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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"

b7 > 7 



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 






THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



THE REV. RICHARD BAXTER: 



A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 

AND 

A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF HIS WRITINGS, 

BY THE 

REV. WILLIAM ORME, 

AUTHOR OF "THE f.IFE OF JOHN OWEN, D.D. ; " " BIBLIO THECA BIBI.TCA," U1 f . 



IN TWENTY-THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. VIII. 



LONDON: 

JAMES DUNCAN, 37, PATERNOSTER ROW. 



MDCCCXXX. 






s 



LONDON : 

PRINTED BY MILLS, JOWETT, AND MILLS, 
BOLT-COUBT, FLEET-STBEET. 



THE 



PRACTICAL WORKS 



REV. RICHARD BAXTER. 



VOLUME VIII. 



CONTAINING 



DIRECTIONS AND PERSUASIONS TO A SOUND CONVERSION; 

DIRECTIONS FOR WEAK, DISTEMPERED CHRISTIANS; 

THE CHARACTER OF A SOUND, CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN; 

GOD'S GOODNESS VINDICATED. 



VOL. Vlll. 



RICHARD EDWARDS, CRANE COURT, FLEET STREET, I Ol^DON. 



CONTENTS 



OF 



THE EIGHTH VOLUME. 



DIRECTIONS AND PERSUASIONS 
TO A SOUND CONVERSION. 



PAGE 

Preface iii 

Considerations to provoke men to take heed of sticking in a 

half-conversion 7 

Direct. 1. Labour for a right understanding of the true nature 
of Christianity, and meaning of the Gospel that must con- 
vert 21 

Direct. 2. When you understand that which you are called to, 

search the Scripture, and see whether it be so 25 

Direct. 3. Be much in the serious consideration of the truths 

which you understand and believe 30 

Seven things to be considered 32 

The manner of this consideration 42 

Twelve motives to consideration 46 

Direct. 4. See that the work of humiliation be thoroughly done, 
and break not away from the spirit of contrition before he 
have done with you : and yet see that you mistake not the 
nature and ends of the work, and that you drive it not on 

further than God requireth 61 

Preparatory humiliation, what ibid. 

Sound humiliation, how known 62 

The ends and use of humiliation 66 

Mistakes about humiliation to be avoided 77 

Whether it be possible to be too much humbled 80 

How to know when sorrow should be restrained 81 

And when sorrow must be increased 83 

Motives for submission to a thorough humiliation 90 

Direct. 5. Close with the Lord Jesus understandingly, heartily, 
and entirely, as he is revealed and offered in the Gospel . . 94 



iv CONTENTS 

PAGE 

What must be understood of the person of Christ 95 

The ends of redemption to be understood 96 

The demonstrations of the glory of God in Christ, and to whom 108 
What are the works of redemption that Christ hath done .... 1 13 
The benefits by Christ procured : 

The general benefits 117 

The benefits proper to believers 120 

The several terms on which the several benefits are conveyed 128 

The certainty of all this 131 

How Christ must be received heartily and with the will .... 132 

Christ must be entirely received, and how 137 

Direct. 6. See that the flesh be thoroughly mortified, and your 
hearts taken off the pleasures, profits, and honours of the 
world, and think not of reconciling God and the world, as 

if you might secure your interest in both 144 

Direct. 7- Be sure that you make an absolute resignation of 

yourselves, and all that you have to God 147 

Direct. 8. See that you mistake not a mere change of your 

opinions, and profession, and behaviour for a saving change 155 
The marks by which a sound conversion may be known from 

a mere opinionative change 158 

Directions to get beyond an opinionative change 166 

tiirect. 9. Acquaint yourselves by faith with the glory of the 
everlasting kingdom, and see that you take it for your por- 
tion and your end, and from thence let the rest of your ac- 

• tions be animated - 169 

Wherein this blessedness doth consist 17 1 

Direct. 10. Rest not, and count not yourselves converted, till 
God and holiness have your very love, desire, and delight: 
and take it not for a saving change, when you had rather 
live a worldly and ungodly life, if it were not for the fears of 

punishment - 173 

Direct. 1 1 . If you would not have the work miscarry, turn 
then this present day and hour without any more delays : 
where fifty considerations are given to shame men out of 

their delays 181 

Direct. 12. Stop not in weak and wavering purposes, and 
faint attempts ; but see that you be groundedly, unreser- 
vedly, and firmly or habitually resolved 209 

What resolution is, and by what deliberations it is caused. 
The preparatory common acts, and the special acts : illu- 
mination, and the will's determinations, how wrought • . ibid. 

The unresolved are unconverted 213 

What resolution it is that is necessary • • * " 215 

Twenty Motives to resolution 219 

Hindrances to resolution • 239 

Two Directions for prosecuting resolution, that it may hold 243 
The Conclusion 246 



CONTENTS. v 

DIRECTIONS FOR 
WEAK, DISTEMPERED CHRISTIANS. 

PAGE 

Dedication • • • cclv 

Preface eclvi 

The text opened. What it is to receive Christ. The nature 
of justifying faith in its three essential acts. How to know 
that we have received Christ. What it is to walk in him. 
What to be rooted, to be grounded, and built up, &c. • • • • 265 

The Doctrine of the necessity of weak Christians seeking sta- 
bility, confirmation, and increase of grace. What confir- 
mation is, in the understanding, will, affections, and in the 
life • 271 

Twenty Motives to convince weak Christians of the great 
need of growth and confirmation 275 

A Lamentation for the weaknesses of Christians : in their 
knowledge, in their practice, in public worship, in inward 
grace, in outward obedience, about known duties, confes- 
sion, reproof, &c. their uncharitableness, backbiting, 
pride, &c. 300 

Ten more considerations to convince them that it is not tri • 
< fling, but great things which God requireth at their hands . 307 

Twenty Directions for confirmation and increase of grace • • 321 



THE CHARACTER OF A 
SOUND, CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 

Preface cecbtxiii 

To the Reader i ccclxxv 

The Characters of a strong, confirmed Christian. 

1 . He liveth by such a faith of unseen things as governeth 

his soul instead of sight 382 

2. He hath cogent reasons for his religion 384 

3 . He seeth the well-ordered frame of sacred verities, and the 
integral parts in their harmony or concert ; and setteth not 

up one truth against another 386 

4. He adhereth to them, and practiseth them, from an inward 
con-natural principle, called " the Divine nature," and 

" the Spirit of Christ." 387 

5. He serveth not God for fear only, but for love 388 

6. He loveth God, 1. Much for his goodness to himself. 2. 
And more for his goodness to the church. 3. And most of 

all or his essential goodness and perfection 390 



vi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

7. He taketh this love and its expressions, for the heart and 
height of all his religion 392 

8. He hath absolutely put his soul, and all his hopes into the 
hand of Christ, and liveth by faith upon him as his Saviour 393 

9. He taketh Christ as the Teacher sent from God, and his 
doctrine for the truest wisdom, and learneth of none but in 
subordination to him 394 

10. His repentance is universal and effectual, and hath gone 

to the root of every sin 396 

11. Heloveth the light, as it sheweth him his sin and duty; 

and is willing to know the worst of sin, and the most of duty 397 

12. He desireth the highest degree of holiness, and hath no 
sin which he had not rather leave than keep, and had ra- 
ther be the best, though in poverty, than the greatest in 
prosperity 399 

13. He liveth upon God and heaven as the end, reward, and 
motive of his life 401 

14. He counteth no cost or pains too great for the obtaining 

it, and hath nothing so dear which he cannot part with for it 402 

15. He is daily exercised in the practice of self-denial, as 
(next to the love of God) the second half of his religion • • 405 

] 0'. He hath mortified his fleshly desires, and so far mastereth 
his senses and appetite, that they make not his obedience 
very uneasy or uneven 408 

17. He preferreth the means of his holiness and happiness, 
incomparably before all provisions and pleasures of the flesh 410 

18. He is crucified to the world, and the world to him by the 
cross of Christ, and contemneth it through the belief of the 
greater things of the life to come 411 

19. He foreseeth the end in all his ways, and judgeth of all 
things as they will appear at last 413 

20. He liveth upon God alone, and is content with his favour 

and approbation, without the approbation and favour of men 415 

21. He hath absolutely devoted himself, and all that he hath 

to God, to be used according to his will 417 

22. He hath a readiness to obey, and a quick and pleasant 
compliance of his will to the will of God 419 

23. He delighteth himself more in God, and heaven, and 
Christ, and holiness, than in all the world : religion is not 
tedious and grievous to him 420 

24. He is conscious of his own sincerity, and assured of his 
justification, and title to everlasting joys 424 

25. This assurance doth not make him more careless and re- 
miss, but increaseth his love and holy diligence 425 

26. Yet he abhorreth pride as the firstborn of the devil, and is 
very low and vile in his own eyes, and can easily endure to 

be low and vile in the eyes of others 426 

27. Being acquainted with the deceitfulness of the heart, 
and the methods of temptation, he liveth as among snares, 
and enemies, and clangers, in a constant watch; and can 
conquer many and subtle, and great temptations (through 
grace) 428 



CONTENTS. vii 

PAGE 

28. He hath counted what it may cost him to be saved, and 
hath resolved not to stick at suffering, but to bear the cross 
and be conformed to his crucified Lord, and hath already in 
heart forsaken all for him 439 

29. He is not a Christian only for company or carnal ends, or 
upon trust of other men's opinions, and therefore would be 
true to Christ, if his rulers, his teachers, his company, and 

all that he knoweth should forsake him 432 

30. He can digest the hardest truths of Scripture, and the 
hardest passages of God's providence 434 

31. He can exercise all his graces in harmony, without neg- 
lecting one to use another, or setting one against another . 435 

32. He is more in getting and using grace, than in inquiring 
whether he have it, (though he do that also in its place). . ibid. 

33. He studieth duty more than events, and is more careful 
what he should be towards God, than how he shall here be 
used by him 436 

34. He is more regardful of his duty to others, than of theirs 

to him, and had much rather suffer wrong than do it ... . 437 

35. He keepeth up a constant government of his thoughts, 
restraining them from evil, and using them upon God, and 

for him 439 

36. He keepeth a constant government over his passions, so 
far as that they pervert not his judgment, his heart, his 
tongue or actions ibid. 

37. He governeth his tongue, employing it for God, and res- 
training it from evil 441 

38. Heart-work and heaven-work are the principal matters of 
his religious discourse, and not barren controversies or :m- 
pertinencies 442 

39. He liveth upon the common great substantials of religion, 
and yet will not deny the smallest truth, or commit the 
smallest sin, for any price that man can offer him 443 

40. He is a high esteemer, and careful redeemer of time, and 
abhorreth idleness and diversions which would rob him of it 447 

41. His heart is set upon doing all the good in the world that 

he is able : it is his daily business and delight 448 

42. He truly loveth his neighbour as himself 449 

43. He hath a special love to all godly Christians as such, and 
such as will not stick at cost in its due expressions ; nor be 
turned into bitterness by tolerable differences 450 

44. He forgiveth injuries, and loveth his enemies, and doth 
them all the good he can : from the sense of the love of 
Christ to him 452 

45. He doth as he would be done by; and is as precise in the 
justice of his dealings with men, as in acts of piety to God . . 453 

46. He is faithful and laborious in his outward trade or call- 
ing, not out of covetousness, but obedience to God 455 

47. He is very conscionable in the duties of his several rela- 
tions, in his family or other society, as a superior, inferior, 

or equal 456 



vin CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

48. He is the best subject, whether his rulers be good or bad, 
though infidel and ungodly rulers may mistake, and use him 

as the worst 457 

49. His trust in God doth overcome the fear of man, and set- 
tle him in a constant fortitude for God 462 

50. Judgment and zeal conjunct are his constitution; his 
judgment kindleth zeal, and his zeal is still judicious .... 464 

51. He can bear the infirmities of the weak ; and their cen- 
sures and abuses of himself j and requiteth them not with 
uncharitable censure or reproach 466 

52. He is a high esteemer of the unity of Christians, and ab- 
horreth the principles, spirit, and practices of division .... 468 

53. He seeketh the church's unity and concord not upon par- 
tial, unrighteous, or impossible, but upon the possible, 
righteous terms here mentioned 475 

54. He is of a mellow, peaceable spirit ; not masterly, domi- 
neering, hurtful, unquiet, or contentious 480 

55. He most highly regardeth the interest of God, and men's 
salvation in the world ; and regardeth no secular interest of 

his own, or any man's, but in subserviency thereto 484 

56. He is usually hated for his holiness by the wicked, and cen- 
sured for his charity and peaceableness by the factious and 

the weak ; and is moved by neither from the way of truth. . 488 

57. Though he abhor ungodly, soul-destroying ministers, yet 
he reverenceth the office as necessary to the church and 
world; and highly valueth the holy, faithful labourers. . . . 489 

58. He hath great experience of the providence, truth, and 
justice of God, to fortify him against temptations to unbelief 49 1 

59. Though he greatly desire th lively affections and gifts, yet 
he much more valueth the three essential parts of holiness, 
1. A high estimation in the understanding of God, Christ, 
holiness, and heaven, above all that be set in any competi- 
tion. ' . A resolved choice and adhesion of the will, to 
these above and against all competitors. 3. The seeking 
them first, in the endeavours of the life. And by these he 
judgeth of the sincerity of his heart 492 

60. He is all his life seriously preparing for his death, as if it 
were at hand ; and is ready to receive the sentence with 
joy ; but especially helongeth for the blessed day of Christ's 
appearing, as the answer of all his desires and hopes .... 493 

Six Uses of these characters » 498 



GODS GOODNESS VINDICATED, 

For the help of such (especially in melancholy) as are tempt- 
ed to deny it, and think him to be cruel, because of the pre- 
sent and future misery of mankind, with respect to the doc- 
trine of reprobation and damnation 50f 



DIRECTIONS 



PERSUASIONS 



SOUND CONVERSION. 



PREVENTION OF THAT DECEIT AND DAMNATION OF SOULS, AND 

OF THOSE SCANDALS, HERESIES, AND DESPERATE 

APOSTACIES, THAT ARE THE CONSEQUENTS 

OF A COUNTERFEIT OR SUPERFICIAL 

CHANGE. 



VOL. VIII. 



PREFACE. 



It is a weight so unconceivable that dependeth on the sound- 
ness of conversion and sanctification, that our care and di- 
ligence cannot be too great to make it sure. As the pro- 
fessed atheist, heathens, and infidels without, so the self- 
deceiving hypocrites within the church, do wilfully cast 
away themselves for ever, by neglecting such a business of 
everlasting consequence, when they have time, and warn- 
ings, and assistance to dispatch it. Multitudes live like 
brutes or atheists, forgetting that they are born in sin and 
misery, and settled in it by wilful custom, and must be con- 
verted or condemned. These know not (many of them) 
what need they have of a conversion, nor what conversion or 
sanctification ^is. And some that have been Preachers of 
the Gospel, have been so lamentably ignorant in so great a 
matter, that they have persuaded the poor deluded people 
that it is only the gross and heinous sinners that need con- 
version ; branding them with the name of Puritans, that will 
not take a dead profession joined with civility, for true 
sanctification ; and promise salvation to those, that Christ 
hath with many asseverations professed shall not enter into 
the kingdom of God. Others that confess that a thorough 
sanctification is a necessary thing, do delude their souls 
with something that is like it. Hence is the misery and dis- 
honour of the church. Holiness itself is disgraced by the 
sins of them that are unholy, because they pretend to that 
which they have not. Hence it is, that we have thousands 
that call themselves Christians, that live a worldly, fleshly 
life, and some of them hating the way of godliness and yet 
think they are converted, because they are sorry when they 
have sinned, and wish when it is past that they had not done 
it, and cry God mercy for it, and confess that they are sin- 
ners ; and this they take for true repentance : when sin was 
never mortified in their souls, nor their hearts ever brought 



IV PREFACE. 

to hate it, and forsake it ; but when they have had the pro- 
fit and pleasure of sin, they are sorry for the danger, but 
never regenerate and made new creatures by the Spirit of 
Christ. Hence also it is, that we have such abundance of 
mere opinionists, that take themselves for religious people. 
Because they have changed their opinions, and their par- 
ties, and can prate contentiously against those that are not 
of their mind, and join themselves with those that seem to 
be the strictest, they take themselves to be truly sanctified : 
and this makes such gadding from one opinion to another, 
and such censuring, reviling, and divisions, upon that ac- 
count, because their religion is most in their opinions, and 
hath not mortified their carnal, selfish inclinations and pas- 
sions, nor brought them to a holy, heavenly mind. Hence 
also it is, that we have so many sensual, scandalous profes- 
sors, that seem to be religious, but bridle not their tongues, 
their appetites, or their lusts, but are railers, or backbiters, 
or tipplers, or gluttons, or filthy and lascivious, or some way 
scandalous to their holy profession, because they are stran- 
gers to a thorough conversion, but take up with the coun- 
terfeit of a superficial change Hence also we have so many 
worldlings, that think themselves religious men ; that make 
Christ but a servant to their worldly interest, and seek 
heaven but for a reserve, when earth forsakes them, and have 
something in this world that is so dear to them that they 
cannot forsake it for the hopes of glory ; but give up them- 
selves to Christ, with secret exceptions and reserves, for 
their prosperity in the world : and all because they never 
knew a sound conversion, which should have rooted out of 
their hearts this worldly interest, and delivered them up en- 
tirely, and absolutely to Christ. Hence also it is that we 
have so few professors that can lay by their pride, and bear 
disesteem or injury, and love their enemies, and bless them 
that curse them, yea, or love their godly friends that cross 
them, or dishonour them. And so few that can deny them- 
selves in their honour, or any considerable thing, for the 
sake of Christ, and in obedience, and conformity to his will. 
And all because they never had that saving change, that 
takes down self, and sets up Christ as Sovereign in the soul. 
And hence also it is that we have in this age so many dread- 
ful instances of apostasy : so many reproaching the Scrip- 
ture, that once they thought had converted them, and the 



PREFACE. V 

way of holiness, that once they did profess ; and denying 
the Lord himself that bought them ; and all because they 
formerly took up with a superficial, counterfeit conversion. 
O how commonly, and how lamentably doth this misery ap- 
pear among professors in their unsavoury discourse, their 
strife and envy, on religious pretences, their dead formality, 
their passionate divisions, or their selfish, proud, and earthly 
minds ! A thorough conversion would have cured all this, 
at least as to the dominion of it. 

Having therefore in my " Call to the Unconverted" en- 
deavoured to awaken careless souls, and persuade the ob- 
stinate to turn and live, I have here spoken to them that 
seem to be about the work, and given them some directions 
and persuasions, to prevent their perishing in the birth, and 
so to prevent that hypocrisy which else they are like to be 
formed into, and the deceit of their hearts, the error of their 
lives, and the misery at their death, which is like to follow. 
That they live not as those that flatter God with their 
mouths, and " lie unto him with their tongues, because their 
heart is not right with him, neither are they steadfast ill his 
covenant a ." Lest denying deep entertainment, and rooting 
to the seed of life, or choaking it by the radicated, predomi- 
nant love and cares of the world, they wither when the heat 
of persecution shall break forth b : and lest building on the 
sands, they fall when the winds and storms arise, and their 
fall be great 6 : and so *' they go out from us, that they may be 
made manifest that they were not of us : for if they had 
been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us d ." 
Look therefore to this great, important business, " and give 
all diligence to make your calling and election sure e ." And 
trust not your hearts too easily, or too confidently ; " but 
turn to the Lord with all your hearts f ." Cleave to him re- 
solvedly, or with purpose of heart 8 : and see that you sell all 
and buy the pearl h : and stick not at the price, but abso- 
lutely resign yourselves to Christ, and turn to him, as 
Zaccheus and other primitive converts did, surrendering all 
that you have unto his will'. Leave not any root of bitter- 
ness behind ; make no exceptions, or reserves ; but deny 

 Psal. Ixxviii. 36, 37. b Matt. xiii. 20—22. e Matt. vii. : 36, 27. 

J 1 John ii. 19. e 2 Pet. i. 10. f Joel ii. 12. 

* Acts xi. 23. h Matt. xiii. 46. ' Luke xix. 8, 9. 



Vi PREFACE. 

yourselves : forsake all, and follow him that hath led you 
this self-denying way ; and trust to his blood, and merits, 
and promise, for a treasure in heaven, and then you are his 
disciples, and true Christians indeed k . Reader, if thou 
heartily make this covenant and keep it, thou shalt find that 
Christ will not deceive thee, when the world deceiveth them 
that chose it, in their greatest extremity ; but if thou draw 
back, and think these terms too hard, remember that ever- 
lasting life was offered thee, and remember why and for what 
thou didst reject it. And if in this life-time thou wilt have 
thy good things, expect to be tormented, when the believing, 
self-denying souls are comforted. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

May 29, 1658. 

k Luke xiv. 18. 24, 25. S3. x Luke xvi. 25. 



DIRECTIONS 



PERSUASIONS 



SOUND CONVERSION 



Directions to Sinners that are purposed to Turn, and are under 
the Work of Conversion : that it Miscarry not. 

The first and greatest matter in the seeking after the salva- 
tion of our souls, is, to be sure that we lay the foundation 
well, and that the work of conversion be thoroughly wrought. 
To this end I have already used many persuasions with the 
unconverted to return, as thinking all further directions vain, 
till we have persuaded men to a consent and willingness to 
practise them. And in the end of that discourse I added a 
few directions for the use of such as are willing to be con- 
verted. But because I know that this is a matter of exceed- 
ing consequence, I dare not thus leave it, before I have 
added some further directions, to prevent the miscarrying 
of this work where it is begun. And lest I should lose my 
labour, through the unpreparedness of the reader ; I shall 
first give you some preparing considerations, which may 
awaken you to the practice of the directions which I shall 
give you. 

1. Consider first, that half-conversions are the undoing of 
many thousand souls. If you are but like Agrippa, (Acts 
xxvi. 28.) " almost persuaded to be Christians," you will be 
but almost saved. Many a thousand that are now past 
help, have had the word come near them, and cast them into 



8 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

a fear, and made some stir and trouble in their souls, awaken- 
ing their consciences, and forcing them to some good pur- 
poses and promises, yea, and bringing them to the perfor- 
mance of a half-reformation ; but this is not it that will serve 
your turn. Many have been so much changed, as not to be 
far from the kingdom of God, that yet came short of it ; Mark 
xii. 34. There is no promise in Scripture that you shall be 
pardoned if you almost repent and believe ; or be saved, if 
you be almost sanctified and obedient ; but on the contrary, 
the Lord hath plainly resolved, that you must turn or die, 
though you almost turn ; and repent, or perish, though you 
almost repent ; and that you shall not enter into the king- 
dom of heaven, without conversion and a new birth, though 
you came never so near it. God hath resolved upon the 
terms of your salvation ; and it is in vain to hope for salva- 
tion upon any other terms. God will not change nor come 
down to your terms : it is you that must change and come 
quite over to his terms, or you are lost for ever. If you come 
never so near them, you are but lost men if you come not 
up to them. The Lord well knew what he did, when he 
made his covenant and law, and he imposed nothing on the 
sons of men but what his infinite wisdom told him it was fit 
for him to impose ; and he will not now compound with sin- 
ners, and take less than he requireth ; that is, less than the 
preeminency in their hearts ; nor will he ever come down to 
any lower terms with you, than those which he propoundeth 
to you in his Gospel. And therefore, poor sinners, as you 
love your souls, do not stand dodging and halving with God ; 
but give up yourselves entirely to him ; and do not stop at 
the beginnings of a conversion, but go through with it, till 
you are become new creatures indeed, or you are undone 
when you have done all. A half, unsound convert will as 
certainly perish as a drunkard or a whoremonger, though his 
torment may not be so great. 

2. Consider also, that if you do not go through with the 
work when you are upon it, you may perhaps make it more 
difficult than it was before ever you meddled with it, and 
make it a very doubtful case whether ever it will be done. 
As it is with a wound or other sore; if you tamper with it 
with salves that are not agreeable to it, or are disorderly ap- 
plied ; or if you skin it over before it be searched to the 
bottom, it must be opened again, and will cost you double 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 9 

pain before it be cured. Or as I have seen it with some 
that have had a bone broken, or out of joint, and it hath been 
set amiss at first : O what torments were the poor creatures 
fain to undergo, in having it broken, or stretched and set 
again ! which might have been spared, if it had been tho- 
roughly done at first. So, if you will be shrinking and draw- 
ing back, and favouring your flesh, and will not go to the 
quick, you will make your conversion much more difficult ; 
you must be brought to it again, and fetch your groans yet 
deeper than before ; and weep over all your former tears ; 
your doubts will be multiplied ; your fears and sorrows will 
be increased ; and all will go sorer with you than at first. 
O what a case will you be in, when your sores must be 
lanced a second time, and your bones, as it were, broken 
again ! Then you will wish you had gone through with it 
at the first. 

Yea, perhaps you may put God to it to fetch you in by 
some sharp affliction, and send out so boisterous and churl- 
ish a messenger to call you home as may make you wish you 
had hearkened to a more gentle call: when the sheep will 
straggle, the dog must be sent to affright them home. Many 
a foolish sinner makes light of the gentle invitations of grace, 
and they stand hovering between their sins and Christ ; and 
sometimes they have a mind to turn, and the next tempta- 
tion they are off again, and then they come on again coldly 
and with half a heart ; and thus they stand trifling with the 
God of heaven till he is fain to take another course with 
them, and resolves to use some sharper means : and when 
he layeth them under his rod, and they can neither fly from, 
nor resist him, but see that their lives and souls are at his 
mercy, then they begin to look about them, and see their 
folly, and change their minds. You can tarry, and delay, 
and dally with the dreadful God, in the time of your pros- 
perity, and we may ask you over and over whether you will 
turn before we can have a hearty answer; but what will you 
do when God shall begin to frown, and when he takes you in 
hand by his irresistible power, and lets loose upon you the 
terrors of his wrath ? Will you then make as light of his 
mercy as you do now ? Have you not read, Dan. v. 6. how 
small an apparition of his anger did make a carousing king 
look pale, and his joints to tremble in the midst of his jo- 
viality ? A Manasseh will bethink himself and come in when 



10 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

he is laid in irons, though he could set light by God before ; 
2 Chron. xxxiii. 13. If Jonah will run away from God, he 
can send a boisterous messenger to arrest him, and cast him 
as it were into the belly of hell, and make him cry for mercy 
to him that he disobeyed. So if you will stand trifling with 
God, and will not by fair means be persuaded to yield and 
come away, you may shortly look to hear from him in 
another manner ; for he hath a voice that will make the 
proudest face look pale, and the most stubborn heart to 
tremble. If an idle, stubborn child will not learn nor be 
ruled, the master or parent will teach him with the rod, and 
give him a lash, and ask him, ' Will you yet learn ?' and 
another lash, and ask him, * What say you now, will you 
yet obey V So will God do by you, if he love you, and 
mean to save you : when he hath taken away your wealth, 
your friends, your children, will you then hearken to him or 
will you not? When you lie groaning on your couch, and 
all your parts are overwhelmed with pains, and death begins 
to lay hands upon you, and bids you now come and answer 
for your rebellions and delays before the living God, what 
will you do then ? Will you turn or not ? O the lamentable 
folly of sinners, that put themselves to so much sorrow, and 
great calamity for themselves ! When sickness comes, and 
death draws near, you beg, and cry, and groan, and promise : 
when you feel the rod, what Christians will you then be ? 
And why not without so much ado ? You then think God 
deals somewhat hardly with you : and why will you not 
turn then by gentler means ? You might spare yourselves 
much of this misery if you would ; and you will not. Is it 
a seemly thing for a man to be driven to heaven by scourges? 
Is God so bad a master, and heaven so bad a place, that you 
will not turn to them, and mind them, and seek them, till 
there be no remedy, and you are, as it were, driven to it 
against your will ? Is the world such an inheritance, and 
sin so good a thing, and the flesh or devil so good a master, 
that you will not leave them till you are whipped away? What 
a shameful, unreasonable course is this ? 

Well sirs, the case is plain before you. Turn you must 
at one time or other, or be the firebrands of hell. And seeing 
it is a thing that must be done, were it not best for you to 
take the easiest and the surest way to do it ? Why, this is 
the easiest and the surest way ; even to strike while the iron 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 11 

is hot, before it cool again ; and to go through with it when 
God doth move you and persuade you ; if you love your 
flesh itself, do not put him to take up the rod, and fetch you 
home by stripes and terrors. 

But that is not the worst ; for it will sorely hazard the 
work itself, and consequently your salvation, if you do not 
go through with it at the first attempt. I know there is many 
an one that hath been converted and saved, after many pur- 
poses, and promises, and half-conversions. But yet I must 
tell you, that this is a very dangerous course : for you do 
not know when you grieve the Spirit of grace, and set so 
light by mercy when it is offered you, whether that Spirit 
may not utterly forsake you, and leave you to your own un- 
godly wills, and let you take your lusts, and pleasures, and 
say, ' Let this wretch be filthy still ; let him keep his drun- 
kenness, his companions, his worldliness, and the curse of 
God with them, till he have tried what it is that they will do 
for him : let him follow his own conceits, and the pride and 
obstinacy of his own heart, till he find whither they will 
bring him : let him serve the flesh and the world, till he un- 
derstand whether God or they be the better master. Seeing 
he will not be wise on earth, let him learn in hell, and let 
torments teach him, seeing mercy might not teach him.' O 
poor soul ! what a case art thou in, if this should once be 
the resolution of God ! 

Moreover, you may easily know that the longer you stay, 
the more leisure you give the devil to assault you, and to try 
one way when he cannot prevail by another, and to strengthen 
his temptations : like a foolish soldier, that will stand still 
to be shot at, rather than assault the enemy. 

And the longer you delay, the more your sin gets strength 
and rooting. If you cannot bend a twig, how will you be 
able to bend it when it is a tree ? If you cannot pluck up a 
tender plant, are you likely to pluck up a sturdy oak ? Cus- 
tom gives strength and root to vices. A blackamoor may 
as well change his skin, or a leopard his spots, as those that 
are accustomed to do evil, can learn to do well. Jer. xiii. 23. 
If you stick at conversion as a difficult matter to-day, 
it will be more difficult to-morrow, or the next month, and 
the next year, than it is now. 

Yea, the very resistance of the Spirit doth harden the 
heart, and the delays and triflings of the soul do bring it t'o 



12 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

an inensibility and boldness in sin, and drive away the fear 
of God from the heart. Now it may be you are somewhat 
awakened, and begin to see that you must turn or die ; but 
if you trifle and delay, this light may be gone, and leave you 
in greater darkness than before ; and the voice that now 
awakeneth you, may be silent and leave you to fall asleep 
again. 

Moreover, you know that you are uncertain of the con- 
tinuance of the Gospel. You know not whether you shall 
have such lively, serious preachers as you now have, nor you 
know not whether you shall have such godly neighbours 
and company to encourage you and help you in the work. 
God will remove them one after another to himself, and then 
you will have fewer prayers for you, and fewer warnings, and 
good examples, and perhaps be left wholly to the company 
of deceived, ungodly fools, that will do nothing but hinder 
and discourage you from conversion. And you are not sure 
that religion will continue in that reputation as now it is in. 
The times may turn, before you turn; and godliness may 
become a scorn again, and, it may be, a matter of suffering, 
and may cost you your lives to live as the servants of Christ 
must do. And therefore if you stop at it now as a difficult 
thing, when you have all the helps and encouragements that 
you can expect, and the way to heaven is made so fair ; and 
when magistrates, and ministers, and neighbours are ready 
to encourage and help you ; what will you do in times of 
persecution and discouragement ? If you cannot turn when 
you have all these helps and means, what will you do when 
they are taken from you ? If you cannot row with the 
stream, how will you row against it ? If you dare not set to 
sea, when you have wind, and tide, and sunshine, what will 
you do in storms and tempests, when all is against you ? O 
what would some of your forefathers have given to have seen 
the days that you see ! How glad would many a thousand 
in other countries of the world be, to have but the helps to 
heaven that you have ? Never look to have the way fairer 
and easier while you live. If you think heaven is offered 
you at too dear a rate now, you may even let it go, and try 
whether hell be better ; for the next offer is like to be upon 
harder terms rather than easier. If you cannot now find in 
your hearts to turn and live a holy life, what would you have 
done in the days of the apostles, or ancient Christians'* 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 13 

And, what would you have done in Spain or Italy, where it 
would cost you your lives ? He that will not be converted 
now, but thinks the terms of grace too hard, is so impious 
a despiser of Christ and heaven, that it is no wonder if God 
resolve that he shall never taste of the salvation that was 
offered him. Luke xi v. 24. 

Moreover, you know upon what uncertainties you hold 
your lives ; you have no assurance of them for an hour, but 
you are sure that they are passing away whilst you delay. 
And will you trifle then in a work that must be done ? 
What a case are you in, if death find you unconverted ! The 
heart of man is not able now to conceive the misery of your 
case. How dare you venture to live another day in an un- 
converted state, lest death should find you so ? Are you 
not afraid when you lie down at night, and afraid when you 
go out of your doors in the morning, lest death surprise you 
before you are converted ? If you be not, it is long of your 
deadness and presumption. 

And 1 would fain hear what it is that should thus stop 
you. What are you afraid of? Is God an enemy, that you 
are loath to come to him ? Is the devil a friend, that you 
are so loath to leave him ? Is sin a paradise ? Is holiness a 
misery ? Is it a pleasanter life to love your money, or your 
lands, or your meat and drink, and lusts, than to love the 
most blessed God, the Creator of the world, the life of our 
souls, and our eternal felicity ? Is it better to pamper a car- 
case that must shortly stink as the dung, than to provide for 
a living immortal soul? Whether do you think that earth 
or heaven will be the more glorious and durable felicity ? 

What is it, sirs, that you stick at, that you make so many 
delays before you will turn ? Is there any difficulty in the 
point ? Do you think it a hard question whether you should 
turn or not ? Why, how can you be so blind ? Do you stand 
pausing upon the business, as if it were a doubt, whether God 
or the world were better, and whether sin or holiness, Christ 
or death, heaven or hell, were to be preferred ? I pray you, 
consider ; can you reasonably think that conversion will do 
you any harm ? Can it bring you into a worse condition than 
you are in ? Sure you cannot fear such a thing ; you are in 
your blood ; you are dead in sin ; you are children of wrath, 
while you are unconverted ; you are under the curse of the 
law of God ; you are the slaves of the devil, you are the heirs 



14 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

of hell, and under the guilt of all your sins ; your life is a 
continued rebellion against God ; you are employed every 
day in the destroying of yourselves, in kindling the flames 
that must everlastingly torment you, and laying in fuel for 
the perpetuating of your misery ; and fighting against your 
friends, that would deliver you, and unthankfully abusing 
Christ, and grace, and ministers, and friends, that would 
save your souls. This is the condition that every one of you 
is in, till you are converted. And can you fear lest conver- 
sion would bring you into a worse condition than this ? Sirs, 
these truths are sure and plain ; and if yet you stick at it, 
your error is so palpably gross, that unless you are madmen, 
I may be bold to say it is a wilful error. And if you love to 
be deceived, and wilfully choose a lie, you must take that 
you get by it. 

3. Consider further, That half-conversions do often prove 
an occasion of deluding men's souls, and making them quiet 
in a miserable state, and so of keeping them from being con- 
verted to the last. If you had never done any thing in it, 
you would more easily be persuaded that your case is bad, 
and that there is still a necessity of your change. But when 
you have had some convictions, and troubles of mind, and 
fears, and sorrows, and so have fallen into an outside, partial 
reformation, and now are persuaded that you are truly con- 
verted, when it is no such matter, what a dangerous impedi- 
ment to your conversion may this prove ? And all because 
you slubber over the work, and cut it off before it reacheth 
to sincerity, and strive against the workings of the Spirit, 
and break away from your physician before he hath done the 
cure, and would not follow it on to the end. I know that a 
half-conversion, if it be known to be no more, is much better 
than none ; and doth often prepare men for a saving work. 
But when this half -conversion is taken to be a true and sav- 
ing change, as too commonly it is, it proves one of the great- 
est impediments of salvation. Whenever Christ shall after- 
ward knock at your door, yOu will not know him, as think- 
ing he dwells with you already. If you read any books that 
call on you to be converted, or hear any preachers that call 
on you to turn, you have this at hand to cozen yourselves 
with, and frustrate all. You will think, 'This is not spoken 
to me ; for I am converted already.' O how quietly do such 
poor, deluded sinners, daily read and hear their own doom 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION 1 . 15 

and misery, and never once dream that they are the men 
that are meant, and therefore are never dismayed at the mat- 
ter ! This formeth you into a state of hypocrisy, and makes 
the course of your duties and your lives to be hypocritical. 
If another man that knows himself to be still unconverted, 
do but read the threatenings of the word against such, or 
hear of the terrors of the Lord from a minister, he may be 
brought to confess that this is his own case, and so to per- 
ceive the misery of his condition. But when such as you 
do read and hear these things, they never trouble you, for 
you think that they do not touch you : you are Scripture- 
proof, and sermon-proof: and all by the delusion of your 
half-conversion. O how zealously will such a man cry out 
against the sins of others ! and tell them of their misery, and 
persuade them to turn, and shew them the danger that is 
near them if they do not : and in the meantime little thinks 
that it is his own case, and that he speaks all this against 
his own soul. How will such men applaud a sermon that 
drives at the conversion of a sinner, and that tells them their 
misery while they are unconverted ! ' O thinks he, this 
touched such and such ; I am glad that such a man and such 
a man heard it :' and he little thinks that it as nearly touch- 
ed himself. How smoothly will he go on in any discourse 
against wicked, unregenerate men, as David heard the para- 
ble of Nathan, and it never once entereth into their thoughts, 
that they speak all this against themselves ; till the Judge 
shall tell them, when it is too late, " Thou art the man." It 
will turn not only the stream of your thoughts into hypocrisy 
and self-deceit, but also the stream of your speeches to others; 
yea, and the current of your prayers, and all the rest of your 
religious performances. When in confession you should 
acknowledge and lament an unregenerate, carnal state, you 
will only confess that you have the infirmities of the saints, 
and that you have this or that sin, which yet you think is 
mortified. When you should importunately beg for renew- 
ing grace, you will beg only for strengthening grace, or as- 
surance ; when you should be labouring to break your 
hearts, you will be studying to heal them ; and will be heark- 
ening after present comforts, when you have more need of 
godly sorrow. It will fill your mouths in prayer with pha- 
risaical thanksgivings for the mercies of regeneration, justi- 
fication, adoption, sanctification, which you never received. 



16 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

Little doth many a soul know what sanctitication, and the 
several graces of the Spirit are, that use to give God thanks 
for them : there is many and many an one that must for ever 
be in hell, that were used in their prayers to give God thanks 
for their hopes of glory : and the common cause of all this 
deceit and misery, is, that men do run from under the hands 
of their physician, before he ever went to the bottom of their 
sore, and go away with a half-conversion, and so spend all 
the rest of their lives, in a mere delusion, as verily thinking 
they are converted, when they are not. How confidently will 
such receive the Lord's supper, and thrust themselves into 
the communion of the saints, as if they had as good right as 
others to be there, till the Lord of the feast shall take them to 
task, and say," Friend, how earnest thou in hither, not hav- 
ing on a wedding garment?" and then they will be speech- 
less ; Matt. xxii. 12. How many false, deceiving comforts, 
and perhaps even seeming raptures and assurance, may these 
have in themselves, as verily thinking their case is good, 
when, alas, they never yet laid the foundation. Yea, and it 
is to be observed, that satan is a friend to the comforts of 
this kind of men, and therefore will do all that he can to pro- 
mote them; for he would willingly keep his garrison in peace ; 
Luke xi. 21. And therefore he may possibly be a comfort- 
ing spirit to them himself, and imitate the Holy Ghost the 
Comforter of the saints ; and, it maybe, give them such rap- 
tures as seem higher than those which the Spirit of holiness 
doth give. He envieth the saints their peace and comfort, 
because he foresees how durable they will prove : but he can 
be content that deluded hypocrites may have joy, because 
their comforts do not weaken but strengthen his kingdom 
within them, and he knows they are like to endure but for 
awhile. 

And thus you may perceive, how hard it is to convert one 
of these half-converted men, that have strangled the new 
creature as it were, in the birth, and that are fortified against 
all the means of grace, by a false conceit that they are sanc- 
tified already. See therefore that you make sure work, and 
take not up in the middle, and with halves, but take your pre- 
sent time, and give up your souls to a total change. 

4. Consider, If you take up short of a thorough conver- 
sion, you lose all your labour, and sufferings and hopes, as to 
the matter of your salvation. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 17 

And what pity is it that so much should be lost ? Alas, 
to see many of our hearers touched at a sermon, and come to 
a minister and bewail their sin, and seem to be humbled, 
and promise to be new men, and yet all this to be lost ; how 
sad a case is this to think of? To see them leave their com- 
pany and former course of life, and come among the profes- 
sors of holiness, and all men take them for real converts ; and 
yet all this to be lost, and their souls lost after all : how sad 
a case is this ! If you grow up to the greatest parts for out- 
ward duty, and be able to discourse, or pray, or preach, even 
to the admiration of the hearers ; yet if you do not ground 
this on a thorough conversion, all is but lost, as to your own 
salvation. If you keep up the highest strain of profession, 
and get the highest esteem in the church, so that others de- 
pend on you as oracles ; yea, if the pope with all his infalli- 
bility should canonize you for saints ; it were all but loss. 
If you should keep up the most confident persuasion of your 
salvation, and hope to go to heaven, to the last hour of your 
lives ; it were all but lost if you build not all on a thorough 
conversion. Yea, if you should be taken by persecutors for 
one of the party to which you join, and should suffer for the 
cause of religion among them ; all were but lost, without a 
sound conversion ; 1 Cor. xiii. 1 — 3. 

It is a pitiful case to see some poor unsanctified souls, 
how they wander and change from one opinion to another, 
and from party to party, to find out that which they want 
within. They turn to this party first, and that party next, 
and then to another, and then think they are sure in the way 
to heaven, when they never thoroughly turned to God by 
Jesus Christ ; and therefore are certainly out of the way, 
whatever party it be that they join with. Some go to the 
giddy sects that make the highest pretences to strictness : 
and some go to Rome, because they think that there they 
shall have more company, and hear the deluding sound of 
unity, universality, antiquity, succession, miracles, and such 
like : and then they think they have hit the way. Alas, poor 
souls ! If God were but nearest and dearest to your hearts, 
and Christ and his righteousness exalted within you, and 
your souls unfeignedly turned from your sins, you would be 
in the certain way to heaven, in what country, or company, 
or church soever you were ; supposing that you believe and 
do nothing there, which is inconsistent with this life of grace. 

VOL. VIII. C 



18 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

(Though yet every Christian should choose that particular 
society, if he can, where he may not only be saved, but most 
certainly saved, and find the greatest helps, and least hin- 
drances, or else where he may do God the greatest service.) 
But choose what company you will in the world, the strict- 
est, the most reformed, the most splendid in outward pomp 
and glory, or of whatever excellency else you may imagine, 
you will never be saved in it yourselves, as long as your 
hearts are unconverted. I know the Papists have found out 
many devices, by sacraments, and ceremonies, and the me- 
rits of the saints, to patch up the defect of a thorough con- 
version ; but all are mere delusions that pretend to such a 
thing. 

O then think of this, poor sinner : hast thou gone so far, 
and done so much, and shall all be lost because thou wilt 
not follow it to the end ? Hast thou groaned, and wept, and 
confessed, and bemoaned thine own condition ? Hast thou 
prayed, and read, and heard, and fasted, and changed thy 
company, and much of thy course of life? And shall all this 
be lost, for want of going to the bottom, and making a tho- 
rough work of it? What a loss will this be ? 

5. Consider also, What an admirable help and advantage 
it will be to you through the whole course of your lives, if 
the work of conversion be once thoroughly wrought. I will 
shew you this in some particulars. 

(1.) It will be an excellent help to your understandings, 
against the grosser errors of the world, and will establish 
you in the truth much more than mere arguments can do ; 
for you will be able to speak for the truth from feeling and 
experience : he that hath the law written both in his Bible 
and in his heart, is likely to hold it faster than he that hath 
it in his Bible alone. But of this I have spoken already in 
my " Treatise against Infidelity," Part ii. 

(2.) If you be but thoroughly converted, you will have 
that within you which will be a continual help against temp- 
tations : you have not only experience of the mischief of sin- 
ning, and the folly of those reasons that are brought for its 
defence ; but you have also a new nature, which is against 
the temptation, as life is against poison : and as it is a great 
disadvantage to the law of Christ, that it speaks against the 
nature of the ungodly ; so is it a disadvantage to the temp- 
tations of the devil, that they would draw a Christian against 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 19 

his new nature. You have that within you that will plead 
more effectually against sensuality, uncharitableness, pride 
or worldliness, or any the like sin, than learning or reason 
alone can do. (As in the forecited book I have further ma- 
nifested.) 

(3.) If conversion be thoroughly wrought, you will have 
within you a continual helper of your graces, and a remem- 
brancer to put you in mind of duty, and a spur to put you 
on to the performance, and a furtherer of your souls in the 
performance itself : it is out of this spark and principle with- 
in you, that the Holy Ghost doth raise the acts of grace. 
This is it that the word, and prayer, and conference, and sa- 
craments, and all the means of grace must work upon. If 
we see you do amiss, we have hopes that you will hear us ; 
if we plainly reprove you, we may look you should take it in 
good part : for you have that within you that saith as we say, 
and is at deadly enmity with the sin which we reprove. If 
we provoke you to love and to good works, we dare almost 
promise ourselves that you will obey ; for you have that 
within you that disposeth you to the duty, and preacheth 
our sermons to you over again. O what an advantage it is 
to our teaching, when you are all taught of God within, as 
well as by his messengers without ! But when we speak to 
the unconverted, we have little to work upon: we give phy- 
sic to the dead ; we speak all against the bent of their souls ; 
and every reproof and exhortation to holiness goes against 
their very natures ; and therefore what wonder if we have the 
smaller hopes to prevail ? 

(4.) If the work be thoroughly done at first, it will help 
to resolve many doubts that may be afterwards cast into 
your minds : you need not be still at a loss and looking be- 
hind you, and questioning your foundation, but may go 
cheerfully and boldly on. O what an excellent encourage- 
ment is this ! to know that you have hitherto made good 
your ground, and left all safe and sure behind you, and have 
nothing to do but to look before you ; and press on towards 
the mark till you lay hold upon the prize : whereas if you be 
in any great doubt of your conversion, it will be stopping 
you and discouraging you in all your work ; you will be still 
looking behind you, and saying, * What if I should yet be 
unconverted?' when you should cheerfully address your- 
selves to prayer or sacraments, how sadly will you go, as be- 



20 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

ing utterly uncertain whether you have a saving right to 
them ; or whether God will accept a sacrifice at your hand ? 
When you should grow and go forward, you will have little 
heart to it, because you know not whether you are yet in the 
way ; and this will damp your life and comfort in every du- 
ty, when you must say, ' I know not whether yet I be tho- 
roughly converted.' O therefore stop not the work at first. 

(5.) And lastly, If the work be thoroughly done at first 
you will persevere, when others fall away. You will have 
rooting in yourselves, entertaining the seed as into depth of 
earth ; and you will have the Holy Ghost within you, and 
(more than so) engaged for your preservation, and the per- 
fecting of your salvation ; when they that received the word 
as seed upon a rock, and never give it deep entertainment, 
will wither and fall away in the time of trial ; and from them 
that have not saving grace, shall be taken away, even that 
which they seemed to have; Matt. xiii. 12. xxv. 19. 

6. And lastly, Consider, If you fall short of a true con- 
version at the first, the devil will take occasion by it, to 
tempt you at last to utter despair. When you have made 
many essays and trials, and been about the work again and 
again, he will persuade you that there is no possibility of ac- 
complishing it. If we convince an open profane person that 
is unconverted, he may easier see that yet there is hopes of 
it, but if a man have been half-converted, and lived long in 
a formal, self-deceiving profession of religion, and been taken 
by himself and others for a godly man, as it is very hard to 
convince this man that he is unconverted, so when he is con- 
vinced of it, he will easily fall into desperation. For satan 
will tell him, ' If thou be yet unconverted after so many con- 
fessions and prayers, and after so long a course of religion, 
what hope canst thou have that it should yet be done ? Thou 
wilt never have better opportunities than thou hast had. If 
such sermons as thou hast heard could not do it, what hope 
is there of it? If such books, and such company, and such 
mercies and such afflictions have not done it, what hope 
canst thou have ? Canst thou hear any livelier teaching 
than thou hast heard ; or speak any holier words than thou 
hast spoken ? If yet the work be quite undone, it is not 
forsaking another sin, nor going a step further that will do 
it ; and therefore never think of it, for there is no hope : dost 
thou not know how oft thou hast tried in vain? and what 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 21 

canst thou do more?' And thus you give advantage to the 
tempter by your first delays, and taking up in mere prepara- 
tories. And therefore I beseech you as you love your souls, 
take heed of resisting the Spirit of grace, and breaking off 
the work before it is thoroughly done, but go to the bottom, 
and follow it on, till it be accomplished in sincerity. And 
now hoping that upon these considerations you are resolved 
to do your best, I shall come to the thing which I principally 
intended ; which is to give you certain Directions, which if 
you will obey, you may be converts and saints indeed. 

Direct, I. Lest the work of conversion should miscarry 
where it seemeth to be begun, or in a hopeful way, I first 
advise you, ' To labour after a right understanding of the 
true nature of Christianity, and the meaning of the Gospel 
which is sent for to convert you.' You are naturally slaves 
to the prince of darkness ; and live in a state of darkness, 
and do the works of darkness, and are hasting apace to utter 
darkness. And it is the light of saving knowledge that 
must recover you, or there is no recovery. God is the Fa- 
ther of Light, and dwelleth in light ; Christ is the light of the 
world ; his ministers also are the lights of the world, as un- 
der him ; and are sent to turn men from darkness to light, by 
the Gospel which is the light to our feet : and this is to 
make us children of light, that we may no more do the works 
of darkness, but may be partakers of the inheritance of the 
saints in light ; 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 1 Johni. 5. 9. James i. 17. 
Matt. v. 14. Acts xxvi. 18. John viii. 12. 2 Pet. i. 19. 
Eph. v. 8. 13. Col. i. 12. Believe it, darkness is not the 
way to the celestial glory. Ignorance is your disease, and 
knowledge must be your cure. I know the ignorant have 
many excuses, and are apt to think that the case is not so 
bad with them as we make it to be ; and that there is no such 
need of knowledge, but a man may be saved without it. 
But this is because they want that knowledge that should 
shew them the misery of their ignorance and the worth of 
knowledge. Hath not the Scripture plainly told you, that 
"If the Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, whose 
minds the God of this world hath blinded, lest the light of 
the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, 
should shine unto them; 2 Cor. Hi. 4. I know that many 
that have much knowledge are ungodly ; but what of that? 
Can any man therefore be godly or be saved, without know- 



22 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

ledge? You may have a bad servant that yet is skilful 
enough in his work, but yet you will not mend the matter, 
by taking one that hath no skill at all. You may send a man 
on your errand that knows the way, and yet will not go it, 
but loiter and deceive you : but what of that, will you there- 
fore think to mend the matter by sending one that knoweth 
not a step of the way, nor will learn it ? Though a man 
of knowledge may be the servant of the devil, yet no man 
without knowledge (that hath the use of his reason) can be 
the servant of God. A man may go to hell with knowledge, 
but he certainly shall go to hell without it. I do not say 
that you must all be men of learning, and skilled in the arts 
and sciences, and languages : but you must have the know- 
ledge of a Christian, though not of a scholar. Can you love 
or serve a God that you know not? Can you let go friends, 
and goods, and life, for a glory which you have no know- 
ledge of? Can you make it the principal business of your 
lives to seek for a heaven whose excellencies you know not 
of? Can you lament your sin and misery, when you are un- 
acquainted with it? Or will you strive against sin as the 
greatest evil, when you know not the evil of it? Will you 
believe in a Christ, whom you do not know, and trust your 
souls and all upon him ? Will you rest upon a promise, or 
fear a threatening, or be ruled by a law, which you do not 
understand? It is not possible to be Christians without 
knowing the substance of Christianity : nor is it possible for 
you to be saved without knowing the way of salvation. 

Labour, therefore, to be well acquainted with the grounds 
and reasons, and nature of your religion. The clearer your 
light is, the warmer and livelier your hearts will be. Illumi- 
nation is the first part of sanctification. The head is the 
passage to the heart. O if you did but thoroughly know 
what sin is, and what a life it is to serve the flesh, and what 
the end of this will prove, with what detestation would you 
cast it away ! If you did thoroughly know what a life of 
holiness is, how speedily would you choose it. If you did 
truly know what God is ; how infinitely powerful and wise, 
and good ; how holy, and just, and true ; and what title he 
hath to you, and authority over you ; and what an eternal 
portion he would be to you, how is it possible that you could 
prefer the dirt of the world before him, or delay any longer 
to return unto him ? If you did but truly know what Christ 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 23 

is, and what he hath done and suffered for you, and what 
that pardon, and grace, and glory are which he hath pur- 
chased for you, and offereth to you, and how sure his pro- 
mise is by which it is offered, it is not possible that you 
should refuse to entertain him, or delay to give up your souls 
unto him. Do you think a man that truly knows what hea- 
ven is, and what hell is, can still be in doubt whether he 
should turn or not ? Alas ! sirs, if God would but open 
your eyes, to see where you are, and what you are doing, 
you would run as for your lives, and quickly change your 
minds and ways. You would no more stay in your carnal 
state, than you would stay in a house that were falling down 
on your heads, or in a ship that you perceived sinking under 
you, or on the sands when you see the tide coming towards 
you. If you did but see your chamber full of devils this 
night, you would not stand to ask whether you should be 
gone. And sure then if you knew how the devils are about 
you, how they deceive you, and rule you, and wait to drag 
you away to hell, you would never stay a night longer wil- 
lingly in such a state. While men understand not what the 
Gospel means, nor what a minister saith to them, no wonder 
if they regard them not, but continue in their sin. If you 
see a bear or a mad dog making towards a man, and tell him 
of it, and call to him to be gone, if he be a man of another 
language, and do not understand you, he will make never the 
more haste ; but if he understand and believe you, he will 
away. If people think that ministers are in jest with them, 
or that they are uncertain of what they say, no marvel if 
they hear us in jest, or as men that believe not what they 
hear. But if you knew that your lives lay on it, yea, your 
everlasting life, would you not regard it, and look about 
you ? Now you stand deliberating and questioning the bu- 
siness whether you should turn, and let go sin, or no. But 
if you knew that you must certainly have hell with it, if you 
keep it, methinks your doubt should quickly be resolved, 
and you should be loath to give another night's lodging to 
so chargeable and dangerous a guest. Now when we per- 
suade you to holiness of life, you will demur on it, as if there 
were some doubtfulness in the matter. But if you knew the 
nature and end of holiness, you would soon be out of doubt ; 
and if you knew but how much happier you might be with 
God, you would never stick at the parting with your most 



24 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

delightful sins. As the Jews rejected Christ, and preferred 
a murderer before him, and cried out ' Crucify him,' and all 
because they did not know him (1 Cor. ii. 8. John viii. 9. 
i. 10. Acts xiii. 27.), so you let Christ knock and call, and 
offer you salvation, and you stand questioning whether you 
should obey his call, and whether you should not prefer your 
lusts before him ; and all because you know him not, nor 
the grace and glory which he tendereth to you. When men 
understand not the reasons of God, that should prevail with 
them, no wonder if they part not with that which is as dear 
to them as their lives. But when once they know the rea- 
sons of Christianity, those moving, weighty, undeniable rea- 
sons, that are fetched from God, and heaven, and hell, they 
will then stand questioning the matter no longer ; but they 
will resign up all, even life itself. All this I speak of a spi- 
ritual, powerful, and a practical knowledge, and not of every 
swimming opinion and conceit. 

Study, therefore, what God is, and what he is to you, 
and what he would be to you. Study what sin is, and what 
the damnation is which it deserveth. Study what Christ is, 
and hath done and suffered for you, and what he is willing 
to do, if you neglect him not. Study what the world is, 
and what is the utmost that sin will do for you. Study 
what the everlasting glory is which you may have with God, 
if you lose it not by your folly. And study what faith is, 
and what repentance is, and what love and joy, and a holy 
and heavenly life are, and how little reason you have to be 
afraid of them. If this understanding have but deeply pos- 
sessed you, it will bias your hearts, and make you resolved, 
settled converts. 

Whereas, if you seem to turn and scarce know why, and 
seem to take up a Christian life before you are thoroughly 
possessed with the nature, grounds, and reasons of it, no 
marvel if you are quickly lost again in the dark, and if every 
caviller that you meet with can nonplus you, and make you 
stagger, and call in question all that you have done, and ra- 
vel all your work ; or if you do but run from one party to 
another, and follow every one that tells you a fair tale, and 
never know what to fix upon, nor when you are in the way, 
and when you are out. 

The apprehensions of the mind do move the whole man. 
Wisdom is the guide and stay of the soul. Sinning is doing 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 25 

foolishly, 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. And sinners are fools ; Prov. i. 
22. Psal. lxxv. 4. Their mirth is but the mirth of fools, 
and their song the song of fools ; Eccl. vii. 4. 5. Yea, the 
best of their services, while they refuse to hear and obey, is 
but the sacrifice of fools ; Eccl. v. 1. And such are not fit 
for the house of God ; " for God hath no pleasure in fools ;" 
Eccl. v. 4. He hath need to have his wits about him, and 
know what he doth that will be the servant of the God of 
heaven, and escape the deceits of a subtle devil, and get to 
heaven through so many difficulties as are before him. 
Above all getting, therefore, get wisdom. 

Direct. II. If you would not have the work of your con- 
version miscarry, when you understand what is offered you, 
then search the Scriptures daily, to see whether those things 
be so or not. 

So did the Bereans, Acts xvii. 11. ; and the text saith, 
that, therefore, they believed. We come not to cheat and 
deceive you ; and, therefore, we desire not that you should 
take any thing from us, but what we can prove to you from 
the word of God to be certainly true. We desire not to lead 
you in the dark, but by the light to lead you out of darkness ; 
and, therefore, we refuse not to submit all our doctrine to an 
equal trial. Though we would not have you wrong your 
souls by an unjust distrust of us, yet would we not desire 
you to take these great and mighty things merely upon our 
words ; for then your faith will be in man ; and then no mar- 
vel if it be weak, and ineffectual, and quickly shaken. If 
you trust a man to-day, you may distrust him to-morrow ; 
and if one man be of greatest credit with you this year, per- 
haps another of a contrary mind may be of more credit with 
you the next year. And, therefore, we desire no further to 
be believed by you, than is necessary to lead you up to God, 
and to help you to understand that word which you must 
believe. Our desire, therefore, is, that you search the Scrip- 
ture, and try whether the things that we tell you be the truth. 
The word will never work on you to purpose till you see and 
hear God in it, and perceive that it is he, and not man only, 
that speaks to you. When you hear none speaking to you 
but the minister, no marvel if you dare despise him ; for he 
is a frail and silly man like yourselves ; when you think that 
the doctrine which we preach to you is merely of our own 



26 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

devising, and the conjecture of our own brain, no marvel if 
you set light by it, and will not let go all that you have, at 
the persuasion of a preacher. But when you have searched 
the Scripture, and find that it is the word of the God of hea- 
ven, dare you despise it then ? When you there find that 
we said no more than we are commanded, and God that hath 
spoken this word will stand to it ; then sure it will go nearer 
you, and you will consider of it, and make light of it no more. 
If we offered you bad wares, we should desire a dark shop ; 
and if our gold were light or bad, we would not call for the 
balance and the touchstone. But when we are sure the 
things that we speak are true, we desire nothing more than 
trial. Beauty and comeliness hath no advantage of loath- 
some deformity, when they are both together in the dark, 
but the light will shew the difference. Error may be a loser 
by the light; and, therefore, shuns it ; Johniii. 19 — 21. But 
truth is a gainer by it, and therefore seeks it. Let Papists 
hide the Scriptures from the people, and forbid the reading 
of them in a tongue which they understand, and teach them 
to speak to God they know not what ; we dare not do so, 
nor do we desire it. Our doctrine will not go off well in the 
dark ; and, therefore, we call you to the law and to the tes- 
timony, and desire you to take our words into the light, and 
see whether they be according to the word of the Lord. No- 
thing troubleth us more than that we cannot persuade our 
hearers to this trial. Some of them are so hardened in their 
sin and misery, that they will not be at so much labour as 
to open their Bibles, and try whether we say true or not. 
Some of them will not trouble their minds with the thoughts 
of it. " God is not in all their thoughts ;" Psal. x.4. And 
some are already too wise to learn ; and they will not so long 
abate their confidence of their former opinions ; though, poor 
souls,their ignorance doth threaten their damnation. Andsome 
are so engaged in a sinful party, that their companions will 
not give them leave to make so much question of the way 
that they are in ; and some will scarce take the Scripture 
for the rule by which they must try and be tried, but look 
more to custom, and the will of those in power over them. 
And most are unwilling to try, because they are unwilling 
to know the truth, and cannot endure to find themselves 
miserable, nor see the sin which they would not leave, nor 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 27 

see the duty which they love not to practise. And thus we 
cannot get them to try whether the things that we teach 
them be so. 

For want of this it is that men deceive themselves, and 
think their case to be safe when it is miserable, because 
they will not try it by the word. This makes them rage, 
and be confident in their folly (Prov.xiv. 16.), and laugh and 
sing at the brink of hell, and swim as merrily down the stream 
to the devouring gulf as if no evil were near them. This 
makes them in the depth of misery to have no pity on them- 
selves, and to do so little to escape it ; though they have 
time, and means, and help at hand, yet there are not hearts 
in them to make use of them ; yea, they run themselves dai- 
ly further on the score ; and all because we cannot get them 
to search the Scripture, and try whether sin be so small a 
matter, and whether this will not be bitterness in the end. 
Hence it is that they are so easily drawn by a temptation ; 
and that they dislike a holy life, and have base thoughts of 
them that are most diligent for salvation, and are most pre- 
cious in the eyes of God ; and that they can even deride the 
way that they should walk in (Prov. 1. 20. Psal. i. 2.), be- 
cause they will not search the Scripture, to see whatitsaith 
to these matters. The word is a light, and would do much 
to open their eyes, and win them over to God, if they would 
but come to it with a desire to know the truth. You think 
that the ungodly that are rich and great, are in a better con- 
dition than a godly man that is poor and despised. And 
why is this, but because you will not go into the sanctuary, 
and see in what a slippery place they stand, and what will 
be the end of these men ? Psal. lxxiii. 16, 17. 22. In a word, 
this is the undoing of millions of souls. They are all their 
lifetime out of the way to heaven, and yet will not be per- 
suaded to ask the way ; but they run on and wink, and put 
it to the venture. Many a thousand are gone out of the 
world, before they ever spent the quantity of one day in try- 
ing by the Scripture whether their state were good, and their 
way were right. Nay, let their teachers tell them that they 
must be sanctified and take another course, they will differ 
from their teachers though they be never so wise or learned; 
and they will contradict them, and not believe or regard 
them. And yet we cannot get them to come to us, and put 
the case to a trial, and let the Scripture be the judge. Would 



28 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

they but do this, they could never sure have such hard 
thoughts of their teachers, and be offended at their plainest, 
closest dealing. You would then say, ' I see now the mi- 
nister says not this of himself, he speaks but that which 
God commandeth him ; and if he would not deliver the mes- 
sage of the Lord, he were unworthy and unfit to be his am- 
bassador. He were cruel to me if he would not pull me out 
of the fire, by the plainest, closest means ;' Jude 23. • He 
hated me if he would not rebuke me, but suffer sin upon 
me ;' Lev. xix. 17. ' If he would please men he should not 
be the servant of Christ ;' Gal. i. 10. ' I know it is no plea- 
sure to him to trouble me, or to provoke me ; but it would 
be his own destruction if he tell me not of my danger,' 
Ezek. iii. 18. ' And I have no reason to wish him to damn 
his own soul, and suffer me to do the like by mine ; and all 
for fear of displeasing me in my sin.' These would be your 
thoughts if you would but try our words by the Scripture, 
and see whether we speak not the mind of God. 

And sure it would go somewhat deeper in your hearts, 
and it would stick by you, and be more before your eyes, 
when you once understood that it is the word of God. 

This then is my request to you, sirs, that the work of 
your conversion may not miscarry, that you would carry all 
that you hear to the Scripture, and search there, and see 
whether it be so or not, that so you may be put out of doubt, 
and may be at a certainty, and not stand wavering ; and that 
your faith may be resolved into the authority of God, and so 
the work may be divine, and consequently powerful and pre- 
vailing, when the ground and motive are divine. If you be 
not satisfied in the doctrine which the minister delivereth to 
you, first search the Scripture yourselves ; and if that will 
not do, go to him, and desire him to shew you his grounds 
for it in the word of God, and join with you in prayer for a 
right understanding of it. Do you question whether there 
be so severe a judgment, and a heaven, and a hell, as minis- 
ters tell you ? Search the Scripture, in Matt. xxv. and 2 
i. 8 — 10. John v. 29. Matt. xiii. Do you question whe- 
ther a man may not be saved without conversion, regenera- 
tion, and holiness ? Open your Bibles, and see what God 
saith, John iii. 3. 6. Matt, xviii. 3. 2 Cor. v. 17. Rom. 
viii. 9. Heb. xii. 14. Do you think a man may be saved 
without knowledge? Let Scripture judge; 2 Cor. iv. 3,4. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. "29 

John xvii. 3. Hos. iv. 6. Do you think a man may be sa- 
ved that doth as the most do, and goeth in the common way 
of the world? Search the Scripture and see; Matt. vii. 13. 
xx. 16. xxii. 14. Luke xii. 32. Do you think an unhum- 
bled soul maybe saved, that never was contrite and broken- 
hearted for sin? Try by Isa. lvii. 15. lxvi.2. Psal. li. 17. 
Luke iv. 18. Matt. xi. 28. Do you think a man can be the 
servant of God, that liveth a fleshly life, and will keep his 
sin ? Try by Rom. viii. 13. John iii. 12. Ephes. v. 5, 6. 
1 John iii. 9, 10. Do you doubt whether it be necessary to 
make so much ado to be saved, and to be so strict, and make 
religion our chiefest business? Try by Psal. i. 1 — 3. 1 
Pet. iv. 18. Heb.xii. 14. Luke x. 42. Luke xiii. 24. Eph. 
v. 15, 16. Do you think a man can be saved that is a world- 
ling, whose heart is more on earth than heaven ? Try by 1 
John ii. 15. Phil. iii. 19. Col. iii. 1. Luke xiv. 26. 33. 
Do you doubt whether you should serve God with your fa- 
milies, and instruct them, and pray with them ? Try by Jos. 
xxiv. 15. Deut. vi. 6, 7. Dan. vi. 10, 11. Exod. xx. 10. 

Thus if you will in all these weighty matters but go to 
the Scriptures, and see whether it say as your teachers say, 
you might soon be resolved, and that by the surest authority 
in the world. If you think that your ministers may be de- 
ceived, I hope you will confess that God cannot be deceived. 
If you think that your ministers are passionate, or self-con- 
ceited, or speak out of ill-will to you, I hope you dare not 
say so by the Lord ; he owes you no ill-will, nor speaks a 
word but what is most sure. If you think us partial, sure 
God is impartial. What better judge can you have now, 
than he that is infallible, and must judge you all at the last? 
If any Papist put it into your head to ask, ' Who shall be 
judge of the sense of Scripture?' I answer, Who shall be 
judge of the Judge of all the world ? The law is made to 
judge you, and not to be judged by you. None can be the 
proper judges of the sense ofalawbut the maker of it; 
though others must judge their cases by the law. Your 
work is to discern it, and understand and obey it ; and our 
work is to help you to understand it ; but it is neither our 
work nor yours to be the proper, or absolute judges of it. At 
least where it speaks plain it needs no judge. 

Come then to the word in meekness and humility, with a 
teachable frame of spirit, and a willingness to know the 



,30 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

truth, and a resolution to stand to it, and yield to what shall 
be revealed to you, and beg of God to shew you his will, and 
lead you into the truth ; and you will find that he will be 
found of them that seek him. 

Direct. III. If you would not have the work of your con- 
version miscarry, my next advice is this : 

' See that you be much in the serious consideration of 
the truths which you understand, betwixt God and you in 
secret." 

I have often spoken of this heretofore ; but because I ap- 
prehend it to be a work of exceeding great concernment, I 
shall be longer on it again than on the rest. 

The greatest matters in the world will not work much 
upon him that will not think of them. Consideration opens 
the ear that was stopped, and the heart that was shut up ; it 
sets the powers of the soul at work, and awakeneth it from 
the sleep of incogitancy and security. The thoughts are the 
first actings of the soul, that set at work the rest. Thinking 
on the matters that must make us wise, and do the work of 
God on the heart, is that which lieth on us to do in order to 
our conversion. By Consideration a sinner makes use of 
the truth, which before lay by, and therefore could do no- 
thing. By Consideration he taketh in the medicine to his 
soul, which before stood by, and could not work. By Con- 
sideration a man makes use of his reason, which before was 
laid asleep, and therefore could not do its work. When the 
master is from home, the scholars will be at play. When 
the coachman is asleep, the horses may miss the way, and 
possibly break his neck and their own. If the ploughman 
go his way, the oxen will stand still, or make but bad, un- 
handsome work. So when reason is laid asleep, and out of 
the way, what may not appetite do ? and what may not the 
passions do? and what may not temptations do with the 
soul? A wise man, when he is asleep, hath as little use of 
his wisdom as a fool. A learned man when he is asleep can 
hardly dispute with an unlearned man that is awake. A 
strong man that is never so skilful at his weapons, is scarce 
able in his sleep to deal with the weakest child that is awake. 
Why all the powers of your soul are, as it were, asleep, till 
Consideration awake them, and set them on work. And 
what the better are you for being men, and having reason, if 
you have not the use of your reason when you need it ? As 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. .31 

men are inconsiderate because they are wicked, so are they 
the more wicked because they are inconsiderate. The keen- 
est sword, the greatest cannon, will do no execution against 
an enemy, while they lie by and are not used. There is a 
mighty power in the word of God, and the example of Christ, 
to pull down strong holds, and conquer the strongest lusts 
and corruptions. But they will not do this while they are 
forgotten and neglected. Will heaven entice the man that 
thinks not of it ? Will hell deter the man that thinks not of 
it? Why is it that all the reasoning in the world will do no 
more good on a man that is deaf, than if you said nothing? 
but because the passage to his thoughts and understanding 
is stopt up. And if you have eyes and see not, and ears and 
hear not, and wilfully cast it out of your thoughts, what good 
can any thing do to you that is spoken ? It is not holding 
your mouth that will nourish you, if you will not let it down : 
not taking it into your stomach, if you will not keep it, but 
presently cast it up again ; butitmustbe kept till it be digest- 
ed and distributed. So it is not the most excellent truths in the 
world that will change your hearts, if you let them not down 
to your hearts, and keep them not there by meditation, till 
they are digested and turned into spiritual life. The plaster 
must be laid upon the sore if you would be cured. The 
wound and sickness is at your heart; and if you will not 
take in the word to your heart, where the sickness is, I know 
not how you should expect a cure. The soul will not be 
charmed into holiness by the bare hearing or saying over a 
few good words ; as wizards use to cure diseases, or seem to 
cure them. It must be truth at the heart that must change 
the heart. And if you will not think on it, and think on it 
again, how can you expect it should come at your hearts ? 

You say you would gladly have Christ and grace, and are 
ready to lay the blame on God, because he doth not give it 
you, and say, ' We cannot convert ourselves :' but would you 
have the Spirit come in, while you hold the door against him? 
He knocks, and desireth you to open and let him in, and you 
wish him to come in ; but you bolt the door, and no entrea- 
ty will procure you to open it. It is Consideration of the 
saving doctrine of the Gospel that openeth the heart, and 
giveth it entertainment. Set yourselves therefore on pur- 
pose to this work, and open the doors of your heart which 
.are now shut, and let the King of glory come in. Who will 



32 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

believe that you love the light, when you shut the windows, 
and draw the curtains ? If you will set yourselves to consi- 
der of the truth, the windows of your soul will be set open, 
and then the light will certainly come in. Now you read 
over whole chapters, and hear sermon after sermon, and 
either they never stir you, or at least it is but a little for a fit, 
like a man that hath a little warmed him at the fire in the 
winter, and when he goes from it, is colder than before : but 
if you would but set yourselves to consider of what you hear 
and read, one line of a chapter, or one sentence of a sermon 
would lay you in tears, or make you groan, or at least do 
more than now is done. Satan hath garrisoned the heart of 
every carnal man : and Consideration is the principal means 
to cast him out. If by considering of the terrible threaten- 
ings of the word, you would discharge these cannons of God 
against them, what a battery would it make in the corrup- 
tions of your souls ! Our God is a consuming fire, and the 
fire of hell is threatened in his law, as the wages of sin : by 
serious Consideration you may as it were, fetch fire from God 
and from his word, and set fire to the very gates of satan's 
garrison, and fire him out of many of his holds. 

But because this is so needful a point, I shall be so large 
upon it, as, i. To tell you some of those things that you 
should consider of. 11. To tell you in what manner you should 
do it. And, in. To give you some motives to put you on. 

i. The first thing that I would have you oft to think on, 
is, The nature of that God with whom ye have to do. Con- 
sider, that if he be the most wise, it is all the reason in the 
world that he should rule you. If he be good, and infinite- 
ly good, there is all the reason in the world that you should 
love him ; and there is no shew of reason that you should 
love the world or sin before him. If he be faithful and true, 
his threatenings must be feared, and his promises must not 
be distrusted ; and there is no reason that you should make 
any question of his word. If he be holy, then holiness must 
needs be most excellent, and those that are the holiest must 
needs be the best, because they are like to God ; and then 
he must be an enemy to sin, and to all thac are unholy, be- 
cause they are contrary to his nature. Consider that he is 
almighty, and there is no resisting him, or standing out 
against him ; in the twink of an eye can he snatch thy guil- 
ty soul from thy body, and cast it where sin is better known. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 33 

A word of his mouth can set all the world against thee, and 
set thine own conscience against thee too; a frown of his 
face can turn thee into hell ; and if he be thine enemy, it is 
no matter who is thy friend ; for all the world cannot save 
thee, if he do but condemn thee. They are blessed whom 
he blesseth, and they are cursed indeed whom he curseth. 
He was from eternity, and thou art but as it were of yester- 
day : thy being is from him ; thy life is always in his hands, 
thou canst not live an hour without him, thou canst not fetch 
a breath without him, nor think a thought, nor speak a word, 
nor stir a foot or hand without him; thou mayst better live 
without bread, or drink, or fire, or air, or earth, or water, 
than without him. All the world is before him, but as the 
drop of a bucket, or a little sand or dust that should be laid 
in balance with all the earth. Hadst thou but compassed 
about this lower world, and seen all the nations of it, and its 
wonderful furniture, and seen the great deeps of the mighty 
ocean, and the abundance of creatures in them all : O what 
thoughts then wouldst thou have of God ! But if thou hadst 
been above the stars, and seen the sun in all its glory, and 
seen the frame and course of those higher orbs, and seen the 
blessed, glorious angels, and all the inhabitants of the 
higher world, O then what thoughts of God wouldst thou en- 
tertain ! O but if it were possible that thou hadst seen his 
glory, or seen but his back parts as Moses did, or seen him 
in Christ the now glorified Redeemer, what apprehensions 
wouldst thou have of him then ! Then how wouldst thou 
abhor the name of sin, and how weary wouldst thou be of the 
pleasantest life that sensuality could afford thee ! Then 
thou wouldst quickly know that no love can be great enough, 
and no praises can be high enough, and no service can be 
holy and good enough for such a God : then you would 
soon know, that this is not a God to be neglected, or dallied 
with ; nor a God to be resisted, nor provoked by the wilful 
breaking of his laws. It is eternal life to know this God 
(John xvii. 3.), and for want of knowing him it is, that sin 
aboundeth in the world. This maketh holiness so scarce 
and lean : men worship they care not how, because they wor- 
ship they know not whom. O therefore dwell on the medi- 
tations of the Almighty. So far as he doth possess thy 
mind, there will be no place for sin and vanity. One would 
think if I should set you no further task, and tell you of no 

VOL. VIII. d 



34 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

other matters for meditation, this one should be enough ; 
for this one is in a manner all. What will not the due know- 
ledge of God do upon the soul? That is the best Christian, 
and the most happy man that knoweth most of him ; and 
that is the most vile and miserable wretch that is furthest 
from him, and strangest to him ; it is the character of the 
fool of fools, to have an heart whose disposition and prac- 
tice saith, " There is no God f Psalm xiv. 1. that is, to be 
so affected and employed in their hearts, as if there were no 
God, and when God is not in all his thoughts ; Psalm x. 4. 
It was better with man when he had less knowledge for him- 
self, and fewer thoughts for himself, and more of God. And 
there is no way to restore us to sound understanding, and to 
perfect our knowledge, but to turn our eye upon God ag ain ; 
for in knowing him, we know all that is worth the knowing. 
Take hold then of the blessed God in thy meditations, and 
fill thy thoughts with him, and dwell upon those thoughts. 
Remember he is always with thee, and wherever thou art, or 
whatever thou art doing, most certainly he seeth thee. As 
sure as thou art there, the Lord is there. He knows thy 
thoughts, he hears thy words, he sees all thy ways. And is 
such a God as this to be provoked or despised ? Were it 
not better to provoke and despise all the world ? Is his fa- 
vour to be slighted ? Were it not better to lose the favour 
of all the world ? Consider of this ! 

2. Another thing that I would have you oft think of, is, 
What end you were made for, and what business it is 
that you came for into the world. You may well think 
that God made you not in vain ; and that he made you 
for no lower end, than for himself; and that he would 
never have made you, nor so long preserved you, if he 
had not cared what you do. He would never have en- 
dued you with a reasonable and immortal soul, but for 
some high, and noble, and immortal end. Surely it was 
that you might be happy in knowing him, that he made you 
capable of knowing him; for he made nothing in vain. It 
is useful for a horse to know his pasture, and provender, and 
work, and perhaps his master ; but he need not know whe- 
ther there be a God ; and accordingly he is qualified. But 
it is sure man's chief concernment to know that there is a 
God, and what he is, and how to serve him, and what he is 
and will be to us ; or else we should never have been capa- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 35 

ble of such things. And he would never have made you ca- 
pable of loving him, but that you should be exercised and 
made happy in that love. The frame, and faculties, and ca- 
pacity of your souls, and the scope of Scripture, do all de- 
clare, that you were sent into this world, to seek after God, 
and to love him, and obey him, and rejoice in him in your 
measure ; and to prepare for a life of nearer communion, 
where you may enjoy him and praise him in the highest per- 
fection. Consider with yourselves, whether a life of sin be 
that which you were made for ; or whether God sent you 
hither to break his laws, and follow your own lusts. And 
whether the satisfying of your flesh, and the gathering a lit- 
tle worldly wealth, and the feathering of a nest which you 
must so quickly leave, be like to be the business that you 
were sent about into the world. 

3. The next thing that I would have you consider of, is, 
How you have answered the ends of your creation, and how you 
have done the business that you came into the world to do. 
Look back upon the drift of your hearts and lives ; read over 
the most ancient records of your consciences, and see what 
you have been, and what you have been doing in the world 
till now. Have you spent your days in seeking after God, 
and your estates and strength in faithful serving him ? Have 
you lived all this time in the admiration of his excellencies, 
and the fervent love of him, and delightful remembrance of 
him, and the zealous worship of him? If you have done 
this, you had not need of a conversion. But consider, have 
you not forgotten what business you had in the world, and 
little minded the world that you should have prepared for, 
and lived as if you knew not him that made you, or why he 
made you ? Was sport and merriment the end that you were 
created for? Was ease and idleness, or eating, or drinking, 
or vain discourses, or recreation, the business that you came 
into the world about ? Was living to the flesh, and scraping 
up riches, or gaping after the esteem of men, the work that 
God sent you hither to do ? Was this it that he preserved 
you for, and daily gave you in provision for? What, was it 
to forget him, and slight him, and turn him out of your 
hearts, and rob him of his service and honour ; and to set 
up your flesh in his stead, and give that to it, that was due 
to him ? Bethink you what you have done, and whether you 
have done the work that you were sent to do, or not. 



36 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

4. The next thing you should use to consider of, is, How 
grievously you have sinned, and what a case it is that your 
sin hath brought you into. If you take but an impartial 
view of your lives, you may see how far you have missed your 
marks, and how far you have been from what you should 
have been ; and how little you have done of that which was 
your business. And O what abundance of aggravations 
have your sins ! which I shall pass over now, because I must 
mention them under another head. It is not only some ac- 
tually out-breakings against the bent of your heart and life, 
but your very heart was false and gone from God, and set 
in you to do evil. 

O the time that you have lost ; the means and helps that 
you have neglected ; the motions that you have resisted ; the 
swarms of evil thoughts that have filled your imaginations ; 
the streams of vain and idle words that have flowed from 
your mouth ; the works of darkness, in public and in secret, 
that God hath seen you in ! And all this while, how empty 
were you in inward holiness, and how barren of good works, 
to God or man ? What have you done with all your talents, 
and how little or nothing hath God had of all! 

And now consider what a case you are in, while you re- 
main unconverted. You have made yourselves the sinks of 
sin, the slaves of satan, and the flesh ; and are skilful in no- 
thing but doing evil ; if you be called to prayer or holy me- 
ditation, your hearts are against it, and you are not used to 
it, and therefore you know not how to do it to any purpose : 
but to think the thoughts of lust, or covetousness, or hatred, 
or malice, or revenge, this you can do without any toil. To 
speak oiUlie world, or of your sports and pleasures, or against 
those that you bear ill will to, this you can do without any 
study. You are such as are spoken of, Jer. iv. 22. "My 
people is foolish, they have not known me : they are sottish 
children, and they have no understanding : they are wise to 
do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." You are 
grown strangers to the God that made you, in whose love 
and service you should live and find your chief delights. 
Your hearts are hardened, and you are dead in your sins : 
the guilt of the sins of your lives are still upon you: you 
can neither look into your hearts and lives, no, not on one 
day of your lives, or the best hour that you have spent, but 
you must see the ugly face of sin, which deserveth condem- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 37 

nation. You have made God your enemy, that should have 
been your only felicity : and yet you are always at his mer- 
cy, and in his hands. Little do you know how long his pa- 
tience will yet endure to you ; or what hour he will call 
away your souls : and if death come, alas, what a case will 
it find you in ! How lamentably unready are you to meet 
him ! How unready to appear before the dreadful God whom 
you have offended ! and what a terrible appearance do you 
think that will be to you ! Most certainly if you die before 
you are converted, you will not be from among the devils 
and damned souls an hour. The law hath cursed you alrea- 
dy, and the execution will be answerable, if you die in your 
sins. And thus you may see the gain of sin, and what it is 
that you have been doing all this while for your own souls ; 
and what a case it is that you have brought yourselves into ; 
and what need you have speedily to look about you. 

5. The next step of your Consideration should be this ; 
Bethink yourselves what a blessed condition you might be 
in, if by conversion you were but recovered from this misery, 
and brought home to God. This moved the heart of the 
prodigal son to return ; Luke xv. 16, 17. " When he came 
to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father's 
have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger?" 
He that hath not husks to feed on with the swine, consi- 
dered the plenty that he had forsaken at home. The poor- 
est member of the household of Christ, is in a better condi- 
tion than the greatest king on earth, that is unconverted. 
You might have lived another kind of life than you have 
done, for safety, and benefit, and true content, if you would 
have turned your minds and life to God. Were you but 
converted, you would be the living members of Christ, and 
his precious benefits would be yours ; his blood would 
cleanse you from all your sins, and they would be all freely 
forgiven you ; God would be reconciled to you, and become 
your friend, yea, your Father and your God ; and will take 
you for his household servants, and adopted children : the 
Holy Ghost would dwell in you, and guide your understand- 
ings, and shew you that which flesh and blood cannot re- 
veal, and bring you into acquaintance with the mysteries of 
God : he will be a Spirit of light and life within you, and 
work your hearts yet more to God, and give you yet stron- 
ger inclinations and affections to the things above. He will 



38 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

help you when you are weak, and quicken you where you 
are dull, and be your remembrancer when you are forgetful 
of necessary things : he will help you in prayer, both for 
matter and for manner, and help you in meditation and con- 
ference, and other duties : he will warn you of your danger, 
and strengthen you against temptations, and cause you to 
overcome ; and if you fall, he will cause you to rise again : 
he will be an indwelling comforter to you, and so effectually 
speak peace to you in the midst of your disquietness, that 
by speaking it, he will create it in you : and in the multi- 
tude of your thoughts within you, his comforts will delight 
your souls. O what a life might you live, if Christ by his 
Spirit did once live in you ! You may easily conjecture 
how tender Christ would be of his own members, how dearly 
he would love them, how constantly he would watch over 
them, how plentifully he would provide for them, and how 
safely he would preserve them. And if you should come 
into a rougher way, he would lead you out : afflictions should 
never be laid on you but for your good ; and continue no 
longer than your need continueth them, and be taken off 
at last to your satisfaction and contentment. Indeed your 
life would be a life of mercies ; and that which is but a com- 
mon mercy to common men would be a special mercy to 
you, as coming from your Father's love, and furthering your 
salvation, and hinting out to you your everlasting mercies. 
You could not open your eyes, but you would see that which 
may encourage and comfort you ; all the works of God 
which you behold, would shew you his majesty, his love, 
and power, and lead you to himself. You could not open 
your Bible, but you would find in it the blessed lines of love : 
O what good it would do you, to read there the blessed at- 
tributes of your God ! to look upon his name ! to peruse the 
description of his most perfect nature ! What good would 
it do you to read of the nature, and incarnation, and life, and 
death, and resurrection, and ascension, and intercession, and 
return of your blessed Redeemer ? What good would it do 
you to find those holy rules which your new nature is agree- 
able to, and to read over the law that is written in your 
hearts, and read the curse from which you are delivered 1 
What life and joy would your souls receive from the many, 
and full, and free promises of grace ! Were you once but 
truly sanctified and made new, your condition would be 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 39 

often comfortable, but always safe ; and when you were in 
the greatest fears and perplexities, you would still be fast in 
the arms of Christ : and what a life would that be, to have 
daily access to God in prayer ; to have leave in all your 
wants and danger, to seek to him with a promise of hearing 
and success ; that you may be sure of much more from him, 
than a child can from the tenderest father, or a wife from the 
most loving husband upon the earth. What a life would it 
be, when you may always think on God as your felicity, and 
fetch your highest delights from him, from whom the un- 
godly have their greatest terrors ? And it is no contempti- 
ble part of your benefits that you may live among his peo- 
ple, and in their special love, and have a special communion 
with them, and interest in their prayers, and may possess 
among them the privileges of the saints and the ordinances 
of God: that instead of idle talk, and the unprofitable fel- 
lowship of the children and works of darkness, you may 
join with the church of God in his praises, and feed with 
them at his table, on the body and blood of Christ, and then 
have conveyances of renewed grace and a renewed pardon 
sealed to your souls ; but how long should I stay, if I should 
tell you but one half of the blessing of a sanctified and spi- 
ritual state ? In a word, God would be yours, Christ would 
be yours, the Holy Ghost would be yours, all things would 
be yours; the whole world would have some relation to 
your welfare ; devils would be subdued to you, and cast out 
of your souls ; sin would be both pardoned and overcome ; 
angels would be ministering spirits unto you for your good ; 
the promises of Scripture would be yours ; and everlasting 
glory would at last be yours ; and while you staid on earth, 
you might comfort yourselves as oft as you would, with the 
believing foresight of that inconceivable, unspeakable, 
endless felicity. 

O sirs, what a treasure have I here expressed in a few 
words ! What hearts would you have if you were but pos- 
sessed, lively and sensible of all that is contained in this leaf 
or two ! You would not envy the greatest prince on earth his 
glory, nor change states with any man that was a stranger 
to these things. Did you but use to consider of the state of 
the saints ; how could you keep off, and stay with sin, and 
make so many delays in turning unto God ! Sure this con- 
sideration might turn the scales. 



40 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

6. The next part of your meditation should be, Of the 
gracious and wonderful work of our redemption, and the 
means and remedies which are provided for your souls, and 
the terms on which salvation may be obtained. 

For all the sins that you have committed, you are not 
given over to despair ; the Lord hath not left you without 
a remedy : your conversion and salvation is not a thing im- 
possible. Nay, so much is done by Christ already, that it 
is brought upon reasonable terms even to your hands. A 
new and living way is consecrated for us by Christ through 
the veil of his flesh, and by his blood we may have boldness 
to enter into the holiest ; Heb. x. 19, 20. He hath borne 
your burden ; and offereth you instead of it his burden, which 
is light ; Matt. xi. 28. He hath removed the impossibility 
and nailed to his cross the hand writing that was against 
you ; Col. ii. 14, 15. And instead of it offereth you his 
easy yoke. He hath spoiled the principalities and powers 
that had captivated you, and openly triumphed over them 
on the cross. You are not left under the care of making satis - 
faction to God for your own sins; but only of accepting the 
Redeemer that hath satisfied. This much I dare confidently 
say to you all, without extending his benefits too far. It 
would be for want of faith in you, and not for want of satis- 
faction by the Redeemer, if any of you perish. And how 
free are his offers ! How full are his promises ! You are 
conditionally all pardoned and justified already, as is legible 
under the hand of God. And the condition which is im- 
posed on you is not some meritorious or mercenary work, 
but the accepting of the benefit freely given, according to 
its nature, use, and ends. This is the faith by which you 
must be justified. These are the terms on which you may 
be saved. And which is more, the Lord hath provided means, 
even excellent, and plentiful, and powerful means, for the 
furthering of your souls in the performance of this condition, 
and helping you to believe, and repent, that you may live : 
and if the Spirit make not these means effectual, and adjoin 
not his special grace, and after this you remain unconverted, 
it will not be long of him, but of yourselves. So that you 
may perceive how hopeful a case you are yet in, by the blood 
of your Redeemer. If you destroy not your own hopes, and 
make not your case desperate by wilful impenitency, and 
refusal of free grace, how fair are you yet for heaven ! and 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 41 

what happy advantages have you for salvation ! It is 
brought even to your doors ; it is thrust as it were into your 
hands ; the Redeemer hath done so much for you all, as to 
bring your salvation to the choice of your own wills ; and if 
you be his chosen ones, he will also make you willing. You 
have precepts to believe, you are threatened if you will not 
believe ; you have promise upon promise, and Christ him- 
self offereth you pardon, and life, and salvation with him, if 
you are but truly and heartily willing. You have God him- 
self condescending to beseech you to accept them ; and am- 
bassadors entreating you in his name and stead ; 2 Cor. v. 
19, 20. You have ordinances fitted to your necessities ; 
both reading, and preaching, and sacraments, and prayer. 
You have store of plain and powerful books; you have the 
godly about you, most desirous to assist you, that would be 
glad to see or hear of your conversion ; you have the sight 
of the wicked, that are wallowing in their own dung, and the 
dirt of the world, to make you hate such beastly ways. You 
have reason and conscience within you to consider of these 
matters, and set them home, and apply them to yourselves ; 
you have time and strength to do all this, if you will not 
abuse it, and provoke God to take it from you for your neg- 
ligence. You have mercies of many sorts, outward and in- 
ward, to win upon you, and encourage you in the work. 
And sometimes afflictions to remember you, and awaken 
you, and spur you on ; the devil and all your enemies are so 
far disabled, that they cannot destroy you against your wills, 
nor keep you from Christ, but by your own consents. The 
angels in heaven are ready to help you, and would even re- 
joice at your conversion. This is your case, and these are 
your helps, and encouragements, you are not shut up under 
desperation. God never told you, ' It is in vain to think of 
conversion ; it is too late :' if any have told you so, it was 
the devil, and not God ; and one would think that such con- 
siderations as these should drive the nail to the head, and 
be effectual to move you to resolve and turn. 

7. The last thing that I would set before you to be con- 
sidered, is, What is like to be the end of it, if after all this 
you should die unconverted. 

O sirs, your hearts are not able now to conceive of it, 
nor the tongue of any mortal man to utter it. But so much 
of it we can certainly utter, as one would think should make 



42 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

your hearts to tremble. You have seen, it may be, a dying 
man, in what pangs and agonies he parteth with his soul : 
and you have seen, it is like, the corps that was left there 
behind, and seen it laid in the common earth. But you see 
not what became of the soul, nor what an appearance it made 
in another world, nor what company did attend it, nor what 
a place or state it passed into. O sirs, when the hour is at 
hand that this must be your own case, it will awaken you to 
other kind of affections, than you have or can have at the 
reading of these words. It is wonderful that a little distance 
should make us so insensible of that change which we are 
all certain will come to pass ; and yet through the folly and 
deadness of our hearts it is so ; but they are other kind of 
thoughts of these weighty matters, which we shall have the 
next hour after death, than the most lively affections before- 
hand can afford us. 

The misery was great that the Redeemer did find you in, 
and which you deserved by your sin against the law of the 
Creator. But if you be found unconverted at last, your pu- 
nishment will be much sorer, and your case far worse than 
it was before. The Redeemer's law or Gospel hath its pe- 
culiar threatening, which differeth from the law of the mere 
Creator in several respects; even (1.) In the nature of the 
punishment, which will be torments of conscience for the 
neglect of a Redeemer, and recovering grace, which you 
should never have felt if you had never been redeemed. (2.) 
And in the degree of the punishment, which will be far 
sorer; Heb. x. 29. And (3.) In the remedilessness of it, 
the sentence being irreversible and peremptory. The first 
law indeed provided no remedy, but did not exclude remedy, 
nor make it impossible ; but the law of Christ doth posi- 
tively and expressly exclude all remedy, and leave the soul 
that goeth unconverted out of the body, to utter desperation, 
and misery without help or hope of the end. But I shall 
not stand now to describe to you the terrors of judgment or 
of hell, because I have done it already in other books, which 
I desire you to fetch the rest of this meditation from ; that 
is, my " Treatise of Judgment," and the beginning of my 
third part of my " Book of Rest." 

ii. Having told you what should be the matter of your 
Consideration, I shall next tell you (but briefly) in what 
manner you should perform it. And here I shall not stand 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 43 

to prescribe you any long or exact method for meditation, 
both because it agreeth not with my present resolved bre- 
vity, and because the persons that I now deal with, are not 
capable of observing such rules ; and if any desire suchhelps, 
they may transfer the directions which are given on another 
subject in my " Book of Rest," to the subject now in hand. 

1. Do not stay till such thoughts will come of themselves 
into your minds, but set yourselves purposely to consider 
of these matters. Take some time to call your souls to an 
account concerning their present state, and their prepara- 
tions for eternity. If a heathen Seneca could call himself 
every night to an account for the evil committed, and the 
good omitted in the day past, as he professeth that he ordi- 
narily did ; why may not even an unconverted man that hath 
the helps which are now among us, bethink himself of the 
state of his soul ? But I know that a carnal heart is exceed- 
ing backward to serious consideration, and is loath to be 
troubled with such thoughts as these ; and the devil will do 
what he can to hinder it, by himself and others ; but yet if 
men would but do what they may do, it might be better with 
them than it is. Will you but now and then purposely with- 
draw yourselves from company into some secret place, and 
there set the Lord before your eyes, and call your souls to a 
strict account about the matters that I have mentioned even 
now, and make it your business to exercise your reason upon 
them ; and as you purposely go to church to hear, so pur- 
posely set yourselves to this duty of Consideration as a ne- 
cessary thing ? 

2. When you are upon it, labour to awaken your souls, 
and to be very serious in all yourthoughts ; and do not think 
of the matters of salvation, as you would do of an ordinary 
trivial business, which you do not much regard or care how 
it goes. But remember that your life lieth on it, even your 
everlasting life ; and therefore call up the most earnest of 
your thoughts, and rouse up all the powers of your souls, 
and suffer them not to draw back, but commancUheui to the 
work ; and then set the seven points that I mentioned even 
now before you ; and as you think of them, labour to be af- 
fected with them, in some measure according to their ex- 
ceeding weight. As Moses said to Israel ; Deut. xxxii.46. 
" Set your hearts to all the words which I testify among you 
this day ; which you shall command your children to do," 



44 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

&c. For it is not a vain thing for you ; because it is your 
life. And as Christ said, Luke ix. 44. " Let these sayings 
sink into your ears ;" so I say to you, let the matters which 
you think of go to your hearts, and sink down to the quick 
of your affections. 

And if your hearts would slip away from the work, and 
other thoughts would creep into your mind, and you are 
weary of these considerations before they have done their 
work, see that you give not way to this laziness, or unwil- 
lingness, but remember it is a work that must be done, and 
therefore hold your thoughts upon it, till your hearts are 
stirred and warmed within you. 

And if after all, you cannot awake them to seriousness 
and sensibility, put two or three such awakening questions 
as these to yourselves. 

1. Quest. What if it were but the case of my body, or 
state, or name, should I not earnestly consider of it ? If one 
do but wrong me, how easily can I think of it, and how ten- 
derly do I feel it, and can scarce forget it. If my good name 
be blemished, and I be but disgraced, I can think of it night 
and day. If I lose but a beast, or have any cross in the 
world, or decay in my estate, I can think of it with sensi- 
bility. If I lose a child or a friend, I can feel it as well as 
think on it. If my health be decayed, and my life in dan- 
ger, I am in good earnest in thinking of this. And should 
I not be as serious in the matters of everlasting life ? Should 
I not think of it, and soberly and earnestly think on it, when 
body and soul do lie at the stake, and when it concerneth 
my everlasting joy or torment? 

2. Quest. What if I had but heard the Son of God him- 
self calling on me to repent, and be converted, and second- 
ing his commands with that earnest expression, " He that 
hath an ear to hear, let him hear ;" would it not have brought 
me to some serious thoughts of my state ? Why this he hath 
done in his word, and doth it by his ambassadors, and why 
then should I not consider it ? 

3. Quest. If I did but know that death were at my back, 
and ready to arrest me, and that I should be in another world 
before this day sevennight, I should then begin to bethink 
me in good sadness : and why do I not so now, when I have 
no hold of my life an hour, and when I am sure that shortly 
that time will come ? 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 45 

4. Quest. If my eyes were but open to see that which I 
pretend to believe, and which is certainly true ; even to see 
a glimpse of the majesty of the Lord, to see the saints in joy 
and glory, to see the damned souls in misery ; and if I heard 
their lamentations ; would not this even force my heart to 
Consideration? O then how earnestly should I think of 
these things ? And why should I not do so now, when they 
are as sure as if I saw them, and when I must see them ere 
it be long? 

Many more such awakening questions are at hand, but I 
give you but these brief touches on the things that are most 
common and obvious, that the most ignorant may be able to 
make some use of them. With such thoughts as these, you 
must bring on your backward hearts, and shake them out of 
their insensibility, and awaken them to the work. 

in. When you have brought your hearts to be serious, 
be sure that you drive on your considerations to a resolu- 
tion. Break not off in the middle, or before you bring the 
matter to an issue ; but let all be done in order to practice. 
When you have been thinking of the excellencies of God and 
the world to come, and comparing them with all the delights 
on earth ; put the question then to your hearts, and say, 
'What sayst thou now, O my soul, which of these is the 
better for thee, which is the more desirable, and which of 
them shouldst thou prefer? Resolve then, and make thy 
choice according to the light and conviction which thou hast 
received.' When you are thinking of the reasons that 
should move you to be converted, ask yourselves, Whether 
these reasons be not clear, and what you have to say against 
them ; and whether any thing that can be said to the con- 
trary, can prove it better for you to be as you are, and to re- 
main unconverted. Ask yourselves, ' Is my judgment re- 
solved, or is it not? And if it be, (as sure it must be, if you 
be not beside yourselves) then write it down under your 
hands, or at least in your hearts, ' I do here confess before 
the Lord, that his commands are just, his motions are rea- 
sonable, his offers are exceeding merciful : I am satisfied 
that it is best for me to turn to him speedily, and with all 
my heart : I confess before him that I have no reason to the 
contrary, that deserves to be owned and called reason : this 
is my own judgment; of this I am convinced : if I turn not 
after this, the light that is in me, and the judgment that now 



46* DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

I possess, must needs be a witness against my soul.' If you 
would but thus drive on the case to a resolution of your 
judgments, you would have a great advantage for the resolv- 
ing of your wills, which is the next thing that you must pro- 
ceed to : and therefore next ask yourselves, ' Why should I 
not now resolve, and fixedly resolve to turn without any 
more delay ? Is not the case plain before me ? What rea- 
son have I to stand questioning the matter any longer, and 
to be unwilling to be happy? Shall I provoke God by dal- 
lying with him, and hazard my soul by lingering out my time 
in such a miserable state ? No, by the grace of God I will 
return ; even this hour, without any more delay.' Thus 
drive on all your considerations to resolution. (But of this 
I have more to say anon.) 

By this time you may see of what necessity this duty of 
Consideration is, and how it must be performed, that it may 
further your conversion : but because it is a matter of so 
great necessity, I am loath to leave it thus, till I have done 
what I can to persuade you to the practice of it. To which 
end I entreat you to think of these following motives. 

1. Consideration is a duty that you may perform if you 
will. You cannot say that is wholly out of your power ; so 
that you are left inexcusable, if you will not be persuaded to 
it. You say you cannot convert yourselves ; but cannot you 
set yourselves to consider of your ways, and bethink you of 
those truths that must be the instruments of your conver- 
sion ? Your thoughts are partly at the command of your 
will : you can turn them up and down from one thing to 
another. Even an unsanctified minister, that hath no saving 
relish of spiritual things, can think of them, and spend most 
of his time in thinking of them, that he may preach them to 
others : and why cannot you then turn your thoughts to 
them for yourselves ? You can think of house, and land, and 
friends, and trading, and of any thing that aileth you, or any 
thing that you want, or any thing that you love or think 
would do you good : and why cannot you think of your sin, 
and danger, of God, and of his word and works, of the state 
of your souls, and of everlasting life ? Are you not able to 
go sometimes by yourselves, and consider of these matters? 
Are you not able when you are alone in your beds, or as you 
travel in the way, or at your labour, to bethink how things 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 47 

stand with your souls? Why are you not able, what is it 
that could hinder you, if you were but willing? 

2. Yea further, Consideration is so cheap a remedy, that 
if you will not use this, you despise your souls : yea, and 
you despise the Lord himself, and the everlasting things 
which you are called to consider of. A man that is in dan- 
ger of losing his estate, or health, or life, and will not so 
much as bethink him of a remedy, doth sure set light by 
them, and lose them by his contempt. A man that hath had 
but his house on fire, and would not so much as think how 
to quench it, doth deserve that it should be burnt. If your 
parents, or children, or friends were in distress, if you would 
not so much as think of them, it were a sign you did not set 
much by them. Why, sirs, are not your souls worth the 
thinking on? Is not God, is not your Redeemer, worth the 
thinking on? And yet you will hypocritically pretend that you 
love God above all, when you will not so much as seriously 
think of him ; how can you shew greater contempt of any 
thing, than to cast it out of your minds as unworthy to be 
thought on? And how can you more plainly shew that you 
despise God and heaven, than by such a course as this ? If 
it be not worth the thinking on, it is worth nothing. 

3. Consider that God doth not set so light by your sal- 
vation. He thought it worth a great deal more : must Christ 
think it worth his bloody sufferings, and with such a life of 
labour and sorrow, and will not you judge it worth your se- 
rious considerations ? If he had not thought on it, and 
thought again, how miserable should we have remained ! 
Ministers also must think on it, and study how to save your 
souls. And should you not study how to save your own ? 
Must another man make it the business of his life to think 
how to do you good, that you may be saved, and are you not 
as much bound to do good to yourselves ? Yea, all that 
fear God about you, are bound to study to do you good ; and 
should you not bethink you then of the things that concern 
your own good ? 

4. Moreover, what have you your reason for, but to con- 
sider ; and wherein do you differ from the beasts, so much 
as in your reason ? If you have reason, and will not use it, 
you brutify yourselves ; you live like madmen ; for what is 
madness, but a loss of the use of reason ? And do you think 
it a small thing to deface so noble a creature as man, and to 



43 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

turn yourselves into beasts and madmen? Do you think 
that God will not call you to account for your reason, how 
you have used it? Doubtless he gave it you for a higher 
employment, than to enable you to plough, and sow, and 
follow your trades, and provide for your flesh. If this were 
all that a man did exceed a beast in, what a silly, wretched 
wight were man? Yea, so much more miserable than beasts, 
as his knowledge begets more care, and sorrow, and fear, 
than theirs. What matter is it for having reason at all, if it 
be not that we may use it for the matters of God, and eter- 
nal life ? 

5. Moreover, your soul is an active principle, which will 
be working one way or other ; your thoughts will be going 
on one thing or other; and therefore the bare consideration 
is no great labour to you. And if you must lay out your 
thoughts on something, is it not better lay them out on these 
things, than on any other? Have you any better matters 
to think on than these ? Have you any greater matters, or 
matters of greater necessity to think of? You cannot sure 
imagine it ; at least you will not say so for shame. This 
makes your inconsiderateness an inexcusable sin. If think- 
ing were toil to you, it were another matter. But when you 
must think of something, why not of God, and your eternal 
state, and the way to heaven, as well as of other matters ? 
Will you rather throw away your thoughts, than God shall 
have them ? If a man command his servant that is lame, to 
go on his business, the refuser hath a good excuse : ' I can- 
not go, or not without a great pain and danger:' but if he 
have a son or a servant that is so wanton that he cannot 
stand on his legs, but spends his time in running up and 
down, and dancing, and leaping, this person hath no excuse, 
if he will refuse to go on his master's or his father's errand ; 
but will gad about on his pleasure all day, and will not go a 
few steps when he is bidden ; especially if it were for his own 
life or welfare. So when you have thoughts that'will not be 
kept idle, but will be gadding abroad through the world, 
and yet you will not think of God, and the matters of your 
peace, what wilfulness is this ? If you should ask one that 
hath it not, for meat, or drink, or money, they might well 
deny you. But if you ask these, of one that hath abundance, 
and knows not what to do with them, but would throw them 
down the channel, rather than you should have them, what 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 49 

would you think of such an one? Especially if it were your 
servant or your child that owed you much more? Thus do 
you by God and your own souls. You have thoughts 
enough and to spare, you know not what to do with them ; 
and yet rather than you will spend one hour in a day or a 
week in serious thoughts of the state of your souls and the 
life to come, you will cast them away upon news, and tales, 
and other folk's business that do not concern you ; yea, you 
will cast them down the sink of covetousness, and malice, 
and lust, and wantonness, and make them servants to the 
devil and the flesh. If you have a brook running by your 
land, you will endeavour to turn it over your ground, that 
seeing it must run, it may as well run that way where it may 
do good, as run in vain : so when your thoughts must run, 
is it not better that you turn them to your own hearts, and 
states, to prepare for the world that you are ready to step 
into, than to let them run in vain ? If you see a man go in 
to a wine-cellar (though it be his own) and pull out all the 
spigots, and let all the wine run about the cellar, and suffer 
nobody to catch it, or be the better for it, what would you 
conceive of the wisdom or charity of that man? Your 
thoughts are a thing more precious than wine, and such a 
thing as should not be spilt ; and yet is not this your every 
day's practice? You are before him that knows your 
thoughts : deny it if you can. What hour of the day can a 
man come to you and find your thoughts altogether idle? 
What minute of an hour can a man come and ask you what 
are you now thinking on, and you can truly say, Nothing ? 
I know as long as you are awake, you are always thinking 
of somewhat (and perhaps when you are asleep) and what is 
it on ? This body shall have a thought, and that body a 
thought ; every word you hear, and every wrong that is done 
you, and almost every thing you look upon, shall have a 
thought ; and God and your own salvation shall have none ; 
that is, you will lose them, and let them run in waste ; but 
you will do no good with them, nor take in any profit by 
them to yourselves. 

6. Have you any thing that better deserves your consi- 
deration, than God and your salvation ? Certainly God hath 
more right to your thoughts than any thing else that you 
can place them on. Your flesh, your friends, your worldly 
business are neither so honourable, so necessary, or so pro- 

VOL. VIII. e 



50 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

fitable subjects, as God and heaven are. As there is more 
profit to be got by the tillage of fruitful land, than barren 
heath ; or by digging in a mine of gold, than in a clay-pit ; 
so is there more pleasure and profit to be gotten in one hour's 
serious thoughts of your salvation, than in thinking all your 
lifetime of the world. 

7. At least, methinks you should consider, how dispro- 
portionably and unequally you lay out your thoughts. Can- 
not you spare God the tenth ; no, nor the hundredth part of 
them ? Look back upon your lives, and trace your thoughts 
from day to day, and tell me how many hours in a week, in 
a month, in a year, you have spent in serious thoughts of the 
state of your souls, and of the life to come? Is it one hour 
of a hundred, of a thousand, of ten thousand, with some of 
you that is thus spent ? Nay, I have very great cause to 
fear that there are some, yea, that there are many, yea, that 
there is far the greatest number, that never spent one hour 
since they were born, in withdrawing themselves purposely 
from all other business, and soberly and in good sadness 
bethinking themselves what case they are in, what evidence 
they have of their salvation, or how they must be justified 
at the bar of God ; no, nor what business they have in the 
world, and to what end they were made, and how they have 
done the work that they were made for. Ah ! sirs, doth 
conscience justify you in this? Or rather will it not tor- 
ment you one day to remember it? What! did thy land, 
and livings, worldly matters deserve all thy thoughts, and 
did not the saving of thy soul deserve some of them? Did 
thy lusts, and sports, and wantonness deserve all? and did 
not God deserve some of them? Was it not worth now and 
then an hour's time, no, nor one hour's study in all thy life, 
to bethink thee in good sadness how to make sure of a life 
of endless joy or glory, and how to escape the flames of hell ? 
This is not an equal distribution of thy thoughts, as thou 
wilt confess at last in the horror of thy soul. 

8. It is the end of your present time and warnings, that 
you may consider and prepare for your everlasting state. 
What have you to do on earth but to consider how to get 
well to heaven? O that you did but know what a mercy it 
is, before you enter upon an endless life, to have but time to 
bethink you of it, and to make your election sure ! If you 
were to be called away suddenly, this night, and the angel of 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 51 

the Lord should say to any of you, ' Prepare, for within this 
hour thou must die, and appear before the living God :' then 
would you not cry out, 'O, not so suddenly Lord ! Let me 
have a little more time to consider of my condition : let me 
have one month longer, to bethink me of the case of my soul, 
and make sure that I am justified from the guilt of my sins. 
Let me haye one day more at least to prepare for my ever- 
lasting state ; for alas, I am yet unready.' Would not these 
be your cries, if God should call you presently away ? And 
yet now you have time, you will not consider of these mat- 
ters and prepare. 

9. Moreover, is it not time for you to consider your ways, 
when God doth consider them? If he would forget them, 
or did not regard them, you might regard them the less your- 
selves : but be sure of it, he doth observe them, whether 
you do or not ; and he remembereth them though you for- 
get them. Dost thou not know that all the sins of thy life 
are still on record before the Lord ? Saith Job, " Thou num- 
berest my steps ; dost thou not watch over my sin ? My 
transgresion is sealed up in a bag, and thou sowest up mine 
iniquity ;" Job xiv. 16, 17. Do you think that God forgets 
your sins, as you forget them ? Saith the Lord by the pro- 
phet Hosea, " They consider not in their hearts, that I re- 
member all their wickedness ; now their doings have beset 
them about, they are before my face ;" Hosea vii. 2. But 
you will say, What if God do consider our ways? why sure- 
ly then it is not for nothing, but evil is near if not prevented. 
As the Lord saith in Deut. xxxii. 34, 35. " Is not this laid up 
in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures ? To 
me belongeth vengeance, and recompence ; their foot shall 
slide in due time. For the day of their calamity is at hand, 
and the things that shall come upon them make haste." If 
God be registering up thy sins, thou hast cause to tremble, 
to think what that portends : " for in this hardness and im- 
penitency of thy heart, thou art treasuring up wrath, against 
the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment 
of God ; Rom.ii. 5. As grace is the seed of glory, so sin is 
the seed of shame, and trouble, and everlasting torment ; and 
though it may seem long before the harvest, you will taste 
the bitter fruit at last ; and whatsoever you have sowed, that 
shall you reap. 

10. Moreover, if any thing ailed you, you look that God 



52 DIRECTIONS* TO PREVENT 

should presently consider you : or if you want any thing, 
you think he should consider your wants : and yet will you 
not consider of him, and of your own wants ? When you are 
in trouble, you cry to God, " Have mercy upon me, O Lord, 
consider my trouble ;" Psal. ix. 33. " Consider and hear me, 
O God ;" Psal. xiii. 3. When you lie in pain and sickness, 
you will then cry to God, " Consider mine affliction, and de- 
liver me;" Psal. cxix. 153. If you be oppressed or abused, 
you will groan as the Israelites under their taskmasters, and 
perhaps cry to God, as the captive people, Lam. i. 1 1 . " See 
O Lord, consider ; for I am become vile : remember, O Lord, 
what is come upon us ; consider, and behold our reproach ; 
chap. v. 1. ii. 20. And must God consider of you, that 
will not consider of him, or your own souls? Or may you 
not rather expect that dreadful answer, which he gives to 
such regardless sinners ; Prov. i. 24 — 30. And hear your 
cries, as you hear his counsel ; and think of you, as you 
thought of him. 

Nay, more than so ; even while you forget him, the Lord 
doth daily consider you, and supply your wants, and save 
you from dangers ; and should you then cast him out of your 
thoughts ? If he did not think of you, you would quickly 
feel it to your cost and sorrow. 

11. Moreover, the nature of the matter is such, as one 
would think should force a reasonable creature to consider 
of it, and often and earnestly to consider. When all these 
things concur in the matter, he must be a block or a madman 
that will not consider, (1.) When they are the most excel- 
lent, or the greatest things in all the world. (2.) When 
they are our own matters, or nearly concern us. (3.) When 
they are the most necessary, and profitable, and delightful 
things. And (4.) When there is much difficulty in getting 
them, and danger of losing them. And all these go together 
in the matter of your salvation. 

(1.) If you will not think of God and your souls, of hea- 
ven and hell, what then will you think of? All other things 
in the world are but toys and jesting matters to these. 
Crowns and kingdoms, lands and lordships are but chaff, 
and baubles, dirt and dung, to these everlasting things. 
The acts of renowned kings and conquerors, are but as pup- 
pet-plays in comparison of 'the working out of your salva- 
tion. And yet will you not be drawn to the consideration 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 53 

of such astonishing things as these ? One would think that 
the exceeding greatness of the matter should force you to 
consider it whether you will or no. When smaller objects 
affect not the senses, yet greater will even force their way. 
He that hath so hard a skin that he cannot feel a feather, 
methinks should feel the weight of a millstone : and if he 
feel not the prick of a pin, methinks he should feel a dagger. 
He that cannot hear one whisper, methinks should hear a 
cannon, or a clap of thunder, if he have any such thing as 
hearing left him. He hath bad eyes that cannot see the sun. 
One would think so glorious an object as God, should so 
entice the eyes of men that they should not look off him. 
One would think that such matters as heaven and hell should 
follow thy thoughts which way soever thou goest, so that 
thou shouldst not be able to look besides them, or to think 
almost of any thing else, unless with great neglect and dis- 
esteem. O what a thing is a stony heart, that can forget 
not only the God that heliveth by, but also the place where 
he must live for ever? Yea, that will not be persuaded to 
the sober consideration of it for an hour. 

(2.) And as these are the greatest matters, so they are 
your own matters, and therefore one would think you should 
not need so much ado to bring you to consider them. If it 
were only other men's matters, I should not wonder at it. 
But self-love should make you regard your own. In out- 
ward matters, all seek their own things ; Phil. ii. 21. And 
have they not more reason to seek their own salvation ? It 
is your own souls, your own danger, your own sin, your own 
duty, that I persuade you to consider of. It is that God, 
that Christ, that would be your own ; it is that heaven, that 
blessedness, that may be your own, if you lose it not by neg- 
lect ; it is that hell, that torment, that will certainly be your 
own, if you prevent it not. And should not this be thought 
on ? You will think of your own goods, or lands, or riches ; 
of your own families, your own business, your own lives, 
and why not also of your own salvation ? 

(3.) Especially, when it is not only your own, but it is 
the " one thing needful ;" Luke x. 42. It is that which your 
life or death, your everlasting joy or torment lieth on; and 
therefore must be considered of, or you are utterly undone 
for ever. Necessity lieth upon you ; and woe be to you, if 
you consider not of these things. It is not so necessary 



54 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

that you eat, or drink, or sleep, or live, as it is necessary that 
you make sure your everlasting life. And the profit also 
doth answer the necessity. Buy but this one pearl, and you 
will be infinite gainers, though you sell all that you have in 
the world to buy it; Matt.xiii. 44—46. Get God, and get 
all : make sure of heaven, and then fear no loss, nor want, 
nor sorrow. If you count not all the world as dung for the 
winning of Christ, that you may be found in him, possessed 
of his righteousness, it is because you know neither the 
world nor Christ ; Phil. iii. 7—9. Yea, the delight will also 
answer the commodity ; for " in the presence of God is fulness 
of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore ; 
Psal. xvi. 1 1 . And the forethoughts of them may well make 
" glad our hearts, and cause our glory to rejoice;" Psal. 
xvi. 8, 9. " For goodness and mercy shall follow us all the 
days of our lives, and we shall dwell in the house of the 
Lord for ever ;" Psal. xxiii. 6. ' " He shall guide us with his 
counsel, and afterward receive us into glory ;" Psal. lxxiii. 
24. And lest yet you should suspect any lack of comfort, 
he tells you, you shall " enter into the joy of your Lord ;" 
Matt. xxv. 23. " And that you shall be with him where he 
is, to behold his glory ;" John xvii. 24. 

(4.) And yet if all this might be had with a wet finger ; if 
heaven were the portion of worldlings, and sluggards, that 
trouble not their thoughts much about it, then you might 
have some excuse for your inconsiderateness. But it is not 
so ; there are difficulties in your way, and they are many and 
great. What a dark understanding have you to inform? 
What a dull and backward nature to spur on ! What an un- 
reasonable appetite ! What raging passions ! What violent, 
rebellious senses to contend with, to master, and to rule ! 
Abundance of adversaries on every hand : a subtle devil, 
and as malicious as subtle ; and as furious and able to do 
you a mischief, if God restrain him not. A world of wicked 
men about you ; each one more stiff in error than you in the 
truth ; and more fast to the devil than you are to God, (if 
his grace do not hold you faster than you will hold your- 
selves ;) and therefore they are more able to deceive you, 
than you are to undeceive them : many of them are crafty 
and can puzzle such ignorant beginners as you , and put a 
face of reverence and truth upon damnable errors, and per- 
nicious ways ; and those that have not wit, have foolish 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 55 

violence, and scorn, and passion, and can drive you towards 
hell, if they cannot draw you. All these enemies you must 
conquer, or you are lost. And is it not time for a man in so 
much danger to consider of them, that he may know how to 
escape ? And for one that is compassed about with such 
difficulties, to consider how he may well get through them? 
What abundance of things have you to consider of? of all 
your life past; of the relations you have borne ; and how 
you have performed the duties of those relations ? Of the 
time you have had ; and how you have spent it ? Of the 
means you have had, and what you have received by them ? 
Of the present state of your souls, your sins, your miseries, 
your hopes, and the duties that are incumbent on you, in 
order to your recovery. Of the temptations to be encoun- 
tered with ; and the graces that are daily to be exercised 
and confirmed ! Would not a man bethink himself with all 
possible care, and consider, a hundred times consider, that 
hath all this to do, or be undone for ever ? You have much 
to know that will not easily be known, and yet must be 
known ; much to do, receive and suffer, that hath difficulty 
adjoined with necessity : were it necessary and not hard, the 
facility might draw you to make light of it. And were it 
hard and not necessary the difficulty might more discourage 
you than the matter would excite you : but when it must be 
done, or you must be shut out of heaven, and lie in hell for 
it world without end, and yet there are so many difficulties 
in the way, I think it is time to look about you, and se- 
riously consider. 

12. To conclude, Consideration would prevent a world 
of misery, which else would make you consider when it is 
too late. It must be a principal means of your salvation if 
ever you be saved. If God have so much mercy for you, he 
will make you consider; and set your sins in order before 
you ; (Psal. 1. 21.) and set hell-fire before your face, and 
hold your thoughts on it that you cannot look off. He will 
set before you a crucified Christ, and tell you, that this your 
sins have done, and make you think of the reason of his suf- 
ferings ; and what there is in sin that could require it ; and 
what it is to rebel against the Lord, and run yourselves into 
the consuming fire. Now your thoughts are gadding abroad 
the world, and straggling after every trifle, and going away 
from God ; but if ever God will save you, he will overtake 



56 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

your hearts, and fetch them home, and shew them that they 
have something else to think on. If commands will not 
serve, he will send out his threatenings, and terrors shall 
come upon you, and pursue your soul as the wind ; Job 
xxxiii. 15. He will fetch you out of the alehouse, and the 
gaming-house, and take you off the merry pin, and lay that 
upon your heart that you shall not easily shake off. If you 
are taken up with the cares of the world, he will shew you 
that you have somewhat else to care for ; and drown those 
cares in greater cares. If you have such giddy, unsettled, 
vagrant minds, that you cannot call in your thoughts of 
God, nor hold them with him ; he will lay those clogs and 
bolts upon them at first, that shall restrain them from their 
idle vagaries ; and then he will set upon them such a bias, 
as shall better order them, and fix them for the time to come. 
Men do not use to go to heaven, and never think of it : and 
to escape hell-fire, and the plague of sin, and the curse of 
the law, and the wrath of God, and the rage of satan, and 
never think on it ; nor do they use to mind other matters, 
and find themselves in heaven, before they ever dreamed of 
it, or before their hearts were set upon it. No sirs, if ever 
God will save you, he will make you consider, and again 
consider, and perhaps with many a sigh and groan ; and 
bring these things so near your hearts, that you shall not 
only think on them, but feel them ; according to that com- 
mand, Deut. vi. 6, 7. xi. 18—20. They shall be as written 
before your eyes ; you shall think of them when you lie 
down, and when you rise up, as if they were written upon 
the tester of your beds ; you shall think of them when you 
sit at home, when you go abroad, as carrying them still with 
you, which way soever you go. As before, God was not in all 
your thoughts, so now he will be the sum and end of them all. 
And if by your resistance you escape these considera- 
tions, believe it, God will bring you to consideration by a 
severer and more dreadful way. If he do but give your con- 
science a commission, it will follow you, and bring you to 
such a consideration as Judas was brought to. If he lay you 
under his judgments, and speak to you by his rod, and give 
you a lash with every word, and ask you whether yet you 
will consider of it? It may bring such things to your 
thoughts, as you were but little troubled with before. If he 
say but the word, how soon will your soul be required of 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 57 

you ? And when you lie in hell and feel the smart, you will 
then consider of it. Now we cannot beg of you to bestow 
one hour in sober consideration : but then you shall do it 
without entreaty ; then you will be as a man that hath the 
stone, or gout, or toothach, that cannot forget it, if he 
would never so fain. Forget your folly, your obstinacy, and 
unthankfulness then, if you can. Forget God's wrath, and 
the torment which you feel then if you can. Now you are 
so busy that you could not have while to think of the mat- 
ters of the world to come ; but then God will give you lei- 
sure ; you shall have little else to do ; you shall have time 
enough : when you have thought of these things ten thou- 
sand years, you shall still have time enough before you to 
think of them again. You will not consider now, but, when 
God hath performed the intents of his heart, in the latter 
days, you shall perfectly consider it ; Jer. xxiii. 20. xxx. 
24. " O that you were wise, that you understood this ; that 
you would consider your latter end ;" Deut. xxxii. 29. 

What brings so many thousand souls to hell, but be- 
cause they would not consider in time ? If you could speak 
with any of those hopeless souls, and ask them, • How came 
you to this place of torment ?' they would tell you, ' because 
we did not consider of our case in time ; we little thought 
of this day, though we were told of it j we had a load of sin 
upon us, and did not consider how we might be relieved : 
we had Christ and mercy set before us, but we did not con- 
sider the worth of them nor how to be made partakers of 
them : we had time, but we considered not how to make the 
best of it : we had the work of our salvation lay upon our 
hands, but we did not consider how we might accomplish it : 

had we but considered what now we feel, we might have 
escaped all this, and have lived with God !' These would 
be the answers of those miserable souls, if you could but 
ask them the cause of their misery. There is scarce a thief 
or a murderer hanged at the gallows, but will cry out, ' O if 

1 had but had the wit and grace to have considered this in 
time, 1 need not have come to this !' There is scarce an un- 
thrift that falls into beggary, no nor a man that comes to 
any mischance, but will say, ' If I had considered it before- 
hand, I might have prevented it.' Most of the calamities of 
the world might have been prevented, by timely and sober 
considerations. God himself doth place men's wickedness 



58 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

much in their inconsiderateness, and lays the cause of their 
destruction upon it. Whence is it that Israel was rebellious 
to astonishment ; Isa. i. 3. " Why, Israel doth not know, 
my people doth not consider." Job xxxiv. 25 — 27. " He 
shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set 
others in their stead ; therefore he knoweth their works, he 
overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed. 
He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others, 
because they turned back from him, and would not consider 
any of his ways." Why do men live so wilfully in sin, but 
because " they consider not that they do evil ;" Eccles. v. 1 . 
How many such hath the world, that God pronounceth a 
woe to ? Isa. v. 11, 12. That drink, and play, and give 
themselves to their merriments, " but they regard not the 
work of the Lord ; neither consider the operation of his 
hands. They consider not in their hearts the folly of their 
ways;" Isa. xliv. 18 — 20. When they see God's judg- 
ments, they consider not the meaning of them, and therefore 
lay them not to heart ; Isa. lvii. 1, 2. 

And when God calleth men to conversion, or reformation, 
he useth to call them to consideration as the way to it ; 
Hag. i. 5. " Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your 
ways." The son that shall escape the misery of his father, 
is he that considereth, and turneth away from his transgres- 
sions, considereth, and doth not his forefather's work ; 
Ezek. xviii. 14. 20. And when he sendeth the prophet to 
them, (Ezek. xii. 3.) it is but with this encouragement; 
" Though they are a rebellious house, it may be they will 
consider." And David professeth, that Consideration was 
the beginning of his conversion ; Psal. cxix.59. " I thought 
on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I 
made haste and delayed not to keep thy statutes." 

I know that it is the Lord, that must renew and revive a 
sinful soul ; but yet, under God, Consideration must do much. 
O could we but persuade our people to consider, it is not 
sure possible that they could be as they are, or do as they 
do. Would so many thousands live in ease and quietness 
under the guilt of so many sins, and the wrath of God, if 
they did but well consider of it. Durst they live so peace- 
ably in a state of death and in the slavery of the devil, if they 
did but well consider of it ? Would they do no more to pre- 
pare for their speedy appearing before God, and for the es- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 59 

caping of hell-fire, if they did but consider of it? Would 
they swallow down their cups so greedily, and give up them- 
selves to the world so eagerly, if they did but well consider 
what they do ? Methinks they should not. The cause of 
sin and the devil is so naught, that I should hope to shame 
it with the most of the ungodly, if I could but bring them to 
a serious consideration of it. O how the kingdom of satan 
would down, if we could but tell how to make them consi- 
derate ! How fast the devil would lose his servants ! What 
abundance Christ would gain ! And how many would be 
saved, if we could but tell how to make men considerate ! 
And one would think that this should be easily done, seeing 
man is a self-loving, and reasonable creature ; but yet to our 
grief, and great admiration, we oannot bring them to it. I 
should not doubt, but one sermon, or one sentence of a ser- 
mon, might do more good than a hundred do now ; if I were 
but able to persuade the hearers when they come home, to 
follow it by serious consideration. But we cannot bring 
them to it ; if our lives lay on it, we could not bring them 
to it ; though we know that their own lives and salvation 
lieth on it, yet can we not bring them to it. They think, 
and talk of other matters almost as soon as the sermon is 
done, and they turn loose their thoughts ; or if they do read, 
or hear, or repeat a little, yet cannot we get them to one 
half hour's secret and sober consideration of their case. 
This is the reason why it is so rare a thing to see men tho- 
roughly turn to God. This is much of the use of all God's 
teachings and afflictions too, but to bring men to sober con- 
sideration. God knows that sin hath unmanned us, and 
lost us the use of our reason, where we have most use for it ; 
and therefore the means, and works of God, are to recover 
us to our reason, and to make us men again : the very graces 
of his Spirit are to make us to be more reasonable. 

And now, before I dismiss this direction, I have a ques- 
tion, and a request to make to thee, whoever thou art that 
readest these lines. My question is this, ' Hast thou ever 
soberly considered of thy ways and laid these greatest mat- 
ters to heart, or hast thou not?' Dost thou ever use to re- 
tire into thyself, and spend any time in this needful work ? 
If thou dost not, my request to thee is, that now at last thou 
wouldst do it without delay. Shall I beg this of thee? 
Shall the Lord that made thee, that bought thee, that pre- 



GO DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

serveth thee request this of thee; that thou wouldst some- 
times betake thyself into some secret place and set thyself 
purposely to this work of Consideration, and follow it 
earnestly and close with thy heart till thou hast made some- 
thing of it, and brought it to a resolution ? Wilt thou then 
spend a little time in reasoning the case with thyself, and 
calling thy heart to a strict account, and ask thyself, ' What 
is it that I was made for ; and what business was I sent into 
the world about? And how have I dispatched it? How 
have I spent my time, my thoughts, my words ; and how 
shall I answer for them ? Am I ready to die, if it were this 
hour ? Am I sure of my salvation ? Is my soul converted, 
and truly sanctified by the Holy Ghost? If not, what rea- 
son have I to delay ? Why do I not set about it, and spee- 
dily resolve ? Shall I linger till death come and find me un- 
converted ? O then what a sad appearance shall I make 
before the Lord!' And thus follow on the discourse with 
your hearts. What say you, sirs ? Will you here promise 
me to bestow but some few hours, if it be but on the Lord's 
day, or when you are private on the way, or in your beds, or 
in your shops, in these considerations? I beseech you, as 
ever you will do any thing at my request, deny me not this 
request . It is nothing that is unreasonable. If I desired 
one of you to spend an hour in talking with me, you would 
grant it ; yea, or if it were to ride, or go for me. And will 
you not be entreated to spend now and then a little time in 
thinking of the matters of your own salvation? Deny not this 
much to yourselves, deny it not to God, if you will deny it 
me. Should you not bethink you a few hours, of the place 
and state that you must live in for ever? Men will build 
strong where they think to live long; but a tent or a hut will 
serve a soldier for a few nights. O, sirs, Everlasting is a long 
day. In the name of God, let not conscience have such a 
charge as this against you hereafter : ' Thou art come to thy 
long home, to thy endless state, before ever thou spentest 
the space of an hour in deep, and sad, and serious consider- 
ations of it, or in trying thy title to it/ O what a confound- 
ing charge would this be. I am confident I have the wit- 
ness of your consciences going along with me, and telling 
you it is but reasonable, yea, and needful, which I say. If 
yet you will not. do it, and 1 cannot beg one hour's sober 
discourse in secret between you and your hearts about these 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 61 

things, then what remedy, but even to leave you to your mi- 
sery. But I shall tell you in the conclusion, that I have no 
hope of that soul, that will not be persuaded to this duty of 
Consideration. But if I could persuade you to this reason- 
able, this cheap, this necessary work, and to follow it close, 
I should have exceeding great hopes of the salvation of you 
all. I have told you the truth, consider what I say, and the 
Lord give you understanding ; 2 Tim. ii. 7. Or if you put 
me to conclude in harsher terms, they shall be still the ora- 
cles of God : " Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest 
I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you ;" 
Psal. 1. 22. 

And so much for the third direction about Consideration, 
on which I have staid somewhat long, because I apprehend 
it of exceeding necessity. 

Direct. IV. The fourth direction which I shall give you, 
that the work of your conversion may not miscarry, is this : 
' See that the work of Humiliation be thoroughly done, and 
break not away from the spirit of contrition before he have 
done with you ; and yet see that you mistake not the nature, 
and the ends of the work, and that you drive it not on fur- 
ther than God requireth you/ 

Here I shall first shew you i.The true nature of Humili- 
ation. And 

ii. The use and ends of it. And 

in. The mistakes about it, that you must avoid. And 

lv. I shall press on the substance of the direction, and 
shew you the necessity of it. 

1. There is a preparatory humiliation that goes before a 
saving change, which is not to be despised, because it is 
a drawing nearer unto God, though it be not a faithful clo- 
sure with him. This preparatory humiliation, which many 
have that perish, doth chiefly consist in these things follow- 
ing. (1.) It lieth most in the fear of being damned. As it 
is most in the passions, so most in this of fear. (2.) It con- 
sisteth also in some apprehensions of the greatness of our 
sins, and the wrath of God, that hangs over our heads, and 
the danger that we are in of being damned for ever. (3.) It 
consisteth also in some apprehension of the folly that we are 
guilty of in sinning, and of some repentings that ever we did 
it, and some remorse of conscience for it. (4.) Hereto may 
be joined some passions of sorrow, and this expressed by 



62 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

groans and tears. (5.) And all this may be accompanied 
with confessions of sin to God and man, and lamentations 
for our misery, and in some it proceedeth to desperation it- 
self. (6.) And lastly, it may proceed to an indignation 
against ourselves, and to the taking of a severe revenge on 
ourselves ; yea, more than God would have men take ; as 
Judas did by self-destroying. This desperation, and self- 
execution are no parts of the preparatory humiliation ; but 
the excess and error of it, and the entrance upon hell. 

2. But there is also a Humiliation that is proper to the 
converted, and which accompanieth salvation, and this con- 
taineth in it, all that is in the former, and much more. Even 
as the rational soul containeth the sensitive and vegetative, 
and much more. And this saving humiliation consisteth in 
these following particulars. 

1. Itbeginneth in the understanding. 2. It is rooted in 
the will. 3. It worketh in the affection. And 4. When 
there is opportunity it sheweth itself in outward expressions 
and actions. 

1. Humiliation in the understanding, consisteth in a low 
esteem of ourselves, and in a self-abasing, self-condemning 
judgment on ourselves ; and that in these particulars. 

(1.) It consisteth in a deep and solid apprehension of the 
odiousness of our own sins, habitual and actual, and of our- 
selves for our sins ; and that because they are contrary to 
the blessed nature and law of God, and so contrary to our 
own perfection, and chief good. (2.) It consisteth also in 
a solid and fixed apprehension of our own ill-deserving, be- 
cause of these sins ; so that our judgments do subscribe to 
the equity of the condemning sentence of the law ; and we 
judge ourselves unworthy of the smallest mercy, and worthy 
of hell-fire. (3.) It consisteth in an apprehension of our 
undone and miserable condition in ourselves. Not only as 
we are the heirs of torment, but as we are void of the image 
and Spirit of God, and have lost his favour, and are under 
his displeasure, and enmity by our sin, and have forfeited 
our part in everlasting glory, and how unable we are to help 
ourselves. 

And [1 .] This is in such a measure, that we truly judge our 
sin and ourselves for sin, to be more odious than any thing 
else could have made us, and our misery by sin in the foresaid 
particulars, to be greater than any outward calamity in the 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 63 

flesh, and than any worldly loss could have procured us. 
And this we apprehend by a practical judgment, and not 
only by a bare ineffectual speculation. [2.] And the spring 
of this is some knowledge of God himself, whose majesty is 
so glorious, and whose wisdom is so infinite ; who is so good 
in himself, and unto us, and whose holy nature is contrary 
to sin ; and who hath an absolute propriety in us, and sove- 
reignty over us. [3.] And also it proceedeth from a know- 
ledge of the true state of man's felicity, which by sin he hath 
cast away ; that it consisteth in the pleasing and glori- 
fying, and enjoying of God, in loving and delighting in him, 
and praising him for ever, and having a nature perfectly ho- 
ly, and fitted hereunto. To see that sin is contrary to this 
felicity, and hath deprived us of it, is one of the springs of 
true Humiliation. And [4.] It proceedeth also from a be- 
lieving knowledge of Christ crucified, whom our sins did 
put to death, who hath declared in the most lively manner 
to the world by his cross, and sufferings, what sin is, and 
what it hath done, and what a case we had brought ourselves 
into. Thus much of saving Humiliation consisting in the 
understanding. 

2. The principal seat of this Humiliation is in the will, 
and there it consisteth in these following acts. (1.) As we 
think basely of ourselves, so the will hath a fixed displacency 
against ourselves for our sins, and a kind of loathing of our- 
selves for all our abominations ; as you may read, Ezek. 
xxxvi.31. xx. 43. vi. 9. A humble sinner is fallen out with 
himself, and as he is evil, his heart is against himself. 

(2.) There is also in the will a deep repenting that ever 
we sinned, and wronged God, and abused grace, and have 
brought ourselves to this as we have done ; so that the hum- 
bled soul could wish that he had spent his days in prison, in 
beggary, or in bodily misery, so that he had not spent them 
in sin ; and if it were to do again, he would rather choose 
such a life of shame and calamity in the world, than a life of 
sin, and would be glad of the exchange. 

(3.) A humbled soul is truly willing to grieve for the sins 
which he hath committed, and to be as deeply sensible of 
them, and afflicted for them, as God would have him. Even 
when he cannot shed a tear, yet his will is to shed them. 
When he cannot feel any deep afflicting of his soul for sin, 



64 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

his hearty desire is, that he might feel it. He doth a hun- 
dred times weep in desire, when he doth it not in act. 

(4.) A humble soul is truly willing to humble the flesh 
itself, by the use of those appointed means by which God 
would have him bring it in subjection ; as by fasting, or ab- 
stinence, or mean attire, hard labour, and denying it unne- 
cessary delights. It is a doubt worth the considering, whe- 
ther any such humbling act must be used, purposely in re- 
venge on ourselves for sin. To which I answer, that we may 
do nothing in such revenge that God doth not allow, or that 
makes our body less fit for his service ; for that were to be 
revenged of God, and our souls ; but those humbling means 
which are needful to tame the body, may well be used with 
this double intention ; first and chiefly, as a means for our 
safety and duty for the time to come ; that the flesh may 
not prevail, and then collaterally we should be the more con- 
tent that the flesh is put to so much suffering, because it hath 
been and still is so great an enemy to God, and us, and the 
cause of all our sin, and misery ; and this is the revenge that 
is warrantable in the penitent, and some think is meant, 2 Cor. 
vii. 11. 

(5.) As the humbled soul hath base thoughts of himself, 
so he is willing that others should esteem and think of him 
accordingly, even as a vile, unworthy sinner, so far as his 
disgrace may be no wrong to the Gospel, or to others, or 
dishonour to God. His pride is so far taken down, that he 
can endure to be vilified with some consent ; not approv- 
ing of the sin of any men that doth it maliciously, but con- 
senting to the judgment and rebukes of those that do it 
truly, and to the judgment of God, even by them that do it 
maliciously. The humbled soul does not stand defending 
and unjustly extenuating his sin, and excusing himself, and 
swelling against the reprover ; whatever he may do in a 
temptation, if this temper were predominant, his pride, and 
not humility, must be predominant. But he judgeth him- 
self as much as others can justly judge him, and humbly 
consenteth to be base in men's eyes, till God shall think it 
meet to raise him, and recover his esteem. 

And the root of all this in the will, is, [1.] A love to God 
whom we have offended. [2.] A hatred of sin that hath of- 
fended him, and that hath made us vile. And [3.] A believ- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 65 

ing sense of the dove, and sufferings of Christ, that in his 
flesh hath condemned sin ; Rom. viii. 2, 3. And thus you 
see what humiliation is in the will, which is the very life and 
soul of true humiliation. 

3. Humiliation also consisteth in the affections ; in an 
unfeigned sorrow for the sin which we have committed, and 
the corruption which is in sin ; and a shame for these sins ; 
and a holy fear of God whom we have offended, and of his 
judgments which we have deserved; and the hatred of our 
sins by which we have deserved them. But, as I must fur- 
ther shew you anon, it is not the measure, but the sincerity 
of these passions, by which you must make a judgment of 
your state ; and that will be hardly discerned by the pas- 
sions themselves, but only by so much of the will as is in 
them, and therefore the will is the safest to judge by. 

4. Humiliation also consisteth expressly in the outward 
action, when opportunity is offered ; and it is not true in the 
heart, if it refuse to appear without, when God requireth it 
in your ordinary course. The outward acts of humiliation 
are these : (1.) A voluntary confession of sin to God, and to 
men, when God requireth it, and that is, when it is necessary 
to his honour, to the healing of them that we have endanger- 
ed, and satisfying the offended ; at least in the hearing of 
men, in such cases as these to confess them openly to God. 
An unhumbled soul will refuse this for the shame ; but the 
humble will freely take shame to themselves, and warn their 
brethren, and justify God, and give him the glory ; 1 John 
i. 9. " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to for- 
give us." Read Mark iii. 6. Levit. v. 5. xvi.21. xxvi. 40 
Numb. v. 6, 7. James v. 16. " Confess your faults one to 
another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." 
Prov. xxviii. 13. " He that hideth his sins shall not prosper, 
but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mer- 
cy." Not that any man is to confess his secret sins to others, 
except in case that he cannot otherwise find relief; nor that 
a man is to publish those offences of his own, by which he 
may further dishonour God, and hinder the Gospel. But 
when the sin is open already, and especially when the offence 
of others, the hardening of the wicked, the satisfaction of the 
church concerning our repentance, do require our confession 
and open lamentation, the humble soul both must and will 
submit to it ; but the rotten-hearted, unhumbled hypocrite 

VOL. VIII. F 



(iO DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

will confess but in these cases : (1.) When the secresy of 
the confession, or the smallness of the fault, or the custom- 
ariness of such confession, doth make it to be a matter of no 
great disgrace. (2.) Or when it is so open, that it is in vain 
to attempt to hide it, and his confession will do nothing to 
increase the disgrace. (3.) Or when conscience is awakened, 
or they see they must die, or are forced by some terrible 
judgment of God. In all these cases the wicked may confess. 
And so Judas will confess " I have sinned in betraying the 
innocent blood ;" and Pharaoh will confess, " I and my peo- 
ple have sinned." And a thief on the gallows will confess ; 
and the vilest wretches on their death-bed will confess. But 
we have more death-bed confessions than voluntary confes- 
sions before the church. Nay, so far hath pride and hypo- 
crisy prevailed, and the ancient discipline of the church 
been neglected, that I think in most countries in England, 
there are many more that make confessions on the gallows 
than personally in the congregations. 

(2.) Humiliation must be also expressed by all those exter- 
nal means and signs which God,by Scripture or nature, calleth 
us to. As by tears and groans, so far as we can seasonably 
procure them. And by fasting, and laying by our worldly 
pomp and bravery, and using mean, though decent, attire, 
and by condescending to men of the lower sort, and stoop- 
ing to the meanest. By humble language, and carriage ; 
and by forgiving others on this account, that we are sensi- 
ble of the greatness of our debts to God. And thus I have 
briefly shewed you the true nature of Humiliation, that you 
may know what it is that I am persuading you to, and which 
you must submit your hearts unto. 

ii. When I have told you the use and ends of Humilia- 
tion, you will see more of the reason of its necessity to your- 
selves. And first, it is one use of humiliation, to help on 
the mortification of the flesh, or carnal-self, and to annihi- 
late it as it is the idol of the soul. The nature of man's sin- 
ful and miserable estate, is, that he is fallen from God to 
himself; and liveth now to himself, studying, and loving, 
and pleasing himself, his natural self, above God. And a 
sinner will let go many outward sins, and be driven from the 
«Sut-works before he will let go carnal-self, and be driven 
from the castle and strength of sin. There is no part of 
mortification so necessary, and so hard as self-denial ; in- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 67 

deed this doth virtually comprehend all the rest, and if this 
be done, all is done. If it were but his friends, his super- 
fluities, his house, his lands, perhaps a carnal heart might 
part with it. But to part with his life, his all, his self, this 
is a hard saying to him, and enough to make him go away 
sorrowful, as Luke xviii. 22 — 24. And, therefore, here ap- 
peareth the necessity of humiliation. This layeth all the 
load on self, and breaketh the heart of the old man, and 
maketh a man loathe himself, that formerly doted on himself. 
It layeth this tower of Babel in the dust, and maketh us ab- 
hor ourselves in dust and ashes. It setteth the house on fire 
about our ears, which we both trusted and delighted in. 
And makes us not only see, but feel, that it is time for us to 
be gone. Pride is the master-vice in the unsanctified, and 
it is the part of humiliation to cast it down. Self-seeking 
is the business of their lives, till humiliation help to turn the 
stream. And then if you did but see their thoughts, you 
should see them think most vilely of themselves. And if 
you do but overhear their prayers, or complaints, you shall 
hear them still cry out upon themselves, as their greatest 
enemies. 

2. The next use of Humiliation, (and implied in this) is, 
to mortify those sins which carnal-self doth live upon, and 
is maintained by ; and to stop all the avenues or passages of 
its provision. Sin is sweet and dear to all that are unsanc- 
tified ; but humiliation makes it bitter and base As the 
Indians cured the Spanish Captain of thirst after gold, by 
pouring melted gold down his throat ; or as children are 
persuaded from playing with a beehive, when they are once 
or twice stung by them ; or from playing with snappish dogs, 
when they are bitten by them : so God will teach his chil- 
dren to know what it is to play with sin when they are smart- 
ed by it. They will know a nettle from a harmless herb, 
when they feel the sting. We are so apt to live by sense, 
that God seeth it needful, that our faith have something of 
sense to help it. When the conscience doth accuse, and the 
heart is smarting, and groaning in pain, and we feel that no 
shifting or striving will deliver us, then we begin to be 
wiser than before, and to know what sin is, and what it will 
do for us. When that which was our delight, is become our 
burden, and a burden too heavy for us to bear, it cureth our 
delighting in it. When David was watering his couch with 



tJB' DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

his tears, and made them his drink, his sin was not the 
same thing to him, as it was in the committing. Humilia- 
tion washeth away the painting of this harlot, and sheweth 
her in her deformity. It unmasketh sin, which had got the 
vizard of virtue, or of a small matter, or harmless thing. It 
unmasketh satan, who was transformed into a friend, or an 
angel of light, and sheweth him, as we say, with his cloven 
feet and horns. How hard is it to cure a worldling of the 
love of money ! But when God hath laid such a load of it 
on his conscience, that makes him groan, and cry for help, 
he hath then enough of it. When he feels those words in 
James v. 1 — 4. and he begins to weep and howl for the mi- 
series that are coming on him, and he sees the stink of his 
corrupted riches, and the canker of his gold and silver doth 
begin to eat his flesh as fire, and his idol is but a witness 
against him, then he is better able to judge of it, than he 
was before. The wanton thinks he hath a happy life, when 
the harlot's lips do drop as the honey-comb. But when he 
perceiveth her end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a 
two-edged sword, and that her feet go down to death, and 
her steps take hold on hell, and he lieth in sorrow, com- 
plaining of his folly ; (Prov. v. 2 — 5. 1 1 , 12.) he is then of a 
more rectified judgment than he was. Manasseh humbled 
in irons, is not the same as he was upon the throne. Though 
grace did more to it than his fetters, yet were they some 
way serviceable to that end. Humiliation openeth the door 
of the heart, and telleth you what sin is to the quick ; and 
letteth in the words of life, which passed no further than the 
ear or brain. It is a tiring work to talk to dead men, that 
have lost their feeling ; especially when it is an effective and 
practical doctrine, which we must deliver to them, which is 
lost if it be not felt and practised. Till humiliation comes, 
we speak to dead men, or at least to men that are fast asleep. 
How many sermons have I heard that, one would think, 
should have turned men's hearts within them, and make them 
cry out against their sins, with sorrow and shame in the face 
of the congregation, and never meddle with them more ! 
When yet the hearers have scarce been moved by them, but 
gone away as they came, as if they knew not what the 
preachers said, because their hearts were all the while asleep 
within them. But a humbled soul is an awakened soul. It will 
regard what is said to it ; especially when they perceive that 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. t>9 

it cometh from the Lord, and concerneth their salvation. It 
is a great encouragement to us, to speak to a man that hath 
ears, and life, and feeling ; that will meet the word with an 
appetite, and take it with some relish, and let down the food 
that is put into their mouth. The will is the chiefest fort 
of sin. If we can there get in upon it, we may do some- 
thing. But if it keep the heart, and we can get no nearer it 
than the ear or the brain, there will no good be done. Now 
humiliation openeth us a passage to the heart, that we may 
assault sin in its strength. When 1 tell you of the abomina- 
ble nature of sin, that causeth the death of Christ, and 
causeth hell, and tell you that it is better to run into the fire, 
than to commit the least sin wilfully, though it be such as 
the world makes nothing of ; another man may hear all this, 
and superficially believe it, and say it is true, but it is the 
humbled soul that feeleth what I say. What a stir have we 
with a drunkard, or worldling, or any other sensual sinner, 
in persuading him to cast away his sins with detestation ; 
and all to little purpose ! Sometimes he will, and sometimes 
he must needs be tasting them again ; and thus he stands 
dallying, because the word hath not mastered his heart. 
But when God comes in upon the soul as with a tempest, 
and throweth open the doors, and, as it were, thundereth, 
and lighteneth in the conscience ; and layeth hold upon the 
sinner, and shaketh him all in pieces by his terrors, and ask- 
eth him, ' Is sinning good for thee ? Is a fleshly, careless 
life so good 1 Thou wretched worm ! Thou foolish piece 
of clay ! Darest thou thus abuse me to my face ? Dost 
thou not know that I look on ? Is this the work that I made 
thee for, and that I feed and preserve thee, and continue 
thee alive for? Away with thy sin, without any more ado, 
or I will have thy soul away, and deliver thee to the tor- 
mentors'. This wakeneth him out of his dalliance and de- 
lays ; and makes him see that God is in good earnest with 
him, and therefore he must be so with God. If a physician 
have a patient that is addicted to his appetite, who hath the 
gout or stone, or other disease, and he forbid him wine, or 
strong drink, or such meats as he desireth, as long as he 
feels himself at ease he will be venturing on them, and will 
not be curbed by the words of the physician : but when the 
fit is on him, and he feels the torment, then he will be ruled. 
Pain will teach him more effectually than words could do. 



70 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

When he feeleth what is hurtful to him, and feeleth that it 
always makes him sick, it will restrain him more than hear- 
ing of it could do. So when humiliation doth break your 
hearts, and make you feel that you are sick of sin, and filleth 
your soul with smart and sorrow, then you will be the more 
willing that God should destroy it in you. When it lieth 
so heavy on you, that you are unable to look up, and makes 
you go to God with groans and tears, and cry, ' O Lord be 
merciful to me a sinner !' When you are fain to go to mi- 
nisters for ease to your consciences, and fill their ears with 
accusations of yourselves, and open even your odious, 
shameful sins, then you will be content to let them go. 
Now there is no talking to you of mortification, and the re- 
solute rejecting of your sins ; the precepts of the Gospel are 
too strict for you to submit to. But a broken heart would 
change your minds. The healthful ploughman saith, ' Give 
me that which I love. These physicians would bring U3all 
to their rules, that they may get money by us. I never 
mean to follow their directions.' But when sickness is upon 
him, and he hath tried all his own skill in vain, and pain 
giveth him no iest, then send for the physician, and then he 
will do any thing, and take any thing whatever he will give 
him, so that he may but be eased and recovered. So when 
your hearts are whole and unhumbled, these preachers and 
Scriptures are too strict for you ; you must have that which 
you love. Self-conceited, precise ministers must have leave 
to talk ; but you will never believe that God is of their mind, 
or will damn men for taking that which they have a mind of. 
O but when these sins are as swords in your hearts, and you 
begin to feel what ministers told you of, then you will be of 
another mind. Away then with this sin, there is nothing so 
odious, so hurtful, so intolerable. O that you could be rid 
of it, whatever it cost you ! Then he will be your best friend 
that can tell you how to kill it, and be free from it ; and he 
that would draw you out, would be as satan himself to you ; 
Matt. xvi. 22, 23. Gal. xviii.9. Humiliation diggeth so 
deep, that it undermineth sin, and the fortress of the devil ; 
when the foundation is rooted up, itwillsoonbe overthrown. 
When the murderers of Christ were pricked to the heart, they 
then cry out for counsel to the apostles ; Acts ii. 37. When 
a murderer of the saints is stricken blindfold to the earth, 
and the Spirit withal doth humble his soul, he will then cry 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 71 

out, ** Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do ?" Acts ix. 37. 
When a cruel jailor that scourged the servants of Christ, is 
by an earthquake brought to a heart-quake, he will then cry 
out, " What shall I do to be saved V Acts xvi. 30. 

And here comes in the usefulness of afflictions ; even be- 
cause they are so great advantages to Humiliation. Men 
will be brought to some reason by extremities. When they 
lie a dying, a man may talk to them, and they will not so 
proudly fly in his face, or make a scorn at the word of the 
Lord, as in their prosperity they did. God will be more re- 
garded when he pleadeth with them with the rod in his hand. 
Stripes are the best logic and rhetoric for a fool. When 
sin hath captivated their reason to their flesh, the arguments 
to convince them may be such as the flesh is capable of per- 
ceiving. We may long tell a beast of danger and discom- 
modities, before we can persuade him from that which he 
loves. Sensuality doth brutify men in too great a measure; 
and so far as they are brutish, it is not the clearest reasons 
that will prevail ; and if God did not maintain in corrupted 
man some remnants of free reason, we might preach to beasts 
as hopefully as to men. But afflictions tend to weaken the 
enemy that doth captivate them ; as prosperity by accident 
tends to strengthen him. The flesh understandeth the lan- 
guage of the rod better than the language of reason, or of 
the word of God. 

And as the sensible part of our Humiliation promoteth 
mortification ; so the rational and voluntary Humiliation, 
which is proper to the sanctified, is a principal part of mor- 
tification itself. And thus you may see that it is necessary 
that we be thoroughly humbled, that sin may be thoroughly 
killed in us. 

3. Another use of Humiliation is to fit the soul for a meet 
entertainment of further grace, and that both for the honour 
of Christ and grace, and for our own welfare. 

(1.) In respect of Christ, it is equal that he should dwell 
in such souls only as are fit to entertain him. Neither his 
person, nor his business are such as can suit with the un- 
humbled heart. Till humiliation make a sinner feel his sin 
and misery, it is not possible that Christ as Christ should 
be heartily welcome to him, or received in that sort as his 
honour doth expect. Who cares for the physician that feels 
no sickness, and fears not death ? He may pass by the 



72 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

doors of such a man, and he will not call him in ; but when 
pain and fears of death are on him, he will send, and seek, 
and bid him welcome. Will any man fly to Christ for suc- 
cour that feeleth not his wants, and danger ? Will they hold 
on him, as the only refuge of their souls, and cleave to him 
as their only hope, that feel no great need of him? Will 
they lie at his feet, and beg for mercy, that feel themselves 
well enough without him? When men do but hear of sin 
and misery, and superficially believe it, they may coldly 
look after Christ and grace ; and feel the worth of the lat- 
ter, in such a manner as they feel the weight of the former. 
But never is Christ valued and sought after as Christ, till 
sorrow hath taught us how to value him : nor is he enter- 
tained in the necessary honour of a Redeemer, till humilia- 
tion throw open all the doors : no man can seek him with 
his whole heart, that seeks him not with a broken heart. 

And it is certain that Christ will come on no lower terms 
into the soul. Though he come to do us good, yet he will 
have the honour of doing it: though he come to heal us, 
and not for any need he hath of us, yet he will have the wel- 
come that is due to a physician. He comes to save us, but 
he will be honoured in our salvation. He inviteth all to the 
marriage supper, and even compelleth them to come in ; but 
he expecteth that they bring a wedding garment, and come 
not in a garb that will dishonour his house. Though his 
grace be free, yet he will not expose it to contempt, but will 
have the fulness and freeness of it glorified. Though he 
came not to redeem himself but us, yet he came to be glori- 
fied in the work of redemption. He hath no grace so free, as 
to save those that will not esteem it, and give him thanks for it. 
And therefore, though faith is enough to accept the gift, yet 
must it be a thankful faith, that will magnify the giver, and 
an humble faith that will feel the worth of it, and an obe- 
diential faith that will answer the ends of it. And therefore 
that faith which is the condition of our justification, is fitted 
as well to the honour of the giver, as the commodity of the 
receiver. And as reason telleth us that it should be so, so 
Christ consenteth that it be so. The soul that is truly unit- 
ed to Christ, and partaketh of his nature, doth think its own 
receiving greatest, where the honour of Christ is greatest ; 
and it cannot take pleasure in the thoughts of such a kind 
of grace as should dishonour the Lord of grace himself. As 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 73 

Christ is solicitous for the saving of the soul, so he makes 
the soul solicitous of the right entertainment of him that 
saveth it. And therefore though his blood, and not his 
teaching or his government, was the ransom of our souls ; 
yet he is resolved to justify none by his blood, but on the 
condition of that faith, which is a hearty consent to his 
teaching and dominion. It is not in the application or bes- 
towing of Christ's benefits, as it was in the purchasing of 
them : when he came to ransom us, he consented to be a suf- 
ferer, and gave his cheeks to the smiter, and submitted to 
reproach ; he endured the cross, despising the shame, and 
being reviled, he reviled not again, but prayed for his perse- 
cutors : but when he comes by his saving grace into the 
soul, he will not there be entertained with contempt ; for in 
the flesh he came on purpose to be humbled, but in the Spi- 
rit he comes to be exalted : in the flesh he came to condemn 
the sin that reigned in our flesh, (Rom. viii. 3.) and so was 
made sin for us, that is, a sacrifice for sin; 2 Cor. v. 21. 
but in the Spirit he comes to conquer our flesh, and by the 
law of his quickening Spirit, to free us from the law of sin 
and death ; both that the righteousness of the law might be 
fulfilled in us, and also that there might be no condemnation 
to us, " who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ;" 
Rom. viii. 1, 2. 4. The kingdom of Christ was not worldly ; 
for if it had been worldly, he would have sought to establish 
it by strength of arms and fighting, which are worldly means ; 
John xviii.36. But his kingdom is within us; it is a spiri- 
tual kingdom ; and therefore though in the world he was 
used with contempt, as a fool, and as a sinner, and a man of 
sorrows ; yet within us he will be used with honour and re- 
verence, as a King and absolute Lord. It was the hour of 
the executioner and the power of darkness, when he was in 
his suffering ; but it is the hour of his triumph and marriage, 
and the prevailing power of the heavenly light, when he 
cometh by saving grace into the soul. On the cross he was 
as a sinner, and stood in our place, and bore what was our 
due, and not his own; but in the soul he is the conqueror of 
sin, and cometh to take possession of his own, and doth the 
work that belongeth to him in his dignity ; and therefore he 
will there be acknowledged and honoured. On the cross 
he was pulling down the kingdom of satan, and setting up 
his own, but in the preparatory purchase : but in the soul he 



74 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

doth both by immediate execution. On the cross, sin and 
satan had their full blow at him ; but when he entereth the 
soul, he hath his blow at them, and ceaseth not till he have 
destroyed them. In purchasing he expendeth his own ; but 
in converting he takes possession of that which he pur- 
chased. In a word, he came into the world in flesh for his 
undertaken humiliation ; but he comes into the soul by his 
Spirit, for his deserved exaltation ; and therefore though he 
endured to be spit upon in the flesh, he will not endure to 
be slighted in the soul. And as in the world he was scorn- 
ed with the title of a king, and crowned with thorns, and 
clothed in such kingly robes, as might make him the fitter 
object for their reproach : so when his Spirit entereth into 
the soul, he will be there enthroned in our most reverent, 
subjective, and deepest esteem, and crowned with our high- 
est love, and thankfulness, and bowed to with the tenders of 
obedience, and our praise. The cross shall there be the por- 
tion of his enemies, and the crown and sceptre shall be his ; 
and as all were preferred before him, even Barabbas himself, 
so all things shall be put under him in the sanctified soul, 
and he shall be preferred before all. 

This is the end of humiliation, to make ready the heart 
for a fuller entertainment of the Lord that bought it ; and to 
prepare the way before him, and fit the soul to be the tem- 
ple of his Spirit. An humbled soul would never have put 
him off with excuses from oxen, and farms, and wives ; as 
Luke xiv. and Matt. xxii. but the unhumbled will make light 
of him. 

And (2.) As Christ himself will be honourably received, 
or not at all, so must the mercies and graces which he offer- 
eth. He will not apply his blood and righteousness to them 
that care not for it. He will not pardon such a mass of ini- 
quities, and remove such mountains as lie upon the soul, for 
them that feel not the necessity of such a mercy. He will 
not take men from the power of the devil, and the drudgery 
of sin, and the suburbs of hell, and make them his members 
and the sons of God, and the heirs of heaven, that have not 
learned the value of these benefits, but set more by their 
very sin and misery, and the trifles of the world. Christ 
doth not despise his blood, his Spirit, his covenant, his par- 
don, nor his heavenly inheritance, and therefore he will give 
them to none that do despise them, till he teacheth them 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 75 

better to know their worth. Do you think it would stand 
with the wisdom of Christ, to give such unspeakable bless- 
ings as these, to men that have not hearts to value them ? 
Why, it is more to give a man justification and adoption, 
than to give him all this visible world ; the sun, the moon, 
the firmament, and the earth. And should these be given 
to one that cares not for them 1 Why, by this means God 
should miss of his ends : he should not have the love, the 
honour, or the thanks that he intended by his gift. It is ne- 
cessary therefore that the soul be thoroughly humbled, that 
pardon may be received as pardon, and grace as grace, and 
not set light by. 

And (3.) As this is necessary for the honour both of 
Christ and grace, so also it is necessary for our own benefit 
and consolation. The mercy cannot indeed be ours, if hu- 
miliation do not make us capable of it. These cordials must 
be taken into an empty stomach, and not be drowned in 
phlegm and filth. A man on the gallows will be glad of a 
pardon ; but a stander by, that thinks he is innocent, would 
not regard it, but take it for an accusation. There is no 
great sweetness in the name of a Redeemer to an unhumbled 
soul. It sets naught by the Spirit ; the Gospel is no Gos- 
pel to it ; the tidings of salvation are not so glad to such an 
one, as the tidings of riches or worldly delights would be. 
As it is the preparation of the stomach that maketh our 
meat sweet to us : and the coarsest fare is pleasanter to the 
sound, than sweetmeats to the sick ; so if we were not emp- 
tied of ourselves, and vile and lost in our own apprehensions, 
and if contrition did not quicken our appetites, the Lord 
himself, and all the miracles of saving grace, would be but 
as things of naught in our eyes, and we should be weary to 
hear or think of them. But O, what an inestimable treasure 
is Christ to the humbled soul ! What life is in his promi- 
ses ! What sweetness in every passage of his grace, and 
what a feast in his immeasurable love! 

(4.) Another use of Humiliation, implied in the former, 
is, that it is necessary to bring men to yield to the terms of 
the covenant of grace. Nature holds fast its fleshly plea- 
sures, and lives by feeling and upon present things, and 
knows not how to live upon invisibles by a life of faith. 
And this is the life that all must live, that will live in Christ; 
and therefore he calleth them to the forsaking of all ; the 



76 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

crucifying the world and flesh, the denying of themselves, if 
they will be his disciples. But O, how loath is nature to 
part with all, and make a full resignation unto Christ ! but 
fain it would make sure of present things, for fear lest the 
promises of heaven should but deceive them, and then they 
would have heaven at last in reserve. And on these terms 
it is that hypocrites are religious, and thus it is that they de- 
ceive their souls. But when the heart is truly broken, it 
will then stand no longer on such terms with Christ, but 
yield up all : it will then no longer condition with him, but 
stand to his conditions, and thankfully accept them. Any 
thing will then serve with Christ, and grace, and the hopes 
of glory. 

(5.) Another use of Humiliation is, to fit us for the retain- 
ing and improving of grace, when we have received it. The 
proverb is, " Lightly come, lightly go." If God should give 
the pardon of sin to the unhumbled, how soon would it be 
cast away ? And how easily would such be hearkening to 
temptation, and returning to their vomit ! The burnt child, 
we say, dreads the fire. When sin hath killed you once, and 
broken your hearts, you will think the worse of it while you 
live. And when a temptation comes, you will think of 
your former smart. ' Is not this it that cost me so many 
groans, and laid me in the dust, and had almost damned me ? 
and shall I go to it again ? Was I so hardly recovered by a 
miracle of mercy ? And shall I run again into the misery 
that I was saved from? Had I not sorrow, and fear, and 
care enough, but I must go back again for more, and renew 
my trouble V Thus the remembrance of your sorrows, will 
be a continual preservative to you. And a contrite spirit 
that is emptied of itself, and is taught the worth of Christ 
and mercy, will not only hold them fast, but will know how 
to use them, in thankfulness to God and benefit to himself. 

(6.) Another use of Humiliation, is, to fit the soul for its 
approach to God himself, from whom it had revolted. As it 
beseems not any creature to approach the God of heaven, 
but in reverential humility, so it beseems not any sinner to 
approach him, but in contrite humility : who can come out 
of such wickedness and misery, and not bring along the sense 
of it on his heart? Itbeseemeth not a prodigal to meet his 
father as confidently and boldly, as if he had never departed 
from him ; but to say, " Father, 1 have sinned against heaven 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 77 

and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy 
son ;" Luke xv. 18. It is not ingenuous for a guilty soul, or 
one that is snatched as a brand out of the fire, to look to- 
wards God with a brazen face, but with shame and sorrow to 
hang down the head, and smite upon the breast, and say, 
" O Lord be merciful to me a sinner." " For God resisteth 
the proud, but giveth grace to the humble ;" 1 Pet. v. 5. 
James iv. 6. " Though the Lord be high, yet he hath re- 
gard unto the lowly : but the proud he knoweth afar off;" 
Psal. cxxxviii. 6. " For thus saith the High and Holy One 
that inhabiteth eternity ; whose name is Holy ; and I dwell 
in the high and holy place ; with him also that is of a con - 
trite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, 
and to revive the heart of the contrite ones ;" Isa. lvii. 15. 
" To this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a 
contrite spirit, and that trembles at my word ;" Isa. lxvi. 2. 
" The Lord is nigh to them that are of a broken heart, and 
saveth such as be of a contrite spirit ;" Psal. xxxiv. 18. " The 
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit ; a broken and contrite 
heart, O God, thou wilt not despise ;" Psal. li. 17. There 
is no turning to God, unless we " loathe ourselves for all our 
abominations ;" Ezek. xvi. 63. 

The nearer we approach him, the more we must " abhor 
ourselves in dust and ashes ;" Jobxlii. 6. He will not em- 
brace a sinner in his dung ; but will first wash and cleanse 
him ; Isa. i. 16. Conversion must make us humble, and as 
little children, that are teachable, and look not after great 
matters in the world, or else there is no entering the king- 
dom of God ; Matt, xviii. 3,4. And thus you see the uses 
and necessity of Humiliation. 

in. By what hath been already said, you may perceive 
what mistakes are carefully to be avoided, about your Humi- 
liation, and with what caution it must be sought. 

1. One error that you must take heed of, is, that you take 
not Humiliation for an indifferent thing, or for such an ap- 
purtenance of faith as may be spared : think not an unhum- 
bled soul, while such, can be sanctified. Some carnal hearts 
conceive, that it is only more heinous sinners that must be 
contrite and brokenhearted ; and that this is not necessary 
to them that have been brought up civilly or religiously 
from their youth. But it is as possible to be saved without 
faith, as without repentance, and that special humiliation 






78 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

which I described to you before, it is part of your sancti- 
fication. 

2. Another mistake to be carefully avoided, is, the plac- 
ing of your Humiliation, either only, or principally, in the 
passionate part, or in the outward expression of those pas- 
sions. I mean, either in pinching grief, and sorrow of heart, 
or else in tears. But you must remember that the life of it 
is, as was said before, in the judgment and the will. It is 
not the measure of passionate sorrow and anguish that will 
best shew the measure of your sincere humiliation ; much 
less is it your tears or outward expressions. But it is your 
low esteem of yourselves, and contentedness to be vile in the 
eyes of others ; and your displacency with yourselves, and 
willingness to mourn and weep for sin as much as God would 
have you, with the rest of the acts of the judgment and will 
before described. 

Two great dangers are here before you to be avoided. 
First, some there be that have terrible pangs of sorrow, and 
are ready to tear their own hair, yea, to make away them- 
selves, as Judas, in the horror of their consciences ; and 
these may seem to have true humiliation, and yet have none. 
And some can weep abundantly at a sermon or in a prayer, 
or in mentioning their sin to others ; and therefore think 
that they are truly humbled ; and yet it may be nothing so. 
For if at the same time their hearts are in love with sin, or 
had rather keep it than let it go, or have not an habitual ha- 
tred to it, and a predominant, superlative love to God, their 
humiliation is no saving work. That which is in the pas- 
sions and tears, may be even forced against your wills ; and 
it signifieth scarce so much as a common grace, were you are 
not willing of it. Many an one can weep through a pas- 
sionate, womanish, tender nature, and yet not only remain 
unhumbled, but be proud in a very high degree. How many 
such do we ordinarily see ; especially women, that can weep 
more at a duty or conference, than some that are truly bro- 
ken-hearted could do in all their lives ; and yet be so far 
from being vile in their own eyes, and willing to be so in the 
eyes of others, that they will hate, and reproach, and rail at 
those that charge them with the faults which they seemed 
to lament ; or at least that charge them with disgraceful 
gins ; and they will excuse and mince their sins, and make a 
small matter of them, and love none so well as those that 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 7.0 

have the highest thoughts of them. So that pride doth or- 
dinarily reign in their hearts, and break out in their words 
and lives, and make them hate the most faithful reprovers, 
and live in contention with any that dishonour them, for all 
the tears that come from their eyes. Judge not therefore by 
passions, or tears alone, but by the judgment and the will, 
as is aforesaid. 

2. Another sort there are much better and happier than 
the former, that yet to their great trouble are mistaken in 
this point ; and that is, they that think they have no true 
humiliation because they find not such pangs of sorrow, and 
freedom of tears, as others have, when as their hearts are 
contrite, even when they cannot weep a tear. Tell me but 
this ; are you vile in your own eyes, because you are guilty 
of sin, and that against the Lord whom you chiefly love? 
Do you loathe your sins, because of your abominations, and 
could you heartily wish, that you had been suffering when 
you were sinning ? And if it were to do again, would you 
choose to suffer rather than to sin ? Have you a desire to 
grieve, and a desire to weep when you cannot weep ? Can 
you quietly bear it, when you are vilified by others, because 
you know yourselves to be so vile ? And are you thankful 
to a plain reprover, though he tell you of the most disgrace- 
ful sin ? Do you think meanly of your own sayings and 
doings and think better of others, where there is any ground, 
than of yourselves ? Do you justify God's afflictions, and 
men's true rebukes, and think yourselves unworthy of the 
communion of the saints, or to see their faces, and unwor- 
thy to live on the face of the earth ? Yea, would you jus- 
tify if he should condemn you ? This is the state of an hum- 
bled soul. Find but this, and you need not doubt of God's 
acceptance though you were unable to shed a tear. There 
is more humiliation in a base esteem of ourselves, than in 
a thousand tears ; and more in a will, or desire to weep for 
sin, than in tears, that come through force of terror, or 
moisture of the brain, or passionate tenderness of nature. If 
the will be right you need not fear. It is he that most hateth 
sin, and is most hardly drawn to it, that is most truly hum- 
bled for it. He that will lament it to-day and commit it to- 
morrow, is far less humbled and penitent than he that would 
not be drawn to it with the hopes of all the pleasures of the 
world, nor commit it, if it were to save his life. 



80 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

3. To avoid this, some run into the contrary mistake, and 
think that sorrow and tears are unnecessary, and that they 
may repent as well without them as with them ; and they 
lay all in some dull, ineffectual wishes, and so they think the 
heart is changed. But certainly God made not the affec- 
tions in vain. It cannot be that any man can have a sanc- 
tified will, but his affections will hold some correspondence 
with it, and be commanded by it. Though we cannot mourn 
in that measure as we desire, yet some sorrow there will be 
wherever the heart is truly changed : and apparently this 
sorrow will be the greatest. No man can heartily believe 
that sin is the greatest evil to his soul, and not be grieved 
for it. And indeed our liveliest affections should be exer- 
cised about these most weighty things. It is a shame to 
see a man mourn for a friend, and whine under a cross that 
toucheth but the flesh, and yet be so insensible of the plague 
of sin, and the anger of the Lord, and to laugh and jest with 
such mountains on his soul. Though grief and tears be not 
the heart, or principal part of our humiliation, yet are they 
to be looked after as our duty ; yea, sorrow in some measure 
is of absolute necessity, and the want of tears is no good 
sign in them that have tears for other things. Indeed the 
sense of our folly and unkindness should be so great, that 
it should even turn our hearts into sorrow, and melt them in 
our breasts, and draw forth streams of tears from our eyes ; 
and if we cannot bring ourselves to this, we must yet lament 
the hardness of our hearts, and not excuse it. 

4. In the next place you are hence informed, how to an- 
swer that question, ' Whether it be possible for a man to be 
humbled and repent too much V That part of humiliation 
which consisteth in the acts of the understanding and the 
will, cannot be too much as to the intention of the act ; and 
if it be too much as to the objective extent, then, as it is mis- 
guided, so it changeth its nature, and ceaseth to be the thing 
that it was before. A man may think worse of himself than 
he is, by thinking falsely of himself, as that he is guilty of 
the sin which he is not guilty of; but this is not the same 
thing with true humiliation. But to have too clear an ap- 
prehension of the evil of his sin and his own vileness, this he 
need not fear. And in the will it is more clear : no man can 
be too willing to be rid of sin in God's time and way ; nor 
be too much averse from it, as it is against the Lord. But 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 81 

then the other part of Humiliation, which consisteth in the 
depth of sorrow, or in tears, may possibly be too much ; 
though I know very few that are guilty of it, or need to fear 
it ; because the common case of the world is to be stupid, 
and hard-hearted ; and most of the godly are lamentably in- 
sensible. But yet some few there are, that have need of 
this advice, that they strive not for too great a measure of 
grief. Let your hearts be against sin as much as is possible ; 
but yet let there be some limits in your grief and tears. And 
this counsel is necessary to these sorts of people. 1. To 
melancholy people, that are in danger of being distracted, 
and made unreasonable and useless by overmuch sorrow. 
Their thoughts will be fixing, and musing, and sad, and 
dark, and full of fears, and either make things worse than 
they are, or else be more deeply affected with them than 
their heads can bear. 2. And this is the case of some weak- 
spirited women that are not melancholy ; but yet by natural 
weakness of their brains, and strength of their passions, are 
unable to endure those serious, deep, affecting apprehensions 
which others may desire ; but the depth of their sensibility, 
and greatness of their passion, doth presently endanger the 
crazing of their brains, and quickly cast them into melan- 
choly, or worse. 

And this is a very heavy affliction, where it comes, both 
to the persons themselves, and those about them. To be 
deprived of the use of reason, is one of the greatest corpo- 
ral calamities in this life. And it is matter of offence and 
dishonour to the Gospel in the eyes of the ungodly, that un- 
derstand not the case. When they see any languish in un- 
measurable sorrow, or fall into distraction, it is a grievous 
temptation to them to fly from religion, and avoid godly 
sorrow, and all serious thoughts of heavenly things, and it 
occasioneth the foolish scorners to say, that religion makes 
men mad ; and that this humiliation and conversion which 
we call them to, is the way to bring them out of their wits. 
So that by reason of the grief of the godly, and the harden- 
ing of the ungodly, the case is so sad that it requireth our 
greatest care to avoid it. 

Quest. ' But if it be so dangerous to sorrow either too 
little or too much, what shall a poor sinner do in such 
a strait? And how shall he know when to restrain his 



sorrows 



v 



VOL. VIII. 



82 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

Answ. It is but very few in the world that have cause to 
fear excess of this kind of sorrow. The common case of 
men, is to be blockish, and worldly sorrow doth cast more 
into melancholy and distraction than godly sorrow; but for 
those few that are in danger of excess, I shall first tell you 
how to discern it, and then how to remedy it. 

1. When your sorrow is greater than your brains can 
bear, without apparent danger of distraction, or a melancholy 
disturbance and diminution of your understanding, then it 
is certainly too much, and to be restrained. For if you over- 
throw your reason, you will be a reproach to religion, and 
you will be fit for nothing that is truly good, either to your 
own edification, or the service of God. 

2. If you be in any grievous disease, which sorrow would 
increase to the hazard of your life, you have reason to res- 
train it : though you may not forbear repenting, or careful- 
ness of your salvation, yet the passion of grief you must mo- 
derate and abate. 

3. When sorrow is so great as to discompose your mind, 
or enfeeble your body, so as to unfit you for the service of 
God, and make you more unable to do good, or receive good, 
you have reason then to moderate and restrain it. 

4. When the greatness of your sorrow doth overmatch 
the necessary measure of your love, or joy, or thanks, and 
keep out these, and takes up more of your spirit than its 
part, having no room for greater duties, then it is excessive 
and to be restrained. There are some that will strive and 
struggle with their hearts, to wring out a few tears, and in- 
crease their sorrow, that yet make little conscience of other 
affections, and will not strive half so much to increase their 
faith, and love, and joy. 

5. When your sorrow by the greatness of it, doth draw 
you into temptation, either to despair, or think hardly of 
God and his service, or to undervalue his grace and the sa- 
tisfaction of Christ, as if it were too scant, and insufficient 
for you, you have then cause to moderate and restrain it. 

6. When your sorrow is unseasonable, and will needs 
thrust in at those times when you are called to thankfulness, 
and joy, you have then cause to moderate and restrain it at 
that season. Not that we should wholly lay by sorrow in 
any day of joy and thanksgiving, unless we could lay by all 
our sin in the duties of that day ; nor should we wholly lay 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 83 

by spiritual comfort and delight, in days of greatest humi- 
liation. For as our state is here mixed of grace and sin, so 
must all our duties be mixed of joy and sorrow. It is only 
in heaven where we must have unmixed joys, and only in hell 
that there are unmixed sorrows ; or at least, not in any state 
of grace. But yet for all that there are seasons now, when 
one of these must be more eminently exercised, and the 
other in a lower measure. As in times of calamity, and 
after a fall, we are called out so much to humiliation, that 
comfort should but moderate our sorrows, and the exercise 
of it be veiled for that time : so in times of special mercies 
from the Lord, we may be called out to exercise our thanks, 
and praise, and joy so eminently, that sorrow should but 
keep us humble, and be, as it were, serviceable to our joys. 
When grace and mercy are most eminent, then joy and praise 
should be predominant (which is through the most of a 
Christian's life, that walketh uprightly and carefully with 
God ;) and when sin and judgments are most eminent, sorrow 
must be then predominant, as being a necessary means to 
solid joy. And therefore, ordinarily, a sinner that is but in 
the work of conversion, and newly coming to God from a re- 
bellious state, must entertain more sorrow, and let out him- 
self more to groans and tears than afterwards when he is 
brought to reconciliation with God, and walketh in integrity. 

Quest. * But when is it that my sorrow is too shorthand I 
should labour to increase it V 

Answ. 1. When there is no apparent danger of the last- 
mentioned evils, that is, of destroying your bodies, distract- 
ing your brains, discomposing your minds, and drowning 
other graces and duties, and the rest ; then you have little 
cause to be afraid of an excess. 

2. When you have not smart enough to cause you to 
value the love of Christ, and highly prize his blood, and the 
effects of it, and hunger and thirst after him and his righ- 
teousness, and earnestly beg for the pardon of your sin ; you 
have cause to desire then more sorrow. If you feel no great 
need of Christ, but pass by him as lightly as the full stomach 
by his food, as if you could do well enough without him ; 
you may be sure then you have need to be broken more. If 
you set not so much by the love of God that you would part 
with any thing in the world to enjoy it, and would think no 
terms too dear for heaven ; you have need to lie under the 



84 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

sense of your sin and misery a little longer, and to beseech 
the Lord to save you from that heart of stone. When you 
can hear of the love and sufferings of your Redeemer, with- 
out any warmth of love to him again, and can read or hear 
the promise of grace, and offers of Christ, and eternal life, 
without any considerable joy, or thankfulness, it is time for 
you then to beg of God a tender heart. 

3. When you make many pauses in the work of your 
conversion, and are sometimes in a good mind and then 
again at a stand, as if you were yet unresolved whether to 
turn or no : when you stick at Christ's terms of denyingyour- 
selves, and crucifying the flesh, and forsaking all for the 
hopes of glory, and think these sayings somewhat hard, and 
are considering of the matter whether you should yield to 
them or not, or are secretly reserving somewhat to your- 
selves ; this certainly shews that you are not yet sufficiently 
humbled, or else you would never stand trifling thus with 
God. He must yet set your sins in order before you, and 
hold you awhile over the fire of hell, and ring your con- 
sciences such a peal, as shall make you yield and resolve 
your doubts, and teach you not to dally with your Maker. 
If Pharaoh himself be off and on with God, and sometimes 
he will let Israel go, and then again he will not ; God will 
follow him with plague after plague, till he make him yield, 
and glad to drive or hasten them away. And even where he 
deals in ways of grace, he maketh so much use of sorrows, 
as to make men yield the sooner to his terms, and glad to 
have mercy on such terms, if they were harder. 

4. When you are heartless and dull under the ordinances 
of God, and Scripture hath little life or sweetness to you, 
and you are almost indifferent whether you call upon God 
in secret or no, and whether you go to the congregation, and 
hear the word, and join in God's praises and the communion 
of the saints, and you have no great relish in holy conference, 
or any ordinance, but do them almost merely for custom, or 
to please, your consciences, and not for any great need you 
feel of them, or good you find by them ; this shews for cer- 
tain you want some more of the rod and spur ; your hearts 
be not awakened and broken sufficiently, but God must take 
you in hand again. 

5. When you can be mindless of God, and of the life to 
come, and forget both your sins and Saviour's blood, and 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 85 

set out your thoughts almost continually upon worldly va- 
nities or common things, as if you were overgrown the need 
of Christ ; this shews that the stone is yet in your hearts, 
and that God must keep you to a harder diet to mend your 
appetites, and make you feel your sin and misery, till it call 
off your thoughts from things that less concern you, and 
teach you to mind your everlasting state. If you begin to 
forget yourselves and him, it is time for you to have a 
remembrancer. 

6. When you begin to taste more sweetness in the crea- 
ture, and be more tickled with applause and honour, and 
pleased more with a full estate, and more impatient with po- 
verty, or wants, or wrongs from men, and crosses in the 
world ; and when you are set upon a thriving course, and are 
eager to grow rich, and fall in love with money ; when you 
drown yourselves in worldly cares and business, and are 
cumbered about many things, through your own choice ; 
this shews indeed that you are dangerously unhumbled ; and 
if God have mercy for you, he will bring you low, and make 
your riches gall and wormwood to you, and abate your ap- 
petite, and teach you to know that one thing is needful ; and 
to be more eager after the food that perisheth not, and here- 
after to choose the better part; Luke x. 41,42. John vi. 27. 

7. When you can return to play with the occasions of 
sin, or look upon it with a re£oncileable mind, as if you had 
yet some mind on it, and could almost find in your heart to 
be doing with it again ; when you begin to have a mind of 
your old company and courses, or begin to draw as near it 
as you dare, and are gazing upon the bait, and tasting of the 
forbidden thing, and can scarce tell how to deny your fan- 
cies, your appetites, your senses, your desires ; this shews 
that you want some wakening work : God must yet read you 
another lecture in the black book, and set you to spell those 
lines of blood which it seems you have forgotten ; and kin- 
dle a little of that fire in your consciences, which else you 
would run into, till you feel and understand, whether it be 
good playing with sin, and the wrath of God, and the ever- 
lasting fire. 

8. When you begin to be indifferent as to your commu- 
nion with God, and think not much whether he accept you, 
and manifest his love to you or not, but can huddle up your 
prayers, and look no more after them, or what becomes of 



86 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

them, and use ordinances, and seldom inquire of the success ; 
when you can spare the spiritual consolations of the saints, 
and fetch little of your comforts from Christ or heaven ; but 
from your friends, and health and prosperity, and accommo- 
dations ; and perhaps can be as merry in carnal company, 
when you say and do as they, as if you were considering of 
the love of Christ, this shews that the threatenings went not 
deep enough. Sorrow hath yet another part to play : you 
must be taught better to know your home, and to take more 
pleasure in your Father, and your Husband, and your bre- 
thren, and your inheritance, than in strangers, or enemies 
to God and you. 

9. When you begin to grow wanton with ordinances or 
other mercies, and instead of thankful receiving them, and 
feeding on them, you pick quarrels with them, and nothing 
will please you ; either the minister is too weak, or he is too 
curious, or too formal; you must have it this way or that 
way ; either you must have more of a form, or no form ; in 
this gesture, or that order, and something or other is still 
amiss : this shews that you want humbling, and that you are 
fitter for the rod, than for meat. If God do but open you a 
door into your hearts, and shew you the monsters and emp- 
tiness that are there, you will see, that the fault lay some- 
where else than in the minister, or the ordinances : if it were 
in them, it was more in you. The cause of your loathing, 
and quarrelling with the world, was the fulness of your own 
stomach ; and God must give you a vomit or purge, that 
shall make your hearts ache before it hath done working, 
and then your appetites will be mended, and your wanton- 
ness will cease ; and that will be sweet to you which before 
you slighted. 

10. When you begin to be leavened with pride, and think 
highly of yourselves, and have good conceits of your own 
parts and performances, and would be noted, and taken for 
somebody among the godly, and you cannot endure to be 
overlooked or passed by : when you think meanly of other 
men's parts and duties in comparison of yours, and think 
yourselves as wise as your teachers, and begin to hear them 
as judges with a magisterial spirit, and think you could do 
as well as this yourselves ; when you are finding fault with 
that which should nourish you, and in every sermon you are 
most noting the defects, and think that this you could have 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 87 

mended ; when you itch to be teachers yourselves, and think 
yourselves fitter to preach than to learn, to rule than to be 
ruled, to answer than to ask for resolution ; when you think 
so well of yourselves, that the church is not pure or good 
enough for your company, though Christ disowneth it not, 
and they force you not to sin ; when you grow censorious, 
and aggravate the faults of others, and extenuate their graces, 
and can see a mote in another's eye, but will discern none 
of their graces, if they be not as high as mountains ; and 
none can pass for godly with you, but those of the most 
eminent magnitude ; when you are itching after novelties in 
religion, and setting your wisdom against the present or an- 
cient church ; and affecting singularity, because you will be 
of no common way ; when you cannot hear this minister, 
nor that minister, though the ministers of Christ ; and you 
are harping upon that, " Come out from among them, and be 
ye separate ;" as if Christ had called you to come out of the 
church, when he called you to come out of the company of 
infidels : all this cries aloud for further humiliation ; you 
have a tympany that must be pricked, to let out the wind 
that puffs you up : if you be not for perdition, and to be 
forsaken, and given over to yourselves, you must be fetched 
over again, and humbled with a witness. When God hath 
turned your inside outward, and shewed you that you are 
poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked, and that you are 
empty nothings, who thought so well of yourselves; he will 
then make you stoop to those that you despised, and think 
yourselves unworthy of the communion of those that before 
you thought unworthy of yours. He will make you think 
you are unworthy to hear those ministers that you turned 
your back upon ; and he will take down your teaching, talk- 
ing vein, and make you glad again to be learners : in a word, 
he will by conversion make you as little children, or you 
shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

And this spiritual pride is a most lamentable disease, 
and the issue usually is exceeding sad. For with many, it 
is the forerunner of damnable apostasy, and God gives them 
over to their own conceits, and the wisdom which they so 
esteem, till it have led them to perdition. And those that 
are cured, are many of them cured by the saddest way of 
any men in the world. For it is usual with God to let them 
alone, till they have run themselves into some abominable 



88 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

error, or fallen into some shameful, scandalous sin, till they 
are made an hissing and bye-word among men ; that shame 
and confusion may bring them to their wits, and they may 
learn to know what it was that they were proud of, and see 
that they were but silly worms. 

And thus I have shewed you, when you must seek after 
deeper humiliation, and may conclude that you are not hum- 
bled enough. Yea, and when a greater measure is of some 
necessity to your souls. 

Quest. ' Well, but yet you have not told us what course 
a poor sinner should take in such a strait, when he knows 
not whether his humiliation, as to the affectionate part, be 
too little or too much.' 

Answ. 1. You may partly discern yourselves by what is 
said, whether you have need of more or less humiliation, if 
you can but try your hearts by these signs. 2. But yet I 
would advise, and earnestly persuade you, in cases of diffi- 
culty, to betake yourselves to some able, faithful minister 
for resolution. If you feel sorrow seize so deep upon your 
spirits, that it distempereth you, or threateneth your under- 
standing, or your health, especially if you are either pas- 
sionate women, or melancholy persons : stay not then any 
longer, lest delay do that which easily cannot be undone, 
but go and open your case and crave advice. This is a prin- 
cipal use of pastors, that you should have them at hand, to 
advise with in the diseases and dangers of your souls, as you 
do with physicians, in the diseases and dangers of the body. 
Lay by all sinful bashfulness, and trust not yourselves any 
longer with your own skill, but go to them that God hath 
set in office over you for such uses as these, and tell them 
your case : this is God's way, and he will bless his own or- 
dinance : melancholy and passionate distempered persons 
are not fit judges of their own condition. In this case you 
must distrust your own understanding, and be not self-con- 
ceited, and stick not obstinately to every fancy that comes 
into your heads, but in the sense of your weakness rely upon 
the guidance of your faithful overseers, till your distempers 
are overcome, and you are made more capable of discerning 
for yourselves. 

5. You are further to be informed, that it is not for itself 
that sorrow and tears are so desirable, but as they are ex- 
pressions of a gracious temper of the will, and as they help 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 89 

on the ends that Humiliation is appointed to. And there- 
fore you may hence learn in what sort you must seek after 
it. (1.) You must not place the chief part of your religion 
in it, as if it were a life of mere sorrow, that we are called to 
by the Gospel. But you must make it a servant to your 
faith, and love, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and other graces. 
As the use of the needle is but to make way for the thread, 
and then it is the thread and not the needle that makes the 
seam ; so much of our sorrow is but to prepare for faith and 
love, and these are they that close the soul with Christ. It 
is therefore a sore mistake with some, that are very appre- 
hensive of their want of sorrow, but little of their want of 
faith or love ; and that pray and strive to break their hearts, 
or weep for sin, but not much for those higher graces, 
which it tendeth to. One must be done, and not the other 
left undone. 

(2.) As tears are the expression of the heart, so those are 
the most kindly and sincere, which voluntarily flow from the 
inward feeling of the evil that we lament ; if you could weep 
never so much, merely because you think that tears are in 
themselves necessary, and had not within, the hatred of sin, 
and sense of its vile and killing nature ; this were not true 
humiliation at all. And if the heart be humbled before the 
Lord, it is not the want of tears that will cause him to des- 
pise it. Some are so backward to weep by nature, that they 
cannot weep for any outward thing, no, not for the loss of 
the dearest friend, when yet they would have done ten times 
more to redeem his life, than some that have tears at will. 
Groans are as sure expressions of sorrow as tears, with such 
as these. And the hearty rejection and detestation of sin, 
is yet a better evidence than either. But where men have 
naturally a weeping disposition, which they can manifest 
about crosses in the world, and yet cannot shed a tear for 
sin, there the case is the more suspicious. 

(3.) The principal cause why you must strive for deeper 
sorrow, is, that you may obtain the ends of that sorrow ; 
that sin may be more odious to you, and more effectually 
mortified ; that self may be taken down, and Christ may be 
valued and desired, and exalted, and that you may be fitted 
for a holy communion with God for the time to come, and 
saved from pride, and kept in watchfulness. 

6. From this that was last said, you have a rule by which 



90 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

you may certainly discern, what measure of Humiliation it 
is that must be had. It must go so deep as to undermine 
our pride, and so far the heart must needs be broken, as is 
necessary to break the heart of sin, and carnal self. If this 
be not done, there is nothing done, though you weep out 
your eyes. You must be brought so low, that the blood of 
Christ, and the favour of God, may be more precious in your 
eyes than all the world, and in your very hearts preferred 
before it : and then you may be sure that your humiliation 
is sincere, whether you have tears or none. 

7. From hence also you may see, that you must take 
heed of ascribing to your own humiliation any part of the 
office and honour of Christ : think not that you can satisfy 
the justice of the law, or merit any thing of God by the 
worth of your sorrows, though you should weep even tears 
of blood. It is not true humiliation if it consist not in the 
sense and acknowledgment of your unworthiness, and 
desert of condemnation, and if it do not lead you to look out 
for pardon and life from Christ, as being lost and wholly in- 
sufficient for yourselves. And therefore it would be a plain 
contradiction, if true humiliation should be taken as satis- 
faction or merit, or trusted on instead of Christ. 

iv. Having thus far opened the nature and reasons of true 
Humiliation, I conclude with that advice which I principal- 
ly here intended ; refuse not to be thoroughly and deeply 
humbled. Be not weary of the humbling workings of the 
Spirit. Grief is an unwelcome guest to nature ; but grace 
can see reason to bid it welcome. Grace is ingenuous, and 
cannot look back on so great unkindness, with unwillingness 
to mourn over it ; Zech. xii. 10. There is somewhat of God 
in godly sorrow, and therefore the soul consenteth to it, and 
seeketh for it, and calls it in : yea, and is grieved that it can 
grieve no more. Not that sorrow as sorrow is desirable, but 
as a necessary consequent of our grievous sinning, and a ne- 
cessary antecedent of our further recovery : as we may sub- 
mit to death itself with a cheerful willingness, because it is 
sanctified to be the passage into glory, how dreadful soever 
it be to nature in itself; so much more may we submit to 
humiliation and brokenness of heart with a holy willing- 
ness, because it is sanctified to be the entrance into the state 
of grace. Consider for your satisfaction of these following 
things. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 91 

1. The main brunt of your sorrows will be but in the be- 
ginning : and when once you are settled in a holy course, 
you will find more peace and comfort, than ever you could 
have had in any other way. I know if you will be meddling 
with sin again, it will in its measure breed sorrow again : 
but a godly life is a life of uprightness, and conversion is a 
departing from sin, and consequently a departing from the 
cause of sorrow. And can you not bear such a sorrow for a 
little while ? 

2. Consider but whence you are coming : is it not out 
of a state of wrath f And where have you been all this 
while ? Was it not in the power of satan 1 And what have 
you been doing all your lives ? Hath it not been the drudg- 
ery of sin, and the offending of your Lord, and the destroy- 
ing of yourselves ? And is it meet, is it reasonable, is it in- 
genuous, for you to come out of such a case, without lamen- 
tation that you staid in it so long ? 

3. Consider also, that it is necessary to your own recove- 
ry and salvation. Do you think to take so dangerous a surfeit, 
and then to be cured without a vomit? You will endure for the 
health of your bodies, the bitterest pills, and most loathsome 
potions, the shortest diet, and the letting out of your blood, 
for you know that your life lieth on it, and there is no remedy ; 
and should you not endure for the saving of your souls,the bit- 
terest sorrows, the keenest rebukes, the freest confessions, 
and the most plentiful tears? Sin will not down at easier 
rates : self will not be conquered else : the heart of it will 
not be broken, till your hearts be broken. We know your 
sorrows merit nothing, and make not God amends for your 
sins, nor is it for want of sufficiency in the blood of Christ 
that we require them ; but it is part of the fruit of his blood 
upon your souls. If his blood do not melt and break your 
hearts, you have no part in him. It becomes you to mourn 
over him whom you have pierced ; Zech. xii. 10. And this 
fruit Of his blood is a preparative to more. You may as well 
think of being saved without faith, as without repentance 
and humiliation. 

4. Consider so much as is bitter in it, is of your own pre- 
paration ; you may thank yourselves for it. Who was it 
that brought you to this necessity of sorrow ? Have you 
been all your lifetime surfeiting of the creature and causing 
your own disease, and now will you grudge at the trouble of 



92 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

a cure ? Whom have you to blame and find fault with but 
yourselves ? Was it not you that sinned ? Was it not you 
that laid in the fuel of sorrows, and sowed the seeds of this 
bitter fruit, and cherished the cause of trouble in yourselves? 
God did not do this; it was you yourselves. He doth but 
undo that which you have been doing. Grudge not there- 
fore at your physician, if you must be purged, and let blood, 
and dieted strictly, but thank yourselves for it that have 
made it so necessary. 

5. Consider also that you have a wise and tender Phy- 
sician, that hath known what sorrow and grief is himself, for 
he was made for you a man of sorrows ; (Isaiah liii.3.) and 
therefore can pity those that be in sorrow ; he delighteth 
not in your trouble and grief, but in your cure and after- 
consolations. And therefore you may be sure that he will 
deal gently and moderately with you, and lay no more on you 
than is necessary for your good ; nor give you any more bit- 
ter a cup than your disease doth require. When he sheweth 
his greatest liking for the contrite, it is that he may revive 
their hearts ; andheprofesseth withal, that he will not contend 
for ever, nor be always wrath, lest the spirit should fail before 
him, and the souls which he hath made ; Isaiah lvii. 15, 16. 
He calls to him the weary and heavy-laden, that he may 
give them ease ; Matt. xi. 28. He was sent to heal the bro- 
ken-hearted ; to preach deliverance to the captives, and re- 
covering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them 
that are bruised ; Luke iv. 18. When he hath broken your 
hearts, he will as tenderly bind them up, and as safely heal 
them as you can reasonably desire. Even his ministers, that 
labour to break your hearts, and bring you low, even to the 
dust, have no worse meaning in it than to bring you to 
Christ, and life, and comfort ; and though they are glad to 
see the weeping eyes of their hearers, and to hear their free 
confessions and lamentations, yet this is not because they 
take pleasure in your trouble, but because they foresee the 
saving fruits of it, and know it to be necessary to your ever- 
lasting peace. You may read what their thoughts are in the 
words of Paul, 2 Cor. vii. 9 — 11. " Now I rejoice, not that 
you were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance ; 
for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might 
receive no damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow 
worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of; but 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 93 

the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold, this 
self-same thing that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what 
carefulness it wrought in you ; yea, what clearing of your- 
selves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what ve- 
hement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge, &c." In- 
deed, neither Christ nor his ministers^have that fond, foolish 
love to you, and pity of you, as you have to yourselves : 
they be not so tender of you, as to save you from the sorrow 
which is needful to the saving of you from hell. But they 
would not put you to any more than needs ; nor have you 
taste a drop of the vinegar and gall, or shed one tear, but 
what shall tend to your comfort and salvation. 

6. Consider what sorrows they be that these sorrows do 
prevent, and what those suffer in hell, that avoid this godly 
sorrow on earth. O sirs, your repentant sorrows are joys to 
those ; yours have hope, but theirs are quickened with des- 
peration ; yours are small and but a drop to their ocean ; 
yours are curing, but theirs are tormenting ; yours are a fa- 
ther's rod, but theirs are the rack and gallows ; yours are 
mixed with love, but theirs are unmixed, overwhelming them 
with confusion ; yours are short, but theirs are endless. 
And had you rather sorrow as they do, than as the godly do ? 
Had you rather howl with devils and rebels, than weep with 
saints and children ? Had you rather be broken in hell by 
torments, than on earth by grace ? Is it not an unreason- 
able thing of you, to make such a stir at the sorrow that 
must save you, when you remember what it would save you 
from, and what all must suffer that are not humbled here by 
grace ! O, it is another kind of sorrow that others are now 
enduring. Grudge not at the pricking of a vein, when so 
many thousands are everlastingly bleeding at the heart. 

7. Consider, the more you are rightly humbled, the 
sweeter will Christ and all his mercies be to you ever after 
while you live. One taste of the healing love of Christ, will 
make you bless those sorrows that prepared for it. The 
same Christ is not equally esteemed even by all that he will 
save : and had you not rather be emptied yet more of your- 
selves, that you may be fuller of Christ hereafter? When 
you do but feel his arms embracing you, and perceive him 
in that posture as the prodigal's father was ; (Luke xv. 20.) 
you will thank that sorrow that fitted you for his arms. 

8. If you be thoroughly humbled, you will walk the more 



94 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

safely all your days, if other things correspond. It will 
make you hate the sin you smarted by, and fly the occasions 
of that which cost you so dear. 

9. The sin of pride is one of the most mortal, damning 
sins in the world ; and that which thousands of professors 
do miscarry by. And humiliation is most directly contrary 
to this ; and therefore must needs be an amiable and neces- 
sary thing. It is worth all the sorrow that a hundred men 
endure here, to be saved from this dangerous sin of pride. 

10. A thorough humiliation is usually a sign of the 
greater exaltation to come after. For " those that humble 
themselves shall be exalted, and those that exalt themselves 
shall be brought low ;" Lukexiv. 11. " Humble yourselves 
therefore under the mighty hand of God, and he shall lift 
you up ;" IPet. v.5. The higher you mean to build, the 
deeper you will dig to lay the foundation. Your consola- 
tions will be greater, as your sorrows have been greater. 
You may be free from those doubts that follow others all 
their days, lest they were never truly humbled. You need 
not be still questioning, or pulling up your foundations, as 
if you were to begin again. It is a sign that you are intend- 
ed to greater employments, (if other things concur). Paul 
must be laid exceeding low in his conversion, that he might 
be the fitter as a chosen vessel to bear Christ's name among 
the Gentiles. 

Lay all this now together, sirs, and consider what cause 
you have to cherish the humbling works of grace, and not to 
quench them. When your hearts begin to be afflicted for 
sin, go not among foolish or merry companions to drink or 
laugh it away. Drive it not out of your minds, as unkindly 
as if it came to do you hurt ; but get alone, and consider of 
the matter, and on your knees in secret beseech the Lord to 
follow it home, and break your hearts, and make you meet 
for his healing consolations, and not to leave you in this 
Red Sea, but to bring you through, and put the songs of 
praise into your mouths. 

Direct. V. Having thus directed you about your Humi- 
liation, the next direction which I would offer you, that you 
may not miscarry in the work of conversion, is this : ' See 
that you close with the Lord Jesus Christ, understanding- 
ly, heartily, and entirely as he is revealed, and offered to you 
in the Gospel. In this your Christianity doth consist, upon 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 95 

this your justification and salvation lie. This is the sum of 
your conversion, and the very heart of the new creature. 
The rest is all but the preparatives to this, or the fruits of this. 
Christ is the end and the fulfilling of the law, the substance of 
the Gospel, the way to the Father, the life, the help, and the 
hope of the believer ; if you know not him, you know nothing ; 
if you possess not him, you have nothing ; and if you are 
out of him, you can do nothing that hath a promise of salva- 
tion. And therefore I shall distinctly (though briefly) tell 
you what it is to close with Christ, understandingly, hear- 
tily, and entirely, as he is offered in the Gsspel. 

And, 1. That you may close with Christ understandingly, 
you must look to these things. 1. That you understand 
who Christ is, as in his person and his offices. 2. That you 
understand the reason of his undertaking. 3. That you un- 
derstand what it is that he hath done and suffered for us. 
4. That you understand the nature and worth of his benefits, 
and what he will do for you. 5. That you understand the 
terms on which he conveyeth these benefits to men ; and 
what is the nature, extent, and condition of the promises. 
And 6. That you understand the certain truth of all this. 

For the first, you must understand that Jesus Christ hath 
two natures in one person ; that he is both God and man : as 
he is God, of the same substance with his Father,- and one in 
essence with him, the second person in the blessed Trinity ; 
the Word of God, the only begotten Son of the Father, eter- 
nal, incomprehensible, and infinite. As man he hath a true 
human soul and body, as men have ; so that his Godhead, 
his human soul, and his body, are really distinct. This hu- 
man nature was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the Virgin 
Mary, without man, and born of her, and is so truly united 
to the Divine nature, as that they are one person : not that 
the Godhead is turned into the manhood, nor the manhood 
into the Godhead; but the Godhead hath taken the man- 
hood into personal unity with itself. This was not from 
eternity, but when man had sinned, and lost himself, and 
needed a Redeemer. By reason of his miraculous concep- 
tion, he was free from all original sin, being holy, harmless and 
undefiled. His person and natures were fit for his office ; 
which was to be Mediator between God and man, to make 
reconciliation, and recover us to God. Had he not been 
God, but mere man, his dignity would not have been suffi- 



96 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

cient for such an interposition, nor his obedience or suffer- 
ings of any such value, as to be the price of our redemption. 
Nor could he have borne our burden, or conquered death, 
and risen again, and overcome the prince of death, the de- 
vil ; nor have ruled his church, and preserved and sancti- 
fied them, and prospered his cause, and subdued his ene- 
mies, nor effectually interceded with the Father, nor judged 
the world, or raised the dead, and done the work of a perfect 
Saviour. Nor was the angelical nature sufficient for this 
office. Had he not been man, he had not been near enough 
to us, to have suffered in our stead, and taught us by his 
doctrine, and given us his example, nor could he have suf- 
fered or died for us ; for God cannot die or suffer. As he is 
God he is one in nature with the Father ; and as he is man, 
he is one in nature with us ; and therefore is fit to mediate 
for us ; and in him we are brought thus nigh to God. To 
this office of the Mediator there are many acts belonging, 
from whence it hath several denominations, of which more 
anon. So much for the person of Christ. 

2. The next thing that you must understand, is, the rea- 
sons and ends of his undertaking ; which though we are not 
able fully to comprehend, (nor the reason of any of the works 
of God ;) yet must we observe so much as is revealed. And 
these following ends or reasons of this work, do shew them- 
selves clearly in the Scripture, and in the event. 

(1.) One is, The demonstration of God's justice, as he is 
Governor of the world, according to the law of nature. He 
made man a rational and voluntary agent, capable of good 
and evil, with desires and hopes of the good, and fears of 
the evil, and so to be ruled according to his nature. He 
made for him a law that revealed good and evil, with 
promises to move him by desire and hope, and with 
threatenings to drive him by necessary fear. By these 
engines God resolved to govern mankind. This law 
was the rule of man's duty, and of his receivings, or of God's 
judgment. According to this law, the world was to be go- 
verned by God. His governing justice consisteth in giving 
all their due according to his law : at least so far as that the 
end of the law may be attained, that is, the honour of the 
lawgiver preserved, transgression made odious by the terror 
of penalty, and obedience made honourable by its fruits of 
impunity and reward. Otherwise the law would not have 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 97 

deterred effectually from evil, nor encouraged to good ; es- 
pecially to so much as creatures must go through for the 
crown of life : and so the law would have been no fit instru- 
ment for the government of the world ; that is, the law would 
have been no law. But this the wise and righteous God 
would not be guilty of, of making a law that was no law, 
and was unmeet for the ends to which he made it ; which 
was essential to it as a law. There was no way to avoid 
this intolerable consequent when man had sinned, but strict 
execution of the law, or by sufficient satisfaction instead of 
such an execution. The execution would have destroyed 
the commonwealth, even the whole inferior world, at least 
the reasonable creature who was the subject. The wisdom 
and love, and mercy of God would not give way to this, that 
the world should be destroyed so soon after it was made, 
and man left remediless in everlasting misery. Satisfaction 
therefore must be the remedy : this must be such as might 
be fit to procure the ends of the law, as if the law itself had 
been executed ; that is, as if the offenders did all die the 
death that it did threaten. It must therefore be a public 
demonstration of justice, and of the odiousness of sin, to the 
terror and warning of sinners for the future. And this was 
done with Jesus Christ, when none else in heaven or earth 
could do it. For it did as fully demonstrate the justice of 
God, and preserved his honour, and the usefulness of his law 
and government, that a person so high and glorious, and so 
dear to him, should suffer so much for sin, as if all the world 
had suffered for themselves. And thus God " made him to 
be sin for us, who knew no sin; 2 Cor. v. 21. And thus 
" Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being 
made a curse for us ; Gal. iii. 31. 

(2.) Hereby also God demonstrated the holiness of his 
nature ; how much he hateth sin, and how irreconcileable 
he is to it, as light to darkness. As the law and judgments 
of God do proceed from his perfect nature and will, so do 
they bear the image of that perfection and demonstrate it to 
the world. This therefore is the nobler end and work of 
Christ in our redemption, to declare the holiness and per- 
fection of God in his nature and will; though the former 
(the declaring of his governing justice,) be the nearer end. 
If the death of Aaron's two sons were such a declaration, 
that " he will be sanctified in all that draw near him ;" Lev. 

VOL. VIII. h 



98 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

x.2, 3. If his laws and present judgments do declare him 
to be " a holy and jealous God, that will not forgive sin 
without a valuable consideration or satisfaction ; Josh. xxiv. 
19. How much more evidently is this declaration in the 
death of Christ? If the Bethshemites cry out, " Who is able 
to stand before this holy Lord God V* (1 Sam. vi.20.) upon 
the death of 50,070 men ; how much more may the guilty 
soul say so, when he thinks on the crucified Son of God 1 
As it is the end of God's execution on transgressors, that 
" the Lord may be exalted in judgment, and God that is 
holy may be sanctified in righteousness ;" (Isa. v. 16.) so 
was it his end in the sacrifice of his Son. 

(3.) Another end of our redemption by Christ, is the de- 
monstration of the infinite wisdom of God. His wisdom 
in the preventing the ruin of the created world ; that it 
might not be said that sin and satan had frustrated him of 
the glory of his creation, and destroyed it almost as soon as 
he had made it. Yea, in getting an advantage by the ma- 
lice of his enemies for the more admirable attainment of the 
ends of his law, and the glorifying of all his governing at- 
tributes. He would not have made man a free agent, and 
left him in the hand of his own will, and suffered him to sin, 
if his wisdom had not known how to secure his own interest 
and honour to the full. And so also in the economy and 
admirable frame of his gracious sapiential government by 
Christ, the manifold wisdom of God doth shine ; Ephes. iii. 
9, 10. As the wonderful structure of heaven and earth, and 
every part of this natural frame, doth gloriously reveal the 
wisdom of the Creator ; so the wonderful contrivance of our 
redemption by Christ, and the reparation of the world by 
him, and the moral frame of this evangelical dispensation, 
doth wonderfully demonstrate the wisdom of the Redeemer. 
And as the observation of our natures may give us cause to 
say with David, Psal.cxxxix. 14. " I will praise thee, for I 
am fearfully and wonderfully made ;" so the observation of 
our natures and conditions, may well cause us to say, ' I will 
praise thee, for I am graciously and wonderfully redeemed ; 
marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right 
well.' As nature may teach us to admire the frame of na- 
ture ; so grace will teach us to admire the frame of grace, 
and to see the beauty of its several parts, and much more 
of the whole, where all the parts are orderly composed. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 99 

(4.) Yea, the very power of God is demonstrated in 
Christ. And therefore he is called, Cor. i. 24. " The power 
of God and the wisdom of God :" not only formally, be- 
cause Christ himself is the wise and powerful God ; nor only 
efficiently, because God doth exercise his power and wis- 
dom, by his Son in creation, redemption, and government; 
but also effectually and objectively, as Christ is the great 
and most admirable demonstration of the power and wisdom 
of God in the world. 

What work transcendeth the incomprehensible miracle 
of the incarnation ? That God should assume the nature of 
man into personal union ? The creation of the sun is no 
greater a work of power, than the incarnation and sending of 
the Son of God, the intellectual sun, the light of the world, 
that living light, " that lighteneth every man that cometh 
into the world : though yet the darkness comprehendeth not 
his light ;" John i. 4. 6. 9. What was he but the living visi- 
ble power of God, when he healed all diseases, cast out de- 
vils, raised the dead, and rose from the dead himself, and as- 
cended into glory, and sent down the Holy Spirit on his 
church, enduing them with power from on high: Acts i. 8. 
Luke xxiv. 49. When he was on earth he was anointed with 
the Holy Ghost and with power, and went about doing good, 
and healing all that were oppressed of the devil ;" Acts x. 
38. Being dead, " he was declared to be the Son of God 
with power, by the resurrection from the dead ;" Rom. i. 4. 
" When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive ;" 
Eph. iv. 8. Yea, he filled his servants with power ; Acts 
vi. 8. Even such as was admired and desired by the ungod- 
ly ; Acts viii. 19. He being " the brightness of God's glory, 
and the express image of his person, and upholding all things 
by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged 
our sins, he. sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on 
high, being made so much better than the angels, as he hath 
by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they ;" 
Heb. i. 3, 4. As Christ therefore in his glorified humanity 
united to the Godhead, is far more excellent than the angels 
of God, and more glorious than the sun, so is the power of 
God more abundantly demonstrated in him, than in the sun, 
or the angels, or any other creature. The illuminated do 
know this, " and what is the exceeding greatness of his 
power to us-ward who believe ; according to the working of 



100 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he rais- 
ed him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in 
the celestials, far above all principality, and power, and 
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not 
only in this world, but also in that which is to come ; and 
hath put all things under his feet, and hath given him to be 
Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the 
fulness of him that filleth all in all ;" Ephes. i. 19—23. 

Besides this, even in the works of Christ for his church, 
his calling, and sanctifying, and ruling, and preserving them, 
his subduing their enemies, and raising them from the dead, 
and glorifying them with himself, how glorious is the very 
power of God by his Son ; 2 Thess. i. 11. Phil. iii. 10. Eph. 
iii. 7. 20. 2Pet.i. 3. 16. 1 Cor.iv. 20. Ephes. vi. 10. 
1 Cor. xv. 43. 1 Pet. i. 5. And, therefore, his Gospel may 
well be called, " The power of God to salvation ; Rom. i. 16. 
Which hath been the instrument of his power in doing such 
wonderful works in the world; 1 Cor. i. 18. ii.5. 2 Cor. 
vi.7. 2Cor.xiii.3,4. 

(5.) But the most sweet and conspicuous end of our re- 
demption, was the demonstration of God's love and mercy 
to mankind, and that he might make known the riches of 
his glory on the vessels of mercy prepared unto glory ; Rom. 
ix. 23. Of all God's attributes, there is none shineth more 
illustriously in the work of our redemption than love and 
mercy. " Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he 
laid down his life for us;" 1 John iii. 16. By the creation 
and sustentation of us we perceive the love of God, but more 
abundantly by our redemption. In this was manifested the 
love of God towards us, because that God sent his only be- 
gotten son into the world, that we might live through him ; 
1 John iv. 9. O wonderful love which condescendeth to such 
rebels, and embraceth such unworthy and polluted sinners, 
and pitieth them even in their blood ! Even after we had 
sold ourselves to satan, and cast away the mercies of our 
creation, and had all come short of the glory of God, and 
were sentenced to death, and ready for the execution, then 
did this wonderful love step in, and rescue and recover us. 
Not staying till we repented and cried for mercy, and cast 
ourselves at his feet; but seeking us in the wilderness, and 
finding us before we felt that we were lost, and being found 
of us before wesoughthim,and beginning to us in the depth of 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 101 

our misery. " Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that 
he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our 
sins ;" 1 John iv. 10. Though God love us not in our sin and 
misery before our conversion, so far as in that state to jus- 
tify us, and adopt us, and take pleasure in us, or have com- 
munion with us in the Spirit, yet doth he so far love us in 
that state, as to redeem us by the blood of Christ, and ten- 
der us his salvation, and to bring in his chosen effectually 
to entertain his offer. And thus " the love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given to 
us ; for when we were yet without strength, in due time 
Christ died for the ungodly, and commended his love to- 
wards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for 
us ;" Rom. v. 6. 8. " Greater love hath no man than this, that a 
man lay down his life for his friends;" Johnxv. 13. What was 
the Son of God,< but love incarnate ? Love born of a Virgin, 
Love coming down from heaven to earth, and walking in flesh 
among the miserable, seeking and saving that which was lost. 
Was it not Love that spoke those words of life, those com- 
fortable promises, those necessary precepts, those gracious 
encouragements which the Gospel doth abound with 1 Was 
it not Love itself that went preaching salvation to the sons 
of death, and deliverance to the captives, and offered to bind 
up broken hearts ? Luke iv. 18. Was it not Love that in- 
vited the heavy-laden ; Matt. xi. 28. And that sent even to 
the highways, and the hedges to compel men to come in, 
that his house may be filled ; Matt. xxii. 9, 10. Luke xiv. 23. 
Was is not Love itself, that went up and down healing and 
doing good ; that suffered them for whom he suffered, to 
scorn him, and spit upon him, and buffet him, and condemn 
him ; that being reviled, reviled not again ; that gave his 
life an offering for sin, and died and prayed for them that 
murdered him ? No wonder if the Gospel be it that teach- 
eth us to call God by the name of Love itself; 1 John iv. 8. 
For it is the Gospel that hath most fully revealed him to be 
so. No wonder if the Gospel do so frequently and impor- 
tunately require us to love one another, and even to lay 
down our lives for Christ, and for one another, when it hath 
given us such a ground and motive, and president for our 
love. He that seeth the true face of redemption, and under- 
standeth, and savoureth the Gospel, and the grace of Christ, 
must needs see most cogent reasons for such duties ; 1 John 



102 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

iv. 7 — 12. " Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of 
God : and every one that loveth is born of God, and know- 
eth God ; he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is 
love. If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 
If we love one another, God dwellethin us." So 1 John iii. 
10,11.14.16 — 18. No wonder if, by this love, we know 
that we are translated from death to life ; and if by it the 
children of God be known from the children of the devil ; 
1 John iii. 10, 11. 14. For love is the very nature and image 
of our Father. No wonder if this be the new commandment, 
which had newly such a powerful motive, and president: 
and no wonder if it be the great distinguishing character, by 
which all men shall know that we are the disciples of Christ ; 
Johnxiii. 35. When he had set us such a copy, and taught 
us this lesson by such effectual means, writing it out for us 
in lines of blood, even of his own most precious blood, and 
shedding it abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. 

But if we should come down to the particular benefits of 
Christ's death, and see what love is manifested in them, even 
in our calling, our justification, our adoption or sanctifica- 
tion, our preservation, and our everlasting glorification, we 
should find ourselves in an ocean that hath neither banks 
nor bottom ; and when we have fathomed as far as we can, 
we must be contented to stand and admire it, and to say 
with the beloved apostle, " Behold what manner of love the 
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the 
sons of God !" 1 John iii. 1. 

And this is the blessed employment of the saints, which 
they are called to by the Gospel, to live in the participation 
and consideration, and admiration of this wondrous love, 
that " Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, and so being 
rooted and grounded in love, they may be able to compre- 
hend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and 
depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which 
passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of 
God f Ephes. iii. 17—19. And withal, " to be followers of 
God as dear children, and walk in love as Christ hath loved 
us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to 
God, for a sweet-smelling savour;" Eph. v. 1, 2. " And to 
love without dissimulation ;" Rom. xii. 9, 10. " Even from 
a pure heart fervently ;" 1 Pet. i. 22. " That we love as 
brethren, being compassionate, pitiful, and courteous ; not 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 103 

rendering evil for evil, but contrariwise blessing ; knowing 
that we are thereunto called, that we should inherit a bless- 
ing ;" 1 Pet. iii. 8, 9. " And that we keep ourselves in the 
love of God," (Jude21.), "that nothing maybe able to 
separate us from it;" Rom. viii.35 — 37. And if we thus 
imitate our heavenly pattern, *' the God of love and peace 
will be with us ;" 2 Cor. xiii. 11. And thus I have shewed 
you the principal ends of the undertaking of Christ in the 
work of our redemption, especially as they are attained di- 
rectly by his cross and resurrection. 

(6.) Another end also is apparent in the Scripture ; which 
is the glorifying of God's rewarding justice, together with 
his mercy in the salvation of his elect. This end he partly 
attaineth here : (God hath his ends continually.) In this 
life his servants have much of his mercy ; and the begin- 
nings of their reward in the beginning of their salvation ; 
but the fulness is hereafter in their glorification. All his 
promises he performeth in their seasons. Even in the pre- 
sent pardon of our sins he honoureth his faithfulness and 
justice; 1 John i. 9. His faithfulness in making good his 
promise, and his justice in rewarding the performers of the 
condition, and giving what his promise had made their due ; 
that so men may even here in part " discern between the righ- 
teous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and 
him that serveth him not ; while they see God's esteem of 
his people as his jewels, and spare them as a man spareth 
his son that serveth him;" Mai. iii. 17, 18. "The King of 
Zion is just, having salvation ;" Zech. ix. 8. " The righte- 
ousness of God is manifested in our justification ;" Rom. iii. 
21,22. " Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith 
of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe ; for 
there is no difference ; for all have sinned and come short of 
the glory of God ; being justified freely by his grace, 
through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God 
hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, 
to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are 
past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, 
at this time, his righteousness, that he might be j ust, and the 
justifier of him that believeth in Jesus ;" Rom. iii. 25, 26. 

But it is most eminently at judgment, and in the world to 
come, that this remunerative justice with mercy will be glo- 
rified. " When Christ shall come (purposely) to be glorified 



104 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe," 
(not only in himself, but in them), and that because they 
were believers ; 2Thess. i.10. When " we have fought the 
good fight, and finished our course, and kept the faith, we 
shall find that there is laid up for us a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give us, and all 
that love his appearing at that day ;" 2 Tim. iv. 8. He will 
justify and applaud them before all the world, yea, and judge 
them to everlasting life, with a " Well done, good and faith- 
ful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. I will make 
thee ruler over many things ; even because they had been 
faithful in a little ;" Luke xix. 17. Matt. xxv. 21. 23. Be- 
cause they shewed their love to him in his members, he will 
say to them, " Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the 
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ; 
Matt. xxv. 34 — 36. He that now commandeth us to say 
to the righteous, " It shall be well with him," (Isa. iii. 10.), 
will in righteousness cause it then to be well with him. 
" Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the king- 
dom of their Father ;" Matt, xiii.43. And the righteousness 
and mercy of their Father shall as conspicuously and glori- 
ously shine in them. For it is a day appointed for the " re- 
velation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render 
to every man according to his deeds :" Rom. ii. 5, 6. " The 
present faith and patience of the saints in all the persecu- 
tions and tribulations which they endure, is a manifest token 
of the righteous judgment of God, that they may be account- 
ed worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they suffer. It 
being a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation 
to them that trouble us, and to us that are troubled, rest 
with the saints ;" 2 Thess. i. 5 — 7. " For the righteous Lord 
loveth righteousness ;" Psal. xi. 7. " And in righteousness 
will he judge the world ;" Actsxvii.31. Rev. xix. 11. And, 
therefore, " in the keeping of his word there is a great re- 
ward;" Psal. xix. 11. Yea, a cup of water given in love 
to him, shall not be unrewarded ; Matt. x. 41, 42. " To him 
that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward ;" Prov. xi. 
18. If in this life men are forced to say, "Verily there is 
a reward for the righteous ; verily, there is a God that judg- 
eth in the earth;" Psal.lviii. 11. Much more when we re- 
ceive the reward of the inheritance;" Col. iii. 24. This 
causeth the saints to forsake the pleasures of sin, because 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. ]05 

they have respect to the recompence of reward ; Heb. xi. 29. 
This is that that maketh them rejoice and be exceeding glad 
in their persecutions, because that great is their reward in 
heaven. And, therefore, it is that they cast not away their 
confidence, because it hath great recompence of reward ; 
Heb. x. 25. If we let no man beguile us of our reward, (Col. 
ii. 18.), and if we look to ourselves that we lose not those 
things that we have wrought, we shall receive a full reward ; 
2 John viii. For the Lord hath said, " Behold, I come quickly, 
and my reward is with me, to give every man according as 
his work shall be ; Rev. xxii. 12. 

(7.) Another end of Christ's undertaking in this blessed 
work, is, the complacency and glory of God in the love and 
praise, and service of his redeemed ones ; in some measure 
here, ,but in perfection when they are perfected. Sin had 
made us unserviceable to God. And bringeth us back into 
a fitness for his service. He disposeth us Godward by faith 
and love. And he hath " redeemed us from our iniquity, and 
purifieth to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;" 
Tit. ii. 14. "To which he createth us, that we should walk in 
them ;" Ephes. ii. 10. And with such sacrifice God is well- 
pleased ; Heb. xiii. 1C. Phil. iv. 18. " The blood of the cove- 
nant" was, therefore, shed, "to make us perfect in every good 
work to do his will, who vvorketh in us that which is well- 
pleasing in his sight ;" Heb. xiii. 20, 21. " And this must be 
our care, to walk worthy of the Lord in all well-pleasing, 
being fruitful in in every good work ;" Col. i. 10. " And then 
whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of him, because we keep 
his commandment, and do those things that are pleasing in 
his sight ;" 1 John iii. 22. See 1 Thess. i. Heb.xi. 6. Rom. 
viii. 8. 2Tim.ii.4. 1 Cor. vii. 32. Heb. xi. 5. 

But principally when we are glorified, and fitted by our 
perfection for the perfect love and praises of God, then will 
God perfectly take pleasure in us, and in our love and praise. 
The glory of the new Jerusalem and the harmony of ever- 
lasting praise and thanksgiving will be his delight. " He will 
rejoice over us with joy, he will rest in his love ; he will joy 
over us with singing ;" Zeph. iii. 17. 

(8.) Another end of Christ's undertaking this blessed 
work, is, the everlasting glory of God which shall shine 
forth in the glorified manhood of the Redeemer, and the 



106 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

everlasting complacency that God will have in him, for his 
own perfection, and the work that he hath wrought. 

Though Christ had no need to suffer for any sin or want 
of his own, yet was it his personal dignity, dominion, and 
everlasting glory, as well as our salvation, that was intended 
by him and by the Father in this work, and which he was to 
receive as the reward of his performances ; Rom. xiv. 7. 
Phil. ii. 8— 10. Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. Heb.i.3, 4.6. Eph. 
i. 22. Nay, if we may make comparisons, this seemeth the 
highest part of God's end in the sending of his Son. As 
there is no part of all the works of God to be compared to 
the person of the Redeemer, so consequently there is none 
in which the glory of God will shine forth so admirably and 
illustriously as in Christ. If on earth the heavenly voice 
bear witness that it was in " him that the Father was well- 
pleased," (Matt. iii. 17. xvii. 5. xii. 18.) which was uttered 
both at his baptism, and his transfiguration, when his dis- 
ciples saw a glimpse of his glory, and he was the " chosen 
servant of God, in whom his soul delighted; Isa. xlii. 1. 
much more is it apparent, that in his heavenly glory he will 
be the Father's everlasting pleasure and delight : and in 
him, and by him, and for the work that he hath wrought, the 
redeemed in glory will honour him for ever ; Rev. v. 9. " He 
is the head of the body, the church, the beginning, the first- 
born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre- 
eminence. For it pleased the Father, that in him should 
all fulness dwell ;" Col. i. 17 — 19. And, therefore, in him 
the glory of God will shine in fulness, and he shall have the 
preeminence in the Father's everlasting love. When Christ 
prayed (John xii. 28.), "Father, glorify thy name," he was 
answered by a voice from heaven, " 1 have glorified it, and 
will glorify it again :" even in the Son that thus desired it. 
He hath done it on earth, and he will do it again more per- 
fectly in heaven. " He hath glorified the Son, that the Son 
also may glorify him ;" John xvii. 1. As he " glorified his 
Father on earth, and finished the work which he gave him 
to do," so the Father hath now glorified him with himself, that 
in his glory he may be yet more glorified; John xvii. 4, 5. 
In his transfiguration his face did shine as the sun ; John 
xvii. 2. And in his appearance to Paul, his shining light 
did cast him blindfold and trembling; on the earth ; Acts ix. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 107 

4. 6. It was Stephen's encouragement to the suffering of 
his martyrdom to see the glory of God, and Jesus standing 
on God's right hand ; Acts vii. 55,56. When John saw him 
on the Lord's day in the Spirit, he beheld his eyes as a flame 
of fire, and his feet like burning brass in the furnace, and 
his voice was as the sound of many waters, and in his right 
hand were the stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp two- 
edged sword, and his countenance was the sun that shineth 
in his strength ; Rev. i. 14 — 16. His voice also did proclaim 
his glory, " I am the first and the last. I am he that liveth 
and was dead ; and behold I am alive for evermore. Amen. 
And have the keys of hell and of death ; ver. 17, 18. It was 
the Lord of glory that was crucified ; 1 Cor. ii. 8. God was 
manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, 
preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received 
up into glory, (1 Tim.iii. 16.), where he is glorified with the 
Father in the praises of the saints; Rev. xii. 13. The glory 
in the holy mount was great at the giving of the law ; but it 
was no glory to that of the Gospel administration, (2 Cor. 
iii. 7. 10.), much more to that of the glorified Redeemer, who 
hath overcome, and is set down with the Father in his throne ; 
Rev. iii. 21. Yea, the glory that will be given to God for 
ever, will be through Jesus Christ ; Rom. xvi. 17. 

And indeed it is a very great question whether we shall 
immediately see the essence of God in heaven, or only see 
him in the glorified Redeemer; and whether Christ will not 
then be the Mediator of our fruition, as he was here the Me- 
diator of acquisition. But certain we are, that God will be 
everlastingly pleased and glorified in the person of the Re- 
deemer, as well as in the church which is his body. 

(9.) And reductively it may be said to be God's end in 
this blessed work, that he may more fully demonstrate his 
vindictive justice, according to the Gospel, or law of the 
Redeemer, upon them that finally reject his grace, than it 
would have been manifested on the terms of the law of the 
creation on Adam and his offspring. Though Christ came 
not into the world (primarily) to condemn the world, but 
that the world through him might be saved ; yet was it his 
purpose that unbelievers that love darkness rather than light 
should fall under the special condemnation ; John iii. 18, 19. 
And that they should not " see life, but the wrath of God 
should abide upon them ;" ver. 36. God would not so much 



108 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

as permit them to reject his salvation, but that he knows 
how he may be no loser by them : " He suffereth with much 
patience the vessels of wrath, to make his wrath and power 
known ;" Rom. ix. 22. The mouths of the condemned will 
be utterly stopped, and they will be left speechless when 
they are judged on terms of grace, much more than they 
would have been if they had been judged only by the first 
law : when they see Christ and heaven that was offered them, 
and remember their wilful and obstinate contempt of them, 
their own consciences and tongues shall justify God, and 
confess that he is righteous in the most dreadful of his judg- 
ments. " If the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and 
every transgression and disobedience received a just recom- 
pence of reward, how shall they escape that neglect so great 
salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and 
then was confirmed by them that heard him, God also bear- 
ing them witness with signs and wonders, and with divers 
miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost;" Heb. ii. 3, 4. And 
'.* if they escaped not, that refused him that spake on earth, 
much more shall not they escape that turn away from him 
that speaketh from heaven : for our God is a consuming 
fire;" Heb. xii. 25. 29. So much of the ends of Christ's 
undertaking in our redemption. 

In which you may see that there are divers things which 
demonstrate the glory of the forementioned attributes of 
God, in this Gospel dispensation. (1.) It shineth forth in 
the person of the Redeemer as he was on earth, in his nature 
and wonderful conception, and his perfections. (2.) And it 
also shineth forth in the actions of his life, overcoming the 
world, and the devil, and perfectly fulfilling the law of God : 
so that the image of his Father did shine forth in his conver- 
sation. (3.) And also in his death and sufferings was the 
Father glorified, as I shewed before. (4.) And also in the 
most wise and holy frame of those laws by which the grace 
of the Mediator is conveyed, and the church governed. (5.) 
And by the image of God, by the impress of those laws on 
the souls of his saints, and by the holiness of their lives, the 
glory of God is also demonstrated. (6.) As also by the jus- 
tifying sentence of the judge, and the glorious reward bes- 
towed on the faithful. (7.) And by the condemning sen- 
tence and execution on the ungodly, in whom vindictive 
justice will be honoured. (8.) And in the perfection of the 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 109 

individual saints, and their perfect love and praise. (9.) 
And in the saints as embodied in the heavenly Jerusalem, 
the glory of which will be the glory of God. (10.) And 
principally in the blessed person and work of the Redeemer. 
In all these will God's glory shine forth for ever. 

Quest. But to whom is it that God doth thus demonstrate 
his glory ? 

Answ. 1. To the saints in this life, in that degree as is 
suited to a state of grace, and the condition of a traveller 
that lives by faith. We are apt to look upward, and long 
after fuller revelations of the heavenly kingdom and mystery, 
and marvel that God will not shew himself more fully to his 
saints on earth. Fain we would know more of God and 
Christ, and the life to come ; and it is oft matter of some 
temptation to us, that God doth not satisfy these desires, 
but leaveth them in so much darkness, that are willing 
of his light. But this is because we do not consider how 
much of glory consisteth in the light ; and that grace is more 
in the desires of it than in the possession : and if we should 
have as much of it as we desire, it were but to bring down 
heaven to earth. Means must be suited to their ends : God 
will discover to us so much of his glory as may quicken our 
desires, and keep alive our hope, and patience, and endea- 
vours ; but not so much as shall satisfy us, and answer our 
expectations : for heaven is not here. We must not carry 
our home about with us, but travel towards it, that we may 
reach it at the last. 

2. God doth even now demonstrate the glory of his fore- 
mentioned attributes, in the work of redemption, not only 
to his saints, but to the angels of heaven. The considera- 
tion of this hath often satisfied me, when I have been tempt- 
ed to wonder at the work of redemption, that God should 
so far condescend as to be incarnate, and make such glorious 
discoveries of himself, and yet that so few in the world should 
take notice of it, and he should have from men so little of 
the honour that he seemeth by his preparations to expect. 
But the most part of the world did never once see the glory 
that shineth to them in the Redeemer. But God hath an- 
other world besides this, and other creatures besides man, 
in all likelihood incomparably more numerous (perhaps 
thousands for one) and certainly more excellent. And 
though Christ did assume the nature of angels, and came 



110 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

not to redeem them that needed no Redeemer, yet may the 
lustre of this work of redemption appear to the angels more 
clearly than to man ; and God may have a thousand-fold 
more glory from them that are but the spectators and ad- 
mirers, than from us in our present darkness, that are yet 
possessors. As we that are here on earth do look upon and 
admire the glory of the sun, which is as it were in another 
world, and out of our reach ; so the angels much more may 
gaze upon the glory of the Son of God, admire the Lord in 
the work of our redemption though they were not the re- 
deemed ones : so that unto them doth God shine forth by it 
in his excellencies. 

Perhaps you will say, ' That cannot be ; because this is 
but seeing him in a glass ; when the angels see him face to 
face, and immediately behold his blessed essence ; or else 
how can the saints expect that beatifical vision V To which 
I answer ; First, that I am uncertain whether seeing face to 
face be an immediate intuition of the essence of God, or 
only such a sight of his glory in those emanations, that are 
as appropriated to the place or state of bliss. God's essence 
is every where ; but that glory is not every where : and so I 
know not whether our present knowledge be not called 
enigmatical, and as in a glass, comparatively to that glory 
prepared for the saints. But, secondly, I answer that cer- 
tain I am that God is demonstrated to his angels in the Re- 
deemer, yea, in the church itself, which is the subject of his 
grace, and that they are both affected, and employed about 
us accordingly. He that spoiled principalities, and powers, 
and openly triumphed over them, and by death overcame 
him that had the power of death ; Col. ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14. 
and had so much to do against the evil angels as enemies, 
no doubt is joyfully observed by the good angels. And he 
that is set so " far above principalities, and powers, and 
might, and dominion, and every name that is named in this 
world, or that which is to come;" (Ephes. i. 21.) and is 
"gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels, 
and authorities, and powers being made subject to him;" 
(1 Pet. iii. 22.) no doubt is honoured and admired by angels. 
And indeed it is expressly said, " Let all the angels of God 
worship him ;" Heb. i. 6. And what are they all but " mi- 
nistering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall 
be heirs of salvation ?" Heb. i. 14. And therefore sent forth 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. Ill 

by Jesus Christ, the Lord of saints. Which makes some 
think that the title of angels was never given to any of these 
spirits, till the Mediator's undertaking, and that it was only 
as they were his deputed messengers, or servants, for the 
ends of that undertaking. Sure we are, they attended his 
birth with their acclamations, and his life and sufferings (as 
far as was meet) with their service, and that they are deputed 
to bear his servants in their hands, that they dash not their 
foot against a stone ; that they are ascending, and descend- 
ing, and are present with the churches in their holy worship, 
and that they rejoice at the conversion of one sinner ; and 
that the least of Christ's servants, have their angels behold- 
ing the face of God ; and that the law was given by their 
disposition or ordination, and they attend the departing 
souls of believers ; and that they contend against evil spirits 
for our good, and are encamped about us, and that they 
shall attend the Lord at his coming to judgment, and be his 
glorious retinue and instruments in the work ; and that they 
are numbered with us, as members of the same heavenly Je- 
rusalem, and that we shall be like or equal to them ; Luke 
ii. 14, 15. Mark iv. 11. Luke xxii. 43. Acts x. 6, 7. 22. 
Psal. xxxiv. 7. xci. 11. Matt. xiii. 39. 41. xvi.27. xxiv. 
31. xxv. 31. xxvi. 53. Luke xvi. 22. Matt, xviii. 10. 
2 Thess. i. 7. Luke xx. 36. Mark xii. 25. Acts vii. 65. 
Gal. iii. 19. Heb. xii. 22. 2 Pet. ii. 11. Luke xv. 10, 
John i. 51. Yea, men must be either confessed or denied, 
owned or disowned before the angels ; Luke xii. 8, 9. See 
Rev. xix. 18. iii. 5. But if all this seem not sufficient to 
persuade you that the angels are so far interested in the af- 
fairs of God about the redeemed, as to behold and admire 
him in his blessed work, take notice of the express affirma- 
tions of the Scriptures ; (1 Pet. i. 12.) " Which things the 
angels desire to look into." And why, but to see and ad- 
mire the wisdom, and power, and goodness, and mercy, and 
justice of God, shining forth in the Redeemer ? If this be 
not plain enough, mark well those words, Ephes. iii. 10, 
" To the intent that now unto the principalities, and powers 
in heavenly places, might be known by the church, the ma- 
nifold wisdom of God." You see here that the church of 
the redeemed is that admirable looking-glass, which God 
hath set up to this very intent, that his angels may in it or 
by it behold the manifold wisdom of God ; yea, and that 



l« DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

upon the full revelation of Christ by the Gospel, they saw 
that which did more fully inform, and illuminate them. No 
doubt but the very work of the creation, yea, of this inferior 
world, that are made for the habitation and use of man, are 
far better known to angels than to man : for we know but 
little of what we daily see and use ; and consequently it is 
by angels more than men, that God is beheld, admired, and 
glorified in them. And if it be so in these works of creation 
we may well say it is so in the works of redemption. 

3. But when we are perfected in glory, then we ourselves 
shall clearly see the glory of this mystery, and of God there- 
in. As it is not till we come to heaven that we shall have 
the fullest benefits of redemption, so is it not till then, that 
we shall have the fullest understanding of it, and God have 
his fullest praises for it. As we are here but sowing the seed 
of our own glory, which we must reap in the everlasting 
fruition of God; so God is here but sowing those seeds of 
his praise and glory, which he will eternally reap by his 
blessed work. Do not therefore judge of the ends and 
fruits of Christ's undertakings, by what you see him attain on 
earth, but by what he shall attain in heaven, when he hath 
fully seen the travail of his soul to his satisfaction, and hath 
presented the whole church without spot unto God; and 
when the glorious marriage of the Lamb, with the heavenly 
Jerusalem is solemnized, and the kingdom delivered up to 
the Father ; Isa. liii. 1 1 . Eph. v. 27. Rev. xix. 7. 1 Cor. xv. 
24. It will be another manner of conceiving which we shall 
have in heaven of this blessed work ; when we see the face 
of our glorified Lord, and fully possess the fruits of his re- 
demption, than this is that we have now by our weak believ- 
ing. We shall then have another manner of sight of the wis- 
dom, and power, and love, and justice that appear to man, 
in the face of Christ, than now we have. 

4. Yea, the tormenting discoveries of the glory of re- 
demption to the condemned rejectors of it, shall also contri- 
bute to the glory of God. 

You see then that this work hath most glorious ends ; 
which I have mentioned the more largely, both to remove 
their temptations that are apt to think that it was an unne- 
cessary thing, and the less regardable, and to teach men the 
true value of it, by shewing them the true ends. 

For the former, I say, there was no necessity that God 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 113 

should make the world, and reveal his power, and wisdom, 
and goodness, in this excellent frame, but what did 
suppose the freewill of God the original cause. Will you 
therefore say, that the creation is vain ; and undervalue 
God's admirable works, in which he thus revealeth himself 
to the intellectual creatures ? So here ; we confess that 
there could be no necessity of redemption, but what was 
originally derived from the will of God ; (though a necessi- 
ty * ad finem' there was for the constitution of things, upon 
supposition of what went before the undertaking.) But yet 
shall we undervalues© glorious a work, in which the Divine 
perfections do so fully reveal themselves to the world ? 

And I say the more of this, because I do observe that it 
is the not apprehending the high and excellent ends of re- 
demption, that makes it so much slighted, and consequently 
tempteth many to infidelity. For the ends and uses do set 
the value on the means. That is of little worth, that is to 
little purpose, and doth but little good. If men understood 
more the ends of redemption, and how much God dothshine 
forth in the world, in the person, and life, and laws, and 
works of the Son of God, they would then live in the admi- 
ration of it, and be always searching and prying into it, and 
desire to know nothing but God in Christ crucified, and ac- 
count all things else but as loss and dung for this excellent 
knowledge. But, alas ! the most do scarce discern any 
higher ends of Christ, or other use of him, than to save 
themselves from hell ; and for want of faith, and through 
humiliation, they have but little sense of that : and therefore 
no wonder if the Redeemer be neglected, and God denied 
the honour of the work. 

So much of this second point, the reasons and ends of 
Christ's undertaking. I shall purposely be shorter on the rest. 

3. The third point to be understood concerning our Re- 
deemer, is, What he hath done and suffered for mankind, 
and wherein his redeeming work consisted, both as to the 
general and special part. Should I stand on these at large, 
I must needs be voluminous ; and therefore I shall but brief- 
ly recite them for your remembrance. 

(1.) The first thing that Christ did for the saving of the 
world, was his interposing between offending man, and the 
wrath of God ; and so preserving the world from that des- 

VOL. VIII. I 



1 14 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

truction, which the execution of the violated law would 
have procured : undertaking then to become the seed of the 
woman, and so to break the serpent's head ; and revealing 
this grace by slow degrees, till the time of his coming. 

(2.) And then when the fulness of time was come, he was 
made man, being conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of 
the Virgin Mary, and so the " Word was made flesh, and 
dwelt among men, who beheld his glory, as the glory of the 
only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth ;" John 
i. 14. Thus God was manifested to men in the flesh ; 1 Tim. 
iii. 16. 

(3.) And as he was perfectly holy in his nature without 
any stain or guilt of original sin ; so was he perfectly holy in 
his life, and never broke the least command of God in thought, 
word, or deed. Never could any convince him of sin ; John 
viii. 46. He fulfilled the law of nature, which all the world 
was under, and the Mosaical law which the Jews were un- 
der, and the special law that was given to himself as Media- 
tor, and was common to no other creature in the world. 

And thus he performed these excellent works. (1.) By 
the fulfilling of all righteousness he pleased the Father, al- 
ways accomplishing his will ; and so did much of the work 
of a Saviour, in meriting for us ; Matt. iii. 15. v. 17. John 
viii. 22 Matt.xii. 18. xvii.5. Rom. v. 19. " For such an 
highpriest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, se- 
parate from sinners ; Heb.vii.26. 

2. He hath conquered the tempter, that conquered us. 
And therefore did he purposely yield himself to such sore 
temptations ; Matt. iv. that his victory might be glorious, 
and the second Adam might overcome him that had over- 
come the first. And thus he hath done much to the rescue 
of the captivated. 

3. Hereby also he hath overcome the world, which over- 
came the first Adam and his posterity : he trampled upon 
its seeming glory ; he neglected and despised its baits and 
allurements ; he went through all its cruel persecutions and 
oppositions, so that the world now as well as the devil, are 
conquered things. By which he hath made way for the vic- 
tory of his followers, and given them ground of great encou- 
ragement ; John xvi. 33. " Be of good cheer, I have over- 
come the world." Yea, I may say in a sort, he hath over- 
come the flesh also. For though Christ had no corrupted 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 115 

flesh as we have to contend with, yet had he a natural and 
sensitive appetite, which the command of God did forbid 
him to fulfil. And therefore when innocent nature desired 
that the cup might pass from him, and abhor death by a sim- 
ple averseness ; yet perfect holiness permitted not this to 
proceed to a refusal by the comparing intellect, and choos- 
ing or refusing will ; but saith, " Not my will, but thine be 
done." And when Christ was weary and hungry, the desire 
of food and rest by the sensitive appetite was no sin ; but 
when the work of God forbade the fulfilling of such desires, 
he still denied them. 

(4.) Hereby also he hath set us a perfect copy and pattern 
of obedience, and is become our example, whom we must 
endeavour to imitate. For he knew that it is the most ef- 
fectual teaching, to do it by words and deeds together. It 
is a great help to us, when we do not only hear his voice, 
but see also which way he hath gone before us. When he 
saith, " Learn of me," he directs us not only to his words, 
but to himself, who was " meek and lowly ;" M^tt.xi. 28. 

(5.) Moreover Christ received of the Father fulness of the 
Spirit, and power, for the benefit of the redeemed : that he 
might be meet to be the Head and treasury of the church, 
and to shower down the streams of grace upon his members 
and when all power was given him in heaven and earth, he 
might be fitted to the following application of his benefits, 
and to rule, and support, and defend his people. 

(6.) Moreover he was pleased himself to become a preacher 
of the Gospel of salvation, not to all the world, but princi- 
pally as a minister of the circumcision, that is, the Jews ; 
Rom. xv. 8. He that purchaseth salvation, condescended 
also to proclaim it. The preaching of the Gospel is a work 
that Christ thought not himself too good for, sometimes to 
many, sometimes to one or two, as he had opportunity ; of- 
ten with tears, and always with earnestness and compassion, 
did he go about doing good, and seeking the lost, and heal- 
ing the diseased, and calling men to faith and repentance, 
and offering them the grace and life which he purchased. 

(7.) And he was pleased also to seal up his doctrine by 
his works, casting out devils, healing all diseases, raising 
the dead, and working divers other miracles, to assure them 
that he came from God, and did his work, and revealed his 
will, that so the world might have no excuse for their unbe- 



116 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

lief; but that they that would not believe upon any other 
account, might yet believe him for the sake of his works ; 
Johniii.2. Acts ii. 22. Heb. ii. 4. John v. 36. x. 25. 38. 
xiv. 11,12. xv. 24. 

(8.) Besides all this, he gave up himself to a life of suffer- 
ing, being despised by his creatures whomhe came to redeem, 
and destitute voluntarily of fleshly pleasures, and of that 
riches and worldly provision that might procure it. He was 
a man of sorrows, afflicted from his youth, persecuted from 
the cradle ; he gave his cheeks to the smiters, and his per- 
son to be made the scorn of fools ; he was crowned with 
thorns, spit upon and buffeted, and having sweat water and 
blood, in his agony in the garden, he was hanged on across 
where thieves were both his companions and revilers, where 
they gave him gall and vinegar to drink, pierced his blessed 
body with a spear, and put him to a shameful, cursed death. 
But he endured the cross, despising the shame, and gave 
up himself thus a sacrifice for sin, and bore our transgres- 
sions, that we might be healed by his stripes ; and having 
ransomed us by his blood, he was buried as an offender, 
continuing for a time in the power of the grave; Isa. liii. 
throughout, Matt. xxvi. xxvii. Heb. xii. 2. All this he 
consented to undergo, (though he consented not to the sin 
of them that did inflict it,) for he laid down his life, it was 
not taken from him against his will ; Johnx. 17, 18. 

(9.) Having thus paid the price of our reconciliation to 
God, the third day he rose again from the dead, though sol- 
diers watch his grave ; because he had foretold them that he 
would rise on the third day, yet were they soon daunted by 
the glory of an angel, that came and rolled away the stone. 
And so Christ made known his Divine power and victory, 
and the finishing of his work : and as by death he overoame 
him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, (Heb. 
iii. 14.) so by his resurrection he triumphed over death it- 
self. For how should the grave detain the innocent, and 
death overcome the Lord of life ? This was the glorious day 
of triumph; in remembrance of this he appointed the Lord's 
day to be observed by the church. The resurrection of 
Christ was the confusion of all the powers of darkness ; the 
great argument to confirm the truth of his doctrine, and 
prove his Godhead to the unbelieving world. 

(10.) Being risen, he more fully revealed his Gospel, and 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 117 

sent forth his apostles and disciples, to proclaim the offers 
of life to the world, and settle the churches in a holy order, 
when they had gathered them, and to ordain such ministers 
to succeed them, as might carry on his work to the end of 
the world ; Matt, xxviii. 19,20. And thus he is the faithful 
Lawgiver to the church. 

(1 1 .) When he had abode thus forty days on earth, he as- 
cended up into heaven, while his disciples stood by, and 
gazed after him ; (Acts i. 9, 10.) and there hath taken posses- 
sion in our nature, advancing it to the Father's right hand 
in glory, which was by sin depressed so low in misery. And 
so he is gone to prepare a place for us, leaving us a certain 
word of promise that he " will come again, and take us to 
himself, that where he is, there we may be also ;" John xiv. 
2, 3. And as " our life now is hid there with Christ in God, 
so when he shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory ;" 
Col.iii.3,4. 

(12.) Being ascended, he manifested his power and his 
truth in sending down the Holy Ghost upon his disciples, 
enabling them to do such works as he had done, and such as 
were necessary to convince the unbelieving world, and to 
conquer the opposing wisdom and power of the flesh ; ena- 
bling them to speak in variety of languages, which they had 
never before learned ; as also to understand and powerfully 
preach the mysteries of the Gospel, to confirm their doctrine 
by miracles, healing the lame, the blind, the sick, casting 
out devils, raising the dead, and conquering the resistance 
of principalities and powers, in seeming weakness, and in a 
contemptible garb. Not to speak now of the sanctifying 
work of ihe same Spirit, on themand on the rest of the church. 

(13.) Lastly, In this glory Christ intercedeth for us, and 
is our High-priest in the heavens with God, living for ever, 
procuring and conveying to us the mercies which we need 
upon the account of his sacrifice ; ruling his church, and 
preserving them ; succeeding his cause and servants ; res- 
training and subduing his enemies and ours ; and will per- 
fect his work at the day of his coming to judgment. So 
much of the works of Christ 

4. The fourth point to be understood concerning our 
redemption, is, The nature and worth of the benefits that are 
procured for us. Which though you may gather much from 
what is said, and the full handling of them would be a lar- 



118 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

ger work than is suitable to my present ends, yet such a 
brief recital I shall here give you, as ray ends require. 

In general, we have all from Jesus the Mediator that is 
worth the having; even all the blessings of this present life, 
and of the life to come. As we lost our right to all by sin, 
so we have our restored right by Christ alone, who came to 
destroy sin, and its effects. Had not he interposed, we 
might have had materially life, and natural faculties, and 
other things which now are mercies ; but not as mercies, 
but as the requisites to our deserved punishment : even as 
the devils have their being and natural perfections to sustain 
them in their sufferings. Nature itself, so far as good, and 
all natural blessings are now of grace : and that not only of 
grace as they were to Adam, which was mercy without pro- 
per merit ; but of Gospel grace procured by Christ, which is 
mercy contrary to merit. It is no sounder doctrine to say, 
that God doth without the merit of his Son bestow our com- 
mon forfeited mercies, either on the elect or others, than 
that he giveth us his saving grace without it. As all things 
are delivered into the hands of Christ; (John xiii. 3.) so none 
can receive any good but from his hands. To give mercies 
to men that forfeit them, and deserve misery, is so far to par- 
don their sin ; for to remit the sin, is to remit the punish- 
ment. But the Scripture is not acquainted with any par- 
don of sin, but what is on the account of the merits of Christ. 
They that deny this mercy of God, in giving even to the un- 
godly such a measure of forgiveness, do speak against the 
daily and hourly experience of all the world ; and therefore 
need no other confutation. 

More particularly, (1.) Christ having taken the human 
nature into union with the Divine, our nature is thereby in- 
conceivably advanced, and brought nigh to God. 

(2.) Having fulfilled the law and offered himself a sacri- 
fice for sin, God's justice, and wisdom, and holiness, and 
goodness, are admirably demonstrated : and this sacrifice is 
both satisfactory and meritorious on our behalf; Heb.i. 3. 
2 Cor. v. 19. Heb.ix.26. x. 12. 

(3.) The world, and the devil, and death, and the grave, 
are conquered by him, in preparation to our conquest. 

(4.) The Lord Jesus himself being risen, and justified, 
hath received all power in heaven and in earth ; Matt, xxviii. 
19. And is enabled to do all things that are necessary for 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 119 

his further ends. As the Redeemer he is become Lord of 
ourselves, and of all we have ; and he is made the Sovereign 
Ruler of all, having full power to relax the law that cursed, 
and to deal with the world on terms of grace. 

(5.) Accordingly he hath kept off the stroke of the ri- 
gorous justice of God, and hindered the strict execution of 
the law of works, and giveth still abundance of forfeited 
mercies to the sinful world, keeping them from deserved 
torments, while he is treating them on terms of life. 

(6.) He hath made a universal deed of gift, of Christ 
and life to all the world, on condition that they will but ac- 
cept the offer ; 1 John v. 10—12. John i. 11,12. iii. 16— 19. 
In this testament, or promise, or act of oblivion, the sins of 
all the world are conditionally pardoned, and they are con- 
ditionally justified and reconciled to God. 

(7.) He hath given apostles, evangelists, pastors, and 
teachers, to proclaim this act of grace to the world, com- 
manding them to go into all the world, and preach this Gos- 
pel to every creature, and promise salvation to all that by 
faith will become his true disciples ; Mark xvi. 16. Matt. 
xxviii.20.22. So that their promulgation is universal. 

(8.) Though his servants have most lamentably neglect- 
ed their duty, and have not gone abroad in the world, to di- 
vulge the Gospel according to his will ; imagining that this 
work had been proper to the apostles ; and though the na- 
tions have sinfully neglected a due inquiry after this blessed 
light, yet hath he not left himself among them without wit- 
ness, but hath given them some dawning of the day, or some 
moonlight in the reflections of evangelical truth, who have 
not seen the sun itself. Much mercy they have had not- 
withstanding their transgressions ; and while they served 
devils, they have been provided for by God, " in whom they 
live, and move, and have their being ;" " doing them good, 
and giving them rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, fill- 
ing their hearts with food and gladness ;" and this to teach 
them, " that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might 
feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every 
one of them ;" Acts xiv. 17. xvii. 27, 28. " And that which 
may be known of God, is manifest among them, for God 
hath shewed it to them; for the invisible things of him from 
the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood 
by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God- 



120 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

head: so that they are without excuse;" Rom. i. 19,20. 
By experience they may find, that God dealeth not now in 
rigor of justice, but on terms of grace, and that sin is not 
now unpardonable ; and they should know that the " good- 
ness of Godleadeth men to repentance ;" Rom. ii. 4. 

(9.) As the Gospel conditionally pardoneth all their sins, 
and offereth them everlasting life, so it containeth the clear- 
est reasons and most effectual motives, to persuade them to 
accept the offer. It affordeth them most excellent precepts 
and instructions, and exhortations, and other helps to bring 
them to a willingness, that salvation may be theirs. 

(10.) To which also is added abundance of outward, pro- 
vidential helps, to further the working of the Gospel ; as 
seasonable afflictions and mercies of divers sorts. 

(11.) And with these is usually concurrent some inward 
motions, and assistance of the Holy Ghost ; as knocking at 
the door, where he is not yet let in, and entertained. 

(12.) And by their presence in the visible church, even 
the ungodly have many benefits in the ordinances, and in- 
structions, and examples of the saints. All these (besides a 
resurrection) are the common effects of general redemption, 
and not appropriated to the elect. 

Besides which there are others that the elect only do re- 
ceive. As (1.) God is pleased by effectual grace to draw 
them to his Son, and make the Gospel successful to their 
conversion, insuperably teaching and changing them by his 
Spirit, and causing them to repent, and believe in Christ, 
and to perform the conditions of his forementioned promises. 
That love that brought the Lord on earth, that clothed him 
with flesh, that lifted him up upon the cross, doth stream 
forth in his season into the hearts of his elect, and toucheth 
them with a changing power, and winneth them to his Fa- 
ther and himself, and droppeth into them those heavenly 
principles, which will grow up in them to everlasting life. 

(2.) Hereupon the soul believing in Christ is united to 
him, as a member of his body, even of his true catholic 
church ; and Christ is become the Head, the Husband, the 
Lord, the Saviour of that soul in a special sort. Christ him- 
self is first given to us in these relations ; and from him as 
our Head, his following benefits are conveyed. " He that 
hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath 
not life ; for this life is in the Son ;" 1 John v. 11, 12. He 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 121 

is the vine, and we are the branches, and out of him we can 
do nothing; Johnxv. 1,2.5. As it was not we that pur- 
chased our own salvation, so it is not we, but Christ, that 
must have the keeping, and dispensing of the purchased be- 
nefits. " For it pleased the Father, that in him should all 
fullness dwell, and that he should be the Head over all 
things to his church," that it might by communication be- 
come his fullness; Col. i. 19. Ephes.i. 22,23. He is our 
treasury, and from him we must have our continual supplies ; 
for " with him the Father will give us all things ;" Rom. viii. 
32. And thus Christ will "dwell in our hearts by faith;" 
Ephes. iii. 17. and set up the kingdom of God within us. 

(3.) Hereupon we have the pardon of all our sins ; 
not only as to the temporal punishment, nor only as to 
the bestowing of temporal mercies, or common helps of 
creatures, and providences ; for this is but a " winking 
at the days of our ignorance," (Acts xvii. 30.) in com- 
parison of the pardon which afterward we receive. Nor is 
it only a conditional, or offered pardon ; but it is an actual 
remission of the eternal,f and of all the destructive, pu- 
nishment. And thus we are justified from all that might 
be charged on us from the law, and accepted, and used as 
just by God. There is a kind of forgiveness that was 
promised to the sacrificers ; Lev. iv. 20. 26. 31. 35. v. 
10.13.16.18. vi. 7. Numb. xv. 28. But as that was upon 
Christ's account, so it extended not to the pardon of the 
eternal punishment to any but true believers. He that was 
once crucified, " is exalted by God's right hand, a prince, 
and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgive- 
ness of sins;" Acts v. 31. " Through this man is preached 
the forgiveness of sins ; and by him all that believe are jus- 
tified from all things, from which they could not be justified 
by the law of Moses;" Acts xiii. 38, 39. When our eyes 
are open, and we " are turned from darkness to light, and 
from the power of satan unto God," we then " receive re- 
mission of our sins ;" Acts xxvi. 18. When we are " deli- 
vered from the power of darkness, and translated into the 
kingdom of Christ; in him we have then redemption through 
his blood, even the forgiveness of sins ;" Col. i. 13, 14. 
And "blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and 
whose sins are covered, to whom the Lord imputeth not sin ;" 
Rom. iv. 7. And now " who shall condemn us ? It is God 



122 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

that justifieth us : for there is no condemnation to them that 
are in Christ Jesus, that walk not after the flesh, but after 
the Spirit;" Rom.viii. 1. 33, 34. 

(4.) With this benefit doth concur, our reconciliation to 
God, and our adoption ; by which we are made his sons, 
and God is pleased to own us as our Father. For being one 
with Christ the Son of God, we are sons by him. For '* to 
as many as received him, to them gave he power to become 
the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name '," 
Johni. 12. This is the wonderful love that the Father hath 
bestowed on those that were his enemies ; that they should 
not only be reconciled to him by the death of his Son, but 
also be called the sons of God ; Rom. v. 10. 1 John iii. 1. 
For he hath " chosen us in him, before the foundation of the 
world, that we should be holy, and without blame before 
him in love ; having predestinated us to the adoption of chil- 
dren, by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the good 
pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace 
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved ;" Ephes. 
i. 4 — 6. O what an unspeakable mercy is it to have the 
blessed God, whom we had so oft offended, to become our 
reconciled Father in Christ ! For it is not an empty title 
that he assumeth; but he hath more abundant love to us, 
and tenderness of our welfare, than any title can make us 
understand. 

(5.) And hereupon it doth immediately follow, that we 
have a right to the blessed inheritance of his sons, and are 
certain heirs of his heavenly kingdom ; Col. i. 12. For if 
" sons, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ ;" 
Rom. viii. 17. " Being saved by the washing of regenera- 
tion, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and justified by grace 
through Jesus Christ, we are made heirs, according to the 
hope of eternal life ;" Tit. iii. 5 — 7. " Being begotten again 
to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 
dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that 
fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us ;" 1 Pet. i. 3,4. 

(6.) Withal, the Holy Ghost is given to us, not only to 
close us at first with Christ, but to take up his abode in us, 
as his temples, and to be the agent and life of Christ within 
us, and to do his work, and maintain his interest, and cleanse 
us of all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and sanctify us through- 
out, and to strive against, and conquer the flesh, and to keep 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 123 

us by divine power through faith unto salvation ; 1 Cor. vi. 
19. Gal. v. 17.22. 2Cor.vi. 1. lPet.i.5. For"because 
we are sons, God sendeth forth the Spirit of his Son into 
our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father ;" Gal. iv. 6. This 
Spirit of adoption which we receive doth " bear witness with 
our spirits, that we are the sons of God ;" Rom. viii. 15, 16. 
For " if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is 
none of his ;" Rom. viii. 9. By this Spirit is the spirit of the 
world cast out of us ; the spirit of pride, and of blindness, 
and of delusion, and hardheartedness, and of sensuality, and 
malice, and hypocrisy are cast out. By this is God's image 
imprinted on our souls ; we are conformed to his blessed 
will ; " we are made partakers of the Divine nature, being 
holy, as God is holy ; Col. iii. 10. 2 Pet. i. 4. 1 Pet. i. 16. 
Hereby also we are fitted for the service of God, to which 
before we were undisposed and unfit. O what an ease is it 
to the soul, to be free from so much of the burden of sin. 
What an honour is it to have the Spirit of God within us, and 
to have a nature so truly heavenly and divine ? How can 
it go ill with him that hath " God dwelling in him, and that 
dwells in God?" 1 John iv. 15. 

(7.) Another of our precious benefits by Christ, is, that 
we shall be actually employed in the special and nearest 
service of God, that on earth is to be performed. Let di- 
seased souls desire idleness ; and swinish sinners take plea- 
sure in the mire, and feed like ravenous beasts on carrion, 
or as dogs on dung. But the saints will ever rejoice in God, 
and take it for the most blessed life on earth, when they 
can do him the greatest service. Let his enemies that hate 
his service be weary of it, as if it were a toil or drudgery ; 
but his children will desire no sweeter work. They never 
think themselves so well as when they are most serviceable 
to their blessed Lord, though at the greatest cost and labour 
to the flesh. So sweet is God's service, that the more of it 
we can do, the more is our pleasure, and honour, and con- 
tent. Other work spendeth strength; but this increaseth 
it. Other work must have recreation intermixed, but this 
is itself the most delightful recreation. Other service is un- 
dertaken for the love of the wages, but this is undertaken 
for the love of the master, and the work, and is wages itself 
to them that go through with it. For other service is but 
a means, and that to some inferior end ; but this is a means, 



f24 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

to the everlasting perfection, and blessedness of the soul ; 
and such a means as containeth, or presently procureth, 
somewhat of the end. All the saints are even here " a chosen 
generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar peo- 
ple, that they shall shew forth the praises of him that hath 
called them out of darkness, into his marvellous light : they 
are a holy priesthood, to offer up a spiritual sacrifice, ac- 
ceptable to God by Jesus Christ; 1 Pet.ii. 5. 9. Their very 
bodies are " a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, 
in their reasonable service." What a sweet work is it to 
live in the daily love of God ; in his praises, in the hopes, 
and sweet forethoughts of everlasting joys. The world af- 
fordeth not such a Master, nor such a work. 

(8.) Another of the precious benefits by Christ, is, The 
liberty of access in all our wants to God by Prayer, with a 
promise to be heard. The flaming sword did keep the way 
to the tree of life, till Christ had taken it down, and conse- 
crated for us a new and living way, through the vail, which 
is his flesh. And now we have "boldness to enter into the 
holiest, by the blood of Jesus ; and, therefore, may draw 
near with a true heart in full assurance of faith ;" Heb. x. 
19, 20.22. When worldlings may cry to their Baal in vain, 
the " righteous cry, and the Lord heareth them, and deliver- 
eth them out of all their (hurtful) troubles." O what a mer- 
cy is it in our falls, in our distresses, in our dangers, in our 
wants, to have a God, a faithful, merciful Father to go to, 
and make our moan to for relief ! What a mercy is it, when 
our flesh and our hearts do fail us, when friends and world- 
ly things all fail us, to have God for the rock of our hearts, 
of our portion; Psal.lxxiii. 26. When sickness begins to 
break these bodies, and earthly delights do all forsake us, 
and death calls us to come to our endless state, then to have 
a reconciled Father to go to, and crave his aid, upon the en- 
couragement of a promise, and recommend our souls into 
his hand as to a faithful Creator, and our surest, dearest 
friend ; this is a mercy that no man can well value, till they 
come to use it. To know every day, that as oft as ever we 
come to God, we are always welcome ; and that our persons, 
and prayers are pleasing to him through his Son, what a 
mercy is it. One would think we should live joyfully, if 
we had but one such promise as this for faith to live upon : 
" Call upon me in the days of trouble, and I will deliver thee, 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 125 

and thou shalt glorify me ;" Psal. 1. 15. "Whatsoever ye 
shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be 
glorified in the Son ;" John xiv. 13, 14. No wonder if they 
be rich, that have so free access to such a treasure ; and if 
they be safe that have access to so sure a help. For God is 
a very present help in trouble; Psal. xlvi. 1. 

(9.) Another precious benefit, is, That we have peace of 
conscience, or ground for it at the least, in our peace with 
God ; and so may come to assurance of salvation, and may 
partake of the joy of the Holy Ghost. For in this peace 
and joy the kingdom of God doth much consist. When the 
chief cause of all our fear and sorrow is done away, what 
then is left to break our peace ? When we have no cause 
to fear the flames of hell, nor the sting of death, or the ap- 
pearance of our Judge, any further than to move us to make 
ready, what then should greatly trouble the soul ? If God 
and heaven be not matter of comfort, I know not what is. 
If we saw a man, that had got many kingdoms, to be still 
sad, and dumpish, because he had no more, we would say, 
he were very ambitious, or covetous ; and yet he might have 
reason for it. But if you have the love of God, and a title 
by promise to heavenly inheritance, and yet you are discon- 
tented, and God and glory is not enough for you, this is 
most unreasonable. 

(10.) Another of our precious benefits by Christ, is, Our 
spiritual communion with his church, and holy members. 
We do not only join with them in outward communion, but 
we unite our desires, and there is a harmony of affections. 
We are in the main of one mind and will, and way, and we 
jointly constitute the body of our Lord. " We are come 
unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the 
heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of an- 
gels, 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. We are 
joined to that body, and have communion with it, which con- 
sisteth both of militant, and triumphant saints, and of the 
angels also. " We are no more strangers and foreigners, 
but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of 
God, and are built on the foundation of the apostles and 
prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, 



126 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth un- 
to a holy temple in the Lord ; in whom we also are builded 
together, for a habitation of God, through the Spirit ; Ephes. 
ii. 19 — 22. And as in holy concord we serve the Lord, hav- 
ing one God, one Christ, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, 
one rule, the word of God, one mind, one heart, one work 
of holiness and righteousness in the main ; one hope, one 
heaven, the place of our expectations. So have we the fruit 
of the prayers of each other, and of all the church, and have 
the honour, the safety, and other benefits of being members 
of so blessed a society. 

Yea, we have in this communion, the whole church 
obliged, and disposed according to their capacity to endea- 
vour the good of every member. So that ministers and ma- 
gistrates, yea, though they were apostles, and prophets, 
Paul, or Apollos, all are ours; 1 Cor. iii. 22. Kings have 
their power for us, and for us they must use them. If we 
suffer, every member must be as forward to assist us, and if 
we want, to relieve us, according to their power, as if they 
suffered with us ; 1 Cor. xii. 25, 26. 

Yea, the angels are our brethren (Rev. xxix. 9.) and fel- 
low servants, yea, " ministering spirits, sent forth to minis- 
ter for them that shall be heirs of salvation ; Heb. i. 14." To 
" encamp about them, and to bear them in their arms," re- 
joicing to behold their graces, and prosperity, as was shew- 
ed before. 

(11.) Another of our precious benefits by Christ, is, That 
"All things shall work together for good; Rom. viii.28. 
When we are sanctified to God, all things are sanctified to 
us, to serve us for God, and help us to him. Every creature 
that we have to do with, is, as it were, another thing to the 
saints, than to other men. They are all wheels in that uni- 
versal engine of grace, to carry us to salvation. The same 
things that are common mercies to others, are special to 
us, as proceeding from a special love, and being designed to a 
special use. As flesh-pleasing is the ultimate end of the 
ungodly, and all things are thereby debased, to be but means 
to that ignoble end ; so the pleasing and fruition of God, is 
the end of all the saints, and thereby all things that they 
have to do with, are advanced to the honour of being sanc- 
tified means to this most high and noble end, and as they 
are engaged to use them to this end, and consequently to 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 127 

their own greatest advantage ; so God hath engaged himself 
to bless them in that holy use, and to cause them all by his 
gracious providence to co-operate to their good. Their 
greatest afflictions, the cruellest persecutions from the most 
violent enemies, our wants, our weaknesses, and death it- 
self, all must concur to carry on this work. What then 
should a Christian fear, but sin ? How honourable, and 
how happy a life may he live, that hath all these assured for 
his service. And what causeless fears are they that use to 
afflict the servants of God, concerning their outward trou- 
bles, and necessities. What do we fear, and groan under, 
and complain of, but our Father's physic, and the means of 
our salvation ? If this one truth were but believed, and re- 
ceived, and used according to its worth, O what a life would 
Christians live ! 

(12.) The last, and greatest of our benefits by Christ, is, 
Resurrection, and our justification at the bar of God, and our , 
reception into glory. This is the end of all, and therefore 
containeth all. For this Christ died ; for this we are Chris- 
tians ; for this we believe, hope and labour ; for this we 
suffer, and deny ourselves, and renounce this world. Our 
bodies shall then be spiritual and glorious, no more trQubled 
with infirmities, diseases or necessities. Our souls shall be 
both naturally and graciously perfected ; both in their fa- 
culties and qualities. We shall be brought nigh to God : 
we shall be numbered with the inhabitants of the heavenly 
Jerusalem, and be members of that blessed society, and com- 
panions and equal with the angels of God : we shall for ever 
behold our glorified Redeemer, and see our own nature uni- 
ted to the Godhead ; and we shall have the greatest and 
nearest intuition and fruition of God, the fullest love to him, 
and the sweetest rest, content and delight in him, that our 
created natures are capable of : we shall everlastingly be em- 
ployed in this love, and delight, and in his praises with all 
the heavenly host : and the glory of God will shine forth in 
our glory, and the abundance of his goodness will be com- 
municated to us : and he will be well-pleased with us, with 
our praises, with all that blessed society, and with our head : 
and this will endure to all eternity. 

Christians, I have now named in a few words, those be- 
nefits by Christ, which the heart of man is notable to value, 
in any proportion to their inexpressible worth : I have named 



128 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

that in an hour, which you will enjoy for ever. So much of 
our benefits by Christ. 

5. The fifth point to be understood in the right know- 
ledge of Christ, is, The terms on which he conveyeth his be- 
nefits to men, and how we must be made partakers of them. 
And these mercies are of two sorts: 1. Common. 2. 
Proper to them that are heirs of salvation. The common 
are, 1. Those discoveries of grace, that are made even to 
heathens in the creatures, and the merciful providences of 
God. These are absolutely and freely bestowed in some 
measure on all, but in a greater measure upon some, as 
pleases the giver. 2. The supernatural, or instituted means 
of revealing Christ, and life to the world, and drawing them 
to a saving consent of faith. These are the Gospel written 
and preached, with other concomitant helps. The commis- 
sion Christ hath given to his ambassadors, is to teach this 
Gospel to all the world, even to every (reasonable) creature, 
without exception or restriction. And it is absolutely and 
freely given, where it is given. But as to the providential 
disposal of the event, God causeth it not to be sent to all, 
but to whom he seeth meet. 

The proper or special mercies are of two sorts: (1.) 
Some are physical inherent qualities, or performed acts. 
(2.) And some are adherent rights, or relations. 

Of the former inherent sort, there are these three degrees : 
(1.) There is the first special work of vocation, conversion 
or regeneration, causing the sinner to repent and believe, 
and giving him the principle of spiritual life. (2.) There is 
the bestowing of the indwelling Spirit of God, and progres- 
sive sanctification of heart and life, and perseverance with 
victory. (3.) There is the perfecting of all this, in our glo- 
rious perfection in the life to come. 

(1.) For the first of these, God hath not promised it condi- 
tionally or absolutely to any individual person that hath it 
not. He hath bound all to repent and believe, but hath not 
promised to make them do it : (only he hath revealed that 
there are certain persons so given to Christ, as that they 
shall be infallibly drawn to believe.) But he hath appoint- 
ed certain means for the ungodly, which they are bound to 
use in order to their conversion ; and if they will not use 
them, they are without excuse. If they will, they have very 
much encouragement from God, both [1.] In the nature of the 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 129 

means, which are fitted to their ends, and^are mighty to 
bring down all oppositions : and [2.] In the commands and 
institution of God ; whose wisdom and goodness may easily 
resolve us, that he will not appoint us means in vain, nor set 
his creatures on fruitless labour : and [3.] Also from the issue ; 
for no man can stand forth and say, Such an one did his 
best in the use of means, and yet could not attain the end, 
but fell short of the grace and glory of God. 

The diseases of men's souls are wilfulness and blindness; 
the means of cure are the persuasions, with the revelations 
of the Gospel. Men have the natural powers of under- 
standing and willing : but they want that right disposition 
which we call the habit, or moral power, which is no more 
than to say, They are habitually blind and wilful. It is so 
far from being unreasonable to teach and persuade men that 
are under such an impotency as this, that there is nothing 
in the world that doth more bespeak our teaching and per- 
suasions ; for this is the natural and instituted way to cure 
them, and give them power. What means of overcoming 
ignorance like teaching ? And what means of overcoming 
habituated wilfulness, like persuasion, added to informing 
truths ? We do not use to reason men out of a natural im- 
potency, nor to persuade them to do that for which they 
have no faculties or object ; but it is the very means of over- 
coming a moral impotency, and making men willing of the 
good which they rejected. And with this means doth God 
set in, and infallibly cause it to be effectual with his chosen. 
Thus no man cometh to the Son, except the Father draw 
him ; and then for the two following degrees of holiness in 
our sanctification, and glorious perfection, God hath pro- 
mised them to those that have this first degree. For the 
Spirit of holiness is promised to all that truly repent and be- 
lieve, and salvation to all that are sanctified, and persevere. 
So that the right to these inheritance mercies, being a rela- 
tion, is conveyed as other rights and relations, of which we 
are next to speak. 

(2.) As the Spirit by the operation of the word upon the 
heart conveyeth the foresaid inherent benefits or qualities 
and acts, so the promise of grace, indited by Christ and the 
Spirit, doth as a deed of gift, or testament, or act of oblivion, 
bestow on us our rights and spiritual relations ; and from 

VOL. VIII. K 



1.'30 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

these they do result, as the immediate instrumental cause. 
Thus doth he give " power or right to as many as receive him, 
to become the sons of God;" John i. 12. Thus doth he give 
us pardon, justification, adoption, and our right to further 
grace and glory. And these promises are conditional ; and 
our repenting and believing in Christ, is the condition. And 
therefore till conversion do bring us to repent and believe, 
we have no right to any of these benefits of the promise. 
And therefore though our repentance and faith be none of 
the proper cause of our justification, or right : yet the main 
work, in order to the procurement of these benefits, that is 
now to be done, is to persuade the sinner to repent and be- 
lieve ; to turn that he may live ; for God's act of grace is 
past already, and the conditional pardon is granted long ago, 
and will effectually pardon us as soon as we perform the 
condition, and not before. Till then, we hinder the efficacy 
of the deed of gift ; for unbelief and impenitency are true 
causes of men's condemnation, though faith and repentance 
be no proper causes of their salvation. 

These promises being conditional, we cannot be assured 
of our part in the benefits, but by being assured that we per- 
form the condition. By this you may see the nature of pre- 
sumption ; when men say, they believe that which never was 
promised ; or believe that they have right to the blessings 
that are promised to others, and thus they believe that they 
shall have the benefits promised, when they perform not the 
conditions ; all this is presuming, and not true believing. 
If men believe that God is reconciled to them, and will par- 
don them, and justify them, and save them, when they are 
unconverted, impenitent, unregenerate men ; this is not in- 
deed a believing of God, that hath never made them any 
such promise, nor ever told them any such matter, but the 
contrary ; but it is a believing the false delusions of the de- 
vil and their own hearts. He that will claim any title to 
Christ, and pardon, and salvation, must have something to 
shew for it ; yea, and something more than the most of the world 
have to shew; for the most shall be shut out. Every man, 
therefore that regardeth his salvation, must seriously ask his 
soul this question,' What have I to shew for my title to sal- 
vation, more than the most of the world can shew ? It is 
not saying, I hope to be saved, that will serve the turn, ex- 
cept I can give a reason of my hope. Thousands that lay 



MISCARRtlNG IN CONVERSION. 131 

claim to salvation shall miss of it, because they have no ti- 
tle to it.' And that which you must have to shew, is this, A 
promise, or deed of gift on God's part, and the fulfilling of 
the condition on your part. God saith to all men, " Who- 
soever repenteth, believeth, or is converted, shall be saved." 
When you have found that you repent of all your sins, and 
truly believe, and are converted to God, then, and not till 
then, you may conclude that you shall be saved. 

6. The sixth point to be understood and believed, con- 
cerning these benefits of Christ, is the infallible certainty of 
them. While men look on the promised glory to come, as 
on an uncertain thing, they will hardly be drawn to venture, 
and let go the profits and pleasures of the world to attain it ; 
much less to part with life itself. The life of all our Chris- 
tian motion, is the unfeigned belief of the truth of God's 
word, and specially of the unseen things of the world to 
come. Such as men's belief of heaven and hell is, such will 
be the bent of their hearts, and the course of their lives, and 
such and such they will be in yielding to sin, or in resisting 
it, and in all the service they do for God. As all men would 
take another course, if they did but see heaven and hell with 
their eyes ; so all men would presently throw away their 
worldly, fleshly pleasures, and turn to God and a holy life, 
if they did but as thoroughly believe the joys and torments 
to come, as if they saw them. Flesh and blood can hardly 
judge of things, without the help of sense ; and fleshly men 
take all things to be phantasms or nothings, that are not 
within the judgment of their senses. They must see it, or 
feel it, or taste it, or hear it ; and believing is a way that 
hardly satisfies them ; though it be God himself that they 
are to believe. Believing is trusting the credit of another; 
and we are naturally loath to trust to any but our eyes or 
other senses. We are so false ourselves, that we are ready 
to measure God by ourselves ; and to think that he is a de- 
ceiver, because that we are such. And hence it is that the 
world is so ungodly that they venture on sin, and will not 
be at the cost and labour of a heavenly life ; because they 
take the matters of the life to come, to be but uncertainties, 
and have not so true a belief of them, as might possess them 
with a deep apprehension of their reality. How should the 
word profit them, that mix it not with faith, (Heb. iv. 2.) un- 
less by begetting faith itself? O what a change would a 



132 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT'' 

sound belief of the Scriptures make in the world ! But hav- 
ing spoken so oft of this in other writings, I shall say no 
more of it now. So much of the knowledge of Christ. 

ii. I have shewed you the first part of this Direction, 
How Christ must be received understandingly, I now come 
to the second, which is, That he must be received heartily. 
As Cod must be beloved, so Christ must be believed in, 
with all the heart, and soul, and strength. If not with all 
in a perfect degree, (for that will not be till we come to hea- 
ven) yet with all in a prevalent degree. There are many 
convictions, and good meanings, and wishes, and purposes, 
which may proceed from common grace, and be found in 
those that never shall be saved : these may be called (ana- 
logically) faith, and love, and desire, as those that are found 
in the truly regenerate ; and yet the persons in whom they 
are found, may not fitly be called believers or lovers of God ; 
because a man is to be denominated from that in him which 
is predominant, and hath the chief power on his heart. The 
soul of man is not so simple as to move but one way : its 
state in this life is to stand between two differing competi- 
tors, God and the world, spirit and flesh ; and there is no 
man that is totally given up to either of them. No man is 
so good and spiritual, that hath not something in him that 
is bad and carnal ; and no man is so fully addicted to God, 
but the creature hath too much interest in his heart. Nor 
is there any man so given up to the creature, in whom God 
hath no manner of interest at all, in his estimation and af- 
fections ; if he indeed believe that there is a God. At least 
it is not so with all that are unconverted. Otherwise, 1. 
What is it that common grace doth, if it no whit dispose 
them towards God? Certainly it would not else be grace. 
2. And if this were not so, then we must say, that no unre- 
generate man hath any good in him, that is truly moral ; for 
if there be no interest of God in his mind or will, there can 
be no good in him. But this is contrary to Scripture and 
experience. It was undoubtedly some moral good, which 
Christ loved the man for, in Mark x. 21. who was not far 
from the kingdom of God. 3. Otherwise all men must be 
equally departed from God, which is contrary to experience. 
4. Yea, all men must be as bad on earth (privately) as in 
hell; which certainly is false. I may well say, that on 
earth there is some good in the worst; much more in those 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 133 

that are almost persuaded to be converted Christians. Many 
a thought of the goodness of God, and the necessity of a 
Saviour, and of the love of Christ, and of the joys of heaven, 
may be stirring and working in the minds of the unsancti- 
fied ; but if they take not up the heart for Christ, the person 
is not a true believer. As the Gospel must be believed to 
be true, so Christ that is offered us in the Gospel as good, 
must be heartily and thankfully accepted accordingly : and 
the glory, the justification, reconciliation with God, and 
other benefits procured by him, and offered with him, must 
be valued and desired above all earthly, fleshly things. If 
you are convinced that sin is evil, as contrary to God, and 
hurtful to you, and hereupon have some mind to let it go, 
and some wishes that Christ would save you from it, and yet 
still have a love to it that is greater than your dislike ; and 
the bent of your hearts is more for it, than against it, and 
your habitual desires are rather to keep than to leave it : 
this is not sanctification, nor a saving consent to be saved by 
Christ. If you have some convictions that holiness is good, 
as being the image of God, and pleasing to him, and neces- 
sary to your salvation, and so should have some mind of ho- 
liness on these grounds ; yet if you have on the other side a 
greater averseness to it, because it would deprive you of the 
pleasures of your sin, and the habitual inclination of your 
will is more against it than for it ; certainly this will not 
stand with true sanctification, of faith in Christ, to save you 
from the power of sin by his Spirit. Thousands deceive 
themselves, by misunderstanding some common passages, 
that are spoken to comfort afflicted consciences : viz. That 
the least true desires after grace, do prove the soul to be 
gracious. This is true, if you speak of the least desires, 
which are predominant in the soul ; when our desire is more 
habitually than our unwillingness, and we thus prefer Christ 
before all the world, the least of this is an evidence of saving 
grace. But such desires as are subdued by the contrary de- 
sires; and such a will as is accompanied with a greater un- 
willingness, habitually ; and such a faith, as is drowned in 
greater unbelief ; these are not evidences of a saving change ; 
nor can you justly gather any special comfort from them. 
He that hath more unbelief than belief, is not to be called a 
believer, but an unbeliever ; and he that hath more hatred or 
dislike of. God and holiness than love to them, is not to be cal- 



134 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

led godly, but ungodly, nor a lover of God, but a hater of him. 
I am easily persuaded, that many of you that are ungodly 
could be contented that God be glorified, if his glory do 
not cross your carnal interest ; and so you desire God's glory 
even for itself, as that which is absolutely good in itself : 
but if your fleshly interest be so dear to you, that you will 
sacrifice God's glory to it, and had rather God were disho- 
noured than your fleshly interest contradicted, it is your 
flesh then that is made your God, and your chief end. It is 
not every wish, or minding of Christ, no, not to save you 
from sin as sin, that will prove you true believers : nor is it 
every minding of God, or love to him, no, not as one appre- 
hended by you to be the chiefest good, and desirable for 
himself, as your end, that will prove indeed that you savingly 
love him ; as long as the contrary mind and will is habitually 
predominant in you. Such as the very habit and bent of a 
man's heart is, such indeed is the man. It is possible for a 
man, even a good man, to have two contrary ends and inten- 
tions, yea, ultimate ends ; as that which is desired for itself, 
and referred to nothing else, is called ultimate ; but it is 
not possible for him to have two principal, predominant 
ends. So far as we are carnal still, we make the pleasing 
of our flesh our ultimate end ; for doubtless we do not sin 
only by pleasing the flesh, as a means to God's glory ; nor 
only in the mischoosing of other means ; but yet this is none 
of our principal end, so far as men are truly sanctified. And 
because that is called a man's mind, or will, which is the 
chiefest and highest in his mind and will ; therefore we use 
to denominate men from that only which beareth rule in 
them : and thus we may say with Paul, " It is not I, but 
sin that dwelleth in me." For a disowned act that proceed- 
eth from us, against the bent and habit of our wills, and the 
course of our lives, from the remnants of a carnal, misguided 
will, is not it that must denominate the person, nor is so 
fully ours as the contrary act. And therefore though indeed 
we sinfully participate of it ; yet when the question is, whe- 
ther believing, or unbelief, sinning, or obeying be my work ; 
it is not comparatively to be called mine, which I am much 
more against than for. So on the other side, if the unsanc- 
tified have some transient, superficial, uneffectual acts of de- 
sire, or faith, or love to God, which are contrary to the bent 
and habit of their hearts, this is not theirs, nor imputable to 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 135 

them, so far as hence to give them their denomination. It 
is not they that do it, but the common workings of the 
Spirit upon them. 

If ever then you would be assured that you are Chris- 
tians, look to the habitual bent of your hearts, and see that 
you do not only talk of Scripture, and slightly believe it, 
and speak well of Christ, with some good wishes, and mean- 
ings, and purposes ; but as you love your souls, see that 
Christ be received as your dearest Saviour, with thankful- 
ness and greatest love, and as your sovereign Lord and true 
subjection ; and that he hath your superlative estimation 
and affections, and all things in the world be put under him 
in your souls. This must be so, if you will have the portion 
of believers : no faith that is short of this will prove you 
Christ's disciples indeed, or heirs of the promises made to 
believers. The voice of Christ that calls to you in the Gos- 
pel, is, " My son give me thy heart ;" Prov. xxiii. 26. Do 
what thou wilt in ways of duty, and think as highly as thou 
wilt of thyself, thou art no true believer in Christ's account 
till thou hast given him thy heart. If he have thy tongue, 
if he have thy good opinion, nay, if thy body were burnt in 
his cause, if he had not thy love, thy heart, it were as no- 
thing ; (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) for thy works and sufferings, are so 
far acceptable (through Christ) as they are testimonies of 
this, that Christ hath thy heart. If he have not thy heart, 
he takes it as if he had nothing ; and if he have this, he 
takes it as if he have all. For this is not only preferred by 
him before all ; but also he knows that this commandeth all. 
If Christ have thy heart, the devil will not have thy tongue 
and life ; the alehouse, or a harlot will not have thy body ; 
and the world will not have the principal part of thy life. If 
Christ have thy heart, it will be heard much in thy confe- 
rence ; it will be seen in thy labours : for that which hath 
a man's heart will hardly be hid, unless he purposely hide it, 
which a Christian neither can nor ought to do. It would 
make a man wonder to hear some wretches, that will run 
from God as fast as they can, and yet face you down that 
God hath their hearts ; that have no mind, so much as to 
meditate, or talk of Christ, or his precious blood, or mys- 
terious redemption, or the glorious kingdom purchased by 
him ; that will be at neither cost nor labour in his service, 
and yet profess that Christ hath their hearts : that will re- 



136 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

fuse a holy, heavenly life, and perhaps make a scorn of it, 
and maliciously prate against the sanctified, and yet will 
stand to it that the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier of the elect, 
hath their hearts. No wonder if those hearts are ill managed, 
and in a miserable, deceived state, that are so unacquainted 
with themselves. 

Faith entereth at the understanding ; but it hath not all 
its essential parts, and is not the Gospel faith indeed, till it 
hath possessed the will. The heart of faith is wanting, till 
faith hath taken possession of the heart. For by faith Christ 
dwelleth in the heart ; Ephes. iii. 17. And if he dwell not 
in the heart, he dwells not in the man, in a saving sort. He 
had some interest in Judas, Simon Magus, Ananias and 
Sapphira, as to the head, and perhaps somewhat more in a su- 
perficial sort. But satan entered into the heart of one, and 
filled the heart of another of them with a lie, and the heart 
of the third was not right in the sight of God, and therefore 
he had no part or lot in Christ, but was still in the gall of 
bitterness, and bond of iniquity ; and all because Christ was 
not heartily entertained; Acts v. 3. viii. 22, 23. It is in 
the heart that the word must have its rooting, or else it will 
wither in time of trial. It is seeking with the whole heart 
that is the evidence of the blessed ; Psal. cxix. 2. And it 
is a feigned turning when men turn not to God with the 
whole heart ; Jer. iii. 10. This is God's promise concerning 
his elect, " I will give them a heart to know me that I am 
the Lord, and they shall be my people, and I will be their 
God : for they shall return unto me with their whole heart ;" 
Jer. xxiv. 7. See then that the heart be unfeignedly deli- 
vered up to Christ: for if Christ have it not, the flesh, the 
world, and the devil will have it. Your hearts must be a 
dwelling for one of these masters, choose you whether. 

It is the damnation of the most professed Christians, that 
they have nothing for Christ but a good opinion, or a few 
good words, or outside services, or some slight religiousness 
on the bye, when the flesh and the world go away with their 
hearts, and yet they will not know it, or confess it. Christ 
will not be an underling or servant to your flesh. Your 
hearts he hath bought, and your hearts he will have, or you 
are none of his. If he shall have nothing from you but a 
name, you shall have nothing but the name of his purchased 
salvation. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 137 

in. The last part of the Direction yet remains, viz. that 
you must close with Christ entirely, as well as understand- 
ing^ and heartily. It is whole Christ that must be re- 
ceived with the whole heart. 

For the understanding of this, it must be known, both 
how and why Christ is offered to us. 

As he came into the world to destroy the works of the 
devil ; (1 Johniii. 8.) and to seek and save that which was 
lost ; (Luke xix. 19.) and by his mediation to reconcile us 
to God, and bring us up to glory ; so two things were to be 
done, for the accomplishment of this : first he was himself 
to merit our salvation, and pay the price of our redemption 
on the cross, and in his own person to conquer the world, 
the devil, and death, and the grave : and then he was by 
his intercession in the heavens to make application of this, 
and bestow the benefits thus purchased by him. And be- 
cause it was he, and not we, that made the purchase, it there- 
fore pleased the Father that the purchased treasure should 
be put into his hands, and not immediately put into ours. 
He is become our treasury, and authorised to be our Head : 
all power is given him in heaven and earth. We have so 
foully miscarried already, that he will no more trust his ho- 
nour in our hands, as at first he did. We shall have nothing 
of pardon, or grace, or glory, but what we have in and from 
the Son. " God hath given us eternal life, and this life is 
in his Son : he that hath the Son hath life ; and he that hath 
not the Son hath not life;" 1 John v. 12. It is not only 
the nature and person of Christ that is to be believed in; 
but it is the person as impowered to certain ends, and clothed 
with his office that we must now entertain. Now the office 
of Christ being for our salvation, and the glory of God, is 
suited to these happy ends. 

And our necessities are principally in these three points. 
1. We have the guilt of sin upon us to be pardoned, and the 
wrath of God, and curse of the law, and the punishment of 
sin to be removed. 2. We have the corruption of our na- 
ture to be healed ; the power of sin to be destroyed ; the 
image of God repaired on us, and our hearts and lives to be 
acted and ordered according to the will of God ; and to 
these ends, temptations to be conquered, and our souls di- 
rected, strengthened, and preserved to the end. 3. We must 
be raised from the grave at the last day ; we must be justi- 



138 DIRECTIONS* TO PREVENT 

fied in judgment, and possessed of that glory which is the 
end of our faith. To this, justification, sanctification, and 
glorification may the rest be reduced. 

Now the office of Christ is suited to these necessities of 
ours ; and as we cannot possibly be saved unless all these 
necessities be supplied, and these works done for us : so we 
cannot possibly have these things done but by accepting of 
Christ, as authorised and impowered, by his office and per- 
fections, to do them. 

The glory that God will have by this work, I have before 
expressed to you at large. He will have his justice, and wis- 
dom, and power, and holiness, and mercy to be demonstrated 
and honoured by Christ. And therefore Christ hath resolved 
to give out none of his benefits, but in such manner and 
ways as may best attain these highest ends. 

These several points therefore I must entreat you here to 
note distinctly. 1. That you must be brought into a special 
relation to the person of Christ, as clothed with his office, 
before you can lay claim to his saving benefits. He is the 
Head, and you must become his spouse ; and so of the rest. 
This is called our uniting to Christ, which must go before 
our further communion with him. It is the will of God, that 
you shall never receive his benefits before you receive his 
Son ; (except only those benefits which go before your 
union with Christ himself, in order to the accomplishing it ; 
as the Gospel, the gift of faith to the elect, &c.) . You shall 
never have actual pardon, justification, adoption, sanctifi- 
cation, or glory, till you have first saving interest in Christ 
himself. He is the vine, and we are the branches : we must 
be planted into him, and live in him, or else we can have no- 
thing further from God, nor do any thing acceptable to God. 
And therefore the first and great work of faith is to receive 
and close with the person of Christ, as clothed with his 
office. 

2. Understand and note, that as you shall not have his 
great benefits before, or without his person ; so God hath 
resolved, that you shall not have his special benefits, unless 
you will take them all together : (I speak of men at age, 
that are capable of all.) You shall not have pardon and jus- 
tification, or glory, without sanctification ; nor the comforts 
of Christ without the guidance and government of Christ. 
You must have all or none. 



• MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 139 

3. From hence it follows, that therefore you must receive 
and close with Christ entirely, in his whole office, as he is 
to accomplish all these works, or else you cannot be united 
to him. He will not be divided : you shall not have Christ 
as a justifier of you, if you will not have him as a guide, and 
ruler, and sanctifier of you. He will not be a partial Saviour : 
if you will not consent that he shall save you from your sins, 
he will not consent to save you from hell. 

4. Understand, and note that Christ will look to his Fa- 
ther's interest and honour, and his own, as well as to your 
salvation ; yea, and before it. And therefore you must not 
hope for any mercy from him, in any way that is dishonour- 
able to him, or that is inconsistent with his own blessed ends 
and interest. And therefore do not look for any such grace 
from him as shall discharge you from your duty, or give 
you liberty to dishonour or disobey him; nor do not think 
that you shall have him related to you only for your own 
ends, but on terms of highest honour to God and your Re- 
deemer. And do not think that your grace is ever the less 
free, because God's honour is thus preferred : for if you are 
Christians indeed, you will take God's interest, as your own 
highest interest, and will confess, that you could not have 
your own ends and welfare any other way. 

5. Understand and note also, that as all your mercies are 
in the hand of Christ, so Christ hath appointed in his Gos- 
pel a certain way and course of means, in which he will 
bestow it : and you cannot expect it from him, in any other 
way but his own. As God hath made Christ the way, and 
no man cometh unto the Father but by him, so Christ hath 
ordained a standing course of means, which are his way for 
the making over of his benefits ; and here you must have 
them or go without them. 

6. Understand and note, that there are some of Christ's 
ends and benefits, that the very natural man desires, and 
some that corrupted nature is against. Now it is therefore 
the established way of Christ to promise us those which we 
can desire, on condition that we will also accept of, and sub- 
mit to, those that we are against. Not but that his grace 
doth dispose men to the performance of such conditions ; 
but his grace worketh by means : and a conditional promise 
is his established means to draw men's hearts to the perfor- 
mance of the condition (which well considered, is a sufficient 



140 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

answer to the arguments that are commonly urged against 
the conditionality of the promise). As the Spirit doth 
powerfully work within ; so he useth that word from with- 
out, as his instrument, which worketh sapientially and 
powerfully to the same work. If a physician have two me- 
dicines to give his patient, as necessary for his cure, the one 
very sweet, and the other bitter ; the one which he loves, 
and the other which he loathes, he will promise him the 
sweeter, if he will take the bitter one ; that by the love of 
one, he may prevail against the loathing of the other, and 
may entice it down. He will not promise the bitter one 
which is loathed, and make the taking of the sweet one the 
condition : he will not say, ' I will give thee this aloes, on 
condition thou wilt take this sugar ;' but contrary, ' I will 
give thee the sweeter, if thou wilt take the bitter.' 

In Christ's ends, and works, 1. We naturally are more 
willing of that which makes for ourselves directly, than of 
that which makes directly for the honour of God and the 
Redeemer. We prefer our own ends before God's glory. 
And, therefore, Christ hath so ordered the condition of his 
promises, that unless we will take him in his relations of 
dignity as King and Lord, and will make the glory and pleas- 
ing of God our principal end, we shall have none of him, or 
his saving benefits. For he came not to fulfil our selfish 
desires, but to fetch us off from ourselves, and recover us to 
God, that he might have his own. And if we will not have 
our all in God, we shall have nothing. 2. And naturally we 
are willing, as to our own benefits, to be pardoned, and freed 
from the curse of the law, and the flames of hell, and natu- 
ral death, and punishment. And, therefore, we are thus far 
naturally willing of free justification ; but we are unwilling 
to let go the seeming profit, and credit, and pleasure of sin, 
and to deny the flesh, and forsake the world ; and we are 
averse to the spiritual felicity of the saints, and to the holi- 
ness of heart, and life, that is the way to it. And, there- 
fore, Christ hath most wisely so ordered it, in the tenor of 
his promises, that our repentance and faith shall be the con- 
dition of our justification and deliverance from death and 
hell. And this faith is the believing in him, and accepting 
him entirely in his whole office, to sanctify us, and rule us, 
as well as to j ustify us. And thus we must take him wholly, 
or we shall have none of him. And the accepting him as 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 141 

our teacher, and sanctifier, and king, is as much (at least the 
condition of our justification, and pardon, and deliverance 
from hell) as the accepting him as a justifier of us is. He 
that had the power in his own hands, and that made the free 
promise, or deed of gift, hath put in such conditions, as his 
own wisdom saw best ; and they are such as suit most con- 
gruously to all his ends ; even the glory of God, in all his 
attributes, and the Redeemer's glory, and our own, and most 
full and free salvation. And on his conditions must we 
have his benefits, or we shall never have them. 

7. Lastly, understand and note, that the means which 
Christ hath resolved on for teaching and ruling us, ordina- 
rily, are his word, his ministers, and his Spirit ; all must be 
submitted to together, where they may be had, and none of 
them laid by, by separation. His word is the grammar, or 
book, as it were, that we must learn. His ministers must 
teach us this book ; and his Spirit (who, in the apostles and 
prophets, indited and sealed it) must inwardly teach us, by 
powerful illumination. The word is God's laws. The mi- 
nisters are his ambassadors, or heralds to proclaim them, and 
command obedience in his name ; and his Spirit must open 
men's hearts to entertain them. The word is God's seed ; 
the ministers are the husbandmen, or servants that sow it ; 
and the Spirit must give the increase, without which, our 
planting, and watering will do nothing. He, therefore, that 
takes Christ for his master and king, must resolve to be 
taught and ruled by his established means, even by his word 
and ministers, and Spirit conjunct. For he that refuseth 
and despiseth these, doth refuse and despise Christ ; and 
consequently the Father that sent him ; Luke x. 16. 1 Thess. 
iv. 8. For it was never the meaning of Christ, when he be- 
came the Teacher and King of the church, to stay on earth, 
and personally, and visibly to teach them himself; but these 
three are his means, which all must submit to, that will be 
his subjects and disciples. And he that despiseth the word, 
shall be destroyed : Prov. xiii. 13. He that will not have 
the word, ministry, and Spirit teach him, will not have Christ 
teach him. And he that refuseth to be ruled by these three, 
shall be destroyed as a rebel against Christ himself; Luke 
xix. 27. Still it is supposed that ministers must teach and 
rule, according to this word. 

And the society in which Christ will teach and govern 



142 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

us, is his church. As members, therefore, of the universal 
church, and in communion with his particular church where 
we live and have opportunity, we must wait on Christ for 
his teaching and benefits. For this is his school, where his 
disciples must diligently attend and learn. 

Lay all this together, and this is the sum. The object of 
justifying, saving faith, is one only undivided Christ, one in 
person but of two natures, God and man ; in office the Me- 
diator between God and man, who hath already done the 
work of satisfaction, and merit, and is authorized further to 
bestow the benefits. By the Gospel grant he hath given 
himself as Head and Husband, Teacher, King, and Saviour, 
to all that will entirely and heartily accept him ; and with 
himself he giveth justification by the promise ; sanctification 
by the word, ministry, and Spirit ; and final absolution, and 
everlasting life. If ever then you will have Christ, and life, 
you must accept him in all these essentials of his person, and 
offices, and that to the ends which his redemption was in- 
tended for. You must be willing to be sanctified by him, 
as well as to be justified. You must at once unfeignedly 
become his disciples, his subjects, his members, if you would 
become his saved ones. You must consent, that as your 
Teacher, and your Lord, he shall teach and rule your heart, 
and life, by his word, ministers, and Spirit, in communion 
with his church. No bar or exception must be put in, nor 
reservation made against any one of these parts of his office. 
If you yield not to these parts of his saving work, that tend 
but to the completive growth, you sin, and deprive your- 
selves of the benefit ; but if you yield not to those that must 
make you truly sanctified, and justified men, you cannot be 
saved. The essentials of Christ's person, and office, do con- 
stitute him the Christ, and if he be not received in all those 
essentials, he is not received as Christ. 

And thus I have given you the sum of the Gospel, and 
the description of faith, and true Christianity in this Direc- 
tion for a right closing with the Lord Jesus Christ. And 
experience of most that I discourse with, persuades me to 
think this Direction of great necessity, and to entreat you 
thoroughly to peruse and consider it. I find abundance of 
ignorant people, that talk much of Christ, but know very 
little of him ; that can scarce tell us whether he be God or 
man, or which person in the Trinity he is, nor to what end 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 143 

he was incarnated, and died, nor what relation he stands in 
to us, or what use he is of, or what he now is, or what he is 
engaged to do for us. But if we ask them about their hopes 
of salvation, they almost overlook the redemption by Christ, 
and tell us of nothing but God's mercies, and their own good 
meanings and endeavours. And I am afraid too many pro- 
fessors of piety, (do look) almost all, at the natural part of 
religion, and the meaning of their own hearts, and lives, 
(and I would this were better done) while they forget the 
supernatural parts, and little are affected with the infinite 
love of God in Christ. I desire such to consider these 
things : 1. You overlook the sum of your religion, which 
is Christ crucified, besides whom Paul desired to know no- 
thing. 2. You overlook the fountain of your own life, and 
the author of your supplies ; and yon strive in vain for sanc- 
tification, or justification, if you seek them not from a cru- 
cified Christ. 3. You leave undone the principal part of 
your work, and live like moral heathens, while you have the 
name of Christians. Your daily work is to study God in 
the face of his Son ; and to labour with all saints to com- 
prehend the height, and breadth, and length, and depth, and 
to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge ; Eph. 
iii. 18, 19. All your graces should be daily quickened, and 
set a work by the light of faith, in the contemplation of the 
Redeemer, and his blessed work. This is the weight that 
must set all the wheels a going. You do God no service, 
that he can accept, if you serve him not in this Gospel work, 
of loving, trusting, and admiring, and praising him in the 
Redeemer, and for his redemption. 4. And so you rob God 
of the principal part of his glory, which you are to give 
him ; which is for his most glorious work of our redemp- 
tion. I pray you read over again the ends of this work, 
which I laid down in the beginning of this Direction. 5. 
Moreover, you rob yourselves of your principal comfort, 
which must all come in by living upon Christ. 6. And you 
harden the Antinomians and Libertines, and tempt men to 
their extremes, that run from us as Legalists, and as men 
that savour not the doctrine of free grace, and are not of a 
Gospel spirit and conversation. 1 would our great neglect of 
Christ had not been a snare to these mistaken souls, and a 
stumbling-block in their way. 

O sirs, if a thought of your hearts, if a word of your 



144 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

mouths have not some relation to Christ, suspect it, yea, 
reject it. Call it not a sermon or a prayer, nor a duty, that 
hath nothing of Christ in it. Though the pure Godhead be 
your principal end, yet there is no way to this end but by 
Christ; and though love, which is exercised on that end, 
must animate all your graces and duties, as they are means 
to that end, yet faith hath love in it, or else it is not the 
Christian faith; and Christ is the object of your faith and 
love ; and your perfect, everlasting love will be animated by 
Christ. For your love and praise will be to him that was 
slain, and redeemed us to God by his blood, out of every 
kindred, tongue, and nation, and made us kings and priests 
to God. So much for the fifth Direction. 

Direct. VI. The next direction which I would give you 
for a thorough conversion, is this : ' See that the flesh be 
thoroughly mortified, and your hearts be thoroughly taken 
off the world, and all its pleasures, and profits, and honours, 
and that the root of your fleshly interest prevail not at the 
heart, and that you think not of reconciling God and the 
world, as if you might secure your interest in both.' 

This is a very common cause of the deceit and destruc- 
tion of such as verily think they are converted. It is the 
very nature and business of true conversion, to turn men's 
hearts from the flesh, and from the world to God, and from 
an earthly and seeming happiness, to a heavenly, real, ever- 
lasting happiness. And when men are affrighted into some 
kind of religiousness, and yet never learnt toldeny^themselves, 
and never mortified their fleshly mind, but the love of this 
world is still the chiefest principle at their hearts ; and so 
go on in profession of godliness, with a secret reserve that 
they will look as well as they can to their outward prospe- 
rity, whatever become of their religion ; and they will have 
no more to do with the matters of another world, than may 
stand with their bodily safety in this world ; these are the 
miserable, deluded hypocrites, whose hopes will prove as 
the giving up of the ghost; whom Christ will disown in 
their greatest extremities, after all their seeming religious- 
ness. O sirs, look to this as ever you would be happy. It 
is an easy, it is a common, it is a most dangerous thing, to 
set upon a course of outward piety, and yet keep the world 
next your hearts, and take it still as a great part of your fe- 
licity, and secretly to love your former lusts, while you seem 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 145 

to be converted. The heart is so deceitful, that you have great 
cause to watch it narrowly in this point : it will closely cherish 
the love of the world, and your fleshly pleasures, when it 
seems to renounce them, and when your tongue can speak 
contemptuously of them. It was not for nothing Christ 
would have the firstfruits of his Gospel church, (who were 
to be the example of their successors,) to sell all, and lay it 
down at the feet of his apostles : and it is his standing rule, 
that whoever he be that forsaketh not all that he hath, he 
cannot be his disciple ; Lukexiv.33. In estimation, affec- 
tion, and resolution, it must be forsaken by all that will be 
saved ; and also in practice, whenever God calls us to it. 
You can have but one happiness ; if you will needs have it 
in this world, in the contenting of your flesh, there is no 
hope of having it also in another world, in the fruition of 
God. If you think not God and heaven enough for you, 
and cannot let go the prosperity of the flesh for them, you 
must let go all your hopes of them. God will not halve it 
with the world in your hearts, nor part stakes with the flesh ; 
much less will he be below them, and take their leavings. 
Heaven will not be theirs, that set not by it more than earth. 
God will not call that love to him sincere, which is not a 
superlative love, and able to make you even to hate all those 
things that would draw away your affections and obedience 
from him ; Luke xiv. 26, 27. There is no talk of serving 
God and mammon, and compounding you a happiness of 
earth and heaven. Do therefore as Christ bids you, Luke 
xiv. 28— 30. 

Sit down and count what it must cost you, if you will 
be saved, and on what rates it is that you must follow Christ. 
Can you voluntarily, for the love of him, and the hope of 
glory take up your cross, and follow him in poverty, in los- 
ses, in reproaches, through scorns, and scourgings, and pri- 
sons, and death ? Do you value his loving-kindness better 
than life ? Psal. lxiii. 3. Can you deny your eyes and ap- 
petites their desire ? Can you consent to be vile in the eyes 
of men, and to tame your own flesh, and keep it in subjec- 
tion, and live a flesh-displeasing life, that having suffered 
with Christ, you may also be glorified with him? Rom. viii. 
17. If you cannot consent to these terms, you cannot be 
Christians, and you cannot be saved. If you must need* 

vol.. VIII. L 



146 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

be rich, or must be honourable, yea, if you must needs save 
your estates, or liberties, or lives, it is past all question, you 
must needs let go Christ and glory ; if you must needs have 
the world, you must needs lose your souls. If you must 
have your good things here, you must not have them here- 
after too, but be tormented, when Christ's sufferers are com- 
forted ; Luke xvi. 25. These hopes of purveying for the 
flesh, as long as they can, and then of being saved, when 
they can stay here no longer, are they that have deceived 
many a thousand to their undoing. It is a strange thing to 
see how the world doth blind very knowing men, and how 
unacquainted these hypocrites are with their own hearts. 
What a confident profession of downright godliness many 
of them will make ; yea, of some extraordinary height in re- 
ligion, when nothing is so dear to them as their present pros- 
perity, and God hath not near so much interest in them as the 
flesh ? What contrivances some of them make for riches, or 
rising in the world 1 And how tender others are of their ho- 
nour with men ; and how tenacious they are of their mam- 
mon of unrighteousness ; and how much money and great 
men can do with them. And most of them pamper their 
flesh, and serve it in a cleanlier way of religiousness, even 
as much, though not so disgracefully and grossly as drun- 
kards and whoremongers do in a more discernible sensuality. 
If the times do but change and countenance any error, how 
small an argument will make their judgments bend with the 
times. If truth and duty must cost them dear, O how they 
will shift, and stretch, and wriggle, to prove truth to be no 
truth, and duty to be no duty ; and no argument is strong 
enough to satisfy them, when the flesh doth but say, ' It is 
bitter, it is dangerous, it may be my undoing.' 

It is none of my meaning, that any should needlessly run 
into suffering.or cross their governors and themselves, through 
a spirit of pride, singularity, and contradiction ; but that men 
should think themselves truly religious, that keep such re- 
serves for their fleshly interest, and shew by the very drift of 
their lives, that they are worldlings, and never felt what it was 
to be crucified to the world, and deny themselves, but are reli- 
gious on this supposition only, that it may stand with worldly 
ends, or at least not undo them in the world; this is a la- 
mentable hypocritical self-deceit. When God hath so plain- 
ly said, " Love not the world, nor the things that are in the 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 147 

world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is 
not in him;" 1 John ii. 15. Nay, that the neighbourhood, 
and all the country that know them should ring of the world- 
liness of some, that think themselves good Christians ; and 
yet they will not see themselves. What a cheating, blind- 
ing thing is the world ! 

Well, sirs, if you will be Christians, count what it must 
cost you ; and if you will be heirs of heaven, away with the 
world ; cast it out of your hearts : and if your hands must 
yet trade in it, yet trade not for it ; use it for God, but en* 
joy it not for itself. Take yourselves as strangers here; and 
look on the world as a desolate wilderness*, through which, 
in the communion of the militant saints, you may safely tra- 
vel on to heaven ; but do not make it your home, nor take 
it for the smallest part of your felicity. To be sanctified 
without mortification, is a palpable contradiction. Be at a 
point with all things below, if you will groundedly hope for 
the heavenly inheritance. But I shall purposely forbear to 
enlarge this any further, because I have preached and writ- 
ten a treatise on this subject, which I desire you to peruse. 
Direct. VII. My next Direction is this : 'If you would 
be truly converted, be sure that you make an absolute resig- 
nation of yourselves, and all that you have to God.' 

This is the very form and life of sanctification. To be 
sanctified, is to be separated in heart, life, and profession, 
from all other masters and ends, to God. When the heart 
that was set upon the world and flesh, is separated from 
them, and inclined to God by the power of love, and devoted 
to him, to serve and please him ; this is indeed a sanctified 
heart. And when the life that before was spent in the ser- 
vice of satan, the world, and the flesh, is now taken off them, 
and spent, as to the drift and course of it, in the service of 
God, for the pleasing and glorifying of him, from the im- 
pulse of love, this is indeed a holy life. And herein con- 
sisteth the very nature of our sanctity. And when a man 
doth but profess to renounce the devil, the world, and the 
flesh, and to give up his heart and life unto God, this is a 
profession of holiness. God is both on the title of creation 
preservation, and redemption, our absolute Lord or Owner, 
and we are not our own, but his ; and therefore we must give 
to God the things that are God's, and glorify him in ouv 
souls and bodies, which are his ; 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. As we 



148 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

are his own, so he will have his own, and be served by his 
own. Do not imagine that you have any title to yourselves, 
or propriety in yourselves ; but without any more ado, make 
a full, unreserved, absolute resignation of yourselves, of 
your understandings, and of your wills, of your bodies, and 
of your names, and of every pennyworth of your estates, to 
God, for whom and from whom you have them. Think not 
that you have power to dispose of yourselves, or of any thing 
that you have. Ask not flesh and blood, what life you shall 
lead, or what mind or will, you shall be of? But ask God, 
to whom you do belong. Ask not your carnal selves, what 
you shall do with any of your estates, but ask God, and then 
ask conscience, Which is the way that God would have me 
use it in, that is, which way may I use it to be most service- 
able to God ? and that resolve upon. No service that you 
do to God will prove you sanctified, unless you have hear- 
tily and absolutely given up and devoted yourselves to him ; 
and he that gives up himself, must needs give up all that he 
hath with himself. For he cannot keep it for himself (ulti- 
mately), when even himself is given up to God. Though 
you be not bound to give all that you have to the poor, nor 
all to the church, nor to deny your own bodies or families 
their due supplies, yet must it all be given up to God, even 
that which you make use of for yourselves and families : for 
as you are given up to God yourselves, so you must feed 
yourselves as his, and clothe yourselves and your families as 
his, to fit yourselves and them for his service, and not as 
your own, for the satisfying of your flesh. Thus it is that 
all comes to be pure to the pure, sanctified to them that are 
themselves first sanctified ; because when you feed yourself, 
you do but feed a servant of God, that is consecrated to him, 
and separated from things common and unclean. And even 
as the tithes and offerings, that were given for the food and 
maintenance of the priests and Levites, were called the Lord's 
portion, and holy to the Lord, because they were their por- 
tion, that were separated to his altar ; even so that which is 
necessary to fit you for God's service, while you use it to 
that very end, is sanctified in your sanctification, and is 
holy to God ; for all his saints are a holy nation, a royal 
priesthood, to offer up acceptable sacrifice to him. And 
thus, " whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, you 
must do all to the glory of God;" ICor. x.31. " For of him, 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. I 4fJ 

and through him, and to him are all things, and therefore 
to him must be the glory for ever ;" Rom. xi.36. God who 
is the end of your hearts and lives must be the end of every 
action of them, unless you will step out of the way of order, 
and safety, and holiness. For every action that is not from 
God, and by God, and for God, is contrary to the nature of 
true sanctification. If then you would be Christians indeed 
be heartily willing that God should have his own. Under- 
stand what an excellent honour, and privilege, and happiness 
it is to you to be his. If his right to you will not move you 
let your own necessity and benefit at least move you to give 
up yourselves and all that you have to God. Bring your 
hearts to the bar, and plead the cause of God with them, 
and convince them of God's title to them, and how sinfully 
they have robbed him of his own all this while. Have your 
days and hours, your wealth and interest, been used pur- 
posely for God as his own ? O what abundance be there, 
that in word and confident profession, do give themselves 
up, and all to God, and yet the use of themselves and all, do 
plainly shew that it is no such matter ; but they dissembled 
with God, and yet never knew so much by themselves. How 
little do they use for God, when they have with seeming de- 
votion resigned all to him ? If a lord, or knight, or gentle- 
man of £4,000 or £3,000 a year, or £400, or £300, were to 
shew the accounts of all his expenses, how much of all this 
should you find expended for God, when they have acknow- 
ledged that all is his ? One would think by their lives, that 
they look to be saved by robbing God, and confessing the 
robbery, by saying that all is God's, while they allow him 
next to nothing. 

The devoted, resigned, sanctified soul hath the true prin- 
ciple of all obedience, and that which will do much to repel 
all temptations, and carry him through the greatest straits 
and trials. If I am not my own, I need not be over solici- 
tous for myself, but may expect that he that owneth me 
should care for me : nor do 1 need to use any sinful shifts 
for my own preservation. If I have nothing of my own, 
what need I to sin for the saving of any thing? What need 
I to venture upon unwarrantable means, to preserve either 
credit, or goods, or life ? It is self, and own, that are the 
roots of all sin, the heart of the old man, and the seed of 
hell : nothing else is pleaded against God and our salvation. 



150 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

If the flesh would have you abuse God's creatures, you must 
remember they are not your own. If the devil would entice 
you to sin against God, either for the getting or keeping of 
any creature, it would easily repel the temptation, were you 
but rightly sensible that nothing is your own : for God hath 
no need that you should sin to get riches or honours for 
him. If you are called to let go your houses, or lands, or 
friends, or lives, or to deliver up your bodies to the flames, 
did you but rightly take them as none of your own, how 
easy would it be ! You can be content that another man 
give his goods, or life itself to God, whenever God requireth 
it ; but your own, you cannot be content to part with, and 
that because it is your own. But if you had rightly resign- 
ed all to God, and took not yourselves or any thing for your 
own, but looked upon yourselves and all as God's, the 
greatest works of obedience or suffering, would be much 
more easy to you ; and you would have little difficulty or 
hindrance in your way. Self-denial is butsanctification it- 
self, denominated from the wrong end and principle, which we 
forsake. And where self is denied and dead, what is there left 
to draw us from God, or stand up against him, in any part of 
our lives? So much interest as self hath in you, so much 
the world and the devil have in you. And nothing is more 
proper to a miserable hypocrite, than deep reserves of life, 
or worldly things to themselves, while they seem to give up 
all to God. 

O happy soul, that is wrought to this sincerity by the 
Spirit of grace, to say unfeignedly, ' O Lord, I devote and 
resign myself wholly unto thee ; I am not my own, nor desire 
any further to be, than to be thine : I have nothing that is 
my own, nor desire to have any thing that shall not be thine.' 
Happy and truly wise is that man, that keeps as constant 
and faithful a reckoning, how he lays out himself and all 
that he hath for God, as a faithful steward doth of his re- 
ceivings and layings out for his master's use. Every penny 
that is reserved from God, is the fuel of sin, and a sacrifice 
to the devil and the flesh ; and if it be pardoned to the truly 
penitent, by the sacrifice of Christ, that is no thanks to us 
that would else have made it the fuel of hell. God is not 
so careless of us or his mercies, but that he keeps an exact 
account of all that we have from him, and will require an 
account of our improvement of all : not only requiring his 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 151 

own again, but his own with advantage; Matt. xxv.27. 
Why else did he give us such leisure and ability to approve 
it ? I can never forget what a sinful thought was once in 
my mind, which I will venture to confess, because it may 
possibly be the case of others, that so they may beware. 
Hearing of some that used to lay by the tenth part of their 
yearly comings in, for charitable uses, I purposed to do so 
too, and thought it a fair proportion : but since I have per- 
ceived what a vile and wicked thought that was, to offer to 
cut out a scantling for God, or give him a limited share of 
his own, or say that so much he shall have, and no more. 
Though we cannot say that God must have all in any one 
kind of service only ; either only for the church, or only for 
the poor, or only for public uses ; yet must we resolve, that 
in one way or other he must have all ; and the particular 
portions to the poor, or church, or other uses, must be as- 
signed by truly sanctified prudence, considering which way 
it may be most serviceable to God. I must relieve my own 
family, or kindred, if they want, but not because they are 
my own, but because God hath commanded me, and so hath 
made it a part of my obedience. But if I see where I may do 
more service to God by relieving a stranger, and that God 
doth more require it, I must yet prefer them before all the 
kindred that I have in the world. When the Christian 
pattern was set up by the primitive church, Acts ii. 
iv. they sold all, and laid down the whole price at the 
apostles' feet, which was not distributed to their natu- 
ral kindred only, but to all the poor Christians that had 
no other relation to them, even as every one had need. 
And as it is the loving of our spiritual brethren in Christ, 
that is made the sign of our translation from death to life, 
so is it the relieving of Christ in these his members, that is, 
the relieving them, because they are his members, that is 
made the very matter of our cause in the last judgment, and 
the ground of the sentence of life or death ; Matt. xxv. I 
must provide for my own body, and you must provide for 
your children, but that is (as I said before) not as I am my 
own, nor as your children are your own ; but as I am a ser- 
vant of Christ, that must be supported in his service, or as 
yourselves and yours are put under your care and duty by 
God. So that I may give it to myself or others, when I can 
truly say, I do but use it principally for God, and think that 



152 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

the principal service I can do him by it ; but I may neither 
take to myself, nor give to any that are nearest to me, any 
more than God commandeth, or his service doth require. 
When you and yours have your daily bread, (which also 
must be used for him) you must not go to flesh and blood, 
but to God, to ask which way you shall dispose of the re- 
mainder. This is a strange doctrine to the unsanctified 
world, but that is because they are unsanctified. And it is 
a doctrine that a worldly hypocrite is loath to believe and 
understand ; but that is because of carnality and hypocrisy, 
that always deals with God like Ananias and Saphira, lying 
to the Holy Ghost, and giving God but half (and few so 
much as half) when they daily confess that all is from him, 
and should be his, and pretend to be wholly devoted to him. 
There are few men so bad, but will spare God something ra- 
ther than go to hell : but indeed this is not to devote it to 
God, but to use it for themselves, thinking by their sacri- 
fices to stop the mouth of justice, and to please God by a 
part, when they have displeased him in the rest. I much 
fear (and not without apparent cause) that abundance among 
us, that think themselves Christians, do worship and serve 
God, but as some Indians are said to offer sacrifice to the 
devil, not for any love they have to him or his service, but 
for fear he should hurt them. And there are few hypocrites 
but will pretend it is from very love. 

O sirs, it is a greater matter to resign and give up your- 
selves and all you have to God, and heartily to quit all claim 
to yourselves, and all things, than many a thousand self- 
deluded professors do imagine. Many look at this but as 
some high, extraordinary strain of piety. And the Papists 
almost appropriate it to a few that live in monastical orders, 
when indeed the sincerity of the resignation and dedication, 
is the very sincerity of sanctification itself. 

And let me tell you, that the unfeigned convert that at- 
tains to this hath not only plucked up the root of sin, 
(though all of us have too many strings of it left,) not only 
stopped up the spring of temptation, and got the surest 
evidence of his uprightness, but also is got himself into the 
safest and most comfortable state. For when he hath ab- 
solutely resigned himself and all to God, how confidently 
may he expect that God should accept him, and use him as 
his own 1 and how comfortably may he commit himself and 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 153 

his cause, and all good affairs to God, as knowing that God 
cannot be negligent and careless of his own ? It is an ar- 
gument that may make us confident of success, when we can 
say as David, (Psal. cxix. 94.) " I am thine, save me." Isa. 
lxiii. 19. Even Christ himself doth ingratiate his elect with 
the Father on this account, (John xvii. 6. 9, 10.) " Thine 
they were, and thou gavest them me : I pray for them : I 
pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given 
me : for they are thine : and all mine are thine, and thine 
are mine, and I am glorified in them." And indeed by re- 
signing all to God, it is the more our own ; that is, we have 
unspeakably more of the benefit of it, and so there is no 
way to make it our own, but by quitting it absolutely up to 
God. This is the mystery that the world will not learn, but 
God will teach it all that shall be saved by the Spirit, and 
by faith; Matt.xvi.24 — 26. " Then Jesus said to his dis- 
ciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, 
and take up his cross, and follow me : for whosoever will 
save his life shall lose it : and whosoever will lose his life 
for my sake shall find it." Methinks, a man that hath time, 
and strength, and money, should long to be disbursing all 
for God,that he might put it in the surest hands, and it may 
be out of danger : yea, that it may be set to the most ho- 
nest and profitable usury. For when God hath it from the 
dedication of an upright heart, it is sure : but till God have 
it, it' is in hazard, and all that he hath not is lost, and worse 
than lost. When it is in our hands, thieves may steal it, 
bad servants or unadvised children may consume it, and our 
own thievish flesh may steal it, which is worst of all, and 
consume it on our lusts : or if our children consume it not, 
their children may : or if they save it, they may lose it most 
of all by feeding their pride and fleshly minds by it ; but if 
once it be in God's hands, it is safe. You can make no 
comfortable account of one penny, nor of one hour's time, 
unless you can tell God that he had it himself, that you 
used it for him, or that you live to him in the main, and that 
the rest is pardoned. O that those parents understood this 
doctrine, that had rather strengthen the fetters and tempta- 
tions of their children with it, and help them into that state 
which few are saved in, than to devote and use their estates 
for God ! Though Christ hath told them how hardly the 
rich are saved, and how few such come to heaven, yet what 



154 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

care is taken to leave their children rich, and how little to 
further the work of God, or their own accounts, that they 
may hear the " Well done, good and faithful servant, thou 
hast been faithful over a few things ; I will make thee ruler 
over many things ; enter thou into the joy of the Lord ;" 
Matt. xxv. 21. 23. 

O sirs, if you would be good husbands, and provident 
indeed for your souls, see that your hearts prove not false to 
you in this, and make no secret reserves for yourselves, but 
that God have yourselves first, and all things with your- 
selves ; as Christ first gives himself to you and all things 
with himself; Rom. viii.32. Never think your hearts right, 
but when they can readily say, "We are not our own;" 
1 Cor. vi. 19. Think not that you come aright to God in 
any duty, if you do not heartily devote yourselves to him, 
and entreat him to accept you as wholly his, who neither 
are nor desire to be your own ; and entreat him accordingly 
to use you for himself. Say not that any thing is your own 
that you possess, (Acts iv. 32.) in respect to God, and a 
communion of charity ; though it be your own (as a talent 
that God doth intrust you with) in respect of men, by a legal 
propriety. 

And then trust God boldly, for you are his own : serve 
him cheerfully, and draw near him believingly, for you are 
his own. In poverty, sickness, temptations, and the ap- 
proach of death, rejoice in him confidently, for you are his 
own. Into his hands commend your departing spirits, for 
they are his own. What reason of distrustful fears can you 
now have ? Do you fear lest God will yet hate you ? Why 
remember that " no man ever yet hated his own flesh ;" 
Ephes. v. 29. Nay, for shame, think not the blessed God to 
be worse than the wicked world ; and Christ saith of the 
world, (John xv. 19.) " If ye were of the world, the world 
would love his own." And will not God then love his own 
do you think ? And if you are willing to be his own, Christ 
is certainly willing that you should be his own, and will own 
all that own not themselves, but him. " He calleth his own 
sheep by name, and leadeth them out : and when he putteth 
forth his own sheep he goeth before them and the sheep 
follow him ; for they know his voice ;" (John x. 3, 4. 
xiii. 1.) "Having loved his own which are in the world, 
to the endhe loved them." 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 155 

If you are but truly willing to be his own people, he is 
certainly willing to be your own Saviour and your own 
God. Not that you can have such a propriety in him, as 
he hath in you. But in these relations he will be your own ; 
and glory, and help, and salvation shall be yours. And you 
may well conclude that " God, even our own God shall bless 
us ;" Psal. lxvii. 6. There is much comfort may be fetched 
from that in Luke xv. 31. though parables must not be 
stretched too far : " Son thou art ever with me, and all that 
I have is thine." 

And upon this ground it is that we have the greater en- 
couragement, to believe that God accepteth of our very in- 
fants themselves ; because it is his will that they should be 
devoted, engaged, and dedicated to him : and that which he 
would have us dedicate and offer to him, he will surely ac- 
cept in that relation to which he would have it offered. 

I beseech you therefore remember what it is to be truly 
converted : it is to be called from things common and un- 
clean, and separated to God ; it is to be brought nigh to 
him, as the children of his household, that are themselves, 
and all that they have, in his hands : it is to be taken off 
yourselves and your own, and to lose yourselves and all you 
have Ua God, by the most gainful loss ; lest indeed you lose 
yourselves and all, while you persuade yourselves you save 
or gain. It is a taking God in Christ for your all, and so 
being content to have nothing but him and for him. It is a 
changing of your old master self, for God, a better master : 
and your old work, which was self-seeking and pleasing, to 
self-denial, and to the seeking and pleasing of God. See 
now that this be done, and that your treacherous hearts hide 
nothing for themselves, as Rachael under pretence of ne- 
cessity, hid her idols, but say, ' Here I am, to be thine, O 
Lord, and to do thy will.' 

More I would have said on this point, but that I have 
written of it already, in a sermon on 1 Cor. vi. 19,20. of the 
absolute dominion of Christ, and our self-resignation ; which 
I desire you here to peruse, to set this further home. 

Direct. VIII. My next advice that the work of conver- 
sion may not miscarry, is this ; ' Take heed, lest you mistake 
a mere change of your opinions, and outward profession, and 
behaviour, for a true saving change.' 

Wicked opinions must be changed, and so must evil pro- 



156 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

fessions, and outward practices ; but if no more be changed, 
you are wicked still. I have great cause to fear that this is 
the most common damning deceit, that useth to befal pro- 
fessors of godliness, and that it is the case of most hypo- 
crites in the church. A man may be brought to hold any 
truth in Scripture as an opinion ; and so far be sound and 
orthodox, and yet never be indeed a sound believer, nor 
have his heart possessed with the life and power of those 
sacred truths. It is one thing to have a man's opinion 
changed, and another thing to have his heart renewed, by 
the change of his practical estimation, resolutions, and dis- 
positions. It is one thing to turn from loose, profane 
opinions, to strict opinions ; and think the godly are indeed 
in the right, and that their case and way is safest and best ; 
and it is another thing to be made one of them in newness, 
spirituality of heart, and life. A lively faith differs much 
from opinion, and that which is in unsanctified men, which 
we call faith, and is a kind of faith indeed, it is but a mere 
opinionative faith : I call it an opinionative faith, because 
it differs from saving faith, much like as opinion doth from 
knowledge. Merely speculative it is not ; for some inten- 
tion of practice there is ; but the practical intention of such 
persons differs from the predominant intentions of the sane - 
tified ; even as their opinionative faith differs from the 
saving faith. 

And it is no wonder if there be abundance of these opi- 
nionative believers in the world. For the truths of God 
have very great evidence ; especially some of them ; and 
men are yet men, and consequently reasonable creatures; 
and, therefore, have some aptitude to discern the evidence of 
truth. Some truths will compel assent even from the un- 
willing. Many a thousand ungodly men believe that to be 
true which they would not have to be true, if they could 
help it ; because they do not heartily take it to be good in 
respect to themselves. Truth as truth, is the natural object 
of the understanding ; though the same truth, as seeming- 
evil to them, may be hated by them that are forced to assent 
to it. I know that sin hath much blinded men's understand- 
ings, and that the natural man receiveth not the things of 
the Spirit, because they are foolishness to him, and must be 
spiritually discerned ; 1 Cor. ii. 14. But though he cannot 
savingly receive them without the special illumination of the 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 157 

Spirit, nor opinionatively receive them without a common 
illumination of the Spirit, yet he may have this opinionative 
conviction and an answerable reformation, by the common 
grace of the Spirit, without the special grace. An unsanc- 
tifiedman may have something more than nature in him ; and 
every unregenerateman is not merely, or only natural. Many 
are far convinced, that are far from being savingly convert- 
ed. I can make you know that you shall die ; that you must 
part with all your wealth, and fleshly pleasures, and divers 
such truths, whether you will or not. And one of these 
truths doth let in many more that depend upon them. So 
that as dark as the minds of natural men are, they yet lie 
open to many wholesome truths. 

And as the understanding is thus far open to conviction, 
so the will itself, which is the heart of the old man, will far 
sooner yield to the changing of your opinions than to the 
saving change of heart, and life. It is not the bare opinion 
that your fleshly interest doth fight against, but the power 
and practice of godliness is it ; and opinions, as they lead 
to these. It is one thing to be of opinion, that conversion 
is necessary, that sin must be forsaken, and God preferred 
before all the world ; and it is another thing to be indeed 
converted, and to forsake sin, and to prefer God before the 
world. It is a far easier matter to convince a worldling that 
he should not love the world, than to cure him of his world- 
ly love : and to convince a drunkard that he should leave his 
drunkenness, and the whoremonger that he should abhor 
his lusts, than to bring them to do these things, which they 
are convinced of. It will cost them dear (as the flesh ac- 
counts it) to deny themselves, and cast away the sin ; but 
it costeth not so dear to take up the opinion that these 
things should be done. It will cost them dear to be down- 
right for God, and practically religious ; but they can take 
up an opinion that godliness is the best and necessary course 
at a cheaper rate. Strict practices pinch the flesh, but strict 
opinions may stand with its liberty. O what abundance of 
our poor neighbours would go to heaven, that are now in 
the way to hell, if an opinion that godliness is the wisest 
course, would serve the turn. If instead of conversion God 
would take up with an opinion that they ought to turn j and 
if, instead of a holy, heavenly life, God would accept of an 
opinion, that such are the happiest men that live such a life • 



158 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

and if, instead of temperance, and meekness, and self-denial, 
and forgiving wrongs, God would accept of an opinion, and 
confession, that they should be temperate and meek, and 
self-denying, and should forbear others, and forgive them ; 
then O what abundance would be saved, that are now in lit- 
tle hope of salvation ! If instead of a diligent life of holi- 
ness, and good works, it would serve turn to lie still, and 
be of a good opinion, that men should strive, and labour for 
salvation, and lay out all they have for God, how happy then 
were our towns, and countries, in comparison of what they 
are ! 

I am afraid this deceit will be the undoing of many, that 
they take a change of their opinions for a true conversion. 
Have not some of you been formerly of the mind, that the 
best way is to eat and drink, and be merry, and venture your 
souls, and follow your worldly business, and never trouble 
yourselves with any deep and searching thoughts about 
your spiritual state, or your salvation ? Have you not 
thought that this diligent godliness is but a needless strict- 
ness, and preciseness ? and have you not since been con- 
vinced of your error, and perceived, that this is the wisest 
course, which you before thought to be needless, and there- 
upon have betaken you to the company of the godly, and 
set upon a course of outward duties ? and now you thiuk 
that you are made new creatures, and that this is regenera- 
tion, and the work is done. I fear lest this be all the con- 
version that many forward professors are acquainted with ! 
but woe to them that have no more. 

And because the face of our present times, doth plainly 
shew the commonness and prevalency of this disease, and 
because it is a matter of so great concernment to you, I shall 
here give you (but as briefly as I well can) some signs by 
which a true conversion may be known from this mere opi- 
nionative change. 

1. The true convert is brought to an unfeigned hatred of 
the whole body of sin ; and especially of those secret or 
beloved sins, that did most powerfully captivate him before ; 
ICor.vi. 11. Tit. hi. 3. 5. Col. v. 3. 5. 7, 8. But the opi- 
nionative convert is still carnal, and unmortified, and in- 
wardly at the heart, the interest of the flesh is habitually 
predominant. He is not brought to an unreconcilable ha- 
tred to the great master sins that ruled him, and lay deep- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. J 59 

est ; but only hath eased the top of his stomach, and cropt 
off some of the branches of the tree of death. The thorns 
of worldly desires and cares are still rooted in his heart ; 
and, therefore, no wonder if they choak the seed of whole- 
some truth, and there be a greater harvest for the devil than 
for God ; Gal. v. 24. vi. 4. 8. Rom. viii. 5. Mat.xiii. 22. 

2. Another sign that follows upon this, is, that the sound 
convert doth carry on the course of his obedience, in a way 
of self-denial, as living in a continual conflict with his own 
flesh, and expecting his comfort and salvation to come in up- 
on the conquest. And, therefore, he can suffer for Christ, as 
well as be found in cheaper obedience, and he dare not, or- 
dinarily, refuse the most costly service. For the spoils of 
his fleshly desires are his prey, and crown of glorying in the 
Lord ; Luke xiv. 27. 33. Gal. v. 17. 24. 1 Cor, ix. 27. Luke 
ix.23,24. 2Cor.xii.9. Gal. vi. 14. 

But the opinionative convert still liveth to his carnal-self. 
And, therefore, secretly at least, seeks himself, and layeth 
hold on present things, as the true convert layeth hold on 
eternal life. The truths of God being received but into his 
opinion, do not go deep enough to conquer self, and to take 
down his great idol, nor make him go through fire and wa- 
ter, and to serve God with the best, and honour him with 
his substance much less with his sufferings and death. He 
hath something that he cannot spare for God ; Matt. xiii. 21. 
Luke xviii. 22—24. 

3. The sound convert hath taken God for his portion, 
and heaven for that sure and full felicity, which he is resolv- 
ed to venture upon. That is it that he hath set his heart 
and hopes upon, and thither tends the drift of his life ; Col. 
iii. 1— 4. Matt. vi. 20, 21. 

But he that is changed only in his opinions,had never such 
sure apprehensions of the life to come ; nor so full a confi- 
dence in the promises of God, as to set his heart unfeigned- 
ly upon God, and make him truly heavenly-minded He 
may have a heavenly tongue, but he hath an earthly heart. 
A bare opinion, be it never so true, will not raise men's 
hearts so high, as to make their affections, and the very de- 
sign and business of their lives to be heavenly ; Phil. iii. 
18—20. Rom. xvi. 17, 18. viii. 5. 

4. The sound convert hath seen the vileness of himself, 
in the sinfulness of his heart and life, and the misery there- 



160 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

by deserved ; and so is a sincerely humbled self-accusing 
man. 

But the opinionist is commonly unhumbled, and well- 
conceited of himself, and a self-justifying Pharisee ; unless 
it be that self-accusing will cost him no disgrace, and he 
take it up as a custom, or that which may bring him into the 
repute of being humbled and sincere. For his opinion will 
not search, and pierce his heart, nor batter down his self- 
exalting thoughts, nor root up the master-sin of pride. 
These are two great works for an opinionist to perform. 
And, therefore, you shall hear him more in the excusing of 
his sin, the magnifying of himself, or the stiff maintaining 
of his own conceits, than in unfeigned self-abasing ; Rom. 
xii. 16. ICor.i. 19, 20. iii. 18. 2 Cor. x. 12. Lukexvi. 15. 
5. The sound convert is so acquainted with the defects, and 
sins, and necessities of his own soul, that he is much taken 
up at home, in his studies, and cares, and censures, and his 
daily work. The acting and strengthening of grace, the sub- 
duing of corruption, and his daily walk with God, are much 
of his employments. Above all keeping, he keeps his heart, 
as knowing that thence are the issues of life. He cannot 
have while to spy out the faults of others, and meddle with 
their affairs, where duty binds him not, as others can do ; 
because he hath so much to do at home; Gal. vi. 3,4. Prov. 
iv.23. 

But the opinionist is most employed abroad, and about 
mere notions, and opinions ; but he is little employed in 
such heart-searching, or heart-observing work. His light 
doth not pierce so deep as to shew him his heart, and the 
work that is there to be necessarily done. As the change 
is little upon his heart, so his employment is little there. 
He is little in bewailing his secret defects and corruptions, 
and little in keeping his soul's accounts ; and little in se- 
cret striving with his heart to work it into communion with 
God, and into a spiritual, lively, fruitful frame. He is for- 
ward to aggravate others, and oft-times severe enough in 
censuring them. But he is a very gentle censurer of him- 
self, and a patient man with his own corruptions, and puts 
the best construction upon all that is his own. He hath 
much labour, perhaps, in shaping his opinions, but little for 
the humbling and sanctifying his heart, by the power of the 
truth. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 161 

6. And as the difference lieth thus constantly in the 
heart, so it is usually manifested by the tongue ; Matt. xii. 
34. The sound convert is most desirous to discourse of 
those great and saving truths, which his very heart hath ta- 
ken in, and which he hath found to be the seed of God for 
his regeneration, and the instruments of that holy and happy 
change, that is made upon him. He feeleth most favour and 
life in these great and most necessary points, which formed 
the image of God upon him. And upon these he daily feeds 
and lives. Read John xvii. 3. 1 Cor. xv. 1 — 6. ii. 2. Phil. 
iii.8— 11. ITim.iii. 16. Acts xvi.22,23. In these Scrip- 
tures, you may find what points they were that the greatest 
saints did study and live upon. 

But the opinionist is most forward to discourse of mere 
opinions, and to feed upon the air of notions, and controver- 
sies of lesser moment. For one hour's holy, heavenly,experi- 
mental, heart-searching discourse, that you shall have from 
him, you shall have many and many hours' discourse of his 
opinions. I mean it indifferently of all his opinions. I mean 
it, I say, of all his opinions whether true or false. For 
though falsehoods cannot be fit food for the soul, yet truths 
as themselves, also may be made of little service to them. 
A man may be a mere opinionist that hath true opinions, as 
well as he that hath false. Almost all the free and zealous 
discourses of these men, on matters of religion, is about their 
several sides, and parties, and opinions. If they be set upon 
a point, especially wherein they seem to themselves to be 
wiser than others, they have a fire of zeal for it in their 
breasts, that makes them desirous to be propagating it to 
others. About the orders and ceremonies of the church ; 
about the forms of prayer, and the accidents of worship ; 
about infant baptism, or other such controversies in religion, 
is the freest of their discourse. 

Yea, you may perceive much of the difference, even in 
the very manner of their conference. A serious Christian, 
even when he is necessitated to speak of lower controvert- 
ed points, yet doth it in a spiritual manner, as one that more 
savoureth higher truths, and makes a holy and heavenly life 
his end, even in these lower matters ; and deals about such 
controversies in a practical manner, and in order to the 
growth of holiness. 

VOL. VIII. M 



\&2 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

But the opinionists, even when they speak of the most 
weighty truths, do speak of them but as opinions ; and when 
they discourse of God, of Christ, of grace, of heaven, it is 
but as they discourse of a point in philosophy, or little bet- 
ter. They go not through the shell to the kernel ; they 
look after the truth, but they have little relish of the good- 
ness. 

The like may be said of their reading, and hearing of 
sermons. The sound convert feeleth life and spirit in that 
which is little savoury to the opinionist. It is one thing in 
a sermon or text, that is pleasing to a true Christian, and 
another thing usually that is most pleasant to the opinion- 
ist. The true Christian delighteth in, and feedeth on, the 
inward life of spiritual doctrine, and the good which they of- 
fer him ; that is, indeed, it is upon God, and Christ himself, 
that he is feasting his soul in reading, and hearing. For this 
is the soul of all, without which, letters and words are but a 
carcase. But the superficial opinionist is much more taken 
up, either with the history, or the elegancy of speech, or 
with the rational light of the discourse, still sticking in the 
bark, and savouring not Christ, and the Father in all. As 
a man that reads the deeds, or lease of his own lands, de- 
lights in one thing ; and a clerk that reads the same, or the 
like, in a book of precedents, for his learning, delights in an- 
other thing. So is it in this case. 

7. And hence it follows, that they are several sorts of 
duties, and exercises, usually, that these several sorts of 
persons are most addicted to. The sound convert is most 
addicted to those spiritual means, that tend most to the 
strengthening of his faith, and warming his heart with the 
love of God, and promoting holiness, and destroying sin ; 
but tend to furnish him with speculative knowledge, and 
discourse, and to satisfy his fancy, or curious mind. The 
sound convert is much addicted to prayer, even in secret, 
and to heavenly meditations, and gracious discourse. But 
the opinionist is much more addicted to reading histories, 
or controversies, or dogmatical divinity, or civil and politi- 
cal matters. The sound convert savoureth best those 
preachers, and books, that speak the most weighty, spiritual 
truths, in the most weighty, spiritual manner, in power, and 
demonstration of the Spirit. But the opinionist relisheth 
those preachers, and books most, that either speak curious- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 163 

ly to please the ear, or exactly, and learnedly to please the 
natural intellect, or that speak for the opinions, or party 
that he is addicted to. But others he hath less mind of. 

8. Moreover, the sound Christian layeth out most of his 
zeal, affections, and endeavours, about the great essentials of 
religion, and that, as I said, in a practical manner. But the 
opinionist layeth out his zeal upon opinions. Right or 
wrong it is but as opinions. Of these he makes his religion j 
for these he contendeth. He loveth those best that are of 
his own opinion, though there be nothing of the special 
image of God upon his soul; or if he love a true Christian, 
it is not so much for his holiness and spirituality, as because 
he is of his mind in those matters of opinion. Hence it is 
that he is usually a bitter censure.r of those that are not of 
his opinion, how upright soever they may be ; his very es- 
teem of men, and love to them is partial, and factious, to 
those that are of his mind and sect. A Papist will esteem 
and love men of the Popish sect ; and an Anabaptist will 
esteem and love men of that sect most ; yea, a Protestant, if 
he be an opinionist, doth esteem of men, and love them as 
a sect. Whereas, the true Christian, as he is truly Catho- 
lic, and of the Catholic church, which is not confined to 
Papists, no, nor Protestants, so he hath truly Catholic 
affections, and loveth a Christian as a Christian, a god- 
ly man as godly ; yea, if he saw more serious godliness 
in one that is not of his opinion in lesser things, yet would 
he love him more than one that is in such matters of his 
opinion, that is ungodly, or of more doubtful piety. For as 
it is God in Christ that he principally loveth, so it is Christ 
that he admireth in his members ; and so much of Christ as 
he sees in any, so much are his special affections towards 
them. 

9. Ordinarily, the mere opinionist will sacrifice the very 
ends of the Gospel, and the honour and success of the great 
fundamental truths of God, to the interest of those opinions 
which he hath in a singular manner made his own. He will 
rather hinder the propagation of the common truths, and the 
conversion of the ignorant, than he will silence his opinions, 
or suffer them to lose any advantages with the world. 
Hence it is, that we cannot prevail with the Papist, to si- 
lence awhile the differences between us and them, till we 



164 DIRF.CTIONS TO PREVENT 

have taught their ignorant (in Ireland, and other barbarous 
parts) the knowledge of. those truths that all are agreed in. 
Nor can we get many Anabaptists, or any such sect, that is 
engaged in a division, to forbear their opinions, till we have 
endeavoured to lay the necessary grounds, on which all 
must build, that will be saved. But though it be apparent 
to the world, that their disputes and contentions do exceed- 
ingly harden the ignorant and ungodly against all religion, 
and hinder their conversion and salvation ; yet will they go 
on in the unseasonable, intemperate bruiting of their con- 
ceits, and will not be persuaded to agree on those terms, for 
the managing of differences, as most tend to secure the in- 
terest of Christ and his Gospel in the main. If an opinion- 
ist be for the truth, he is usually without much zeal for it, 
because that nature doth not befriend the great spiritual 
truths of the Gospel, so much as it doth errors, and private 
conceits. But if he be of erroneous opinions, he is usually 
very zealous for them. For corrupted nature, and self, and 
satan, (and the world oft-times) do more befriend these, 
and furnish him with a zeal for them, and blow the coal. 
The counterfeit angel of light, is very ordinarily also a spi- 
rit of heat, and great activity ; not a reviving fire, nor a re- 
fining fire, but a consuming fire, devouring Christian love, 
and meekness, and patience, and therewith the church, and 
truth of God, so far as it can prevail. For lesser matters, 
that minister questions, such men can lay by that which 
tends to godly edifying in faith. Yea, that Charity, which 
is the very end of the commandment, out of a " pure heart, 
a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. From these they 
swerve, and turn aside to vain jangling ; oft-times desiring 
to be teachers of such things, in which they understand not 
what they say, nor whereof they speak. Consenting not to 
the wholesome words of Christ, and the doctrine which is 
according to godliness, they teach otherwise, being proud, 
knowing nothing, but doating about questions, and strife of 
words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 
perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of 
the truth;" 1 Tim. i. 4 — 6. vi.3 — 5. Yea, they sometimes 
take their opinions, or their worldly gain that they often aim 
at, to be instead of godliness. And think, that to be god- 
ly, is to be of their mind and way. They " use to strive 



MISCARRYING IN CON VERSION. 16*5 

about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hear- 
ers, and their vain babblings increase to more ungodliness ;' ' 
2Tim.ii. 14. 16. 

But the true convert looks principally to the main. He 
loves every known truth of God ; but in their order, and ac- 
cordingly to their worth and weight. He will not, for his 
own opinions, wilfully do that which will hazard the main, 
or hinder the Gospel, and the saving of men's souls. Though 
he will not be false to any truth, yet he will avoid " foolish 
and unlearned questions, knowing that they do gender strife ; 
and the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to 
all men, and meekly instruct opposers : following righteous- 
ness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord 
out of a pure heart ;" 2 Tim. ii 22 — 25. 

10. Lastly, True converts are steadfast, but opinionists 
are usually mutable and inconstant. The sound convert re- 
ceiveth the greatest truths, and receives the goodness as 
well as the truth ; and takes it not only into the head, but 
into the heart, and giveth it deep rooting : he closeth with 
God as his only felicity, and with Christ as his only refuge, 
and Redeemer, and with heaven as the sure, everlasting 
glory, to which the world is but a mole-hill, or a dungeon. 
No wonder then if this man be " steadfast, and immoveable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, that knows his 
labour is not in vain in the Lord ;" 1 Cor. xv. 58. 

But the opinionist, either fasteneth on smaller matters, 
or else holdeth these great matters but as bare opinions, 
and therefore they have no such interest in his heart, as to 
establish him against shaking trials and temptations. For 
two sorts there are of these opinionists, the one sort have 
no zeal for their own opinions, because they are but 
opinions ; and these are time-servers, and will change, as 
the king 3 their landlords change, and fit their opinions to 
their worldly end. The other sort have a burning zeal for 
their opinions : and these use to wander from one opinion 
to another, not able to resist the subtlety of seducers, but 
are taken with fair and plausible reasonings, not able to see 
into the heart of the cause. These are as " children tossed 
to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, 
by the slight and cunning craftiness of men, whereby they 
lie in wait to deceive ;" Ephes. iv. 14. When with great 
confidence they have held one sort of opnions awhile, and 



16<j DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

railed against those that were not of their mind ; ere long 
they will themselves forsake them, and take up another way, 
and be as confident in that, and take no warning by the ex- 
perience of their former deceit. And thus they go oft from 
one opinion to another, till at last, finding themselves de- 
ceived so oft, some of them cast off all religion, and think 
there is no certainty to be found in any, suspecting religion, 
when they should have suspected their false hearts : and all 
this comes to pass because they never received the truth in 
the love of it, that they might be sanctified and saved by it; 
2 Thess. ii. 10 — 12. Nor ever gave it deep entertainment, 
or took it to heart that it might thoroughly convert them ; 
but as a bare opinion into the brain to polish their tongues 
and outsides, and deceive themselves as much as others. 

And thus I have shewed you the difference between a 
sound convert and an opinionist, or one that hath but an 
overly, superficial change, that you may see which of these 
is your own condition. 

To return now to my advice, and exhortation, I entreat 
every person that readeth or heareth these words, to see that 
they stick not in an opinionative conversion. To which end 
I further desire you, 1. To consider that it is a higher matter 
that Christ came into the world for, than to change men's 
bare opinions ; and it is a higher matter that the Gospel is 
intended for, and that ministers are sent to you for. For it 
is more than a corruption of men's opinions, that sin hath 
brought upon you ; and therefore it must be a deeper dis- 
ease that must be cured. The work of Christ by his Gos- 
pel, is no less, than to fetch you off all that which flesh and 
blood accounts your happiness, and to unite you to himself, 
and make you holy, as God is holy, and to give you a new 
nature, and make you as the dwellers or citizens of heaven, 
while you walk on earth ; Phil. iii. 20, 21. And these are 
greater matters than the changing of a party or opinion. 
The Holy Ghost himself must dwell in you, and work in you, 
and employ your soul and life for God, that you may study 
him, and love him, and live to him here, and live with him 
for ever. Do but think well of the ends and meaning of the 
Gospel, and how much greater matters it drives at, and then 
you will see that there is no taking up with an opinionative 
religiousness. 

2. Keep company, if it be possible, with the most sober, 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 167 

spiritual, and heavenly professors, that will be drawing you 
to the observation of your own heart and life, and opening 
to you the riches of the love of Christ, and winning up your 
affections to God and heaven : and be not the companions 
of inexperienced wranglers, that have no other religion, but 
a zeal for their opinions, and will endeavour rather to make 
you like satan, than like God, by possessing your minds with 
malice, and bitter thoughts of your brethren, and employing 
your tongues in reproaches, and vain strivings, and make 
you firebrands in the places where you live : neither be com- 
panions of them that hold the truth no deeper than opinion ; 
for though some such may be useful to you in their places, 
yet if you have not more edifying familiars, your danger will 
be very great, lest you should let go the life of religion, and 
take up with mere notions and formalities as they. 

3. When you have considered that every truth of God is 
a message to your hearts, as well as to your heads, and hath 
a work of God to do upon them, look after that work ; and 
when you have heard or read a truth, go down into your 
hearts, and see what it hath done there : and if you find not 
in your will, and resolutions, and affections the image and 
fruits of the truth you have heard, fetch it up again, and ru- 
minate upon it, and do not think you have received it, or 
done with it, till this be done : yea, take it but as lost, and 
sinfully rejected, if it have not done you some good at the 
very heart. 

4. Also be sure that you practise all practical truths, 
upon the first opportunity, as soon as you have heard them. 
Imprison them not in unrighteousness. Cast them not out 
in forgetfulness : use not a lecture of divinity as if it were 
a lesson of music, or a mere philosophical or historical dis- 
course. Read not the doctrine of salvation, and the pro- 
mise of heaven, and the forewarnings of everlasting misery, 
as you read a common story, or a groundless conjecture in 
an almanack ; but as a message from God, which tells you 
where you must dwell for ever, and as a direction sent from 
heaven, to teach you the way thither. Fall to work then, 
and practise what you know, if you would be Christians in- 
deed. " Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, de- 
ceiving your own selves." For the opinionative hearer seeth 
but a slight appearance of the truth, as a man that looks on 
his face in a glass, which he quickly forgets ; but he that is 



168 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

a sound believer and practiser, and not only an opiniona- 
tive, forgetful hearer, is the man that shall *' be blessed in 
his deed ;" James i. 22 — 25. Opinion without practice, is 
building on the sand ; but hearing, and sound believing, and 
doing, is building upon the rock, where the building will 
stand after all assaults ; Matt. vii. 26 — 28. An opinionist 
doth but seem to be religious, while he keeps his reigning 
sins, and therefore his religion is in vain ; but the practical 
religion is the pure and undefined religion ; James i. 26, 27. 
Hearty obedience will not only shew that your religion is 
deeper than mere opinion, but it will also advance it to a 
greater purity, and root it more deeply than it was before. 
A man that hath studied the art of navigation in his closet, 
may talk of it almost as well as he that hath been at sea ; 
but when he comes to practise it, he will find that he is far 
to seek ; but let this man go to sea, and join practice and 
experience to his theory, and then he may have a knowledge 
of the right kind. So, if a man that hath only read over 
military books, would be a true soldier ; or a man that hath 
only studied physic, would be a true physician, what better 
way is there, than to fall to practice ? And so you must, if 
you would have a religion that shall save your souls ; and 
not only a religion that will furnish you with good opinions 
and expressions. 

5. Moreover, if you would get above opinion, be still 
searching more and more after the evidences of the ancient 
fundamental truths that you have received ; and lay open 
your hearts to the power of them. Think it not enough that 
you take the Christian religion for true, but labour after a 
clearer sight of its truth : for you may possibly upon some 
conjecture take it for a truth, by bare opinion, when as the 
sight of fuller evidences, and a full sight of those evidences 
might raise you from opinion to a working, saving faith. 

6. Lastly, Take heed lest any thing be suffered to keep 
possession of your hearts, and so to confine the truth to your 
brain. When the world is kept up in life and power, and is 
nearest the heart, there is no room for the word there, but it 
must float upon the top, and swim in your opinion, because 
it can go no deeper, your lusts and profits having possession 
before it. The word can never go to the heart with unmor- 
tified men, but by casting your idols out of your hearts : 
nor will it take rooting in you, but by rooting out the world. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 1G9 

O sirs, if you knew the misery of a mere opinionist, you 
would sure be persuaded now to practise these Directions, 
that may raise you higher. An opinionist is a deceiver of 
himself, and oft of others : a troubler of the church, if he 
have any zeal for opinions, and hit (as usually he doth) on 
the wrong ; and when his religion is right, he is wrong him- 
self, being out of the way, even when he is in the right way, 
because he is not right in that way ; for he doth but sit down 
in it, when he should travel in it. A runner shall not win 
the prize by being in the right way only, unless he make 
haste. The knowledge of the opinionist doth but serve to 
aggravate his sin, and cause him to be beaten with many 
stripes ; but is not of force to sanctify his heart and life, and 
to save him, James ii. fully shews. Stick not therefore in 
an opinionative religiousness. 

Direct. IX. My next Direction that your conversion may 
prove sound, is this, ' Acquaint your souls by faith with the 
glory of the everlasting kingdom, and see that you make it 
your portion and your end, and from thence let the rest of 
your endeavours be animated.' 

No man can be a sound Christian, that knoweth not the 
ends and portion of a Christian. There is a great deal of 
difference between the desires of heaven in a sanctified man, 
and an unsanctified. The believer prizeth it above earth, 
and had rather be with God than here ; (though death that 
stands in the way, may possibly have harder thoughts from 
him.) But to the ungodly, there is nothing seemeth more 
desirable than this world ; and therefore he only chooseth 
heaven before hell, but not before earth ; and therefore shall 
not have it upon such a choice. We hear of gold and silver 
mines in the Indies : if you offer a golden mountain there, to 
an Englishman that hath an estate and family here that are 
dear unto him, perhaps he will say, ' I am uncertain whe- 
ther their golden mountains be not mere fictions to deceive 
men ; and if it be true, that there are such things, yet it is a 
great way thither, and the seas are perilous ; and I am well 
enough already where I am, and therefore let who will go 
thither for me, I will stay at home as long as I can.' But 
if this man must needs be banished out of England, and had 
his choice whether he would go to the golden islands, or to 
dig in a coalpit, or live in a wilderness, he would rather 
choose the better than the worse. So it is with an ungodly 



170 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

man's desires, in respect to this world, and that to come. 
If he could stay here, in fleshly pleasure for ever, he would ; 
because he looks at heaven as uncertain, and a great way off, 
and the passage seemeth to him more troublesome and dan- 
gerous than it is, and he is where he would be already : but 
when he sees that there is no staying here for ever, but death 
will have him away ; he had rather go to heaven, than 
to hell, and therefore will be religious, as far as the flesh and 
the world will give him leave, lest he should be cast into 
hell, when he is taken from the earth. 

But take an Englishman that is in poverty and reproach, 
and hath neither house nor land, nor friend to comfort him, 
and let him have the offer of a golden island, and a person 
of unquestionable skilfulness and fidelity, that will promise 
in short time to bring him safe thither ; if he believe this 
person, and can put his trust in him, doubtless he will be 
gone and follow him over sea and land ; and though the pas- 
sage may somewhat daunt him, yet the promised possession 
will carry him through all. So is it with the true Christian, 
he is dead to this world, and sees nothing here in which he 
can be happy ; he is burdened and wearied with sin and suf- 
fering ; he is firmly persuaded of the truth of the Gospel ; 
and seeth by faith the world that is to flesh invisible ; and 
belie veth in Jesus Christ, who hath promised to convey him 
safely thither, and therefore he would go away ; and though 
he love not death, the stormy passage, yet he will submit to 
it, having so sure a pilot, because he loves the life which 
through death he must pass into, and had rather be there 
than here. 

Such as a man's principal end is, such is the man, and 
such is the course of his life. He that takes this world for 
his portion, and makes the felicity of it his end, is a carnal, 
worldly, unsanctified man, whatever good and godly actions 
may come in upon the bye. It is he, and only he, that is a 
sanctified believer, who looks on heaven as his only portion, 
and his sailing through the troublesome seas of this world, 
of purpose to come to that desired harbour ; not loving 
these seas better than the land of rest, which he is sailing 
to ; but patiently and painfully passing through them, be- 
cause there is no other way to glory. As it is the desire of 
the land to which he is sailing, that moveth the mariner or 
passenger to do all that he doth in his voyage; and the de- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 17 1 

sire of his home or journey's end, that moveth the traveller 
all the way ; and the desire of seeing a perfect building that 
moveth the builder in every stroke of his work ; so it must 
be the love of God, and the desire of everlasting blessed- 
ness, that must be the very engine to move the rest of the 
affections and endeavours of the saints, and must make men 
resolve on the necessary labour and patience of believers. 
Take off this weight, and all the motions of Christianity will 
cease. No man will be at labour and sufferings for nothing, 
if he can avoid them. It is a life of labour, though sweet 
to the spirit, yet tedious to the flesh, which Christianity 
doth engage us in ; and there is much suffering to be under- 
gone ; and this to the very last, and to the denial of our- 
selves ; and if God require it, to the loss of all the comforts 
of the world : for no less than forsaking all that we have, 
will serve to make us Christ's disciples. And will any man 
do this for he knows not what? Will any man forsake all 
that he hath, unless it be for something better, which may 
be as sure to him as that he had, and may make him more 
happy? Look to it therefore, that you have right and be- 
lieving thoughts of heaven, and that unfeignedly you take 
it for your home and happiness, and look not for any other 
portion. Till you see so much of the certainty and excel- 
lency of everlasting glory, as shall prevail with you to lay 
out your faithful labour for it, and to be at a point with all 
this world, as having laid up your treasure and hopes in the 
world to come, you have no ground to conclude that you 
are true Christian converts. 

Seeing therefore, that it is heaven that is the very rea- 
son, the end, the life of all your religion, it follows, that you 
must necessarily understand somewhat of its excellency, 
and believe its certainty, and accordingly set your hearts 
upon it, and make the attainment of it your daily work and 
business in the world : this is to be a convert indeed. 

Remember therefore first, what I told you before, where- 
in the nature of this blessedness doth consist. I will only 
name the essentials of it, that your apprehensions may be 
right, and forbear to say much, as being done already. 

1 . The first thing considerable in our everlasting blessed- 
ness, will be our personal perfection of the whole man; this 
is in order to the perfection of our everlasting operations 
and enjoyments. Our bodies shall be no more flesh and 



J72 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

blood, nor corruptible, or mortal, or subject to hunger, or 
pain, or weariness, nor to passions that rebel against the 
reasonable soul ; but they shall be spiritual bodies, and im- 
mortal, and incorruptible, and undented. Our souls will be 
perfected in their natural perfections, and in their moral. 
They shall be of more advanced understanding, and com- 
prehensive wisdom than now. Our wills shall attain to per- 
fect rectitude in a perfect conformity to the will of God, 
and every affection shall be brought to its perfect order and 
elevation : all sin shall be done away, whether it were in the 
understanding, will, affections, or the actions. The execu- 
tive power will be answerable to the rest of the perfections, 
and to the blessed work which it hath to do : and thus we 
shall be like the angels of God. 

2. The next thing considerable in our blessedness, is, 
our approximation or approach to God : we shall be admit- 
ted into the holiest, and brought as near him as our natures 
are capable of, and we are fit for. 

3. Moreover, we shall be members of the New Jerusalem, 
and receive our glory in communion with that blessed so- 
ciety, and so as members contribute to her glory. 

4. And we shall behold the glorified person of our Re- 
deemer, and he will be glorified on us as the fruits of his vic- 
tory. 

5. And we shall behold the face of the blessed God, and 
see his wisdom, and power, and glory, and know as we are 
known. Though we cannot now fully know the manner, yet 
in that sense as our angels are said to behold the face of 
God, (Matt, xviii. 10.) we also shall behold it. 

6. We shall also enjoy him in the nearest relation, and 
by the most raised, vigorous affections of our soul. We 
shall be filled with his love as full as we can hold, and we 
shall abound with perfect love to him again : and the joy 
that is in his presence, which this intuition, and everlasting 
love will afford us, is such as no heart is here able to con- 
ceive. 

7. Being thus furnished, we shall be employed in his 
perfect praises, in singing and rejoicing to him with the 
heavenly host, and magnifying his heart and holy name. 

8. And in all this will the glory of God shine forth, and 
he will be admired in his saints ; 2 Thess. i. 10, 11. In us 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 173 

it shall appear how abundant he is in power, and wisdom, 
and goodness, in holiness, faithfulness, and righteousness. 

9. And God himself will be well pleased with us, and with 
the new Jerusalem, and his glorified Son, and will take com- 
placency in this manifestation and communication of his 
glory and of himself unto his creatures. And this is his ul- 
timate end, and should be the highest point of ours. The 
revolution hath now brought all to that centre, which is 
both the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. 
His will is the fountain or efficient source of all, and it is 
the ultimate end and perfection of all. 

There is no more to add, as to the matter, but that as to 
the duration, first, v*e may take it as that which leaves no 
room for any addition, that all this will be everlasting, leav- 
ing not any doubts or fears of a cessation. Abundance of 
glorious adjuncts of this felicity might be mentioned; but 
I pass them all by, and do but name these few which are the 
essential constitutive parts of our happiness, because I have 
touched them before, and more fully spoken of them in the 
" Saints' Rest." Thus much I thought meet to mention 
here, that you may have somewhat of that in your eye, that 
I am persuading you to intend and seek ; and the rather, 
because I perceive that many of the godly have not such dis- 
tinct apprehensions of the constitutive parts of this felicity, 
as they should have ; but much wrong their souls, and God 
himself, and the glory of their profession, by looking but at 
some of the parts. 

Believe God, sirs, that this is the life that you shall live, 
if you will take it for your portion, and set your hearts upon 
it, and follow the conduct of Christ for the obtaining it. 
Can you be content with heaven alone ? Is it enough for 
you, though you be despised and persecuted in the world ? 
Do you account this for certainty and excellency to be 
worth all ? Yea, that all is dross and dung to this ? Thus 
must you do if you will be true converts. For all such are 
heavenly in their minds and hearts, and in the drift of all 
their lives and conversations. 

Direct. X. My next advice that you may prove sound 
converts, is this, * Rest not, and count not yourselves truly 
converted, till God and his holy ways have your very love, 
and desire, and delight ; and take not that for a saving 



174 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

change, when you had rather live a worldly, ungodly life, if 
it were not for the fear of punishment.' 

I shall speak but little of this, because I touched upon it 
before, when I told you that Christ must have your hearts, 
and because it is but a consectary of the last, or contained 
in it. But yet I think it best to present it here distinctly to 
your consideration, because a slavish kind of religiousness, 
doth deceive so many, and because the life of grace is here 
expressed. I deny not but holy fear is exceeding useful to 
us ; even a fear of the threatenings and judgments of God. 
But yet I must tell you, that in fear there is much more that 
is common to the unsanctified, than there is in love, desire, 
and delight. Though ** the fear of the Lord be the begin- 
ning of wisdom," it is love that is the perfection; and that 
fear is not filial, and of the right strain, if love be not its com- 
panion. Fear of punishment shews that you love your natu- 
ral selves ; but it shews not that you love God, and are true- 
hearted to him. The devils fear and tremble, but they do 
not love. It is love, and not fear that is the bias, the incli- 
nation, and (as I may say) the nature of the will of man. By 
his love it is that you must know what the man is. The 
philosopher saith, " Such as a man is, such is his end," which 
is all one as to say, " Such as a man is, such is his love." 
You may fear a thing at the same time when you hate it ; 
and it is too common to have some hatred mixed with fear. 
You may be as much against God and his holy ways, when 
fear only drives you to some kind of religiousness, as others 
are that scarce meddle with religion at all. The first thing 
that God looks at, is what you would do ; and the next is, 
what you do. If you do it, but had rather leave it undone, 
you lose your reward, and God will take it as if you had not 
done it : for it was not you that did it, if you did it not from 
love ; but it was fear that dwelleth in you. God takes men's 
hearty desires and will, instead of the deed, where they have 
not power to fulfil them : but he never took the bare deed 
instead of the will. A blockish kind of worship, consisting 
in outward actions, without the heart, is fit to be given to a 
wooden god, a senseless idol ; but the true and living God 
abhors it. He is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit 
and in truth ; such worshippers he seeketh, and such he will 
accept ; John iv. 23, 24. A beggar will be glad ofyour alms, 
though you leave it with an ill will, because he needeth it: 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 175 

but God hath no need of you, nor of your service, and there- 
fore think not that he will accept you on such terms. That 
people worship God in vain, that draw near him with their 
mouth, and honour him with their lips, while their heart is 
far from him; Matt. xv. 8, 9. A man's heart is where his 
love is, rather than where his fear is. If you should lie still 
upon your knees, or in the holy assembly ; if you should be 
the strictest observer of the ordinances on the Lord's days, 
and yethad such hearts in you, as had rather let all these alone, 
if it were not for fear of punishment ; it will all be disre- 
garded, and reckoned to you according to your wills, as if it 
had never been done by you at all. It is love that must win 
love, or make you fit for love to entertain. If you give your 
goods to the poor, or your bodies to be burned in a cause 
that in itself is good, and yet have not love, it availeth no- 
thing ; 1 Cor. xiii. 1 — 3.5. You will not think your wife 
hath conjugal affection that loveth another man better than 
you, and had rather be gone from you, if she could live with- 
out you. It is an unnatural son that loves not his father, 
but had rather be from him, than with him. If God called 
you to a bestial drudgery or slavery, he would then look but 
for your work, and not care much whether you be willing or 
unwilling. If your ox draw your plough, and your horse 
carry his burden, you care not much whether it be willingly 
or unwillingly. Or if it be an enemy that you have to deal 
with, you will look for no more than a forced submission, or 
that he be disabled from doing you hurt. But this is not 
your case : it is a state of friendship that the Gospel calls 
you to, you must be nigh to God, his children, and the mem- 
bers of his Son, espoused to him by the dearest, strongest 
bonds : and do you think that it is possible that this should 
be done without your wills and affections ? If you can be 
content with the portion of a slave and an enemy, then do 
your task, and deny God your affections : but if you look 
for the entertainment and portion of a friend, a child, a 
spouse, you must bring the heart of a friend, and of a child, 
and of a spouse. Fear may do good by driving you to the 
use of means, and taking out of your hands the things by 
which you would do yourselves a mischief: it may prepare 
you for saving grace, and when you are sanctified, it will 
prove a necessary servant of love, to keep you in awe, and 
save you from temptations. But love is the ruling affection 



17(J DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

in the sanctified, and fear is therefore necessary, because of 
the present imperfection of love, and because of the variety 
of temptations that here beset us. Think not therefore that 
you are savingly renewed, till God have your very hearts. 
When you do but believe and tremble, it is better than to be 
unbelieving, and stupid, and secure ; but you are not true 
Christians till you believe and love. We use to fly from that 
we fear, and therefore do apprehend it to be evil to us. We 
avoid the presence and company of those that we are afraid 
of, but we draw nigh them that we love, and delight in their 
company. We fear an enemy ; we love a friend. We fear 
the devil naturally, but we do not love him. It is love that 
is that affection of the soul that entertaineth God as God, 
even as good ; though that love must be accompanied with a 
filial fear, even a dread and reverence of his majesty and 
greatness, and a fear of displeasing him. If you should toil 
out yourselves in religious duties, with a heart that had ra- 
ther forbear them, if you durst, you have not the heart of 
God's children in your breasts. The magistrate can frighten 
men to the congregation and outward worship. You may 
lock a man in the church, that had rather be away : and will 
any man think that this makes him acceptable to God? You 
may keep a thief from stealing by prison and irons, but this 
makes him not accepted with God as a true man. You may 
cure a man of cursing, and swearing, and railing, and idle 
and ribald talking, even in a minute of an hour, by cutting 
off his tongue ; but will God accept him ever the more, as 
long as he has a heart that would do it if he could ? There 
are abundance of people at this day that are kept from abus- 
ing the Lord's day, and from swearing, and stealing, yea, and 
from laying violent hands on all about them that are godly, 
and this by the law of men, and the fear of present punish- 
ment. And do you think that these are therefore innocent 
or acceptable with God? By this account you may make 
the devil a saint, when he is chained up from doing mischief. 
You may as well say that the lion is become a lamb, when 
he is shut up in his den ; or that a mastiff dog is become 
harmless and gentle, when he is muzzled. Believe it, sirs, 
you are never Christians till you see that in God that wins 
your hearts to him, so that you would not change your mas- 
ter for any in the world ; and till you see that in the hopes 
of everlasting glory, that you would not change it for any 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 177 

thing else that can be imagined by the heart of man ; and till 
you see that goodness in a heavenly life, that you had rather 
live it than any life in the world. You are not converted to 
God indeed, till you had rather live in holiness, than in sin, 
if you had your freest choice ; and till you would gladly be 
the strictest, holiest person that you know in the world ; 
and long after more and more of it, and fain would reach 
perfection itself : for though we cannot be perfect here, yet 
no man is upright that desireth not to be perfect. For he 
that loveth holiness, as holiness, must needs love the great- 
est measure of holiness, with the greatest love. This is it 
that maketh sound converts to be so constant and faithful 
with God. A man is forward and ready to a work that he loves, 
when he draws back from it, as if it were a mischief, that 
hath no mind to do it. A man is hardly kept from the per- 
sons, and places, and employments that he loves : but a lit- 
tle will withdraw him from that which he loveth not. Why 
is it that we have so much ado to take off a drunkard from 
his companions and his lusts, but because he loves them 
better than temperance and gracious company? And why 
can we so hardly draw the lustful wretch from his filthy lusts, 
or the glutton, or the idle, sensual person from his needless 
or excessive recreations, but because they love them? And 
why is it that you cannot draw the worldling from his co vetous- 
ness, but he parteth with his money almost as hardly as with 
his blood, but because he loveth it? And therefore what 
wonder if temptations be resisted, and the fairest baits of 
the world despised by him, that is truly in love with God ? 
No wonder if nothing can turn back that man from the way 
to heaven, that is in love both with heaven and with the way. 
No wonder if that man stick close to Christ, and never for- 
sake a holy life, that tasteth the sweetness of it, and feels it 
to do him good, and had rather go that way than any in the 
world. There is no true Christian but can say with David, 
that " a day in God's courts is better than a thousand ; and 
he had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God, than to 
dwell in the tents (yea, or the palaces) of wickedness." Do 
but mark those professors that prove apostates, and forsake 
the way of godliness which they seemed to embrace, and see 
whether they be not such as either took up some bare opi- 
nions and outward duties upon a flash of superficial illumina- 

VOL. VIII. N 



178 DIRECTIONS) TO PREVENT 

tion, or else such as were frightened into a course of religion, 
and so went on from duty to duty, for fear of being damned, 
when all the while their hearts were more another way, and 
they had rather have been excused. These hypocrites are 
they that are disputing so oft the obligations to their duty, 
and asking, ' How do you prove that it is a duty to pray in 
my family, or a duty to observe the Lord's day, or to come 
constantly to the congregation, or to use the communion of 
the godly in private meetings, or to repeat sermons, or sing 
psalms, and the like V Intimating that they are as birds in 
a cage, or hens in a pen, that are boring to get out, and had 
rather be at liberty. If it were not for the fear of the law of 
God that is upon them, they had rather let all these duties 
alone, or take them up but now and then at an idle time, 
when satan and the flesh will give them leave. If a feast be 
prepared and spread before them, a good stomach will not 
stand to ask, ' How can you prove it my duty to eat?* but 
perhaps the sick that loath it may do so. If the cup be be- 
fore the drunkard, he doth not stand on these terms, ' How 
do you prove it my duty now to drink this cup and the other 
cup.' No, if he might have but leave, he would drink on, 
without any questioning whether it be a duty. If the game- 
ster, or the whoremonger, might but be sure that he should 
escape the punishment, he would never stick at the want of 
a precept, and ask, ' Is it my duty V If there were but a gift 
of twenty pounds a man to be given to all the poor of the 
town, yea, and to all the people in general, I do not think I 
should meet with many people in the town that would draw 
back and say, ' What word of God commandeth me to take 
it V Or, ' How can you prove that it is my duty V And, 
why is all this, but because they have an inward love to the 
thing ; and love will carry a man to that which seemeth good 
for him, without any command or threatening. If these un- 
godly wretches had one spark of spiritual life within them, 
and any taste and feeling of the matters that concern their 
own salvation, instead of asking, ' How can you prove that 
I must pray with my family, or that I must keep the Lord's 
day, or that I must converse with the godly, and live a holy 
life ?' they would be readier to say, ' How can you prove 
that I may not pray with my family, and that I may not sanc- 
tify the Lord's day, and that I may not have communion 
with the saints in holiness ? Seeing so great a mercy is of- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 179 

fered to the world, why may not I partake of it as well as 
others V I can perceive in many that I converse with, the 
great difference between a heart that loves God and holi- 
ness, and a heart that seems religious and honest without 
such a love. The true convert perceiveth so much sweet- 
ness in holy duties, and so much spiritual advantage by 
them to his soul, that he is loath to be kept back ; he cannot 
spare these ordinances and mercies, no more than he can spare 
the bread from his mouth, or the clothes from his back, yea, 
or the skin from his flesh ; no, nor so much. He loveth 
them, he cannot live without them. At the worst that ever 
he is at, he had rather be holy than unholy, and live a godly 
than a fleshly, worldly life. And therefore, if he had but 
a bare leave from God, without a command to sanctify the 
Lord's day, and to live in the holy communion of the saints, 
he would joyfully take it with many thanks : for he need 
not be driven to his rest when he is weary, nor to his spiri- 
tual food when he is hungry, nor to Christ the refuge of his 
soul, when the curse and accuser are pursuing him. But 
the unsanctified hypocrite that never loved God or godliness 
in his heart, he stands questioning and inquiring for some 
proof of the necessity of these courses. And if he can but 
bring himself to hope that God will save him without so 
much ado, (which by the help of the devil he may easily be 
brought to hope,) away then goes the duty. If you could 
not shew him that there is a necessity of family prayer, and 
a necessity of sanctifying the Lord's day, and a necessity of 
forsaking his tippling and voluptuousness, and a necessity of 
living a heavenly life, he would quickly resolve of another 
course : for he had rather do otherwise if he durst. He ne- 
ver was religious from a true predominant love to God and 
a holy life, but for fear of hell, and for other inferior res- 
pects. 

Remember this when you have precious opportunities 
before you, of doing or receiving good, and when you see 
that you have leave to take these opportunities, and yet you 
draw back, and are questioning, ' How we can prove it to be 
your duty ? Or that you cannot be saved without it V Do 
not these questions plainly shew that you love not the work 
and delight not in a holy life ? and that you had rather let 
it alone 1 Are you not blind if you see not this is in your- 
selves ? Yea, it is plain that you have such an averseness or 



180 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

hatred to God and a holy course of life, that if you did but 
know what shift to make to escape damnation, you would 
fly away from God and holiness, and have as little to do with 
them as you can. Your questions and cavils do plainly de- 
clare this wicked enmity and backwardness of your hearts ; 
and consequently shew how far you are from true conversion. 

Not that I am of their mind that think there is any good 
which the law of Christ obligeth us not to accept, and which 
we can refuse without sin and danger to ourselves : for God 
doth both draw us, and drive us at once. But when the 
threatening and punishment only can prevail with men, and 
men love not God and godliness for themselves, but had 
rather have liberty to live as the ungodly, I shall never take 
one of these for a sanctified man, nor have any hope of the 
saving of such a soul, how far soever his fears may carry 
him from his outward sins, or to outward duties ; till God 
shall give him a better conversion than this, I say, I have 
not the smallest hope of this man's salvation. Then you 
are God's children, when the honour, the work, the family, 
the name of your Father are lovely and delightful to you: 
and when you grieve that there are any remnants of sin in 
your souls, and when your sins are to you as lameness to the 
lame, that pains them every step they go, and as sickness to 
the sick, that makes them groan, and groan again, and long 
to be rid of it : and when you think those the happiest men 
on earth that are the most holy, and wish from your hearts 
that you were such as they, though you had not a house to 
put your head in : when you look towards God with longing 
thoughts, and are grieved that your understandings can 
reach no nearer him, and know no more of him, and that your 
hearts cannot embrace him with a more burning love : when 
you admire the beauty of a meek, a patient, a mortified, spiri- 
tual, heavenly mind, and long to have more of this yourself, 
yea, to be perfect in all holiness and obedience : when your 
hearts are thus brought over to God, that you had rather have 
him than any other, and rather live in his family any where, 
and rather walk in his ways than in any ; then are you in- 
deed converted, and never till then, whatever other dispo- 
sitions you may have. 

And now if that were my business, what abundance of 
reason might I shew you, to make you willing to come over 
unto God, with love, and with delight. Whom else can 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 181 

you love if he that is love itself seem not lovely to you '.' 
All loveliness is in him and from him ; the creature hath 
none of itself, nor for itself: to love a life of sin, is to love 
the image and service of the devil, and to love that which 
feeds the flames of hell ; what is it then to love this sin so 
well, as for the love of it to fly from God and godliness? 
Methinks men at the worst should love that which will do 
them good, and not prefer that before it which will hurt them. 
Do sinners indeed believe that God and holiness will do 
them hurt, and that sin will do them greater good ? Is there 
ever a man so mad, that he dare speak this and stand to it ? 
If indeed you think it best to live in sin, and therefore had 
rather keep it than leave it ; your understandings are be- 
fooled, I had almost used Paul's phrase and said, bewitched ; 
Gal. iii. 1. Will it do you any hurt to leave your beastly, 
sensual lives, and to " live soberly, righteously, and godly, 
in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and 
looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of 
the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ ?" This is the 
doctrine of saving grace ; Tit. ii. 11 — 13. Would it do you 
any harm to be assured of salvation, and ready to die, and 
to know that angels shall conduct your departing souls to 
Christ, and that you shall live in joy with him for ever ? Or 
to be employed in those holy works that must prepare you 
for this day, and help you to this assurance ? If God be 
naught for you, if holiness, and righteousness, and tempe- 
rance be naught for you, then you may as well say, heaven 
is naught for you ; and therefore you must resolve for sin 
and hell, and see whether that be good for you. I shall say 
no more of this point, because I have written of it already, 
in the conclusion of the " Saints' Rest," which I desire you 
to peruse. 

Direct. XI. The next part of my advice is, ' If you would 
not have this saving work miscarry, turn then this present 
day and hour, without any more delay.' 

Somewhat I have spoken of this already, and therefore 
shall say the less. But yet I shall back this Direction with 
such reasons as will certainly convince you, if you be not 
unreasonable, of the folly of delay, and shew you that it 
concerneth you presently to return. And though my rea- 
sons will be numerous, it is not the number, but the strength 
of them, that I shall urge you principally to consider ; and 



182 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

because of the number, I will go over them with the greater 
brevity. 

1. Consider to whom it is that you are commanded to 
turn : and then tell me whether there can be any reason for 
delay. It is not to an empty, deceitful creature, but to the 
faithful, all-sufficient God : to him that is the cause of all 
things ; the strength of the creation, the joy of angels, the 
felicity of the saints, the sun and shield of all the righteous, 
and refuge of the distressed, and the glory of the whole 
world. Of such power, that his word can take down the 
sun from the firmament, and turn the earth and all things 
into nothing ; for he doth more in giving them their being 
and continuance. Of such wisdom, that was never guilty of 
mistake, and therefore will not mislead you, nor draw you 
to any thing that is not for the best. Of such goodness, 
as that evil cannot stand in his sight, and nothing but your 
evil could make him displeased with you ; and it is from no- 
thing but evil that he calleth you to turn. It is not to a 
malicious enemy, that would do you a mischief, but it is to 
a gracious God, that is love itself : not to an implacable jus- 
tice, but to a reconciled Father : not to revenging indigna- 
tion, but to the embracement of those arms, and the mercy 
of that compassionate Lord, that is enough to melt the 
hardest heart, when you find yourself as the poor returning 
prodigal, (Luke xxv. 20.) in his bosom, when you deserved 
to have been under his feet. And will the great and blessed 
God invite thee to his favour, and wilt thou delay and de- 
mur upon the return ? The greatest of the angels of heaven 
are glad of his favour, and value no happiness but the light 
of his countenance ; heaven and earth are supported by him, 
and nothing can stand without him ; how glad would those 
very devils be of his favour, that tempt thee to neglect his 
favour ! And wilt thou delay to turn to such a God ? Why 
man, thou art every minute at his mercy ; if thou turn not, 
he can throw thee into hell when he will, more easily than 
I can throw this book to the ground ; and yet dost thou 
delay ? There are all things imaginable in him to draw thee : 
there is nothing that is good for thee, but it is perfectly in 
him ; where thou mayst have it certain and perpetuated. 
There is nothing in him to give the least discouragement: 
let all the devils in hell, and all the enemies of God on earth, 
say the worst they can against his majesty, and they are not 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 18.J 

able to find the smallest blemish in his absolute holiness, and 
wisdom, and goodness : and yet wilt thou delay to turn ? 

2. Consider also, as to whom, so to what it is that thou 
must turn. Not to uncieanness, but unto holiness : not to 
the sensual life of a beast, but to the noble, rational life of a 
man, and the more noble, heavenly life of a believer : not to 
an unprofitable, worldly toil, but to the most gainful em- 
ployment that ever the sons of men were acquainted with : 
not to the deceitful drudgery of sin, but to that " godliness 
which is profitable to all things, having the promise of the 
life that now is, and of that which is to come ;" 1 Tim. iv. 8. 
Sirs, do you know what a life of holiness is ? You do not 
know it, if you turn away from it : I am sure if you knew it, 
you would never fly from it, no, nor endure to live without 
it. Why, a life of holiness is nothing but a living unto God, 
to be conversant with him, as the wicked are with the world, 
and to be devoted to his service, as sensualists are to the 
flesh. It is to live in the love of God and our Redeemer ; 
and in the foretastes of his everlasting glory, and of his love; 
and in the sweet forethoughts of that blessed life that shall 
never end ; and in the honest, self-denying course that lead- 
eth to that blessedness. A godly life is nothing else but a 
sowing the seed of heaven on earth ; and a learning in the 
school of Christ, the songs of praise which we must use be- 
fore the throne of God ; and by suffering, a learning how to 
triumph and reign with Christ. And is there any thing in 
this life which you have cause to be afraid of? The sins 
and weaknesses of the godly are contrary to godliness ; and 
therefore godliness is no more dishonoured by them, than 
health and life are dishonoured by your sicknesses. As health 
is never the worse to be liked, but the better, because of 
the painful grievousness of sickness, so godliness is to be 
liked the better, because the very failings of the saints are 
so grievous. If a true believer do but step out of the way 
of God, he is wounded, he is out of joint, he is as undone 
till he come in again ; though it was but in one particular. 
And can you endure to continue strangers to it altogether 
so long ? I know you may find faults in the godly, till they 
are perfect; but let the most malicious enemy of Christ on 
earth find any fault in godliness if he can. 

Can you delay to come into your Father's family ; into 
the vineyard of the Lord; into the kingdom of God on earth, 



184 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

to be fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of 
God ; to have the pardon of all your sins, and the sealed 
promise of everlasting glory? Why, sirs, when you are cal- 
led on to turn, you are called to the porch of heaven, into 
the beginning of salvation. And will you delay to accept 
everlasting life ? 

3. Consider also, from what you are called to turn ; and 
then judge whether there be any reason of delay. It is from 
the devil, your enemy ; from the love of a deceitful world ; 
from the seducement of corrupted, brutish flesh ; it is from 
sin, the greatest evil. What is there in sin that you should 
delay to part with it? Is there any good in it? Or what 
hath it ever done for you that you should love it? Did it 
ever do you good ? Or did it ever do any man good ? It is 
the deadly enemy of Christ and you. That caused his death, 
and will cause yours, and is working for your damnation, if 
converting and pardoning grace prevent it not. And are 
you loath to leave it ? It is the cause of all the miseries of 
the world, of all the sorrow that ever did befal you, and the 
cause of the damnation of them that perish. And do you 
delay to part with it ? 

4. Your delaying shews that you love not God, and that 
you prefer your sin before him, and that you would never 
part with it if you might have your will. For if you loved 
God, you would long to be restored to his favour, and to be 
near him, and employed in his service, and his family. Love 
is quick and diligent, and will not draw back. And it is a 
sign also that you are in love with sin ; for else, why would 
you be so loath to leave it ? He that would not leave his 
sin, and turn to God, till the next week, or next month, or 
year, would never turn if he might have his desire. For that 
which makes you desirous to stay a day or week longer, 
doth indeed make you loath to turn at all. And, therefore, 
it is but hypocrisy to take on you, that you are willing to 
turn hereafter, if you be not willing to do it now without 
delay. 

5. Consider, but what a case you are in while you thus 
delay. Do you think you stand on dry ground, or in a safe 
condition ? If you knew where you are, you would sit as 
upon thorns, as long as you are unconverted ; you would be 
as a man that stood up to the knees in the sea, and saw the 
tide coming towards him, who certainly would think that 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 185 

there is no standing still in such a place. Head what I have 
said of the state of the unconverted, and in my first " Trea- 
tise of Conversion." In a word, you are the drudges of sin, 
the slaves of the devil, the enemies of God, the abusers of 
his grace and Spirit, the despisers of Christ, the heirs of hell. 
And is this a state to stay in an hour ? You have all your sin 
unpardoned; you are under the curse of the law. The wrath 
of God is upon you ; and the fulness of it hangs over your 
heads. Judgment is coming to pass upon you the dreadful 
doom ; the Lord is at hand ; death is at the door, and waits 
but for the word from the mouth of God, that it may arrest 
you, and bring you to everlasting misery. And is this a 
state for a man to stay in ? 

6. Moreover, your delaying giveth great advantage to 
the tempter. If you would presently turn and forsake your 
sins, and enter into a faithful covenant with God, the devil 
would be almost out of hope, and the very heart of his temp- 
tations would be broken. He would see that now it is too 
late. There is no getting you out of the arms of Christ. 
But as long as you delay, you keep him still in heart and 
hope. He hath time to strengthen his prison and fetters, 
and to renew his snares. And if one temptation serve not, 
he hath time to try another, and another. As if you would 
stand as a mark for satan to shoot at, as long as he please. 
What likelihood is there, that ever so foolish a sinner should 
be recovered and saved from his sin ? 

7. Moreover, your delaying is a vile abuse of Christ, and 
the Holy Ghost, and may so far provoke him, as to leave 
you to yourself, and then you are past help. If you delight 
so to trample on your crucified Lord, and will so long put him 
to it by refusing his grace, and grieving his Spirit, what can 
you expect, but that he should turn away in wrath, and ut- 
terly forsake you, and say, " Let him keep his sin, seeing he 
had rather have it than my grace ; let him continue ungod- 
ly, seeing he is so loath to be sanctified; let him take his 
own course, and die in his sin, and repent in hell, seeing he 
would not repent on earth?" You provoke Christ thus to 
give you up. 

8. Consider also, I beseech yon, if you ever mean to 
turn, what it is that you stay for. Do you think to bring- 
down Christ and heaven to lower rates, and to be saved 
hereafter with less ado ? Sure you cannot be so foolish. 



186 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

For God will be still the same, and Christ the same, and his 
promise hath still the same condition, which he will never 
change ; and godliness will be the same, and as much against 
your carnal interest hereafter as it is now. When you have 
looked about you never so long, you will never find a fairer 
or nearer way ; but this same way you must go, or perish. 
If you cannot leave sin now, how should you leave it then ? 
It will be still as sweet to yourself as now. Or if one sin 
grow stale by the decay of nature, another that is worse 
will spring up in its stead, and though the acts abate, they 
will all live still at the root; for sin was never mortified 
by age. So that if ever you will turn, you may best turn 
now. 

9. Yea, more than that, the longer you stay, the harder 
it will be. If it be hard to-day, it is like to be harder to-mor- 
row. For as the Spirit of Christ is like to forsake you for 
your wilful delays, so custom will strengthen sin ; and cus- 
tom in sinning will harden your hearts, and make you as 
past feeling, to work all uncleanness with greediness ; Eph. 
iv. 19. Cannot you crush this serpent when it is but in the 
spawn, and can you encounter it in its serpentine strength? 
Cannot you pluck up a tender plant, and can you pluck up 
an oak or cedar? O sinners ! what do you do, to make your 
recovery so difficult by delay? You are never like to be 
fairer for heaven, and to find conversion an easier work than 
now you may do. Will you stay till the work be ten times 
harder, and yet do you think it so hard already? 

10. Consider also, That sin gets daily victorious by your 
delay. We lay our batteries against it, and preach, and ex- 
hort, and pray against it, and it gets a kind of victory over 
all, as long as we prevail not with you to turn. It conqiier- 
eth our persuasions and advice ; it conquereth all the stir- 
rings of your consciences ; it conquereth all your heartless 
purposes, and deceitful promises. And these frequent con- 
quests do strengthen your sin, and weaken your resistance, 
and leave the matter almost hopeless. Before a physician 
hath used remedies, he hath more hope of a cure, than when 
he hath tried all means, and finds that the best medicines do 
no good, but the man is still as bad or worse. So when all 
means have been tried with you, and yet you are unconvert- 
ed, the case draws towards desperation itself. The very 
means are disabled more than before ; that is, your hearts 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 187 

are unapter to be wrought upon by them. When you have 
long been under sermons, and reading, and among good ex- 
amples, and yet you are unconverted, these ordinances lose 
much of their force with you. Custom will make you slight 
them, and be dead-hearted under them. And it is these 
very same means and truths that you have frustrated, that 
must do the work, or it will never be done. The same plais- 
ter must heal you that you have thrown off so oft. And 
what a sad case is this, that there is no hope left, but in the 
very same medicine which you have taken so oft in vain ? 

11. Moreover, age itself hath many inconveniences, and 
youth hath many great advantages, and, therefore, it is folly 
to delay. In age the understanding and memory grows 
dull, and people grow incapable, and almost unchangeable. 
We see, by our every day's experience, that men think they 
should not change when they are old, that opinion or prac- 
tice that they have been brought up in, they think that they 
should not then forsake it. To learn when they are old, and 
to turn when they are old, you see how much they are 
against it. Besides, how unfit is age to be at that pains, 
that you can undergo. How unfit to begin the holy warfare 
against the flesh, the world,and the devil. God's way is, to list 
his soldiers as soon as may be, even in their infancy, which 
they must own as soon as ever they come to age. And the 
devil would not have it done at all, and, therefore, he would 
have it put off as long as may be. In infancy he will tell 
the parents, with the Anabaptists, ' It is too soon to be de- 
dicated to God, and entered into covenant.' When they 
come to their childhood, and youthful state, he will then 
persuade them, that it is yet too soon ; and when he can no 
longer persuade them that it is yet too soon, he will then 
persuade them that it is too late. O what a happy thing it 
is to come unto God betimes, and with the first ! What ad- 
vantage hath youth ! They have the vigour of wit, and of 
body. They be not rooted and hardened in it, not filled 
with prejudice and obstinacy against godliness, as others 
be. Besides, the capacity of serving God, of which anon. 

12. You have such times of advantage and encourage- 
ment, as few ages of the world have ever seen, and few na- 
tions on earth do enjoy at this day. What plain and plen- 
tiful teaching have you ? What abundance of good exam- 
ples, and the society of the godly ? Private and public helps 



188 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

are common. Godliness is under as little suffering as ever 
you can expect to see it ; yea, it is grown into reputation 
among us, so that it is an honour to serve God, and a dis- 
honour to neglect it, (as well it may). Our rulers counte- 
nance the practices of godliness ; thev proclaim themselves 
the forward professors and patrons of it, and take this as 
their glory. And this is not ordinary in the world. Sel- 
dom hath the church seen such days on earth. And yet is 
not the way to heaven fair enough for you ? Yet are you not 
ready to turn to God '! When should men make hay, but 
when the sun shines ? Will you delay till this harvest-time 
be over, and the winter of persecution come again? Can 
you better turn to God, when a godly life is the common 
scorn of the country, as it was awhile ago ; and when every 
one will be deriding and railing at you ? Or when it may 
possibly cost you your lives ? Have you sun, and wind, and 
tide to serve you, and will you stay to set out in storms and 
darkness ? 

13. Moreover, Your delay doth cast your conversion and 
salvation upon hazard, yea, upon many and grievous hazards. 
And is your everlasting happiness a matter to be wilfully 
hazarded, by causeless and unreasonable delays? (1.) If you 
delay to-day, you are utterly uncertain of living till to-mor- 
row. If you put by this one motion, you know not whether 
ever you shall have another. Alas ! that ever the heart of 
man should be so senseless, as to delay, when they know 
not but it may prove their damnation, and when heaven or 
hell must certainly follow ; that they dare put off a day or 
hour, when they know not whether ever they shall see ano- 
ther. (2.) And as your life is uncertain, so are the means un- 
certain by which God useth to do the work. He may re- 
move your teachers, and other helps ; and then you will be 
further off than before. (3.) And if both should continue, 
yet grace itself is uncertain. You know not whether ever 
the Spirit of God will put another thought of turning into 
your hearts ; or at least, whether he will give you hearts to 
turn. 

14. Moreover, The delay of conversion continueth your 
sin, and so you will daily increase the number, and increase 
your guilt, and make your souls more abundantly miserable. 
Are you not deep enough in debt to God already, and have 
you not sin enough to answer for upon your souls ? Would 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 189 

you fain have one year's sin more, or one day's sin more to 
be charged upon you ? O if you did but know what sin is, 
it would amaze you to think what a mountain lieth already 
upon your consciences. One sin unpardoned will sink the 
stoutest sinner into hell. And you have many a thousand 
upon your souls already, and would you yet have more ? 
Methinks you should rather look about, you, and bethink 
you how you may get a pardon for all that is past. 

15. And as this sin increaseth daily by delay, so conse- 
quently the wrath of God increaseth ; you will run further 
into his displeasure ; and possibly you may cut down the 
bough that you stand upon, and hasten even bodily destruc- 
tion to yourselves. When you live daily upon God, and 
are kept out of hell by a miracle of his mercy, methinks you 
should not desire yet longer to provoke him, lest he with- 
draw his mercy, and let you fall into misery. 

16. And do but consider, what will become of you, if 
you be found in these delays. You are then lost, body and 
soul, for ever. Now if you had but hearts to know what is 
good for you, the worst of you might be converted and sa- 
ved ; for God doth freely offer you his grace. But if you 
die in your delays, in the twink of an eye, you will find your- 
selves utterly undone for ever. Now there is hope of a 
change, but when delays have brought you to hell, there is 
no more change, nor any more hope. 

17. Consider, That your very time which you lose by 
these delays, is an inconceivable loss. When time is gone, 
what would you then give for one of those years, or days, 
or hours, which you now foolishly trifle away ! O wretched 
sinners ! are there so many thousand souls in hell, that 
would give a world if they had it, for one of your days, and 
yet can you afford to throw them away in worldliness, and 
sensuality, and loitering delays ? I tell you, time is better 
worth, than all the wealth and honours of the world. The 
day is coming, when you will set by time ; when it is gone, 
you will know what a blessing you made light of. But then 
all the world cannot call back one day or hour of this pre- 
cious time, which you can sacrifice now to the service of 
your flesh, and cast away on unprofitable sinning. 

18. Consider also, That God hath given you no time to 
spare. He hath not lent you one day or hour, more than is 
needful for the work that you have to do, and therefore you 



190 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

have no reason to lose any by your delays. Do you ima- 
gine that God would give a man an hour's time for nothing? 
much less for to abuse him and serve his enemy? No, let 
me tell you, that if you make your best of every hour, if you 
should never lose a minute of your lives, you would find all 
little enough for the work you have to do. I know not how 
others think of time, but for my part, I am forced daily to 
say, ' How swift, how short is time ; and how great is our 
work ; and when we have done our best, how slowly goeth 
it on !' O precious time ! What hearts have they, what 
lives do those men lead, that think time long ; that have 
time to spare, and pass it in idleness ! 

19. To convince you more, consider I beseech you, The 
exceeding greatness of the work you have to do ; and tell 
me then, whether it be time for you to delay. Especially 
you that are yet unconverted, and strangers to the heavenly 
nature of the saints, you have far more to do than other men. 
You have a multitude of headstrong passions to subdue, and 
abundance of deadly sins to kill, and rooted vices to root 
up : you have many a false opinion of God and his ways, to 
be plucked up, and the customs of many years' standing to 
be broken : you have blind minds that must be enlightened 
with heavenly knowledge ; and abundance of spiritual truths 
that are above the reach of flesh and blood, that you must 
needs learn and understand : you have much to know, that 
is hard to be known : you have a dead soul to be made 
alive, and a hard heart to be melted, and a seared conscience 
to be softened and made tender, and the guilt of many thou- 
sand sins to be pardoned : you have a new heart to get, and 
a new end to aim at and seek after, and a new life to live ; 
abundance of enemies you have to fight with and overcome ; 
abundance of temptations to resist and conquer. Many 
graces to get, and preserve, and exercise, and increase, and 
abundance of holy works to do for the service of God, and 
the good of yourselves and others. O what a deal of work 
doth every one of these words contain ; and yet what abun- 
dance more might I name ! And have you all this to do, 
and yet will you delay? And they are not indifferent mat- 
ters that are before you ; it is no less than the saving of 
your souls, and the obtaining the blessed glory of the saints. 
Necessity is upon you : these are things that must be done, 
or else woe to you that ever you were born : and yet have 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 191 

you another day to lose ? Why sirs, if you had a hundred 
miles to go in a day or two, upon pain of death, would you 
delay ? O think of the work that you have to do, and then 
judge whether it be not time to stir ! 

20. And methinks it should exceedingly terrify you to 
consider, what abundance by such delays do perish ; and 
how few that wilfully delay are ever converted and saved. 
Many a soul that once had purposes hereafter to repent, is 
now in misery, where there is no repentance, that will do 
them any good. For my part, though I have known some 
very few converted when they are old ; yet I must needs say, 
both that they were very few indeed, and that I had reason 
to believe, that they were such that had sinned before in ig- 
norance, and did not wilfully put off repentance, when they 
were convinced that they must turn. Though I doubt not 
but God may convert even these if he please, yet I cannot 
say that I have ever known many, if any such, to be con- 
verted. Sure I am that God's usual time is in childhood or 
youth, before they have long abused grace, and wilfully de- 
layed to turn when they were convinced. Some considera- 
ble time I confess many have before their first convictions 
and purposes be brought to any great ripeness of perform- 
ance ; but O how dangerous is it to delay ! 

21. Consider also, Either conversion is good or bad for 
you : either it is needful or unnecessary. If it be bad, and 
a needless thing, then let it alone for altogether. But if you 
are convinced that it is good and necessary, is it not better 
now, than to stay any longer? Is it not the sooner the bet- 
ter? Are you afraid of being safe, or happy too soon? If 
you are sick, you care not how soon you are well : if you 
have a bone out, you care not how soon it is set : if you fall 
into water, you care not how soon you get out : if your 
house be on fire, you care not how soon it be quenched : if 
you are but in fears by any doubts, or ill-tidings, you care 
not how soon your fears be over. And yet are you afraid of 
being too soon out of the power of the devil, and the danger 
of hell ; and of being too soon the sons of God, and the ho- 
ly, justified heirs of heaven ? 

22. Consider also, Either you can turn now or not. If 
you can, and yet will not, you are utterly without excuse. 
If you cannot to-day, how much less will you be able here- 
after, when strength is less, and difficulties greater, and bur- 



192 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

dens more? Is it not time therefore, to make out to Christ 
for strength, and should not the very sense of your disability 
dissuade you from delay? 

23. Consider, How long you have staid already, and put 
God's patience to it by your folly ; hath not the devil, the 
world and the flesh, had many years time of your life already ? 
Have you not been long enough swallowing the poison of 
sin ? And long enough been abusing the Lord that made 
you, and the blood of the Son of God, that was shed for you, 
and the Spirit of grace, that hath moved and persuaded you? 
Are you not yet gone far enough from God, and have you 
not yet done enough to the damning of yourselves, and cast- 
ing away everlasting life ? O wretched sinners, it is rather 
time for you to fall down on your faces before the Lord, and 
with tears and groans, to lament it day and night, that ever 
you have gone so far in sin, and delayed so long to turn 
to him as you have done. Sure, if after so many years' 
rebellion, you are yet so far from lamenting il, that you had 
rather have more of it, and had rather hold on a little longer 
no wonder if God forsake you, and let you alone. 

24. Have you any hopes of God's acceptance, and your 
salvation, or not? If you have such hopes, that when you 
turn, God will pardon all your sins, and give you everlast- 
ing life, is it think you an ingenuous thing to desire to of- 
fend him yet a little longer, from whom you expect such ex- 
ceeding mercy and glory as you do ? Have you the faces to 
speak what is in your hearts and practice, and to go to God 
with such words as these? ' Lord I know I cannot have the 
pardon of one sin, without the blood of Christ, and the riches 
of thy mercy ; nor can I be saved from hell without it ; but 
yet I hope for all this from thy grace ; I beseech thee let me 
live a little longer in my sins, a little longer let me trample 
on the blood of Christ, and despise thy commands, and abuse 
thy mercies ; a little longer let me spit in the face of thy 
goodness, and prefer the flesh and the world before thee, 
and then pardon me all that ever I did, and take me into 
glory. ? Could you for shame put up such a request to God 
as this ? If you could, you are past shame ; if not, then do 
not practise and desire that, which you cannot for shame 
speak out and request. 

25. Moreover, it is an exceeding advantage to you, to 
come in to God betimes, and an exceeding loss that you will 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 103 

suffer by delay, if you were sure to be converted at last. If 
you speedily come in, you may have time to learn, and get 
more understanding in the matters of God, than else can be 
expected ; for knowledge will not be had but by time and 
study. You may also have time to get strength of grace, 
when young beginners can expect no more than an infant's 
strength ; you may grow to be men of parts and abilities, to 
be useful in the church, and profitable to those about you, 
when others cannot go or stand, unless they lean on the 
stronger for support. If you come in betime, you may do 
God a great deal of service ; which in the evening of the 
day, you will neither have strength nor time to do. You 
may have time to get assurance of salvation, and to be ready 
with comfort when death shall call ; when a weakling is like 
to be perplexed with doubts and fears, and death is like to 
be terrible, because of their unreadiness. 

26. And did you ever consider, who and how many do 
stay for you while you delay ? Do you know who it is that 
you make to wait your leisure ? God himself stands over 
you with the offers of his mercy, as if he thought it long till 
you return, saying, " O that there were such a heart in them; 
and when will it once be ? How long ye simple will ye 
love simplicity, and scorners delight in scorning, and fools 
hate knowledge ? Turn ye at my reproof;" Deut. v. 29. 
Jer. xiii. 17. Prov. i. 22. And do you think it wise, or safe, 
or mannerly, for you to make the God of heaven to wait on 
you, while you are serving his enemy ? Can you offer God 
a baser indignity, than to expect that he should support your 
lives, and feed you, and preserve you, and patiently forbear 
you, while you abuse him to his face, and drudge for the 
flesh, the world, and the devil ? Should a worm thus use the 
Lord that made him ? You will not yourselves hold a can- 
dle in your hands, while it burns your own fingers ; nor will 
you hold a nettle or a wasp in your hand to sting you ; nor 
will you keep a dog in your house, that is good for nothing 
but to snarl at you, and bite your children, and worry your 
sheep ; and yet God hath long held up your lives, while in- 
stead of light, you have yielded nothing but a stinking snuff; 
and instead of grapes, you have brought forth nothing but 
thorns and thistles ; and while you have snarled at his chil- 
dren, and his flock, and done the worst you could against 
VOL. viii. O 



.\ 



194 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

him. And would you indeed put God to wait on you thus, 
while you serve the devil yet one day more ? Must God as 
it were, hold the drunkard the candle while he reels and 
spews? Must he draw the curtain, while the filthy wretch 
doth once more please his fleshly lusts ? Marvel not, if he 
withdraw his supporting mercy, and let such wretches drop 
into hell. 

And it is not God only, but his servants, and creatures, 
and ordinances, that all are waiting on you. The angels 
stay for the joy that is due to them upon your conversion. 
Ministers are studying, and preaching, and praying for you. 
Godly neighbours are praying and longing for your change. 
The springs and rivers are flowing for you ; the winds blow 
for you ; the sun shines for you ; the clouds rain for you ; 
the earth bears fruit for you ; the beasts must labour, and 
suffer, and die for you ; all things are doing, and would you 
stand still, or else do worse? What haste makes the sun 
about the world, to return in its time to give you light ! 
What haste make other creatures in your service ! And yet 
must you delay ? Must God stay, and Christ, and the Spi- 
rit slay? Must angels stay, must ministers stay, must the 
godly stay, and the ordinances stay, and all the creatures 
stay your leisure, while you are abusing God and your souls, 
and others, and while you delay, as if it were too soon to 
turn ? 

27. Consider, That when you were lost, the Son of God 
did not delay the work of your redemption. He presently 
undertook it, and turned by the stroke of damning justice. 
In the fulness of time he came and performed what he un- 
dertook ; he failed not one day of his appointed time. And 
will you now delay to accept the benefit, and turn to him ? 
Must he make such haste to save you at so dear a rate, and 
now will you delay to be saved ? 

28. Moreover, God doth not delay to do you good. You 
have the day and night in their proper seasons ; the sun doth 
not fail to rise upon you at the appointed time ; you have 
the spring and harvest in their meetest seasons, the former 
and latter rain in season. When you are in want you have 
seasonable supplies ; and when you are in danger, you have 
seasonable deliverance : and is it meet or equal that you 
should refuse to bring forth seasonable fruit, but still be 
putting off God with your delays ? 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 195 

29. Moreover, When you are in trouble and necessity, 
you are then in haste for deliverance and relief. Then you 
think every day a week, till your danger or suffering be past. 
If you be under the pain of a disease, or in danger of death, 
or under poverty, oppression, or disgrace, you would have 
God relieve you without delay ; and yet you will not turn 
to him without delay. Then you are ready to cry out, ' How 
long, Lord, how long till deliverance come !' But you will 
not hear God when he crieth to you in your sins, ' How long 
will it be ere you turn from your transgressions, when shall 
it once be V When you are to receive any outward delive- 
rance, you care not how soon, the sooner the better ; but 
when you are to turn to God, and receive his grace and title 
to glory, then you care not how late, as if you had no mind 
of it. Can you for shame beg of God to hasten your delive- 
rances, when you remember your delays, and still continue 
to trifle with him, and draw back? 

30. Your present prosperity, and worldly delights, are 
posting away without delay ; and should you delay to make 
sure of better in their stead? Time is going, and health is 
going, youth is going, yea, life is going ; your riches are 
taking wing, your fleshly pleasures do perish in the very 
using ; your meat and drink is sweet to you little longer 
than it is in your throat. Shortly you must part with house 
and lands, with goods and friends, and all your mirth and 
earthly business will be done. All this you know, and yet 
will you delay to lay up a durable treasure which you may 
trust upon, and to provide you a better tenement before you 
be turned out of this ? What will you do for an habitation, 
for pleasures and contents, when all that you have now is 
spent and gone, and earth will afford you nothing but a 
grave? If you could but keep that you have, I should not 
much wonder, that knowing so little of God and another 
world, you look not much after it ; but when you perceive 
death knocking at your doors, and see that all your worldly 
comforts are packing up, and hasting away, me thinks if you 
have your wits and sense about you, you should presently 
turn, and make sure of heaven, without any more delay. 

31. Consider also, Whether it be equal, that you should 
delay your conversion, when you can seasonably dispatch 
your worldly business, and when your flesh would be pro- 
vided for, you can hearken to it without delay. You have 



196 DIRECTIONS tO PREVENT 

wit enough to sow your seed in season, and will not delay it 
till the time of harvest : you will reap your corn when it is 
ripe, and gather your fruit when it is ripe, without delay. 
You observe the seasons in the course of your labours, day 
by day, and year by year : you will not lie in bed when you 
should be at your work, nor delay all night to go to your 
rest ; nor suffer your servants to delay your business ; you 
will know your dinner-time and supper-time, day by day ; 
if you be sick, you will seek help without delay, lest your 
disease should grow to be incurable. And yet will you de- 
lay your conversion, and the making sure of heaven ? Why 
sirs, shall these trifles be done without delay, and shall your 
salvation be put off? In the name of God, sirs,what do you 
think of? Do you imagine that you can better suffer hell- 
fire, than hunger or nakedness ? Or that you can better 
bear the loss of everlasting joys, than the loss of your com- 
modities and provisions in the world ? Sure, if you believe 
the life to come, you cannot think so. And can you have 
while for every thing, except that one thing, which all the 
rest are merely to promote, and in comparison of which they 
are all but dreams ? Can you have while to work, to plough, 
and sow, and reap, and cannot you have while to prepare 
for eternal life ? Why sirs, if you cannot find time yet to 
search your hearts, and prepare for death ; turn to God, and 
give over eating, and drinking, and sleeping, and say, ' I can- 
not have time for these.' You may as wisely say so for 
these smaller matters, as the greater. 

32. Moreover, if men offer you courtesies, and commo- 
dities for your bodies, you will not stand delaying, and need 
so many persuasions to accept them. If your landlord 
would for nothing renew your lease, if any man would give 
you houses, or lands, would you delay so long before you 
would accept them ? A beggar at your door will not only 
thankfully take your alms, without your entreaty and impor- 
tunity, but will beg for it, and be importunate with you to 
give it. And yet will you delay to accept the blessed offers 
of grace, which is a greater thing? 

33. Yet consider, that it is God that is the giver, and you 
that are the miserable beggars and receivers : and therefore 
it is fitter that you should wait on God, and call on him for 
his grace, when he seemeth to delay, and not that he should 
wait on you. He can live without your receiving, but you 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 197 

cannot live without his giving. The beggar must be glad of 
an alms at anytime, and the condemned person of a pardon 
at any time ; but the giver may well expect that his gift be 
received without delay, or else he may let them go without it. 

34. And methinks you should not deal worse with God, 
when he comes to you as a physician to save your own souls, 
than you would do with a neighbour or a friend, when it is 
not for your own good, but for theirs. If your neighbour 
lay a dying, you would go and visit him without delay : if he 
fell down in a swoon, you would catch him up without de- 
lay : if he fell into the fire or water you would pluck him 
out without delay : yea, you would do this much by a very 
beast. And yet will you delay when it is not another, but 
yourselves, that are sinking and drowning, and within a step 
of death and desperation? If a woman be but in travail, 
her neighbours will come to her without delay ; and yet when 
their souls are in bondage to sin and satan, and a state of 
death, they will let them lie there, year after year, and when 
we desire them to be converted, here is nothing but delays. 

35. If yet you perceive not how unreasonable you deal 
with God and your souls, I beseech you consider whether 
you do not deal worse with him, than you do with the devil 
himself. If satan or his servants persuade you to sin, you 
delay not so long but you are presently at it. You are ready 
to follow every tippling companion or gamester that puts up 
the finger : you are ready to go as they invite you : the very 
sight of the cup doth presently prevail with the drunkard, 
and the sight of his filthy mate prevaileth with the fornica- 
tor ; and sin can be presently entertained without delay. 
But when God comes, when Christ calls, when the Spirit 
moveth, when the minister persuadeth, when conscience is 
convinced, we can have nothing after all but wishes and pur- 
poses, and promises, with delays. O what a stomach hath 
that man, or what a brain, that will snatch at poison, and 
swallow dung and dirt with greediness, without any chewing : 
and when you offer him meat, stands sighing and looking at 
it, and hardly will be persuaded to put it in his mouth, and 
if he do, he is chewing it so long, that at last he even spits 
it out again, and cannot get it down. Thus deal ungodly 
wretches, between their poisonous sins, and the saving means 
and grace of Christ. 

Nay, more than this, so eager are they on their sin, that 



198 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

we are not able to entreat them to delay it. When the pas- 
sionate man is but provoked, we cannot persuade him to de- 
lay his railing language so long as to consider first of the 
issue. We cannot entreat the drunkard to put off his 
drunkenness but for one twelve-month, while he trieth 
another course : all the ministers in the country, cannot per- 
suade the worldling to forbear his worldliness, and the proud 
persons their pride, and the ungodly person his ungodliness, 
for the space of one month, or week, or day. And yet when 
God hath a command, and a request to them, to turn to him, 
and be saved, here they can delay without our entreaty. 

36. Consider also, that it is not possible for you to turn too 
soon ; nor will you ever have cause to repent of your speedi- 
ness. Delay may undo you, but speedy turning can do you 
no harm. I wonder what hurt you think it can do you, to 
be quickly reconciled to God ! And why then should there 
be any delay, where it is not possible to be too hasty 2 Do 
you think that there is ever a saint in heaven, yea, or on 
earth, that is sorry that he staid not longer unconverted ? 
No, you shall never hear of such a repentance from the 
mouth of any that is indeed converted. 

37. But I must tell you on the contrary side, that if ever 
you be so happy as to be converted, you will repent it, and 
an hundred times repent it, that you delayed so long before 
you yielded. O how it will grieve you when your hearts 
are melted with the love of God, and are overcome with the 
infinite kindness of his pardoning, saving grace ; that ever 
you had the hearts to abuse such a God, and deal so unkindly 
with him, and stand out so long against that compassion that 
was seeking your salvation ! O how it will grieve your 
hearts to consider, that you have spent so much of your lives 
in sin, for the devil, and the flesh, and the deceitful world ! 
O you would think with yourselves, ' Was not God more 
worthy of my youthful days ? Had I not been better to 
have spent it in his service and the work of my salvation 2 
Alas ! that I should waste such precious days, and now be 
so far behindhand as I am ! Now 1 want that faith, that 
hope, that love, that peace, that assurance, that joy in the 
Holy Ghost which I might have had if I had spent those 
years for God, which 1 spent in the service of the world and 
the flesh. Then I might have had the comfort of a well- 
spent life, and with joy have now looked back upon those 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 10$) 

days, and seen the good I have done to others, and the ho- 
nour I had brought to God ; whereas I must now look back 
upon all those years with sorrow, and shame, and anguish 
of mind.' You will think to yourselves then a hundred times, 
' O that I had but that time again to spend for God, which 
I spent for sin, and to use for my soul, which I wasted for 
my brutish flesh !' Believe it, sirs, if ever you be converted, 
you must look for these repenting sorrows for all your delays, 
f and that is the best that can come of it). And who would 
now wilfully make work for sorrow ? 

38. And I pray you consider, whether it belongs of right 
to God or you, to determine of the day and hour of your 
coming in ? It is he that must give you the pardon of your 
sins : and doth it not then belong to him to appoint the time 
of your receiving it ? You cannot have Christ and life with- 
out him. It is he that must give you the kingdom of heaven ; 
and is he not worthy then to appoint the time of your con- 
version, that you may be made partakers of it ? But if he 
say, • To-day,' dare you say, * I will stay till to-morrow?' 

39. Nay, consider whether God or you be likelier to 
know the meetest time. Dare you say that you know bet- 
ter when to turn than God doth ? I suppose you dare not. 
And if you dare not say so, for shame let not your practice 
say so. God saith, " To-day, while it is called to-day, hear 
my voice, and harden not your hearts." And dare you say, 
' It is better to stay one month longer, or one day longer V 
God saith, " Behold, this is the accepted time ! Behold, 
this is the day of salvation;" 2 Cor. vi.2. And will you 
say, ' It is time enough to-morrow ? Do you know better 
than God ? If your physician do but tell you in a pleurisy, 
or a fever, you must let blood this day before to-morrow, 
you will have so much reason as to submit to his under- 
standing, and think that he knows better than you. And 
cannot you allow as much to the God of wisdom ? 

40. Consider also, that the speediness of your conver- 
sion when God first calls you, doth make you the more wel- 
come, and is a thing exceeding pleasing to God. Our pro- 
verb is, A speedy gift is a double gift. If you ask any thing 
of a friend, and he give it you presently, and cheerfully at 
the first asking, you will think you have it with a good will : 
but if he stand delaying first, and demurring upon it, you 
will think you have it with an ill-will, and that you owe him 



200 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

the smaller thanks. If a very beggar at your door must 
stay long for an alms, he will think he is the less beholden 
to you. How much more may God be displeased, when he 
must stay so long for his own, and that for your benefit ? 
God loveth a cheerful giver, and consequently a cheerful 
obeyer of his call. And if it be hearty and cheerful, it is 
the likelier to be speedy without such delays. 

41. And I would desire you but to do with God as you 
would be done by. Would you take it well of your children 
if they should tea/ all their clothes, and cast their meat to 
the dogs, and tread it in the dirt, and when you entreat them 
to give over, they will not regard you? Would you stand 
month after month, entreating and waiting on them, as God 
doth on you, in a more foolish course ? Or rather, would you 
not either soundly whip them, or take their meat from them, 
till hunger teach them to use it better ? If your servant will 
spend the whole day and year in drinking and playing when 
he should do your work, will you wait on him all the year 
with entreaties, and pay him at last, as if he had served you ? 
And can you expect that God should deal so by you ? 

42. And consider I pray you, that your delay is a denial, 
and so may God interpret it. For the time of your turning- 
is part of the command. He that saith, ' Turn,' saith, ' Now,' 
even ' To-day,' without delay. He giveth you no longer day. 
If time be lengthened, and the offer be made again and again, 
that is more than he promised you, or you could have pro- 
mised yourselves. His command is, ' Now, Return and Live.' 
And if you refuse the time, the present time, you refuse the 
offer, and forfeit the benefit. And if you knew but what it 
is to give God a denial in such a case as this, and what a 
case you were in if he should turn away in wrath, and never 
come near you more, you would then be afraid of jesting, 
with his hot displeasure, or dallying with the Lord. 

43. Methinks you should remember, that God doth not 
stay thus on all as he doth on you. Thousands are under 
burning and despair, and past all remedy, while patience is 
waiting yet upon you. Can you forget that others are in 
hell at this very hour, for as small sins as those that you are 
yet entangled, and linger in ? Good Lord, what a thing is a 
senseless heart ! That at the same time when millions are 
in misery for delaying or refusing to be converted, their suc- 
cessors should fiercely venture in their steps. Surely if 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 201 

faith had but opened your ears, to hear the cries of those 
damned souls, you durst not imitate them by your delays. 

44. And I must tell you, that God will not always thus 
wait on you, and attend you by his patience, as hitherto 
he hath done. Patience hath his apppointed time. And if 
you outstay that time, you are miserable wretches. I can 
assure you, sirs, the glass is turned upon you ; and when it 
is run out, you shall never have an hour of patience more. 
Then God will no more entreat you to be converted. He 
will not always stand over you with salvation, and say, ' O 
that this sinner would repent and live ! O that he would 
take the mercies that I have provided for him !' Do not 
expect that God should do thus always with you ; for it will 
not be. 

45. Your delays do weary the servants of Christ that are 
employed for your recovery. Ministers will grow weary of 
preaching to you, and persuading you. When we come to 
men that were never warned before, we come in hopes that 
they will hear and obey ; and this hope puts life and ear- 
nestness into our persuasions. But when we have persuad- 
ed men but a few times in vain, and leave them as we found 
them, our spirits begin to droop and flag. Much more when 
we have preached and persuaded you many years, and still 
you are the same, and are but where you were. This dulls 
a minister's spirit, and makes him preach heavily and cold- 
ly, when he is almost out of heart and hope. I do not jus- 
tify ministers in this, and say, they should do thus. I know 
they should not ; and if they were perfect, I know they 
would not. But they are but men, and imperfect them- 
selves ; and what man is able to be lively and fervent in his 
work when people stir not, and he sees no good done on the 
miserable hearers, as if he had the encouragement of suc- 
cess ? O when we do but see the hearts of hardened, stub- 
born sinners relent, and break, and melt before the power 
of the word ; and when we hear them cry out for Christ and 
mercy, and cry out against themselves for their former folly, 
and confess their sins, and ask us what they shall do to be 
saved, and are but willing to be ruled by Christ, the Physi- 
cian of their souls ; this would put life into a preacher that 
was cold and dull ; this would even make a stone to speak. 
But when we tell men of God's threatenings till they are 
past believing them, and tell them of God's anger till they 



202 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

seem to be past fearing it, and tell them of the plague of 
sin, till they are past feeling ; when, instead of preaching 
men to faith, and repentance, and fear, and tenderness of 
heart,we preach them into greater unbelief and carelessness, 
and dead stupidity ; this is enough to dull or break the heart 
of almost any preacher in the world. What man is able to 
follow so fruitless a work with liveliness ? And then it is 
you that will have the loss and danger of it : when you have 
dried the breasts the child may famish. If your preachers 
could not awake, and change you with all their convincing 
arguments and fervency, how quietly may you sleep on, 
when you have flattened them by discouragements. If sa- 
tan can either dismount, or make useless these cannons that 
were wont to batter his garrison, he may then possess your 
souls in peace. You talk against persecutors that silenced 
ministers ; but O, sirs, it is you that are our greatest per- 
secutors, that refuse and delay to yield to the calls of Christ 
by our ministry, and make us labour so much in vain. 
Though it be not vain as to our own souls, yet you make it 
in vain as to yours. When we have studied till we almost 
break our brains, and preached till we have quite broke our 
strength, and we are consumed, and worn away with labour 
and bodily pains that it procureth, then you come after, and 
make us requital by breaking our hearts by your delays, and 
refusing to turn and live. Truly, sirs, I must tell you for 
my own part, that if it had not been for those that gave me 
better encouragement by their obedience, 1 should never 
have held out with you a quarter of this time. If all had 
profited as little as some, and all had stuck as fast in an un- 
converted state as some ; if the humble, penitent, obedient 
ones among you had not been my comfort and encourage- 
ment under Christ, I had been gone from you many a year 
ago, I could never have held out till now. Either my cor- 
ruption would have made me run away with Jonas, or my 
judgment would have commanded me to shake off the dust 
off my feet, as a witness against you, and depart. But to 
what end do I speak all this to you ? to what end? Why, 
to let you see how you abuse both God and man by your 
delays and disobedience. You cannot possibly do us, that 
are your teachers, a greater injury or mischief than by thus 
delaying your own happiness. Are our studies and our la- 
bours worth nothing, think you ? Are our watchings and 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. "203 

waiting worth nothing? Are our prayers, and tears, and 
groans to be despised ? God will not despise them if you 
do. Believe it, he will set them all on your score, and you 
will one day have a heavy reckoning of them, and pay full 
dear for them. Is it equal dealing with us, that when we 
are watching for your souls, as men that must know we must 
give an account, you should rob us of our comfort, and make 
us do it with sighs and sorrow ? Heb. xiii. 17. Yea, that you 
should undo all that we are doing, and make us lose our la- 
bour and hopes. And yet do you not think to pay for this ? 
I tell you again, unconverted sinners, we are wearied with 
your delays. Many years we have been persuading you but 
to turn and live, and yet you are unturned ; you have been 
convinced long, and thinking on it, and wishing long, and 
talking of it, and promising long, and yet it is undone, and 
here is nothing but delays. We see while you delay, death 
takes away one this week, and another the next week, and 
you are passing into another world apace ; and yet those that 
are left behind will take no warning, but still delay. We 
see that satan delays not while you delay. He is day and 
night at work against you. If he seem to make a truce with 
you, it is that he may be doing secretly while you suspect 
him not. We see that sin delayeth not while you delay. 
It is working like poison, or infection in your bodies, and 
seizing upon your vital powers ; it is every day blinding you 
more and more ; it is hardening your hearts more, and sear- 
ing up your consciences to bring you past all feeling and 
hope. And must we stand by and see this miserable work 
with our people's souls, and all be frustrate, and rejected by 
themselves, that we do for their deliverance ? How long- 
must we stand by with the light in our hands, while you are 
serving the flesh, and neglecting that which we are sent to 
call you to ? It is not our business to hold you the candle 
to play by, or to sleep by, or to sin by ; these are works that 
better agree with the dark. But God sent us to you on an- 
other message ; even to light you out of your sins to him, 
that you might be saved. Truly, beloved hearers, I must 
needs say, that the time seems long, and very long to me, 
that I have been preaching so many years to you for con- 
version, and for a holy, heavenly life, even since I first knew 
you, and that yet so many of you are drowned in sin, and 
ignorance, and are unconverted, when I think your very 



204 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

consciences tell you that it is a thing that must be done. I 

tell you all these years do seem to me a long time to wait 

on you in vain. Blessed be the Lord, that it hath not been 

in vain with some, or else I would scarce preach any more 

than one other sermon to you, even to bid you farewell. I 

pray you deal but fairly with us, and tell us whether ever 

you will turn or not ; if you will not, but are resolved for sin 

and hell, say so, that we may know the worst ; speak out 

your minds,thatwe may know what to trust to ; for if we once 

knew you would not turn, we would soon have done with 

you, and leave you to the justice of God. But if still you 

say, you will turn, when will you do it ? You will do it, 

and you hope you shall ; but when ? How long would you 

have us wait yet ? Have you not abused us enough ? Nay, 

I must tell you, that you even weary God himself, it is his 

own expression; Mai. ii. 17. Isa. xliii.24. "Thou hast 

wearied me with thine iniquities ;" Isa. i. 14. And I must 

say to you as the prophet, " Is it a small thing for you to 

weary men, but you will weary my God also ;" Isa. vii. 13. 

Consider what it is that you do. 

46. Consider also, that you are at a constant unspeak- 
able loss every day and hour that you delay your conversion. 
O how little do you know what you deprive yourselves of 
every day ! If a slave in the gallies, or prison, might live at 
court as the favourite of the prince, in honour, and delight, 
and ease, would he delay either years, or hours? Or would 
he not rather think with himself, ' Is it not better to be at 
ease, and in honour, than to be here? Asthe prodigal said, 
" How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough, 
and to spare, and I perish with hunger !" All this while I 
might be in plenty, and delight.' All the while that you live 
in sin, you might be in the favour of God, in the high and 
heavenly employments of the saints ; you might have the 
comforts of daily communion with Christ, and with the 
saints ; you might be laying up for another world, and might 
look death in the face with faith and confidence, as one that 
cannot be conquered by it ; you might live as the heirs of 
heaven on earth, All this, and more than this, you lose by 
your delays. All the mercies of God are lost upon you. 
Your food and raiment, your health and wealth, which you 
set so much by, all is but lost, and worse than lost, for they 
turn to your greater hurt. All our pains with you, and all 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 205 

the ordinances of God, which you possess, and all your time, 
is lost, and worse. And do you think it, indeed, a wise 
man's part, to live any longer at such a loss as this, and that 
wilfully, and for nothing ? If you knew your loss you would 
not think so. 

47. Nay more, you are all this while doing that which 
must be undone again, or you will be undone for ever. You 
are running from God, but you must come back again, or 
perish when all is done. You are learning a hundred car- 
nal lessons and false conceits, that must be all unlearned 
again ; you are shutting up your eyes in wilful ignorance, 
which must be opened again. You must learn the doctrine 
of Christ, the great Teacher of the church, if you stay never 
so long, or else you shall be cut off from his people : Acts 
iii. 22. vii. 37. When you have been long accustoming 
yourselves to sin, you must unlearn, and break all those cus- 
toms again ; you are hardening your hearts daily, and they 
must again be softened. And I must tell you, though a lit- 
tle time and labour may serve to do mischief, yet it is not 
quickly undone again. You may sooner set your house on 
fire, than quench it when you have done : you may sooner 
cut and wound your bodies, than heal them again ; and 
sooner catch a cold, or a disease than cure it. You may 
quickly do that which must be longer in undoing. Besides, 
the cure is accompanied with pain : you must take many a 
bitter draught, in groans or tears of godly sorrow for these 
delays : the wounds that you are now giving your souls, 
must smart and smart again, before they are searched and 
healed to the bottom. And what man of wisdom would 
make himself such work and sorrow? Who would travel 
on an hour longer, that knows he is out of the way, and must 
come back again ? Would you not think him a madman 
that would say, I will go on a little further, and then I will 
turn back 1 

I know Mr. Bilney the martyr, was offended with this 
comparison, because he thought it was against free-grace. 
But comparisons extend not to every respect : there are two 
things in your sins to be undone ; the one is the guilt, the 
other is the habit and the power of sin ; the first indeed is 
done away when you are converted, but at the cost of Christ, 
which should not be made light of; and yet some scars may 
be left behind, and such twigs of God's rod may fall upon 



'200 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

you as shall make you wish you had come sooner in. And 
for the habit of sin, though conversion break the heart of 
it, yet will it live and trouble you while you live : and those 
sins that now you are strengthening by your delays, will be 
thorns in your sides, and rebels in your country, and give 
you work as long as you live. And thus I may well say, 
that you are doing that while you delay, that must be long 
in undoing, and will not be undone so easily as it is done ; 
and you are going on that way, that must be all trod back- 
ward. 

48. And methinks if it were but this, it should terrify 
you from your delays, that it is likely to make your conver- 
sion more grievous, if you should have so great mercy from 
God, as after all to be converted. There are very few escape 
that are so exceeding long in travail ; but if you come to the 
birth, it is like to be with double pain. For God must send 
either some grievous affliction to fire and frighten you out of 
your sins, or else some terrible gripes of conscience that shall 
make you groan and groan again, in the feeling of your folly. 
The pangs and throes of conscience, in the work of con- 
version, are far more grievous in some, than in others. Some 
are even on the rack, and almost brought beside their wits, 
and the next step to desperation, with horror of soul, and 
the sense of the wrath of God ; so that they lie in doubts 
and complaints many a year together, and think that they 
are even forsaken of God. And to delay your conversion, 
is the way to draw on either this or worse. 

49. Consider also, That delays are contrary to the very 
nature of the work, and the nature of your souls themselves. 
If indeed, you ever mean to turn, it is a work of haste, and vio- 
lence, and diligence, that you must needs set upon. " You 
must strive to enter in, for the gate is strait, and the way is 
narrow, that leads to life, and few there be that find it. Ma- 
ny shall seek to enter, and shall not be able;" Lukexxxiii. 
24, 25. " When once the master of the house is risen up, 
and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, 
and knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us, he 
shall answer, I know you not whence you are ; depart from 
me, all ye workers of iniquity;" ver. 27. It is a race that 
you are to run, and heaven is the prize. " And you know 
that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the 
prize ; and therefore you must so run, as that you may win 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 207 

and obtain j" 1 Cor. ix. 24, 25. And what is more contrary 
to this than delay ? You are soldiers in fight, and your sal- 
vation lieth on the victory ; and will you trifle in such a 
case, when death or life is even at hand ? You are travellers 
to another world, and will you stay till the day is almost, 
past before you will begin your journey? Christianity is a 
work of that infinite consequence, and requireth such spee- 
dy and vigorous dispatch, that delay is more unreasonable 
in this than any thing in the world. 

And besides, your souls are spirits of an excellent, ac- 
tive nature, that will not be kept idle : and therefore delay 
is unsuitable to their excellency. The best and noblest crea- 
tures are most active : the basest are most dull, and unfit for 
action. The earth will stand still: you may easily keep 
clods and stones from moving ; but fire and winds that are 
purer things, and the sun, and such nobler, sublimer crea- 
tures, you are not able to keep idle for an hour. Who can 
cause the sun to delay its course ? or who can stay the as- 
cending flames ? And therefore to your more excellent, im- 
mortal souls, and that in a work that must needs be done, 
how exceeding unsuitable are delays ! 

50. If all this will not serve turn, let me tell you, That 
while you are delaying, your judgment doth not delay; and 
that when it comes, these delays will multiply your misery, 
and the remembrance of them will be your everlasting tor- 
ment. Whatever you are thinking of, or whatever you are 
doing, your dreadful doom is drawing on apace, and misery 
will overtake you before you are aware. When you are in 
the alehouse, little thinking of damnation, even then is your 
damnation coming in haste ; when you are drowned in the 
pleasures, or cares of the world, your judgment is still has- 
tening : you may delay, but it will not delay. It is the say- 
ing of the Holy Ghost, (2 Pet. ii.3.) " Whose judgment now 
of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumber- 
eth not." You may slumber, and that so carelessly that we 
cannot awake you, but your damnation slumbereth not, nor 
hath done of a long time, while you thought it slumbered ; 
and when it comes it will awaken you. As a man that is in 
a coach on the road, or a boat on the water, whatever he is 
speaking, or thinking, or doing, he is still going on, and 
hastening to his journey's end, or going down the stream :' 
so whatever you think, or speak, or do, whether you believe 



208 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

it, or mock at it, whether you sleep or wake, whether you 
remember it, or forget it, you are hastening to damnation, 
and you are every day a day nearer to it than before ; and it 
is but a little while till you shall feel it. " Behold, the 
Judge standeth before the door !" James v. 9. The Holy 
Ghost hath told you, "The Lord is at hand;" Phil.iv.5. 
" The day is at hand : — the time is at hand : — the end of all 
things is at hand;" Rom. xiii. 12. Rev. xxii.10. 1 Pet. iv. 7. 
" Behold, saith the Lord, I come quickly, and my reward is 
with me, to give to every man according as his work shall 
be;" Rev. xxii. 12. And do you, as it were, see the Judge 
approaching, and damnation hastening on, and yet will you 
delay ? 

And withal consider, that when it comes, it will be most 
sore to such as you ; and then what thoughts do you think 
you shall have of these delays ? You are unable to conceive 
how it will torment your consciences, when you see that all 
your hopes are gone, to think what you have brought your- 
selves to, by your trifling ; to feel yourselves in remediless 
misery, and remember how long the remedy was offered you, 
and you delayed to use it, till it was too late. To see that 
you are shut out of heaven, and remember that you might 
have had it as well as others, but you lost it by delay. O 
then it will come with horror in your mind, ' How oft was I 
persuaded, and told of this ? how oft had I inward motions 
to return ? how oft was I purposed to be holy, and to give 
up my heart and life unto God 1 I was even ready to have 
yielded ; but I still delayed, and now it is too late.' Then 
you shall pay for all your warnings, and all the sermons and 
motions which you lost. 

And now having laid you down no less than fifty moving 
considerations, if it be possible to save you from these de- 
lays, I conclude with this request to you, whoever you be 
that read these words : That you would but consider of all 
these reasons, and then entertain them as they deserve. 
There is not one of them that you are able to gainsay, much 
less all of them. If after the reading of all these, you can 
yet believe that you have reason to delay, your understand- 
ings are forsaken of God ; but if you are forced to confess 
that you should not delay, what will you do then ? Will you 
obey God, and your own consciences, or will you not? 
Will you turn this hour without delay ? Take heed of de- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 209 

nying it, lest you have never such a motion more. You 
know not, but God that calls you to it, may be resolved, 
that it shall be now or never. I do beseech you, yea, as his 
messenger I charge you in his name, that you delay not an 
hour longer, but presently be resolved, and make an un- 
changeable covenant with God, and as ever you would have 
favour in that day of your distress, delay not now to accept 
his favour in the day of your visitation. O what a 
blessed family were that, which, upon the reading of this, 
would presently say, - We have done exceeding foolishly in 
delaying so great a matter so long. Let us agree together 
to give up ourselves to God, without anymore delay. This 
shall be the day ; we will stay no longer. The flesh, and 
the world, and the devil, have had too much already. It is 
a wonder of patience that he hath borne with us so long. 
We will abuse the patience of God no longer, but begin to 
be absolutely his this day.' If this may be the effect of 
these exhortations, you shall have the everlasting blessing : 
but if still you delay, I hope lam free from the guilt of your 
blood. 

Direct. XII. The last Direction that I shall give you, 
for preventing your miscarriage in the work of conversion, 
is this, ' Stop not in weak and wavering purposes and faint 
attempts; but see that you be groundedly, unreservedly, 
and habitually (or firmly) resolved/ 

There are many good thoughts and meanings in the soul 
before resolution ; but you are not truly converted till you 
are resolved, and thus resolved as is here expressed. Here 
I shall shew you, i. What this resolution is. u. Why it is 
so necessary, m. I shall urge you to resolve. And iv. I 
shall direct you in it. 

1. Resolution is the firm or prevalent determination of 
the will upon deliberation. 

In opening this definition, I shall first shew you how we 
are led up to resolution by deliberation ; and 2. What is 
this deliberation of the will. 

1. There are several steps, by which the will doth rise up 
to resolution, which I shall set before you. And first it is 
presupposed, that in the state of corrupted nature, the soul 
is unresolved for God, if not (in many that are exceeding 
wicked) resolved against him. At first the sinner doth ei- 

VOL. VIII. p 



210 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

ther resolve to be as he is, or else he hath no resolution to 
return. But God breaks many a wicked resolution, or else 
woe to the ungodly ; for there were no hope. Many wicked 
wretches have not only neglected their souls, but also re- 
solved that they would never lead a holy life, nor ever join 
themselves to the communion of saints, nor ever leave their 
drunken company, or be so precise, and make so great a mat- 
ter of sin as the godly do. When we urge them with the 
plainest words of God, and the most unquestionable reasons, 
so that they have not a word of sense to speak against it ; 
when we have told them of the command of God, and told 
them of the certain danger of their souls, they will plainly 
tell us that they are resolved never to be so precise. When 
they have nothing else to say, but nonsense, they will put 
us off with this, That they are resolved to venture their 
souls without so much ado. But as resolute as they are, 
God will break and change their resolution, and make them 
as much resolved of the clean contrary, if ever he will save 
them. For woe to them that ever they were born, if he 
should take them at their word, and resolve as they resolve ! 

Now in this case there are many degrees that men go 
through, before they come to be resolved for God. 

1. The first thing that usually befalleth such a soul, is, 
some further light, which shews him that which before he 
understood not. 2. This light causeth him to begin to doubt 
whether all be so well with him as he thought it had been ; 
and whether he were so wise in his former resolutions as he 
thought himself. 3. When light hath bred these doubtings in 
his mind, these doubtings breed some fears with him, and he 
begins to be a little awakened, lest evil be nearer him than 
he was aware of, and lest the threatenings of God and 
his ministers should prove true. 4. These fears do drive 
him to consider of the matter, and to deliberate what he is 
best to do : to consider whether these things be so or not, 
and what course he must take if they should prove true. 5. 
Though sometimes God may bless the very first considera- 
tions to be the present means of true conversion, yet that is 
no usual thing ; but ordinarily the first considerations do 
help the mind to some slight convictions, so that the man 
begins to see a great deal more than he did before ; and so 
much as puts him now past doubt that he was before mis- 
taken, and out of his way. 6. Finding himself in this case 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 211 

his fears increase, and his grief comes on for his former folly 
and he finds himself in a miserable case, and at a loss for a 
remedy. 7. By thus much he is quickened to a purpose or 
resolution, to hearken to those that can instruct him, and 
inquire of them that he thinks are in the right, and to use 
such means as he is acquainted with, to find out what he 
must do to be saved. And accordingly he goes among 
good company, and begins to hear more diligently and sen- 
sibly, and to mark and regard what he hears and reads, and 
also to cry to God in prayer for mercy and relief. But all 
this is but from the natural fear of misery, awakened in him 
by common preparing grace. 8. In the use of these means of 
grace, he begins better to understand and relish the doctrine 
of redemption by Jesus Christ, and the nature and necessity 
of true sanctification by the Holy Ghost. And though 
sometimes these evangelical illuminations may be special 
saving works at the first, yet it is more usual, especially with 
us that are bred up under the Gospel, to have a more super- 
ficial, common illumination, before the saving light come in. 
And by this common light, men have at first but a general 
glimmering and confused knowledge of a Saviour, and of 
redemption, and of mercy to be had by him. And sometimes 
they have a distinct knowledge of some parts only of the 
Christian faith, and sometimes a distinct knowledge and be- 
lief of every article ; but only superficial, and not savingly 
effectual. 9. By this general or superficial knowledge of 
Christ and mercy, a kind of hope ariseth in the heart, that 
yet there is a possibility of escape, and a kind of comfort 
answerable to this hope. 10. These hopes are accompa- 
nied with some desires to understand yet more of the mys- 
tery of the Gospel ; and to be made partakers of the saving 
mercy of which he hath a confused light. 11. And here- 
upon there is further kindled in the will a purpose or resolu- 
tion, to go further on in learning, and inquiring into the will 
of God, and using his means. And 12. This purpose is per- 
formed, and means are further used. And thus far the soul 
is but in preparation, and under the common works of grace, 
and possibly may fall off and perish. The first degree may 
be so stifled, that it shall not reach unto the second ; or the 
second so stifled, that it shall not reach unto the third : but 
the most common stop is at the third degree ; when men are 
a little frightened, they will not follow it on to considera- 



212 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

tion : and they that follow consideration diligently, do 
usually speed well, and get through all the rest. 

But when the soul is brought thus far, if God will save it, 
he next proceeds to this much more : (1 .) He giveth a clearer 
light into the soul, which giveth a more distinct, or at least 
a more piercing, convincing, deep and savoury apprehension 
of the essentials of Christianity, than he ever had before. 

Where note, of this special heavenly light, 1. That being 
usually the consequent of a more common knowledge, there- 
fore most ordinarily the sum of Christian doctrine is in some 
manner known before. 2. That it doth not reveal only some 
one point of faith alone, and then another, and so on ; as if 
we savingly knew one essential point of faith, when we have 
no saving knowledge of the rest ; for that is a contradiction. 
But finding all these truths received in the mind before by 
a common knowledge, the special light comes in upon them 
all at once ; and shews us the anatomy of Christianity, or 
the part of God's image in one frame, as to the essentials. 
3. For the understanding of which you must further know, 
that there is such an inseparable connection of these truths, 
and such a dependance of one upon another, that it is not 
possible to know one of them truly, and not know all. For 
example, believing in Jesus Christ, is an act so inseparable 
from the rest, that (if the essentials of Christianity be not 
essential to it) certainly you cannot do this without them. 
For to believe in Christ, is essentially to believe in him as 
God and man, two natures in one person, by office, the Me- 
diator, our Redeemer and Saviour, to save us from guilt and 
sin, from punishment and pollution, and to give us by the 
Holy Ghost, a holy nature and life, and to give us the for- 
giveness of sin and everlasting life, and so to restore us to 
the mutual love of God here, and fruition of him hereafter ; 
and all this as merited and procured by his death, obedience, 
resurrection, ascension, and intercession for his church. 
Whether here be all that is essential to Christianity, and ab- 
solutely necessary to salvation to be believed, I leave to 
consideration; but sure I am, that all this is essential to 
saving, justifying faith. And Christ is not taken as Christ, 
if he be not thus taken ; for the ends thus enter the defini- 
tion of his relation as the Redeemer, and Saviour, and Lord. 

So that the love of God as our felicity and end, and the 
belief in Christ as the way, are both together in the same mi- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 213 

nute of time, which soever of them be first in order of nature ; 
(which is a question that I dare not here so unseasonably 
handle). 

(2.) Upon this special illumination of the soul, and the 
special consideration with which it doth concur, the delibe- 
rating soul is presently resolved. And in these two acts 
which always go together, consisteth the special sanctifying 
work: even in the illumination and estimation of the under- 
standing, and in the true resolution of the will. 

2. The determination of the will is its own free act, per- 
formed by its natural self-determining power, procured by 
the special grace of God, (I mean in this special case) it fol- 
loweth deliberation. While we are unresolved, we delibe- 
rate what to resolve upon ; that is, we are considering which 
is best and most eligible, and which not ; and as we practi- 
cally judge, we use to determine and to choose. And when 
this choice after deliberation is peremptory and full, it is 
called resolution. 

So that my meaning is to let you understand, that when 
the matter of our faith is set open to the soul, it is not a wa- 
vering, fickle purpose, that is a saving closure with it, but 
it must be a firm resolution. Much less will it ever bring a 
man to heaven, to be thinking and deliberating what to do, 
as long as he is unresolved. And now I shall prove the ne- 
cessity of this. 

ii. Till you are resolved, you are not converted, and 
that appeareth by these evidences: 1. If you are not firmly 
resolved, it is certain that you do not firmly believe ; for 
such as your belief is, such will be the effects of it upon the 
will. An unsound opinionative belief, will produce but tot- 
tering, languishing purposes ; but a firm belief will cause a 
firm resolution of the will. And if your belief be unsound, 
you must confess you are unconverted. 

2. Moreover, if you do not esteem God above all crea- 
tures, and heaven above earth, and Christ and grace above 
sin, you are certainly unconverted. But if you have such a 
true estimation, you will certainly have a firm resolution ; 
for you will resolve for that which you highly esteem. 

3. If God have not your firm resolution, he hath not in- 
deed your heart and will ; for to give God your hearts and 
wills, is principally by firm resolving for him ; and if God 
have not your hearts, you are surely unconverted. 



214 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

4. Moreover, if you are not firmly resolvtil, your affec- 
tions will not be sincere and steadfast ; for all the affections 
are such as to their sincerity, as the will is, which doth ex- 
cite or command them. And nothing is more mutable than 
the affections in themselves considered ; they will be hot 
to-day, and cold to-morrow, if they be not rooted in the 
firm resolution of the will, which is the life of them. 

5. Lastly, without a firm resolution, there can be no 
faithful obedience and execution of the will of God. For if 
men be not resolved, they will heavily go on, and lazily pro- 
ceed, and easily come off; for their hands go to work with- 
out their hearts. It is the greatest work in all the world, 
that God calls you to ; and none but the resolved are able 
to go through with it. Of which we shall give you a fuller 
account anon. 

in. In the next place, let me entreat you in the fear of 
God, to look after this great and necessary part of your con- 
version. There are many degrees of good motions in the 
mind ; but all that falls short of resolution is unsound. 
Many are brought to doubt whether all be well with them, 
and to have some fears thereupon, that yet will not be 
brought so far as to consider soberly of the matter, and de- 
liberate what is best to be done, and to advise with their 
ministers for the furthering of their salvation. Many that 
are persuaded so far as to consider, and deliberate, and take 
advice, yet go no further than some cold wishes or purposes, 
which are all overcome by the loye of the world, and the 
power of their sins. Many that do proceed to some kind of 
practice, do only take a taste or an essay of religion, to try 
how they can like it ; and begin some kind of outward re- 
formation, without any firm resolution to go through with 
it : or, if their purposes seem strong, it is but occasioned by 
something without, and not from a settled habit within. All 
these are short of a state of special saving grace, and must 
be numbered with the unconverted. 

It is a common and very dangerous mistake, that many 
are undone by, to think that every good desire is a certain 
sign of saving grace ; whereas you may have more than bare 
desires, even purposes, and promises, and some perform- 
ances, and yet perish for want of resolution and regenera- 
tion. Do you think that Judas himself had not some good 
desires, that followed Christ so long, and preached the Gos- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 215 

pel i Do you think that Herod had not some good desires, 
that heard John so gladly, and did many things accordingly? 
Agrippa had some good desires, when he was almost per- 
suaded to be a Christian. They that for a time believe, 
have sure some good desires, and more ; Matt. xiii. 20. And 
so had the young man, that went away sorrowful from Christ, 
when he could not be his disciple, unless he would part with 
all that he had ; Luke xviii. 23. Matt. xix. 22. And doubt- 
less those had more than good desires, " that had known 
the way of righteousness, and had escaped the pollutions of 
the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ ;" 2 Pet. ii.20, 21. And so had those, Heb.x. 
26. 29. " that had received the knowledge of the truth, and 
were sanctified by the blood of the covenant ;" and those, 
Heb. vi.4 — 6. " that were once enlightened, and tasted of 
the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy 
Ghost, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of 
the world to come." And sure Ananias and Sapphira had 
more than some good desires, when they sold all, and brought 
half the price to the apostles. 

Believe it, sirs, there are none of your desires or endea- 
vours that will serve turn, to prove you in a state of grace, 
unless they be accompanied with firm resolution. Be it 
known to you, that you are unconverted, if you are not ha- 
bitually resolved. And therefore I must here entreat you 
all, to put the question close to your hearts, ' Are you re- 
solved, firmly resolved, to give up yourselves and all to 
Christ, and to be wholly his, and follow his conduct, or are 
you not V The question is not, ' What good meanings, or 
wishes, or purposes you may have ;' but, ' Whether you are 
resolved, and firmly resolved V Take heed, sirs, what you 
venture your souls upon : God will not be dallied with, nor 
be deceived. He will have no unresolved, false-hearted ser- 
vants. 

Before I proceed to urge you further, I shall here tell you 
what kind of resolution it must be, that will prove a man 
converted ; and then I shall give you such motives as should 
persuade you to it. 

It is not all kinds of resolution that will serve turn ; but 
it is only that which hath these following properties, that 
will evidence a state of grace. 

1. As to the matter, it must be the whole essence of 



216 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

Christianity, that must be resolved on. It must be no less 
than a closing with God as your chiefest happiness, to be 
loved above all, and as your chiefest Lord to be obeyed be- 
fore all ; and a closing with Jesus Christ as your only Sa- 
viour, your Teacher, and your Lord; to bring your hearts 
again to God, and reconcile you to him ; and a closing with 
the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier, to make you a holy peo- 
ple, and cleanse you from all your sin of heart and life, and 
guide you by the ministry, word and ordinances, to ever- 
lasting life. Thus must you resolve to deliver up yourselves 
to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to be made a pe- 
culiar people, zealous of good works. Should you be never 
so resolute in some point of religion, and as Ananias to give 
God half, and to become half religious, and half holy, and 
half heavenly, this is to be but half Christians, and will not 
bring you half way to heaven. It is entire Christianity that 
must be resolved on. 

2. You must also be resolved for present obedience, and 
to turn without any more delay ; and not only resolve to 
turn to-morrow, or sometime hereafter. No resolution is 
sincere in this case, if it be but for the future ; if you had 
rather stay but one day or hour longer in the state of sin, 
and service of the flesh, you are no true disciples of Christ, 
though you should be resolved to turn to-morrow. 

3. And your resolution must be absolute and peremptory, 
not only without any secret reserves, but positively against 
any such reserves. Here it is that hypocrites commonly fall 
short. They see they must mend, and they are convinced 
that a holy life is necessary, and they resolve hereupon to 
change their course, and turn religious, but either it is with 
this secret reserve, ' Provided always that I look to my cre- 
dit, or estate, or life, whatever I do ; and provided that I go 
no further in religion than will stand with these ; provided 
that godliness be not my undoing in the world.' Or else, if 
he have not actually such thoughts, he hath them always 
virtually and habitually : he is not resolved against such re- 
serves ; he hath not considered that Christ will have no dis- 
ciples that cannot and will not part with all ; and that if he 
hope for heaven, he must not look for a treasure on earth, 
but only pass through the world as a traveller, or labour in 
it as the harvest of the Lord, in expectation of a reward and 
rest hereafter ; and so resolved to take Christ on these self- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 217 

denying terms. But he that will be saved, must be thus re- 
solved ; even to sell all, to buy the invaluable pearl ; Matt, 
xiii. 46, 47. To make sure of heaven, though he lose all on 
earth by it ; to lay up his hopes in the life to come, and ven- 
ture and let go all rather than those hopes ; to take Christ 
absolutely upon his own terms, for better and worse, as be- 
ing certain that there is no other way to life, and that there 
is no danger of losing by him. The hypocrite is like a man 
that when he delivereth up possession of his house, will 
make his bargain that he will keep this room or that room 
to himself, for his own use. Or like a servant that will not 
be hired, but on condition that his master shall not set him 
to such and such work that he loves not ; but Christ will 
have no such servants ; you must deliver up all to him, or 
he will accept of none ; you must give him leave to make 
his conditions for you, and tell yon on what terms you must 
serve him, and wholly refer the matter to him, even for life 
itself, and not offer to put conditions upon him, and think 
to bring him to any terms of yours. It is not true resolu- 
tion unless it be absolute and unreserved, and against all re- 
serves; yea, and that also as to perseverance ; that you re- 
solve to give up yourselves finally as well as totally, not on- 
ly without any reserve of a revocation, but against any such 
revocation : it must not be a coming to Christ upon essay, 
or mere trial that if he like it he will stand to it, but he must 
make an unchangeable, everlasting covenant ; it must be 
part of your covenant, that you will never revoke it. 

4. Moreover, your resolution must be well grounded ; 
you must know what the essentials are of that religion which 
you resolve on, and you must be moved to it by right and 
weighty considerations ; and go upon reasons that will hold 
up your resolution. For should you resolve on the most 
necessary work (as this is) upon mistakes, or wrong, or in- 
sufficient, as the will of man, the custom of the country, the 
reputation of Christianity, or only such like ; there is no 
likelihood that your resolution should endure, and it is not 
sincere while it doth endure. 

5. Your resolution must be accompanied with a sense of 
your own insufficiency, to stand to it immutably, and exe- 
cute it faithfully by your own strength ; as knowing the 
corruption and deceitfulness of your own hearts. And it 
must be strengthened and supported by a confidence or de- 



*2 IB DIK ACTIONS TO PREVENT 

pendence on the sufficiency of Christ, on whose grace and 
Spirit you must rely, both for the continuing, and the per- 
forming of your resolutions ; as knowing, that without him 
you can do nothing, but that you can do all things (neces- 
sary) through Christ strengthening you. 

6. Lastly, your resolution is not savingly sincere, unless 
it be habitually. It is a very hard question, how far some 
moving exhortation, or the approach of death in sickness, 
may prevail with the unsanctified for an actual resolution ; 
undoubtedly very far. But that is a man's mind and will 
which is habitually his mind and will. When the very in- 
clination and bent of your will is right, then only is your 
heart right. A bowl may, by a rub, or bank, be turned con- 
trary to the bias ; but when it is over the rub, it will fol- 
low the bias again. So the soul is, when hindered from 
ascending a little while, but when it is got over the stop, it 
will be mounting upward. A stone will move upwards 
against its nature, while it is followed by the strength of the 
hand that cast it ; but when the strength is spent, it will 
quickly fall again. It is not an extraordinary act, that you 
can try yourselves by, but such a free course and tenor of 
your lives, as will prove that you have a new nature, or a 
heart inclined and habituated to God. The main business, 
therefore, is, to prove that you are habitually resolved. Set 
all these together now, and you may see what resolution it 
is that must prove you to be converted. 1. It must be a 
resolution for all the essence of Christianity, and not only 
some part. 2. It must be a resolution for present obedience, 
and not only for some distant time to come. 3. It must be 
an absolute, peremptory resolution, without and against 
reserves for the flesh, both total and final, without and 
against any revocation. 4. It must be soundly grounded, 
and moved by right principles. 5. It must be joined with 
a humble sense of your insufficiency, and a dependence on 
Christ, for continuing and performing it. And 6. It must 
be habitual, and such as sets right the bent and drift of 
heart and life. All this is of necessity. 

Well, sirs, you see now what you must do ; the next 
question then is, What you will do. A great many of mo- 
tions God hath made to you, to let go your worldliness and 
wickedness, and become new creatures, and live to God ; 
and never could you be got to resolve and obey them. 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 219 

Many thoughts you have had of it, I suppose, and long you 
have been purposing that, turn you would, but all have come 
to little or nothing, because you were never fully resolved. 
I am once more sent to you on this message from God, to 
see whether yet you will resolve. Whether, after all your 
trifling delays, and after all your wilful sinning, and abuse 
of God's patience, against your own knowledge and consci- 
ences, you will yet resolve. What say you? Shall God be 
your Master indeed ? And shall Christ be your Saviour and 
Lord? Shall heaven be your happiness, and have your 
hearts indeed ? Shall holiness be your business indeed, and 
shall sin be your hatred, and the flesh, and the world be 
your enemies indeed ; and used accordingly, from this day 
forward without any more ado ? I beseech you, sirs, resolve, 
and fully resolve. 

And because I know if we prevail not with you in this, 
you are undone for ever ; and, therefore, I am loath to let 
you go before we have brought you, if it may be, to resolve ; 
I will give you here some considerations to turn the scales, 
and if you will but read them, and soberly consider of them, 
I shall have great hope to prevail with you yet, after all. 
One would think, that the fifty considerations under the last 
Direction, might suffice. But lest all should be too little, 
I will add these following : 

1. Consider, I beseech you, what leisure you have had to 
think of the matter. You have lived many years in the 
world already, and you have had nothing to do in it, but to 
seek after true happiness. Even your worldly labours ought 
to have been all but in order to this ; and yet are you unre- 
solved? Alas, sirs, have you lived some twenty, some 
thirty years and more in the world, and yet are you not re- 
solved ? What came you hither for, or what have you to do 
here ? Is it twenty, or thirty, or forty years, since you set 
out, and should by this time have been far on your journey, 
and are you yet unresolved whither to go, or which way to 
go? as if you were newly entering the world, or as if you 
had never heard of your business. I think so many years 
are a fair time of consideration, and it is time to be resolved, 
if you will resolve at all. 

2. And I pray you consider, what helps you have had to 
to have resolved you before this. If you did not know what 
you had to look after,and which way to take, you should have 



220 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

inquired ; you had the word of God to advise with ; and 
many experienced Christians to advise with. You wanted 
not for the wisest, faithfulest counsellors, if you had been but 
willing and diligent, certainly you might have been resolved 
long ago. 

3. And consider, I beseech you, what a case it is that 
you are unresolved in. Is it so hard a question, that all this 
time, and all these helps cannot resolve you? What ! whe- 
ther God, or the flesh should be first obeyed, and loved ? 
Whether heaven or earth, eternal glory or the transitory 
pleasures of sin should be preferred ? Whether you should 
care and labour more to be saved from sin and hell, or from 
poverty and worldly crosses and reproaches ? These and 
such like, are the questions to be resolved ; and are these so 
hard, that all the wit, and all the advice you can have from 
Scripture and ministers, would not serve turn to help you 
to a resolution, no, not in twenty or thirty years' time ? 
O wonderful! that ever the devil should be able so to be- 
fool men ! That reasonable creatures should be so phrene- 
tic, that they cannot be resolved whether it be better to be 
saved, or be damned ? Or whether sin, with hell after it, 
be better than holiness with heaven after ! The Lord have 
mercy upon the poor distracted world, and bring some more 
of them to their wits ! We have wise men, if themselves 
may be judges, very wise in their own conceit, that know 
many great matters in the world, and yet do not practically 
know whether God or the devil be the better master ; whe- 
ther sin or holiness be the better work, and whether heaven 
or hell be the better wages ! If they say they know these 
things, judge by their lives whether they know them practi- 
cally or not. Resolve they will not for God, and holiness, 
and heaven, nor against the flesh, the world, and sin, what- 
ever they may be brought to confess to their self-condem- 
nation. Is it not a pitiful case, that such points as these 
should seem so hard to reasonable men, as to be so long in 
resolving of them ? 

4. And I pray you consider, how horribly by this you 
disgrace your understandings. You that cannot abide to be 
derided as sots and fools in the world, do yet abuse your- 
selves thus grossly, as if there were never greater sots upon 
the earth. We have proud men that are so high in their 
own eyes, that they can hardly endure contempt from others, 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 221 

and love almost none that think but meanly and dishonour- 
ably of them ; and yet what a horrible contempt and disho- 
nour do they cast upon themselves. If one of these, our 
wise neighbours, should study seven years to know whether 
the sea be fire or water; whether a mountain be heavy; whe- 
ther the fire be hot or cold ; and could not be resolved after 
so many years consideration, what would you think and say 
of these wise men? Why, sirs, it is far grosser folly, I tell 
you again, it is far grosser folly to be unresolved whether 
you should be holy or unholy ; which is, in plain English, 
whether it be better to go to heaven or to hell. For faith and 
holiness is the way to heaven ; and an unholy life is the way 
to hell. And if you will needs forsake the way to heaven, 
you may hope to come thither as long as you will ; but you 
may as well hope to touch the moon with your finger, or 
run up and down with a mountain on your backs. And if 
you will hold on in the way to hell, that is, in an unsancti- 
fied state, you may say you hope for all that to escape hell, 
even as wisely as to leap into the sea, and say, * I hope to 
escape drowning me, as well as you.' Sirs, I beseech you, 
do not abuse God, and abuse Christ, and the Spirit, and 
Scripture, and withal abuse your immortal souls for I know 
not what ; for a stinking sin ; for a thing of naught. Your 
souls are noble creatures, and your understandings are no- 
ble faculties. Why will you expose them to be the scorn 
of satan, and make them so base and sottish as you do ? 
You can see the folly of a poor drunkard, that will make a 
beast of himself, and go reeling and talking nonsense about 
the street for the boys to hoot at him, and make himself the 
laughing-stock of the town. And, I pray you, why do you 
not understand, that till you are resolved for a holy, heaven- 
ly life, you are all drunk, while you think yourselves to be 
sober. You are as miserable as the other, and more in this, 
that yours is in your natures, and theirs is but an accident; 
yours is continued, and theirs (in that particular) but by fits. 
In the name of God, sirs, bethink you, whether you can pos- 
sibly more disgrace your wits, than to be unresolved of a 
case as plain as the highway, and which your everlasting 
salvation or damnation lieth on. If one of you could not, 
in twenty years, be resolved whether the sun be light or dark , 
or the day or the night be fitter for rest ; or whether it be 
better to plough and sow, or let all alone, and hope God will 



222 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

give you a crop without labour ; would you take this for a 
wise man ? Again I tell you, your folly is more gross, that 
cannot all this while be resolved, whether you should cast 
away your wilful sins, and give up yourselves to Christ, and 
a holy life, to obtain the glory, and escape the misery that 
is hard at hand. If you stood up to the neck in water, or 
stood but in a storm of rain, you would not be so long in 
deliberating, whether it were better for you to stay there 
longer or come out. If your finger were but in the fire, you 
need not so long a deliberation, whether you should take it 
out. And yet these wise men are under many thousand un- 
pardoned sins, and under the curse of the law of God, and 
within a step of everlasting fire, and have no way possible 
to escape, but by conversion, faith, and holiness ; and this 
God hath told them, as plain as the tongue of man can 
speak, and yet they are considering of it, whether it be best 
to come out of it ; and yet they cannot be resolved. Did I 
say they are considering ? Nay, the Lord be merciful to 
them, they are so dead-hearted and besotted, that they do 
not so much as seriously consider of it, but even run on 
without consideration. Ah, poor wretches ! they are ready 
to go to another world, and may look every day when the 
bell tolls for them, and when death will bring them to their 
endless life, and yet they have not wit enough to resolve 
whether they should make ready ; no, nor wit enough in 
their most careless, worldly state, to know that they are un- 
ready. Death is coming, and judgment is coming, and the 
burning wrath of God is coming, and are even at the door ; 
and yet these wise men are unresolved of that only way 
that is of absolute necessity to their safety ; they must have 
more time yet to consider of the matter, whether it be best 
for them to turn or no. They stand at the very brink of 
hell ; and yet they must further consider of it, whether it be 
better to turn back or go on. Nay, they will go on without 
consideration ! And yet these men would take it heinously, 
if one should lay hands on them, and carry them to Bedlam, 
or but tell them of the hundredth part of the sottishness 
that they are guilty of. 

5. And it is further considerable, that these men that are 
all this while unresolved about their conversion and sancti- 
fication, have wit enough to resolve of more doubtful and 
less necessary matters, without any such advising or delays : 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 223 

and they are men of ordinary parts and capacities for the 
matters of this world. They can eat when they are hungry, 
and drink when they are thirsty, without a twelvemonth's 
time to advise first on it. They can resolve to go to bed at 
night, and to rise in the morning, without a year's or a day's 
deliberation. If they have any thing to buy or sell, they 
will not deliberate upon it till the market be past ; if they 
have land to plough, or their corn to sow, or reap, or mow, 
they will not take a twelvemonth's time to pause upon it. 
They can quickly resolve upon every day's business, their 
travels, their labours, and all their ordinary affairs. And 
yet these same men cannot resolve in seven years' time, and 
seven to that, whether heaven or earth should be more loved 
and laboured for? Or whether a corruptible flesh, a wicked 
fancy, a greedy throat, should be pleased before the God of 
heaven, though the pleasing of them cost them the loss of 
their salvation ? 

Why, sirs, a man that is well in his wits, would think that 
these matters should be more out of doubt than the former, 
and more speedily resolved on. One would think it should 
be an easier question, whether you should turn to God and 
a holy life, for the saving of your immortal souls ? than whe- 
ther you should eat or drink, or sleep, for the preservation 
of your bodies ? For I can, in many cases, bring some rea- 
son that should persuade you to forbear eating or drinking, 
or sleeping for a considerable time. But no man breathing 
can speak a word of reason (except men's folly should be 
called reason) that should persuade you to forbear your con- 
version for a minute. And if you mistake about these bo- 
dily matters, the loss may be repaired, at least in the world 
to come. But if you die before you are resolved, and firm- 
ly resolved, to give up your soul and body to Christ, and 
live a holy, heavenly life, you are undone, body and soul for 
ever, and all the world can never save you. 

O what a strange and horrible thing is it, that a man that 
hath the wit to manage his affairs as plausibly as any of his 
neighbours, that can overwit others in the matters of the 
world ; that can govern towns and countries ; that is learned 
in his profession, in law, in physic, in merchandise, in na- 
vigation, or any the like : I say that a man of so deep a 
reach, so plodding and active a wit as this, should yet be un- 
resolved, yea, at thirty or forty years old be unresolved, 



224 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

whether to be sanctified or unsanctified, whether to be holy 
and be saved, or be unholy, though God hath expressly said, 
that such shall not see the face of God ; Heb. xii. 14. 
These are our wise men, these are too many (besides the ig- 
norant countrymen,) of our gentlemen, our worshipful and 
honourable men, our great scholars, and men of noble or re- 
verend esteem ; that yet are unresolved, whether to be saved 
or to be damned. Though God hath written a Bible to re- 
solve them, and a thousand books are written to resolve them, 
and preachers are studying and preaching to resolve them ; 
and a thousand mercies are cast into the scales that one would 
think should help to turn them ; and some sharp afflictions 
are helping to resolve them, and twenty or forty years' cer- 
tain experience of the vanity of this world, the deceitfulness of 
riches, and honour, and pleasure, and the unprofitableness of 
sin, one would think should resolve them ; yet after all this 
they are unresolved whether they should presently let go 
their sin, and whether God or the flesh should be pleased 
or displeased ? If this be the wisdom of these men, the 
Lord bless me and all his chosen from such wisdom! 

6. Nay consider further of your unreasonable wicked- 
ness : are not many of your judgments resolved, when yet 
your hearts and wills are not reselved ? I am confident, nay, 
I am certain it is so : you are at once both resolved and un- 
resolved. What a confusion and war do you thus make in 
your own souls? The judgment is for one thing, and the 
will and affections are for another thing. What, are you not 
led by reason? Will you let out your affections, and lead 
your lives quite contrary to your knowledge ? Would not 
most of you give it me as your judgments under your hands, 
that it is a thousand times better to cast away your drun- 
kenness, your filthiness, your worldliness, and your known 
sins, than to keep them any longer ? What say you ? Are 
you not convinced that it were your wisest course to part 
with them this very day and hour ? Undoubtedly many of 
you are. And yet for all this, will you not resolve to do it? 
Are you not persuaded in your own consciences, that it is 
better to die in a holy, and heavenly state, than in a loose, 
and careless worldly state ? And that it were your safest 
and wisest course to become new men, and lead a holy, hea- 
venly life without delay ? Dare you deny this ? Is it not 
your judgment? And yet will you not do it ? Are you re 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 225 

solved that it should be done, and must be done, and yet 
will you not resolve to do it? Why, what is this but to be 
condemners of yourselves? To carry a judge about with 
you in your own breasts, that is still passing sentence against 
you ? " Happy is he," saith the Spirit of God, (Rom. xiv. 
22.) " that condemneth not himself in that which he allow- 
eth." If your judgments be resolved, let your wills re- 
solve, or else you are wilful adversaries of the light, and 
fight against reason, and unman yourselves, and sinning wil- 
fully against your knowledge, shall be beaten with many 
stripes. 

7. Methinks also, it should somewhat quicken you to 
resolve, when you consider what a case you had now been 
in, if death had found you unresolved. For if you are un- 
resolved, you are unsanctified ; and if not sanctified, you 
are not pardoned, or justified; and, therefore, undoubtedly 
you had been past all help, in endless misery, if you had 
died all this while, before you were firmly resolved for God. 
O what a dangerous, ticklish condition have you stood in 
all this while? What wise man would live an hour in such 
a case for all the world, for fear lest that hour should be his 
last? And yet would you stay longer in it? and still are 
you unresolved ? 

8. Believe it, Christ will not own you as his servants, 
nor trust you, whatever promises you may make him, as long 
as you are unresolved. 

Who will take a servant that is not resolved to do any 
service ? Who will take an unresolved person if he knows 
it, as a wife, or a friend, into his intimate love ? And in- 
deed you are not truly Christians till you are resolved to 
take Christ for better and worse. Whatever state is short 
of this, is also short of true sanctification, and will fall short 
of heaven. Christ is resolved to stick to his servants, and 
he will have no servants that be not resolved to stick to him. 

9. And indeed if you be unresolved, as you are false- 
hearted at the first setting out, so it is certain that you will 
never go well on, nor endure to the end in case of trial, nor 
can you do the business of a Christian's life, without reso- 
lution. If you will be Christ's disciples, you must reckon 
upon persecutions ; you must take up your cross and follow 
him ; you must be hated of all men for his sake and the 

VOL. VIIT. Q 



22ti DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

Gospel's ; and you must prepare for prison, and fire, and 
sword : there is no hope of being saved, while you purpose 
to save your pleasures, riches, liberties or lives ; Matt. xvi. 
25. Mark viii. 35. Luke ix. 24. And will a man that is 
unresolved forsake his friends, estate, and life for the sake 
of Christ and the hopes of glory ? He cannot do it. I know 
that a carnal, ungrounded resolution may deceive a man in 
the day of trial, when the self-suspecting, fearful Christian 
may hold out; but yet without a humble, self-denying re- 
solution, joined with an adherence to Christ for strength, 
there is no man will hold out. " If thou be a wavering- 
minded man, thou wilt be unsteadfastinall thy ways ;" James 
i. 8. If thou be not resolved, the words of a man's mouth 
will turn thee out of the way ; the very mocks and scorns of 
a drunkard, or a fool that hath no understanding in the 
matters of salvation, will make thee shrink and hide thy 
profession, and be ashamed of Christ, in whom alone thou 
hast cause to glory. If thou be not a resolved man, what 
better can be expected, but that thou turn as the weather- 
cock with every wind, and tit thy religion to thy worldly 
ends, and as another Judas, sell thy Lord for a little money. 
If thou fall not away, it will be but for want of a trial to pro- 
cure it ; and therefore in God's account thou art gone 
already ; because thy resolution was never with it. • 

When you turn to God, there will remain within you the 
remnants of your corruption, a body of death, a rebelling 
flesh ; and this will be still tempting you, and drawing you 
from God. O how strong do these temptations seem to the 
soul that is unresolved ! Yea, without a firm habitual reso- 
lution, it is impossible to overcome them. Your whole way 
to heaven is a continual warfare ; you have enemies that will 
dispute every foot of the way with you. There is no going 
a step forward, but as the ship doth in the sea, by cutting 
its way through the waves and billows ; and as the plough 
doth in the earth, by cutting through the resisting soil. 
There is self, which is your principal enemy, and there is 
satan, and the world, and almost all that you meet with in 
it, will prove your hinderers ; and you must make your way 
by valour and holy violence through all : and will an unre- 
solved man do this ? You will scarce ever bow your knee 
to God in secret prayer, nor set yourselves upon serious me- 
ditations, but the flesh and the devil will be drawing you off; 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 227 

you will never attempt a faithful reproof, a liberal work of 
charity, a hazardous confession of Christ, or any dangerous 
or costly duty, but the flesh and the devil will plead against 
it, and put you to it. And in these and in many such cases 
of your lives, you will never breakthrough, nor do any good 
on it, without resolution. Do I need to tell you how hard 
the way of salvation is, that fly from it on mistake, because 
you think it harder than it is? Do I need to tell you how 
false you will prove to Christ, if you have not resolution ; 
that you know it by your ordinary, miserable experience, 
that a poor temptation will make you sin against your know- 
ledge ? How many good wishes and purposes have you had 
already, in sickness, or at a lively sermon, that are all come 
to nothing, for want of a firm habituate resolution ! What 
abundance of timeservers, and of chaffy professors are late- 
ly fallen off to the way of rising and riches in the world, or 
to the pride and giddy levity of dividers, that oppose the 
truth of God, and their teachers, and trouble the church, and 
all because they were never well rooted by a sound resolu- 
tion ! They that take Christ but upon liking, do usually 
dislike him when he calls them to self-denial ; for they had 
never that connatural principle that should effectually dis- 
pose their souls to like him ; nor had they ever the inward 
experiences of power and sweetness, which are proper to 
the sincere, and should increase their liking of him. Either 
resolve therefore, or stand by and perish. 

10. I beseech you consider also, What abundance of 
clear undeniable reasons doth God give in to thee, to turn 
the scales, and cause thee to resolve. He fetcheth reasons 
from his own dominion and sovereignty. Should not a crea- 
ture obey the Lord that made him ? He reasoneth with you 
from his daily preservations. Do you live upon him, and 
should you not obey him ? He reasoneth with you from his 
almightiness : you are all at his mercy, and wholly in his 
hands ; and yet dare you disobey him ? He reasoneth with 
you from his love and goodness ; never did evil come from 
him ; nor did he ever do any wrong ; never was there man 
or angel that was a loser by him ; it is not possible to have 
so good a master, and yet will you not obey him? He fetch- 
eth reasons from all his mercies ; every bit of bread is from 
him, and should be an argument with thee to obey him : 
every day's health, and strength, and comforts, and every 



228 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

night's rest and ease ; thy mercies at home, thy mercies 
abroad, in private, and in public ; all should be so many ar- 
guments with thee to resolve. You cannot look upon a 
plant or a flower under your feet, upon the sun or a star that 
is over your heads, or upon any creature, but you may see 
so many reasons that should move you to resolve. Kail 
these will not serve, he fetcheth yet stronger reasons from 
the incarnation, example, and blood of the Son of God : 
canst thou look on God incarnate for sin, combating with 
satan, and conquering for thee, and dying, and bleeding, 
and buried for thy sin : and yet be unresolved to leave that 
sin, and turn to him that hath bought thee by his blood ? 
If all this will not serve, he reasoneth with thee from thy 
own benefit. If thou care not for God, dost thou care for 
thyself? Dost thou regard thy own soul ? If thou dost, it 
is high time to resolve. He reasoneth with thee from ever- 
lasting glory. Is a certain kingdom, and everlasting glo- 
rious kingdom nothing to thee ? Art thou content to be 
thrust out of that eternal inheritance ? Is the filthy 
pleasure of the flesh for a few hours, better than the endless 
joys of the saints ? He pleads also with thee from the dan- 
ger that thou art near. Poor soul ! thou little seest what 
others see, that are dead before thee. Thou little knowest 
what they feel, that died before they were resolved for God. 
He fetcheth his reasons from the certain and everlasting 
flames of hell ; and is there not force enough in these for to 
resolve thee ? Good Lord ! what a thing is a senseless sin- 
ner ! Dost thou believe heaven and hell as thou takest on 
thee to do ? If thou dost believe them, is it possible for 
thee believingly to think of heaven and its eternal glory, and 
yet to be unresolved whether to turn or not? Or canst 
thou think of the endless miseries of the damned, and yet be 
unresolved whether to turn or not ? Can any heart be so 
senseless or deluded? 

Moreover, he pleadeth with thee from the equity and 
sweetness of his service. It is but to love him, and to seek 
his kingdom, and forbear those things that hurt thy soul. 
His commands are not unreasonable or grievous. Darest 
thou speak out and say, that sin is better, and that satan 
hath provided thee a better work than God hath done ? He 
reasoneth with thee also from his wisdom and his justice. 
He tells thee, that as satan hath nothing to do with thee, and 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 229 

as he is none of thy friends, and meaneth thee not so well as 
God doth, so he is not able to prescribe thee a more just 
and perfect law than God hath done. Follow God, and thou 
art sure thou shalt never be deceived or misled ; for he 
wanteth not wisdom, or power, or goodness to be a meet 
lawgiver and guide : but if thou follow the devil, the world 
or the flesh, thou followest a blind and deceitful guide. And 
yet after all these reasons, art thou not resolved? 

He reasoneth with thee also from thy own experience : 
What good hath sin done thee ? and what hurt would holi- 
ness do thee ? Yea, he reasons with thee from the experience 
of all the world. Who was ever the better for sinning ? and 
who was ever the worse for holiness ? How long will thy 
fleshly delights endure? What will this do for thee in thy 
extremity ? Was ever man made happy by it ? Thou know- 
est well enough thou must shortly leave it ; and that it will 
forsake thee in thy greatest need ; but so would not God, if 
thou hadst resolvedly given up thyself to him. All men that 
refuse a heavenly life, do sooner or later wish that they had 
chosen it. 

Abundance of such reasonings God useth with thee in 
his word, and by his ministers ; and dost thou think indeed 
that there is not weight enough in these to give thee cause 
immediately to resolve? How little or nothing canst thou 
say against them ! Canst thou bring any reason, that is rea- 
son indeed, against these or any of these reasons of the 
Lord ? Darest thou say, that ever a one of them is false or 
insufficient'' And what are the reasons which you have on 
the contrary to hinder you from resolving? Forsooth, be 
cause your sins are sweet, you would fain have the pleasure 
of them a little longer yet. O wretched souls! that find • 
more pleasure in the abusing of your Maker and Redeemer, 
than in loving, honouring, and pleasing him : that delight 
more in serving the flesh and the devil, than in serving God, 
and seeking after his favour and your own salvation ! You 
are a hundred times madder than a man that lieth tumbling 
himself in his dung, and will not rise out of it to receive a 
kingdom, because it is so soft and so sweet that he is loath 
yet to leave it : you are more foolish than Nebuchadnezzar 
had been, if he had been loath to return again to his king- 
dom, because he would fain stay longer among the beasts of 
the field, among whom, in his distraction, he had betaken 



230 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

himself; Dan.iv.31 — 33. And what other reasons have 
you against resolving ? Forsooth you shall be mocked or 
jested at by others; by whom I pray you? Not a man, but 
a miserable fool will do it. Yea, but you are told you must 
forsake all, and be ready to die for Christ, if he call you to 
it. Very true, and can you keep that which he calleth you 
to forsake? How long will you keep it? Silly souls! do 
you not know that you forsake it by not forsaking it, and 
lose all by saving any thing, and that you have no way to 
save it, but by losing and forsaking it ? Suppose you were 
by enemies banished out of England, and upon pain of death 
you must be gone within a twelvemonth ; and a king that 
loveth you, inviteth you to his country, and tells you for the 
poor livings that you have lost, he will make you lords and 
princes, so you will bring with you the little goods that you 
have, and leave nothing behind you ; hereupon one man 
takes the next wind, and ships ovei all his riches, that he 
may have it when he comes there ; another saith, ' I am loath 
to leave my goods, I have a while longer to stay here, and 
what shall I do without them ? I am loath to see the habi- 
tation of my ancestors impoverished ;' and so when his time 
is expired, he is fain to leave them all behind him, and hath 
none that will receive him in the country where he is to 
abide. Which of these think you is the wiser man ? Which 
of them was it that lost his goods, and which did save them ? 
I speak to you but such another parable as Christ used tc 
you himself, Luke xvi. 2 — 4.9. where you are advised to 
send your riches before you ; and to make you friends of the 
" mammon of unrighteousness, that when you die, you may 
be received into the everlasting habitations." 

1 know that there are other vain delusions that hinder 
you from resolving ; I will not call them reasons, for they 
are unreasonable. I shall only say this to you, that if there 
be ever a man of you that heareth his words, that dare be 
such a blasphemer as to reproach the laws and image of his 
Maker, and say, That he hath made you too strict a law, and 
laid too heavy a task upon you, and a heavenly life is trou- 
blesome and unnecessary : if there be a man of you, that is 
so devilish, as that you dare plead the devil's cause, and jus- 
tify his work before the Lord's, and say, that it is better to 
please the flesh ; let that man prepare himself to make good 
these words before the Lord, and his holy angels ; and be 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 231 

sure that he shall be there put to it in another manner than 
he is here by me. And if you have such reasons as you will 
stand to before the bar of God, to prove the devil the better 
master, and an unholy life to be better than a heavenly ; see 
then that you look them up, and there make your best of 
them ; and expect to live with the master that you served, 
and to reap as you sowed, and eat the fruit of your fleshly 
ways which you took to be the best. But if you have no 
such reasons, but your consciences are convinced that God 
should be served, and sin should be speedily forsaken, and 
heaven should be provided for above all ; resolve then to do 
it before you stir : or else say plainly, I have no reason to 
be wicked, but because I will be wicked, I will forsake God, 
and damn my own soul without any reason, because I will do 
it. And if you are at this pass, you may take your course. 
11. Another thing that I would entreat you to consider 
of, is this, It is a most base and treacherous abuse of God, 
to make any question of this which you are so long unre- 
solved of. I confess, when a blind mind hath raised such a 
question, it is lawful for a reasonable man to answer it. But 
in him that makes a doubt of such a thing, as it is a shame 
to himself, so it is a heinous indignity to God. If you had 
a chaste and modest woman to your wife, I think she would 
take it for an injury, if you would but'make a question of it, 
Whether she or a common whore be the honester woman? 
If your wife or children should bring before you a hobby- 
horse or an ass; and make a great question of it, Whether 
you or the ass be the comelier or the wiser? how would you 
take this of them? If you should bring an idiot or a mad- 
man before your prince, and make a question, Whether he 
or they be the wiser man ? Or if you set a rebel before him, 
and make a question, Which of them hath the better title 
to the crown ? what entertainment might you expect? I tell 
you it is ten thousand thousand times a baser affront and 
wrong to God, to set the pleasure of sin before him, and 
make a question, Which of them is the better ? And to set 
your riches, and your sports, and your drunkenness, and 
gluttony, and your whoredom, and your revenge, in compe- 
tition with your Redeemer, and everlasting glory, and to 
make a question, Which of them is to be preferred I To 
make once a question, Whether God or the flesh should be 
pleased? Whether Christ or the world should be lofedand 



232 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

followed? Whether the Holy Ghost or the devil should 
dwell in us, and guide us ? Whether the saints of God, or 
the servants of the devil should be our chosen company ? 
Whether the word and ministers of Christ, or the examples 
and words of wicked men, should more prevail with us? 
Whether heaven or earth should be more carefully sought 
after? Whether a holy, or a careless, wicked life be more 
to be desired ? Or whether it be better to turn to God or 
not ? I say, to make such a question as this, or one of these 
is little better than to put a scorn upon the God of heaven ; 
and savoureth of such malice as is more like a devil, than a 
reasonable man ; or else of such folly as is below the devil, 
and as none of you would be guilty of in the matters of this 
world. If one should but make a comparison between you 
and some deformed monster, or between your house and a 
swinestye, though he gave you the better, I think you would 
take it as a scorn, that he should make such a comparison 
or question ; much more may God so take it, when you make 
a question betwixt sin and him. There is but one infinite, 
unconceivable, perfect God, and shall he be abased by such 
a question ? There is but one thing that is contrary to God 
in all the world, that is worse than the devil himself, and 
that is sin ; and shall this be put in question or comparison 
with God? There is but one that hath loved us to the 
death, but with a matchless, unconceivable, saving love, and 
that is Jesus Christ; and there is but one thing that is a 
deadly enemy to us and him, and that would damn us, when 
he is endeavouring to save us, and that is sin ; and must 
there be a question or comparison between these ? There 
is one sanctifying Spirit, that would cleanse, and heal, and 
save us ; and there is a malicious spirit that would deceive 
us, defile us, and destroy us ; and must there be any ques- 
tion or comparison made between these ? There is but one 
eternal happiness, and one holy way to it ; and there is but 
one everlasting misery, and fleshly, filthy, sinful way to it ; 
and must there be made any question which of these should 
be preferred ? Consider 1 beseech you, what you do : and 
if it be so vile a thing to make any question of it, what is it 
then to be still unresolved ? Yea, and to choose the worse 
part, and stick to it in your heart and life ? 

12. Consider also, that present resolution would put an 
end to a great many fruitless, troublesome deliberations and 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 233 

delays. If a man had but a weighty business of the world 
upon his hand, that his estate or life lieth on, it is a perplex- 
ity to him as long as he is unresolved what course he should 
take. It will be troubling him when he should rest, and 
break his sleep. It will fill him with musings, and disturb 
and distract his mind, and even make him melancholy. 
And how can it choose but be a troublesome, distracting 
thing to your mind, to be unresolved what course to take 
for your everlasting state ? I know some hearts are so des- 
perately hardened and past feeling (Ephes. iv. 19.), and some 
men's consciences so seared as with a hot iron (1 Tim. iv. 
2.), that they can throw away all thoughts of resolution, and 
never be much troubled. But I hope that many are not so 
desperate. It is not thus with all that are unconverted. 
How long have some of your minds been troubled whether 
to turn or not? Resolve man, if thou love thy soul, and put 
an end to such troubles. 

13. Consider also, that resolving will put an end to a 
great many of troublesome temptations that do assault you, 
and will break the heart of satan's hopes. As long as you 
are unresolved, he hath still possession of you, and is still 
in hopes to keep possession. And as long as he hath any 
hope, he will never give over, but will be repairing his gar- 
rison, and making up all the breaches that the ordinances of 
God had made. When one temptation takes not, he will be 
offering you another, and will be following and disquieting 
you day and night. But if once he see you firmly resolved, 
his hopes will fail him, and you may be much freer from his 
temptations than you were before. I do not say he will give 
over. For even when you are broken away from him, he 
will make after you again. But it is a greater advantage to 
you to fight against him in the open field, under such a cap- 
tain as Jesus Christ, that will assure you of the victory, than 
to be in his own prison with his fetters on your heels. You 
know the way to be troubled with an unwelcome suitor, is 
to delay your answer, and take time to consider of it; and 
the way to be eased of him, is to give him a peremptory re- 
solute answer. And when he seeth you resolved, he will 
cease. 

14. Moreover, till you- are resolved of your conversion, 
you cannot rationally resolve of any one word or action of 
your lives. Nay, till then they are all misemployed to their 



234 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

hurt. For no man can resolve of the means till he is re- 
solved of the end. You must resolve whither to go, before 
you can resolve which way to go. Before conversion men's 
end is wrong. Their intention and business is to please the 
flesh, and all their thoughts, and words, and actions, that 
have such an end, are wicked and pernicious. Till you 
are resolved by conversion to be for God, you have never a 
right end (in a prevailing sense), and, therefore, you cannot 
order one thought, nor word, nor deed aright. I tell you, 
every thought you think, and every word you speak, and 
every deed you do while you are unconverted, are so many 
steps towards hell, except only those that tend towards con- 
version, and some way further it. Resolve, therefore, of 
this, or you can resolve of nothing. 

15. Moreover, if you would presently and firmly resolve, 
you would ease your friends and the ministers of Christ of 
much of their sorrows, and fears, and cares for you ; and of 
much of the most troublesome part of their work. As long 
as you are unconverted, they can look on you but as the 
heirs of hell, that will be quickly in those torments, if con- 
version prevent it not ; and, therefore, their hearts are full 
of sorrow for you, when you sorrow not for yourselves ; and 
their care is, how they might prevent your damnation, which 
they know, without conversion, can never be done. Many 
a groan doth your misery cost them, and many a thought 
have they of your danger, which you are not aware of. O 
what a grief is it to believing ministers, to see so many of 
their people in the power of satan, and the highway to hell, 
after all their care and labour for their recovery. We can- 
not say that the unconverted shall certainly perish, because 
we have yet hopes that they may be converted, though they 
be not. But we know that if they die in the case that they 
are in, there is no hope of them at all, and we know they are 
uncertain to live an hour. And, therefore, as long as they 
are in this condition, how can we choose but be filled with 
fear, and grief, and care for them '! All the troubles that 
befal a faithful minister in his worldly affairs, by crosses and 
persecutions, are nothing to the trouble that your sin and 
misery bringeth to their minds. O what a comfortable life 
were it for a minister to live with bread and water among a 
people that would obey the Gospel, and give us hopes that 
we should live with them in heaven ! O how cheerfully may 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 235 

we study for them, and preach to them, when we see that it 
is not lost upon them ! How willingly should we prepare 
them the bread of life, when we see they feed and live upon 
it ! How joyfully may we pray and praise God with them, 
when we think how much they must join with us in the ce- 
lestial praises. O, sirs, I beseech you, grudge not your 
ministers this comfort. Do not destroy yourselves to grieve 
and trouble them. O put them once out of their fears and 
grief for you, by your resolving and speedy return to God. 
That they that have many a time thought in their hearts, ' I 
am afraid this poor sinner will never be recovered ; I am 
afraid he will be a firebrand in hell/ may now rejoice with 
you when they see you coming home, and may meet you as 
the Father himself doth meet his prodigal children, and weep 
over you for joy, as they were wont to do in sorrow. You 
would ease our hearts of abundance of sad thoughts, if we 
could but perceive you once resolved, and see you come 
home. Now you think our preaching harsh to you, because 
we tell you so much of sin and damnation ; and you think 
our discipline more harsh, when we refuse to have commu- 
nion with you. But if you would once resolve and turn, 
how gladly should we open our doors and our hearts to you; 
and how gladly should we turn the stream of our preaching, 
and tell you of nothing but Christ, and heaven, and peace, 
and comfort, further than your own necessities should re- 
quire it. What say you, sirs, to this reasonable request ? 
Will you resolve without any more ado, and ease us of our 
grief and fears, and give us but leave to preach more com- 
fortable doctrine to you ? 

16. Moreover consider, that you have much work to do 
when you are resolved and converted, and a great way to go 
when you have begun your journey towards heaven. And 
till you are resolved, none can be done. You can go no 
farther, till conversion have set you in the right ,way. Till 
then, the farther you go, the farther you are out of the way. 
Will you be unresolved till the night come on ? Shall all 
the rest of your work be undone? Will you begin your race 
when you should be at the end ? Alas ! you should be able 
to say as Paul : " I have fought a good fight, I have finish- 
ed my course, henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righ- 
teousness ;" 2 Tim. iv. 8. when as you cannot yet say, ' I have 
begun my course ; I am set in the right way.' 



236 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

17. Consider also, that resolution maketh work easy and 
successful. The resolute army is seldom conquered. A 
resolute traveller will go through with his journey, and it is 
easier to himself: his spirits are excited ; and doing it with 
vivacity, he findeth less trouble in it. A slow and lazy pace 
doth sometimes soonest weary us. A slow motion is most 
easily stopt, when a swift one bears down that which would 
resist it. A man that resolvedly sets himself to the work of 
God, and is past any further deliberating of the matter, and 
is at a point with all the world, will make a pleasure of that 
which will stop and stall an unresolved professor. Resolve 
therefore, for your own success and ease. 

I tell you, by resolving it is that you must conquer, and 
by conquering, you must obtain the crown. The unresolv- 
ed are wavering at every assault, like cowardly soldiers, 
even ready to run before they fight. They will not be at the 
cost or labour ; they are soon weary ; they cannot say nay 
to an old companion, or a tempting bait. But the resolved 
breaks through all, and treads that under his feet as dirt, 
which another sells his soul for. If he meet with reproaches 
and scorns from men, he remembereth that Christ foretold 
him this, and suffered much more of the like before him. 
If his friends turn enemies for the Gospel's sake, he saith, 
' I was told of this before, even that I must be hated of all 
men for Christ.' If he be enticed by lewd and wanton com- 
pany, he saith as David, " Depart from me, ye evil doers, for 
I will keep the commandments of my God ;" Psal. cxix. 115. 
If he be tempted with rewards and honours in the world, he 
will not stand wavering and longing after it, as Balaam ; 
but he will say the same Balaam was forced to do : " If you 
will give me a house full of gold and silver, I cannot go be- 
yond the word of the Lord." And ' let their money perish 
with them, that think all the gold in the world worth the 
peace of a good conscience, and the favour of God.' If he 
be threatened by men to move him to forsake his duty, he 
saith, " Whether it be better to obey God or man, judge ye." 
If he hear seducers, he is rooted in the Spirit, and the infal- 
lible word, and is not shaken by every wind. If he see ne- 
ver so many fall off by backsliding, he saith, ' It was not 
only for their company that I chose the holy way : God is 
still the same, and heaven and earth is the same ; and Scrip- 
ture is the same ; and, therefore, I am resolved to be the 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 237 

same.' If God afflict him by poverty, sickness, or other 
trials, he saith, ' I did not become a Christian to escape af- 
fliction, but to " escape damnation. If he kill me, yet will I 
trust in him. Shall I receive good at the hands of God, and 
not evil ? Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and 
naked must I return to dust. The Lord giveth, the Lord 
taketh away ; blessed be his name." If oppressing enemies 
insult over him, he can say, as Mich. vii. 8, 9. " Rejoice not 
against me, O mine enemy ; when I fall, I shall arise ; when 
I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to me. I will 
bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned 
against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment 
for me. He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall be- 
hold his righteousness." If the wicked cast in his teeth his 
profession, and the name of his God, " He rejoiceth that he 
is counted worthy to suffer for that name ;" and yet " he will 
hope to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the liv- 
ing." And if he must go to heaven through poverty and 
a mean estate, " he hath learned to want, as well as to 
abound ; and in what estate soever he be, therewith to be 
contented." And so in the work of conversion itself, for 
want of resolution, many stick long in the birth, and they 
are hanging so long between heaven and hell, that it is a won- 
der of mercy that God doth not cut them off, and let thern 
perish. But the well-resolved soul doth deal more faith- 
fully with the light that is revealed to him, and doth not 
stand struggling so long against it, nor hold Christ and his 
Spirit so long in hand ; but is glad to make sure work in so 
great a business, and take so good a match while it is offer- 
ed. And being engaged once, he is firm as Mount Sion, 
that cannot be moved. Resolve, therefore, that your work 
may be the more easy and successful, and conquer by re- 
solving. 

18. I suppose you dare not resolve against conversion, 
and a heavenly life ; and why then will you not resolve for 
it ? What purpose you to do for the time to come ? Is it 
your resolution to live and die as you are? Have you not 
purposes in your mind to repent hereafter? Dare you say, 
' I am resolved never to be converted V Some may be so 
desperate ; but I think it is but few, even of the ungodly. 
Why, this shews that there is a secret conviction in your 
consciences. O do not stifle it. Neutrality never saved a 



238 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

soul. Seeing you dare not resolve against it, resolve 
for it. 

19. Consider, 1 beseech you, how much it cloth concern 
yourselves, to have this question well and speedily resolved. 
God asked you, Whether you will be converted and sancti- 
fied or not ? Resolve this question, and you resolve your- 
selves of a great many more that depend upon it. 

The answer to this must be the answer to the rest. If 
the question were, Whether you will be pardoned or no ? 
Whether you will live in heaven or hell for ever ? Whether 
you will dwell with God and angels, or with devils ? You 
would not be long in answering this. You would resolve 
without an hour's delay. Why, this is the question, sirs ! 
but the answer to it must be the answer to the first question. 
For without sanctification, there is no salvation. If you will 
not be converted, you shall be condemned, whether you will 
or no ; for God hath resolved of this already, and there is 
no resisting the resolution of God. The true state of the 
question is, Whether you will turn or burn ? Choose you 
whether, for it must be one. O, therefore, if you will but 
resolve Christ and us this one question, that you will be 
converted, Christ will resolve you the principal questions 
that concern you in the world : even whether you shall be 
pardoned or saved ; and where, and with whom you must 
live for ever. 

20. Lastly, consider, that if you stay till you receive the 
sentence of death, it is two to one but that will force you to 
resolve. But a forced resolution will not serve turn. And 
then it will be very hard for you to discern whether it be 
any better than merely from your fears. You put off all till 
sickness come, and you see once that you must die, there is 
no remedy ; and then you will cry, ' O if the Lord would 
but recover me, and try me once again with life, I would de- 
lay no longer, but I would become a new man, and live a 
holy, heavenly life ; I am resolved of it by the grace of God.' 
Yea, but who knows whether these last resolutions be sin- 
cere. We hear abundance speak this in their sickness, 
that never turn when they come to health, but forget all, and 
live in a manner as they did before. Is it not most likely to 
be only the fear of death that makes you take up these re- 
solutions ? If it be so, they will never save you if you die, 
nor hold you to your promise if you live. For it is not bare 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 239 

fear that is true conversion ; but it is a changed heart, that 
is fallen in love with God and holiness, and into a settled 
hatred of former sins. No late repentance and resolutions 
but these, will be any thing worth as to the saving of your 
souls. And, therefore, if you will have true resolutions at 
the last (which is too rare) you cannot choose but be much 
in doubt of them, when you find so much of fear upon your 
spirit, and consider that you would never resolve till then. 
And, therefore, if you would have a comfortable change, re- 
solve now in your prosperity, before the face of death 
affright you to it, and those fears, and the lateness do make 
you question the truth and soundness of it, and so deprive 
you of the comfort which you have so much need of at a 
dying hour. 

And thus I have given you twenty Considerations to per- 
suade you, if it may be, presently to resolve. I am sure there 
is truth, and reason, and weight in them ; but what good 
they will do you, I am not sure, because I know not how 
you will receive them. 

iv. And now I come to the last part of my task, which 
is to direct you how to perform the work that I have per- 
suaded you to. But because it is merely the determination 
of the will, it is persuasion that must do more to the work 
than direction ; and therefore I shall only desire you to look 
back upon the qualifications of sound resolution, which I 
before laid down to you, and then take heed of the hindran- 
ces in your way, and to set yourselves to do your duty. 

Remember that I before told you, That it is not a holy, 
saving resolution, unless it be, 

1. Entire for the matter of it, comprehending all that is 
essential to Christianity. 

2. And unless you resolve upon present obedience with- 
out delay. 

3. And also unless it be absolute and peremptory, taking 
Christ for better and worse, without any reserve. 

4. And unless it be well-grounded. 

5. And unless it be built on the strength of Christ, and 
not only a carnal confidence of your own. 

6. And unless it be habitual and firm, and become your 
ordinary frame and bias, and, as it were, the new nature and 
inclination of your souls. 



240 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

By this much you see already what manner of resolution 
it is that you must have. 

The next thing is, to advise you of the hindrances that 
you may avoid them. 

1. The principal hindrance of resolution is secret unbe- 
lief; when everlasting life is taken but as an uncertainty, or 
men have no more but a slight opinion of it. The cure of 
this disease, I have often, and a little before delivered to you. 

2. Another thing that hindereth resolution is inconsi- 
derateness, of which also I have spoken purposely before. 

3. Another hindrance is a sleepy insensibility, when the 
heart is hardened, and men are past feeling. We cannot 
tell how to awaken these men to be sensible of the things 
that should move them to resolve. Of this also I have 
spoken by itself. 

4. Another great hindrance is the natural strangeness 
and averseness of the mind of corrupted men, to these high 
and spiritual things. So that we drive men by all our argu- 
ments against the bias of their sinful habits : and those ha- 
bits plead against us more forcibly without a word of reason, 
than all the reason in the world could do. See, therefore, 
that you keep under changing means till your hearts be 
changed ; and the perusing cf such weighty arguments as 
we offer you, may be of use to the changing of your hearts : 
for God useth to work on the will by the understanding ; 
and therefore light hath an aptitude to change the will itself. 

5. Moreover, the rooted interest of this world doth much 
hinder men from resolving to turn. It is always drawing 
them another way, or putting objections and cavils into their 
minds ; and if they will needs resolve, it is this that secretly 
enticeth them to reserves, and to resign themselves to God 
but with conditions and exceptions ; and so makes them hy- 
pocrites, when they think themselves converts ; and cheats 
them with a half-deceitful resolution, instead of one that is 
absolute and firm. Against this impediment also I have 
spoken before. 

6. Another hindrance is, the nearness of fleshly, en- 
ticing objects. When the covetous man seeth his houses 
and lands, his goods and money, the very sight of them 
breaks the heart of all his better resolutions. The drun- 
kard seems to be resolved, till he sees the cup, and then his 
resolution is broken. The whoremonger seemeth to be re- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 241 

solved, till the bait is brought near him, and then he goes as 
" an ox to the slaughter, and as a fool to the correction of 
the stocks." Certainly if these resolutions were sound, 
they would either cause men to fly from the bait, and not 
come near it, or else to refuse it when it is presented them. 
In the course of their lives, their resolution would govern 
them if they were sincere. 

7. And satan himself will do all that he can to hinder 
you when he sees you ready to resolve. He knows that he 
must bestir him now or never. You never put him to it in- 
deed till you are resolving to forsake him. One block or 
other he will be sure then to cast in your way : either he 
tells you, it is but folly and melancholy to trouble yourself 
with these matters ; or that you may be saved without all 
this ado ; or that God is more merciful than to cast away all 
that be not sanctified ; or that godliness doth but trouble 
and distract people, and that the professors of it are secretly 
no better than others, and that it is but hypocrisy for them 
to make such a stir with religion, and that we must be mo- 
derate in our godliness, and take heed of being godly over- 
much. A hundred such foolish suggestions as these, the 
devil hath at hand to cast in your way, when he seeth you 
ready to resolve. 

If these will not serve, he will set some of his wicked 
disciples on railing or deriding you ; and perhaps some cun- 
ning fool a cavilling with you, to see if they can overwityou, 
and draw you back. 

If that will not do, perhaps he will open the falls of pro- 
fessors to you, and labour to persuade you that all are such : 
or he will shew you what divisions and differences are among 
them ; or he will take advantage of some difficulties in re- 
ligion, or some controversies in which he sees you already 
engaged to a party ; or he will tell you of some false doc- 
trine that some forward professors may be tainted with, to 
make them,- and consequently godliness itself, more odious, 
or at least suspected to you. If all this will not do, he will 
endeavou* to set your very parents or natural kindred against 
you, that those that should most promote your salvation, 
and on whom your livelihood much dependeth, shall become 
your enemies, and hate you for offering to give up your- 
selves to Christ. If that will not do, he will endeavour to 

vol. viu. ? 



242 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

entice you with the baits of fleshly pleasure, or of prefer- 
ments, or much business, or merry company, or some great 
matters that you may hope for in the world. And usually 
this snare is the strongest of all. Or else he will tell you 
that if needs you will resolve, it is time enough hereafter : 
you may yet take more of your pleasure or commodity be- 
fore you leave it; yet you may suck the breasts of the 
world a little drier, and then turn to God and cast it off. If 
all this will not prevail with you, he will tell you it is now 
too late, you have sinned so long, or such heinous sins, that 
God will not have mercy on you ; he will make you believe 
that God hath utterly forsaken you, and there is no remedy ; 
and you may as well spare your thoughts of turning now, for 
Christ will not receive or welcome you ; and therefore 
it is even as good to go on, and take up the rest that the 
world can afford you, for there is no hope of better. But 
the most desperate temptation of all the rest, is, to put some 
blasphemous, unbelieving thoughts into your mind ; espe- 
cially if you fall into company with infidels, that will draw 
you to question the word of God, and the immortality of the 
soul, and the truth of Christianity, or the life to come, whe- 
ther there be any such things or not. Where these once 
take, and are received with approbation, the soul is in a mi- 
serable case. Though I know many tempted, melancholy 
Christians are haunted with such temptations, who yet ab- 
hor them, and do well at last, for all this. Sometimes also, 
when he cannot take you off from resolving, he will lead you 
among some disputing opinionists, and they shall entice you 
to take up with their opinionative religiousness instead of 
true sanctification, of which I have spoken in the eighth Di- 
rection. By these and many such wiles as these, doth the 
old serpent do all that possibly he can, to hinder you from 
sound resolution and conversion. And therefore you must 
be armed against his temptations, and meet them with ab- 
horrence ; and if you feel them too hard for you, go daily 
to Christ by faith and prayer for renewed strength, and call 
to your faithful friends and ministers for help. Open your 
case to some one that is able, experienced, and faithful ; that 
he may help you with arguments to resist those temptations 
which you know not how yourselves to deal with. God 
hath appointed pastors in his church to be spiritual fathers 
in the Lord, and when they have sowed in you the seed of 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 243 

eternal life, they watch over it till they see the blade and 
fruit: they travail as in birth of you, till Christ be formed in 
you. It is their office to help you, and God giveth td them 
that are faithful, abilities and affections agreeable to their 
office. And therefore lean upon the hand of your faithful 
guides, and think not to break through temptations alone, 
and get to heaven without the means that God hath appoint- 
ed you. 

Having told you the hindrances, and what to do against 
them, I shall add but these two words more of direction. 

1. When you are resolving, give up yourselves to God 
with a holy covenant or vow. I mean not any rash vow, nor 
any unnecessary vow, but the same that you made in bap- 
tism, which your age itself doth call you to renew, but your 
sins against it do call you more. 

Perhaps you will say that you are not able to perform it 
by your own strength, and you are uncertain of God's assist- 
ance, and therefore how can you promise or vow ? 

To this I answer, 1. You may be sure that this objec- 
tion is frivolous, because it makes against the frequent and 
express commands of God, the practice of his church in all 
ages, and the nature of Christianity itself. God hath in all 
ages been pleased to receive men into his service and church 
in a covenant way, and baptism itself is our solemn cove- 
nanting with him, and the Lord's supper is appointed for a 
solemn renewing of it. And indeed it is implicitly and vir- 
tually renewed by a true Christian everyday of his life. In 
every duty he gives up himself to God : and if he should 
cease this heart-covenant, he would cease to be a Christian, 
for the very essence of his Christianity consisteth in it. It 
is his faith itself. 

2. And when you covenant for the time to come, you do 
not take on you to foretel infallibly your own perseverance, 
but you profess your present consent to be Christ's, and to 
continue his, and you engage yourselves thereto. And 
should you not choose the strictest engagements ? 

(1.) Where there is the greatest need of them, because 
of the looseness of the heart, and the strength of tempta- 
tions, that would draw us away. 

(2.) Where there is the most absolute necessity, because 
if we miscarry we are undone. 



244 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

(3.) And where you are already obliged by God's com- 
mands, whether you vow or not. 

(4.) And where God hath made your consent to the ob- 
ligation of necessity to salvation. He that intends to keep 
covenant, and knows that he must keep it, or be condemned, 
hath little reason to be loath to make it. 

(5.) And for God's assistance, you have much more cause 
to expect it in the way of covenanting, which himself hath 
appointed you, than in the neglect of his appointed means. 

Object, ' But I am afraid of breaking my vows again, 
and it is better to forbear them, than not to perform them.' 

Answ. 1. This reason makes as much against the inward 
vow and resolution of the heart, so that by this rule you 
would never be Christians, for fear of falling away, and being 
worse. 

2. There is an absolute necessity of your resolving and 
covenanting, and of keeping your resolution, and covenants. 
And when it must be kept, or you are utterly undone, it is 
but a madness to refuse to make the covenant for fear of 
breaking it ; for this is but to make choice of an easier place 
in hell, for fear of having a worse, if you should resolve for 
heaven, when as heaven is set open before you, and you thus 
wilfully cast away your hopes. Nay, your place in hell is 
not like to be the easier, when you thus deliberately and 
wilfully refuse the covenant. 

3. Your resolutions and holy vows are means of God's 
appointment to keep you from breaking his imposed cove- 
nant. Is not a resolved, engaged, devoted Christian more 
likely to be accepted, and to persevere, than a waverer that 
saith, • I dare not vow, for fear lest I perform not V 

In unnecessary matters, I had rather you were too back- 
ward to vow. Some will vow poverty, and some a single 
life, and some will vow that they will never drink wine or 
strong drink more ; such vows as these may be good for 
some in cases of special necessity, as the last remedies of a 
dangerous disease ; but they are not for all, nor rashly to be 
made. But the resolution and vow of cleaving unto God in 
faith and holy obedience, and of renouncing the flesh, the 
world, and the devil ; this is for all, and must be made and 
kept by all, that will be saved. 

2. Direct. And as I would have you second your reso- 
lution by a covenant with God, so I would advise you ordi- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 245 

narily to go further, and openly profess the resolution and 
covenant that you have made. "For as with the heart men 
believe unto righteousness, so with the mouth confession is 
made unto salvation ;" Rom. x. 10. Christ will confess those 
that confess him, and disown, and-be ashamed of those that 
are ashamed of him. When you have escaped the greatest 
misery in the world, and obtained the greatest mercy in the 
world, the greatness of it calleth you to acknowledge and 
give glory to God. Go to your old companions in sin, and 
tell them what God hath revealed to you, and done for you. 
Tell them, ' O sirs, I see now that which I never saw before ! 
I wonder how I could venture so madly upon sin ! and how 
I could make light of God, of Christ, of death, of judgment, 
and everlasting life. I have been hitherto your companion 
in sin, but I would not take the same course again for all 
the world. I see now there is a better portion hereafter to 
be obtained, which I was mindless of. I see now we were 
all this while making merry at the brink of hell, and there 
was but a step between us and death. Now I see that the 
course that we have taken is wicked and deceitful, and will 
not serve turn. If I serve the flesh, it will reward me but 
with rottenness. I will, therefore, hereafter, serve that 
God, that will certainly reward me with everlasting life. I 
beseech you, sirs, come away with me, and see and try what 
I have seen and tried. I have lived with you in sin, O now 
let us join together in repentance, and a holy life ! I shall 
be glad of your company to heaven ; but if you will not do 
it, take your course. For my part I am resolved, by the 
grace of God, I am fully resolved, to be from this day for- 
ward a new man, and never to join with you more in a flesh- 
ly and ungodly life. Never tempt me or persuade me to it, 
for I am resolved.' 

Thus if you will declare your resolutions to others, and 
seek to win them, you may possibly do them good ; but 
however, you will be the deeper engaged to God yourselves. 

Yea, though I would have no ostentation of conversion, 
nothing done rashly in public, nor without the advice of a 
faithful minister beforehand ; yet with these cautions, I must 
say, that it is a shame that we hear no more in public of the 
conversion of sinners. As baptism is to be in public, that 
the congregation may witness your engagement, and pray 
for you, and rejoice at the receiving of a member; so the 



'246 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

solemn renewing of the same covenant by repentance after 
a wicked life, should ordinarily be in public, to give warn- 
ing to others to avoid the sin, and to give God the honour, 
and to have the prayers of the church, and to satisfy them of 
our repentance, that they may have communion with us. 
The Papists do more offend (of the two) in so much confi- 
ning confession and penitence to the priest's ear in secret, 
and not bringing it before the church, than they do in mak- 
ing a sacrament of it. I wonder that people should every 
day thrust into our hands their request to pray for them 
when they are sick, and that it is so rare a matter to have 
any to desire our prayers, for the pardon of all the sins of 
their natural, unconverted state. 

I would here seriously advise all those that it concern- 
eth, that when God hath shewed them so great a mercy as 
to convert them and make them new creatures, they would 
go to their faithful minister, and by his advice put up such 
a bill as this : ' Such a man, of this parish, having long lived 
in blindness, and deadness, and ungodliness, (and name the 
particular sins if they were publicly known) and beifig by 
the great mercy of God convinced of his sin and misery ; 
and sustained with some hopes of mercy by the blood and 
merits of Jesus Christ, and being now resolved by the grace 
of God, to forsake this fleshly, worldly life, and to give up 
himself to Christ and holiness, doth earnestly entreat the 
church to pray for him, that his many and heinous sins may 
be all forgiven, and that God would again receive him into 
mercy, and that he may hold on in faith and holiness to the 
last, and never turn again to the course of his iniquity/ 

And if the minister think it meet, refuse not to make 
yourselves an open confession of your former life of sin and 
misery, and to profess openly your resolution to walk with 
God for the time to come. 

This course should be more ordinary with us ; and if con- 
version itself were not so rare, or else so defective, that it 
doth too little quicken men to a sense of duty, and sin, and 
mercy ; or so doubtful, and by slow degrees, and that it is 
scarce discerned by many that have it, were it not for some 
v of these, more ordinary would it be, to the great rejoicing 
and benefit of the church. 

The Conclusion. And now I have given you Directions 
in the most great and necessary businesses of the world : 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 247 

they are such as I have received of God, and if faithfully 
practised, will put your salvation past all hazard. But what 
they have done, or what they will do, I cannot tell, but must 
leave the issue to God and you. It is pity eternal glory 
should be lost, for want of yielding to so holy, and sweet, 
and reasonable a course. It is lamentable to observe, what 
ignorant, base, unworthy thoughts the most have of the very 
office of the Holy Ghost, who is the Sanctifier of all that 
God will save. The very name of regeneration and sancti- 
fication, is not understood by some, and is but matter of de- 
rision to others ; and the most think that it is another kind 
of matter than indeed it is. To be baptized and come to 
church, and to say some cold and heartless prayers, and to 
forbear some gross, disgraceful sins, is all the sanctification 
that most are acquainted with ; (and all have not this ;) and 
thus they debase the work of the Holy Ghost. If a prince 
have built a sumptuous palace, and you will shew men a 
swinestye, and say, ' This is the palace that the prince hath 
been so long a building ;' were not this to abuse him by con- 
tempt 1 If he built a navy, and you shew a man two or 
three pig-troughs, and say, 'These are the king's ships;' 
would he not take it for a scorn ? Take heed of such deal- 
ing with the Holy Ghost. Remember what it is to believe 
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and re- 
member that you were baptized into the name of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost : and do you not yet know why, nor 
know the meaning of your baptismal covenant? It is not 
only to believe that there are three persons in the Trinity, 
but to consent to the relations and duty to them, in respect 
to their several relations and works. If the Father had not 
created you, how could you have been men? The Lord of 
nature must be acknowledged as the End and Governor of 
nature, and accordingly obeyed : and this is to believe and 
be baptized into the name of the Father. If the Son had 
not redeemed you, you had been as the devils were, forsaken 
and given over to despair. The Purchaser, Procurer, and 
Author of grace, of pardon, and salvation, must be acknow- 
ledged to be such, and himself and his salvation accordingly 
accepted, and his terms submitted to : and this is to believe 
in the name of the Son ; and in baptism we make profession 
hereof. And certainly the work of the Holy Ghost is as 
necessary to your salvation. Without the sanctifying work 



248 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

of the Spirit, could you never be delivered from sin and sa- 
tan, nor restored to God's image ; and consequently could 
never be the members of Christ, nor have any saving benefit 
by his sufferings. Would you not think him unworthy to live, 
that would reproach the Father's work of nature, and say, 
That the whole creation is but some poor contemptible work ! 
And would you not think him unworthy the name of a 
Christian, that had contemptible thoughts of the Son's re- 
demption, as if we could be saved as well without a Saviour : 
or as if it were some poor and trivial commodity that Christ 
had purchased for us ? I know you would confess the mi- 
sery of that man, that believeth no better in the Father and 
the Son : and how comes it to pass that you think not of 
your own misery, that believe no better in the Holy Ghost? 
Do not you debase the sanctifying office of the Holy Spirit, 
when you shew us your knowledge and parts, and outward 
duties and civility, and tell us that these are the works of 
sanctification? What! is sanctification but such a thing as 
this ? Why, holiness is a new life and spirit in us ; and 
these that you talk of, are but a few flowers that are stuck 
upon a corpse to keep it awhile from stinking among men, 
till death convey it to a burial in hell. O sirs, sanctifica- 
tion is another kind of matter than the forsaking of some of 
our fouler vices, and speaking well of a godly life ; it is not 
the patching up of the old man, but the creating of a new 
man. I give you warning therefore from God, that you 
think not basely of the Holy Ghost ; and that you think no 
more to be saved without the sanctifying work of the Spirit, 
than without the redeeming work of the Son, or creation, 
government, or love of the Father. Sanctification must 
turn the very bent and stream of heart and life to God, to 
Christ, to heaven ; it must mortify carnal self, and the world 
to you ; it must make you a people devoted, consecrated, 
and resigned up to God, with all that you have : it must 
make all sin odious to you, and make God the love and de- 
sire of your souls ; so that it must give you a new heart, a 
new end, a new master, a new law, and a new conversation. 
This is that noble, heavenly work which the Holy Ghost 
hath vouchsafed to make the business of his office ; to slight 
and despise this, is to slight and despise the Holy Ghost : 
to refuse this, is to refuse the Holy Ghost, and not to be- 
lieve in him : to be without this work, is to be without the 



MISCARRYING IN CONVERSION. 249 

Holy Ghost : and " if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, 
the same is none of his ;" Rom. viii. 9. The holy Catholic 
church is composed of all through the world that have this 
work upon them, and therefore it is called holy. The com- 
munion of saints, is the blessed vital fellowship of these 
sanctified ones ; for these only is the resurrection unto bles- 
sedness, and the life everlasting with the Lord of life : for 
all others is the resurrection of condemnation, and the ever- 
lasting punishment. 

But if the other two articles of our faith have been so 
denied by the blind, it is less wonder if this be so. Some 
heretics denied God to be the Creator of the world, and be- 
cause they saw so much evil in the world, they said that it 
was made by devils or evil angels (who indeed made the sin, 
but not the world). So dealt the Jews by the Son, and the 
second article of our faith. The sacrifice of bulls and goats, 
and such beasts, was all the sacrifice for sin that they be- 
lieved in. And thus deal the multitude of the ungodly by 
the Spirit. Indeed they know not themselves sufficiently, 
to know the need and worth of sanctification. They are too 
whole to need the skill and care of Christ or the Holy Ghost. 
The insensibility of spiritual death and misery, and thinking 
too lightly of original corruption, and too well of our de- 
praved nature, is both the cause of many of the heresies of 
the learned, and of the common contempt of Christ and the 
Spirit, and recovering grace, in all the unregenerate. For 
it is not possible that men should have any deeper sense of 
the need or worth of the remedy, than they have of the 
greatness of their sin and misery. 

O sirs, did we not come upon this great disadvantage to 
you. that we speak to dead men, that have indeed a natural 
life, which doth but take pleasure in their spiritual death ; 
how confidently should we expect to prevail with all ! But 
while you think lightly of your disease, we can expect no 
better, but that you think as lightly of Christ and holiness, 
and all the means that tend to your recovery ; and think of 
the new man, as the poets fabled of the Promethean race, 
that it grows out of the earth (of your poor, sorry purposes 
and performances) like ordinary plants. 

Truly sirs, I have led you even as far as I can ; and what 
more to say to you, or what more to do for you to procure 
your conversion, I do not know. If it had been in my power 



250 DIRECTIONS TO PREVENT 

to have shewed you heaven and hell itself, that you might 
better have known the matters that we speak of, I think I 
should have done it. But God will not have men live by 
sense in this life, but by faith. If I could but help you all 
to such a knowledge and apprehension of these invisible 
things, as the worst of you shall have as soon as you are 
dead, then I should make but little doubt of your conver- 
sion and salvation. Sure if you had but such a sight, the 
force of it would so work upon you, that before I went out 
of the congregation, you would all cry out that you are re- 
solved to be new creatures. But though this be beyond my 
power, and though I cannot shew you the great and won- 
derful things that every eye here must shortly see ; yet I 
come not to you without a glass of God's own making, and 
in that glass you may see them. There, if you have but an 
eye of faith, you may see that God that you have so long of- 
fended, and that now so earnestly inviteth you to return : 
there you may see that crucified Christ that hath opened you 
a way for repentance by his blood, and pleadeth that blood 
with you for the melting of your impenitent, obstinate hearts. 
There you may see the odious face of sin, and the amiable 
face of holiness, which is the image of God. There you may 
see both heaven and hell, for all that they are invisible ; 
and may know what will be, and that to all eternity, as well 
as what is. 

And will not such a sight in the glass of God's word 
serve turn to move thee presently to give up the trade of 
sinning, and to resolve before thou stir, for God ? I am now 
come to the end of this part of my work ; if the reading of 
it have brought thee to the end of thy ungodly, careless 
life, it will be happy for thee, and I shall so far attain the 
end of my labour. I have purposely put this Direction of 
the necessity of resolution in the last place, that I might 
leave upon thy spirit the reasons for resolution, that here I 
have laid down. And now I beseech thee reader, whoever 
thou art, with all the earnestness that I am able to use with 
thee, as ever thou wouldst escape the fruits of all thy sin, as 
ever thou wouldst see the face of God with comfort, and 
have him thy reconciled Father in Christ ; as ever thou 
wouldst have a saving part in Christ, and have him stand 
thy friend in thy extremities ; as ever thou wouldst have 
hope in thy death, and stand on the right hand, and be jus- 



MISCARRYING IN CONVfcRSION. 251 

tified at judgment ; as ever thou wouldst escape the day of 
vengeance prepared for the unconverted, and the endless 
misery that will fall upon all unsanctified souls, as sure as 
the heaven is over thy head ; see that thou resolve and turn 
to God, and trifle with him no more. Away with thy old 
transgressions, away with thy careless, worldly life, away 
with thy ungodly company, and set thyself presently to seek 
after thy salvation with all thy heart, and mind, and might. 
I tell thee once more, that heaven and hell are not matters 
to be jested with, nor to be carelessly thought of, or spoken 
nf, or regarded. The God of heaven stands over thee now 
while thou art reading all these words, and he seeth thy 
heart, whether thou art resolved to turn or not. Shall he 
see thee read such urgent reason, and yet wilt not resolve ? 
Shall he see thee read these earnest requests, and yet not re- 
solve ? What ! not to come home to thy God, to thy Fa- 
ther, to thy Saviour, to thyself, after so long and wilful sin- 
ning ? What ! not to accept of mercy, now it is even thrust 
into thy hands, when thou hast neglected and abused mercy 
so long? O let not the just and jealous God stand over 
thee, and see thee guilty of such wickedness. If thou be a 
Christian shew thyself a Christian, and use thy belief, and 
come to God. If thou be a man, shew thyself a man, use 
thy reason, and come away to God. I beseech thee read over 
and over again the reasons that I have here offered thee, and 
judge whether a reasonable man should resist them, and 
delay an hour to come in to God. I that am now writing 
these lines of exhortation to thee, must shortly meet thee at 
the bar of Christ. I do now adjure thee, and charge thee in 
the name of the living God, that thou do not thyself and me 
that wrong, as to make me lose this labour with thee, and 
that thou put me not to come in as a witness against thee, 
to thy confusion and condemnation. Resolve therefore 
presently in the strength of Christ, and strike an unchange- 
able covenant with him ; get thee to thy knees, and bewail 
with tears thy former life, and deliver up thyself wholly now 
to Christ, and never break this covenant more. 

If thou lay by the book, and go away the same, and no 
persuasion will do any good upon thee, but unholy thou 
wilt still be, and sensual, and worldly still thou wilt be ; I 
call thy conscience to witness, that thou wast warned of the 
evil that is near thee ; and conscience shall obey this call, 



252 DIRECTION*) TO PREVENT &C. 

and bear me witness whether thou wilt or not : and this 
book which thou hast read, which I intended for thy con- 
version and salvation, shall be a witness against thee : though 
age or fire consume the leaves and lines of it, yet God and 
conscience shall bring it to thy memory, and thou shalt then 
be the more confounded to think what reasons and earnest 
persuasions thou didst reject in so plain, so great and ne- 
cessary a case. 

But if the Holy Ghost will now become thy tutor, and 
at once both put this book into thy hand, and his heavenly 
light into thy understanding, and his life into thy heart, and 
effectually persuade thee to resolve and turn, how happy 
wilt thou be to all eternity ? Make no more words on it ; 
but answer my request, as thou wouldst do if thou wert in a 
burning fire, and I entreated thee to come out. Thou hast 
long enough grieved Christ and his Spirit, and long enough 
grieved thy friends and teachers : resolve this hour, and re- 
joice them that thou hast grieved ; and now grieve the devil, 
that thou hast hitherto rejoiced ; and hereafter grieve the 
wicked, and thy own deceitful flesh, whose sinful desires 
thou hast hitherto followed : and if thou also grieve thyself 
a little while, by that moderate sorrow that sin hath made 
necessary for thee, it will be but a preparative to thy endless 
joys, and the day is promised, and coming apace, when satan 
that thou turnest from, shall trouble thee no more, and God 
that thou turnest to, shall wipe away all tears from thy eyes. 
And if the reading of this book may be but a means of so 
blessed an end, as God shall have the glory, so when " Christ 
cometh to be glorified in his saints, and admired of all them 
that do believe," (2Thess.i. 10.) both thou and I shall then 
partake of the communication of his glory ; if so be that I 
be sincere in writing, and thou and I sincere in obeying the 
doctrine of this book. Amen. 

July 5, 1657. 



END OF DIRECTIONS AND PERSUASIONS TO CONVERSION. 



DIRECTIONS 



WEAK, DISTEMPERED CHRISTIANS, 



GROW UP TO A CONFIRMED STATE OF GRACE. 



MOTIVES 

OPENING THE LAMENTABLE EFFECTS OF THEIR WEAKNESSES AND 
DISTEMPERS. 



PUBLISHED ALSO TO FURTHER THAT REPENTANCE, WHICH WARS, 

AND PLAGUES, AND FLAMES, AND CHURCH-CONVULSIONS 

HAVE SO LONG AND LOUDLY PREACHED 

TO ENGLAND. 



 



To my dearly beloved, the Church of Christ at Kidderminster 
in Worcestershire. 



I suppose you do not only remember, that ten years ago I 
preached these sermons to you ; but also what schisms, what 
revilings of the ministers of Christ, what heresies of Ran- 
ters, Seekers, and others ; what cruelties against one ano- 
ther, and what remorseless overturnings of government ; and 
worst of all, what bold appeals to God himself, as if he were 
the approver of all this, did give you and me extraordinary 
occasions of such thoughts and lamentations as are here ex- 
pressed ? But though the great mercy of God did preserve 
yourselves from these transgressions, and made it your lot 
to behold Ihem with daily complaints and sorrows, yet I 
must not so flatter you as to say, that the ordinary weak- 
nesses of Christians are not at all among you. The things 
which I especially loved in you, I will freely praise, which 
were, A special measure of humility ; a plain simplicity in 
religion ; a freedom from the common errors; a readiness to 
receive the truth ; a catholic temper, without addictedness 
to any sect ; a freedom from schism, and separating ways, 
and a unity and unanimity in religion ; a hatred and disown- 
ing of the usurpations, and perturbations, and rebellions 
against the civil government, and an open bearing of your 
testimonies in all these cases ; together with seriousness in 
religion, and sober, righteous, charitable, and godly conver- 
sations. But yet, with all this, which is truly amiable, I 
know you have your frailties and imperfections. The 
weaker sort of Christians (either in knowledge or in holiness) 
are the greater number in the best congregation that I ever 
yet knew. (To say nothing of the unsound.) And what 
may be your case these eight years since I have been sepa- 
rated from your presence, I cannot tell, though, through the 
mercy of God, 1 hear not of your declining. It is our sin 
which hath parted us asunder, let us lay the blame upon 
ourselves; I have now done expecting my ancient comforts 
in labouring among you any more. For these six years' 



CClvi DEDICATION. 

time, in which I thought my great experience had made me 
more capable of serving my Master better than before, his 
wisdom and justice have caused me to spend in grievous si- 
lence. And now my decays and disability of body are so 
much increased, that if I had leave, I have not strength, nor 
can ever reasonably expect it ; therefore, once more I am 
glad to speak to you as I may, and shall be thankful if Au- 
thority will permit these instructions to come to your view, 
that the weak may have some more counsel and assistance. 
And if any shall miscarry, and disgrace religion, there may 
remain on record one more testimony, what doctrine it was 
that you were taught. The Lord be your teacher, and your 
strength, and save you from yourselves, and from this pre- 
sent evil world, and preserve you to his heavenly kingdom, 
through Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Your servant, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

October 31, 1668. 



PREFACE. 



Readers, 

That you may neither misunderstand this book nor me, I 
owe you this pre-advertisement, That it was preached in a 
lecture at Kidderminster in Worcestershire, about seven or 
eight years ago, 1658. That the sad experience of the dis- 
tempers of weak, well-meaning people (though not in that 
place) yet in those times, (especially of those who ran after 
the most gross deceivers, distracted the churches, reviled, 
afflicted, and busily attempted to pull down the pastors, and 
actually pulled down the higher powers whom God forbade 
them to resist,) was the chief occasion of the preaching of 
these sermons ; and that the special reasons for my publish- 
ing them now, are these that follow. 1 . Because I perceive 
not that yet people are sufficiently humbled for those mis- 
carriages, or have yet well found out their sins, which by 
many and sore judgments, have found them out. 2. Because 
I perceive that it is too ordinary to speak to weak Christians 
only by way of comfort, and too rare to shew them the evil 
of their distempers : and that the very terms are used as if 
they imported nothing but what is to be loved, or tenderly 
gainsayed. And most that hear themselves called weak 
Christians, do take it for a word of honouring pity, and feel 
in it no humbling matter of reproof. As if the comfort of 
being a living man, did nullify the trouble and pain of infan- 
cy, of a lethargy, a leprosy, a fever, gout or stone. The 
scandals which have dishonoured religion in this age, do tell 
us that it is not all a preacher's work to convince and con- 
vert the infidels and profane ones, but that much of it lieth 
in detecting hypocrisies, and humbling the weak, and heal- 
ing their distempers, and saving and raising them from their 
falls. The thoughts of the case of such Christians as these, 
did tempt Augustine once to doubt whether there were not 
VOL. vin. s 



CClviii PREFACE. 

a purgatory ; it seemed so hard to him to believe, either that 
men who in the rest of their lives were godly and honest, 
should go to hell ; or that men so guilty of particular crimes 
and scandals (of which their ignorance and error kept them 
from repenting) could go straight to heaven. And no doubt 
but it was the heinous sins and great distempers of men 
professing godliness, which caused human reason to invent 
and entertain this doctrine of purging-pains But when 
God hath cast men into many purgatories, and yet they re- 
pent not, I fear it threateneth worse than purgatory. 3. 
Moreover, I remembered the request of that learned, pious, 
peaceable A. B. Usher, which I mentioned in the preface to 
my " Call to the Unconverted ;" according to which I had 
before published, 1. That " Call." 2. " Directions against 
Miscarrying in the Work of Conversion." 3. And this I 
intended for the third part, when I began it ; but was hin- 
dered from bringing it to the purposed perfection, (the fourth 
part being " Directions for Peace of Conscience," being ex- 
tant long before). 4. But that which since urged me to this 
publication was, that the last sermon which I preached pub- 
licly, was at Blackfriars, on this text, Col. ii. 6, 7. and pre- 
sently after, there came forth a book called " Farewell Ser- 
mons," among which this of mine was one. Who did it, or 
to what end I know not, nor doth it concern me to inquire. 
But I took it as an injury, both as it was done without my 
knowledge, and against my will, and to the offence of my 
superiors ; and because it was taken by the notary so imper- 
fectly, that much of it was nonsense ; especially when some 
foreigners that lived in Poland, Hungary, and Helvetia, were 
earnest to buy this with the rest of my writings, I perceived 
how far the injury was like to go both against me, and many 
others of my brethren. Therefore, finding since, among 
the relics of my scattered papers, this imperfect piece which 
I had before written on that text, I was desirous to publish 
it, as for the benefit of weak Christians, so to right myself, 
and to cashier that farewell sermon. 

If the reader will but peruse these Directions impartially, 
and read them as he doth the prescripts of his physicians, 
which are not written merely to be read, but must be daily 
practised whatever it cost him, as he loveth his life ; then I 
make no doubt, notwithstanding the weakness of the com- 
posure.but it may further the cure of his spiritual weaknesses 



prepack. celix 

and distempers, and of the consequent troubles'and losses of 
others and himself. I hope I shall not meet with many,besides 
malignant hypocrites, who will be so impenitent and peevish, 
as to fly in the face of the reprover and director, and say that 
I open the nakedness of many servants of Christ, to the re- 
proach and dishonour of religion. I have told you from the 
word of God, that it is God's way, and must be ours, to lay 
the just dishonour upon. the sinner, that it may not fall upon 
religion and on God. And that the defending or excusing 
odious sins, in tenderness of the persons who committed 
them, is the surest and worst way to bring dishonour (first 
or last) both upon religion and on them. A Noah, a Lot, 
a David, a Solomon, a Peter, &c. shall be dishonoured by 
God in holy record to all ages, that God may not be 
more dishonoured by them ! And the truly penitent are 
willing that it should be so; and account their honour a 
very cheap sacrifice, to offer up to the honour of religion 
which they have wronged. And till you come to this, you 
come short of true repentance. He that defendeth his open 
sin (unless he could deny the fact), doth as bad as say, ' God 
liketh it ; Christ bid me do it ; the Scripture is for it, or 
not against it ; religion taught it me, or doth not forbid it 
me ; the godly allow it, and will do the like.' And what 
can be said more blasphemously against God, or more inju- 
riously against religion, the Scriptures, and the saints ? But 
he that confesseth his sin, doth as good as say, ' Lay all the 
blame on me, who do deserve it ; and not on God, on Christ, 
on Scripture, on religion, or on the servants of God ; for I 
learned it not from any of them, nor was encouraged to it by 
them ; none are greater enemies to it than they ; if I had 
hearkened to them, I had done otherwise.' It is one of the 
chief reasons why repentance is so necessary, because it 
justifieth God and godliness. 

And alas, it is too late to talk of concealing those weak- 
nesses and crimes of Christians, which are so visible before 
all the world ! , Which have had such public effects upon 
churches, kingdoms, and states ; which have kept almost all 
the Christian churches, in a torn, and bleeding, woful state, 
for so many hundred years, to this present day, which have 
separated the churches of the east and west, and defiled 
both. And have drawn so much blood in Christian coun- 
tries, and keep us yet like distracted persons, gazing strange- 



CClx . PREFACE. 

ly at our nearest friends, and running away by peevish se- 
paration, from our brethren, with whom we must live in hea- 
ven ; and mistakingly using those as enemies, with whom 
(if we are Christians as we profess) we are united in the 
same Head, and by the same Spirit, which is a Spirit of Love. 
In a word, when our faults are so conspicuous as to harden 
the infidels, heathens, and ungodly, and to hinder the con- 
version of the world ; and when they sound so loud in the 
mouths of our common reproaching enemies ; and when they 
have contracted so much malignity as to refuse a cure by 
such wars, divisions, church-desolations, plagues and flames, 
as we have seen, it is then too late to say to the preachers 
of repentance, ' Be silent, lest you open the nakedness of 
Christians, and disgrace religion and the church.' We must 
not be silent, lest we disgrace religion and the church to 
save the credit of the sinners. 

Whoever readeth the holy Scriptures, and ever understood 
the Christian faith, must needs know that nothing in all the 
world, is so much against every one of our errors and mis- 
doings. It is only for want of more religion, that any pro- 
fessors of religion do miscarry. Nothing but the doctrine 
of Christianity and godliness did at first destroy the reign 
of their sin ; and nothing else can subdue the rest, and fi- 
nish the cure. It is no disgrace to life that so many men's 
lives are burdensome with sickness, which the dead are not 
troubled with. Nor is it any disgrace to learning, that 
scholars, for want of more learning, have troubled the world 
with their contentious disputes. Nor is it any disgrace to 
reason, that men's different reasons, for want of more rea- 
son, doth set the world together by the ears. We can ne- 
ver magnify you enough as you are Christians and godly, 
unless we should ascribe more to you than your bounteous 
Lord hath given you, who hath made you little lower than 
angels, and crowned you with glory and honour ; Psal. viii. 
b, 6. But your sins are so much the more odious, as they 
are brought so near the holy presence : and as they are ag- 
gravated by greater mercies and professions. And God is 
so far from being reconciled, or reconcilable to any one of 
them, that though he see not such iniquity in Jacob, as is 
in heathens and the ungodly, (because it is not in them to 
be seen) yet he seeth more aggravated iniquity in such sins 
as you do commit, in many respects, than in the heathens. 



PREFACE. CClXl 

And (that which is our common trouble, is) that you hurt not 
yourselves alone by your iniquities ; families are hurt by 
them ; neighbours are hurt by them ; churches are distract- 
ed by them; kingdoms are afflicted by them; and thousands of 
blind sinners are hardened and everlastingly undone by them. 
The ignorant husband saith, ' I will never follow sermons nor 
Scriptures, nor be so religious, while I see my wife, that 
maketh so much ado with religion, to be as peevish and dis- 
contented, and foul-tongued, and unkind, and contemptuous, 
and disobedient as those that have no religion.' The mas- 
ter that is profane saith, ' I like not your religion, when that 
servant which most professeth religion in my house, is as 
lazy, and negligent, and as surly and saucy, and as ready to 
dishonour me, and answer again, and as proud of his little 
knowledge, as those that have no religion at all.' The like 
I might say of all other relations. All the dishonour that 
this casteth upon grace is, that you have too little of it ; and 
it is so weak in you, that its victory over your flesh and pas- 
sions is lamentably imperfect. A servant hearing a high 
commendation of a gentleman, (that he was of extraordinary 
wisdom and godliness, and bounty, and patience, and affa- 
bility, and what not) did think with himself, ' How happy a 
man were I, if I could but dwell in this man's house ' which 
at last he procured, but ere long went away. His friend 
meeting him, asked him how he came so quickly to forsake 
his happiness ? Did not his master prove as was reported ? 
He answered, 'Yes, and better than report could make him, 
or I could ever have believed. But though my master was 
so good, my mistress was so unreasonable,and clamorous, 
and cruel, that she would beat us, and pull us by the hair, 
and throw scalding water upon us ; and there was no living 
with her.' So faith I hope is the master in your hearts ; 
and that is as good as can be well believed ; but the flesh 
is mistress, which should be but a servant ; and that mak- 
eth such troublesome work with some of you, that some 
quiet-natured infidels are less vexatious companions than 
you. Nay, and I wonder if you can be very confident of 
your own sincerity, as long as such fleshly vices, and head- 
strong passions do keep up the power of a mistress in you. 
I wonder if you do not fear, lest (as a woman said, ' I will 
call my husband Lord with Sarah, if 1 may have my will 
fulfilled,' so) grace and faith should have no more than the 



CClxii PREFACE. 

regent titles, while your flesh hath so much of its will ful- 
filled. I know too many cheat themselves into comfort, 
with the false opinion, that because they have a party in 
them that striveth against their sins, it is a certain sign that 
they have the Spirit and are sanctified, though the flesh 
even in the main doth get the victory. And I know that 
many have sincerity indeed, who yet have many a foil by 
boisterous passions, and fleshly inclinations : but I am sure, 
till you know which party is predominant, and truly beareth 
the governing sway, you can never know whether you are 
sincere. As once a servant, when his master and mistress 
were fighting, answered one at the door, who desired to speak 
with the master of the house, 'You must stay till I see who 
gets the better before I can tell you who is the master 
of the house.' So truly I fear the conflict is so hard with 
many Christians, between the Spirit and the flesh, and 
holdeth so long in a doubtful state ; and sense, and passion, 
and unbelief, and pride, and worldliness, and selfishness 
prevail so much, that they may stay themselves a great 
while before they can be well resolved which is master. 
For (to prosecute my similitude) in innocent man, spiritual 
reason was absolutely master, and fleshly sense was an obse- 
quious servant, (though yet it had an appetite which needed 
government and restraint). In wicked men, the fleshly 
sense and appetite is master, and reason is a servant, though 
reason and the motions of the Spirit may make some resist- 
ance. In strong Christians spiritual reason is master, and 
the fleshly sense and appetite is a servant, but a boisterous 
and rebellious servant, tamed according to the degrees of 
grace and spiritual victory ; like a horse that is broken and 
well ridden, but oft needeth the spur, and oft the reins. So 
that a Paul may cry out, " O wretched man," &c. In a weak 
Christian the Spirit is master, but the flesh is mistress, and 
is not kept in the servitude which it was made for, as it 
ought. And, therefore, his life is blemished with scandals, 
and his soul with many foul corruptions ; he is a trouble to 
himself and others. The good which he doth, is done with 
much reluctancy, and weakness ; and the evil which he 
forbeareth, is oftentimes very hardly forborne. His flesh hath 
so much power left, that he is usually uncertain of his own 
sincerity ; and yet too patient both with his sin and his un- 
certainty. And he is many times a greater troubler of the 



PREFACE. Cclxiii 

church, than many moderate unbelievers. The hypocrite, 
or almost-christian, hath the flesh for his master, as other 
wicked men, but reason and the commoner grace of the Spi- 
rit, may be as mistress with him ; and may have so much 
power and respect, above a state of utter servitude, as may 
delude him into a confident conceit, that grace hath the 
victory, and that he is truly spiritual ; when yet the supre- 
macy is exercised by the flesh. " He that hath an ear to 
hear let him hear. To him that overcometh will 1 give to 
eat of the tree of life. — He shall not be hurt of the second 
death. — He shall eat of the hidden manna. — He shall have 
power over the nations. — I will give him the morning star. 
I will confess him before my Father and the angels. — He 
shall be a pillar in the temple of God, and go out no more. 
I will grant to him to sit with me in my throne ;" Rev. ii. 
7.11.17.26.28. iii.5.12.21. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

1665. 



DIRECTIONS 



THE CONVERTED, 



FOR THEIR 



ESTABLISHMENT, GROWTH, AND PERSEVERANCE. 



PART I. 



COLOSSIANS ii. 6, 7. 



As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, 
rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have 
been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 

As ministers are called in God's word the fathers of those 
that are converted by their ministry (1 Cor. iv. 14, 15.), so 
are they likened thus far to the mothers, that they travail as 
in birth of their people's souls, till Christ be formed in 
them ; Gal. iv. 19. And as Christ saith, " A woman when 
she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come ; but 
as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no 
more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world ;" 
Johnxvi.21. So while we are seeking and hoping for your 
conversion, and are as in travail of you till you are born 
again ; not only our labour, but much more our fears of you, 
and cares for you, and compassion of you in your danger and 
misery, doth make the time seem very long to us ; and O 
what happy men should we think ourselves, if all or the 
most part of our people were converted ! And when we see 
but now and then one come home, we remember no more 
the anguish of our fears and sorrows, nor think all our la- 



20*6' DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

bours ill bestowed, for joy that a Christian is new-born un- 
to Christ. But yet for all the mother's joy, her work, her 
care, her sorrow, is not at an end as soon as she is delivered. 
Many a foul hand, and many a troublesome hour, and many 
a waking night, she must have with the child, whose birth 
she so rejoiced in ; and after that, many a year of care and 
labour to bring it up, and provide for it in the world ; and 
in her old age, when she expecteth from her children the 
love, and honour, and thanks, and comfort that was due to 
her as a mother, and for all her labour, and care, and pains, 
perhaps one child will prove kind, and of another she must 
take it well that he is not very unkind, and a third perhaps 
may break her heart ; and yet she must still be a mother 
to them all. And so it befals us ; when we have greatly 
rejoiced at the real and seeming conversion of now and then 
one of our hearers, our work with them is not at an end, nor 
may we lay aside our care and labour for them. We have 
for some years (usually) the nurse's work to do ; and many 
a troublesome day and night, the weakness, the uncleanness, 
the peevish, childish exceptions, the querulous and quarrel- 
some disposition of our beloved converts, will put us to. And 
after all that, when they begin to go on their own legs, and 
think themselves sufficient for themselves without our help, 
many a fall and hurt they may catch, and many fallings out 
may they have with one another, to the great trouble of them- 
selves and us. And when they are grown up to strength of 
parts and gifts, some that seem sincere may turn prodigals 
or apostates, and some fall a quarrelling about the inherit- 
ance, and make most woful divisions, in Christ's family ; 
and some perhaps despise us that have thus spent our days 
and strength in studies, and prayers, and fears, and cares, 
and labours, for their salvation ; yea, perhaps be ready to 
spit in our faces, and reproach our persons, yea, and our 
very office and calling itself, as the experience of these times 
of ours, seconding the experience of all ages of the church 
before us, doth, alas ! too evidently and openly testify. 
And yet some will be faithful, and constant, and thankful to 
Christ and us. And that all might be so, for Christ's sake 
and their own, must still be our care, and desires, and en- 
deavours. In these several cases, we find blessed Paul with 
his children in his Epistles, sometimes rejoicing with them 
in their steadfastness ; sometimes defending himself and his 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 267 

ministry against their unkind and childish wranglings ; as 
with the Corinthians you may find him ; sometimes he is 
put (but seldom) to a severe correction of the obstinate, de- 
livering them up to satan, for a warning to the rest ; some- 
times he is fain to watch with them, as in their sickness, 
when they are infected with some dangerous error, or other 
disease ; and is brought even to make great question of their 
lives, lest he hath laboured for them in vain, and themselves 
have run in vain, and lest they be fallen from grace, and 
Christ should profit them nothing ; receiving himself no 
better requital of all his labours from them that once would 
have pulled out his eyes for him, than to be taken "for their 
enemy, because he tells them the truth ; and the more he 
loveth them, the less to be loved of them ;" as you may read 
in Gal.i.6,7. iii.1.3,4. iv. 11. 14— 16. 19,20. v. 2. 4. 7. 
But with the most we find him, as one that is yet between 
hope and fear of them, directing and exhorting them to spi- 
ritual steadfastness, and growth, and perseverance to the 
end ; and this is the work which we here find him upon with 
the Colossians in this text ; which containeth, 1. A suppo- 
sition of the work (the great work) already done ; viz. " They 
have received Christ Jesus the Lord." 2. An inference of 
further duty, and exhortation thereto, which in sum is their 
confirmation and progress. The parts of this duty are ex- 
pressed in several metaphors. The first is taken from a 
tree or other plant, and is called our " rooting in Christ." 
After the receiving of Christ, there is a further rootedness 
in him to be sought. The second is taken from a build- 
ing, and is called, " being built up in him," as a house is 
upon the foundation. All the work is not done when the 
chief cornerstone and foundation is laid. The third part 
is taken from those pillars and stronger parts of the build- 
ing, which are firm upon the foundation, and it is 
called a being " stablished or confirmed in the faith. " 
And having made mention of faith, lest they should 
hearken to innovations and the conceits of men under pre- 
tence of faith, he addeth, " as ye have been taught," to shew 
them what faith or religion it is that they must be estab- 
lished in ; even that which by the apostles they had been 
taught. And lastly, he expresseth the measure that they 
should aim at, and one special way in which their faith 
should be exercised, " abounding therein with thanksgiv- 



268 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

ing." The matter is not great, whether we take the relative 
to refer to Christ, and read it with the vulgar Latin, " abound- 
ing in him with thanksgiving ;" or as the Ethiopic, " abound 
with thanksgiving to him ;" or whether we take it as relating 
to thanksgiving itself, as the Arabic translator, and some 
Greek copies have it, " abounding in thanksgiving ;" or as 
the ordinary Greek copies, and the Syriac translator, refer * 
ring it to faith, " abounding in it (that is, in that faith) with 
thanksgiving." For in the upshot it comes to the same, 
" to abound in Christ," and, " to abound in faith in Christ," 
and, " to abound in a believing thanksgiving to Christ." 
And all this is comprehended in one foregoing generaljof 
"walking in Christ;" the whole life of a Christian being di- 
vided into these two parts, Receiving Christ, and, Walking 
in him. Here are these sereral terms therefore briefly to be 
opened. 1. What is meant by, "receiving Christ Jesus the 
Lord." 2. What is meant by " walking in him." 3. What 
by " being rooted in him." 4. What by " being built up in 
him." 5. What by "being confirmed or stablished in the 
faith." 6. What by this directive limitation, " as ye have 
been taught." 7. What by "abounding therein with thanks- 
giving." 

And for the first, you must observe the act and the ob- 
ject. The act is "receiving;" the object is "Christ Jesus 
the Lord." To receive Christ, is not only (as some annota- 
tors mistake it) to receive his doctrine, though it is certain 
that his doctrine must be received, and the rest is implied in 
this. But when the understanding receiveth the Gospel by 
assent, the will also accepteth or receiveth Christ as he is of- 
fered, by consent ; and both these together are the receiv- 
ing of Christ; that is, the true justifying faith of God's 
elect. It is not therefore a physical, passive reception, as 
wood receiveth the fire, and as our souls receive the graces 
of the Spirit ; but it is a moral reception, or imputative, 
which is active and metaphorical. This will be better un- 
derstood when the object is considered, which is, " Christ 
Jesus the Lord." To receive Christ as Christ, or the anoint- 
ed Messias, and as the Saviour and our Lord, is to believe 
that he is such, and to consent that he be such to us, and to 
trust in him, and resign ourselves to him as such. The re- 
lation we do indeed receive by a proper passive reception ; 
I mean our relation of being the redeemed members, sub- 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 269 

jects, disciples of this Christ. But the person of Christ we 
only receive by such an active, moral, reputative reception, 
as a servant by consent receives a master, a patient by con- 
sent receives a physician, a wife by consent receives a hus- 
band, and as a scholar or pupil by consent receives a teacher 
or tutor, or the subjects by consent receive a sovereign. 
So that it is the same thing that is called, " receiving Jesus 
the Lord," and, "believing inhim," as it is expounded, John 
i. 12. There are three great observable acts of faith essen- 
tial to it ; the first is, Assent to the truth of the Gospel. 
The second is, Consent or acceptance of Christ and life, as 
the offered good. The third is, Affiance in Christ for the 
accomplishing of the ends of his office. Now the word 'faith' 
doth most properly express the first act and the last, and 
the word ' receiving' doth most properly express the mid- 
dlemost; but whichever term is used, when it is justifying 
faith that is spoken of, all three are intended or included. 
By what hath been said, you may discern whether you have 
received Christ or not; for your faith may be known by 
these acts which are its parts. 1. If you sincerely believe 
the Gospel to be true ; which must be with a belief so strong 
at least, as that you are resolved to venture your happiness 
upon this belief, and let go all for the hope that is set before 
you. 2. If an offered Christ, in his relation as a full and 
perfect Saviour, be heartily welcome to you. If you con- 
sent to the Gospel offer, and are but truly willing to be his, 
and that he be yours in that relation. Faith is not only 
called a " receiving of Christ," but is oft expressed by this 
term of " willing" him ; and therefore the promise is to "who- 
soever will ;" Rev. xxii. 17. and the wicked are denied a 
part in Christ, because " they will not have him reign over 
them;" Lukexix. 27. or " will not come to him that they 
may have life ;" John vi. 40. even because they " would 
have none of him ;" Psalm lxxxi. 11, 12. which is, because 
they are not true believers or disciples of Christ. 3. If you 
thus by consent take Christ for your Saviour, Teacher, and 
Lord, it must needs follow that you fid ucially rely upon him, 
or trust him to accomplish the ends of his relations; that 
you trust to him for deliverance from the guilt, and power, 
and punishment of sin, and for quickening, strengthening, 
and preserving grace, and for everlasting life, that you re- 
sign yourselves up to him as his disciples, to learn of him, 



270 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

with a confidence or trust, that he will infallibly teach you 
the way to happiness. And that you also give up your- 
selves to him as his subjects, with a trust that he will govern 
you in truth and righteousness, in order to your salvation, 
and will defend you from destroying enemies. This much 
is of the very being of faith, or the " receiving Christ Jesus 
the Lord ;" and these parts are inseparable ; he that hath 
one in truth, hath all. Whenever we find in Scripture, the 
promise of justification or salvation made to us, if we be- 
lieve, it is this believing, and none but this, that is intended. 
It is not only believing in Christ as a sacrifice or priest, 
that is the faith which justifieth, and believing in him as a 
Teacher or Lord, that sanctifieth : the effects are not thus 
parcelled out to several essential parts of this same faith ; 
but it is this one entire faith in all these essential parts, that 
is the undivided condition of all these benefits ; and in that 
way of a condition of the free promise it doth procure them. 
So much for the meaning of the first words, " Receiving 
Christ Jesus the Lord." I will be briefer about the next. 
The second, is, " walking in him," which is no more but 
the living as Christians, when once we are become Chris- 
tians, and using that Christ to the ends which we received 
him for, when once we have received him. Two things are 
necessary to such as we, that have lost our way : the first 
is, to get into the right way (and that is to get into Christ, 
who is the way) : the other is to travel on when we are in 
it: for it is not enough to bring us to our journey's end, 
that we have found out the right way. The next word to be 
explained, is, " rooted ;" which doth not intimate that any 
are really planted into Christ, without any rooting in him at 
all ; but by " rooted," is meant, " deeply rooted ;" for the 
roots increase under ground, as well as the tree above ground. 
Rooting hath two ends, and both are here implied : the 
first is for the firmness of the tree, that blustering winds may 
not overturn it. The second is for nutriment, that it may 
receive that nourishment from the earth, which may cause 
its preservation, growth, and fruitfulness . This is the root- 
edness of Christians in Christ, that they may be confirmed 
in him against all assaults, and may draw from him that nu- 
triment that is necessary to their growth and fruit. The 
next term is, " built up in him." No house consisteth of a 
bare foundation. Five things are expressly contained in 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 271 

our being " built up in him." The first is, that we are unit- 
ed or conjoined to him, as the building is on tie founda- 
tion. The second is, that we rest wholly on him as our sup- 
port, as the building doth on the foundation. The third is, 
that we are also conjoined one unto another, and are become 
one spiritual building in the Lord. The fourth is, that the 
fabric doth increase in bigness, as the house doth by being 
built up ; so that it importeth our increase in grace, and the 
increase of the church by us. The fifth is, the fitness of 
the building to its intended ends and use ; till it be built up, 
it is not fit for habitation ; and till Christians are built up, 
God hath not that use of them to which he doth intend them. 
The next term is, " stablished or confirmed in Ihe faith," 
which signifieth but that strengthening and fixing of us that 
may prevent our falling or shaking ; and it compriseth 
these two things : first, that we be soundly bo;tomed on 
Christ, who is our foundation. And secondly, that we 
be cemented and firmly joined to each other. And this 
comprehendeth their stability in the doctrine of faith : 
and therefore he addeth " as ye have been ttught," to 
fortify them against heresies, which indeed areall but no- 
velties ; that so they may know how to try th« doctrines 
that afterwards should be offered them, and stick fast to 
that which the apostles taught. He nextrequireth them to 
"abound therein," to let them know that as it is no small 
matters that they expect by Christ, so they shoild not rest 
in small degrees of grace or duty ; but especialy the duty 
of " thanksgiving," which is an evangelical aid celestial 
duty, and so admirably beseems a people that hive partaken 
of such admirable salvation, and is so suitable toour mercies, 
and our condition, and God's just expectation. As it is 
love and grace, whose eternal praise is desgned by the 
Gospel, and are magnified in the church by the Redeemer's 
great and blessed work : so it is returns of lo'e, and praise, 
and joy, that should be the most abounding «r overflowing 
part of all our Christian affections and performances. After 
this explication, you may see that the sense (f the textlieth 
plain in this proposition. 

Doct. ' Those that have savingly received Christ Jesus 
the Lord, must be so far from resting here as if all were 
done, that they must spend the rest of theirdays in walking 
in him, being rooted and built up in him, aid stablished in 



272 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

the faith as the apostles taught it, and abounding in it, es 
pecially with joyful praises to our Redeemer.' 

And because that my design is only to direct young 
Christians how they may come to be established and con- 
firmed in Christ, I shall therefore pass over all other things 
that the fill handling of this text requireth ; and shall only 
give you, I. A short intimation here, what this confirmation 
and stability is, (which shall be more fully opened to you in 
the Directions). II. And shew you the need of seeking it. 
And III How you may attain it. 

I. This confirmation is the habitual strength of grace, 
distinct f*om present actual confirmation by the influence of 
grace fron God ; for though God may in an instant confirm 
a weak person against some particular temptation, by his 
free assistance, yet that is not it which we have here to speak 
of, but htbitual confirmation in a state of grace. And or- 
dinarily ve may expect, that God's co-operating assisting 
grace should bear some proportion with our habitual grace. 
Even as ii nature he concurreth with the strongest men, to 
do greate* works than he causeth the weak to do ; and with 
the wises; men to understand more than the foolish do : I 
say but trat ordinarily it is thus. 

A conirmed Christian as contrary to a weak one, 1. Is 
not to be Ridged of by his freedom from all scruples, doubts, 
or fears. 2. Nor by his eminency in men's esteem or ob- 
servation. 3. Nor by his strength of memory. 4. Or free- 
dom of utterance in praying, preaching, or discourse. 5. 
Or by his seemly deportment and courtesy towards others. 
6. Nor by lis sedate, calm, and lovely temper, and freedom 
from some haste and heats which other tempers are more 
prone to. 7. Nor by a man-pleasing or dissembling faculty to 
bridle the toigue, when it would open the corruption of the 
mind, and tc suppress all words which would make others 
know how bid the heart is. There are many endowments 
laudable anddesirable, which will not shew so much as sin- 
cerity in grac5 ; and much less a state of confirmation and 
stability. 

But confirnation lieth in the great degree of all those 
graces which constitute a Christian. And the great degree 
appeareth in tie operations of them. As, 1. When holiness 
is as a new nature in us, and giveth us a promptitude to 
holy actions, aid maketh us free and ready to them, and 




FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 273 

niaketh them easy and familiar to us ; whereas the weak go 
heavily, and can scarce drive on and force their minds. 2. 
When there is a constancy or frequency of holy actions ; 
which sheweth the strength and stability of holy inclina- 
tions. 3. When they are powerful to bear down oppositions 
and temptations, and can get over the greatest impediments 
in the way, and make an advantage of all resistance, and 
despise the most splendid baits of sin. 4. When it is still 
getting ground, and drawing the soul upward, and nearer to 
God, its rest and end : and when the heart groweth more 
heavenly and divine, and stranger to earth and earthly things. 
5. And when holy and heavenly things are more sweet and 
delectable to the soul, and are sought and used with more 
love and pleasure. All these do shew, that the operations 
of grace are vigorous and strong, and consequently that the 
habits are so also. 

And this confirmation should be found, 1. In the un- 
derstanding. 2. In the will. 3. In the affections. 4. In 
the life. 

1. When the mind of man hath a larger comprehension 
of the truths of God, and the order, and method, and use- 
fulness of every truth : and a deeper apprehension of the 
certainty of them, and of the goodness of the matter ex- 
pressed in them : when knowledge and faith come nearest 
unto sight or intention, and we have the fullest, the truest, 
and the firmest and most certain apprehension of things re- 
vealed and unseen ; when the nature, and the reasons, and 
the ends and benefits of the Christian religion are all most 
clearly, orderly, decently, constantly and powerfully printed 
on the mind, then is that mind in a confirmed state. 

2. When the will is guided by such a confirmed under- 
standing, and is not brutishly resolved, he knoweth not for 
what or why : when light hath fixed it in such resolutions 
as are past all notable doubtings, deliberations, waverings, 
or unwilling backwardness : and a man is in seeking God 
and his salvation, and avoiding known sin, as a natural man 
is about the questions, Whether he should preserve his life, 
and make provision for it? And whether he should poison, 
or famish, or torment himself? When the inclination of the 
will to God, and heaven, and holiness, are most like to its 
natural inclination to good as good, and to its own felicity : 
and its action is so free as to have least indetermination, and 

VOL. VIII. T 



274 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

to be most like to natural, necessary acts, as those are of 
blessed spirits in heaven : when the least intimation from 
God prevaileth, and the will doth answer him with readiness 
and delight. And when it taketh pleasure to trample upon 
all opposition, and when all that can be offered to corrupt 
the heart, and draw it to sin, and loosen it from God, pre- 
vaileth but as so much filth and dung would do ; Phil. iii. 
7 — 9. This is a confirmed state of will. 

3. When the affections do proceed from such a will, and 
are ready to assist, excite, and serve it, and to carry us on 
in necessary duties : when the lower affections of fear and 
sorrow do cleanse, and restrain, and prepare the way, and 
the higher affections of love and delight adhere to God, and 
desire and hope do make out after him, and set the soul on 
just endeavours ; when fear and grief have less to do, and 
are delivering up the heart still more and more to the pos- 
session of holy delight and love : and when those affections 
which are rather profound than very sensible immediately 
towards God himself, are sensible towards his word, his 
servants, his graces, and his ways, and against all sin ; then 
are the affections, and so the man in a confirmed state. 

4. When ourselves, our time, and all that we have, are 
taken to be God's and not our own, and are entirely and un- 
reservedly resigned to him, and used for him : when we 
study our duty, and trust him for our reward : when we live 
as those that have much more to do for heaven than for 
earth, and with God than with man or any creature : when 
our consciences are absolutely subjected to the authority 
and laws of God, and bow not to competitors : when we are 
habitually disposed as his servants to be constantly employ- 
ed in his works, and make it our calling and business in the 
world; as judging that we have nothing to do on earth, but 
with God, or for God: when we keep not up any secret de- 
sires and hopes of a worldly felicity, nor purvey for the 
pleasure of the flesh under the cloak of faith and piety, but 
subdue the flesh as our most dangerous enemy, and can 
easily deny its appetite and concupiscence : when we guard 
all our senses, and keep our passions, thoughts and tongues, 
in obedience to the holy law : when we do not inordinately 
set up ourselves in our esteem or desire, above or against 
our neighbour and his welfare ; but love him as ourselves, 
and seek his good, and resist his hurt as heartily as our own ; 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 275 

and love the godly with a love of complacence, and the un- 
godly with a love of benevolence, though they be our ene- 
mies : when we are faithful in all our relations, and have 
judgment to discern our duty, that we run not into extremes ; 
and skill, and readiness, and pleasure in performing it, and 
patience under all our sufferings ; this is the life of a con- 
firmed Christian, (in various degrees, as their strength is 
various). 

II. And now I shall proceed to persuade such to value 
and seek this confirmation, lest with dull, unprepared minds 
my following Directions should be lost ; and then I shall give 
you the Directions themselves, which are the part that is 
principally intended. And first for the Motives. 

1. Consider that your first entrance into Christianity is 
an engagement to proceed ; your receiving Christ obligeth 
you to walk and grow up in him. A fourfold obligation 
your very Christianity layeth upon you, to grow stronger, 
and to persevere. (1.) The first is from the very nature of 
it ; even from the office of Christ, and the use and ends to 
which we do receive him. You receive Christ as a Physi- 
cian of your diseased souls ; and doth not this engage you 
to go on to use his medicines till you are cured ? What do 
men choose a physician for, but to heal them ? It were but 
a foolish patient that would say, ' Though my disease be 
deadly, yet now I have chosen the best physician, I have no 
more to do ; I doubt not of recovery.' You took Christ for 
a Saviour, which engageth you to use his saving means, and 
submit to his saving works. You took him for your Teacher 
and Master, and gave up yourselves to be his disciples, and 
what sense was in all this, if you did not mean to proceed 
in learning of him ? It is a silly conceit for any man to think 
that he is a good scholar, merely because he hath chosen a 
good master or tutor, without any further learning of him. 
When Christ sent out his apostles, it was for these two 
works ; first, to disciple nations, and baptize them ; and 
then to go on in teaching them to observe all things whatsoever 
he commandeth them; Matt, xxviii. 19,20. Christ is the 
way to the Father ; but to what purpose did you come into 
this way, if you meant not to travel on in it ? 

(2.) Moreover, when you became Christians, you entered 
a solemn covenant with Christ; and bound yourselves by a 
vow, to be faithful to him to the death : and this vow is upon 



270 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

you. " It is better not to vow, than to vow and not per- 
form;" Eccles.v. 5. In taking him to be the Captain of 
your salvation, and listing yourselves under him, and taking 
this oath of fidelity to him, you did engage yourselves to 
fight as faithful soldiers, under his conduct and command 
to your lives' end. And as it is a foolish soldier that thinks 
that he hath no more to do but list himself and take colours, 
and need not fight ; so it is a foolish and ungodly covenan- 
ter that thinks he hath nothing to do but to promise, and 
may be excused from performance, because that promising 
was enough, when the promise was purposely to bind him 
to perform. 

(3.) Moreover, when you became Christians, you put 
yourselves under the laws of Christ ; and these laws require 
you to go further till you are confirmed ; so that you must 
go on, or renounce your obedience to Christ. 

(4.) Lastly, when you became Christians, you received 
such exceeding mercies, as do oblige you to go much higher 
in your affections, and much further in your obedience to 
God. A man that is newly snatched as from the jaws of 
hell, and hath received the free forgiveness of his sins, and 
is put into such a state of blessedness as we are, must needs 
feel abundance of obligations upon him, to proceed to 
stronger resolutions and affections, and not to stop in those 
low beginnings. So that if you lay these four things toge- 
ther, you will perceive that the very purpose of your receiv- 
ing Christ was that you might walk in him, and be confirm- 
ed and built up. 

2. Consider also, that conversion is not sound if you are 
not heartily desirous to increase. Grace is not true, if there 
be not a desire after more ; yea, if you desire not perfection 
itself. An infant is not born to continue an infant, for that 
were to be a monster ; but to grow up unto manhood. As 
the kingdom of Christ in the world is likened by him to a 
little leaven, and to a grain of mustard-seed, in the beginning, 
which afterward makes a wonderful increase ; so his king- 
dom in the soul is of the same nature too. If you are con- 
tented with that measure of holiness that you have, you have 
none at all, but a shadow and conceit of it. Let those men 
think of this that stint themselves in holiness, and plead for 
a moderation in it, as if it were intemperance or fury to love 
God or fear him, or seek him or obey him, any more than 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 277 

they do ; or as if we were in danger of excess in these. If 
ever these men had feelingly, and by experience known 
what holiness is, they would never have been possessed with 
such conceits as these. 

3. Consider what abundance of labour hath been lost, 
and what hopes have been frustrated, for want of proceeding 
to a rooted confirmation. I say not that such were truly 
sanctified ; but 1 say, they were in a very hopeful way, and 
went far, and by going farther might have attained to salva- 
tion. The heart of many a minister hath been glad to see 
their hearers humbled, and bewailing sin, and changing their 
minds and lives, and becoming forward professors of godli- 
ness ; when a few years' time hath turned all this joy into 
sorrow ; and one of our hopeful, seeming converts doth grow 
cold, and lose his former forwardness ; another falls to des- 
perate sensuality, and turns drunkard, or fornicator, or 
gamester; another turns worldling, and drowneth all his 
seeming zeal in the love of riches, and the cares of this life ; 
and another, (if not many to one,) is deluded by some de- 
ceiver, and infected with some deadly errors, and casts off 
duty, and sets himself, like a hired instrument of hell, to di- 
vide the church, oppose the Gospel, and reproach, and slan- 
der, and rail at the ministers and professors of it, and to 
weaken the hands of the builders, and strengthen the un- 
godly, and serve the secret enemies of the truth. Those 
that once comforted our hearts in the hopes of their conver- 
sion, do break our hearts by their apostacy and subversion, 
and become greater hindrances to the work of Christ, and 
greater plagues to the church of God, than those that never 
professed to be religious. Those that were wont to join with 
us in holy worship, and went up with us to the house of 
God as our companions, do afterwards despise both wor- 
shippers and worship. Whereas if these men had been root- 
ed and confirmed, you should never have seen them fall into 
this misery. O how many prayers, and confessions, and du- 
ties do these men lose ! How many years have some of them 
seemed to be religious, and after all have proved apostate 
miscreants ; and the world, and the flesh, and pride, and er- 
ror swallow up all. See then what need you have to be 
rooted, confirmed, and built up in Christ. 

4. Consider also, how much of the work of your salva- 
tion is yet to do, when you are converted. You have hap- 



*278 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

pily begun, but you have not finished. You have hit of the 
right way, but you have your journey yet to go. You have 
chosen the best commander, and fellow-soldiers, but you 
have many a battle yet to fight. If you are Christians in- 
deed, you know yourselves that you have many a corruption 
to resist and conquer, and many a temptation yet to over- 
come, and many a necessary work to do. And there is a 
necessity of these afterworks as well as of the first. For 
these are the use and end of your conversion, that you may 
" live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, 
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts;" Tit. ii. 11, 12. 
" For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto 
good works, which God hath before ordained that we should 
walk in them;" Eph. ii. 10. And how can infants go through 
all these works ? Which of you would desire an infant or crip- 
ple to be your servant? But though God be in this more 
merciful than man, yet he may well expect that you should 
not be still infants. What work are you like to make him, 
in this decrepid and weak condition? O pitiful blindness ! 
that any man that knows that he hath a soul to save, should 
think an infant's strength proportionable to those works and 
difficulties that stand between him and everlasting life ! In 
the matters of this life, you feel the need and worth of 
strength ; you will not think an infant fit to plough or sow, 
or reap or mow, or travel or play the soldier, and yet will you 
rest satisfied with an infant-strength, to do those great and 
matchless works, which your salvation lieth on ? 

5. Moreover, the weak, unconfirmed souls are usually 
full of trouble, and live without that assurance of God's 
love, and that spiritual peace and comfort, which others do 
possess. One would think no other argument should be 
necessary to make men weary of their spiritual weaknesses 
and diseases, than the pain and trouble that always attend- 
eth them. It is more pain to a sick man to travel a mile, 
than to a sound man to go ten. To the lame or feeble, every 
step hath pain, and all that they do is grievous to them ; 
when far more would be a recreation to one that is in health. 
O therefore delight not in your own languishings ! Choose 
not to live in pain and sorrow ! But strive after confirma- 
tion and growth in grace, that overgrowing your infirmities 
you may overcome your sad complaints and groans, and may 
be acquainted with the comfortable life of the confirmed. O 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 279 

how roundly and cheerfully would you go through your 
work ! How easy, and sweet, and profitable would it prove 
to you, if once you were strong, confirmed Christians ! 
Alas ! the souls of those that are not confirmed, lie open to 
every temptation of the malicious enemy of their peace ; 
and how small a matter will disquiet and unsettle them ! 
Every passage of Scripture which they understand not, and 
which seems to make against them, will disturb them. A 
minister cannot preach so plainly or so cautiously, but 
somewhat which they understand not will be matter of their 
disquiet. Providences will trouble them, because they un- 
derstand them not. Afflictions will be bitter to the mind as 
well as the body, and will immoderately perplex them, be- 
cause they understand them not, or have not strength to bear 
them and improve them. The sweeter mercies of prosperity 
will much lose their sweetness, for want of holy wisdom and 
strength to digest them. And what man would choose such 
a weak and languishing state as this, before a confirmed, 
healthful state ? Will you run up and down for physic when 
you are sick? And will you no more regard the health and 
stability, and spiritual peace and vigour of your souls? 

6. Moreover, it is the strong confirmed Christian that 
hath the true use and benefit of all God's ordinances. Meat 
is digested by the healthful stomach, and it is seen upon 
them ; and we use to say, it is not lost ; it is sweet to 
them, and doth them good, and they are strengthened more 
by it ; and so is the confirmed Christian by God's ordinan- 
ces. But to the weak, unconfirmed soul, how much of the 
means of grace is even as lost ! How little sweetness do 
they find in means, and how little good can they say they 
get by them ! I deny not but some good they get, and that 
they must use them still ; for though the sick have little re- 
lish of his meat, yet he cannot live long without it ; and 
though it breed not strength or health, yet it maintaineth 
that languishing life ; but this is all, or almost all. What 
a sad thing is this to yourselves and unto us, when ministers 
that are as the nurses of the church, or stewards of the house- 
hold, to give them all their meat in due season, must see 
that all that ever they can do for you, will do no more than 
keep you alive ! Yea, how often are you quarrelling with 
your food, and you do not like it : or you cannot get it 
down, something still ails it for matter or manner ; or else if 



280 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

the minister displease you, your feeble stomachs do loath 
the food, because you like not the cook that dresseth it, or 
because his hands are not so clean as you desire. " The 
full soul loathed an honeycomb, but to the hungry every 
bitter thing is sweet ;" Prov. xxvii. 7. Or if you get it down, 
you can hardly keep it, but are ready to cast it up to our 
faces. And thus a great deal of our labour is lost with you, 
holy doctrine lost, and sacraments and other ordinances 
lost, because you have not strength to digest them. Labour 
therefore to be stablished and built up. 

7. 1 beseech you, look upon the face of the world, and 
see whether it have not need of the strongest help. Where- 
as the weak and sick are burdensome to others, rather than 
fit to help the distressed. It is a multitude among us, and 
abroad in the world, that are ignorant and ungodly, and in 
the depth of misery ; and if there be but a few to help them, 
those few should not be babes. Abundance of this multi- 
tude are obstinate in their sin, blind and wilful, captivated 
by the devil, and have sold themselves to do evil : and shall 
such miserable souls as these, have none but children or 
sick folks to help them? I tell you, sirs, their diseases 
prove too hard for the most skilful physicians ; it will put 
the wisest man in England to it, to persuade one obstinate 
enemy of godliness to the hearty love of a holy life ; or to 
cure one old superstitious person of his self-conceitedness ; 
or one covetous person of his love of the world; or one old 
drunkard or glutton of his sensuality. How then will silly, 
ignorant Christians be able to persuade them? I know it is 
not the ability of the instrument, but the will of God that is 
the principal cause; but yet God useth to work by instru- 
ments according to their fitness for the work. What a case 
is that hospital in where all are sick, and no healthful per- 
sons among them to help them ! Poor weak Christians ! 
you are not able much to help one another ; how much less 
to help the dead ungodly world ! Woe to the world if it 
had no better helpers ! And woe to yourselves if you had 
not the help of stronger than yourselves (seeing it is God's 
way to work by means). Alas, a child or sick person is so 
unfit to labour for the family, and to work for others, that 
they are the burdens of the family, and must be provided for 
by others ; they are so unmeet to help others in their weak- 
ness, that they must be carried, or attended and waited on. 



FOR TriEIK ESTABLISHMENT. 281 

themselves. What a life is this to be the burdens of the 
church, when you might be the pillars of the church ; to be 
so blind and lame, when you might be eyes to the blind, and 
feet to the lame. 

I speak not this to extenuate God's mercies to you ; nor 
to undervalue the great felicity of the saints, even the poor- 
est and weakest of them. I know that Christ is tender of 
the weakest that are sincere, and will not forsake them. 
But though you are so far above the dead world, even in the 
bed of your groaning and languishing, yet, O how far are 
you below the confirmed, healthful Christian ? You are 
happy in being alive, but you are unhappy in being so dis- 
eased and weak. You are happy in being of the family, 
and fellow-citizens with the saints ; but you are unhappy 
in being so useless, and unprofitable, and burdensome ; for 
indeed you live but as the poor of the parish, not only on the 
alms of Christ, for so we do all, but on the alms of your 
brethren's assistance and support ; and I know that in world- 
ly matters that you will rather labour with your hands, that 
you may have to give to them that need, than be trouble- 
some to others, and live upon charity ; Eph. iv. 28. 1 know 
that the time is not yet come, that there shall not be a beg- 
gar in Israel ; I mean one that needs not our continual re- 
lief: " the poor we shall have always with us;" even the 
poor in grace to exercise our charity ; and I know that the 
strong must bear with their infirmities, and exercise com- 
passion on them. But yet you should remember the words 
of Christ, " It is more honourable to give than to receive ;" 
and therefore be persuaded to bestir yourselves for spiritual 
health, and strength, and riches, that the multitudes of needy, 
miserable souls may have some help from you; and that when 
they come to your doors, you may not turn them away with so 
cold an answer, ' Alas, we have nothing for ourselves.' 
Were you but strong confirmed Christians, what blessings 
might you be to all about you ; what a stay to the places 
where you live! "Your lips would feed many as a tree of 
life; The ear that heard you would bless you, and the eye 
that saw you would bear you witness ;" Job xxix. 11. You 
would be to poor souls, as bountiful rich men are to their 
bodies, the support and relief of many that are needy. You 
would " not eat your morsels alone, nor would you see any 
perish for lack of clothing, but the loins of the poor would 



282 DIRECTION I T O T H K C N V E R T E D 

bless you ; M Job xxxi. 17 — 20. O pity the poor world, that 
needeth more than children's help, and grow up into confir- 
mation. O pity the poor church that abounds with weak- 
lings, that is pestered with childish self-conceited quarrel- 
ers, and needeth more than children's help ; and grow up to 
a confirmation. O pity yourselves, and live not still in so 
childish, sickly, and beggarly a condition, when the way of 
riches and health is before you ; but up and be doing till you 
have attained confirmation. 

8. Yea, this is not all ; you do not only deny the church 
your assistance, but most of the troubles and divisions of 
of the church, are from such unsettled weaklings as you. 
In all ages almost these have made the church more work 
than the heathen persecutors did with fire and sword. These 
novices, as Paul calleth them, that is, young beginners in 
religion, are they that most commonly are " puffed up with 
pride, and fall into the condemnation of the devil ;" 1 Tim. 
iii. 6. These are they that are easiest deceived by seducers, 
as being not able to make good the truth, nor to confute the 
plausible reasonings of the adversaries ; and withal, they 
have not that rooted love to the truth and ways of God, which 
should hold them fast; and they quickly yield like coward- 
ly soldiers, that are able to make but small resistance. And 
as Paul speaks, they are " like children tossed to and fro, 
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight 
of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to 
deceive;" Eph. iv. 14. If you will still continue children, 
what better can we expect of you, but thus to be tossed and 
carried about. Thus you gratify satan and seducers, when 
you Iitt 1 e think on it: and thus you harden the ungodly in 
their way; and thus you grieve the hearts of the godly, and 
especially of the faithful guides of the flocks. Alas ! that 
so many of the children of the church should become the 
scourges and troublers of the church ; and should set their 
teeth so deep in the breasts that were drawn out for their 
nourishment! If you were never drawn to do any thing to 
the reproach of the church, yet what a grief must it be to 
us, to see so many of yourselves miscarry ! ' Ah !' thinks a 
poor minister, ' what hopes had I once of these professors ; 
and are they come to this V O mark sirs, the apostle's warning, 
Heb.xiii.9. " Be not carried about with divers and strange 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. *283 

doctrines." And his way of prevention is, that the heart be 
established with grace. 

9. Consider also, that it is a dishonour to Christ, that so 
many of his family should be such weaklings ; so mutable, 
and unsettled, and unprofitable as you are ! I do not mean 
that it is any real dishonour to him ; for if all the world 
should forsake him, they would dishonour themselves, and 
not him, with any competent judge : as it would dishonour 
the beholders more than the sun, if all the world should say 
that it is darkness. But you are guilty of dishonouring him in 
the eyes of the misguided world. O what a reproach it is 
to godliness, that so many professors should be so ignorant 
and imprudent ; and so many so giddy and inconstant ; and 
so many that manifest so little of the glory of their holy pro- 
fession ! All the enemies of Christ without the church, are 
not capable of dishonouring him so much as you, that bear 
his name, and wear his livery ! While your graces are weak, 
your corruptions will be strong ; and all those corruptions 
will be the dishonour of your profession. Will it not break 
your hearts to hear the ungodly pointing at you as you pass 
by, to say, ' Yonder goes a covetous professor;' or, ' Yonder 
goes a proud, or a tippling, or a contentious professor?' If 
you have any love to God, and sense of his dishonour, me- 
thinks such sayings should touch you at the heart ! While 
you are weak and unconfirmed, you will, like children, stum- 
ble at every stone, and catch many a fall ; and yield to 
temptations, which the stronger easily resist : and then, be- 
ing scandalous, all your faults by foolish men will be charg- 
ed on your religion. If you do but speak an ill word of 
another, or rail, or deceive, or overreach in bargaining, or 
fall into any scandalous opinions or practice, your religion 
must bear all the blame with the world. Ever since I can 
remember, it hath been one of the principal hindrances of 
men's conversion, and strengtheners of the wicked in their 
way, that the godly were accounted a sort of peevish, un- 
peaceable, covetous, proud, self-seeking persons; which was 
a slander as to many, but too much occasioned by the scan- 
dalousness of some. And methinks you should be afraid of 
that woe from Christ, " Woe be to him by whom offence 
cometh." If you be children, you may have the woe of 
sharp castigations ; and if you be hypocrites, you shall have 
the woe of everlasting sufferings. The world can judge no 



284 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

further than they see. And when they see professors of ho- 
liness to be so like to common men, and in some things 
worse than many of them, what can you expect but that 
they despise religion, and judge of it by the professors of it, 
and say, ' If this be their religion, let them keep it to them- 
selves, we are as well without it as they are with it.' And 
thus will the holy ways of God be vilified through you. If 
you will not excel others in the beauty of your conversa- 
tions, that in this glass the world may see the beauty of 
your religion, you must expect that they should take it but 
for a common thing, which bringeth forth but common fruits, 
to their discerning. You should be such that God may 
boast of, and the church may boast of, to the face of the 
accuser ; then would you be an honour to the church, when 
God may say of you as he did of Job : " Hast thou consi- 
dered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the 
earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, 
and escheweth evil ;" Job i. 8. If we could say so of you to 
the malignant enemies, ' See what men the godly are, there 
is none such among you; men of holiness, wisdom, upright- 
ness, sobriety, meekness, patience, peaceable, and harmless, 
living wholly to God, as strangers on earth, and citizens of 
heaven,' then you would be ornaments to your holy profes- 
sion. Were you such Christians as the old Christians were 
(Acts iv.), we might boast of you then to the reproaching ad- 
versaries. 

10. Moreover, till you are confirmed and built up, you 
may too easily be made the instruments of satan, to further 
his designs. The weakness of your understandings, and the 
strength of your passions, and especially the interest that 
carnal self hath remaining in you, may lay you open to 
temptations, and engage you in many a cause of satan, to 
take his part against the truth. And how sad a case is this, to 
any that have felt the love of Christ ! Have you been warm- 
ed with his wondrous love, and washed with his blood, and 
saved by his matchless mercy ? And may it not even break 
your hearts to think, that after all this, you should be drawn 
by satan to wound your Lord, to abuse his honour, to resist 
his cause, to hurt his church, and to confirm his enemies, 
and gratify the devil ? I tell you with shame and grief 
of heart, that abundance of weak, unsettled professors, 
that we hope have upright meanings in the main, have been 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 285 

more powerful instruments for satan to do his work by, for 
the hindering of the Gospel, the vilifying of the ministry, the 
dividing of the church, and the hindering of reformation, than 
most of the notoriously profane have been ! What excellent 
hopes had we once in England, of the flourishing of piety 
and happy union among the churches and servants of Christ. 
And who hath not only frustrated these hopes, but almost 
broke them all to pieces ? Have any had more to do in it, 
than weak, unstable professors of religiousness ? What sad 
confusion are most parts of England in at this day, by rea- 
son of the breaking of the churches into sects and shreds, 
and the contentions and reproaches of Christians against 
Christians, and the odious abuse of holy truth and ordi- 
nances ! And who is it that doth this, so much as unstable 
professors of piety ? What greater reproach almost could 
have befallen us, than for the adversary to stand by, and see 
men pulling at each others throats ; and hating, and per- 
secuting, and reproaching one another ; and that our own 
hands should pull down the house of God, and tear in pieces 
the miserable churches, while men are striving who shall be 
the master of the reformation. O what a sport is this to the 
devil, when he can set his professed enemies by the ears, and 
make them fall upon one another. When, if he have any 
notable work to do against the church and cause of Christ, 
he can call out unstable Christians to do it ! If he would 
have godliness be scandalized, who hath he to do it but pro- 
fessors of godliness? Some of them to give the scandal, 
and others to aggravate and divulge it. Would he have a 
church divided ? How quickly doth he find a bone of con- 
tention. And who should do it but the unstable members 
of it ? Would he have the truth opposed, and error and 
darkness to be promoted? Who must do it but professors 
of the truth ? Persuade some of them that truth is error, 
and error is truth, and the work will be done. They will fu- 
riously march out against their Master, and think they do 
him service while they are fighting against him, and scorn- 
ing, and shaming, if not killing his servants. Would he 
have public divisions maintained among all the churches of 
the world? It is but possessing the weaker, unstable pas- 
tors and people, with a perverse zeal for mere words and no- 
tions, as if the life of the church did therein consist ; and 
they will be the devil's instruments at a beck, and carry it 






286 DIRECTIONS) TO THE CONVERTED 

perhaps by the major vote ; and all that will not word it as 
they, shall be called heretics, and the church shall have new 
articles added to their faith, under pretence of preserving 
and expounding the old ones. And thus when satan hath 
a work to do, if heathens and infidels cannot do it, it is no 
more but call out Christians to do it. If drunkards and ma- 
lignant enemies cannot do it, it is but calling out some un- 
stable professors of godliness to do it, and possessing the 
more injudicious part of the pastors with some carnal ends, 
or blind consuming zeal. 

O Christians ! in the name of God, as you would avoid 
these devilish employments, labour for confirming, strength- 
ening grace, and rest not in your childish weakness, and 
instability. If you are delivered from satan, and have truly 
renounced him, and tasted the great salvation of Christ, me- 
thinks you should even tremble to consider what a thing it 
would be, if after all this, you should prove, through your 
weakness, so serviceable to the devil, and so injurious to 
your dearest Lord? What ! must those abuse him whom he 
hath redeemed from damnation ? Must those hands be em- 
ployed to demolish his kingdom, that were washed by him, 
and should have built it up ? As if you were like Judas, 
that even now hath his hand with his Master in the dish, 
and presently lifts it up against him ! 

11. Moreover, while you are weaklings and unconfirm- 
ed, you will exceedingly encourage the ungodly in their 
false hopes, by being so like them as you are. When they 
see that you excel them so little, and in many things are as 
bad or worse than they, it strongly persuadeth them that 
their state is as good as yours, and that they may be saved 
as well as others, seeing the difference seemeth to be so 
small. They know that heaven and hell are much unlike, 
and vastly distant ; and, therefore, they will hardly believe 
that they must be thrust into hell, when men that seem so 
little to differ from them must go to heaven. You would not 
believe how it hardeneth them in their sin, when they see 
professors do as bad ! And how it settleth them in presump- 
tion and impenitence to perceive your faults ! When a mi- 
nister hath laboured to make the sins of the ungodly odi- 
ous to him, and to break his heart with the terrors of the 
Lord, O how it quieteth him, and healeth all again, to see 
the like sins, or others as bad, in the professors of religion ! 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 287 

' If these,' saith he, ' may be saved, for all such and such 
sins, what cause have I to fear ?' O wretched, unprofitable, 
scandalous professor ! When we have studied and preach- 
ed for men's conversion many a year, you go and undo all 
that we have done, by the scandal, or levity, or imprudence 
of an hour ! When we have almost persuaded men to be 
Christians, you unpersuade them, and turn them back again, 
and do more harm by the weakness and scandal of your 
lives, than many of us can do good by life and doctrine. 
When we have brought sinners even to the door of life, you 
prove their enemies, and take them out of our hands again, 
and bring them back to their old captivity, doth itnot pierce 
your very hearts to think on it, that ever one soul, much 
more so many, should be shut out of glory, and burn in 
everlasting misery, and you should have a hand in it? Con- 
sider of this, and methinks you should desire confirming 
grace. 

12. And methinks it should be very grievous to you, to 
be so like to the ungodly yourselves, and that satan should 
still have so much interest in you. Holiness is God's image ; 
and doth it not grieve you that you are so little like him ! 
By his grace he keeps possession of you ; and doth it 
not grieve you that God hath no more possession of 
you ; but that satan and sin should so defraud him of his 
own ! Will he condescend to dwell in so low a worm, so 
oft defiled with the dung of his iniquities ; and doth it not 
wound you to think, that even there he should be so strait- 
ened, and thrust into corners, by a hellish enemy, as if that 
simple habitation were too much for him, and that dirty 
dwelling were too good for him ! And as if you grudged 
him so much of the leavings of satan, that had taken up the 
beginning of your days in sin ! 

Your corruption is the very image of the devil, and doth 
it not affright you to think that you should be so like him ! 
You are charged not to be conformed to this world, but to 
be transformed or metamorphosed " by the renewing of your 
mind, that ye may prove what is that good, that acceptable, 
that perfect will of God ;" Rom. xii. 2. And yet will you 
stop in a state so like to those that perish ? He that hath 
the least measure of saving grace, is likest to the children 
of the devil of any man in the world, that is not one of them. 
Seek, therefore, to increase. 



* 



•288 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

13. And I beseech you consider, that your excellency, 
and the glory and lustre of your graces, is one of God's ap- 
pointed means for the honour of his Son, and Gospel, and 
church, and for the conviction and conversion of the unbe- 
lieving world. And, therefore, if you use not these means, 
you rob God and the church of that which is their due, and 
deprive sinners of one of the means of their salvation. You 
are commanded to " let your light so shine before men, that 
they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, 
which is in heaven ;" Mat. v. 16. Christians, be awakened 
in the name of God, to consider what you have to do with 
your graces ! You have the living God to please and ho- 
nour by them ! As the excellency of the work doth honour 
the workman, so must your graces and lives honour God. 
You have the souls of the weak to confirm by your lives, 
and the souls of the ungodly to win by your lives. You 
should all be preachers, and even preach as you go up and 
down in the world, as a candle lighteth which way ever it 
goeth. As we are sent to save sinners, as ambassadors of 
Christ, by public proclamation of his will ; so are you sent 
to save them as his servants and our helpers, and must 
preach by your lives and familiar exhortations, as we must 
do by authoritative instruction. A good life is a good ser- 
mon ; yea, those may be won by your sermons, that will not 
come to ours ; or will not obey the doctrine which they 
hear. Even to women, that must keep silence in the church, 
doth Peter command this way of preaching ; " That if any 
of them have husbands that obey not the word, they may, 
without the word, be won by the conversation of the wives;" 
1 Pet.iii. 1,2. Thousands can understand the meaning of a 
good life, that cannot understand the meaning of a good 
sermon ! By this way you may preach to men of all lan- 
guages, though your tongues had never learnt but one. For 
a holy, harmless, humble life, doth speak in all the lan- 
guages of the world, to men that have eyes to read it. This 
is the universal character and language, in which all sorts 
may perceive you speak the wondrous works of the Holy 
Ghost. I charge you, therefore, Christians, deprive not God 
of the honour you owe him, nor the church, or souls of 
wicked men, of this excellent, powerful help which you owe 
them, by continuing in your weakness, and unsettled minds, 
and spotted lives ; but grow up to that measure that may be 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 289 

fit for such a work. As you durst not silence the preachers 
of the Gospel, so do not dare to silence yourselves from 
preaching by your holy exemplary lives. And alas, do you 
think that feeble, giddy, scandalous professors, are like to 
do any great matters by their lives ? Would you wish the 
poor world to write after such a crooked and blotted copy ? 
Will it win men's hearts to a love of holiness, to talk with a 
Christian that can scarce speak a word of sense for his reli- 
gion? Or to see a professor as greedy for a little gain as 
the veriest worldling that hath no other hope ? Or to hear 
them rail, or lie, or slander ? Or to see them turn up and 
down like a weathercock, according as the wind of tempta- 
tion sits : and to follow every new opinion that is but put 
off with a plausible fervency ? Do you think that men are 
like to be won by such lives as these ? 

14. Do you consider what great things you must make 
account to suffer for Christ ? You must " forsake all that 
you have ;" Lukexiv. 33. You must not save your lives if 
he bid you lose them ; Matt. xvi. 25. You " must suffer 
with him, if you will be glorified with him;" Rom. viii. 17. 
You may be called to " confess Christ before the kings 
or judges" of the earth ; and then, " if you deny him, 
he will deny you," and if you be "ashamed of him he will 
be ashamed of you," (unless you be brought to a better 
state) ; Luke ix. 26. Mark viii. 38. You may be called to 
" the fiery trial," and " to suffer also the spoiling of your 
goods ;" and in a word, the loss of all. And do you think 
that you shall not find use for the strongest graces then ? 
Have you not need to be confirmed, rooted Christians, that 
must expect such storms ? Are infants meet for such encoun- 
ters? Have you not seen how many that seemed strong, have 
been overthrown in a time of trial ? And yet will you stop in 
a weak estate? Perhaps you will say, 'We cannot stand by 
our own strength, and, therefore, Christ may uphold the 
weakest, when the strongest may fall.' To which I answer, 
it is true ; but it is God's common way to work by means, 
and to imitate nature in his works of grace ; and, therefore, 
he useth to root and strengthen those that he will have to 
stand and conquer; yea, and to arm them as well as strength- 
en them, and then to teach them to use their arms. " Fi- 
nally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power 

vol. vni. u 



290 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye 
may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil* For we 
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principali- 
ties, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of 
this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that 
you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having 
done all, to stand ;" Ephes. vi. 10 — 13. You must look 
" when you are illuminated, to endure a great fight of afflic- 
tions ; to be made a gazing- stock both by reproaches and 
afflictions, and to be companions of them that are so used ; 
and, therefore, you have need of patience, that after ye have 
done the will of God, you may receive the promise ;" Heb. 
x. 32, 33. 36. If you will endure, in the time of persecution, 
the word must take deep root in your hearts ; Matt, xiii.5. 
20,21. and you must be founded on a rock, if you look to 
stand in time of storms ; Matt. vii. 24,25. 

In the mean time, it is a fearful thing to see in what a 
wavering condition you seem to stand, like a tree that shakes, 
as if it were even falling, or like a cowardly army, that are 
ready to run before they fight ; and like cowardly soldiers, 
you are still looking behind you, and a small matter trou- 
bleth, and perplexeth, and staggereth you, as if you were 
ready to repent of your repentings. And must God have such 
servants as these, that upon every rumour, or word, or trou- 
ble, are wavering or looking back, and ready to forsake him ? 

15. Consider also, that the same reasons that moved you 
at first to be Christians, should now move you to be con- 
firmed, thriving Christians. For they are of force as well 
for this, as for that. You would not have missed your part 
in Christ for all the world, if indeed you have the least de- 
gree of grace. And if the beginning be good and necessary, 
the increase is neither bad or needless. If a little grace be 
desirable, sure more is more desirable. If it was then but a 
reasonable thing that you should forsake all for Christ and 
follow him, it is sure as reasonable that you should follow 
him to the end, till you reach that blessedness which was 
the end for which at first you followed him. What! Chris- 
tian, hast thou found God a hard master, a barren wilder- 
ness to thee? or his service an unprofitable thing? Say so, 
and I dare say thou art a bastard (to use the apostle's phrase, 
Heb. xii. 8.), and not a Christian. Some trial thou hast 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 291 

made of him. What evil hast thou found in him? or what 
wrong hath he ever done thee, that thou shouldst now begin 
to make a stand, as if thou wert in doubt, whether it be best 
to go further ? If ever Christ were needful, he is needful 
still. And if ever heaven and holiness were good, they are 
good still. And, therefore, go on till thou hast obtained 
more,and forget not the reasons that first persuaded with thee. 

16. Nay, more than so, you have the addition of much 
experience, which should be an exceeding help to quicken 
your affections. When you first repented and came in to 
Christ, you had never had any experience in yourselves of 
his saving, special grace before ; but you came in upon the 
bare hearing and believing of it. But now you have tasted 
that the Lord is gracious, and you have received at his hands 
the pardon of sin, the Spirit of adoption, the hope of glory, 
which before you had not ! You have had many a prayer 
answered, and many a deliverance granted ; and will you 
make a stand when all these experiences do call you for- 
ward? Should not new motives and helps thus added to the 
old, be the means of adding to your zeal and holiness? 
Surely more wages and encouragement, doth bespeak more 
work and diligence. And, therefore, see that you increase. 

17. And most, or many of you have cause to consider 
how long you have been in the family and school of Christ. 
If you are but newly entered, I may well exhort you to in- 
crease, but I cannot reprove you for not increasing. But, 
alas ! what a multitude of dwarfs hath Christ, that are like 
infants at twenty, or forty, or threescore years of age. 
What ! be so many years in his school, and yet be in the 
lowest form. " For when for the time ye ought to be teach- 
ers, you have need that one teach you again which be the 
first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such 
as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every 
one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteous- 
ness ; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them 
that are of full age, that by reason of use have their senses 
exercised to discern both good and evil ;" Heb. v. 12 — 14. 
O poor weak, diseased Christian! hast thou been so many 
years beholding the face of God by faith, and yet art thou 
no more in love with him than at the first? Hast thou been 
so long in making trial of his goodness ? And dost thou 
see it, and savour it no more than in the beginning ? Hast 



292 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

thou been so long under his cure, and art thou no more 
healed than the first year or day ? Hast thou been hearing 
and talking of heaven so long, and yet art thou no more 
heavenly nor ready for heaven? Hast thou heard and talk- 
ed so much against the world and the flesh, and yet is the 
world as high in thee as at first, and the flesh as strong as 
in the beginning of thy profession ? O what a sin and shame 
is this ! And what a wrong to God and thee ! 

Yea, consider here also, what means thou hast had, as 
well as what time ! O who hath gone beyond thee for pow- 
er, and plenty, and purity of ordinances ! Or at least how 
few ! Surely few parts of all the earth are like to England, 
for the showers of heaven, and the riches of the precious 
ordinances of God. You have sermons till you can scarce 
desire more ! And that so plain, that men can scarce tell 
how to speak plainer; and so earnest, as if the servants of 
Christ would take no nay ; even almost as if they must pe- 
rish if you perished. You have as frequent, as plain, as 
powerful books. You have the warnings and examples of 
the godly about you. And what yet would you have more ? 
And should a people thus fed be dwarfs continually? Is 
ignorance, and dullness, and earthliness, and selfishness ex- 
cusable after all these means? Surely, sirs, it is but just 
that God should expect you all to be giants ! Even heaven- 
ly, grown, confirmed Christians. Whatever others do, it 
should be so with you. 

18. And methinks it should somewhat move you to con- 
sider how others have thriven in less time, and by smaller 
means by far than you have had ! And how some of your 
neighbours can yet thrive by the same means that you so 
little thrive by. Job, that was so magnified by God himself, 
had not such means as you. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, 
had none of them all such means as you ! " Many prophets 
and righteous men have desired to see those things that you 
see, and have not seen them ; and to hear those things 
which ye hear, and have not heard them ;" Matt. xiii. 17. 
Though John the Baptist was greater than any of the pro- 
phets, yet the least of you that are in the Gospel kingdom, 
are greater than he in respect of means. As the times 
of the Gospel have far clearer light, and give out greater 
measures of grace, so the true genuine children of the Gos- 



FOK THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 293 

pel should (taking them one with another) be far more con- 
firmed, strong, and heavenly, than those that were under the 
darker and scantier administrations of the promise. 

And do you not see and hear how far you are outstripped 
by many of your poor neighbours, that are as low in natural 
parts, and as low in the world, and the esteem of men as 
you. How many (in this place I dare boldly speak it) do 
shine before you in knowledge, and meekness, and patience, 
and a blameless, upright life : in fervent prayers, and a hea- 
venly conversation ! Men that have had as much need to 
look after the world as you, and no longer time to get these 
qualifications ; and no other means but what you have had, 
or might have had, as well as they. And now they shine as 
stars in the church on earth, while you are like sparks, if not 
like clods. I know that God is the free disposer of his 
graces ; but yet he so seldom faileth any (even in degrees) 
that be not wanting to themselves, that I may well ask you, 
why you might not have reached to some more eminency, as 
well as these about you, if you had but been as careful and 
industrious as they. 

19. Consider also, that your holiness is your personal 
perfection, and that of the same kind you must have in glo- 
ry, though not of the same degree. And, therefore, if you 
be not desirous of its increase, it seems you are out of love 
with your souls, and with heaven itself. And when you 
cease to grow in holiness, you cease to go on any further to 
salvation. If you would, indeed, yourselves, be perfect and 
blessed, you must be perfected in this holiness, which must 
make you capable of the perfect fruition of the most holy 
God, and capable of his perfect love and praise. There is 
no heaven without a perfection in holiness. If, therefore, 
you let fall your desires of this, it seems you let fall your 
desires of salvation. Up then, and be doing, and grow as 
men that are growing up to glory ; and if you believe that 
you are in your progress to heaven, being nearer your salva- 
tion than when you first believed, see then that you make a 
progress in heavenlymindedness, and that you be riper for 
salvation than when you first believed. How ill doth it be- 
come men to make any stand in the way to heaven, especi- 
ally when they have been in the way so long, that we might 
have expected before this they should have been, as it were, 
almost within sight of it. 



294 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

20. Consider also, that little grace, little glory ; and 
the greater measure of holiness, the greater measure will you 
have of happiness. I know that the glory of the lowest 
saint in heaven will be exceedingly great ; but doubtless the 
greatest measure is unspeakably the most desirable. And 
as it will not stand with the truth of grace for a man to be 
satisfied with a low degree of grace, though he plead the 
happiness of the lowest Christian, and his own unworthiness 
of the least degree ; so, at least, it ill beseems an heir of 
glory to desire but the lowest degree of glory, though he 
plead the happiness of the lowest saint in heaven, and his 
own unworthiness of the lowest place. For he that will be 
so content with the smallest glory, as not to have hearty 
desires of more, is accordingly content to have in himself 
the smallest measure of the knowledge and love of God, and 
to be loved in the smallest measure by him ; and to have the 
least enjoyment of him ; and to bear the smallest part in his 
praises, and in pleasing and glorifying him for ever. For 
all these things are our happiness itself. And how well this 
agreeth with a gracious frame of mind, I need not any fur- 
ther tell you. 

But because some make question of it, whether the de- 
gree of glory will be answerable to the degree of holiness, I 
shall prove it in a few words. 

(1.) It is the very drift of the parable of the talents in 
Matt. xxv. He that had gotten most by improvement, was 
made ruler proportionably over most cities. Not he that 
had been at the greatest bodily labour in religion, nor every 
one that had passed the greatest sufferings ; but he that had 
got most holiness to himself, and honour to God by the im- 
provement of his talents, and so had doubled them. 

(2.) The degrees of holiness hereafter will be divers, as 
are the degrees of holiness here ; for as men sow, they will 
reap ; and there is no promise in Scripture, that men that die 
with the smallest holiness shall be made equal to them that 
died with the greatest holiness. And that the greatest holi- 
ness hereafter, must have the greatest happiness, is past de- 
nial. For, [1.] Holiness in heaven is an essential part of 
the felicity itself. It is the perfection of the soul. [2.] The 
use of it is for perfect fruition, and perfect exercise of love 
and praise; which are the other parts of glory. And God 
will not give men powers, capacities, and dispositions inhea- 



FOK THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 293 

ven which shall be in vain; as he giveth hungering, and thirst- 
ing, and love, so will he give proportionable satisfaction, and 
not tantalize his servants in their blessedness, and leave a 
part of hell in heaven. [3.] And holiness is pleasing to God 
in its own nature ; and, therefore, the greatest holiness will 
most greatly please him ; and he that most pleaseth God, 
hath the greatest glory. These things are plain. 

(3.) Moreover, we have great reason to conceive of the 
state of the glorified, in some congruency with the rest of 
the workmanship of God. But in all the rest there is a dif- 
ference or imparity ; therefore we have reason to think it 
is so here. On earth there are princes and subjects in the 
commonwealth ; and pastors and people in the churches, 
and several degrees among the people as to gifts and com- 
forts. Among the devils there are degrees ; and among the 
angels themselves there are principalities and powers, and 
thrones and dominions. And why then should we imagine 
that the heavenly Jerusalem shall not be so too ? 

(4.) And Christ plainly intimateth that there is a place, 
" on his right hand, and on his left, to give," in that king- 
dom, though, as the Son of Man, he had not the principal 
disposal of it. (And then the kingdom must be delivered 
to the Father, and God be all in all ; and, therefore, the 
Mediator as such have somewhat less to do, than now.) 
And when Christ telleth us of Lazarus in Abraham's bo- 
som, and of many from the east and west sitting down with 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he intimateth to us, that every 
place in heaven is not so high as Abraham's bosom, nor a 
sitting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So that I take it 
as a plain revealed truth, that divers degrees of holiness will 
have divers degrees of glory hereafter. 

The chief argument to the contrary is fetched from the 
parable of the labourers, that coming in at several hours, re- 
ceived every one a penny. But this is misunderstood. For 
here is not a word in it contrary to our assertion. The parable 
only saith that, ' Glory shall not be proportioned to the time, 
but they that come later shall have never the less for that/ 
which is nothing to our question about the degrees of holi- 
ness. For many that are first in time may be least and last 
in holiness ; and many that are last in time, may in that lit- 
tle time come to be best and greatest in holiness, and con- 
sequently in glory. The parable in Matt. xxv. shews that 



296 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

God will give different degrees of glory, according to the 
difference in improvement of our talents. And the other 
parable shews that he will not give out his glory according 
to men's time and standing in the church, seeing a weaker 
Christian may be of longer standing, and a stronger of a 
later coming in. And what shew of discord is there be- 
tween these ? 2. And yet it is doubtful in the judgment of 
good expositors, whether the parable of the penny do speak 
of heaven at all or not ; and whether it speak not only of 
the vocation of the Gentiles, and taking them into the Gos- 
pel church in equality with the believing Jews : though the 
Jews being God's ancient people, had been longer in the 
vineyard, and the Gentiles were called but at the eleventh 
hour, yet God will make the Gentiles equal in the grace of 
vocation, because in this he hath not engaged himself, but 
may do with his own as he list. Whichever of these two is 
the thing intended in the text, or possibly both, it is certain 
that this general is the sum of the parable, That the first may 
be last, and the last first ; that is, that God will not give 
men the greatest reward that were first called. But he ne- 
ver said that he would not reward them most, that had done 
him the truest service, and were highest in holiness. 

Object. But the reason is, ' May I not do as I will with 
my own.' True, but you must remember what it is a rea- 
son of; even of the cause in question, and may not by you 
be extended to other causes without a warrant. You never 
read that he equally pardoneth the believer and the unbe- 
liever, or saveth the regenerate and the unregenerate, and 
then gives this reason of it, ' May I not do as I will with my 
own.' For this can be no reason for any thing which he 
hath revealed that he will do. Prove first that he will not do 
it,and then bring your reasons why ; butnotbefore. So that 
it extendeth not to the case of different glory upon different 
degrees of holiness ; for this he hath revealed that he 
will do. 

So much (and perhaps too much) to satisfy the doubtful. 
Now I desire to return to the dull and languishing Christian, 
and beseech him to remember what a difference there will 
be between one saint and another in glory ! And O who 
would not aspire after the highest measure of holiness, in 
hope of a high degree of glory? Christian, hadst thou not 
infinitely rather love God with the greatest love than with a 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 297 

less, and be beloved again with the greatest of his love? I 
mean, by partaking of the greatest effects of it, and the full- 
est sense of his everlasting favour. Remember this, and 
sure it will persuade thee to gird up thy loins, and run as for 
the incorruptible crown, and press on to the mark for the 
price of the high calling, and not to sit down with weak be- 
ginnings, especially when the way is so sweet as well as the 
end ; and the greatest holiness hath here also the greatest 
spiritual reward ; and is attended with the greatest peace 
and joy (in the ordinary course of God's dispensations). 
And when all the knocks, and falls, and cries of Christians 
in this life, proceed from the childish weakness of their spi- 
rits : and almost all the woes and calamities that attend us, 
our shames, our pains, our contentions and divisions, and 
the lamentable difficulty (that seems an impossibility) of 
healing them, or preventing more, all is from the corruptions 
that are the companions of our weakness. And could we 
but grow up to a manhood of understanding, humility, meek- 
ness, self-denial, and the love of God in Christ, and of one 
another, we might then have some hope of the cure of all. 
Alas ! that men that are so sensible of the difference between 
a weak body and a strong, a sick and a sound, a child and 
a man, an idiot and a man of wisdom, though all of them 
have human nature, should yet be so little sensible of the 
great difference between a weak Christian and a strong, a 
sick and a sound (comparatively sound), a childish and a 
manly, wise, confirmed Christian ! Did you well know the 
difference, you would shew us that you make a greater mat- 
ter of it. 

And now, Christian leader, I entreat thee soberly to con- 
sider of these twenty motives, whether they do not shew 
thee reason enough to move thee to look after higher things, 
and not to stay in an infancy of holiness. It is a blessed 
mercy I confess, that God hath given thee a true conversion, 
and the smallest measure of the heavenly life. I do not move 
thee to undervalue it. Nay, I am blaming thee for under- 
valuing it. For if thou didst not undervalue it, thou wouldst 
earnestly desire more. Thou hast cause to bless God to all 
eternity, and to all eternity thou shalt bless him, for making 
thee a new creature, even a living member of his Son. And 
I know that thy condition is unspeakably better than the 
greatest prince's or emperor's upon the earth, that is void of 



298 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

holiness. I know that thou hast still ground of exceeding 
consolation. I am not taking thy comforts from thee. I 
know God despiseth not the day of small things : and 
that Christ will not " quench the smoking flax, nor break 
the bruised reed," nor cast off the poorest infants of his fa- 
mily, or lose any one of the lambs of his flock. But yet for 
all this I must tell thee, that there is a great deal of differ- 
ence in excellency, and strength, and comfort, and happi- 
ness, between one sanctified person and another. And if 
thou be so apt to be over-covetous of worldly riches, where 
God forbiddeth it, and limiteth thy desires, and where there 
is no such necessity or excellency to entice thee, why 
shouldst thou not cherish that holy covetousness which God 
expressly commandeth thee ? " Covet earnestly the best 
gifts ;" and which he hath promised a blessing to. " Bless- 
ed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, 
for they shall be filled ;" Matt. v. 6. This is not spoken of 
them that have no righteousness, but of them that have it, 
and fain would have more. For 1. There is no such pro- 
mise made to any that are short of saving faith. It is not 
any common grace that God makes this promise to, but a 
special grace. And 2. It is evident that no man can thus 
hunger and thirst after righteousness without righteousness; 
for even this hungering and thirsting is a degree of true 
sanctification. You would not take up with a cottage or 
smoky cabin if you could have a palace ; nor with dry 
bread if you could lawfully have plenty ; nor with a torn or 
threadbare coat, if you could have better ; nor with a poor, 
laborious, toilsome life, in disgrace, and the reproach of men, 
if you could have honour, and ease, and abundance. And 
yet will you take up with so poor a stock of holiness, and 
so dark a mind, and small a measure of heavenly light, and 
so cold a love to God and glory, and so barren and common 
a kind of life? God hath commanded you, "That having 
food and raiment, you should therewith be content;" but he 
never commanded you that being once converted and made an 
infant in grace, you should therewith be content. So con- 
tent you must be as not to murmur ; but not so content as 
not to desire more. 

You can see the difference, I doubt not, in others, be- 
tween a little grace and more : O that you would but see 
this for yourselves ! If you have a froward wife, or husband, 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. '2V9 

or child, that hath a harsh and passionate nature, and hath 
so much grace only as to lament this when they are calmed, 
and to strive against it, but not to forbear the often exercise 
of it ; though such a nature may be pardoned to the peni- 
tent, yet it may prove such a thorn in your own side, and 
such a smoke or continual dropping in your house, as will 
make you weary of it. I have oft known men that had 
wives of so much folly, and passion, and unruliness of 
tongue, that yet they hoped had some saving grace, that 
made them weary of their lives, and wish that they had 
met with a gentle nature. And methinks you should know 
that corruption in yourselves is much more dangerous and 
hurtful to you than any that can be in wife or husband ; and 
should be much more offensive, and wearisome, and grievous 
to you. It is a desperate sign of a bad heart, that can bear 
with corruption in themselves, and cannot bear with it in 
wife or husband, or those that do them wrong by their cor- 
ruptions. If weakness of grace do leave your nearest friends 
thus liable to wrong and abuse you, and this trouble you ; 
consider that your own weakness leaves you liable to far 
greater and ofter offences against God, and this should 
trouble you much more. 

Let me give you another instance : if you have a pastor 
that is truly godly, and yet is so weak that he can scarce 
speak with any understanding or life the message that he 
should deliver, and withal is indiscreet, and as scandalous 
as will stand with grace ; what good is this man like to do 
for all his godliness ? At least you will soon see a lamen- 
table difference between such an one and a judicious, con- 
vincing, holy, heavenly, powerful, and unspotted man. O 
what a blessing is one to the place, and the other may be a 
grievous judgment, and you would be ready to run away 
from his ministry. Why, sirs, if there be so great a diffe- 
rence between pastor and pastor, where both have grace, 
methinks you should see what a difference there is also be- 
tween people and people, even where all have grace. For 
truly poor ministers find this to their sorrow in their people, 
as well as you can find it in them. Some ministers have a 
staid, confirmed, judicious, humble, meek, self-denying, 
teachable, peaceable, and experienced people : and these 
walk comfortably, and guide them peaceably, and labour 
with them cheerfully ; and O what beauty and glory is upon 



300 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

such assemblies, and what order, and growth, and comfort 
is among them ! But, alas ! how many ministers have a 
flock (even of those that we hope are godly) that grieve 
them by their levity, or weary them by their unteachable ig- 
norance or self-conceitedness, or hinder their labours by 
errors and quarrels, and perverse opposition to the truths 
which they do not understand? So that there is a great 
difference between people and people that are godly. 

Brethren, it is far from the desire of my heart, to cast 
any unjust dishonour upon saints, much less to dishonour 
the graces of God in them. No, I take it rather for an ho- 
nour to that immortal spark, that it can live among its 
enemies and not be conquered, and in the waters of corrup- 
tion, and not be quenched. But yet I must take up a just 
complaint, that few of us answer the cost of our redemption 
and the provisions of God ; or are near such a people as 
our receivings or professions require we should be. It is 
one of the most grievous thoughts that ever came to my 
heart, to observe how the lives of the greatest part of pro- 
fessors do tend to dishonour the power and worth of grace 
in the eyes of the world, and that the ungodly should see 
that grace doth make no greater a difference, and do no 
more upon us than it doth. Yea, it is a sore temptation 
oftentimes to believers, to see that grace doth no more in the 
most; but that so many are still a shame to their profession. 

I must confess that I once thought more highly of pro- 
fessors as to the measure of their grace, than experience now 
will suffer me to think. Little did I think that they had 
been so unstable, so light, so ignorant, so giddy, as to follow 
almost any that do but whistle them. What a dreadful 
sight it is to see, how quickly the most odious heresies do 
infect and destroy even multitudes of them, and that in a 
moment, as soon as they appear ! The grossest mists of the 
bottomlesspit are presently admired as the light of God. 

If a church- divider do but arise, how quickly doth he 
get disciples. 

If a Papist have but opportunity, he will lightly catch 
some as oft as he doth cast his net. If he cannot prevail 
barefaced, it is but putting on the visor of some other sect. 

Even the odious heresies of the Quakers themselves, and 
their railings, which an honest pagan would abhor, do pre- 
sently find entertainment with professors ; and let the matter 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 301 

or manner be never so senseless, yet is it accepted if it be 
but zealously put off. O who would have thought that our 
people that seemed godly should be so greedy of the devil's 
baits as to catch at any thing, yea, and to devour the bare 
hooks ! O who would have thought that so many that 
seemed lovers of God, would so readily believe every de- 
ceiver that speaks against him, if he can but do it with a 
pious pretence. 

Yea, if Seekers themselves do but cast in their objections, 
how many of our people are presently at a loss, and their 
faith is muddied, and they are to seek for a ministry, and to 
seek for a church, and to seek for ordinances, and to seek 
for a Scripture, even for the Gospel itself; and therefore it 
is like they are to seek for a Christ, or to seek for a religion, 
if not to seek for God, and for a heaven. 

O sad day ! that ever these things should come to pass, 
and that we are forced to utter them, having no possibility 
of concealing them from the world. Were these men con- 
firmed and stablished in the faith ? Were these men rooted 
and built up in Christ ? Alas, sirs, if any deceivers come 
among us, how few of our people are able to withstand them, 
and defend the truth of God against them ! But they are 
caught up by the devil's falconer, as the poor chickens by 
the kite, except those that fly under the wings of a judicious, 
settled minister. 

If an Anabaptist assault their baptism, how few of them 
can defend it. And, silly souls, when they find themselves 
nonplused, they suspect not their own unfurnished under- 
standings, or inexperienced, unsettled hearts, but suspect 
the truth of God, and suspect their teachers, be they never 
so far beyond them in knowledge and holiness ; as if their 
teachers had misled them, whenever these unprofitable in- 
fants are thus stalled. 

If a Papist be to plead his cause with them, how few have 
we that can answer them ! 

If an infidel should oppose the Scripture, or Christ him- 
self, how few among us are able to defend them, and so- 
lidly give proof either of the truth of Scripture, or of the 
faith that they do profess ! 

And this is not all (though it is a heart-breaking case) 
but even in their practice, alas ! what remissness and what 
corruptions do appear ! How few in secret do keep any 



302 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

constant watch upon their hearts, and fear and abhor the 
approach of an evil thought ! Nay, how few are they that 
do not leave their fancy almost common, and ordinarily even 
feed on covetous, proud, malicious, or lustful thoughts, and 
make no great matter of it, but live in it from day to day ! 
How few do keep up life and constancy in secret prayer or 
meditation ! How few are the families where the cause, and 
worship, and government of Christ are kept up in life and 
honour, and where all is not dissolved into a little weary, 
disordered, heartless performance ! 

Look into our congregations, and judge but by their very 
looks, and carriage, and gestures, how many even of those 
that we think the best, do so much as seem to be earnest and 
serious in prayer and praise, when the church is upon that 
work ! Though it be the highest and noblest part of wor- 
ship, and should be done with all the heart and might, and 
with a participation of a kind of angelical reverence, devo- 
tion and spirituality ; and if it were so, we should see it by 
some of the signs of reverence and affection : yet, alas ! when 
we think the best of them should be striving with God, or 
rapt up in his praises, they do but hear us pray as they hear 
us preach, and think they have done fair to give us the hearing. 
They sit on their seats in prayer, or use some crooked, lean- 
ing gesture, perhaps looking up and down about them, per- 
haps half asleep ; but few of them with eyes, and hands, and 
hearts lifted up to heaven, do behave themselves as if they be- 
lieved that they had so nearly to do with God. I know re- 
verent gestures may easily be counterfeited ; but that shews 
that they are good, when hypocrites think them a fit cover 
for hypocrisy, for they use not to borrow credit from evil, 
but from some good to be a cover to the evil : and it leaveth 
the neglects of the godly more inexcusable, when they will 
not go so far herein as hypocrites themselves, nor by their 
behaviour in a public ordinance, so much as seem to be se- 
riously employed with God. 

And if we try the graces or obedience of professors, alas, 
how small shall we find them in the most ! How little are 
most acquainted with the life of faith ! How little do they 
admire the Redeemer and his blessed work ! How unac- 
quainted are they with the daily use and high improvement 
of a Saviour, for access to God, and support and corrobora- 
tion of the soul, and for conveyance of daily supplies of 



FOR THfclR ESTABLISHMENT. 303 

grace, and help against our spiritual enemies ! How few are 
they that can rejoice in tribulation, persecution, and bodily 
distresses, because of the hopes laid up in heaven ; and that 
can live upon a promise, and comfortably wait on God for 
the accomplishment ! How few that live as men that are 
content with God alone, and can cheerfully leave their flesh, 
and credit, and worldly estate to his disposal, and be con- 
tent to want or suffer when he sees it good for them ! What 
repinings and troubles possess our minds if the flesh be not 
provided for, and if God do but cross us in these worldly 
things ; as if we had made our bargain with him for the 
flesh, and for this world, and had not taken him alone for 
our portion? How few can use prosperity in riches, and 
health and reputation, with a mortified, weaned, heavenly 
mind ! Nay, how few are there that do not live much to 
the pleasure of the flesh, and pamper it as indulgently un- 
der the appearance of temperance and religion, as others do 
in grosser ways ! Do but try the godly themselves by plain 
and faithful reproof of their corruptions, and see how many 
of them you will find, that will not excuse them and take 
part with the enemy, and be offended with you for your 
close reproof. If any of them be overtaken with a scanda- 
lous fault, and the pastors of the church shall call them to 
open confession, and expression of repentance, though you 
would little think a penitent man should once stick at this, 
and refuse to do any thing that he can do, to repair the ho- 
nour of God and his profession, and to save the souls of 
others whom he hath endangered, yet how many will you 
find, that will add a wilful obstinacy to their scandal, and 
will deliberately refuse so great, and clear, and necessary a 
duty : so great is the interest of self and flesh in them, and 
consequently so little of Christ, that they will live in impe- 
nitency in the eye of the church, and venture on the high 
displeasure of God, come on it what will, and resist the ad- 
vice of their best, and wisest, and most impartial friends, 
rather than they will so far deny themselves as to make such 
a free and faithful confession. They are many of them so 
much for holy discipline, that they are ready to fall out with 
church and ministers, and to be gone to a purer society, be- 
cause it is not exercised : but on whom ? On others only, 
and not upon them. When they need discipline themselves, 
how impatient are they of it, and how do they abhor it, and 



304 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

what a stir do they make before they will submit ; even 
more sometimes than a drunkard or a swearer ; so small is 
their repentance and detestation of their sin ; whereby they 
shew that their zeal for discipline and reformation, is much 
out of pride, that others may be brought to stoop, or be cast 
out from them ; and not out of a sincere desire to have the 
refining and humbling benefit of it themselves. 

And if any among them be either faulty or reported so 
to be, who is forwarder than many professors of godliness, 
to backbite them, and speak of their faults when they can- 
not hear, nor answer for themselves, nor receive any benefit 
by it; and if another that hates backbiting, do but reprove 
them, they will slander him also for a defender of men's sin ! 
But when they should go in Christ's way, and tell men of 
their faults, and draw them to repentance, and if they hear 
not, take two or three, and speak to them again, how hardly 
can you draw them to the performance of this duty, what 
shifts and frivolous excuses have they then ! Nay, they will 
reproach the church or minister for not casting such out, or 
not keeping them from communion, before they have done, 
or will be persuaded to do these duties that must go before. 

Alas, how little hearty love is there to Christ in his mem- 
bers, even in them that are confident they love the brethren ! 
How few will do or suffer much for them, or relieve them in 
their want, as suffering with them ! How small a matter, a 
word, a seeming wrong or disrespect, will turn their love into 
estrangedness or bitterness ; if they be tried by an ill word, 
or a wrong, how touchy, and frovtard, and impatient do they 
appear ; and it is well if they prove not downright malicious, 
or return not reviling for reviling. 

Alas, how much pride prevaileth with many that seem to 
go far in the way of piety ! How wise are they in their own 
conceits! How able to judge of controversies, and how 
much wiser than their teachers, before they can give a good 
account of the catechism or fundamental truths ! How well 
do they think of themselves and their own parts and per- 
formances ; how ill do they bear disesteem or undervaluing; 
and they must needs be noted for somebody in the world ! 

How worldly, and closehanded, and eager of gain, are 
many that say they despise the world, and take it for their 
enemy ; if any duty be cross to their profit or credit with 
men, how obstinate are they against it ; and such interest 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 305 

hath the flesh in them, that they will hardly believe that it 
is their duty. 

How censorious are they of others, especially that differ 
from them in lesser things ; and how unapt to judge them- 
selves. O how few are the Christians that are eminent in 
humility, meekness, and self-denial ; that are content to be 
accounted nothing, so that Christ may be all, and his ho- 
nour may be secured ; that live as men devoted to God, and 
honour him with their substance, and freely expend, yea, 
study for advantages, to improve all their riches and interest 
to his service. How few are they that live as in heaven up- 
on earth, with the world under their feet, and their hearts 
above with God their happiness ; that feel themselves to live 
in the workings and warmth of love to God, and make him 
their delight, and are content with his approbation whoever 
disapproveth them ; that are still groaning, or reaching and 
seeking after him, andlong to be with him, to be rid ofsin, and 
see his blessed face, and live in his perfect love and praises ; 
that love and long for the appearance of Jesus Christ, and can 
heartily say, " Come Lord Jesus, come quickly." How few 
are they that stand in a day of trial ; if they are tried but with 
a foul word ; if tried but with any thing that toucheth their 
commodity ; if tried but with the emptiest reasonings of de- 
ceivers; much more if they be tried with the honours and 
greatness of the world, how few of them stand in trial, and 
do not fail and forget themselves, as if they were not the 
men that they seemed to be before ! What then would they 
prove if they were tried by the flames ? 

Mistake me not in all this sad complaint ; as I intend 
not the dishonour of godliness by this, but of ungodliness, 
(for it is not because men are godly that they have these 
faults, but because they are not godly more.) So here is no 
encouragement to the unsanctified to think themselves as 
good as the more religious, because they are charged with 
so many faults. Nor do I affirm all these things to be con- 
sistent with true grace that I have here expressed ; but only 
this, that professors that seem godly to others, are thus too 
many of them guilty ; and those that have true grace may 
have any of these faults in a mortified degree, though not in 
a reigning, predominant measure. 

But methinks sirs, you should by this time be convinced 

VOL. VIIT. X 



306 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

and sensible, how much we dishonour God by our infirmi- 
ties ; and what a lamentable case it is that the church should 
consist of so many infants ; and so many should be so little 
serviceable to God or the common good, but rather be trou- 
blers of all about them. Alas, that we should reach no 
higher, that yet no greater things should be attained ! O 
what an honour would you be to your profession, and what 
a blessing to the church, if you did but answer the cost and 
pains of God and man, and answer the high things that you 
have been acquainted with and profess. O that we could 
but boast of you as God did of Job, and could say to satan 
or any of his instruments, ' Here be Christians rooted and 
stablished in the faith ; try whether you can shake them or 
make them stagger, and do your worst. Here is a man 
eminent in meekness, and humility, and patience, and self- 
denial; discompose and disturb his mind if you can ; draw 
him to pride, or immoderate passion, or censoriousness, or 
uncharitableness if you can. Here are a people that are in 
unity, and knit together in faith and love ; of one heart, and 
one soul, and one lip ; do your worst to divide them, or 
break them into parties, or draw them into several minds 
and ways, or exasperate them against each other. Here are 
a people established in mortification, and that have crucified 
the flesh with its affections and lusts ; do your worst to draw 
them to intemperance in eating, or drinking, or recreations, 
or any of the delights of the flesh ; or to puff them up by 
greatness or prosperity, and make them forget themselves 
or God. Try them with riches, or beauty, or vain-glory, or 
other sensual delights, and see whether they will turn aside, 
and be ever the less in communion with God, and enticed to 
forget the joy that is set before them, or will not rather des- 
pise your baits, and runaway from alluring objects as their 
0-reatest dangers. Daunt them if you can by threatenings ; 
try them by persecution, by fire and sword, and see whether 
they are not past your shaking, even rooted, confirmed, and 
built up in Christ.' 

O what a glory would you be to your profession, if you 
could attain to this degree ; could we but truly thus boast 
of you, we might say our people are Christians of the right 
strain. But when we must come about you like men in a 
swoon, and can hardly perceive whether you are alive or 
dead, and can scarce discern whether you have any grace or 



MISCARRYING, IN CONVERSION. 307 

none, what a grief is this to our hearts ; what a perplexity 
to us in our administrations, not knowing whether comfort 
or terror be your due : and what a languishing, uncomfor- 
table life is this to yourselves, in comparison of what you 
might attain to ! 

Rouse up yourselves, Christians, and look after higher 
and greater things ; and think it not enough that you are 
barely alive. It is an exceeding righteousness that you 
must have if you will be saved, even exceeding all that the 
unsanctified do attain ; for, " Except your righteousness 
exceed even the righteousness of scribes and Pharisees, you 
shall in no case enter int© the kingdom of heaven ;" Matt. 
v. 20. But it is yet a more exceeding righteousness, that 
you must have if you will be confirmed, built up and abound, 
and would honour your profession, and cheerfully, success- 
fully, and constantly go on in the journey, the race, the war- 
fare that you have begun : you must then exceed yourselves, 
and exceed all the feeble, unstable, wavering, infant Chris- 
tians that are about you : and to persuade you yet further 
to look after this, I shall here annex a few Motives more. 

1. Consider Christian, that it is a God of exceeding, infi- 
nite greatness and goodness that thou hast to do with, and 
therefore it is not small and low matters that are suitable to 
his service. O if thou hadst but a glimpse of his glory, 
thou wouldst say that it is not common things that are meet 
for such a dreadful majesty. Hadst thou but a fuller taste 
of his goodness, thy heart would say, this pittance of love 
and service is unworthy of him. You will not offer the ba- 
sest things to a king, much less to the highest King of kings. 
" If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil ? and if ye 
offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now to thy 
governor ; will he be pleased with thee or accept thy person, 
saith the Lord of hosts?" Mal.i. 8. " But ye have profaned it 
(his great name) in that ye say, the table of the Lord is pol- 
luted, and the fruit thereof, his meat is contemptible : ye 
have said also, what a weariness is it, and ye have snuffed at 
it, saith the Lord of hosts, and ye brought that which was 
torn, and the lame and the sick ; thus ye brought an offer- 
ing. Should I accept this at your hand saith the Lord ? 
But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, 
and voweth and sacrificeth to the Lord a corrupt thing; for 
I am a great king, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is 



308 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

dreadful among the heathen;" verse 12 — 14. If you better 
knew the majesty of God, you would know that the best is 
too little for him, and trifling is not tolerable in his service. 
When Nadab and Abihu ventured with false fire to his altar, 
and he smote them dead, he silenced Aaron with this rea- 
son of his judgment, " I will be sanctified in them that come 
nigh me, and before all the people will I be glorified ;" Lev. 
x. 1 — 3. That is, ' I will have nothing common offered to 
me, but be served with my own holy, peculiar service/ 
When the Bethshemites were smitten dead, fifty thousand 
threescore and ten men of them, they found that God would 
not be dallied with, and cried out, " Who is able to stand 
before this holy Lord God?" lSam.vi.20. 

2. Consider also, it was an exceeding great price that 
was paid for your redemption ; for " you were not redeemed 
with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain 
conversation, received by tradition from your fathers, but 
by the precious blood of Jesus Christ ;" 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. It 
was an exceeding great love that was manifested by God 
the Father, and by Christ in his work of redemption ; such 
as even poseth angels and men to study it and comprehend 
it; IPet.i. 12. Eph. iii. 18, 19. And should all this be 
answered but with trifling from you ? Should such a match- 
less miracle of love be answered with no greater love ? Es- 
pecially when you were purposely "redeemed from all ini- 
quity, that you might be sanctified to Christ a peculiar peo- 
ple, zealous of good works ;" Tit. ii. 14. It being therefore 
so great a price that you are bought with, remember that 
you are none of your own, but must glorify him that bought 
you, in body and spirit; 1 Cor. vi. 20. 

3. Consider also, that it is not a small, but an exceed- 
ing glory, that is promised you in the Gospel, and which 
you live in hope to possess for ever ; and therefore it should 
be an exceeding love that you should have to it, and an ex- 
ceeding care that you should have of it. Make light of 
heaven, and make light of all. Truly it is an unsuitable, un- 
reasonable thing, to have one low thought, or one careless 
word, or one cold prayer or other performance, about such 
a matter as eternal glory. Shall such a thing as heaven be 
coldly or carelessly minded and sought after? Shall the 
endless fruition of God in glory, be looked at with sleepy, 
heartless wishes ? I tell you sirs, if you will bave such high 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 309 

hopes, you must have high and strong endeavours. A slow 
pace becomes not him that travelleth to such a home as this. 
If you are resolved for heaven, behave yourselves accord- 
ingly. A gracious, reverent, godly frame of spirit, pro- 
ducing an acceptable service of God, is fit for them that 
look to receive the kingdom that cannot be moved ; Heb. 
xii. 28. The believing thoughts of the end of all our la- 
bours, must needs convince us that we should be " stead- 
fast and immoveable, always abounding in the work, of 
the Lord j" 1 Cor. xv. 58. O hearken thou sleepy, sloth- 
ful Christian ! Doth not God call, and conscience 
call, ' Awake, and up and be doing, man, for it is for 
heaven!' Hearken thou negligent, lazy Christians ; do not 
God and conscience call out to thee, ' O man, make haste 
and mend thy pace, it is for heaven !' Hearken thou cow- 
ardly faint-hearted Christian ; do not God and conscience 
call out to thee, ' Arm man, and see thou stand thy ground ; 
do not give back, nor look behind thee, but fall on, and 
fight in the strength of Christ ; for it is for the crown of 
endless glory.' O what a heart hath that man, that will not 
be heartened with such calls as these. Methinks the very 
name of God and heaven should awaken you, and make you 
stir, if there be any stirring power within you. Remissness 
in worldly matters hath an excuse, for they are but trifles ; 
but slackness in the matters of salvation, is made inexcusa- 
ble by the greatness of those matters. O let the noble 
greatness of your hopes appear in the resolvedness, exact- 
ness, and diligence of your lives. 

4. Consider also, that it is not only low and smaller mer- 
cies that you receive from God, but mercies innumerable, 
and inestimable, and exceeding great. And, therefore, it is 
not cold affections, and dull endeavours, that you should re- 
turn to God for all these mercies. Mercy brought you into 
the world ; and mercy hath nourished you and bred you up ; 
and mercy hath defended and maintained you, and plenti- 
fully provided for you. Your bodies live upon it : your 
souls were recovered by it : it gave you your being : it res- 
cued you from misery : it saveth you from sin, and satan, 
and yourselves. All that you have at the present, you hold 
by it : all that you can hope for for the future must be from 
it. It is most sweet in quality. What is sweeter to miser- 
able souls than mercy ? It is exceeding great in quantity ! 



310 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

" The mercy of the Lord is in the heavens, and his faithful- 
ness reacheth to the clouds. His righteousness is like the 
great mountains ; his judgments are the great deep ;" Psal. 
xxxvi. 5, 6. " O how great is his goodness which he hath 
laid up for them that fear him ; which he hath for them that 
trust in him before the sons of men ;" Psal. xxxi. 19. " His 
mercy is great unto the heavens, and his truth unto the 
clouds;" Psal. lvii. 10. And O what an insensible heart 
hath he that doth not understand the voice of all this won- 
drous mercy. Doubtless it speaketh the plainest language 
in the world ; commanding great returns from us of love, 
and praise, and obedience to the bountiful bestower of them. 
With David we must say, " Blessed be the Lord, for he hath 
shewed me marvellous kindness in a strong city : O love the 
Lord all ye his saints, for the Lord preserveth all the faith- 
ful;" Psal. xxxi. 21. 23. "Teach me thy way, O Lord; I 
will walk in thy truth. Unite my heart to fear thy name. 
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart ; and 
I will glorify thy name for evermore, for great is thy mercy 
towards me ; and thou hast delivered my soul from the low- 
est hell :" Psal. lxxxvi. 11 — 13. Unspeakable mercies must 
needs be felt in deep impressions, and be so savoury with 
the gracious soul, that methinks it should work us to the 
highest resolutions. Unthankfulness is a crime that hea- 
thens did detest : and it is exceedingly great unthankful- 
ness, if we have not exceeding great love and obedience, 
under such exceeding great and many mercies as we possess. 
5. Consider, that they are exceeding great helps and 
means that you possess, to further your holiness and obedi- 
ence to God . and, therefore, your holiness and obedience 
should also be exceeding great. You have all the book of 
nature to instruct you. Every creature may teach you God, 
and calls loud upon you to persuade your hearts yet nearer 
to him. Every work of disposing Providence is an instruc- 
tor and persuader of you. Every leaf and line of Scripture 
is a guide and spur to you. You have ministers able and 
willing to help you : you have the help of the communion of 
saints : the help of the examples of the good : and the warn- 
ings of the judgments of God upon the wicked. The helps 
of sermons ; the helps of sacraments ; the helps of prayer, 
and holy meditation and conference. Mercies to encourage 
you ; afflictions to excite you. What more would you have? 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. Jill 

And yet will you be infants, and do no more with all your 
helps ? But this I touched upon before. 

6. It is an exceeding great necessity that is upon you. 
And, therefore, your resolutions should be exceeding high, 
and your diligence exceeding great. For all you are con- 
verted, your salvation lieth yet upon your stability and per- 
severance. " Christ hath reconciled you in the body of his 
flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, 
and unreproveable in his sight ; if you continue in the faith 
grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope 
of the Gospel which you have heard ;" Col. i. 22, 23. God 
will not be an accepter of persons ! You must stick to his 
terms if you will partake of his salvation. He will not make 
two words with you. He hath told you what he expecteth 
of you; and that he will have. Death will not be bribed, 
nor put by. Judgment is coming on. There is no shifting 
out of the hands of God. And under such pressing neces- 
sities as these, what Christians should we be ! How stable, 
and abundant in faith and righteousness! 

7. It is a great account that you have to make, and, 
therefore, a great preparation that should be made. When 
you shall be brought before the living God, and all your 
times, and thoughts, and ways, must be called over, and you 
see what follows, and are waiting for the final doom, then 
there will be no dull thoughts in your hearts, all will be then 
lively, and quite above this careless frame. Then even the 
wicked will have strong desires, ' O that we had taken ano- 
ther course ! that we had but prevented this dreadful doom, 
whatever it had cost us !' And should not believers now be 
awakened to great and careful preparations, for such a day 
as this ? 

8. For trifles here are great endeavours used. To climb 
up into honour and riches in the world ; to satisfy the flesh; 
to lay up a treasure on earth, and labour for the meat that 
perisheth. O what endeavours then should be used, for the 
heavenly, everlasting treasure ! 

9. Consider also, how forward and diligent should those 
men be, that are sure they can never go too high, nor be too 
diligent, when they have done their best. Nay, that are 
certain, that the best do come so abundantly short, that they 
must after sit down and lament that they were no better. O 
there is not the holiest saint on earth, but will confess with 



312 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

lamentation, how little his love to God is in comparison 
of what it should be ; how short all falls below our duty, 
below the glorious majesty of God ; below the precious love 
of Christ ; below the worth of precious souls ; below the 
weight of endless glory ; below the mercies that should 
warm our hearts ; below the great necessity that is on us ; 
and consequently below their own desires. Look, there- 
fore, after greater things, while you may attain them. 

10. Lastly, consider what abundance of great engage- 
ments are on you, that are sincere believers, more than upon 
others. 

(1.) You are more nearly related to Christ than any others 
are. And, therefore, you should be more tender of offend- 
ing him, and more eminent in love and service to him. You 
are his household-servants ; and will you not labour for him 
and stick to him ? You are his friends ; and should a friend 
abuse him? should not a friend be faithful? You are his 
dear, adopted children, and his spouse ; and should not 
you be faithful to him to the death ? Should not all the love 
and. service that you have be his ? Isa. i.2,3. Mai. i. 10. 
Gal. v. 4. 

(2.) You have bound yourselves to him by more serious 
frequent vows and covenants than other men have done. 
How many persons, and places, and necessities of yours, can 
witness against you, if you be not firm and forward for the 
Lord. As Joshua said to Israel, " Behold this stone, it shall 
be a witness unto you, lest you deny your God ;" Josh. xxiv. 
27. So I may say, the places where you have kneeled, and 
prayed, and promised, will be witnesses against you, if you 
be not firm to God. The churches that you have assembled 
in, the places you have walked in, in your solitary medita- 
tions ; the persons that have heard your promises and pro- 
fessions ; the world about you that hath seen your forward- 
ness, will all witness against you if you be not firm. 

(3.) It is you that have the life and kernel of mercies ; 
others have but the crumbs that fall from your tables. 
Others have common mercies, but you have the great and 
special mercies that accompany salvation. " All things are 
yours," and should not you be Christ's? 1 Cor. iii. 21,22. 
Of you it is that God is so exceeding tender, that he charg- 
eth your enemies not to touch you, and tells them that 
touch you, that they " touch the apple of his eye ;" Zech. 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 313 

ii. 8. And should not you abound in love and holiness 1 
and should you not be as tender of his favour, and his law, 
and honour, as of the apple of your eye ? Should not he 
that toucheth the name, and law, and honour of God, by 
profaning them by sin, be as one that toucheth the apple of 
your eye ? 

(4.) You have a Spirit, and heavenly life within you, 
which the rest of the world are unacquainted with. And 
can you think it is not something extraordinary, that God 
must needs expect from you ? Will you not " walk in the 
Spirit," which is given you, and mortify the flesh by it ? 
Gal.v. 16, 17.24. Is there not more expected from the liv- 
ing than the dead ? Surely he that hath made you new crea- 
tures, and made you partakers of the Divine Nature, doth 
expect somewhat divine in your affections and devotions, 
and that you be somewhat more than men. 

(5.) Moreover, it is you above others, for whom the word 
and messengers of God are sent ! We must speak to all : 
but it is you that God's special eye is upon ; it is your sal- 
vation that he intends to accomplish by us. There were 
many widows in the days of Elias, and many lepers in the 
days of Elisha ; Luke iv. 26, 27. But it was but to one of 
them that the prophet was sent ! We make the ungodly 
multitude even rage against us, and ministers are hated for 
magnifying the grace of God to you, and declaring his spe- 
cial love to you above others. When Christ himself had 
spoken to you the forecited the words, it is said in the next 
verses, 28, 29. that " all they in the synagogue, when they 
heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and 
thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of 
the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might 
cast him down headlong." This was the entertainment of 
Christ himself, when he did but declare how few it is that 
God will save, and for whose sakes he specially sends his 
messengers. And must we incur all this for magnifying you, 
and will you dishonour yourselves ? Is all our study and 
labour for you, and our lives for you, and all things for you, 
and will not you be wholly, and to the utmost of your 
strength for God ? Are you called out of all the world for 
salvation, and will you not answer this admirable, differenc- 
ing grace, by an admirable difference from those that must 



314 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

perish, and by an admirable excellency in meekness, humi- 
lity, self-denial, and heavenliness, above other men? 

(6.) Moreover, you know more, and have a greater ex- 
perience to assist you than others have ; and, therefore, you 
should excel them accordingly. Others have but heard of 
the odiousness of sin, but you have seen and felt it. Others 
have heard of God's displeasure, but you have tasted it to 
the breaking or bruising of your hearts ! You have been 
warned at the very quick, as if Christ had spoken to your 
very flesh and bones, " Go thy way, sin no more, lest a 
worse thing come unto thee." And as Ezra said (chap. ix. 
13.), " After all that is come upon us, should we again break 
thy commandments ; wouldst thou not be angry with us till 
thou hast consumed us ?" So, if after all your spiritual ex- 
periences, after so many tastes of the bitterness of sin, and 
groans, and prayers, and cries against it, you shall yet live 
as like to the wicked as you dare, and be familiar with that 
which hath cost you so dear ! How do you think that God 
must take this at your hands ? You have tasted of the 
sweetness of the love of Christ, and wondered at the un- 
speakable riches of his grace ! You have tasted the sweet- 
ness of the hopes of glory, and of the powers of the world to 
come ! You have perceived the necessity and excellency of 
holiness, by inward experience ! And if, after all this, you 
will draggle on the earth, and live below your own experi- 
ences, contenting yourselves with an infancy of love, and 
life, and fruitfulness, how much do you then transgress 
against the rules of reason, and of equity ! 

(7.) Moreover, all the world expecteth much more from 
you, than from any others. God expecteth more from you, 
for he hath given you more, and meaneth to do more for you. 
Must you be in the eternal joys of heaven, when all your 
unsanctified neighbours are in torments, and yet will you 
not more endeavour to excel them ? Is it not unreasonable 
to expect to be set eternally at so vast a distance from the 
ungodly world, even as far as heaven is from hell, and yet 
to be content to differ here but a little from them in holi- 
ness ? The Lord knows that poor, forsaken, impenitent sin- 
ners will do no better, but rage, and be confident, till they 
are past remedy ; he looks for no better from them than to 
neglect him, and slight his Son, and word, and ways ; and 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 315 

to go on in worldliness and fleshly living ; to be filthy still, 
and careless, and presumptuous, and self-conceited still. 
But it is higher matters that he expects from you ; and good 
reason, he hath done more for you, and prepared you for 
better things ! The ministers of Christ do look for little 
better from many of their poor, ignorant, ungodly neigh- 
bours, but even to rub out their days in security, and self- 
deceit, and to be barren after all their labours, if not to hate 
us for seeking to have saved them. But it is you that their 
eyes are most upon, and you that their hearts are most upon. 
Their comfort, and the fruit of their lives, lies much in your 
hands : saith Paul, " Brethren, we were comforted over you 
in all our afflictions and distress, by your faith. For now 
we live, if you stand fast in the Lord ! For what thanks 
can we render to God again for you, for all the joy where- 
with we joy for yoursakes before our God. Night and day 
praying exceedingly, that we might see your face, and might 
perfect that which is lacking in your faith ;" 1 Thess. iii. 
7 — 9. You see here, that your pastors' lives are in your 
hands. If you stand fast, they live. For the end of life is 
more than life ; and your salvation is the end of our lives. 
If the impenitent world reproach us, and abuse and perse- 
cute us, we suffer it joyfully, as long as our work goeth on 
with you. But when you are at a stand, when you are bar- 
ren, and scandalous, and passionate, and dishonour your 
profession, and put us in fears, lest we have bestowed all our 
labour on you in vain ; this breaks our hearts above any 
worldly crosses whatsoever. O when the people that we 
should rejoice and glory in should prove unruly, self-con- 
ceited, peevish, proud, every one running his own way, fall- 
ing into divisions, contentions, or scandals, this is the kill- 
ing of the comforts of your ministers. When the ungodly 
shall hit us in the teeth with your scandals and divisions, 
and say, ' These are the godly people that you boasted of, 
see now what is become of them/ this is the smoke to our 
eyes, and the gall and vinegar that is given us by the adver- 
sary. And though still we know that, our reward is with 
the Lord, yet can we not choose but be wounded for your 
sakes, and for the sake of the cause and the name of God. 

Yea, the world itself expecteth more from you than 
others. When men talk of great matters, and profess as 
every Christian doth, to look for the greatest matters of 



316 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

eternity, and to live for no lower things than everlasting fel- 
lowship with God and angels, no wonder then if the world 
do look for extraordinary matters from you. If you tell 
them of reaching heaven, they will look to see you winged 
like angels, and not to creep on earth like worms. If you say 
that you are more than men, they look you should shew it, 
by doing more than men can do ; even by denying your- 
selves, and forgiving injuries, and loving your enemies, and 
blessing those that curse you, and contemning this world, 
and having your conversation in heaven. O sirs, believe it, it 
is not small or common things that will satisfy the expecta- 
tions of God or men, of ministers, or of the world themselves, 
concerning you. 

(8.) Yea, moreover God himself doth make his boast of 
you, and call out the world to observe your excellency ; he 
sets you up as the light of the world, to be beheld by others. 
He calls you in his word, "his peculiar treasure above all peo- 
ple ;" Exod. xix. 5. Deut. xiv. 3. Psal. cxxxv. 4. " A pecu- 
liar people, purified, and zealous of good works ;" Tit. ii. 14. 
He called you " a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a 
holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the 
praises of him that hath called you out of darkness into his 
marvellous light. Ye are as lively stones, built up a spiritual 
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice, ac- 
ceptable to God by Jesus Christ ;" 1 Pet. ii. 5. 9. You are 
" born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible ;" 
(1 Pet. i. 23.) and " are made meet to be partakers of the in- 
heritance of the saints in light." God hath " delivered you 
from the power of darkness, and translated you into the 
kingdom of his dear Son, in whom you have redemption 
through his blood, the remission of sins ;" Col. i. 12 — 14. 
" The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we 
are the children of God : and if children, then heirs ; heirs 
of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;" Rom.viii. 16, 17. 
" All things shall work together for your good. 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 ;" ver. 28. 
32. Nothing but the illuminated soul can discern "the 
riches of the glory of God's inheritance in the saints, and 
what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who 
believe, according to the working of his mighty power ;" 
Ephes.i. 18, 19. " When we were dead in sins, he hath 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 317 

quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up 
together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in 
Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the 
exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, 
through Jesus Christ." He hath " brought us nigh that 
were far off," so that " by one Spirit we have access to the 
Father by Christ ; and are now no more strangers and fo- 
reigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the house- 
hold of God ;" Ephes. ii. 5—7. 13. 17—19. " We are mem- 
bers of the body of Christ, we are come to Mount Zion, and 
unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and 
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 cove- 
nant;" Heb.xii.22— 24. 

Brethren, shall the Lord speak all this, and more than 
this in the Scripture, of your glory, and will you not prove 
yourselves glorious, and study to make good this precious 
word ? Doth he say, " The righteous is more excellent than 
his neighbour ;" (Prov. xii. 26.), and will you not study to 
shew yourselves more excellent indeed ? Shall all these high 
things be spoken of you, and will you live so far below them 
all? What a heinous wrong is this to God. He sticks not 
in boasting of you, to call you his jewels (Mai. iii. 17.), and 
tells the world he will make them one day discern the " dif- 
ference between the righteous and the wicked, between him 
that serveth God, and him that serveth him not ;" ver. 18. 
He tells the world, that his coming in judgment will be " to 
be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in them that be- 
lieve ;" 2 Thess. i. 10. It is openly professed by the apos- 
tle John, " We know that we are of God, and the whole 
world lieth in wickedness;" 1 John v. 19. He challengeth 
any "to condemn you, or lay anything to your charge, pro- 
fessing that it is he that justifieth you ;" casting the saints 
into admiration by his love. " What shall we say to these 
things ? If God be for us, who can be against us ?" Rom. 
viii. 31. He challengeth tribulation, distress, persecution, 
famine, or nakedness, peril, or sword, to separate you, if 
they can, from the love of God. He challengeth death and 
life, angels, principalities, and powers, things present, and 
things to come, height and depth, or any other creature, to 



318 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

separate you, if they are able, from the love of God in Christ 
Jesus our Lord ; Rom. viii. 35. 37 — 39. Shall the Lord of 
heaven thus make his boast of you to all the world, and will 
you not make good his boasting? Yea, I must tell you, he 
will see that it be made good to a word ! And if you be not 
careful of it yourselves, and it be not made good in you, 
then you are not the people that God thus boasteth of. He 
tells the greatest persecutors to their faces, that the meek, 
the humble, little ones of his flock, " have their angels be- 
holding the face of God in heaven ;" (Matt.xviii. 10.) and that 
at the great and dreadful day of judgment, they shall be set 
at his right hand as his sheep, with a " Come ye blessed, 
inherit the kingdom," when others are set at his left hand as 
goats, with a " Go ye cursed, into everlasting fire;" Matt. 
xxv. He tells the world, that he that receiveth a converted 
man, that is become as a little child, receiveth Christ him- 
self; and that " whosoever shall offend one of these little 
ones, that believe in him, it were better for him that a mill- 
stone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in 
the depth of the sea ;" Matt, xviii. 3— 6. Mark ix. 42. Luke 
xvii.2. 

O sirs, must God be thus wonderfully tender of you, and 
will you not now be very tender of his interest and your 
duty ? Shall he thus difference you from all the rest of the 
world, and will you not study to declare the difference ? 
The ungodly even gnash the teeth at ministers, and Scrip- 
tures, and Christ himself, for making such a difference be- 
tween them and you ; and will you not let them see that it 
is not without cause? I entreat you, I require you, in the 
name of God, see that you answer these high commenda- 
tions, and shew us that God hath not boasted of you beyond 
your worth ? 

(9.) Consider this as the highest motive of all ; God doth 
not only magnify you and boast of you, but also he hath 
made you the living images of his blessed self, his Son Jesus 
Christ, his Spirit and his holy word ; and so he hath ex- 
posed himself, his Son, his Spirit, and his word, to be cen- 
sured by the world, according to your lives. 

The express image of the Father's person is the Son ; 
Heb. i. 3. The Son is declared to the world by the Holy 
Ghost : the Holy Ghost hath indited the Scriptures, which 
therefore bear the image of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. §§£ff 319 

This holy word, both law and promise, is written in your 
hearts, and put into your inner parts by the same Spirit ; 
2 Cor. iii. 3. Heb. viii. 10. x. 16. So that as God hath 
imprinted his holy nature in the Scripture, so hath he made 
this word the seal, to imprint again his image on your hearts. 
And you know that common eyes can better discern the 
image in the wax, than on the seal : though I know that the 
hardness of the wax, or something lying between, or the im- 
perfect application, may cause an imperfection in the image 
on the wax, when yet the image on the seal is perfect : and 
therefore the world hath no just cause to censure God, or 
Christ, or the Spirit, or the word to be imperfect, because 
that you are so ; but yet they will do it, and their tempta- 
tion is great. O sirs ! how would your prince take it of you, 
or how would your poorest friend take it of you, if you should 
hang forth a deformed picture of them to the view of all 
that shall pass by ; and should represent them as blind, or 
leprous, or lame, wanting a leg, or an arm, or an eye ? Would 
they not say that you unworthily exposed them to scorn ? 
So if you will take on you to be the living images of God, 
of Christ, of the Spirit, and the word ; and yet will be blind, 
and worldly, and passionate, and proud, and unruly, and ob- 
stinate, or lazy, and negligent, and little differing from those 
that bear the image of the devil ; what do you but proclaim 
that the image of God, and of satan, and the world do little 
differ ; and that God is thus unrighteous and unholy as 
you are ! 

(10.) Lastly consider, That the faithful servants of Christ 
are few ; and therefore if those few dishonour him, and prove 
not fast to him ; what do you, but provoke him to forsake 
all the world, and make an end of all the sons of men? It 
is but a little flock to whom he will give the kingdom ; 
Luke xii. 32. It is but a few from whom God expecteth any 
great matter ; and shall those few prove deceitful to him ? 
It must be you or none that must honour the Gospel. You 
or none that must be exemplary to the world ; and shall it 
be none at all ? Shall all the workmanship of God abuse 
him? Shall he have no honour from any inferior creature ? 
How can you then expect that he should preserve the world? 
For will he be at so much care to keep up a world to dis- 
honour and abuse him ? If -the turning of men's hearts pre- 
vent it not, he would come and smite the earth with a curse, 



320 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

Mai. iv. 6. For the " land that beareth thorns and briars is 
rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be 
burned ;" Heb. vi. 7, 8. " If therefore Israel play the har- 
lot, yet let not Judah sin ;" Hosea iv. 15. If the vessels of 
wrath prepared to destruction will be blind, and sensual, and 
filthy still, yet let pollution be far from the sanctified. 
'* Such were some of you, but ye are washed, ye are sancti- 
fied, ye are justified;" 1 Cor. vi. 11. O let the Lord be 
magnified in his saints : blot not out his image : receive not 
his impressions defectively and by the halves. Let the name 
of the most Holy One be written in your very foreheads. O 
that you would be so tender of the honour of the Lord, and 
shine forth so brightly in holiness and righteousness, that 
he that runs might read whose servants you are, and know 
the image and superscription of God, upon the face of your 
conversations ! That as clearly as light is seen in and from 
the sun, and the power, and wisdom, and goodness of God 
is seen in the frame of the creation, and of Scripture ; so 
might the same shine forth in you, that you might be " holy 
as God is holy ;" (1 Pet. i. 16.) and " perfect as your hea- 
venly Father is perfect ;" (Matt. v. 48.) that they that would 
know God may see him in his saints, where his image is, or 
should be so lively and discernable. And they that cannot 
read and understand the Scripture, or the works of creation, 
or disposing providence, may read and understand the holy 
and heavenly representations of your lives. 

Men are apt to look after images of the Godhead, because 
they are carnal and far from God. O you that are appointed 
to bear his image, see that you so represent him to the eyes 
of the world, as may be to his glory, and not to his disho- 
nour, and take not the name of God in vain. 

It is so desirable for God, and for the church, and for 
your own peace and happiness, that Christians should grow 
up to a ripeness in grace, and be rooted, built up, confirmed, 
and abound according to my text, that it hath drawn out 
from me all these words of exhortation thereunto ; though 
one would think, that to men of such holy principles and 
experience, it should be more than needs ; but if all will but 
serve to awaken the weak to a diligent progress, I shall be 
glad, and have my end. The great matter that I intended, 
when I began this discourse, is yet behind ; and that is, the 
giving you such Directions as may tend to your confirmation 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 321 

and perseverance ; which I shall now proceed to : but I en- 
treat every reader that hath any spark of grace in his soul, 
that he will resolve to put these Directions in practice, and 
turn them not off with a bare perusal or approbation. Let 
me reap but thus much fruit of all my foregoing exhortations, 
and I shall not think my labour lost. 



Twenty Directions for Confirmation in a State of Grace. 

Direct. I. ' Be sure that the foundation be well laid, both 
in your heads and hearts ; or else you can never attain to 
confirmation, nor be savingly built up.' 

To this end you must know what the foundation is, and 
how it must be soundly laid. The foundation hath two parts 
or respects, according to the faculties of the soul where it 
must be laid. The first is, the truth of the doctrine and 
matter, and the second is, the goodness of it. As true, the 
foundation is laid in our understandings ; as good, it is laid 
in the will. Concerning both these, we must therefore first 
consider of the matter of the foundation, and then of the 
manner how that must be received or laid. And the foun- 
dation is that matter or object of our faith, and hope, and 
love, which is essential to a Christian ; that is, to the Chris- 
tian saving faith, hope, and love. This hath been always 
contained in our baptism, because baptizing us is making us 
visible Christians, or the solemn entrance into the state of 
Christianity. As therefore we are baptized into the name 
of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, renouncing the flesh, 
the world, and the devil ; so the doing of this unfeignedly, 
without equivocation, according to the Scripture sense of 
the words, is the essence of Christianity, or the right laying 
of the foundation. So that the foundation-principle, or fun- 
damental matter, is, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
The secondary foundation, or fundamental doctrine, is, those 
Scripture propositions that express our faith in God the Fa- 
ther, Son, and Holy Ghost. When we name the three per- 
sons as the object of the Christian faith, we express names 
of relation, which contain both the persons, nature and offi- 
ces or undertaken works ; without either of which, God 
were not God, and Christ were not Christ, and the Holy 
Ghost were not in the sense of our articles of faith the Holy 

vol, vm. y 



322 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

Ghost. As we must therefore believe that there is one only 
God ; so we must believe that God the Father is the first in 
the Holy Trinity of Persons ; that the whole Godhead is 
perfect and infinite in being, and power, and wisdom, and 
goodness, fin which all his attributes are comprehended ; 
but yet a distinct understanding of them all is not of abso- 
lute necessity to salvation). That this God is the Creator, 
Preserver, and Disposer of all things, and the Owner and 
Ruler of mankind, most just and merciful : that as he is the 
beginning of all, so he is the ultimate end, and the chief good 
of man, which before all things else must be loved and 
sought. This is to be believed concerning the Godhead, 
and the Father in person. Concerning the Son, we must 
moreover believe, that he is the same God with the Father, 
the second person in Trinity, incarnate and so become man, 
by a personal union of the Godhead and manhood : that he 
was without original or actual sin, having a sinless nature, 
and a sinless life : that he fulfilled all righteousness, and was 
put to death as a sacrifice for our sins, and gave himself a 
ransom for us ; and being buried, he rose again from the 
dead, and afterwards ascended into heaven, where he is 
Lord of all, and intercedeth for believers ; that he will come 
again and raise the dead, and judge the world, the righteous 
to everlasting life, and the wicked to everlasting punishment : 
that this is the only Redeemer, " the Way, the Truth, and the 
Life ;" neither is there access to the Father but by him, nor 
salvation in any other. Concerning the Holy Ghost, we must 
believe that he is the same one God, the third person in 
Trinity, sent by the Father and the Son to inspire the pro- 
phets and apostles ; and that the doctrine inspired and mi- 
raculously attested by him is true : that he is the Sanctifier 
of those that shall be saved, renewing them after the image 
of God, in holiness and righteousness, giving them true re- 
pentance, faith, hope, love, and sincere obedience ; causing 
them to overcome the flesh, the world, and the devil ; thus 
gathering a holy church on earth to Christ, who have by his 
blood the pardon of all their sins, and shall have everlasting 
blessedness with God. 

This is the essence of the Christian faith, as to .the matter 
of it. As to the manner of receiving it by the understand- 
ing, 1. It must be received as certain truth of God's reve- 
lation, upon the credit of his word, by a lively, effectual be- 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 323 

lief; piercing so deep as is necessary for its prevalency with 
the will. 2. And it must be entirely received, and not only 
a part of it : though all men have not so exactly formed dis- 
tinct apprehensions of every member of this belief, as some 
have, yet all true Christians have a true apprehension of 
them. We feel by daily experience, that with the wisest 
some matters are truly understood by us, which yet are not 
so distinctly and clearly understood, as to be ready for an 
expression. I have oft, in matters that I am but studying, 
a light that gives me a general, imperfect, but true concep- 
tion, which I cannot yet express ; but when another hath 
helped me to form my conception, I can quickly and truly 
say, that was it that I had an unformed apprehension of be- 
fore, and it that I meant but could not utter ; not so much 
for want of words, as for want of a full and distinct con- 
ception. 

2. The matter of our Christianity to be received by the 
will, is as followeth : As we must consent to all the afore- 
mentioned truths, by the belief of the understanding, so the 
pure Godhead must be received as the fountain, and our 
end. The Father as our Owner, Ruler and Benefactor, on 
the title of creation and redemption, and as our everlasting 
happiness. The Son as our only Saviour by redemption, 
bringing us pardon, reconciliation, holiness and glory, and 
delivering us from sin and satan, and the wrath and curse of 
God, and from hell. The Holy Ghost as our Guide and 
Sanctifier. All which containeth our renouncing the flesh, 
the world, and the devil, and carnal self that is the point of 
their unity and heart of the old man. This is the good that 
must be embraced, or accepted by the will. 

And secondly, as to the manner of receiving it, it must 
be done unfeignedly, resolvedly, unreservedly, or absolutely, 
and habitually, by an inward covenanting of the heart, as I 
have formerly explained it. And this is the essence of 
Christianity ; this is true believing in God the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost : this is the foundation, and this is the right 
laying of it. 

And now the thing that I am persuading you to is, to see 
that this foundation be surely laid, in head and heart. 

And, 1. That it may be surely laid in the head, you must 
labour, (1.) To understand these articles. And, (2.) To see 
the evidence of their verity, that you may firmly believe 



324 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

them. And, (3.) To consider of the worth and necessity of 
the matter revealed in them, that your judgments may most 
highly esteem it. This is the sure laying the foundation in 
the head. 

To these ends you should first learn some catechism, and 
be well acquainted with the principles of religion ; and also 
be much in reading or hearing the holy Scripture, and in- 
quiring of your teachers, and others that can help you ; and 
see that you take your work before you, and step not higher 
till this be done. And then all other following truths, and 
duties, and promised benefits, must all be so learned as to 
be built upon this foundation, and joined to it, as receiving 
their life and strength from hence, and never looked upon as 
separated from this ; nor as more excellent and necessary. 

For want of learning well, and believing soundly these 
principles, essentials, or fundamentals of Christianity, some 
of our people can go no further, but stand all their days in 
their ignorance, at a nonplus : some of them go on in a blind 
profession, deceiving themselves by building upon the sand, 
and hold true doctrine by a false, unsound belief of it : and 
when the floods and storms do beat upon their building it 
falls, and great is the fall thereof. With some of them it 
falls upon the first assault of any seducer that hath interest 
in them, or advantage on them ; and abundance swallow up 
errors, because they never well understood, or firmly believed 
fundamental truths. With others of them, the building falls 
not until death, because they lived not under any shaking 
temptations. But it being but a perseverance in an unsound 
profession, will nevertheless be ineffectual to their salvation. 

2. When you have thus laid the foundation in your un- 
derstanding, be sure above all that it be firmly laid in your 
heart or will. Take heed lest you should prove false and 
unsteadfast in the holy covenant ; and lest you should take 
in the word but into the surface of the soul, and not give it 
depth of earth and rooting^ and lest you should come to 
Christ but as a servant upon trial, and make not an absolute 
resignation of yourselves to him: of which I warned you in 
the former Directions. 

O this is it that makes our people fall so fast in a day of 
trial ; some shrink in adversity ; and some are enticed away 
by prosperity. Greatness and honour deceiveth one, and 
riches run away with another, and fleshly pleasure poisons a 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 325 

third, and his conscience, religion, salvation, and all, he sa- 
crificeth to his belly, and swalloweth it down his throat ; 
and ail the love, and goodness of God, the blood of Christ, 
the workings of the Spirit, the precepts and promises, and 
threatenings of the word, and the joy and torments which 
once they seemed to believe, all are forgotten, or have lost 
their force. And all because the foundation was not laid 
well at the first. But because this was the very business of 
the former Directions, I will dismiss it now. 

Direct. II. * Think not that all is done when once you are 
converted ; but remember that the work of your Christia- 
nity then comes in, and must be as long as the time of your 
lives.' 

Of this also I shall say but little, because it is the drift 
of all the moving considerations before-going. I doubt it 
is the undoing of many to imagine, that if once they are 
sanctified, they are so sure in the hands of Christ that they 
have no more care to take, nor no more danger to be afraid 
of, and at last think that they have no more to do, as of 
necessity to salvation ; and thus prove that indeed they were 
never sanctified. I confess, when a man is truly converted, 
the principal part of his danger is over ; he is safe in the love 
and care of Christ, and none can take him out of his hands. 
But this is but part of the truth ; the other part must be 
taken with it, or we deceive ourselves. There is still a great 
deal of work before us ; and holiness is still the way to hap- 
piness ; and much care and diligence is required at our hands. 
And it is no more certain that we shall be saved by Christ, 
than it is that we shall be kept in faith, and love, and holy 
obedience by him. It is as true that none can separate us 
from the love of God, and from a care to please him, and 
from a holy diligence in the work of our salvation, as that 
none can take us out of his hands, and bring us into a state 
of condemnation. He that is resolved to bring us to glory, 
is as much resolved to bring us to it by perseverance in ho- 
liness and diligent obedience ; for he never decreeth one 
without the other ; and he will never save us by any other 
way. 

Indeed, when we are converted we have escaped many 
and grievous dangers ; but yet there are many more before 
us, which we must by care and diligence escape. We are 
translated from death to life, but not from earth to heaven. 



r>*26 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

We have the life of grace, but yet we are short of the life of 
glory. And why have we the life of grace but to use it, and 
to live by it ? Why came we into the vineyard but to work? 
And why came we into the army of Christ but to fight? 
Why came we into the race but to run for the prize ? Or 
why turned we into the right way, but to travel in it ? We 
never did God faithful service, till the day of our conversion, 
and then it is that we begin. And shall we be so sottish as 
to think we have done, when we have but begun ? Now 
you begin to live that before were dead. Now you begin to 
wake that before were asleep. And, therefore, now you 
should begin to work that before did nothing, or rather a 
thousandfold worse than nothing. Work is the effect of 
life ; it is the dead that lie still in darkness, and do nothing. 
If you had rather be alive than dead, you should rather de- 
light in action than in idleness. It is now that you set to 
sea, and begin your voyage for the blessed land ; many a 
storm, and wave, and tempest must you yet expect. Many 
a combat with temptations must you undergo ; many a 
hearty prayer have you yet to pour forth. Many and many 
a duty to perform to God and man. Think not to have done 
your care and work, till you have done your lives. Whe- 
ther you come in at the first hour or at the last, you must 
work till night if you will receive your wages. And think 
not this a grievous doctrine. It is your privilege, it is your 
joy, your earthly happiness, that you may be so employed ; 
that you that till now have lived like swine, or moles, or 
earthly vermin, may now take wing and fly to God, and 
walk in heaven, and talk with saints, and be guarded by an- 
gels ; is this a life to be accounted grievous ? Now you 
begin to come to yourselves ; to understand what you have 
to do in the world ; to live like men, that you may live like 
angels ! And, therefore, now you should begin accordingly 
to bestir you. I would not have you retain the same mea- 
sure of fears of God's displeasure, nor the same apprehen- 
sions of your misery, nor the doubts and perplexities of 
mind, which you were under at your first conversion ; for 
these were occasioned by the passage in your change, and 
the weakness of your grace in that beginning, and your for- 
mer folly made them necessary for a time. But I would 
have you retain your fear of sinning, and be much more in 
the love of God, and in his service, than you were at first. 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. .'i27 

Temptations will haunt you to the last hour of your lives. 
If, therefore, you would not fall by these temptations, you 
must watch and pray to the last. Give not over watching, 
till satan give over tempting and watching advantages 
against you. The promise is still but on condition that you 
persevere and abide in Christ, and continue rooted and stead- 
fast in the faith, and overcome and be faithful to the death, 
as you may see in John xv. throughout. John viii. 31. Rev. 
ii. iii. Col. i. 22, 23. '* Work out, therefore, your salvation 
with fear and trembling ;" Phil. ii. 12. If you have begun 
resolvedly, proceed resolvedly. It is the undoing of men's 
souls to think that all the danger is over, and lose their ap- 
prehensions of it, when they are yet but in the way ; when 
their care and holy fears abate, their watch goes down ; the 
soul is laid open as a common wilderness, and made a prey 
to every lust. And, therefore, still know, your work isf not 
done, till your life be done. 

Direct. III. ' Be sure that you understand wherein your 
establishment and growth consisteth, that you may not mis- 
carry by seeking somewhat else instead of it ; nor think you 
have it when you have it not, or that you want it, when you 
have it, and so be needlessly disquieted about it/ 

For your assistance in this, I shall further shew you 
wherein your confirmation and growth consisteth in its se- 
veral parts, both as it is subjected or exercised in your un- 
derstandings, your wills, and affections, and your conversa- 
tions. 

i. As holiness is in the understanding, it is commonly 
in Scripture called, light and knowledge, as comprehending 
the several parts. And confirmation and growth of this 
must consist in these seven following parts. 

1. It is ordinary with new converted Christians, to see 
the great essential truths of the Christian profession, with a 
great imperfection as to the evidences that discover them. 
Either they see but some of the solid evidence, overlooking 
much more than they see ; or, more usually, they receive the 
truth itself upon some low insufficient evidence at first, and 
then proceed to a kind of mixture, taking it upon some evi- 
dences that are valid and sufficient, and joining some that 
are invalid with them. But you must grow beyond this in- 
fancy of understanding ; when you see greater and sounder 
evidences for the truth than you did before ; and when you 



328 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

see more of these solid evidences, and leave not out so many 
as you did ; and when you lay smaller stress upon the smaller 
evidences, and none upon those that are invalid, and indeed 
no evidences, then are your understandings more confirmed 
in the truth, and this is a principal part of their growth. So 
we find the Samaritans of Sychar, " Many of them believed 
on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He 
told me all that ever I did." (This was the first faith upon 
a weaker evidence.) " And many more believed, because of 
his own words, and said unto the woman, Now we be- 
lieve, not because of thy saying, for we have heard him our- 
selves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour 
of the world ;" John iv. 39 — 42. Here is a notable confir- 
mation and growth, by believing and knowing the same 
thing which they believed before ; it was before believed 
on weaker evidence, and now upon stronger. Thus Natha- 
niel, by Philip's persuasion, was drawn to Christ, but when 
he perceived his omniscience, that he knew the heart and 
things that were distant, and out of the reach of common 
knowledge, he is confirmed, and saith, " Rabbi, thou art the 
Son of God, thou art the King of Israel." And yet Christ 
telleth him, that there were far greater evidences yet to be 
revealed, which might beget a more confirmed, stronger 
faith. " Because I said unto thee, 1 saw thee under the fig- 
tree, believest thou ? Thou shalt see greater things than 
these ; verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see 
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descend- 
ing upon the Son of Man;" John i. 45. 49 — 51. There is 
not one Christian of many thousands, that at first hath a full 
sight of the solid evidences of the Christian doctrine ; but 
must grow more and more in discerning those reasons for 
the truth which he believeth, which in the beginning he did 
not well discern. It is not the most confident belief that is 
always the strongest confirmed belief; but there must be 
sound grounds and evidence to support that confidence, or 
else the confidence may soon be shaken ; and is not sound, 
even while it seems unshaken. And here young beginners 
must be forwarned of a most dangerous snare of the deceiver, 
because at first the truth itself is commonly received upon 
feeble and defective grounds or evidence. It is the cus- 
tom of the devil and his deceiving instruments, to shew the 
young Christian the weakness of those grounds, and thence 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 3*29 

to conclude that his case is naught. For it is too easy to 
persuade such that the cause hath no better grounds than 
they have seen. For having not seen any better, they can 
have no particular knowledge of them. And they are too 
apt to think over-highly of their knowledge, as if there were 
no more reasons for the truth than they themselves have 
reached to, and other men did see no more than they. And 
thus poor souls forsake the truth, which they should be built 
up and confirmed in ; and take that for a reason against the 
truth, which is but a proof of their own infirmity. I meet 
with very few that turn to any heresy or sect, but this is the 
cause. They were at first of the right mind, but not upon 
sound and well-laid grounds ; but held the truth upon in- 
sufficient reasons. And then comes some deceiver, and 
beats them out of their former grounds, and so having no 
better, they let go the truth, and conclude that they were 
all this while mistaken. Just as if, in my infancy, I 
should know my own father only by his clothes, and when 
I grow a little bigger, one should tell me that I was deceiv- 
ed, this is not my father, and to convince me should put his 
clothes upon another, or tell me that another may have such 
clothes, and hereupon I should be so foolish as to yield that 
I was mistaken ; and that this man is not my father. As if 
the thing were false, because my reasons were insufficient. 
Or as if you should ask the right way in your travel, and 
one should tell you, that by such and such marks you may 
know your way ; and think you have found those marks a 
mile or two short of the place where they are ; but when you 
understand that those are not the marks that you were told 
of, you turn back again before you come at them, and con- 
clude that you have missed the way. So is it with these poor 
deluded souls, that think all discoveries of their own imper- 
fections, and every confutation of their own silly arguments, 
to be a confutation of the truths of God, which they did 
hold ; when, alas, a strong, well-grounded Christian would 
make nothing of defending the cause which they give up 
against more strong and subtle enemies ; or, at least, would 
hold it fast themselves. Well, this is the first part of your 
growth in knowledge, when you can see more or better evi- 
dences, for the great truths of Christianity, than you saw be- 
fore. 

2. Moreover, you must grow to a clearer apprehension 



330 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

of the very same reasons and evidences of the truth, which 
you saw before. For when a weak Christian hath the best 
arguments and grounds in the world, yet he hath so dim a 
sight of them, that makes them find the slighter entertain- 
ment in his affections. The best reason in the world can 
work but little on him that hath but a little understanding 
of it. There are various degrees of knowledge, not only of 
one and the same truth, because of the diversity of evidence, 
but of one and the same evidence and reason of that truth. 
I can well remember myself, that I have many a year had a 
common argument for some weighty truth, and I have made 
use of it, and thought it good, but yet had but little appre- 
hension of the force of it : and many years after, a sudden 
light hath given me (in my studies) so clear an apprehension 
of the force of that same argument, which I knew so long, 
as that it hath exceedingly confirmed and satisfied me, more 
than ever I was before. I beseech you, Christians, consider 
of this weighty truth ; it is not the knowledge of the truth, 
that will serve your turns, without a true and solid know- 
ledge of that truth ; nor is it the hearing or understanding 
of the best grounds and reasons, or proofs in the world, that 
will serve the turn, unless you have a deep and solid appre- 
hension of those proofs and reasons. A man that hath the 
best arguments may forsake the truth, because he hath not 
a good understanding of those arguments. As a man that 
hath the best weapons in the world may be killed for want 
of strength and skill to use them. I tell you, if you knew 
every truth in the Bible, you may grow much in knowledge 
of the very same truths which you know. 

3. Moreover, a young, ungrounded Christian, when he 
seeth all the fundamental truths, aud seeth good evidence 
and reasons for them, perhaps may be yet ignorant of the 
right order and place of every truth. It is a rare thing to 
have young professors to understand the necessary truths 
methodically. And this is a very great defect. For a great 
part of the usefulness and excellency of particular truths 
consisteth in the respect they have to one another. This, 
therefore, will be a considerable part of your confirmation 
and growth in your understandings, to see the body of 
Christian doctrine, as it were, at one view, as the several 
parts of it are united in one perfect frame; and to know 
what aspect one point hath upon another, and which are their 



FOR THfclR ESTABLISHMENT. 331 

due places. There is a great difference between the sight 
of the several parts of a clock or watch, as they are disjoint- 
ed, and scattered about, and the seeing them conjoined, and 
in use and motion. To see here a pin, and there a wheel, 
and not know how to set them all together, nor ever see 
them in their due places, will give but little satisfaction. 
It is the frame and design of holy doctrine that must be 
known, and every part should be discerned as it hath its par- 
ticular use to that design, and as it is connected with the 
other parts. By this means only can the true nature of the- 
ology, together with the harmony and perfection of truth, be 
clearly understood. And every single truth also, will be 
much better perceived by him that seeth its place and order, 
than by any other. For one truth exceedingly illustrates 
and leads in another into our understanding. Nay, more 
than so, your own hearts and lives will not be well ordered, 
if the method or order of the truths received should be mis- 
taken. For the truths of God are the very instruments of 
your sanctification, which is nothing but their effects upon 
your understandings and wills, as they are set home by the 
Holy Ghost. Truths are the seal, and your souls are the 
wax, and holiness is the impression made. If you receive 
but some truths, you will have but some part of the due im- 
pression. Nay, indeed, they are so coherent, and make up 
the sense by their necessary conjunction, that you cannot re- 
ceive any one of them sincerely, without receiving any one 
that is of the essence of the Christian belief. And if you 
receive them disorderly, the image of them on your souls 
will be as disorderly ; as if your bodily members were mon- 
strously displaced. Study, therefore, to grow in the more 
methodical knowledge of the same truths which you have 
received. And though you are not yet ripe enough to dis- 
cern the whole body of theology in due method, yet see so 
much as you have attained to know, in the right order and 
placing of every part. As in anatomy, it is hard for the 
wisest physician to discern the course of every branch of 
veins and arteries, but yet they may easily discern the place 
and order of the principal parts, and greater vessels. So it 
is in divinity, where no man hath a perfect view of the whole, 
till he come to the state of perfection with God ; but every 
true Christian hath the knowledge of all the essentials, and 
may know the order and places of them all. 



Xi'2 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

4. Another part of your confirmation and growth in un- 
derstanding, is, in discerning the same truths more practi- 
cally than you did before, and perceiving the usefulness of 
every truth, for the doing of its work in your hearts and 
lives. It was never the will of God that bare speculation 
should be the end of his revelations, or of our belief. Divi- 
nity is an effective, practical science, therefore must truths 
be known and believed, that the good may be received, and 
a holy change may be made by them, on the heart and life. 
Even the doctrine of the Trinity itself is practical, and the 
fountain of that which is more easily discerned to be prac- 
tical. There is not one article of our faith, but hath a spe- 
cial work to do upon our hearts and lives ; and, therefore, 
a special fitness for that work. Now the understandings of 
young Christians do discern many truths, when they see but 
little of the work to be done by them, and the special use- 
fulness of those truths to those works. This, therefore, 
must be your daily inquiry, and in this you must grow. As 
if you come into a workman's shop, and see a hundred tools 
about you, it is a small matter to discern the shape and 
fashion of them, and what metal they are made of; but you 
will further ask, what is this tool to do, and what is that to 
do. If ever you will learn the trade, you must know the use 
of every tool. So must you, if you will be skilful Christians, 
be acquainted with the use of the truths which you have re- 
ceived ; and know that this truth is to do this work, and 
that truth is to do that work, upon the soul and life. A hus- 
bandman may know as many herbs, and flowers, and fruits 
as a physician, and be able to tell them all by name, and say, 
this is such a herb, and that is such an one ; and to perceive 
the shape and beauty of them. But he knows little or no- 
thing that they are good for, unless to feed his cattle. 
Whereas, the physician can tell you, that this herb is good 
against this disease, and that herb against another disease, 
and can make use of those same herbs to save men's lives, 
which other men tread under foot as useless. A country- 
man may see the names that are written on the apothecaries' 
boxes, but it is the physician that knows the medicinal use 
of the drugs. So, many men that are unsanctified, may 
know the outside of holy doctrine, that little know what use 
is to be made of it. And the weak Christian knows less of 
this than the grown, confirmed Christian doth. Learn, there- 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 333 

fore r every day, more and more, to know what every truth is 
good for, that this is for the exercise and strengthening of 
such a grace, and this is good against such or such disease 
of the soul. Every leaf in the Bible hath a healing virtue in 
it. They are the leaves of the tree of life. Every sentence 
is good for something. " All Scripture is given by inspira- 
tion of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for 
correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of 
God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good 
works;" 2Tim.iii. 16, 17. Not a word is without its use- 
fulness. 

5. Moreover, you must grow, not only in knowing the 
usefulness of truths, but also in knowing how to use them, 
that you may have the benefit of that worth that is in them. 
Many a man knows what use a workman's tools are for, that 
yet knows not how himself to use them. And many a one 
knows the use and virtue of herbs and drugs, that knows 
not how to make a medicine of them, and compound and 
apply them. There is much skill to be used in knowing the 
seasons of application, and the measure, and what is fit for 
one, and what for another, that we may make that necessary 
variance, which diversity of conditions do require. As it is 
a work of skill in the pastors of the church, to "divide the 
word of God aright, and speak a word in season to the wea- 
ry, and give the children their meat in due season ;" (2 Tim. 
ii. 15. Isa. l.iv. Matt. xxiv. 45.) so is it also a work of 
skill, to do this for yourselves, to know what Scripture it is 
that doth concern you ; and when, and in what measure to 
apply it, and in what order, and with what advantages or 
correctives to use it, as may be most for your own good. 
You may grow in this skill as long as you live ; even in un- 
derstanding how to use the same truths which you have long 
known. O what excellent Christians should we be, if we had 
but this holy skill, and hearts to use it. We have the whole 
armour of God to put on and use, but all the matter is how 
to use it. The same sword of the Spirit in the hand of a 
strong and skilful Christian, may do very much, which in 
the hand of a young, unskilful Christian, will do very lit- 
tle, and next to nothing. A young, raw physician may know 
the same medicines as an able experienced physician doth ; 
but the great difference lieth in the skill to use them. This 



334 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

is it that must make you rich in grace, when you increase in 
the skilful use of truths. 

6. Moreover, your understandings may be much advanc- 
ed, by knowing the same truths more experimentally than 
you did before. I mean such truths as are capable of expe- 
rimental knowledge. Experience giveth us a far more satis- 
factory manner of knowledge, than others have that have no 
such experience. To know by hearsay, is like the knowing 
of a country in a map ; and to know by experience, is like 
the knowing of the same country by sight. An experienced 
navigator, or soldier, or physician, or governor, hath another 
manner of knowledge than the most learned can have with- 
out experience ; even a knowledge that confirmeth a man, 
and makes him confident. Thus may you daily increase in 
knowledge, about the same points that you knew long ago. 
When you have " tasted and seen that the Lord is gracious," 
(Psal. xxxiv. 8. 1 Pet. ii. 3.) you will know him more ex- 
perimentally than you did before : when you have tasted the 
sweetness of the promise, and of pardon of sin, and peace 
with God, and the hopes of glory, you will have a more ex- 
perimental knowledge of the riches of grace than you had 
before. And when you have lived awhile in communion 
with Christ and the saints, and walked awhile with God in 
a heavenly conversation, and maintained your integrity, and 
kept yourselves unspotted of the world, you will then know 
the nature and worth of holiness by a knowledge more ex- 
perimental and satisfactory than before. And this is con- 
firmation and growth in knowledge. 

7. Moreover, you must labour to grow in higher estima- 
tion of the same truths which you knew before. And this 
will be a consequent of the forementioned acts. A child 
that findeth a jewel may set by it, for the shining beauty ; 
when yet he may value it many thousand pounds below its 
worth. You see so much wisdom and goodness in God, the 
first hour of your new life, as causeth you to prefer him be- 
fore the world ; and you see so much of the necessity of a 
Saviour, so much love and mercy in Jesus Christ, as draw- 
eth up your hearts to him ; and you see so much certainty 
and glorious excellency of the life to come, that makes you 
value it even more than your lives. But yet there is in all 
these such an unsearchable treasure, that you can never va- 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 335 

lue them near their worth ; for all that thou hast seen of God, 
and Christ, and glory, there is a thousand times more excel- 
lency in them yet to be discerned. For all the beauty thou 
hast seen in holiness, it is a thousandfold more beautiful 
than ever thou didst apprehend it; for all the evil thou hast 
seen in sin, it is a thousandfold worse than ever thou didst 
perceive it to be. So that if you should live a thousand 
years, you might still be growing in your estimation of those 
things which you knew the first day of your true conversion. 
For the deeper you dig into this precious mine, the greater 
riches will still appear to you. There is an ocean of excel- 
lency in one article of your belief, and you will never find 
the banks or bottom, till you come to heaven, and then you 
will find that it had neither banks nor bottom. 

And thus I have shewed youwhat'confirmation and growth 
is needful for your understandings, even about the very 
same truths, which at first you knew. And now I shall add, 
8. You must also labour to understand more truths for 
number than at first you understood, and to reach to as 
much of the revealed will of God as you can, and not to 
stop in the mere essentials. For all divine revelations are 
precious, and of great use ; and none must be neglected. 
And the knowledge of many other truths, is of some neces- 
sity to our clear understanding of the essentials ; and also to 
our holding them fast, and practising them. " Secret things 
belong to God, but things revealed, to us and to our chil- 
dren ;" Deut. xxix. 29. 

But here I must give you this further advice : 1. That 
you proceed in due order, from the fundamental points, to 
those that lie next them ; and do not overpass the points of 
next necessity and weight, and go to higher and less needful 
matters, before your are ready for them. 2. And also see 
that you receive all following truths that are taught you, as 
flowing from the foundation, and conjoined with it. Disor- 
derly proceedings have unspeakably wronged the souls of 
many thousands, when they are presently upon controver- 
sies, and smaller matters, before they understand abundance 
of more necessary things that must be first understood. 
This course doth make them lose their labour, and worse, 
it deceiveth the understanding instead of informing it ; and 
thereupon it perverts the will itself, and turns men to a he- 
retical, proud, or perverse frame of spirit ; and then it must 



336 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

needs mislead their practices, and cause them, like deluded 

men, to be zealous in doing mischief, while they think they 

are doing good. In common matters you can see, that you 

must learn and do things in their due order, or else you will 

but make fools of yourselves. Will you go to the top of the 

stairs or ladder, without beginning at the lower steps ? Will 

you sow your ground before you manure or plough it? or 

can you reap before you sow it? Will you ride your colt 

before you break him? Will you rear a house before you 

frame it? Or will you teach your children Hebrew, and 

Greek, and Latin, before they learn English? or to read the 

hardest books before they learn the easiest ? or can they 

read before they learn to spell, or know their letters ? No 

more can you learn the difficult controversies in divinity 

(as about the exposition of obscure prophecies, or doctrinal 

doubts), till you have taken up before you those many, great, 

and necessary truths that lie between. It would make a 

wise man pity them, and be ashamed to hear them, when 

young, raw, self-conceited professors, will fall into confident 

expositions of Daniel, the Revelations, or the Canticles, or 

such like, or into disputes about free-will, or predestination, 

or about the many controversies of the times, when, alas, 

they are ignorant of a hundred truths (about the covenants, 

justification, and the like) which must be known before 

they can reach the rest ! 

By this much that I have said already, you may under- 
stand, that, though we should reach as far as we can in 
knowing all necessary, revealed truths, yet the principal 
part of your growth in knowledge, when once you are con- 
verted, consisteth not in knowing more than you knew be- 
fore, as to the number of truths, but in knowing better the 
very same fundamental truths, which you knew at first. 
This is the principal thing that I would here teach you. 
Abundance are deluded, by not understanding this; you 
see here you have seven several things in which you must 
daily grow in knowledge about the same truths which you 
first received. 1. You must see better and sounder reasons 
and evidences for the fundamental truths than you saw at 
first : or more such evidences than you did then perceive. 
2. You must grow to a clearer sight or apprehension of those 
same evidences. 3. You must see truths more methodically, 
all, as it were, at one view, and all in their due proportion 



VOU THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. .337 

and place, as the members of a well-composed body ; and 
how they grow together, and what strength one truth affords 
to another. 4. You must see every truth more practically 
than before, and know what use it is of, for your hearts and 
lives, and what you must do with it. 5. You must learn 
more skill in the using of these truths, when you know what 
they are good for ; and must be better able to manage them 
on yourselves and others. 6. You must know more experi- 
mentally than you did at first. ] 7. You must grow into a 
higher esteem of truths. All this you have to do besides 
your growing in the number of truths. And I must tell you, 
that as it was these essentials of Christianity that were the 
instrumental causes of your first conversion, and more need- 
ful and useful to you then, than ten thousand others ; so it 
is the very same points that you must always live upon, and 
the confirmation and growth of your souls in these, will be 
more useful to you than the adding of ten thousand more 
truths, which yet you know not. And, therefore, take this 
advice, as you love your peace and growth ; neglect not to 
know more, but bestow many and many hours in labouring 
to know better the great truths which you have received, for 
one hour that you bestow in seeking to know more truths 
which you know not; believe it, this is thesafe and thriving 
way. You know already that God is all-sufficient, and infi- 
nitely wise, and good, and powerful. And you know not, 
perhaps, the nature of free-will, or of God's decrees of elec- 
tion and reprobation, or a hundred the like points. True 
knowledge of any of the revealed things of God, is very de- 
sirable ; but yet, I must tell you, that you are forty times 
more defective here in your knowledge of that of God which 
you do know, than of the other which you know not ; that 
is, the want of more degrees of this necessary knowledge, 
is more dangerous to your souls than the total want of the 
less necessary knowledge. And the addition of more de- 
grees to the more needful parts of knowledge, will strength- 
en and enrich you more than the knowing of less necessary 
things, which you knew not before at all. You know Christ 
crucified already, but perhaps you know not certain contro- 
versies about church-government, or the definitions and dis- 
tinctions of many matters in divinity. It will be a greater 
growth now to your knowledge, to know a little more of 

VOL. VIII. z 



338 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

Christ crucified, whom you know already, than to know 
these lesser matters, which you know not yet at all. Ifyou 
had already a hundred pounds in gold, and not a penny of 
silver, it will more enrich you to have another purse full of 
gold, than a purse full of silver. Trading in the richest com- 
modities, is likelier to raise men to greater estates, than 
trading for matters of a smaller rate. They that go to the 
Indies for gold and pearl, may be rich if they get but little 
in quantity; when he may be poor that brings home ships 
laden with the greatest store of poor commodity. That man 
that hath a double measure of the knowledge of God in 
Christ, and the clearest, and deepest, and most effectual ap- 
prehensions of the riches of grace and the glory to come, 
and yet never heard of the most of the questions in Scotus, 
or O ckam, or Aquinas's sums is far richer in knowledge, and 
a much wiser man, than he that hath those controversies at 
his finger's ends, and yet hath but half his clearness and 
solidity of the knowledge of God and Christ, of grace and 
glory. There is enough in some one of the articles of your 
faith, in one of God's attributes, in one of Christ's benefits, 
in one of the Spirit's graces, to hold you study all your lives, 
and afford you still an increase of knowledge. To know 
God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and their relations to you, 
and operations for you, and your duties to them, and the 
way of communion with them, is that knowledge in which 
you must still be growing, till it be perfected by the celes- 
tial, beatifical vision. Those be not the wisest men that 
can answer most questions ; but those that have the fullest 
intellectual reception of the infinite wisdom. You will con- 
fess that he is a wiser man, that hath wisdom to get and 
rule a kingdom, than he that hath wit enough to talk of a 
hundred trivial matters, which the other is ignorant of. 
That is the wisest physician that can do most to save men's 
lives ; and not he that can best read a lecture of anatomy, 
or is readiest in the terras of his art. Knowledge is to be 
esteemed according to the use of it, and the dignity of its 
object, and not according to the number and subtlety of 
notions. And, therefore, 1 beseech .you all, that are young 
and weak in the faith, take much more pains to grow in the 
fuller acquaintance with that same faith which you have re- 
ceived, than to be acquainted with smaller controversial 
truths which you never knew. Men use to call these higher 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 389 

points, because they are more difficult ; but certainly the 
articles of your faith are much higher in point of excellency 
though they are lower in the due order of learning them, as 
foundation is the lowest part of the building, and is first 
laid, but is that which must bear up all the rest. 

And here you must observe, how gracelessly and unlike 
to Christians those men speak, that say, ' They care not 
for reading such a book, or hearing such or such a minister, 
because he tells them no more than they know already.' 
And on that account some of them stay from church, be- 
cause they hear nothing but what they know already. It is 
a certain [sign that they do not know already the bless- 
ed nature of God, and the riches of Christ, which they say 
they know. For if they did, they could not hear or think 
too much of them. They would long to know more, and, 
therefore, to hear more of the same things. It is a sign the 
minister takes the course that tends to your edification and 
enriching in knowledge, when he is most upon the great and 
most necessary truths. All saints do make it their study to 
comprehend the height, and breadth, and length, and depth, 
and know the love of God in Christ ; but when they have 
done, they confess that it " passeth knowledge ;" Ephes.iii. 
17 — 19. It is a graceless, wicked soul, in a state of damna- 
tion, that conceits he knows so much of God and Jesus 
Christ, and the essentials of Christianity, that he cares not 
for hearing these things any more, but had rather have no- 
velties, and let these alone ; and feeleth not need of knowing 
much more, and more of the same truths ; and of using and 
living upon these vital principles which he knows. You have 
eaten bread, and drank beer a hundred times ; but perhaps 
you never did eat of sturgeon or whale, of a bear or a leo- 
pard, of chesnuts or pignuts, or many strange and danger- 
ous fruits in all your life; and yet I hope you will never seek 
after these, because they are novelties, and give over eating 
bread because you have eaten of it already. Nor will you 
churlishly refuse to go to a feast, because there is no meat 
but what you have eaten of before. We have not a new God 
to preach to you, nor a new Christ, nor a new Spirit, nor a 
new Gospel, nor a new church, nor a new faith, nor a new 
baptismal covenant, nor a new heaven, or hope, or happi- 
ness to propound; Gal. i. 9, 10. Ephes.iv. 3 — 5. Your 
growth in methods, and definitions, and distinctions, and in 



340 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

additional points of knowledge, is principally to be valued 
as it cleareth your understandings in the foresaid great es- 
sential points, and brings you up to God himself. Some 
wretches think they have quickly learned past the essential 
articles of the faith, and ere long they are past the higher 
points ; and shortly they are past the Scripture itself, and 
throw it by, as a scholar that hath learnt one book, and 
must be entered into another. They understand not, that 
the ministry and Spirit are but to teach them the word of the 
Gospel ; but they think they must outgrow the word and 
ministry, and the Spirit must teach them some other doc- 
trine, or Gospel, which the written word doth not contain. 
I pray mark the apostle's warning : " Be not carried about 
with divers and strange doctrines ; for it is a good thing that 
the heart be established with grace ;" Heb. xiii. 9. And 
" That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and 
fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the 
sleight of men, and cunning craftiness j" Ephes. iv. 14. 

ii. Having shewed you wherein your growth consisteth 
in the understanding, I shall be short in the rest, and next I 
must tell you wherein it consisteth in the will. 

And that is, 1. When upon good understanding and deep 
consideration, you are more fixedly, habitually, absolutely, 
and practically resolved for God and glory than before. So 
that you are grown more beyond all shaking doubtfulness, 
or wavering of mind, and beyond all unevenness, mutability, 
and inconstancy. When a man is thus satisfied, that none 
but God hath title to him, or can make him happy, and that 
none but Christ can reconcile him to God, and that it were 
a madness to make any other choice, and thereupon is set- 
tled and firm as Mount Zion, and can say, " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire be- 
sides thee ;" Psal. lxxiii. 25. When you are firmly resolved 
that, let God do with you what he will, and come of it what 
will, you will never choose another Master, or Saviour, or 
rule, or happiness, or way, or body, than you are in ; and 
will never forsake the path of holiness ; this is the fixed 
stability of the will, and the more of this, the more you 
grow. 

2. And when you have the lowest esteem of the creatures, 
and greatest, and most resolved averseness to all that would 
draw you from God, and can meet the greatest worldly or 



-FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 341 

fleshly allurements with a holy contempt ; this shews a set- 
tled, confirmed will. 

3. And also, when you are speedy in holy resolutions, 
and see nothing in a temptation, how great soever, that can 
make you demur upon it, or make a stop in a Christian 
course ; but go on to duty, as if the tempter had said no- 
thing to you, and the flesh and the world had no interest in 
you ; and you do not so much as stand to think on it, whe- 
ther you should yield to sin or not, as abhorring to call such 
a matter into question ; this shews a confirmed, fixed will ; 
and the more of this, the more of holiness. 

in. The strength and growth of holy affections, consist- 
eth principally in these particulars : 1 . When the affections 
are lively, and not dull ; so that we make out after God and 
heaven with vigour and alacrity. 2. When they are ready 
at hand, and not to seek, and need not a great deal ado to 
quicken them, or call them in. 3. When they are more pure 
and unmixed, having least of the creature and most of God 
in them. 4. But principally (and the surest point to try 
them by) when they contain in them, or accompany the 
foresaid confirmation and resolvedness of the will ; for it is 
more the willingness that is in or with our affections, than 
the heat of them, that we must judge them by. 5. And 
lastly, when they follow the best guidance of the under- 
standing, when they are hottest about the greatest matters, 
and not about the smaller or more doubtful things ; when 
they are obedient, and yielding to faith and holy reason, 
and not too ready to hearken to sense, and be moved about 
fleshly, sensible things. In these things lieth the growth of 
your affections. 

iv. And then lastly, for your conversations, your stabi- 
lity, and growth consisteth, 1. In the readiness of your obe- 
dience. 2. In the fulness and universal exactness of it. 
3. In the resolved conquest of all temptations that would 
pervert you. 4. In the diligent use of all those means, that 
may further confirm and strengthen you. 5. In the even- 
ness of it, that it be constant, and not mixed with scandals, 
and stops in the way, or stepping out into by-paths. 6. In 
your fruitfulness and profitableness to others, according to 
the proportion of your talents ; that you study to do good, 
and do it with all the care, and wisdom, and diligence you 
can. 7. In the spirituality of it, that God be the principal, 



342 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

and the end of all, and that all be animated from the believ- 
ing consideration of his attributes, and the views of everlast- 
ing blessedness. So that you have such lively, fixed inten- 
tions of God, that you can perceive that you do all, even 
common things, for the purpose of his pleasure, will, and 
glory ; and that the love of God doth carry you about from 
duty to duty, and constrain you to it. 8. And lastly, in the 
measure of your present attainments of the end and fruits of 
your obedience. For a taste of these ends are here to be 
attained. When your inward graces are more confirmed 
and increased, and your talents are doubled, and when you 
bring God a great deal of honour in the world, so that by 
his graces shining in your works, your Father is glorified ; 
and when yourselves are readier to go to God, and meet your 
Redeemer, and long more for his appearing ; in all these 
consisteth the stability, growth, and excellency of your con- 
versations. 

And now, by all that I have said, you may see wherein 
your stability, strength, and growth doth not consist. 1. 
It doth not most, or much consist in speculations, or less 
useful truths. 2. It doth not consist in the mere heat of 
affections ; for zeal may be misguided, and do hurt, and may 
prove sometimes but a mere natural or distempered, sinful 
passion. 3. It consisteth not in mere fears, or purposes, that 
you are frightened into against your will. 4. Nor does it 
consist of the common gifts of grace or nature. 5. Nor yet in 
turning into groundless singularities, and unusual strains. 
But in a word, it consisteth in holy love, kindled by effec- 
tual faith. When a firmly believing soul is fullest of love 
to God, and Christ, and holiness, this is the most confirmed 
state of the soul ; and in this your chiefest growth con- 
sisteth. 

My next advice to all young Christians, for their con- 
firmation and growth in grace, is this : 

Direct. IV. ' Grow downwards in humility ; be low and 
small in your own eyes, and affect not to be high or great in 
the eyes of others ; and still keep a deep apprehension of 
the greatness and danger of the sin of pride ; but especially 
of that called spiritual pride.' 

It is the tree that hath the shallowest, weakest rooting 
that most shaketh, and is soonest overthrown : the deeper 
roots, the higher growth, for the most part. The building 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 343 

that hath not a deep foundation, is soonest shaken and over- 
thrown. Christ is our foundation ; and humiliation digs 
deep and lets hirn into the heart. Pride is commonly thought 
to be the devil's first or chiefest sin. Sure I am, it is the 
proud that fall into his condemnation ; 1 Tim. iii. 6. The 
pride of our first parents, affecting to be as gods in know- 
ledge, was the inlet of all our sin and misery ; and the 
tempter still followeth the way that he hath found to be so 
successful. It is pride, that like a storm or tempest, doth 
set all the world in the rage, and contention, and differences, 
and confusion, that we see them in. It is pride that hath 
filled the church with divisions ; and it is pride that causeth 
the apostacy of most that fall away. And the more men 
have of it, the less do they usually discern it in themselves ; 
I am sure the less do they hate it and lament it. And though 
one would think, that young beginners and weak Christians 
that have little to be proud of should be out of the danger 
of this temptation, yet experience tells us, that it is they 
that fall by it, more than the wiser and stronger Christians 
that have more to glory in : for the more men increase in 
wisdom, the more do they know their own unworthiness, 
their emptiness, and ignorance, and manifold sins : and the 
more do they know of the holiness and jealousy of God ; and 
the more do they know of the evil of sin, and see what abun- 
dance of knowledge and grace they yet want ; so that the 
more holy wisdom and experience, the less pride. But folly 
is the parent and nurse of pride. Children will be proud of 
toys and things of no value. There are two or three things 
that make young Christians in greater danger of spiritual 
pride than others. 1. Because they come so lately out of 
darkness, and so great a change is made upon their souls, 
that it makes them the more sensible of it ; and therefore 
the readier to have high thoughts of themselves. Though 
one would think that the remembrance of former folly, and 
late dejectedness should keep them low, yet with too many 
that is quickly gone, and they know not how to receive a 
comforting message, but they make it an occasion of lifting 
up. 2. The ignorance of these novices or young Christians 
is such, that they little know what abundance of things they 
are yet ignorant of. Little do they know what knowledge 
they yet want ; they think there is little more to be reached 
to than is in their sight, and therefore suppose themselves 



344 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

somebody in the school of Christ, because they have learned 
the first lesson. 3. And by reason of this ignorance, they 
know not how to value the higher attainments and under- 
standings of others, but look on the wisest as little wiser 
than themselves, because they are unacquainted with the 
matter of their wisdom, and therefore overlook it as if it were 
none, and consequently think too highly of themselves. 4. 
And withal, they have not that experience of their own hearts, 
that should make them jealous of them, as ancient Chris- 
tians have. 

The humble soul is still in an empty, craving temper ; 
he hungereth and thirsteth after righteousness, and therefore 
shall be satisfied ; Matt. v. 6. No man setteth so high a 
price on Christ and grace, and all the means of grace. Even 
the crumbs are welcome to him, which the proud despise. 
" The full soul loathes the honeycomb ; but to the hungry 
every bitter thing is sweet ;" Prov. xxvii. 7. Therefore such 
beggars are most welcome to God : he hath respect to the 
humble, contrite soul; Isa. lvii. 15. Ixvi. 2. Psal. li. 17. 
** The hungry he filleth with good, but the rich he sendeth 
empty away ;" Luke i. 53. " He giveth more grace to the 
humble, when the proud are abhorred by him ;" 1 Pet. v. 5. 
The church of Laodicea, that said, " I am rich, and increased 
with goods, and have need of nothing," was " miserable, and 
poor, and blind, and naked ;" Rev. iii. 17. As many that 
are proud of their honour and birth, run out of all, by living 
above their estates, when meaner persons grow rich, because 
they are still gathering, and make much of every little : so 
proud professors of religion are in a consumption of the grace 
they have, while the humble increase, by making much of 
every little help, which is slighted and neglected by the 
proud, and by shunning all those spending courses, which 
the proud are plunged in. Be sure to keep mean thoughts 
of yourselves, of your knowledge, and parts, and grace, and 
duties, and be content to be mean in the esteem of others, 
if you would not be worse than mean in the esteem of God. 

Direct. V. ' Exercise yourselves daily in a life of faith 
upon Jesus Christ, as your Saviour, your Teacher, your Me- 
diator, and your King; as your example, your wisdom, your 
righteousness, and your hope.' 

All other studies and knowledge must be merely subser- 
vient to the study and knowledge of Christ ; 1 Cor. ii. 2. 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 345 

That vain kind of philosophy which St. Paul so much cau- 
tioneth Christians against, is so far yet from being accounted 
vain, that by many called Christians, it is preferred before 
Christianity itself; and to shew that it is vain while they 
overvalue it, they can show no solid worth or virtue which 
they have got by it ; but only a tumified mind, and an idle 
tongue, like a tinkling cymbal ; 1 Cor. xiii. 1. xii. 31. ii. 
4. 14—16. i. 18—21. 23, 24. 27. Col. ii. 8, 9. We are 
complete in Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the 
Godhead bodily ; ver. 10. No study in the world will so 
much lead you up to God, and acquaint you with him espe- 
cially in his love and goodness, as the study of Christ, his 
person, his office, his doctrine, his example, his kingdom, 
and his benefits. As the deity is your ultimate end, to which 
all things else are but helps and means ; so Christ is that 
great and principal means, by whom all other means are 
animated. Remember that you are in continual need of him, 
for direction, intercession, pardon, sanctification, for support 
and comfort, and for peace with God. Let no thoughts therer 
fore be so sweet and frequent in your hearts, nor any dis- 
course so ready in your mouths (next to the excellencies of 
the eternal Godhead) as this of the design of man's redemp- 
tion. Let Christ be to your souls, as the air, the earth, the 
sun, and your food are to your bodies, without which your 
life would presently fail. As you had never come home to 
the Father but by him, so without him you cannot a moment 
continue in the Father's love, nor be accepted in one duty, 
nor be protected from one danger, nor be supplied in any 
want : for it pleased the Father, that in him should all ful- 
ness dwell ; Col.i. 18, 19. " And by him it is, that being 
justified by faith, we have peace with God, and have access 
by faith unto this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God ;" Rom. v. 1, 2. " And it is in him 
the head, that we must grow up in all things, from whom the 
whole body doth receive its increase ;" Ephes. iv. 15, 16. 
You grow no more in grace, than you grow in the true know- 
ledge and daily use of Jesus Christ. But of this I will say 
no more, because I have said so much in my " Directions for 
a Sound Conversion." 

Direct. VI. ' Let the knowledge and love of God, and 
your obedience to him, be the works of your religion ; and 
the everlasting fruition of him in heaven, be the continual 



346 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

end and ruling motive of your hearts and lives, that your 
very conversation may be with God in heaven.' 

You are so far HOLY as you are DIVINE and HEA- 
VENLY. A Christian indeed in casting up his accounts, 
being certain that this world doth make no man happy, hath 
been led by Christ to seek a happiness with God above. If 
you live not for this everlasting happiness, if you trade not 
for this, if this be not your treasure, your hope and home, 
the chief matter of your desires, love and joy, and if all 
things be not pressed to serve it, and despised when they 
stand against it, you live not indeed a Christian life. GOD 
and HEAVEN, or GOD in HEAVEN, is the life and soul, 
the beginning and the end, the sum, the all of true religion. 
And therefore it is that we are directed to lift up our heads 
and hearts, and begin our prayers with, " Our Father which 
art in heaven," and end them with ascribing to him, " the 
kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever." It is not the 
creatures, but God the Creator, that is the Father, the Guide, 
and the Felicity of souls, and therefore the ultimate End 
and object of all religious actions and affections. Dwell 
still upon God, and dwell in heaven, if you would under- 
stand the nature and design of Christianity. Take God for 
all, that is, for God ; study after the knowledge of him in all 
his works ; study him in his word ; study him in Christ ; 
and never study him, barely to know him, but to know him 
that you may love him. Take yourselves as dead, when you 
live not in the love of God ; keep still upon your hearts, a 
lively sense of the infinite difference between him and the 
creature. Look on all the world as a shadow, and on God 
as the substance ; take the very worst that man can do, to 
be in comparison of the punishments of God, but as a flea- 
biting to the sorest death ; and take all the dreaming plea- 
sures of the world, to be less in comparison with the joys of 
heaven, than one lick of honey is to a thousand years' pos- 
session of all the felicities on earth. Think not all the plea- 
sures, honours, or riches of the world, to be worthy to be 
named in comparison of heaven; nor the greatest of men, 
to be worthy to be once thought on, in comparison of God. 
As one straw or feather won or lost, would neither much re- 
joice or trouble you, if all the city or land were yours; so 
live as men whose eyes are open, and who discern a greater 
disproportion between the portion of a worldling and a saint. 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 347 

Let God be your King, your Father, your Master, your 
Friend, your Wealth, your Joy, your All. Let not a day go 
over your heads, in which your hearts have no converse with 
God in heaven. When any trouble overtaketh you on earth, 
look up to heaven, and remember, that it is there that rest 
and joy are prepared for believers. When you are under 
any want, or cross, or sorrow, fetch not your comfort from 
any hopes of deliverance here on earth, but from the place 
of your final, full deliverance. If you feel any strangeness 
and backwardness on your minds to heavenly contempla- 
tions, do not make light of them, but presently by faith get 
up to Christ, who must make your thoughts of heaven fami- 
liar, and seek remedy before your estrangedness increase. 
The soul is in a sad condition, when it cannot fetch comfort 
and encouragement from heaven ; for then it must have 
none, or worse than none. When the thoughts of heaven 
will not sweeten all your crosses, and relieve your minds 
against all the incumbrances of earth, your souls are not in 
a healthful state ; it is time then to search out the cause, 
and seek a cure, before it come to worse. 

There are three great causes of this dark and dangerous 
state of soul, which make the thoughts of heaven ineffectual 
and uncomfortable to us, which therefore must be over- 
come with the daily care and diligence of your whole lives. 
1. Unbelief, which maketh you look towards the life to 
come with doubting and uncertainty ; and this is the most 
common, radical, powerful and pernicious impediment to a 
heavenly life. 2. The second is, the love of present things, 
which being the vanity of a poor, low, fleshly mind, the re- 
viving of reason may do much to overcome it ; but it is the 
sound belief of the life to come that must indeed prevail. 
3. The third is, the inordinate fear of death, which hath so 
great advantage in the constitution of our nature, that it is 
commonly the last enemy which we overcome, (as death it- 
self is the last enemy which Christ overcometh for us). 
Bend all your strength, and spend your days in striving 
against these three great impediments of a heavenly conver- 
sation ; and remember, that so far as you suffer your hearts 
to retire from heaven, so far they retire from a life of Chris- 
tianity and peace. 

Direct. VII. * Tn the work of mortification, let SELF- 



348 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

DENIAL be the first and last of all your study, care and di- 
ligence.' 

Understand how much of the fallen, depraved state of 
man consisteth in the sin of SELFISHNESS : how he is 
sunk into himself, in his fall from the love of God, and of 
his neighbour ; of the public or private good of others : and 
how this inordinate self-love is now the grand enemy of all 
true love to God or man ; and the root and heart of covetous- 
ness, pride, voluptuousness and all iniquity. Let it be your 
work, therefore, all your days, to mortify it, and watch 
against it. When you feel yourselves partial in your own 
cause, and apt to be drawing from others to yourselves, in 
point of reputation, precedency or gain, and apt to make too 
great a matter of every word that is spoken against you, or 
every little wrong that is done you, observe then the perni- 
cious root of selfishness, from whence all this mischief doth 
proceed. Read more of this in my " Treatise of Self-denial." 

Direct. VIII. ' Take your corrupted, fleshly desires, for 
the greatest enemy of your souls, and let it be every day 
your constant work to mortify the flesh, and to keep a watch 
upon your lusts and appetite, and every sense.' 

Remember that our senses were not made to govern 
themselves, but to be governed by right reason ; and that 
God made them at the first to be the ordinary passage of 
his love and mercy to our hearts, by the means of the crea- 
tures which represent or manifest him unto us : but now in 
the depraved state of man, the senses have cast off the go- 
vernment of reason, and are become the ruling power, and 
so man is become like the beasts that perish. Remember 
then, that to be sensual, is to be brutish ; and though grace 
doth not destroy the appetite and sense, yet it subjecteth it 
to God and reason. Therefore let your appetite be pleased 
in nothing, but by the allowance of right reason ; and think 
not that you have reason to take any meats, or drink, or 
sport, merely because your flesh desireth it ; but consider, 
whether it will do you good or hurt, and how it conduceth 
to your ultimate end. It is a base and sinful state to be in 
servitude to your appetite and sense; when by using to 
please it, you have so increased its desires, that now you 
know not how to deny it, and displease it ; when you have 
taught it to be like a hungry dog or swine, that will never 
be quiet till his hunger be satisfied ; whereas a well-govern- 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 349 

ed appetite and sense is easily quieted with a rational de- 
nial. Rom. viii. 1. 6—8. 13. 'xiii. 13, 14. 1 Pet. ii. 11. 
1 John ii. 16. 

Direct. IX. ' Take heed lest you fall in love with the 
world, or any thing therein, and lest your thoughts of any 
place or condition which you either possess or hope for, do 
grow too sweet and pleasing to you.' 

For there is no one perisheth, but for loving some crea- 
ture more than God ; and complacency is the formal act of 
love. '* Love not the world, nor the things that are in the 
world, for if any man love the world, the love of the Father 
is not in him;" 1 John ii. 15. Value all earthly things as 
they conduce to your Master's service, or to your salvation ; 
and not as they tend to the pleasing of the flesh. It is the 
commonest and most dangerous folly in the world, to be 
eager to have our houses, and lands, and provisions, and 
every thing about us in the most pleasing and amiable state; 
when as this is the acknowledged way to hell, and the only 
poison of the soul. Are you not in more danger of over- 
loving a pleasing and prosperous condition, than a bitter 
and vexatious state? And of over-loving riches, honour, 
and sensual fulness and delights, rather than poverty, re- 
proach and mortification ? And do you not know that if 
ever you be damned, it will be for loving the world too 
much, and God too little ? Is it for nothing that Christ 
describeth a saint to you as a Lazarus in poverty and sores, 
and a damned wretch as one that was " clothed in purple 
and silk, and fared sumptuously every day?" Luke xvi. 
Did not Christ know what he did when he put the rich man 
upon this trial, to part with all his worldly riches, and follow 
Christ for a treasure in heaven ? Luke xviii. 22, 23. All 
things must be esteemed as loss and dung for the knowledge 
of Christ, and the hopes of heaven if ever you will be saved; 
Phil. iii. 6 — 8. You must so live by faith, and not by sight, 
as not to look at the temporal things which are seen, but at 
the things eternal which are unseen ; 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18. v. 7, 8. 
And one that is running in a race for his life, would not so 
much as turn his head to look back on any one that called 
to him to stay, or to look aside to any one that would speak 
with him in his way ; thus must we forget the things that 
are behind, as counting them not worthy a thought, or re- 
membrance, or a look ; Phil. iii. 13, 14. If you feel this poi- 



350 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

son seize upon your hearts, and your condition in the world 
(or at least your hopes) begin to grow too sweet and pleas- 
ing to you, presently make haste to Christ your Physician, 
and take his antidote, and cast up the poison as you love 
your souls. You must know no other pleasure in your out- 
ward mercies, but as God appeareth in and by them, and as 
they tend to profit you, and further you in God's service, or 
to promote your own or others' good, but not as they are 
provision for the flesh ; Rom. xiii. 13, 14. See my book 
", Of Crucifying the World." 

Direct. X. ' Cast not yourselves wilfully upon tempta- 
tions, but avoid them as far as lawfully you can ; and if you 
are cast upon them unwillingly, resist them resolutely, as 
knowing that they come to entice you into sin and hell, 
from God and your everlasting happiness ; and therefore be 
well acquainted with the particular temptations of every 
company, calling, relation, business, time, place and con- 
dition of life ; and go always furnished with particular anti- 
dotes against them all.' 

Strong grace will do no more against strong temptations, 
than weak grace against weak ones. Temptation is the way 
to sin, and sin is the way to hell. If you saw the danger- 
ousness of your station, when you cast yourself upon temp- 
tations, you would tremble and fly as for your lives. I take 
that man as almost gone already, who chooseth temptations, 
or avoideth them not when he may. Especially be acquaint- 
ed with the diseases and greatest dangers of your soul ; and 
there keep up a constant watch. Are you liable to a glut- 
tonous pleasing of your appetite? avoid the temptation; 
set not that before you which may be your snare ; let a lit- 
tle, and that of the least tempting kind of food, be your or- 
dinary provision. Sit not at the glutton's table (who fareth 
deliciously every day) if you would escape the glutton's sin 
and misery. Or if the provision be of other men's disposal, 
at least rise quickly and begone. Are you inclined to please 
your appetite in drinking? avoid such strong drink as may 
tempt your appetite ; and avoid the place and company that 
draweth you to it. Are you inclined to fleshly lust? avoid 
the presence of such of the other sex as are a temptation to 
you : look not on them, and talk not of them : but above 
all, take heed of nearness, and familiarity, and privacy with 
them, and of all opportunity of sin. When the devil hath 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 351 

brought the bait to your hand, and telleth you, Now you 
may sin without any molestation or discovery, you are then 
in a very dangerous case. Some that think they would not 
be guilty of the sin, will yet tempt themselves, and delight 
to have it in their power, and to have the opportunity of 
sinning, and to come as near it as they dare ; and these are 
gone before they well perceive their danger. So if you are 
inclined to pride and ambition, avoid the society of those 
that tempt you to it : come not among superiors and gal- 
lants, or such as kindle your ambition. A retired life, in 
company of mean and humble persons, is fittest for one that 
hath your disease. Mind not high things, but condescend 
to men of low estate ; Rom. xii. 16. 

But if you cannot avoid the temptation, be sure yet to 
avoid the sin ; take it as if you saw and heard the devil him- 
self persuading you to sin, and damn your souls. Abhor 
the motion, and give not the devil a patient hearing, when 
you know what he cometh about. Resolution escapeth ma- 
ny a danger, which those are ruined by, who stand disputing 
and dallying with the tempter. Especially look about you, 
when the tempter employeth great men, or learned men, or 
godly men, or nearest friends to be his instruments. And 
if their subtlety puzzle you, go to the stronger and more 
experienced Christians for advice and help. " Watch and 
pray that you enter not into temptation ;" Matt. vi. 13. 
xxvi. 41. It is a dreadful thing to think what persons 
temptations have overthrown ! Luke xviii. 13. Heb. vi. 6. How 
wise, and learned, and excellent men have been outwitted by 
satan, and sinned like fools, when they have let go their watch. 
If we be as resolved as Peter, temptations may quickly 
change our resolutions, if God leave us to ourselves, and we 
grow presumptuous or secure ; and then our very reason 
will lose its power; and false representations will make 
things appear to us quite contrary to what indeed they are ; 
and those reasonings will seem probable to us, which at 
another time we should easily see through as mere deceit. 
Temptation as it prevaileth, doth damp and cast asleep our 
graces, and charm and bewitch all the faculties of the soul ; 
1 Tim. vi. 9. 

Direct. XI. ' If it be possible, make choice of such a pas- 
tor for the help and guidance t)f your souls, as is judicious, 
experienced, humble, holy, heavenly, faithful, diligent, live- 



352 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

ly, and peaceable, that liveth not in separation from the ge- 
nerality of the sober, godly ministers and Christians where 
he liveth.' 

1. Think not of being sufficient for yourselves, without 
the help of those whom Christ hath appointed to be watch- 
men for your souls; Heb. xiii. 7. 17.24. As you cannot 
live without the teaching and the grace of Christ ; so Christ 
doth vouchsafe you his teaching and his grace, by the mi- 
nistry of his own officers, whom he hath appointed to that 
end and use. It is marvellous to observe, how Christ chose 
rather to convert men by the preaching and miracles of his 
apostles than by his own : and how he would not fully con- 
vert Paul without the ministry of Ananias, though he spoke 
to him from heaven himself, and reasoned the case with him 
against his. persecution. And how he would not fully con- 
vert Cornelius and his household, without the ministry of 
Peter, though he sent an angel to direct him to a teacher. 
Nor would he convert the Ethiopian eunuch without the 
ministry of Philip ; nor the jailor without the ministry of 
Paul and Silas, though he wrought a miracle to prepare for 
his conversion ; Acts xvi. x. And •' Paul must plant, and 
Apollos must water, before God will give the increase;" 
1 Cor. iii.6. And though all true Christians are taught of 
God, and must call no man on earth the master of their 
faith but Christ, (1 Thess. iv. 9. John vi. 45. Matt, xxiii. 
8, 9.) yet have they their teachers, fathers and instructors 
under Christ, who are helpers of their joy, though they have 
not dominion over their faith, and are overseers, though not 
lords and owners of the flock, and are ministers of Christ 
by whom he teacheth, and stewards of the mysteries of God, 
and ambassadors by whom he beseecheth sinners to be re- 
conciled to God, having committed to them the word of re- 
conciliation ; Eph. iv. 1 1 — 14. 1 Cor. iv. 1 . 15. Acts xx. 28. 
2 Cor. i. 24. 1 Pet. v. 1—4. 2 Cor. v. 18— 20. These are 
labourers together with God upon his husbandry and build- 
ing; some being master-builders, and others superstructors ; 
1 Cor. iii.9, 10. Christ knew the necessity that the infants 
of his family had of such nurses, and he knew what numbers 
of such weak ones there would be in comparison of the 
strong ; or else he had never appointed the strong to such 
an office; and having appointed it, he will keep up the ho- 
nour of his officers, and will send you his alms, your food, 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 353 

your physic, your pardon, your privileges, by their hands. 
If you be drawn by seducers to forsake or neglect the mi- 
nistry of Christ's officers, you forsake or neglect your helps 
and mercies, you refuse his grace, you are like infants that 
scorn their nurses' help, and like subjects who reject all the 
officers of the king, and like the chickens that forsake the 
hen ; you forsake the school and church of Christ, and may 
expect to be quickly catched up by the devil, as stragglers 
that have no defence or guide. 

2. Yet is there great difference between one minister or 
pastor and another, as much as between physicians, lawyers, 
or men of any other function. And there being no case in 
the world that you are so much concerned to be careful in, 
as the instructing, and conduct, and safety of your souls, 
you have exceeding great reason to take heed whom you 
choose to commit the care and conduct of your souls to. 
It is not enough to say, that he is a true ordained minister, 
and that his administrations are not nullities, any more than 
to say of an ignorant physician or cowardly captain, that he 
hath a valid licence or commission ; when for all that, if you 
trust him, it may cost you your lives. Nor is it a wise man's 
answer to say, ' That God giveth his grace by the worst, as 
soon as by the best, and by the weakest, as soon as by the 
strongest, and therefore I need not be so careful in my 
choice.' For though God have not confined the working of 
his Spirit to the most excellent means, yet ordinarily, he 
worketh according to the means he useth ; and this both 
Scripture, reason and daily experience fully prove. God 
worketh rationally on man as man ; that is, as a rational free 
agent, by moral operation, and not by a mere physical in- 
jection of his grace. When we see the man that is made 
wise unto salvation by mere infusion of wisdom, without a 
teacher or the study of the word of God, or when we see 
God work by his word as by a charm, that a few words shall 
convert a man, though the speaker or hearer understood 
them not, then we may hearken to this conceit ; and then 
we may think that a heretic may as well teach you the truth 
as the orthodox, or a schismatic teach you unity and peace 
as well as a catholic peaceable pastor, or a man that is igno- 
rant of the mysteries of regeneration and holy communion 
with God, may best teach you that which he knoweth not 

VOL. VIII. A A 



354 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

himself, and an enemy to piety and charity, may teach you 
to be pious and charitable, as well as any other. But I need 
not say much more of this, for all parties would never so 
strive to have such ministers as they like, and to put out 
such as they dislike, if they thought not that the difference 
between ministers and ministers was very great. 

See therefore that the guide whom you choose for your 
souls, be, 1. Judicious ; for an injudicious man may pervert 
the Scripture, and lead you into error, and heresy, and sin, 
before you are aware ; as an unskilful coachman may 
soon overturn you, or an unskilful waterman may drown 
you. Yea, though he be a zealous, fervent preacher, yet if 
he be injudicious, he may ignorantly give you poison in your 
food, as the experience of this age hath lamentably proved. 

2. See if possible, that he be an experienced man, that 
knoweth by experience on himself, not only what it is to be 
regenerate, and sanctified, and made a new creature, but al- 
so how all the combat between the Spirit and the flesh is to 
be managed, and what are the methods and stratagems of 
the tempter, and what are the chief helps and defences of 
the soul, and how they are all to be used ; for it is not 
harder to be a judicious physician, or lawyer, or soldier, 
without experience, than a judicious pastor; and therefore 
the Holy Ghost commandeth that he be not a novice, or raw, 
inexperienced Christian ; 1 Tim. iii. 6. 

3. See that he be humble ; for if he be puffed up with 
pride, he falleth into the condemnation of the devil ; 1 Tim. 
iii. 6. And then he will either scorn the labour of the mi- 
nistry as a drudgery (to preach in season and out of season, 
to beseech, and exhort, and stoop to the poorest of the 
flock) ; or else he will " speak perverse things to draw away 
disciples after him ;" (Acts xx. 30.) or he will, as Diotrephes, 
reject the brethren, as loving himself to have the preemi- 
nence ; (2 John ix. 10.) and will oversee the church by con- 
straint, for filthy lucre, as being a lord over God's heritage ; 
(1 Pet. v. 2, 3.) See Dr. Hammond on the text. 

4. See that he be holy in his life ; for though this be not 
essential to his office, yet the unholy are inexperienced, yea, 
and have a secret enmity in their hearts against that holi- 
ness which they should daily preach ; and will usually be 
shewing it in their close, disgracing, discouraging speeches, 
against that serious piety which they should promote : and 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 355 

they will neglect most of the personal care of their flock ; 
and will unpreach by their lives the good which they preach 
by their tongues, and harden and embolden the people in 
their sins, and make them believe that they believe not what 
they preach themselves. Choose not an enemy of holiness 
to lead you in the way of holiness (a way that he never went 
himself), nor an enemy of Christ to conduct you in the 
Christian warfare, when he is a servant of the devil, the 
world, and flesh, against whom you fight. 

5. See that he be of a heavenly mind, or else his doctrine 
will be unsavoury and dry, and he will be preaching some 
speculations or barren controversies, instead of heavenly, 
edifying truth. 

6. See that he be faithful and diligent in his ministry, 
as one that knoweth the worth of souls, and will not sell 
them or betray them to the devil for filthy lucre or his flesh- 
ly ends ; nor make merchandize of them, as desiring rather 
theirs than them, and preferring their fleece before the safety 
of the flock ; but one that imitateth the pattern, Acts xx. 
and in " meekness instructeth those that are opposers ;" 
2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. 2Pet.ii.3. 1 Cor.iv.2. Rom.xvi. 17, 18. 
1 Pet. v. 3, 4. 2Cor.xii. 14. 

7. See that he be a lively, serious preacher ; for all will 
be little enough to keep up a lively seriousness in such dull 
and frozen hearts as ours : a cold preacher with cold hearts, 
is like to make cold work. He that speaks senselessly and 
sleepily about such matters as heaven and hell, doth by the 
manner of his speech contradict the matter. When hard- 
heartedness, and security, and deadness, and lethargic drow- 
siness is the common and dangerous disease of souls, let 
him that loveth his soul and would not perish by his dis- 
ease, make use of a physician and remedy that is suited to 
the cure, and not of one to rock him asleep, or give him an 
opiate to increase his malady. 

8. See also that he be one that is of a truly catholic spi- 
rit, not addicted to a sect, nor to divisions in the church, 
nor one that liveth in a separation or distance from the ge- 
nerality of the godly, sober ministers ; for you take him not 
for your guide, as separated from the catholic church, but 
as united to it, and a member of it ; as valuing the judgment 
of all the church above the judgment of any one pastor, and 
knowing that you are yourselves to be kept in the unity of 



,*>5f> DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

the church, and not seduced into a sect ; and that the pas- 
tors are to be the bonds and ligaments of the body, that by 
their help it may grow up in love and unity, and not the di- 
viders of the body ; Eph. iv. 13 — 16. As captains and infe- 
rior officers in an army, that are to conduct each soldier in 
unity with the army, and not to separate, and make every 
troop or regiment an army by itself, that they may be the 
petty generals. In a word, read some good visitation ser- 
mons, which tell you what a minister must be, and choose, 
if possible, to live under such a minister ; I say, if possible ; 
for I know to many it is not possible. Wives, and children, 
and servants, (while they are bound) cannot leave their hus- 
bands, parents or masters ; and strong Christians who are 
called to do good to others, must prefer that before such 
advantages to themselves ; and many other impediments 
may deny men such a blessing. But yet I say, undervalue 
not such a mercy, and neglect it not, where lawfully it may 
be had, and prefer nothing before it (as a just impediment) 
which is not really more worth. And remember that divines 
do commonly resolve the case of the infidel nations of the 
world, that they are inexcusable in their infidelity, because 
when they hear that other nations profess to know the way 
to heaven, they do not in so great a case go over sea and 
land to inquire after the doctrine which we profess. And 
if the Tartarians, Indians, and other nations are bound to 
send to Christian nations for preachers of the Gospel, I only 
leave you proportionably to measure your case by theirs 
(allowing for the disproportion) ; and to consider how far 
you should deny your worldly profit in removing your habi- 
tations, for such helps as your own necessities require. 

Direct. XII. ' Make choice of such Christians for your 
familiar friends, and the companions of your lives, as are 
holy, humble, heavenly, serious, mortified, charitable, peace- 
able, judicious, experienced and fixed in the ways of God ; 
and not of ungodly persons, or proud, self-conceited, cen- 
sorious, dividing, injudicious, inexperienced, sensual, world- 
ly, opinionative, superficial, lukewarm or unsettled profes- 
sors.' 

The reasons of this Direction you may perceive in what 
I said under the last. Your company is a matter of exceed- 
ing great concernment to you, as one of the greatest helps 
or hindrances, comforts or discomforts of all your lives, es- 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 357 

pecially those that you dwell with, and those that you choose 
for your familiars and bosom friends ; and, therefore, (so far 
as God's providence doth not forbid you, and make it im- 
possible) choose such as are here described ; or at least, 
one such for your bosom friend, if you can have acquaint- 
ance with no more. It is of unspeakable importance to your 
salvation, with whom you are associated for most familiar 
converse. A good companion will teach you what you 
know not, or remember you of that which you forget, or 
stir you up when you are dull, or warm you when you are 
cold, and watch over you and warn you of your danger, and 
save you from the poison of ill companions. O what a help 
and delight it is to have a holy, judicious, faithful friend to 
open your heart to, and to walk with him in the ways of life ! 
And how exceeding hard it is to escape sin and hell, and 
get well to heaven, in company and familiarity of the ser- 
vants of the devil, who are posting unto hell ! Let not your 
companions be worse than yourselves, lest they make you 
worse ; but as much wiser and better as you can procure. 
See Eccles. iv. 9. 12. Psalm xvi. 2. cxix. 63. Prov. xiii. 20. 

Direct. XIII. ' Subdue your passions, and abhor all un- 
charitable principles and practices, and live in love ; main- 
taining peace in your families, and with your neighbours, 
but especially in the church of God.' 

Love as you would be loved ; yea, love if you would be 
loved ; for there is no surer way to purchase love : and love 
because you are so freely loved by that God whose wrath 
you have so oft deserved : let the thankful feeling of his love 
in Christ, even turn you wholly into love to God and man : 
abhor every thought, and word, and deed, which is contrary 
to love, and tendeth to the hurt of others ; and hate the 
backbitings and bitter words of any, which tend to make 
another odious, and to destroy your love to any one that 
God commandeth you to love. Allow that moderate passion 
which is the fruit of love, and tendeth only to do good ; but 
resist that which inclineth you to hatred or to do evil The 
more men wrong you, remember that you are the more 
watchfully to maintain your love, knowing that these temp- 
tations are sent by the devil on purpose to destroy and 
quench it,and fill your heart with uncharitableness and wrath. 
Give place to the wrath of others, and stand not resisting 
it by words or deeds ; Rom. xii. 18 — 20. "Recompense to 



358 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

no man evil for evil/' in word or action ; ver. 17. Espe- 
cially be most tender of the union of true Christians, and of 
the church's peace : when you hear the men of several sects 
representing one another as odious, understand that it is the 
language of the devil to draw you from love, into hatred and 
divisions ; and when you must speak odiously of men's sin, 
speak charitably of their persons, and be as ready to speak 
of the good that is in them, as of the evil. Believe not that 
dividing, ungrounded doctrine, which telleth you that you 
cannot sufficiently disown the error of any party in doctrine, 
and worship, and discipline, without a separation or with- 
drawing from their communion ; and which telleth you that 
you are guilty of the ministerial faults of every pastor that 
you join with, or of the faults of all that worship which you 
are present at (which would first separate you from every 
worshipping society and person upon earth, and then lead 
you to give over the worshipping of God yourselves). You 
must love Christians as Christians, though they have errors 
and faults repugnant to their Christianity. And you must 
join in worship with Christians as Christians, though their 
worship hath errors and faults repugnant to the right order 
and manner of worship ; so be it you join not in that worship 
which is substantially evil, and such as God doth utterly 
disown ; or that you commit no actual sin yourselves, or 
that you approve not of the errors and faults of the worship- 
pers, and justify not their smallest sin; or that you prefer 
not defective, faulty worship before that which is more pure 
and agreeable to the will of God. For while all the wor- 
shippers are faulty and imperfect, all their worship will be 
so too : and if your actual sin when you pray or preach de- 
fectively yourselves, doth not signify that you approve your 
iaultiness, much less will your presence prove that you allow 
of the faultiness of others. The business that you come 
upon is to join with a Christian congregation in the use of 
those ordinances which God hath appointed, supposing that 
the ministers and worshippers will all be sinfully defective, 
in method, order, words, or circumstances : and to bear with 
that which God doth bear with, and not to refuse that which 
is God's for the adherent faults of men, no more than you 
will refuse every dish of meat which is unhandsomely 
cooked, as long as there is no poison in it, and you prefer it 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 35U 

not before better ; 1 Cor. i. 10. iii. 1—3. xi. 17, 18. 21. 
Rom. xv. 1, 2. 

Direct. XIV. ' Keep up a constant government over your 
thoughts and tongues, especially against those particular 
sins which you are most strongly tempted to, and which you 
see other Christians most overtaken with.' 

Keep your thoughts employed upon something that is 
good and profitable ; either about some useful truths, or 
about some duty to God or man, of your general or particu- 
lar calling 5 yea, about all these in their several seasons : 
learn how to watch your thoughts, and stop them at their 
first excursions ; and how to quicken them and make them 
serviceable to every grace, and every duty. You can never 
improve your solitary hours, if you have not the government 
of your thoughts. 

And as the thoughts must be governed, because they are 
the first and intimate actings of good or evil ; so the tongue 
must be governed as the first expresser of the mind, and the 
first instrument of good or hurt to others. Especially take 
heed of these sins which the faultiness of most professors of 
religion doth warn you to avoid. 1. An ordinary course of 
vain jesting, and unprofitable talk. 2. Provoking, passionate, 
inconsiderate words, that tend to kindle wrath in others. 3. 
Backbiting, censuring, and speaking evil of others without 
any just call, when it is either upon uncertain reports, or un- 
charitable suspicion, or tendeth more to hurt than good. 4. 
A forward venting of our own conceits, and a confident 
pleading for our uncertain, unproved opinions in religion, 
and a contentious wrangling for them, as if the kingdom of 
God lay in them. And a forwardness in all company to be 
the speakers rather than the hearers, and to talk in a magis- 
terial, teaching way, as if we took ourselves to be the wisest, 
and others to have need to learn of us. But especially take 
heed of speaking evil of those that have wronged you, or of 
those that differ from you in some tolerable opinions in re- 
ligion: and hate that devilish, uncharitable vice, which 
maketh many ready to believe any thing, or say any thing, 
be it never so false, of those that are against their sect ; yea, 
of whole parties of men that differ from them, when there is 
not one of a thousand of all the party that ever they were 
acquainted with, or ever could prove the thing by, of which 
they are accused. By the means of these bold, uncharita- 



300 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

ble reports, the devil hath unspeakably gained against 
Christ; and the kingdom of malice hath won upon the king- 
dom of love : and most Christians are easier known to be 
factious, by hating and slandering one another, than they 
can be known to be Christ's disciples, by loving one another. 
And while every sect, without remorse, doth speak reproach- 
fully and hatefully of the rest, they learn hereby to hate one 
another, and harden the infidel and ungodly world, in hating 
and speaking evil of them all ; so that a Turk or heathen 
need no other witness of the odiousness of all Christians, 
than the venomous words which they speak against each 
other. And as foul words in quarrels prepare for blows, so 
these malicious invectives, upon differences in religion, pre- 
pare for the cruellest persecutions. 

From my own observation, which with a grievous soul I 
have made in this generation, I hereby give warning to this 
and all succeeding ages, that if they have any regard to truth 
or charity, they take heed how they believe any factious, 
partial historian or diviue, in any evil that he saith of the 
party which he is against : for (though there be good and 
credible persons of most parties, yet) you shall find that 
passion and partiality prevaileth against conscience, truth 
and charity, in most that are sick of this disease. And that 
the envious zeal which is desoribed, James iii. doth make 
them think they do God service ; first, in believing false re- 
ports, and then in venting them against those that their zeal 
01 faction doth call the enemies of truth ; so that there is 
little credit to be given to their reproaches, farther than 
some better evidence is brought to prove the thing. Nay, 
it would astonish a man to read the impudent lies which I 
have often read, obtruded upon the world with such confi- 
dence, that the reader will be tempted to think, ' Surely all 
this cannot be false.' Yea, about public words or actions, 
where you would think that the multitude of witnesses 
would deter them from speaking it, if it were not true ; and 
yet all as false as tongue can speak. Therefore believe not 
pride, or faction, or malice in any evil that it saith, unless 
you have better evidence of the truth. 

Most Christian is that advice of Dr. H. More, ' That all 
parties of Christians would mark all the good which is in 
other parties, and be more forward to speak of that than of 
the evil.' And this would promote the work of chanty in 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 361 

the church, and the interest of Christianity in the world : 
whereas the overlooking of all that is good, and aggravating 
all the evil (and falsely feigning more than is true) is the 
work of greatest service to the devil, and of greatest enmity 
to Christianity and love, that I know commonly practised in 
the world. Keep your tongues from all such hellish work 
as this. 

Direct. XV. ' Let every state of life and relation that 
you are in, be sanctified unto God, and conscionably used. 
And to that end understand the advantages and duties of 
every condition and relation, and the sins, and hindrances, 
and dangers which you are most liable to.' 

The duties of our relations are a great part of the work 
of a Christian's life. As magistrates and subjects, pastors 
and flocks, parents and children, husband and wife, masters 
and servants ; as superiors in gifts or places, or inferiors or 
equals ; as neighbours or companions ; in our teaching and 
learning, ruling and obeying, buying and selling. Be con- 
scionable in all these which are your own relations, if you 
will live as Christians, and be acceptable unto God. An 
ungodly, or oppressing magistrate ; a murmuring, rebellious 
subject; an ungodly, negligent, or factious pastor; an un- 
teachable, refractory, ungodly flock ; a husband, parent, or 
master, without religion, love, or justice ; a wife, a child, a 
servant, without love, and dutiful obedience, and faithful 
diligence ; a proud, contemptuous superior ; a malicious, 
censorious inferior; an unjust, uncharitable neighbour ; a 
deceitful buyer or seller, borrower or lender, and a self-seek- 
ing friend, and seducing, unprofitable companion, are all as 
far from pleasing God by the rest of their works or profes- 
sion of religion, as they are from being obedient to his will. 
They provoke him to abhor their prayers and profession, and 
to tell them that he will rather have obedience than sacrifice. 
If you are false to men, you are not true to God. It is he 
that fearethGod, and worketh righteousness, that is accept- 
ed of him. And the unrighteous shall not inherit the king- 
dom of God. 

Direct. XVI. ' Live as those that have all their powers, 
receivings, and opportunities to do good with in the world ; 
and must be answerable how they have improved all. And 
as those that believe, that the more good they do, the more 



362 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

they do receive, and the greater is the honour, the profit, 
and the pleasure of their lives.' 

To do no harm, is an honour which is common to a stone, 
or a clod of clay, with the most innocent man. If this were 
all the excellency that you aim at, it were better that you 
had never been born \ for then you would certainly have 
done no harm. Remember, that to do good is the highest 
imitation of God, supposing that it proceeded from holy 
love, and be done to the pleasing and glorifying of God, that 
the principle and the end be suitable to the work. Remem- 
ber who hath told you, that " it is more blessed to give than 
to receive," (Acts xx. 35.), and hath promised, that " he that 
receiveth a prophet, in the name of a prophet, shall receive a 
prophet's reward ; and he that receiveth a righteous man, 
in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous 
man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one 
of these little ones, a cup of cold water only, in the name of 
a disciple, verily, I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his 
reward" (supposing that he have no better to give) ; Matt, 
x. 41, 42. " Give to every man that asketh of thee (accord- 
ing to thy ability). Give, and it shall be given to you ;" 
Luke vi. 30. 38. xii. 33. Take that day or hour as lost, in 
which you do no good (directly or preparatorily). And 
take that part of your estate as lost, with which (directly or 
remotely) you do no good. Remember how the judgment 
must pass on you at last, according to the improvement of 
your several talents ; Matt. xxv. When your time is past, 
and your estates are gone, or your understandings, or your 
strength decayed, and your power and greatness is levelled 
with the poorest, it will be an unspeakable comfort to you, 
if you are able to say, * We laid them out sincerely to our 
master's use ;' and an unspeakable terror for you to say, 
' They were lost and cast away on the service of the flesh.' 
If therefore, you are rulers, and are intrusted with power, 
study how to do all the good with your power that possibly 
you can. If you are ministers of Christ, lay out your time, 
and strength, and parts, in doing good to the souls of all 
about you ; study how you may be most serviceable to the 
church and cause of Christ. If you are rich men, study how 
to do all the good with your riches that possibly you can do 
(not violating the order appointed you by God). In your 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 36:3 

neighbourhoods, and in all your families and relations, stu- 
dy to do the greatest good you can. Take it thankfully as 
a great mercy to yourselves, when opportunity to do good 
is offered you. And content not yourselves to do a little, 
while you are able to do more. " Be not deceived, God is 
not mocked ; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he 
also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh 
reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of 
the Spirit, reap everlasting life. And let us not be weary 
in well-doing, for indue season we shall reap if we faint not. 
As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good to all 
men, especially unto them who are of the household of 
faith;" Gal. vi. 7 — 10. " He which soweth sparingly, shall 
reap sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap 
bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his 
heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity, for 
God loveth a cheerful giver;" 2 Cor. ix. 6, 7. " To do good, 
and communicate, forget not, for with such sacrifices, God is 
well-pleased;" Heb.xiii. 16. "For we are his workman- 
ship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath 
ordained, that we should walk in them ;" Ephes. iii. 10. 
Let doing good be the business and employment of your 
lives ; preferring still the public good, before the private 
good of any ; and the good of men's souls before that of the 
body ; but yet neglecting none, but doing the lesser, in or- 
der to the greater. 

Object. ' But I am a poor obscure person, that have nei- 
ther abilities of mind, or body, or estate ; and what good 
can I do V 

Answ. There is no rational person that is not intrusted 
with one talent at the least (Matt, xxv.), and that is not in a 
capacity of doing good in the world, if they have but hearts, 
and be but willing. If you had neither money to give, nor 
tongues to speak for God, and to provoke others to do good, 
yet a holy, humble, heavenly, patient, blameless life, is a 
powerful means of doing good, by shewing the excellency of 
grace, and convincing the ungodly, and stopping the mouths 
of the enemies of piety, and honouring the ways of God in 
the world. Such a holy, harmless, exemplary life, is a con- 
tinual, and a powerful sermon. And for giving, if there be 
first a " willing mind, it is accepted according to that a 



364 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

man hath, and not according to that he hath not ;" 2 Cor. 
viii. 12. If you are unfeignedly willing to give, if you had it, 
God taketh it as done What you would have given, is set 
down on your account as given indeed. The widow's two 
mites were praised by Christ as a bountiful gift, and a cup 
of cold water is not unrewarded to the willing soul. No 
one, therefore, is excusable that liveth unprofitably in the 
world. But yet, men of power, and parts, and wealth, have 
the greatest reckoning to make. Their ten talents must 
have a proportionable improvement. It is a great deal of 
good that they must do. " For to whomsoever much is 
given, of him shall be much required ; and to whom men 
have committed much, of him they will ask the more ;" 
Luke xii. 48. 

Direct. XVII. ' Redeem your time, and highly value 
every minute ; and spare for no labour in the work of your 
salvation. Dream not of an easy, idle, sluggish life, as suf- 
ficient to your high and glorious ends ; and rest not in a 
customary and outside way of duty, without regard to the 
life, and the success.' 

If any thing in all the world require all our power and 
time, it is that for which all our powers and time are given 
us ; and which we are sure will a thousandfold recompense us 
for all. O what a sottish kind of stupidity is it, for a man 
to trifle in the way to eternity, that hath an endless life of 
joy or sorrow, depending on the preparations of so short a 
life. How little doth he know the worth of his soul, the 
joys of heaven, the terrors of hell, the malicious diligence 
of satan, or the difficulty of salvation, that can idle, and play 
away whole hours of time ; and pray as if he prayed not, and 
seem to be religious when he is not in good earnest ! And 
bestirreth not himself so much to escape hell-fire, and to 
obtain everlasting joys with Christ, as he would do to escape 
a temporal death or misery, or to obtain some dignity or 
riches in the world ; 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. O, therefore, as ever 
you care what becometh of your souls, and as ever you will 
have comfort in the review of your present life, make not a 
jest of heaven and hell ; trifle not in your race and warfare ; 
dally not with God and conscience ; play not, and dream 
not away your time. Know the worth of an hour's time, for 
the sake of your work, and of your souls, as it is commonly 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 365 

known by dying men. But of this I have spoke already in 
my " Now or Never," and " A Saint or a Brute," and in the 
third part of the " Saint's Rest." 

Direct. XVIII. ' Sit down and count what it may cost 
you to be Christians indeed, and to be saved. Reckon not 
on prosperity, or a cheap religion, but resolve to take up the 
cross, and follow Christ in suffering, and to be crucified to 
the world, and by many tribulations, to enter into the king- 
dom of heaven.' Luke xiv. 26— 28. 30. 33. Gal.vi. 14. 
Acts xiv. 22. 1 Thess. iii. 4. 2 Thess. i. 6—8. Mai. v. 
10—12. 2 Tim. iii. 12. 

All that will live godly in Christ, shall suffer persecution. 
It is not all that are baptized and called Christians, but all 
that will live godly in Christ Jesus. It is godliness, and 
not the bare name of Christianity, which the serpent's seed 
have so great an enmity to. I have elsewhere cited an ex- 
cellent saying of Dr. Thomas Jackson's, to prove that this is 
to be expected under Christian, as well as heathen, govern- 
ments, and that it is not through the goodness of the great 
ones of the world, but the cowardliness of our hearts, that 
the ministers of Christ are not ordinarily martyrs. Though 
God may possibly exempt you from any notable suffering 
for his cause, yet it is not wise or safe to expect such an ex- 
emption ; for that will hinder your preparation for suffer- 
ing. And a mind prepared to suffer, is essential to true 
Christianity. And no man that is not a martyr in resolu- 
tion and disposition can be saved. If the fiery trial come 
upon you, let it not seem a strange, unexpected thing; 
1 Pet.iv. 12 — 14. 17. When persecution ariseth because of 
the word, the unrooted, unsound, unsettled Christian, is 
presently offended, and falls away; Matt. xiii. 21. Mark 
iv. 17. Then they will fall to distinguishing and carnal rea- 
soning, and prove any thing lawful which is necessary to 
their peace. " As many as desire to make a fair shew in the 
flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised, only lest they 
should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ ;" Gal. vi. 
12. Shrink not for sufferings. " Fear not them that can 
but kill the body ;" Lukexii.4. Never doth the Spirit of 
God and glory so much rest upon believers, as in their 
greatest "sufferings for righteousness sake," (1 Pet.iv. 14.) 
and never have they cause of more " exceeding joy ;" Matt, 
v. 11, 12. Prosperity doth not so well agree with a life of 



366 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

faith, as sufferings and adversity. " Our light affliction, 
which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more ex- 
ceeding and eternal weight of glory ; while we look not at 
the (temporal) things which are seen, but at the things (eter- 
nal) which are not seen ;" 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18. Read Rom. viii. 
33, to the end. 

Direct. XIX. ' If you fall into any sin, rise speedily by a 
thorough repentance ; and take heed both of delay, and of 
a palliative cure ;' Luke xiii. 3, 5. xxii. 32. 

Take heed of trusting to a general repentance, or a con- 
verted state, instead of a particular repentance and conver- 
sion from any known sin, especially which is more than the 
ordinary unavoidable infirmities of a saint. For it is not 
general repentance indeed, which reacheth not to every 
known particular. If temptation have cast you down, take 
heed of lying there, but presently get up again. What the 
apostle saith of wrath (Eph. iv. 26.), the same I may say of 
other falls, " Let not the sun go down upon them." But go 
out with Peter, and weep with him, if you have sinned with 
him. If your bones be out of joint, or broken, get them set 
presently, before they settle in their dislocation ; and let 
the cure be thorough, and spare not for a little pain at first. 
Let as open confession as the case requireth, and as full 
restitution, signify the sincerity of your repentance. For a 
gentle handling of yourselves may undo you ; and palliation 
is the hypocrite's cure. O take heed lest you presume to 
sleep one night in your unrepented sins ; and take heed, lest 
delay encourage your tempter to offer you the bait again 
and again, and to say, ' Why not once more ? Why may 
you not be as well pardoned for twice as for once ; and for 
thrice as for twice V &c. It is dangerous playing or sleep- 
ing at the brink of hell. Away from the temptation and 
occasion of your sin ; stand not disputing, but resolve and 
begone ; and " sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto 
you ;" John v. 14. Stick not, man, at the shame, or loss, or 
suffering, which confession, restitution, or reformation may 
bring; but remember that you can never escape damnation 
at too dear a rate. This is Christ's meaning, when he speak- 
eth of cutting off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye, 
if it offend ; that is, ensnare and tempt you unto sin; Matt, 
v. 29, 30. Not that you should do so indeed, for you have 
an easier way to avoid your sin ; but that this is far the 



FOR THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 307 

lesser of the two evils, to lose a hand or eye, than to lose 
the soul, and, therefore, to be chosen if there were no other 
remedy. If the thief had no other way to forbear stealing, 
than to cut off his hand ; or the fornicator to cure his lust, 
than to put out his eyes, it were a cheap remedy. A cheap 
and easy superficial repentance, may skin over the sore and 
deceive a hypocrite ; but he that would be sure of pardon, 
and free from fear, must go to the bottom. 

Direct. XX. ' Live as with death continually in your 
eye, and spend every day in serious preparation for it, that 
when it cometh, you may find your work dispatched ; and 
may not then cry out in vain to God to try you once again.' 

Promise not yourselves long life : think not of death as 
at many years' distance, but as hard at hand. Think what 
will then be needful to your peace and comfort, and order all 
your life accordingly, and prepare that now, which will be 
needful then. Live now while you have time, as you will 
resolve and promise God to live, when on your deathbed you 
are praying for a little time of trial more. It is a great work 
to die in joyful assurance and hope of everlasting life, and 
with a longing desire to depart and be with Christ as best of 
ail ; Phil. i. 21. 23. O then what a burden and terror it will 
be, to have an unbelieving, or a worldly heart, or a guilty 
conscience. Now therefore use all possible diligence to 
strengthen faith, to increase love, to be acquitted from guilt, 
to be above the world, to have the mind set free from the cap- 
tivity of the flesh, to walk with God, and to obtain the deep- 
est, most delectable apprehensions of his love in Christ, 
and of the heavenly blessedness which you expect. Do you 
feel any doubts of the state of immortality, or staggering at 
the promise of God through unbelief? Presently do all you 
can to conquer them, and get a clear resolution to your 
souls, and leave it not all to do at the time of sickness. Are 
the thoughts of God and heaven unpleasant or terrible to 
you? Presently search out the cause of all, and labour in 
the cure of it as for your lives. Is there any former or pre- 
sent sin, which is a burden or terror to your consciences ? 
Presently seek out to Christ for a cure by faith and true re- 
pentance ; and do that to disburden your consciences now, 
which you would do on a sick bed ; and leave not so great 
and necessary a work, to so uncertain, and short, and unfit 
a time. Is there any thing in this world that is sweeter to 



3(J8 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED 

your thoughts than God and heaven ; and which you can- 
not willingly let go ? Mortify it without delay, considering 
of its vanity ; compare it with heaven ; crucify it by the cross 
of Christ ; cease not till you account it loss and dung, for 
the excellent knowledge of Christ and life eternal; Phil. iii. 
7 — 9. Let not death surprise you as a thing that you never 
seriously expected. Can you do no more in preparation for 
it, than you do? If not, why do you wish at death to be 
tried once again? And why are you troubled that you lived 
no better ? But if you can, when think you should it be 
done ? Is the time of uncertain, painful sickness better than 
this? O how doth sensuality besot the world ! and incon- 
siderateness deprive them of the benefit of their reason ! O 
sirs, if you know indeed that you must shortly die, live then 
as dying men should live : choose your condition in the 
world, and manage it as men should do that must shortly die. 
Use your power, and command, and honour, and use all 
your neighbours, and especially use the cause and servants 
of Christ, as men should do that must shortly die. Build 
and plant, and buy and sell, and use your riches, as those 
that must die, remembering that the fashion of all these 
things is passing away; 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. Yea, pray and 
read, and hear and meditate, as those that must die. Seeing 
you are as sure of it as if it were this hour ; in the name of 
God delay not your preparations. It is a terrible thing for 
an immortal soul to pass out of the body in a carnal, unre- 
generate, unprepared state, and to leave a world which they 
loved and were familiar with, and go to a world which they 
neither know nor love, and where they have neither heart 
nor treasure ; Matt. vi. 19 — 21. The measure of faith which 
may help you to bear an easy cross, is not sufficient to for- 
tify and encourage your souls, to enter upon so great a 
change. So also bear all your wants and crosses as men 
that must shortly die : fear the cruelties of men, but as be- 
seemeth those that are ready to die. He that can die well, 
can do any thing, or suffer any thing : and he that is unrea- 
dy to die, is unfit for a fruitful and comfortable life. What 
can rationally rejoice that man, who is sure to die, and is 
unready to die, and is yet unfurnished of dying comforts? 
Let nothing be now sweet to you, which will be bitter to 
your dying thoughts. Let nothing be much desired now, 
which will be unprofitable and uncomfortable then. Let 



FOR. THEIR ESTABLISHMENT. 369 

nothing seem very heavy or grievous now, which will be 
light and easy then. Let nothing now seem honourable, 
which will then seem despicable and vile. Consider of eve- 
ry thing as it will look at death, that when the day shall 
come which endeth all the joys of the ungodly, you may 
look up with joy, and say, * Welcome heaven; this is the 
day which I so long expected, which all my days were spent 
in preparation for, which shall end my fears, and begin my 
felicity, and put me into possession of all that I desired, and 
prayed, and laboured for, when my soul shall see its glori- 
fied Lord. For he hath said, John xii. 26. " If any man 
serve me, let him follow me ; and where I am, there shall 
also my servant be. If any man serve me, him will my Fa- 
ther honour." Even so Lord Jesus, remember me now thou 
art in thy kingdom, and let me be with thee in paradise ; 
Luke xxiii. 42, 43. O thou that spakest those words so full 
of inexpressible comfort, to a sinful woman in the first speech 
after thy blessed resurrection; John xx. 17. "Go to my 
brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and 
your Father, and to my God and your God." Take up now 
this soul that is thine own, that it may see the glory given 
thee with the Father; (John xvii. 24.) and instead of this 
life of temptation, trouble, darkness, distance, and sinful 
imperfection, I may delightfully behold, and love, and praise 
thy Father and my Father, and thy God and my God. Lord, 
now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. Lord Jesus 
receive my spirit ;' Luke ii. 29. Acts vii. 59. 

And now I have given you all these Directions, I shall 
only request you in the close, that you will set your very 
hearts to the daily, serious practice of them ; for there is no 
other way for a ripe, confirmed state of grace : and as ever 
you regard the glory of God, the honour of your religion, 
the welfare of the church and those about you, and the living 
and dying comforts of yourselves ; O do not sluggishly rest 
in an infant state of grace ! Did you but know how a weak 
and strong faith differ, and how a weak and a sound, con- 
firmed Christian differ, as to the honour of God, and the 
good of others, and especially to themselves, both in life 
and death, it would quickly awaken you to a cheerful dili- 
gence, for so high and excellent an end. Did you but well 

VOL. VIII. B B 



370 DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED, &C. 

understand the wrong that Christ and the Gospel have sus- 
tained in the world, yea, in England, by weak, diseased, dis- 
tempered Christians, your hearts would bleed, and with 
shame and grief, it would be your secret and open lamenta- 
tion. Stir up then the grace that is given you, and use 
Christ's means, and do your best, and you will find that 
Christ is not an insufficient Physician, nor an uneffectual 
Saviour, or an empty Fountain ; but that he is filled with all 
the fulness of God, and hath spirit and life to communicate 
to his members ; (Zech. xii. 8.) and that there is no want 
which he cannot supply, and no corruption or temptation 
which his grace is not sufficient to overcome ; John iv. 14. 
2 Cor. xii. 9. Rom.vi.4. 6. Col. iii. 1.3,4. 



END OF DIRECTIONS TO THE CONVERTED FOR THEIR ESTABLISH- 
MENT, GROWTH AND PERSEVERANCE. 



THE CHARACTER 



A SOUND, CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN ; 



OF A WEAK CHRISTIAN, 



OF A SEEMING CHRISTIAN 



WRITTEN TO IMPRINT UPON MEN'S MINDS THE TRUE IDEA OH 
CONCEPTION OF GODLINESS AND CHRISTIANITY. 



PREFACE ; 



DIRECTED TO MY WORTHY FRIEND, HENRY ASHURST, ESQ. 
CITIZEN OF LONDON. 



Dear and Faithful Friend, 
When this book was printed and passing into the world, 
without the ordinary ornament of a prefixed honoured 
name, my thoughts reduced me into the common way, 
though not upon the common reasons ; assuring me that 
your name would be more than an accident or ceremony to 
such a discourse as this ; even a part more substantial than 
a map is in a treatise of geography, or the well-cut figures 
in tractates of anatomy. Discourses of navigation, archi- 
tecture, music, &c. may almost as hopefully instruct the 
learners, without any visible operations or effects, as the 
characters of well-tempered Christians can duly inform the 
minds of ignorant, ungodly men, of so divine a thing as 
Christianity and godliness, without acquaintance with some 
such persons, in whom these characters are manifestly ex- 
emplified. Wise and holy precepts, are to make wise and 
holy persons : it is such persons as well as such precepts 
which bear the image of God ; which indeed is most perfect 
in exactness and integrity in the precepts ; (for in them is 
no imperfection or error, as they are of God ;) but it is of 
greater final excellency, in activity and usefulness as it is in 
men. And therefore as God delighteth in his servants, and 
is glorified in and by them in the world, so satan usually 
chooseth such persons, to reproach and make odious to the 
ignorant, rather than the holy precepts immediately, by 
which they are directed ; both because their holiness is most 



CCCixXlV PREFACE. 

exasperating by activity ; and also most liable to calumny 
and contempt, through imperfection, and mixture of that 
which indeed is worthy of dislike. Till godliness and Chris- 
tianity be visible in full perfection, and elevated above the 
contradiction of folly, and the contempt of pride, the blind, 
distracted minds of hardened, forsaken sinners, will not ac- 
knowledge its divine, celestial nature and worth ; but then 
it will be too late to become partakers of it : they must both 
know and possess it in its infancy and minority, who will 
ever enjoy it in its heavenly dignity and glory. If season- 
able illumination and conversion confute not the deceits and 
slanders which pride and ignorance have entertained, the 
too late confutation of them by death and their following 
experience, will make them wish, that they had been wise at 
cheaper rates, when it will be in vain to cry, " Give us of 
your oil, for our lamps are out ;" Matt. xxv. 8. 

But while I offer your name to the malicious world, as 
an instance of the temper which I here describe, I intend it 
not as a singular though an eminent instance : for through 
the great mercy of God, there are thousands of examples of 
confirmed Christians among us in this land, even before 
those eyes that will not see them. But it is not catalogues, 
but single names, which writers have used in this way. And 
why may I not take the advantage of custom, to leave to the 
world the testimony of my estimation and great respects, to 
so deserving a person of the primitive Christian, catholic 
temper : and to let them know, what sort of men were my 
m6st dear and faithful friends ? And also thus to express 
my love, by telling you closely what you must be, as well as 
by telling the world for their example what you are ? Upon 
these accounts, without your knowledge or consent, I pre- 
sume thus to prefix your name to this treatise, written long 
ago, but now published by 

Your faithful Friend, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

From my Lodging in New Prison, 
June 14, 1669. 



TO THE READER. 



Readers, 
It is a matter of a greatei moment than I can express, what 
idea or image of the nature of godliness and Christianity is 
imprinted upon men's minds : the description which is ex- 
pressed in the sacred Scriptures, is true and full : the thing 
described is rational, pure, perfect, unblamable and amiable. 
That which is expressed in the lives of the most, is nothing 
so ; but is purblind, defiled, maimed, imperfect, culpable, 
and mixed with so much of the contrary quality, that to them 
that cannot distinguish the chaff from the wheat, the sick- 
ness from the life, it seemeth an unreasonable, fanciful, 
loathsome and vexatious thing, and so far from being worthy 
to be preferred before all the riches, honours and pleasures 
of the world, that it seemeth worthy to be kept under as a 
troubler of kingdoms, societies and souls. And doubtless 
this monstrous expression of it in men's lives, is because 
the perfect expression of it in God's word hath not made a 
true impression upon the mind, and consequently upon the 
heart. For as it is sound doctrine which must make sound 
Christians, so doctrine worketh on the will and affections, 
not as it is in itself, and as delivered, but as it is understood, 
believed, remembered, considered ; even as it is imprinted 
on the mind, and used by it. And as interposed matter, or 
defective application may cause the image on the wax to be 
imperfect, though made by the most perfect seal ; so is it 
in this case, when one man doth defectively understand the 
Scripture description of a godly man or Christian, and 
another by misunderstanding mixeth false conceptions of 
his own; and another by a corrupt, depraved will doth hin- 
der the understanding from believing, or remembering, or 
considering andvusing what it partly apprehendeth ; what 



CCclxXvi PREFACE. 

wonder if the godliness and Christianity in their hearts be 
unlike the godliness and Christianity in the Scriptures? 
When the law of God, in nature and Scripture is pure and 
uncorrupt, and the law of God written imperfectly on the 
heart, is there mixed with the carnal law in their members, 
no marvel if it be expressed accordingly in their lives. 

I have therefore much endeavoured in all my writings, 
and especially in this, to draw out the full portraiture of a 
Christian or godly man indeed, and to describe God's image 
on the soul of man, in such a manner as tendeth to the just 
information of the reader's mind, and the filling up of the 
wants, and rectifying the errors which may be found in his 
former conceptions of it. And I do purposely inculcate 
the same things oft, in several writings (as when I preached 
I did in all my. sermons) that the reader may find that I bring 
him not undigested, needless novelties, and that the frequent 
repetition of them may help to make the deeper and fuller 
impression : for my work is to subserve the Holy Ghost, in 
putting God's law into men's hearts, and writing it out truly, 
clearly, and fully upon their inward parts ; that they may 
be made such themselves, by understanding throughly what 
they must be, and what a solid Christian is : and that thus 
they may be born again by the incorruptible, immortal seed, 
the word of God, which will live and abide for ever ; and 
may purify their souls in obeying the truth, through the 
Spirit ; 1 Pet. i. 22, 23. 25. He is the best lawyer, physician, 
soldier, &c. who hath his doctrine in his brain, and not only 
in his books, and hath digested his reading into an intellec- 
tual system and habit of knowledge. If ministers had a 
hundred times over repeated the integral portraiture or cha- 
racter of a sound Christian, till it had been as familiar to the 
minds and memories of their hearers, as is the description of 
a magistrate, a physician, a schoolmaster, a husbandman, a 
shepherd, and such things as they are well acquainted with, 
it would have been a powerful means to make sound Chris- 
tians. But when men's minds conceive of a Christian, as a 
man that differeth from heathens and infidels, in nothing but 
holding the Christian opinions, and using different words 
and ceremonies of worship, and such like, no wonder if such' 
be but opinionative, lifeless Christians : and if their religion 
make them no better than a Seneca or Plutarch, I shall never 
believe that they are any surer to be saved than they. And 



PREFACE. CCC'lxXVii 

such a sort of men there are, that suppose Christianity to 
consist but of these three parts. 1. The Christian doctrine 
acknowledged (which they call faith). 2. The orders and 
ordinances of the Christian church and worship, submitted 
to, and decently used, (which they call godliness). And 3. 
The heart and life of a Cato, Cicero, or Socrates adjoined ; 
but all that goeth beyond this, (which is the life of Chris- 
tianity and godliness, a lively faith, and hope, and love ; a 
heavenly and holy mind and life, from the renewing, in- 
dwelling Spirit of God, which is described in this treatise) 
they are strangers to it, and take it to be but fancy and hy- 
pocrisy. These no Christians do much to reduce the church 
to infidelity ; that there may be indeed no Christians in the 
world. For my part I must confess, if there were no better 
Christians in the world than these, I think I should be no 
Christian myself: and if Christ made men no better than the 
religion of Socrates, Cato, or Seneca, and did no more to 
the reparation and perfecting of men's hearts and lives, I 
should think no better of the Christian religion than of 
theirs ; for the means is to be estimated by the end and use : 
and that is the best physician that hath the remedies which 
are fittest to work the cure. If God had not acquainted me 
with a sort of men that have really more holiness, mortifica- 
tion, spirituality, love to God, and to one another, and even 
to enemies, and more heavenly desires, expectations and de- 
lights, than these men before described have, it would have 
been a very great hindrance to my faith. 

The same may I say of those that place godliness and 
Christianity only in holding strict opinions, and in affected, 
needless singularities, and in the fluent oratory and length 
of prayer, and avoiding other men's forms and modes of wor- 
ship, and in any thing short of a renewed, holy, heavenly 
heart and life. 

And undoubtedly, if a true, full character of godliness 
had been imprinted in their minds, we should never have 
seen the professors of it so blotted with sensuality, selfish- 
ness, pride, ambition, worldliness, distrust of God, self-con- 
ceitedness, heresy, schism, rebellions, unquietness, impa- 
tiency, unmercifulness, and cruelty to men's souls and bo- 
dies, as we have seen them in this age ; and all this justified 
as consistent with religion. 

And I fear, that because this treatise will speak to few 



ccclxxviii PREFACE. 

that are not some way guilty, every face which hath a spot 
or blemish will be offended with the glass ; and lest the 
faulty will £ay, that I particularly intended to disgrace them : 
but I must here tell the reader, to prevent his misunderstand- 
ing, that if he shall imagine that I have my eyes upon par- 
ticular parties, and, as a discontented person, do intend to 
blame those that differ from myself, or to grieve inferiors, 
or dishonour and asperse superiors, they will mistake me, 
and wrong themselves, and me, who professedly intend but 
the true description of sound Christians, diseased Chris- 
tians, and seeming Christians. 

And for the manner of this writing, I am conscious it 
hath but little to commend it. The matter is that for which 
it is published. The Lord Verulam, in his essays, truly 
saith, that " much reading makes one full, much discourse 
doth make one ready, and much writing doth make a man 
exact." Though I have had my part of all these means, yet 
being parted five years from my books, and three years from 
my preaching, the effects may decay ; and you must expect 
neither quotations or oratory testimonies, or ornaments of 
style : but having not yet wholly ceased from writing, I may 
own so much of the exactness, as will allow me to entreat 
the reader, not to use me as many have done, who by over- 
looking some one word, have made the sense another thing, 
and have made it a crime to be exact in writing, because 
they cannot or will not be exact in reading, or charitable or 
humane in interpreting. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 



THE CHARACTER 



A SOUND, CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN, 



OF A WEAK CHRISTIAN, 



OF A SEEMING CHRISTIAN. 



PART II. 

OF THE DIRECTIONS FOR WEAK CHRISTIANS. 



IN the explication of the text, which I made the ground of 
the foregoing discourse, I have shewed you that there is a 
degree of grace to be expected and sought after by all true 
Christians, which putteth the soul into a sound, confirmed, 
radicated state, in comparison of that weak, diseased, tot- 
tering condition, which most Christians now continue in. 
And I have shewed you how desirable a state that is, and 
what calamities follow the languishing, unhealthful state, 
even of such as may be saved. And indeed did we but right- 
ly understand how deeply the errors and sins of many well- 
meaning Christians have wounded the interest of religion in 
this age ; and how heinously they have dishonoured God, 
and caused the enemies of holiness to blaspheme, and har- 
dened thousands in popery and ungodliness, in probability 
to their perdition : had we well observed when God's judg- 
ments have begun, and understood what sins have caused 
our wars, and plagues, and flames, and worse than all these, 
our great heart-divisions, and church-distractions and con- 
vulsions ; we should ere this have given over the flattering 
of ourselves and one another, in such a heaven-provoking 
state j and the ostentation of that little goodness, which 



380 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

hath been eclipsed by such lamentable evils. And instead 
of these, we should have betaken ourselves to the exercise 
of such a serious, deep repentance as the quality of our sins, 
and the greatness of God's chastisements do require. It is 
a doleful case, to see how light many make of all the rest of 
their distempers, when once they think that they have so 
much grace and mortification, as is absolutely necessary to 
save their souls ; and expect that preachers should say little 
to weak Christians, but words of comfort, setting forth their 
happiness. And yet if one of them, when he hath the gout, 
or stone, or cholic, or dropsy, doth send for a physician, he 
would think himself derided or abused, if his physician, in- 
stead of curing his disease, should only comfort him, by tell- 
ing him, that he is not dead. What excellent disputations 
have Cicero and Seneca, the Platonists and Stoics, to prove 
that virtue is of itself sufficient to make man happy? And 
yet many Christians live as if holiness were but the way 
and means to their felicity, or at best but a small part of their 
felicity itself; or as if felicity itself grew burdensome, or 
were not desirable in this life ; or a small degree of it were 
as good as a greater. 

And too many mistake the will of God, and the nature of 
sanctification, and place their religion in the hot prosecu- 
tion of those mistakes. They make a composition of error 
and passion, and an unyielding stiffness in them, and siding 
with the church or party which maintaineth them, and an 
uncharitable censuring those that are against them, and an 
unpeaceable contending for them ; and this composition 
they mistake for godliness, especially if there be but a few 
drachms of godliness and truth in the composition, though 
corrupted and overpowered by the rest. 

For these miscarriages of many well-meaning, zealous 
persons, the land mourneth, the churches groan ; kingdoms 
are disturbed by them ; families are disquieted by them ; 
godliness is hindered, and much dishonoured by them ; the 
wicked are hardened by them, and encouraged to hate, and 
blaspheme, and oppose religion ; the glory of the Christian 
faith is obscured by them; and the infidel, Mahometan, and 
heathen world, are kept from faith in Jesus Christ, and many 
millions of souls destroyed by them. I mean by the miscar- 
riages of the weaker sort of Christians, and by the wicked 
lives of those carnal hypocrites, who for custom or worldly 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 381 

interest, do profess that Christianity which was never re- 
ceived by their hearts. 

And all this is much promoted by their indiscretion, who 
are so intent upon the consolatory opening of the safety and 
happiness of believers, that they omit the due explication of 
their description, their dangers, and their duties. 

One part of this too much neglected work I have en- 
deavoured to perform in the foregoing treatise : another I 
shall attempt in this second part. There are five degrees or 
ranks of true Christians observable. 1. The weakest Chris- 
tians, who have only the essentials of Christianity, or very 
little more : as infants that are alive, but of little strength 
or use to others. 2. Those that are lapsed into some wound- 
ing sin, though not into a state of damnation ; like men at 
age, who have lost the use of some one member for the pre- 
sent, though they are strong in other parts. 3. Those that 
have the integral parts of Christianity in a considerable 
measure, are in a sound and healthful state, though neither 
perfect, nor of the highest form or rank of Christians in this 
life, nor without such infirmities, as are the matter of their 
daily watchfulness and humiliation. 4. Those that are so 
strong as to attain extraordinary degrees of grace, who are 
therefore comparatively called perfect, as Matt. v. 45. 5. 
Those that have an absolute perfection without sin ; that is, 
the heavenly inhabitants. 

Among all these, it is the third sort or degree which I 
have here characterised, and upon the bye, the first sort, and 
the hypocrite. I meddle not now with the lapsed Christian 
as such, nor with those giants in holiness of extraordinary 
strength ; nor with the perfect, blessed souls in heaven. 
But it is the Christian who hath attained that confirmation 
in grace, and composed, quiet, fruitful state, which we might 
ordinarily expect, if we were industrious, whose image and 
character I shall now present you with. I call him ofttimes 
a Christian indeed, in allusion to Christ's description of 
Nathaniel (John i. 47.), and as we commonly use that word, 
for one that answereth his own profession without any no- 
table dishonour or defect ; as we say such a man is a scho- 
lar indeed ; and not as signifying his mere sincerity. I 
mean one whose heart and life are so conformed to the prin- 
ciples, the rule, and the hopes of Christianity, that to the 
honour of Christ, the true nature of our religion is discern- 



382 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

ible in his conversation; Matt. v. 16. In whom an impar- 
tial infidel might perceive the true nature of the Christian 
faith and godliness. If the world were fuller of such living 
images of Christ, who, like true regenerate children, repre- 
sent their heavenly Father, Christianity would not have met 
with so much prejudice, nor had so many enemies in the 
world, nor would so many millions have been kept in the 
darkness of heathenism and infidelity, by flying from Chris- 
tians, as a sort of people that are common and unclean. 

Among Christians, there are babes, that must be fed with 
milk, and not with strong meat, that are " unskilful in the 
word of righteousness j M (1 John ii. 2. 12 — 14. Heb. v. 
12 — 14.) and novices, who are unsettled, and in danger of 
an overthrow; 1 Tim. iii. 6. John xv. 3.5. &c. In these 
the nature and excellency of Christianity, is little more ap- 
parent than reason in a little child. And there are strong, 
confirmed Christians, who, by " reason of use, have their 
senses exercised to discern both good and evil," (Heb. v. 13, 
14.) and who shew forth the glory of him that hath called 
them out of darkness into his marvellous light ; of whom 
God himself may say to satan and their malicious enemies, 
as once of Job, " Hast thou not seen my servant Job," &c. 
This Christian indeed I shall now describe to you, both to 
confute the infidel's slanders of Christianity, and to unteach 
men those false descriptions which have caused the pre- 
sumption of the profane, and the irregularities of erroneous 
sectaries ; and to tell you what manner of persons they be, 
that God is honoured by ; and what you must be, if you 
will understand your own religion. Be Christians indeed, 
and you will have the comforts indeed of Christianity ; and 
will find that its fruits and joys are not dreams, and shadows, 
and imaginations, if you content not yourselves with an ima- 
gination, dream, and shadow of Christianity, or with some 
clouded spark, or buried seed. 

The Characters. 

1. A Christian indeed (by which I still mean, a sound, con- 
firmed Christian), is one that contenteth not himself to have 
a seed, or habit of faith, but he liveth by faith, as the sen- 
sualist by sight or sense. Not putting out the eye of sense, 
nor living as if he had no body, or lived not in a world of 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 383 

sensible objects; but as he is a reasonable creature, which 
exalteth him above the sensitive nature, so faith is the true 
information of his reason, about those high and excellent 
things, which must take him up above things sensible. He 
hath so firm a belief of the life to come, as procured by 
Christ, and promised in the Gospel, as that it serveth him 
for the government of his soul, as his bodily sight doth for 
the conduct of his body. I say not, that he is assaulted 
with no temptations, nor that his faith is perfect in degree, 
nor that believing moveth him as passionately as sight or 
sense would do : but it doth effectually move him through 
the course and tenour of his life, to do those things for the 
life to come, which he would do if he saw the glory of hea- 
ven ; and to shun those thing3 for the avoiding of damna- 
tion, which he would shun if he saw the flames of hell. 
Whether he do these things so fervently or not, his belief is 
powerful, effectual, and victorious. Let sight and sense in- 
vite him to their objects, and entice him to sin, and forsake 
his God, the objects of faith shall prevail against them, in 
the bent of an even, a constant, and resolved life. It is 
things unseen which he taketh for his treasure, and which 
have his heart and hope, and chiefest labours. All things 
else which he hath to do, are but subservient to his faith 
and heavenly interest, as his sensitive faculties are ruled by 
his reason. His faith is not only his opinion, which teach- 
eth him to choose what church or party he will be of; but 
it is his intellectual light, by which he liveth, and in the 
confidence and comfort of which he dieth. " For we walk 
by faith, not by sight. We groan to be clothed upon with 
our heavenly house. Wherefore we labour, that whether 
present or absent, we may be accepted of him ;" 2 Cor. v. 
7—9. " Now the just shall live by faith;" Heb.x.3. 
" Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evi- 
dence of things not seen ;" Heb. xi. 1. Most of the exam- 
ples in Heb. xi. do shew you this truth, that true Christians 
live and govern their actions, by the firm belief of the pro- 
mise of God, and of another life when this is ended. *' By 
faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, 
moved with fear, prepared an ark, to the saving of his house, 
by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the 
righteousness which is by faith ;" ver. 7. " Abraham look- 
ed for a city which had foundations, whose builder and ma- 



384 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

ker is God ;" ver. 10. " Moses feared not the wrath of the 
king ; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible ;" ver. 
27. So the three witnesses (Dan.iii.), and Daniel himself, 
(chap, vi.) and all believers have lived this life, as Abra- 
ham the father of the faithful did ; who, as it is said of him, 
" Staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but 
was strong in faith, giving glory to God ;" Rom. iv. 20. 
The faith of a Christian is truly divine ; and he knoweth 
that God's truth is as certain as sight itself can be ; however 
sight be apter to move the passions. Therefore, if you can 
judge but what a rational man would be, if he saw heaven 
and hell, and all that God had appointed us to believe, then 
you may conjecture what a confirmed Christian is ; though 
sense do cause more sensible apprehensions. 

2. The weak Christian also, hath a faith that is divine, 
as caused by God, and resting on his word and truth. And 
he so far liveth by this faith, as that it commandeth and 
guideth the scope and drift of his heart and life. But he 
believeth with a great deal of staggering and unbelief ; and 
therefore his hopes are interrupted by his troublesome doubts 
and fears ; and the dimness and languor of his faith is seen 
in the faintness of his desires, and the many blemishes of 
his heart and life. And sight and sensual objects are so 
much the more powerful with him, by how much the light 
and life of faith is dark and weak. 

3. The hypocrite, or best of the unregenerate, believeth 
but either with a human faith, which resteth but on the 
word of man, or else with a dead, opinionative faith, which 
is overpowered by infidelity, or is like the dreaming thoughts 
of man asleep, which stir him not to action. He liveth by 
sight, and not by faith : for he hath not a faith that will 
overpower sense and sensual objects j James ii. 14. Matt, 
xiii. 22. 

II. 1. A Christian indeed not only knoweth why he is a 
Christian, but seeth those reasons for his religion, which 
disgrace all that the most cunning atheist or infidel can say 
against it ; and so far satisfy, confirm, and establish him, 
that emergent difficulties, temptations, and objections, do 
not at all stagger him, or raise any deliberate doubts in him 
of the truth of the word of God. He seeth first the natural 
evidence of those foundation-truths which nature itself mak- 
eth known ; as that there is a God of infinite being, power, 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. .185 

wisdom, and goodness, the Creator, the Owner, the Ruler, 
and the Father, felicity and end of man ; that we owe him 
all our love and service ; that none of our fidelity shall be in 
vain, or unrewarded, and none shall be finally a loser by his 
duty ; that man who is naturally governed by the hopes and 
fears of another life, is made and liveth for that other life, 
where his soul shall be sentenced by God his Judge, to hap- 
piness or misery, &c. And then he discerneth the attesta- 
tion of God to those supernatural, superadded revelations of 
the Gospel, containing the doctrine of man's redemption. 
And he seeth how wonderfully these are built upon the for- 
mer, and how excellently the Creator's and Redeemer's doc- 
trine and laws agree ; and how much countenance superna- 
tural truths receive from the presupposed naturals ; so that 
he doth not adhere to Christ and religion by the mere en- 
gagement of education, friends, or worldly advantages ; nor 
by a blind resolution, which wanteth nothing but a strong 
temptation (from a deceiver or a worldly interest) to shake 
or overthrow it. But he is built upon the rock, which will 
stand in the assault of satan's storms, and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it; Matt. xvi. 18. xiii. 23. vii.25. 
John vi. 68, 69. 

2. But a weak Christian hath but a dim and general 
kind of knowledge of the reasons of his religion ; or, at least, 
but a weak apprehension of them, though he have the best, 
and most unanswerable reasons. And either he is confident 
in the dark upon grounds which he cannot make good, and 
which want but a strong assault to shake them ; or else he 
is troubled and ready to stagger at every difficulty which oc- 
curreth. Every hard saying in the Scripture doth offend 
him ; and every seeming contradiction shaketh him. And 
the depth of mysteries, which pass his understanding, do 
make him say as Nicodemus of regeneration, *.' How can 
these things be?" And if he meet with the objections of a 
cunning infidel, he is unable so to defend the truth, and 
clear his way through them, as to come off unwounded and 
unshaken, and to be the more confirmed in the truth of his 
belief, by discerning the vanity of all that is said against it; 
Heb.v. 12, 13. Matt. xv. 16. lCor.xiv.20. John xii. 16. 

3. The seeming Christian either hath no solid reasons at 
all for his religion, or else if he have the best, he hath no 

vol. viii. c c 



386 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

sound apprehension of them ; but though he be never so 
learned and orthodox, and can preach and defend the faith, 
it is not so rooted in him as to endure the trial ; but if a 
strong temptation from subtlety or carnal interest assault 
him, you shall see that he was built upon the sand, and that 
there was in him a secret root of bitterness, and an evil 
heart of unbelief, which causeth him to depart from the liv- 
ing God ; Heb. iii. 12. Matt.xiii.20— 22. vii.26,27. Heb. 
xii. 15. John vi. 60. 64. 66. 1 Tim. vi. 10, 11. 

III. 1. A Christian indeed, is not only confirmed in the 
essentials of Christianity, but he hath a clear, delightful 
sight of those useful truths, which are the integrals of Chris- 
tianity, and are built upon the fundamentals, and are the 
branches of the master-points of faith. Though he see not 
all the lesser truths (which are branched out at last into in- 
numerable particles), yet he seeth the main body of sacred 
verities, delivered by Christ for man's sanctification ; and 
seeth them methodically in their proper places ; and seeth 
how one supports another, and in how beautiful an order 
and contexture they are placed. And as he sticketh not in 
the bare principles, so he receiveth all these additions of 
knowledge, not notionally only, but practically, as the food 
on which his soul must live; Heb. v. 13, 14. vi. 1,2. &c. 
Matt.xiii.il. Eph. i. 18. iii. 18, 19. Johnxiii. 17. 

2. A weak Christian (in knowledge) besides the princi- 
ples or essentials of religion, doth know but a few disorder- 
ed, scattered truths ; which are also but half known, because 
while he hath some knowledge of those points, he is igno- 
rant of many others, which are needful to the supporting, 
and clearing, and improving of them ; and because he 
knoweth them not in their places, and order, and relation, 
and aspect upon other truths. And, therefore, if tempta- 
tions be strong, and come with advantage, the weak Chris- 
tian, in such points, is easily drawn into many errors ; and 
thence into great confidence and conceitedness in those er- 
rors ; and thence into sinful, dangerous courses in the pro- 
secution and practice of those errors. Such are like " chil- 
dren tossed up and down, and carried to and fro by every 
wind of doctrine, through the cunning sleight and subtlety 
of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"' Eph. iv. 14. 
2 Cor. xi.3. Col.ii.4. 2 Tim. iii. 7. 

3. The seeming Christian having no saving, practical 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 387 

knowledge of the essentials of Christianity themselves, doth 
therefore, either neglect to know the rest, or knoweth them 
but notionally, as common sciences, and subjecteth them all 
to his worldly interest. And, therefore, is still of that side 
or party in religion, which, upon the account of safety, ho- 
nour, or preferment, his flesh commandeth him to follow. 
Either he is still on the greater, rising side, and of the rulers 
of religion, be it what it will ; or if he dissent, it is in pur- 
suit of another game, which pride or fleshly ends have start- 
ed ; 2 Pet. ii. 14. Gal. iii. 3. John ix. 22. xii. 42, 43. Matt. 
xiii.21,22. 

IV. 1. The Christian indeed, hath not only reason for 
his religion, but also hath an inward, continual principle, 
even the Spirit of Christ, which is as a new nature, inclining 
and enlivening him to a holy life ; whereby he mindeth and 
savoureth the things of the Spirit. Not that his nature doth 
work blindly, as nature doth in the irrational creatures ; but 
at least it much imitateth nature as it is found in rational 
creatures, where the inclination is necessary, but the opera- 
tions free, and subject to reason. It is a spiritual appetite 
in the rational appetite, even the will, and a spiritual, visive 
disposition in the understanding. Not a faculty in a facul- 
ty ; but the right disposition of the faculties to their highest 
objects, to which they are by corruption made unsuitable. 
So that it is neither a proper power in the natural sense, nor 
a mere act, but nearest to the nature of a seminal disposition 
or habit. It is the health and rectitude of the faculties of 
the soul. Even as nature hath made the understanding 
disposed to truth in general, and the will disposed or in- 
clined to good in general, and to self-preservation and feli- 
city in particular ; so the Spirit of Christ doth dispose the 
understanding to spiritual truth, to know God and the mat- 
ters of salvation, and doth incline the will to God and holi- 
ness, not blindly, as they are unknown, but to love and 
serve a known God. So that whether this be properly or 
only analogically called a nature, or rather should be called 
a habit, I determine not ; but certainly it is a fixed disposi- 
tion and inclination, which Scripture calleth the " Divine 
nature" (2 Pet. i. 4.), and " the seed of God abiding in us ;" 
1 John iii. 9. But most usually it is called the Spirit of 
God, or of Christ in us. "If any man have not the Spirit 
of Christ, the^ame is none of his ;" Rom. viii. 9. " By one 



388 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

Spirit we are all baptized into one body ;" 1 Cor. xii. 13. 
Therefore, we are said " to be in the Spirit, and walk after 
the Spirit, and by the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the bo- 
dy ;" Rom. viii. 1.9. 13. And it is called, "the Spirit of the 
Son, and the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Fa- 
ther ;" or are inclined to God, as children to their father ; 
and the '■ Spirit of grace and supplication ;" Rom. viii. 15. 23. 
26. Gal.iv.6. v. 17, 18. Eph.ii. 18.22. iv. 3, 4. Phil.i.27. ii. 1. 
Zech. xii. 10. From this Spirit, and the fruits of it, we are 
called new creatures, and quickened, and made alive to God; 
2 Cor. v. 17. Eph.ii. 15. Rom. vi. 11. 13. It is a great 
controversy, whether this holy disposition and inclination 
was natural to Adam or not, and consequently, whether it 
be a restored nature in us, or not. It was so natural to him 
as health is natural to the body, but not so natural as to be 
a necessitating principle, nor so as to be inseparable and 
unlosable. 

2. This same Spirit and holy inclination is in the weak- 
est Christian also, but in a small degree, and remissly ope- 
rating, so as that the fleshly inclination oft seemeth to be 
the stronger, when he judgeth by its passionate strugglings 
within him. Though, indeed, the Spirit of life doth not on- 
ly strive, but conquer in the main, even in the weakest 
Christians; Rom. viii. 9. Gal. v. 17 — 21. 

3. The seeming Christian hath only the ineffectual mo- 
tions of the Spirit to a holy life, and effectual motions and 
inward dispositions to some common duties of religion. 
And from these, with the natural principles of self-love and 
common honesty, with the outward persuasions of compa- 
ny and advantages, his religion is maintained, without the 
regeneration of the Spirit; Johniii.6. 

V. From hence it followeth, 1. That a Christian indeed 
doth not serve God for fear only, but for love ; even for love 
both of himself, and of his holy work and service. Yea, the 
strong Christian's love to God and holiness, is not only 
greater than his love to creatures, but greater than his fear 
of wrath and punishment. The love of God constraineth 
him to duty ; 2 Cor. v. 14. "Love is the fulfilling of the 
law'" (Rom. xiii. 10.), therefore, the Gospel cannot be obey- 
ed without it. He saith not, * O that this were no duty, and 
O that this forbidden thing were lawful ;' though his flesh 
say so, the Spirit, which is the predominant part, doth not. 



CONFIKMED CHRISTIAN. 389 

But he saith, " O how I love thy law ! O that my ways 
were so directed that I might keep thy statutes !" Psal. cxix. 
5. For the Spirit is willing, even when the flesh is weak. 
He serveth not God against his will ; but his will is to serve 
him more, and better than he doth. He longeth to be per- 
fect, and perfectly to do the will of God, and taketh the 
remnant of his sinful infirmities to be a kind of bondage to 
him, which he groaneth to be delivered from. To will even 
perfection is present with him, though not perfectly ; and 
though he do not all that he willeth. And this is the true 
meaning of Paul's complaints ; Rom. vii. Because the flesh 
warreth against the Spirit, he cannot do the good that he 
would ; that is, he cannot be perfect, for so he would be ; 
Gal. v. 17. His love and will excel his practice. 

2. The weak Christian also hath more love to God and 
holiness than to the world and fleshly pleasure. But yet 
his fear of punishment is greater than his love to God and 
holiness. To have no love to God, is inconsistent with a 
state of grace, and so it is to have less love to God than to 
the world, and less love to holiness than to sin. But to have 
more fear than love is consistent with sincerity of grace. 
Yea, the weak Christian's love to God and holiness is joined 
with so much backwardness and averseness, and interrupted 
with weariness, and with the carnal allurements and diver- 
sions of the creature, that he cannot certainly perceive whe- 
ther his love and willingness be sincere or not. He goeth on 
in a course of duty, but so heavily, that he scarce knoweth 
whether his love or loathing of it be the greater. He goeth 
to it as a sick man to his meat, or labour. All that he doth 
is with so much pain or indisposedness, that to his feeling, 
his averseness seemeth greater than his willingness, were it 
not that necessity maketh him willing. For the habitual 
love and complacency which he hath towards God and duty, 
is so oppressed by fear, and by averseness, that it is not so 
much felt in act as they. 

3. A seeming Christian hath no true love of God and ho- 
liness at all, but some ineffectual liking and wishes which 
are overborne by a greater backwardness, and by a greater 
love to earthly things ; so that fear alone, without any true, 
effectual love, is the spring and principle of his religion and 
obedience. God hath not his heart, when he draweth near 
him with his lips ; he doth more than he would do, if he 



3.90 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

were not forced by necessity and fear ; and had rather be 
excused, and lead another kind of life ; Matt. xv. 8. Isa. 
xxix. 13. Though necessity and fear are very helpful to the 
most sincere, yet fear alone, without love or willingness is 
a graceless state. 

VI. 1. A Christian indeed doth love God in these three 
gradations : he loveth him much for his mercy to himself, 
and for that goodness which consisteth in benignity to him- 
self ; but he loveth him more for his mercy to the church, 
and for that goodness which consisteth in his benignity to 
the church. But he loveth him most of all for his infinite 
perfections and essential excellencies ; his infinite power, 
and wisdom, and goodness, simply in himself considered. 
For he knoweth that love to himself obligeth him to returns 
of love ; especially differencing, saving grace : and he know- 
eth that the souls of millions are more worth incomparably 
than his own, and that God may be much more honoured by 
them, than by him alone ; and therefore he knoweth that the 
mercy to many is greater mercy, and a greater demonstration 
of the goodness of God, and therefore doth render him more 
amiable to man ; Rom. ix. 3. And yet he knoweth that es- 
sential perfection and goodness of God, as simply in himself 
and for himself, is much more amiable than his benignity to 
the creature ; and that he that is the first efficient, must 
needs be the ultimate, final cause of all things ; and that 
God is not finally for the creature, but the creature for God, 
(for all that he needeth it not) " For of him, and through 
him, and to him are all things ;" Rom. xi. 36. And as he is 
infinitely better than ourselves, so he is to be better loved 
than ourselves. As I love a wise and virtuous person, 
though he be one I never expect to receive any thing from, and 
therefore love him for his own sake, and not for his benig- 
nity or usefulness to me : so must I love God most for his 
essential perfections, though his benignity also doth repre- 
sent him amiable. As he is blindly selfish that would not 
rather himself be annihilated or perish, than whole king- 
doms should all perish, or the sun be taken out of the world ; 
(because that which is best must be loved as best, and there- 
fore be best loved :) so is he more blind, who in his estima- 
tive, complacential love, preferreth not infinite, eternal 
goodness, before such an imperfect, silly creature as himself 
(or all the world). We are commanded to love our neigh- 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 391 

bour as ourselves, when God is to be loved with all the heart, 
and soul, and might, which therefore signifieth more than to 
love him as ourselves ; (or else he were to be loved no more 
than our neighbour). So that the strong Christian loveth 
God so much above himself, as that he accounteth himself 
and all his interests, as nothing in comparison of God, yea, 
and loveth himself more for God than for himself : though 
his own salvation be loved and desired by him, and God 
must be loved for his mercy and benignity ; yet that salva- 
tion itself which he desireth, is nothing else but the love of 
God : wherein his love is the final, felicitating act, and God 
is the final, felicitating object, and the felicity of loving is 
not first desired ; but the attractive object doth draw out 
our love, and thereby make us consequentially happy in the 
enjoying exercise thereof. Thus God is all and in all to the 
soul ; Psal. lxxiii. 25. Rom. xi. 36. 1 Cor. x. 31. Deut. 
vi. 5. Matt, xxiii. 37. xix. 17. 

2. A weak Christian also loveth God as one that is in- 
finitely better than himself and all things ; (or else he did 
not love him at all as God). But in the exercise he is so 
much in the minding of himself, and so seldom and weak in 
the contemplation of God's perfections, that he feeleth more 
of his love to himself, than unto God ; and feeleth more of 
his love to God, as for the benefits which he receiveth in and 
by himself, than as for his own perfections ; yea, and often 
feeleth the love of himself to work more strongly than his 
love to the church, and all else in the world. The care of 
his own salvation is the highest principle which he ordina- 
rily perceiveth in any great strength in him ; and he is very 
little and weakly carried out to the love of the whole church, 
and to the love of God above himself; Phil. ii. 20 — 22. 
1 Cor. x. 24. Jer. xlv. 5. 

3. A seeming Christian hath a common love of God as 
he is good, both in himself, and unto the world, and unto 
him. But this is not for his holiness ; and it is but a ge- 
neral, ineffectual approbation and praise of God, which fol- 
loweth a dead, ineffectual unbelief: but his chief, predomi- 
nant love is always to his carnal self, and the love both of 
his soul, and of God, is subjected to his fleshly self-love. 
His chief love to God is for prospering him in the world, 
and such as is subservient to his sensuality, pride, covetous- 



392 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

ness, presumption and false hopes; Luke xviii. 21, 22. 
IJohnii. 15. 2 Tim. iii. 2. 4. John xii. 43. v. 42. 

VII. 1. A Christian indeed doth practically take this 
love of God, and the holy expressions of it, to be the very 
life and top of his religion, and the very life, and beauty, and 
pleasure of his soul : he makes it his work in the world, and 
loveth himself (complacentially) but so far as he findeth in 
himself the love of God ; and so far as he findeth himself 
without it, he loatheth himself as an unlovely carcase : and 
so far as his prayers and obedience are without it, he looks 
on them but as unacceptable, loathsome things ; and there- 
fore he is taken up in the study of redemption, because he 
can nowhere so clearly see the love and loveliness of God, 
as in the face of a Redeemer, even in the wonders of love 
revealed in Christ. And he studieth them, that love may 
kindle love ; and therefore he delighteth in the contem- 
plating of God's attributes and infinite perfections ; and in 
the beholding of him in the frame of the creation, and read- 
ing his name in the book of his works, that his soul may by 
such steps, be raised in love and admiration of his Maker. 
And as it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun 
or light, so it is to the mind of the Christian indeed, to be 
frequently and seriously contemplating the nature and glory 
of God : and the exercise of love in such contemplations is 
most of his daily walk with God. And therefore it is also, 
that he is more taken up in the exercises of thanksgiving, 
and the praises of the Almighty, than in the lower parts of 
godliness ; so that though he neglect not confession of sin 
and humiliation, yet doth he use them but in subserviency 
to the love and praise of God : he doth but rid out the filth 
that is indecent in a heart that is to entertain its God. He 
placeth not the chief part of his religion in any outward du- 
ties, nor in any lower, preparatory acts ; nor doth he stop 
in any of these, however he neglect them not. But he useth 
them all to advance his soul in the love of God ; and useth 
them the more diligently, because the love of God, to which 
they conduce, as to their proper end, is so high and excel- 
lent a work. Therefore in David's psalms you find a heart 
delighting itself in the praises of God, and in love with his 
word and works, in order to his praises ; Psal. cxvi. l.&c. 
cvi. ciii. cxlv. cxlvi. &c. Rom. viii. 37. 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 393 

2. The weak Christian is taken up but very little with 
the lively exercises of love and praise, nor with any studies 
higher than his own distempered heart : the care of his poor 
soul, and the complaining of his manifold infirmities and 
corruptions, is the most of his religion : and if he set him- 
self to the praising of God, or to thanksgiving, he is as dull 
and short in it as if it were not his proper work ; Psal. lxxvii. 
Mark ix. 24. xvi. 14. 

3. The seeming Christian liveth to the flesh ; and carnal 
self-love is the active principle of his life ; and he is neither 
exercised in humiliation or in praise sincerely, being un- 
acquainted both with holy joy and sorrow: but knowing 
that he is in the hands of God, to prosper or destroy him, 
he will humble himself to him to escape his judgments, and 
praise him with some gladness for the sunshine of prospe- 
rity ; and he will seem to be piously thanking God, when 
he is but rejoicing in the accommodations of his flesh, or 
strengthening his presumption and false hopes of heaven ; 
Luke xviii. 11. xii. 19. Isa. lviii. 2. 

VIII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that is so apprehen- 
sive of his lost condition, unworthiness, and utter insuffi- 
ciency for himself, and of the office, perfection, and suffi- 
ciency of Christ, that he hath absolutely put his soul, and 
all his hopes into the hands of Christ, and now liveth in him 
and upon him ; as having no life but what he hath from 
Christ, nor any other way of access to God, or acceptance 
of his person, or his service, but by him. In him he behold- 
eth and delightfully admireth the love and goodness of the 
Father; in him he hath access with boldness unto God ; 
through him the most terrible, avenging judge is become a 
reconciled God, and he that we could not remember but with 
trembling, is become the most desirable object of our 
thoughts. He is delightfully employed in prying into the 
unsearchable mystery : and Christ doth even dwell in his 
heart by faith ; " and being rooted and grounded in love, he 
apprehendeth with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, 
and depth, and height, and knoweth the love of Christ, 
which passeth knowledge ;" Ephes. iii. 17 — 19. He per- 
ceiveth that he is daily beholden to Christ that he is not in 
hell, that sin doth not make him like to devils, and that he 
is not utterly forsaken of God : he feeleth that he is be- 
holden to Christ for every hour's time, and every mercy to 



3.94 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

his soul or body, and for all his hope of mercy in this life, 
or in the life to come. He perceiveth that he is dead in him- 
self, and that his " life is hid with Christ in God." And 
therefore he is as "buried and risen again with Christ ;" 
even " dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ ;" 
Rom. vi. 3, 4. 11. Col. iv. 4. He saith with Paul, Gal. ii. 
20. " I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet 
not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live 
in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved 
me, and gave himself for me." Thus doth he live as truly 
and constantly by the second Adam, who is a quickening 
spirit, as he doth by the first Adam, who was a living soul ; 
1 Cor. xv. 45. This is a confirmed Christian's life. 

2. But the weak Christian, though he be also united 
unto Christ, and live by faith, yet how languid are the opera- 
tions of that faith ? How dark and dull are his thoughts of 
Christ? How little is his sense of the wonders of God's 
love revealed to the world, in the mystery of redemption ? 
How little use doth he make of Christ ? And how little life 
receives he from him ? And how little comfort findeth he 
in believing, in comparison of that which the confirmed 
find ? He is to Christ as a sick person to his food : he only 
picketh here and there a little of the crumbs of the bread of 
life, to keep him from dying ; but is wofully unacquainted 
with the most powerful works of faith. He is such a be- 
liever as is next to an unbeliever, and such a member of 
Christ, as is next to a mere stranger. 

3. And for the seeming Christian, he may understand 
the letter of the Gospel, and number himself with Christ's 
disciples, and be baptized with water, and have such a faith 
as is a dead opinion ; but he hath not an effectual, living 
faith, nor is baptized with the Holy Ghost ; nor is his soul 
engaged absolutely and entirely in the covenant of Chris- 
tianity to his Redeemer : he may have a handsome, well- 
made image of Christianity, but it is the flesh and sense, 
and not Christ and faith, by which his life is actuated and 
ordered ; John iii. 6. Rom. ii. 28. 

IX. 1 . A Christian indeed doth firmly believe that Christ 
is a "Teacher sent from God," (John iii. 2.) and that he 
came from heaven to reveal his Father's will, and to bring 
" life and immortality" more fully " to light by his Gospel ;" 
and that if an angel had been sent to tell us of the life to 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 395 

come, and the way thereto, he had not been so credible and 
venerable a messenger as the Son of God ; and therefore he 
taketh him alone for his chief Teacher, and knoweth no 
master on earth but him, and such as he appointeth under 
him : his study in the world is to know a crucified and glo- 
rified Christ, and God by him, and he regardeth no other 
knowledge, nor useth any other studies but this, and such as 
are subservient to this. Even when he studieth the works 
of nature, it is as by the conduct of the Restorer of nature, 
and as one help appointed him by Christ, to lead him up to 
the knowledge of God. And therefore he perceiveth that 
Christ is made of God unto us, wisdom as well as righteous* 
ness : and that Christianity is the true philosophy ; and 
that the wisdom of the world, which is only about worldly 
things, from worldly principles, to a worldly end, is foolish- 
ness with God : he taketh nothing for wisdom which tend- 
eth not to acquaint him more with God, or lead him up to 
everlasting happiness. Christ is his Teacher (either by na- 
tural or supernatural revelation) and God is his ultimate end 
in all his studies, and all that he desireth to know in the 
world. He valueth knowledge according to its usefulness : 
and he knoweth that its chief use is to lead us to the love of 
God; Matt, xxiii. 8. 1 Cor. i. 30. ii. 2, &c. John. i. 18. 
Col. ii. 3. Ephes. iv. 13. 

2. Though the weak Christian hath the same Master, yet 
alas, how little doth he learn ! And how oft is he hearken- 
ing to the teaching of the flesh ! And how carnal, and com- 
mon is much of his knowledge ! How little doth he depend on 
Christ, in his inquiries after the things of nature ! And how 
apt is he to think almost as highly of the teaching of Aris- 
totle, Plato, Seneca, or at least of some excellent preacher, 
as of Christ's ! And to forget that these are but his messen- 
gers and instruments, to convey unto us several parcels of 
that truth, which is his, and not theirs, and which (naturally 
or supernaturally) they received from him ; and all these 
candles were lighted by him, who is the sun ! And how 
little doth this weak Christian refer his common knowledge 
to God ; or use it for him ; or to the furtherance of his own 
and others happiness ! 1 Tim. ii. 4. 

3. And the seeming Christian, though materially he may 
be eminent for knowledge, yet is so far from resigning him- 
self to the teachings of Christ, that he maketh even his 



396 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

knowledge of Christian verities to be to him but a common, 
carnal thing, while he knoweth it but in a common manner, 
and useth it to the service of the flesh, and never yet learned 
so much as to be a new creature, nor to love God as God 
above the world ; 1 Cor. xiii. 2. 

X. 1 . A Christian indeed is one whose repentance hath 
been deep, and serious, and universal, and unchangeable : it 
hath gone to the very roots of sin, and to the bottom of the 
sore, and hath not left behind it any reigning, unmortified 
sin, nor any prevalent love to fleshly pleasures. His repen- 
tance did not only disgrace his sin, and cast some reproach- 
ful words against it, and use confessions to excuse him from 
mortification, and to save its life, and hide it from the mor- 
tal blow ; nor doth he only repent of his open sins, and 
those that are most censured by the beholders of his life ; 
but he specially perceives the dangerous poison of pride, 
and unbelief, and worldliness, and the want of the love of 
God ; and all his outward and smaller sins, do serve to shew 
him the greater malignity of these, and these are the matter 
of his greatest lamentations. He taketh not up a profession 
of religion with strong corruptions, secretly covered in his 
heart ; but his religion consisteth in the death of his cor- 
ruptions, and the purifying of his heart ; he doth not secretly 
cherish any sin as too sweet or too profitable to be utterly 
forsaken, nor overlook it as a small, inconsiderable matter. 
But he feeleth sin to be his enemy and his disease, and as he 
desireth not one enemy, one sickness, one wound, one-broken 
bone, one serpent in his bed, so he desireth not any one sin 
to be spared in his soul ; but saith with David ; " Search 
me, O God, and know my heart ; try me, and know my 
thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me : and 
lead me in the way everlasting ;" Psal. cxxxix. 23. He 
liveth in no gross and scandalous sin : and his infirmities 
are comparatively few and small ; so that if he were not a 
sharper accuser of himself, than the most observant spec- 
tators are (that are just) there would little be known by him 
that is culpable and matter of reproof. He " walketh in all 
the commandments and ordinances of God blameless ;" (as 
to any notable miscarriage,) Luke i. 6. He is " blameless 
and harmless, as the son of God, without rebuke in the 
midst of a crooked and perverse generation ; among whom 
he shineth as a light in the world ;" Phil. ii. 15. The fear, 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 397 

and love, and obedience of God, is the work and tenor of 
his life. 

2. But the weak Christian, though he hath no sin but 
what he is a hater of, and fain would be delivered from, yet, 
alas ! how imperfect is his deliverance ! And how weak is 
the hatred of his sin, and mixed with so much proneness to 
it, that his life is much blemished with the spots of his of- 
fences. Though his unbelief, and pride, and worldliness 
are not predominant in him, yet are they (or some of them) 
still so strong, and fight so much against his faith, humility, 
and heavenliness, that he can scarcely tell which hath the 
upper hand ; nor can others that see the failings of his life, 
discern whether the good or the evil be most prevalent. 
Though it be heaven which he most seeketh, yet earth is so 
much regarded by him, that his heavenlymindedness is 
greatly damped and suppressed by it. And though it be 
the way of godliness and obedience which he walketh in, 
yet is it with so many stumblings and falls, if not deviations 
also, that maketh him oft a burden to himself, a shame to 
his profession, and a snare or trouble to those about him. 
His heart is like an ill-swept house, that hath many a slut- 
tish corner in it. And his life is like a motheaten garment, 
which hath many a hole, which you may see if you bring it 
into the light ; 1 Cor. iii. 1—3. vi. 6—8. xi. 18. 21, 22, &c. 
3. And for the seeming Christian, his repentance doth 
but crop the branches, it goeth not to the root and heart'of 
his sin : it leaveth his fleshly mind and interest in the 
dominion : it polisheth his life, but maketh him not a 
new creature : it casteth away those sins which the flesh 
can spare, and which bring more shame, or loss, or trouble 
with them, than worldly honour, gain or pleasure ; but still 
he is a very worldling at the heart ; and the sins which his 
fleshly pleasures and felicity consist in, he will hide by 
confessions and seeming oppositions, but never mortify and 
forsake. As Judas, that while he followed Christ was yet 
a thief, and a covetous hypocrite ; John xii. 6. 1 Tim. vi. 10. 
XI. 1. Hence it followeth that a Christian indeed doth 
heartily love the searching light, that it may fully acquaint 
him with his sins : he is truly desirous to know the worst of 
himself; and therefore useth the word of God, as a candle, 
to shew him what is in his heart ; and bringeth himself wil- 
lingly into the light : he loveth the most searching books 



398 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

and preachers ; not only because they disclose the faults of 
other men, but his own : he is not one that so loveth his 
pleasant and profitable sins, as to fly the light, lest he should 
be forced to know them, and so to forsake them ; but be- 
cause he hateth them, and is resolved to forsake them, there- 
fore he would know them; John iii. 19 — 21. Therefore he 
is not only patient under reproofs, but loveth them, and is 
thankful to a charitable reprover, and maketh a good use 
even of malicious and passionate reproofs; Psal. cxli.5. 
2 Sam. xvi. 11. He saith, as in Job xxxiv. 32. " That which 
I see not, teach thou me. If I have done iniquity, I will do 
no more." His hatred of the sin, and desire to be reformed, 
suffer not his heart by pride to rise up against the remedy, 
and reject reproof. Though he will not falsely confess his 
duty to be his sin, nor take the judgment of every selfish, 
passionate, or ignorant reprover to be infallible, nor to be 
his rule ; yet if a judicious, impartial person do but suspect 
him of a fault, he is ready to suspect himself of it, unless he 
be certain that he is clear. He loveth him better that would 
save him from his sin, than him that would entice him to it ; 
and taketh him for his best friend who dealeth freely with 
him, and is the greatest enemy to his faults : and a flatterer 
he taketh but for the most dangerous, insinuating kind of 
foe. 

2. But the weak Christian, though he hate his sin, and 
love reformation, and loveth the most searching books and 
preachers, and loveth a gentle kind of reproof, yet hath so 
much pride and selfishness remaining, that any reproof that 
seemeth disgraceful to him, goeth very hardly down with 
him ; like a bitter medicine to a queasy stomach : if you re- 
prove him before others, or if your reproof be not very care- 
fully sugared and minced, so that it rather extenuate than 
aggravate his fault, he will be ready to cast it up into your 
face, and with retort to tell you of some faults of your 
own, or some way shew you how little he loveth it, and how 
little thanks he giveth you for it. If you will not let him 
alone with his infirmities, he will distaste you, if not fall out 
with you, and let you know, by his smart and impatience, 
that you have touched him in the sore and galled place, He 
must be a man of very great skill in managing a reproof, that 
shall not somewhat provoke him to distaste. 

3. And for the seeming Christian, this is " his condemna- 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 399 

tion, that light is come into the world, and he loveth dark" 
ness rather than light, because his deeds are evil." He com- 
eth not to the light, lest his deeds should be discovered and 
reproved ; John Hi. 19 — 21. He liketh a searching preach- 
er for others, and loveth to hear their sins laid open, if it no 
way reflecteth upon himself. But for himself he liketh best 
a general or a smoothing preacher ; and he flieth from a 
quick and searching ministry, lest he should be proved and 
convinced to be in a state of sin and misery. Guilt maketh 
him fear or hate a lively, searching preacher, even as the 
guilty prisoner hateth the judge. He loveth no company so 
well as that which thinketh highly of him, and applaudeth 
and commendeth him, and neither by their reproofs or 
stricter lives, will trouble his conscience with the remem- 
brance of his sin, or the knowledge of his misery. He will 
take you for his enemy for telling him the truth, if you go 
about to convince him of his undone condition, aid tell him 
of his beloved sin. Sin is taken to be as himself; it is he 
that doth evil, and not only sin that dwelleth in him ; and 
therefore all that you say against his sin, he taketh is spoken 
against himself; and he will defend his sin as he vould de- 
fend himself : he will hear you till you come to toich him- 
self, as the Jews did by Stephen, Acts vii. 51. 54. when they 
heard him call them, stiff-necked resisters of God, and per- 
secutors, then they were cut to the heart, and did gr nd their 
teeth at him. And as they did by Paul, Acts Kxii. 22. 
" They gave audience to this word, and then lift up their 
voices and said, Away with such a fellow from ths earth, 
for it is not fit that he should live ;" Gal.iv. 16. Johnix. 
40. Matt. xxi. 45. The priests and Pharisees would have 
laid hands on Christ, when they perceived that he spake of 
them. And Ahab hated Micaiah, because he did lot pro- 
phesy good of him, but evil ; 1 Kings xxii. 8. Deservedly 
do they perish in their sin and misery, that hate h\m that 
would deliver them, and refuse the remedy. " Whos« loveth 
instruction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is 
brutish ;" Prov. xii. 1. "He that being often reproved, har- 
deneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that with- 
out remedy ;" Prov. xxix. 1. 

XII. 1. A Christian indeed, is one that unfeigneily de- 
sireth to attain to the highest degree of holiness, anl to be 
perfectly freed from every thing that is sin. He (iesireth 



400 CHARACTER OF A SOUND. 

perfection, though not with a perfect desire. He sitteth not 
down contentedly in any low degree of grace. He looketh 
on the holiest Chow poor soever) with much more reverence 
and esteem than on the most rich and honourable in the 
world ; and he had far rather be one of the most holy, than 
one of the most prosperous and great ; he had rather be a 
Paul or Timothy, than a Caesar or an Alexander. He com- 
plaineth of nothing with so much sorrow, as that he can 
know and love his God no more ! How happy an exchange 
would he ccunt it, if he had more of the knowledge and love 
of God, though he lost all his wealth and honour in the 
world ! His smallest sins are a greater burden to him, than 
his greatest corporal wants and sufferings : as Paul, who be- 
cause he could not perfectly fulfil God's law, and be as good 
as he would, he crieth out as in bondage, " O wretched man 
that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death?" Rom.vii.24. 

2. Anl for the weak Christian, though he is habitually 
and resolvedly of the same mind, yet, alas ! his desires after 
perfection are much more languid in him ; and he hath too 
much paience and reconciledness to some of his sins, and 
sometimss taketh them to be sweet ; so that his enmity to 
his pride, or covetousness, or passion, is much abated, and 
sufferetr his sin to waste his grace, and wound his con- 
science, and hinder much of his communion with God. He 
seeth net the odiousness of sin, nor the beauty of holiness, 
with so clear a sight as the confirmed Christian doth : he 
hateth sin more for the ill effects of it, than for its malig- 
nant, hateful nature : he seeth not clearly the intrinsic evil 
that is in sin, which maketh it deserve the pains of hell : 
nor doti he discern the difference between a holy and un- 
holy soil, so clearly as the stronger Christian doth ; 1 Cor. 
iii.2,3 Heb.xii. 1. 

3. And as for the seeming Christian, though he may ap- 
prove (f perfect holiness in another, and may wish for it 
himself, when he thinketh of it but in the general, and not 
as it is exclusive and destructive of his beloved sin; yet 
when i; cometh to particulars, he cannot away with it; he 
is so fcr from desiring it, that he will not endure it. The 
name of holiness he liketh ; and that preservation from hell 
which is the consequent of it ; but when he understandeth 
what i. is, he hath no mind of it. That holiness which 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 401 

should cure his ambition and pride, and make him contented 
with a low condition, he doth not like : he loveth not that 
holiness, which would deprive him of his covetousness, his 
intemperance in pleasant meats and drinks, his fleshly lusts, 
and inordinate pleasures. Nor doth he desire that holiness 
should employ his soul in the love of God, and in daily 
prayer, and meditating on his word, and raise him to a hea- 
venly life on earth. 

XIII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that maketh God and 
heaven the end, reward and motive of his life ; and liveth 
not in the world for any thing in the world, but for that 
endless happiness which the next world only can afford. 
The reasons which actuate his thoughts, and choice, and all 
his life, are fetched from heaven. The interest of God and 
his soul as to eternity, is the ruling interest in him. As a 
traveller goeth all the way, and beareth all the difficulties 
of it, for the sake of the end or place that he is going to, 
(however he may talk of many other matters by the way;) 
so is it with a Christian ; he knoweth nothing worthy of his 
life and labours, but that which he hopeth for hereafter. 
This world is too sinful, and too vile and short to be his fe- 
licity. His very trade and work in the world is to lay up a 
treasure in heaven, (Matt. vi. 20.) "and to lay up a good 
foundation against the time to come, and to lay hold on 
eternal life ;" (1 Tim. vi. 19.) and therefore his very heart is 
there, (Matt, vi.21.) and he is employed in seeking and set- 
ting his affections on the things above : (Col. iii. 1 — 3.) and 
his conversation and traffic are in heaven; (Phil. iii. 20, 21.) 
" he looketh not at the things which are seen, which are 
temporal, but at the things which are not seen, which are 
eternal:" (2 Cor. iv. 18.) he is a stranger upon earth, and 
heaven is to him as his home. 

2. The weak Christian also hath the same end, and hope, 
and motive ; and preferreth his hopes of the life to come, 
before -all the wealth and pleasures of this life : but yet his 
thoughts of heaven are much more strange and dull ; he 
hath so much doubting and fear yet mixed with his faith and 
hope, that he looketh before him to his everlasting state, 
with backwardness and trouble, and with small desire and 
delight. He hath so much hope of heaven, as to abate his 
fears of hell, and make him think of eternity with more 

VOL. VIII. D D 



402 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

quietness than he could do, if he found himself unregene- 
rate ; but not so much as to make his thoughts of heaven 
so free, and sweet, and frequent, nor his desires after it so 
strong, as the confirmed Christian's are : and therefore his 
duties, and his speech of heaven, and his endeavours to ob- 
tain it, are all more languid and unconstant ; and he is much 
more prone to fall in love with earth, and to entertain the 
motions of reconciliation to the world, and to have his heart 
too much set upon some place, or person, or thing below, 
and to be either delighted too much in the possession of it, 
or afflicted and troubled too much with the loss of it : earth- 
ly things are too much the motives of his life, and the rea- 
sons of his joys and griefs : though he hath the true belief 
of a life to come, and it prevaileth in the main against the 
world, yet it is but little that he useth to the commanding, 
and raising, and comforting his soul, in Comparison of what 
a strong believer doth; Matt.xvi. 22,23. 

3. But the seeming Christian would serve God and mam 
mon, and placeth his chief and most certain happiness prac- 
tically on earth; though speculatively he know and say 
that heaven is better, yet doth he not practically judge it to 
be so to him; and therefore he loveth the world above it, 
and he doth most carefully lay up a treasure on earth ; 
(Matt. vi. 19.) and is resolved first to seek and secure his 
portion here below ; and yet he taketh heaven for a reserve, 
as knowing that the world will cast him off at last, and die 
he must, there is no remedy ; and therefore he taketh hea- 
ven as next unto the best, as his second hope, as better than 
hell, and will go in religion as far as he can, without the loss 
of his prosperity here ; so that earth and flesh do govern 
and command the design and tenor of his life ; but heaven 
and his soul shall have all that they can spare ; which may 
be enough to make him pass with men for one eminently re- 
ligious; Uohn ii. 15. Matt. xiii. 22. Luke xviii. 22, 23. 
xiv. 24. 33. Psal. xvii. 14. Phil. iii. 18—20. 

XIV. 1. A Christian indeed is one that having taken 
heaven for his felicity, doth account no labour or cost too 
great for the obtaining of it : he hath nothing so dear to him 
in this world, which he cannot spare and part with for God 
and the world to come : he doth not only notionally know 
that nothing should seem too dear or hard for the securing 
of our salvation ; but he knoweth this practically, and is re- 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 403 

solved accordingly. Though difficulties may hinder him in 
particular acts, and his executions come not up to the height 
of his desires (Rom. vii. 16, 17, &c), yet he is resolved that 
he will never break on terms with Christ. There is no duty 
so hard which he is not willing and resolved to perform; 
and no sin so sweet or gainful which he is not willing to 
forsake : he knoweth how unprofitable a bargain he makes, 
who winneth the world, and loseth his own soul ; and that 
no gain can ransom his soul, or recompense him for the loss 
of his salvation ; Mark viii. 36. He knoweth that it is im- 
possible to be a loser by God, or to purchase heaven at too 
dear a rate ; he knoweth that whatsoever it cost him, heaven 
will fully pay for all ; and that it is the worldling's labour, 
and not the saint's, that is repented of at last. He marvel- 
leth more at distracted sinners, for making such a stir for 
wealth, and honours, and command, than they marvel at him 
for making so much ado for heaven. He knoweth that this 
world may be too dearly bought, but so cannot his salvation ; 
yea, he knoweth that even our duty itself, is not our smallest 
privilege and mercy ; and that the more we do for God, the 
more we receive, and the greater is our gain and honour ; 
and that the sufferings of believers for righteousness sake, 
do not only prognosticate their joys in heaven, but occasion 
here the greatest joys that any short of heaven partake of; 
Matt. v. 11, 12. Rom. v. 1 — 3. &c. He is not one that de- 
sire th the end without the means, and would be saved, so it 
may be on cheap and easy terms ; but he absolutely yield- 
eth to the terms of Christ, and saith with Austin, ' Da quod 
jubes, et jube quod vis;' 'Cause me to do what thou com- 
mandest, and command what thou wilt.' Though Pelagius 
contradicted the first sentence, and the flesh the second, 
yet Augustine owned both, and so doth every true believer : 
he greatly complaineth of his backwardness to obey, but 
never complaineth of the strictness of the command. He 
loveth the holiness, justness and goodness of the laws, when 
he bewaileth the unholiness and badness of his heart : he 
desireth not God to command him less, but desireth grace 
and ability to do more. He is so far from the mind of the 
ungodly world, who cry out. against too much holiness, and 
making so much ado for heaven, that he desireth even to 
reach to the degree of angels, and would fain have " God's 
will to be done on earth, as it is done in heaven ;" and there- 



404 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

fore the more desireth to be in heaven, that he may do it 
better ; Psal. cxix. 5. Rom. vii. 24. 

2. The weak Christian hath the same estimation and re- 
solution; but when it comes to practice, as his will is less 
confirmed, and more corrupted and divided, so little impe- 
diments and difficulties are great temptations to him, and 
stop him more in the way of his obedience. All his duty is 
much more tedious to him, and all his sufferings are much 
more burdensome to him, than to confirmed Christians ; and 
therefore he is more easily tempted into omissions and im- 
patience, and walketh not so evenly or comfortably with 
God. When the spirit is willing, it yieldeth oft to the weak- 
ness of the flesh, because it is willing in too remiss a de- 
gree; Matt.xxvi.41. Gal. ii. 14. 

3. But the seeming Christian (though notionally and ge- 
nerally he may approve of strictness) yet secretly at the 
heart hath always this reserve, that he will not serve God at 
too dear a rate. His worldly felicity he cannot part with, 
for all the hopes of the life to come ; and yet he will not, 
he dare not renounce and give up those hopes ; and there- 
fore he maketh himself a religion of the easiest and cheap- 
est parts of Christianity, (among which, sometimes, the 
strictest opinions may fall out to be one part, so be it they 
be separated from the strictest practice :) and this easy, 
cheap religion he will needs believe to be true Christianity 
and godliness, and so will hope to be saved upon these 
terms : and though he cannot but know that it is the cer- 
tain character of a hypocrite, to have any thing nearer and 
dearer to his heart than God, yet he hopeth that it is not so 
with him, because his convinced judgment can say, that 
God is best, and the world is vanity, while yet his heart and 
affections so much contradict his opinion, as almost to say, 
" There is no God ;" for his heart knoweth and loveth no 
God as God, that is, above his worldly happiness. He is 
resolved to do so much in religion as he findeth necessary 
to delude his conscience, and make himself believe that he 
is godly, and shall be saved ; but when he cometh to for- 
sake all, and take up the cross, and practise the costliest 
parts of duty, then you shall see that mammon was better 
loved than God, and he will go away sorrowful, and hope to 
be saved upon easier terms (Lukexviii.23.), for he was ne- 
ver resigned absolutely to God. 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 405 

XV. 1. A confirmed Christian is one that taketh self- 
denial for the one half of his religion ; and therefore hath 
bestowed one half of his endeavours to attain and exercise 
it. He knoweth that the fall of man was a turning to him- 
self from God ; and that selfishness and want of love to 
God, are the sum of all corruption and ungodliness ; and 
that the love of God and self-denial are the sum of all reli- 
gion ; and that conversion is nothing but the turning of the 
heart from carnal self to God by Christ : and therefore on 
this hath his care and labour been so successfully laid out, 
that he hath truly and practically found out something which 
is much better than himself, and to be loved and preferred 
before himself, and which is to be his chief and ultimate 
end. He maketh not a God of himself any more, but useth 
himself for God, to fulfil his will, as a creature of his own, 
that hath no other end and use : he no more preferreth him- 
self above all the world, but esteemeth himself a poor and 
despicable part of the world, and more highly valueth the 
honour of God, and the welfare of the church, and the good 
of many, than any interest of his own. Though God in na- 
ture hath taught him to regard his own felicity and to love 
himself, and not to seek the glory of God, and the good of 
many souls in opposition to his own, yet he hath taught him 
to prefer them (though in conjunction) much before his 
own : for reason telleth him that man is nothing in compa- 
rison of God, and that we are made by him and for him, 
and that the welfare of the church or public societies, is 
better (in order to the highest ends) than the welfare of 
some one. Selfishness in the unregenerate, is like an in- 
flammation or imposthume, which draweth the humours 
from other parts of the body to itself : the interest of God 
and man are all swallowed up in the regard that men have 
to self-interest : and the love of God and our neighbour is 
turned into self-love. But self is as annihilated in the con- 
firmed Christian, so that it ruleth not his judgment, his af- 
fections, or his choice : and he that lived in and to himself, 
as if God and all the world were but for him, doth now live 
to God, as one that is good for nothing else, and findeth 
himself in seeking him that is infinitely above himself; Luke 
xiv.31— 33. Phil. ii. 4. 21. 

2. And the weak Christian hath attained to so much 
self-denial, that self is not predominant in him against the 



406 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

love of God and his neighbour; but yet above all other sins, 
too great a measure of selfishness still remaineth in hirn. 
These words ' own, and mine, and self,' are too significant 
with him ; every thing of his own is regarded inordinately, 
with partiality, and too much selfishness. A word against 
himself, or an injury to himself, is more to him than worse 
against his brother : he is too little mindful of the glory of 
God, and of the public good, and the souls of others ; and 
even when he is mindful of his own soul, he is too regardless 
of the souls of many, that by prayer, or exhortation, or other 
means, he ought to help : as a small candle lighteth but a 
little way, and a small fire heateth not far off, so is his love 
so much confined, that it reacheth not far from him : he va- 
lueth his friends too much upon their respect to please him- 
self, and loveth men too much, as they are partial for him ; 
and too little upon the pure account of grace, and their love 
to Christ and serviceableness to the church. He easily 
overvalueth his own abilities, and is too confident of his own 
understanding, and apt to have too high conceits of any 
opinions that are his own ; he is too apt to be tempted unto 
uncharitableness against those that cross him in his interest 
or way. He is apt to be too negligent in the work of God, 
when any self-interest doth stand against it ; and too much 
to seek himself, his own esteem, or his own commodity, when 
he should devote himself to the good of souls, and give up 
himself to the work of God : though he is not like the hy- 
pocrite, that preferreth himself before the will of God and 
the common good, yet selfishness greatly stoppeth, inter- 
rupteth, and hindereth him in God's work ; and any great 
danger, or loss, or shame, or other concernment of his own, 
doth seem a greater matter to him, and oftener turn him out 
of the way, than it will with a confirmed Christian. They 
were not all hypocrites that Paul speaketh of in that sad com- 
plaint, " For I have no man like-minded (to Timothy) who 
will naturally care for your state ; for all seek their own, not 
the things which are Jesus Christ's ;" (Phil. ii. 20, 21.) that 
is, they too much seek their own, and not entirely enough 
the things that are Christ's ; which Timothy did naturally, 
as if he had been born to it ; and grace had made the love 
of Christ, and the souls of men, and the good of others, as 
natural to him, as the love of himself. Alas ! how loudly 
do their own distempers, and soul-miscarriages, and the di- 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 407 

visions and calamities of the church, proclaim, that the 
weaker sort of Christians have yet too much selfishness, and 
that self-denial is lamentably imperfect in them. 

3. But in the seeming Christian, selfishness is still the 
predominant principle ; he loveth God but for himself; and 
he never had any higher end than self : all his religion, his 
opinions, his practice is animated by self-love, and governed 
by it, even by the love of carnal self. Self-esteem, self-con- 
ceitedness, self-love, self-willedness, self-seeking and self- 
saving are the constitution of his heart and life. He will be 
of that opinion, and way and party in religion, which selfish- 
ness directeth him to choose. He will go no further in re- 
ligion than self-interest and safety will allow him to go. He 
can change his friend, and turn his love into hatred, and his 
praises into reproach, whenever self-interest shall require it. 
He can make himself believe, and labour to make others be- 
lieve, that the wisest and holiest servants of God are erro- 
neous, humorous, hypocrites, and insufferable, if they do 
but stand cross to his opinions and interest : for he judgeth 
of them, and loveth or hateth them, principally as they con- 
form to his will and interest, or as they are against it. As 
the godly measure all persons and things, by the will and 
interest of God, so do all ungodly men esteem them as they 
stand in reference to themselves. When their factious in- 
terest required it, the Jews, and especially the Pharisees, 
could make themselves and others believe, that the Son of 
God himself was a breaker of the law, and an enemy to 
Caesar, and a blasphemer, and unworthy to live on the earth ; 
and that Paul was a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition 
among the people, and a ringleader of a sect, and a profaner 
of the temple ; (Acts xxiv. 5, 6.) and which of the prophets 
and apostles did they not persecute ? Because Christ's doc- 
trine doth cross the interest of selfish men, therefore the 
world doth so generally rise up against it with indignation, 
even as a country will rise against an invading enemy : for 
he cometh to take away that which is dearest to them ; as 
it is said of Luther, that he meddled with the pope's crown, 
and the friars' bellies ; and therefore no wonder if they 
swarmed all about his ears. Selfishness is so general and 
deeply rooted, that (except with a few self-denying saints) 
self-love and self-interest rule the world. And if you 
would know how to please a graceless man, serve but his 



408 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

carnal interest, and you have done it : be of his opinion (or 
take on you to be so,) applaud him, admire him, flatter him, 
obey him, promote his preferment, honour and wealth, be 
against his enemies ; in a word, make him your God, and 
sell your soul to gain his favour, and so it is possible you 
may gain it. 

XVI. 1. A Christian indeed hath so far mortified the 
flesh, and brought all his senses and appetites into subjec- 
tion to sanctified reason, as that there is no great rebellion 
or perturbation in his mind : but a little matter, a holy 
thought, or a word from God, doth presently rebuke and 
quiet his inordinate desires. The flesh is as a well-broken 
and well-ridden horse, that goeth on his journey obediently 
and quietly, and not with striving, and chaffing, and vexa- 
tious resisting : though still flesh will be flesh, and will be 
weak, and will fight against the Spirit, so that we cannot do 
all the good we would ; (Isa. v. 17. Rom. vii. 16, 17, &c.) 
yet in the confirmed Christian, it is so far tamed and sub- 
dued, that its rebellion is much less, and its resistance 
weaker, and more easily overcome : it causeth not any no- 
table unevenness in his obedience, nor blemishes in his life ; 
it is no other than consisteth with a readiness to obey the 
will of God. Gal. v. 24, 25. 1 Cor. ix. 26, 27. " They that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and 
lusts thereof: they run not as uncertainly ; they fight not 
as one that beateth the air; but they keep under their bodies, 
and bring them into subjection, lest by any means they 
should be castaways. They put on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts 
thereof;" Rom. xiii. 13, 14. As we see to a temperate man, 
how sweet and easy temperance is, when to a glutton, or 
drunkard, or riotous liver it is exceeding hard ; so it is in all 
other points with a confirmed Christian. He hath so far 
crucified the flesh, that it is as dead to its former lusts ; and 
so far mastered it, that it doth easily and quickly yield. And 
this maketh the life of such a Christian, not only pure, but 
very easy to him, in comparison of other men's : nay, more 
than this, he can use his sense (as he can use the world, the 
objects of sense,) in subserviency to faith and his salvation. 
His eye doth but open a window to his mind, to hold and 
admire the Creator in his work. His taste of the sweetness 
of the creatures is but a means, by which the sweeter love 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 409 

of God doth pass directly to his heart. His sense of plea- 
sure is but the passage of spiritual, holy pleasure to his 
mind. His sense of bitterness and pain is but the messenger 
to tell his heart of the bitterness and vexatiousness of sin. 
As God in the creation of us, made our senses but as the 
inlet and passage for himself into our minds, (even as he 
made all the creatures to represent him to us by this passage ;) 
so grace doth restore our very senses (with the creature) to 
this their holy, original use ; that the goodness of God, 
through the goodness of the creature, may pass to our hearts, 
and be the effect and end of all. 

2. But, for the weak Christian, though he have mortified 
the deeds of the body by the Spirit, and live not after the 
flesh, but be freed from its captivity or reign ; (Gal. v. 24. 
Rom. viii. 1. 7 — 13.) yet hath he such remnants of concu- 
piscence and sensuality, as make it a far harder matter to him 
to live in temperance, and deny his appetite, and govern his 
senses, and restrain them from rebellion and excess : he is 
like a weak man upon an ill-ridden, headstrong horse, who 
hath much ado to keep his saddle and keep his way. He is 
more strongly inclined to fleshly lusts, or excess in meat, or 
drink, or sleep, or sports, or some fleshly pleasure, than the 
mortified, temperate person is, and therefore is oftener guilty 
of some excess ; so that his life is a very tiresome conflict, 
and very uneasy to himself, because the less the flesh is mor- 
tified, the more able it is to raise perturbations, and to put 
faith and reason to a continual flight. And most of the 
scandals and blemishes of his life arise from hence, even the 
successes of the flesh against the Spirit ; so that (though he 
live not in any gross or wilful sins ;) yet in lesser measures 
of excess he is too frequently overtaken : how few be there 
that in meat and sleep do not usually exceed their measure ? 
And they are easily tempted to libertine opinions, which in- 
dulge the flesh, having a weaker preservative against them 
than stronger Christians have ; Matt. xvi. 22, 23. Gal. v.. 13. 
i. 16. ii. 12— 14. Col. ii. 11. 

3. But the seeming Christian is really carnal. The flesh 
is the predominant part with him ; and the interest of the 
flesh is the ruling interest. He washeth away the outward 
filth, and in hope of salvation, will be as religious as the 
flesh will give him leave ; and will deny it in some smaller 
matters, and will serve it in a religious way, and not in so 



410 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

gross and impudent a manner as the atheists and openly 
profane. But for all that he never conquered the flesh in- 
deed ; but seeketh its prosperity more than the pleasing of 
God and his salvation : and among prayers, and sermons, 
and holy conference, and books, yea, and formal fastings too, 
he is serving the flesh with so much the more dangerous im- 
penitency, by how much the more his cloak of formality 
hindereth him from the discerning of his sin; many an one 
that is of unblemished reputation in religion, doth constantly 
serve his appetite in meat and drink, (though without any 
notable excess ) and his fleshly mind in the pleasure of his 
dwelling, wealth, and accommodations, as much as some 
profane ones do, if not much more. And whenever it cometh 
to a parting trial, they will shew that the flesh was the ruling 
part, and will venture their souls to secure its interest ; Luke 
xviii. 23. xiv. 33. Rom. viii. 5—7. 9. 13. Matt. xiii. 21, 
22. Jude 19. 

XVII. 1. Hence itfolloweth that a Christian indeed pre- 
ferreth the means of his spiritual benefit and salvation in- 
comparably before all corporal commodities and pleasures. 
He had rather dwell under the teaching and guidance of an 
able, experienced pastor, though it be cross to his prosperity 
and worldly gain, than to live under an ignorant or dead- 
hearted preacher, when it furthereth his trading or more ac- 
commodateth his flesh : (though yet he must not remove 
when God layeth any restraint upon him, by his duty to his 
family, or others :) he had rather if he be a servant, dwell in 
a family where he may do or receive most spiritual good, than 
in a carnal family, where he may have more ease, and better 
fare, and greater wages. If he be to marry, he had rather 
have one that hath wisdom and piety without wealth, than 
one that hath riches without wisdom and piety. He is more 
glad of an opportunity (in public or private) for the profit of 
his soul, than of a feast, or a good bargain, or an opportunity 
for some gain in worldly things ; Matt. vi. 20. 33. 

2. And the weak Christian is of the same mind in the 
main. He valueth mercies and helps for his soul, above 
those for his body. But it is with less zeal, and more indif- 
ference ; and, therefore, is more easily and ofter drawn to 
the omitting of spiritual duties, and neglect of spiritual 
helps and mercies ; and goeth to them with more averse- 
ness, and as driven by necessity, and is much less sensible 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 411 

of his loss, when he raisseth of any such spiritual helps ; 
Luke x. 41,42. Heb. x. 25. Acts ii. 42. iv.32. 

3. But the seeming Christian being a real worldling, 
doth serve God and mammon ; and mammon with the first 
and best. He had rather miss a sermon, than a good bar- 
gain or commodity ; he had rather dwell where he may thrive 
best, or have most ease and pleasure, than where he may 
find the greatest helps for heaven ; he will be religious, but 
it must be with an easy, and a pleasant, and a merry religion, 
which may not be too niggardly with his flesh, nor use it too 
strictly : unless when one day's austerity may procure him 
an indulgence for his liberty all the week following. He 
will make his bargain with Christ so, as to be sure that he 
may not lose by him ; and he will not believe that God is 
pleased with that which is much displeasing to his flesh ; 
Rom. viii. 5—8. 13. Matt. xiii. 21, 22. 

XVIII. 1. The Christian indeed is one that is crucified 
to the world, and the world is as a crucified thing to him ; 
Gal. vi. 14. He hath overcome the world by faith, and fol- 
loweth Christ in the pursuit of it, to a perfect conquest ; 
1 John v. 4, 5. 2 John xvi. 33. He has seen through all its 
glossing vanity, and foreseen what it will prove at last. He 
hath found that it cannot quiet conscience, nor reconcile 
the guilty soul to God, nor save it from his consuming 
wrath ; nor serve instead of God or heaven, of Christ or 
grace ; but will cast off its servants in their last extremity, 
naked and desolate, into remediless despair. And, there- 
fore, he is resolvedly at a point with all things under the 
sun. Let them take the world for their portion and felicity 
that will ; for his part, he accounteth all things in it dung 
and dross, in comparison of Christ and things eternal ; Phil, 
iii. 7, 8. 19, 20. All the preferments, and honours, and com- 
mand, and wealth, and greatness of the world, do not seem 
to him a bait considerable, to make a wise man once ques- 
tion whether he should persevere in faithfulness to God, or 
to tempt him to commit one wilful sin. He would not 
speak, or own a lie, or approve the sin of another, for all 
that worldlings enjoy in their greatest prosperity while they 
live. He accounteth his peace with God and conscience, 
and his communion with Christ in the greatest poverty, to 
be incomparably better than all the pleasures and commo- 
dities of sin ; yea, the very reproach of Christ is better to 



412 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

him than all the treasures of court or country ; Heb. xi. 25, 
26. Grace hath mortified and annihilated the world to him. 
And that which is dead and nothing, can do nothing with 
him against God and his soul. He looketh on it as a car- 
rion, which dogs may love and fight for, but is unfit to be 
the food of man. He is going to the land of promise, and 
therefore will not contend for an inheritance in this howling 
wilderness. Whether he be high or low, rich or poor, are so 
small a part of his concernments, that he is almost indiffer- 
ent to them, farther than as the interest of God and souls 
may accidentally be concerned in them. The world set 
against God, and heaven, and holiness, doth weigh no more 
in his estimation, than a feather that is put in the balance 
against a mountain, or all the world. He feeleth no great 
force in such temptations, as would draw him to win the 
world, and lose his soul. His eye and heart are where his 
God and treasure are, above ; and worldly wealth and great- 
ness are below him, even under his feet. He thinketh not 
things temporal worth the looking at, in comparison of 
things eternal ; 2 Cor. iv. 18. He thinketh that their money 
and riches do deservedly perish with them, who think all 
the money in the world to be a thing comparable with grace ; 
Acts viii. 20. 

2. And the weak Christian is of the same judgment and 
resolution in the main ; but yet the world retaineth a greater 
interest in his heart ; it grieveth him more to lose it ; it is a 
stronger temptation to him. To deny all the preferments, 
and honours, and riches of it, seemeth a greater matter to 
him ; and he doth it with more striving, and less ease ; and 
sometimes the respect of worldly things prevaileth with him 
in lesser matters, to wound his conscience, and maketh 
work for repentance ; and such are so entangled in worldly 
cares, and prosperity tasteth so sweet with them, that grace 
even languisheth and falleth into a consumption, and almost 
into a swoon. So much do some such let out their hearts to 
the world, which they renounced, and scrape for it with so 
much care and eagerness, and contend with others about 
their commodities and rights, that they seem to the standers 
by to be as worldly as worldlings themselves are ; and be- 
come a shame to their profession, and make ungodly per- 
sons say, * Your godly professors are as covetous as any :' 
2 Tim. iv. 10. 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 413 

3. But seeming Christians are the servants of the world ; 
when they have learnt to speak most hardly of it, it hath their 
hearts. Heaven, as I said before, is valued but as a reserve, 
when they know they can keep the world no longer. They 
have more sweet and pleasing thoughts and speeches of the 
world, than they have of God and the world to come. It 
hath most of their hearts when God is most preferred by 
their tongues. There it is that they are daily laying up 
their treasure, and there they must leave it at the parting 
hour, when they go naked out as they came naked in. The 
love of deceitful riches choaketh the word of God, and it 
withereth in them, and becometh unfruitful; Matt. xiii.22. 
They go away sorrowful because of their beloved riches, 
when they should part with all for the hopes of heaven 
(Luke xviii. 23.), yea, though they are beggars, that never 
have a day's prosperity in the world, for all that, they love 
it better than heaven, and desire that which they cannot 
get, because they have not an eye of faith, to see that better 
world which they neglect, and therefore take it for an un- 
certain thing. Nor are their carnal natures suitable to it, 
and therefore they mind it not ; Rom. viii. 7. When a hy- 
pocrite is at the best, he is but a religious worldling ; the 
world is nearer to his heart than God is, but " pure religion 
keepeth a man unspotted of the world ;" James i. 27. 

XIX. 1. A Christian indeed is one that still seeth the 
end in all that he doth, and that is before him in his way ; and 
looketh not at things as at the present they seem or relish to 
the flesh, or to short-sighted men ; but as they will appear 
and be judged of at last. The first letter maketh not the 
word, nor the first word the sentence, without the last. Pre- 
sent time is quickly past, and therefore he less regardeth 
what things seem at present, than what they will prove to 
all eternity. When temptations offer him a bait to sin, with 
the present profit, or pleasure, or honour, he seeth at once 
the final shame ; he seeth all worldly things as they are seen 
by a dying man, and as after the general conflagration they 
will be. He seeth the godly man in his adversity and pa- 
tience, as entering into his Master's joys ; he seeth the de- 
rided, vilified saint, as ready to stand justified by Christ at 
his right hand ; and the liars of the malicious world as rea- 
dy to cover themselves with shame. He seeth the wicked in 
the height of their prosperity, as ready to be cut down and 



414 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

withered, and their pampered flesh to turn to dirt ; and their 
filthy and malicious souls to stand condemned by Christ at 
his left hand ; and to hear, " Go ye cursed into everlasting 
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ;" Matt. xxv. 
1 Pet. i.24. James i. 10, 11. Psal.lxxiii. xxxvii. There- 
fore it is that he valueth grace, because he knoweth what it 
will be ; and therefore it is that he flieth from sin, because 
he " knoweth the terrors of the Lord," and what it will prove 
to the sinner in the end ; and how sinners themselves will 
curse the day that ever they did commit it ; and wish when 
it is too late, that they had chosen the holiness and patience 
of the saints. And therefore it is that he pitieth rather than 
envieth the prosperous enemies of the church, because he 
foreseeth what the " end will be of them that obey not the 
Gospel of Christ. And if the righteous be scarcely saved, 
where shall the ungodly and sinners appear?" 1 Pet. iv. 17, 
18. 2Thess. i.8 — 10. If the wicked unbelievers saw but 
the ending of all things as he doth, they would be all then 
of his mind and way. This putteth so much life into his 
prayers, his obedience, and patience, because he seeth the 
end in all ; Deut.xxxii. 29. Prov.xix.20. Isa. xlvii. 7. 

2. And the weakest Christian doth the same in the main, 
so far as to turn his heart from things temporal to things 
eternal ; and to resolve him in his main choice, and to con- 
duct the course of his life towards heaven. But yet in par- 
ticular actions he is often stopped in present things, and for- 
getfully loseth the sight of the end, and so is deluded and 
enticed into sin, for want of seeing that which should have 
preserved him. He is like one that travelleth over hills and 
vallies, who when he is upon the hills doth see the place 
that he is going to ; but when he cometh into the vallies it 
is out of his sight. Too oft doth the weak Christian think 
of things as they appear at the present, with little sense of 
the change that is near. When he seeth the baits of sin, 
whether riches, or beauty, or meat and drink, or any thing 
that is pleasing to the senses, the remembrance of the end 
doth not so quickly and powerfully work, to prevent his de- 
ceived imaginations as it ought. And when poverty, or 
shame, or sufferings, or sickness are presented to him, the 
foresight of the end is not so speedy and powerful in clear- 
ing his judgment, and settling his resolution, and prevent- 
ing his misapprehension and troubles as it ought. And 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 415 

hence comes his oft mistakes and falls ; and herein consist- 
eth much of that foolishness, which he confesseth when re- 
pentance bringeth him to himself; 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. 2 Chron. 
xvi. 9. 

3. But the seeming Christian hath so dim and doubtful 
a foresight of the end, and it is so frequently out of his mind, 
that things present do carry away his heart, and have the 
greatest power and interest with him ; and are most regard- 
ed and sought after in this life. For he is purblind, not 
seeing afar off, as it it is said, 2 Pet. i. 9. He wanteth 
that faith which is the " substance of things hoped for, and 
the evidence of things unseen ;" Heb. xi. 1. Things promis- 
ed in another world seem to him too uncertain, or too far off 
to be preferred before all the happiness of this world ; he 
is resolved to make his best of that which he hath in hand, 
and to prefer possession before such hopes. Little doth his 
heart perceive what a change is near, and how the face of all 
things will be altered ! How sin will look, and how the 
minds of sinners will be changed, and what all the riches, 
and pleasures, and honours of the world will appear at the 
latter end ! He foreseeth not the day when the slothful, and 
the worldly, and the fleshly, and the proud, and the enemies 
of godliness, shall all wish in vain,  O that we had laid up 
our treasure in heaven, and laboured for the food that pe- 
risheth not, and had set less by all the vanities of the world, 
and had imitated the holiest and most mortified believers !' 
Though the hypocrite can himself foretel all this, and talk 
of it to others, yet his belief of it is so dead, and his sensu- 
ality so strong, that he liveth by sense, and not by that be- 
lief : and present things are practically preferred by him, 
and bear the sway, so that heneedeth those warnings of God 
as well as the profane, " O that they were wise, that they 
understood this, and that they would consider their latter 
end ;" Deut. xxxii. 29. And he is one of the foolish ones 
(Matt. xxv. 8. 11.), who are seeking oil for their lamps when 
it is too late, and are crying out, " Lord, Lord, open to us," 
when the door is shut ; and will not know the time of their 
visitation, nor know effectually in this their day, the things 
which belong to their everlasting peace. 

XX. 1. The Christian indeed is one that liveth upon 
God alone ; his faith is divine ; his love, and obedience, and 
confidence are divine ; his chiefest converse is divine ; his 



416 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

hopes and comforts are divine. As it is God that he de- 
pendeth on, and trusteth to, and studieth to please above 
all the world, so it is God's approbation that he taketh up 
with for his justification and reward. He took him for his 
absolute Governor and Judge, and full felicity, in the day 
when he took him for his God. He can live in peace with- 
out man's approbation. If men are never acquainted with 
his sincerity, or virtues, or good deeds, it doth not discou- 
rage him nor hinder him from his holy course ; he is, there- 
fore, the same in secret as in public, because no place is se- 
cret from God. If men turn his greatest virtues or duties to 
his reproach, and slander him, and make him odious to men, 
and represent him as they did Paul, a pestilent fellow, a 
mover of sedition, and the ringleader of a sect, and make 
him as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all 
things, this changeth him not, for it changeth not his felici- 
ty, nor doth he miss of his reward ; 1 Cor. iv. 9 — 14. Read 
the words in the text. Though he hath so much suspicion 
of his own understanding, and reverence for wiser men's, 
that he will be glad to learn, and will hear reason from any 
one ; yet praise and dispraise are matters of very small re- 
gard with him; and as to himself, he counteth it but a very 
small thing to be judged of men, whether they justify or 
condemn him ; because they are fallible, and have not the 
power of determining any thing to his great commodity or 
detriment; nor is it their judgment to which he stands or 
falls ; 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. He hath a more dreadful, or comfort- 
able judgment to prepare for. Man is of small account 
with him in comparison of God ; Rom. viii. 33 — 36. 

2. And though with the weakest true Christian it is so 
also as to the predominancy of God's esteem and interest in 
him, yet is his weakness daily visible in the culpable effects. 
Though God have the chiefest place in his esteem, yet man 
hath much more than his due. The thoughts and words of 
men seem to such, of far greater importance than they 
should. Praise and dispraise, favours and injuries, are 
things which affect their hearts too much ; they bear not the 
contempts and wrongs of men with so quiet and satisfied a 
mind, as beseemeth those that live upon God. They have 
so small an experience of the comforts of God in Christ, 
that they are tasting the deeper of other delights, and spare 
them not so easily as they ought to do. God, without 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 417 

friends, or house, or land, or maintenance, or esteem in the 
world, doth not fully quiet them ; but there is a deal of 
peevish impatience left in their minds, though it doth not 
drive them away from God. 

3. But the seeming Christian can better take up with the 
world alone than with God alone ; God is not so much mis- 
sed by him as the world ; he always breaks with Christ, when 
it cometh to forsaking all ; he is godly notionally and pro- 
fessedly, and therefore may easily say that God is his por- 
tion, and enough for those that put their trust in him ; but 
his heart never consented truly to reduce these words to 
practice. When it comes to the trial, the praise or dispraise 
of man, and the prosperity or matters of the world, do signify 
more with him than the favour or displeasure of God, and 
can do more with him. Christ, and riches, and esteem, he 
could be content with ; but he cannot away with a naked 
Christ alone. Therefore he is indeed a practical atheist, 
even when he seemeth most religious : for if he had ever ta- 
ken God for his God indeed, he had certainly taken him as 
his portion, felicity, and all ; and therefore as enough for 
him without the creature ; Luke xviii. 23. 

XXI. 1. For all this it followeth, that a Christian in- 
deed hath with himself devoted all that he hath to God, and 
so all that he hath is sanctified : he is only in doubt ofttimes 
in particular cases, what God would have him do with him- 
self and his estate ; but never in doubt whether they are 
to be wholly employed for God, in obedience to his will, as 
far as he can know it ; and therefore doth estimate every 
creature and condition, purely as it relateth unto God and 
life eternal. " HOLINESS TO THE LORD" is written 
upon all that he hath and doth : he taketh it as sent from 
God, and useth it as his Master's goods and talents ; not 
chiefly for himself, but for his Master's ends and will. God 
appeareth to him in the creature, and is the life, and sweet- 
ness, and glory of the creature to him. His first question in 
every business he undertaketh, or every place or condition 
that he chooseth is, how it conduceth to the pleasing of God, 
and to his spiritual ends ; " whether he eateth or drinketh, 
or whatever he doth, he doth all to the glory of God ; 1 Cor. 
x. 31 . The posy engraven on his heart is the name of GOD, 
with " OF HIM, AND THROUGH HIM, AND TO HIM 

VOL. VIII. E E 



418 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

ARE ALL THINGS, TO HIM BE GLORY FOR EVER, 
AMEN;" Rom. xi. 36. He liveth as a steward that useth 
not his own, though yet he have a sufficient reward for his 
fidelity; and he keepeth accounts both of his receivings and 
layings out, and reckoneth all to be worse than lost, which 
he findeth not expended on his Lord's account. For him- 
self he asketh not that which is sweetest to the flesh, but that 
which is fittest to his end and work ; and therefore desireth 
not riches (for himself) but his daily bread, and food conve- 
nient for him; and having food and raiment is therewith 
content, having taken godliness for his gain. He asketh 
not for superfluity, nor for any thing to consume it on his 
lusts, nor to become provision for his flesh, to satisfy the 
wills thereof. But as a runner in his race desireth not any 
provisions which may hinder him ; and therefore " forget- 
ting the things which are behind (the world which he hath 
turned his back upon,) he reacheth forth to the things which 
are before, (the crown of glory,) and presseth toward the 
mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Je- 
sus ;" not turning an eye to any thing that would stop him 
in his course. Thus while he is employed about things be- 
low, his mind and conversation are heavenly and divine, 
while all things are estimated and used purely for God and 
heaven; Luke xvi. 1, 2. I Pet. iv. 10. Tit. i. 15. Prov. 
xxx. 8. ITim.vi. 6. 8. James iv. 3. Rom. xiii. 14. Phil, 
iii. 13—15. 

2. But the weak Christian, though he have all this in de- 
sire, and be thus affected and resolved in the main, and liv- 
eth to God in the scope and course of his life, yet is too of- 
ten looking aside, and valuing the creature carnally for it- 
self; and ofttimes useth it for the pleasing of the flesh, and 
almost like a common man ; his house, and land, and friends, 
and pleasures, are relished too carnally, as his own accom- 
modations ; and though he walk not after the flesh, but af- 
ter the Spirit, yet he hath too much of the fleshly taste, and 
is greatly out in his accounts with God ; and turneth many 
a thing from his Master's use, to the service of the flesh ; 
and though he be not as the slothful, wicked servant, yet is 
it but little improvement that he maketh of his talent ; Matt, 
xxv. 17 26—28. 

3. But the seeming Christian being carnal and selfish, 
while his notions and professions are spiritual and Divine, 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 419 

and his selfish and fleshly interest being predominant, it 
must needs follow that he estimateth all things principally 
as they respect his fleshly interest, and useth them principal- 
ly for his carnal self, even when in the manner he seemeth to 
use them most religiously, (as I have said before ;) and so 
to the defiled nothing is pure ; Rom. viii. 5 — 8. 13. Tit. i. 15. 
XXII. 1. A Christian indeed hath a promptitude to 
obey, and a ready compliance of his will to the will of God. 
He hath not any great averseness and withdrawing, and doth 
not the good which he doth with much backwardness and 
striving against it ; but as in a well-ordered watch or clock, 
the spring or poise doth easily set all the wheels a going, and 
the first wheel easily moveth the rest ; so is the will of a con- 
firmed Christian presently moved, as soon as he knoweth the 
will of God. He stayeth not for other moving reasons ; 
God's will is his reason. This is the habit of subjection 
and obedience, which makes him say, " Speak, Lord, for thy 
servant heareth ;" and " Lord, what wouldst thou have me 
do ?" And " Teach me to do thy will, O God ;" Psal. cxliii. 
10. 1 Sam iii. 10. Acts ix.6. " I delight to do thy will, 
O God ; yea thy law is within my heart ;" Psal. xl.8. The 
" law written in our heart," is nothing else but the know- 
ledge of God's laws, with this habit or promptitude to obey 
them ; the special fruit of the Spirit of grace. 

2. But a weak Christian, though he love God's will and 
way, and be sincerely obedient to him, yet in many particu- 
lars, where his corruption contradicteth, hath a great deal 
of backwardness and striving of the flesh against the Spirit ; 
and there needs many words, and many considerations and 
vehement persuasions, yea, and sharp afflictions, sometimes, 
to bring him to obey. And he is fain to drive on his back- 
ward heart, and hath frequent use for the rod and spur, and 
therefore is more slow and uneven in his obedience ; Gal. 
v. 17. 

3. The seeming Christian is forward in those easy, cheap- 
er parts of duty, which serve to delude his carnal heart, and 
quiet him in a worldly life ; but he is so backward to tho- 
rough sincere obedience in the most flesh-displeasing parts 
of duty, that he is never brought to it at all ; but either he 
will fit his opinions in religion to his will, and will not be- 
lieve them to be duties, or else he will do something like 
them in a superficial, formal way ; but the thing itself he 



420 CHARACTER OF A SOUND, 

will not do. For he is more obedient to his carnal mind 
and lusts than he is to God ; Rom. viii. 6, 7. and forwarder 
much to sacrifice than obedience ; Eccles. v. 1. 

XXIII. 1. A Christian indeed doth daily delight him- 
self in God, and findeth more solid content and pleasure in 
his commands and promises, than in all this world; his du- 
ties are sweet to him, and his hopes are sweeter. Religion 
is not a tiresome task to him ; the yoke of Christ is easy to 
him, and his burden light, and his commandments are not 
grievous; Psal. xxxvii.4. i. 2. xl. 8. xciv. 19. cxix. 16. 
35. 47.70. Matt. xi. 28, 29. John v. 3. That which others 
take as physic, for mere necessity, against their wills, he 
goeth to as a feast, with appetite and delight ; he prayeth 
because he loveth to pray; and he thinks and speaks of 
holy things, because he loveth to do it. And hence it is 
that he is so much in holy duty, and so unwearied, because 
he loveth it, and taketh pleasure in it. As voluptuous per- 
sons are oft and long at their sports, or merry company, be- 
cause they love them, and take pleasure in them : so are 
such Christians oft and long in holy exercises, because their 
hearts are set upon them as their recreation, and the way and 
means of their felicity. If it be a delight to a studious man 
to read those books which most clearly open the abstrusest 
mysteries of the sciences, or to converse with the most wise 
and learned men ; and if it be a delight to men to converse 
with their dearest friends, or to hear from them and read 
their letters ; no marvel if it be a delight to a Christian in- 
deed, to read the Gospel mysteries of love, and to find there 
the promises of everlasting happiness, and to see in the face 
of Jesus Christ the clearest image of the Eternal Deity, and 
foresee the joys which he shall have for ever. He sticketh 
not in superficial formality, but breaking the shell doth feed 
upon the kernel. It is not bare external duty which he is 
taken up with, nor any mere creature that is his content ; 
but it is God in creatures and ordinances that he seeketh 
and liveth upon ; and therefore it is that religion is so plea- 
sant to him. He would not change his heavenly delights 
which he findeth in the exercise of faith, and hope, and love 
to God, for all the carnal pleasures of this world ; he had 
rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God, than to dwell in 
the tents or palaces of wickedness. A day in God's court is 
better to him than a thousand in the court of the greatest 



CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN. 421 

prince on earth. He is not a stranger to " the joy in the 
Holy Ghost," in which the kingdom of God doth in part 
consist; Rom. xiv. 17. Psal. lxxxiv. 10. 2. lxv.4. "In 
the multitude of his thoughts within him, the comforts of 
God do delight his soul ;" Psal. xciv. 19. " His meditation 
of God is sweet, and he is glad in the Lord ;" Psal. civ. 34. 
The freest and sweetest of his thoughts and words run out 
upon God and the matters of salvation. The word of God 
is sweeter to him than honey, and better than thousands of 
gold and silver; Psal. xix. 10. cxix. 72. 103. Prov. xvi. 
24. And because " his delight is in the law of the Lord, 
therefore doth he meditate in it day and night ;" Psal. i. 2. 
He seeth great reason for all those commands, " Rejoice 
evermore ;" (1 Thess. v. 16.) " Let the righteous be glad, let 
them rejoice before God, yea, let them exceedingly rejoice ;" 
(Psal. lxviii.3,4. lxiv. 10. xxxi. 1. xxxii. 11.) " Be glad 
in the Lord and rejoice, ye righteous ; and shout for joy all 
that are upright-in heart." He is sorry for the poor, un- 
happy world, that have no better things than meat, and 
drink, and clothes, and house, and land, and money, and 
lust, and play, and domineering over others, to rejoice in : 
and heartily he wisheth that they had but a taste of the 
saint's delights, that it might make them spit out their lus- 
cious, unclean, unwholesome pleasures. One look to Christ, 
one promise of the Gospel, one serious thought of the life 
which he must live with God for ever, doth afford his soul 
more solid comfort than all the kingdoms of the earth can 
afford. And though he live not continually in these high 
delights, yet peace with God, and peace of conscience, and 
some delight in God and godliness, is the ordinary tempera- 
ture of his soul, and higher degrees are given him in season 
for his cordials and his feasts. 

2. But the weak Christian hath little of these spiritual 
delights ; his ordinary temper is to apprehend that God and 
his ways are indeed most delectable ; his very heart acknow- 
ledged that they are worthiest and fittest to be the matter 
of his delights : and if he could attain assurance of his es- 
pecial interest in the love of God, and his part in Christ and 
life eternal, he would then rejoice in them indeed, and would 
be more glad than if he were Lord of all the world ; but in 
the meantime, either his fears and doubts are damping his 
delights ; or else (which is much worse) his appetite is dull 



4