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

^\ 



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF THE 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 



/. '^' 



>■• 



T H E 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF 



THE REV. RICHARD BAXTER: 



4 LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 



AMD 



A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF HIS WRITINGS, 



BY THE 



REV. WILLIAM ORME, 



At'TUOU OF ' THE LIFE OF JOHN OWEN, D.D.J "BIBLIOTHECA I3IBLICA, ETC. 



VOL. XVIIL 
IN TWENTY-THREE VOLUMES. 



LONDON: 
JAMES DUNCAN, 37, PATERNOSTER ROW. 



MDCCCXXX. 



^■^:^*' 



LONDON: 

PRINTED BV MILLS, JOWETT, AMD MILLS, 

BOLT-COURT, FLEET-STREET. 



THE 

PRACTICAL WORKS 



OF THE 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 



VOLUME XVIII. 



CONTAINING 



SERMONS; DYING THOUGHTS; MOTHER'S CATECHlSiVI. 



VOL. XVI 1 1. 



LONDON: 

PRINTED BY HILLS, JOVVETT, AND MILLS, 

BOLT-COURT, FL13ET-STUEET. 



CONTENTS 



OF 



THE EIGHTEENTH VOLUME. 



PAGE 

SERMON FOR THE FUNERAL OF MRS. HAN- 

MER.— Acts vii. 59 11 

MR. STUBBS.— Acts xx. 24 61 

MRS. COX.— Psalm cxix. Ill 91 

MR. ASHHURST.— John xii. 26 124 

MR. CORBET.— 2 Cor. xii. 1—9 163 

FAREWELL SERMON AT KIDDERMINSTER.— John 

xvi. 22 196 

DYING THOUGHTS UPON Phil. i. 23 . , 239 

Preface 241 

Introduction 243 

Doct. 1. That the souls of believers, when departed hence, 

shall be with Christ 253 

I. The necessity of believing this proved 254 

II. Whether it be best believing it, without consideration of 

the difficulties, or proofs ., 257 

III. The certainty of it manifested ; from the immortality of 

the soul : which is proved 260 

1. The soul is a substance ibid. 

2. It is a substance formally differenced from lower substance, 

by the virtue of special vital activity, intellect, and free 

will 262 

3. It is not annihilated at death . . ^ 263 

4. Nor destroyed by dissolution of parts ibid. 

5. Nor loseth its formal power, or virtue 264 

6. Nor doth sleep, or cease to act ibid. 

7. To cease to be individuate by union with any other common 

spirit, is not to be feared, were it true 267 

But it is not like to be true , . 274 



iv CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

II. The second proof : it is a natural notice 275 

III. From the duty of all men to seek a future happiness .... 276 

IV. From man's capacity of knowing God, &c., as differenced 

from brutes 278 

V. From God's governing justice 279 

VI. From revelation supernatural 280 

VII. From God's answering prayers c 282 

VIII. From our present communion with angels 283 

IX. From Satan's temptations, witches, apparitions, &c. . . ibid. 

X. Specially from the operations of God's Spirit on our souls, 

preparing them for glory (faith excited, and objections 

answered in the application) 285 

The proofs summed up in order 298 

Why this happiness is described by our " being with Christ," ibid. 

What is included in our " being with Christ." ibid. 

1 . Presence with Christ's glorified body^ and soul, and Godhead ibid. 

2. Union with, in each. — Too near union not to be feared, as 

destroying individuation 303 

3. Communion with him in each ; active and passive, opened. . 304 

We must " depart," that we may be with Christ 306 

I. From what ibid. 

1. From this body and life : yet it is far better so to do .... ibid. 

2. From all the fleshly pleasures of this life — yet best 310 

3. From the more manly delights of study, books, friends, &c., 

considered: 1. Of knowledge and books: the vanity 313 

2. Of sermons 318 

3. Of friends, and converse 319 

4. Of God's word and worship. 321 

5. Of theology 322 

Of my own labours herein 324 

6. Notice of the affairs of the world 329 

7. From our service to the living 331 

The application to myself 333 

To depart, and to be with Christ, is far better, or rather to be 

chosen 337 

I. Simply better, and properly, as it is the fulfilling of God's 

will 338 

II. Analogically better, as it tendeth to the perfection of the 

universe and the Church , ibid. 

III. Better to myself, as to my own felicity 339 

Proved, I. By general reasons from the efficients and means. . 340 

II. The final reasons «... 344 



CONTENTS. V 

PAGE 

III. The constitutive reasons from the state of my Intellect, as 

to the intuitive manner of knowledge, and as to the 

matter 349 

Both opened : .1. I shall know God better 357 

2. And God's works — the universe. . . . , 358 

3. And Jesus Christ 359 

4. And the Church triumphant, the heavenly Jerusalem .... 360 

5. And all God's word ; for matter and method 362 

6. God's present works of providence 363 

7. The nature and worth of mercies ibid. 

8. And myself, body and soul 36 i 

9. And my fellow-creatures 366 

10. And what the evil was from which I was delivered, ene- 

mies, dangers, sins, &c 367 

IV. The constitutive reasons from the state of my will ibid. 

1. Negatively, 1. Freed from temptations of the flesh, world, 

and devil; 2. There will nothing be in it that is against 

God, my neighbours, or myself 368 

2. Positively; J. It will be conformed to God's will. The 

benefits of this fruition — a fixed will. The object — 
God ; to love him, and be beloved of him is our end. 

He is a suitable, full, near object 370 

2. The next object — God's glorious image in the perfection of 

the universe 372 

3. The church triumphant : — 

J. Jesus Christ ; 2, Angels ; 3. Holy souls 373 

The will's reception in glory 375 

1. What it is to be loved of God 376 

Excitations 378 

2. How blessed to be under the love of Christ 379 

Excitations, desires 380 

3. Communion with angels and saints, by reception 384 

More of the good of union, and communion, as distinct 

from singular propriety , 38G 

V. The constitutive reasons from our heavenly practice .... 389 
Better works for us there than here, proved. What they are 

in general : what particularly : — 

1. Concordant praising God ibid- 

Excitations and petitions 390 

2. The blessed probably used for the good of men, and things 

below 391 



vi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Their opinion rejected that assert the cessation of sense; 

proof. Objections from brutes answered 392 

The concluding application 394 

APPENDIX. 

A breviate of the helps of faith, hope, and love for a dying 
man. 

I. The gospel evidence on 1 Tim. iii. 16 435 

II. A breviate of the proof of supernatural revelation, and the 

truth of Christianity 436 

III. The difference between the world which I am leaving 

and the world which I am going to ; with reasons of 

my comfortable hope 450 

IV. More reasons and helps of my faith and hope 454 

V. A discourse of the sensible manifestation of the kingdom 

of Christ, at his transfiguration, which is expounded, 

and applied for the help of faith and patience 462 

VI. Short meditations on Romans v. i — 5, of the shedding 

abroad God's love on the heart, that we may rejoice in 

hope of the glory of God 503 

THE MOTHER'S CATECHISM 519 



THE 



LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER; 



Hts 



PASSING PRAYER, 



RECOMMENDING 



HIS DEPARTING SPIRIT TO CHRIST, 



TO BE 



HE CE I FED BY HIM. 



PUETARED FOR THE FUNERAL OF 



MARY THE WIDOW, rUlST OF FRANCIS CHARLTON, ESQ., 
AND AFTER OF THOMAS HANMER, ESQ.; 

AND PAUTLV PREACHED AT ST. MARV MAGDALEN'S CHURCH, IN MILK-STREET, 

LONDON, AND NOW, AT THE DESIRE OF HER DAUGHTER 

BEFORE HER DEATH, REPRINTED. 



" If any man serve mf, let hiin follow mc ; and where I am, thore sliall also 
my servant be. If any man serve nie, him will my Father honour." — John xii. 26". 



VOL, XVI IT. 



thov.. 



TO THE READER. 



Reader, 

The person whose death did occasion this discourse was one 
that about five vears aaro removed from her ancient habitation, 
at Appley, in Shropshire, to Kidderminster, where she lived 
under my pastoral care till I was come up to London ; and 
before she had lived there a twelvemonth (for thither she re- 
moved) she died of the fever, then very common in the city. 
She lived among us an example of prudence, gravity, sobriety, 
righteousness, piety, charity, and self-denial, and was truly what I 
have described her to be, and much more ; for I use not to flatter 
the living, much less the dead. And though I had personal 
acquaintance with her for no longer a time than I have men- 
tioned, yet I think it v>'orthy the mentioning, which 1 under- 
stand by comparing her last years with what is said of her 
former time, by those that were then nearest to her, and so 
were at her death, that whereas (as I have said) sudden passion 
was the sin that she was wont much to complain of, she had not 
contented herself with mere complainings, but so effectually 
resisted them, and applied God's remedies for the healing of 
her nature, that the success was very much observed by those 
about her, and the change and cure so great herein, as was a 
comfort to her nearest relations that had the benefit of her con- 
verse ; which 1 mention as a thing that shows us, 1. That even 
the infirmities that are found in nature and temperature of body 
are curable so far as they fall under the dominion of a sanctified 
will. 2. That even in age, when such passions usually get 
ground, and infirmities of mind increase with infirmities of body, 
yet grace can effectually do its work. 3. That to attend God 
in his means, for the subduing of any corruption, is not in vain. 
4. That as God hath promised growth of grace, and flourishing 
in old age, so in his way we may expect the fulfilling of his 
promise. 5. That as grace increaseth, infirmities and cor- 
ruptions of the soul will vanish. ^ ' 

b2 



4 TO THE READER. 

This makes me call to mind that she was once so much taken 
with a sermon which I ])reached at the funeral of a holy aged 
woman,* and so sensibly oft recited the text itself as much 
affecting her — " For which cause we faint not ; hut though our 
outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by 
day," &c. (2 Cor. iv. 16, 17 :) that I am persuaded both the 
text itself, and the example opened (and well known) to her, 
did her much good. 

Her work is done, her enemies are concjuered, (except the re- 
maining fruits of death upon a corrupting body, which the resur- 
rection must conquer,) her danger, and temptations, and troubles, 
and fears, are at an end. She shall no more be discomfited with 
evil-tidings ; nor no more partake with a militant church in the 
sorrows of her diseases or distresses. We are left within the 
reach of Satan's assaults and malice, and of the rage and violence 
which pride, and faction, and Cainish envy, and enmity to 
serious holiness, do ordinarily raise against Christ's followers in 
the world. We are left among the lying tongues of slanderous, 
malicious men, and dwell in a wilderness among scorpions ; 
where the sons of Belial, like Nabal, are sucli that a man can- 
not speak to them. (1. Sam. xxv. 17.) The best of them is as 
a briar, the most upright sharper than a thorn hedge. (Mic. vii. 
4.) " But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns 
thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands; but the 
man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron, and the 
staff of a spear, and they shall be utterly burned with fire in 
the same place." (2 Sam. xxiii. 6, 7.) We are left among our 
weak, distempered, sinful, afflicted, lamenting friends ; the sight 
of whose calamities, and participation of their sufferings, maketh 
us feel the strokes that fall upon so great a number, that we 
are never like to be free from pain. But she is entered into 
the land of peace, where pride and faction are shut out ; where 
serpentine enmity, malice, and fury, never come; where there is 
no Cain to envy and destroy us ; no Sodomites to rage against 
us, and in their blindness to assault our doors; no Ahithophels 
to plot our ruin; no Judas to betray us; no false witnesses to 
accuse us; no TertuUus to paint us out as pestilent fellows, and 
movers of sedition among the people; no Rehum, Shimshai, or 

■* Good old iMrs. Doughtv, sometime of Slircwsljury, who liad lunj 
walked witli God and longed to be with him, and was among us an exceilentex- 
ample of holiness, Ijlamelessiies?, contempt of the world, ronstancy, patience, 
linmiliiy, and (which makes it stiange) a g-reat and constant ile-^ire to die, 
tii^ .,n-j, ^ije \va3 still comj'laitang of doubtingSj and weakness of uiiuraacs. 



TO THE READKR. 5 

their society, to persuade tlic rulers that the servants of the God 
of heaven are hurtful unto kings, and against their interest and 
honour; (Ezra iv. 9, 12, 13, 14, 22; and v. 11;) no rabble to 
cry " Away with them, it is not fit that they should live;" no 
Denias that will forsake us for the love of present things; no 
such contentious, censorious friends as JobV to afflict us, by 
adding to our afiiictions ; no cursed Ham to dishonour pa- 
rents ; no ambitious, rel)ellious Absalom to molest us, or to 
lament; no sinful, scandalous, or impatient friends to be our 
grief: and, which is more than all, no earthly, sinful inclinations 
in ourselves; no passions or infirmities; no languishings of 
soul; no deadness, didness, hard-heartedness or weakness of 
grace; no backwardness to God, or estrangedness from him, 
nor fears or doubtings of his love, nor frowns of his displeasure. 
None of these do enter into that serene and holy region, nor 
ever interrupt thejoy of saints. 

The great Avork is yet upon our hands, to fight out the good 
fight, to finish our course, to run with patience the remainder 
of the race that is before us; and as we must look to Jesus the 
author and finisher of our faith, as our great exemplar, so must 
we look to his saints and martyrs as our encouraging examples 
under him. Put the case you were now dying, (and oh, how 
near is it, and how sure!) what would you need most, if the 
day were come? That is it that you need most now. Look 
after it speedily while you have time. Look after it seriously, 
if vou have the hearts of men, and sin have not turned vou into 
idiots or Ijlocks. What a disgrace is it to mankind, to hear 
men commonly at death crv out, * Oh 1 for a little more time.* 
And ' Oh ! for the opportunities of grace again.' And ' Oh ! how 
shall I enter upon eternity thus unprepared?' as if they had 
never heard or known that they must die till now. Had you 
not a life's time to put these questions ? And should you not 
long ago have got them satisfactorily resolved? And justly 
doth God give over some to that greater shame of human 
nature, as not to be called to their wits, even by the approach 
of death itself; but as they contemned everlasting life in their 
health, God justly leaveth them to be so sottish as to venture 
presumptuously with unrenewed souls upon death, and the con- 
ceit that they are of the right church, or party, or opinion; or 
that the priest hath absolved them, doth pass with them for the 
necessary preparation ; and well were it for them if these would 
pass them currently into heaven. }3ut, oh, what heart can 



b TO THE READER. 

now conceive how terrible it is for a new departed soul to find 
itself remedilessly disappointed, and to be shut up in flames and 
desperation, before they would believe that they were in danger 
of it. 

Reader, I beseech thee, as ever thou believest that thou must 
shortly die, retire from the crowd and noise of worldly vanity 
and vexation. Oh, bethink thee, how little a while thou must be 
here, and have use for honour, and favour, and wealth ; and 
wliat it is for a soul to pass into heaven or hell, and to dwell 
among angels or devils for ever ; and how men should live, and 
watch, and pray, that are near to such a change as this. Should 
I care what men call me (by tongue or pen) ? Should 1 care 
whether 1 live at liberty or in prison, when I am ready to die, 
and have matters of infinite moment before me to take me nj) ? 
Honour or dishonour, liberty or prison, are words of no sound 
or signification, scarce to be heard or taken notice of, to one of 
lis that are just passing to God, and to everlasting life. The 
Lord have mercy upon the distracted world ! How strangely 
doth the devil befool them in the daylight, and make them 

iieedlessly trouble themselves about many things, when one 
hing is needful ; and heaven is talked of, (and that but heart- 
essly and seldom,) while fleshly provision only is the prize, the 
pleasure, the business of their lives. Some are diverted from 
their serious preparation for death by the beastly avocations of 
lust, and gaudiness, and meats, and drinks, and childish sports ; 
and some by the businesses of ambition and covetousness,contriv- 
mg how to feather their nests, and exercise their wills over others 
m the world 1 And some that will seem to be doing the work, 
jire diverted as dangerously as others, by contending about for- 
T^ialities and ceremonies, and destroying charity and peace ; 
rending the church, and strengthening factions, and carrying on 
interests hypocritically under the name of religion, till the zeal 
that St. James describeth, (James iii. 13, 14, &;c.) having con- 
sumed all that was like to the zeal of love and holiness in them- 
selves, proceed to consume the servants and interest of Christ 
about them, and to bite and devour, till their Lord come and 
find them in a day that they looked not for him, smiting their 
fellow-servants, and eating and drinking with the drunken, and 
cut them asunder, and appoint them their portion with the 
hypocrites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
(^Matt. xxiv. 49 — 5 1 .) 

Ohj study, and preach, and hear, and pray, and live, and use 



TO THE READER. / 

your brethren that differ from you in some opinions, as you 
would do if you were going to receive your doom, and as will 
then be most acceptable to your Lord ! The guilt of sensuality, 
worldliness, ambition, of uncharitableness, cruelty, and injustice, 
of losing time, and betraying your souls by negligence, or per- 
fidiousness, and wilful sin, will lie heavier upon a departing 
soul, than now, in the drunkenness of prosperity, you can think. 
Christ will never receive such souls in their extremity, unless 
upon repentance, by faith in his blood, they are washed from 
this pollution. It is unspeakably terrible to die, without a con- 
fidence that Christ will receive us ; and little knows the grace- 
less world what sincerity and simplicity in holiness is necessary 
to the soundness of such a confidence. 

Let those that know not that they must die, or know of no 
life hereafter, hold on their chase of a feather, till they find what 
they lost their lives, and souls, and labour for. But if thou be 
u Christian, remember what is thy work : thou wilt not need the 
favour of man, nor worldly wealth, to prevail with Christ to re- 
ceive thy spirit. Oh, learn thy last work before thou art put upon 
the doing of it ! The world of spirits, to which we are passing, 
doth better know than this world of fleshly, darkened sinners, 
tlm great difference between the death of a heavenly believer 
and of an earthly sensualist. Believe it, it is a thing possible 
to get that apprehension of the love of Christ, that confidence 
of his receiving us, and such familiar, pleasant thoughts of our 
entertainment by him, as shall much overcome the fears of 
death, and make it a welcome day to us when we shall be ad- 
mitted into tlie celestial society : and the difference between one 
man's death and another's dependeth on the difference between 
heart and heart, life and life, preparation and unpreparedncss. 

If you ask me, ' How may so happy a preparation be made? 
I have told you in this following discourse, and more fully else- 
where formerly. I shall add now these few directions following. 

1 . Follow the flattering world no further ; come off from all 
expectation of felicity below ; enjoy nothing under the sun, but 
only use it in order to your enjoyment of the real, sure delight; 
take heed of being too much pleased in the creature. Have 
you houses, and lands, and offices, and honours, and friends, that 
are very pleasing to you ? Take heed, for that is the killing 
snare ! Shut your eyes, and wink them all into nothing ; and 
cast by your contrivances, and cares, and fears, and remember 
you have another work to do. 



8 TO THE HEADER. 

2. Live in communion with a suflFeiing Christ : study well the 
whole life and nature of his sufferings, and the reason of them, 
and think how desirahle it is to be conformed to him. Thus, 
look to Jesus, that for the joy that was set before him, despised 
the shame, and endured the cross, and the contradiction of sin- 
ners against himself. Dwell upon this example, that the image 
of a humbled, suffering Christ being deeply imprinted on thy 
mind, may draw thy heart into a more just relish of a mortified 
state. Sure he is no good Christian that thinks it not better to 
live as Christ did, (in holy poverty and sufferings in the world,) 
than as Croesus, or Caesar, or any such worldling and sclf- 
})leaser lived. Die daily by following Jesus with your cross, and 
when you a have a while suffered with him. he will make you 
perfect, and receive your spirits, and vou shall reign with him : 
it wonderfully prepareth for a comfortable death to live in the 
fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. He is most likely to die 
quietly, patiently, and joyfully, that can first be poor, be ne- 
glected, be scorned, be wronged, be slandered, be imprisoned, 
quietly, patiently, and joyfiilly. If you were but at Jerusa- 
lem, you would, with some love and pleasure, go U]> Mount 
Olivet, and think ' Christ went this very way.' You would love 
to see the place where he was was i)orn, the way which he went 
when he carried his cross, the holy grave where he was buried, 
(where there is a temple which pilgrims use to visit, from whence 
they use to bring the mark as a pleasing badge of honour,) but 
how much more of Christ is there in our suffering for his cause 
and truth, and in following him in a mortified, self-denying life, 
than in following him in the path that lie hath trodden u])on 
earth? His enemies sav/ his cross, his grave; his mother, his 
person. This did not heal their sinful souls, and make thein 
haj)py; but the cross that he calleth us to bear is a life of suf- 
fering for righteousness' sake ; in whrch he commandeth. us to 
rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, because our reward is great in 
heaven, though all manner of evil be spoken of us falsely by 
men on earth. (Matt. v. 11, 12.) This is called a being par- 
takers of Christ's sufferings, in which we are commanded to re- 
joice, " that, when his glory shall be revealed, we may be glad 
also with exceeding joy." (1 Peter iv. 13.) And as '"the suf- 
ferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation aboundeth by 
Christ." (2 Cor. i. 5.) Till we come up to a life of willing mor- 
-j^fication, and pleased, contented suffering with Christ, we are 
in tli^ lower form of his school, and, as children, shall tremble 



TO THE READKU. 9 

at that which should not cause our tenor ; and, through mis- 
apprehensions of the case of a departing soul, shall be afraid of 
that which should be our jov. I am not such an enemy to the 
esteem of relics, but if one could show me the very stocks that 
Paul and Silas sat in when thev sung psalms in their imprison- 
ment, (Acts, xvi.) I could be contented to be put (for the like 
cause) into the same stocks, with a special willingness and plea- 
sure, how much more should we be willing to be conformed to 
our suffering Lord in a spirit and life of true mortification ? 

3. Hold communion also with his suffering members : desire 
not to dwell in the tents of wickedness, nor to be i)lanted among 
them that flourish for time, that they may be destroyed for ever. 
(Psalm xcii. G, 7-) I had rather have Bradford's heart and fag- 
got than Bonner's bishopric. It was holy Stephen, and not 
those that stoned him, that saw heaven opened, and the Son of 
Man sitting at the right hand of God, (Acts vii, oG,) and that 
could joyfully say, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." He livcth 
not by faith (though he may be a hanger-on that keepeth up 
some profession for fear of being damned) who chooseth not 
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy 
the ])leasures of sin for a season, and estecmeth not the very 
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world, 
as having respect to the recompense of reward. (Heb. xi. 
25, 2G.) 

4. Live as if heaven were open to your sight, and then doat 
upon the delights of worldlings If you can. Then love a life of 
flesldv ease and honour, better than to be with Christ, if you 
can. But of this I have spoken at large in other writings. 

Christian, make it the study and business of thy life to learn 
to do thv last work v/ell, that .work which must be done but 
once; tliat so death, which transmits unholy souls into utter 
darkness and despair, may deliver thy spirit into thy Redeemer's 
hands, to be received to his glory, according to that blessed 
promise, John xii. 26. And while I am in the flesh beg the 
same mercy for 

Thy brother and companion in tribulation, 

And in the kingdom and jwtience of Jesus Christ, 

RICHARD BAXTl':R. 

London, Jan. 31, ItJGl, 



A BELIEVE ll'S LAST WORK. 



ACTS vii. 59. 

Loj'd Jesus, receive my spirit. 

The birth of nature, and the new birth of grace, iu their mea- 
sure resemble the death of saints, which is the birth of glory. 
It is a bitter-sweet day, a day that is mixed of sorrow and joy, 
when nature must quit its familiar guest, and yield to any of 
these changes. Our natural birth is not without the throes, and 
pain, and groanings of the mother, though it transmit the 
child into a more large, and lightsome, and desirable habita- 
tion. Our spiritual birth is not without its humbling and heart - 
piercing sorrows ; and when we are brought out of darkness into 
the marvellous light, we leave our old companions in displea- 
sure, whom we forsake, and our flesh repining at the loss of 
its sensual delights. And our passage into glory is not without 
those pangs and fears which must needs be the attendants of a 
pained bodv, ready to be dissolved, and a soul that is going 
through so strait a door into a strange, though a most blessed 
place ; and it leaveth our lamenting friends behind, that feel 
their loss, and would longer have enjoyed our company, and see 
not (though they believe) the glory of the departed soul. And 
this is our case that are brought hither this day, by an act of 
Providence sad to us, though joyous to our departed friend ', 
by a voice that hath called her into glory, and called us into 
this mourning plight : even us that rejoice in the thoughts of 
her felicity, and are not so cruel as to wish her again into this 
corruptible flesh, and calamitous world, from the glorious pre- 
sence of the Lord ; and yet should have kept her longer from it, 
for our own and others' sakes, if our wisdom had been fit to 
rul^, or our wills to be fulfilled, or if our prayers must have been 
answered, according to the measure of our failing apprehen- 
sions, or precipitant desires. But foily must submit to the 



A 



believer's i,ast work. 11 



incomprehensible wisdom, and the desire of the creatm-e must 
stoop to the will of the Creator. The interest of Christ must 
be preferred when he calleth for his own, and our temporary • 
interest must give place : flesh must be silent and not contend, 
and dust must not dare to question God ; he kuoweth best 
when his fruit is ripe, and though he will allow our moderate 
sorrows, he will not so much damnify his saints as to detain 
them with us from their joyful rest till we are content to let 

them go. 

Thus also did blessed Stephen depart from glory to glory ; 
from a distant sight of the glory of God, and of Jesus standing 
at his right hand, into the immediate presence and fruition of 
that glory. But vet he must pass the narrow port ; enraged 
malice must stone liim till he die, and he nuist undergo the 
pains of* martyrdom before he reach to the glory which he had 
seen. And when he was arrived in safety, he Icaveth his bre- 
thren scattered in the storm, and devout men make great la- 
mentation at his l)urial. (Acts viii. 2.) Though it is probable 
by the ordinary acceptation of the word a^Spe^- evKaSeT^, that 
they were not professed Chri^^tians, but devout proselvtes, (such as 
Cornelius and the iEthiopian eunuch were,) that buried and thus 
lamented Stephen, as knowing him to be an excellent person, 
cruelly murdered by the raging Jews, yet their example, in a 
case not culpable, but commendable, may be imitated by be- 
lievers, upon condition that, with our sense of the excellency of 
the persons, and of our loss by their removal, we exceed them 
that had but a darker revelation in our joyful sense of the fe- 
licity of the translated souls. 

The occasion of the death of this holy man was partly that 
he surpassed others, as being full of faith, and of the Holy 
Ghost ; and partly that he plairdy rebuked the blind and furious 
persecuting zeal of the Jews, and bore a most resolute testimony 
of Christ. It is an ill time when men must suffer because 
they are good, and .deserve not suffering, but reward ; and tliey 
are an unhappy people that have no more grace or wit but to 
light against heaven, and set themselves under the strokes of 
God's severest justice, by persecuting them that are dear to 
Christ, and faithfully perform their duty. It is ho strange thing 
for the zeal and interest of a faction to make men mad ; so 
mad as implacably to rage against the offspring of heaven, and 
to hate men because they are faithful to their great Master, and 
because they are against their faction ; so mad as to think that 



12 A BELIEVER S 

the interest of their cause reqiiireth them to destroy the best 
vvitii the greatest malice, because they stand most in their way, 
and to forget that Christ, the revenger of his elect, doth take 
all as done to him that is done to them ; so mad as to forget 
all the terrible thrcatenings of God, and terrible instances of 
his avenging justice against the enemies of his servants, whom 
he taketh as his own, and to ruin their own reputations by 
seeking to defame the upright, whose names God is engaged to 
honour, and whose righteousness shall shine forth as the sun, 
when fooli^;h malignity hath done its worst. When Christ had 
pleaded his cause effectually with Saul, that was one of the per- 
secutors of Stephen, he maketh him confess that he was 
■sTffna-aui ejxiAccii'cy.eyo;, exccediuglv, cxcessivelv, Or bcyond measure 
mad against the Christians. 

lUit this blessed protomartyr, in despite of malice, doth 
safely and joyfully pass through all their rage to heaven. By 
killing him they make him more than con(|ueror, and send him 
to recei^'e his crown. And he shuts uj) all the action of his 
life in imitation of his suffering Lord with a twofold request to 
heaven, the one for himself that his spirit may be received, the 
other for his persecutors, that this sin may not be laid to their 
charge ; (Acts vii. ."){), GO ;) for ho you may hnd Christ did before 
him, " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they 
do," and, " Father, into thy hands I connnend my spirit." 
(Luke xxiii. 34, 4().) Only Christ directeth his prayer imme- 
diately to the Father, and Stephen to Christ, as being one that 
had a mediator, when Christ had none, as needing none, and 
being now bearing witness, by his suffering, to Christ, and 
therefore it was seasonable to direct his prayer to him, but 
especially because it was an act of mediation that he petitioneth 
for, and therefore directeth his petition to the mediator. 

This fust request of this dying saint, which i have chosen to 
handle, as suitable and seasonable for our instruction at this 
time, in a few words containeth not a few exceeding useful, 
wholesome truths. 

As, L It is here plainly intimated that Jesus Christ is ex- 
alted in glory, in that he hath power to receive departed souls. 

IL That Christ is to be prayed to, and that it is not our duty 
to direct all our prayers only to the Father. Especially those 
things that belong to the office of the mediator, as interceding 
for us in the heavens, nuist be requested of the mediator. And 
those things which belong to the Father to give for the sake of 



LAST WORK. 13 

the mediator, must be asked of the Father for his sake. I cannot 
now stay to tell vou in partieuhir what bclongeth to tlie one, 
and what unto the other. 

III. That man hath a spirit as well as a body ; of wliich more 
anon. 

IV. That this spirit dieth not with the body (unless you will 
call a mere separation a dying.) 

V. That Christ doth receive the spirits of his saints when 
they are separated from the body. 

VI. That a dying Christian may confidently and comfortably 
commend his spirit to Christ, to be received of him. 

VII. That prayer in general, and this prayer in special, 'That 
Christ will receive our departing souls,' is a niost suitable con- 
clusion of all the actions of a Christian's life. 

The first and second of these doctrines, offered us by this text, 
I shall pass by. 

The third is not questioned by any that knoweth himself to 
be a man : but that we mav understand it, and the rest, we 
must consider what the word "spirit" doth here signify. By 
"spirit," here can be meant nothing but the rational soid, which 
is the principal constitutive part of the man. For though the 
word do sometimes signify the wind or breath, and sometimes 
the moral and intellectual qualifications, and have divers other 
senses, I need not stay to prove that it is not here so taken. 
Stephen prayeth not to Christ to receive his breath, his graces, 
or the Holy Ghost, but to receive his rational, immortal soul. 

It is not only the soul, but God himself, that is called 
*' a Spirit :" and though the name be fetched from lower 
things, that is because that we have no adecpiate positive con- 
ception of God or spirits, so we can have no adequate proper 
names for them, but must take up with borrowed names, as 
answerable to our notions. 

Sometimes the word spirit (as Heb. iv. 12, See.) is distin- 
guished from the soul ; and then it either signifieth the superior 
faculties in the same soul, or tlie same soul as elevated by grace. 

Do you ask, 'What is the soul ?' You may also ask, 'What 
a man is ?' And it is pity that a man should not know what 
a man is. It is our intellectual nature, containing also the sen- 
sitive and vegetative. The principal or first act, by which we 
live, and feel, and understand, and freely will. The acts tell 
you what the faculties or powers are, and so what the soul is. 
If you know what intellection, or reason and free-will are, you 



14 A believer's 

may know what it is to have a spiritual nature, essentially con- 
taining the power of reasoning and willing. It is thy soul by 
which thou art thinking and asking what a soul is ; and as he 
that reasoneth to prove that man hath no reason, doth prove 
that he hath reason by reasoning against it ; so he that reason- 
eth to prove that he hath no soul, doth thereby prove that he 
hath a reasonable (though abused) soul. 

Yet there are some so blind as to question whether they have 
souls, because they see them not ; whereas if they could see 
them with eyes of flesh they were no souls, for spirits are invisi- 
ble. They see not the air or wind, and yet they know that air 
or wind there is. They see not God or angels, and yet they are 
fools indeed if they doubt whether there be a God and angels. If 
they see not their eyes, yet they know that they have eyes, because 
with those eyes they see other things. And if they know not 
directly and intuitively that they have rational souls, they might 
know it by their knowing other things, which without such 
souls cannot be known. It is just with God that those that 
live as carnally, and brutishly, and negligently, as if they had no 
souls to use or care for, should at last be given up to question 
whether they have souls, or no. 

O woful fall ! depraved nature ! O miserable men, that have 
so far departed from God, as to deny both themselves and God ! 
or to question whether God be God, and man be man. Return 
to God, and thou wilt come to thyself. Forget not, man, thy 
noble nature, thy chiefest part : think not that thou art only 
shell, because thou seest not through the shell. It is souls that 
converse by the bodies while they are in flesh. It is thy soul 
that I am speaking to, and thy soul that understandeth me. 
When thy soul is gone I will speak to thee no more. It is thy 
soul that is the workmanship of God by an immediate or special 
way of fabrication. "The souls vv'hich I have made." (Isa. Ivii. 
IG.) " He I)reathed into man the breath of life, and he became 
a living soul." (Gen. ii. 7-) It is thy soul that is said to be made 
after God's image ; in that thou art ennobled with a capacious 
understanding and free-will ; and it is thy soul that is the im- 
mediate subject of his moral image, even spiritual wisdom, 
righteousness, and holiness. God hath not hands, and feet, and 
other members, as thy body hath. How noble a nature is that 
■which is capable of knowing not only all things in the world, 
(in its measure), but God himself, and the things of the world 
that is to come ; and capable of loving and enjoying God, and of 



LAST WORK. 15 

seeking and serving him in order to that enjoyment ! Christ 
thought not basely of a soul that redeemed souls at such a price, 
when he made his soul an offering for sin. (Isa.Jiii. 10.) Were 
it not for our inniiortal souls would God ever honour us with 
such relations to him as to he his children ? (For he is first the 
Father of spirits, (Heb. xii. 9,) and then the Father of saints.) 
Should we be called the spouse and the members of Christ ? 
would he be at so much cost upon us ? should angels attend us as 
ministering spirits, if we had not spirits fit to minister to God ? 
Would the Spirit of God himself dwell in us, and quicken, and 
beautify us with his grace ? should a world of creatures (whose 
corporeal substance seems as excellent as ours) attend and serve 
us, if we were but an ingenious sort of brutes, and had not ra- 
tional, immortal souls ? Should such store of mercies be provided 
for us ? should ministers be provided to preach, and pray, and 
labour for us, if we had not souls to save or lose ? " They watch 
for your souls as they that must give account." (Heb. xiii. \J.) 
Why should they preach in season and out of season, and suffer 
so much to perform their work, but that they know that "He 
that winneth souls is wise," (Prov. xi. 30,) and that " He which 
converteth the sinner from the error of his way, doth save a soul 
from death, and hide a multitude of sins." (Jam. v. 20.) The 
devil himself may tell you the worth of souls when he compasseth 
the earth, (Job i. 7,) and goeth about night and day to deceive 
them, and devour them, (1 Peter v. 8,) and yet can he make you 
believe that they are so worthless as to be abused to the basest 
drudgery, to be poisoned with sin and sensualitv, to be ventured 
for a thing of nought ? 

Oh ! sirs, have you such immortal souls, and will you sell them 
for a lust, for a beastly pleasure, for liberty to glut vour flesh, 
or for the price that Judas sold his Lord for ? Is thy soul no 
more worth than honour, or wealth, or foolish mirth ? Is thy 
soul so base as not to be worth the care and labour of a holy 
life ? Is the world worth all thy care and labour, and shall less 
be called too much ado, when it is for thy precious soul ? Alas ! 
one would think by the careless, fleshly lives of manv, that they 
remember not that they have souls. Have they not need, in the 
depth of their security, in the height of their ambition, and in 
the heat of fleshly lusts, to have a monitor to call to them, ' Re- 
member that thou art a man, and that thou hast a soul to save 
or lose ?' What thinkest thou of thy negligence and carnal life, 
when thou readest that so holy a man as Paul must keep under 



16 A ni'TJEVEIl's 

his body, and bring it into sn])jection, lest he should be a cast- 
away afler all his labours. (1 Cor. ix, 25 — 2/.) Oh, live not as if 
the flesh were the man, and its ))leasure your felicity, but live as 
those that have spirits to take care of. 

Doct. IV. The spirit of man doth survive the body; it dieth 
not with it. It is not atmihilated; it is not resolved into the 
essence of some common element of souls, where it loseth its 
specific form and name. It was still the spirit of Stephen that 
was received by Christ : it sleepeth not. To confute the dream 
of those that talk of the sleeping- of souls, or any lethargic, un- 
intelligent, or inactive state, of so excellent, capacious, and 
active a nature, were but to dispute with sleeping men. 
When we say it is immortal, we mean not that it, or any crea- 
ture, hath in itself a self-supporting or self-preserving suffici- 
ency; or that they are necessary beings, and not contingent ; or 
primitive beings, and not derived from another by creation. 
We know that all the world would turn to nothing in a moment 
if God did but withdraw his preserving and upholding influ- 
ence, and but suspend that will that doth continue them. He 
need not exert any positive will or act for their destruction or 
annihilation. Though ejusdem est annihilare, cujus est creare; 
none can annihilate but God ; yet it is by a positive, efficient 
act of will that he createth : and by a mere cessation of the act 
of his preserving will he can annihilate. I mean not by any 
change in him, but by willing the continuance of the creature 
but till such a ])eriod; but yet he that will perpetuate the spirit 
of man, hath given it a nature (as he hath done the angels) fit 
to be perpetuated. A nature not guilty of composition and 
elementary materiality, which might subject it to corruption. 
So that as there is an aptitude in iron, or silver, or gold, to 
continue longer than grass, or flowers, or flesh ; and a reason 
of its duration may be given a natiira rei, from that aptitude in 
subordination to the will of God ; so there is such an aptitude 
in the nature of the soul to be immortal, which God maketh 
use of to the accomplishment of his will for its actual per- 
petuity. 

The heathenish Socinians, that deny the immortality of the 
soul, (yea, worse than heathenish, for most heathens do main- 
tain it,) must deny it to Christ himself, as well as to his mem- 
bers ; for he used the like recommendation of his soul to his 
Father when he was on the cross, as Stephen doth here to him. 
If " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," be words that prove not the 



LAST WORK. 17 

surviving of the spirit of Stephen ; then, " Father, into thy 
hands I commend my spirit," will not prove the surviving of the 
Spirit of Christ. And, then, what do these infidels make of 
Christ, who also deny his Deity; and, consequently, make him 
nothing but a corpse, when his body was in the grave ? How 
then did he make good his promise to the penitent malefactor ? 
'' This day shalt thou be with me in paradise," But he that 
said " Because I live, ye shall live also," (John xiv. 19,) did 
live in the Spirit, while he was put to death in the flesh; (I 
Peter iii. 18;) and receiveth the spirits of his servants unto life 
eternal, while their flesh is rotting in the grave. This very 
text is so clear for this, if there were no other, it might end the 
controversy with all that believe the holy Scriptures. 

I confess there is a sleep of souls, a metaphorical sleep in sin 
and in security, or else the drowsy opinions of these infidels 
had never found entertainment in the world ; a sleep so deep 
that the voice of God, in the threatenings of his word, and the 
alarm of his judgments, and the thunder of his warnings by his 
most serious ministers, prevail not to awaken the most : so dead 
a sleep possesseth the most of the ungodly world, tliat they can 
quietly sin in the sight of God, at the entrance upon eternity, at the 
doors of hell, and the calls of God do not awaken them : so 
dead a sleep, that Scripture justly calls them dead : (Eph. ii. 1, 
5 :) and ministers may well call them dead, for alas, it is not 
our voice that can awake them ; they are as dead to us : we 
draw back the curtains to let in the light, and show them that 
judgment is at hand, and use those true but terrible arguments 
from wrath and hell, which we are afraid should too much 
frighten many tender hearers, and yet they sleep on ; and our 
loudest calls, our tears, and our entreaties, cannot awaken 
them. We cry to them in the name of the Lord, " Awake, thou 
that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee 
light." (Eph. V. 14.) This moral sleep and death of souls, 
which is the forerunner of everlasting death in misery, we catu- 
not deny. But after death even this sleep shall cease; and God 
will awaken them with his vengeance, that would not be awaked 
by his grace. Then, sinner, sleep under the thoughts of sin and 
God's displeasure if thou canst. There is no sleeping soul in 
hell ; there are none that are past feeling. The mortal sti.-oke 
that layeth thy flesh to sleep in the dust, lets out a guilty soul 
into a world where there is no sleeping; where there is a light 
irresistible, and a terror and torment, that will keep them 

VOL, XVIII. c 



18 A believer's 

waking. If God bid thee awake by the flames of justice, he 
will have no nay. The first sight and feeling which will sur- 
prise thee when thou hast left this flesh, will awake thee to 
eternity, and do more than we could do in time, and convince 
thee that there is no sleeping state for separated souls. 

Doct. V. Christ doth receive the spirits of his saints when 
thev leave the flesh. 

Here we shall first tell you what Christ's receiving of the 
spirit is. The word signifieth, to take it as acceptable to him- 
self j and it comprehendeth these particulars, 

1. That Christ will not leave the new-departed soul to the 
will of Satan, its malicious enemy. How ready is he to receive 
us to perdition, if Christ refuse us, and receive us not to sal- 
vation. He that now seeketh as a roaring lion night and dav, 
as our adversary, to devour us by deceit, will then seek to de- 
vour us by execution. How glad was he when God gave him 
leave but to touch the goods, and children, and body of Job. 
And how much more would it please his enmity to have power 
to torment our souls ? But the soul that fled to the arms of 
Christ by faith in the day of trial, shall then find itself in the 
arms of Christ, in the moment of its entrance upon eternity. 
O, Christian, whether thou now feel it to thy comfort or not, 
thou shalt then feel it to the ravishing of thy soul, that thou 
didst not fly to Christ in vain, nor trust him in vain to be thy 
Saviour. Satan shall be for ever disappointed of his desired 
prey. Long wast thou combating with him ; frequently and 
strongly wast thou tempted by him. Thou oft thoughtest it 
was a doubtful question, who should win the day, and whether 
ever thou shouldest hold out and be saved : but when thou 
passest from the flesh, in thy last extremity, in the end of thy 
greatest and most shaking fears, when Satan is ready, if he 
might, to carry thy soul to hell ; then, even then, shalt thou 
find that thou hast won the day. And yet not thou, but Christ 
is he that hath been victorious for thee, even as when thou 
livedst the life of faith, it was not thou, but Christ, lived in thee. 
(Gal. ii. 20.) Thou mayest fear at thy departure, and leave 
the flesh with terror, and imagine that Satan will presently de- 
vour thee; but the experience of a moment will end thy fears, 
and thou shalt triumph against thy conquered foe. He that 
saved thee from the dominion of a tempting devil, will cer- 
tainly save thee from him when he would torment thee. Here 
he would have us that he may sift us, and get advantage on our 



LAST WORK. 19 

weakness ; but Christ prayeth for us, and strengtheneth us, that 
our faith may not fail. (Luke xxii. 31.) And he that saveth 
us from the sin, will save us from the punishment, and from 
Satan's fury, as he did from his fraud. 

2. Christ's receiving us, doth include his favourable enter- 
tainment and welcoming the departed soul. Poor soul, thou 
wast never so welcome to thy dearest friend, nor into the arms 
of a father, a hus])and, or a wife, as thou shalt be then into the 
presence and embracements of thy Lord. Thou hearest, and 
readest, and partly believest, now how he loveth us, even as his 
spouse and members, as his flesh and bone. (Eph. vi.) But 
then thou shalt feel how he loveth thee in particular. If the 
angels of God have joy at thy conversion, what joy will there 
be in heaven at thy entrance into that salvation. And sure 
those angels will bid thee welcome, and concur with Christ in 
that triumphant joy. If a returning prodigal find himself in the 
arms of his father's love, and welcomed home with his kisses, 
and his robe and feast, what welcome then may a cleansed con- 
quered soul expect when it cometh into the presence of glori- 
ous lovCj and is purposely to be received with such demonstra- 
tions of love, as may be fitted to magnify the love of God, 
which exceedeth all the love of man, as omnipotency doth ex- 
ceed our impotency, and therefore will exceed it in the effects. 
Though thou hast questioned here in the dark, whether thou 
wert welcome to Christ when thou earnest to him in prayer, or 
when thou camest to his holy table, yet then doubt of thy wel- 
come if thou canst. 

O had we but one moment's sense of the delights of the em- 
braced soul that is newly received by Christ into his kingdom, 
it would make us think we were in heaven already, and trans- 
port us more than the disciples that saw the transfiguration of 
Christ ; and make us say, in comparing this with all the glory 
of the world, " Master, it is good for us to be here ;" but in con- 
sideration of the full, to say, ' It is better to be there j ' but it 
must not be : earth must not be so happy as to have a moment's 
sense of the unconceivable pleasures of the received soul; that 
is the reward and crown, and therefore not fit for us here in our 
conflict. 

But low things may, by dark resemblance, a little help us to 
conceive of something that is like them in a low degree. How 
would you receive your son, or husband, the next day after some 
bloody fight, where he had escaped with the victory ? Or your 

c2 



20 A believer's 

child, or friend, that arrived safely after a long and a dangerous 
voyage ? Would you not run and meet him, and with joy 
embrace him, if he had been many years absent, and were now 
come home ? I tell thee, poor soul, thy Saviour hath a larger 
heart, and another kind of love than thou, and other reasons 
of greater force to move him to bid thee welcome into his 
presence. 

3. Christ's receiving the departed soul includeth the state of 
blessedness into which he doth receive it. If you ask what that 
is, I answer it is unto himself, to be with him where he is, and 
that in general is full of comfort, if there were no more, for we 
know that Christ is in no ill place ; he is glorified at the " right 
hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. i. 3.) And that the 
souls of the righteous, and at last their bodies, are received to 
himself, he often telleth us : " If any man serve me, let him 
follow me ; and where I am, there shall also my servant be." 
(John xii. 2{J.) " And if I go and prepare a place for you, I 
will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, 
there ye may be also." (John xiv. 2, 3.) And, in the mean 
time, when we once are absent from the body, we are present 
with the Lord, (2 Cor. v. 8,) and that is in " the building of 
God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 
(Verse I.) Paul, therefore, desired " to depart, and to be with 
Christ" as being far better; (Phil. i. 23 ;) and Christ promised 
the converted thief, " This day shalt thou be with me in para- 
dise." (Luke xxiii. 43.) And our state after the resurrection 
hath the same description, " And so shall we ever be with the 
Lord." (1 Thess. iv. 17.) And what it shall be he declareth 
himself, " Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given 
me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, 
which thou hast given me." (John xvii. 24.) The soul of 
Lazarus (Luke xvi.) was received into iVbraham's bosom, where 
he is said to be comforted. The heavens receive Christ, (xA^cts 
iii. 21,) and therefore the heavens receive the spirits that go 
to him, even the sj)irits of the just made perfect; (Heb. xii. 
23 ;) that is, that are crowned with Christ in glory, and freed 
from the imperfections and evils of this life. And so that is 
plain, though some would pervert it, that " whether we wake 
or sleep, we may live together with him." (I Tness. v. 10.) 
Not whether we wake to righteousness, or sleep in sin, for such 
sleepers live not with him ; nor whether we wake by solicitude, 
or sleep iu security ; nor whether we naturally wake or sleep 



LAST WORK. 21 

only, but whether \ve live, or die, and so our bodies sleep in 
death, yet we live together with him. Jn a word, Christ will 
receive us into a j)articipation of" his joy and glory; into a joy 
as great as our nature shall be capable of, and more than we 
can now desire, and that the largest heart on earth can justly 
conceive of or comprehend. And because all this tells you but 
to the ear, stay yet but a little while, and experimental sight 
and feeling shall tell you what this receiving is, even when we 
receive the kingdom that cannot be moved, (Heb. xii. 28,) 
and when we receive the end of our faith, the salvation of our 
souls. (1 Peter i. 9.) 

Doct. VJ. A dying Christian may confidently and comfortably 
commend his spirit to Christ, to be received by him. 

Though he have formerly been a grievous sinner, though at 
the present he be frail and faulty, though he be weak in faith, 
and love, and duty, though his body by sickness be become unfit 
to serve his soul, and as to present sensibility, activity, or joy, 
he seem to be past the best, or to be nothing, though the 
tempter would aggravate his sins, and weakness, and dulness 
to his discouragement, yet he may, he must, with confidence 
recommend his spirit to Christ to be received by hiai. 

O learn his doctrine. Christians, that you may use it in the 
hour of your last distress. The hour is near; the distress will 
be the greatest that ever you were in. As well as we seem now 
while we are hearing this, our turn is nigh. The midwife is not 
so necessary to the life of the child that receiveth it into the 
world, as Christ's receiving will be then to our everlasting life. 
To say over heartlessly these words, " Lord Jesus, receive my 
spirit," will be no more than a dead-hearted hypocrite may do. 
Such formal lip-service in life or at death doth profit nothing 
to salvation ; now make such necessary preparation, that at 
death you may have well-grounded confidence that Jesus Christ 
will receive your spirits. 

1. And first, let me bring this to the carnal, unprepared 
sinner. 

Poor siimer, what thoughts hast thou of thy dying hour, and 
of thy departing soul ! 1 wonder at thee what thoughts thou 
liast of them, that thou canst sin so boldly, and live so care- 
lessly, and talk or hear of the life to come so senselessly as thou 
dost ! Thou mightest well think I wronged thee, if I took 
thee to be such a brute as not to know that thou must die. 
7'hy soul that brought thy body hither, that causeth it now to 



22 A believer's 

hear and understand, that carrieth it up and down the v/orld, 
must very shortly be required of thee, and must seek another 
habitation. What thoughts hast thou of thy departing soul ? 
Will Christ receive it ? Hast thou made sure of that ? Or hast 
thou made it thy principal care and business to make sure ! Oh, 
what doth intoxicate the brains of sensual, worldly men, that 
they drown themselves in the cares of this life, and ride and run 
for transitory riches, and live upon the smoke of honour and 
applause, and never soberly and seriously bethink them whether 
Christ will receive their departed souls ! That they can fill their 
minds with other thoughts, and fill their mouths with other 
talk, and consume their time in other inconsiderable employ- 
ments, and take no more care, and spend no more thoughts, 
and words, and time about the entertainment of their departing 
souls I When they are even ready to be gone, and stand, as 
it were, on tiptoe ; M'hen fevers, and consumptions, and many 
hundred diseases are all abroad so busily distributing their sum- 
monses, and when the gates of death bave so many passengers 
crowding in, and souls are making such haste away, will you not 
consider what shall become of yours ? Will you say that you 
hope well, and you must venture ? If God had appointed you 
nothing to do to prepare for your safe passage and entertainment 
with Christ, you might then take up with such an answer ; but 
it is a mad adventure to leave all undone that is necessary to 
your salvation, and then to say, you ' must put it to the venture.' 
If you die in an unrenewed and unjustified state, it is past all 
venture, for it is certain that Christ will not receive you. You 
may talk of hoping, but it is not a matter to be hoped for. 
Hope that God will make good every word of his promise, and 
spare not ; but there is no more hope that Christ will receive 
the souls of any but of his members, than there is that he will 
prove a liar. He never promised to save any others, and that 
is not all, but he hath declared and professed frequently that 
h€ will not. And you are no believers if you will not believe 
him ; and if you believe him, you must believe that the unbe- 
lievers, the unregenerate, the unholy, and the workers of ini- 
quity, shall not be received into the kingdom of heaven, for he 
hath professed it. (John iii. 3, 36 ; Heb. xii. 14 ; Matt. vii. 23.) 
If Christ would receive the souls of all, your venture then 
had reason for it ; or if he had left it as a thing that depended 
only on his unrevealed will, and not on any preparations of our 
own, we might then have quit ourselves of the care, and cast 



LAST WORK. 23 

it all on him, as being his part, and none of ours. But it is 
not so, I hope I need not tell you that it is not so. Believe it, 
the question must be now resolved, and resolved by yourselves, 
whether Christ shall receive your departed souls, or cast them 
pff as firebrands for hell. He hath made the law, and set 
down the terms already to which he will unalterably stand, and 
which we must trust to. It is now that you must labour to be 
accepted of him, " for we must all appear before the judgment 
seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his 
body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or 
bad." (2 Cor. v. 9, 10.) Oh, sirs, this is the reason of our 
importunity with you. " Knowing the terror of the Lord, we 
persuade men," saith the apostle in the next words. (Verse 11.) 
We know that the sentence will be just, and that it is now in 
your own hands what judgment then shall pass upon you. And 
if just now your souls were passing hence, before you went from 
the place you sit in, would you think any care could be too 
great to make sure that they should go to happiness. O that 
you would consider how much it is your own work, and how 
much it resteth on yourselves what Christ shall then do with 
vou ! Then you will cry to him for mercy, ' O cast not away 
a miserable soul ! Lord, receive me into thy kingdom !' But 
now he must entreat you to be saved, and to be the people that 
he may then receive, and you will not hear him. And if you 
will not hear him when he calleth on you, and beseecheth you 
to repent and to prepare, as sure as Christ is Christ, he will 
not hear you when you cry and call for mercy too late in your 
extremity. Read Prov. i., and you will see this is true. Jt is 
you that are to be entreated that Christ may receive you, for 
the unwillingness and backwardness is on your part. You are 
now poisoning your souls by sin, and when we cannot entreat 
you either to forbear, or to take the vomit of repentance, yet, 
when you are gasping and dying of your own wilful self- 
murder, you will then cry to Christ, and think he must receive 
you upon terms inconsistent with his justice, holiness, and truth. 
But flatter not yourselves, it will not be. This is the accepted 
time ; behold now is the day of salvation. Refuse it now, and 
it is lost for ever. O sirs, if this were the hour, and you were 
presently to be received or refused, would you blame me to cry 
and call to you with all the fervour of my soul, if 1 knew that 
it were in your own choice whether you would go to heaven or 
hell ? Why now it is in your choice. Life and death are 



24 A believer's 

set before you. Christ will receive you if you will but come 
within the capacity of his acceptation. If you will not, there 
will then be no remedy. It is a doleful thing to observe how 
Satan doth bewitch poor sinners. That when time is gone, 
and the door of mercy is shut against them, they would think 
no cries too loud for mercy, and no importunity too great. For 
Christ telleth us, that then they will cry, " Lord, Lord, open to 
us." (Matt. XXV. 10, 11.) And yet now, when the door stands 
open, no arguments, no earnestness, no tears, can entreat them 
to enter in ; then there is not the most senseless sinner of you 
all but would cry more strongly than Esau for the blessing, 
Mhen his tears could find no place for repentance. (Heb. xii. 
16, 17.) ' Lord, receive a miserable soul ! O whither shall I 
go if thou receive me not ! I must else be tormented in those 
scorching flames.' And yet now you will sell your birthright 
for one morsel ; for a little of Judas's or Gehazi's gain, for the 
applause of worms, for the pleasing of your flesh that is turning 
to corruption, for the delights of gluttony, drunkenness, sports, 
or lust. There is not a man of you but would then pray more 
earnestly than those that you now deride for earnest praying, 
as if they whined, and were ridiculous. And yet now you will 
neither be serious in prayer, nor hear Christ or his messengers, 
when he maketh it his earnest request to you to come in to him 
that you may have life. (John v, 40.) Then you will knock 
when the door is shut, and cry, ' Lord, oj)en to a miserable 
sinner,' and yet now you will not open unto him, when by his 
word and Spirit, his mercies and afflictions, he standeth at the 
door of your stubborn hearts, and calleth on you to repent and 
turn to God ; now our entreaties caimot so much as bring you 
on your knees, or bring yoi» to one hour's serious thoughts 
about the state of those souls that are so near their doom. Oh, 
sirs, for your souls' sake, lay by your obstinacy. Pity those souls 
that then you Avill beg of Christ to pity. Do not you damn 
them by your sloth and sin in the day of your visitation, and 
then cry in vain to Christ to save them when it is too late. 
Yet the door of grace is open, but how speedily will it be shut. 
One stroke of an apoplexy, a consumption, a fever, can quickly 
shut it, and then you may tear your hearts with crying, " Lord, 
open tons," and all in vain. O did you but see departed souls, as 
vou see the corpse that is left behind ! Did vou see how thev are 
treated at their removal from the flesh ! How some are taken and 
others left ; how some are welcomed to Christ, and others are ab- 



LAST WORK. )lo 

honed, and turned over to the tormenter, and thrust out with im- 
placable indignation and disdain, (Luke xiii. 28 ; Prov. i. 24, 26, 
27,) sure vou would enter into serious consideration this day, what 
it is that makes this difference, and why Christ so useth the one 
and the other, and what must be done now by the soul that would 
be received then. Alas ! men will do any thing but that which 
they should do ! Among the superstitious Papists the conceit 
of a deliverance from purgatory makes them bequeath their lands 
and moneys to priests and friars to pray for them when they are 
dead, and to have other men cry to Christ to receive them, and 
open to them, when time is past; and yet now, in the accepted 
time, now when it is at your choice, and the door is open, men 
live as if they were past feeling, and cared not what became of 
them at the last, and would not be beholden to Christ to receive 
them, when the deceitful world hath cast them off. 

And, now, beloved hearers all, I would make it my most 
earnest request to you, as one that kndweth we are all passing 
hence, and foreseeth the case of a departed soul, that you would 
now, without any more delay, prepare and make sure that you 
mav be received into the everlasting habitations : and to this 
end, I shall more distinctly, though briefly, tell you, 1. \\"hat 
souls they are that Christ will receive, and what he will not; 
and, consequently, what you must do to be received. 2. What 
considerations should stir you up to this preparation. 

1. Nothing is more sure than that Christ will not receive, 
1. Any unregenerate, unconverted soul, (John iii. 3, 5 ; INIatt. 
xviii. 3,) that is, not renewed and sanctified by his Spirit. (Rom. 
viii. 9; Heb. xii. 1-1; Acts xxvi. 18.) They must have 
the new and heavenly nature that will ever come to heaven. 
Without this you are morally incapable of it. Heaven is the 
proper inheritance of saints. (Col. i. 12.) This heavenly na- 
ture and spirit is your earnest : if you have this you are sealed 
up unto salvation. (2 Cor. i. 22 ; Eph. i. 13, and iv. 30.) 

2. Christ will receive none but those that make it now their 
work to lay up a treasure in heaven, rather than upon the earth, 
(Matt. vi. 20, 21,) and that seek it in the first place, (Matt, 
vi. 33,) and can be content to part with all to purchase it. 
(Matt. xiii. 4-1, 46 ; Luke xiv. 33, and xviii. 22.) An earthly- 
minded worldling is incapable of heaven in that condition. 
(Phil. iii. 17, IS; Luke xvi. 13.) You must take it for your 
portion, and set your hearts on it, if ever you will come thither. 
(Matt. vi. 21; Col. iii. l— 3.) 



26 A believer's 

3. Christ will receive no soul at last, but such as sincerely re- 
ceived him as their Lord and Saviour now, and gave up them- 
selves to him, and received liis word, and yield obedience to it, 
and received his Spirit, and were cleansed by him from their 
iniquities. (John i. 11, 12; Luke xix. 27.) "That all they 
might be damned that believed not the truth, but had pleasure 
in unrighteousness." (2 Thess. ii. 10, 12.) They are God's own 
words ; be not offended at them, but believe and fear. " He 
hateth all the workers of iniquity," and will say to them, " De- 
part from me, I know you not." (Psalm v. 5 ; Matt. vii. 2.3.) 

4. He will receive none but those that loved his servants, that 
bore his holy image, and received them according to their abili- 
ties. (i\Latt. XXV. 40, 41, &c.) And if he will say to those that 
did not entertain them, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire," what will he say to those that hate and persecute 
them ? (1 John iii. 14, and v. 2.) 

5. He will receive none but those that live to him in the body, 
and use his gifts and talents to his service, and make it their 
chief business to serve, and honour, and j)lease him in the world; 
(ALatt. XXV. 21, 26 ; 2 Cor. v. 9, 15 ; Gal. vi. 7, 8 ;) and live 
not to the pleasing of the flesh, but have crucified it and its 
lusts. (Rom. viii. 1, 13 ; Gal. v. 24.) 

Examine all these texts of Scripture, (for the matter is wor- 
thy of your study,) and you will see what souls they are that 
Christ will then receive, and what he will reject. You may see 
also what you must now be and do, if you will be then received. 
If you are not regenerate by the Spirit of God ; (though you 
may be sacramentally regenerate in baptism ;) if you are not jus- 
tified by Christ ; (though you may be absolved by a minister ;) if 
you seek not heaven with higher estimation and resolutions than 
any felicity on earth, and take not God for your satisfying por- 
tion ; (though you be never so religious in subserviency to a 
fleshly, worldly happiness ;) if you receive not Christ as your 
only Saviour, and set him not in the throne and government of 
your hearts and lives ; (though you may go with men for cur- 
rent Christians ;) if you hate not sin, if j^ou love not the holy 
image and children of God, and use them not accordingly; if 
}ou crucify not the flesh, and die not to the world, and deny not 
yourselves, and live not unto God, as making it your chief 
business and happiness to please him ; I sfiy, if this be not 
your case, as sure as you are men, if you died this hour in this 
condition, Christ will not own you, but turn you off with a 



LAST WORK. 27 

*' Depart, ye cursed." You may as well think of reconciling 
light and darkness, or persuade a man to live on the food of 
beasts, or the stomach to welcome deadly poison, as to think 
that Christ will receive an ungodly, earthly, guilty soul. 

Deceive not yourselves, sinners. If God could have enter- 
tained the ungodly, and heaven could hold unholy souls, answer 
me, then, these two or three questions. 

Quest. 1. What need Christ, then, to have shed his blood, or 
become a sacrifice for sin ? If he could have received the un- 
godly, he might have done it upon cheaper rates. This feigneth 
him to have died to no purpose, but to bring the unsanctified to 
heaven, that might have been as well entertained there without 
his sufferings. 

Quest. 2. To what use doth Christ send the Holy Ghost to 
sanctify his elect, or send his word and ministers to promote it, 
if they may come to heaven unsanctified ? 

Quest. 3. If the ungodly go to heaven, what use is hell for? 
There is no hell, if this be true. But you will quickly find that 
to be too good news to the ungodly to be true. 

2. In Luke xvi., Christ tcacheth us our duty by the parable 
of the steward, that asketh himself beforehand, what he shall 
do when he must be no longer steward, and contriveth it so 
that others may receive him when he is cast off; and he applieth 
it to us that must now so provide, that when we fail we may be 
received into the everlasting habitations. This is the work that 
we have all to mind. We always knew that this world would 
fail us. O, how uncertain is your tenure of the dwellings that 
you now possess. Are you provided, certainly provided whither 
to go, and who shall receive you when your stewardship is ended, 
and yoii must needs go hence ? O think of these considerations 
that should move you presently to provide. 

1 . Your cottages of earth are ready to drop down, and it is a 
stormy time, there are many sicknesses abroad. One blast may 
quickly lay them in the dilst, and then the flesh that had so much 
care, and was thought worthy to be preferred before the soul, 
must be laid and left to rot in darkness, to avoid the annoyance 
of the living; and when you may justly look every hour when 
you are turned out of these dwellings that you are in, is it not 
time to be provided of some other ? 

2. Consider, if Christ should not receive thy spirit how un- 
speakably deplorable thy case will be. I think there is no man 
in all this assembly so mad, that would take all the world now 



28 A believer's 

to have his soul refused then by Christ, that would professedly 
make and subscribe such a bargain ; and yet, alas, how many 
are they that will be hired for a smaller price, even for the plea- 
sure of a sin, to do that which Christ himself hath told them 
will cause him to refuse them ? O sirs, for aught you know, be- 
fore to-morrow, or within this week, you may be put to know 
these things by trial, and your souls maybe refused or received; 
and wo to you that ever you were men, if Christ receive you not. 
Consider, 1. If Christ receive thee not, thou hast no friend 
left, then, to receive thee. Thy house, and land, and riches, 
and reputation, are all left behind ; none of them will go with 
thee ; or, if they did, they could afford thee no relief. Thy 
bosom friends, thy powerful defenders, are all left behind ; or, 
if they go before thee, or with thee, they can do nothing there, 
that could do so much for thee here. No minister so holy, no 
friend so kind, no patron so powerful, that can give thee any 
entertainment, if Christ refuse to entertain thee. Look to the 
right hand or the left, there will be none to help thee, or care 
for thy forsaken soul. Then thou wilt find that one Christ had 
been a better friend than all the great ones upon earth. - 

2. If Christ, then, receive not thy departed soul, the devils 
will receive it. I am loth to speak so terrible a word, but that 
it must be spoken, if you will be awaked to prevent it. He that 
deceived thee will then plead conquest, and claim thee as his 
due, that he may torment thee. And if the devil say, ' This 
soul is mine,' and Christ do not rescue and justify thee, but say 
so too, no heart is able to conceive the horror that will then 
overwhelm thee. Doth not the reading of the sentence make 
thee tremble, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels r" (Matt. xxv. 41.) This 
is that dreadful delivering up to Satan, when the soul is excom- 
municated from the city of God. Oh, therefore, if thou be vet 
unreconciled to God, agree with him quickly, while thou art 
here in the way, lest he deliver thee to this terrible jailor and exe- 
cutioner, and thou be cast into the prison of the bottomless pit : 
"Verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out 
thence till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." (IMatt. v. 
25, 26.) 

3. The greatness of the change will increase the amazement 
and misery of thy spirit, if Christ receive it not. To leave a 
world that thou wast acquainted with ; a world that pleased 
thee, and entertained thee ; a world where thou hadst long thy 



LAST WORK. 29 

business and delight, and where, wretched man, tliou hadst 
made thy chief provision, and laid up thy treasure, this will be 
a sad part of the change. To enter into a world where thou 
art a stranger, and much worse, and see the company and the 
things that before thou never sawest, and to find things go there 
so contrary to thy expectation ; to be turned, with Dives, from 
thy sumptuous dwelling, attendance, and fare, into a place of 
easeless torment, this will be a sadder part of thy change. Here 
the rich would have received thee, the poor would have served 
and flattered thee, thy friends would have comforted thee, thy 
playfellows would have been merry with thee. But there, alas ! 
how the case is altered: all these have done ; the table is with- 
drawn, the game is ended, the mirth is ceased, and now suc- 
ceedeth, "Son, remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst 
thy good things, and Lazarus evil things ; but now he is com- 
forted and thou art tormented." (Luke xvi. 25.) Oh, dreadful 
change to those that made the world their home, and little 
dreamed, or did but dream, of such a day. Never to see this 
world again, unless by such reviews as will torment them : never 
to have sport or pleasure more ; and for these to have such 
company, such thoughts, such work and usage, as God hath 
told us is in hell. 

4. If Christ receive thee not, the burden of thy sins will 
overwhelm thee, and conscience will have no relief. Sin will 
not then appear in so harmless a shape as now : it will then 
seem a more odious or frightful thing. O, to remember these 
days of folly, of careless, sluggish, obstinate folly, of sottish 
negligence, and contempt of grace, will be a more tormenting 
thing than you will now believe. If such sermons and discourses 
as foretel it are troublesome to thee, what then will that sad ex- 
perience be ? 

5. The wrath of an offended God will overwhelm thee. This 
will be thy hell. He that was so merciful in the time of mercy, 
will be most terrible and implacable when that time is past, and 
make men know that Christ an 1 mercy are not neglected, re- 
fused, and abused at so cheap a rate, as they would needs ima- 
gine in the time of their deliration. 

6. It will overwhelm the soul if Christ receive it not, to see 
that thou art entering upon eternity, even into a state of ever- 
lasting wo. Then thou wilt think, 'O whither am I going? 
What must I endure ? and how long, how long ? When shall 
my miseries have an end ? and when shall I come back ? and 



30 A believer's 

how ishall I ever be delivered ?' O now what thoughts wilt thou 
have of the wonderful design of God in man's redemption ! 
Now thou wilt better understand what a Saviour was worth, and 
how he should have been believed in, and how his gospel and 
his saving grace should have been entertained. 

O that the Lord would now open your hearts to entertain it, 
that you may not then value it to your vexation, that would not 
value it now to your relief ! Poor sinner, for the Lord's sake, 
and for thy soul's sake, 1 beg now of thee, as if it were on my 
knees, that thou wouldest cast away thy sinful cares and plea- 
sures, and open thy heart, and now receive thy Saviour and his 
saving grace, as ever thou wouldest have him then receive thy 
trembling, departed soul ! Turn to him now, that he may not 
turn thee from him then. Forsake him not for a flattering 
world, a little transitory, vain delight, as ever thou wouldest 
not then have thy departed soul forsaken by him ! O delay not, 
man, but now, even now receive him, that thou maycst avoid so 
terrible a danger, and put so great a question presently out of 
doubt, and be able comfortably to say, * I have received Christ, 
and he will receive me ; if I die this night he will receive me,' 
then thou mayest sleep quietly, and live merrily, without any 
disparagement to thy reason. O yield to this request, sinner, 
of one that desireth thy salvation. If thou wert now departing, 
and 1 would not pray earnestly to Christ to receive thy soul, 
thou wouldest think 1 were uncharitable. Alas ! it will be one of 
these days ; and it is thee that I must entreat, and thyself must 
be prevailed with, or there is no hope. Christ sendeth me to 
thyself, and saith, that he is willing to receive thee, if now thou 
wilt receive him, and be sanctified and ruled by him. Tlie 
matter stops at thy own regardless, wilful heart. What sayest 
thou ? Wilt thou receive Christ now, or not ? Wilt thou be a 
new creature, and live to God, by the principle of his Spirit, 
and the rule of his word, to please him here, that thou mayest 
live with him for ever ? Wilt thou take up this resolution, and 
make this covenant with God this day ? O give me a word of 
comfort, and say, thou art resolved, and wilt deliver up thyself to 
Christ. That which is my comfort now on thy behalf, will be 
ten thousand-fold more thy comfort then, when thou partakest 
of the benefit. And if thou grieve us now, by denying thy soul 
to Christ, it will be at last ten thousand-fold more thy grief. 
Refuse not our requests, and Christ's request now, as ever thou 
wouldest not have him refuse thee then, and thy requests. It is 



LAST WORK. 31 

men's turning away now from Christ that will cause Christ then to 
turn from them. "Tiie turning away of the simple slayeth 
them, and they then eat but the fruit of their own way, and are 
filled with their own devices." (Prov. i. 31, 32.) " See then that 
ye now refuse not him that spcaketh : for there is no escaping 
if you turn away from him that speaketh from heaven." 
(Heb, xii. 25.) 

What would you say yourselves to the man that would not be 
dissuaded from setting his house on fire, and then would pray and 
cry importunately to God that he would keep it from being burnt? 
Or of the n^.an that will not be dissuaded from taking poison, 
and then when it gripeth him will cry to God to save his life ? 
Or of the man that will go to sea in a leaking, broken vessel, 
yea, himself will make those breaches in it that shall let the 
water in, and when it is sinking will cry to God to save him 
from being drowned ? And will you do this about so great a 
matter as the everlasting state of your immortal souls ? Will 
you now be worldlings, and sensualists, and ungodly, and undo 
yourselves, and then cry, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," at the 
last ? What ! receive an unholy spirit ? Will you not knock 
till the door is shut ? When he telleth you, that " it is not 
every one that will cry Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the king- 
dom of heaven, but he that doth the will of his Father which 
is in heaven." (Matt. vii. 21.) 

Lastl)', consider with what unspeakable joy it will fill thy soul 
to be then received by the Lord. O what a joyful word will it 
be, Avhen thou shalt hear, "Come, ye blessed ofjny Father, in- 
herit the kingdom prepared for you." If thou wilt not have this 
to be thy case, thou shalt see those received to the increase of 
thy grief whom thou refusedst here to imitate : "There shall be 
weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, 
and those that from east, west, north, and south, shall sit there 
with them, and thou thrust out." (Luke xiii. 27 — 29.) 

I have been long in this part of my application, having to do 
with souls that are ready to depart, and are in so sad an unpre- 
pared state, as is not to be thought on but with great compas- 
sion ; I am next to come to that part of the application which 
I chiefly intended to those that are the heirs of life. 

2. O you that are members of Jesus Christ, receive tiiis cor- 
dial which may corroborate your hearts against all inordinate 
fears of death. Let it come when it will, you may boldly recom- 



32 A believer's 

mend your departing souls into the hands of Christ. Let it be 
by a lingering disease, or by an acute, by a natural or a violent 
death, at the fulness of your age, or in the flower of your youth, 
death can but separate the soul from flesh, but not from Christ; 
whether you die poor or rich, at liberty or in prison, in your 
native country or a foreign land, whether you be buried in the 
earth or cast into the sea, death shall but send your souls to 
Christ. Though vou die under the reproach and slanders of the 
world, and your names be cast out among men as evil-doers, 
yet Christ will take your sj)irits to himself. Though your souls 
depart in fear and trembling, though they want the sense of the 
love of God, and doubt of pardon and peace with him^ yet Christ 
will receive them. 

I know thou wilt be ready to say, that thou art unworthy, 
*Will he receive so unworthy a soul as mine ?' But if thou art 
a member of Christ thou art worthy in him to be accepted. 
Thou hast a worthiness of aptitude, and Christ hath a worthi- 
ness of merit. 

The day that cometh upon such at unawares that have their 
hearts overcharged with surfeiting, drunkenness, and the cares of 
this life, and as a snare surpriseth the inhabitants of the earth, 
shall be the day of thy great deliverance ; " Watch ye, therefore, 
and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all 
these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the 
Son of man." (Luke xxi. 34 — 36.) " They that are accounted 
worthy to obtain that world can die no more ; for they are equal 
unto the angels, and are the children of God." (Lukexx. 35,36.) 

Object. ' O but my sins are great and many; and will Christ 
ever receive so ignorant, so earthly and impure a soul as mine ?' 

Answer. If he have freed thee from the reign of sin, by giving 
thee a will that would fain be fully delivered from it, and given 
thee a desire to be perfectly holy, he will finish the work that 
he hath begun ; and will not bring tliee defiled into heaven, but 
will wash thee in his blood, and separate all the remnant of cor- 
ruption from thy soul, when he separatcth thy soul from flesh ; 
there needs no purgatory, but his blood and Spirit in the instant 
of death shall deliver thee, that he may present thee spotless to 
the Father. 

O fear not then to trust thy soul with him that will receive 
it ; and fear not death that can do thee no more harm. And 
when once thou hast overcome the fears of death, thou wilt be 
the more resolute in thy diit}-, and faithful to Christ, and above 



LAST WORK. 33 

the power of most temptations, and wilt not fear the face of 
man, when death is the worst that man can bring thee to. It 
is true, death is dreadful ; but it is as true that the arms of 
Christ are joyful. It is an unpleasant thing to leave the bodies 
of our friends in the earth ; but it is unspeakable pleasure to 
their souls to be received into the heavenly society by Christ. 

And how confidently, quietly, and comfortably you may com- 
mend your departing spirits to be received by Christ, be inform- 
ed by these considerations following. 

1. Your spirits are Christ's own ; and may you not trust 
him with his own ? as they are his by the title of creation, 
"All souls are mine, saith the Lord ;" (Ezek. xviii. 4 ;) so also 
by the title of redemption, " We are not our own, we are bought 
with a price." (1 Cor. vi. 19.) 

Say therefore to him, 'Lord, I am thine much more than my 
own ; receive thine own, take care of thine own. Thou drewest 
me to consent to thy gracious covenant, and I resigned myself and 
all I had to thee. And thou swarest to me, and I became thine, 
(Ezek. xvi. 8.) And I stand to the covenant that I made, though I 
have offended thee. I am sinful, but I am thine, and woidd not 
forsake thee, and change my Lord and Master for a world. O 
know thine own, and own my soul that hath o^vned thee, though 
it hath sinned against thee ! Thy sheep know thy voice, and 
follow not a stranger ; now know thy poor sheep, and leave 
them not to the devourer. Thy lambs have been preserved by 
thee among wolves in the world, preserve me now from the 
enemy of souls. I am thine, O save me, (Psalm cxix. 94,) and 
lose not that which is thine own !' 

2. Consider that thou art his upon so dear a purchase, as 
that he is the more engaged to receive thee. Hath he bought 
thee by the price of his most precious blood, and will he cast 
thee off ? Hath become down on earth to seek and save thee, 
and will he now forsake thee ? Hath he lived in flesh a life of 
poverty, and suffered reproach, and scorn, and bufJetings, and 
been nailed to the cross, and put to cry out, " My God, my 
God, why hast thou forsaken me 1" And will he now forget his 
love, and sufferings, and himself forsake thee after this ? Did 
he himself on the cross commend his spirit into his Father's 
hands, and will he not receive thy spirit when thou at, death 
conmiendest it to him ? He hath known himself what it is to 
have a human soul separated from the body, and the body buried 
in a grave, and there lamented by surviving friends. And why 

VOL. xvur. D 



34 A believer's 

did he this, but that he might be fit to receive and relieve thee 
in tlie Hke condition ? O who would not be encouraged to en- 
counter death, and lie down in a grave, that believeth that 
Christ did so before him, and considereth why he went that way, 
and what a conquest he had made ! 

I know an argument from the death of Christ will not prove 
his love to the souls of the ungodly so as to infer that he will 
receive them ; but it will prove his reception of believers' souls : 
" He that spared not his own son, but gave him up for us 
all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" 
(Rom. viii. 32,) is an infallible argument as to believers, but not 
as to those that do reject him. 

Say therefore to him, ' O my Lord ! can it be that thou 
couldest come down in flesh, and be abused, and spit upon, and 
slandered, and crucified 1 That thou couldest bleed, and die, 
and be buried for me, and now be unwilling to receive me ! That 
thou shouldest pay so dear for souls, and now refuse to enter- 
tain them ! That thou shouldest die to save them from the 
devil, and now wilt leave them to his cruelty ! That thou hast 
conquered him, and yet wilt suffer him at last to have the prey! 
To whom can a departing soul fly for refuge, and for entertain- 
ment, if not to thee that diedst for souls, and sufferedst thine 
to be separated from the flesh, that we might have all assurance 
of thy compassion unto ours ? Thou didst openly declare upon 
the cross, that the reason of thy dying was to receive departed 
souls, when thou didst thus encourage the soul of a penitent 
malefactor, by telling him, " This day shalt thou be with me in 
paradise." O give the same encouragement or entertainment 
to this sinful soul that flieth unto thee, that trusteth in thy 
death and merits, and is coming to receive thy doom.' 

3. Consider that Jesus Christ is full of love, and tender com- 
passion to souls. What his tears over Lazarus compelled the 
Jews to say, " Behold how he loved him," (John xi. 3(5,) 
the same his incarnation, life, and death should much more 
stir us up to say, with greater admiration, ' Behold how he loved 
us.' The foregoing words, though the shortest verse in all the 
Bible, " Jesus wept," (verse 35,) are long enough to prove his 
love to Lazarus : and the Holy Ghost would not have the tears 
of Christ to be unknown to us, that his love may be the better 
known. But we have a far larger demonstration of his love ; 
" He loved 'US, and gave himself for us." (Gal. ii. 20.) And by 
what gift could he better testify his love ? *' He loved us, and 



LAST WORK. 35 

washed us in his blood." (Rev. i. 5.) He loved us, as the 
Father loveth him. (John xv. 9.) And may we npt comfortably 
go to him that loved us ? Will love refuse us when we fly unto 
him ? 

Say then to Christ ^ O thou that hast loved my soul, receive 
it ! I commend it not unto an enemy. Can that love reject 
me, and cast me into hell, that so oft embraced me on earth, 
and hath declared itself by such ample testimonies !' 

O had we but more love to Christ, we should be more sensible 
of his love to us, and then we should trust him, and love would 
make us hasten to him, and with confidence cast ourselves upon 
him. 

4. Consider that it is the office of Christ to save souls, and 
to receive them, and therefore we may boldly recommend them 
to his hands. The Father sent him to be the Saviour of the 
world J (IJohn iv. 14;) and he is effectively the Saviour of 
his body. (Eph. v. 23.) And may we not trust him in his 
undertaken office, that would trust a physician or any other in 
his office, if we judge him faithful ? Yea, he is engaged by cove- 
nant to receive us : when we gave up ourselves to him, he also 
became ours ; and we did it on this condition, that he should 
receive and save us. And it was the condition of his own 
undertaking 3 he drew the covenant himself and tendered it 
first to us, and assumed his own conditions, as he imposed 
ours. 

Say then to him, * My Lord, T expected but the performance 
of thy covenants, and the discharge of thine undertaken office : 
as thou hast caused me to believe in thee, and love and serve 
thee, and perform the conditions which thou laid'st on me, 
though with many sinful failings, which thou hast pardoned ; so 
now let my soul, that hath trusted on thee, have the full ex- 
perience of thy fidelity, and take me to thyself according to thy 
covenant. " O now remember the word unto thy servant, upon 
which thou hast caused him to hope !" (Psalm cxix. 49.) How 
many precious promises hast thou left us, that we shall not be 
forsaken by thee, but that we shall be with thee where thou art, 
that we may behold thy glory ! For this cause art thou the 
mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death for the 
redemption of the transgressions tliat were under the first 
testament, they which are called might receive the promise of 
eternal inheritance. (Heb. ix. 15.) According to thy cove- 
nant, " Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, and 

D 2 



36 A believer's 

of that which IS to come." (1 Tim. iv. 8.) And when we have 
clone thy will (notwithstanding our lamentable imperfections) 
we are to receive the promise. (Heb. x. 36.) O, now receive 
me into the kingdom which thon hast promised to them that 
love thee ! (James i. 1 2.) 

5. Consider how able Christ is to answer thine expectations ; 
All power is given him in heaven and earth, (Matt, xxviii. 19,) 
and all things are given by the Father into his hands. (John 
xiii. 3.) All judgment is committed to him. (John v. 22.) It 
is fully in his power to receive and save thee ; and Satan cannot 
touch thee but by his consent. Fear not, then ; he is the first 
and last, that liveth, and was dead, and behold he liveth for ever- 
more, amen : and hath the keys of hell and death. (Rev. i. 17, 
18.) 

Say then, if thou wilt, Lord, thou canst save this departing 
soul ! Oh, say but the word, and I shall live ! Lay but thy 
rebuke upon the destroyer, and he shall be restrained. When 
my Lord and dearest Saviour hath the keys, how can I be kept 
out of thy kingdom, or cast into the burning lake ? Were it a 
matter of difficulty unto thee, my soul might fear lest heaven 
would not be opened to \t; but thy love hath overcome the 
hinderances ; and it is as easy to receive me, as to love me. 

6. Consider how perfectly thy Saviour is acquainted with 
the place that thou art going to, and the company and employ- 
ment which thou must there have ; and, therefore, as there is 
nothing strange to him, so the ignorance and strangeness in 
thyself should therefore make thee fly to him, and trust to him, 
and recommend thy soul to him, and say, ' Lord, it would be 
terrible to my departing soul to go into a world that 1 never 
saw, and into a place so strange, and unto company so far 
above me ; but that I know there is nothing strange to thee, 
and thou knowest it for me, and I may better trust thy know- 
ledge than mine own. When I was a child I knew not mine 
own inheritance, nor what was necessary to the daily provisions 
for my life ; but my parents knew it that cared for me. The 
eyes must see for all the body, and not every member see for itself. 
Oh, cause me as quietly and believingly to commit my soul to 
thee, to be possessed of the glory which thou seest and pos- 
sessest, as if I had seen and possessed it myself, and let thy 
knowledge be my trust ! 

7. Consider that Christ hath provided a glorious receptacle 
for faithful souls, and it cannot be imagined that he will lose his 



LAST WORK. 37 

preparations, or be frustrate of his end. All that he did and 
suffered on earth was for this end. He therefore became the 
Captain of our salvation, and was made perfect through suffer- 
ings, that he might bring many sons to glory. (Heb. ii. 10.) 
He hath taken possession of our nature, and is himself inter- 
ceding for us in the heavens. (Heb. vii. 25.) And for whom 
doth he provide this heavenly building, not made with hands, 
but for believers ? If, therefore any inordinate fear surprise 
thee, remember what he hath said : " Let not your hearts be 
troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me : in my Father's 
house are many mansions ; if it were not so, I would have told 
you : I go to prepare a place for you ; and if I go and pre« 
pare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto 
myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." (John xiv. 
1—3.) 

Say, therefore, ' Lord, when thou hadst made this lower nar- 
row world, thou wouldest not leave it uninhabited : for man 
thou madest it, and man thou j)Iacedst in it. And when thou 
hast prepared that more capacious glorious world for thv re- 
deemed flock, it cannot be that thou wilt shut them out. O, 
therefore, receive my fearful soul, and help me to obey thy own 
command.' (Luke xii. 32.) Fear not, little flock, for it is your 
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Oh, let me 
hear that joyful sentence, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of 
the world." (Matt. xxv. 34.) 

8. Consider that Christ hath received thy soul unto grace, 
and therefore he will receive it unto glory. He hath quickened 
us who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in times past 
we walked, &c. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great 
love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins 
and trespasses, quickened us together in Christ, and raised us 
up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in 
Christ Jesus. (Eph. ii. 1 — 6.) The state of grace is the king- 
dom of heaven, as well as the state of glory. (Matt. iii. 2, and 
X. 7, and xiii. 11, 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47.) By grace thou 
hast the heavenly birth and nature : we are first-born to trouble 
and sorrow in the world, but we are new-born to everlasting 
joy and pleasure. Grace maketh us heirs, and giveth us title, 
and therefore at death we shall have possession. The Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his abundant mercy, hath 
begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of 



38 A believer's 

Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible alid 
undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. 
(1 Pet. i. 3, 4.) The great work was done in the day of thy 
renovation ; then thou wast entered into the household of God, 
and made a fellow- citizen with the saints, and receivedst the 
Spirit of adoption. (Eph. ii. 19 ; Gal. iv. 6.) He gave thee life 
eternal, when he gave the knowledge of himself, and of his 
Son. (John xvii. 3.) And will he nov/ take from thee the king- 
dom which he hath given thee ? Thou wast once his enemy, 
and he hath received thee already into his favour, and reconcded 
thee to himself, and will he not then receive thee to his glory ? 
(Rom. v. 8 — 11.) "God commendeth his love towards us, in 
that while we were vet sinners Christ died for us. Much more 
then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from 
wrath through him. For, if when we were enemies, we were 
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being re- 
conciled we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we 
also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom Ave 
have now received the atonement." And when we have peace 
with God, being justified by faith, (Rom. v. 1,) why should we 
doubt whether he will receive us ? The great impediments 
and cause of fear are now removed, unpardoned sin is taken 
away, our debt is discharged. We have a sufficient answer 
against all that can be alleged to the prejudice of our souls : 
yea, it is Christ himself that answereth for us ; it is he that 
justifieth, who then shall condemn us ? Will he not justify 
those at last whom he hath here justified ? Or will he justify 
us, and yet not receive us ? That were both to justify and con- 
demn us. 

Depart, then, in peace, O fearful soul ; thou fallest into his 
hands that hath justified thee by his blood ; will he deny thee 
the inheritance of which he himself hath made thee heir, yea, 
a joint-heir with himself? (Rom. viii. 17.) Will he deprive 
thee of thy birthright, who himself begot thee of the incorrupti- 
ble seed ? U he would not have received thee to glorv, he 
would not have drawn thee to himself, and have blotted out 
thine iniquities, and received thee by reconciling grace. Many 
a time he hath received the secret petitions, complaints, and 
groans which thou hast poured out before him, and hath given 
thee access with boldness to his throne of grace, when thou 
couldest not have access to man ; and he hath taken thee up, 
when man hath cast thee off. Surely he that received thee so 



LAST WORK. 39 

readily in thy distress, will not now at last repent him of his 
love. As Manoah's wife said, " If the Lord were jjleased to 
kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering and a meat- 
offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these 
things." (Judges xiii. 23.) He hath received thee into his 
church, and entertained thee with the delights and fatness of 
his house, (Psalm xxxvi. 8,) and bid thee welcome to his table, 
and feasted thee with his bodv and his blood, and communi- 
cated in these his quickening Spirit ; and Avill he then disown 
thee, and refuse thee, when thou drawest nearer him, and art 
cast upon him for thy final doom ? After so many receptions in 
the way of grace, dost thou yet doubt of his receiving thee ? 

9. Consider how nearly thou art related to him in this state 
of grace: thou art his child, and hath he not the bowels of a 
father ? When thou didst ask bread, he was not used to give 
thee a stone; and will he give thee hell, when thou askest but 
the entertainment in heaven v/hich he hath promised thee ? 
'1 hou art his friend, (John xv.-14, 15,) and will he not receive his 
friends? Thou art his spouse, betrothed to him the very day 
when thou consentedst to his covenant; and where then shouldest 
thou live but with him ? Thou art a member of his body, of 
his flesh and bone ; (Eph. v. 30 ;) and no man ever yet hated his 
own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord 
the church : (verse 29:) as he came down in flesh to be a suitor 
to thee, so he caused thee to let go all for him ; and will he now 
forsake thee ? Suspect it not, but quietly resign thy soul into 
his hands, and say, ' Lord, take this soul that pleads relation 
to thee ; it is the voice of thy child that crieth to thee : the 
name of a father, which thou hast assumed towards me, is my 
encouragement. When thou didst call us out of the world unto 
thee, thou saidst, I will receive you, and I will be a father to 
yon, and ye shall be my sons and daughters. (2 Cor. vi. 17, 
IS.) O our Father, which art in heaven, shut not out thy 
children, the children of thy love and promise. The compas- 
sion that thou hast put into man engageth him to relieve a 
neighbour, yea, an enemy, much more to entertain a child ; our 
children and our friends dare trust themselves upon our kind- 
ness and fidelity, and fear not that we will reject them in their 
distress, or destroy them, though they do sometimes offend us; 
our kindness is cruelty in comparison of thine; our love de- 
serveth not the name of love in comparison of thy most j)rccious 
love. Thine is the love of God, who is love itself; (I John iv. 



40 - A believer's 

8, 16 ;) and who is the God of love: (2 Cor. i. 13, 11 :) and is 
answerable to thine omni potency, omniscience, and other attri- 
butes ? But ours is the love of frail and finite sinful men. As 
we may pray to thee to forgive us our trespasses, for we also 
forgive those that have trespassed against us 3 so we may pray 
to thee to receive us, tliough we have offended thee ; for even 
we receive those that have offended us. Hath thy love unto 
thine own its breadth, and length, and height, and depth ; and 
is it such as passeth knowledge? (Eph. iii. 17 — 19.) And yet 
canst thou exclude thine own, and shut them out that cry unto 
thee ? Can that love, which washed me and took me home 
when I lay wallowing in my blood, reject me, when it hath so 
far recovered me ? Can that love now thrust me out of heaven 
that latelv fetched me from the gates of hell, and placed me 
among thy saints? '■' W^honi thou lovest, thou lovest to the 
end." (John xiii. 1.) "Thou art not as man, that thou 
shouldest repent." (Num. xxiii. 19.) " With thee is no vari- 
ableness, or shadow of turning." (.lames i. 17.) If yesterday 
thou so freely lovedst me as to adopt me for thy child, thou 
wilt not to day refuse me, and cast me into helK Receive, 
Lord Jesus, a member of thy body ; a weak one, indeed, but yet 
a member, and needeth the more thy tenderness and compas- 
sion, who hast taught us not to cast out our infants, because 
they are small and weak. " We have forsaken all to cleave 
imto thee, that we might with thee be one flesh and spirit." 
(Eph. V. 31 ; 1 Cor. vi. 17-) O cut not off and cast not out thy 
members that are engrafted into thee. " Thou hast dwelt in 
me here by faith, and shall I not now dwell with thee ?" (Eph. 
iii. 17.) Thou hast prayed to the Father, that we may be one 
in thee, and may be with thee to behold thy glory ; (John xvii. 
20 — 24 ;) and wilt thou deny to receive me to that glory, who 
pray but for what thou hast prayed to thy Father ? Death 
maketh no separation between thee and thy members : it dis- 
solveth not the union of souls with thee, though it separate 
them from the flesh ; and shall a part of thyself be rejected and 
condemned ?' 

10. Consider that Christ hath sealed thee up unto salvation 
and given thee the earnest of his Spirit, and therefore will cer- 
tainly receive thee. (2 Cor. i. 22, and v. 5 ; Eph. i. 13, 14, 
and iv. 30.) Say, therefore, to him, ' Behold, Lord, thy mark, 
thy seal, thine earnest; flesh and blood did not illuminate and 
renew me j thy Spirit which thou hast given me is my witness 



LAST WORK. 41 

that I am thine.'* (Rom. viii. 16.) And wilt thou disown and 
refuse the soul that thou hast sealed ?' 

11. Consider that he that hath given thee a heavenly mind, 
will certainly receive thee into heaven. If thy treasure were 
not there, thy heart would never have been there. (Matt. vi. 
21.) Thy weak desires do show what he intends thee for; he 
kindled not those desires in vain. Thy love to him, (though 
too small) is a certain proof that he intends not to reject thee; 
it cannot be that God can damn, or Christ refuse a soul that 
doth sincerely love him : he that loveth, " dwelleth in God, and 
God in him." (1 John iv. 15, 16.) And shall he not then 
dwell with God for ever ? God fitteth the nature of every crea- 
ture to its use, and agreeable to the elements in which they 
dwell : and, therefore, when he gave thee the heaveidy nature, 
(though but in weak beginnings) it showed his will to make thee 
an inhabitant of heaven. 

Say, therefore, to him, ' O Lord, I had never loved thee if 
thou hadst not begun and loved me first; I had not minded 
thee, or desired after thee, if thou hadst not kindled these de- 
sires; it cannot be that thy grace itself should be a deceit and 
misery, and intended but to tantalize us; and that thou hadst 
set thy servants' souls on longing for that which thou wilt 
never give them. Thou wouldest not have given me the wed- 
ding garment, when thou didst invite me, if thou hadst meant 
to keep me out : even the grain of mustard seed which thou 
sowedst in my heart, was a kind of promise of the happiness to 
which it tendeth. Indeed I have loved thee so little, that 1 am 
ashamed of myself, and confess my cold indifferency deserves 
thy wrath ; but that I love thee, and desire thee, is thy gift, 
which signifieth the higher satisfying gift ; though I am cold 
and dull, my eyes are towards thee ; it is thee that I mean when 
I can but groan ; it is long since I have bid this world away ; it 
shall not be my home or portion ; O perfect what thou hast 
begun ; this is not the time or place of my perfection ; and 
though my life be now hid with thee in God, when thou ap- 
pearest, let me appear with thee in glory. (Col. iii. 4.) And, 
in the meantime, let this soul enjoy its part that appeareth be- 
fore thee ; give me what thou hast caused me to love, and then 
I shall more perfectly love thee, when my thirst is satisfied, 
and the water which thou hast given me shall spring up to 
everlasting life. (John iv. 14.)' 

12. Consider also, that he that hath engaged thee to seek 



4SJ A believer's 

first his kingdom, is engaged to give it them that do sincerely 
seek it. He called thee off the pursuit of vanity when thou 
wast following the pleasures and profits of the world ; and he 
called thee to labour fi^r the food that perisheth not, but en- 
dureth to everlasting life. (John vi. 27.) Since then it hath 
been thy care and business, (notwithstanding all thine imper- 
fections,) to seek and serve him, to please and honour him, and 
so to run that thou mightest obtain. 

Say, then, 'Though my sins deserve thy wrath, and nothing 
that I have done deserve thy favour, yet godliness hath thy 
promise of the life to come; and thou hast said, " That he that 
seeks shall find." (Matt. vii. 7, 8.) O now let me find the 
kingdom that 1 have sought, and sought by thy encouragement 
and help ; it cannot be that any should have cause to repent of 
serving thee, or suffer disappointment that trusts upon thee. 
My labour for the world was lost and vain, but thou didst en- 
gage me to be steadfast and abound in thy work ; on this 
account that my labour should not be in vain. (1 Cor. xv. 
58.) Now give the full and final answer unto all my prayers : 
now that I have done the fight, and finished my course, let 
me find the crown of righteousness which thy mercy hath laid 
up. (2 Tim. iv. 8.) O crown thy graces, and with thy 
greatest mercies recompense and perfect thy preparatory mer- 
cies, and let me be received to thy glory, who have been guided 
by thy counsel. (Psalm Ixxiii. 24.)' 

13. Consider that Christ hath already received millions of 
souls, and never was unfaithful unto any. There are now with 
him, the spirits of the just made perfect, that in this life were 
imperfect as well as you. Why, then, should you not comfort- 
ably trust him with your souls ? and say, ' Lord, thou art the 
common salvation and refuge of thy saints ; both strong and 
weak, even all that are given thee by the Father shall come to 
thee, and those that come thou wilt in nowise cast out. Thou- 
sands have been entertained by thee that were unworthy in 
themselves, as well as I. It is few of thy members that are 
now on earth, in comparison of those that are with thee in 
heaven. Admit me. Lord, into the new Jerusalem; thou wilt 
have thy house to be filled ; O, take my spirit into the number 
of those blessed ones that shall come from east, west, north, 
and south, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the 
kingdom, that we may, together with eternal joys, give thanks- 
attd praise to thee that hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.' 



LAST WORK. 43 

• 14. Consider that it is the will of the Father himself that we 
should be glorified. He, therefore, gave us to his Son, and gave 
his Son for us, to be our Saviour, " That whosoever believeth in 
him should not perish, but have everlasting life." All our sal- 
vation is the product of his love. (John iii. 16, 17; Eph. ii. 4 ; 
John vi. 37, and xvi. 26, 27.) I say not that I will pray the 
Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you,because ye have 
loved me, &c. (John xiv.) He that loveth me, shall be loved of 
my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 
Say, therefore, with our dying Lord, ' " Father, into thy hands 
I commend my spirit ; by thy son who is the way, the truth, 
and the life, I come to thee." (John xiv. 6.) " Fulness of 
joy is in thy presence, and everlasting pleasures at thy right 
hand." (Psalm xvi. 11.) Thy love redeemed me, renewed 
and preserved me ; O ! now receive me to the fulness of thy 
lOve. This was thy will in sending thy Son, that of all that thou 
gavest him he should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the 
last day. O let not now this soul be lost that is passing to thee 
through the straits of death. I had never come unto thy Son 
if thou hadsi not drawn me, and if I had not heard and learned 
of thee. (John vi. 44, 45.) I thank thee, O Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth, that thou hast revealed to me, a babe, an 
idiot, the blessed mysteries of thy kingdom. (Luke x. 21 ; 
Acts iv. 13.) O, now, as the veil of flesh must be withdrawn, 
and my soul be parted from this body, withdraw the veil of thy 
displeasure, and show thy servant the glory of thy presence : 
that he that hath seen thee but as in a glass, may see thee 
now with open face ; and when my earthly house of this taber- 
nacle is dissolved, let me inhabit thy building not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor. v. 1.)' 

15. Lastly, consider that God hath designed the everlasting 
glory of his name, and the pleasing of his blessed will, in our 
salvation ; and the Son must triumph in the perfection of his 
conquest of sin and Satan, and in the perfecting of our redemp- 
tion ; and, doubtless, he will not lose his Father's glory and his 
own. Say, then, with confidence, ' I resign my soul to thee, 
O Lord, who hast called and chosen me, that thou mightest 
make known the riches of thy glory on me, as a vessel of mercy 
prepared unto glory. (Rom. ix. 23.) Thou hast predesti- 
nated me to the adoption of thy child by Christ unto thyself, 
to the praise of the glory of thy grace, wherein thou hast made 
me accepted in thy beloved. (Eph. i. 5, 6, 11, 12.) Re- 



44 A believer's 

ceive me now to the glory which thou hast prepared for us. 
(Matt. XXV. 34.) The hour is at hand. Lord, glorify thy poor 
adopted child, that he may for ever glorify thee. (John xvii. 
1.) It is thy promise to glorify those whom thou dost justify. 
(Rom. viii. 30.) As " there is no condemnation to them that 
are in Christ; (Rom. viii. 1 ;) so now let him present me 
faultless before the presence of the glory with exceeding joy ; and 
to thee the only wise God our Saviour, be the glory, majesty, 
dominion, and power for evermore. Amen." (Jude ver. 23, 34.)' 

What now remaineth, but that we all set ourselves to learn 
this sweet and necessary task, that we may joyfully perform it 
in the hour of our extremity, even to recommend our departing 
souls to Christ, with confidence that he will receive them. Jt 
is a lesson not easy to be learned ; for faith is weak, and doubts 
and fears will easily arise, and nature will be loth to think of 
dying ; and we that have so much offended Christ, and lived so 
strangely to him, and been entangled in too much familiarity 
with the world, shall be apt to shrink when we should joyfully 
trust him with our departing souls. Oh ! therefore, now set 
yourselves to overcome these difficulties in time. You know 
we are all ready to depart ; it is time this last important work 
were thoroughly learned, that our death may be both safe and 
comfortable. 

There are divers other uses of this doctrine, that I should 
have urged upon you, had there been time. As, 1 . If Christ 
will receive your departing souls, then fear not death, but long 
for this heavenly entertainment. 

2. Then do not sin for fear of them that can but kill the 
bodv, and send the soul to Christ. 

3. Then tliink not the righteous unhappy because they are 
cast off by the world ', neither be too much troubled at it your- 
selves when it comes to be your case; but remember that Christ 
will not forsake you, and that none can hinder him from the 
receiving of your souls. No malice nor slanders can follow you 
so far as by defamation to make your justifier condemn you. 

4. If you may trust him with your souls, then trust him with 
your friends, your children that you must leave behind, with 
all your concernments and affairs : and trust him with his gospel 
and his church ; for they are all his own, and he will prevail to 
the accomplishment of his blessed pleasure. 

But, 5. 1 shall only add that use which the sad occasion of 
oui' meeting doth bespeak. What cause have we now to mix 



LAST WORK. 45 

our sorrows for our deceased friend, with the joys of faith for 
her felicity ? We have left the body to the earth, and that is 
our lawful sorrow, for it is the fruit of sin ; but her spirit is re- 
ceived by Jesus Christ, and that must be our joy, if we will 
behave ourselves as true believers. If we can suffer with her, 
should we not rejoice also with her ? And if the joy be far 
greater to the soul with Christ, than the ruined state of the 
body can be lamentable, it is but reason that our joy should be 
greater for her joy, than our sorrow for the dissolution of the 
flesh. We that should not much lament the passage of a friend 
beyond the seas, if it were to be advanced to a kingdom, should 
less lament the passage of a soul to Christ, if it were not for the 
remnant of our Vv'oful unbelief. 

She is arrived at the everlasting rest, where the burden of 
corruption, the contradictions of the flesh, the molestations of 
the tempter, the troubles of the world, and the injuries of mali- 
cious men, are all kept out, and shall never more disturb her 
peace. She hath left us in these storms, who have more cause 
to weep for ourselves, and for our children, that have yet so much 
to do and suffer, and so many dangers to pass through, than for 
the souls that are at rest with Christ. We are capable of no 
higher hopes than to attain that state of blessedness which her 
soul possesseth ; and shall we make that the matter of our la- 
mentation as to her, which we make the matter of our hopes as to 
ourselves ? Do we labour earnestly to come thither, and yet 
lament that she is there ? You will say, it is not because she is 
clothed upon with the house from heaven, but that she is un- 
clothed of the flesh : but is there any other passage than death 
into immortality ? Must we not be unclothed before the garments 
of glory can be put on ? She bemoaneth not her own dissolved 
body J the glorified soul can easily bear the corruption of the 
flesh ; and if you saw but what the soul enjoyeth, you would be 
like-minded, and be moderate in your griefs. Love not your- 
selves so as to be unjust and unmerciful in your desires to your 
friends I Let Satan desire to keep them out of heaven, but do 
not you desire it. You may desire your own good, but not so 
as to deprive your friends of theirs ; yea, of a greater good, that 
you may have a lesser by it. And if it be their company that 
you desire, in reason you should be glad that they are gone to 
dwell where you must dwell for ever, and therefore may for ever 
have their company ; had they stayed on earth you would have 
had their company but a little while, because you must make so 



46 .* ueliever's 

short a stay yourselves. Let them therefore begin their journey 
before you, and grudge not that they are first at home, as long 
as you expect to find them there. In the mean time he that 
called them from you hath not left you comfortless ; he is with 
you himself, who is better than a mother, or than ten thousand 
friends ; when grief or negligence hindereth you from observing 
him, yet he is with you, and holdeth you up, and tenderly pro- 
videth for you ; though turbulent passions injuriously question 
all his love, and cause you to give him unmannerly and unthank- 
ful words, yet still he beareth with you, and forgiveth all, and 
doth not forsake you for your peevishness and weakness, because 
you are his children, and he knoweth that you mean not to for- 
sake him : rebuke your passions, and calm your minds ; reclaim 
your thoughts, and cast away the bitterness of suspicious, quar- 
relsome unbelief, and then you may perceive the presence of 
your dearest friend and Lord, who is enough for you, though 
you had no other friend. Without him all the friends on earth 
would be but silly comforters, and leave you as at the gates of 
hell ; without him all the angels and saints in heaven would 
never make it a heaven to you. Grieve not too much that one 
of your candles is put out while you have the sun ; or if indeed 
it be not day with any of you, or the sun be clouded or eclipsed, 
let that rather be the matter of your grief j find out the cause, 
and presently submit and seek reconciliation : or if you are de- 
prived of this light, because you are yet asleep in sin, hearken to 
his call, and rub your eyes : " Awake thou that sleepest, and 
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Eph. v. 
14.) " Knowing that it is now high time to awake out of sleep, 
our salvation being nearer than when we first believed ; the night 
is far spent, the day of eternal light is at hand ; cast off there- 
fore the works of darkness, and put on all the armour of light ; 
walk honestly and decently as in the day." (Rom, xiii. 1 1 — 14.) 
And whatever you do, make sure of the Friend that never dieth, 
and never shall be separated from you, and when you die will 
certainly receive the souls which you commend unto him. 

And here, though contrary to my custom, I shall make some 
more particular mention of our deceased friend on several ac- 
counts. 1. In prosecution of this use that now we are upon, 
that you may see in the evidences of her haj)piness how little 
cause you have to indulge extraordinary grief on her account, 
and how much cause to moderate your sense of our loss with 
the sense of her felicity. 2, That you may have the benefit of 



LAST WOUK. 547 

lier example for your imitation, especially her children that are 
bound to observe the holy actions as well as instructions of a 
mother. 3. For the honour of Christ, and his grace, and his 
servant : for as God hath promised to honour those that ho- 
nour him, (1 Sam. ii. 30,) and Christ hath said, "If any man 
serve me, him will my Father honour, (John xii. 26.) so I know 
Christ will not take it ill to be honoured in his members, and to 
have his ministers subserve him in so excellent a work : it is a 
very considerable part of the love or hatred, honour or disho- 
nour, thatChrist hath in the world, which he receiveth as he ap- 
peareth in his followers. He that will not see a cup of cold 
water given to one of them go unrewarded, and will tell those at 
the last day that did. or did not visit and relieve them, that they 
did or did it not to him, will now expect it from me as my duty 
to give him the honour of his graces in his deceased servant, and 
1 doubt not will accordingly accept it, when it is no other in- 
deed than his own honour that is my end, and nothing but the 
word of truth and soberness shall be the means. 

And here I shall make so great a transition as shall retain my 
discourse in the narrow compass of the time in which she lived 
near me, and under my care, and in my familiar acquaintance, 
omitting all the rest of her life, that none may say I speak but 
by hearsay of things which I am uncertain of; and I will con- 
fine it also to those special gifts and graces in which she was 
eminent, that 1 may not take you up with a description of a 
Christian as such, and tell you only of that good which she held 
but in common with all other Christians. And if any thing 
that J shall say were unknown to any reader that knew her, let 
them know that it is because they knew her but distantly, im- 
perfectly, or by reports ; and that my advantage of near acquaint- 
ance did give me a just assurance of what I say. 

The graces which 1 discerned to be eminent in her, were 
these. 1. She was eminent in her contempt of the pride, and 
pomp, and pleasure, and vanity of the world ; and in her great 
averseness to all these she had an honest impatience of the life 
which is common among the rich and vain-glorious in the 
world : voluptuousness and sensuality, excess of drinking, cards 
and dice, she could not endure, whatever names of good house- 
keeping or seemly deportment they borrowed for a mask. In her 
apparel she went below the garb of otliers of her rank ', indeed 
in such plainness as did not notify her degree; but yet in such 
a grave and decent habit as notified her sobriety and humility, 



48 - A believer's 

She was a stranger to pastimes, and no companion for time- 
wasters, as knowing that persons so near eternity, that have so 
short a life, and so great a work, have no time to spare. Ac- 
cordingly, in her latter days she did, as those that grow wise hy 
experience of the vanity of the world, retire from it, and cast 
it off before it cast off her : she betook herself to the society of a 
people that were low in the world, of humble, serious, upright 
lives, though such as had been wholly strangers to her ; and 
among these poor inferior strangers she lived in contentment and 
quietness ; desiring rather to converse with those that would help 
her to redeem the time, in prayer and edifying conference, than 
with those that would grieve her by consuming it on their lusts. 

2. She was very prudent in her converse and affairs, (allow- 
ing for the passion of her sex and age,) and so escaped much of 
the inconveniences that else in so great and manifold businesses 
would have overwelmed her : as "a good man will guide his 
affairs with discretion," (Psalm cxii. 5,) s6 " discretion will pre- 
serve him, and understanding will keep him, to deliver him from 
the way of the evil man, who leaveth the paths of uprightness to 
walk in the way of darkness." (Prov. ii. 1 1 — 13.) 

3. She was seriously religious, without partiality, or any taint 
of siding or faction, or holding the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ 
in respect of persons ; I never heard her speak against men, or 
for men, as they differed in some small and tolerable things ; she 
impartially heard any minister that was able, and godly, and 
sound in the main, and could bear with the weaknesses of minis- 
ters when they were faithful ; instead of owning the names or 
opinions of prelatical, presbyterian, independent, or such like, 
she took up with the name of a Christian, and loved a Christian 
as a Ciiristian, without much respect to such different tolerable 
opinions. Instead of troubling herself with needless scruj)les, 
and making up a religion of opinions and singularities, she 
studied faith and godliness, and lived upon the common certain 
truths, and well known duties, which have been the old and 
beaten way, by which the universal church of Christ hath gone 
to heaven in former ages. 

4. She was very impartial in her judgment about particulai 
cases, being the same in judging of the case of a child and a 
stranger; and no interest of children, or other relations, could 
make her swerve from an equal judgment. 

5. She very much preferred the spiritual welfare of her chil- 
dren before their temporal j looking on the former as the true 



LAST AVOIIK. 49 

felicity, and on the latter without it but as a pleasant, voluntary 
misery. 

6. Since I was acquainted with her I always found her very 
ready to good works, according to her power. And when she 
hath seen a poor man come to me, that she conjectured solicited 
me for relief, she hath reprehended me for keeping the case to 
myself, and not inviting her to contribute ; and I could never 
discern that she thought any thing so well bestowed as that 
which relieved the necessities of the poor tliat were honest and 
industrious. 

7. She had the wonderful mercy of a man-like. Christian, 
patient spirit, under all afflictions that did befall her, and under 
the multitude of troublesome businesses, that would have even 
distracted an impatient mind. Though sudden anger was the 
sin that she much confessed herself, and therefore though she 
wanted patience, yet I have wondered to see her bear up with 
the same alacrity and quietness, when Job's messengers have 
brought her the tidings that would have overwhelmed an impa- 
tient soul. When law-suits and the great afflictions of her 
children have assaulted her like successive waves, which I fear- 
ed would have borne her into the deep, if not devoured all her 
peace, she sustained all as if no great considerable change had 
been made against her, having the same God, and the same 
Christ, and promises, and hope, from which she fetched such 
real comfort and support as showed a real, serious faith. 

8. She was always apt to put a good interpretation upon 
God's providences ; like a right believer, that having the spirit 
of adoption, perceiveth fatherly love in all, she would not easily 
he persuaded that God meant her any harm ; she was not apt 
to hearken to the enemy that accuseth God and his ways to 
man, as he accuseth man and his actions to God ; she was none 
of those that are suspicious of God, and are still concluding 
death and ruin from all that he doth to them, and are gathering 
wrath from misinterpreted expressions of his love ; who weep 
because of the smoke before they can be warmed by the fire. 
' Yet God is good to Israel ; and it sljall go well with them that 
fear before him,' (Psalm Ixxiii. 1; Eccles. viii. 12, 13,) were her 
conclusions from the sharpest providences ; she expected the 
morning in the darkest night, ai^ijd^JKer tha^^^tof tlie end by the 
beginning; Ijut was always CC;. s,3.'..TT: ""she could but entitle 
God in the case that the issue would be good. She was not a mur- 

\'<)L. XV'III. E 



50 A believer's 

murer against God, nor one that contended with her Maker ; 
nor one that created calamity to herself by a self-troubling, un- 
quiet mind ; she patiently bore what God laid upon her, and 
made it not heavier by the additions of uncomfortable prognos- 
tics, and misgivhig or repining thoughts. She had a great con- 
fidence in God, that he was doing good to her and her's in all ; 
and where at present she saw any matter of grief, she much sup- 
ported her soul with a 1)elief that God would remove and over- 
come it in due time. 

9. She was not troubled, that ever I discerned, with doubt- 
ings about her interest in Christ, and about her own justification 
and salvation ; but whether she reached to assurance or not, she 
had confident apprehensions of the love of God, and (juietly re- 
posed her soul upon his grace. Yet not secure through pre- 
sumption or self-esteem ; but comforting herself in the Lord her 
God 5 by this means she spent those hours in a cheerful perform- 
ance of her duty, which many spend in fruitless self- vexation for 
the failings of their duty, or in mere in(iuiries whether they have 
grace or not, and others spend in wrangling, perplexed contro- 
versies about the manner or circumstances of duty : and I be- 
lieve that she had more comfort from God by way of reward 
upon her sincere obedience, while she referred her soul to him, 
and rested on him, than many have that more anxiously per- 
plexed themselves about the discerning of their holiness, when 
they should be studying to be more holy, that it might discover 
itself. And by this means she was fit for praises and thanks- 
giving, and spent not her life in lamentations and complaints, 
and made not religion seem terrible to the ignorant, that judge 
of it by the faces and carriage of professors. She did not re- 
present it to the world as a morose and melancholy temper, but 
as the rational creature's cheerful obedience to his Maker, ac- 
tuated bv the sense of the wonderful love that is manifested in 
the Redeemer, and by the hopes of the purchased and promised 
felicity in the blessed sight and fruition of God. And I conjecture 
that her forementioned disposition to think well of God, and of 
his j)rovidences, together with her long and manifold experience, 
(the great advantage of ancient, tried Christians,) did much 
conduce to free her from doubtings and discjuieting fears about 
her own sincerity anvrest ot doA\:> and I confess, if her life had 
not been answerable i.o iri«i]fvl i"je and confidence, I should not 
have thought the better, but the worse of her condition ; no- 



J -A ST WORK. 51 

thing being more lamentable than to make haste to hell, through 
a wilful confidence that the clanger is past, and that they are in 
the way to heaven as well as the most sanctified. 

10. Lastly, I esteemed it the height of her attainment that 
she never discovered any inordinate fears of death, but a cheerful 
readiness, willingness, and desire, to be dissolved, and to be with 
Christ. This was her constant temper both in health and sick- 
ness, as far as I was able to observe. She would be frequently 
expressing hoAV little reason she had to be desirous of longer life, 
and how much reason to be willing to depart. Divers times in 
dangerous sicknesses I have been with her, and never discerned 
any considerable averseness, dejectedness, or fear. Many a time 
1 have thought how great a mercy I should esteem it if I had 
attained that measure of fearless willingness to lav down this 
flesh, as she attained. Many a one that can make light of 
wants, or threats, or scorns, or any ordinary troubles, cannot 
submit so quietly and willingly to death. Many a one that can 
go through the labours of religion, and contemn opposition, 
and easily give all they have to the poor, and bear imprison- 
ments, banishment, or contempt, can never overcome the 
fears of death. So far, even the father of lies spake truth ; 
" Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for 
his life." (Job ii. 4.) I took it, therefore, for a high attain- 
ment and extraordinary mercy to our deceased friendj that 
the King of Terrors was not terrible to her. Though I doubt 
not but somewhat of averseness and fear is so radicated in na- 
ture's self-preserving principle, as that it is almost inseparable, 
yet in her I never discerned any trouljlesome appearances of it. 
When I first came to her in the beginning of her last sickness, 
she suddenly passed the sentence of death upon herself, without 
any show of fear or trouble, when to us the disease appeared 
not to be great. But when the disease increased, her pains 
were so little, and the effect of the fever was so much in her head, 
that, after this, she seemed not to esteem it mortal, being not 
sensible of her case and danger : and so, as she lived without 
the fears of death, she seemed to us to die without them. God, 
by the nature of her disease, removing death as out of her 
sight, when she came to that weakness, in which else the en- 
counter was like to have been sharper than ever it was before. 
And thus, in one of the weake;- sex, God hath showed us that 
it is possible to live in holy confidence, and peace, and quiet- 
ness of mind, without distressing griefs or fears, even in the 

e2 



52 A believer's 

midst of a troublesome world, and of vexatious businesses, and 
with the afflietions of her dearest relations almost continually 
before her : and that our quiet or disquiet, our peace or trouble, 
dependeth more on our inward strength and temper than upon 
our outward state, occasions, or provocations : and that it is 
more in our hands than of any or all our friends and enemies, 
whether we shall have a comfortable or uncomfortable life. 

What remaineth now, but that all we that survive, especially 
you that are her children, do follow her as she followed Christ? 
Though the word of God be your sufficient rule, and the exam- 
ple of Christ be your perfect pattern, yet as the instructions, so - 
the example of a parent must be a weighty motive to quicken 
and engage you to your duty ; and will else be a great aggra- 
vation of your sin. A holy child, of unholy parents, doth no 
more than his necessary duty ; because whatever parents are, he 
hath an holy God : but an unholy child of holy parents is inex- 
cusable in sin, and deplorably miserable, as forsaking the doc- 
trine and pattern both of their Creator and their progenitors, 
whom nature engageth them to observe ; and it will be an ag- 
gravation of their deserved misery to have their parents witness 
against them, that they taught them, and they would not learn ; 
and went before them in a holy life, but they would not follow 
them. " My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and for- 
sake not the law of thy mother ; for they shall be an ornament 
of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." (Prov. i. 8.) 
Read and consider Prov, xxx. 17, and xv. 20, and xxiii. 22, 25. 
Sins against parents have a special curse affixed to them in this 
life, (as the case of Ham showeth ; and the due observance and 
honouring of parents hath a special promise of temporal bless- 
ings, as the fifth commandment showeth. " Children obey your 
parents in the Lord, for it is right : honour thy father and thy 
mother,' (which is the first commandment with promise,) 
that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the 
earth." (Eph. vi. 1 — 3.) Thehistories of all ages are so full of the 
instances of God's judgments, in this life, upon five sorts of sin- 
ners, as may do nnich to convince an atheist of the government 
and special providence of God, that is, upon persecutors, mur- 
derers, sacrilegcis, ^^J'^p witnesses (especially by perjury), and 
abusers and dishoiu.,„.e,.s^f*p-2Vents. And the great honour 
that is due to parents when tV.cy are dead, is to give just honour 
to their names, and to obey their precepts, and imitate their 
good examples. It is the high commendation of the Rechabites, 



LAST WORK. 53 

that they strictly kept the precepts of their father, even in a 
thing indifferent, a mode of Hving ; not to drink wine, or build 
houses, but dwell in tents : and God annexeth this notable 
blessing, " Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, 
Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab yom- 
father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that 
he hath commanded you : Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, 
the God of Israel ; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man 
to stand before me for ever." (Jer. xxxvi. 6, 7j IS, 19.) But, 
especially in the great duties of religion, where parents do but 
deliver the mind of God, and use their authority to procure 
obedience to divine authority ; and where the matter itself is 
necessary to our salvation, the obligation to obedience and imita- 
tion is most indispensable ; and disobedience is an aggravated 
iniquity, and the notorious ])rand of infelicity, and prognostic of 
ensuing wo; the ungodly children of godly parents being the 
most deplorable, unhappy, unexcusabJe persons in the world (if 
they hold on). 

There is yet another doctrine that I should speak to. 

Doct. 7. Prayer in general, and this prayer in particular, that 
Christ will receive our departing souls, is a most suitable conclu- 
sion of all the action of a Christian's life. 

Prayer is the breath of a Christian's life : it is his work and 
highest converse, and therefore fittest to be the concluding ac- 
tion of his life, that it may reach the end at which he aimed. 
We have need of prayer all our lives, because we have need of 
God, and need of his manifold and continued grace. But in our 
last extremity we have a special need. Though sloth is apt to 
seize upon us, while ])rosperity hindereth the sense of our neces- 
sities, and health persuadeth us that time is not near its journey's 
end, yet it is high time to pray with dou1)led fervour and impor- 
tunity when we see that we are near our last. Vl''hen we find 
that we have no more time to pray, but must now speak our last 
for our immortal souls, and must at once say all that we have to 
say, and shall never have a hearing more. O, then, to be unable 
to pray, or to be faithless, and heartless, and hopeless, in 
our prayers, would be a calamity beyond expression. 

Yet I know, for ordinary observation cells it us, that many 
truly gracious persons may accidentally be undisposed and dis- 
abled to pray when they are near to death. If the disease be 
such as doth disturb the brain, or take them up witli violence of 
pain, or overwhelm the mind hx pcrturlialion of the passi^nis, or 



54 A believer's 

abuse the imagination, or notably waste and debilitate the 
spirits, it cannot be expected that a body thus disabled should 
serve the soul in this or any other duty. But still the praying 
habit doth remain, though a distempered body do forbid the 
exercise. The habitual desires of the soul are there ; and it is 
those that are the soul of prayer. 

But this should move us to pray while we have time, and 
while our bodies have strength, and our sj)irits have vigour and 
alacrity to serve us, seeing we are so uncertain of bodily dispo-j 
.sition and capacity so near our end. O pray, and pray with all 
your hearts, before any fever or deliration overthrow your under- 
standings or your memories, before your thoughts are all com- 
manded to attend your pains, and before your decayed spirits 
fail you, and deny their necessary service to your suits, and be- 
fore the apprehensions of your speedy approach to the presence 
of the most holy God, and your entrance upon an endless state, 
do amaze, confound, and. overwhelm your souls with fear and 
perturbation. O Christians ! what folly, what sin and shame 
is it to us, that now while we have time to pray, and leave to 
pray, and helps to pray, and have no such disturbing hinderances, 
we should yet want hearts, and have no mind, nor life and fer- 
vour for so great a work. O, pray now, lest you are unable to 
pray then ; and if you are then hindered but by such bodily in- 
disposedness, God will understand your habitual desires, and 
your groans, and take it as if you had actually prayed. Pray 
now, that so you may be acquainted with the God that then you 
must fly unto for mercy, and may not be strangers to him, or 
unto prayer, and that he may not find then that your prayers are 
but the expression of your fears, and not of your love, and are 
constrained, and not voluntary motions unto God ; pray now 
in preparation to your dying prayers. Oh, what a terrible thing 
it is to be to learn to pray in that hour of extremity, and to 
have then no principle to pray by, but natural self-love, which 
every thief hath at the gallows ! To be then without the 
spirit of prayer, when without it there cannot an acceptable 
word or groan be uttered, and when the rejection of our suits 
and person will be the prologue to the final judicial rejection, 
and will be a distress so grievous as presumptuous souls will not 
lielieve, till sad experience becomie their tutor. Can you ima- 
gine that you shall thc'iflit hist be taught the art of accei)table 
prayer merely by horror, and the natural sense of j)ain and 
danger, as seamen in a storm, or a malefactor by the rack, when 



LAST WORK. 



55 



in your health and leisure you will not be persuaded to the daily 
use of serious prayer, but number yourselves with the families 
that are under the wrath of the Almighty, being such as call 
not on his name. (Jcr. x. 25 ; Psalm Ixxix. 6.) 

Indeed, there are many prayers must go before, or else this 
prayer, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," will be in vain, when 
you would be loth to find it so. You must first pray for renew- 
ing, sanctifying grace, for the death of sin, and the pardon of 
sin, for a holy life, and a heavenly mind, for obedience, patience, 
and perseverance, and if you obtain not these, there is no hope 
that Jesus Christ should receive your spirits, that never received 
his sanctifying Spirit. 

How sad is it to observe that those that have most need of 
prayer, have least mind to pray, as being least sensible of their 
needs ! Yea, that those that are the next step to the state of 
devils, and have as much need of prayer as any miserable souls 
on earth, do yet deride it, and hate those that seriously and 
fervently perform it; a man of prayer being the most common 
object of their malicious reproach and scorn. O miserable 
Cainites, that hate their brethren for offering more acceptable 
sacrifice than their own ! Little do they know how much of 
the very satanical nature is in that malice, and in those re- 
proachful scorns. And little do they know how near they are to 
the curse and desperation of Cain, and with what horror they 
shall cry out, " My punishment is greater than I can bear." 
(Gen. iv. 11, 13.) ]i God and good men condemn you for your 
lip-service, and heartless devotions, and ungodly lives, will you 
therefore hate the holy nature and better lives of those that 
judge YOU, when you should hate your own ungodliness and hy- 
]iocrisy ? Hear what God said to the leader of your sect, 
" Why art thou wrath ? And why is thy countenance fallen ? 
If thou do well, shalt thou not be accepted ? And if thou doest 
not well, sin lieth at the door." (Gen. iv. G.) Have you not 
as much need to pray as those that you hate and reproach for 
praying? Have you not as much need to be oft and earnest 
in prayer as they ? Must Christ himself spend whole nights in 
prayer, (Lukevi. 12,) and shall an ignorant, sensual, hardened 
sinner think he hath no need of it, though he be unconverted, 
unjustified, unready to die, and almost -ot the opportunity of 
l)raying? O miserable men, that sho.dy would cry and roar 
in the anguish of their souls, and yet will not pray while there is 
time and room for prayer ! Their Judge is willing now to hear 



5() A believkr's 

thcni, and now tlicy have nothing hut hypocritical, hfelcss 
words to speak ! Praving is now a wearisome, tedious, and un- 
])leasant thing to them, that shortly would he glad if the most 
heart- tearing lamentations could prevail for the crumhs and 
drops of that mercy which they thus depise. (Luke xvi. 24.) 
Of all men in the world it il] becomes one in so deep necessities 
and dangers to be prayerless. ' 

But for you, Christians, that are daily exercised in this holy 
converse with your Maker, hold on, and grow not strange to 
heaven, and let not your holy desires be extinguished for want 
of excitation. Prayer is your ascent to heaven; your departure 
from a vexatious world to treat with God for your salvation. 
Your retirement from a world of dangers into the impregnable 
fortress where you are safe, and from vanity unto felicity, and 
from troubles unto rest, which, though you cannot come so near, 
nor enjoy so fully and delightfully as hereafter you shall do, 
yet thus do you make your approaches to it, and thus do you 
secure your future full fruition of it. And let them all scoff at 
hearty, fervent prayer as long as they will, yet prayer shall do 
that with God for you which health, and wealth, and dignity, 
and honour, and carnal jileasures, and all the world shall never 
do for one of them. And though they neglect and vilify it 
now, yet the hour is near when they will be fain to scamble and 
hungle at it themselves, and the face of death will better teach 
them the use of prayer, than our doctrine and example now 
can do. A departing soul will not easily be prayerless, nor 
easily be content with sleepy prayers, ])ut, alas ! it is not every 
prayer that hath some fervency from the power of fear that 
shall succeed. Many a thousand may perish for ever that have 
prayed, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." But the soul that 
breatheth after Christ, and is weary of sinning, and hath long 
been pressing toward the mark, may receive encouragement for 
his last petitions, from the bent and success of all the foregoing 
prayers of his life. Believe it. Christians, you cannot be so 
ready to beg of Christ to receive your souls, as he is ready and 
willing to receive them. As ycHi come praying, therefore, into 
the world of grace, go praying out of it into the world of glory. 
It is not a work that vou were never used to, though you have 
had lamented backwaf«^iiess, and coldness, and omissions. It 
is not to a God that youTvcre never with before ; as you know 
whom you have believed, so you may know to whom you pray. 
It is indeed a most important suit to beg for the receiving of a 



LAST WORK. 57 

departed soul, but it is put up to him to whom it properly doth 
belong, and to him tiiat hath encouraged you by answering 
many a former prayer with that mercy which was the earnest of 
this, and it is to him that loveth souls much better than any 
soul can love itself. O live in prayer, and die in prayer, and 
do not, as the graceless, witless world, despise prayer while they 
live, and then think a ' Lord have mercy on me,' shall prove 
enough to pass them into heaven. Mark their statues and mo- 
numents in the churches, whether they be not made kneeling 
and lifting up the hands, to tell you that all will be forced to 
pray, or to approve of prayer, at their death, whatever they say 
against it in their life. O pray, and wait but a little longer, 
and all your danger will be past, and you are safe for ever ! 
Keep up your hands a little longer, till you shall end your 
conflict with the last enemy, and shall pass from prayer to ever- 
lasting praise. 



A SERMON 

PREACHED AT THE FUNERAL OF 

. THAT 
HOLY, PAINFUL, AND FRUITFUL MINISTER OF CHRIST, 

MR. HENRY STUBBS ; 



ABOUT IITTY YF-AnS A SUOCrSSFUL rilEACIIEn AT BniSTOL, WEILS, CHEW, 
DllnSLFY, LONDON, AND DIVERS OTIIEn PLACES. 



\ 



V 



A SERMON, 



PREACHED AT THR 



FUNERAL OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. 



ACTS XX. 24. 

But none of these things move mc, neither count I my life dear 
unto myself so that I might finish my course ivith joy^ and 
the ministry, ivhich I have received of the Lord Jesus, to 
testify the Gospel of the grace of God. 

This hour being designed to such a commemoration of our 
deceased friend, ]\lr. Stubbs, as is laudably used at such men's 
funerals, 1 have chosen words of this text, which the heart and 
life of this holy man did so constantly express, that, doubtless, 
the same Spirit suggested them to blessed Paul and him. 
They are the profession of a full devotedness to God, in his 
christian and ministerial work, notwithstanding all expected 
difficulties and oppositions, which he resolved with unmoved 
patience to undergo to the joyful finishing of his course. 

The witness of the Holy Ghost, with his own experience, did 
teach him to expect bonds and afflictions at Jerusalem, it 
being the ordinary entertainment which every where did abide 
him ; but how much worse might come he knew not, but was 
resolvedly prepared for all. The joyful finishing of his course 
was so desirable to him, that no suffering, though it were the 
loss of life itself, did seem too dear or hard a means for its ac- 
complishment. 

Here is then, first, tlie great ci;i^^ desirable prize for which 
nothing could be-too dear. Secondly, The cheerful resolution 
of the apostl-c to go on, and part with life itself to attain it. 



62 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

Tlic first, though the words have no great difficulty, yet, as 
to the matter, may need to some a brief explication, viz : 

1. What is meant by his " course." 

2. What by his " ministry and testifying the gospel of the 
grace of God." 

3. How this was " received of the Lord Jesus." 

4. What is meant by the "finishing of his course." 

5. How it was to be done '' with joy." 

6. Why he was not moved by foreseen sufferings, nor ac- 
counted his " hfe dear" to attain this end. 

And for brevity, [ shall now observe this method, to add the 
instructions and other applications, to each part of the text as 
T explain it. 

First, the word translated " course," signifieth a race to be 
swiftly run : and a threefold race is here included. 1. The race 
of human life, which is short and uncertain ; we are not born 
for nothing ;-nor doth God give us life, and time, and maintain- 
dnce, to live in idleness, or to serve the flesh. The sun stands 
not still whether we sleep or wake; our breath, our pulse are 
still in motion, our glass is running. And oh ! how quickly shall 
we see and hear, that time on earth shall be to us no more. 
This course will be certainly and quickly finished ; but whether 
'* with jov," it concerns us timely to foresee. For the review 
of time, of precious time, and the work of time, will be no con- 
temptible part of our everlasting work. 

Secondly, the "course" (or race) of Christianity, is the 
necessary improvement of our time. This is not a play, nor an 
idle, brutish, or a jesting life. It is a great work for a self- 
destroying, undone sinner, to believe in a Saviour, and such a 
Saviour, and wholly to trust his merits, sacrifice, counsel, 
conduct, his powerful operations, and effectual interces- 
sions for all our present and our future hopes. It was 
not a dream of war that we were listed for in our baptism 
under the Captain of our salvation. The resisting of temp- 
tations', the quenching of the devil's fiery darts, the denial 
of ourselves and forsaking friends, reputation, estate, and liberty, 
and life, for the sake of Christ, and renouncing the flesh, the 
w'orld, and the devil, for the hopes of a promised, unseen glory, 
is a real work. To believe in Christ and his promise of heaven, 
to the forsaking of all v.\,.'''ly hopes, is a serious business. To 
love God above all, and our neighbour as ouicelves, and to do 
as we would be done by, how easily soever mentioi;ed and pro- 



WEATH OF MR. HENRY sTUBBS. 03 

t'essed, arc works not unworthy to be ascribed to the Spirit of 
the living God, and to tlie grace of the Ahnighty. He that well 
finisheth the christian course, shall certainly receive the crown 
of righteousness ; and though none of these works do in the 
least participate in the office of the justifying sacrifice, merits, 
or grace of Jesus Christ, yet shall we be judged according to 
them ; and we must live to Christ, if we will live with 
Christ. 

Thirdly, the apostolical, ministerial course was also to bo 
finished with joy. His call was wonderful, his office honourable, 
his gifts powerful, his sufferings great, his labours greater; his 
successes by miracles in themselves miraculous : yet all this 
would not have saved himself, if he had not faithfully finished 
his course. To begin hopefully is more common than to end 
happily. The sun of persecution withereth much fruit that 
seemed flourishing : Judas's end did more difference him 
from the rest of the apostles, than his beginning. 

His ministry was considerable as common to all the clergy, 
or as apostolical. To preach the word as he commanded 
Timothy, to be instant in season and out of season, to reprove, 
rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering, and doctrine, to rule 
well, and labour in the word and doctrine, to take heed to our- 
selves and unto doctrine, and continue therein, that we may save 
ourselves and them that hear us ; to take heed to ourselves and 
all the flock, to hold back nothing profitable to them, but to 
teach them publicly, and from house to house, day and night 
with tears, (Acts xx.,) in meekness, instructing those that op- 
pose themselves, if God, at any time, will give them repentance ; 
all this is not a dream or play. 

And to go over much of the world, from nation to nation, bv 
sea and land, to preach this gospel to strangers of various lan- 
guages, through all difficulties and sufferings, to confirm all 
by miracles, to leave this sacred doctrine infallibly in records to 
the church, as a rule to the end of the world, to teach men to 
observe all things Christ had commanded them, as well as to 
disciple nations, and baptize them, and to settle the orders and 
government of the churches according to the will of Christ, this 
was the extraordinary part of his ministry. 

Thirdly, this ministry was recei^^jj^g^, the Lord Jesus, by an 
extraordinary call, a voice fron^ j,j j.j^^ K^jind an inspiration of 
others that were ministerially tt,^ q^I him, and the special in- 
spiration of his own soul, for apt jlical (qualifications. Kut do 



64 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

not ordinary ministers also receive their office from the Lord 
Jesus ? Yes J and though the way of their reception differ, their 
obligation to finish their course is divine, as well as Paul's. 
Christ called Paul by himself, and by inspired prophets; and 
he calleth us by his qualifying grace, and by his stated law, (as 
the king maketh mayors and bailiffs of corporations by his 
charters,) wherein the ordainers and eletitors orderly determine 
of the recipient j)ersons, and the ordainers ministerially invest 
them ; but the office, power, and obligation is directly from the 
law of Christ. And if any breach or interruption should be 
made in human ordination and tradition, the law still standeth 
to direct men in the choice and investiture, and to confer autho- 
rity, and to oblige, as well as the Holy Ghost, to give men the 
necessaries thereto. 

Therefore, as we receive our office from Christ, we must use 
it for Christ, and not for carnal self, nor as the servants of men ; 
and we must use it according to the laws of Christ, whose laws 
soever shall gainsay them. 

Fourthly, the finishing of Paul's course, is the bringing his 
work of Christianity and ministry to the desired joyful end. 
1. To the end of duration ; not to be weary of well-doing, nor, 
having put his hand to Christ's plough, to look back and repent, 
nor forsake the warfare in which he was engaged. " He that 
endureth to the end shall be saved ; and in due time we shall 
reap if we faint not." 2. To the end of intention : 1. To do his 
own appointed work, that his grace being exercised and in- 
creased, he may be acceptable to God, and fit with joy to meet 
the Lord. 2. To call and save sinners, and to build up saints, 
and to gather churches unto Christ, and edify them, and leave 
to all ages his doctrine and example, a certain \vord and power- 
ful motive. 3. To glorify Christ and God the Father in all 
this ; not to sit warm in a reverend habit, for men to honour for 
the sake of the office and bare name of an apostle. 

But to " testify the gospel of the grace of God," to declare 
the truth of it, the necessity of it, the privileges, and the 
honour, the great love of God, revealed by the Son of his love 
to sinners, and the great and manifold benefits given them in 
Christ, the hope of glory set before them, and the just and 
reasonable means and^-ye iVvions of obtaining it. Thus did he, 
as immediately sent,Av. ^^ly hl""^^ we, as sent by Christ's ap- 
pointed order in his lawV nei^'^y ^'^'^ gospel of the grace of 
God. \ e 



DEATH OF Mil. HENRY STUBBS. 65 

Fifthly, concerning Paul's " finishing- his course with joy," 
we must consider, 1. What joy it is that is here meant. 2. 
How much of this joy each faithful minister may expect. 3. And 
whence and on what account he may expect it. 

First. The joy here meant, which Paul expected, is, 1. The 
joy which the nature of the work affordeth ; divine, certain, 
great, and holy truth is pleasant to him that understandeth it, 
believeth it, and is exercised in the serious meditation of it. 
It is sweet to read, and think, and speak of the essential love of 
God ; and of his unspeakable grace in Christ, of his free re- 
conciliation, justification, adoption, and salvation of those that 
were his enemies ; of the wonderful mysteries, and methods of 
God's love in our redemption and salvation ; of the heavenly 
glory which we and all the elect of God shall enjoy for ever. 
What sweeter food or business for our minds, than such things 
as these. 

Secondly. The success of our work is an addition to our joy. 
The success of it on our own souls, while they increase in 
holiness, and are raised to the greater knowledge of God, and 
greater love to him, and communion with him ; and our suc- 
cess on others while they are brought home to God and saved. 
If it be pleasant to a successful physician to save men's lives, it 
must be more so to a successful minister of Christ, to further 
men's regeneration, and to save men's souls. To add more to 
the number of them that love the Lord Jesus, that are his mem- 
bers, that are enemies to sin, examples of holiness, that pray 
for the world, and that shall live in glory ; is not this a joyful 
work ? There is joy among the angels in heaven for every 
sinner that repenteth. (Luke xv. 10.) Christ rejoiceth in it, 
and all good men that know it rejoice in it, and shall not the 
minister of it then rejoice ? "I rejoiced greatly," saith St. John, 
and " I have no greater joy." (3 John 3, 4.) " Ye are our 
joy and crown of rejoicing." (1 Thess. ii. 19.) 

Thirdly. The honour of Christ, and the pleasing of God in 
our labours, and their success, is the top of all our joy. (2 Cor. v. 
9 ; Heb. xii. 28; Eph. v. 10 ; Heb. xiii. 21, and xi. 5.) For 
to please God, and to be perfectly pleased in him, is our heavenly 
felicity itself. 

Fourthly. It is our joy to foresee the blessed end, the ever- 
lasting, glorious reward. To live in the belief and hope of this, 
and to taste the love of God in Christ, which is the first- 

VOL. xviii. F 



66 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

fruits. All this is the joy in which we may hope to finish our 
course. 

Jl. How much of this joy may we here expect ? 

Ansvv. 1. So much as shall satisfy us that in our dedication 
of ourselves to God, we made a wise and happy choice, which 
we need not to repent of; though we might easily have chosen a 
way more likely for wealth and pleasure to the flesh, and in 
which we should not have kindled the indignation of so many 
against us ; nor have brought on ourselves so much envy and 
malice, so much slanders and reproaches, to name no worse, 
yet experience tells us, that God taught us to choose the most 
pleasant life,asour deceased brotherand I have truly oft told one 
another, that we have found it. Even when we are sorrowful, 
we are always rejoicing. (2 Cor. vi. 10.) When we are falsely 
reported of, our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our con- 
sciences, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not in 
fleshly wisdom, we have had our conversation in the world. 
(2 Cor. i. 12.) Paul and Silas could sing with their backs sore 
with scourging, and their feet fast in the stocks ; (Acts xvi.;) and 
the apostles rejoiced that they were accounted worthy to suffer 
reproach and abuse for Christ. (Acts v. 41.) Never yet did 
difficulty, or suffering, much tempt me to repent that I had not 
chosen another calling ; much less to repent of the christian 
choice 5 for, saith Peter, " Whither shall we go ? Lord, thou hast 
the words of eternal life." (John vi. 68.) 

Secondly. We may expect so much joy as shall make the 
duties of Christianity and ministry easy and delightful to us, 
(Psalm i. 2,) and make us say, that, " A day in his courts is 
better than a thousand, and to be a door-keeper in his house, 
than to dwell in the tents or palaces of wickedness." And 
that it is good for us to draw near to God. And if at any time 
our diseased appetites shall lose their pleasure, we are yet sure 
that we have chosen the only wliolesome and delicious food; and 
God hath physic that can recover our appetites. 

Thirdly. We may expect so much joy as shall keep us from 
tliirstiiig again for the world, or longing for the forbidden 
pleasures of sin, and shall make even the house of mourning and 
godly sorrow pleasanter to us than mirth and feasting is -to the 
ungodly, and never desire to partake of their delights. 

Fourthly. We may expect so much joy as shall make all our 
sufferings very tolerable, especially those that are for truth and 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. &J 

righteousness. (Matt. v. 10 — 12.) Believers took joyfully the 
spoiling of their goods, and accepted not offered deliverance ; 
(Heb. xi.;) as seeing him that is invisible, and expecting a 
better and more enduring substance. And that wliich is not 
joyous, but grievous at the present, will bring forth the quiet fruit 
of righteousness. (Heb. xii.) 

Fifthly. We may expect so much joy as shall encourage us to 
hold out to the end, and never to forsake Christ and a holy life, 
as weary or as hoping for better. 

Sixthly. We may expect so much joy, as shall be some fore- 
taste of the heavenly joy, and some reward here of all our 
labours. Yea, some may be filled with joy and peace in 
believing, and have unspeakable glorious joy. (Rom. xv. 13 ; 
1 Pet. i. 7, 8.) 

Seventhly. We may expect so much as shall convince the un- 
godly, that we live a more comfortable life than they. Paul 
and Silas singing in the stocks, it is like, had some part in the 
conviction of the gaoler. 

III. Whence, and on what accounts may we expect this joy ? 

Answ. This may be gathered from what is said before. 1. 
From the love and acceptance of the Father. 2. From the grace 
of the Son. 3. From the communion of the Holy Spirit. And, 
therefore, 1 . From the goodness of our work before mentioned. 
2. From the truth of the promises of God. 3. From the com- 
munion of saints. 4. From the continued protection, and other 
mercies, of God. 5. And from the certain hopes of glory; all 
which I must now but thus only name. 

There is another kind of joy, which too many seek in this 
sacred office, thereby corrupting and profaning it j and the best 
things corrupted become the worst, and such men most perni- 
cious to mankind, and these rotten pillars the greatest betrayers 
and enemies to the church; I mean such as Gregory Nazianzene 
sadly describeth in his time, even at the first general council at 
Constantinople ; and such as Isidore Pelusiota in his Epistles to 
Zosimus, and some such others freely reprehendeth ; and such 
as Gildas describeth in this land ; and such as Salvian rebuketh ; 
and such as, the canons of abundance of councils tell us, swarmed 
heretofore. 

First. Had there not been prelates and priests, that had placed 
their joy in dominion over their brethren, and getting into ex- 
alted thrones, in being rich and idle, and bowed to even by 
princes, and mastering kings and kingdoms by cursing them 

f2 



68 A SERMON PREACHKD AT THE 

from Christ; making themselves as the soul, and princes as the 
body ; themselves as the sun, and ])rinces as the moon and stars, 
abusing Tibi daho claves, and " the disciple is not above his 
master," to the mastering of kings and states, as their sheep and 
disciples; a great part of the church history had been unwritten, 
or otherwise written than it is. 

Secondly. Yea, far be it from any minister of Christ to expect 
their joy from human applause, and the multitude of followers 
or disciples ; to be accounted a learned or a holy man, an ex- 
cellent preacher, and so to have the respect and love of many. 

A good name and love are not to be despised when they fol- 
low fidelity as its shadow ; and as they signify the good of those 
that profit by the word. The Galatians would once have even 
pulled out their eyes for Paul ; but, alas ! what is the thought 
and breath of man, that is hastening to the dust, and to the im- 
partial Judge ? How small a matter should it be to us to be 
judged of many, that are so near the final judgment; and what 
a terrible sentence is it to the hypocrites ! " Verily they have 
their reward." (Matt. vi. 2.) Oh! poor and miserable re- 
ward ? And yet what age hath not seen that verified, " Of 
your own selves shall men arise, that shall speak perverse things 
to draw away disciples after them." (Acts xx. 30; Rom. xvi. 
170 Such still have been as have caused divisions and of- 
fences, contrary to apostolical doctrine, not serving the Lord 
Jesus, but their own bellies, being ever fleshly, worldly men, 
and, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the 
simple. And men that have had the form of godliness, (or the 
lifeless image,) but deny the power of it by wicked lives, are 
those from whom we must turn away. 

Thirdly. Yea, and far be it from any faithful minister, or 
Christian, to take up his joy from a conceit that he hath com- 
mutatively merited of God, by the excellency of his faith or 
labours. Alas! who is sufficient for these things ? And what 
have we that we have not received ? Or who hath given to God 
that it may be repaid him? Or what faithful minister of Christ 
did ever come out of the pulpit, or from his private duty, without 
grief and shame that his faith and love, his skill and zeal, have 
been so vastly unsuitable to such great and excellent things that 
he was about? And yet the conscience of simplicity and 
godly sincerity, and God's forgiveness, assistance, and accept- 
ance, may set our joy above tiiat shame and grief. 

Fourthly. And now it is easy to see the reason why Paul 



DEATH OF MR. HEXRY STUBB?. 69 

accounted not his life dear, nor was moved by the foresight of 
any sufferings, so he might but finish his course with joy. 

For, first, He well knew that the end would pay for all, and 
no man shall ever lose by God, nor shall the most abundant 
labour be in vain. (1 Cor. xv. 48.) Is there ^ny repentance 
in heaven for their labours or sufferings for Christ on earth ? 
Do they think that God is in their debt ? " Faith ever reckon- 
eth that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Rom. 
viii. IS.) " For which cause we faint not; but though our 
outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for 
us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; while we 
look not at the things which are seen, which are temporal ; but at 
the unseen things, which are eternal." (2 Cor. iv. 16 — 18.) 

Secondly. And Paul well knew that he and all the world 
were in the hands of God, and that he served such a Master as 
could easily preserve him as far as he saw meet, from all his 
enemies and sufferings. And that sufferings chosen for us by 
God, are better than if we had the kingdoms of the world by 
the gift of Satan. (Matt, iv.) Balak's words to Balaam, me- 
thinks, were words of honour and joy, " the Lord hath kept thee 
from honour." Oh ! who would not be ambitious of being so 
kept from honour ? The poverty and shame that is by and for 
God, is better than the preferment and honour of men ; and the 
reproach of Christ is greater riches than the treasures of 
Egypt. And if God see it best, he knoweth how to save the 
righteous from trouble, and if not, to give them suffering 
strength, and joy. 

And it is a wonder of Providence how God preserveth their 
names and honour, that despise honour and life for him, so that 
even they that killed the present pro'phets and just men, yet 
build the sepulchres of those that were killed by their fathers, 
and sav, ' If vve had lived in the days of our fathers we would 
not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' 
(Matt, xxiii. 27, 28.) The wonder of that foreigner in Henry 
VlII.'s days, Deus hone quomodo hie vivunt fjentes, that saw 
men killed for being protestants, and for bei)ig papists, was not 
so contradictory a subject as the papists' usage of the saints, 
a stupendous instance of man's madness and Satan's methods, 
that at the same time can rack, and burn, and murder saints, 
and yet honour the relics, names, and memories of the dead 



70 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

that were before them. That while they zealously cast away 
men's lives and treasure, to recover the holy land where saints 
had lived, at the same time murdered those by thousands that 
did most nearly imitate them ; and to this day kill the living 
saints, under the name of schismatics or heretics, (for not obey- 
ing the king of Rome before God,) and keep holy days for the 
dead, and reverence their shrines and relics. What contempt 
did poor St. Martin undergo from his neighbour bishops, as 
suspected of Priscilleauism, and as an unlearned hypocrite, that 
was for liberty for heretics, so that he separated from their 
synods and communion, and yet what a name hath he left 
behind him even in that church whose prelates thus despised 
him. 

Thirdly. Moreover, Paul had now tried both the ways, of 
being against Christ, and being for him, and was so fully con- 
vinced by experience and revelation of the evil of the one and 
the goodness of the other, that he had great reason to be re- 
solved and unmoved, as knowing that no suffering can make 
the servants of Christ as miserable as his enemies, nor any pre- 
ferment or prosperity make any one of the worldlings as happy 
as the poorest saint. Because he had rather be Lazarus than 
Dives hereafter, and had rather stand on the right hand of 
Christ than on the left, therefore he accordingly made his 
choice. For he well knew how bad a bargain it would prove to 
win all the world and lose his soul, and to lay up a treasure on 
earth, so as also to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, 
and to prepare for such an even-song as Luke xii. 20, " Thou 
fool ! this night shall they require thy soul ; and then whose are 
the things that thou hast provided ?" 

Alas ! what gain is it to save an estate a little while, that at 
death must certainly be forsaken. To save a life this year, this 
month, this day, that may be gone on sadder terms the next, 
and certainly will, ere long, be gone. Are not the bishop of Win- 
chester, and London, Gardiner, and Bonner, now dead, as well as 
the martyrs whom they burnt ? Are not Alexander the Third, 
and Innocent the Third, and Fourth, and such other persecuting 
Popes, now dead, as well as all the godly Christians whom they 
murdered ? Alas I what a nothing is time, and how little dif- 
ference between to-day and to-morrow, this year, and next ! 
That which hath been, that which is, and that which will be ! 
Shall a man part with his God, and his everlasting hopes, that 
he may be able to say in hell, ' I was once a lord, a man of 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. 71 

honour ; I had once full provision for the flesh ; I had pleasure 
in the way to the torment which I undergo?' 

In the expounding of these words of St. Paul, I have but 
given you the image, or rather the spirit, of Mr. Stubbs. Funeral 
praises, brought, by flatterers, into disgrace, will be here blamed 
by no wise man that knew the person, no more than in Nazi- 
anzene for his orations for Cyprian, Basil, and others, unless it 
be for the defect, which is unavoidable. 

First. This faithful servant of Christ hath run his race ; what 
that was, and how he performed it, the county of Gloucester 
knoweth, and the city of Wells in Somersetshire knoweth, and 
this citj^, and this congregation partly know. And 1 will speak 
but little of him but what 1 luiow myself, and have by unques- 
tionable testimony. His birth, parentage, and youthful life, I 
am not acquainted with. He was a minister of Christ about 
fifty years, dying at the age of seventy-three. His studies, and 
parts, and labours, lay not in the critical or controversial way, 
and as he was so happy as not to waste his time in contentious 
studies, so he was so humble and honest as not to trouble his 
auditory with such matters, nor to pretend to have studied what 
he had not, nor, like n:iany proud ignorants, to boast or contend 
most where they know least. His soul was taken up with the 
great things of religion. His preaching was most on the bap- 
tismal covenant, on the articles of the creed, the Lord's prayer, 
and decalogue, and such necessary things which essentially con- 
stitute a Christian. I never heard him meddle with controver- 
sies in public, or in his private talks, but all, how to know God 
in Christ, and how to seek and serve him, and how to resist 
temptations and sin, and what a life we shall live with Christ for 
ever ; and how to live in love, righteousness, peace, and pro- 
fitableness to one another, especially how to serve God entirely, 
and in what state we shall live with him for ever. He was the 
freest of most that ever 1 knew from that deceit of the serpent 
mentioned 2 Cor. xi. 3, who corrupteth men by drawing them 
from the simplicity which is in Christ. His breath, his life, his 
preaching, his prayers, his conference, his conversation, was 
christian simplicity and sincerity. Not as the world calleth 
simplicity, folly, but as itis contrary to hypocrisy, to a counterfeit 
zeal, to mere affectation, to a divided heart. He knew not how 
to dissemble nor wear a mask ; his face, his mouth, his whole 
conversation, laid bare his heart. While he passed by all 
quarrels and controversies, few quarrelled with him ; and he had 




72 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

the happiness to take up head, heart, and time, with only great, 
sure, and necessary things. 

IT. Of all men that ever I knew, he seemed to me one of the 
most humble. His preaching, his discourse, his garb, and all 
his behaviour, spake pure humility, and were far from pride ; 
never did I hear from him a word of ostentation, much less of 
envy at the precedence of others ; he came to Christ as a teach- 
able child, and preached as a learner, and I never heard that 
he strode with any. He had learned of Christ to be meek and 
lov/Iy, ana'ti> make himself of no reputation, nor seek the honour 
that is of man. -. Oh ! how far was he from striving to be above 
his brethren, or troubling the church by a proud, imperious, or 
turbulent spirit ! 

III. He was exceedingly peaceable in his principles and in 
his practice ; never contending with opinionators, or those that 
cry down this and that error of their brethren, to get the repu- 
tation of being free from errors. He put not his finger into the 
fire of contention ; nor ever, that I heard of, made himself of a 
sect or faction, nor preached for this party against that, except 
for Christ's party against the devil's. Nor did 1 ever hear him, 
in his private talk, backbite any ; nor exercise the too common 
liberty against others, in carping at their infirmities, or making 
himself their judge. Had the church had no more unpeaceable 
pastors, we had not been in the sad condition that we are in, 
denying peace and concord, obstinately, to the servants of Christ, 
and militating, by forbidden arms, against one another. Long 
would it have been before he would have reviled, vexed, or hin- 
dered any true minister of Christ from preaching his gospel, or 
living in peace. 

IV. He was an honourer of his superiors, and obedient to 
authority, as far as would stand with his obedience to God. 
I never heard that, publicly or privately, he spake a disloyal or 
irreverent word of the king, or others in authority. After he 
had here preached awhile in London, he had a preferment to 
a parish church in Gloucestershire, of eight pounds per annum 
maintenance, and it had had, many and many years, no 
minister; and by the connivance, or forbearance, of the reve- 
rend Bishop of Gloucester, he there preached, for some years 
])ast, in peace ; of which I am past doubt that bishop 
hath no cause to repent. He used part of the Liturgy, not 
sticking at the censure of them that called this as their judg- 
ments led them. His judgment, his work, his age, and expe- 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. 73 

rlence, set him above all factious inducements, and taught him 
to please God, whoever were displeased. And when, at last, he 
was driven away, I never heard him speak with any bitterness. 
He is now where God's praises are celebrated, and whence no 
holy soul shall ever be cast out. 

V. His labour was such as beseemed one absolutely devoted to 
God : his preaching was very plain and familiar, fitted rather 
to country auditors than to curious ears ; and he chose accord- 
ingly; but it was wholly for faith, love, and holiness. He was 
much in catechising, and very moving in his familiar exhorta- 
tions, setting his whole heart uj)on the winning and edifying of 
souls, and longing for the success, as much as covetous mer- 
chants do for rich returns. He kept a private weekly meeting 
for the young people, to deal with them as acatechiser, by way of 
familiar questions ; which was much of his labour wherever he 
came. And he much rejoiced in the young people's willingness, 
and his success. The greatest benefice cannot please one that 
worketh for the fleece, so much as he was pleased that his un- 
wearied labour profited his flock. How thankful was he to 
God, and the bishop's connivance, for that short liberty to work. 
And to their honour I must say, that he praised not only the 
friendly peaceableness of the magistrates and gentry of the county, 
but also of his neighbour conformable ministers, that lived bv 
him in love, and envied not his liberty. 

This holy man so little cared for the hypocrite's reward, that 
no reproach of men did move him ; nor did he count his great 
lal)our or life dear to him, that he might subserve him, that came 
to seek and save the lost. He took that for the joyful finishing 
of his course, from which Satan and many mistaken men would 
have discouraged him. As it was one of the greatest aggrava- 
tions of Christ's sufl'erings, that he was crucified as a reputed 
sinner, even as a blasphemer, and an enemy to Ciesar, and a 
contemner of the law; so he knew that all things must be 
accounted dung that we may be found in Christ, and conform 
to him even in his sufferings. And if a Seneca could say, that 
no man more showeth himself to be a good man than he that 
will lose the reputation of being a good man, lest he should 
lose his goodness itself, and defile his conscience ; no wonder 
if this holy man accounted not his fame too dear to preserve his 
conscience. And, indeed, his friends and physicians suppose 
that his labours hastened his death. 

He came from the country to London, again to work, and. 



74 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

after his journey, preaching almost every day, and some days 
twice, even after he began to be ill, no wonder if the fever and 
dysentery, that followed, despatched him. At first he fell down 
in the pulpit, but, on recovering, went on ; and so again, after, 
till he was disabled. Some will censure him for imprudence in 
such labours ; but they must consider what it is to be above the 
inordinate love of life, and to long for the good of souls. And 
withal, that which much emboldened him, was, that he was 
wont to go somewhat ill into the pulpit, and to come better 
out : but the heat of the Reason, seventy-and-three years of age, 
gave fidy'^^age to the messenger which God did send to end his 
jj^j-jretlireVjfj ^]i )^jy sufferings. 

^iDulent t)^i,ifrg especially I commend to imitation. I. That he 
was Ve in instructing and catechising children by familiar 
questiotls than almost any man that I have known; which 
showe<l that he laboured not for applause. 2. He prayed as 
constantly as he ))reached, and no wonder, then, that his la- 
bours had much success. He omitted not his duty to God in 
his family, by the greatness of his public labours. And a man 
of prayer is a man of power with God. 

For my part, 1 never saw him till his coming to live in Lon- 
don^ I think not seven years ago, though I long heard of his 
successful preaching. But to show you how great his charity 
was, and what a loss I have myself, and how faulty I and others 
ar-e in too much forgetting of our friends, 1 will tell you that 
he/ hath oft told me that (as 1 remember, above twenty years) 
he never went to God in prayer but he particularly remembered 
me. But his love has not tempted me to say a word of him 
which I verily believe not to be true. And 1 conclude it with 
this profession, that I scarce remember the man, that ever I 
knew, that served God with more absolute resignation and de- 
votediiess, in simplicity and godly sinceiity, and not with 
fleshly wisdom, and lived like the primitive Christians, without 
any pride or worldly motives, or in whose case I had rather die. 
And, therefore, no wonder that he lived in peace of conscience, 
and died with Paul's words, " I have fought a good fight, I 
have finished my course. Henceforth is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness, which God, the righteous Judge, shall give." 
Which both Paul and he might say without any injury to Christ, 
or grace, or free justification. Thus did he finish his course in 
eminent fidelity, and constant peace of conscience j and what 
was wanting in fuller joy, is now made up. 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. 75 

Use 1. And what use should we make of all, but to imitate 
such examples, and not to be moved by any trials, nor count 
our lives dear that we may finish our course with joy, and the 
ministry which we have received of the Lord Jesus Christ, to 
testify the gospel of the grace of God ? Run the same race, 
and you may have the same joy and blessed end. Would you 
have more particular counsel how to finish your course with joy? 
I shall briefly give you some ; the Lord cause you and me to 
follow it !  •- 

L He that never began well, cannot finish well. Search the 
Scriptures, and advise with the wise ; prove all things, and hold 
fast that which is good. Take heed that you take not evil for 
good, and good for evil : set out in the way of truth. If you are 
out of the way, the faster and the further you go, the more you 
have to repent of, and lament. Be honest and faithful in seek- 
ing truth, and God will forsake not you. But go not with 
Balaam's covetous heart, and pre-engaged purpose. Oh ! fear 
a false heart, and false teachers, especially men that plainly pro- 
secute a worldly interest and design. 

n. If God, Christ, grace, and glory, be not enough for you, 
and seem not a sufficient portion, unless you have also prosperity 
to the flesh, undertake not the ministry, nor profess Christi- 
anity : for, without self-denial, contemjjt of the world, taking 
up the cross, and forsaking all, you have but the delusory name 
and image of Christianity. Absolutely devote yourselves to 
God, and hope not for great matters in the world. Except 
nothing from him ; suspect and fear the hypocrite's reserves ; 
serve Christ and trust him ; trust him with estate, and liberty, 
and life, , and soul, and all ; study your duty for your part, and 
cast your care on him for his part. Take no thought what ye 
shall eat or drink, but seek first God's kingdom and the righte- 
ousness thereof. You will never finish your course with joy, if 
you be not absolutely devoted to God. 

in. Preach to yourselves first, before you preach to the peo- 
ple, and with greater zeal. O Lord, save thy church from 
worldly pastors, that study and learn the art of Christianity, 
and ministry; but never had the christian, divine nature, nor 
the vital principle which must difference them and their services 
from the dead. Do you love other men's souls more than your 
own ? will a dead nurse give warm and vital milk ? Nothing 
doth more to make vou good jDreachers, than tluit which dotlr 
most to make you good Christians : 1 thank the Lord for the 



76 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

method of his grace and providence, that cast me divers 
years into the care of my own soul, before I purposed to 
preach to others, and made me read over the most of all our 
honest English practical divines, to make me a Christian in- 
deed, before I set myself to the artificial part. I repent not of 
this unusual method. 

IV. Let your joyful part of religion be most of your medita- 
tions : the infinite goodness of God, who is love; the wonder 
of man's redemption ; the treeness and fulness of the promise ; 
and the certainty and glory of our future state. These are the chief 
part of our religion, and of chiefest use ; which must resolve us, 
fix us, quicken us, and help us to live in thankfulness and 

joy. 

V. Above all, labour to strengthen faith in Christ, his word, 
and the life to come, and to live in the constant exercise 
thereof. Faith is it that showeth us the matter and reason of 
our duty and our joy. And if believing meditation have too 
long intermissions, our joy will also intermit. And if aflBiction 
or weakness make our present state to be grievous to us, and 
keep us from much present joy, yet faith and hope can see that 
which is to come. Many of God's faithful servants labour in 
peace of conscience and in hope,* who, through infirmities of the 
flesh, have no great joys : and yet may be well said to finish 
their course with jov, because everlasting joy is the end, which 
at the finishing of it they obtain. 

VI. Stick not at labour or suffering : hearken not to the 
repining and seducing flesh. Think nothing too much or too 
dear ; your work is good, and much better wages in itself than 
fleshly pleasure. Labour for God and souls, and keep out selfish- 
ness and carnal ends, and God will secure your reward. La- 
bour faithfully, and trust God confidently ; fulfil his command- 
ing will, whoever countermand you ; and then rest in his ac- 
cepting, disposing, and rewarding will, whatever befall you in the 
world. His will is the onlv infallible rule ; and his will is the 
only secure and felicitating rest. They that conscionably do his 
will, may comfortably say, " The will of the Lord be done;" as 
our brother in his sickness often did. 

His will made us, his will hath maintained and preserved us, 
and multiplied mercies to us. By his will we live, and by his 
will we die, and in his will we hope to rest for ever. Mr. 
Stubbs is gone before ; this will hath guided him, and this will 
hath received him. In the same good hand 1 am closely foN 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. // 

lowing him. Our separation is like to be very short ; and none 
of you will stay long behind : farewell, vain, vexatious world 1 
farewell, malignant, lying, cruel world ! Welcome life, light, 
and love, delightful, ))erfect, and eternal ! Let it be our care so 
to finish our course with joy, that we may hear, " Well done, 
good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 
Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall 
find so doing. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen. 

Use 2. But methinks, I should not let you, that have been the 
hearers of Mr. Stubbs, and such as he, go without some notice 
what it is that this text and this providence of God do call you 
specially to consider. Which is, 1. Whether you have fur- 
thered the joy of your teacher's course. 2. Whether you take 
care that your own course may be finished with joy, and why it 
must be done, and how. 

L Do not think that you are not much concerned in the 
matter, whether your teachers live and die in joy ; neither say, 
when they are dead, it is too late to mind that which is past 
and gone. As much as it is past, your account is not past. 
You may hear of it again in another manner than now you do. 

You are concerned in it, 1. For your own interest. 2. For 
their relation to you, and labours for you, in gratitude and hu- 
manity. 3. As you are obliged to the church of Christ, and 
regard its interest. And, 4. As you are men, and lovers of man- 
kind. 

L What is their ministry but the seeking of your salvation ? 
And what is their joy, but their success (next God's acceptance 
of their labours) . And if they miss of this, is it not you that 
will be the greatest sufferers ? If you fall out with your physi- 
cian, or cast away, or cast up, the only physic that can cure you, 
is not death more to you, than the loss of his labour and physic 
to him ? Shall the physician mourn over his dying patient, and 
shall the patient think it nothing to him ? If the child prosper 
not, or die, the nurse's sorrow is a smaller matter than the child's 
death. Is your unconverted, unpardoned, miserable state, and 
your danger of damnation, more to us than to you ? Will 
your hell be no more painful than our compassion ? And 
when your worm never dieth, and your fire will be unquench- 
able, our compassion will cease, and we shall grieve for you no 
more. 

The God that forbade Samuel to mourn any more for Saul, 
will cause us to apj)rove of his righteous judgment, and to re- 



7S A SERMON PREACHiiD AT THE 

joice in the glorifying of his justice on you. Abraham did but 
upbraid Dives with his former sinful pleasures. Your teachers, 
vea, your own parents, will not mourn in heaven for all the tor- 
ments that you undergo in hell, nor consent to ease you by a 
drop of water. (Luke xvi.) 

O what a pitiful sight it is now to see a teacher or parent 
mourning over the misery of ignorant, careless, wilful sinners, 
and they themselves rejoicing, and despising compassion, and 
laughing at the brink of hell. 1 heard of a passionate wife that 
cut her own throat to anger her husband. And they tell us, 
that the Circumcellian Donatists, that separated from other 
Christians, in a practical zeal for their own bishop, did murder 
themselves to bring the odium upon their adversaries as perse- 
cutors. 

But that poor sinners should merrily run towards hell, to 
anger their teachers, yea, that multitudes should do thus, what 
an instance is it of the madness of corrupted minds ! One 
saith, ' I will never hear him more :' and another saith, ' Shall 
I be catechised like a boy ?' and another saith, ' These preachers 
would make us mad, if we should believe and lay to heart what 
they say :' and another saith, ' Cannot one drink and be merry, 
and please his flesh, but he must be dannied for it ? Are none 
saved but puritans and precisians ?' And who is it that will 
have the worst of this at last ? God will not condemn us for 
your sins. If you will needs be miserable for ever, our desires 
and endeavours to have saved you shall not be lost at all to us. 
Oh ! how dear will impenitent sinners pay for all the tears and 
groans which now thev do constrain from their compassionate 
teachers ! 

That God who is love itself, and putteth love into parents for 
the education of their children, hath also put a tender love to 
souls, and especially to their own flocks, into every faithful 
minister of Christ ; which niaketh all their study, and labour, 
and sufferings, easy to them, or tolerable, at least, for the com- 
fortable hope which they have of men's salvation. Oh ! mav we 
but serve the Saviour of the world, in the gathering of his chosen 
flock ; and in bringing sinners from darkness to light, and from 
the power of Satan unto God, in making reconciled and adopted 
sons of those that were the enemies of God and holiness, what 
a joy would it be to every true minister of Christ. Did a damned 
wretch cry, ' Send Lazarus to warn my brethren, that they come 
not to tills place of torments ?' And shall not we rejoice 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBRS. 79 

if we cannot only keep sinners from those flames, but also 
help them to live in joy with Christ and holy spirits for 
ever? May we see souls in heaven for ever praising God, 
and know that this is the fruit of our labours and God's 
grace ? Yea, may we here see holy persons living to God, and 
calling upon his name, and rejoicing in hope, and serving, and 
honouring him in a wicked world, and say, ' These are they 
that God hath given to Christ by our embassage; how much 
sweeter will this be to us, than fleshly pleasures ; and will you 
not allow us the joy of your salvation ? If so, judge yourselves 
whether the loss of Christ, and grace, and heaven, and happi- 
ness, and all hope, will be a smaller loss to you, than the loss 
of such comfort, in your hoped welfare, will be to us. 

Oh ! all you that are yet unconverted, fleshly, worldly persons, 
strangers to a holy, heavenly life, under the ministry of such 
holy men as 1 am speaking of, think in time, I beseech you, of 
these two particulars. 

First. What a loss is it to lose the blessing and fruit of a holy 
ministry. God giveth not such to all the world. Many king- 
doms of heathens and infidels have no such help,s. Nay, most 
of the christian world have too little such ; all ears are not so 
happy as to hear the joyful tidings, the sound instructions, the 
close convictions, the earnest exhortations which you have heard, 
and these not mixed with the poison of heresies. And will you 
lose, will you wilfully lose all this ? What ! have the best of 
physicians, and be yet unhealed ? Have the best of teachers, 
that long, and labour, and pray for your salvation, and yet be 
ignorant unbelievers, or base neglecters of this great salvation ? 
Will you, as Capernaum, be lift up to heaven in mercies, and 
cast down to hell by your contempt. O that vou knew in time 
how great a loss it is to lose one counsel, one sermon, much 
more all the life and labours of one such a minister of Christ, 
that prayed, and studied, and laboured for your souls. Do you 
ever hope to be saved^ or not ? If not, despair is a beginning 
of hell. If yea, do you hope to be saved without preaching, or 
by it ? If without it, what reason have you for such hopes, 
when God hath made this his ordinary means ? Whatever hope 
they may have that can have no preaching, vou can have none 
that might have had it, and would not; or that had it, and 
despised and disobeyed it. But if it be by preaching that you 
hope to be instructed, converted, and saved, what preaching is 
it? Do you look for better than such as you have lost; or is 



80 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

smaller and weaker remedies like to cure you, that, to the last, 
despised greater ? 

Secondly. And remember that all this will aggravate your 
sin, and rise up in judgment against you to your condemnation. 
Do you think all these sermons, and prayers, and tears, shall 
never more be thought on ? Yes. God, who sent his ministers, 
sets not so light by their labours as you do. He knoweth,,and 
thy conscience shall one day consider, what importunate exhort- 
ations thou didst neglect. How, on such a day, on such a 
text, his minister earnestly pleaded with thy soul, and thou 
hadst nothing to say against the word, and yet thou wentest on 
and did not repent. Oh ! for your soul's sake, put us not to 
come in against you as witnesses to your condemnation, instead 
of rejoicing in your sanctification and salvation. 

Oh ! put us not to shake off the dust of our feet against you 1 
Turn not all our love and labours, to kindle a greater fire for 
your misery. Remember, that even the merciful Saviour of 
souls hath said that it shall be easier yet for Sodom and Gomor- 
rah in the day of judgment than for such. Fire from heaven 
declared the wrath of God against Sodom and Gomor- 
rah ; and will you yet have a more dreadful fire ? And 
what moveth you to all this ! Do they persuade you to any 
thing dishonest, or to your hurt ? Will you despise all our 
counsel, and go to hell rather than love God, and learn and do his 
holy will, and live in the delightful hopes of heaven, and in love, 
peace, and good works, towards one another ? This is all that 
we persuade you to : and will it not torment your consciences 
for ever to remember that this was all that you fled from God 
for, and that you avoided more than sin and hell ? 

Secondly. I have told you that your own interest is more 
concerned in the success of our ministry, than our joy. I next 
tell you that it is inhuman ingratitude to deny us such a joy as 
this. Our relation and labours for you make it our due ; shall 
children deny their parents the comfort of their love, when it is 
only their well-doing and happiness that they desire ? As 
Christ and angels rejoice at a sinner's conversion, so do true 
ministers in their degree. And is it not base ingratitude to deny 
Christ, angels, and ministers, this joy, by refusing, obstinately, 
to be saved ? 

Tiiirdly. And why do you take on you to be Christians, and 
no more regard the interest of the church of Christ ? Those 
are the church's enemies that will not give up themselves to 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STIJBCS. 81 

Christ, that would not have him to reign over them, and subdue 
their fleshly minds and lusts. (Luke xix. 2/ ; Rom. viii. 6, 7, 
13.) That hinder the success of the ministers of Christ that 
would build up his church. And what is our building but to 
bring home souls ? Our office is not of man, but of Christ. He 
giveth us our commission, though man, deliver it us. He com- 
manWeth you to receive and obey his word which we deliver to 
you, and terribly threateneth those that will not. (Heb. xiii. 
17 ; John xiii. 20; Matt. ix. 36, 37 ; Luke ix. 18, &c.) Is it 
not rebellion against him, then, to be refusers ? Nay, what do 
you but as much as in you lieth to destroy the ministerial office, 
and to destroy the church of God. For if we are but to stand 
here and talk to you a while, and not to win your souls to God, 
this is but an image or carcass of the ministry, as to the success 
and end. As you mortify all God's ordinances, and turn them into 
a lifeless image, so you do the ministry to you ; and make it to 
you but " as sounding brass or tinkling cymbal." Is it worth 
your tithes, or are we worthy of your revere<ice, merely to talk 
to you, and never to convert and save you ? 

O the blindness of the minds of the ungodly! If the 
seekers, or other heretics, do but cry down ministers and uni- 
versities, you justly rise up against them as enemies to 
Christianity and the Church ; and yet you yourselves destroy 
their ministry as to yourselves, and would have but the name, 
and garb, and image. He that would have the tenth part of all 
men's revenues to be settled to maintain physicians in the land, 
and yet would not have men to be healed by them, is more fool- 
ish, and a worse enemy to the country, than he that would have 
none at all. 

Fourthly. And as you are lovers of mankind, you should not 
deny us so reasonable a joy as your own salvation, especially to 
such as', for the hope of this, renounce the pleasures and ho- 
nours of the world. If you could do well enough without in- 
structers, Christ would not have appointed them ; and if there 
had beep any better way for your salvation, for our parts, 
we could have found out work and callings that would better 
have served us for worldly ends ; and we could live idle, and 
seek preferment, and flatter, and please you, and neglect your 
souls in this calling that we are in. 

But, then, wo to us, as well as ' ....ember who hath 

said, " Obey them that have the rule over you, for they watch for 
your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it 
vol.. xvm, G 



82 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

with joy, and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you," 
(Heb. xiii. 17.) He is not worthy to be called a man, that will 
deny any joy or good to his neighbour, which doth no hurt to 
himself or others ? But, consider whether he be not herein 
worse than a devil, that will deny another the comfort of seeing 
him happv, and freely doing him the greatest good ? 

Do you not see, now, how much you are concerned, that you 
further our joyful finishing of our course ? [ beseech you, 
let conscience judge you, before God judge you. Speak as 
before God. Have you been turned by them fiom darkness to 
light; and from unbelief to a lively faith ; and from a fleshly to a 
spiritual life ; and from worldly love and hopes to the love of 
God, and the hope of endless joys in heaven ? Are you at a 
point with the flattering world and fleshly lusts ; and have you 
heartily taken God and heaven for your portion, and Christ for 
your Saviour, and the Holy Spirit for your sanctifier and com- 
forter, and the word of God for your law and charter, and the 
servants of God for your pleasantest company, and the service 
and praises of God for your best and pleasantest work, and sin 
for your worst and greatest enemy ? Jf this be so, bless God 
that made the word so effectual to you. But if it be not, you 
have wronged your teachers in robbing them of the joy which 
was their due. This is it that we studied, prayed, and preached 
for : this is it that we live and labour for. This was to have 
been the chief part of our reward from you. It is not your 
tithes and money, without this, that will satisfy any but an hire- 
ling. 

Many old canons of the Church forbade ministers to receive 
any offerings or gifts from unbelievers and wicked men ; as if 
thay had said, ' Keep your money to yourselves, and think not 
to stop our mouths with gifts.' Give up yourselves to Christ, or 
you give us nothing. I tell you it is you that are our great 
afflicters, and you shall answer for it. It is much more to us to 
lose the joy of your salvations, than to lose our estates or liber- 
ties, or worldly honour and reputation : and you can never be 
saved if you will not be sanctified, nor happy if you will not be 
holy. O, yet look back and remember what counsel God sent 
you by his ministers, and what importunities they used with you; 
and if you have denied them yet, their joy, O pity yourselves if 
you regard not •^{yhv do vou'^'^y ^"IP^ yourselves still the present 
joy of a holy life, \uiki l..* j- ^\-l-isting joy of heavenly glory, 
which yet you may attain. 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. 83 

II. And have not you also a course that should he finished 
with joy, as well as we ? O sirs ! time is precious, short, and 
hasty. This race is for all eternity, and is to he run but once. 
Heaven will be quickly won or lost for ever. Can any one hear 
and believe this who hath the heart of a man, and not be 
awakened presently to make haste ? Dare you die in an unholy, 
unpardoned state ? Dare you go out of the world more fool- 
ishly than the unjust steward out of his stewardship, before you 
have provided another habitation ? Dare you appear before 
God without his Spirit and image, and without the wedding gar- 
ment of sincere holiness, and so without a part in Christ? O 
sirs ! no heart can now conceive what a dreadful appearing that 
will be. Alas, sirs ! we are dying, we are all dying, one to-day 
and another to-morrow, and we are all quickly gone; and do 
you take no care whether you shall go next, when God bids you 
care, in a manner, for nothing else ? Your course v/ill soon be 
finished. Shall it be with joy, or the beginning of everlasting 
misery? Oh ! resolve now, resolve this day, as you would speed 
for ever. God's grace must save you ; but it lieth more on your 
present choice and resolution than careless sinners will well con- 
sider of. 

Quest. But how should I finish my course with joy ? 

Answ. You may gather it from what is said already. Are 
you willing, if I tell you to do your part ? Asking questions 
will not serve instead of work. 

I. Will you see that you perish not through your own mere 
carelessness, and wilful neglect of what you can do for your 
soul ? If you will not do what you can, what good will directions 
do you ? If men will live as if they had not reason and self- 
love, and knew not that they nuist die, or care not what be- 
comes of them for ever, what can one do for the safety of such 
men ? As men cannot dispute, that agree not in some granted 
principles, so we cannot lead you to Christ by the gospel, if you 
agree not in some principles of luunanity and self-preservation. 
A sottish carelessness is the undoing of the most. 

II. Set yourselves to study the g :,pel of Christ, till you un- 
derstand what salvation is, and what is the way to it, and know 
the nature of true religion : and then you will see in it so much 
truth, so much necessity, so much amiable beauty and fitness to 
make you wise, good, and happy, that it will win your hearts 
to love and pleasure in it. 

III. Study thoroughly the true meaning of vour baptismal 

G 2 



84 A SF.RMON PKEACIIED AT THE 

covenant, and solemnly, before God, eonsent to it with tongue 
and heart, and live as under the obligation of it all your days ; 
and also live in the belief of all the promises of it, and expeeta- 
tions of all the benefits promised. The sum of all your religion 
for duty and comfort is comprised in your baptismal covenant. 
Though it be an error to be oft baptised, it is a hundred times 
worse error, never truly to understand, consent, and practise, 
after so solemn a vow and covenant. 

IV. When you have given up yourselves to God, as your God 
and Father^ your Saviour and your Sanctifier, remember that 
your great relations have engaged you in the greatest business, 
and the highest hopes in all the world. And, therefore, now 
live as fellow-citizens of the saints and the household of God, 
that have nobler converse, work, and hope, than worldly unbe- 
lievers. Remember, now, with whom and what you have to do, 
and that it is not a by and trifling business, but the best and 
greatest that you have undertaken. 

V. Join with those that are for heaven, whose counsel and 
company may be your help ; separate from no Christians by 
way of divisions, further than God commandeth you ; and do 
not easily forsake the judgment of tlie generalitv of godly men: 
but make few your familiar friends, and tbose such as are most 
wise, and humble, and sincere, and cheerful in the belief and 
hopes of glory, and suitable to your use and converse. 

VI. In all doubts and difficulties of religion, judge not hastily 
before you have thoroughly heard and tried. Prefer a suspended 
judgment, that stayeth till it have tried, before a rash and 
hasty judgment of what you know not, and may repent of. 

VII. Carefully govern your fleshly appetites and sense, and 
avoid needless temptations, especially to sinful pleasure : for lust 
will conceive else, and bring forth sin ; and sin being finished 
will bring forth death. You will find sin and comfort contrary. 

VII I. Especially, fear the flatteries of the world, and hopes 
of a pleasant life to the flesh on earth, and an itch after riches, 
plenty, or preferment, and designs for the attaining them ; love 
not the world, nor the thing^ that are in the world, the lust of the 
flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life, the portion of the 
wicked ; for if any man love the world (for the flesh and itself) 
so far the love of the Father is not in him. (I John ii. 15, IG.) 

IX. Value precious time, and) live not in idleness; spend 
time as you would hear ot if ai last, and as those that know 
what it is to have ijut one short life to determine where they 



DEATH OF MR. HENRY STUBBS. 85 

shall live for ever. Hear and abhor all pastimes and triflings 
that would rob you of your time, 

X. Converse daily in heaven while you are on earth ; let faith 
still see it; let hope still make after it, and let love desire it, and 
delightfully remember it. There is our Father, our Saviour, our 
Comforter, our friends, with whom we must live for ever. There 
let our hearts be as the place of all our hopes, and let the strain 
of your religion be as heavenly as you can; let it consist in love, 
in unity and concord, in the joyful praises of Jehovah, and in a 
pure, holy life. This will raise you above the sinful love of this 
transitory life, and the fear of death, and give you the foretastes 
of heaven on earth, while you do God's will on earth as it is 
done in heaven. But it is the Spirit and grace of Christ which 
you must 1)eg and seek, and on which you must obediently de- 
pend, for the performance of all this, and not upon your incon- 
stant wills. Without Christ we can do nothing; but by his 
strengthening us we can do all things necessary to our salvation; 
and we are more than conquerors, even in our patient sufferings, 
through the Captain of our salvation, who hath conquered 
for us. 

Thus we may finish our course with joy. 



\ 



"»^la 



'^fe 



TRUE BELIEVERS CHOICE 

AND 

PLEASURE. 

INSTANCED IN THE EXEMPLARY 

LIVE OF MRS. MARY COXE, 

THE LATE WIFE OF 
DR. THOMAS COXE. 



TO MY 



WORTHY AND MUCH HONOURED FRIEND, 
DR. THOMAS COXE. 



Sir, 

Though your great kindness and care of the health of me 
and mine much oblige me to you, and your personal worth 
much more, and your worthy children command my great 
respect and love, yet none of these should have moved me to 
say a word of all that I have said of your deceased wife, which 
I had not verily believed to be true, and it was God's grace in 
her which much more commanded it than all my debt to you 
and yours. 

She was so exemplary, as that I think it my duty, for the 
good of others, to make this publication of her character, and 
of this sermon. 

 But one great defect is here to be notified to the reader, 
that almost all her secret way of duty, and particular converse, 
is omitted, which you that were still with her could have 
described, for I thought meet to say no more than I either 
knew myself, or was obvious, and known to many. 

The words which I heard but yesterday from the mouth of 
your brother in discourse, were such as I doubt can be said 
of few, that in so many jears, from the hour of her marriage 
to her death, she was never known to do one disobliging action, 
or speak one disobliging word, of or to any one of her husband's 
kindred or relations. 

Had it seemed meet to you, or to your worthy and inge- 
nuous son, and your pious daugliter (the true image of her 



90 THE DEDICATION., 

mother,) to have been the describer of the soul and Hfe of 
this exemplary saint, how much more fully could you have 
done it than I, that was so much less acquainted with her. 

She is gone home, and you and I are at the door. The 
Lord give us so to live by faith on the promise and love of 
God, and the things unseen, that thence we may daily fetch 
om- ruling motives, and establishing consolations, and not from 
a transitory, deceitful world ; and, following Christ and his saints 
under the cross, may with them possess the incorruptible crown, 
and be found at his call among those that love his appearing, 
and be for ever with the Lord. Amen, Amen, 
November 1!), 1669. 



A TRUE BELIEVER'S 

CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 



PSALM cxix. 111. 



Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever ; for they 
are the rejoicing of my heart. 

A TEXT that speaketh of rejoicing, and that in an heritage, and 
an heritage for ever, may seem unsuitable to a mournful funeral ; 
but it was chosen by oiir deceased friend, and not without jus- 
tifiable reason. That which was a day of sorrow to us, was a 
day of rest and joy to her, and it was meet that she should 
foresee that joy, and, tasting it in the first-fruits, should commend 
that to us which she had found so sweet, and would bring us 
to the felicity which she hath now obtained. If the damned 
sensualist, (Luke xvi.,) would have had one sent from another 
world, in hope to save his unbelieving brethren, no wonder if a 
holy person were desirous that others should partake of her 
pleasure and inheritance, and, like the lepers that found the 
siege of Samaria raised, would not feast and rejoice alone. She 
chose this, no doubt, as that which was most lively imprinted 
on her own heart, with a just desire that it might be imprinted 
also on the hearts of others, that so we may not only rejoice 
with her that now rejoiceth in the heavenly possession, but, as 
Paul saith, " Every man may prove his own works, and so may 
have rejoicing In himself alone, and not (only) in another." 
(Gal. vi. 4.) Let us, therefore, by God's assistance, so improve 
these words, as may conduce to this desired end. 

By God's " testimonies" here is meant that supernaturally 
Revealed law and promise, which was possessed by the church 
of the Jews, as God's peculiar people, supposing the law of 
nature, and the common mercies which God had given to all 
the rest of fallen mankind. Both the precepts and promises 
are here included, the types, and their signification of the thing 
typified. 



92 A TRUE believer's 

*' I have taken them," signifieth, I have believed them, im- 
plying that God revealed them ; and I have accepted them, 
implying that God had offered them ; and I have chosen them, 
implying the preferring them before all competitors ; and I 
have trusted them, as signifying their special use for the guid- 
ing, stablishing, quieting, and saving of the soul. 

" For an heritage," signifieth, 

1. As tliat which I trust to as my security for an heavenly 
inheritance. 

2. And as that which now is my best portion while I am in 
the way, including the things connoted. 

3. And as that which I prefer before all wealth, and worldly 
heritage. Alexander and Caesar had larger dominions than 
David, but neither of them was king of God's peculiar people, 
that had possession of his oracles, nor had the promises which 
he had, that Christ should be his son and successor on his 
throne. 

The words " for ever," relate both to the inheritance as 
everlasting, and also to David's choice, as immutably here- 
upon determined. 

They are said to be the rejoicing of the heart aptitudinally in 
themselves, which caused him to choose them, and actually, 
because he had chosen, believed, loved, and obeyed them. 

So that this is the sum of the sense : ' Worldly men make 
choice of a worldly inheritance, and hopes, and on this they 
trust; and in this they seek their chiefest pleasure: but I, though 
blessed largely with thy bounty, have suffered many afflictions 
in the world : but thy word hath been my guide, and thy pro- 
mises still fulfilled to me ; and experience hath confirmed my 
faith and resolution to lay all my hope upon thy word or cove- 
nant, both for this life and that to come, and from it I seek and 
fetch my comfort : it hath been my joy in all my sorrows, and 
In it to the last will I rejoice.' This is the sense of the text, 
from wliich we are all taught, — 

Doct. That God's covenant or testimonies are the true be- 
liever's heritage for ever!, and as such are trusted and chosen by 
him, and tlierefore, among all the allurements and the crosses of 
this world, are the support and rejoicing of his heart. 

In the handling this I shall show you, 

I. What it is in God's testimonies which make them fit to 
be our heritage and our joy. 

II. How they are called an heritage for ever. 



CHOICE AND PLKASUUE. 93 

III. How they are so taken by believers. 

IV. How far they are their joy. 

I. In God's covenant or testimonies there is, 1. The Author. 
2. The Mediator. 3. The applying Agent, 4. The ascertain- 
ing revelation. 5. The donative or benefit given. 6. The 
guiding doctrine and law. 7. And the persons or subjects 
connoted, to whom all this is suited, to be an heritage for ever, 
and the rejoicing of their hearts. 

1. The author is God, the Lord of us and all, in whose hand 
and will is our soul and body, our life and death, our health and 
sickness, our joy and sorrow ; whose loving-kindness is life, and 
better than life ; (Psalm Ixiii. 3 ;) who, if he will, can make us 
whole and happy, and who hath told us what he will do by his 
covenant. He wanteth not love, for he is love itself; essential, 
infinite self-love, communicating to his creatures such love as 
his wisdom seeth meet for them to receive. The love that gave 
us the Mediator and the covenant, will certainly perform it ; 
it was of mercy that he promised, it is now of mercy and justice 
that he performs it. He wanteth not wisdom to rule the world 
by truth and goodness, and needeth not deceit and falsehood 
hereunto, nor to flatter such worms as we into obedience. Nor 
doth he, that maintaineth heaven and earth, want power to 
make good all his word ; nor is there any adverse power to 
make it difficult, and hazard the success. Indeed, he that se- 
riouslv considereth the divine perfection, will think it were more 
strange and incredible that God should not bless and glorify 
the faithful accordin"- to his word. If it be credible that the 
sun sends forth its illuminating and enlivening beams so far and 
wide, to so many millions of various creatures, (though it scorch 
the unsuitable objects that are too near,) it is credible that God, 
who is infinite goodness, should bless the capable with heavenly 
glory. And did we not see that sin maketh many uncapahle, 
it would be harder to reason to believe that all shall not be 
blessed by such a God, than that all the faithfid shall be blessed. 
And we find, that though both be hard to unbelievers, they are 
of the two more hardly i)rought to believe the tlireatenings, than 
the promises, of God. What wonder is it that infinite power, 
wisdom, and love, should make some of his creatures blessed by 
communication, and man in especial, when he hath made him 
capable of it? 

And what greater satisfaction and security can a fearful, 
troubled, dying man have, than the infallible word of the most 



04 A TRUE believer's 

glorious God ? Surely he that firmly believeth it to be his 
word, can hardly choose but believe that it is true, and meet for 
our most quieting trust. 

2. The angels and Moses were the mediators of the Jewish 
law; but the eternal Word incarnate is the Mediator of the new 
covenant ; promised only before, to iVbraham, David, &:c., yea, 
to Adam, but sent, when made man, in the fulness of time. 
(Gal. iv. 4.) And it must needs be a sure and excellent cove- 
nant which is made and confirmed by such a INiediator, named 
in the prophecy, " Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The 
Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace :" (Isa. ix. 6 :) of the 
increase of his government and peace there is no end. He is 
the heir of all things, by whom the worlds were made ; the 
briglitness of God's glory ; the express image of his person ; 
and upholding all things by the word of his power ; made better 
than angels, having by inheritance obtained a more excellent 
name; whom all the angels of God do worship; and for whom 
thev disdain not to minister to the faithful. It is a sure and 
comfortable doctrine which must have such a Preacher sent 
from heaven, and a certain covenant which hath such a Avon- 
derful Mediator. 

3. But it is not like the powerless word of man, but the 
holy Spirit of the Father and the Son undertaketh to accom- 
pany it, and, as the arm of God, to set it home, and make it 
effectual to its proper ends : we have not only heard this word, 
but felt it ; as we hear and feel the powerful winds, though we 
see them not, and perceive not whence they come, or whither 
they go ; all have felt this that are born of the Spirit. (John 
iii. 8.) God spake not like man when he said, " Let there be 
light ;" (Gen. i. ;) and he teacheth not like man, when his Spirit, 
by his word, doth quicken, illuminate, and regenerate souls, it 
is a sure covenant that hath such an inward Mediator, such an 
agent, and advocate, and witness of Christ, speaking operatively 
from God to man, and speaking prevailingly in man to God. 

4. And the sure manner of revelation doth make it fit to be 
our trust and joy. As it beareth on itself the image or impress 
of God's power, wisdom, and goodness ; so by powerful mira- 
cles, and manifold wisdom, and mimeasurable goodness, it hath 
been delivered, sealed, defended,\and jjropagated; and by a 
comunicated spirit, or life, light, andyove, in all sound believers, 
confirmed to this day. 

5. And what is it that with such glory and certainty is de- 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 95 

livcred to us from heaven ? It is a deed of gift, (thus sealed by 
Christ's blood and Spirit,) of grace, and glory j of Christ to be 
our Head, and Lord, and Husband, and Life, n and with him j 
(John V. 10, 12;) of the free pardon of all ou- sins, how many 
and great soever, and of reconciliation with God, and of jus- 
tification by the blood and righteousness of our Redeemer, and 
of the continued teaching, preserving, sanctifying, strengthen- 
ing, comforting aid of the Holy Spirit; of adoption and title to 
the heavenly inheritance, that being sons, and having the Spirit 
of the Son, by it we shall be sealed up to glory, and be made 
the habitation and temples of God. In a word, it is a promise 
of this life, so far as that all things shall work together for our 
good; (Rom. viii. 28 ;) and of the life which is to come, where 
we shall live in glory with Christ for ever. This is the sure and 
blessed covenant of God. 

6. And what is the doctrine and laws of God? are they not 
also suited to our trust and joy ? Is it not a delightful thing to 
read that which no mere man could tell us ? How God made 
man and all the world, and what laws he gave him. How sin 
came into the world, and death by sin. How God hath go- 
verned the world from the beginning, and how he hath redeemed 
us. What Christ is, and what he hath done, and what he will 
do. And what man is, and what he should be, and what he shall 
be, and do, and have for ever. 

And what is there in God's laws but that which is our safety, 
and should be our joy ? If good laws be the safety and honour 
of kingdoms, are not God's laws so to all the world ? What 
an ugly dungeon were the world without them ; and wliat a 
worse than brutish thing were man ! Oh ! how happy were 
man, were families, were cities, were kingdoms, if all had made 
God's laws their rule, and all men's laws and lives had been 
ruled by them ! Then there would have been none but wise, 
just, and holy rulers, that would have governed for God, and 
for the common good, and princes would have been indeed the 
fathers of their countries, and masters of their families, abhor- 
ring all contradicting selfish interests, and all injustice, tyranny, 
and oppression. Then subjects would have, with reverence, 
readiness, and fidelity, obeyed God, in obeying and honouring 
their parents, princes, and masters. Then all men would love 
their neighbours as themselves, and do as they would be done 
by ; love and justice would reign among all, and injury, par- 
tiality, and selfishness would be abhorred. And which of us 



69 A TRUE believer's 

cannot say, ^ Had I been ruled by God's laws, I had escaped 
all the guilt, the shame, the corrections, the terrors that 
have befallen n e. It is our sin against that sacred rule, 
which is the cause of all our sorrows, else what peace might 
we have had in our consciences, in our bodies, in our houses, 
in our cities, and country, as having peace with God. God's 
strictest laws are but his strict forbidding us to destroy 
or hurt ourselves and others, as you forbid fire, and water, and 
knives, and gunpowder, surfeiting, and poison, to your children, 
for their preservation. , 

Oh ! how glad would every true Christian be, if God's laws were 
more fully written on his heart, and he could but be and do 
all that God therein commandeth. For want of this perfect con- 
formity it is that he crieth out with Paul, " To will is present 
with me, but to do I find not. O wretched man that I am, wiao 
shall deliver me from this body of death !" 

How joyful should we be if we could but trust God, and love 
him, and obey him, and be free from sins as much as the law 
of God commandeth us. We testify, therefore, that the law is 
holy, and just, and good, while we repent that we 1)reak it, and 
wish that we could better keep it. For this would keep our 
souls from guilt and shame, and terrors, and our bodies from 
muth calamity and pain ; all God's ways are pleasantness, and 
all his paths are peace. Great peace have they that love his 
law, and nothing shall offend them ; let papists hide it, and 
accuse it, and let the ignorant and malignant scorn it, yet will 
believers judge it fit for their confidence and delight. 

7 And the rather, because that all this is admirably suited to 
our necessity. We are undone sinners, and had perished for 
ever, without a Saviour, and a pardoning covenant. We are 
dark and foolish, and should have erred to damnation, without 
this sure and heavenly guide. We are beset with temptations ; 
and how should we overcome them without God's promise of 
better things than this world can give us ? We are under ma- 
nifold pains and sorrows, and must shortly die ; and how should 
we undergo all this in peace if we had not hopes of future hap- 
piness, and of that which will compensate all our losses ? We 
have a life of service to God whicl^must be faithfully and cheer- 
fidly done, and how should we so dV) it without good persuasion 
of this reward ? He that conieth to^od, must believe that God 
is, and that he is the rewarder of lb em that diligently seek him. 

Oh ! then, what a joyful word should that be to us which is 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 97 

sent from God himself thus to guide, to secure, to strengthen 
and comfort us, by the promise of all that we need, and can 
well desire, sealed by the blood, miracles, and Spirit of Christ, 
and bearing the impress of God the author, and that to such 
miserable sinners as we are. 

II. But how are God's testimonies our heritage for ever, 
when in heaven we shall have no need of Scriptures ? 

Answ. 1. " For ever" sometimes signifieth to the end of my 
life, as David saith, " I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for 
ever," (Psalm xxiii.,) and so oft. And so God's testimonies 
were taken for his heritage, or chiefest portion, and rejoicing 
constantly, and to his life's end, as securing him of an everlast- 
ing heritage. 

2. And the heritage promised by them, and connoted, is ever- 
lasting ; and the holiness imprinted by them on his soul will be 
perpetuated and perfected in heaven. 

III. What is it for believers to take God's testimonies for 
their heritage ? 

Answ. It is supposed that the flattering world, and the plea- 
sures of the flesh, do stand here in competition, and are by 
manv taken for their best, and this because they either think 
not of, or believe not, the better things of a life to come, and the 
comforts of a holy prospect and preparation. In this case, every 
true believer, seriously weighing all, and what can be said on 
both sides, what the world and flesh will be and do for him, and 
what God, and grace, and glory will be and do, doth wisely 
discern and resolve, 

1. That the world is vanity, and sin abominable. 

2. That God is all-sufficient, infinitely good, and to be 
trusted, and his word most wise and just and true, and there- 
fore, though his belief have its imperfections and assaults, yet 
he so far believeth God's promises to be sure, and his precepts 
to be good and necessary, as that he resolveth here to place 
his hope and trust for his whole felicity in this life and 
hereafter, and to give up himself to the study, love, and 
obedience of God's laws, as the guide and security, and 
comfort of his soul, renouncing all the flatteries of the flesh 
and world which stand against it, and arc preferred by 
sensual unbelievers. 

In few words, this was David's fiiitli and choice, and this is 
the faith and choice of all true believers, by which we may 

VOL. XVJII. II 



98 A TRUE believer's 

discern whether we are such, though all have not the same 
degree of trust and fixed resolution, yet all have this much in 
sincerity. 

IV. Quest. But can all say, ' They are the rejoicing of my 
heart.' 

Answ. All of them can say, 

1. We see that there is in the Avord and covenant of God 
in Christ, unspeakably more matter fit to be our joy, than in all 
the pleasures, and wealth, and honours of this world. 

2. And therefore we prefer it before them all, in our desire 
and our fixed choice. 

3. And we find so much goodness and suitableness to us in 
this sacred word, as that we love it as our food and our security, 
though not with the appetite and love which we desire. 

4. And though we have not that joy in this our love to it, 
and in the hopes of promised glorv, which a stronger faith and 
love would cause, yet we find that it is our best, and we perceive 
more good in it than in sinful pleasures, and the true and chief 
support of our souls in all our fears and troubles, and in our 
prospect of another life, is from the love and word of God through 
Christ. 

And though our pleasure in it be not sensual and luscious, it 
is much more solid and satisfying to our souls, than we find in 
any other thing. 

And the sweetness which we taste in it, is greater at some 
times than at other. 

And the comfort which we have in our bodily health and 
welfare is much, as it signifieth to us the love of God perform- 
ing to us his promises, and helping us to serve him with joy and 
gladness, in order to everlasting joy. 

This is the ordinary case of true believers, though extraordi- 
narily : 1. Some tempted, troubled, melancholy Christians, 
overwhelmed with grief and fears, do not perceive this much in 
themselves. 2. And the healthfuller, stronger sort of Christians 
have yet a more sweet and constant pleasure, in the testimonies 
and ways of God. 

Having said thus much for explication, a little more may 
suffice to show you why and whence it is that believers receive 
the testimonies of God with this '^Sxed choice, and trust, and 
pleasure. - < 

1. It is from honest self-love and interest. They certainly 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 99 

find that it is their best, that it is true and good, and that 
there is nothing else to be found in this Avorld that will serve 
instead of it, to be a quieting security, guide, and comfort to the 
soul. They perceive what they need, and that nothing else 
can supply those needs. This must be their hope, or they must 
despair. 

2. It is from holy suitableness and love to God, and the good- 
ness which they relish in his word. As God giveth every living 
creature an appetite suitable to his food and benefits, so doth 
he to the new creature. Holiness is mostly the soul's appetite 
to God, and spiritual good. The word which promiseth and 
guideth us to the incorruptible crown of glory, is an incorruptible 
seed; (1 Peter i. 3-— 6 ;) and it is our milk or food; (1 Peter ii. 
2;) and by it we are made partakers of the divine nature; (2 
Peter i. 4 ;) and it is the ingrafted or innaturalized word which 
is able to save our souls. {James i. 21.) And as the whole 
stock is marvellously turned to serve a little graft which is 
plantedsinto it, and as if it had lost its former kind, doth bring 
forth only the fruit of the graft, so is God's word implanted in 
us to the change of our nature, and our fruits ; and it is no 
sound appetite which hath no pleasure. No wonder if a strong 
belief do cause us to *' rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of 
glory, that we may receive the end of our faith, our salvation." 
(1 Peter i. 6—8.) 

All God's connnands and promises have, by the divine im- 
pression of them on our souls, left somewhat there v/hich is 
like them, and connatural ; even a holy light to understand 
their truth and goodness, and a holy love to them and the 
things revealed, to desire them, and take pleasure in them, and 
a holy liveliness to pursue the good desire. And this is the 
writing of the law and gospel on our hearts ; and in this sense 
it may be said that God, that Christ, that the Holy Ghost is in 
our souls, and dwelleth in us, even as an efficient principle, and 
a beloved object, and desired end. And if this be all that they 
intend, those called quakers have no reason to accuse us for not 
preaching a God and a Christ within us. And if this be it that 
is meant by those who tell the world, that by saying that the 
Holy Ghost is in us, we are more arrogant than the pope, that 
claimeth a visible monarchy ; we glory in this joyful privilege, 
this earnest, seal, and first-fruits' of Hfeavenly glory, and humbly 
thank him, who hath vouchsafed it, and assured us of it in his 
word. (Rom. viii. 9, 11; 2 Cor. vi. IG ; Eph. iii. 17 ; 1 John 

H 2 



100 A TRUE believer's 

iv. 13 ; 1 Cor. iii. IG ; 2 Tim. i. 14 ; 1 John iii. 24, and iv. 12, 
15, Hi.) And if the scorners have any belief of the Scriptures, 
let them read and tremble, " If any man have not the Spirit of 
Christ, the same is none of his." (Rom. viii. 9.) 

III. I have given yon the sense and the reason of this doc- 
trine; we come hither to learn what use to make of it. And I 
think if I preach also on the copy or impress of this text, whose 
relics we have laid in the dust, and tell us what use she made 
of such doctrine, it will be a considerable help to our own appli- 
cation. 
/ I have never loved or used to adorn sepulchres, or hang out 
specious signs at the door of pride, ambition, tyranny, or world- 
liness, to entice others to imitate prosperous sinners in their 
sin ; were I to preach at the funeral of an Alexander or a 
Csesar, I had rather say that which may save the living from fol- 
lowing them in pride and bloodshed, than to tempt men to the 
like sin and misery. 

To praise damned men, becatise they had the pleasures of sin 
for a season, is to be more foolish and uncharitable than the 
tormented gentleman, (Luke xvi.,) who would have had one sent 
from the dead to warn his brethren, lest they should follow him 
to that place of torment, by preferring fleshly pleasure and 
prosperity, before the life and hope of saints. Our praises ease 
not tormented souls. It is a mark of the citizens of the holy 
city, that " A vile person is contemned in their eyes ;" but 
withal, that they " Honour those that fear the Lord ; for God 
doth honour them." 

My duty, therefore, to God, and my love to holiness and 
holy persons, and to you in special that are her cliildren and 
other relations, commandeth me to tell you (though some of 
you know it better than 1) that our deceased friend, in the 
course of her pilgrimage, did speak of herself by her constant 
practice, what David professed in this text. Thougli I speak 
but from eighteen or nineteen years* acquaintance with her my- 
self, I have full evidence of it for the former part of her life ; 
and my acquaintance with her by neiglibourhood^ and mutual 
esteem, hath been sucli as hath given nie more advantage to 
know her, than most have had ; tl^ough I remember not ever to 
have spoken with one person that iVtii known her, that did not 
take her for an extraordinary ami eminent example of the piety 
and virtues which 1 shall mention. 

If the hypocrites seek the piaise of men, verily they have 



CHOICE AND PLKASURE. 101 

their reward (a ))oor reward) ; but she, seeking first the king- 
«lom of God, and tlie honour that is of him, had this cast in as 
overphis. I never lieard that any person of anv persuasion 
did speak evil of her, or question her eminent sincerity and 
worth. 

Had she come to tliis by sinful compliance, she might have 
feared Christ's words : " Wo to you when all men speak Avell 
of you;" (Luke vi. 26;) but as God hath not left himself 
without witness to the very heathens, so he hath not left inno- 
cency, wisdom, love, peace, and piety, without some witnesses 
in the consciences of the ungodly; few of them have the face to 
speak against these in their proper names ; and if he could not 
dishonour them by our mixed faults, and by the slanderous af- 
fixed names of heresy, schism, disobedience, hypocrisy, fanati- 
cism, folly, and what else ignorance and malignity can devise, 
the devil knew not how to dishonour holiness and virtue, nor 
to encourage the blind world to so common a hatred and op- 
position of them, as they show in all nations of the earth. 

When she chose this text, it was from such a suitable spirit, 
as all men choose the food, the friends and company, the busi - 
ness and discourse, which by agreeableness they most delight 
in. -That she made God's word and covenants (connoting God's 
love, Christ, grace, and glory, the spring, matter, and end) her 
best, her heritage, her all, contemning all that stood in compe- 
tition ; and that these were the rejoicing of her heart, she 
showed to us that knew her, by these notable effects. 

I. By her constant, serious, diligent use of the word of God, 
by hearing, reading, conference, and meditation. Her food 
was not more constantly used, nor, I belicYe, so sweet to her. 
Her hearing in the public assemblies, nothing but necessity 
could interni))t; and her private constancy her relations know. 
She practically told us that the blessed man's " delight is in 
the law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate day and 
night." (Psalm i. 2.) 

il. She made so much (in esteem, use, and thankfiilness) of 
every little of the help she could get in these spiritual things, as 
showed that they were her heritage and joy. When some 
come home with accusations of the sermon, as dry, dull, or 
weak, she found in it something for profit and solace. I am 
sure my own conversation Mid duties have been truly guilty of 
the foresaid faults ; and v.^t how gladly would she come over 
the way to us at prayer-time. How much did she value now 



102 A TRUE liELIEVKll's 

and tlien a little (too dull, unprofitable) conference, and took it 
for a loss that she could have no more. How glad was she of 
now and then a too dry and sliort letter, and how carefully 
would she keep them ; as if, with the woman of Canaan, she 
had been begging for the crumbs. Alas ! our duller appetites 
seldom so desire after, or delight in, much larger portions of 
well-dressed food, but fulness hath loathing, and we call it dry 
manna, which we are weary of; or every little fault in the 
dressing turneth our stomach against it; full souls loathe the 
honeycomb, but to the hungry every bitter thing is sweet. 

III. She loved and received the word of God from any faithful 
minister that brought it. It is true that she more frequented and 
desired some than others ; but her religion was not faction, or 
siding with this party, or with that ; she was far from a schisma- 
tical mind or practice. When one partv separate from all that 
preach in the parish churches, and another from all that preach 
elsewhere ; she separated from neither. 

IV. Accordingly, she loved all persons that feared God as 
such ; not confining her affections or kindness to those of this or 
that controvertible opinion ; but that candour and holy simpli- 
city, and serious practical religion which she had herself, was it 
that she loved in all others whomsoever. 

y. And accordingly her conference was not about contro- 
versies or matters of contention, in which too many spend their 
liours in these times, but that which tendeth to edification, and 
to administer grace to the hearers. She was not such as Paul 
oft reproveth for striving about words, and little things, that 
tend not to edify, but subvert. 

VI. Much less was she tainted with any heresy or dangerous 
error in religion, nor ever drawn from the truth, and her spi- 
ritual steadfastness ; but cleaved to the form of wholesome 
words, and the simplicity that is in Christ, and to them that 
held the imity of the Spirit in the bond of peace ; avoiding 
the vain janglings of men of contention, pride, and corrupt 
minds. 

VII. She was not of a censorious backbiting temper, nor used, 
as too many faulty Christians, to make it her discourse to find 
fault with others, and make herself the judge of controversies 
cases, actions, and persons which she understood not; but had 
learned that lesson, " Speak evil of no man;" and to know and 
be called to it, before she judged. 

VJII. She was very desirous of the good of all, and glad of 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 103 

any thing which tended to promote the conversion and saving 
of men's sonls. 

IX. She was charitable and Hberal also to their bodies, in an 
unusual degree ; as I am able to say by particular experience, 
in which I have known it exercised to the poor. 

X. Her humility and detestation of pride was manifest, not 
only in her garb and behaviour, l)ut in her low thoughts of her- 
self, and the lowliness of all her conversation, and great dislike 
of all that savoured of pride. 

XI. She was not morose, nor a refuser of converse and useful 
visits, when reason required them : but she took it for a great 
affliction to have much diversion by company, or by matters, 
from her constant course of better work ; and (besides her 
health) was, therefore, the more inclined to be much in the 
country, that her mind and time might not be at the mercy of 
too much intruding diversions, and unprofitable discourse. 

XII. Much more was she averse to all sorts of sensuality; 
such pleasing of the flesh as corrupteth the mind, and turneth 
it from holy work and pleasure; and such vain recreations as 
waste precious time, and profit not ourselves or others. Holy 
things were her food and feast, her work and recreation. 

XIII. Her prudence in all matters was very exemplary ; be- 
ing much more against unadvised rashness, and actions which 
tend to ill effects, than most of us of the stronger sex ; and I 
confess I should think much better of mvself if I could equal her 
herein. In which her acquaintance commonly admired her, 
though this is a point which all must acknowledge much imper- 
fection in. 

XIV. And her gentleness, meekness, and calmness of mind 
and carriage was very amiable to her friends, and most that did 
converse with her. She was a great adversary to passionate 
behaviour, which surely came from that power of grace, which 
had made love and meekness become a nature in her, seeing no 
such thing could be else expected in one of her sex, and com- 
plexion, and bodily weaknesses. 

XV. She did not, as the hypocrite, give God the second place 
in her heart and life, and the world the first, nor put off Christ 
with the leavings of the flesh, nor take this world for her best or 
heritage, and the next only for a reserve when she must needs 
leave this; she seemed to pri^.e no heritage but God, nor to set 
nuich by any transitory vanity whatsoever. 

XVI. She excelled in the earnest desire of her children's 



104 A TRUE believer's 

good, and in the care of their well doing and salvation. How 
oft hath she desired me to pray for them. How glad was she 
if I would at any time but converse with them, and advise 
them : they know better themselves (though I know much) how 
much she prayed for them. How oft and tenderly she coun- 
selled them. \Vhat letters of serious, holy counsel she would 
write to them. And how like she was to Job, who prayed and 
sacrificed for his children when they were merry and feasting 
together, fearing lest they should forget God, and sin against 
him. 

XVII. This kind of life which I have described, was her call- 
ing and trade, and in a manner her only business in the world. 
It was not now and then in a good mood, like a feast and re- 
creation; but as she knew that one thing is needful, so she chose 
that better part, which never was, nor will be taken from her. 
She so lived as if she had but this one thing to mind and do in 
the world, to please God by obeying him, and to cleave to 
Christ; and to do good and to be saved. Nothing else seemed 
to be much in her mind, thoughts, care, and business ; her life 
seemed to be but this one thing. But I must confess that poor 
and tempted persons, that are under many worldly wants, 
crosses, and employments, cannot be expected to reach her 
measure in this ; though one thing be their best and portion, 
they may be tossed with manv troublesome cares and busi- 
nesses. But God gave her both mind, opportunity, and help to 
live in as even a course of constant holiness in a family, as 
monks can pretend to or hope for in their community or soli- 
tude. Religion was her very life. 

XVIII. In this life she had also a constant peace of consci- 
ence, bewailing her imperfections, but not living in melancholy, 
despair, hard thoughts of God, or an uncomfortable sort of re- 
ligion. I have oft heard her speak of her lamented weakness 
of faith, love, and heavenly desires and joy; but never, that I 
remember, one douljting word of her own sincerity and salva- 
tion ; but her ordinary speech was lamenting that we were all so 
weak in our belief of the word of God, and the unseen world, 
and what excellent persons we should be, if herein we had a 
stronger faith, that were liker unto sight; and how much it 
should be the business of all believers, to pray and labour for an 
increased powerful belief hereof, ^as that which would set all 
light in us. 

XIX. Her patience under her bodily infirmities also was ex- 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 105 

cmplary. Her weakness made her so liable to dangerous coughs 
while she was in London air, that hy this she was constrained 
to live much from home ; and most of all her life she was tor- 
mented with a frecjuent headach ; but in her patience in all this 
she did possess her soul, and patience furthered experience, and 
experience hope; and she learned more the quiet fruits of righte- 
ousness by being much exercised herein. 

XX. And as by this she daily learned to die, so the expecta- 
tion and preparation for death was her continual work and 
state. She lived, and heard, and prayed, and wrote her letters 
to her children as at the brink of the grave, and the door of 
eternity. Not that her diseases did seem to us to be very 
mortal, or threaten this sudden change ; but she knew the bre- 
vity of man's life, and that death is ready to remove us all, and 
what a moment it is till that certain hour. 

And as she lived holily and iu peace with God and man, so 
she died with ease and little likelihood of the ordinary miseries 
of fear or pain. A little soreness and swelling of her leg, and 
pain towards the hip, turned to two swooning fits, and iu the 
third or fourth, having been in quiet discourse with her hus- 
band, she as quietly sunk and died away, desiring that I 
should be sent for to pray with her : she was dead before I came, 
without any signs of nature's striving. Andslie had said to her 
daughter after her former fits, she did not think that one could 
have died so easily as she had almost done. A death thus ex- 
pected, and thus prepared for, is not to be called sudden. 
Thus God can make death easy to some of us, that are apt to 
over-fear the antecedent pain. And, now, what can be more 
(almost) desired in this world, than such a life, and such a 
death. Our dear friend is at home with Christ, and God's will, 
which is goodness and love itself, is so fulfilled ; even that will 
which must dispose of all things, and in which only we must 
seek our rest. 

And having described this true copy of the text, I may boldly 
speak ot it to the several sorts. 

I. I may ask again both (|uakcrs and scorners, whether the 
Holy Spirit do not dwell and work in such among us, as our 
dear friend now deceased was. 

II. I mav ask unbelievers and Sadducees, whether these o))e- 
rations of the Spirit of God on b.elievcrs be not a sign that God 
owneth the gospel by wliich he thus worketh ; and that Christ 



106 A TRUE BHI.IEVER's 

liveth and reigiieth, who can thus still send a sanctifyhig Spirit 
into believers' souls. And whether it be not blasphemy to think 
and say, ' Either that these excellent endowments of souls are 
not of God, or that he giveth them all in vain, and that 
believers are all deceived by God, and labour and hope all 
their days, for that which hath no being ; and that the better 
God maketh them, the more deluded, vain, and frustrate 
he maketh them, and ruleth and amendeth the world by 
falsehood.' 

III. I may ask the papists, with what face they can say 
as they use to do, that they never heard of a Protestant 
saint ? And whether we may not be as religious in the places 
that God hath set us in, as if we turned recluses, monks, or 
nuns, and shut up ourselves from doing any good in the world ? 

IV. I may ask the malignant, that call all serious godliness 
hypocrisy, whether such a life as this doth savour of dissimu- 
lation ? and whether such seriousness and hypocrisy are not con- 
traries, and hypocrisy be not a profession without that serious- 
ness, which is sincerity ? And whether they that in baptism 
solemnly vow to take God for their God, and Christ for their 
Lord and Saviour, and the Holy Ghost for Christ's advocate 
and witness, and their Sanctifier and Comforter, and to renounce 
the flesh, the world, and the devil ; and, when they have done, 
perform none of this which they vowed ; but to live to the flesh 
and world which they renounced, and take a holy life as need- 
less, yea, and hate it; I say, whether these be not the impudent 
hypocrites that vow and profess that holiness which they abhor, 
rather than they that, with all their diligence, perform the holy 
vow which they have made. And if wives promise fidelity to 
their husbands, servants to their masters, and subjects to their 
princes, are they the hypocrites that are serious and keep their 
promise ? or they that were never serious in it, but scorn the 
keeping of it ? 

V. And as to those malignant persons that take this strict 
and serious diligence for men's souls to be but scrupulosity, 
or the character of some over-zealous bigots or ]3uritans who 
are most inclined to schism, and to be troublesome or dangerous 
to states, I ask them, 

1. What is there in all the description which I have here 
truly given vou, which is injurious ax dangerous to church or 
state, or any person ? Will it hurt any one that God and men 



CHOICE AND I'LEASURE. 107 

are seriously loved ? and that God's testimonies are trusted and 
delighted in and obeyed ? and that God's kingdom and righte- 
ousness is first sought? 

2. Is it not Christ, and Christianity, and Scripture that you 
accuse ? If it be schismatical and dangerous to be serious in 
performing what we profess and vow, surely it is bad in baptism 
to vow it, and still by calling ourselves Christians to profess it. 
To accuse, hate, and scorn the serious practice of your own 
professed religion, is to be the most foolish self-condemners, 
and, in some respects, worse than Mahometans, infidels, and 
heathens. 

VI. But my most earnest desire is to you the loving husband, 
and beloved children of our departed friend, that you will not 
overlook, — 

1. The correction, 

2. The sin, 

3. The mercy, 

4. Or the duty which God now calleth you seriously to con- 
sider. 

( 1 .) I need not persuade such as are rather apt to overmuch 
sorrow, not to despise this chastening of the Lord, but rather 
not to faint under his rebuke. But I cannot dissuade you from 
a sense of your loss ; we that are your neighbours feel it : but 
you much more, to whom it is much greater. What saints in 
heaven do know of us, or think of us, or do for us, we shall bet- 
ter know when we are there : but here you are deprived of the 
daily prayers which she sent up for you ; of the continuance of 
her loving care of your souls, and watchfulness over you ; of her 
wise and faithful counsels to you, and of her imitable example, 
as it was still before you ; a husband of a pious, prudent helper, 
and children of a tender affectionate mother; your great sor- 
rows tell me you feel your loss. 

(2.) And all correction is for sin, which is worse than sufler- 

ing. Oh 1 fall down before God, and with penitent tears bewail 

your sin, which hath caused your loss. Humbly confess how 

unworthy you were of such a vnother, and beg of God to for- 

. give that sin. 

(3.) But mercy also, as well as sin and loss, must be ac- 
knowledged. Your sorrow must give due place to thankfulness 
and comfort. Your mother i:s taken from you, but remember, 

1. What a mercy it was, and is to you, that you are so re- 
lated to such parents, seeing God hath promised special mercy 



108 A TUUE believer's 

to the faithful and their seed ; and if any of you miss it, it will 
be through your own ingratitude and contempt. 

2 What a mercy is it that all her praj'ers for you are yet in 
force, and more of the answer of them may yet be sent you, if 
you reject it not. 

3. You have yet all her holy counsels to remember, and they 
may profit you while you live. 

4. And though she be gone, I hope her example will never 
be forgotten by you. 

5. And what a mercy is it that, under all her infirmities, you 
enjoyed her so long. 

6. And yet how much greater cause of thankfulness have you 
that she so lived and so died, and that you may think of her 
with comfort as being with Christ, and hope to be with her for 
ever. Every one hath had a mother, but every one had not 
such a mother as you have had. 

(4.) And I have Intimated your duty, while I have mentioned 
your loss and mercy. 

1. Think over often what sin she reproved in you, and what 
counsel she gave you ; and now revive your resolution to obey it. 

2. Remember what she was wont to pray for on your behalf; 
and let it not now be along of your neglect or wilfulness, that you 
are without it. 

3. RememDer her humble, moderate, holy example; and 
think whether your souls have not as much need of the greatest 
care and diligence as her's had ? And why should not you 
be as studious to please God, and make sure of heaven as she 
was ? Bless God that you have such a pattern, that hath so 
long dwelt with you, for your imitation, next your imitation of 
Christ. Holy simplicity is despised by the world, but it will 
prove the only wisdom at the last. 

I have told you what use to make of the example of our de- 
ceased friend. Let me now tell you what use of the text which 
she so much loved, transcribed, and chose. 

I. And, first, here you may learn the nature of true faith and 
sound religion. It taketh GocF's testimonies and promises for 
our heritage, and for the comfort of our hearts. It is not true 
faith,~unless we so trust Gods promises for this life and that to 
come, as to take what he promiseth for our best, and our inherit- 
ance, and his promise for oiir hestXseGQrity and title, and his law 
for our governing rule that we may ol)tain it. 

So that, 1. Here you see how we differ from infidels that do 



CHOICE AND rLEASURE. 109 

not trust their everlasting hopes and happin ess on the promise 
of God. 

2. And how we differ from hypocrites who speak best of hea- 
ven, but really look for their best on earth, which Ciirist calleth 
" trusting- in their riches," because that is, indeed, their trust, 
from which they have their greatest expectations, and for which 
they most labour and will leave all : this a believer doth for 
promised happiness ; and this the worldly hypocrite doth for the 
prosperity of the flesh on earth. 

3. And here you see that faith and godliness are not melan- 
choly, uncomfortable things, as the devil and the flesh would 
persuade inexperienced fools and unbelievers, unless it be sad to 
have security from God of a heavenly heritage, and rejoice 
therein. 

And here you see the differences between the mirth of a 
fleshly infidel, and of a believing saint. One is like a drunkard 
that is merry for an hour in a brutish kind of befooling plea- 
sure 5 or like one that hath a pleasant dream, or one that heareth 
a jest or merry tale, or seeth a pretty comedy or show. The 
other is more rational and heart-contenting than it should be 
to any of you to have good security for many hundred years' 
life and health, and prosperity here on earth. Such a birth- 
right do profane fools sell for such a morsel, not knowing that 
the fear of God caused by true faith is the beginning of wisdom. 

Hence, therefore, we may learn how to try our sincerity of 
faith. Doth it make us take God's promise and the thing pro- 
mised, as our heritage ? Though we are not without temptations 
to doubting, nay, nor without the remnants of unbelief, but our 
liearts are troubled, when we look beyond death, with many 
fears ; yet if we so far trust God's word, as resolvedly to take it 
for that which we will adhere to, and lay our chiefest hopes ujjou, 
we have a faith that will entitle us to the promised benefits. 

Object. But some may sav, ' I cannot say that it is the re- 
joicing of my heart.' 

Answ. 1. Can you say that you take it for that in which you 
place and seek your joy, though you cannot yet attain it ; and 
that you prefer any other pleasure in your esteem and choice 
and seeking? If so,  you show that you truly believe and 
trust to the faithfulness of God's word, though yet you reach 
not what you seek. De"ire. i- the first-fiuit of faith and love, 
and holy joy is the flower and perfection. 



110 A TRUE believer's 

2. Cannot you say that it is this word that maketh you hope 
that there is for man a better life, and that you shall not perish 
like the beasts, and that your fears and sorrows are somewhat 
abated by the promises of God ? 

3. Cannot you say that you perceive a pleasing goodness in 
the word of God, which maketh it welcome and acceptable 
to you ? 

By what I have mentioned, you may find, 

1. That the word hath not been in vain unto you, when it 
hath caused such effects. 

2. And that the same Spirit is in you which wrote the word, 
or else you would not love and desire it, and take it for suitable 
food and pleasure, yea, your heritage and joy. 

3. And you may hence perceive that you are not without the 
love of God himself, though you see him not, and have not such 
sensible conceptions of him as you have of men and things 
which you have seen ; for if you love truth and goodness and 
holiness in God's word, because it is such, you sure love best 
the greatest truth, goodness, and holiness, and that is God. 

4. And hence you may perceive that though our nature love 
not death, and a weak faith will not overcome all fears, when 
we think of coming into an unseen world, yet really you are 
lovers of heaven, in that you are lovers of that which consti- 
tuteth heaven and is its desirableness to man ; even holiness and 
God's love, and glorious presence, and our perpetual joy herein. 
If you desire this, you desire heaven, though the fear of death 
do make you doubt of it. 

5. And hence you may find that you are not worldly hypo- 
crites, else it is not God's promises and law that you would take 
for your heritage and joy ; but worldly prosperity and fleshly 
pleasure, and God and heaven should have but the leavings of 
the flesh, for fear of an after-reckoning at death. 

6. And though your joy be small, you may know that it is of 
the right kind, when it is chiefly sought in God's love and pro- 
mises ; and you would not let go the word of God, and lose 
your part in it for all the vanities of this world. 

III. Hence also you may learn why all true Christians so 
much value the testimonies or word of God ? Why they so 
much read it, think of it, talk of iti and hear of it, and are 
loth that papists should corrupt i.t, pr.fionceal it in an unknown 
tongue, or that any should deny them the necessary use of it, or 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. Ill 

silence the ministers that preach it to them ? who would will- 
ingly be deprived of his heritage or heart rejoicing ? 

IV. Yea, indeed, hence we see how much we should set by 
it, and use it, how dear it should be to us, how strictly we 
should obey it, with what delight we should read and meditate 
in it, how diligent we should be to confirm our belief of it, and 
how we should fetch our hope and comfort from it in life and at 
our death ? 

V. And you may see hence that it is no wonder that the 
devil and all his servants in the world are enemies to the word 
of God, because they are enemies to our heritage and joy : and 
there are few better signs while many pretend to be for Christ, 
to know who are really for him, and who are against him and his 
greatest enemies, than to judge of men as they further or hin- 
der, love or hate, the word of God as to its proper use, as the 
heritage and joy of holy souls. 

VJ. But the chief part of my application is to commend this 
wise and holy choice, and solid comfort, to you all ; and to be- 
seech you presently to imitate David, and turn away from all in- 
consistent pleasures, if you live in sorrow or deceit, and die 
in desperation, it is not for want of an offer from God of better 
things. Have you lived hitherto as thus resolved ? If you have, 
the Lord confirm you ; and, be sure, such hopes shall not de- 
ceive you. If you have not, what will you now choose and do ? 
If you live not to some end, you live not like men, according to 
reason. If you have chosen what end to live for and seek, what 
is it ? Consider, I beseech you, of these things following, be- 
fore it be too late. 

1 . What will you take for your heritage, or your best, if not 
the future promised joys, and what will you take for your secu- 
rity but God's word ? What is it that you place your chiefest 
hopes in ? Shall health and wealth, and pleasure to the flesh, 
and honour among men, be taken for your heritage ? Dare you, 
under your hands, make a covenant for these to quit all your 
hopes of the life to come ? If not, which is it you prefer, and 
which would you quit, if one must be hazarded or lost ? Which 
hath the nearest and highest place in your hearts ? Which seek 
you first, and make all othei things give ])Iace to ? O sirs ! it 
is a shame to our stu])id hearts, that we have need to be so often 
told by preachers that w^ must die, and that our flesh must 
shortly lie neglected in (^ \^ and darkness, till the resurrection, 
and that we, and all the 'deceitful trifles of this world, are ready 



112 A TRUE believer's 

to part for ever ! It is a shame that we must he oft told that 
which every fool and child, at the use of reason, may know, how 
poor and how short an heritage, or pleasure, all those have, who 
have no better than this world can give them ! 

What say you ; will you die in hope, or in despair ? If unbe- 
lief make you hope that there is no hell, yet hope of heaven you 
can have none, unless you trust the word of God. The light of 
nature, indeed, is such a natural word, or revelation, as may tell 
us much of a future life of retribution ; but God's supernatural 
revelation is so much clearer, that we cannot expect that he will 
see by a lesser, who wilfully rejects a greater light. Sure all 
men would live for ever if they could, and all would be for ever 
happy. You would not sure die like dogs, without any hope of 
a better life hereafter, if you could have good security for such 
hopes ? And what better security is there to I)e found by mor- 
tal men than the promises of God, confirmed by Christ's 
blood and miracles, and by the seal of his Holy Spirit. 

In a word, without all doubt, either heaven must be your 
heritage, or you must have none that is worthy of a serious 
thought, and enough to keep a man from wishing that he had 
never been born ; or been a brute that had not reason to know 
the matter of his griefs and fears : and either God's word 
seconding the light of nature, must give you hopes of a better 
life, or you must live and die in mere despair. And shall that 
be your wilful choice ? 

2. Consider how invaluable a mercy it is to man, yea, to sin- 
ful, miserable man, that God should vouchsafe to give him such 
an everlasting heritage, and such security for it ; and that on the 
mere thankful acceptance of the sinner. And how worthily will 
they be undone that, by wilful refusal, are deprived of freely 
offered felicity. 

3. And, consider how suitable an heritage and security it is 
that is offered us, and how fit for our joyful acceptance and 
esteem. 

The thing promised is no less than endless glory with God 
our Redeemer, and all the blessed. It is in the world where we 
must be for ever : it is the perf^ct^on of that which every holy 
soul dcsireth. It is our best, ouV all : it must be that or no- 
thing ; that or hell. \ 

The word or covenant v/hich is ojjA trust, 

1. Is God's own word. '■he 

2. It perfccteth and secondcth natural revelation and hope. 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 113 

3. It beareth on itself the impress of Gorl, even his power, 
wisdom, and love, in wonders, prophecies, and grace. It is 
sealed by the blood of Christ, by his own and his disciples' 
multitude of miracles, and by the gift of his sanctifying Spirit 
to all true believers, to the end. It is confirmed to our souls by 
the experience of the power of it, and the blessed effects, and 
this indwelling spirit, the witness of Christ ; and by the answer 
of prayers, by many providences, and by the experience of all 
believers to this day. 

It is excellently suited to all our needs, to our wants, our 
dangers, our fears, our doubts, yea, and our sinful unworthiness 
in the freeness of God's mercy, and all his gifts. 

Indeed, man had rather live by sight, and would fain know, 
by seeing, whither souls go, and what they are, and have and do, 
hereafter. But it is not we, but God that is the ruler, and 
fittest to choose both the gift and means, the end and way. 
If we thankfully trust and improve a promise, we shall (piickly 
see and have possession. Blessed be God for the light of his 
gospel, to guide us up to the light of glory ! O that we had 
hearts to trust it, love it, and rejoice in it, as we have just 
cause ! 

4. And is it not a great mercy of God, that he hath herein 
called us to a life of happiness and j)rcsent joy. If he had bid 
us only weep for sin to the last breath, the condition had been 
easy, as for pardon, and hope of endless mercy ; but he hath 
given us a word which he would have to be the rejoicing of our 
hearts, and do we not love joy, or have we any better ? 

I have not now time, and I much more want myself such a 
mind and heart as I should have, to tell what cause of daily joy 
God hath given us in his word and covenants. But this I will 
tell you, that our want of joy is our daily sin and shame, as well 
as our loss and suffering, and among all the discoveries of the 
sinful weakness of our faith, hope, and love, our want of re- 
joicing in the word of promise, and hope of glory, is not the 
less. O what an enemy is death in this respect, that standing 
between it darkeneth and affrighteth us from our joys ! but 
Christ hath conquered death to deliver those that through fear 
of it are subject to bondage. (Heb. ii. 15.) And thougii we 
cry, 'O miserable men! who shall deliver us?' we yet tiiank 
God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. * 

And I must second the testimony of our deceased friend, in 
professing for your en(;ouragement my own experience ; I have 

VOL. XVIII. I 



114 A TRUE believer's 

taken God's testimonies for my heritage, and they have been 
these fifty years, or near, the pleasure of my life, and sweeter 
than honey, and more precious than thousands of gold or silver. 
As we tell men, in charity, of the things which we have found 
good, the medicines that have healed us, and commend the 
persons that have been friendly to us ; and as man's nature is 
inclined to propagate the knowledge, and communicate the good 
M'hich we partake of, and grace increaseth this inclination, so I 
take it to be my duty to add herein my own experience, if it 
mav contribute to the determining of your choice ; and reason 
teacheth all men to regard that means and remedy good the 
more, which many have had experience of, and it is not to be 
taken for vain ostentation to profess that which all must have 
in some degree that will be saved. 

Though the natural and sinful fears of pain and death too 
long deprived me of much of the joy which I should have had 
in the thoughts of the unseen world, and too much doth so to 
this day, yet i must say that the word of God, and the persons 
that love and practise it, and the holy way of life and peace, 
and all things that here savour of heaven, have been so good 
and pleasant to me, as enableth me to assure you, that on earth 
there is nothing so worthy of your desire and joy. 

And to encourage you, I v/ill tell you, by my own experience, 
what benefit may be expected from this kind of delight, agree- 
able to David's and our friend's experience. 

1. By this means my life hath been almost a constantpleasure. 

2. This pleasure hath much upheld me under almost con- 
stant bodily infirmity and pain. 

3. It hath made all my sufferings from men, and crosses in 
the world, to be tolerable, and very easy to me ; had not God's 
word been my delight, 1 had lived uncomfortably, in constant 
pains and sorrows, and had perished in my troulde. 

4. It hath saved me from the snares of sinful pleasures ; 
man's nature will seek for some delight, and they that have it 
not in good will, seek it in things hurtful and forbidden ; it is 
oidy greater things that can overcome our mistaken clioice of 
lesser. In my childhood, I was sinfully inclined to the pleasure 
of romances, and of childish sports, but when I tasted the 
sweetness of God's testimonies and ways, I needed no other, 
but spit out those luscious, unwholesome vanities. And though 
common knowledge, called learning, be pleasant to man's 
nature, and I cannot say that I have not overvalued it, yet I 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 115 

must say, tliat the relish of these greater matters hath made me 
see how much of it is vanity, and hath saved me from the pursuit 
of that part of it which doth but please curiosity and fancy, and 
tendeth not to use, and to greater things, and sensual pleasures 
I had no need of. 

5. It hath by this means made that pleasure which I had to 
be such as my reason did approve and justify, whereas if 1 had 
sought it in prefernrent, u'ealth, or sensuality, a foreseeing con- 
science would have affrighted me out of all my pleasure, and I 
should have had more of the pricks than of the rose, of the 
sting than of the honey. Of this pleasure you need not fear 
too much, but of the sensual pleasure, we m.ore easily catch a 
mortal surfeit. 

6. This sweetness of God's word hath made also my calling 
and daily labour sweet, so that it had my heart, and not my 
forced hand and tongue. 

7 . And this hath helped my constancy herein, for wlien we 
have no delight in cur work, we grow weary, and weariness tend- 
eth to give it over, or to do it heartlessly, and slubber it over 
in unacceptable hypocrisv. 

8. And this hath much saved me from the sinful loss of 
time; pleasure cureth trifling and delays. M^ho needeth vain 
pastimes that delighteth in God's word and work ? 

9. And this hath been to me an excellent help for the increase 
of knowledge ; for the'mysteries of godliness have still more to 
be learned by the wisest man ; and as boys at school, so the 
scholars of Christ, learn best who have most pleasure in their 
books. 

10. And this pleasure hath much confirmed my belief of the 
truth of Scripture, when it hath borne its own witness to my 
mind, and 1 have tasted that goodness which is agreeable to its 
truth. I easily believe him that commendeth a thing to me, 
when I taste or feel that it is good. 

11. And tliis pleasure hath helped me against vain thoughts 
and talk, while the truths of God were sweet, and so continually 
welcome ; it is easy to' think of that which we delight in, and 
sinful delights corrupt the thoughts and speech with constant 
sin. 

12. And this pleasure hath somewhat fed my daily thankful- 
ness to God, in the constant experience of the goodness of his 
truth and ways. 

13. And it cured the error of mv beginnings when f strove 

1 2 



116 A TRUE believer's 

for nothing so much as to weep for sin, and perceived not that 
the joy of the Lord is our strength, and the flower of hoHness, 
and likest to the heavenly state ; and that the Spirit sanctifieth, 
by making God and goodness pleasant to us. 

14. And hereby it made me find, that the praises of God are 
the sweetest and noblest exercises of religion, when before I 
placed more in lamenting sin and misery. 

15. And this maketh many things needless to me that else 
would seem needful. I want not more company; I want no re- 
creation but for my body. If I have not what I would have, 
I see where only it is to be found. 

1(). And I am assured that the constant pleasure of my mind 
hath not only kept me from melancholy, but from greater sick- 
nesses, and tended to the lengthening of my life, (as Scaliger 
saith pleasant studies do,) for constant pleasure must needs 
tend to health. 

17- And this taste hath made me long for more, and had I 
not felt that it is good to draw near to God, and very desirable 
to know him and his will, I should never have so earnestly 
begged for clearer light, and more near and sweet communion 
with him. Pleasure is the cause of strong desire. 

18. It hath been one of my greatest helps against many 
temptations of subtle enemies, that tempt men to sadducism, 
and doubt of the life to come. 

19. It hath made me more communicative to others, for we 
would all have partakers in our delights. 

20. And it hath greatly furthered my repentance and hatred 
of sin, when I have tasted what pleasure it depriveth us of, and 
the abhorrence and loathing of myself that can delight in such 
a God, and Saviour, and word no more. When 1 taste how 
good it is, and see so much reason to rejoice in it, and the hopes 
of glory a thousand fold more than I do, none of all the actual 
sins of my life do make me half so much loathe my naughty heart, 
as to think that my want of greater joy in so great and near 
a good, doth show so much weakness in my faith, and lioj^e, and 
love. O that I had more faith and love, that I might have 
more of this delight ! 

Hearers, I have sincerely told you what comfort you may have, 
if vou will not refuse it, from the word of God, and from the ex- 
perience of David, and (because things near are aptest to affect) 
from the experience of our deceased friend, and of myself, and, 
indeed, of all God's servants in their degree. You would live in 



CHOICE AND PLEASURE. 117 

joy, you would die in joy ; we need it in a life of so much 
trouble, and for a change that else is terrible, and it is sure and 
near. O sirs ! we need another kind of comfort than sport, 
or appetite, or wealth, or any such fading vanity, will give us ; you 
may have some of it, if you will. And though joy be the top of 
grace which we arrive not at with a wish, nor in an hour, yet 
the nature of the new creature relisheth, orsavoureth, the things 
of the Spirit. (Rom. viii. 5 — 7.) And the spirit of adoption 
is a spirit of filial love, and crieth Abba, Father, and the love 
of God the Father, the grace of the Son, and the communion 
of the holy Spirit, which are the believer's part, are all of them 
the greatest comforters, and Christ giveth believers that seek 
and trust him, that spring of living waters which tendeth to 
everlasting satisfaction, and cureth indigent and sinful thirst. 

Will you then have any portion, heritage, and joy, which will 
be worthy of a man, and shall go further with you than the 
grave ? If you will you may ; God and this congregation are 
witnesses that it was offered you. But think not to refuse it, 
and prefer the transitory pleasures of sin before it, and at last 
have it, and find that which you refused, or which you sought 
not first. (Matt. vi. 33.) Nor to find a treasure in heaven 
where you never laid it up, or sought it. The hopes of the 
wicked perish, and the hypocrite's hopes are as the giving up of 
the ghost; but the righteous hath hope in his death, and there- 
fore may die in peace and joy. (Job viii. 13, 14, and xi. 20; 
Prov. xi. 7j and xiv. 32.) 

Perhaps some will say, that such a discourse of rejoicing is 
unsuitable to the mourning of a funeral. I think not of such 
a funeral, in which we commemorate the holy life and death, and 
believe the present and everlasting joy, of such a friend, and one 
with whom we have long joined in seeking and waiting for that 
felicity, and hope, ere long, and for ever, to rejoice with Christ, 
and her, and all the blessed. And funeral sermons are not for 
the benefit (though for the due honour) of the dead, l)ut of the 
living, to teach us all to prepare for death, which, indeed, is so | 
much of the business of our whole life, that all the rest is but_J 
a vain show, and foolish trifling, or much worse. And wherein 
doth our preparation for death so much consist, as foreseeing 
what so great a change will need, and what a trial it will put 
our faith and hope to, to seek and get such security for our 
everlasting state, and such sound belief of it, and settled content 
and comfort in it, which the fears of death, judgment, and iiell, 



118 A ueliever's choice and pleasure. 

may not shake or overcome; that so we may finish our course 
with joy, and pass through the valley of the shadow of death, 
and fear no evil, but may comfort one another and ourselves 
with this, that we shall for ever be with the Lord, and may say 
M'ith Paul, " I have fought a good fight; I have finished my 
course; henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness," 
which God, the righteous Judge, will give to me and to all that 
love Christ's appearance, when he shall come to be glorified in 
his saints, and admired in all them that do believe, and shall 
say, " Well done, good and faithful servant ! Enter thou into 
the joy of thy Lord." 

Wo, and for ever wo, to every soul of you that shall finally 
reject or neglect the offer of such an heritage and joy ! And 
blessed be that grace which hath caused all true believers to 
prefer it in their highest esteem, and choice, and seeking. I have 
looked about to see if there were any better and surer to be had, 
and 1 am fully satisfied it must be this or none. I offer you but 
what God hath caused me, and all that he will save, to choose; 
and Lord grant that I may never look back to any other ! Let 
the love of God, my heavenly Father, the grace of Jesus Christ, 
my Lord, and the joy of the sanctifying Spirit, sealing up the 
promise of God as my security, and writing his law and gospel 
in my heart, be my heritage and joy, and I shall never envy the 
most prosperous sinner their portion in this life, but shall live 
and die in the thankful praise of the God of my salvation, who 
is essential, infinite, joyful love. Amen, Amen. 



FAITHFUL SOULS 

SHALL BE WITH CHRIST: 



THE 



CER TAINTY PRO VED, 



AND 



THEIR CHRISTIANITY DESCRIBED AND EXEMPLIFIED, 

IN THE 

TRULY CHUISTIAN LIFE AND DEATH 

OF THAT EXCELLENT, AMIABLE SAINT 

HENRY ASHHURST, ESQUIRE, 

CITIZEN OF LONDON. 

BRIEFLY AND TtlULV PUBLISHED FOR THE CONVICTION OF HYPOCIIITES AND 
THE SIALIGNANT, THE STnF.NGTH ENING OF BEtlEVERS, AND THE IMITATION 
OF ALL, ESPECIALLY THE MASTERS OF FAMILIES IN LONDON, 



" Co, aii'l do ihoii likcvvisp." — Luke x. 27, 



TO MY WORTHY FRIENDS, 

MRS. JUDITH ASHHURST, 

WIDOW OF HENRY ASHHURST, ESQ. 



AND 



MR. HENRY ASHHURST, 

THEIR SON, 

WITH ALL HIS BRETHREN AND SISTERS, 
GRACE AND PEACE. 



Dear Friends, 

I AM persuaded, that the image of so good a husband and 
father cannot hut be deeply prmted on your minds ; but yet may 
it not be wholly needless to be told of the comfort and the 
duty thence to be inferred. It was you, Sir, his eldest son and 
executor, who called me to the public performance of that 
which I have thought meet to make more public. I have 
long known you so well, that I am comfortably persuaded, 
that your father had great cause to place that great affection 
on you, and confidence in you which he did. Your dear love 
to him, and great reverence of him, and hearty love to the good 
which he loved, and your singleness and uprightness of mind 
and life, are vour amiableness, and better than the greatest 
earthly birthright. But I did purposely say little in the follow- 
discourse of your father's example, as consolatory and obliga- 
tory to all his nearest relations, because I thought that their 
special interest in him, did give them right to a special address, 
which is the intent of this epistle. God's Scripture blessings of 
the faithfid and their seed, doth make this relation honourable 
and comfortable to you all. How cheerfully may you all follow 
the footsteps of one so near you, who sped so well in following 
Christ. The greatest comforts and blessings are the greatest 
obligations to further duty; and that duty is the way to get 



122 DEDICATJON. 

greater blessings. It will be some help to you to love God and 
goodness, good men, and all men, to remember how much all 
these were loved, by one who so tenderly loved yourselves. 
You have not only heard, but seen and felt, that holiness is not 
a bare name or dream, and religion a mere art or image, but a 
divine nature, a real renovation of heart and life, and that the 
effects of God's Spirit, in sanctifying souls, do greatly difference 
them from carnal minds. You have seen that godliness, genuine 
and real, is not a wearisome, uncomfortable life. Live as he 
did, and it will be a cure of melancholy, passions and discon- 
tents, and a constant tranquillity and delight. 

What a help is his example to you, to live in true love to one 
another; to be of an humble, meek, and quiet spirit, neither 
vexatious to yourselves or others : as also to be al)solutely de- 
voted to God, of public minds, and comforts to the poor and 
needy, and to use all that you have as his stewards, dailv pre- 
paring for your great account. You have seen how you may 
live above the world, even while you prosper in it; and how to 
expound " 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.) " For where your treasure is, there 
will your hearts be also." (Matt. vi. 21.) The Sjianiards have 
a proverb, ' The world is a carrion, and they are the dogs that  
love it, much more that snarl and fight about it.' One would 
think, that to read and believe. Matt. v. and vi ; Luke xii. and 
xvi.; and James iv., should affright men from being deceived 
by such a shadow, whose speedy vanishing all foresee. 

You have seen what it is to be a Christian indeed, and how 
your affairs, your conversations, and your families, should be 
ordered. And you have seen how the best may suffer and must 
die; and, therefore, what need we ail have to be prepared with 
strong and well-exercised faith, hope, and patience, and, by daily 
conversing in the heavenly regions, to get sweeter thoughts of 
heaven than of the most prosperous state on earth, that we may 
die like serious believers, and joyfully commit our departing 
souls to Christ, when we leave these corruptible bodies to the 
grave. O dear friends, the day is at hand ; the day is at hand ; 
the change is of unspeakable importance ; tlic work of faitii 
and hope is high and difficult ! Set to it speedily with heart 
and might, and let not flesh and the world enttnigle and de- 
ceive you. 

The great love wliich your father had to me, and much more 



DEJ)ICATION. 123 

which he had to Christ, his chinch, and all the faithful, ohliged 
me to he the larger in descrihing his example for your use and 
comfort ; for as Christ, gone to heaven, hath left here his ser- 
vants, called his brethren, that men in them may show their 
love and thankfulness to him, which he will reward as done 
unto himself, so the way which I must take to express my love 
and gratitude to your deceased father is by desiring and endea- 
vouring the true felicity of his wife and children, whom he so 
dearly loved ; and that must be, by taking God for your God 
and Father ; Christ for your Saviour ; the holy Spirit for your 
Sanctifier; the holy Scriptures for your rule; the church for the 
body of which you are members ; true pastors for your teachers; 
the faithful for your most beloved companions ; (especially each 
other who are by so many bonds obliged to more than ordinary 
endearedness and love;) and Christ for your chief pattern, and 
such as your father in following him ; heaven for your felicity, 
home, and hope ; and this short life for the day of your prepara- 
tion and salvation ; and the world, flesh, and devil, so far as 
they are against any of this, for the enemies which, with all 
vigilancy and resolution, must be overcome. 

Oh ! how great, how good, and absolutely necessary a work is 
this, which if any one of you should miscarry about, you would 
be more inexcusable than most persons in the world ! But that 
you will all faithfully imitate such an example of holiness, 
humility, meekness, mortification, peace, and dearest love to 
one another, and to all good men, is the comfortable hope and 
hearty prayer, as it is the present faithful counsel of 

Your servant for such ends, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

December 7, 1680. 



FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL BE WITH CHRIST, 

&c. &c. 



JOHN xii. 26. 

If any man serve me, let hhn follow me ; and where I am, there 
shall also my se7'vant be: if any man serve me, him ivill my 
Father honour. 

If our judgments and wills had been the choosers and disposers 
of human events, as the affairs of the world would be otherwise 
managed than they are ; so the meeting of this day would rather 
have been for a joyful thanksgiving for our deceased friend's 
recovery to health than a mourning solenmizing of his funeral; 
but it is not we that made the world, or our own or others' souls, 
and it is not our right to determine of their time and events. 
It is one prime Agent, supreme Ruler, and ultimate end ; one 
that is infinite in power, wisdom, and goodness, who is omni- 
present, immutable, and every way perfect, that must actuate, 
order, and bless a world of such imperfect and differing indi- 
viduals; and not such ignorant understandings, such partial 
and ill-guided wills, and such impotent powers as ours are : he 
that maketh the watch, dctermineth how many hours it shall 
go. The giver of life and time, must give us the measures of 
it; it is our part to spend it well : it is because the Creator hav- 
ing left us to some lil)erty and trust about ourselves, we are the 
misusers of it, that there are so many disorders, and, conse- 
quently, calamities, in the world, and on ourselves and ours, as 
there are. And if the God of love did not keep the overruling 
determination in his hand, and bring good out of all our evil, 
and harmony out of our discords and confusions, what a chaos, 
or hell, would the world become! Let us, therefore, humbly 
and willingly leave God's own work to himself, (he will do all 
well, and at last we shall understand it,) and let us mind our 
own. He hath taken up our brother's squI from earth : it is our 
part to think how to improve this j our own are following : our 



FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL BE WITH CHRIST. 125 

hour is at hand : our oil is wasting apace : our glass is almost 
run ; every pulse, every breath, every word leaveth us one less of 
the number appointed us. It is our great concern to look in- 
wards, and look upwards, and with our utmost diligence to 
study how to spend the short time that remaineth, that we may 
die in safety, peace, and hope, and follow the departed saints to 
glory. 

To instruct myself and you herein, I have chosen this text, 
as giving us both sure directions, and such great and comfort- 
able promises as in life, and at death, we may boldly trust. 

They are spoken by no doubtful messenger, but by the mouth 
of Christ himself; and that to men who were under our 
temptations, and earnestly desired to see Christ glorified on 
earth, and to partake of outward greatness here ; to see that 
famous man who had wrought so many miracles, and lately 
raised the dead. But he tells them that both he and they must 
die before they can be glorified, and that they must overcome 
the inordinate love of this life, if ever they would attain a life 
of blessedness ; (John xii. 23 — 25 ;) and that they might not, by 
uncertainty of the end or way, say, as Philip, " We know not 
whither thou goest, and how shall we know the way," he 
summarily tells them both ; the way is to serve him, and follow 
him ; the end that is promised is, to be where he is, and to be 
honoured of his Father. 

As if he should say, ' I know that your Aveakness and re- 
maining carnality is such, that you would fain see me reign as 
an universal king on earth, that you might be advanced by me 
in the flesh ; and it is a hard lesson to you to learn to lay down 
this life, which is so dear to you, and to pass into a world 
which you never saw, and know so little of. But have 1 not, by 
my doctrine, life, and frequent miracles, and newly by raising- 
Lazarus from the dead, convinced you that I am the true 
Messiah, sent of God, to whom you may boldly trust the con- 
duct and disposal of your lives and souls ? It so, then see that 
you absolutely trust me, learn of me, serve me, and follow me. 
And let this satisfy you living and dying, that you shall speed 
as I myself do, and be with me where 1 am, though the place 
and state be yet unseen to you ; and there you shall, by my 
Father, be advanced to far greater dignity and honour, than in 
this sinful life and world vou are capable of. And of all this 
I give here my promise, which you must believe and trust, if 
you will be saved by me.' 



126 FAITHFUL SOUI.S SHALL 

This is the plain exposition of tlie text. But let us more 
distinctly inquire. 1. What is here meant by serving Christ. 
II. What it is to follow him. And, afterwards, III. What it 
is to be where he is. IV. And what to be honoured by his 
Father. 

I. Some, that by false and narrow notions have received a 
wrong opinion of saving faith, may be puzzled at this, that , 
serving Christ and following him are made the necessary terms 
or conditions of being where he is. And some sav, that justi- 
fying faith, and saving faith, are two diflerent things ; and 
some say, that Christ himself did not clearly preach the doc- 
trine of justification by faith, but left it for St. Paul. But the 
plain truth is, that in the gospel it is all one, to be a believer, 
a Christian, and a disciple of Christ, in covenant with him as 
the true Messiah. And in those times the disciples of any 
great and famous teachers were taken into their families, and 
were their servants ; not in a worldly common work, but in 
order to the ends of their office and instructions ; it is the same 
word which we often translate " deacons ;" and as it was then 
usual with Jews and heathens, at their great feasts, for the 
servitors to give every guest his part, by the appointment of 
the ruler of the feast; so the Spirit, by the apostles, did institute 
church deacons to be servants to distribute the provisions made 
at their love-feasts, and the proportions allowed for each one's 
relief, to look to the poor, and to execute such church orders 
as the present bishops or elders did appoint (by which you may 
see how big the bishop's church then was). And so Christ 
calleth all Christians his deacons, ministers, or servants, and 
some above others, peculiarly in office, as those that were to 
serve him as the Saviour of the world, for their ov.'n and men's 
salvation ; as his relation to us partaketh by analogy of many, 
so is our service to him. It is as the service of a scholar in 
obedient and diligent humble learning ; as the obedience of a pa- 
tient to his pliysician ; as the obedience of a beggar in asking, 
and thankfully accepting ; as the obedience of a malefactor, 
who thankfully taketh a pardon ; and if a rebel, promiseth to hiy 
down arms, and live in true subjection to his prince; as the ser- 
vice of a child that liveth depeudently in dutiful gratitude and 
love. It is not to give Christ any thing that he needeth ; but 
to be readier to hear him, than to offer him the sacrifice of 
fools, who, by thinking to oblige him by their gifts, do but 
offend him. 



liK WITH CHRIST. 127 

The matter of our required service is, 1. To confesfi, with 
grief, our »\n, our misery, ivud our need of him, his grace and 
mercy. 

2. To learn, understand, and believe his word. 

3. Thereby to know God, from whom we were revolted ; and 
to return to him in the hand of our Mediator, by absolute re- 
signation, devotion, and subjection; to obey, and trust, and love 
him, and joyfully to hope for everlasting happiness in his love. 

4. To give up ourselves to Christ as our Saviour, by his sacri- 
fice, merits, teaching, government, and intercession ; to bring 
us home to God, jjy justifying, sanctifying, and finally glorify- 
ing us. 

5. To obey the motions of his Spirit to that end, which are 
but to bring us to a conformity of his word. 

6. To love God in his saints and creatures, and do all the 
good to one another that we can, and cherish a holy unity and 
peace, and to do wrong to none. 

7. To watch against and resist all the temptations of the flesh, 
the world, and the devil, which would draw us from any of tiiis 
duty. 

8. To bear our medicinal corrections patiently and profitably, 
and pray, seek, and wait for blessed immortality. 

9. To pray long, and labour for the public good, the church's 
welfare, and the conversion of the dark, unbelieving world. 

iO. To do all this for the glorifying of God and our Redeemer, 
and the pleasing of his holy will, as the end and only rest of 
souls. 

This is the service which Christ rcquircth ; and is there any 
thing in all this which is not safe, delightful, honourable, j)ro- 
fitable, and exceedingly desirable, to every one that knoweth what 
it is to hope for happiness, and to live like a Christian or 
a man ? 

II. And what is it that is meant by following Christ ? Dis- 
ciples then were wont to dwell with their Master, that they 
might be always at hand to do what he bid them. 

To follow Christ, includcth, 1. The absolute taking liim for 
the guide and Saviour, to whom we trust our bodies and souls. 
2. The obedient following of his instruction and commands. 
S. The following of his examjjle, in all the imitablc parts of 
his life. 4. The submissive following him through all the suf- 
ferings wheiewith God trieth us, and l>y what death he chooseth 
for us, into the heavenly mansions, whither he L^ ascended. 



128 FAITHFHL SOULS SHALL 

This is the following of Christ, which the straits of this hour 
allow me but to name. 

Use. Before we proceed, let us consider how to improve what 
is said, and open the two promises after in our application. 

I. And, first, it is hence evident what it is to be indeed a 
Christian : it is to serve and follow Christ in trust, as the Pro- 
curer, the Captain, the Giver of salvation. Our relation to him, 
by a sacred covenant and vow is the thing from which we are 
named Christians. Deceitful covenanting may give us the name 
among men, that cannot see the heart, and may deceive ourselves 
and others. But if the soul consent not, God doth not consent 
to justify or save us. O sirs ! try quickly, try faithfully, before 
death say, ' It is now too late,' whether you are such as God, us 
well as men, will judge to be Christians indeed. Oh ! be not self- 
deceivers, for God will not be mocked with names and shadows, 
and heartless words, and the false pretences of a worldly, fleshly, 
unsanctified mind. You will find one day that Christ came not 
to be a shadow, nor a steppingstone to worldly ends, nor a 
patron of pride and fleslily lusts. You will find, ere long, that 
to be a Christian is a great and serious business, on which lieth 
the everlasting saving of our souls ; greater than life or death, 
crowns and kingdoms, or any concerns of this corruptible flesh ; 
a business which will not be done asleep, nor with a careless 
mind, nor with a slothful, unresolved soul, nor with the thoughts 
and hours which pride and vanity can spare, and which are the 
leavings of fleshly lusts and pleasures. To be a Christian is to 
turn our backs on all these deceitful vanities and sinful pleasures, 
and to place our a])solute trust in Christ, and to serve and fol- 
low him to the death, in hope of everlasting glory obtained by 
his manifold grace. Have you no careful thoughts of another 
life ; and no fear what will become of your departing souls at 
death ? If not, your reason is asleep. If you have, what is it 
that quieteth and comforteth ) ou ? Is it only a careless venture, 
because God is merciful, as if his mercy saved all ? God forbid 
that vour souls should go out of your bodies, without a better 
preparation than this ! But if finding yourselves undone by sin, 
and liable to God's destroying justice, and believing that Christ 
is the only sufficient and faithful Saviour, you give up soul and 
body in trust to him, resolvedly consenting to serve and follow 
him who hath purchased and promised you blessedness with 
himself. This i^ tiue Christianity, and this is a trust which will 
not deceive* »^''Sj you send for us in sickness, and perhaps we 



BE WITH CHRIST. 129 

cannot come, or we find men overwhelmed with pain and fear, 
and with a feeble bodv, and fainting spirits, unfit to try and 
judge themselves, and to do so great a work as is here described, 
if not unable to hear much discourse of it. Oh ! what a sad 
time is that for a minister to give you that instruction, which a 
long time of strength was too little to improve. What a dread- 
ful thing is it for a soul then to have all the work that you lived 
for to begin and do, and for to have but a sick and fainting hoiu* 
or day to do that which you could not do in all your lives, and 
which turneth the key for heaven or hell. The Lord give you 
awakened reason and wisdom before it be too late ! The name 
of Christian is not to be used to deceive fleshly men into damn- 
ing presumption, but to signify a soul that trusteth in Christ and 
followeth him in obedience and patience to salvation. 

O that you all feelingly knew how much it concerneth you, 
presently to set home and resolve this (juestion, 'Do I trust, 
serve, and follow Christ?' Let us now look a little to his foot- 
steps, that we may know. 

1. Christ lived in the world to do his Father's work and will, 
to glorify and please him. (See John iv. 34, and ix. 4, and 
viii. 29, and xii. 27, 28, and xvii. 4.) Is it God's work that 
you live for, and his will that you chiefly study to please in 
yoiir inferior degree and place ? 

2. Christ was the greatest lover of souls. His business on 
earth was to seek and save them, and he is still about that 
work in heaven. He thought not his strange condescending 
incarnation, his sufferings and heart-blood, his labour and life, 
too dear to save them. Are your own and others' souls thus 
precious in your eyes ? Do you think no labour loss, no cost 
or suffering too dear to save yourselves and others ? Do your 
prayers and your practices prove this to be true ? 

3. Christ's great work was to gather a church on earth, which 
should be his peculiar kingdom, spouse, and body, to glorify 
God, and be glorified with him. (Eph. iv. 1 — 17, and v. 25 — 32, 
and iii. 21 ; Acts xx. 28.) If you are Christians indeed, Christ's 
church is to you as your body to the members, that are all ready 
to serve it, abhorring abscission and separation from it, and 
every painful, jjcrilous disease. 

You love, you long, you pray for the true enlargement, con- 
cord, and holy j)rosperity of tlie church : that God's name may 
be hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will done on earth as it 

VOL. xvui. K 



130 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

is in heaven, is tlie first and chief of your desires. (Sec 1 Cor. 
xii. ; Col. i, 18, 24.) Are you thus followers of Christ? 

4. Love to God and man was the very nature and life and 
work of Christ; manifested in constant doing good, and praying 
for his persecutors, and reconciling enemies to God, (Rom. v. 
8—10; 2 Cor. v. 19, 20; John' xv. 13; Mark x. 21 ; John 
XV. 9; Gal. ii. 20; ITph. ii. 4.) And if you follow Christ, love 
will be you nature, life, and work, and you will walk in love as 
Christ loved us. (Eph. v. 2 ; 1 John iv. 11.) Even as he hath 
loved us, he requireth that we love one another, (John xiii. 34, 
and XV. 9, 12,) Avhich is not with a barren, unprofitable love. 
(James ii. 14, &;c. ; John xiii. 35.) 

5. In order to these ends, Christ lived quite above all the 
pomps and vanities of the world, and above the love of worldly 
dominion and fleshly pleasure, and life itself ; and refused not 
to die a shameful death, as a reputed malefactor, to redeem us, 
*' IVlaking himself of no reputation, enduring the cross and de- 
spising the shame. (Phil. ii. 7, 10; 1 Pet. iii. 18, and iv. 1.) 
And if you follow Christ, though you must not be cross makers, 
you must be cross bearers, and above the love of worldly 
vanity, and life itself in comparison of eternal life. For Christ 
suffered for us, leaving us an example, (1 Pei:. ii. 21,) and will 
have us take up our cross and follow him, forsaking all that 
stands against him, (Luke xiv. 29, 32,33,) and submit to be 
in our flesh partakers of his sufferings. (1 Pet. iv. 13.) We can- 
not equal him in patience, but we must so far imitate him, as 
not to sin and forsake the truth for fear of suffering, nor to ac- 
count our lives dear, that we may finish our course with joy. 
(Matt. V. 11, 12; Acts xx. 24.) 

6. Christ, though he were the Lord of all the world, did con- 
descend to a humble, low condition, and chose not a prince's 
court for converse, but the poor, and men of low degree. And 
he hath commanded us to learn of him to be meek and lowly, 
(Matt. xi. 29,) and to be the servants of all, as that which is 
above worldly greatness. (Mark ix. 35 ; and x. 44.) And he 
blesseth the meek, and the poor in spirit. (Matt, v.) Do we 
follow him in this ? And condescend to men of low estate, 
(Rom. xii. 16,) remembering that not many great and noble are 
called, (1 Cor. i. 26,) and that God hath chosen the poor of ^ 
the world, that are rich in faith, to be heirs of his kingdom ; 
(Jam. ii. 5 ; 1 Cor. i. 27, 28 ;) or do you not as those reproved, 



BE WITH CHRIST. 131 

(Jam. iv.) sliow a worldly, carnal mind, by too much valuing the 
high and rich, and too much vilifying the poor ? Our Resh and 
health is nearer us far than our clothes and riches. And vet 
how far is flesh and strength from making a bad man more va- 
hiable and amiable than a weak and sickly saint. 

7. Though Christ was the greatest lover of souls, yet was he 
the greatest hater of sin : so great that he came into the world 
to destroy it, as the devil's work ; and would rather die than 
sin should not be condemned and die, (1 John iii. 7, 8 ; Matt. 
i. 21,) and to save men from it was his office. And for all his 
meekness, he forbeareth not to call Herod foXj and sharply re- 
prove the scribes and Pharisees, (Matt, xxiii,) yea, and to give 
Peter the rebuke which he gave the devil, when he did his 
work, by dissuading him from his sufferings : " Get thee behind 
me, Satan." (IMatt. xvi.) 

And if we look on sin as a harmless thing, and the profit, ho- 
nour, or pleasures reconcile us to it, and we are indifferent 
towards it on pretence of moderation and avoiding rash ze-al and 
indiscretion ; this is not to be followers, but ienemies of Christ, 
reproaching his office and cross, as if he had needlessly been 
born and died. 

8. A heavenly mind and life is the chief imitation of Christ : 
his kingdom was not of this world ; his glory is at the right 
hand of the Father : and our glory must be in seeing his glory. 
(John xvii. 22, 24.) It is in heaven that he promiseth his fol- 
lowers a reward. (Matt. v. 12 ; Heb. xi. 16, and xii. 22; Luke ; 
xvi. 9, and xxiii. 43.) And it is in heaven that our treasure 
must be laid up, and our hearts, affections, and hopes must be 
set, and our conversation must be. (Matt. vi. 19 — 21 ; Col. iii. 
1, 3, 4; Phil. iii. 19, 20.) 

You see now what it is to be followers of Christ : is this your 
case ? I mean not in degree, but in sincere imitation. O try 
and judge ! 

Use 2. Whatever it hath been, shall it be so for the time to 
come? O that this might be a day of effectual resolution and 
engagement to us all ! ]3o I need to tell you that it is not 
Christ that leadeth men to gluttony or drunkenness, or cham- 
bering and wantonness, to idleness, and pride, and worldlv va- 
nity, and fleshly l\ist ? (Rom. xiii. 13; Gal. v. 2i, 22; Rom. 
viii. 1, &c.) It is not Christ that teachetli men to doubt of tlie 
immortality of the soul, and of the life to come, and of the truth 
of the gospel : nor is it Christ that teacheth them to p!av the 

K 2 



132 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

liypociite, and scorn and hate and persecute the serious prac- 
tice of that religion which their tongues profess : these are the 
works of the devil, which Christ came to destroy. O bethink 
you whom you follow, and whither you go, before you come to 
your journey's end. The world, flesh, and devil have undone all 
that ever followed them to the end. But if you will serve Christ 
and follow him, I will tell you what encouragements you have. 

1. You have the greatest and most honourable master 
in all the world, that is able to make good all his undertak- 
ings. 

2. You have the surest, infallible leader, that never was de- 
ceived nor did deceive, nor hath he need of deceit to govern us. 

3. You have love itself to lead vou ; one that hath done 
more than all the world besides can do, to show you that he 
loveth you, and therefore doth all for vour good. 

4. You have a humbled, condescending leader; God in flesh, 
that hath spoken face to face with man, and came near us to 
bring us up to God. 

5. You have a plain, familiar teacher, who hath not set your 
wits on artificial, logical tricks, like the undoing of a pair of tar- 
rying irons, but hath brought light and immortality to light, 
and taught us to know God and our everlasting hopes, and a 
safe and joyful way thereto. 

6. And yet you have a complete, perfect teacher, who teach- 
eth you by words and works and inspiration, and can make you 
what he bids you be, and leaveth out nothing that is necessary 
to your salvation. 

7. And you have the only sufficient guide to happiness. He 
is the way, the truth, and the life ; and no man cometh to the 
Father but by him. No man but he hath revealed the God 
and glory which he hath fully seen and known. AH men are 
liars and deceivers, not to be trusted, further than some way 
they have learned of him, by the teaching of his works, or word, 
or Spirit. 

And now shall we need to say more to men, that are already 
vowed to Christ in their baptism, who profess themselves Christ- 
ians, who know that they must die, and who know that there is 
no other hope or way, to persuade them to be what they pro- 
fess, that they may not miss of what they hope for ? But the 
following promises, if believed, will persuade you. 

HI. " Where 1 am there shall my servant be." They that 
serve and follow Christ, shall, in their measure, speed as he 



iij<: ^V1TH CHRIST. 133 

dotli, and be with liini where he is. Quest. And where is 
that ? Answ. It is certainly in no ill place : though it be a 
controversy, whether Christ descended to hell, it is certain 
that now he is not there ; and therefore his members shall not 
be there. He is certainly in Paradise, for there he pro- 
mised the converted thief to be that day with him. He is in 
heaven. (Acts i. 11.) This same Jesus which is taken up 
from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have 
seen him go into heaven. (Acts iii. 21.) " Whom the hea- 
ven must receive till the time of restitution of all things." 
(John xvii.) " Aud now, O Father, glorify me with thine own 
self." (Verse xiii.) " And now I come to thee." It is in the 
glorious presence of God that Christ now abideth in our na- 
ture : even at the right hand of God. (Matt. xxvi. 64 j 
Mark xiv. 62, and xvi. 19 5 Luke xxii. 6, 9 ; Acts vii. 55, 56; 
Rom. viii. 34; Eph. i. 20 ; Col. iii. 1 ; Heb. i. 3, 13, and viii. 
1, and xii. 2, and x. 12 ; 1 Pet. iii. 22.) 

Therefore, though many texts do seem to intimate that he 
will return to earth again, and that the new Jerusalem shall 
come down from heaven, and that we look for a new hea- 
ven and earth in which righteousness shall dwell, yet these 
texts do fully prove that faithful souls go presently to Christ 
who is in heaven, and that there will be no such descent to 
earth as shall be any diminution of the glory of the saints ; for 
it shall be no diminution of the glory of Christ ; and we shall 
be where Christ will be. If heaven come down to earth, and 
the veil be drawn, it will be no loss. 

2. That departed, faithful souls go to him, the Scripture else- 
where also tells us. " Father, I will that they also whom thou 
hast given me, be with me Avhere I am, that they may behold 
my glory which thou hast given me." (John xvii. 24.) " To- 
day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." (Luke xxiii. 43.) 
When we " fail" here, we shall " be received into" the ever- 
lasting habitations. (Luke xvi. 9.) " The beggar died, and 
was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom," (v. 22,) " now 
he is comforted." (Ver. 25.) " We know that if our earthly 
house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of 
God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For 
in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with 
our house which is from heaven, that mortality might be swal- 
lowed up of life." (2 Cor. v. 1, 8.) " We are confident and 
willing rather to be absent from the body and present witli the 



134 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

Lord." (Ver. viii.) " To nic to live is Christ, and to die is 
gain — having a desire to depart to be with Christ, which is far 
better." (Phil. i. 21, 22.) "We are come to Mount Sion, 
and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and 
to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly, 
and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and 
to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made 
perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant." (Heb. 
xii. 22 — 24.) " Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, 
from henceforth, yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from 
their labours ; and their works do follow them." (Rev. xiv. 13.) 

I heap all these texts together for myself as well as you, that 
we may see that as the faithful shall certainly have a blessed re- 
surrection, so their departing souls at death shall certainly be 
with Christ in glory. For I take the assurance of the soul's im- 
mortality, and felicity at death, to be a point that deserveth as 
much of our thoughtful diligence, as any one that we have to 
think of. He is mad that doubteth whether there be a God, if 
he live with his eyes open in the world : and as for Christian- 
ity, it is life and immortality which Christ came to secure us of 
and bring to light. Aud he that by the light of nature doth 
but believe the soul's immortality and a life of retribution, is 
much prepared to be a Christian ; so suitable will he find 
Christianity to our everlasting interest. 

But yet all will be dark to men, and seem uncertain till 
Christ be their teacher, and they truly believe in him, and take 
it on his certain word. 

Truly believe that Jesus is the Christ, and his gospel true, 
and there is no room for a doubt of the immortality of souls, 
and future blessedness, so plainly is it expressed in all the gospel. 
The Socinians, that look for nothing till the resurrection, dream 
of a dreaming sleep of souls, but dare not talk of any cessation 
or annihilation of them. For then a resurrection is a contra- 
diction, another soul may be created, but it cannot be the same 
that was annihilated. 

And as no man can believe that Christ speaketh truth and is 
Christ indeed, but he must needs believe his promise that the 
faithful soul shall be where he is, so no man can truly believe 
that all faithful souls, and only such, shall be with Christ and 
partake of blessedness, but it will constrain him to a life of se- 
rious holiness at least, if it feast him not with the foretaste of 
heavenly joys. Can you imagine that any man can firmly be- 



BE WITH CHRIST. 135 

lieve that all and only holy souls go to Christ in glory wlieu 
they leave the body, and yet not seek first the kingdom of God, 
and make the securing of this his chiefest care and business in 
the world ? It cannot be : every man loveth himself; and no 
man can be indifferent whether his soul be in heaven or hell for 
ever. Dulness and present diverting things, may make a man 
negligent and inconsiderate about lesser matters, where the loss 
seemeth tolerable ; but I cannot believe that if a man be awake 
and in his wits, any thing but secret unbelief and doubting can 
make one so dull or inconsiderate about his everlasting jov or 
misery, as not to make it his chiefest care. For 1 see that if a 
man have but a law-suit, on which all his estate depends, or a 
trial on which his life depends, he cannot forget it or make 
light of it : he will not drink or jest or play away the little time 
in which his business must be done. And can any one soundly 
believe that his soul at death shall go to Christ in glory, and not 
set more by such a hope than by all the riches, and sport, and 
pleasure, and vain-glory of so short a life as this ? Or can any 
man soundly believe that the wicked and unholy shall go to 
everlasting punishment, and yet not make it his chief care to 
escape it ? Sure, as mad and bad as man's corrupted mind is, 
this will scarce stand with human nature. I judge of others by 
myself : if I had never had at the worst a secret uncertainty 
whether the gospel be true, and souls immortal, I might have 
been surprised indeed to a sudden temptation to some sin, but 
I could never have thought that a man in his wits should choose 
any life but resolved holiness y nor could I have chosen any 
other. 

]f I see a man a careless neglecter of his soul, that maketh 
no great matter of sin or duty, or maketh not God, and Christ, 
and heaven the sul^ject of his most serious ruling thoughts, and 
his greatest business in the world ; but shovveth us that his 
health, and wealth, and honour, and pleasure are better loved 
and more earnestly so\ight, an.d faster held ; I will not believe 
that this man taketh the gospel and the soul's future state there- 
in described, to be a certain truth ; let him say what he will, he 
doubteth of it at his heart : and such men use to say when they 
speak out, ' 1 know what I have here, but I know not what I shall 
have hereafter : could I keep what 1 have, I would let others 
take what is promised in heaven.' 

But, O man, thou knowest thou canst not keep what thou 
hast ! Shortly thy soul muj^t be required and called away, and 



136 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

then whose are the things which thou hast loved ? (Luke xii. 
19, 20.) 

I will therefore say more. Thougli men had no certainty of 
dwelling with Christy and doubted whether his word be true, yet 
it were worse than madness not to prefer the bare probability 
(that I say not possibility) of a future endless glory, (when end- 
less misery is probable to the refusers,) before all here that can 
be set against it. Oh ! what is this transitory dream of worldly, 
fleshly pleasure to everlasting joy or misery ! Verily every man 
at his best estate (in worldly respects) is altogether vanity. 
(Psalm xxxix. 5.) Oh ! mark how emphatical every word is. 
Verily (it is no doubt) every man high and low, good and bad, 
in bodily and worldly respects only, at his best or settled estate 
(not onlv in pain, and poverty, and age, but in his strength, and 
wit, and wealth, and honour, on the throne as well as on the 
dunghill) is vanity. That is an untrusty lie and shadow that 
seemeth something and is next to nothing, and this altoge- 
ther (in mere worldly, corporal respects, in all that he hath to 
glory or take pleasure in.) What need we more to prove all this, 
than to foresee how the dream and tragedy endeth ? A little 
\ while we run uj) and down, and eat and drink, and talk and 
sport, and sometimes laugh, and sometimes weep, and then 
change our pomp and pride for a shroud and coffin, and are laid 
to rot in a grave of earth, where these idol, pampered bodies, be 
turned th.emselves into the quality of their darksome habitation. 
And if these were our best, were not every man at his best 
estate altogether vanity ? 

And if a mere probability of the life to come, in reason should 
resolve all men for serious holiness, how can we think that a 
certain or firm belief would not do it ? 

By this, then, it is past doubt, that hypocrisy reigneth in all 
mere, nominal Christians, and in all that live not a holy life, 
and, indeed, in most men in the world. They are false in pro- 
fessing to believe, that Christ is true, and his gospel certain 
tiuth, and that at death they nmst go to heaven or hell, if their 
lives show not that heaven and hell are greater, and more pre- 
vailing matters with them, than all the fleshly provisions, plea- 
sures, and glory of this world. 

Hypocrites are distinguished from professed infidels ; but if 
they were not unbelievers at the heart, they were not hypocrites 
in professing faith. The Scripture giveth these titles or attri- 
butes therefore to saving faith ; it is called, " faith unfeigned," 



BE WITH CHRIST. 137 

or not hypocritical; (1 Tim. i. 5;) and (Philem. 6) it is 
called " eifectual ;" and (Gal. v. 6) " Faith that works by love ;" 
and (James ii.) " Faith that is not dead, but working to perfec- 
tion;" it is not " nnfeigned," if it be not " effectual." You 
cannot make a man believe that a bear pursueth him, or his 
house is on fire, or his life in danger, but he will accordingly 
bestir himself. You cannot draw a man to other business from 
the care of his life, if he believe that it lieth on his present care. 

O sirs, the hypocrite's belief of another world, and his 
lifeless opinion, conquered by secret unbelief, will shortly fall 
as an house built on the sand; (Matt. vii. 23 ;) and no heart 
can now fully conceive how terrible to him the Adl will be. 
When you see that there is no more tarrying here, and that 
death and an endless life are come, a dead profession, and 
secret unbelief, will leave you then to despair and horror. It 
is not the name of a Christian that will then serve to comfort, 
or to save your souls. I do not say, that no man shall be saved 
that hath any doubting, even of the gospel and the life to 
come ; but I say, you cannot be saved, if your belief of it pre- 
vail not to engage you in a holy life, and conquer not the 
flesh, the world, and the devil. It must be a prevailing faith. 

But, I suppose, you are convinced, that a sound and firm 
belief of the passage of departing souls to Christ, or unto misery, 
would certainly resolve men for a holy life ; but some say, * If 
we be uncertain, how can we help it ? We are out of sight, and 
we have not the command of our own understandings. We would 
].ie sure what becomes of souls with all our hearts, but we can- 
not attain it.' 

Answ. Christ came into the world to teach it us ; such know- 
ledge is too high and precious to be attained with a slothful 
wisli, or to be had without the use of the means which Christ 
hath appointed us. Have you learned of Christ, with a humble 
and teachable, willing mind ? Have you not been diverted and 
blinded by the things which you knew were but deceitful vanity? 
Have vou set your understandings a work with such serious 
consideration, and so long as tlie trial of so great a matter doth 
require r Have you sought to able and faitliful ministers of 
Christ to help you where you found yourself insufficient? Have 
you daily begged the help of the Spirit of God, as knowing that 
heavenly tilings must be discerned by a heavenly light ? Have 
you honestly obeyed so much as you did know ? If you have 
done this, which reason requireth, I do not think that thus 



138 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

waiting on God, he will leave you to any damnable unbelief, or 
to an unholy, sensual life. 

But because the strengthening of our belief herein is the most 
needful thing, even to the best, both for their hope, and joy, and 
duty, and all that understand themselves must earnestly desire, 
that their belief of the gospel, and the life to come, did reach 
to a satisfying certainty ; I will shortly repeat the proofs that 
must ascertain us, though I have largely done it in my books 
called ^ The Life of Faith,' and ' The Reasons of the Christian 
Religion,' and 'The Unreasonableness of Infidelity;' I care not 
how oft (when necessary) 1 repeat them, and wish that they 
were more of the daily study of those that now study contro- 
versies, or only superstructures. 

I. And first, nature giveth us these arguments to prove man's 
future state. 

1. God hath made man with an essential capacity, to think 
and care, as his greatest concern, what shall become of his 
soul when he dieth ; and God maketh none of his works in vain, 
much less so noble a one as man. 

2. A bare probability of the life to come, as now revealed, 
with our certainty of the brevity and vanity of this life, maketh 
it the interest and certain duty of all men in the world, to be 
far more careful for their future state, than for the body, and 
this present life. He liveth against reason that doeth not this. 

3. And can a wise man believe that God bindeth all men, by 
their essential reason, to make the care of a thing that is not, 
or ever shall be, to be the chief business of their lives, and that 
deceit and falsehood should be the guide of all our greatest 
actions, and man should be made to follow a lie, to his ever- 
lasting disappointment? Judge reasonably, whether this be 
like to be the work of the most great and wise and holy God. 

4. History and experience assureth us, that it is the expecta- 
tion of a life to come, the hope of reward there, and the fear of 
punishment, which are God's means, for the actual government 
of mankind. And though many atheists are in the world, and 
more Sadducees and unbelievers, yet few, if any, are wholly 
such, but have consciences that keep them in some awe ; and 
laws and professed religion tell you, that it is hopes and fears of 
another life, which are the rulin'g* principles ; which, as they 
reign in the best, so few of the worst will directly contradict ; 
and were it not for such fears of punishment hereafter, the lives 
of no princes or enemies would be safe from destroying malice, 



BE WITH CHRIST. 139 

policy, or power. And is it likely that this world is governed 
by a lie, by that God who wants no power, wisdom, or love, to 
govern it by truth; and who maketh the best men the greatest 
haters of lying, that they may be like him ? 

5. And how conies the belief of the soul's immortality to be 
so common a principle in the nature of man, if it be not true ? 

II. But seeing it is the gospel that must give us the full and 
satisfying certainty, keep these few evidences of its truth con- 
tinually printed on your minds. 

1. Remember that promises, types, and prophecies foretold 
Christ's coming long before ; even prophecies sealed with mira- 
cles and fulfilled. 

2. Remember that Christ's own person and doctrine did bear 
that image of God, which is unimitable ; and had that power, 
Avisdom, and love, which prove them to be of God, God's image 
and superscription discernible by holy minds, doth difference 
the gospel from all the words of fallible men. 

3. Remember that it was proved to be of God, by multitudes 
of open and uncontrolled miracles ; and God will not work 
miracles remedilessly to deceive mankind, especially the great 
miracle of Christ's resurrection, (long by him foretold,) and his 
visible ascending up to heaven. 

4. The sending down the promised Spirit on the apostles, and 
on other believers then, for languages, miracles, prophesyings, 
&:c. ; and the long exercise of these tongues and miracles by 
many, and in many parts of the world, and the gathering of the 
churches by them. 

5. The full and certain historical conveyance of these matters 
of fact to us, in and by the sacred Scriptures, church ordinances, 
and tradition, (as the statutes of the land are delivered us,) 
without any weakening contradiction of the said history or 
fact. 

6. Above all, the continued testimony of God's Spirit in all 
true believers, that is, the same Spirit which endited the Scrip- 
ture, writeth it out on all holy soids, or formeth, reneweth, and 
disposeth them to answerable holiness ; even to the image of 
God, in holy light, and love, and life, and to a heavenly mind 
and conversation, and to be sober, just, and loving to all. And 
God would never bless a lie, to do the greatest work in this 
world, to make men good and like himself; and, remember, 
that the whole frame and tendency of the Spirit's sanctify- 
ing work on souls, is to prepare them for a life to come, by 



140 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

causing them to believe it, desire it, hope for it, and seek it, 
and hate sin, and part with any thing to obtain it. All sound 
believers have this work upon them, and are of such a mind 
and spirit ; and this spirit or holy nature in them, is Christ's 
witness and theirs. They have the witness in themselves. 
(1 John V. 10.) 

7. And remember that even the malice of Satan affordeth us 
much help to confirm our faith. It is notorious that he keepeth 
up through all the world a war against Christ, and against our 
hopes of future glorv. How he followeth men with inward, 
importunate temptations against their own interest and reason, 
and what proof of his malice we have in human wickedness, and 
in witches, witchcrafts, or operations on bodies, apparitions, 
&c., I have so often proved to you that I will now forbear the 
repetition. And doth not all this contain assuring evidence of 
the truth of Christ, his gospel, and our future hopes ? 

Use. Come, then, fellow-Christians. Let us pray, " Lord, 
increase our faith ;" let us detest all suggestions which tend to 
unbelief, and so would bring us to the rank of brutes, and to 
despair ; let us live according to our most holy faith, and show 
ourselves and others that we heartily believe that the servants of 
Christ that follow him, shall be with him where he is. Oh, 
pray for faith ! Meditate for faith. Lament your unbelief. 
O fools that v,e are, and slow of heart to believe a gospel so re- 
vealed and confirmed ! Why are we so fearful of dying, O 
we of little faith ! Were but this one text written on our hearts, 
and turned into faith and hope, yea, did we believe Christ 
speaking it but as confidently as we believe and trust a parent, 
or a tried friend, for any thing promised which is in their power, 
yea, or but as confidentlv as we can trust their love without a 
promise, oh, how joyfully should we live and die ! Oh ! bend your 
prayers and best endeavours against the unbelief and doubtings 
of the gospel, and the unseen world. ^Vere your faith here 
strong, it would bring you to that holiness which would much 
end your doubts of your own sincerity and part in Christ. 

Had we notiiiug else to ])rove the sinful weakness of our faith, 
but our uncomfortable thoughts of the life to come, and the 
state of our departing souls, alas ! how sad an evidence is it. 
Come on then, Christians. Think further what this text con- 
taineth, and beg of God that you and I may believe it as we 
need, and as Christ deserveth to be believed. Think what it is 
to be with Christ. We shall be with our compassionate, great 



BE WITH CHRIST. 141 

High Priest ; with him that came down in flesli to us ; with 
him that loved us to the death, and redeemed us by his blood to 
God, and will make us kings and priests for ever. We shall be 
with him that is gone to prepare a place for us ; in his Father's 
house he hath many mansions. (John xiv. 3.) It was not a 
mere man ; it was not an angel that made us this promise, but 
the Son of God, who hath confirmed it by four seals, his blood, 
his miracles and resurrection, his sacraments, and his Spirit. 

Are you afraid that vour souls shall die with your bodies ? 
Christ is not dead, and we shall be with him. It is his promise, 
" Because I live, ye shall live also." (John xiv. 19.) The ar- 
ticle of his descending to Hades, called hell, is to tell us that 
Christ's soul died not with his body, yea, it went that day to 
Paradise. Our Head and we shall not be separated. Are you 
afraid of going to hell ? Christ is not there. Are you afraid 
lest God forsake you ? He forsaketh not Christ, though, for 
our sakes, he once in part forsook him that we might not be 
forsaken. 

Can vou fear devils, or any enemies ? Where Christ is glo- 
rified, there come no devils, enemies, or fears. We are here 
with him as chickens under the wings of the hen. (Matt, xxiii. 
37.) How safely and how joyfully then shall we be lodged in 
the bosom of eternal love ! 

But we see not the place, nor what our departed friends 
enjoy. But Christ seeth it, who is there. 

But we see not Christ. But firm belief will make us love 
him, and rejoice with unspeakable, glorying joy. (1 Pet. vi. 
8, 9.) 

But we cannot conceive of the state ana operations o a sepa- 
rated soul, nor where it is, nor how God is there enjoyed. 

But is it not enough to believe that we shall be with Christ, 
and fare (in our measure) no worse than he ? If you are afraid 
lest Christ be deceived, or deceive you, that is a sinful fear 
indeed. But if you only fear lest you have no part in him, 
consent to his covenant, do but give up yourselves in obedience 
and trust, though not in perfection, yet in sincere desire and 
resolution, and then you have no just cause to fear it. 

O sirs, why do not our hearts rejoice, when we think that 
we shall shortly be with Christ ? Here we have ill company 
too oft; implacable enemies, unsuitable and sinful friends, and 
worst of all, a foolish and perverted heart, that is in ellbct our 
greatest enemy. But where Christ is, none of this is so. With 



142 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

him we shall have the company of our holy, departed friends ; 
even all of them that we conversed with in the flesh, whom we 
lamented and wept over as if they had heen lost. We shall 
with Clirist have the company of innumerahle angels, and all 
the faithful from the days of Adam. 

And oh ! how much better will Christ's own glorious presence 
be, than his presence in humbled flesh was to his followers on 
earth. Here Christ was a despised, crucified man. There even 
his body is more glorious than the sun, and the heaven or holy 
city needs no sun, because God and the Lamb is the light thereof. 
Spirits are there in confirmed holiness, and not left to that im- 
perfect liberty of will, which lets in by abuse all sin and misery 
on the world. They strive not in the dark in ignorant zeal, 
or mixtures of error and selfish partlalitv as we do here. There 
are no silencers of the holy ministers that continually sing Je- 
hovah's praises. There is no malignant calumny or persecu- 
tion, no envious reproach of one another, or striving who shall 
have his will, or be master of the rest. But holy love uniteth, 
animatetb, and delighteth all, for it is God that they love in 
one another. There is no selfish, foolish fear lest individuation 
cease, and saints shall be too much one, and all be one common 
soul. In a word, to be with Christ is to be perfect in holiness 
and glory, in God, in the heavenly society, in the joys of sight, 
and love, and praise, delivered from the bondage of corruption, 
from sin and fear, and from temptation and troubles of all our 
enemies. 

IV. But yet the promise here saith more, " If any man serve 
me, him will my Fath.er honour." The Father's love did give us 
the Redeemer, and the Father's love shall glorify us with him. 
What is the honour that is here meant ? Honour sometimes 
signifieth advancement in general, making one great and happy. 
(Numb. xxii. 17, 37, and xxiv. 11, and xxvii. 20; 1 Kings iii. 
13 ; 1 Chron. xvi. 27 ; Psalm viii. 5 ; 1 Sam. ii. 30.) And 
sometimes it signifieth the ])rovision and maintenance which is 
due to deserving superiors, which is half the double honour due 
to the elders that rule well, especially that labour in the word 
and doctrine. (I Tim. v. 17.) And sometimes it is taken 
for a magnified, praised state. God will honour faithful Chris- 
tians all these ways ; he will advance them to the highest dig- 
nity they are meet for; he will give them the most bounteous 
provisions of his household, even more than they can now desire 
or believe. He will make them kings and priests to God, and 



BE WITH CHRIST. 143 

coheirs with Christ in the glorious inheritance. (Rom. viii. 17 ; 
Rev. i. 6, andv. 10, and xx. (),) They shall judge the world, 
and angels. (1 Cor. vi. 2, 3.) They shall see God, (Matt. 
V.,) and be called his children, and all together the spouse and 
body of Christ. (Eph. v. ; Rev. xxi. and xxii., &c.) They 
shall at Christ's appearing (who is their life) appear with him 
in glory. (Col. iii. 4.) When he cometh to be admired in 
his saints, and glorified in all them that believe. (2 Thess. 
i. 10, &c.) We shall see face to face, and shall see him as 
he is. (1 John iii. 2.) We shall behold the glory that God 
hath given him. (.Tohn xvii. 24.) The righteous shall have 
dominion in that morning, and shall shine as stars, (Dan. xii. 
3,) yea, as the sun in the firmanjent of the Father. (Matt, 
xiii. 34.) God will put his name upon them, and they shall be 
])illars in his temple, and go out no more. (Rev. ii. and iii.) 
Yea, they shall be equal with the angels. (Luke xx. 36.) Thus 
shall it be done to them whom God delighteth to honour, even 
to all in their several degrees who faithfully serve and follow 
Christ. 

And yet, Christians, are we afraid of dying ? 1 even hate 
my own heart for the remnant of its unbelief, which no more re- 
joiceth, and no more longeth to be with Christ, while I read and 
speak of all this to you. I know that clear and full apprehen- 
sions are proper to possessors, and therefore not to be here ex- 
pected, but, Lord, give us such a light of faith as may let in 
some such tastes of glory, as are needful to us in our hoping 
state ! How can we cheerfully labour, and suffer, and over- 
come without them ? How shall we go through a tempting 
and troubling world ? And entertain with joy the sentence of 
death, and lay down the body in the dust without the joy of 
the Lord, which is our strength ? Had our hearts this one 
])romise deeply written in them, we should live in holiness and | 
die in joy. 

I have spoken of my text to myself and you. 1 have now a 
copy of it to describe. Let none think that the praise of the 
dead is a needless or inconvenient work, Christ himself praiseth 
them, and will praise them whom he justifieth before all 
the world. " Well done, good and faithful servant, &c." 
(Matt. XXV.) " He will be admired and glorified in them." (2 
'J'hess. i. 2.) The 1 1th of the Hebrews is the praise of many of 
them, of whom the world was not worthy; (this wicked world 
which know neither how to value them, or to use them). Christ 



144 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

will have the tears and costly love of a poor penitent woman 
who anointed him, to be spoken of wherever the gospel is read. 
I The orations of excellent Gregory Nazianzen, (greater than 
|Gregory the Great,) with many such, show us that the ancients 
fthought this a needful work. Many live in times and places 
fwhere few such men are known, and they have need to know 
from others that there are, and have been such. Had not I 
known such, I had wanted one of the greatest arguments for my 
faith. I should the hardlier have believed that Christ is a Sa- 
viour, if I had not known such as he hath begun to save, nor 
that there is a heaven for souls, if J had not known some dis- 
posed and prepared for it, by a holy mind and life. 1 thank 
God, I have known manv, many, many such, of several ranks, 
some high, more low. Oh ! how many such (though not all of the 
same degree of holiness) have I lived with, who are gone before 
me ; holy gentlemen, holy ministers of Christ, and holy 
poor men ! 1 love heaven much the better when I think that 
they are there. And while 1 am so near them, and daily wait 
for my remove, though I here yet breathe and speak in flesh, 
why may I not think that I am nearlier related to that congre- 
, gation than to this. The saying is, ' a friend is half our soul.' 
I If so, sure the greater half of mine is gone thither long ago. It 
I is but a little of me that is yet in painful, weary flesh. And now 
*^ one part of me more is gone, the holy and excellent Henry 
Ashhurst, and God will have me live so long after him, as to 
tell you what he was, to his Father's and Redeemer's praise, 
and to provoke you to imitation. 

God saith, " The memory of the just shall be blessed, while 
the wicked's name shall rot." Methinks even the natural pride 
of princes, who would not be the scorn of future ages, but the 
praise, should accidentally incline them to do good, and seem 
good at the least ; while the common experience of all the world 
tells us, that God doth wonderfully show himself the Governor 
of the world, by ruling fame, to the perpetual honour of good, 
and the shame and scorn of evil. 

Even among heathens, what a name is left of Titus, Trajan, 
Adrian, and above all the Roman emperors, of Antonine the 
philosopher, and Alexander Severus. And who nameth a Nero, 
Domitian, Commodus, Heliogabalus, &c., v/ithout reproach ? 
Yea, T have observed that though malefactors hate that prince 
that punisheth them, and ungodly men hate piety and the 
persons that condemn and trouble them in their sins, vet such a 



BE WITH CHRIST. 145 

testimony for goodness is left in common nature, that even the 
generality of the profane and vicious world speak well of a 
wise, just, godly prince, even living, and much more when he is 
dead. And so they do of other public persons, magistrates and 
ministers of the gospel ; and they will praise goodness in others 
that will not practise it, especially that which brings sensible 
good to men's bodies or to the commonwealth. 

And therefore great men should hate that counsel which 
crieth down ])opularitv, as a trick to make them contemn the 
sense of those below them. For usually it is the best rulers that 
are most praised by the vulgar, by reason of the self-glorifying 
light by which true goodness shineth in the world, and by reason 
of the experience of mankind, that good men will do good to 
others. How conmionly will even drunkards, whoremongers, 
and unjust men, reproach a magistrate or teacher that is a 
drunkard, whoremonger, or unjust, and praise the contrary? 
Much more will the wise and good do it, who indeed are as the 
soul of kingdoms and other societies, and the chief in propa- 
gating fame. It is true that the bellua multorum capitum is 
liable to disorders, and unfit for secrets or uniting government, 
and it is hypocrisy to affect popular applause as our felicity or 
reward, or to be moved by it against God and duty. But many 
men see more and hear more than one, and single men are 
apter to be perverted and judge falsely by personal interest and 
prejudice, than the multitude are. Vox populi is ofttimes vox 
Dei. I have read Dr. Heylin, vilifying a Bishop Abbot, and 
saying, the church had no greater a plague than a popular 
prelate (or to that sense). And I have heard some reproach 
the late Judge Hale as a popular man ; but as my intimacy with 
the last assured me that he set very little by the opinion of high 
or low, in comparison of justice and conscience, so, while God 
keeps up a testimony for goodness in human nature, men will 
not think ill of a man because his goodness hath constrained 
even the most to praise him. Nor will it prove the way to 
please God or profit themselves or others, to make themselves 
odious bv cruelty or wickedness, and then to despise their judg- 
ments that dispraise them, and to cry down popularity. " Wo to 
you when men speak well of you," meaneth when either you do 
the evil that the wicked praise, or forsake truth and duty lest 
they dispraise you; or, as hypocrites, make men's praise your end. 

It is not so low a matter as great birth or riches, or any other 
worldly honour, which I am to rememl)er of our deceased friend. 

VOL. XVIII. 1. 



146 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

Multitudes that are now in misery, did once excel him in all 
these. ]kit yet, as a touch of the history of his life is fit to go 
before his exemplary character (which is my work), and because 
it is A great honour and blessing to the seed of the faithful, I 
shall premise a little first of his parentage, and then of that part 
of his life which I knew not, but give you on the unquestionable 
credit of others. 

He was the third son of Henry Ashhurst, of Ashhurst, in 
Lancashire, Esq., by Cassandra, his wife, daughter of John 
Bradshaw, of Bradshaw, of the same county, Esq. His father 
was a gentleman of great wisdom and piety, and zealous for the 
true reformed religion in a country where papists much abounded. 
And when king James (the more to win them) was prevailed 
with to sign the book for dancing and other such sports on the 
Lord's-day, he being then a justice of peace, (as his ancestors 
had been,) and the papists, thus emboldened, sent a piper not 
far from the chapel to draw the people from the public worship, 
he sent him to the house of correction ; and being for this mis- 
represented to the king and council, he was put to justify the 
legality of what he did, at the assizes ; which he so well per- 
formed, that the judge was forced to acquit him ; (though he was 
much contrary to him ;) and an occasion being offered to put 
the oath of allegiance on his prosecutors, their refusal showed 
them papists, as was before suspected. 

God blessed this gentleman in his three sons. The eldest 
\vas a man eminent for his wisdom, integrity, and courage, a 
member of the long parliament called 1640; though all such by 
interested, partial men are accounted and called what their jn-e- 
judice and enmity doth suggest, and though, with many more 
such, he was by the conquering army abused and cast out. The 
second son was a colonel ; and Henry, the youngest, about 
fifteen years old, was sent to London, and bound apprentice to 
a master somewhat severe. And whereas such severity tempteth 
many proud and graceless young men to be imj)atient and weary 
of their masters, and to break out to seek forbidden pleasures, 
at play-houses, taverns, and perhaps with harlots, and to rob 
their masters to maintain these lusts, till they are hardened in 
sin, and break their own hopes, and their parents' hearts, (alas ! 
how many such wretches hath this city !) God's grace in our 
friend did teach him to make a clean contrary use of it. This 
affection did help to drive him to hear good preachers for his 
comfort, and to betake himself to God in prayer, and to search 



ME WITH CHRIST. 147 

the Scripture for direction, in which way he found the teaching 
and blessing of his heavenly Master, which helped him to bear 
all harshness and hardness in his place. 

And having no place of retirement but a cold hole in the 
cellar, in the coldest nights, he spent much time in prayer and 
meditation; and his good father allowing him a yearly pension 
for his expenses, he spent it mostly in furnishing his poor 
closet with good books — not play-books or romances and idle 
tales, but such as taught him how to please God and to live 
for ever. 

From his childhood he had a humble meekness, and sweetness 
of temper, which made his life easy to himself and others, and 
made him so acceptable to godly ministers and people,, tluit 
their acquaintance and converse and love became to him a 
great confirmation and help to his growth in grace, especially 
good Mr. Simeon Ash, a man of his plainness, and of the pri- 
mitive strain of Christianity. 

His master, I need not tell hovv', so v^^asted his estate, that 
he shut up shop when Mr. Ashhurst was gone from him, whose 
great fidelity had helped to keep him up, and he took care of 
his indigent children afterwards. 

His portion was but five hundred pounds and a small annuity, 
and one Mr. Hvet, a minister, lent him three hundred j)ounds 
more; with which stock he set up in partnership with one Mr. 
Row, a draper, and so continued three years. Mr. Row took 
up his stock, and was a major in the Eafl of Essex's army, and 
left Mr^ Ashhurst to the whole trade. Narrowly escaping the 
misery of an unsuitable match, he married, on Mr. Ash's motion, 
the daughter of one ]Mr. Ris1;y, who is now his sorrowful widow, 
having with her about fifteen hundred pounds. He began his 
trade at the beginning of the wars, when others left oflf theirs. 
He dedicated yearly a good part of his gain to God, in works of 
charity ; and it increased greatly : and as his trustiness made 
men desirous to deal with him, so God strangely kept those men 
that he trusted from breaking, when the most noted tradesmen 
in the same towns broke, to the undoing of those that trusted 
them. And though his trading was great about thirty years, he 
managed it with ease and calmness of mind, and was not by it 
diverted from duties of religion. He usually was at one word 
in his trading. 

His body being healthful, he rose about four o'clock, or five, 
and in secret usually spent about two hours in reading, meilita- 

L 2 



148 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

tion, and prayer, and then went to his family duties, as is after- 
ward described. He was a great improver of his time, or else 
he could never have done what he did for so many persons, 
usually saying, he desired to live no longer than he might be 
serviceable to God and men. But he was most regardful to lose 
no part of the Lord's-day, in which he did all towards God and 
his family with great reverence and humble seriousness ; and as 
he much desired godly, trusty servants, he had much of his de- 
sire, and his house was a school of piety, meekness, and as a 
church. 

When his faithful pastor, Mr. Simeon Ash, was buried (the 
very day before the new Act of Uniformity would have silenced 
him, being an old non-conformist), he used to go, at the end of 
the week, to Hackney, to his country-house, and there spend 
the Lord's-day. 

In the common fire his house was burnt, as well as others, 
but is rebuilt with advantage ; and all God's corrections, and 
the hurt which, by his permission, we undergo from bad men, 
will turn to our gain, if we believe and patiently expect the end. 

Thus far 1 have given you, for the most part, but what his 
best knowing friends have most credibly given me of the history 
of his pilgrimage ; but I will next tell you what I knew mvself, 
in above twenty years' familiarity with him, and that shall be 
more descriptive than historical, though, in what is already said 
from others, you may much know what he was. 

Mr. Ash's praise, and his own free love, first brought on our 
acquaintance ; and, indeed, my many restraining hinderances 
have kept me from so much familiaritv with many. 

Those that knew him need little of my description. Those 
that have been much in his house, and seen his children and ser- 
vants carry themselves as reverently and respectfully to him, as 
if he had been a lord, when yet he was so lovingly familiar with 
them, will think there was some cause for this. Those that hear 
it the common speech of magistrates, godly ministers, and peo- 
ple, ' We have lost the most excellent pattern of piety, charity, 
and all virtue that this citv hath bred in our times,' will think 
that there is some reason for this praise. Some of us seem to 
shine to strangers, who are cloudy and contemptible to those 
that are near us : and many excellent, obscure, poor Christians 
are taken little notice of, in a low, retired, or unobserved station : 
but his esteem, and honour, and love, was at home and abroad, 
by his children, servants, neighbours, fellow-citizens, that 1 say 



HE WITH CHRIST. ^ 149 

not even by some that loved not his religiousness, or that took 
him to be too much a friend to those whom their opinions and 
interest engaged them against. 

And if you would truly know what was the meritorious cause 
of all this love and honour, I will tell you : it was the image of 
Christ, and the fruits of his holy doctrine and his Spirit. No man 
believeth that there is a God, who doth not believe that the liker 
is any man to God, the better and the more honourable he is. All 
is glorious that is holy, that is of God, and for God, separated 
to him from all that is common and unclean. Base fools may 
more admire and reverence a proud man, or gilded idol^ but all 
that know God, and the almost nothingness of vain man, do 
value all things and persons in the measure, as they are disposi- 
tively, actively, and relatively divine. The Spirit of God, by 
David, begins the Psalms with describing such blessed men as 
these: and Christ, next after his preaching repentance, begins 
with such men's characters and blessedness, Matt. v. I shall, 
therefore, now truly tell you what our deceased brother was, and 
Avhat of God so shined in him as commanded all this love and 
praise; while far greater men, by their filth and folly, their sin 
and hurtful cruelty, have made themselves the plague and bur- 
den of their times, as the children of him whose name is but 
the contract of ' do evil.' 

I. His religion was only the Bible, as the rule. He was a 
mere Scripture Christian, of the primitive spirit and strain. No 
learning signified much with him, but what helped him to 
understand the Scripture. The Bible was his constant book, and 
in it he had great delight; and he loved no preaching so well as 
that which made much and pertinent use of Scripture, by clear 
exposition and suitable application. He liked not that which 
worthy Dr. Manton was wont to call ' gentlemanly preaching,' 
set out with fine things, and laced, and gilded, j)lainly speaking 
self-preaching, man-pleasing, and pride; forwhen pride chooseth 
the text, the metliod, and the style, the devil chooseth it, though 
the matter be of God : therefore he also highly valued those 
books which are much in such wise and seasonable use of 
Scripture ; of which he commended, above all, the lectures of 
Mr. Arthur Hildersham. 

II. He neither much studied books of controversy, nor de- 
lighted in discourse of any of our late differences. I scarce 
ever heard him engage in any of them ; I)ut his constant talk 
was of practical matter, of God, of Christ, of jieaven, of the 



'150 FAITHFTTJ. SOULS ST/ALL 

heart and life, of grace and duty, or of the sense of some prac- 
tical text of Scripture. He so little savoured and minded the 
quarrels that many lay out their greatest zeal on, and find mat- 
ter in them to condemn and backhite one another, that he 
either carried it as a stranger or an adversary to such discourse. 

III. xVccordingly, while men were guilty of no damning heresy 
or sin, but held all great and necessary truths in love and holi- 
ness, and righteousness of life, he made little difference in his 
respects and love. A serious, godly, independent, presbyterian, 
or episcopal Christian', was truly loved and honoured by him. 
Indeed, he loved not church tyranny, nor hypocritical images 
of religion, on one hand, nor confusion on the other ; but the 
primitive spirit of seriousness, purity, and charity, he valued in 
all. A differing tolerable opinion never clouded the glory of 
sincere Christianity in his eyes. He was of no sect, and he was 
against sects as such, being of a truly catholic spirit: but he 
could see true godliness and honesty in many whose weak- 
ness made them culpable, in too much adhering to a side or 
sect. 

IV. He greatly hated backbiting and obloquy. " Speak 
evil of no man," was a text which he often had in his mouth. 
I never knew any noted men so free from that vice as Judge 
Hale and Mr. Ashhnrst. If a man had begun to speak ill of 
any man behind his back, either they would say nothing, or 
divert him to something else, or show their distaste of it. Sin 
he would speak against, but very little of the person. Only one 
sort of men he would take the liberty to express his great dis- 
like of, and that was the hinderers of the gospel, and silencers 
of faithful preachers of it, and persecutors of godly Christians, 
and oppressors of the poor : and their pretences of govern- 
ment, and order, and talk against schism, could never reconcile 
him to that sort of men : but his distaste was never signified 
by scurrility, nor any thing that savoured of an unruly or sedi- 
tious spi-rit. 

V. His heart was set on the hallov/ing of God's name, the 
coming of his kingdom, and the doing of his will on earth as 
it is done in heaven ; on the propagating of religion, and encou- 
raging of all able, faithful preachers and practisers of it to his 
power. Ever since I knew him, it seemed much more of his 
serious business in the world than his trade or worldly gain was. 
He was a right hand to his faithful pastor, good old Mr. Simeon 
Ash. How seldom did I visit Mr. Ash, at any time^ but 1 found 



BE WITH CHUIST. 151 

or left them together ; and now they are together with Christ. 
He did not love with barren words, nor serve God of that which 
cost him nothing. Few but I knew from his own mouth, that 
he gave these eighteen years (since August 24, 1G62,) an hun- 
dred pounds a year to the ejected ministers of Lancashire, and 
some schools there and in the neighbouring parts, and many 
Bibles, catechisms, and other good books, to divers places, be- 
sides the said one hundred pounds a year : and a friend of his 
and mine tells me that it was to him that he yearly delivered 
it to be distributed, save that lately twenty pounds a year of it 
went to Northumberland. 

Vf . Indeed, charity was his life and business. Another mean 
man that was oft with him, saith that he hath had of him 
many score pounds to give away, which few ever knew of. I 
do not think that there are many that can say that ever they 
were denied when they asked him for money to a charitable 
use. I am sure I never was. 

About 1662 and 1663, he endeavoured hard to have got the 
pious citizens of London to contribute yearly to the relief of 
the poor ejected ministers of the several counties where they 
had been born ; and I was employed to the Lord Chancellor 
Hide to acquaint him with it and get' his consent, that it might 
not be taken for a fomenting of faction : but though he said, 
' God forbid that he should be against men's charity,^ yet most 
durst not trust him, and so it fell. 

Since then he and others set up a conventicle, which, me- 
thinks, might be tolerated by bishops themselves. They met 
often to consult and contribute for the relief of poor house- 
keepers ; and they chose an ancient, active godly man, fit for that 
work, to be as a deacon ; I mean, to go about the city, and find 
out such housekeepers as were very poor, sick, or impotent, or 
any way in want, and to bring in a catalogue of their names, 
places, and degrees of need ; always preferring the pious, ho- 
nest poor. And they made Mr. Thomas Gouge their treasurer, 
(one of the same trade, whose hands could not be tied from 
doing good when his tongue was tied by the silencers,) and the 
foresaid messenger brought them their contributions, with good 
instructions, and prayer when there was need ; for which use, 
sometimes, they procured a minister for the ignorant. 

Indeed, he was the common comforter and reliever of dis- 
tressed ministers and others. 1 know of none in London that 
they so commonly resorted to as him. 



152 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

VII. And so large was his desire of doing good, that not only 
England, Scotland, and Ireland knew it, but it specially ex- 
tended to the natives in America; of whose conversion to 
Christianity he had a fervent desire. In Oliver Cromwell's time, 
a public collection was made all over England for the educating 
of scholars, and defraying other charges in New England for 
that work, of which good old Mr. Eliots, the Indian's evan- 
gelist, was the chief operator : with that money, lands were 
purchased to the value of about eight hundred pounds a year, 
and settled on a corporation of citizens in trust, and Mr. 
Ashhurst must be the treasurer, on whom lay the main care and 
work. When the king was restored, the corporation was dead 
in law ; and one that sold most of the lands which were settled 
for that use (Colonel Bedingfield, a Papist) seized on his sold 
land, and yet refused to repay the money. The care of the re- 
covery, and of restoring the corporation, and all the work, was 
the business of Mr. Ashhurst J for which he desired my solicita- 
tion of the Lord Chancellor Hide, who did readily own the justness 
of the cause and goodness of the work, and first gave us leave 
to nominate the new corporation, and Mr. Boyle for president, 
and Mr. Ashhurst for treas\irer ; and afterwards, when it came 
to suit before him, did justly determine it for the corporation. 

And so these nineteen years last past, it was he, by the help of 
Mr. Boyle, and the rest, who hath had the main care of the New 
England assistance, by which a printing-press hath been there 
set up, and the Bible translated into the Indian's tongue, and 
other books also, for their instruction, and the agents encou- 
raged to help them, till the late unhappy war there interrupted 
much of their endeavours; and of their victory in that war the 
converted Indians were not the least cause. 

Oh ! how sad will the news of his death be to old Mr. Eliots, 
if he live to hear it, and to his American converts : and he hath 
left by his will an hundred pounds to the college there, and fifty 
pounds to their cor])oration. 

IX. Some may think that he wanted a pujjlic spirit, because 
he avoided being a magistrate, and paid his fine rather than take 
an alderman's place : but it was only to keej) the peace of his 
conscience, which could not digest, 1. The corporation declara- 
tion and oath ; nor, 2. The execution of the laws against non- 
conforming ministers and peoj^le. I never heard him plead that 
the solemn oath, called the National Covenant, was not unlaw- 
fully imposed or taken. His thoughts of that I knew not ; 



BE WITH CHRIST. 153 

but he was not ignorant that the words showed that it was a 
promise or vow to God, and that a vow made sinfully bindeth, 
notwithstanding, to the lawful and necessary part of the matter : 
and he thought that to oppose, in our places, profaneness, 
popery, and schism, and to repent of sin and amend, were law- 
ful and necessary things ; and therefore to say that ' there is no 
obligation, by that oath, on me or any other person,' without ex- 
cepting any of these aforesaid, was a thing that he would rather, 
I believe, have suffered death than do. He would not do that 
which he thought perjury himself, much less justify it in thou- 
sands whom he never knew : and he feared lest he should be- 
come guilty of constituting all the cities and corporations of 
England by perjury, and stigmatizing the front of the nation 
with such a fearful brand. Some men think that the mark of 
the beast in Revelations, without which none might buy or sell, 
was ' perjury' and ' persecution ;' finding that the Lateran coun- 
cil, sub Inoc. III., and others, which are of their religion, do ab- 
solve subjects of their temporal lords, whom the Pope excommu- 
nicateth from their oaths of allegiance, which was ordinarily 
practised against emperors and kings ; and finding that these 
lords or princes themselves were to swear to exterminate all 
called heretics, on pain of excommunication, deposition, and 
damnation j and that every such ruler that professeth himself a 
papist knowingly, bindeth himself to destroy all protestants, or 
exterminate them, if he can do it without injury to the papal 
church : and also finding that all their clergy must swear the 
Trent oath, by which they cannot but be perjured ; and tliey say 
that they never heard or read that ever such a thing was done by 
heathens, infidels, or Mahomedans ; and Mr. Ashhurst was 
afraid of any thing that seemed to him such a brand. Yet I 
never heard him speak uncharitably of those worthy men who 
do what he refused, supposing that they in words or writing de- 
clared as openly as they sware and took the declaration, that 
thev took it but in such or such a lawful sense ; though he 
could not do so himself. 

IX. He iiad an earnest desire of the welfare of the city, that 
it might flourish in i)iety, soi>riety, justice, and charity, and that 
good men might be in power ; believing that the welfare of the 
world lieth not so much in the forms of government, as in the 
goodness of men ; and that that is the best form which best 
secureth us from bad men. And all such service as he could 
do, no man was readier to do, as when he was master of the 



154 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

Merchant-Tailors' Company, and on many other occasions, he 
showed. His relations tell me, that he then gave them about 
SOOl. of his own money, and greatly promoted the improvement 
of their stock, to the rebuilding of their hall, and abatement of 
their debts. 

X. He never was a soldier, even when London was a garrison, 
but always for the ways and works of peace. He was ever 
against tumults, sedition, and rebellion ', and I never heard a 
word from him injurious to the king and higher powers. He 
was greatly troubled at the late resistance made by the assem- 
blies in Scotland, and glad when his letters thence told him, that 
they were but a few hot-headed men, whom the generality of 
the godlv presbyterians disclaimed, and would oppose. Peace 
was his temper, and peace with all men, to his power, he kept 
and promoted ; and 1 never knew man that lived in more peace 
with his conscience, and with all men, good and bad. I never 
heard that he was an enemy, or had an enemy, save sin, the 
devil, the world, and the flesh, as all good men renounce them. 
Nay, I never heard of any one man that ever spake evil of 
him, so strange a reconciling power hath such a mind, and such 
a life. 

XI. He excelled all that ever I knew in the grace of meek- 
ness ; and Christ saith, " That such shall inherit even the 
earth." For men know not how to fall out with such, while no 
public employment doth, by cross interest, cause it. They that 
were nearer him than 1, say, that they never saw him in any 
undecent passion ; he knew not how to show himself angry, no 
nor displeased, otherwise than by mild and gentle words. His 
countenance was still serene, and his voice still calm and quiet ; 
never fierce or loud, no, not to a servant. He oft used to 
women the words of saint Peter, " A meek and a quiet spirit is 
in the sight of God of great price;" (I Peter iii. 5 ;) which is 
the ornament there commended, instead of gold and gaudiness, 
which now are grown into so common and excessive use, as if it 
were the design to avoid the imputation of hypocrisy, by wear- 
ing the oj)en badges of folly and pride, lest they should seem 
wise and humble; as some will rant and scorn, lest they should 
be thought religio.us hypocrites. 

God fitted him for his place ; had he been a magistrate or a 
preacher, a little more sharpness had been needful. And 
though I once knew one, that for want of just anger, was too 
like Eli, and could not sufficiently reprove or correct a child, 



BE VVfTH CHRIST. 155 

yet it ])leased God, that his mildness had no such ill effect ; but 
his family loved and reverenced him the more. 

XI I. I never observed a father carry himself to his children 
(as well as to his wife) with more constant expressions of love, 
and with a greater desire of their holiness and salvation. He 
spake to his children with that endeared kindness, as men used 
to do to a l)Osom friend, in whom is their delight. And, in- 
deed, love is the vital spirit, which must make all education 
and counsel effectual, which, without it, usually is dead, bothto 
children, and all others; though there are seasons when we 
must be angry and not sin. 

XIII. Indeed, he was so made of love and gentleness, that 
I may say, that love was his new nature, and his temper, 
his religion, and his life, and that he dwelt in love ; and, 
therefore, in God, and God in him. His looks, his smiles, 
his speech, his deeds, were all the constant significations of 
love. 

XIV^. And no less eminent was his humility ; his speech, 
company, garb, beliaviour, and all his carriage, did declare it. 
He was a great disliker of proud, vain attire, boasting speech, 
and pomp, and inordinate, v/orldly splendour, especially that 
which was chargeable, while so many thousands were in want. 
He was poor in spirit, suited to a low condition, though he was 
rich, and condescended to men of low estate. The poor were 
his pleasing friends. He loved the rich, that were rich to God, 
but he hated ambition, and flattering great men. 

XV. Indeed, he was a plain Christian, of the primitive stamp, 
strange to hvpocrisy and affectation, and all that is called the lust 
of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and pride of life ; and the sins 
of Sodom, pride, idleness, and fulness ; his habit, his furniture, 
his provisions were all plain ; nothing for excess, as provision 
for the flesh, to satisfy the lust thereof; yet all that was need- 
ful for right ends. No niggardly parsimony, but sparing to do 
good ; sparing from all the ways of pride and pomp ; but never 
sparing from decency, or good works. 

XVI. The government of his family, and the worship of God 
there performed, was wise, cheerful, grave, and constant. He 
worshipped God as other good Christians use to do ; besides his 
secret devotions, reading the Scriptures, (after the craving of 
God's help,) and giving some plain, short notes, which were 
suited to his family's use, catechizing, and taking an account of 



156 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

their profiting; singing psalms, and prayer ; and, on the Lord's- 
day, hearing, and repeating the sermons. A non-conformist 
preaching an early sermon to many in his house, which so 
ended, that none might he hindered from the further work of 
the day. The whole day seemed not too long to him for the 
delightful employment of his soul toward God. Oh ! how far 
was he from being weary, or needing any vain recreation. In 
his family-worship he played not the orator, nor was very 
tedious; but in conference of good things, and in his counsels 
plain and short; much like the style of Mr. Greenham's 
writings. 

XVII. He had a special care to place his children in a way 
of employment, and with good relations ; out of the way both of 
idleness and ill company, and worldly vanity and temptations. 
And God hath so blessed him in his wise and holy endeavours 
for them, that of four sons and two daughters, there is not one 
whom we have not good cause to hope well of, that they will, in 
piety and welfare, answer his endeavours. 

XVIII. Others can tell you more than I of his management of 
his trade ; only this I will say, that God greatly blessed his 
honesty and liberality ; and men knew that they might trade 
with him, without any danger of deceit, so that he grew up to 
a very considerable estate ; and yet was never so intent on his 
trade, but he was ready for any service of God, and help to 
others, or public work. 

And those that say, they shall lose their custom, except they 
tipple and make their bargains in ale-houses, coffee-houses, or 
taverns, or use much prating and enticing words, may see here 
that one hath thriven more than most have done, that yet took 
a quite contrary course. 

XIX. He was a stranger to vain talk and frothy jests, and 
also to a sour, morose converse ; but good, short, cheerful dis- 
course, was his ordinary attainment. 

XX. It is no wonder, if in such a life, so absolutely devoted 
to God, he lived in a constant serenity of mind ; he that had 
peace with God and men, had peace of conscience. I never 
heard him speak one word which savoured of any doubt of his 
salvation, or discouraging thoughts of the life to come ; he lived 
not in bondage to tormenting fears, or sad apprehensions ; but 
studied fully to please God, and joyfully trusted him, rejoiced in 
his love, and hoped for his kingdom ; but without any over- 



BE WITH CHRIST. 157 

valuing of his own worth, or works ; having much in his mouth 
those words of St. Paul, " I have nothing to glory of," and " I 
am nothing." 

XXI. The last part of his example, which I have to commend 
to you, and specially to myself, is his marvellous patience, as 
through all his life, so specially in his last and sharp afflic- 
tion. It was a providence which posed many of us, that God 
should so smartly handle such a man as this; till God's oracles 
told our faith enough to silence all murmuring thoughts of God. 
For God had given him before the blessings of Job, a healthful 
body, and constant prosperity ; and shall sinners taste no cor- 
rection, and receive nothing of God, but pleasant things ? All 
God's graces must have their exercise and trial; and faith 
and patience are most tried and exercised in a suffering state : 
God loveth not martyrs less than others. 2. And he had served 
God before by action, and usually, our last service is by patience; 
and Lazarus, in sores and wants, was in a safer way to Abra- 
ham's bosom, than Dives in his silks and sumptuous fare. 3. 
And we are naturally so loth to leave this world and flesh, 
that God seeth it meet to help our willingness, by making us 
weary of it ; and affliction, though grievous to the present, 
tendeth to the quiet fruit of righteousness, and making us par- 
takers of God's holiness, certainly tendeth to make us partakers 
of his glory; cross-bearing, and partaking of the sufferings of 
Christ, is an indispensable christian duty; we must be con- 
formed to him in his sufferings, if we will reign with him, and 
be partakers of our Master's joy. And in heaven all tears are 
wiped away, and there are no groans nor moans, no sorrows nor 
repining, or accusing God, for any of our former sufferings. 
What need have I, yea, what need have you all to remember 
this ? 

Flesh will feel, and faith will not avoid pain and present 
torment, no more than death ; but it fortified our dear brother's 
soul, that it should not too much suffer with his body. 

Several vears he was molested most with some cloudy troubles 
of his head, which Tunbridge waters eased for a time; and next 
with acrimony of urine ; and next, it too painfully appeared, to 
be the stone in the bladder. He long resolved to endure it to 
the death ; but at last extremity of torment and despair of any 
other ease, did suddenly cause him to choose to be cut. Two 
stones were found, and one of them in the operation was 
broken into pieces; many of which were taken out, by very 



158 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL 

terrible search, and about thirty pieces after came away through 
the wound ; physicians and all present admired at his patience. 
No word, no action, signified any distressing sense ; and, though 
he was about sixty-five years old, God did recover him, and 
heal the wound ; but we were too unthankful, and his pains re- 
turned : gently at first, but afterwards as terribly as before. And, 
after that, a strong fever, of which, unexpectedly, he recovered. 
And, then, oft inflainmations, and at last, a dangerous one; and 
finally, so great torment, that a French lithotomist being here, 
he was over-persuaded to be searched, and cut again, and a 
third stone was taken away, with competent speed and ease, 
and divers big fragments of it, which had been broken off in the 
first o])eration. Thus was he cut twice in about a year's space ; 
and the wound seemed marvellously to heal for divers months ; 
and when we had pra} ed hard for him, we turned it to thanks- 
giving, and thought the danger of death was past; but after, 
his strength failed, and he died in peace. God gave him those 
months of ease and calmness, the better to bear his approach- 
ing change. 

In all this, none heard him express any querulous impatience. 
Most of his words were telling men how tolerable his pain was, 
and how good God was, and thankfully acknowledging his 
mercy. The last words which I had from him, were of the 
goodness of God, 'O that we could love God more.' And 
when he thought he should recover, he was very solicitous in 
his inquiry, v/hat God would Iiave him do in gratitude. And 
one of the chief things which he resolved on to one of his old 
friends, was, that he would set upon as many parliament men as 
he could speak with, to repeal all the laws which hinder good 
men from preaching Christ's gospel. Adding moreover, ' And 
countrymen,' saith he, ' you and I will take care for Lanca- 
shire, that the gospel may be more preached among them.' (It 
being their native country, and abounding with pajjists, and 
many parts having scarcity of preachers.) 

But suddenly he pased from the exercise of faith and patience, 
unto sight and rest. 

His last words (save his farewell, and" Come, Lord Jesus,") 
were to au old friend, Mr. Nathaniel Hulton, ' to walk in the 
way of God, will be comfort at death ;' being not of their 
mind, who for fear of fetching too much comfort from our own 
duty (which they call works) do think Christ's merits injured 
by such thoughts and words as these : as if the cure were a 



BE WITH CHRIST. 159 

disgrace to our physician, or Christ (Matt, xxv.) had hiis-de- 
scribed the last judgment ; or God were no " rewarder of them 
that dihgently seek him," and " laying up our treasure and 
hearts in heaven," were no means to be " received into the 
everlasting hal)itation." 

And thus passed this faithful soul to Christ. 

And now, reader, have I not shown thee a true copy of the 
first part of my text ? One that indeed served Christ and fol- 
lowed him. Is not this his image and imitation ? And is it 
not sure then that he is where Christ is ? and that God that 
maketh it our duty to honour his memory on earth, hath given 
him another kind of honour in the heavens ? 

And to what other end have I said all this of him ? 

In general, " Go and do thou likewise." 

I. I do it much for the use of the magistrates and people of 
this city ? I commend this example to them all. Oh, what an 
honourable and happy city would this be, if you were all such as 
our deceased brother was ? We joyfully thank God for so 
much goodness as flourished among you ? The Lord make 
London still the glory of the cities on earth ! But were all fa- 
milies used as his family was, and all men here lived as this man 
lived, we should suspect we had the " new earth, wherein 
dwelt righteousness." And were princes and nobles such, the 
world such, or but the christian church such, what a taste 
of heaven should we have on earth. But should we not then 
be too loth to die ? and too little difference earth from heaven ? 
But, oh, that London, who know that I do not over-praise this 
holy man, would but imitate his example ! 

II. I do it much for his children's use. Their honour, their 
comfort, but especially their everlasting good. Will they ever 
forget the instructions, the love, and the life of such a father ? 

III. I do it partly for the use of the clergy and their agents, 
that have judged such men as this to be worthy of all the re- 
proach and sufferings which some canons and late laws have 
laid on such : I write not to cast reproach back upon them. 
But, reverend fathers and brethren, as you believe a God, a 
Christ, a judgment and a life to come, bethink you whether 
such men as this should be fined, or excommunicated, ipse 

facto, as your canon doth it ? And when Christ hath proniised, 
that if they serve him, they shall be where he is, and his Father 
v.'ill honour them, dare you make your church-doors too narrow 
to receive them, when Dr. Heylln tells us how far Bishop Laud 



160 FAITHFUL SOULS SHALL BK WITH CHRIST. 

would have had it widened to receive the papists, if they would 
come in : do not such men as this serve and follow Christ ? 
And are they yet excommunicate schismatics if they will not 
serve and follow you, in the things that neither Christ nor his 
apostles commanded or practised ? yea, which they forbid (as I 
have proved in my First Plea and my Treatise of Episcopacy). I 
am in great hope that if you knew but the tenth part of the now 
silenced ministers, and prosecuted people, that I do, your con- 
sciences would constrain you to publish your rej)entance, and 
petition king and parliament for better terms of unity and peace. 
For I will hope that most silencers and afflicters do it more 
through ignorance and unacquaintedness with the men than in 
diabolical malignity. 

IV. And I have done this for my own use. To discharge 
my duty ; to set before me this pattern of sincerity, love, and 
patience, for my reproof and imitation. We were of the same 
year for age; and of the same judgment, and desire, and aim ; 
but I have not attained to his degree of goodness and patience. 
Being not unlikely to be exercised with some like afflictions, 
after a life of wonderful mercy, and quickly to follow my de- 
parted friend ; 1 beg of God that he will not try me beyond the 
strength which he will give me, but so increase my faith and 
patience, that I may finish my course with joy. 

V. Lastly, I have written this for the comfort of all serious, 
suffering believers. Cbristians, let us not think that we serve 
Christ for nought, or that our labour for holiness and heaven is 
in vain ? Nor let us faint when we are tried and chastised. 
Labour and sorrow will quickly have an end : angels are readv 
to convoy us home : how low soever you are here in your 
bodies, estates, employment, or reputation, you have Christ's 
promise that his Father will honour you ! Look then to Jesus, 
the Author and Perfecter of your faith, who, for the joy that was 
set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, lest 
you be weary and faint in your minds ; and comfort one an- 
other with these words, that " we shall be ever with the Lord." 
Amen. 



A SERMON 

PREACHED AT THE FUNERAL OF 

MR. JOHN CORBET, 



THAT 



FAITHFUL MINISTER OF CHRIST 



WITH 



HIS TRUE AND EXEMPLARY CHARACTER. 



VOL. XVI n. M 



SERMON 



PRKACHED AT TIIR 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET, 

Sfc. eye. 



2 COR. xii. 1—9. 



// is not expedient for me doubtless to glonj. I will come to 
visions and revelations of the Lord. 1 Imew a man in Christ 
above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; 
or whether out of the body, I cannot tell : God knoweth ;) such 
an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a 
man, (ivhether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell : 
God knoiveth ;) hoiv that he was caught up into Paradise, 
and licard unspeakable %vords, which it is not lawful for a 
man to utter. Of such an one ivill I glory : yet of myself 
I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would 
desire to glory, I shall not be a fool ; for I unit say the truth : 
but fiQiv I forbear, lest any man should t/iink of me above 
that ivkich he seeth me to be, or that he heureth of me. And 
lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance 
of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, 
the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exulted 
above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, 
that it might depart from me. And he said. My grace is 
sufficient for thee : for my strength is made perfect in weak- 
ness. Most gladly therefore zvill I rather glory in my infir- 
mities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

It is but lately that we were here lamenting the loss of this 
city and the church of God, in the removal of an excellent 
saint : we are now come on the like occasion. It is a year of 
jubilee for holy souls, and a harvest for heaven. The ripest are 



A SERMON, Sec. 163 

gatheredj and the green and sour fruit is yet left on earth. 
But, oh ! what a heavy judgment is it, to the needy world, 
which wants such lights, as God is taking in. But we are not 
the choosers. It is well if we be obedient learners, and can 
follow such to life in the holy path. 

The text read to you, hath so much matter of instruction that 
will excuse me if 1 scarce name the most. It is part of Paul's 
vindication against the accusers of his person and ministry, 
which were some erroneous judaizing teachers. He confesseth 
that glorying is an inexpedient thing, and sounds like folly; 
but yet, in case of necessary defence, it may be modestly and 
sincerely done. Especially the opening of those divine revela- 
tions and gifts which make for the strength of the faith of 
others. The explication shall be taken in as we go. 
>/'' Observ. 1. It is no new thing for the wisest and holiest of 
Christ's ministers to be accused even by the teachers of Christ- 
ianity. 

For 1. There are. many erroneous teachers, that are confi- 
dent they are in the right, and oppose the teachers of truth as 
if they were the erring men. 

2. And there are worldly, proud, malignant hypocrites, who 
bring their unsanctified hearts into the sacred office, and ma- 
Wdgii It as men do ccinmon trades, but with greater enmity and 
strife. 

3. And there are abundance of ignorant or half-wise injudi- 
cious men, who have self-conceitedness enough to be peremp- 
tory and confident, but neither knowledge nor humility enough 
to perceive their own weakness and mistakes. 

Use 1, Therefore let it not become a scandal to you, if you 
hear some teachers accusing and vilifying others. 

2. Aad think not that a minister is erroneous or faulty, 
merely because others, though of great name, do accuse him, 
or so represent him. It hath still been so, and while Satan is 
Satan, and man is corrupt m^m, and there is so much darkness, 
and so much worldly temptations, and cross interests, it will 
l)e so ; and preacheis will be made the common and danger- 
ous hiiiderers of preachers ; and where they have power, will 
silence them, and disgrace tlieir work. 
•^ Ohserv. 2. Glorying or boasting, is in itself an inexpedient 
thing. It savours of pride, and selfishness, and folly, when it 
is not necessiary and just. And therefore all Christians should 
be backward to it. 

M 2 



164 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

Observ. 3. Yet that which is so inexpedient, may, on just 
occasions, become good, and a duty. 

That is, 1. When it is made needful to God's honour and 
the vindication and success of our ministry and the truth. 
And, 

2. When these are our true needs. And, 

3. When we sjDeak nothing but the truth. 

Use 3. Oh, that men knew how great a sin it is, by their 
confident errors and rash accusations, to put Christ's ministers 
upon such a defence ; much more to seek their silence and 
destruction. 

2. And here you see that inconveniences will not excuse us 
from necessary duties ; nor prove that all is unlawful which 
hath such. What is it in this confused and imperfect world 
that hath not its inconveniences. In government, both monar- 
chy, aristocracy, and democracy, absolute and limited, have their 
many inconveniences. In churches, the power of people and 
pastors, equality and subordination, riches and poverty, severity 
and lenity, to use discipline or neglect it, have their inconve- 
niences. In worship, imposed words or free, and all human 
forms and modes have their inconveniences. In houses, a mar- 
ried life and a single, to have children and to have none, to 
have servants or none, to have much business or little, to be 
high or low, rich and poor, to rule gently or severely, have all 
their inconveniences. In our conversations, to be yielding or 
not, to converse with few or many, with high or low, to speak 
or to be silent, have all their inconveniences. 

And yet there are men that on one side can silence Christ's 
faithful ministers by hundreds or thousands, and persecute the 
true m.embers of Christ, and cast out true discipline, and cor- 
rupt the churches, and justify all this by urging some inconve- 
niences. And there are others that can unchurch most churches 
in the world, and separate from their worship, and think the 
charge of inconveniences will justify all. And so we should 
have no government, no ministry, no worship, no families^ 
wives, or children, or servants, no l)ooks, no trades, no food, n*;') 
physic, if all mere inconveniences forbid them. 

By this our instance, Solomon may be understood, what it is 
to be wise and righteous overmuch, some are so wise an(t right- 
eous (materially, not formally) that they can find faults in all 
persons, all duties, all speeches, all actions, and on pretence of 
doing all better, would hinder us from doing wh'it we can, and 



N 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 165 

undo all as if itwerefor ameiiding. Not but that inconveniences 
may make actions' sinful ; but the great part of christian pru- 
. dence lieth in holding the balance, and trying wisely whether 
Ithe good or hurt, the benefit or inconvenience do weigh down ; 
we shall never preach or pray, nor converse with mankind 
without some inconveniencv. 

^"Observ. 4. Divine revelations acquainting the soul with 
heaven, are matters most v/orthy of lawful, humble, modest 
glorying. 

It Vv'as Paul's heavenly visions which he gloried in as his ad- 
vancement, when he had mentioned his many persecutions and 
sufferings in the way. 

These tend to that perfection and felicity of souls : in these 
men have to do with the glorious Jehovah, the angelic choir, 
the heavenly society, our glorified Head, our highest hopes, and 
matter of the greatest everlasting joys. Oh, if God would but 
give you and me this heavenly sight, and let us but once see 
what Paul saw, what little things would crowns and lordships 
seem to us when we look down from such a height ! What 
trifling should we think most of the bustles of this world ! 
What toys and dreams, their wealthy honour and sinful delights ! 
I should then say, ' Now I see what it is that we seek and hope, 
and suffer for, what it is to enjoy God and our Redeemer : and 
therefore now I know what it is to be a believer, a saint, a 
man indeed.' Oh ! what a help to mortification would such a 
sight of paradise be ? How easily should we after resist temp- 
tations, deny the flesh, contemn the world, and hate our sins. 
Oh I how it would overcome all these distrustful trembling fears of 
death, and make us long, and groan, and cry to be with Christ. 
What life would it put into all holy duty. How easily should 
we bear our short afflictions. How would it mellow our sour, 
contentious minds toward one another, and teach us better 
whom to love and live in peace with, than pride and worldli- 
ness or faction will teach us. 

Fellow Christians, though you and I may not expect such 
raptures and ecstacies as Paul's; yet we have the gospel of Jesus, 
a divine revehition of this same heavenly glory ; not to be set 
light by, because we see it not ourselves. It is by the Son of 
God that saw it, and now is there preparing it for us ; it is sealed 
by a certain word, and the heavenly beams are sent down 
from him upon our hearts, to show it us, and lead us up. We 
are capable of a lively belief, of the full assurance of hope, of 



166 A SERMON I'REACHED AT THE 

the pledges, earnest, and first-fruits ; and of rejoicing witli un- 
speakable, glorying joy. We are capable in our manner, and 
are sure of traffic for heaven, and with heaven, of sending up 
our treasures, and there conversing in spirit, as in the city 
which is our home, and hearing by faith the joyful harmony of 
the heavenly songs and praises of Jehovah. Here we are capa- 
ble of such a powerful touch with the loadstone of divine love, 
or to have our spirits so refined and sublimated, as shall make 
it as natural to them to make upward towards Christ, and long 
for full and perfect union. Oh ! had we lived as believers should 
have lived, how much more of heavenlj^-mindedness, and delight 
might we have attained than we have done. Oh ! thank God 
for the gospel revelation, and beg grace to bring it in power on 
your hearts. And then, let worldlings take their earthly por- 
tions ; we can spare them all that hindereth not the gather- 
ing and edification of the church, and the heavenly interest of 
souls. 
^/ Observ. 5. There is a third heaven and heavenly paradise, 
where are the concerns and hopes of holy souls. 

Paul was taken thither up ; had he no interest there, no 
hopes, no friends, no business there ; why, then, should he have 
been rapt up thither ? How many heavens there be, and why 
it is here called the third ; 1 will not interrupt your more neces- 
sary thoughts, by conjecturing inquiries. Most say, the air is 
called the first ; the starry heaven the second ; and the place 
of the glorified spirits the third ; but these are vain conjectures. 
No man knovveth how many there be ; the globes or stars, are 
at vast distance from each other ; some great philosophers have 
been tempted to think, that world is infinite, as an adequate 
effect of infinite power, because God hath no unactive power ; all 
this is profane rashness. The heavens, which are our inherit- 
ance, are the place where perfect glorious spirits shall live in 
blessed society with Christ and one another ; joyfully beholding 
the glory of God, and feeling the delights of mutual love ; and 
yet there are different degrees of glory from the different de- 
grees of the capacity of spirits ; whether also from any differ- 
ence in the place, and communicating causes, we shall shortly 
better know : there are more sorts of spirits than we can now 
know. Though 1 know not how to receive Aquinas's doctrine, 
that no two angels are of the same species ; the diversity, as 
well as the incomprehensible glory and numbers, are unknown to 
us. Those that God employeth under Christ as his pursuivants. 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 167 

messengers, and servants for his church, are called angels. 
Whether there be orders over orders, quite above angels, and 
how angels differ from the perfected spirits of the just, we 
know not. 

As it is designed for saints, its glory consisteth, 

1. In the glory of the place. 

2. In the perfecting and glorifying the natures and persons 
that enjoy it. 

.3. In the glory of the heavenly society, Christ, angels, and 
saints. 

4. In the glory of their high and excellent work, to love and 
magnify God for ever. 

5. In the communication of the joyful love, and light, and life 
of God, upon these glorified s])irits. Oh ! what doth every one of 
these words signify ! Is not this a paradise indeed, that is a 
place of purest, greatest pleasure ? 

Use 1 . And are we not taught by such a glass as this, how 
great and how good a God we serve ? Oh, look up to the heavens 
and see what he is by that which he hath made. Yea, it is said, 
(Psalm cxiii.(i,) that he humbles himself to behold the things in 
heaven, as well as upon earth. O sinners ! what a God do you 
despise, neglect, and forget ! and what a heaven do you sell 
for fleshly lust, and to feed a corruptible body for the grave ! 
O Christians ! what a God have we to serve and fear, and how 
zealously and purely should we serve him ! What a God have 
we to trust and hope in, and how great a sin is it to distrust 
him ! What a heaven have we to seek and hope for, and how 
cheerfullvand constantly should we do it ! Alas ! our cold hearts, 
and slothful lives, and worldly cares, and sinking spirits, beseem 
not such a God and heaven. Were we designed but to inhabit 
the sun, or some resplendent star, how high is it above this 
earth ? Shall we creep only on earth and feed on dust, and 
defile our souls as if we were preparing them by sin for hell, 
when we have a third heaven and paradise to look up to, and 
seek and hope for ? 

Doth Satan say, ' What is that to thee, that is so far above 
thee?' It is to us; it is the place where the glory of God is 
which we seek ; where our glorified Head is. The place of holy 
spirits, whither also Enoch and Elias were translated; where 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob live; whither Christ's Spirit went 
at death, and where he received the believing thief; where 
Laz^irus is in Abraham's bosom, whicli Stephen foresaw, and to 



168 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

which he was received. It is the place which we are set on 
earth to seek, dearly purchased, surely promised, to which God's 
Spirit is now preparing us, and of which it is our pledge and 
seal. Were it not for such an end and hope, how vain were 
man, and what a dream this world. Take heaven from us, and 
take our lives, our joys, yea, more than many such lives as 
these. Oh ! that we could be more deeply sensible for what we 
are Christians, and for what we hope I what holy, patient, 
joyful Christians should we then be. But it is not a wavering 
belief, a divided heart, and a few cold, strange, and staggering 
thoughts of heaven that will do this as we desire it. 

Observ. 6. Souls are not so closely tied to the body, but now 
they may be rapt up into paradise, or the third heavens. 

When Paul could not tell whether it was in the body or out 
of it, it showeth somehow the soul was there, and that it is 
possible it might be out of the body. 

Obj. If it were in the body, the body must go with it. If 
out of the body, it must leave the body dead. 

Answ. It might be in the body, and not take up the body. If 
man were born blind, the lucid spirits, and a visive faculty would 
act only within, but as soon as a miracle opened his eyes, he 
would see as far as the sun and stars. And the sun sends down 
even its beams to this earth. Should God open this dark 
lantern of the body, we little know how far a soul may see 
without any separation from the body. Did not Stephen's soul 
in the body see Christ in glory ? 

And if it went out of the body, it followeth not that it must 
be separated from the body and leave it dead. When London 
was on fire, how high did the flame go above the fuel, and yet 
it was not separated from the fuel. A soul can stay in the body, 
and yet not be confined to it as a chicken in the shell, but may 
see, and mount above it to the heavens. 

Use. Therefore think not of souls as you do of bodies, which 
are circumscribed in their proper places. We know not what 
formal thoughts to have of the dimensions or locality of spirits. 
Somewhat such eminenter they have, (for they have individua- 
tion and numeral quantity, and some passivity,) but wot fm'ma- 
liter as gross bodies have. While the soul is in the body it 
worketh on it, and is a substance distinct from it, and such a 
form as hath also its own form, even its formal power or virtue, 
of vital activity, sensitive and intellective perception, and sen- 
sitive and rational appetite. It is active life itself, as the prin- 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 169 

ciple, it perceiveth itself, and loveth itself, it understandeth 
what other spirits are, by itself, it remembereth innumerable 
things past, it riseth up to some knowledge of God, it can seek, 
love, and obey him, and all this though not out of the body, 
yet above any efficiency of bodily organs. Oh ! what a sad part 
of man's fall is it, to lose so much as the world hath done, of 
the knowledge of ourselves. And to begin to know ourselves, 
our souls, and how man differs from a beast, is the first part of 
recovering knowledge, leading up towards the knowledge of 
God, which is the highest. 

O then, sirs, do not only own the heavenly dignity of souls, 
but use your souls accordingly. Are they good for no better 
than to serve the body in lust and appetite, and keep it in motion 
and some pleasure, or at least from stinking a while in the world ? 
Sinners, hear and consider, if you wilfully condemn your own 
souls to bestiality, God will condemn them to perpetual mi- 
sery. Yea, you do it yourselves, and pass from brutishness to 
the devilish nature and woful state. 
^J Observ. 7. The things of the heavenly paradise are to mortal 
men unutterable. 
That is, 

I. Such as cannot be uttered. And, 

II. Such as must not be uttered. It is not lawful to Paul that 
saw them. 

Not that nothing of it may or must be uttered. Christ hath 
brought life and immortality to light. They are great things 
and glorious which are by him revealed. Enough well believed 
and used to overcome the temptation of this flesh and world, 
and to raise us to a holy life, and joyful hope, and comfortable 
sufferings and death. Christ best knoweth the just measure of 
revelation meet for earth. Candles must serve for narrow and 
dark rooms, and are more worth than all the gold on earth. 
The sun by day must not come too near us lest it burn us up, 
but send us its beams at the distance that we can bear them. 
And all souls are not here meet for the same measures, much 
less for that sight which the glovifitd enjoy. The pure in heart 
do see God, (Matt, v.,) and even here more than impure souls. 

I. There is no human language that hath words fit to reveal 
that part of the heavenly tilings which God hath shut up from 
us as his secrets. Man's words are only fitted to man's use and 
to man's concerns, and not to angels and the secrets of heaven. 
We speak not a word of God himself, which signifieth formally 



170 A StRMON PREACHED AT THE 

what God is, but only analogically or by similitude, aild yet Hot 
in vain. Paul saw, and holy souls see, that which no human 
language can properly express. 

2. And if it could, yet mortals could not understand it, no 
more than a language which they never heard. 

3. And Paul had it revealed in a manner suited to his own 
use, and not in a manner meet for communication. 

II. And it was unlawful also to utter it. 1. For God saw not all 
that meet for the dark world of undisposed sinners, which was 
allowed to one eminent saint. 

2. Nor would he have so much more revealed by a minis- 
ter than the Son of God from heaven had himself before 
revealed. 

3. And the revelation is to be suited to the fruition. Full 
knowledge is fit only for those that must fully enjoy it. 

Use. Therefore remember Avith what measures of heavenly 
knowledge we must be here content, so much as Christ hath re- 
vealed and is suitable to a distant life of faith. I have known 
some run into greater calamities than I will mention, by an ex- 
pectation of visible communion with angels, and others by rash 
conceits of visions, dreams, and prophetical revelations ; but the 
common error of Christians is, to content themselves with a 
feeble faith, (or at least get no better,) and then think it should 
be made up by somewhat like to sight or corporal sense, and to 
be unsatisfied because they know no more than by believing they 
can reach to. As if believing were but an uncertain apprehen- 
sion, (with which we are unsatisfied,) and we are not content 
to live on that which God hath revealed, but we would fain know 
more, before we are ready for it ; whereas we must explicitly 
believe all that is explicitly revealed, and implicitly believe and 
trust God for the rest. 

We are here used to live by sight and sense, and the soul is 
strange to such apprehensions as are quite above sense and 
without it. And fain we would have God bring down the unseen 
things to these sensations and perceptions, and we would fain 
have distinct and formal knowledge of that which God liath but 
generally revealed. It is somewhat excusable for a soul to 
desire this, as it is the state of perfection to which we do aspire. 
But it is not well that we remember not more that sight and full 
fruition are reserved together for the life to come, and that we 
live no more thankfully and joyfully on so much as we may in 
the body by believing know. 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 171 

Quest. What may we conjecture those things are which Paul 
had seen, and must not utter ? 

Why should we inquire when they must not be uttered ? We 
may mention a possibility to rebuke our bold, unquiet thoughts. 

Our souls would fain have not only analogical, but formal 
conceptions of the essence, substance, glory, immensity, eternity 
of God. Hope for much in heaven, but never for an adequate 
comprehension. But this is the very highest of all those things 
which are not to be uttered, and therefore not to be here 
attained. 

Our souls would fain be perfect extensively and intensively in 
philosophy, and know heaven and earth, the spheres, or orbs, 
or vortices ; the magnitudes, number, distances, motions, and 
the nature of all the stars, and the compagination of the whole 
frame of being. But this is unutterable, and not here to be 
known. 

Our souls would fain know more of the angelical nature ; 
what such spirits are, whether absolutely immaterial as mere 
acts and virtues ; or substances which are pure matter, and what 
their number and differences are, and how vast, and many, and 
distant their habitations, and what are their offices on earth or 
elsewhere ; and how much they know of us and our affairs, and 
in what subordination men, churches, and kingdoms stand to 
them, and they to one another, and how they are individuated, 
and how far one. But all these are unutterable, and locked up 
from us. 

Our souls would fain know whether there was any world before 
this earth, and the creation of the six days ; and whether there 
was any spiritual Being, which was an eternal effect by emana- 
tion from an eternal cause, as light from the sun ; and whether 
the sun and stars are intellectual or sensitive, and exceed man 
in form, as well as in matter, and what the noble nature of fire 
is. But these things are unutterable, and so notknowable to us. 

Our souls would fain have more sensible perceptions of 
themselves, as to their substance, and their separate state. 
Whether they are substances utterly immaterial j how they are 
generated, how they subsist, and act out of the body, and 
how they do enjoy. How they are individuate, and yet how far 
one. How far one or not one with Christ, and one another. 
Whether they are divisible in substance as continued quantities, 
as well in number as quantitates discretce. What place and 
limits do confine them (being not infinite). How far they have 



172 A SERMON J'REACHED AT THE 

still sensation ; and how they see, praise, and enjoy God ; 
and how they converse with one another ; and how far they 
know the things on earth; and how their state before the re- 
surrection differs from what it will he after; and how far the 
soul will be instrumental in the raising of the body. But all 
these are unutterable things. 

We would fain know more of the decrees of God, and how 
all his acts are eternal, and yet produce their effects in time. 
How they are many, and yet but one, producing divers contrary 
effects. Many such things inquisitive nature would fain know 
which are unutterable. 

But this must satisfy us : 

1. That sinful souls, and dark, in a dark body, and a dark 
world, are not fit for so great a light, nor capable of it. It will 
put out our eyes to gaze so nearly on the sun. 

2. That Christ hath revealed so much of the greatness and 
certainty of the heavenly glory, as he seeth meet and suitable to 
God's holy ends and us. 

3. That the church hath so much clearer a revelation than 
the heathen and infidel world, as should make us thankful for 
our light. 

4. That, if we believe the revelation of the gospel soundly, 
we may live a holy, joyful life, and die in the peace and triumph 
of our hopes. 

5. That it Is not by sight, but by faith that we must here 
live, in our wilderness expectant state. 

6. That the more we cleave to God, and live by faith above 
the flesh and world v/hilst we are in it, the clearer and sweeter 
our apprehensions of lieaven will be. 

7. That God must be trusted implicitly about that which is 
yet unknown to us, as well as explicitly for what we know. And, 

8. That what we know not now, we shall know hereafter, 
and the day is near. Let these things quiet our souls in health 
and sickness, though we are yet in darkness as to the unutter- 
able things. 

9. And always add, that what we know not, Christ knoweth 
for us, to whom it belongeth to prepare the place for us, and us 
for it, and to receive us. Had we but a friend in heaven whom we 
could trust, we could partly take up with their knowledge. Our 
Head is there, and the eyes that we must trust to are in our Head. 

But how was Paul in danger of being exalted above measure, 
by the abundance of revelations ? 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 173 

Answ. 1. It might have been above the measure meet for 
man in flesh, and so unsuitable to his present state. 

2. It might have been unto sinful pride, as the angels fell 
from God, and as Adam fell, desiring to be as a God in 
knowledge. 

Observ. 8. Even heavenly revelations may be made the matter 
and occasion of unmeet and sinful exaltation. 

For, 1. It is the nature of sin to turn all our objects into 
itself to feed it. Not as they are without us in esse reali, but 
within us in esse cognito, the ideas in our minds. Austin saith, 
indeed, that grace is that quo nemo male utetur^ but he must 
mean it, 1. As in itself. 2. And efficiently, grace never doth 
evil. But objectively in the idea or remembrance of it, it may 
be abused to pride. 

2. And the greatest and most excellent objects as ours, give 
pride the greatest advantage. Heavenly revelations are far 
more excellent than gold, and dominion, and worldly pomp. 
Children are proud of fine clothes, and worldly fools of vain- 
glory, but saints may be more tempted to be proud of wisdom, 
holiness, and things above the reach of others. 

3. And Satan knoweth how to fetch temptations from the 
highest, best, and holiest things, and his malice being as much 
against them as against us, he will be here most malignantly 
industrious. 

Use. We see, then, that pride is such a sin as the holiest 
saint is not fully secured from ; no, not when he hath been hear- 
ing unutterable words, and seeing the heavenly paradise itself, 
no, not if he come down from the third heavens, and luring his 
imperfect nature with him. Though he came newly from 
converse with angels, much more when he cometh from the 
most fervent prayers, or holiest meditations, or most heavenly 
and successful studies, and from hearing the most seraphic 
preacher, or preaching as such an one hinjself. He is not out 
of danger when he newly cometh from the most self-denying- 
acts of mortification, or the greatest victory against temiJtation, 
or the greatest sufferings for Christ. What a sad description do 
Cyprian and Epiphanius make of the miscarriages of some con- 
fessors that had offered to die for Christ. 

Let none, therefore, abuse the grace of Christ, and the doc- 
trine of perseverance, by thinking that it sets him above all 
danger or fears of falling, unless he can say, that he is jjetter 
than Paul was, and hath seen i'aul heard more than he did in 



\^ 



174 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

paradise ; than Peter did with Clirist ; and Moses and EUas 
on the holy niount. Oh, that this age did not loudly tell us, how 
much the real, or supjDosed knowledge of divine things may be 
abused to sinful exaltations. By one side, even by most famed 
teachers, to contempt of others, and lording it over the heritage 
of God, and racking and rending his church by their needless, 
yea, wicked, convulsive, imposing devices. And, by the other 
side, by hurtful, unwarrantable censures and separations, and 
speaking evil of the things which they know not. Have you 
heard and seen more of heaven than others ? Be, then, more 
holy, loving, merciful, and peaceable, and liker those in heaven 
than others. Read over and over James iii., show out of a good 
conversation your works with meekness of wisdom ; for the 
wisdom from above, neither befriendeth enmity to piety or 
peace, but is first pure, then peaceable, &c. 

But how is Paul kept from being exalted above measure ? 
God gave him a thorn in the flesh. Note, 

Observ. 9. God seeth our danger, when we see not our own, 
and saveth us from that which we saw not, or had not else pre- 
vented. Thanks to him, and not to us. 

But how doth God do it ? By a thorn in the flesh. 

Observ. 10. It is better that the flesh smart, than the soul 
be overmuch exalted. 

No ])ain or suffering of the flesh, is so bad as pride, nor hath 
so bad effects. 

Use. Why, then, do we so little fear exaltation? How 
greedily do some religious people desire it. How impatient of 
any thing that crosses it, and humbleth them. How little do 
they ladiient it, and confess it. Is pride so rare, or so small a 
sin, even among preachers and zealous men ? 

And why do we so much fear every thorn in the flesh ; every 
sickness, jiain, or cross, as if pride could be prevented, or killed 
at too dear a rate ? And why do we quarrel with God for our 
sufferings, as if our disease were not so bad as his remedy. Who 
ever heard you in health cry out of your pride, as in sickness 
you do of your pain. It is a ha])py thorn, which lets out this 
corrupt and pestilent blood. 

But what was this thorn in the flesh of Paul? 

Answ. The Greek word signifieth, a sharp stake, pale, nail, 
stub, or thorn, or any such sharp thing, that runs into the flesh, 
as it falls out with barefoot travellers, among such thorns and 
stubs. 



iiUNBRAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 175 

It is Strange how many expositors came to take up that inju" 
rious conceit, that it was fleshly hist ; which hath not the least 
colour in the text. 

1 . Lust would be rather likened to a fire or itch, than to a 
thorn. 

2. It would be called an alluring, rather than a buffeting. 

3. Paul had a life of labour and suffering, which would keep 
down fleshly lust. 

4. This thorn is given him, as sent from God, to save him 
from sin ; but where is God said to give men lust, to save them 
from pride. 

5. This thorn was the buffeting of a messenger of Satan; but 
it is not like, that Satan could so excite lust in Paul. 

G. Paul prayed thrice, that it might be taken from him ; it is 
not like, that Satan could so follow him with lustful motions, 
and that Paul would not have mentioned fasting, and other 
means of cure. 

7. God doth not yet say, that he will yet take it from him ; 
but under his weakness, manifest his sustaining grace, which 
sounds not like an answer of a prayer against lust. 

8. Paul is vindicating his ministry against accusers, by 
mentioning his infirmities, that is, his bodily sufferings and his 
revelations J and is the telling them of his lust a meet means for 
this ? 

9. It is called his weakness, which is his usual title for his 
sufferings ; but you m;ly see, (Rom. vii.,) that he calleth lust by 
more odious names. 

I doubt not, but it was some bodily suffering which was this 
thorn ; but whether by persecutors, or by a disease, is the chief 
doubt ; many think that it was by persecution : 

1. Because it was by a messenger of Satan. 

2. Because wicked men are, in Scripture, likened to thorns. 

I more incline to think, it was a fit of some violent pain in 
the flesh, and most likely the stone, (or some such thing,) which, 
indeed, is a tormenting thorn in the flesh. For, 

1. We read of his frequent persecutions ; but never that he so 
named them, or that he so much prayed against them ; but re- 
joiced, as Christ bids such, with exceeding joy. (Matt. v. 11, 
12.) And when he and all the apostles so much exhort be- 
lievers to rejoice in sufferings for Christ, is it like he would here 
tell men how he prayed against it 

And as to the reasons for the contrary sense : — 



■\f 



176 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

1. Wicked men are called thorns, as hurtful j and so are other 
hurting things. Christ had a crown of thorns on his head; 
(John xix. 5 ;) and Paul must feel one in his flesh. Any thing 
hurtful is likened to thorns. (Job xli. 2 ; Prov. xxvi. 9, and 
xxii. 5 ; Hos. ii. 6, and ix. 6.) 

2. And Satan is, in Scripture, usually mentioned as God's 
executioner, even in trying his children. It was into his hands 
that Job was put ; hurting work is fittest for an evil and destroy- 
ing angel. He would sift the apostles as wheat, by outward 
affrighting, as well as inward tempting. However, suffering it 
was. 

/ Observ. 1 1 . A thorn in the flesh is one of God's means to 
keep the best from being overmuch exalted. 
You have heard, that the best may need it ; 

1. And the flesh hath so much hand in our sin, that it is fit 
to bear its part of suffering. 

2. And it is the most ignoble part, and therefore its suffering 
hath less of hurt, and less to signify God's displeasure. Soul 
sufferings are the sore sufferings ; and it is the soul that is the 
chief agent in our duties ; and, therefore, where it is spared, 
we are least disabled for God's work, and our communion with 
him. 

3. And the nearness of body and soul is such, that God 
can use the body to keep the soul in a humble, and a safe con- 
dition. 

Use. Mistake not the nature and meaning of the flesh's suf- 
fering. Grudge not at God, if he exercise thus his greatest 
saints. Wonder not if the best men have sharp persecutions, 
pinching wants, and painful sickness, a long and sharp torment- 
ing stone, or other such like thorn in the flesh. 

1. It is but the flesh, in our brutish partj common to 
beasts. If flesh must die and rot, why may it not first feel the 
thorn. 

2. We grudged not at that health, and youth, and ease, and 
pleasure of it, which was the danger and temptation to the soul; 
why, then, should we grudge at the pain, which tendeth to our 
cure. 

3. If you feel not the need of suffering, you know not your- 
selves. Did you know your j)ride, and overmuch love of flesh 
and ease, vou would say, that i)ain is a jihysic which you need, 
were it but to help on your willingness to die. 

4. Pain here dcpriveth us of none of our true felicity ; it 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 177 

lundereth not God's love to us ; it keeps us not from heaven ; 
Lazarus was in a fairer way than Dives. It takes nothing from 
us, but what we covenanted to forsake for Christ. 

5. Do we not find that we are better when we suffer, than 
when we are high ? Were rehgious people better when vic- 
tories and successes did Hft them up, than they have been in 
their sufferings ? Did they live then more humbly, peaceably, 
and heavenly ? 

6. The thorn will soon be taken out; flesh will not endure 
long, and therefore tliis pain will not be long. A few more 
painful nights and days, and the porter which we fear will 
break open our prison doors, and end these weary, grievous 
sufferings. 

Use 2. And think not the thorn is a mark, that such are 
worse than others. Paul was not worse ', and shall we censure 
such as he i 

Use 3. But let us all know the use of suffering ; what cure 
hath this medicine wrought ? Blessed be our wise and graci- 
ous Physician, we find it a powerful, though unpleasant remedy. 
It keepeth Lazarus from t!ie sins of Dives ; from living a worldly, 
sensual life, and loving the prosperity of the flesh, instead of 
heavenly, true felicity. It keepeth us from a beastly living to 
our appetites and lust ; which would divert and deprave the 
spiritual appetite. It keepeth us from being deluded by worldly 
flatteries, and looking for a portion in this life, and laying up a 
treasure on earth, and from growing senseless and impenitent in 
sin. It awakeneth the soul to serious expectations of eternit}', 
and keepeth us as within the sight or hearing of another 
M'orld ; and tells us to the quick, that we must make ready to 
die, and to be judged, and that we have much more to do with 
God, than with man ; and for heaven, than earth. It taketli 
down pride, and all excessive respects to human approbation j 
and keeping us still in the sight of the grave, doth tell us what 
man's body is, mors soJafatetur, quaniula sunt lionmmmcorjms- 
cula. Juv. What faithful soul, that hath been bred up in 
the school of afflictions, doth not by experience say, that it 
was good for him ? How dull, how proud, how worldly might 
we else have been, and trifled away our lives in sloth and 
vanity. 

And it is not for nothing that our thorns (or nails) in the 
flesh, are kin to the nails that jnerced our Saviour on tlie cross 

VOL. XVIII. N 



- 178 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

and that we tread in his steps, and as cross-bearers are thus far 
conformable to his sufferings. 

Be patient, then, under the pain, and careful to improve it, 
and thankful for the profit. And let not the soul too much 
condole the flesh, as if it had not at liand a better habitation 
and interest. It is but this " vile body;" (Phil. iii. 9 ;) lent us 
for a little time, as our clothes till night, or as our horse in a 
journey ; when we have done with them, be content of God's 
separation ; and till then, let us not take our corrector for our 
enemy. 1 groan too much. Lord ; I complain too much ; I fear 
too much; but my soul doth acknowledge the justice, and love, 
and wisdom of thy dealings, and looketh that this thorn should 
bring [forth sweet and happy fruit, and that all the nails of my 
cross being sanctified, bv the blood of my crucified Redeemer, 
should tend to make me partaker of thy holiness. 

But who put this thorn into Paul's flesh ? It was one of 
. Satan's messengers. 

Observ. 11. The sufferings of the holiest persons in the flesh, 
y may be the buffe tings of a messenger of Satan. 

No wonder; he that hath got somewhat of his own in us all, 
defiling us with sin, if he also may answerably be permitted to 
afflict us. He possessed many in Christ's time, and it was devils 
that made them dumb, and deaf, and mad ; whom Christ at 
once delivered frpm devils and diseases. He is called the ac- 
cuser and destroyer, aiul he that had the power of death, (Heb. 
ii. 14,) whom Christ by death and resurrection conquered. 
Christ calleth his healing the palsy-man the forgiving of his 
sin. And James saith, upon prayer and anointing, the sick 
should be healed, and his sins forgiven. And for the cause of 
sin, many Christians were sick and weak, and many fallen asleep. 
I cannot say, that good angels may not hurt men, and execute 
God's judgments; but Scripture maketh evil ones his ordinary 
executioners. 

Use. Therefore it is no proof, that a man is not a child of 
God, though the devil have permission to torment his flesh. 
" The devil shall cast some of you into prison." (Rev. ii. 10-) 

Please God, and Satan hath no power ; and Christ will 
take out the thorn ere long, which Satan is permitted to 
put in. 

But how doth Paul endure the thorn? He prayeth that it 
might depart from him. 



FUNERAL OF MK. JOHN CORBET. 170 

Observ. 12. The best men are sensible of the suffering of the 
flesli, and may jjray God to take it from them. 

Grace doth not make the flesh insensible, nor separate the 
soul from it, tliough it set us above it ; nor make us despise it, 
though it show us a higher interest and better habitation, and 
teach us to bear the cross, and resign the body to the will of 
God. A godly man may groan under his pain, and take it as a 
fruit of sin, and an act of the chastising justice of an offended 
Father, and pray against it as hurtful, though not as a remedy. 
They that ignorantly dispute that because Christ hath suffered 
all our punishment, therefore there is no penal hurt in pain or 
death, confute themselves if they complain under it, or pray 
against it, or desire such prayers from the church or any. Yea, 
one use of the thorn is to awaken and quicken us to prayer, 
like Jonas's storm. 

Use. Go, then, to God in all affliction, but not with carnal, 
discouraged hearts. He maketh you thus feel the need of his 
mercy, that you may, with the prodigal, think of home, and 
cry for mercy, and abuse it no more. Christ did not blame 
the blind and lame for crying out, " Jesus, thou Son of David, 
have mercy on us;" nor the Canaanite woman for beg- 
ging for the crumbs. Is any afflicted, let him pray, and send 
for the elders' prayers. The thorn in the flesh will make us 
feel ; and feeling will teach us to repent and pray, and prayer is 
the means of hope for the deliverance of body and soul. Grace 
maketh us not stupid, yet there are some that think a man be- 
haveth not himself like a believer, if he cry and pray that the 
thorn may depart. What think they of David, in Psalm vi. and 
xvii. and Ixxxviii., and many more ? What think they of Christ, 
that prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass by him. He 
did it to show that even iimocent nature is averse to suffering 
and death^ though grace- makes us submit to the will of God. 
(We continue men when we are believers.) We must mourn 
with them that mourn, and vet not love others better than our- 
selves, nor feel their thorns more sensibly than our own. We 
must neither despise chastenings, nor faint. 

But how doth Paul pray ? Doth he make any great matter of 
his thorns : He besought the Lord thrice that it might depart. 

Observ. 13. Even earnest and oft prayer is suitable to siiarp 
afflictions. 

There is a kind of devils and, so of Satan's thorns, which go 
not out by fasting and prayer ; no, riot by Christ's own apostles. 

N 2 ' * 



180 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

The sense and means must be suited to the malady. God can 
do it upon one prayer, or upon none ; but we are not so easily 
fitted to receive it. 

And Paul, in this also, is conformed to Christ, who, in his 
agony, prayed thrice against his cup, though with submission. 

Use 1. You see here that the apostles' gift of healing was 
not to be used at their own wills, not for their own flesh that it 
might not suffer, but for the confirmation of the faith, when it 
pleased the Holy Spirit. Trophimus and Epaphroditus might 
be sick, and Timothy need a little wine Avith his water, though 
Paul had the gift of healing. 

Use 2. O let our pains drive us all to God : who hath not 
some ? Sicknesses are all abroad : what house, how few per- 
sons have not some ; and yet is there a prayerless house or 
person ? If faith have not taught you to pray as Christians, 
methinks feeling should teach you to pray as men. 1 say not 
that prayer must shut out food and physic ; but food and phy- 
sic will not do, if praver prevail not with the Lord of all. 

Use 3. And think not thrice or continued praying to be too 
much, or that importunity is in vain. " Christ spake a parable 
to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not wax faint." 
(Luke xviii. 1.) Whether God deliver us or not, prayer is not 
lost : it is a good posture for God to find us in j we may get 
better if we get not what we ask. Obey and pray, and trust 
God. 

But what answer doth the Lord give to Paul's thrice praying. 
He saith, " My grace is sufficient for thee, and my strength is 
manifested in weakness." 

1. It was not a promise that the thorn should depart. 

2. It seems to be rather a denial at the present, and that Paul 
must not yet be cured of liis thorn ; for it is called a weakness 
that must continue for the manifesting of God's strength : and 
what was the sufficiency of grace and strength for, but to endure 
and improve the thorn ? 

3. But this promised grace and strength is better than that 
which was desired. 

Observ. 14. Even oft and earnest prayer of the greatest saint 
for deliverance from bodily pains, may not be granted in the 
kind, or thing desired. 

For, 1. We are not lords, but beggars, and must leave the 
issue to the donor : and God hath liigher ends to accomplish 
than our ease or deliverance. It is meet that he should first fit 



FITNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 181 

all his actions to his own will and glory, and next to the good of 
man)', and to his public works in the world, and then look at our 
interest next. 

2. And we are utterly unmeet judges of matter, manner, time, 
or measure, what God should give us for the body, and how 
much, and how, and when. When should v/e be sick, or pained, 
or persecuted, or die, if all our prayers must be absolutely 
granted ? We know not how much better God is preparing us 
for by pain, and bringing us to by dismal death. He will not 
keep us from grace and glory because our flesh is loth to suffer 
and to die. 

3. And this Paul also was conformed to Christ. He was 
heard in the thing that he feared, when, in his agony, he prayed 
with strong cries; but it was not by the removing of the bitter 
cup, but by divine strength and acceptance. And so it is with 
Paul; sufficient grace and strength to bear is the thing pro- 
mised. 

Use 1. We see, then, that they are mistaken that think 
Christ's promise of giving believers whatever they ask, will 
prove him a breaker of his promise, if the strongest believer 
receive not all that he asketh for the body. Was not Paul a 
strong believer ? All that God hath promised, and we are fit 
to receive, God will be sure to give. 

2. Let not unbelief get advantage by God's not granting such 
prayers for the body. Say not, ' Whv, then, is it my duty to 
pray?' 1. You know not before-hand but God may give it: 
possibility bids you beg. 2. Why did Christ pray against his 
cup ? 3. You lose not prayer ; you draw nearer God ; you 
exercise repentance and desire ; you signify your dependence ; 
you are prepared for much greater gifts. 

Observ. 15. When God will not take the thorn out of our 
flesh, and deliver us v/hen we pray, from bodily suiferings, he 
Avill be sure to do better for prepared persons, esun to give them 
his sufficient grace, and manifest his strength in their pain and 
weakness. 

It is not for want of love or power th.at lie lets us tumble on 
our beds in pain, or lie under slanderers' or persecutors' rage. 
He that with a word could make the world, with a word can save 
from all this. But if wo suffer not, how shall s-uffering graces 
be exercised; faith, patience, self-denial, and ho))e ? Js not 
grace better than ease or life ? How sliall we get the benefit of 



182 A SEllMON PUEACHFD AT THE 

suffering if we feel it not ? How shall grace and divine strength 
be manifested to ourselves and otliers ? 

Quest. What is it that grace is sufficient for ? 

Answ. 1. Not to set us up above the frailties of humanity and 
mortality, nor to raise us to the joy that souls in heaven have. 
2. Not to every one alike, but in our several measures. Some 
fear pain and death more than others : some have greater pa- 
tience and joy, and long to depart and be with Christ. 

But to all the faithful it shall suffice, 1. To keep them from 
revolting from Christ, and repenting of their choice and hope. 
2. To save them from charging God foolishly, as if he did them 
wrong. 3. It shall keep them from damning despair. When 
Satan sifteth them, Christ's intercession shall keep their faith 
from failing. Grace shall humble them, and save them from 
sin, and the flesh, and world : they shall cast soul and body upon 
Christ, and trust him in hope in their several degrees : and those 
that have been more believing, heavenly, and fruitful than the 
rest, are likest to have the greatest peace and comfort, espe- 
cially in their greatest need. 

Quest. And how is God's strength manifested in our weak- 
ness } 

Answ. 1. It is manifested to ourselves, by keeping us from 
sin, and sinking into despair, and enabling us to bear, and trust, 
and wait, and usually in the peace oj- joy of ho])c. We know 
we are insufficient for this ourselves. When flesh and heart, 
as natural, fail us, God is the strength of our hearts, and our 
portion for ever. (Psalm Ixxiii. 26.) We do not think oft before 
that ever we can bear and overcome, as grace enableth us. 

2. And it is manifest oft to others, who shall see that power 
of grace in the sufferings of believers, which they did not see in 
their prosperity. 

Use 1 . Let not, then, our own weakness and insufficiency too 
much distress us with fears of suffering and death; yea, when 
we feel the thorn, let us not forget our help and strength. By 
grace here is meant, the loving and merciful help of God, espe- 
cially giving us the inward strength by which we may not onlv 
bear, but improve the sufferings of the flesh. This body was 
not made to be here incorruptible or immortal; we were born in 
sin, and therefore born to pain and death. We have lived in sin, 
and no wonder if we live in sorrow ; but the sufferings of our 
Redeemer have sanctified our sufferings. The cross is not now 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 183 

such a cursed thing- as guilt had made it. "He took our suffer- 
ing flesh and blood, that he might destroy by death the devil 
that had the power of -death, and deliver us who, by the fear of 
death, were all our lifetime subject to bondage." (Heb. ii. 14.) 
Our pain prepareth us for endless pleasures, and our sorrows for 
our Master's joy. \Vhen we have suffered with him, we shall 
reign with him : he liveth, and we shall live by him : he is 
risen, and we shall rise by him : he is in glory, and we must be 
with him. 

In the mean time, his grace is sufficient for us, not only in 
health and ease, but in all our pain and sickness. He is not so 
unskilful or unkind, as to give such physic to his own, which 
shall do them moreharm than good. Though it be grievous at the 
present, it brings forth the quieting fruit of righteousness ; but 
we must first be exercised therein- Let us not, then, be his im- 
patient patients ; grace can support us and overcome. Men 
are not sufficient : our wit, our power, our \vorthiness are not 
sufficient; but Cod's grace is sufficient. If ease and life had 
been better than grace and glory, we might have had them ; 
but God giveth us better than flesh would choose. Though the 
body be weak, the head weak, the memory weak, the stomach 
weak, and all weak, yet God is strong, and his strength will 
support us, and bring us safe to our journey's end. Lazarus lay 
among dogs, in weakness, at the rich man's doors, but the angels 
conveyed him in strength to Abraham's bosom. We must lie, 
and languish, and groan, in weakness, but Omnipotence is engaged 
for us. We must die in weakness, but we shall be raised in 
power, by him who will change these vile bodies, and make them 
like to his glorious body, by the power by which he can subdue 
all things to himself. (Phil. iii. 20, 21,) Let us, therefore, 
" lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees ;" 
(Heb.xii. 12;) looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our 
faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross. 

And let us beg more for divine grace and strength, than for 
the departing of the thorn. Grace is better than ease and 
health. If the soul be a nobler part than the body, the health 
of it is more desirable. Bodily ease is common to brutes and 
wicked men : strength of grace is proper to saints : ease and 
health in this life are short, but holiness will be everlasting. 
Health fits us for fleshiv pleasure, but holiness for cominiuiion 
with God. Oh, pray not carnally, for the flesh more than for 
the Spirit, for earth more than for heaven ! Pray, that wnne 



184 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

the outward man is perishing, the inward man may be renewed 
day by day ; and that our light afflictions, which are but for a 
moment, may work for us an exceeding and eternal weight of 
glorj, while we look not at the temporal things which are seen, 
but at the eternal things, which are unseen to us. (2 Cor. iv. 
l(i__lS.) Why should we grudge at any sufferings, which are 
for the glory of God's grace and strength : as Christ said of 
Lazarus, " This sickness is not unto death (that is, the end of it 
is not to end his life, though he die) but that the glory of God 
may be revealed." So pain and death are not God's ends, but 
the manifesting of his grace and strength. 

But, alas I It is not only the flesh that is weak, but grace it- 
self; (as it is in us, though not as it is in God and of God j) nor 
is it flesh only that hath the thorn, but the heart or conscience 
also hath its part. The spirit of a man (if sound and well) will 
sustain (his bodily) infirmities : but a wounded spirit, who can 
bear ? If faith were not weak, if hope, and love, and desire 
were not weak, the weakness of the body might well be borne. 
If sin and guilt were no wound or thorn in the soul and consci- 
ence, we could be more indifferent as to the flesh, and almost 
as quietly bear our own pain and death, as our neighbour's. 
Though it is hard to say as Tertullian, Nihil crus sentit in nervo, 
cum animus est in ccelo ; yet our content and joy would over- 
come the evil of our suffering. But, alas ! when soul and 
body must be both at once lamented, this, this is hardly borne ! 
Lord ! seeing it is thy sufficient grace, and not my bodily ease 
which I must trust to, and my weakness must manifest thy 
strength : O let not grace also be in me insufficient and weak I 
O let not faith be weak, nor hope, nor love, nor heavenly de- 
sires and foretastes be weak ! Nor patience and obedience 
weak ! Head is weak, and heart is weak ; but if faith also be 
weak, what shall support us : at least let it be unfeigned and 
effectual, and attain its end, and never fail. Flesh is failing, 
and health (as to its proper strength) is failing. But be thou 
my God, the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 
And whatever thorn the flesh must feel, yet let me finish my 
course with joy. Amen. 

I have run over many tilings in a text so suitable, that I 
-^ could not well spare any of them. Those that well knew our 
deceased friend, will say, that except Paul's extraordinary rap- 
ture, and apostolical privileges, in Paul's case I have been de- 
scribing his. 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN ( ORBKT. 185 

I come not to gratify the interest of any of his relations, to 
speak to you according to custom of a stranger whom 1 knew 
not ; but for the honour of God's grace, and our own edifica- 
tion, to tell you what I knew by my most faithful and familiar 
friend. It is almost forty years since I heard him preach in the 
city of Gloucester ; there was his entrance, and there he lived, 
(under a papist bishop of the Protestant church, Godfry Good- 
man, as his last testament in print professed,) there he abode 
during the civil wars, and wrote the history of what happened 
there. He was after removed to the city of Chichester, and 
from thence to Bramshot in Hampshire, where he continued 
till 1662, when, silenced with the rest, he was cast out. He lived 
peaceably in London, without gathering any assembly for pub- 
lic preaching. Dwelling in Totteridge with Alderman Web, 
his great love drew him there, to remove to me, with whom a 
while he took up his habitation. In all the time that he was 
with me, I remember not that ever we differed once in any 
point of doctrine, worship, or government, ecclesiastical or civil, 
or that ever we had one displeasing word. 

The king's licenses encouraged his old flock at Chichester to 
invite him thither, though they had the help of another noncon- 
formist before, with Avhom he joined with love and concord. 
God many years afflicted him with the disease that was his 
death ; while the pain was tolerable to nature, he endured it, 
and ceased not preaching till a fortnight before he was carried 
up to London to have been cut. But before that could be done, 
in about a fortnight more he died. This is the short history of 
his course. 

But 1 will next give you his true character, and then tell you 
how like his case was to Paul's here in my text, and tiien tell 
you to what use I do all this. 

I. He was a man so blameless in all his conversation, that I 
may say as I did here lately of another (Alderman Ashhurst) 
that I never heard one person accuse or blame him, except for 
nonconformity, and that dift'erence from others in these divided 
times, which his book expresses. Of which more anon. 

II. Were it not that I have said we never differed, and so 
made myself an incompetent judge, I should have said that I 
thought him a man of great clearness and soundness in religion, 
much by the advantage of the calmness and considerateness of 
his mind. 

III. He was of so great moderation and love of peace, that 



186 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

he hated all that was against it, and would have done any thing 
for concord in the church, except sinning against God, and ha- 
zarding salvation. In the matter of the five articles, or armini- 
anism, he went the reconciling way, and I have seen a compen- 
dium of his thoughts in a manuscript, which is but the same 
with what I have delivered in my Cath. Theol. but better fitted 
to readers that must have much in a few words. 

He constantly at Totteridge joined in all the worship with 
the pubHc assembly, and had I'i' sinful, separating principles. 
He was for Catholic union, ai^ dtommunion of saints, and for 
going no further from any A^ Jrches or Christians than they 
force us, or than they go frobi Christ. He then preached only 
to such neighbours as came into the house between the times 
of the public worship. He was for loving and doing good to 
all, and living peaceably with all as far as was in his power. 
Something in episcopacy, presbytery, and independency, he 
liked, and some things he disliked in all ; but with all sorts 
Jived in love and peace, that did seek the furtherance of men's 
salvation. Many parts of conformity he could have yielded to, 
but not to all, nothing less than all would satisfy. 

IV. In all he was true to his conscience, and warped not for a 
party's interest or faction. If all the nonconformists in England 
had refused, he would have conformed alone, if the terms had 
been reduced to what he thought lawful. And he studied that 
with great impartiality. 

V. He managed his ministry with faithfulness and prudence : 
he took it for heinous sacrilege to alienate himself from the 
sacred office to which he was devoted, though men forbad it 
him. But he thought not the same circumstances of ministra- 
tion necessary to all times and places : he was not for open 
preaching to great numbers, when it was like by accident to do 
more hurt than good : nor yet for forbearing it, when it was 
like to do more good than hurt. He spared not his flesh, but 
held on from year to year under his great pain of the stone in 
the bladder, till within a month before he died. Much less 
would the prohibition of any restrain him, to whom God gave 
no such forbidding power. 

VI. He served God with self-denial, not with any selfish or 
worldly designs : he never looked after preferment or riches, or 
any great matters in the world : he had daily bread^ and was 
therewith content. 

VH. He suffered his part in our common lot, 1662, Aug. 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 187 

22, (ejected and silenced with about 2000 more,) with as little 
murmuring as any man that I knew. I never heard him dis- 
honour the king, nor speak much against those by whom he 
suffered, or rip up their faults, unless a rare and necessary self- 
defence be called an accusing them. I never heard him so 
much as complain how much church-maintenance he was de- 
prived of, nor of the difficulties of his low, dejected case. 

VIII. He was a great hater of that base pride and envy, 
which possesseth too many of the sacred office, who grudge if 
others be preferred before them ; and if the people go from 
them to others for their greater edification, and think them- 
selves wronged if they be not followed and applauded, either 
above, or equal with more worthy men : he was very careful 
to preserve the reputation of his brethren, and rejoiced In the 
success of their labours, as well as of his own, and a most care- 
ful avoider of all divisions, contentions, or offences. And he 
was very free in acknowledging by whom he profited, and pre- 
ferring others before himself. 

, IX. He was very much in the study of his own heart, by 
strict examination, as his cabinet-papers, which may come to 
light, make known, as I had also occasion otherwise to 
know. 

X. By this examination he was confidently assured of his 
own sincerity in the true love of God, and of holiness, for itself, 
and such like evidences which he wrote down renewing his ex- 
amination as occasion required : and though he had known 
what rt was to be tempted to doubt of the life to come, he was 
fully settled against all such doubts and temptations. 

XI. But though he had a settled assurance both of the truth 
of the Gospel, and the life to come, and of his own satisfaction 
and sincerity : yet, so lively were his apprehensions of the great- 
ness of his approaching change, and the weight of an everlast- 
ing state, and what it is to enter upon another world, that he 
was not without such fears, as in our frail condition here, poor 
mortals that are near death are liable to. And indeed, fear 
signifieth a belief of the word of God, and the life to come, 
much more than dull insensibility : but he signified his belief 
both by fear and hope, and strong assurance. 

XII. He had the comfort of sensible growth in grace. He 
easily perceived a notable increase of his faith, and holiness, 
and heavenliness, and humility, and contempt of worldly vanity, 



188 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

especially of late years, and under his afflictionj as the fruit of 
God's correcting rod. 

1 have truly given vou the description of the man, according 
to my familiar knowledge. I shall yet review the similitude of 
his case with this of Paul described in my text. 

I . Paul was accused by envious, contentious teachers : and 
so was he ; though I never heard any one person else speak 
evil of him ; as is said, they that upbraided not Paul with his 
former persecution, nor had any crime to charge him with, yet 
accused his ministry : as they said of Daniel, " We shall find 
no fault against him, except it be concerning the law of his 
God." His preaching and writings, though all for peace, were 
the matter of his accusations : the bishop blamed him for 
preaching, even when the king had licensed him : and a name- 
less writer published a bloody invective against his pacificatory 
hook, called ' The Interest of England,' as if it had been writ- 
ten to raise a war. The enemies of peace were his enemies. 

II. He took boasting to be inexpedient, as Paul did : and 
when he was silenced as unworthy to be suffered in the ministry, 
he once offered a modest defence to the bishop, and wrote a 
short and peaceable account of his judgment about the sin of 
schism, in his own vindication. 

III. He had (though not the extacy of Paul, yet) great know- 
ledge of things divine and heavenly to have been the matter of 
his glory. 

IV. The heavenly paradise was the place of his hopes, where 
he daily studied to lay up his treasure, which had his chiefest 
thoughts and care. 

V. He found by experience that an immortal soul is not so 
tied to this body of flesh, but that it can get above it, and all 
its interest and pleasure, and live on the hopes of unseen glory. 

VI. As he knew the incapacity of mortals to have formal and 
adequate conceptions of the stale of the heavenlv paradise and 
separated souls ; so he submitted to God's concealing will, and 
lived on the measure of gospel revelation. 

VII. He knew the danger of being exalted above measure, 
by occasion of holy knowledge ; and how apt man is to be so 
puffed up. 

VIII. God himself saved him from that danger, by his hum- 
bling, wholesome, sharper remedy. 

IX. A thorn in the flesh v»'as God's remedy to keep him in a 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 189 

serious, humble frame ; three great stones were found in his 
bladder, and one small one in a corrupted kidney ; and how 
painful a thorn these were for many years, it is easy to con- 
jecture. 

X. Satan was permitted to try him as Job, not only by the 
pain of his flesh, but also by reproaches, as aforesaid, and by 
casting him out of his ministry, as unworthy to preach the 
gospel of Christ, unless he would say, swear, and do all that 
was by men imposed, and the rest of those afflictions, which 
are contained in such an ejected, impoverished, calumniated 
state, are described in the late and former experience of many 
such. 

XI. Though I never heard him pray against poverty or 
reproach, yet for the liberty of his ministry he did, that he 
might preach that gospel of salvation. And pain forced 
him to have recourse to God, for deliverance from the thorn 
in his flesh. And if Christ and Paul prayed thrice with earnest- 
ness, no wonder if continued pain made him continue his suit 
to God. 

XII. As Christ M^as heard in the thing which he feared, and 
yet must drink that cup, and Paul, instead of the departing 
of the one, was promised sufficient grace, and the manifesting of 
God's strength in his pain and weakness; so it pleased not God 
to take away the thorn from our dear brother's flesh ; but he 
did better for him, and gave him his supporting help, and an 
increase of grace, and showed his own strength in all his weak- 
nessj and also hastened his final deliverance, bevond expect- 
ation. 

And now he is past all, at rest with Christ, and all the blessed. 
We see not them, but they see God and God seeth us, and is 
preparing us for the same felicity ; and if it be by the same 
means, and we must l)ear the cross, and feel the thorn, it will 
be wholes,ome and short, and good is the will and work of 
God. Lord, let me not account ease, honour, or life dear to 
me, that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry re- 
ceived of the Lord, and come in season and peace to thee. 

And is not this ])rovidence of God, and this example of 
our deceased friend of use to us ? Yes, no doubt, of manifold 
use. 

I. It is of great use to all the land, to good and bad, to 
observe God's threatening in the removal of his servants. 0!i 1 
how many excellent Christians, and faithful ministers of Christ, 



190 A SERMON PREACHED AT THE 

have been taken hence within a few months ; the same week we 
hear of four or five more besides our brother, and some of them 
the most excellent, useful men. And, is it not time, 1. To 
repent of our neglect of such helps as God is now removing? 
2. And to be presently awakened to use them, better before the 
rest be taken away ? Alas ! poor souls, what a case are you in, 
if you die, or the word be taken from you, before you are rege- 
nerated, and prepared for a better life. It is not so much their 
loss and hurt, as yours, which Satan endeavoureth in silencing 
so many hundred such ; and it is your heavy punishment, more 
than theirs, which God inflicteth by their death. O speedily 
repent, before that death have stopped the mouths which called 
you to repentance. And it should awaken the best to prepare 
for death, and for public suffering ; it seems there is some great 
evil to come, when God thus takes away the best. Yea, if it 
should be a forerunner of a better state, yet all, save two of the 
old stock, that dishonoured God in the wilderness, must fall, 
and it was by bloody wars, (a dreadful means,) that Joshua, and 
the new generation, were to possess the land of promise. 

II. It is of use to us, unworthy ministers of Christ, who yet 
survive, 1. It calleth loudly to us, to work while it is day, for 
our night is near, when we cannot work ; death will shortly 
silence us all more effectually than men have done. Do Gods 
work prudently, do it patiently, peaceably, and in as much con- 
cord, and true obedience, as you can ; but be sure you do it, 
whoever forbid it, or be against it, as long as God or yourselves 
have not rendered you uncapable. Whatever silencers say 
against it, necessity is upon you ; God calls for it, souls call 
for it. The charge is dreadful; (2 Tim. iv. 1, 2;) your vows 
call for it; Satan's malice, and the number of soul-betrayers 
and murderers must provoke you ; our time is short : souls are 
precious : Christ the chief shepherd dearly purchased them, and 
will judge you according to your works. It will not jiistify your 
neglect to say, ' Men forl)ade me : sufferings were prepared for 
nie : bishops and famous divines wrote learned books to prove that 
preaching was to me a sin, and that I was bound to forbear it 
when forbidden.' 2. And it telleth us, that we, as well as 
others, must prepare for the sharpest trials from God ; no thorn 
in the flesh so sharp and painful, which we may not feel ; no 
death so violent or sudden, but we may undergo : love and 
hatred are not known by outward events, prosperity, or adver- 
sity. A great difference Solomon acknowledgeth between the 



FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN CORBET. 191 

good and the bad, the righteous and wicked ; him that sacri- 
ficcth, (or worshippeth God,) and him that doth not ; hiai that 
sweareth, (perjuriously, or profanely,) and him that feareth (such) 
an oath ; some are loved of God, and some are hated. And 
this difference is manifest in such disposals, even of prosperity 
and adversity, as tend to their greater holiness and happiness, 
which shall manifest the difference fully, and for ever ; but out- 
ward events manifest it not in themselves ; all such things come 
alike to all ; yea, the cross is more laid on the godly, than the 
wicked. O therefore, away with the two disciples' desires of 
church-preferment, and worldly dignity, and prepare to drink 
of Christ's cup, and be baptised with his baptism. (Eccles. 
ix. 1 — 3 ; Matt. xx. 22, 23.) Learn daily how to bear slanders 
and persecutions from men, even from christian teachers; and 
how to lie in fleshly pains, night and day; and how to die : and 
all this in faith, and peace, and joy, at least in the quiet hope of 
everlasting joy. 

III. And without any disgracing, or provoking design, but 
merely in conscience and compassion to the souls of the people, 
and of our reverend brethren themselves; I do humbly entreat 
the right reverend, and reverend imposing clergy, to lay by a- 
while, if possible, all unrighteous prejudice, and partiality, and 
worldly interests and respects, and consider that they also must 
die, and as they will stand to it at last, to resolve these ques- 
tions : — 

1. Whether those terms of church concord and peace be 
wisely and justly made, which are too narrow to receive such 
men as this (for faith, knowledge, peaceableness, blameless - 
ness, holiness, &c.) into the ministr}^, communion of their 
cliurch, or to endure them out of a jail ? Whether wise and 
good men could find no better ? And u'hether Christ ever di- 
rected the church to exclude such, or did not plainly require 
the contrary ? And whether the apostles ever excluded such, 
or made such rules ? 

il. W^hether they think in their hearts, that it were better 
all the good were undone, which hath been done by non-con- 
formists these eighteen years, to the ministerial furthering of 
knowledge, repentance, holiness, and salvation, than that such 
should have preached the gospel when forbidden ? 

III. Whether it will be peace to your consciences at the 
judgment of Christ, that any of you have furthered the silence- 
ing of such, and their other sufferings? 



192 A SERMON, &C. 



IV. Whether they that have written and preached against 
their preaching, or for their silencing, and the execution of the 
laws against them, or persuaded them to give over their work 
themselves, and reproached and accused them for doing it, be 
not engaged in this frightful cause ? 

V. Is it not gross partiality, if you will cherish men of igno- 
rance, viciousness, or far less worth, while such as these are 
thought intolerable, merely because the former are more obe- 
dient to you, than fear of sinning will suffer these to be. 

VI. Was that church therein guided by the Spirit of Christ, 
which made the canon which ipso facto excommunicateth such? 

VII. If you had known as many of the (about) two thousand 
silenced, and as well as I have done, how much of the grace of 
God shined in them ; is it possible, that any man, that hath the 
true fear and love of God, and sense of everlasting things, could 
ever, by any pretences of church government or order, or upon 
any bias of interest, have consented to their silencing and suf- 
ferings ? 

Some will think, that in partiality, I over magnify men, be- 
cause they were of my own mind and party. I have, (besides 
some pious women,) written the characters, and published the 
praises of divers, of Mr. Richard Vines, Mr. John Janeway, Mr. 
Joseph Allen, ]Mr. Heniy Stubbs, Mr. Wadsworth, and now 
Mr. John Corbet, and lately one layman. Alderman Ashhurst ; 
and he that hath now received them, whom such as you cast 
out, or vilified, knoweth that I have in knowledge of tiiem, and 
love to Christ, whose grace shined in them, spoken simply the 
truth from my heart; and it is in a time and place, where it is _ 
fully known, and feareth no confutation ; and the history shall 
live, to the shame of church-dividing, tearing principles, and all 
thorny, hurtful dispositions, and to the encouragement of the 
faithful, and the imitation of those that in time to come shall 
by faith, patience, and well-doing, seek for immortality, and 
eternal life, by serving our Redeemer, and pleasing God. 



THE 



FAREWELL SERMON 



OF 



RICHARD BAXTER; 

PREPARED TO HAVE BEEN PREACHED TO HIS HEARERS 

AT KIDDERMINSTER 

AT HIS DEPARTURE, BUT FORBIDDEN. 



VOL. xvin. o 



lO TilE 

INHABITANTS 

OF THE 

BOROUGH AND FOREIGN OF KIDDERMINSTER, 

IN 

THE COUNTY OF WORCESTER. 



Dear Friends, 

While I was lately turning up the rubbish of my old pa{3ers, 
I found this sermon iu the bottom, which I had quite forgotten 
that I kept, but thought it had been cast away with many hun- 
dred others. Much of the last sheet was added to the sermon 
after I came from vou 5 and I remember that when I intended 
to send you this sermon as my farewell, I durst not then have so 
much converse with you, for your own sakes, lest it should raise 
more enmity against you, and your displeasing circumstances of 
religious practice should be said to come from my continued 
counsels to you. 

I have lately taken my farewell of the world, in a book Vt'hich 
I called ' My Dying Thoughts : ' my pain of body and debility 
increasing, and my flesh being grown to me more grievous than 
all my enemies or outward troubles. I remembered the benefit 
I often received upon your prayers*; and craving the continuance 
of them, till you hear of my dissolution, therewith I send this, 
as my special farewell to yourselves, whom ] am bound to re- 
member with more than ordinary love and thankfulness, while 
1 am 

RICHARD BAXTER. 



o 2 



BAXTER'S FAREWELL SERMON. 



JOHN xvi. 22. 



And ye now, therefore, have sorrow ; but I will see you aga'm^ 
and \jour heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh 
from you. 

My dearly beloved in our dearest Lord, 

I WILL SO far consent to your troubled thoughts of this unwel- 
come day, as to confess that to me, as well as you, it somewhat 
resembleth the day of death. 1. Death is the separation of 
the dearest consorts, soul and body; and how near the union is 
betwixt us, both that of relation, and that of affection, which 
must admit this day of some kind of dissolution, I will rather 
tell to strangers than to you. 2. Death is unwelcome both to 
soul and body of itself (though it destroy not the soul, it doth 
the body.) So dear companions part not willingly. Your 
hearts and minds are here so over-forward in the application, 
that words may be well spared, where sense hath taken so deep 
possession. 3. Death is the end of human converse here on 
earth. We must see and talk with our friends here no more. 
And this our separation is like to end that converse between 
you and me, which formerly we have had in the duties of our 
relations. We must no more go up together, as formerly, to 
the house of God ; I must no more speak to you publicly in his 
name, nor solace my own soul, in opening to you the gospel of 
salvation, nor in the mention of his covenant, his grace, or 
kingdom. Those souls that have not been convinced and con- 
verted, are never like to hear more from me for their con- 
viction or conversion. I have finished all the instruction, re- 
proof, exhortation, and persuasion, which ever I must use, in 
order to their salvation. I must speak here no more to inform 
the ignorant, to reform the wicked, to reduce the erroneous, to 
search the hypocrite, to humble the proud, to bow the obstinate, 
or to bring the worldly, the impenitent, and ungodly to the 
knowledge of the word, theinselves, and Cod. I must speak 
no more to strengthen the weak, to comfort the afflicted, nor to 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 197 

Vrnild you up in faith and holiness. Our day is past; our night; 
is come, when we cannot work as formerly we have done ! ]\ly 
opportunities here are at an end. 4. Death is the end of earthly 
comforts, and our separation is like to be the end of that com- 
fortable communion, which God for many years hath granted 
us. Our public and private communion hath been sweet to us. 
The Lord hath been our pastor, and hath not suffered us to 
want. He made us lie down in his pleasant pastures, and hatli 
led us by the silent streams ! (Psalm xxiii. 1, 2.) He restored 
our souls, and his very rod and staff did comfort us, but his 
smiting and scattering time is come. These pleasures now are 
at an end. 5. Death is the end of human labours, there is no 
ploughing or sowing, no building or planting in the grave. And 
so doth our separation end the works of our mutual relation in 
this place. 6. Death is the effect of painful sickness, and 
usually of the folly, intemperance, or oversight of ourselves. 
And, though our conscience reproach us not with gross unfaith- 
fulness, yet are our failings so many, and so great, as force us 
to justify the severity of our Father, and to confess that we 
deserve this rod. Though we have been censured by the world 
as being over-strict, and doing too much for the saving of our 
own and others' souls, yet it is another kind of charge that con- 
science hath against us. How earnestly do we now wish that 
we had done much more ; that I had preached more fervently, 
and you had heard more diligently, and we had all obeyed God 
more strictly, and done more, for the souls of the ignorant, 
careless, hardened sinners that were among us ! It is just with 
God that so dull a preacher should be put to silence, that could 
ever speak without tears and fervent importunity to impenitent 
sinners, when he knew that it was for no less than the savina: 
of their souls, and foresaw the joys which they would lose, and 
the torment which they must endure, if they repented not. With 
what shame and sorrow do 1 now look back upon the cold and 
lifeless sermons which I ))reached ; and upon those years' neglect 
of the fluty of private instructing of your families, before we 
set upon it ordeilv and constantly. Our destruction is of our- 
selves! Our undervaluing^ and neglects have forfeited our op- 
portunities. As good Melancthon was wont to say, ' In vul- 
nmhns nostris proprias agnoscimus pennas.' I'he arrow that 
woundeth us, was feathered from our own wings. 7. Death 
useth to put surviving fiionds into a dark and mourning habit. 
Their lamentations are the chief )">art of funeral solemnities. 
And in this also we have our part. The compassion of condolers 



198 Baxter's farkwell sermois. 

is greater than we desire, for sorroAv is apt to grow unruly, and 
exceed its bounds, and bring on more sufferings by lamenting 
one, and also to look too nuicb at the instruments, and to be 
more offended at them than at our sins. 8. But death is the 
end of all the living. The mourners also must come after us, 
and, alas ! how soon ! It maketh our fall more grievous to us, 
to foresee how many must ere long come down ! How many 
hundred pastors must shortly be separated from their flocks. If 
there were no epidemical malady to destroy us, our ministry 
hath its mortality. Your fathers, where are they ? and the 
prophets, do they live for ever ? (Zech. i. 5.) This made us 
the more importunate with you in our ministry, because we 
knew that we must preach to you, and pray with you, and instruct 
you, and watch over you, but a little while. Though we knew 
not what instrument death would use, we knew our final day 
was coming, when we must preach, and exhort, and pray our 
last with you ! We knew that it behoved us to work while it 
was day (and, oh, that we had done it better !) because the night 
was coming when none could work. (John ix. 4.) 9. And as 
it is appointed to all men once to die, so after death there fol- 
loweth judgment. And we also have our further judgment to 
undergo. We must expect our hour of temptation. We must 
be judged by men, as well as chastened by God. We must 
prepare to bear the reproach and slanders of malicious tongues, 
and the unrighteous censures of those that know us not, and of 
those who think it their interest to condemn us. And we must 
also call ourselves to judgment. We are like to have unwelcome 
leisure, to review the days and duties which are past. It will 
then be time for us to call ourselves to account of our preaching 
and studies, and other ministerial works, and to sentence our 
labours and our lives, and it will be time for you to call your- 
selves to account of your hearing and profiting, and to ask, 
' How have we used the mercies which are taken from us?' 
Yea, God himself will judge us according to our works. He will 
not justify us, if we have been unfaithful in our little, and have 
been such as Satan and his instruments, the accusers of the 
brethren, do report us. But if we have been faithful, we may 
expect his double justification. 1. By pardon he will justify us 
from our sins. 2. By plea and righteous sentence, he will jus- 
tify us against the false accusations of our enemies, and that is 
enough. How small a thing should it seem to us, to be judged 
of man, who must stand or fall to the final sentence of the 
Almighty God. 10. The separated soul and body do retain 



Baxter's farewell sermon. ]99 

their relations, and the soul its inclination to a re- union with 
its body. And though our nearest obligations maybe now dis- 
solved, and the exercise of our communion hindered^ yet I know 
we shall never forget each other, nor shall the bond of love 
which dotli unite us, be ever loosed and made void. And so 
much of our relation shall still continue, as intimated in those 
texts, 1 Cor. iv. 15, 1{), xii. 14; Phil. iv. 1, &c. 11. And the 
power of death will not be everlasting, a resurrection and re- 
union there will be at last, but whether in this world, I cannot 
prophesy. I am apter to think that most of us must die in the 
wilderness, and that our night must bear some proportion with 
our day. But things unrevealed belong only unto God. It 
sufficeth me to be sure of tliis, that as our kingdom, so our 
comforts are not of this world, and that as Christ, so his servants 
under him, may say, " Behold I and the children which God hath 
given me, (Heb. ii. 13,) and that we shall present you as chaste 
virgins unto Christ." (2 Cor. xi. 2.) " And therefore we have 
preached, taught, and warned, that we might present you perfect 
in Christ Jesus." (Col. i. 28.) " For what is our hope, or 
joy, or crown of rejoicing, are not even ye in the presence of 
our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? For ye are our glory and 
our joy." (I Thess. ii. 19, 20.) 

But yet the resemblance between death and this our separa- 
tion, holdeth not in all things. 1. It is not I, nor any pastor, 
that is the church's soul or life. This is the honour of Christ, 
the Head. Being planted into him, you may live, though all 
his ministers were dead, or all your teachers driven into corners. 
(Isa. XXX. 20.) 2. The continuance of your church slate de- 
pendeth not on the continuance of any one single pastor what- 
soever. God can provide you others to succeed us, that may 
do his work for vou more successfullv than we. And could I 
but hope that they should be as able, and holy, and diligent as 
I desire, how little should I partake with you in this day's sor- 
rows. Had I not given you tliese exceptions, malicious tongues 
would have reported that I made myself your life or soul, and 
talce the churches to be all dead, when such as I are silenced 
and cast out. But I remember Psalm xii. 

Though what I have said, and what you feel, may make you 
think that a funeral sermon is most seasonable on such a day, 
yet I have rather chosen to preach to you the doctrine of 
rejoicing, because you sorrow not as men tiiat have no hope, 
and because I must consider what tendeth most to your strength 
and steadfastness ; and that you may see hereiii I inntate our 



200 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

Lord, I have chosen his words to his troubled disciples, before 
his departure from them. (John xvi. 22.) And though I make 
no question but it will be said with scorn, tliat thus I make 
myself as Christ, and that I seditiously encourage you by the ex- 
pectations of my restitution, yet will I not therefore forbear to 
use my Saviour's consolatory words, but will remember to whom, 
and on what occasion, he said, " Every plant which my heavenly 
Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone, 
they be blip>d leaders of the blind; and if the lilind lead the 
blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matt. xv. 13, 14.) 

The words are Christ's comforts to his orphans, sorrowful 
disciples, expressing first, their present condition, and that 
which they were now to taste of, and secondly, their future 
state. Their present case is a state of sorrow, because that 
Christ must be taken from them. Their future case will be a 
state of joy, which is expressed, 1. In the futurity of the cause, 
" but I will see you again." 2. In the promise of the effect, 
" and your heart shall rejoice." 3. In the duration and invin- 
cibility of it, " and your joy no man taketh from you," or 
" shall take from you." He had before likened their sorrows 
on this occasion, to the pains of a woman in her child-bearing, 
which is but short, and endeth in joy. And in relation to that 
similitude, the Syriac translateth X^V/jy, ' sickness,' and the 
Persian translateth it ' calamity.' Some expositors limit the 
cause of their sorrows to the absence of Christ, or that death of 
his which will for *^a time both shake their faith, and astonish 
their hopes, and deprive them of their former comforts. And 
others limit the word ' therefore' to the following crosses or 
sufferings which they must undergo for the sake of Christ, and 
accordingly they interpret the cause of their succeeding joy. 
But I see no reason but both are included in the text, but prin- 
cipally the first, and the other consequently. As if he had said, 
* When you see me crucified, your hearts and hopes will begin 
to fail, and sorrow to overwhelm your minds, and you will be 
exposed to the fury of the unbelieving world ; but it will be but 
for a moment, for when you see that I am risen again, your joy 
will be revived, and my Spirit afterwards, and continual encou- 
ragements shall greatly increase and perpetuate your joys, which 
no persecutions or sufferings shall deprive you of, but they shall 
at last be perfected in the heavenly everlasting joys.' The 
cause of their sorrow is first his absence, and next their suffer- 
ings with him in the world, when the bridegroom is taken from 
them^ they must fast, that is, live an afflicted kind of life in 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 201 

various sorrows ; and the causes of their succeeding joy, are 
first, his resurrection, and next his Spirit, which is their com- 
forter, and lastly, the presence of his glory at their reception 
into his glorious kingdom. Their sorrow was to be short, as 
that of a woman in travail, and it was to have a tendency to 
their joy. And their joy was to be sure and near, " I will see 
you again," and great, " your heart shall rejoice," and everlast- 
ing, " your joy no man taketh from you." 

The sense of the text is contained in these six doctrinal 
propositions. 

Doct. 1. Sorrow goeth before joy with Christ's disciples. 

Doct. 2. Christ's death and departure was the cause of his 
disciples' sorrows. 

Doct. 3. The sorrows of Christ's disciples are but short. Tt 
is but * now.' 

Doct. 4. Christ will again visit his sorrowful disciples, though 
at the present he seem to be taken from them. 

Doct. 5, When Christ returneth or appeareth to his disciples, 
their sorrows will be turned into joy. 

Doct. 6. The joy of Christians in the return or re-appearing 
of their Lord is such as no man shall take from them. 

Of these, by God's assistance, I shall speak in order, and 
therefore be but short on each. 

Doct. 1. Sorrow goeth before joy with Christ's disciples. 

The evening and the morning make their day. They must 
sow in tears before they reap in joy. They must have trouble 
in the world, and peace in Christ. God will first dwell in the 
contrite heart, to prepare it to dwell with him in glory. The 
pains of travail must go before the joy of the beloved birth. 

Quest. What kind of sorrow is it that goeth before our joy ? 

Answ. 1, There is a sorrow positively sinful, which doth, but 
should not, go before our joy. Though this be not meant 
directly in the text, yet it is too constant a foregoer of our 
comforts. It is not the joys of innocency that are our portion, 
but the joys of restoration; and the pains of our disease go be- 
fore the ease and comfort of our recovery. We have our 
worldly sorrows, and our passionate and peevish sorrows, like 
Jonah's for the withering of his gourd. According to the degree 
of our remaining corruption, we have our sorrows, which must 
be sorrowed for again. Sometimes we are troubled at the pro- 
vidences of God, and sometimes at the dealings of men j at the 
words or doings of enemies, of friends, of all about us. We 
are grieved if we have not what we would have, and when we 



202 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

have it, it becomes our greater grief: nothing well j3leaseth us, 
till we so devote ourselves to please our God, as to be pleased in 
the pleasing of him. 

2. And we have our sorrows, which are sinful through our 
weakness and imperfection, when, through the languishing 
feebleness of our souls, we are overmuch troubled at that which 
we may lawfully sorrow for with moderation ; when impatience 
causeth us to make a greater matter of our afflictions than we 
ought, if God do but try us with wants or crosses ; if we lose 
our friends, or if they prove unkind ; we double the weight of 
the cross by our impatience. This cometh from the remnants 
of unmortified selfishness, carnality, and overloving earthly 
things. W^ere they less loved, they would be less sorrowed for. 
If we had seen their vanity, and mortification had made them 
nothing to us, we should then part with them as with vanity and 
nothing. It is seldom that God or men afflict us, but we there- 
fore afflict ourselves much more. As the destruction of the 
wicked, so the troubles of the godly is chiefly of themselves. 

3. There is a mere natural suffering or sorrow, which is neither 
morally good or bad. As to be weary with our labour, to be 
pained with our diseases ; to be sensible of hunger and thirst, of 
Cold and heat ; to be averse to death as death, as Christ himself 
was ; and at last to undergo it, and lie down in the dust. There 
are many sorrows Avhich are the fruits of sin, which yet, in 
themselves, are neither sin nor duty. 

4. There are castigatory sorrows from the hand of God, 
which have a tendency to our cure, if we use them according 
to his appointment. Such are all the foresaid natural sufferings, 
considered as God's means and instruments of our benefit. He 
woundeth the body to heal the soul : he lanceth the sore, to let 
out the corruption : he letteth us blood to cure our inflamma- 
tions and apostemated parts. He chasteneth all that he loveth 
and receiveth ; (Heb. xii. 1 — 1-1;) and we must be subject to 
a chastening Father if we will live ; for he doth it for our profit, 
" that we may be partakers of his holiness." 

5. There are honourable and gainful sufferings from blind ma- 
licious wicked nuen, for the cause of Christ and righteousness, 
such as the gospel frequently warneth believers to expect. These 
are the sorrou's that have the promises of fullest joy, not 
that the m.ere suffering in itself is acceptable to God ; but the 
love which is manifested by suffering for him, is that which he 
cannot but accept : so that the same measure of sufferings are 
more or less acceptable, as there is more or less love to God 



BAXTER'S FAREWELL SERMON* 203 

expressed by them, and as the honour of Christ is more or less 
intended in them. For to give the body to be burned without love 
will profit us nothing. But when the cause is Christ's, and the 
heart intendeth him as the end of the suffering, (1 Cor. xiii. 3,) 
then " blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' 
sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," &c. (Matt. v.lO — 12.) 

6. There are penitential and medicinal sufferings, for the 
killing of sin, and helping on the work of grace, which are 
made our duty. In the former we are to be but submissive 
patients, but in these we must be obedient agents, and must in- 
flict them on ourselves. Such are the sorrows of contrition and 
true repentance ; the exercises of fasting, abstinence, and 
humiliation ; the grief of the soul for God's displeasure, for the 
hiding of his face, and the abatement of his graces in us ; and 
all the works of mortifying self-denial, and forbearing all for- 
bidden pleasures which God doth call his servants to, though in 
the primitive and principal part of holiness there is nothing but 
what is sweet and pleasant to a soul, so far as it is holy : (as the 
love of God and the love of others, and worshipping God, and 
doing good, and joy, and tlianks, and praise, and obedience, &c.) 
Yet the medicinal parts of grace, or holiness, have something 
necessarily in them that is bitter, even to nature as nature, and 
not only as corrupt, such as are contrition, self-denial, mortifi- 
cation, abstinence, as aforesaid. 

7. There are charitable sorrows for the dishonour of God, and 
for the sin, hurt, and miseries of others. These, also, are our 
duties, and we must be agents in them as well as patients. As 
we must first pray for the hallowing of the name of God, and 
the coming of his kingdom, and the doing of his will on earth 
as it is done in heaven ; so we must most grieve for the abuse 
and dishonour of God's name, the hindering of his kingdom, 
and the breaking of his laws ; that so many nations see not the 
peril, and know not God, and have not the gospel, or will not 
receive it, but live in rebellion against their Maker, and in 
blindness, obstinacy, and hardness of heart, and are given up to 
commit uncleanness with greediness; (Eph. iv. 18, 19;) that 
so many nations which are called Christians, are captivated in 
ignorance and superstition, by the blindness, pride, carnality, and 
covetousness of their usurping, self-obtruding guides ; that so 
many men professing Christianity have so little of the know- 
ledge or power of what they generally and ignorantly profess, 
and live to the shame of their profession, the great dishonour 



204 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

and displeasure of their Lord, and the grief or hardening of 
others ; that the church of Christ is broken into so many sects 
and factions, possessed with such an uncharitable, destroying 
zeal against each other, and persecuting their brethren as 
cruelly as Turks and heathens do ; that the best of Christians 
are so few, and yet so weak and liable to miscarriages. All these 
are the matter of that sorrow which God hath made our duty; 
and all these sorts of sorrow do go before a Christian's fullest joy. 
Reason 1. God will have some conformity Ijctween the order 
of nature and of grace. Non-entity was before created entity ; 
theeveningbefore morning ; infancy before maturity of age ; weak- 
ness before strength ; the buried seed before the plant, the 
flower, and fruit; and infants cry before they laugh; weakness 
is soon hurt, and very querulous. No wonder, then, if our sor- 
rows go before our joys. 

2. Sin goeth before grace, and therefore our sorrows are be- 
fore our joys. The seed is first fruitful which was first sown. 
Joy, indeed, hath the elder parent, in esse reali et absohcto, but 
not in esse causali et relativo. We are the children of the first 
Adam, before we are children of the second; we are born flesh 
of flesh, before we are born spiritual of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 
XV. ; John iii. 6.) And where Satan goeth before Christ, it is 
equal that sorrow be before joy. 

3. Our gracious Father and wise Physician doth see that this 
is the fittest method for our cure. That we may deny ourselves, 
we must know how little we are beholden to ourselves, and 
must smart by the fruit of our sin and folly before we are eased 
by the fruit of love and grace. It is the propertv of the flesh 
to judge by sense, and therefore sense shall help to mortify it. 
The frowns of the world shall be an antidote against its flat- 
teries. It killeth by pleasing, and therefore it may help our cure 
by displeasing us. Loving it is men's undoing; and hurting us 
is the way to keep us from overloving it. These wholesome 
sorrows do greatly disable our most dangerous temptations, and 
preserve us from the pernicious poison of prosperity. They 
rouse us up when we are lazy and ready to sit down ; they awake 
us when we are ready to fall asleep ; they drive us to God when 
we are ready to forget him, and dote upon a deceiver ; thev 
teach us part of the meaning of the gospel ; witliout them we 
know not well what " a Saviour," a " promise," a " pardon," 
"grace," and many other gospel terms, do signify. They teach 
us to pray, and teach us to hear and read with understanding ; 



Baxter's farewell sermon. ' 205 

they tell us the value of all our mercies, and teach us the 
use of all the means of grace. They are needful to fix 
our flashy, light, inconstant minds, which are apt to be 
gazing upon every bait, and to be touching or tasting the 
forbidden fruit ; and to be taken with those things which we 
had lately cast behind our backs, till medicinal sorrow doth 
awake our reason, and make us see the folly of our dreams. 
Yea, if sorrow check us not, and make us wise, we are ready to 
lay by our grace and wit, and to follow any goblin in the dark, 
and, like men bewitched, to be deceived by we know not what, and 
to go on as a bird to the fowler's snare, as an ox to the slaugh- 
ter, andasa fool to the correction of the stocks, (Prov.vii.22, 23.) 

4. Moreover precedent sorrows, will raise the price of follow- 
ing joys. Thev will make us more desirous of the day of our 
deliverance, and will make it the welcomer to us when it comes. 
Heaven will be seasonable after a life of so much trouble ; and 
they that come out of great tribulation, will joyfully sing the 
praises of their Redeemer. (Rev. vii. 14.) 

5. And God will have the members conformed to their Head; 
(Luke xiv. 28, '33 ;) this was Christ's method, and it must be 
our's ; (Rom. viii. 17, 18;) we must take up the cross, and fol- 
low him, if ever we will have the crown ; and we must suffer with 
him if we will be glorified with him. (2 Tim. ii. 12.) Though 
the will of God be the reason which alone should satisfy his 
creatures, yet these reasons show you the equity and goodness 
of his ways. 

Use 1. If sorrow before joy be God's ordinary method of 
dealing with his most beloved servants, learn hence to understand 
the importance of your sorrows ! You say as Baruch, " Wo is 
me now ; for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow. 1 fainteil 
in my sighing, and I find no rest." (Jer. xlv. 3.) You are inge- 
nious in recounting and aggravating your afflictions. Hut are 
vou as ingenious in expounding them aright ; do you not judge 
of them rather by your present sense, than by their use and ten- 
dency ? You will not do so by the bitterness of a medicine, 
or the working of a purge or vomit. You will like it best when 
it worketh in that way as usually it doth with them that it 
cureth. And should you not be glad to find that God taketh 
that way with you, which he most usually takes with those 
that he saveth. Sure you do not set light by the love of 
God. Why, then, do you complain so much against the signs 
and products of it ? Is it not because you have yet much 



206 BAXTERS FAREWELL SERMON. 

unbelief, and judge of God's love as the flesh directeth you, in- 
stead of judging by the effects and prognostics which he him- 
self hath bid you judge by ? We will grant to tlie flesh, that 
no chastisement for the ])resent seemeth joyous, but grievous ; 
if you will believe the Spirit that, nevertheless, afterward it 
yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that are 
exercised thereby ; and that " wliom the Lord loveth he chas- 
tenetli, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." (Heb. 
xii. 6, 11.) Misunderstand not, then, the prognostics of your 
present sorrows. Think how they will work as well as how 
they taste. They bode good, though they are unpleasant. If 
you were bastards and reprobates you might feel less of the 
rod. When the ploughers make furrows on you, it prepareth 
you for the seed ; and the showers that water it prognosticate a 
plenteous harvest. Think it not strange if he thresh and grind 
you, if you Avould be bread for your Master's use. He is not 
drowning his sheep when he washeththem,nor killing them when 
he is shearing them. But by this he showeth that they are his 
own : and the new-shorn sheep do most visibly bear liis name 
or mark ; when it is almost worn out, and scarce discernible, on 
them that have the longest fleece. If you love the world and 
prosperity best, rejoice most in it, and grieve most for the want 
of it. i3ut if you love God best, and take him for your part 
and treasure, rejoice in him, and in that condition which hath 
the fullest significations of his love, and grieve most for his dis- 
pleasure, and for that condition v.hich either signifieth it, or 
most enticeth you to displease him. (2 Cor. iv. 18; Matt. vi. 
20, 21.) If things present be your portion, then seek them 
first, and rejoice in them, and mourn when they are taken from 
you. (Col. iii. 1 — 4.) But if really your portion be above with 
Christ, let your hearts be there; and let your joys and sorrows 
and endeavours signify it. The sense of brutes doth judge of 
pain and pleasure only by their present feeling ; but the reason 
of a man, and the faith of a Christian, Cio estimate them ac- 
cording to- their signification and importance. I know that it 
is in vain to think by reason to reconcile the flesh and sense 
unto its 'sufferings : but if I may speak to you as to men, much 
more if as to Christians, and reason with your reasonable part, 
I shall not at all despair of the success. 

Quest. 1 . Tell me, then, who it is that you suffer by ; that 
hath the principal disposing hand in all ? Is it one that you 
can reasonably suspect of any want of power, wisdom, or good- 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 207 

ness ? Is he not much fitter to dispose of you, than you or 
any mortals are ? If the physician he hotter than the patient, 
to determine how he shall be ordered, and if you are fitter than 
your infant child, and if you are fitter than your beast, to de- 
termine of his pasture, work, and usage, sure then you will 
grant, that God is much more fit than we. And if he would 
give you your choice and say, ' It shall go with thee all thy 
days, for prosperity or adversity, life or death, as thou wilt thy- 
self, or as thy dearest friend will ;' you should say, 'Nay, Lord, 
but let it be as thou wilt ; for I and my friend are foolish and 
partial, and know not what is best for ourselves. Not our wills, 
but thy will be done.' 

Quest. 2. Do you not see that carnal pleasure is far more 
dangerous than all your sorrows ? Look on the ungodly that 
prosper in the world, and tell me whether you would be in 
their condition ? If not, why do you long for their temptations; 
and to live in that air whose corruption causeth such epidemi- 
cal mortalities ? If you would not with the rich man, (Luke 
xvi.) be damned for sensuality, nor with the fool, (Luke xii. 19, 
20,) say. Soul, take thy ease, &c. when your souls are ])re- 
sently to be taken from you ; or with him, (Luke xviii. 22, 23,) 
go away sorrowful from Christ ; desire not the temptations 
which brought them to it. If you would not oppress the peo- 
ple of God with Pharaoh, nor persecute the prophets with Ahab 
and Jezebel, nor resist the gospel, and persecute the preachers 
of it with the Scribes and Pharisees; (2Thess. xiv. 15,16;) de- 
sire not the temptations which led theni to all this. 

Quest. 3. Would not you follow your Saviour, and rather be 
conformed to him and to his saints, than to the wicked that 
have their portion in this life ? I doubt you do not well study 
the life and suflerings of Christ, and the reason of them ; when 
you find yourselves so little concerned in them, and so desirous 
of another way. And would you not go to heaven in the com- 
mon way that the saints of old have gone before vou in ? Read 
the Scripture and all church history, and observe which is the 
beaten path of life ; and v* hether even among believers and the 
pastors of the church, it was the persecuted or the prosperous 
that most honoured their profession, aad which of them it was 
that corrupted the church with pride and domination, and kin- 
dled in it those flames of contention which are consuming it to 
this day; and sowed those seeds of divisions whose sour fruit 
have set their children's teeth on edge. Mark whether it was 



208 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

the suffering or the prospering part that hath had the greatest 
hand in her after-sufferings. 

Quest. 4. What saith your own experience, and how hath 
God dealt with you in the time that is past ? Hath not your 
suffering done you good ? If it have not, you may thank your- 
selves : for 1 am sure God's rod hath a healing virtue, and 
others have received a cure by it. How much is mankind be- 
holden to the cross ! When David went weeping up mount 
Olivet, he was in a safer case than when he was gazing on Bath- 
sheba from his battlements. And when Christ was sweating 
blood upon mount Olivet, (Luke xxii. 44,) it was a sign 
that man's redemption was in hand : and when he was bleeding 
on the cross, and drinking vinegar and gall, it was almost 
finished. And if the cross hath borne such happy fruit, what 
reason have we to be so much against it ? If it have proved 
good for you that you were afflicted, and no part of your lives 
have been more fruitful, why should your desires so much con- 
tradict your own experience ? If bitter things have proved the 
most wholesome, and a full and luscious diet hath caused your 
disease, what need vou more, to direct your judgment, if you 
will judge as men, and not as brutes ? 

Obj. But (you will say) it is not all sorrow that foretelleth 
joy : some pass from sorrow unto greater sorrow. How then 
shall we know whether our sorrows tend to worse or unto 
better ? 

Answ. It is true that there are sorrows which have no such 
promise, as these have in the text. As, 1. The mere vindictive 
punishment of the wicked. 2. The sinful sorrows which men 
keep up in themselves ; proceeding from their sinful love of 
creatures. 3. And the corrections which are not improved by 
us to our amendment and reformation. 

But the promise belongeth, 1. To those sorrows which in 
sincerity we undergo for the sake of Christ and righteousness. 
2. To those sorrows which we ourselves perform as duties, 
either for the dishonour of God, or the sins or miseries of 
others ; or our penitential sorrows for our own offences. 3. And 
to those sorrows of chastisement which we patiently submit to, 
and improve to a true amendment of our hearts and lives. For 
though sin be the material cause, or the meritorious cause, yet 
love which niaketh reformation the effect, will also make the 
end to be our comfort. 

Use 2. If this be God's method, condemn not then the gene- 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 209 

ration of the just, because you see them undermost in the world, 
and suffer more than other men. Think it not a dishonour to 
them to be in poverty, prisons, banishment, or reproach, unless 
it be for a truly dishonourable cause. Call not men miserable, 
for that which God maketh the token of his love, and the pro- 
gnostic of their joy. Methinks he that hath once read the Psalms 
xxxvii. and Ixxiii. ; and IMatt. v. 10 — 12; and Job xiii. and 
XV. ; and 2 Thess. i., and well believeth them, should never 
err this old condemned error any more. And yet it is common 
among carnal men, to do as some beasts do ; when one of their 
fellows is wounded, they all forsake him : so these stand look- 
ing with pity, or fear, or strangeness upon a man that is under 
sufferings and slanders, as if it must needs be a deserved thing ; 
and think it a great dishonour to a man, how innocent soever, 
when they hear that he is used as oflf'enders and malefactors 
are; forgetting how by this they condemn their Saviour, and 
all his apostles and martyrs, and the wisest, best, and happiest 
men that the earth hath borne. And all this is but the blind 
and hasty judgment of sense and unbelief, which hath neither 
the wit to judge by the word of God, nor yet the patience to 
stay the end, and see how the sorrows of the godly will con- 
clude, and where the triumph of the hypocrite will leave them. 

And yet some there be that are apt to err on the other ex- 
treme, and to think that every man is happy that is afflicted, 
and that such have all their sorrow in this life ; and that the 
suffering party is always in the right, and therefore they are 
ready to fall in with any deluded sect, which they see to be un- 
der reproach and suffering. But the cause must be first known, 
before the suffering can be well judged of. 

Doct. 2. Christ's death and departure was the cause of his 
disciples' sorrows. 

This is plain in the words " Ye now therefore have sorrow; 
but I will see you again." And the causes of this sorrow were 
these three conjunct: 1. That their dear Lord, whom they 
loved, and whom they had heard, and followed, and put their 
trust in, must now be taken from them. If the parting of 
friends at death do turn our garments into the signs of our sad 
and mournful hearts, and cause us to dwell in the houses of 
mourning, we must allow Christ's disciples some such affections, 
upon their ])arting with their Lord. 

2. And the manner of his death, no dou])t, did much increase 
their sorrows. That the most innocent should suBer as a re- 

VOL. XVIII. V 



210 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

puted malefactor, that he that more contemned the wealth and 
pleasures and glory of the world, than ever man did, and chose 
a poor, inferior life, and would not have a kingdom of this 
world, and never failed in any duty to high or low, should yet 
be hanged ignoniiniously ou a cross, as one that was about to 
usurp the crown ! That deluded sinners should put to death 
the Lord of life, and spit in the face of such a majestv, and 
hasten destruction to their nation and themselves ; and that all 
Christ's disci|)les must thus be esteemed the followers of a cru- 
cified usurper, judge if ^^e had been in their case ourselves, 
whether this would have been matter of sorrow to us or not. 
Had it not been enough for Christ to have suffered the pain, 
but he must also suffer the dishonour, even the imputation of 
sin, which no man was so far from being guilty of ? and of that 
particular sin, usurpation of dominion, and treason against 
Caesar, which his heart and life were as contrary to, as light to 
darkness ? And was it not enough for Christians to suffer so 
great calamities of bodies for righteousness' sake, but they must 
also suffer the reproach of being the seditious followers of a Cru- 
cified malefactor whom they would have made a king ? No ! 
our Lord would stoop to the lowest condition for our sakes, 
which was consistent with his innocency and perfection ! Sin 
is so much worse than sufl^ring, that we may take this for the 
greatest part of his condescension, and strangest expression of 
his love, that he should take not onlv the nature and the suf- 
ferings of a man, but also the nature and the imputation of 
sinners. Though sin itself was inconsistent with his perfection, 
vet so was not the false accusation and imputation of it : he 
could not become a sinner for us ; but he could be reputed a 
inner for us, and die as such. And when our Lord hath sub- 
mitted to this most ignominious kind of suffering, it is not fit 
that we should be the choosers of our sufferings, and say. Lord, 
we will suffer any thing except the reputation of being offend- 
ers, and the false accusations of malicious men I If in this we 
must be made conformable to our Head, we must not refuse it, 
nor repine at his disposal of us. 

3. And their sorrow for Christ's departure was the greater, 
because they had so little foresight of his resurrection and re- 
turn. It is strange to see how dark they were in these articles 
of the faith, for all their long converse with Christ, and his plain 
foretelling them his death and resurrection : and how much of 
their teaching Christ reserved to the Spirit after his departure 



Baxter's faukwell sermon. 211 

from them. " Then took he unto him the twelve, and said 
unto them, Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that 
are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be 
accomplished : for he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and 
shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spit upon, and 
they shall scourge him and put him to death, and the third day 
he shall rise again." (John xii. 16; Lukexviii. 31 — 34.) And 
they understood none of these things, and this saying was hid 
from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. 
Had they known all that would follow, and clearly foreseen his 
resurrection and his glory, they would then have been troubled 
the less for his death, but when they saw him die, and foresaw 
him not revive, and rise, and reign, then did their hearts begin 
to fail them, and they said, " We trusted that it had been he 
which should have redeemed Israel." (Luke xxiv. 21.) Even 
as we use to lament immoderately, when we lay the bodies of 
our friends in the grave, because we see not whither the soul is 
gone, nor in what triumph and joy it is received unto Christ; 
which if we saw it would moderate our griefs. And even so 
we over pity ourselves and our friends in our temporal suffer- 
ings, because we see not whither they tend and what will follow 
them. We see Job on the dunghill, but look not so far as his 
restoration, " Behold we count them happy which endure : ye 
have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the 
Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." (Jam. 
V. 11.) There is no judging by the present, but either by stay- 
ing [for] the end, or believing God's predictions of it. 

Use. It is allowable in Christ's disciples to grieve (in faith and 
moderately) for any departure of his from them; they that have 
had the comfort of communion with him in a life of faith and 
grace, must needs lament any loss of that communion ; it is sad 
with such a soul, when Christ seemeth strange, or when they pray 
and seek, and seem not to be heard ! It is sad with a believer 
when he must say, ' I had once access to the Father by the 
Sou ; I liad helps in prayer, and I had the lively operations of 
the Spirit of grace, and some of the joy of the Holy Ghost, but 
now, alas, it is not so,' And they that have had exjierience of 
the fruit and comfort of his word, and ordinances, and discipline, 
and the communion of saints, may be allowed to lament the loss 
of this, if he take it from them. It was no unseemly thing in 
David, when he was driven from the tabernacle of God, to make 
that lamentation, " As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, 

V 2 



212 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

so panteth my soul after thee, O God ; my soul thirsteth for 
God, for the living God ; when shall I come and appear before 
God ? J\ly tears have been my meat day and night, while they 
continually say unto me. Where is thy God ? O my God, my 
soul is cast down within me," &c. (Psalm xlii. and xliii.) And, 
" My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord ; 
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God ; yea, the 
sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest," &c. 
^'Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still 
praising thee. For a day in thy courts is better than a 
thousand ; I had rather be a door-keeper in tlie house of my 
God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psalm Ixxxiv. 
2 — 4.) It signifieth ill when men can easily let Christ go, or 
lose his word, or helps, and ordinances. When sin provoketh 
him to hide his face, and withdraw his mercies, if we can sense- 
lessly let them go, it is a contempt which provoketh him much 
more. If we are indifferent what he giveth us, it is just with 
him to be indifferent too, and to set as little by our helps and 
happiness, as we set by them ourselves. But we little know 
the misery which such contempt prepareth for: "Be thou in- 
structed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee, lest I 
make thee desolate ; a land not inhabited." (Jer. vi. 8.) " Yea, 
wo also unto them when I depart from them." (Hos. ix. 12.) 
When God goeth,all goeth; grace and peace, help and hope, and 
all that is good and comfortable is gone, when God is gone. Won- 
der not, therefore, if holy souls cry after God, and fear the loss of 
his grace and ordinances ; and if they lament the loss of that, 
which dead-hearted sensualists are weary of, (Luke viii. 47,) 
and would drive away ; it will be the damning sentence, (Matt. 
XXV. 41,) "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity." (Matt, 
vii. 23.) And, therefore, all that is but like it, is terrible to them 
that have any regard of God, or their salvation. (Luke xiii. 27.) 

Doct. 3. The sorrows of Christ's disciples are but short. It 
is but now that they have sorrow : and how quickly will this 
now be gone ! 

Reus. I. Life itself is but short, and, therefore, the sorrows of 
this life are but short. Man that is born of a v/oman is of few 
days, and full of trouble ; he cometh forth like a flower, and is 
cut down ; he fleeth also as a sliadow, and continueth not. (Job 
xiv. 1, 2.) Though our days are evil, they are but few. (Gcii. 
xlvii. 9.) As our time maketh haste, and j)osteth away, so also 
do our sorrows, v,hich will attain their period togetlicr with our 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 213 

lives. As the pleasure of sin, so the sufferings of the godlv, are 
but for a season. (Heb. xi. 26.) "Now, for a season, if need be, 
ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." (1 Pet.i. 6.) 
The pleasures and the pains of so short a life, are but like a 
pleasant or a frightful dream ; how quickly shall we awake, and 
all is vanished. If we lived as long as they did before the flood, 
then worldly interest, prosperity, and adversity, would be of 
greater signification to us, and yet they should seem nothing in 
comparison of eternity : for where now are all the fleshly pains 
or pleasures of Adam or Methuselah ? Much more are they in- 
considerable in so short a life as one of ours. Happy is the 
man whose sorrows are of no longer continuance than this short 
and transitory life ! 

Reas. 2. God's displeasure with his servants is but short, 
and, therefore, his corrections are but short. (Psalm xxx. 5.) 
" His anger endureth but for a moment, but in his favour is 
life." (Isa. liv. 1 , 8.) " For a small moment have I forsaken 
thee, but with great mercy will I gather thee. In a little 
wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with 
everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the 
Lord thy Redeemer." (Isa. xxvi. 20.) " Come, my people, 
enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee, hide 
thvself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be 
overpast." Thus even in judgment doth he remember mercy, and 
consumeth us not, because his compassions fail not. (Lam. iii.) 
" He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger for ever; 
for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust." 
(Psalm ciii. 9, 14.) His short corrections are purposely fitted 
to prepare us for endless consolations. 

Reas. o. Our trial also must be but short, and, therefore, so 
must be our sorrows. Though God will not have us receive the 
crown, without the preparation of a conflict and a conquest, 
vet will he not have our fight and race too long, lest it over- 
match our strength, and his grace, and we should be overcome. 
Though our faith and we must be tried in tlie fire, yet God will 
see that the furnace be not over hot, and that we stay no longer, 
but till our dross be separated from us. (I Pet. i. {), 7, 9.) God 
putteth us not into the fire to consume us, l)Ut to refine us, 
(Psalm cxix. 6/, 7'>,) that when we come out we may say, 
(Psalm cxxix. 1 — o,) " It is good for us that we were afflicted," 
(Psalm cxix. 71 ; Isaiah xlix. 13,) and tlien he will save the 
afflicted people. (Psalm xviii. 27.) 



214 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

Reas. 4. The power of those that afflict God's servants 
wrongfully, is but short ; and therefore, the sorrovvs of such afflic- 
tion can be but short ', though it be foreign churches of whom 
I speak, I hope it is to such as take their case to be to them as 
their own : while they are breathing out threatenings, they are 
ready to breathe out their guilty souls. If a man in a dropsy or 
consumption persecute us, we would not he over fearful of him, 
l)ecause we see he is a dying man. And so little is the distance 
between the death of one man and another, that we may well 
say, ' All men's lives are in a consumption, and may bear their 
indignation, as we would do the injuries of a dying man. How 
short is the day of the power of darkness. Christ calleth it but 
an hour ; " This is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Luke 
xxii. 53.) How quickly was Herod eaten of worms, and many 
another cut off in the height of their prosperity, when they have 
been raging in the heat of persecution. Little thought Ahab 
that he had been so near his woful day, wiien he had given order 
that Micaiah should be fed with the bread and water of afflic- 
tion, till he returned in jjeace. What persecutions have the 
death of a Licinius, a Julian, a queen Mary, &c., shortened ? 
While they are raging they are dying ; while they are condemn- 
ing the just, they are going to be condemned by their most 
just avenger. How quickly will their corpse be laid in dust, and 
their condemned souls be put under the chains of darkness, till 
the judgment of the great and dreadful day ? (2 Pet. xxiv.) 
He is not only an unbeliever, but irrational or inconsiderate, 
that cannot see their end, (Jude 6,) in the greatest of their 
glory. How easy is it to see these bubbles vanishing, and to 
foresee the sad and speedy period of all their cruelties and 
triumphs ? " 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 but for a moment ? Though his 
excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto 
the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung. They 
which have seen him, shall say, Where is he ? He shall fiy 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,neithershall hisplacebehold him." (Job xx. 4 — 9.) 
Though pride do compass them about as a chain, and violence 
cover them as a garment, and they are corrupt, and speak op- 
pression, or calumny, wickedly, they speak loftily, or from on 
high. Though they set their mouth against the heavens, and 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 215 

their tongue 'walketh through the earth, yet surely they are set 
in slippery places. God doth cast them down into destruction. 
How are they brought into desolation as in a moment ? They 
are utterly consumed with terrors: as a dream* from one that 
awaketh, so, O Lord, in awaking, (or raising up, that is, saith 
the Chaldee paraphrase, in thy day of" judging, or as all the 
other translations, in civitate tua, in thy kingdom or govern- 
ment,) thou shalt despise their iuiage, that is, show them and 
all the world how despicable that image of greatness, and power, 
and felicitv was which they were so proud of. If such a 
bubble t of vain-glory, such an image of felicity, such a dream of 
power and greatness be all that the church of God hath to be 
afraid of, it may well be said, " Cease ye from man, whose breath 
is in his nostrils. "| (Isa. ii. 22.) " For wherein is he to be ac- 
counted of." (Psalm cxlvi. 4.) His breath goeth forth, he re- 
turneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish. And, 
" Behold the Lord God will help me, who is he that shall con- 
demn me ? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment, the moth 
shall eat them up." (Isa. 1. 9.) And, " Hearken unto me, ye 
that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law. 
Fear ye not tlie reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their 
revilings, for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the 
worm shall eat them like wood, but my righteousness shall be 
for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation." (Isa. 
li. 7, S.) The sorrows which so short-lived power can inflict, 
can be but short. You read of their victories and persecutions 
in the news-books one year, and quickly after of their death. 

Use. Hence, therefore, you may learn how injudicious they 
are, that think religion is disparaged by such short and small 
afflictions of believers, and how unexcusable they are who yield 
unto temptation, and venture upon sin, and comply with the 
ungodly, and forsake the truth, through the fear of so short and 
momentary sorrows, when there is none of them but would 
endure the prick of a pin, or the scratch of a briar, or the 
biting of a flea to gain a kingdom, or the opening of a vein, or 

* Or as Ainyraldus Paraphras., " Cum olim evigilabuiit, prsesens eorum 
feliciias erit instar somuii, quod somno discusso dissipatum est : quin ctiam 
antequam evigilent, in ipsa ilia uibe in c|ua antea florebant vanam istani feli- 
citatis pompani, in ([ua antea volitabant, reddes conteinnendam, tauquam 
umbiam aut iiuaginetn evauesceiitem ; in qua nihil solidi est." 

t " Nubecula est cito evanescit," said Athanasius of Julian. 

J When Julian's death was told at Antioch, they all cried out, " Maxime 
fatue ! ubi sunt vaiieiiiia tua ? Viclt Deus et Christui ejus." Abbas Uspar- 
geus. page 91. 



216 isaxter's farewell sermon. 

the griping of a purge to save their lives. Oh ! how deservedly 
are ungodly men forsaken of God, for how short a pleasure do 
they forsake him, and the everlasting pleasures. And how short 
a trouble do they avoid by running into everlasting trouble. If 
sin had not first subdued reason, men would never make it a 
matter of question, Avhether to escape so small a suffering, they 
should break the laws of the most righteous God, nor would 
they once put so short a pain or pleasure into the balance 
against the endless pain and pleasure. Nor would a temptation 
bring them to deliberate on a matter, which should be past de- 
liberation with a man that is in his wits. And yet, alas ! how 
much do these short concernments prevail through all the world ! 
Unbelievers are short-sighted, they look only or chiefly to things 
near and present. A lease of this empty world for a few years, 
yea, an uncertain tenure of it, is preferred before the best se- 
curity for eternal life. Its present pleasures which they must 
have, and its present sorrows which they take care to escape. 
As Christ hath taught us to say about these worldly things, so 
the devil hath taught them to say about everlasting things, 
" Care not for to-morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for 
the things of itself; sufficient to the day is the evil thereof." 
(Matt. vi. 34.) Therefore when the day of their calamity shall 
come, a despairing conscience Avill perpetually torment them, 
and say, ' This is but the sorrow which thou choosest to endure, 
or the misery which thou wouldest venture on, to escape a 
present, inconsiderable pain.' 

If there be any of you that shall think that present sufferings 
are considerable things, to be put into the scales against eter- 
nity, or that are tempted to murmuring and impatience under 
such short afflictions, I desire them but to consider, I . That your 
suffering will be no longer than your sin. And if it endure but 
as long, is it any matter of wonder or repining ? Can you expect 
to keep your sickness, and yet to be wholly freed from the pain'? 
Can sin and suffering be perfectly separated ? Do you think 
to continue ignorant and proud, and selfish, and in so much re- 
maining unbelief, carnality, worldliness, and sloth, and yet never 
to feel the rod or spur, nor suffer any more than if you had been 
innocent ? Deceive not yourselves, it will not be. (Gen. iv. 7 .) 
Sin lieth at the door, and be sure at last it will find you out. 
(Numb, xxxii. 23.) "Behold the righteous shall be recompensed 
in the earth, much more the ungodly and tlie sinner." (Prov. 
xi. 31.) " Judgment must begin at the house of God, and 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 217 

the righteous are saved with much ado." (I Pet. iv. 17, 18.) 
God is not reconciled to the sins of any man, and as he will show 
by his dealings that he is reconciled to their persons, so will he 
show that he is not reconciled to their sins. If God continue 
your sufferings any longer than you continue your sin, and if 
you can truly say, ' I am afflicted though I am innocent,' then 
your impatience may have some excuse. 

2. Your sorrows shall be no longer than you make them 
necessary, and will you grudge at your own benefit ? Or at the 
trouble of your physic while you continue vour disease ? It is 
but " if need be that now for a season ye are in heaviness 
through manifold temptations." (I Peter i. ().) And who maketh 
the need ? Is it God or you ? Who maketh you dull, and 
slothful, and sensual ? Who turneth your hearts to earthly 
things, and deprives you of the sweetness of things spiritual and 
heavenly ? Who maketh you proud, and unbelieving, and un- 
charitable ? Is it he that doth this, that causeth the need of 
your afflictions, and is to be blamed for the bitterness of them ? 
but it is your physician that is to be thanked and praised for 
fitting them so wisely to your cure. 

3. Your sorrows shall not be so long as you deserve. It is 
strange ingratitude, for that man to grudge at a short affliction 
that is saved from everlasting misery, and confesseth he hath 
deserved the pains of hell. Confess with thankfulness, that 
" it is his mercy that you are not consumed and condemned, be- 
cause his compassions fail not. If God be your portion, hope in 
him ; for the Lord is good to them that wait for him, to the 
soul that seeketh him. It is good that you both hope and quietly 
wait for the salvation of the Lord ; it is good for a man that he 
bear the yoke in his youth ; he sitteth alone and keepeth silence, 
because he hath borne it upon him ; he putteth his mouth in the 
dust, if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him 
that smiteth him, he is filled full with reproach ; for the Lord 
will not cast off for ever, but though he cause grief, yet will he 
have compassion, according to the multitude of his mercies. 
(Lam. iii. 22 — 38.) All that is come upon us is for our evil 
deeds, and for our great trespasses, and God hath punished us 
less than our iniquities. (Rzr. ix. 13.) 

4. Your sorrows shall not be so long as the sorrows of the 
ungodly, nor as those that you must endure, if you will choose 
sin to escape these present sorrows. Abel's sorrow is not so 
long as Cain's ; nor Peter's or Paul's so long as Judas's. If the 



218 Baxter's fareavell sermon. 

oifering of a more acceptable sacrifice do cost a righteous man 
his hfe, alas, what is that to the punishment that malignant, 
envious Cainites, or treacherous Judases must endure. What 
is the worst that man can do, or the most that God will here 
inflict, to the reprobates, endless, hellish torments ? Oh, had you 
seen what they endure, or had you felt those pains but a day or 
hour, I can hardly think that you would ever after make so great 
a matter of the sufferings of a Christian here for Christ, or that 
you would fear such sufferings more than hell. It is disingenu- 
ous to repine at so gentle a rod, at the same time whilst 
millions are in the flames of hell, and when these sufferings tend 
to keep you thence. 

5. Your sorrows shall not be so long as your following joys, 
if you be persevering, conquering believers. What is a sickness, 
or a scorn, or a prison, or banishment, or shame, or death, 
when it must end in the endless joys of heaven. Oh, do but 
believe tliese with a lively, sound, eflfectual faith, and you will 
make light of all the sufferings in the way, " Nihil crus sentit in 
nervo," saith Tertullian, "cum animus est in coelo." (Heb. xi. 
25, 26, &:c.) The mind that is in heaven, and seeth him that 
is invisible, will easily bear the body's pains. Mistake not in 
your accounts, and you will reckon that the sufferings of this pre- 
sent time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which 
shall be revealed in us. (Rom. viii. IS.) "For^our light affliction, 
which is but for a moment, doth work for us a far more exceed- 
ing and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things 
which are seen, but at the things that are not seen ; for the 
things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are 
not seen are eternal." (2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.) 

Use 2. And if it be but for a now that you must have sorrows, 
how reasonable is it that those sorrows be moderated and mixed 
with joy ? And how just are those commands, " Rejoice ever- 
more." " Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your re- 
ward in heaven." (1 Thess. v. 16; Matt. v. 10—12.) "Re- 
joicing in hope, patient in tribulation." (Rom. xii. 12.) How 
rational was their joy, who being beaten and forbidden to 
preach, " departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing 
that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of 
Christ." (Acts v. 42.) " Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers 
in Christ's sufferings. If ye be reproached for the name of 
Christ, happy are ye ; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth 
upon you j on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part 



Baxter's farewell sEiiM«r)>f. 219 

he is glorified." (I Pet. iv. 13, 14.) It is a shame to be dejected 
under a short and tolerable pain, which is so near to the eternal 
pleasure, and to suffer as if we believed not thts end, and so to 
sorrow as men that are without hope. 

Doct. 4. Christ will again visit his sorrov^'ful discipJes. He 
removeth not from them with an intent to cast them off.' When 
he hideth his face, he meaneth not to forsake them ; w'hen he 
taketh away any ordinances or mercies, he doth not give them 
a bill of divorce. When he seenieth to yield to the powei-s of 
darkness, he is not overcome, nor will he give up his kingd'om 
or interest in the world. When he letteth the boar into his 
vineyard, it is not to make it utterly desolate, or turn it coni- 
mon to the barren wilderness : for, 

1. He hath conquered the greatest enemies already, and,' 
therefore, there remaineth none to conquer him. He hath 
triumphed over Satan, death, and hell ; he hath conquered sin, 
and what is there left to depose him from his dominion ? 

2. He retaineth still his relation to his servants ; whether he 
be corporally present or absent, he knoweth his own, and it is 
their care also that whether present or absent, they may be ac- 
cepted of him. (2 Cor. v. 7 — 9.) He is their head while they 
are suffering on earth; and, therefore, he feeleth their sufferings 
and infirmities. (Heb. iv. 15.) And hence it is that he thus re- 
buketh a persecuting zealot, " Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou 
me?" (Acts ix.4.) 

3. He hath not laid by the least measure of his love; he 
loveth us in heaven as much as he did on earth : " Having loved 
his own which were in the world, to the end he loved them." 
(John xiii. 1.) And as Joseph's love could not long permit him 
to conceal himself from his brethren, but broke out the more 
violently after a short restraint, so that he fell on their necks 
and wept ; so will not the more tender love of Christ permit 
him long to hide his face, or estrange himself from the people 
of his love, and when he returneth, it will be with redoubled 
expressions of endearment. 

4. His covenant with his servants is still in force; his pro- 
mises are sure, and shall never b^ broken, though the perform- 
ance be not so speedy as we desire. " Know, therefore, that 
the Lord thy God he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth 
covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his 
commandments, to a thousand generations ; and repayeth them 
that hate him to their face to destroy them; he will not be slack 



220 ba:xter's farewell sermon. 

to him that hatet'^ h'un, lie will repay him to his face." (Deut. 
vii. 9.) " He kcepeth covenant and mercy with his servants that 
walk before hini with all their heart." (1 Kings viii. 23 ; Dan. 
ix. 4 ; Neh. !• 5, and ix. 32.) And it is the promise of Christ 
when he-^ departed from his servants, that " He will come again 
and taUe them to himself, that where he is, there they may be 
also. (John xiv. 3, and xii. 26.) 

5. His own interest, and honour, and office, and preparations, 
do engage him to return to his disconsolate flock ; his jewels 
anciil peculiar treasure are his interest. (Mai. iii. 17 ; 1 Peter ii. 
9 s Exodus xix. 5.) He that hath chosen but a little flock, 
(iCiuke xii. 32,) and confineth his interest and treasure into such 
fi narrow compass, will not forsake that little flock, but secure 
them to his kina,dom. He that hath made it his office to re- 
deem and save them, and hath so dearly bought them, and gone 
so far in the work of their salvation, will lose none of all his 
cost and preparations ; but for his people, and his blood, and his 
honour, and his Father's will, and love, will certainly finish 
what he hath undertaken. And, therefore, his withdrawings 
shall not be everlasting. 

6. It is for their sakes that he withdraweth for a time ; though 
the bitter part be for their sin, it is intended as medicinal for 
their benefit ; sometimes he doth it to awake and humble them, 
and stir them up to seek him, and call after him ; to show them 
what they have done in provoking him to withdraw and hide 
his face, that renewed repentance may prepare them for the 
comforts of his return. Sometimes he hath such work for them 
to do, which is not so agreeable to his presence j as fasting, and 
mourning, and confessing him in sufferings. (Matt. ix. 15.) And 
sometimes he hath comforts of another kind to give them in 
his seeming absence. " I tell you the truth, it is expedient for 
you that I go away ; for if I go not away, the Comforter will 
not come unto you ; but if 1 depart, I will send him to vou." 
(John xvi. 7-) As there were comforts which the disciples were 
fittest for in Christ's bodily absence, so when he will take away 
his ordinances, or our prosperity or friends, there are comforts 
of another vsort, in secret cominunion with him, and in suffering 
for him, which his people may expect ; not that anv can ex- 
pect it, who on that pretence do reject these ordinances and 
mercies no more than the disciples coul4 have expected the Com- 
forter, if they had rejected the corporal presence of Christ ; Imt 
God hath such supplies for those that mourn for his departure. 



Baxter's farewej.l sermon. 221 

Use 1. Misunderstand not then the departings ofiyour Lord. 
It is too bad to say with the evil servant, " My Lord delayeth 
his coming;" and M'orse to say he will never returi.- 1. He 
will return at his appointed day to judge the world; o justify 
his saints, whom the world condemned ; to answer the desires, 
and satisfy all the expectations of believers ; and to ccmfort, 
and everlastingly reward the faithful that have patiently waited 
his return. And when he returneth with salvation, then ^ihall 
we also return from our calamities, and shall discern betwieen 
the righteous and the wicked, between him that served Govd, 
and him that served him not. (Mai. iii. 18.) Undoubtedly oar 
" Redeemer liveth, and shall stand at the latter day upon the 
earth, and though, after our skin, worms devour these bodies, 
yet in our flesh we shall we see God. (Job xix. 25, 26.) " Be- 
hold he Cometh with clouds ; and every eye shall see him, and 
they also which pierced him ; and all kindreds of the earth shall 
wail because of him. Even so. Amen." (Rev. i. 7.) Though un- 
believing scoffers, shall say, "Where is the promise of his com- 
ing ?" (2 Pet. iii. 4.) Yet believers consider, "That a day is 
with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years but as 
a day ; and that the Lord is not slack of his promise, but long- 
suffering." (Ver. 8, 9.) " He will not leave us comfortless, but 
will come unto us." (John xiv. 18.) "The patient expectation 
of the just shall not be forgotten, nor in vain. (Psalm ix. 7, 8.) 
" Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to reaompense tribu- 
lation to them that trouble you ; and to you who are troubled rest 
with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven 
with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengence on them 
that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ : who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, 
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power ; 
when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired 
in all them that believe in that day." (2 Thess. i. 6 — 10.) 

2. And he will return also to the seemingly forsaken flocks 
of his disciples; he hath his times of trial, when the shepherds 
being smitten, the sheep are scattered ; and he hath his times 
of gathering the scattered ones again together, and " giving 
them pastors after his own heart, that shall feed them with 
knowledge and understanding." (Jer. iii. l-i', 15.) And shall say, 
" What is the chaff unto the wheat." (Jer. xxiii. 28.) When we 
cry, " Wo is me for my hurt ; my wound is grievous ! " We 
must also say, "Truly this is a grief, and 1 must bear it ; my 



222 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

tabernacle v spoiled, and all my cords are broken ; my children 
are gone f( i th of me, and they are not ; there is none to stretch 
forth my/ cent any more, and to set up my curtains 5 for the 
pastors a.e become brutish, and have not sought the Lord. O 
Lord correct me, but with judgment, not in thine anger, lest 
thou bring me to nothing." (Jer. x. 19 — 21, 24.) "Many pas- 
tors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion 
under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate 
v'ilderness ; and being desolate it mourneth to me ; the whole 
la«d is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart." (Jer. 
xw. 10, 11.) "But wo be unto the pastors that destroy and 
s/catter the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord. Therefore, 
/thus saith the Lord, against the pastors that feed my people; 
ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have 
not visited them ; behold I will visit upon you the evil of your 
doings, and 1 will gather the remnant of my flock. And I will 
setup shepherds over them which shall feed them, and they shall 
fear no more, nor be dismaved, neither shall they be lacking, 
saith the Lord." (Ezek. xxxiv.) " Wo to the shepherds of Israel 
that feed themselves ; should not the shepherds feed the flocks ? 
Ye eat the fat, and clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that 
are fed, but ye feed not the flocks. The diseased have ye not 
strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, 
neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have 
ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye 
sought that which was lost ; but with force and with cruelty 
have ye ruled them. Thus saith the Lord, Behold I am against 
the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hands, and 
cause them to cease from feeding the flock ; neither shall the 
shepherds feed themselves any more ; for I will deliver my flock 
from their mouth. Behold 1, even I, will both search my sheep 
and seek them out, and will deliver them out of ail places where 
they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And as 
for you, O my flock. Behold I judge between cattle and cattle, 
between the rams and the he-goats Is it a small thing to you 
to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down Avith 
your feet the residue of your pastures ? and to have drank of the 
deep waters, l)ut you must foul the residue with your feet ? And 
as for my flock, they eat that which you have trodden with your 
feet, and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 
Therefore, thus saith the Lord (jod unto them; Behold I, even I 
will judge between the fat cattle and the lean ? Because ye have 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 223 

thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased 
with your horns, till ye have scattered them ahroad," &c. Read 
the rest. Particular churches may he scattered to dissolution, 
hut none of the faithful members. 

3. And Christ hath his returning time, to the souls of his 
servants which seem to be forsaken by him : " Weeping may 
endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 
XXX. 5.) When he seemeth their "enemy, and writeth hitter 
things against them, he is their surest friend, and will justify 
them himself from their accusers. Though they may be trou- 
l)led when they remember God, and their spirit be overwhelmed 
in them, and their souls refuse to be comforted, and say, Will 
the Lord cast off for ever, and will he be favourable no more ? Is 
his mercy clean gone for ever ? Doth his promise ftiil for ever- 
more ? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? Hath he in anger 
shut up his tender mercies ? Yet must we rebuke this unbe- 
lief, and say, This is my infirmity ; I will remember the works of 
the Lord ; surely I will remember thy wonders of old. 1 will 
meditate of thy works, and talk of thy doings." (Psalm Ixxvii.) 
The long night that hath no day, the long winter that hath no 
summer is the reward of the ungodly ; but light ariseth to the 
righteous in his darkness, and "joy to them that are upright in 
heart." (Psalm xcii, 4.) Light is sown for them, and in season 
will spring up. (Psalm xcvii. 11.) The righteousness which 
was hid from the world by false accusations, and from ourselves 
by the terrors and mistakes of darkness, will God " bring forth 
as light, and our judgment as tlie noon-day." (Psalm xxxvii. 6.) 
Our eclipse will vanish when the sun returneth, and our sins no 
longer interpose : and though all our inquiries and complainings 
have not brought us out of the dark, yet " God is the Lord who 
showeth us light;" (Psalm cxviii. 27 ;) "and in his light we 
shall see light." (Psalm xxxvi. 9.) Say tlien, O distrustful, 
trembling Christian, " \Miy art thou cast down, O my soul ! 
and why art thou thus disquieted within me ? Hope thou in 
God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my coun- 
tenance and my God." (Psalm xlii. 5, 1 1, and xliii. f).) Though 
now you " go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy, 
God will send out his light and truth, and they shall lead you, 
and l)ring vou to his holy hill and tabernacle : and then you shall 
go with praise to the altar of God, even of God your exceed- 
ing joy." (Psalm xlii. 2- — 4.) 

Use 2. Learn, then, how to behave yourselves in the absence 



224 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

of your Lord, till liis return. If you ask me how; — Answer 1. 
Be not content and pleased with his absence. You must bear 
it, but not desire it. Else you are either enemies, or children 
that have run themselves into such guilt and fears, that they 
take their father for their enemy. 2. Nay, be not too indifferent 
and insensible of your Lord's departure. Love is not regardless 
of the company of our beloved. He may well take it ill, when 
you can let him go, and be as merry without him, as if his 
absence were no loss to you. If you care no more for him, he 
will make you care, before vou shall feel the comforts of his 
presence. Such contempt is the way to a worse forsaking : call 
after him till he return, if he hide his face. 3. Turn not aside 
to the creature for content, and seek not to make up the loss 
of his presence with any of the deceitful comforts of the world. 
Let him not see you take another in his stead, as if riches, or 
power, or worldly friends, or fleshly pleasure, would serve your 
turn instead of Christ. If once you come to this, he may 
justly leave you to your vain contents, and let them serve your 
turn as long as they can, and see how well they will supply his 
room. Oh, see that no idol be admitted into his place till Christ 
return. 4. Be not emboldened, by his absence, to sin. Say 
not as the evil servant, in your hearts, ' My Lord delayeth hi;^; 
coming,' and so begin to smite your fellow-servants, and to eat, 
and drink with the drunken, lest your " Lord come in a day wlien 
vou look not for him, and cut you asunder, and appoint your 
portion with the hypocrites : there shall be weeping and gnash- 
ing of teeth." (Matt. xxiv. 4S — 51.) Because Christ cometh 
not to judge the wicked as soon as they have sinned, they are 
emboldened to sin more fearlessly ; and because sentence against 
an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the hearts of the 
sons of men are fully set in them to do evil." (Eccles. viii. 1 1.) 
But, "behold the Judge is at the door." (James v. 9.) "He 
that cometh will not tarry ; and for all these things you must 
come to judgment." (Eccles. xi, 9, and xii. 14.) 5. Be not dis- 
couraged by vour Lord's delay, liiit wait his coming in faith and 
patience. Can you not wait for him so short a time ? Oh ! 
how quicklv will it be accomplished. Siidv not into despon- 
dency of mind. Be not dismayed in the duties or sufferings 
to which you are called. " Lift up the hands that hang down, 
and the feeble knees, and make straigh.t paths for your feet, 
lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it ra- 
ther be healed." (Ileb. xii. 12, 13.) " Be steadfast, unmoveabie, 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 225 

always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye 
know that your labour is not vain in the Lord." (1 Cor. xv. 58.) 
"Be sober, and hope unto the end." (1 Pet. i. 13.) " Ye are 
the house of Christ, if ye hold fast the confidence, and the re- 
joicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Heb. iii. 6, 14, and vi. 
11. "Ye have need of patience, that having done the will of 
God, ye may inherit the promise." (Heb. x. 36, 1 1 .) 

Doct. 5. " When Christ shall again appear to his disciples, 
their sorrows shall be turned into joy : when Christ returneth, joy 
returneth," saith David. (Psal. xxx. 7.) " Thou didst hide thy 
face, and I was troubled." But (v. 11, 12) " Thou hast turned 
for me my mourning into dancing : thou hast put off my sack- 
cloth, and girded me with gladness, to the end that my glory 
may sing praise to thee, and not be silent : O Lord my God, I 
will give thanks unto thee for ever." When the sun ariseth it 
is day, and its approach dispelleth the winter frosts, and re- 
viveth the almost dying creatures, and calleth up the life which 
was hidden in the seed, or retired unto the root, after a sharj> 
and spending winter. How quickly doth the sun's return recover 
the verdure and beauty of the earth, and clothe it in green, and 
spangle it with the ornaments of odoriferous flowers, and enrich 
it with sweet and plenteous fruits : the birds that were either 
hid or silent, appear and sing, and the face of all things is 
changed into joy. So is it with the poor deserted soul, upon 
the return of Christ ; unbelieving doubts and fears then vanish : 
the garments of sadness are laid aside, and those of gladness are 
put on : the language of distrust and despairing lamentations 
are first turned into words of peace, and then into joyful thank- 
fulness and praise. The soul that was skilled in no spiritual 
discourse, but complaining of a dead and frozen heart, of dull 
and cold and lifeless duties, is now taken up in the rehearsals 
of the works of infinite love, and searching into the mysteries of 
redemption, and reciting the great and precious promises, and 
magnifying the name and grace of its Redeemer, and expatiat- 
ing in the praises of the everlasting kingdom, the heavenly 
glory, the blessed society, and especially of the Lamb, and of the 
eternal God. You would not think that this is the same per- 
son, that lately could scarce think well of God, or that dwelt in 
tears, and dust, and darkness, and could think of nothing but 
sin and hell, and from every text and every providence, con- 
cluded nothing, but undone, or damned : would you think 
this joyful, thanl^ful soul, were the same that lately was crying 

VOL. XVIII. 0- 



226 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

on the cross, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" 
that could find nothing written on the tables of his heart, but 
forsaken, miserable, and undone ; that daily cried out, ' It is 
too late, there is no hope, I had a day of grace, but it is past 
and gone.' When Christ returneth, and causeth his face to 
shine upon them, all this is turned into ' Praise and honour and 
glory unto the Lamb, and to the almighty and most holy God, 
that liveth for ever, and is the everlasting joy and portion of 
his saints.' And sooner or later, thus will it be with all the 
upright, that wait on God in the day of trial, and deal not 
falsely in his covenant. The Son who was brought up with the 
Father, and was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him, 
rejoicing also in the habitable parts of the earth, whose delights 
were with the sons of men, doth bless the children of wisdom 
with a participation of his delights; for " blessed are they that 
keep his ways." — " Blessed is the man that heareth him, 
watching daily at his gates, waiting at the posts of his doors : 
for he that findeth him findeth life, and shall obtain favour of 
the Lord." (Prov. viii. 30 — 3G.) Though Christ had left his 
disciples so lately under fears and trouble, guilty of deserting 
him, and seemingly now deserted by him, yet early on the third 
day, he ariseth for their consolation, and presently sendeth them 
these joyful words, in the first speech he uttereth, and that by 
a woman that had been sorrowful and a sinner, " Go to my 
brethen, and say unto them, 1 ascend to my Father and your 
Father, and to my God and your God." (John xx. 17.) Those 
that his ministers have long been comforting in vain, when 
Christ returneth he will revive and comfort them in a moment, 
and with a word. The soul that now crieth ' Oh, it is impos- 
sible, it will never be,' doth little know how easy it is with 
Christ. It is but saying, " Lazarus, arise:" or, " Let thcra 
be light," and there will be life and light i^nmediately at his 
command. 

2. And so when he restoreth his ordinances and order to a 
forsaken church, and restoreth their holy opportunities and ad- 
vantages of grace, what gladness and praising their Redeemer 
will there be ? As it was with the churclies upon the death of 
Julian, and after the heathen and the Arian persecutions, in 
the happy reign of Constantine, Theodosius, Marcian, &c. How 
joyfully did the English exiles return to worship God in their 
native land, upon the death of queen Mary; and see the fidl of 
Bonner and Gardiner, that iiad sacrificed so many holy Christ- 



Baxter's FAREWELr. sermon. 22/ 

ians in the flames ! How gladly did they grow in the soil that 
was manured with the blood and ashes of their faithful brethren, 
and reap the fruit of their fortitude and sufferings ! When 
Christ whipped the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and 
would not let them make the house of prayer a place of mer- 
chandise, what hosannahs were sounded in Jerusalem. (Matt. 
xxi. 15, 16.) " When the salvation of Israel cometh out of 
Zion, and the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, 
Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad." (Psal. xiv. 7.) 
" Blessed are they that dwell in his house, for they will be still 
praising him. For a day in his courts is better than a thou- 
sand." (Psal. Ixxxiv. 4, 10.) " Blessed is the people that know 
the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy 
countenance ; in thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and iji 
thy righteousness shall they be exalted : for the Lord is our 
defence, and the Holy One of Israel is our king." (Psal. Ixxxix. 
15 — 18.) What gladness was there at a private meeting of a 
few Christians that met to pray for Peter, when they saw him 
delivered and come among them. (Acts xii. 12, and v. 14.) 
When the churches had rest, they were edified, and walked in 
the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. 
(Acts ix. 31.) 

3. But the great joy will be when Christ returneth in his 
glory at the last day. What a multitude of sorrows will there 
be ended ! And what a multitude of souls will then be com- 
forted ! W^hat a multitude of desires and prayers, and expec- 
tations will then be answered ! How many thousand that have 
sowed in tears, shall then reap in everlasting joy ! When the 
creature shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into 
the glorious liberty of the sons of God. (Rom. viii. 26, 2/.) 
When all the faith and labour, and patience of all the saints 
from the beginning of the world, shall be rewarded with the 
rivers of celestial pleasure, and the just shall enter into their 
Master's joy. (Matt. xxv. 21.) 

That you may the better understand the sweetness of all 
these sorts of jov, which Christ's return will bring to saints, ob- 
serve these following ingredients in them. 

1. It is Christ himself that is the object of their joy : he tliat 
is the dearly beloved of their souls ; that for their sakes was 
made a man of sorrows ; it is he who is their hope and help : 
Avith wliom they are in covenant as their only Saviour ; in 
whom thev have trusted, with whom tliev have deponed their 

Q 2 



228 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

souls ! If he should fail them, all would fail them ; and they 
were of all men most miserable : they would be comfortless if 
he should not come unto them, and were not their comfort. 
The world cannot help and comfort them, for it is empty, vain, 
a transient shadow : it will not, for it is malignant, and our 
professed enemy. For we know that we are of God, and the 
whole world is in maligno positus, set on wickedness (or as some 
think, because o -novfipoi; is put for the devil in the foregoing 
verse, and the article here also used,) is as it were planted into 
the devil, or put under the devil, to war against Christ and the 
holy seed : and indeed Satan seemeth in this war against the 
church, to have somewhat like success as he had against Christ 
himself: as Christ must be a man of sorrows and scorn, and be 
crucified as a blasphemer and a traitor, before he rejoice the 
hearts of his disciples by his resurrection, so the church was a 
persecuted, scorned handful of men, for the first three hundred 
years, and then it rose by christian emperors to some reputa- 
tion, till Satan by another game overcame them by Judas his 
successors ; that for * what will you give me ' by pride and 
M'orldliness betrayed them into that deplorable state, in which 
they have continued these 900 years at least : so that the christ- 
ian name is confined to a sixth part of the world ; and serious 
sanctified believers are persecuted more by the hypocrites that 
wear the livery of Christ, than by heathens and infidels them- 
selves. And when the church is so low, almost like Christ on 
the cross and the grave, will not a resurrection be a joyful 
change ? When itcrieth out on the cross, " My God, my God, 
why hast thou forsaken me ? " will not Christ appearing for 
its deliverance be a welcome sight ? 

It was when Adam had brought a curse on himself and his 
posterity, and all the earth, that redemption by the holy seed 
was promised; and when Satan had conquered man, that Christ 
was promised to conquer him. It was when the world was de- 
stroyed by the deluge that its reparation was promised to Noah: 
It was when Abraham was a sojourner in a strange land, that 
the peculiar promises were made to him and his seed. It was 
when the Israelites were enslaved to extremity, that they were 
delivered. And it was when the sceptre was departing from 
Judah, and they and the world were gone from God, that Christ 
the light of the world was sent. And when the Son of Man 
cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ? When we see how 
vast the heatlien and infidel kingdoms are, and what a poor 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 229 

despised people those are that set their chief hopes on heaven, 
and how Satan seemeth every where to prevail against them, 
and most hy false and worldly Christians, what a trial is this to 
our faith and hope ? As the disciples said of a crucified Christ, 
we trusted it had been he that should have redeemed Israel ; we 
are almost ready in the hour of temptation to say, we trusted 
that God's name should have been hallowed, and his kingdom 
come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven ? And 
oh, how seasonable, and how joyful will the church's resurrec- 
tion be after such low and sad distress ? Many a sad Christian 
under the sentence of death, is going hence with fear and trou- 
ble : when a moment shall transmit them into the joyful pre- 
sence of their Lord, and the possession of that which with 
weakness and fear they did but believe. 

2. And Christ will not come or be alone : with him will 
come the New Jerusalem : he will put glory on each member, 
but much more on the whole. Oh, how many of our old com- 
panions are now there ! Not under temptation, or any of the 
tempter's power ! Not under the darkness of ignorance, error, 
or unbelief ! Not under the pains of a languid, diseased, cor- 
ruptible body ! Not under the fear of sin, or Satan, or wicked 
men : not under the terror of death or hell, of an accusing con- 
science, or the wrath of God : oh, with what joy shall we see 
and enjoy that glorious society 1 To be translated thither from 
such a world as this, from such temptations, sins, such fears and 
sorrows, such perfidious malignant wickedness, what will it be 
but to be taken as from a gaol unto a kingdom, and from the 
suburbs of hell unto the communion of blessed saints and an- 
gels, and into the joy of our Lord. 

Doct. 6. Your joy shall no man take from you : the joy that 
Cometh at Christ's return will be a secure and everlasting joy. 
Impregnable as heaven itself; Christ and his church will be 
crucified no more. Look not then for Christ and his church 
in the grave. He is not here ; he is risen. Who can we fear 
will deprive us of that joy ? 

1. Not ourselves : and then we need to fear no other : our 
folly and sin is our enemies' strength : they can do nothing 
against us, without ourselves. The arrows that womid us are 
all feathered from our own wings. But our trying time will 
then be past, and confirmation will be the reward of conquest. 
He' that hath kept us in the day of our trial, will keep us in our 
state of rest and triumph. How the (now) fallen angels came 



230 BAX'IER's FAREWELf- SERMON. 

to lose their first innoceiicy and welfare, is unknown to us : but 
we have a promise of being for ever with Christ. 

2. Nor shall devils deprive us of that joy : neither by those 
malicious temptations wherewith they now molest and haunt 
us : not by the unhappy advantages which we have given them 
by our sin, to corrupt our imaginations and thoughts, and affec- 
tions, or to disturb our passions, or pervert our understandings. 
Nor by any terror or violence to molest us. 

3. Nor shall any men take from us that joy ; the blessed will 
increase it : their joy will be ours ; and the wicked will be ut- 
terly disabled ; they will be miserable themselves in hell. They 
will no more endanger us by flattering temptations ; nor terrify 
us by threats ; nor tread us down by their power ; nor hurt us 
in their malice ; nor render us odious by false accusations ; nor 
triumph over vis with pride and false reproach. They that said 
of the church, as of Christ, "He trusted in God, let him deliver 
him now if he will have him ; for he hath said, 1 am the Son of 
God ;" (Matt, xxvii. 43 ;) they shall see that God hath deli- 
vered his church, and he will have it. 

Use 1. And will not a firm belief of all this rejoice the soul 
under all disappointments and sufferings on earth ? And doth 
not our dejectedness and want of joy declare the sinful weak- 
ness of our faith ? O sirs, our sadness, our impatience, our 
small desire to be with Christ, the little comfort that we fetch 
from heaven do tell us, that Christianity, and a life of faith, is a 
harder work than most imagine ; and the art and form, and 
words of holiness are much more common than a holy, heavenly 
mind and life. Christ speaketh many words of pity to his ser- 
vants under sorrows and sinking grief, which some mistake for 
words of ajjprobation or command. " Why are ye afraid, O ye 
of little faith," were words both of compassion and reproof. I 
am sure the great unbelief that appearcth in much of our de- 
jectedness and sorrow, deserveth more reproof than our suffer- 
ings deserve to be entertained with those sorrows. 

Use 2. J will therefore take my farewell of you, in advising, 
and charging you as from God, that you be not deceived by a 
flattering world, nor dejected by a frowning world, but place 
your hopes on those joys which no man can take from you. If 
you cannot trust the love of God, and the grace and promises 
of our Saviour, and the witness of the Holy Spirit, you must 
despair; for there is no other trust. 

So many of you seem to have chosen this good part, the one 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 231 

tiling necessary which shall never be taken from you, that in the 
midst of our sorrows, I must profess that I part with you with 
thankfulness and joy. And I will tell you for what 1 am so 
thankful, that you may know what I would have you be for the 
time to come. 

I. I thank the Lord, that chose for me so comfortable a sta- 
tion, even a people whom he purposed to bless. 

II. I thank the Lord that I have not laboured among you in 
vain, and that he opened the hearts of so great a number of 
yours, to receive his word with a teachable and willing mind. 

III. I thank the Lord that he hath made so many of you as 
helpful to your neighbours in your place, as I have been in 
mine ; and that you have not been uncharitable to the souls 
of others, but have with great success endeavoured the good 
of all. 

IV. I rejoice that God hath kept you humble, that you have 
not been addicted to proud ostentation of your gifts or wisdom; 
nor inclined to invade any part of the sacred office, but to serve 
God in the capacity where he hath placed you. 

V. I rejoice that God hath made you unanimous, and kept 
out sects and heresies, and schisms, so that you have served him 
as with one mind and mouth; and that you have not been ad- 
dicted to proud wranglings, disputings, and contentions, but have 
lived in unity, love and peace, and the practice of known and 
necessary truths. 

VI. I rejoice that your freijuent meetings in your houses, 
spent only in reading, repeating your teacher's sermons, prayer 
and praise to God, have had none of those effects which the 
conventicles of proud opiniators and self-conceited persons use 
to have, and which have brought even needful converse, and 
godly communication into suspicion at, least with some, that 
argue against duty from the abuse. 

Yea, I rejoice that hereby so much good hath been done by 
you. You have had above forty years' experience of the great 
benefit of such well ordered christian converse, increasing know- 
ledge, quickening holy desires, prevailing with God, for marvel- 
lous, if not miraculous answers of your earnest prayers, keeping 
out errors and sects. 

VII. I am glad that you have had the great encouragement 
of so many sober, godly, able, peaceable ministers, in all that 
part of the country round about you, and mostly through that 
and the neiffhbour countries : men that avoided vain and bitter 



232 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

contentions, that engaged themselves in no sects or factions ; 
that of a multitude, not above two that I know of, in all our 
association, had ever any hand in wars ; but their principles and 
practices were reconciling and pacificatory 5 they consented to 
catechize all their parishioners, house by house, and to live in 
the peaceable practice of so much church discipline, as good 
Christians of several parties were all agreed in. And you have 
lived to see what that discipline was, and what were the effects 
of such agreement. 

VIII. I am glad that you were kept from taking the solemn 
league and covenant, and the engagement, and all consent to 
the change of the constituted government of this kingdom. I 
took the covenant mvself, of which I repent, and I will tell you 
why : I never gave it but to one man (that I remember) and he 
professed himself to be a Papist physician newly turned Protes- 
tant, and he came to me to give it him : I was persuaded that 
he took it in false dissimulations and it troubled me to think 
what it was to draw multitudes of men by carnal interest so 
falsely to take it : and I kept it and the engagement from being 
taken in your town and country. At first it was not imposed 
but taken by volunteers : but after that it was made a test of 
such as were to be trusted or accepted. Besides the illegality, 
there are two things that cause nie to be against it. 

1. That men should make a mere dividing engine, and pre- 
tend it a means of unity : we all knew at that time when it was 
imposed, that a great part, if not the greatest, of church and 
kingdom were of another mind : and that as learned and wor- 
thy men were for prelacy, as most tlie world had (such as 
Usher, Morton, Hall, Davenant, Brownrig, &c.) And to make 
our terms of union to be such, as should exclude so many and 
such men, was but to imitate those church dividers and perse- 
cutors, who in many countries and ages, have still made their 
own impositions the engines of division, by pretence of union. 
And it seemeth to accuse Christ, as if he had not sufficiently 
made us terms of concord, but we must devise our own forms 
as necessary thereto. 

2. And it was an imposing on the providence of God, to tie 
ourselves by vows to that as unchangeable, which we knew not 
but God might after change, as if we had been the masters of 
his providence. No man then knew but that God might so 
alter many circumstances, as might make some things sins, that 
were then taken for duty ; and some things to be duty, whicli 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 233 

then passed for sin. And when such changes come, we that 
should have been content with God's obHgations, do find our- 
selves ensnared in our own rash vows. 

And I wish that it teach no other men the way of dividing 
impositions, either to cut the knot, or to be even with the cove- 
nanters. 

IX. T greatly rejoice, that family religion is so conscion- 
ably kept up among you, that your children and apprentices, 
seem to promise us a hopeful continuation of piety among 
you. 

X. And I thank God, that so great a number of persons, 
eminent for holiness, temperance, humility and charity, are 
safely got to heaven already, since I first came among you, and 
being escaped from the temptations and troubles of this present 
evil world, have left you the remembrance of their most imi- 
table examples. 

And having all this comfort in you, as to what is past, I 
shall once more leave you some of my counsels and requests, 
for the time to come, which I earnestly intreat you not to 
neglect. 

I. Spend most of your studies in confirming your belief of 
the truth of the gospel, the immortality of the soul, and the 
life to come, and in exercising that belief, and laying up your 
treasure in heaven ; and see that you content not yourselves in 
talking of heaven, and speaking for it ; but that your hopes, 
your hearts, and your conversation be there j and that you live 
for it, as worldlings do for the flesh. 

II. Flatter not yourselves with the hopes of long life on earth, 
but make it the sum of all your religion, care, and business, to 
be ready for a safe and comfortable death ; for till you can 
fetch comfort from the life to come, you can have no comfort 
that true reason can justify. 

III. Live as in a constant war against all fleshly lusts, and 
love not the world, as it cherisheth those lusts. Take heed of 
the love of monev, as the root of manifold evils : think of riches 
with more fear than desire ; seeing Christ hath told us, how 
hard and dangerous it maketh our way to heaven. When 
once a man falls deeply in love with riches, he is never to be 
trusted, but becomes false to God, to all others, and to him- 
self. 

IV. Be furnished beforehand with expectation and patience, 
for all evils that may befal youj and make not too great a 



234 Baxter's farewell sermon* 

matter of sufferings, especially poverty, or wrong from men. 
It is sin and folly in poor men, that they overvalue riches, and 
be not thankful for their peculiar blessings. I am in hopes, 
that God will give you more quietness than many others, be- 
cause there are none of you rich 3 it is a great means of safety 
to have nothing that tempteth another man's desire, nor that he 
envieth you for ; despised men live quietly, and he that hath an 
empty purse, can sing among the robbers ; he that lieth on the 
ground, feareth not falling. When Judea (and so when Eng- 
land by Saxons, Danes, &:c.) was conquered, the poor were let 
alone to possess and till the land, and had more than before. 
It was the great and rich that were destroyed, or carried, or 
driven away. Is it not a great benefit to have your souls saved 
from rich men's temptations, and your bodies from the envy, 
assaults, and fears, and miseries that they are under ? 

V. Take heed of a self-conceited, unhumbled understanding, 
and of hasty and rash conclusions ; it is the fool that rageth, 
and is confident : sober men are conscious of so much darkness 
and weakness, that they are suspicious of their appre- 
hensions : proud self-conceitedness, and rash, hasty con- 
cluding, causeth most of the mischiefs in the world; which 
might be prevented, if men had the humility and patience to 
stay till things be thoroughly weighed and tried. Be not 
ashamed to profess uncertainty, where you are indeed uncer- 
tain. Humble doubting is much safer than confident erring. 

VI. Maintain union and communion with all true Christians 
on earth ; and therefore, hold to catholic principles of mere 
Christianity, without which you must needs crumble into sects. 
Love Christians as Christians, but the best most ; locally separate 
from none, as accusing of them further than they separate from 
Christ, or deny you their communion, unless you will sin. The 
zeal of a sect as such, is partial, turbulent, hurtful to dissenters, 
and maketh men as thorns and thistles ; but the zeal of Chris- 
tianitv as such, is pure and peaceable, full of mercy, and good 
fruits, mellow, and sweet, and inclineth to the good of all. If 
God give you a faithful, or a tolerable public minister; be thank- 
ful to God, and love, honour, and encourage him ; and let not 
the imperfections of the Common Prayer make you separate from 
his communion ; prejudice will make all modes of worship dif- 
ferent from that which we prefer, to seem some heinous, sinful 
crime ; but humble Christians are most careful about the frame 
of their own hearts, and conscious of so much faultiness in 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 235 

themselves, and all their service of God, that they are not apt 
to accuse and aggravate the failings of others, especially in 
matters which God has left to our own determination. 
Whether we shall pray with a book, or without, in divers short 
prayers, or one long one; whether the people shall sing God's 
praise in tunes, or speak it in prose, &c., is left to be determined 
by the general rules of concord, order, and edification. Yet do 
not withdraw from the communion of soberly, godly non-con- 
formists, though falsely called schismatics by others. 

VII. Be sure that you maintain due honour and subjection to 
your governors : " Fear the Lord and the king, and meddle not 
with them that are given to change." (Prov. xxiv. 21.) And 
that in regard of the oath of God, (Eccles. viii. 2,) " Curse not 
the king, no not in thy thought, and curse not the rich in thy 
bed-chamber; for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and 
that which hath wings ^shall tell the matter." (Eccles. x. 20.) 
Obey God with your first and absolute obedience, and no man 
against him, but obey the just commands of magistrates, and 
that out of obedience to God ; and suffer patiently when you 
cannot obey. And if God should ever cast you under oppress- 
ing and persecuting governors, in your patience possess your 
souls ; trust God and keep your innocency, and abhor all 
thoughts of rebellion or revenge ; he that believeth will not 
make haste. Do nothing but what God will own, and then 
commit yourselves and your way to him. Repress wrath, and 
hate impeaceable counsels ; our way and our time must be only 
God's way and time. Self-saving men are usually the de- 
stroyers of themselves and others. Peter, that drew his sword 
for Christ, denied him the same night, with oaths and curses. 
Fools trust themselves, and wise men trust God : fools tear 
the tree, by beating down the fruit that is unripe and harsh ; 
and wise men stay till it is ripe and sweet, and will drop into 
their hands : fools rip up the mother for an untimely birth ; but 
wise men stay till maturity give it them. Fools take red-hot 
iron to be gold, till it burn their fingers to the bone ; they rush 
into seditions and blood, as if it were a matter of jest; but wise 
men sow the fruit of righteousness in peace, and as much as in 
them lieth, live peaceably with all men : all men are mortal, 
both oppressors and oppressed : stay a little, and mortality will 
change the scene ; God's time is best. Martyrdom seldom 
killeth the hundredth part so many as wars do : and he is no true 
believer that taketh martyrdom to be his loss : and Christ is 



236 Baxter's farewell sermon. 

more interested in his gospel, church, and honour than we. 
Queen Mary's cruelties, and the bishops' bonfires, made reli- 
gion universally received the more easily when her short reign 
was ended. We mav learn wit of the fool, that seeing great 
guns and muskets, asked, what they were to do ; and the an- 
swerer said to * kill men:' saith he, 'Do not men die here 
without killing ? In our country they will die of themselves.' 

VJII. Be sure that you keep up family religion ; especially 
in the careful education of youth. Keep them from evil com- 
pany, and from temptations ; and especially of idleness, fidness, 
and baits of lust. Read the Scripture and good books, and 
call upon God, and sing his praise j and recreate youth with 
reading the history of the church, and the lives of holy men 
and martyrs : instruct them in catechisms and fundamentals. 

IX. Above all, live in love to God and man ; and let not self- 
ishness and worldliness prevail against it. Think of God's 
goodness, as equal to his greatness and wisdom ; and take your- 
selves as members of the same body with all true Christians. 
Blessed are they that faithfully practise those three grand prin- 
ciples which all profess, viz., 1. To love God as God above all, 
(and so to obey him.) 2. To love our neighbours as ourselves. 
3. And to do as we would be done bv. Love is not envious, 
malignant, censorious; it slandereth not; it persecuteth not ; it 
oppresseth not ; it defraudeth nut ; it striveth not to gain by 
another's loss : get men once to love VJieir neighbours as them- 
selves, and you may easily prognosticate peace, quietness, 
and concord ; happiness to the lan(l j and salvation to the 
people's souls. 

Finally, brethren, live in love, and the God of love and peace 
shall be among you. The Lord save you from the evils of 
which I have here, and often warned you. Remember with 
thankfulness, the many years of abundant mercy which we have 
enjoyed, (though too much mixed with our sins, and vilified by 
some.) " Comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, 
even as also ye do ; and I beseech you, brethren, to 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 
work sake, and be at peace among yourselves." (1 Thess. v. 
11 — 13.) And the Lord deeply write on all our hearts these 
blessed words, " We have known and believed the love that God 
hath to us : God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth 
in God, and God in him." (I John iv. 16.) And remember, 



Baxter's farewell sermon. 237 

" Seeing all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of 
persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 
looking for and hasting the coming of the day of God, wherein 
the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements 
shall melt with fervent heat ; nevertheless we, according to his 
promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein 
<lwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter iii. 11 — 13.) 

I need not lengthen my counsels further to you now, having been 
called by the will and providence of God to leave behind me a 
multitude of books, which may remember you of what you 
heard, and acquaint the world what doctrine I have taught you, 
and if longer studies shall teach me to retract and amend many 
failings, in the writings or practice of my unripe, and less un- 
experienced age, as it will be to myself as pleasing as the cure 
of bodily disease, 1 hope it will not seem strange or ungrateful 
to you ; though we must hold fast the truth which we have re- 
ceived, both you and I are much to be blamed, if we grow not 
in knowledge, both in matter, words, and method : the Lord 
grant that also we may grow in faith, obedience, patience in 
hope, love, and desire to be with Christ. 

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our 
Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the 
blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every 
good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well- 
pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory 
forever and ever. Amen. (Heb. xiii. 20, 21.) 



MR. BAXTER'S 

DYING THOUGHTS 



UPON 



PHILTPPIANS i. 23. 



WRITTEN FOR HIS OWN USE IN THE LATTER TIMES OF HIS 
CORPORAL PAINS AND WEAKNESS. 



THE 

PREFACE TO THE READER. 



Readeu, 

I HAVE no other use for a preface to this book, but to give you 
a true excuse for its pubHcation. I wrote it for myself, unre- 
solved whether any one should ever see it, but at last inclined 
to leave that to the will of my executors, to publish or suppress 
it when I am dead, as they saw cause. But my person being 
seized on, and my library, and all my goods distrained on by 
constables, and sold, and I constrained to relinquish my house, 
(for preaching and being in London,) I knew not what to do 
with multitudes of manuscripts that had long lain by me ; hav- 
ing no house to go to, but a narrow hired lodging with stran- 
gers : wherefore I cast away whole volumes, which I could not 
carry away, both controversies and letters practical, and cases of 
conscience, but having newly lain divers weeks, night and day^ 
in waking torments, nephritic and colic, after other long 
pains and languor, I took this book with me in my removal, for 
my own use in my further sickness. Three weeks after, falling 
into another extreme fit, and expecting death, where I had no 
friend with me to commit my papers to, merely lest it should 
be lost, I thought best to give it to the printer. I think it is so 
much of the work of all men's lives to prepare to die with safety 
and comfort, that the same thoughts may be needful for others 
that are so for me. If any mislike the title, as if it imported 
that the author is dead, let him know that I die daily, and that 
which ([uickly will be, almost is : it is suited to my own use : 
they that it is unsuitable to, may pass it by. If those men's 
lives were spent in serious, preparing thoughts of death, who are 
now studying to destroy each other, and tear in pieces a dis- 
tressed land, they would prevent much dolorous repentance. 

RICHARRD BAXTER. 



VOL. XVIII, R 



The exercise of tliree sorts of love, to God, to others, and to 
myself, afford me a threefold satisfaction, conjunct, to he will- 
ing to depart. 

L I am sure my departure will be the fulfilling of that will 
which is love itself, which I am bound, above all things, to love 
and please, and which is the beginning, rule, and end of all. 
Antonine could hence fetch good thoughts of death. 

II. The world dieth not with me when I die; nor the church, 
nor the praise and glory of God, which he will have in and from 
this v/orld unto the end: and if I love others as myself, their 
lives and comforts will now be to my thoughts, as if 1 were to 
live myself in them. God will be praised and honoured by pos- 
terity when I am dead and gone. Were I to be annihilated, 
this would comfort me now, if I lived and died in perfect 
love. 

III. But a better and glorious world is before me, into which 
I hope, by death, to be translated, whither all these three sorts 
of love should wrap up the desires of my ascending soul ; even 
the love of myself, that I may be fully happy ; the love of the 
triumphant church, Christ, angels, and glorified man, and the 
glory of all the universe, which I shall see ; and above all, the 
love of the most glorious God, infinite life, and light, and love, 
the ultimate, amiable object of man's love ; in whom to be per- 
fectly pleased and delighted, and to whom to be perfectly plea- 
sing for ever, is the chief and ultimate end of me, and of the 
highest, wisest, and best of creatures. Amen. 



THE INTRODUCTION. 



PHIL. i. 23. 

For I am in a strait betivixt two^ &c. 

I WRITE for myself, and therefore, supposing the sense of the 
text, shall only observe what is useful to my heart and practice. 

It was a happy state into which grace had brought this apos- 
tle, who saw so much, not only tolerable, but greatly desirable, 
both in living and dying. To live, to him, was Christ, that is, 
Christ's interest, or work. To die would be gain, that is, his 
own interest and reward. His strait was not whether it would 
be good to live or good to depart, both were good, but which 
was more desirable was the doubt. 

I. Quest. But was there any doubt to be made between 
Christ's interest and his own ? Answ. No, if it had been a full 
and fixed competition ; but by Christ, or Christ's interest, he 
meaneth his work for his church's interest in this world ; but 
he knew that Christ also had an interest in his saints above, and 
that he could raise up more to serve him here; yet, because 
he was to judge by what appeared, and he saw a defect of such 
on earth, this did turn the scales in his choice; and for the work 
of Christ and his church's good, he more inclined to the delay 
of his reward, by self-denial ; yet knowing that the delay would 
tend to its increase. It is useful to me here to note, 

That, even in this world, short of death, there is some good 
so much to be regarded, as may justly prevail with believers to 
prefer it before the present hastening of their reward. 

I the rather note this, that no temptation carry me into that 
extreme, of taking nothing but heaven to be worthy of our 
minding or regard, and so to cast off the world in a sinful sort, 
on pretence of mortification, and a heavenly mind, and life. 

I. As to the sense, the meaning is not that any thing on earth 
is better than heaven, or simply, and in itself, to be preferred 
before it. The end is better than the means as such, and per- 
fection better than imperfection. 

11 2 



244 INTRODUCTION. 

But the present use of the means may be preferred sometnnes 
before the present possession of the end, and the use of means 
for a higher end may be preferred before the present possession 
of a lower end, and every thing hath its season. Planting, and 
sowing, and building, are not so good as reaping, and fruit- 
gathering, and dwelling, but in their season, they must be first 
done. 

II. Quest. But what is there so desirable in this life ? 

Answ. 1. While it continueth, it is the fulfilling of the will 
of God, who will have us here ; and that is best which God 
willeth. 

II. The life to come dependeth upon this, as the life of man 
in the world upon his generation in the womb ; or as the reward 
upon the work ; or the runner's or soldier's prize upon his race 
or fighting ; or as the merchant's gain upon his voyage. Heaven 
is won or lost on earth. The possession is there, but the pre- 
paration is here. Christ will judge all men according to their 
works on earth. " Well done, good and faithful servant," 
must go before " Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." " I 
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course," goeth 
before '' the crown of righteousness which God, the righteous 
Judge, will give." All that ever must be done for salvation by 
us, must here be done. It was on earth that Christ himself 
wrought the work of our redemption, fulfilled all righteousness, 
became our ransom, and paid the price of our salvation, and it 
is here that our part is to be done. 

And the bestowing of the reward is God's work, who, we are 
sure, will never fail. There is no place for the least suspicion 
or fear of his misdoing, or failing, in any of his undertaken work. 
But the danger and fear is of our own miscarrying, lest we be 
not found capable of receiving what God will certainly give to 
all that are disposed receivers. To distrust God is heinous sin 
and folly, but to distrust ourselves we have great cause. So that 
if we will make sure of heaven, it must be by giving all diligence 
to make firm our title, our calling, and our election, here on 
earth. If we fear hell, we must fear being prepared for it. 

And it is great and difficult work that must be here done. It 
is here tliat we must be cured of all damning sin ; that we must 
be regenerate and new born ; that we must be pardoned and 
justified by faith. It is here that we must be united to Christ, 
made wise to salvation, renewed by his Spirit, and conformed 
to his likeness. It is here that we must overcome all the tempt- 



INTRODUCTION. 245 

ations of the devil, the world, and the flesh, and perform all 
the duties towards God and man, that must be rewarded. It 
is here that Christ must be believed in with the heart to right- 
eousness, and with the mouth confessed to salvation. It is here 
that we must suffer with him, that we may reign with him, and 
be faithful to the death, that we may receive the crown of life. 
Here we must so run that we may obtain. 

Ilf. \ea, we have greater work here to do than mere securing 
our own salvation. We are members of the world and church, 
and we must labour to do good to many. We are trusted with 
our Master's talents for his service, in our places to do our best 
to propagate his truth, and grace, and church ; and to bring 
home souls, and honour his cause, and edify his flock, and further 
the salvation of as many as we can. All this is to be done on 
earth, if Ave will secure the end of all in heaven. 

Use 1. It is, then, an error (though it is but few, I think, that 
are guilty of it,) to think that all religion lieth in minding only 
the life to come, and disregarding all things in this present life, 
all true Christians must seriously mind both the end and the 
means, or way. If they mind not, believinglj'^ the end, they will 
never be faithful in the use of means. If they mind not, and 
use not diligently, the means, they will never obtain the end. 
None can use earth well that prefer not heaven, and none come 
to heaven , at age, that are not prepared by well using earth. 
Heaven must have the deepest esteem, and habituated love, and 
desire, and joy ; but earth must have more'of our daily thoughts 
for present practice. A man that travelleth to the most de- 
sirable home, hath a halnt of desire to it all the way, but his 
present business is his travel ; and horse, and company, and inns, 
and ways, and weariness, &:c., may take up more of his sensible 
thoughts, and of his talk, and action, than his home. 

Use 2. I have oft marvelled to find David, in the Psalms, and 
other saints, before Christ's coming, to have expressed so great 
u sense of the things of this present life, and to have said so 
little of another. To have made so great a matter of prosperity, 
dominions, and victories, on one hand, and of enemies, success, 
and persecution, on the other. ]3ut I consider that it was not for 
mere personal, carnal interest, but for the church of God, and 
for his honour, word, and worship. And they knew that if things 
go well with us on earth, they will be sure to go well in heaven. 
If the militant church prosper in holiness, there is no doubt 
but it will triumjih in glory. God will be sure to do his part in 



246 INTRODUCTION. 

receiving souls, if they be here prepared for his receipt. And 
Satan doth much of his damning work by men 5 if we escape their 
temptations, we escape much of our danger. If idolaters pros- 
pered, Israel was tempted to idolatry. The Greek church is 
almost swallowed up by Turkish prosperity and dominion. Most 
follow the powerful and prosperous side. And, therefore, for 
God's cause, and for heavenly, everlasting interest, our own state, 
but much more the church's, must be greatly regarded here on 
earth. 

Indeed, if earth be desired only for earth, and prosperity 
loved but for the present welfare of the flesh, it is the certain 
mark of damning carnality, and an earthly mind. But to desire 
peace, and prosperity, and power, to be in the hands of wise and 
faithful men, for the sake of souls, and the increase of the church, 
and the honour of God, that his name may be hallowed, his 
kingdom come, and his will done on earth, as it is in heaven. 
This is to be the chief of our prayers to God. 

Use 3. Be not unthankful, then, O my soul, for the mercies 
of this present life, for those to thy body, to thy friends, to the 
land of thy nativity, and especially to the church of God. 

1. This body is so nearly united to thee, that it must needs 
be a great help, or hinderance. Had it been more afflicted, it 
might have been a discouraging clog ; like a tired horse in a 
journey, or an ill tool to a workman, or an untuned instrument 
in music. A sick or bad servant in an house is a great trouble, 
and a bad wife much more, but thy body is nearer thee than 
either, and will be more of thy concern. 

And yet if it had been more strong and healthful, sense and 
appetite would have been strong, and lust would have been 
strong, and therefore danger would have been greater, and vic- 
tory and salvation much more difficult. Even weak senses and 
temptations have too oft prevailed. How knowest thou, then, 
what stronger might have done ? When I see a thirsty man in 
a fever or dropsy, and especially when I see strong and healthful 
youths, bred up in fulness, and among temptations, how mad 
they are in sin, and how violently they are carried to it, bearing 
down God's rebukes, and conscience, and parents, and friends, 
and all regard to their salvation, it tells me how great a mercv 
I had, even in a body not liable to their case. 

And many a bodily deliverance hath been of great use to my 
soul, renewing my time, and opportunity, and strength, for ser- 
vice, and bringing frequent and fresh reports of the love of God. 



INTRODUCTION. 247 

Jf bodily mercies were not of great use to the soul, Christ 
would not so much have showed his saving love, by healing all 
manner of diseases, as he did. Nor would God promise us a 
resurrection of the body, if a congruous body did not further the 
welfare of the soul. 

2. And 1 am obliged to great thankfulness to God for the 
mercies of this life which he hath showed to my friends; that 
which furthers their joy should increase mine. I ought to re- 
joice with them that rejoice. Nature and grace teach us to be 
glad when our friends are well, and prosper, though all in order to 
better things than bodily welfare. 

3. And such mercies of this life to the land of our habitation 
must not be undervalued. The want of them are parts of 
God's threatened curse ; and godliness hath the promise of this 
life, and of that which is to come , and so is profitable to all 
things. And when God sends on a land the plagues of famine, 
pestilence, war, persecution, especially a famine of the word of 
God, it is a great sin to be insensible of it. If any shall say, 
' while heaven is sure, we have no cause to accuse God, or to 
cast away comfort, hope, or duty,' they say well ; but if they 
say, ' because heaven is all, we must make light of all that be- 
falleth us on earth/ they say amiss. 

Good princes, magistrates, and public-spirited men that pro- 
mote the safety, peace, and true prosperity of the common- 
wealth, do hereby very much befriend religion, and men's sal- 
vation ; and are greatly to be loved and honoured by all. If the 
civil state, called the commonwealth, do miscarry, or fall into 
ruin and calamity, the church will fare the worse for it, as the 
soul doth by the ruins of the body. The Turkish, Muscovite, 
and such other empires, tell us, how the church consimieth, and 
dwindles away into contempt, or withered ceremony and form- 
ality, where tyranny brings slavery, beggary, or long persecution 
on the subjects. Doubtless, divers passages in the Revelations 
contain the church's glorifying of God, for their power and 
prosperity on earth, when emperors became Christians : what 
else can be meant well by Rev. ix. 10," Hath made us kings 
and priests to God, and we shall reign on the earth". But 
that Christians shall be brought from under heathen persecu- 
tion, and have rule and sacred honour in the world, some of them 
being princes ; some honoured church guides ; and all a peculiar, 
honoured people. And had not Satan found out that cursed 
way of getting wicked men, that hate true godliness and peace, 



248 INTRODUCTION. 

into the sacred places of princes and pastors, to do his work 
against Christ, as in Christ's name ; surely no good Christians 
would have grudged at the power of rulers of state, or church. 
Sure I am, that many, called fifth-monarehy-men, seem to make 
this their great hope, that rule shall be in the hands of righte- 
ous men ; and I think, most religious parties would rejoice if 
those had very great power, whom they take to be the best and 
trustiest men ; which shows that it is not the greatness of power 
in most princes, or sound bishops, that they dislike, but the 
badness, real or supposed, of those whose power they mislike : 
who will blame power to do good ? 

Sure the three first and great petitions of the Lord's prayer 
include some temporal welfare of the world and church, with- 
out which the spiritual rarely prospereth extensively, (though 
intensively in a few it may,) since miracles ceased. 

4. Be thankful, therefore, for all the church's mercies here 
on earth ; for all the protection of magistracy ; the plenty of 
preachers j the preservation from enemies ; the restraint of per- 
secution ; the concord of Christians ; and increase of godliness ; 
which in this land it hath had in our ages ; notwithstanding all 
Satan's malignant rage, and all the bloody wars that have in- 
terrupted our tranquillity. How many psalms of joyful thanks- 
giving be there for Israel's deliverances, and the preservation of 
Zion, and God's worship in his sanctuary : pray for the peace 
of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love it ; especially, that 
the gospel is continued, while so many rage against it, is a 
mercy not to be made light of. 

Use 4. Be specially thankful, O my soul, that God hath 
made any use of thee, for the service of his church on earth. 
My God, my soul for this doth magnify thee, and my spirit re- 
joiceth in the review of thy great undeserved mercy ! Oh ! what 
am J, whom thou tookest up from the dunghill or low obscurity, 
that I should live, myself, in the constant relish of thy sweet and 
sacred truth, and with such encouraging success communicate 
it to others ? That I must say now my public work seems 
ended, that these forty-three or forty-four years, I have no rea- 
son to think that ever I laboured in vain ! O with what grati- 
tude must 1 look upon all places where I lived and laboured ; 
but, above all, that place that had my strength. I bless thee 
for the great numbers gone to heaven, and for the continuance 
of piety, humility, concord, and peace among them. 

And for all that by my writings have received any saving 



INTRODUCTION. . 249 

light and grace. Omy God ! let not my own heart be barren 
while I labour in thy husbandry, to bring others unto holy 
fruit. Let me not be a stranger to the life and power of that 
saving truth which I have done so much to communicate to 
others. O let not my own words and writings condemn me as 
void of that divine and heavenly nature and life, which 1 have 
said so much for to the world. 

Use 5. Stir up, then, O my soul, thy sincere desires, and 
all thy faculties, to do the remnant of the work of Christ ap- 
pointed thee on earth, and then joyfully wait for the heavenly 
perfection in God's own time. 

Thou canst truly say, " To live, to me, is Christ." It is his work 
for which thou livest : thou has no other business in the world ; 
but thou dost his work with the mixture of many oversights and 
imperfections, arid too much troublest thy thoughts distrust- 
fully about God's part, who never faileth ; if thy work be done, 
be thankful for what is past, and that thou art come so near 
the port of rest : if God will add any more to thy days, serve 
him with double alacrity, now thou art so near the end : the 
prize is almost within sight : time is swift, and short. Thou 
hast told others that there is no working in the grave, and that 
it must be now or never. Though the conceit of meriting of 
commutative justice be no better than madness, dream not that 
God will save the wicked, no, nor equally reward the slothful 
and the diligent, because Christ's righteousness was perfect. 
Paternal justice maketh difference according to that worthiness 
which is so denominated by the law of grace j and as sin is its 
own punishment, holiness and obedience is much of its own re- 
ward : whatever God appointeth thee to do, see that thou do it 
sincerely, and with all thy might : if sin dispose men to be angry 
because it is detected,' disgraced, and resisted, if God be pleased, 
their wrath should be patiently borne, who will shortly be far 
more angrv with themselves. If slander and obloquy survive, 
so will the better effects on those that are converted ; and there 
is no comparison between these. I shall not be hurt, when I 
am with Christ, by the calumnies of men on earth ; but the 
saving benefit will, by converted sinners, be enjoyed everlast- 
ingly : words and actions are transient things, and, being once 
past, are nothing ; but the effect of them, on an immortal 
soul, may be endless. All the sermons that I have preached 
are nothing now ; but the grace of God, on sanctified souls, is 
the beginning of eternal life. It is unspeakable mercy to be 



250 INTRODUCTION. 

sincerely thus employed with success ; therefore, I had reason, 
all this while, to be in Paul's strait, and make no haste in my 
desires to depart. The crown will come in its due time ; and 
eternity is long enough to enjoy it, how long soever it be de- 
layed : but if 1 will do that which must obtain it for myself 
and others, it must be quickly done, before, my declining sun 
be set. 

O that I had no worse causes of my unwillingness yet to die, 
than my desire to do the work of life for my own and other 
men's salvation ; and to finish my course with joy, and the mi- 
nistry committed to me by the Lord. 

Use 6. And as it is on earth that I must do good to others, 
so it must be in a manner suited to their state on earth. Souls 
are here closely united to bodies, by which they must receive 
much good or hurt : do good to men's bodies, if thou wouldest 
do good to their souls ; say not, things corporeal are worthless 
trifles, for which the receivers will be never the better ; they are 
things that nature is easily sensible of ; and sense is the pas- 
sage to the mind and will. Dost not thou find what a help it 
is to thyself to have, at any time, any ease and alacrity of body ? 
And what a burden and hinderance pains and cares are ? 
Labour, then, to free others from such burdens and temptations, 
and be not regardless of them. If thou must rejoice with them 
that rejoice, and mourn with them that mourn,yfurther thy own 
joy in furthering theirs j and avoid thy own sorrows, in avoid- 
ing or curing theirs. 

But, alas ! what power hath selfishness in most. How 
easily do we bear our brethren's pains, reproaches, wants, and 
afflictions, in comparison of our own : how few thoughts, and 
how little cost or labour, do we use for their supply, in com- 
parison of what we do for ourselves. Nature, indeed, teacheth 
us to be most sensible of our own case; but grace tells us, that 
we should not make so great a difference as we do, but should 
love our neighbours as ourselves. 

Use 7. And now, O my soul, consider how mercifully God 
hath dealt with thee, that thy strait should be, between two 
conditions, so desirable. I shall either die speedily, or stay yet 
longer upon earth ; whichever it be, it will be a merciful and 
comfortable state ; that it is desirable to depart and be with 
Christ, I must not doubt, and shall anon more copiously con- 
sider. And if my abode on earth yet longer be so great a 
mercy as to be put in the balance against my present posses- 



INTRODUCTION. 251 

sion of heaven, surely it must be a state which obligeth me to 
great thankfuhiess to God, and comfortable acknowledgment; 
and surely it is not my pain, or sickness, my sufferings from 
malicious men, that should make this life on earth unaccepta- 
ble, while God will continue it. Paul had his prick or thorn in 
the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him, and suffered 
more from men (though less in his health) than I have done ; 
and yet he gloried in such infirmities, and rejoiced in his tribu- 
lations, and was in a strait between living and dying, yea, 
rather chose to live yet longer. 

i\las! it is another kind of strait that most of the world are 
in : the strait of most is between the desire of life for fleshly 
interest, and the fear of death, as ending their felicity : the 
strait of many is, between a tiring world and body, which 
maketh them weary of living, and the dreadful prospect of fu- 
ture danger, which makes them afraid of dying; if they live, it 
is in misery ; if they must die, they are afraid of greater misery. 
Which way ever they look, behind or before them, to this 
world or the next, fear and trouble is their lot; yea, many an 
upright Christian, through the weakness of their trust in God, 
doth live in this perplexed strait; weary of living, and afraid 
of dying; between grief and fear, they are pressed continually; 
but Paul's strait was between two joys ; which of them he 
should desire most : and if that be my case, what should much 
interrupt my peace or pleasure ? If I live, it is for Christ ; 
for his work, and for his church ; for preparation ; for my own 
and others' everlasting felicity : and should any suffering, which 
maketh me not unserviceable, make me impatient with such a 
work, and such a life ? If I die presently, it is my gain ; God 
who appointeth me my work, doth limit my time, and sure his 
glorious reward can never be unseasonable, or come too soon, 
if it be the time that he appointeth. When I first engaged my- 
self to preach the gospel, I reckoned (as probable) but upon one 
or two years ; and God hath continued me yet above fortv-four : 
(with such interruptions as others in these times have had;) and 
what reason have I now to be unwilling, either to live or die ? 
God's service hath been so sweet to me, that it hath overcome 
the troul)le of constant pains, or weakness, of the flesh, and all 
that men have said or done against me. 

But the following crown exceeds this pleasure, more than I 
am here capable to conceive. There is some trouble in all this 
pleasant work, from which the soul and flesh would rest; and 



252 INTRODUCTION. 

blessed are the dead, that die hi the Lord ; even so saith the 
Spirit ; for they rest from their labours^ and their works follow 
them. 

But, O my soul, what needest thou be troubled in this kind 
of strait ? It is not left to thee to choose whether or when 
thou wilt live or die. It is God that will determine it, who is 
infinitely fitter to choose than thou. Leave, therefore, his 
own work to himself, and mind that which is thine ; whilst 
thou livest, live to Christ ; and when thou diest, thou shalt die 
to Christ ; even into his blessed hands : so live that thou mayest 
say, " It is Christ liveth in me, and the life that I live in the 
flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and 
gave himself for me ;" and then, as thou hast lived in the comfort 
of hope, thou shalt die unto the comfort of vision and fruition. 
And when thou canst say, " He is the God whose J am, and 
whom I serve," thou mayest boldly add, ' and whom I trust, and 
to whom I commend my departing soul 3 and I know whom I 
have trusted.' 



MR. BAXTER'S 
DYING THOUGHTS. 



PHIL. i. 23, 



For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and 
to be with Christ, which is far better. (Or, for this is much 
rathei' to be preferred, or better, J 

Sect. 1 . " Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and 
full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down : 
he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost thou 
open thine eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into judgment 
with thee ?" saith Job, xiv. I — 3. As a watch when it is wound 
up, or as a candle newly lighted, so man, newly conceived or 
born, beginneth a motion, which incessantly hasteth to its ap- 
pointed period : and an action, and its time that is past, is no- 
thing ; so vain a thing would man be, and so vain his life, were 
it not for the hopes of a more durable life, which this referreth 
to ; but those hopes, and the means, do not only difference a 
believer from- an infidel, but a man from a beast. When Solo- 
mon describeth the difference, in respect to the time and things, 
of this life only, he truly tells us, " that one end here befalling 
both, doth show that both are here but vanity, but man's vexa- 
tion is greater than the beasts'." And Paul truly saith of Chris- 
tians, " That if our hope were only in this life, (that is, in the 
time and things of this life and world,) we were, of all men, the 
most miserable." Though even in this life, as related to a better, 
and as we are exercised about things of a higher nature than 
the concerns of temporal life, we are far happier than any 
worldlings. 

Sect. 2. Being to speak to myself, I shall jjass by all the rest 
of the matter of this text, and suppose its due explication, and 
spread before my soul only the doctrine and uses of these two 



254 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

propositions contained in it. J. That the souls of believers, when 
departed hence, shall be with Christ. II. That so to be with 
Christ is far better for them than to be here in the body. 

Sect. 3. I. Concerning the first, my thoughts shall keep this 
order. 1. I shall consider the necessity of believing it. 
2. Whether it be best believing it, without consideration of 
the proofs or difficulties. 3. The certainty of it manifested 
for the exercise of faith. 

Sect. 4. I. Whether the words signify that we shall be in the 
same place with Christ (which Grotius groundlessly denieth) or 
only in his hand, and care, and love, I will not stay to dispute. 
Many other texts concurring, do assure us that " we shall be 
with him where he is." (John xii. 26, and xvii. 24, 8cq.) At 
least, "with him," can mean no less than a state of communion, 
and a participation of felicity. And to believe such a state of 
happiness for departed souls, is of manifold necessity, or use. 

Sect. 5. I. If this be not soundly believed, a man must live 
besides, or below, the end of life. He must have a false end, or 
be uncertain what should be his end. 

I know it may be objected, that if I make it my end to 
please God, by obeying him, and doing all the good 1 can, and 
trust him with my soul and future estate, as one that is utterly 
uncertain what he will do with me, I have an end intended, 
which will make me godly, charitable, and just, and happy, so 
far as I am made for happiness ; for the pleasing of God is the 
right end of all. 

But, 1. Must I desire to please him no better than I do in 
this imperfect state, in which I have and do so much which is 
displeasing to him ? He that must desire to please him, must 
desire to please him perfectly; and our desire of our ultimate end 
must have no bounds, or check. Am I capable of pleasing God 
no better than by such a sinful life as this ? 

2. God hath made the desire of our own felicity so necessary 
to the soul of man, that it cannot be expected that our desire 
to please him should be separated from this. 

3. Therefore, both in respect of God, as the end, and of our 
felicity, as our second end, we must believe that he is the beati- 
fying rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

For, 1. If we make such an ill description of God, as that he 
will turn our pleasing him to our loss, or will not turn it to our 
gain and welfare, or that we know not whether he will do so or 
not, it will hinder our love, and trusty and joy, in him, by which 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 255 

we must please him, and, consequently, hinder the alacrity, and 
soundness, and constancy, of our obedience. 

2. And it will nnich dismiss that self-love which must excite 
us, and it will take off part of our necessary end. And I think 
the objectors will confess, that if they have no certainty what 
God will do with them, they must have some probability and 
hope before they can be sincerely devoted here to please him. 

Sect. 6. And, 1. If a man be but uncertain what he should 
make the end of his life, or what he should live for, how can he 
pitch upon an uncertain end? And if he waver so as to have 
no end, he can use no means ; and if end and means be all laid 
by, the man liveth not as a man, but as a brute : and what a 
torment must it be to a considering mind to be uncertain what 
to intend and do in all the tenour and actions of his life ? Like 
a man going out at his door, not knowing whither or what to 
do, or which way to go : either he will stand still, or move as 
brutes do, by present sense, or as a windmill, or weathercock, as 
he is moved. 

Sect, 7. 2. But if he pitch upon a wrong end, it may yet be 
worse than none ; for he will but do hurt, or make work for re- 
pentance : and all the actions of his life must be formally wrong, 
how good soever, materially, if tlie end of them be wrong. 

Sect. 8. 2. And if I fetch them not from this end, and be- 
lieve not in Cod as a revvarder of his servants, in a better life, 
what motives shall I have, which, in our present difficulties, 
will be sufficient to cause me to live a holy, yea, or a truly honest, 
life ? All pietv and honesty, indeed, is good, and goodness is 
desirable for itself: but the goodness of a means is its aptitude 
for the end; and we have here abundance of impediments, 
competitors, diversions, and temptations, and difficulties, of 
many sorts ; and all these must be overcome by him that will 
live in piety or honesty : and our natures, we find, are diseased, 
and greatly indisposed to unquestionable duties ; and will they 
ever discharge them, and conquer all these difficulties and 
temptations, if the necessary motive be not believed ? Duty to 
God and man is accidentally hard and costly to the flesh, 
though amiable in itself. It may cost us our estates, our liber- 
ties, our lives. The world is not so happy as commonly to 
know good men from bad, or to encourage ])iety and virtue, or 
to forbear opposing them. And who will let go his present 
W(dfare, without some hope of better, as a reward ? Men use 



256 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

not to serve God for nought; nor that think it will be their loss 
to serve him. 

Sect. 9. A life of sin will not be avoided upon lower ends 
and motives : nay, those lower ends, when alone, will be a con- 
stant sin themselves. A preferring vanity to glory, the creature 
to God, and a setting our heart on that which will never make 
us happy : and when lust and appetite incline men, strongly and 
constantly, to their several objects, what shall sufficiently restrain 
them, except the greater and more durable delights or motives 
fetched from preponderating things ? Lust and appetite distin- 
guish not between lawful and unlawful. We may see in the 
brutish politics of Benedictus Spinosa, in his Tractat. Theolog. 
Polit., whither the principles of infidelity tend. If sin so over- 
spread the earth, that the whole world is as drowned in wicked- 
ness, notwithstanding all the hopes and fears of a life to come, 
what would it do were there no such hopes and fears ? 

Sect. 10. 3. And no mercy can be truly known and esti- 
mated, nor rightly used and improved, by him that seeth not 
its tendency to the end, and perceiveth not that it leadeth to 
a better life, and useth it not thereunto. God dealeth more 
bountifully with us than worldlings understand. He giveth us 
all the mercies of this life, as helps to an immortal state of 
glory, and as earnests of it. Sensualists know not what a soul 
is, nor what soul mercies are ; and, therefore, not what the soul 
of all bodily mercies are, but take up only with the carcass, 
shell, or shadow. If the king would give me a lordship, and 
send me a horse, or coach, to carry me to it, and I should only 
ride about the fields for my pleasure, and make no other use of 
it, should I not undervalue and lose the principal benefit of my 
horse, or coach ? No wonder if unbelievers ])e unthankful, when 
they know not at all that part of God's mercies which is the 
life and real excellencv of them. 

Sect. 11. 4. And, alas! how should I bear with comfort 
the sufferings of this wretched life, without the hopes of a life 
with Christ ? What should support and comfort me under my 
bodily languishings and pains, my weary hours, and my daily 
experience of the vanity and vexation of all things under the 
sun, had I not a prospect of a comfortal)le end of all ? I that 
have lived in the midst of great and precious mercies, have all 
my life bad something to do to overcome the temptation of 
wishing that 1 had never been born, and had never overcome it 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 257 

but by the belief of a blessed life hereafter. Solomon's sense 
of vanity and vexation hath long made all the business, 
and wealth, and honour, and pleasure, of this world, as such, 
appear such a dream and shadow to me, that were it not for the 
end, I could not have much differenced men's sleeping and their 
waking thoughts, nor have much more valued the waking than 
the sleeping part of life, but should have thought it a kind of 
haj)piness to have slept from the birth unto the death. Chil- 
dren cry when they come into the world ; and I am often sorry 
when I am awakened out of a quiet sleep, especially to the busi- 
ness of an unquiet day. We should be strongly tempted, in our 
considering state, to murmur at our Creator, as dealing much 
hardlier by us than by the brutes, if we must have had all those 
cares, and griefs, and fears, by the knowledge of what we want, and 
the prospect of death, and future evils, which they are exempted 
from, and had not, withal, had the hopes of a future felicity to 
support us. Seneca and his stoics had no better argument to 
silence such murmurers who believed not a better life, than to 
tell them, that if this life had more evil than good, and they 
thought God did them wrong, they might remedy themselves by 
ending it when they would. But that would not cure the re- 
pinings of a nature which found itself necessarily weary of the 
miseries of life, and yet afraid of dying. And it is no great 
wonder that many thought that pre-existent souls were put into 
these bodies as a punishment of something done in a former 
life, while they foresaw not the hoped end of all our fears and 
sorrows. ' O how contemptible a thing is man !' saith the 
same Seneca, ' unless he lift up himself above human things.' 
Therefore, saith Solomon, when he had glutted himself with 
all temporal pleasures, " 1 hated life, because the work that is 
wrought under the sun is grievous to me ', for all is vanity and 
vexation^ of spirit." (Eccles. ii. 17.) 

Sect. 12. If. I have often thought whether an implicit belief 
of a future happiness, without any search into its nature, and 
thinking of any thing that can be said against it, or the search- 
ing, trying way, be better. On the one side, 1 have known many 
godly women that never disputed the matter, but served God, 
comfortably, to a very old age, (between eighty and one hundred,) 
to have lived many years in a cheerful readiness and desire of 
death, and such as few learned, studious men do ever attain to 
in that degree, who, no douljt, hud this as a divine reward of 
their long and faithful service of God, and trusting in him. On 

vol.. XVII!. s 



258 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

the other side, a studious man can hardly keep off all objections, 
or secure his mind against the suggestions of difficulties and 
doubts ; and if thev come in, they must be answered, seeing we 
give them half a victory if we cast them oft before we can 
answer them. And a faith that is not upheld by such evidence 
of truth as reason can discern and justify, is oft joined with 
much secret doubting, which men dare not open, but do not, 
therefore, overcome, and its weakness may have a weakening 
deficiency, as to all the graces and duties which should l)e 
strengthened by it. And who knoweth how soon a temptation 
from Satan, or infidels, or our own dark hearts, may assault us, 
which will not, without such evidence and resolving light, be 
overcome ? And yet many that try, and reason, and dispute 
most, have not the strongest, or most powerful faith. 

Sect. 13. And my thoughts of this have had this issue. 
1. There is a great difference between that light which showeth 
us the thing itself, and that artificial skill by which we have 
right notions, names, definitions, and formed arguments, and 
answers to objections. This artificial, logical, organical kind 
of knowledge is good and useful in its kind, if right ; like 
speech itself: but he that hath much of this, niav have little 
of the former: and unlearned persons that have little of 
this, may have more of the former, and may have those 
inward perceptions of the verity of the promises and rewards of 
God, which they cannot bring forth into artificial reasonings to 
themselves or others ; who are taught of God, by the effective sort 
of teaching which reacheth the heart, or will, as well as the un- 
derstanding, and is a giving of what is taught, and a making us 
such as we are told we must be.* And who findeth not need 
to pray hard for this effective teaching of God, when he hath 
got all organical knowledge, and words and arguments in them- 
selves most apt, at his fingers' ends, as we say ? When 1 can 
prove the truth of the word of God, and the life to come, with 
the most convincing, undeniable reasons, I feel need to cry and 
pray daily to God, to increase my faith, and to give me that 
light which may satisfy the soul, and reach the end. 

Sect. 14. 2. Yet man, being a rational wight, is not taught by 
mere instinct and inspiration, and therefore this effective teach- 
ing of God doth ordinarily suppose a rational, objective, orga- 
nical teaching and knowledge. And the foresaid unlearned 

* Tliis is the true mean between Georg-e Keitli the Quaker's doctrine of 
coalinucd inspiration and intuition, and lliat on tlie other extreme. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 259 

Christians are convinced, by good evidence, that God's word is 
true, and his rewards are sure, though they have but a confused 
conception of this evidence, and cannot word it, nor reduce it 
to fit notions. And to drive these that have fundamental evi- 
dence, unseasonably and hastily to dispute their faith, and so to 
])uzzle them by words and artificial objections, is but to hurt 
them, by setting the artificial, organical, lower part, which is 
the body of knowledge, against the real light and perception 
of the thing, (which is as the soul,) even as carnal men set the 
creatures against God, that should lead us to God, so do they 
by logical, artificial knowledge. 

Sect. 15. But they that are prepared for such disputes, and 
furnished with all artificial helps, may make good use of them 
 for defending and clearing up the truth to themselves and others, 
so be it they use them as a means to the due end, and in a right 
manner, and set them not up against, or instead of, the real and 
effective light. 

Sect. 16. But the revealed and necessary part must here be 
distinguished from the unrevealed and unnecessary. To study 
till we, as clearly as may be, understand the certainty of a future 
happiness, and wherein it consisteth, (in the sight of God's glorv, 
and in perfect, holy, mutual love, in union with Christ, and all 
the blessed,) this is of great use to our holiness and peace. But 
when we will know more than God would have us, it doth but 
tend (as gazing on the sun) to make us blind, and to doubt of 
certainties, because we cannot be resolved of uncertainties. To 
trouble our heads too much in thinking how souls out of the 
body do subsist and act, sensitively or not, by organs, or without ; 
how far they are one, and how far still individuate, in what 
place they shall remain, and where is their paradise, or heaven ; 
how they shall be again united to the body, whether by their 
own emission, as the sunbeams touch their objects here, and 
whether the body shall be restored, as the consumed flesh of 
restored, sick men, aliunde, or only from the old materials. A 
hundred of these questions are better left to the knowledge of 
Christ, lest we do but foolishly make snares for ourselves. Had 
all these been needful to us, they had been revealed. In respect 
to all such curiosities and needless knowledge, it is a believer's 
wisdom implicitly to trust his soul to Christ, and to be satisfied 
that he knowetli what we know not, and to fear that vain, 
vexatious knowledge, or iuquisitiveness into good and evil, which 

s 2 



260 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

is selfish, and savoureth of a distrust of God, and is that sin, and 
fruit of sin, which the learned world too little feareth. 

Sect. 17. 111. That God is the rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him, and that holy souls shall be in blessedness with Christ, 
these following evidences, conjoined, do evince, on which my 
soul doth raise its hopes. 

Sect. 18. I. The soul, which is an immortal spirit, must be 
immortally in a good or bad condition ; but man's soul is an 
immortal spirit, and the good are not in a bad condition. Its 
immortality is proved thus : A spiritual, or most pure, invisible 
substance, naturally endowed with the power, virtue, or faculty 
of vital action, intellection, and volition, which is not annihil- 
ated nor destroyed by separation of parts, nor ceaseth, or loseth, 
either its power, species, individuation, or action, is an immortal 
spirit. But such is the soul of man, as shall be manifested by 
parts. 

Sect. 19. I. The soul is a substance, for that which is nothing 
can do nothing ; but it doth move, understand, and will. No 
man will deny that this is done by something in us, and by some 
substance, and that substance is it which we call the soul. It 
is not nothing, and it is within us. 

Sect. 20. As to them that say, it is the temperament of several 
parts conjunct, I have elsewhere fully confuted them, and proved, 
1 . That it is some one part that is the agent on the rest, which 
all they confess that think it to be the material spirits, or fiery 
part. It is not bones and flesh that understand, but a purer 
substance, as all acknowledge. 2. What part soever it be, it 
can do no more than it is able to do, and a conjunction of many 
parts, of which no one hath the power of vitality, intellection, 
or volition, formally, or eminently, can never by conteniperation 
do those acts, for there can be no more in the effect than is in 
the cause, otherwise it were no effect. 

The vanity of their objections that tell us, a lute, a watch, 
a book, perform that by co-operation which no one part can 
do, I have elsewhere manifested. 1 . Many strings, indeed, have 
many motions, and so have many effects on the ear and fantasy, 
which in us are sound, and harmony: but all is l)ut a percussion 
of the air by strings, and were not that motion received by a 
sensitive soul, it would be no music or melody; so that there is 
nothing done but what each part had power to do. But intel- 
lection and volition are not the conjunct motions of all parts of 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 261 

the body, receiving their form in a nobler intellective nature, as 
the sound of the strings maketh melody in man: if it were so, 
that receptive nature still would be as excellent as the effect 
importeth. 2. And the watch, or clock, doth but move according 
to the action of the spring, or poise ; but that it moveth in such 
an order as becometh to man a sign and measure of time, this 
is from man who ordereth it to that use. But there is nothing 
in the motion but what the parts have their power to cause ; 
and that it signifieth the hour of the days to us, is no action, 
but an object used by a rational soul as it can use the shadow 
of a tree, or house, that yet doth nothing. 3. And so a book 
doth nothing at all, but is a mere objective ordination of passive 
signs, by which man's active intellect can understand what the 
writer or orderer did intend ; so that here is nothing done 
beyond the power of the agent, nor any thing in the effect 
which was not in the cause, either formally or eminently. But 
for a company of atoms, of which no one hath sense or reason, 
to become sensitive and rational by mere conjunct motion, is 
an effect beyond the power of the supposed cause. 

Sect. 21. But as some think so basely of our noblest acts as to 
think that contempered agitated atoms can perform them, that 
have no natural intellective, or sensitive, virtue or power in 
themselves, so others think so highly of them, as to take them 
to be the acts only of God, or some universal soul, in the body 
of man ; and so that there is no life, sense, or reason in the 
world but God himself (or such an universal soul) ; and so that 
either every man is God, as to his soul, or that it is the body 
only that is to be called man, as distinct from God. But this is 
the self-ensnaring and self-perplexing temerity of busy, bold, 
and arrogant heads, that know not their own capacity and 
measure. And, on the like reasons, they must at last come, with 
others, to say, that all passive matter also is God, and that God 
is the universe, consisting of an active soul, and passive body. 
As if God were no cause, and could make nothing, or nothing 
with life, or sense, or reason. 

Sect. 22. But why depart we from things certain, ])y such 
presumptions as these ? Is it not certain, that there are baser 
creatures in the world than men or angels ? Is it not certain 
that one man is not another ? Is it not certain that some men 
are in torment of body and mind ? And will it be a comfort to 
a man in such torment to tell him that he is God, or that he 
is part of an uuiver>.al soul ? Would not a man on the rack, or 



262 Baxter's dying THoUGHts. 

in the stone, or other misery, say, * Call me by what name you 
please, that easeth not my pain. If I be a part of God, or an 
universal soul, I am sure 1 am a tormented, miserable part. And 
if you could make me believe that God hath some parts which 
are not serpents, toads, devils, or wicked or tormented men, you 
must give me other senses, and perceptive po\vers, before it will 
comfort me to hear that I am not such a part. And if God had 
wicked and tormented parts on earth, why may he not have such, 
and I l)e one of them, hereafter ? And if I be a holy and happy 
part of God, or of an universal soul on earth, why may not 1 hope 
to be such hereafter ?' 

Sect. 23. We deny not but that God is the continued, first 
cause of all being whatsoever ; and that the branches and fruit 
depend not, as effects, so much on the causality of the stock and 
roots, as the creature doth on God ; and that it is an impious 
conceit to think that the world, or any part of it, is a being in- 
dependent, and separated totally from God, or subsisting with- 
out his continued causation. But cannot God cause, as a crea- 
tor, by making that which is not himself? This yieldeth the 
self-deceiver no other honour nor happiness but what equally 
belongeth to a devil, to a fly, or worm, to a dunghill, or to the 
worst and miserablest man ! 

Sect. 24. II. As man's soul is a substance, so is it a sub- 
stance differenced formally from all inferior substances, by an 
innate (indeed essential) power, virtue, or faculty, of vital ac- 
tion, intellection, and free-will : for we find all these acts per- 
formed by it, as motion, light, and heat are by the fire or sun. 
And if any should think that these actions are like those of a 
musician, compounded of the agents (principal and organical 
several) parts, could he prove it, no more would follow, but that 
the lower powers (the sensitive, or spirits) are to the higher as a 
passive organ, receiving its operations ; and that the intellec- 
tual soul hath the power of causing intellection and volition by 
its action on the inferior parts, as a man can cause such motions 
of his lute, as shall be melody (not to it, but) to himself : and 
consequently, that as music is but a lower operation of man, 
(whose proper acts of intellection and volition are above it,) so 
intellection and volition in the body are not the noblest acts of 
the soul, but it performed them by an eminent power, which 
can do greater things. And if this could be proved, what 
would it tend to the unbeliever's ends, or to the disadvantage 
of our hopes and comforts ? 



BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS. 263 

Sect. 25. III. That man's soul, at death, is not anniliilated, 
even the atomists and epicureans will grant, who think that no 
atom in the universe is annihilated : and we that see, not only 
the sun and heavens continued, but every grain of matter, and 
that compounds are changed by dissolution of parts, and rare- 
faction, or migration, &:c., and not by annihilation, have no rea- 
son to dream that God will annihilate one soul (though he can 
do it if he please, yea, and annihilate all the world) : it is a 
thing beyond a rational expectation. 

Sect. 26. IV. And a destruction, by the dissolution of the 
parts of the soul, we need not fear. For, 1. Either an intel- 
lectual spirit is divisible and partible, or not ; if not, we need 
not fear it ; if it be, either it is a tiling that nature tendeth to, 
or not : but that nature doth not tend to it, is evident. For, 1. 
There is naturally so strange and strong an inclination to unity, 
and averseness to separation in all things, that even earth and 
stones, that have no other (known) natural motion, have yet an 
aggregate motion in their gravitation : but if you will separate 
the parts from the rest, it must be by force. And water is yet 
more averse from partition without force, and more inclined to 
union than earth, and air than water, and fire than air j so he 
that will cut a sunbeam into pieces, and make many of one, 
must be an extraordinary agenti And surely spirits, even intel- 
lectual spirits, will be no less averse from partition, and in- 
clined to keep their unity, than fire, or a sunbeam is ; so that 
naturally it is not a thing to be feared, that it should fall into 
pieces. 

2. And he that will say, that the God of nature will change, 
and overcome the nature that he hath made, must give us good 
proofs of it, or it is not to be feared. And if he should do it 
as a punishment, we must find such a punishment somewhere 
threatened, either in his natural or supernatural law, which we 
do not, and therefore need not fear it. 

Sect. 27. 3. But if it were to be feared, that souls were 
partible, and would be broken into parts, this would be no de- 
struction of them, either as to their substance, powers, form, or 
action, but only a breaking of one soul into many : for being 
not compounded of heterogeneal parts, i)ut, as simple elements, 
of homogeneal only, as every atom of earth is earth, and every 
drop of water in the sea is water, and every particle of air and 
fire is air and fire, and have all the properties of earth, water, 
air, and fire ; so would it be with every particle of an intellectual 



2C4 BAXTEU'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

spirit. But who can see cause to dream of such a partition, 
never threatened by God ? 

Sect. 28. V, And that souls lose not their formal powers, or 
virtues, we have great reason to conceive ; because they are 
their natural essence, not as mixed, but simple substances: and 
though some imagine that the passive elements may, by attenu- 
ation or incrassation, be transmuted one into another, yet we 
see that earth is still earth, and water is water, and air is air ; 
and their conceit hath no proof : and, were it proved, it would 
but prove that none of these are a first or proper element : but 
what should an intellectual spirit be changed into? how 
should it lose its formal power ? Not by nature ; for its nature 
hath nothing that tendeth to deterioration, or decay, or self- 
destruction. The sun doth not decay by its wonderful motion, 
light, and heat : and why should spirits ? Not by God's de- 
stroying them, or changing their nature : for, though all things 
are in constant motion or revolution, he continueth the natures 
of the simple beings, and showeth us, that he delighteth in a 
constancy of operations, insomuch that, hence, Aristotle thought 
the world eternal. And God hath made no law thatthreateneth 
to do it as a penalty. Therefore, to dream that intellectual spi- 
rits shall be turned into other things, and lose their essential, 
formal powers, which specify them, *^ without and against all 
sober reason. Let them first but pr. . -^ that the sun loseth mo- 
tion, light, and heat, and is turned . ito air, or water, or earth. 
Such changes are beyond a rational fear. 

Sect. 29. VI. But some men dream that souls'^^hall sleep, 
and cease their acts, though they lose not their pto*^ 3rs. But 
this is more unreasonable than the former. For it n't^ist be re- 
membered that it is not a mere obediential, passive power that 
we speak of; but an active jjower consisting in as great an in- 
clination to act, as passive natures have to forbear action. 80 
that if such a nature act not, it must be because its natural in- 
clination is hindered by a stronger : and who shall hinder it ? 

1. God would not continue an active power, force, and inclin- 
ation in nature, and forcibly hinder the operation of that na- 
ture which he himself continueth; unless penallv for some spe- 
cial cause ; M'hich he never gave us any notice of by any threat- 
ening, but the contrary. 

2. Objects will not be wanting, for all the world will be still 
at hand, and God above all. It is, therefore, an unreasonable 
conceit to think that God will continue an active, vital, intellec- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 265 

tive, volitive nature, form, power, force, inclination, in a noble 
substance, which shall use none of these for many hundred or 
thousand years, aiul so continue them in vain. 

Nay, 3. It is rather to be thought that j^ome action is their 
constant state, without which the cessation of their very form 
would be inferred. 

Sect. 30. But all that can be said with reason is, that sepa- 
rated souls, and souls hereafter in spiritual bodies, will have 
actions of another mode, and very different from these that we 
now perceive in flesh : and be it so. They will yet be, radi- 
cally, of the same kind, and they will be formally or eminently 
such as we now call, vitality, intellection, and volition ; and they 
will be no lower or less excellent, if not far more ; and then 
what the difference will be, Christ knoweth, whom I trust, and in 
season I shall know. But to talk of a dead life, and an unactive 
activity, or a sleeping soul, is fitter for a sleeping than a waking- 
man. 

Sect. 31. It is true that diseases or hurts do now hinder the 
soul's intellectual perceptions in tlie body, and in infancy and 
sleep they are imperfect. Which proveth, indeed, that the acts, 
commonly called intellection and volition, have now something 
in them also of sensation, and that sensitive operations are di- 
versified by the organs of the several senses. And that bare 
intellection and volition, without any sensation is now scarce to 
be observed in us, though the soul may have such acts intrin- 
sically, and in its profundity. For it is now so united to this 
body, that it acteth on it as our form; and, indeed, the acts ob- 
served by us cannot be denied to be such as are specified, or 
modified, at least, by the agents, and the recipients, and sub- 
agents' parts conjunct. But, I. As the sun would do the same 
thing ex parte sai, if in vacuo only it sent forth its beams, 
though this were no illumination, or calefaction, because there 
were no recipient to be illuminated and heated by it. And it 
would lose nothing by the want of objects ; so the soul, had it 
no body to act on, would have its profound immanent acts of 
self-living, self-perceiving, and self-loving ; and all its external 
acts on other objects, which need not organs of sense for their 
approximation. And, 2. Its sensitive faculty is itself, or such 
as it is not separated from, though the particular sorts of sensa- 
tion may be altered with their uses : and therefore it may still 
act on or with the sense : and if one way of sensation be hin- 
dered, it hath another. 3. And how far this lantern of flesh 



2G6 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

doth help, or hinder, its operations, we know not yet, but shall 
know hereafter. Sondius de Orig, Anhnce, (though an here- 
tical writer), hath said much to prove that the body is a hinder- 
ance, and not a help, to the soul's intuition. And if ratiocina- 
tion be a compound act, yet intuition may be done for ever by 
the soul alone. 4. But as we are not to judge what powers the 
soul hath when the acts are hindered, but when they are done ; 
nor what souls were made by God for, by their state in the 
womb, or infancy, or diseases, but by our ordinary, mature state 
of life ; so we have little reason to think that the same God who 
made them for life, intellection, and volitions here, will not 
continue the same powers to tlie same, or as noble uses here- 
after, whether with organs, or without, as pleaseth him. If in 
this flesh our spirits were not inactive and useless, we have no 
reason to think that they will be so hereafter, and that for 
ever. 

Sect. 32. This greatest and hardest of all objections, doth 
make us confess (with Coniarenus, contra Pomjionatium de 
Anim. Immorialii.,) that though, by the light of nature, we may 
know the immortality of souls, (and that they lose not their 
powers or activity,) yet, without supernatural light, we know not 
what manner of action they will have in their separated state, 
or in another world, because here they act according to object- 
ive termination, and the receptivity of the sense and fantasy, 
and recipitur ad modimi recipientis ; and \^ the womb we per- 
ceive not that it acteth intellectually at all. o*^^ 

But we know. That, 1 . If even then it dit\<red not in its for- 
mal power from the souls of brutes, it would not so much after- 
ward differ in act : and it would never be raised to that which 
was not virtually in its nature at the first. 2. And we find 
that even very little children have quick and strong knowledge 
of such objects as are brought within their reach ; and that their 
ignorance is not for want of an intellectual power, but for want 
of objects, or images of things, which time, and use, and con- 
versation among objects, must furnish their fantasies and me- 
mories with. And so a soul in the womb, or in an apoplexy, 
hath not objects of intellection witliin its reach to act upon ; 
but is as the sun to a room that hath no windows to let in its 
light. 3. And M-liat if its profound vitality, self-perception, and 
self-love, be by a kind of sensation and intuition, rather than by 
discursive reason : I doubt not but some late philosophers make 
snares to themselves and others, by too much vilifying sense and 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 267 

sensitive souls, as if sense were l)ut some loseable accident of 
contempered atoms : but sensation (though diversified by or- 
gans and uses, and so far mutable) is the act of a noble, spiri- 
tual form and virtue. And as Chambre, and some others, make 
brutes a lower rank of rationals, and man another higher spe- 
cies, as having his nobler reason for higher ends; so for man 
to be the noblest order (here) of sensitives, and to have an in- 
tellect to order, and govern sensations, and connect them and 
improve them, were a noble work, if we had no higher. And 
if intellection and volition were but a higher species of internal 
sensation than imagination, and the fantasy and memory are, 
it might yet be a height that should set man specifically above 
the brutes. And I am daily more and more persuaded, that 
intellectual souls are essentially sensitive and more, and that 
their sensation never ceaseth. 4. And still I say, that it is to 
nature itself a thing unlikely, that the God of nature will long 
continue a soul that hath formally or naturally an intellective 
power, in a state in which it shall have no use of it. Let others 
that will inquire whether it shall have a vehicle or none to act 
in, and whether aerial, or igneous, and ethereal, and whether it 
be really an intellectual sort of fire, as material as the solar fire, 
whose (not compounding, but) inadequate -conceptus objectivi 
are, an igneous substance, and formal virtue of life, sense, and 
intellection, with other such puzzling doubts ; it satisfieth me, 
that God will not continue its noblest powers in vain ; and how 
they shall be exercised, is known to him ; and that God's word 
tells us more than nature. And withal, life, intuition, and 
love (or volition) are acts so natural to the soul, (as motion, 
light and heat, quoad actum to fire) that I cannot conceive how 
its separation should hinder them, but rather that its incorpo- 
ration hiudereth the two latter, by hiding objects, whatever be 
said of abstractive knowledge and memory. 

Sect. 33. VII. But the greatest difficulty to natural know- 
ledge is, whether souls shall continue their individuation, or 
rather fall into one common soul, or return so to God that gave 
them, as to be no more divers (or many) individuals as now ; as 
extinguished candles are united to the illuminated air, or to the 
sunbeams ; but of this I have elsewhere said much for others ; 
and for myself, 1 find I need but this : I. That, as I said before, 
either souls are partible substances or not ; if not partible, how 
are they unible ? If many may be made one, by conjunction of 
substances, then that one may (by God) be made many again 



208 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

by partition. Either all (or many) souls are now but one, (in- 
dividuate only by matter, as many gulfs in the sea, or many 
candles lighted by the sun,) or not ; if they are not one now in 
several bodies, what reason have we to think that they will be 
one hereafter, any more than now ? Augustine {de Anim.) was 
put on the question, 1. Whether souls are one, and not many. 
And that he utterly denieth. 2. Whether they are many, and 
not one. And that it seemeth he could not digest. 3. Whe- 
ther they were at once both one and many. Which he thought 
would seem to some ridiculous, but he seemeth most to incline 
to. And as God is the God of nature, so nature (even of the 
devils themselves) dependeth on him, as I said, more than the 
leaves of fruit do on the tree ; and we are all his offspring, and 
live, and move, and are in him. (Acts xvii.) But we are cer- 
tain for all this, 1. That we are not God. 2. That we are 
yet many individuals, and not all one soul, or man. If our 
union should be as near as the leaves and fruit on the same 
tree, yet those leaves and fruit are numerous, and individual 
leaves and fruits, through parts of the tree. And were this 
proved of our present or future state, it would not alter our 
hopes or fears ; for as now, though we all live, move, and be in 
God, (and, as some dream, are parts of a common soul,) yet it 
is certain, that some are better and happier than others; some 
wise and good ; and some foolish and evil; some in pain and 
misery ; and some at ease, and in pleasure ; and (as 1 said) it 
is now no case to the miserable, to be told that, radically, all 
souls are one ; no more will it be hereafter, nor can men rea- 
sonably hope for, or fear such an union, as shall make their state 
the same. We see in nature, (as I have elsewhere said,) that if 
you graft many sorts of scions, (some sweet, some bitter, some 
crabs,) on the same stock, they will be one tree, aad yet have 
diversity of fruit. If souls be not unible, nor partible sub- 
stances, there is'-H) place for this doubt : if they be, they will 
be still what the^^are, notwithstanding any such union with a 
common soul. As a drop of water in the sea is a separable 
part, and still itself; and as a crab upon the foresaid stock, or 
tree. And the good or bad quality ceaseth not by any union 
with others. 

Sure we are, that all creatures are in God, by close depend - 
ence, and yet that the good are good, and the bad are bad ; 
and that God is good, and hath no evil ; and that when man is 
tormented, or miserable, God suffercth nothing by it, (as the 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 269 

whole man doth, when hut a tooth doth ache,) for he would not 
hurt himself were he passive. Therefore, to dream of any such 
cessation of our individuation hy any union with a creature, as 
shall make the good less good or happy, or the bad less bad 
or miserable, is a groundless folly. 

Sect. 31, Yet it is very probable, that there will be a nearer 
union of holy souls with God and Christ, and one another, than 
we can here conceive of : but this is so far from being to be 
feared, that it is the highest of our hopes. 1. God himself 
(though equally every where in his esseiice) doth operate very 
variously on his creatures. On the wicked he operateth as the 
first cause of nature, as his sun shineth on them. On some 
he operateth by common grace : to some he giveth faith to 
prepare them for tbe in-dwelling of his spirit. Jn believers he 
dwelleth by love, and they in him 3 and if we may use such a 
coujparison, as Satan acteth on some only by suggestions, but 
on others so desj)otically, as that it is called his possessing 
them; so God's Spirit worketh on holy souls, so powerfully 
and constantly, as is called his possessing them. And yet, on 
the human nature of Christ, the divine nature of the second per- 
son hath such a further, extraordinary operation, as is justly 
called a personal union ; which is not by a more essential pre- 
sence, (for that is everywhere,) but by a peculiar operation and 
relation : and so holy souls being under a more felicitating oper- 
ation of God, may well be said to have a nearer union with him 
than now they have. 

Sect. 35. 2. And I observe that (as is aforesaid) all things 
have naturally a strong inclination to union and communion 
with their like : every clod and stone inclineth to the earth: 
water would go to water, air to air, fire to fire ; birds and beasts 
associate with their like: and the noblest natures are most 
strongly thus inclined ; and therefore I have natural reason to 
think that it will be so with holy souls. 

Sect. 36. 3. And I find, that the inordinate contraction of 
man to himself, and to the interest of this individual person, 
with the defect of love to all about us, according to every crea- 
ture's goodness, and especially to God, the infinite good, whom 
we should love above ourselves, is the very sum of all the pra- 
vity of man. And all the injustice and injury to others ; and 
all the neglect of good works in the world; and all our daily 
terrors, and self-distracting, self-tormenting cares, and griefs, 
and fears, proceed from this inordinate love and adhesion to 



270- Baxter's dying thoughts. 

ourselves 5 therefore I have reason to think, that in our better 
state, we shall perfectly love others as ourselves, and the selfish 
love will turn into a common and a divine love, which must 
he by our preferring- the common, and the divine good and 
interest. 

Sect. 37. And 1 am so sensible of the power and plague of 
selfishness, and how it now corrupteth, tcmpteth, and disquieteth 
me, that when 1 feel any fears, lest individuation cease, and my 
soul fall into one common soul, (as the stoics thought all souls 
did at death,) 1 find great cause to suspect, that this ariseth 
from the power of ihis corrupting selfishness ; for reason seeth 
no cause at all to fear it, were it so. 

Sect. 3S. 4. For I find also, that the nature of love is to de- 
sire as near a union as possible ; and the strongest love doth 
strongliest desire it. Fervent lovers think they^can scarce be 
too much one : and love is our perfection, and therefore so is 
union. 

Sect. 39. 5. And I find, that when Christians had the first 
and full pourings out of the Spirit, they had the ferventest love, 
and the nearest union, and the least desire of propriety and 
distance. 

Sect 40. 6. And I find, that Christ's prayer for the felicity 
of his disciples, is a prayer for their unitv. (John xvii. 22, 23.) 
And in this he placeth much of their perfection. 

Sect. 4 J. 7. And I find also, that man is of a sociable nature, 
and that all men find by experience, that conjunction in so- 
cieties is needful for their safety, strength, and pleasure. 

Sect. 42. 8. And I find, that mv soul would fain be nearer 
God, and that darkness and distance is my misery, and near 
communion is it that would answer all the tendencies of mv 
soul ; why then, should I fear too near a union. 

Sect. 43. 1 think it utterly improbable, that my soul should 
become more nearly united to any creature than to God; (though 
it be of the same kind with other souls, and infinitely below 
God ;) for God is as near me, as I am to myself 5 I still depend 
on him, as the effect upon its total, constant cause ; and that 
not as the fruit upon the tree, which borroweth all from the 
earth, water, air, and fire, which it communicateth to its fruit; 
but as a creature on its Creator, who hath no being but what it 
receiveth totally from God, by constant communication. Hence 
Antonine, Seneca, and the rest of the stoics, thought that all 
the world was God, or one great animal, consisting of divine 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 2/1 

spirit and matter, as man of soul and body; sometimes calling 
the supposed soul of the world, God ; and sometimes ealling 
the whole world, God; but still meaning that the universe was 
but one spirit and ])ody united, and that we are all parts of God, 
or of the body of God, or accidents, at least. 

Sect. 44. And even the popish mystical divines, in their pre- 
tensions to the highest perfection, say the same in sense ; such 
as Benedict. Anglus, in his Regula Perfectionis, (approved by 
many doctors,) who placed much of his supereminent life in 
our believing verily that there is nothing but God, as the beams 
are to the sun, and as the heat is to the fire; (which really is it- 
self;) and so teachingus torestinall things as good, asbeingno- 
thing but God's essential will, which is himself (resolving even 
our sins and imperfections accordingly into God, so that they 
are God's, or none). 

Sect. Ab. And all these men have as fair a pretence for the 
conceits of such an union with God now, as for such an union 
after death : for their reason is, 1. That God being infinite, 
there can be no more beings than his own ; but God and the 
smallest being distinct, would be more entity than God alone; 
but infinity can have no addition. 2. Because evis et bonum 
convertuntur ; but God only is good. 

And if we are, notwithstanding all this, distinct beings from God 
now, we shall not be so advanced as to be deified, and of crea- 
tures, or distinct beings, turned into a being infinitely above us. 
If we be not parts of God now, we shall not be so then. 

But if they could prove that we are so now, we should quickly 
prove to them, 1. That then God hath material, divisible parts 
(as the stoics thought). 2. And that we are no such parts 
as are not distinct from one another ; but some are tormented, 
and some ha])py. And, 3. That (as is saidj it will be no abate- 
ment of the misery of the tormented, nor of the felicity of the 
blessed, to tell them that they are all parts of God : for, though 
the manner of our union with him, and dependence on him, be 
past our comprehension ; yet that we are distinct and dis- 
tant from each other, and have each one a joy or misery of his 
own, is past all doubt. Therefore, there is no union with God 
to be feared by holy souls, but the utmost possible to be high- 
liest desired. 

Sect. 46. And if our union with God shall not cease our 
individuation, or resolve us into a principle to be feared, we may 
say also of our union with any common soul, or many : if we 



272 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

be unible, we are partible, and so have a distinct, though not a 
divided substance, which will have its proper accidents. All 
plants are parts of the earth, really united to it, and radicated 
in it, and live, and are nourished by it ; and yet a vine is a vine; 
and an apple is an apple ; and a rose is a rose ; and a nettle 
is a nettle. And few men would be toiled horses, or toads, 
if it were proved that they are animated bv a common soul. 

Sect. 47. But God letteth us see, that though the world be 
one, yet he delighteth in a wonderful diversity, and multiplicity 
of individuals. How various and numerous are they in the sea, 
and on the land, and in the air. And are there none in the 
other world ? How come the stars therein to be so numerous, 
which are of the same element ? And though, perhaps, Saturn, 
or some other planets, or many stars, may send forth their ra- 
diant effluvia, or parts, into the same air, which the sunbeams 
seem totally to fill and illuminate, yet the rays of the sun, and 
of other stars, are not the same, how near soever in the same 
air. 

Sect. 48. Were there now no more contraction bv egoity, or 
propriety among men, nor mine and thine did signify no more, 
nor the distance were greater than that of the several drops of 
water in the sea, or particles of light in the illuminated air, but 
I had all my part in such a perfect unity and communion with 
all others, and knew that all were as happy as I, so that there 
were no divisions by cross interests or minds, but all Avere one, 
certainly it would make my own comforts greater by far, than 
they are now ? Arc not an hundred candles set together and 
united, as splendid a flame as if they were all set asunder ? So 
one soul, one love, one joy would be. 

Sect. 49. Object. But it is only the fomes that individuateth 
lights : as when the same sun, by a burning glass, lighteth a 
thousand candles, they are individuate only by the matter con- 
tracting, being still all united parts of the same sunbeams. 
And when they are extinct, they are nothing, or all one again. 

Ausw. They were, before they were extinct, both one and 
manv, noiie but fools think that extinction annihilateth them, 
or any part of them ; they are after as much substance, and as 
nnich solar fire, though diffused, and as nnich and no more one 
than before, but not, indeed, many as before, but parts of one. 
Nature hatli made the equal diffused sunbeams to be to the 
air and surface of the earth as the blood equally moving in the 
body ; and our candles and fires seem to be like the same blood 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 273 

contracted in a bile or inflammation, which indeed is more felt 
than the equally diffused blood, but it is as the pain of a disease; 
and so when our fires go out, they are but like a healed, scat- 
tered inflammation, and the same substance is more naturally 
and equally diffused. And if the individuation of souls were 
only by corporeal matter, and the union thus as great at their 
departure, it would not diminish, if it did not too much increase, 
tbcir perfection and felicity ; for there would be no diminution 
of any substance, or power, or activity, or perfection what- 
soever. 

Sect. 50. And this woidd confute their fond opinion, who 
think that separated souls sleep in nudd potentid, for want of an 
organized body to operate in ; for no doubt, but if all holy souls 
were one, this world, either in heaven or earth, hath a common 
body, enough for such a soul to operate in. Even those stoics 
that think departed souls are one, do think that that one soul 
hath a nobler operation than ours, in our narrow bodies, and that 
when our souls cease animating this body, they have the nobler 
and sweeter work, in part, of animating the whole world; and 
those that thought several orbs had their several souls, of 
which the particular wights participated, said the like of sepa- 
rated souls, as animating the bodies of their globes and orbs. 
And though all these men trouble their heads with their own 
vain imaginations, yet this much the nature of the matter tells 
us, which is considerable, that whereas the utmost fear of the 
infidel is, that souls departed lose their individuation or activity, 
and are resolved into one common soul, or continue in a sleepy 
potentiality, for want of a body to operate in, they do but con- 
tradict themselves, seeing it is a notorious truth, 1. That if all 
holv souls were one, no one would be a loser by the union, but 
it would be a greater gain than we must hope for ; for a part of 
one is as much and as noble, and as active a substance, as if it 
were a separated person (and annihilation, or loss of specific 
powers, is not to be rationally feared). 2. And that one soul 
is now either self-subsisting without a body, or animateth a suit- 
able body (as some ancients thought the angels stars). If that 
one soul can act without a body, so may ours, whether as parts 
of it, or not ; if that one soul animate a suitable body, ours, 
were they united parts of it, would have part of that employ- 
ment ; so that hereby tliey confute themselves. 

Sect. .51. 0])j. But this would c([ualize the good and bad, or 
VOL. xvni. T 



^74 Baxter's dying thoughts 

at least, those that were good in several degrees ; and where 
then were the reward and punishment? 

Answ. It would not equal them at all, any more than dis- 
tinct personality would do: for, 1. The souls of all holy persons 
may he so united, as that the souls of the wicked shall have no 
part in that union. Whether the souls of the wicked shall be 
united in one sinful, miserable soul, or rather but in one sinful 
society, or be greatlier separate, disunited, contrary to each 
other, and militant, as part of their sin and misery, is nothing 
to this case. 2. Yet natural and moral union must be differ- 
enced. God is the root of nature to the worst, and however in 
OUe sense it is said, that there is nothing in God but God, yet 
it is true, that in him all live, and move, and have their being; 
hut yet the wicked's in-being in God doth afford them no 
sanctifying or beatifying communion with him, -as experience 
showeth us in this life ; which yet holy souls have, as being 
made capable recipients of it. As I said, different plants, 
briars, and cedars, the stinking and the sweet, are implanted 
parts (or accidents) of the same world or earth. 3. And the 
godly themselves may have as different a share of happiness in 
one common soul, as they have now of holiness, and so as dif- 
ferent rewards (even as roses and tosemary, and other herbs, 
differ in the same garden, and several fruits in the same 
orchard, or on the same tree). For if souls are unible, and so 
partible substances, they have neither more nor less of sub- 
stanceor holinessfor their union ; and so will each havehis proper 
measure. As a tun of water cast into tlie sea will there still 
be the same, and more than a spoonful cast into it. 

Sect. 52. Obj. But spirits are not as bodies extensive and 
quantitative, and so not partible or divisible, and tlierefore your 
supposition is vain. 

Answ. 1. My supposition is but the objectors': for if they 
confess that spirits are substances, (as cannot with reason be 
denied ; for they that specify their operations by motion only, 
yet suppose a pure proper substance to be the subject or thing- 
moved,) then when they talk of many souls becoming one, it 
must be by conjunction and increase of the substance of that 
one : or when they say, that tiiey were always one, they will 
confess v/ithal that they now differ in number, as individuate in 
the body. And who will say, that millions of millions are no 
more than one of all those millions ? Number is a sort of 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 275 

quantity ; and all souls in the world are more than Cain's or 
Abel's only ; one feeleth not what another feeleth; one knoweth 
not what another knoweth. And indeed, though souls have not 
snch corjDoreal extension, as passive, gross, bodily matter hath, 
yet, as they are more noble, they have a more noble sort of ex- 
tension, quantity, or degrees, according to which all mankind 
conceive of all the spiritual substance of the universe ; yea, all 
the angels, or all the souls on earth, as being more, and having 
more substance than one man's soul alone. 2. And the fathers, 
for the most part, especially the Greeks, (yea, and the second 
council of Nice,) thought that spirits created, had a purer sort 
of material being, whicli Tertullian called a body; and doubt- 
less, all created spirits have somewhat of passiveness ; for they 
do recipet'e vel pati from the divine influx; only God is wholly 
impassive. We are moved when we move, and acted when we 
act ; and it is hard to conceive, that (when matter is commonly 
called passive) that which is passive should h.ave no sort of 
matter in a large sense taken ; and if it have any parts distin- 
guishable, they are by God divisible. 3. But if the contrary 
be supposed, that all souls are no more than one, and so that 
there is no place for uniting or partition, there is no place then 
for the objection of all souls becoming one, and of losing indi- 
viduation, unless they mean by annihilation. 

Sect. 53. But that God who (as is said) delighteth both in 
the union, and yet in the wonderful multiplicity of creatures, 
and will not make all stars to be only one ; though fire have a 
most uniting or aggregative inclination, hath further given ex- 
perimental notice that there is individuation in the other world 
as well as here, even innumerable angels and devils, and not 
one only : as apparitions and witches, and many other evidences 
prove, of which more anon. So that, all things considered, 
there is no reason to fear that the souls shall lose their indivi- 
duation or activity, (though they change their manner of ac- 
tion,) any more than their being or formal power : and so it 
is naturally certain that they are immortal. 

Sect. 54. And if holy souls are so far immortal, I need not 
prove that they will be immortally happy ; for their holiness 
will infer it; and few will ever dream that it shall there go ill 
with them that are good, and that the most just and holy God 
will not use those well whom he maketh holy. 

Sect. 1. II. That holy souls shall be hereafter happy, seem- 
cth to be one of the common notices of nature planted in the 

t2 



276 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

consciences of mankind; and it is therefore acknowledged by 
the generaHty of the world that freely use their understandings. 
Most, yea almost all the heathen nations at this day believe it, 
besides the Mahometans ; and it is the most barbarous cannibals 
and Brazilians that do not, whose understandings have had the 
least improvement, and who have rather an inconsiderate nesci- 
ence of it, than a denying opposition. And though some phi- 
losophers denied it, they were a small and contemned party : 
and though many of the rest were somewhat dubious, it was 
only a certainty which they professed to want, and not a pro- 
bability or opinion that it was true ; and both the vulgar and 
the deep-studied men believed it, and those that questioned it 
were the half-studied philosophers, who, not resting in the natu- 
ral notice, nor yet reaching full intellectual evidence of it by 
discourse, had found out matter of difficulty to puzzle them, 
and came not to that degree of wisdom as would have resolved 
them. 

Sect. 2f And even among apostates from Christianity, most, or 
many, still acknowledge the soul's immortality, and the felicity and 
reward of holy souls, to be of the common notices, known by 
nature to mankind. Julian was so much persuaded of it, that, 
on that account, he exhorteth his priests and subjects to great 
strictness and holiness of life, and to see that the Christians did 
not exceed them : and, among us, the Lord Herbert de Veritaie, 
and many others that seem not to believe our supernatural reve- 
lations of Christianity, do fully acknowledge it. Besides, those 
philosophers who most opposed Christianity, as Porphyrius, 
Maximus, Tyrius, and such others. 

Sect. 3. And we find that this notice hath so deep a root in 
nature, that few of those that study and labour themselves into 
bestiality (or sadducism) are able to excuse the fears of future 
misery, but conscience overcometh, or troubleth them much at 
least, when they have done the worst they can against it. And 
whence should all this be in man and not in beasts, if man had 
no further reason of hopes and fears than they ? Are a few Sad- 
ducees wiser by their forced or crude conceits, than all the world 
that are taught by nature itself. 

Sect. 1. III. If the God of nature have made it every man's 
certain duty to make it his' chief care and work in this life, to 
seek for happiness hereafter, then such a happiness there is for 
them that truly seeJi it. But the antecedent h certain, as 1 have 
elsewhere proved, Er(/o, &;c. 



haxter's dying thoughts. 277 

Sect. 2. As to the antecedent. The world is made up of 
three sorts of men, as to the helief of future retribution, 
1. Such as take it for a certain truth ; such are Christians, Ma- 
hometans, and most heathens. 2. Such as take it for uncertain, 
but most probable or likeliest to be true. 3. Such as take it for 
uncertain, but rather think it untrue. For as none can be cer- 
tain that it is false, which indeed is true, so I never yet met with 
one that would say he was certain it was false : so that I need 
not trouble you with the mention of any other party or opinion j 
but if any should say so, it is easy to prove that he speaketh 
falsely of himself. 

Sect. 3. And that it is the duty of all these, but especially 
of the two former sorts, to make it their chief care and work 
to seek their happiness in the life to come, is easily proved thus : 
natural reason requireth every man to seek that which is best 
for himself, with the greatest diligence ; but natural reason 
saith that a probability or possibility of the future everlasting 
happiness is better and more worthy to be sought, than any 
thing attainable in this present life (which doth not suppose it). 
Ergo, &c. 

Sect. 4. The major is past doubt. Good and felicity being 
necessarily desired by the will of man, that which is best, and 
known so to be, must be most desired. 

And the minor should be as far past doubt to men that use 
not their sense against their reason. For, 1. In this life there 
is nothing certain to be continued one hour. 2. It is certain 
that all will quickly end, and that the longest life is short. 3. It 
is certain that time and pleasure past are nothing, properly no- 
thing ; and so no better to us than if they had never been. 
4. And it is certain that, while we possess them, they are poor, 
unsatisfactory things, the pleasure of the flesh being no sweeter 
to a man than to a beast, and the trouble that accompanieth it 
much more. Beasts have not the cares, fears, and sorrows, upon 
foresight, which man hath. I'hey fear not death upon the fore- 
knowledge of it, nor fear any misery after death, nor are put 
upon any labour, sufferings, or trials, to obtain a future happi- 
ness, or avoid a future misery. All which considered, he speak- 
eth not by reason, who saith this vain, vexatious life is better 
than the possibility or probability of the everlasting glory. 

Sect. 5. Now, as to the consequence, or major, of the first 
argument, it is evident of itself, from God's perfection, and the 
nature of his works. God maketh it not man's natural duty 



278 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

to lay out his chief care and labour of all his life, on that which 
is not, or to seek that which man was never made to attain : 
for then, 1. All his duty should result from mere deceit and 
falsehood, and God should govern all the world by a lie, which 
cannot be his part who wanteth neither power, wisdom, nor love, 
to rule them by truth and righteousness, and who hath printed 
his image both on his laws and on his servants ; in which laws 
lying is condemned, and the better any man is, the more he 
hateth it ; and liars are loathed by all mankind. 2. And then 
the better any man is, and the more he doth his duty, the more 
deluded, erroneous, and miserable should he be. For he should 
spend that care and labour of his life upon deceit, for that 
which he shall never have, and so should lose his time and 
labour : and he should deny his flesh those temporal pleasures 
which bad men take, and suffer persecutions and injuries froin 
the wickedj and all for nothing, and on mistake : and the more 
wicked, or more unbelieving, any man is, the wiser and happier 
should he be, as being in the right, when he denieth the life to 
come, and all duty and labour in seeking it, or in avoiding future 
punishment ; and while he taketh his utmost pleasure here, he 
hath all that man was made for. But all this is utterly unsuit- 
able to God's perfection, and to his other works : for he maketh 
nothing in vain, nor can he lie, much less will he make holiness 
itself, and all that duty and work of life which reason itself 
obligeth all men, to be not only vain but hurtful to them. But 
of this argument I have been elsewhere larger. 

Sect. 1. IV. Man differeth so much from brutes in the 
knowledge of God, and of his future possibilities, that it proveth 
that he differeth as much in his capacity and certain hopes. 
1. As to the antecedent, man knoweth that there is a God by his 
works. He knoweth that this God is our absolute Lord, our 
ruler, and our end. He knoweth that, naturallv, we owe him 
all our love and obedience. He knoweth that good men use not 
to let their most faithful servants be losers by their fidelity j nor 
do they use to set them to labour in vain. He knoweth that 
man's soul is immortal, or, at least, that it is far more probable 
that it is so ; and therefore that it must accordingly be well or 
ill for ever, and that this should be niost cared for. 2. And 
why should God give him all this knowledge more than to the 
brutes, if he were made for no more enjoyment than the brutes, 
of what he knoweth. Every wise man maketh his work fit for 
the use that he intendeth it to : and will not God ? So that the 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 279 

consequence also is proved from the divine perfection ; and if 
God were not perfect, he were not God. The denial of a God, 
therefore, is the result of the denial of man's future hopes. 

Sect. 2, And, indeed, though it be but an analogical reason 
that brutes have, those men seem to be in the right who place 
the difference between man and brutes more in the objects, ten- 
dency, and work of our reason, than in our reason itself as such, 
and so make animal reUgiosum to be more of his description 
than animal rationale. About their own low concerns, a fox, a 
dog, yea, an ass, and a goose, have such actions as we know not 
well how to ascribe to any thing below some kind of reasoning, 
or a perception of the same importance. But they think not of 
God, and his government, and laws, nor of obeying, trusting, or 
loving him, nor of the hopes or fears of another life, nor of the 
joyful prospect of it. These are that work that man was made 
for, which is the chief difference from the brutes : and shall we 
unman ourselves ? 

Sect. 1. V. The justice of God, as governor of the world, 
inferreth different rewards hereafter, as I have largely else- 
where proved. 1, God is not only a mover of all that moveth, 
but a moral ruler of man by laws, and judgment, and executions, 
else there were no proper law of nature, which few are so unna-= 
tural as to deny ; and man should have no proper duty, but only 
motion as he is moved. And then, how cometh a government 
by laws to be set up imder God by men ? And then there were 
no sin or fault in any ; for if there were no law and duty, but 
only necessitated motion, all would be moved as the mover 
pleased, and there could be no sin ; and then there would be no 
moral good, but forced or necessary motion. But all this is 
most absurd; and experience telleth us that God doth de facto j 
morally govern the world ; and his right is unquestionable. 

Sect. 2. And if God were not the ruler of the world, by law 
and judgment, the world would have no universal laws, for there 
is no man that is the universal ruler : and then kings and other 
supreme powers would be utterly lawless and ungoverned, as 
having none above them to give them laws, and so they would 
be capable of no sin or fault, and of no punishment; which yet 
neither their subjects' interest, nor their own consciences will 
grant, or allow them thoroughly to believe. 

Sect. 3. And if God be a ruler, he is just ; or else he were 
not perfect, nor so good, as he requireth princes and judges on 
earth to be. An unjust ruler or judge is abominable to all man- 



280 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

kind. Righteousness is the great attribute of the universal 
King. 

Sect. 4. But how were he a righteous ruler, 1 . If he drew all 
men to obey him by deceit ? 2. If he obliged them to seek and 
expect a felicity or reward which he will never give them? 3. If 
he make man's duty his misery? 4. If he require him to labour 
in vain? 5. If he suffer the wicked to prosecute his servants to 
the death, and make duty costly, and give no after recompense? 
6. If he let the most wicked on the earth pass unpunished, or 
to escape as well hereafter as the best, and to live in greater 
pleasure here ? The objections fetched from the intrinsical good 
of duty I have elsewhere answered. 

Sect. I. VI. But God hath not left us to the light of mere 
nature, as being too dark for men so blind as we. The gospel 
revelation is the clear foundation of our faith and hopes. Christ 
hath brought life and immortality to light. One from heaven 
that is greater than an angel was sent to tell us what is there, 
and which is the way to secure our hopes. He hath risen, and 
conquered death, and entered before as our captain and fore- 
runner into the everlasting habitations. And he hath all power 
in heaven and earth, and all judgment is committed to him, 
that he might give eternal life to his elect. He hath frequently 
and expressly promised it them, that they shall live because he 
liveth, and shall not perish but have everlasting life. (Matt, 
xxviii. 18 ; .John v. 22, xvii. 2, xii. 2G, iii. 16 ; Rom. viii. 35 — 
38.) And how fully he hath proved and sealed the truth of his 
word and office to us, I have so largely opened in my ' Reasons 
of the Christian Religion,' and ' Unreasonableness of Infidelity,' 
and in my * Life of Faith,' &:c. ; and since, in my ' Household 
Catechising,' that I will not here repeat it. 

Sect. 2. And as all his word is full of promises of our future 
glory at the resurrection, so we are not without assurance that 
at death the departing soul doth enter upon a state of joy and 
blessedness. " They that died to (or in) the flesh according to 
men, do live in the Spirit according to God." (I Pet. iv. G.) 
For, 

1. He expressly promised the penitent, crucified thief, " This 
day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke xxiii. 43.) 

2. He gave us the narrative or parable of the damned sensu- 
alist, and of Lazarus, (Luke xvi.,) to instruct us, and not to 
deceive us. 

3. He tells the Sadducees that God is not the God of the dead 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 281 

(as his subjects and beneficiaries) but of the living. (Matt. 
xxii. 32.) 

4. Enoch and Elias were taken up to heaven, and Moses 
that died, appeared with Elias on the mount. (Matt, xvii.) 
- 5. He tellethus, (Lid^e xii. 4,) that they that kill the body, 
are not able to kill the soul. Indeed, if the soul were not 
immortal, the resurrection were impossible. Jt might be a new 
creation of another soul, but not a resurrection of the same, 
if the same be annihilated. It is certain that the Jews believed 
the immortality of the soul, in that they believed the resurrec- 
tion and future life of the same man. 

6. And Christ's own soul was commended into his Father's 
hands, (Luke xxiii. 46,) and was in paradise, when his body 
was in the grave, to show us what shall become of ours. 

7. And he hath promised, that where he is, there shall his 
servants be also. (John xii. 26.) And that the life here begun 
in us is eternal life, and that he that believeth in him shall not 
die, but shall live by him, as he liveth by the Father, for he 
dwelleth in God, and God in him, and in Christ, and Christ in 
him. (John xvii. 3, and vi. 54, and iii. 16, 3f), and vi. 47, 50, 
56, 57 ; 1 John iv. 12, 13 ; Luke xvii. 21 ; Rom. xiv. 17.) 

8. And accordingly, Stephen that saw heaven opened, prayed 
the Lord Jesus to receive his Spirit. (Acts vii. 55, 59.) 

9. And we are come to Mount Sion, Sec, to an innumerable 
company of angels, and to the spirits of the just made perfect. 
(Heb. xii. 22, 23.) 

10. And Paul here desireth to depart and be with Christ as 
far better. And to be absent from the body, and be present 
with the Lord. (2 Cor. v. 8.) 

1 1 . And the dead that die in the Lord are blessed, from 
henceforth, that they may rest from their labours, and their 
works follow them. 

12. And if the disol)edient spirits be in prison, and the cities 
of Sodom and Gomorrah suffer the vengeance of etenud fire, 
(1 Pet. iii. 19 ; Jude 7,) then the just have eternal life. And 
if the Jews had not thought the soul immortal, Saul had not de- 
sired the witch to call up Samuel to speak with him. The rest 
I now pass by. We have many great and precious promises on 
which a departed soul may trust. 

13. And (Luke xvi. 9) Christ expressly saith, that when we 
fail, (that is, must leave this world,) we shall be received into 
the everlasting habitations. 



282 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

Sect. 1. VII. And it is not nothing to encourage us to hope 
in him that hath made all these promises, when we find how 
he heareth prayers in this life, and thereby assureth his servants 
that he is their true and faithful Saviour. We are apt in our 
distress to cry loud for mercy and deliverances, and when 
human help faileth, to promise God, tliat if he now will save us, 
we will thankfully acknowledge it his work, and vet when we 
are delivered, to return not only to security, but to ingratitude, 
and think that our deliverance came but in the course of 
common providence, and not indeed as an answer to our 
prayers. And therefore God in mercy reneweth both our dis- 
tresses and our deliverances, that what once or twice will not 
convince us of, many and great deliverances may. This is my 
own case. Oh, hovv oft have I cried to him when men and means 
Vvere nothing, and when no help in second causes did appear, 
and hovv oft, and suddenly, and mercifully hath he delivered 
me ! What sudden ease, what removal of long afflictions have 
I had ! such extraordinary changes, and beyond my own and 
others' expectations, when many plain- hearted, upright Christ- 
ians have, by fasting and prayer, sought God on my behalf, as 
have over and over convinced me of special providence, and 
that God is indeed a hearer of prayers. And wonders I have 
seen done for others also, upon siich prayers, more than for 
myself, yea, and wonders for the church and public societies. 
Though I and others are too like those Israelites, (Psalm Ixxviii.,) 
who cried to God in their troubles, and he oft delivered then> 
out of their distress, but they quickly forgot his mercies, and 
their convictions, purposes, and promises, when they should have 
praised the Lord for his goodness, and declared his works with 
thanksgiving to the sons of men. 

And what were all these answers and mercies but the fruits 
of Christ's power, fidelity, and love, the fulfiUings of his pro- 
mises, and the earnest of the greater blessings of immortality, 
which the same promises give me title to. 

I know that no promise of hearing prayer setteth up our 
wills in absoluteness, or above God's, as if every will of ours 
must be fulfilled if we do but put it into a fervent or confident 
prayer ; but if we ask any thing through Christ, according to 
his will, expressed in his promise, he will hear us. If a sinful 
love of this present life, or of ease, or wealth, or honour, should 
cause me to pray to God against death, or against all sickness, 
want, reproach, or other trials, as if I must live here in pros- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 283 

pcrity for ever If I ask it, this sinful desire and expectation is 
not the work of faith, but of presumption. What if God will 
not abate me my last, or daily pains ? What if he will continue 
my life no longer, whoever pray for it, and how earnestly soever ? 
Shall I therefore forget how oft he hath heard prayers for me ? 
and how wonderfully he hath helped both me and others ? My 
faith hath oft been helped by such experiences, and shall I 
forget them ? or question them without cause at last ? 

Sect. 1. VIII. And it is a subordinate help to my belief of 
immortality with Christ, to find so much evidence that angels 
have friendly communion with us here, and therefore we shall 
have communion with them hereafter. (Psalm xxxiv. 7, and 
xci. 11, 12; Luke xv. 10; 1 Cor. xi. 10; Heb. i. 14, and xii. 
22, and xiii. 2 ; Matt, xviii. 10, and xxv. 31, and xiii. 39, 49 ; 
Acts V. 19, and viii. 26, and xii. 7, 23.) They have charge of 
us, and pitch their tents about us ; they bear us up ; they re- 
joice at our repentance ; they are the regardful witnesses of our 
behaviour ; they are ministering spirits for our good ; they are 
our angels beholding the face of our heavenly Father. They 
will come with Christ in glorious attendance at the great and 
joyful day, and, as his executioners, they will separate the just 
from the unj ust. 

And it is not only the testimony of Scripture by which we 
know their communion with us, but also some degree of expe- 
rience. Not only of old did they appear to the faithful as mes- 
sengers from God, but of late times there have been testimonies 
of their ministration for us. Of which see Zanchy de Angelis, 
and Mr. J. Ambrose, of our communion with angels. Many a 
mercy doth God give us by their ministry, and they that are now 
so friendly to us, and suitable to our communion and help, and 
make up one society with us, do hereby greatly encourage us 
to hope that we are made for the same region, work, and com- 
pany with these our blessed, loving friends. They were once 
in a life of trial, it seems, as we are now, though not on earth. 
(Jude 6 ; 2 Pet. ii. 4.) And they that overcame and are con- 
firmed rejoice in our victory and confirmation. It is not an 
uninhabited world which is above ur,, nor such as is beyond our 
capacity and hope. We are come to an innumerable company 
of angels, and to the spirits of the perfected just, who together 
have discreet quantity, or numerical difference, notwithstanding 
their happy union and communion. 

Sec. 1. IX. And Satan himself, though unwillingly, hath 



284 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

many ways helped my belief of our immortality and future hopes. 
1. I have had many convincing proofs of witches, the contracts 
they have made with devils, and the power which they have re- 
ceived from them.* Beside the volumes of Remigius and Boclin^ 
and the Mallei Malcficorum, Danmis, and others, we had many 
score of them detected, and many executed in one year in 
Suffolk and Essex, f about 1644. And I have at this present a 
flint-stone, which was one of about 160, which was voided by 
the urinary passage, by a bewitched child in Evesham, yet 
living, some of near an ounce weight, which was fully proved, 
the witch executed, and the child, upon her imprisonment, 
freed. To pass by many others. 

Sect. 2. 2. And I have had convincing testimony of apparitions, 
besides that famous one, the devil of Mascon, and that in the 
shape of lieutenant-colonel Bowen, in Wales, mentioned else- 
where, and besides many;}: testimonies of haunted houses, (how- 
ever many, or most such reports, are but deceits) . 

Sect. 3. From both these I gather, 1. That there are indivi- 
dual inhabitants of the invisible world, and that spirits have their 
numerical differences, whatever unity is among them, and 
therefore we have reason to judge the same of separated souls. 
2. That our souls are designed to future happiness or misery, 
which is implied in the foresaid contracts and endeavours of 
devils for our ruin. 3. That faith and holiness are the way of 
life, and unbelief and sin the way to misery, which also is in 
these implied. 

Sect. 4. 3. And I have both read, and partly seen, convincing 
evidence, that there is such an exercise of diabolical power as 
we commonly call possession. Whether all, or most madmen 
are under such a power, as some think, I determine not, but 
that some are under it is evident. The motions of the bodv, 
which I have seen, seem beyond man's natural power. The 
telling of secrets and things absent, the speaking of languages 
never learned, the vomiting of nails, glass, hairs, &c., and other 
such effects, which the most learned, sober, impartial physicians 
profess to have seen, are credible testimonies. 

Sect. 5. 4. And I have felt, and heard, and known from 
others, of such sorts of temptations, as show themselves to be 

* Of this see the second edition, by Dr. More, of Mr. Glanvil's book of 
apparitions called ^4theismus Triumphutus. 

t For the truth of this read Mr. Fairclough's life. 

J See what I have said of particular testimonies in my ' Saint's Rest,' and 
* Unreasonableness of Infidelity.' 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 285 

the acts of malicious spirits, enemies to mankind. The advan- 
tages that Satan taketh of a corrupted fancy, which hath once 
taken in such an image as may be his matter to work upon, is 
very remarkable. I have known a worthy, learned, pious per- 
son, who from his youth to old age, upon such an advantage, 
hath been so tempted, with pleasure, to torment himself, even 
his own flesh, as that for many years together, in a partial me- 
lancholy, at divers fits he was not able (though conscience also 
tormented him for it) to forbear. Many, by an immodest look 
or touch, have given Satan such a power upon their fancies, as 
no reason, conscience, or resolution could of a long time over- 
come. Few men, I think, that observe themselves, have not 
at some time had experience of such inward temptations, as show 
that the author of them is an invincible enemy. All which tells 
us, 1. That there are individual spirits. 2. Yea, devils that 
seek man's misery. 3. And that by the way of sin, and conse- 
quently that a future happiness or misery must be expected by 
us all. 

Sect. 1. X. But the great and sure prognostics of our immortal 
happiness, is from the renewing operations of the Spirit of ho- 
liness on the soul. 1. That such a renewing work there is, all 
true believers in some measure feel. 2. And that it is the 
earnest of heaven, is proved thus. 

Sect. 2. 1. If it be a change of greatest benefit to man. 
2. And if heaven be the very sum and end of it. 3. And if it 
overcome all fleshly, worldly opposition. 4. And can be wrought 
by none but God. 5. And was before jjromised by Jesus 
Christ to all sound believers. 6. And is universally wrought in 
them all, either only, or eminently above all others. 7- And 
was promised them as a pledge and earnest of glory; then it 
can be no less than such a pledge and earnest ', but the former 
are all true, Sec. 

Sect. 3. 1 . That the change is of grand importance unto man, 
appeareth in that it is the renovation of his mind, and will, and 
life. It repaireth his depraved faculties, it causeth man to live 
as man, who is degenerated to a life too like to brutes. By 
God's permitting many to live in blindness, wickedness, and 
confusion, and to be tormenters of themselves and one another, 
by temptations, injuries, wars, and cruelty, vve the fuller see 
what it is that grace doth save men from, and what a differ- 
ence it maketh in the world. Those that have lived unholy in 
their youth, do easily find the difference in themselves when 



286 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

they are renewed. But to them that have been piously inclined 
from their childhood, it is harder to discern the difference, unless 
they mark the case of others. If man be worth any thing, it is for 
the use that his faculties were made, and if he be not good for 
the knowledge, love, and service of his Creator, what is he good 
for ? And certainly the generality of ungodly worldlings are 
undisposed to all such works as this, till the Spirit of Christ 
effectually change them. Men are slaves to sin till Ciu-ist thus 
make them free. (John viii. 32, S3, 36 ; Rom. vi. IS; Acts 
xxvi. IS; Rom. viii. 2.) But where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is liberty. (2 Cor. iii. 17.) If the divine nature and 
image, and the love of God shed abroad on the heart, be not 
our excellency, health, and beauty, uhat is ? And that which is 
born of the flesh, is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is 
spirit. (John iii. ().) Without Christ and his Spirit, we can 
do nothing. Our dead notions and reason, when we see the 
truth, have not power to overcome temptations, nor to raise up 
man's soul to its original and end, nor to possess us with the love 
and joyful hopes of future blessedness. It were better for us to 
have no souls, than that those souls should be void of the Spirit 
of God. 

Sect. 4. 2. And that heaven is the sum and end of all the 
Spirit's operations, appeareth in all that are truly conscious of 
them in themselves, and to them and others by all God's pre- 
cepts, which the Spirit causeth us to obey, and the doctrine 
which it causeth us to believe, and by the description of all 
God's graces which he worketh in us. What is our knowledge 
and faith, but our knov/ledge and belief of heaven, as consisting 
in the glory and love of God there manifested, and as purchased 
by Christ, and given by liis covenant ? WHiat is our hope but 
the hope of glory. (See Heb. xi. 1, and throughout; I Pet. i. 
3,21; Heb. vi.'U, 18, 19, and iii. 6; Tit. ii. 13, and iii. 7; 
Col. i. 5, 23, 27.) And through the Spirit, we wait for all this 
hope. (Gal. v. 5.) What is our love but a desire of commu- 
nion with the blessed God initially here, and perfectly hereafter ? 
As the sum of Christ's gospel was, " Take up the cross, forsake 
all here, and follow me, and thou shalt have a reward in heaven." 
(Luke xiv. 26, 33, and xviii. 22, 23.) And the consolation of 
his gospel is, " Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your 
reward in heaven." (Matt. v. II, 12.) So the same is the sum 
of his Spirit's operations, for what he teacheth and command- 
eth that he worketh. For he worketh by that word, and the 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 287 

impress must be like the signet, what arm soever set it on. 
He sendeth not his Spirit to make men craftier than others for 
this world, but to make them wiser fcr salvation, and to make 
them more heavenly and holy. For the children of this world 
are wiser in their generation than the children of light. Heaven- 
liness is the Sjjirit's special work. 

Sect. 5. 3. And in working this it conquercth the inward 
undisposedness and averseness of a fleshly, worldly mind and 
will, and the customs of a carnal life ; and the outward temp- 
tations of Satan, and all the allurements of the v.-orld. Christ 
first overcame the world, and teacheth and causeth us to Over- 
come it ; even its flatteries and its frowns : our faith is our vic- 
tory. Whether this victory be easy, and any honour to the 
Spirit of Christ, let our experience of the wickedness of the un- 
godly world, and of our own weakness, and of our falls when 
the Spirit of God forsaketh us, be our informer. 

Sect. 6. 4. And that none but God can do this work on the 
sonl of man, both the knowledge of causes and experience 
prove. The most learned, wise, and holy teachers cannot (as 
they confess and show) ; the wisest and most loving parents 
cannot, and therefore must pray to him that can ; the greatest 
princes cannot ; evil angels neither can nor will. What good 
angels can do on tiie heart we know not ; but we know that 
they do nothing, but as the obedient ministers of God. And 
(though we have some power on ourselves, yet) that we our- 
selves cannot do it : that we cannot quicken, illuminate, or 
sanctify ourselves, and that we have nothing but what we have 
received, conscience and experience fully tell us. 

Sect. 7. 5. And that Christ promised this Spirit in a special 
measure to all true believers, that it should be in them his ad- 
vocate, agent, seal, and mark, is yet visible in the gospel ; yea, 
and in the former ])rophets. (Isa. xliv. 34 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 26, and 
xxxvii. 14 ; Joel ii. 28, 2.9 ; Ezek. xi. 19, andxviii. 31 ; Eph, i. 
13 ; John iii. .5, and iv. 23, 24, and vi. 63, and vii, 39 ; John i. 
33, and xiv. 16, 26 5 Acts i. 5, 8; John xv. 26, and xvi. 7 — 9, 
&c.) Indeed the Spirit here, and heaven hereafter, are the 
chief of all the promises of Christ. 

Sect. 8. 6. And that this Spirit is given (not to hypocrites 
that abuse Christ, and do not seriously believe him, nor to mere 
pretending, nominal Christians, but) to all that sincerely believe 
the gospel, is evident not only to themselves in certainty, (if 
they are in a condition to know themselves,) but to others in 



288 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

part by the effects : they have other ends, other aftections, 
other Uves, than the rest of mankind have ; though their hea- 
venly nature and design be the less discerned and honoured in 
the world, because their chiefest difference is out of the sight of 
man, in the heart, and in their secret actions, and because their 
imperfections blemish them, and because the malignant world 
is by strangeness and enmity an incompetent judge, yet it is 
discernible to others, that they live upon the hopes of a better 
life, and their heavenly interest is it that over-ruleth all the ad- 
verse interests of this world, and that in order thereunto they 
live under the conduct of divine authority, and that God's will 
is highest and most prevalent with them, and that to obey and 
please him as far as they know it is the greatest business of 
their lives, though ignorance and adverse flesh do make their 
holiness and obedience imperfect. The universal noise and op- 
position of the world against them, do show that men discern 
a very great difference, which error, and cross interests, and car- 
nal inclinations, render displeasing to those who find them con- 
demned bv their heavenly designs and conversations. 

Sect. 9. But whether others discern it, or deny it, or detest 
it, the true believer is conscious of it in himself: even when he 
groaneth to be better, to believe, and trust, and love God more, 
and to have more of the heavenly life and comforts, those very 
desires signify another appetite and mind, than worldlings have; 
and even when his frailties and weaknesses make him doubt of 
his own sincerity, he would not change his governor, rule, or 
hopes, for all that the world can offer him. He hath the wit- 
ness in himself, that there is in believers a sanctifying Spirit, 
calling up their minds to God and glory, and warring victori- 
ously against the flesh; (1 John v. 9 — 11 ; Gal. v. 17; Rom. 
vii.; Phil. iii. 7 — ^^ '■>) ^o that to will is present with 
them ; and they love and delight in a holy conformity to their 
rule, and it is never so well and pleasant with them, as when 
they can trust and love God most ; and in their worst and weak- 
est condition, they would fain be perfect. This Spirit, and its 
renewing work, so greatly different from the temper and desires 
of worldly men, is given by Christ to all sound believers. 

Sect. 10. It is true, that some that know not of an incarnate 
Saviour, have much in them that is very laudable ; whether it be 
real saving holiness, and whether Abraham were erroneous in 
thinking that even the Sodoms of the world were likely to have 
had fifty righteous persons in them, I am not now to inquire: 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 289 

but it is sure, 1. That the world had really a Saviour, about 
four thousand years before Christ's incarnation ; even the God 
of pardoning mercy, who promised and undertook what after 
was performed, and shall be to the end. 2. And that the Spi- 
rit of this Saviour did sanctify God's elect from the beginning; 
and gave them the same holy and heavenly dispositions (in 
some degree) before Christ's incarnation, as is given since ; yea, 
it is called " The Spirit of Christ," which was before given. 
(I Pet. i. 1 1, 3.) That this Spirit was then given to more than 
the Jews. 4. That Christ hath put that part of the world that 
hear not of his incarnation into no worse a condition than he 
found them in : that as the Jews' covenant of peculiarity was no 
repeal of the universal law of grace, made by God with fallen 
mankind, in Adam and Noah; so the covenant of grace of the 
second edition, made with Christ's peculiar people, is no repeal 
of the foresaid law in the first edition, to them that hear not of 
the second. 5. That all that wisdom and goodness, that is in 
any without the christian church, is the work of the Spirit of 
the Redeemer ; as the light which goeth before sun-rising, and 
after sun-setting, and in a cloudy day, is of the same sun which 
others see, even to them that see not the sun itself. 6. That 
the liker any without the church are to the sanctified believers, 
the better they are, and the more unlike the worse ; so that all 
these six things being undeniable, it appeareth, that it is the 
same Spirit of Christ, which now giveth all men what real good- 
ness is any where to be found. But it is notorious that no part 
of the world is, in heavenliness and virtue, comparable to true 
and serious Christians. 

Sect. 11.7- And let it be added, that Christ, (Eph. i. 14; 
2 Cor. i. 22, and v. 5. ; Rom. viii. 23 ; 2 Tim. ii. 19 ; Eph. i. 
13, and iv. 30 ; I John v. 9, 10; Heb. x. 15,) who i)romised 
the greatest measures of the Spirit, (which he accordingly hath 
given,) did expressly promise this, as a means and pledge, first- 
fruits, and earnest, of the heavenly glory : and, therefore, it is a 
certain proof, that such a glory we shall have. He that can and 
doth give us a spiritual change or renovation, which in its na- 
ture and tendency is heavenly, and sets our hopes and hearts 
on heaven, and turneth the endeavours of our lives to the seek- 
ing of a future blessedness, and told us, before-hand, that he 
would give us this preparatory grace, as the earnest of that fe- 
licity, may well be trusted to perform his word in our actual 
glorification. 

VOL. XYIfl. U 



290 BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS* 

Sect. 12. And now, O weak and fearful soul ! why shouldest 
thou draw back, as if the case were yet left doubtful? Is not 
thy foundation firm? Is not the way of life, through the 
valley of death, made safe by him that conquereth death ? Art 
thou not yet delivered from the bondage of thy fears, when the 
gaoler and executioner, who had the power of death, hath, by 
Christ, been put out of his power, as to thee ? Is not all tliis 
evidence true and sure? Hast thou not the witness in thyself? 
Hast thou not found the motions, the effectual operations, the 
renewing changes, of this spirit in thee, long ago ? And is he 
not still the agent and witness of Christ, residing and operating 
in thee ? Whence else are thy groanings after God; thy 
desires to be nearer to his glory ; to know him better ; to 
love him more ? Whence came ail the pleasure thou hast had 
in his sacred truth, and ways, and service ? Who else over- 
came thy folly, and pride, and vain desires, so far as they are 
overcome ? Who made it thy choice to sit at the feet of Christ, 
and hear his word, as the better part, and to despise the 
honours and preferments of the world, and to account them all 
as dung and dross ? Who breathed in thee all those requests 
that thou hast sent up to God ? Overvalue not corrupted na- 
ture, it bringeth not forth such fruits as these: if thou doubt of 
that, remember what thou wast in the hour of temptation, even 
of poor and weak temptations. And how small a matter hath 
drawn thee to sin, when God did but leave thee to thyself. 
Forget not the days of youthful vanity : overlook not the case 
of the miserable world, even of thy sinful neighbours, who, in 
the midst of light still live in darkness, and hear not the loudest 
calls of God: look about on thousands that, in the same land, 
and under the same teaching, and after the greatest judgments 
and deliverance, run on to all excess of riot, and, as past feel- 
ing, as greedily vicious and unclean. Is it no work of Christ's 
Spirit that hath made thee to differ ? Thou hast nothing to 
boast of, and much to be hundjled for; but thou hast also much 
to be thankful for. Thy holy desires are, alas ! too weak ; but 
they are holy : thy love hath been too cold; ])ut it is holiness, 
and the most holy God, that thou hast loved. Thy hopes in 
God have been too low; but it is God thou hast hoped in, and 
his love and glory that thou hast hoped for. Thy prayers have 
been too dull and interrupted; but it is holiness and heaven 
that thou hast most prayed for. Thy labours and endeavours 
have been too slothful; but it is God, and glory, and the good 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 291 

of mankind, that thou hast laboured for. Though thy motion 
were too weak and slow, it hath been Godward ; and, therefore, 
it was from God. O bless the Lord, that hath not only given 
thee a word that beareth the image of God, and is sealed by 
uncontrolled miracles, to be the matter of thy belief, but hath 
also fulfilled his promises so oft and notably to thee, in the 
answer of prayers, and in great and convincing deliverances of 
thyself and many others ; and hath, by wonders, oft assisted thy 
faith ! Bless that God of light and love, who, besides the uni- 
versal attestation of his word, long ago given to all the church, 
hath given thee the internal seal, the nearer in-dwelling attesta- 
tion, the effects of power, light, and love, imprinted on thy na- 
ture, mind, and will, the witness in thyself, that the word of 
God is not a human dream, or lifeless thing ; that by regenera- 
tion hath been here preparing thee for the light of glory, as by 
generation he prepared thee to see this light, and converse with 
men. And wilt thou yet doubt and fear against all this evi- 
dence, experience, and foretaste ? 

Sect. 13. I think it not needless labour to confirm my soul 
in the full persuasion of the truth of its own immortal nature, 
and of a future life of joy or misery to mankind, and of the 
certain truth of the christian faith; the being of God, and his 
perfection, hath so great evidence, that I find no great tempta- 
tion to doubt of it, any more than whether there be an earth, 
or a sun; and the atheist seemeth to me to be in that no better 
than mad. The christian verity is known only by supernatural 
revelation ; but by such revelation it is so attested externally to 
the world, and internally to holy souls, as maketh faith the 
ruling, victorious, consolatory principle, by which we must live, 
and not by sight ; but tiie soul's immortality and reward here- 
after is of a middle nature, viz., of natural revelation, but in- 
comparably less clear than the being of a God ; and therefore, 
by the addition of evangelical (supernatural) revelation, is made 
to us much more clear and sure. And I find among the in- 
fidels of this age, that most who deny the christian verity, do 
almost as much deny or question the retriljution of a fiiture 
life. And they that are fully satisfied of this, do find Chris- 
tianity so excellently congruous to it, as greatly facilitateth the 
work of faith. Therefore, I tlrlnk, that there is scarce any 
verity more needful to be thoroughly digested into a full assur- 
ance, than this of the soul's immortality, and hope of future 
happiness. 

u2 



292 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

Sect. 14. And when I consider the great unlikeness of men's 
hearts and lives to such a behef, as we all profess, I cannot but 
fear, that not only the ungodly, but most that truly hope for 
glory, have a far weaker belief (in habit and act) of the soul's 
immortality, and the truth of the gospel, than they seem to take 
notice of in themselves. Can I be certain, or fully persuaded, 
(in habit and act) of the future rewards and punishments of 
souls, and that we shall be all shortly judged, as we have lived 
here, and yet not despise all the vanities of this world, and set 
my heart, with resolution and diligence, to the preparation 
which must be made by a holy, heavenly, fruitful life, as one 
whose soul is taken up with the hopes and fears of things of 
such unspeakable importance. Who could stand dallying, as 
most men do, at the door of eternity, that did verily believe his 
immortal soul must be shortly there? Though such an one had 
no certainty of his own particular title to salvation, the cer- 
tainty of such a grand concernment (that joy or misery is at 
hand) would surely awaken him to try, cry, or search j to beg, 
to strive, to watch, to spare no care, or cost, or labour, to make 
all sure in a matter of such weight ; it could not be but he 
would do it with speed, and do it with a full resolved soul, and 
do it with earnest zeal and diligence. What man, that once 
saw the things which we hear of, even heaven and hel7, would 
not afterwards, (at least in deep regard and seriousness,) ex- 
ceed the most resolved believer that you know. One would 
think, in reason, it should be so thought : I confess a wicked 
heart is very senseless. 

Sect. 15. I do confess, that there is much weakness of the 
belief of things unseen, where yet tliere is sincerity ; but surely 
there will be some proportion between our belief and its effects. 
And Avhere there is little regard, or fear, or hopes, or sorrow, or 
joy, or resolved diligence, for the world to come, I must think 
that there is (in act at least) but little belief of it, and that such 
persons little know themselves, how much they secretly doubt, 
whether it be true. I know that most complain, almost alto- 
gether, of the uncertainty of their title to salvation, and little 
of their uncertainty of a heaven and hell ; but were they more 
certain of this, and truly persuaded of it at the heart, it would 
do more to bring them to tliat serious, resolved faithfulness in 
religion, which would help them more easily to be sure of their 
sincerity, than long examinations, and many marks talked of, 
without this, will do. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 293 

Sect. 16. And I confess, that the great wisdom of God hath 
not thought meet, that in the body we should have as clear, and 
sensible, and lively apprehensions of heaven and hell, as sight 
would cause. For that would be to have too much of heaven 
or hell on earth ; for the gust would follow the perception, and 
so full a sense would be some sort of a possession, which we are 
not fit for in this world. And, therefore, it must be a darker 
revelation than sight would be^ that it may be a lower per- 
ception, lest this world and the next should be confounded; and 
faith and reason should be put out of office, and not duly tried, 
exercised, and fitted for reward; but yet faith is faith, and 
knowledge is knowledge ; and he that verily believeth such great, 
transcendent things, though he see them not, will have some 
proportionable affections and endeavours. 

Sect. 17. I confess also, that man's soul, in flesh, is not fit to 
bear so deep a sense of heaven and hell as sight would cause j 
because it here operateth on and with the body, and according 
to its capacity, which cannot bear so deep a sense without dis- 
traction, by screwing up the organs too high, till they break, 
and so overdoing, would undo all; but yet there is an overruling 
seriousness, which a certain belief of future things must needs 
bring the soul to, that truly hath it: and he that is careful and 
serious for this world, and looketh after a better, but with a 
slight, unwilling, half-regard, and, in the second place, must 
give me leave to think, that he believeth but as he liveth, and 
that his doubting, or unbelief, of the reality of a heaven and 
hell, is greater than his belief. 

Sect. 18. O, then, for what should my soul more pray, than 
for a clearer, and stronger faith ? I believe. Lord, help my un- 
belief! I have many a thousand times groaned to thee under 
the burden of this remnant of darkness and unbelief; I have 
many a thousand times thought of the evidences of the chris- 
tian verity, and of the great necessity of a lively, powerful, 
active faith: I have begged it; I have cried to thee night and 
day, Lord increase my faith ! I have written and spoken that 
to others which might be most useful to myself, to raise the 
apprehensions of faith yet higher, and make them liker those 
of sense ; but yet, yet Lord, how dark is this world! What a 
dungeon is this flesh ! How -little clearer is my sight, and 
little quicker are my perceptions, of unseen things, than long 
ago ! Am I at the highest that man on earth can reach, and 
that when I am so dark and low ? Is there no growth of these 



294 HAXTER's bYING THOUGHTS. 

apprehensions more to be expected ? Doth the soul cease its 
increase in vigorous perception, when the body ceaseth its in- 
crease, or vigour, of sensation ? Must I sit down in so low a 
measure, while I am drawing nearer to the things believed; 
and am almost there, where belief must pass into sight and 
love ? Or must I take up with the passive silence and inac- 
tivity, which some friars persuade us is nearer to perfection; 
and, under pretence of annihilation and receptivity, let my 
sluggish heart alone, and say, that in this neglect I wait for thy 
operations? O let not a soul, that is driven from this world, 
and weary of vanity, and can think of little else but immortality, 
that seeks and cries both night and day for the heavenly light, 
and fain would have some foretaste of glory, and some more of 
the first-fruits of the promised joys, let not such a soul either 
long, or cry, or strive in vain ! Punish not my former grieving 
of thy Spirit, by deserting a soul that crieth for thy grace, so 
near its great and inconceivable change. Let me not languish 
in vain desires, at the door of hope; nor pass with doubtful 
thoughts and fears, from this vale of misery. Which should be 
the season of triumphant faith, and hope, and joy, if not when 
I am entering on the world of joy ? O thou that hast left us so 
many consolatory words of promise, that our joy may be full ; 
send, oh ! send, the promised Comforter, without whose ap- 
proaches and heavenly beams, when all is said, and a thousand 
thoughts and strivings have been assayed, it will still be night 
and winter with the soul. 

Sect. 19. But have I not expected more particular and more 
sensitive conceptions of heaven, and the state of blessed souls, 
than I should have done, and remained less satisfied, because 
I expected such distinct perceptions to my satisfaction, which 
God doth not ordinarily give to souls in flesh ? I fear it hath 
been too much so ; a distrust of God, and a distrustful desire to 
know much (good and evil) for ovnselves, as necessary to our 
quiet and satisfaction, was that sin which hath deeply corrupted 
man's nature, and is more of our common pravity, than is 
commonly observed ; I find that this distrust of God, and my 
Redeemer, hath had too great a hand in my desires of a dis- 
tincter and more sensible knowledge. I know that I should 
implicitly, and absolutely, and quietly, trust my soul into my 
Redeemer's hands; (of which I must speak more anon;) and it 
is not only for the body, but also for the soul, that a distrustful 
care is our great sin and misery. But yet we must desire that 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 295 

our knowledge and belief may be as distinct and particular as 
God's revelations are; and we can love no further than we know; 
and the more we know of God and glory, the more we shall love, 
desire, and trust him. It is a known, and not merely an un- 
known God and happiness, that the soul doth joyfully desire ; 
and if I may not be ambitious of too sensible and distinct per- 
ceptions here, of the things unseen ; yet must 1 desire and beg 
the most fervent and sensible love to them that I am capable 
of. I am willing (in part) to take up with that unavoidable 
ignorance, and that low degree of such knowledge, which God 
eonfineth us to in the flesh, so be it he will give me but such 
consolatory foretastes in love and joy, which such a general, 
imperfect knowledge may consist with, that my soul may not 
pass with distrust and terror, but with suitable, triumphant hopes 
to the everlasting pleasures. 

Father of lights ! who givest wisdom to them that ask it of 
thee, shut not up this sinful soul in darkness ! leave me not to 
grope in unsatisfied doubts, at the door of the celestial light ! 
or, if my knowledge must be general, let it be clear and power- 
ful 5 and deny me not now the lively exercise of faith, hope, and 
love, which are the stirrings of the new creature, and the dawn- 
ings of the everlasting light, and the earnest of the promised 
inheritance. 

Sect. 20. But we are oft ready to say, with Cicero, when he 
had been reading such as Plato, that, while the book is in our 
hands, we seem confident of our immortality, and when we lay it 
b}', our doubts return ; so our arguments seem clear and cogent, 
and yet when we think not of them with the best advantage, 
we are oft surprised with fear, lest we should be mistaken, and 
our hopes be vain ; and hereupon (and from the common fear 
of death, that even good men too often manifest) the infidels 
gather, that we do but force ourselves into such a hope as we 
desire to be true, against the tendency of man's nature, and 
that we were not made for a better world. 

Sect. 21. But this fallacy ariseth from men's not distinguish- 
ing, 1. Sensitive fears from rational uncertainty, or doubts. 2. 
And the mind that is in the darkness of unbelief, from that 
which hath the light of faith. 

1 find in myself too much of fear, when I look into eternity, 
interrupting and weakening my desires and joy. But I find 
that it is very much an irrational, sensitive fear, which the dark- 
ness of man's mind, the greatness of the change, the dreadful 



296 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

majesty of God, and man's natural averseness to die, do, in 
some degree, necessitate, even when reason is fully satisfied that 
such fears are consistent with certain safety. If I were bound 
with the strongest chains, or stood on the surest battlements, 
on the top of a castle or steeple, I could not possibly look down 
without fear, and such as would go near to overcome me; and 
yet I should be rationally sure that I am there fast and safe, and 
cannot fall. So is it with our prospect into the life to come ; 
fear is oft a necessitated passion : when a man is certain of his 
safe foundation,-it will violently rob him of the comfort of that 
certainty : yea, it is a passion that irrationally doth much to 
corrupt our reason itself, and would make us doubt because we 
fear, though we know not why : and a fearful man doth hardly 
trust his own apprehensions of his safety, but, among other fears, 
is still ready to fear lest he be deceived : like timorous, melan- 
choly persons about their bodies, who are ready still to think 
that every little distemper is a mortal symptom, and that worse 
is still nearer them than they feel, and they hardly believe any 
words of hope. 

Sect. 22. And Satan, knowing the power of these passions, 
and having easier access to the sensitive than to the intellective 
faculties, doth labour to get in at this backdoor, and to frighten 
poor souls into doubt and unbelief : and in timorous natures he 
doth it with too great success, as to the consolatory acts of 
faith. Though yet God's mercy is wonderfully seen in preserv- 
ing many honest, tender souls from the damning part of unbe- 
lief, and, by their fears, preserveth them from being bold with 
sin ; when many bold and impudent sinners turn infidels, or 
atheists, by forfeiting the helps of grace. 

Sect. 23. And, indeed, irrational fears have so much power 
to raise doubts, that they are seldom separated ; insomuch that 
many scarce know, or observe, the difference between doubts and 
fears : and many say they not only fear but doubt, when they 
can scarce tell why, as if it were no intellectual act which they 
meant, but an irrational passion. 

Sect. 21. If, therefore, my soul see undeniable evidence of im- 
mortality ; and if it be able, by irrefragable argument, to prove 
the future blessedness expected ; and if it be convinced that 
God's promises are true, and sufficiently sealed and attested by 
him, to warrant the most confident belief; and if I trust my soul 
and all my hopes upon this word, and evidences of truth, it is 
not, then, our averseness to die, nor the sensible fears of a soul 



Baxter's dyuvg thoughts. 297 

that looketh into eternity, that invalidate any of the reasons of 
my hope, nor prove the unsoundness of my faith. 

Sect. 25. But yet these fears do prove its weakness ; and 
were they prevalent against the choice, obedience, resolutions, 
and endeavours of faith, they would be prevalent against the 
truth of faith, or prove its nullity; for faith is trust; and trust 
is a securing, quieting thing. " Why are ye fearful, O ye of little 
faith ?" was a just reproof of Christ to his disciples, when sen- 
sible dangers raised up their fears. For the established will 
hath a political or imperfect, though not a despotical and abso- 
lute, power over our passions. And therefore our fears do show 
our unbelief, and stronger faith is the best means of conquering 
even irrational fears; " Why art thou cast down, O my soul, 
and why art thou so disquieted in me ? trust in God," &c. 
(Psalm xlii.,) is a needful way of chiding a timorous heart. 

Sect. 26. And though many say that faith hath not evidence, 
and think that it is an assent of the mind, merely commanded 
by the empire of the will, without a knowledge of the verity of 
the testimony ; yet, certainly, the same assent is ordinarily in 
the Scriptures called, indifferently, knowing and believing : and, 
as a bare command, will not cause love, unless we perceive an 
amiableness in the object, so a bare command of the law, or of 
the will, cannot alone cause belief, unless we perceive a truth 
in the testimony believed : for it is a contradiction ; or an act 
without its object. And truth is perceived only so far as it is 
some way evident : for evidence is nothing but the objective 
perceptibility of truth ; or that which is metaphorically called 
light. So that we must say that faith hath not sensible evi- 
dence of the invisible things believed ; but faith is nothing else 
but the Avilling perception of the evidence of truth in the word 
of the assertor, and a trust therein. We have, and must have, 
evidence that Scripture is God's word, and that his word is true, 
before, by any command of the word or will, we can believe it. 

Sect. 27. 1 do, therefore, neither despise evidence as unneces- 
sary, nor trust to it alone as the sufficient total cause of my be- 
lief : for if God's grace do not open mine eyes, and come down 
in power upon my will, and insinuate into it a sweet acquaint- 
ance with the things unseen, and a taste of their goodness to 
delight my soul, no reasons will serve to stablish and comfort 
me, how imdeniable soever : reason is fain first to make use of 
notions, words, or signs ; and to know terms, propositions, and 



29S Baxter's dying thoughts. 

arguments, which are but means to the knowledge of things, is 
its first employment, and that, alas! which multitudes of learned 
men do take up with : but it is the illumination of God that 
must give us an effectual acquaintance with the things spiritual 
and invisible, which these notions signify, and to which our or- 
ganical knowledge is but a means. 

Sect. 28. To sum up all, that our hopes of heaven have a 
certain ground appeareth, I. From nature: II. From grace: 
III. From other works of gracious providence. 

1. From the rtature of man: I. Made capable of it. 2. 
Obliged, even by the law of nature, to seek it before all. S. Na- 
turally desiring perfection, 1. Habitual : 2. Active : And, 3. 
Objective. 

2. And from the nature of God. 1. As good and commu- 
nicative. 2. As holy and righteous. 3. As wise; making 
none of his works in vain. 

Sect. 29. II. From grace, 1. Purchasing it. 2. Declaring it 
by a messenger from heaven, both by word, and by Christ's own 
(and others') resurrection. 3. Promising it. 4. Sealing that 
promise by miracles there. 5. And by the work of sanctifica- 
tion, to the end of the world. 

Sect. 30. III. By subordinate providence. 1. God's actual 
governing the world by the hopes and fears of another life. 2. 
The many helps which he giveth us for a heavenly life, and for 
attaining it (which are not vain). 3. Specially the ministra- 
tion of angels, and their love to us, and communion with us. 
4. And, by accident, devils themselves convince us. 1. By the 
nature of their temptations. 2. By apparitions, and haunting 
houses. 3. By witches. 4. By possessions ; which though it 
be but a satanical operation on the body, yet is so extraordi- 
nary an operation, that it differeth from the more usual, as (if 
I may so compare them) God's Spirit's operations on the saints, 
that are called his dwelling in them, or possessing them, are 
different from his lower operations on others. 

Sect. 1. II. Having proved that faith and hope have a cer- 
tain, future happiness to exj)ect, the text directeth me next to 
consider why it is described by *' being with Christ ;" viz. I. 
What is included in our " being with Christ." II. That we 
shall be with him. III. Why we shall be with him. 

Sect. 2. To be with Christ, includeth, 1. Presence. 2. 
Union. 3. Communion, or participation of felicity with him. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 299 

Sect. 3. 1. Quest. Is it Christ's godhead, or liis human 
soul, or his human ])ody, that we shall be present with, and 
united to, or all ? Answ. It is all, but variously. 

Sect. 4. 1. We shall be present with the divine nature of 
Christ. Quest. But are we not always so ? And are not all 
creatures so ? Answ. Yes, as his essence comprehendeth all 
place and beings ; but not as it is operative, and manifested in 
and by his glory. Christ directeth our hearts and tongues to 
pray " Our Father, which art in lieaven :" and yet he knew that 
all place is in and with God ; because it is in heaven that he 
gloriously operateth and shineth forth to holy souls : even 
as man's soul is eminently said to be in the head, because it un- 
derstandeth and reasoneth in the head, and not in the foot, or 
hand, though it be also there. And as we look a man in the 
face when we talk to him, so we look up to heaven when we 
pray to God. God who is, and operateth as, the root of nature, 
in all the works of creation, (for in him, we live, and move, and 
are,) and by the way of grace in all the gracious, doth operate, 
and is, by the works and splendour of his glory, eminently in 
heaven : by which glory, therefore, we must mean some created 
glory : for his essence hath no inequality. 

Sect. 5. 2. We shall be present with the human nature of 
Christ, both soul and body : but here our present narrow 
thoughts must not too boldly presume to resolve the difficul- 
ties which, to a distinct understanding of this, should be over- 
come : for we must not here expect any more than a dark and 
general knowledge of them : as, 1. What is the formal differ- 
ence between Christ's glorified body, and his flesh on earth ? 

2. Where Christ's glorified body is, and how far it extendeth. 

3. Wherein the soul and the glorified body differ, seeing it is 
called a spiritual body : these things are beyond our present 
reach. 

Sect. 6. 1 . For what conceptions can we have of a spiritual 
body, save that it is pure, incorruptible, invisible to mortal 
eyes, and fitted to the most perfect state of the soul ? How near 
the nature of it is to a spirit, (and so to the soul,) and how far 
they agree, or differ, in substance, extensiveness, divisibility, or 
activity, little do we know. 

Sect. 7. 2. Nor do we know where and how far Christ's 
body is present by extent. The sun is commonly taken for a 
body, and its motive, illuminative, and calefactive beams, are, 
by the most probable philosophy, taken to be a real emanant 



300 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

part of its substance, and so that it is essentially as extensive 
as those beams ; that is, it at once filleth all our air, and touch- 
eth the surface of the earth ; and how much further it extendeth 
we cannot tell. And what difference there is between Christ's 
glorified body and the sun, in purity, splendour, extent, or ex- 
cellency of nature, little do poor mortals know : and so of the 
rest. 

Sect. 8. Let no man, therefore, cavil, and say, ^ How can a 
whole world of glorified bodies be all present with the one body 
of Christ, when each must possess its proper room?' for, as the 
body of the solar beams, and the extensive air, are so compre- 
sent, as that none can discern the difference of the places which 
they possess, and a world of bodies are present with them both, 
so may all our bodies be with Christ's body, and that without 
anv real confusion. 

Sect. 9. 2. Besides presence with Christ, there will be such an 
union as we cannot now distinctly know. A political, relative 
union is past doubt, such as subjects have in one kingdom with 
their king j but little know we how much more. We see that 
there is a wonderful, corporeal continuity, or contract, among the 
material works of God; and the more spiritual, pure, and noble, 
the more inclination each nature hath to union. Every plant on 
earth hath an union with the whole earth in which it liveth; they 
are the real parts of it. And what natural conjunction our 
bodies shall have to Christ's, and what influence from it, is past 
our knowledge. Though his similitudes in John xv. and vi., and 
Eph. v., and Cor. xii., seem to extend far, yet being but simili- 
tudes, we cannot fully know how far. 

Sect. 10. The same, variatis vm^iandis, we may say of our 
union with Christ's human soul. Seeing souls are more in- 
clinable to union than bodies, when we see all vegetables to be 
united joarts of one earth, and yet to have each one its proper 
individuating form and matter, we cannot, though animals seem 
to walk more disjunct, imagine that there is no kind of union 
or conjunction of invisible souls; though they retain their seve- 
ral substances and forms : nor yet that our bodies shall have a 
nearer union with Christ's body than our souls with his soul. 
But the nature, manner, and measure of it, we know not. 

Sect. 11, Far l^e it from us to think that Christ's glorified, 
spiritual body, is such in forms, parts, and dimensions, as his 
earthly body was. That it hath hands, feet, brains, heart, sto- 
mach, liver, intestines, as on earth : or, that it is such a com- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 301 

pound of earthy water, and air, as here it was, and of such con- 
fined extent : for then, as his disciples and a few Jews only were 
present with him, and all the world besides were absent, and 
had none of his company, so it would be in heaven. But it is 
such as not only Paul, but all true believers in the world, from 
the creation to the end, shall be with Christ, and see his glory : 
and though inequality of fitness, or degrees of holiness, will 
make an inequality of glory, no man can prove an inequality, 
by local distance, from Christ ; or, if such there be, for it is be- 
yond our reach, yet none in heaven are at such a distance from 
him as not to enjoy the felicity of his presence. 

Sect. 12. Therefore, when we dispute against them that hold 
transubstantiation, and the ubiquity of Christ's body, we do 
assuredly conclude that sense is judge, whether there be real 
bread and wine present, or not; but it is no judge, whether 
Christ's spiritual body be present or not, no more than whether 
an angel be present. And we conclude that Christ's body is not 
infinite, or immense, as is his godhead; but what are its dimen- 
sions, limits, or extent, and where it is absent, far be it from us 
to determine, when we cannot tell how far the sun extendeth 
its secondary substance, or emanant beams ; nor well what 
locality is as to Christ's soul, or any spirit, if to a spiritual body. 

Sect. 13. Their fear is vain and carnal, who are afraid lest 
their union with Christ, or one another, will be too near ; even 
lest thereby they lose their individuation, as rivers that fall into the 
sea, or extinguished candles, whose fire is after but a sunbeam, 
or part of the common element of fire in the air, or as the vege- 
tative spirits which, in autumn, retire from the leaves into the 
branches and trunk of the tree. I have proved before, that oiu- 
individuation, or numerical existence, ceaseth not ; and that no 
union is to be feared, were it never so sure, which destroyeth 
not the being, or formal powers, or action of the soul ; and that 
it is the great radical disease of selfishness, and want of holy 
love to God and our Saviour, and one another, which causeth 
these unreasonable fears, even that selfishness which now maketh 
men so partially desirous of their own wills and pleasure in 
comparison of God's, and their own felicity in comparison of 
others, and which maketh them so easily bear God's injuries, 
and the sufferings of a thousand others, in comparison of their 
own. But he that put a great desire of the body's preservation 
into the soul, while it is its form, will abate that desire when the 



302 BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS. 

time of separation is come, because there is then no use for it 
till tlie resurrection ; else it would be a torment to the soul. 

Sect. 14. 3. And as we shall have union, so also commu- 
nion, with the divine and human nature of Christ respectively; 
both as they will be the objects of our soul's most noble and 
constant acts, and as they will be the fountain or communicative 
cause of our receptions. 

Sect. 15. I. We find now that our various faculties have 
various objects, suitable to their natures. The objects of sense 
are things sensible, and the objects of imagination things ima- 
ginable, and the objects of intellection things intelligible, and 
the objects of the will things amiable. The eye, which is a 
nobler sense than some others, hath light for its object, which, 
to other senses, is none : and so of the rest. Therefore we have 
cause to suppose, that as far as our glorified souls and our spi- 
ritual, glorified bodies will differ, so far Christ's glorified soul 
and body will, respectively, be their several objects; and be- 
holding the glory of both will be part of our glory. 

Sect. 16. Yet is it not hence to be gathered, that the sepa- 
rated soul, before the resurrection, shall not have Christ's glori- 
fied body for its objects; for the objects of the body are also 
the objects of the soul, or, to speak more properly, the objects 
of sense are also the objects of intellection and will, though all 
the objects of the intellect and will are not objects of sense. 
The separated soul can know Christ's glorified body, though 
our present bodies cannot see a soul. But how much our spi- 
ritual bodies will excel in capacity and activity these passive 
bodies, that have so much earth and water, v.'e cannot tell. 

Sect. 17. And though now our souls are as a candle in a lan- 
tern, and must have extrinsic objects admitted by the senses be- 
fore they can be understood, yet it followeth not that therefore a 
separated soul cannot know such objects: 1, Because it now 
knoweth them abstractively, per species, because its act of ra- 
tiocination is compound as to the cause (soul and body), liut it 
will then know such things intuitively, as now it can do itself, 
wlicn then the lantern is cast by. 2. And whatever many of 
late, that have given themselves the title of ingenious, have 
said to the contrary, we have little reason to think' that the sen>- 
sitive faculty is not an essential, inseparable power of the .same 
soul, that is intellectual, and that sensation ceaseth to separated 
souls, however the modes of it may cease with their several uses 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 303 

and organs. To feel intellectually, or to understand, and will 
feelingly, we have cause to think, will be the action of separate 
souls : and if so, why may they not have communion with 
Christ's body and soul, as their objects in. their separated state? 
3. Besides that, we are uncertain whether the separated soul 
have no vehicle or body at all. Things unknown to us must not 
be supposed true or false. Some think that the sensitive soul 
is material, and, as a body to the intellectual, never separated. 
I am not of their opinion that make them two substances^ but 
1 cannot say I am certain that they err. Some think that the soul 
is material, of a purer substance than things visible, and that 
the common notion of its substantiality meaneth nothing else 
but a pure, (as they call it,) spiritual materiality. Thus thought 
not only Tertullian, but almost all the old Greek doctors of the 
church that write of it, and most of the Latin, or very many, 
as I have elsewhere showed, and as Faustus reciteth them in the 
treatise answered by Mammertus. Some think that the soul, 
as vegetative, is an igneous body, such as we call ether, or solar 
fire, or rather of a higher, purer kind ; and that sensation and 
intellection are those formal faculties which specifically differ- 
eiice it from inferior mere fire, or ether. There were few of the 
old doctors that thought it not some of these ways material ; 
and, consequently, extensive and divisible per poteniiam divi- 
nam, though not naturally, or of its own inclination, because 
most strongly inclined to unity : and if any of all these uncertain 
opinions should prove true, the objections in hand will find no 
place. To say nothing of their conceit, who say, that as the 
spirit thai retireth from the falling leaves in autumn, continueth 
to animate the tree, so man's soul may do when departed, with 
that to which it is united, to animate some more noble, universal 
body. But as all these are the too bcrld cogitations of men that 
had better let unknovi^n things alone, so yet they may be men- 
tioned to refel that more perilous boldness which denieth the 
soul's action, which is certain, upon, at best, uncertain reasons. 

Sect. 18. I may boldly conclude, notwithstanding such objec- 
tions, that Christ's divine and lunnan nature, soul and body, 
shall be the felicitating objects of intuition and holy love to the 
separated soul before the resurrection ; and that to be with 
Christ is to have such communion with him, and not only to be 
present where he is. 

Sect. 19. 2. And the chief part of this communion will be that 
in which we arc receptive ; even Christ's comnuuiications to 



304 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

the soul. And as the infinite, incomprehensible Deity is the 
root, or first cause, of all communication, natural, gracious, and 
glorious, to being, motion, life, rule, reason, holiness, and hap- 
piness; and the whole creation is more dependent on God, than 
the fruit on the tree, or the plants on the earth, or the members 
on the body ; (though yet they are not parts of the Deity, nor 
deified, because the communication is creative;) so God useth 
second causes in his communication to inferior natures. And 
it is more than probable, that the human soul of Christ, pri- 
marily, and his body, secondarily, are the chief second cause of 
influence and communication both of grace and glory, both to 
man in the body, and to the separated soul. And as the sua is 
first an efficient, communicative, second cause of seeing to the 
eye, and then is also the object of our sight, so Christ is to 
the soul.* For as God, so the Lamb is the light and glory of 
the heavenly Jerusalem, and in his light we shall have light. 
Though he give up the kingdom to the Father, so far as that 
God shall be all in all, and his creature be fully restored to his 
favour, and there shall be need of a healing government no 
more, for the recovering of lapsed souls to God; yet sure lie 
will not cease to be our Mediator, and to be the church's head, 
and to be the conveying cause of everlasting life, and light, and 
love, to all his members. As now we live because he liveth, 
even as the branches in the vine, and the Spirit that quickeneth, 
enlighteneth, and sanctifieth us, is first the Spirit of Christ 
before it is ours, and is communicated from God, by him, to us; 
so will it be in the state of glory, for we shall liave our union and 
communion with him perfected, and not destroyed, or dimi- 
nished. And unless I could be so proud as to think that I am, 
or shall be, the most excellent of all the creatures of God, and 
therefore nearest him, and above all others, how could I think 
that I am under the influence of no second cause, but have 
either grace or glory from God alone ? 

Sect. 20. So far am I from such arrogancy, as to think I 
shall be so near to God, as to be above the need and use of 
Christ and his communications, as that I dare not say that I 
shall be above the need and help of other subordinate causes ; 

* This one truth will give great light into the controversies ahout God's 
gracious operations on the soul ; for when he useth second causes, we see he 
operateth according to their limited aptitude ; and Christ's human nature, 
and all other second causes, are limited, and operate variously and rcsistihly, 
according" to the recipient's capacity. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 305 

as I am now lower than angels, and need their help, and as I am 

under the government of my superiors, and, as a poor weak 

member, am little worth in comparison of the whole body, the 

church of Christ, and receive continual help from the whole, 

so, how far it will be thus in glory, I know not; but that God 

will still use second causes for our joy, I doubt not, and also 

that there will not be an equality ; and that it will be consistent 

with God's all-sufficiency to us, and our felicity in him, that we 

shall for ever have use for one another, and that to sit down 

with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, and 

to be in Abraham's bosom, and sit at Christ's right and left 

hand, in his kingdom, and to be ruler over ten cities, and to 

join with the heavenly host, or choir, in the joyful love and 

praise of God, and of the Lamb, and many such like, are not 

false nor useless notes and notions of our celestial glory. 

Sect. 2 1 . And, certainly, if I be with Christ, 1 shall be with . 
all that are with Christ ; even with all the heavenly society. 
Though these bodies of gross, passive matter must have so much 
room, that the earth is little enough for all its inhabitants; and 
those at the antipodes are almost as strange to us as if they were 
in another world ; and those of another kingdom, another pro- 
vince, or county, and oft another parish, yea, another house, are 
strangers to us ; so narrow is our capacity of communion here. 
Yet we have great cause to think, by many Scripture expres- 
sions, that our heavenly union and communion will be nearer, 
and more extensive ; and that all the glorified shall know each 
other, or, at least,be far less distant, and less strange, than now 
we are. As I said before, when I see how far the sunbeams do ex- 
tend, how they penetrate our closest glass, and puzzle them that 
say that all bodies are impenetrable ; when I see how little they 
hinder the placing or presence of other creatures, and how in- 
timately they mix themselves with all, and seem to possess the 
whole region of the air, when yet the air seemeth itself to fill it , 
&c., I dare not think that glorified spirits, (no, nor spiritual bo- 
dies,) will be suchstrangers to oneanother,as weare hereon earth. 

Sect. 22. And I must needs say, that it is a pleasant thought 
to me, and greatly heipeth my willingness to die, to think that I 
shall go to all the holy ones, both Christ and angels, and de- 
parted, blessed souls. For, 1. God hath convinced me that they 
are better than I (each singly), and therefore more amiable than 
myself. 2. And that many are better than one, and the whole 
than a poor, sinful part, and the New Jerusalem is the glory of 

vol,. XVI n. X 



306 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

the creation. 3. God hath given me a love to all his holy ones, 
as such. 4. And a love to the work of love and praise, which 
they continually and perfectly perform to God. 5. And a love 
to the celestial Jerusalem, as it is complete, and to his glory 
shining in them. 6. And my old acquaintance, with many a 
holy person gone to Christ, doth make my thoughts of heaven 
the more familiar to me. O, how many of them could I name! 
7. And it is no small encouragement to one that is to enter 
upon an unseen world, to think that he goeth not an untrodden 
path, nor enters into a solitary or singular state ; hut foUoweth 
all from the creation to this day, that have passed by death to 
endless life. And is it not an emboldening consideration, to 
think that I am to go no other way, nor to no other place or 
state, than all the believers and saints have gone to before me, 
from the beginning to this time ? Of this more anon. 

TO DEPART. 

Sect. 1. But I must be loosed, or depart, before I can thus be 
with Christ. And I must here consider, I. From what I must 
depart. JI. And how, or in what manner : and I must not re- 
fuse to know the worst. 

Sect. 2. I. And, 1. I know that I must depart from this body 
itself, and the life which consisteth in the animating of it. These 
eyes must here see no more; this hand must move no more; these 
feet must walk no more ; this tongue must speak no more. As 
much as I have loved and over-loved this body, I must leave it to 
the grave. There must it lie and rot in darkness, as a neglected 
and a loathed thing. 

Sect. 3. This is the fruit of sin, and nature would not have it 
so : I mean the nature of this compound man ; but what, tliough 
it be so ? 1. It is but my shell, or tabernacle, and the clothing 
of my soul, and not itself. 2. It is but an elementary compo- 
sition dissolved ; and earth going to earth, and water to water, 
and air to air, and fne to fire, into that union which the ele- 
mentary nature doth incline to. 

3. It is but an instrument laid by when all its work is done, 
and a servant dismissed when his service is at an end. And 
what should I do with a horse, when i shall need to ride or travel 
no more, or with a pen, when I must write no more? It is but 
the laying by the passive receiver of my soul's operations, when 
the soul hath no more to do upon it ; as I cast by my lute, or 
other instrument, when I have better employment than music to 
take up my time. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 307 

4. Or, at most, it is but as flowers die in the fall, and plants in 
winter, when the retiring spirits have done their work, and are 
midisposed to dwell in so cold and unmeet a habitation, as the 
season maketh their former matter then to be. And its retire- 
ment is not its annihilation, but its taking up a fitter place. 

5. It is but a separation from a troublesome companion, and 
putting off a shoe that pinched me; many a sad and painful 
hour I have had in this frail and faltering flesh ; many a weary 
night and day : what cares, what fears, what griefs, and what 
groans, hath this body cost me ! Alas ! how many hours of 
my precious time have been spent to maintain it, please it, 
or repair it ! How considerable a part of all my life hath been 
spent in necessary sleep and rest ; and how much in eating, 
drinking, dressing, physic ; and how much in labouring, or 
using means, to procure these and other necessaries ! Many a 
hundred times I have thought, that it costeth me so dear to live, 
yea, to live a painful, weary life, that were it not for the work and 
higher ends of life, I had little reason to be much in love with it, 
or to be loth to leave it. And had not God put into our nature 
itself a necessary, unavoidable, sensitive love of the bodv, and of 
life, as he puts into the mother, and into every brute, a love of 
their young ones, how unclean, and impotent, and troublesome 
soever, for the propagation and continuance of man on earth ? 
Had God but left it to mere reason, without this necessary pre- 
engagement of our natures, it would have been a matter of more 
doubt and difficultv than it is, whether this life should be loved 
and desired ; and no small number would daily wish that they 
had never been born : a wish that I have had much ado to for- 
bear, even when I have known that it is sinful, and when the 
work and pleasure of my life have been such to overcome the 
evils of it as few have had. 

6. Yea, to depart from such a body, is but to be removed from 
a foul, uncleanly, and sordid habitation. I know that the body 
of man and brutes is the curious, wonderful work of God, and 
not to be despised, nor injuriously dishonoured, but admired, and 
•well used ; but vet it is a wonder to our reason, that so noble a 
spirit should be so meanly housed ; and we may call it " our 
vile body," as the apostle doth. (Phil. iii. 21.) It is made up 
of the airy, watery, and earthly parts of our daily food, subacted 
and actuated by the fierv part, as the instrument of the soul. The 
greater part of the same food which, with great cost, and pomp, 
and pleasure, is first upon our tables, and then in our mouths, to- 

X 2 



308 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

day, is to-morrow a foetid, loatlisome excrement, and castoutinto 
the draught, that the sight and smell of that annoy us not, which 
yesterday was the sumptuous fruit of our ahundance, and the 
glory of that which is called great housekeeping, and the plea- 
sure of our eyes and taste. And is not the rest that turneth 
into hlood and flesh, of the same general kind with that which 
is turned into loathsome filth ? The difference is, that it is fit- 
ter for the soul by the fiery spirits, yet longer to operate on and 
keep from corruption ; our blood and flesh are as stinking and 
loathsome a substance as our filthiest excrements, save that they 
are longer kept from putrefaction. Why then should it more 
grieve me, that one part of my food, which turneth into flesh, 
should rot and stink in the grave, than that all the rest should 
daily stink in the draught ? Yea, while it is within me, were it 
not covered from my sight, what a loathsome mass would my 
intestines appear ! If I saw what is in the guts, the mesentery, 
the ventricles of the brain, what filth, what bilious or mucous 
matter, and, perhaps, crawling worms, there are in the most 
proud or comely person, I should think that the cover of a 
cleaner skin, and the borrowed ornaments of apparel, make no 
great difference between such a body and a carcass (which may 
be also covered with an adorned coffin and monument, to de- 
ceive such spectators as see but outsides) ; the change is not so 
great of corruptible flesh, replete with such foetid excrements, 
into corrupted flesh, as some fools imagine. 

7. Yet more : to depart from such a body is but to be loosed 
from tliC bondage of corruption, and from a clog and prison 
of the soul. I say not that God put a pre-existent soul into 
this prison penally, for former faults ; I must say no more than 
I can j)rove, or than I know ; but that body which was an apt 
servant to innocent man's soul, is become as a prison to him 
now ; what alteration sin made upon the nature of the body, as 
whether it be more terrene and gross than else it would have 
been, I have no reason to assert : of earth or dust it was at first, 
and to dust it is sentenced to return. But no doubt but it hath 
its part in thnt dispositive deprivation which is the fruit of sin. 
We find that the soul, as sensitive, is so imprisoned, or shut up, in 
flesh, that sometimes it is more than one door that must be 
opened before the object and the faculty can meet. In the eye, 
indeed, the soul seemetli to have a window to look out at, and 
to be almost itself visil)le to otiiers ; and yet there are many in- 
terj)osing tunicles, and a suffusion, or winking, can make the 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 309 

clearest sight to be as useless for the time as if it were none ; 
and if sense be thus shut up from its object, no wonder if reason 
also be under difficulties from corporeal impediments ; and if 
the soul that is yoked with such a body can go no faster than 
its heavy pace. 

8. Yet further : to depart from such a body, is but to be 
separated from an accidental enemy, and one of our greatest 
and most hurtful enemies ; though still we say, that it is not by 
any default in the work of our Creator, but by the effects of sin, 
that it is such ; what could Satan, or any other enemy of our 
souls, have done against us without our flesh ? What is it but 
the interest of this body, that standeth in competition against 
the interest of our souls and God ? What else do the profane 
sell their heavenly inheritance for, as Esau his birthright ? No 
man loveth evil, as evil, but as some way a real or seeming good ; 
and what good is it but that which seemeth good for the body ? 
What else is the bait of ambition, covetousness, and sensuality, 
but the interest and pleasure of this flesh ? What taketh up the 
thoughts and care which we should lay out upon things spiritual 
and heavenly, but this body and its life ? What pleasures are 
they that steal away men's hearts from the heavenly pleasures 
of faith, hope, and love, but the pleasures of this flesh ? This 
draweth us to sin ; this hindereth us from and in our duty. This 
body hath its interest which must be minded, and its inordinate 
appetite vi'hich must be pleased ; or else what murmurings and 
disquiet must we expect. Were it not for bodily interest, and 
its temptations, how much more innocently and holily might I 
live ! J should have nothing to care for, but to please God, and 
to be pleased in him, were it not for the care of this bodily life. 
What employment should my will and love have, but to delight 
in God, and love him and his interest, were it not for the love 
of the body, and its concerns ? By this the mind is darkened^ 
and the thoughts diverted ; by this our wills are perverted and 
corrupted, and, l)y loving things corporeal, contract a strange- 
ness and aversation from things spiritual ; by tliis, heart and 
time are alienated from God ; our guilt is increased, and our 
heavenly desire and hopes destroyed; life made unholy and un- 
comfortable, and death made terrible ; God and our souls separa- 
ted, and life eternal set by, and in danger of being utterly lost. 
1 know that it is the sinful soul that is in all this the chief cause 
and agent ; but what is it but bodily interest that is its tempta- 
tion, bait, and end ? What but the body, and its life, and its 



310 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

pleasure, is the chief, objective, alluring cause of all tliis sin and 
misery ? And shall I take such a body to be better than heaven, 
or be loth to be loosed from so troublesome a yoke- fellow, or 
to be separated from so burdensome and dangerous a com- 
panion ? 

Sect. 3. Obj. But I know this habitation, but the next I know 
not. I have long been acquainted with this body, and this 
world, but the next I am unacquainted with. 

Ans. 1. If you know it, you know all that of it which I have 
mentioned before ; you know it to be a burden and snare ; I am 
sure I know, by long experience, that this flesh hath been a 
painful lodging to my soul, and this world as a tumultuous ocean, 
or like the uncertain and stormy region of the air. And well 
lie deserveth bondage, pain, and enmity, who will love them be- 
cause he is acquainted with them, and is loth to leave them 
because he hath had them long, and is afraid of being well be- 
cause he hath been long sick. 

2. And do you not know the next and better habitation ? Is 
faith no knowledge ? If you believe God's promise, you know 
that such a state there is ; and you know, in general, that it is 
better than this world ; and you know that we shall be in holi- 
ness and glorious happiness with Christ : and is this no know- 
ledge ? 3. And what we know not, Christ, that prepareth and 
promiseth it, doth know ; and is that nothing to us, if really we 
trust our souls to him ? He that knoweth not more good by 
heaven than by earth is yet so earthly and unbelieving, that it 
is no wonder if he be afraid and unwilling to depart. 

Sect. 4. II. In departing from this body and life, I must 
depart from all its ancient pleasures : I must taste no more 
sweetness in meat, or drink, or rest, or sport, or any such thing, 
that now delighteth me ; house and lands, and goods, and wealth, 
must all be left ; and the place where I live must know me no 
more. All my possessions must be no more to me, nor all that 
I laboured for, or took delight in, than if they had never been 
at all. 

And what though it must be so ? Consider, O my soul ! I. 
Thy ancient pleasures are all past already ; thou losest none of 
them by death, for they are all lost before, if immortal grace 
have not, by sanctifying them, made the benefits of them to be- 
come immortal. All the sweet draughts, and morsels, and 
sports, and laughters ; all the sweet thoughts of thy worldly 
possessions, or thy hopes, that ever thou hadst till this present 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 311 

hour, are passed l)y, dead, and gone already. All that death 
doth to such as these is, to prevent such, that on earth thou 
shalt have no more. 

2. And is not that the case of every brute, that hath no 
comfort from the prospect of another life, to repair his loss ; 
and yet as our dominion diminisheth their pleasure while they 
live, by our keeping them under fear and labour, so, at our will, 
their lives must end. To please a gentleman's appetite for half 
an hour, or less, birds, beasts, and fishes, must lose life itself, and 
all the pleasure which light might have afforded them for many 
years ; yea, perhaps many of these (birds and fishes at least) 
must die to become but one feast to a rich man, if not one ordi- 
nary meal. And is not their sensual pleasure of the same nature 
as ours ? Meat is as sweet to them, and ease as welcome, and 
lust as strong (in season) ; and the pleasure that death depriveth 
our flesh of, is such as is common to man with brutes ; why 
then should it seem hard to us to lose that in the course of 
nature, which our wills deprive them of at our pleasure ? When, 
if we are believers, we can say, that we do but exchange these 
delights of life for the greater delights of a life with Christ, 
which is a comfort which our fellow creatures (the brutes^ have 
not. 

3. And, indeed, the pleasures of life are usually embittered with 
so much pain, that to a great part of the world doth seem to ex- 
ceed them ; the vanity and vexation is so great and grievous as 
the pleasure seldom countervaileth. It is true, that nature de- 
sireth life, even under sufferings that are but tolerable, rather 
than to die ; but that is not so much from the sensible pleasure 
of life, as from mere natural inclination ; which God hath laid 
so deep, that free-will hath no power against it. As before I 
said, that the body of man is such a thing, that could we see 
through the skin (as men may look through a glass hive upon 
the bees) and see all the parts and motion, the filth and excre- 
ments, that are in it, the soul would hardly be willing to actuate, 
love, and cherish such a mass of unclean matter, and to dwell in 
such a loathsome place, unless God had necessitated it by nature 
(deeper than reason or sense) to such a love and such a labour, 
by the po7idus or spring of inclination ; even as the cow would 
not else lick the unclean calf, nor women themselves be at so 
much labour and trouble with their children, while there is little 
of them to be pleasing, l)ut uncleanness, and crying, and helpless 
impatiency, to make them wearisome, had not necessitating in- 



312 haxter's dying thoughts. 

clination done more hereto than any other sense or reason ; even 
so I now say of the pleasure of living, that the sorrows are so 
much greater to multitudes than the sensible delight, that life 
would not be so commonly chosen and endured under so much 
trouble, were not men determined thereto by natural necessitat- 
ing inclination ; (or deterred from death by the fears of misery 
to the separated soul^) and yet all this kept not some, counted 
the best and wisest of the heathens, from taking it for the valour 
and wisdom of a man to make away his life in time of extremity, 
and from making this the great answer to them that grudge at 
God for making their lives so miserable, ' If the misery be greater 
than the good of life, why dost thou not end it ? Thou mayest 
do that when thou wilt/ 

Our meat and drink is pleasant to the healthful, but it costeth 
poor men so much toil, and labour, and care, and trouble to 
procure a poor diet for themselves, and their families, that, I 
think, could they live without eating and drinking, they would 
thankfully exchange the pleasure of it all, to be eased of their 
care and toil in getting it. And when sickness cometh, even 
the pleasantest food is loathsome, 

4. And do we not willingly interrupt and lay by these plea- 
sures every night, when we betake ourselves to sleep ? It is pos- 
sible, indeed, a man may then have pleasant dreams ; but I think 
few go to sleep for the pleasure of dreaming ; either no dreams, 
or vain, or troublesome dreams, are much more common. And 
to say that rest and ease is my pleasure, is but to say, that my 
daily labour and cares are so much greater than my waking 
pleasure, that I am glad to lay by both together. For what is 
ease but deliverance from weariness and pain ? For in deep 
and dreamless sleep there is little positive sense of the pleasure 
of rest itself. But, indeed, it is more from nature's necessitated 
inclination to this self-easing and repairing means, than from 
the positive pleasure of it, that we desire sleep. And if we can 
thus be contented every night to die, as it were, to all our 
waking pleasures, why should we be unwilling to die to them at 
once ? 

5. If it be the inordinate pleasures forbidden of God, which 
you are loth to leave, those must be left before vou die, or else 
it had been better for you never to have been born, yea, everv 
wise and godly man doth cast them off with detestation. You 
inust be against holiness on that account, as well as against 
death, and, indeed, the same cause which maketh men unwilling 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 313 

to live a holy life, hath a great hand in making them unwilling 
to die, even because they are loth to leave the pleasure of sin. 
If the wicked be converted, he must be gluttonous and drunken 
no more ; he must live in pride, vain-glory, worldliness, and 
sensual pleasures, no more, and therefore he draweth back from 
a holy life, as if it were from death itself. And so he is the 
lother to die, because he must have no more of the pleasures of 
his riches, pomp, and honours, his sports, and lust, and pleased 
appetite, for ever. But what is this to them that have mortified 
the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof ? 

6. Yea, it is these forbidden pleasures which are the great 
impediments both of our holiness and our truest pleasures; and 
one of the reasons why God forbiddeth them, is, because they 
hinder us from better. And if for our own good we must forsake 
them when we turn to God, it must be supposed that they should 
be no reason against our willingness to die, but rather that to 
be free from the danger of them, we should be the more willing. 

7. But the great satisfying answer of this objection is, that 
death will pass us to far greater pleasures, with which all 
these are not worthy to be compared. But of this more in due 
place. 

Sect. 5. III. When I die, I must depart, not only from sen- 
sual delights, but from the more manly pleasures of my studies, 
knowledge, and converse with many wise and godly men, and 
from all my pleasure in reading, hearing, public and private ex- 
ercises of religion, &:c. I must leave my library, and turn over 
those pleasant books no more. I must no more come among 
the living, nor see the faces of my faithful friends, nor be seen 
of man. Houses, and cities, and fields, and countries, gardens, 
and walks, will be nothing as to me. I shall no more hear of 
the affairs of the world, of man, or wars, or other news, nor see 
what becomes of that beloved interest of wisdom, piety, and 
peace, which 1 desire may prosper, &c. 

Answ, 1. Though these delights are far above those of sen- 
sual sinners, vet, alas ! how low and little are they ! How small 
is our knowledge in comparison of our ignorance ! And how 
little doth the knowledge of learned doctors differ from the 
thoughts of a silly child ! For from our childhood we take it 
in by drops, and as trifles are the matter of childish knowledge, 
so words, and notions, and artificial forms, do make up more 
of the learning of the world, than is commonly understood, and 
many such learned men know little more of any great and ex- 



314 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

eel lent things themselves, than rustics that are contemned l)v 
them for their ignorance. God, and the life to come, are little 
better known by them, if not much less, than by many of the 
unlearned. What is it but a child-game, that many logicians, 
rhetoricians, grammarians, yea, metaphysicians, and other phi- 
losophers, in their eagerest studies and disputes, are exercised 
in ? Of how little use is it to know what is contained in many 
hundred of the volumes that fill our libraries ! Yea, or to know 
many of the most glorious speculations in physics, mathema- 
tics, &;c., which have given some the title of Virtuosi, and In- 
geniosi, in these times, who have little the more wit or virtue to 
live to God, or overcome temptations from the flesh and world, 
and to secure their everlasting hopes. What pleasure or quiet 
doth it give to a dying man to know almost any of their trifles ? 

2. Yea, it were well if much of our reading and learning did 
us no harm, nay, more than good. I fear lest books are to some 
but a more honourable kind of temptation than cards and dice, 
lest many a precious hour be lost in them, that should be 
employed on much higher matters, and lest many make such 
knowledge but an unholy, natural, vea, carnal pleasure, as world- 
lings do the thoughts of their lands and honours, and lest they 
be the more dangerous by how much the less suspected. But 
the best is, it is a pleasure so fenced from the slothful with 
thorny labour of hard and long studies, that laziness saveth 
more from it than grace and holy wisdom doth. But, doubtless, 
fancy and the natural intellect may, with as little sanctity, live 
in the pleasure of reading, knowing, disputing, and writing, 
as others spend their time at a game at chess, or other inge- 
nious sport. 

For my own part, I know that the knowledge of natural 
things is valuable, and may be sanctified, much more theologi- 
cal theory, and when it is so, it is of good use ; and I have little 
knowledge which I find not some way useful to my highest ends. 
And if wishing or money could procure more, I would wish and 
empty my purse for it ; but yet if many score or hundred books 
which I have read, had been all unread, and I had that time 
now to lay out upon higher things, I should think myself much 
richer than now I am. And I must earnestly pray, the Lord 
forgive me the hours that I have spent in reading things less 
profitable, for the pleasing of a mind that would fain know all, 
which I should have spent for the increase of holiness in myself 
and others ! and yet I must thankfully acknowledge to God, that 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 315 

from my youth he taught me to begin with things of greatest 
weight, and to refer most of my other studies thereto, and to 
spend my days under the motives of necessity and profit to 
myself, and those with whom I had to do. And I now think 
better of the course of Paul, that determined to know nothing 
but a crucified Christ, among the Corinthians, that is, so to 
converse with them as to use, and glorying as if he knew nothing 
else, and so of the rest of the apostles and primitive ages. And 
though I still love and honour, (and am not of Dr. Colet's mind, 
who, as Erasmus saith, most slighted Augustine,) yet I less 
censure even that Carthage council which forbade the reading of 
the heathens' books of learning and arts, than formerly 1 have 
done. And I would have men savour most that learning in their 
health, which they will, or should, savour most in sickness, and 
near to death. 

3. And, alas i how dear a vanity is this knowledge ! That 
which is but theoretic and notional, is but a tickling delectation 
of the fancy or mind, little differing from a pleasant dream. 
But how many hours, what gazing of the wearied eye, what 
stretching thoughts of the impatient brain must it cost us, if we 
will attain to any excellency ? Well saith Solomon, " Much 
reading is a weariness to the flesh, and he that increaseth know- 
ledge, increaseth sorrow." How many hundred studious days 
and weeks, and how many hard and tearing thoughts, hath my 
little, very little knowledge, cost me ; and how much infirmity 
and painfulness to my flesh, increase of painful diseases, and loss 
of bodily ease and health ! How much pleasure to myself of 
other kinds, and how much acceptance with men have 1 lost by 
it, which I might easily have had in a more conversant and plau- 
sible way of life 1 And when all is done, if I reach to know any 
more than others of my place and order, I must differ so much 
(usually) from them, and if I manifest not that difference, but 
keep all that knowledge to myself, I sin against conscience and 
nature itself. The love of man, and the love of truth, oblige me 
to be soberly communicative. Were I so indifferent to truth 
and knowledge, as easily to forbear their propagation, 1 must 
also be so indifferent to them, as not to think them worth so 
dear a price as they have cost me (though they are the free gifts 
of God). As nature is universally inclined to the propagation of 
the kind by generation, so is the intellectual nature to the com- 
munication of knowledge, which yet hath its lust and inordi- 



316 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

nacy in proud, ignorant, hastj' teachers and disputers, as the 
generating faculty hath in fornicators and adulterers. 

But if I obey nature and conscience in communicating that 
knowledge which containeth my difference aforesaid, the dis- 
senters too often take themselves disparaged by it, how peace- 
ably soever I manage it; and as bad men take the piety of the 
godly to be an accusation of their impiety, so many teachers 
take themselves to be accused of ignorance, by such as con- 
demn their errors by the light of truth : and if you meddle not 
with any person, yet take they their opinions to be so much their 
interest, as that all that is said against them they take as said 
against themselves. And then, alas ! what envyings, what 
whispering disparagements, and what backbitings, if not mali- 
cious slanders and underminings, do we meet with from the car- 
nal clergy! And O that it were all from them alone! and that 
among the zealous and suffering party of faithful preachers, 
there were not much of such iniquity, and that none of them 
preached Christ in strife and envy! It is sad that error should 
find so much shelter under the selfishness and pride of pious 
men, and that the friends of truth should be tempted to reject 
and abuse so much of it in their ignorance, as they do : but the 
matter of fact is too evident to be hid. 

But, especially, if we meet with a clergy that are high, and 
have a great deal of worldly interest at the stake: or, if they 
be in councils and synods, and have got the major vote, they 
too easily believe that either their grandeur, reverence, names, or 
numbers, must give them the reputation of being orthodox, and 
in the right, and will warrant them to account and defame him 
as erroneous, heretical, schismatical, singular, factious, or proud, 
that presumeth to contradict them, and to know more than they. 
Of which not only the case of Nazianzen, Martin, Chrysostom, 
are sad proofs, but also the proceedings of too many general 
and provincial councils. And so our hard studies and darling 
truth must make us as owls, or reproached persons, among those 
reverend lirethren, who are ignorant at easier rates, and who 
find it a far softer kind of life to think and say as the most or 
best-esteemed do, than to pin-chase reproach and obloquy so 
dearly. 

And the religious people of the several parts will say as 
they hear their teachers do, and be the militant followers of 
their too militant leaders : and it will be their house talk, their 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 317 

shop talk, their street talk, if not their church talk, that such 
an one is an erroneous, dangerous man, because he is not as igno- 
rant and erroneous as they, especially if they be the followers of 
a teacher much exasperated by confutation, and engaged in the 
controversy; and also if it should be suffering confessors that 
are contradicted, or men most highly esteemed for extraordinary 
degrees of piety: then, what cruel censures must he expect, 
who ever so tenderly would suppress their errors ? 

Oh ! what sad instances of this are, 1 . The case of the con- 
fessors in Cyprian's days, who, as many of his epistles show, 
became the great disturbers of that church. 2. And the Egyp- 
tian monks at Alexandria, in the days of Theophilus, who 
turned Anthropomorphites, and raised abominable tumults, with 
woful scandal, and odious bloodshed. 3. And O that this age 
had not yet greater instances to prove the matter than any of 
these ! 

And, now, should a man be loth to die, for fear of leaving 
such troublesome, costly learning and knowledge, as the wisest 
men can here attain ? 

4. But the chief answer is yet behind. No knowledge is 
lost, but perfected, and changed for much nobler, sweeter, greater 
knowledge. Let men be never so uncertain in particular de 
modo, whether acquired habits of intellect and memory die with 
us, as being dependent on the body; yet, by what manner 
soever, that a far clearer knowledge we shall have than is here 
attainable, is not to be doubted of. And the cessation of our 
present mode of knowing, is but the cessation of our ignorance 
and imperfection: as our wakening endeth a dreaming know- 
ledge, and our maturity endeth the trifling knowledge of a 
child: for so saith the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. xiii. 8 — 12.) Love 
never faileth, and we can love no more than we know ; but whe- 
ther there be prophecies they shall fail (that is, cease) : whether 
there be tongues they shall cease : whether there be know- 
ledge, notional and abstractive, such as we have now, it shall 
vanish away : " When I was a child I spake as a child, under- 
stood as a child, I thought as a child ; but when I became a 
man, I put away childish things : for now we see through a 
glass {per species) darkly," as men understand a thing by a me- 
taphor, parable, or riddle, "but then face to face;" even crea- 
tures intuitively, as in themselves naked and open to our sight. 
"Now, I know in part;" (not rem sed aUqitid ret; in which 
sense Sanchez truly saith, ^ nihil scitiir ;') "but then I shall 



318 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

know, even as I am known ; not as God knoweth us:" for our 
knowledge and his must not be so comparatively likened ; but 
as holy spirits know us both now and for ever, we shall both 
know and be known by immediate intuition. 

If a physician be to describe the parts of a man, and the 
latent diseases of his patient, he is fain to search hard, and be- 
stow many thoughts of it, besides his long reading and con- 
verse, to make him capable of knowing : and when all is drme, 
lie goeth much upon conjectures, and his knowledge is mixed 
with many uncertainties, yea, and mistakes ; but when he open- 
eth the corpse, he seeth all, and his knowledge is more full, 
more true, and more certain ; besides that, it is easily and quickly 
attained, even by a present look. A countryman knoweth the 
town, the fields, and rivers, where he dwelleth, yea, and the 
plants and animals, with ease and certain clearness, when he 
that must know the same things by the study of geographical 
writings and tables, must know them but with a general, an un- 
satisfactory, and oft a much mistaking kind of knowledge. 
Alas ! when our present knowledge hath cost a man the study 
of forty, or fifty, or sixty years, how lean and poor, how doubt- 
ful and unsatisfactory is it after all ! But when God will show 
us himself, and all things, and when heaven is known as the sun 
by its own light, this will be the clear, sure, and satisfactory 
knowledge : " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
Godj" (Matt. V.;) " And without holiness none can see him." 
(Heb. xii. 14.) This sight will be worthy the name of wisdom, 
when our present glimpse is but philosophv, a love and desire 
of wisdom. So far should we be from fearing death, through the 
fear of losing our knowledge, or any of the means of know- 
ledge, that it should make us rather long for the world of glori- 
ous light, that we might get out of this darkness, and know all 
that with an easy look, to our joy and satisfaction, which here 
we know with troublesome doubtings, or not at all. Shall we be 
afraid of darkness in the heavenly light, or of ignorance, when 
we see the Lord of glory ? 

Sect. 6. And as for the loss of sermons, books, and other 
means, surely it is no loss to cease the means when we have at- 
tained the end. Cannot we spare our winter clothes, as trouble- 
some, in the heat of summer, and sit by the hot fire without our 
gloves? Cannot we sit at home without a horse or a coach, 
or set them by at our journey's end ? Cannot we lie in bed 
without boots and spurs ? Is it grievous to us to cease our 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 319 

physic when we are well. Even here, he is happier that hath least 
of the creature, and needeth least, than he that hath much and 
needeth much ; hecause all creature commodities and helps 
have also their discommodities and troublesomeness; and the 
very applying and using so many remedies of our want is 
tedious of itself: and as God only needeth nothing, but is self- 
sufficient, and therefore only perfectly and essentially happy, so 
those are likest God that need least from without, and have 
the greatest plenitude of internal goodness. What need we to 
preach, hear, read, pray, to bring us to heaven, when we are 
there ? 

Sect. 7. And as for our friends, and our converse with them, 
as relations, or as wise, religious, and faithful to us, he that be- 
lieveth not that there are far more, and far better, in heaven, 
than are on earth, doth not believe, as lie ought, that there is a 
heaven. Our friends here are wise, but they are unwise also ; 
they are faithful, but partly unfaithful ; they are holy, but also, 
alas 1 too sinful; they have the image of God, but blotted and 
dishonoured by their faults; they do God and his church much 
service, but they also do too much against him, and too much 
for Satan, even when they intend the honour of God; they pro- 
mote the gospel, but tliey also hinder it : their weakness, igno- 
rance, error, selfishness, pride, passion, division, contention, 
scandals, and remissness, do oft so much hurt, that it is hard to 
discern, whether it be not greater than their good to the church, 
or to their neighbours. Onr friends are our helpers and com- 
forters; but how oft also are they our hinderers, troubles, and 
grief? But in heaven they are altogether wise, and holy, and 
faithful, and concordant, and have nothing in them, nor there 
done by them, but what is amiable to God and man. 

And, with our faithful friends, we have here a mixture, partly 
of useless and burdensome persons, and partly of unfaithful 
hypocrites, and partly of self-conceited factious wranglers, and 
partly of malicious, envious underminers, and partly by implacable 
enemies; and how manv of all these, set together is there for 
one worthy, faithful friend ! And how great a number is there to 
trouble you, for one that will indeed comfort you ! But in 
heaven there are none but the wise and holy; no hypocrites, no 
burdensome neighbours, no treacherous, or oppressing, or per- 
secuting enemies are there. And is not all good and amiable 
better than a little good, with so troublesome a mixture of noi- 
some evils ? 



320 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

Christ loved his disciples, his kindred ; yea, and all mankind, 
and took pleasure in doing good to all, and so did his apostles; 
but how poor a requital had he or they from any but from God? 
Christ's own brethren believed not in him, but wrangled with 
him, almost like those that said to him on the cross, " If thou 
be the Son of God, come down, and we will believe." Peter 
himself was once a Satan to him; (Matt. xvi. ;) and after, with 
cursing and swearing, denied him : and all his disciples for- 
sook him, and fled; and what, then, could be expected from 
others ? 

No friends have a perfect suitableness to each other; and 
roughness and inequalities that are nearest us are most trouble- 
some. The wonderful variety and contrariety of apprehensions, 
interest, educations, temperaments, and occasions, and tempta- 
tions, &c., are such, that while we are scandalised, at the dis- 
cord and confusions of the world, we must recall ourselves, and 
admire that all-ruling providence, which keepeth up so much 
order and concord as there is: we are, indeed, like people in 
crowded streets, who, going several ways, molest each other with 
their jostling oppositions ; or, like boys at football, striving to 
overthrow each other for the ball ; but it is a wonder of divine 
power and wisdom, that all the world is not continually in 
mortal war. 

If I do men no harm, yet if I do but cross their wills, it goeth 
for a provoking injury; and when there are as many wills as 
persons, who is it that can please them all ? Who hath money 
enough to please all the poor that need it, or the covetous that 
desire it? Or, who can live with displeased men, and not feel 
some of the fruits of their displeasure ? What day goeth over 
my head, in which abundance desire not, or expect not, imj)os- 
sibilities from me ? And how great is the number of them that 
expect unrighteous things ! By nothing do I displease so many, 
as by not displeasing God and my conscience; and for nothing 
am I so deeply accused of sin as for not sinning. And the 
world will not think well of any thing that crosseth their opinion 
and carnal interest, be it never so conform to God's commands; 
I must confess, that while I suffer from all sides, few men have 
more common and open praises from their persecutors, than I : 
but while they praise me in general, and for other particulars, 
they aggravate my non-conformity to their opinions and wills, 
and take me to be so much the more hurtful to them. The 
greatest crimes that have been cl)arged on me, have been for 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 321 

the things which I thought to bC, my greatest duties; and for 
those parts of my obedience, to my conscience and God, which 
cost me dearest; and where I pleased my flesh least, I pleased 
the world least. At how cheap a rate to my flesh could I have 
got the applause of factious men, if that had been my end and 
business. Would I have conformed to their wills, and taken a 
bishopric, and the honours and riches of the world, how good 
a man had I been called by the diocesan party. And oh, what 
praise I should have with the papists, could I turn papist ; and 
all the backbiting and bitter censures of the antinomians, ana- 
baptists, and separatists, had been turned into praise, could I 
have said as they, or not contradicted them. But otherwise 
there is no escaping their accusations ; and is this tumultuous, 
militant, yea, malignant world, a place that I should be loth to 
leave ? 

Alas ! our darkness, and weakness, and passions are such, 
that it is hard for a family, or a few faithful friends, to live so 
evenly in the exercise of love, as not to have oft unpleasant 
jars. What, then, is to be expected from strangers, and from 
enemies ? Ten thousand persons will judge of abundance of 
my words and actions, who never knew the reasons of them. 
Every one's conceptions are as the report and conveyance of the 
matter to them is; and while they have a various light, and 
false reports, (and defectiveness will make them false,) what 
can be expected, but false injurious censures ? 

Sect. 8. And though no outward thing on earth is more pre- 
cious than the holy word, and worship, and ordinances of God, 
yet even here I see that which pointeth me up higher, and 
telleth me it is much better to be with Christ. 1. Shall I love 
the name of heaven better than heaven itself? The holy 
Scriptures are precious, because 1 have there the promise of 
glory; but is not the possession better than the promise ? If a 
light and guide thither through this wilderness be good, surely 
the end must needs be better. And it hath pleased God, that 
all things on earth, and therefore, even the sacred Scriptures 
should bear the marks of our state of imperfection: imperfect 
persons were the penmen; and imperfect human language is 
the conveying, signal, organical part of the matter; and the 
method and phrase (though true and blameless) are far short of 
the heavenly perfection. Else so many commentators had not 
found so hard a task of it to expound innumerable difficulties, 
and reconcile so many seeming contradictions; nor would iii- 
YOI.. XVI 11. Y 



322 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

fields find matter of so strong temptation, and so much cavil as 
they do ; nor would Peter have told us of the difficulties of Paul's 
epistles, and such occasions of men's wresting them to their own 
destruction. Heaven will not be made, to perfect spirits, the 
occasion of so many errors, and controversies, and quarrels, as 
the Scriptures are to us imperfect men on earth ; yea, heaven is 
the more desirable, because there I shall better understand the 
Scriptures, than here I can ever hope to do. All the hard pas- 
sages, now misunderstood, will be there made plain, and all the 
seeming contradictions reconciled ; and, which is much more, 
that God, that Christ, that new Jerusalem, that glory, and that 
felicity of souls, which are now known but darkly and enigma- 
tically in the glass, will then be known intuitively as we see the 
face itself, whose image only the glass first showed us. To 
leave my bible, and go to the God and the heaven that is re- 
vealed, will be no otherwise a loss to me, than to lay by my 
crutches, or spectacles, when I need them not, or to leave his 
image for the presence of my friend. 

2. INIuch less do I need to fear the loss of all other books, or 
sermons, or other verbal informations. Much reading hath oft 
been a weariness to my flesh; and the pleasure of my mind is 
much abated by the great imperfection of the means. Many 
books must be partly read, that I may know that they are 
scarce worth the reading; and many must be read, to enable us 
to satisfy other men's expectations, and to confute those wlio 
abuse the authority of the authors against the truth : and many 
good books niust be read, that have little to add to what we 
have read in many others before ; and many that are blotted 
with ensnaring errors; which, if we detect not, we leave snares 
for such as see them not ; and if we detect them, (never so ten- 
derly, if truly,) we are taken to be injurious to the honour of 
of the learned, godly authors, and proudly to overvalue our own 
conceits. And so lamentable is the case of all mankind, by the 
imperfections of human language, that those words which are 
invented for communication of conceptions, are so little fitted to 
their use, as rather to occasion misunderstanding and con- 
tentions; there being scarce a word that hath not many signi- 
fications, and that needeth not many more words to bring us to 
the true notice of the speaker's mind ; and when everv word is a 
sifftmm, that hath three relations, 1. To the matter spoken of. 
2. To the mind of the speaker, as signifying his conceptions of 
that matter, o. And to the mind of the hearer, or reader, 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 323 

v.'liich is to be infoinietl by it, it is so hard to find and use words 
that are fitted indeed to all these uses, and to have store of such, 
and mix no other, that few, if any, in the world were ever so 
happy as to attain it. 1. And if words be not fitted to the 
matter or things, they are false as to their first and proper use; 
and yet the penury of apt words, and the redundancy of others, 
and the authority of the masters of sciences, imposing arbitrary 
terms and notions on their disciples, and the custom of the 
vulgar, who have the empire, as to the sense of words, have all 
conspired to make words inapt, and of very uncertain significa- 
tion. So that when students have learned words by long and 
hard studies, they are oft little the nearer the true knowledge of 
the things ; and too oft, by their inaptitude, misled to false con- 
ceptions. And so their saying is too often true, that a great 
book is a great evil, while it containeth so great a number of 
uncertain words, which become the matter of great conten- 
tions. 

2. And when the mind of the speaker or writer is no better 
informed by such notions, but his conceptions of things are 
some false, some confused and undigested, what wonder if his 
words do no otherwise exoress his mind to others, when even 
men of clearest understanding find it difificult to have words still 
ready to communicate their conceptions with truth and clear- 
ness. To form true sentiments of things into apt, significant 
words, is a matter of mere art, and requireth an apt teacher, 
and a serious learner, and long use (and too many take their 
art of speaking, in praver, conference, or preaching, to have 
more in it of wisdom and piety, than it hath ; and some too 
much condemn the unaccustomed that want it) . 

3. And if v/e could fit our v/ords well to the matter, and to 
our minds, (with that double verity,) yet still it is hard to fit 
them to the reader or hearer ; for want of which they are lost as 
to him ; and his information being our end, they are therefore so 
far lost to us. And that which is spoken most congruously to 
the matter, is seldom fitted to the capaci,ty of the receiver. 
And rec'qntur ad modum recipientis, et pro captu lectoi'is, ^-c. 
Some readers or hearers, (yea, almost all,) are so used to unapt 
words and notions, obtruded on mankind, by the master of 
words, that they cannot understand us if we change their terms 
and offer them fitter, and yet least understand those which they 
think that they best underrstand ; and all men must have long- 
time to learn the art of words, before thev can understand 

y 2 



324 Baxter's dyins thoughts. 

them as well as before tliey can readily use them. And the 
duller any man is, and of less understanding, the more words 
are necessary to make him understand ; and yet his memory is the 
less capable of retaining many. This is our difficulty, not only 
in catechising, but in all other writings and teaching, a short 
patechism, or a short style, the ignorant understand not : and a 
long one they remember not. And he that will accommodate 
one judicious reader or hearer, with profound matter, or an ac- 
curate style, must incommodate multitudes that are incapable 
of it ; and, therefore, such must be content with few approvers, 
and leave the applause of the multitude to the more popular, 
unless he be one that can seasonably suit himself to both. 

A man that resolveth not to be deceived by ambiguous words, 
and maketh it his first work, in all his readings and disputings, 
to difference between words, and sense, and things, and strictly 
to examine each disputed term, till the speaker's meaning be dis- 
tinctly known, will see the lamentable case of the church, and all 
mankind, and what shadows of knowledge deceive the world, and 
in what useless dreams the greatest part of men, yea, of learned 
men, do spend their days : much of that which some men unweari- 
edly study, and take to be the honour of their understandings, and 
their lives J and much of that, which multitudes place their piety 
and hopes of salvation in, being a mere game at words, and use- 
less notions; and as truly to be called vanity and vexation, as is 
the rest of the vain show, that most men walk in. My sad and 
bitter thoughts of the heathen, infidel, Mahometan world, and 
of the common corruptions of rulers and teachers, cities and 
countries, senates and councils, I will not here open to others, 
lest they offend; nor cry out as Seneca, Qmnes mail sunms, 
or ^tultormn plena sunt omnia, nor describe the furious spirits 
of the clergy, and their ignorance, and unrighteous calumnies 
and schisms, as Gregory Nazianzen and others do, nor volumin- 
ously lament the seeming hopeless case of earth, by the bold- 
ness, blindness, and fury of men that make use of such sad 
considerations, to loosen my love from such a world, and make 
me willing to be with Christ. 

9. And if other men's words and writings are blemished with 
so much imperfection, why should I think that my own are 
blameless ? I must for ever be thankful for the holy instruc- 
tions and writings of others, notwithstanding human frailty, 
and contentious men's a])use of words : and so I must be thank- 
ful that God halh made any use of my own^ for the good of 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 325 

souls, and his church's edification. But with how many allays 
are such comforts here mixed ? We are not the teachers of a 
well-ruled school, where learners are ranked into several forms, 
that every one may have the teaching which is agreeable to his 
capacity ; but we must set open the door to all that will crowd 
in, and publish our writings to all sorts of readers : and there 
being as various degrees of capacity as there are men ?aid wo- 
men, and consequently great variety and contrariety of appre- 
hensions, it is easy ab antecedente to know what various recep- 
tion we must expect : we cast out our doctrine almost as a 
foot-ball is turned out among boys in the street, in some con- 
gregations : few understand it, but every one censureth it. Few 
come as learners, or teachable disciples, but most come to sit 
as judges on their teacher's words ; and yet have not either the 
skill, or the patience, or the diligence, which is necessary in a 
just trial, to a righteous judgment. But as our words agree or 
disagree with the former conceptions of every hearer, so are they 
judged to be wise or foolish, sound or unsound, true or false, fit 
or unfit. Few sermons that I preach, but one extolleth them, 
and wisheth they were printed, and another accuseth them of 
some heinous fault : some men are pleased with clearness and 
accurateness of doctrine ; and others account it too high, and 
say we shoot over the hearers' heads, and like nothing but the 
fervent application of what they knew before : most hearers are 
displeased with that which they most need : if they err, they 
reproach that doctrine as erroneous that would cure them : if 
they are guilty of any prevailing distemper and sin, they take 
that application to be injurious to them, which would convince 
them, and save them from that guilt. Most are much pleased 
with plain and zealous reproof of sin ; but it must be other 
men's sins, and not their own. The poor love to hear of the 
evil of oppression and unmercifulness, of pride, fulness, and idle- 
ness, and all the sins of the rich : subjects love to hear of their 
ruler's faults, and saj', O this man is no flatterer ; he dares tell 
the greatest of their sins: but if they hear of their own, they 
take it for an injury. Rulers like a sermon for submission and 
obedience, but how few love to hear of the evil of injustice and 
oppression, or pride and sensuality, or to read Luke xvi. or 
xii. or James v.; to hear of the necessity of holiness, justice, 
and temperance, and of death, and judgment, and the life to 
come ! Every sectary and dogmatist delighteth to have his own 
opinion cried up, and his party praised as the chiefest saints ; 



32G BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS. 

but all that teudeth to the praise of those that he dissenteth 
from, and accouiiteth adversaries to the truth^ is distasteful to 
liim, as a complying with iniquity, and a strengthening of the 
enemies of Christ : and all that uncharitableness which he ex- 
pecteth from us against others, is as much expected by others 
against him, and such as he. 

This day, while I am writing these words, my pockets are full 
of letters sent me, on one side importunately charging it on me 
as my duty to conform to the oaths, declarations, covenants, 
and practices, now imposed, or else to give over preaching 
(which would please them) ; and on the other side vehemently 
censuring me as guilty of grievous sin, for declaring my judg- 
ment for so much of conformity as I have done ; and charging 
me by predictions as guilty of the sufferings of all that are 
otherwise minded, for communicating in the sacrament, and the 
common prayers of the church ; and others in the mid-way, 
persuading me equally to bear my testimony against unjust se- 
paration and persecution, and to endeavour still, if possible, to 
save a self-destroying people from the tearing fury of these two 
extremes. And how should I answer these contrary expecta- 
tions, or escape the censures of such expectants ? 

And it hath pleased God, who thirty years and more had 
tried me by human applause, of late in this city (where multi- 
tudes of persons of contrary minds are, like passengers in 
crowded streets, still jostling and offending one another) to ex- 
ercise me with men's daily backbitings and cavils : and so many 
have chosen me for the subject of their discourse, that I may 
say as Paul, (1 Cor. iv. 9, 10, &c.,) " We are made a spectacle 
(or theatre) to the world, and to angels, and to men : we are 
fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ," &;c. Did I 
not live out of the noise in retirement, taken up with pain, and 
expectations of my change, what an annoyance to me would it 
be to hear religious persons, that have a God, a Christ, a hea- 
ven, to talk of, to abuse their time and tongues in so much 
talking of one so inconsiderable, and that hath so little to do 
with them, or they with him ; while with some overvaluing me, 
and others still quarrelling, I am the matter of their idle, sinful 
talk. The persecutors, for divers years after, first silencing, (if 
not still,) and the separatists for two or three years last past, 
have been possessed with so strange a jealousy and quarrelsome 
a disposition against me, that they seem to take it for their in- 
terest to promote my defamation, and for much of their work to 



BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS^ 327 

search what may aflbrd them any matter of acciisation in every 
sermon that 1 preach, and every book that 1 write. And though 
the fury of the persecutors he such as maketh them much inca- 
pable of such converse and sober consideration as is needful to 
their true information and satisfaction : vet most of the more 
religious cavillers are satisfied as soon as I have spoken with 
them, and all endeth in a putarem or non jmtarem : for want 
of accurateness and patience, they judge rashly before they un- 
derstand, and when they understand, confess their error ; and 
yet many go on and take no warning after many times convic* 
tion of their mistake. Even in books that are still before their 
ayes (as well as in transient words and sermons) they heedlessly 
leave out, or put in, or alter and misreport plain words, and, 
with confidence, affirm those things to have been said that never 
were said, but, perhaps, the contrary. And when all people 
will judge of the good or evil of our words, as they think we 
have reason to use them or forbear them, how can we satisfy 
men that are out of our hearing, and to whom we cannot tell 
our reasons ? Most men are of private, narrow observation, and 
judge of the good or hurt that our words do by those that they 
themselves converse with : and when I convince them that my 
decisions of many questions (which they are offended at) are 
true, they say, it is an unseasonable and a hurtful truth : and 
when I have called them to look further abroad in the world, 
and told them my reasons; they say, ' Had these been all set 
doAvn, men would have been satisfied.' And on how hard 
terms do we instruct such persons, whose narrow understand- 
ings cannot know obvious reasons of what we say till they are 
particularly told them ? And so to tell men the reasons of all 
that such can quarrel with, will make every book to swell with 
commentaries to such a bigness as they can neither buy nor 
read : and they come not to us to know our reasons ; nor have 
we leisure to open them to every single person : and thus sus- 
picious men, when their understandings want the humbling ac- 
quaintance with their ignorance, and their consciences that 
tenderness which should restrain them from rash judging, go on 
to accuse such needful truths of which they know not the use 
and reason. And what man living hath the leisure and oppor- 
tunity to acquaint all the ignorant persons in city and country 
with all the reasons of all that he shall say, write, or do ? Or 
who, that writeth not a page instead of a sentence, can so write 
that every unprepared reader shall understand him ? and what 



328 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

hopes hath that tutor or schoolmaster of preserving his reputa- 
tion, who shall be accounted erroneous, and accused of unsound 
or injurious doctrine, by every scholar that understandeth not 
his words, and all the reasons of them ? 

But God in great mercy to me hath made this my lot (not 
causing, but permitting, the sins of the contentious) that I 
might before death be better Aveaned from all below : had my 
temptations from inordinate apjilause had no allay, they might 
have been more dangerously strong. Even yet while church- 
dividers, on both extremes, do make me the object of their 
daily obloquy, the continued respects of the sober and peace- 
able, are so great, as to be a temptation strong enough, to so 
weak a person, to give a check to my desires to leave the world. 
It is long since riches and worldly honour appeared to me as 
they are, as not rendering the world much lovely or desirable. 
But the love and concord of religious persons hath a more ami- 
able aspect : there is so much holiness in these, that I was loth 
to call them vanity and vexation : but yet as flesh and blood 
would refer them to selfish ends, and any way value them as a 
carnal interest, I must so call them, and number them with the 
things that are loss and dung. (Phil. iii. T, 8.) Selfishness can 
serve itself upon things good and holy: and if good men, and 
good books, and good sermons, would make the world seem 
over-lovely to us, it will be a mercy of God to abate the tempt- 
ation: and if my soul, looking toward the heavenly Jerusalem, 
be hindered as Paul was in his journey to Jerusalem, (Acts xx. 
and xxi.,) by the love of ancient friends and hearers, I must say, 
' What mean you to weep and break my heart ! I am ready to 
leave the dearest friends on earth, and life, and all the pleasures 
of life, for the presence of far better friends with Christ, and 
the sweeter pleasures of a better life.' That little amiableness 
which is in things below, is in godly men as life in the heart, 
which dieth last : when that is all gone, when we are dead to 
the love of the godly themselves, and to learning, books, and 
mediate ordinances, so far as they serve a selfish interest, and 
tempt down our hearts from heavenly aspirings, the world is 
then crucified to us, indeed, and we to it. I rejoice to tread in 
the footsteps of my Lord, who had some, indeed, weeping about 
his cross, but was forsaken by all his disciples, while in the hour 
of temptation they all fled ! But my desertion is far less, for 
it is less that I am fit to bear. If God will justify, who shall 
condemn ? If he be for me, who shall be against me ? O may 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 329 

I not be J3ut to that dreadful case, to cry out, " My God, my 
God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" And may nothing sepa- 
rate me from his love ! And then were I forsaken of the sober 
and peaceable, as I am, in part, of some quarrelsome dividers, 
hovv tolerable a trial would it be ? Man is as dust in the ba- 
lance, that addeth little to it, and signifieth nothing when God 
is in the other end. But I suspect still that I make too much 
account of man, when this case hath taken up too much of my 
observation. 

1. And of all things, surely a departing soul hath least 
cause to fear the losing of its notice of the affairs of the 
world; of peace, or wars, or church, or kingdoms? For, 1. 
If the sun can send forth its material beams, and operate by 
motion, light, and heat, at such a distance as this earth, why 
should I think that blessed spirits ai-e such local, confined, and 
impotent substances, as not to have notice of the things of 
earth ? HVd I but bodily eyes, I could see more from the top 
of a tower 9r hill, than any one that is below can do. And shall 
1 know less, of earth from heaven than I do now ? It is unlike 
that my capicity will be so little, and if it were, it is unlike 
that Christ and all the angels will be so strange to me, as to 
give me no notice of things that so much concern my God and 
my Redeemer, (to whom I am united,) and the holy society of 
which I am a part, and myself as a member of Christ and that 
society ! I do not think that the communion of the celestial 
inhabitants is so narrow and slow, as it is of walking clods of 
earth, and of souls that are confined to such dark lanterns as 
this body is. Stars can shine one to another, and we on earth 
can see them so far off in their heaven. And sure then if they 
have a seeing faculty each of them can see many of us ; even 
the kingdoms of the world. Spirits are most active, and of 
powerful and quick communication. They need not send 
letters, or write books to one another, nor lift up a voice to 
make each other hear ; nor is there any unkinduess, division, 
or unsociable selfishness among them, which may cause them to 
conceal their notices or their joys ; but as activity, so unity is 
greatest where there is most perfection ; they will so be many, 
as yet to be one ; and their knowledge will be one knowledge, 
and their love one love, and their joy one joy. Not by so per- 
fect a unity as in God himself, who is one and but one ; but 
such as is suitable to created imperfection, which participate of 
the perfection of the Creator, as the effect doth of the virtue 



330 Baxter's dyino thoughts. x 

of the cause, and tlierefore hath some participation of his 
unity. (O foohsh soul ! if I sluill fear this unity with God, 
Christ, and all the holy spirits, lest 1 should lose my present 
separate individiiation, when perfection and union are so near 
a-kin.) In a word, 1 have no cause to think that mv celestial 
advancement will he a diminution of any desirable knowledge, 
even of things on earth j but contrarily, that it will be incon- 
ceivably increased. 

2.^ But if indeed I shall know less of things below, it will be 
because that the knowledge of them is a part of vanity and 
vexation, which hath no place in heaven. So much knowledge 
of good and evil in lower matters, as came to us by sin, is un- 
worthy of our fond tenaciousness, and fear of losing it. Surely 
the sad tidings which we have weekly in our news books, our 
lamentable notices of heathen and infidel kiiigdoms, of the 
overspreading prevalency of barbai'ousness, idolatry, ignorance, 
and infidelitv; of the rage and success of cruel tyrants; of the 
bloody wars of proud, unquiet, worldly men ; of the misery of 
the oppressed, desolate countries, the dissipated clid'ches, the 
persecuted, innocent Christians, are no such pleas^^p ^.lings as 
that we should be afraid to hear of such no more. To know or 
hear of the poor in famine, the rich in folly, the church dis- 
tracted, the kingdom discontented, the godly scandalous by the 
effects of their errors, imperfections, and divisions ; tlie wicked 
outrageous, and waxing worse, the falseness, or miscarriages, 
or sufferings of friends, the fury or success of enemies. Is this 
an intelligence which I cannot spare ? What is the daily tiditigs 
that I hear, but of bloody wars, the undone countries, the per- 
secuted churches, the silenced, banished, or imprisoned 
preachers ; of the best removed in judgment from an u?nvorthy 
world by death, and worse succeeding in their rooms, of the 
renewed designs and endeavours of tlie church's enemies ; the impla- 
cable rage of the worldly and unquiet clergy, and the new divisions 
of self-conceited sectaries, and the obloquy and backbitings of 
each party against the other ? How oft hear I the sad tidings of 
this friend's sickness or death, and that friend's discontent, and 
of another's fall, and of many, very many's sufferings ? My 
ears are dailv filled with the cries of the poor, whom I cannot 
relieve ; with tiie endless complaints of fearful, melancholv, 
despairing persons ; with the wranglings of the ignorant and 
proud professors, and contentious divines, who censure most 
boldly where they are most erroneous or dark j or with the 



liAXTElt's DYING THOUGHTS. 331 

troublesome discontents of those that I converse with ; and 
should I he afraid of the ending of so sad a tragedy, or of 
awaking out of such an un])leasant dream ? Have I not many 
times thought of the privilege of the deaf, that hear not these 
troublesome and provoking things ; and of the blind that see 
not the vanities and temptations of this world. It is one part 
of the benefit of solitude, or a private life and habitation, to 
free me from many of these unpleasing objects ; and a great 
part of the benefit of sleep, that with my clothes I may lay 
by these troublesome thoughts. 

Sect. 1 1. But other men tell me, the church cannot yet spare 
vou ; there is yet this and that necessary work to be done ; 
there is this and that need, &c. 

But, 1. Is it we or God that must choose his servants, and 
cut out their work ? Whose work am I doing ? Is it my own 
or his ? If his, is it not he that must tell me what, and when, 
and how long? And will not his will and choice be best? If 
1 believe not this, how do I take him for my God ? Doth God 
or I kn-", oiSetter what he hath yet to do ? And who is fittest 
to do it^'t '^The church's service and benefits m.ust be measured 
out by our Master and Benefactor, and not by ourselves. 

2. What am I to those more excellent persons whom, in all 
ages, he hath taken out of the world ? And would men's 
thoughts of the church's needs detain them? The poor 
heathen, infidel, Mahometan nations have no preachers of the 
Gospel. And if their need prove not that God Avill send them 
such, no country's need will prove that God will continue them 
such. Many more useful servants of Christ have died in their 
youth : John Janeway preached but one sermon ; Joseph Allen 
(and many other excellent men) died in the midst of his 
vigorous, successful labours ; ])oth of them far more fit for God's 
work, and likely to win souls, and glorify God, than I am, or 
ever was, however their greater light was partly kindled from 
my lesser. Yet did both these, under painful consuming lan- 
guishings of the flesh, die as they had long lived, in the lively 
triumphant praises of their Redeemer, and joyful desires and 
hopes of glory. And shall 1, at seventy-six years of age, after 
such a life of unspeakable mercies, and almost fifty-three 
years of comfortable help in the service of my Lord, be now 
afraid of my reward, and shrink at the sentence of death, and 
still be desiring to stay here, upon pretence of further service ? 
We know not what is best for the church as God doth ; the 



332 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

church and the world are not ours but his ; not our desires, hut 

his will must measure out its mercies. We are not so merciful 

as he is. It is not unmeet for us to desire many things which 

God will not give, nor seeth it meet to grant the particulars of 

such desires. Nothing ever lay so heavy on my heart, as the 

sin and misery of mankind, and to think how much the world 

lieth in folly and wickedness ! And for what can I pray so 

heartily as for the world's recovery ? and it is his will that I 

should show a holy and universal love by praying, " Let thy name 

be hallowed, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it 

is done in heaven ;" and yet alas, how unlike is earth to heaven, 

and what ignorance, sin, confusions, and cruelties, here reign 

and prosper ! And unless there be a wonderful change to be 

expected, even as by a general miracle, how little hope appeareth 

that ever these prayers should be granted in the things ! It 

niaketh us better to desire that others may be better; but God 

is the free disposer of his own gifts : and it seemeth to be his 

will, that the permitted ignorance and confusions of this world 

should help us the more to value and desire that worfd' »r)f light, 

love, and order, which he calleth us to prefer and ho-jie for. 

And if I am any way useful to the world, it is undeserved 
mercy that hath made me so,' for which I must be thankful; but 
how long I shall be so, is not my business to determine, but my 
Lord's. My many sweet and beautiful flowers arise and appear 
in their beauty and sweetness, but for one summer's time, and 
they murmur not that they flourish for so short a space. The 
beasts, and birds, and fishes, which I feed on, do live till I will 
have them die ; and as God will be served and pleased by won- 
derful variety at once of animals and vegetables, &c., so will 
he by many successive generations. If one flower fall or die, 
it sufiiceth that others shall, summer after summer, arise from the 
same root : and if my pears, apples, plums, &c., fall or serve me 
when they are ripe, it sufficeth that not they, but others, the 
next year, shall do the same ; God will have other generations to 
succeed us. Let us thank him that we have had our time : and 
could we overcome the grand (too little observed) crime of self- 
isJiness, and could love others as ourselves, and God, as God, 
above all the world, it v.'ould comfort us at death, that others 
shall survive us, and the world shall continue, and God will be 
still God, and be glorified in his works : and love will say, 1 shall 
live in my successors, and I shall more than live in the life of 
the world, and yet most of all in the eternal life and glory of God. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 333 

And God, who made us not gods, but poor creatures, as it 
pleased him, doth know best our measures, and he will not try 
us with too long a life of temptations, lest we should grow too 
familiar where we should be strangers, and utterly strangers to 
our home. No wonder if that world was ready for a deluge, 
by a deluge of sin, in which men lived to six, seven, eight, and 
nine hundred years of age. Had our great sensualists any hope 
of so long a life, they would be more like incarnate devils, and 
there would be no dwelling near them for the holy seed. If 
angels were among them, they would, like the Sodomites, seek 
furiously to abuse them. 

Nor will God tire us out with too long a life of earthly suf- 
ferings. W^e think short cares, and fears, and sorrows, persecu- 
tions, sickness, and crosses to be long, and shall we grudge at 
the wisdom and love which shorteneth them ? Yea, though holy 
duty itself be excellent and sweet, yet the weakness of the flesh 
maketh us liable to weariness, and abateth the willingness of 
the spirit, and our wise and merciful God will not make our 
warfare, or our race, too long, lest we be wearied and faint, and 
fall short of the prize. 13y our weariness, and complaints, and 
fears, and groans, one would think that we thought this life too 
long, and yet when we should yield to the call of God, we 
draw back as if we would have it everlasting. 

Sect. 12. Willingly submit, then, O my soul. It is not thou, 
but this flesh, that must be dissolved ; this troublesome, vile, 
and corruptible flesh. It is but the other half of thy meat and 
drink, which thy presence kept longer micorrupted, going after 
the excremental part. Thou diest not when man (the compo- 
situm) dieth, by thy departure. And as thou livest not to thy- 
self, thou diest not to thyself; whether I live or die, I am the 
Lord's ; he that set up the candle, knoweth how long he hath 
use for the light of it. Study thy duty, and work while it is 
day, and let God choose thy time, and willingly stand to his 
disposal. The gospel dieth not when I die. The church dieth 
not. The praises of God die not. The world dieth not, and 
perhaps it shall grow better, and those prayers shall be answered 
which seemed lost. Yea, and it mav be some of the seed that 
I have sown, shall spring up to some benefit of the dark un- 
peaceable world when I am dead. And is not this much of the 
end of life ? And is not that life good which attaineth its end ? 
If my end was to do good and glorify God, if good be done, 



334 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

and God glorified when 1 am dead, yea, though I were annihi- 
lated, is not my end attained ? Feign not thyself to be God, 
whose interest (that is, the pleasing of his will) is the end of 
all things, and whose will is the measure of all created good. 
Feign not thyself to be all the v/orld : God hath not lost his 
work J the world is not dissolved when I am dissolved. Oh, how 
strong and unreasonable a disease is this inordinate selfishness ! 
Is not God's will infinitely better than mine, and fitter to be 
fulfilled ? Choose the fulfilling of his will, and thou shalt always 
have thy choice. If a man be well that can always have his 
will, let this always be thy will, that God's will may be done, 
and thou shalt always have it. 

Lord, let thy servant depart in peace ; even in thy peace, 
which passeth understanding, and which Christ, the prince of 
peace, doth give, and nothing in the world can take away. Oh, 
give me that peace which beseemeth a soul, which is so near 
thelrarbour, even the world of endless peace and love, where 
perfect union (such as I am capable of) will free me from all 
the sins and troubles which are caused by the convulsions, di- 
volsions, and confusions of this divided, selfish world. Call home 
this soul by the encouraging voice of love, that it may joyfully 
hear, and say, ' It is my Father's voice.' Invite it to thee by 
the heavenly messenger. Attract it by the tokens and the fore- 
tastes of love. The messengers that invited me to the feast of 
grace, compelled n.ie to come in without constraint. Thy effec- 
tual call did make me willing, and is not glory better than pre- 
paring grace ? Shall I not come more willingly to the celestial 
feast ? What was thy grace for, but to make me willing of 
glory, and the way to it ? W'hy didst thou dart down thy beams 
of love, but to make me love thee, and to call me up to the 
everlasting centre ? Was not the feast of grace as a sacrament 
of the feast of glory ? Did I not take it in remembrance of my 
Lord until he come ? Did not he that told me, " All things are 
ready," tell me also that " he is gone to prepare a place for us r" 
and it is his will that we shall be with him, and see his glory. 
They that are given him, and drawn to him by the Father on 
earth, do come to Christ. Give, now, and draw my departing 
soul to my glorified Head ; and, as I have glorified thee on earth, 
in the measure that thy grace hath prevailed in me, pardon the 
sins by which I have offended thee, and glorify me in the be- 
holding and partic!j)ation of the glory of my Redeemer. Come, 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 335 

Lord Jesus, come quickly, with fuller life, and light, and love, 
into this too dead, and dark, and disaffected soul, that it may 
come with joyful willingness unto thee. 

Sect. 13. Willingly depart, O lingering soul ! It is from a 
Sodom, thougli in it there be righteous Lots, who yet are not 
without their woful blemishes ! Hast thou so oft groaned for 
the general blindness and wickedness of the world, and art 
thou loth to leave it for a better ? How oft wouldest thou have 
rejoiced to have seen but the dawning of a day of universal 
peace and reformation ? And wouldest thou not see it where 
it shineth forth in fullest glory? Would a light at midnight 
have pleased thee so well ? Hast thou prayed and laboured for 
it so hard? And wouldest thou not see the sun? \M11 the 
things of heaven please thee no where but on earth, where they 
come in the least and weakest influences, and are terminated in 
gross, terrene, obscure, and unkind recipients ? Away, away, 
the vindFctive flames are ready to consume this sinful world 1 
Sinners tiiat blindly rage in sin must quickly rage in the effects 
of sin and of God's justice. The pangs of lust prepared for these 
pangs ! They are treasuring up wrath against this day. Look 
not, then, behind thee. Away from this unhappy world! Press on 
unto the mark. (Phil, iii.) " Looking towards, and hastening 
to the coming of the day of God." (2 Pet. iii. 10—12.) 

As this world hath used thee, it would use thee still, and it 
will use others. If thou hast sped well in it, no thanks to it, 
but unto God. If thou hast had manifold deliverances, and 
marvellous preservations, and hast been fed v.ith angel's food, 
love not this wilderness for it, but God and his angel, which was 
thy guide, protector, and deliverer. 

i\nd hath this troublesome flesh been so comfortable a com- 
panion to thee, that thou shouldestbe so loth to leave it? Have 
thy pains, thy weariness, thy languishings, thy labours, thv 
cares and fears about tins body, been pleasing to thee ? And 
art thou loth that they should have an end ? Didst thou not 
find a need of patience to undergo them ? And of greater pa- 
tience than mere nature gave thee ? And canst tliou hope now 
for better when nature faileth, and that an aged, consumed, 
more diseased body, should be a pleasanter habitation to thee 
than it was heretofore ? If from thy youth up it hath been both 
a tempting and a troublesome thing to thee, surely, though it 
be less tempting, it will not be less troubling, when it is falling 
to the dust, and above ground savoureth of the grave ! Had 



336 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

things sensible been never so pleasant in thy youth, and hadst 
thou glutted thyself in health with that sort of delight, in age 
thou art to say by nature, " I have no pleasure in them." Doth 
God in great mercy make pain and feebleness the harbingers 
of death, and wilt thou not understand their business ? Doth 
he mercifully, beforehand, take away the pleasure of all fleshly 
things, and worldly vanities, that there may be nothing to relieve 
a departing soul, (as the shell breaketh when the bird is hatched, 
and the womb relaxed when the infant must be born,) and yet 
shall we stay when nothing holdeth us, and still be loth to 
come away ? Wouldest thou dwell with thy beloved body in 
the grave, where it will rot and stink in loathsome darkness ? 
If not, why should it now, in its painful languor, seem to thee a 
more pleasant habitation than the glorious presence of thy 
Lord ? In the grave it will be at rest, and not tormented as 
now it is, nor wish at night, oh, that it were morning ! nor say 
at morning, when will it be night ? And is this a dwelling fit 
for thy delight ? Patience in it, while God will so try thee, is 
thy duty, but is such patience a better and sweeter life than 
rest and joy ? 

Sect. 14. But, alas ! how deaf is flesh to reason. Faith hath 
the reason which easily may shame all contrary reasoning, but 
sense is unreasonable, and especially this inordinate, tenacious 
love of present life. I have reason enough to be willing to depart, 
even much more willing than 1 am. Oli, that I could be as 
willing as I am convinced that I have reason to be ! Could I 
love God as much as I know that I should love him, then I 
should desire to depart, and to be with Christ, as much as I 
know that I should desire it. But God, in nature, hath there 
laid upon me some necessity of aversation, (though tlie inordi- 
nateness came from sin,) else Christ had not so feared, and 
deprecated the cup. Death must be a penalty, even where it is 
a gain, and therefore it must meet with some unwillingness : 
because we willingly sinned, we must unwillingly suffer. The 
gain is not the pain or dissolution in itself, but the happy con- 
sequents of it. AH the faith and reason in the world will not 
make death to be no penalty, and therefore will not take away 
all unwillingness. No man ever yet reasoned or believed himself 
into a love of pain and death, as such, but seeing that the gain 
is unspeakably greater than the pain and loss, faith and holy 
reason may make our willingness to be greater than our un- 
willingness, and our hope and joy than our fear and sorrow. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 337 

And it is the deep and effectual notice of goodness, which is 
God's way, in nature and grace, to change and draw the will of 
man. Come then, my soul, and think, helievingly, what is best 
for thee. And wilt thou not love and desire most that which is 
certainly the best ? 

To depart and to he with Christ is far better, or rathe?' to be 

chosen. * 

Sect. 1. To say and hear that it is far better to be with 
Christ, is not enough to make us willing. Words and notions 
are such instruments as God useth to work on souls, but the con- 
vincing, satisfying, powerful light, and the inclining love, are 
other things. The soul now operateth lit forma hominis, on and 
with the corporeal spirits and organs, and it perceiveth now its 
own perceptions, but it is a stranger to the mode of its future 
action, when separated from the body, and can have no formal 
conception of such conceptions as yet it never had. And there- 
fore, its thoughts of its future state must be analogical and 
general, and partly strange. But general notices, when certain, 
may be very powerful, and satisfy us in so much as is needful 
to our consent, and to such a measure of joy as is suitable to this 
earthly state. And such notices we have from the nature of the 
soul, with the nature of God, the course of Providence, and go- 
vernment of mankind, the internal and external conflicts which 
we perceive about men's souls, the testimony and promises of 
the word of God, the testimony of conscience, with the witness 
of the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, and in it the earnest and the 
foretaste of glory, and the beginnings of life eternal here, all 
which I have before considered. 

Sect. 2. The Socinians, who would interpret this of the state 
of resurrection only, against plain evidence, violate the text : 
seeing'Paul expressly speaketh of his gain by death, which will 
be his abode with Christ, and this upon his departure hence: 
which (in 2 Cor. v. 7, 8) he calleth, his being a])sent from the 
body, and present with the Lord : and Christ, to the penitent 
thief, calleth his being with him in Paradise : and (Luke xvi.) 
in the parable of the steward, Christ intiniateth to us, that wise 
preparers, when they go hence, are received into the everlasting 
habitations; as he there further tells us Lazaius was in Abra- 
ham's bosom. 

Sect. ^. (Joodno&s is priitiaria et mensurans, vel secundaria 
. et mensvraia : the first is God's perfect essence and m ill ; the 

VOL. xvm. z 



338 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

second is either properly and simply good, or analogical. The 
former is the creature's conformity to the will of God, or its 
pleasingness to his will : the latter is, 1. The greater, which is 
the welfare or perfection of the universe. 2. The lesser, which 
is the several parts of the universe, either, 1. In the nobler res- 
pect, as they are parts contributing to the perfection of the 
whole; or, 2. In the lower respect, as they are perfect or happy 
in themselves , or, 3. In the lowest respect of all, as they are 
good to their fellow-creatures which are below themselves. 

Sect. 4. Accordingly, it is far better to be with Christ, I. 
Properly and simply, as it is the fulfilling of God's will. II. 
Analogically, as it tendeth to the perfection of the universe and 
the church. III. And as it will be our own good or felicity. 
IV. And as it will be good to our inferior fellow-creatures ; 
though this last be most questionable, and seemeth not included 
in the meaning of this text. Somewhat of these in order. 

Sect. 5. I. It is an odious effect of idolatrous selfishness, to 
acknowledge no goodness above our own felicity, and, accord- 
ingly, to make the goodness of God to be but formally his use- 
fulness, benevolence, and beneficence, to his creatures, which is 
by making the creature the ultimate end, and God but the 
means; to make the creature to be God, and deny God, indeed, 
while we honour his name: as also it is to acknowledge no 
higher goodness formally in the creature, than in its own feli- 
city as such : as if neither the pleasing of God's will, nor the 
perfection of the church and world, were better than we are : 
we are not of ourselves, and therefore we are not chiefly for our- 
selves ; and, therefore, we have a higher good to love. 

That is simply best which God willeth. Therefore, to live 
here is best whilst I do live here ; and to depart is best when 
the time of my departure cometh : that is best which is, for 
it is the work of God : the world cannot be better at this in - 
slant than it is, nor any thing better, which is of God, be- 
cause it is as he willeth it to be : but when God hath chatiged 
them, it will then be best that they are changed. Were there 
no other good in my departure hence, but this simple good, the 
fulfilling of (lod's will, my reason telleth me that I should 
be fully satisfied in it : but there is also a subordinate sort of 
good. 

Sect. 6. II. For my change will tend to the perfection of the 
universe ; even that material good or perfection, which is its 
aptitude for the use to whicb God hath created, and doth pre- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 339 

serve it : as all the parts, the modes, the situation, the mo- 
tions, of a clock, a watch, or other engine, do to the ends of the 
artificer. Though God hath not told me particularly, why 
every thing, and mode, and motion, is as it is, T know it is all 
done in perfect wisdom, and suited to its proper use and end : 
if the hen or bird knoweth how to make her nest, to lay her 
eggs secretly together, when and how to sit on them till they 
are hatched, and how to feed them and preserve them, and 
when to forsake them, as sufficient for themselves without her 
help, &:c. If the bee knoweth when, and whence, and how, to 
gather her honey and wax, and how to form the repository 
combs, and how to lay it up, and all the rest of her marvellous 
economy, shall I think that God doth he knoweth not what, or 
what is not absolutely the best ? Doth he want either skill, or 
will, or power? 

And should the stone grudge to be hewed, the brick to be 
burnt, the trees to be cut down, and sawed and framed, the lead 
and iron to be melted, &c., when it is but to form an useful edi- 
fice, and to adapt and compose every part to the perfecting of 
the whole ? 

Shall the waters grudge that they must glide away, and the 
plants that they must die, and half die every winter, and the 
fruits and flowers that they must fall, or the moon that it must 
have its changing motions, or the sun that it must rise and set 
so oft, &c,, when all is but the action and order which maketh 
up that harmony and perfection which was designed by the 
Creator, and is pleasing to his will r 

Sect. 7. HI. But lawful self-love is yet further herein grati- 
fied : the goodness expressed in the text is that analogical, sub- 
ordinate good, which is mihi honum, my own felicity, and that 
which tendeth thereunto : it is most reasonable to love God 
best, and that next which is likcst him (if known), and why 
should it not be the easiest and the sweetest ? But experience 
findeth it so easv to love ourselves, that certainly, ifl firmly be- 
lieve that it is best for me, 1 shall desire to depart, and to be 
with Christ. And have I not reason to believe it ? 

Sect. 8. The reasons of it I will consider in this order : I. The 
general reason from the efficients and the means. II. The final 
reasons, ill. The constitutive reasons from the state of my 
intellect, and its action and fruition there. IV. The constitu- 
tive reasons from the state of mv will. V. The constitutive 

z2 ' 



340 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

reasons from my practice there, leaving out those whicli the 
resurrection will give uie, because I am speaking but of my pre- 
sent departure unto Christ. 

Sect. 9. And, 1. That is best for me, which love itself, my 
lieavenly Father designeth, and chooseth, for my good. I hope 
I shall never dare to think, or say, that he is mistaken, or that 
he wanted skill or love, or that 1 could have chosen better for 
myself than he doth, if he had left all to my choice. Many a 
time the wise and good will of God hath crossed my foolish, re- 
bellious will on earth ; and afterward I have still perceived that 
it was best ', usually for myself, but always for a higher good 
than mine. It is not an enemy, nor a tyrant, that made me, 
that hath preserved me, and that calls me hence. He hath not 
used me as an enemy : the more I have tried him, the better I 
have found him : had I better obeyed his ruling will, how happy 
had I been ! And is not his disposing and rewarding will as 
good ? Man's work is like man, and evil corrupteth it ; but 
God's work is like God, and uncorrupted : if I should not die till 
my dearest friend would have it, much more till I myself would 
choose it, (not constrained by misery,) I should rejoice, and 
think my life were safe ! O foolish, sinful soul ! if I take it not 
to be far better to be at God's choice, than at my own, or any 
man's ! and if I had not rather that he choose the time than 1. 
Be of good cheer, then, O my soul ! it is thy Father's voice that 
calleth thee hence : his voice that called thee into the world, 
and bid thee live ; that called thee out of a state of sin and 
death, and bid thee live hereafter unto him ; that called thee 
so oft from tiie grave, and, forgiving thy sins, renewed thy 
strength, restored thee to the comforts of his house and service ; 
and that so graciously led thee through this howling wilderness, 
and brought thee almost to the sight of the promised land. And 
wilt thou not willingly go, when infinite, fatherly love doth call 
thee ? art thou not desirous of his presence ? art thou afraid to 
go to him who is the only cure of thy fears ? What was it but this 
glory to which he did finally elect thee ? Where dost thou read 
that he elected thee to the riches and honours of this world, or to 
the pleasures of the flesli ? But he elected us in Christ to the 
heavenly inheritance. (Eph. i. S, 4, Sec.) Indeed, he elected 
thee also to bear the cross, and to manifold sufferings here : 
hut U it that which thou proferrest before the crown ? That 
was but as a means unto the kingdom, that thou mightest be 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 341 

conformed to Christ, and reign with him when thou hast suf- 
fered with him. If God choose thee to blessedness, refuse it not 
thyself, nor behave thyself like a refuser. 

Sect. 10. 2. And surely that state is my best which my Sa- 
viour purchased and promised me as best : as he bought me 
not with silver and gold, so neither to silver and gold : did he 
live and die to make me rich or advanced in the world ? Surely 
his incarnation, merits, sacrifice, and intercession, had a low 
design, if that were all ! And who hath more of these than 
they that have least of Christ ? But he purchased us to an in- 
corruptible crown ; to an inheritance undefiled, that fadeth not 
away, reserved in lieaven for us, that are kept, by God's power, 
through faith unto salvation. (1 Pet. i.) And is it heaven that 
cost so dear a price for me, and is the end of so wonderful 
a design of grace, and shall I be unv/illing now to receive the 
gift ? 

Sect. 11. 3. That sure is best for me, for which God's holy 
Spirit is preparing me ; that for which he is given to believers ; 
and that which is the end of all his holy operations on my soul. 
But it is not to love this world that he is persuading me from 
day to day ; but to come off from such love, and to set my 
heart on the things above. Is it to love this life and fleshly in- 
terest, this vanity and vexation, or rather to love the invisible 
perfection, that this blessed Spirit hath done so much to work 
my heart ? And ^vould I now undo all, or cross and frustrate 
all his operations ? Hath grace been so long preparing me for 
glory, and shall I be loth to take possession of it ? If I am not 
willing, I am not yet sufficiently prepared. 

Sect. 12. 4. If heaven be not better for me than earth, God's 
word and ordinances have been all in vain ? Surely that is my 
best which is the gift of the better covenant, and which is se- 
cured to me by so many sealed promises, and which I am 
directed to by so many sacred precepts, doctrines, and exam- 
ples ; and for which I have been called to hear, and read, and 
meditate, and pray, and watch so long. Was it the interest of 
the flesh on earth, or a longer life of worldly ])rospcrity, which 
the gospel covenant secured to me; which the sacraments and 
Spirit sealed to me ; which the bible was written to direct me 
to ; which ministers preached to me ; which my books were 
written for; which I prayed for; and for which I served God ? 
Or was it not for his grace on earth, and glory in heaven? And 
is it not better for nic to have the end of all these means, than 



342 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

lose them all, and lose my hopes ? Why have T used them, if 
I would not attain their end ? 

Sect. 13. 5. That is my best state, which all the course of 
God's fatherly providences tend to : all his sweeter mercies, and 
all his sharper corrections, are to make me partaker of his holi- 
ness, and to lead me to glory in the way that my Saviour and 
all his saints have gone before me : all things work together for 
the best to me, by preparing me for that which is best, indeed. 
Both calms and storms are to bring me to this harbour : if I 
take them but for themselves, and this present life, I mistake 
them, and understand them not, but unthankfully vilify them, 
and lose their end, and life, and sweetness : every word and 
work of God ; every day's mercies, and changes, and usages, do 
look at heaven, and intend eternity. God leadeth me no other 
way : if I follow him not, I forsake my hope in forsaking him : 
if I follow him, shall I be unwilling to be at home, and come to 
the end of all this way ? 

Sect. 14. 6. Surely that is best for me which God hath re- 
quired me principally to value, love, and seek, and that as the 
business of all my life, referring all things else thereto : that 
this is my duty, I am fully certain, as is proved elsewhere, and 
before. Is my business in the world only for the things of this 
World ? How vain a creature, then, were man ; and how little 
were the difference between waking and sleeping ! Life and 
death : no wonder if he that believeth that there is no life but 
this to seek or hope for do live in uncomfortable despair, and 
only seek to palliate his misery with the brutish pleasures of a 
wicked life, and if he stick at no villany which his fleshly lusts 
incline him to ; especially tyrants and multitudes who have none 
but God to fear. It is my certain duty to seek heaven with all 
the fervour of my soul, and diligence of my life j and is it not 
best to find it ? 

Sect. 15. 7. That must needs behest for me, which all other 
things must be forsaken for: it is folly to forsake the better for 
the worse : but Scripture, reason, and conscience, tell me, that 
all this world, when it stands in competition, or opposition, 
should be forsaken for heaven ; yea, for the least hopes of it : a 
possible, everlasting glory should he preferred before a certainly 
perishing vanity. I am sure this life will shortly be nothing to 
me ; and therefore it is next to nothing now. And must I for- 
sake all for my everlasting hopes, and yet be unwilling to pass 
unto the possession of them. 



maxter's dying thought.'*. 343 

Sect. 16. 8. That is like to be our best which is our inaturest 
state. Nature carrieth all things towards their perfection : our 
apples, pears, grapes, and everyfruit, are best when they are ripe; 
and though they tlieu hasten to corruption, that is, through the 
incapacity of the corporeal materials, any longer to retain the 
vegetative spirit, which is not annihilated at its separation ; 
and being not made for its own felicity, but for man's, its ripe- 
ness is the state in which man useth it, before it doth corrupt 
of itself, and that its corruption may be for his nutriment; and 
the spirits and best matter of his said food doth become his very 
substance. And doth God cause saints to grow up unto ripe- 
-ness, only to perish and drop down unto useless rottenness? It 
is not credible. Though our bodies become but like our filthi- 
est excrements, our souls return to God that gave them : and 
though he need them not, he viseth them in their separated 
state ; and that to such heavenly uses as the heavenly maturity 
and mellowness hath disposed tliem to. Seeing, then, love hath 
ripened me for itself, shall 1 not willingly drop into its hand ? 

Sect. 17. 9. That is like to be the best which the wisest and 
holiest, in all ages of the world, have preferred before all, and 
have most desired : and which also almost all mankind do 
acknowledge to be best at last. It is not like that all the best 
men in the world should be most deceived, and be put upon 
fruitless labours and sufferings by this deceit, and be undone by 
their duty ; and that God should, by such deceits, rule all (or 
almost all) mankind : and also that the common notices of hu- 
man nature, and conscience's last and closest documents, should 
be all in vain. But it is past all doubt, that no men usually 
are worse than those that have no belief or hopes of any life but 
this : and that none are so holy, just, and sober, so charitable 
to others, and so useful to mankind, as those that firmliest be- 
lieve and hope for the state of immortality : and shall I fear that 
state which all that were wise and holy, in all ages, have pre- 
ferred and desired ? 

Sect. IS. 10. And it is not unlike that my best state is that 
which my greatest enemies are most against : and how much 
Satan doth to keep me and other men from heaven ; and how 
much worldly honour, and pleasure, and wealth, he could afford 
us to accomplish it, I need not here again be copious in reciting, 
having said so much of it in the ' Treatise of Infidelity.' And 
shall I be, towards myself, so much of Satan's mind? He 
would not have me come to heaven : and shall I also be 



344 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

unwilling ? All these things tell me that it is hest to be with 
Christ. 

II. The Final Reasons. 

Sect. 1. II. 1. Is it not far better to dwell with God in glory, 
than with sinful men, in such a world as this ? Though he be 
every where, his glory, which we must behold to our felicity, 
and the perfecting operations and communications of his love 
are in the glorious world, and not on earth. As the eye is made 
to see the light, and then to see other things by the light, so is 
man's mind made to see God, and to love him j and other things, 
as in, by, and for him. He that is our beginning is our end ; 
and our end is the first motive of all moral action, and for it it 
is that all means are used : and the end attained is the rest of 
souls. How oft hath my soul groaned under the sense of dis- 
tance, and darkness, and estrangedness from God ! How oft 
hath it looked up, and gasped after him, and said, ' Oh ! when 
shall I be nearer and better acquainted with my God?' " As the 
hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after 
thee, O God : my soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : 
when shall 1 come and appear before God?" (Psalm xlii. I.) 
And would I not have my prayers heard, and my desires grant- 
ed? What else is the sum of lawful prayers, but God himself? 
If I desire any thing more than God, what sinfulness is in those 
desires, and how sad is their signification. How oft have I 
said, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on 
earth that I desire besides thee ? It is good for me to draw 
near to God." (Psalm Ixxiii. 25, 28.) Wo to me, if I did dis- 
semble! If not, why should my soul draw back? Is it because 
that death stands in the way ? Do not my fellow-creatures die 
for my daily food ; and is not my passage secured by the love of 
my Father, and the resurrection and intercession of my Lord ? 
Can I see the light of heavenly glory in this darksome shell and 
womb of flesh? 

Sect. 2. All creatures are more or less excellent and glorious, 
as God is more or less operative and refulgent in them, and, 
by that operation, communicateth most of himself unto them. 
Though he be immense and indivisible, his operations and com- 
munications are not equal : and that is said to be nearest to 
him which hath most of those operations on it; and that with- 
out the intervenieiit causality of any second, created cause ; and 
so all those are in tlieir order near unto him, as thev have noblest 
natures, and fewest intervenient causes. Far am I from pre- 



Baxter's dyinc thoughts. 345 

svmiing to think that I am, or shall be, the best and noblest of 
God's creatures, and so that 1 shall be so near him as to be 
under the influx of no second or created causes, of which more 
anon. But to be as near as my nature was ordained to ap- 
proach, is but to attain the end and perfection of my nature. 

Sect. 3. And as I must not look to be the nearest to him, as 
he is the first eflicient, no more must I, as he is the first diri- 
gent, or governing cause. As now I am under the government 
of his officers on earth, I look for ever to be under sub-govern- 
ors in heaven. My glorified Saviour must be my Lord and 
ruler, and who else under him 1 know not. If angels are not 
equal in perfection, nor, as is commonly supposed, equal in 
power, nor without some regimental order among themselves, I 
must not conclude that no created angel or spirit shall have any 
government over me, but it will be so pure and divine, as that 
the blessed effects of God's own government will be sweetly 
powerfid therein. If the law was given by angels, and the angel 
of God was in the burning bush, and the angel conducted the 
people through the wilderness, and yet all these things are 
ascribed to God, much more near and glorious will the divine 
regiment there be, whoever are the administrators. 

Sect. 4. And as I must expect to be under some created, effi- 
cient and dirigent causes there, so must I expect to have some 
subordinate ends : else there would not be a proportion and 
harmony in causalities. Whatever nobler creatures are above 
nie, and have their causalities upon me, I must look to be finally 
for these nobler creatures. When I look up and think what a 
world of glorious beings are now over me, I dare not presume 
to think that I shall finally, any more than receptively, be the 
nearest unto God, and that I am made for none but him. I find 
here that I am made, and ruled, and sanctified, for the public 
or common good of many as above my own, of which I am 
past doubt; and I am sure that I must be, finally, for my glori- 
fied Redeemer; and for what other spiritual beings, or intelli- 
gences, that are above me, little do I know : and God hath so 
ordered all his creatures, as that they are mutually ends and 
means for and to one another, though not in an equality, nor in 
the same respects. But whatever nearer ends there will be, I 
am sure that he who is the first efficient, and dirigent,will be the 
ultimate, final cause : and I shall be, in this respect, as near him 
as is due to the rank and order of my nature. I shall be useful 
to the ends which are answerable to my perfection. 



34(> Baxter's dying though is. 

Sect. 5. And if it be the honour of a servant to have an 
honourable master, and to be appointed to the most honourable 
work; if it be some honour to a horse above swine, or a worm, 
or fly, that he serveth more nearly for the use of man, yea, for 
a prince, will it not be also my advancement to be ultimately for 
God, and subordinately for the highest created natures, and this 
in such servic£s as are suitable to my spiritual and heavenly 
state ? 

Sect. 6. For I am far from thinking that I, shall be above 
service, and have none to do, for activity will be my perfection 
and my rest : and all such activity must be regular in harmony, 
and order of causes, and for its proper use ; and what, though I 
know not now fully what service it is that I must do, I know 
it will be good and suitable to the blessed state which i shall be 
in ; and it is enough that God and my Redeemer know it ; and 
that I shall know it in due time, when I come to practise it ; 
of which more afterward. 

Sect. 7. The inordinate love of this body and present com- 
position seduceth souls to think that all their use and work is 
for its maintenance and prosperity, and when the soul hath 
done that, and is separated from flesh, it hath nothing to do, 
but must lie idle, or be as nothing, or have no considerable 
work or pleasure. As if there were nothing in the whole world, 
but this little fluid mass of matter, for a soul to work upon ; as if 
itself, and all the creatures, and God, were nothing, or no fit 
objects for a soul : and why not hereafter, as well as now: or, 
as if that which, in our compounded state, doth operate on and 
by its organs, had no other way of operation without them; as 
if the musician lost all his power, or were dead, when his in- 
trument is out of tune, or broken, and could do nothing else 
but play on that : as if the fiery part of the candle were anni- 
hilated, or transmutate, as some philosophers imagine, when the 
candle goeth out, and were not fire, and in action still: or as 
if that suid^eam which I shut out, or which passeth from our 
horizon, were annihilated, or did nothing, when it shineth not 
with us. Had it no other individual to illuminate, or to termi- 
nate its beams or action, were it nothing to illuminate the com- 
mon air ? Though 1 shall not always have a body to operate in 
and upon, 1 shall always have God, and a Saviour, and a world 
of fellow-creatures ; and when I shine not in this lantern, and 
see not by these spectacles, nor imaginarily in a glass, I shall yet 
see things suitable intuitively, and as face to face. That which 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 34/ 

is essentially life, as a living principle, will live ; and that which 
is essentially an active, intellective, volitive principle, force, and 
virtue, will still be such while it is itself, and is not annihilated, 
or changed into another thing (which is not to he feared) ; and 
that which is such can never want an object till all things be 
annihilated. 

Sect. 8. Reason assureth me, that were my will now what it 
should be, and fully obsequions herein to my understanding, to 
fulfil God's will would be the fulfilling my own will, for my will 
should perfectly comply with his, and to please him perfectly 
would be my perfect pleasure : and it is the unreasonable adhe- 
sion to this body, and sinful selfishness, which maketh any one 
think otherwise now. I am sure that my soul shall live, for it is 
life itself; and I am sure that I shall live to God, and that I 
shall fulfil and please his blessed will ; and this is, as such, in- 
comparably better than my felicity, as such : and yet so far as I 
am pleased in so doing, it will be my felicity. 

Sect. 9. T begin now to think, that the strange love which 
the soul hath to this body (so far as it is not inordinate) is 
put into us of God, partly to signify to us the great love which 
Christ hath to his mystical, political body, and to every member 
of it, even the least: he will gather all his elect out of the world, 
and none that come to him shall be shut out, and none that are 
sriven him shall be lost: as his flesh is to them meat indeed, and 
his blood is to them drink indeed, and he nourisheth them for 
life eternal: (his Spirit in them, turning the sacrament, the 
word, and Christ himself, in esse ohjectivo, as believed in, into 
spirit and life to us, as the soul and our natural spirits turn our 
food into flesh, and blood, and spirits, which, in a dead body, 
or any lifeless repository, it would never be:) so as we delight 
in the ease and prosperity of our body, and each member, and 
have pleasure in the pleasant food that nourisheth it, and other 
pleasant objects which accommodate it ; Christ also delighteth 
in the welfare of his church, and of all the faithful, and is 
pleased when they are fed with good and pleasant food, and 
when hereby they prosper: Christ loveth the church, not only 
as a man must love his wife, but as we love our bodies; and 
no man ever hated his own flesh. (Eph. v. 27, &c.) And 
herein I must allow my Saviour the pre-eminence, to overgo me 
in powerful, faithful love: he will save me better from pain and 
death than I can save my body: and will more inseparably 
hold me to himself. If it please my soul to dwell in such ai 



348 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

house of clay, and to operate on so mean a thing as flesh, liow 
greatly will it please my glorified Lord, to dwell with his glo- 
rified hody, the triumphant churcli, and to cherish and hless 
each member of it ! It would be a kind of death to Christ to 
be separated from his body, and to have it die. \¥hether 
Augustine, and the rest of the fathers, were in the right or no, 
who thought, that as our bodies do not only shed their hairs, 
but, by sicknesses and waste, lose much of their very flesh; so 
Christ's militant body doth not only lose hypocrites, but also 
some living, justified members; yet, certain it is, that confirmed 
members, and most certain, that glorified members, shall not be 
lost : heaven is not a place for Christ or us to suffer such loss in. 
And will Christ love me better than I love my body? Will he 
be more loth to lose me than I am to lose a member, or to 
die? Will he not take incomparably greater pleasure in ani- 
mating and actuating me for ever, than my soul doth in 
animating and actuating this body? O, then, let me long to 
be with him ! And though I am naturally loth to be absent 
from the body, let me be by his Spirit more unwilling to be 
absent from the Lord; and though I would not be unclothed, 
had not sin made it necessary, let me not groan to be clothed 
upon with my heavenly habitation, and to become the delight 
of my Redeemer, and to be perfectly loved, by love itself. 

Sect. 10. And even this blessed receptivity of my soul, in 
terminating the love and delight of my glorified Head, must 
needs be a felicity to me. The insensible creatures are but 
beautified by the sun's communication of its light and heat; but 
the sensitives have also the pleasure of it. Shall my soul be 
senseless? Will it be a clod or stone? Shall that, which is 
now the form of man, be then more lifeless, senseless, or unca- 
pable, than the form of brutes is now? Doubtless, it will be a 
living, perceiving, sensible recipient of the felicitating love of 
God, and my Redeemer; I shall be loved as a living spirit, and 
not as a dead and senseless thing, that doth not comfortably 
perceive it. 

Sect. li. And if I must rejoice with my fellow-servants that 
rejoice, shall I not be glad to think that my blessed Lord will 
rejoice in me, and in all his glorified ones ? Union will make 
his pleasure to be much mine ; and it will be aptly said by him 
to the faithful soul, " Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 
(Matt. XXV. 21.) His own active joy will objectively be ours, 
as ours will be efficiently his, or from him. Can that be an ill 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 349 

condition to me, in which my Lord will most rejoice ? it is best 
to him, and, therefore, best to me. 

Sect. 12. And the heavenly society will joyfully welcome a 
holy soul. If there be now " Joy in heaven among the angels, 
for one sinner that repenteth," (Luke xv. 10,) who hath yet so 
little holiness, and so m.uch sin; what joy will there be over a 
perfected, glorified soul? Surely,. if our angels there behold our 
Father's face, they will be glad, in season, of our company. 
The angels that carried Lazarus to Abraham's bosom, no doubt 
rejoiced in their work, and their success. And is the joy of 
angels, and the heavenly host, as nothing to me ? Will not love 
and union make their joy to be my own ; if love here must make 
all my friends and neighbours comforts to become my own? 
And as their joy, according to their perfection, is greater than 
any that I am now capable of, so the participation of so great 
a joy of theirs will be far better than to have my little sepa- 
rated apartment. Surely, that will be my best condition, 
which angels and blessed spirits will be best pleased in, and 1 
shall rejoice most in that which they most rejoice in. 

IlL The constitutive Reasons from the intellective State, 

III. Sect. 1. Though the tempter would persuade men, be- 
cause of the case of infants in the womb, apoplectics, &c., that 
the understanding will be but an unactive power, when sepa- 
rated from these corporeal organs, I have seen before sufficient 
reasons to repel this temptation. I will suppose, that it will 
not have such a mode of conception, as it hath now by these 
organs; but, L The soul will be still essentially a vital, intellec- 
tive substance, disposed to act naturally; and that is to those 
acts which it is formally inclined to, as fire to illuminate and 
heat. And as it cannot die, (while it is what it is in essence,) 
because it is life itself, that is, the vital substance; so it cannot 
but be intellective, (as to an inclined power,) because it is such 
essentially; though God can change, or annihilate any thing, if 
he would. 2. And it will be among a world of objects. 3. 
And it will still have its dependence on the first cause, and re- 
ceive his continual, actuating influx. 4. And no man can give 
the least show of true reason, to ])rove that it sliall cease sen- 
sation, (whether the sensitive faculties be in the same substance 
which is intellective, which is most probable, or in one con- 
junct, as some imagine,) though the species and modes of sen- 
sation cease, which arc denominated from the various organs. 



350 Baxter's j>ying thoughts* 

5. Yea, no man can prove that the departing soul doth not 
carry with it its igneous spirits, which, in the body, it did im- 
mediately actuate. If it were ever so certain that those 
Greek fathers were mistaken, (as well as hypocrites,) who took 
the soul itself to be a sublime, intellectual lire. 

And as to the objection some hold, that the soul pre-existed 
before it was in the body; others, and most, that it then re- 
ceived its first being: if the first were true, it would be true 
that the soul had its intellectual activity before, though the soul 
itself, incorporate, remember it not, because it operateth but 
ut forma hominis, (and its oblivion they take to be part of its 
penalty,) and they that think it a radius of the animamundi vel 
systematis, must think that then it did intellectually animate 
hunc mundum, vel mundi partem : and to do so again, is the 
worst they can conjecture of it. As the rays of the sun, which 
heat a burning glass, and by it set a candle on fire, are the 
same rays still diffused in the air, and illuminating, heating, and 
moving it, and terminated on some other body, and not annihi- 
lated, or debilitated, Avhen their contracted operation ceaseth by 
breaking the glass, or putting out the candle; and as the spirit 
of a tree still animateth the tree, when it retires from the 
leaves, and lets them. fall. But this being an unproved imagin- 
ation of men's own brains, we have no further use of it, than to 
confute themselves, liut if the soul existed not till its incor- 
poration, what wonder if it operate but vt forma, when it is 
united to the body for that use? What wonder if its initial 
operations^ like a spark of fire in tinder, or the first lighting of 
a candle, be weak, and scarce by us perceptible ? What 
wonder if it operate but to the uses that the creation did ap- 
point it; and first, as vegetative, fabricate its own body, as the 
maker's instrument, and then feel, and then understand? And 
what wonder if it operate no further than objects are admitted? 
And, therefore, what wonder if, in apoplexies, &;c., such opera- 
tions are intercepted ? But the departing soul is, 1 . In its 
maturitv. 2. No more imited to this body, and so not con- 
fined to sense and imagination in its operations, and the admis- 
sion of its objects. 3. And it is sub raiione meriti, and as a 
governed subject is ordinate to its reward ; which it was not 
capable of receiving in the womb, or in an apoplexy. And as 
we have the reasons before alleged to hold, 1. That it shall 
not be annihilated. 2- Nor dissolved. 3. Nor lose its essen- 
tial faculties or powers. 4. Nor those essential powers be con- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 351 

tinued useless by the wise and merciful Creator, though, by 
natural revelation, we know not in what manner they shall act; 
whether on any other body, and by what conjunction, and how 
far; so by supernatural revelation we are assured, that there is a 
reward for the righteous, and that holy souls are still members 
of Christ, and live because he liveth,and that in the day of their 
departure they shall be with him in Paradise, and being absent 
from the body, shall be present with the Lord; and that Christ, 
therefore, died, rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of 
the dead and of the living, that is, of those that, being dead, 
hence do live with him, and of those that yet live in the body; 
for he that said, " God is not the God of the dead, but of the 
living," that is, stands not related to them as his people, as a 
king to his subjects, is not himself the Lord of the absolute 
dead, but of the living. 

Therefore, (as Contai'enus against Pomponatius de Immortal. 
Anim. saiih,) the immortality of the soul is proveable by the 
light of nature, but the manner of its future operation must he 
known by faith. And blessed be the Father of spirits, and our 
Redeemer, who hath sent and set up this excellent light, by 
which we see further than purblind infidels can do 1 

Sect. 2. But I deny not but even the Scripture itself doth tell 
us but little of the manner of our intellection when we are out 
of the body ; and it is not improbable that there is more imper- 
fection in this mode of notional, organical, abstractive knowledge 
which the soul exerciseth in the body, than most consider of. 
And that as the eye hath the visive faculty in sleep, and when 
we wink, and an internal action of the visive spirits, (no doubt,) 
and yet seeth not any thing without till the eyelids are opened, 
(and was not made to see its own sight,) so the soul in the body 
is as a winking eve to all things that are not, by the sense and 
imagination, intromitted, or brought within its reach. And whe- 
ther fsicut noH video visum, neque facuUatem neque subslan- 
tiam videntem, videndo tumen certo percipio me videre,%o it may 
be said, Non inteU'ujo immediate ipsam inteUectionem, neque 
facuUatem, aut suhstantiam intelligent em. Intelligendo tamen 
certo percipio me intelllgere, quia actus intellectus in spiritus 
sensitivos operans sentitur ; or whether we must further say, 
with Ockam, that Intellectus turn intuitlcb. tum abstractive se 
intelligif, 1 leave to wiser men to judge, but I am very suspicions 
that the body is more a lantern to the soul than some will 
admit; and that this Lusus notiomun secundarmn, or abstractive 



352 Baxter's dying thoughts. * 

knowledge of things by organical images, names, and notions, is 
occasioned by the union of the soul with the body ut form^y 
and is that childish knowledge which the apostle saith shall be 
done away. And how much of man's fall might consist in such 
a knowing of good and evil, I cannot tell, or in the overvaluing 
such a knowledge. And I think that when vain philosophy at 
Athens had called the thoughts and desires of mankind from 
great realities to the logical and philological game at words and 
notions, it was Socrates' wisdom to call them to more con- 
cerning studies, and Paul's greater wisdom to warn men to take 
heed of such vain philosophy, and to labour to know God and 
Jesus Christ, and the things of the Spirit, and not to over-value 
this ludicrous, dreaming, worldly wisdom. And if I have none 
of this kind of notional, childish knowledge when I am absent 
from the body, the glass and spectacles may then be spared, 
when I come to see with open face, or as face to face. Our 
future knowledge is usually, in Scripture, called seeing. " Blessed 
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matt. v. 8.) 
" We shall see face to face." (1 Cor. xiii. 12.) " We shall 
see him as he is." (1 John iii. 2.) " Father, I will that those 
which thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they 
may behold my glory which thou hast given me," &c. (John 
xvii. 2-1.) An intuitive knowledge of all things, as in them- 
selves immediatelv, is a more excellent sort of knowledge than 
this, by similitudes, names, and notions, which our learning now 
consisteth in, and is but an art acquired by many acts and use. 

Sect. 3. If the sun were, as the heathens thought it, an in- 
tellective animal, and its emitted rays were vitally visive, and 
when one of those rays were received by prepared seminal 
matter (as in insects) it became the soul of an inferior animal, 
in this case, the said ray would operate in that insect, or animal, 
but according to the capacity of the recipient matter; whereas 
the sun itself, by all its emitted rays, would see all things intel- 
lectually, and with delight, and when that insect were dead, 
that rav would be what it was, an intellective, intuitive emana- 
tion. And though the soul in flesh do not know itself how it 
shall be united to Christ, and to all other holy souls, and to God 
himself, nor how near, or just of what sort that union will be, 
yet united it will be, and therefore will participate accordingly 
of the universal light or understanding to which it is united. 
The soul now, as it is, or operateth, in the foot or hand, doth not 
understand, but only as it i^j and operateth, in the head. And 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 353 

yet the same soul which is in the hand, understaudeth in the 
head, and the soul operateth not so selfishly or dividedly in the 
hand as to repine there because it understaudeth not there ; but 
it is quiet in that it understaudeth in the head, and performeth 
its due operation in the hand. But this diversity of operations 
seemeth to be from the organs, and body's use, or need, but 
souls dismissed from the body seem to be as all eye, or intuitive 
light. Therefore, though it might content us to say that our 
Head seeth all things, and we are united to him, yet we may say 
further, that we ourselves shall see God, and all things that are 
meet for us to see. 

Sect. 4. And seeing it is most certain that the superior glo- 
rious regions are full of blessed spirits, who do see God and one 
another, having much more perfect operations than ^ve have, 
(whose effects we mortals find here below,) why should I, that 
find an intellective nature in myself, make any doubt of my more 
perfect operations when I am dismissed hence, being satisfied 
that a soul will not lose its simple essence ? Either those su- 
perior spirits have ethereal bodies to act in (or are such them- 
selves) or not. If they are, or have such, why should 1 doubt 
of the like, and think that my substance or vehicle will not be 
according to the region of my abode ? If not, why should I 
think that my departed soul may not know or see without an 
igneous or ethereal body or vehicle, as well as all those worlds 
of spirits. And the certainty of apparitions, possessions, and 
witches, do tell us, not only that there are such inhabitants of 
other regions, ordinarily invisible to us, but also tiiat we are in 
the way to that happiness or misery which is in our invisible state. 

Sect. 5. These things reviewed, (being partly mentioned 
before,) assuring me that I shall have actual intellection in my 
separated state, the region, with the objects, but, above all, the 
holy Scriptures, will tell me as much as it is meet that I should 
here know, what it is that I shall intuitively understand. The 
apostle (I Cor.xiii. 10 — 12.) doth distinguishourknowingin part, 
and knowing perfectly, knowing as a child, and as a man, knowing 
darkly andenigmatically, as in a glass, and knowing face to face as 
we are known. The great question is, when this time of jjerfec* 
tionis? Whether he mean at death, or at the resurrection. If 
the observation of Dr. Ilannnond and Mr. Beverly, in his 
' Great Soul of Man,' hold, that dA^aa-ij; in ScrijJture, when 
' the flesh or body' is not joined with it, signifies that life which 
the soul doth enter upon immediately after our death, and so 

vol.. XVllI. A A 



354 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

that the soul liath th.it (after living) which is signified by the 
very word which we translate resurrection, then it \\\\\ lead men 
to think that there is less difference between man's state at his 
first departure, and at his last resurrection, than most think, 
even than Calvin himself thought. But the difference between 
our first and last state of after-life or resurrection cannot be 
now distinctly known. What difference there is now between 
Enoch, Elias, and those who rose at Christ's resurrection, and 
the rest of the saints, even the spirits of the perfected just, and 
whether the first have as much greater glory than the rest, as 
it is conceived that we shall have at the resurrection above that 
which immediately foUoweth death, what mortal man can tell ? I 
am past doubt that flesh and blood (formally so called, and not 
only ab accidente, as sinful) shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God, {vid. Hammond in loc.,) but that our natural bodies shall 
be made spiritual bodies : and how a spiritual body differeth 
from a spirit or soul, 1 pretend not well to understand, but must 
stay till God, by experience, or fuller light, inform me. But 
surely the difference is not like to be so great, as that a soul in 
flesh shall know in part, and a soul in a spiritual body shall know 
perfectly, and a soul between both shall not know at all. If 
it be perfection which we shall have in our spiritual body, it is 
like that we are nearer to that perfection, in knowledge and fe- 
licity, while we are between both, than when we are in the flesh. 

Sect. 6. And sure a soul that (even Solomon saith) goeth 
upward, and to God that gave it, is liker to know God than that 
which is terminated in flesh, and operateth ut forma, according 
to its capacity and state ; and a soul that is with Christ, is liker 
to know Christ, and the Father in him, than that which is 
present with the body, and absent from the Lord. What less 
can the promise of being with him signify ? 

Sect. 7- And, 1. As to the kind of knowledge, how excellent 
and more satisfactory a way will that of intuition, or intellective 
sense, be, than is our present way of abstraction, similitudes, and 
signs. What abundance of time, thoughts, and labour, doth it 
cost us now to learn our grammar, our rhetoric, and our logic. 
Our artes loqnendi, dicendi and dissercndi; to learn our wordy 
rules and axioms, in metaphysics, physics, &c. And when we 
have learned them all, (if all can !)e learned,) how little the nearer 
are many to the knowing of the signified realities. \^'^e oft get 
but a set of words to play with, to take up our time, and divert 
us from the matter ; even as carnal men use the creatures which 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 355 

signify God, and are made to lead them up to him, to entangle 
them, and be the greatest and most pernicious diversion of their 
souls from God; so do too many learned men do by their or- 
ganical, signal knowledge. They use it as men do cards, and 
romances, and plays, to delight their fancies, but they know less 
of the things that are worth their knowing, than many unlearned 
persons do, as I said before. Had not much of the Athenian 
learning been then a mere game, for men to play away their 
precious time at, and to grow proud of, while they were ignorant 
of saving realities, Christ and his apostles had not so much ne- 
glected it as they did, nor Paul so much warned men to take 
heed of being deceived by that vain kind of philosophy, in which 
he seemeth to me to have greater respect to the universally es- 
teemed Athenian arts, than, as Dr. Hammond thought, to the 
mere gnostic pretensions. 

This poor, dreaming, signal, artificial knowledge is, 1. Costly. 
2. Uncertain. 3. Contentious. 4. Unsatisfactory, in compa- 
rison of intuitive knowledge. 

1. It is costly, as to the hard labour and precious time 
which must be laid out for it, as aforesaid. We grow old in get- 
ting us horses, and boots, and spurs, for our journey, and it is 
well if we begin it at the last; like a man that would study the 
new-found planets, and the shape of Saturn's and Jupiter's 
satellites, and the Viam Lacteam, &c.; and he spends his whole 
life in getting him the best tubes, or telescopes, and never useth 
them to his ends; or like one that, instead of learning to write, 
doth spend his life in getting the best ink, ))aper, and pens ; or 
rather like one that learneth to write and print exactly, and not 
to understand what any of his words do signify. Men take 
their spectacles instead of eyes. 

2. And when this learning is got, how uncertain are we 
whether the words have no ambiguity; whether they give us 
the true notice of the speaker's mind, and of the matter spoken 
of. As 1 said before, what penury, and yet redundancy of 
words have we: of how various and uncertain signification; 
changed by custom, or arbitrary design; sometimes by the vulgar 
use, and sometimes by learned men that, being conscious of the 
defectiveness of the speaking art, ra-e still tampering, and at- 
tempting to amend it. And some men speak obscurely en pur- 
pose, to raise in thcdr readers a conceit of their subtle and sub- 
lime conceptions. And he that underbtandeth things most 
dearly, and speaketh tliem most plainly, (vvliich are the parts of 

A A 2 



356 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

true learning,) shall have much ado to get the matter out of 
dark and bewilderhig uncertainties, and to make others under- 
stand both it and him. 

3. And hence come the greatest part of the contentions of 
the worldj which are hottest among men that most pretend to 
wordy knowledge; as in traffic and converse, the more men and 
business we have to do with, usually the more quarrels and dif- 
ferences we have; so the more of this wordy learning, instead 
of realities, men pretend to, the more disputes and controver- 
sies they make ; and the instruments of knowledge prove the 
instruments of error and contention. And, alas ! how many 
applauded volumes are the snares and troublers of the world ! 
and how great a part of our libraries are vain janglings, and 
strife of words, and traps for the more ingenious sort, that will 
not be taken with cards and dice, robbing us of our time, de- 
stroying our love, depressing our minds, that should ascend to 
God, and diverting them from the great and holy things which 
should be the matter of our thoughts and joys; and filling tlie 
church with sects and strife, while every one striveth for the 
pre-eminence of his wit and notions, and few strive for holy 
love, and unity, and good works. 

4. And all this while, alas! too many learned men do but 
lick the outside of the glass, and leave the wine witiiin untasted. 
To know God, and Christ, and heaven, and holiness, do give the 
soul a nourishing and strengthening kind of pleasure, like that 
of the appetite in its food; but this game at words is but a 
knowing of im.ages, signs, and shadows, and so is but an image 
and shadow of true knowledge. Jt is not that grace which 
Austin's definition saith, Nemo male utitur ; but it is that which 
the sanctified use well, and the unsanctified are puffed up by, 
and use to the opposition of truth, the ostentation of a foolish 
wit, and the deceit of their own souls. And if it be sanctified 
knowledge, it is but mediate, in order to our knowledge of 
things thus signified; and it is the real good which contcnteth 
and beatifieth, though the notions may be a subordinate recre- 
ation ; and intuition feasteth on these realities. 

Sect. 9. II. And as to the objects of this intuition, their ex- 
cellency will be the excellency of our knowledge. I. 1 shall 
know God better. II. I shall know the universe better. III. I 
shall know Christ ])etter. IV. I shall know the church, his 
body, better, with the holy angels. V. I shall better know the 
methods and {icifcclion of the Scripture, and all God's dirigent 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 357 

word and will. VI. I shall know the methods and sense of 
disposing providence better. Vll. I shall know the divine be- 
nefits, which are the fruits of love, better. VIII. I shall know 
myself better. IX. I shall better know every fellow-creature, 
which I am concerned to know. X. And I shall better know 
all that evil, sin, Satan, and misery, from which I am de- 
livered. 

Sect. 10. I. Aquinas, and many others, took it for the chief, 
natural proof of the soul's immortality, that man, by nature, 
desireth not only to know effects, and second causes, but to 
rise up to the knowledge of the first cause ; and, therefore, was 
made for such knowledge in the state of his perfection; but 
grace hath much more of this desire than nature. Not that 
we must not be content to be without a great deal of knowledge, 
which would be unmeet for us, useless, troublesome, or danger- 
ous to us ; nor must we aspire to tliat which is above our capa- 
city, and to know the imsearchable things of God ; but not to 
know God, is to know nothing, and to have an understanding 
worse than none. I presume not to pry into the secrets of the 
Almighty, nor to pretend to know more of God than, indeed, I 
do ; but, O that I might know more of his glorious perfections, 
of his will, and love, and ways, with that knowledge which is 
eternal life I Blessed be that love that sent the Son of God 
from heaven, to reveal him to us in the gospel, as he hath done j 
but all that hear the same words, and believe them, have not the 
same degree of light or faith. If an angel from heaven came 
down on earth to tell us all of God that we would know, and 
might lawfully desire and ask him, who would not turn his back 
on libraries, and universities, and learned men, to go and dis- 
course with such a messenger? What travel should 1 think 
too far, what cost too great, for one hour's talk with such a 
messenger ? But we must have here but such intimations as 
will exercise faitli, and excite desire, and try us under the 
temptations of the world and flesh. The glorious light is the 
reward of the victory obtained by the conduct of the light of 
grace. God, in great mercy, even here beginneth the reward. 
They that are true to the initial light, and faithfully follow on to 
know the Lord, do find, usually, such increase of light (not of 
vain notions, but of quickening and comforting knowledge of 
God) as greatly encciu'ageth them still on to seek for more. 
It is very ])lea.sant here to increase in holy knowledge, though 
it usually bring an increase of malignant opposition, and so of 



358 Baxter's dyinCt thoughts. 

sorrows to tlie Hesh, T!ie pleasure that the miiul hatli in 
common knowledge, brings men through a great deal of labour 
to attain it. How many years' travel over land and sea do 
some men take, to see and know more of this Iwver world ; 
though it is little that they bring home, but more acquaintance 
with sin, and vanitv, and vexation. How many more years do 
thousands spend in the reading multitudes of tedious volumes, 
that they may know what others knew before them. Printers 
and booksellers live by our desire of knowledge. What soul, 
then, on earth can possibly conceive how great a pleasure it 
will be for a glorified soul to see the Lord ? Though I cannot 
now conceive what that intuition of God himself wall be, and 
whether it will not be a glorious kind of concluding or ab- 
stractive knowledge ; whether the glory which we shall see 
be only a created appearance of God, or be his very essence, it 
satisfieth me that it will be as perfect a knowledge as is fit for 
me to desire; and I shall then desire no more than is fit: and 
what it is I shall then know by itself, for it is not otherwise to 
he clearly known. And all the pleasure that I shall have in 
heaven, in knowing any of the works of God, will be in my be- 
holding God himself, his being, his vital power and action, his 
wisdom, and his love and goodness, in those works ; for he is 
the life and glory of them all. " Blessed are the pure in heart, 
for they shall see God." 

II. And, doubtless, it will be no small part of my delight to 
see and know God's perfect works, I mean the universe itself. 
I cannot say that I shall have so large a capacity as to compre- 
hend all the world, or know it perfectly, and with an adequate 
knowledge; but I shall know it in such perfection as is suitable 
to my capacity. It is exceeding pleasant to know the least 
particles of the works of God. With what diligence and de- 
ligiit have men endeavoured to anatomise a body, yea, a small 
part of a carcass, and to know and describe poor worms and 
insects, plants and minerals ; and no man ever yet perfectly 
knew the least of them all. No herbalist or physician ever yet 
knew the nature and uses of any one herb with an adequate 
knowledge. With what delight and diligence are physical 
searches carried on in the world, though still we are all but 
groping in the dark, and ignorant of many things for one that 
we know, and, therefore, know no one perfectly, because we are 
ignorant of the rest. But if, indeed, we were above our dream- 
ing, erroneous hypothesis, and saw the nature of every creature. 



Baxter's jjying thoughts. S59 

even in sea and land — this little spot of God's creation, and the 
compages of all, oh ! what a delightful spectacle would it be ! 
How much more to see the whole creation, yea, or one vortex 
or system of the globes, and to know their union and communion, 
and to behold their beauteous symmetry, and hear them, in con- 
cord and melodious harmony, praising the glory of their great, 
wise, amiable Creator. This were a delectable sight indeed. I 
shall have as much of this as 1 shall be capable of; and the 
wonders and glories of the works of God shall wrap up my soul in 
admiring, joyful praise for ever : and though here it be but little 
of God's works that we know, J have great reason to think that 
it will be far otherwise there. 1. Because the state of perfec- 
tion must far excel our dark and infant state of imperfection. 
We have now desires after such a knowledge. His works are 
great, sought out of them that have pleasure therein : and these 
desires, being of God, shall not be frustrate. 2. Because there 
will be a proportionableness of the parts of our perfection ; and 
therefore, as our love to God and his works will be there per- 
fected, so will be our knovvledge. 3. Because we shall know 
God himself as much as we are capable, and therefore we shall 
know his works in him, or by a subordinate knowledge, the 
less being in the greater. 4. Because God hath made his 
works to be known to his glory : but it is little that is here 
known of them by mortals ; therefore they are known by them 
in heaven, who are fitted to improve that knowledge to his 
praise. 

If Christ, who is the wisdom of God, will teach me the true 
philosophy, how to love God, and live here in all well-pleasing 
unto him, I shall quickly, in heaven, be a perfect philosopher; 
and experience will tell me that the surest way to be truly 
learned, and know the wonderful works of God, was to know, 
love, and serve the great Creator; and in him we shall have all, 
and without him we know nothing, and have nothing at all. 

Satan tempted Christ, by showing him the " kingdoms and 
glory of the world," and promising them all to him if he would 
have worshipped him: but God will show me more than Satan 
could show, and give me more of that uhich is best, than Satan 
could give. 

III. And that in heaven I shall better know Jesus Christ, and 
all the mystery of our redemjjtiou by him, will not be the least 
of my felicitv; for in him are hid all the treasures, of wisdom : 
and .to know the mysterv of his eternal godhead, in the second 



360 Baxter's dying thoitghts. 

person, and his createu nature, and the union of these, and to 
see God's wonderful design and work of grace in him laid open 
to our clearest view, O what beatifying knowledge would this be ! 
All dark texts concerning his person, his office, and his works, 
will then be expounded and fully understood. All those strange 
and difficult things which were the great exercise and honour of 
faith, will then be plain. Difficulties will no more be Satan's 
advantage to tempt us to unbelief, or doubting. The sight of 
the glory of my Lord will be my glory. (John xvii. 24.) If 
Paul had not then attained to perfection in the knowledge of 
Christ, and the power of his resurrection, but was pressing for- 
ward to reach that crown in the life to come, which he calleth 
*' the resurrection of the dead," (Phil. iii. 9 — 12,) such as I 
must not expect here to attain it ; but when that which Is per- 
fect is come, this imperfect knowledge of faith will be done 
away, as childish knowledge is in manhood: and the glass and 
riddle shall be laid aside, when we " shall see face to face, and shall 
know as we are known," (i Cor. xiii. 10 — 12,) as to our sight 
and knowledge of Christ and his triumphant body : for I dare 
not apply that phrase to the sight and knowledge of the divine 
essence, nor yet deny it. 

If now, though we see not Christ, yet, believing, we love him, 
and rejoice in him with unspeakable, glorying joy. ^Vhat love 
and joy will the everlasting sight of our blessed Head excite 
there in the souls of all the glorified ! 

IV. I shall better, oh ! much better, know the heavenly 
Jerusalem, the triumphant church, the blessed angels, and glo- 
rified saints ; and as my love to them, S'j my knowledge of 
them, will not be the least part of my heavenly delight. As 
strangely as 1 now look upward to that world, because I cannot 
see it with these eyes, it shall Sje m.y well-knov,'n everlasting- 
habitation. Oh ! what a sight, what a joyful sight, will death 
show me by drawing aside the veil, or rather the Lord of Life, 
by turning death to my advantage! "When 1 am there at home, 
I shall no more think with confusion, fear, or doubting, of that 
blessed place or state. I\Iy fears, whicli now come from tiie 
smallness of my faith, will end when faith, is turned into vision. 
As 1 knov/ the several rooms in mv house, an.d liouses in the 
street, and streets in the city, so shall I then know the many 
mansions v/hich Christ hath said are in his Father's house. 
Words now give me so poor, imperfect a conception of the 
world and things which I never saw, as that sometimes I can 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 301 

scarcely tell whether the joy of my faith, or the trouble of my 
dark apprehensions, be the greater. But when I shall see the 
place and persons, the glory which I heard of, that will be the 
delightful satisfying and possessing kind of knowledge. If Nehe- 
miah, and the godly Jews, made so great a matter of seeing 
the walls of Jerusalem repaired; and others, of the imperfect 
re-edifying of the temple, O what a joyful sight to me will the 
heavenly Jerusalem then bel The most glorious sight will be 
at the great marriage-day of the Lamb, when Christ shall come 
to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that now 
believe : but the next to that will be the day of my particular 
deliverance, when I shall come to Christ, and see the saints ad- 
miring him in glory. 

If I were of the opinion of those Greek fathers, who thought 
that stars were angels, or had intellectual souls, (matters un- 
known to us,) I should love them as my guardians, and take 
it to be yet more of my concernment to be advanced to 
the fuller knowledge of them. But seeing I know that 
angels love us, and by office do attend and keep us, and re- 
joice at our good, and at our repentance, and, which is far 
more, are more holy and excellent creatures than we are, 
it is, therefore, my comfort to think that I shall better know 
them, and live in near and perpetual acquaintance and commu- 
nion with them, a more sensible and sweet communion than we 
can have with them here. Devils are aerial, and near to this 
dark and sinful world, and oftener appear to men than angels. 
But the angels affect not such descending a-' ""arances, till love 
and obedience to their Lord make it pleasing to them : and 
therefore we have but little knowledge, even of those that know, 
and love, and keep us. But when we come home to their near- 
est society and converse, to know them will be sweet and joyful 
knowledge : for they are more excellent creatures than the 
most glorious that are below the intellective nature. They are 
full of lisht, and full of love to God and man. Had God bid 
me prav to them, I would not have refused it, but tak"en it for 
my honour; but seeing he hath not, I will do that which he 
hath bid me, even love them, and rejoice in my lelulion to the 
innumerable company of them, in the city of the living God, 
the heavenly Jerusalem, (Htb. xii. 22.) and long to know and 
love them more ; ex])ccting, ere . long, to bear mv part in the 
praises of God and of the Lamb, in the same choir whore they 
are the precentors. 



362 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

And that 1 shall know the spirits of the perfected just, and 
be of their communion, will be no small addition to my joy. 
How sweet hath one wise and holy, though weak and blemished, 
companion been to me here on earth ! And how lovely have 
God's graces in such, though sullied, appeared to me. Oh ! then, 
what a sight will it be when we shall see the millions of souls that 
shine in perfect wisdom and holiness with Christ. To see a gar- 
den that hath some beautiful flowers in it, is something : but if 
you saw whole fields and countries shining with them, it would 
be a glory, though fading, to the earth. A well-built city is a. 
pleasanter sight than a single house, and a navy than a ship, 
and an army than one man. And if this poor, low world did 
all consist of wise, and just, and holy pv^rsons, O what an or- 
derly, lovely world would it be ! If one kingdom consisted 
(prince, magistrates, pastors, and people) all of such, what a 
blessed kingdom would that be. The plague of wicked men's 
deceits, and falsehoods, oppressions, and iniquities, may help to 
make us sensible of this. It would be a great temptation to us 
to be loth to die, and leave such a coimtry, were it not that the 
more the beauty of goodness appeareth, the more the state of 
perfection is desired. It is pleasant to me to pray in hope, as 
Christ hath commanded me, that earth may be made liker unto 
heaven, which now is become so like to hell. But when I shall see 
the society perfected in number, in holiness, in glovy, in hea- 
venly employment, the joyful praises of Jehovah, the glory of 
God, and the Lamb shining on them, and God rejoicing over 
them as his delight, and myself partaking of the same, that 
will be the truly blessed day. And why doth my soul, impri- 
soned in flesh, no more desire it ? 

V. I shall better understand all the word of God, the mat- 
ter, and the method of it: though I shall not have that use for 
it as I have now in this life of faith, yet 1 shall see more of 
God's wisdom and his goodness, his love, mercy, and justice, 
appearing in it, than ever man on earth could do ! As the 
creatures, so the Scriptures, are perfectly known only by per- 
fect spirits. I shall then know how to solve all doubts, and re- 
concile all seeming contradictions, and to expound the hardest 
prophecies : that light will show me tb.e admirable methods of 
those sacred words, where dark minds now suspect confusion ! 
How evident and clear then will every thing appear to me ? 
Like a small print when the light comes in, which I could not 
read in the glimmering twilight. lifow easily shall 1 then con- 



BA^iTEIl's UYINC, THOUGHTS. 363 

fiite the cavils of all our present unbelievers ! and how joy- 
fully shall I praise that God and Saviour that gave his church 
so clear a light to guide them through this darksome world, and 
so sure a promise to support them till they came to life eternal ! 
How joyfully shall I bless him that by that immortal seed did 
regenerate me to the hopes of glory, and that ruled me by so 
holy and just a law ! 

VI. In that world of light I shall better understand God's 
present and past works of providence, by which he ordereth the 
matters of this world : the wisdom and goodness of them is lit- 
tle understood in little parcels ; it is the union and harmony of 
all the parts which showeth the beauty of them, when the single 
parcels seem deformed, or are not understood. And no one 
can see the whole together but God, and they that see it in the 
light of his celestial glory : it is a prospect of that end, by 
which we have here any true understanding of such parcels as 
we see. Then I shall know clearly why, or to what use, God 
prospered the wicked, aud tried the righteous by so many afflic- 
tions: I shall know why be set up the ungodly, and put the 
humble under their feet ; why he permitted so much ignorance, 
ungodliness, pride, lust, oppression, persecution, falsehood, de- 
ceit, and other sins in the world : I shall know why the faithful 
are so few; and why so many kingdoms of the world are left in 
heathenism, Mahometanism, and infidelity. The strange per- 
inissions which now so puzzle me, and are the matter of my 
astonishment, shall all be then as clear as day : I shall know 
why God disposed of me as he did through all my life ; and 
why I suffered what I did ; and how many great deliverances I 
had, which 1 understood not here, and how they were accom- 
plished. All our misinterpretations of God's works and per- 
missions will be then rectified : and all our controversies about 
them, which Satan hath n)ade so great advantage Of, (by a pre- 
tended zeal for some truths of God,) will then b^ reconciled, and 
at an end : and all the Avorks of Divine Providence, from the be- 
ginning of the world, will then appear a most delectable, beau- 
teous frame. 

VII. And among all these works, I shall specially know more 
the nature and excellency of God's mercies and gifts of love, 
which here we too unthankfully undervalued and made ligiit of. 
The special works of love should be the matter of our most con- 
stant, sweet, and serious thoughts, and the fuel of our constant 
love and gratitude : the lively sense of love and mercy maketh 



364 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

lively Christians, abounding in love to God, and mercy to 
others : but the enemy of God and man most laboureth to ob- 
scure, diminish, and disgrace God's love .and mercies to us, or 
to make us disrelish them, that they may be unfruitful, as to 
their excellent ends and uses. Little do most Christians know 
how much they wrong God and themselves, and how much they 
lose by the diminutive, poor thoughts which they have of God's 
mercies : ingratitude is a grievous misery to the sinner, as gra- 
titude is a very pleasant work. Many a thousand mercies we 
now receive, which we greatly undervalue. But when I come 
to the state and work of perfect gratitude, I shall have a more 
perfect knowledge of all the mercies which ever I received in my 
life, and which my neighbours, and friends, and God's church, 
and the world, did ever receive : for though the thing be past, 
the use of it is not past. Mercies remembered must be the mat- 
ter of our everlasting thanks : and we cannot be perfectly 
thankful for them, without a perfect knowledge of them : the 
worth of a Christ, and all his grace, the worth of the gospel, the 
worth of our church privileges, and all God's ordinances, the 
worth of our books and friends, and helps of our life and health, 
and all conveniences, will be better understood in heaven than 
the most holy and thankful Christian here understandeth them. 
VIII. And it will be some addition to ray future happiness, 
that I shall then be much better acquainted with myself; both 
with my nature, and with my sin and grace. I shall then bet- 
ter know the nature of a soul, and its formal faculties (three in 
one) : I shall know the nature and way of its operations, and 
how far its acts are simple, or compound, or organical. I shall 
know how far memory, fancy, and sense, internal and external, 
belong to the rational soul, and whether the sensitive and ra- 
tional are two or one ; and what senses will perish, and Avhat 
not. I shall know how the soul doth act upon itself, and what 
acts it hath that are not felt in sleep, in apoplexies, and in the 
M'omb. I shall know whether the vegetative natin-e be any thing 
else than lire ; and whether it be of the same essence with the 
soul (sensitive or rational) ; and whether fire em'menter be a 
common fundamental substance of all spirits, diversely specified 
by the forms, (mental, sensitive, and vegetative,) or whether it 
be as a bodv or vehicle to spirits, or rather a nature made for 
the copulation of spirits and bodies, and the operation of the 
former on the latter, as between both : and whether fire (and 
of what sort) be the ^ciwe'/orma teUuris, and of other globes : 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 365 

I shall know how far souls are one, and yet many, and how they 
are individuate ; and whether their quantitas discreta, in being 
numerically many, do prove that they have any quantitatem 
continuam, and whether they are a purer sort of bodies, as the 
Greek fathers, Tertullian, and others, thought, and what imma- 
teriality signifieth ; and what substantiality of spirits ; and how 
substantia and materia differ ; and how far they are penetra- 
ble and indivisible; and whether a soul be properly jwar^ ; and 
whether individual souls are parts of any common soul ; and 
how far the individuation doth continue ; and whether, sepa- 
rated from the body, they operate in and by any other vehicle, 
or without, and how ; and whether they take with them any of 
the fiery nature, as a vehicle, or as a constitutive part. I shall 
know how God produceth souls; and how his production by 
emanation or creation does consist with generation ; and how 
forms are multiplied ; and what causality the parent's soul hath 
to the production of the child's ; whether by communication of 
substance, or only by disposing the recipient matter. 1 shall 
know whether all souls came from Adam's own substantiality ; 
and whether there be more substance in all than in that one ; 
and whether one substance cause more by generation ; or whe- 
ther it be so as to the souls of brutes ; or whether any anima 
communis inform many organical bodies of the brutes, as the 
sun lighteth many candles which are individuate by matter to 
which (as parts of one) they variously are contracted, and on 
which they operate ; and whether they were individuate in pre- 
cxistence, or shall be individuate after separation : I shall know 
how far the semen in generation is animated ; and how the 
animated semina of two make one ; and if animated, what be- 
comes of the anima seminis perdiVi., and of an abortive ; and 
whether the body l)e animated as vegetative or sensitive before 
the entrance of the rational soul ; or rather the same soul which 
in its faculty is rational, being one with the sensitive and vege- 
tative, be the constitutive form of the fust animated body, and 
the fabricator of its own domicilium. I shall know how far the 
soul is receptive, and what the causa finalis doth to it ; and 
what each object is to the constitution or production of the act ; 
yea, and what an act is, and what a habit ; and how a soul, act- 
ing or habited, differeth from itself not acting or habited ; and 
how its acts are many, and yet but one ; or its faculties at least. 
Many other such difliculties will all be solved, which nowpliilo- 



366 Baxter's dy(Ng thoughts. 

sophers contend about in the dark, and pass but under doubtful 
conjectures ; or, at least, are known to very few. 

And I shall know how God's Spirit operateth on souls ; and 
how it is sent from Christ's human nature to work on man ; 
and whether grace be properly, or only metaphorically, called a 
nature (a new nature, a divine nature) in us. I shall know what 
free-will is, and how man's will can be the first determiner of 
any act of its own in specie morali (good or evil) without being- 
such a causa prima, as none but God can be : and so how far 
free acts are necessitated or not. I shall know what power the 
intellect hath on the will, and the will on the intellect ; and 
what power the sense and fancy bath on either ; and what 
any inieUectus ayens doth ; whether it be to our intellection as 
the sun is to our sight. I shall know what is meant by the de- 
grees of acts and habits in the soul ; and whether there be di- 
vers degrees of substantiality, or of the virtus vel facuUas for- 
malis of several souls : I shall know better the difference of 
habits called acquired and infused ; and what common grace 
is, and what it doth ; and what nature can do of itself, or by 
common grace, without that which is proper to the justified ; 
and how far any degrees of grace are lost. 

I shall know what measure of grace 1 had myself ; and how 
far I was niistaken in myself j and what acts were sincere ; and 
how much that was not sound was mixed ; and what was of 
myself and sin. 

I shall know much more of my sins than here I ever knew, 
the number and the greatness of them ; that so I may know, with 
greatest thankfulness and love, hov/ much I am beholden to 
pardoning and healing grace. 

Yea, 1 shall know more of my body, as it was the habitation 
of my soul, or the organical matter on which unitedly itworked* 
J shall know how far it helped or hindered me ; and what were 
all those obscure diseases that puzzled all the physicians, and 
myself; and how marvellously God sustained, preserved,' and 
oft delivered me ; and what of my actions was to be imputed 
to the body, and what of them to the soul. 

IX. And every fellow-creature, which I am concerned to 
know, I shall know far better than now I do, both things and 
persons : the good and bad, the sincere and the hypocrites, will 
be there discerned : and many an action that here went for ho- 
nourable, covered or coloured with wit or worldly advantages, 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 36/ 

or false pretences, will then be found to be odious and unjust : 
and wickedness vvill be flattered or extenuated no more : and 
many a good and holy work which false men, through wicked- 
ness and worldly interest, reproached as some odious crime, 
will there be justified, honoured, and rewarded. All sciences are 
there perfect, without our ambiguous terms, or imperfect axioms, 
and rules of art. 

X. And, lastly, I shall better know from what enemies, what 
sins, what dangers, I was here delivered : what contrivances and 
malicious endeavours of Satan and his instruments God defeat- 
ed ; how many snares I escaped : and I shall better know how 
great my deliverance is by Christ from the wrath to come. 
Though we shall not know hell by painful sense, we shall know 
it so far as is necessary to fill us with gratitude to our Redeem- 
er : yea, we shall know much of it far better than the damned 
spirits that feel it. For we shall know, by sweet and full fruition, 
what the joy and blessedness is which they have lost; when 
they have no such kind of knowledge of it. 

All this knowledge will be thus advanced to my glorified soul 
beyond what I can here conceive in flesh : and is it not then 
far better to be with Christ ? 

IV. The constitutive reasons from the state of my ivill. 

Sect, 1. But it is the will that is to the soul what the heart 
is to the body: as it is the prime seat of morality, so is it tlie 
chief seat of felicity. My greatest evil is there ; and my great- 
est subjective good will be there. Satan did most against it, 
and God will do most for it. And vvill it not be better to be 
with Christ than here ? 

1. Jt will not there be tied to a body of cross interests and 
inclinations, which is now the greatest snare and enemy to my 
soul ; which is still drawing my love, and care, and fears, and 
sorrows, to and for itself, and turning them from my highest 
interest. How great a deliverance vvill it be to be freed from 
tlie temptations, and the inordinate love, and cares, and fears 
for this corruptible flesh ! 

2. My will shall not there be tempted by a world of inferior 
good, which is the bait and provision for the flesh, where meat, 
and sleep, and possessions, house, lands, and friends, are all 
become my snares and danger. God's mercies will not be made 
there the tempter's instruments. I shall not there have the flat- 
teries or frowns, promises or threatenings, of the tyrants of the 



368 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

world, to tempt me : bail company will not infect me, nor di- 
vert me : the errors of good men will not seduce me ; nor repu- 
tation or reverence of the wise, learned, or religious, draw me 
to imitate them in any sin. 

3. I shall there have none of Satan's solicitations, to pervert 
my v/ill : he will not have that advantage by my sense and 
fancy, nor that access unto me, as now he hath. But of this 
I spake before. 

Sect. 2. My will shall there be better than here, I. Negatively, 
because, 1. There will be nothing in it that is displeasing to 
God : no sinful inclination, habit, or act : nothing to strive 
against God's Spirit ; nor grudge at any word or work of God : 
no principles of enmity or rebellion left. 2. There will be no- 
thing that is against the good of others : no inclinations to in- 
jury, or any thing that is against my neighbour's or the com- 
mon good. 3. There will be nothing in it that is cross to it- 
self; no more war or striving in me; not a law in my mind, 
and a law in my members, that are contrary to each other : no 
crossness between sense and reason, nor between the sensi- 
tive appetite and the rational : all will be at unity and peace 
within. 

Sect. 3. II. Positively, Christ will have finished his cure on 
my will. The work of sanctification will be perfect, and, I. My 
will shall there, byunion and communion, be made comformable 
to the will of Christ, and so unto the Father's will. This nuist 
needs be meant (whatever more) in the prayer of Christ, where 
lie prayeth, " That they may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, 
and I in thee, that they may be one in us, that they may be 
one, even as we are one." (John xvii. 21, 22.) The will of 
Christ, and of the Father, will be my will, that is, I shall love 
and will (dispositively and actually) the same that God loveth 
and willeth (in the measure of a creature, infinitely below him). 
And if so, 1. How can the will of man have greater honour, 
than to be the same with the will of God ? Assimilation to a 
king, among us poor mortals, goeth for honour ; assimilation to 
angels is much more. That we shall be like, or equal to, angels, 
is a high part of the blessed's ])raise ; but how much more is it, 
to be thus far like to God. Indeed, God's image, and the di- 
vine in us here, can be no less than this similitude to God's will 
in the degree that we have it. But, alas ! that degree is so 
very low, as that we can hardly tell whether our similitude or 
dissimilitude be the more; I mean, whether our wills are for 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 369 

more, that God willeth, or against more. Oh, how many thou- 
sand wishes and desires have we had, which are against the will 
of God ! But there we shall have the full impression of God's 
will, upon our wills, as face answereth face in a glass, or as the 
wax answereth the seal ; as the finger on the outside answereth 
to the motion of the clock within, so, in all things which belong 
to our duty and perfection, we shall answer the will of God. 
As the echo answereth the voice, defectively, but truly, without 
contradiction or discord, so will our wills be as the echo of 
God's will. 

2. And then I am sure that there will be nothing in my 
will but good ; for God willeth no evil. 

3. And this will be virtually all obedience ; for all sin is vo- 
luntary, and all mortal good is primarily in the will. 

4. And then there can be no matter of disquiet in me, but 
all will be in perfect peace ; for all that is like God will be 
pleasing, both to God and me; no troubling crossness will 
remain. 

5. And how easy and sweet then will all my obedience be, 
when I shall perfectly will it, without any reluctaney or averse- 
ness ? All will be my very pleasure that I do. 

Sect. 4. II. And seeing mv will shall be the same with the 
will of God, it followeth that it shall never be frustrate, but I 
shall have all whatsoever I would have, and shall be and do 
whatsoever I would be and do. For I shall desire nothing but 
what God willeth, and God's will shall certainly be done. I shall 
have as much love and joy as I would have ; 1 shall be as happy 
as I would be ; I shall desire nothing for others but it shall 
be done. Indeed, if God's will were there unknown to me, I 
might ignorantly go against it, as I do here; but there, before 
I will or desire any thing, I shall know whether it be God's will 
or not, so that I shall never wish any thing which shall not be 
accomplished. And as it is God's perfection to have his will 
always done, (though all his laws be not obeyed,) so my perfec- 
tion shall consist in this likeness unto God, that my will shall be 
still fulfilled. And then Christ's promises will be perfectly per- 
formed, " Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name, he will 
give it you. Ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done 
unto you." (John xv. Hi, and xvi. 23, and xiv. 13, 14, and 
XV. 7-) While their will was the same with the will of Christ: 
but he saith not that it shall all be given us hero. VVe ask for 
perfection, and we shall have it, but not here. 



370 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

Sect. 5. III. Yea, my will itself shall be my fruition, for it 
shall not be the will of one in need; a desire of what I want, 
for I shall want nothing; therefore, it is said that we shall 
thirst no more : but it will be a complacency in what I do pos- 
sess, and in this also my perfection will be the image of God's 
perfection : not but that all creatures still receive from God, 
^nd in that sense may be said to need, in that they have nothing 
of themselves, but all by gift and communication from him; but 
being still and full possessors, they cannot properly be said to 
want. Complacency in that which we possess is love and 
pleasure in one act; and, indeed, pleasure and love are the same 
thing. To love any thing, is to have that thing to be pleasing 
to my mind. Even when it is wanted, it is thought on as a 
pleasing thing, and therefore desired, so that the desiring act 
of the will is but a second act occasioned by want, and follow- 
ing the first act, which is complacency, or simple love. I desire 
it because I love it. Rightly, therefore, is the will itself called 
love, for in the first act, love, will, and rational appetite, are 
all words of the same signification. My will, therefore, must 
needs be ))erpetually full of perfect joy, when enjoying love and 
pleasure will be my will itself. Thus shall 1 have in me the 
spring of living waters, and the comforter will then perfectly do 
his work, when my constant will itself shall be comfort, ^^^ell, 
therefore, is glory said to be the perfection of sanctifying grace, 
when this grace is the beginning of that love and joy v.'hich 
glory is the perfection of; and perfection is the Spirit's work. 

Sect. G. IV. And it will be much of my felicity that my will 
shall be confirmed and fixed in this conformity to the will of 
God, and holy love will be its nature. Now both understanding 
and will are so lamentably mutable, that further than God pro- 
miseth to uphold us, we know not one day what we shall think, 
judge, or will the next. But when love is as a fixed nature in 
us, we shall be still the same, adhering to amiable goodness, 
without intermission or cessation. It will be as easy to us (and 
more) to love God and holiness, as it is to the hungry and 
thirsty to love meat and drink, or to the proud to love praise or 
domination, yea, or to any man to love his life. And we shall 
be no more weary of loving, than the sun is of shining, or than 
the hungry is of feasting, or a friend of friendly love and 
converse. Nay, the comparison is quite too low, for all creatures 
here have a fading vanity which wearieth the satiated or failing 
appetite, but there is no such thing in heaven. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 371 

Sect. 7. II. And as from the nature of that act, so much more 
from the nature of the ohject, my love will appear to he my 
happiness. The objects (which are the matter of the act) will 
be these : — 

1. God himself will be the full and everlasting object of my 
love. And he that could but understand as well as those in 
heaven do, what this word signifieth, ' to love God, and be be- 
loved of him,' would say, that there needs no other description 
of perfect happiness : perfect, joyful complacency in God is the 
heaven which I desire and hope for. This is my felicity, and 
much more. As I am the agent of love to God, and the object 
of God's love to me, it is my felicity. As God is the ultimate 
object of my love, and the agent of his love to me, (that is, of 
the effects of it,) so it is unspeakably more high and excellent 
than to be my felicity. Love is the closure of the wills of God 
and man, and as it is God's part or interest, (efficiently or ob- 
jectively) it is infinitely more excellent than as it is my part and 
interest. 

Sect. 8. In God there is all that love can desire for its full, 
everlasting feast. 1. He is infinitely good in himself, that is, 
most amiable: and the nature of man's will is to love good as 
good. Could we love God with a love that is adequate to the 
object, we should be God ourselves, which is impossible, none 
but God can adequately know God or love him. In God's love 
to himself, both the act and object are infinite, and, indeed, are 
both one, there Ijeing not that formally which we know by the 
name of act and object ; but ' act and object' are our analogical, 
inadequate conceptions of that act of God which is his essence. 
But in our love to God the act is finite, and infinitely below the 
object; yea, the object, which in reality is itself infinite, yet 
proximatelv as the esse cognitum is the object of our love, is 
finite there. It is the conception or idea of God in the intellect, 
which is the proper and nearest object of the will, and this is as 
a face in a glass, a shadow, even the finite little shadow of an 
infinite' Being. The same infinite good is a felicity to divers 
persons in divers degrees, according as they diversely love him, 
and are receptive of his love. 

Sect. 9. 2. God, who is infinitely good in himself, will be that 
most suitable good to me, and meetest for the dearest embrace- 
mentsof my will. For, 1. He hath all in himself that 1 need or 
can desire. There is no room, nothing above him, or beyond 
him, or without him, for love to cleave to. Though below him 



i; li 2 



372 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

the creature, though not being without him, is loved without 
him, by the deception of the mind. 

Sect. 10. 2. He is willing to be loved by me. He disdaineth 
not my love. He might have refused to be embraced by such 
affections as have so oft and sinfully polluted themselves by 
embracing vanity and filth. As persons of state, and stately 
cleanliness, will not be touched by filthy hands, much less let 
dogs or dirty swine leap on them which come from wallowing 
in the mire. God might have driven me away from the happi- 
ness of loving him, and have denied me the leave for so high a 
work, but he commandeth my love, and maketh it my greatest 
duty. He inviteth and entreateth me, as if he were a gainer by 
my happiness. He seeketh to me to seek to him, and as he is 
the first, so is he the most earnest suitor. He is far readier to 
receive my love than I am to give it him. All the compas- 
sionate invitations which J have had from him here, by his word 
and mercies, assure me that he will there receive me readily ; 
he that so valued my poor, cold, imperfect love tohim on earth, 
will not reject my perfect love in heaven. He that made it the 
great work of his Spirit to effect it, will not refuse it when it is 
made perfect by himself. 

Sect. 11. 3. And he is near to me, and not a distant God out 
of my reach, and so unsuitable to my love. Blind unbelievers 
may dream that he is far oft', but he is as near us, even now, as 
we are to ourselves. He is not far from anv of us, for in him we 
live, and move, and have our being. The light of the sun is not 
so near mv eves, as God will be for ever to mv mind. When he 
would sanctify us to love him, he bringeth us nigh to him in 
Christ. As we love ourselves easily as being, as they sav, the 
nearest to ourselves, so we shall as easily love God as ourselves, 
when we see that he is as near us as we are to ourselves, as well 
as that he is infinitely more amiable in himself. 

Sect. 12. 4. And because of the imparity of the creature and 
the Creator, he hath provided such means to demonstrate to us 
his nearness, as are necessary to the exercise of our love. We 
shall see his glory, and taste his love, in our glorified Mediator, 
and in the glorv of the church and world. God will condescend 
to show himself to us according to our capacities of beholding 
him. Here we see him in i)is works and word, and there we 
shall see him in the glory of all his perfect works. But this 
leadetli me to the second object of my love. 

Sect. 13. IT. Under God, as I shall see, so I shall delightfully 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 373 

lovie, the glorious perfection of the universe, even the image of 
God in all the Avorld ; as my love will be my delight, so I shall 
love best that which is best, and most delight in it : and the 
whole is better than any part; and there is a peculiar beauty 
and e^ccellency in the wht)le world, as perfect, compaginate, 
harmonious, which is not to be found in any part, no, not in 
Christ himself, as man, nor in his church. 

The marvellous inclination that all things have to union, even 
the inanimates, might persuade me, if 1 felt it not certainly in 
myself, that it is most credible that man also shall have the 
like inclination, and such as is agreeable to the nature of his 
faculties ; and therefore our love and delight in all things is 
that uniting inclination in man. 

Sect. 14. III. And I shall have a special love to the holy so- 
ciety, the triumphant, universal church, consisting of Christ, 
angels, and saints, as they are specially amiable in the image 
and glory of God. God himself loveth them more than his 
inferior works ; that is, his essence, which is love, and hath no 
degrees or change, doth send forth fuller streams of good upon 
them, or maketh them better and happier than the rest. And 
my love will imitate the love of God, in my capacity. And if 
societies on earth, more holy and wise than others, though im- 
perfectly, are very amiable, what then will the heavenly society 
be ? Of this I spake before (of knowing them) . 

Sect. 15. 1. Think here, O my soul, how sweet a state unto 
thee it will be to love the Lord Jesus, thy glorified Head, with 
perfect love ! When the glory of God, which shineth in him, 
will feast thy love with full and everlasting pleasure, the highest 
created perfection of power, wisdom, and goodness, refulgent in 
him, will not give leave to thy love to cease, or intermit, or abate 
its fervour. When thou shalt see in the glorified church the 
precious fruits of Christ's redemption, grace, and love, this also 
will feed thy love to him, from whom this heavenly glory cometh. 
And when thou shalt feel thyself possessed of perfect happiness, 
by his love to thee, will not this also do its part? Yea, the 
remembrance of all his former love, what he did for thee, and 
what he did in thee here on earth, how he called thee with an 
holy calling ; how he washed thee in his blood from all thy sins ; 
how he kindled in thee those desires which tended to that perfect 
glory ; how he renewed thy nature ; how he instructed, and 
guided, and preserved thee from thy childhood ; and how many 
and how great sins, enemies, dangers, and sulTerings, he saved 



374 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

thee from; all this will constrain thee everlastingly to love him. 
Thus, (though he give the kingdom to the Father, as ceasing 
his mediatory, healing, saving work of acquisition,) he will be 
to thee the Mediator of fruition. God in him will be accessible, 
and condescend to a suitable communion with iis. (John xvii. 
24.) And as Christ is thy life, radically and efficiently, as he 
is the giver of grace and Spirit of love, so he will be objectively 
thy life as he is lovely, and it will be formally thy life to love 
him, and God in him, for ever. 

Sect. 16. 2. Think, also, O my soul, how delectable it "will 
be to love (as well as to know) those angels that most fervently 
love the Lord ! They will be lovely to thee as they have loved 
thee, and more as they have been lovers and benefactors to the 
church and to mankind; but far more as they are so many re- 
fulgent stars, which continually move and shine, and burn in 
purest love to their Creator. O blessed difference between that 
amiable society of holy spirits, and this dark, mad, distracted, 
wicked world ! Here devils tempt me within, and devils incar- 
nate persecute me without. Blaspheming of God, reviling god- 
liness, deriding the sacred Scriptures, and sacred exercises, ma- 
lignant slandering of the servants of God, hating, persecuting, 
silencing, and saying all manner of evil falsely of them, for their 
righteousness' sake, while such crimes are pretended, as they 
once falsely charged on Christ himself. This is the conversation 
of those that I have long dwelt with in the world : atheism, 
infidelity, papal church tyranny, bloody wars, destroying the 
righteous, oppressing the poor, adultery and fornication, stigma- 
tising perjury, ambition, violence, covetousness, deceit, sottish 
ignorance, wilfulness in sin, hatredof reproof, revengeful malice ; 
these, and such like, are the fruits of the soil where I have long 
sojourned (though, through the grace of Christ, among the 
faithful, there have been better fruits). And is not the company 
of holy angels better than this ? With whom God is all ; who 
are even made up of shining wisdom, and holy love, and benefi- 
cent activity; who are the blessed choir that melodiously sine 
forth the high praises of their Maker. Among whom God 
dwelleth as in his presence-chamber, or his temple, and in whom 
he taketh his great delight. With these I shall see or hear no 
evil. No mixture of fools or wicked ones do pollute or trouble 
their society. There will be no false doctrine, no evil example, 
no favouring wickedness, no accusing goodness, no hurtful vio- 
lence, but holy, powerful, operative love, will be all, and do all. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 375 

as their very nature, life, and work. Au<\ is it not better to be 
a door-keeper there, than to dwell in the palaces of wick- 
edness ? And is not a day with them better than a thousand 
here ? 

Sect. 17. 3. And with the holy angels I shall love holy 
souls that are made like unto them, and joined with them in 
the same society; and it is likely vvith them judge, that is, rule 
the world. All their infirmities are there put off vvith the flesh; 
they also are spirits made up of holy life, and light, and love. 
There is none of their former ignorance, error, imprudence, 
selfishness, contentiousness, impatience, or any other troubling, 
hurtful thing. When 1 think with Avhat fervent love to Godj 
to Jesus Christ, and to one another, they will be perfectly 
united there, alas, how sad and how shameful is it, that they 
should here be prone to disaffections and divisions, and hardly 
agree to call each other the servants of God, or to worship God 
in the same assemblies ; but the remnants of dividing principles, 
viz., pride, error, and uncharitableness ; will be all left behind. 
Society with imperfect saints is sweet ; the imperfect image of 
God upon them is amiable ; but their frailties here are so vexa- 
tious, that it is hard to live with some of them in peace. But 
perfect love will make them one; and oh, how delightful will 
that Communion of saints be ! I can never forget how sweet 
God hath made the course of my pilgrimage, by the fragrancy 
and usefulness of his servants' graces ; how sweet have my 
bosom friends been, though mutable ! How sweet have the 
neighbourhood of the godly been ! How sweet have the holy 
assemblies been ; and how many hours of comfort have I there 
had ! How profitable have their writings, their conference, 
and their prayers been ! What then will it be, to live in the 
union of perfect love with perfect saints in heaven for ever, and 
with them concordantly to love the God of love ? 
' Sect. 18. IIL And as the act and the object of love will 
constitute my felicitv, so will my reception from the love of 
God and his creatures, be sweeter to me than my own activity 
can be; for it is mutual love that makes it up. J shall not be 
the fountain of my own delights ; nor can 1 act till I am acted, 
nor offer any thing to God, but what I have first received from 
him. And receive 1 shall abundantly and continually, and from 
thence shall overflow to God, and receiving and returning are 
now, and will be, tlie circular, endless motion, and our true 
perpetual life and happiness. 



370 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

Sect. 19. I. All my receivings shall he from God. His love 
is not a mere immanent will, nor a wish which toucheth not the 
ohject ; but it is what heat is in, or from, the sun or fire ; it is 
an efflux of goodness : it is the most powerful, sweet, commu- 
nicating principle, or work. All love is communicative ; but 
none in comparison of God's ; as there is none primitively and 
simply good but God. Kow much doth love in the affairs of 
men ? All that is pleasant in the world is it, or its effects. 
Were it not for sensual love, there would be no generation of 
man or brutes ; God hath made it a generating principle. 
Hatred causeth not congress, but fighting with, or flying from, 
one another. Were it not for natural love, mothers would 
never endure the pain, and trouble, and care, which is necessary 
to human birth and education ; were it not for love, parents 
would never labour all their lives to leave their children well 
instructed, and well provided for, when they are gone. My 
food would not please me did I not love it, and I should neglect 
it to the neglect of my life. Did I not love my books, and 
learning itself, I should never have bestowed so much of seventy 
years in poring on them, and searching for knowledge, as I 
have done ; did I not love my house, my conveniences and 
necessaries, I should neglect them, and they would be to me of 
small use; did I not love my friends, 1 should be less profitable 
to them, and they to me ; did I not love my life, I should 
neglect it, and never have endured the labour and cost about 
it as I have done. If a man love not his country, posterity, 
and the common good, he will be as a burdensome drone in the 
hive, or as pernicious vermin. What is done in the world that 
is good, but by love ? 

And if created love be so necessary, so active, so communi- 
cative, how much more will the infinite love of the Creator be ! 
His love is now the life of the world ; his love is the life of 
nature in the living, the life of holiness in saints, and the life 
of glory in the blessed. In this infinite love it is that I, and 
all the saints, shall dwell for evermore. And if I dwell in love, 
and love in me, surely I shall have its sweet and plenteous com- 
munication, and shall ever drink of the rivers of pleasure. It 
is pleasant to nature to I)e beloved of others, especially of the 
great, atid wise, and good ; much more to have all the comnm- 
nicatious of love, in conver'^e and gifts, in plenty and conti- 
nuance, which maybe still expressing it to our greatest benefit! 
Had I a friend now that did for me but the hundredth part of 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 377 

what God (loth, how clearly should I love him ! Think then, 
think helievingly, seriously, constantly, O my soul, what a life 
thou shalt live for ever in the presence, the face, the hosom of 
infinite, eternal love. He now shineth on me by the sun, and 
on my soul by the Son of righteousness ; but it is as through a 
lantern, or the crevices of my darksome habitation ; but then 
he will shine on me, and in me, openly, and with the fullest 
streams and beams of love. 

Sect. 20. God is the same God in heaven and earth, but I 
shall not be the same man. Here I receive comparatively little, 
but live in darkness, doubtful and frequent sorrows, because my 
receptivity is less ; the windows of my soul are not open to his 
light; sin hath raised clouds, and consequently storms, against 
my comforts ; the entrances to my soul bv the straits of flesh 
and sense are narrow; and they are made narrower by sin than 
they were by nature. Alas, how often would love have spoken 
comfortably to me, and 1 was not at home to be spoken with, 
but was abroad among a world of vanities, or was not at leisure, 
or was asleep, and not willing to be awaked ! How oft would 
love have come in and dwelt with me, and I have unkindly shut 
my doors against him; how oft would he have been with me 
in secret, where he freely would embrace me, but 1 had some 
pleasing company or business which I was loth to leave ; how 
oft would he have feasted me, and had made all ready, but 
I was taken up and could not come. Nay, when his table hath 
been spread before me, Christ, grace, and glory, have been 
offered to me, my a])petite hath been gone, or dull, and all hath 
been almost neglected by me, and hath scarce seemed pleasant 
enough to be accepted, or to call off my mind from luscious 
poison. How oft would he have shined upon me, and I have 
shut my windows or mine eyes ; he was jealous indeed, and 
liked not a partner ; he would have been all to me, if I would 
have been all for him. But I divided my heart, my thoughts, 
my love, my desires, and my kindnesses ; and, alas, how much 
did go besides him, yea against him, to his enemies, even when 
I knew that all was lost, and worse than lost, Avhich was not 
liis. What wonder then, if so foolish and unkind a sinner had 
little pleasure in his love; and if so great ingratitude and neglect 
of sovereign goodness were punished with such strangeness, and 
fears, and faintings, as I have long with groans lamented. 
RecrpUiir ad modum recipientis. 

But in heaven 1 shall have none of these obstructions ; all old 



'S/S Baxter's dying thoughts. 

unkindness and ingratitude will be forgiven ; the great Recon- 
ciler in whom I am beloved will then have perfected his work ; 
I shall then be whollv separated from the vanity which here 
deceived me; mv open soul will be prepared to receive the 
heavenly influx ; with open face I shall behold the open face of 
glorifying love ; I shall joyfully attend his voice, and delight- 
fully relish the celestial provisions. No disease will corrupt my 
appetite ; no sluggishness will make me guilty again of my old 
neglects ; the love of the Father, by the grace of the Son, and 
the communion of the Holy Spirit, will have got the victory 
over all rtiy deadness, folly, and disaffection, and my God-dis- 
pleasing and self-undoing averseness and enmity will be gone 
for ever. The perfect love, which God doth first effect in me, 
will be my everlasting receptivity of the fullest love of God. 
Benevolent love will make me good ; that is, a holy lover of 
God ; and then pleased love will make me his delight, and 
benevolence will still maintain me in my capacity. 

Study this heavenly work of love, O my soul ; these are iiot 
dead or barren studies, these are not sad, unpleasant studies, it 
is oiily love that can relish love and understand it ; the will here 
hath its gust, so like to an understanding, as make some phi- 
losophers say, that voluntas perdjAt is a proper phrase. What 
can poor, carnal worldlings know of glorious love, who study it 
without love ? What sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, a 
lifeless voice, are they that preach of God, and Christ, and 
heavenly glory, without love ; but gazing upon the face of love 
in Christ, and tasting of its gifts, and looking up to its glorious 
reign, is the way to kindle the sacred fire in thee. Look 
upwards, if thou wouldest see the light that must lead thee 
upwards. It is not for nothing that Christ hath taught us to 
begin our prayers with " Our Father, which art in heaven ; " 
it is fatherly love that must win our hearts, and that must 
comfort them ; and it is in heaven where this is gloriously 
manifested. As I said before, as the soul is in all the body, 
but yet imderstandeth not in the hand as it doth in the head, 
and rejoiceth not in the foot as it doth in the heart; so God, 
that is everywhere, doth not everywhere glorify his love as he 
doth it in heaven. Thither, therefore, the mind and eye are 
even by nature taught to look up as to God, as we look a man 
in the face when we speak to him, rather than to his feet, 
though his soul be also there. 

My sinful heart hath needed sorrow. My careless, rash, pre- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 379 

sumptuous soul hath needed fears ; and 1 have liad some part of 
these. Mercy saw it good for me, as necessary to prevent my 
dangerous deceits and lapses : and O that in the hour of sen- 
sual temptations 1 had feared more, and departed from evil. But 
it is holy love that must be my life; or else I am dead notwith- 
standing fear. 

Oh, come, then, and study the life of love. It is more of a 
holy nature than of art ; but yet study must do much to pre- 
pare thee to receive it. This is the great use of a heavenly 
conversation. It is the contemplation, belief, and hope of the 
glorious state of love hereafter, that must make us like it, and 
kindle it in us here. The burning glass must be turned directly 
to the sun, if you will have it set any thing on fire. There is a 
carnal or common love to God, which is kindled in men by car- 
nal pleasures ; but a holy love, like that in heaven, must be 
studiously fetched from heaven, and kindled by the foresight of 
what is there, and what we shall be there for ever. Faith must 
ascend, and look within the veil. Thou must not live as a 
stranger to thy home, to thy God, and Saviour, and thy hopes. 
The fire that must warm thee is in heaven, and thou must come 
near it, or open thyself to its influence, if thou wilt feel its 
powerful efficacy. It is night and winter with carnal minds, 
when it is day and summer with those that set their faces 
heavenward. 

Sect. 21. II. But, though all my receivings will be from 
God, they will not be from him alone. We must live in perfect 
union also with one another, and with all the heavenly society ; 
and therefore as we must love them all, so shall we be beloved 
by them all : and this will be a subordinate part of our blessed- 
ness. God there will make use of second causes, even in com- 
municating his love and glory. 

Sect. 22. 1. The Lord Jesus Christ will not only be the 
object of our delightful love, but will also love us with an effec- 
tual, operative love for ever. His love will be as the vital heat 
and motion of the heart to all the members, the root of our 
life and joy. The love of our Redeemer will flow out into us 
all as the vital spirits, and his face of glory will be the sun of the 
heavenly Jerusalem, and will shine upon us, and show us God; 
and in his light we shall have light. Did his tears for a dead 
Lazarus make men say, ' Behold how he loved him !' O, then, 
what will the reviving beams of heavenly life make us say of that 
love which fiUeth us with the pleasures of his presence, and 



380 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

turneth our souls into joy itself. He comforteth us now by the 
teaching of his word; but, surelv, the fruition of salvation will 
be more gladdening than the tidings of it. When he that told 
us of glory, in his gospel, shall give it us, we shall not only 
believe, but feel that he loveth us. 
..Sect. 23. Believe, O tuy soul, thy Saviour's love, that thou 
mayest foretaste it, and be fit to feel it. We were incapable, in 
sinful flesh, of seeing him otherwise than as clothed with flesh, 
and his consolations were administered by a word of promise 
suitable to his appearance ; but when he withdrew his bodily 
presence, the Comforter was sent with a fuller consolation. 
But all that was but the earnest, and the first-fruits, of what he 
will be to us for ever. Be not seldom, nor unbelieving, nor 
slight, in the thoughts of thy Saviour's love, for it is he that is 
the way to the infinite love. Let thy believing be so much of 
thy daily work, that thou mayest say that he " dvvelleth in thy 
heart by faith;" (Eph. iii. 17;) and that while thou livest here 
it is Christ that liveth in thee ; and that thy life in the flesh 
is not a fleshly life, but by the faith of the Son of God that 
hath loved thee, and given himself for thee. (Gal. ii. 20.) 
And that though thou see him not, yet, believing, thou lovest 
him also with unspeakable joy, as believing the unspeakable per- 
fect joy which his love will communicate to thee for ever. 

Look upon the sun, and think thus with thyself: 'How won- 
derful is the emanation of this sun : its motion, light, and heat, 
communicated to so many millions of creatures all over the 
earth, and in the seas. What, if all these beams of light and 
heat were proportionable beams of perfect knowledge, love, and 
joy ; and that all creatures that are mider the sun had, from its 
influx, as nuich wisdom, love, and joy, as they have light, heat, 
and motion. W^ould not then this earth be as a world of angels, 
and a heaven? O what a blessed world would it be; and 
what a benefactor would the sun be to the world ! Why, even 
such will Jesus Christ be to the celestial world. He is the sun 
of glory. His influence will send forth life and light, and jov- 
ful love upon all tiie blessed, from the face of God, as the sun 
sends forth from God its motion, light, and heat, upon this 
world. Now, therefore, begin, and live upon him : live upon 
the influence of his grace, his teaching, love-kindling, and 
([uickening grace, that thou mayest have his name and mark, and 
he may find in thee something of himself, or of his own, when 
thou comest to his righteous trial. His grace is not in my 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 381 

power, nor at my command. It is not meet it should be so; 
but he hath not bid me seek and beg in vain. If he had never 
told me that he will give it me, it is equal to a promise if he do 
but bid me seek and ask. But I have more. He teacheth me 
to pray: he maketh my prayers: he writeth me out a prayer- 
book on my heart: he giveth me desires, and he loveth to be 
importuned by them: his Spirit is first a spirit of supplication, 
and after of consolation, and in both a spirit of adoption. So 
far is he from being loth to be troubled with my importunity, 
that he seeketh me to seek his grace, and is displeased with me 
that I will ask and have no more. 

All this is true: but how then cometh my soul to be yet so 
low, so dark, so fond of this wretched flesh and world, and so 
"backward to go home, and dwell with Christ? Alas! a taste of 
heaven on earth is a mercy too precious to be cast away upon 
such as have long grieved and quenched the Spirit, and are not, 
by diligent and patient seeking, prepared to receive it. He that 
proclaimeth a general peace, will give peace only to the sons of 
peace. If, after such unkind neglects, such wilful sins as I have 
been guilty of, I should expect to be suddenly in my Saviour's 
arms, and to be feasted presently with the first-fruits of heaven, 
1 should look that the Most Holv should too little manifest his 
hatred of my sin. INIy conscience remembereth the follies of 
my youth, and many a later odious sin; and telleth me that if 
heaven were quite hid from my sight, and I should never have a 
glimpse of the face of glorious, eternal love, it were but just. 
I look upward from day to day; I groan to see his ))leased face, 
and better to know my God and my home. I cry to him daily, 
* My God, this little is better than all the pleasures of sin. My 
hopes are better than all the possessions of this yvorld. Thy 
gracious looks have oft revived me, and thy mercies have been 
immeasurable to my soul and body. But, oh, how far short 
am I of what, even fifty years ago, I hoj)ed sooner to have 
attained ! Where is the peace that passeth understanding, that 
should keep my heart and mind in Christ ? Oh ! where is the 
seeing, the longing, the rejoicing, and triumphing faith? Where 
is that pleasant familiarity above, that should make a thought 
of Christ and heaven to be sweeter to ^ne than the thoughts of 
friends, or health, or all the prosperity and pleasure of this 
world ? Do those that dwell in God, and God in them, and 
have their hearts and conversations in heaven, attain to no 
more clear and satisfying perceptions of that blessed state tiuiu 



382 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

I have yet attained ? Is there no more acquaintance above to 
be here expected; no livelier sense of future joys, nor sweeter 
foretaste ; no fuller silencing of doubts and fears ? I am not 
so loth to go to a friend, nor to the bed vi'here I oft spend the 
night in restless pains and rolling, as T have too often been to 
come to thee. Alas ! how many of thy servants are less afraid 
to go to a prison than to their God, and had rather be banished 
to a land of strangers than sent to heaven. Lord, must I, that 
am called thy child, and an heir of heaven, and a co-heir with 
Christ, have no more acquaintance with my glorified Lord, and 
no more love to thee that art my portion, before I go hence, and 
come l)efore thee ? Shall I have no more of the heavenly )ife, 
and light, and love ? Alas ! I have scarce enough in my medi- 
tations to denominate them truly heavenly meditations. I have 
scarce enough in a jjrayer to make it indeed a heavenly prayer, 
or in a sermon to make it a heavenly sermon : and shall I have 
no more when I come to die ? Must I go hence so like a 
stranger to my home? Wilt thou take strangers into heaven, 
and know them as thine that do not better know thee here ? O 
my God, vouchsafe a sinner yet more of his Spirit that came 
down on earth to call up earthly minds to God, and to open 
heaven to all believers ! O what do I beg for so frequently, so 
earnestly, for the sake of my Redeemer, as the spirit of life and 
consolation, which may show me the pleased face of God, and 
unite all my affections to my glorified Head, and draw up this 
dark and drowsy soul to love and long to be with thee ?' 

But, alas ! though these are my daily groans, how little yet 
do I ascend. I dare not blame the God of love ; he is full and 
willing. 1 dare not blame my blessed Saviour ; he hath showed 
that he is not backward to do good. I dare not accuse the 
Holy Spirit; it is his work to sanctify and comfort souls. If I 
knew no reason of this, my low and dark estate, I must needs 
conclude that it is somewhat in myself. But, alas! mv con- 
science wants not matter to satisfy me of the cause. Sinful 
resistance of the Spirit, and mithankful neglects of grace and 
glory, are undoubtedly the cause. But are they not a cause 
that mercy car. forgive, that grace can overcome ? And may I 
not yet hope for such a victory before I die? 

Lord, 1 will lie at thy doors and groan: [ will pour out mv 
moans before thee. I will beg, and whatever thou wilt, do 
thou with me. Thou describest the kindness of the dogs to a 
Lazarus that lay at a rich man's door in sores: thou commend- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. S83 

est the neighbourly pity of a Samaritan, that took care of a 
wounded man : thou condemnest those that wilt not show mercy 
to the poor and needy : tliou biddest us be merciful as our hea^ 
venly Father is merciful. If we see our brother have need, and 
shut up the bowels of our compassion from him, it is because 
thy love dwelleth not in us : and shall I wait, then, at thy doors 
in vain, and go empty away from such a Godj when I beg but 
for that which thou hast commanded me to ask, and without 
which I cannot serve thee, or come to thee, live or die in a habit 
beseeming a member of Christ, a child of God, and an heir of 
heaven ? O give me the wedding garment, without which I 
shall but dishonour thy bounteous feast. Let me wear a livery 
which becometh thy family, even a child of God. How oft hast 
thou commanded me to rejoice ; yea, to rejoice with exceeding 
and unspeakable joy; and how fain would I in this obey thee. 
O that I had more faithfully obeyed thee in other preparatory 
duties, in ruling my senses, my fancy, my tongue, and in dili- 
gent using all thy talents ! Then I might more easily have 
obeyed thee in this. Thou knowest. Lord, that love and joy 
are duties that must have more than a command. O bid me 
do them with an effecting word. How can I rejoice in death 
and darkness .'' When the bridegroom is absent I must fast and 
mourn. While I look towards heaven but through the cre- 
vices of this dungeon flesh, my love and joy will be but answer- 
able to my light. How long is it since I hoped that I had been 
translated from the kingdom of darkness, and delivered from 
the power of the Prince of Darkness, and brought into that 
light which is the entrance of the inheritance of saints. And 
yet, alas! darkness, darkness is still my misery. There is light 
round about me, in thy word and works, but darkness is within 
me: and if my eye be dark, the sun will be no sun to me. 
Alas! my Lord, it is not all the learning in the world ; no, 
not of theology, that consisteth in the knowledge of words and 
methods, which I can take for the satisfactory, heavenly light. To 
know what thou hast written in the sacred book, is not enough to 
make me know my glorified Saviour, my Father, and my home. 
It must be a light from heaven that must show me heaven, and 
a light accompanied with vital heat that must turn to love and 
joy within me. O let me not have only dreaming knowledge 
of words and signs, but quickening light, to show the things 
which these words do signify, to my mind and heart. Surely, 
the faith by which we must live, must be a living failli, and 



384 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

must reach further than to words, how true soever. Can faith 
live in the dark ? What is it but an effect of thine illumina- 
tion? What is my unbelief but the darkness of my soul? 
Lord Jesus, scatter all these mists ! Make thy way, O thou Sun 
of Righteousness, into this benighted mind! O send thine ad- 
vocate to silence every temptation that is against thy truth and 
thee; and thine agent to prosecute thy cause against thine ene- 
mies and mine, and to be the resident witness of thy verity, and 
my sonship and salvation. Hearing of thee is not satisfactory 
to me : it must be the presence and operation of thy light and 
love, shed abroad by thy Spirit on my heart, that must (juiet and 
content my soul. 1 confess, with shame, that I have sinned 
against heaven and before thee, and am unworthy to have any 
glimpse or taste of heaven ; but so did many that are now en- 
tertained and feasted by thy love in glory. 

My Lord, I know that heaven is not far from me : it is not, 
I believe, one day's or hour's journey to a separated soul. How 
quick is the communion of my eyes with the sun, that seems far 
off; and couldst thou not show it me in a moment? Is not 
faith a seeing grace? It can see the invisible God, the unseen 
world, the new Jerusalem, the innumerable angels, and the 
Spirits of the perfected just, if it be animated by thine influx; 
without which it can do nothing, and is nothing. Thou that 
oft healedst the blind here in the flesh, didst tell us that it is 
much more thy work to illuminate souls. It is but forgiving 
all my sins, and removing this film that sin hath gathered, and 
my illuminated soul will see thy glory, t know that tlie veil 
of flesh must be also rent before I shall see thee with ojien 
face, and know my fellow-citizens above as I am known. It is 
not heaven on earth that I am begging for, but that I may see 
it from Mount Nebo, and have the bunch of grapes, the pledge 
and the first-fruits : that faith and hope which may kindle love 
and desire, and make me run my race in patience, and live and 
die in the joy which beseemeth an heir of heaven. 

But if my part on earth must be no greater than yet it is, 
let it make me the wearier of this dungeon, and groan more fer- 
vently to be with thee, and long for the day when all my long- 
ing shall be satisfied, and my soul be filled with thy light and 
love. 

Sect. 24. And, doubtless, as I shall love the angels and 
saints in heaven, so I shall some way, in subordination to Christ, 
be a receiver from them. Our love will be mutual 3 and which 



' Baxter's dying thoughts. 385 

way soever I owe duty, I shall expect some answerable return 
of benefit. The sun shineth upon the stars, as well as upon 
the earth, and stars on one another. If angels are greatly 
useful to me here, it is like they will be much more there, 
where I shall be a more capable receiver. It will be no 
diminution to Christ's honour, that he there maketh use of my 
fellow-creatures to my joy, no more than it is here. The whole 
creation will still be one compaginated frame; and the heavenly 
society will for ever retain their relation to each other, and their 
aptitude and disposition to the duties and benefits of those re- 
lations. And as we shall be far fitter for them than here we 
are, so shall we have far more comfort in them. How gloriously 
will God shine in the glory of the blessed ! How delightful 
will it be to see their perfection, in wisdom, holiness, love, and 
concord ! What voices they use, or what communication, 
instead of voices, we shall shortly know; but surely there is a 
blessed harmony of minds, and wills, and practice. All are 
not equal; but all accord to love and praise their glorious God, 
and readily to obey him, and perfectly to love each other. 
There is no jarring, or discordant spirit that is out of tune ; no 
separation or opposition to each other. As God's love in Christ 
is our full and final happiness, so nature, which hath made us 
sociable, teacheth us to desire to be loved of each other, but 
especially by wise and worthy persons. Saints and angels in 
heaven will love incomparably better than our dearest friends 
on earth can do, and better than they did themselves when we 
were on earth ; for they will love that best which is best, and 
where there is niost of God appearing; else it were not intel- 
lectual love. And therefore they will love us as much better 
when we come to heaven, as we shall be better. If we go from 
loving friends on earth, we shall go to them that love us far 
more. The love of those here doth but pity us in our pains, 
and go weeping with our carcasses to the grave; but the love of 
those above will joyfully convoy, or welcome, our souls to their 
triumphant societv. All the holy friends that we thought we 
had lost, that went before us^ we shall find rejoicing there with 
Christ. 

And oh, what a glorious state will be that common uniting, 
and united love ! If two or three candles joined together make 
a greater flame and liglit, what would ten thousand stars united 
do ? When all the love of angels and saints in full perfection 
shall be so united, as to make one love, to God that is one, untl 

VOL. XVI rr. c c 



386 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

to one another, who are there all one in Christ; O what a glo- 
rious love will tliat be! That love and joy will be the same 
thing ; and that one universal love will be one universal joy. 

Little know we how great a mercy it is to be here commanded 
to love our neighbours as ourselves ; and much more, to be 
effectually taught of God so to love one another. And did we 
all here live in such unfeigned love, we should be like to heaven, 
as bearing the image of the God of Love; but, alas! our so- 
cieties here are small; our goodness, which is our amiableness, 
vvofully imperfect and mixed with loathsome sin and discord ; 
but there, a whole heaven full of blessed spirits will flanie for 
ever, in perfect love to God, to Christ, and one another. 

Go then, go willingly, O my soul ! Love joineth with light, 

to draw up thy desires ! Nature inclineth all things unto union : 

even the lifeless elements have an aggregative motion, by which 

the parts, when violently separated, do hastily return to their 

natural adhesion. Art thou a lover of wisdom, and wouldest 

thou not be united to the wise ? Art thou a lover of holiness, 

and wouldest thou not be united to the holy, who are made of 

love ? Art thou a hater of enmity, discord, and divisions, and 

a lover of unity here on earth, and wouldest tliou not be where all 

the justare one ? It is not an uimatural union to thy loss; nothing 

shall be taken from thee by it : thou shalt receive by it more 

than thou canst contribute ; it shall not be forced against thy 

will; it is but a union of minds and wills; a perfect union of 

loves. Let not natural or sinful selfishness cause thee to thiidc 

suspiciously or hardly of it, for it is tliy happiness and end. 

Wliat got the angels that fell to selfishness, from unity ? and 

what got Adam, that followed them herein ? The further any 

man goeth from unity, bv selfishness, the deeper he falleth into 

sin and misery from God. And what doth grace but call us 

back from sin and selfishness, to God's unity again? J.)oat not, 

then, on this dark, divided world. Is not thy body, while the 

parts by an uniting soul are kept together, and make one, in a 

better state, than when it is crumbled into lifeless dust ? And 

doth not death creep on thee by a gradual dissolution ? Away, 

then, from this sandy, incoherent state; the further from the 

centre, the further from unity. A unity indeed there is of all 

things; but it is one heavenly life and light and love, which is 

the true felicitating union. 

We dispute here whether the aggregative motion of sepa- 
rated parts (as in descetisu gravium,) be from a motive prlncii)!e 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 387 

in the part, or by the attraction of the whole, or b\' any external 
impulse. It is like that there is somewhat of all these; but 
sure the greatest cause is like to do most to the effect. The 
body of the earth hath more power to attract a clod, or stone, 
than the intrinsic principle to move it downwards; but intrinsic 
gravity is also necessary. The superior attractive love and love- 
liness must do more to draw up this mind to God, than my 
intrinsic holiness to move it upward; but without this holiness, 
the soul would not be capable of feeling that attractive influx. 
Every grace cometh from God, to fit and lead up my soul to 
God. Faith, therefore, believeth the heavenly state, and love 
doth, with some delight, desire it, and hope gapeth after it, that 
I may at last attain it. 

They that have pleaded against propriety, and would have all 
things common in this world, have forgotten that there is a pro- 
priety in our present egoity, and natural constitution, which ren- 
dereth some accidental propriety necessary to us. Every man 
hath his own bodily parts, and inherent accidents; and every man 
must have his own food, his own place, clothing, and acqui- 
sitions; his own children, and, therefore, his own wife, Sec. But 
that the greatest perfection is most for community, as far as 
nature is capable of it, God would show us, in making the first 
receivers of the extraordinary pourings-out of his Spirit, to sell 
all, and voluntarily make all common, none saying. This or 
that is my own ; which was not done by any constraining law 
but by the law or power of uniting love: they were first all as 
of one heart and soul. (Acts iv. 32.) 

Take not, then, thy inordinate desire of propriety for thy 
health, but for thy sickness; cherish it not, aud be not afraid to 
lose it, and measure not the heavenly felicity by it: spirits are 
penetrable ; they claim not so much as a propriety of place, as 
bodies do. It is thy weakness and state of imperfection now 
which maketh it so desirable to thee that thy house should be 
thine, and no one's but thine; thy land be thine, and no one's 
but thine; thy clothes, thy books, yea, thy knowledge and 
grace, be thine, and no one's but thine. How much more ex- 
cellent a state were it, (if we were here capable of it,) if we 
could say, that all these are as the common light of the sun, 
which is mine, and every one's as well as mine ! Why are we 
so desirous to speak all languages, but that we might understand 
all men, and be understood of all, and so might make our sen- 
timents as common as is possible ? Whence is it that men are 

cc 2 



388 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

so addicted to talkativeness; but that nature would make all 
our thoughts and jDassions as common as it can ? And why else 
are learned men so desirous to propagate their learning, and 
godly men so desirous to make all others wise and godly ? It 
seemeth one of the greatest calamities of this life, that when a 
man hath, with the longest and hardest study, attained to much 
knowledge, he cannot becjueath it, or any part of it, to his heir, 
or any person when he dieth, but every man must acquire it for 
himself; and when God hath sanctified the parents, they can- 
not communicate their holiness to their children (though God 
promise to bless them on their account). Much less can any 
man make his grace or knowledge common : nature and grace 
incline us to desire it; but we cannot do it. For this end we 
talk, and preach, and write; for this end we study to be as 
plain, and convincing, and moving as we can, that we may make 
our knowledge and affections as common to our hearers and 
readers as we can. And oh, what a blessed work should we 
take preaching and writing for, if we could make them all 
know, but what we know, and love what we are persuading 
them to love ! There would then be no need of schools and 
universities : a few hours would do more than they do in an age. 
But, alas ! how rare is it for a father of excellent learning and 
piety, to have one son like himself, after all his industry ! 

Is not the heavenly communion, then, desirable, where every 
man shall have his own, and yet his own be common to all 
others ? My knowledge shall be my own, and other men's as 
well as mine; my goodness shall be my own and theirs; my 
glory and felicity shall be mine and theirs ; and theirs also shall 
be mine as well as theirs. The knowledge, the goodness, the 
glory, of all the heavenly society, shall be mine, according to 
my capacity; grace is the seed of such a state, which maketh 
us all one in Christ, (neither Barbarian nor Scythian, circumci- 
sion nor uncircumcision, bond nor free,) by giving us to love 
our neighbours as ourselves, and to love botii our neighbours 
and ourselves for Christ, and Christ in all : well might Paul say, 
all things are yours. But it is here but as in the seed; the per- 
fect union and communion is hereafter. Earth and heaven must 
be distinguished; we must not extend our hopes or pretensions 
here beyond the capacity of our natures. As perfect holiness 
and knov,'ledge, so perfect unity and concord, is proper to 
heaven, and is not here to be expected. Tiie papal pretensions 
of an impossible union in one governor of ail the earthy is the 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 389 

means to hinder that union which is possible. But the state of" 
perfection is the state of perfect union and communion. Hasten 
then upwards, O my soul, with the ferventest desires, and breathe 
after that state with the strongest hopes; where thou shalt not 
be rich, and see thy neighbours poor about thee, nor be poor, 
while they are rich ; nor be well while they are sick, or sick 
while they are well ; but their riches, their health, their joy, 
will be all thine, and thine will be all theirs, as the common 
light; and none will have the less for the participation of the 
rest; yea, communion will be part of every one's felicity; it 
constituteth the very being of the city of God. This celestial 
communion of saints in one holy church, above what is here to 
be attained, is now an article of our belief; but believing will 
soon end in seeing and enjoying. 

V. The constiiutive reasons from the heavenly life or 

practice. 

Sect. 1 . Seeing and loving will be the heavenly life ; but yet 
it seemeth that, besides these, there will be executive powers, 
and, therefore, some answerable practice. There are good works 
in heaven, and far more and better than on earth. For, 1. 
there will be more vital activity, and, therefore, more exercise 
for it ; for the power is for action. 2. There will be more love 
to God and one another ; and love is active. 3. There will be 
more likeness to God and our Redeemer, who is communicative, 
and doth good, as he is good. 4. Our vmion with Christ, who 
will be everlastingly beneficent, as well as benevolent, will make 
us in our places also beneficent. 5. Our communion in the 
city of God will prove that we shall all bear our part, as the 
members of the body, in contributing to the welfare of the 
whole, and in the common returns to God. 

Sect. 2. But what are the heavenly works we must perfectly 
know when we come thither? In general we know ; I. That 
they will be the works of love to God and to his creatures ; that 
is, such as love inclineth us to exercise. 2. And they will be 
works of obedience to God ; that is, such as we shall do to 
please his will, and because he willeth them to be our duty. 
3. They will be useful works to others. 4. They will be plea- 
sant to ourselves, and part of our felicity. 5. And they will 
carry all to God, our end. 

Sect. 3. And somewhat of them is particularly described in 
the Holy Scriptures : as, 1. VV"e shall in concord with the holv 



390 Baxter's dying jhoughts. 

Society, or choir, give thanks and praise to God and our Re- 
deemer. (Rev. xix. 5 ', 1 Pet. iv. 1 1 ; Rev. vii. 4, irnCi iv. 7, 
11, and V. 13, and vii. 12, and xix. 1; Phil, iv, 20.) Whether 
tliere be any voice, or only such spiritual activity and exultation 
as to man, in flesh, is not to be clearly understood, is not fit for 
us here to presume to determine : it will be somewhat more 
high and excellent than our vocal praise and singing is ; and 
of wdiich this beareth some analogical resemblance or significa- 
tion. As all passions earnestly desire vent and exercise, so 
specially do our holy affections of love, joy, and admiration of 
God Almighty. And there is in us a desire of communion 
with many in such affections and expressions : methinks when 
we are singing or speaking God's praise in the great assemblies, 
with joyful and fervent souls, 1 have the liveliest foretaste of 
heaven on earth : and I could almost wish that our voices were 
loud enough to reach through all the v.'orld, and unto heaven 
itself : nor could I ever be offended (as many are) at the or- 
gans, and other convenient music, soberly and seasonably used, 
which excite and help to tune my soul in so holy a work, in 
which no true assistance is to be despised. No work more 
comforteth me in my greatest sufferings, none seemeth more 
congruous and pleasant to me while I wait for death, than 
psalms, and words of praise to God j nor is there any exercise 
in which I had rather end my life : and should I not then wil- 
lingly go to the heavenly choir, where God is praised with per- 
fect love, and joy, and harmony ? Had I more of a praising- 
frame of soul, it would make me long more for that life of 
praise, For I never find myself more willing to be there than 
when I most joyfully speak or sing God's praise. Though the 
dead praise not God in the grave, and dust doth not give him 
thanks ; yet living souls in heaven do it joyfully, while their 
fleshly clothing turns to dust. 

Lord, tune my soul to thy praises now, that sweet experi- 
ence may make me long to be where I sliall do it better ! I 
see where any excellent music is, nature maketh men flock to 
it ; and they that are but hearers, yet join by a concurrent fancy 
and delight : surely, if I had once heard the heavenly choir, I 
should echo to their holy songs, though 1 could not imitate 
them; and I should think it the truest blessedness to be there, 
and bear my part. My God, the voice of thy comforting Spi- 
rit, speaking thy love effectually to my soul, would nrake such 
holy music in me, that would incline me to the celestial con- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 391 

sort ; and without it all these thoughts and words will be in 
vain. It is the inward melody of thy Spirit and my conscience, 
that must tune me to desire the heavenly melody. O speak thy 
love first to my heart, and then I shall joyfully speak it to my 
brethren, and shall ambitiously seek that communion of them 
that praise thee better than sinful, groaning mortals can : and 
though my sins here make a loathed jar and discord in my 
songs, I hope my groans for those sins, and their effects, will 
make no discord : sighs and tears have had the honour to be 
accepted by thee, who despisest not a contrite soul : but if thy 
Spirit will sing and speak within me, and help me against the 
discordant murmurs of my unbelieving heart, and pained flesh, 
I shall offer thee that which is more suitable to thy love and 
grace. I confess, Lord, that daily tears and sighs are not un- 
suitable to the eyes and voice of so great a sinner, who is imder 
thy correcting rod ! What better could I expect when I grieved 
thy Spirit, than that it should prove my grief? Yea, this is far 
better than the genuine effects of sin. But this is not it that is 
meetest to be offered to the God of love : he that offereth praise 
doth glorify thee : and is not this the spiritual sacrifice accept- 
able through Christ, for which we were made priests to God. 
(1 Pet. ii. 5.) I refuse not, Lord, to lie in tears and groans 
when thou requirest it ; and do not thou refuse those tears and 
groans ; but O give me better, that I may have better of thine 
own to offer thee : and by this prepare me for the far better, 
which I shall find with Christ : and that which is best to us thy 
creatures will be accepted as best by thee, who art glorified and 
pleased in the perfection of thy works. 

Sect. 4. II. It is, at least, very probable that God maketh 
glorified spirits his agents and ministers of much of his benefi- 
cence to the creatures that are below them. For, 1. We see 
that where he enduelh any creature with the noblest endow- 
ments, he maketh most use of that creature to the benefit of 
others : we shall in heaven he most furnished to do good ; and 
that furniture will not be unused. 2. And Christ tells us that 
we shall be like, or equal to, the angels ; which though it mean 
not simply and in all things, yet it meaneth more than to be 
above carnal generation ; for it sj)eaketh of a similitude of na- 
ture and state as the reason of the otlicr. And that the angels 
are God's ministers for the good of his chosen in this world, and 
administrators of much of the afr'airs on earth, is past all doubt. 
H. The Apostle telleih us that the i:aints shall judge tlie work' 



392 Baxter's dyinct thoughts. 

and angels : and judging in Scripture is oft put for ruling. It 
is therefore probable, at least, that the devils, and the damned, 
shall be put under the saints, and that, with the angels, they 
shall be employed in some ministerial oversight of the inhabi- 
tants and affairs of the promised new earth. 4. And when 
even the more noble superior bodies, even the stars, are of so 
great use and influx to inferior bodies, it is like that accordingly 
superior spirits will be of use to the inhabitants of the world 
below them. 

Sect. 5. But I think it not meet to venture here upon uncer- 
tain conjectures beyond the revelation of God's word, and there- 
fore shall add no more, but conclude that God knoweth what 
use to make of us hereafter as well as here, and that if there 
were no more for us to do in heaven, but with perfect know- 
ledge, love, and joy, to hold communion with God and all the 
heavenly society, it were enough to attract a sensible and con- 
siderate soul to fervent desires to be at home with God. 

Sect. 6. And here I must not over-pass my rejection of the 
injurious opinion of too many philosophers and divines, who ex- 
clude all sense and affection from heaven, and acknowledge 
nothing there but intellect and will : and this is because they 
find sense and affection in the brutes ; and they think that the 
souls of brutes are but some quality, or perishing temperament, 
of matter ; and, therefore, that sense and affection is in us no 
better. 

Sect, 7. But, 1. What felicity can we conceive of without 
any affection of delight or joy : certainly bare volition now 
without these doth seem to be no felicity to us ; nor knowledge 
neither, if there were no delight in knowing. 

Sect. 8. 2. Yea, I leave it to men's experience to judge, 
whether there be now any such thing in us as proper willing, 
which is not also some internal sense of, and affection to, the 
good which we will : if it be complacency or the pleasedness of 
the will, tills signifies some pleasure ; and love, in the first act, 
is nothing else but such an appetite : if it be desire, it hath in 
it a pleasedness in the thing desired, as in esse cognifo, as it is 
thought on by us ; and what is love without all sense and affec- 
tion ? 

Sect. I). 3. Why doth the Scripture ascribe love and joy to 
God and angels if there were not some reason for it ? Doubt- 
less there is great difference between the heavenly love and jov, 
and ours here in the body : and so there is also between tlieir 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 393 

knowledge and ours, and their will and ours : but it is not that 
theirs is less or lower than ours, but somewhat more excellent, 
which ours giveth us some analogical, or imperfect, formal no- 
tion of. 

Sect. 10. 4. And what though brutes have sense and affec- 
tion, doth it therefore follow that we have none now ? or that 
we shall have none hereafter ? Brutes have life : and must we 
therefore have no life hereafter, because it is a thing that is 
common to brutes ? Rather, as now we have all that the 
brutes have, and more, so shall we then have life, and sense, and 
affection of a nobler sort than brutes, and more. Is not God 
the living God ? Shall we say that he liveth not because brutes 
live ? or rather, that they live a sensitive life, and man a sen- 
sitive and intellectual, because God is essential, transcendent, 
infinite life, that makes them live. 

Sect. 11. 5. But if they say that there is no sensation or af- 
fection but by bodily organs, I answered before to that : the 
body feeleth nothing at all, but the soul in the body : the soul 
uniteth itself most nearly to the igneous aerial parts, called the 
spirits ; and in them it feeleth, seeth, tasteth, smelleth, &c. 
And that soul that feeleth and seeth, doth also inwardly love, 
desire, and rejoice : and that soul which doth this in the body, 
hath the same power and faculty out of the body : and if they 
judge by the cessation of sensation, when the organs are undis- 
posed, or dead, so they might as well conclude against our fu- 
ture intellection and will, whose operation in an apoplexy we 
no more perceive than that of sense. But 1 have before showed 
that the soul will not want exercise for its essential faculties, 
for want of objects, or bodily organs; and that men conclude 
basely of the souls of brutes, as if they were not an enduring 
substance, without any proof or probability : and tell us idle 
dreams, that they are but vanishing temperaments, &c., which 
are founded on another dream, that fire (or the motive, illumi- 
native, calefactive cause) is no substance neither ; and so our 
unnatural soniatists know none of the most excellent substances, 
whicli actuate all the vest, Init only the more base and gross, 
which are actuated by them : and they think tliey have well ac- 
quitted themselves, by telling us of subtle, active matter and 
motion, without understanding what any living, active, motive, 
faculty, or virtue is. And because no man knoweth what God 
doth with the souls of brutes, (whether they are only one com- 
mon seiisitive soul of a more common body, or whether indivi- 



394 Baxter's dying ihoughts. 

dilate still, anil transmigrant from body to body, or what else :) 
therefore they make ignorance a plea for error, and feign them 
to be no substances, or to be aimihilated. 

Sect. 12. I doubt not but sensation (as is aforesaid) is an 
excellent operation of the essential faculties of real substances, 
called spirits ; and that the highest and noblest creatures have 
it in the highest excellency : and though God, that fitteth every 
thing to its use, hath given, e. y. a dog more perfect sense of 
smelling than a man, yet man's internal sense is far more ex- 
cellent than the brutes, and thereby is an advantage to our in- 
tellection, volition, and joy here in the flesh : and that in heaven 
we shall have not less, but more, even more excellent sense and 
affections of love and joy, as well as more excellent intellection 
and volition ; but such as we cannot now clearly conceive of. 

Sect. 13. Therefore there is great reason for all those analo- 
gical collections which I have mentioned in my book called 'The 
Saint's Rest' from the present operations and pleasures of the 
soul in flesh, to help our conceptions of its future pleasures: and 
though we cannot conclude that they will not inconceivably 
differ in their manner from what we now feel, I doubt not but 
feel and rejoice we shall, as certainly as live, and that the soul 
is essential life, and that our life, and feeling, and joy, will be 
inconceivably better. 

The concluding apj)Iication. 

Sect. 1. I am convinced that it is far better to depart and be 
with Christ, than to be here : but there is much more than such 
conviction necessary to bring up my soul to such desires. Still 
there resisteth, 1, The natural averseness to death, which God 
hath put into every animal, and which is become inordinate and 
too strong by sin. II. The remnants of unbelief, taking advan- 
tage of our darkness here in the flesh, and our too much famili- 
arity with this visible world. HI. The want of more lively fore- 
tastes in a heaveidy mind and love, through weakness of grace, 
and the fear of guilt. These stand up against all that is said ; 
and words will not overcome them : what then must be done ? 
Is there no remedy ? 

Sect. 2. There is a special sort of the teaching of God, by 
which we must learn " so to number our days as to apply our 
hearts to wisdom 3" without which we shall never, effectually, 
practically, and savingly, learn either this or any the most 
(•ommon, olwious, and easy lesson. When we have read and 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 395 

heard, and spoken, and written, the soundest truth and cer- 
tainest arguments, we know yet as if we knew not, and believe 
as if we believed not, with a slight and dreaming kind of appre- 
hension, till God, by a special illumination, bring the same 
things clearly to our minds, and awaken the soul by a special 
suscitation, to feel what we know. and. suit the soul to the truth 
revealed by an influx of his love, which giveth us a pleasing 
sense of the amiableness and congruity of the things proposed. 
Since we separated ourselves from God, there is a hedge of 
separation between our senses and our understandings, and 
Ijetween our understandings and our wills and affections, so 
that the communion between them is violated, and we are 
divided in ourselves by this schism in our faculties. All men 
still see the demonstrations of divine perfections in the world, 
and every part thereof; and yet how little is God known. All 
men may easily know that there is a God, who is almighty, 
omniscient, goodness itself, eternal, omnipresent, the Maker, 
Preserver, and Governor of all, who should have our whole 
trust, and love, and obedience; and yet how little of this 
knowledge is to be perceived in men's hearts to themselves, or 
in their lives to others. All men know that the world is vanity, 
that men must die, that riches then profit not, that time is 
precious, and that we have only this little time to prepare for 
that which we must receive hereafter ; and yet how little do 
men seem to know, indeed, of all such things as no man doubts 
of. And when God doth come in with his powerful awakening 
light and love, then all these things have another appearance 
of affecting reality than they had before ; as if but now we 
began to know them ; words, doctrines, persons, things, do 
seem as newly known to us. 

All my best reasons for our immortality and future life are 
but as the new-formed body of Adam, before God breathed 
into him the breath of life. It is he that must make them 
living reasons. To the Father of Lights, therefore, I must still 
look up, and for his light and love 1 must still wait, as for his 
blessing on the food which J have eaten, which must concoct 
it into my living substance. Arguments will be but undigested 
food, tilt God's effectual influx do digest them. I must learn 
both as a student and a beggar ; when I have thought, and 
thought a tliousaud times, 1 must beg thy blessing. Lord, upon 
my thoughts, or they will all be but dulness, or self-distraction. 
If there be no motion, liglit, and life here, without the influx of 



396 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

the sun, what can souls do, or receive, or feel, without thy influx 
This world will be to us, without thy grace, as a grave or dun- 
geon, where we shall lie in deatli and darkness. The eye of my 
understanding, and all its thoughts, will be useless or vexatious 
to me, without thine illuminating beams. O shine the soul of 
thy servant into a clearer knowledge of thyself and kingdom, 
and love him into more divine and heavenly love, and then he 
will willingly come to thee. 

Sect. 3. I. And why should I strive, by the fears of death, 
against the common course of nature, and against my only 
hopes of happiness ? Is it not appointed for all men once to 
die ? Would I have God to alter this determinate course, and 
make sinful man immortal upon earth ? When we are sinless, 
we shall be immortal. The love of life was given to teach me 
to preserve it carefully, and use it well, and not to torment me 
with the continual, troubling foresight of death. Shall I make 
myself more miserable than the vegetatives and brutes ? Nei- 
ther they nor I do grieve that my flowers must fade and die, 
and that my sweet and pleasant fruits must fall, and the trees 
be unclothed of their beauteous leaves, until the spring. 
Birds, and beasts, and fishes, and worms, have all a self-preserv- 
ing fear of death, which urgeth them to fly from danger ; but 
few, if any of them, have a tormenting fear arising from the 
forethoughts that they must die. To the body, death is less 
troublesome than sleep ; for in sleep I may have disquieting 
pains or dreams ; and yet I fear not going to my bed. But of 
this before. 

If it be the miserv after death that is feared, oh ! what have 
I now to do, but to receive the free, reconciling grace that is 
offered me from heaven, to save me from such misery, and to 
devote myself totally to him who hath promised that those that 
come to him he will in nowise cast out. 

Sect. 4. But this cometh by my selfishness. Had I studied 
my duty, and then remembered that 1 am not mine own, and 
that it is God's part, and not mine, to determine of the dura- 
tion of my life, I had been quiet from these fruitless fears. 
But when I fell to myself, from God, I am fallen to care for 
myself, as if it were my v;ork to measure out my days; and now 
I trust not God as I should do with his own. And had mv 
resignation and devotedness to him been more absolute, my 
trust in him would have been more easy. But, Lord, thou 
knowest that I would fain be thine, and wholly thine ; and it 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 39/ 

is to thee that I desire to Hve ; therefore let me quietly die to 
thee, and wholly trust thee with my soul. 

Sect. 5. II. And why should my want of formal conceptions 
of the future state of separated souls, and my strangeness to 
the manner of their subsistence and operations, induce me to 
doubt of those generals, which are evident, and beyond all 
rational doubting ? That souls are substances and not annihil- 
ated, and essentially the same, when they forsake the body, as 
before, I doubt not. Otherwise neither the Christian's resur- 
rection, nor the Pythagorean's transmigration, were a possible 
thing. For if the soul cease to be, it cannot pass into another 
body, nor can it re-enter into this. If God raise this body, then 
it must be by another soul. For the same soul to be annihil- 
ated, and yet to begin again to be, is a contradiction ; for the 
second beginning would be by creation, which maketh a new 
soul, and not the same that was before. It is the invisible 
things that are excellent, active, operative, and permanent. 
The visible (excepting light, which maketh all things else 
visible) are of themselves but lifeless dross. It is the unseen 
part of plants and flowers which causeth all their growth and 
beauty, their fruit and sweetness. Passive matter is but moved 
up and down by the invisible active powers, as chess-men are 
moved from place to place by the gamester's hands. What a 
loathsome corpse were the world, without the invisible spirits and 
natures that animate, actuate, or move it. To doubt of the being 
or continuation of the most excellent, spiritual parts of the crea- 
tion, when we live in a world that is actuated by them, and where 
every thing demonstrates them, as their effects, is more foolish 
than to doubt of the being of these gross materials which we see. 

Sect. G. How ofc have 1 been convinced that there are good 
spirits with whom our souls have as certain communion, 
though not so sensible, as our life hath with the sun, and as 
we have with one another. And that there are evil and 
envious spirits that tight against our holiness and peace, as 
certain narratives of apparitions and witches, and too sad 
experience of temptations, do evince. And the marvellous 
diversity of creatures on earth, for kind and number; yea, the 
diversity of stars in heaven, as well as the diversities of angels 
and devils, do partly tell me, that though all be of one, and 
through one, and to one, yet absolute unity is the divine prero- 
gative, and we must not presume to expect such perfection as 
to lose our specific or numerical diversity, by any union which 



398 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

shall befall our souls. Nor can I reasonably doubt that so 
noble and active a nature as souls dwelling above in the lucid 
regions, in communion with their like, and with their betters, 
shall be without the activity, the pleasure, and felicity, which is 
suitable to their nature, their region, and their company. And 
my Saviour hath entered into the holiest, and hath assured me 
that there are many mansions in his Father's house; and that 
when we are absent from the body we shall be present with the 
Lord. 

Sect. 7. Organical sight is given me for my use here in the 
body ; and a serpent, or hawk, hath as much or more of this 
than I have. Mental knowledge reacheth further than sight, 
and is the act of a nobler faculty, and for a higher use. Though 
it be the soul itself embodied in the igneous spirits that seeth, 
yet it is by a higher and more useful faculty than it under- 
standeth ; and faitli is not an understanding act ; it knoweth 
things unseen, because they are revealed. Who can think that 
all believing, holy souls, that have passed heuce from the begin- 
ning of the world, have been deceived in their faith and hope ? 
And that all the wicked, worldly infidels, whose hope was only 
in this life, have been the wisest men, and have been in the 
right? W virtue and piety are faults or follies, and brutish 
sensuality be best, then why are not laws made to command 
sensuality, and forbid piety and virtue ? To say this, is to 
deny humanity, and the wisdom of our Creator, and to feign 
the world to be governed by a lie, and to take the perfection 
of our nature for its disease, and our greatest disease for our 
perfection. But if piety and virtue be better than impiety and 
vice, the principles and necessary motives of them are certainly 
true, and the exercise of them is not in vain. What abomina- 
ble folly and wickedness were it to say that the wicked only 
attain their ends, and that they all lose their labour, and live 
and die in miserable deceit, who seek to please God in hope of 
a better life to come, believing that God is the rewarder of 
them that diligently seek hirn. Would not this justify the 
foolish JManichecs, that thought a bad God made this world ; 
vea, and would infer that he not only made us for a mischief, 
but ruleth us to our deceit and hurt, and giveth us both 
natural and supernatural laws, in ill-will to us, to mislead us 
to our misery, and to fill our lives with needless troubles. Shall 
I not abhor every suggestion that containeth such inhmnan 
absurdities as these ? W^onderful, that Satan can keep up so 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 399 

much unbelief in the world, while he must make men such fools, 
that he may make them unbelievers and ungodly. 

Sect. 8. III. That my soul is no more heavenly, and my 
foretaste of future blessedness is so small, is partly the fruit of 
those many wilful sins by which I have quenched the Spirit 
that should be my comforter: and it is partly from our common 
state of darkness and strangeness, while the soul is in the flesh, 
and operateth as the body's form, according to its interest and 
capacity. Affections are more easily stirred up to things seen, 
than to things that are both unseen, and known only very de- 
fectively, by general, and not by clear, distinct apprehensions. 
And yet this, O this, is the misery and burden of my soul! 
Though 1 can say that I love God's truth and graces, his work, 
and his servants, and whatever of God I see in the world, and 
that this is a love of God in his creatures, word, and works; yet 
that 1 have no more desiring and delightful love of heaven, 
where his loveliness will be more fully opened to my soul, and 
that the thoughts of my speedy appearing there are no more 
joyful to me than they are, is my sin, and my calamity, and 
my shame. And if 1 did not see that it is so with other of the 
servants of Christ, as well as with me, I should doubt whether 
affections, so unproportionable to my profession, did not signify 
unsoundness in my belief. It is strange and shameful, that one 
that expecteth quickly to see the glorious world, and to enter 
the holy, celestial society, should be no more joyfully affected 
with these hopes, and that 1 should make any great matter of 
the pain, and languishing, and perishing of tlie flesh, when it is 
the common way to such an end. O hateful sin! that hath so 
darkened and corrupted souls as to estrange and indispose 
them to the only state of their hoped happiness. Alas! what 
did man, when he forsook the love and obedience of his God? 
How just it is, that this flesh and world should become our 
prison, which we would make our home, and would not use 
as our Lord appointed us, as our servant and way to our better 
state. Though our way nuist not be our home, our Father 
would not have been so strange to us in the way, if we had not 
unthankfully turned away from his grace and love. 

Sect. 9. it is to us that know not the mysteries of infinite 
wisdom, the saddest thought that ever doth possess our minds, to 
consider that there is no more grace and holiness, knowledge 
of God, and communion with him in this world. That so few 
are saints, and those few so lamentably defective and imperfect. 



400 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

That when the sun shineth on all the earth, the Sun of Righte- 
ousness shineth on so small a part of it, and so few live in the 
love of God, and the joyful hopes of future blessedness; and 
those few have so low a measure of it, and are corrupted and 
troubled with so many contrary affections. Infinite goodness is 
not undisposed to do good. He that made us capable of holy 
and heavenly affections, gave us not that capacity in vain; and 
yet, alas ! how little of God and glory taketh up the hearts of 
men ! 

But man hath no cause to grudge at God. The devils, be- 
fore their fall, were not made indefectible j divine wisdom is 
delighted in the diversity of his works, and maketh them not 
all of equal excellency. Free will was to act its part; hell is 
not to be as good as heaven: and sin hath made earth to be 
next to hell : so much sin, so much hell. What is sin but a 
wilful forsaking of God? And can we forsake him, and yet 
love him, and enjoy his love? God's kingdom is not to be 
judged of by his gaol or gibbets. We wilfully forsook the 
light, and made the world a dungeon to ourselves. And, when 
recovering light doth shine unto us, how unthankfully do we 
usually entertain it ? We cannot have the conduct and com- 
fort of it while we shut our eyes, and turn away. And what 
though God give not all men an overcoming measure, nor to 
the best so much as they desire : the earth is but a spot, or 
print, of God's creation; not so much as an ant hillock to a 
kingdom, or, perhaps, to all the earth. And who is scandalised 
because the world hath an heap of ants in it, yea, or a nest of 
snakes, that are not men ? The vast, unmcasurable worlds of 
light which are above us, are possessed by inhabitants suitable 
to their glory. A casement, or crevice of light, or a candle, in 
this darksome world, is an unspeakable mercy; yea, that we 
may but hear of a better world, and may seek it in hope. We 
must not grudge that in our prison we have not that presence 
of our King, and pleasures of the kingdom, as innocent and free 
subjects have : hope of pardon, and a speedy deliverance, are 
great mercies to malefactors. 

Sect. 10. And if my want of the knowledge and love of God, 
and joyful communion with the heavenly society, be my prison, 
and as the suburbs of hell, should it not make me long for the 
day of my redemption, and the glorious liberty of the sons of 
God? My true desires of deliverance, and of lioliness and per- 
fection, are my evidences that I shall obtain them. As the 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 401 

will is the sinner, so it is the obstinate continuance of a will to 
sin, which is the bondage, and the cause of continued sin : and 
a continued hell is continued sin, as to the first part at least. 
Therefore, they tliat continue in hell, do continue in a sinning 
will, and so continue in a love and willingness of so much of 
hell. So far as God maketh us willing to be delivered from sin, 
so far we are delivered; and our initial, imperfect deliverance is 
the way to more. If pains, then, make me groan for ease, and 
sickness make me wish for health, why should not my remnants 
of ignorance, imbelief, and strangeness to God, occasion me to 
long for the day of my salvation? This is the greatest of all 
my troubles ; and should it not, then, be the greatest wearying 
burden from which I should earnestly desire to be eased? As 
grace never doth hurt efficiently, and yet may be ill used, and 
do hurt objectively, (as to them that are proud of it,) so sin 
never doth good efficiently, and of itself, and yet objectively 
may do good ; for sin may be the object of grace, and so to use 
it is not sin. My unbelief, and darkness, and disaffection, and 
inordinate love of this life, do, of themselves, most hinder my 
desires of deliverance, and of a better life; but, objectively, 
what more fit to make me weary of such a grievous state ? 
Were my unbelief and earthly mind predominant, they would 
chain my affections to this world ; or if I were constrainedly 
weary of a miserable life, I should have no comfortable hopes of 
a better. But as it is the nature of my sin to draw down my 
heart from God and glory, it is the nature of my faith, and 
liope, and love, to carry it upward, and to desire the heavenly 
perfection : not to love death, but to love that which is beyond 
it. And have I been so many years in the school of Christ, 
learning both how to live and die, begging and studying for 
this grace, and exercising it against this sinful flesh, and shall 
I now, after all, find flesh more powerful to draw me down- 
ward, than faith, hope, and love, to carry my desires up to 
God? 

Sect. 11. ' O God forbid ! O thou that freely gavest me thy 
grace, maintain it to the last against its enemies, and make it 
finally victorious! It came from thee; it hath been preserved 
by thee ; it is on thy side, and wholly for thee. O let it not 
now fail, and be conquered by blind and base carnality, or by 
the temptations of a hellish, concjuered enemy; without it I had 
lived as a beast, and without it I should die more miscraijiy 
tlian a beast. Ic is thine image which thou lovcst; it is a 

vol,, xvni. i) D 



402 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

divine nature, and heavenly beam. What will a soul be without 
it, but a dungeon of darkness, a devil for malignity, and dead 
to holiness and heaven? Without it, who shall plead thy 
cause against the devil, world, and flesh ? Without thy glory 
earth is but earth : without thy natural efficacy, it would be no- 
thing: without thy wise and potent ordination it would be but a 
chaos : and, without thy grace, it would be a hell. O rather 
deny me the light of the sun, than the light of thy counte- 
nance ! Less miserable had I been without life or being, than 
without thy grace. Without thee, and my Saviour's help, I 
can do nothing ; I did not live without thee ; I could not pray 
or learn without thee ; I never could conquer a temptation 
without thee ; and can I die, or be prepared to die, without 
thee ? Alas ! I shall but say as Philip of Christ, " I know not 
whither my soul is going, and how then shall I know the way?" 
My Lord having loved his own in the world, did love them to 
the end. Thou lovest fidelity and perseverance in thy servants ; 
even those that in his sufferings forsook him and fled, yet are 
conmiended and rewarded by Christ, for continuing with him 
in his temptations. (Luke xxii. 28.) And. wilt thou forsake a 
sinner in his extremity, who consenteth to thy covenant, and 
would not forsake thee ? My God, I have often sinned aganist 
thee, but yet tliou knowest I would fain be thine: I have not 
served thee with the resolution, fidelity, and delight, as such a 
master should have been served, but yet I would not forsake 
thy service, nor change my master, or my work. I can sav, 
with thy servant Paul, that thou art the God whose 1 am, 
and whom I serve : and O that I could serve thee better ! For 
to serve thee is but to receive thy grace, and to use it for mv 
own and others' good, and so to glorify thee, and please thy 
will, which, being love itself, is best pleased when we receive 
and do most good. (Acts xxvii. 23.) I have not loved thee 
as infinite goodness, and love itself, and fatherly bounty, should 
have been loved ; but yet I would not forsake thy family. And 
nothing in this world is more my grief, than that I love thee no 
more. Forsake not, then, a sinner that would not forsake thee, 
that looketh every hour towards thee, that feeleth it as a piece 
of hell to be so dark and strange unto thee, that gropeth, and 
groaneth, and gaspeth after thee; feeling, to his greatest sor- 
row, (though thou art every where,) that while he is present in 
the body, he is absent from the Lord. My Lord, 1 have no- 
thing to do in this world, but to seek and serve thee. I have 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 403 

nothing to do witli a heart and its affections, but to breathe after 
thee : 1 have nothing to do with my tongue and pen, but to 
sjjeak to thee, and for thee, and to pubHsh thy glory, and thy 
will. What have I to do with all my reputation, and interest 
in my friends, but to increase thy church, and propagate thy 
holy truth and service ? What have I to do with my remain- 
ing time, even these last and languishing hours, but to look up 
unto thee, and wait for thy grace, and thy salvation ? O par- 
don all my carnal thoughts, and all my unthankful neglects of 
thy precious grace, and love, and all my wilful sin against thy 
truth and thee ; and let the fuller communications of thy for- 
feited grace, now tell me by experience that thou dost forgive 
me ! Even under the terrible law thou didst tell man thy very 
nature, by proclaiming thy name, " The Lord, the Lord God, 
merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and al)undant in good- 
ness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, 
and transgression, and sin." (Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.) And is not 
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the gospel for our 
more abundant faith and cojisolation ? My God, I know as I 
cannot love thee according to thy loveliness, so I cannot trust 
thee according to thy faithfulness : I can never be sufficiently 
confident of thy all-sufficient power, thy wisdom, and thy good- 
ness. W^hen 1 have said, as Psalm Ixxvii. 7, " Will the Lord 
cast off forever? And will he be favourable no more? Is his 
mercy clean gone for ever ? Doth his promise fail to genera- 
tions ? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? Hath he in 
anger shut up his tender mercies?" Conscience hath replied, 
that this is my infirmity ; I never wanted comfort, because thou 
wantedst mercy; but because I wanted faith and fitness to re- 
ceive it, and perceive it. But hast thou not mercy also to give 
me, even that fitness, and that faith ? My God, all is of thee, 
and through thee, and all is to thee, and when I have the feli- 
city, the glory of all for ever will be thine. None that trusteth 
in thee, (according to thy nature and promise,) shall be ashamed. 
If I can live and die in trusting in thee, surely I shall not be 
confounded. 

Sect. 12. Whv, then, should it seem a difficult question, how 
I may, willingly, leave this world, and my soul depart to Christ 
in peace ? The same grace which regenerated me, must bring 
me to my desired end, as the same principle of vegetation which 
causeth the end, must bring the fruit to sweet maturity, I. Be- 
lieve and trust thy Father, thy Saviour, and thy Comforter. IL 



D D 2 



404 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

And hope for the joyful entertainments of his love, and for the 
blessed state which he hath promised. III. And long, by love, 
for nearer union and communion with him; and thus, O my 
soul, thou mayest depart in peace. 

I. How sure is the promise of God ! How suitable to his 
love, and to the nature of our souls, and to the operations of 
every grace? It is initially performed here, whilst our desires 
are turned towards him, and the heavenly seed and spark is 
here ingenerated in a soul that was dead and dark, and dis- 
affected. Is it any strange thing for fire to ascend ? yea, or 
the fiery principle of vegetation in a tree, to carry up the earthy 
matter to a great height ? Is it strange that rivers should 
hasten to the sea ? Whither should spirits go, but to the re- 
gion or world of spirits? And whither should Christ's mem- 
bers, and holy spirits go but to himself, and the heavenly 
society ? And is not that a more holy and glorious place and 
state than this below ? Earth is between heaven and hell ; a 
place of gross and passive matter, where spirits may, indeed, 
operate upon that which needeth them, and where they may be 
detained awhile in such operation, or as incorporated forms, if 
not incarcerated delinquents ; but it is not their centre, end, or 
home. Even sight and reason might persuade me, that all the 
noble, invisible powers, that operate on this lower world, do 
principally belong unto a higher ; and what can earth add to 
their essence, dignity, or perfection ? 

Sect. 13. But why, O my soul, art thou so vainly solicitous 
to have formal, clear, distinct conceptions of the celestial world, 
and the individuation and operations of separated souls, any 
more than of the angels ? While thou art the formal principle 
of an animated body, thy conceptions must be suitable to their 
present state and use. When thou art possessed of a better 
state, thou slialt know it as a possessor ought to do ; for such a 
knowledge as thou lookest after, is part of the possession, and 
to long to know and love, in clearness and perfection, is to long 
to possess. It is thy Saviour, and his glorified ones, that are 
comprehensors and possessors ; and it is his knowledge which 
must now be most of thy satisfaction. To seek his prerogative 
to thyself, is vain, usurping arrogance. Wouldest thou be a God 
and Saviour to thyself? Oh, consider how much of the fall is 
in this selfish care and desire to be as God, in knowing that of 
good and evil which belongeth not to thee, but to God, to know. 
Thou knowest, past doubt, that there is a Ciod of iniinite per- 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 405 

fectlon, who Is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 
Labour more to know thy duty to this God, and absolutely trust 
him, as to the particularities of thy felicity and reward. Thou 
didst trust thy parents to provide thee food and raiment, when 
thou didst but dutifully obey them; though they could have for- 
saken thee, or killed thee every hour, thou didst never fear it. 
Thou hast trusted physicians to give thee even ungrateful medi- 
cines, without inquiring after every ingredient, or fearing lest 
they should wilfully give thee poison. I trust a barber with my 
throat : I trust a boatman or shipmaster with my life ; yea, my 
horse, that might cast me ; because I have no reason to distrust 
them, saving their insufficiency and uncertainty, as creatures. 
If a pilot undertake to bring thee to the Indies, thou canst 
trust his conduct, though thou know thyself neither the ship, 
nor how to govern it ; neither the way nor the place to which 
thou art conveyed. And must not thy God and Saviour be 
trusted to bring thee safe to heaven, unless he will satisfy all 
thy inquiries of the individuation and operation of spirits? 
Leave unsearchable and useless questions to him that can easily 
resolve them, and to those to whom the knowledge of them doth 
belong. Thou dost but entangle thyself in sin and self-vexa- 
tion, vvhile thou wouldest take God's work upon thee, and 
wouldest know that for thyself, which he must know for thee. 
Thy knowledge and care for it did not precede, nor prepare for, 
thy generation, nor for the motion of one pulse or breath, or 
for the concoction of one bit of all thy food, or the continu- 
ance of thy life one hour; supposing but thy care to use the 
means which God appointed thee, and to avoid things hurtful, 
and to beg his blessing. The command of being careful for 
nothing, and casting all thy care on God, who careth for us, 
oblige th us in all things that are God's part; and for our souls 
as well as for our bodies : yea, to trust him with the greatest of 
our concerns is our greatest duty; supposing we be careful 
about our own part, viz., to use the means, and obey his pre- 
cepts. To dispose of a departing soul is God's part, and not 
ours : oh ! how much evil is in this distrustful, self-providing 
care ! If I did but know what I would know about my soul and 
myself; and if I might but choose what condition it should be 
in, and be the final disposer of it myself, O what satisfaction 
and joy would it afford me ! And is not this to be partly a God 
to myself? Is he not fitter to know, and choose, and dispose 
of me, than I am? I could trust myself easily, even my wit 



406 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

and will, in such a choice, if I had but power ; and cannot I 
trust God and my Redeemer, without all this care, and fear, 
and trouble, and all these particular inquiries ? If you are con- 
voying your child in a boat, or coach, by water, or by land, and 
he at every turn be crying out, ' O father, whither do we go ?' 
or, * what shall I do ?' or, ' I shall be drowned, or fall/ Is it 
not rather his trust in you, than the particular satisfaction of 
his ignorant doubts, that must quiet and silence him? Be not, 
then, foolishly distrustful and inquisitive. Make not thyself thy 
Own disquieter or tormentor, by an inordinate care of thy own 
security. Be not cast down, O departing soul, nor, by unbe- 
lief, disquieted within me. Trust in God, for thou shalt 
quickly, by experience, be taught to give him thanks and 
praise, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 

Sect. 14. O, what clear reason, what great experience, do 
command me to trust him, absolutely and implicitly to trust him, 
and to distrust myself ! 

1. He is essential, infinite, perfection, power, wisdom, and 
love. There is in him all that should invite and encourage ra- 
tional trust, and nothing that should discourage it, 

2. There is nothing in any creature to be trusted, but God in 
that creature, or God working in and by it. Distrust him, and 
there is nothing to be trusted. Not the earth to bear me, nor 
the air to breathe in, much less any mutable friend. 

3. I am altogether his own, his own by right, and his own by 
devotion and consent. And shall I not trust him with his own. 

4. He is the great benefactor of all the world, that giveth all 
good to every creature, not by constraint, or by commutation, 
but as freely as the sun giveth forth its light. And shall we not 
trust the sun to shine ? 

5. He is my Father and special benefactor, and hath taken 
me into his family as his child. And shall I not trust my hea- 
venly Father ? 

6. He hath given me his Son as the great pledge of his love, 
and what, then, will he think too dear for me ? Will he not with 
him give me all things ? (Rom. viii. 32.) 

7. His Son came purposely to reveal the Father's unspeakable 
love, and purposely to save us. And shall I not trust him that 
hath proclaimed his love and reconciliation by such a messenger 
from heaven ? 

8. He hath given me the Spirit of his Son, even the spirit 
of adoption, which is the surest character of his child, the witness, 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 407 

pledge, and earnest of heaven, the name and mark of God upon 
me, holiness to the Lord. And yet shall I not believe his love, 
and trust him ? 

9. He hath made me a member of his Son, and so far already- 
united me to him. And will he not take care of the members 
of his Son ? Will he lose those that are given him ? Is not 
Christ to be trusted with his members ? 

10. I am his interest, and the interest of his son. Freely be- 
loved ; dearly bought ! for whom so much is suffered and done, 
that he is pleased to call us his peculiar treasure. And may I 
not trust him with his dear-bought treasure ? 

1 1. He hath stated me in a relation to angels,\who rejoiced at 
my repentance, and to the heavenly society, which shall not 
miss the smallest part. Angels shall not lose their joy, nor 
ministration. 

1 2. He is in covenant with me ; even the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. He hath given me many great and precious pro- 
mises, and shall I fear lest he will break his word or covenant ? 

13. My Saviour is the forerunner, entered into the holiest, 
and there appearing and interceding for me. And this after he 
had conquered death, and risen again to assure me of a future 
life, and ascended into heaven, to show us whither we must 
ascend ; and that after these comfortable words, " Say to my 
brethren, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and 
yom- God." (John xx. 17.) And shall I not follow him through 
death, and trust such a Guide and Captain of my salvation ? 

14. He is there to prepare a place for me, and will take me 
to himself. And may I not confidently expect it ? 

15. He told a malefactor on the cross, that he should be 
that day with him in paradise, to tell believing sinners what 
they may expect. 

16. The church, by the article of his descent into hell, hath 
signified their common belief that his separated soul had its sub- 
sistence and operation, and did not sleep or perish, to tell us 
the immortality of separated souls. 

17. His apostles, and other servants, have on earth served 
him with all these expectations. 

18. The spirits of the perfected just are now in possession of 
what I hope for. And I am a follower of them who, by faith 
and patience, have attained the promised felicity. And may I 
not trust him to save me, who hath already saved millions in this 
way, when I could trust a ferryman to pass me over a river, 



408 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

that had safely passed over thousands before me ? or I could 
trust a physician who cureth all that he undertaketh of the same 
disease. 

19. I must be at his disposal whether I will or not. I shall 
live while he will, and die when he will, and go whither he will. 
I may sin, and vex my soul with fears, and cares, and sorrows, 
but I shall never prevail against his will. 

20. Therefore, there is no rest for souls but in the will of 
God. That will created us, and that will did govern us, and 
that will shall be fulfilled on us. It was our efficient and our 
regent cause, and it shall be our end. Where else is it that 
we should rest? in the will of men, or angels, or in our own 
wills? All creatures are but creatures, and our own wills have 
undone us ; they have misgoverned us, and they are our greatest 
enemies ; our disease, our prison, and our death, till they are 
brought over to the will of God. Till then they are like a foot 
out of joint j like a child or subject in rebellion. There is no 
rectitude or health, no order, no peace or true felicity, but in 
the conformity of our wills to the will of God. And shall I die 
in distrustful striving against his will, and desiring to keep up 
my own before it ? 

21. What abundant experience have I had of God's fidelity 
and love ? And after all this shall I not trust him ? His un- 
deserved mercy gave me being ; it chose my parents ; it gave 
them a tender love to me, and desire of my good ; it taught 
them to instruct me early in his word, and to educate me in his 
fear; it chose me suitable company and habitation; it gave 
me betimes a teachable ingeny ; it chose my schoolmasters ; 
it brought to my hands many excellent and suitable books; it 
gave me some profitable, public teachers ; it placed me in the 
best of lands on earth, and I think in the best of aces which 
that land had seen ; it did early destroy all great expectations 
and desires of the world, teaching me to bear the yoke from my 
youth, and causing me rather to groan under my innrmities, 
than to fight with strong and potent lusts; it chastened me 
betimes, but did not destroy me. Great mercy hatli trained me 
up all my days, since I was nineteen years of age, in the school 
of alliietion, to keep my sluggish soul awake in the constant 
expectations of my change, and to kill my pride and over- 
valuing of this world, and to lead all my studies to the most 
necessary things, and as a spur to excite mv soul to seriousness, 
and especially to save me from the supine neglect and loss of 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 409 

time. Oh! what unspeakable mercy hath a life of constant but 
gentle chastisement proved to me ! It urged me, against all 
dull delays, to make my calling and election sure, and to make 
ready my accounts, as one that must quickly give them up to 
God. The face of death, and nearness of eternity, did much 
convince me what books to read, what studies to prefer and pro- 
secute, what company and conversation to choose. It drove 
me early into the vineyard of the Lord, and taught me to 
preach as a dying man to dying men. It was divine love 
and mercy which made sacred truth so pleasant to me, that my 
life hath been (under all my infirmities) almost a constant re- 
creation and delight, in its discoveries, contemplation, and prac- 
tical use : how happy a teacher have I had ! What excellent 
help, and sweet illumination ! How far beyond my expectation 
hath divine mercy encouraged me in his sacred work 1 How 
congruously did he choose every place of my ministration and 
habitation to this day, without my own forecast or seeking ! 
When, and where, since he first sent me forth, did I labour in 
vain ? How many are gone to heaven, and how many are in 
the way, to whom he hath blessed the word, which, in weakness 
I did, by his grace and providence, deliver ! Many good Chris- 
tians are glad of now and then an hour's time to meditate on 
God's word, and recreate themselves in his holy worship; but 
God hath allowed and called me to make it the constant busi- 
ness of my life. My library hath afforded me both profitableand 
pleasant company and help, at all times, whenever I would use 
them. I have dwelt among the shining lights, which the learn- 
ed, wise, and holy men of all ages have set up, and left to illu- 
minate the world. How many comfortable hours have I had in 
the society of living saints, and in the love of faithful friends. 
How many joyful days have I had in the solemn assemblies, 
where God hath been worshipped in seriousness and alacrity, by 
concordant (though imperfect) saints. Where the spirit of 
Christ hath manifested his presence, by helping myself and my 
brethren in speaking, and the people in ready, delightful hearing, 
and all of us in loving and gladly receiving his doctrine, cove- 
nant, and laws. How unworthy was such a sinful worm as I 
(who never had any academical helps, nor much from the mouth 
of any teacher), that books should become so great a blessing to 
me ; and that, quite beyond my own intentions, God should in- 
duce or constrain me to provide any such like helps for others ! 
How unworthy was I to be kept from the multiplied snares of 



410 Baxter's j)YiNn thoughts. 

sects and errors which reigned in this age, and to be used as a 
means for other men's preservation and reduction ; and to be 
kept in a love of unity and peace ; how unworthy was I that God 
should make known to me so much of his reconciling truth, 
while extremes did round about prevail, and were commended 
to the churches by the advantages of piety on one side, and of 
worldly prosperity aud power on the other : and that God 
should use me above forty years in so comfortable a work as 
to plead and write for love, peace, and concord, and to vouchsafe 
me so much success therein as he hath done, notwithstanding 
the general prevalency of the contentious military tribe. Mercy 
I have had in peace, and liberty in timesof violence ; and mercy 
I have had in wars, living two years in safety in the city of de- 
fence, in the very midst of the land (Coventry), and seeing no 
enemy while the kingdom was in wars and flames ; and only 
hearing of the common calamities round about : and when I 
went abroad and saw the effects of human folly and fury, and 
of God's displeasure, he mercifully kept me from hurting any 
one, and being hurt by any ; how many a time hath he preserv- 
ed me by day and night, in difliculties and dangers, from the 
malice of Satan, and from the wrath of man, and from accidents 
which threatened sudden death ; while I beheld the ruins of 
towns and countries, and the fields covered with the carcasses 
of the slain, 1 was preserved, and returned home in peace. And 
oh, how great was the mercy he showed me, in a teachable, 
tractable, peaceable, humble, unanimous people ! So many in 
number, and so exemplary in quality ; who to this day keep 
their integrity and concord, when violence hath separated me 
from them above thirty years : yea, the like mercy of acceptance 
and success beyond my expectation, he hath showed me every- 
where ; I have had opportunity of free ministration ; even where 
there were many adversaries I have had an open door ; in the 
midst of human wrath and rage he hath preserved my liberty 
beyond expectation, and continued my acceptance and success. 
When I might not speak by voice to any single congregation, he 
enabled me to speak by writing to many ; and for the success 
of my plainest and popular writings, which cost me least, I 
can never be sufficiently thankful; some of which he sent to 
preach abroad, in other languages, in foreign lauds. When my 
mouth, with eighteen hundred or two thousand more, had been 
many years stopped, he hath since opened them in some degree ; 
and the sufferings intended us by men, have been partly put by, 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 411 

and partly much alleviated, by his providence ; and the hardness 
of our terms hath not so much hindered the success of faithful 
labours as we feared, and as others hoped it would have done. 1 
have had the comfort of seeing some peace and concord, and 
prosperity of truth and piety, kept up, under the utmost oppo- 
sition of diabolical and human power, policy, and wrath: when 
I have been sent to the common jail for my service and obedience 
to him, he hath there kept me in peace, and soon delivered me. 
He hath made the mouths of my greatest enemies, who have 
studied my defamation and my ruin, to become my witnesses 
and compurgators, and to cross their own designs. How won- 
derful is it that 1 should so long dwell in so much peace, in the 
midst of those that seemed to want neither power nor skill, and 
much less will, to tread me down into contempt and misery 1 
And, oh ! how many a danger, fear, and pain hath he delivered 
this frail and languishing body from ! How oft hath he suc- 
coured me, when flesh, and heart, and art have failed ! He 
hath cured my consuming coughs, and, many a time, stayed my 
flowing blood: he hath eased my pained limbs, and supported 
a weary, macerated skeleton : he hath fetched me up from the 
jaws of death, and reversed the sentence which men have 
passed on me. How many thousand weary days have been 
sweetened with his pleasant work ; and how many thousand 
painful, weary nights have had a comfortable morning ! How 
many thousand strong and healthful persons have been taken 
away by death, whilst I have been upheld under all this weak- 
ness ! Many a time have 1 cried to the Lord in my trouble, 
and he hath delivered me out of my distress. I have had fifty 
years added to my days since 1 would have been full glad of 
Hezekiah's promise of fifteen. Since the day that 1 first 
preached his gospel, 1 expected not, of long time, to live above 
a year; and 1 have lived since then fifty years. When my own 
prayers were cold and imbelieving, how many hundreds have 
prayed for me ? And what strange deliverances, encouraging 
fasting and prayer, have I oft had, upon their importunate re- 
quests? My friends have been faithful, and the few that proved 
unfaithful have profitably taught me to place no confidence in 
man, and not to be inordinately affected to any thing on earth ; 
for 1 was forsaken bv none of them, but those few that I exces- 
sively valued and overloved. My relations have been comfort- 
able to me, contrary to my deserts, and much beyond my ex- 
pectations. My servants have been faithful : my neighbours 



412 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

have been kind : my enemies have been impotent, harmless, or 
profitable : my superiors have honoured me Ijy their respectful 
words 3 and while they have afflicted me, as supposing me a 
remora to their designs, they have not destroyed but protected 
me. To my inferiors, God hath made me, in my low capacity, 
somewhat helpful. I have been protected in ordinary health 
and safety, when the raging pestilence came near my habitation, 
and consumed a hundred thousand citizens : my dwelling hath 
been safe when I have seen the glory of the land in flames, and 
after beheld the dismal ruins. When violence separated me 
from my too much ^eloved library, and drove me into a poor 
and smoky house, I never had more help of God, nor did more 
difficult work than there. What pleasant retirements and quiet- 
ness in the country have been the fruits of persecuting wrath ? 
And I must not forget, when I had more public liberty, how he 
saved me and all my hearers, even by a wonder, from being 
buried in the ruins of the fabric where we were ; and others, 
from the calamities, scandal, and lamentations, which would else 
have followed : and it is not a mercy to be extenuated, that 
when the tongues and pens of all sects among us, and of proud 
self-exalters, and of some worthy, pious, differing brethren, 
have been long and vehemently bent against me, when my 
infamy hath been endeavoured, by abundance of volumes, by 
the backbiting of angry dividers of all sorts, and by the calum- 
niating accusations of some that were too high to be gain- 
sayed, and would not endure me to answer them, and vindicate 
my innocency ; yet, all these together were never able to fasten 
their accusations, and procure any common belief, nor to bring 
me under the designed contempt, much less to break my com- 
forts, encouragements, or labours. 

These, all these, and very many more than these, are my ex- 
periences of that wondrous mercy which hath measured my pil- 
grimage, and filled up my days. Never did God break his pro- 
mise with me; never did he fail me, nor forsake me. Had I not 
provoked him by rash and wilful sinning, how little interruption 
of my peace and comforts had 1 ever been likely to have had! 
And shall I now distrust him at the last? Shall I not trust, and 
quietly trust, that infinite wisdom, love, and power, whom I have 
so long trusted and found so good ? 

Nature teacheth man to love best those animals that are tame 
and tractaiile, that trust us and love us, that wdl come to our 
hands, and love our company, that will be familiar with us, and 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 413 

follow us, be it horse or dog, beasts or birds: but those that 
are wild and live in woods, and fly from the face of man, are 
taken to be the game and prey of any one that can catch 
and kill them. And shall my foolish soul thus wildly fly 
from the face of God ? Shall his children be like the fearful 
liare, or like a guilty Cain, or like an unbelieving Sadducee, 
that either beiieveth not, or hopeth not for, the forgiveness of 
sin, and the life everlasting ? Doth not the spirit of adoption 
incline us to love our Father's presence, and to be loath to be 
long from home ? To distrust all creatures, even thyself, is 
not unreasonable ; but to distrust God hath no just excuse. Fly 
from sin, from Satan, from temptations, from the world, from 
sinful flesh and idol self; but fly not from him that is goodness, 
love, and joy itself. Fear thine enemy, but trust thy Father. If 
thy heart be reconciled to him and his service, by the Spirit, he 
is certainly reconciled to thee through Christ : and if he be for 
thee, and justify and love thee, who shall be against thee, or 
condemn thee, or separate thee from his love? If thy unrecon- 
ciled will do make thee doubt of his reconciliation, it is time to 
abhor and lay by thy enmity. Consent, and be sure that he 
consenteth. Be willing to be his, and in holiness to serve him, 
and to be united in joyful glory to him; and then be sure that 
lie is willing to accept thee, and receive thee to that glory. O 
dark and sinful soul ! how little dost thou know thy friend, thy- 
self, or God, if thou canst more easily and quietly trust thy life, 
thy soul, and hopes to the will of thy friend, or of thyself, if 
thou hadst power, than to the will of God. Every dog would 
be at home, and with his master; mucli more every ingenuous 
child with his father : and though enemies distrust us, wife and 
children will not do so, while they believe us just. And hath God 
ever showed himself either unfaithful or unmerciful to me ? 

To 'thee, O Lord, as to a faithful Creator, I commit my 
soul. (1 Pet. iv. 19.) I know that thou art the faithful God, 
who keepest covenant and mercy with them that love thee and 
keep thy commandments. (Deut. vii. 9.) Thou art faithful 
who hast called me to the comnumion of thy Son Jesus Christ 
our Lord. (I Cor. i. 9.) Thy faithfulness hath saved me in and 
from temptation; (I Cor. x. 13;) it hath stablished me. and 
kept me from prevailing evil ; (2 Tiiess. iii. ,3 ;) and it will keep 
my spirit, soul, and body to the coming of Christ. (1 Thess. v. 
23, 24.) It is in faithfulness that tiiou hast afflicted me ; 
(Psalm cxix. 75;) ^ind shall not 1 trust thee, then, to save me? 



414 • Baxter's dying thoughts. 

It is thy faithful word, that all thine elect shall ohtain the sal- 
vation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory; and if we be 
dead with him, shall live with him, and if we suffer, we shall also 
reign with him. (2 Tim. ii. 11, 12.) 

To thee, O my Saviour, I commit my soul : it is thine own 
by redemption 5 it is thine own by covenant; it is marked and 
sealed by thy Spirit as thine own, and thou hast promised not 
to lose it. (John vi. 3,9.) Thou wast made like us thy brethren, 
that thou mightest be a merciful and faithful High Priest in 
things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for our sins. 
By thy blood we have boldness to enter into the holiest, even by 
the new and living consecrated way. Cause me to draw near 
with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, by thee that 
art the High Priest over the house of God; for he is faithful 
that has promised life through thee. (Heb. xix. 20 — 23.) Thy 
name is faithful and true, (Rev. xix. II,) and faithful and true 
are all thy promises. (Rev. xxii. 6, and xxi. 5.) Thou hast pro- 
mised rest to weary souls that come to thee. (Matt. xi. 28; 
2 Thess. i. "J.) I am weary of suffering, and weary of sin; 
weary of my flesh, and weary of my darkness, and dulness, 
and distance, and of this wicked, blind, unrighteous, and con- 
founded world : and whither should I look for rest but home to 
my heavenly Father and to thee ? 1 am but a bruised reed, but 
thou wilt not break me; I am but a smoking fiax, but thou 
wilt not quench 4vhat thy grace hath kindled ; but thou, in 
whose name the nations trust, wilt bring forth judgment unto 
victory. (Matt. xii. 20, 21.) The Lord redeemeth the souls of 
his servants, and none of them that trust in thee shall be deso- 
late. (Psalm xxxiv. 22.) Therefore will I wait on thy name, for 
it is good, and will trust in the mercy of God for ever. (Psalm 
lii. 8, 9.) The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, 
and he knovveth them that trust in him. (Nahum i. 7.) Sinful 
fear is a snare; but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall 
be set on high. (Prov. xxix. 25.) Blessed is the man that maketh 
the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, and such as 
turn aside to lies. (Psalm xl. 4,) Thou art my hope, O Lord 
God, thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have I been 
holden up from the womb, and my praise shall be continually 
of thee. Cast me not off now in the time of age. Forsake 
me not when my strength faileth ; O (Jod, thou hast taught me 
from my youth, and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. 
Now, also, when I am old and grey, O God, forsake me not. 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 415 

(Psalm xvii. 5, 6, 9, 17, 18.) Leave not my soul destitute; for 
mine eyes are toward thee, and my trust is in thee. (Psalm 
xiv. 8.) I had fainted unless 1 had helieved, to see the good- 
ness of the Lord in the land of the living ; even where they 
that live shall die no more. The sun may cease to shine on 
man, and the earth to bear us ; hut God will never cease to be 
love, nor to be faithful in his promises. Blessed be the Lord, 
who hath commanded me so safe and quieting a duty as to 
trust him, and cast all my cares on him, as on one that hath 
promised to care for me ! 

II. And blessed be God, who hath made it my duty to hope 
for his salvation. Hope is the ease, yea, the life of our hearts, 
that else would break, yea, die within us: despair is no small 
part of hell : God cherisheth hope as he is the lover of souls. 
Satan, our enemy, cherisheth despair, when his way of blind 
presumption faileth. As fear is a foretaste of evil, before it is 
felt: so hope doth anticipate, and foretr.ste salvation, before it 
is possessed. It is then worldly hypocrites' hope that perisheth, 
for all that hope for true or durable happiness on earth, in the 
pleasures of this perishing flesh, nmst needs be deceived. But 
happy is he who hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose 
hope is in the Lord his God, which made heaven and earth, 
which keepeth truth for ever. (Psalm cxlvi. 5, 6.) Wo to 
me, were mv hope only in the time and matters of this fleshly 
life; (1 Cor. xv. 19;) but the righteous hath hope in his death; 
(Prov. xiv. 32;) and hope maketh not ashamed. (Rom. v. 5.) 
Blessed is the man that trusteth in tlie Lord, whose hope the 
Lord is. (Jer. xvii. 7.) Lay hold then, O my soul, upon the 
hope which is set before thee; (Heb. vi. 18;) it is thy firm and 
steadfast anchor, (ver. 19,) without it thou wilt be as a ship- 
wrecked vessel. Thy foundation is sure ; it is God himself; our 
faith and hope are both in God. (1 Pet. i. 21.) It is Jesus 
our Lord vvho is risen from the dead, and reigneth in glory, 
Lord of all. (I Tim. i. 1.) Yea, it is the Christ, who by faith 
doth dwell within us, who is our hope of glory. (Eph. iii. 17; 
Col. i. 27.) In this hope, which is better than the law that 
Moses gave, it is that we draw nigh to God; (Ilel). vii. 19;) it 
is the Holy Ghost that is both our evidence, and the efficient of 
our hope. (Gal. v. 5 ; Rom. viii. 16, 23.) By him we hope 
for that which we see not, and therefore wait in patience for it ; 
(ver. 24, 25 ;) by hope we are saved. It is an encouraging 
grace whicli will make us stir, when as despair doth kill endea- 



416 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

vours ; it curetli sloth, and makes us diligent and constant to 
the end, and by this doth help us to full assurance. (Heb. vi. 
11,12.) It is a desiring grace, and would fain obtain the 
glory hoped for. It is a quieting and comforting grace. (Rom. 
XV. 4.) The God of hope doth fill us with joy and peace in 
believing, that we may abound in hope, through the power of 
the Holy Ghost. (Ver. 13.) Shake off despondency, O my 
soul, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom. v. 2.) 
Believe in hope, though dying flesh would tell thee that it is 
against hope. (Rom. iv. IS.) God, that cannot lie, hath con- 
firmed his covenant by his immutable oath, that we might have 
strong consolation who are fled for refuge to the hope which 
is set before us. (Heb. vi. 18.) What blessed preparations 
are made for our hope ; and shall we now let the tempter shake 
it, or discourage it ? The abundant mercy of God the Father 
hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection or 
Christ, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that 
fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. (1 Pet. i. 3.) Grace 
teacheth us to deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live 
soberly, righteously, and godly in this world, as looking for that 
blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and 
our Saviour. (Tit. ii. 12, 13.) We are renewed by the Holy 
Ghost, and justified by grace, that we should be made heirs ac- 
cording to the hope of eternal life. (Tit. iii. ()', 7-) We are 
illuminated, that we may know the hope of Christ's calling, and 
what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. 
(Eph. i. 18, 19.) The hope that is laid up for us in heaven, 
is the chief doctrine of the gospel, which bringeth life and im- 
mortality into clearer light. (Col. i. 5; 2 Tim. i. 10.) It is 
for this hope that we keep a conscience void of offence, and 
that God is served in the world; (Acts xxiv. 15, 1(), and 
xxvi. 7 ;) wherefore gird up the loins of thy mind ; put on this 
helmet, the hope of salvation; (1 Thess. v. 8;) and let not 
death seem to thee as it doth to them that have no hope, 
(1 Thess. iv. 13.) The love of our Father, and our Saviour, 
have given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through 
grace, to comfort our hearts, and establish them in every good 
word and work. (2 Thess. ii. 16, 17.) Keep, therefore, the 
rejoicing of hope, firm to the end. (Heb. iii. 6 .) Continue 
grounded and settled in the faith, and be not moved away from 
the hope of the gospel. (Col. i. 23; 1 Pet. i. 13.) And now, 
Lord, what wait I fi)r ? my hope is in thee. (Psalm xxxix. 70 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 417 

Uphold me according to thy word, that I may live; and let me 
not be ashamed of my hope. (Psalm cxix. 116.) Though 
mine iniquities testify against me, yet, O thou that art the hope 
of Israel, the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble, be not as a 
stranger to my soul. (Jer. xiv. 7, S.) Thy name is called upon 
by me, oh, forsake me not ! (Ver. 9.) Why have our eyes beheld 
thy wonders, and why have we had thy covenant, and thy 
mercies, but that we might set our hope in God. (Psalm 
Ixxviii. 5, 7.) Remember the word to thy servant, upon which 
thou hast caused me to hope. (Psalm cxix. 49.) If thou. 
Lord, shouldest mark iniquity, O Lord, who should stand ? 
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. 
1 wait for the Lord ; my soul doth wait, and in his word do I 
hope ; I will hope in the Lord, for with him there is mercy and 
plenteous redem])tion. (Psalm cxxx. 8 — 5, 7-) For he 
taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his 
mercy. (Psalm cxlvii. 11.) Though flesh and heart fail, the 
Lord is the rock of my heart ; he is my portion, saith my soul, 
therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good to them that 
wait for him; to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that I 
should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the 
Lord. It is good for me tliat I have borne the yoke in my youth, 
and that I keep silence, and put my mouth in the dust, if so be 
there may be hope. (Psalm Ixxiii. 26 ; Lam. iii. 24 — 27, 29.) 

God need not flatter such worms as we, nor promise us 
that which he never meaneth to perform. He hath laid the 
rudiments of our hope, in a nature capable of desiring, seeking, 
and thinking of another life : he hath called me by grace, to 
actual desires and endeavours; and some foretaste he hath 
vouchsafed. I look for no heaven, but the perfection of divine 
life, light, and love, in endless glory with Christ and his holy 
ones. And this he hath begun in me already; and shall I not 
boldly hope when I have the capacity, tlie promise, and the 
earnest and foretaste? Is it not God himself that hath caused 
me to hope? Was not nature, promise, and grace from him? 
And can a soul miscarry, and be deceived, that departeth hence 
ill a hope of God's own causing, and encouraging? Lord, I 
have lived in ho])e, I have prayed in hope, I have lal)oured, suf- 
fered, and waited in hope ; and, by thy grace, I will die in ho|;e. 
And is not this according to thy word and will? And wilt thou 
cast away a soul that hopeth in thee, by thine own comniand 

VOL, XVIII. K K 



418 Baxter's dying thotights. 

and operation? Had wealth and honour, or continuance on 
earth, or tlie favour of" man, heen my reward and liope, my 
hope and I had died together. Were this our best, how vain 
were man ! But the Lord hvelh, and my R.edeemer is glorified, 
and intercedeth for me; and the same Spirit is in heaven, who 
is in my heart, (as the same sun is in the firmament which is in 
my house,) and the promise is sure to all Christ's seed. And 
millions are now in heaven, that once did live and die in hope ; 
they were sitmers once, as now I am; they had no other Savi- 
our, no other Sanctifier, no other promise, than I now have; 
confessitig that they were strangers here, they looked for a 
l)etter country, and for a city that had foundations, even a 
heavenly, where now they are : and shall J not follow them in 
liope that have sped so well ? Hope then, O my soul, unto the 
end. (1 Pet. i. 13.) From henceforth, and for ever, hope in 
the Lord. (Psalm cxxxi. 13.) I will hope continually, and 
will yet praise thee more and more; my mouth shall show forth 
thy righteousness and salvation. (Psalm Ixxi. 14, 15.) The 
Lord is at my right hand; I shall not be moved. My heart, 
therefore, is glad, and my glory rejoiceth ; my flesh also shall 
dwell confidently, and rest in hope : for God hath shov/ed me 
the path of life: in his presence is fulness of joy, and at his 
right hand, are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm xvi. 8 — 11.) 

IIL What then remaineth, O my soul, ])ut that, in trust and 
hope, thou love thy God, thy Saviour, thy Comforter, the glori- 
ous society, thy own perfection in glorious, endless, heavenly 
life, and light, and love, and the joyful praises of Jehovah, 
better than this burden of painful and corruptible flesh, and this 
howling wilderness, the habitation of serpents and untamed 
brutes, where imbelief and nuirmuring, lust and folly, injustice 
and uucharitableness, tyranny and divisions, pride and conten- 
tion, have long provoked God, and wearied thee ? Wliere the 
vintage and harvest is thorns and thistles, sin and sorrows, cares 
and crosses, manured by manifold temptations. How odious is 
that daikness and imbelief, that unholiness and disaffection, that 
dcadness and stupidity, which maketh such a work as this so 
reasonable, necessary, and pleasant a work, to seem unsuitable 
or hard? Is it unsuitable or hard to the eye, to see the sun 
and light; or by it to see the beautified world ? or for a 
man to love his life or health, his father, or his friend ? What 
should be easier to a nature that hath rational love, than to love 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 419 

him that is essential love itself. He that loveth all, and giveth 
to all the loving faculty, should be loved by all ; and he that 
hath specially loved me, should be specially loved by me. 

Love is the perfection of all thy preparations. It desireth to 
please God, and therefore to be in the most pleasing state, and 
freed from all that is displeasing to him, which is not to be hoped 
for on earth. It desireth all suitable nearness, acquaintance, 
union, and communion. It is weary of distance, estrangedness, 
and alien society and affairs. It taketh advantage of every 
notice, intimation, or mention of God, to renew and exercise 
these desires. Every message and mercy from him is fuel for 
love, and, while we are short of perfection, stir up our desires 
after more. When love tasteth of the grapes, it would have the 
vine. ^V'hen it tasteth of the fruits, it would dwell where they 
grow, and possess the land. Its thoughts of proximity and fru- 
ition are sweet ; no other person or thing can satisfy it. The 
soul is where it loveth. If our friend dwell in our hearts l>y love, 
and if fleshly pleasure, riches, and honour, do dwell in the heart 
of the voluptuous, the covetous, and the proud, surely God and 
our Redeemer, the heavenly society, holiness, and glory, do 
dwell in the heart which loveth them with a fervent love. And 
if heaven dwell in my heart, shall I not desire to dwell in 
heaven ? Light and light, fire and fire, are not more inclined 
to union than love and love ; gracious love, and glorious love. 
Would divine, original, universal love communicate and pour 
out itself more plentifully upon my heart, how easy would it be 
to leave this flesh and world, and to hear the sentence of my de- 
paiture to my God ? Death and the grave would be but a triumjjh 
for victorious love. It Avould 1)e easier to die in peace and joy, 
than to rest at night, or to come home from my travel to my be- 
loved friends, or to go, when I am hungry, to a feast. A little love 
hath made^^me study willingly, and preach willingly,and write wil- 
lingly, yea, and suffer somewhat willingly; and would not more 
make me go more willingly to God ? Shall the imagination of 
house, gardens, walks, libraries, prospects, meadows, orchards, 
hills, and rivers, allure the desires of deceived minds ? And shall 
not the thoughts of the heavenly mansions, society, antl delights, 
much more allure and draw up my desires ? The reading of a 
known fiction of a Civitas Soils, an Utopia, an Atalantis, Sjc., 
hath pleased many; but if I did bclievingly hear of such a country 
in the world, where men did never die, nor were sick, or weak, 
or sad; where the prince was perfectly just and pious, wise and 

E E 2 



420 Baxter's dying thoughts. 

jDeaceable, devoted to God and tlie public good ; and the teachers 
were all wise, judicious men, of universal certain knowledge, 
perfectly acquainted with the matter and method of natural 
and theological truths, and all their duty, and all of one mind 
and of one heart, and tongue and practice, loving each other, 
and the people as themselves, and leading the flocks heaven- 
ward, through all temptations, with triumphant hopes and joy ; 
where all the people perfectly obeyed God, their commanders, 
and their teachers, and lived in perfect love, unity, and peace, 
and were daily employed in the joyful praises of God, and 
hopes of glory, and in doing all possible good to one another, 
contending with none through ignorance, uncharitableness, or 
pride, nor ever reproaching, injuring, or hurting one another, 
&c. I say, if I knew or heard of such a country, should I not 
love it before I ever see it, and earnestly desire to be there ? Nay, 
do I not over-love this distracted world, where tyranny sheddeth 
streams of blood, and layeth desolate cities and countries, and 
exposeth the miserable inhabitants to lamentable distress and 
famine; where the same tyranny sets up the wicked, reproacheth 
and oppresseth the just and innocent, keepeth out the gospel, 
and keepeth up idolatry, infidelity, and wickedness, in the far 
greatest part of all the earth ; where Satan cliooseth pastors too 
often for the churches of Christ, even such as by ignorance, 
pride, sensuality, worldliness, and malignity, become thorns and 
thistles, yea, devouring wolves, to those whom they should feed 
and comfort ; where no two persons are in all things of a mind ; 
where evil is commended, and truth and goodness accused and 
oppressed, because men's minds are unac([uainted with them, or 
unsuitable to them. And those that are the greatest pretenders 
to truth do most eagerly contend against it, and oppose it ; 
and almost all the world are scolding or scuffling in the dark; 
and where there appeareth but little hopes of a remedy, I say, 
can I love such a world as tliis ? And shall T not think more 
delisihtfully of the inheritance of the saints in light, and the 
uniting love and joyful praises of the church triuuijihant, and the 
heavenly choir ? 

Should I not love a lovely and a loving world much better 
than a world where there is, comparatively, so little loveliness or 
love ? All t!)at is of God is good and lovely, but it is not here 
that his glory shineth in felicitating splendour. I am taught to 
look upward when I pray, and to say, " Our Father, whicii art 
in heaven." God's works are amiable, even in hell; and yet, 



Baxter's dying thoughts. 421 

thongli I would know them, I would not be there. And, alas ! 
liow much of the works of man are mixed here with the works 
of God ! Here is God's wisdom manifest ; but here is man's 
obstinate folly. Here is God's government 5 but here is man's 
tyranny and unruliness. Here is God's love and mercies j but 
here are men's malice, wrath, and cruelty ; by which they are 
worse to one another than wolves and tigers, depopulating 
countries, and filling the world with bloodshed, famine, misery, 
and lamentations, proud tyrants being worse than raging p