a difference. God could do us all good enough 
bv himself alone, without one another. But what a mercv is 
it to the world, that as many persons as there are, so many 
there are obliged by God to love their neighbours as themselves, 
and to do good to all about them ? And what a mercy is it 
to the actor that God will thus make him the instrument and 
messenger of his beneficence ? 

Ministers and Christians all, would you be thought better 
than others ? Are you angry with men that think otherwise of 
\ou? What good do you more than others in your places? 
What good do you that other men can see, and feel, and taste, 
and judge of? Every man loveth himself, and can feel what 
doeth him good in natural things ; and God, by giving you 
food, and other mercies to your bodies, would have you therein 
taste his love to your souls, would use you just so for your 
brethren's good. Do you give them good words and counsel ? 
It is well. But that is not it that they can yet taste and value. 
You must do that sort of good for them which they can know 
and relish ; not that this will save them, or is any great matter 
of itself, no more than God's common bodily mercies to you, 
but this is the best way to get down better. And he that seeth 
his brother have need, and shutteth up the bowels of his com- 
passion from him, how dwelleth the love of G.od in him? 
(1 John iii. 17-) " Give to him that asketh, and from him 
that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away." (Matt. v. 42.) 
That is, let not want of charity hinder thee, at any time, from 
giving, though want of ability may hinder thee, and prudence 
may restrain thee, and must guide thee. If you say, alas ! we 
have it not to give. I answer, 1. Do what you can. 2. Show 
by your compassion, that you would, if you could, take care of 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 207 

vour poor brethren. 3. Beg of others for them, and put on 
those that can to do it. 

Say not these carnal people value nothing but carnal things, 
and cannot perceive a man's love by spiritual benefits, for it is 
not grace, but the means and outside of things spiritual that 
you can give them ; and for aught I see, the most of us all do 
very hardly believe God's own love to us, if he deny us bodily 
mercies. If you languish in poverty, crosses, and painful 
sickness anything long, your murmuring showeth that you do 
not sufficiently taste God's goodness without the help of bodily 
sense. And can you expect that natural men believe you to 
be good for your bare words, when you so hardly think well of 
God himself, though he promise you life eternal, unless he also 
give you bodily supplies ? 

VIII. He that will glorify his religion, and God, before men, 
must be strictly just in all his dealings ; just in governing, just 
in trading and bargaining, just to superiors and to inferiors, to 
friends and to enemies, just in performing all his promises, 
and in giving every man his right. He that in love must part 
with his own right for his neighbour's greater good, must not 
deprive another of his right, for charity includeth justice, as a 
lower virtue is included in a higher and more perfect. He must 
not be unjust for himself, for riches, or any worldly ends; he 
must not be unjust for friends or kindred; he must not be 
drawn to it by fear or flattery ; no price must hire them to do 
an unrighteous deed. But above all, he must never be unjust 
as for religion, as if God either needed or countenanced a lie, or 
any iniquity. No men are more scandalous dishonourers of 
religion, and of God, than they that think it lawful to deceive, 
or lie, or be perjured, or break covenants, or be rebellious, or 
use any sinful means to secure or promote religion, as if God 
were not able to accomplish his ends by righteous means. This 
cometh from atheism and unbelief, when men think that God 
will lose his cause, unless our wits and sinful shifts preserve it, 
as if we, and not he, were the rulers of the world. The un- 
righteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God, (1 Cor. vi. 9 ; ) 
and seldom escape the hatred or contempt of men. 

IX. He that will glorify God, must know and observe the 
order of commands and duties, and that God will have mercy, 
and not sacrifice, and must prefer the end before the means 
as such. He must not pretend a lesser duty against a greater, 
nor take the lesser at that time for a duty, but for a sin, when 



208 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

the greater should take place. God hath made his laws, and 
our duty, to be the means of our own good. It is no profane- 
ness, but duty, to omit that which else would be a duty, when 
a greater is to be preferred. God calls it the sacrifice of a fool, 
who knoweth not that he doeth evil under the name of duty, 
when sacrifice is preferred before an obedient hearing of God's 
commands. (Eccles. v. 1 — 3.) It was no want of holy zeal in 
Christ, which made him bid the unreconciled, " Leave thy gift 
at the altar, and first go and be reconciled to thy brother, and 
then come and offer thy gift." (Matt. v. 24.) Some zealous 
persecutors, censurers, and dividers, now, would think I speak 
like an ungodly person if I should say to them, ( Let your li- 
turgy, and your prayers, and your worship stay till you have 
confessed and lamented your injuries to your brethren, and 
then come and offer your service to God, and lift up pure hands 
to him, without wrath and doubting/ Yet is it no more than 
God often calls for to the hypocritical Jews. (Isa. i. 11, &c.) 
" To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices, when ye 
come and appear before me ? Who hath required this at your 
hands, to tread in my courts ? Bring no more vain oblations ; 
incense is an abomination to me. When ye spread forth your 
hands, I will hide mine eyes; when ye make many prayers, 
I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash you, 
make you clean, relieve the oppressed." (Isa. lviii. 2, 3, &c) 
" They seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a 
nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinances 
of their God; they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they 
take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, 
and thou seest not ? Have we afflicted our soul, and thou 
takest no knowledge ? Ye fast for strife and debate, and to 
smite with the fist of wickedness. Ye shall not fast as this 
day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a 
fast that I have chosen ? a day for a man to afflict his soul ? 
to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth 
and ashes under him ? wilt thou call this a fast, and an accep- 
table day to the Lord ? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? 
to loose the bands of wickedness, and to let the oppressed go 
free, and that ye break every yoke ? Is it not to deal thy 
bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are 
cast out, to thy house ? when thou seest the naked, that thou 
cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thy own flesh ? 
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 209 

health shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go 
before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. 
Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, 
and he shall say, here I am." 

It is a point that our Lord Jesus layeth a great stress upon. 
He purposely healeth on the Sabbath day, and tells the censo- 
rious pharisees " the sabbath was made for man, and not man 
for the sabbath ;" that is, the end, which is man's good, is to 
be preferred before the means ; nay, it is no means, and so no 
duty, which is against it. He defendeth his disciples for get- 
ting themselves food as they passed in the corn-fields ; and he 
teacheth them the lawfulness of the priest's labour on the Sab- 
bath, and of David's eating the shew-bread ; and at two several 
times doth tell them that God " will have mercy, and not sacri- 
fice ;" and biddeth them " go learn what that meaneth." (Matt, 
iv. 13, and xii. 7.) 

And it is not only Pharisees, but many better men, who have 
need to go learn the meaning of that sentence. The meaning 
is this, that (ceteris paribus), the great duties of the law of na- 
ture, are to take place before the positive institutions. God's 
institutions are for man's good: whatever is a duty is also a 
means to the happiness of man, and pleasing to God, which is 
the end of all. Love to God and man are greater than all the 
instituted means of them as such; therefore that is no duty which 
is no means, or is against the instituter's end. Preaching and 
prayer must be omitted for some works of love and human 
good. Discipline is a duty when it is a means to the end for 
which it is ordained; but when it would hinder or destroy that 
end (the reputation of religion, and the glory of God's holiness, 
and the church's good) it is no duty, but a sin. To omit a 
sacrament, to break the rest of the Lord's day, to forbear the 
sacred assemblies, may be a duty when the good of men re- 
quireth them. Ordination is a duty when it is a means to its 
proper end. But if it were pleaded against those ends, and 
order set against the thing ordered, even the work of the minis- 
try, the case would be altered. 

When men mistake, and mistime and misplace God's insti- 
tutions, to the excluding of the great moral duties, which are 
their end, and persuade men to that as a part of religion, which 
would certainly do more hurt than good, they scandalously 
drive men away from their religion. Thus imprudent, scandalous 
professors can backbite and reproach others, and make them 

VOL. XVII. p 



210 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

odious and destroy christian love, and peace, and concord, on 
pretence of zeal for order, government, ceremonies, forms, or 
for this or that mode of discipline or worship. Not having 
learned what this meaneth, " 1 will have mercy and not saeri- 
fice f nor, that forms and external institutions were made for 
man, and not man for them. And yet I know that this will 
not justify the familist or hypocrite, who thinks he may do any 
thing to save his flesh. 

Do you think it is not a scandal to Turks, or other infidels, 
tempting them to deride or hate Christianity, to find the papists 
placing their merits in hurtful pilgrimages, which waste that 
time which should be spent, and in a multitude of unprofitable 
ceremonies, and in unwholesome food, and injuries to health, 
under the names of abstinence and mortification ? By this rule 
they may next persuade us, that it will please God if men famish 
or hang themselves ; and consequently if they do so by others, 
for we must love our neighbour but as ourselves. God himself 
hath made all our religion so suitable to our good, that he ex- 
pecteth not that we should take any thing for our duty, but 
what he giveth us evidence in the thing, or security by his pro- 
mise, shall be our gain. He that worketh upon self-love, and 
winneth man by a Saviour, and a glorious reward, and proveth 
the goodness of all his word and ways, as to our happiness, hath 
instituted none of his ordinances to our hurt. The apostles had 
their power only to edification, and not the destruction or hurt 
of souls. (2 Cor. x. 8. and xiii. 10.) " Let all things be done to 
edifying" (1 Cor. xiv. 26,) is a word of greater comprehension 
and use than many do conceive. When it is against edification, it 
is not acceptable to God. One would think Christ had broken 
his own law of discipline when he did familiarly eat with publi- 
cans and sinners : and yet that very act of his is one of those 
which he justifieth by the aforesaid rule, " I will have mercy, 
and not sacrifice." (Matt. ix. 11 — 13.) Learn this lesson of 
preferring mercy before sacrifice, if ever you will glorify God. 

The right manner of worshipping God is of great moment 
to the honour of him and of our religion before the world: 
that we give no false descriptions of God, or dishonourable at- 
tributes : that we teach no dishonourable doctrine as his, espe- 
cially of his own will and counsels, and of his government, laws, 
and judgment : that we neither take down the glory of the gos- 
pel mysteries, by reducing them to the rank of common Provi- 
dence, nor yet be deceived by Satan or his ministers, as the 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 211 

promoters of light and righteousness, (2 Cor. xi. 15,) to abuse 
and dishonour them by over-doing : that we seek not to glorify 
God by our lies, or by our own mistaken interpretations or in- 
ventions. God must be worshipped as a Spirit, in spirit and 
truth, and not with popish toys and fopperies, which make 
others think that our religion is but like a poppet-play and ludi- 
crous device, to keep the people in servitude to the priests by a 
blind devotion. God must be worshipped rationally, and with 
holy wisdom, and not with childish shadows and trifles, nor 
with slovenly and imprudent words, which tend to breed in the 
hearers derision or contempt. Neither the cantings or sceni- 
cal actions, or affected repetitions of the Papists, nor the rude, 
disorderly, incongruous expressions of unskilful men, are fit to 
be offered to the glorious God. Prudence, and holiness, and 
seriousness, and reverence, must appear in that worship which 
must honour God. O with what holiness should we hear from 
and speak to the holy, holy, holy God ! who will be sanctified 
in all that draw near him, (Lev. x. 3,) and will not hold him 
guiltless that taketh his name in vain ! They that will do it ac- 
ceptably must serve him with reverence and godly fear, (Heb. 
xii. 28,) as knowing that he is a " consuming fire ;'* and yet, 
with alacrity, love, and delight, as knowing that in his favour is 
life, and that he is the infinitely amiable good, the hope and 
only portion of believers. 

XI. The humility, meekness, and patience of Christians are 
greatly necessary to their glorifying of God. I join all three 
together for brevity's sake. 

1. It is a thing very amiable in the eyes of all, when men 
have not too high thoughts of themselves, and seek not to be 
overvalued by others, either as great, or wise, or good. When 
they seek not precedency, preferment, or honour, but take the 
lowest place, and envy not the precedence or honour of others, 
but take another's honour as their own, and take another to be 
fitter (ccezeris paribus) for places of power, trust, or eminency, 
than themselves. When they do, according to the measure of 
their worth, honour all men, (1 Peter ii. 17,) "And are kindly 
affectionecl one to another in brotherly love, in honour, prefer- 
ring one another;" (Rom. xii. 10;) not disscmblingly and com- 
plimentallv saying, 'Your servant, Sir,' while they would fain 
have others below them, and to be obedient to their wills. But 
really to think meanly of their own worth and wisdom. (Rom. 
xii. o.) "For I say, through the grace given to me, to every 

p 2 



212 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly 
than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God hath dealt 
to every man the measure of faith. Not thinking himself 
something when he is nothing;" (Gal. vi. 3;) nor to be 
more learned, or wise, or pious than he is. We must be, in- 
deed, his diseiples, who humbled himself, and made himself of 
no reputation ;" (Phil. ii. 7, 8 ',) and wiped and washed the feet 
of his disciples, to teach them what to be and do to one another; 
who hath taught us the necessity of cross-bearing and self-denial, 
and to humble ourselves as little children, if ever we will enter 
into the kingdom of heaven; (Matt. xvi. 24, and xviii. 3, 4 ;) and 
hath decreed and foretold us that whosoever shall exalt himself 
shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted; 
and therefore the greatness which his ministers must seek must 
be to be he servants of the rest. (Matt, xxiii. 11 — 13.) "Hon- 
our shall uphold the humble in spirit, but a man's pride shall 
bring him low." (Prov. xxix. 23.) "Better is it to be of an 
humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoils with the 
proud.'' (Prov. xvi. 19.) He that will honour his religion must 
" put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercy, kindness, hum- 
bleness of mind, (not of tongue only,) meekness, long-sufTering, 
forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man 
have a quarrel against any/' (Col. iii. 12, 13.) He must not 
set out himself like the richest, and desire to seem high or nota- 
ble to others, nor set up himself with his superiors, nor swell or 
grudge, if he be not regarded or taken notice of : no, nor if he 
be reproved or dishonoured : but must learn of an humbled 
Christ to be meek and lowly ; (Matt. xi. 29 ;) and must not 
mind or desire high things, but condescend to men of low 
estate, and not be wise in his own conceit. (Rom. xii. 16.) 
" I beseech you, therefore, that you walk worthy the vocation 
wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with 
long-suffering, forbearing one another in love." (Eph. iv. 1, 2.) 
" Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in low- 
liness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves." 
(Phil. ii. 3.) What man loveth not such a spirit and conversa- 
tion ? O that it were more common and eminent among us, 
and then we should find that the disaffection of the ignorant 
would be much abated, and that when a man's ways thus please 
God, his enemies will be the more at peace with him. (Prov. 
xvi. 70 But when they are proud, and we are proud, and we 
cannot yield, nor bow, nor give place to the wrathful, but must 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 213 

jostle and contend with them for our place and honour, we lose 
our christian honour by seeking carnal honour, and appear to 
be but like other men ; and even the proud themselves will dis- 
dain the proud. 

2. And though we may be angry and not sin, and must be 
plain and zealous against sin, and for God; though guilty, galled 
sinners be displeased by it, yet meekness must be our tempe- 
rature; for a turbulent, rough, unquiet spirit, is displeasing 
both to God and man; such persons have seldom peace with 
others or themselves. " A meek and quiet spirit is in the sight 
of God of great price. (1 Pet. iii. 4.) "Blessed are the meek, 
for they shall inherit the earth ; they shall speed better than 
others, even in this world." (Matt. v. 5.) " The wisdom from 
above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, 
full of mercy and good fruits." Paul tells us what the good 
works are which we must be always ready to ; " To speak evil 
of no man, to be no brawlers ; but gentle, showing all meekness 
to all men. (Tit. iii. 1, 2.) The Scripture speaks more of this 
than I have leisure to recite. (See, Gal. v. 23, and vi. 1 ; 
1 Tim. vi. 11; 2 Tim. ii. 25; 1 Pet. iii. 15; Jam. iii. 13; 
Zeph. ii. 3; Isa. xxix. 19 ; Psalm cxli. 4, and lxxvi. 9, and 
cxlvii. t>, and xxxvii. 11.) 

3. And patience both towards God and man is a necessary 
companion of humility and meekness. This greatly differeth 
from natural dulness, and an insensible temperature. When a 
man's soul is partly so much awed by God's authority and pre- 
sence, and partly so much taken up with the great matters of 
his service, and partly so much contented with his favour and 
grace, and the hopes of glory, as to make light of all the 
interests of the flesh as such; and therefore to bear patiently 
such losses and crosses, and wants, and sufferings, as touch 
the flesh, as taking it for no great matter to lose all the world 
if we save our souls, this is true patience by which God is 
glorified. For by this men will see that Christians have in- 
deed such great things in their hopes, as set them quite 
above the transitory things of the flesh and the world ; but 
when they are much troubled at every cross and loss, and 
whine and complain as if they were undone, if they live in 
poverty and reproach ; and are at their wit's end in every dan- 
ger, and fret and storm at every ill word, or every one that 
wrongeth them, thev are the shame of their profession, and 
scandals to the world. It is not a sudden anger which is the 



214 , WHAT LIGHT MUST 

great sin of impatience ; but an impotent disability to suffer in 
the flesh, in estate or name, and a repining under every want, 
which showeth a fleshlv, worldly mind, and a want of true be- 
lieving the heavenly felicity; though I confess that pity must 
make some excuse for many poor women, whose natural tem- 
per maketh their passions, troubles, and fears invincible. He 
that said, " In vour patience possess your souls," doth inti- 
mate, that we have lost ourselves, and the government, order, 
and peace of our souls, when we have lost our patience. 
(Luke xxi. 19; See Eccl. vii. 8 ; Jam. v. 7, 8 ; 1 Pet ii. 20 ; 
1 Thes. v. 14.) " Be patient towards all men." (1 Tim. vi. 11; 
Col. i. 11.) Whatever zeal you seem to have in prayer, in 
preaching, and for purity of worship, if you can bear wants 
and sickness and the loss of all the world no better than 
others, you will appear no better in their* eyes ; for " if you 
faint in the day of adversity, vour strength is small," (Prov. 
xx. 10.) 

XII. And as a special fruit of humility, an easy and thankful 
bearing of reproof, and readiness to confess a fault upon due 
conviction, is a necessary duty to the honouring of God. It 
will show men that you are enemies to sin indeed, and that you 
are not hypocrites who weed not only their neighbours' fields, 
and see the mote in another's eye, and not the beam which is in 
your own. " If the righteous smite us by reproofs, it must be 
taken as a kindness, and as a precious balsam which doth not 
break our head, but heal us. (Psalm cxli. 5.) Not that we are 
bound to belie ourselves in compliance with every man's cen- 
sorious humour that will accuse us ; but we must be readier to 
censure ourselves than others, and readier to confess a fault, than 
to expect a confession from others whom we reprove. Sincerity 
and serious repentance will be honourable in that person who 
is most careful to avoid sin, and most ready penitently to con- 
fess it when he hath been overcome, and truly thankful to those 
that call him to repentance ; as being more desirous that God, 
and his laws and religion, have the glory of their holiness, than 
that he himself should have the undue glory of innocency, and 
escape the deserved shame of his sin. 

It is one of the most dangerous diseases of professors, and 
greatest scandals of this age, that persons taken for eminently 
religious, are more impatient of plain (though just) reproof, 
than many a drunkard, swearer, or fornicator : and when they 
have spent hours or days in the seeming earnest confession of 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 215 

their sin, and lament before God and man that they cannot do it 
with more grief and tears, yet they take it for a heinous injury 
in another that will say half so much against them, and take him 
for a malignant enemy of the godly who will call them as they 
call themselves. They look that the chief business of a preacher 
should be to praise them, and set them above the rest, as the 
only people of God ; and they take him for an enemy that will 
tell them the truth. But the scandal is greatest in those preachers 
themselves, who cannot endure to hear that they are sinners. 
So tender and impatient of reproof are some, yea, some that for 
their learning, and preaching, and piety, are ranked in the high- 
est form, or expect to be so, that almost nothing but flattery or 
praise can please them ; and they can hardly bear the gentlest 
reproof, no, nor a contradiction of any of their opinions; but they 
seem to tell men that it is their part and privilege to be the re- 
provers of others, and to have no reprover, and to tell other 
men of sin, and be themselves accounted innocent ; and to call 
other men to repentance for particular sins, while they them- 
selves must have no other repentance, than in general to say 
that they are sinners ; and to proclaim to all that their public 
confessions are formalities, and that it is a Christ to heal the 
souls of others that they preach, while they acknowledge but 
little work for his remedies on themselves. But he that " re- 
fuseth reproof doth err, and he that hateth it is brutish," how- 
ever learned, or reverend, or pious he would be accounted, 
(Prov. xi. 17, and xii. 1.) l( He that regardeth reproof is pru- 
dent, and he that hateth it shall die." (Prov. xv. 5 — 10.) As 
ready humble penitent confession of sin doth tend to our par- 
don from God, so doth it tend to our acceptation with man. 
When God and man will condemn the pharisee, that justifies 
himself till confession be extorted from him. 

XIII. It is another very honourable fruit of humility to have 
a learning disposition, and not to be magisterial ; and to be swift 
to hear, and slow to speak. All Christ's disciples must be as lit- 
tle children, (Matt, xviii. 3, 4;) especially in a learning teachable, 
disposition, a child doth not use to set his wit against his mas- 
ter's, or any other that will teach him, nor to rise up against 
instruction, as a disputer that must have the better, and be ac- 
counted the wisest, but his daily business is submissively to learn. 
A genuine Christian is indeed communicative, and willing that 
others should partake with him in the wisdom and happiness 
which God hath revealed to him. But he is ready first to learn 



216 



WHAT LIGHT MUST 



himself, and knovveth that he must receive before he can 
communicate : and there is none so far below him but he 
is willing to hear and learn of; but especially among his 
equals he is readier to hear and learn than to teach, because he 
is still conscious of his ignorance, and honoureth the gifts of 
God in others, which the proud despise. (Jam. iii. 1, and i. 19.) 

But the scandalous Christian is so wise in his own eyes, that 
he is ever of a teaching humour, and those please him best that 
will sit and hear, and reverence him as an oracle, and magnify 
every word that drops from his lips. He is so full of himself, 
that he hath scarce the patience to observe well what another 
speaks or writeth ; and so valueth his own conceptions, that 
he thinks they should be valued by the hearers : and so scan- 
dalous is the teaching humour of some learned men, that they 
have not the common good manners or civility to suffer another 
to speak to the end, but they must needs interrupt him, that 
they may speak, as being more worthy. They take other men's 
speeches to be so tedious, that their patience cannot hold out 
the length of them. I mean not that a wise man is bound to 
lose his time in hearing every self-conceited person talk ; but 
when men are engaged in conference, or disputes, for a man to 
have such list to speak, that he cannot stay till another (though 
long) come to the end, is a scandalous incivility ; yea, some 
can scarce stay till two or three sentences be uttered, but their 
haste must tell you that they take themselves to be much the 
wiser, and to be fitter to teach than to hear and learn. And 
they are so overladen with their own conceited wisdom, that 
they can carry it no longer without some vent; and so full of 
their own, that they have no room to receive any more from 
others : and being all masters, they receive from God and man 
the greater condemnation. (Jam. iii. 1 ; Prov. xii. 17? and i. 5, 
and xviii. 13.) 

XIV. The genuine Christian hateth backbiting, and dis- 
graceful reports of others, and vet can bear it from others to 
himself. He hath learned to love all, and to speak evil of no 
man, nor to receive or vend ill reports of others. He knovveth that 
this is the work of the devil, the mortal enemy of love. He 
modestlv rebuketh the backbiting tongue, and, with an angry 
countenance, driveth it away. (Psalm xv. 3 ; Tit. iii. 2; Prov. xxv. 
2d.) Backbiters tell us that they are haters of men ; and the 
Apostle joins them with haters of God ; (Rom. i. 30.) Debates, 
backbi tings, whisperings, envyings, are the scandalous Christian's 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 217 

work. (2 Cor. xii. 20.) He that heareth. them will either dis- 
taste them, or catch the disease, and be as bad as they. And 
he that heareth that he is calumniated or reproached by them 
behind his back is tempted to abhor both them and their pro- 
fession. But to deal with men as faithful friends, and in plain- 
ness (but with prudence and love), to tell them secretly of their 
defects and faults, this tendeth to good, and to reconcile the 
minds of men, at last, and to the honour of the Christian way. 
{Matt, xviii. 15, 16; Levit. xix. 17 ; Prov. ix. 8, and xxiv. 25, 
and xxvii. 5 ; Eccl. vii. 5 ; Prov. xxviii. 23.) 

But yet, when we are belied and reproached of ourselves, 
though by Christians, or teachers, or superiors, it beseemeth us 
not to make too great a matter of it, as being tender of our own 
reputation, but only to be sorry for the slanderer's or backbiter's 
sin and misery. For men's corruption will have vent ; th6 
angry and malicious, and envious, will speak from the abun- 
dance of their hearts ; and the guilty will be tender ; and chil- 
dren will cry and quarrel ; and proud contenders will be impa- 
patient. And how small a matter is it, as to us, to be judged of 
man, who must all be shortly judged of the Lord I 

XV, He is one that would keep open to the notice of all 
the great difference between the godly and the wicked ; and 
aspireth after the highest degrees of holiness, as knowing the 
corruptions and calamities of the weak, and how much of 
heaven is in holiness itself; and yet, he loveth, honoureth, 
and cherisheth the least spark of grace in the weakest Chris- 
tian"; and is none of them that censoriously despise such, nor 
that tyranically tread them down, or cast them injuriously t>ut 
of the church. 

1. To make men believe that there is little difference be- 
tween the holy and profane, is to bring all religion into con- 
tempt, and is a wickedness which God's laws throughout con- 
demn, and his judgment shall publicly confute. (Matt. iii. 18; 
2 Thess. i. 6 — 11; Jude xv. ; Matt. xiii. 25, throughout.) 

2. To take up with a little goodness, which consisteth with 
scandalous corruptions, is to be a scandal in the church. 

.'3. And yet to be supercilious, and to disdain the weak, or 
shut out any as ungodly, whom Christ hath not warranted 
us to shut out, and to make stricter rules of trial and Church 
communion than he hath made, this is justly displeasing both 
to God and man. It tempteth men to abhor that religion 
which tendeth more to men's reproach than to their cure, and 



218 , WHAT LIGHT MUST 

causeth professors to set themselves higher above the weak, and 
at a greater distance from their neighbours than God would 
have them. Christ is tender of little ones, and would not 
have them scandalised. His own apostles were very low in 
knowledge all the time that he was with them on earth. It 
is not mere want of words that will warrant us to take men 
for ungodly ; even he that is " weak in faith must be received, 
j3Ut not to doubtful disputations." (Rom. xiv. 15.) To cull out 
a few that have learned to speak better than the rest, and shut 
out with the dogs all the infant Christians, who must be fed 
with milk, because they want expressions, is one of Satan's 
ways of overdoing, by which he would banish religion out of the 
world. 

XVI. He that will glorify God by his good works must be 
zealous and diligent in them, and make them the serious busi- 
ness of his life ; he must live so that men may see that in- 
deed he doth believe and hope for heaven. That which a 
man coldly speaks of, and coldly seeketh, men will think 
he coldly desireth ; and therefore that he doth but doubtingly 
believe it. A cold slothful Christian proclaims his unbelief to 
others, and so inviteth them to the like. When Christians 
bestir themselves, as for their lives, and ply God's work with 
greatest diligence, and redeem their lives, as knowing that all 
is short enough to prepare for an endless life, this wakeneth 
pthers to life and thoughtfulness, to inquire into the matter of 
our hopes. 

XVII. He that will glorify God must be wise and watchful, 
tocsee and take the opportunities of good before they are passed 
by, and to avoid temptations to error and iniquity, and especi- 
ally temerity in matters of great and public consequences. 

1. Good works have their season. You lose them if you 
take them not in their time \ that may be done now, which if 
you pass this time you can never do. 

2. Temptations have their season, and must just then be re- 
sisted, lest many a year repair not an hour's loss ; and they are 
very many : and narrow-sighted careless persons, who avoid two, 
and fall into the third, or avoid nineteen and are conquered by 
the twentieth, are always scandalous. 

3. And rash adventures on any opinions or actions, but espe- 
cially of public consequence, are usually most scandalous and 
pernicious to the church. As in military affairs, and in phy- 
sic, ubi non licet bis err are, men's lives must pay for our teme- 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 219 

•rity and 'error, and all the world cannot remedy the effects 
of one mistake ; so in matters of religion, if we mistake by 
our rash conceitedness, and take not time for necessary trial, 
and proceed not as a man on the ice, or among quicksands, 
with great care and deliberation, the shaking of kingdoms, 
the ruin of churches, the silencing of ministers, the corrup- 
tion of doctrine, worship, and discipline, and the sin and 
damnation of many souls, may be the effect of our proud 
presumption and temerity ; but the humble self-suspecting 
man, that suspendeth his judgment and practice, till he hath 
thoroughly proved all, doth preserve the honour of religion, and 
avoid such late and dear repentance. 

XVIII. The man whose works shall glorify God, must be 
devoted to the unity and concord of believers, and be greatly 
averse to dividing and love-killing opinions, words, and prac- 
tices; and, as much as in him lies, he must live peaceably with 
'all men. (1 Cor. i. 10; Phil. ii. 1—3 ; Eph. iv. 3, 4, 14, 15,16; 
Rom. xvi. 17, and xii. 18; 1 Thes.v. 17; John xvii. 24.) 
When Paul saith that " Dividers serve not the Lord Jesus, 
but their own bellies," he intimateth to us, that though truth 
and purity be in their mouths, and really intended by them, as 
they take it, yet there is usually a secret self-interest that is car- 
ried on that biaseth the judgment. And when he telleth 
them, (Acts xx. 30,) that " of their ownselves should men arise, 
speaking perverse things," which they called (and it is like be-* 
lieved to be) the truth ; yet self-interest lay at the bottom, to 
be somebody in drawing disciples after them; for it is so noto- 
rious a truth, that unity and concord are indispensably neces- 
sary to the church, as it is to our body, to families, to kingdoms, 
that men could not do so destructive a thing as dividing is, if 
some sin had not first caused the error of their minds. It 
greatly honoureth Christ and religion in the world, when be- 
lievers live in love and unity : and their discords and divisions 
have in all ages been the scandal of the world, and the great re- 
proach and dishonour of the Church. When Christ's disciples 
are one in him, it is the way to the infidel world's conversion, that 
• they may believe that the father sent him. (Job xvii. 24.) 

And here the devil has two sorts of servants: 1. The true 
schismatic, or heretic, who fearlessly and blindlv divideth the 
churches. 2. The overdoing papist, and church- tyrant, who 
will have a greater unity than Christ will here give us, that so 
we may have none. And when Christ prays that we may be 



220 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

one in him, the pope saith that we shall also be one in him, or 
we shall be accounted schismatics, and destroyed as such. And 
when the ancient church, according to Christ's institution, 
united all in the baptismal covenant, explained in the creed, and 
Paul numbereth the necessary terms of unity, Eph. iv. 4 — 6. 

1. One body (or church of Christ) into which we are baptized. 

2. One spirit of holiness in all. 3. One hope of the glorious 
reward. 4. One Lord by whom we do attain it. 5. One faith, 
even christian verity. 6. One baptism, or covenant of Chris- 
tianity. 7» -And one God and Father of all. And in these God 
would have all his servants to be one ; then come in these over- 
doers, and they must have us to be all one in all their papal 
policy, and all the decrees of their Pope and Councils de Fide, 
and in their multitude of corruptions, and ceremonious imposi- 
tions : which is as much as to say, ' You shall have no unity ;' 
for he that saith to all the city or kingdom, you shall be des- 
troyed for discord, or reproached as dividers, if you are not all of 
one complexion, or have not all the same appetite, age, or bodily 
stature, doth pronounce reproach or destruction on them abso- 
lutely : so is it with all others that put their self-devised terms on 
their brethren as necessary to unity and peace, on how pious or fair 
pretences soever; impossible conditions make the thing impossi- 
ble. These are the church-tearing scandals. These are the snares 
by which Satan hath made the church a scorn, and our religion a 
stumbling-block to Turks and heathens ; but had the peace- 
makers been heard, who learned of the Holy Ghost (Acts xv,) 
to impose nothing on the brethren but necessary things, and 
who have laboured to revive love, and shame emulations and 
divisions, God had been more glorified by men, and the reproach 
of the churches and solemn assemblies taken away. When all 
sects and parties have bustled and raised a dust in the world to 
foul the church, and to blind each other ; if ever the church's 
glory be restored, and our shame taken away, it will be by men 
of love and peace, by healing, uniting, reconciling principles and 
means. 

XIX. He that will glorify God, must live in and to the will 
of God, and seek to reduce his own will wholly into God's, and 
to destroy in himself all will that striveth against God's will. 

1. The disposing will of God, our owner, must be absolutely 
submitted to, and the bounteous will of God, our benefactor, 
thankfully and joyfully acknowledged. 

2. The ruling will of God our lawgiver must be with daily 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 221 

study and care obeyed, and his punishing and rewarding justice 
glorified. 

3. The final felicitating will and love of God, our ultimate 
end and object, that we may please him, and be everlastingly 
pleased in him, love him, and be loved by him, must be totally 
desired and sought, as the only and perfect rest of souls. 

O ! that is the holy, the joyful, the honourable Christian, who 
daily laboureth, and in some good measure doth prevail, to have 
no will but the will of God, and that which wholly is resolved 
into it ; who looketh no further to know what he should do, 
but to know by his word what is the law or will of God : who 
believeth that all that God willeth is good, and had rather have 
his life, and health, and wealth, and friends, at God's will and 
disposal, than his own ; who knoweth that God's will is love it- 
self, and that to please him is the end of all the world, and the 
only felicity of men and angels ; and resteth wholly in the pleas- 
ing of that will. What can be more wise and j ust than to have 
the same will (objectively) with him who is infinitely wise and 
just ? What can be more honourable than to have the same 
will as God himself, and (so far) as his children, to be like our 
Father ? What can be more orderly and harmonious, than for 
the will of the creature to move according to the Creator's will, 
and to be duly subservient to it, and accurately compliant with 
it ? What can be more holy, nay, what else is holiness, but a 
will and life devoted and conformed to the will of God ? What 
can be more safe, or what else can be safe at all, but to will the 
same things which the most perfect wisdom doth direct to, and 
infinite love itself doth choose ? And what can be more easy and 
quieting to the soul, than to rest in that will which is always 
good, which never was misguided, and never chose amiss, and 
never was frustrated, or missed of its decreed ends ? If we have 
no will but what is (objectively) the same with God's, that is, if 
we wholly comply with, and follow his will as our guide, and 
rest in his will as our ultimate end, our wills will never be dis- 
ordered, sinful, misled, or frustrated. God hath all that he will- 
eth (absolutely) and is never disappointed : and so should we if 
we could will nothing but what he willeth. And would you 
not take him unquestionably for a happy man, who hath what- 
soever he would have ? Yea, and would have nothing but what 
is more just and good ? There is no way to this happiness but 
making the will of God our will, God will not mutably change 
his will to bring it to ours ; should holiness itself be conformed 



222. . WHAT LIGHT MUST 

to sinners, and perfection to imperfection ? But we must, by 
grace, bring over our wills to God's, and then they are in joint ; 
and then only will they find content and rest. O what would I 
beg more earnestly in the world, than a will conformed wholly 
to God's will, and cast into that mould, and desiring nothing but 
what God willeth ! 

But contrarily, what can be more foolish than for such infants 
and ignorant souls as we, to will that which infinite wisdom is 
against ? What more dishonourable than to be even at the very 
heart so contrary or unlike to God ? What can be more irre- 
gular and unjust than for a created worm to set his will against 
his Maker's ? What else is sin but a will and life that is cross 
to the regulating will of God ? What can be more perilous and 
pernicious than to forsake a perfect, unerring guide, and to fol- 
low such ignorant judgments as our own in matters of eternal 
consequence ? What can that soul expect, but a restless state 
in an uncomfortable wilderness, yea, perpetual self-vexation and 
despair, who forsakes God's will to follow his own, and hath a 
will that doth go cross to God's ? Poor self-tormenting sinners ! 
consider that your own wills are your idols, which you set up 
against the will of God, and your own wills are the tyrants to 
which you are in bondage ; your own wills are your prison, and 
the executioners that torment you with fear, and grief and disap- 
pointments. W T hat is it that you are afraid of, but lest you miss 
of your own wills ? For sure you fear not lest God's will should 
be overcome and frustrated ; what are your cares about but this ? 
What are your sighs, and groans, and tears for ? And what is it 
else that you complain of, but that your own wills are not ful- 
filled ? It is not that God hath not his will. What is it that 
you are so impatient of, but the crossing of your own wills ? This 
person crosseth them, and that accident crosseth them, and 
God crosseth them, and you cross them yourselves ; and crossed 
they will be while they are cross to the will of God ; for all this 
while they are as a bone out of joint ; there is no ease till it be 
set right. In a word, a will that is contrary to God's will, and 
striveth and struggleth against it, is the offspring of the 
devil, the sum of all sin, and a foretaste of hell, even a restless 
self -tormenter ; and to will nothing but what God willeth, and 
to love his will, and study to please him, and rest therein, is the 
rectitude and only rest of souls ; and he that cannot rest con- 
tentedly in the will of God must be for ever restless. 

And when such a holy will and contentment appeareth in 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 223 

von, mankind will reverence it, and see that your natures are 
divine ; and as they dare not reproach the will of God, so they 
will fear to speak evil of yours : when they see that you choose 
but what God first chooseth for you, and your wills do but fol- 
low the will of God, men will be afraid of provoking God against 
them as blasphemers, if they should scorn, deride, or vilify you. 
And could we convince all men that our course is but the same 
which God commandeth, it would do much to stop their reproach 
and persecution. And if they see that we can joyfully suffer 
reproach, or poverty, or pains, or death, and joyfully pass aW'ay 
to God when he shall call us, and live and die in a contented 
complacency in the will of God, they will see that you have 
a beginning of heaven on earth, which no tyrant, no loss, or 
cross, or suffering, can deprive ydu of, while you can joyfully 
say, " The will of the Lord be done." (Acts xxi. 14.) 

Object. But if it be God's will for sin to punish me, or for- 
sake me, should I contentedly rest in that revenging will ? 

Ans. 1. That sin of ours which maketh us incapable objects 
of the complacent will of God is evil, and to be hated. But 
that will of God which is terminated on such an object, accord- 
ing to the nature of it, by just hatred, is good, and should be 
loved. And punishment is hurtful to us; but God's will and 
justice is good and amiable. 2. If you will close with God's 
will you need not fear his will. If your will be unfeignedly to 
obey his commanding will, and to be and do what he would have 
you, his will is not to condemn or punish you. But if God's 
will prescribe you a holy life, and your will rebel, and be against 
it, no wonder if God's will be to punish you when your wills 
would not be punished. (John i. 13; Heb. x. 10; John vii. 
17 ; Luke xii. 47.) 

XX. It glorifieth God and religion in the world when Chris- 
tians are faithful in all their relations, and diligently endeavour 
the sanctifying and happiness of all the societies which they are 
members of. 

I. Holy families, well ordered, do much glorify God, and keep 
up religion in the world. 

1. When husbands live with their wives in wisdom, holiness, 
and love, and wives are pious, obedient, meek, and peaceable, 
(Eph. v. 22, 25 ; Col. iii. 18, 19.) yea, unto such husbands as 
" obey not the word, that without the word may be won by the 
conversation of the wives." (1 Pet. iii. 1, 2.) 

2. When parents make it their great and constant care and 



224 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

labour, with all holy skill, and love, and diligence, to educate 
their children in the fear of God, and the love of goodness, and 
the practice of a holy life, and to save them from sin, and the 
temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil ; and have 
more tender care of their souls than of their bodies, that so the 
church may have a succession of saints ; and when children 
love, honour, and obey their parents, and comfort them by their 
forwardness to all that is good, and their avoiding the ways and 
company of the ungodly. (Eph. vi. 1 ; Psalm i. 1, 2.) 

3. When masters rule their servants as the servants of God, 
and servants willingly obey their masters, and serve them with 
cheerful diligence and trust, and are as careful and faithful 
about all their good and business as if it were not their own. 
(Eph. vi. 5, 9; Col. iii. 21, and iv. 1 ; 1 Pet. ii. 18.) 

When the houses of Christians are societies of saints, and 
churches of God, and live in love and concord together, and all 
are laborious and faithful in their callings, abhorring idleness, 
gluttony, drunkenness, pride, contention, and evil- speaking, and 
dealing justly with all their neighbours, and denying their own 
right for love and peace ; this is the way to glorify religion in 
the world. 

II. Well-ordered churches are the second sort of societies 
which must glorify God and propagate religion in the world. 

1. When the pastors are learned in the Holy Scriptures, and 
skilful in their sacred work, and far excel all the people in the 
light of faith and knowledge, and in love to goodness, and to 
men's souls, and in lively, zealous diligence for God, and for 
men's salvation, thinking no labour, cost, or suffering, too dear 
a price for the people's good ; when no sufferings or reproaches 
move them, nor account they their lives dear to them, that 
they may but finish their course and ministry with joy. When 
their public preaching hath convincing light and clearness, and 
powerful, affectionate application ; and their private oversight is 
performed with impartiality, humility, and unwearied diligence, 
and they are able to resolve the people's cases of conscience 
solidly, and to exhort them earnestly, with powerful reason, and 
melting love ; this honoureth religion, and winneth souls. 

When they envy not one another, nor strive who shall be 
greatest or uppermost; but contrariwise, who shall be most 
serviceable to his brethren, and to the people's souls. When 
they oversee and feed the flock of God which is among them, 
not by constraint, but willingly ; not for filthy lucre, but of a 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 225 

ready mind ; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but 
being ensamples to the flock ; and seeking not theirs, but 
them; are willing to spend and be spent for their sakes ; yea, 
though the mere they love them the less they are beloved; not 
minding high things, but condescending to men of low estate ; 
this is the way for ministers to glorify God. (1 Pet. v. 1 — 4 ; 
Acts xx.; 2 Tim. i. 14, 15; 1 Tim. iv. 10; Heb. iv. 11—13; 
Acts xx. 24; 1 Thes. ii. 8; 2. Tim. iv. 1—3; Luke xxii. 24 
—26; 2 Cor, xii. 14, 15; Rom.xii. 16.) 

When ministers are above all worldly interest, and so teach 
and live that the people may see that they seek not the honour 
which is of men, but only that which is of God, and lay not up 
a treasure on earth, but in heaven ; and trade all for another 
world, and are further from pride than the lowest of the flock; 
when they have not only the clothing of sheep, but their harm- 
less, profitable nature, and not the ravenousness or bloody 
jaws of destroying wolves. When they use not carnal weapons 
in their warfare, but by an eminency of light, and love, and 
life, endeavour to work the same in others ; when they are of 
more public spirit than the people, and more self-denying, and 
above all private interests, and envyings and revenge, and are 
more patient in suffering than the people, through the power 
of stronger faith, and hope, and love. When they are wholly 
addicted to holiness and peace, and are zealous for the love 
and unity of believers, and become all things to all men to win 
some; in meekness instructing opposers, abhorring contention, 
doing nothing in strife or vain glory, but preferring others before 
themselves ; not preaching Christ in pride or envy, nor seek- 
ing their own praise, but thirsting after men's conversion, edifi- 
cation, and salvation. Thus must Christ be honoured by his 
jh. ^ters in the world. 

When they speak the same things, being of one mind and judg- 
ment, uniting in the common faith, and contending for that 
against infidels and heretics, and, so far as they have attained, 
walk by the same rule, and mind the same things ; and where 
they are differently minded or opinioned, wait in meekness and 
love till God reveal to them the reconciling truth. When they 
study more to narrow controversies, than to widen them, and 
are skilful in detecting those ambiguous words, and verbal and 
notional differences, which to the unskilful seem material. 
When they are as chirurgeons, and not as soldiers, as skilful to 
heal differences, as the proud and ignorant are ready to make 
them, and can plainly show the dark contenders, wherein they 

vol XVH. Q 



22G WHAT MGIIT MUST 

agree, and do not know it. When they live in that sweet and 
amicable concord, which may tell the world that they love 
one another, and are of one faith and heart, being one in 
Christ. This is the way for ministers to glorify God in 
the world. And with thankfulness to God I acknowledge 
that such, for many years, I had my conversation with, of 
whom the world that now despiseth them is not worthy. 
(Phil., ii. 21; Matt. vi. 19—21; John v. 44; 2 Cor. x. 4; 
2 Tim. ii. 25, 26 ; 1 Cor. ix. 19, 20, 22, and x. 33 ; Phil. ii. 
1—3; 1 Tim. vi. 3, 4 ; Jam. hi. 14—16; 2 Tim. ii. 14, 24 ; 
Phil. iii. 15 — 17; John xvii. 24; Eph. iv. 3 — 5; 1 Cor. i. 
10 ; James iii. 17, 18.) 

And the maintaining of sound doctrine, spiritual, reasonable, 
and reverent worship, without ludicrous and unreverent trifling, 
or rudeness, or ignorance, or superstition, or needless singularity, 
much honoureth God (as is aforesaid). And so doth the exercise 
of holy discipline in the churches. Such discipline whereby the 
precious may be separated from the vile, and the holy from the 
profane, by authority and order ; and not by popular usurpa- 
tion, disorder, or unjust presumptions. Where the cause is 
fairly tried and judged before men are cast out, or denied the 
privileges of the church. Where charity appears in embracing 
the weakest, and turning away none that turn not away from 
Christ, and condemning none without just proof ; and justice 
and holiness appeareth in purging out the dangerous leaven, 
and in trying and rejecting the obstinately impenitent heretic, 
and gross sinner after the first and second admonition, and dis- 
owning them that will not hear the church. (Matt, xviii. 15, 
16; Tit. iii. 10; 1 Cor. v. 11.) When the neglect of disci- 
pline doth leave the church as polluted a society as the infidel 
world, and Christians that are owned in the public communion 
are as vicious, sensual, and ungodly, as Heathens and Mahome- 
tans, it is one of the greatest injuries to Christ and our religion 
in the world. For it is by the purifying of a peculiar people, 
zealous of good works, that Christ is known to be really the 
Saviour of the world ; and by making his followers better than 
others, that he, and his doctrine and religion are known to be 
the best. Travellers tell me that nothing so much hindereth 
the conversion of the Mahometans as their daily experience 
that the lives of the Greek Christians, and others that live 
among them, are too ordinarily worse than theirs. More drun- 
kenness, and more falsehood, lying, deceit, it is said are among 
those Christians than among the Turks. If that be true, those 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 227 

are no true Christians ; but wo be to them by whom such 
offence cometh. I have oft heard those soldiers justly cen- 
sured as profane who turn churches into stables (without great 
necessity). But how much more hurtfully profane are they 
who, for carnal ends, confound the world and the church, and 
keep the multitude, of the most sensual, ungodly persons in 
their communion, without ever calling them personally to re- 
pentance ! and use the church keys but to revenge themselves 
on those that differ from them in some opinions, or that cross 
their interest and wills, or that seem too smart and zealous in 
the dislike of their carnality, sloth, and church pollutions ? 
When the churches are as full of scandalous sinners as the assem- 
blies of infidels and heathens, the world will hardly ever believe 
that infidelity and heathenism is not as good as the christian 
faith. It is more by persons than by precepts that the world will 
judge of Christ and Christianity. And what men on earth do 
more scandalise the world, more expose Christianity to reproach, 
more harden infidels, more injure Christ, and serve the devil, 
than they that fill the church with impious, carnal pastors, (as 
in the church of Rome,) and then with impious, carnal peo- 
ple, maintained constantly in her communion, without any 
open disowning by a distinguishing, reforming discipline ? 
When such pastors are no better than the soberer sort of hea- 
thens, save only in their opinion and formal words, and when 
their ordinary communicants are no better, it is no thanks to 
them if all turn not infidels that know them, and if Christianity 
be contemned, and decay out of the world ; and it is along of 
such that disorderly separations attempt that discipline, and 
distinguishing of the godly and notoriously wicked, which such 
ungodly pastors will not attempt. (See Lev. xix. 17; Matt, 
xviii. 15, 16; 1 Cor. v; Tit. iii. 10; Jer. xv. 19; Psalm xv. ; 
2 Thes. iii ; Rom. xvi. 17; 2 Tim. iii. 4, 5.) 

III. But O how great an honour is it to God and to religion, 
when kings, princes, and states, do zealously devote their power 
to God, from whom they do receive it, and labour to make their 
kingdoms holy ! When truth, sobriety, and piety have the 
countenance of human powers, and rulers wholly set them- 
selves to further the faithful preaching and practising of the 
holy faith, and to unite and strengthen the ministers and 
churches, and to suppress iniquity, and to be a terror to evil 
doers, it taketh Satan's great advantage out of his hand, and 
worketh on carnal men by such means as they can feel and im« 

q 2 



228 WHAT LIGHT MUSI 

derstand. Not that God needs the help of man, but that he 
hath settled officers and a natural order, by which he usually 
worketh in the world : and as it cannot be expected that an 
unholy parent and master should have a holy family, or an un- 
holy pastor a holy church, unless by extraordinary mercy ; no 
more can we expect that ungodly magistrates should have a 
godly kingdom or commonwealth, of which the sacred history 
of the Jewish and Israelitish kings doth give you a full con- 
firmation. But this I must now say no more of. And thus I 
have told you, in twenty particulars, what are those good works 
in which the light of Christians must shine before men to the 
glorifying of God. 

Object. Doth not Matt. v. 10 — 12, contradict all this? 
" Blessed are ye when men revile you and persecute you, and 
say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake/' 

Ans. No. You must here distinguish, first, of men ; se- 
condly, of righteousness and good works. 

I. The men that we have to do with are, first, ordinary, na- 
tural men, corrupted by original sin, but yet not hardened to 
serpentine malignity, as some are : secondly, or they are men 
that, by sinning against nature and common light, are forsaken 
and given up to malignant minds. 

II. The good works which natural light and human interest 
can discern and commend, do differ from those which are merely 
evangelical, of supernatural revelation. 

1 . Malignant persons hardened in enmity, will scorn and per- 
secute holiness itself, and even that good which reason justifies, 
and therefore are called unreasonable wicked men. (2 Thess. 
iii. 2.) Good works with these men make us odious, unless 
they are such as gratify their lusts. 

2. But there are natural men not yet so hardened and for- 
saken, who are usually them that the gospel doth convert : and 
these have not yet so blinded nature, nor lost all sense of good and 
evil, but that they honour him that doth good in ail the twenty 
particulars which I have named, and think ill of those that do 
the contrary, though yet they relish not the christian righteous- 
ness, and things of supernatural revelation, for want of faith. 

Let us briefly now apply it. 

Use 1. This informs us what an honourable state Christianity 
and true godliness is. When God hath made us to be the lights 
of the world, to shine before men to the glory of his holiness, 
as the sun and stars do to the glory of his power, no wonder if 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 229 

in glory we shall shine as stars in the firmament of our Father, if 
we do so here. (Dan. xii. 3 ; Matt. xiii. 43 ; Phil. ii. 15.) This 
must not make us proud, but thankful ; for our pride is our 
shame, and our humility is our glory. 

Use 2. And what wonder if all the powers of darkness do 
bend their endeavours to obscure this sacred light ? The Prince 
of Darkness is the enemy of the Father of Lights ; and this is 
the great war between Christ and Satan in the world. Christ is 
the light of the world, and setteth up ministerial lights for the 
world and for his house. His work is to send them forth, to 
teach them, and defend them, to send his spirit to work in and 
by them, to bring men to the everlasting light. And Satan's 
work is to stir up all that he can against them, high and low, 
learned and unlearned, and to put Christ's lights, both ministers 
and people, under a bushel ; and to make the world believe that 
they are enemies, and come to hurt them, that they may be 
hated as the scorn and off-scouring of the world, and to keep 
up ignorance in ministers themselves, that the church's eyes 
being dark, the darkness may be great. 

But let us pray that God would " forgive our enemies, perse- 
cutors, and slanderers, and turn their hearts;" and that he 
would " open our lips, that our mouths may show forth his 
praise :" and though his ministers and people have their faulty 
weaknesses, that he would " be merciful to our infirmities, and 
grant that those things which the craft and subtlety of the devil 
or man worketh against us may be brought to nought, and by 
the providence of his goodness may be dispersed ; that we, his 
servants, being hindered by no persecution, may give thanks to 
him in his holy church, and serve him in holiness and pure- 
ness of life, to his glory," through Jesus Christ. 

Use 3. You may see hence how much those men are mis- 
taken, who talk of the good works or lives of Christians, as that 
which must have no honour, lest it dishonour God; as if all the 
honour were taken from Christ which is given to good works, 
and the patient's health were the dishonour of the physician, 
when we are redeemed and purified to be zealous of good works, 
and created for them in Christ Jesus, as Titus ii. 14 ; Eph. ii. 
10. Yea, and shall be judged according to our works. 

Use 4. This informeth you that the good works or lives of 
Christians is a great means ordained by Christ for the convincing 
of sinners, and the glorifying of God in the world. Preaching 
doth much, but it is not appointed to do all. The lives of 



230 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

preachers must also be a convincing light ; and all true Chris- 
tians^ men and women, are called to preach to the world by 
their good works : and a holy, righteous, and sober life, is the 
great ordinance of God, appointed for the saving of yourselves 
and others. O that the Lord would bring this close to all our 
hearts ! Christians, if you abhor dumb teachers, because they 
starve and betray souls, take heed lest you condemn yourselves : 
you owe men the convincing helps of a holy, fruitful life, as well 
as the preacher owes them his ministry. Preach by well doing, 
shine out in good works, or else you are no lights of Christ, but 
betrayers of men's souls : you rob all about you of a great ordi- 
nance of God, a great means appointed by him for men's sal- 
vation. The world will judge of the Scriptures by your lives, 
and of religion by your lives, and of Christ himself by your 
lives. If your lives are such as tend to persuade men that 
Christians are but like other men, yea, that they are but self- 
conceited sinners, as carnal, sensual, uncharitable, proud, self- 
seeking, worldly, envious, as others, and so that Christianity is 
but such, this is a horrid blaspheming of Christ, how highly 
soever your tongues may speak of him, and how low soever your 
knees may" bow to him. O that you knew how much of God's 
great work of salvation in the world is to be done by Christians' 
lives. Your lives must teach men to believe that there is a hea- 
ven to be won, and a hell to be escaped : your lives must help 
men to believe that Christ and his word are true: your lives 
must tell men what holiness is, and convince them of the need 
of regeneration ; and that the Spirit of sanctification is no 
fancy, but the witness of Jesus Christ in the world : your lives 
must tell men, by repentance and obedience, that sin is the 
greatest evil ; and must show them the difference between the 
righteous and the wicked : yea, the holiness of God must be 
glorified by your lives. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Scrip- 
ture, the church, and heaven itself, must be known much by our 
lives. And may not I say, then, with the apostle, (2 Peter iii. 
11,) " What manner of persons, then, ought we to be, in all holy 
conversation and godliness, when the grace of God, which 
bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us to 
deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righte- 
ously, and godly, in this present world ?" (Tit. ii. 11, 12.) 

Use 5. But alas! what suitable and plentiful matter doth 
this offer us for our humiliation and lamentation on such a day 
as this ? A flood of tears is not too much to lament the 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 231 

scandals of. the christian world. With what wounded hearts 
should we think of the state of the churches in Armenia, Syria, 
Egypt, Abascia, and all the oppressed Greeks, and all the poor 
deceived and oppressed Papists, and all the ignorant, carnal 
Protestants ? O ! how unlike are your lives to your christian 
faith, and to the pattern left them by their Lord. Doth a 
worldly, proud, and fleshly, and contentious clergy glorify God ? 
Doth an ignorant ministry glorify him, who understand not 
the message which they should deliver ? Will the world turn 
Christians by seeing Christians seek the blood and ruin of 
each other ? and hearing even preachers reproach each other ? 
or seeing them silence or persecute each other ? or by seeing 
the people run into many sects, and separate from one another, 
as unworthy of christian communion ? Will proud, ignorant, 
censorious, fleshly, worldly professors of religion ever draw 
the world to love religion ? Or will peevish, self-willed, im- 
patient, discontented souls, that are still wrangling, crying, 
and repining, make men believe that their religion rejoiceth, 
blesseth, and sanctifieth the soul, and maketh men far happier 
than all others in the world ? Alas ! Avhat wonder that so 
small a part of the world are Christians, and so few converted 
to the love of holiness, when the great means is denied them 
by you which God hath appointed for their conversion, and 
the world hath not one helper for a hundred or thousand that 
it should have ? You cry out at those that put out the church- 
lights, under pretence of snuffing them, while yourselves are 
darkness, or as a stinking snuff. 

O, brethren and Christians all, I beseech you let us now, 
and often, closely ask ourselves, what do we more than an 
Antonine, a Seneca, or a Cicero, or a Socrates did, beyond 
opinions, words, and formalities ? What do you which is like 
to convert the world, to convince an infidel, or glorify God ! 
Nay, do not some among us think that it is the height, or 
part of their religion, to live so contrary to the world, as to be 
singular from others, even in lawful or indifferent things, and 
to do little or nothing which the world thinks well of? As 
if crossing and displeasing men needlessly were their winning 
conversation. O, when once we go as far beyond them in love, 
humility, meekness, patience, fruitfulness, mortification, self- 
denial, and heavenliness, as we do in opinions, profession, and 
self-esteem, then we shall win souls, and glorify God, and he 
will also glorifv us. 



232 WHAT LIGHT MUST 

Use 6. And here we see the wonderful mercy of God to the 
world, who hath appointed them so much means for their con- 
viction and salvation. So many Christians as there be in the 
world, so many practical preachers and helps to men's con- 
version are there appointed by God, and let the blame and 
shame lie on us, where it is due, and not on God, if yet the 
world remain in darkness. It is God's will that every Christian 
in the world should be as a star, to shine to sinners in their 
darkness ; and O then how gloriously would the world be be- 
spangled and enlightened ! If you say, ( why, then, doth not 
God make Christians better ?' That is a question which cannot 
be well answered, without a larger opening of the methods 
of grace than we can now have leisure for, and therefore must 
be done in its proper season. 

Use 7. Those that honour God he will honour, and there- 
fore let us also give them that honour which is their due. The 
barren professors, who honour themselves by overvaluing their 
poor knowledge, gifts, and grace, and affecting too great a 
distance from their brethren, and censuring others as unworthy 
of their communion without reproof, are not the men that 
honour God, and can lay claim to no great honour from men. 
But God hath among us a prudent, holy, humble, laborious, 
patient ministry, that glorify him by their works and patience, 
and he hath among us a meek and humble, a blameless, and a 
loving and fruitful sort of Christians, who imitate the purity, cha- 
rity, and simplicity, yea, and concord of the primitive church. 
These tell the world, to their sight and experience, that religion 
is better than ignorance and carnality. These tell the world, 
that Christ and his holy word are true, while he doth that in 
renewing and sanctifying souls, which none else in the world 
can do. These show the world, that faith, and holiness, and 
self-denial, and the hopes of immortality, are no deceits. These 
glorify God, and are the great benefactors of the world. I 
must solemnly profess, that did I not know such a people in 
the world, who, notwithstanding their infirmities, do manifest 
a holy and heavenly disposition in their lives, I should want 
myself so great a help to my faith in Christ, and the promise of 
lire eternal, that I fear, without it, my faith would fail. And 
had I never known a holier ministry and people than those 
that live but a common life, and excel heathens in nothing but 
their belief or opinions, and church orders and formalities, I 
should find mv faith assaulted with so great temptations as I 



SHINE IN OUR WORKS. 



233 



doubt 1 should not well withstand. No talk will persuade men 
that he is the best physician that healeth no more nor worse 
diseases than others do. Nor would Christ be taken for the 
Saviour of the world, if he did not save men. And he saveth 
them not if he make them not holier and better than other 
men. 

O, then, how much do we owe to Christ for sending his 
Spirit into his saints, and for exemplifying his holy word on 
holy souls, and for giving us as many visible proofs of his ho- 
liness, power, and truth, as there are holy Christians in the 
world ! We must not flatter them, nor excuse their faults, 
nor puff them up. But because the righteous is more excellent 
than his neighbour, we must accordingly love and honour them, 
and Christ in them. For Christ telleth us, that he is glorified 
in them here, (John, xvii. 10,) and that what is done to them, 
his brethren, even the least, is taken as done to him, (Matt, xxv.,) 
and he will be glorified and admired in them when he cometh 
in his glory at the last, (2 Thess. i. 8, 10,) and he will glorify 
their very works before all the world, with a u Well done, good 
and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 



THE 



CURE OF MELANCHOLY 



AND 



OVERMUCH SORROW, 



BY 



FAITH AND PHYSIC. 



THE 



CURE OF MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH 
SORROW, BY FAITH AND PHYSIC* 



Question. — What are the best preservatives against melan- 
choly and overmuch sorrow ? 



2 COR. ii. 7. 

Lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch 
sorroiv ? 

The brevity of a sermon not allowing me time for any unne- 
cessary work, I shall not stay to open the context, nor to in- 
quire whether the person here spoken of be the same that is 
condemned for incest in 1 Cor. v., or some other, nor whether 
Chrysostom had good tradition for it, that it was a doctor of 
the church, or made such after his sin? Nor whether the late 
expositor f be in the right, who thence gathers that he was one 
of the bishops of Achaia ; and that it was a synod of bishops 
that were to excommunicate him ; who yet held that very con- 
gregation then had a bishop, and that he was to be excom- 
municated in the congregation, and that the people should 
not have followed or favoured such a teacher, it would have 
been no schism, or sinful separation, to have forsaken him. All 
that I now intend is, to open this last clause of the verse, which 
gives the reason why the censured sinner, being penitent, 
should be forgiven and comforted ; viz., Lest he should be swal- 
lowed up with overmuch sorrow, as it includeth these three 
doctrines, which I shall handle altogether, viz. : 

* This sermon was written for the morning exercises at Cripplegate, but 
not preached. The omissions in the folio edition of Baxter's works are insert- 
ed from the original edition of the sermon in the " Continuation of Morning- 
Exercise Questions, and cases of conscience, practically resolved by sundry 
ministers, in October, 1682." T. R. 

r Dr. Hammond. 



THE CURE OF MELANCHOLY, &C. 237 

1. That sorrow, even for sin, may be overmuch. 

2. That overmuch sorrow swalloweth one up. 

3. Therefore it must be resisted and assuaged by necessary 
comfort, both by others, and by ourselves. 

In handling these, I shall observe this order: 1. I shall 
show you when sorrow is overmuch. 2. How overmuch sorrow 
doth swallow a man up. 3. What are the causes of it. 4. What 
is the cure. 

I. It is too notorious that overmuch sorrow for sin is not the 
ordinary case of the world. A stupid, blockish disposition is 
the common cause of men's perdition. The plague of a hard 
heart, and seared conscience, keeps most from ail due sense of 
sin, or danger, or misery, and of all the great and everlast- 
ing concerns of their guilty souls. A dead sleep in sin doth 
deprive most of the use of sense and understanding ; they do 
some of the outward acts of religion as in a dream ; they are 
vowed to God in baptism by others, and they profess to stand 
to it themselves ; they go to church, and say over the words 
of the creed, and Lord's prayer, and commandments ; they 
receive the Lord's Supper, and all as in a dream ! They take 
on them to believe that sin is the most hateful thing to God, 
and hurtful to man, and yet they live in it with delight and 
obstinacy ; they dream that they repent of it, when no persua- 
sion will draw them to forsake it, and while they hate them 
that would cure them, and will not be as bad and mad as they 
who feel [not] in them any effectual sorrow for what ispast, or 
effectual sense of their present badness, or effectual resolution 
for a new and holy life. They dream that there is a judgment, 
a heaven, and a hell, but would they not be more affected with 
things of such unspeakable consequence if they were awake ? 
Would they be wholly taken up with the matters of the flesh 
and world, and scarce have a serious thought or word of eter- 
nity, if they were awake ? O how sleepily and senselessly do 
they think, and talk, and hear of the great work of man's re- 
demption by Christ, and of the need of justifying and sancti- 
fying grace, and of the joys and miseries of the next life ; and 
yet they say that they believe them ! When we preach or 
talk to them of the greatest things, with the greatest evidence, 
and plainness, and earnestness that we can, we speak as to the 
dead, or to men asleep ; they have ears, and hear not, nothing 
goeth to their hearts. One would think that a man that reads 
in Scripture, and believes the everlasting glory offered, and the 



238 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

dreadful punishment threatened, and the necessity of holiness 
to salvation, and of a Saviour to deliver us from sin and hell, 
and how sure and near such a passage into the unseen world is 
to us all, should have much ado to moderate and bear the 
sense of such overwhelming things. But most men so little 
regard or feel them, that they have neither time nor heart to think 
of them as their concern, but hear of them as of some foreign 
land, where they have no interest, and which they never think to 
see. Yea, one would think by their senseless neglect of pre- 
paration, and their worldly minds and lives, that they were 
asleep, or in jest, when they confess that they must die, and 
that when they lay their friends in the grave, and see the sculls 
and bones cast up, they were but all this while in a dream, or 
did not believe that their turn is near. Could we tell how to 
awaken sinners, they would come to themselves, and have other 
thoughts of these great things, and show it quickly by another 
kind of life. Awakened reason could never be so befooled 
and besotted as we see the wicked world to be. But God hath 
an awakening day for all, and he will make the most senseless 
soul to feel, by grace or punishment. 

And because a hardened heart is so great a part of the malady 
and misery of the unregenerate, and a soft and tender heart is 
much of the new nature promised by Christ, many awakened 
souls under the work of conversion think they can never have 
sorrow enough, and that their danger lies in hard-heartedness, 
and they never fear overmuch sorrow till it hath swallowed them 
up ; yea, though there be too much of other causes in it, yet if 
any of it be for sin, they then cherish it as a necessary duty, or 
at least perceive not the danger of excess : and some think those 
to be the best Christians who are most in doubts, and fears, and 
sorrows, and speak almost nothing but uncomfortable com- 
plaints, but this is a great mistake. 

1. Sorrow is overmuch when it is fed by a mistaken cause. 
Ail is too much where none is due, and great sorrow is too much 
when the cause requireth but less. 

If a man thinketh that somewhat is a duty, which is no duty, 
and then sorrow for omitting it, such sorrow is all too much, 
because it is undue, and caused by error. Many I have know r n 
who have. been greatly troubled, because they could not bring 
themselves to that length or order of meditation, for which they 
had neither ability nor time ; and many, because they could not 
reprove sin in others, when prudent instruction and intimation 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 239 

Was more suitable than reproof. And many are troubled, be- 
cause in their shops and callings they think of any thing but 
God, as if our outward business must have no thoughts. 

Superstition always breeds such sorrows, when men make 
themselves religious duties which God never made them, and 
then come short in the performance of them. Many dark souls 
are assaulted by the erroneous, and told that they are in a 
wrong way ; and they must take up some error as a necessary 
truth, and so are cast into perplexing difficulties, and perhaps 
repent of the truth which they before owned. Many fearful 
Christians are troubled about every meal that they eat, about 
their clothes, their thoughts and words, thinking or fearing that 
all is sinful which is lawful, and that Ainavoidable infirmities are 
heinous sins. All such as these are troubles and sorrows without 
cause, and therefore overmuch. 

2. Sorrow is overmuch when it hurteth and overwhelmeth 
nature itself, and destroyeth bodily health or understanding. 
Grace is the due qualification of nature, and duty is the right 
employment of it, but neither of them must destroy it. As 
civil, and ecclesiastic, and domestic government are for edifica- 
tion and not for destruction, so also is personal self-government. 
God will have mercy and not sacrifice ; and he that would not 
have us kill or hurt our neighbour on pretence of religion, 
would not have us destroy or hurt ourselves, being bound to love 
our neighbour but as ourselves. As fasting is a duty no further 
than it tendeth to some good, as to express or exercise true 
humiliation, or to mortify some fleshly lust, &c, so is it with 
sorrow for sin : it is too much when it doth more hurt than 
good. But of this next. 

II. When sorrow swalloweth up the sinner, it is overmuch, 
and to be restrained. As, 

1. The passions of grief and trouble of mind do oft over- 
throw the sober and sound use of reason, so that a man's judg- 
ment is corrupted and perverted by it, and is not in that case 
to be trusted. As a man in raging anger, so one in fear or 
great trouble of mind thinks not of things as they are, but as 
his passion represents them, about God and religion, and about 
his own soul, and his actions, or about his friends or enemies, 
his judgment is perverted, and usually false, and, like an in- 
flamed eye, thinks all things of the colour which is* like itself. 
When it perverteth reason it is overmuch. 

2. Overmuch sorrow disableth man to govern his thoughts; 



240 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

and ungoverned thoughts must needs be both sinful and very 
troublesome : grief carrieth them away as in a torrent. You 
may almost as easily keep the leaves of trees in quietness and 
order in a blustering wind as the thoughts of one in troubling 
passions. If reason would stop them from perplexing subjects, 
or turn them to better and sweeter things, it cannot do it 5 it 
hath no power against the stream of troubling passions. 

3. Overmuch sorrow would swallow up faith itself, and 
greatly hindereth its exercise. They are matters of unspeak- 
able joy which the gospel calleth us to believe : and it is won- 
derful hard for a grieved, troubled soul to believe any thing that 
is matter of joy, much less of so great joy as pardon and sal- 
vation are. Though it dare not flatly give God the lie, it hardly 
believes his free and full promises, and the expressions of his 
readiness to receive all penitent, returning sinners. Passionate 
grief serveth to feel somewhat contrary to the grace and pro- 
mises of the gospel, and that feeling hinders faith. 

4. Overmuch sorrow yet more hindereth hope, when men 
think that they do believe God's word, and that his promises are 
all true to others, yet cannot they hope for the promised bless- 
ings to themselves. Hope is that grace by which a soul that 
believeth the gospel to be true, doth comfortably expect that the 
benefits promised shall be its own ; it is an applying act. The 
first act of faith saith the gospel is true, which promiseth grace 
and glory through Christ. The next act of faith saith, ( I will 
trust my soul and all upon it, and take Christ for my Saviour 
and help :' and then Hope saith, C J hope for this salvation by 
him:' but melancholy, overwhelming sorrow and trouble is as 
great an adversary to this hope as water is to fire, or snow to 
heat. Despair is its very pulse and breath. Fain such would 
have hope, but they cannot. All their thoughts are suspicious 
and misgiving, and they can see nothing but danger and misery, 
and a helpless state. And when hope, which is the anchor of 
the soul, is gone, what wonder if they be continually tossed 
with storms. 

5. Overmuch sorrow swalloweth up all comfortable sense of 
the infinite goodness and love of God, and thereby hindereth 
the soul from loving him ; and in this it is an adversary to the 
very life of holiness. It is exceeding hard for such a troubled 
soul to apprehend the goodness of God at all, but much harder 
to judge that he is good and amiable to him : but as a man that 
in the deserts of Lybia is scorched with the violent heats of the 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 241 

sun, and is ready to die with drought and faintness, may confess 
that the sun is the life of the earth and a blessing to mankind, 
but it is misery and death to him. Even so, these souls, over- 
whelmed with grief, may say that God is good to others, but he 
seems an enemy to them, and to seek their destruction. They 
think he hateth them, and hath forsaken them ; and how can 
they love such a God who they think doth hate them, and re- 
solve to damn them, and hath decreed them to it from eternity, 
and brought them into the world for no other end ? They that 
can hardly love an enemy that doth but defame them, or oppress 
and wrong them, will more hardly love a God that they be- 
lieve will damn them, and hath, remedilessly appointed them 
thereto. 

6. And then it must needs follow that this distemper is a 
false and injurious judge of all the word and works of God, and 
of all his mercies and corrections. Whatever such a one reads 
or hears, he thinks it all makes against him : every sad word 
and threatening in Scripture he thinks meaneth him, as if it 
named him. But the promises and comforts he hath no part 
in, as if he had been by name excepted. All God's mercies 
are extenuated, and taken for no mercies, as if God intended 
them all but to make his sin the greater, and to increase his 
heavy reckoning and further his damnation. He thinks God 
doth but sugar over poison to him, and give him all in hatred, 
and not in any love, with a design to sink him the deeper in 
hell : and if God correct him, he supposeth that it is but the 
beginning of his misery, and God doth torment him before the 
time. 

7. And by this you see that it is an enemy to thankfulness; 
It rather reproacheth God for his mercies, as if they were inju- 
ries, than giveth him any hearty thanks. 

8. And by this you may see that this distemper is quite con- 
trary to the joy in the Holy Ghost, yea, and the peace in which 
God's kingdom much consisteth : nothing seemeth joyful unto 
such distressed souls. Delighting in God, and in his word and 
ways, is the flower and life of true religion. But these that I 
speak of can delight in nothing ; neither in God, nor in his word, 
nor any duty. They do it as a sick man eateth his meat, for 
mere necessity, and with some loathing and averseness. 

9. And all this showeth us that this disease is much contrary 
to the very tenour of the gospel. Christ came as a deliverer of 
the captives, a Saviour to reconcile us to God, and bring us glad 

VOL. XVII. R 



242 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

tidings of pardon and everlasting joy : where the gospel was re- 
ceived it was great rejoicing, and so proclaimed by angels and 
by men. But all that Christ hath done, and purchased, and 
offered, and promised, seems nothing but matter of doubt and 
sadness to this disease. 

10. Yea, it is a distemper which greatly advantageth Satan to 
cast in blasphemous thoughts of God, as if he were bad, and a 
hater and destroyer even of such as fain would please him. The 
design of the devil is to describe God to us as like himself; who 
is a malicious enemy, and delighteth to do hurt : and if all men 
hate the devil for his hurtfulness, would he not draw men to 
hate and blaspheme God, if he could make men believe that he 
is more hurtful ? The worshipping: God, as represented by an 
image, is odious to him, because it seems to make him like 
such a creature as that image representeth. How much more 
blasphemous is it to feign him to be like the malicious devils ? 
Diminutive, low thoughts of his goodness, as well as of his 
greatness, is a sin which greatly injurethGod : as if you should 
think that he is no better or trustier than a father or a friend, 
much more to think him such as distempered souls imagine 
him. You would wrong his ministers if you should describe 
them as Christ doth the false prophets, as hurtful thorns, and 
thistles, and wolves. And is it not worse to think far worse than 
this of God ? 

1 1 . This overmuch sorrow doth unfit men for all profitable 
meditation ; it confounds their thoughts, and turneth them to 
hurtful distractions and temptations ; and the more they muse 
the more they are overwhelmed. 

And it turneth prayer into mere complaint, instead of child- 
like-believing supplications. 

It quite indisposeth the soul to God's masses, and especially 
to a comfortable sacramental communion, and fetcheth greater 
terror from it, lest unworthy receiving will but hasten and in- 
crease their damnation. 

And it rendereth preaching and counsel too oft unprofitable : 
say what you will that is never so convincing, either it doth not 
change them, or is presently lost. 

12. And it is a distemper which maketh all sufferings more 
heavy, as falling upon a poor diseased soul, and having no com- 
fort to set against it ; and it maketh death exceeding terrible, 
because they think it will be the gate of hell ; so that life seem- 
eth burdensome to them, and death terrible $ they are weary of 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 243 

living, and afraid of dying. Thus overmuch sorrow swallow- 
eth up. 

III. Quest. What are the causes and cure of it? 

Ans. With very many there is a great part of the cause in 
distemper, weakness, and disease of the hody, and by it the 
soul is greatly disabled to any comfortable sense. But the 
more it ariseth from such natural necessity, it is the less sinful, 
and less dangerous to the soul, but never the less troublesome, 
but the more. 

Three diseases cause overmuch sorrow. 

1 . Those that consist ill such violent pain as natural strength 
is unable to bear ; but this being usually not very long is not 
now to be chiefly spoken of. 

2. A natural passionateness, and weakness of that reason that 
should quiet passion. It is too frequent a case with aged per- 
sons that are much debilitated to be very apt to offence and 
passion ; and children cannot choose but cry when they are 
hurt ; but it is most troublesome and hurtful to many women, 
(and some men,) who are so easily troubled, and hardly quieted, 
that they have very little power on themselves; even many who 
fear God, and who have very sound understandings, and quick 
wits, have almost no more power against troubling passions, 
anger, and grief, but especially fear, than they have of any 
other persons. 

Their very natural temper is a strong disease of troubling, 
sorrow, fear, and displeasedness. They that are not melancholy, 
are yet of so childish, and sick, and impatient a temper, that 
one thing or other is still either discontenting, grieving, or af- 
frighting them. They are like an aspen-leaf, still shaking with 
the least motion of the air. The wisest and most patient man 
cannot please and justify such a one; a word, yea, or a look, 
offendeth them ; every sad story, or news, or noise, affrighteth 
them ; and as children must have all that they cry for before 
they will be quiet, so is it with too many such. The case is 
very sad to those about them, but much more to themselves. 
To dwell with the sick in the house of mourning is less uncom- 
fortable. But yet while reason is not overthrown, the case is 
not remediless, nor wholly excusable. 

3. But when the brain and imagination are crazed, and rea- 
son partly overthrown by the disease called melancholy, this 
maketh the cure yet more difficult ; for commonly it is the 
aforesaid persons, whose natural temper is timorous and passion- 

r 2 



244 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

ate, and apt to discontent and grief, who fall into crazedness 
and melancholy ; and the conjunction of both the natural tem- 
per and the disease does increase the misery. 

The signs of such diseasing melancholy I have often elsewhere 
described. As, 

1. The trouble and disquiet of the mind doth then become 
a settled habit; they can see nothing but matter of fear and trou- 
ble. All that they hear or do doth feed it ; danger is still before 
their eyes ; all that they read and hear makes against them ; 
they can delight in nothing ; fearful dreams trouble them when 
they sleep, and distracted thoughts do keep them long waking; it 
offends them to see another laugh, or be merry ; they think 
that every beggar's case is happier than theirs ; they will hardly 
believe that any one else is in their case, when some two or three 
in a week, or a day, come to me in the same case so like, that you 
would think it were the same person's case which they all ex- 
press ; they have no pleasure in relations, friends, estate, or 
any thing; they think that God hath forsaken them, and that 
the day of grace is past, and there is no more hope ; they say 
they cannot pray, but howl, and groan, and God will not hear 
them ; they will not believe that they have any sincerity and 
grace ; they say they cannot repent, they cannot believe, but 
that their hearts are utterly hardened. Usually they are afraid 
lest they have committed the unpardonable sin against the 
Holy Ghost ; in a word, fears, and troubles, and almost despair, 
are the constant temper of their minds. 

2. If you convince them that they have some evidences of 
sincerity, and that their fears are causeless and injurious to 
themselves, and unto God, and they have nothing to say against 
it, yet either it takes off none of their trouble, or else it return- 
eth the next day ; for the cause remaineth in their bodily dis- 
ease ; quiet them an hundred times, and their fears an hundred 
times return. 

3. Their misery is, that what they think they cannot choose 
but think. You may almost as well persuade a man not to shake 
in an ague, or not to feel when he is pained, as persuade them 
to cast away their self-troubling thoughts, or not to think all 
the enormous, confounding thoughts as they do, they cannot 
get them out of their heads night or day. Tell them that they 
must forbear long musings, which disturb them, and they cannot. 
Tell them that they must cast out false imaginations out of their 
minds, when Satan casts them in, and must turn their thoughts 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 245 

to something else, and they cannot do it. Their thoughts and 
troubles, and fears, are out of their power, and the more, by how 
much the more melancholy and crazed they are. 

4. And when they are grown to this, usually they seem to 
feel something besides themselves, as it were, speak in them, 
and saying this and that to them, and bidding them to do this 
or that, and they will tell you now it saith this or that, and tell 
you when and what it hath said to them, and they will hardly 
believe how much of it is the disease of their own imagination. 

5. In this case they are exceeding prone to think they have 
revelations ; and whatever comes into their minds they think 
some revelation brought it thither. They use to say, this text 
of Scripture at such a time was set upon my mind, and that text 
at another time was set on my mind ; when oft the sense that 
they took them in was false, or a false application of it made 
to themselves, and perhaps several texts applied to contrary 
conclusions, as if one gave them hope, and another contra- 
dicted it. 

And some of them hereupon are very prone to prophecies, 
and verily believe that God hath foretold them this or that, till 
they see that it cometh not to pass, and then they are ashamed. 

And many of them turn heretics, and take up errors in reli- 
gion, believing verily that God believed them, and set such 
things upon their minds : and some of them that were long 
troubled, get quietness and joy by such changes of their opin- 
ions, thinking now that they are in God's way, which they were 
out of all this while, and therefore it was that they had no 
comfort. Of these I have known divers persons comforted that 
have fallen into the clean contrary opinions ; some have 
turned papists, and superstitious, and some have run too far 
from papists, and some have had comforts by turning anabap- 
tists, some antinomians, some contrary called arminians, some 
perfectionists, some quakers ; and some have turned from 
Christianity itself to infidelity, and denied the life to come, 
and have lived in licentious uncleanness. But these melancholy 
heretics and apostates usually by this cast off their sadness, 
and are not the sort that I have now to deal with. 

6. But the sadder, better sort, feeling this talk and stir 
within them, are often apt to be confident that they are pos- 
sessed by the devil, or at least bewitched, of which I will say 
more anon. 

7. And most of them are violently haunted with blasphe- 

- 



246 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

mous injections, at which they tremble, and yet cannot keep 
them out of their mind ; either they are tempted and haunted 
to doubt of the Scripture, or Christianity, or the life to come, 
or to think some ill of God ; and oftentimes they are strangely 
urged, as by something in them, to speak some blasphemous 
word of God, or to renounce him, and they tremble at the sug- 
gestion, and yet it still followeth them, and some poor souls 
yield to it, and say some bad word against God, and then, as 
soon as it is spoken, somewhat within them saith, * Now, thy 
damnation is sealed, thou hast sinned against the Holy Ghost, 
there is no hope.' 

8. When it is far gone, they are tempted to lay some law 
upon themselves never to speak more, or not to eat, and some 
of them have famished themselves to death. 

9. And when it is far gone, they often think that they have 
apparitions, and this and that likeness appeareth to them, espe- 
cially lights in the night about their beds. And sometimes 
they are confident that they hear voices, and feel something 
touch or hurt them. 

10. They fly from company, and can do nothing but sit 
alone and muse. 

1 1 . They cast off all business, and will not be brought to 
any diligent labour in their callings. 

12. And when it cometh to extremity, they are weary of 
their lives, and strongly followed with temptations to make 
away with themselves, as if something within them were urging 
them either to drown themselves, or cut their own throats, or 
hang themselves, or cast themselves headlong, which, alas 1 
too many have done. 

13. And if they escape this, when it is ripe, they become 
quite distracted. 

These are the doleful symptoms and effects of melancholy ; 
and therefore how desirable is it to prevent them, or to be cured 
while it is but beginning, before they fall into so sad a state. 

And here it is necessary that I answer the doubt whether 
such persons be possessed with the devil, or not ? And how 
much of all this aforesaid is from him. 

And I must tell the melancholy person that is sincere, that 
the knowledge of the devil's agency in his case, may be more to 
his comfort than to his despair. 

And first, we must know what is meant by Satan's posses- 
sion, either of the body or the soul. It is not merely his local 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 247 

presence and abode in a man that is called his possession, for 
we know little of that, how far he is more present with a bad 
man than a good, but it is his exercising power on a man by 
such a stated, effectual operation. As the Spirit of God is 
present with the worst, and maketh many holy motions to the 
souls of the impenitent, but he is a settled powerful agent in 
the soul of a believer, and so is said to dwell in such, and to 
possess them, by the habit of holiness and love ; even so Satan 
maketh too frequent motions to the faithful, but he possesseth 
only the souls of the ungodly by predominant habits of unbelief 
and sensuality. 

And so also he is permitted by God to inflict persecutions, 
and crosses, and ordinary diseases, on the just ; but when he 
is God's executioner of extraordinary plagues, especially on the 
head, depriving men of sense and understanding, and working 
above the bare nature of the disease, this is called his pos- 
session. 

And as most evil notions on the soul have Satan for their 
father, and our own hearts as the mothers, so most or many 
bodily diseases are by Satan, permitted by God, though there 
be causes of them also in the body itself. And when our own 
miscarriages, and humours, and the season, weather, and acci- 
dents, may be causes, yet Satan may, by these, be a superior 
cause. 

And when his operations are such as we call a possession, 
yet he may work by means and bodily dispositions, and some- 
times he worketh quite above the power of the disease itself, 
as when the unlearned speak in strange languages, and when be- 
witched persons vomit iron, glass, &c. And sometimes he doth 
only work by the disease itself, as in epilepsies, madness, &c. 

From all this it is easy to gather, 1. That for Satan to possess, 
the body is no certain sign of a graceless state, nor will this 
condemn the soul of any, if the soul itself be not possessed. 
Na\ r j there are few of God's children but it is like are sometime 
afflicted by Satan, as the executioner of God's correcting them, 
and sometime of God's trials, as in the case of Job ; whatsoever 
some say to the contrary, it is likely that the prick in the flesh, 
which was Satan's messenger to buffet Paul, was some such 
pain as the stone which yet was not removed, that we find after 
thrice praying, but only he had a promise of sufficient grace. 

2. Satan's possession of an ungodly soul is the miserable case, 
which is a thousand times worse than his possessing of the 



248 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

body, but every corruption or sin is not such a possession, for 
no man is perfect without sin. 

3. No sin proveth Satan's damnable possession of a man but 
that which he loveth more than he hateth it, and which he had 
rather keep than leave, and wilfully keepeth. 

4. And this is matter of great comfort to such melancholy, 
honest souls, if they have but understanding to receive it, that 
of all men none love their sin which they groan under so little 
as thev ; vea, it is the heavy burden of their souls. Do you love 
your unbelief, your fears, your distracted thoughts, your temp- 
tations to blasphemy ? Had you rather keep them than be 
delivered from them ? The proud man, the ambitious, the for- 
nicator, the drunkard, the gamester, the time- wasting gallants 
that sit out hours at cards, and plays, and idle chats, the glut- 
tonous pleasures of the appetite, all these love their sins, and 
would not leave them 5 as Esau sold his birthright for one 
morsel, they will venture the loss of God, of Christ, and soul, 
and heaven, rather than leave a swinish sin. But is this your 
case ? Do you so love your sad condition ? You are weary of 
it, and heavy laden, and therefore are called to come to Christ 
for ease. (Matt. xi. 28, 29.) 

5. And it is the devil's way, if he can, to haunt those with 
troubling temptations whom he cannot overcome with alluring 
and damning temptations. As he raiseth storms of persecu- 
tion against them without, as soon as they are escaping from 
his deceits, so doth he trouble them within, as far as God per- 
mitteth him. 

We deny not but Satan hath a great hand in the case of 
such melancholy persons, for, 

1. His temptations caused the sin which God corrects 
them for. 

2. His execution usually is a cause of the distemper of the 
body. 

3. And, as a tempter, he is the cause of the sinful and trou- 
blesome thoughts, and doubts, and fears, and passions, which 
the melancholy causeth. The devil cannot do what he will 
with us, but what we give him advantage to do. He cannot 
break open our doors, but he can enter if we leave them open. 
He can easily tempt a heavy, phlegmatic body to sloth, a weak 
and choleric person to anger, a strong and sanguine man to 
lust, and one of a strong appetite to gluttony, or to drunken- 
ness, and vain, sportful youth to idle plays, and gaming, and 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 249 

voluptuousness, when, to others, such temptations would have 
small strength. And so, if he can cast you into melancholy, 
he can easily tempt you to overmuch sorrow and fear, and to 
distracting doubts and thoughts, and to murmur against God, 
and to despair, and still think that you are undone, undone ; 
and even to blasphemous thoughts of God, or, if it take not 
this way, then to fanatic conceits of revelation, and a prophe- 
sying spirit. 

6. But I add, that God will not impute his mere temptations 
to you, but to himself, be they ever so bad, as long as you re- 
ceive them not by the will, but hate them ; nor will he condemn 
you for those ill effects which are unavoidable from the power 
of a bodily disease, any more than he will condemn a man for 
raving thoughts, or words in a fever, frenzy, or utter madness. 
But so far as reason yet hath power, and the will can govern 
passions, it is your fault if you use not the power, though the 
difficulty make the fault the less. 

II. But usually other causes go before this disease of me- 
lancholy, (except in some bodies naturally prone to it,) and 
therefore, before I speak of the cure of it, I will briefly touch 
them. 

And one of the most common causes is sinful impatience, 
discontents, and cares, proceeding from a sinful love of some 
bodily interest, and from a want of sufficient submission to the 
will of God, and trust in him, and taking heaven for a satis- 
fying portion. 

I must necessarily use all these words to show the true 
nature of this complicated disease of souls. The names tell you 
that it is a conjunction of many sins, which in themselves are 
of no small malignity, and were they the predominant bent 
and habit of heart and life, they would be the signs of a grace- 
less state, but while they are hated, and overcome not grace, 
but our heavenly portion is more esteemed, and chosen, and 
sought than earthly prosperity, the mercy of God, through 
Christ, doth pardon it, and will at last deliver us from all. 
But yet it beseemeth even a pardoned sinner to know the great- 
ness of his sin, that he may not favour it, nor be unthankful for 
forgiveness. 

I will therefore distinctly open the parts of this sin which 
bringeth many into dismal melancholy. 

It is presupposed that God trieth his servants in this life 
with manifold afflictions, and Christ will have us bear the cross, 



250 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

and follow him in submissive patience. Some are tried with 
painful diseases, and some with wrong by enemies, and some 
with the unkindness of friends, and some with froward, provok- 
ing relatives and company, and some with slanders, and some 
with persecution, and many with losses, disappointments, and 
poverty. 

1. And here impatience is the beginning of the working of 
the sinful malady. Our natures are all too regardful of the 
interest of the flesh, and too weak in bearing heavy burdens ; 
and poverty hath those trials which full and wealthy persons 
that feel them not, too little pity, especially in two cases. 

1. When men have not themselves onlv, but wives and 
children in want, to quiet. 

2. And when they are in debt to others, which is a heavy 
burden to an ingenuous mind, though thievish borrowers make 
too light of it. In these straits and trials, men are apt to be too 
sensible and impatient. When they and their families want 
food, and raiment, and fire, and other necessaries to the body, 
and know not which way to get supply ; when landlords, and 
butchers, and bakers, and other creditors, are calling for their 
debts, and they have it not to pay them, it is hard to keep all 
this from going too near the heart, and hard to bear it with 
obedient, quiet submission to God, especially for women, whose 
nature is weak, and liable to too much passion. 

2. And this impatience turneth to a settled discontent and 
unquietness of spirit, which affecteth the body itself, and lieth 
all day as a load, or continual trouble at the heart. 

3. And impatience and discontent do set the thoughts on 
the rack with grief and continual cares how to be eased of the 
troubling cause ; they can scarce think of anything else, and 
these cares do even feed upon the heart, and are, to the mind, 
as a consuming fever to the body. 

4. And the secret root or cause of all this is the worst part of 
the sin, which is, too much love to the body, and this world. 
Were nothing over-loved, it would have no power to torment 
us. If ease and health were not over-loved, pain and sickness 
would be the more tolerable ; if children and friends were not 
over-loved, the death of them would not overwhelm us with in- 
ordinate sorrow ; if the body were not over-loved, and worldly 
wealth and prosperity over-valued, it were easy to endure hard 
fare, and labour, and want, not only of superfluities and con- 
veniences, but even of that which is necessary to health, yea, 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 251 

or life itself, if God will have it so, at least, to avoid vexations, 
discontents, and cares, and inordinate grief and trouble of mind. 

5. There is yet more sin in the root of all, and that is, it 
showeth that our wills are yet too selfish, and not subdued to a 
due submission to the will of God, but we would be as gods to 
ourselves, and be at our own choosing, and must needs have 
what the flesh desireth. We want a due resignation of ourselves 
and all our concerns to God, and live not as children, in due 
dependence on him for our daily bread, but must needs be the 
keepers of our own provision. 

6. And this showeth that we be not sufficiently humbled for 
our sin, or else we should be thankful for the lowest state, as 
being much better than that which we deserved. 

7. And there is apparently much distrust of God and unbe- 
lief in these troubling discontents and cares. Could we trust 
God as well as ourselves, or as we could trust a faithful friend, 
or as a child can trust his father, how quiet would our minds be 
in the sense of his wisdom, all-sufficiency, and love? 

8. And this unbelief yet hath a worse effect than worldly 
trouble : it showeth that men take not the love of God and the 
heavenly glory for their sufficient portion, unless they may have 
what they want, or would have for the body in this world, unless 
they may be free from poverty, and crosses, and provocations, 
and injuries, and pains, all that God hath promised them here or 
hereafter, even everlasting glory, will not satisfy them; and 
when God, and Christ, and heaven, are not enough to quiet a 
man's mind, he is in great want of faith, hope, and love, which 
are far greater matters than food and raiment. 

III. Another great cause of such trouble of mind is the guilt 
of some great and wilful sin; when conscience is convinced, and 
yet the soul is not converted, sin is beloved, and yet feared. 
God's wrath doth terrify them, and yet not enough to overcome 
their sin : some live in secret fraud and robbery, and manv in 
drunkenness, in secret fleshly lusts, either self- pollution or for- 
nication, and they know that for such things the wrath of God 
cometh on the children of disobedience ; and yet the rage of 
appetite and lust prevaileth, and they despair and sin 3 and 
wMle the sparks of hell fall on their consciences, it changeth 
neither heart nor life : there is some more hope of the recovery 
of these than of dead-hearted or unbelieving sinners, who work 
uncleanness with greediness, and being past feeling, and blinded 
to defend their sins, and plead against holy obedience ta God. 



252 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

Brutishness is not so bad as diabolism and malignity : but none 
of these are the persons spoken of in my text ; their sorrow is 
not overmuch, but too little, as long as it will not restrain them 
from their sin. 

But yet, if God convert these persons, the sins which they 
now live in may possibly hereafter plunge their souls into such 
depths of sorrow in the review, as may swallow them up. 

And when men truly converted, yet dally with the bait, and 
renew the wounds of their consciences by their lapses, it is no 
wonder if their sorrow and terrors are renewed. Grievous sins 
have fastened so on the conscience of many, as have cast them 
into incurable melancholy and distraction. 

IV. But, among people fearing God, there is yet another cause 
of melancholy, and of sorrowing overmuch, and that is igno- 
rance and mistakes in matters which their peace and comfort 
are concerned in. I will name some particulars. 

1. One is ignorance of the tenour of the gospel or covenant 
of grace, as some libertines, called Antinomians, more danger- 
ously mistake it, who tell men that Christ hath repented and 
believed [for] them, and that they must no more question their 
faith and repentance, than they must question the righteousness 
of Christ ; so many better Christians understand not that the 
gospel is tidings of unspeakable joy to all that will believe 
it ; and that Christ and life are offered freely to them that will 
accept him, and that no sins, however great or many, are 
excepted from pardon, to the soul that unfeignedly turneth to 
God by faith in Christ ; and that whoever will may freely take 
the water of life, and all that are weary and athirst are invited to 
come to him for ease and rest. 

And they seem not to understand the conditions of forgive- 
ness, which is but true consent to the pardoning, saving (bap- 
tismal) covenant. 

2. And many of them are mistaken about the use of sorrow 
for sin, and about the nature of hardness of heart : they think 
that if their sorrow be not so passionate as to bring forth tears, 
and greatly to afflict them, they are not capable of pardon, 
though they should consent to all the pardoning covenant ; and 
they consider not that it is not our sorrow for itself that God 'Je- 
lighteth in, but it is the taking down of pride, and that so much 
humbling sense of sin, danger, and misery, as may make us feel 
the need of Christ and mercy, and bring us unfeignedly to con- 
sent to be his disciples, and to be saved upon his covenant terms 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 253 

Be sorrow much or little, if it do this much the sinner shall be 
saved. 

And as to the length of God's sorrow, some think that the 
pangs of the new birth must be a long-continued state ; whereas 
we read in the Scripture, that, by the penitent sinners, the 
gospel was still received speedily with joy, as being the gift of 
Christ, and pardon, and everlasting life : humility and self- 
loathing must continue and increase, but our first great sorrows 
may be swallowed up with holy thankfulness and joy. 

And as for hardness of heart, in Scripture, it is taken for such 
a stiff rebellious obstinacy, as will not be moved from, their 
sins to obedience by any of God's commands or threats, and is 
called oft an iron sinew, a stiff neck, &c. ; but it is never taken 
from the mere want of tears or passionate sorrow in a man that 
is willing to obey : the hard-hearted are the rebellious. Sor- 
row, even for sin, may be overmuch, and a passionate woman or 
man may easily grieve and weep for the sin which they will not 
leave, but obedience cannot be too much. 

3. And abundance are cast down by ignorance of themselves, 
not knowing the sincerity which God hath given them. Grace 
is weak in the best of us here, and little and weak grace is not 
very easily perceived, for it acteth weakly and inconstantly, 
and it is known but by its acts ; and weak grace is always 
joined with too strong corruption; and all sin in heart and life 
is contrary to grace, and doth obscure it; and such persons 
usually have too little knowledge, and are too strange at home, 
and unskilful in examining and watching their hearts, and keep- 
ing its accounts : and how can any, under all these hinderances, 
yet keep any full assurance of their own sincerity. If, with 
much ado, they get some assurances, neglect of duty, or cold- 
ness in it, or yielding to temptation, or inconstancy in close 
obedience, will make them question all again, and ready to say 
it was all but hypocrisy. And a sad and melancholy frame of 
mind is always apt to conclude the worst, and hardly brought 
to see any thing that is good, and tends to comfort. 

4. And in such a case there are too few that know how to 
fetch comfort from bare probabilities, when they get not cer- 
tainty, much less from the mere offers of grace and salvation, 
even when they cannot deny but they are willing to accept them ; 
and if none should have comfort but those that have assurance 
of their sincerity and salvation, despair would swallow up the 
souls of most, even of true believers. 



254 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

5. And ignorance of other men increaseth the fears and sor- 
rows of some. They think, by our preaching and writing, that 
we are much better than we are : and then they think that they 
are graceless, because they come short of our supposed mea- 
sures, whereas if they dwelt with us, and saw our failings, or 
knew us as well as we know ourselves, or saw all our sinful 
thoughts and vicious dispositions written in our foreheads, they 
would be cured of this error. 

6. And unskilful teachers do cause the griefs and perplexities 
of very many. Some cannot open to them clearly the tenour of 
the covenant of grace : some are themselves unacquainted with 
any spiritual, heavenly consolations ; and many have no expe- 
rience of any inward holiness, and renewal by the Holy Ghost, 
and know not what sincerity is, nor wherein a saint doth differ 
from an ungodly sinner, as wicked deceivers make good and 
bad to differ but a little, if not the best to be taken for the 
worst ; so some unskilful men do place sincerity in such things 
as are not so much as duty, as the papists in their manifold in- 
ventions and superstition, and many sects in their unsound 
opinions. 

And some unskilfully and unsoundly describe the state of 
grace, and tell you how far an hypocrite may go, so as unjustly 
discourageth and confoundeth the weaker sort of Christians, and 
cannot amend the mis- expression of their books or teachers;* 
and too many teachers lay men's comforts, if not salvation, on 
controversies which are past their reach, and pronounce heresy 
and damnation against that which they themselves understand 
not. Even the Christian world, these one thousand three hun- 
dred, or one thousand two hundred, years, is divided into par- 
ties by the teachers' unskilful quarrels about words which they 
took in several senses. Is it any wonder if the hearers of such 
are distracted ? 

IV. I have told you the causes of distracted sorrows, I am 
now to tell you what is the cure ; but, alas ! it is not so soon 
done as told; and I shall begin where the disease beginneth, 
and tell you both what the patient himself must do, and what 
must be done by his friends and teachers. 

I. Look not on the sinful part of your troubles, either as 
better or worse than indeed it is. 

1. Too many persons in their sufferings and sorrows think 

* One of my hearers fell distracted with reading- some passages in Mr. 
Shepherd's Sincere Believer, which were not justifiable or sound 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 255 

they are only to be pitied, and take little notice of the sin. 
that caused them, or they still continue to commit; and too 
many unskilful friends and ministers do only comfort them, 
when a round chiding and discovery of their sin should be the 
better part of the cure ; and if they were more sensible how 
much sin there is, in their overvaluing the world, and not trust- 
ing God, and in their hard thoughts of him, and their poor, un- 
holy thoughts of his goodness, and in their undervaluing the hea- 
venly glory, which should satisfy them in the most afflicted state, 
and in their daily impatiences, cares, and discontents, and in 
denying the mercies or graces received, this would do more 
to cure some than words of comfort, when they say as Jonah, 
" I do well to be angry," and think that all their denials of grace, 
and distracting sorrows and wrangling against God's love and 
mercy, are their duties, it is time to make them know how 
great sinners they are. 

2. And yet when as foolishly they think that all these sins 
are marks of a graceless state, and that God will take the 
devil's temptations for their sins, and condemn them for that 
which thev abhor, and take their very disease of melancholy 
for a crime, this also needs confutation and reprehension, that 
they may not by error cherish their passions or distress. 

II. Particularly, give not way to a habit of peevish impa- 
tience ! though it is carnal love to somewhat more than to God 
and glory which is the damning sin, yet impatience must not 
pass for ignorance. Did you not reckon upon sufferings, and 
of bearing the cross, when you first gave up yourselves to Christ? 
And do you think it strange ? Look for it, and make it your 
daily study to prepare for any trial that God may bring you to, 
and then it will not surprise you, and overwhelm you. Pre- 
pare for the loss of children and friends, for the loss of goods, 
and for poverty and want ; prepare for slanders, injuries, or poi- 
sons, for sickness, pain, and death. It is your unpreparedness 
that maketh it seem unsurYerable. 

And remember that it is but a vile body that sufTereth, which 
you always knew must suffer death, and rot to dust ; and who- 
ever is the instrument of your sufferings, it is God that trieth 
you by it, and when you think that you are only displeased 
with men, you are not guiltless of murmuring against God, or 
else his overruling hand would persuade you to submissive 
patience. 

Especially make conscience of a settled discontent of mind. 



256 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

Have you not yet much better than you deserve ? And do you 
forget how many years you have enjoyed undeserving mercy ? 
Discontent is a continued resistance of God's disposing will, 
that I say not some rebellion against it. Your own wills rise 
up against the will of God. It is atheistical to think that your 
sufferings are not by his providence ; and dare you repine 
against God, and continue in such repining ? To whom else 
doth it belong to dispose of you and all the world ? 

And when you feel distracting cares for your deliverances, 
remember that this is not trusting God. Care for your own 
duty, and obey his command, but leave it to him what you shall 
have ; tormenting cares do but add to your afflictions ; it is a 
great mercy of God that he forbiddeth you these cares, and 
promiseth to care for you. Your Saviour himself hath largely, 
though gently, reprehended them, (Matt, vi.,) and told you how 
sinful and unprofitable they are, and that your Father knoweth 
what you need ; and if he deny it you, it is for just cause, and 
if it be to correct you, it is yet to profit vou ; and if you sub- 
mit to him, and accept his gift, he will give you much better 
than that which he taketh from you, even Christ and ever- 
lasting life. 

III. Set yourselves more diligently than ever to overcome the 
inordinate love of the world. It will be a happy use of all your 
troubles if you can follow them up to the fountain, and find out 
what it is that vou cannot bear the want or loss of, and conse- 
quently what is it that you over- love. God is very jealous, even 
when he loveth, against every idol that is loved too much, and 
with any of that love which is due to him. And if he take them 
all away, and tear them out of our hands and hearts, it is mer- 
ciful as well as just, I speak not this to those that are troubled 
only for want of more faith, and holiness, and communion with 
God, and assurance of salvation. These troubles might give them 
much comfort if they understood aright from whence they come, 
and what they signify. For as impatient trouble under worldly 
crosses doth prove that a man loveth the world too much, so 
impatient trouble, for want of more holiness and communion 
with God, doth show that such are lovers of holiness and of 
God. Love goeth before desire and grief. That which men 
love they delight in if they have it, and mourn for want of it, 
and desire to obtain it. The will is the love ; and no man is 
troubled for want of that which he would not have. 

But the commonest cause of passionate melancholy is at first 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 257 

some worldly discontent and care ; either wants or crosses, or 
the fear of suffering, or the unsuitableness and provocation of 
some related to them, or disgrace, or contempt, do cast them 
into passionate discontent, and self-will cannot bear the denial 
of something which they would have, and then when the dis- 
content hath muddled and diseased a man's mind, temptations 
about his soul do come in afterwards ; and that which begun 
only with worldly crosses, doth after seem to be all about reli- 
gion, conscience, or merely for sin and want of grace. 

Why could you not patiently bear the words, the wrongs, 
the losses, the crosses, that did befal you ? Why made you so 
great a matter of these bodily, transitory things ? Is it not be- 
cause you over-loved them ? Were you not in good earnest when 
you called them vanity, and covenanted to leave them to the 
will of God ? Would you have God let you alone in so great a 
sin as the love of the world, or giving any of his due to crea- 
tures. If God should not teach you what to love, and what to 
set light by, and cure you of so dangerous a disease as a fleshly, 
earthly mind, he should not sanctify you, and fit you for heaven. 
Souls go not to heaven as an arrow is shot upward, against 
their inclination ; but as fire naturally tendeth upward, and 
earth downward, to their like, so when holy men are dead, 
their souls have a natural inclination upward ; and it is their 
love that is their inclination ; they love God and heaven, and 
holy company, and their old godly friends, and holy works, even 
mutual love, and the joyful praises of Jehovah. And this 
spirit and love is as a fiery nature, which carrieth them heaven- 
ward; and angels convey them not thither by force, but con- 
duct them as a bride to her marriage, who is carried all the 
way by love. 

And on the other side, the souls of wicked men are of a 
fleshly, worldly inclination, and love not heavenly works and 
company, and have nothing in them to carry them to God; but 
they love worldly trash, and sensual, bestial delights, though 
they cannot enjoy them; and as poor men love riches, and 
are vexed for want of what they love ; and therefore it is no 
wonder if wicked souls do dwell with devils in the lower re- 
gions, and that they make apparitions here when God permits 
them, and if holy souls be liable to no such descent. Love is 
the soul's poise and spring, and carrieth souls downward or 
upward accordingly. 

Away, then, with the earthly, fleshly love. How long will you 

VOL. XVII. 5 



258 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST ■ 

stay here ; and what will earth and flesh do for you ? So far 
as it may be helpful to holiness and heaven, God will not deny 
it to submissive children ; but to over-love is to turn from God, 
and is the dangerous malady of souls, and the poise that sinks 
them down from heaven. Had you learnt better to forsake all 
for Christ, and to account all but as loss and dung, as Paul 
did, (Phil. iii. 8,) you could more easily bear the want of it. 
When did you see any live in discontent, and distracted with 
melancholy, grief, and cares, for want of dung, or of a bubble, a 
shadow, or a merry dream ? If you will not otherwise know 
the world, God will otherwise make you know it to your 
sorrow. 

IV. If you are not satisfied that God alone, Christ alone, 
heaven alone is enough for you, as matter of felicity and full 
content, go, study the case better, and you may be convinced. 
Go, learn better your catechism, and the principles of religion, 
and then you will learn to lay up a treasure in heaven, and not 
on earth, and to know that it is best to be with Christ ; and 
that death, which blasteth all the glory of the world, and 
equalleth rich and poor, is the common door to heaven or hell ; 
and then conscience will not ask you whether you have lived 
in pleasure, or in pain 5 in riches, or in want ; but whether 
you have lived to God, or to the flesh ; for heaven or for earth ? 
and what hath had the pre-eminence in your hearts and lives ? 
If there be shame in heaven, you will be ashamed when you are 
there, that you whined and murmured for want of any thing 
that the flesh desired upon earth, and went thither grieving 
because your bodies suffered here. Study more to live by faith 
on hope, on the unseen promised glory with Christ, and you 
will patiently endure any sufferings in the way. 

V. And study better how great a sin it is to set our own wills 
and desires in a discontented opposition to the wisdom, will, and 
providence of God; and to make our wills instead of His, as 
gods to ourselves. Does not a murmuring heart secretly accuse 
God ? All accusation of God hath some degree of blasphemy in 
it. For the accuser supposeth that somewhat of God is to be 
blamed, and if you dare not open your mouths to accuse him, 
let not the repinings of your hearts accuse him ; know how 
much of religion and holiness consisteth in bringing this rebel- 
lious self-will to a full resignation, submission, and conformity 
to the will of God. Till you can rest in God's will you will 
never have rest. 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 259 

VI. And study well how great a duty it is wholly to trust 
God, and our blessed Redeemer, both with soul and body, and 
all we have. Is not infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, to 
be trusted ? Is not a Saviour, who came from heaven into flesh, 
to save sinners by such incomprehensible ways of love, to be 
trusted with that which he hath so dearly bought ? To whom 
else will you trust ? Is it to yourselves or your friends ? Who 
is it that hath kept you all your lives, and done all for you 
that is done ? Who is it that hath saved all the souls that are 
now in heaven ? What is our Christianity but a life of faith ? 
And is this your aith, to distract yourselves with care and 
troubles, if God do not fit all his providences to your wills ? 
Seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and he hath pro- 
mised that all other things shall be added to you, and not a 
hair of your head shall perish, for they are all, as it were, num- 
bered. A sparrow falls not to the ground without his provi- 
dence, and doth he set less by those that fain would please him ? 
Believe God, and trust him, and your cares, and fears, and 
griefs will vanish. 

O that you knew what a mercy and comfort it is for God to / 
make it your duty to trust him ! If he had made you no promise, 
this is equal to a promise. If he do but bid you trust him, 
you may be sure he will not deceive your trust. If a faithful 
and confidential friend, that is able to relieve you, do but bid 
you trust in him for your relief, you will not think that he 
will deceive you. Alas! I have friends that. durst trust me 
with their estates, and lives, and souls, if they were in my 
power, and would not fear that I would destroy or hurt them, 
that yet cannot trust the God of infinite goodness with them, 
though he both commands them to trust him, and promises 
that he will never fail them, nor forsake them. It is the refuge 
of my soul that quieteth me in my fears, that God, my Father 
and Redeemer, hath commanded me to trust him with my body, 
my health, my liberty, my estate, and when eternity seemeth 
strange and dreadful to me, that he bids me trust him with my 
departing soul ! Heaven and earth are upheld and maintained 
by him, and shall 1 distrust him ? 

Objection. — But it is none but his children that he will save. 

Answer. — True; and all are his children that are truly wil- 
ling to obey and please him. If you are truly willing to be 
holy, and to obey his commanding will, in a godly, righteous, 
and sober life, vou may boldly rest in his disposing will, and 

s 2 



260 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

rejoice in his rewarding and accepting will, for he will pardon 
all our infirmities through the merits and intercession of Christ. 

VII. If you would not be swallowed up with sorrow, swallow 
not the baits of sinful pleasure. Passions, and dulness, and 
defective duties have their degrees of guilt, but it is pleasing 
sin that is the dangerous and deep-wounding sin. O fly from 
the baits of lust, and pride, and ambition, and covetousness, 
and an unruly appetite to drink or meat, as you would fly from 
guilt, and grief, and terror. The more pleasure you have in 
sin, usually the more sorrow it will bring you ; and the more you 
know it to be sin, and conscience tells you that God is against 
it, and yet you will go on, and bear down conscience, the 
sharper will conscience afterwards afflict you, and the morehard- 
ly will it be quieted when it. is awakened to repentance. Yea, 
when an humbled soul is pardoned by grace, and believeth that 
he is pardoned, he will not easily forgive himself. The remem- 
brance of the wilfulness of sinning, and how poor a bait pre- 
vailed with us, and what mercies and motives we bore down, 
will make us so displeased and angry with ourselves, and so to 
loathe such naughty hearts as will not admit a speedy or easy 
reconciliation. Yea, when we remember that we sinned against 
knowledge, even when we remembered that God did see us, 
and that we offended him, it will keep up long doubts of our 
sinceritv in the soul, and make us afraid lest still we have the 
same hearts, and should again do the same if we had the same 
temptations. Never look for joy or peace as long as you live 
in wilful and beloved sin. This thorn must be taken out of 
your hearts before you will be eased of the pain, unless God 
leave you to a senseless heart, and Satan give you a deceitful 
peace, which doth but prepare for greater sorrow. 

VIII. But if none of the forementioned sins cause your 
sorrows, but they come from the mere perplexities of your mind 
about religion, or the state of your souls, as fearing God's wrath 
for your former sins, or doubting of your sincerity and salva- 
tion, then these foregoing reproofs are not meant to such as 
you, but I shall now lay you down your proper remedy, and 
that is, the cure of that ignorance and those errors which cause 
your troubles. 

1. Many are perplexed about controversies in religion, while 
every contending party is confident, and hath a great deal to 
say, which to the ignorant seemeth like to truth, and which the 
hearer cannot answer, and when each party tells them that 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 261 

their way is the only way, and threateneth damnation to them 
if they turn not to them. The papists say, ' There is no sal- 
vation out of our church ;' that is, to none but the subjects of 
the bishop of Rome. The Greeks condemn them, and extol 
their church, and every party extols their own. Yea, some will 
convert them with fire and sword, find say, ' Be of our church, 
or lie in gaol ;' or make their church itself a prison, by driving 
in the incapable and unwilling. 

Among all these, how shall the ignorant know what to 
choose ? 

Answer. — The case is sad, and yet not so sad as the case 
of the far greatest part of the world, who are quite in hea- 
thenism, or infidelity, or never trouble themselves about reli- 
gion, but follow the customs of their countries, and the prince's 
laws, that they may not suffer. It is some sign of a regard 
to God and your salvation, that you are troubled about religion, 
and careful to know which is the right ; even controversy is 
better than atheistical indifference, that will be on the upper 
side, be it what it will. If you cast acorns or pulse among 
them, swine will strive for it; or if it be carrion, dogs will fight 
for it; but if it be gold or jewels, dogs and swine will never 
strive for them, but tread them in the dirt. But cast them 
before men, and they will be altogether by the ears for them. 
Lawyers contend about law, and princes about dominion, which 
others mind not, and religious persons strive about religion, 
and what wonder is this ? It doth but show that thev value 
their souls and religion, and that their understandings are 
yet imperfect. But if you follow these plain directions, con- 
troversies need not break your peace. 

I. See that you be true to the light and law of nature, which 
all mankind is obliged to observe. If you had no Scripture nor 
Christianity, nature (that is, the works of God,) do tell you 
that there is a God, and that he is the rewarder of them that 
diligently seek him. It tells you that God is absolutely perfect 
in power, knowledge, and goodness, and that man is a reason- 
able, free agent made by him, and therefore is his own, and 
at his will and government. It tells you that a man's actions 
are not indifferent, but some things we ought to do, and some 
things we ought not to do, and that virtue and vice, moral good 
and evil, do greatly differ, and therefore that there is some 
universal law which obligeth us to the good, and forbids the 
evil, and that this can be none but the law of the universal go- 



262 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

vernor, which is God. It tells all men that they owe this God 
their absolute obedience, because he is their most wise and 
absolute ruler, and that they owe him their chiefest love, because 
he is not only the chief benefactor, but also most perfectly 
amiable in himself. It tells us that he hath made us all soci- 
able members of one world, and that we owe love and help 
to one another. It tells us that all this obedience to God can 
never be in vain, nor to our loss ; and it tells us that we must 
all die, and that fleshly pleasures and this transitory world 
will quickly leave us. There is no more cause to doubt of all, 
or any of this, than whether man be man. Be true to this 
much, and it will be a great help to all the rest. 

II. And as to God's supernatural revelation, hold to God's 
word, the sacred bible, written by the special inspiration of the 
Holy Ghost, as the sufficient records of it. 

It is not divine faith if it rest not on divine revelation, nor 
is it divine obedience which is not given to divine government 
or command. Man's word is to be believed but as it deserveth, 
with a human faith, and man's law must be obeved according 
to the measure of his authority, with a human obedience, 
but these are far different from a divine. There is no universal 
ruler of all the world or church but God ; no man is capable 
of it, nor any council of men. God's law is only in nature, and 
in the holy Scripture, and that being the law by which he will 
judge us, it is the law which is the only divine rule of our faith 
or judgment, our hearts and lives. Though all in the Scripture 
is not of equal clearness or necessity, but a man may be saved 
that understandeth not a thousand sentences therein, yet all 
that is necessary to salvation is plainly there contained, and 
God's law is perfect in its designed use, and needeth no sup- 
plement of man's. Hold close to Scripture sufficiency, or you 
will never know what to hold to. Councils and canons are far 
more uncertain, and there is no agreement among their subjects 
which of them are obligatory, and which not, nor any possible 
way to come to an agreement. 

III. Yet use with thankfulness the help of men, for the un- 
derstanding and obeying the word of God. 

Though lawyers, as such, have none of the legislative power, 
you need their help to understand the use of the law aright. 
And though no men have power to make laws for the church 
universal, yet men must be our teachers to understand and use 
the laws of God. We are not born with faith or knowledge ; 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 263 

we know nothing but what is taught us, except what sense or 
intuition perceiveth, or reason gathereth from thence. 

If you ask, Who must we learn of? I answer, of those that 
know, and have learned themselves. No name, or title, or re- 
lation, or habit, will enable any man to teach you that which he 
knoweth not himself. 

1 . Children must learn of their parents and tutors. 

2. People must learn of their able, faithful pastors and 
Cateehisers. 

3. All Christians must be teachers by charitable helps to one 
another. 

But teaching and law-making are two things. To teach 
another is but to show him that same scientific evidence of 
f ruth, by which the teacher knoweth it himself, that the learner 
may know it as he doth. To say, c You shall believe that is 
true which I say is true, and that this is the meaning of it/ is 
not teaching, but law-giving, and to believe such an one, is 
not to learn or know, though some human belief of our 
teachers is necessary to learners. 

IV. Take nothing as necessary to the being of Christianity and 
to salvation, which is not recorded in Scripture, and hath not 
been held necessary by all true Christians in every age and place. 

Not that we must know men first to be true Christians, that 
by them we may know what christian truth is, but the plain 
Scripture tells all men what Christianity is, and by that we know 
whom to take for Christians. But if anything be new, and 
risen since the apostles' writing of the Scripture, that can be 
no point essential to Christianity, else Christianity must be a 
mutable thing, and not the same now as it was heretofore, 
or else there were no Christians before this novelty in the 
world. The church were not the church, nor were any man 
Christian, if they wanted any essential part of faith or practice. 

But here take heed of sophist's deceit ; though nothing is 
necessary to salvation but all sound Christians have still believed, 
yet it is not necessary, or true, or good, which all good Chris- 
tians have believed or done ; much less all which the tempted 
worse part have held : for though the essence of Christianity 
has been ever and everywhere the same, yet the opinions of 
Christians, and their mistakes and faults, have been none of 
their imitable faith or practice. Human nature is essentially 
the same in Adam, and in all men, but the diseases of nature 
are another thing. If all men have sin and error, so have all 



264 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

churches ; their Christianity is of God, but the corruptions and 
maladies of Christians are not. You must hold nothing but 
what Christians of old have held as received from God's word ; 
but because they have all some faults and errors, you must not 
hold and do all those. 

V. Maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace 
with all true christians as such, and live in love in the com- 
munion of saints. 

That is, with them that live in the belief, and in holy obedi- 
ence to the christian faith and law. By their fruits you shall 
know them. The societies of malignants, who suppress true 
practical knowledge and piety, and hate the best men, and 
cherish wickedness, and bloodily persecute those that in con- 
science obey not their usurpations and inventions, are not the 
communion of saints ; wolves, thorns, and thistles, are not the 
sheep or vines of Christ. 

VI. Prefer not any odd or singular sect before the universal 
consent of the faithful in your learning or communion, so far as 
the judgment of men is to be regarded. 

Though we take not our faith from the number of believers, 
and though the most be usually none of the best, and some few 
are much wiser than the most, and in a controversy, a few men 
of such knowledge are to be believed before the multitude of 
less knowledge, yet Christ is the head of all true Christians, and 
not of an odd sect or party only ; and he hath commanded 
them all to live as brethren, in love and holy communion ; and 
in all sciences, the greater number of agreeing men are liker to 
be in the right, than some straggling persons, who show other- 
wise no more ability than they : at least, which side soever you 
like best in less necessary points, you must always be in unity 
with all true Christians, and not unnecessarily differ from them. 

VII. Never set a doubtful opinion against a certain truth or 
duty ; reduce not things certain to things uncertain ; but con- 
trarily, uncertain things to certain : for instance, it is certain that 
you ought to live in love and peace with all that are true Chris- 
tians, and to do good to all, and wrong to none ; let not any 
doubtful difference make you violate this rule, and hate, and 
slander, and backbite, and hurt them for a doubtful, indifferent, 
or unnecessary thing ; set not your mint or cummin, tythes or 
ceremonies, against love and justice, and the great and certain 
things of the law ; it is an ill sect or opinion that is against the 
nature and common duty of Christianity and humanity. 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 265 

VIII. Faithfully serve Christ as far as you have attained, and 
be true to all the truth that you know ; sin not by omission or 
practice against the knowledge which you have, lest God in 
justice give up your understanding to believe a lie. 

IX. Remember that all men on earth are ignorant, and know 
but as in a glass, and in part, and therefore the best have many 
errors ; no man knoweth the smallest grass or worm with an 
adequate perfect knowledge. And if God bear with multitudes 
of errors in us all, we must bear with such as are tolerable in 
each other ; it is well if men be humble, and teachable, and 
willing to know. As we have seen few more imperfect than 
the sects that have asserted sinless perfection, so we see few so 
fallible and erroneous as the Roman sect, which pleadeth their 
infallibility ; when they tell you that you must believe their popes 
and councils, that you may come to an end of controversy, ask 
them whether we may here hope for any end of ignorance, error, 
and sin ; if not, what hope of ending all controversies before we 
come to heaven, where ignorance is ended ? The controversies 
against the essentials of Christianity were ended with us all 
when we became true and adult Christians, and the rest will be 
lessened as we grow in knowledge. Divinity is not less mysteri- 
ous than law and physic, &c, where controversies abound. 

X. Yet stint not yourselves in knowledge, nor say ' We have 
learned enough,' but continue as Christ's scholars in learning 
more and more to the death ; the wisest know little, and may still 
increase. There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, 
and comfort, between men of clear, digested knowledge, and 
confused undigested apprehensions. 

These ten rules practised, will save you from being perplexed 
with doubts and controversies of all pretenders in religion. 

J I. But if your trouble be not about doctrinal controversies, 
but about your sins, or want of grace, and spiritual state, digest 
well these following truths and councils, and it will cure you. 

I. God's goodness is equal to his greatness; even to that 
power that ruleth heaven and earth. His attributes are 
commensurate : and goodness will do good to capable receivers. 
He loved us when we were enemies ; and he is, essentially, love 
itself. 

II. Christ hath freely taken human nature, and made satisfac- 
tion for the sins of the world, as full as answereth his ends, and 
so full that none shall perish for want of sufficiency in his sacri- 
fice and merits. 



266 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

III. Upon these merits Christ hath made a law, or covenant 
of grace, forgiving all sin, and giving freely everlasting life to all 
that will believingly accept it \ so that all men's sins are con- 
ditionally pardoned by the tenour of this covenant. 

IV. The condition of pardon and life is not that we sin no 
more, or that by any price we purchase it of God, or by our own 
works do benefit him, or buy his grace ; but only that we be- 
lieve him, and willingly accept of the mercy which he freely 
giveth us, according to the nature of the gift ; that is, that we 
accept of Christ as Christ, to justify, sanctify, rule, and save us. 

V. God hath commissioned his ministers to proclaim and 
offer this covenant and grace to all, and earnestly entreat them 
in his name to accept it, and be reconciled to him ; he hath ex- 
cepted none. 

VI. No man that hath this offer is damned, but only those 
that obstinately refuse it to the last breath. 

VJI. The day of grace is never so passed to any sinner but 
still he may have Christ and pardon if he will ; and if he have 
it not, it is because he will not. And the day of grace is so far 
from being passed, that it is savingly come to all that are so 
willing; and grace is still offered urgently to all. 

VIII. The will is the man in God's account, and what a man 
truly would be and have, he is, and shall have : consent to the 
baptismal covenant is true grace and conversion, and such have 
right to Christ and life. 

IX. The number and greatness of former sins is no exception 
against the pardon of any penitent, converted sinner : God par- 
doneth great and small to such ; where sin aboundeth, grace 
superaboundeth ? and much is forgiven, that men may be thank- 
ful, and love much. 

X. Repentance is true, though tears and passionate sorrow be 
defective, when a man had rather leave his sin than keep it, and 
sincerely, though imperfectly, endeavoureth fully to overcome 
it ; no sin shall damn a man which he more hateth than 
loveth, and had truly rather leave than keep, and showeth this 
by true endeavour. 

XI. The best man hath much evil, and the worst have some 
good ; but it is that which is preferred, and predominant in the 
will, which distiguisheth the godly and the wicked. He that in 
estimation, choice, and life, prefereth God, and heaven, and holi- 
ness, before the world, and the pleasure of sin, is a true godly 
man, and shall be saved. 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 26/ 

XII. The best have daily need of pardon, even for the faultiness 
of their holiest duties, and must daily live on Christ for pardon. 

XIII. Even sin against knowledge and conscience are too oft 
committed by regenerate men ; for they know more than others 
do, and their consciences are more active ; happy were they in- 
deed if they could be as good as they know they should be^ 
and love God as much as they know they should love him, and 
were clear from all the relicts of passion and unbelief, which 
conscience tells them are their sins. 

XIV. God will nOt take Satan's temptations to be our sins, 
but only our not resisting them. Christ himself was tempted to 
the most heinous sin, even to fall down to the devil and worship 
him ; God will charge Satan's blasphemous temptations on 
himself alone. 

XV. The thoughts, and fears, and troubles, which melancholy 
and natural weakness and distemper irresistibly cause, hath 
much more of bodily disease than of sin, and, therefore, is of 
the least of sins ; and, indeed, no more sin than to burn or be 
thirsty in a fever, further than as some sin did cause the dis- 
ease that causeth it, or further than there is left some power in 
reason to resist them. 

XVI. Certainty of our faith and sincerity is not necessary to 
salvation, but the sincerity of faith itself is necessary. He shall 
be saved that giveth up himself to Christ, though he know not 
that he is sincere in doing it. Christ knoweth his own grace, 
when they that have it know not that it is sound. It is but few 
true Christians that attain to certainty of salvation; for weak 
grace clogged with much corruption is hardly known, and 
usually joined with fear and doubting. 

XVII. Probability of sincerity and trust in Christ may cause 
a man, justly, to live and die in peace and comfort, without pro- 
per certainty, else few Christians should live and die in peace ; 
and yet we see by experience that many do so. The common 
opinion of most church-writers for four hundred years after 
Christ, was, that the uncontinued sort of Christians might fall 
from a state of grace, in which, had they continued, they had 
been saved, and, therefore, that none but strong confirmed 
Christians, at most, could be certain of salvation ; and many 
protestant churches still are of that mind, and yet they live not 
in despair or terror. No man is certain that he shall not fall as 
heinously as David and Peter did ; and yet while they have no 
cause to think it likely, they need not live in terror for the un- 



268 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

certainty. No wife or child is certain that the husband or 
father will not murder them, and yet they may live comfortably, 
and not fear it. 

XVIII. Though faith be so weak, as to assault with doubts 
whether the gospel be true, and there be any life to come ; and 
though our trust in Christ be not strong enough to banish our 
fears and troubles, yet if we see so much evidence of credibility 
in the gospel, and probability of a better life hereafter, as causeth 
us here to fix our hopes and choice, and to resolve for those 
hopes to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, 
and let go all the world rather than sell those hopes, and live a 
holy life to obtain it, this faith will save us. 

XIX. But God's love and promise through Christ is so sure 
a ground for faith and comfort, that it is the great duty and in- 
terest of all men, confidently and quietly, to trust him, and then 
to live in the joy of holy trust and hope. 

XX. If any man doubt of his salvation because of the great- 
ness of his sins, the way to quietness is presently to be willing to 
forsake them. Either he that complaineth is willing to be holy 
and forsake his sins, or not ; if you be not willing to leave them, 
but love them, and would keep them, why do you complain of 
them, and mourn for that which you so much love ? If your child 
should cry and roar because his apple is sour, and yet will not 
be persuaded to forbear to eat it, you would not pity him, but 
whip him, as perverse. But if you are truly willing to leave it, 
you are already saved from its damning guilt. 

XXI. If you are in doubt of the sincerity of your faith, and 
other graces, and all your examination leaveth you uncertain, 
the way is presently to end your doubt by actual giving up your- 
self to Christ. Do you not know whether you have been 
hitherto a true believer ? You may know that Christ is now 
offered to you ; consent but to the covenant, and accept the 
offer, and you may be sure that he is yours. 

XXI I. Bare examining is not always to be done for assur- 
ance, but labour to excite and exercise much the grace that you 
would be assured of ; the way to be sure that you believe and 
love God, is to study the promises and goodness of God, till 
active faith assure you that you believe, and you love God and 
glory, till you are assured that you love them. 

XXIII. It is not by some extraordinary act, good or bad, that 
we may be sure what state the soul is in, but by the predomi- 
nant bent, and drift, and tenour of heart and life. 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 269 

XXIV. Though we cry out that we cannot believe, and we 
cannot love God, and we cannot pray aright, Christ can help us ; 
without his grace we can do nothing; but his grace is sufficient 
for us, and he denieth not his further help when once he hath 
made us willing, but hath bid us ask and have ; and if any lack 
wisdom let him ask it of God, who giveth to all liberally, and 
upbraideth not with former folly, but gives his spirit to them 
that ask him. 

XXV. This sin, called the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, is the 
sin of no one that believeth Jesus to be the Christ, nor of any 
that fear it, no, nor of every infidel, but only of some few obsti- 
nate 3 unbelieving enemies, for it is only this : when men see 
such miracles of Christ and his Spirit as should or could con- 
vince them that he is of God, and when they have no other 
shift, they will rather maintain that he is a conjurer, and 
wrought them by the devil. 

XXVI. Though sinful fear is very troublesome, and not to be 
cherished, God often permitteth and useth it to good, to keep 
us from being bold with sin, and from those sinful pleasures 
and love of the world, and presumption, and security, which are 
far more dangerous, and to take down pride, and keep us in a 
sensible, watchful state ; for just fear is made to preserve us 
from the hurt and danger feared. 

XXVII. He that goeth fearing and trembling to heaven, will 
there quickly be past all fear, and doubts, and heaviness, for ever. 

XXVIII. When Christ for our sins was in his agony, and 
when he cried out, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ?" he was then nevertheless beloved of his father ; and he 
was tempted that he might succour them that are tempted, and 
suffered such derision that he might be a compassionate high 
priest to sufferers. 

XXIX. By how much the more the troubles, and blasphem- 
ous temptations, and doubts, and fears, of a man are grievous, 
displeasing, and hateful to him, by so much the more he may be 
assured that they shall not condemn him, because they are not 
beloved sins. 

XXX. All our troubles are over-ruled by God ; and it is far 
better for us to be at his choice and disposal than our own, or 
our dearest friend's ; and he hath promised that all things shall 
work together for our good. (Rom. viii. 28.) 

XXXI. A delight in God and goodness, and a joyful, praising 
frame of soul, from the belief of the love of God through 



270 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

Christ, is far more to be desired than grief and tears, which do 
but sweep away some dirt, that love, joy, and thankfulness may 
enter, which are the true evangelical, christian temper, and 
likest to the heavenly state. 

Digest these truths, and they will cure vou. 

III. But if melancholy have got head already, there must be, 
besides what is said, some other and proper remedies used ; and 
the difficulty is great, because the disease makes them self-con- 
ceited, unreasonable, wilful, and unruly, and they will hardly be 
persuaded that the disease is in their bodies, but only in the 
souls, and will not believe but they have reason for all what 
they think and do ; or, if they confess the contrary, they plead 
disability, and say, ' We can think and do no otherwise than 
we do.' 

But supposing that there is some use of reason left, I will 
give them yet some further counsel ; and what they cannot do, 
their friends must help them to their power, which I shall add. 

1. Consider that it should be easy for you in your confound- 
ing, troubling thoughts, to perceive that your understandings 
are not now so sound and Strang as other men's ; and there- 
fore be not wilful and self-conceited, and think not that your 
thoughts are righter than theirs, but believe wiser men, and be 
ruled by them. 

Answer me this question, Do you know any minister, or 
friend, that is wiser than yourself? If you say no, how foolishly 
proud are you ! If you say yea, then ask the minister, or friend, 
what he thinketh of your condition, and believe him, and be 
ruled by him rather than by your crazed self. 

2. Do you find that your troubles do you more good or hurt ? 
Do they make you fitter or unfitter to believe and love God, and 
rejoice in him, and praise him ? If you feel that they are 
against all that is good, you may be sure that they are so far 
from the devil's temptations, and are pleasing to him ; and will 
you cherish or plead for the work of Satan, which you find is 
against yourselves and God ? 

3. Avoid vour musings, and exercise not your thoughts now 
too deeply, nor too much. Long meditation is a duty to some, 
but not to you, no more than it is a man's duty to go to church 
that hath his leg broken, or his foot out of joint : he must rest 
and ease it till it be set again, and strengthened. You may live 
in the faith and fear of God, without setting yourself to deep, 
disturbing thoughts. 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 271 

Those that will not obey this counsel, their friends must rouse 
them from their melancholy musings, and call them off to 
something else. 

4. Therefore you must not be much alone, but always in 
some pleasing, cheerful company : solitariness doth but cherish 
musings. 

Nor must such be long in secret prayer, but more in public 
prayer with others. 

5. Let those thoughts which you have be laid out on the most 
excellent things : pore not all on yourselves, and on your dis- 
tempered heaits ; the best may find there much matter of trou- 
ble. As millstones wear themselves if they go when they have 
no corn, so do the thoughts of such as think not of better 
things than their own hearts. If you have any power of your 
own thoughts, force them to think most of these four things : 

1. The infinite goodness of God, who is fuller of love than 
the sun is of light. 

2. Of the unmeasurable love of Christ in man's redemption, 
and of the sufficiency of his sacrifice and merits. 

3. Of the free covenant and offer of grace, which giveth 
pardon and life to all that do not prefer the pleasure of sin be- 
fore it, and obstinately refuse it to the last. 

4. Of the inconceivable glory and joy which all the blessed 
have with Christ, and which God hath promised with his oath 
and seahj to all that consent to the covenant of grace, and are 
willing to be saved and ruled by Christ. These thoughts will 
cure melancholy fears. 

5. Use not yourselves to a complaining talk, but talk most of 
the great mercies of God which you have received. Dare you 
deny them ? If not, are they not more worthy of your discourse 
than your present sufferings ? Let not all men know that you 
are in your troubles : complaining doth but feed them, and it 
discourageth others. Open them to none but your secret coun- 
sellors and friends. Use much to speak of the love of God, 
and the riches of grace, and it will divert and sweeten your 
sourer thoughts. 

6. Especially, when you pray, resolve to spend most of your 
time in thanksgiving and praise to God. If you cannot do it with 
the joy that you should, yet do it as you can. You have not 
the power of your comforts ; but have you no power of your 
tongues ? Say not that you are unfit for thanks and praises, 
unless you had a praising heart, and were the children of God ; 



272 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

for every man, good and bad, is bound to praise God, and to 
be thankful for all that he hath received, and to do it, as well 
as he can, rather than leave it undone : and most Christians 
want assurance of their adoption; and must they, therefore, 
forbear all praise and thanksgiving to God ? Doing it as you 
can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirreth 
up thankfulness in the heart, but by your objection you may 
perceive what the devil driveth at, and gets by your melancholy. 
He would turn you off from all thankfulness to God, and from 
the very mention of his love and goodness in your praises. 

7. When vexatious or blasphemous thoughts are thrust into 
your mind by Satan, neither give them entertainment, nor yet 
be overmuch troubled at them ; first, use that reason and power 
that is left you resolutely to cast them out, and turn your thoughts 
to somewhat else ; do not say, ( I cannot/ If you can no other- 
wise command and turn away your thoughts, rise up and go into 
some company or to some employment which will divert you, 
and take them up. Tell me what you would do if you heard a 
scold in the street reviling you, or heard an atheist there talk 
against God, would you stand still to hear them, or would you 
talk it out again with them, or rather go from them, and disdain 
to hear them, or debate the case with such as they ? Do you, 
in your case, when Satan casts in ugly, or despairing, or mur- 
muring thoughts, go away from them to some other thoughts 
or business. 

If you cannot do this of yourself, tell your friend when the 
temptation cometh ; and it is his duty who hath the care of 
you to divert you with some other talk or works^ or force you 
into diverting company. 

Yet be not too much troubled at the temptation, for trouble 
of mind doth keep the evil matter in your memory, and so in- 
crease it, as pain of a sore draws the blood and spirits to the 
place. And this is the design of Satan, to give you troubling 
thoughts, and then to cause more by being troubled at those ; 
and so, for one thought and trouble to cause another, and that 
another, and so on, as waves in the sea do follow each other. To 
be tempted is common to the best. I told you to what idolatry 
Christ was tempted. When you feel such thoughts, thank God 
that Satan cannot force you to love them, or consent. 

8. Again, still remember what a comfortable evidence you 
carry about with you that your sin is not damning, while you 
feel that you love it not, but hate it, and are weary of it. Scarce 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 273 

any sort of sinners have so little pleasure in their sin as the me- 
lancholy, nor so little desire to keep thein ; and only beloved 
sins undo men. 

Be sure that you live not idly, but in some constant business 
of a lawful calling, so far as you have bodily strength. Idleness 
is a constant sin, and labour is a duty. Idleness is but the 
devil's home for temptation, and for unprofitable, distracting 
musings. Labour profiteth others, and ourselv es : both soul 
and body need it. Six days must you labour, and must not eat 
the bread of idleness. (Prov. xxxi.) God hath made it our 
duty, and will bless us in his appointed way. I have known 
grievous, despairing melancholy cured, and turned into a life of 
godly cheerfulness, principally by setting upon constancy and 
diligence in the business of families and callings. It turns the 
thoughts from temptation, and leaveth the devil no opportunity : 
it pleaseth God if done in obedience, and it purifieth the dis- 
tempered blood. Though thousands of poor people that live 
m want, and have wives and children that must also feel it, one 
would think should be distracted with griefs and cares, yet few 
of them fall into the disease of melancholy, because labour 
keepeth the body sound, and leaveth them no leisure for melan- 
choly musings : whereas, in London, and great towns, abun- 
dance of women that never sweat with bodily work, but live in 
idleness, especially when from fulness they fall into want, are 
miserable objects, continually vexed, and near distraction with 
discontent, and a restless mind. 

If you will not be persuaded to business, your friends, if they 
can, should force you to it. 

And if the devil turn religious as an angel of light, and 
tell you that this is but turning away vour thoughts from 
God, and that worldly thoughts and business are unholy, and 
fit for worldly men ; tell him that Adam was in innocency to 
dress and keep his garden, and Noah that had all the world, 
was to be husbandman, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob kept 
sheep and cattle, and Paul was a tent- maker, and Christ him- 
self is justly supposed to have worked at his supposed father's 
trade, as he went on fishing with his disciples. And Paul saith, 
idleness is disorderly walking, and he that will not work let him 
not eat. God made soul and body, and hath commanded work 
to both. 

And if Satan would drive you unseasonably upon longer 
secret prayer than you can bear, remember that even sickness 

VOL. XVII, T 



274 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

will excuse the sick from that sort of duty which they are 
unable for, and so will your disease ; and the unutterable groans 
of the spirit are accepted. 

If you have privacy out of hearing, I would give you this 
advice, that, instead of long meditation, or long secret prayer, 
you will sing a psalm of praise to God, such as the twenty- 
third, or the one hundred and thirty-third, &c. This will 
excite your spirit to that sort of holy affection which is much 
more acceptable to God, and suitable to the hopes of a believer, 
than your repining troubles are. 

IV. But yet I have not done with the duty of those that take 
care of distressed, melancholy persons, especially husbands to 
their wives, (for it is much more frequently the disease of women 
than of men,) when the disease disableth them to help them- 
selves, the most of their helps, under God, must be from others; 
and this is of two sorts: 1. In prudent carriage to them.; 
2. In medicine and diet; a little of both. 

1. A great part of their cure lieth in pleasing them, and 
avoiding all displeasing things, as far as lawfully can be done. 
Displeasedness is much of the disease ; and a husband that 
hath such a wife is obliged to do his best to cure her, both in 
charity, and by his relative bond, and for his own peace. It is 
a great weakness in some men, that if they have wives, who, 
by natural passionate weakness, or by melancholy, or crazed- 
ness, are wilful, and will not yield to reason, they show their 
anger at them to their further provocation : you took her in mar- 
riage for better ami for worse, Yor sickness and health., If you 
have chosen one that, as a child, must have every thing that 
she crieth for, and must be spoken fair, and as it was rocked in 
the cradle, or else it will be worse, you must condescend to do 
it, and so bear the burden which you have chosen, as may not 
make it heavier to you. Your passion and sourness towards a 
person that cannot cure her own unpleasing carriage, is a more 
inexcusable fault and folly than hers, who hath not the power of 
reason as you have. 

If you know any lawful thing that will please them in speech, 
in company, in apparel, in rooms, in attendance, give it them : 
if you know at what they are displeased, remove it. I speak 
not of the distracted, that must be mastered by force, but of 
the sad and melancholy : could you devise how to put them in 
a pleased condition you might cure them. 

2. As much as you can, divert them from the thoughts which 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 275 

arc their trouble ; keep them on some other talks and business ; 
break in upon them, and interrupt their musings; rouse them 
out of it, but with loving importunity; suffer them not to be 
long alone ; get fit company to them, or them to it ; especially, 
suffer them not to be idle, but drive or draw them to some 
pleasing works which may stir the body, and employ the thoughts. 
If they are addicted to reading, let it not be too long, nor any 
books that are unfit for them ; and rather let another read to 
them than themselves. Dr. Sibbes's books, and some useful, 
pleasing history or chronicles, or news of great matters abroad 
in the world, may do somewhat to divert them. 

3. Often set before them the great truths of the gospel which 
are fittest to comfort them 3 and read them informing, comfort" 
ing books, and live in a loving, cheerful manner with them. 

4. Choose for them a skilful, prudent minister of Christ, both 
for their secret counsel and public audience ; one that is skilled 
in such cases, and one that is peaceable, and not contentious, 
erroneous, or fond of odd opinions ; one that is rather judicious 
in his preaching and praying than passionate, except when he 
urgeth the gospel doctrines of consolation, and then the more 
fervently the better ; and one that they much esteem and reve- 
rence, and will regardfully hear. 

5. Labour to convince them frequently how great a wrong it 
is to the God of infinite love and mercy, and to a Saviour who 
hath so wonderfully expressed his love, to think hardlier of him 
than they would do of a friend, yea, or of a moderate enemy; 
and so hardly to be persuaded of that love which hath been 
manifested by the most stupendous miracle. Had they but a 
father, husband, or friend, that had ventured his life for them, 
and given them all that ever they had, were it not a shameful 
ingratitude and injury to suspect still that they intended all 
against them, and designed mischief to them, and did not love 
them ? How hath God and our Saviour deserved this : and 
many that say it is not God that they suspect, but themselves, 
do but hide their misery by this mistake, while they deny God's 
greatest mercies; and though they would fain have Christ and 
grace, will not believe that God who offereth it them will give 
it them, but think he is .one that will remedilessly damn a poor 
soul that desireth to please him, and had rather have his grace 
than all the sinful pleasures of the world. 

6. Carry them oft abroad into strange company. Usually 
they reverence strangers, and strange faces do divert them, 

t2 



276 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

especially travelling into other parts, if they can bear the mo- 
tion. 

7. It is a useful way, if you can, to engage them in comfort- 
ing others that are in deeper distresses than they \ for this will 
tell them that their case is not singular, and they will speak to 
themselves while they speak to others. One of the chief means 
which cured my fears of my soul's condition, about forty-eight 
years ago, was oft comforting others that had the same doubts, 
whose lives persuaded me of their sincerity. 

And it would be a pretty diversion to send to them some 
person that is in some error, which they are most against, to 
dispute it with them, that, while they whet their wits to con- 
vince them, and confute them, it may turn their thoughts from 
their own distress. Forester tells us that ajnelancholy patient 
of his, who was a papist, was cured when the Reformation came 
-into the country, by eager and oft disputing against it. A bet- 
ter cause may better do it. 

8. If other means will not do, neglect not physic, and though 
they will be averse to it, as believing that the disease is only 
in the mind, they must be persuaded or forced to it. I have 
known the lady deep in melancholy, who a long time would 
neither speak, nor take physic, nor endure her husband to go 
out of the room, and with the restraint and grief he died, and 
she was cured by physic put down her throat with a pipe, by 
force. 

If it were, as some of them fancy, a possession of the devil, 
it is possible physic might cast him out, for if you cure the me- 
lancholy, his bed is taken awav, and the advantage gone by 
which he worketh. Cure the choler, and the choleric opera- 
tions of the devil cease. It is bv means and humours in us 
that he worketh. 

But choose a physician who is specially skilled in this disease, 
and hath cured many others. Meddle not with women, and 
ignorant boasters, nor with young, inexperienced men, nor with 
hasty, busy, over-doing, venturous men, who cannot have time 
to study the patient's temper and disease, but choose experienc- 
ed, cautelous men. 

Medicinal remedies and theological used not to be given to- 
gether by the same hand ; but in this case of perfect complica- 
tion of the maladies of mind and body, I think it not unfit, if 
I do it not unskilfully. My advice is, that they that can have 
an ancient, skilful, experienced, honest, careful, cautelous phy- 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 277 

sician, neglect not to use him, nor meddle with any of the 
medicines which I hereafter mention, nor with any other receipts 
whatever, but by their physician's advice ; for there is so great 
diversity of bodily temperatures, age, and many accidents, and 
of the roots and causes of the same symptoms, as that the same 
medicine may cure one and hurt another, and may cure the 
same man at one time, which at another time it may hurt. 
Skill in managing of it doth much of the cure, and not the me- 
dicine without it. 

But yet because there are multitudes of persons so very poor 
that they cannot give a shilling to a physician, and the dearness 
of physicians and apothecaries so discourageth them who have 
not money, that they do not seek to any for helps, but some 
women, who tell them of their receipts. And as there are manv 
in the country that are quite out of the reach of a skilful 
physician, and because there are now so great a number of em- 
pirics, and young inexperienced physicians, that will rashly 
venture before they thoroughly understand the body or the 
disease \ and because overdoing, and venturing rashly, kills so 
many ; for these reasons, I will add a few safe and cheap me- 
dicines, which the poor may make themselves, and which will 
not cause much loathing to their stomachs ; though 1 venture 
on the censure of some physicians. I am none myself, but I 
see many score, much younger than I, venture much further, 
when they have got a license, to the great cost of the purses 
and bodies of their patients. 

The disease called melancholy is formally in the spirits, 
whose distemper unfits them for their office, in serving the ima- 
gination, understanding, memory, and affections ; so, by their 
distemper, the thinking faculty is diseased, and becomes like 
an inflamed eye, or a foot that is sprained or out of joint, dis- 
abled for its proper work. 

The matter which is the root and foundation is usually a 
depravation of the mass of blood, which is the vehicle of the 
spirits, and that is usually accompanied with some diseases of 
the stomach, spleen, liver, or other parts, which are for the due 
concoction, motion, and purification of the blood, which dis- 
eases are so various, that they are seldom the same in many 
persons, and hardly known to the wisest physicians. The spleen 
is most commonly accused, and often guilty, and the stomach, 
pancreas, mesentery, omentum, liver, yea, and reins, not rarely 
are the root, sometimes by obstructing humours, and that of 



2/8 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

several qualities, and sometimes by stones, and sometimes by 
various sorts of humours, and sometimes by vesicles, but ob- 
structed, if not tumified spleens, are most suspected. 

Such a black, distinct humour called melancholy, which hath 
of old been accused, is rarely, if ever, found in any, unless you 
will call either blood, or excrementitious humours by that 
name, which are grown black by mortification, for want of mo- 
tion and spirits. But the blood itself may be called melancholy 
blood when it hath contracted that distemper and pravity by 
feculencjr, sluggishness, or adustion, which disposeth it to the 
melancholy effects. 

But sometimes persons that are sound, are suddenly cast into 
melancholy by a fright, or by the death of a friend, or by some 
great loss or cross, or some sad tidings, even in an hour, which 
shows that it cometh not always from any humour called me- 
lancholy, nor for any foregoing disease at all. 

But the very act of the mind doth suddenly disorder the 
passions, and perturb the spirits, and the disturbed spirits, in 
time, vitiate the blood which containeth them, and the vitiated 
blood doth, in time, vitiate the viscera and parts which it 
passeth through, and so the disease beginning in the senses 
and soul, doth draw first the spirits, and then the humours, and 
then the parts into the fellowship, and soul and body are sick 
together. 

And it is of great use to the physician to know where the 
depravation did begin, whether in the mind or in the body, and 
if in the body, whether in the blood, or in the viscera, for the 
cure must be fitted accordingly. 

And yet the melancholy brains may be eased, and the mental 
depravation much kept under, though an obstructed, yea, a 
scarified spleen, continue uncured many years. 

And though the disease begin in the mind and spirits, and 
the body be yet sound, yet physic, even purging, often cureth 
it, though the patient say that physic cannot cure souls, for 
the soul and body are wonderfully co-partners in their diseases 
and cure, and if we know not how it doth it, yet when ex- 
perience telleth us that it doth it, we have reason to use such 
means. 

I. Right usage and diet are a great part of the cure. Of the 
first, I spake before. The patient must be pleased, delighted, 
dealt with as capable, kept from solitude and from musing, and 
from sad and troubling words and things, and their objections 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 2/0 

wisely answered, and their judgments in religion kept from 
troubling mistakes, by right information ■; especially they must 
be kept in diverting business, and if it could be hard labour, 
even to good transpiration and sweat, to actuate, contemporate, 
and purify the blood, and excite the igneous spirits, (which 
are the instruments of the motion and purification of the blood, 
and of life itself,) it would greatly help the cure ; especially such 
exercises twice a day, before dinner and supper, an hour or two 
together, dissipate and concoct indigested matter, excite natural 
heat, and expel excrements. As to diet, it must, as physic, 
be fitted- to the case of the body. 

This disease is sometimes in dry bodies, and sometimes in 
those that are moist and fat. It is sometimes in overheated 
blood, and sometimes in that which is too cold and sluggish, 
and these must have quite different cures. You may thus 
perceive the differences in the main : one sort of melancholy 
persons are only sad, misgiving, fearful of troubled thoughts, 
despairing, as undone, and solitary musing, and cannot be sa- 
tisfied and comforted, much silent, and dull to action, and will 
hardly stir, rather too cold than hot, troubled with wind and 
ill digestion. 

But there is another sort that have overheated blood that 
are fierce, talkative, bold, boasting, laughing, that have seeming- 
visions and raptures, unruly confident, and these must have 
another manner of remedy, and are almost mad already. And 
those that have dry lean bodies, must have a moister diet and 
medicine than the cold, moist, and fat. 

I. For the most part, all of them that are merely melancholy, 
and not overheated near to madness, should eat but sparingly, so 
as may not spoil digestion ; (though some of them have a greedy 
appetite ;) they should forbear cheese and beef, and swine's 
flesh and raw fruits, and for other things not to be too curious 
in the quality. 

But those that have hot and dry bodies, should avoid fasting, 
and eat as much as they can well digest, but not more, and 
should eat boiled borage and lettuce, and stewed prunes, stewed 
or roasted apples, half an hour before mc at, and raw apples, 
if experience of windiness or rheum forbid it not. 

II. And for physic, though the overheated, talkative, con- 
fident sort be near to bedlam, I shall briefly offer a little for a 
preventive, if there be hope. 

1. Be sure that they taste no brandy or hot waters, unless 



280 WHAT AltE THE WEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

you would have them presently stark mad ; no, nor any hot 
wines, strong liquors, or aromatic things, such as ginger, pepper, 
cloves, or any of the like; nor mustard, horse radish, garlic, 
onions, or any biting thing. 2. Let them purge much with 
senna in whey. Take three gallons of clarified whey, put in 
it two handfuls of halm, and as much fumitory, (if the time of 
year serve,) and as much borage, boil it to two gallons, and 
put it into a steam pot of earth, that hath a spigot at the 
bottom, (or a small barrel,) and put into it, in a thin canvass bag, 
two ounces of senna, an ounce of epithyme, an ounce of bruised 
aniseed, and an handful of ground ivy, (called alehoof,) bruised, 
and two gads of steel to sink it ; when it hath stood two days, 
or less, drink a pint every morning in bed, and lie an hour 
after it, and if it give not three stools, drink near a pint more 
at five o'clock, continue this three weeks, at least, every day, 
having another vessel ready when the first is done. 

Or else boil all the same herbs in three pints of whey, to half 
the quantity, strain it, and put in it three drams of senna, and 
a dram of bruised aniseed ; let it stand cold an hour and 
a half, and after warm it on gentle embers one hour, drink it 
the next morning, and so on for three weeks. 

3. Boil six sliced pippins or pearmains, in three pints of 
whey to a quart, strain it, and drink a pint every morning in 
bed, and, if ycu can, sleep an hour after it, and the other pint 
at night, instead of either breakfast or supper. Do this many 
weeks when you take not the purging whey. And if vou drink 
the like instead of beer, at dinner, to a hot dry body, it is best. 

4. But it is the ordinary colder, sad, despairing melancholy 
that I intend in these prescripts, and for such use the following 
means : 

I. if it be in the heat of summer, and thev be not very cold, 
the aforesaid purging whey is good for them, but otherwise, 
instead of it, use this following diet drink, which- is not very 
loathsome to the stomach : 

1 . Take pretty strong wort, and boil it in five gallons till 
it comes to three ; of the leaves of balm, borage, agrimony, sca- 
bious, and wild marjoram, (or pot marjoram, where the other 
cannot be got,) each two small handfuls ; of the roots of dan- 
delion and polipody,^each two ounces ; use as you do other beer, 
and when you turn [tun] it up, (casting out the herbs and roots 
before you put barm to it,) put in it this following bag to 
three gallons : 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 281 

2. Take of senna three ounces and a half; of wild marjoram 
and sweet marjoram, each a small handful ; of liquorice scraped 
and aniseed bruised, each an ounce ; of chalk pund, a pound, 
and three gads of steel ; put all in a thin canvass bag, and so 
hang it by a thread, that the bottom only may touch the 
bottom of the vessel ; when it hath stood two days, drink a pint 
every morning till it is done. A full body that can bear more 
purging, may take another draught at five o'clock, and one that 
suspecteth a bilious liver and gall, may put but three ounces of 
senna and one of rhubarb. 

3. One that loveth the taste, of wormwood, to overcome the 
senna taste, and is in haste, may take this following instead of 
the former : 

Take of good beer, ready to drink, three gallons, put it into 
a wooden or earthen vessel, as aforesaid, and hang in it a bag 
that hath of wormwood, agrimony, and wild marjoram each two 
handfuls ; of centaury, one handful ; of senna, three ounces ; 
of liquorice and aniseed, of each an ounce ; of steel, three 
gads. At two days 5 end, drink it as before. If it be a weak 
thin body, he may take it with intermission, as he is able, and 
forbear every third and fourth day. 

4. These diet drinks are not all so effectual as this that fol- 
loweth, but easier to most stomachs ; but the deeper melancholy 
persons had better take the next. 

Take of senna, an ounce ; of liquorice scraped, two scruples ; 
of cinnamon bruised, one scruple ; put all in forty-four spoonfuls 
of water, let it stand in a pot stopped, one hour and a half 
cold, and another hour and a half warm on the embers, but 
not boiling, strain it, and let it stand still in a pot, well stopped, 
two hours. Take of this twelve or fourteen spoonfuls ; of sirop 
of vinegar an ounce ; of cremor tartary powder, a drachm ; dis - 
solve it on the embers, and drink it warm in bed, and lie an hour 
after, but do not sleep or sweat ; at four hours' end, drink a 
draught of broth, made of veal, or cock, till it will jelly, which 
had boiled ill it some epithyme, polypody, balm, and a little 
rosemary, with a little nutmeg. 

Take this portion in this manner three next days together ; 
every week for a body that can bear it; in ordinary melancholy 
for seven weeks together; in old, obstinate melancholy for twelve 
or fourteen weeks ; but if it be a body not full and strong enough 
to bear three days, take it the two next days every week : it 






282 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

gripeth more than the ordinary ways of using senna, but that 
need not be feared, for it never brings the bloody-flux, nor 
useth to weaken; and the griping doth good, by drawing 
down the troubling matter from the head, into the common 
passages. 

5. If it be a thin tender body, aged or weak, that hath sharp 
humours, and can bear none of the aforesaid effectual purges, 
such a one may, either in chicken broth, or in barley water, or 
rather in whey, or posset drink, boiled strong with pippins, in- 
fuse all night (or rather three hours) some senna, in a cloth, 
and drink it in the morning as often as he can bear it, that is, two 
drams for very weak persons, or three ordinarily, in near a 
pint of the liquor, putting a little cinnamon into it. 

6. If the aforesaid remedies do but begin the cure, use this 
next to perfect it ; or this alone for tender and cold stomachs 
that cannot bear the other, which may yet much better go before 
this, and this come last. 

Take, for a hot body, white wine, for a cold body sherry, 
two quarts; put it into a great bottle, and put to it, of senna 
one ounce ; of cinnamon bruised two drams ; of saffron one 
dram ; of cremor tartary powdered, half an ounce, if it be 
sherry, or two drachms if it be white wine. Let it stand, close 
stopped, three days, (shaking it oft,) then put it out into 
several bottles (to keep the better) ; take of this three spoon- 
fuls fasting, every day ; two may serve when it is for prevention 
in a weak body, or four when you would purge more. If 
the taste seem the worse for the tartar to any, you may leave 
it out, and put instead of it half an ounce of epithyme, and 
take a dram of cremor tartary dissolved in a draught of good 
broth, an hour or more after it. 

This medicine is not loathsome or nauseous to the stomach, 
and is magnified by former and later physicians, of the greatest 
experience and success in this disease : but all such things 
must be patiently long continued, and no violent medicines 
used. 

7. Chalybeate medicines, also, are usually profitable in this 
disease ; but, because country people cannot themselves make 
them, I am loath to insert them ; one I will prescribe for them 
who have an apothecary to make it. 

i Take of unprepared filings of steel six ounces, make it red hot 
in an iron ladle, and quench it in five or six ounces of white 



MELANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 283 

wine ; do this thrice, then put to the wine, of wormwood water, 
and of scurvy-grass water, each a pint ; of aqua mirabilis, two 
ounces (or, instead of them all, a quart of compound radish- 
water) ; of sugar, six ounces; of senna, an, ounce and half; of 
cremor tartary, three drams ; of saffron, a dram ; of cinnamon, a 
dram; let it stand in a warm place three days (oft shaking .it). 
Take two ounces, (four or five spoonfuls,) fasting, many weeks 
together, and walk or labour after it. 

Or, after sufficient purging, fresh succory roots, made into a 
conserve, and taken with a little prepared steel, for poor people 
that have obstructions, may do well ; half an ounce of conserve 
with half a scruple of steel. 

8. If they be costive, so as to affect the head, the more ; else 
let them do as followeth. 

1. Fast not, especially in the mornings, but take some light 
breakfast, and eat the less at dinner, either half a dish of 
panado, with four or five spoonfuls of white wine in it, (when 
they eat it,) or gruel, or broth made of veal or chicken, or an 
old cock, with a sheep's head, boiled till it will jelly, and a little 
white wine put in at the eating, and the same at supper, unless 
the stomach be clogged with crudities, and then forbear supper 
or dinner. 

2. Some find a little saffron in broth cure costiveness, and it 
is one of the truest cordials known in the world. 

3. With some, a dram of cremor tartary in broth, will do 
it, in the morning. 

4. Sit not down nor walk as soon as you rise in the morning, 
but stand still upright a quarter of an hour when you are 
dressed, and as long after dinner ; it helpeth the excrements to 
descend. And if you feel the least possibility, go to stool, and 
make not too much haste away. 

5. If you have no rheum or cold windiness of stomach, eat 
sometimes ten or twelve stewed prunes, and sometimes four or 
five roasted pippins, before dinner. 

(). Take Chio turpentine of Venice, (or Venice turpentine if 
that cannot be had,) wash it well, and make it into hard pills 
with powder of epithyme, as much as you can get it to take up. 
Let the pills be small, and take a dram, or more or less, as vou 
are able to get them down at a swallow, covered in a spoonful 
of sirop of apples, or of balm, or of mallows, a little before a 
late supper, to work the next morning ; or turpentine with 



284 WHAT ARE THE BEST PRESERVATIVES AGAINST 

liquorice powder, of itself, in an egg, or any way got down, may 
serve. 

7. If more be needful, make the same turpentine into pills 
with rhubarb, powdered, or senna, powdered, or both to- 
gether, and take it before supper. It goeth down easily in a 
spoonful of any pleasant sirop. But use no more clysters, 
nor purging things, when once the melancholy is over- 
come, than you needs must, for it diseaseth nature as to its 
proper office. 

8. Their drink is of great moment, that unless in cold bodies, 
they take no strong wines nor claret, but either ale or good beer, 
with a little white wine, or posset drinks made with but little 
milk, and some strong ale and white wine, or posset made drink 
with cider, ale, and a little white wine. 

Or take a quart of the juice of balm, with a little ground 
ivy, and put it into a vessel of good ale or beer, of about three 
or four gallons, and drink this at meat. Or, sometimes, some 
wormwood 'ale, but not long. 

But cold, dull bodies may drink good strong beer or ale, that 
is not hard, and fat, cold persons may endure sack. 

The devil hath another cure for the sad and melancholy than 
such as I have here prescribed, which is to cast away all belief 
of the immortality of the soul, and the life to come, or at 
least not to think of it ; and for to take religion to" be a 
superstitious, needless fancy ; and for to laugh at the threaten- 
ings of the Scripture, and to go to play-houses, and cards, 
and dice, and to drink and play away melancholy ; honest re- 
creations are very good for melancholy persons, if we could get 
them to use them ; but, alas ! this satanical cure is but like 
the witches' bargain with the devil, who promiseth them much, 
but payeth them with shame and utter misery. The end of 
that mirth is incurable sorrow, if timely repentance cure not 
the cause. The garrison of Satan in the hearts of sinners, is 
strongly kept when they are in peace, but when they have fooled 
away time, and mercy, and hope, die they must, there is no 
remedy ; and to go merrily and unbelievingly to hell, after all 
God's calls and warnings, will be no abatement of their torment; 
to go out of the world in the guilt of sin, and to end life before 
they would know the use of it, and to undergo God's justice 
for the mad contempt of Christ and grace, will put a sad end 
to all their mirth, for i( there is no peace to the wicked, saith 



MEI ANCHOLY AND OVERMUCH SORROW. 285 

my God." (Isa. xlviii. 22, and lvii. 21.) But Christ saith to 
his mourners, (Matt. v. 4,) " Blessed are you that mourn, for 
you shall be comforted ;" and, (John, xvi. 20,) " Ye shall weep 
and lament, but the world shall rejoice ; and ye shall be sorrow- 
ful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." And Solomon 
knew that the house of mourning was better than the house of 
feasting; and that the heart of the wise is in the house of 
mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth, 
(Eccles. vii. 2, 3, 4,) but holy joy of faith and hope is best 
of all. 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY: 



OR, 



THE PUBLIC GOOD 



IS 



THE CHRISTIANS LIFE. 



DIRECTIONS AND MOTIVES TO IT. 



INTENDED FOR AN AUDITORY OF LONDON CITIZENS; 



PUBLISHED FOR THEM FOR WANT OF LEAVE TO PREACH THEM. 



" Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and 
purify to himself a people zealous of good works." — Titus ii. 14. 



TO THE 



TRULY CHRISTIAN MERCHANTS, 



AND OTHER 



CITIZENS OF LONDON. 



As my disease, and the restraint of rulers, seem to tell me 
that my pulpit-work is at an end, so also my abode among you, 
or in this world, cannot be long. What work I have lived for I 
have given the world more durable notice than transient words ; it 
hath been such as men in power were against, and it seems, will 
no longer endure. What doctrine it was that I last prepared 
for you, I thought meet to desire the press thus to tell you ; 
not to vindicate myself, nor to characterise them who think that 
it deserves six months' imprisonment, but to be in your hands 
a provocation and direction for that great work of a christian 
life, sincerely done, will prepare you for that safety, joy, and 
glory, which London, England, or earth, will not afford, 
and which men or devils cannot take from you. When through 
the meritorious righteousness of Christ, your holy love and 
good works to him in his brethren shall make you the joyful 
objects of that sentence, " Come ye blessed, inherit the king- 
dom," &c. ; this is the life that need not be repented of, as spent 
in vain. 

Dear friends, in this farewell I return you my most hearty 
thanks for your extraordinary love and kindness to myself, 
much more for your love to Christ, and to his servants, who 
have more needed your relief. God is not unjust to forget your 
work and labour of love. You have visited those that others 
imprisoned, and fed those that others brought into want; 

vol. xvi r. u 



290 TO THE CITIZENS OF LONDON. 

and when some ceased not to preach for our affliction, it 
quenched not your impartial charity. It has been an unspeak- 
able mercy unto me almost all my days, (when I received 
nothing from them,) to have known so great a number as I 
have done, of serious, humble, holy, charitable Christians, in 
whom I saw that Christ hath an elect, peculiar people, quite 
different from the brutish, proud, hypocritical, malignant, un- 
believing world ! O how sweet hath the familiarity of such 
been to me, whom the ignorant world hath hated ! Most of 
them are gone to Christ, 1 am following : we leave you here to 
longer trial : it is like you have a bitter cup to drink, but be 
faithful to the death, and Christ will give you the crown of 
life. The word of God is not bound, and the Jerusalem above 
is free, where is the general assembly of the first-born, an in- 
numerable company of angels, the spirits of the just made per- 
fect, with Christ their glorified head. The Lord guide, bless, 
and preserve you. 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY ; 

OR, THE 

PUBLIC GOOD IS THE CHRISTIANS LIFE. 



GAL. vi. 10. 

As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good to all men, 
especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

Good is an epithet of the highest signification of any in human 
language. Some think the name of God is thence derived. 
Greatness and wisdom are equally his attributes, but goodness 
is the completion, and sweetest to the creature. Christ ap- 
propriated it to God to be good, that is, essentially, primarily, 
and perfectly, and universally communicative ; when it is said 
that God is love, the sense is the same, that he is the infinite, 
essential, and efficiently and finally amiable, perfect good. 

But though no one of his attributes in propriety and perfec- 
tion are communicable, (else he that hath one part of the Deity 
must have all,) yet he imprinteth his similitude and image on 
his works ; and the impress of his love and goodness is the 
chief part of his image on his saints ; this is their very holiness ; 
for this is the chief part of their likeness to God, and dedication 
to him ; when the Spirit of sanctification is described in Scrip- 
ture, as given upon believing, it signifieth, that our faithful per- 
ception of the redeeming, saving love of God in Christ, is that 
means which the Spirit of Christ will bless, to the operating of 
the habit of holy love to God and man, which becomes a new 
and divine nature to the soul, and is sanctification itself, and the 
true principle of a holy, evangelical conversation. And as 
it is said of God, that he is good, and doth good, so every thing 
is inclined to work as it is 5 Christ tells us the good tree will 
bring forth good fruits, &c. ; and we are God's workmanship 
created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath ordained, 
that we should walk in them. (Eph. ii. 10.) 

Yet man doth not good as the sun shineth, by a full bent of 

u2 



292 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

natural necessitation, else the world would not be as it is ; but 
as a free, undetermined agent, which hath need to be com- 
manded by a law, and stirred up by manifold motives and ex- 
hortations ; such as the Holy Ghost here useth in the text. 

Where, 1. Doing good is the substance of the duty. 2. Men 
are the objects. 3. To all men is the extent. 4. Especially to 
them of the household of faith is the direction for precedency. 
5. And while we have opportunity is the season, including a 
motive to make haste. So large and excellent a theme would 
require more than my allotted time to handle it fully, therefore, 
I shall now confine myself to the duty extended, " Do good to 
all men." 

Doct. To do good to all men is all men's duty, to which 
every Christian especially must apply himself. 

All men should do it : true Christians can do it, through 
grace, and must do it, and will do it. A good man is a common 
good ; Christ's Spirit in them is not a dead or idle principle. It 
makes them in their several measures the salt of the earth, and 
the lights of the world ; they are fruitful branches of the true 
vine. Every grace tendeth to well-doing, and to the good of 
the whole body, for which each single member is made. Even 
hypocrites, as wooden legs, are serviceable to the body, but every 
living member much more, except some diseased ones, who may 
be more troublesome and dangerous than the wooden leg. It is 
a sign he is a branch cut off and withered who careth little for 
any but himself. The malignant diabolist hateth the true and 
spiritual good ; the ignorant know not good from evil • the er- 
roneous take evil for good, and falsehood for truth ; the sloth- 
ful hypocrite wisheth much good, but doth but little ; the formal, 
ceremonious hypocrite extols the name and image of goodness; 
the worldly hypocrite will do good if he can do it cheaply, 
without any loss or suffering to his flesh; the libertine hypocrite 
pleadeth Christ's merits against the necessity of doing good, 
and looketh to be saved because Christ is good, though he be 
barren and ungodly ; and some ignorant teachers have taught 
them to say, when they can find no true faith, repentance, holi- 
ness, or obedience in themselves, that it is enough to believe 
that Christ believed and repented for them, and was holy and 
obedient for them. He was, indeed, holy and obedient for 
penitent believers; not to make holiness and obedience unneces- 
sary to them, but to make them sincerely holy and obedient to 
himself, and to excuse them from the necessity of that perfect 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 293 

holiness and obedience here, which is necessary to those that 
will be justified by the law of works or innocency. Thus all 
sorts of bad men have their oppositions to doing good ; but to 
the sincere Christian it is made as natural; his heart is set upon 
it ; he is created, and redeemed, and sanctified for it, as the tree 
is made for fruit. He studieth it as the chief trade and business 
that he liveth for ; he waketh for it ; yea, he sleepeth, and eat- 
eth, and drinketh for it ; even to enable his body to serve his 
soul, in serving that Lord whose redeemed, peculiar people are 
all zealous of good works. (Tit. ii. 14.) The measure of this zeal 
of doing good is the utmost of their power, with all their talents 
in desire and sincere endeavour ; the extent of the object is to all, 
(though not to all alike,) that is to as many as they can. 

But for order's sake we must here consider : 

I. Who this all meaneth, and in what order. 

IT. What is good ; and what is that good which we must do. 

III. What qualifications he must have that will do good to 
many. 

IV. What rules he must observe in doing it. 

V. What works are they that must be done by him that 
would do good to many. 

VI. What motives should quicken us to the practice. 

VII. Some useful consectaries of the point. 

1. It is God's prerogative to do good to all ; man's ability 
will not reach it. But our all is, as many as we can do good to. 
1. To men of all sorts, high and low, rich and poor, old and 
young, kindred, neighbours, strangers, friends, enemies, good 
and bad ; none excepted that are within our power. 

2. Not to a few only, but to as many persons of all sorts as 
we can ; as he that hath true grace would still have more for 
himself; so he that doth good would fain do more good; and 
he that doth good to some would fain do good to many more. 
All good is progressive, and tendeth towards increase and per- 
fection ; why are the faithful said to love and long for the day 
of Christ's appearing, but because it is the great marriage day 
of the Lamb, when all the elect shall be perfected in our heavenly 
society ? And that makes it a much more desirable day than 
that of our particular glorification at death. The perfection of 
the whole body addeth to the perfection of every part, for it is 
a state of felicity in perfect love ; and love maketh every man's 
good whom we love to be as sweet to us as our own, yea, mak- 
eth it our own; and then the perfection and glory of everv saint 



294 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

will be our delight and glory ; and to see each single one's 
love united in one perfect joy and glory, will add to each per- 
son's joy and glory. And can you wonder if our little sparks of 
grace do tend towards the same diffused multiplication ; and if 
every member long for the completing of the body of Christ ? 
O how much will this add to every faithful Christian's joy ! It 
will not be then a little flock ; not despised for singularity, nor 
hid in the crowd of impious sinners, nor dishonoured by infirmi- 
ties, or paltry quarrels among ourselves, nor with the mixture of 
hypocrites ; it will not be over-voted, or trod down, and perse- 
cuted by the power or number of the ignorant enemies. O 
Christians ! go on in doing good to all men with cheerfulness, 
for it all tendeth to make up the body of Christ, and to prepare 
for that glorious state and day ; every soul you convert, every 
brick that you lay in the building, tendeth to make up the house 
and city of God. 

But as all motion and action is first upon the nearest object, 
so must ours ; and doing good must be in order : first we must 
begin at home with our own souls and lives ; and then to our 
nearest relations, and friends, and acquaintance, and neighbours ; 
and then to our societies, church, and kingdom, and all the 
world. But mark that the order of execution, and the order of 
estimation and intention, differ. Though God set up lights so 
small as will serve but for one room, and though we must begin 
at home, we must far more esteem and desire the good of multi- 
tudes, of city, and church, and commonwealth ; and must set 
no bounds to our endeavours, but what God and disability set. 

II. But what is that good that we must do ? Good is an at- 
tribute of being, and is its perfection, or well-being : God's 
goodness is perfection itself; and as he is the fountain of being, 
so also of goodness ; and, therefore, his goodness is called love, 
whose highest act is his essential self-love, which is infinitely 
above his love to the world ; but yet it is communicative love, 
which made all things good, and rested in seeing them all good. 
And as he is the fountain, so the same will or love is the measur- 
ing rule, and the end of all derived good. The prime notion of 
the creature's goodness is its conformity to the will of God ; but 
the second is its own perfection as its own, which, indeed, is but 
the same conformity. 

Therefore, the true good which we must do men, is to make 
them conformable to the regulating will of God, that they may 
be happy in the pleased will of God ; and to help them to all 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 295 

means for soul and body necessary hereunto ; and this for as 
many as possibly we can. 

III. The rules for judging and doing good are these. 1. That 
is the greatest good which is God's greatest interest ; - and his 
interest is his glory, and the complaisance of his fulfilled will. 

2. Therefore, the good of the world, the church, of nations, 
of multitudes, is greater than the good of few. 

3. The good of the soul is greater than of the body. 

4. The avoiding the greatest evil is better than avoiding less. 

5. Everlasting good is better than short. 

6. Universal good which leaveth no evil, is better than a par- 
ticular good. 

7. That is the best good, as to means, which most conduceth 
to the end. 

8. There is no earthly good that is not mixed with some evil, 
nor any commodity that hath not some inconvenience, or dis- 
commoditv. 

9. No sin must be done for any good. 

10. Some things may be done for good which would be sin, 
were it not for the good which they are done for. It would be 
sin to give a robber your money, were it not to save your life, or 
some other commodity ; it would be sin to do some things on 
the Lord's day, which necessity, or a greater good, may make a 
duty : your own defence may make it a duty to strike another, 
which else would be a sin. 

11. In such cases there is need of great prudence and impar- 
tiality to know whether the good or the evil do preponderate ; 
and a great part of the actions of our lives must be managed by 
that prudence, or else they will be sinful. 

12. Therefore it is no small part of a minister's duty to 
counsel men, as a wise, skilful, and faithful casuist. 

IV. To do good to many requireth many excellent qualifica- 
tions ; this is so far from being every one's performance, that 
we should be glad if a great part of mankind did not do more 
hurt than good. 

1. He that will do his country good, must know what is 
good, and what is bad ; a fool's love is hurtful ; he knoweth 
not how to use it ; he will love you to death, as an unskilful 
physician doth his most beloved patient ; or love you into cala- 
mity, as amorous fondlings often do each other. This is the great 
enemy of human peace, men know not good from evil ; like 
him that killed his son, thinking he had been a thief ; or like 



296 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

routed soldiers, that run by mistake into the army of the enemy. 
Malignity and error make mad and doleful work in the world, 
and worst in those that should be wisest, and the greatest instru- 
ments of public good ; the Scripture mistaketh not, which tells 
us of enemies, and haters of God ; and most of the world are 
professed adversaries to Christ ; the Jews crucified him as an 
enemy to Caesar, and to the safety of their law and country ; 
and if we may judge by their enmity to holiness, the Spirit of 
Christ is taken for an intolerable enemy by no small part of 
nominal Christians ; the laws of Christ are judged too strict; 
the hypocrites that bow to him, and hate his laws, do call them 
hypocrites that are but serious in the practice of Christianity, 
and hate them that have any more religion than compliments, 
ceremony, and set words ; the image of a Christian and a minis- 
ter is set up in militant opposition to them that are Christians 
and ministers indeed ; if men that are called to the sacred office 
would save souls in good earnest, and pull them out of the fire, 
and go any further than pomp and stage-work, they pass for the 
most insufferable men in the world : Elias is taken for the 
troubler of Israel, and Paul for a pestilent, seditious fellow, and 
the apostles as the off- scouring of all things. Many a martyr 
hath died by fire, for seeking to save men from the fire of hell ; 
and when the bedlam world is at this pass, what good is to be 
expected from such men ? When men, called Christians, hate and 
oppose the God, the Christ, the Holy Ghost, to whom they were 
vowed in baptism ; when drunkenness, and whoredom, and per- 
jury, and lying, and all debauchery, is taken to be more friendly 
and tolerable than the most serious worship of God, and obedi- 
ence to his laws, and avoiding sin ; in a word, when the greatest 
good is taken for unsufferable evil, you may know what good to 
expect from such. 

They will all tell you that we must love God above all, and 
our neighbous as ourselves ; but to fight against his word, and 
worship, and servants, is but an ill expression of their love to 
God 5 and seeking their destruction, because they will not sin, 
is an ill expression of love to their neighbours. When men 
judge of good and evil, as Satan teacheth them, and as selfish 
pride and worldly interest incline them, what wonder if such 
love have murdered thirty thousand, or forty thousand, at once, 
in France, and two hundred thousand in Ireland, and have 
filled the christian world with religious blood ? Read but the 
doleful histories of church contentions for one thousand three 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 297 

hundred years, the stories of their wars and mutual persecutions, 
the streams of blood that have been shed in east and west, the 
inquisition, and bloody laws still kept up, and all this as good 
works, and done in love, and you would think that the sacred 
Roman hierarchy did believe that Christ hath put down the legal 
sacrificing of beasts, that he might, instead of it, have the blood 
of men \ and that he who requireth his disciples to lay down 
their lives for him, would have a priesthood kept up to sacri- 
fice their lives to him, that will not wilfully break his laws. 
And all this is but as Christ foretold us, that his servants should 
be killed as a piece of service to God. No wonder if such men 
offer God a ludicrous, mimical sort of service, and worship him 
in vain, by heartless lip-labour, according to the traditions of 
men, when they dare sacrifice saints to the Lord of saints, and 
quiet their consciences by calling them such as they are them- 
selves. But to the honour of goodness, and shame of sin, to 
show that they sin against the light of nature itself, they put 
the name of evil upon good before they dare openly oppose and 
persecute it ; and they put the names of good upon evil before 
they dare defend and justify it. 

But, alas ! it is not only the ungodly that do mischief, think- 
ing verily that it is good. How many doth the church suffer by, 
while they prosecute their mistakes, who yet do much good in 
promoting the common truth which Christians are agreed in ? 

2. He that will do good to all or many, must have an un- 
feigned love to them. Hatred is mischievous, and neglect is 
unprofitable. Love is the natural fountain of beneficence. 
Love earnestly longeth to do good, and delighteth in doing it : 
it maketh many to be as one, and to be as ready to help others 
as each member of the body is to help the rest. Love maketh 
another's wants, sufferings, and sorrows, to be our own : and 
who is not willing to help himself? Love is a principle 
ready, active, ingenuous, and constant : it studieth to do good, 
and would still do more : it is patient with the infirmities of 
others, which men void of love do aggravate into odiousness, 
and make them their excuse for all their neglects, and their 
pretence for all their cruelties. Could you make all the slan- 
derers, backbiters, revilers, despisers, persecutors, to love their 
neighbours as themselves, you may easily judge what would be 
the effect ; and whether they would revile, or prosecute, or im- 
prison, or ruin themselves, or study how to make themselves 
odious, or suborn perjured witnesses against themselves. 



298 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

3. Yea, he that will do good to many, must love many better 
than himself, and prefer the common good much before his own, 
and seek his own in the common welfare. He that loveth good, 
as good, will best love the best : and an honest old Roman would 
have called him an unworthy beast that preferred his estate, 
or life, before the common welfare. To be ready to do, 
suffer, or die, for their country, was a virtue which all extolled. 
A narrow-spirited, selfish man, will serve others no further than 
it serveth himself, or, at least, will stand with his own safety or 
prosperity. He will turn as the weathercock, and be for them 
that are for his worldly interest. I confess that God oft useth 
such for common good : but it is by raising such storms as would 
sink them with the ship, and leaving them no great hope to 
escape by being false, or by permitting such villanies as threaten 
their own interest. A covetous father may be against gaming 
and prodigality in his children : the men of this world are wise 
in their generation : many that have abbey lands will be against 
popery ; and even atheists, and licentious men, may be loth to 
be slaves to politic priests, and to come under confession, and 
perhaps the inquisition ; and those that have not sinned them- 
selves into madness or gross delusions, will be loth to set up a 
foreign jurisdiction, and become the subjects of an unknown 
priest, if they can help it. God often useth vice against vice ; 
and if no worldly, selfish men were the country's or the 
church's helpers, it must suffer, or trust to miracles. 

But yet there is no trust to be put in these men further than 
their own interest must stand or fall with the common good. If 
God, and heaven, and conscience, be not more powerful with a 
man than worldly interest, trust him not against the stream 
and tide, or when he thinks he can make a better bargain for 
himself. He that will sell heaven and Christ for the world, will 
sell you for it, and sell religion, truth, and honesty for it : and 
if he escape here the end of Ahithophel and Judas, he will ven- 
ture on all that is out of sight. Christ was the grand benefactor 
to the world, and the most excellent teacher of love, and self- 
denial, and contempt of the world, to all that will follow him 
in doing good to many. 

4. He that will do much good must be good himself. Make 
the tree good if you have good fruit. Operari sequitur esse. 
A bad man is an enemy to the greatest good that he should do. 
Malignity abhorreth serious piety, and will such promote it ? If 
Elias be a man of miracles, he shall hear, " Hast thou found me, 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 299 

O my enemy !" And Micaiah shall hear, " J hate him, for he 
prophesieth not good of me, but evil : feed him with the bread 
and water of affliction." 

And a bad man, if by accident he be engaged for a good 
cause, is still suspected by those that know him. They cannot 
trust him, as being a slave to lust, and to strong temptations, 
and a secret enemy to the true interest of his country. Alas ! 
the best are hardly to be trusted far, as being liable to miscarry 
by infirmity ; how little then is to be hoped for from the wicked? 

5. He that will do much good in the world, must be furnished 
with considerable abilities, especially prudence and skill in 
knowing when, and to whom, and how to do it. Without this, 
he will do more harm than good. Even good men, when they 
have done much good, by some one miscarriage, tempted by the 
remnants of selfishness and pride, and by unskilful rashness, 
have undone all the good they did, and done as much hurt as 
wicked enemies. There goeth so much to public good, and so 
many snares are to be avoided, that rash, self-conceited, half- 
witted men do seldom do much, unless under the conduct of 
wiser men. 

6. He that will be a public blessing to the world, must have 
a very large prospect, and see the state of all the world, and 
foresee what is like to come. He must not live as if his neigh- 
bourhood were all the land, or his country or his party were all 
the church, or all the world : he must know what relation all 
our actions have to other nations, and to all the church of 
Christ on earth. The want of this universal prospect involveth 
many in censorious and dividing sects, who would abhor that 
way if they knew the case of all the church and world. 

And we must not look only to a present exigent or advan- 
tage, but foresee how our actions will look hereafter, and what 
changes may put them under other judgments, and what the 
fruits may be to posterity. Many things cause death which 
give the patient present ease. 

7. He that will do good to many must have christian forti- 
tude, and not be discouraged with difficulties and opposition. 
He must serve God for the good of men with absolute resolu- 
tion, and not with the hypocrite's reserves. He must be armed 
with patience against not only the malice of enemies, but the 
ingratitude of friends. The follies, and quarrels, and muti- 
nies, and divisions, and often the abuses of those that he would 
do good to, must not overcome him. He must imitate God, 



300 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

and do good to the evil, and bless those that curse him, and 
pray for them that despitefully use him. He must not promise 
himself more success than God hath promised him, nor yet des- 
pair and turn back discouraged ; but conscience must carry 
him on to the end through all, whatever shall befal him. 

8. Therefore he must look for his reward from God, and not 
expect too much from man. Men are insufficient, mutable, 
and uncertain : their interests and many accidents may change 
them. The multitude are of many minds and tempers ; and 
if you please some, you shall displease others, and it is hard to 
please even one person long. Some great ones will not be 
pleased, unless you will prefer their wills before the will of God, 
your country's good, and your own salvation. The poor are so 
many and so indigent, that no man can answer their desires. If 
you give twenty pounds to twenty of the poor, forty, or an hun- 
dred, that expected the like, will murmur at you, and be dis- 
pleased. What man ever did so much good in the world as not 
to be accused by some, as if he were a covetous or a hurtful 
man? 

Therefore, he that will do much good, must firmly believe the 
life to come, and must do that he doth as the work of God, in 
obedience to him, and look for his reward in heaven, and not as 
the hypocrite, in the praise of men, much less as the worldling, 
in the hope of temporal advantage. He must not wonder if he 
be rewarded as Socrates was at Athens, and as Christ and his 
apostles were in the world. Themistocles likened himself to a 
great fruit tree, which men run for shelter under in a storm, and 
when the storm is over, they throw stones and cudgels at it, to 
beat down the fruit. Reckon not on a reward from men, but 
from God. By what is said, you may perceive what are the 
great impediments of doing good to many, which must be over- 
come. 

I. One, and the worst, is malignity, which is an enmity to 
spiritual good; for who will promote that which he is against? 

II. Another is unbelief of God's commands and promises, 
when men take not themselves to be his subjects and stewards, 
nor can take his promise for good security for their reward. 

III. Another is the fore-mentioned sin of selfishness, which 
makes a man's self to be his chiefest love and care, and more 
to him than Christ's interest, or the church or kingdom. 

IV. Another is a false conceit that a man is so obliged to 
provide for his children and kindred, that all that he can get, 



HOW TO DO GOOD 'IO MANY. * 301 

how rich soever he be, must be left to make them rich, except 
some inconsiderable pittance. 

V. Another is a great neglect of parents to prepare their 
children to be profitable to the commonwealth, but only to live 
in prosperity to themselves. 1. Children should be taught as 
much as may be to become persons of understanding, and such 
wisdom as may make them useful. 2. And especially to be 
truly religious ; for then they will be devoted to do good, in love 
and obedience to God. 3. They should be taught what it is to be 
members of societies, and what duty they owe to church and 
state, and how great a part of their duty lieth in caring for the 
common good, and how sinful and damnable it is to live only to 
themselves, and how much this selfishness is the sum of all ini- 
quity. 4. Those callings should be chosen for them which they 
are fittest for, and in which they may do most public good. 

VI. And a timorous, cowardly disposition is a great hin- 
derance to public good ; for such will be still for the self-saving 
way, and afraid of the dangers that attend the greatest duties. 
If they are called to liberality, they will fear lest they should 
want themselves. In all costly or hazardous duty there will 
still be a lion in their way. They cannot trust God ; and no 
wonder, then, if they are not to be trusted themselves. 

VII. Lastly, sloth and idleness are constant enemies to well- 
doing. There are two sorts especially guilty of this ; one, and 
the better, is some religious people, who think that their busi- 
ness is only with God and their own hearts, and that if they 
could spend all their time in meditation, prayer, and such like 
exercises, it would be the best kind of life on earth. Among 
the papists, multitudes, by this conceit, turn friars and nuns. 
Among us, such spend all their time in hearing sermons, and 
in reading, and meditating, and prayer, and such like exercises 
of religion towards God, if they are but rich enough to live 
without bodily labour, and the example of Mary and Martha, 
they think, will make this good. 

I know that this is no common error. The wicked are of a 
far different mind. And I know no man can do too much to save 
his soul : but we may do one sort of our work too much to the 
neglect of other parts. We have souls in flesh, and both parts 
have their proper necessity and work. Mary did somewhat 
else than hear, though she wisely preferred it in its season. And 
no one is made for himself alone. You feel that religious ex- 
ercises do you good, but what good is it that you do to others? 



302 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

I confess a monk's prayers for others is a good work. But God 
will have praying and endeavouring go together, both for your- 
selves and others. Bare praying God to relieve the poor, and 
to teach your children, and instruct the ignorant, will not ex- 
cuse you from relieving, teaching, or instructing them. Yea, 
and your own good will best come in by your fullest obedience 
to God. Do what he bids you, and he will take care of your 
salvation. Your own way may seem best, but will not prove 
best : it will but cast you into melancholy and disability at last. 
" Six days shalt thou labour," is more than a permission. It is 
St. Paul's canon, " He that will not work, (if able,) let 
him not eat :" and it was King Solomon's mother who taught 
him the description of a virtuous woman, (Prov. xxxi. 27,) 
" She eateth not the bread of idleness." God will have mercy 
and obedience as better than sacrifice. The sentence in judg- 
ment is upon doing good to Christ in his members. (Matt, xxv.) 
When many that hear much, and prophesied, shall be cast out. 
(Matt. vii. 21.) Doing good is the surest way of receiving 
good. The duties of the first and second table must go toge- 
ther. He that is not zealous to do good, as well as to get good, 
hath not the peculiar nature of Christ's flock; (Titus ii. 14;) 
and zeal will be diligent, and not for sloth. 

2. The other sort of the idle are rich, ungodly, worldly per- 
sons, who live as if God did give them plenty for nothing but to 
pamper their own flesh, and feed their own and other's sensu- 
ality. They think that persons of wealth and honour may law- 
fully spend their time in idleness, that is, in Sodom's sin, (Ezek. 
xvi. 49,) as if God expected least where he giveth most. How 
little conscience do many lords and ladies make of an idle hour, 
or life ! When poor men's labour is such as tendeth to the 
common good, the rich, by luxury, sacrifice to the flesh the fruits 
of other men's endeavours ; and instead of living in any profit- 
able employment, devour that which thousands labour for. 

It is not the toilsome drudgery of the vulgar which we take 
to be all rich folks' duty ; but idleness and unprofitableness is a 
sin in the richest. Any of them may find good work enough 
that is fit for them if they be willing. Children, and servants, 
and friends, and neighbours, and tenants, have souls and bodies 
which need their help. None can say, c God found us no work 
to do,' or that God gave them more time or wealth than they 
had profitable use for. Little do they think what it will be, 
ere long, to reckon for all their time and estates, and to be 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 303 

judged according to their works : and their own flesh often 
paveth dear for its ease and pleasure, by those pains and diseases 
which God hath suited to their sins ; and which usually shorten 
the lives which they no better use, or snatch them away from 
that time and wealth which they spent in preparing fuel for 
hell, and food for the worm that never dieth. 

V. But what is it that a man should do that would do good 
to all or many ? There are some good works which are of far 
greater tendency than others, to the good of many ; some of 
them I will name to you. 

I. Do as much good as you are able to men's bodies, in 
order to the greater good of souls. If nature be not supported, 
men are not capable of other good. We pray for our daily 
bread before pardon and spiritual blessings, not as if we were 
better, but that nature is supposed before grace, and we cannot 
be Christians if we be not men ; God hath so placed the soul in 
the body, that good or evil shall make its entrance by the bodily 
senses to the soul. This way God himself conveyeth many of 
his blessings, and this way he inflicteth his corrections ; minis- 
ters that are able and willing to be liberal, find by great ex- 
perience that kindness and bounty to men's bodies openeth 
the ear to counsel, and maketh them willing to hear instruction : 
those in France, that are now trying men's religion in the 
market, and are at work with money in one hand, and a sword 
in the other, do understand this to be true. All men are sen- 
sible of pain or pleasure, good or evil, to the flesh, before they 
are sensible what is necessary for their souls. You must there- 
fore speak on that side which can hear, and work upon the 
feeling part, if you will do good. 

Besides this, your charity may remove many great impedi- 
ments and temptations. It is no easy thing to keep heavenly 
thoughts upon your mind, and especially to delight in God, and 
keep the relish of his law upon your hearts, while pinching 
wants are calling away your mind, and disturbing it with 
troublesome passions. To suffer some hunger, and go in vile 
apparel, is not very difficult ; but when there is a family to 
provide for, a discontented wife and children to satisfy, rents, 
and debts, and demands unpaid, it must be an excellent Christian 
that can live contentedly, and cast all his useless care on God, 
and keep up the sense of his love, and a delight in all his service. 
Do your best to save the poor from such temptations, as you 
would yourselves be saved from them. 



304 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

And when you give to the poor that are ignorant and un- 
godly, give them after it some counsel for their souls, or some 
good book which is suited to their cases. 

II. If you would do good to many, set yourselves to pro- 
mote the practical knowledge of the great truths necessary to 
salvation. 

1. Goodness will never be enjoyed or practised without 
knowledge. Ignorance is darkness, the state of his kingdom, 
who is the prince of darkness, who by the works of darkness 
leadeth the blind world to utter darkness ; God is the Father 
of lights, and giveth wisdom to them that ask and seek it ; he 
sent his Son to be the light of the world ; his word and minis- 
ters are subordinate light ; his servants are all the children of 
light : ignorance is virtually error, and error the cause of sin 
and misery. And men are not born wise, but must be made wise 
by skilful, diligent teaching : parents should begin it, minis- 
ters should second them ; but, alas ! how many millions are 
neglected by both ! and how many neglect themselves, when 
ministers have done their best ! Ignorance and error are the 
common road to wickedness, misery, and hell. 

2. But what can any others do for such ? Two things I will 
remember you of, 1. Set up such schools as shall teach children 
to read the Scriptures, and learn the catechism or principles of 
religion. Our departed friend, Mr. Thomas Gouge, did set us 
an excellent pattern for Wales. I think we have grammar 
schools enough. It is not the knowledge of tongues, and arts, 
and curious sciences, which the common people want, but the 
right understanding of their baptismal covenant with God, and 
of the Creed, Lord's Prayer, Decalogue, and Church Com- 
munion. A poor honest man, or a good woman, will teach 
children thus much for a small stipend, better than they are 
taught it in most grammar schools ; and I would none went 
to the Universities without the sound understanding of the 
catechism ; yea, I would none came thence, or into the pulpit, 
without it. 

2. When you have got them to read, give them good books, 
especially Bibles, and good catechisms, and small practical 
books, which press the fundamentals on their consciences. 
Such books are good catechisms ; many learn the words of the 
Creed, Lord's Prayer, Commandments, and Catechism, by rote, 
and never understand them, when a lively book that awakeneth 
their consciences, bringeth them to sensible consideration, and 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 305 

to a true understanding of the same things, which before they 
could repeat without sense or savour. It is the catechetical 
truths which most of our English sermons press ; and the 
lively pressing them maketh them pierce deeper than a cate- 
chism. 

If men that in life, or at death, give a stated revenue for good 
works, would settle the one half on a good English school, and 
the other half on some suitable good books, it might prove a 
very great means of public reformation. When a good book 
is in the house, if some despise it, others may read it \ and when 
one parish is provided, every year's rent may extend the charity 
to other parishes, and it may spread over a whole country in 
a little time. Most of the good that God hath done for me, 
for knowledge or conscience, hath been by sound and pious 
books. 

III. A great means of public good is the right ordering of 
families all the week, but especially on the Lord's Day : though 
the ministry be the usual means of converting heathens and 
infidels, christian education by parents is the first means 
appointed by God for the holy principling of youth : parents 
must teach them with unwearied diligence, lying down and 
rising up. (Deut. vi. 11.) And they that will expect God's 
blessings must use his appointed means. Nature teacheth men 
and brutes to provide for their offspring with diligence and 
patience : and as grace teacheth believers to expect far greater 
things for themselves and their children than this world afford- 
eth, so it obligeth them to be at so much greater diligence to 
obtain it. An everlasting kingdom deserveth more labour than 
a trade or full estate for the flesh. If all parents did their 
parts to make their children sanctified believers, as well as they 
expect the schoolmaster should do his part to make them 
scholars, and the master do his part to teach them their trades, 
we might hope that ministers would find them fitter for church 
work, and that godliness would not be so rare, nor so many 
wicked children break their parents' hearts. But of this I have 
spoken lately in my 6 Counsel to Young Men.' 

Religion is never like to prosper if it be not made a family 
work. If it be there made the business of the house, and done with 
reverent seriousness, and constancy, if magistracy and ministry 
should fail, yet families would propagate and preserve it. Begin 
with a reverent begging the help and blessing of God, then read 
VOL. xvif. x 



306 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

his word, and call upon his name ; speak serious words of coun- 
sel to inferiors ; spend the Lord's Day as much as may he in 
puhlic worship, and the rest in reading godly hooks, and in 
singing God's praise, and calling on his name ; put suitahle 
hooks into the hands of servants and children to read when they 
have leisure; encourage them in it with love and rewards ; and 
keep them out of the way of temptation ; and then God's bless- 
ing will dwell in your families, and they will be as churches of 
God. If any complain of negligent ministers, or persecuting 
magistrates, and will not do their own family duties, which none 
forbid, they condemn themselves. 

IV. If you w r ould be public blessings, and do good to man)', 
do your best to procure a skilful, faithful, ministry in the 
church : 

1. Send no son to the university who doth not first show 
these three qualifications : a capable, natural wit and utterance; 
a love to serious, practical religion ; a great desire to serve God 
in the ministry, though it should be in suffering from men. If 
they want any one of these, design them to some other calling ; 
devote not an indisposed lad to the ministry, in hope that God 
will make him better, but stay till he is better. 

2. Seeing pastors are here obtruded upon the flock, it is a 
work of great importance, for religious gentlemen to buy as 
many advowsons or presentations as they can, that they may in- 
troduce the best that they can get. 

God hath hitherto made use of the qualifications of the 
ministers as the special means for the welfare of his church. 
The bare title and office is so far from sufficing, without the 
skill and fidelity of the persons, that such have been the great 
corrupters and disturbers of the church. When pious men have 
heaped up riches and honours upon the clergy, these have been 
baits for the worst men to become seekers, and make the sacred 
ministry but a trade for wealth : and if carnal, worldly men be 
ministers, alas ! what plagues may they be to the people and 
themselves ! They will hate the spiritual practice of doctrine 
which they preach ; when they have told men of a heaven and 
hell, and the necessity of a holy heart and life, as if they had 
been in jest; they will take those for hypocrites that believe 
them, and live accordingly : they will take the best of the flock 
for their enemies, because they are enemies to their hypocrisy 
and vice. Instead of imitating St. Paul, (Acts xx,) who taught 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 307 

them publicly, and from house to house, day and night, with 
tears, they will turn the ministry into compliment and formality, 
and think, by saying a cold, unskilful sermon, and by roteing 
over a few heartless words, they have laudably performed their 
part. They will take those for their best hearers who will most 
honour them, and best pay them, though ever so ignorant and 
ungodly; and their spleen will swell against the best and most 
religious people, because they dislike their unfaithful lives and 
ministration. If religion should be in public danger, these will 
be the Judases that will sell it for gain. They will do any 
thing rather than suffer much. They are ministers of the 
world, and not of Christ : readier to make crosses for others 
than to bear the cross of Christ ; for it is gain that is their 
godliness ; and when their treachery is seen and hated, they will 
hate the haters of it ; and the studies of malignant men will be 
their laboratories, and the pulpits the place where the sublimate 
and essence of malice must be vended. How effectually will 
Satan's work be done when it is performed in the formalities of 
the sacred ministry, and in the name of Christ ! O what hath 
the Church suffered by a worldly, graceless ministry these thou- 
sand years, and more ! and what doth it yet suffer by them in 
the east and west ! 

But, on the other side, a skilful, faithful minister will preach 
sound doctrine, and worship God with serious devotion, and 
live to Christ, and the church's good. He will speak the word 
of truth and life with truth and liveliness, as one that be- 
lieveth what he saith, and feeleth the power of it on his heart. 
Though he must have food and raiment as other men, it is 
the saving and edifying of souls which is his work, to which 
he bendeth all his studies, for which he prayeth and longeth, 
and in which he rejoiceth, and to which all his worldly interest 
not only giveth place, but is made to serve. He will think no 
price, no pains or suffering too dear, so that the souls of men 
be saved ; this is the riches and preferment which he desireth. 
He hath nothing too good or too dear for Christ, or for the 
meanest of his servants, when Christ requireth it. He is willing 
to spend and be spent for their sakes. It is them, and not 
theirs, that he desireth. He feareth the unbelief and hard- 
heartedness of his hearers, and lest they should reject their own 
salvation more than all the slanders or persecutions of their 
enemies. In a word, his heart, his study, his life and business, 
is to do all the good he can, and thev that under such a mi- 

x 2 



308 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

nistry remain impenitent, and hardened in sin, are the most 
hopeless, miserable people in the world. 

V. And it greatly conduceth to public good to keep up true 
order and christian discipline in the particular churches. Though 
popish church tyrants have turned the church keys into a mi- 
litary, reigning, or revenging sword, yet Christ did not in vain 
commit them into his ministers' hands. Religion seldom pros- 
pereth well where the church is no enclosure, but a common, 
where all sorts, undistinguished, meet; where, as the people 
know not who shall be made their pastors, but must trust their 
souls to the care of any that a patron chooseth, so the pastor 
knoweth not who are his communicating flock until he see them 
come to the Lord's table, no, nor when he seeth them. When 
it goeth for a sufficient excuse to the pastors if the rabble of 
wicked men communicate, or pass for his church members, 
though they communicate not, if he can but say, I knew them 
not to be wicked, (and how should he when he knew them not 
at all ?) and that none accused them, when they are mere 
strangers to each other. In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision 
nor uncircumcision availeth anything, but a new creature, and 
faith that worketh by love. And if Christ made his servants 
no better than the world, who would believe that he is the 
Saviour of the world ? There will be some tares in Christ's 
field till his judgment cast them out for ever. But if it be not 
a society professing holiness, and disowning unholiness, and 
making a difference between the clean and the unclean, him 
that sweareth, and him that feareth, an oath, him that serveth 
God, and him that serveth him not ; Christ will disown them 
as workers of iniquity, though they had ate and drank with him, 
and done miracles in his name. (Matt, vii.) Much more if it be 
a society where godliness is despised, and the most godly ex- 
communicated, if they differ but in a formality of ceremony 
from Diotrephes, and the wicked rabble tolerated and cherished 
in reviling serious godliness, on pretence of opposing such 
dissenters. Christ will not own that pastor nor society which 
owneth not conscience and serious piety. 

If the pastors set up their wills and traditions before the laws 
and will of Christ, and call out, c Who is on our side,' instead 
of ' Who is on Christ's side,' and fall out with the sheep, and 
worry and scatter them, and cherish the goats, and tolerate the 
wolves, wo to those shepherds, when Christ shall judge them ! 
I wonder not if such incline to infidelity, though they live by 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 309 

the name and image of Christianity, and if they be loth to 
believe that there will be such a day of judgment which they 
have so much cause to fear. 

But the prudent, loving guidance of faithful pastors is so 
necessary to the church, that without it there will be envy and 
strife, confusion, and every evil work, and a headless multitude, 
though otherwise well-meaning, pious people, will be all wise, 
and all teachers, till they have no wise teachers left, and will 
crumble all into dissolution, or into shameful sects. St. Paul 
told us of two games that Satan hath to play, (Acts xx.) one 
by grievous wolves, that shall devour the flock, (though in 
sheep's clothing, yet known by their bloody jaws,) the other 
by men from among yourselves, who shall speak perverse things, 
to draw disciples after them. 

VI. If you would promote the good of all or many, promote 
the love and concord of all that deserve to be called Christians. 

To which end you must, 1 . Know who those are ; and, 
2. Skilfully and faithfully endeavour it. 

1. Far be it from any Christian to think that Christ hath 
not so much as told us what Christianity is, and who they be 
that we must take for Christians, when he hath commanded 
them all so earnestly to love each other. Is not baptism our 
christening ? Every one that hath entered into that covenant 
with Christ, and understandingly and seriously professeth to 
stand to it, and is not proved by inconsistent words or deeds to 
nullify that profession, is to be taken for a Christian, and used 
in love and communion as such. 

Consider of these words, and consider whether all churches 
have walked by this rule, and whether swerving from it have 
not been the cause of corruption and confusion. 

He is a Christian fit for our communion, who is baptized in 
infancy, and owneth it solemnly at age ; and so is he that was 
not baptized till he himself believed. 

He is a Christian that believeth Christ to be true God and 
true man in one person, and trusteth him as our only Re- 
deemer, by his merits and passion, and our Mediator in the 
heavens ; and obeyeth him as our sovereign Lord, for pardon, 
for his Spirit, and for salvation. And as a Christian this man is 
to be loved and used, though he have not so much skill in meta- 
physics as to know whether it be a proper speech to call Mary 
the mother of God, or that one of the Trinity was crucified; or 
to know in what sense Christ's natures might be called one or 



310 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

two; and in what sense he might he said to have one will or 
two wills — one operation or two; and know not whether the 
tria capitula were to be condemned : yea, though he could not 
define, or clearly tell, what hypostasis persona, yea, or sub- 
stantia, signifieth in God ; nor tell whether God of gods be a 
proper speech. 

This man is a Christian, though he know not whether patri- 
archal, and metropolitical, and diocesan church forms, be ac- 
cording to the will of Christ, or against it ; and whether sym- 
bolical signs, in the worship of God, may lawfully be devised and 
imposed by men; and whether some doubtful words, in oaths 
and subscriptions of men's imposing, being unnecessary, be law- 
ful ; and how far he may, by them, incur the guilt of perjury, 
or deliberate lying : and though he think that a minister may 
preach and pray in fit words of his own, though he read not a 
sermon or prayer written for him by others, who think that no 
words but theirs should be offered to God or man. 

2. If Christ's description of a Christian be forsaken, and 
mere Christianity seem not a sufficient qualification for our love 
and concord, men will never know where to rest, nor ever agree 
in any one's determination but Christ's. All men that can get 
power will be making their own wills the rule and law, and 
others will not think of them as they do; aud the variety of 
fallible, mutable church laws, and terms of concord, will be the 
engine of perpetual discord, as Ulpian told honest Alexander 
Severus the laws would be, which he thought to have made for 
sober concord, in fashions of apparel. Those that are united 
to Christ by faith, and have his sanctifying Spirit, and are jus- 
tified by him, and shall dwell with him in heaven, are certainly 
Christians; and such as Christ hath commanded us to love as 
ourselves. And seeing that it is his livery by which his disci- 
ples must be known, by loving one another, and the false pro- 
phets must be known by the fruits of their hurtfulness, as 
wolves, thorns, and thistles, I must profess (though order and 
government have been so amiable to me as to tempt me to fa- 
vourable thoughts of some Roman power in the church) I am 
utterly irreconcilable to it, when I see that the very complexion 
of that hierarchy is malice and bloodiness against men most se- 
riously and humbly pious, that dare not obey them in their sin- 
ful usurpations, and that their cause is maintained by belying, 
hating, and murdering true Christians. 

And, on the other side, too many make laws of love and com- 



HOW TO DO GOOi) TO MANY. 311 

munion to themselves, and confine Christ's church within their 
little various, and perhaps erroneous, sects ; and all others they 
love with pity ; but only those of their cabin and singular 
opinions they love with complacency and communion : those 
that condemn such as Christ justifieth, and say that Christians 
are not his, are near of kin to one another, though one sort 
show it by persecution, and the other but by excommunication, 
or schismatical separation. " We are all one in Christ Jesus." 
(Gal. iv. 2S.) And, therefore, I advise all Christians to hate the 
causes and ways of hatred, and love all the causes and means of 
love. Frown on them that so extol their singular sentiments 
as to backbite others, and speak evil of what they understand 
not : especially such as pamphleteers of this age, whose design 
is weekly and daily to fight against christian love, and to stir 
up all men, to the utmost of their power, to think odiously of 
one another, and plainly to stir up a thirst after blood : never 
did Satan write by the hand of man if he do it not by such as 
these : the Lord of love and mercy rebuke them ! 

And take heed of them that can find enough in the best that 
are against their way to prove them dishonest, if not intolerable ; 
and can see the mote of a ceremony, or nonconformity to a 
ceremony, in their brother's eye, and not the beam of malice, 
or cruelty, in their own. Take heed of those that are either for 
confounding toleration of all, or for dissipating cruelty on pre- 
tence of unity. 

That land, or church, shall never truly prosper where these 
three sorts are not well distinguished : 1. The approved, that 
are to be encouraged. 2. The tolerable, that are to be pa- 
tiently and lovingly endured. 3, The intolerable, that are to 
be restrained. They may as well confound men and beasts, 
wise men and mad men, adults and infants, as confound these 
three sorts, in reference to religion. 

I add this note to prevent objections, that though meekness 
and gentleness promote peace; yet, to speak sharply and hate- 
fully of hatred, unpeaceableness, and cruelty, and all that tends 
to destrov love, is an act of love, and not of an uncharitable, 
unpeaceable man. 

VII. If you love the common good of England, do your best 
to keep up sound and serious religion in the public parish 
churches, and be not guilty of any thing that shall bring the 
chief interest of religion into private assemblies of men only 
tolerated, if you can avoid it. 



3J2 HOW TO DO dOOD TO MANY, 

Indeed, in a time of plagues, and epidemical infection, tolerated 
churches may be the best preservatives of religion, as it was in 
the first 300 vears, and in the arians' reign, and under popery ; 
but where sound and serious religion is owned by the magistrate, 
tolerated churches are but as hospitals for the sick, and must 
not be the receptacle of all the healthful. And, doubtless, if 
the papists can but get the protestant interest once into pro- 
hibited or tolerated conventicles, (as they will call them,) they 
have more than half overcome it, and will not doubt to use it 
next as they do in France, and by one turn more to cast it out. 
The countenance of authority will go far with the vulgar against 
all the scruples that men of conscience stick at, and they will 
mostly go to the allowed churches, whoever is there. Let us, 
therefore, lose no possession that we can justly get, nor be guilty 
of disgracing the honest conformists, but do all we can to keep 
up their reputation for the good of souls : they see not matters 
of difference through the same glass that we do ; they think us 
unwarrantably scrupulous : we think the matter of their sin to 
be very great ; but we know that before God the degree of guilt 
is much according to the degree of men's negligence or unwil- 
lingness to know the truth, or to obey it ; and prejudice, educa- 
tion, and converse, maketh great difference on men's apprehen- 
sions. Charity must not reconcile us to sin, but there is no end 
of uncharitable censuring each other. 

It hath made me admire to hear some men's words against 
comprehension, as they call it ; that they would not have rulers 
revoke that which they judge to be heinous sin in their imposi- 
tions, unless they will revoke all that they think unlawful, lest it 
should strengthen the parish churches, and weaken the tolerated 
or suffering part ; I will not here open the sin of this policy as 
it deserves ; but I wish them to read a small book called, 6 The 
Whole Duty of Nations,' said to be Mr. Thomas Beverlev's. 

VIII. If you love the common good, take heed lest any in- 
juries tempt you into sedition or unlawful wars ; no man, that 
never tried them, can easily believe what enemies wars and 
tumults are to religion, and to common honesty and sobriety. 
Men are there so serious about their lives and bodily safety that 
they have no room or time for serious worshipping of God ; the 
Lord's day is by necessity made a common day ; and all men's 
goods are almost common to the will of soldiers; either power 
seems to authorize them, or necessity to allow them, to use the 
goods of others as their own j as if they were incapable of doing 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 313 

wrong ; it is their honour that can kill most ; and how little 
place there is for love it is easy to conceive. 

I doubt not but it is lawful to fight for our king or country, 
in a good cause. As nature giveth all private men a right of 
private self-defence, and no more, so the same law of nature, 
which is God's law, giveth all nations a right of public self- 
defence against its public enemies ; that is, against any that by 
his religion, or his own profession, bindeth himself to destroy 
that nation if he can, or by open arms seeketh no less than their 
destruction ; but as few calamities are worse to a land than war, 
so much is to be endured to prevent it. It is like a red-hot iron 
which fools lay hold on, thinking it is gold, till it fetch off skin 
and flesh to the bones, and perhaps set the house on fire. If 
your cause be bad, God will not be for you ; and he that so taketh 
the sword shall perish with the sword ; and if you bite and de- 
vour one another, you shall be devoured one of another. And, 
alas ! thousands of the innocent usually perish, or are ruined, in 
the flames that furious men do kindle ; no doubt as suffering in 
prison, so venturing in war, is a duty, when God calls you to it ; 
but in itself a prison is a far more desirable sort of suffering 
than a war. Therefore, between the danger of the miseries of 
an unlawful war, and the danger of betraying our king or king- 
dom, for want of necessary defence, how cautelous should all 
sober Christians be ! 

IX. If you would promote the common good, do your best 
to procure wise and faithful rulers. 

Quest. What can private men do in this ? 

Ans. 1. In cases where they have choosing voices they ought 
to prefer the best with greatest resolution, and not for slothful- 
ness to omit their part, nor for worldly interest, or the fear of 
men, betray their country, as ever they would escape the punish- 
ment of the perfidious. Wo to that Judas that sells his country 
and conscience for any bribe, or by self-saving fear ! 

2. In other cases, where you have no choosing vote with men, 
you have a praying voice with God : pray for kings, and all in 
authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all 
godliness and honesty. God hath commanded no duty in vain : 
do it earnestly and constantly, and hope for a good issue from 
God ; do it not selfishly that you may have prosperity or pre- 
ferment by them, but sincerely for their own and the common 
good; God is the fountain of power, the absolute sovereign of 
all the world; men are but his provincial officers 3 none claim- 



314 HOW TO ])() GOOD to many. 

eth an universal government of the world but one that pretend- 
eth to be Christ's vicar-general, and none believe his claim but 
blinded men. There is no power but of and under God, who 
hath made rulers his ministers for our good, to be a praise to 
them that do well, and a terror to evil doers ; that they that 
will not be moved with the hopes of God's future rewards, and 
the fears of his punishments, may be moved by that which is 
near them within the reach of sense. And all men regard their 
bodies, though only believers are ruled by the everlasting inter- 
est of their souls. 

Therefore, pray hard for kings and magistrates ; for if they 
be good they are exceeding great blessings to the world. They 
will remember that their power is for God, and the common 
good, and that to God they must give a strict account \ they 
will take God's law for the only universal law to the world, and 
conform their own as by-laws to it. They will take their own 
interest to consist in pleasing God, and promoting the gospel 
and kingdom of Christ, and the piety and saving of men's souls. 
They will be examples of serious godliness, of justice and so- 
briety, trustiness, and temperance, and chastity to their subjects ; 
in their eyes a vile person will be condemned, but they will 
honour those that fear the Lord. (Psalm xv. 4.) They will love 
those most that love Christ best, and most diligently obey him, 
and tenderly fear to sin against him ; those please them best that 
please God best, and are most useful to the common good ; they 
will set their hearts on the people's welfare, and are watching 
for all, while all securely live under their vigilancy. They will 
cherish all that Christ cherisheth, and especially the faithful 
pastors of the churches, that seek not the world, but the welfare 
of the flocks ; when some are saying, 6 In this mountain we 
must worship God, and some at Jerusalem,' they will teach them 
all to worship God in spirit and truth. When pastors and peo- 
ple grow peevish and quarrelsome for their several interests, 
opinions, and wills, a Constantine will cast all their libels into 
the fire, and rebuke the unpeaceable, and restrain the violent, 
and teach them to forgive and love each other, and will be the 
great justice of peace to all the churches in the land, and pare 
their nails that would tear and scratch their brethren ; he will 
countenance the sound and peaceable, and tolerate all the tole- 
rable, but will tie the hands of strikers, and the tongues of re- 
vilers ; he will contrive the healing of exasperated minds, and 
take away the occasions of division, and rebuke them that call 



HOW TO ])() GOOD TO MANY. 315 

for fire from heaven, or for the sword to do that which belong- 
eth to the word, or to execute their pride and wrath ; godliness 
will have all the encouragement they can give it, and innocency a 
full defence ; malignity, and persecution, and perjury, and un- 
peaceable revenge, will be hateful where they rule; and they had 
rather men feared sin too much than too little ; and would have 
all men prefer the law and honour of God to theirs ; where the 
righteous bear rule, the people rejoice. The wisdom, piety, and 
impartiality of their governors suppresseth profaneness, oppres- 
sion, and contention, and keepeth men in the way of love and 
peace ; and as the welfare of all is the care of such a ruler 
above his own pleasure, wealth, or will, so he will have the 
hearts, and hands, and wealth of all with readiness to serve him : 
no wonder if such are called nursing-fathers, and the light of 
our eyes, and the breath of our nostrils, and the shadow of a 
rock in a weary land. As they bear the image of God's super- 
eminency, and doubly honour him, they are doubly honoured by 
him ; so that the names of pious princes show not only the 
sense of mankind, but the special providence of God in making 
the memory of the just to be blessed ; and as they could not en- 
dure to see in their days ungodliness triumph, or serious godli- 
ness made a scorn, or conscience and fear of sinning made a dis- 
grace, or the gospel hindered, and faithful ministers forbid to 
preach it ; so God will not suffer their consciences to want the 
sense of his love, nor their departing souls to fail of their ever- 
lasting hopes, nor their memories to be clouded by obscurity or 
reproach. Even among heathens what a name have those em- 
perors left behind them who lived in justice, charity, and all 
virtue, and wholly studied the good of all ? What a wonder is 
it that M. Antonine should be so extolled by so many writers, 
and not one of them all, as I remember, speak one word of evil 
of him, save that a small short persecution of the Christians was 
made in his time, till he restrained it ! And all the people 
almost deified him, and would have perpetuated his line and 
name in the throne, but that the horrid wickedness of his pos- 
terity forced them to a change. What a name hath excellent 
Alexander Severus left behind him ! And what a blessing have 
wise, and godly, and peace-making christian princes been in 
divers ages to the world. 

And both the inferior magistrates and the clergy usually 
much conform themselves, at least in outward behaviour, to 
their example 3 for they will choose men of wisdom, conscience, 



316 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

and justice, under them, to judge and govern. The bishops and 
pastors which they choose will be able, godly, laborious men ; 
not seekers of worldly wealth and honour, nor envious silencers 
of faithful preachers, nor jealous hinderers of religious duties, 
nor flattering men-pleasers, nor such as lord it over God's herit- 
age ; but such as rule not by constraint, but willingly, as examples 
of love and piety to the flock. Pray hard, therefore, for kings, 
and all in authority, and honour all such as unspeakable blessings 
for the good of all. 

But, on the contrary, wicked rulers will be Satan's captains 
against Jesus Christ, and men's sanctification and salvation. 
They will be wolves in the place of shepherds, and will study 
to destroy the best of the people, and to root out all serious 
godliness and justice. Conscience, and fearing sin, will be to 
them a suspected, yea, a hated thing. If any abuse it, it serves 
them for a pretence against it. They take the people's welfare 
and their own interest to be enemies, and presently look on 
those, whom they should rule and cherish, as the adversaries 
whom they must tread down. They will purposely make edicts 
and laws that are contrary to God's law, that they may have 
advantage to persecute the faithful, and to destroy them as dis- 
obedient. They will study to conquer conscience and obedience 
to God, lest his authority should be regarded above theirs, 
and Christ is used by them as if he were an usurper, and not 
their Sovereign, but were again to be taken for an enemy to 
Caesar ; and their hatred to true ministers will be such as Paul's 
accusers intimate, who said, " He preached another king, one 
Jesus/' Wicked rulers will be the capital enemies to all that 
will be enemies to wickedness, and resolved to please God and 
save their souls. They will not be obeyed under God, but before 
him, nor served by the faithful servants of Christ, nor pleased 
but at the rate of men's damnation, by displeasing God. -All 
men love their like. The worst men, if flatterers, will seem 
the best to them, and the best the worst and most intolerable, 
and church and state is like to be written by their copy. O 
what dreadful plagues have wicked rulers been to the world, and 
what a dismal case do they continue the earth in to this day ! 
Not but that people, and especially priests, do contribute 
hereto, but the chief authors are men in greatest power. Five 
parts of six of the world at this day are heathens and infidels. 
And what's the cause ? Rulers will not suffer the gospel to 
be preached to them. The eastern Christians were all torn 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 31/ 

in pieces by the wickedness and contention of the governors of 
the state and church, banishing and murdering one another, 
so that when the Turks invaded them, the promise of liberty to 
exercise their religion tempted them to make the less resist- 
ance, thinking they could not be much worse than before. But 
the vulgar are so apt to follow the rulers, that ever since, the 
most of the Easterns are apostatized from Christ, and turned to 
Mahometanism, though in those countries where the Turk al- 
loweth the christian people to have governors of their own, 
religion somewhat prospereth, yet where that privilege is denied 
them, and Turks only are their rulers, it withereth away, and 
comes to almost nothing. 

And what keepeth out reformation, that is, the primitive 
simple Christianity, from the popish countries that have religion 
corrupted by human superfluities, but the seduction of priests, 
and the tyranny of rulers, that will not endure the preaching 
of the gospel, and the opening of the Scriptures to the people 
in a known tongue ? How much holy blood have Roman 
and Spanish inquisitors, and French and Irish murderers, and 
most other popish rulers to answer for? Even Walsh, the 
papist, in his Irish history, tells us all, out of Ketin, and others, 
how commonly, for ages, they lived there in the sin of bloody 
wars and murders, yea, even when they professed great ho- 
liness. Wicked rulers are as the pikes in the pond, which live 
by devouring all about them. It is Satan's main design in the 
world to corrupt God's two great ordinances of magistracy and 
ministry, and turn them both against Christ's kingdom, and 
to destroy Christians in Christ's name. Oh ! therefore, pray 
hard that all christian nations may have good rulers, and be 
very thankful to God for such. 

X. And if you would be instruments of public good, know 
what are public sins and dangers, that you may do your part 
against them, and join not with any that will promise never to 
endeavour any reforming alteration. The chiefest are igno- 
rance, pride, and self-willedness in teachers and people, malig- 
nant enmity to goodness, impatience with the infirmities of 
good men, judging of persons and things by self-interest, cove- 
tousness, sensuality, and taking Christianity but as the religion 
of the land, without diligent study to be rooted in the truth. 
And the scandals of hypocrites and tempted Christians harden- 
ing the enemies, especially by divisions, and public temerities, 
and misc images, is not the least. 



318 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

XI. I would also, in order to public good, persuade serious 
Christians to be more zealous in communication with their 
neighbours, and live not over-strangel y to others, and say not as 
Cain, " Am f my brother's keeper ?" lie kind and loving to all 
about you, and live not as unknown men to them ; nor alienate 
them by sourness, contempt, or needless singularity, but become 
all things lawful, to all men, to save some ; lend them good 
books, and draw them to hear God's faithful ministers ; persuade 
them to pray in their families, even with a form or book, till 
they need it not. 

XII. Lastly, if you would do good, be such as you would 
have others be, and teach them by examples of piety, charity, 
patience, self-denial, forbearing, and forgiving, and not by mere 
words contradicted by your lives. These are the materials by 
which you must do good to all. 

VI. What now remaineth but that we all set ourselves to 
such a fruitful course of life ? I greatly rejoice in the grace of 
God, which 1 daily see in many such of my familiar acquaint- 
ance, who study to do good to all, and to live in love, and 
peace, and holiness, by example, and by self-denial, and constant 
charity, using Christ's talents to their Master's ends, for the 
temporal and eternal good of many. But, alas ! too many live 
as if it were enough to do no harm, and say, as the slothful 
servant, " Here is thy talent which I hid." 

And some there be that, in a blind jealousy of the doctrine 
of justification, (not understanding what the word justification 
signifieth,) cry down even the words of James, as if they were 
irreconcileable with Paul's, and can scarce bear him that saith 
as Christ, (Matt, xii.,) " By thy words thou shalt be justified, 
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned ;" as if they had 
never read, " Well done, good and faithful servant," &c. ; 
" For I was hungry, and ye fed me," &c. Nor Heb. v. 9. " He 
is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him ;" or 
Heb. xiii., " With such sacrifice, God is well pleased;" or, " He 
that doeth righteousness is righteous ;" or " That we shall be 
judged according to our works ;" or Rev. xxii. 14, " Blessed 
are they that do his commandments, that they may have right 
to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the 
city ;" or Gal. vi. 7, 8, " What a man soweth, that shall he 
reap. He that soweth to the Spirit, of the Spirit shall reap 
everlasting life :" with many such. 

No man well in his wits can think that anything we do can 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 319 

merit of God in commutative justice, as if he received anything 
from us. This were even to deny God to be God. But are 
we not under a law of grace. And doth not that law command 
us obedience, and the improvement of our talents in doing 
good ? And shall we not be judged by that law ? And what 
is judging, but justifying or condemning ? No works of ours 
can stand the trial by the law of innocency or works, but only 
the perfect righteousness of Christ. But he that is accused 
of final impenitency, infidelity, hypocrisy, or unholiness, if truly 
accused, shall never be justified, and if falsely, must be justified 
against that charge by somewhat besides what is done out of 
him by Jesus Christ. 

It is an easier thing to be zealous for an opinion, which is 
sound, or supposed such, about works and grace, than to be 
zealous of good works, or zealously desirous of grace. How sad 
use did Satan make of men's zeal for orthodox words, when the 
Nestorian, Eutychian, and Monothelite controversies were in 
agitation ! He went for a hollow-hearted neuter that did not 
hereticate one side or other. And I would that factious, ig- 
norant zeal were not still alive in the churches. How many 
have we heard on one side reviling lutherans, calvinists, ar- 
minians, episcopals, presbyterians, independents, &c, to render 
them odious that never understand the true state of the dif- 
ference. And how fiercely do some papists and others cry 
down solifidians, and persuade men that we are enemies to good 
works, or think that they are not necessary to salvation, 
(because some rashly maintained that in a faction against George 
Major, long ago,) or at least that they are no further necessary, 
but as signs to prove that which God knoweth without them. 
And, on the other side, how many make themselves and others 
believe that the true expositors of Saint James's words are 
almost papists, and teach men dangerously to trust to works 
for their justification, while they understand not what either of 
the apostles mean by justification, faith, or works. Many so 
carefully avoid trusting to good works, that they have none or 
few to trust to. No doubt nothing of man must be trusted to 
for the least part that belongs to Christ, but all duty and means 
must be both used and trusted for its own part. 

Consider well these following motives, and you will see 
why all Christians must be zealous of doing all the good 
they can. 

1. It rendereth a man like to God to be good, and to do 



320 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

good ; on which account Christ requireth it even towards our 
enemies, (Matt, v.,) that we may be perfect, as our Heavenly 
Father is perfect, who doth good even to the unjust ; and he 
that is likest God is the best man, most holy, and most happy, 
and shall have most communion with God. 

2. And when Christ came down in flesh to call man home 
by making God better known to the world, he revealed him in 
his attractive goodness, and that was by his own beneficence to 
man. He came to do the greatest good ; to be the Saviour of 
the world, and to reconcile revolted man to God ; and all his 
life, yea, his death and heavenly intercession, is doing good to 
those that were God's enemies. And to learn of Christ, and 
imitate his example, is to be his true desciples. And what 
else do his laws command us ? They are all holy, just, and 
good; and our goodness is to love them, and obey them. By 
keeping these we must show that we are his disciples. When 
he tells you who you must do good to, in the instance of the 
Samaritan, he addeth, " Go thou and do likewise. " (John xv.) 
He largely tells us of what importance it is for every branch 
that is planted into him to bring forth fruit. 

3. It is much of the end of all the sanctifying operations of 
the Holy Spirit. Grace is given us to use ; even natural powers 
are given us for action. What the better were man for a 
tongue, or hands, or feet, if he should never use them ? Life is 
a principle of action. It were as good have no life, as not to 
use it. And why doth God make men good, but that thev 
may do good, even in their duty to God, themselves, and one 
another ? 

4. It is God's great mercy to mankind, that he will use us all 
in doing good to one another ; and it is a great part of his wise 
government of the world, that in societies men should be tied to 
it by the sense of every particular man's necessity ; and it is a 
great honour to those that he maketh his almoners, or servants, 
to convey his gifts to others ; God bids you give nothing but what 
is his, and no otherwise your own but as his stewards. It is his 
bounty, and your service or stewardship, which is to be exercised. 
He could have done good to all men by himself alone, without 
you, or any other, if he would ; but he will honour his servants 
to be the messengers of his bounty. You best please him when 
you readily receive his gifts yourselves, and most fully communi- 
cate them to others. To do good, is to receive good ; and yet 
he will reward such for doing and receiving. 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 321 

5. Self-love, therefore, should persuade men to do good to 
all. You are not the least gainers by it yourselves. If you can 
trust Christ, sure you will think this profitable usury. Is not a 
cup of cold water well paid for, when Christ performs his pro- 
mise ? ' And is it not a gainful loss which is rewarded in this life 
an hundred fold, and in the world to come, with life eternal ? 

Those that live in the fullest exercise of love, and doing good, 
are usually most loved, and many are ready to do good to 
them. And this exercise increaseth all fruitful graces : 
and there is a present delight in doing good, which is itself a 
great reward. The love of others makes it delightful to us : 
and the pleasing of God, and the imitation of Christ, and the 
testimony of conscience, make it delightful. An honest phy- 
sician is far gladder to save men's lives or health, than to get 
their money. And an honest soldier is gladder to save his 
country, than to get his pay. Every honest minister of Christ 
is far gladder to win souls, than to get money or preferment. 
7 he believing giver hath more pleasure than the receiver ; and 
this without any conceit of commutative meriting of God, or 
any false trust to works for justification. 

6. Stewards must give account of all. What would you 
wish were the matter of your true account, if death or judg- 
ment were to-morrow ? Would you not wish you had done all 
the good you could ? Do you believe that all shall be judged 
according to their works ? Did you ever well study that great 
prediction of Christ ? Matt. xxv. 

And it is some part of a reward on earth, that men that do 
much good, especially that to whole nations, are usually honoured 
by posterity, however they be rewarded by the present age. 

7. Every true Christian is absolutely devoted to do good. 
What, else is it to be devoted to God, our Creator and Redeemer ? 
What live we for, or what should we desire to live for, but to 
do good ? 

II. But this exhortation is especially applicable to them that 
have special opportunity. 

crates are the capitals in the societies and public 
affairs of mankind. They are placed highest that they may 
have an universal influence. Though it be too high a word to 
call them gods, or God's vicegerents, (unless secundum quid,) 
yet they are his officers and regent ministers ; but it is for 
the common good. In them God shows what order can do in 
the government of the world. As the placing of the same figure 

VOL. XVII. Y 



322 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

before many, doth accordingly advance its value in signification, 
so it is a wonder to note what the place of one man signifieth at 
the head of an army, of a city, of a kingdom. They are ap- 
pointed by God to govern men in a just subordination to 
God's government, and not otherwise. To promote obe- 
dience to God's laws by theirs, and by their judgment and 
execution to give men a foretaste what they may at last ex- 
pect from God : and by their rewards and punishments to 
foretel men whom God will reward and punish : and by their 
own examples to show the subjects how temperately, and so- 
berly, and godly, God would have them live. Atheists can see and 
fear a magistrate, that fear not God because they know him not. 

They that prefer those as the most worthy of honour whom 
God abhorreth for their wickedness, and hate and oppress those 
whom God will honour, do show themselves enemies to him that 
giveth them all their power. And they that by countenance 
or practice do teach men to despise the fear of God, and to 
make light of drunkenness, whoredom, lying, perjury, and such 
like odious crimes, do, in a sort, blaspheme God himself, as if he 
who exalted them were a lover of sin, and a hater of his own 
laws and service. There are few rulers that are unwilling of 
power, or to be accounted great ; and do they not know, that it 
is a power to do good that God has given them ; and that 
obligation to do it is as essential to their office as authority ? 
And that they who govern as the officers of God, and pretend to 
be liker him in greatness than their subjects, must also be liker to 
him in wisdom and goodness. 

Wo to that man who abuseth and opposeth the just and 
faithful in the name of God, and by pretence of authority from 
him to do it ! Wo to him that in God's name, and as by his 
authority, countenanceth the wicked whom God abhorreth, and 
under Christ's banner fighteth against him ! As Christ saith of 
the offensive, " It were good for that man that he had never 
been born." (Prov. xxiv. 24.) "He that saith to the wicked, 
thou art righteous, him shall the people curse ; nations shalL 
abhor him." (Prov. xvii. 15.) " He that justifieth the wicked, 
and he that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomi- 
nation to the Lord. 

God looketh for great service from great men ; great trust 
and talents must have great account ; a prince, a lord, a ruler, 
must do much more good, in promoting piety, conscience, vir- 
tue, than the best inferiors 5 to whom men give much, from 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 323 

them they expect the more. It greatly concerneth such men 
seriously to ask their conscience, can I do no more to encourage 
godliness, conscience, and justice, and to disgrace malignity, 
brutish sensuality, and fleshly lusts, than I have done ? O when 
they must hear, " Give account of thy stewardship, thou shalt 
be no longer steward," little think many rulers what an account 
it is that will be required of them ! O what a deal of good may 
the rulers of the earth do, if, instead of over-minding their par- 
tial interests, and serving the desires of the flesh, they did but 
set themselves with study and resolution to promote the com- 
mon good, by disgracing sin, and encouraging wisdom, piety, 
and peace ! And where this is not sincerely done, as surely as 
there is a righteous God, and a future judgment, they shall pay 
for their omissive treachery. And if Satan do prevail to set his 
own captains over the armies of the Lord, to betray them to 
perdition, they shall be deepest in misery, as they were in guilt. 
One would think the great delight that is to be found in doing 
good to all, should much more draw men to desire authority and 
greatness, than either riches, or voluptuousness, or a domineer- 
ing desire that all men should fulfil their wills. 

II. The ministers of Christ also have the next opportunity to 
do good to many ; and it is a debt that by many and great 
obligations they owe to Christ and men. But it will not be done 
without labour, and condescension, and unwearied patience. It 
is undertaken by all that are ordained to this office, but O that 
it were performed faithfully by all ! What a doleful life would 
the perfidious soul-betrayers live if they knew what a guilt they 
have to answer for ! Even the contempt of the people's souls, 
and of the blood of Christ that purchased them ! O hear that 
vehement adjuration, (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 kingdom, preach the 
word ; be instant, in season and out of season ; reprove, rebuke, 
exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine." Speak with holy 
studied skill ; speak with love and melting pity ; speak with 
importunity ; take no denial ; speak as St. Paul, (Acts xx.,) 
publiclv, and from house to house ; speak before you are silenced 
in the dust ; speak before death have taken away your hearers. 
It is for souls, it is for Christ, it is for yourselves too : while you 
have opportunity, do good to all. But of this I have formerly 
said more in my c Reformed Pastor.' 

III. And let all men take their common and special oppor- 

y2 



324 HOW TO X)0 GOOD TO MANY. 

tunities to do good : time will not stay ; yourselves, your wives, 
your children, your servants, your neighbours, are posting to 
another world ; speak now what you would have them hear ; do 
them now all the good you can. It must be now or never ; 
there is no returning from the dead to warn them. O live not as 
those infidels, who think it enough to do no harm, and to serve 
their carnal minds with pleasure, as born for nothing but a 
decent and delightful life on earth. You are all in the vineyard 
or harvest of the Lord; work while it is day, the night is at hand 
when none can work ; wo to the slothful, treacherous hypocrite 
when the judgment cometh ! 

Stay not till you are entreated to do good ; study it, and seek 
it. Give while there are men that need, and while you have it, 
especially to the household of faith. Fire and thieves may de- 
prive you of it; at the furthest, death will quickly do it. Happy 
are they that know their day, and, trusting in Christ, do study 
to serve him in doing good to all. 

And the doctrine in hand doth further teach us some con- 
sectaries which all do not well consider. 

I. That living chiefly to the flesh in worldly prosperity, and 
dropping now and then some small good on the by, to quiet 
conscience, is the property of an hypocrite. But to sound 
Christians, fruitfulness in doing good is the very trade of their 
lives, of which they are zealous, and which they daily study. 

II. That all Christians should be very careful to avoid doing 
public hurt ; it woundeth conscience to be guilty of wronging 
of any one man ; we find it in dying men, that cannot die in 
peace till they have confessed wrongs, and made satisfaction, 
and asked forgiveness. And who knoweth but the many appa- 
ritions that have certainly been on such occasions may be done 
by miserable souls, to seek some ease of the torment of their 
own consciences ? But to hurt many, even whole parishes, 
cities, churches, kingdoms, how much more grievous will it 
prove ! And yet, alas ! how quickly may it be done : and how 
ordinarily is it done. What grievous mischief may even well- 
meaning men do by one mistaken practice, or rash act. By 
the fierce promoting one error ; by letting loose one passion, 
or carnal affection ; by venturing once on secret sin ; yea, 
by one rash, sinful word. How much more if they are drawn 
and set in an unlawful interest and way. And little know we 
when a spark is kindled how it will end, or how many ways 
Satan hath to improve it. And one hurtful action, or unwarrant- 



HOW TO BO GOOD TO MANY. 325 

able way, may blast abundance of excellent endowments, and 
make such a grievous damage to the church, who else might 
have been an eminent blessing. And if good men may do so 
much hurt, what have the enemies of godliness to answer for, 
who, by worldliness and malignity, are corrupters, dividers, and 
destroyers ? 

III. The text plainly intimateth that it is a great crime in 
them, that instead of doing good while they have opportunity, 
think it enough to leave it by will to their executors to do it. 
When they have lived to the flesh, and cannot take it with them, 
they think it enough to leave others to do that good which they 
had not a heart to do themselves ; but a treasure must be laid 
up in heaven beforehand, and not be left to be sent after;, 
(Matt. vi. 20, 21;) and he that will make friends of the mam- 
mon of unrighteousness must now be rich towards God ; (Luke 
xii. 21 ;) it is no victory over the world to leave it when you 
cannot keep it ; nor will any legacy purchase heaven for an un- 
holy, worldly soul. 

IV. Yet they that will do good neither living nor dying are 
worst of all. Surely the last acts of our lives, if possibje, should 
be the best ; and as we must live in health, so also in sickness, 
and to the last in doing all the good we can ; and, therefore, it 
must needs be a great sin to leave our estates to those that are 
like to do hurt with them, or to do no good, so far as we are 
the free disposers of them. 

The case, I confess, is not without considerable difficulties, 
how much a man is bound to leave to his children, or his near- 
est kindred, when some of them are disposed to live unprofita- 
bly, and some to live ungocllily and hurtfully. Some think men 
are bound to leave them nothing; some think they ought to leave 
them almost all ; and some think that they should leave them 
only so much as may find them tolerable food and raiment. I 
shall do my best to decide the case in several propositions. 

1 . The case is not with us as it was with the Israelites, who 
might not alienate their inheritances from the tribes ; yet even 
they had power to prefer a younger son, that was more deserv- 
ing, before an elder, that was worse. 

2. Where either law or contract have disabled a man to alien- 
ate his estate from an ungodly heir, there is no room for a doubt 
what he must do. 

3. Nature teachelh all men to prefer a child that is pious and 
hopeful in his provisions and legacies, before a stranger that is 



320 HOW TO DO GOO]) TO MANY. 

somewhat better, and not to alienate his estate for want of a 
higher degree of goodness. 

4. When there is just cause to disinherit an elder son, a 
younger is to be preferred before a stranger ; or a kinsman, if 
there be no tolerable son. 

5. And a son that ought not to be trusted with riches, or a 
great estate, yet ought to have food and raiment ; (unless he 
come to that state of obstinate rebellion in sin, for which God's 
law commanded the Israelites to bring forth their sons to be 
put to death ; in such cases the house of correction is fittest for 
them ;) yet should he have such food as may humble him, and 
not to gratify his lust. 

6. If a man that hath the full power to dispose of his estate, 
real or personal, have sons and kindred, that, according to the 
judgment of sound reason, are like, if they had this estate, to do 
mischief with it, or maintain them in a wicked life, or in a mere 
unprofitable life of idleness, living only to themselves, and fleshly 
ease and pleasure, that man ought to give his estate from such 
to some that are more likely to do good with it, and to use it for 
God, and the public benefit. 

This is much contrary to the common course of most, that 
think no estate too great for their heirs, nor any portion too 
great for their daughters, be they what they will, or what use 
soever they are like to make of it : but these following reasons 
prove it to be true. 

1. Every man hath his estate from God, and for God, and is 
bound, as his steward, accordingly to use it. This is past doubt ; 
and how doth that man use it for God, who leaveth it to one 
that is likely to use it for the devil, in a fleshly, unprofitable life ? 
What account can such a steward give ? Did God give it you 
to maintain idleness and sin ? 

Obj. O, but it is a son whom I am bound to provide for. 
Ans. Are you more bound to your son than to yourself? God 
doth not allow you to spend it on yourself, to maintain idleness 
and vice. (Rom. xiii. 13, 14.) "Make no provision for the flesh to 
satisfy the lust (or will) thereof." And may you leave it for such 
a use as is forbidden both your son and you ? It is God that is 
the owner of it, and it is to him that you must both use and 
leave it : u Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all 
to the glory of God." And will you leave it to be the fuel of lust 
and sin ? 

Obj. I leave it not for sin ; but if he misuse it I cannot help 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 327 

it. Ans. Would that excuse you if you put a sword into a mad- 
man's hand to say, I cannot help it if he use it ill ? You might 
have helped it 3 it is supposed that you foreknew how he was 
like to use it. 

Obj. But he may prove better hereafter, as some do. Ans. 
It is not bare possibilities that must guide a wise man's actions 
when probability is against them. Would you commit your 
children to the care of a madman, or a knave, because he may 
possibly come to his wits, or become honest ? Have you not 
long tried him, and have you not endeavoured to cure him of his 
idleness, wickedness, or lust ? If it be not done, what ground 
have you to presume it will be done when you are dead ? You 
may have so much hope as not utterly to despair of him, but 
that will not allow you to trust him with that which God made 
you steward of for his use and service. 

But if such hopes may be gratified, give your estate in trust 
to some conscionable friend, with secret order to give it your 
son, or kinsman, if he become hereafter fit to use it according to 
the ends for which God giveth it. 

Reas. 2. The obligation in my text of doing good to all, ex- 
tendeth to the end of our lives, and, therefore, to our last will 
and testament. Therefore, you must make your wills so as may 
do good to all, and not to cherish sin and idleness. 

Reas. 3. You are bound to your best to destroy sin and idle- 
ness, and, therefore, not to feed and cherish it. 

Reas. 4. Doing good is the very thing which you are cre- 
ated, redeemed, and sanctified for ; and, therefore, you must ex- 
tend your endeavours to the utmost, and to the last, that as much 
as may be, may be done when you are dead. If magistrates and 
ministers took care for no longer than their own lives, what 
would become of the state or church., 

Reas. 5. The common good is better than the plenty of a 
sinful child ; yea, it is to be preferred before the best child, and 
before ourselves, and, therefore, much more before the worst. 

Reas. 6. It is a dreadful thing to be guilty of all the fleshly 
sins which your ungodly sons will commit with your estate, when 
they shall by it maintain the sins of Sodom, pride, fulness of 
bread, and abundance of idleness, if not to strengthen their 
hands for oppression or persecution, to think that they will 
spend their days in voluptuousness, because you give them pro- 
vision for the flesh. 

Reas. 7. It is cruelty to them that are already so bad to make 



328 HOW TO DO GOOJ) TO MANY. 

their temptations to sin much stronger, and their place in hell 
the worse, and to make the way to heaven as hard to them as 
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle ; to prepare them 
to want a drop of water in hell, who were clothed richly, and 
fared sumptuously on earth ; to entice them to say, c Soul, take 
thine ease, thou hast enough laid up for many years/ till they 
hear, ' Thou fool, this night shall they require thy soul ;' to 
cherish that love of the world which is enmity to God, hy feed- 
ing that lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes, and pride of life, 
which are not of the Father, hut of the world. 

Reas. 8. When this preferring unprofitable and ungodly 
children before God and the common good is so common and 
reigning a sin in the world, it is a great fault for religious men 
to encourage them in it by their example, and to do as they. 

Reas. 9. It is a sin to cast away any of God's gifts. When 
Christ had fed men by a miracle, he saith, " Gather up the frag- 
ments that nothing be lost :" if you should cast your money into 
the sea, it were a crime ; but to leave to such as you foresee are 
most likely to use it sinfully is more than casting it away. 

If you saw men offer sacrifice to Bacchus, or Venus, you would 
abhor it : do not that which is so like it, as to leave bad men 
fuel for fleshly lust. 

Reas. 10. It is the more dreadful, because it is dying in 
studied sin, without repentance. To put so much sin into one's 
will, shows a full consent, and leaveth no room and time to re- 
pent of it. 

On all these accounts, I advise all the stewards of God, as 
they love him, and the public good, and their own souls, while 
they have opportunity, even to the last breath, to do good to all, 
and to provide more for the common good than for superfluities 
to any, and than for the maintaining ungodly children in sin, to 
the increase of their guilt and misery. 

Indeed, in the choice of a calling, employment, and condi- 
tion of life, and place for their children, doing good should be 
preferred before their rising in the world : and they that justly 
endeavour to raise their families in wealth, honour, or power, 
should do it only that they might do the more good. But it is 
Satan's design to turn all God's mercies to the cherishing of 
wickedness, and even the love of parents to their children to the 
poisoning of their souls, the strengthening of their snares, and 
the hinderance of their own and other men's salvation. But it 
is shame and pity that they who in baptism devoted their chil- 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 329 

dren to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, renouncing 
the world, the flesh, and the devil, as under the banner of the 
cross, should labour all their life, that impenitently at death they 
may leave all that they can get to such as, in all probability, will 
use it in pride, fulness, and idleness, for the flesh, the world, and 
the devil, against him and his interest, from whom they re- 
ceived it 5 and to whom both they and all they had were once 
devoted. 

When men are loth that their estates should remove from the 
name and family, (for which there may be just cause,) I take it 
for the safest way, as aforesaid, to trust some, as men do their 
children with guardians, by the advice of lawyers, to secure all 
from their unworthy heirs, for the next, or some other of the 
name and lineage, that proveth worthy. 

There are many other good works by which some rich men 
may be very profitable to the commonwealth, such as setting 
all the poor on work, and building hospitals for the impo- 
tent, &c.j but these this city is happily acquainted with 
already ; and though still there be much wanting, yet there is 
much done. 

V. But one more I will presume to name only to you that are 
merchants, for I am not one who have the ear of princes, who 
are more able. Might not somewhat more be done than yet is, 
to further the gospel in your factories, and in our plantations ? 
Old Mr. Eliots, with his helpers in New England, have shown 
that somewhat may be done, if others were as charitable and 
zealous as they. The Jesuits and friars showed us, in Congo, 
Japan, China, and other countries, that much might be done 
with care and diligence. Though the papal interest was a cor- 
rupt end, and all the means which they used were not justifiable, 
when I read of their hazards, unwearied labours, and success, 
I am none of those that would deprive them of their deserved 
honour, but rather wish that we who have better ends and prin- 
ciples, might do better than they, and not come so far behind 
them as we do, if half be true that Peter Maffaeus, and the Jesuits' 
epistles, and many other writers, tell us of them. I know that 
they had the advantage of greater helps from kings, and pope, 
and prelates, and colleges endowed with trained men and 
copious maintenance. But might not somewhat more be done 
by us than is yet done ? 

1. Is it not possible to send some able, zealous chaplains to 



330 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

those factories which are in the countries of infidels and hea- 
thens ; such as thirst for the conversion of sinners, and the 
enlargement of the church of Christ, and would labour skil- 
fully and diligently therein ? Is it not possible to get some short 
christian books, which are fitted for that use, to be translated 
into such languages that infidels can read, and to distribute them 
among them ? If it be not possible also to send thither reli- 
gious, conscionable factors, who would further the work, the 
case of London is very sad. 

II. Is it not possible, at least, to help the poor ignorant 
Armenians, Greeks, Muscovites, and other Christians, who have 
no printing among them, nor much preaching or knowledge ; 
and, for want of printing, have very few Bibles, even for their 
churches or ministers ? Could nothing be done to get some 
Bibles, catechisms, and practical books printed in their own 
tongues, and given among them ? I know there is difficulty in 
the way ; but money, and willingness, and diligence, might do 
something. 

III. Might not something be done in other plantations, as 
well as in New England, towards the conversion of the natives 
there? Might not some skilful, zealous preachers be sent 
thither, who would promote serious piety among those of 
the English that have too little of it, and might invite the 
Americans to learn the gospel, and teach our planters how 
to behave themselves christianly towards them, to win them to 
Christ ? 

IV. Is it not possible to do more than hath been done to con- 
vert the blacks that are our own slaves, or servants, to the chris- 
tian faith ? Hath not Mr. Goodwin justly reprehended and 
lamented the neglect, yea, and resistance of this work in Barba- 
does, and the like elsewhere ? 1 . Might not better teachers be 
sent thither for that use ? 2. Is it not an odious crime of Chris- 
tians to hinder the conversion of these infidels, lest they lose 
their service by it, and to prefer their gain before men's souls ? 
Is not this to sell souls for a little money, as Judas did his Lord ? 
And whereas the law manumits them from servitude when they 
turn Christians, that it may invite them to conversion, (and this 
occasioneth wicked Christians to hinder them from knowledge,) 
were it not better move the Government, therefore, to change 
that law, so far as to allow these covetous masters their service 
for a certain time, using them as free servants ? 3. And whereas 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 331 

they are allowed only the Lord's Day for their own labour, and 
some honest Christians would willingly allow them some other 
time instead of it, that they might spend the Lord's day in 
learning to know Christ, and worship God, but they dare not 
do it, lest their wicked neighbours rise against them, for giving 
their slaves such an example ; might not the governors be pro- 
cured to force the whole plantation to it by a law, even to allow 
their infidel servants so much time on another day, and cause 
some to congregate them for instruction on the Lord's days ? 
Why should those men be called Christians, or have any chris- 
tian reputation, or privileges themselves, who think both Chris- 
tianity and souls to be no more worth than to be thus basely 
sold for the gain of men's servilest labours ? And what, though 
the poor infidels desire not their own conversion, their need is 
the greater, and not the less. 

V. I conclude with this moving inference : The great oppo- 
sition that is made against doing good by the devil and his 
whole army through all the world, and their lamentable success, 
doth call aloud to all true Christians to over-do them. O what 
a kingdom of malignants hath Satan, doing mischief to men's 
souls and bodies through the earth ! hating the godly ; oppressing 
the just; corrupting doctrine; introducing lies; turning Christ's 
labourers out of his vineyard; forbidding them to preach in his 
name the saving word of life ; hiding or despising the laws of 
Christ, and setting up their own wills and devices in their stead; 
making dividing, distracting engines, on pretence of order, 
government, and unity ; murdering men's bodies, and ruining 
their estates, and slandering their names, on pretence of love to 
the church and souls ; encouraging profaneness, blasphemy, 
perjury, whoredom, and scorning conscience, and fear of sin- 
ning. What diligence doth Satan use through the verv chris- 
tian nations, to turn Christ's ordinances of magistracy and mi- 
nistrv against himself, and to make his own officers the most 
mischievous enemies to his truth and kingdom, and saving 
work ; to tread down his family and spiritual worship, as if it 
were by his own authority and commission. To preach down 
truth, and conscience, and real godliness, as in Christ's own 
name, and fight against him with his own word, and to teach 
the- people to hate his servants, as if this pleased the God of 
love. 

And, alas ! how dismal is their success ! In the East, the 



332 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 

church is hereby destroyed by the barbarous Mahometans : the 
remnants by their prelates continued in sects, in great ignorance, 
and dead formality, reproaching and anathematizing one another, 
and little hope appearing of recovery. In the West, a dead 
image of religion, and unity, and order, dressed up with a mul- 
titude of gauds, and set up against the life and soul of religion, 
unity, and order, and a war hereupon maintained for their de- 
struction, with sad success : so that, usually, the more zealous 
men are for the papal and formal human image, the more zea- 
lously they study the extirpation of worshipping God in spirit 
and truth, and thirst after the blood of the most serious wor- 
shippers 5 and cry down them as intolerable enemies who take 
their baptism for an obliging vow, and seriously endeavour to 
perform it, and live in good earnest, as Christianity bindeth 
them : and they take it for an insufferable crime to prefer 
God's authority before man's, and to plead his law against any 
thing that men command them. In a word, he is unworthy 
to be accounted a Christian with them, who will be a Christ- 
ian indeed, and not despise the laws of Christ, and unworthy 
to have the liberty and usage of a man that will not sin and 
damn his soul : so much more cruel are they than the Turkish 
tyrants, who, if they send to a man for his head, must be 
obeyed. 

And is the devil a better master than Christ ? And shall his 
work be done with greater zeal and resolution ? Will he give 
his servants a better reward ? Should not all this awaken 
us to do good with greater diligence than they do evil ? And 
to promote love and piety more earnestly than they do malig- 
nity and iniquity ? Is not saving church and state, souls 
and bodies, better worth resolution and labour than destroy- 
ing them ? 

And the prognostics are encouraging. Certainly, Christ and 
his kingdom will prevail. At last, all his enemies shall be made 
his footstool ; yea, shall from him receive their doom to ever- 
lasting punishment, which rebels against omnipotency, good- 
ness, and mercy, do deserve. Jf God be not God, if Christ 
will not conquer, if there be no life to come, let them boast of 
their success : but when they are rottenness, and dust, and their 
souls with devils, and their names are a reproach, Christ will be 
Christ, his promises and threatenings all made good. (2 Thess. 
i. 6, &c.) He will judge it righteous to recompense tribulation 



HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY. 333 

to your troublers, when he cometh with his mighty angels in 
flaming fire, to take vengeance on rebels, and to be glorified in 
his saints, and admired in all true believers. And when that 
solemn judgment shall pass on them that did good, and that did 
evil, described Matt, xxv., with a " Come, ye blessed, inherit 
the kingdom," and " Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." Doing 
good and not doing it, much more doing mischief, will be better 
distinguished than now they are, when they are rendered as the 
reason of those different dooms. 



TRUE CHRISTIANITY; 



OR, 



CHRIST'S ABSOLUTE DOMINION, 

AND 

MAN'S NECESSARY SELF-RESIGNATION 
AND SUBJECTION. 

IIV TWO ASSIZE SERMONS, 

PREACHED BEFORE THE HONOURABLE JUDGE OF 
ASSIZE, AT WORCESTER, AUG. 2, 1654. 



" For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might 
be Lord both of the dead and the living." — Rom. xiv. 9. 



TO THE 



RIGHT HONOURABLE SERJEANT GLYN, 



NOW JUDGE OF ASSIZE IN THIS CIRCUIT. 



My Lord, 

Could my excuse have satisfied you, this sermon had been 
confined to the auditory it was prepared for. I cannot expect 
that it should find that candour and favour with every reader, 
as it did with the hearers. When it must speak to all, the 
guilty will hear, and then it will gall. Innocency is patient 
in hearing a reproof, and charitable in the interpretation, but 
guilt will smart and quarrel, and usually make a fault in him 
that findeth one in them. Yet I confess this is but a poor jus- 
tification of his silence that hath a call to speak. Both my 
calling and this sermon would condemn me, if, on such grounds, 
I should draw back, but my backwardness was caused by the 
reason which I then tendered your Lordship as my excuse, viz., 
because here is nothing but what is common, and that it is in 
as common and homely a dress. And I hope we need not 
fear that our labours are dead, unless the press shall give them 
life. We bring not sermons to church, as we do a corpse for 
a burial. If there be life in them, and life in the hearers, the 
connaturality will cause such an amicable closure, that through 
the reception, retention, and operation of the soul, they will 
be the immortal seed of a life everlasting. But yet seeing 
the press hath a louder voice than mine, and the matter in 
hand is of such exceeding necessity, I shall not refuse, upon 
such an invitation, to be a remembrancer to the world of a 
doctrine and duty of such high concernment, though they 
have heard it ever so oft before. Seeing, therefore, I must 
present that now to your eyes, which I lately presented to your 
ears, I shall take the boldness to add one word of application 
in this epistle, which I thought not seasonable to mention in 
the first delivery, and that shall be to your Lordship, and all 
VOL XVII. z 



338 TO THE RIGHT HON. SERJEANT GLYN. 

others in your present case, that are elected members of this 
expected Parliament. Be sure to remember the interest of your 
Sovereign, the great Lord-protector of heaven and earth. And 
as ever you will make him a comfortable account of your power, 
abilities, and opportunities of serving him, see that you prefer 
his interest before your own, or any man's on earth. If you 
go not thither as sent by Him, with a firm resolution to serve 
him first, you were better sit at home. Forget not that he 
hath laid claim to you, and to all that you have, and all that 
you can do. I am bold with all possible earnestness to entreat 
you, yea, as Christ's minister to require you, in his name, to 
study and remember his business and interest, and see that it 
have the chief place in all your consultations. Watch against 
the encroachments of your own carnal interests, consult not 
with flesh and blood, nor give it the hearing when it shall offer 
you its advice. How subtilly will it insinuate ! How impor- 
tunately will it urge you ! How certainly will it mar all, if you 
do not constantly and resolvedly watch ! O how hard, but 
how happy is it to conquer this carnal self ! Remember still 
that you are not your own; that you have an unseen master that 
must be pleased, whoever be displeased, and an unseen kingdom 
to be obtained, and an invisible soul that must be saved, though 
all the world be lost, Fix your eyes still on him that made 
and redeemed you, and upon the ultimate end of your christian 
race, and do nothing wilfully unworthy such a master, and 
such an end. Often renew your self-resignation, and devote 
yourself to him ; sit close at his work, and be sure that it be 
his, both in the matter, and in your intent. If conscience should 
at any time ask c Whose work are you now doing }' Or a man 
should pluck you by the sleeve, and say, e Sir, whose cause 
are you now pleading?' See that you have the answer of a 
Christian at hand ; delay not God's work till you have done 
your own, or any one's else. You will best secure the common- 
wealth, and your own interest, by looking first to his. By neg- 
lecting this, and being carnally wise, we have wheeled about 
so long in the wilderness, and lost those advantages against the 
powers of darkness, which we know not whether we shall ever 
recover again. It is the great astonishment of sober men, and 
not the least reproach that ever was cast on our holy profession, 
to think with what a zeal for the work of Christ men seemed 
to be animated in the beginning of our disagreements, and 
how deeply they did engage themselves to him in solemn vows, 



TO THE RIGHT HON. SERJEANT GLYN. 339 

protestations, and covenants, and what advantages carnal self 
hath since got, and turned the stream another way ! So that 
the same men have since been the instruments of our calamity, 
in breaking in pieces and dishonouring the churches of Christ, 
yea, and gone so near to the taking down, as much as in them 
lay, the whole ministry that stand approved in the land. O do 
not, by trifling, give advantage to the tempter to destroy your 
work and you together ! Take warning by the sad experiences 
of what is past, bestir you speedily and vigorously for Christ, 
as knowing your opposition, and the shortness of your time. 
c Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall 
find so doing.' If you ask me wherein this interest of Christ 
doth consist, I shall tell you, but in a few unquestionable par- 
ticulars. 1. In the main, that truth, godliness, and honesty 
be countenanced and encouraged, and their contraries by all fit 
means suppressed. 2. In order to this, that unworthy men be 
removed from magistracy and ministry, and the places supplied 
with the fittest that can be had. 3. That a competent main- 
tenance may be procured where it is wanting, especially for 
cities and great towns, where more teachers are so necessary 
in some proportion to the number of souls, and on which the 
country doth so much depend. Shall an age of such high pre- 
tences to reformation and zeal for the churches, alienate so 
much, and then leave them destitute, and say, it cannot be had ? 
4. That right means be used, with speed and diligence, for the 
healing of our divisions, and the uniting of all the true churches 
of Christ at last, in these nations ; and O that your endeavours 
might be extended much further ! To which end I shall mention 
but these two means of most evident necessity. 1. That there 
be one Scripture creed, or confession of faith, agreed on by 
a general assembly of able ministers, duly and freely chosen 
hereunto, which shall contain nothing but matter of evident 
necessity and verity. This will serve, 1. For a test to the 
churches to discern the sound professors from the unsound, (as 
to their doctrine,) and to know them with whom they may 
close as brethren, and whom they must reject. 2. For a test 
to the magistrate of the orthodox to be encouraged, and of the 
intolerably heterodox, which it seems is intended in the 37th 
article of the late formed government, where all that will have 
liberty must profess faith in God by Jesus Christ, which, in a 
christian sense, must comprehend every true fundamental 
article of our faith, and, no doubt, it is not the bare speaking 

z 2 ' 



340 TO THE RIGHT HON. SERJEANT GLYN. 

of those words in an unchristian sense that is intended ; as if 
a ranter should say, that himself is God, and his mate is Jesus 
Christ. 

2. That there be a public establishment of the necessary li- 
berty of the churches, to meet their officers and delegates on 
all just occasions, in assemblies smaller or greater, (even na- 
tional, when it is necessary,) seeing, without associations and 
communion in assemblies, the unity and concord of the churches 
is not like to be maintained. I exclude not the magistrates' 
interest, or oversight, to see that they do not transgress their 
bounds. As you love Christ, and his church, and gospel, and 
men's souls, neglect not these unquestionable points of his in- 
terest, and make them your first and chiefest business, and let 
none be preferred before him until you know them to be of 
more authority over you, and better friends to you, than Christ 
is. Should there be any among you that cherish a secret root 
of infidelity, after such pretences to the purest Christianity, and 
are zealous of Christ lest he should over-top them, and do set 
up an interest inconsistent with his sovereignty, and thereupon 
grow jealous of the liberties and power of his ministers, and of 
the unity and strength of his church, and think it their best 
policy to keep under his ministers, by hindering them from the 
exercise of their office, and to foment divisions, and hinder our 
union, that they may have parties ready to serve their ends; I 
would not be in the case of such men, when God ariseth to 
judge them, for all the crowns and kingdoms on earth ! If they 
stumble on this stone, it will break them in pieces, but if it 
fall upon them, it will grind them to powder. They may seem 
to prevail against him awhile, when their supposed success 
is but a prosperous self-destroying, but mark the end, when 
his wrath is kindled, yea, but a little, and when these, his ene- 
mies that would not he should reign over them, are brought 
forth and destroyed before him, then they will be convinced 
of the folly of their rebellion. In the mean time, let wisdom 
be justified of her children. 

My lord, I had not troubled you with so many words, had I 
not judged it probable that many more whom they concern may 
peruse them. I remain, 

Your Lordship's servant in the work of Christ, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

August 5, 1654. 



A SERMON 



ON THE 



ABSOLUTE DOMINION OF GOD-REDEEMER; 



AND 



THE NECESSITY OF BEING DEVOTED AND LIVING 

TO HIM. 



1 CORINTHIANS vi. 19, 20. 



And ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price, there- 
fore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are 
God's, 

Fundamentals in religion are the life of the superstructure. 
Like the vitals and naturals in the body, which are first necessary 
for themselves and you also, for the quickening and nourishing 
of the rest ; there being no life or growth of the inferior parts, 
but what they do receive from the powers of these : it is but a 
dead discourse, which is not animated by these greater truths, 
whatever the bulk of its materials may consist of. The frequent 
repetition, therefore, of these is as excusable as frequent preach- 
ing : and they that nauseate it as loathsome battology, do love 
novelty better than verity, and playing with words to please the 
fancy, rather than closing with Christ to save the soul. And as 
it is the chief part of the cure, in most external maladies, to cor- 
roborate the vital and natural powers, which then will do the 
work themselves, so it is the most effectual course for the cure 
of particular miscarriages in men's lives, to further the main 
work of grace upon their hearts. Could we make men better 
Christians, it would do much to make them better magistrates, 
counsellors, jurors, witnesses, subjects, neighbours, &c. And 
this must be done by the deeper impress of those vital truths 
and the good in them exhibited, which are adequate objects of 
our vital graces. Could we help you to wind up the spring of 



342 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

faith, and so move the first wheel of christian love, we should 
find it the readiest and surest means to move the inferior wheels 
of duty. The flaws and irregular motions without, do show 
that something is amiss within, which, if we could rectify, we 
might the easier mend the rest. I shall suppose, therefore, that 
I need no more apology for choosing such a subject at such a 
season as this, than for bringing bread to a feast. And if I me- 
dicate the brain and heart, for the curing of senseless paralytic 
members, or the inordinate convulsive motions of any hearers, I 
have the warrant of the apostle's example in my text. Among 
other great enormities in the church of Corinth, he had these 
three to reprehend and heal : first, their sidings and divisions 
occasioned by some factious, self-seeking teachers. Secondly, 
their personal contentions by law-suits, and that before unbe- 
lieving judges. Thirdly, the foul sin of fornication, which some 
among them had fallen into. The great cure which he useth to 
all these, and more especially to the last, is the urging of these 
great foundation truths, whereof one is in the words before my 
text, viz., the right of the Holy Ghost ; the other in the words 
of my text, which contains, first, a denial of any right of pro- 
priety in themselves. Secondly, an asserting of Christ's pro- 
priety in them. Thirdly, the proof of this from his purchase, 
which is his title. Fourthly, their duty concluded from the for- 
mer premises, which is to glorify God, and that with the whole 
man, with the spirit, because God is a Spirit, and loathes hypo- 
crisy ; with the body, which is particularly mentioned, because 
it seems they were encouraged to fornication by such conceits, 
that it was but an act of the flesh, and not of the mind, and 
therefore, as they thought, the smaller sin. The apostle's words, 
from last to first, according to the order of intention, do express, 
first, man's duty to glorify God with soul and body, and not to 
serve our lusts. Secondly, the great fundamental obligation to 
this duty, God's dominion or propriety. Thirdly, the founda- 
tion of that dominion, Christ's purchase. According to the 
order of execution, from first to last, these three great funda- 
mentals of our religion lie thus : First, Christ's purchase. Se- 
condly, God's propriety thence arising. Thirdly, man's duty — 
wholly to glorify God, arising from both. The argument lies 
thus : they that are not their own, but wholly God's, should 
wholly glorify God, and not serve their lusts ; but you are not 
your own, but wholly God's : therefore you should wholly glo- 
rify God, and not serve your lusts. The major is clear by the 



OF GOD- REDEEMER. 343 

common light of nature. Every one should have the use of 
their own. The minor is proved thus : they that are bought with 
a price, are not their own, but his that bought them ; but you 
are bought with a price : therefore, &c. For the meaning of 
the terms briefly ; iavlSv, vestri, as the vulgar ; vestri juris, as 
Beza, and others, is most fitly expressed by our English, your 
own : " ye are bought:" a " synecdoche generis," saith Pis- 
cator, for "ye are redeemed with a price." There is no buy- 
ing without a price. This, therefore, is an emphatical pleonas- 
mus, as Beza, Piscator, and others ; as to see with the eyes, to 
hear with the ears. Or else, " a price," is put for " a great 
price," as Calvin, Peter Martyr, and Piscator, rather think : 
and therefore the vulgate adds the epithet magno, and the Ara- 
bic pretioso, as Beza notes, as agreeing to that of 1 Peter i. 18. 
I see not but we may suppose the apostle to respect both the 
purchase and the greatness of the price, as Grotius and some 
others do. " Glorify God," that is, by using your bodies and 
souls wholly for him, and abstaining from those lusts which do 
dishonour him. The vulgate adds et portate, q. cl. bear God 
about in your hearts, and let his Spirit dwell with you instead 
of lust. But this addition is contrary to all our Greek copies. 
Grotius thinks that some copies had dparov Qeov, and thence some 
unskilful scribe did put apa re : however, it seems that read- 
ing was very ancient, when not only Austin, but Cyprian and 
Tertullian followed it, as Beza noteth. The last words, " And 
in your spirit, which are God's," are out of all the old Latin 
translations, and therefore it is like out of the Greek, which 
they used : but they are in all the present Greek copies, except 
our manuscript, as also in the Syriac and Arabic version. 

The rest of the explication shall follow the doctrines, which 
are these. 

Doct. 2. Because we are so bought we are not our own, but 
his that bought us. 

Doct. 3. Because we are not our own, but wholly God's, there- 
fore we must not serve our lusts, but glorify him in the body and 
spirit. In these three conclusions is the substance of the text; 
which I shall first explain, and then make application of them 
in that order as the apostle here doth. 

The points that need explication are these. 

First. In what sense are we said to be bought with a price ? 
Who bought us ? And of whom ? And from what ? And 
with what price ? 



344 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

Secondly. How we are God's own upon the title of this pur- 
chase. 

Thirdly. How we are not our own. 

Fourthly. What it is to glorify God in body and in spirit on 
this account. 

Fifthly. Who they be that, on this ground, are or may be 
urged to this duty. 

1. For the first of these, whether buying here be taken 
properly or metaphorically I will not now inquire. 

First. Mankind by sin became guilty of death, liable to 
God's wrath, and a slave to Satan, and his own lusts. The sen- 
tence in part was past, and execution begun : the rest would 
have followed, if not prevented. This is the bondage from 
which we were redeemed. 

Secondly. He that redeemed us is the Son of God — himself 
God and man, and the Father by the Son. " He purchased us 
with his own blood." (Acts xx. 28.) 

Thirdly. The price was the whole humiliation of Christ; in 
the first act whereof, his incarnation, the Godhead was alone, 
which, by humbling itself, did suffer reputatively, which could 
not really. In the rest, the whole person was the sufferer, but 
still the human nature really, and the divine but reputatively. 
And why we may not add, as part of the price, the merit of that 
obedience, wherein his suffering did not consist, I yet see not. 
But from whom were we redeemed ? 

Answer. From Satan, by rescue against his will ; from God's 
wrath or vindictive justice, by his own procurement and consent. 
He substituted for us such a sacrifice, by which he could as fully 
attain the ends of his righteous government, in the demonstra- 
tion of his justice and hatred of sin, as if the sinner had suf- 
fered himself: and in this sound sense it is far from being an 
absurdity, as the socinian dreameth, for God to satisfy his own 
justice, or to buy us of himself, or redeem us from himself. 

2. Next let us consider how we are God's, upon the title of 
this purchase. By " God," here is meant both the Son, who 
being God, hath procured a right in us by his redemption, and 
also the Fathfv, who sent his Son, and redeemed us by him, and 
to whom it was that the Son redeemed us. " Thou hast re- 
deemed us to God by thy blood." (Rev. v. 9.) In one word, it 
is God as Redeemer, the manhood also of the second person in- 
cluded, that hath purchased this right. Here you must observe 
that God, as Creator, had a plenary right of propriety and 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 345 

government, on which he founded the law of works that then 
was. This right he hath not lost. Our fall did lose our right 
in him, but could not destroy his right in us. Because it de- 
stroyed our right, therefore the promissory part of that law was 
immediately thereupon dissolved, or ceased through our incapa- 
city, and therefore divines say that, as a covenant, it ceased ; 
but because it destroyed not God's right, therefore the precep- 
tive and penal parts of that law do still remain. But how re- 
main ? In their being ; but not alone, or without remedy : for 
the Son of God became a sacrifice in our stead ; not that we 
might absolutely, immediately, or, ipso facto <, be fully delivered, 
or that any man should, ab ipsa hostia, from the very sacrifice 
as made, have a right to the great benefits of personal, plenary 
reconciliation, and remission, and everlasting life \ but that the 
necessity of perishing through the dissatisfaction of justice for 
the alone offences against the law of works being removed from 
mankind, they might all be delivered up to him as proprietary 
and rector, that he might rule them as his redeemed ones, and 
make for them such new laws of grace, for the conveyances of 
his benefits, as might demonstrate the wisdom and mercy of our 
Redeemer, and be most suitable to his ends. The word is now 
morally dead in sin, though naturally alive. Christ hath re- 
deemed them, but will cure them by the actual conveyance of 
the benefits of redemption, or not at all. He hath undertaken 
to this end himself to be their physician, to cure all that will 
come to him and take him so to be, and trust him, and obey 
him in the application of his medicines. He hath erected an 
hospital, his church, to this end, and commanded all to come 
into this ark. Those that are far distant he first commandeth 
to come nearer, and those that are near he inviteth to come in. 
Too many do refuse, and perish in their refusal. He will not 
suffer all to do so, but mercifully boweth the wills of his elect, 
and, by an insuperable powerful drawing, compels them to come 
in. You may see, then, that here is a novum jus, et dominii, et 
imperii, a new right of propriety and rule, founded on the new 
bottom of redemption : but that this doth not destroy the old, 
which was founded on creation ; but it is in the very nature and 
use of it an emendative addition. Redemption is to mend the 
creature, not of any defect that was left in the creation, but 
from the ruin which came by our defacing transgression. The 
law of grace upon this redemption is superadded to the law of 
nature given on the creation : not to amend any imperfections 



346 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

in that law, but to save the sinner from its insufferable penalty 
by dissolving its obligation of him thereto : and thus, in its 
nature and use, it is a remedying law. And so you may see that 
Christ is now the owner, and, by right, the governor of the 
whole world, on the title of redemption, as God before was, and 
still is, on the title of creation. 

3. By this you may also perceive in what sense we are not 
our own. In the strictest sense, there is no proprietary, or ab- 
solute Lord, in the world, but God. No man can say this is 
fully and strictly mine. God gives us, indeed, whatever we 
enjoy $ but his giving is not as man's. We part with our pro- 
priety in that which we give, but God gives nothing so. His 
giving to us makes it not the less his own. As a man giveth 
his goods to his neighbour to dispose of for his use, or instru- 
ments to his servant to do his work with, so God giveth his 
benefits to us : or, at the utmost, as you give clothes to your 
child, which are more yours still than his, and you may take 
them away at your pleasure. I confess, when God hath told 
us that he will not take them away, he is, as it were, obliged, in 
fidelity, to continue them, but yet doth not, hereby, let go his 
propriety : and so Christ bids us call no man on earth Father, 
that is, our absolute lord or ruler, because we have but one such 
master, who is in heaven. (Matt, xxiii. 7 — 10.) So that you 
see by this what propriety is left us, and what right we have 
to ourselves and our possessions. Even such, as a steward in his 
master's goods, or a servant in his tools, or a child in his coat, 
which is a propriety, improper subordinate, and secundum quid, 
and will secure us against the usurpation of another. One ser- 
vant may not take his fellow's instrument from him, nor one 
child his brother's coat fom him, without the parent's or mas- 
ter's consent. They have them for their use, though not the 
full propriety. It may be called a propriety, in respect to our 
fellow servant, though it be not properly so as we stand in re- 
spect to God. We have right enough to confute the leveller, 
but not to exempt either us or ours from the claim and use of 
our absolute Lord. 

4. What it is to glorify God in body and spirit? I answer, 
in a word, it is when, upon true believing apprehensions of his 
right to us, and of our great obligations to him as our Re- 
deemer, we heartily and unfeignedly devote ourselves to him, 
and live as a people so devoted ; so bending the chief of our 
care and study how to please him in exact obedience, that the 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 347 

glory of his mercy and holiness, and of his wise and righteous 
laws, may be seen in our conversations ; and that the holy con- 
formity of our lives to these laws may show that there is like 
conformity in our minds, and that they are written in our hearts ; 
when the excellency of the christian religion is so apparent in 
the excellency of our lives, causing us to do that which no others 
can imitate, that the lustre of our good works may shine before 
men, and cause them to glorify our Father in heaven. To con- 
clude; when w r e still respect God as our only absolute sovereign, 
and Christ as our Redeemer, and his Spirit as our sanctifier, and 
his law as our rule ; that the doing of his will, and the denying 
of our own, is the daily work of our lives, and the promoting of 
his blessed ends is our end : this is the glorifying of God who 
hath redeemed us. 

5. The last question is, Who they be that are and may be 
urged to glorify God, on this ground, that he hath bought them ? 
Doubtless only those whom he hath bought ; but who are those ? 
It discourageth me to tell you, because among the godly it is a 
controversy ; but if they will controvert points of such great 
moment, they cannot disoblige or excuse us from preaching 
them. Among the variety of men's opinions it is safe to speak 
in the language of the Holy Ghost, and accordingly to believe, 
that, " As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all 
men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the 
free gift came upon all men, to justification of life;" (Rom. v. IS;) 
and, " That he gave himself a ransom for all, and is the only 
mediator between God and man." (1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.) "That he is 
the propitiation for our sins ; and not for ours only, but also for 
the sins of the whole world." (1 John ii. 2.) " That God is the 
Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe/' (1 Tim. iv. 
10.) "That he is the Saviour of the world." (John iv 42; 
1 John iv. 14, 15.) "That he tasteth death for every man," 
(Heb. ii. 9,) with many the like. It is sad to consider how 
men's unskilfulness to reconcile God's general grace with his 
special, and to assign to each its proper part, hath made the pe- 
lagians, and their successors, to deny the special grace ; and too 
many of late no less dangerously to deny the general grace ; 
and what contentions these two erroneous parties have main- 
tained, and still maintain, in the church, and how few observe 
or follow that true and sober mean which Austin, the maul of 
the pelagians, and his scholars, Prosper and Fulgentius, walked 
in 1 If when our dark confused heads are unable to assign each 



348 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

truth its place, and rightly to order each wheel and pin in the 
admirable fabric of God's revelations, we shall, therefore, fall a 
wrangling against them, and reject them, we may then be drawn 
to blaspheme the Trinity, to reject Christ's human nature or his 
divine ; and what truth shall we not be in danger to lose ? To 
think this general grace to be inconsistent with the special, is no 
wiser than to think the foundation inconsistent with the fabric 
that is built thereupon ; and that the builders themselves should 
have such thoughts is a matter of compassionate consideration 
to the friends of the church. Doubtless Christ died not for all 
alike, nor with equal intentions of saving them ; and yet he 
hath borne the sins of all men on the cross, and was a sacrifice, 
propitiation, and ransom for all. Even they that bring in 
damnable heresies, deny the Lord that bought them, and bring 
on themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter ii. 1.) "God sent not 
his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world 
through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not 
condemned ; but he that believeth not is condemned already, 
because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten 
Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come 
into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, be- 
cause their deeds were evil." (John iii. 17- — 19.) I doubt not 
but my text doth warrant me to tell you all that you are not 
your own, but are bought with a price, and, therefore, must 
glorify him that bought you ; and I am very confident, that if 
any one at judgment will be the advocate of an unbeliever, and 
say, he deserves not a sorer punishment for sinning against the 
Lord that bought him, his plea will not be taken ; or if any 
such would comfort the consciences in hell, or go about to cure 
them of so much of their torment, by telling them that they never 
sinned against one that redeemed them, nor ever rejected the 
blood of Christ shed for them, and, therefore, need not accuse 
themselves of any such sin, those poor sinners would not be able 
to believe them. If it be only the elect with whom we must 
thus argue, e You are not your own, you are bought with a 
price, therefore glorify God,' then can we truly plead thus 
with none till we know them to be elect, which will not be in 
this world. I do not think Paul knew them all to be elect that 
he wrote to, I mean, absolutely chosen to salvation ; nor do I 
think he would so peremptorily affirm them to be bought with a 
price, who were fornicators, defrauders, contentious, drunk at 
the Lord's supper, &c, and from hence have argued against their 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 349 

sins, if he had taken this for a privilege proper to the elect. I 
had rather say to scandalous sinners, ( You are bought with a 
price, therefore, glorify God/ than, ' You are absolutely elect to 
salvation, therefore, glorify God/ And I believe,, that as it is 
the sin of apostates to " Crucify to themselves the Son of God 
afresh," (Heb. vi. 5, 6,) so is it their misery, that "There re- 
maineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking 
for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the 
adversaries, because they have trodden under foot the Son of 
God, and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith they were 
sanctified, an unholy thing." (Heb. x. 26 — 28.) Lastly, I judge it 
also a good argument to draw us from offending others, and 
occasioning their sin, that "Through us our weak brother shall 
perish for whom Christ died/' (1 Cor. viii. 11.) So much for 
explication. 

I would next proceed to the confirmation of the doctrines 
here contained, but that they are so clear in the text, and in 
many others, that I think it next to needless, and we have now no 
time for needless work, and, therefore, shall only cite these two 
or three texts, which confirm almost all that I have said to- 
gether. (Rom. xiv. 9.) " For to this end Christ both died, and 
rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and 
living." (2 Cor. v. 14, 15.) "We thus judge, that if one died 
for all, then were all dead ; and that he died for all, that they 
which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto 
him which died for them, and rose again." (Matt, xxviii. 
18 — 20.) "All power is given me in heaven, and in earth. Go 
ye, therefore, disciple all nations, baptizing them, &c, teaching 
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." 
(I Peter i. 17, 18.) "If ye call on the Father who without 
respect of persons judgeth every man according to his works, 
pass the time of your sojourning here in fear; forasmuch as ye 
know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as 
silver and gold, from your vain conversation, but with the 
precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and 
without spot." These texts speak to the same purpose with 
that which I have in hand. 

Use. In applying these very useful truths, would time permit, 
I should begin at the intellect^ with a confutation of divers con- 
trary errors, and a collection of many observable consectaries. It 
would go better with all the commonwealths and princes on earth, 
if they well considered that the absolute propriety and sove- 



350 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

reignty of God-redeemer is the basis of all lawful societies and 
governments ; and that no man hath any absolute propriety, but 
only the use of the talents that God doth entrust him with ; that 
the sovereignty of the creature is but analogical, secundum quid; 
improper and subordinate to God, the proper sovereign ; that it 
belongs to him to appoint his inferior officers ; that there is no 
power but from God ; and that he giveth none against himself; 
that a theocracy is the government that must be desired and 
submitted to, whether the subordinate part be monarchical, 
aristocratical, or democratical ; and the rejecting of this was the 
Israelites' sin in choosing them a king; that it is still possible and 
necessary to live under this theocracy, though the administra- 
tion be not by such extraordinary means as among the Israelites ; 
that all human laws are but by-laws subordinate to God's. 
How far his laws must take place in all governments. How far 
those laws of men are ipso facto null, that are unquestionably 
destructive of the laws of God : how far they that are not 
their own, may give authority to others : and what aspect 
these principles have upon liberty in that latitude as it is taken 
by some : and upon the authority of the multitude, especially 
in church-government. Should I stand on these and other the 
like consequents, which these fundamentals in hand might lead 
us to discuss, I should prevent that more seasonable application 
which I intend, and perhaps be thought, in some of them, to 
meddle beyond my bounds, I will only say, that God is the first 
and the last in our ethics and politics, as well as in our physics ; 
that as there is no creature which he made not, so it is no good 
right of property or government which he some way gives not ; 
that all commonwealths not built on this foundation, are as castles 
in the air, or as children's tottering structures, which in the very 
framing are prepared for their ruin, and strictly are no common- 
wealths at all ; and those governors that rule not more for God, 
than for themselves, shall be dealt with as traitors to the univer- 
sal sovereign. Thus far, at least, must our politics be divine, un- 
less we will be mere confederate rebels. 

But it is yet a closer application which I intend. Though 
we are not our own, yet every man's welfare should be so dear 
to himself, that methinks every man of you should presently in- 
quire how far you are concerned in the business w r hich we have 
in hand. I will tell you how far. The case here described is 
all our own. We are bought with a price, and, therefore, not 
our own, and, therefore, must live to him that bought us. We 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 351 

must do it, or else we violate our allegiance, and are traitors to 
our Redeemer. We must do it, or else we shall perish as des- 
pisers of his blood. It is no matter of indifferency, nor a duty 
which may be dispensed with. That God is our owner by crea- 
tion and redemption, and who doth hitherto keep our souls in 
these bodies, by whose mere will and power you are all here 
alive before him this day, will shortly call you before his bar, 
where these matters will be more seriously and searchingly in- 
quired after. The great question of the day will then be this, 
Whether you have been heartily devoted to your Redeemer, and 
lived to him ; or to your carnal selves. Upon the resolution of 
this question your everlasting salvation or damnation will de- 
pend. What think you then ? Should not this question be now 
put home by every rational hearer to his own heart ? But I 
suppose some will say, there is no man that wholly lives to God, 
for all are sinners ; how then can our salvation depend so much 
on this ? I answer in a word : Though no man pay God all 
that he oweth him, yet no man shall be saved that giveth him 
not the pre-eminence : he will own none as true subjects that do 
not cordially own him in his sovereignty. Be it known to you 
all, there shall not a man of you enter into his kingdom, nor 
ever see his face in peace, that giveth him not the chiefest room 
in your hearts, and maketh not his work your chiefest business. 
He will be no underling, or servant, to your flesh. He will be 
served with the best, if he cannot have all. And in this sense is 
it that I say the question will be put, in that great day by the 
Judge of all, whether God or our carnal selves were preferred ? 
And whether we lived to him that bought us, or to our flesh ? 
Beloved hearers, 1 will ask you whether you, indeed, believe that 
there will be such a day. I will take it for granted, while you 
call yourselves Christians, much less will I question whether you 
would then be saved or condemned. Nature will not suffer you 
to be willing of such a misery, though corruption make vou too 
willing of the cause. But the common stupidity of the world 
doth persuade me to ask you this, whether you think it meet 
that men who must be so solemnly examined upon this point, 
and whose life or death depends on the decision, should not ex- 
amine themselves on it beforehand, and well consider what 
answer they must then make ? And whether any pains can be 
too great in so needful a work ? And whether he that miscar- 
rieth to save a labour, do not madly betray his soul unto perdi- 
tion ? As if such rational diligence were worse than hell, or 



352 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

his present carnal ease were more desirable than his salvation ? 
Let us then rouse up ourselves, brethren, in the fear of God, and 
make this a day of judgment to ourselves. Let us know whether 
we are children of life or death. O, how can a man that is well 
in his wits enjoy with any comfort the things of this world, be- 
fore he know, at least in probability, what he shall enjoy in the 
next ! How can men go cheerfully up and down about the 
business of this life, before they have faithfully laboured to make 
sure that it shall go well with them in the life to come ! That 
we may now know this without deceit, let us all, as in the pre- 
sence of the living God, lay bare our hearts, examine them, and 
judge them, by this portion of his word, according to the evi- 
dence. 

7. Whoever he be that takes not himself for his own, but 
lives to his Redeemer, he is one that hath found himself really 
undone, and hath unfeignedly confessed the forfeiture of his 
salvation, and finding that redemption hath been made by 
Christ, and that there is hope and life to be had in him, and 
none but him, as he gladly receives the tidings, so he cheerfully 
acknowledgeth the right of his Redeemer, and in a sober, de- 
liberate, and voluntary covenant, renounceth the world, the 
flesh, and the devil, and resigneth up himself to Christ as his 
due. He saith, ' Lord, I have too long served thine enemies 
and mine own ; by cleaving to myself, and forsaking God, I have 
lost both myself and God, wilt thou be my Saviour, and the 
physician of my soul, and wash me with thy blood, and repair 
the ruins of my soul by thy Spirit, and I am willing to be thine ; 
I yield up myself to the conduct of thy grace, to be saved in 
thy way, and fitted for thy service, and live to God, from whom 
I have revolted.' This is the case of all that are sincere. 

By many Scriptures, we might quickly confirm this, if it were 
liable to question. " If any man come to me, and hate not 
his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, 
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my dis- 
ciple : and whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after 
me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke xiv. 26, 27.) So verse 33 : 
" Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, 
he cannot be my disciple." Which is expounded, Matt. x. 37 : 
" He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy 
of me." " If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever 
will save his life, shall lose it : and whosoever will lose his 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 353 

life for my sake, shall find it." (Matt. xvi. 24;) " Whom have I in 
heaven hut thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire he- 
sides thee." (Psalm lxxiii. 25 — 27.) "The Lord is the portion of 
mine inheritance/' &c. (Psalm xvi. 5.) Moses refused honour, 
and chose " 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 than the treasures of Egypt, for 
he had respect to the recompense of the reward. " (Heh. xi. 
24 — 26.) I forhear citing more, the case heing so evident, that 
God is set highest in the heart of every sound believer, they 
heing in covenant resigned to him as- his own. On the con- 
trary, most of the unsanctified are Christians but in name, 
because they were educated to this profession, and it is the 
common religion of the country where they live, and they hear 
none make question of it, or if they do, it is to their own 
disgrace, the name of Christ having got this advantage, to be 
every where among us well spoken of, even by those that shall 
perish for neglecting him and his laws. These men have re- 
signed their names to Christ, but reserved their hearts to flesh- 
pleasing vanities. Or if under conviction and terror of con- 
science, they do make any resignation of their souls to Christ, 
it comes short of the true resignation of the sanctified in these 
particulars. 

1. It is a firm and rooted belief of the gospel, which is the 
cause of sincere resignation to Christ. They are so fully per- 
suaded of the truth of those things which Christ hath done, and 
promised to do hereafter, that they will venture all that they 
have in this world, and their souls, and their everlasting state 
upon it. Whereas the belief of self- deceivers is only super- 
ficial, staggering, not rooted, and will not carry them to such 
adventures. (Matt. xiii. 21 — 23.) 

2. Sincere self-resignation is accompanied with such a love 
to him that we are devoted to, which overtoppeth (as to the 
rational part) all other love. The soul hath a prevailing com- 
placency in God, and closeth with him as its chiefest good. 
(Psalm, l xxm * 25, and lxiii. 3.) But the unsanctified have no 
such cr >mplacency in him ; they would fain please him by their 
flatten es > lestne should do them any hurt, but might they enjoy 
but tr ie P^asures of this world, they could be well content to 

live wi; tnout mm - 

3 Sincere self-resignation is a departing from our carnal 

selves an( * a ^ creatures as they stand in competition with Christ 

Yqjw. XVII. A A 



354 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

for our hearts, and so it containeth a crucifying of the flesh, and 
mortification of all its lusts. (Gal. v. 24 ; Rom. viii. 1 — 14.) There 
is a hearty renouncing of former contradictory interest and 
delights, that Christ may he set highest, and chiefly delighted 
in. But self- deceivers are never truly mortified when they seem 
to devote themselves most seriously to Christ ; there is a con- 
trary prevailing interest in their minds, their fleshly felicity is 
nearer to their hearts, and this world is never unfeignedly 
renounced. 

4. Sincere self-resignation is resolved upon deliberation, and 
not a rash, inconsiderate promise, which is afterwards reversed. 
The illuminated see that perfection in God, that vanity in the 
creature, that desirable sufficiency in Christ, and emptiness in 
themselves, that they firmly resolve to cast themselves on him, 
and he his alone, and though they cannot please him as they 
would, they will die before they will change their Master; but 
with self-deceivers it is not thus. 

5. Sincere resignation is absolute and unreserved : such do 
not capitulate and condition with Christ, * I will be thine so far, 
and no further, so thou wilt but save my estate, or credit, or 
life.' But self-deceivers have ever such reserves in their hearts, 
though they do not express them, nor, perhaps, themselves 
discern them. They have secret limitations, expressions, and 
conditions ; they have ever a salve for their worldly safety or 
felicity, and will rather venture upon a threatened misery which 
they see not, though everlastingly, than upon a certain tem- 
porary misery which they see. These deep reserves are the 
soul of hypocrisy. 

b\ Sincere self-resignation is fixed and habituate ; it is not 
forced by a moving sermon, or a dangerous sickness, and then 
forgotten and laid aside, but it is become a fixed habit in the 
soul. It is otherwise with self-deceivers; though they will 
oblige themselves to Christ with vows, in a time of fear and 
danger, yet so loose is the knot, that when the dange* sevfttf^ 
over, their bonds fall off. It is one thing to be affrighted, and 
another to have the heart quite changed and renewed. It is 
one thing to hire ourselves with a master in our necessities, and 
yet serve ourselves, or run away, and another thing to nail our 
ears to his door, and say, * [ love thee, and therefore will not 
depart.' ?° l 

So much for the first mark of one that lives not as hi/own, 
but as God's, to wit, sincere self-resignation. The second is this. 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 355 

2. As the heart is thus devoted to God, so also is the life, 
where men do trulv take themselves for his. And that will 
appear in these three particulars. 

1 . The principal study and care of such men is how to please 
God, and promote his interest, and do his, work. This is it 
that they most seriously mind and contrive. Their own felicity 
they seek in this way. (1 Cor. vii. 32, ,30 ; Rom. vi. 1 1, 13, 16 ; 
Col. i. 10, and iii. 1—3 ; Phil. i. 20, 21, 24.) It is not so with 
the unsanctified, they drive on another design. Their own 
work is principally minded, and their carnal interest preferred 
to Christ's. They live to the flesh, and make provision for it, 
to satisfy its desires. (Rom. xiii. 14.) 

2. It is the chiefest delight of a man devoted to God to see 
Christ's interest prosper and prevail. It cloth him more good 
to see the church flourish, the gospel succeed, the souls of men 
brought in to God, and all things fitted to his blessed pleasure, 
than it would do him to prosper himself in the world; to do 
good to men's bodies, much more to their souls, is more pleas- 
ing to him than to be honourable or rich. To give is sweeter 
to him than to receive. His own matters he respects as lower 
things, that come not so near his heart as God's. But with 
the unsanctified it is not so, their prosperity and honours are 
most of their delight, and the absence of them their greatest 
trouble. 

3. With a man that is truly devoted to God, the interest of 
Christ doth bear down all contradicting interest in the ordinary 
course of his life. As his own unrighteous righteousness, so 
his own renounced carnal interest is loss and clung to him in 
comparison of Christ's. (Phil. iii. 8, 9.) He cannot take himself 
to be a loser by that which is gain to the souls of men, and 
tendeth to promote the interest of his Lord. He serveth God 
with the first and best, and lets his own work stand by till 
Christ's be done, or rather owneth none but Christ's, his own 
dishonour being lighter to him than Christ's, and a ruined 
estate less grievous than a ruined church ; therefore doth lie 
first seek God's kingdom and its righteousness, (Matt. vi. 33,) 
and chooseth rather to neglect his flesh, his gain, his friends, 
his life, than the cause and work of Christ. It is far other- 
wise with the unsanctified, they will contentedly give Christ 
the most glorious titles, and full-mouthed commendations, 
(Luke vi. 46,) but they have one that is nearer their hearts than 
he, their carnal self must sway the sceptre. God shall have 

A A 2 



356 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

all that the flesh can spare ; if he will be content to be served 
with its leavings, they will serve him, if not, they must be ex- 
cused, they can allow him no more. The trying time is the 
parting time, when God or the world must needs be neglected. 
In such a strait, the righteous are still righteous. (Rev. xxii. 11.) 
But the unsteadfast in the covenant do manifest their unstead- 
fastness, and though they will not part with Christ professedly, 
nor without some witty distinctions and evasions, nor without 
great sorrow, and pretence of continued fidelity, yet part they 
will, and shift for themselves, and hold that they have as long 
as they can. (Luke xviii. 23.) In a word, the sanctified are 
heartily devoted to God, and live to him, and were they inca- 
pable of serving or enjoying him, their lives would afford them 
little content, whatever else they did possess. But the unsanc- 
tified are more strongly addicted to their flesh, and live to their 
carnal selves, and might they securely enjoy the pleasures of 
this world, they could easily spare the fruition of God, and 
could be as willing to be dispensed with for his spiritual service, 
as to perform it. And thus I have given you the true descrip- 
tion of those that live to their Redeemer, as being not their own, 
and those that live to themselves, as if they were not his that 
bought them. 

Having thus told you what the word saith, it followeth that 
we next inquire what your hearts say : you hear what you must 
be, will you now consider what you are ? Are all the people that 
hear me this day devoted in heart and life to their Redeemer ? 
Do you all live as Christ's, and not your own ? if so, I must needs 
say it is an extraordinary assembly, and such as I had never 
the happiness to know. O that it were so indeed ! that we 
might rejoice together, and magnify our Deliverer, instead of 
reprehending you, or lamenting your unhappiness. But, alas ! 
we are not such strangers in the world, as to be guilty of such a 
groundless judgment. Let us inquire more particularly into 
the case. 

1. Are those so sincerely devoted to Christ? And do they 
so deny themselves, whose daily thoughts, and care, and labour, 
is, how they may live in more reputation and content, and may 
be better provided for the satisfying of their flesh ? If they be 
low and poor, and their condition is displeasing to tfyem, their 
greatest care is to repair it to their minds ; if they be higher, 
and more wealthy, their business is to keep it, or increase it, 
that hunt after honour, and thirst after a thriving and more 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 357 

plenteous state ; that can stretch their consciences to the size 
of all times, and humour those that they think may advance 
them, and be most humble servants to those above them, and 
contemptuously neglect whosoever is below them ; that will 
put their hands to the feet of those that they hope to rise by, 
and put their feet on the necks of their subdued adversaries, and 
trample upon all that stand in their way ; that applaud not men 
for their honesty, but their worldly honours ; and will magnify 
that man while he is capable of advancing them, whom they 
would have scorned, if Providence had laid him in the dust : 
that are friends to all that befriend their interests and designs, 
and enemies to the most upright that cross them in their course : 
that love not men so much because they love God, as because 
they love them. Are these devoted to God, or to themselves ? 
Is it for God, or themselves, that men so industriously scramble 
for honours, and places of government, or of gain ? Will they 
use their offices or honours for God, that hunt after them as a 
prey, as if they had not burden enough already, nor talents 
enough to answer for neglecting ? Are those men devoted to 
God, that can tread down his most unquestionable interest on 
earth, when it seems to be inconsistent with their own ? Let 
the gospel go down, let the church be broken in pieces, let sound 
doctrine be despised, the ministers be hindered, or tried with 
vexations, let the souls of people sink or swim, rather than they 
should be hindered in the way of ambition ! I shall leave it to 
the trial of another day, whether all the public actions of this 
age, with their effects, have been for God or for self. This doth 
not belong to my examination, but to his that will thoroughly 
perform it 'ere long, and search these matters to the quick, 
and open them to the world. There were never higher pre- 
tences for God in an age, than have been in this ; had there 
been but answerable intentions and performances, his affairs and 
our own had been in much better case than they are ; but 
enough of this. Should we descend to men's particular families 
and conversations, we should find the matter little better 
with the most. Are they all for God that follow the world so 
eagerly, that they cannot spare him a serious thought ? An 
hour's time for his worship in their families, or in secret ? That 
will see that their own work be done ; but for the souls of those 
that are committed to their charge they regard them not ? Let 
them be ever so ignorant they will not instruct them, nor cause 
them to read the word, or learn a catechism; nor will 
spend the Lord's peculiar day in such exercises; and it is 



358 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

much if they hinder not those that would. Is it for God 
that men give up their hearts to this world, so that they 
cannot have once a day or week, to think soberly what they 
must do in the next. Or how they may be ready for their great 
approaching change. Is it for God that men despise his 
ministers, reject his word, abhor reformation, scorn a church 
government, and deride the persons that are addicted to his 
fear, and the families that call upon his name ? These men 
will shortly understand a little better than now they will do, 
whether, indeed, they live to God or to themselves. 

2. If you are devoted to God, what do you for him ? Is 
it his business that you mind ? How much of your time do you 
spend for him ? How much of your speech is for him ? How 
much of your estates yearly is serviceable to his interest ? Let 
conscience speak, whether he have your studies and affections ; 
let your families be witnesses whether he have your speeches 
and best endeavours ; let the church witness what you have 
done for it; and the poor witness what you have done for them ; 
and the souls of ignorant and ungodly men, what you have done 
for them. Show by the work you have done who you have 
lived to, God or your carnal selves. If, indeed, you have lived 
to God, something will be seen that you have done for him ; 
nay, it is not a something that will serve the turn, it must be 
the best. Remember that it is by your works that vou shall be 
judged, and not by your pretences, professions, or compliments ; 
your Judge already knows your case, he needs no witnesses, he 
will not be mocked with saying you are for him ; show it, or 
saying it will not serve. 

Methinks now the consciences of some of you should pre- 
vent me, and preach over the sharper part of the sermon to 
youselves, and say, ' I am the man that have lived to myself/ 
and so consider of the consequence of such a life ; but I will 
leave this to your meditation, when you go home, and next pro- 
ceed to the exhortative part of application. 

Men, brethren, and fathers, the business that I come hither 
upon is to proclaim God's right to you, and all that is yours, 
even his new right of redemption, supposing that of creation ; 
and to let you know, that you are all bought with a price, and 
therefore are not your own, but his that bought you, and must 
accordingly be dedicated and live to him. Honourable and Wor- 
shipful, and all men, of what degree soever, I do here, on the 
behalf and in the name of Christ, lay claim to you all, to vour 
souls and bodies, to ail your faculties, abilities, and interests, on 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 359 

the title of redemption ; all is God's. Do you acknowledge 
his title, and consent unto his claim ? What say you ? Are you 
his; or, are you not? Dare you deny it? If any man dare be 
so bold, I am here ready to make good the claim of Christ. If 
you dare not deny it, we must take it as confessed. Bear wit- 
ness all, that God laid claim to you and yours, and no man durst 
deny his title. I do next, therefore, require you, and command 
you, in his name, give him his own ; render to God the things 
that are God's. Will you this day renounce .your carnal selves, 
and freely confess you are not your own ; and cheerfully and 
unreservedly resign yourselves to God, and say, as Jos. xxiv. 15, 
" As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord ?" Do not 
ask what God will do with you ; or how he will use you, or dis- 
pose of you. Trust him for that, and obey his will. Fear not 
evil from the chiefest good, unless it be in neglecting or resist- 
ing him. Be sure of it, God will use you better than Satan 
would, or than this world would, or better than you have used, 
or would use, yourselves. He will not employ you in dishonour- 
able drudgeries, and then dash you in pieces. He will not 
seduce you with swinish sensualities, and keep you in play with 
childish vanities, till you drop into damnation before you are 
aware : nor will he lull you asleep in presumptuous security, 
till you unexpectedly awake in unquenchable lire. You need 
not fear such dealing as this from him : " His commandments 
are not grievous/' (i John v. 3.). " His yoke is easy, his 
burden is light, and tendeth to the perfect rest of the soul." 
(Matt. xi. 28 — 30.) W 7 hat say you ? Will you hereafter be 
his ; unfeignedly his ? Resolvedly, unreservedly, and constantly 
his ? Or will you not take heed, " that you refuse not him that 
speaketh." (Heb. xii. 25.) Reject not, neglect not, this offer, 
lest you never have another on the like terms again : he is 
willing to pardon all that is past, and put up with all the wrongs 
that you have done him, so you will but repent of them ; and 
now at last be heartily and entirely his ; not only in tongue, 
but in deed and life. Well, I have proclaimed God's right to 
you ; I have offered you his gracious acceptance ; if yet you 
demur, or sleepily neglect it, or obstinately resist him, take that 
you get by it ; remember you perish not without warning. The 
confession of Christ's right, which this day you have been 
forced to, shall remain as on record, to the confusion of your 
faces ; and you shall then be forced to remember, though you 
had rather forget it, what now you are forced to confess, though 
vou had rather you could deny it. But I am loth to leave vou to 



360 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

this prognostic, or to part on terms so sad to your souls, and sad 
to me ; I will add, therefore, some reasons to persuade you to 
submit : and though it he not in my power to follow them so 
to your hearts as to make them effectual, yet 1 shall do my part 
in propounding them, and leave them to God to set them home, 
beseeching him that maketh, new maketh, openeth, and soften- 
eth hearts at his pleasure, to do these blessed works on yours, 
and to persuade you within, while I am persuading you without, 
that I may not lose my labour and my hopes, nor your souls, nor 
God his due. 

1. Consider the fulness of God's right to you; no creature is 
capable of the like. He made you of nothing, and, therefore, 
you have nothing which is not his. He redeemed you when you 
were fallen to worse than nothing. Had not Christ ransomed you 
by being a sacrifice for your sin, you had been hopelessly left to 
everlasting perdition ; give him, therefore, his own which he 
hath so dearly bought. (1 Peter i. 18.) 

2. Consider that you have no right of propriety to your- 
selves ; if you have, how came you by it ? Did you make your- 
selves ? Did you redeem yourselves ? Do you maintain and 
preserve yourselves ? If you are your own, tell God you will 
not be beholden to him for his preservation ; why cannot you 
preserve yourselves in health if you are your own ? Why can- 
not you recover yourselves from sickness ? Is it yourselves that 
gives power to your food to nourish you ? to the earth to 
bear you, and furnish you with necessaries ? to the air to 
cool and recreate your spirits ? If you are your own, save your- 
selves from sickness and death ; keep back your age ; deliver 
your souls from the wrath of God ; answer his pure justice for 
your own sins ; never plead the blood of a Redeemer, if you are 
your own. If you can do these things I will yield that you are 
your own. But no man can ransom his soul from death, it cost 
a dearer price than so. (Act xx. 28.) You are not debtors, 
therefore, to the flesh, to live after it, (Rorn. viii. 12,) but to 
him that died, to subdue the flesh. (Rom. vi. 1 1.) 

3. None else can claim any title to you, further than under 
God upon his gift. Men did not create you or redeem you, 
" Be not, therefore, the servants of men," (1 Cor. vii. 23,) un- 
less it be under Christ, and for him. Certahilv Satan did not 
create you, or redeem you ; what right then hath he to you, 
that he should he served ? 

4. Seeing then that you are God's, and his alone, is it not 
the most heinous thievery to rob him of his right? If they must 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 361 

be hanged that rob men of so small a thing as earthly neces- 
saries, wherein they have but an improper derived propriety, 
what torments do those deserve that rob God of so precious a 
creature, that cost him so dear, and might be so useful, and 
wherein he hath so full and unquestionable propriety ; the great- 
est, the richest, and wisest men that are trusted with most, are 
the greatest robbers on earth, if they live not to God, and shall 
have the greatest punishment. 

5. Is it not incomparably more honourable to be God's, than 
to be your own ; and to live to him than to yourselves ? The 
object and end doth nobilitate the act, and thereby the agent. 
It is more honourable to serve a prince than a ploughman. That 
man that least seeks his own honour or carnal interest, but 
most freely denieth it, and most entirely seeks the honour of 
God, is the most highly honoured with God and good men, when 
self-seekers defraud themselves of their hopes. Most men 
think vilely, or at least suspiciously, of that man that seeks for 
honour to himself; they think if the matter were combustible he 
need not to blow the fire so hard ; if he were worthy of honour, 
his worth would attract it by a sweet, magnetic power ; so much 
industry they think is the most probable mark of indignity, 
and of some consciousness of it in the seeker's breast. H he 
attain some of his ends, men are ready to look on his honour 
but as alms, which he was fain to beg for before he got it. And 
could he make shift to ascend the throne, so much in the eyes of 
the wisest men would be detracted from his honour, as they did 
believe himself to have a hand in contriving it, quod sequitur 
fugio, &c. They honour him more that refuseth a crown when 
it is olfered, than him that ambitiously aspireth after it, or rapa- 
ciously apprehendeth it. If they see a man much desire their ap- 
plause, they think he needeth it rather thandeserveth it. Solomon 
saith, "To search their own glory is not glory." (Prov. xxv. 27.) 

6\ You can never have a better master than God, nor yet a 
sweeter employment than his service. There is nothing in him 
that may be the least discouragement to you, nor in his works 
that should be distasteful. The reason why the world thinks 
otherwise, is because ef the distempered averseness of their 
souls. A sick stomach is no fit judge of the pleasantness of 
meats. To live to God is to live to the truest and highest 
delights. His kingdom is not in meats and drinks, but in 
righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. His servants, 
indeed, are often troubled ; but ask them the reason, and they 



362 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

will quickly tell you that it is not for being his servants, or for 
serving him too much ; but for fear lest they are not his servants, 
or for serving him no better. It is not in his ways, or at least not 
for them, that they meet with their perplexities, but in stepping 
out of them, and wandering in their own. Many, besides the 
servants of God, do seek felicity and satisfaction to their minds, 
and some discover where it lieth ; but only they attain it, and 
enjoy it. 

But, on the contrary, he hath an ill master that is ruled by 
himself. A master that is blind, and proud, and passionate, that 
will lead you unto precipices, and thence deject you; that will 
most effectually ruin you when he thinks he is doing you the 
greatest good; whose work is bad, and his wages no better; 
that feedeth his servants in plenty but as swine, and in the day 
of famine denieth them the husks. Whatever you may now 
imagine while you are distracted with sensuality, I dare sav, if 
ever God bring you to yourselves, you will consider that it is 
better to be in your Father's house, where the poorest servant 
hath bread enough, than to be fed with dreams and pictures, and 
to perish with hunger. Reject not God till you have found a 
better master. 

7. If you will needs be your own, and seek yourselves, you 
disengage God from dealing with you as his in a gracious sense. 
If you will not trust him, nor venture yourselves upon his pro- 
mise and conduct, but will shift for yourselves, then look to 
yourselves as well as you can ; save yourselves in danger, cure 
your own diseases, quiet your own consciences, grapple with 
death in your own strength, plead your own cause in judgment, 
and save yourselves from hell if you can ; and when you have 
done, go and boast of your own sufficiency and achievements, 
and tell men how little you were beholden to Christ. Wo to 
you, if, upon these provocations, God should give you over to 
provide for yourselves, and leave you without any other salvation 
than your own power is able to effect. Mark the connexion of 
this sin and punishment in Deut. xxxii. 18 — 20. Of the Rock 
that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that 
formed thee. And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, 
because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters : 
and he said, " I will hide my face from them, I will see what 
their end shall be." As if he should say, I will see hew well 
they can save themselves, and make them know by experience 
their own insufficiencv. 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 363 

8. Those men that seek themselves, and live to themselves^ 
and not to God, are unfaithful and treacherous both to God and 
man. As they neglect God in prosperity, so they do but flatter 
him in adversity. (Psalm Ixxviii. 34 — 37.) And he that will be 
false to God, whose interest in him is so absolute, is unlikely to 
be true to men, whose interest in him is infinitely less : he that 
can shake off the great obligations of creation, redemption, 
preservation, and provision, which God layeth on him, is unlikely 
to be held by such slender obligations as he receives from men. I 
will never trust that man far, if I know him, that is false to his 
Redeemer. He that will sell his God, his Saviour, his soul, and 
heaven for a little sensuality, vain glory, or worldly wealth, I shall 
not wonder if he sell his best friend for a groat. Self-seeking men 
will take you for their friend no longer than you serve their turns; 
but if once you need them, or stand in their way, you shall find 
what they esteemed you for. He that is in haste to be rich, and 
thereupon respecteth persons for a piece of bread, that man will 
transgress, saith Solomon. (Prov. xxviii. 20, 21.) 

9. Sanctification consisteth in your hearty resignation and 
living to God ; and therefore you are unsanctified if you are 
destitute of this. " Without holiness none shall see God." (Heb. 
xii. 14.) And what is holiness, but our sincere dedication and 
devotedness to God ? Being no longer common and unclean, 
but separated in resolution, affection, and conversation, from 
the world and our carnal selves to him. It is the office of the 
Holy Ghost to work you to this ; and if you resist and refuse it, 
you do not soundly believe in the Holy Ghost, but instead of 
believing in hi in you fight against him. 

10. You are verbally devoted to Christ in solemn covenant, 
entered into in baptism, and frequently renewed in the Lord's 
supper, and at other seasons. Did you not there solemnly, by 
your parents, resign yourself to Christ as his ? And renounce 
the flesh, the world, and the devil, and promise to fight under 
Christ's banner against them to your lives' end ? O happy per- 
son that performeth this covenant, and everlastingly miserable 
are they that do not. Fides non recepta, sed custodita vivificut, 
saith Cyprian. It is not covenant-making, without covenant- 
keeping, that is like to save you. Do you stand to the covenant 
that you made by your parents ? Or do you disclaim it ? If you 
disclaim it, you renounce your part in Christ, and his benefits 
in that covenant made over to you. If you stand to it, you 
must perform your promise, and live to God, to whom you were 



364 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

resigned. To take God's oath of allegiance so solemnly, and 
afterward to turn to his enemies which we renounced, is a re- 
bellion that shall not be always unrevenged. 

1 1 . God's absolute dominion and sovereignty over us is the 
very foundation of all religion, even of that little which is found 
left among infidels and pagans, much more evidently of the 
saving religion of Christians. He that dare say he believeth 
not this, will never, sure, have the face to call himself a Chris- 
tian. Is it not a matter of most sad consideration, that ever so 
many millions should think to be saved by a doctrine which they 
believe not, or by a religion that never went deeper than the 
brain, and is openly contradicted by the tenour of their lives ? 
Is a true religion enough to save you, if you be not true to that 
religion ? How do men make shift to quiet their consciences 
in such gross hypocrisy ? Is there a man to be found in this 
congregation that will not confess that he is rightfully his Re- 
deemer's ? But hath he indeed their hearts, their time, their 
strength, and their interest ? Follow some of them from morn- 
ing to night, and you shall not hear one serious word for Christ, 
nor see any serious endeavours for his interest : and yet men will 
profess that they are his. How sad a case is it, that men's own 
confessions should condemn them, and that which they called 
their religion should judge them to that everlasting misery which 
they thought it would have saved them from ! And how glo- 
rious would the christian religion appear if men were true to it; 
if Christ's doctrine had its full impression on their hearts, and 
were expressed in their lives. Is he not an excellent person that 
denieth himself, and doth all for God : that goeth on no busi- 
ness but God's : that searcheth out God's interest in every part 
of his calling and employment; and intendeth that, "whether 
he eat or drink, or whatever he doth, doth all to the glory of 
God;" (1 Cor. x. 31 ;) that can say, as Paul, u I am crucified 
with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in 
me;" (Gal. ii. 20;) and "What things were gain to me, those 
I counted loss for Christ : yea, doubtless, and I count all things 
but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my 
Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do 
count them but dung, that I may win Christ;" (Phil. iii. 7, 8;) 
and " For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. i. 21.) 
Perhaps you think that the degree of these examples is inimi- 
table by us : but I am sure all that will be saved must imitate 
them in the truth. 



OF GOD- REDEEMER. 365 

1 2. Self-seeking is self-losing, and delivering up yourself, and 
all you have to God, is the only way to save yourselves, and to 
secure all. The more you are his, the more you are your own 
indeed ; and the more you deliver to him, and expend for him, 
the greater is your gain. These paradoxes are familiar, tried 
truths to the true believer : these are his daily food and exer- 
cise which seem to others such scorpions as they dare not touch, 
or such stones as they are not able to digest. He knoweth that 
self-humbling is the true self-exalting, and self-exalting is the 
infallible way to be brought low. (Luke xiv. 1 1, and xviii. 14 ; 
Matt, xxiii. 12.) He believeth that there is a losing of life 
which saves it, and a saving of it which certainly loseth it. 
(Matt. x. 39, and xvi. 25.) O that I could reach the hearts of 
self-seekers, that spend their care and time for their bodies, and 
live not unto God ! That 1 were but able to make them see the 
issue of their course, and what it would profit thein to " win all 
the world, and lose their own souls." O all you busy men of this 
world, hearken to the proclamation of him that bought you ; 
" Ho, every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters ! Buy 
wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do 
you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour 
for that which satisfieth not ? Hearken diligently to me, and 
eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fat- 
ness. Incline your ear, and come unto me : hear, and your soul 
shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you." 
(Isaiah lv. 1 — 3.) O, sirs, what a deal of care and labour do 
you lose ! How much more gainfully might your lives be im- 
proved ? Godliness with contentment " is the great gain." 
(1 Tim. vi. 9.) That which you now think you make your own, 
will shortly prove to be least your own ; and that is most lost 
which you so carefully labour for. You that are now so idlv 
busy in gathering together the treasure of an ant-hillock, and 
building children's tottering piles, do you forget that the foot 
of death is coming to spurn it all abroad, and tread down you 
and it together ? You spend the day of life and visitation in 
painting your phantasies with the images of felicity, and in 
dressing yourselves, and feathering your nest with that which 
you impiously steal from God ; and do you forget that the night 
of blackness is at hand, when God will undress you of your 
temporary contents, and deplume you of all your borrowed 
bravery. How easily, how speedily, how certainly will he do 
it. Read over your case in Luke xii. 16 — 22. How can you 



366 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

make shift to read such texts, and not perceive that they speak 
to you ? When you are pulling down and building up, and 
contriving what to do with your fruits, and saying to yourselves, 
* I have so much now as may serve me so many years, J will 
take mine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.' Remember, then, 
the conclusion : but God said unto him, " Thou fool, this night 
thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall these 
things be which thou hast provided?" So is he that layeth up 
treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God. ' Are these 
things yours or mine ? (saithGod.) Whose are they ? If they 
are yours, keep them now if you can : either stay with them, 
or take them with vou.' But God will make you know that they 
are his, and disrobe such men as thieves, who are adorned with 
that which is none of their own. 'This honour, (saith God,) 
is mine ; thou hast stolen it from me : this wealth is mine ; this 
life, and all is mine;' only thyself he will not own. They shall 
require thy soul that have conquered and ruled it. Though it 
was his by the right of creation and redemption, yet seeing it 
was not his by a free dedication, he will not own it as to ever- 
lasting salvation, but say, " Depart from me, I know you not, 
ye workers of iniquity/' (Matt. vii. 23.) O with what hearts 
then will self-seeking gentlemen part with their honours and 
estates, and the earthly minded with their beloved possessions! 
When he that resigned all to God, and devoted himself and all 
to his service, shall find his consumed estate to be increased, his 
neglected honour abundantly repaired, and in this life he shall 
receive an hundred fold, and in the world to come eternal life. 
(Matt. x. 30; John iv. 56; 1 Tim. vi. 12, 19.) 

13. Lastly: consider, when judgment comes, inquiry will 
be made whether you have lived as your own, or as his that 
bought you. Then he will require his own with improvement. 
(Luke xix. 25.) The great business of that day will be, not so 
much to search after particular sins, or duties, which were con- 
trary to the scope of heart and life; but to know whether you lived 
to God, or to your flesh. Whether your time, and care, and 
wealth, were expended for Christ in his members and interest, 
or for your carnal selves. (Matt, xxv.) Inasmuch as you did it 
not to these ; you did it not to him. You that Christ hath given 
authority to shall then be accountable whether you improved it 
to his advantage. You that he hath given honour to must then 
give account whether you improved it to his honour. In the 
fear of God, Sirs, cast up your accounts in time, and bethink 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 367 

you what answer will then stand good : it will be a doleful hear- 
ing to a guilty soul, when Christ shall say, ' I gave thee thirty or 
forty years' time : thy flesh had so much in eating and drinking, 
and sleeping, and labouring, in idleness, and vain talking, and 
recreations, and other vanities : but where was my part ? How 
much was laid out for the promotion of my glory ? I lent you so 
much of the wealth of the world ; so much was spent on your 
backs, and so much on your bellies, so much on costly toys or 
superfluities, so much in revengeful suits and contentions, and 
so much was left behind for your posterity ; but where was my 
part ? How much was laid out to further the gospel, and to re- 
lieve the souls or the bodies of your brethren? I gave thee a 
family, and committed them to thy care to govern them for me, 
and fit them for my service ; but how didst thou perform it ? O, 
brethren, bethink you in time what answer to make to such in- 
terrogatories ; your Judge hath told you that your doom must 
then pass according as you have improved your talents for him; 
and that he that hideth his talent, though he give God his own, 
" shall be cast into utter darkness, where is weeping and gnash- 
ing of teeth." (Matt. xxv. 30.) How easily will Christ then 
evince his right in you, and convince you that it was your duty 
to have lived unto him ? Do you think, Sirs, that you shall then 
have the face to say, ' I thought, Lord, that I had been made 
and redeemed for myself? I thought I had nothing to do on 
earth, but live in as much plenty as I could, and pleasure to my 
flesh, and serve thee on the by, that thou mightest continue my 
prosperity, and save me when I could keep the world no longer. 
J knew not that I was thine, and should have lived to thy glory.' 
If any of you plead thus, what store of arguments hath Christ 
to silence you 1 He will then convince you that his title to 
you was not questionable. He will prove that thou wast his by 
thy very being, and fetch unanswerable arguments from every 
part and faculty : he will prove it from his incarnation, his life 
of humiliation, his bloody sweat, his crown of thorns, his cross, 
his grave. He that had wounds to show after his resurrection, 
for the convincing of a doubting disciple, will have such scars to 
show then as shall suffice to convince a self-excusing rebel. All 
these shall witness that he was thy rightful Lord. He will prove 
it also from the discoveries of his word, from the warnings of his 
ministers, from the mercies which thou receivedst from him, 
that thou wast not ignorant of his right, and of thy duty ; or 
at least not ignorant for want of means. He will prove it from 



368 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

thy baptismal covenant and renewed engagements. The con- 
gregation can witness that you did promise to be his, and seal 
to it by the reception of both his sacraments. And as he will 
easily prove his right, so will he as easily prove that you denied 
it to him. He will prove it from your works, from the course 
of your life, from the stream of your thoughts, from your love, 
your desires, and the rest of the affections of your disclosed 
hearts. 

O, brethren, what a day will that be, when Christ shall come 
in person, with thousands of his angels, to sit in judgment on 
the rebellious world, and claim his due, which is now denied 
him ! When plaintiff and defendant, witnesses and jurors, 
counsellors and justices, judges, and all the princes on earth, 
shall stand equal before the impartial Judge, expecting to be 
sentenced to their unchangeaole state ! Then, if a man should 
ask you, ( What think you now, Sir, of living to God ? Is it 
better to be devoted to him, or to the flesh? Which now do 
you take for the better master ? What would you do now 
if it were all to do again ? What would you then say to such 
a question ? How would you answer it ? Would you make 
as light of it as now you do ?' O, Sirs, you may hear these things 
now from your poor fellow-creature, as proud-hearted gallants, 
or as self-conceited deriders, or as besotted worldlings, or 
senseless blocks, or secret infidels, that as those, Deut. xxix. 19, 
do bless themselves in their hearts, and say, ' We shall have 
peace, though we walk in the imagination of our hearts.' But 
then you will hear them as trembling prisoners. Read the 
20th verse at leisure. Such a sight will work when words will 
not, especially words not believed, nor considered of. When 
you shall see the God that you disowned, the Redeemer whom 
you neglected, the glory which you forfeited, by preferring the 
pleasures of the flesh before it, the saints triumphing whom 
you refused to imitate, and a doleful eternity of misery to be 
remedilessly endured, then saints will seem wiser men in your 
eyes, and how gladly would you then be such ? But O, too 
late ! What a thing is it, that men who say they believe such 
a judgment, and everlasting life and death, as all Christians 
profess to do, can yet read, and hear, and talk of such things as 
insensibly as if they were dreams or fables ! I know it is the 
nature of sin to deceive, and of a sinful heart to be too willing 
of such deceiving, and it is the business of Satan by deceiving 
to destroy, and with the most specious baits to angle for souls j 



OK GOD-REDEEMER, 369 

and therefore I must expect that those of you that are taken 
and are the nearest to the pit, should be least fearful of the 
danger, and most confident to escape, though you are conscious 
that you live not to God, but to yourselves. But for my part, 
I have read and considered what God saith in his word, and I 
have found such evidence of its certain truth, that I heartilv 
wish that I might rather live on a dunghill, and be the scorn 
of the world, and spend my few days in beggary and calamity, 
than that I should stand before the Lord, my Judge, in the case 
of that man, whatever he be, that is not in heart and life de- 
voted unto God, but liveth to his flesh. For I know that if 
we live after the flesh, we shall die. (Rom. viii. 13.) 1 had 
rather lie here in Lazarus's poverty, and want the compassion 
and relief of man, than to be clothed with the best, and fare 
deliciously, and hereafter be denied a drop of water to cool the 
flames of the wrath of God. 

I confess this is likely to seem but harsh and ungrateful 
preaching to many of you. Some pleasant jingles, or witty 
sayings, or shreds of reading, and pretty cadency of neat ex- 
pressions, were likelier to be accepted, and procure applause 
with them who had rather have their ears and fantasy tickled 
than rubbed so roughly, and be roused from their ease and 
pleasing dreams. But shall I preach for myself, while I pretend 
to be preaching you from yourselves to God ? Shall I seek 
myself, while I am preaching of the everlasting misery of self- 
seekers ? God forbid. Sirs, I know the terrors of the Lord, 
(2 Cor. v. 11,) I believe, and therefore speak. Were I a 
Christian no deeper than the throat, I would fish for myself, 
and study more to please you than to save you. I love not to 
make a needless stir in men's consciences, nor to trouble their 
peace by a doctrine which I do not believe myself. But I believe 
that our Judge is even at the door, and that we shall shortly 
see him coining in his glory, and the host of heaven attending 
him with acclamations. In the mean time, your particular 
doom draws on ; the fashion of all these things passeth away, 
as those seats will anon be empty when you are departed, so 
it is but a moment till all your habitations shall change their 
possessors, and the places of your abode, and too great delight, 
shall know you no more. I must needs speak to you as to 
transient, itinerant mortals, who must, ere long, be carried on 
men's shoulders to the dust, and there be left by those that 
must shortly follow you ; then farewell honours and fleshly 

VOL. XVII. B B 



3/0 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

delights ; farewell all the accommodations and contents of this 
world. O that you had sooner bid them farewell ! Had you 
lived to Christ as you did to them, he would not so have turned 
you off, nor have left your dislodged souls to utter desolation. 

Jn a word, as sure as the word of God is true, if you own him 
not now as your Lord and Sovereign, he will not own you then 
as his chosen to salvation. And if now you live not to him, 
you shall not then live with him. " Be not deceived, God is 
not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also 
reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap 
corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit 
reap everlasting life." (Gal. v. 7, 8.) " Consider this, ye that 
forget God, lest he should tear you in pieces, and there be none 
to deliver you." (Psalm 1. 22.) 

Beloved hearers, believe as you pretend to believe, and then 
live as you do believe. If you believe that you are not your 
own, but his that made you, and bought you with a price, and 
that he will thus try you for your lives and everlasting comforts 
on this question, whether you have lived to him, or to your- 
selves ? Then live as men that do indeed believe it. Let your 
religion be visible, as well as audible, and let those that see 
your lives, and observe the scope of your endeavours, see that 
you believe it. But if you believe not these things, but are 
infidels in your hearts, and think you shall feel neither pain 
nor pleasure when this life is ended, but that man dieth as the 
beast, then I cannot wonder if you live as you believe. He that 
thinks he shall die like a dog, is like enough to live like a dog, 
even in his filthiness, and in snarling for the bones of worldly 
vanities, which the children do contemn. 

Having spoken thus much by way of exhortation, I shall add 
few words for your more particular direction, that you may 
see to what my exhortation doth tend, and it may not be lost. 

1. Be sure that you look to the uprightness of your heart, 
in this great business of devoting yourselves to God ; espe- 
cially see, 

1. That you discern, and soundly believe that excellency in 
God which is not in the creature, and that perfect felicity in his 
love, and in the promised glory, which will easily pay for all 
your losses. 

2. And that upon a deliberate comparing him with the plea- 
sures of this world, you do resolvedly renounce them, and de- 
dicate yourselves to him. 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 371 

3. And especially that you search carefully lest any reserve 
should lurk in your hearts, and you should not deliver up your- 
selves to him absolutely, for life and death, for better and worse, 
but should still retain some hopes of an earthly felicity, and not 
take the unseen felicity for your portion. " It is the lot of the 
wicked to have their portion in this life." (Psalm xvii. 14.) 
And let me here warn you of one delusion, by which many 
thousands have perished, and cheated themselves out of their 
everlasting hopes. They think that it is only some grosser dis- 
graceful sins, as swearing, drunkenness, whoredom, injustice, 
&c, that will prove men's perdition, and because they are not 
guilty of these, they are secure, when, as it is the predomi- 
nancy of the interest of the flesh against the interest of God in 
their hearts and lives, that is the certain evidence of a state of 
damnation, which way soever it be that this is expressed. Many 
a civil gentleman hath his heart more addicted to his worldly 
interest, and less to God, than some whoremongers and drunk- 
ards. If you live with good reputation for civility, yea, for 
extraordinary ingenuity, yea, for religious zeal, and no dis- 
graceful vice is perceived in your lives, yet if your hearts be on 
these things which you possess, and you love your present en- 
joyments better than God, and the glory that he hath promised, 
your case is as dangerous as the publicans and harlots. You 
may spend your days in better reputation, but you will end 
them in as certain desolation as they. The question is only 
whether God have your hearts and lives, and not whether you 
denied them to him with a plausible civility. Nay, it is merely 
for their carnal selves to preserve their reputation, that some 
men do forbear those grosser crimes, when yet God hath as 
little of them as of the more visible profane. " 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." (1 John, ii. 15.) 

2. If you are wholly God's, live wholly to him, at least do 
not stint him, and grudge him your service. It is grown the 
common conceit of the world, that a life of absolute dedication 
to God is more ado than needs. ' What needs all this ado,' say 
they ? i Cannot you be saved with less ado than this ?' I will 
now demand of these men but an answer to these few sober 
questions. 

1. Do you fear giving more to God than his due? Is not 
all his own ? And how can you give him more than all ? 

2. He is not so backward in giving to you, that owes you 

b b 2 



372 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

nothing, but gives you plenty, variety, and continuance of all 
the good you enjoy, and do you think you well requite him ! 

3. Christ said not of his life and precious blood, it is too 
much, and will you say of your poor unprofitable service it is 
too much ? 

4. Who will you give that to which you spare from God ? 
That time, and study, and love, and labour ? To any that hath 
more right to it, or better deserves it, or will better reward you 
than he will do ? 

5. Are you afraid of being losers by him ? Have you cause for 
such fears ? Is he unfaithful, or unable to perform his promises ? 
Will you repent when you come to heaven that you did too 
much to get it ? Will not that blessedness pay you to the full ? 

6. What if you had no wages but your work? Is it not 
better to live to God than to man ? Is not purity better than 
impurity ? If feasting be grievous, it is because you are sick. 
If the mire be your pleasure, it is because you are swine, and not 
because the condition is desirable. 

7. Will it comfort you more in the reckoning and review to 
have laid out yourselves for God, or for the world ? Will you 
then wish that you had done less for heaven, or for earth ? 
Sirs, these questions are easily answered if you are but willing 
to consider them. 

8. Doth it beseem those to be afraid of giving God too 
much, that are such bankrupts as we are, and are sure that 
we shall not give him the twentieth part of his due, if we 
do the best we can, and when the best, that are 'scorned by the 
world for their forwardness, do abhor themselves for their back- 
wardness ! Yea, could we do all, we are but unprofitable ser- 
vants, and should do but our duty. (Luke xvii. 10.) Alas ! 
how little cause have we to fear lest we should give God too 
much of our hearts, or of our lives ! 

3. If you are not your own, remember that nothing else is 
your own. What can be more your own than yourselves ? 

1. Your parts and abilities of mind or body are not your own ; 
use them, therefore, for him that owneth them. 

2. Your authority and dignities are not your own ; see, there- 
fore, that you make the best of them for him that lent them you. 

3. Your children themselves are not your own ; design them 
for the utmost of his service that trusts you with them, educate 
them in that way as they may be most serviceable to God. 
It is the great wickedness of too many of our gentry, that they 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 373 

prepare their posterity only to live plenteously, and in credit in 
the world, but not to be serviceable to God or thee ommon- 
wealth. Design them, all that are capable, to magistracy or 
ministry, or some useful way of life. And whatever be their 
employment, endeavour to possess them with the fear of the 
Lord, that they may devote themselves to him. Think not the 
preaching of the gospel a work too low for the sons of the 
noblest person in the land. It would be an excellent further- 
ance to the work of the gospel if noblemen and gentlemen would 
addict those sons to the ministry that are fit for it, and can be 
spared from the magistracy. They might have more respect 
from their people, aud easier rule them, and might better win 
them with bounty than poor men can do. They need not to 
contend with them for tithes or maintenance. 

4. If you are not your own, your whole families are not your 
own. Use them, therefore, as families that are dedicated to 
God. 

5. If you are not your own, then your wealth is not your 
own. Honour God, therefore, with your substance, and with 
the first fruits of your increase. (Prov. iii. 9.) Do you ask how ? 
Are there no poor people that want the preaching of the gospel 
for want of means, or other furtherance ? Are there no godly 
scholars that want means to maintain them at the universities, 
to fit them for this work ? Are there no poor neighbours about 
you that are ignorant, that if you buy them bibles and cate- 
chisms, and hire them to learn them, might come to knowledge 
and to life ? Are there no poor children that you might put 
apprentices to godly masters, where soul and body might both 
have helps ? The poor you have always with you. It is not 
for want of objects for your charity ; if you hide your talents, 
or consume them on yourselves, the time is coming when it 
would do you more good to have laid them out to your Master's 
use, than in pampering your flesh. 

Some grudge that God should have the tenths, that is, that 
they should be consecrated to the maintenance of his service. 
But little do these consider that all is his, and must all be ac- 
counted for. Some question whether now there be such a sin 
as sacrilege in being, but little do they consider that every 
sin is a kind of sacrilege. When you dedicated yourself to 
God, you dedicated all you had, and it was God's before; do 
not take it from him again. Remember the halving of Ananias, 
and give God all. 



374 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

Obj. But must we not provide for our families } 

Answ. Yea, because God requires it, and in so doing, you 
render it to him. That is given to him which is expended 
in obedience to him, so be it you still prefer his most eminent 
interest. 

Lastly, if you are not your own, then must not your works 
be principally for yourselves, but for him that owneth you. As 
the scope of your lives must be to the honour of your Lord, so 
be sure that you hourly renew these intentions. When you set 
your foot out of your doors, ask whether your business you go 
upon be for God. When you go to your rest, examine your- 
selves what you have done that day for God, especially let no 
opportunity overslip you wherein you may do him extraordinary 
service. You must so perform the very labours of your callings, 
that they may be ultimately for God ; so love your dearest 
friends and enjoyments, that it be God that is principally loved 
in them. 

More particularly as to the business of the day, what need 
I say more than in a word to apply this general doctrine to your 
special works ? 

1. If the honourable judges and the justices will remember 
that they are God's, and not their own, what a rule and stay 
will it be to them for their work ? What an answer will it 
afford them against all solicitations from carnal self, or impor- 
tunate friends ? viz., I am not mine own, nor come I hither 
to do mine own work, I cannot therefore dispose of myself or 
it, but must do as he that owns me doth command me. How 
would this also incite them to promote Christ's interest with 
their utmost power, and faithfully to own the causes which he 
owneth ! 

2. If all counsellors, and solicitors of causes, did truly take 
themselves for God's, and not their own, they durst not plead 
for, nor defend a cause they knew which God disowneth. 
They would remember that what they do against the innocent, 
or speak against a righteous cause, is done and said against 
their Lord, from whom they may expect, ere long, to hear, ( In 
as much as you said or did this against the least of these, you 
said or did it against me/ God is the great patron of inno- 
cency, and the pleader of every righteous cause, and he that 
will be so bold as to plead against him, had need of a large fee 
to save him harmless. Say not it is your calling which you 
must live by, unless you that once listed yourselves in your 



OF GOD- REDEEMER. 375 

baptism under Christ, will now take pay, and make it your 
profession to fight against him. The emptier your purses are 
of gain so gotten, the richer you are, or at least the fuller they 
are, you are so much the poorer. As we that are ministers 
do find by experience, that it was not without provocation from 
us that God of late hath let loose so many hands, and pens, 
and tongues against us, though our calling is more evidently 
owned by God than any one in the world besides, so I doubt 
not but you may find, upon due examination, that the late 
contempt which hath been cast upon your profession, is a 
reproof of your guilt from God who did permit it. Had lawyers 
and divines less lived to themselves, and more to God, we 
might have escaped, if not the scourge of reproachful tongues, 
yet at least the lashes of conscience. To deal freely with you, 
gentlemen, it is a matter that they who are strangers to your 
profession can scarce put any fair construction upon, that the 
worst cause, for a little money, should find an advocate among 
you. This driveth the standers by upon this harsh dilemma, 
to think that either your understandings or your. consciences 
are very bad. If, indeed, you so little know a good cause from 
a bad, then it must needs tempt men to think you very unskilful 
in your profession. The seldom and smaller differences of 
divines, in a more sublime and mysterious profession, is yet a 
discovery so far of their ignorance, and is imputed to their 
disgrace. But when almost every cause, even the worst that 
comes to the bar, shall have some of you for it, and some against 
it, and in the most palpable cases you are some on one side, 
and some on the other, the strange difference of your judgments 
doth seem to betray their weakness. But if you know the 
causes to be bad which you defend, and to be good which you 
oppose, it more evidently betrays a deplorable conscience. I 
speak not of your innocent or excusable mistakes in cases of 
great difficulty ; nor yet of excusing a cause bad in the main 
from unjust aggravations : but when money will hire you to 
plead for injustice against your own knowledge, and to use your 
wits to defraud the righteous, and spoil his cause, or vex him 
with delays, for the advantage of your own unrighteous client, 
I would not have your conscience for all your gains, nor your 
account to make for all the world : it is sad, that any known 
unrighteous cause should have a professed Christian, in the face 
of a christian judicature, to defend it, and Satan should plead 
by the tongues of men so deeply engaged to Christ : but it is 



376 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

incomparably more sad, that almost every unjust cause should find 
a patron ; and no contentious, malicious person should be more 
ready to do wrong, than some lawyers to defend him, or a 
(dear-bought) fee ! Did you honestly obey God, and speak not 
a word against your judgment, but leave every unjust man to 
defend his own cause, what peace would it bring to your con- 
sciences ; what honour to your now reproached profession ; what 
relief to the oppressed ; and what an excellent cure to the 
troublesome contentions of proud or malicious men. 

3. To your juries and witnesses I shall say but this, you also 
are not your own ; and he that owneth you hath told vou, 
" That he will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in 
Vain." It is much into your hands that the law hath committed 
the cause of the just; should you betray it by perjury and 
false witnesses, while there is a conscience in your guilty breast, 
and a God in heaven, you shall not want a witness of your sin, 
or a revenger of the oppressed, if the blood of Christ on your 
sound repentance do not rescue you. 

4. If plaintiff and defendant did well consider that they are 
not their own, they would not be too prone to quarrels, but 
would lose their right, when God, the chief proprietor, did re- 
quire it. Why do you not rather take wrong, and suffer your- 
selves to be defrauded, than do wrong and defraud, and that 
your brethren ? (1 Cor. vi. 7 — 9.) 

To conclude : I earnestly entreat you all, that have heard me 
this day, that when you go home, you will betake yourselves to 
a sober consideration of the claim that God hath laid to you, 
and the right he hath in you, and all that you have : and resolve, 
without any further delay, to give him his own ; and give it not 
to his enemies, and yours. When you see the judgment set, 
arubthe prisoners waiting to receive their sentence, remember 
with what inconceivable glory and terror your Judge will shortly 
come to demand his due ; and what an inquiry must be made 
into the tenour of your lives. As you see the eclipsed sun with- 
draw its light,* so remember how before this dreadful final 
judgment, the sun and moon, and the whole frame of nature, 
shall be dissolved S And how God will withdraiv the light of his 
countenance from those that have neglected him in the day 
of their visitation. As ever you would be his, then see that you 
be his now ; own him as your absolute Lord, if you expect he 

* This sermon was preached at the time of the eclipse. 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 3/7 

should own you then as his people. Wo to you that ever you 
were horn ! if you put God then to distrain you for his due, and 
to take that up in your punishment, which you denied to give 
him in voluntary obedience. You would all be his in the time 
of your extremity ; then you cry to him as your God for deliver- 
ance. Hear him now, if vou would then be heard: live to him 
now, and live with him for ever. A popish priest can persuade 
multitudes of men and women to renounce the very possession 
of worldly goods, and the exercise of their outward callings in a 
mistaken devotedness to God. May not I, then, hope to prevail 
with you to devote yourselves, with the fruit of your callings 
and possessions, to his unquestionable service ? Will the Lord 
of mercy but fasten these persuasions upon your hearts, and 
cause them to prevail, what a happy day will this prove to us ! 
God will have his own, the church will have your utmost help, the 
souls of those about you will have the fruit of your diligence and 
good examples, the commonwealth will have the fruit of your 
fidelity, the poor will have the benefit of your charity, I shall 
have the desired end of my labour, and yourselves will have the 
great and everlasting gain. 



SERMON 



OF THE 



ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST; 



AND THE 



NECESSITY OF MAN'S SUBJECTION, DEPENDENCE, 
AND CHIEFEST LOVE TO HIM. 

Preached before the Judges of Assise , at Worcester. 



" But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, 
bring hither, and slay them before me." — Luke xix. 27. 



Christian Reader, 

When I had resolved, at the desire of the Honourable Judge 
of Assize, to publish the foregoing sermon, I remembered that, 
about six years before, I had preached another on the like occa- 
sion, on a subject so like, and to so like a purpose, that I con- 
ceived it not unfit to be annexed to the former. I have endea- 
voured to show you, in both these sermons, that Christ may be 
preached without Antinomianism; that terror may be preached 
without unwarrantable preaching the law; that the gospel is not 
a mere promise, and that the law is not so terrible as it is to the 
rebellious: as also what that superstructure is, which is built on 
the foundation of general redemption rightly understood; and 
how ill we can preach Christ's dominion in his universal pro- 
priety and sovereignty, or yet persuade men to sanctification 
and subjection, without this foundation. I have laboured to fit 
all, or almost all, for matter and manner, to the capacity of the 
vulgar. And though, for the matter, it is as necessary to the 
greatest, yet it is for the vulgar, principally, that I publish it ; 
and had rather it might be numbered with those books which 
are carried up and down the country from door to door in ped- 
lars' packs, than with those that lie on booksellers' stalls, or 
are set up in the libraries of learned divines. And to the same 
use would I design the most of my published labours, should 
God afford me time and ability, and contentious brethren give 
me leave. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

August 7, 1654. 



SERMON 



OF THE 



ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 



PSALM ii. 10, 11, 12. 

Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings ; be instructed, ye judges 
of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with 
trembling, &c. 

To waste this precious hour in an invective against injustice 
and its associates, is none of my purpose; they are sins so 
directly against the principles in nature, so well known, I believe, 
to you all, and so commonly preached against upon these occa- 
sions, that upon the penalty of forfeiting the credit of my 
discretion, I am bound to make choice of a more necessary 
subject. What? Have we need to spend our time and studies to 
persuade Christians from bribery, perjury, and oppression; and 
from licking up the vomit which pagans have cast out ? And 
that in an age of blood and desolation, when God is taking the 
proudest oppressors by the throats, and raising monuments of 
justice upon the ruins of the unjust. And I would fain believe 
that no corrupt lawyers do attend your judicatures, and that 
Jezebel's witnesses dwell not in our country, nor yet a jury that 
fear not an oath; I have therefore chosen another subject, 
which, being of the greatest moment, can never be unseason- 
able ; even to proclaim him who is constituted the King and 
Judge of all, to acquaint you with his pleasure, and to demand 
your subjection. 

The chief scope of the Psalm is, to foretel the extent and 
prevalency of the kingdom of Christ, admonishing his enemies 
to submit to his government, deriding the vanity of their op- 
posing projects and fury, and forewarning them of their ruin if 
thev come not in. 



382 THE ABSOLUTE 

The verses which I have read are the application of the fore- 
going prediction, by a serious admonition to the proudest 
offenders : they contain, 1. The persons admonished, "kings 
and judges." 2. Their duty: 1. In general to God, "serve 
him;" with the adjuncts annexed: 1. Rejoicing. 2. Fear and 
trembling. 2. More especially their duty to the Son, " kiss 
him/' 3. The motives to this duty. 1. Principally and 
directly expressed, " lest he be angry/' which anger is set 
forth by the effect, " and ye perish/' which perishing is aggra- 
vated, 1. From the suddenness and unexpectedness, " in the 
way." 2. From the dreadfulness, " kindled." 1 . It is fire, and 
will kindle and burn. 2. A little of it will produce this sad 
effect. 3. It will be wo to those that do not escape it ; which 
wo is set forth by the contrary happiness of those that by sub- 
mission do escape. 2. The motives subservient and implied are 
in the monitory words, • be wise, be learned," q. d. else you 
will show and prove yourselves men of ignorance and madness, 
unlearned and unwise. 

Some questions here we should answer for explication of the 
terms : as, 

1. Whether the Lord in verse 11, and the Son in verse 12, 
be both meant of Christ the Second Person ? 

2. Whether the anger here mentioned be the anger of the 
Father or the Son, "lest he be angry?" I might spend much 
time here to little purpose, in showing you the different judg- 
ment of divines of these, when in the issue there is no great 
difference, which ever way we take them. 

3. What is meant by " kissing the Son ?" I answer, accord- 
ing to its threefold object, it hath a threefold duty contained 
in it. 

1. We kiss the feet in token of subjection ; so must we kiss 
the Son. 

2. We kiss the hand in token of dependence ; so must we 
kiss the hand of Christ ; that is, resign ourselves to him, and 
expect all our happiness and receivings from him. 

3. We kiss the mouth in token of love and friendship j and 
so also must we kiss the Son. 

4. What is meant by "perishing in the way?" I answer, 
(omitting the variety of interpretations,) it is their sudden un- 
expected perishing in the heat of their rage, and in pursuit of 
their designs against the kingdom of Christ. 

I know no other terms of any great difficulty here. 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 383 

Many observations might be hence raised : as, 

1. Serving the Lord is the great work and business that the 
world hath to do. 

2. This service should be accompanied with rejoicing. 

3. So should it also with fear and trembling. 

4. There is no such opposition between spiritual joy and 
fear, but that they may and must consist together. 

5. Scripture useth familiar expressions concerning man's 
communion with Christ, such as this, " kiss the Son." 

6. There is anger in God, or that which we cannot conceive 
better of than under the notion of anger. 

7. There is a way to kindle this anger ; it is man that 
kindleth it. 

8. The way to kindle it chiefly is not kissing the Son. 

9. The kindling of it will be the perishing of the sinner. 

10. The enemies of Christ shall perish suddenly and un- 
expectedly. 

11. A little of God's anger will utterly undo them. 

12. They are blessed men that escape it, and miserable that 
must feel it. 

13. It is therefore notorious folly to neglect Christ, and stand 
out. 

14. Kings, judges, and rulers of the earth, are the first men 
that Christ summons in, and the chief in the calamity if they 
stand out. 

But I will draw the scope of the text, into this one doc- 
trine ; in the handling whereof 1 shall spend the time allotted 
me. 

Doct. No power or privilege can save that man from the 
fearful, sudden, consuming wrath of God, that doth not un- 
feignedly love, depend upon, and subject himself unto the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

If they be the greatest kings and judges, yet if they do not 
kiss the mouth, the hand, the feet of Christ, his wrath will be 
kindled, and they will perish in the way of their rebellion and 
neglect. 

In handling this point I shall observe this order. 

1. I will show you what this love, dependence, and subjection 
are. 

2. What wrath it is that will thus kindle and consume them. 

3. Why this kissing the Son is the only way to escape it. 

4. Why no power or privilege else can procure their escape. 



384 THE ABSOLUTE 

5. The application. 

For the first I shall only give you a naked description, wish- 
ing that I had time for a fuller explication. 

1 . Subjection to Christ is, the acknowledging of his abso- 
lute sovereignty, both as he is God, Creator, and as Redeemer 
over all the world, and particularly ourselves; and a hearty con- 
sent to this his sovereignty; especially that he be our Lord, and 
his laws our rule, and a delivering up ourselves to him to be 
governed accordingly. 

2. This dependence on Christ is, when acknowledging the 
sufficiency of his satisfaction, and his power and willingness to 
save all that receive him, manifested in his free universal offer 
in the gospel, we do heartily accept him for our only Saviour? 
and accordingly, renouncing all other, do wait upon him believ- 
ingly for the benefits of his sufferings and office, and the per- 
formance of his faithful covenant to us, in restoring us to all the 
blessings which we lost, and advancing us to a far greater ever- 
lasting glory. 

3. This affection to Christ is, when in the knowledge and 
sense of his love to us, both common and especial, and of his 
own excellency, and the blessedness of enjoying him, and the 
Father and Life by him, our hearts do choose him, and the 
Father by him as the only happiness, and accordingly love him 
above all things in the world. 

As this threefold description containeth the sum of the gos- 
pel, so hath it nothing but what is of necessity to sound Chris- 
tianity. If any one of these three be not found in thy heart, 
either have I little skill in divinity, or thou hast no true Chris- 
tianity, nor canst be saved in that condition. 

Object. But do not the Scriptures make believing the con- 
dition of the covenant? But here is a great deal more than 
believing. 

Ans. Sometimes faith is taken in a narrower sense, and then 
it is not made the sole condition of the new covenant ; but re- 
pentance, and forgiving others, are joined with it as conditions 
of our forgiveness ; and obedience and perseverance, as condi- 
tions of our continued justification and salvation. But when 
faith is made the sole condition of the covenant, then it com- 
prehendeth essentially, (not only supposeth as precedent or con- 
comitant,) if not all three, yet at least the two first of the 
afore described qualifications; viz., dependence and subjection, 
which, if it were well understood, would much free the common 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 385 

sort of Christians from their soul-destroying mistakes, and the 
body of divinity from a multitude of common errors, and our 
religion from much of that reproach of solifidianism which is 
cast upon it by the papists. 

2. I must be as brief in opening the second thing, viz. What 
wrath it is that will thus kindle and consume them. What 
wrath is in God we need not here trouble ourselves to inquire, 
but only what is intimated in the threats or curses of the cove- 
nants. As there are two covenants, so each hath his proper 
penalty for its violation. 

1. Then till men do come in and submit to Christ they lie 
under the wrath of God for all their sins, as they are against the 
covenant of works, or they are liable to the curse of that 
covenant : Christ's death hath taken away the curse of that 
covenant ; not absolutely from any man, but conditionally, 
which becomes absolute when the condition is performed. The 
elect themselves are not by nature under the covenant of grace, 
but remain under the curse of the first covenant till they come 
in to Christ. 

2. Whosoever rejecteth or neglecteth his grace, and so finally 
breaketh the new covenant, must also bear the curse or penalty 
thereof, besides all the former, which is a far greater curse, even 
as the blessings of this covenant are far greater than those of 
the first. It was a heavy punishment to be cast out of Para- 
dise, and from the presence and favour of God, and to be cursed 
by him, and subjected to eternal death, and all creatures below 
cursed for our sakes, to bear all those curses and plagues threat- 
ened in Deut. xxvii. and xxviii., and to have the wrath of God 
smoke against us, &c, as Deut. xxix. 20. " But of how much 
sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy that doth tread under 
foot the blood of this covenant, and do despite to the Spirit of 
Grace?" (Heb. x. 28, 29.) It is true, that for all other sins 
the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience, 
(or unpersuadeableness,) that is, on them that will not be per^ 
suaded to obey the Lord Christ. (Eph. v. 6.) But it is on no 
other with us, for this is the condemnation, " that light is come 
into the world, and men love darkness rather than light." 
(John i. 19.) 

3. Why is this kissing the Son, that is, loving, depend- 
ing on, and submitting to him, the only way to escape these 
curses ? 

Ans. 1. The most proper and primary reason which can be 
VOL, xvji. c c 



386 , THE ABSOLUTE 

given, is, the will of the Great Lawgiver, who, having absolute 
sovereignty over us, might dispose of us as he please, and make 
us such laws and conditions as seem best to his wisdom, upon 
which our justification and salvation should depend : he hath 
resolved that this shall be the only condition and way; and 
that, as no man shall be justified by a mere Christ, or his death 
abstracted from faith, (that is of age and use of reason,) so 
this faith shall be the condition upon which they shall be 
justified : or, as a Christ neglected shall save no man, so the 
accepting or receiving of him shall justify and save them, as the 
condition of the covenant performed, under which notion it is 
that faith justifieth. 

2. Yet other improper or subordinate reasons (which receive 
their life from the former, and without it would be no reasons,) 
maybe given : as, 1. from the equity; and, 2. from the suitable- 
ness and conveniency. 

1. It is but equal that he who hath bought us, and that so 
dearly, and from a state so deplorable and desperate as we were 
in, should be acknowledged and accepted for our Saviour and 
our Lord, and that we who are not our own, " but are bought 
with a price, should glorify him with our bodies and souls, which 
are his," (1 Cor. vi. 20, and vii. 23,) especially when, for that 
end he both died and rose again, that he might rule, or be Lord 
over, both quick and dead. (Rom. iv. 9.) ]f one of you should 
buy a man from the galleys or gallows, with the price of vour 
whole estate, or the life of your only Son, would you not expect 
that he should be at your disposal ? That he should love you, 
depend on you, and be subject to you. 

2. And as salvation by free grace through Christ is a way 
most suitable to God's honour, and to our own necessitous and 
low condition, so, in subordination thereto, the way of believing 
is most rationally conducible to the same ends. As we could not 
have had a fitter way to the Father than by Christ, so neither 
could there be a more fit way to Christ, or means to partake of 
him, than by faith : for though I cannot call it the instrumental 
cause of our justification, either active or passive, yet is this 
faith, or acceptation of Christ for our Saviour and King, which 
is here called " kissing the Son," the fairest condition that we' 
could reasonably expect, and the most apparently tending to the 
honour of our Redeemer; applying and appropriating to our- 
selves the person, righteousness, and benefits procured and of- 
fered, but not the least of the honour of the work. All we do 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 387 

is but to accept what Christ hath procured, and that must be by 
the special assistance of his Spirit too. 

4. The fourth thing I promised, is to show you why no other 
privilege or power in the world can save him that doth not kiss 
the Son. It may here suffice that I have showed you God's de- 
termination to the contrary. But further consider, (if any should 
hope to escape by their dignities, titles, friends, strength, or any 
other endowments or virtuous qualifications,) 1. What is their 
task. 2. What is their power to perform it. 

1. They must resist the irresistible will of God. They must 
do that which heaven or earth, men or devils, were never able 
yet to do. They have resisted his laws and his love, but they 
could never resist his purpose or his power. The power that 
undertaketh to save an enemy, or neglecter of Christ, must first 
overcome the power of the Almighty, and conquer him that 
doth command the world. And who hath the strength that is 
sufficient for this ? Sinner, before thou venture thy soul upon 
such a mad conceit, or think to be saved whether God will or 
not, try first thy skill and strength in some inferior attempt ; bid 
the sun or moon stand still in the firmament, invert the several 
seasons of the year, bid the snow and frost to come in summer, 
and the flowers and fruits to spring in winter ; command the 
streams to turn their course, or the tide its times, or the winds 
their motion. If these will obey thee, and thy word can prevail 
with them against the law of their Creator, then mayest thou 
proceed with the greater confidence and courage, and have some 
hope to save the neglecters of Christ. Or try first whether thou 
canst save thy present life against the course of nature and will 
of God : call back thine age and years that are past ; com- 
mand thy pains and sickness to be gone ; chide back this bold 
approaching death ? Will they not obey thee ? Canst thou 
do none of these ? How then canst thou expect the saving of 
thy soul against the determinate will and way of God ? Where 
dwelleth that man, or what was his name, that did neglect 
Christ, and yet escape damnation ? Who hath hardened him- 
self against him and hath prospered ? (Job ix. 4.) And dost 
thou think, then, to be first ? Thou mayest, perhaps, knock 
boldly at the gate of heaven, and plead thy greatness, thy vir- 
tues, thy alms deeds, and formal devotion, but thou shalt receive 
a more vvoful answer than thou dost expect. Jesus we know, and 
obediential faith in him we know, but who are ye ? 

2. He that will save the soul, that loveth not, dependeth not 

c c 2 



388 THE ABSOLUTE 

on, and subjecteth not himself to Christ, must first make false 
the word of God, and make the true and faithful God a liar ? 
This is another part of his task : " God hath given it under his 
hand for truth, That " he that believeth not is condemned al- 
ready; (John iii. 18 ;) That " he shall not see life, but the wrath 
of God abideth on him;" (John iii. 36 ;) that they who are in- 
vited to Christ, and make light of it, or make excuses, " shall 
never taste of his supper;" (Luke xiv. 24; Matt. xxii. 5, 8;) 
That " it shall he easier for Sodom in the day of judgment, than 
for that city which refuseth the offers of the gospel;" (Matt. 
x. 15 ;) that whosoever would not have Christ to reign over 
them " shall be brought forth at last and destroyed before him 
as his enemies;" (Luke xix. 27 ;) that u they shall all be damned 
that believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness." 
(2 Thess. ii. 12, &c.) And hath the Almighty said that thus it 
shall be ? Who, then, is he that dare say it shall not be ? Is 
this the concluded decree of heaven ? What power or policy 
is able to reverse it ? Hath God said it, and will he not do it? 
Thus you see his task that will undertake to save one neg- 
lecter of Christ. 

2. Let us now consider what power that is which must per- 
form it. Jf it be done it must be either, 1. By wisdom ; or, 
2. By strength ; whereas, the chiefest of men, even the kings 
and judges of the earth, are both ignorant and impotent. 

1. Ignorant. Though judges are learned in the repute of the 
world, alas ! poor crawling, breathing dust ! do you know the 
secrets of your Maker's counsel ? And are you able to over- 
reach them, and frustrate his designs ? Doth this book know 
what is written in it ? Can the seat you sit on over-top your 
counsels ? More likely than for you to overtop the Lord. 
Silly worms ! you know not what God is, nor know you any 
one of his revealed thoughts, no more than that pillar doth 
know your thoughts. You know not what you are yourselves, 
nor see any further than the superficies of your skin. What is 
thy soul ; and whence didst thou receive it ? Dost thou know 
its form ; or didst thou feel it enter ? Which part didst thou 
feel it first possess ? Thou canst call it a spirit, but knowest 
thou what a spirit is ; or rather only what it is not ? Thou 
knowest not that whereby thou knowest : and how was thy 
body formed in the womb ? What was it an hundred years ago ? 
What is that vital heat and moisture ? What causeth that 
order and diversity of its parts ? When will the most expert 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 389 

anatomists and physicians be agreed ? Why, there are myste- 
ries in the smallest worm, which thou canst not reach; nor 
couldst thou resolve the doubts arising about an ant or atom, 
much less about the sun, or fire, or air, or wind, &c. : and canst 
thou not know thyself, nor the smallest part of thyself, nor the 
smallest creature ; and yet canst thou over-reach the everlasting 
counsels. 

2. And is thy might and power any greater than thy policy? 
Why, what are the kings and rulers of the earth but lumps of 
clay, that can speak and go ; moving shadows, the flowers of a 
day, a corruptible seed, blown up to that swelled consistence in 
which it appears, as children blow their bubbles of soap, some- 
what invisible condensate; which, that it may become visible, 
is become more gross, and so more vile, and will shortly be 
.almost all turned into invisible again; and that little dust which 
corruption leaves by the force of fire, may be dissipated yet 
more, and then where is this specious part of the man ? Surely 
now that body, which is so much esteemed, is but a loathsome 
lump of corruptible flesh, covered with a smooth skin, and 
kept a little while from stinking by the presence of the soul, 
and must shortly be cast out of sight into a grave, as unfit for 
the sight or smell of the living, and there be consumed with 
rottenness and worms. These are the kings and rulers of 
the earth ; this is the power that must conquer heaven, and 
save them that rebel against Christ the Lord. They that can- 
not live a month without repairing their consuming bodies 
by food, one part whereof doth turn to their vital blood and 
spirits, and the other to loathsome insufferable excrements, so 
near is the kin between their best and worst, judge all you that 
have common reason, whether he that cannot keep himself 
alive an hour, and shortly will not be able to stir a finger, to re- 
move the worms that feed upon his heart, be able to resist the 
strength of Christ, and save the soul, that God hath said and 
sworn shall not be saved. Ah ! poor souls, that have no better 
saviours. And well may Christ, his truth, and cause, prevail 
that have no stronger enemies. 

Use 1. You have here a text that will fully inform you how 
you are like to speed at the bar of Christ ; who shall die and 
who shall live. The great assize is near at hand, the feet of our 
Judge are even at the door. Go thy way, unbelieving sinner, 
when thou hast had all the pleasure that sin will afford thee, lie 
down in the dust and sleep awhile, the rousing voice shall 



390 THE ABSOLUTE 

quickly awake thee, and thine eyes shall see that dreadful day. 
O blessed day 1 O doleful day ! ] Messed to the saints, doleful 
to the wicked. O the rejoicing ! O the lamenting that there 
will be! The triumphant shoutings of joyful saints; the 
hideous roaring cries of the ungodly, when each man hath 
newly received his doom, and there is nothing but eternal gloi v 
and eternal fire. Beloved hearers, every man of you shall 
shortly there appear, and wait as the trembling prisoner at the 
bar, to hear what doom must pass upon you. Do you not be- 
lieve this ? I hope you do believe it. Why what would you give 
now to know, for certain, how it shall go with you ? Why here 
is the book by which you must be judged, and here is the sum 
of it in my text, and the grounds upon which the Judge will 
then proceed. Will you but go along with me, and answer the 
questions which hence I shall put to you, and search and judge 
yourselves by them as you go, you may know what doom you 
may then expect ; only deal faithfully, and search thoroughly, 
for self- flattery will not prevent your sorrow. 

And here you must know that it is the kiss of the heart, and 
not of the lips, which we must here inquire after. The question 
will not be at the great day who hath spoken Christ fair ; or 
who hath called themselves by the name of Christians ; or who 
hath said the Creed or the Lord's Prayer oftenest; or cried 
Lord, Lord ; or come to church ; or carried a Bible ; or who 
hath held this opinion, or who that. It would make a man's 
heart ache to think how zealously men will honour the shadow 
of Christ, and bow at his name, and reverence the image of the 
cross which he died on, and the names and relics of the saints 
that died for him, and yet do utterly neglect the Lord himself, 
and cannot endure to be governed by him, and resis this Spirit, 
and scorn his strict and holy ways, and despitefully hate them 
that most love and obey him, and yet believe themselves to be 
real Christians. For God's sake, Sirs, do not so delude your 
immortal souls, as to think your baptism, and your outward de- 
votion, and your good meanings, as you call them, and your 
righteous dealing with men, will serve the turn to prove you 
Christians. Alas ! this is but, with Judas, to kiss the mouth of 
Christ, and indeed to fetch your death from those blessed lips, 
from whence the saints do fetch their life. I will show you 
some surer signs than these. 

1. And, first, let me a little inquire into your subjection to 
Christ. Do you remember the time when you were the servants 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 391 

of sin, and when Satan led you captive at his will, and the 
prince of darkness ruled in your souls, and all within you was 
in a carnal peace ? Do you remember when the Spirit in the 
word came powerfully upon your hearts, and bound Sat?* ....a 
cast him out, and answered all your reasonings, and conquered 
all your carnal wisdom, and brought you from darkness to light, 
and from the power of Satan to God ? (Acts xxvi. 18.) Or, at 
least, are you sure that now you live not under the same lord 
and laws as the ungodly do ? Hath Christ now the only sove- 
reignty in your souls ; is his word thy law, which thou darest not 
pass ? Doth it bind thy thoughts, and rule thy tongue, and 
command thyself, and all thou hast ? Hast thou laid all down 
at the feet of Christ, and resigned thyself and all to his will, 
and devoted all to his disposal and service ? If custom bid thee 
curse and swear, and Christ forbid thee, which dost thou obey ? 
If thy appetite bid thee take thy cups, or fare deliciously every 
day; if thy company bid thee play the good fellow, or scorn 
the godly ; if thy covetousness bid thee love the world, and 
Christ forbid thee, which dost thou obey ? If Christ bid thee 
be holy, and walk precisely, and be violent for heaven, and strive 
to enter in, and the world and the flesh be enemies to all this, 
and cry it down as tedious folly, which dost thou obey? Dost 
thou daily and spiritually worship him in private, and in thy 
family, and teach thy children and servants to fear the Lord ? 
I entreat you, Sirs, deal truly in answering these questions : 
never man was saved by the bare title of a Christian. If you 
are not subject to Christ, you are not Christians, no more than 
a picture or a carcass is a man, and your salvation will be such 
as your Christianity is. Subjection is an essential part of thy 
faith, and obedience is its fruit. In short, then, dost thou make 
him thy fear, and tremble at his word ? Dare thou run upon 
fire or water, sword or cannon, rather than wilfully run upon his 
displeasure ? Wouldest thou rather displease thy dearest friend, 
the greatest prince, or thine own flesh, than wittingly provoke 
him ? When Christ speaks against thy sweetest sin, thy nature, 
or custom, or credit, or life, against thy rooted opinions, or thy 
corrupt traditions, art thou willing to submit to all that he re- 
vealeth ? Dost thou say, " Speak, Lord, for thy servant hear- 
eth ? Lord, what wouldest thou have me to do ? I am ready 
to do thy will, O God." 

Beloved hearers, this is the frame of every servant of Christ, 
and this is the acknowledging and accepting him for your Lord. 



392 THE ABSOLUTE 

I beseech you cozen not your souls with shows and formalities. 
If ever you be saved without this subjection, it must be without 
Christ's merits or mercy. It must be in a way that Scripture 
revealeth not, nay, it must be in despite of God, his truth must 
be falsified, and his power must be mastered, before the diso- 
bedient can be saved from his wrath. 

2. Examine, also, your dependence on Christ, whether you 
kiss his hand as well as his feet. Do you understand that you 
are all by nature condemned men, and liable to the everlasting 
wrath of God ; that Christ hath interposed and paid this 
debt, and bought us as his own by the satisfaction of that 
justice ; that all things are now delivered into his hands, 
(John xiii. 3,) and he is made head over all things to his church. 
(Eph. i. 21, 22.) Dost thou take him for thy only Saviour, 
and believe the history of his life and passion, the truth of his 
divine and human nature, his resurrection, his office, and his 
approaching judgment ? Dost thou see that all thy supposed 
righteousness is but vanity and sin, and that thyself art unable 
to make the least satisfaction to the law by thy works or suf- 
ferings, and if his blood do not wash thee, and his righteousness 
justify thee, thou must certainly be damned yet, and perish for 
ever ? Dost thou, therefore, cast thyself into his arms, and 
venture thy everlasting state upon him, and trust him with thv 
soul, and fetch all thy help and healing from him ? When sin 
is remembered, and thy conscience troubled, and the fore- 
thoughts of judgment do amaze thy soul, dost thou then fetch 
thy comfort from the views of his blood, and the thoughts of 
the freeness and fulness of his satisfaction, his love, and gospel 
offers and promises ? Dost thou so build upon his promise of 
a happiness hereafter, that thou canst let go all thy happiness 
here, and drink of his cup, and be baptised with his baptism, 
and lose thy life upon his promise that thou shalt save it ? 
Canst thou part with goods and friends, and all that thou hast, 
in hope of a promised glory which thou never sawest ? If thou 
canst thus drink with him of the brook in the way, thou shalt 
also with him lift up the head. (Psalm ex. 7.) Dost thou 
perceive a Mediator as well as a God in all thy mercies, both 
special and common, and taste his blood in all that thou re- 
ceivest, and wait upon his hand for thy future supplies ? Why, 
this is kissing the hand of Christ, and depending upon him. 
O how contrary is the case of the world, whose confidence is 
like the Samaritan's worship, they trust God and their wits, and 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 393 

labours, Christ and their supposed merits ; I would I might not 
say Christ and deceit, and wicked contrivances. O blas- 
phemous ! joining of heaven and hell to make up one foundation 
of their trust ! 

3. Examine a little also your love to Christ. Do you thus 
kiss the son ? Do your souls cleave to him, and embrace him 
with the strongest of your affections ? Sirs, though there is 
nothing that the blind world is more confident in than this, 
that they love Christ with all their hearts, yet is there nothing 
wherein they are more false and faulty. 1 beseech you, there- 
fore, deal truly in answering here. Are your hearts set upon 
the Lord Jesus ? Do you love him above all things in this 
world ? Do you stick at your answer ? Do you not know ? 
Sure, then, at best you love him but little, or else you could not 
choose but know it. Love is a stirring and sensible affection, 
you know what it is to love a friend. Feel by this pulse whether 
you live or die. Doth it beat more strongly toward Christ than 
to any thing else ? Never question man the necessity of this ; 
he hath concluded, c If thou love anything more than him, thou 
art not worthy of him, nor canst be his disciple/ Are thy 
thoughts of Christ thy freest and thy sweetest thoughts ? Are 
thy speeches of him thy sweetest speeches ? When thou awa- 
kest art thou still with him ; and is he next thv heart? When 
thou walkest abroad, dost thou take him in thy thoughts ? 
Canst thou say, and lie not, that thou wast ever deeply in love 
with him, that thou dost love him but as heartily as thou dost 
thy friend, and art as loth to displease him, and as glad of his 
presence, and as much troubled at his strangeness or absence ? 
Hath thy minister, or godly acquaintance ever heard thee be- 
moaning thy soul for want of Christ, or inquiring what thou 
shouldest do to attain him ? or thy family heard thee com- 
mending his excellency, and labouring to kindle their affections 
towards him ? Why love will not be hid, when it hath its 
desire, it will be rejoicing, and when it wants it, it will be com- 
plaining. Or, at least, can thy conscience witness thy longings, 
thy groans, thy prayers for a Christ ? Wilt thou stand to the 
testimony of these witnesses ? Do you love his weak, his poor, 
despised members ? Do you visit them, clothe them, feed them, 
to your power ? Not only in a common natural compassion 
to them as they are your neighbours, but do you love or relieve 
a prophet in the name of a prophet, or a disciple in the name 
of a disciple. (Matt. x. 40, 42.) Shall all these decide the 
question ? 



394 THE ABSOLUTE 

Beloved hearers, I profess to you all, in the name of our 
Lord, that it is not your bold and confident affirming that you 
love Christ, which will serve your turn when Christ shall judge ; 
he will search deep, and judge according to the truth in the 
inward parts. How many thousands will then perish as his 
utter enemies, that verily thought themselves his friends ? How 
easily now might they find their mistake if they would but be 
at the pains to examine themselves ? O try, try, Sirs, before 
God try you, judge yourselves before Christ judge you. It 
would grieve a man's heart that knows what it is to love Christ, 
to believe, to be subject to him, to see how rare these are in 
the world, and yet how confident and careless most men are. It 
may be that you may think much that I so question your love, 
yet Christ, that knew all things, questioned Peter's love to him, 
and that three times, till it grieved Peter. I am a stranger to 
the most of you, and therefore know not your conditions or 
inclinations. Yet judge me not censorious if I fear the worst, 
and if I measure you by the rest of the world, and then I may 
confidently and sadly conclude that Christ hath few loving 
subjects among you. If we could hear your oaths and vain 
speeches turned to heavenly, soul-edifying discourse, and your 
covetousness to eonsv ; onableness, and see that the word of 
Christ were your law, and that you laid out your endeavours 
for heaven in good earnest, then we should say, c These people 
are the loving subjects of Christ/ But when men are enemies to 
Christ's doctrine, and ways, and worship, and had rather live 
after the flesh, and the world, and the traditions of their 
fathers, and are notorious for profaneness, superstition, and en- 
mity to reformation, who can choose but condole your case ? 
And if your obstinacy will not endure us to help you, yet you 
shall give us leave, whether you will or no, to lament you. 

Use 2. But it is time that I turn my speech to exhortation, 
and O that you would encourage me with your resolutions to 
obey ! My business here to-day is as his herald and ambas- 
sador, to proclaim the Lord Jesus your King and Saviour, and 
to know whether you will heartily acknowledge and take him 
so to be or not. And to persuade you to take so fair an offer 
while you may have it, and to kiss the Son lest his wrath be 
kindled. This is my business here, in which if I had not some 
hope to speed, the Lord knows I would not have been here 
to-day. You will say, ' This is a common errand ; do you think 
we never heard of Christ before V I confess it is common, 
blessed be God for it, (and long may it so continue and increase, 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 395 

and let it be as constant and durable to us as the sun in the 
firmament : and the Lord grant that England's sins or enemies 
may never bereave them of the blessing of the gospel, and then 
it will be a happier land than yet ever was any on the face of 
the earth,) but is it as common to receive Christ in love and 
obedience ? I would it were. I know the name of Christ is 
common. The swearer doth swear by it, the beggar begs by 
it, the charmer puts it into his charms, and the jester into his 
jests, and every papist and ignorant protestant doth mutter it 
oft times over in his prayers. But who trembleth at it ? Or 
triumpheth in it ? Who maketh it his fear and his joy ? And 
give up their souls and lives to be governed by Christ ? I do 
here solemnly proclaim to you that the Lord Jesus will not be 
put off with your compliments ; he cares not for your mere name 
of Christianity, nor your cap, nor your knee. If thy heart be 
not set upon him, thou art none of his. His word must be 
your law, and you must depend on him alone for soul and body, 
or never look for mercy at his hands. He is the author of 
eternal salvation to them only that obey him. (Heb. v. 9.) 

What say you then, Sirs, in answer to my message ? And 
what course do you resolve upon ? Shall Christ be your love, 
and your Lord, or not ? Will you kiss the Son, or will you slight 
him still ? Methinks you should easily be resolved, and say, 
' Away with pleasure, and credit, and worldly gain ; away with 
these bewitching delights and companions; Christ hath bought 
mv heart, and he shall have it ; he is my Lord, and I will be 
ruled by him.' Hearers, I hope God hath kept you alive till 
now to show you mercy, and brought some sinners hither to- 
day to prevail with their hearts ; and my hope is somewhat 
strengthened by God's disposal of my own spirit 5 I was strongly 
tempted to have preached this sermon in the enticing words of 
human wisdom, tending to a proud ostentation of parts ; but 
Christ hath assisted me to conquer the temptation, and com- 
manded me to preach him in plainness, and evidence of the 
Spirit. I come not to persuade you to opinions or factions, to 
be for this side, or for that, but to be with all your hearts for 
Christ, as ever you look that Christ should be for you : to love 
him as he that hath bought you from eternal wrath, and died to 
save you from everlasting burnings ; to lay hold on him with 
most earnest affectionate apprehension, as a man that is ready 
to drown would do upon a bough, or upon the hand of his friend 
that would pull him to the shore ; to wait for the law of thy 
direction from him, and do nothing till thou hast asked counsel 



396 THE ABSOLUTE 

at his word, and know his mind, whether thou shouldest do it 
or no, till thou feel thy conscience hound by his law, that thou 
canst not stir till he give thee leave ; that the commands of 
parents and princes may stoop to his, much more the commands 
of custom and company, of credit or pleasure, of the world or 
flesh ; these are the things that I exhort you to ; and I must 
tell you that Christ doth flatly expect them at your hands. 

I will here back these exhortations with some persuading 
considerations. Think of what I say, and weigh it as we go. 
If I speak not truth and reason, then reject it with disdain, and 
spare not ; but if it be, and thy conscience tell thee so, take 
heed then how thou dost neglect or reject it, lest thou be found 
a fighter against the Spirit, and lest the curse of God do seize 
upon that heart that would not yield to truth and reason. 

And I will draw these considerations only from my text : 

1. Thou art else a rebel against thy sovereign Lord. This I 
gather from the command in my text : and, indeed, the scope 
of the whole psalm. God hath given thee into the hands of 
his son, and made him Lord and King of all, and commanded 
all men to accept him, and submit unto him. Who can show 
such title to the sovereignty ? such right to rule thee as Christ 
can do ? He is thy Maker, and so is not Satan ; he dearly 
bought thee, and so did not the world ; " Thou wast not re- 
deemed with silver, and gold, and corruptible things." (1 Peter 
i. 18.) I make this challenge here in the behalf of Christ ; let 
any thing in the world step forth and show a better title to thee, 
to thy heart, and to thy life, than Christ doth show, and let 
them take thy heart, and take the rule. But why do I speak 
thus ? I know thou wilt confess it ; and yet wilt thou not yield 
him thy chiefest love and obedience : out of thy own mouth 
then art thou condemned, and thou proclaimest thyself a know- 
ing and wilful rebel. 

2. To deny thy affections and subjection to Christ is the 
most barbarous unkindness that a sinner can be guilty of. Did 
he pity thee in thy lost estate, and take thee up when thou lay- 
est wounded in the way, and make thee a plaster of the blood 
of his heart ? And is this thy requital ? Did he come down 
from heaven to earth, to seek thee when thou wast lost, and 
take upon him all thy debt, and put himself into the prison of 
the world and flesh ? Hath he paid for thy folly, and borne 
that wrath of God which thou must have suffered for ever ? And 
doth he not now deserve to be entertained with most affection- 
ate respect ? But with a few cold thoughts instead of hearty 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 397 

love ; and with a few formal words instead of worship ? What 
hurt had it been to him if thou hadst perished ? What would 
he have lost by it if thou hadst lain in hell ? Would not justice 
have been glorified upon a disobedient wretch ? Might not he 
have said to his Father, 6 What are these worms and sinners to 
me ? must I smart for their folly ? must I suffer when they have 
sinned ? must I debase myself to become man because they 
would have exalted themselves to become as God ? If they 
will needs undo themselves what is it to me ? If they will cast 
themselves into the flames of hell must I go thither to fetch 
them out?' Thus Christ might have put off the suffering and 
the shame, and let it fall and lie where it was due ; but he did 
not ; his compassion would not suffer him to see us suffer; jus- 
tice must be satisfied, the threat must be fulfilled ; Christ sceth 
that we cannot overcome it, but he can ; therefore, he comes 
down into flesh, he lives on earth, he fasteth, he weepeth, he is 
weary, he is tempted, he hath not a place to put his head, he is 
hated, he is spit upon, he is clothed as a fool, and made a scorn, 
he sweateth blood, he is crucified with thieves, he bears the 
burden that would have sunk all us to hell ; and must he after 
all this be neglected and forgotten, and his laws that should 
rule us be laid aside, and be accounted too strict and precise 
for us to live by ? O let the heavens blush, and the earth be 
ashamed, at this barbarous ingratitude ! How can such a peo- 
ple show their faces at his coming, or look him in the face when 
he shall judge them for this ! Would you use a friend thus ? 
No, nor an enemy. Methinks you should rather wonder with 
yourselves that ever Christ should give you leave to love him, 
and say, will the Lord endure such a wretch to kiss him ? Will 
he suffer himself to be embraced by those arms, which have been 
defiled so oft by the embracements of sin ? Will he so highly 
honour me as to be his subject and his servant, and to be guided 
by such a blessed and perfect law ? And doth he require no 
harder conditions than these for my salvation ; take, then, my 
heart, Lord, it is thine ; and O that it were better worth thy 
having, or take it and make it better $ the spear hath opened 
me a passage to thy heart, let the Spirit open thee a passage 
into mine ; deservedly may those gates be fuel for hell, that 
would not open to let in the King of Glory. 

3. To deny thy affection and subjection to the Son is the 
greatest folly and madness in the world. Why doth he require 
this so earnestly at thy hands ? Is it for thy hurt, or for thy 



398 THE ABSOLUTE 

good ? Would he make a prey of thee for his own advantage ? 
Is it not any need that he hath of thee or of thy service, 
or because thou hast need of him for thy direction and 
salvation ? Would he steal away thy heart, as the world doth, to 
delude it ? Would he draw thee as Satan doth, to serve him, 
that he may torment thee ? If so, it were no wonder that thou 
art so hardly drawn to him ; but thou knowest sure that Christ 
hath none of these ends. 

The truth is this : his dying on the cross is but part of the 
work that is necessary to thy salvation ; this was but the paying 
of the debt ; he must give thee moreover a peculiar interest, 
and make that to be absolutely thine, which was thine but con- 
ditionally ; he must take off thy rags, and wash thy sores, and 
qualify thy soul for thy prepared glory, and bring thee out of the 
prison of sin and death, and present thee to his Father blameless 
and undefiled, and estate thee in greater dignity than thou fell 
from : and all this must he do by drawing thee to himself, and 
laying himself upon thee as the prophet upon the child, and 
closing thy heart with his heart, and thy will with his will, and 
thy thoughts and ways with the rule of his word ; and is this 
against thee, or for thee ? Is there any hurt to thee in all this ? 
I dare challenge earth and hell, and all the enemies of Christ in 
both, to show the least hurt that ever he caused to the soul of a 
believer, or the least wrong to the soul of any. 

And must he then have such a stir to do thee good ? Must he 
so beseech thee to be happy, and follow thee with entreaties ? And 
yet art thou like a stock that neither hears nor feels ? Nay, dost 
thou not murmur and strive against him, as if he were about to 
do thee a mischief, and would rather cut thy throat than cure 
thee, and were going to destroy thee, and not to save thee ? I 
appeal to any that hath not renounced his reason, whether this 
be not notorious brutish unreasonableness ; and whether thou 
be not like a beast, that must be cast or held while you dress 
his sores, than to a man that should help on his own recovery. 
Foolish sinner ! it is thy sin that hurts thee, and not thy Savi- 
our ; why dost thou not rather strive against that ? It is the 
devil that would destroy thee, and thou dost not grudge, at thy 
obedience to him. Be judge thyself, whether this be wise or 
equal dealing. 

Sinner, I beseech thee in the behalf of thy poor soul, if thou 
have such a mind to renounce thy Saviour, do it not till thou 
hast found a better master : say as Peter, " Whither shall we go 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 399 

Lord? thou hast the words of eternal life I and when thou 
knovvest once where to be better, then go thy way ; part with 
Christ, and spare not. If thy merry company, or thy honour, 
or thy wealth, or all the friends and delights in the world, will 
do that for thee which Christ hath done, and which at last he 
will do if thou stick to him, then take them for thy gods, and 
let Christ go. In the mean time let me prevail with thee, as 
thou art a man of reason, sell not thy Saviour till thou know 
for what; sell not thy soul till thou know why; sell not thy hopes 
of heaven for nothing. God forbid that thy wilful folly should 
bring thee to hell, and there thou shouldest lie roaring and cry- 
ing out for ever, c This is the reward of my neglecting Christ ; 
he would have led me to glory, and I would not follow him ; I 
sold heaven for a few merry hours, for a little honour, and ease, 
and delight, to my flesh : here I lie in torment, because I would 
not be ruled by Christ, but chose my lusts and pleasures before 
him.' Sinner, do not think I speak harshly or uncharitably to 
call this neglect of Christ thy folly ; as true as thou livest and 
nearest me this day, except thy timely submission do prevent it, 
which God grant it may, thou wilt one of these days befool thy- 
self a thousand times more than I now befool thee, and call thy- 
self mad, and a thousand times mad, when thou thinkest how 
fair thou wast for heaven, and how ready Christ was to have 
been thy Saviour and thy Lord, and how light thou madest of 
his offers ; either this will prove true to thy cost, or else am I a 
false prophet, and a cursed deceiver. Be wise, therefore, be 
learned, and kiss the Son. 

The former considerations were drawn from the aggravations 
of the sin ; the following are drawn from the aggravations of the 
punishment, and from the words of the text too. 

1 God will be angry if you kiss not the Son. His wrath 
is as fire, and this neglect of Christ is the way to kindle it. If 
thou art not a believer thou art condemned already ; but this 
will bring upon thee double condemnation. Believe it for a 
truth, all thy sins, as they are against the covenant of works, 
even the most heinous of them, are not so provoking and de- 
stroying as thy slighting of Christ. Oh ! what will the Father say 
to such an unworthy wretch ! ' Must I send my Son from my 
bosom to suffer for thee ? Must he groan when thou shouldest 
groan, and bleed when thou shouldest bleed, and die when thou 
shouldest die ? And canst thou not now be persuaded to em- 
brace him, and obey him ? Must the world be courted whilst 



400 THE ABSOLUTE 

he stands by ? Must he have the naked title of thy Lord and 
Saviour while thy fleshly pleasures and profits have thy heart ? 
What wrath can be too great, what hell too hot, for such an 
ungrateful, unworthy wretch ! Must I prepare thee a portion of 
the blood of my Son, and wilt thou not be persuaded now to 
drink it ? Must I be at so much cost to save thee, and wilt 
thou not obey that thou mayest be saved ? Go seize upon him, 
justice, let my wrath consume thee, let hell devour thee, let 
thy own conscience for ever torment tnee ; seeing thou hast 
chosen death, thou shalt have it, and as thou hast rejected 
heaven, thou shalt never see it, " but my wrath shall abide upon 
thee for ever." (John iii. 36.) Wo to thee, sinner, if this be 
once thy sentence ! Thou wert better have all the world angry 
with thee, and bound in an oath against thee, as the Jews 
against Paul, than that one drop of his anger should light upon 
thee ; thou wert better have heaven and earth to fall upon 
thee, than one degree of God's displeasure. 

2. As this wrath is of fire, so is it a consuming fire, and 
causeth the sinner utterly to perish. All this is plain in the 
text; not that the being of the soul will cease, such a perishing 
the sinner would be glad of; a happy man would he think him- 
self, if he might die as the brutes, and be no more : but such 
wishes are vain. It is but a glimpse of his own condition, which 
he shall see in the great combustion of the world ; when he seeth 
the heaven and earth on fire, he seeth but the picture of his ap- 
proaching wo ; but alas ! it is he that must feel the devouring 
fire. The world will be but refined or consumed by its fire ; 
but there must he bum, and burn for ever, and yet be neither 
consumed or refined. The earth will not feel the flames 
that burn it, but his soul and body must feel it with a witness; lit- 
tle know his friends that are honourably interring his corpse what 
his miserable soul is seeing arid feeling ; here endeth the story 
of his prosperity and delights, and now begins the tragedy that 
will never end ; oh ! how his merry days are vanished as a 
dream, and his jovial life as a tale that is told ; his witty jests, 
his pleasant sports, his cards and dice, his merry company and 
wanton dalliance, his cups and queans, yea, his hopes of heaven 
and confident conceits of escaping this wrath, are all perished 
with him in the way ; as the wax melteth before the fire, as the 
chaff is scattered before the wind, as the stubble consumeth be- 
fore the flames, as the flowers do wither before the scorching 
sun ; so are all his sinful pleasures withered, consumed, scattered 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 401 

and melted. And is not the hearty embracing of Christ, and 
subjection to him, a cheap prevention of all this ? Oh ! who 
among you can dwell with the devouring- fire ! " Who can dwell 
with the everlasting burnings !" (Isaiah xxxiii. 14.) This God 
hath said he will surely do if you are able to gainsay and resist 
him ; try your strength, read his challenge, u Who would set 
the briars and thorns against me in battle ? I would go through 
them, I would burn them together." (Isaiah xxvii. 4.) 

3. This perishing will be sudden and unexpected, in the way 
©f their sin and resistance of Christ, in the way of their fleshly 
delights and hopes ; " They shall perish in the way." (1 Thes* 
v. 3 ; Matt. xxiv. 30.) As fire doth terribly break out in the 
night when men are sleeping, and consuineth the fruit of their 
long labours ; so will this fire break forth upon their souls, and 
how near may it be when you little think on it ! A hundred to 
one but some of us present shall within a few months be in 
another world, and what world it will be you may easily con- 
ceive if you do not embrace and obey the Son. How many have 
been smitten, with Herod, in the midst of their vain glory? How- 
many, like Ahab, have been wounded in fight, and dunged the 
earth with their flesh and blood, who left the Lord's people to 
be fed with bread and water of affliction, in confidence of their 
own return to peace ? How many have been swallowed up like 
Pharaoh and his host, in their rash and malicious pursuit of the 
godly ? Little thinks many an ignorant, careless soul what a 
change of his condition he shall shortly find ; those thousands of 
souls that are now in misery did as little think of that doleful 
state while they were merrily pleasing the flesh on earth, and 
forgetting Christ and their eternal state, as you do now ; they 
could as contemptuously jeer the preacher as you, and verily be- 
lieved that all this talk was but words, and wind, and empty 
threats, and ventured their souls as boldly upon their carnal 
hopes. Little thought Sodom of the devouring fire when they 
were furiously assaulting the door of their righteous reprover ! 
as little do the raging- enemies of godliness among us think of 
the deplorable state which they are hastening to ! They will 
cry out themselves then, c Little did I think to see this day, or 
feel these torments !' Why, thou would eat not think of it, or 
else thoumightest ; God told thee in Scripture, and ministers in 
their preaching, but thou wouldest not believe till it was too late. 
4. A little of God's wrath will bringdown all this upon those 
vol. xvii. J) P 



402 THE ABSOLUTE 

that emhrace not and obey not the Son. If his wrath he kin- 
died, yea, hut a little, &e. As his mercy being the mercy of 
an infinite God, a little of it will sweeten a world of crosses \ so 
therefore will a little of his wrath consume a world of pleasures; 
one spark fell among the Bethshemites, and consumed fifty 
thousand and seventy men, hut for looking into the ark, till the 
people cry out, " Who can stand before this holy Lord God }" 
(1 Sarn. vi. 19, 20.) How then will the neglecters of Christ 
stand before him ? Sirs, me thinks we should not hear of this as 
strangers, or unbelievers ! There did hut one spark fall upon 
England, and what a combustion hath it cast this kingdom into. 
How many houses and towns hath it consumed ? How many 
thousands of people hath it empoverished. How many children 
hath it left fatherless : and how many thousand bodies hath it 
bereaved of their souls ? And though there are as many hearty 
prayers and tears poured forth to quench it as most kingdoms 
on earth have had, yet is the fire kindled afresh, and threaten* 
eth a more terrible desolation than before, as if it would turn 
us all to ashes. One spark fell upon Germany, another upon 
Ireland, and what it hath done there I need not tell you. If a 
little of this wrath do but seize upon thy body, what cries, and 
groans, and lamentations doth it raise. If it be on one mem- 
ber, yea, but a tooth, how dost thou roar with intolerable pain, 
and wouldest not take the world to live for ever in that condi- 
tion. If it seize upon the conscience, what torments doth it 
cause, as if the man were already in hell : he thinketh every 
thing he seeth is against him ; he feareth every bit he eateth 
should be his bane. If he sleep, he dreams of death and judg- 
ment ; when he avvaketh, his conscience and horror awake with 
him : he is weary of living, and fearful of dying ; even the 
thoughts of heaven are terrible to him, because he thinks it is 
not for him. Oh 1 what a pitiful sight it is to see a man under 
the wrath of God ! And are these little sparks so intolerable 
hot ? What then do you think are the everlasting flames ? Be- 
loved hearers, if God had not spoke this I durst not have spoke 
it : the desire of my soul is, that you may never feel it, or else 
I should never have chosen so unpleasing a subject, but that 
I hope the foreknowing may help you to prevent it ; but let me 
tell you from God, that as sure as the heaven is over your head, 
and the earth under your feet, except the Son of God be nearer 
thy heart, and dearer to thy heart than friends, or goods, or 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 403 

pleasures, or life, or any tiling in this world, this burning 
wrath will never be prevented. (Matt. x. 37 ; Luke xiv. 46.) 

5. When this wrath of God is thoroughly kindled, the world 
will discern the blessed from the wretched. " Then blessed are 
they that trust in him." It is the property of the wicked to be 
wise too late. Those that now they esteem but precise fools, 
will then be acknowledged blessed men. Bear with their scorns, 
Christians, in the meantime, they will very shortly wish them- 
selves in your stead, and would give all that ever they were 
masters of, that they had sought and loved Christ as earnestly 
as you, and had a little of your oil when they find their lamps 
are out. (Matt. xxv. 8.) 

And now, hearers, what is your resolution ? Perhaps you 
have been enemies to Christ, under the name of Christians ; will 
you still be so ? Have you not loathed this busy, diligent serving 
of him ; and hated them that most carefully seek him, more 
than the vilest drunkard or blasphemer ? Have not his word, and 
service, and Sabbaths, been a burden to you ? Have not multi- 
tudes ventured their lives against his ordinances and govern- 
ment ? Nay, is it not almost the common voice of the nation in 
effect: e Give us our sports, and liberty of sinning; give us our 
readers, and singing men, and drunken preachers ; give us our 
holidays and ceremonies, and the customs of our forefathers ; 
away with these precise fellows, they are an eye-sore to us ; 
these precise preachers shall not control us, this precise Scrip- 
ture shall be no law to us :' and, consequently, this Christ shall 
not rule over us ? 

How long hath England rebelled against his government ? 
Mr. Udal told them, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, c that if 
they would not set up the discipline of Christ in the church, 
Christ would set it up himself in a way that would make their 
hearts to ache.' I think their hearts have ached by this time ; 
and as they judged him to the gallows for his prediction, so 
hath Christ executed them by thousands for their rebellion 
against him ; and yet they are as unwilling of his government as 
ever. The kings of the earth are afraid lest Christ's govern- 
ment should unking them ; the rulers are jealous lest it will 
depose them from their dignities ; even the reformers that have 
ventured all to set it up, are jealous lest it will encroach upon 
their power and privileges; kings are afraid of it, and think 
themselves but half kings, where Christ doth set up his word and 
discipline ; parliaments are afraid of it, lest it should usurp their 

D d2 



404 THE ABSOLUTE 

authority ; lawyers are afraid of it, lest it should take away their 
gains, and the laws of Christ should over-top the laws of the 
land ; the people are afraid of it, lest it will compel them to 
subjection to that law and way which their souls abhor : indeed, 
if men may be their own judges, then Christ hath no enemies 
in England at all, we are his friends, and all good Christians. 
It is precisians and rebels that men hate, and not Christ : it is 
not the government of Christ that we are afraid of, but the 
domineering of aspiring, ambitious presbyters, (viz., that genera- 
tion of godly, learned, humble ministers, who have done more 
than ever did any before them, to make themselves incapable 
of preferment or domineering,) and when men disobey and dis- 
regard our doctrine, it is not Christ, but the preacher, that they 
despise and disobey. And if the Jews might so have been their 
own judges, it was not the Son of God whom they crucified, but 
an enemy to Caesar, and a blasphemer that works by the devil. 
It was not Paul, a saint, that they persecuted, but one that they 
found to be a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition amongst 
the people. But were there no seditious persons but apostles 
and Christians ; nor no troublers of Israel but Elias ; nor no 
enemies to Caesar but Christ and his friends ? Oh ! God will 
shortly take off the veil of hypocrisy from the actions of the 
world, and make them confess that it was Christ they resisted, 
and that it was his holy ways and word that did kindle their 
fury ; else would they as soon have fallen upon the ungodly 
rabble, as they did upon the most zealous and conscionable 
Christians : and, however you mangle and deform them with 
your false accusations and reproach, he will then know and own 
his people and his cause, and will say to the world, e In despising 
them you despised me ; and, inasmuch as you did it to one of 
these little ones, you did it unto me/ As Dr. Stoughton saith, 
c If you strike a schismatic, and God find a saint lie a-bleeding, 
and you to answer it, I would not be in your coat for more than 
you got by it.' Hath the world ever gained by resisting Christ ? 
Doth it make the crown sit faster on the heads of kings ? Or, 
must they not rather do to Christ as King John to his supposed 
vicar, resign their crowns to him, and take them from him again 
as his tributaries, before they can hold them by a certain 
tenure ? Read over but this psalm, and judge : " Herod must 
kill the child Jesus to secure his crown : the Jews must kill him 
lest the Romans should come and take away their place and 
nation. (John xi. 48.) And did this means secure them; or, 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 405 

did it bring upon them the destruction which they thought to 
avoid? 

Or have the people been greater gainers by this than by their 
kings ? What hath England got by resisting his gospel and go- 
vernment, by hating his servants, and by scorning his holv ways ? 
What have you got by it in this city ? What say you ? Have 
you yet done with your enmity and resistance ? Have you 
enough ; or would you yet have more ? If you have not done 
with Christ, he hath not done with you ; you may try again, 
and follow on as far as Pharaoh if you will, but if you be 
not losers in the latter end, I have lost my judgment ; and 
if you return in peace, God hath not spoken by me. (1 Kings 
xxii. 28.) 

Sirs, I am loth to leave you till the bargain be made : What 
say you? Do you heartily consent that Christ shall be your 
Sovereign, his word your law, his people your companions, his 
worship your recreation, his merits your refuge, his glorv your 
end, and himself the desire and delight of your souls ? The Lord 
Jesus Christ now waiteth upon you for your resolution and 
answer ; thou wilt very shortly wait upon him for thy doom : 
as ever thou wouldest then have him speak life to thy soul, do 
thou now resolve upon the way of life. Remember thou art 
almost at death and judgment. What wouldest thou resolve if 
thou knewest that it were to-morrow ? If thou didst but see 
what others do now suffer for neglecting him, that doth now offer 
thee his grace, what wouldest thou then resolve to do ? Sirs, it 
stirreth my heart to look upon you, (as XerxTes upon his army,) 
and to think that it is not an hundred years till every soul of you 
shall be in heaven or in hell ! and it maybe, not an hundred hours 
till some of your souls must take their leave of your bodies ; when 
it comes to that, then you will cry, c away with the world, 
awav with my pleasures ; nothing can comfort me now but 
Christ ;' why, then, will you not be of the same mind now ? 
When the world cries, ' away with this holiness, and praying, 
and talking of heaven ! Give us our sports, and our profits, and 
the customs of our forefathers,' that is, " away with Christ, and 
give us Barabbas," then do ye cry, l away with all these, and 
give us Christ. 

Oh ! if it might stand with the will of God that I might 
choose what effect this sermon should have upon your hearts ; 
verily, it should be nothing that should hurt you in the least ; 
but this it should be, it should now be to fasten upon your souls, 



40(5 THIS ABSOLUTE 

and pierce into your consciences, as an arrow that is drawn out 
of the quiver of God ; it should follow thee home to thy house, 
and bring thee down on thy knees in secret, and make thee 
there lament thv case, and cry out in the bitterness of thy 
spirit, c Lord, I am the sinner that have neglected thee ; I have 
tasted more sweetness in the world than in thy blood, and taken 
more pleasure in my earthly labours and delights than I have 
done in praying to thee, or meditating on thee ; I have compli- 
mented with thee by a cold profession, but my heart was never 
set upon thee/ And here should it make thee lie in tears and 
prayers, and follow Christ with thy cries and complaints, till he 
should take thee up from the dust, and assure thee of his par- 
don, and change thy heart, and close it with his own, If thou 
wert the dearest friend that I have in the world, this is the suc- 
cess that I would wish this sermon with thy soul, that it might 
be as a voice still sounding in thine ears, that when thou art 
next in thy sinful company or delight, thou mightest, as it were, 
hear this voice in thy conscience, 6 Is this thine obedience to 
him that bought thee?' That when thou art next forgetting 
Christ, and neglecting his worship in secret, or in thy family, or 
public, thou mightest see this sentence, as it were, written upon 
thy wall, u Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and thou perish. " 
That thou mightest see it, as it were, written upon the tester 
of thy bed, as often as thou liest down in an unregenerate 
state ; and that it may keep thine eyes waking, and thy soul 
disquieted, and give thee no rest, till thou hadst rest in Christ. 
In a word ; if it were but as much in my hands as it is in yours, 
what should become of this sermon, I hope it would be the 
best sermon to thee that ever thou heardest : it should lay thee 
at the feet of Christ, and leave thee in his arms. Oh ! that I 
did but know what arguments would persuade you, and what 
words would work thy heart hereto ! If I were sure it would 
prevail, I would come down from the pulpit, and go from 
man to man, upon my knees, with this request and advice 
in my text : Oh ! " kiss the Son, lest he be angry ; and you 
perish." 

But if thy hardened heart make light of all, and thou go on 
still in thy careless neglect of Christ, and yet wilt not believe 
but thou art his friend and servant, I do here from the word, 
and in the name of Christ, pass this sentence upon thy soul : 
Thou shalt go hence, and perhaps linger out in thy security a 
few days more, and then be called by death to judgment, where 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 407 

thou shalt he doomed to this everlasting fiery wrath. Make 
as light of it as thou wilt, feel it thou shalt, put it off and 
escape if thou canst ; and when thou hast done, go boast 
that thou hast conquered Christ. In the meantime I re- 
quire this congregation to bear witness that thou hadst 
warning. 

This to all in general : my text yet directeth me to speak 
more particularly to the rulers and judges of the earth. 

Honourable and reverend judges, worshipful magistrates, if 
you were all kings and emperors, all is one to Christ, you were 
but high and mighty dust and ashes ; Christ sendeth his sum- 
mons first to you, he knows the leaders' interest in the vulgar; 
vou are the commanders in the host of God, and must do him 
more service than the common soldiers : if one of you should 
neglect him, and stand out against him, he will begin with you 
in the sight of the rest, and make your greatness a stepping- 
stone to the honour of his justice, that the lowest may under- 
stand what they have to do when they see the greatest cannot 
save themselves. 

Shall I say you are wiser than the people, and therefore that 
this admonition is needless to you ? No, then I should accuse 
the Spirit in my text : the cedars of the earth have always 
hardly stooped to Christ, which hath made so many of them 
rooted up. Your honours are an impediment to that self-abas- 
ing which he expecteth : your dignities will more tend to blind 
you than to illuminate. There are few of any sort, but fewest 
of the great, and wise, and mighty, that are called : yet a man 
would think that among those that have held out, in these 
trying times, there should be no need of these suspicions : but 
hath there not been always a succession of sinners, even of those 
that have beheld the ruin of their predecessors ? Who would 
have thought that a generation that had seen the wonders in 
Egypt, and had passed through the sea, and been maintained in 
a wilderness with constant miracles, should yet be so vile idola- 
ters, or murmuring unbelievers, that only two of them should 
enter into rest ? The best of saints have need of self-suspicion 
and vigilancy. My advice to you, therefore, is this, learn wisdom 
by the examples that your eyes have seen : " Them that honour 
God, he will honour ; and they that despise him, shall be lightly 
esteemed. " (1 Sam. ii. 30.) 

More particularly, let me advise you as your duty to the 



408 THE ABSOLUTE 

Son, 1. That you take your commission and office as from him. 
I think it a doctrine more common than true, that ministers 
only are under Christ the Mediator, and magistrates are onlv 
under God as Creator. Christ is now Lord of all, and vou are 
his servants, as there is no power but from God, so none from 
God but by Christ. Look upon yourselves as his vicegerents, 
therefore do not that which beseemeth not a vicegerent of 
Christ. Remember that as you see to the execution of the 
laws of the land, so will Christ see that his laws be obeyed by 
you, or executed on you. Remember when you sit and judge 
offenders, that you represent him that will judge you and all the 
world. And O how lively a resemblance have you to raise your 
apprehension ! Think with yourselves, ' Thus shall men 
tremble before his bar ; thus shall they wait to hear their doom;' 
and be sure that your judgment be such as may most lively 
represent the judgment of Christ, that the just may depart from 
your bar with joy, and the unjust with sadness. Let your 
justice be most severe where Christ is most severe, and so far 
as you can exercise your clemencv, let it be about those offences 
which our laws are more rigorous against than the laws of 
God. Re sure yet that you understand the extent of your com- 
mission, that you are not the sole officers of Jesus Christ, you 
are under him as he is head over all ; ministers are under him 
as he is head to his church. (Eph. i. 22.) Ministers are as truly 
the magistrates' teachers, as magistrates are their governors, 
yea, bv as high and undoubted authority must they oversee, 
govern, and command ministerially, as their Lord's ambassa- 
dors, both kings and parliaments to do whatsoever is written 
in this bible, as you may command them to obey the laws of the 
land ; yea, and as strict a bond lieth on you to obey them so 
far as they speak according to this word, and keep within the 
bounds of their calling, as doth on them to obey you in yours. 
(Heb. xiii. 7, 17.) Deal not with them so dissemblingly as 
to call them your pastors, teachers, overseers, and rulers, (as 
Scripture bids you,) and yet to learn of them but what you list, 
or to deny them leave to teach or advise you, further than thev 
receive particular warrant and direction from yourselves. Should 
our assembly limit all their ministerial advice to the warrant 
and direction of parliament, and not extend it to the warrant 
and directions of Christ, would they not become the servants 
and pleasers of men ? If you do not your best to set up all the 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 409 

government of Christ, even that in and proper to his church, 
as well as that which is over them, and for them, men may 
well think it is your own seats, and not Christ's that you would 
advance. I would all the magistrates in England did well con- 
sider that Christ hath been teaching them this seven years, 
that their own peace or honours shall not be set up before his 
gospel and government 5 and that they do but tire themselves 
in vain in such attempts ; then they would learn to read my 
text with the vulgar, apprehendite disciplinam. And if the de- 
cisive power of the ministry be doubtful, yet at least they would 
set up their nunciative in its vigour. Christ will rule England 
either as subjects or as rebels, and all that kings and states do 
gain by opposing his rule, will not add one cubit to the stature 
of their greatness. Yet do I not understand by the government 
of Christ, a rigid conformity to the model of this or that party, 
or faction, with a violent extirpation of every dissenter. It 
is the ignorant part of divines, (alas ! such there are,) who, 
with the simple fellow in Erasmus, do expound Paul's hcereticum 
hominem devita, i. e. de vita tolle. It is the essentials, and not 
the accidentals of discipline that I speak of: and if some 
disengaged standers-by be not mistaken who have the advan- 
tage by standing out of the dust of contention, each party hath 
some of these essentials, and the worst is nearer the truth than 
his adversary is aware of: and were not the crowd and noise 
so great that there is no hope of being heard, one would think 
it should be possible to reconcile them all. However, shall the 
work be undone while each party striveth to have the doing 
of it ? I was afraid when I read the beginning and end of this 
controversy in France. The learned Ramus pleadeth for po- 
pular church government in the synods; they rejected it as an 
unwarrantable novelty ; the. contention grew sharp, till the Pa- 
risian massacre silenced the difference. And must our diffe- 
rences have so sharp a cure ? Will nothing unite disjoined 
Christians but their own blood ? God forbid. But in the mean 
time, while we quarrel, the work standeth still. Some would 
have all the workers of iniquity now taken out of the kingdom 
of Christ, forgetting that the angels must take them out at last. 
(Matt, xiii.) Some ministers think as Ivlyconius did, when he 
was called to the ministry, by a vision leading him into a corn- 
held, and bidding him reap, he thought he must put in his 
sickle at the bottom, till he was told ' domino meo non opus est 



410 THE ABSOLUTE 

str amine, moth arista in horrea colli y ant ur' c Mv master 
needeth not straw; gather but the ears, and it shall suffice/ 

Once more : I know I speak not to the parliament that should 
remedy it, but yet that you may be helpful in your places to 
advance this work of Christy let me tell you what is the thing 
in England that cries for reformation next our sins, even the 
fewness of overseers in great congregations, which maketh the 
greatest part of pastoral work to lie undone, and none to watch 
over the people in private, because they are scarce sufficient 
for the public work. It is pity that Musculus, that may be 
head of a society of students if he will continue a papist, must 
weave and dig for his living if he will be a protestant. It is 
pity that even Luther's wife and children must wander destitute 
of maintenance when he is dead, when iEsop, the stage-player, 
can leave his son one hundred and fifty thousand pounds ; and 
Roscius have thirty pounds a- day for the same trade ; and Aris- 
totle be allowed eight hundred talents to further his search into 
the secrets of nature. But am I pleading that ministers may 
have more maintenance ? No, be it just or unjust, it is none 
of my errand. But O that the church had more ministers, 
which, though at the present they cannot have for want of men, 
yet hereafter they might have if it were not for want of main- 
tenance. Alas ! then, what pity is it that every reformation 
should diminish the churches' patrimony. If the men have of- 
fended, or if the office of bishops or deans be unwarrantable, 
yet what have the revenues done ? Is it not pity that one troop 
of an hundred men shall have seven commanding officers allowed 
them, besides others, and ten thousand, or forty thousand, shall 
have but one or two overseers allowed them for their souls, 
when the ministerial work is more laborious, and of greater 
concernment than the work of those commanders ? I tell you 
again, the great thing that cries for reformation in England, 
next to sin, is the paucity of ministers in great congregations. 
I tell you this, that you may know which way to improve your 
several interests for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ 
in England. 

To you, lawyers and jurors, my advice is this, " Kiss the 
Son." Remember the judgment is Christ's, every cause of truth 
and innocency doth he own, and will call it his cause. Wo, 
therefore, to him that shall oppose it ! Remember every time 
you take a fee to plead against a cause that you know to be 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 411 

just, you take a fee against a cause of Christ. Will you be of 
counsel against him that is your Counsellor and King ? Dare you 
plead against him that you expect should plead for you ? or 
desire judgment, as the Jews, against your Lord and Judge ? 
Hath he not told you that he will say, " Inasmuch as ye did it 
to one of these little ones, ye did it unto me ?" Remember,, 
therefore, when a fee is offered you against the innocent, that 
it is a fee against Christ; and Judas's gain will be loss in the end, 
and will be too hot to hold long ; you will be glad to bring it 
back, and glad if you could be well short of it, and cry, ' I 
have sinned in betraying the cause of the innocent.' Say not 
it is our calling that we must live upon. If any man of you 
dare upon such grounds plead a cause against his conscience, 
if his conscience do not plead it again more sharply against 
him, say 1 am a false prophet. If any, therefore, shall say of 
you, as the Cardinals of Luther, ' Cur homini os non obstruitis 
auro, et argenio,' let the same answer serve turn, c Hem pecu- 
mam, non curat, &c. If any honourable or worshipful friend 
must be pleasured, inquire first whether he be a better friend 
than Christ. Tell him the cause is Christ's, and you cannot 
befriend him, except he procure you a dispensation from him. 
When Pompey saw his soldiers ready to fly, he lay down in the 
passage, and told them they should tread upon him then ; 
which stopped their flight. So suppose every time you are 
drawn in to oppose a just cause, that you saw Christ saying, 
' Thou must trample upon me, if thou do this.' As Luther to 
Melancthon, 6 Ne causa fidei sit sinejide,' so say I to you all, 
' Ne causa justitiae sit sine justitid.' When you begin to be cold 
in a good cause, suppose you saw Christ showing you his scars, 
as the soldier did to Caesar when he desired him to plead 
his cause, ( See here, I have done more than plead for you/ 
We have had those that have had a tongue for a fee or a friend, 
but none for Christ ; but God hath now, therefore, shut their 
mouths, and we may say of them, as Granius by his bad 
lawyer, when he heard him grown hoarse, c If they had not 
lost their voices, we had lost our cause.' To conclude, remem- 
ber, all of you, that there is an appeal from these earthly- 
judgments ; these causes must all be heard again, your witnesses 
re-examined, your oaths, pleadings, and sentences reviewed, 
and then, as Lampridius saith of Alexander Severus, that he 
would vomit choler if he saw a corrupt judge, so will Christ 



412 THE ABSOLUTE 

vomit wrath, and vomit you out in wrath from his presence, if 
corrupt. Therefore, " kiss the son, lest he be angry, and you 
perish," &c. I am sensible how I have encroached on your 
great affairs. Melancthon was wont to tell of a priest that 
begun his sermon thus, ' Scio quod vos non libenter auditis, et 
ego non libenter concionor, non diu igitur vos teneam.' But I 
may say contrary. I am persuaded that you hear with a good 
will, and I am certain that I preach willingly, and therefore I 
was bold to hold you the longer. 



SERMON OF JUDGMENT 

PREACHED AT PAUL'S, 



BEFORE 



THE HON. LORD MAYOR AND ALDERMEN 

OF THE CITY OF LONDON, 

Dec. \7th, 1654. 
AND NOJV ENLARGED. 



Cf Every one of you shall give account of himself to God." — Rom. xiv. 12. 

'* The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear 
his voice, and shall come forth. They that have done good to the resur- 
rection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of dam- 
nation."— John v. 28, 29. 



TO THE 

RIGHT HON. CHRISTOPHER PACK, 

LORD MAYOR OF LONDON; 

WITH THE 

RIGHT WORSHIPFUL ALDERMEN. 



Right Honourable, 

Being desired to preach before you at Paul's, I was fain to 
preach a sermon which J had preached once before to a poor 
ignorant congregation in the country, having little leisure for 
study in London. I was glad to see that the more curious sto- 
machs of the citizens did not nauseate our plain country doctrine, 
which I seemed to discern in the diligent attention of the great- 
est congregation that ever I saw met for such a work. But I 
little expected that you should have so far esteemed that dis- 
course, as to have thought it meet for the "view of the world, as 
I understood by a message from you, desiring it may be printed. 
I readily obey your will, when it gives me the least intimation 
of the will of God. It is possible some others may afford it the 
like favourable acceptance and entertainment. I am sure the 
subject is as necessary as common, and the plainness makes it 
the litter for the ignorant, who are the far greater number, and 
have the greatest need. I have added the ninth, tenth, eleventh, 
and twelfth heads, or common places, which 1 did not deliver 
to you for want of time, and because the rest are too briefly 
touched (as contrived for an hour's work). I have enlarged 
these, though making them somewhat unsuitable to the iest, 
yet suitable to the use of those they are now intended for : the 
directions also in the end are added. 

Blessed be the Father of Lights ! who hath set up so many 
burning and shining lights in your city, and hath watered you 
so plenteously with the rivers of his sanctuary, that you have 
frequent opportunities for the refreshment of your souls, to the 
joy of your friends, the grief of your enemies, and the glory of 



416 TO THE RIGHT HON. CHRISTOPHER PACK. 

that Providence which hath hitherto maintained them, in de- 
spite of persecution, heresies, and hell ! It was not always so in 
London : it is not so in other places, or famous cities in the 
world ; nor are you sure that it will he always so with you. It 
doth me good to rememher what blessed lights have shined 
among you, that now are more gloriously shining in a higher 
sphere — Preston, Sibbes, Stoughton, Taylor, Stock, Randal, 
Gouge, Gataker, with multitudes more that now are with Christ. 
It did me good to read in the preface to Mr. Gataker's funeral 
sermon, by one of your reverend and faithful guides, what a 
number of sound and unanimous labourers are yet close at work 
in that part of Christ's vineyard : and it did me good in that 
short experience and observation, while I was there, to hear and 
see so much of their prudence, unity, and fidelity. 

Believe it : it is the gospel of Christ that is your glory ; and 
if London be more honourable than other great and famous 
cities of the earth, it is the light of God's face, and the plenty 
and power of his ordinances and Spirit, that doth advance and 
honour it. .0 know, then, the dav of vour visitation ! 

7 7 j J 

Three things I shall take leave to propound to your considera- 
tion, which, I am certain, God requireth at your hand. The 
first is, that you grow in knowledge, humility, heavenliness, and 
unity, according to the blessed means that you enjoy. In my 
eyes, it is the greatest shame to a people in the world, and a 
sign of barbarism or blockishness, when we can hear and read 
what a famous, learned, powerful minister such a place, or 
such a place, had, and yet see as much ignorance, ungod- 
liness, unruliness, and sensuality, as if the gospel had scarce 
ever been there. I hope it is not thus with you, but I have found 
it so in too many places of England. We who never saw the 
faces of their ministers, but have only read their holy labours, 
have been ready to think, 6 Sure there are few ignorant or un- 
godly ones in such a congregation ! Sure they are a people rich 
in grace and eminently qualified above their brethren, who have 
lived under such teaching as this ! At least, sure there can be 
none left who have an enmity to the fear of God !' But when 
we have come to the towns where such men spent their lives, 
and laid out their labours, we have found ignorant, sottish 
worldlings, unprofitable, or giddy, unstable professors, and some 
haters of godliness among them. O what a shame is this in 
the eves of wise men ! And what a confounding aggravation 
of their sin before God ! Thrive, therefore, and be fruitful in 



TO THE RIGHT HON. CHRISTOPHER PACK. 417 

the vineyard of the Lord, that it may not repent him that he 
hath planted and watered you. 

The second is this, improve your interest to the utmost, for 
the continuance of a faithful ministry among you, and when any 
places are void, do what you can to get a supply of the most 
able men. Your city is the heart of the nation ; you cannot be 
sick but we shall all feel it. If you be infected with false doc- 
trines, the countries will, ere long, receive the contagion. You 
have a very great influence on all the land, for good or evil ! 
And do you think the undermining enemies of the church have 
not a special design upon you in this point, and will not promote 
it as far as is in their power ? Could they but get in popish or 
dividing teachers among you, they know how many advantages 
they should gain at once. They would have some to grieve and 
trouble your faithful guides, and hinder them in the work, and 
lessen that estimation which, by their unity, they would obtain : 
and every deceiver will hope to catch some fish that casteth his 
net among such store. We beseech you, if there be learned, 
holy, judicious men in England, that can be had for supply of 
such occasions, let them be yours, that you may be fed with the 
best, and guided by the wisest, and we may have all recourse 
to you for advice ; and where there are most opposers and se- 
ducers, there may be the most powerful, convincing helps at 
hand. Let us, in the country, have the honest, raw, young 
preachers, and see that you have the chief fathers and pillars in 
the church. I speak it not for your sakes alone, but because we 
have all dependence on you. 

The third thing which I humbly crave is, that you will "know 
them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, 
and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for 
their works' sake, and be at peace among yourselves. " (1 Thes. 
v. 12, 13.) And that you will, instead of grieving or rejecting 
your guides, " obey them that have the rule over you, and sub- 
mit vourselves ; for they watch for your souls as they that must 
give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, 
for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb. xiii. 17.) Encourage 
your teachers, for their work is great, their spirits are weak, 
they are but frail men; the enemy is more industrious against 
them than any men, and their discouragements are very many, 
and the difficulties which they must encounter are very great. 
Especially obey, submit, and encourage them in the work of 
government and exercise of Christ's discipline, and managing 

vol.. XVII. £ K 



418 TO THE RIGHT HON. CHRISTOPHER PACK. 

the keys of the kingdom which he hath put into their hands. 
Do you not perceive what a strait your teachers are in. The 
Lord Jesus requireth them to exercise his discipline faithfully 
and impartially. He giveth them not empty titles of rule, but 
lays upon them the burden of ruling. It is his work more 
than their honour that he intends ; and if they will have the 
honour, it must be by the work. The work is, as to teach the 
ignorant, and convince the unbelieving and gainsaying, so to 
admonish the disorderly and scandalous, and to reject and cast 
out of the communion of the church the obstinate and impeni- 
tent, and to set by the leprous that they infect not the rest, and 
to separate thus the precious from the vile by Christ's discipline, 
that dividing separation and soul-destroying transgressions may 
be prevented or cured. This work Christ hath charged upon 
them, and will have it done whoever is against it. If they obey 
him, and do it, what a tumult, what clamours and discontents 
will they raise ! How many will be ready to rise up against 
them with hatred and scorn ! Though it be the undoubted 
work of Christ, which, even under persecution, was performed 
by the church guides. When they do but keep a scandalous, 
untractable sinner from the communion of the church in the 
Lord's supper, what repinings doth it raise ! But, alas ! this is 
a small part of the discipline. If all the apparently obstinate 
and impenitent were cast out, what a stir would they make ; 
and if Christ be not obeved, what a stir will conscience make : 
and it is not only between Christ and men, but between men 
and men that your guides are put upon straits. The separatists 
reproach them for suffering the impenitent to continue members 
of their churches, and make it the pretence of their separation 
from them, having little to say of any moment against the au- 
thorised way of government, but only against our slackness in 
the execution ; and if we should set to the close exercise of it, 
as is meet, how would city and country ring of it ; and what 
indignation should we raise in the multitude against us. O what 
need have your guides of your encouragement and best assist- 
ance in this strait! God hath set them on a work so un- 
grateful and displeasing to flesh and blood that they cannot be 
faithful in it, but twenty to one they will draw a world of hatred 
upon themselves, if not men's fists about their ears. Festered 
sores will not be lanced and searched with ease. Corrupted 
members are unwilling to be cut off and cast aside, especially 
if any of the great ones fall under the censure, who are big in 



TO THE RJGHT HON. CHRISTOPHER PACK. 419 

the eyes of the world, and in their own ; and yet our sovereign 
Lord must be obeyed, and his house must be swept, and the 
filth cast out, by what names or titles soever it be dignified with 
men. He must be pleased, if all be displeased by it. With- 
draw not your help, then, from this needful work. It is by the 
word, Spirit, and ministry, that Christ, the King of his church, 
doth govern it ; not separately, but jointly by all three. To 
disobey these is to disobey Christ; and subjection to Christ is 
essential to our Christianity. This, well thought on, might do 
much to recover the unruly that are recoverable. You may 
conjecture by the strange opposition that church government 
meets with from all sorts of carnal and corrupted minds, that 
there is somewhat in it that is eminently of God. I shall say 
no more but this, that it is an able, judicious, godly, faithful 
ministry ; not barely heard and applauded, but humbly and 
piously submitted to, and obeyed in the Lord, that must be your 
truest present glory, and the means of your everlasting peace 
and joy. 

So testifieth from the Lord your servant in the faith of 
Christ, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 



BE 2 



TO THE 



IGNORANT OR CARELESS READER. 



Seeing the Providence of God hath commanded forth this 
plain discourse, I shall hope, upon experience of his dealing in 
the like cases with me, that he hath some work for it to do in 
the world. Who knows but it was intended for the saving of 
thy soul, by opening thine eyes, and awaking thee from thy sin, 
who art now in reading of it ! Be it known to thee, it is the 
certain truth of God, and of high concernment to thy soul, that 
it treateth of, and therefore requireth thy most sober considera- 
tion. Thou hast in it, (how weakly soever it is managed by 
me,) an advantage put into thy hand from God, to help thee in 
the greatest work in the world, even to prepare for the great ap- 
proaching judgment. In the name of God, I require thee, cast 
not away this advantage ; turn not away thine ears or heart from 
this warning that is sent to thee from the living God ! Seeing 
all the world cannot keep thee from judgment, nor save thee 
in judgment, let not all the world be able to keep thee from a 
speedy and serious preparation for it. Do it presently, lest God 
come before thou art ready ! Do it seriously, lest the tempter 
overreach thee, and thou shouldest be found among the foolish 
self-deceivers when it is too late to do it better. I entreat this 
of thee on the behalf of thy soul, and as thou tenderest thy 
everlasting peace with God, that thou wouldest afford these 
matters thy deepest consideration. Think on them, whether 
they are not true and weighty: think on them lying down and 
rising up : and, seeing this small book is fallen into thy hands, 
all that I would beg of thee concerning it is, that thou wouldest 
bestow now and then an hour to read it, and read it to thy 
family or friends, as well as to thyself; and as you go, consider 
what vou read, and pray the Lord to help it to thy heart, and 



TO THE IGNORANT OR CARELESS READER. 421 

to assist thee in the practice, that it may not rise up in judg- 
ment against thee. If thou hast not leisure on the other, take 
now and then an hour on the Lord's days, or at night, to that 
purpose : and if any passage, through brevity, especially near 
the beginning, seem dark to thee, read it again and again, and 
ask the help of an instructer, that thou mayest understand it. 
May it but help thee out of the snares of sin, and promote the 
saving of thy immortal soul, and thy comfortable appearance at 
the great day of Christ, I have the thing which I intended and 
desired. The Lord open thy heart, and accompany his truth 
with the blessing of his Spirit ! Amen. 



SERMON OF JUDGMENT, 

&C. &C. 



2 COR. v. 10, 11. 



For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 
that cvei*y one may receive the things done in his body, 
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 
Knowing, therefore, the terrors of the Lord, we persuade 
men. 

It is not unlikely that some of those wits that are' taken more 
with things new than with things necessary, will marvel that I 
chose so common a subject, and tell me that they all know this 
already; but I do it purposely upon these following considerations. 
1 . Because I well know, that it is these common truths that are 
the great and necessary things which men's everlasting happi- 
ness or misery doth most depend upon. You may be ignorant 
of many controversies and inferior points, without the danger of 
your souls, but so you cannot be of these fundamentals. 2. Be- 
cause it is apparent by the lives of men that few know these 
common truths savingly, that think they know them. 3. Be- 
cause there are several degrees of knowing the same truths, and 
the best are imperfect in degree, the principal growth in know- 
ledge, that we should look after, is, not to know more matters 
than we knew before, but to know that better, and with a 
clearer light and firmer apprehension, which we darkly and 
slightly knew before. You may more safely be without any 
knowledge at all of many lower truths, than without some 
further degree of the knowledge of those which you already 
know. 4. Besides, it is known, by sad experience, that many 
perish who know the truth, for want of the consideration of it, 



A SERMON OF JUDGMENT. 423 

and making use of what they know, and so their knowledge 
doth but condemn them. We have as much need, therefore, 
to teach and help you to get these truths, which you know, into 
your hearts and lives, as to tell you more. 5. And, indeed, it 
is the impression of these great and master truths, wherein the 
vitals and essentials of God's image upon the soul of man doth 
consist: and it is these truths that are the very instruments of 
the great works that are to be done upon the heart by the Spirit 
and ourselves. In the right use of these it is that the principal 
part of the skill and holy wisdom of a Christian doth consist ; 
and in the diligent and constant use of these, lieth the life and 
trade of Christianity. There is nothing amiss in men's hearts 
or lives, but it is for want of sound knowing and believing, or 
well using these fundamentals. 6. And moreover, methinks, in 
this choice of my subject, I may expect this advantage with the 
hearers, that I may spare that labour that else would be neces- 
sary for the proof of my doctrine ; and that I may also have 
easier access to your hearts, and have a fuller stroke at them, 
and with less resistance. If I came to tell you of any thing not 
common, I know not how far I might expect belief from you. 
You might say c these things are uncertain to us ; or all men are 
not of this mind.' But when every hearer confesseth the truth 
of my doctrine, and no man can deny it without denying 
Christianity itself, I hope I may expect that your hearts should 
the sooner receive the impression of this doctrine, and the 
sooner yield to the duties which it directs you to, and the easier 
let go the sins, which, from so certain a truth, shall be dis- 
covered. 

The words of my text are the reason which the apostle giveth, 
both of his persuading other men to the fear of God, and his 
care to approve to God his own heart and life. They con- 
tain the assertion and description of the great judgment, and 
one use which he makes of it. It assureth us, that judged we 
must be, and who must be so judged, and by whom, and 
about what, and on what terms, and to what end. 

The meaning of the words, so far as is necessary, I shall give 
you briefly. " We all," both we apostles that preach the gospel, 
and you that hear it, f must," willing or unwilling, there is no 
avoiding it, " appear," stand forth, or make your appearance, and 
there have your hearts and ways laid open, and appear as well 
as we, w before the judgment seat of Christ ;" that is, before 



424 A SERMON 

the Redeemer of the world, to he judged hy him as our rightful 
Lord. " That every one," even of all mankind, which are, 
were, or shall he, without exception, " may receive," that is, 
may receive his sentence, adjudging him to his due ; and then 
may receive the execution of the sentence, and may go away 
from the bar with that reward or punishment that is his due, ac- 
cording to the law by which he is judged. " The things done 
in his body," that is, the due reward of the works done in his 
body ; or, as some copies read it, " the things proper to the 
body," that is due to man, even body as well as soul. " Accord- 
ing to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad," that is, 
this is the cause to be tried and judged, whether men have 
done well or ill, whilst they were in the flesh, and what is 
due to them according to their deeds. " Knowing, therefore, 
&c, that is, being certain therefore that these things are so, and 
that such a terrible judgment of Christ will come, we persuade 
men to become Christians, and live as such, that they may then 
speed well, when others shall be destroyed; or, as others, 
" Knowing the fear of the Lord," that is, the true religion, 
i( we persuade men." 

Doct. 1. There will be a judgment. Doct. 2. Christ will be 
the judge. Doct. 3. All men shall there appear. Doct. 4. Men 
shall be then judged according to the works that they did in 
the flesh, whether good or evil. Doct. 5. The end of judgment 
is, that men may receive their final due by sentence and execu- 
tion. Doct. 6. The knowledge and consideration of the terrible 
judgment of God, should move us to persuade, and men to be 
persuaded, to careful preparation. 

The ordinary method for the handling of this subject of 
judgment should be this. 1 . To show you what judgment is in 
the general, and what it doth contain ; and that is, 1. The per- 
sons. 2. The cause. 3. The actions. 1. The parties are, 
1. The accuser. 2. The defendant. 3. Sometimes assistants. 
4. The judge. 2. The cause contains, 1. The accusation. 2. 
The defence. 3. With the evidence of both. 4. And the merit. 
The merit of the cause is as it agreeth with the law and equity. 
3. The judicial actions are, I. Introductory. 1. Citation. 2. Com- 
pulsion, if need he. 3. Appearance of the accused. II. Of the 
essence of judgment, 1. Debate by, l.The accuser. 2. Defen- 
dant, called the disceptation of the cause. 2. By the judge. 1. 
Exploration. 2, Sentence. 3, To see to the execution 5 but 



OF JUDGMENT. 425 

because this method is less suitable to your capacities, and hath 
something human, I will reduce all to these following heads :— 

1 . I will show you what judgment is. 

2. Who is the judge ; and why. 

3. Who must be judged. 

4. Who is the accuser. 

5. How the citation, constraint, and appearance will be. 

6. What is the law by which men shall be judged. 

7. What will be the cause of the day ; what the accusation, 
and what must be the just defence. 

8. What will be the evidence. 

9. What are those frivolous, insufficient excuses, by which the 
unrighteous may think to escape. 

10. What will be the sentence : who shall die, and who shall 
live ; and what the reward and punishment is. 

11. What are the properties of the sentence. 

12. What and by whom the execution will be. In these par- 
ticular heads we contain the whole doctrine of this judgment, 
and in this more familiar method shall handle it. 

I. For the first, judgment, as taken largely, comprehendeth all 
the forementioned particulars ; as taken more strictly for the 
act of the judge, it is the trial of a controverted case. In our 
case, note these things following. 

1. God's judgment is not intended for any discovery to him- 
self of what he knows not already; he knows already what all 
men are, and what they have done, and what is their due : but 
it is to discover to others, and to men themselves, the ground 
of his sentence, that so his judgment may attain its end : for 
the glorifying his grace on the righteous, and for the convincing 
the wicked of their sin and desert, and to show to all the world 
the righteousness of the judge, and of his sentence and execu- 
tion. (Rom. iii. 4, 26 ; and Rom. ii. 2.) 

2. It is not a controversy, therefore, undecided in the mind 
of God, that is there to be decided; but only one that is unde- 
cided as to the knowledge and mind of creatures. 

3. Yet is not this judgment a bare declaration, but a decision, 
and so a declaration thereupon : the cause will be then put out 
of controversy, and all further expectation of decision be at an 
end ; and with the justified there will be no more accusation, and 
with the condemned no more for ever. 

II. For the second thing, who shall be the judge, I answer, 
the judge is God himself, by Jesus Christ. 



426 A SERMON 

1. Principally, God as Creator. 

2. As also, God as Redeemer, the human nature of Jesus 
Christ having a derived subordinate power. God lost not 
his right to his creature, either by man's fall, or the redemption 
by Christ, but by the latter hath a new further right : but it is 
in and by Christ that God judgeth ; for, as mere Creator of 
innocent man, God judgeth none, but hath committed all judg- 
ment to the Son, who hath procured his right by the redeeming 
of fallen man. (John v. 22.) But as the Son only doth it in the 
nearest sense, so the Father, as Creator, doth it remotely and 
principally. 

1. In that the power of the Son is derived from the Father, 
and so standeth in subordination to him as fountain or 
efficient. 

2. In that the judgment of the Son (as also his whole media- 
torship), is to bring men to God their Maker, as their ultimate 
end, and to recover them to him from whom they are fallen, and 
so as a means to that end, the judgment of the Son is subordi- 
nate to the Father. 

From hence you may see these following truths worthy your 
consideration. 

1. That all men are God's creatures, and none are the work- 
manship of themselves, or any other ; or else the Creator should 
not judge them on that right. 

2. That Christ died for all, and is the Redeemer of the world, 
and a sacrifice for all, or else he should not judge them on that 
right. For he will not judge wicked men as he will do the 
devils, as the mere enemies of his redeemed ones, but as being 
themselves his subjects in the world, and being bought by him, 
and therefore become his own, who ought to have glorified him 
that bought them. (2 Cor. v. 14, 15 ; 2 Pet. ii. 1 ; 1. Cor. vi. 
9, 20 ; 1 John ii. 2 ; Heb. ii. 9 ; 1 Tim. ii. 6, 7.) 

3. Hence, it appeareth that all men were under some law of 
grace, and did partake of some of the Redeemer's mercy. 
Though the gospel came not to all, yet all had that mercy which 
could come from no other fountain but his blood, and which 
should have brought them nearer to Christ than they were, 
(though it were not sufficient to bring them to believe,) and 
which should have led them to repentance. (Rom. ii. 4.) For 
the neglecting of which they justly perish, and not merely for 
sinning against the law that was given manjn innocency : were 
that so, Christ would not judge them as Redeemer, and that for 



OF JUDGMENT. 42/ 

the abuse or non-improvement of his talents, as he tells us he 
will do. (Matt. xxv. per totum.) 

4. If God will be the judge, then none can expect, by any 
shifts or indirect means, to escape at that day. For how should 
it be? 

1. It is not possible that any should keep out of sight, or hide 
their sin, and the evil of their actions, and so delude the judge. 
" God will not be mocked now, nor deceived then." (Gal. 
vi. 7.) They grossly deceive themselves that imagine any 
such thing. God must be omniscient and all- seeing, or he 
cannot be God. Should you hide your case from men, and 
from devils, and be ignorant of it yourselves, yet you cannot 
hide it from God. Never did there a thought pass thy heart, 
or a word pass thy mouth, which God was not acquainted with: 
and as he knows them, so doth he observe them. He is not as 
imperfect man, taken up with other business, so that he cannot 
mind all ; as easy it is with him to mind every thought, or word, 
or action of thine, as if he had but that one in the world to 
observe, and as easy to observe each particular sinner, as if he 
had but another creature to look after in the world. He is a 
fool indeed that thinks now that God takes no notice of him, 
(Ezek. viii. 12, and ix. 9,) or that thinketh then to escape in the 
crowd : he that found out one guest that had not on a wedding 
garment, (Matt. xxii. 12,) will then find out every unholy soul, 
and give him so sad a salutation as shall make him speechless. 
cc For he knoweth vain man; he seeth wickedness also, and 
will he not consider it V (Job xi. 11.) 

2. It is not possible that any should escape at that day by 
any tricks of wit; any false reasoning in their own defence. 
God knoweth a sound answer from an unsound, and a truth 
from a lie. Pughteousness may be perverted here on earth, by 
by outwitting the judge ; but so will it not be then : to hope 
any of this, is to hope that God will not be God. It is in vain, 
then, for the unholy man to say he is holy ; or a sinner to deny, 
or excuse, or extenuate his sin : to bring forth the counterfeit 
of any grace, and plead with God any shells of hypocritical 
performances, and to think to prove a title to heaven by any 
thing short of God's condition, all these will be vain attempts. 

3. And as impossible will it prove by fraud or flattery, by per- 
suasion or bribery, or by any other means, to pervert justice, 
by turning the mind of God, who is the judge. Fraud and 
flattery, bribery and importunity, may do much with weak men; 



428 A SHIMON 

but with God, they will do nothing. Were he changeable and 
partial he were not God. 

4. If God be judge, you may see the cavils of infidels are 
foolish, when they ask, ( How long will God be in trying and 
judging so many persons, and taking an account of so many 
words, and thoughts, and deeds ? Sure it will be along time, 
and a difficult work/ As if God were as man, that knoweth 
not things, till he seek out their evidence by partial signs. Let 
these fools understand, if they have any understanding, that the 
infinite God can show to every man at once all the thoughts, and 
words, and actions, that ever he hath been guilty of. And in the 
twinkling of an eye, even at one view, can make all the world to 
see their ways, and their deservings, causing their consciences 
and memories to present them all before them, in such a sort, as 
shall be equivalent to a verbal debate; (Psalm 1. 21, 22;) he will 
set them in order before them. 

5. If Jesus Christ be the judge, then what a comfort must it 
needs be to his members that he shall be judge that loved them 
to the death, and whom they loved above their lives ; and he 
who was their rock of hope and strength, and the desire and 
delight of their souls ! 

6. And if Jesus Christ must be the judge, what confusion 
will it bring to the faces of his enemies, and of all that set light 
by him in the day of their visitation, to see mercy turned against 
them ; and he that died for them, now ready to condemn them ; 
and that blood and grace, which did aggravate their sin, to be 
pleaded against them, to the increase of their misery ; how sad 
will this be ! 

7. If the God of love, and grace, and truth, be judge, then 
no man need to fear any wrong. No subtlety of the accuser, nor 
darkness of evidence ; no prejudice or partiality, or whatsoever 
else may be imagined, can there appear to the wrong of your 
cause. Get a good cause, and fear nothing : and if your cause 
be bad, nothing can deliver you. 

III. For the third point, Who are they that must be 
judged ? K 

Answ. All the rational creatures in this lower world, and it 
seems angels also, either all, or some. But because their case 
is more darkly made known to us, and less concerns us, we will 
pass it by. Every man that hath been made or born on earth, 
except Christ, who is God and man, and is the judge, must 
be judged. If any foolish infidels shall say, c Where shall so 



OF JUDGMENT. 429 

great a number stand ?' I answer him, that he knoweth not 
the things invisible, either the nature of spirits and spiritual 
bodies, nor what place containeth them, or how, but easily he 
may know that he that gave them all a being, can sustain them 
all, and have room for them all, and can at once disclose the 
thoughts of all, as I said before. 

The first in order to be judged are the saints, (Matt, xxv.,) 
and then with Christ they shall judge the rest of the world, 
(1 Cor. vi. 2, 3,) not in an equal authority and commission 
with Christ, but as the present approvers of his righteous judg- 
ment. The princes of the earth shall stand then before Christ, 
even as the peasants, and the honourable as the base ; the rich 
and the poor shall meet together, and the Lord shall judge 
them all. (Prov. xxii. 2.) No men shall be excused from stand- 
ing at that bar, and giving up their account, and receiving their 
doom. Learned and unlearned, young and old, godly and 
ungodly, all must stand there. I know some have vainly ima- 
gined that the righteous shall not have any of their sins men- 
tioned, but their graces and duties only, but they consider not 
that things will not then be transacted by words as we do now, 
but by clear discoveries, by the infinite light; and that if God 
should not discover to them their sins, he would not discover 
the riches of his grace in the pardon of all these sins. Even 
then they must be humbled in themselves, that they may be 
glorified, and for ever cry, " Not unto us, Lord, but unto thy 
name, be the glory." 

IV. For the fourth particular, Who will be the accuser ? 

Answ. 1. Satan is called in Scripture the accuser of the bre- 
thren, (Rev. xii. 10,) and we find in Job i. and other places, 
that now he doth practise even before God, and therefore we 
j" - 1- - : * probable that he will do so then. But we would de- 
termine of nothing that Scripture hath not clearly determined. 

2. Conscience will be an accuser, though especially of the 
wicked, yet in some sense, of the righteous, for it will tell the 
truth to all. And, therefore, so far as men are faulty, it will 
tell them of their faults. The wicked it will accuse of unpar- 
doned sin, and of sin unrepented of, the godly only of sin re- 
pented of, and pardoned. It will be a glass wherein every man 
may see the face of his heart and former life. (Rom. i. 15.) 

3. The Judge himself will be the principal accuser, for it is 
he that prosecutes the cause, and will do justice on the wicked. 
God judgeth even the righteous themselves to be sinners, or 



430 A SERMON 

else they could not be pardoned sinners. But he judgeth the 
wicked to be impenitent, unbelieving, unconverted sinners. 
Remember what I said before, that it is not a verbal accusation 
but an opening of the truth of the cause to the view of our- 
selves and others, that God will then perform. 

Nor can any think it unworthy of God to be men's accuser by 
such a disclosure, it being no dishonour to the purest light to 
reveal a dunghill, or to the greatest prince to accuse a traitor. 
Nor is it unmeet that God should be both accuser and judge, 
seeing he is both absolute Lord and perfectly just, and so far 
beyond all suspicion of injustice. His law, also, doth virtually 
accuse. (Job v. 45.) But of this by itself. 

V. For the fifth particular, how will the sinners be called 
to the bar ? 

Answ. God will not stand to send them a citation, nor require 
him to make his voluntary appearance, but willing or unwilling, 
he will bring them in. 

1. Before each man's particular judgment, he sendeth death 
to call away his soul, a surly serjeant, that will have no nay. 
How dear so ever this world may be to men, and how loth so ever 
they are to depart, away they must, and come before the Lord 
that made them. Death will not be bribed. Every man that 
was set in the vineyard in the morning of their lives, must be 
called out at evening to receive according to what he hath done. 
Then must the naked soul alone appear before its Judge, and 
be accountable for all that was done in the body, and be sent 
before till the final judgment, to remain in happiness or misery, 
till the body be raised again, and joined to it. 

In this appearance of the soul before God, it seemeth by 
Scripture that there is some ministry of angels, for in Luke xvi. 
22, it is said that the angels carried Lazarus, that is, his soul, 
into Abraham's bosom. What local motion there is, or situa- 
tion of souls, is no fit matter for the inquiry of mortals. And 
what it is in this that the angels will do, we cannot clearly un- 
derstand as yet, but most certain it is, that as soon as ever the 
soul is out of the body, it comes to its account before the God of 
spirits. 

2. At the end of the world, the bodies of all men shall be 
raised from the earth, and joined again to their souls, and the 
soul and body shall be judged to their endless state, and this 
is the great and general judgment where all men shall at once 
appear. The same power of God that made men of nothing, 



OF JUDGMENT. 431 

will as easily then re- make them by a resurrection, by which 
he will add much more perfection even to the wicked in their 
naturals, which will make them capable of the greater misery ; 
even they shall have immortal and incorruptible bodies, 
which may be the subjects of immortal wo. (1 Cor. xv. 53 ; 
Johnv. 28, 29.) 

Of this resurrection, and our appearance at judgment, the 
angels will be some way the ministers. As they shall come 
with Christ to judgment, so they shall sound his trumpet, 
(1 Thes. iv. 16,) and they shall gather the wicked out of 
God's kingdom, and they shall gather the tares to burn them. 
(Matt. xiii. 39 — 41,) In the end of the world, the angels shall 
come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall 
cast them into the furnace of fire. (Matt, xvii. 49, 50.) 

VI. For the sixth particular, What law is it that men shall 
be judged by ? 

Answ. That which was given them to live by. God's law is 
but the sign of his will, to teach us what shall be due from us 
and to us ; before we fell, he gave us such a law as was suitable 
to our perfection ; when we had sinned, and turned from him, 
as we ceased not to be his creatures, nor he to be our Lord, 
so he destroyed not his law, nor discharged or absolved us from 
the duty of our obedience. But because we stood condemned 
by the law, and could be justified by it, having once transgressed 
it, he was pleased to make a law of grace, even a new, a re- 
medying law, by which we might be saved from the deserved 
punishment of the old. So we shall be tried at judgment upon 
both these laws, but ultimately upon the last. The first law 
commanded perfect obedience, and threatened death to us if 
ever we disobeyed. The second law, finding us under the guilt 
of sin against the first, doth command us to repent, and believe 
in Christ, and so return to God by him, and promiseth us pardon 
of all our sins upon that condition, and also, if we persevere, 
everlasting glory. So that in judgment, though it must be first 
evinced that we are sinners, and have deserved death according 
to the law of pure nature, yet that is not the upshot of the 
judgment. For the inquiry will be next, whether they have 
accepted the remedy, and so obeyed the law of grace, and per- 
formed its condition for pardon and salvation^ and upon this 
our life or death will depend. It is both these laws that condemn 
the wicked, but it is only the law of grace that justifieth the 
righteous. 



432 A SERMON 

Obj. But how shall heathens be judged by the law of grace, 
that never did receive it ? 

Answ. The express gospel some of them had not, and there- 
fore shall not directly be judged by it, but much of the Re- 
deemer's mercy they did enjoy, which should have led them to 
repent, and seek out after recovery from their misery, and to 
come nearer Christ, and for the neglect and abuse of this they 
shall be judged, and not merely for sinning against the law that 
was given us in pure innocency, so that Christ, as Redeemer, 
shall judge them as well as others. Though they had but one 
talent, yet must they give an account of that to the Redeemer, 
from whom they received it. But if any be unsatisfied in this, 
let them remember, that as God hath left the state of such more 
dark to us, and the terms on which he will judge them, so doth 
it much more concern us to look to the terms of our judgment. 

Obj. But how shall infants be judged by the gospel that 
were incapable of it ? 

Answ. For ought I find in Scripture, they stand or fall 
with their parents, and on the same terms, but I leave each to 
their own thoughts. 

VII. For the seventh head, what will be the cause of the 
day to be inquired after? What the accusation ? And what 
the defence ? 

Answ. This may be gathered from what was last said. The 
great cause of the day will be to inquire and to determine who 
shall die, and who shall live ; who ought to go to heaven, and 
who to hell for ever, according to the law by which they must 
then be judged. 

1. As there is a twofold law by which they must be judged, so 
will there then be a twofold accusation. The first will be that 
they were sinners, and so having violated the law of God, they 
deserve everlasting death, according to that law. If no defence 
could be made, this one accusation would condemn all the 
world, for it is most certain that all are sinners, and as certain 
that all sin deserveth death. The only defence against this ac- 
cusation lieth in this plea, confessing the charge, we must plead 
that Christ hath satisfied for sins, and upon that consideration, 
God hath forgiven us, and therefore, being forgiven, we ought 
not to be punished ; to prove this, we must show the pardon 
under God's hand in the gospel. But because this pardoning 
act of the gospel doth forgive none but those that repent and 
believe, and so return to God, and to sincere obedience for the 



OF JUDGMENT. 433 

time to come, therefore the next accusation will be, that we 
did not perform these conditions of forgiveness, and therefore, 
being unbelievers, impenitent, and rebels against the Redeemer, 
we have no right to pardon, but, by the. sentence of the gospel, 
are liable to a greater punishment for the contempt of Christ 
and grace. This accusation is either true or false ; where it 
is true, God and conscience, who speak the truth, may well be 
said to be the accusers. Where it is false, it can be only the 
work of Satan, the malicious adversary, who, as we may see in 
Job's case, will not stick to bring a false accusation. 

If any think that the accuser will not do so vain a work, at 
least they may see that potentially this is the accusation that 
lieth against us, and which we must be justified against. For 
all justification implieth an actual or potential accusation. 

He that is truly accused of final impenitency, or unbelief, 
or rebellion, hath no other defence to make, but must needs 
be condemned. 

He that is falsely accused of such non-performance of the 
condition of grace, must deny the accusation, and plead his own 
personal righteousness as against that accusation, and produce 
that faith, repentance, and sincere obedience and perseverance 
by which he fulfilled that condition, and so is evangelically 
righteous in himself, and therefore hath part in the blood of 
Christ, which is instead of a legal righteousness to him in all 
things else, as having procured him a pardon of all his sin, 
and a right to everlasting glory. 

And thus we must then be justified bv Christ's satisfaction 
only, against the accusation of being sinners in general, and of 
deserving God's wrath for the breach of the law of works. But 
we must be justified by our faith, repent