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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"

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vol. IX. 








Epistle Dedicatorv iii 

To the Poor in Spirit viii 

The Case to be resolved . . . , 19 

Direct. 1. Discover the true cause of your trouble ...... 20 

The continued necessity of a standing ministry 21 

Direct. 3. Discover well how much of your trouble is from 
melancholy, or from outward crosses, and apply the remedy 

accordingly 22 

Direct. 3. Lay first in your understanding sound and deep ap- 
prehensions of God's nature 27 

The benefits that arise from the apprehensions of God's good- 
ness ibid. 

Direct. 4. Get deep apprehensions of the gracious nature and 

office of the Mediator S3 

Direct. 5. Believe and consider the full sufficiency of Christ's 

sacrifice and ransom for all 35 

Direct. 6. Apprehend the freenesSi fulness and universality of 
the law of grace, or conditional grant of pardon and salva- 
tion to all men, if they will repent and believe ibid. 

Direct. 7. Understand the difference between general grace 
and special, and between the possibility, probability, con- 
ditional certainty, and absolute certainty of your salvation, 
and so between the several degrees of comfort that these 

severals may afford ibid. 

How much comfort the unconverted may receive from gene- 
ral grace •••• 38 

Direct. 8. Understand rightly the true nature of saving faith 43 
Direct. 9. Next, perform the condition by actual believing 46 

Object. I am not able to believe j answered 47 

Direction how to get faith 48 

How far the prayers of the wicked are acceptable 4a 

VOL. IX. b 



Direct. 10. Next, review your own believing, and thence ga- 
ther assurance 52 

The witness of the Spirit, and Spirit of adoption, what they are ? 53 

Whether it be a legal departing from Christ, or any sinful 
trusting in our own righteousness, to gather peace, comfort 
or assurance from signs within us ? 56 

Twenty arguments, proving it lawful to gather comfort or as- 
surance from God's graces in us 57 

Direct. 11. Make use, in trial, of none but infallible signs . . 62 

Five certain signs, together comprising the description of a 
true Christian 63 

Twenty observable explicatory points for the right under- 
standing of these signs . 65 

Direct. 12. Know, that assurance of justification, or right to 
salvation, cannot be gathered from the least degree of 
saving grace 80 

Proved ft-om the many exceeding difficulties that must be over- 
come by all that will have assurance in ordinary ways ; and 
from other reasons 81 

Direct. 13. The first time of our receiving or acting saving 
grace, and so of our justification and adoption, cannot or- 
dinarily be known 89 

To affirm that saving sincerity of grace lieth but in a gradual 
natural difference, is no diminution of the glory of grace , 92 

Direct. 14. Know, that assurance is not the lot of the ordinary 
sort of true Christians, but only of a few of the strongest, 
most active, watchful and obedient : proved 93 

The observation of the confessions of the godly in this . . . , 97 

Direct. 15. Know, that even many of the stronger and more 
obedient, who have assurance of their conversion, are yet 
unassured-of their salvation, for want of assurance to per- 
severe 101 

Direct. 16. There are many grounds to discover a probability 
of saving grace, where we cannot yet discern a certainty. 
And you must learn, next to the comforts of general grace, 
to receive the comforts of the probability of special grace, 
before you expect or are ripe for the comforts of assurance 103 

Proved that a Christian may live a joyful life without assu- 
rance 104 

Direct. 17. Improve your own and others experiences to 
strengthen your probabilities 107 

Direct. 18. Know that God hath not commanded you to be- 
lieve that you do believe, nor that you are justified, or shall 
be saved (but only conditionally), and therefore your assur- 
ance is not a certainty properly of Divine faith 112 

It is not unbelief or desperation in Christians which is com- 
monly called so 113 

Direct. 19. Know that those few that do attain to assurance, 
have it not constantly , , 121 

Direct. 20. Never expect so much assurance on earth as shall 
set you above all possibility of the loss of heaven, and above 
all apprehensions of real danger 122 


The usefulness of apprehension of danger opened 1^24 

Direct. ^1. Be glad of a settled peace, and look not too much 
after raptures and strong feelings of comfort : and if you 

have such, expect not a constancy of them 130 

Direct. 22. Spend more time and care about your duty than 
your comforts, and to get, and exercise, and increase grace, 

than to discern the certainty of it 132 

Direct. 23. Think not that those doubts and troubles which 
are caused and continued by wilful disobedience, will ever 
be well healed but by the healing of that disobedience, or 
that such can be cured by the same means, as obedient 

doubting Christians may 139 

How far a Christian can or cannot do the good he would . . 141 
Three sorts of sins of infirmity, or so called, opened ..... 144 

The state of a Christian under gross sin, doubtful 148 

Proved, that assurance dependeth much on careful obedience ; 
and that when all is done, the most obedient believer will 
ordinarily have most and best assurance of his sincerity and 

salvation 151 

The use of the former Direction 155 

The doubtings of most Christians that have the free use of 

reason, are fed by some sin 156 

The sins which troubled Christians should most search after, 

1. Contrary carnal interest, encroaching on Christ's interest. 159 

1. In the understanding, enumerated as against each per- 
son in the Trinity. 

2. In the will and affections. 

1. Pride 160 

2. Covetousness. 162 

3. Voluptuousness 165 

These are considered here as against God himself, and so as 

against the first commandment 
'i. Actual sins against the other commandments. Especially 

1. Unmercifulness and rigid cerisoriousness of others 166 

2. Unpeaceableness in family, neighbourhood, church, &c. 167 
Direct. 24. Content not yourself with a cheap religiousness, 

and to serve God with that which cost you little or nothing : 
and take every call to costly duty or suffering for Christ, as 
a prize put into your hand for advancing your comforts . . 172 
Remember this ; 1. In preventing sin. 2. In rising from sin, 

3. In performance of duty 178 

Direct. 25. Study the great art of doing good, and let it be 

your every day's contrivance, care and business, how to lay 

out all your talents to the greatest advantage 182 

Applied to our rulers, and to rich men 186 

Direct. 26. Trouble not your soul with needless scruples j nor 
make yourself more work than God hath made you, by 
feigning that unlawful, which God hath not forbidden ; or . 
by placing your religion in will-worship, or overmuch rigour 
to your body, &c. 189 



What it is to be righteous overmuch. The question answered. 
Whether all virtue be in the middle ? And whether we can 
love or serve God too much ? 189 

All overdoing in God's work is undoing. The devil is most 
zealous in overdoing 192 

A sad instance how much the devil hath got by overdoing 

1 . In doctrine, against heretics, by adding to the creed, and 
forsaking Scripture phrase • • - » • ibid. 

2. In discipline 196 

3. In government, or church power ibid. 

4. In worship • . 197 

5. In reformation, especially of late 198 

The devil goes beyond Christ in all these, when he once falls 

to work.. 202 

Direct. 27. When God hath discovered your sincerity to you, 

fix it in your memory, that it may be useful for the time to 

come ; and leave not your soul open to new apprehensions ; 

except in case of notable declinings or gross sinning 205 

Proved, that in these excepted cases, even the justified may 

question their sincerity and justification ibid. 

Direct. 28. Beware of perplexing misinterpretations of, 

1. Scriptures 210 

2. Providences 211 

3. Sermons 214 

And be willing that ministers should preach most searchingly 

and rousingly for the good of others, without misapplying 

it to yourself ibid. 

Direct. 29. Distinguish carefully between causes of doubting, 
and causes of mere humiliation and amendment : God call- 
eth you very often to humiliation, when he calleth you not 
to doubting 219 

Twenty ordinary doubts resolved : 

1. About knowing the time and manner of conversion. . . . 220 

2. About humiliation 223 

3. Of receiving religion by education 225 

4. About deadness, hardheartedness, and not weeping for sin 229 

5. About backwardness to duty, and not delighting in it. . 234 

6. About doing all put of slavish fear 237 

7. Not able to believe 239 

8. Strangeness to the witness of the Spirit, joy in the Holy 
Ghost, and communion with God ibid. 

9. Want of the spirit of prayer 240 

10. Unprofitableness through want of gifts 342 

1 1 . Greatness of sin and unworthiness 243 

A twofold worthiness and righteousness ibid. 

12. Want of a deep hatred to sin : fear lest stronger temp- 
tation would overthrow us 245 

13. Fear of committing the unpardonable sin against the 
Holy Ghost 246 

14. Lest it be too late and the time of grace be past. Time 

of grace past in a double sense 247 



15. Sinning since profession, against conscience, on delibe- 
ration 249 

16. Not overcoming corruptions, and not growing in grace 251 
17- Blasphemous and unbelieving thoughts 254 

18. Fears of death 257 

19. Heavy afflictions 258 

20. Not being afflicted ibid. 

Direct. 30. Carefully discern whether your doubts are such as 

must be cured by the consideration of general or of special 
grace. And be sure that when you lose the sight of certain 
evidence, that you let not go probabilities : or at the worst 
when you are beaten from both, and judge yourself graceless, 

yet lose not the comforts of general grace 3dO 

Direct. 31. In all pressing necessities, take the advice of your 
pastors 265 

1 . Keep it not secret 266 

2. In what cases to seek advice ibid. 

3. To what ends 267 

4. Of what sort of ministers, and whom to avoid 268 

5. In what manner to open your case. Objections answered 
against confessing sin to pastors. Reasons why ministers 
have not fully acquainted their people with the great duty 

of confessing and opening their case to them 272 

Direct. 32. Understand that the height of a Christian life, and 
the greatest part of your duty, lieth in a loving delight in 
God, and a thankful and cheerful obedience to his will ; 
which you must be still endeavouring, and subordinate all 
other duties to these 278 

Ministers and Christians should keep the Lord's day as a day 
of thanksgiving for the work of redemption, and spend more 
of it in praises, psalms, hymns, &c. and less in confes- 
sing, &c 281 

How Christians wrong Christ and religion, and contradict the 
main design of grace by their sad, dejected lives 282 

Stand not complaining and d9ubting, but cheerfully amend 
and obey 283 



Epistle Dedicatory ccxci 

Preface ccxcv 

The text opened ; doctrine deduced j and method propounded 342 
What is not this crucifying of the world ; by way of caution 
to avoid extremes • 344 



In what respects the world must be crucified to us : 349 

1 . As the creature would be man's felicity, or any part of it 350 

2. As it is set in competition with God, or in the least de- 
gree of co-ordination with him * ibid. 

3. As it standeth at enmity to God and his ways ........ 353 

4. As it is the matter of our fleshpleasing and fuel of con- 
cupiscence 354 

5. As an independent or separated good, without its due 
relations to God 355 

Ephesians ii. 12, Psal. xxxix. 6". Ixxiii. 20. considered .... 357 
The different successes of sanctified and unsanctified studies 

and knowledge 360 

The creature's aptitude to tempt us is inseparable 361 

Wherein the world's crucifixion consisteth as to our acts ? 

We must use the world as it used Christ 363 

More particularly, 1. To esteem the world as an enemy to 

God and us 3*0 

How this enmity may be apprehended ibid. 

2. A deep habituate apprehension of its worthlessness and 
insufficiency f, 372 

3. A kind of annihilation of it to ourselves 373 

How we must be crucified to it. The difference between this 

and natural death 375 

1. Our undue estimation of the world must be crucified. . . . 376 

2. And our inordinate cogitations, and 3. Affections 378 

1. Our love. 2. Desire. 3. Expectations. 4. Our delight ibid. 

So in the irascible, 1. Displacency and hatred, &c 382 

4. Our inordinate seeking and labour 386 

Divers objections and questions answered 387 

How the cross of Christ doth crucify the world. And 

1. How it is done by the cross as suffered by Christ 389 

2. How by the same cross believed in and considered .... 393 

3. How by the cross which we suffer in obedience and 
conformity to Christ 395 

The point proved by experience. . . . t ibid. 

Reasons of the absolute necessity of being crucified to the 
world, and it to us. 

1. From God's interest, which it contradicteth 399 

2. From our own interest 402 

The Uses. 1. To inform us, 1. That it is the use of the 

cross of Christ to crucify the world, proved 406 

How his doctrine doth it 407 

And his works 411 

2. Wherever the cross ofChrist is effectual, the world is crucified 412 
Use 2. What it is to be a Christian indeed, and what a dis- 
tance such are at from the world • • 414 

Trial whether we are dead to the world. Eight signs by 

which we may know whether the world or God be our end 416 

A closer application for conviction of worldly hypocrites 425 

Further applications for conviction of worldlings 435 

Convincing evidences produced, especially to the greater sort ibid. 



The articles of aggravation of the worldling's sin 44 1 

Further prest for conviction 452 

Use of Exhortation to crucify the world, especially to gentlemen 456 

Yet more closely urged 460 

Twelve questions to evince the folly of worldlings 464 

The duty further charged home 473 

The living world will be your own tormentor 474 

An instance in point of reputation and honour 476 

Directions for successful crucifying the world 

Direct. 1, Make use of the cross of Christ hereto 483 

Direct. 2. Receive not a false picture of the world into 

your minds, but think of the creature truly as it is 486 

Direct. 3. Crucify the flesh, which is the master idol 488 

Direct. 4. Keep your minds intent on the greater things of 

everlasting life 491 

Direct. 5. Understand the right use and end of the creatures, 

and make it your business to employ them accordingly . 492 

Direct. 6. Keep sensible of its enmity, and your danger . . 495 
Direct. 7. Be much in the house of mourning, and see the 

end of all the living 496 

Direct. 8. Study to improve afflictions . . • ibid. 

Direct. 9. Be very suspicious of prosperity, and fear more 

the smiling than the frowning world 497 

Direct. 10. Be sure to keep off the means of its livelihood, 

and keep it under mortifying means 504 

Conclusion of that Use 508 

Use to the sanctified, to use the world as a crucified thing 

1 . Seek it but as a means to higher things, and not for itself 511 

2. Be not too eager for it 513 

3. Suffer it not to crucify you with cares and sorrows . . . 515 

4. Let it not thrust out God's service, nor be made an excuse 

for negligence in religion ibid. 

5. Use no unlawful means to get it 518 

6. Employ it for the flesh, but improve all for God : un- 
charitableness reproved 521 

A full answer to the common reproach, that professors of 

godliness are the most covetous of all 528 

Use of Consolation. The benefits of being crucified to the world 536 



Doct. True Christians must with abhorrency renounce all car- 
nal glorying, and must glory only in the cross of Christ, by 
whom the world is crucified to them, and they to the world 552 

Particularly, 1. True Christians that are crucified to the 
world, and the world to them, by the cross of Christ, may and 
must glory therein. How far, and how far not ibid. 

Proved by Scripture and fourteen reasons . 553 



Use 1. To confute the Antinomian mistake, that tells 
men they must not glory nor fetch their comforts from 
any thing in themselves. The case opened. Ten more 
reasons to prove the point asserted 557 

Use 2. To discover the error of too many Christians, that 
can glory in the state of exaltation, but not of cruci- 
fixion, or mortification 562 

Obs. 2. When believers glory in their own mortification, it 
must be as it is the fruit of the cross of Christ, that 
so all their glorying may be principally and ultimately 
in Christ, and not in themselves. Tw^elve reasons against 
glorying in ourselves 566 

Use. To condemn self-exalting thoughts, and provoke to 
humility 571 

Obs. 3. To glory in any thing save the cross of Christ, 
and our crucifixion thereby, is a thing that the soul of 
a Christian should abhor. What is not here excluded 
from our lawful glorying 572 

What is excluded. Glory not : 

1. Tn dignities and honours 574 

2. Nor in riches 575 

3. Nor in habitations ibid. 

4. Nor in comeliness or strength 576 

5. Nor in apparel ibid. 

6. Nor in health 577 

7. Nor in noble birth ibid. 

8. Nor in Friends 578 

9. Nor inmeat,drink, dwellings, ease, company, recreation,&c.ibid. 

10. Nor in men's good word, though they be learned, godly,&c. 579 

11. Nor in learning, parts, &c ibid. 

12. Take heed in what respect you glory in spiritual mer- 

cies. (1.) In ministers, ordinances, church commu- 
nion, &c. (2.) In knowledge. (3.) In good works. 
(4.) In experiments of mercy or feelings of comfort. 
(5.) In holy graces, whose nature is against carnal 
glorying 580—582 






" God is love." 1 John iv. 16* 

" Come, for all things are now ready." LuKExrv. 17. Matt.x.\ii.4. 




" Come unio me, all ye that labour, and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, lor I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye 
shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 

Matt. XI. 28. 

" For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Hesh : and 
these are contrary the one to the other j so that ye cannot do the thing that ye 

Gal. v. 17. 

" Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants 
ye are to whom ye obey ; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righte- 
ousness ?" 

Rom. VI. 16. 

" Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 

Rom. XIII. 14. 

" For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do 
mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." 

Rom. VIII. 13. 

" While they promite theiu liberty, they themselves are the servants of corrup- 
tion : for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.'' 

2 Pet. II. 19. 

" Thus ye speak, saying. If our transgressions and our sins be ujion us, and we 
pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them. As I live, saith the 
Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn 
from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways ; for why will ye die, 
O house of Israel ?" 

£z£K. XXXIII. 10, 11. 

*' Now then, we are ambassadors for Chrbt, as though God did beseech you by 
us : we pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God." 

2 Cor. v. 20. 

" Trust in the Lord, and do good, &c. Delight thyself olso in the L'>rd, and he 
shall give thee the desires of thine heart." 

PsAL. XXXVII. 3, 4. 

Sound doctrine makes a sound judgment, a sound heart, a sound conversion, and a 
aound con<>cience. 


To my much valued, beloved, and honoured Friends, Colonel 
John Bridges, with Mrs. Margaret Bridges, his 
wife, and Mr. Thomas Foley, with Mrs. Anne Foley, 
his wife. 

Though in publishing our writings, we intend them for the 
good of all : yet custom, not without reason, doth teach us, 
sometimes to direct them more especially to some. Though 
one only had the original interest in these papers, yet do I 
now direct them to you all, as not knowing how in this to 
separate you. You dwell together in my estimation and af- 
fection : one of you a member of the church, which I must 
teach, and legally the patron of its maintenance and minis- 
ter : the other, a special branch of that family, which I was 
first indebted to in this county. You lately joined in pre- 
senting to the parliament', the petition of this county for the 
Gospel and a faithful ministry. When I only told you of 
my intention, of sending some poor scholars to the univer- 
sity, you freely and jointly offered your considerable annual 
allowance thereto, and that for the continuance of my life, 
or their necessities there. I will tell the world of this, whe- 
ther you will or no ; not for your applause, but for their 
imitation ; and the shame of many of far greater estates, 
that will not be drawn to do the like. The season some- 
what aggravates the goodness of your works. When satan 
hath a design to burn up those nurseries, you are watering 
God's plants ; when the greedy mouth of sacrilege is 
gaping for their maintenance, you are voluntarily adding for 
Uie supply of its defect. Who knows how many souls they 
vitay win to Christ (if God shall send them forth into his 


harvest) whom you have thus assisted ? And what an ad- 
dition to your comfort this may be ? When the Gospel is 
so undermined, and the ministry so maligned, and their 
maintenance so envied, you have, as the mouth of this 
county, appeared for them all. What God will yet do with 
us, we cannot tell ; but if he will continue his Gospel to us, 
you may have the greater comfort in it. If he will remove 
it, and forsake a proud, unworthy, false-hearted people, yet 
may you have the comfort of your sincere endeavours ; you 
(with the rest that sincerely furthered it) may escape the 
gnawings of conscience, and the public curse and reproach 
which the history of this age may fasten upon them, who 
after all their engagements in blood and covenants, would 
either in ignorant fury, or malicious subtlety, or base tem- 
porizing cowardice, oppugn or undermine the Gospel, or in 
perfidious silence look on whilst it is destroyed. But be- 
cause it is not the work of a flatterer that 1 am doing, but of a 
friend, I must second these commendations with some cau- 
tion and counsel, and tell yourselves of your danger and 
duty, as I tell others of your exemplary deeds. Truly, the sad 
experiences of these times, have much abased my confidence 
in man, and caused me to have lower thoughts of the best 
than sometime I have had. I confess I look on man, as 
such a distempered, slippery and inconstant thing, and of 
such a natural mutability of apprehensions and affections, 
that as I shall never more call any man on earth my friend, 
but with a supposition that he may possibly become mine 
enemy ; so I shall never be so confident of any man's fide- 
lity to Christ, as not withal to suspect that he may possibly 
forsake him. Nor shall I boast of any man's service for the 
Gospel, but with a jealousy that he may be drawn to do as 
much against it (though God, who knows the heart, and 
knows his own decrees, may know his sincerity, and fore- 
know his perseverance). Let me therefore remember you, 
that had you expended your whole estates, and the blood 
of your hearts for Christ and his Gospel, he will not take 
himself beholden to you. He oweth you no thanks for your 
deepest engagements, highest adventures, greatest cost, or 
utmost endeavours. You are sure beforehand that you shall 
be no losers by him : your seeming hazards increase your 
security : your losses are your gain : your giving is your 
rficeiving : your expenses are your revenues : Christ returns 


the largest usury. The more you do and suffer for him, the 
more you are beholden to him. I must also remember you, 
that you may possibly live to see the day, when it will cost 
you dearer to shew yourselves faithful to the Gospel, ordi- 
nances and ministers of Christ, than now it doth ; and that 
many have shrunk in greater trials, that past through lesser 
with resolution and honour. Your defection at the last, 
would be the loss of all your works and hopes. " If any 
man draw back (Christ saith) his soul shall have no pleasure 
in him." Even those that have endured the great fight of 
affliction, being reproached and made a gazing stock, and 
that having taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods, in 
assurance of a better and enduring substance, have yet need 
to be warned that they cast not away their confidence, and 
draw not back to perdition, and lose not the reward for want 
of patience and perseverance ; Heb. x. 22. to the end. That 
you may escape this danger and be happy for ever, take this 
advice. 1. Look carefully to the sincerity of your hearts, 
in the covenant-closure with Christ. See that you take him 
with the happiness he hath promised for your all. Take heed 
of looking after another felicity ; or cherishing other hopes ; 
or esteeming too highly anything below. Be jealous, and 
very jealous, lest your hearts should close deceitfully with 
Christ, maintaining any secret reserve for your bodily safe- 
ty ; either resolving not to follow him, or not resolving to 
follow him through the most desolate distressed Condition 
that he shall lead you in. Count what it may cost you to 
get the crown ; study well his precepts of mortification and 
self-denial. There is no true hopes of the glory to come, if 
you cannot cast over- board all worldly hopes, when the 
storm is such that you must hazard the one. O how many 
have thought that Christ was most dear to them, and that 
the hopes of heaven were their chiefest hopes, who have left 
Christ, though with sorrow, when he bid them let go all? 
2. Every day renew your apprehensions of the truth and 
worth of the promised felicity, and of the delusory vanity of 
all things here below : let not heaven lose with you its at- 
tractive force, through your forgetfulness or unbelief. He 
is the best Christian that knows best why he is a Christian, 
and he will most faithfully seek and suffer, that best knows 
for what he doth it. Value not wealth and honour above 
that rate, whiph the wisest and best experienced have put 


upon them, and allow them no more of your affections than 
they deserve. A mean wit may easily discover their empti- 
ness. Look on all present actions and conditions with a 
remembrance of their end. Desire not a share in their pros- 
perity, who must pay as dear for it as the loss of their souls. 
Be not ambitious of that honour which must end in confu- 
sion nor of the favour of those that God will call enemies. 
How speedily will they come down, and be levelled with the 
dust, and be laid in the chains of darkness, that now seem 
so happy to the purblind world, that cannot see the things to 
come ? Fear not that man must shortly tremble before that 
God whom all must fear. 3. Be more solicitous for the se- 
curing of your consciences and salvation, than of your ho- 
nours or estates : in every thing that you are put upon, con- 
sult first with God and conscience, and not with flesh and 
blood. It is your daily and most serious care and watch- 
fulness that is requisite to maintain your integrity, and not 
a few careless thoughts or purposes, conjunct with a mind- 
ing of earthly things. 4. Deal faithfully with every truth 
which you receive. Take heed of subjecting it to carnal 
interests : if once you have affections that can master your 
understandings, you are lost, and know it not. For when 
you have a resolution to cast off any duty, you will first be- 
lieve it is no duty : and when you must change your j udgment 
for carnal advantages, you will make the change seem reason- 
able and right : and evil shall be proved good when you have a 
mind to follow it. 5. Make Gospel-truths your own, by daily 
humble studies, arising to such a soundness of judgment, 
that you may not need to take too much upon trust, lest if 
your guides should miscarry, you miscarry with them. De- 
liver not up yoiir understanding in captivity to any. 6. Yet 
do not over-value your own understandings. This pride 
hath done that in church and state, which all discerning 
men are lamenting. They that know but little, see not what 
they want, as well as what they have ; nor that imperfec- 
tion in their knowledge, which should humble them, nor 
that difficulty in things which should make them diligent 
and modest. 7. Apprehend the necessity and usefulness of 
Christ's officers, order, and ordinances, for the prosperity 
of his church : pastors must guide you, though not seduce 
you, or lead you blindfold. But choose (if you may) such 
as are judicious and not ignorant, not rash but sober, not 


formal, but serious aud spiritual ; not of carnal, but heavenly 
conversations : especially avoid them that divide and follow 
parties, and seek to draw disciples to themselves, and can 
sacrifice the church's unity and peace to their proud hu- 
mours or carnal interests. Watch cp,refully that no weak- 
nesses of the minister, do draw you to a disesteem of the 
ordinances of God ; nor any of the sad miscarriages of pro- 
fessors, should cause you to set less by truth or godliness. 
Wrong not Christ more, because other men have so wronged 
him. Quarrel more with your own unfitness and unworthi- 
ness in ordinarices, than with other men's. It is the frame 
of your own heart that doth more to help or hinder your 
comforts, than the quality of those you join with. To these 
few directions, added to the rest in this book, I shall sub- 
join my hearty prayers, that you may receive from that Gos- 
pel, and ministry which yon have owned, such stability in 
the faith, such victory over the flesh and the world, such 
apprehensions of the love of God in Christ, such direction 
in every strait and duty, that you may live uprightly, and 
die peaceably, and reign gloriously. Amen. 

Your servant in the faith 

and Gospel of Christ, 


May 9, 1653. 




My dearly beloved fellow Christians, whose souls are taken 
up with the careful thoughts of attaining and maintaining 
peace with God, who are vile in your own eyes, and value 
the blood and Spirit, and word of your Redeemer, and the 
hope of the saints in their approaching blessedness, before 
all the pomp and vanities of this world, and resolve to give 
up yourselves to his conduct, who is become " the author of 
eternal salvation to all them that obey him :" for you do I 
publish the following directions, and to you it is that I 
direct this preface. The only glorious and infinite God, 
who made the worlds, and upholdeth them by his word, 
who is attended with millions of his glorious angels, and 
praised continually by his heavenly hosts; who pulleth 
down the mighty from their seats, and scattereth the proud 
in the imaginations of their hearts, and maketh his ene- 
mies lick the dust ; to whom the kings and conquerors of 
the earth are as the most silly worms, and the whole world 
is nothing, and lighter than vanity, which he will shortly 
turn into flames before your eyes. This God hath sent 
me to you, with that joyful message, which needs no more 
but your believing entertainment, to make it sufficient to 
raise you from the dust, and banish those terrors and trou- 
bles from your hearts, and help you to live like the sons of 
God. He commandeth me to tell you, that he takes notice of 
your sorrows. He stands by when you see him not, and say, 
he hath forsaken you. He minds you with greatest tender- 


ness, when you say, he hath forgotten you. He nunibereth 
your sighs. He bottles up your tears. The groans of your 
heart do reach his own. He takes it unkindly, that you are 
so suspicious of him, and that all that he hath done for you 
in the work of redemption, and all the gracious workings of 
his Spirit on your souls, and all your own peculiar experi- 
ences of his goodness, can raise you to no higher apprehen- 
sions of his love ! Shall not love be acknowledged to be 
love, when it is grown to a miracle? When it surpasseth 
comprehension ! Must the Lord set up love and mercy in 
the work of redemption, to be equally admired with his om- 
nipotency manifested in the creation ? And call forth the 
world to this sweet employment, that in secret and in pub- 
lic it might be the business of our lives ? And yet shall it 
be so overlooked or questioned, as if you lived without love 
and mercy in the world ? Providence doth its part, by heap- 
ing up mountains of daily mercies, and these it sets before 
your eyes. The Gospel hath eminently done its part by 
clear describing them, and fully assuring them, and this is 
proclaimed frequently in your ears. And yet is there so 
little in your hearts and mouths ? Do you see, and hear, 
and feel, and taste mercy and love ? Do you live wholly on 
it ? And yet do you still doubt of it ? and think so meanly 
of it, and so hardly acknowledge it ? God takes not this 
well ; but yet he considereth your frailty, and takes you not 
at the worst. He knows that flesh will play its part, and 
the remnants of corruption will not be idle. And the ser- 
pent will be suggesting false thoughts of God, and will be 
still striving most to obscure that part of his glory which is 
dearest to him, and especially which is most conjoined with 
the happiness of man. He knows also, that sin will breed 
sorrows and fears ; and that man's understanding is shal- 
low, and all his conceivings of God are exceeding low. 
And that we are so far from God as creatures, and so much 
further as sinners, and especially as conscious of the abuse 
of his grace, that there must needs follow such a strange- 
ness as will damp and dull our apprehensions of his love. 
And such an abatement of our confidence, as will make us 
draw back, and look at God afar off. Seeing therefore that 
at this distance no full apprehensions of love can be expect- 
ed, it is the pleasure of our Redeemer shortly to return. 


with ten thousands of his saints, with the noble army of hii^ 
martyrs, and the attendance of his angels, and to give you 
such a convincing demonstration of his love, as shall leave 
no room for one more doubt. Your comforts are now but a 
taste, they shall be then a feast. They are now but inter- 
mittent, they shall be then continual. How soon now do 
your conquered fears return ; and what an inconstancy and 
unevenness is there in our peace. But then our peace must 
needs be perfect and permanent, when we shall please God, 
and enjoy him in perfection to perpetuity. Certainly, Chris- 
tians, your comforts should be now more abundant, but that 
they are not ripe. It is that, and not this, that is your har- 
vest. I have told you in another book, the mistake and 
danger of expecting too much here, and the necessity of 
looking and longing for that rest, if we will have peace in- 
deed ! But, alas, how hard is this lesson learned ! Unbe- 
lievers would have happiness, but how fain would they have 
it in tlie creature rather than in God ! Believers would ra- 
ther have their happiness in God than in the creature, but 
how fain would they have it without dying ! And no won- 
der, for when sin brought in death, even grace itself cannot 
love it, though it may submit to it. But though churlish 
death do stand in our way, why look we not at the soul's 
admittance into rest, and the body's resurrection that must 
shortly follow ? Doubtless that faith by which we are jus- 
tified and saved, as it sits down on the word of truth as the 
present ground of its confident repose, so doth it thence 
look with one eye backward on the cross, and with the other 
forward on the crown. And if we well observe the Scrip- 
ture descriptions of that faith, we shall find them as fre- 
quently magnifying it, and describing it from the latter, as 
from the former. As it is the duty and glory of faith ta 
look back with thankful acknowledgment to a crucified 
Christ, and his payment of our ransom, so is it the duty and 
glory of that same justifying faith to look forward with de- 
sire and hope to the return of king Jesus, and the glorious 
celebration of the marriage of the Lamb, and the sentential 
justification, and the glorification of his saints. To believe 
these things unfeignedly which we never saw, nor ever spoke 
with man that did see, and to hope for them so really as to 
let go all present forbidden pleasures, and all worldly hopes 


and seeming happiness, rather than to hazard the loss of 
them. This is an eminent part of that faith by which the 
just do live, and which the Scripture doth own as justifying 
and saving. For it never distinguishes between justifying 
faith, as to their nature. It is therefore a great mistake of 
some to look only at that one eye of justifying faith which 
looks back upon the cross, and a great mistake of them on 
the other hand that look only at that eye of it which be- 
holds the crown. Both Christ crucified, and Christ inter- 
ceding, and Christ returning to justify and glorify, are the 
objects even of justifying, saving faith, most strictly so cal- 
led. The Scripture oft expresseth the one only, but then it 
still implieth the other. The Socinians erroneously there- 
fore from Heb. xi. where the examples and eulogies of faith 
are set forth, do exclude Christ crucified, or the respect to 
his satisfaction, from justifying faith, and place it in a mere 
expectation of glory. And others do as ungroundedly affirm, 
that is not the justifying act of faith which Heb xi. describ- 
eth, because they find not the cross of Christ there mention- 
ed. For as believing in Christ's blood comprehendeth the 
end, even the expectation of remission and glory merited by 
that blood, so the believing of that glory doth always imply 
that we believe and expect it as the fruit of Christ's ransom. 
It is for health and life that we accept and trust upon our 
physician. And it is for justification and salvation thatwc 
accept and trust on Christ. The salvation of our souls is 
the end of our faith. They that question whether we may 
believe and obey for our own salvation, do question whether 
we may go to the physician and follow his advice for health 
and life. Why then do you that are believers so much for- 
get the end of your faith? And that for which it is that 
you believe? Believing in Christ for present mercies only, 
be they temporal or spiritual, is not the true believing. 
They are dangerously mistaken that think the thoughts of 
heaven to be so accidental to the nature and work of faith, 
is that they tend only to t»ur comfort, and are not necessary 
to salvation itself. It is upon your apprehensions and ex- 
pectations of that unseen felicity that both your peace and 
safety do depend. How contrary therefore is it to the na- 
ture of a believer, to forget the place of his rest and conso- 
lation ! And to look for so much of these from the crea- 
tures, in this our present pilgrimage and prison, as, alas, too 


commonly we do ! Thus do we kill our comforts, and then 
complain for want of them. How should you have any life 
or constancy of consolations, that are so seldom, so slight,- 
so unbelieving, and so heartless in your thoughts of heaven! 
You know what a folly it is to expect any peace, which shall 
not come from Christ as the fountain. And you must learn 
as well to understand what a folly it is to expect any solid 
joys, or stable peace, which is not fetched from heaven, as 
from the end. O that Christians were careful to live with 
one eye still on Christ crucified, and with the other on Christ 
coming in glory! If the everlasting joys were more in your 
believing thoughts, spiritual joys would more abound at 
present in your hearts. It is no more wonder that you are 
comfortless when heaven is forgotten, or doubtingly remem- 
bered, than that you are faint when you eat not, or cold 
when you stir not, or when you have not fire or clothes. 

But when Christians do not only let fall their expecta- 
tions of the things unseen, but also heighten their expecta- 
tions from the creature, then do they most infallibly prepare 
for their fears and troubles, and estrangedness from God, 
and with both hands draw calamities on their souls. Who- 
ever meets with a distressed, complaining soul, where one or 
both of these is not apparent ? Their low expectations from 
God hereafter, or their high expectations from the creature 
now ? What doth keep us under such trouble and disquiet- 
ness, but that we will not expect what God hath promised, 
or we will needs expect what he promised not ? And then 
we complain when we miss of those expectations which we 
foolishly and ungroundedly raised to ourselves. We are 
grieved for crosses, for losses, for wrongs from our enemies, 
for unkind or unfaithful dealings of our friends, for sickness, 
for contempt and disesteem in the world ! But who bid 
you look for any better ? Was it prosperity and riches, and 
credit, and friends, that God called you to believe for ? or 
that you became Christians for ? or that you had an abso- 
lute promise of in the word ? If you will make promises to 
yourself, and then your own promises deceive you, whom 
should you blame for that? Nay, do we not, as it were ne- 
cessitate God hereby to embitter all our comforts below, and 
to make every creature as a scorpion to us, because we will 
needs make them our petty deities? We have less comfort 


in them than else we might have, because we must needs 
have more than we should have. You might have more faith- 
fulness from your friends, more reputation in the world, more 
sweetness in all your present enjoyments, if you looked for 
less. Why is it that you can scarce name a creature near 
you, that is not a scourge to you, but because you can scarce 
name one that is not your idol, or at least which you do not 
expect more from than you ought ? Nay, (which is one of 
the saddest considerations of this kind that can be imagined) 
God is fain to scourge us most even by the highest profes- 
sors of religion, because we have most idolized them, and 
had such excessive expectations from them. One would 
have thought it next to an impossibility, that such men, and 
so many of them, could ever have been drawn to do that 
against the church, against that Gospel-ministry and ordi- 
nances of God (which once seemed dearer to them than their 
lives) which hath since been done, and which yet we fear ! 
But a believing eye can discern the reason of this sad pro- 
vidence in part. Never men were more idolized, and there- 
fore no wonder if were never so afflicted by any. Alas, 
when will we learn by Scripture and providence so to know 
God and the creature, as to look for far more from him, and 
less from them ! We have looked for wonders from Scot- 
land, and what is come of it? We looked that war should 
have even satisfied our desires, and when it had removed all 
visible impediments, we thought we should have had such 
a glorious reformation as the world never knew ! And now 
behold a babel, and a mangled deformation ! What high 
expectations had we from an assembly ! What expectations 
from a parliament, and where are they now ! O hear the 
word of the Lord, ye low-spirited people ! " Cease ye from 
man, whose breath is in his nostrils : for wherein is he to be 
accounted of;" Isa. ii. 22. " Cursed be the man thattrust- 
eth in man, and raaketh flesh his arm, and whose heart de- 
parteth from the Lord : for he shall be like the hearth in the 
desart, and shall not see when good cometh. Blessed is the 
man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters," 8cc. ; Jer. 
xvii. 5 — 8. " Surely men of low degree are vanity ; and 
men of high degree are a lie. To be laid in the balance they 
are altogether lighter than vanity ;" Psal. Ixii. 9. Let me 


warn you all. Christians, for the time to come, take the crea- 
ture as a creature ; remember its frailty ; look for no more 
from it than its part. If you have the nearest, dearest, 
godly friends, expect to feel the sting of their corruptions, 
as well as to taste the sweetness of their grace. And they 
must expect the like from you. 

If you ask me why I speak so much of these things here? 
It is, 1. Because I find that much of the trouble of ordinary 
Christians comes from their crosses in the creature, and the 
frustration of these their sinful expectations. 2. And because 
I have said so little of it in the following directions, they 
being intended for the cure of another kind of trouble, there- 
fore I have said thus much here of this. 

Having premised this advice, I take myself bound to add 
one thing more ; that is, an apology for the publication of 
this imperfect piece, whether just or insufficient other men 
must judge. I confess I am so apprehensive of the luxuri- 
ant fertility, or licentiousness of the press of late, as being 
a design of the enemy to bury and overwhelm in a crowd 
those judicious, pious, excellent writings, that before were 
so commonly read by the people, that I think few men should 
now print without an apology, much less such as I. Who 
hath more lamented this inundation of impertinencies ? or 
more accused the ignorance and pride of others, that must 
needs disgorge themselves of all their crudities, as if they 
were such precious conceptions proceeding from' the Holy 
Ghost, that the world might not, without very great injury, 
be deprived of ; and it were pity that all men should not be 
made partakers of them ? And how come I to go on in the 
same fault myself? Truly I have no excuse or argument, 
but those of the times, necessity, and providence ; which 
how far they may justify me, I must leave to the judge. 
Being in company with a troubled, complaining friend, I 
perceived that it must be some standing counsel which 
might be frequently perused, that must satisfactorily answer 
the complaints that I heard, and not a transient speech, 
which would quickly slip away. Being therefore obliged as 
a pastor, and as a friend, and as a Christian, to tender my 
best assistance for relief, I was suddenly, in the moment of 
speaking, moved to promise one sheet of paper, which might 
be useful to that end. Which promise, when I attempted 


to perform, the one sheet lengthened to thirty, and my one 
day's (intended) work was drawn out to a jnst month. I 
went on far before I had the least thought to let any eye be- 
hold it , except the party for whom I wrote it. But at last I 
perceived an impossibility of contracting, and I was presently 
possessed with confident apprehensions, that a copy of those 
directions might be useful to many other of my poor neigh- 
bours and friends that needed them as much. Upon which 
apprehension 1 permitted my pen to run more at large, and to 
deviate from the case of the party that I wrote for, and to take 
in the common case of most troubled, doubting souls. By 
that time that I had finished it, I received letters from seve- 
ral parts, from leaned and judicious divines, importuning 
me to print more, having understood my intentions to desist, 
as having done too much already, even at first. I confess I 
was not much moved by their importunity, till they second- 
ed it with their arguments ; whereof one was, the experience 
of the success of former writings, which might assure me it 
was not displeasing to God. I had many that urged me, 
I had no one but myself to draw me back. I apprehended 
that a writing of this nature might be useful to the many 
weak, perplexed Christians through the land. Two reasons 
did at first come in against it. The first was, that if there 
were no more written on this subject than Dr. Sibbs' " Bruis- 
ed Reed, and Soul's Conflict," and Mr. Jos. Symonds' " De- 
serted Soul's Case and Cure," there need no more. Especi- 
ally there being also Dr. Preston's Works, and many of Per- 
kins', to this use ; and Mr. Ball, and Mr. Culverwell of 
Faith, and divers the like. To this my own judgment 
answered, that yet these brief directions might add some- 
what that might be useful to the weak, as to the method of 
their proceedings, if not to the matter. And my brethren 
stopped my mouth by telling me, that others had written be- 
fore me of heaven and baptism, and yet my labours were not 
lost. Next this, 1 thought the crudity and weakness of the 
writing was such, as should prohibit the publication, it be- 
ing unfit to thrust upon the world the hasty, undigested 
lines, that were written for the use of one person. To this 
my thoughts replied, that, 1. For all that it might be useful 
to poor women, and country people, who most commonly 
prove the troubled spirits, for whose sakes I wrote it. Had 


I writ for the use of learned men, I would have tried to make 
it fitter for their use ; and if I could not, I would have sup- 
pressed it. 2. It was my pride that nourished this scruple, 
which moved me not to appear so homely to the world, and 
therefore I cast it by. One thing more I confess did much 
prevail with me to make these papers public, and that is, 
the Antinomians common confident obtrusion of their anti- 
evangelical doctrines and methods for comforting troubled 
souls. They are the most notorious mountebanks in- this art, 
the highest pretenders, and most unhappy performers, that 
most of the reformed churches ever knew. And none usual- 
ly are more ready to receive their doctrines, than such weak 
women, or unskilful people, that being r trouble, are like 
a sick man in great pain, who is glad to hear what all can 
say, and to make trial of every thing by which he hath any 
hope of ease. And then there is so much opium in these 
mountebanks Nepenthes, or Antidote of rest : so many 
principles of carnal security and presumption, which 
tend to the present ease of the patient, whatever follow, 
that it is no wonder if some well-meaning Christians do 
quickly swallow the bait, and proclaim the rare effects of 
this medicament, and the admirable skill of this unskilful 
sect, to the ensnaring of others, especially that are in the 
like distress. Especially when they meet with some divines 
of our own, who do deliver to them some master-points of 
this systemof mistakes, which are so necessarily concatena- 
ted to the rest, that they may easily see, if they have one^ 
they must have all, unless they will hold contradictions. 
As to instance in the doctrine of justification before faith, 
or the dissolving the obligation to punishment, which is no- 
thing but the remission of sin before faith. So that nothing 
remains since Christ's death (as some) or since God's de- 
cree (as others) but only to have your pardon manifested, or 
to be justified in conscience, or (as some phrase it) to have 
that justification which is terminated in conscience. There 
is a very judicious man, Mr. Benjamin Woodbridge, of New- 
bury, hath written so excellent well against this error, and 
in so small room, being but one sermon, that I would advise 
all private Christians to get one of them, and peruse it, as 
one of the best, easiest, cheapest preservatives against the 
contagion of this part of Antinomianism. 


' I had not troubled the reader with this apology, had I 
thought so well of this writing, as to be a sufficient apology 
for itself; or had I not taken it for a heinous crime to speak 
idly in print. 

For the doctrine here contained, it is of a middle strain, 
between (I think) the extremes of some others. I have la- 
boured so to Jbuild up peace, as not thereby to fortify pre- 
sumption. And perhaps in some points you may see my 
meaning more plainly, which through the obscurity of for- 
mer writings, I was misunderstood in. As for the manner 
of this writing, I must desire them that expect learning or 
exactness, to turn away their eyes, and know, that 1 wrote 
it not for such as they. I use not to speak any thing but 
plain English to that sex, or to that use and end for which 
I wrote these lines. I wrote to the utmost verge of my pa- 
per, before I thought to make it public, and so had no room 
for marginal quotations, (nor time to transcribe that copy, 
that I might have room,) nor indeed much mind of them, if 
I had both room and time. 

As in all the removes of my life I have been still led to 
that place or state which was farthest from my own thoughts, 
and never designed or contrived by myself; so all the wri- 
tings that yet I have published, are such as have been by 
some sudden, unexpected occasion extorted from me, while 
those that I most affected have been stifled in the concep- 
tion ; and those I have most laboured in, must lie buried in 
the dust, that I may know it is God that is the disposer of 
all. Experience persuadeth me to think, that God, who 
hath compelled me hitherto, intendeth to make this hasty 
writing a means for the calming of some troubled souls ; 
which if he do, I have my end. If I can do nothing to the 
church's public peace, either through my own unskilfulness 
and unworthiness, or through the prevalency of the ma- 
lady ; yet will it be my comfort, to further the peace of the 
poorest Christian. (Though to the former also I shall con- 
tribute ray best endeavours, and am with this sending to the 
press some few sheets to that end, with our " Worcester- 
shire Agreement.") The full accomplishment of both ; the 
subduing of the prince of darkness, confusion, and conten- 
tion ; the destroying of that pride, self-esteem, self-seeking, 
and carnal-raindedness, which remaining even in the best, 

VOL. JX. c 


are the disturbers of all peace ; the fuller discovery of the 
sinfulness of unpeaceable principles, dispositions, and prac- 
tices ; the nearer closure of all true believers,^ and the has- 
tening of the church's everlasting peace ; — these are his 
daily prayers, who is 

A zealous desirer of the peace of the 
church, and of every faithful soul, 

May 7, 1653. 





It must be understood, that the case here to be resolved is 
not. How an unhumbled, profane sinner, that never was con- 
vinced of sin and misery, should be brought to a settled 
peace of conscience. Their carnal peace must first be bro- 
ken, and they must be so far humbled, as to find the want 
and worth of mercy, that Christ and his consolations may 
not seem contemptible in their eyes. It is none of my busi- 
ness now, to give any advice for the furthering of this con- 
viction or humiliation. But the case in hand is, ' How a 
sinner may attain to a settled peace of conscience,' and some 
competent measure of the joy of the Holy Ghost, who hath 
been convinced of sin and misery, and long made a profes- 
sion of holiness, but liveth in continual doublings of their 
sincerity, and fears of God's wrath, because of an exceeding 
deadness of spirit, and a want of that love to God, and de- 
light in him, and sweetness in duty, and witness of the Spirit, 
and communion with God, and the other like evidences 
which are found in the saints.' How far the party is right 
or wrong in the discovery of these wants, I now meddle not. 
Whether they judge rightly or wrongly, the Directions may 
be useful to them. And though I purposely meddle not 
with the unhumbled, that feel not the want of Christ and 


mercy, yet most that falls may be useful to all that profess 
the Christian faith. For I shall study so to avoid the ex- 
tremes in my doctrinal directions, as may conduce to your 
escaping the desperate extremes of ungrounded comforts, 
and causeless terrors in your own spirit. 

Of my directions, the first shall be only general, and the 
rest more particular. And in all of them I must entreat you, 
1. To observe the order and method, as well as the matter ; 
and that you would practise them in the same order as I 
place them. 2. And to remember that it is not only com- 
fortable words, but it is direction for your own practice, 
which here I prescribe you ; and therefore that it is not the 
bare reading of them that will cure you; but if you mean 
to have the benefit of them, you must bestow more tinre in 
practising them, than I have done in penning them ; yea, 
you must make it the work of your life. And let not that 
startle you, or seem tedious to you, for it will be no more 
grievous a work to a well-tempered soul, than eating or 
drinking, or sleep, or recreation is to an healthful body ; 
and than it is to an honest woman to love and delight in her 
husband and her children, which is no grievous task, 
i Direction I. ' Get as clear a discovery as you can of the 
true cause of your doubts and troubles ; for if you should 
mistake in the cause, it would much frustrate the most ex- 
cellent means for the cure.' 

The very same doubts and complaints, may come from se- 
veral causes in several persons, and therefore admit not of the 
same way of cure. Sometimes the cause begins in the bo- 
dy, and thence proceedeth to the mind; sometimes it begins 
in the mind, and thence distempereth the body. Sometimes 
in the mind, it is most, or first from worldly crosses, and 
thence proceedeth to spiritual things. And of spiritual 
matters, sometimes it begins upon scruples or differences in 
religion, or points of doctrine ; sometimes and most com- 
monly, from the sense of our own infirmities ; sometimes it 
is only from ordinary infirmities; sometimes from some ex- 
traordinary decays of inward grace ; sometime from the neg- 
lect of some weighty duty ; and sometimess from the deep 
wounds of some heinous, secret, or scandalous sin ; and 
sometimes it is merely from the fresh discovery of that 
which before we never did discern ; and sometimes from the 
violent assault of extraordinary temptations. Which of 


these is your own case, you must be careful to find out, and 
to apply the means for cure accordingly. Even of true 
Christians, the same means will not fit all. The difference 
of natures, as well as of actual cases, must be considered. 
One hath need of that tender handling, which would undo 
another ; and he again hath need of that rousing which ano- 
ther cannot bear. And therefore understand, that when I 
have given you all the directions that I can, I must, in the 
end hereof, advise you to take the counsel of a skilful mi- 
nister, in applying and making use of them : for it is in this, 
as in the case of physic, when we have written the best 
books of receipts, or for methodical cures ; yet we must 
advise people to take heed how they use them, without the 
advice of a learned and faithful physician ; for medicines 
must not be only fitted to diseases, but to bodies : that me- 
dicine will kill one man, which will cure another of the same 
distemper ; such difference there may be in their age, 
strength, complexion, and other things. So is it much in 
our present case. And therefore as when all the physic 
books in the world are written, and all receipts known, yet 
will there be still a necessity of physicians : so when all dis- 
coveries and directions are made in divinity, there will still 
be a necessity of a constant standing ministry. And as ig- 
norant women and empirics do kill ofttimes more than they 
cure, though they have the best receipts, for want of judg- 
ment and experience to use them aright ; so do ignorant 
teachers and guides by men's souls, though they can say 
the same words as a judicious pastor, and repeat the same 
texts of Scripture. Not that I mean, that such can do no 
good : yes, much no doubt, if they will humbly, compas- 
sionately, and faithfully improve their talents within the 
verge of their own calling ; which if they go beyond, ordi- 
narily a remarkable judgment followeth their best labours ; 
both to the churches, and particular souls that make use of 
them. And therefore because-; (if my conjectural prognos- 
tics fail not, as I daily pray they may) we are like to be 
more tried and plagued in this way, than ever were any of 
our forefathers, since Adam's days, till now : and seeing 
this is the hour of our temptation, wherein God is purposely 
separating the chaff, and discovering to the world the dan- 
gers of injudicious, misguided zeal; I shall therefore both 
first and last advise you, as ever you would have a settled 


peace of conscience, keep out of the hand of vagrant and 
seducing mountebanks, under what names, or titles, or pre- 
tences soever they may assault you. Especially suspect all 
that bestow as much pains to win you to their party, as to 
win you to Christ. 

Direct. 11. ' Make as full a discovery as you can, how 
much of the trouble of your mind doth arise from your me- 
lancholy and bodily distempers, and how much from dis- 
contenting afflictions in your worldly estate, or friends, or 
name, and according to your discovery make use of the 

I put these two causes of trouble here together in the 
beginning, because I will presently dismiss them ; and ap- 
ply the rest of these directions only to those troubles that 
are raised from sins and wants in grace. 

1. For melancholy, I have by long experience found it 
to have so great and common a hand in the fears and trou- 
bles of mind, that I meet not with one of many, that live in 
great troubles and fears for any long time together ; but 
melancholy is the main seat of them ; though they feel no- 
thing in their body, but all in their mind. I would have 
such persons make use of some able godly physician, and 
he will help them to discern how much of their trouble comes 
from melancholy. Where this is the cause, usually the par- 
ty is fearful of almost everything; a word, or a sudden, 
thought will disquiet them. Sometimes they are sad, and 
scarce know why : all comforts are of no continuance with 
them ; but as soon as you have done comforting them, and 
they be never so well satisfied, yet the trouble returns in a 
few days or hours, as soon as the dark and troubled spirits 
return to their former force : they are still addicted to mus- 
ing and solitariness, and thoughts will run in their minds, 
that they cannot lay them by : if it go any thing far, they 
are almost always assaulted with temptations to blasphemy, 
to doubt whether there be a God, or a Christ, or the Scrip- 
tures be true ; or whether there be a heaven or a hell ; and 
oft tempted to speak some blasphemous words against God ; 
and this with such importunity, that they can hardly for- 
bear ; and ofttimes they are tempted to make away them- 
selves. When it goes so far, they are next the loss of the 
use of reason, if it be not prevented. 

Now to those that find that melancholy is the cause of 


their troubles, I would give this advice. 1. Expect not that 
rational, spiritual remedies, should suffice for this cure :,for 
you may as well expect that a good sermon, or comfortable 
words, should cure the falling sickness, or palsy, or a bro- 
ken head, as to be a sufficient cure to your melancholy 
fears ; for this is as real a bodily disease as the other ; only 
because it works on the spirits and fantasy, on which words 
of advice do also work, therefore such words, and Scripture 
and reason, may somewhat resist it, and may palliate or allay 
some of the effects at the present ; but as soon as time hath 
worn off the force and effects of these reasons, the distem- 
per presently returns. 

For the humour hath the advantage; I. Of continual 
presence. 2. Of a more necessary, natural, and sensible 
way of working. As if a man be in an easy lethargy, you 
may awake him so long as you are calling on him aloud; 
but as soon as you cease, he is asleep again. Such is the 
case of the melancholy in their sorrows ; for it is as natural 
for melancholy to cause fears and disquietness of mind, as 
for phlegm in a lethargy to cause sleep. 

Do not therefore lay the blame on your books, friends, 
counsels, instructions (no nor all on your soul) if these trou- 
bles be not cured by words : but labour to discern truly how 
much of your trouble comes this way, and then fix in your 
mind in all your inquiries, reading, and hearing, that it is 
the other part of your trouble which is truly rational, and 
not this part of it which is from melancholy, that these 
means were ordained to remove (though God may also bless 
them extraordinarily to do both). Only constant importu- 
nate prayer is a fit and special means for the curing of all. 

2. When you have truly found out how much of your 
disquietness proceeds from melancholy, acquit your soul 
from that part of it ; still remember in all your self-exami- 
nations, self-judgings, and reflections on your heart, that it 
is not directly to be charged with those sorrows that come 
from your spleen ; save only remotely, as all other diseases 
are the fruits of sin ; as a lethargic dulness is the deserved 
fruit of sin ; but he that should charge it immediately on 
his soul, should wrong himself, and he that would attempt 
the cure, must do it on the body. 

3. If you would have these fears and troubles removed, 
apply yourself to the proper cure of melancholy. 1. Avoid 


all passion of sorrow, fear, and anger, as much as you can ; 
and all occasions, and discontents and grief. 2. Avoid 
much solitariness, and be most commonly in some cheerful 
company. Not that I would have you do as the foolish 
sinners of the world do, to drink away melancholy, and 
keep company with sensual, vain, and unprofitable persons, 
that will draw you deeper into sin, and so make your wound 
greater instead of healing it, and multiply your troubles 
when you are forced to look back on your sinful loss of 
time. But keep company with the more cheerful sort of 
the godly. There is no mirth like the mirth of believers, 
which faith doth fetch from the blood of Christ, and from 
the promises of the word, and from experiences of mercy, 
and from the serious fore-apprehensions of our everlasting 
blessedness. Converse with men of strongest faith, that 
have this heavenly mirth, and can speak experimentally of 
the joy of the Holy Ghost ; and these will be a great help 
to the reviving of your spirit, and changing your melancholy 
habit, so far as without a physician it may be expected. 
Yet sometimes it may not be amiss to confer with some that 
are in your own case, that you may see that your condition 
is not singular. For melancholy people, in such distresses, 
are ready to think, that never any was in the case as they 
are in ; or at least, never any that were truly godly. When 
you hear people of the most upright lives, and that truly 
fear God, to have the same complaints as you have yourself, 
it may give you some hopes that it is not so bad as you be- 
fore did imagine. However be sure that you avoid solitari- 
ness as much as you well can. 3. Also take heed of too 
deep, fixed, musing thoughts ; studying and serious medi- 
tating be not duties for the deeply melancholy (as I shall 
shew more in the following directions) ; you must let those 
alone till you are better able to perform them, lest by at- 
tempting those duties which you cannot perform, you shall 
utterly disable yourself from all : therefore I would advise 
you, by all means, to shake and rouse yourself out of such 
musings, and suddenly to turn your thoughts away to some- 
thing else. 4. To this end, be sure that you avoid idleness 
and want of employment ; which as it is a life not pleasing 
to God, so is it the opportunity for melancholy thoughts to 
be working, and the chiefest season for satan to tempt you. 
Never, let the devil find you unemployed, but see that you 


go cheerfully about the wocks of your calling, and follow it 
with diligence ; and that time which you redeem for spirit- 
ual exercises, let it be most spent in thanksgiving, and 
praises, and heavenly conference. - 

These things may do much for prevention, and abating 
your disease, if it be not gone too far ; but if it be, you were 
best have recourse to the physician, and expect God's bles- 
sing in the use of means ; and you will find, when your body 
is once cured, the disquietness of your mind will vanish 
of itself. tuvvo-* i'rl ,&i'.iff:)o1o PiAqnU'^.'^ brn ;ef. >H'';fTt/j 

2. The second part of this direction, was, that you take 
notice how much of your disquietness may proceed from 
outward crosses ; for it is ordinary for these to lie at the 
root, and bring the heart into a disquiet and discontent, and 
then trouble for sin doth follow after. Alas, how oft have I 
seen that verified of the apostle ; 2 Cor. vii. 10. " The sorrow 
of the world worketh death." How many, even godly people 
have I known, that through crosses in children, or friends, 
or losses in their estates, or wrongs from men, or perplexi- 
ties, that through some unadvisedness they were cast into, 
or the like, have fallen into mortal diseases, or into such a 
fixed melancholy, that some of them have gone besides 
themselves ; and others have lived in fears and doubting 
ever after, by the removal of the disquietness to their con- 
sciences ? How sad a thing is it, that we should thus add 
to our own afflictions ? And the heavier we judge the bur- 
den, the more we lay on ! As if God had not done enough, 
or would not sufficiently afflict us. We may more comfort- 
ably bear that which God layeth on us, than that which we 
immediately lay upon ourselves ! Crosses are not great or 
small, according to the bulk of the matter, but according 
chiefly to the mind of the sufferer. Or else, how could holy 
men "rejoice in tribulation, and be exceeding glad that they 
are accounted worthy to suffer for Christ ?" Reproaches, 
wrongs, losses, are all without you ; unless you opien them 
the door wilfully yourself, they cannot come into the heart. 
God hath not put the joy or grief, of your heart in any other 
man's power, but in your own. It is you therefore that do 
yourselves the greatest mischief. God afflicts your body, 
or men wrong you in your state or name (a small hurt if it 
go no further) and therefore you will afflict your soul ! But 
a sadder thing yet is it to consider of, that men fearing God 


should so highly value the things of the world. They who 
in their covenants with Christ, are engaged to renounce the 
world, the flesh, and the devil : ihey that have taken God 
in Christ for their portion, for their all ; and have resigned 
themselves and all that they have to Christ's dispose ! Whose 
very business in this world, and their Christian life, con- 
sisteth so much in resisting the devil, mortifying the flesh, 
and overcoming the world ; and it is God's business in his 
inward works of grace, and his outward teachings, and sharp 
afflictions, and examples of others, to convince them of the 
vanity and vexation of the world, and thoroughly to wean 
them from it ; and yet that it should be so high in their 
estimation, and sit so close to their hearts, that they cannot 
bear the loss of it without such discontent, disquiet, and 
distraction of mind ; yea, though when all is gone, they 
have their God left them, they have their Christ still, whom 
they took for their treasure ; they have opportunities for 
their souls, they have the sure promise of glory, yea, and a 
promise, that " all things shall work together for their good ;" 
yea, and for that one thing that is taken from them, they 
have yet an hundred outward mercies remaining, that yet 
even believers should have so much unbelief! and have 
their faith to seek, when they should use it, and live by it ! 
And that God should seem so small in their eye, as not to 
satisfy or quiet them, unless they have the world with him ; 
and that the world should still seem so amiable, when God 
hath done so much to bring it into contempt ! Truly this 
(and more) shews that the work of mortification is very im- 
perfect in professors, and that we bend not the force of our 
daily strivings and endeavours that way. If Christians did 
bestow but as much time and pains in mortifying the flesh, 
and getting down the interest of it in the soul, that Christ's 
interest may be advanced, as they do about controversies, 
external duties, formalities, tasks of devotion, and self-tor- 
menting fears, O what excellent Christians should we then 
be ! And how happily would most of our disquiet be re- 
moved ! Alas, if we are so unfit to part with one outward 
comfort now, upon the disposal of our Father's providence, 
how should we forsake all for Christ ? O what shall we do 
at death, when all must be parted with ! As ever therefore 
you would live in true Christian peace, set more by Christ, 
and less by the -world, and all things in it ; and hold all that 


you possess so loosely, that it may not be grievous to you 
when you must leave them. 

So much for the troubles that arise from your body and 
outward state. All the rest shall be directed for the curing 
of those troubles that arise immediately from more spiritual 

Direct. III. * Be sure that you first lay sound apprehen- 
sions of God's nature in your understanding, and lay them 
deeply.' , 

This is the first article of your creed, and the first part of 
" life eternal, to know God !" His substance is quite past 
human understanding ; therefore never make any attempt to 
reach the knowledge of it, or to have any positive conceiv- 
ings of it, for they will be all but idols, or false concep- 
tions 5 but his attributes are manifested to our understand- 
ings. Well, consider, that even under the terrible law, 
when God proclaims to Moses his own name, and therein his 
nature, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. the first and greatest part is, 
" The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and 
abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thou- 
sands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. And he 
hath sworn, " That he hath no pleasure in the death of a sin- 
ner, but rather that he return and live." Think not there- 
fore of God's mercifulness, with diminishing, extenuating 
thoughts, nor limit it by the bounds of our frail understand- 
ings ; For the heavens are not so far above the earth, as 
his thoughts and ways are above ours. Still remember 
that you must have no low thoughts of God's goodness, but 
apprehend it as bearing proportion with his power. As it is 
blasphemy to limit his power, so it is to limit his goodness. 
The advantages that your soul will get by this right know- 
ledge, and estimation of God's goodness, will be these. 

1. This will make God appear more amiable in your eyes, 
and then you will love him more readily and abundantly. 
And love, 1. Is effectually consolatory in the very working ; 
so much love, usually so much comfort, (I mean this love of 
complacency ; for a love of desire there may be without 
comfort). 2. It will breed persuasions of God's love to you 
again, and so comfort. 3. It will be__an unquestionable evi- 
dence of true grace, and so comfort. 

The affections follow the understanding's conceptions. 
If you think of God as one that is glad of all advantages 


against you, and delighteth in his creatures misery, it is im- 
possible you should love him. The love of yourselves is so 
deeply rooted in nature, that we cannot lay it by, nor love 
any thing that is absolutely and directly against us. We 
conceive of the devil as an absolute enemy to God and man, 
and one that seeks our destruction, and therefore we cannot 
love him. And the great cause why troubled souls do love 
God no more, is because they represent him to themselves 
in an ugly, odious shape. To think of God as one that seeks 
and delighteth in man's ruin, is to make him as the devil. 
And then what wonder if instead of loving him, and delight- 
ing in him, you tremble at the thoughts of him, and fly from 
him. As I have observed children, when they have seen the ' 
devil painted on the wall, in an ugly shape, they have part- 
ly feared, and partly hated it. If you do so by God in your 
fancy, it is not putting the name of God on him when you 
have done, that will reconcile your affections to him as long 
as you strip him of his divine nature. Remember the Holy 
Ghost's description of God, 1 Johniv. 16. " God is love.'* 
Write these words deep in your understanding. 

2. Hereby you will have this advantage also, that your 
thoughts of God will be more sweet and delightful to you. 
For as glorious and beautiful sights to your eyes, and melo- 
dious sounds to your ears, and sweet smells, tastes, &c. are 
all delightful : when things defonned, stinking, &c. are all 
loathsome, and we turn away from one with abhorrency, but 
for the other, we would often see, taste, &c. and enjoy them. 
So is it with the objects of our mind ; God hath given no 
command for duty, but what most perfectly agreeth with 
the nature of the object. He hath therefore bid us love God 
and delight in him above all, because he is above all in 
goodness ; even infinitely and inconceivably good ; else we 
could not love him above all, nor would he ever command 
us so to do. The object is ever as exactly fitted to its part, 
as to draw out the love and delight of our hearts, as the pre- 
cept is on its part, to oblige us to it. And indeed the na- 
ture of things is a precept to duty, and it which we call the 
law of nature. 

3. Hereupon will follow this further advantage, that your 
thoughts will be both more easily drawn toward God, and 
more frequent and constant on him ; for delightful objects 
draw the heart to them, as the loadstone doth the iron. 


How gladly, and freely, and frequently do you think of 
your dearest friends. And if you did firmly conceive of 
God, as one that is ten thousand times more gracious, lov- 
ing, and amiable than any friend that you have in the world, 
it would make you not only to love him above all friends, 
but also more freely, delightfully, and unweariedly to think 
of him. 

4. And then you would hence have this further advan- 
tage, that you would have less backwardness to any duty, 
and less weariness in duty ; you would find more delight in 
prayer, meditation, and speech of God, when once God him- 
self were more lovely and delightful in your eyes. 

5. All these advantages would produce a further, that is, 
the growth of all your graces. For it is impossible, but this 
growth of love, and frequent delightful thoughts of God, 
and addresses to him, should cause an increase of all the 

6. Hereupon your evidences would be more clear and 
discernible. For grace in strength and action would be 
easily found ; and would not this resolve all your doubts at 
once ? 

7. Yea, the very exercise of these several graces would 
be comfortable. 

8. And hereupon you would have more humble famili- 
arity and communion with God ; for love, delight, and fre- 
quent addresses, would overcome strangeness and disac- 
quaintance, which make us fly from God, as a fish, or bird, 
or wild beast, will from the face of a man, and would give 
us access with boldness and confidence. And this would 
banish sadness and terror, as the sun dispelleth darkness 
and cold. , ., 

9. At least you would hence have this advantage, that 
the fixed apprehension of God's goodness and merciful na- 
ture, would cause a fixed apprehension of the probability of 
your happiness, as long as you are willing to be happy in 
God's way. For reason will tell you, that he who is love 
itself, and whose goodness is equal to his almightiness, and 
who hath sworn, that he hath no pleasure in the death of a 
sinner, but rather that he repent and live, will not destroy a 
poor soul that lieth in submission at his feet, and is so far 
from resolved rebellion against him, that he grieveth that it 
is no better, and can please him no more. 


10. However, these right apprehensions of God would 
overcome those terrors which are raised only by false ap- 
prehensions of him. And doubtless a very great part of 
men's causeless troubles, are raised from such misapprehen- 
sions of God. For satan knows, that if he can bring you to 
think of God as a cruel tyrant and blood-thirsty man-hater, 
then he can drive you from him in terror, and turn all your 
love and cheerful obedience into hatred and slavish fear. I 
say therefore again, do not only get, but also fix deep in 
your understanding, the highest thoughts of God's natural 
goodness and graciousness that possibly you can raise. For 
when they are at the highest, they come short ten thousand- 

Object. * But God's goodness lieth not in mercy to men, 
as I have read in great divine's ; he may be perfectly good, 
though he should for ever torment the most innocent crea- 

Ansto^. These are ignorant, presumptuous intrusions into 
that which is unsearchable. Where doth Scripture say as 
you say ? Judge of God as he revealeth himself, or you will 
but delude yourself, and abuse him. All his works repre- 
sent him merciful ; for " his mercy is over all his works,'* 
and legible in them all. His word saith, " He is good, and 
doth good ;" Psal. cxix. 68. cxlv. 9. How himself doth 
proclaim his own name (Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.) I told you be- 
fore. The most merciful men are his liveliest image ; and 
therefore he plants mercy in them in their conversion, as a 
principal part of their new nature. And commands of mer- 
cifulness are a great part of his law ; and he bids us " Be 
merciful, as our heavenly Father is merciful ;" Luke vi. 36. 
Now if this were none of his natui-e, how could he be the 
pattern of our new nature herein ? And if he were not infi- 
nitely merciful himself, how could we be required to be mer- 
ciful, as he is ? Who dare say, * I am more merciful than 

Object. ' But God is just as well as merciful ; and for all 
his merciful nature, he will damn most of the world for ever 
in hell.' 

Answ. 1. But James saith, " Mercy rejoiceth against 
judgment;" James ii. 13. 2. God is necessarily the Go- 
vernor of the world (while there is a world), and therefore 
must govern it injustice, and so must not suffer his mercy 


to be perpetually abused by wicked, wilful, contemptuous 
sinners. But tlien consider two things : 1. That he de- 
stroyeth not humble souls that lie at his feet, and are willing 
to have mercy on his easy terms, but only the stubborn de- 
spisers of his mercy. He damneth none but those that will 
not be saved in his way ; that is, that will not accept of 
Christ and salvation freely given them. (I speak of those 
that hear the Gospel ; for others, their case is more unknown 
to us.) And is it any diminution to his infinite mercy, that 
he will not save those that will not be entreated to accept of 
salvation ? 2. And consider how long he useth to wait on 
sinners, and even beseech them to be reconciled to him, be- 
fore he destroyeth them ; and that he heapeth multitudes of 
mercies on them, even in their rebellion, to draw them to re- 
pentance, and so to life. And is it unmercifulness yet if 
such men perish ? 

Object, ' But if God were so infinite in mercy, as you say, 
why doth he not make all these men willing, that so they 
may be saved V 

Answ. God having created the world, and all things it, 
at first, did make them in a certain nature and order, and so 
establish them as by a fixed law ; and he thereupon is their 
Governor, to govern every thing according to his nature. 
Now man's nature was to be principled with an inclination 
to his own happiness, and to be led to it by objects in amo- 
ral way, and in the choice of means to be a free agent, and 
the guider of himself under God. As Governor of the rati- 
onal creature, God doth continue that same course of ruling 
them by laws, and drawing them by ends and objects as their 
natures do require. And in this way he is not wanting to 
them ; his laws are now laws of grace, and universal in the 
tenor of the free gift and promise, for he hath there given 
life in Christ to all that will have it; and the objects pro- 
pounded are sufficient in their kind, to work even the most 
wonderful effects of men's souls, for they are God himself, 
and Christ, and glory. Besides, God giveth men natural 
faculties, that they may have the use of reason ; and there 
is nothing more unreasonable than to refuse this offered 
mercy. He giveth inducing arguments in the written word, 
and sermons, and addeth such mercies and afflictions, that 
one should think should bow the hardest heart. Besides, 
the strivings and motions of his Spirit within, are more than 


we can give an account of. Now is not this as much as be- 
longs to God as Governor of the creature according to its 
nature? And for the giving of a new nature, and creating 
new hearts in men, after all their rebellious rejecting of 
grace, this is a certain miracle of mercy, and belongs to God 
in another relation (even as the free chooser of his elect) 
and not directly as the Governor of the universe. This is 
from his special providence, and the former from his gene- 
ral. Now special providences are not to be as common as 
the general, nor to subvert God's ordinary, established 
course of government. If God please to stop Jordan, and 
dry up the Red Sea for the passage of the Israelites, 
and to cause the sun to stand still for Joshua, must he do 
so still for every man in the world, or else be accounted 
unmerciful? The sense of this objection is plainly this. 
God is not so rich in mercy, except he will new make all 
the world, or govern it above its nature. Suppose a king 
know his subjects to be so wicked, that tlveyhave every one 
a full design to famish or kill themselves, or poison them- 
selves with something which is enticing by its sweetness, 
the king not only makes a law, strictly charging them all to 
forbear to touch that poison, but he sendeth special messen- 
gers to entreat them to it, and tell them the danger. If 
these men will not hear him, but wilfully poison themselves, 
is he therefore unmerciful ? But suppose that he hath 
three or four of his sons that are infected with the same 
wickedness, and he will not only command and entreat them, 
but he will lock them up, or keep the poison from them, or 
will feed them by violence with better food, is he unmerciful 
unless he will do so by all the rest of his kingdom? 

Lastly. If all this will not satisfy you ; consider, 1. 
That it is most certain God is love, and infinite in mercy, 
and hath no pleasure in the death of sinners. 2. But it is 
utterly uncertain to us how God worketh on man's will in- 
wardly by his Spirit. 3. Or yet what iutolerable inconve- 
nience there may be if God should work in other ways ; 
therefore we must not upon such uncertainties deny certain- 
ties, nor from some unreasonable scruples about the manner 
of God's working grace, deny the blessed nature of God, 
which himself hath most evidently proclaimed to the world. 

I have said the more of this, because I find satan harp 
so much on this string with uaiany troubled souls, especially 


on the advantage of some common doctrines. For false 
doctrine still tends to the overthrow of solid peace and com- 
fort. Remember therefore before all other thoughts for the 
obtaining of peace, to get high thoughts of the gracious and 
lovely nature of God. 

Direct. IV. Next this, * Be sure that you deeply appre- 
hend the gracious nature, disposition, and'office of the Me- 
diator, Jesus Christ.' 

Though there can no more (be said of the gracious na- 
ture of the Son than of the Father's, even that his goodness 
is infinite ; yet these two advantages this consideration will 
add unto the former. 1 . You will see here goodness and mer- 
cy in its condescension, and nearer to you than in the divine 
nature alone it was. Our thoughts of God are necessarily 
more strange, because of our infinite distance from the God- 
head ; and therefore our apprehensions of God's goodness 
will be the less working, because less familiar. But in 
Christ God is come down into our nature, and so Infinite 
goodness and mercy is incarnate. The man Christ Jesus 
is able now to save to the utmost all that come to God by 
him. We have a merciful High-Priest that is acquainted 
with our infirmities. 2. Herein we see the will of God 
putting forth itself for our help in the most astonishing way 
that could be imagined. Here is more than merely a graci- 
ous inclination. It is an office of saving and shewing mer- 
cy also that Christ hath undertaken ; even " to seek and to 
save that which was lost." To bring home straying souls to 
God. To be the great Peace-maker between God and man, 
to reconcile God to man, and man to God ; and so to be the 
Head and Husband of his people. Certainly the devil 
strangely wrongeth poor, troubled souls in this point, that 
he can bring them to have such hard, suspicious thoughts of 
Christ, and so much to overlook the glory of mercy which 
so shineth in the face of the Son of Mercy itself. How can 
we more contradict the nature of Christ, and the Gospel de- 
scription of him, than to think him a destroying hater of his 
creatures, and one that watcheth for our halting, and hath 
more mind to hurt us than to help us ? How could he have 
manifested more willingness to save, and more tender com- 
passion to the souls of men, than he hath fully manifested ? 
That the Godhead should condescend to assume our nature 
is a thing so wonderful, even to astonishment, that it puts 



faith to it to apprehend it ; for it is ten thousand times more 
condescension than for the greatest king to become a fly or 
a toad to save such creatures. And shall we ever have low 
and suspicious thoughts of the gracious and merciful nature 
of Christ, after so strange and full a discovery of it 1 If 
twenty were ready to drown in the sea, and if one that were 
able to swim and fetch all out, should cast himself into the 
water, and offer them his help, were it not foolish ingrati- 
tude for any to say, ' I know not yet whether he be willing 
to help me or not ;' and so to have jealous thoughts of his 
good will, and so perish in refusing his help ? How tenderly 
did Christ deal with all sorts of sinners. He professed that 
he " came not into the world to condemn the world, but that 
the world through him might be saved." Did he weep over 
a rejected, unbelieving people, and was he desirous of their 
desolation ? " How oft would he have gathered them as a 
hen gathereth her chickens under her wings (mark, that he 
would have done this for them that he cast off) and they 
would not ?" When his disciples would have had " fire come 
down from heaven to consume those that refused him," he 
reproves them, and tells them, " They knew not what spi- 
rit they were oP' (the common case of them that miscarry, 
by suffering their zeal to overrun their Christian wisdom and 
meekness). Yea, he prayeth for his crucifiers, and that on 
the cross, not forgetting them in the heat of his sufferings. 
Thus he doth by the wicked ; but to those that follow him, 
his tenderness is unspeakable, as you would have said your- 
self, if you had but stood by and seen him washing his dis- 
ciples' feet, and wiping them ; or bidding Thomas put his 
finger into his side, " and be not faithless, but believing." 
Alas ! that the Lord Jesus should come from heaven to earth, 
from glory into human flesh, and pass through a life of mi- 
sery to a cross, and from the cross to the grave, to manifest 
openly to the world the abundance of his love, and the ten- 
derness of his heart to sinners ; and that after all this, we 
should suspect him of cruelty, or hard-heartedness and un- 
willingness to shew mercy ; and that the devil can so far 
delude us, as to make us think of the Lamb of God as if he 
were a tiger or devourer ! 

But I will say no more of this, because Dr. Sibbs, in his 
" Bruised Reed," hath said so much already. Only remem- 
ber, that if you would methodically proceed to the attaining 


of solid comfort, this is the next stone that must be laid. 
You must be deeply possessed with apprehensions of the 
most gracious nature and office of the Redeemer, and the 
exceeding tenderness of his heart to lost sinners. 

Direct. V. The next step in right order to comfort is this : 

* You must believe and consider the full sufficiency of 
Christ's sacrifice and ransom for all.' 

The controversies about this you need not be troubled 
at. For as almost all confess this sufficiency, so the Scrip- 
ture itself, by the plainness and fulness of its expression, 
makes it as clear as the light, that Christ died for all. The 
fuller proof of this I have given you in public, and shall do 
yet more publicly, if God will. If satan would persuade 
you either that no ransom or sacrifice was ever given for 
you, or that therefore you have no Redeemer to trust in, and 
no Saviour to believe in, and no sanctuary to fly to from the 
wrath of God, he must first prove you either to be no lost 
sinner, or to be a final, impenitent unbeliever ; that is, that 
you are dead already ; or else he must delude your under- 
standing, to make you think that Christ died not for all ; 
and then I confess he hath a sore advantage against your 
faith and comfort. 

Direct. VI. The next thing in order to be done is this : 

* Get clear apprehensions of the freeness, fulness, and uni- 
versality of the new covenant or law of grace." 

I mean the promise of remission, justification, adoption, 
and salvation to all, so they will believe. No man on earth 
is excluded in the tenor of this covenant. And therefore 
certainly you are not excluded ; and if not excluded, then 
you must needs be included. Shew where you are exclud- 
ed if you can ! You will say, * But for all this, all men are 
not justified and saved.' Answ. True, because they will 
not be persuaded to accept the mercy that is freely given 

The use that I would have you make of this, I will shew 
in the next. 

Direct. VII. * You must get the right understanding of the 
difference between general grace and special. And between 
the possibility, probability, conditional certainty, and abso- 
lute certainty of your salvation. And so between the com- 
fort on the former ground and on the latter.' 


And here I shall open to you a rich mine of conso- 

Understand, therefore, that as every particular part of 
the house is built on the foundation, so is every part of spe- 
cial grace built on general grace. Understand also, that all 
the four last mentioned particulars do belong to this general 
grace. As also, that though no man can have absolute cer- 
tainty of salvation, from the consideration of this general 
grace alone, yet may it afford abundance of relief to dis- 
tressed souls, yea, much true consolation. Lastly, Under- 
stand that all that hear the Gospel may take part in this con- 
solation, though they have no assurance of their salvation at 
all, no nor any special, saving grace. 

Now when you understand these things well, this is the 
use that I would have you make of them. 

1. Do not begin the way to your spiritual peace by in- 
quiring after the sincerity of your graces, and trying your- 
selves by signs. Do not seek out for assurance of salvation 
in the first place, nor do not look and study after the special 
comforts which come from certainty of special grace, before 
you have learned, 1. To perform the duty. 2. And to re- 
ceive the comforts which general grace affordeth. Such 
immethodical, disorderly proceedings keepeth thousands 
of poor, ignorant Christians in darkness and trouble almost 
all their days. Let the first thing you do, be to obey the 
voice of the Gospel, which calleth you to accept of Christ 
and special mercy. " This is the record, that God hath 
given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that 
hath the Son hath life." Fix this deep in your mind, that 
the nature of the Gospel is first to declare to our understand- 
ings the most gracious nature, undertakings, and perform- 
ances of Christ for us, which must be believed to be true. 
And 2. To offer this Christ with all his special mercy to 
every man to whom this Gospel comes, and to entreat them 
to accept Christ and life, which is freely given and offered 
to them. Remember then you are a lost sinner. For cer- 
tain Christ and life in him is given and offered to you. Now 
your first work is, presently to accept it, not to make an 
unseasonable inquiry, whether Christ be yours. But to 
take him that he may be yours. If you were condemned, 
and a pardon were freely given you, on condition you would 
thankfully take it, and it were offered to you, and you eu- 


treated to take it, what would you do in this case? Would 
you spend your time and thoughts in searching whether 
this pardon be already yours ? Or would you not presently 
take it that it may be yours ? Or if you were ready to fa* 
mish, and food were offered you, would you stand asking 
first, * How shall I know that it is mine V Or rather take 
and eat it, when you are sure it may be yours if you will. 
Let me entreat you therefore, when the devil clamours in 
your ears, * Christ and salvation is none of thine,' suppose 
that this voice of God in the Gospel were still in your ears, 
yea, let it be still in your memory, ' O take Christ, and life 
in him, that thou mayst be saved :' still think that you hear 
Paul following you with these words : " We are ambassa- 
dors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us. We 
pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God." Will 
you but remember this, when you are on your knees in sor- 
row ; and when you would fain have Christ and life, and 
you are afraid that God will not give them to you ? I say, 
remember then, God stands by beseeching you to accept 
the same thing which you are beseeching him to give. God 
is the first suitor and solicitor. God prays you to take 
Christ, and you pray him to give you Christ. What have 
you now to do but to take him? And here understand, 
that this taking is no impossible business ; it is no more but 
your hearty consenting, as I shall tell you more anon. If 
you did but well understand and consider, that believing is 
the great duty that God calls you to perform, and promiseth 
to save you if you do truly perform it ; and that this believ- 
ing is to take, or consent to have the same mercy which you 
pray for, and are troubled for fear lest you shall miss of it, 
even Christ and life in him ; this would presently draw forth 
your consent, and that in so open and express a way, as you 
could not but discover it, and have the comfort of it. Re- 
member this then. That your first work is to believe, or ac- 
cept an offered Saviour. 

2. You must learn (as I told you) to receive the comforts 
of universal or general grace, before you search after the 
comforts of special grace. I here suppose you so far sound 
in the doctrine of the Gospel, as neither with some on one 
hand, to look so much at special grace, as to deny that ge- 
neral grace, which is the ground of it, or presupposed to it. 
Nor with others, so far to look at universal mercy, as to de- 


ny special. Satan will tell you, that all your duties have 
been done in hypocrisy, and you are unsound at the heart, 
and have not a drop of saving grace. You are apt to en- 
tertain this, and conclude that all this is true : ' If I had any 
grace, I should have more life, and love, and delight in God ; 
more tenderness of heart, more growth in grace. I should 
not carry about such a rock in my breast ; such a stupid, 
dull, insensible soul,* &c. 

At the present, let us suppose that all this be true : yet 
see what a world of comfort you may gather from universal 
or general mercy. I have before opened to you four parts 
of it, in the cause of your happiness, and three in the effect, 
which may each of them afford much relief to your troubled 

1. Suppose you are yet graceless, is it nothing to you 
that it is a God of infinite mercy that you have to do with, 
whose compassions are ten thousand times greater than your 
dearest friends, or your own husbands ? 

Object. ' O but yet he will not save the graceless.' 
Answ. True, but he is the more ready to give grace, that 
you may be saved. " If any of you (mark, any of you) do 
lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth to all men 
liberally (without desert) and upbraideth not (with our un- 
worthiness or former faults), and it shall be given him ;'* 
James i. 4. " If you that are evil can give good gifts to your 
children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give 
his Holy Spirit to them that ask it ?" Luke xi. 13. Sup- 
pose your life were in the hands of your own husband, or 
your children's life in your hands, would it not exceedingly 
comfort you or them, to consider whose hands they are in, 
though yet you had no further assurance how you should be 
used ? It may be you will say, ' But God is no Father to 
the graceless.' I answer. He is not their Father in so near 
and strict a sense as he is the Father of believers ; but yet 
a Father he is, even to the wicked ; and to convince men of 
his fatherly mercy to them, he often so stileth himself. He 
saith by Moses, Deut. xxxii. 6. to a wicked generation, 
whose spot was not the spot of his children, " Do ye thus 
requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise ? Is not he 
thy Father that bought thee ? Hath he not made thee, and 
established thee ?" And the prodigal could call him Father 
for his encouragement before he returned to hira ; Luke xv. 


16 — 18. For my own part I must needs profess, that my 
soul hath more frequent support from the consideration of 
God's gracious and merciful nature, than from the promise 

2. Furthermore, Suppose you were graceless at the pre- 
sent ; yet is it not an exceeding comfort, that there is one 
of such infinite compassions as the Lord Christ, who hath 
assumed our nature, and is come down to seek and save that 
which was lost ; and is more tender-hearted to poor sinners 
than we can possibly conceive ? Yea, who hath made it 
his office to heal, and relieve, and restore, and reconcile. 
Yea, that hath himself endured such temptations as many of 
ours ; " For we have not a High-priest which cannot be 
touched with the feeling of our infirmities ; but was in all 
points tempted like as we are, without sin. Let us there- 
fore (saith the Holy Ghost) come boldly unto the throne of 
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in 
time of need;" Heb.iv. 15, 16. "Forasmuch as the chil- 
dren were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself like- 
wise took part with them, that he might destroy, through 
death, him that had the power of death, that is, the devil ; 
and deliver them, who through fear of death, were all their 
lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him 
the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abra- 
ham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made 
like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faith- 
ful High-Priest in things pertaining to God, to make recon- 
ciliation for the sins of the people. For that he himself 
hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them 
that are tempted ;" Heb. ii. 14 — 18. Have you discounte- 
nance from men ? Christ had much more. Doth God seem 
to forsake you ? So he did by Christ. Are you fain to lie 
on your knees crying for mercy ? Why Christ in the days 
of his flesh was fain to offer up " strong cries and tears, to 
him that was able to save him. And was heard in that he 
feared." It seems that Christ had distressing fears as well 
as you, though not sinful fears. Have you horrid tempta- 
tions ? Why Christ was tempted to cast himself headlong, 
and to worship the devil, for worldly preferment ; yea, the 
devil had power to carry his body up and down to the pina- 
cle of the temple, and the top of a mountain. If he had 
such power of you, would you not think yourself certainly 


his slave? 1 conclude therefore, as it is an exceeding 
ground of comfort to all the sick people in a city, to know 
that there is a most merciful and skilful physician, that is 
easily able to cure them, and hath undertaken to do it free- 
ly for all that will take him for their physician ; so is it a 
ground of exceeding comfort to the worst of sinners, to all 
sinners that are yet alive, and have not blasphemed the Ho- 
ly Ghost, to know what a merciful and efficient Saviour 
hath undertaken the work of man's redemption. 

3. Also, Suppose yet that you are graceless, is it nothing 
that a sufficient sacrifice and ransom is given for you ? This 
is the very foundation of all solid peace. I think this is a 
great comfort, to know that God looks now for no satisfac- 
tion at your hand ; and that the number or greatness of your 
sins, as such, cannot now be your ruin. For certainly no 
man shall perish for want of the payment of his ransom, or 
of an expiatory sacrifice for sin, but only for want of a 
willing heart to accept him that hath freely ransomed them. 

4. Also, Suppose you are graceless, is it nothing that 
God hath under his hand and seal made a full and free deed 
of gift, to you and all sinners, ofChrist, and with him of par- 
don and salvation ! And all this on condition of your ac- 
ceptance or consent? I know the despisers ofChrist shall 
be miserable for all this. But for you that would fain have 
Christ, is it no comfort to know that you shall have him if 
you will? And to find this to be the sum of the Gospel? 
I know you have often read those free offers. Rev. xxii.l7. 
^' Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. 
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come and drink," &c. Almost 
all that I have hitherto said to you is comprised in that one 
text, John iii. 16. " God so loved the world, that he gave his 
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should 
not perish, but have everlasting life." 

And as I have shewed it you in the causes, what com- 
fort even general mercy may afford, so let me a little shew 
it you in the effects. I mean, not only in that God is now 
satisfied ; but as to yourself and every sinner, these three 
things are produced hereby. 

1. There is now a possibility of salvation to you. And 
certainly even that should be a very great comfort. I know 
you will meet with some divines, who will tell you that this 
is no effect of Christ's death ; and that else Christ should 


die for God, if he procured him a power to save which he 
had not before. But this is no better than a reproaching of 
our Redeemer. Suppose that a traitor had so abused a 
king, that it will neither stand with his own honour, nor jus- 
tice, nor laws to pardon him ; if his compassion were so 
great, that his own son shall suffer for him, that so the king 
might be capable of pardoning him, without any diminution 
of his honour or justice ; were it not a vile reproach, if this 
traitor should tell the prince that suffered for him, ' It was 
for your father that you suffered to procure him a power of 
pardoning, it was not for me V It is true, the king could 
not pardon him, without satisfaction to his honour and jus- 
tice. But this was not through any impotency, butbecausethe 
thing was not fit to be done, and so was morally impossible. 
For in law We say, dishonest things are impossible. Audit 
had been no less to the king if the traitor had not been par- 
doned. So it is in our case. And therefore Christ's suffer- 
ings could not be more eminently for us, than by enabling 
the offended Majesty to forgive us ; and so taking the great- 
est impediment out of the way. For when impediments are 
once removed, God's nature is so gracious and prone to 
mercy, that he would soon pardon us when once it is fit to 
be done, and so morally possible in the fullest sense ; only 
men's own unwillingness now stands in the way, and makes 
it to be not fully fit to be yet done. It is true, in a remote 
sense, the pardon of sin was always possible ; but in the 
nearest sense it was impossible, till Christ made it possible 
by his satisfaction. 

2. Nay, though you were yet graceless, you have now 
this comfort, that your salvation is probable as well as pos- 
sible. You are very fair for it. The terms be not hard in 
themselves, on which it is tendered. For Christ's yoke is 
easy, and his burden is light, and his commands are not 
grievous. " The word is nigh you," even the offer of grace. 
You need not say, " Who shall ascend to heaven, or go 
down to hell ?" Rom. x. But this will appear in the next. 

3. Yea, this exceeding comfort there is, even for them 
that are graceless, that their salvation is conditionally cer- 
tain, and the condition is but their own willingness. They 
may all have Christ and life if they will. Now I desire you 
in all your doubts, that you will well consider and improve 
this one truth and ground of comfort. Would you, in the 


midst of your groans, and complaints and fears, take it for 
a small mercy, to be certain that you shall have Christ if you 
will ? When you are praying for Christ in fear and anguish 
of spirit, if an angel or voice from heaven should say to you 
' It shall be unto thee according to thy will, if thou wilt 
have Christ and live in him, thou shalt :' Would this be no 
comfort to you ? Would it not revive you and overcome 
your fears ? 

By this time I hope you see what abundance of comfort 
general mercy or grace may afford the soul, before it per- 
ceive (yea, or receive) any special grace ; though few of 
those that receive not special grace can make use of general, 
yet it is propounded to them as well as others. 

1. All the terrifying temptations which are grounded on 
misrepresentations of God, as if he were a cruel destroyer to 
be fled from, are dispelled by the due consideration of his 
goodness, and the deep settled apprehensions of his graci- 
ous, merciful, lovely nature (which indeed is the first work 
of true religion, and the very master radical act of true 
grace, and the chief maintainer of spiritual life and motion). 

2. All these temptations are yet more effectually dis- 
pelled, by considering this merciful divine nature dwelling 
in flesh, becoming man, by condescending to the assump- 
tion of our human nature ; and so come near us, and as- 
suming the office of being the Mediator, the Redeemer, the 
Saviour of the world. 

3. All your doubts and fears that proceed from your for- 
mer sins, whether of youth or of age, of ignorance or of 
knowledge, and those which proceed from your legal unwor- 
thiness, have all a present remedy in the fulness and suffici- 
ency of Christ's satisfaction, even for all the world ; so that 
no sin (except the excepted sin) is so great, but it is fully 
satisfied for ; and though you are unworthy, yet Christ is 
worthy ; and he came into the world to save only the un- 
worthy (in the strict and legal sense). 

4. All your doubts and fears that arise from an appre- 
hension of God's unwillingness to shew you mercy, and to 
give you Christ and life in him, arise from the misappre- 
hensions of Christ's unwillingness to be yours ; or at least 
from the uncertainty of his willingness ; these have all a 
sufficient remedy in the general extent, and tenor of the 
new covenant. Can you doubt whether God be willing to 


give you Christ and life, when he had given them already, 
even by a deed of gift under his hand, and by a law of 
grace? 1 John v. 10 — 12. 

Object. ' But yet all are not pardoned, and possessed of 
Christ, and so saved.' 

Aiisw. I told you, that is because they will not ; so 
that (I pray you mark it well) God hath in these four means 
before mentioned, given even to the graceless so much 
ground of comfort, that nothing, but their unwillingness to 
have Christ, is left to be their terror. For though sin be not 
actually remitted to them, yet is it conditionally remitted, 
viz. If they "will but accept of Christ offered them. Will 
you remember this, when your doubts are greatest, and you 
conclude, that certainly Christ is not yours, because you 
havo no true grace ? Suppose it to be true, yet still know, 
that Christ may be yours if you will, and when you will. 
This comfort you may have when you can find no evidences 
of true grace in yourself. So much for that direction. 

Direct. VIII. The next thing that you have to do, for 
building up a stable comfort, and settling your conscience 
in a solid peace, is this, * Be sure to get and keep a right 
understanding of the nature of saving faith.' 

As you must have right thoughts of the covenant of 
grace (of which before), the want thereof doth puzzle and 
confound very many Christians ; so you must be sure to 
have right thoughts of the condition of the covenant. For 
indeed that grace which causeth you to perform this condi- 
tion, is your first special saving grace, which you may take 
as a certain evidence of your justification. And this con- 
dition is the very link which conjoineth all the general fore- 
going grace to all the rest of the following special grace. 
The Scripture is so full and plain in assuring pardon and 
salvation to all true believers , that if you can be sure you 
are a believer, you need not make any doubt of your inte- 
rest in Christ, and your salvation. Seeing therefore that all 
the question will be. Whether you have true faith ? Whe- 
ther you do perform the condition of the new covenant ? 
(for all other doubts God hath given you sufficient ground 
to resolve, as is said) how much then doth it concern you 
to have a right understanding of the nature of this faith ? 
Which that you may have, let me tell you briefly what it is. 
Man's soul hath two faculties, understanding and will : ac- 


cordingly the objects of man's soul (all beings which it is to 
receive) have two modifications; truth and goodness (as 
those to be avoided are evil). Accordingly God's word or 
Gospel hath two parts ; the revelation of truth, and the offer 
and promise of some good. This offered good is principally 
and immediately Christ himself to be joined to us by cove- 
nant, as our head and husband. The secondary consequen- 
tial good, is pardon, justification, reconciliation, adoption, 
further sanctification and glorification, which are all offered 
with Christ. By this you may see what saving faith is ; it 
is first, a believing that the Gospel is true ; and then an ac- 
cepting of Christ therein offered to us, with his benefits ; or 
a consenting that he be ours, and we be his ; which is no- 
thing but a true willingness to have an offered Christ. Re- 
member this well, that you may make use of it, when you 
are in doubt of the truth of your faith. Thousands of poor 
souls have been in the dark, and unable to see themselves 
to be believers, merely for want of knowing what saving faith 
is. The Papists place almost all in the mere assent of the un- 
derstanding. Some of our Reformers made it to be either an 
assurance of the pardon of our own sins, or a strong persua- 
sion of their pardon, excluding doubting; or (the most mo- 
derate) a persuasion of our particular pardon, though mixed 
with some doubting. The Antinomians strike in with them, 
and say the same. Hence some divines conclude, that jus- 
tification and remission go before faith, because the act doth 
always suppose its object. For they thought that remission 
already past was the object of justifying faith, supposing 
faith to he nothing else but a belief that we are pardoned. 
Yea, ordinarily, it hath been taught in the writings of our 
greatest refuters of the Papists, ' That this belief is pro- 
perly a divine faith, or the belief of a divine testimony, as is 
the believing of any proposition written in the Scripture (a 
foul error, which I have confuted in my Book of Rest, part 
iii. chap. vii). Most of late have come nearer the truth, 
and affirmed justifying faith to consist in affiance, or recum- 
bency, or resting on Christ for salvation. No doubt this is 
one act of justifying faith, but not that which a poor trou- 
bled soul should first search after and try itself by (except 
by affiance, any should mean as Amesius doth, election of 
Christ, and then it is the same act which I am asserting, 
but very unfitly expressed). For, 1. Affiance is not the 


principal act nor that wherein the very life of justifying 
faith doth consist, but only an imperate allowing act, and 
an effect of the vital act, (which is consent, or willing, or 
accepting Christ offered ;) for it lieth mainly in that which 
we call the sensitive part, or the passions of the soul. 2. It is 
therefore less constant, and so unfitter to try by. For many 
a poor soul that knows itself unfeignedly willing to hav e 
Christ, yet feeleth not a resting on him, or trusting in him, 
and therefore cries out, ' O I cannot believe ;' and think they 
have no faith. For recumbency, affiance, or resting on 
Christ, implieth that easing of themselves, or casting off 
their fears, or doubts, or cares, which true believers do not 
always find. Many a poor soul complains, ' O I carinot rest 
on Christ ; I cannot trust him !' who yet would have him 
to be their Lord and Saviour, and can easily be convinced 
of their willingness. 3. Besides affiance is not the adequate 
act of faith, suited to the object in that fulness as it must be 
received, but willingness or acceptance is. Christ is rested 
on not only for ourselves as our deliverer, but he is accepted 
also for himself as our Lord and Master. The full proof of 
these I have performed in other writings, and oft in your 
hearing in public, and therefore omit them now. Be sure 
then to fix this truth deep in your mind, ' That justifying 
faith is not an assurance of our justification ; no, nor a per- 
suasion or belief that we are justified or pardoned, or that 
Christ died more for us than for others. Nor yet is affiance 
or resting on Christ the vital principle, certain, constant, 
full act; but it is the understanding's belief of the truth 
of the Gospel, and the will's acceptance of Christ and 
life offered to us therein ; which acceptance is but the 
hearty consent or willingness that he be yours, and you his' 
This is the faith which must justify and save you. 

Object. But, 1. ' May not wicked men be willing to have 
Christ? 2. And do not you oft tell us that justifying faith 
comprehends love to Christ and thankfulness, and that it 
receiveth him as a Lord to be obeyed, as well as a deliverer ? 
And that repentance and sincere obedience are parts of the 
condition of the new covenant V 

Anstv. I will give as brief a touch now on these as may 
be, because I have handled them in fitter places. 

1. Wicked men are willing to have remission, justifica- 
tion, and freedom from hell (for no man can be willing to be 


unpardoned, or to be damned ;) but they are not willing to 
have Christ himself in that nature and office which he must 
be accepted ; that is, as an holy head and husband to 
save both from the guilt and power, and all defilement and 
abode of sin, and to rule them by his law, and guide them 
by his Spirit, and to make them happy by bringing them 
to God, that being without sin, they may be perfectly 
pleasing and amiable in his sight, and enjoy him for 
ever. Thus is Christ offered, and thus to be accepted of all 
that will be saved ; and thus no wicked man will accept him 
(but when he ceaseth to be wicked). 2. To cut all the rest 
short in a word, I say. That in this fore- described willing- 
ness or acceptance, repentance, love, thankfulness, resolu- 
tion to obey, are all contained, or nearly implied, as I have 
elsewhere manifested ; so that the heart of saving faith is 
this acceptance of Christ, or willingness to have him to jus- 
tify, sanctify, guide, and govern you. Find but this wil- 
lingness, and you find all the rest, whether you expressly see 
them or not. So much for that direction. 

Direct, IX. Having thus far proceeded, in discovering 
and improving the general grounds of comfort, and then in 
discovering the nature of faith, which gives you right to the 
special mercies of the covenant following it ; your next work 
must be, * To perform this condition by actual believing.' 

Your soul stands in extreme need of a Saviour. God of- 
fereth you a Saviour in the Gospel. What then have you 
next to do but to accept him ? Believe that this offer is ge- 
neral, and therefore to you. And that Christ is not set to 
sale, nor doth God require you to bring a price in your 
hand, but only heartily and thankfully to accept of what he 
freely giveth you. This must be done before you fall on 
trying your graces to get assurance, for you must have grace 
before you can discover it ; and this is the first proper spe- 
cial saving grace (as it compriseth that knowledge and as- 
sent which necessarily go before it). This is not only 
the method for those that yet never believed, but also for 
them that have lost the sense of their faith, and so the sight 
of their evidence. Believe againy that you may know you 
do believe ; or at least may possess an accepted Saviour. 
When God in the Gospel bids you take Jesus Christ, and 
beseecheth you to be reconciled to him, what will you say 
to him ? If your heart answer, ' Lord I am willing, I will ac- 


cept of Christ and be thankful ;' why then the match is made 
between Christ and you, and the marriage-covenant is truly 
entered, which none can dissolve. If Christ were not first 
willing, he would not be the suitor, and make the motion ; 
and if he be willing, and you be willing, what can break the 
match? If you will say, * I cannot believe ;' if you under- 
stand what you say, either you mean that you cannot be- 
lieve the Gospel is true, or else that you cannot be willing 
that Christ should be yours. If it be the former, and speak 
truly, then you are a flat infidel (yet many temptations to 
doubt of the truth of Scripture, a true believer may have, 
yea, and actual doubtings ; but his faith prevaileth, and is 
victorious over them) ; but if you really doubt whether the 
Gospel be true, use God's means for the discovery of its 
truth. Read what I have written in the second part of my 
Book of Kest. I will undertake now more confidently than 
ever I did, to prove the truth of Scripture by plain, full, un- 
deniable force of reason. But I suppose this is none of your 
case. If therefore when you say, that you cannot believe, 
you mean, that you cannot accept an offered Christ, or be 
willing to have him ; then I demand, 1. What is your rea- 
son ? The will is led by the reason of the understanding. 
If you be not willing, there is something that persuades you 
to be unwilling. This reason must be from something real, 
or else upon a mistake, upon supposal of something that is 
not in being. If it be upon mistake, either it is that you be 
not convinced of Christ's willingness to be yours ; and if 
you thought he did consent, you would consent willingly ; 
if this be it, you do truly believe while you think you do 
not ; for you do consent (and that is all on your part to make 
the match) and Christ doth certainly consent, though you 
do not understand it. In this case it concerneth you, to 
understand better the extent of the new covenant, and then 
you will be past doubt of the willingness of Christ, and see 
that wherever the match breaks, it is only for want of con- 
sent in men ; for Christ is the first suitor, and hath long ago 
in the covenant proclaimed his consent, to be the head and 
husband of every sinner, on condition they will but consent 
to be his. !> 

If your mistake be from any false apprehension of the na- 
ture of Christ, as if he were not a sufficient Saviour, or were 
an enemy to your comfort, that he would do you more harm 


than good ; if these mistakes are prevalent, then you do not 
know Christ, and therefore must presently better study him 
in the Gospel, till you have prevailed over such ignorant and 
blasphemous conceits (but none of this I suppose is your 

If then the reason why you say you cannot believe, be 
from any thing that is really in Christ (and not upon mis- 
take), then it must be either from some dislike of his saving 
work, by which he would pardon you, and save you from 
damnation (but that is impossible, for you cannot be willing 
to be damned or unpardoned, till you lose your reason) : or 
else it is from a dislike of his work of sanctification, by 
which he would cleanse your heart and life, by saving you 
from your sinful nature and actions ; some grudging against 
Christ's holy and undefiled laws and ways will be in the 
best, while there is that flesh in them which lusteth against 
the Spirit, so that they cannot do the things they would. 
But if truly you have such a dislike of a sinless condition, 
through the love of any sin or creature, that you cannot be 
willing to have Christ to cure you, and cleanse you from 
that sin, and make you holy : I say, if this be true, in a pre- 
vailing degree, so that if Christ and holiness were offered 
you, you would not accept them, then it is certain you have 
not true faith. And in this case it is easily to discern, that 
your first work lieth not in getting comfort or ease to your 
troubled mind ; but in getting better conceits of Christ and 
a holy state and life, that so you may be willing of Christ, 
as Christ is of you, and so become a true believer. And 
here I would not leave you at that loss as some do, as if there 
were nothing for you to do for the getting of faith ; for cer- 
tainly God hath prescribed you means for that end. " Faith 
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God preach- 
ed ;" Rom. X. 17. 1. Therefore see that you wait diligently 
on this ordinance of God. Read the Scriptures daily, and 
search them to see whether you may not there find that ho- 
liness is better than sin. 2. And however some seducers 
may tell you, that wicked men ought not to pray, yet be 
sure that you lie on your knees before God, and importu- 
nately beg that he would open your eyes, and change your 
heart, and shew you so far the evil of sin, and the want and 
worth of Christ and holiness, that you may be unfeignedly 
glad to accept his offer. 


Object. * But the prayers of the wicked are an abomina- 
tion to the Lord.' 

Atiiw. 1. You must distinguish between wicked men, as 
actually wicked, and going on in the prosecution of their 
wickedness ; and wicked men, as they have some good in 
them, or are doing some good, or are attempting a return to 
God. 2. You must distinguish between real prayer and 
seeming prayer. 3. You must distinguish between full ac- 
ceptance of prayer, when God delighteth in them, and an 
acceptance only to some particular end, not imitating the 
acceptance of the person with his prayer : and between ac- 
ceptance fully promised (as certain) and acceptance but half 
promised (as probable). And upon these distinctions I shall 
answer your objections in the conclusion, 

1. When wicked men pray to God to prosper them in 
their wickedness, yea, or to pardon them while they intend 
to go on in it, and so to give them an indulgence in sin ; or 
when they think with a few prayers for some good, which 
they can endure, to put by that holiness which they cannot 
endure, and so to make a cloak for their rebellion, these 
prayers are all an abomination to the Lord. 

2. When men use the words of a prayer, without the de- 
sire of the thing asked, this is no prayer, but equivocally 
so called, as a carcase is a man ; and therefore no wonder if 
God abhor that prayer, which is truly no prayer. 

3. God hath not made a full promise, ascertaining any 
wicked man, while wicked, that he will hear his prayer; for 
all such promises are made to believers. 

4. God doth never so hear an unbeliever's prayer, as to 
accept his person with his prayer, or to take a complacency 
in them. So much for the negative. 

Now for the affirmative, I add ; 1. Prayer is a duty which 
God enjoined even wicked men (I could prove it by an hun- 
dred Scripture texts.) 

2. There may be some good desires in unbelievers, whicJi 
they may express in prayer, and these God may so far hear 
as to grant them, as he did in part to Ahab. 

3. An unbeliever may lie under preparing grace, and be 
on his way in returning towards God, though yet he be not 
come to saving faith ; and in this state he may have many 
good desu-es, and such prayers as God will hear. 




4. Though God have not flatly engaged himself to unbe- 
lievers, so as to give them a certainty of hearing their pray- 
ers, and giving them true grace on the improvement of their 
naturals, yet he hath not only appointed them this and other 
means to get grace, but also given them half promises, or 
strong probabilities of speeding, so much as may be a suffi- 
cient encouragement to any such sinner to call on God, and 
use his means. For as he appointeth not any vain means to 
man, so no man can name that man who did improve his na- 
turals to the utmost, and in particular, sought God in prayer, 
so far as a natural man may do, who yet missed of grace, 
and was rejected (this is the true mean between Pelagian- 
ism and Antinomianism in this point). 

5. When God calls unbelievers to prayer, he withal calls 
them to believe. And when he works their heart to prayer 
by that call, he usually withal works them to believe, or at 
least towards believing. If he that was unwilling to have 
Christ, do pray God to make him willing, it is- a beginning 
of willingness already, and the way to get more willingness. 
In prayer God useth to give in the thing prayed for, of 
this kind. 

6. Prayer is the soul's motion God-ward : and to say an 
unbeliever should not pray, is to say he should not turn to 
God ; who yet saith to the wicked, " Seek the Lord while 
he may be found, and call upon while he is near. Let the 
wicked forsake his way ;" &.c. Isaiah Iv. 6, 7. 

7. Prayer hath two parts ; desire is the soul of it, and 
expression is the body. The soul can live separated from 
the body, but so cannot the body separated from the soul. 
So can desire without expression, but not expression with- 
out desire. When our blind Antinomians (the great sub- 
verters of the Gospel, more than the law) do rail against mi- 
nisters for persuading wicked men to pray, they are against 
us for persuading men to desire that they pray for ; prayei 
having desire for its soul. And do not those men deserve 
to be exterminated the churches and societies of the saints, 
who dare say to a wicked unbeliever, ' Desire not faith ? 
Desire not to leave thy wickedness ? Desire not grace ? or 
Christ? or God? And that will proclaim abroad the world 
(as I have oft heard of them with zealous reproaches) that our 
ministers are legalists, seducers, ignorant of the mysteries of 
the Gospel, because they persuade poor sinners to pray for 


faith, grace, and Christ ; that is to desire these, and to ex- 
press their desires ; which in effect is to persuade them to 
repent, believe, and turn to God. Indeed, if these blind se- 
ducers had ever heard our ministers persuading vv^icked men 
to dissemble and lie to God, and ask faith, grace and Christ 
with their tongues, but not desire them in their hearts, then 
had they sufficient grounds for their reviling language (but 
I have been too long on this). I may therefore boldly con- 
clude, that they that find themselves unbelievers, that is, un- 
willing to have Christ to deliver them from sin, must use 
this second means to get faith, even earnest frequent prayer 
for it to God. 

3. Let such also see that they avoid wicked seducing 
company and occasions of sin ; and be sure that they keep 
company with men fearing God, especially joining with them 
in their holy duties. 

4. Lastly, let such be sure that they use that reason which 
God hath given them, to consider frequently, retiredly, se- 
riously, of the vanity of all those things that steal away their 
hearts from Christ ; and of the excellency of holiness, and 
how blessed a state it is to have nothing in us of heart or 
life that is displeasing to God, but to be such as he taketh 
full delight in ; also of the certainty of the damnation of un- 
believers, and the intolerableness of their torments ; and of 
the certainty and inconceivable greatness of believers' ever- 
lasting happiness. If wicked unbelievers would but do what 
they can in daily, serious, deep considering of these things, 
and the like, they would have no cause to despair of obtain- 
ing faith and sanctification. Believing is a rational act. 
God bids you not to believe any thing without reason, nor 
to accept or consent to any thing without full reason to 
cause you to consent. Think then often and soberly of those 
reasons that should move you to consent, and of the vanity 
of these that hinder you from consenting, and this is God's 
way for you to obtain faith or consent. 

Remember then, that when you have understood and im- 
proved general grounds of comfort (nay before you can come 
to any full improvement of them) your next business is to 
believe ; to consent to the match with Christ, and to take 
him for your Lord and Saviour. And this duty must be 
looked to and performed, before you look after special com- 


fort. But I said somewhat of this before under the sixth 
head, and therefore will say no more now. 

Direct. X. When you have gone thus far, your soul is 
safe, and you are past your greatest dangers, though yet you 
are not past your fears ; your next work therefore for peace 
and comfort is this ; * To review and take notice of your 
own faith, and thence to gather assurance of the certainty of 
your justification, and adoption, and right to glory.' 

The sum of this direction lieth in these things : 

1. See that you do not content yourself with the fore- 
mentioned general comforts, without looking after assurance 
and special comforts. The folly of this I have manifested 
in the third part of my Book of Rest, about Self-exami- 

2. See that you dream not of finding assurance and spe- 
cial comfort from mere general grounds. This is the delu- 
sion of many Antinomians, and of most of our profane 
people (who I find are commonly of the Antinomian 
faith naturally, without teaching). For men to conclude that 
they shall certainly be saved, merely because God is mer- 
ciful, or Christ is tender-hearted to sinners, and would not 
that any should perish, but all should come to repentance ; 
or because God delights not in the death of him that dieth, 
l?ut rather that he repent and live ; or because Christ died 
for them ; or because God hath given Christ and life in the 
Gospel to all, on condition of believing ; these are all but 
mere delusions. Much comfort, as I have shewed you, may 
be gathered from these generals ; but no certainty of salva- 
tion, or special comfort can be gathered from them alone. 

3. See that you reject the Antinomian doctrine or dot- 
age, which would teach you to reject the trial and judging 
of your state by signs of grace in yourself, and tell you that 
it is only the Spirit that must assure, by witnessing your 
adoption ; I will further explain this caution when I have 
added the rest. 

4. And on the other extreme, do not run to marks unsea- 
sonably, but in the order here laid down. 

6. Nor trust to unsafe marks. 

6. And therefore do not look at too many ; for the true 
ones are but few. I do but name these things to you, be- 
4Uiuse I have more fully handled them in my Book of Rest, 


whither I must refer you. And so I return to the third 

I have in the forementioned book told you, what the of- 
fice of the Spirit is in assuring us, and what the use of marks 
are. The Spirit witnesseth first objectively, and so the Spi- 
rit and marks are all one. For it is the Spirit dwelling in us 
that is the witness or proof that we are God's sons ; for he 
that hath not his Spirit is none of his. And the Spirit is 
not discerned by us in its essence, but in its workings ; and 
therefore to discern these workings, is to discern the Spirit, 
and these workings are the marks that we speak of : so that 
the Spirit witnesseth our sonship, as a reasonable soul wit- 
nesseth that you are a man and not a beast. You find by the 
acts of reason, that you have a reasonable soul, and then 
you know, that having a reasonable soul, you certainly are a 
man. So you find by the works or fruits of the Spirit, that you 
have the Spirit (that is, by marks ; and Paul enumerates the 
fruits of the Spirit to that end), and then by finding that you 
have the Spirit you may certainly know that you are the 
child of God. 2. Also, as the reasonable soul is its own dis- 
cerner by the help of the body (while it is in it) and so wit- 
nesseth our humanity effectively as well as objectively (but 
first in order objectively, and next effectively) ; so doth the 
Spirit effectively discover itself to the soul, by illuminating 
us to discern it, and exciting us to search, and giving us that 
spiritual taste and feeling of its workings, and so of its pre- 
sence, by which it is best known. But still it witnesseth ob- 
jectively, first, and its effective witnessing is but the causing 
us to discern its objective witness. Or (to speak more plain- 
ly), the Spirit witnesses first and principally, by giving us 
those graces and workings which are our marks ; and then, 
secondly, by helping us to find and feel those workings or 
marks in ourselves ; and then, lastly, by raising comforts 
in the soul upon that discovery. Take heed therefore of ex- 
pecting any such inward witness of the Spirit, as some ex- 
pect, viz. a discovery of your adoption directly, without 
first discovering the signs of it within you ; as if by an in- 
ward voice he should say to you, ' Thou art a child of God 
and thy sins are pardoned.' 

This that I described to you, is the true witness of the 
Spirit. This mistake is so dangerous, that I had thought to 
have made it a peculiar direction by itself, to warn you of 


it ; and now I have gone so far, I will dispatch it here. Two 
dangerous consequents I find do follow this unwarrantable 
expectation of the first immediate efficient revelation that 
we are adopted. 

1. Some poor souls have languished in doublings and 
trouble of mind almost all their days, in expectation of such 
a kind of witness as the Spirit useth not to give; when in 
the mean time they have other sufficient means of comfort, 
and knew not how to improve them ; yea, they had the true 
witness of the Spirit in his inhabitation and holy workings, 
and did not know it ; but run as Samuel did to Eli, not 
knowing the voice of God ; and look for the Spirit's tes- 
timony when they had it, as the Jews for Elias and the 

2. Others do more dangerously err, by taking the strong 
conceit of their own fantasy for the witness of the Spirit ; as 
soon as they do but entertain the opinion that it must be 
such a witness of the Spirit, without the use of marks, that 
must assure men of their adoption, presently they are con- 
fident that they have that witness themselves. It is scarce 
likely to be God's Spirit that is so ready upon the mere 
change of an opinion. The devil useth to do as much to 
cherish presumption, as to destroy true faith and assurance. 
It is a shrewd sign that our persuasions of our truth of grace 
is a delusion, when we find the devil a friend to it, and help- 
ing it on. And it is a probable sign it is a good persuasion, 
when we find the devil an enemy to it, and still troubling us 
and endeavouring our disquiet. 

And here I remember the scruple that troubleth some 
about the spirit of bondage, and the spirit of adoption. But 
you must understand, that by the spirit of bondage is meant 
that spirit, and those operations on the soul which the law 
of works did natuially beget in those that were under it; 
which was to be partly in bondage, to a task of ceremonious 
duties, and partly to the curse and obligation to punishment 
for disobedience, without any power to justify. They were 
said therefore to be in bondage to the law ; and the law was 
said to be a yoke, which neither they nor their fathers were 
able to bear : Acts xv. 

And by the spirit of adoption is meant, 1, That spirit, 
or those qualifications or workings in their souls, which by 
the Gospel God giveth only to his sons. 2. And which raise 


in us some childlike afl'ections to God, inclining' um in all 
our wants to run to him in prayer, as to a Father, and to 
make our moan to him, and open our griefs, and cry for re- 
dress, and look to him, and depend on him as a child on the 
father. This spirit of adoption you may have, and yet not 
be certain of God's special love to you. The knowledge 
only of his general goodness and mercy, may be a means to 
raise in you true childlike affections. You may know God 
to have fatherly inclinations to you, and yet doubt whether 
he will use you as a child, for want of assurance of your 
own sincerity. And you may hope God is your Father, when 
yet you may apprehend him to be a displeased, angry fa- 
ther, and so he may be more your terror than your comfort. 
Are not you ready in most of your fears, and doubts, and 
troubles, to go to God before all other for relief ? And doth 
not your heart sigh and groan to him, when you can scarcely 
speak ? Doth not your troubled spirit there find its first 
vent ? And say, ' Lord kill me not : forsake me not ; my life 
is in thy hands ; O soften this hard heart; make this carnal 
mind more spiritual I O be not such a stranger to my soul ! 
Wo to me that I am so ignorant of thee ! so disaffected to 
thee ! so backward and disinclined to holy communion with 
thee ; Wo to me, that can take no more pleasure in thee ! 
and am so mindless and disregardful of thee ! O that thou 
wouldst stir up in me more lively desires, and workings of 
my soul towards thee ! and suffer me not to lie at such a 
distance from thee !' Are not such as these the breathings 
of your spirit ? Why these are childlike breathings after 
God ! This is crying ' Abba, Father.' This is the work of 
the spirit of adoption, even when you fear God will cast you 
off. You much mistake (and those that tell you so) if you 
think that the spirit of adoption lieth only in a persuasion 
that you are God's child, or that you may not have the spi- 
rit of adoption, without such a persuasion of God's adopt- 
ing you. For God may adopt you, and give you that spirit 
which he gives only to his children, and possess you with 
true filial affections towards him, before ever you know your- 
self to be adopted ; much more, though you may have fre- 
quent returning doubts of your adoption. 

Having thus shewed you how far you may expect the 
witness of the Spirit, and how far you may and must make 
use of marks and qualifications, or actions of your own, for 


the obtaining of assurance and settled peace, I shall add an 
answer to the principal objections of the Antinomiani» 
against this. 

Object. They say. This is to draw men from Christ to 
themselves, and from the Gospel to the law ; to lay their 
comforts, and build their peace upon any thing in them- 
selves, is to forsake Christ, and make themselves their own 
saviours : and those teachers that persuade them to this, 
are teachers of the law, and false prophets, who draw men 
from Christ to themselves. All our own righteousness is as 
a menstruous cloth, and our best works are sin; and there- 
fore we may not take up our assurance or comforts from 
them. We shall be always at uncertainties, and at a loss, 
or inconstant, up and down in our comforts, as long as we 
take them from any signs in ourselves : also our own graces 
are imperfect, and therefore unfit to be the evidences for 
our assurance. 

Atisw. Because I am not now purposely confuting the 
Antinomians, but only forearming you against their assaults; 
I shall not therefore give you half that I should otherwise 
say, for the explication of this point, and the confutation of 
their errors, but only so much as is necessary to your pre- 
servation : which I do, because they pretend to be the only 
preachers of free grace, and the only right comforters of 
troubled consciences ; and because they have written so 
many books to that end, which if they fall into your hands 
may seem so specious, as that you may need some preserva- 
tive. I suppose you remember what I have taught you so 
oft, concerning the difference of the law of works, and the 
law of grace, with their different conditions. Upon which 
supposition I explicate the point thus. 1. No man may 
look at his own graces or duties as his legal righteousness ; 
that is, such as for which the law of works will pronounce 
him righteous. Nor yet may he take them for part of his 
legal righteousness, in conjunction with Christ's righteous- 
ness, as the other part ; but here must go wholly out of our- 
selves, and deny and disclaim all such righteousness of our 
own. We have no works which make the reward to be not 
of grace but of debt. We must not once think that our 
graces, duties, or sufferings, can make satisfaction to God's 
justice for our sin and unrighteousness ; nor yet that they 
are any part of that satisfaction. Here we ascribe all to 


Christ, who is the only sacrifice and ransom. 4. Nor must 
we think that our duties or graces are properly meritorious ; 
this also is to be left as the sole honour of Christ. 5. Yet 
that we may and must raise our assurance and comforts from 
our own graces and duties, shall appear in these clear rea- 
sons following, which shew also the grounds on which we 
may do it. 

1. Pardon, justification, and adoption, and salvation, are 
all given to us in the Gospel only conditionally (if we be- 
lieve), and the condition is an act, or rather several acts of 
our own. Now till the condition be performed, no man can 
have any certainty that the benefit shall be his, nor can he 
by any other means (ordinarily) be certain of the benefit, 
but by that which ascertains him that he hath performed the 
condition. God saith, " He that believeth shall be saved." 
No man can know then that he shall be saved, till he first 
know that he believeth. Else he should know either con- 
trary to that which is written, or more than that which is 
written; and justification and adoption should be given 
some other way than by the Gospel promise, (for that pro- 
mise giveth them only conditionally, and so suspendeth the 
actual right, upon the performance of the condition). But 
if any can shew any other way, by which God maketh over 
pardon and adoption, besides the Gospel promise, let them 
do it ; but I will not promise suddenly to believe them, for 
it was never yet shewed as I know of. Also, if men must 
not look at their own performance of the condition, to prove 
their right to the benefit, then either all or none must be- 
lieve that they have that right ; for the promise saith, " He 
that believeth shall be saved." And this is a promise of 
life conditionally to all. If all must believe that they shall 
be saved, then most of the world must believe a lie. If the 
true believer may not therefore conclude that he shall be 
saved, because he performeth the condition of the promise, 
then no man may believe it. And for that absolute promise 
of the new heart, no man can, or may believe that it is his, 
till he have that new heart which it promiseth ; that is, till 
it be fulfilled. For there is no mark by which a rnan can 
know whether that promise belong to him or no beforehand, 
and if all should believe that it belongs to them, most would 
find it false. 

2. God hath not redeemed us by his Son to be lawless. 


To be without law is to be without government. We are 
without the law; that is, of works or of Moses, but not 
without law ; Jesus Christ is our ruler, and he hath made us 
a law of grace ; an easy yoke, and commands that are not 
grievous. This law hath precepts, promises, and threats ; 
it must needs be either obeyed or disobeyed ; and so the pe- 
nalty must be due or not due ; and the reward due or not 
due. He that performs the condition, and so to whom the 
reward is due, and not the penalty, is righteous in the sense 
of this law. As when we are accused to be sinners against 
the law of works, and so to deserve the penalty of that law, 
we must confess all, and plead the righteousness of Christ's 
satisfaction for our justification. So when we are accused 
to be final unbelievers or impenitent, and so not to have per- 
formed the conditions of the new covenant, we must be jus- 
tified by our own faith and repentance, the performance of 
that condition ; and must plead, not guilty. And so far 
our own acts are our evangelical righteousness, and that of 
such necessity, that without it no man can have part in 
Christ's righteousness, nor be saved. I would desire any 
man else to tell me, what else he will plead at judgment, 
when the accuser chargeth him (or if he do so charge himj 
with final unbelief? Will he confess it, and say, ' Christ 
hath believed and repented for me V That is as much as to 
say, ' Christ was a believer for infidels, that he might save 
infidels.' All false. If he will not say thus (and lying will 
do no good) then must he plead his own believing and re- 
penting, as his righteousness, in opposition to that accusa- 
tion. And if it be of such use then, and be called a hun- 
dred times in Scripture, " our righteousness," and we righ- 
teous for it, then doubtless we may accordingly try by it now, 
whether we shall then be able to come off and be justified, 
or no ; and so may build our comfort on it. 

3. Conscience is a witness and judge within us, and 
doth, as under God, accuse and condemn, or excuse and 
acquit. Now if conscience must absolve us only so far as 
we are innocent, or do well, or are qualified with grace, then 
it is impossible but these our qualifications and actions 
should be some ground of our comfort. See Acts xxiv. 16. 
xxiii.l. Rom. ii. 16,16. 

4. Those which are our graces and works, as we are the 
subjects and agents, are the graces and works of God, of 


Christ, of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us. If therefore wc 
may not rejoice in our own works, or graces, then we may 
not rejoice in the works or gifts of God, Christ, or the Ho- 
ly Ghost. And, 

5. Our graces are the spiritual life or health of the soul, 
and our holy actions are the vital operations. Now life and 
health are necessary ; rejoicing, delighting things of them- 
selves ; and vital actions ara necessarily pleasant and de- 

6. Our graces and holy actions must needs rejoice us in 
respect of their objects ; for the object of our love, trust, 
hope, meditation, prayer, conference, &c. is God himself, 
and the Lord Jesus, and the joys of heaven. And how can 
such actions choose but rejoice us ! 

7. Yea, rejoicing itself, and delighting ourselves ip God 
is not only one part of our duty, but that great duty where- 
in lieth the height of our Christianity. And how vain a 
speech is it to say, that we may not take up our comforts 
from our own works, nor rejoice in any thing of our own; 
when even rejoicing itself, and delighting, and comforting 
ourselves, is one part of our duty ? 

8. As God in Christ is the chief object and ground of 
our comfort (so that we must rejoice in nothing but God, 
and the cross of Christ, in that kind, or in co-ordination 
with them) ; so it is the office of every grace and holy work, 
and ordinance, and means, to be subservient to Christ, ei- 
ther for the attaining of Christ, or applying his merits, or 
they are the effects of his merits. Now if we must love and 
rejoice in Christ principally, then must we needs love and 
rejoice in all those things that stand in a necessary subor- 
dination to him, in their places. And therefore to say, 
' We must rejoice in Christ only, and therefore not in any 
graces or duties of our own,* is as wise, as if a wife should 
cast her husband's clothes and meat out of doors and say, 
' You charged me to admit none into my chamber but your- 
self.' Or as if a physician, having told his patients, ' I will 
cure you, if you will trust me only for the cure ;' thereupon 
the patients should cast away his medicines, and shut the 
doors against his servants and apothecaries, and say, ' We 
must trust none but the physician. ' 

9. All the failings of our duties are pardoned, and they 
accepted in Christ ; and therefore we may rejoice in them. 


10. Our duties have a double tendency to our salvation. 
I. As the condition to which God hath promised it as the 
crown and reward (in a hundred texts of Scripture), and 
may we not comfort ourselves in that which God promiseth 
heaven to ? 2. As a natural means to our obedience and 
further protection (as watchfulness, meditation, &c. tend to 
destroy sin), as Paul saith to Timothy, " Take heed to thy- 
self, and to thy doctrine, and in so doing, thou shalt both 
save thyself, and them that hear thee ;" ITim.iv. 16. and 
may we not take comfort in that which tends to save our 
own and our brethren's souls ? 

11. We shall be judged according to our works; there- 
fore we must judge ourselves according to our works ; and 
so must judge our state good or bad, according to our 
works. For can man judge by a righter way than God 
will? At least is it not lawful for man to judge as God 

12. We must judge of others in probability, according 
to their external works, even the tree by the fruits ; there- 
fore we must judge of ourselves in certainty, according to 
our internal and external works together, which we may cer- 
tainly know. 

13. If we may not rejoice in any of our graces, then we 
may not be thankful for them, for thankfulness is accom- 
panied with joy ; but we must be thankful. 

14. If we may not rejoice in our duties, we may not re- 
pent or sorrow for the neglect of them ; and if we may not 
rejoice in our graces, we may not lament the want of them 
(for these are as the two ends of the balance, that one goes 
down when the other goes up ; or as day and night, light 
and darkness). But the consequent is intolerable. 

15. This would overthrow all religion. For what a man 
cannot rejoice in, he cannot love, he cannot esteem, regard, 
be careful to obtain, be fearful of losing, &c. 

16. God delighteth in our graces and holy duties, and is 
well pleased with them ; and therefore it is lawful and need- 
ful that we do as God doth ; Jer. ix. 24. Heb. xi. 5. Abel's 
sacrifice by faith obtained testimony that he pleased God. 
" To do good, and to communicate forget not, for with such 
sacrifices God is well pleased ;" Heb. xiii. 16. 

17. The saints of God have not only tried themselves by 
their graces and duties, and connnanded others to try by 


them, but have gloried and rejoiced in their duties and suf- 
ferings. " This is our rejoicing, the testimony of our con- 
science, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, we have had 
our conversation among you ;" 2 Cor. i. 12. " They gloried 
that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ;" Acts 
V. 41. "I have therefore whereof I may glory in Jesus 
Christ, in those things which pertain to God ;" Rom. 
XV. 17. " We glory in tribulation," See; chap. v. 3. 
" Though I should desire to glory, I should not be a fool. 
I glory in mine infirmities ;" 2 Cor. xii. 6. 9. " Let him 
that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and know- 
eth me;" Jer. ix.24. " I had rather die than any should 
make my glorying void ;" 1 Cor. ix. 15. " Let every man 
prove his own work, so shall he have rejoicing in himself 
alone, and not in another ;" Gal. vi. 4. 

18. Scripture nameth many of our own graces and du- 
ties, as the certain marks of our justification and right to 
glory. Even Christ with his own mouth, gives us many ; 
"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also;" 
Matt. vi. 21. " He that doth evil hateth the light, &c. but 
he that doth good cometh to the light, that," &c." John 
iii. 10. Matt. v. is full of such ; " Blessed are the poor in 
spirit, the pure in heart," &c. 

19. We may rejoice in other men's good works and 
graces (and do, if we be true Christians), therefore in our 

20. We may rejoice in God's outward mercies'; there- 
fore much more in inward, and such as accompany salvation. 
All these arguments prove, that we may take up our comfort 
from our own gracious qualifications and actions (not in 
opposition to Christ, but in subordination to him), and most 
of them prove that we may fetch our assurance of salvation 
from them, as undoubted evidences thereof. 

I have said the more in answer to these objections, 1. 
Because never any came with fairer pretences of exalting 
Christ, and maintaining the honour of his righteousness and 
free grace, and of denying ourselves and our ownrighteous- 
"ness. 2. And yet few doctrines more dishonour Christ, 
and destroy the very substance of religion. Even as if a 
man should cry down him that would praise and commend 
obedience to the king, and say, ' You must praise nothing 
but the king. So do these cry down our looking at, and re- 


joicing in our love to Christ, and our thankfulness to him, 
and our obedience, and all under pretence of honouring him. 
Nay, they will not have us rejoice in one part of Christ's 
salvation (his saving us from the power of sin, and his sanc- 
tifying us) under pretence that we dishonour the other part 
of his salvation (his j ustifying us). If ever satan transform- 
ed himself into an angel of light, and his ministers into mi- 
nisters of light, it is in the mistakes of the Antinomians; 
and no people in the world (except carnal libertines, whom 
this doctrine fits to a hair) are in more danger of them, than 
poor, doubting Christians, under trouble of conscience ; es- 
pecially if they be not judicious, and skilled in the doctrine 
of Christ. For the very pretence of extolling Christ and 
free grace, will take much with such ; and any new way will 
sometimes seem to give them comfort, upon the very novel- 
ty and sudden change. 

Having thus proved that you may, and must fetch your 
special comfort and assurance from evidences, and that your 
first evidence is your faith, I shall open this more fully un- 
der the next Direction. 

Direct. XI. In the trial of your state, * Be sure that you 
make use of infallible signs of sincerity, and take not those 
for certain which are not.' 

And to that end remember what I said before, that you 
must well understand wherein the nature of saving faith, and 
so of all saving grace doth consist. And when you under- 
stand this, write it down in two or three lines ; and both at 
your first trial, and afterward, whenever any doubts do drive 
you to a review of your evidence, still have recourse only 
to those signs, and try by them. What these signs are, I 
have shewed you so fully in the forecited place in my 
Book of Rest, that I shall say but little now. Remem- 
ber that infallible signs are very few ; and that whatsoever 
is made the condition of salvation, that is the most infalli- 
ble evidence of our salvation, and therefore the fittest mark 
to try by ; and therefore faith in God the Father and the 
Redeemer, is the main evidence. But because I have else- 
where shewed you, that this faith is comprehensive of love, 
gratitude, resolution to obey, and repentance, let me more 
particularly open it to help you in the trial. To prove any 
grace to be saving, it is necessary tb at you prove that salva- 
tion is fully promised to him that hath it. Now if you will 


know what it is that hath this promise, I will tell you, 1. 
As to the object. 2. The act. 3. The degree or modifica- 
tion of the act. For all these three must be inquired after 
if you will get assurance. 1. The object is principally God, 
and the Redeemer Christ. And secondarily the benefits 
given by Christ ; and binder that, the means to attain the 
principal benefits, &c. 2. The act hath many names drawn 
from respective and moral differences in the object, as 
faith, desire, love, choosing, accepting, receiving, consenting, 
&.C. But properly all are comprised in one word, ' willing.' 
The understanding's high estimation of God, and Christ, and 
grace, is a principal part of true saving grace ; but yet it is 
difficult, and scarce possible to judge of yourself by it right- 
ly, but only as it discovers itself by prevailing with the will. 
3. The degree of this act must be such, as ordinarily pre- 
vaileth against its contrary ; I mean, both the contrary ob- 
ject, and the contrary act to the same object. But because I 
doubt school-terms do obscure my meaning to you (though 
they are necessary for exactness), I will express the nature 
of saving grace in two or three marks as plain as I can. 

1 . Are you heartily willing to take God for your portion ? 
And had you rather live with him in glory in his favour and 
fullest love, with a soul perfectly cleansed from all sin, and 
never more to offend him, rejoicing with his saints in his 
everlasting praises, than to enjoy the delights of the flesh 
on earth, in a way of sin and without the favour of God ? 

2: Are you heartily willing to take Jesus Christ as he is 
offered in the Gospel ? that is, to be your'only Saviour, 
and Lord, to give you pardon by his bloodshed, and to sanc- 
tify you by his word and Spirit, and to govern you by his 

(Because this general containeth and implieth several 
particulars, I will express them distinctly.) 

Here it is supposed that you know this much following 
of the nature of his laws. For to be willing to be ruled by 
his laws in general, and utterly unwilling when it comes to 
particulars, is no true willingness or subjection. 1. You 
must know that his laws reach both to heart and outward 
actions. 2. That they command a holy, spiritual, heavenly 
life: 3. That they command things so cross and unpleasing 
to the flesh, that the flesh will be still murmuring and striv- 
ing against obedience. Particularly, 1. They coramand 


things quite cross to the inclinations of the flesh ; as to for- 
give wrongs, to love enemies, to forbear malice and revenge, 
to restrain and mortify lust and passion, to abhor and mor- 
tify pride, and be low in our own eyes, and humble and 
meek in spirit. 2. They command things that cross the 
interest of the flesh and its inclination both together ; I 
mean which will deprive it of its enjoyments, and bring it 
to some suffering ? As to perform duties even when they 
lay us open to disgrace and shame, and reproach in the 
world ; and to deny our credit, rather than forsake Christ or 
our duty. To obey Christ in doing what he commandeth us, 
though it would hazard or certainly lose our wealth, friends, 
liberty and life itself; forsaking all rather than to forsake 
him ; to give to the poor, and other good uses, and that li- 
berally, according to our abilities. To deny the flesh all 
forbidden pleasures, and make not provisions to satisfy its 
lusts, but to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts 
thereof; and in this combat to hold on to the end, and to 
overcome. These are the laws of Christ, which you must 
know, before you can determine whether you are indeed un- 
feignedly willing to obey them. Put therefore these further 
questions to yourself, for the trial of your willingness to be 
ruled by Christ according to his laws. 

3. Are you heartily willing to live in the performance of 
those holy and spiritual duties of heart and life, which God 
hath absolutely commanded you? And are you heartily 
sorry that you perform them no better? With no more 
cheerfulness, delight, success, and constancy? 

4. Are you so thoroughly convinced of the worth of 
everlasting happiness, and the intolerableness of everlasting 
misery, and the truth of both ; and of the sovereignty of 
God the Father, and Christ the Redeemer, and your many 
engagements to him ; and of the necessity and good of 
obeying, and the evil of sinning, that you are truly willing ; 
that is, have a settled resolution to cleave to Christ, and 
obey him in the dearest, most disgraceful, painful, hazard- 
ous, flesh-displeasing duties ; even though it should cost 
you the loss of all your worldly enjoyments, and your 

5. Doth this willingness or resolution already so far pre- 
vail in your heart and life, against all the interest and temp- 
tations of the world, the devil, and your flesh, that you do 


ordinarily practise the most strict and holy, the most self- 
denying, costly, and hazardous duties that you know God 
requireth of you, and do heartily strive against all known 
sin, and overcome all gross sins ; and when you fall under 
any prevailing temptation, do rise again by repentance, and 
begging pardon of God, through the blood of Christ, do re- 
solve to watch and resist more carefully for the time to 
come ? 

In these five marks is expressed the Gospel-description 
of a true Christian. 

Having laid down these marks, I must needs add a few 
words for the explaining of some things in them, lest you 
mistake the meaning, and so lose the benefit of them. 

1. Observe that it is your willingness, which is the very 
point to be tried. And therefore, 1. Judge not by your bare 
knowledge. 2. Judge not by the stirring or passionate 
workings of your affections. I pray you forget not this rule 
in any of your self-examinings. It is the heart that God 
requireth. " My son, give me thy heart;" Prov. xxiii. 26. 
If he hath the will, he hath the heart. He may have much 
of our knowledge, and not our heart. But when we know 
him so thoroughly as to will him unfeignedly, then he hath 
our heart. Affectionate working:: of the soul to God 
in Christ, are sweet things, and high and noble duties 
and such as all Christians should strive for. But they are 
not the safest marks to try our states by. 1. Because there 
may be a solid, sincere intention and choice in and of the 
will, where there is little stirring perceived in the affections. 
2. Because the will is the master-commanding faculty of the 
rational soul ; and so if it be right, that man is upright and 
safe. 3. Because the passions and affections are so mutable 
and uncertain. The will can command them but imperfect- 
ly ; it cannot perfectly restrain them from vanities ; much 
less can it perfectly raise them to that height, as is suitable 
to the excellency of our heavenly objects. But the object 
itself, with its sensible manner of apprehension, moves them 
more than all the command of the will. And so we find by 
experience, that a godly man, when with his utmost private 
endeavour, he cannot command one stirring pang of divine 
'ove or joy in his soul, yet upon the hearing of some moving 
sermon, or the sudden receiving of some extraoydinary mer- 



cy, or the reading of some quickening book, lie shall fee] 
perhaps some stirring of that affection. So when we can- 
not weep in private one tear for sin, yet at a stirring ser- 
mon, or when we give vent to our sorrows, and ease our 
troubled hearts into the bosom of some faithful friend, then 
we can find tears. 4. Because passions and affections de- 
pend so much on the temperature of the body. To one they 
are easy, familiar, and at command ; to another (as honest) 
they are difficult and scarce stirred at all. With most wo- 
men, and persons of weaker tempers, they are easier than 
with men. Some cannot weep at the death of a friend, 
though never so dear, no, nor perhaps feel very sensible, in- 
ward grief; and yet perhaps would have redeemed his life 
at a far dearer rate (had it been possible) than those that 
can grieve and weep more abundantly. 5. Because world- 
ly things have so great an advantage on our passions and 
affections. 1. They are sensible and near us, and our 
knowledge of them is clear. But God is not to be seen, 
heard, or felt by our senses, he is far from us, though lo- 
cally present with us ; we are capable of knowing but little, 
very little of him. 2. Earthly things are always before our 
eyes, their advantage is continual. 3. Earthly things being 
still the objects of our senses, do force our passions, whether 
we will or not, though they cannot force our wills. 6. Be- 
cause affections and passions rise and fall, and neither are 
nor can be in any even and constant frame, and therefore are 
unfit to be the constant or certain evidence of our state ; 
but the will's resolution, and choice may be more constant. 
So that I advise you rather to try yourself by your will, than 
by your passionate stirrings of love or longing, of joy or 

Object. ' But doth not the Scripture lay as much on love, 
as on any grace ? And doth not Christ say. That except we 
love him above all, we cannot be his disciples V 

Answ. It is all very true. But consider, love hath two 
parts ; the one in the will, which is commonly called a fa- 
culty of the soul, as rational ; and this is the same thing 
that I call willing, accepting, choosing, or consenting. 
This complacency is true love to Christ ; and this is the 
sure, standing mark. The other is the passionate part, 
commonly said to be in the soul, as sensitive ; and this, 
though most commonly called love, yet is less certain and 


constant, and so unfitter to try your state by though a great 
duty, so far as we can reach it. 

2. You must understand and well remember, that it is 
not every willingness that will prove your sincerity : for 
wicked men may have slight apprehensions of spiritual 
things, which may produce some slight desires and wishes 
wiiich yet are so feeble and heartless, that every lust and 
carnal desire overcomes them ; and it will not so much as 
enable them to deny the grossest sin. But it must be the 
prevalent part of your will that God must have. I mean 
a great share, a deeper and larger room than any thing in 
the world ; that is, you must have a higher estimation of 
God, and everlasting happiness, and Christ, and a holy life, 
than of any thing in the world ; and also your will must be 
so disposed hereby,and inclined to God, that if God and 
glory, to be obtained through Christ by a holy, self-denying 
life, were set before you on the one hand, and the pleasure, 
profits, and honours of the world to be enjoyed in a way of 
sin, on the other hand, you would resolvedly take the for- 
mer, and refuse the latter. Indeed they are thus set before 
you, and upon your choice dependeth your salvation or 
damnation, though that choice must come from the grace of 

3. Yet must you well remember, that this willingness 
and choice is still imperfect, and therefore when I mention 
a hearty willingness, I mean not a perfect willingness. 
There may be, and is in the most gracious souls on earth, 
much indisposedness, backwardness, and withdrawing of 
heart, which is too great a measure of unwillingness to du- 
ty ; especially to those duties which the flesh is most averse 
from, and which require most of God and his Spirit to the 
right performance of them. 

Among all duties, I think the soul is naturally most 
backward to these following. 1. To secret prayer, because 
it is spiritual, and requires great reverence, and hath no- 
thing of external pomp or form to take us up with, and con- 
sisteth not much in the exercise of common gifts, but in the 
exercise of special grace, and the breathings of the Spirit, 
and searchings, pantings, and strivings, of a gracious soul 
towards God. (I do not speak of the heartless repeating of 
bare words, learned by rote, and either not understood, or 
not uttered from the feeling of the soul.) 2. To serious 


meditation also is the soul very backward ; that is, either to 
meditate on God, and the promised glory, or any spiritual 
subject, to this end that the heart may be thereby quicken- 
ed and raised, and graces exercised (though to meditate on 
the same subject, only to know or dispute on it, the heart 
is nothing near so backward). Or else to meditate on the 
state of our own hearts, by way of self-examination, or self- 
judging, or self-reprehension, or self-exciting. 3. Also to the 
duty of faithful dealing with each other's souls, in secret re- 
proof and exhortation, plaiilly (though lovingly) to tell each 
other of our sins and danger, to this the heart is usually 
very backward ; partly through a sinful bashfulness, partly 
for want of more believing, lively apprehensions of our duty, 
and our brother's danger, and partly because we are loath 
to displease men and lose their favour, it being grown so 
common for men to fall out with those (if not hate them) 
that deal plainly and faithfully with them. 4. Also to take 
a reproof, as well as to give it, the heart is very backward. 
Even godly men, through the sad remainders of their sinful- 
ness, do too commonly frown, and snarl, and retort our re- 
proofs, and study presently how to excuse themselves, and 
put it by, or how to charge us with something that may stop 
our mouths, and make the reprover seem as bad as them- 
selves. Though they dare not tread our reproofs under 
feet, and turn again, and all to rent us, yet they oft shew 
the remnants of a dogged nature, though when they review 
their ways it costs them sorrow. We must sugar and butter 
our words, and make them liker to stroking than striking, 
liker an approving than a reproving them, liker a flattery 
than faithful dealing, and yet when we have all done, they 
go down very hardly, and that but halfway, even with ma- 
ny godly people when they are under a temptation. 5. The 
like may be said of all those duties which do pinch upon 
our credit or profit, or tend to disgrace us, or impoverish us 
in the world ; as the confessing of a disgraceful fault ; the 
free giving to the poor or sacred uses, according to our es- 
tates ; the parting with our own right or gain for peace ; 
the patient suffering of wrong, and forgiving it heartily, and 
loving bitter, abusive enemies, especially the running upon 
the stream of men's displeasure, and incurring the danger 
of being utterly undone in our worldly state (especially if 
men be rich, who do therefore as hardly get to heaven as a 


camel through a needle's eye). And above all, the laying 
down of our lives for Christ. It cannot be expected, that 
godly men should perform all these with perfect willingness ; 
the flesh will play its part, in pleading its own cause, and 
will strive hard to maintain its own interests. O the shifts, 
the subtle arguments, or at least the clamorous and impor- 
tunate contradictions that all these duties will meet with in 
the best, so far as they are renewed, and their graces weak ! 
So that you may well hence conclude that you are a sinner, 
but you may not conclude that you are graceless, because 
of a backwardness, and some unwillingness to duty. 

Yet your willingness must be greater than your unwil- 
lingness, and so Christ must have the prevailing part of 
your will ; and from that the denomination is usually taken. 
So that Scripture useth to affirm God's people to be willing 
even when they fail in the execution. So Paul (Rom. vii. 
18.) saith, "To will is present with me, when how to do or 
perform he found not;" that is, not to obey so perfectly as 
he would do ; not to love God so intensely and fervently ; 
not to subdue passions and lusts so thoroughly ; not to 
watch our thoughts, and words, and ways so narrowly, and 
order them so exactly, as the bent of his will did consent to. 
And lest any Arminian should pretend (as they do) that Paul 
speaks here in the person of an unregenerate man, as under 
the convictions of the law, and not as a man regenerate ; it 
is plain in the text that he speaks of himself in the state 
which he was then in, and that state was a regenerate state. 
He expressly saith, it is thus, and thus with me ; " So then 
I myself with my mind do serve the law of God, but with 
my flesh the law of sin ;" ver. 25. And to put it out of 
doubt, the apostle speaks the like of all Christians, Gal. v. 
17. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit 
against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, 
80 that ye cannot do the things that ye would." This is 
the plain exposition of Rom. vii. Here Scripture maketh 
the godly willing to do more than they do or can do, but 
yet it is not a perfect willingness, but it is the prevailing 
inclination and choice of the will, and that gives the name. 

4. Observe further, that I add your actual performance 
of duty ; because true hearty willingness will shew itself in 
actions and endeavours. It is but dissembling, if I should 
say I am willing to perform the strictest, holiest duties, and 


yet do not perform them. To say I am willing to pray, and 
pray not ; or to give to the poor, and yet give not ; or to 
perform the most self-denying costly duties, and yet when 
it should come to the practice, I will not be persuaded or 
drawn to them. I will not confess a disgraceful sin, nor 
further a good cause to my danger, cost or trouble ; nor re- 
prove, nor submit to reproof, nor turn from the way of 
temptations or the like. Action must discover true willing- 
ness. The son that said to his father, " I go. Sir," but went 
not to labour in the vineyard, was not accepted or justified. 
If therefore you are in doubt whether your willingness be 
sincere, inquire into your practice, and performance. God 
commandeth you to pray, to instruct your family, to be mer- 
ciful to the poor, to forgive those that wrong you, &c. The 
flesh and the devil persuade you from these. Do you per- 
form them, or do you not ? Though you may do it with 
backwardness and dulness, and weakness, yet do you do it? 
And desire you could do it better, and lament your misdo- 
ing it ? And endeavour to do it better than you have for- 
merly done? This shews then that the Spirit prevaileth, 
though the flesh do contradict it. 

5. Yet here you must carefully distinguish of duties ; for 
God hath made some to be secondary parts of the condition 
of the covenant, and so of flat necessity for the continu- 
ance or our justification, and for the attaining of glorifica- 
tion. Such are confessing Christ before men when we are 
called to it ; confessing sin, praying, shewing mercy to the 
poor, forgiving wrongs, hearing and yielding to God's word, 
&c. still supposing that there be opportunity and necessities 
for the performance of these. But some duties there are 
that God hath not laid so great a stress or necessity on, 
though yet the wilful resolved omission in ordinary, of any 
known duty, is contrary to the nature of true obedience. 

Also, the case may much differ with several persons, 
places and seasons,, concerning duty ; that may be a duty 
to one man, that is not to another ; and at one place which 
is not at another, and at one season, which is not at another. 
And that may be a greater duty, and of indispensable ne- 
cessity to one, which to another is not so great. It may 
stand with true grace, to omit that duty which men know 
not to be a duty, or not to be so to them (except where the 
duty is such, as is itself of absolute necessity to salvation) ; 


but it cannot so stand with grace in those that know it, ordi* 
narily to reject it. 

6. Also you must understand, that when I say, that 
true willingness to be ruled by Christ, will shew itself in 
actual obedience ; I do not mean it of every particular indi- 
vidual act which is our duty, as if you should judge yourself 
graceless for every particular omission of a duty ; no, though 
you knew it to be a duty ; and though you considered it to 
be a duty. For, 1. There may be a true habituated inclina- 
tion and willingness to obey Christ rooted in the heart, 
when yet by the force of a temptation, the actual prevalency 
of it at that time, in that act, may be hindered and suppres- 
sed. 2. And at the same time, you do hold on in a course 
of obedience in other duties. 3. And when the temptation 
is overcome, and grace hath been roused up against the flesh, 
and you soberly recollect your thoughts, you will return to 
obedience in that duty also. Yea, how many days, or 
weeks, or months, a true Christian may possibly neglect a 
known duty, I will not dare to determine, (of which more 
anon). Yet such omissions as will not stand with a sincere 
resolution and willingness to obey Christ universally (I mean 
an habitual willingness) will not consist with the truth of 

7. I know the fourth mark, about forsaking all for Christ, 
may seem somewhat unseasonable and harsh to propound for 
the quieting of a troubled conscience. But yet, I durst 
not omit it, seeing Christ hath not omitted it ; nay, see- 
ing he hath so urged it, and laid such a stress on it in the 
Scripture as he hath done, I dare not daub, nor be unfaith- 
ful, for fear of troubling. Such skinning over the wound 
will but prepare for more trouble and a further cure. Christ 
thought it meet even to tell young beginners of the worst, 
(though it might possibly discourage them, and did turn 
some back) that they might not come to him upon mistaken 
expectations, and he requireth all that will be Christians, 
and be saved, to count their cost beforehand, and reckon 
what it will stand them in to be Christ's disciples ; and if 
they cannot undergo his terms (that is, to deny thiemselves, 
take up their cross, forsake all and follow him) they cannot 
be his disciples. And Christ had rather they knew it be- 
forehand, than to deceive themselves, or to turn back when 
they meet with what they never thought of, and then to 


imagine that Christ had deceived them, and drawn them in, 
and done the wrong. 

8. When I say in the fourth mark, that you must have a 
settled resolution, I mean the same thing as before 1 did by 
hearty willingness. But it is meeter here to call it resolu- 
tion, because this is the proper name for that act of the 
will, which is a determination of itself upon deliberation, 
after any wavering, to the doing or submitting to any thing 
as commanded. I told you it must be the prevailing act of 
the will that must prove you sincere : every cold ineffectual 
wish will not serve turn. Christ seeks for your heart on one 
side, and the world with its pleasures, profits, and honours 
on the other side. The soul, which upon consideration of 
both, doth prefer Christ in his choice, and reject the world 
(as it is competitor with him) and this not doubtingly and 
with reservation for further deliberation or trial, but pre- 
sently passeth his consent for better and worse, this is said 
to be a resolving. And I know no one word that more fitly 
expresseth the nature of that grace which dilFerenceth a true 
Christian from all hypocrites, and by which a man may 
safely judge of his estate. 

9. Yet I here add, that it must be a settled resolution ; 
and that to intimate, that it must be an habitual willingness 
or resolution. The prevalency of Christ's interest in the 
soul must be an habitual prevalency. If a man that is ter- 
rified by a rousing sermon, or that lieth in expectation of 
present death, should actually resolve to forsake sin, or per- 
form duty, without any further change of mind, or habit, or 
fixedness of this resolution, it would be of no great value, 
and soon extinguished. Though yet I believe that no un- 
sanctified man doth ever attain to that full resolution for 
Christ, which hath a complacency in Christ accompanying 
it, and which may be termed the prevailing part of the will. 
Those that seem resolved to day to be for Christ, and to de- 
ny the world and the flesh, and the next day are unresolved 
again, have cause to suspect that they were never truly re- 
solved. Though the will of a godly man may lie under de- 
clinings in the degrees of resolution, yet Christ hath always 
his habitual resolutions, and usually his actual in a prevalent 

10. I add also the grounds (in the fourth mark) on which 
this resolution must be raised. For false grounds in the 


understanding will not bear up a true resolution in the will. 
And therefore we put the articles of our creed before our 
profession of consent and obedience. Sound doctrine and 
sound belief of it breeds a sound resolution, and makes a 
sound heart and life. If a man resolve to obey Christ, upon 
a conceit that Christ will never put him upon any suffering 
(else he would not resolve it) and that he will give him such 
brutish pleasures when he is dead, as Mahomet hath pro- 
mised to his disciples, this resolution were not sound, yet 
in many lesser points of doctrine a true Christian may be 
unsound, and yet soundly cleave to the foundation. He 
may build hay and stubble possibly ; but the foundation 
must be held. 

11. Observe well (lest you mistake me) that I speak only 
of the necessity of your present resolving to forsake all for 
Christ, if he call you to it ; but 1 speak not of your absolute 
promise or prediction, that eventually you shall not deny or 
forsake him. You may be uncertain how you shall be up- 
held in a day of trial, and yet you may now be resolved or 
fully purposed in your own mind what to do. To say, ' 1 will 
not consent, purpose or resolve, unless I were certain to 
perform my resolutions, and not to flag or change again ;' 
this is but to say, I will be no Christian, unless I were sure 
to persevere. 1 will not be married to Christ, lest I should 
be drawn to break my covenant with him. 

12. Also observe, that when I speak of your resolving 
to forsake all for Christ, it is not to cast away your state or 
life, but to submit it to his dispose, and to relinquish it only 
in case that he command you so. 

13. And I do not intend that you should be able thus to 
resolve of yourself without the special grace of God ; nor 
yet without it to continue those resolutions, much less to 
perform them by actual suffering. 

Object. ' But I cannot be sure that God will give me grace 
to persevere, or at least not to deny him, as Peter did ; and 
therefore I should neither promise nor resolve what I can- 
not be certain to perform.' 

Answ. 1. I suppose you have read the many Scriptures 
and arguments which our divines ordinarily use to prove 
that the true believers shall not fall quite away. And I 
know not how the opposers can answer that text which 
themselves use to allege for the contrary; Matt. xiii. 6.21, 


Those that believe for a time, and in the time of persecution 
fall away, it is because the seed had not depth of earth, the 
word never took rooting in their hearts. Whence it seems 
that it may be well inferred, that those shall not fall away 
in time of temptation, in whom the word of God hath taken 
deep rooting. And that is, in them in whose hearts or wills 
Christ hath a stronger interest than the creature, or those 
that have a well-grounded, unreserved, habituated or settled 
resolution to be for Christ. 2. However, your present re- 
solution, and your covenanting with Christ, is no more but 
this ; to say, ' I do consent ;' or * This I am resolved to do, 
by the help of God's grace.' 3. Else no man should be bap- 
tized or become a Christian, because he is uncertain to keep 
his covenants : for all that are baptized, do covenant and 
vow, " to forsake the world, flesh, devil, " and fight under 
Christ's banner to their lives' end. Understand me there- 
fore, that you are not to promise to do this by your own 
strength, but by the strength of Christ, as knowing that he 
hath promised his Spirit and grace for the aid of every true 

14. If your resolution at present be hearty, you ought 
not to vex and disquiet your mind, with doubtful tormenting 
fears what you should do, if you be put to it to forsake all, 
and suffer death for Christ, for he hath promised to lay no 
more on us than we can bear, but with the temptation will 
make us a way to come forth ; 1 Cor. x. 13. either he will 
not bring us into trials beyond our strength ; or else he will 
increase our strength according to our trials. He hath bid 
us pray, ** Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from 
evil :" and he hath promised, that " whatsoever we ask in 
the name of Christ according to his will, he will give us." 
So that if once you can but truly say, that it is your full re- 
solution to forsake all for Christ if he call you to it, and that 
on the forementioned grounds, you ought not then to vex 
your soul with fears of the issue ; for that is but to distrust 
God your Father and your strength. Only you must be 
careful to do your duty to the keeping up of your present 
resolutions, and to wait obediently on God for the help of 
his Spirit, and to beg it earnestly at his hands. 

, 15. Much less is it lawful for men to feign and suppose 
such calamities to themselves, as God doth never try men 
by, and then to ask themselves, ' Can I bear these for Christ'?' 


And so to try themselves on false and dangerous grounds. 
Some use to be troubled, lest if they were put to long and 
exquisite torments for Christ, they should renounce him. 
One saith, ' I cannot endure the torments of hell for Christ;* 
another saith, * Could I endure to be roasted, or torn in 
pieces so many weeks or days together''' Or * Could I endure 
to die so many times over?' These are foolish, sinful ques- 
tions, which Christ never desired you to put to yourselves. 
He never tries men's faith on this manner. Tormentors can- 
not go beyond his will. Nay, it is but very few he tries by 
death, and fewer by an extreme tormenting death. All this 
therefore proceeds from error. 

16. Observe from the fifth mark, that the present preva- 
lency of your resolutions now against those temptations 
which you encounter with, may well encourage you to ex- 
pect that they should prevail hereafter, if God bring you 
into greater trials. Can you now follow Christ in a holy 
life, though your flesh repine, and would have its liberties 
and pleasures ; and though the world deride or threaten 
you, or great ones turn against you and threaten your un- 
doing ? Can you part with your money to the poor, or to 
the promoting of any work of Christ, according to the mea- 
sure of estate that God hath allotted you, notwithstanding 
all temptations to the contrary ? Some trials you have 
now ; if you can go well through these, you have no cause 
to disquiet your mind with fears of falling in greater trials. 
But he that cannot now deny his greedy appetite in meats 
and drink, so far as to forbear excess : nor can deny his cre- 
dit with men, nor bear the scorns or frowns of the world, 
but be on the stronger side, and decline his duty to avoid 
danger, whatever become of conscience or God's favour, 
this man is not like to forsake and lay down his life for 
Christ and his cause. 

Object ' But though I break through lesser trials, I am 
not sure to overcome in greater, for the same measure of 
grace will not enable a man to forsake all, which will enable 
him to forsake a little. Many have gone through smaller 
trials, and after forsake Christ in greater. And Christ makes 
it the property of temporaries that are not rooted in the 
faith, that they fall when tribulation and persecution for the 
Gospel ariseth, and therefore it seems they may stand till 


then ; and if trial never come, they may never fall, and yet 
be unsound in the mean time.' 

Answ. 1. If your trial now be considerable, the truth of 
grace may be manifested in it, though it be none of the 
greatest, and though in striving against sin you have not 
yet resisted unto blood. 2. If you carefully observe your 
own heart, you may discern whether the Spirit and your re- 
solutions be prevalent, by their daily subduing and morti- 
fying the flesh and its lusts. Nay, let me tell you, the vic- 
tory of God's Spirit over the flattering, enticing world in 
prosperity, is as-great and glorious, if not more, than that 
over the frowning, persecuting world in adversity. And 
therefore find the one, and you need not fear the other. 
Though I confess that hypocrites do not fall so visibly and 
shamefully always in prosperity as in adversity ; for they 
have more pretences, advantages, and carnal shifts, to hide 
the shame of their falls. And for that in the parable in 
Matt. xiii. I pray you mark one thing. Christ seems to 
speak of every several sort of hearers by a gradation, speak- 
ing last of those that go farthest. The first sort are the 
common, ignorant, negligent hearers, in whom the word 
takes no root at all. The second sort are those that give it 
a slight and shallow rooting, but no deep rooting at all ; 
these are they that fall away in tribulation. By falling away, 
is meant the plain deserting Christ or the substance of his 
cause. These men till this falling away, though they pro- 
fessed Christ, and heard the word with joy, yet no doubt 
did not crucify the flesh and the world, whereby they might 
have discovered their unsoundness if they would, before tri- 
bulation came. First, by discerning that the word was not 
deep rooted : 1. In their judgment and estimation. 2. Or 
in their wills and settled resolution. Secondly ; And by 
discerning the unmortified lusts of their hearts in the mean 
time. But it seems the third sort of hearers, likened to the 
thorny ground, went further than these ; for here it is only 
said by Luke, viii. 14. " That they bring no fruit to perfec- 
tion." However, whether these went farther than the other, 
or not, it is certain that these-also had their trial, and fell in 
the trial. The deceitfulness of riches overturned these, as 
the heat of persecution overturned the other. So that it is 
evident that prosperity puts faith to the trial, as well as ad- 


versity. But mark the different manner of their falls and 
overthrows. They that are overthrown by adversity, are 
said to fall away, that is, to forsake Christ openly ; but they 
that fall by prosperity, are not said to fall away ; but only 
that the " deceitfulness of riches, and cares of the world, 
choke the word, so that it becomes unfruitful ;" that is, 
brings no fruit to perfection. For usually these do not 
openly forsake Christ, but continue oft an unfruitful and 
hypocritical profession ; insomuch that at that very time, 
when the word is choked and fruitless, yet the blade of pro- 
fession may be as green as ever, and they may be so much 
in some duties, and have such golden words, and witty shifts 
to plead for every covetous practice, and put so fair a gloss 
on all their actions, that they may keep up the credit of be- 
ing very eminent Christians. So that if your grace can 
carry you well through prosperity, you may be confident of 
the truth of it. 3. And then if it be thus proved true and 
saving, you have cause to be confident that it will hold out 
in adversity also, and cause you to overcome the shake of 
tribulation. I think most men are better in adversity than in 
prosperity, though I confess no adversity is so shaking, as 
that which leaves it in a man's choice to come out of it by 
sinning. As for a man in health to be persecuted, and the 
persecutor to say, ' If thou wilt turn to my side and way, I 
will give thee thy life and preferment with it ;' but sickness 
or other sufferings imposed only by God, and which only 
God can take off, are nothing so shaking. For as the former 
draws us to please men, that they may deliver us, so this 
draws even the wicked to think of pleasing God, that he 
may deliver them. 

17. Observe that when I ask ' whether this resolution do 
already prevail,' I do not mean any perfect prevailing; nay, 
sin may prevail to draw you to a particular act (and how 
many, I will not undertake to tell you) and yet still grace 
and the Spirit do conquer in the main. For you will say, 
that general and army get the victory who vanquish the 
other, and win the field, though yet perhaps a troop or re- 
giment may be routed, and many slain. 

18. When I speak of your ' overcoming all gross sins,' 
as I mean in ordinary, not doubting but it is too possible 
for a believer to commit a gross sin ; so I confess that it is 
hard to tell just which sins are to be called gross, and which 


infirmities only ; or (as some speak) which are mortal, and 
which not. And therefore this mark hath some difficulties, 
as to the right trying of it (of which more anon). 

19. Yet I desire that you join them all together in trial, 
seeing it is in the whole that the true and full description of 
a Christian is contained. The same description of a true 
Christian (presupposing his right belief) I have drawn up in 
our public church profession, which in this county, the mi- 
nisters have agreed on ; in the profession of consent in these 
words ; ' I do heartily take this one God for my only God 
and chief good ; and this Jesus Christ for my only Lord, Re- 
deemer and Saviour ; and this Holy Ghost for my Sancti- 
fier ; and the doctrine by him revealed and sealed by his 
miracles, and now contained in the Holy Scriptures, do I 
take for the law of God, and the rule of my faith and life : 
and repenting unfeignedly of my sins, I do resolve through 
the grace of God sincerely to obey him, both in holiness to 
God, and righteousness to man, and in special love to the 
saints, and communion with them, against all the tempta- 
tions of the devil, the world, and my own flesh, and this to 
the death.' He that sincerely can speak these words, is a 
sincere Christian. 

20. Lastly, that you may see that those live which I laid 
you down are all true marks, do but peruse these texts of 
Scripture following. For the first. Psalm xvi. 5. 2. Ixxiii. 
24—28. iv. 6, 7. i. 1—3. Josh. xxiv. 16—18. 21—24. 
Matt. vi. 19—21. Rom. vii. 24. viii. 17, 18. 23. Heb. xi. 
10. 15,16.25 — 27. Psalm xvi. 5 — 8. For the second, see 
John i. 10—12. iii. 16. Mark xvi. 16. Acts xvi. 31. 
Johnxiv. 21. xvi. 27. Rom. xiv. 9. Luke xvi. 27. James 
L 12. Matt. xxii. 37. 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Matt. x. 37. Rev. 
xxii. 14. Heb. v. 9. For the third, most of the same will 
serve, and Heb. xii. 14. Matt. vii. 24. Psalm i. 2, 3. 
Matt. V. 20. Acts X. 35. Rom. vii. 22. For the two last 
besides the former, see Heb. xi. 6. Rom. viii. 1 — 14. Gal. 
v. 17. 24. vi. 8. 1 Tim., vi. 9. Luke viii. 13. 1 John ii. 
15. V. 4, 5. James i. 27. iv. 4. Gal. vi. 14. i. 4. Rom. 
xii. 2. Titus ii. 14. Matt. x. 37. Rom. ii. 5— 7. Rev. xiv. 
13. Phil. ii. 14. Col. iii. 23, 24. 1 Cor. iii. 8. 14. John 
xii. 16. 1 John iii. 22, 23. Gen. xxii. 16. Matt. x. 22. 
xxiv. 13. Heb. iii. 6. 14. vi. 11. Rev. ii. 26. 10. xii. 11. 


Matt, xvi.25. x. 39. Mark xvii. 33. Rom. viii. 9. 13. Luke 
xiii. 3. 5. Rom. vi. 4—6. 12. 14. 16, 17. 22. 

And thus I have given you such marks as you may safely 
try yourself by, and cleared the meaning of them to you. 
Now let me advise you to this use of them. 1. In your se- 
rious self-examination, try only by these, and not by any 
uncertain marks. Iknow^ there be promises of life made to 
some particular duties and single qualifications in Scrip- 
ture, as to humility, meekness, alms-deeds, love to the godly, 
&c. ; but it is still both on supposition that they be not sin- 
gle in the person, but are accompanied with, and flow from 
that faith and love to God before-mentioned ; and also that 
they are in a prevailing degree. 

2. Whenever any fresh doubtings arise in you upon the 
stirrings of corruption, or debility of graces, still have re- 
course to these former marks ; and while you find these, let 
not any thing cause you to pass wrong judgments on yourself. 
Lay these now to your own heart, and tell me, ' Are you not 
unfeignedly willing to have Christ on the terms that he is 
offered ? Are you not willing to be more holy? And beg 
of him to make you so? Would you not be glad if your 
soul were more perfectly sanctified, and rid of that body of 
sin, though it were to the smart and displeasing of your 
flesh ? Are you not willing to wait on God, in the use of 
his ordinances, in that poor weak measure as you are able to 
perform them ? Durst you, or would you quit your part in 
God, heaven, Christ, and forsake the way of holiness, and 
do as the profane world doth, though it were to please your 
flesh, or save your state or life ? Do you not daily strive 
against the flesh and keep it under, and deny its desires ? 
Do you not deny the world when it would hinder you from 
works of mercy or public good, according to your ability ? 
Is it not the grief of your soul when you fall, and your great- 
est trouble that you cannot walk more obediently, innocently 
and fruitfully ? And do you not after sinning resolve to be 
more watchful for the time to come ? Are you not resolved 
to stick to Christ and his holy laws and ways, whatever 
changes or dangers come, and rather to forsake friends and 
all that you have, than to forsake him ? Yet in a godly jea- 
lousy and distrust of your own heart, do renounce your own 
strength, and resolve to do this only in the strength of Christ, 
and therefore daily beg it of him ? Is it not your daily care 


and business to please God and do his will, and avoid sin- 
ning in you weak measure V I hope that all this is so, and 
your own case ; which, if it be, you have infallible eviden- 
ces, and want but the sight and comfort of them, you have 
the true grounds for assurance, though you want assurance 
itself; your chief danger is over, though your trouble re- 
raainr Your soul is at the present in a safe condition, 
though not in the sense of it. You are in the state of sal- 
vation, though not of consolation. It must be your next 
work therefore to study God's mercies, and take notice what 
he hath done for your soul. Let not so blessed a guest as 
the Holy Ghost dwell in you unobserved. Shall he do such 
wonders in you, and for you, and you not know it, or ac- 
knowledge it? Shall he new-beget you, and new-make 
you, and produce a spiritual and heavenly nature in you, who 
of yourself were so carnal and earthly, and will you not ob- 
serve it ? Had you any of these holy desires, endeavours, 
or resolutions of yourself by nature ? Or have the ungodly 
about you any of them ? O that you knew what a work of 
wonderful mercy, wisdom and power, the Spirit performeth 
in the renewing of a soul ; then sure you would more ob- 
serve and admire his love to you herein ! 

Direct. XII. The next rule for your direction for the 
right settling of yonr peace is this. ' You must know, that 
assurance of justification, adoption, and right of salva- 
tion, cannot be gathered from the smallest degree of saving 

1. Here I must say something for explaining my mean- 
ing to you. 2. And then give you my reasons of this as- 

1. Understand that I speak of God's ordinary working 
by means, not denying but God may, by a voice from hea- 
ven, or an angel, or other supernatural revelation, bestow 
assurance on whom he pleaseth. But I hope all wise Chris- 
tians will take heed of expecting this, or of trusting too 
much to seeming revelations, unless they could prove that 
God useth to confer assurance in this way ; which I think 
they cannot. 

2. By the smallest degree of grace, I mean, of faith, love, 
obedience, and those saving graces, whose acts are the con- 
dition of our salvation, and which in the fore-expressed 
marks I laid down to you. Do not therefore so mistake me. 


as to think that I speak of a small measure of those com- 
mon gifts which are separable from true sanctification ; 
such as are extensive knowledge, memory, ability of utter- 
ance in preaching, repeating, exhorting or praying; an or- 
nate, plausible winning deportment before men, such as is 
commonly called good breeding or manners; an affected, 
humble, compliraental familiarity and condescension, to 
creep into men's estimation and affections, and steal their 
hearts, &c. Many a one that is strong in saving grace, is 
.veak in all these, and other the like. 
Now for my reasons. 
1. I conceive that it is not possible for any minister 
punctually to set down a discernible difference between the 
least measure of true saving grace, and the highest degree 
of common grace ; and to say, just here it is that they part, 
or by this you may discern them. I do but say, 1 think so, 
because other men may know far more than I do ; but I will 
say it as certain, that I am not able to do it, for my own 
part. This much I can tell, that the least degree of grace 
that is saving, doth determine the soul for God and Christ, 
against the world and flesh, that stand as competitors ; 
and so where Christ's interest prevaileth in the least mea- 
sure, there is the least measure of saving grace. As when 
you are weighing two things in the balance, and at last make 
it so near even weight, that one end is turned and no more : 
so when you are considering whether to be for Christ, or for 
the flesh and the world, and your will is but even a very 
little determined to Christ, and preferreth him ; this is the 
least measure of saving grace. But then how a poor soul 
should discern this prevalent choice and determination 
of itself is all the question. For there is nothing more easy 
and common than for men to think verily, that they prefer 
Christ above the creature, as long as no temptation doth 
assault them, nor sensual objects stand up in any consider- 
able strength to entice them. Nay, wicked men do truly, 
ofttimes, purpose to obey Christ before the flesh, and to 
take him for their Lord, merely in the general, when they do 
not know or consider the quality of his laws ; that they are 
so strict and spiritual, and contrary to the flesh, and hazard- 
ous to their worldly hopes and seeming happiness. But when 
it comes to particulars, and God saith, * Now deny thysell. 
and Ihy friend, and thy goods, and thy life for my sake;' 



alas, it was never his resolution to do it ; nor will he be per- 
suaded to it. But he that said to God, who sends him to 
labour in his vineyard, " 1 go. Sir," when he comes to find 
the unpleasingness of the work, he goes not, nor ever sets 
a hand to it. So that it is evident, that it is no true, saving 
resolution or willingness, which prevaileth not for actual 
obedience. Now here comes in the unresolvable doubt. 
What is the least measure of obedience, that will prove a 
man truly willing and resolved, or to have truly accepted of 
Christ for his Lord ? This obedience lieth in performing 
what is commanded, and avoiding what is forbidden. Now 
it is too certain, that every true believer is guilty of a fre- 
quent neglect of duty, yea, of known duty. We know we 
should love God more abundantly, and delight in him, and 
meditate more on him, and pray more oft and earnestly than 
we do, and instruct our families more diligently, and speak 
against sin more boldly, and admonish our neighbours 
more faithfully, with many the like. " The good that we 
would do, we do not ;" Rom. vii. 19. Nay, the flesh so 
striveth against the Spirit, that " we cannot do the good we 
would ;" Gal. v. 17. Nay, many a true Christian in time of 
temptation, hath been drawn to omit secret prayer, or fami- 
ly duties, almost wholly for a certain space of time ; yea, 
and perhaps to be so corrupted in his judgment for a time, 
as to think he doth well in it, as also in forbearing praising 
God by psalms, receiving the sacraments, and communi- 
cating with the church, hearing the word publicly, &,c. (for 
what duty almost is not denied of late ?) and perhaps may 
not only omit relieving the poor for a time, but excuse it. 
Now what man can punctually determine just how often a 
true Christian may be guilty of any such omission? and just 
)iow long he may continue it ? and what the duties be which 
he may possibly so omit, and what not? 

So also in sins of commission. Alas, what sins did 
Noah, Lot, David, Solomon, Asa, Peter, &c. commit ! 

If we should say as the Papists and Arminians, that 
these being mortal sins, do for the time, till repentance re- 
store him, cast a true Christian out of God's favour into a 
state of damnation ; then what man breatliing is able to 
enumerate those mortal sins, and tell us which be so damn- 
ing, and which not ? Nay, if he could say, drunkenness is 
one, and gluttony another, who can set the punctual stint. 


and say, * Just so many bits a man must eat before he be a 
glutton; or just so much he must drink before he be a 
drunkard? or by such a sign the turning point may be cer- 
tainly known V We may have signs by which we may 
be tried at the bar of man ; but these are none of them tak- 
en from that smallest degree, which specifieth and denomi- 
nates the sin before God. If we avoid the foresaid opinion 
that one such sin doth bring us into the state of damnation, 
yet is the difficulty never the less ; for it is certain, that 
" he that commits sin is of the devil j" 1 John iii. 8. and 
there are spots, which are not the spots of God's children ; 
and all true faith will mortify the world to us, and us to it, 
(Gal. vi. 14.), and " he that is in Christ hath crucified the 
flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof," (chap. v. 24.); 
and that " if we live after the flesh we shall die ;" Rom. viii. 
13. And " his servants we are to whom we obey, whether 
of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness ;" 
chap. vi. 16. And " if we delight in iniquity, or regard it, 
God will not hear our prayers ;" Psal. Ixvi. 18. And that 
" he that nameth the name of Christ must depart from ini- 
quity ;" 1 Tim. ii. 19. And that " God will judge all men 
according to their works," and bid the workers of iniquity 
depart from him ; Matt. vii. 23. Now can any man on earth 
tell us just how great, or how often sinning will stand with 
true grace, and how much will not ? Who can find those 
punctual bounds in the word of God? I conclude, therer 
fore, that no minister, or at least, none who is no wiser than 
I am, can give a true, discernible difference between the 
worst of saints, and the best of the unsanctified, or the 
weakest degree of true grace, and the highest of common 
grace ; and so to help such weak Christians to true assur- 
ance of their salvation. 

2. But as this is impossible to be declared by the teach- 
ers, so much more is it impossible to be discerned by the 
persons themselves, yea, though it could possibly be de- 
clared to him ; and that for these reasons. 

1 . From the nature of the thing. Small things are hard- 
ly discerned. A little is next to none. 2. From the great 
darkness of man's understanding, and his unacquaintedness 
with himself (both the nature, faculties, and motions of his 
soul, naturally considered, and the moral state, disposi- 
tions, and motions of it), and is it likely that so blind an 


eye can discern the smallest thing, and that in so strange 
and dark a place? Every purblind man cannot see an 
atom, or a pin, especially in the dark. 3. The heart is de- 
ceitful above all things, as well as dark ; full of seemings, 
counterfeits, and false pretences. And a child in grace is 
not able to discover its jugglings, and understand a book, 
where almost every word is equivocal or mysterious. 4. 
The heart is most confused, as well as dark and deceitful ; 
it is like a house, or shop of tools, where all things are 
thrown together on a heap, and nothing keeps its own 
place. There are such multiplicity of cogitations, fancies, 
and passions, and such irregular thronging in of them, and 
such a confused reception, and operation of objects and 
conceptions, that it is a wonderful difficult thing for the 
best Christian to discern clearly the bent and actions, and 
so the state of his own soul. For in such a crowd of cogi- 
tations and passions, we are like men in a fair or crowd of 
people, where a confused noise may be heard, but you cannot 
well perceive what any of them say, except either some one 
near you that speaks much louder than all tbe rest, or else 
except you single out some one from the rest, and go close 
to him to confer with him of purpose. Our intellect and 
passions are like the lakes of water in the common roads, 
where the frequent passage of horses doth so muddy it, that 
you can see nothing in it, especially that it is near the bot- 
tom ; when in pure untroubled waters you may see a small 
hing. In such a confusion and tumult as is usually in 
men's souls, for a poor weak Christian to seek for the dis- 
covery of his sincerity, is according to the proverb, to seek 
for a needle in a bottle of hay. 5. Besides all this, the cor- 
rupt heart of man is so exceeding backward to the work of 
self-examination, and the use of other means, by which the 
soul should be familiarly acquainted with itself, that in a 
case of such difficulty it will hardly ever overcome them, if 
it were a thing that might be done. In the best, a great 
deal of resolvedness, diligence, and unwearied constancy in 
searching into the state of the soul, is necessary to the at- 
tainment of a settled assurance and peace. How much more 
in them that have so small, and almost undiscernible a 
measure of grace to discover. 6. Yet further, the concep- 
tions, apprehensions, and consequently the sensible motions 
of the will, and especially the passions, are all naturally 


exceeding mutable ; and while the mobile, agile spirits are 
any way the instruments, it will be so ; especially where the 
impression which is made in the understanding is so small 
and weak. Naturally man's mind and will is exceeding 
mutable, and turned into a hundred shapes in a few days, 
according as objects are presented to us, and the tempera 
ture of the body disposeth, helps, or hinders the mind. Let 
us hear one man reason the case, and we think he makes all 
as clear as the light ; let us hear another solve all his argu- 
ments, and dispute for the contrary, and then we see that 
our apprehensions were abused. Let us hear him reply 
and confute all again, and confirm his cause, and then we 
think him in the right again. Nothing more changeable 
than the conceivings and mind of man, till he be thorough- 
ly resolved and habituated. Now in this case, how shall 
those that have but little grace, be able to discern it ? It 
will not keep the mind from fluctuating. If they seem re- 
solved for obedience to Christ to-day, to-morrow they are 
so shaken by some enticing object, and force of the same 
temptation, that their resolution is undiscernible ; nay, 
actually they prefer sin at that time before obedience. It 
is impossible then but the soul should stagger and be at a 
loss; for it will judge of itself as it finds itself, and it can- 
not discern the habitual prevalency of Christ's interest, 
when they feel the actual prevalency of the flesh's interest. 
For the act is the only discoverer of the habit. And if Pe- 
ter himself should have fallen to the examination of his 
heart, whether he preferred Christ before his life, at the 
same time when he was denying and forswearing Christ to 
save his life, do you think he could have discerned it ? 
And yet even then Christ's interest was greatest in him ha- 
bitually. If David should have gone to search, whether he 
preferred obedience to God, before his fleshly pleasure, 
when he was committing adultery ; or before his credit, 
when he was plotting the death of Uriah, what discovery 
do you think he would have made '? 7. Add to all these, 
that as these several distempers, were they but in the same 
measure in a weak Christian, as they are in the best or in 
most, would yet make the smallest measure of grace undis- 
cernible (if we might suppose the smallest grace to be 
consistent with such a frame) ; so it is certain, that who- 
ever he be that hath the least measure of grace to discover 


in himself, he hath proportionably the least measure of abi- 
lities and helps to discover it, and the greatest measure of 
all the forementioned hindrances. He that hath but a very 
little repentance, faith, love, and obedience sincere, when 
he goeth to find it out, be hath in the same measure, a 
darker understanding to discern it than others have ; and a 
greater strangeness and disacquaintance with himself-; and 
more deceitfulness in his heart, and a greater confusion and 
hurly-burly in his thoughts and affections, and all more 
out of order and to seek. Also be hath a greater back- 
wardness to the work of self-examination, and can hardly 
get his heart to it, and more hardly to do it thoroughly, and 
search to the quick, and most hardly to hold on against all 
withdrawing temptations, till he have made a clearer disco- 
very. And lastly, his soul is more mutable than stronger 
Christians are ; and therefore when cross actings are so 
frequent, he cannot discern the smallest prevailing habit- 
If (when you are weighing gold) the scales be turned but 
with one grain, every little jog, or wind, or unsteadfast 
holding, will actually lift up the heavier end ; and its pre- 
ponderation is with great wavering and mobility. 8. Yet 
further, consider, that those that have least grace, have 
most sin, habitual and actual ; and they are so frequent ia 
transgressing, that their failings are still in their eye, and 
thereby the prevalency of Christ's interest is made more 
doubtful and obscure. For when he askethhisownconsciencej 
' Do I will or love most the world and my fleshly delights, 
or Christ and his ways V Presently conscience remem- 
bereth him at such a time, and such a time thou didst 
choose thy fleshly pleasures, profits, or credit, and refuse 
obedience. And it is so oft, and so foully, that the soul is 
utterly at a loss, and cannot discein the habitual prevalent 
bent and resolution of the will. 9. Besides, conscience is a 
judge in man's soul, and will be accusing and condemning 
men so far as they are guilty. Now, they that make work 
for the most frequent and terrible accusations of conscience 
that will stand with true grace, are unlikely to have assur- 
ance. For assurance quiets the soul, and easeth it ; and a 
galled conscience works the contrary way. They that keep 
open the wound, and daily fret ofl" the skin more, and are 
still grating on the galled part, are unlikely to have assur- 
ance. 10. Again, these weakest Christians being least in 


duly, aud most in biniiing (of any in whom sin ruignelli not), 
they are consequently most in provoking and displeasing 
God. And they that do so shall find that God will shew 
them his displeasure, and will displease them again. They 
must not look to enjoy assurance, or see the pleased face 
of God, till they are more careful to please him, and are 
more sparing, and seldom in offending him. As God's uni- 
versal justice in governing the world, will make as great a 
difference between the sincerely obedient, and disobedient, 
as there is between heaven and hell, so God's paternal jus- 
tice in governing his family, will make as wide a difference 
between the more obedient children, and the less obedient, 
as is between his dreadful frowns, and his joyous, reviving 
smiles ; or between his smarting rod, or his encouraging 
rewards. 11. If God should give assurance and peace to 
the sinning and least obedient believers, he should not fit 
his providential disposals to their good. It is not that 
which their state requires, nor would it tend to their cure 
any more than a healing plaister to a sore that is rotten in 
the bottom, or a cordial to the removal of a cacochymy, or 
the purging out of corrupt, redundant humours. They are 
so inclined to the lethargy of security, that they have need 
of continual pinching, striking, or loud calling on, to keep 
them waking ; (still remember that by this weak Christian, 
I mean not every doubting, distressed soul that is weak in 
their own apprehension, and little in their own eyes, and 
poor in spirit ; but I mean those that have the least mea- 
sure of sincere love to Christ, and desire after him, and 
tenderness of conscience, and care to please God, and the 
greatest measure of security, worldliness, pride, flesh-pleas- 
ing, and boldness in sinning, which is consistent with sin- 
cerity in the faith. I believe there is no father or mother, 
that hath children to govern, but they know by experience, 
that there is a necessity of frowns and rods for the more 
disobedient ; and that rewards and smiles are no cure for 
stubbornness or contempt. 12. Lastly, Do but well consi- 
der, what a solecism in government it would be, and what 
desperate inconveniences it would have brought into the 
world, if God should have set such a punctual land-mark 
between his kingdom and the kingdom of satan, as we are 
ready to dream of. If God should have said in his word, just 
so oft a man may be drunk, or may murder, or commit adul- 


tery, or steal, or forswear himself, and yet be a true Christian 
and be saved ! Or just so far a man may go, in neglecting 
duty to God and man, and in cherishing his flesh, hiding, 
his sin, &c., and yet be a true believer and be saved. This 
would, 1. Embolden men in sinning, and make them think, 
I may yet venture, fori stand on safe ground. 2. And it would 
hinder repentance. Indeed it would be the way to rob God 
of his honour, and multiply provocations against him, and 
keep his children in disobedience, and hinder their growth 
in holiness, and cause a deformity in Christ's body, and a 
shame to his religion and sacred name. As for those that 
say, assurance never encourageth men in sin, but tends to 
destroy it ; I answer, it is true of God's assurance, season- 
ably given to those that are fit for it, and used by them ac- 
cordingly. But if God should have told all the world, just 
how far they may sin, and yet be certain of salvation, this 
would have bred assurance in those that were unfit for it ; 
and it would have been but the putting of new wine into old 
cracked bottles ; or a new piece into an old garment, that 
would break them, or make worse the rent. 1 must there- 
fore freely tell these objectors (I am sorry that so many of 
my old acquaintance now harp so much on this Antinomian 
string), that ignorance or error hath so blinded them, that 
they have forgotten, or know not, 1. What an imperfect 
piece the best is in this life, much more the worst true 
Christian. 2. Nor what a subtle devil we have to tempt us. 
3. Nor what an active thing corruption is, and what advan- 
tage it will take on unseasonable assurance. 4. Nor what 
the nature of grace and sanctification is ; and how much of 
it lies in a godly jealousy of ourselves, and apprehension of 
our danger, and that " the fear of God is the beginning of 
wisdom:" see Heb. iv. 1. Nay, 5. They have forgotten 
what a man is, and how inseparable from his nature is the 
principle of self-preservation, and how necessary the 
apprehension of danger, and the fear of evil to himself, 
is to the avoiding of that evil, and so to his preservation. 
6. Yea, if they knew but what a commonwealth or a family 
is, they would know that fear of evil, and desire of self-pre- 
servation, is the very motive to associations, and the ground- 
work of all laws and government, and a great part of the life 
of all obedience. 

And thus I have fully proved to you, that the smallest 


measure of grace cannot help men to assurance in God's or- 
dinary way. 

Perhaps you will say, * What comfort is there in this to 
a poor weak Christian?* This is rather the way to put him 
quite out of heart and hope. I answer. No such matter. 
I shall shew the uses of this observation in the following 
Directions. In the mean time I will say but this. The ex- 
pectations of unseasonable assurance, and out of God's 
way, is a very great cause of keeping many in languishing 
and distress, and of causing others to turn Antinomians, 
and snatch at comforts which God never gave them, and to 
feign and frame an assurance of their own making, or build 
upon the delusions of the great deceiver, transforming him- 
self into an angel of light. 

Direct, XIII. From the last mentioned observation, 
there is one plain consectary arising, which I think you 
may do well to note by the way, viz. * That according to 
God's ordinary way of giving grace, it cannot be expected 
that Christians should be able to know the very time of 
their first receiving or acting true saving grace, or just when 
they were pardoned, justified, adopted, and put into a state 
of salvation.' 

This must needs be undeniable, (if you grant the former 
point. That the least measure of grace yieldeth not assur- 
ance of its sincerity, which is proved) ; and withal, if you 
grant this plain truth. That it is God's ordinary way, to give 
a small measure of grace at the first. This I prove thus : 
1. Christ likeneth God's kingdom of grace to a grain of 
mustard-seed, which is at the first, the least of all seeds, 
but after cometh to a tree ; and to a little leaven, which 
leaveneth the whole lump. I will not deny, but this may be 
applied to the visible progress of the Gospel, and increase 
of the church. But it is plainly applicable also to the king- 
dom of Christ within us. 2. The Scripture oft calleth such 
young beginners, babes, children, novices, &c. 3. We are 
all commanded still to grow in grace ; which implieth, that 
we have our smallest measure at the first. 4. Heb. v. 12. 
sheweth, that strength of grace should be according to 
time and means. 5. Common experience is an invincible 
argument for this. Men are at a distance from Christ, 
when he first calleth them to come to him ; and many steps 
they have toward him befoie they reach to him. We are 


first so far enlightened as to see our sin and misery, and 
the meaning and truth of the Gospel, and so roused put of 
our security, and made to look about us, and see that we 
have souls to save or lose, and that it is no jesting matter 
to be a Christian. And so we come to understand the te- 
nor of the covenant, and Christ's terms of saving men. 
But, alas, how long is it usually after this, before we come 
sincerely to yield to his terms, and take him as he is otifer- 
ed, and renounce the world, flesh, and the devil, and give 
up ourselves to him in a faithful covenant ! We are long 
deliberating, before we can get our backward hearts to re- 
solve. How then should a man know just when he was 
past the highest step of common or preparative grace, and 
arrived at the first step of special grace ? 

Yet mark, that I here speak only of God's ordinary way 
of giving grace ; for I doubt not, but in some God may give 
a higher degree of grace at the first day of their conversion, 
than some others do attain in many years. And those may 
know the time of their true conversion, both because the 
effect was so discernible, and because the suddenness makes 
the change more sensible and observable. 

But this is not the ordinary course. Ordinarily con- 
victions lie long on the soul before they come to a true 
conversion. Conscience is wounded, and smarting long, 
and long grudging against our sinful and negligent courses, 
and telling us of the necessity of Christ and a holy life, be- 
fore we sincerely obey conscience, and give up ourselves to 
Christ. We seldom yield to the first conviction or persua- 
sion. The flesh hath usually too long time given it to plead 
its own cause, and to say to the soul, ' Wilt thou forsake all 
thy pleasure and merry company and courses ? Wilt thou 
beggar thyself? or make thyself a scorn or mocking-stock 
to the world ? Art thou ever able to hold out in so strict a 
course? and to be undone? and to forsake all, and lay 
down thy life for Christ ? Is it not better to venture thy- 
self in the same way as thou hast gone in, as well as others 
do, and as so many of thy forefathers have done before 
thee V Under such sinful deliberations as these we usually 
continue long before we fully resolve ; and many demurs 
and delays we make before we conclude to take Christ on 
the terms that he is oft'ered to us. Now I make no doubt 
but most or many Christians can remember how and when 


God stirred their consciences, and wakened them from their 
security, and made them look about them, and roused them 
out of their natural lethargy. Some can tell what sermon 
first did it ; others can remember by what degrees and steps 
God was doing it long. The ordinary way appointed by God 
for the doing of it first, is the instruction of parents. And 
(as I have more fully manifested in my Book of Infant 
Baptism) if parents would do their duties, they would find 
that the word publicly preached was not appointed to be 
the first ordinary means of conversion and sanctification ; 
but commonly, grace would be received in childhood ; I 
speak not of baptismal relative grace, consisting in the par- 
don of original sin, nor yet any infusion of habits before 
they have the use of reason (because I suppose it is hid 
from us, what God doth in that), but I speak of actual con- 
version ; and I prove that this should be the first ordinary 
way and time of conversion to the children of true Chris- 
tians, because it is the first means that God hath appointed 
to be used with them ; Deut. vi. 6—8. Eph.„vi. 4. Pa- 
rents are commanded to teach their children the law of 
God urgently at home, and as they walk abroad, lying 
down, and rising up ; and to bring them up in the admoni- 
tion and nurture of the Lord, and to " train up a child in 
the way he should go and when they are old they will not 
depart from it ;" Pro v. xxii. 6. And children are com- 
manded to " remember their Creator in the days of their 
youth;" Eccles. xii. 1. And if this be God's first great 
means, then doubtless he will ordinarily bless his own 
means here, as well as in the preaching of the word. 

From all this I would have you learn this lesson. That 
you ought -not to trouble yourself with fears and doubts, lest 
you are not truly regenerate, because you know not the ser- 
mon or the very time and manner of your conversion ; but 
find that you have grace, and then, though you know not 
just the time or manner of your receiving of it, yet you may 
nevertheless be assured of salvation by it. Search therefore 
what you are, and how your will is disposed and resolved, 
and how your life is ordered, rather than to know how you 
became such. I know the workings of the Spirit on the 
soul may be discerned, because they stir up discernible act- 
ings in our own spirits. The soul's convictions, considera- 
tions, resolutions and affections, are no iuseutiible thing&» 


But yet the work of grace usually begins in common grace^ 
and so proceeds by degrees till it come to special saving 
grace, even as the work of nature doth, first producing the 
matter, and then introducing the form ; first producing the 
embryo, before it introduce a rational soul. And as no child 
knows the time or manner of its ovi^n formation, vivification 
or reception of that soul, so I think few true believers can 
say, just such a day, or at such a sermon I became a true 
justified, sanctified man. That was the hour of your true 
conversion and justification, when you first preferred God 
and Christ, and grace before all things in this world, and de- 
liberately and seriously resolved to take Christ for your Sa- 
viour and Governor, and give up yourself to him to be saved, 
taught and governed, and to obey him faithfully to the death 
against all temptations, whatsoever you shall lose or suffer by 
it. Now I would but ask those very Christians that think they 
do know the very sermon that converted them ; Did that 
sermon bring you to this resolution ? Or was it not only 
some troubling rousing preparation hereto ? I think some 
desperate sickness or the like affliction is a very usual means 
to bring resolutions to be downright and fixed, with many 
souls that long delayed and fluctuated in unresolvedness, and 
lay under mere ineffectual convictions. 

Object. ' But this runs on your own grounds, that saving 
grace and common grace do differ but in degrees.' 

Answ. I think most will confess, that as to the acts of 
grace, and that is it that we are now inquiring after ; and 
that is all the means that we have of discerning the habits. 
Yet remember that I still tell you, * That there is a special 
moral difference, though grounded but in a gradual natural 
difference.' Yea, and that one grain of the Spirit's working, 
which turns the will in a prevalent measure for Christ, (to- 
gether with the illumination necessary thereto) deserves ail 
those eulogies and high titles that are ^iven it in the word ; 
so great a change doth it make in the soul ! Well may it be 
called ' The new creature :' ' Born of the Spirit :' ' The 
workmanship of God :' ' The new life :' Yea, * The image 
of God,' and ' The Divine Nature.' (If that text be not 
meant of the Divine Nature in Christ which we are relatively 
made partakers of in our union with him). When you are 
weighing things in the balance, you may add grain after 
grain, and it makes no turning or motion at all, till you 


come to the very last grain, and then suddenly that end which 
was downward is turned upward. When you stand at a loss 
between two highways, not knowing which way to go, as 
long as you are deliberate, you stand still : all the reasons 
that come into your mind do not stir you ; but the last rea- 
son which resolves you, setteth you in motion. So is it in 
the change of a sinner's heart and life ; he is not changed 
(but preparing towards it) while he is but deliberating, whe- 
ther he should choose Christ or the world ? But the last 
reason that comes in and determinethhis will to Christ, and 
makes him resolve and enter a firm covenant with Christ, 
and say, ' I will have Christ for better or worse ;' this ma- 
keth the greatest change that ever is made by any work in 
this world. For how can there be greater than the turning 
of a soul from the creature to the Creator ? So distant are 
the terms of this change. After this one turning act Christ 
hath that heart, and the main bent and endeavours of the 
life, which the world had before. The man hath a new end, 
a new rule and guide, and a new master. Before the flesh 
and the devil were his masters, and now Christ is his mas- 
ter. So that you must not think so meanly of the turning, 
determining, resolving act of grace, because it lieth but in a 
gradual difference naturally from common grace. If a prince 
should offer a condemned beggar to marry her, and to par- 
don her, and make her his queen, her deliberation may be 
the way to her consent, and one reason after anotlier may 
bring her near to consenting. But it is that which tuxns 
her will to consent, resolve, covenant and deliver herself to 
him, which makes the great change in her state. Yet all 
the foregoing work of common grace hath a hand in the 
change, though only the turning resolution do effect it : it is 
the rest with this that doth it : as when the last grain turns 
the scales, the former do concur. I will conclude with Dr. 
Preston's words, in his " Golden Sceptre," page 210 : Object. 
' It seems then that the knowledge of a carnal man, and of 
a regenerate man, do differ but in degrees and not in kind.' 
Answ. The want of degrees here alters the kind, as in num- 
bers, the addition of a degree alters the species and kind.' 
Read forthis also. Dr. Jackson " Of Saving Faith," sect. iii. 
chap. iii. pp. 297, 298. and frequently in other places. So 
much for that observation. 

Direct. XIV. Yet further T would have you to under- 


stand this : 'That as the least measure of saving grace is or- 
dinarily undiscernible from the greatest measure of common 
grace, (notwithstanding the greatness of the change that it 
makes) so a measure somewhat greater is so hardly discern- 
ible, that it seldom brings assurance : and therefore it is 
only the stronger Christians that attain assurance ordinarily ; 
even those who have a great degree of faith and love, and 
keep them much in exercise, and are very watchful and care- 
ful in obedience : and consequently (most Christians being 
of the weaker sort) it is but few that do attain to assurance 
of their justification and salvation.' 

Here are two or three points which I would have you 
distinctly to observe, though I lay them all together for bre- 
vity. 1. That it is only a greater measure of grace that will or- 
dinarily afford assurance. 2. That therefore it is only the 
stronger, and holier, and more obedient sort of Christians that 
usually reach to a certainty of salvation. 3. That few Chris- 
tians do reach to a strong or high degree of grace. 4. And 
therefore it is but few Christians that reach to assurance. 

For the two first of these it will evidently appear that 
they are true, by reviewing the reasons which I gave of the 
last point save one. He that will attain to a certainty of 
salvation, must, 1. Have a large measure of grace to be dis- 
cerned. 2. He must have that grace much in action, and 
lively action ; for it is not mere habits that are discernible. 
3. He must have a clear understanding to be acquainted 
with the nature of spiritual things ; to know what is a sound 
evidence, and how to follow the search, and how to repel 
particular temptations. 4. He must have a good acquaint- 
ance and familiarity with his own heart, and to that end 
must be much at home, and be used sometimes to a diligent 
observation of his heart and ways. 5. He must be in a good 
measure acquainted with, and a conqueror of contradicting 
temptations. 6. He must have some competent cure of the 
deceitfulness of the heart, and it must be brought to an open, 
plain, ingenuous frame, willing to know the worst of itself. 
7. He must have some cure of that ordinary confusion and 
tumultuous disorder that is in the thought and affections of 
men, and get things into an order in his mind. 8. He 
must be a man of diligence, resolution, and imwearied 
patience, that will resolvedly set on the work of self-exami- 
nation, and painfully watch in it, and constantly follow it 


from time to time till he attain a certainty. 9. He must be 
one that is very fearful of sinning, and careful in close obe- 
dient walking with God, and much in sincere and spiritual 
duty, that he keep not conscience still in accusing and con- 
demning him, and God still offended with him, and hi» 
wounds fresh bleeding, and his soul still smarting. 10. He 
must be a man of much fixedness and constancy of mind» 
and not of the ordinary mutability of mankind ; that so he 
may not by remitting his zeal and diligence, lose the sight 
of his evidences, nor by leaving open his soul to an altera- 
tion by every new intruding thought and temptation, let go 
his assurance as soon as he attaineth it. All these things in 
a good degree are necessary to the attaining of assurance of 

And then do I need to say any more to the confirmation 
of the third point. That few Christians reach this measure 
of grace? O that it were not as clear as the light, and as 
discernible as the earth under our feet, that most true Chris- 
tians are weaklings, and of the lower forms in the school of 
Christ? Alas, how ignorant are most of the best, how 
little love, or faith, or zeal, or heavenlymindedness, or 
delight in God have they ? How unacquainted with a 
frequent exercise of these graces ? How unacquainted 
with the way of self-examination ? And how backward to 
it? And how dull and careless in it? Doing it by the halves 
as Laban searched Rachel's tent ? How easily put off with 
an excuse ? How little acquainted with their own hearts ? 
Or with Satan's temptations and ways of deceiving ? How 
much deceitfulness remaineth in their hearts ? How confu- 
sed are their minds ? And what distractions and tumults are 
there in their thoughts ? How bold are they in sinning ? 
And how little tenderness of conscience, and care of obey- 
ing have they ? How frequently do they wound conscience, 
provoke God, and obscure their evidences? And how mu- 
table their apprehensions ? And how soon do they lose that 
assurance which they once attained ? And upon every oc- 
casion quite lose the sight of their evidences ? Yea, and re- 
mit their actual resolutions, and so lose much of the evi- 
dence itself? Is not this the common case of godly peo- 
ple ? O that we could truly deny it : let their lives be wit- 
ness, let the visible neglects, worldliness, pride, impati- 
ency of plain reproof, remissness of zeal, dulness and cus- 


tomariness in duty, strangeness to God, unwillingness to 
secret prayer and meditation, unacquaintedness with the 
Spirit's operations and joys, their unpeaceableness one with 
another, and their too frequent blemishing the glory of their 
holy profession by the unevenness of their walking, let all 
these witness, whether the school of Christ have not most 
children in it ; and how few of them ever go to the univer- 
sity of riper knowledge: and how few of those are fit to 
begin here the works of their priestly office, which they 
must live in for ever, in the high and joyful praises of God, 
and of the Lamb, who hath redeemed them by his blood, and 
made them kings and priests to God, that they may reign 
with him for ever. I am content to stand to the judgment 
of all humble, self-knowing Christians, whether this be not 
true of most of themselves ; and for those that deny it, 1 
will stand to the judgment of their godly neighbours, who 
perhaps know them better than they know themselves. 

And then this being all so, the fourth point is undeniable. 
That it is but very few Christians that reach to assurance of 
salvation. If any think (as intemperate hot-spirited men 
are like enough to charge me) that in all this I countenance 
the popish doctrine of doubting and uncertainty, and can- 
tradict the common doctrine of the reformed divines that 
write against them ; I answer, 1. That I do contradict both 
the Papists that deny assurance, and many foreign writers, 
who make it far more easy, common, and necessary than it 
is (much more than them and the Antinomists, who place 
justifying faith in it). But I stand in the midst between 
both extremes ; and I think I have the company of most 
English divines. 2. I come not to be of this mind merely 
by reading books, but mainly by reading my own heart, and 
consulting my own experience, and the experience of a very 
great number of godly people of all sorts, who have opened 
their hearts to me, for almost twenty years time. 3. I would 
entreat the gainsayers to study their own hearts better for 
some considerable time, and to be more in hearing the case 
and complaints of godly people ; and by that time tb.ey may 
happily come to be of my mind. 4. See whether all those 
divines that have been very practical and successful in the 
work of God, and much acquainted with the way of reco- 
very of lost souls, be not all of the same judgment as my- 
self in this point, (such as T. Hooker, Jo. Rogers, Preston, 


Sibbs, Bolton, Dod, Culverwell, &c.) And whether the most 
confident men for the contrary be not those that study books 
more than hearts, and spend their days in disputing, and 
not in winning souls to God from the world. 

Lastly, Let me add to what is said, these two proofs of 
this fourth point here asserted. 

1. The constant experience of the greatest part of be- 
lievers tells us, that certainty of salvation is very rare. 
Even of those that live comfortably and in peace of con- 
science, yet very few of them do attain to a certainty. For 
my part, it is known that God in undeserved mercy hath 
given me long the society of a great number of godly peo- 
ple, and great interest in them, and privacy with them, and 
opportunity to know their minds, and this in many places 
(my station by providence having been oft removed), and I 
must needs profess, that of all these I have met with few* 
yea, very few indeed, that if I seriously and privately asked 
them, ' Are you certain that you are a true believer, and so 
are justified, and shall be saved,' durst say to me, ' I am 
certain of it.' But some in great doubts and fears : most too 
secure and neglective of their states without assurance, and 
some in so good hopes (to speak in their own language) as 
calmeth their spirits, that they can comfortably cast them- 
selves on God in Christ. And those few that have gone so 
far beyond all the rest, as to say, ' They were certain of 
their sincerity and salvation,' were the professors, whose 
state I suspected more than any of the rest, as being the 
most proud, self-conceited, censorious, passionate, unpeace- 
able sort of professors ; and some of them living scanda- 
lously, and some fallen since to more scandalous ways than 
ever ; and the most of their humble, godly acquaintance 
or neighbours suspected them as well as L Or else some 
very few of them that said they were certain were honest, 
godly people (most women) of small judgment and strong 
affections, who depended most on that which is commonly 
called, ' The sense or feeling of God's love ;' and were the 
lowest at some times as they were the highest at other 
times ; and they that were one month certain to be saved, 
perhaps the next month were almost ready to say, they 
should certainly be damned. So that taking out all these 
Rorts of persons, the sober, solid, judicious believers that 
could groundedly and ordinarily say, ' 1 am certain that I 



sjball be saved/ have been so few, that it is sad to me to con- 
sider it. If any other men's experience be contrary, I am 
glad of it, so be it they be sober, judicious men, able to ga- 
ther experiences ; and so they live not among mere Antino- 
mians, and take not the discovery of their mere opinion, for 
a discovery of experience. For I have seen in divers pro- 
fessors of my long acquaintance, the strange power of opi- 
nion and fancy in this thing. I have known those that 
have lived many years in doubting of their salvation, and 
all that while walked uprightly : and in the late wars, fall- 
ing into the company of some Anabaptists, they were by 
them persuaded that there was no right way to their com- 
fort, but by being re-baptized, and associating themselves 
with the re-baptized church, and abstaining from the hear- 
ing of the unbaptized parish-priests (as they called them.) 
No sooner was this done, but all their former doubtings and 
troubles were over, and they were as comfortable as any 
others (as themselves affirmed) which no doubt proceeded 
from partly the strength of fancy, conceiting it should be 
so, and partly from the novelty of their way which delight- 
ed them, and partly from the strong opinion they had that 
this was the way of salvation, and that the want of this 
did keep them in the dark so long ; and partly from Sa- 
tan's policy, who troubleth people least, when they are in 
a way that pleaseth him ; but when these people had lived 
a year or two in this comfortable condition, they fell at last 
into the society of some Libertines or Familists, who believe 
that the Scriptures are all but a dream, fiction, or allegory; 
these presently persuaded them, that they were fools to re- 
o-ard baptism or such ordinances, and that they might come 
to hear again in our congregations, seeing all things were 
lawful, and there was no heaven or hell but within men, and 
therefore they should look to their safety and credit in the 
world, and take their pleasure. This lesson was quickly 
learned, and then they cried down the Anabaptists, and con- 
fessed they were deluded, and so being grown loose while 
they were Anabaptists, to mend the matter, they grew Epi- 
cures when they had been instructed by the Libertines ; and 
this was the end of their new-gotten comfort. Others I 
have known that have wanted assurance, and falling among 
the Autinomians, were told by them that they undid them- 
selves by looking after signs and marks of grace, and so 


laying their comforts upon something in themselves ; where- 
as they should look only to Christ for eomfort, and not at 
any thing in themselves at all; and for assurance, it is only 
the witness of the Spirit without any marks that must give 
it them ; and to fetch comfort from their own graces and 
obedience, was to make it themselves instead of Christ and 
the Holy Ghost, and was a legal way. No sooner was this 
doctrine received, but the receivers had comfort at will, 
and all was sealed up to them presently by the witness of 
the Spirit in their own conceits. Whence this came, judge 
you. I told you my judgment before. Sure I am that the 
sudden looseness of their lives, answering their ignorant, 
loose, ungospel-like doctrine, did certify me that the Spirit 
of comfort was not their comforter ; for he is also a Spirit 
of holiness, and comforteth men by the means of a Holy 
Gospel, which hath precepts and threatenings as well as 

2. And as the experience of the state of believers assur- 
eth us that few of them attain to certainty ; so experience 
of the imperfection of their understanding shews us, that 
few of them are immediately capable of it. For how few 
believers be there that understand well what is sound evi- 
dence and what not ? Nay, how many learned men have 
taught them, that the least unfeigned desire of grace, is the 
grace itself, (as some say,) or at least a certain evidence of 
it, (as others say). Whereas, alas ! how many have un- 
feignedly desired many graces, and yet have desired the 
glory and profits of the world so much more, that they have 
miscarried and perished'. How many have taught them, 
that the least unfeigned love to God or to the brethren, is a 
certain mark of saving grace ; whereas many a one hath un- 
feignedly loved God and the brethren, who yet have loved 
house, land, credit, pleasure, and life so much more, that 
God hath been thrust as it were into a corner, and hath had 
but the world's leavings. And the poor saints have had but 
little compassion or relief from them, nor would be looked 
on in times of danger and disgrace. As Austin and the 
schoolmen used to say, " Wicked men do, * uti Deo, etfrui 
creaturis,* Use God and enjoy the creatures; godly men do 
* frui Deo, et uti creaturis,* enjoy God and use the crea- 
tures." The meaning is, both regenerate and unregenerate 
have some will or love, both to God and to the creature : 


but the wicked do will or love the creature as their chief 
good, with their chiefest love, and they only love God as a 
means to help them to the creature, with a love subordinate 
to their love to the creature : whereas the godly do will or 
love God as their chief good, with their chiefest love or 
complacency ; and love the creature but as a means to God, 
with an inferior love. 

If then the nature of sincerity be so little known, then 
the assurance of sincerity cannot be very common. More 
might be said to prove that certainty of salvation is not 
common among true Christians ; but that it is labour in 
vain, as to them, seeing experience and their own ready con- 
fession doth witness it. 

Now what is the use that I would have you make of this ? 
Why it is this. If assurance of sincerity and justification 
(much more of salvation) be so rare among true Christians, 
then you have no cause to think that the want of it proveth 
you to be no true Christian. You see then that a man may 
be in a state of salvation without it ; and that it is not justi- 
fying faith, as some have imagined, nor yet a necessary con- 
comitant of that faith. You see that you were mistaken 
in thinking that you had not the Spirit of adoption, because 
you had no assuring witness within you effectively testify- 
ing to you that you are the child of God. All God's chil- 
dren have the Spirit of adoption. (For because they are 
sons, therefore hath God sent the Spirit of his Son into 
their hearts, whereby they cry, * Abba, Father ;' Gal. iv. 6.) 
But all God's children have not assurance of their adoption, 
therefore the Spirit of adoption doth not always assure those 
of their adoption in whom it abideth. It is always a wit- 
ness-bearer of their adoption ; but that is only objectively 
by his graces and operations in them, as a land-mark is a 
witness whose land it is where it standeth ; or as your 
sheep-mark witnesseth which be your sheep ; or rather as a 
sensible soul witnesseth a living creature, or a rational soul 
witnesseth that we are men. But efficiently it doth not al- 
ways witness ; as a land-mark or sheep-mark is not always 
discerned ; and a brute knows not itself to be a brute ; and 
a man is not always actually knowing his own humanity, 
nor can know it at all in the womb, in infancy, in distraction, 
in an epilepsy, apoplexy, or the like disease, which depriv- 
eth hira of the use of reason. Besides, it is no doubt but 


the apostle had some respect to the eminent gift of the Spi- 
rit, for tongues, prophecies, miracles, and the like, which 
was proper to that age ; though still as including the Spirit 
of holiness. 

You see then that you need not be always in disquiet 
when you want assurance. For else how disquiet a life 
should most Christians live ! I shall shew you more anon, 
that all a man's comforts depend not so on his assurance, but 
that he may live a comfortable life without it. Trouble of 
mind may be overcome ; conscience may be quieted ; true 
peace obtained ; yea, a man may have that joy in the Holy 
Ghost, wherein the kingdom of God is said to consist, with- 
out certainty of salvation. (If there be any passages in my 
Book of Rest, part iii. pressing to get assurance, which seem 
contrary to this, I desire that they may be reduced to this 
sense, and no otherwise understood.) This shall be further 
opened anon, and other grounds of comfort manifested, be- 
sides assurance. 

Direct. XV. Yea thus much more I would here inform 
you of, * That many holy, watchful and obedient Christians, 
are yet uncertain of their salvation, even then when they 
are certain of their justification and sanctification ; and that 
because they are uncertain of their perseverance and over- 
coming ; for a man's certainty of his salvation can be no 
stronger than is his certainty of enduring to the end and 

That you may not misunderstand me in this, observe, 1. 
That I do not say perseverance is a thing uncertain in it- 
self. 2. Nor that it is uncertain to all Christians. 3. But 
that it is uncertain to many, even strong and self-knowing 
Christians. Divines use to distinguish of the certainty of 
the object and of the subject ; and the former is either of 
the object of God's knowledge, or of man's. I doubt not 
but God knows certainly who shall be saved, which, with his 
decree, doth cause that which we call certainty of the object 
as to man's understanding ; but men themselves do not al- 
ways know it. 

If a man have the fullest certainty in the world that he 
is God's child, yet if he be uncertain whether he shall so 
continue to the end, it is impossible that he should have a 
certainty of his salvation ; for it is he only that endureth to 
the end that shall be saved. 


Now that many eminent Christians of great knowledge, 
and much zeal and obedience, are uncertain of their perse- 
verance, is proved by two infallible arguments. 1. By ex- 
perience : if any should be so censorious as to think that 
none of all those nations and churches abroad, that deny 
the doctrine of certain perseverance of all believers, have any 
strong Christians among them, yet we have had the know- 
ledge of such at home. 2. Besides, the difficulty of the subject 
is a clear argument that a strong Christian may be uncertain 
of it. God hath made all those points plain in Scripture, 
which must be believed as of necessity to salvation ; but 
the certainty of all believers' perseverance, is not a point of 
flat necessity to salvation to be believed. Oliierwise it 
would be a hard matter to prove, that any considerable 
number were ever saved till of late ; or are yet saved, but 
in a very few countries. It is a point that the churches ne- 
ver did put into their creed, where they summed up those 
points that they held necessary to salvation. There are a 
great number of texts of Scripture, which seeming to inti- 
mate the contrary, do make the point of great difficulty to 
many of the wisest ; and those texts that are for it, are not 
so express as fully to satisfy them. Besides, that the ex- 
amples of these ten years last past have done more to stag- 
ger many sober wise Christians in this point, than all the 
arguments that ever were used by Papists, Arminians, or 
any other, to see what kind of men in some places have fal- 
len, and how far, as I am unwilling further to mention. 

But I think by this time I have persuaded you, that a 
proper certainty of our salvation is not so common a thing 
9S some controversial doctors, or some self-conceited pro- 
fessors do take it to be ; and therefore that you must not 
lay all your comfort on your assurance of salvation. As 
for them who are most highly confident both of the doctrine 
of the certain perseverance of every believer, merely upon 
tradition and prejudice, or else upon weak grounds, which 
will not bear them out in their confidence ; and are as con- 
fident of their own salvation on as slender grounds, having 
never well understood the nature of saving grace, sincerity, 
examination, nor assurance ; nor understood the causes of 
doubting, which else might have shaken them ; I will not 
call their greatest confidence by the name of assurance or 
certainty of salvation, though it be accompanied with never 


•o great boastings, or pretences, or expressions of the high- 
est joys. And for yourself, I advise you first use those com- 
forts which those may have who come short of assurance. 

Direct. XVI. The next thing which I would have you 
learn is this, ' That there are several grounds of the great 
probability of our salvation, besides the general grounds 
mentioned in the beginning : and by the knowledge of 
these, without any further assurance, a Christian may live 
in much peace and comfort, and in delightful, desirous 
thoughts of the glory to come. And therefore the next 
work which you have to do, is to discover those probabi- 
lities of your sincerity and your salvation, and then to re- 
ceive the peace and comfort which they may afford you, be- 
fore you can expect assurance in itself.' 

I shall here open to you the several parts of this propo- 
sition and direction distinctly. 1. I told you in the begin- 
ning of the four grounds of probability which all may have 
in general ; from 1. The nature of God. 2. And of the Me- 
diator and his office. 3. And the universal sufficiency of 
Christ's satisfaction. 4. And the general tenor of the pro- 
mise, and offer of pardon and salvation. Now I add, that 
besides all these, there are many grounds of strong proba- 
bility, which you may have of your own sincerity, and so of 
your particular interest in Christ and salvation, when you 
cannot reach to a certainty. 

1. Some kind of probability you may gather by compar- 
ing yourself with others. Though this way be but delusory 
to unregenerate men, whose confidence is plainly contradic- 
ted by the Scriptures, yet may it be lawful and useful to an 
humble soul that is willing to obey and wait on God : I mean 
to consider, that if such as you should perish how few people 
would God have in the world ? Consider first in how nar- 
row a compass the church was confined before Christ's com- 
ing in the flesh ; how carnal and corrupt even that visible 
church then was ; and even at this day, the most learned 
do compute, that if you divide the world into thirty parts, 
nineteen of them are heathenish idolators, six of them are 
Mahometans, and only five of them are Christians. And of 
these five that are Christians, how great a part are of the 
Ethiopian, Greek, and Popish churches ? So ignorant, rude, 
and superstitious, and erroneous, that salvation cannot be 
imagined to be near so easy or ordinary with them as with 


U8 : and of the reformed churches, commonly called Pro- 
testants, how small is the number ? And even among these, 
what a number are grossly ignorant and profane ? And of 
those that profess more knowledge and zeal, how many are 
grossly erroneous, schismatical and scandalous ? How ex- 
ceeding small a number is left then that are such as you '! 
I know this is no assuring argument, but I know withal that 
Christ died not in vain, but he will see the fruit of his suf- 
ferings to the satisfaction of his soul; and the God of Mer- 
cy, who is a lover of mankind, will have a multitude innu- 
merable of his saved ones in the earth. 

2. But your strongest probabilities are from the consi- 
deration of the work of God upon your souls, and the pre- 
sent frame and inclination of your soul to God. You may 
know that you have workings above nature in you ; and 
that they have been kept alive and carried on these many 
years against all opposition of the flesh and the world ; it 
hath not been a mere flash of conviction which hath been 
extinguished by sensuality, and left you in the darkness of 
security and profaneness as others are. You dare not give 
up your hopes of heaven for all the world. You would not 
part with Christ, and say, ' Let him go,' for all the pleasures 
of sin, or treasures of the earth. If you had (as you have) 
an offer of God, Christ, grace, and glory on one side, 
and worldly prosperity in sin on the other side, you would 
choose God, and let go the other. You dare not, you would not 
give over praying, hearing, reading and Christian company, 
and give up yourself to worldly, fleshly pleasures ; yet you are 
not assured of salvation, because you find not that delight 
and life in duty, and that witness of the Spirit, and that 
communion with God, nor that tenderness of heart as you 
desire. It is well that you desire them; but though you be 
not certain of salvation, do not you see a great likelihood, a 
probability in all this ? Is not your heart raised to a hope, 
that yet God ^is merciful to you, and means you good? 
Doubtless, this you might easily discern. 

The second thing that I am to shew you, is, that there 
may much spiritual comfort and peace of conscience be en- 
joyed, without any certainty of salvation, even upon these 
forementioned probabilities. Which I prove thus, I. No 
doubt but Adam in innocency, had peace of conscience, and 
comfort, and communion with God, and yet he had no as-. 


Burance of salvation ; I mean, either of continuing in para- 
dise, or being translated to glory. For if he had, either he 
was sure to persevere in innocency, and so to be glorified, 
(but that was not true,) or else he must foreknow both that 
he should fall and be raised again, and saved by Christ. But 
this he knew not at all. 2. Experience tells^us, that the 
greatest part of Christians on earth do enjoy that peace and 
comfort which they have, without any certainty of their sal- 
vation. 3. The nature of the thing telleth us, that a likeli- 
hood of so great a mercy as everlasting glory, must needs 
be a ground of great comfort. If a poor condemned prisoner 
do but hear that there is hopes of a pardon, especially if 
very probable, it will glad his heart. Indeed, if an angel 
from heaven were brought into this state, it would be sad to 
him; but if a devil or condemned sinner have such hope, it 
must needs be glad news to them. The devils have it not, 
but we have. 

3. Let me next, therefore, entreat you to take the com- 
fort of your probabilities of grace and salvation. Your horse 
or dog know not how you will use them certainly ; yet will 
they lovingly follow you, and put their heads to your hand, 
and trust you with their lives without fear, and love to be 
in your company, because they have found you kind to 
them, and have tried that you do them no hurt, but good : 
yea, though you do strike them sometimes, yet they find 
that they have their food from you, and your favour doth 
sustain them. Yea, your little children have no certainty 
how you will use them, and yet finding that you have always 
used them kindly, and expressed love to them, though you 
whip them sometimes, yet are glad of your company, and 
desire to be in your lap, and can trust themselves in your 
hands, without tormenting themselves with such doubts as 
these, * I am uncertain how my mother will use me, whether 
she will wound me, or kill me, or turn me out of doors, and 
let me perish.' Nature persuades us not to be too distrust- 
ful of those that have always befriended us, and especially 
whose nature is merciful and compassionate ; nor to be too 
suspicious of evil from them that have always done us good. 
Every man knows that the good will do good, and the evil 
will do you evil ; and accordingly we expect that they 
should do to us. Naturally we all fear a toad, a serpent, an 
adder, ^ mad dog, a wicked man, a madman, a cruel, blood- 


thirsty tyrant, and the devil. But no one fears a dove, a 
lamb, a good man, a merciful, compassionate governor, ex- 
cept only the rebels or notorious offenders that know he is 
bound in justice to destroy or punish them. And none 
should fear distrustfully the wrath of a gracious God, but 
they who will not submit to his mercy, and will not have 
Christ to reign over them, and therefore may know that he 
is bound injustice, if they come not in, to destroy them. 
But for you that would be obedient and reformed, and are 
troubled that you are no better, and beg of God to make you 
better, and have no sin, but what you would be glad to be 
rid of, may not you, at least, see a strong probability that it 
shall go well with you ? O make use therefore of this 
probability ; and if you have but hopes that God will do 
you good, rejoice in those hopes till you can come to re- 
joice in assurance. 

And here let me tell you, that probabilities are of divers 
degrees, according to their divers grounds. Where men 
have but a little probability of their sincerity, and a greater 
probability that they are not sincere in the faith, these men 
may be somewhat borne up, but it behoves them presently 
to search in fear, and to amend that which is the cause of 
their fear. Those that have more probability of the sincerity 
of their hearts than of the contrary, may well have more 
peace than trouble of mind. Those that have yet a higher 
degree of probability, may live in more joy, and so accord- 
ing to the degree of probability may their comforts still 

And observe also, that it is but the highest degree of 
this probability here vyhich we call a certainty : for it is a 
moral certainty, and not that which is called a certainty of 
divine faith, nor that which is called a certainty of evidence 
in the strictest sense, tliough yet evidence there is for it. 
But it is the same evidences materially, which are the ground 
of probability and of certainty ; only sometimes they differ 
gradually Cone having more grace, and another less), and 
sometimes not so neither ; for he that hath more grace, may 
discern but a probability in it (through some other defect), 
no more than he that hath less. But when one man discerns 
his graces and sincerity but darkly, he hath but a probability 
of salvation manifested by them ; and when another discern- 
eth them more clearly, he hath a»tronger probability; and 


he that discerneth tliem most clearly (if other necessaries 
concur) hath that which we call a certainty. 

Now I am persuaded that you frequently see a strong 
probability of your sincerity; and may not that be a very 
great stay and comfort to your soul ? Nay, may it not draw 
out your heart in love, delight and thankfulness? Suppose 
that your name were written in a piece of paper, and put 
among a hundred, or fifty, or but twenty other like paper 
into a lottery, and you were certain that you should be the 
owner of this whole land, except your name were drawn the 
first time, and if it were drawn you should die, would your 
joy or your sorrow for this be the greater ? Nay, if it were 
but ten to one, or but two to one odds on your side, it would 
keep you from drooping and discouragement; and why 
should it not do so in the present case ? 

Direct. XYll. My next advice to you is this, 'For the 
strengthening your apprehensions of the probability of your 
salvation, gather up, and improve all your choicest expe- 
riences of God's goodwill and mercy to you ; and observe 
also the experiments of others in the same kind.' 

1. We do God and ourselves a great deal of wrong by for- 
getting, neglecting, and not improving our experiences. 
How doth God charge it on the Israelites, especially in the 
wilderness, that they forgot the works of God, by which he 
had so often manifested his power and goodness ! Psalm 
Ixxviii. cvii. See cv. cvi. When God had by one miracle 
silenced their unbelief, they had forgotten it in the next dis- 
tress. It was a sign the disciples' hearts were hardened, 
when they forgot the miracles of the loaves, and presently 
after were distrustful and afraid ; Mark vi. 52. God doth 
not give us his mercies only for the present use, but for the 
future; nor only for the body, but for the soul. I would 
this truth were well learned by believers. You are in sick- 
ness, in troubles, and dangers, and pinching straits, in fears 
and anguish of mind : in this case you cry to God for help, 
and he doth in such a manner deliver you as silenceth your 
distrust, and convinceth you of his love ; at least, of his rea- 
diness to do you good. What a wrong is it now to God and 
yourself, to forget this presently, and in the next temptation, 
to receive no strengthening by the consideration of it? 
Doth God so much regard this dirty flesh, that he should do 
all this merely for its ease and relief? No, h% doth it to 


kill your unbelief; and convince you of his special provi- 
dence, his care of you, and love to you, and power to help 
you, and to breed in you more loving, honourable and thank- 
ful thoughts of him. Lose this benefit, and you lose all. 
You may thus use one and the same mercy an hundred 
times : though it be gone as to the body, it is still fresh in 
a believing, thankful, careful soul. You may make as good 
use of it at your very death, as the first hour. But O, the 
sad forgetfulness, mutability and unbelief of these hearts of 
ours ! What a number of these choice experiences do we 
all receive ! When we forget one, God giveth another, and 
we forget that too. When unbelief doth blasphemously sug- 
gest to us. Such a thing may come once or twice by chance. 
God addeth one experience to another, till it even shame us 
out of our unbelief, as Christ shamed Thomas, and we cry 
out, " My Lord and my God." Hath it not been thus oft 
with you? Have not mercies come so seasonably, so unex- 
pectedly, either by small means, or the means themselves 
unexpectedly raised up ; without your designing or efiect- 
ing; and plainly in answer to prayers, that they have brought 
conviction along with them ; and you have seen the name 
of God engraven on them? Sure it is so with us, when 
through our sinful negligence we are hardly drawn to open 
our eyes, and see what God is doing. Much more might 
we have seen, if we had but observed the workings of Provi- 
dence for us ; especially they that are in an afflicted state, 
and have more sensibly daily use for God, and are awakened 
to seek him, and regard his dealings. I know a mercy to 
the body is no certain evidence of God's love to the soul. 
But yet from such experiences a Christian may have very 
ttrong probabilities. When we find God hearing prayers, 
it is a hopeful sign that we have some interest in him. We 
may say as Manoah's wife said to him, " If the Lord had 
meant to destroy us, he would not have received a sacrifice 
at our hands, nor have done all this for us ;" Judges xiii. 23. 
To have God so near to us in all that we call upon him for, 
and so ready to relieve us, as if he could not deny an ear- 
nest prayer, and could not endure to stop his ears against 
our cries and groans, these are hopeful signs that he mean- 
eth us good. I know special grace is the only certain evi- 
dence of special love : but yet these kind of experiences are 
many tirae|^iuore effectual to refresh a drooping, doubting 


soul, than the first evidences: for evidences may be unseen, 
and require a great deal of holy skill and diligence to try 
them, which few have ; but these experiences are near us, 
even in our bodies, and shew themselves ; they make all our 
bones say, "Lord, who is like unto thee?" And it is a 
great advantage to have the help of sense itself for our con- 
solation. I hope you yet remember the choice particular 
providences, by which God hath manifested to you his 
goodness, even from your youth till now : especially his fre- 
quent answering of your prayers ! Methinks these should 
do something to the dispelling of those black, distrustful 
thoughts of God. I could wish you would write them 
down, and oft review them : and when temptations next 
come, remember with David, who helped you against the 
lion and the bear, and, therefore, fear not the uncircumcised 

2. And you may make great use also of the experiences 
of others. Is it not a great satisfaction to hear twenty, or 
forty, or an hundred Christians, of the most godly lives, to 
make the very same complaints as you do yourself? The 
very same complaints have I heard from as many. By this 
you may see your case is not singular, but the ordinary case 
of the tenderest consciences, and of many that walk upright- 
ly with God. And also is it not a great help to you, to hear 
other Christians tell how they have come into those troubles, 
and how they have got out of them? What hurt them? 
And what helped them ? And how God dealt with , them, 
while they lay under them ? How desirous are diseased 
persons to talk with others that have had the same disease ? 
And to hear them tell how it took them, and how it held 
them, and especially what cured them ? Besides, it will give 
you much stronger hopes of cure and recovery to peace of 
conscience, when you hear of so many that have been cured 
of the same disease. Moreover, is it not a reviving thing, 
to hear Christians open the goodness of the Lord ? And 
that in particular, as upon experience they have found him 
to their own souls ? To hear them tell you of such notable 
discoveries of God's special providence and care of his peo- 
ple, as may repel all temptations to atheism and unbelief? 
To hear them give you their frequent and full experiences 
of God's hearing and answering their prayers, and helping 
them in their distresses? Though the carnal part of the 


raercy were only theirs, yet by improvement, the spiritual 
part may be yours : you may have your faith, and love, and 
joy, confirmed by the experiences of David, Job, Paul, 
which are past so long ago ; and by the experiences of all 
your godly acquaintance, as if they were your own. This is 
the benefit of the unity of the church ; the blessings of one 
member of the body are blessings to the rest; and if one re- 
joice, the rest may rejoice with them, not only for their 
sakes, but also for their own. Such as God is to the rest of 
his children, such is he and will be to you. He is as ready 
to pity you as them, and to hear your complaints and moans 
as theirs. And lest we should think that none of them were 
so bad as we, he hath left us the examples of his mercies to 
worse than ever we were. You never were guilty of witch- 
craft, and open idolatry, as Manasses was, and that for a 
long time, and drawing the whole nation, and chief part of 
the visible church on earth, into idolatry with him. You 
never had your hand in the blood of a saint, and even of the 
first martyr (Stephen) as Paul had. You never hunted after 
the blood of the saints, and persecuted them from city to 
city as he did ; and yet God did not only forgive him, but 
was found of him when he never sought him, yea, when he 
was persecuting him in his members, and kicking against 
the pricks ; yea, and made him a chosen vessel to bear about 
his name, and as noble an instrument of the propagation of 
his Gospel, as if he had never been guilty of any such crimes, 
that he might be an encouraging example to the unworthiest 
sinners, and in him might appear to the riches of his mercy ; 
1 Tim. iii. 13. 16. See also Titus iii. 3 — 7. Is there no 
ground of comfort in these examples of the saints ? The 
same we may say of the experiences of Gt)d's people still; 
and doubtless it were well if experimental Christians did 
more fully and frequently open to one another their expe- 
riences ; it were the way to make private particular mercies 
to be more public and common mercies ; and to give others 
a part in our blessings, without any diminution of them to 
ourselves. Not that I would have this so openly and rashly 
done (by those, who through their disability to express their 
minds, do make the works and language of the Spirit seem 
ridiculous to carnal ears), as I perceive some in a very for- 
mality would have it (as if it must be one of their church 
customs, to satisfy the society of the fitness of each member 


before they will receive tliem) : but I would have Christians 
that are fit to express their minds, to do it in season and 
with wisdom ; especially those to whom God hath given 
any more eminent and notable experiments, which may be 
of public use. Doubtless, God hath lost very much of the 
honour due to his name, and poor Christians much of the 
benefit which they might have received, (and may challenge 
by the mutiial interest of fellow members) for want of the 
public communication of the extraordinary and more notable 
experiences of some men. Those that write the lives of the 
holiest men when they arp dead, can give you but the out- 
side and carcase of their memorials ; the most observable 
passages are usually secret, known only to God and their 
own souls, which none but themselves are able to communi- 
pate. For my own part, I do soberly and seriously profess 
to you, that the experiences I have had of God's special 
providences, and fatherly care, and specially of his hearing^ 
prayers, have been so strange, and great, and exceeding 
numerous, that they have done very much to the quieting of 
my spirit, and the persuading of my soul of God's love to 
me, and the silencing and shaming of my unbelieving heart, 
and especially for the conquering of all temptations that 
lead to atheism or infidelity, to the denying of special provi- 
dence, or of the verity of the Gospel, or of the necessity of 
holy prayer and worshipping of God. Yea, those passages 
that in the bulk of the thing seem to have no great matter 
in them, yet have come at such seasons, in such a manner, 
in evident answer to prayers, that they have done much to 
my confirmation. O happy afflictions and distresses ! Suf- 
ferings and danger force us to pray, and force the cold and 
customary petitioner to seriousness and importunity. Im- 
portunate prayers bring evident returns ; such returns give 
us sensible experiences; such experiences raise faith, love 
and thankfulness, kill unbelief and atheism, and encourage 
the soul in all distresses, to go the same way as when it sped 
so well. I often pity the poor seduced infidels of this age, 
X that deny Scripture and Christ himself, and doubt of the use- 
fulness of prayer and holy worship ; and I wish that they 
had but the experiences that I have had. O how much 
more might it do than all their studies and disputes ! Truly 
I have once or twice had motions in my mind, to have pub- 
licly and freely communicated by experiences in a relation 


of the more observable passages of my life ; but I found that 
I was not able to do it to God's praise, as was meet, with- 
out a shew of ostentation or vanity, and therefore I forbore. 
Direct. XVIII. Next, that you may yet further under- 
stand the true nature of assurance, faith, doubting and des- 
peration, I would have you observe this, 'That God doth not 
command every man, nor properly any man, ordinarily by his 
word, to believe that hie sins are forgiven, and himself is 
justified, adopted, and shall be saved. But he hath prescri- 
bed a way by which they may attain to assurance of these, 
in which way it is men's duty to seek it: so that our assur- 
ance is not properly that which is called a certainty of be- 

I have said enough for the proof of this proposition in 
the third part of my Book of Rest, Chap. ii. whither I must 
refer you. But there is more to be said yet for the applica- 
tion of it. But first I must briefly tell you the meaning of 
the words. 1. God commandeth us all to believe (wicked 
and godly), that our sins are made pardonable by the suffi- 
cient satisfaction of Christ for them ; and that God is very 
merciful and ready to forgive ; and that he hath condition- 
ally forgiven us all in the new covenant, making a deed of 
gift of Christ, and pardon, and life in him to all, on condition 
they believe in him, and accept what is given. 2. But no 
man is commanded to believe that he is actually forgiven. 
3. Therefore I say our assurance is not strictly to be called 
belief, or a certainty of belief; for it is only our certain be- 
lief of those things which we take on the mere credit of the 
witnesser or revealer, which we call certainty of faith. In- 
deed, we commonly in English use the word ' belief,' to ex- 
press any confident, but uncertain, opinion or persuasion ; 
and if any will so take it, then I deny not but our assurance 
is a belief. But it is commonly taken by divines for an as- 
sent to any thing on the credit of the word of the revealer, 
and so is distinguishedjboth from the sensible apprehension 
of things, and from principles that are known by the mere 
light and help of nature ; and from the knowledge of con- 
clusions, which by reasoning we gather from those princi- 
ples. Though yet one and the same thing may be known, 
as revealed in nature, and believed as revealed immediately 
or supernaturally ; and so we both know and believe that 
there is one only God, who made and preserveth all things; 


4. But our assurance is an act of knowledge, participating 
of faith and internal sense or knowledge reflect. For divine 
faith saith, " He that believeth is justified, and shall be 
saved." Internal sense and knowledge of ourselves saith, 
' But I believe.' Reason, or discursive knowledge saith, 
* Therefore I am justified and shall be saved.' 

Only I must advise you, that you be not troubled when 
you meet with that which is contrary to this in any great 
divines : for it is only our former divines, whose judgments 
were partly hurt by hot disputations with the Papists herein, 
and partly not come to that maturity as others since then 
have had opportunity to do. And therefore in their expo- 
sitions of the creed, and such like passages in the text, they 
eagerly insist on it, that when we say, ' We believe the for- 
giveness of sin, and life everlasting,' every man is to profess 
that he believeth that his own sins are forgiven, and he shall 
have life everlasting himself. But our later divines, and espe- 
cially the English, and most especially those that deal most 
in practicals, do see the mistake, and lay down the same 
doctrine which I teach you here ; God bids us not believe as 
from him, more than he hath revealed. But only one of the 
propositions is revealed by God's testimony, " He that be- 
lieveth shall be saved.' But it is no where written that you 
do believe, nor that you shall be saved ; nor any thing equi- 
valent. And therefore you are not commanded to believe 
either of these. How the Spirit revealeth these, I have fully 
told you already. In our creed therefore we do profess to 
believe remission of sins to be purchased by Christ's death, 
and in his power to give, and given in the Gospel to all, on 
condition of believing in Christ himself for remission : but 
not to believe that our own sins are actually and fully par- 

My end in telling you this again (which I have told you 
elsewhere) is this. That you may not think (as I find abun- 
dance of poor troubled souls do) that faith (much less justi- 
fying faith) is a believing that you have true grace, and shall 
be saved ; and so fall a condemning yourself unjustly every 
time that you doubt of your own sincerity, and think that so 
much as you doubt of this, so much unbelief you have : and 
so many poor souls complain that they liave no faith, or but 
little, and that they cannot believe, because they believe not 
their own faith to be sincere : and when they wholly judge 

VOL. IX. 1 


themselves unsaiictified, then they call that desperation, 
which they think to be a sin inconsistent with true grace. 
These are dangerous errors, all arising from that one error 
which the heat of contention did carry some good men to, 
that faith is a belief that our sins are forgiven by Christ. 
Indeed all men are bound to apply Christ and the promise 
to themselves. But that application consisteth in a belief 
that this promise is true, as belonging to all, and so to me, 
and then in acceptance of Christ and his benefits as an of- 
fered gift ; and after this, in trusting on him for the full per- 
formance of this promise. Hence therefore you may best 
see what unbelief and desperation are, and how far men may 
charge themselves with them. When you doubt whether 
the promise be true, or when you refuse to accept Christ 
and his benefits offered in it, and consequently to trust him 
as one that is able and willing to save you, if you do assent 
to his truth, and accept him, this is unbelief. But if you do 
believe the truth of the Gospel, and are heartily willing to 
accept Christ as offered in it, and only doubt whether your 
belief and acceptance of him be sincere, and so whether you 
shall be saved; this is not unbelief, but ignorance of your 
owir sincerity, and its consequents. Nay, and though that 
affiance be wanting, which is a part of faith, yet it is but an 
hindering of the exercise of it, for want of a necessary con- 
comitant condition ; for the grace of affiance is in the ha- 
bit, and virtually is there, so that it is not formally distrust 
or unbelief any more, than your not trusting God in your 
sleep is distrust. If a friend do promise to give you an 
hundred pounds, on condition that you thankfully accept it : 
if you now do believe him, and do thankfully accept it ; but 
yet through some vain scruple.shall think, my thankfulness 
is so small, that it is not sincere, and therefore I doubt I 
do not perform his condition, and so shall never have the 
gift ; in this case now you do believe your friend, and you 
do not distrust him properly ; but you distrust yourself, 
that you perform not the condition ; and this hindereth the 
exercise of that confidence or affiance in your friend which 
is habitually and virtually in you. Just so is it in our pre- 
sent case. 

The same may be said of desperation, which is a priva- 
tion of hope ; when we have believed the truth of the Gos- 
pel, and accepted Christ offered, we are then bound to hope 


that God will give us the beiiedts promised : so hope is no- 
thing but a desirous expectation of the good so promised 
and believed. Now if you begin to distrust whether God 
will make good his promise or no, either thinking that it is 
not true, or he is not able, or hath changed his mind since 
the making of it, and on these grounds you let go your 
hopes, this is despair. If because that Christ seems to de- 
lay his coming, we should say I have waited in hope till 
now, but now I am out of hope that ever Christ will come to 
judge the world, and glorify believers, I will expect it no 
longer. This is despair. And it hath its several degrees 
more or less as unbelief hath, indeed the schoolmen say 
that affiance is nothing but strengthened hope. Affiance in 
the properest sense is the same in substance as hope ; only 
it more expresseth a respect to the promise and promiser, 
and indeed is faith and hope expressed in one word. So 
that what I said before of distrust is true of despair. If you 
do continue to believe the truth of the Gospel, and particu- 
larly of Christ's coming and glorifying his saints, and yet 
you think he will not glorify you, because you think that 
you are not a true believer or saint ; this is not desperation 
in the proper sense. For desperation is the privation of 
hope, where the formal cause, the heart and life of it, is 
wanting. But you have here hope in the habit, and virtu- 
ally do hope in Christ ; but the act of it, as to your own par- 
ticular salvation is hindered, upon an accidental mistake. 
In the forementioned example, if your friend promise to 
give you an hundred pounds on condition of your thankful 
acceptance, and promiseth to come at such an hour and 
bring it you : if now you stay till the hour be almost come, 
and then say, ' I am out of hope of his coming now ; he hath 
broke his word ;' this is properly a despair in your friend. 
But if you only think that you have overstaid the time, and 
that it is past, and therefore you shall not have the gift, this 
may be called a despair of the event, and a despair in your- 
self, but not properly a despair of your friend ; only the act 
of hoping in God is hindered, as is said. So it is in our 
present case. Men may be said to despair of their salva- 
tion, and to despair in themselves, but not to despair in 
God, except the formal cause of such despair were there 
present ; and except they are drawn to it, by not believing 
his truth and faithfulness. The true nature of despair is ex- 


pressed in that of the apostles, Luke xxiv. 21.' " We trust- 
ed that that was he that should redeem Israel ;" only it was 
but imperfect despair, else it had been damnable. Their 
hopes were shaken. And for my part, I am persuaded that 
it is only this proper despair in God, which is the damnable 
desperation, which is threatened in the Scripture, and not 
the former. And that if a poor soul should go out of this 
world without any actual hope of his own salvation, merely 
because he thinks that he is no true believer, that this soul 
may be saved, and prove a true believer for all this. Alas ! 
the great sin that God threateneth is our distrust of his 
faithfulness, and not the doubting of our own sincerity and 
distrust of ourselves. We have great reason to be very jea- 
lous of our own hearts, as knowing them to be deceitful 
above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know 
them? But we have no reason to be jealous of God. Where 
find you in Scripture that any is condemned for hard 
thoughts of themselves, or for not knowing themselves to 
have true grace, and for thinking they had none ? It is 
true, unbelief in God's promise is that men are condemned 
for, even that sin which is an aversion of the soul from God. 
But perhaps you will ask, is doubting of our own sincerity 
and salvation no sin ? I answer, doubting is either taken in 
opposition to believing, or in opposition to knowing, or to 

1. Doubting as it signifieth only a not believing that 
our sins are pardoned, and we shall be saved, is no sin, 
(still remember that I take believing in the strict, proper 
pense of the crediting of a divine testimony or assertion). 
For God hath no where commanded us ordinarily to believe 
either of these. I say ordinarily (as I did in the proposi- 
tion before) because when Christ was on earth he told a 
man personally, "Thy sins are forgiven thee;" (whether he 
meant only as to the present disease inflicted for them, or 
aliso all punishment temporal and eternal, I will not now 
discuss) so Nathan from God told David, his sin was for- 
given. But these were privileges only to these persons, 
and not common to all, God hath no where said, either 
that all men's sins are actually forgiven ; or that yours or 
niine by name are forgiven : but only that all that believe 
are forgiven, which supposeth them to believe before they 
are forgiven, and that they may be forgiven, and therefore 


it is not true that they are forgiven before they believe. 
And therefore this faith is not a believing that they are for- 
given, but a believing on Christ for forgiveness. Else men 
must believe an untruth, to make it become true by theif 
believing it. 

2. But now doubting, as it is opposed to the knowledge 
of our remission and justification, in those that are justified 
is a sin. For it can be no sin for an unjustified person to 
know that he is unjustified. But then I pray you mark 
how far it is a sin in the godly, and what manner of sin it is* 
1. It is a sin, as it is part of our natural ignorance, and ori- 
ginal depravedness of our understandings, or a fruit hereof, 
and of our strangeness to our own hearts, and of their deep 
deceitfulness, confusion, mutability, or negligence. 2* 
And further, as all these are increased by long custom in 
sinning, and so the discerning of our states is become more 
difficult, it is yet a greater sin. 3. It is a sin as it is the 
fruit of any particular sin by which we have obscured our 
own graces, and provoked God to hide his face from us. 
And so all ignorance of any truth which we ought to know, 
is a sin ; so the ignorance of our own regeneration and sin- 
cerity is a sin, because we ought to know it. But this is 
so far from being the great condemning sin of unbelief 
which Christ threateneth in his new law, that it is none of 
the greatest or most heinous sort of sins, but the infirmity 
in some measure of every Christian, 

And let me further acquaint you with this difference be^ 
tween these doubtings, and your fears and sorrows that fol- 
low thereupon. Though the doubtings itself be your sin, 
yet I suppose that the fears, and sorrows, and cares that 
follow it may be your duty. Yet respectively, and by re- 
mote participation, even these also must be acknowledged 
sinful ; even as our prayers for that pardon which we have 
received and knew it not, may by remote participation be 
called sinful ; because if we had not sinned we should not 
have been ignorant of our own hearts. And if we had not 
been ignorant, we should not have doubted of the least true 
grace we have. And if we had not so doubted, we should 
not have feared, or sorrowed, or prayed for that remission 
in that sense. But yet, though these may be called sinful, 
as they come from sin, yet more nearly and in themselves 
considered, on supposition of our present estate, they are all 


duties, and great duties necessary to our salvation. You 
may say to a thief that begs for pardon, ' If thou hadst not 
stolen, thou hadst not need to have begged pardon.' Yet 
supposing that he hath stolen, it may be his duty to beg par- 
don. And so you may say to a poor, fearing soul, that fears 
damnation and God's wrath, ' Thou needst not fear if thou 
hadst not sinned.' But when he hath once by sin obscured 
his evidences, and necessitated doubting, then is fear, and 
sorrow, and praying for justification and pardon, his duty, 
and indeed not fitly to be called sin, but rather a fruit of 
sin in one respect (and so hath some participation in it) but 
a fruit of the Spirit, and of Christ's command in another re- 
spect, and so a necessary duty. For else we should say, 
that it is a sin to repent and believe in Christ, and to love 
him as our Redeemer ; for you may say to anysinner, * Thou 
needst not to have repented, believed in a Redeemer, &c. 
but for thy sin ;' yet I hope none will say, that so doing is 
properly a sin, though doing them defectively is. God doth 
not will and approve of at, that any soul that can see no 
signs of grace and sincerity in itself should yet be as con- 
fident, and merry, and careless, as if they were certain that 
all were well. God would not have men doubt of his love, 
and yet make light of it. This is a contempt of him. Else 
what should poor, carnal sinners do that find themselves un- 
sanctified. No, nor doth God expect that any man should 
judge of himself better than he hath evidence to warrant 
such a judgment. But that every man should "prove his 
own work, that so he may have rejoicing in himself alone, 
and not in another. For he that thinketh he is something 
when he is nothing, deceiveth himself;" Gal. vi.3 — 6. And 
no man should be a self- deceiver, especially in a case of 
such inexpressible consequence. It is therefore a most 
desperate doctrine of the Antinomians (as most of theirs 
are) that all men ought to believe God's special love to 
them, and their own justification. And that they are jus- 
tified by believing that they were justified before, and that 
no man ought to question his ftiith (saith Saltmarsh, any 
more than to question Christ). And that all fears of our 
damnation, or not being justified after this believing, are 
sin ; and those that persuade to them, are preachers of the 
law, (how punctually do the most profane, ungodly people, 
hold most points of the Antinomian belief, though they ne- 


ver knew that sect by name ?). God comniandeth no man 
to believe more than is true, not immediately to cast away 
their doubts and fears, but to overcome them in an orderly 
methodical way ; that is, using God's means till their graces 
become more discernible, and their understandings more 
clear and fit to discern them, that so we may have assurance 
of their sincerity, and thereby of our justification, adoption, 
and right to glorification. " Let us therefore fear, lest a pro- 
mise being left of entering into his rest, any of us should 
seem to come short of it;" Heb. iv. 1. "Serve the Lord 
with fear, and rejoice before him in trembling ; kiss the Son 
lest he be angry, and ye perish ;" Psal. ii. 11. "Work out 
your salvation with fear and trembling ;" Phil. ii. 12. Not 
only, 1. A reverent fear of God's majesty. 2. And a filial 
fear of offending him. 3. And an awful fear of his judg- 
ments, when we see them executed on others, and hear 
them threatened. 4. And a filial fear of temporal chastise- 
ments are lawful and our duty ; but also, 5. A fear of dam- 
nation exciting to most careful importunity to escape it; 
whenever we have so far obscured our evidences, as to see 
no strong probability of our sincerity in the faith, and so of 
our salvation. The sum of my speech therefore is this : Do 
not think that all your fears of God's wrath are your sins ; 
much of them is your great duty. Do you not feel that 
God made these fears at your first conversion, the first and 
a principal means of your recovery ? To drive you to a se- 
rious consideration of your state and ways, and to look after 
Christ with more longing and estimation ? And to use the 
means with more resolution and diligence? Have not these 
fears been chief preservers of your diligence and integrity 
ever since? I know love should do more than it doth 
with us all. But if we had not daily use for both (love and 
fear) God would not, 1 . Have planted them both in our na- 
tures. 2. And have renewed them both by regenerating 
grace. 3. And have put into his word the objects to move 
both, (viz. threatenings as well as promises). That fear of 
God which is the beginning of wisdom, includeth the fear 
of his threatened wrath. I could say abundance more to 
prove this, but that I know as to you it is needless for con- 
viction of it; but remember the use of it. Do not put the 
name of unbelief upon all your fears of God's displeasure. 
Much less should you presently conclude that you havV no 


faith, and that you cannot believe, because of these fears. 
You may have much faith in the midst of these fears ; and 
God may make them preservers of your faith, by quicken- 
ing you up to those means that must maintain it, and by 
keeping you from those evils that would be as a worm at the 
root of it, and eat out its precious strength and life. Secu- 
rity is no friend to faith, but a more deadly enemy than fear 

Object. * Then Cain and Judas sinned not by despairing, 
or at least not damnably.' 

A71SW. 1. They despaired not only of themselves, and of 
the event of their salvation, but also of God ; of his power 
or goodness, and promise, and the sufficiency of any satis- 
faction of Christ. Their infidelity was the root of their de- 
spair. 2. Far it is for me to say or think that you should 
despair of the event, or that it is no sin ; yea, or that you 
should cherish causeless and excessive jealousies and fears. 
Take heed of all fears that drive you from God, or that dis- 
tract or weaken your spirit, or disable you from duty, or 
drown your love to God, and delight in him, and destroy 
your apprehensions of God's loveliness and compassion, and 
raise black, and hard, and unworthy thoughts of God in 
your mind. Again, I entreat you, avoid and abhor all such 
fears. But if you find in you the fears of godly jealousy of 
your own heart, and such moderated fears of the wrath of 
God, which banish security, presumption, and boldness in 
sinning, and are (as Dr. Sibbs calls them) the awe-band of 
your soul ; and make you fly to the merits and bosom of 
, the Lord Jesus, as the affrighted child to the lap of the mo- 
ther, and as the man-slayer under the law to the city of re- 
fuge, and as a man pursued by a lion, to his sanctuary or 
hold i do not think you have no faith, because you have 
these fears, but moderate them by faith and love, and then 
thank God for them. Indeed perfect love (which will be in 
heaven when all is perfected) will cast out this fear ; and so 
it will do sorrow and care, and prayer and means. But see 
you lay not these by till perfect love cast them out. See 
• Jer. v. 22, 23. Heb. xii. two last verses. " Wherefore we 
receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us serve 
God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our 
God is a consuming fire." 

1 am sensible that I am too large on these foregoing 


heads ; [ will purposely shorten the rest, lest I weary 

Direct. XIX. Further understand, 'That those few who 
do attain to assurance, have it not either perfectly or con- 
stantly (for the most part) but mixed with imperfection, and 
oft clouded and interrupted.' 

That the highest assurance on earth is imperfect, I have 
shewed you elsewhere. If we be imperfect, and our faith 
imperfect, and the knowledge of our own hearts imperfect, 
and all our evidences and graces imperfect ; then our as- 
surance must needs be imperfect also. To dream of perfec- 
tion on earth, is to dream of heaven on earth. And if assu- 
rance may be here perfect, why not all our graces ? Even 
when all doubtings are overcome, yet is assurance far short 
of the highest degree. 

Besides, that measure of assurance which godly men 
do partake of, hath here its many sad interruptions, in the 
most. Upon the prevalency of temptations, and the hidings 
of God's face, their souls are oft left in a state of sadness, 
that were but lately in the arms of Christ. How fully might 
this be proved from the examples of Job, David, Jeremy, 
and others in Scripture ? And much more abundantly by 
the daily complaints and examples of the best of God's peo- 
ple now living among us. As there is no perfect evenness 
to be expected in our obedience while we are on earth, so 
neither will there be any constant or perfect evenness in our 
comforts. He that hath life in one duty, is cold in the next. 
And therefore he that hath much joy in one duty, hath lit- 
tle in the next. Yea, perhaps duty may but occasion the 
renewal of his sorrows ; that the soul who before felt not 
its own burden at a sermon, or in prayer, or holy meditation, 
which were wont to revive him, now seems to feel his mise- 
ries to be multiplied. The time was once with David, when 
thoughts of God were sweet to him, and he could say, " In 
the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts de- 
light my soul." And yet he saw the time also when he re- 
membered God and was troubled ; he complained, and his 
spirit was overwhelmed. God so held his eyes waking, 
that he was troubled and could not speak. He considered 
the days of old, and the years of ancient time; he called to 
remembrance his song in the night, he communed with his 
own heart, and his spirit made diligent search. " Will the 


Lord (saith he) cast oif for ever ? And will he be favour- 
able no more ? Is his mercy clean gone for ever ? Doth 
his promise fail for evermore ? Hath God forgotten to be 
gracious ? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercy ?" 
Was not this a low ebb, and a sad case that David was in? 
Till at last he saw, this was his infirmity ; Psal. Ixxii. 1 — 10. 
Had David no former experiences to remind ? No argu- 
ments of comfort to consider of? Yes, but there is at such 
a season an incapacity to improve them. There is not only 
a want of comfort, but a kind of averseness from it. The 
soul bendeth itself to break its own peace, and to put away 
comfort far from it. So saith he in ver. 2. " My soul re- 
fused to be comforted." In such cases men are witty to ar- 
gue themselves into distress ; that it is hard for one that 
would comfort them to answer them ; and they are witty in 
repelling all the arguments of comfort that you can offer 
them ; so that it is hard to fasten any thing on them. They 
have a weak wilfulness against their own consolations. 

Seeing then that the best have such storms and sad in- 
terruptions, do not you wonder or think your case strange 
if it be so-with you ? Would you speed better than the best ? 
Long for heaven then, where only is joy without sorrow, and 
everlasting rest without interruption. 

Direct. XX. Let me also give you this warning, ' That 
you must never expect so much assurance on earth, as shall 
set you above the possibility of the loss of heaven ; or above 
all apprehensions of real danger of your miscarrying.' 

I conceive this advertisement to be of great necessity. 
But I must first tell you the meaning, and then the reasons 
of it. Only I am sorry that I know not how to express it 
fully, but in school-terms, which are not so familiar to you. 
1. That which shall certainly come to pass, we call a thing 
future. That which may and can be done we call pos- 
sible. All things are not future which are possible. God 
can do more than he hath done or will do. He could have 
made more worlds, and so more were possible than were fu- 
ture. Moreover a thing is said to be possible, in reference 
to some power which can accomplish it ; whether it be 
God's power, or angel's, or man's. God hath decreed that 
none of his elect shall finally or totally fall away and perish; 
and tlierefore their so falling and perishing is not future ; 
that is, it is a thing that shall never come to pass. But God 


never decreed that it should be utterly impossible, and 
therefore it still remaineth possible, though it shall never 
come to pass. 

Object. ' But it is said, * They shall deceive, if it were 
possible, the very elect.' 

Answ. A most comfortable place, which many opposers 
of election and free grace do in vain seek to obscure. But 
let me tell you for the right understanding of it, 1. That as 
I said, possible and impossible are relative terras, and have 
relation to the power of some agent, as proportioned to the 
thing to be done. Now this text speaks only of the power 
of false Christs, and false prophets and the devil by them 
their power of deceiving is exceeding great, but not great 
enough to deceive the elect ; which is true in two respects, 
1. Because the elect are guided and fortified by God's Spi- 
rit. 2. Because seducers work not efficiently, but finally, 
by propounding objects ; or by amoral, improper efficiency 
only. All their seducement cannot force or necessitate us 
to be deceived by them. But though it be impossible to 
them to do it, yet it is possible to God to permit (which 
yet he never will), and so possible for ourselves to be our 
own deceivers, or to give deceivers strength against us, by 
a wilful receiving of their poisoned baits. 3. Besides 
Christ spoke not in Aristotle's school, but among the vul- 
gar, where words must be used in the common sense, or else 
they will not be understood. And the vulgar use to call 
that impossible which shall never come to pass. 

There is a consequential impossibility of the event, be- 
cause it is directly impossible that God should be mutable 
or deceived ; even as contingents may be consequentially 
and accidentally necessary. But in its own nature, alas our 
apostacy is more than possible. 

And indeed when we say that it is possible or impoilili- 
ble for a man to sin or fall away, there is some degree of 
impropriety in the terms, because possible and impossible 
are terms properly relating to some power apportioned to a 
work ; but sinning and falling away thereby, are the conse- 
quents of impotency, and not the effects of power ; except 
we speak of the natural act, wherein the sin abideth. But 
this must be borne with, for want of a fitter word to 
express our meaning by. But I will leave these things 


which are not lit for you, and desire you to leave them and 
overpass them, if you understand them not. 

2. I here told you also, that you must not look to be 
above all apprehension of danger of your miscarrying. The 
grounds of this are these : 1. Because as is said, our mis- 
carrying remaineth still possible. 2. Because the perfect, 
certain knowledge of our election, and that we shall not fall 
away, is proper to God only ; we have ourselves but a de- 
fective, interrupted assurance of it. 3. The covenant gives 
us salvation but on condition of our perseverance, and per- 
severance on condition that we quench not the Spirit, which 
we shall do if we lose the apprehension of our danger. 4. 
Accordingly there is a connexion in our assurance, between 
all the several causes of our salvation, and necessaries there- 
to ; whereof the apprehension of danger is one. We are 
sure we shall be saved, if we be sure to persevere ; else not. 
We are sure to persevere, if we be sure faithfully to resist 
temptations. We can be no surer of faithful resisting of 
temptations, than we are sure to be kept in an apprehen- 
sion of our danger. 

I still say therefore, that the doctrine of Antinomians is 
the most ready way to apostacy and perdition ; and no won- 
der if it lead to licentiousness and scandals, which our eyes 
have seen to be its genuine fruits ! They cry down the 
weakness, unbelief, and folly of poor Christians, that will 
apprehend themselves in danger of falling away, and so live 
in fear, after they are once justified ; and that if they fall in- 
to sin (as whoredom, drunkenness, murder, perjury, de- 
stroying the ministry, and expelling the Gospel, &c.), will 
presently question or fear their estates and their justifica- 
tion. Such like passages I lately read in some printed ser- 
mons of one of my ancient acquaintance, who would never 
h^e come to that pass that he is at now, if his judgment 
and humility had been as great as his zeal. I entreat you 
therefore never to expect such an assurance as shall ex- 
tinguish all your apprehensions of danger. He that sees 
not the danger, is nearest it, and likely to fall into it. Only 
he that seeth and apprehendeth it, is likely to avoid it. He 
that seeth no danger of falling away, is in greatest danger 
of it. I doubt not but that is the cause of the seditions, 
scandals, heresies,^ blood-guiltiness, destroyers of the 


churches of Christ, and most horrid apostacies, hypocrisy, 
and wickedness, which these late times have been guilty of; 
that they apprehended not the danger of ever coming into 
such a state, or ever doing such things, but would have 
said, ' Am I a dog ?' to him that should have foretold them 
what is come to pass. Wonderful ! that men should be so 
blinded by false doctrine, as not to know that the appre- 
hension of danger is made in the very fabrication of the na- 
ture of man, to be the very engine to move his soul in all 
ways of self-preservation and salvation ! Yea, it is that 
very supposed principle upon which all the government of 
the world, and the laws and order of every nation, are 
grounded. We could not keep the very brutes from tear- 
ing us in pieces, but for their own safety, because they ap- 
prehend themselves to be in danger by it. The fear of man 
is it that restraineth them. But for this, no man's life would 
be in any safety, for every malicious man would be a mur- 
derer. He that feareth not the loss of his own life, is mas- 
ter of another man's. Do these men think that the appre- 
hension of bodily dangers may carry them on through all 
undertakings, and be the potent string of most of their ac- 
tions, and warrant all those courses that else would be un- 
warrantable, so that they dare plead necessity to warrant 
those fearful things which by extenuating language (like 
Saul's) are called irregularities ! And yet that it is unlaw- 
ful or unmeet for a Christian, yea the weakest Christian, to 
live in any apprehensions of danger to their souls. Either 
danger of sinning, or falling away, or perishing for ever? 
No wonder if such do sin, and fall away and perish. Would 
these men have fought well by sea or land, if they had ap- 
prehended no danger? Would the earth have been so co- 
vered with carcasses, and with blood (yea, even of saints) and 
the world filled with the doleful calamities that accompanied 
and have followed, if there had been no apprehensions of 
danger ? Would they take physic when they are sick ? 
Would they avoid fire or water, or thieves, but through an 
apprehension of danger ? Let them talk what they please, if 
ever they escape hell, without a deep apprehension of the 
danger of it, it must be in a way not known by Sciipture, or 
by nature. Sure 1 am Paul did tame his body, and bring it 
into subjection, through an apprehension of this danger, lest 
when he had preached to others, himself should be a cast- 


away or reprobate ? 2Cor. ix. 27. And Christ himself, when 
he biddeth us " fear not them that can kill the body," (whom 
yet these men think it lawful to fear and fight against) yet 
chargeth us with a double charge, to " fear him that is able 
to destroy both body and soul in hell : yea, I say unto you, 
(saith Christ), fear him ;" Lukexii.5. What can be plainer? 
and to his disciples? My detestation of these destructive 
Antinomian principles, makes me to run out further against 
them than I intended ; though it were easy more abundantly 
to manifest their hatefulness. But my reasons are tliese : 
1. Because the mountebanks are still thrusting in them- 
selves, and impudently proclaiming their own skill, and the 
excellency of their remedies for the cure of wounded con- 
sciences, and the settling of peace ; when indeed their re- 
ceipts are rank poison, gilded with the precious name of 
Christ, and free grace. 2. Because I would not have your 
doubtings cured by the devil; for he will but cure one di- 
sease with another, and a lesser with a far greater. If he 
can so cure your fears and doubtings, as to bring you into 
carnal security and presumption, he will lose nothing by 
the cure, and you will get nothing. If he can turn a poor, 
doubting, troubled Christian to be a secure Antinomian, he 
hath cured the smart of a cut finger by casting them into a 
lethargy, or stupefaction by his opium. To go to Antino- 
mian receipts to cure a troubled soul, is as going to a witch 
to cure the body. 3. I would have you sensible of God's 
goodness to you, in these very troubles that you have so 
long laid under. Your blessed physician knew your di- 
sease, and the temperature of your soul. Perhaps he saw 
that you were in some danger of being carried away with 
the honours, profits, or treasures of this world ; and would 
have been entangled in either covetousness, pride, voluptu- 
ousness, or some such desperate sin. And now by these 
constant and extraordinary apprehensions of your danger, 
these sins have been much kept under, temptations weak- 
ened, and your danger prevented. If you have found no 
such inclinations in yourself, yet God might find them. 
Had it not been far worse for you to have lain so many years 
in pride, sensuality, and forgetfulness of God, and utter ne- 
glect of the state of your soul, 4iian to have lain so long as 
you have done in the apprehensions of your danger ? O love 
and admire your wise Physician ! Little do you know now 


what he hath been doing for you ; nor shall you ever fully 
know it in this life ; but hereafter you shall know it, when 
your sanctification, and consolation, and his praises shall be 
perfected together. 4. If you should for the time to come, 
expect or desire that God should set you out of all appre- 
hension of danger, you know not what it is that you desire, 
it were to desire your own undoing. Only see that you 
apprehend not your danger to be greater than it is ; nor so 
apprehend it as to increase it, by driving you from Christ, 
but as to prevent it by driving you to him. Entertain not 
fancies and dreams of danger, instead of right apprehen- 
sions. Apprehend your happiness and grounds of hope and 
comfort, and safety in Christ, and let these quite exceed 
your apprehensions of the danger. Look not on it as a re- 
mediless danger, or as greater than the remedy. Do not 
conclude that you shall perish in it, and it will swallow you 
up. But only let it make you hold fast on Christ, and keep 
close to him in obedience. Shall I lay open all the mat- 
ter expressed in this section, by a familiar comparison ? 

A king having many subjects and sons, which are all 
beyond sea, or beyond some river, they must needs be 
brought over to him before they can live or reign with him. 
The river is frozen over at the sides, till it come almost to 
the middle. The foolish children are all playing on the ice, 
where a deceiving enemy enticeth them to play on till they 
come to the deep, where they drop in one by one and perish. 
The eldest son, who is with the father on the" other side, un- 
dertaketh to cast himself into the water, and swim to the 
further side, and break the ice, and swim back with them 
all that will come with him and hold him. The father bids 
him, ' Bring all my subjects with you, if they will come and 
hold by you ; but be sure you fail not to bring my sons.' 
This is resolved on ; the prince casteth himself into the wa- 
ter, and swimmeth to the further side. He maketh a way 
through the ice, and otfereth all of them his safe carriage, if 
they will accept him to be their bearer and helper, and will 
trust themselves on him, and hold fast by him till they come 
lo the further side. Some refuse his help, and think he 
would deceive them, and lead them into the deep, and there 
leave them to perish. Some had rather play on the ice, and 
will not hearken to him. Some dare not venture through 
the streams, or will not endure the coldness of the water. 


Some waveringly agree to him, and hold faiully by his skirt ; 
and when they feel the cold water, or are near the deep, or 
are weary of holding, they lose him ; either turning back, or 
perishing suddenly in the gulf. The children are of the 
same mind with the rest; but he is resolved to lose none of 
them, and therefore he chargeth them to come with him, 
and tells them fully what a welcome they shall have with 
their father ; and ceaseth not his importunity till he per- 
suade them to consent. Some of them say, * How shall we 
ever get over the river? we shall be drowned by the way.' 
He tells them, ' I will carry you safe over, so you will but 
 hold fast by me. Never fear, I warrant you.' They all lay 
hold on him, and venture in with him. When they are in 
the midst some are afraid, and cry out, ' We shall be drown- 
ed.' These he encourageth, and bids them trust him ; hold 
fast, and fear not. Others, when they hear these words, that 
they need not fear, they grow so bold and utterly secure, as 
to lose their hold. To these he speaketh in other language, 
and chargeth them to hold fast by him ; for if they lose their 
hold, they will fall into the bottom, and if they stick not to 
him they will be drowned. Some of them upon this warn- 
ing hold fast ; others are so boldly confident of his skill, 
and good will, and promise, that they forget or value not his 
warning and threatening, but lose their hold. Some through 
laziness and weariness do the like. Whereupon he lets 
them sink till they are almost drowned, and cry out for help, 
" Save us or we perish," and think they are all lost ; and 
then he layeth hold of them and fetcheth them up again, 
and chideth them for their bold folly, and biddeth them 
look better to themselves, and hold faster by him hereafter, 
if they love themselves. Some at last, through mere weari- 
ness and weakness, before they can reach the bank, cry out, 
' O I am tired, I faint, I shall never hold fast till I reach the 
shore, I shall be drowned.' These he comforteth, and gives 
them cordials, and holdeth them by the hand, and bids 
them Despair not. Do your best. Hold fast, and I will 
help you. And so he brings them all safe to the haven. 

This king is God ; heaven is his habitation ; the sub- 
jects are all men ; the sona, who are part of the subjects, 
are the elect ; the rest are the non-elect ; the river or sea is 
the passage of this life. The further side is all men's natu- 
ral, sinful distance and separation from God and happiness ; 


the ice that bears them, is this frail life of pleasures, profitSi 
and honours, which delight the flesh ; the depth unfrozen is 
hell ; he that enticeth them thither is the devil. The eldest 
son that is sent to bring them over, is Jesus Christ ; his 
commission and undertaking is, to help all over that refuse 
not his help ; and to see that the elect be infallibly reco- 
vered and saved. Do I need to go over the other particu- 
lars ? I know you see my meaning in them all : especially 
that which I aim at is this ; that as Paul had a promise of 
the life of all that were with him in the ship, and yet when 
some would have gone out, he told them, " Except these 
abide in the ship ye cannot be saved," Acts xxvii. 31. (so 
that he makes their apprehension of danger in a possibility 
of being drowned, to be the means of detaining them in the 
ship till they came all safe to land) so Jesus Christ who 
will infallibly save all his elect (they being given him by his 
Father to be infallibly saved) will do it by causing them to 
hold fast by him, through all the troubles, and labours, and 
temptations of this tumultuous, tempestuous world, and that 
till they come to land ; and the apprehension of their dan- 
gers shall be his means to make them hold fast ; yet is not 
their safety principally in themselves, but in him : nor is it 
their holding fast by him that is the chief cause of theit* 
difference from those that perish, but that is his love and 
resolution to save them. And therefore when they do let 
go their hold, he will not so lose them, but will fetch them 
up again ; only he will not bring them through this sea of 
danger as you would draw a block through the water ; but 
as men that must hold fast, and be commanded and threat- 
ened to that end ; and therefore when they lose their hold, 
it is the fear of drowning which they felt themselves near, 
which shall cause them to hold faster the next time ; and 
this must needs be the fear of a possible danger. And for 
those that perish, they have none to blame but themselves. 
They perish not for want of a Saviour, but because they 
would not lay hold on him, and follow him through the 
tempests and waves of trial. Nor can they quarrel at him 
because he did more for others, and did not as much for 
them as long as he offered them so sufficient help, that only 
their own wilful refusal was their ruin, and their perdition 
was of themselves. 

I conclude therefore, that seeing our salvation is laid by 



God, upon our faithful holding fast to Christ through all 
trials and difficulties, and our holy fear is the means of our 
holding fast (Christ being still the principal cause of our 
safety), therefore never look for such a certainty of salva- 
tion, as shall put you above such fears and moderated ap- 
prehensions of danger ; for then it is ten to one you will 
lose your hold. You read in Scripture very many warnings 
to take heed lest we fall, and threatenings to those that do 
fall away and draw back. What are all these for, but to ex- 
cite in us those moderate fears, and cares, and holy dili- 
gence, which may prevent our falling away ? And remem- 
ber this, that there can be no such holy fears, and cares, and 
diligence, where there is no danger or possibility of falling 
away; for there can be no act without its proper object ; 
and the object of fear is a possible hurt, at least in the ap- 
prehension of him that feareth it. No man can fear the 
evil which he knoweth to be impossible. 

Direct. XXI. The next advice which I must give you, 
ie this, * Be thankful if you can but reach to a settled peace, 
and composure of your mind, and lay not too much on the 
high raptures and feelings of comfort which some do pos- 
sess : and if ever you enjoy such feeling joys, expect not 
that they should be either long or often.' 

It is the cause of miserable languishing to many a poor 
soul, to have such importunate expectations of such pas- 
sionate joys, that they think without these they have no 
true comfort at all ; no witness of the Spirit, no spirit of 
adoption, no joy in the Holy Ghost. Some think that others 
have much of this, though they have not, and therefore they 
torment themselves because it is not with them as with 
others ; when, alas, they little know how it goes with others. 
Some taste of such raptures sometimes themselves have had, 
and therefore when they are gone, they think they are forsa- 
ken, and that all grace, or peace at least is gone with them. 
Take heed of these expectations. And to satisfy you, let me 
tell you these two or three things : 1 . A settled calm and peace 
of soul is a great mercy, and not to be undervalued as no- 
thing. 2. The highest raptures and passionate feeling joys, 
are usually of most doubtful sincerity. Not that I would 
have any suspect the sincerity of them without cause ; but 
such passions are not so certain signs of grace, as the set- 
tled frame of the understanding and will ; nor can we so 


easily know that they are of the Spirit, and they are liable 
to more questioning, and have in them a greater possibility 
of deceit. Doubtless it is very much that fancy and melan-^ 
choly, and especially a natural weakness and moveable tem- 
per will do in such cases. Mark whether it be not mostly 
these three sorts of people that have or pretend to have such 
extraordinary rapturesand feelings of joy. 1. Women and 
others that are most passionate. 2. Melancholy people. 3. 
Men that by erroneous opinions have lost almost all their 
understandings in their fancies, and live like men in a con- 
tinual dream. Yet I doubt not but solid men have oft high 
joys; and more we might all have, if we did our duty. And 
f would have no Christian contenthimself withadull quiet- 
ness of spirit, but by all means possible to be much in la- 
bouring to rejoice in God and raising their souls to heavenly 
delights. O what lives do we lose, which we might enjoy ! 
But my meaning is this : look at these joys and delights as 
duties and as mercies, but look not at them as marks of 
trial, so as to place more necessity in them than God hath 
done, or to think them to be ordinary things. If you do 
but feel such a high estimation of Christ and heaven, that 
you would not leave him for all the world, take this for your 
surest sign. And if you have but so much probability or 
hope of your interest in him, that you can think of God as 
one that loveth you, and can be thankful to Christ for re- 
deeming you, and are more glad in these hopes of your in- 
terest in Christ and glory, than if you were owner of all the 
world ; take this for a happy mercy, and a high consolation. 
Yet I mean not that your joy in Christ will be always so sen- 
sible, as for worldly things ; but it will be more rational, so- 
lid and deeper at the heart. And that you may know by this, 
you would not for all the pleasures, honours or profits in the 
world, be in the same case as once you were (supposing that 
you were converted since you had the use of reason and me- 
mory), or at least as you see the ungodly world still lie in. 
3. And let me add this : commonly those that have the 
highest passionate joys, have the saddest lives ; for they 
have withal, the most passionate fears and sorrows. Mark 
it, whether you find not this prove true. And it is partly 
from God's will in his dispensations ; partly from their own 
necessities, who after their exaltations do usually need a 
prick in the flesh, and a minister of satan tin buffet them, lest 


they be exalted above measure ; and partly, and most com- 
monly it is from the temperature of their bodies. Weak, 
passionate women, of moveable spirits and strong affections , 
when they love, they love violently, and when they rejoice, 
especially in such cases, they have most sensible joys, and 
when any fears arise, they have most terrible sorrows. I 
know it is not so with all of that sex ; but mark the same 
people that usually have the highest joys, and see whether 
at other times they have not the greatest troubles. This 
week they are as at the gates of heaven, and the next as at 

j^ the doors of hell : I am sure, with many it is so. Yet it 
need not be so, if Christians would but look at these high 
joys as duties to be endeavoured, and mercies to be valued ; 
but when they will needs judge of their state by them, and 
think that God is gone from them or forsaken them, when 
they have not such joys, then it leaves them in terror and 
amazement. Like men after a flash of lightning, that are 
left more sensible of the darkness. For no wise man can 
expect that such joys should be a Christian's ordinary state; 
or God should so diet us with a continual feast. It would 
neither suit with our health, nor the condition of this pil- 
grimage. Live therefore on your peace of conscience as 
your ordinary diet ; when this is wanting, know that God 
appointeth you a fast for your health ; and when you have 
a feast of high joys, feed on it and be thankful ; but when 
they are taken from you, gape not after them as the disci- 
ples did after Christ at his ascension ; but return thankfully 
to your ordinary diet of peace. And remember that these 
joys, which are now taken from you, may so return again. 
However, there is a place preparing for you, where your 

s joys shall he full. 

Direct. XXII. My next Direction is this, 'Spend more 
of your time and care about your duty than about your com- 
forts ; and for the exercise and increase of your graces, than 
for the discovery of them : and when you have done all that 
you can for assurance and comfort, you shall find that it will 

^ very much depend on your actual obedience.' 

This Direction is of as great importance as any that I 
have yet given you; but I shall say but little of it, because 
I have spoke of it so fully already in my Book of Rest, Part 
iii. Chap. 8 — 11. My reasons for what I here assert are 
these: 1. Duty goeth in order of nature and time, before 


comfort, as the precept is before the promise : comfort is 
part of the reward, and therefore necessarily supposeth the 
duty. 2. Grace makes men both so ingenious and divine, as 
to consider God's due as well as their own ; and what they 
should do, as well as what they shall have, still remember- 
ing that our works cannot merit at God's hands. 3. As we 
must have grace before we can know we have it, so ordina- 
rily we must have a good measure of grace, before we can 
so clearly discern it as to be certain of it. Small things, I 
have told you, are next to none, and hardly discernible by 
weak eyes. When all ways in the world are tried, it will be 
found that there is no way so sure for a doubting soul to be 
made certain of the truth of his graces, as to keep them in 
action, and get them increased. And it will be found that 
there is no one cause of Christians doubting of the truth of 
their faith, love, hope, repentance, humility, &c. so great or 
80 common as the small degree of these graces. Doth not 
the very language of complaining Christians shew this ? One 
saith, 'I have no faith ; I cannot believe ; I have no love to 
God ; I have no delight in duty.' Another saith, ' I cannot 
mourn for sin, my heart was never broken ; I cannot pa- 
tiently bear an injury; I have no courage in opposing sin, 
&c.' If all these were not in a low and weak degree, men 
could not so ordinarily think they had none. A lively, 
strong, working faith, love, zeal, courage, &c. would shew 
themselves, as do the highest towers, the greatest moun- 
tains, the strongest winds, the greatest flames, which will 
force an observance by their greatness and effects. 4. Con- 
sider also that it is more pleasing to God {o see his people 
study him and his will directly, than to spend the first and 
chiefest of their studies about the attaining of comforts to 
themselves. 5. And it is the nature of grace to tend first 
and chiefly toward God ; and but secondarily to be the evi- 
dence of our own happiness. We have faith given us prin- 
cipally that we might believe, and live by it in daily appli- 
cations of Christ: we have repentance, that it might 
break us off" from sin, and bring us back to God ; we have 
love, that we might love God and our Redeemer, his 
saints, and laws, and ways ; we have zeal, that we might 
be quickened in all our holy duties ; and we have obe- 
dience, to keep us in the_ way of duty. The first thing' 
we have to do with these graces, is to use them for those* 


holy ends which their nature doth express : and then the 
discerning of them that we may have assurance* followeth 
after this both in time and dignity. 6. And it is a matter 
of far greater concernment to ourselves to seek.after the ob- 
taining of Christ and grace, than after the certain knowledge 
that we have them. You may be saved though you never 
get assurance here, but you cannot be saved without Christ 
and grace. God hath not made assurance the condition of 
your salvation. It tends indeed exceedingly to your com- 
fort, and a precious mercy it is ; but your safety lieth not on 
it. It is better to go sorrowful and doubting to heaven, than 
comfortably to hell. First therefore ask what is the condi- 
tion of salvation and the way to it, and then look that you 
do your best to perform it, and to go that way, and then try 
your performance in its season. 7. Besides, as it is a work 
of far greater moment, so also of quicker dispatch, to believe 
and love Christ truly, than to get assurance that you do 
truly believe and love him. You may believe immediately,^ 
(by the help of God's grace,) but getting assurance of it 
may be the work of a great part of your life. Let me there- 
fore entreat this one thing of you, that when you feel the 
want of any grace, you would not presently bend all your 
thoughts upon the inquiry, whether it be true or no ; but 
rather say to yourself, ' I see trying is a great and difficult, 
a long and tedious work : I may be this many years about 
it, and possibly be unresolved still. If I should conclude 
that I have no grace, I may be mistaken ; and so I may if I 
think that I have it. I may inquire of friends and ministers 
long, and yet be left in doubt ; it is therefore my surest way 
to seek presently to obtain it, if 1 have it not, and to in- 
crease it if I have it. And I am certain none of that labour 
will be lost ; to get more is the way to know I have it.' 

But perhaps you will say, * How should I get more grace ? 
That is a business of greater difficulty than so.' I answer. 
Understand what I told you before, that as the beginning of 
grace is in your understanding, so the heart and life of it is 
in your will ; and the affections and passionate part are but 
the fruits and branches. If therefore your grace be weak, 
it is chiefly in an unwillingness to yield to Christ, and his 
word and Spirit. Now, how should an unwilling soul be 
made willing? Why thus, 1. Pray constantly as you are 
able, for a willing mind, and yielding, inclinable heart to 


Christ. 2. Hear constantly those preachers that bend their 
doctrine to inform your understanding of the great necessity 
and excellency of Christ, and grace, and glory ; and to per- 
suade the will with the most forcible arguments. A per- 
suading, quickening ministry, that helps to excite your 
graces, and draw up your heart to Christ, is more useful than 
they that spend most of their time to persuade you of 
your sincerity, and give you comfort. 3. But especially lay 
out your thoughts more in the most serious considerations 
of those things which tend to breed and feed those particu- 
lar graces which you would have increased. Objects and 
moving reasons kept much upon the mind by serious 
thoughts, are the great engine appointed both by nature and 
by grace, to turn about the soul of man. Thoughts are to 
your soul, as taking in the air, and meat and drink to your 
body. Objects considered, do turn the soul into their own 
nature. Such as are the things that you most think and con- 
sider of (I mean in pursuance of them), such will you be 
yourself. Consideration, frequent serious consideration, i» 
God's great instrument to convert the soul, and to confirm 
it ; to get grace, and to keep it, and increase it. If any soul 
perish for want of grace, it is ten to one it is mainly for 
want of frequent and serious consideration. That the most 
of us do languish under such weaknesses, and attain to 
small degrees of grace, is for want of sober, frequent consi- 
deration. We know not how great things this would do, if 
it were but faithfully managed. This then is my advice, 
wh^n you feel so great a want of faith and love (for those be 
the main graces for trial and use,) that you doubt whether 
you have any or none, lay by those doubting thoughts awhile, 
and presently go and set yourself to consider of God's truth, 
goodness, amiableness, and kindheartedness to miserable, 
unworthy sinners : think what he is in himself, and what he 
is to you, and what he hath done for you, and what he will 
do for you if you do but consent. And then think of the 
vanity of all the childish pleasures of this world ; how soon, 
and in how sad a case they will leave us ; and what silly, 
contemptible things they are, in comparison of the ever- 
lasting glory of the saints ! By that time you have warmed 
your soul a little with such serious thoughts, you will find 
your faith and love revive, and begin to stir and work within 
you ; and then you will feel that you have faith and lore. 


Only remember what I told you before, that the heart and 
soul of saving faith and love (supposing a belief that the 
Gospel is true,) is all in this one act of willingness and con- 
sent to have Christ as he is offered. Therefore if you doubt 
of your faith and love, it is your own willingness that you 
doubt of, or else you know not what you do. Now me • 
thinks, if you took but a sober view of the goodness of God, 
and the glory of heaven on one side, and of the silly, empty, 
worthless world on the other side ; and then ask your heart 
which it will choose ; and say to yourself, * O my soul, 
the God of glory offers thee thy choice of dung and vanity 
for a little time, or of the unconceivable joys of heaven for 
ever: which wilt thou choose?' I say, methinks the an- 
swer" of your own soul should presently resolve you, that 
you do believe, and that you love God above this present 
world! For if you can choose him before the world, then 
you are more willing of him than the world : and if he have 
more of your will, for certain he hath more of your faith and 
love. Use, therefore, instead of doubting of your faith, to 
believe till you put it out of doubt. And if yet you doubt, 
study God, and Christ, and glory yet better, and keep those 
objects by consideration close to your heart, whose nature 
is to work the heart to faith and love. For certainly ob- 
jects have a mighty power on the soul ; and certainly God, 
and Christ, and grace, and glory, are mighty objects; as 
able to make a full and deep impression on man's soul, as 
any in the world ; and if they work not, it is not through 
any imperfection in them, but because they be not well ap- 
plied, and by consideration held upon the heart, that they 
may work. Perhaps you will say, that meditation is too 
hard a work for you, and that your memory is so weak that 
you want matter to meditate upon ; or if you do meditate on 
these, yet you feel no great motion or alteration on your 
heart. To this I answer ; if you want matter, take the help 
of some book that will afibrd you matter ; and if you want 
life in meditation, peruse the most quickening writings you 
can get. If you have not better at hand, read over (and se- 
riously consider as you read it,) those passages in the end of 
my Book of Rest, which direct you in the exercises of these 
graces, and give you some matter for your meditation to 
^ork upon : and remember, that if you can increase the re-» 


solved choice of your will, you increase your love, though 
you feel not those affectionate workings that you desire. 

Let me ask you now whether you have indeed taken this 
course in your doubtings ? If not, how unwisely have you 
done. Doubting is no cure, but actual believing and lov- 
ing is a cure. If faith and love were things that you would 
fain get, but cannot, then you had cause enough to fear, and 
to lie down and rise in trouble of mind from one year to 
another. But it is no such matter ; it is so far from being 
beyond your reach or power to have these graces, though 
you would, that they themselves are nothing else but your 
very willingness ; at least your willingness to have Christ, 
is both your faith and love. It may be said therefore to be 
in the power of your will, which is nothing else but that ac- 
tual willingness which you have already. If therefore you 
are unwilling to have him, what makes you complain for 
want of the sense of his presence, and the assurance of his 
love, and the graces of his Spirit, as you frequently do ? It 
is strange to me, that people should make so many com- 
plaints to God and men, and spend so many sad hours in 
fears and trouble, and all for want of that which they would 
not have. If you be not willing, be willing now. If you 
say you cannot, do as I have before directed you. One 
hour's sober, serious thoughts of God and the world, of 
Christ and satan, of sin and holiness, of heaven and hell, 
and the differences of them, will do very much to make 
you willing. Yet mistake me not ; though I say you may 
have Christ if you will, and faith and love if you will, and 
no man can truly say, * I would be glad to have Christ (as 
he is offered) but cannot;' yet this gladness, consent^ or 
willingness which I mention, is the effect of the special 
work of the Spirit, and was not in your power before yoii 
had it ; nor is it yet so in your power as to believe, without 
God's further help. But he that hath made you willing, 
will not be wanting to maintain your willingness. Though 
1 will say to any man. You may have Christ if you will ; yet 
I will say to no man, You can be willing of yourself, or 
without the special grace of God. 

Nay, let me further ask ; Have not you darkened, bu- 
ried, or weakened your graces, instead of exercising and in- 
creasing them, even then when you comj)lained for want of 


assurance of them ? When you found a want of faith and 
love, have not you weakened them more, and so made theni 
less discernible ? Have you not fed your unbelief, and dis- 
puted for your doubtings, and taken satan's part against 
yourself; and (which is far worse) have you never, through 
these doubtings, entertained hard thoughts of God, and pre- 
sented him to your soul, as unwilling to shew you mercy, 
and in an unlovely, dreadful, hideous shape, fitter to affright 
you from him, than to draw you to him and likelier to pro- 
voke your hatred than your love ? If you have not done 
thus, I know too many troubled souls that have. And if 
you have, you have taken a very unlikely way to get assur- 
ance. If you would have been certain that you loved God 
in sincerity, you should have laboured to love him more, 
till you had been certain ; and that you might do so, you 
should have kept better thoughts of God in your mind. 
You will hardly love him while you think of him as evil, or 
at least as hurtful to you. Never forget this rule which I 
laid you down in the beginning, that. He that will ever love 
God, must apprehend him to be good. And the more large 
and deep are our apprehensions of his goodness, the more 
will be our love. For such as God appears to be to men's 
fixed conceivings, such will their affections be to him. For 
the fixed, deep conceptions, or apprehensions of the mind, 
do lead about the ^ul, and guide the life. 

I conclude therefore with this important and importu- 
nate request to you, that. Though it be a duty necessary in 
its time and place, to examine ourselves concerning our 
sincerity, in our several graces and duties to God ; yet be 
sure that the first and far greater part of your time, and 
pains, and care, and inquiries, be for the getting and in- 
creasing of your grace, than for the discerning it ; and to 
perform your duty rightly, than to discern your right per- 
formance. And when you confer with ministers, or others, 
that may teach you, see that you ask ten times at least, 
' How should 1 get or increase my faith, my love to Christ, 
arid to his people V For once that you ask, ' How shall I 
know that I believe or love V Yet so contrary hath been, 
and still is, the practice of most Christians among us in this 
point, that I have heard it twenty times asked, * How shall 
I know that 1 truly love the brethren ?' For once that 1 
have heard it demanded, ' How should I bring my heart to 


love them better V And the like 1 may say of love to Christ 

I should next have spoke of the second part of the Di- 
rection, How much our assurance and comfort will still de- 
pend on our actual obedience. But this will fall in in hand- 
ling the two or three next following Directions. 

Direct. XXIII. My next advice is this, ' Think not those 
doubts and troubles of mind, which are caused and con- 
tinued by wilful disobedience, will ever be well healed but 
by the healing of that disobedience ; or that the same 
means must be used, and will suffice to the cure of such 
troubles ; which must, be used, and will suffice to cure the 
troubles of a tender conscience, and of an obedient Chris- 
tian, whose trouble is merely through mistakes of their con- 

I will begin with the latter part of this Direction. He that 
is troubled upon mere mistakes, may be quieted upon the 
removal of them. If he understood not the universal extent, 
of Christ's satisfaction, or of the covenant or conditional 
grant of Christ and life in him ; and if upon this he be trou- 
bled, as thinking that he is not included, the convincing 
him of his error may suffice to the removal of his trouble. 
If he be troubled through his mistaking the nature of true 
faith, or true love, or other graces, and so think that he 
hath them not, when he hath them, the discovery of his er- 
ror may be the quieting of his soul. The soul that is trou- 
bled upon such mistakes, must be tenderly dealt with. 
Much more they that are disquieted by groundless fears, or 
too deep apprehensions of the wrath or justice of God, of 
the evil of sin, and of their unworthiness, and for want of 
fuller apprehensions of the lovingkindness of God, and the 
tender, compassionate nature of Christ. We can scarce 
handle such souls too gently. God would have all to be 
tenderly dealt with, that are tender of displeasing and dis- 
honouring him by sin. God's own language may teach all 
ministers what language we should use to such, Isa. Ivii. 
15 — 21. " Thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabit- 
eth eternity, whose name is Holy ; I dwell in the high and 
holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble 
spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the 
lieart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, 
neither will I be always wrath. For the spirit should fail 
before me, and the souls which I have made, &c. But the 


wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose 
waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my 
God, to the wicked." Much more tender language may 
such expect from Christ in the Gospel, where is contained a 
fuller revelation of his grace. If Mary, a poor, sinful wo- 
man, lie weeping at his feet, and washing them with her 
tears, he hath not the heart to spurn her away ; but openly 
proclaims the forgiveness of her many sins. As soon as 
ever the heart of a sinner is turned from his sins, the heart 
of Christ is turned to him. The very sum of all the Gospel 
is contained in those precious words, which fully express 
this : " Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy la- 
den, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and 
learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly in heart ; and ye 
shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and 
my burden is light ;" Matt. xi. 28 — 30. When the prodi- 
gal (Luke xi. 20.), doth once come home to his father, with 
sorrow and shame, confessing his unworthiness, yea, but re- 
solved to confess it ; his father preventeth him, and sees 
him afar off, and stays not his coming, but runs and meets 
him. And when he comes to him, he doth not upbraid him 
with his sins, nor say. Thou rebel, why hast thou forsaken 
me, and preferred harlots and luxury before me ? Nay, he 
doth not so much as frown upon him, but compassionately 
falls on his neck and kisseth him. Alas, God knows that a 
poor sinner in this humbled, troubled case, hath burden 
enough on his back already, and indeed more than he is able 
of himself to bear. The sense of his own sinful folly and 
misery is burden enough. If God should add to this his 
frowns and terrors, and should spurn at a poor sinner that 
lies prostrate at his feet, in tears or teirors, who then should 
be able to stand before him, or to look him in the face ? 
But he will not break the bruised reed ; he will not make 
heavier the burden of a sinner. He calls them to come to 
him for ease and rest, and not to oppress them, or kill them 
with terrors. We have not a king like Rehoboam, that will 
multiply our pressures ; but one whose office it is to break 
our yokes, and loose our bonds, and set us free. When he 
was a preacher himself on earth, you may gather what doc- 
trine he preached by his text, which he chos6 at one of his 
hrst public sermons ; which, as you may find in Luke iv. 
18, 19. was this, " The Spirit of the Lord is upon rae, be- 
cause he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to tlie poorj 


he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted ; to preach de- 
liverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the 
blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised ; to preach the 
acceptable year of the Lord." O if a poor, bruised, wound- 
ed soul, had but heard this sermon from his Saviour's own 
mouth, what heart-meltings would it have caused ? What 
pangs of love would it have raised in him? You would sure 
have believed then that the Lord is gracious, when " all (that 
heard him) bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious 
words that proceeded out of his mouth ;" Luke iv. 22. I 
would desire no more for the comfort of such a soul, than 
to see such a sight, and feel such a feeling as the poor pe- 
nitent prodigal did, when he found himself in the arms of 
his father, and felt the kisses of his mouth, and was sur- 
prised so unexpectedly with such a torrent of love. The 
soul that hath once seen and felt this, would never sure 
have such hard and doubtful thoughts of God, except 
through ignorance they knew not whose arms they were 
that thus embraced them, or whose voice it was that thus 
bespoke them ; or unless the remembrance of it were gone 
out of their minds. You s^e then what is God's own lan- 
guage to humbled penitents, and what is the method of his 
dealings with them ; and such must be the language and 
dealing of his ministers : they must not wound when Christ 
would heal ; nor make sad the heart that Christ would com- 
fort,' and would not have made sad ; Ezek. xiii.22. 

But will this means serve turn, or must the same course 
be taken to remove the sorrows of the wilfully disobedient? 
No : God takes another course himself, and prescribes ano- 
ther course to his ministers ; and requires another course from 
the sinner himself. But still remember who it is that I 
speak of: it is not the ordinary, unavoidable infirmities of 
the saints that 1 speak of; such as they cannot be rid of, 
though they fain would; such as Paul speaks of, Rom. vii. 
19. "The good that I would do, I do not:" and "when I 
would do good, evil is present with me." And Gal. v. 17. 
" The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, 8cc. so that we can- 
not do the things that we would." A true Christian would 
love God more perfectly, and delight in him more abundant- 
ly, and bring every thought in subjection to his will, and 
subdue the very remnants of carnal concupiscence, that 
there should be no stirringsof lust or unjust anger, or world- 


ly desires, or pride within him; and that no vain word might 
pass his lips : all this he would do, but he cannot. Striv- 
ing against these unavoidable infirmities, is conquering. 

But though we cannot keep under every motion of con- 
cupiscence, we can forbear the execution. Anger will stir 
upon provocations ; but we may restrain it in degree, that it 
set us not in a flame, and do not much distemper or discom- 
pose our minds. And we can forbid our tongues all raging, 
furious, or abusive words in our anger ; all cursing, swearing, 
or reproachful speaking. If an envious thought against one 
brother do arise incur hearts, because he is preferred before 
us, we may hate it ?nd repress it, and chide our hearts for it, 
and command our tongues to speak well of him, and no evil. 
Some pride and self-esteem will remain and be stirring in 
us, do what we can, it is a sin so deeply rooted in our cor- 
rupt natures. But yet we can detest it, and resist it, and 
meet with abhorrence of our self-conceited thoughts, and 
rejoicings in our own reputations and fame, and inward 
heart-risings against those that undervalue us, and stand in 
the way of our repute ; and we may forbear our boasting 
language, and our contestings for our credit, and our ex- 
cuses of our sins, and our backbitings and secret defaming 
of those that cross us in the way of credit. We may forbear 
our quarrels, and estrangements, and dividings from our 
brethren, and stiff insisting on our own conceits, and expect- 
ing that others should make our judgments their rule, and 
say and do as we would have them, and all dance after our 
pipe; all which are the effects of inward pride. We cannot, 
while we are on earth, be free from all inordinate love of 
the world, and the riches and honours of it; but we may so 
watch against it and repress it, as that it shall neither be 
preferred before God, nor draw us to unlawful ways of gain, 
by lying, deceit, and overreaching our brethren ; by steal- 
ing, unjust or unmerciful dealings, oppressing the poor, and 
insulting over those that are in the way of our thriving, 
and crushing them that would hinder our aspiring designs, 
and treading them down that will not bow to us, and taking- 
revenge of them that have crossed or disparaged us, or cru- 
elly exacting all our rights and debts of the poor, and 
squeezing the purses of subjects or tenants, or those that we 
bargain with, like a sponge, as long as any thing will come 
out. Yea, we may so far subdue our love of the world, as 


that it shall not hinder us from being merciful to the poor, 
compassionate to our servants and labourers, and bountiful 
to our power in doing good works ; nor yet shut out God's 
service from our families and closets ; nor rob him of our 
frequent, affectionate thoughts, especially on the Lord's day. 
So for sensuality, or the pleasing of our flesh more immedi- 
ately ; we shall never on earth be wholly freed from inordi- 
nate motions, and temptations, and fleshly desires, and ur- 
gent inclinations and solicitations to forbidden things. But 
yet we may restrain our appetite by reason, so far that it 
brings us not to gluttony and drunkenness, and a studying 
for our bellies, and pampering of our flesh, or a taking care 
for it, and making provision to satisfy its lusts ; Rom.xiii. 
14. We may forbear the obeying it, in excess of apparel, 
in indecent, scandalous, or time-wasting recreations, in un- 
cleanness, or unchaste speeches or behaviour, or the reading 
of amorous books and sonnets, or feeding our eyes or 
thoughts on filthy or enticing objects, or otherwise wilfully 
blowing the fire of lust. So also for the performance of du- 
ty. We shall never in this life be able to bear or read so 
diligently, and understandingly, or affectionately, as we 
would do ; nor to remember or profit by what we hear, as 
we desire. But yet we can bring ourselves to the congre- 
gation, and not prefer our ease, or business, or any vain 
thing before God's word and worship, or loathe or despise it, 
because of some weakness in the speaker. And we may in 
a great measure restrain our thoughts from wandering, and 
force ourselves to attend ; and labour when we come home 
to recal it to mind. We cannot call on God so fervently, 
believingly, or delightfully, as we would ; but yet we may 
do it as sincerely as we can, and do it constantly. We 
cannot instruct our children and servants, and reprove or 
exhort our neighbours, with that boldness, or love, and com- 
passion, and discretion, and meet expressions, as we would ; 
but yet we may do it faithfully and frequently as we are 

So that you may see in all this, what sin it is that Paul 
speaks of, Rom. vii. when he saith. When he would do good, 
evil is present with him ; and that he is led captive to the 
law of sin, and serves the law of sin with his flesh. And 
Gal.iv. 17. when he saith, "We cannot do the things that 
we would," he speaks not of wilful sinning or gross sin, but 


of unavoidable infirmities ; whereby also we are too often 
drawn into a committing of many sins which we might 
avoid (for so the best do). 

And because you may often read and hear of sins of in- 
firmity, as distinguished from other sins, let me here give 
you notice, that this w^ord may be taken in several senses, 
and that there are three several sorts of infirmity in the godly. 
1 . There are those sins which a man cannot avoid though 
he would ; which are in the gentlest sense called sins of in- 
firmity. Here note, 1. That Adam had none such. 2. And 
that the reason of them is, because, 1. Our reason which 
should direct, and our wills themselves which should com- 
mand, are both imperfect. 2. And our faculties that should 
be commanded and directed, are by sin grown impotent and 
obstinate, and have contracted a rebelling, disobedient dis- 
position. 3. And that degree of grace, which the best at- 
, tain to in this life, is not such as wholly to overcome either 
the imperfection of the guiding and commanding faculty, or 
the rebellion of the obeying faculties : otherwise if our own 
wills were perfect, and the rebellion of the inferior faculties 
cured, no man could then say, ' The good that I would, I do 
not, and the evil that I would not, that I do.' For the will 
would so fully command, that all would obey, and itself 
being perfect, all would be perfect. And therefore in hea- 
ven it is and will be so. 

I know philosophers conclude, that all acts of the infe- 
rior faculties are but acts commanded by the will ; it should 
be so I confess. It is the office of the will to command, and 
the understanding to direct, and the rest to obey. But in 
our state of sinful imperfection, the soul is so distempered 
and corrupted, that the will cannot fully rule those faculties 
that it should rule ; so that it may be said, ' I would forbear 
sin, but cannot.' For, 1. The understanding is become a 
dark, imperfect director. 2. The will is become an imper- 
fect receiver of the understanding's directions ; yea, an op- 
poser, as being tainted with the neighbourhood of a distem- 
pered sense. 3. When the will is rectified by grace, it is 
but in part; and therefore when Paul, or any holy man 
saith, * I would do good,' and * I would not do evil,' they 
mean it not of a perfect willingness, but of a sincere ; to wit, 
that this is the main bent of their will, and the resolved pre- 
valent act of it is for good. 4. When the will doth com- 


tnand, yet the commanded faculties do refuse to obey, 
through an unfitness of impotency and corruption. 1. The 
will hath but an imperfect command of the understanding. 
(I mean as to the exercise of the act, in which respect it 
commandeth it, and not as to the specification of the act.) 
A man may truly and strongly desire to know more, and 
apprehend things more clearly, and yet cannot. 2. The 
will hath but an imperfect command of the fancy or thoughts ; 
so that a man may truly say, * I would think more frequently^ 
more intensely, and more orderly of good, and less of vanity, 
and yet I cannot.' For objects and passions may force the 
fancy and cogitations in some degree. 3. The will hath but 
an imperfect command of the passions ; so that a man may 
truly say, ' I would not be troubled, or afraid, or grieved, or 
disquieted, or angry, but 1 cannot choose, and I would 
mourn more for sin, and be more afraid of sinning, and of 
God's displeasure, and more zealous for God, and more de- 
lighted in him, and joy more in holy things, but I cannot.' 
For these passions lie so open to the assault of objects, 
(having the senses for their inlet, and the moveable spirits 
for their seat or instruments) that even when the will com- 
mands them one way, an object may force them in part 
against the will's command, as we find sensibly in cases of 
fear, and sorrow or anger, which we can force a man to whe- 
ther he will or no. And if there be no contradicting object, 
yet cannot the will excite these passions to what height it 
shall command ; for their motion depends as much (and 
more) on the lively manner of representing the object, and 
the working nature and weight of the object represented, 
and upon the heat and mobility of the spirits, and tempera- 
ture of the body, as upon the command of the will. 4. Much 
less can the will command out all vicious habits, and sen- 
sual or corrupt inclinations ; and therefore a true Christian 
may well say in respect of these, that he would be more 
holy, heavenly, and disposed to good, and less to evil, but 
he cannot. 5. As for complacency and displacency, liking 
or disliking, love and hatred, so far as they are passions, I 
have spoke of them before : but so far as they are the imme- 
diate acts of the will (willing and nilling) they are not pro- 
perly said to be commanded by it, but elicited, or acted by 
it ; (wherein, how far it hath power is a most noble ques- 



tioQ» but unfit for this place or your capacity.) And thus 
you see that there are many acts of the soul, beside habits, 
which the will cannot now perfectly command, and so a 
Christian cannot be what he would be, nor do the things 
that he would. And these are the first sort of sins of infir- 

If you say, 'Sure these can be no sins, because we are 
not willing; of them, and there is no more sin than there is 
will in it;' I answer, 1. We were in Adam willing of that 
sin which caused them. 2. We are in some degree inclin- 
ing in our wills to sin, though God have that prevalent part 
and determination, which in comparative cases doth denom- 
inate them. 3. The understanding and will may be most 
heinously guilty where they do not consent, in that they do 
not more strongly dissent, and more potently and rulingly 
command all the subject faculties ; and so a negation of the 
will's act, or of such a degree of it as is necessary to the re- 
giment of the sensual part, is a deep guilt and great offence ; 
and it may be said, that there is will in this sin. It is mo- 
rally or reputatively voluntary, though not naturally ; be- 
cause the will doth not its ofiice when it should : as a man 
is guilty of voluntary murder of his own child, that stands 
by and seeth his servant kill him, and doth not do his best 
to hinder him. I would this were better understood by 
some divines ; for I think that the commonest guilt of the 
reason and will in our actual sins, is by omission of the ex- 
ercise of their authority to hinder it ; and that most sins are 
more brutish, as to the true efficient cause, than many ima- 
gine ; and yet they are human or moral acts too, and the 
soul nevertheless guilty ; because the commanding faculties 
performed not their office, and so are the moral or imputative 
causes, and so the great culpable causes of the fact. But 
I am drawn nearer to philosophy and points beyond your 
reach than I intended ; a fault that I must be still resisting 
in all my writings, being upon every occurring difficulty 
carried to forget my subject, and the capacity of the mean- 
est to whom I write : but what you understand not, pass 
over, and go to the next. 

The second kind of sins of infirmity, are. The smaller 
sort of sins, which we may forbear if we will ; that is. If we 
be actually, though not perfectly, yet prevalently willing ; 
or if our will be determined to forbear them ; or if the chief 


part of the will actually be fof such forbearance. The first 
sort are called sins of infirmity in an absolute sense. These 
last, I call sins of infirmity in both an absolute and com- 
parative sense : that is, both as they proceed from our in- 
ward corruption, which through the weakness of the soul 
having but little grace, is not fully restrained, and also as it 
is compared with gross sins : and so we may call idle words, 
and rash expressions in our haste, and such like, sins of in- 
firmity, in comparison of murder, perjury, or the like gross 
sins, which we commonly call crimes or wickedness, when 
the former we use to call but faults. These infirmities are 
they which the Papists (and some learned divines of our 
own, as Rob. Baronius in his excellent tractate " Depeccat. 
Mortali et Veniali,") do call venial sins ; some of them in a 
fair and honest sense, viz. Because they are such sins as a. 
true Christian may live and die in, though not unrepented 
or unresisted, yet not subdued so far as to forsake or cease 
from the practice of them, and yet they are pardoned. But 
other Papists call them venial sins in a wicked sense, as if 
they needed no pardon, and deserved not eternal punish- 
ment. (And why should they call them venial if they need 
not pardon?) A justified man liveth in the daily practice 
of some vain thoughts, or the frequent commission of some 
other sins, which by his utmost diligence he might restrain; 
but he liveth not in the frequent practice of adultery, drun- 
kenness, falsewitnessing, slandering, hating his brother, 8cc. 
Yet observe, that though the forementioned lesser sins 
are called infirmities, in regard of the matter of them, yet 
they may be so committed in regard of the end and manner 
of them, as may make them crimes or gross sins. As for 
example, if one should use idle words wilfully, resolvedly, 
without restraint, reluctance or tenderness of conscience, 
this were gross sinning ; or the nearer it comes to this, and 
the more wilfulness, or neglect, or evil ends there is in the 
smallest forbidden action, the worse it is, and the grosser. 
And observe (of which more anon) that the true bounds or 
difference between gross sins, and those lesser faults, which 
we call infirmities, cannot be given ; (I think by any man, I 
am sure not by me,) either as to the act itself, to say, j ust what 
acts are gross sins, and what not ; or else as to the manner 
of committing them; as to say, just how much of the will 
rowBt go to make a gross sin; or just how far a man may 


proceed in the degree of evil intents ; or how far in the fre- 
quency of sinning, before it must be called a gross sin. 

3. The third sort of sins, which may be called sins of in- 
firmity, are these last mentioned gross sins themselves, so 
far as they are found in the regenerate : these are gross sins 
put in opposition to the former sort of infirmities ; but our 
divines use to call them all sins of infirmity, in opposition to 
the sins of unbelievers, who are utterly unholy. And they 
call them sins of infirmity, 1. Because the person that com- 
mitteth them is not dead in sins, as the unregenerate are, but 
only^diseased, wounded and infirm. 2. Because that they 
are not committed with so full consent of will, as those of 
the unregenerate are ; but only after much striving, or at 
least contrary to habitual resolutions, though not against 

Here we are in very great diflBculties, and full of contro- 
versies : some say, that these gross sins do extinguish true 
grace, and are inconsistent with it : and that David and 
Peter were out of the state of grace till they did again re- 
pent. Others say, that they were in the state of grace, and 
not at all so liable to condemnation, but that if they had 
died in the act, they had been saved, because " there is no 
condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus ;" and that 
therefore all the sins of believers are alike sins of infirmity, 
pardoned on the same terms : and therefore as a rash word 
may be pardoned without a particular repentance, so possi- 
bly may these gross sins. To others this seems dangerous 
and contrary to Scripture, and therefore they would fain 
find out a way between both ; but how to do it clearly and 
satisfactorily is not easy (at least to me, who have been long 
upon it, but am yet much in the dark in it). I think it is 
plain that such persons are not totally unsanctified by their 
sin ; I believe that Christ's interest is habitually more in 
their wills than is the intefest of the flesh or world, at that 
very time when they are sinning, and so Christ's interest is 
least as to their actual willing ; and so sin prevaileth for that 
time against the act of their faith and love, but not wholly 
against the prevalent part of the habit. And therefore when 
the shaking wind of that stormy temptation is over, the soul 
will return to Christ by repentance, love and renewed 
obedience. But then to know what state he is relatively in 
this while, as to his justification, and reconciliation, and 


right to glory, is the point of exceeding difficulty . Whether 
as we distinguish of habitual faith, and love, and obedience, 
which he hath not lost ; and actual, which he hath lost ; so 
we must make some answerable distinction of justification 
(habitual and actual it cannot be) into virtual justification 
which he hath not lost, and actual justification which he 
hath lost : or into plenary justification (which he hath not) 
and imperfect justification, wanting a further act to make it 
plenary (which may remain). But still it will be more difli- 
cult to shew punctually what this imperfect or virtual justi- 
fication is : and most difficult to shew, whether with the 
loss of actual plenary justification, and the loss of a plenary 
right to heaven, a man's salvation may consist; that is, 
whether if he should die in that condition, he should be 
saved or condemned? Or if it be said, that he shall cer- 
tainly repent, 1. Yet such a supposition may be put, while 
he yet repenteth not ; for the inquiry into his state, how far 
there is any intercession of his justification, pardon, adop- 
tion or right to salvation? 2. And whether it can fully be 
proved that it is impossible (or that which never was or shall 
be) for a regenerate man to die in the very act of a gross sin 
(as self-murder or the like) ? For my part I think God hath . 
purposely left us here in the dark, that we may not be too 
bold in sinning, but may know that- whether the gross sins 
of believers be such as destroy their justification and the 
right to glory, prevalently or not, yet certainly they leave 
them in the dark, as to any certainty of their justification or 

And then more dark is it and impossible to discover, 
how far a man may go in these grosser sins, and yet have 
the prevalent habits of grace. As to the former question 
about the intercession of justification, I am somewhat in- 
clinable to think, that the habit of faith hath more to do in 
our justification than I have formerly thought, and may as 
properly be said to be the condition as the act : and that as 
long as a man is (in a prevalent degree) habitually a be- 
liever, he is not only imperfectly and virtually justified, but 
so far actually justified, that he should be saved, though he 
were cut off before he actually repent : and that he being 
already habitually penitent, having a hatred of all sin as 
sin, should be saved if mere want of opportunity do prevent 
the act : and that only those sins do bring a man into a 


state of condemnation, prove him in such, which consist 
not with the habitual preeminence of Christ's interest in our 
souls, above the interest of the flesh and world ; and that 
David's and Peter's were such as did consist with the pre- 
eminence of Christ's interest in the habit. But withal, that 
such gross sins must needs be observable, and so the soul 
that is guilty doth ordinarily know its guilt, yea, and think 
of it: and that it is inconsistent with this habitual repen- 
tance, not to repent actually as soon as time is afforded, 
and the violence of passion so far allayed, as that the soul 
may recollect itself, and reason have its free use : and that 
he that hath this leisure and opportunity for the free use of 
reason, and yet doth not repent, it is a sign that the interest 
of the flesh is habitually as well as actually stronger than 
Christ's interest in him. I say, in this doubtful case, I am 
most inclining to judge thus : but as I would have no man 
take this as my resolved judgment, much less a Certain 
truth, and least of all, to venture on sin and impenitency 
ever the more for such a doubtful opinion, which doth not 
conclude him to be certainly unjustified ; so I am utterly 
ignorant both how long sensual passions may possibly rage, 
and keep the soul from sober consideration ; or how far they 
may interpose in the very time of consideration, and frus- 
trate it, and prevail against it, and so keep the sinner from 
actual repenting, or at least, from a full ingenuous acknow- 
ledgment and bewailing of the sin, which is necessary to 
full repentance ; and how long repentance may be so far 
stifled, as to remain only in some inward grudgings of con- 
science, and trouble of mind, hindered from breaking out 
into free confession (which seemeth to have been David's 
case long). Nay, it is impossible to know just how long a 
man may live in the very practice of such gross sin, before 
Christ's habitual interest above the flesh be either over- 
thrown, or proved not to be there ; and how oft a man that 
hath true grace may commit such sins : these things are un- 
discernible, besides that none can punctually define a gross 
sin, so as to exclude every degree of infirmities, and include 
every degree of such gross sin. 

Perhaps you will marvel why I run so far in this point : 
it is both to give you as much light as I can, what sins they 
be which be to be called infirmiticjs, and so what sins tliey 
be that do forbid that gentle, comforting way of cure, when 


the soul is troubled for them, which must be used vrith 
those that are troubled more than needs, or upon mistakes ; 
and also to convince you of this weighty truth. That our 
comfort, yea, and assurance, hath a great dependance on 
our actual obedience : yea, so great, that the least obedient 
sort of sincere Christians cannot by ordinary means have 
any assurance : and the most obedient (if other necessaries 
concur) will have the most assurance : and for the middle 
sort, their assurance will rise or fall, ordinarily with their 
obedience, so that there is no way to comfort such offending 
Christians, but by reducing them to fuller obedience by 
faith and repentance, that so the evidences of their justifica- 
tion may be clear, and the great impediments of their assur- 
ance and comfort be removed. 

This I will yet make clearer to you by its reasons, and 
then tell you how to apply it to yourself. 

1. No man can be sure of his salvation or justification, 
but he that is sure of his true faith and love. And no man 
can be sure of his true faith and love, but he that is sure of 
the sincerity of his obedience. For true faith doth ever 
take God for our great Sovereign, and Christ for our Lord 
Redeemer, and containeth a covenant-delivery of a man's 
self to God and the Redeemer, to be ruled by him, as a sub- 
ject, child, servant and spouse. This is not done sincerely 
and savingly, unless there be an actual and habitual resolu- 
tion to obey God and the Redeemer, before all. creatures, 
and against all temptations that would draw us from him. 
Td obey Christ a little and the flesh more, is no true 
obedience : if the flesh can do more with us to draw us to 
sift, than faith and obedience do to keep us from sin, ordi- 
narily, this is no true faith or obedience. If Christ have 
not the sovereignty in the soul, and his interest be not the 
most predominant and potent, we are no true believers. 
Now it is plain, that the interest of the world and flesh doth 
actually prevail, when a man is actually committing a known 
sin, and omitting a known duty ; and then it is certain that 
habits are known but by the acts. And therefore it must 
needs be that the soul that most sinneth, must needs be 
most in doubt whether the interest of Christ or the flesh be 
predominant, and so whether his obedience be true or no ; 
and so whether he did sincerely take Christ for his Sove- 
reign : and that is, whether he be a true believer ; for wheh 


a man is inquiring into the state of his soul. Whether he do 
subject himself to Christ as his only Sovereign; and whe- 
ther the authority and love of Christ will do more with him, 
than the temptations of the world, flesh and devil : he hath 
no way to be resolved T)ut by feeling the pulse of his own 
will. And if he say, * I am willing to obey Christ before the 
flesh,' and yet do actually live in an obedience to the flesh 
before Christ, he is deceived in his own will ; for this is no 
saving willingness. A wicked man may have some will to 
obey Christ principally ; but having more will to the con- 
trary, viz. to please the flesh before Christ, therefore he is 
wicked still ; so that you see in our self-examination, the 
business is for the most part finally resolved into our sincere 
actual obedience. For thus we proceed : we first find. He 
that believeth and loveth Christ sincerely, shall be saved. 
Then we proceed. He that believeth sincerely taketh Christ 
for his Sovereign. Then, He that truly taketh Christ for 
his Sovereign, doth truly resolve to obey him and his laws, 
before the world, flesh or devil. Then, He that truly resolv- 
eth thus to obey Christ before all, doth sincerely perform 
his resolution, and doth so obey him. For that is no true 
resolution ordinarily, that never comes to performance. And 
here we are cast unavoidably to try whether we do perform 
our resolutions by actual obedience, before we can sit down 
with settled peace ; much more before we get assurance. 
j>row those that are diligent and careful in obeying, and 
haye greatest conquest over their corruptions, and do most 
seldom yield to temptations, but do most notably and fre- 
quently conquer them, these have the clearest discovery of 
the performance of their resolutions by obedience, and 
consequently the fullest assurance : but they that are often- 
est overcome by temptations, and yield most to sin, and 
live most disobediently, must needs be furthest from assur- 
ance of the sincerity of their obedience, and consequently 
of their salvation. 

2. God himself hath plainly made our actual obedience, 
Rot only a sign of a true faith, but a secondary part of the 
condition of our salvation, as promised in the new covenant. 
And therefore it is as impossible to be saved without it, as 
without faith, supposing that the person have opportunity 
to obey, in wiiich case only it is made necessary, as a con- 
dition. This 1 will but cite several Sciiptui^s to prove, and 


leave you to peruse them if you be unsatisfied ; Rom. viii. 
1 — 14. They that are in Christ Jesus, are they that walk 
uot after the flesh, but after the Spirit. " If ye live after 
the flesh ye shall die, but if ye by the Spirit do mortify the 
deeds of the body ye shall live." " Blessed are they that 
do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree 
of life, and may enter in by the gate into the city ;" Rev. 
xxii. 14. " He is become the author of eternal salvation to 
all them that obey him ;" Heb. v. 9. " Take my yoke up- 
on you, for it is easy, and my burden, for it is light. Learn 
of me to be meek and lowly, &c. and ye shall find rest," &c. ; 
Matt. xi. 28— 30. Johnxvi.27. Lukexiii.24. Phil. ii. 12- 
Rom. ii. 7. 10. John xv. 12. 17. xii.21. Matt. v. 44. Luke 
vi.27.35. Prov. viii. 17.21. Matt. x. 37. 1 Tim. vi. 18,19. 
2 Tim. ii. 5. 12. Matt.xxv.41,42. James ii. 21— 24.26. i. 
22. ii.6. Prov. i. 23. xxviii. 13. Luke xiii. 3.5. Matt. 
xii.37- xi. 25,26. vi. 12. 14, 15. 1 John i.9. Acts viii. 
22. iii. 19. xxii. 16. Luke vi. 37. 1 Pet. iv. 18. i. 2. 22. 
Rom.vi. 16. ; with abundance mote the like. Now when a 
poor sinner that hath oft fallen into drunkenness, rail- 
ing, strife, envying, &.c. shall read that these are the works 
of the flesh, and that for these things' sake the wrath of God 
Cometh on the children of disobedience ; and that every 
man shall be judged according to his works, and according 
to what he hath done in the flesh ; and that they that do 
such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God ; it can- 
not be but that his assurance of salvation must needs have 
so great a dependance on his obedience, as that these sins 
will diminish it. When he reads Rom. vi. 16., " His ser-^ 
vants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, 
or of obedience unto righteousness," he must needs think, 
how such a time, and such a time, he obeyed sin ; and the 
oftener and the more wilfully he did it, the more doubtful 
will his case be ; especially if he be yet in a sinful course, 
which he might avoid, whether of gross sin, or any wilful 
sin, it cannot be but this will obscure the evidence of his 
obedience. Men cannot judge beyond evidence ; and he 
that hath not the evidence of his true obedience, hath not 
the evidence of the sincerity of his faith. 

3. Moreover, assurance and comfort are God's gifts, and 
without his gracious aid we cannot attain them. But God 
will not give such gifts to his children, while they stand out 


in disobedience, but when they carefully please him. Pa- 
ternal justice requires this. 

4. And it would do them abundance of hurt, and God 
much dishonour, if he should either tell them just how oft, 
or how far they may gin, and yet be saved ; or yet should 
keep up their peace and comforts, as well in their greatest 
disobedience, as in theirtenderest careful walking^ with him. 
But these things I spoke of before, and formerly elsewhere. 

You see then, that though some obedient, tender Chris- 
tians may yet on several occasions be deprived of assurance ; 
yet ordinarily no other but they have assurance ; and that 
assurance and comfort will rise and fall with obedience. 

And for all the Antinomian objections against this, as if 
it were a leading men to their own righteousness from Christ, 
I refer you to the twenty arguments which I before laid you 
down, to prove that we may and must fetch our assurance 
and comfort from our own works and graces ; and so from 
our own evangelical righteousness, which is subordinate to 
Christ's righteousness, (which he speaks of. Matt. xxv. last, 
and in forty places more) though we must have no thoughts 
of a legal righteousness (according to the law of works or 
ceremonies) in ourselves. They may as well say, that a wo- 
man doth forsake her husband, because she comforteth her- 
self in this, that she hath not forsaken him, or been false 
and unchaste, thence gathering that he will not give her a 
bill of divorce. Or that a servant forsakes his master, or a 
subject his prince, or a parent is forsaken by his child ; be- 
cause they comfort themselves in their obedience and loy- 
alty, gathering thence that they are not flat rebels, and shall 
not be used as rebels. Or that any that enter covenant with 
superiors do forsake them, because they comfort themselves 
in their keeping covenant, as a sign that the covenant shall 
be kept with them: all these are as wise collections, as to 
gather, that a man forsakes Christ and his righteousness, 
and setteth up his own instead of it, because he looks at his 
not forsaking, refusing and vilifying of Christ, his love and 
faithful obedience to Christ, as comfortable signs that Christ 
will not forsake and reject him. Do these men think that 
a rebel may have the love of his prince, and as much com- 
fort from him as a loyal subject ? Or a whorish woman have 
as much love and comfort from her husband, as a faithful 
wife? Or a stubborn, rebellious son or servant have as 


much love and comfort from their father or mother us the 
dutiful ? If there be so near a relation as hitherto we have 
supposed, between a sovereign and subjection to him, and a 
husband and marriage-faithfulness to him, and a master and 
service to him, and a father and loving obedience to him, it 
is strange that men should suppose such a strange opposi- 
tion, as these men do. Certainly God doth not so, when he 
saith, " If I be a father, where is mine honour ? and if I be 
a master where is my fear?" Mal.i.6. And Isaiah i. 3, 4, 
" Hear O heavens, and give ear, O earth ; for the Lord hath 
spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they 
have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and 
the ass his master's crib, but Israel doth not know, my peo- 
ple doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden 
with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrup- 
ters, they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the 
Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward." 
And Jer. iii. 19. "Thou shalt call me. My father, and shalt 
not depart away from me." And 2 Tim. ii. 19. " The Lord 
knoweth who are his. And, let him that nametli the name 
of Christ depart from iniquity." And Psalm Ixvi. 18. " If 
I delight in iniquity, or regard it, God will not hear my 
prayers," saith David himself. Doubtless Paul did not for- 
sake Christ's righteousness by confidence in his own, when 
he saith, "This is our rejoicing, the testimony of our con- 
science, that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have had 
our conversation among you ;" 2 Cor. i. 12. with many the 
like which I before mentioned. Nor doth the Lord Jesus at 
the day of judgment turn men oft' from his righteousness, 
when he saith, " Well done, good and faithful servant, be- 
cause thou hast been faithful in a very little, I will make 
thee ruler over much;" Lukexix. 17. Matt. xxv. 23. and 
calls them thereupon righteous, saying, *' And the righteous 
shall go into life everlasting ;" Matt. xxv. last. 

It remains now that I further acquaint you what use you 
should make of this observation, concerning the dependance 
of assurance upon actual obedience. And 1. I advise you, 
if your soul remain in doubts and troubles, and you cannot 
enjoy God in any way of peace and comfort, nor see any 
clear evidence of the sincerity of your faith, take a serious 
view of your obedience, and faithfully survey your heart and 
life, and your daily carriage to God in both. See whether 


there be nothing that provokes God to an unusual jealousy; 
if there be, it is only the increase of some carnal interest in 
your heart, or else the wilful or negligent falling into some 
actual sin, of commission or of omission. In the making of 
this search, you have need to be exceeding cautious ; for if 
I have any acquaintance with the mystery of this business, 
your peace or trouble, comfort or discomfort, will mainly 
depend on this. And your care must lie in this point, that 
you diligently avoid these two extremes : first. That you do 
not deal negligently and unfaithfully with your own soul, at 
that labour which you must needs be at before you can know 
it. Secondly, That you do not either condemn yourself 
when your conscience doth acquit you ; or vex your soul 
with needless scruples, or make unavoidable or ordinary in- 
firmities to seem such wilful heinous sins, as should quite 
break your settled peace. O how narrow is the path be- 
tween these two mistaken roads, and how hard a thing, and 
how rare is it to find it and to keep in it ! For yourself, 
and all tender-conscienced Christians, that are heartily wil- 
ling to be ruled by Christ, I would persuade you equally to 
beware of both these; because some souls are as inclinable 
to the latter extreme as to the former (during their troubles). 
But for the most Christians in the world, I would have them 
first and principally avoid the former, and that with far 
greater diligence than the latter. For, 1. Naturally all men's 
hearts are far more prone to deal too remissly, yea, unfaith- 
fully with themselves, in searching after their sins, than too 
scrupulously and tenderly. The best men have so much 
pride and carnal self-love, that it will strongly incline them 
to excuse, or mince, or hide their sins, and to think far 
lighter and more favourably of it than they should do, be- 
cause it is theirs. How was the case altered with Judah 
towards Thamar, when he once saw it was his own act ! 
How was David's zeal for justice allayed, as soon as he 
heard, " Thou art the man !" This is the most common 
cause why God is fain to hold our eyes on our transgressions 
by force, because we are so loath to do it more voluntarily ; 
and why he openeth our sin in such crimson and scarlet co- 
lours to us ; because we are so apt either to look on thera as 
nothing, or to shut our eyes and overlook them: and why 
God doth hold us so long on the rack, because we would 
still ease ourselves by ingenious excuses and extenuations : 


and why God doth break the skin so oft, and keep open 
our wounds ; because we are still healing them by such car- 
nal shifts. This proud, sin-excusing 'distemper needs no 
other proof or discovery, than our great tenderness and 
backwardness in submitting to reproofs : how long do we 
excuse sin, and defend our pretended innocency, as long as 
we can find a word to say for it. Doth not daily experience 
of this sad distemper, even in most of the godly, discovei' 
fully to us, that most men (yea naturally all) are far more 
prone to overlook their sins, and deal faithlessly and negli- 
gently in the trial ; than to be too tender, and to charge 
themselves too deep. 

Besides, if a Christian be heartily willing to deal impar- 
tially, and search to the quick, yet the heart is lamentably 
deceitful, that he shall overlook much evil in it, when he 
hath done his best. And the devil will be far more indus- 
trious to provoke and help you to hide, excuse, and exte- 
nuate sin, than to open it, and see it as it is. His endea- 
vour to drive poor souls into terrors, is usually but when he 
can no longer keep them in presumption. When he can 
hide their sin no longer, nor make it seem small, to keep 
them in impenitency, then he will make it seem unpardona- 
ble and remediless if he can ; but usually not before. So 
that you see the frame of most men's spirits doth require 
them, to be rather over-jealous in searching after their sins, 
than over-careless and confident of themselves. 

2. Besides this, I had rather of the two that Christians 
would suspect and search too much than too little, because 
there is a hundred times more danger in seeing sin less than 
it is, or overlooking it, than in seeing it greater than it is, 
and being over-fearful. The latter mistake may bring us 
into sorrow, and make our lives uncomfortable to us (and 
therefore should be avoided) ; but usually it doth not en- 
danger our happiness ; but is often made a great occasion of 
our good. But the former mistake may hazard our everlast- 
ing salvation, and so bring us to remediless trouble. 

3. Yea, lest you should say, ' This is sad language to 
comfort a distressed, wounded soul,' let me add this one 
reason more. So far as I can learn by reading the Scrip- 
tures, and by long experience of very many souls under 
troubles of conscience. It is most commonly some notable 
cherished corruption, that breedeth and feedeth the sad, un- 


comfortable estate of most professors, except those who by- 
melancholy or very great ignorance, are so weak in their in- 
tellectuals, as that they are incapable of making any true 
discovery of their condition, and of passing a right judg- 
ment upon themselves thereupon. 

Lest I should make sad any soul that God would not 
have sad, let me desire you to observe, 1. That I say but of 
most professors, not all ; for I doubt not but God may hide 
his face for some time from some of the holiest and wisest of 
believers, for several and great reasons. 2. Do but well 
observe most of the humble, obedient Christians, that you 
know to lie under any long and sad distress of mind, and 
you will find that they are generally of one of the two fore- 
mentioned sorts : either so ignorant as not to know well 
what faith is, or what the conditions of the covenant are, or 
what is the extent of the promise, or the full sufficiency of 
Christ's satisfaction for all sinners, or what are the eviden- 
ces by which they may try themselves : or else they are me- 
lancholy persons, whose fancy is still molested with these 
perturbing vapours, and their understandings so clouded 
and distempered, that reason is not free. And so common 
is this latter, that in my observation of all the Christians 
that have lived in any long and deep distress of mind, six, 
if not ten for one, have been deeply melancholy ; except 
those that feed their troubles by disobedience. So that be- 
sides these ignorant and melancholy persons, and disorderly, 
declining Christians, the number of wounded spirits I think 
is very small, in comparison of the rest. Indeed it is usual 
for many at, or shortly after, their first change, to be under 
trouble and deep fears; but that is but while the sense of 
former sin is fresh upon their hearts. The sudden discovery 
of so deep a guilt, and so great a danger, which a man did 
never know before, must needs amaze and affright the soul : 
and if that fear remain long, where right means are either 
not known, or not used for the cure, it is no wonder ; and 
sometimes it will be long, if the rightest means be used. 
But for those that have been long in the profession of holi- 
ness, and yet lie, or fall again under troubles of soul (except 
those before excepted), I would have them make a diligent 
search, whether God do not observe either some fleshly in- 
terest encroach upon his right, or some actual sin to be che- 
rished in their hearts or conversations. 


And Here let me tell you, when you are making this 
search, what particulars they be which I would have you to 
be most jealous of. 1. The former sort, which I call con- 
trary carnal interest, encroaching on Christ's right, are they 
that you must look after with far more diligence than your 
actual sins. (I.) Because they are the far greatest and 
most dangerous of all sins, and the root of all the rest : for 
as God is the end and chief good of every saint, so these sins 
do stand up against him, as our end and chief good, and 
carry away the soul by that act which we call simply willing, 
or complacency, and so these interests are men's idols, and 
resist God's very sovereignty and perfect goodness ; that 
is, they are against God himself as our God. Whereas 
those which I now call actual sins, as distinct from these, 
are but the violation of particular precepts, and against 
God's means and laws directly, and but remotely, or indi- 
rectly against his Godhead : and they have but that act of 
our will, which we call election, consent or use, which is 
prc^r to means, and not to the end. (2.) Because, as 
these sins are the most damnable, so they lie deepest at the 
heart, and are not so easily discovered. It is ordinary with 
many, to have a covetous, worldly, ambitious heart, even 
damnably such, that yet have wit to carry it fairly without ; 
yea, and seem truly religious to themselves and others. 
(3.) Because these sins are the most common : for though 
they reign only in hypocrites and other unsanctified ones, 
yet they dwell too much in all men on earth. 

If you now ask me what these sins are, I answer. They 
are as denominated from the point or term from which men 
turn, all comprised in this one, unwillingness of God,* or the 
turning of the heart from God, or not loving God. But as 
we denominate them from the term or object to which they 
run, they are all comprised in this one, carnal self-love, or 
turning to, and preferring our carnal self before God : and as 
it inclineth to action, all, or moat of it, is comprehended in 
this one word, * Flesh pleasing.' But because there are a 
trinity of sins in this unity, we must consider them dis- 
tinctly. Three great objects there are, about which this sin 
of fleshpleasing is exercised: 1. Credit or honour. 2. 
Profit or riches. 3. Sensual pleasure, more strictly so 
called, consisting in the more immediate pleasing of the 
senses ; whereas the two first do more remotely please them, 


by laying in provision to that end ; otherwise all three are in 
the general but fleshpleasing. The three great sins there- 
fore that do most directly fight against God himself in his 
sovereignty, are, 1. Pride or ambition. 2. Worldliness, or 
love of riches. 3. Sensuality, voluptuousness, or inordi- 
nate love of pleasures. There are in the understanding in- 
deed other sins, as directly against God as these, and more 
radical; as, 1. Atheism, denying a God. 2. Polytheism, 
denying our God to be the alone God, and joining others 
with him. 3. Idolatry,'owning false Gods. 4. Infidelity, 
denying Jesus Christ our Lord Redeemer. 5. Owning false 
Saviours and prophets, in his stead, or before him, as do the 
Mahometans. 6. Joining other Redeemers and Saviours 
with him, as if he were not the alone Christ. 7. Denying 
the Holy Ghost, and denying credit to his holy and miracu-, 
lous testimony to the Christian faith, and blasphemously 
ascribing all to the devil ; which is the sin against the Holy 
Ghost. 8. Owning and believing in devils, or lying spirits 
instead of the Holy Ghost ; as the Montanists, Mahome- 
tans, Ranters, Familists do. 9. Owning and adjoining de- 
vils, or lying spirits, in co-ordination or equality with the 
Holy Ghost, and believing equally his doctrine and theirs ; 
as if he were not sole and sufficient in his work. All these 
ai*e sins directly against God himself, and if prevalent, most 
certainly damning ; three against the Father, three against 
the Son, and three against the Holy Ghost. But these be 
not they that I need now to warn you of. These are preva- 
lent only in pagans, infidels, and blasphemers. Your trou- 
bles and complaints shew that these are not predominant in 
you. It is therefore the three forementioned sins of the 
heart or will, that I would have you carefully to look after 
in your troubles, to see whether none of them get ground 
and strength in you. 

1. Inquire carefully into your humility. It is not for 
nothing that Christ hath said so much of the excellency and 
necessity of this grace ; when he bids us learn of him to be 
meek and lowly ; when he blesseth the meek and poor in 
spirit : when he setteth a little child in the midst of them, 
and telleth them, except they become as that child, they 
could not enter into the kingdom of heaven : when he 
stoopeth to wash and wipe his disciples' feet, requiring them 
to do so by one another. How oft doth the Holv Ghost 


press this upon us ? Commanding us, to submit ourselves 
to one another, and not to mind high things ; but to con- 
descend to men of low estate; Rom.xii. 16. and not to be 
wise in our own esteem, but in honour prefer others before 
ourselves; Rom. xii. 10. How oft hath God professed to 
resist and take down the proud, and to give grace to the 
humble, and dwell with them ? Search carefully, therefore, 
lest this sin get ground upon you. For though it may not 
be so predominant and raging as to damn you, yet may it 
cause God to afflict you, and hide his face from you, and 
humble you by the sense of his displeasure, and the con- 
cealment of his love. And though one would think that 
doubting, troubled souls should be always the most humble 
and freest from pride, yet sad experience hath certified me, 
that much pride may dwell with great doubtings and dis- 
tress of mind. Even some of the same souls that cry out of 
their own unworthiness, and fear lest they shall be fire- 
brands of hell, yet cannot endure a close reproof, especially 
for any disgraceful sin, nor bear a disparaging word, nor 
love those, nor speak well of them, who do not value 
them, nor endure to be crossed or contradicted in word or 
deed, but must have all go their way, and follow their judg- 
ment, and say as they say, and dance after their pipe, and 
their hearts rise against those that will not do it ; much 
more against those that speak or do any thing to the dimi- 
nishing of their reputation : they cannot endure to be low, 
and passed by, and overlooked, when others are preferred 
before them, or to be slighted and disrespected, or their 
words, or parts, or works, or judgments to be contemned or 
disparaged. Nay, some are scarce able to live in the same 
house, or church, or town, in love and peace, with any but 
those that will humour and please them, and speak them 
fair, and give them smooth and stroking language, and for- 
bear crossing, reproving, and disparaging them. Every one 
of these singly is an evident mark and fruit of pride ; how 
much more all jointly. I seriously profess it amazeth me to 
consider, how heinously most professors are guilty of this 
sin ! even" when they know it to be the devil's own sin, and 
the great abomination hated of God, and read and hear so 
much against it as they do, and confess it so oft in their 
prayers to God, and yet not only inwardly cherish it, but in 
words, actions, gestures, apparel, express it and passionately 



defend these discoveries of it. The confusions and dis- 
tractions in church and state are nothing else but the pro- 
per fruits of it ; so are the contentions among Christians, 
and the unpeaceabieness in families ; " for only from pride 
cometh contention," saith Solomon ; Prov. xiii. 10. For 
my part, when I consider the great measure of pride, self- 
eonceitedness, self-esteem, that is in the greatest part of 
Christians that ever I was acquainted with, (we of the mi- 
nistry not excepted,) I wonder that God doth not afflict us 
more, and bring us down by foul means, that will not be 
brought down by fair. For my own part, I have had as 
great means to help me against this sin, as most men living 
ever had ; first, in many years' trouble of mind, and then in 
near twenty years' languishing, and bodily pains, having 
been almost twenty times at the grave's mouth, and living 
near it continually ; and lastly, and above all, I have had as 
full a sight of it in others, even in the generality of profes- 
sors, and in the doleful state of the church and state, and 
heinous, detestable abominations of this age, which one 
would think should have fully cured it. And yet if I hear 
but either an applauding word from any of fame on one side, 
or a disparaging word on the other side, I am fain to watch 
my heart as narrowly as I would do the thatch of my house 
when fire is put to it, and presently to throw on it the water 
of detestation, resolution, and recourse to God. And though 
the acts through God's great mercy be thus restrained, yet 
the constancy of these inclinations assures me, that there is 
still a strong and deep root. I beseech you therefore, if you 
would ever have settled peace and comfort, be watchful 
against this sin of pride, and be sure to keep it down, and 
get it mortified at the very heart. 

2. The next sin that I would have you be specially jea- 
lous of, is covetousness, or love of the profits or riches of 
the world. This is not the sin of the rich only, but also of 
the poor : and more heinous is it in them, to love the world 
inordinately, that have so little of it, than in rich men, that 
have more to tempt them, though dangerous in both. Nor 
doth it lie only in coveting that which is another's, or in 
seeking to get by unlawful means ; but also in overvaluing 
and overloving the wealth of the world, though lawfully 
gotten. He that loveth the world, (that is, above Christ 
and holiness,) the love of the Father is not in him, (that is. 


savingly and sincerely) ; 1 Johnii. 15. He that loveth house 
or lands better than Christ, cannot be his disciple. I be- 
seech you therefore when God hides his face, search dili- 
gently, and search again and again, lest the world should 
encroach on Christ's interest in your heart. If it should be 
so, can you wonder if Christ seem to withdraw, when you 
begin to set so light by him, as to value dung and earth in 
any comparison with himself? May he not well say to you, 
' If you set so much by the world, take it, and see what it 
will do for you? If you can spare me better than your 
wealth, you shall be without me.' Must not the Lord Jesus 
needs take it exceedingly unkind, that after all his love 
and bloodshed, and pains with your heart, and seals of his 
kindness, and discoveries of his amiableness, and the trea- 
sures of his kingdom, you should now so much forget and 
slight him, to set up the world in any comparison with him? 
And to give such loving entertainment to his enemy ? And 
look so kindly on a competitor? Is his glory worth no 
more than so ? And hath he deserved no better at your 
hands? Again, therefore, do I beseech you to be afraid, 
lest you should be guilty of this sin. Examine whether the 
thoughts of the world grow not sweeter to you, and the 
thoughts of God and glory more unwelcome and unpleasing ; 
whether you have not an eagerness after a fuller estate, and 
too keen an edge upon your desires after riches, or at least 
after a fuller portion and provision for your children : or af- 
ter better accommodations and contentments in house, 
goods, or other worldly things ? Do not worldly hopes 
delight you too much ? And much more your worldly pos- 
sessions ? Are you not too busily contriving how to be 
richer, forgetting God's words, 1 Tim. vi.8,9. 17. Doth not 
the world eat out the life of your duties, that when you 
should be serious with God, you have left your heart behind 
you, and drowned your affections in things below ? Doth 
not your soul stick so fast in this mud and clay, that you 
can scarce stir it Godward in prayer or heavenly meditation? 
Do not you cut short duties in your family and in secret, if 
not frequently omit them, that so you may be again at your 
worldly business? Or do you not customarily hurry them 
over, because the world will not allow you leisure to be se- 
rious, and so you have no time to deal in good earnest with 
Christ or your soul ? Do not your very speeches of Christ 


and heaven grow few and strange, because the world must 
first be served? When you see your brother have need, do 
you not shut up the bowels of your compassions from him? 
Doth not the love of the world make you hard to your ser- 
vants, hard to those you buy and sell with ? And doth it 
not encroach much on the Lord's own day ? Look after 
this earthly vice in all these discoveries, search for your 
enemy in each of these corners. And if you find that this 
is indeed your case, you need not much wonder if Christ 
and you be stranger than heretofore. If this earth get be- 
tween your heart and the sun of life, no wonder if all your 
comforts are in an eclipse, seeing your light is but as the 
moon's, a borrowed light. And you must be the more care- 
ful in searching after this sin, both because it is certain 
that all men have too much of it, and because it is of so 
dangerous a nature, that should it prevail it would destroy ; 
for covetousness is idolatry, and among all the heinous sins 
that the godly have fallen into, look into the Scripture, and 
tell me how many of them you find charged with cove- 
tousness. And also, because it is a blinding, befooling sin, 
not only drawing old men, and those that have no children, 
and rich men, that have no need to pursue these things as 
madly as others, but also hiding itself from their eyes, that 
most that are guilty of it will not know it : though, alas ! if 
they were but willing, it were very easy to know it. But 
the power of the sin doth so set to work their wits to find 
excuses and fair names and titles for to cloke it, that many 
delude others by it, and more delude themselves, but none 
can delude God. The case of some professors of godliness 
that I have known, is very lamentable on this point, who 
being generally noted for a dangerous measure of worldli- 
jiess, by most that know them, could yet never be brought 
to acknowledge it in themselves. Nay, by the excellency 
of their outward duties and discourse, and the strength of 
their wits, (alas ! ill employed,) and by their great ability of 
speech, to put a fair gloss on the foulest of their actions, 
they have gone on so smoothly and plausibly in their world- 
liness, that though most accused them of it behind their 
backs, yet no man knew how to fasten any thing on them. 
By which means they were hindered from repentance and 

In this sad case, though it be God's course very often to 


let hypocrites and other enemies go on and prosper, because 
they have their portion in this life, and the reckoning is to 
come ; yet I have oft observed, that for God's own people, 
or those thai he means to make his people by their recovery, 
God useth to cross them in their worldly desires and de- 
signs. Perhaps he may let them thrive awhile, and congra- 
tulate the prosperity of their flesh, but at last he breaks in 
suddenly on their wealth, and scatters it abroad, or add- 
eth some cross to it, that embitters all to them, and then 
asketh them, * Where is now your idol V And then they 
begin to see their folly. If you do dote on any thing below, 
to the neglecting of God, he will make a rod for you of that 
very thing you dote upon, and by it will he scourge you 
home to himself. 

3. The third great heart-sin which I would have you jea- 
lous of, is sensuality or voluptuousness, or pleasing the 
senses inordinately. The two former are in this the more 
mortal sins, in that they carry more of the understanding 
and will with them, and make reason itself to be serviceable 
to them in their workings ; whereas sensuality is more in 
the flesh and passion, and hath ofttimes less assistance of 
reason or consent of the will. Yet is the will tainted with 
sensual inclinations, and both reason and will are at the 
best guilty of connivance, and not exercising their autho- 
rity over the sensual part. But in this sensuality is the 
more dangerous vice, in that it hath so strong and insepa- 
rable a seat as our sensual appetite ; and in that it acteth 
so violently and ragingly as it doth ; so that itbeareth down 
a weak opposition of reason and will, and carrieth us on 
blindfold, and transformeth us into brutes. I will not here 
put the question concerning the gross acting of this sin (of 
that anon), but I would have you very jealous of a sensual 
disposition. When a man cannot deny his appetite what 
it would have ; or at least, covetousness can do more in res- 
training it than conscience ; when a man cannot make a co- 
venant with his eyes, but must gaze on every alluring ob- 
ject; when the flesh draws to forbidden pleasures, in meats, 
drinks, apparel, recreations, lasciviousness, and all the con- 
siderations of reason cannot restrain it ; this is a sad case, 
and God may well give over such to sadness of heart. If 
we walk so pleasingly to the flesh, God will walk more dig- 
pleasingly to us. 


And as you should be jealous of these great heart trans- 
gressions, so should you be of particular, actual sins. Ex- 
amine whether the jealous eye of God see not something 
thatmuch offendeth hira, and causeth your heaviness. I will 
not enlarge so far as to mind you of the particular sins that 
you should look after, seeing it must be all, and your obe- 
dience must be universal. Only one I will give you a hint 
of. I have observed God sometimes shew himself most dis- 
pleased and angry to those Christians, who have the least 
tenderness and compassion towards the infirmities of others. 
He that hath made the forgiving others a necessary condi- 
tion of God's forgiving us, will surely withdraw the sense of 
our forgiveness, when we withdraw our forgiveness and com- 
passion to men. He that casts the unmerciful servant into 
hell, who takes his fellow servant by the throat, will threaten 
us, and frown upon us, if we come but near it. " Blessed 
are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. He shall 
have judgment without mercy that sheweth no mercy ; '' 
James ii. 13. Study well, Rom. xiv. xv. Gal. vi. ; which 
the proud, censorious, self-esteeming professors of this age 
have studied so little, and will not understand. When we 
deal sourly and churlishly with our weak brethren, and in- 
stead of winning an offender by love, we will vilify him. 
and disdain him, and say, ' How can such a man have any 
grace V And will think and speak hardly of those that do 
but cherish any hopes that he may be gracious, or speak of 
him with tenderness and compassion ; no wonder if God 
force the consciences of such persons to deal as churlishly 
and sourly with them, and to clamour against them, and say, 
' How canst thou have any true grace, who hast such sins 
as these?* When our Lord himself dealt away so tenderly 
with sinners, that it gave occasion to the slanderous Phari- 
sees to say, he was "a friend of Publicans and sinners ;" 
(and so he was, even their greatest friend) And his com- 
mand to us is, " We then that are strong ought to bear the 
infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves: let 
every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edifica- 
tion : for even Christ pleased not himself;" Rom. xv. 1 — 3. 
And Gal. vi. 1,2. " Brethren, if a man be overtaken with a 
fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit 
of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." 


When people can bear with almost no infirmity iu a neigh- 
bour, in a servant, or in their nearest friends, but will make 
the worst of every fault, no wonder if God make such feel 
their dealings with others, by his dealings with them. Had 
such that love to their poorest brethren, which thinketh no 
evil, and speaketh not evil, which " sufFereth long and is 
kind, envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, be- 
haveth not itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily 
provoked, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all 
things, endureth all things ;" 1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5. 7. Had we 
more of this love, which covereth a multitude of infirmities, 
God would cover our infirmities the more, and tell us of 
them, and trouble us for them the less. 

To this sin I may add another, which is scarcely another, 
but partly the same with this, and partly its immediate ef- 
fect ; and that is, unpeaceableness and unquietness with 
those about us ; this commonly occasioneth God to make 
us as unpeaceable and unquiet in ourselves. When people 
are so froward, and peevish, and troublesome, that few can 
live in peace with them, either in family or neighbourhood, 
except those that have little to do with them, or those that 
can humour them in all things, and have an extraordinary 
skill in smooth speaking, flattering or man-pleasing, so tha,t 
neighbours, servants, children, and sometimes their own 
yoke-fellows, must be gone from them, and may not abide 
near them, as a man gets out of the way from a wild beast or 
a mad dog, or avoideth the flames of a raging fire ; is it any 
wonder if God give these people as little peace in their own 
spirits, as they give to others ? When people are so hard to 
be pleased, that nobody about them or near them can tell 
how to fit their humours ; neighbours cannot please them, 
servants cannot please them, husband or wife cannot please 
each other ; every word is spoke amiss, and every thing 
done amiss to them ; what wonder if God seem hard to be 
pleased, and as frequently offended with them ? Especially 
if their unpeaceableness trouble the church, and in their tur- 
bulencyand self-conceitedness, they break the peace thereof. 

Thus I have told you what sins you must look after when 
you find your peace broken, and your conscience disquiet- 
ed ; search carefully lest some iniquity lie at the root. Some 
I know will think that it is an unseasonable discourse to a 
troubled conscience, to mind them so much of their sins. 


which they are apt to look at too much already. But to 
such I answer, either those sins are mortified and forsaken, 
or not. If they be, then these are not the persons that 1 
speak of, whose trouble is fed by continued sin. But I 
shall speak more to them anon. If not, then it seems for 
all their trouble of conscience, sin is not sufficiently laid to 
heart yet. 

'The chiefest thing therefore that I intend in all this dis- 
course, is this following advice to those that upon search 
do find themselves guilty in any of these cases. As ever 
you would have peace of conscience, set yourselves pre- 
sently against your sins. And do not either mistakingly 
cry out of one sore, when it is another that is your malady ; 
nor yet spend your days in fears and disquietness of mind, 
and fruitless complainings, and in the mean time continue 
in wilful sinning. But resist sin more, and torment your 
minds less ; and break off your sin and your terrors toge- 

In these words I tell you what must be done for your 
cure ; and I warn you of two sore mistakes of many sad 
Christians hereabout. The cure lieth in breaking off sin, 
to the utmost of your power. This is the'; Achan that 
disquieteth all. It is God's great mercy that he disquieteth 
you in sinning, and gives you not over to so deep a slumber 
and peace in sin, as might hinder your repentance and re- 
formation. The dangerous mistakes here are these two. 

I. Some do as the lapwing, cry loudest when they are 
furthest from the nest, and complain of an aching tooth, 
when the disease is in the head or heart. They cry out * O 
I have such wandering thoughts in prayer, and such a bad 
memory, and so hard a heart, that I cannot weep for sin, or 
such doubts and fears, and so little sense of the love of God, 
that I doubt I have no true grace.' When they should ra- 
ther say, ' I have so proud a heart, that God is fain by these 
sad means to humble me. I am so high in mine own eyes, 
so wise in my own conceit, and so tender of my own esteem 
and credit, that God is fain to make me base in my own 
eyes, and to abhor myself. I am so worldly and in love 
with earth, that it draws away my thoughts from God, dulls 
my love, and spoils all my duties. I am so sensual, that I 
venture sooner to displease my God than my flesh ; I have 
so little compassion on the infirmities of my neighbours and 


servants, and other brethren, and deal so censoriously, chur- 
lishly, and unmercifully with them, that God is fain to hide 
his mercy from me, and speak to me as in anger, and vex 
me as in sore displeasure. I am so froward, peevish, quar- 
relsome, unpeaceable, and hard to be pleased, that it is no 
wonder if I have no peace with God, or in my own consci- 
ence ; and if I have so little quietness who love and seek it 
no more.' Many have more reason, I say, to turn their 
complaints into this tune. 

2. Another most common, unhappy miscarriage of sad 
Christians lieth here. That they will rather continue com- 
plaining and self-tormenting, than give over sinning, so far 
as they might give it over if they would. I beseech you in 
the name of God, to know and consider what it is that God 
requireth of you. He doth not desire your vexation but re- 
formation. No further doth he desire the trouble of your 
mind, than as it tendeth to the avoiding of that sin which 
is the cause of it. God would have you less in your fears 
and troubles, and more in your obedience. Obey more, and 
disquiet your mind less. Will you take this counsel pre* 
sently, and see whether it will not do you more good than all 
the complaints and doubtings of your whole life have done. 
Set yourself with all your might against your pride, world- 
liness, and sensuality, your unpeaceableness and want of 
love and tenderness to your brethren ; and whatever other 
sin your conscience is acquainted with. I pray you tell 
me, if you had gravel in your shoe, in your travel, would it 
not be more wisdom, to sit down and take off your shoe, 
and cast it out, than to stand still, or go complaining, and 
tell every one you meet of your soreness? If you have a 
thorn in your foot, will you go on halting and lamenting ? 
or will you pull it out? Truly sin is the thorn in your con- 
science ; and those that would not have such troubled con- 
sciences told of their sins for fear of increasing their distress, 
are unskilful comforters, and will continue the trouble while 
the thorn is in. As ever you would have peace then, resolve 
against sin to the utmost of your power. Never excuse it, 
or cherish it, or favour it more. Confess it freely. Thank 
those that reprove you for it. Desire those about you to 
watch over you, and to tell you of it, yek, to tell you of all 
suspicious signs that they see of it, though it be not evident. 
And if you do not see so much pride, worldliness, unpeace- 


ableness, or other sins in yourself, as your friends think 
they see in you, yet let their judgment make you jealous of 
your heart, seeing self-love doth oft so blind us that we can- 
not see that evil in ourselves which others see in us ; nay, 
which all the town may take notice of. And be sure to en- 
gage your friends that they shall not smooth over your 
faults, or mince them, and tell you of them in extenuating 
language, which may hinder conviction and repentance, 
much less silence them, for fear of displeasing you; but 
that they will deal freely and faithfully with you. And see 
that you distaste them not, and discountenance not their 
plain dealing, lest you discourage them, and deprive your 
soul of so great a benefit. Think best of those as your 
greatest friends, who are least friends to your sin, and do 
most for your recovery from it. If you say, * Alas, I am not 
able to mortify my sins. It is nor in my power,' I answer, 
1. I speak not of a perfect conquest; nor of a freedom from 
every passion or infirmity. 2. Take heed of pretending dis- 
ability when it is unwillingness. If you were heartily wil- 
ling, you would be able to do much, and God would 
strengthen you. Cannot you resist pride, worldliness, and 
sensuality, if you be willing? Cannot you forbear most of 
the actual sins you commit, and perform the duties that you 
omit, if you be willing ? (though not so wel} as you would 
perform them.) Yea, let me say thus much, lest I endanger 
you by sparing you. Many a miserable hypocrite doth live 
in trouble of mind and complaining, and after all perish for 
their wilful disobedience. Did not the rich young man go 
far before he would break off with Christ? And when he 
did leave him, he went away sorrowful. And what was the 
cause of his sorrow ? Why, the matter was, that he could 
not be saved witliout selling all, and giving it to the poor, 
when he had great possessions. It was not that he could 
not be rid of his sin, but that he could not have Christ and 
heaven without forsaking the world. This is the case of 
unsanctified persons that are enlightened to see the need of 
Christ, but are not weaned from worldly profits, honours and 
pleasures ; they are perhaps troubled in mind (and I cannot 
blame them), but it is not that they cannot leave sinning, 
but that they cannot have heaven without leaving their de- 
lights and contentments on earth. Sin as sin they would 
willingly leave ; for no man can love evil as evil. But their 


fleshly profits, honours, and pleasures they will not leave, 
and there is the stop ; and this is the cause of their sorrows 
and fears. For their own judgment cries out against them, 
" He that loveth the world, the love of the Father is not in 
him. If ye live after the flesh ye shall die. God resisteth 
the proud." This is the voice of their informed understand- 
ings. And conscience seconds it, and saith, " Thou art the 
man." But the flesh cries louder than both these, * Wilt 
thou leave thy pleasures ? Wilt thou undo thyself? Wilt 
thou be made a scorn or laughing-stock to all?' Or rather 
it strongly draws and provoketh, when it hath nothing to 
say. No wonder if this poor sinner be here in a strait, and 
live in distress of mind. But as long as the flesh holds so 
fast, that all this conviction and trouble will not cause it to 
lose its hold, the poor soul is still in the bonds of iniquity. 
The case of such an hypocrite, or half Christian, is like the 
case of the poor Papist, that having glutted himself with 
flesh in the Lent, was in this strait, that either he must vo- 
mit it up, and so disclose his fault, and undergo penance ; 
or else he must be sick of his surfeit, and hazard his life. 
But he resolveth rather to venture on the danger, than to 
bear the penance. Or their case is like that of a proud wo- 
man, that hath got on a strait garment, or pinching shoe, 
and because she will not be out of the fashion, she will ra- 
ther choose to bear the pain, though she halt or suffer at 
every step. Or like the more impudent sort of them, who 
will endure the cold, and perhaps hazard their lives, by the 
nakedness of their necks, and breasts, and arms, rather than 
they will control their shameless pride. What cure now 
should a wise man wish to such people as these ? Surely, 
that the shoe might pinch a little harder, till the pain might 
force them to cast it off". And that they might catch some 
cold that would pay them for their folly (so it would but 
spare their lives), till it should force them to be ashamed of 
their pride, and cover their nakedness. Even so when dis- 
obedient hypocrites do complain that they are afraid they 
have no grace, and afraid God doth not pardon them, and 
will not save them, I should tell them, if I knew them, that 
I am afraid so too ; and that it is not without cause, and de- 
sire, that their fears were such as might affright them from 
their disobedience, and force them to cast away their wilful 
sinning. I have said the more on this point, because I know 


if this advice do but help you to mortify your sin, the best 
and greatest work is done, whether you get assurance and 
comfort or no ; and withal, that it is the most probable 
means to this assurance and comfort. 

I should next have warned you of the other extreme, 
viz. needless scruples ; but I mean to make that a peculiar 
Direction by itself, when I have first added a little more of 
this great means of peace — a sound obedience. 

Direct. XXIV. My next advice for the obtaining of a 
settled peace of comfort, is this, * Take heed that you con- 
tent not yourself with a cheap course of religion, and such a 
serving of God, as costeth you little or nothing. But in 
vour abstaining from sin, in your rising out of sin, and in 
your discharge of duty, incline most to that way which is 
most self-denying, and displeasing to the flesh, (so you be 
sure it be a lawful way). And when you are called out to 
any work which will stand you in extraordinary labour and 
cost, you must be so far from shrinking and drawing your 
neck out of the yoke, that you must look upon it as a spe- 
cial price that is put into your hand, and singular advantage 
and opportunity for the increase of your comforts.' 

This rule is like the rest of the Christian doctrine, which 
is not thoroughly understood by any way but experience. 
Libertines and sensual professors that never tried it, did ne- 
ver well understand it. I could find in my heart to be large in 
explaining and applying it, but that I have been so large 
beyond my first intentions in the former Directions, that I 
will cut off the rest as short as I well can. 

Let none be so wickedly injurious to me, as to say, I 
speak or think of any merit, properly so called, in any the 
most costly work of man. Fasten not that on me, which 1 
both disclaim, and desire the reader to take heed of. But I 
must tell you these two things. 

1. That a cheap religion is a far more uncertain evidence 
of sincerity, than a dear. It will not discover so well to 
a man's soul, whether he prefer Christ before the world, and 
whether he take him and his benefits for his portion and 

2. That a cheap religion is not usually accompanied with 
any notable degree of comforts, although the person be a 
sincere-hearted Christian. 

Every hypocrite can submit to a religion that will cost 


him little ; much more, which will get reputation with men 
of greatest wisdom and piety ; yea, he may stick to it, so it 
will not undo him in the world. If a man have knowledge, 
and gifts of utterance, and strength of body, it is no costly 
matter to speak many good words, or to be earnest in oppos- 
ing the sins of others, and to preach zealously and frequent- 
ly, (much more if he have double honour by it, reverent 
obedience, and maintenance, as ministers of the Gospel have, 
or ought to have). It is hard to discern sincerity in such a 
course of piety and duty. Woe to those persecutors that 
shall put us to the trial how far we can go in suffering for 
Christ; but it should be a matter of rejoicing to us, when 
we are put upon it. To be patient in tribulation is not 
enough ; but to rejoice in it is also the duty of a saint. Let 
those that think this draweth men to rejoice too much in 
themselves, but hear what the Lord Jesus himself saith, and 
his Spirit in his apostles : " Blessed are they which are per- 
secuted for righteousness' sake ; for their's is the kingdom of 
heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and 
persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely 
for my name's sake : rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great 
is your reward in heaven ;" Matt. v. 10 — 12. " My brethren, 
count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (not 
inward temptations of the devil and our lust, but trials by 
persecution) ; knowing that the trying of your faith work- 
eth patience. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; 
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which 
the Lord hath promised to them that love him ;" James i. 
2,3. 12. See Luke vi. 23. 1 Pet. iv. 13. Acts v. 41. 2 
Cor. vi. 10. vii. 4. Col. i. 11. Heb. x. 34. 2 Cor. xiii. 9. 
xii. 15. O how gloriously doth a tried faith shine, to the 
comfort of the believer, and the admiration of the beholders ! 
How easily may a Christian try himself at sucha time, when 
God is trying him ! One hour's experience, when we have 
found that our faith can endure the furnace, and that we caii 
hazard or let go all for Christ, will more effectually resolve 
all our doubtings of our sincerity, than many a month's trial 
by mere questioning of our own deceitful hearts. 

Object. ' But, you may say, what if God call me not to 
suffering or hazards ? Must I cast myself upon it without a 
call? Or must I be therefore without comfort ?' 

Ahsw. No ; you shall not need to cast yourself upon suf- 


fering, nor yet to be without cbmfort for want of it. 1 know 
no man but may serve God at dearer rates to the flesh that 
most of us do, without stepping out of the way of his duty. 
Nay, he must do it, except he will avoid his duty. Never 
had the church yet such times of prosperity, but that faithful 
duty would hazard men, and cause their trouble in the flesh. 
Can you not, nay, ought you not, to put yourself to greater 
labour for men's souls ? If you should but go day after day 
among the poor, ignorant people where you live, and instruct 
them in the knowledge of God,and bear with all their weakness 
and rudeness, and continue thus with patience, this might 
cost you some labour, and perhaps contempt from many of 
the unthankful. And yet you should not do more than your 
duty, if you have opportunity for it, as most have, or may 
have, if they will. If you should further hire them to learn 
catechisms ; if you should extend your liberality to the ut- 
most, for relief of the poor, this would cost you somewhat. 
If you carry on every just cause with resolution, though ne- 
v^r so many great friends would draw you to betray it ; this 
may cost you the loss of those friends. If you would but 
deal plainly with the ungodly, and against all sin, as far as 
you have opportunity, especially if it be the sins of rulers 
and gentlemen of name and power in the world, it may cost 
you somewhat. Nay, though you were ambassadors of 
Christ, whose office is to deal plainly, and not to please 
men in evil, upon pain of Christ's displeasure ; you may 
perhaps turn your great friends to be your great enemies. 
Go to such a lord, or such a knight, or such a gentleman, 
and tell him freely, that God looketh for another manner of 
spending his time, than in hunting and hawking, and sport- 
ing, and feasting, and that this precious time must be dear- 
ly reckoned for. Tell him that God looks he should be the 
most eminent in holiness, and in a heavenly life, and give an 
example thereof to all that are below him, as God hath made 
him more eminent in worldly dignity and possessions. 
Tell him, that where much is given, much is required ; and 
that a low profession, and dull approbation of that which is 
good, will serve no man, much less such a man. Tell him, 
that his riches must be expended to feed and clothe the 
poor, and promote good uses, and not merely for himself 
and family, or else he will make but a sad account. And 
that he must freely engage his reputation, estate, and life. 

SP1KHUAL i»ea(;e and comfort. 175 

and all for Christ and his Gospel, when he calls you to it ; 
yea, and forsake all for him, if Christ put him to it, or else 
he can be no disciple of Christ. And then what good will 
his honours and riches do him, when his soul shall be call- 
ed for ? Try this course with great men, yea with great 
men that seem religious, and that no further than faithful- 
ness and compassion to men's souls doth bind you, and do 
it with all the wisdom you can, that is not carnal ; and then 
tell me what it doth cost you. Let those ministers that are 
near them, plainly and roundly tell both the parliament-men 
and commanders of the army, of their unquestionable trans- 
gressions, and that according to their nature (and woe to 
them if they do not), and then let them tell me what it 
doth cost them. Alas, sirs, how great a number of profes- 
sors are base, daubing, self-seeking hypocrites, that cull 
out the safe, the cheap, the easy part of duty, and leave all 
the rest ! And so ordinarily is this done, that we have 
made us a new Christianity by it ; and the religion of 
Christ's own making, the self-denying course prescribed by 
our Master, is almost unknown ; and he that should prac- 
tise it would be taken for a madman, or some self-conceited 
cynic, or some saucy, if not seditious fellow. It is not, 
therefore, because Christ hath not prescribed us a more self- 
denying, hazardous, laborious way, that men so commonly 
take up in the cheapest religion ; but it is through our false- 
heartedness to Christ, and the strength of sensual, carnal 
interests in us, which make us put false interpretations on 
the plainest precepts of Christ, which charge any unpleas- 
ing duty on us, and familistically turn them into allegories, 
or at least we will not yield to obey him. And truly, I 
think that our shifting off Christ in this unworthy manner, 
and even altering that very frame and nature of Christian 
religion (by turning that into a flesh-pleasing religion, which 
is more against the flesh than all the religions else in the 
world) and dealing so reservedly, superficially and unfaith- 
fully in all his work, is a great cause why Christ doth now 
appear no more openly for men, and pour out no larger a 
measure of his Spirit in gifts and consolations. When men 
appeared ordinarily in the most open manner for Christ, in 
greatest dangers and sufferings, then Christ appeared more 
openly and eminently for them, (yet is none more for meek- 


Tiess, humility and love, and against unmerciful or dividing 
zeal, than Christ). 

2. And as you see that a cheap religiousness doth not so 
discover sincerity ; so secondly, it is not accompanied with 
that special blessing of God. As God hath engaged him- 
self in his word, that they shall not lose their reward that 
give but a cup of water in his name, so he hath more fully 
engaged himself to those that are most deeply engaged for 
him ; even that they that forsake all for him, shall have ma- 
nifold recompence in this life, and in the world to come 
eternal life. Let the experience of all the world of Chris- 
tians be produced, and all will attest the same truth. That 
it is God's usual course to give men larger comforts in dear- 
er duties, than in cheap : nay, seldom doth he give large 
comforts in cheap duties, and seldom doth he deny them in 
dearer ; so be it they are not made dear by our own sin and 
foolish indiscretion, but by his command, and our faithful- 
ness in obeying him. Who knows not that the consolation 
of martyrs is usually above other men's, who hath read of 
their sufferings and strange sustentations ? Christian, do 
but try this by thy own experiences, and tell me, when thou 
hast most resolutely followed Christ in a good cause ; when 
thou hast stood against the faces of the greatest for God ; 
when thou hast cast thy life, thy family and 'estate upon 
Christ, and run thyself into the most apparent hazards for 
his sake ; hast thou not come off with more inward peace 
and comfort, than the cheaper part of thy religion hath af- 
forded thee ? When thou hast stood to the truth and Gos- 
pel, and hast done good through the greatest opposition, 
and lost thy greatest and dearest friends, because thou 
wouldst not forsake Christ and his service, or deal falsely 
in some cause that he hath trusted thee in ; hast thou not 
come off with the blessing of peace of conscience ? Nay, 
when thou hast denied thy most importunate appetite, and 
most crossed thy lusts, and most humbled and abased thy- 
self for God, and denied thy credit, and taken shame to thy- 
self in a free confessing of thy faults, or patiently put up 
with the greates abuses, or humbled and tamed thy flesh by 
necessary abstinence, or any way most displeased it, by 
crossing its interest, by bountiful giving, laborious duty, 
dangers or sufferings, for the sake of the Lord Jesus, his 


truth and people ; hath it not been far better with thee in 
thy peace and comforts than before ? I know some will be 
ready to say, that may be from carnal pride in our own do- 
ing or suffering. I answer, it may be so ; and therefore let 
all watch against that. But I am certain that this is God's 
ordinary dealing with his people, and therefore we may or- 
dinarily expect it. It is for their encouragement in faithful 
duty; and I may truly say, for their reward, when himself 
calls that a reward which he gives for a cup of water. Lay 
well to heart that example of Abraham, for which he is so 
often extolled in the Scripture, viz. His readiness to sacri- 
fice his only son. This was a dear obedience; " And, saith 
God, because (mark, because) thou hast done this thing, in 
blessing I will bless thee," &c. David would not offer to 
God that which cost him nothing ; 2 Sam. xxiv. 24. 1 Chron. 
xxi. 24. God will have the best of your hearts, the best of 
your labours, the best of your estates, the best of all, or he 
will not accept it. Abel's sacrifice was of the best, and it 
was accepted : and God saith to Cairi, "If thou doest well, 
shalt not thou be accepted ?" 

Seeing this is so, let me advise you. Take it not for a 
calamity, but for a precious advantage, when God calls thee 
to a hazardous costly service, which is like to cost thee much 
of thy estate, to cost thee the loss of thy chiefest friends, 
the loss of thy credit, the indignation of gre^t ones, or the 
most painful diligence and trouble of body : shift it not off, 
but take this opportunity thankfully, lest thou never have 
such another for the clearing of thy sincerity, and the ob- 
taining of more than ordinary consolations from God : thou 
hast now a prize in thy hand for spiritual riches, if thou 
hast but a heart to improve it. I know all this is a paradox 
to the unbelieving world ; but here is the very excellency 
of the Christian religion, and the glory of faith. It looks 
for its greatest spoils, and richest prizes from its conquests 
of fleshly interests : it is not only able to do it, but it ex- 
pecteth its advancement and consolations by this way. It 
is engaged in a war with the world and flesh ; and in this 
war it plays not the vapouring fencer, that seems to do much, 
but never strikes home, as hypocrites and carnal, worldly 
professors do : but he says it home, and spares not, as one 
that knows, that the flesh's ruin must be his rising, and the 



flesh's thriving would be his ruin. In these things the true 
Christion alone is in good sadness, and all the rest of the 
worid but in jest. The Lord pity poor deluded souls ! You 
may see by this one thing, how rare a thing true Christian- 
ity is among the multitude that take themselves for Chris- 
tians ; and how certain, therefore, it is that few shall be saved. 
Even this one point of true mortification and self-denial, 
is a stranger amongst the most of professors. O how sad a 
testimony of it are the actions of these late times, wherein 
so much hath been done for self, and safety, and carnal in- 
terests, and so little for Christ ! yea, and that after the 
deepest engagements of mercies and vows that ever lay on a 
people in the world. Insomuch, that through the just 
judgment of God, they are now given up to doubt, whether 
it be the duty of rulers to do any thing as rulers for Christ, 
or no ; or whether they should not let Christ alone to do it 
himself. Well, this which is such a mystery to the unrege- 
nerate world, is a thing that every genuine Christian is ac- 
quainted with ; for " they that are Christ's have crucified the 
flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof;" and the world 
is dead to them, and they to the world ; Gal. v. 21. 

Take this counsel therefore in all the several cases men- 
tioned in the Direction. 

1. In your preventing sin, and maintaining your inno- 
cency, if you cannot do it without denying your credit, and 
exposing yourself to disgrace ; or without the loss of friends, 
or a breach in your estate, do it nevertheless : yea, if it 
would cost you your utter ruin in the world, thank God 
that put such an opportunity into your hand for extraordi- 
nary consolations. For ordinarily the martyrs' comforts ex- 
ceed other men's, as much as their burden of duty and suf- 
fering doth. Cyprian is fain to write for the comfort of 
some Christians in his times, that at death were troubled 
that they missed of their hopes of martyrdom. So also if 
you cannot mortify any lust without much pinching the 
flesh, do it cheerfully ; for the dearer the victory costeth 
you, the sweeter will be the issue and review. 

2. The same counsel I give you also in your rising from 
sin. It is the sad condition of those that yield to a tempta- 
tion, and once put their foot within the doors of satan, that 
they ensnare themselves so, that they must undergo thrice 
as great difficulties to draw back, as they needed to have 


done beforehand for prevention and forbearance. Sin un- 
happily engageth the sinner to go on ; and one sin doth 
make another seem necessary. O how hard a thing is it for 
him that hath wronged another by stealing, deceit, overreach- 
ing in bargaining or the like, to confess his fault, and ask him 
forgiveness, and to the utmost of his ability to make resti- 
tution ! What abundance of difficulties will be in the way ! 
It will likely cost him the loss of his credit, besides the 
breach in his estate, and perhaps lay him open to the rage 
of him that he hath wronged. Rather he will be drawn to 
cover his sin with a lie, or at least by excuses. And so it 
is in many other sins. Now in any of these cases, when 
men indulge the flesh, and cannot find in their hearts to 
take that loss or shame to themselves, which a thorough 
repentance doth require, they do but feed the troubles of 
their soul, and hide their wounds and sores, and not ease 
them. Usually such persons go on in a galled, unpeaceable 
condition, and reach not to solid comfort. (I speak only of 
those to whom such confession or restitution is a duty.) 
And I cannot wonder at it : for they have great cause to 
question the truth of that repentance, and consequently the 
soundness of that heart, which will not bring them to a self- 
denying duty, nor to God*s way of rising from their sin. It 
seems at present the interest of the flesh is actually predo- 
minant, when no reason or conviction will persuade them to 
contradict it As ever you would have sound comfort then 
in such a case as this, spare not the flesh. When you have 
sinned, you must rise again or perish. If you gannot rise 
without fasting, without free confessing, without the utter 
shaming of ourselves, without restitution, never stick at it. 
This is your hour of trial : O yield not in the conflict. The 
dearer the victory costeth you, the greater will be your 
peace. Try it ; and if you find it not so, I am mistaken. 
Yet if you have sinned so that the opening of it may more 
discredit the Gospel, than your confession will honour it, 
and yet your conscience is unquiet, and urgeth you to con- 
fess, in such a case be first well informed, and proceed 
warily and upon deliberation ; and first open the case to 
some faithful minister or able Christian in secret, that you 
may have good advice. 

3. The same counsel also would I give you in the per- 
formance of your duty. A magistrate is convinced he must 


punish sinners, and put down alehouses, and be true to 
every just cause ; but then he must steel his face against all 
men's reproaches, and the solicitations of all friends. A 
minister is convinced that he must teach from house to 
house, as well as publicly, if he be able ; and that he must 
deal plainly with sinners according to their conditions ; yea, 
and require the church to avoid communion with them, if 
they be obstinate in evil after other sufficient means ; but 
then he shall lose the love of his people, and be accounted 
proud, precise, rigid, lordly, and perhaps lose his mainte- 
nance. Obey God now ; and the dearer it costeth you, the 
more peace and protection, and the larger blessing may you 
expect from God : for you do, as it were, oblige God the 
more to stick to you ; as you will take yourself obliged to 
own, and bear out, and reward those that hazard estate, and 
credit, and life for you. And if you cannot obey God in 
such a trial, it is a sad sign of a falsehearted hypocrite, ex- 
cept your fall be only in a temptation, from which you rise 
with renewed repentance and resolutions, which will con- 
quer for the time to come. As Peter, who being left to 
himself for an example of human frailty, and that Christ 
might have no friend to stick by him when he suffered for 
our sin, yet presently wept bitterly, and afterwards spent 
his strength and time in preaching Christ, and laid down 
his life in martyrdom for him. 

So perhaps many a poor servant, or hard labourer, hath 
scarce any time, except the Lord's day, to pray or read. Let 
such pinch the flesh a little the more (so they do not over- 
throw their health) and either work the harder, or fare the 
harder, or be clothed the more meanly, or especially break 
a little of their sleep, that they may find some time for these 
duties ; and try whether the peace and comfort will not re- 
compense it. Never any man was a loser for God. So pri- 
vate Christians cannot conscionably discharge the great 
plain duty of reproof and exhortation, joy ingly, yet plainly 
telling their friends and neighbours of their sins, and dan- 
ger, and duty, but they will turn friends into foes, and pos- 
sibly set all the town on their heads. But is it a duty, or is 
it not ? If it be, then trust God with the issue, and do your 
work, and see whether he will suffer you to be losers. 
- For my part I think, that if Christians took God's word 
before them, and spared the flesh less, and trusted them- 


selves and all to Christ alone, and did not baulk all the 
troublesome and costly part of religion, and that which most 
crosseth the interest of the flesh, it would be more ordinary 
with them to be filled with the joys of the Holy Ghost, and 
walk in that peace of conscience which is a continual feast; 
and to have such full and frequent views both of the since- 
rity of their evidencing graces, and of God's reconciled face, 
as would banish their doubts and fears, and be a greater 
help to their certainty of salvation, than much other labour 
doth prove. If you flinch not the fiery furnace, you shall 
have the company of the Son of God in it. If you flinch 
not the prison and stocks, you may be able to sing as Paul 
and Silas did. If you refuse not to be stoned with Stephen, 
you may perhaps see heaven opened as he did. If you think 
these comforts so dear bought, that you will rather venture 
without them ; let me tell you, you may take your course, 
but the end will convince you to the very heart, of the folly 
of your choice. Never then complain for want of comfort ; 
remember you might have had it, and would not. And let 
me give you this with you ; You will shortly find, though 
worldly pleasures, riches and honours, were some slight 
salves to your molested conscience here, yet there will no 
cure nor ease for it be found hereafter. Your merry hours 
will then all be gone, and your worldly delights forsake you 
in distress; but these solid comforts which you judged too 
dear, would have ended in the everlasting joys of glory. 
When men do flinch God and his truth in straits, and juggle 
with their consciences, and will take out all the honourable, 
easy, cheap part of the work of Christ, and make a religion 
of that by itself, leaving out all the disgraceful, difficult, 
chargeable, self-denying part ; and hereupon call themselves 
Christians, and make a great show in the world with this 
kind of religiousness, and take themselves injured if men 
question their honesty and uprightness in the faith ; these 
men are notorious self-deceivers, mere hypocrites ; and in 
plain truth, this is the very true description by which dam- 
nable hypocrites are known from sound Christians. The 
Lord open men's eyes to see it in time while it may be cured ! 
Yea, and the nearer any true Christian doth come to this 
sin, the more doth he disoblige God, and quench the spirit 
of comfort, and darken his own evidences, and destroy his 
peace of conscience, and create unavoidable troubles to hi* 


spirit, and estrangedness betwixt the Lord Jesus and his 
own soul. Avoid this, therefore, if ever you will have peace. 

Direct. XXV. My next advice shall be somewhat near 
of kin to the former. If you would learn the most expedi- 
tious way to peace and settled comfort, ' Study well the art 
of doing good ; and let it be your every day's contrivance, 
care and business, how you may lay out all that God hath 
trusted you with, to the greatest pleasing of God, and to 
your most comfortable account.' 

Still remember (lest any Antinomian should tell you that 
this savours of Popery, and trusting for peace to our own 
works ;) 

1. That you must not think of giving any of Christ's 
honour or office to your best works. You must not dream 
that they can do any thing to the satisfaction of God's jus- 
tice for your sins ; nor that they have any proper merit in 
them, so as for their worth to oblige God to reward you ; 
nor that you must bring them as a price to purchase Christ 
and heaven ; nor that you have any righteousness or worthi- 
ness in yourself and works, which the law of works will so 
denominate or own. But only you must give obedience its 
due under Christ; and so you honour Christ himself, when 
those that detract from obedience to him, do dishonour him; 
and you must have an evangelical worthiness and righteous- 
ness (so called, many and many times over in the Gospel) 
which partly consisteth in the sincerity of your obedience 
and good works ; as the condition of continuing your state 
of justification, and right to eternal life. 

2. Remember I have given you many arguments before, 
to prove that you may take comfort from your good works 
and gracious actions. 

3. If any further objections should be made against this, 
read considerately and believingly. Matt. xxv. v, vii. 
throughout, or the former only ; and I doubt not but you 
will be fully resolved. But to the work. 

Those men that study no other obedience than only to 
do no (positive) harm, are so far from true comfort, that they 
have yet no true Christianity ; I mean such as will be sav- 
ing to them. Doing good is a high part of a Christian's 
obedience, and must be the chief part of his life. The hea- 
then could tell him that asked him, how men might be like 
to God J the one way ^\HS, To do good to all. That is be- 


yoiid our power, being proper to God the universal good, 
whose mercy is over all his works. But our goodness must 
be communicative, if we will be like God, and it must be 
extended and.diffused as far as we can. The apostles charge 
is plain, and we must obey it if we will have any peace ; 
" While you have time, do good to all men, but especially 
to them of the household of faith ;" Gal. vi. 10. " Cease to 
do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the op- 
pressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come 
now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your 
sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though 
they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool ;" Isa. i. 16, 
17. "To do good, and to communicate, forget not; for 
with such sacrificea- God is well pleased ;" Heb. xiii. 16. 
"Charge them that be rich in this world, that they be not 
highmjjided, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living 
God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy : that they do 
good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, 
willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a 
good foundation against the time to come, that they may 
lay hold on eternal life ;" 1 Tim. vi. 17 — 19. See Luke vi. 
33—35. Markxiv.7. Matt. v. 44. IPet. iii. 11. James 
iv. 17. Psalm xxxiv. 14. xxxvii.27. xxxvi.3. xxxvii.3. 
" Trust in the Lord, and do good." " If thou doest well, shalt 
thou not be accepted ? But if thou doest not well, sin lieth 
at the door;" Gen. iv. 7. " Cornelius, thy prayers and thine 
alms are come up for a memorial before God. In every na- 
tion he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is ac- 
cepted of him ;" Acts x. 3, 4. 34, 35. " Know you not that 
to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants 
ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of 
obedience unto righteousness ? Yield yourselves unto God 
as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as 
instruments of righteousness unto God;" Rom. vi. 13. 16. 
Matt. V. 16. Acts ix. 36. Eph. ii. 10. " We are created 
in Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath ordained 
that we should walk in them." 1 Tim. ii. 10. v. 10. 25. 
2 Tim. iii. 17. Tit. ii. 7. iii. 8. 14. ii. 14. "He redeem- 
ed us from all iniquity, that he might purify to himself a 
peculiar people zealous of good works." 1 Pet. ii. 12. 
Heb. x. 24. " Let us consider one another, to provoke unto 


love, and to good works." What a multitude of such pas- 
sages may you tind in Scripture. 

You see then how great apart of your calling and reli- 
gion consisteth in doing good. Now it is not enough to 
make this your care now and then, or do good when it falls 
in your way ; but you must study it, or it will not be done 
well. You must study which are good works, and which 
are they that you are called to ; and which are the 
best works, and to be preferred, that you choose not 
a less instead of a greater. God looks to be served 
with the best. You must study for opportunities of doing 
good, and of the means of succeeding and accomplish- 
ing it ; and for the removing of impediments ; and for 
the overcoming of dissuasives, and tvithdrawing tempta- 
tions. You must know what talents God hath entrusted 
you with, and those you must study to do good with : 
whether it be time, or interest in men, or opportunity, 
or riches, or credit, or authority, or gifts of mind, or of 
body : if you have not one, you have another, and some 
have all. 

This therefore is the thing that I would persuade you to : 
take yourself for God's steward 5 remember the time when 
it will be said to you, " Give account of thy stewardship ; 
thou shalt be no longer steward." Let it be your every 
day's contrivance, how to lay out your gifts, time, strength, 
riches or interest, to your Master's use. Think which way 
you may do most, first to promote the Gospel and the pub- 
lic good of the church ; and then, which way you may help 
towai'ds the saving of particular men's souls ; and then, 
which way you may better the commonwealth, and how you 
may do good to men's bodies, beginning with your own and 
those of your family, but extending your help as much fur- 
ther as you are able. Ask yourself every morning, * Which 
way may I this day most further my Master's business, and 
the good of men?' Ask yourself every night, ' What good 
have I done to-day ?' And labour as much as may be, to 
be instruments of some great and standing good, and of some 
public and universal good, that you may look behind you at 
the year's end, and at your lives' end, and see the good that 
you have done. A piece of bread is soon eaten, and a 
|>enny or a shilling is soon spent; but if you could win a 


soul to God from sin, that would be a visible, everlasting 
good. If you could be instruments of setting up a godly 
minister in a congregation that want, the everlasting good 
of many souls might, in part, be ascribed to you. If you 
could help to heal and unite a divided church, you might , 
more rejoice to look back on the fruits of your labour, than 
any physician might rejoice to see his poor patient reco- 
vered to health. I have told rich men in another book, 
what opportunities they have to do good, if they had hearts. 
How easy were it with them to refresh men's bodies, and to 
do very much for the saving souls ; to relieve the poor ; to 
set their children to trades ; to ease the oppressed. How 
easy to maintain two or three poor scholars at the Univer- 
sities, for the service of the church. But I hear but a few 
that do ever the more in it, except three or four of my 
friends in these parts. Let me further tell you, God doth 
not leave it to them as an indifferent thing ; Matt. xxv. They 
must feed Christ in the poor, or else starve in hell them- 
selves : they must clothe naked Christ in the poor, or be 
laid naked in his fiery indignation for ever. How much 
more diligently then must they help men's souls, and the 
church of Christ, as the need is greater, and the work bet- 
ter ! Oh the blinding power of riches ! Oh the easiness of 
man's heart to be deluded ! Do rich men never think to lie 
rotting in the dust? Do they never think that they must be 
accountable for all their riches, and for all their time, and 
power, and interests ? Do they not know that it will com- 
fort them at death and judgment, to hear in their reckon- 
ing. Item, so much given to such and such poor ; so much 
to promote the Gospel ; so much to maintain poor scholars, 
while they study to prepare themselves for the ministry ? &c. 
Than to hear. So much in such a feast ; to entertain such 
gallants ; to please such noble friends ; so much at dice, at 
cards, at horse-races, at cock-fights ; so much in excess of 
apparel ; and the rest to leave my posterity in the like 
pomp? Do they not know that it will comfort them more 
to hear then of their time spent in reading Scripture, secret 
and open prayer, instructing and examining their children 
and servants ; going to their poor neighbours' houses to see 
what they want, and to persuade them to godliness ; and in 
being examples of eminent holiness to all ; and in suppres- 
sing vice, and dping justice, than to hear of so much time 


spent in vain recreations, visits, luxuries, and idleness ? O 
deep unbelief and hardness of heart, that makes gentlemen 
that they tremble not to think of this reckoning ! Well, 
let me tell both them and all men, that if they knew but 
either their indispensable duty of doing good, that lieth on 
them, or how necessary and sure a way (in subordination to 
Christ) this act of doing good is for the soul's peace and 
consolation, they would study it better, and practise it more 
faithfully than now they do : they would then be glad of an 
opportunity to do good, for their own gain, as well as for 
God's honour, and for the love of good itself. They would 
know, that lending to the Lord is the only thriving usury ; 
and that no part of all their time, riches, interest in men, 
power, or honours, will be then comfortable to them, but 
that which was laid out for God ; and they will one day find, 
that God will not take up with the scraps of their time and 
riches, which their flesh can spare; but he will be first 
served, even before all comers, and that with the best, or he 
will take them for no servants of his. This is true, and you 
will find it so, whether you will now believe it or no. 

And because it is possible these lines may fall into the 
hands of some of the rulers of this commonwealth, let me 
here mind them of two weighty things : 

1. What opportunities of doing very great good hath 
been long in their hands, and how great an account of it 
they have to make. It hath been long in their power to 
have done much to the reconciling of our differences, and 
healing our divisions, by setting divines a work of different 
judgments, to find out a temperament for accommodation. 
It hath long been in their power to have done much towards 
the supply of all the dark congregations in England and 
Wales, with competently able, sound and faithful teachers. 
We have many congregations that do contain three thou- 
sand, five thousand, or ten thousand souls, that have but 
one or two ministers that cannot possibly do the tenth part 
of the ministerial work of private oversight, and so poor 
souls must be neglected, let ministers be never so able or 
painful. We have divers godly, private Christians, of so 
much understanding, as to be capable of helping us, as offi- 
cers in our churches ; but they are all so poor, that they 
are notable to spare one hour in a day or two from their 4a- 
bour, much less to give up themselves to the work. How 


many a congregation is in the same case ? Nothing ahnost 
is wanting to us, to have set our congregations in the order 
of Christ, and done this great work of reformation which 
there is so much talking of, so much as want of maintenance 
for a compentent number of ministers or elders to attend the 
work. I am sure, in great congregations this is the case, 
and a sore that no other means will remedy. Was it never 
in the power of our rulers to have helped us here ? Was no- 
thing sold for other uses, that was once devoted and dedi- 
cated to God, and might have helped us in this our misera- 
ble distress ? Were our churches able to maintain their 
own officers, our case were more tolerable ; but when a con- 
gregation that wants six, or seven, or ten, is not able to 
maintain one it is hard. 

2. The second thing that I would mind our rulers of, is, 
what mortal enemies those men are to their souls, that would 
persuade them that they must not, as rulers, do good to the 
souls of men, and to the church as such ; nor further the 
reformation, nor propagate the Gospel, nor establish Christ's 
order in the churches of their country, any otherwise than 
by a common maintaining the peace and liberties of all. 
What doctrine could more desperately undo you, if enter- 
tained? If you be once persuaded that it belongs not to 
you to do good, and the greatest good, to which all your 
successes have made way, then all the comfort, the blessing 
and reward is lost ; and consequently all the glorious pre- 
parative successes, as to you, are lost. If once you take 
yourselves to have nothing to do as rulers for Christ, you 
cannot promise yourselves that Christ will have any thing 
to do for you, as rulers, in a way of mercy. This, Mr. Owen 
hath lately told you in his sermon, October 13, " The God 
of heaven forbid, that ever all the devils in hell, the Jesuits 
at Rome, or the seduced souls in England, should be able to 
persuade the rulers of this land, who are so deeply bound to 
God by vows, mercies, professions, and high expenses of 
treasure and blood, to reform his church, and propagate his 
Gospel ; that now after all this, it belongeth not to them, 
but they must, as rulers, be no more for Christ than for Ma- 
homet. But if ever it shoul^l prove the sad case of England 
to have such rulers, (which I strongly hope will never be,) 
if my prognostics fail not, this will be their fate : the Lord 
Jesus will forsake them, as they have forsaken him, and the 


prayers of his saints will be fully turned against them ; and 
his elect shall cry to him night and day, till he avenge them 
speedily, by making these his enemies to lick the dust, and 
dashing them in pieces like a potter's vessel, because they 
vk^ould not that he should reign over them : and then they 
shall know whether Christ be not King of kings, and Lord 
of lords. 

Perhaps you may think I digress from the matter in 
hand ; but as long as I speak but for my Lord Christ, and 
for doing good, I cannot think that I am quite out of my 
way. But to return nearer to those for whose sakes I chiefly 
write, this is that sum of my advice ; Study with all the un- 
derstanding you have, how to do as much good, while you 
have time, as possibly you can, and you shall find that 
(without any Popish or Pharisaical self-confidence) to be 
the most excellent art for obtaining spiritual peace, and a 
large measure of comfort from Christ. 

To that end use seriously and daily to bethink yourself, 
what way of expending your time and wealth, and all your 
talents, will be most comfortable for you to hear of, and re- 
view at judgment. And take that as the way most comfort- 
able now. Only consult not with flesh and blood ; make 
not your flesh of your counsel in this work, but take it for 
your enemy ; expect its violent, unwearied opposition ; but 
regard not any of its clamours or repinings. But know, as 
I said before, that your most true, spiritual comforts are a 
prize that must be won, upon the conquest of the flesh. I 
will only add to this, the words of the blessed Dri Sibbs (a 
man that was no enemy to free-grace, nor unjust patron of 
man's works), in his preface to his " Soul's Conflict :" 
*' Christ is first a King of righteousness, and then of peace. 
The righteousness that works by his Spirit brings a peace of 
sanctification ; whereby though we are not freed from sin, 
yet we are enabled to combat with it, and to get the victory 
over it. Some degree of comfort follows every good action, 
as heat accompanies fire, and as beams and influences issue 
from the sun. Which is so true, that very heathens upon 
the discharge of a good conscience, have found comfort and 
peace answerable ; this is a reward before our reward." 
Again, '• In watchfulness and diligence we sooner meet with 
comfort, than in idle complaining." Again, pp. 44, 45. " An 
unemployed life is a burden to itself. God is a pure Act j 


always working ; always doing. And the nearer our soul 
comes to God, the more it is in action, and the freer from 
disquiet. Men experimentally feel that comfort in doing 
that which belongs unto them, which before they longed for 
aiid went without." And in his preface to the " Bruised 
Reed :" " There is no more comfort to be expected from 
Christ than there is care to please him. Otherwise, to make 
him an abettor of a lawless and a loose life, is to transform 
him into a fancy ; nay, into the likeness of him, whose works 
he came to destroy ; which is the most detestable idolatry 
of all. One way whereby the Spirit of Christ prevaileth in 
his, is to preserve them from such thoughts : yet we see 
people will frame a divinity to themselves, pleasing to the 
flesh, suitable to their own ends ; which being vain in the 
substance, will prove likewise vain in the fruit, and a build- 
ing upon the sands." So far Dr. Sibbs. It seems there 
were libertines and Antinomians then, and will be as long as 
there are any carnal, unsanctified professors. 

Direct. XXVI. Having led you thus far towards a settled 
peace, my next Direction shall contain a necessary caution, 
lest you run as far into the contrary extreme, viz. ' Take 
heed that you neither trouble your own soul with needless 
scruples, about matters of doctrine, of duty, or of sin, or 
about your own condition. Nor yet that you do not make 
yourself more work than God hath made you, by feigning 
things unlawful, which God hath not forbidden ; or by plac- 
ing your religion in will-worship, or in an over curious in- 
sisting on circumstantials, or an over rigorous dealing with 
your body.' 

This is but the exposition of Solomon, "Be not over 
wise, and be not righteous overmuch;" Eccles. vii. 16. A 
man cannot serve God too much, formally and strictly con- 
sidering his service ; much less love him too much. But 
we may do too much materially intending thereby to serve 
God, which though it be not true righteousness, yet being 
intended for righteousness, and done as a service of God, or 
obedience to him, is here called overmuch righteousness. 
I know it is stark madness in the profane, secure world, to 
think that the doing of no more than God hath commanded 
us, is doing too much, or more than needs ; as if God had 
bid us do more than needs, or had made such laws as few of 
the foolish rulers on earth would make. This is plainly to 


blaspheme the Most High, by denying his wisdom and his 
goodness, and his just government of the world ; and to blas- 
pheme his holy laws, as if they were too strict, precise, and 
made us more to do than needs ; and to reproach his sweet 
and holy ways, as if they were grievous, intolerable, and un- 
necessary. Much more is their madness, in charging the 
godly with being too pure, and too precise, and making too 
great a stir for heaven, and that merely for their godliness 
and obedience ; when, alas, the best do fall so far short of 
what God's word, and the necessity of their own souls do 
require, that their consciences do more grievously accuse 
them of negligence, than the barking world doth of being 
too precise and diligent. And yet more mad are the world, 
to lay out so much time, and care, and labour, for earthly 
vanities, and to provide for their contemptible bodies for a 
little while ; and in the mean time to think, that heaven and 
their everlasting happiness there, and the escaping of ever- 
lasting damnation in hell, are matters not worth so much 
$do, but may be had with a few cold wishes, and that it is 
but folly to do so much for it as the godly do. That no la- 
bour should be thought too much for the world, the flesh, 
and the devil, and every little is enough for God. And that 
these wretched souls are so blinded by their own lusts, and 
Ro bewitched by the devil into an utter ignorance of their 
own hearts, that they verily think, and will stand in it, that 
for all this they love God above all, and love heavenly things 
better than earthly, and therefore shall be saved. 

But yet extremes there are in the service of God, which 
all wise Christians must labour to avoid. It is a very great 
question among divines. Whether the common rule in ethics, 
that virtue is ever in the middle between two extremes, be 
sound, as to Christian virtues; Amesius saith no. The 
case is not very hard, I think, to be resolved, if you will 
but use these three distinctions: 1. Between the acts of 
the mere rational faculties, understanding and will, called 
elicit acts, and the acts of the inferior faculties of soul and 
body, called imperate acts. 2. Between the acts that are 
about the end immediately, and those that are about the 
means. 3. Between the intention of an act, and the objec- 
tive extension, and comparison of object with object. And 
so I say, 1. The end (that is, God and salvation) cannot be 
too fully known, or too much loved, with a pure, rational 


love of complacency, nor too much sought by the acts of the 
soul, as purely rational : for the end being loved and sought 
for itself, and being of infinite goodness, must be loved and 
sought without measure or limitation, it being impossible 
here to exceed. Prop. 2. The means, while they are not 
misapprehended, but taken as means, and materially well 
understood, cannot be too clearly discerned, nor too rightly 
chosen, nor too resolutely prosecuted. Prop. 3. It is too 
possible to misapprehend the means, and to place them in- 
stead of the end, and so to overlove them. Prop. 4. The 
nature of all the means consisteth in a middle or mean be 
tween two extremes, materially ; both which extremes are 
sin : so that it is possible to overdo about all the means, as 
to the matter of them, and the extent of our acts. Though 
we cannot love God too much, yet it is possible to preach, 
hear, pray, read, meditate, confer of good too much : for one 
duty may shut out another, and a greater may be neglected 
by our overdoing in a lesser ; which was the Pharisees' sin 
in sabbath resting. Prop. 5. If we be never so right in the 
extension of our acts, yet we may go too far in the intention 
of the imperate acts or passions of the soul, and that both 
on the means and end ; though the pure acts of knowing or 
willing cannot be too great towards God and salvation, yet 
the passions and acts commonly called sensitive may. A 
man may think on God not only too much, (as to exclude 
other necessary thoughts,) but too intensely, and love and 
desire too passionately : for there is a degree of thinking or 
meditating, and of passionate love and desire, which the 
brain cannot bear, but it will cause madness, and quite 
overthrow the use of reason, by overstretching the organs, 
or by the extreme turbulency of the agitated spirits. Yet I 
never knew the man, nor ever shall do, I think, that was 
ever guilty of one of these excesses ; that is, of loving or de- 
siring God so passionately, as to distract him. But I have 
often known weak-headed people, (that be not able to order 
their thoughts,) and many melancholy people, guilty of the 
other; that is, of thinking too much, and too seriously and 
intensely on good and holy things, whereby they have over- 
thrown their reason, and been distracted. And here I would 
give all such weak-headed, melancholy persons this warn- 
ing, that whereas in my Book of Rest, I so much press a 
constant course of heavenly meditation, 1 do intend it only 


for sound heads, and not for the melancholy, that have weak 
heads, and are unable to bear it. That may be their sin, 
which to others is a very great duty ; while they think to do 
that which they cannot do, they will but disable themselves 
for that which they can do. I would therefore advise those 
melancholy persons whose minds are so troubled, and heads 
weakened, that they are in danger of overthrowing their un- 
derstandings, (which usually begins in multitudes of scru- 
ples, and restlessness of mind, and continual fears, and 
blasphemous temptations, where it begins with these, dis- 
traction is at hand, if not prevented,) that they forbear me- 
ditation, as being no duty to them, though it be to others ; 
and instead of it be the more in those duties which they are 
fit for, especially conference with judicious Christians, and 
cheerful and thankful acknowledgment of God's mercies. 
And thus have I shewed you how far we may possibly ex- 
ceed in God's service. Let me now a little apply it. 

It hath ever been the devil's policy to begin in persuad- 
ing men to worldliness, fleshpleasing, security, and presump- 
tion, and utter neglect of God and their souls, or at least 
preferring their bodies and worldly things, and by this means 
he destroyeth the world. But where this will not take, but 
God awaketh men effectually, and casteth out the sleepy 
devil, usually he fills men's heads with needless scruples, 
and next setteth them on a religion not commanded, and 
would make poor souls believe they do nothing, if they do 
not more than God hath commanded them. When the de- 
vil hath no other way left to destroy religion and godliness, 
he will pretend to be religious and godly himself, and then 
he is always over-religious and over-godly in his materials. 
All overdoing in God's work is undoing ; and whoever you 
meet with that would overdo, suspect him to be either a sub- 
tle, destroying enemy, or one deluded by the destroyer. O 
what a tragedy could I here shew you of the devil's acting ! 
And what a mystery in the hellish art of deceiving could I 
open to you ! And shall I keep the devil's counsel ? No : 
O that God would open the eyes of his poor desolate 
churches at last to see it! 

The Lord Jesus in wisdom and tender mercy, establish- 
eth a law of grace, and rule of life, pure and perfect, but sim- 
ple and plain ; laying the condition of man's salvation more 
in the honesty, of the believing heart, than in the strength of 


wit, and subtlety of a knowing head. He comprised the 
truths which were of necessity to salvation in a narrow 
room : so that the Christian faith was a matter of ^reat 
plainness and simplicity. As long as Christians were such 
and held to this, the Gospel rode in triumph through the 
world, and an omnipotency of the Spirit accompanied it, 
bearing down all before it. Princes and sceptres stooped ; 
subtle philosophy was nonplust; and all useful sciences 
came down, and acknowledged themselves servants, and 
took their places, and were well contented to attend the 
pleasure of Christ. As Mr. Herbert saith in his " Church 

Religion thence fled into Greece, where arts 
Gave her the highest place in all men's hearts: 
Learning was proposed ; philosophy was set ; 
Sophisters taken in a fisher's net. 
Plato and Aristotle were at a loss, 
And wheeled about again to spell Christ's cross. 
Prayers chas'd syllogisms into their den. 
And ' ergo' was transformed into Amen. 

The serpent envying this happiness of the church, hath 
no way to undo us, but by drawing us from our Christian 
simplicity. By the occasion of heretics' quarrel and errors, 
the serpent steps in, and will needs be a spirit of zeal in the 
church ; and he will so overdo against heretics, that he per- 
suades them they must enlarge their creed,and add this clause 
against one, and that against another, and all was but for 
the perfecting and preserving of the Christian faith. And 
so he brings it to be a matter of so much wit to be a Chris- 
tian, (as Erasmus complains,) that ordinary heads were not 
able to reach it. He had got them with a religious, zealous 
cruelty to their own and others' souls, to lay all their salva- 
tion, and the peace of the church, upon some unsearchable 
mysteries about the Trinity, which God either never reveal- 
ed, or never clearly revealed, or never laid so great a stress 
upon : yet he persuades them that there was Scripture-proof 
enough for these ; only the Scripture spoke it but in the 
premises, or in darker terms, and they must but gather into 
their creed the consequences, and put it into plainer expres- 
sions, which heretics might not so easily corrupt, pervert, or 
evade. Was not this reverent zeal ? And was not the devil 



seemingly now a Christian of the most judicious and for- 
ward sort? But what got he at this one game? 1. He ne- 
cessitated implicit faith even in fundamentals, when he had 
got points beyond a vulgar reach among fundamentals. 2. 
He necessitated some living judge for the determining of 
fundamentals ' quoad nos,' though not ' in se' (the soul of 
Popish wickedness), that is, what it is in sense that the peo- 
ple must take for fundamentals. 3. He got a standing ver- 
dict against the perfection and sufficiency of Scripture, (and 
consequently against Christ, his Spirit, his apostles, and the 
Christian faith ;) that it will not afford us so much as a 
creed or system of fundamentals, or points absolutely ne- 
cessary to salvation and brotherly communion, in fit or tole- 
rable phrases ; but we must mend the language at least. 
4. He opened a gap for human additions, at which he might 
afterwards bring in more at his pleasure. 5. He framed an 
engine for an infallible division, and to tear in pieces the 
church, casting out all as heretics that could not subscribe 
to his additions, and necessitating separation by all dissen- 
ters, to the world's end, till the devil's engine be overthrown. 
6. And hereby he lays a ground upon the divisions of Chris- 
tians, to bring men into doubt of all religion, as not knowing 
which is the right. 7. And he lays the ground of certain 
heart-burnings, and mutual hatred, contentions, revilings, 
and enmity. Is not here enough got at one cast? Doth 
there need any more to the establishing of the Romish and 
hellish darkness ? Did not this one act found the seat of 
Rome ? Did not the* devil get more in his gown in a day 
than he could get by his sword in three hundred years? 
And yet the Holy Ghost gave them full warning of this be- 
forehand; " For I am jealous over you with a godly jea- 
lousy ; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may 
present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest 
by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, through his 
subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the sim- 
plicity that is in Christ ;" 2 Cor. xi. 2, 3. " Him that is 
weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputa- 
tions ;" Rom. xiv. 1. "The law of the Lord is perfect;" 
Psal. xix. " All Scripture is given by inspiration from 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;" 2 Tim. 


iii. 16, 17. " To the law and to the testimony : if they speak 
not according to these, it is because there is no truth in 
them;" Isa. viii.20. With many the like. 

This plot the serpent hath found so successful, that he 
hath followed it on to this day. He hath made it the great 
engine to get Rome on his side, and to make them the 
great dividers of Christ's church. He made the pope and 
the council of Trent believe, that when they had owned the 
ancient creed of the church, they must put in as many and 
more additional articles of their own, and anathematize all 
gainsayers ; and these additions must be the peculiar mark 
of their church as Romish 4 and then all that are not of that 
church, that is, that own not those superadded points, are 
not of the true church of Christ, if they must be judges. 
Yea, among ourselves hath the devil used successfully this 
plot ! What confession of the purest church hath not some 
more than is in Scripture ? The most modest must mend 
the phrase and speak plainer, and somewhat of their own in 
it, not excepting our own most reformed confession. iu -if 

Yea, and where modesty restrains men from putting all 
such inventions and explications in their creed, the devil 
persuades men, that they being the judgments of godly, re- 
verend divines (no doubt to be reverenced, valued j and 
heard), it is almost as much as if it were in the creed, and 
therefore whoever dissenteth must be noted with a black 
coal, and you must disgrace him, and avoid communion with 
him as an heretic. Hence lately is your union, commu- 
nion, and the church's peace, laid upon certain unsearch- 
able mysteries about predestination, the order and object* 
of God's decrees, the manner of the Spirit's most secret ope- 
rations on the soul, the nature of the will's essential liberty, 
and its power of self-determining the Divine concourse, de- 
termination or predestination of man's, and all other crea- 
ture's actions, &c. That he is scarcely to be accounted a 
fit member for our fraternal communion that differs from us 
herein. Had it not been for this one plot, the Christian 
faith had been kept pure ; religion had been one; the church 
had been one ; and the hearts of Christians had been more 
one than they are. Had not the devil turned orthodox, he 
had not made so many true Christians heretics, as Epipha- 
nius and Austin have enrolled in the black list. Had not 
the enemy of truth and peace got into the chair, and made 


80 pathetic an oration as to inflame the minds of the lover s 
of truth to be over zealous for it, and to do too much, we 
might have had truth and peace to this day. Yea, still, if 
he see any man of experience and moderation stand up to 
reduce men to the ancient simplicity, he presently seems the 
most zealous for Christ, and tells the inexperienced leaders 
of the flocks, that it is in favour of some heresy that such a 
man speaks ; he is plotting a carnal syncretism, and at- 
tempting the reconcilement of Christ and Belial ; he is taint- 
ed with Popery, or Socinianism, or Arminianism,.or Calvin- 
ism, or whatsoever may make him odious with those he 
speaks to. O what the devil hath got by over-doing ! 

And as this is true in doctrines, so is it in worship and 
discipline, and pastoral authority, and government. When 
the serpent could not get the world to despise the poor fish- 
ermen that published the Gospel (the devil being judged, 
and the world convinced by the power of the Holy Ghost, 
the Agent, Advocate, and Vicar of Christ on earth), he will 
then be the most forward to honour and promote them. 
And if he cannot make Constantine a persecutor of them, he 
will persuade him to raise them in worldly glory to the stars, 
and make them lords of Rome, and possess them with 
princely dignities and revenues. And he hath got as much 
by over-honouring them, as ever he did by persecuting and 
despising them. And now in England, when this plot is 
descried, and we had taken down that superfluous honour, 
as antichristian, what doth the devil but set in again on the 
other side? And none is so zealous a reformer as he. He 
cries down all as antichristian, which he desireth should 
fall. Their tithes and maintenance are antichristian and 
oppressive (O pious, merciful devil), down withjthem ! These 
church-lands were given by Papists to Popish uses, to 
maintain bishops, and deans, and chapters, down with them. 
These college-lands, these cathedrals, nay, these church- 
houses, or temples (for so I will call them, whether the devil 
will or no), all come from idolaters, and are abused to ido- 
latry, down with them. Nay, think you but he hath taken 
the boldness to cry out, these priests, these ministers, are 
all antichristian, seducers, needless, enviers of the spirit of 
prophesy, and of the gifts of their brethren, monopolizers of 
preaching, down with them too ! So that though he yet 
have pot what he would have, the old serpent hath done 


more as a reformer by overdoing, than lie did in many a 
year as a deformer or hinderer of reformation. Yet if he do 
but see that there is a Sovereign Power that can do him a 
mischief, he is ready to tell them, they must be merciful, and 
not deal cruelly with sinners ! Nay, it belongs not to them 
to reform, or to judge who are heretics and who not, or to 
restrain false doctrine, or church-disturbers. Christ is suf- 
ficient for this himself. How oft hath the devil preached 
thus, to tie the hands of those that might wound him. 

Would you see any further how he hath played this suc- 
cessful game of overdoing ? Why, he hath done as much 
by it in worship and discipline, as almost in any thing. 
When he cannot have discipline neglected, he is an over- 
zealous spirit in the breasts of the clergy ; and he persuades 
them to appoint men penance, and pilgrimages, and to put 
the necks of princes under their feet. But if this tyranny 
must be abated, he cries down all discipline, and tells them 
it is all but tyranny and human inventions ; and this con- 
fessing sin to ministers for relief of conscience, and this open 
confessing in -the congregation for a due manifestation of 
repentance, and satisfaction to the church, that they may 
hold communion with them, it is all but Popery and priestly 

And in matter of worship, worst of all. When he could 
not persuade the world to persecute Christ, and to refuse 
him and his worship, the serpent will be the most zealous"^ 
worshipper, and saith, as Herod, and with the same mind, 
" Come and tell me, that I may worship him." He per- 
suades men to do and overdo. He sets them on laying out 
their revenues in sumptuous fabrics, in fighting to be mas- 
ters of the holy land and sepulchre of Christ; on going pil- 
grimages ; worshipping saints, angels, shrines, relics, ador- 
ing the very bread of the sacrament as God, excessive fast- 
ings, choice of meats, numbered prayers on beads, repeti- 
tions of words, so may Ave Maries, Pater Nosters, the name 
Jesus so oft repeated in a breath, so many holidays to saints, 
canonical hours, even at midnight to pray, and that in Latin 
for greater reverence, crossings, holy garments, variety of 
prescribed gestures, kneeling and worshipping before images, 
sacrificing Christ again to his Father in the mass ; forswear- 
ing marriage ; living retiredly, as separate from the world ; 
multitudes of new, prescribed rules and orders of life ; vow- 


ing poverty ; begging without need ; creeping to the cross, 
holy water, and holy bread, carrying palms, kneeling at 
altars, bearing candles, ashes ; in baptism, crossing, conjur- 
ing out the devil, salting, spittle, oil ; taking pardons, indul- 
gencies, and dispensations of the pope ; praying for the 
dead, perambulations, serving God to merit heaven, or to 
ease souls in purgatory; doing works of supererogation, 
with multitudes the like. All these hath the devil added to^ 
God's worship, so zealous a worshipper of Christ is he, when 
he takes that way. Read Mr. Herbert's " Church Militant 
of Rome," pp. 188 — 190. I could trace this deceiver yet fur- 
ther, and tell you wherein, when he could not hinder refor- 
mation in Luther's days, he would needs overdo in reform- 
ing ! But O how sad an example of it have we before our 
eyes in England ! Never people on earth more hot upon re- 
forming ! Never any deeper engaged for it ! The devil 
could not hinder it by fire and sword 5 when he sees that, 
he will needs turn reformer, as I said before, and he gets the 
word, and cries down antichrist, and cries up reformation, 
till he hath done what we see ! He hath made a Babel of 
our work, by confounding our languages ; for though he 
will be for reformation too, yet his name is Legion, he is an 
enemy to the one God, one Mediator and Head, one faith, 
and one baptism, one heart, and one lip, and one way, uni- 
ty is the chief butt that he shoots at. Is baptism to be re- 
formed ? Christ is so moderate a Reformer, that he only 
bids, Down with the symbolical, mystical rite of man's vain 
addition. But the serpent is a more zealous reformer. He 
saith. Out with express covenanting ; out with children ; 
they are a corruption of the ordinance. , And to others he 
says. Out with baptism itself. We might follow him thus 
through other ordinances. Indeed he so overdoes in his re- 
forming, that he would not leave us a Gospel, a ministry, 
a magistracy to be for Christ, no, nor a Christ ; (though yet 
he would seem to own a God, and the light of nature). All 
these with him are antichristian. 

By this time I hope you see that this way of overdoing 
hath another author than many zealous people do imagine ; 
and that it is the devil's common, successful trade ; so that 
his agents in state-assemblies are taught his policy, ' When 
you have no other way of undoing, let it be by overdoing.' 
And the same way he takes with the souls of particular per- 


sons. If he see them troubled for sin, and he cannot keep 
them from the knowledge of Christ and free grace, he puts 
the name of free grace and Gospel-preaching upon Antino- 
mian and libertine errors which subvert the very Gospel and 
free grace itself. If he see men convinced of this, and that 
it is neither common nor religious libertinism and sensuali- 
ty that will bring men to heaven, then he will labour to make 
Papists of them, and to set them on a task of external for- 
malities, or macerating their bodies with hurtful fastings, 
watchings, and cold, as if self-murder were the highest pitch 
of religion, and God had pleasure to see his people torment 
themselves ! I confess it is very few that ever I knew to have 
erred far in austere usage of their bodies. But some I have, 
and especially poor, melancholy Christians, that are more 
easily drawn to deal rigorously with their flesh than others 
be. And such writings as lately have been published by 
some English Popish formalists, I have known draw men 
into this snare. I would have all such remember, 1. That 
God is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and in 
truth ; and such worshippers doth he seek. 2. That God 
will have mercy and not sacrifice ; and that the vitals of re- 
ligion are in a consumption, when the heat of zeal is drawn 
too much to the outside ; and that placing most in exter- 
nals, is the great character of hypocrisy, and is that phari- 
saical religion to which the doctrine and practice of the 
Lord Jesus was most opposite, as any that will read the Gos- 
pel may soon see. 3. That God hath made our bodies to 
be his servants, and instruments of righteousness (Rom vi. 
13.), and helpful and serviceable to our souls in welldoing. 
And therefore it is disobedience, it is injustice, it is cruelty 
to disable them, and causelessly to vex and torment them, 
much more to destroy them. You may see by sick men, by 
melancholy men, by madmen and children, how unfit that 
soul is to know, or love, or serve God, that hath not a fit 
body to work in and by. The serpent knows this well 
enough. If he can but get you by excessive fastings, watch- 
ings, labours, studies, or other austerities, especially sad- 
ness and perplexities of mind, to have a sick body, a crazed 
brain, or a short life, you will be able to do him but little 
hurt, and God but little service, besides the pleasure that 
he takes in your own vexation. Nay, he will hope to make 
a further advantage of your weakness, and to keep many a 


soul in the snares of sensuality, by telling them of your mi- 
series, and saying to them, ' Dost thou not see in such a man 
or woman, what it is to be so holy and precise ? They will 
all run mad at last. If once thou grow so strict, and deny 
thyself thy pleasures, and take this precise course, thou wilt 
but make thy life a misery, and never have a merry day 
again.' Such examples as yours the devil will make use of 
that he may terrify poor souls from godliness, and represent 
the word and ways of Christ to them in an odious, and un- 
pkasing, and discouraging shape. Doubtless that God 
who himself is so merciful to your body, as well as to your 
soul, would have you to be so too. He that provided so 
plentifully for its refreshment, would not have you refuse 
his provision. He that saith the righteous man is merciful 
to his beast, no doubt would not have him to be unmerciful 
to his own body. You are commanded to love your neigh- 
bours but as yourself ; and therefore by cruelty and unmer- 
ciful dealing with your own body, you will go about to jus- 
tify the like dealing with others. You durst not deny to 
feed, to clothe, to comfort and refresh the poor, lest Christ 
should say, " You did it not to me." And how should you 
dare to deny the same to yourself? How will you answer 
God for the neglect of all that service which you should have 
done him, and might, if you had not disabled your bodies 
and mind ? He requireth that you delight yourself in him. 
And how can you do that when you habituate both mind 
and body to a sad, dejected, mournful garb? The service 
that God requires, is " To serve him with cheerfulness in 
the abundance that we possess ;" Deut. xxviii. 47. If you 
think that I here contradict what I said in the former Direc- 
tions, for pinching the flesh, and denying its desires, you are 
mistaken. I only shew you the danger of the contrary ex- 
treme. God's way lieth between both. Tlie truth is (if you 
would be resolved how far you may please or displease the 
flesh) the flesh being ordained to be our servant and God's 
servant, must be used as a servant. You will give your ser- 
vant food, and raiment, and wholesome lodging, and good 
usage, or else you are unjust, and he will be unfit to do your 
work. But so far as he would master you, or disobey you, 
you will correct him, or keep him under. You will feed 
your horse, or else he will not carry you ; but if he grow 
unruly, you must tame him. It is a delusory formality of 


Papists, to tie all the countries to one time and measure of 
fasting, as Lent, Fridays, &c. When men's states are so 
various that many (though not quite sick) have more need 
of a restoring diet ; and those that need fasting, need it not 
all at once, not in one measure, but at the time, and in the 
measure, as the taming of their flesh requireth it. As if a 
physician should proclaim that all his patients should take 
physic such forty days every year, w^hether their disease be 
plethoric or consuming, from fulness or from abstinence, 
and whether the disease take him at that time of the year, 
or another. And remember that you must not iinder pre- 
tences of saving the body, disable it to serve God. You 
will not lay any such correction on your child or servant as 
shall disable them from their work, but such as shall excite 
them to it. And understand that all your afflicting your 
body must be either preventive, as keeping the fire from the 
thatch, or medicinal and corrective, and not strictly vindic- 
tive ; for that belongs to your Judge. Though in a subor- 
dination to the other ends, the smart or suffering for its 
fault, is one end, and so it is truly penal or vindictive, as all 
chastisement is. And so Paul saith, " Behold what re- 
venge," &c. 2 Cor. vii. 11. but not as mere judicial revenge 
is. Remember therefore, though you must so far tame your 
body as to bring it into subjection, that you perish not by 
pampering ; yet not so far as to bring it to weakness, and 
sickness, and unfitness for its duty. Nor yet must you dare 
to conceit that you please God, or satisfy him for your sin, 
by such a wronging and hurting your own body. Such 
Popish religiousness shews, that men have very low and 
carnal conceits of God. Was it not a base wickedness in 
them that offered their children in sacrifice, to think that 
God would be pleased with such cruelty ? Yea, were it not 
to have directed us to Christ, he would not a have accepted 
of the blood of bulls and goats ; it is not sacrifice that he 
desires. He never was bloodthirsty, nor took any pleasure 
in the creature's suffering. How can you think then that he 
will take pleasure in your consuming and destroying your 
own bodies? It is as unreasonable as to imagine, that he 
delights to have men cut their own throats, or hang them- 
selves ; for pining and consuming oneself is self-murder as 
well as that. Yet I know no man should draw back from a 
painful or hazardous work, when God calls him to it, for 


fear of destroying the flesh ; but do not make work or suf- 
fering for yourselves. God will lay as much affliction on 
you as you need, and be thankful if he will enable you to 
bear that ; but you have no need to add more. If yourselves 
make the suffering, how can you with any encouragement, 
beg strength of God to bear it? And if you have not 
strength, what will you do ? Nay, how can you pray for 
deliverance from God's afflictings, when you make more of 
your own? And thus I have shewed you the danger of 
overdoing, and what hindrance it is to a settled peace, both 
of church (state) and soul ; though perhaps it may not con- 
demn a particular soul so certainly (in most parts of it) as 
doing too little will. 

5. The next part of my Direction (first expressed) is. 
That you avoid causeless scruples, about doctrines, duties^ 
sins, or your own state. 

These are also engines of the enemy, to batter the peace, 
and comfort of your soul ; he knows that it is cheerful obe- 
dience, with a confidence of Christ's merits and mercies 
that God accepteth ; and therefore if he cannot hinder a 
poor soul from setting upon duty, he will hinder him if he 
can, by these scruples, from a cheerful and prosperous pro- 
gress. First, If he can, he will take in scruples about the 
truth of his religion, and shewing him the many opinions 
that are in the world, he will labour to bring the poor Chris- 
tian to a loss. Or else he will assault him by the men of 
some particular sect, to draw him to that party, and so by 
corrupting his judgment, to break his peace ; or at least 
to trouble his head, and divert his thoughts from God, by 
tedious disputes. The Papists will tell him, that they are 
the only true Catholic church (as if they had got a mono- 
poly or patent for religion, and had confined Christ to 
themselves) who are such notorious abusers of him. And 
as if all the churches of Greece, Ethiopia, and the rest of 
the world, were unchurched by Christ, to humour Master 
Pope, though they be far more in number, and many of them 
sounder in doctrine than the Romanists are. Those of other 
parties will do the like, each one to draw him to their own 
way. And the devil would make him believe that there are 
jis many religions as there be odd opinions, when alas, the 
Christian religion is one, and but one, consisting, for the 
doctrinals, in those fundamentals contained in our creed. 


And men's lesser erroneous opinions are but the scabs that 
adhere to their religion. Only the church of Rome is a very 
leper, whose infectious disease doth compel us to avoid her 
company. (As for any sort of men that deny the funda- 
mentals, I will not call them by the name of Christians.) 
So also in duties of worship, satan will be casting in scru- 
ples. If they should hear the word, he will cause them to 
be scrupling the calling of the minister, or something in his 
doctrine to discourage them. If they should dedicate their 
children to Christ in the baptismal covenant, he will be 
raising scruples about the lawfulness of baptizing infants. 
When they should solace their souls at the Lord's supper, 
or other communion of the church, he will be raising scru- 
ples about the fitness of every one that they are to join with, 
and whether it be lawful to join with such an ignorant man, 
or such a wicked man ; or whether it be a true church, or 
rightly gathered, or governed, or the minister a true minis- 
ter, and twenty the like. When they should join with the 
church in singing of God's praises, he will move one to scru- 
ple singing David's psalms ; another to scruple singing 
among the ungodly ; another singing psalms that agree not 
to every man's condition ; another, because our translation 
is bad, or our metre defective, and we might have better. 
When men should spend the Lord's day in God's spiritual 
worship, he causeth one to scruple, whether the Lord's day 
be of divine institution. Another he drives into the other 
extreme, to scruple almost every thing that is not worship. 
Whether they may provide their meat on that day (when yet 
it is a solemn day of thanksgiving, and they scruple not 
much more on other thanksgiving-days) or whether they 
may so much as move a stick out of the way. Others he 
moves to trouble themselves with scruples, as what hour the 
day begins and ends, and the like. Whereas, if they, 1. 
Understood that worldly rest is commanded but as a help to 
spiritual worship. 2. And that they must employ as much 
of that day in God's work as they do of other days in their 
callings, and rest in the night as at other times, and that 
God looks to time for the work's sake, and not at the work 
for the time's sake ; this would cast out most of their scru- 
ples. The like course satan takes with Christians in read- 
ing, praying in secret, or in their families, teaching their 
families, reproving sinners, teaching the ignorant, medi- 
tation, and all other duties, too long to mention the 


particular scruples which he thrusts into men's heads^ much 
more to resolve them, which would require a large volume 

Now I would entreat all such Christians to consider, how 
little they please God, and how much they please satan, and 
how much they break their own peace, and the peace of the 
churches. If you send a man on a journey, would you like 
him better that would stand questioning and scrupling every 
step he goes, whether he set the right foot before ? Or 
whether he should go in the foot-path or in the road ? Or 
him that would cheerfully go on, not thinking which foot 
goeth forward ; and rather step a little beside the path, and 
in again, than to stand scrupling when he should be going ? 
If you send reapers into your harvest, which would you like 
better, him that would stand scrupling how many straws he 
should cut down at once, and at what height; and with 
fears of cutting them too high or too low, too many at once, 
or too few, should do you but little work ? Or him that 
would do his work cheerfully, as well as he can ? Would 
you not be angry at such childish, unprofitable diligence or 
curiosity, as is a hindrance to your work ? And is it not 
so with our Master ? There was but one of those parties in 
the right that Paul spoke to ; Rom. xiv. xv. And yet he 
not only persuades them to bear with one another, and not 
to judge one another, but to receive the weak in faith, and 
not to doubtful disputations ; but he bids them, " Let every 
man be fully persuaded in his own mind." How ? Can he 
that erreth be fully persuaded in his error ? Yes, he may 
go on boldly and confidently, not troubling himself with 
demurs in his duty, as long as he took the safer side in his 
doubt. Not that this should encourage any to venture on 
sin, or to neglect a due inquiry after God's mind. But I 
speak against tormenting scruples, which do no work, but 
hinder from it, and stay us from our duty. 

The same I say against scruples about your sins ; satan 
will make you believe that every thing is a sin, that he may 
disquiet you, if he cannot get you to believe that nothing 
almost is sin, that he may destroy you. You shall not put 
a bit in your mouth, but he will move a scruple, whether it 
were not too good, or too much. You shall not clothe your- 
self, but he will move you to scruple the lawfulness of it. 
You shall not come into any company, but he will afterward 
vex you about every word you spoke, lest you sinned. 


The like I may say also about your condition, but more 
of that anon. 

Direct. XXVII. ' When God hath once shewed you a 
certainty, or but a strong probability of your sincerity and 
his especial love, labour to fix this so deep in your appre- 
hension and memory, that it may serve for the time to 
come, and not only for the present. And leave not your 
soul too open to changes, upon every new apprehension, 
nor to question all that is past upon every jealousy ; except 
when some notable declining to the world, and the flesh, or 
a committing of gross sins, or a wilfulness or carelessness in 
other sins that you may avoid, do give you just cause of 
questioning your sincerity, and bringing your soul again to 
the bar, and your estate to a more exact review.' 

Some Antinomian writers and preachers you shall meet 
with, who will persuade you, whatsoever sins you fall into, 
never more to question your justification or salvation. I 
have said enough before to prove their doctrine detestable. 
Their reason is, because God changeth not as we change, 
and justification is never lost. To which I answer, 1. God 
hated us while we were workers of iniquity ; Psal. xi. 5. 
V. 5. And was angry with us when we were children of 
wrath ; Ephes. iii. 1 — 3. And afterward he laid by that 
hatred and wrath; and all this without change. If we can- 
not reach to apprehend how God's unchangeableness can 
stand with the fullest and most frequent expressions of him 
in Scripture, must we therefore deny what those expressions 
do contain ? As Austin saith, ' Shall we deny that which is 
plain, because we cannot reach that which is obscure and 
difficult?' 2. But if these men had well studied the Scrip- 
tures, they might have known that the same man that was 
yesterday hated as an enemy, may to-day be reconciled and 
loved as a son, and that without any change in God; even 
as it falls out within the reach of our knowledge : for God 
ruleth the world by his laws ; they are his moral instru- 
ments; by them he condemneth; by them he justifieth, so 
far as he is said in this life, before the judgment day, to do 
it, (unless there be any other secret act of justification with 
him, which man is not able now to understand). The change 
is therefore in our relations, and in the moral actions of the 
laws. When we are unbelievers, and impenitent^ we are re- 
lated to God as enemies, rebels, unjustified and unpar- 


doned ; being such as God's law conderaneth and pronouno- 
eth enemies, and the law of grace doth not yet justify or 
pardon; and so God is, as it were, in some sense obliged, 
according to that law which we are under, to deal with us 
as enemies, by destroying us ; and this is God's hating, 
wrath, &c. When we repent, return, and believe, our rela- 
tion is changed ; the same law that did condemn us, is re- 
laxed and disabled, and the law of grace doth now acquit 
us; it pardoneth us, it justifieth us, and God by it : and so 
God is reconciled to us, when we are such as according to 
his own law of grace he is, as it were, obliged to forgive and 
to do good to, and to use us as sons : is not all this apparently 
without any change in God ? Cannot he make a law that 
shall change its moral action according to the change of the 
actions or inclinations of sinners ? And this without any 
change in God? And so, if it should so be that a justified 
man should fall from God, from Christ, from sincere faith 
or obedience, the law would condemn him again, and the 
law of grace would justify him no more (in that state), and 
all this without any change in God. 3. If this Antinomian 
argument would prove any thing, it would prove justifica- 
tion before, and so without, Christ's satisfaction, because 
there is no change in God. 4. The very point. That no jus- 
tified man shall ever fall from Christ, is not so cle^r and 
fully revealed in Scripture, and past all doubt from the as- 
sault of objections, as that a poor soul in such a relapsed 
estate should venture his everlasting salvation wholly on 
this, supposing that he were certain that he was once sin- 
cere. For my own part, I am persuaded that no rooted be- 
liever, that is habitually and groundedly resolved for Christ, 
and hath crucified the flesh and the world, (as all have that 
are thoroughly Christ's,) do ever fall quite away from him 
afterwards. But I dare not lay my salvation on this. And 
if I were no surer of my salvation, than I am of the truth of 
this my judgment, to speak freely, my soul would be in a 
very sad condition. 5. But suppose it as certain and plain 
as any word in the Gospel, (that a justified man is never 
quite unjustified ;) yet as every new sin brings a new obli- 
gation' to punishment, (or else they could not be pardoned, 
as needing no pardon, so must every sin have its particular 
pardon, and consequently the sinner a particular justifica- 
tion from the guilt of that sin,) besides his first general par- 


don (and justification) : for to pardon sin before it is com- 
mitted, is to pardon sin that is no sin, which is a contra- 
diction, and impossibility. Now, though for daily, un- 
avoidable infirmities, there be a pardon of course, upon the 
title of our habitual faith and repentance ; yet whether in 
case of gross sin, or more notable defection, this will prove 
a sufficient title to particular pardon, without the addition 
of actual repentance ; and what case the sinner is in till that 
actual repentance and faith, as I told you before, are so 
difficult questions (it being ordered by God's great wisdom 
that they should be so,) that it beseems no wise man to ven- 
ture his salvation on his own opinion in these. Nay, it is 
certain, that if gross sinners having opportunity and know- 
ledge of their sins, repent not, they shall perish. And 
therefore I think, a justified man hath great reason upon 
such falls, to examine his particular repentance, (as well as 
his former state,) and not to promise himself, or presume 
upon a pardon without it. 6. And besides all this, though 
both the continuance of faith, and non-intercision of justi- 
fication be never so certain, yet when a man's obedience is 
so far overthrown, his former evidences and persuasions of 
his justification will be uncertain to him. Though he have 
no reason to think that God is changeable, or justification 
will be lost, yet he hath reason enough to question whether 
ever he were a true believer, and so were ever justified. For 
faith worketh by love ; and they that love Christ will keep 
his commandments. Libertines and carnal men may talk 
their pleasure; but when satan maintains not their peace, 
sin will break it : and Dr. Sibbs's words will be found true, 
•* Soul's Conflict," pp. 41, 42. " Though the main pillar of 
our comfort be the free forgiveness of our sins, yet if there 
be a neglect of growing in holiness, the soul will never be 
soundly quiet, because it will be prone to question the truth 
of justification ; and it is as proper for sin to raise doubts 
and fears in the conscience, as for rotten flesh and wood to 
breed worms : where there is not a pure conscience, there is 
not a pacified conscience," &c. Read the rest. 

Thus much I have been fain to premise, lest my words 
for consolation should occasion security and desolation. 
But now let me desire you to peruse the Direction, and 
practise it. If when God hath given you assurance, or 
strong probabilities of your sincerity, you will make use of 


it but only for that present time, you will never then have a 
settled peace in your soul : besides, the great wrong you do 
to God, by necessitating him to be so often renewing such 
discoveries, and repeating the same words to you so often 
over. If your child offend you, would you have him when 
he is pardoned, no longer to believe it, than you are telling 
it him ? Should he be still asking you over and over every 
day, * Father, am I forgiven, or no V Should not one answer 
serve his turn ? Will you not believe that your money is 
in your purse or chest any longer than you are looking on 
it? Or that your corn is growing on your land, or your cat- 
tle in your grounds, any longer than you are looking on 
them ? By this course a rich man should have no more con- 
tent than a beggar, longer than he is looking on his money, 
or goods, or lands ; and when he is looking on one, he should 
again lose the comfort of all the rest. What hath God 
given you a memory for, but to lay up former apprehen- 
sions, and discoveries, and experiences, and make use of 
them on all meet occasions afterwards ? Let me therefore 
persuade you to this great and necessary work. When God 
hath once resolved your doubts, and shewed you the truth 
of your faith, love or obedience, write it down, if you can, 
in your book, (as I have advised you in my Treatise of 
Rest,) ' Such a day, upon serious perusal of my heart, I 
found it thus and thus with myself.' Or at least, write it 
deep in your memory ; and do not suffer any fancies, or 
fears, or light surmises to cause you to question this again, 
as long as you fall not from the obedience or faith which 
you then discovered. Alas ! man's apprehension is a most 
mutable thing ! If you leave your soul open to every new 
apprehension, you will never be settled : you may think two 
contrary things of yourself in an hour. You have not al- 
ways the same opportunity for right discerning, nor the 
•same clearness of apprehension, nor the same outward 
means to help you, nor the same inward assistance of the 
Holy Ghost. When you have these, therefore, make use of 
them, and fix your wavering soul, and take your question 
and doubt as resolved, and do not tempt God, by calling 
him to new answers again and again, as if he had given you 
no answer before. You will never want some occasion of 
jealousy and fears as long as you have corruption in your 
heart, and sin in your life, and a tempter to be troubling 


you ; but if you will suffer any such wind to shake your 
peace and comforts, you will be always shaking and fluc- 
tuating, as a wave of the sea. And you must labour to ap^ 
prehend not only the uncomfortableness, but the sinfulness 
also of this course. For though the questioning your own 
sincerity on every small occasion, be not near so great a sin 
as the questioning of God's merciful nature, or the truth of 
his promise, or his readiness to shew mercy to the penitent 
soul, or the freeness and fulness of the covenant of grace ; 
yet even this is no contemptible sin. For, 1. You are do- 
ing satan's work, in denying God's graces, and accusing 
yourself falsely, and so pleasing the devil in disquieting 
yourself. 2. You slander God's Spirit as well as your own 
soul, in saying, he hath not renewed and sanctified you, 
when he hath. 3. This will necessitate you to further un* 
thankfulness, for who can be thankful for a mercy, that 
thinks he never received it ? 4. This will shut your mouth 
against all those praises of God, and that heavenly, joyful 
commemoration of his great, unspeakable love to your soul, 
which should be the blessed work of your life. 5. This will 
much abate your love to God, and your sense of the love of 
Christ in dying for you, and all the rest of your graces, while 
you are still questioning your interest in God's love. 6. It 
will lay such a discouragement on your soul, as will both 
destroy the sweetness of all duties to you (which is a great 
evil), and thereby make you backward to them, and heart- 
less in them : you will have no mind of praying, medita- 
tion, or other duties, because all will seem dark to you, and 
you will think that every thing makes against you. 7. You 
rob all about you of that cheerful, encouraging example and 
persuasion which they should have from you, and by which 
you might win many souls to God. And contrarily you are 
a discouragement and hindrance to them. I could mention 
many more sinful aggravations of your denying God's graces 
in you on every small occasion, which methinks should make 
you be very tender of it, if not to avoid unnecessary trouble 
to yourself, yet at least to avoid sin against God. 

And what I have said of evidences and assurance, I 
would have you understand also of your experiences. You 
must not make use only at the present of your experiences, 
but lay them up for the time to come. Nor must you tempt 
God so far as to expect new experiences upon every new 



scruple or doubt of yours, as the Israelites expected new 
miracles in the wilderness, still forgetting the old. If a 
scholar should in his studies forget all that he hath read and 
learned, and all the resolutions of his doubts which in study 
he hath attained, and leave his understanding still as an un- 
written paper, as a receptive of every mutation and new ap- 
prehension, and contrary conceit, as if he had never studied 
the point before, he will make but a poor proficiency, and 
have but a fluctuated, unsettled brain. A scholar should 
make all the studies of his life to compose one entire image 
of truth in his soul, as a painter makes every line he draws 
to compose one entire picture of a man ; and as a weaver 
makes every thread to compose one web ; so should you 
make all former examinations, discoveries, evidences, and 
experiences, compose one full discovery of your condition, 
that so you may have a settled peace of soul : and see that 
you tie both ends together, and neither look on your present 
troubled state without your former, lest you be unthankful, 
and unjustly discouraged ; nor on your former state without 
observance of your present frame of heart and life, lest you 
deceive yourself, or grow secure. O that you could well 
observe this Direction ! How much would it help you to 
escape extremes, and conduce to the settling of a well- 
grounded peace, and at once to the well ordering of your 
whole conversation ! 

Direct. XXVIII. * Be very careful that you create not 
perplexities and terrors to your own soul, by rash misinter- 
pretations of any passages either of Scripture, of God's pro- 
vidence, or of the sermons or private speeches of ministers : 
but resolve with patience, yea, with gladness, to suffer 
preachers to deal with their congregations in the most 
searching, serious and awakening mannei^ lest your weak- 
ness should be a wrong to the whole assembly, and possibly 
the undoing of many a sensual, drowsy or obstinate soul, 
who will not be convinced and awakened by a comforting 
way of preaching, or by any smoother or gentler means.* 

Here are three dangerous enemies to your peace, which 
(for brevity) I warn you of together. 

1. Rash misinterpretations and misapplications of Scrip- 
ture. Some weak-headed, troubled Christians can scarce 
read a chapter, or hear one read, but they will find some- 
thing which they think doth condemn them. If they read 


of God's wrath and judgment, they think it is meant against 
them. If they read, " Our God is a consuming firfr," they 
think presently it is themselves that must be the fuel ; 
whereas justice and mercy have each their proper ob- 
jects ; the burning fire will not waste the gold, nor is water 
the fuel of it ; but combustible matter it will presently con- 
sume. A humble soul that lies prostrate at Christ's feet, 
confessing its unworthiness, and bewailing its sinfulness, 
this is not the object of revenging justice ; such a soul 
bringing Christ's mercies, and pleading them with God, is 
so far from being the fuel of this consuming fire, that he 
bringeth that water which will undoubtedly quench it. Yet 
this Scripture expression of our God, may subdue carnal 
security even in the best, but not dismay them or discou- 
rage them in their hopes. Another reads in Psalm 1. " I 
will set thy sins in order before thee ;" and he thinks, cer- 
tainly God will deal thus by him, not considering that God 
chargeth only their sins upon them that charge them not by 
true repentance on themselves, and accept not of Christ who 
hath discharged them by his blood. It is the excusers, 
and mincers, and defenders of sin, that love not those that 
reprove them, and that will not avoid them, or the occasions 
of them, that would not be reformed, and will not be per- 
suaded, in whose souls iniquity hath dominion, and that de- 
light in it, it is these on whom God chargeth their sin : " For 
this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, 
and men love darkness rather than light ; and come not to 
the light, lest their deeds should be reproved;" Johniii. 
20, 21. But for the soul that trembleth at God's word, and 
comes home to God with shame and sorrow, resolving to 
return no more to wickedness, God is so far from charging 
his sins upon him, that he never mentioneth them, as I told 
you, is evident in the case of the prodigal. He makes not 
a poor sinner's burden more heavy by hitting him in the 
teeth with his sins, but makes it the office of his Son to 
ease him by disburdening him. 

Many more texts might be named (and perhaps it would 
not be lost labour) which troubled souls do misunderstand 
and misapply ; but it would make this writing tedious, 
which is already swelled so far beyond my first intention. 

2. The second enemy of your peace here mentioned, is. 
Misunderstanding and misapplying passages of providence. 


Nothing more common with troubled souls, than upon every 
new cross and affliction that befals them, presently to think, 
God takes them for hypocrites ; and to question their sin- 
cerity ! As if David and Job had not left them a full warn- 
ing against this temptation. Do you lose your goods ? So 
did Job. Do you lose your children ? So did Job ; and 
that in no very comfortable way. Do you lose your health ? 
So did Job. What if your godly friends should come about 
you in this case, and bend all their wits and speeches to 
persuade you that you are but a hypocrite, as Job's friends 
did by him, would not this put you harder to it? Yet could 
Job resolve, " I will not let go mine integrity till I die." I 
know God's chastisements are all paternal punishments ; 
and that Christians should search and try their hearts and 
ways at such times ; but not conclude that they are grace- 
less ever the more for being afflicted, seeing God chasteneth 
every son whom he receiveth ; Heb. xii. 6, 7. And in 
searching after sin itself in your afflictions, be sure that you 
make the word, and not your sufferings, the rule to discover 
how far you haye sinned ; and let afflictions only quicken 
you to try by the word. How many a soul have I known 
that by misinterpreting providences, have in a blind jea- 
lousy, been turned quite from truth and duty, supposing it 
had been error and sin ; and all because of their afflictions. 
As a foolish man in his sickness accuseth the last meat that 
he eat before he fell sick, though it might be the whole- 
somest that ever he eat, and the disease may have many 
causes which he is ignorant of. One man being sick, a busy 
seducing Papist comes to him (for it is their use to take 
such opportunities) and tells him, ' It is God's hand upon 
you for forsaking or straying from the Roman Catholic 
Church, and God hath sent this affliction to bring you 
home. All your ancestors lived and died in this church, 
and so must you if ever you will be saved.' The poor, jea- 
lous, affrighted sinner hearing this, and through his igno- 
rance being unable to answer him, thinks it is even true, 
and presently turns Papist. In the same manner do most 
other sects. How many have the Antinomians and Ana- 
baptists thus seduced ! Finding a poor silly woman (for it 
is most common with them) to be under sad doubts and dis- 
tress of soul, one tells her, * It is God's hand on you to con- 
vince you of error, and to bring you to submit to the ordi- 


nance of baptism :' and upon this many have been rebap- 
tized, and put their foot into the-snare which I have yet seen 
few escape and draw back from. Another comes and tells 
the troubled soul, * It is legal preaching, and looking at 
something in yourself for peace and comfort, which hath 
brought you to this distress : as long as you follow these 
legal preachers, and read their books, and look at any thing 
in yourself, and seek assurance from marks within you, it 
will never be better with you. These preachers understand 
not the nature of free grace, nor ever tasted it themselves, 
and therefore they cannot preach it, but despise it. You 
must know that grace is so free that the covenant hath no 
condition : you must believe, and not look after the marks. 
And believing is but to be persuaded that God is reconciled 
to you, and hath forgiven you ; for you are justified before 
you were born, if you are one of the elect, and can but be- 
lieve it. It is not any thing of your own, by which you can 
be justified; nor is it any sin of yours that can unjustify. 
It is the witness of the Spirit only persuading you of your 
justification and adoption, that can give you assurance ; 
and fetching it from any thing in yourself, is but a resting 
on your own righteousness, and forsaking Christ.' When 
the Antinomian hath but sung this igaorant charm to a 
poor soul as ignorant as himself, and prepared by terrors to 
entertain the impression, presently it (oft) takes, and the 
sinner without a wonder of mercy is undone. This doc- 
trine, which subverteth the very scope of the Gospel, being 
entertained, subverteth his faith and obedience ; and usually 
the libertinism of his opinion is seen in his liberty of con- 
science, and licentious practices ; and his trouble of mind 
is cured, as a burning fever by opium, which gives him such 
a sleep, that he never awaketh till he be in another world. 
Yet these errors are so gross, and so fully against the ex- 
press texts of Scripture, that if ministers would condescend- 
ingly, lovingly and familiarly deal with them and do their 
duty, I should hope many well-meaning souls might be re- 
covered. Thus you see the danger of rash interpreting, 
and so misinterpreting providences. As such interpreta- 
tions of prosperity and success delude not only the Mahome- 
tan world, and the profane world, but many that seemed 
godly, so many such interpretations of adversity and crosses 
do y especially if the seducer be but kind and liberal to re^. 


lieve them in their adversity, he may do with many poor 
souls almost what he please. 

3. The third enemy to your peace here mentioned, is. 
Misinterpreting or misapplying the passages of preachers in 
their sermons, writings or private speeches. A minister 
cannot deal thoroughly or seriously with any sort of sinners, 
but some fearful, troubled souls apply all to themselves. I 
must entreat you to avoid this fault, or else you will turn 
God's ordinances and the daily food of your souls, into bit- 
terness and wormwood, and all through your mistakes. I 
think there are few ministers so preach, but you might per- 
ceive whom they mean, and they so difference as to tell you 
who they speak to. I confess it is a better sign of an honest 
heart and self-judging conscience, to say, ' He speaks now 
to me, this is my case ;' than to say, * He speaks now to 
such or such a one, this is their case.' For it is the property 
of hypocrites to have their eye most abroad, and in every 
duty to be minding most the fe^ults of others : and you may 
much discern such in their prayer.s, in that they will fill their 
confessions most with other men's sins, and you may feel 
them all the while in the bosom of their neighbours, when 
you may even feel a sincere man speaking his own heart, 
and most opening his own bosom to God. But though 
self-applying and self-searching be far the better sign, yet 
must not any wise Christian do it mistakingly : for that 
may breed abundance of very sad effects. For besides the 
aforesaid embittering of God's ordinances to you, and so 
discouraging you from them, do but consider what a grief 
and a snare you may prove to your minister. A grief it 
must needs be to him who knows he should not make sad 
the soul of the innocent, to think that he cannot avoid it, 
without avoiding his duty. When God hath put two several 
messages in our mouths ; " Say to the righteous, it shall be 
well with him ;" and " Say to the wicked, it shall be ill with 
him ;" Isaiah iii. 10, 11. " He that believeth shall be saved ; 
he that believeth not shall be damned ;" and we speak both ; 
will you take that as spoken to you, which is spoken to the 
unbeliever and the wicked ? Alas, how is it possible then 
for us to forbear troubling you ? If you will put your head 
tinder every stroke that we give against sin and sinners, 
how can we help it if you smart? What a sad case are we 
in, by such misapplications! We have but two messages 


to deliver, and both are usually lost by misapplications. 
The wicked saith, ' I am the righteous, and therefore it shall 
go well with me.' The righteous saith, ' I am the wicked, 
and therefore it shall go ill with me.' The unbeliever saith, 
' I am a believer, and therefore am justified.' The believer 
saith, * I am an unbeliever, and • therefore am condemned.' 
Nay, it is not only the loss of our preaching, but we oft do 
them much harm; for they are hardened that should be 
humbled ; and they are wounded more that should be heal- 
ed. A minister now must needs tell them who he means by 
the believer, and who by the unbeliever; who by the righ- 
teous, and who by the wicked : and yet when he hath done 
it as accurately, and as cautelously as he can, misapplying 
souls will wrong themselves by it. So that because people 
cannot see the distinguishing line, it therefore comes to 
pass that few are comforted but when ministers preach no- 
thing else but comfort; and few humbled, but where minis- 
ters bend almost all their endeavours that way, that people 
can feel almost nothing else from him. But for him that 
equally would divide to each their portion, each one snatch- 
eth up the part of another, and he oft misseth of profiting 
either ; and yet this is the course that we must take. 

And what a snare is this to us, as well as a grief! What 
if we should be so moved with compassion of your troubles, 
as to fit almost all our doctrine and application to you, what 
a fearful guilt should we draw upon our own souls ! 

Nay, what a snare may you thus prove to the greater 
part of the congregation ! Alas, we have seldom past 
one, or two, or three troubled consciences in an auditory, 
(and perhaps some of their troubles be the fruit of such wil- 
fur sinning, that they have more need of greater, yet) should 
we now neglect all the rest of these poor souls, to preach 
only to you ? O how many an ignorant hardhearted sinner 
comes before God every day ! Shall we let such go away 
as they came, without ever a blow to awaken them and stir 
their hearts, when, alas, all that ever we can do is too little ! 
When we preach you into tears and trembling, we preach 
them asleep ! Could we speak swords, it would scarce make 
them feel, when you through misapplication have gone 
home with anguish and fears. How few of all these have 
been pricked at the heart, and said, " What shall we do to 
be saved ?" Have you no pity now on such stupid souls as 


these ? I fear this one distemper of yours, that you cannot 
bear this rousing preaching, doth betray another and greater 
sin; look to it, I beseech you, for I think I have spied out 
the cause of your trouble ; are you not yourself too great a 
stranger to poor stupid sinners ? and come not among them? 
or pity them not as you should? And do not your duty for 
the saving of their souls ; but think it belongs not to you 
but to others? Do you use to deal with servants and 
neighbours about you, and tell them of sin and misery, and 
the remedy, and seek to draw their hearts to Christ, and 
bring them to duty ? 1 doubt you do little in this ; (and 
that is sad unmercifulness ;) for if you did, truly you could 
not choose but find such miserable ignorance, such sense- 
lessness and blockishness, such hating reproof and unwil- 
lingness to be reformed, such love of this world, and slavery 
to the flesh, and so little favour of Christ, grace, heaven, 
and the things of the Spirit, and especially such an unteach- 
ableness, untractableness (as thorns and briars) and so great 
a difficulty moving them an inch from what they are, that 
you would have been willing ever after to have ministers 
preach more rousingly than they do, and you would be glad 
for their sakes, when you heard that which might awake 
them and prick them to the heart. Yea, if you had tried 
how hard a work it is to bring worldly, formal hypocrites 
to see their hypocrisy, or to come over to Christ from the 
creature, and to be in good earnest in the business of tlieir 
salvation, you would be glad to have preachers search them 
to the quick, and ransack their hearts, and help them against 
their affected and obstinate self-delusions. 

Besides, you should consider that their case is far dif- 
ferent from yours ; your disease is pain and trouble, they 
are stark dead ; you have God's favour and doubt of it, 
they are his enemies and never suspect it : you want com- 
fort, and they want pardon and life : if your disease should 
never here be cured, it is but going more sadly to heaven, 
but if they be not recovered by regeneration, they must lie 
for ever in hell. And should we not then pity them more than 
you ; and study more for them ; and preach more for them ; 
and rather forget you in a sermon than them ? Should you 
not wish us so to do ? Should we more regard the comfort- 
ing of one, than the saving of a hundred ? Nay more, we 
phpuld not only neglect them, but dangerously hurt them^ 


if we should preach too much to the case of troubled souls; 
for you are not so apt to misapply passages of terror, and 
to take their portion, as they are apt to apply to themselves 
such passages for comfort, and take your portion to them- 

I know some will say, that it is preaching Christ, and 
setting forth God's love, that will win them best, and ter- 
rors do but make unwilling, hypocritical professors. This 
makes me remember how I have heard some preachers of 
the times, blame their brethren for not preaching Christ to 
their people, when they preached the danger of rejecting 
Christ, disobeying him, and resisting his Spirit. Do these 
men think that it is no preaching Christ (when we have first 
many years told men the fulness of his satisfaction, the free- 
ness and general extent of his covenant or promise, and the 
riches of his grace, and the incomprehensibleness of his 
glory, and the truth of all) to tell them afterwards the dan- 
ger of refusing, neglecting and disobeying him ; and of liv- 
ing after the flesh, and preferring the world before him ; and 
serving mammon, and falling off in persecution, and avoid- 
ing the cross, and yielding in temptation, and quenching 
the Spirit, and declining from their first love, and not im- 
proving their talents, and not forgiving and loving their 
brethren, yea, and enemies ? &,c. Is none of this Gospel ? 
nor preaching Christ? Yea, is not repentance itself (ex- 
cept despairing repentance) proper to the Gospel, seeing 
the law excludeth it, and all manner of hope ? Blame me 
not, reader, if I be zealous against these men, that not only 
know not what preaching Christ is, but in their ignorance 
reproach their brethren for not preaching Christ, and withal 
condemn Christ himself and all his apostles. Do they think 
that Christ himself knew not what it was to preach Christ? 
Or that he set us a pattern too low for our imitation ? I de- 
sire them soberly to read Matt. v. vi. vii;x. xxv. Rom.viii. 
iv. from the first verse to the fourteenth. Rom. ii. Heb. ii. 
iv. V. X. and then tell me whether we preach as Christ and 
his apostles did. But to the objection ; I answer first. We 
do set forth God's love, and the fulness of Christ, and the 
sufficiency of his death and satisfaction for all, and the 
freeness and extent of his ofter and promise of mercy, and 
his readiness to welcome returning sinners : this we do 


first (mixing with this the discovery of their natural misery 
by sin, which must be first known) and next we shew them 
the danger of rejecting Christ and his office. 2. When we 
find men settled under the preaching of free grace, in a base 
contempt or sleepy neglect of it, preferring the world and 
their carnal pleasures and ease, before all the glory of hea- 
ven, and riches of Christ and grace, is it not time for us to 
say, " How shall ye escape, if ye neglects© great salvation ?" 
Heb, ii. 3. " And of how much sorer punishment shall he 
be thought worthy, that treads under foot the blood of the 
covenant?" Heb. x. 26. When men grow careless and un-i 
believing, must we not say, "^ake heed lest a promise be- 
ing left, of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to 
come short of it ?" Heb. iv. 1. 3. Hath not Christ led us, 
commanded us, and taught us this way ? " Except ye repent, 
ye shall all perish," was his doctrine ; Luke xiii. 3. 6. 
" Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every crea- 
ture :" (what is that Gospel ?) " He that believeth shall be 
saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned ;" Mark 
xvi. 16. " Those mine enemies that would not I should 
reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me ;" 
Luke xix. 27. Doth any of the apostles speak more of hell- 
fire, and the worm that never dieth, and the fire that never 
is quenched, than Christ himself doth ? And do not his 
apostles go the same way ; even Paul, the great preacher 
of faith? (2 Thess. i. 7—9. ii. 12, &c.) What more common? 
Alas, what work should we make, if we should stroke and 
smooth all men with Antinomian language ? It were the 
way to please all the sensual, profane multitude, but it is 
none of Christ's way to save their souls. I am ready to 
think that these men would have Christ preached as the 
Papist would have him prayed to ; to say, ' Jesu, Jesu, Je- 
su,' nine times together, and this oft over, is their praying 
to him; and to have Christ's name oft in the preacher's 
mouth, some men think is the right preaching Christ. 

 Let me now desire you hereafter, to be glad to hear mi- 
nisters awaken the profane and dead-hearted hearers, and 
search all to the quick, and misapply nothing to yourself; 
but if you think any passage doth nearly concern you, open 
your mind to the minister privately, when he may satisfy you 
more fully, and that without doing hurt to others : and con- 


eider what a strait ministers are in, that have, so many of so 
different conditions, inclinations, and conversations to 
preach to. 

Direct, XXIX. * Be sure you forget not to distinguish be- 
tween causes of doubting of your sincerity, and causes of 
mere humiliation, repentance, and amendment; and do not 
raise doubtings and fears, where God calleth you but to hu- 
miliation, amendment, and fresh recourse to Christ.' 

This rule is of so great moment to your peace, that you 
will have daily use for it, and can never maintain any true, 
settled peace without the practice of it. What more com- 
mon than for poor Christians to pour out a multitude of 
complaints of their weaknesses, and wants, and miscarria- 
ges ; and never consider all the while that there may be 
cause of sorrow in these, when yet there is no cause of 
doubting of their sincerity. I have shewed before, that in 
gross falls and great backslidings, doubtings will arise, and 
sometimes our fears and jealousies may not be without 
cause ; but it is not ordinary infirmities, nor every sin which 
might have been avoided, that is just cause of doubting; 
nay, your very humiliation must no further be endeavoured 
than it tends to your recovery, and to the honouring of 
mercy : for it is possible that you may exceed in the mea- 
sure of your griefs. You must therefore first be resolved, 
wherein the truth of saving grace doth consist, and then in 
all your failings and weaknesses first known, whether they 
contradict sincerity in itself, and are such as may give just 
cause to question your sincerity : if they be not (as the or- 
dinary infirmities of believers are not), then you may and 
must be humbled for them, but you may not doubt of your 
salvation for them. I told you before by what marks you 
may discern your sincerity ; that is, wherein the nature of 
saving faith and holiness doth consist; keep that in your 
eye, and as long as you find that sure and clear, let nothing 
make you doubt of your right to Christ and glory. But, 
alas ! how people do contradict the will of God in this ! 
When you have sinned, God would have you bewail your 
folly and unkiiifl dealing, and fly to mercy through Christ, 
and this you will not do ; but he would not have you tor- 
ment yourselves with fears of damnation, and questioning his 
love, and yet this you will do. You may discern by this, 
that humiliation and Teformation are sure of God, ruan's 


heart is so backward to it; and that vexations, doubts and 
fears in true Christians that should be comfortable, are not 
of God, man's nature is so prone to them (though the un- 
godly that should fear and doubt, are as backward to it). 

I think it will not be unseasonable here to lay down the 
particular doubts that usually trouble sincere believers, and 
see how far they may be just, and how far unjust and cause- 
less ; and most of them shall be from my own former expe- 
rience ; and such as I have been most troubled with my- 
self, and the rest such as are incident to true Christians, and 
too nsual with them. 

Doubt \. ' I have often heard and read in the best divines, 
that grace is not born with us, and therefore satan hath al- 
ways possession before Christ, and keeps that possession in 
peace, till Christ come and bind him and cast him out ; and 
that this is so great a work that it cannot choose but be ob- 
served, and for ever remembered by the soul where it is 
wrought J yea, the several steps and passages of it may be 
all observed : first casting down, and then lifting up ; first 
wounding and killing, and then healing and reviving. But 
I have not observed the distinct parts and passages of this 
change in me, nay, I know of no such sudden observable 
change at all : I cannot remember that ever I was first killed, 
and then revived : nor do I know by what minister, nor at 
what sermon, or other means that work which is upon me 
was wrought : no, nor what day, or month, or year it was 
begun. 1 have slided insensibly into a profession of reli- 
gion, I know not how ; and therefore I fear that I am not 
sincere, and the work of true regeneration was never yet 
wrought upon my soul.' 

Answ. I will lay down the full answer to this, in these 
propositions. 1. It is true that grace is not natural to us, 
or conveyed by generation. 2. Yet it is as true that grace 
is given to our children as well as to us. That it may be so, 
and is so with some, all will grant who believe that infants 
may be, and are saved : and that it is so with the infants of 
believers, I have fully proved in my Book of Baptism ; but 
mark what grace I mean. The grace of remission of original 
sin, the children of all true believers have at least a high 
probability of, if not a full certainty ; their parent accept- 
ing it for himself and them, and dedicating them to Christ, 
and engaging them in his covenant, so that he takes thenv 


for his people, and they take him for their Lord and Sa- 
viour. And for the grace of inward renewing of their na- 
tures or disposition, it is a secret to us, utterly unknown 
whether God use to do it in infants or no. 3. God's first 
ordained way for the working of inward holiness is by pa- 
rents' education of their children, and not by the public mi- 
nistry of the word ; of which more anon. 4. All godly pa- 
rents do acquaint their children with the doctrine of Christ 
in their infancy, as soon as they are capable of receiving it, 
and do afterwards inculcate it on them more and more. 5. 
These instructions of parents are usually seconded by the 
workings of the Spirit, according to the capacity of the 
child, opening their understandings to receive it, and making 
an impression thereby upon the heart. 6. When these in- 
structions and the inward workings of the Spirit are just past 
the preparatory part, and above the highest step of common 
grace, and have attained to special saving grace, is ordinarily 
undiscernible : and therefore, as I have shewed already, in 
God's usual way of working grace, men cannot know the 
just day or time when they began to be in the state of grace. 
And though men that have long lived in profaneness, and 
are changed suddenly, may conjecture near at the time ; yet 
those that God hath been working on early in their youth^ 
yea, or afterwards by slow degrees, cannot know the time of 
their first receiving the Spirit. 8. The memories of all men 
are so slippery, and one thought so suddenly thrust out by 
another, that many a thousand souls forget those particular 
workings which they have truly felt. 9. The memories of 
children are far weaker than of others ; and therefore it is 
less probable that all the Spirit's workings should by them 
be remembered. 10. And the motions of grace are so va*^ 
rious, sometimes stirring one affection, and sometimes an- 
other, sometimes beginning with smaller motions, and then 
moving more strongly and sensibly, that it is usual for later 
motions which are more deeply affecting, to make us over- 
look all the former, or take them for nothing. 11. God 
dealeth very variously with his chosen in their conversion, 
as to the accidentals and circumstantials of the work. Some 
he calleth not home till they have run a long race in the way 
of rebellion, in open drunkenness, swearing, wbrldliness and 
derision of holiness : these he usually humbleth more deep- 
ly, and they can better observe the several steps of the 


Spirit in the work ; (and yet not always neither). Others 
he so restraineth ia their youth, that though they have not 
saving grace, yet they are not guilty of any gross sins, but 
have a liking to the people and ways of God : and yet he 
doth not savingly convert them till long after. It is much 
harder for these to discern the time or manner of their con- 
version ; yet usually some conjectures they may make : and 
usually their humiliation is not so deep. Others, as is said, 
have the saving workings of the Spirit in their very child- 
hood, and these can least of all discern the certain time or 
order. The ordinary way of God's dealing with those that 
are children of godly parents, and have good education, is, 
by giving them some liking of godly persons and ways, some 
conscience of sin, some repentance and recourse by prayer to 
God in Christ for mercy ; yet youthful lusts and folly, and 
ill company, do usually much stifle it, till at last, by some 
affliction, or sermon, or book, or good company, God setteth 
home the work, and maketh them more resolute and victo- 
rious Christians. These persons now can remember that 
they had convictions, and stirring consciences when they 
were young, and the other forementioned works, perhaps 
they can remember some more notable rousings and awak- 
enings long after, and perhaps they have had many such 
tits and steps, and the work hath stood at this pass for a 
long time, even many years together. But at which of all 
these changes it was that the soul began to be savingly sin- 
cere, I think is next to an impossibility to discern. Ac- 
cording to that experience which I have had of the state of 
Christians, I am forced to judge the most of the children of 
the godly that ever are renewed, are renewed in their child- 
hood, or much towards it then done, and that among forty 
Christians there is not one that can certainly name the 
month in which his soul first began to be sincere ; and 
among a thousand Christians, I think not one can name the 
hour. The sermon which awakened them, they may name, 
but not the hour when they first arrived at a saving sin- 

My advice therefore to all Christians, is this : Find 
Christ by his Spirit dwelling in your hearts, and then never 
trouble yourselves, though you know not the time or man- 
ner of his entrance. Do you value Christ above the world, 
and resolve to choose him before the world, and perform 


these resolutions? Then, need you not doubt hut the Spi- 
rit of Jesus is victorious in you. 

Doubt 2. ' But I have oft read and heard, that a man 
cannot come to Christ till he feel the heavy burden of sin. 
It is the weary and heavy-laden that Christ calleth to him. 
He bindeth up only the brokenhearted ; he is a Physician 
only to those that feel themselves sick ; he brings men to 
heaven by the gates of hell. They must be able to say, I 
am in a lost condition, and in a state of damnation, and if I 
should die this hour I must perish for ever, before Christ 
will deliver them. God will throw away the blood of his 
Son on those that feel not their absolute necessity of it, and 
that they are undone without it. But it was never thus with 
rae to this day.' 

Answ. 1. You must distinguish "carefully between re- 
pentance as it is in the mind and will, and as it shews itself 
in the passion of sorrow. All that have saving interest in 
Christ, have their judgments and wills so far changed, that 
they know they are sinners, and that there is no way to the 
obtaining of pardon and salvation but by Christ, and the 
free mercy of God in him ; and thereupon they are convinc- 
ed that if they remain without the grace of Christ, they are 
undone for ever. Whereupon they understanding that 
Christ and mercy is offered to them in the Gospel, do 
heartily and thankfully accept the offer, and would not be 
without Christ, or change their hopes of his grace for all the 
world, and do resolve to wait upon him for the further dis- 
covery of his mercy, and the workings of his Spirit, in a 
constant and conscionable use of his means, and to be ruled 
by him, to their power. Is it not thus with you ? If it be, 
here is the life and substance of repentance, which consist- 
eth in this change of the mind and heart, and you have no 
cause to doubt of the truth of it, for want of more deep and 
passionate humiliation. 2. I have told you before, how un- 
certain and inconstant the passionate effects of grace are, 
and how unfit to judge by, and given you several reasons of 
it. Yet I doubt not but some work upon the affections 
there is, as well as on the will and understanding ; but with 
so great diversity of manner and degrees, that it is not safe 
judging by it only or chiefly. Is there no degree of sorrow 
or trouble that hath touched your heart for your sin or mi- 
sery ? If your affections were no whit stirred, you would 


hardly be moved to action, to use means, or avoid iniquity, 
much less would you so oft complain as you do. 3. If God 
prevented those heinous sins in the time of your unregene- 
racy, which those usually are guilty of who are called to so 
deep a degree of sorrow, you should rather be thankful that 
your wound was not deeper, than troubled that the cure 
cost you no dearer. Look well whether the cure be wrought 
in the change of your heart and life from the world to God 
by Christ, and then you need not be troubled that it was 
wrought so easily. 4. Were you not acquainted with the 
evil of sin, and danger and misery of sinners, in your very 
childhood, and also of the necessity of a Saviour, and that 
Christ died to save all sinners that will believe and repent ? 
And hath not this fastened on your heart, and been working 
in you by degrees ever since? If it be so, then you cannot 
expect that you should have such deep terrors as those that 
never hear of sin and Christ till the news come upon them 
suddenly in the ripeness of their sin. There is a great deal 
of difference betwixt the conversion of a Jew, or any other 
infidel, who is brought on the sudden to know the doctrine 
of sin, misery and salvation, by Christ ; and the conversion 
of a professor of the Christian religion, who hath known 
this doctrine in some sort from his childhood, and who 
hath a sound religion, though he be not sound in his religion, 
and so needs not a conversion to a sound faith, but only to a 
soundness in the faith. The suddenness of the news must 
needs make those violent commotions and changes in the 
one, which cannot ordinarily be expected in the other, who 
is acquainted so early with the truth, and by such degrees. 
5. But suppose you heard nothing of sin and misery, and a 
Redeemer in your childhood, or at least understood it not 
(which yet is unlikely), yet let me ask you this : Did not 
that preacher, or that book, or whatever other means God 
used for your conversion, reveal to you misery and mercy 
both together ? Did not you hear and believe that Christ 
died for sin, as soon as you understood your sin and misery? 
Sure I am that the Scripture reveals both together ; and so 
doth every sound preacher, and every sound writer (not- 
withstanding that the slanderous Antinomians do shame- 
fully proclaim that we preach not Christ, but the law). 
This being so, you must easily apprehend that it must needs 
abate very much of the terror, which would else have been 


unavoidable. If you had read or heard that you were a sin- 
ner, and the child of hell, and. of God's wrath, and that there 
was no remedy, (which is such a preaching of the law, as we 
must not use to any in the world, nor any since the first 
promise to Adam, must receive); yea, or if you had heard 
nothing of a Saviour for a year, or a day, or an hour after 
you had heard that you were an heir of hell, and for the re- 
medy had been but concealed from you, though not denied 
(which ordinarily must not be done), then you might in all 
likelihood have found some more terrors of soul that hour. 
But when you heard that your sin was pardonable, as soon 
as you heard that you were a sinner, and heard that your 
misery had a sufficient remedy provided, if you would ac- 
cept it, or at least that it was not remediless, and this as 
soon as you heard of that misery, what wonder is it if this 
exceedingly abate your fears and troubles ! Suppose two 
men go to visit two several neighbours that have the plague, 
and one of them saith * It is the plague that is on you ; you 
are but a dead man.' The other saith to the other sick per- 
son, * It is the plague that you have ; but here is our phy- 
sician at the next door that hath a receipt that will cure it 
as infallibly and as easily as if it were but the prick of a pin, 
he hath cured thousands, and never failed one that took his 
receipt, but if you will not send to him, and trust him, and 
take his receipt, there is no hopes of you.' Tell me now 
whether the first of these sick persons be not like to be 
more troubled than the other? And whether it will not re- 
move almost all the fears and troubles of the latter, to hear 
of a certain remedy as soon as he heareth of the disease ? 
Though some trouble he must needs have to think that he 
hath a disease in itself so desperate or loathsome. Nay, let 
me tell you, so the cure be but well done, the less terrors 
and despairing fear you were put upon, the more credit is it 
to your physician and his apothecary, Christ and the 
preacher, or instrument, that did the work ; and therefore 
you should rather praise your physician, than question the 

Doubt 3. ' But it is common with all the world to con- 
sent to the religion that they are bred up in, and somewhat 
affected with it, and to make conscience of obeying the pre- 
cepts of it. So do the Jews, in theirs ; the Mahometans in 

VOL. IX. Q ' 


theirs. And I fear it is no other work on my soul but the 
mere force of education, that maketh me religious, and that 
I had never that great renewing work of the Spirit upon my 
soul ; and so that all my religion is but mere opinion, or 
notions in my brain.' 

Aiisw. 1. All the religions in the world, besides the 
Christian religion, have either much error and wickedness 
mixed with some truth of God, or they contain some lesser 
parcel of that truth alone (as the Jews) ; only the Christian 
religion hath that whole truth which is saving. Now so 
much of God's truth as there is in any of these religions, so 
much it may work good effects upon their souls ; as the 
knowledge of the Godhead, and that God is holy, good, just, 
merciful, and that he sheweth them much undeserved mercy 
in his daily providences, &c. But mark these two things, 
1. That all persons of false religions do more easily and 
greedily embrace the false part of their religion than the 
true ; and that they are zealous for, and practise with all 
their might, because their natural corruption doth befriend 
it, and is as combustible fuel for the fire of hell to catch in ; 
but that truth of God which is mixed with their error, if it 
be practical, they fight against it, and abhor it while they 
hold it, because it crosseth their lusts, insomuch that it is 
usually but some few of the more convinced and civil that 
God in providence maketh the main instruments of continu- 
ing those truths of his in that part of the wicked world. For 
we find that even among Pagans, the profaner and more 
sensual sort did deride the better sort, as our profane 
Christians do the godly whom they called Puritans. 2. 
Note, That the truth of God which in these false religions 
is still acknowledged, is so small a part, and so oppressed 
by errors, that it is not sufficient to their salvation (that is, 
to give them any sound hope), nor is it sufficient to make 
such clear, and deep, and powerful impressions in their 
minds, as may make them holy or truly heavenly, or may 
overcome in them the interest of the world and the flesh. 

This being so, you may see great reason why a Turk or 
a heathen may be zealous for his religion without God's 
Spirit, or any true sanctification, when yet you cannot be so 
truly zealous for yours without it. Indeed the speculative 
part of our religion, separated from the practical, or from the 
hard and self-denying part of the practical, many a wicked 


man may be zealous for ; as to maintain the Godhead, or that 
God is merciful, &c. Or to maintain against the Jews that 
Jesus is the Christ ; or against the Turks, that he is the only 
redeemer and teacher of the church ; or against the Papists, 
that all the Christians in the world are Christ's church as 
well as the Romans; and against the Socinians and Arians 
that Christ is God, &c. But this is but a small part of our 
religion ; nor doth this, or any heathenish zeal, sanctify the 
heart, or truly mortify the flesh, or overcome the world. 
They may contemn life, and cast it away for their pride and 
vain-glory ; but not for the hopes of a holy and blessed life 
with God. This is but the prevalency of one corruption 
against another, or rather of vice against nature. There is 
a common grace of God that goeth along with common 
truths, and according to the measure of their obedience to 
the truth, such was the change it wrought; which was done 
by common truths, and common grace together, but not by 
their false mixtures at all. But God bath annexed his spe- 
cial grace only to the special truths of the Gospel or Chris- 
tian religion. If therefore God do by common grace, work 
a great change on a heathen, by the means of common 
truths, and do by his special g'race work a greater and sper 
cial change on you, by the means of the special truths qf 
the Gospel, have you any reason hereupon to suspect your 
condition? Qr should you not rather both admire that 
providence and common grace which is manifested without 
the church, and humbly, rejoicingly, and thankfully em.- 
brace that special saving grace, which is manifested to your- 
self above them ? M, ' 

2. And for that which you speak of education, you have 
as much cause to doubt of your conversion, because it was 
wrought by public preaching, as because it was wrought by 
education. For, 1. Both are by the Gospel: for it is the 
Gospel that your parents taught you, as well as which the 
preacher teacheth you. 2. I have shewed you, that if pa- 
rents did not shamefully neglect their duties, the word pub- 
licly preached would not be the ordinary instrument of re- 
generation to the children of true Christians, but would 
only build them up, and direct them in the faith, and in 
obedience. The proof is v^ry plain : If we should speak 
nothing of the interest of our infants in the covenant prace, 
upon the conditional force of their parents' faith, nor of their 


baptism ; yet, Deut. vi. Ephes. vi. and oft in the Proverbs, 
you may find, that it is God's strict command, that parents 
should teach God's word to their children, and bring them 
up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; yea, with a 
prediction or half promise, that if we " train up a child in 
the way he should go, when he is old he shall not depart 
from it ;" Prov. xxii. 6. Now it is certain that God will 
usually bless that which he appointeth to be the usual 
means, if it be rightly used. For he hath appointed no 
means to be used in vain. 

I hope therefore by this time you see, that instead of be- 
ing troubled, that the work was done on your soul by the 
means of education : 1. You had more reason to be trou- 
bled if it had been done first by the public preaching of the 
word ; for it should grieve you at the heart to think, 1 . That 
you lived in an unregenerate state so long, and spent your 
childhood in vanity and sin, and thought not seriously on 
God and your salvation, for so many years together. 2. 
And that you or your parent's sin should provoke God so 
long to withdraw his Spirit and deny you his grace. 3. 
You may see also what inconceivable thanks you owe to 
God, who made education the means of your early change. 
1. In that he prevented so many and grievous sins which 
else you would have been guilty of. (And you may read in 
David's and Manasseh's case, that even pardoned sins have 
ofttimes very sad effects left behind them.) 2. That you 
have enjoyed God's Spirit and love so much longer than 
else you would have done. 3. That iniquity took not so 
deep rooting in you, as by custom it would have done. 4. 
That the devil cannot glory of that service which you did 
him, as else he might ; and that the church is not so much 
the worse, as else it might have been by the mischief you 
would have done ; and that you need not all your days look 
back with so much trouble, as else you must, upon the ef- 
fects of your ill doing; nor with Paul, to think of one Ste- 
phen ; yea, many saints, in whose blood you first embrued 
your hands ; and to cry out, ' I was born out of due time. 
I am not worthy to be called a Christian, because I perse- 
cuted the church of God. I was mad against them, and per- 
secuted them into several cities. I was sometimes foolish, 
disobedient, serving divers lusts and pleasures.' Would you 
rather that God had permitted you to do this ? 5. And 


methinks it should be a comfort to you, that your own fa- 
ther was tha instrument of your spiritual good ; that he that 
was the means of your generation, was the means of your 
regeneration, both because it will be a double comfort to 
your parents, and because it will endear and engage you to 
them in a double bond. For my part, I know not what God 
did secretly in my heart, before I had the use of memory and 
reason ; but the first good that ever I felt on my soul, was 
from the counsels and teachings of my own father in my 
childhood ; and I take it now for a double mercy, being more 
glad that he was the instrument to do me good, than if it 
had been the best preacher in the world. How foul an 
oversight is it then, that you should be troubled at one of 
the choicest mercies of your life, yea, that your life was ca- 
pable of, and for which you owe to God such abundant 
thanks ! 

Doubt 4. ' But my great fear is, that the life of grace 
is not yet within me, because 1 am so void of spiritual sense 
and feeling. Methinks I am in spiritual things as dead as a 
block, and my heart as hard as a rock, or the nether mill- 
stone. Grace is a principle of new life, and life is a princi- 
ple of sense and motion ; it causeth vigour and activity. 
Such should I have in duty, if I had the life of grace. But 
I feel.the great curse of a dead heart within me. God seems 
to withdraw his quickening Spirit, and to forsake me ; and 
to give me up to the hardness of my heart. If I were in 
covenant with him, I should feel the blessing of the cove- 
nant within me ; the hard heart would be taken out of my 
body, and a heart of flesh, a soft heart would be given to me. 
But I cannot weep one tear for my sins. 1 can think on the 
blood of Christ, and of my bloody sins that caused it, and 
all will not wring one tear from mine eyes ; and therefore, 
I fear, that my soul is yet destitute of the life of grace.' 

Answ. 1. A soft heart consisteth in two things. 1. That 
the will be persuadable, tractable, and yielding to God, and 
pliable to his will. 2. That the affections or passions be 
somewhat moved herewithal about spiritual things. Some 
degree more or less of the latter, doth concur with the for- 
mer ; but I have told you, that it is the former, wherein the 
heart and life of grace doth lie, and that the latter is very 
various, and uncertain to try by. Many do much overlook 
the Scripture meaning of the word hardheartedness. Mark 


it up and down concerning the Israelites, who are so oft 
charged by Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other pro- 
phets, to be hardhearted, or to harden their hearts, or stiffen 
their necks ; and you will find that the most usual meaning 
of the Holy Ghost is this. They were an intractable, diso- 
bedient, obstinate people ; or as the Greek word in the New 
Testament signifieth, which we often translate unbelieving, 
they were an unpersuadable people ; no saying would serve 
them. They set light by God's commands, promises, and 
severest threatenings, and judgments themselves ; nothing 
would move them to forsake their sins, and obey the voice 
of God. You shall find that hardness of heart is seldom put 
for want of tears, or a melting, weeping disposition ; and 
never at all for the want of such tears, where the will is tract- 
able and obedient. I pray you examine yourself then ac- 
cording to this rule. God offereth his love in Christ, and 
Christ with all his benefits to you. Are you willing to ac- 
cept them ? He commandeth you to worship him, and use 
his ordinances, and love his people, and others, and to for- 
sake your known iniquities, so far that they may not have 
dominion over you. Are you willing to this ? He com- 
mandeth you to take him for your God, and Christ for your 
Redeemer, and stick to him for better and worse, and never 
forsake him. Are you willing to do this ? If you have a 
stiff, rebellious heart, and will not accept of Christ and 
grace, and will rather let go Christ than the world, and will 
not be persuaded from your known iniquities, but are loath 
to leave them, and love not to be reformed, and will not set 
upon those duties as you a*;e able, which God requireth, and 
you are fully convinced of, then are you hardhearted in the 
Scripture sense. But if you are glad to have Christ with 
all your heart, upon the terms that he is offered to you in 
the Gospel, and you do walk daily in the way of duty as 
you can, and are willing to pray, and willing to hear and 
wait on God in his ordinances, and willing to have all God's 
graces formed within you, and willing to let go your most 
profitable and sweetest sins, and it is your daily desires, 
O that I could seek God, and do his will more faithfully, 
zealously, and pleasingly than I do ! O that I were rid of 
this body of sin! These carnal, corrupt, and worldly incli- 
nations, and that I were as holy as the best of God's saints 
QU earth 1 And if when it comes to practice, whether you 


should obey or no, though some unwillingness to duty, and 
willingness to sin be in you, you are offended at it, and the 
greater bent of your will is for God, and it is but the lesser 
which is towards sin, and therefore the world and flesh do 
not lead you captive, and you live not wilfully in avoid- 
able sins, nor at all in gross sin. I say, if it be thus with 
you, then you have the blessing of a soft heart, a heart of 
flesh, a new heart ; for it is a willing, obedient, tractable 
heart, opposed to obstinacy in sin, which Scripture calleth 
a soft heart. And then for the passionate part, which con- 
sisteth in lively feelings of sin, misery, mercy, &c. and in 
weeping for sin I shall say but this : 1. Many an unsancti- 
fied person hath very much of it, which yet are desperately 
hardhearted sinners. It dependeth far more on the temper 
of the body, than of the grace in the soul. Women usually 
can weep easily (and yet not all), and children, and old 
men. Some complexions incline to it, and others not. 
Many can weep at a passion-sermon, or any moving duty, 
and yet will not be persuaded to obedience ; these are hard- 
hearted sinners for all their tears. 2. Many a tender, god- 
ly person cannot weep for sin, partly through the temper of 
their minds, which are more judicious and solid, and less 
passionate ; but mostly from the temper of their bodies, 
which dispose them not that way. 3. Deepest sorrows 
seldom cause tears, but deep thoughts of heart ; as greatest 
joys seldom cause laughter, but inward pleasure. I will tell 
you how you shall know whose heart is truly sorrowful for 
sin, and tender ; he that would be at the greatest cost or 
pains to be rid of sin, or that he had not sinned. You can- 
not weep for sin, but you would give all that you have to be 
rid of sin ; you could wish when you dishonoured God by 
sin, that you had spent that time in suffering rather ; and if 
it were to do again on the same terms and inducements, you 
would not do it ; nay, you would live a beggar contentedly, 
so you might fully please God, and never sin against him, 
and are content to pinch your flesh, and deny your worldly 
interest for the time to come, rather than wilfully disobey. 
This is a truly tender heart. On the other side, another can 
weep to think of his sin ; and yet if you should ask him. 
What wouldst thou give, or what wouldst thou suffer, so thou 
hadst not sinned, or that thou mightest sin no more ? Alas, 
very little. For the next time that he is put to it, he will 


father venture on the sin, than venture on a little loss, or 
danger, or disgrace in the world, or deny his craving flesh 
its pleasures. This is a hardhearted sinner. The more you 
would part with to be rid of sin, or the greatest cost you 
would be at for that end, the more repentance have you, and 
true tenderness of heart. Alas, if men should go to heaven 
according to their weeping, what abundance of children and 
women would be there for one man ! I will speak truly my 
own case. This doubt lay heavy many a year on my own soul, 
when yet I would have given all that 1 had to be rid of sin, 
but I could not weep a tear for it. Nor could I weep for the 
death of my dearest friends, when yet I would have bought 
their lives, had it been God's will, at a dearer rate than ma- 
ny that could weep for them ten times as much. And now 
since my nature is decayed, and my body languished in con- 
suming weakness, and my head more moistened, and my 
veins filled with phlegmatic, watery blood, now 1 can weep ; 
and 1 find never the more tenderheartedness in myself than 
before. And yet to this day so much remains of my old dis- 
position, that I could wring all the money out of my purse, 
easier than one tear out of my eyes, to save a friend, or res- 
cue them from evil : when I see divers that can weep for 
a dead friend, that would have been at no great cost to save 
their lives. 5. Besides, as Dr. Sibbs saith, " There is oft 
sorrow for sin in us, when it doth not appear ; it wanteth 
but some quickening word to set it a foot. It is the nature 
of grief to break out into tears most, when sorrow hath some 
vent, either when we use some expostulating, aggravating 
terras with ourselves, or when we are opening our hearts and 
case to a friend ; then sorrow will often shew itself that did 
not before. 6. Yet do I not deny, but that our want of 
tears, and tender affections, and heartmeltings, are our sins. 
For my part, I see exceeding cause to bewail it greatly in 
myself, that my soul is not raised to a higher pitch of ten- 
der sensibility of all spiritual things than it is. I doubt not 
but it should be the matter of our daily confession and com- 
plaint to God, that our hearts are so dull and little'afTected 
■with his sacred truths, and our own sins. But this is the 
scope of all my speech. Why do not you distinguish between 
matter of sorrow, and matter of doubting? No question 
but you should lamenl your dulness and stupidity, and use 
all Gpd's means for the quickening of your affections, and 


to get the most lively frame of soul; but must it cause you 
to doubt of your sincerity, when you cannot obtain this? 
Then will you never have a settled peace or assurance for 
many days together, for aught I know. I would ask you 
but this. Whether you are willing or unwilling of all that 
hardness, insensibleness, and dulness which you complain 
of? If you are willing of it, what makes you complain of 
it ? If you are unwilling, is seems your will is so far sound ; 
and it is the will that is the seat of the life of grace which 
we must try by. And was not Paul's Case the same with 
yours, when he saith, " The good which I would do, I do 
not ; and when I would do good, evil is present with me ;" 
Rom. vii. 19. I know Paul speaks not of gross sins, but or- 
dinary infirmities. And I have told you before, that the 
liveliness and sensibility of the passions or affections, is a 
thing that the will, though sanctified, cannot fully command 
or excite atjts pleasure. A sanctified man cannot grieve or 
weep for sin when he will, or so much as he will. He can- 
not love, joy, be zealous, &c. when he will. He maybe tru- 
ly willing, and not able. And is not this your case ? And 
doth not Paul make it the case of all Christians ? " The 
flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the 
flesh, and these are contrary one to the other, so that we 
cannot do the things that we would ;" Gal. v. 17. Take my 
counsel therefore in this, if you love not self-deceiving and 
disquietness. Search whether you can say unfeignedly, * I 
would with all my heart have Christ and his quickening and 
sanctifying Spirit, and his softening grace, to bring my hard 
heart to tenderness, and my dull and blockish soul to a live- 
ly frame ! O that I could attain it V And if you can truly 
Bay thus. Bless God that hath given you saving sincerity ; 
and then Iptall the rest of your dulness, and deadness, and 
hardheartedness be matter of daily sorrow to you, and spare 
not, so it be in moderation, but let it be no matter of doubt- 
ing. Confess it, complain of it, pray against it, and strive 
against it ; but do not deny God's grace in you for it. 

And here let me mind you of one thing. That it is a very 
ill distemper of spirit, when a man can mourn for nothing, 
but what causeth him to doubt of his salvation. It is a great 
corruption, if when- your doubts are resolved, and you are 
persuaded of your salvation, if then you cease all your hu- 
»[iiliation and sorrow for your sin j for you must sorrow that 


you have in you such a body of death, and that which is so 
displeasing to God, and are able to please and enjoy him no 
more, though you were never so certain of the pardon of sin, 
and of salvation. 

7. Lastly, Let me ask you one question more; What is 
the reason that you are so troubled for want of tears for 
your sin ? Take heed lest there lie some corruption in this 
trouble that you do not discern. If it be only because your 
deadness and dulness is your sin, and you would fain have 
your soul in that frame, in which it may be fittest to please 
God and enjoy him ; then 1 commend and encourage you 
in your trouble. But take heed lest you should have any 
conceit of a meritoriousness in your tears ; for that would 
be a more dangerous sin than your want of tears. And if it 
be for want of a sign of grace, and because a dry eye is a 
sign of an unregenerate soul, I have told you, it is not so, 
except where it only seconds an impenitent heatt, and comes 
from, or accompanieth an unrenewed will, and a prevailing 
unwillingness to turn to God by Christ. Shew me, if you 
can, where the Scripture saith. He that cannot weep for sin, 
shall not be saved, or hath no true grace. Is not your com- 
plaint in this the very same that the most eminent Christians 
have used in all times ? That most blessed, holy man, Mr. 
Bradford, who sacrificed his life in the flames against Romish 
abominations, was wont to subscribe his spiritual letters 
(indited by the breath of the Spirit of God) thus : 'The most 
miserable, hardhearted sinner, John Bradford.' 

Doubt 5. ' O but I am not willing to good, and therefore 
1 fear that even my will itself is yet unchanged : I have such 
a backwardness and undisposedness to duty, especially se- 
cret prayer, meditation, and self-examination, and reproving 
and exhorting sinners, that I am fain to force myself to it 
against my will. It is no delight that I find in these duties 
that brings me to them, but only I use violence with myself, 
and am fain to pull myself down on my knees, because I 
know it is a duty, and I cannot be saved without it ; but I 
am no sooner on my knees, but I have a motion to rise, or 
be short, and am weary of it, and find no great miss of duty 
when I do omit it.' 

Answ. This shews that your soul is sick, when your meat 
goes 80 much against your stomach that you are fain to 
force it down : and sickness may well cause you to com- 


plain to God and man. But what is this to deadness ! The 
dead cannot force down their meat, nor digest it at all. It 
seems by this, that you are sanctified but in a low degree, 
and your corruption remains in some strength ; and let that 
be your sori'ow, and the overcoming of it be your greatest 
care and business : but should you therefore say that you 
are unsanctified? It seems that you have still the flesh 
lusting against the Spirit, that you cannot do the good you 
would. When you would pray with delight and unwearied- 
ness, the flesh draws back, and the devil is hindering you. 
And is it not so in too great a measure with the best on 
earth ? Remember what Christ said to his own apostles, 
when they should have done him one of their last services, 
as to the attendance of his body on earth, and should have 
comforted him in his agony, they are all asleep. Again and 
again he comes to them, and findeth them asleep : Christ is 
praying and sweating blood, and they are still sleeping, 
though he warned them to watch and pray, that they enter 
not into temptation. But what doth God say to them for 
it? Why, he useth this same distinction between humilia- 
tion for sin, and doubting of sincerity and salvation, and he 
helps them to the former, and helps them against the latter. 
** Could ye not watch with me one hour ?" saith he. There 
he convinceth them of the sin, that they may be humbled 
for it. " The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak," 
saith he. There he utterly resisteth their doubtings, or pre- 
venteth them ; shewing them wherein sincere grace con- 
sisteth, even in the spirit's willingness ; and telling them 
that they had that grace ; and then telling them whence 
came their sin, even from the weakness of the flesh. 

2. I have shewed you that as every man's will is but 
partly sanctified (as to the degree of holiness) and so far as 
it is imperfect, it will be unwilling; so that there is some- 
thing in the duties of secret prayer, meditation and reproof, 
which makes most men more backward to them than other 
duties. The last doth so cross our fleshly interests ; and 
the two former are so spiritual, and require so pure and spi- 
ritual a soul, and set a man so immediately before the living 
God, as if we were speaking to him face to face, and have 
nothing of external pomp to draw us, that it is no wonder, 
if while there is flesh tvithin us, we are backward to them ! 
Especially while we are so unacquainted \fith God, and 


while strangeness and consciousness of sin doth make us 
draw back: besides that, the devil will more busily hinder 
us here than anywhere. 

3. The question, therefore, is not. Whether you. have an 
unwillingness and backwardness to good : for so have all. 
Nor yet. Whether you have any cold ineffectual wishes : for 
so have the ungodly. But, Whether your willingness be 
not more than your unwillingness : and in that, 1. It must 
not be in every single act of duty ; for a godly man may be 
actually more unwilling to a duty at this particular time, 
than willing, and thereupon may omit it : but it must be 
about your habitual willingness, manifested in ordinary, ac- 
tual willingness. 2. You must not exclude any of those 
motives which God hath given you to make you willing to 
duty. He hath commanded it, and his authority should 
move you. He hath threatened you, and therefore fear 
should move you; or else he would never have threatened. 
He hath made promises of reward, and therefore the hope 
of that should move you. And therefore you may perceive 
here, what a dangerous mistake it is to think that we have 
no grace, except our willingness to duty be without God's 
motives, from a mere love to the duty itself, or to its effect. 
Nay, it is a dangerous Antinomian mistake to imagine, that 
it is our duty to be willing to good, without these motives 
of God ; I say. To take it so much as for our duty, to ex- 
clude God's motives, though we should not judge of our 
grace by it. For it is but an accusation of Christ (and his 
law) who hath ordained these motives of punishment and 
reward, to be his instruments to move the soul to duty. 
Let me therefore put the right question to you. Whether all 
God's motives laid together and considered, the ordinary 
prevailing part of your will, be not rather for duty than 
against it ? This you will know by your practice. For if 
the prevailing part be against duty, you will not do it ; if it 
be for duty, you will ordinarily perform it, though you can- 
not do it so well as you would. And then you may see that 
your backwardness and remaining unwillingness must still 
be matter of humiliation and resistance to you, but not mat- 
ter of doubting. Nay, thank God that enableth you to pull 
down yourself on your knees when you are unwilling; for 
what is that but the prevailing of your willingness against 
your unwillingness ? Should your unwillingness once pre- 


vail, you would turn your back upon the most acknowledged 

Doubt 6. * But I am afraid that it is only slavish fear of 
hell, and not the love of God, that causeth me to obey ; and 
if it were not for this fear, I doubt whether I should not 
quite give over all. And perfect love casteth out fear.' 

Answ. I have answered this already. Love will not be 
perfect in this life. In the life to come it will cast out all 
fear of damnation ; and all fear that drives the soul from 
God, and all fear of men, (which is meant in Rev. xxi.8. 
where the fearful and unbelievers are condemned ; that is, 
those that fear men more than God). And that 1 Johniv. 
17, 18. speaketh of a tormenting fear, which is it that I am 
persuading you from, and consisteth in terrors of soul, up- 
on an apprehension that God will condemn you. But it 
speaketh not of a filial fear, nor of a fear lest we should by 
forsaking God, or by yielding to temptation, lose the crown 
of life, and so perish ; as long as this is not a tormenting 
fear, but a cautelous, preserving, preventing fear. Besides 
the text plainly saith, " It is that we may have boldness in 
the day of judgment, that love casteth out this fear;" and 
at that day of judgment, love will have more fully overcome 
it. It is a great mistake to think that filial fear is only the 
fear of temporal chastisement, and that all fear of hell is 
slavish. Even filial fear is a fear of hell ; but with this 
difference. A son (if he know himself to be a son) hath 
such a persuasion of his father's love to him, that he knows 
he will not cast him off, except he should be so vile as to 
renounce his father ; which he is moderately fearful or care- 
ful, lest by temptation he should be drawn to do, but not 
distrustfully fearful, as knowing the helps and mercies of 
his father. But a slavish fear, is, when a man having no 
apprehensions of God's love, or willingness to shew him 
mercy, doth look that God should deal with him as a slave, 
and destroy him whenever he doth amiss. It is this slavish 
tormenting fear which 1 spend all this writing against. But 
yet a great deal, even of this slavish fear, may be in those 
sons, that know not themselves to be sons. 

But suppose you were out of all fear of damnation ; do 
not belie your own heart, and tell me. Had you not rather be 
holy than unholy ; pleasing to God than displeasing ? And 
would not the hope of salvation draw you from sin to duty. 


without the fear of damnation in hell? But you will say, 
* That is still mercenary, and as bad as slavish fears.' I an- 
swer, * Not so, this hope of salvation is the hope of enjoying 
God, and living in perfect pleasingness to him, and pleasure 
in him in glory ; and the desire of this is a desire of love : 
it is love to God that makes you desire him, and hope to en- 
joy him. 

Lastly, I say again take heed of separating what God 
hath joined. If God, by putting in your nature the several 
passions of hope, fear, love, &c. and by putting a holiness 
into these passions, by sanctifying grace, and by putting 
both promises and dreadful threatenings into his word : I 
say, if God by all these means hath given you several mo- 
tives to obedience, take heed of separating them. Do not 
once ask your heart such a question, * Whether it would 
obey if there were no threatening, and so no fear V Nor on 
the other side, do notlet fear do all, without love. Doubt- 
less, the more love constraineth to duty, the better it is ; and 
you should endeavour with all your might that you might 
feel more of the force of love in your duties : but do you not 
mark how you cherish that corruption that you complain of? 
Your doubts and tormenting fears are the things thatJove 
should cast out. Why then do you entertain them ? If you 
say, ' I cannot help it :' why then do you cherish them, and 
own them, and plead and dispute for them? and say you do 
well to doubt, and you have cause ? Will this ever cast out 
tormenting fears? Do you not know that the way to cast 
them out, is, not to maintain them by distrustful thoughts or 
words ; but to see their sinfulness, and abhor them, and to 
get more high thoughts of the lovingkindness of God, and 
the tender mercies of the Redeemer, and the unspeakable 
love that he hath manifested in his sufferings for you, and 
so the love of God may be more advanced and powerful in 
your soul, and may be able to cast out your tormenting 
fears. Why do you not do this instead of doubting ? If 
tormenting fears and doubtings be a sin, why do you not 
make conscience of them, and bewail it that you have been 
so guilty of them? Will you therefore doubt because you 
have slavish fears? Why that is to doubt because you 
doubt ; and to fear because you fear ; and so to sin still be- 
cause you have sinned. Consider well of the folly of this 


Doubt 7. * But I am not able to believe; and without 
faith there is no pleasing God, nor hope of salvation ; I fear 
unbelief will be my ruin.' 

Answ. 1. I have answered this doubt fully before. It is 
grounded on a mistake of the nature of true faith. You 
think that faith is the believing that you are in God's favour, 
and that you are justified ; but properly this is no faith at 
all, but only assurance, which is sometimes a fruit of faith,; 
and sometimes never in this life obtained by a believer. 
Faith consisteth of two parts. 1. Assent to the truth of 
the Word. 2. Acceptance of Christ as he is offered, which 
immediately produceth a trusting on Christ for salvation, 
and consent to be governed by him, and resolution to obey 
him ; which in the fullest sense are also acts of faith. Now 
do not you believe the truth of the Gospel ? And do you 
not accept of Christ as he is offered therein ? If you are 
truly willing to have Christ as he is offered, I dare say you 
are a true believer. If you be not willing, for shame never 
complain. Men use rather to speak against those that they 
are unwilling of, than complain of their absence, and that 
they cannot enjoy them. 

fir 2. However, seeing you complain of unbelief, in the name 
off God do not cherish it, and plead for it, and by your own 
cogitations fetch in daily matter to feed it ; but do more in 
detestation of it, as well as complain. 

Doubt 8. ' But I am a stranger to the witness of the Spi- 
rit, and the joy of the Holy Ghost, and communion with 
God, and therefore how can I be a true believer V 

Answ. 1. Feeding your doubts and perplexities, and ar- 
guing for them, is not a means to get the testimony and joy 
of the Spirit,'but rather studying with all saints to know 
the love of God which passeth knowledge, to comprehend 
the height, and breadth, and length, and depth of his love ; 
and seeking to understand the things that are given you of 
God. Acknowledge God's general love to mankind, both 
in his gracious nature, and common providences, and re- 
demption by Christ, and deny not his special mercies to 
yourself, but dwell in the study of the riches of grace, and 
that is the way to come to the joy of the Holy Ghost. 2. I 
have told you before what the witness of the Spirit is, and 
what is the ordinary mistake herein. If you have the graces 
and holy operations of the Spirit, you have the witness of 


the Spirit, whether you know it or not. 3. If by your own 
doublings you have deprived yourself of the joy of the Holy 
Ghost, bewail it, and do so no more ; but do not therefore 
say you have not the Holy Ghost. For the Holy Ghost often 
works regeneration and holiness before he works any sensi- 
ble joys. 4. You have some hope of salvation by Christ left 
in you : you are not yet in utter despair ; and is it no com- 
fort to you to think that you have yet any hope ? And are 
not quite past all remedy ? It may be your sorrows may so 
cloud it that you take no notice of it; but I know you can- 
not have the least hope without some answerable comfort. 
And may not that comfort be truly the joy of the Holy 
Ghost? 5. And for communion with God let me ask you ; 
Have you no recourse to him by prayer in your straits ? Do 
you not wait at his mouth for the law and direction of your 
life ? Have you received no holy desires, or other graces 
from him ? Nay, are you sure that you are not a member of 
Christ, who is one with him '.' How can you then say, that 
you have no communion with him? Can there be commu- 
nication of prayer and obedience from you ; yea, your own- 
self delivered up to Christ ; and a communication of any life 
of grace from God, by Christ and the Spirit? And all this 
without communion? It cannot be. Many a soul hath 
most near communion with Christ that knows it not. 

Doubt 9. ' I have not the spirit of prayer : when I should 
pour out my soul to God, I have neither bold access, nor 
matter of prayer, nor words.' 

Answ. Do you know what the spirit of prayer is ? It 
containeth, 1. Desires of the soul after the things we want, 
especially Christ and his graces. 2. An addressing our- 
selves to God with these desires, that we may have help and 
relief from him. Have not you both these ? Do you not 
desire Christ and grace, justification and sanctification? Do ' 
you not look to God as him who alone is able to supply 
your wants, and bids you ask that you may receive ? Do 
you utterly despair of help, and so seek to none ? Or do 
you make your addresses by prayer to any but God ? But 
perhaps you look at words and matter to dilate upon, that 
you may be able to hold out in a long speech to God, and 
you think that it is the effect of the spirit of prayer. But 
where do you find that in God's word ? I confess that in 
many, and most, the Spirit which helpeth to desires, doth 


alsahelp to some kind of expressions ; because if a man be 
of able natural parts, and have a tongue to express his own 
mind, the promoting of holy desires will help men to ex- 
pressions. For a full soul is hardly hindered from venting 
itself: and experience teacheth us, that the Spirit's inflam- 
ing the heart with holy affections, doth very much furnish 
both the invention and expression. But this is but acci- 
dental and uncertain ; for those that are either men of un- 
ready tongues, or that are so ill bred among the rude vulgar, 
that they want fit expressions of their own minds, or that 
are of over-bashful dispositions, or especially that are of 
small knowledge, and of little and short acquaintance with 
those that should teach them to pray by their examjile, or that 
have been but of short standing in the school of Christ, such 
a man may have the spirit of prayer many a year, and never 
be able, in full expressions of his own, to make known his 
wants to God ; no, nor in good and tolerable sense and lan- 
guage, before others to speak to God, from his own inven- 
tion. A man may know all those articles of the faith that 
are of flat necessity to salvation, and yet not be able to find 
matter or words for the opening of his heart to God at 
length. I would advise such to frequent the company of 
those that can teach and help them in prayer, and neglect 
not to use the smallest parts they have, especially in secret, 
between God and their own souls, where they need not, so 
much as in public, to be regardful of expressions ; and in 
the mean time to learn a prayer from some book, that may 
most fitly express their necessities ; or to use the book itself 
in prayer, if they distrust their memories, not resolving to 
stick here, and make it a means of indulging their laziness 
and negligence, much less to reproach and deride those that 
express their desires to God from the present sense of their 
own wants (as some wickedly do deride such) ; but to use 
this lawful help till they are able to do better without it than 
with it, and then to lay it by, and not before. The Holy 
Ghost is said, (Rom. viii. 16.) to help our infirmities in 
prayer; but how? 1. By teaching us what to pray for; 
not always what matter or words to enlarge ourselves by ; 
but what necessary graces to pray for. 2. By giving us 
sighs and groans inexpressible, which is far from giving co- 
pious expressions ; for groans and sighs be not words, and 
if they be groans that we cannot express, it would rather 

VOL. IX. 11 


seem to intimate a want of expression, than a constant 
abounding therein, where the Spirit doth assist ; though in- 
deed the meaning is, that the groans are so deep, that they 
are past the expression of our words : all our speech cannot 
express that deep sense that is in our hearts. For the un- 
derstanding hath the advantage of the affections herein ; all 
the thoughts of the mind may be expressed to others, but 
the feelings and fervent passions of the soul can be but very 
defectively expressed. 

Lastly, All have not the spirit of prayer in like measure; 
nor all that have it in a great measure at one time, can find 
it so at pleasure. Desires rise and fall, and these earnest 
groans be not in every prayer where the Holy Ghost doth 
assist. I believe there is never a prayer that ever a be- 
liever did put up to God for things lawful and useful, but it 
was put up by the help of the Spirit. For the weakest 
prayer hath some degree of good desire in it, and addresses 
to God with an endeavour to express them ; and these can 
come from none but only from the Spirit. Mere words 
without desires, are no more prayer, than a suit of apparel 
hanged on a stake, is a man. You may have the spirit of 
prayer, and yet have it in a very weak degree. 

Yet still I would encourage you to bewail your defect 
herein as your sin, and seek earnestly the supply of your 
wants ; but what is that to the questioning or denying your 
sincerity, or right to salvation? 

Doubt 10. * I have no gifts to make me useful to myself 
or others. When I should profit by the word I cannot re- 
member it : when I should reprove a sinner, or instruct the 
ignorant, I have not words : if I were called to give an ac- 
count of my faith, I have not words to express that which is 
in my mind : and what grace can here be then ?' 

Answ. This needs no long answer. Lament and amend 
those sins by which you have been disabled. But know, 
that these gifts depend more on nature, art, industry and 
common grace, than upon special saving grace. Many a 
bad man is excellent in all these, and many a one that is 
truly godly is defective. Where hath God laid our salva- 
tion upon the strength of our memories, the readiness of our 
tongues, or measure of the like gifts ? That were almost as 
if he should have made a law, that all shall be saved that 
have sound complexions, and healthful and youthful bodies ; 


and all be damned that are sickly, aged, weak, children, and 
most women. 

Doubt 11. *0 but I have been a grievous sinner, before 
I came home, and have fallen foully since, and I am utterly 
unworthy of mercy ! Will the Lord ever save such an 
unworthy wretch as I ? Will he ever give his mercy and the 
blood of his Son, to one that hath so abused it?' 

Amw. 1. The question is not, with God, what you have 
been, but what you are ? God takes men as they then are, 
and not as they were. 2. It is a dangerous thing to object 
the greatness of your guilt against God's mercy and Christ's 
merits. Do you think Christ's satisfaction is not sufficient? 
Or that he died for small sins and not for great ? Do you 
not know that he hath made satisfaction for all, and will 
pardon all, and hath given out the pardon of all in his co- 
venant, and that to all men, on condition they will accept 
Christ to pardon, and heal them in his own way ? Hath 
God made it his great design in the work of man's redemp- 
tion, to make his love and mercy as honourable and won- 
derful, as he did his power in the work of creation? And 
will you after all this, oppose the greatness of your sins 
against the greatness of this mercy and satisfaction ? Why, 
you may as well think yourself to be such a one, that God 
could not or did not make you, as to think your sins so 
great, that Christ could not or did not satisfy for them, or 
will not pardon them, if you repent and believe in him. 3. 
And for worthiness, I pray you observe ; there is a two-fold 
worthiness and righteousness. There is a legal worthiness 
and righteousness, which consisteth in a perfect obedience, 
which is the performance of the conditions of the law of 
pure nature and works. This no man hath but Christ ; and 
if you look after this righteousness or worthiness in your- 
self, then do you depart from Christ, and make him to have 
died and satisfied in vain : you are a Jew and not a Chris- 
tian, and are one of those that Paul so much disputeth 
against, that would be justified by the law. Nay, you must 
not so much as once imagine that all your own works can 
be any part of this legal righteousness or worthiness to you. 
Only Christ's satisfaction and merit is instead of this our 
legal righteousness and worthiness. God never gave Christ 
and mercy to any but the unworthy in this sense. If you 
know not yourself to be unworthy and unrighteous in the 


sense of the law of works, you cannot know what Christ's 
righteousness is. Did Christ come to save any but sinners, 
and such as were lost? What need you a Saviour, if you 
were not condemned ? And how come you to be condemned, 
if you were not unrighteous and unworthy ? But then, 2. 
There is an evangelical personal worthiness and righteous- 
ness, which is the condition on which God bestows Christ's 
righteousness upon us ; and this all have that will be saved 
by Christ. But what is that? Why, it hath two parts : 1. 
The condition and worthiness required to your union with 
Christ, and pardon of all your sins past, and your adoption 
and justification ; it is no moie but your hearty and thank- 
ful acceptance of the gift that is freely given you of God by 
his covenant grant ; that is, Christ and life in him ; 1 John 
v. 10 — 12. There is no worthiness required in you before 
faith, as a condition on which God will give you faith ; but 
only certain means you are appointed to use for the obtain- 
ing it : and faith itself is but the acceptance of a free gift. 
God requireth you not to bring any other worthiness or 
price in your hands, but that you consent unfeignedly to 
have Christ as he is offered, and to the ends and uses that 
he is offered ; that is, as one that hath satisfied for you by 
his blood and merits, to put away your sins, and as one that 
must illuminate and teach you, sanctify, and guide, and go- 
vern you by his word and Spirit ; and as King and Judge 
will fully and finally justify you at the day of judgment, and 
give you the crown of glory. Christ on his part, 1. Hath 
merited your pardon by his satisfaction, and not properly by 
his sanctifying you. 2. And sanctifieth you by his Spirit, 
and ruleth you by his laws, and not directly by his blood- 
shed. 3. And he will justify you at judgment as King and 
Judge, and not as Satisfier or Sanctifier. But the condition 
on your part, of obtaining interest in Christ and his benefits, 
is that one faith which accepteth him in all these respects 
(both as King, Priest and Teacher) and to all these ends 
conjunctly. But then, 2. The condition and worthiness re- 
quired to the continuation and consummation of your par- 
don, justification, and right to glory, is both the continuance 
of your faith, and your sincere obedience, even your keeping 
the baptismal covenant that you made with. Christ by your 
parents, and the covenant which you in your own person 
made with him in your first true believing. These indeed 


are called Worthiness and Righteousness frequently in the 
Gospel. But it is no worthiness consisting in any such 
works, Avhich make the reward to be of debt, and not of 
grace (of which Paul speaks) but only in faith, and such 
Gospel-works as James speaks of, which make the reward 
to be wholly of grace and not debt. 

Now if you say you are unworthy in this evangelical 
sense, then you must mean (if you know what you say,) 
that you are an infidel or unbeliever, or an impenitent, ob- 
stinate rebel, that would not have Christ to reign over him; 
for the Gospel calleth none unworthy, (as non- performers 
of its conditions,) but only these. But I hope you dare not 
charge yourself with such infidelity and wilful rebellion. 

Doubt 12. * Though God hath kept me from gross sins, 
yet I find such a searedness of conscience, and so little 
averseness from sin in my mind, that I fear I should commit 
it if I lay under temptations ; and also that I should not 
hold out in trial if I were called to suffer death, or any grie- 
vous calamity. And that obedience which endureth merely 
for want of a temptation, is no true obedience.' 

Answ. 1. I have fully answered this before. If you can 
overcome the temptations of prosperity, you have no cause 
to doubt distrustfully, whether you shall overcome the temp- 
tation of adversity. And if God give you grace to avoid 
temptations to sin, and flee occasions as much as you can, 
and to overcome them where you cannot avoid them ; you 
have little reason to distrust his preservation of you, and 
your stedfastness thereby, if you should be cast upon 
greater temptations. Indeed if you feel not such a belief of 
the evil and danger of sinning, as to possess you with some 
sensible hatred of it, you have need to look to your hear^ 
for the strengthening of that belief and hatred ; and fear 
your heart with a godly, preserving jealousy, but not with 
tormenting, disquieting doubts. Whatever your passionate 
hatred be, if you have a settled, well-grounded resolution, 
to walk in obedience to the death, you may confidently and 
comfortably trust him for your preservation, who gave you 
those resolutions. 

2. And the last sentence of this doubt had need of great 
caution, before you conclude it a certain truth. It is true 
that the obedience, which by an ordinary temptation, such 
as men may expect, would be overthrown, is not well ground- 


ed and rooted before it is overthrown. But it is a great doubt 
whether there be not degrees of temptation possible, which 
would overcome the resolution and grace of the most holy, hav- 
ing such assistance as the Spirit usually giveth believers in 
temptation? and whether some temptations which overcome 
not a strong Christian, would not overcome a weak one, 
who yet hath true grace? I conclude nothing of these 
doubts. But I would not have you trouble yourself upon 
confident conclusions, on so doubtful grounds. This 1 am 
certain of, 1. That the strongest Christian should take heed 
of temptation, and not trust to the strength of his graces, 
nor presume on God's preservation, while he wilfully cast- 
eth himself in the mouth of dangers ; nor to be encouraged 
hereunto upon any persuasion of an impossibility of his fall- 
ing away. O the falls, the fearful falls that I have known 
(alas, how often !) the most eminent men for godliness that 
ever I knew, to be guilty of, by casting themselves upon 
temptations. I confess I will never be confident of that 
man's perseverance, were he the best that I know on earth, 
who casteth himself upon violent temptations, especially the 
temptations of sensuality, prosperity, and seducement. 2. 
I know God hath taught us daily to watch and pray, that 
we enter not into temptation, and to pray, " Lead us not 
into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (I never under- 
stood the necessity of that petition feelingly, till I saw the 
examples of these seven or eight years last past.) This be- 
ing so, you must look that your perseverance should be by 
being preserved from temptation ; and must rather examine, 
whether you have that grace which will enable you to avoid 
temptations, than whether you have grace enough to over- 
come them, if you rush into them. But if God unavoidably 
cast you upon them, keep up your watch and prayer, and 
you have no cause to trouble yourself with distrustful 

Doubt 13. ' I am afraid, lest I have committed the un- 
pardonable sin against the Holy Ghost, and then there is no 
hope of my salvation.' 

Answ. It seems you know not what the sin against the 
Holy Ghost is. It is this. When a man is convinced that 
Christ and his disciples did really work those glorious mira- 
cles which are recorded in the Gospel, and yet will not be- 
lieve that Christ is the Son of God, and his doctrine true. 


though sealed with all those miracles, and other holy and 
wonderful works of the Spirit, but do blasphemously main- 
tain that they were done .by the power of the devil. This is 
the sin against the Holy Ghost. And dare you say that you 
are guilty of this ? If you be, then you do not believe that 
Christ is the Son of God, and the Messiah, and his Gospel 
true. And then you will sure oppose him, and maintain 
that he was a deceiver, and that the devil was the author of 
all the miraculous and gracious workings of his Spirit. 
Then you will never fear his displeasure, nor call him se- 
riously either Lord or Saviour ! nor tender him any service, 
any more than you do to Mahomet. None but infidels do 
commit the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost ; nor but few 
of them. Unbelief is eminently called " sin" in the Gospel ; 
and that " unbelief" which is maintained by blaspheming 
the glorious works of the Holy Ghost, which Christ and his 
disciples through many years time did perform for a testi- 
mony to his truth, that is called singularly, " The sin against 
the Holy Ghost !" You may meet with other descriptions 
of this sin, which may occasion your terror; but I am fully 
persuaded that this is the plain truth. 

Doubt 14. ' But I greatly fear lest the time of grace be 
past, and lest I have out-sat the day of mercy, and now mer- 
cy hath wholly forsaken me. For I have oft heard minis- 
ters tell me from the word, " Now is the accepted time, now 
is the day of your visitation ; to-day, while it is called to- 
day, harden not your hearts, lest God swear in his wrath, 
that they shall not enter into his rest." But I have stood 
out long after, I have resisted and quenched the Spirit, and 
now it is I fear departed from me.' 

Ansiv. Here is sufficient matter for humiliation, but the 
doubting ariseth merely from ignorance. The day of grace 
may in two respects be said to be over : The first (and most 
properly so called) is. When God will not accept of a sinner, 
though he should repent and return. This is never in this 
life for certain. And he that imagineth any such thing as 
that it is too late, while his soul is in his body, to repent 
and accept of Christ and mercy, is merely ignorant of the 
tenor and sense of the Gospel ! For the new law of grace 
doth limit no time on earth for God's accepting of a return- 
ing sinner. True faith and repentance do as surely save at 
the last hour of the day, as at the first. God hath said. 


that whosoever believeth in Christ shall not perish, but have 
everlasting life. He hath no where excepted late believeF& 
orrepenters. Shew any such exception if you can. 

2. The second sense in which it may be said that the 
day of grace is over, is this : When a man hath so long re- 
sisted the Spirit, that God hath given him over to the wilful, 
obstinate refusals of mercy, and of Christ's government, re- 
solving that he will never give him the prevailing grace of 
his Spirit. Where note, 1 . That this same man might still have 
grace as soon as any other, if he were but willing to accept 
Christ, and grace in him. 2. That no man can know of him- 
self or any other, that God hath thus finally forsaken him ; 
for God hath given us no sign to know it by (at least who 
sin not against the Holy Ghost). God hath not told us his 
secret intents concerning such. 3. Yet some men have far 
greater cause to fear it than others ; especially those men, 
who under the most searching, 'lively sermons, do continue 
secure and wilful in known wickedness ; either hating god- 
liness and godly persons, and all that do reprove them, or 
at least being stupified, that they feel no more than a post, 
the force of God's terrors, or the sweetness of his promises; 
but make a jest of sinning, and think the life of godliness a 
needless thing. Especially if they grow old in this course, 
I confess such have great cause to fear, lest they are quite 
forsaken of God ; for very few such are ever recovered. 4. 
And therefore it may well be said to all men, " To day if 
you will hear his voice harden not your hearts," &,c. And 
" This is the acceptable time ; this is the day of salvation ;" 
both as this life is called, " The day of salvation ;" and be>- 
cause no man is certain to live another day, that he may re- 
pent ; nor yet to have grace to repent if he live. 5. But 
what is all this to you that do repent ? Can you have cause 
to fear that your day of grace is over, that have received 
grace ? Why, that is as foolish a thing, as if a man should 
come to the market and buy corn, and when he hath done, 
go home lamenting that the market was past before he came. 
Or as a man should come and hear a sermon, and when be 
hath done, lament that the sermon was done before he came. 
If your day of grace be past, tell me (and do not wrong God), 
Where had you the grace of repentance ? How came you 
by that grace of holy desires? Who made you willing to 
have Christ for your Lord and Saviour? So that you had 


rather have him, and God's favour, and a holy heart and life, 
than all the glory of the world ? How came you to desire that 
you were such a one as God would have you to be ? And to 
desire that all your sins were dead, and might never live in 
you more ? And that you were able to love God, and de- 
light in him, and please him even in perfection ? And that 
you are so troubled that you cannot do jt ? Are these signs 
that your day of grace is over? Doth God's Spirit breathe 
out grtfans after Christ and grace within you ? And yet is 
the day of grace over ? Nay, what if you had no grace ? 
Do you not hear God daily offering you Christ and grace ? 
Doth he not entreat and beseech you to be reconciled unto 
him ? (2 Cor. v. 19, 20.) And would he not compel you to 
come in ? (Matt, xxii.) Do you not feel some unquietness 
in your sinful condition ? And some motions and strivings 
at your heart to get out of it? Certainly (though you 
should be one that hath yet no grace to salvation), yet 
these continued offers of grace, and strivings of the Spirit of 
Christ with your heart, do shew that God hath not quite for- 
saken you, and that your day of grace and visitation is not 

Doubt 15. * But I have sinned since my profession, and 
that even against my knowledge and conscience. I have 
had temptations to sin, and I have considered of the evil 
and danger, and yet in the most sober deliberations, I have 
resolved to sin. And how can such a one have any true 
grace, or be saved V 

Ansio. 1. If you had not true grace, God is still offering 
it, and ready to work it. 

2. Where do you find in Scripture, that none who have 
true grace do sin knowingly or deliberately. Perhaps you 
will say in Heb. x. 24. " If we sin wilfully, after the know- 
ledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, 
but a fearful looking for of judgment, and fire, which shall 
devour the adversaries." Answ. But you must know, that 
it is not every wilful sin which is there mentioned ; but, as 
even now I told you, unbelief is peculiarly called sin in the 
New Testament. And the true meaning of the text is. If we 
utterly renounce Christ by infidelity, as not being the true 
Messiah, after we have known his truth, then, &.c. Indeed 
none sin more against knowledge than the godly when they 


do sin ; for they know more, for the most part, than others 
do. And passion and sensuality (the remnant of it which 
yet remaineth) will be working strongly in your very deli- 
berations against sin, and either perverting the judgment to 
doubt whether it be a sin, or whether there be any such dan- 
ger in it ; or whether it be not a very little sin ; or else 
blinding it, that it cannot see the arguments against the sin 
in their full vigour. Or at least, prepossessing the heart 
and delight, and so hindering our reasons against sin from 
going down to the heart, and working on the will, and so 
from commanding the actions of the body. This may befal 
a godly man. And moreover, God may withdraw his grace 
as he did from Peter and David in their sin. And then our 
considerations will work but faintly, and sensuality and 
sinful passion will work effectually. It is scarce possible, 
I think, that such a man as David could be so long about 
so horrid a sin, and after contrive the murder of Uriah, and 
all this without deliberation, or any reasonings in himself to 
the contrary. 

3. The truth is, though this be no good cause for any 
repenting sinner to doubt of salvation, yet it is a very griev- 
ous aggravation of sin, to commit it against knowledge and 
conscience, and upon consideration. And therefore I ad- 
vise all that love their peace or salvation, to take heed of 
it. For as they will find that no sin doth more deeply 
wound the conscience, and plunge the sinner into fearful 
perplexities ; which ofttimes hangs on him very long, so the 
oftener such sin is committed, the less evidence will such 
a one have of the sincerity of their faith and obedience ; and 
therefore, in the name of God, beware. And let the troubled 
soul make this the matter of his moderate humiliation, and 
spare not. Bewail it before God. Take shame to yourself, 
and freely confess it, when you are called to it before men. 
Favour it not, and deal not gently with it, if you would have 
peace ; but give glory to God, by taking the just dishonour 
to yourselves. Tender dealing is an ill sign, and hath sad 
effects. But yet for every sin against knowledge, to doubt 
of the truth of grace, is not right, much less to doubt of the 
pardon of that sin when we truly repent of it. Are you un- 
feignedly sorry for your sins against conscience, and re- 
solve against them for the future, through the help of God's 


grace ? If so, then that sin is pardoned now, through the 
blood of Christ believed in, whether you had then grace or 

Doubt 16. * But I have such corruptions in my nature, 
that I cannot overcome. I have such a passionate nature, 
and such a vanity of mind, and such worldly desires, that 
though I pray and strive against them daily, yet do they 
prevail. And it is not striving without overcoming that 
will prove the truth of grace in any. Besides, I do not 
grow in grace as all God's people do.' 

Answ. 1. Do you think sin is not overcome as long as it 
dwelleth in us, and daily troubleth us, and is working in us ? 
Paul saith, " The evil that I would not do, that I do ;" and, 
" We cannot do the things that we would." And yet Paul 
was not overcome with these sins, nor had they dominion 
over him. You must consider of these sins as in the habit, 
or in the act. In the habit as they are in the passions they 
will be still strong ; but as they are in the will they are weak 
and overcome. Had you not rather you were void of these 
passions than ,iot, and that you might restrain them in the 
act ? Are you not weary of them, and daily pray and strive 
against them? If so, it seems they have not your will. 2. 
And for the actual passion (as I may call it) itself, you must 
distinguish between, 1. Those which the will hath full pow- 
er of, and which it hath but partial power over. 2. And be- 
tween the several degrees of the passion. 3. And between 
the inward passion and the outward expressions. 

Some degree of anger and of lust will oft stir in the heart, 
whether we will or not. But I hope you restrain it in the 
degree ; and much more from breaking out into practices of 
lust, or cursed speeches, or railings, backbitings, slander- 
ings, or revenge. For these your will, if sanctified, hath 
power to command. Even the acts of our corruptions, as 
well as the habits, will stick by us in this life ; but if it be 
in gross sins, or avoidable infirmities carelessly or wilfully 
continued, I can tell you a better way to assurance and 
comfort than your complaints are. Instead of being afraid 
lest you cannot have your sin and Christ together, do but 
more heartily oppose that sin, and deal roundly and con- 
scionably against it, till you have overcome it, and then you 
may ease yourself of your complaints and troubles. If you 
say, • O but it is not so easily done. I cannot ovecorae it. 


I have prayed and strove against it long.' I answer. But 
are you heartily willing to be rid of it ? If you will, it will 
be no impossible matter to be rid of the outward expres- 
sions, and the high degree of the passion, though not of 
every degree. Try this course awhile, and then judge. 1. 
Plainly confess your guiltiness. 2. Never more excuse it, 
or plead for it, to any that blameth you. 3. Desire those 
that live and deal with you, to tell you roundly of it as soon 
as they discern it, and engage yourself to them to take it 
well, as a friendly action which yourself requested of them. 
4. When you feel the passion begin to stir, enter into seri- 
ous consideration of the sinfulness, or go and tell some friend 
of your frail inclination, and presently beg their help against 
it. If it be godly persons that you are angry with, instead 
of giving them ill words, presently as soon as you feel the 
fire kindle, say to them, * I have a very passionate nature, 
which already is kindled, I pray you reprehend me for it, 
and help me against it, and pray to God for my deliverance.' 
Also go to God yourself, and complain to him of it, and beg 
his help. Lastly, be sure that you make not light of it, and 
see that you avoid the occasions as much as you can. If 
you are indeed willing to be rid of the sin, then do not call 
these directions too hard. But shew your willingness in 
ready practising them. And thus you may see that it is 
better to make your corruptions the matter of your humilia- 
tion and reformation, than of your torment. 

And for the other part of the doubt that you grow not 
in grace, I answer: 1. The promises of growth are condi- 
tional, or else signify what God will usually do for his peo- 
ple : but it is certain that they be not absolute to all be- 
lievers. For it is certain that all true Christians do not al- 
ways grow ; nay, that many do too oft decline, and lose 
their first fervour of love, and fall into sin, and live more 
carelessly. Yea, it is certain that a true believer may die in 
such decays,, or in a far lower state than formerly he hath 
been in. If I thought this needed proof, I could easily 
prove it ; but he that openeth his eyes may soon see enough 
proof in England. 2. Many Christians do much mistake 
themselves about the very nature of true grace ; and then 
no wonder if they think that they thrive when they do not, 
and that they thrive not when they do. They think that 
more of the life and truth of grace doth lie in passionate 


feelings of sin, grace, duty, &c. In sensible zeal, grief, joy, 
&c. And do not know that the chief part lieth in the un- 
derstanding's estimation, and the will's firm choice and re- 
solution. And then they think they decline in grace, be- 
cause they cannot weep, or joy so sensibly as before. Let 
me assure you of this as truth : 1. Young people have usu- 
ally more vigour of affections than old ; because they have 
more vigour of body, and hot blood, and agile, active spi- 
rits ; when the freezing, decayed bodies and spirits of old 
men must needs make an abatement of their fervour in all 
duties. 2. The like may be said of most that are weak and 
sickly in comparison of the strong and healthful. 3. All things 
affect men most deeply when they are new, and time wear- 
eth off the vigour of that affection. The first hearing of 
such a fight, or such a victory, or such a great man, or 
friend dead, doth much affect us ; but so it doth not still. 
When you first receive any benefit, it more delighteth you 
than long after. So married people, or any other in the 
first change of their condition, are more affected with it than 
afterward. And indeed man's nature cannot hold up in a 
constant elevation of affections. Children are more taken 
with' every thing that they see and hear than old men, be- 
cause all is new to them, and all seems old to the other. 4. 
I have told you before that some natures are more fiery, pas- 
sionate, and fervent than others are ; and in such a little 
grace will cause a great deal of earnestness, zeal and pas- 
sion. But let me tell you, that you may grow in these, and 
not grow in the body of your graces. Doubtless satan him- 
self may do so much to kindle your zeal, if he do but see it 
void of sound knowledge, as he did in James and John when 
they would have called for fire from heaven, but they knew 
not what spirrt they were of. For the doleful case of 
Christ's churches in this age hath put quite beyond dispute 
that none do the devil's works more effectually, nor oppose 
the kingdom of Christ more desperately, than they that have 
the hottest zeal with the weakest judgments. And as fire is 
most excellent and necessary in the chimney, but in the 
thatch it is worse than the vilest dung ; so is zeal most ex- 
cellent when guided by sound judgment ; but more destruc- 
tive than profane sensuality when it is let loose and mis- 

On the other side, you may decay much in feeling and fer- 


vour of affections, and yet grow in grace, if you do but 
grow in the understanding and the will. And indeed this is 
the common growth which Christians have in their age. 
Examine therefore whether you have this or no. Do you 
not understand the things of the Spirit better than you for- 
merly did ? Do you not value God, Christ, glory, and grace 
at higher rates than formerly ? Are you not more fully re- 
solved to stick to Christ to the death than formerly you 
have been ? I do not think but it would be a harder work 
for satan to draw you from Christ to the flesh than hereto- 
fore. When the tree hath done growing in visible great- 
ness, it groweth in rootedness. The fruit grows first in bulk 
and quantity, and then in mellow sweetness. Are not you 
less censorious, and more peaceable than heretofore ? I 
tell you that is a more noble growth than a great deal of 
austere and bitter, youthful, censorious, dividing zeal of 
many will prove. Mark most aged, experienced Christians, 
that walk uprightly, and you will find that they quite out- 
strip the younger. 1. In experience, knowledge, prudence, 
and soundness of judgment. 2. In well-settled resolutions 
for Christ, his truth, and cause. 3. In a love of peace, es- 
pecially in the church, and a hatred of dissentions, perverse 
contendings and divisions. If you can shew this growth, 
say not that you do not grow. 

3. But suppose you do not grow, should you therefore 
deny the sincerity of your grace ? I would not persuade 
any soul that they grow, when they do not. But if you do 
not, be humbled for it, and endeavour it for the future. 
Make it your desire and daily business, and spare not still. 
Lie not complaining, but rouse up your soul, and see what 
is amiss, and set upon neglected duties, and remove those 
corruptions that hinder your growth. Converse with grow- 
ing Christians, and under quickening means ; endeavour 
the good of other men's souls as well as your own ; and then 
you will find that growth, which will silence this doubt, and 
do much more for you than that. 

Doubt 17. *I am troubled with such blasphemous 
thoughts and temptations to unbelief, even against God, and 
Christ, and Scripture, and the life to come, that I doubt I 
have no faith.' 

Amw. To be tempted is no sign of gracelessness, but to 
yield to the temptation ; not every yielding neither, but to 


be overcome of the temptation. Most melancholy people, 
especially that have any knowledge in religion, are frequent- 
ly haunted with blasphemous temptations. I have oft won- 
dered that the devil should have such a power and advant- 
age in the predominancy of that distemper. Scarce one per- 
son of ten, whoever was with me in deep melancholy, either 
for the cure of body or mind, but hath been haunted with 
these blasphemous thoughts ; and that so impetuously and 
violently set on and followed, that it might appear to be 
from the devil ; yea, even many that never seemed godly, or 
to mind any such thing before. I confess it hath been a 
strenghthening to my own faith, to see the devil such an 
enemy to the Christian faith ; yea, to the Godhead itself. 

But perhaps you will say, * It is not mere temptation 
from satan that I complain of ; but it takes too much with 
my sinful heart. I am ready to doubt ofttimes whether 
there be a God, or whether his providence determine of the 
things here below ; or whether Scripture be true, or the soul 
immortal,' &c. 

Answ. This is a very great sin, and you ought to bewail 
and abhor it, and, in the name of God, make not light of it, 
but look to it betime. But yet let me tell you, that some 
degree of this blasphemy and infidelity may remain with the 
truest saving faith. The best may say, " Lord, I believe, 
help thou mine unbelief." But I will tell you my judgment. 
When your unbelief is such as to be a sign of a graceless 
soul in the state of damnation : if your doubtings of the 
truth of Scripture and the life to come, be so great that you 
will not let go the pleasures and profits of sin, and part with 
all, if God call you to it, in hope of that glory promised, and 
to escape the judgment threatened, because you look upon 
the things of the life to come but as uncertain things ; then 
is your belief no saving belief; but your unbelief is preva- 
lent. But if for all your staggerings, you see so much pro- 
bability of the truth of Scripture and the life to come, that 
you are resolved to venture (and part with, if called to it) 
all worldly hopes and happiness for the hope of that pro- 
mised glory, and to make it the chiefest business of your 
life to attain it, and do deny yourself the pleasures of sin for 
that end ; this is a true saving faith, as is evident by its vic- 
tory ; notwithstanding all the infidelity. Atheism, and blas- 
phemy that is mixed with it. 


But again, let me advise you to take heed of this heinous 
sin, and bewail and detest the very least degree of it. It is 
dangerous when the devil strikes at the very root, and heart, 
and foundation of all your religion. There is more sinful- 
ness and danger in this than in many other sins. And 
therefore let it never be motioned to your soul without ab- 
horrence. Two ways the devil hath to move it. The one is 
by his immediate inward suggestions ; these are bad enough. 
The other is by his accursed instruments ; and this is a far 
more dangerous way ; whether it be by books, or by the 
words of men. And yet if it be by notorious, wicked men, 
or fools, the temptation is the less ; but when it is by men 
of cunning wit, and smooth tongues, and hypocritical lives 
(for far be that wickedness from me, as to call them godly, 
or wise, or honest), then it is the greatest snare that the de- 
vil hath to lay. O just and dreadful God ! Did I think one 
day that those that I was then praying with, and rejoicing 
with, and that went up with me to the house of God in fami- 
liarity, would this day be blasphemers of thy sacred name, 
and deny the Lord that bought them, and deride thy holy 
word as a fable, and give up themselves to the present plea- 
sures of sin, because they believe not thy promised glory? 
O righteous and merciful God, that hast preserved the hum- 
ble from this condemnation, and hast permitted only the 
proud and sensual professors to fall into it, and hast given 
them over to hellish conversations according to the nature 
of their hellish opinions, that they might be rather a terror 
to others than a snare ? I call their doctrine and practice 
hellish, from its original, because it comes from the father 
of lies, but not that there is any such opinion or practice in 
hell. He that tempts others to deny the godhead, the 
Christian faith, the Scripture, the life to come, doth no whit 
doubt of any one of them himself, but believes and trem- 
bles. O fearful blindness of the professors of religion, that 
will hear, if not receive these blasphemies from the mouth 
of an apostate professor, which they would abhor if it came 
immediately from the devil himself. With what sad com- 
plaints and trembling do poor sinners cry out (and not with- 
out cause), ' O I am haunted with such blasphemous temp- 
tations, that I am afraid lest God should suddenly de- 
stroy me, that ever such thoughts should come into my 
heart.' But if an instrument of the devil come and plead 


gainst the Scripture or the life to come, or Christ himself/ 
they will hear him with less detestation. The devil knows 
that familiarity will cause us to take that from a man, which 
we would abhor from the devil himself immediately. I in- 
tend not to give you now a particular preservation against 
each of these temptations. Only let me tell you, that this 
is the direct way to infidelity, apostacy, and the sin against 
the Holy Ghost ; and if by any seducers the devil do over- 
come you herein^ you are lost for ever, and there will be no 
more sacrifice for your sin, but a fearful expectation of 
judgment, and that fire which shall devour the adversaries 
of Christ. 

Doubt 18. * I have so great fear of death, and un- 
willingness to be with God, that 1 am afraid I have no graces 
for if I had Paul's spirit, I should be able to say with him^ 
•* I desire to depatt and to be with Christ," whereas now^ 
no news would be to me more unwelcome.' 

Answ. There is a loathness to die that comes from d. dej 
sire to do God more service ; and another that comes from 
an apprehension of unreadiness, when we would fain have 
more assurance of salvation first} or would be fitter to meet 
our Lord. Blame not a man to be somewhat backward, 
that knows it must go with him for ever in heaven or hell, 
according as he is found at death. But these two be not 
so much a loathness to die, as a loathness to die now at this 
time. 3. There is also in all men living, good and bad, a 
natural abhorrence and fear of death. God hath put this 
into men's nature (even in innocency) to be his great means 
of governing the world. No man would live in order, or be 
kept in obedience, but for this. He that cares not for his 
own life, is master of another's. Grace doth not root out 
this abhorrence of death, no more than it unmanneth us ; 
only it restrains it from excess, and so far overcometh the 
violence of the passion, by the apprehensions of a better life 
beyond death, that a believer may the more quietly and wil j 
lingly submit to it. Paul himself desireth not death, but 
the life which foUoweth it. " He desireth to depart and be 
with Christ ;" that is, he had rather be in heaven than on 
earth, and therefore he is contented to submit to the penal 
sharp passage. God doth not command you to desire death 
itself, nor forbid you fearing it as an evil to nature, and 

VOL. IX. s 


a punishment of sin. Only he requireth you to desire the 
blessedness to be enjoyed after death, and that so earnestly 
as may make death itself the easier to you. Thank God, if 
the fear of death be somewhat abated in you, though it be 
not sweetened. Men may pretend what they please, but 
nature will abhor death as long as it is nature, and as long 
as man is man ; else temporal death had been no punish- 
ment to Adam, if his innocent nature had not abhorred it as 
it was an evil to it. Tell me but this. If death did not stand 
in your way to heaven, but that you could travel to heaven, 
as easily as to London, would not you rather go thither and 
be with Christ, than stay in sin and vanity here on earth, so 
be it you were certain to be with Christ? If you can say 
yea to this, then it is apparent that your loathness to die is 
either from the uncertainty of your salvation, or from the 
natural averseness to a dissolution, or both ; and not from 
an unwillingness to be with Christ, or a preferring the vani- 
ties of this world before the blessedness of that to come. 
Lastly, It may be God may lay that affliction on you, or 
use some other necessary means with you yet, before you 
vdie, that may make you more willing than now you are. 

Doubt 19. * God layeth upon me such heavy afflictions, 
that I cannot believe he loves me. He writeth bitter things 
against me, and taketh me for his enemy. I am afflicted in 
my health, in my name, in my children, and nearest friends, 
and in my estate, I live in continual poverty, or pinching 
distress of one kind or other ; yea, my very soul is filled 
with his terrors, and night and day is his hand heavy upon 

Answ. I have said enough to this before, nor do I think 
it needful to say any more, when the Holy Ghost hath said 
so much ; but only to desire you to read what he hath writ- 
ten in Heb. xii. and Job throughout; and Psal.xxxvii.lxxiii. 
and divers others. The next doubt is contrary. 

Doubt 20. ' I read in Scripture, that through many tri- 
bulations we must enter into heaven, and that all that will 
live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer persecution ; and that 
he that taketh not up his cross, and so followeth Christ, 
cannot be his disciple. And that if we are not corrected, 
we are bastards, and not sons. But I never had any afflic 
tion from God, but have lived in constant prosperity to this 
day. Christ saith, " Woe to you when all men speak well 


of you." But all men, for aught I know, speak well of me; 
and therefore I doubt of my sincerity.' 

Answ. I would not have mentioned this doubt, but that 
I was so foolish as to be troubled with it myself; and per- 
haps some others may be as foolish as I ; though I think 
but few in these times. Our great friends have done so 
much to resolve them more elFectually than words could 
liave done. 1. Some of those texts speak only of man's 
duty of bearing persecution and tribulation, when God lays 
it on us, rather than of the event, that it shall certainly 
come. 2. Yet I think it ordinarily certain, and to be ex- 
pected as to the event. Doubtless tribulation is God's com- 
mon road to heaven. Every ignorant person is so well 
aware of this, that they delude themselves in their sufferings, 
saying, that God hath given them their punishment in this 
life, and therefore they hope he will not punish them in ano- 
ther. If any soul be so silly as to fear and doubt for 
want of affliction ; if none else will do the cure, let them 
follow my counsel, and I dare warrant them for this, and I 
will advise them to nothing but what is honest, yea, and ne- 
cessary, and what I have tried effectually upon myself; and 
I can assure you it cured me, and I can give it a * Probatum 
est.' And first, see that you be faithful in your duty to all 
sinners within your reach ; be they great or small, gentlemen 
or beggars, do your duty in reproving them meekly and lov- 
ingly, yet plainly and seriously, telling them of the danger 
of God's everlasting wrath ; and when you find them obsti- 
nate, tell the church-officers of them, that they may do 
their duty ; and if yet they are unreformed, they may be ex- 
cluded from the church's communion, and all Christian fa- 
miliarity. Try this course awhile, and if you meet with no 
afflictions, and get no more fists about your ears than your 
own, nor more tongues against you than formerly, tell me I 
am mistaken. Men basely baulk and shun almost all the 
displeasing, ungrateful work of Christianity of purpose, lest 
they should have sufferings in the flesh, and then they 
doubt of their sincerity for want of sufferings. My second 
advice is. Do but stay awhile in patience (but prepare your 
patience for a sharper encounter), and do not tie God to 
your time. He hath not told you when your afflictions 
shall come. If he deal easier with you than with others, 
and give you longer time to prepare for them, be not you 


offended at that, and do not quarrel with your mercies. It 
is about seventeen years since I was troubled with this 
doubt, thinking I was no son, because I was not aflflicted ; 
and I think I have had few days without pain for this six- 
teen years since together, nor but few hours, if any one, 
for this six or seven years And thus my scruple is re- 

And if yet any be troubled with this doubt, if the 
church's and common trouble be any trouble to them, shall 
I be bold to tell them my thoughts ? (only understand that 
I pretend not to prophesy, but to conjecture at effects by the 
position of their moral causes.) I think that the righteous 
King of saints is even now, for our over-admiring rash zeal, 
and sharp, high profession, making for England so heavy an 
affliction, and a sharp scourge, to be inflicted by seduced, 
proud, self-conceited professors, as neither we nor our fa- 
thers did ever yet bear. Except it should prove the merci- 
ful intent of our Father, only to suffer them to ripen for 
their own destruction, to be a standing monument for the 
effectual warning of all after-ages of the church, whither 
^Dride and heady zeal may bring professors of holiness. 
And when they are full ripe, to do by them as at Munster, 
and in New England, that they may go no further, but their 
folly may be known to all: Amen. I have told you of my 
thoughts of this long ago, in my Book of Baptism. 

AH these doubts I have here answered, that you may see 
how necessary it is, that in all your troubles you be sure to 
distinguish between matter of doubting and matter of humi- 
liation. Alas, what soul is so holy on the earth, but must 
daily say, " Forgive us our trespasses ?" and cry out with 
Paul, " O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from this body of death ?" But at the same time we may 
thank God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. If every sin 
should make us doubt, we should do nothing but doubt. I 
know you may easily tell a long and a sad story of your 
sins ; how you are troubled with this and that, and many a 
distemper, and weak and wanting in every grace and duty, 
and have committed many sins. But doth it follow that 
therefore you have no true grace ? Learn therefore to be 
humbled for every sin, but not to doubt of your sincerity 
and salvation for every sin. 

Direct. XXX. ' Whatsoever new doublings do arise in 


your soul, see that you carefully discern whether they are 
such as must be resolved from the consideration of general 
grace, or of special grace. And especially be sure of this, 
that when you want or lose your certainty of sincerity and 
salvation, you have presently recourse to the probability of 
it, and lose not the comforts of that. Or if you should lose 
the sight of a probability of special grace, yet see that you 
have recourse at the utmost to general grace, and never let 
go the comforts of that at the worst.' 

This rule is of unspeakable necessity and use for your 
peace and comfort. Here are three several degrees of the 
grounds of comfort. It is exceeding weakness for a man 
that is beaten from one of these holds, therefore to let 
go the other two. And because he cannot have the high- 
est degree, therefore to conclude that he hath none at all. 

I beseech you in all your doubtings and complainings, 
still remember the two rules here laid down. 1. All doubts 
arise not from the same cause, and therefore must not have 
the same cure. Let the first thing which you do upon every 
doubt, be this : To consider, whether it come from the un- 
believing or low apprehensions of the general grounds of com- 
fort, or from the want of evidence of special grace. For that 
which is a fit remedy for one of these, will do little for the 
cure of the other. 2. If your doubting be only. Whether 
you be sincere in believing, loving, hoping, repenting, and 
obeying, then it will not answer this doubt, though you dis- 
cern never so much of God's merciful nature, or Christ's gra- 
cious office, or the universal sufficiency of his death, and sa- 
tisfaction, or the freeness and extent of the promise of par- 
don. For I profess considerately, that I do not know in all 
the body of popery concerning merits, justification, human 
satisfactions, assurance, or any other point about grace, for 
which we unchurch them, that they err half so dangerously 
as Saltmarsh, and such Antinomians, do in this point, when 
they say. That Christ hath repented and believed for us ; 
meaning it of that faith and repentance which he hath made 
the conditions of our salvation. And that we must no more 
question our own faith, than we must question Christ the 
object of it. It will be no saving plea at the day of judg- 
ment to say. Though I repented not, and believed not, yet 
Christ died for me, or God is merciful, or Christ repented 
and believed for me, or God made me a free promise and 


gift of salvation, if I would repent and believe. What com- 
fort would such an answer give them ? And therefore 
doubtless it will not serve now to quiet any knowing Chris- 
tian against those doubts that arise from the want of par- 
ticular evidence of special grace, though in their own place, 
the general grounds of comfort are of absolute necessity 

2. On the other side. If your doubts arise from any de- 
fect in your apprehensions of general grace, it is not your 
looking after marks in yourself that is the way to resolve 
them. I told you in the beginning, that the general grounds 
of comfort lie in four particulars (that square foundation 
which will bear up all the faith of the saints). First, God's 
merciful and inconceivable good and gracious nature, and 
his love to mankind. Secondly, The gracious nature of the 
Mediator God and Man, with his most gracious, undertak- 
ing office of saving and reconciling. Thirdly, The suffici- 
ency of Christ's death and satisfaction for all the world, to 
save them if they will accept him and his grace. I put it in 
terms beyond dispute, because I would not build up be- 
liever's comforts on points which godly divines do contra- 
dict (as little as may be.) Yet I am past all doubt myself, 
that Christ did actually make satisfaction to God's justice 
for ALL, and that no manperisheth for want of an expiatory 
sacrifice, but for want of faith to believe and apply it, or for 
want of repentance and yielding to recovering grace. The 
fourth is. The universal grant of pardon, and right to salva- 
tion, on condition of faith and repentance. If your doubt 
arise from the ignorance or overlooking of any of these, to 
these must you have recourse for your cure. 

Where note. That all those doubts which come from the 
greatness of your sin, as such, that you think will not there- 
fore be forgiven, or that come from the sense of unworthiness 
(in a legal sense), or want of merit in yourself^ and all your 
doubts, whether God be willing to accept and forgive you, 
though you should repent and believe : or, whether any sa- 
crifice was offered by Christ for your sins ; I say, all these 
come from your ignorance or unbelief of some or all of the 
four general grounds here mentioned ; and from them must 
be cured. 

Note also in a special manner. That there is a great dif- 
ference between these four general grounds, and your parti- 


cular evidences in point of certainty. For these four cor- 
ner-stones are fast founded beyond all possibility of remov- 
al, so that they are alvv^ays of as undoubted certainty as that 
the heaven is over your head ; and they are immutable still 
the same. These you are commanded strictly to believe 
with a divine faith, as being the clearly revealed truths of 
God ; and if you should not believe them, yet they remain 
firm and true, and your unbelief should not make void the 
universal promise and grace of God. But your own evi- 
dences of special grace are not so certain, so clear, or so 
immutable ; nor are you bound to believe them, but to 
search after them that you may know them. You are not 
bound by any word of God strictly to believe that you do 
believe, or repent, but to try and discern it. This then is 
the first part of this Direction, That you always discover 
whether your troubles arise from low unbelieving, or ignor- 
rant thoughts of God's mercifulness, Christ's gracious na- 
ture and office, general satisfaction, or the universal pro- 
mise. Or, whether they arise from want of evidence of sin- 
cerity in yourself. And accordingly in your thoughts apply 
the remedy. '' 

The second part of the Direction is, that you hold fast 
probabilities of special grace, when you lose your cer- 
tainty, and that you hold fast your general grounds, when 
you lose both your former. Never forget this in any of 
your doubts. 

You say, your faith and obedience have such breaches 
and sad defects in them, that you cannot be certain that 
they are sincere. Suppose it be so : Do you see no great 
likelihood or hopes yet that they are sincere ? If you do 
(as I think many Christians easily may, that yet receive not 
a proportionable comfort) remember that this is no small 
mercy, but matter of great consolation. 

But suppose the worst, that you see no grace in your- 
self, yet you cannot be sure you have none ; for it may be 
there, and you not see it. Yea, suppose the worst, that you 
were sure that you had no true grace at all, yet remember 
that you have still abundant cause of comfort in God's ge- 
neral grace. Do you think you must needs despair, or give 
up all hope and comfort, or conclude yourself irrecoverably 
lost, because you are graceless ? Why, be it known to you^ 
there is that ground of consolation in general grace, that 


may make the hearts of the very wicked to leap for joy. Do 
I need to prove that to you ? You know that the Gospel is 
called, " Glad tidings of salvation," and the preachers of it 
are to tell those to whom they preach it, " Behold, we bring 
you tidings of great joy, and glad tidings to all people." 
And you know before the Gospel comes to men they are 
miserable. If then it be glad tidings, and tidings of great 
joy to all the unconverted where it comes, why should it 
not be so to you? And where is your great joy ? If you 
be graceless, is it nothing to know that God is exceeding mer- 
ciful, " slow to anger, ready to forgive, pardoning iniquities, 
transgression, and sin," loving mankind ? Is it nothing to 
know that the Lord hath brought infinite mercy and good- 
ness down into human flesh ? And hath taken on him the 
most blessed office of reconciling, and is become the Lamb 
of God? Is it nothing to you, that all your sins have a suffi- 
cient sacrifice paid for them, so that you are certain not to 
perish for want of a ransom ? Is it nothing to you that God 
hath made such an universal grant of pardon and salvation 
to all that will believe ? And that you are not on the terms 
of the mere law of works, to be judged for not obeying in 
perfection? Suppose you are never so certainly graceless, 
is it not a ground of unspeakable comfort, that you may be 
certain that nothing can condemn you, but a flat refusal or 
imwillingness to have Christ and his salvation? This is a 
certain truth, which may comfort a man as yet unsanctified, 
that sin merely as sin shall not condemn him, nor any thing 
in the world, but the final, obstinate refusal of the remedy, 
which thereby leaveth all other sin unpardoned. 

Now I would ask you this question in your greatest fears 
that you are out of Christ : Are you willing to have Christ 
to pardon, sanctify, guide, and save you, or not? If you 
are, then you are a true believer, and did not know it. If 
you are not, if you will but wait on God's word in hearing, 
and reading, and consider frequently and seriously of the 
necessity and excellency of Christ and glory, and the evil of 
sin, and the vanity of the world, and will but beg earnestly 
of God to make you willing, you shall find that God hath 
not appointed you this means in vain, and that this way wiH 
be more profitable to you than all your complainings. See 
therefore when you are at the very lowest, that you forsake 
liot the comforts of general grace. 


And indeed those that deny any general grace or re- 
demption, do leave poor Christians in a very lamentable con- 
dition. For, alas ! assurance of special grace (yea, or a 
high probability) is not so common a thing as mere dispu- 
ters against doubting have imagined. And when a poor 
Christian is beaten from his assurance (which few have), he 
hath nothing but probabilities ; and when he hath no confi- 
dent, probable persuasion of special grace, where is he then? 
And what hath he left to support his soul? I will not so 
far now meddle with that controversy, as to open further 
how this opinion tends to leave most Christians in despera- 
tion, for all the pretences it hath found. And I had done 
more, but that general redemption or satisfaction, is com- 
monly taught in the maintaining of the general sufficiency 
of it, though. men understand not how they contradict them^ 
selves. ii iftOi"^ «oi' . ■(!fn'-irt v/o'f'i 

But perhaps you will say, 'This is cold comfort; fori 
may as well argue thus, Christ will damn sinners ; I am a 
sinner, therefore he will damn me ; as to argue thus, Christ 
will save sinners ; I am a sinner, therefore he will save me.' 
I answer. There is no shew of soundness in either of these 
arguments. It is not a certainty that Christ will save you, 
that can be gathered from general grace alone ; that must be 
had from assurance of special grace superadded to the gene- 
ral. But a conditional certainty you may have from gene- 
ral grace only, and thus you may soundly and infallibly ar- 
gue, * God hath made a grant to every sinful man, of pardon 
and salvation through Christ's sacrifice, if they will but re- 
pent and believe in Christ ; but I am a sinful man, therefore 
God hath made this grant of pardon and salvation to me.' 

Direct. XXXI. * If God do bless you with an able, faith- 
ful, prudent, judicious pastor, take him for your guide under 
Christ in the way to salvation ; and open to him your case, 
and desire his advice in all your extraordinary, pressing ne- 
cessities, where you have found the advice of other godly 
friends to be insufficient j and this not once or twice only, 
but as often as such pressing necessities shall return. ()r 
if your own pastor be more defective for such a work, make 
use of some other minister of Christ, who is more meet.' j 
Here I have these several things to open to you. 1 . That 
it is your duty to seek this Direction from the guides of the 
ehurch. 2. When and in what gases you should do this. 


3. To what end, and how far. 4. What ministers they be 
that you should choose thereto. 5. In what manner you 
must open your case, that you may receive satisfaction. 

1. The first hath two parts, (1.) That you must open 
your case. (2.) And that to your pastor. 1. The devil hath 
great advantage while you keep his counsel ; two are better 
than one ; for if one of them fall, he hath another to help 
him. It is dangerous, resisting such an enemy alone. An 
uniting of forces oft procureth victory. God giveth others 
knowledge, prudence, and other gifts for our good ; that so 
every member of the body may have need of another, and 
each be useful to the other. An independency of Christian 
upon Christian, is most unchristian ; much more of people 
on their guides. It ceaseth to be a member, which is se- 
parated from the body ; and to make no use of the body or 
fellow members, is next to separation from them. Some- 
times bashfulness is the cause, sometimes self-confidence 
(a far worse cause) ; but whatever is the cause of Christians 
smothering their doubts, the effects are oft sad. The disease 
is oft gone so far, that the cure is very difficult, before some 
bashful, or proud, or tender patients will open their disease. 
The very opening of a man's grief to a faithful friend, doth 
oft ease the heart of itself. 2. And that this should be 
done to your pastor, I will shew you further anon. 

2. But you must understand well when this is your duty. 
1. Not in every small infirmity, which accompanies Chris- 
tians in their daily most watchful conversation. Nor yet in 
every lesser doubt, which may be otherways resolved. It is 
a folly and a wrong to physicians to run to them for every 
cut finger or prick with a pin. Every neighbour can help 
you in this. 2. Nor except it be a weighty case indeed, go 
not first to a minister. But first study the case yourself, and 
seek God's direction : if that will not serve, open your case 
to your nearest bosom friend that is godly and judicious. 
And in these two cases always go to your pastor. 2. In case 
more private means can do you no good, then God calls you 
to seek further. If a cut finger so fester that ordinary means 
will not cure it, you must go to the physician. 3. If the 
case be weighty and dangerous ; for then none but the more 
prudent advice is to be trusted. If you be struck with a 
dangerous disease, I would not have you delay so long, nor 
wrong yourself so much, as to stay while you tamper \Vith 


every woman's medicine, but go presently to the physician. 
So if you either fall into any grievous sin, or any terrible 
pangs of conscience, or any great straits and difficulties 
about matters of doctrine or practice, go presently to your 
pastor for advice. The devil, and pride, and bashfulness, 
will do their utmost to hinder you ; but see that they pre- 
vail not. 

3. Next consider to what end you must do this. Not, 
1. Either to expect that a minister can of himself create 
peace in you ; or that all your doubts should vanish as soon 
as ever you have opened your mind. Only the great Peace- 
maker, the Prince of peace, can create peace in you : as- 
cribe not to any the office of the Holy Ghost, to be your ef- 
fectual comforter. To expect more from man than belongs 
to man, is the way to receive nothing from him, but to cause 
God to blast to you the best endeavours. 2. Nor must you 
resolve to take all merely from the word of your pastor, as 
if he were infallible : nor absolutely to judge of yourself as 
he judgeth. For he may be too rigorous, or more commonly 
too charitable in his opinion of you : there may be much of 
your disposition and conversation unknown to him, which 
may hinder his right judging. But, 1. You must use your 
pastor as the ordained instrument and messenger of the Lord 
Jesus and his Spirit, appointed to speak a word in season to 
the weary, and to shew to man his righteousness, and to 
strengthen the weak hands and feeble knees ; yea, and more, 
to bind aiyi loose on earth, as Christ doth bind and loose in 
heaven. As Christ and his Spirit do only save in the prin- 
cipal place, and yet ministers save souls in subordination to 
them as his instruments ; Acts xxvi. 17, 18. 1 Tim. iv. 15, 
16. James v. 20. So Christ and the Spirit are, as princi- 
pal causes, the only comforters ; but his ministers are com- 
forters under him. 2. And that which you must expect 
from them are these two things. 1. You must expect those 
fuller discoveries of God's will than you are able to make 
yourself, by which you may have assurance of your duty to 
God, and of the sense of Scripture, which expresseth how 
God will deal with you : that so a clearer discovery of God's 
mind may resolve your doubts. 2. In the mean time, till 
you can come to a full resolution, you may and must some- 
what stay yourself on the very j udgment of your pastor : not 
as infallible, but as a discovery of the probability of your 


good or bad estate ; and so of your duty also. Though you 
will not renounce your own understanding, and believe any 
man when you know he is deceived, or would deceive you, 
yet you will so far suspect your own reason, and value an- 
other's, as to have a special regard to every man's judgment 
in his own profession. If the physician tell you that your 
disease is not dangerous, or the lawyer that your cause is 
good, it will more comfort you than if another man should 
say as much. It may much stay your heart till you can 
reach to clear evidences and assurance, to have a pastor that 
is well acquainted with you, and isfaithfuland judicious, to 
tell you that he verily thinks that you are in a safe condi- 
tion. 3. But the chief use of his advice is, not so much to 
tell you what he thinks of you, as to give you Directions 
how you may judge of yourself, and come out of your trou- 
ble : besides the benefit of his prayers to God for you. 

4. Next let me tell you what men you must choose to 
open your mind to : and they must be, 1. Men of judgment 
and knowledge, and not the ignorant, be they never so ho- 
nest : else they may deceive you, not knowing what they 
do j either for want of understanding the Scripture, and the 
nature of grace and sin ; or for want of skill to deal with 
both weak consciences, and deep, deceitful hearts. 2. They 
must be truly fearing God, and of experience in this great 
work. For a troubled soul is seldom well resolved and com- 
forted merely out of a book, but from the book and expe- 
rience both together. Carnal or formal men will but make 
a jest at the doubts of a troubled Christian ; or at least will 
give you such formal remedies as will prove no cure : either 
they will persuade you, as the Antinomians do, that you 
should trust God with your soul, and never question your 
faith : or that you do ill to trouble yourself about such 
things : or they will direct you only to the comforts of gene- 
ral grace, and tell you only that God is merciful, and Christ 
died for sinners ; which are the necessary foundations of our 
peace ; but will not answer particular doubts of our own 
sincerity, and of our interest in Christ : or else they will 
make you believe that holiness of heart and life (which 
is the thing you look after) is it that troubleth you, and 
breeds all your scruples. Or else with the Papists, they 
will send you to your merits for comfort ; or to some vin- 
<^ictive penance in fastings, pilgrimages, or the like j or ta 


some saint departed, or angel, or to the pardons or indul- 
gences of the pope ; or to a certain formal, carnal devotion, 
to make God amends. 3. They must be men of downright 
faithfulness, that will deal plainly and freely, though not 
cruelly ; and not like those tender surgeons that will leave 
the cure undone for fear of hurting : meddle not with men- 
pleasers and daubers, that will presently speak comfort to 
you as confidently as if they had known you twenty years, 
when perhaps they know little of your heart or case. Deal 
not with such as resolve to humour you. 4. They must be 
men of fidelity, and well tried to be such, that you must trus^t 
them with those secrets which you are called to reveal. 6. 
They must be men of great staidness and wisdom, that they 
may neither rashly pass their judgment, nor set you upon 
unsound, unwarrantable, or dangerous courses. 6. It is 
suspicious if they be men that are so impudent as to draw 
out your secrets, and screw themselves deeper into your 
privatest thoughts and ways than is meet : yet a compas- 
sionate minister, when he seeth that poor Christians do en- 
danger themselves by keeping secret their troubles, or else 
that they hazard themselves by hiding the greatest of their 
sins, like Achan, Saul, or Ananias and Sapphira, and so play 
the hypocrites ; in these cases he may and must urge them 
to deal openly. 7. Above all be sure that those that you 
seek advice of, be sound in the faith, and free from the two 
desperate plagues of notorious false doctrine, and sepa- 
rating, dividing inclinations, that do but hunt about to make 
disciples to themselves. There are two of the former sort, 
and three of the latter, that I would charge you to take heed 
of (and yet all is but four.) 1 . Among those that err from 
the faith, (next to pagans, Jews, and infidels, whether Ran- 
ters, Seekers, or Socinians, which I think few sober, godly 
men are so much in danger of, because of their extreme vile- 
ness,) I would especially have you avoid the Antinomians, 
being the greatest pretenders to the right comforting afflict- 
ed consciences in the world ; but upon my certain know- 
ledge I dare say, they are notorious subverters of the very 
nature of the Gospel, and that free grace which they so 
much talk of, and the great dishonourers of the Lord Jesus, 
whom they seem so highly to extol. They are those moun- 
tebanks and quacksalvers that delude the world by vain os- 
tentation, and kill more than they will cure. 2. Next to 


them, take heed of Papists, who will go to Rome, to saints, 
to angels, to merits, to the most carnal, delusory means for 
comfort, when they should go to Scripture and to heaven 
for it. 

And then take heed that you fall not into the hands of 
separating dividers of Christ's church. The most notorious 
and dangerous of them are of these three sorts. 1. The last 
mentioned, the Papists : they are the most notorious schis- 
matics and separatists that ever God's church did know 
on earth. For my part, I think their schism is more dange- 
rous and wicked than the rest of their false doctrine. The 
unmerciful, proud, self-seeking wretches, would, like the 
Donatists, make us believe that God hath no true church 
on earth but they ; and that all the Christians in Ethiopia, 
Asia, Germany, Hungary, France, England, Scotland, Ire- 
land, Belgia, and the rest of the world, that acknowledge 
not their pope of Rome to be head of all the churches in 
the world, are none of Christ's churches, nor ever were. 
Thus do they separate from all the churches on earth, and 
confine all religion and salvation to themselves, who so no- 
toriously depart from Christ's way of salvation. Indeed 
the extreme diligence that they use in visiting the sick, and 
soliciting all men to their church and way, is plainly to get 
themselves followers ; and they are everywhere more indus- 
trious to enlarge the pope's kingdom than Christ's. So far 
are they from studying the unity of the Catholic church, 
which they so much talk of, that they will admit none to be 
of that church, nor to be saved, but their own party, as if 
indeed the pope had the keys of heaven. Indeed they are 
the most impudent sectaries and schismatics on earth. 2. 
The next to them are the Anabaptists, whose doctrine is not 
in itself so dangerous as their schism, and gathering disciples 
so zealously to themselves. And so strange a -curse of God 
hath followed them hitherto, as may deter any sober Chris- 
tian fiom rash adventuring on their way. Even now when 
they are higher in the world than ever they were on earth, 
yet do the judicious see God's heavy judgment upon them, 
in their congregations and conversation. 3. Lastly, Med- 
dle not with those commonly called Separatists, for they 
will make a prey of you for the increase of their party. I 
do not mean that you should separate from these two last, 
as they do from us, and have nothing to do with them, nor 


acknowledge them Christians : but seek not their advice, 
and make them not of your counsel. You will do as one 
that goes to a physician that hath the plague, to be cured of 
a cut finger, if you go for your comfort to any of these se- 
ducers. But if you have a pastor that is sound in the main 
doctrines of religion, and is studious of the unity and peace 
of the church, such a man you may use, though in many 
things mistaken ; for he will not seek to make a prey of 
you by drawing you to his party ; let him be Lutheran, Cal- 
vinist, Arminian, Episcopal, Independent, or Presbyterian, 
so he be sound in the main, and free from division. Thus 1 
have shewn you the qualifications of these men, that you 
must seek advice of. 

2. Let me next add this ; Let them be rather pastors 
than private men, if it may be ; and rather your own pastors 
than others, if they are fit. For the first consider, 1. It is 
their office to be guides of Christ's disciples under him, and 
to be spiritual physicians for the curing of souls. And ex- 
perience telleth us (and sadly of late) what a curse followeth 
those that stt^p beyond the bounds of their calling by invad- 
ing this office, and that God blesseth means to them that 
keep within his order ; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 
Not but that private men may help you in this, as a private 
neighbour may give you a medicine to cure your disease? 
but you will not so soon trust them in any weighty case as 
you will the physician. 2. Besides, ministers have made 
it the study of their lives, and therefore are liker to under 
stand it than others. As for those that think long study no 
more conducible to the knowledge of the Scriptures, than if 
men studied not at all, they may as well renounce reason, 
and dispute for preeminency of beasts above men, as re- 
nounce study, which is but the use of reason. But it ap- 
pears how considerately these men speak themselves, and 
whence it comes, and how much credit a sober Christian 
should give them! Let them read Psalm i. 2, 3. Heb. v. 
11—14. 1 Tim. iv. 13—16. and 2 Tim. ii. 15. and then let 
them return to their wits. Paul commands Timothy, though 
he was from his youth acquainted with the Scriptures, 
** Meditate upon these things ; give thyself wholly to them, 
that thy profiting may appear to all." How much need 
have we to do so now? 3. Also ministers are usually most 
experienced in this work ; and wisdom requires you no more 


to trust your soul, than you would do your body, with art 
unexperienced man. 

2. And if it may be (he being fit) let it be rather your own 
pastor than another : 1. Because it belongeth to his peculiar 
place and charge, to direct the souls of his own congrega- 
tion. 2. Because he is likelier to know you, and to fit his 
advice to your estate, as having better opportunity than 
others to be acquainted with your conversation. 

5. Next consider, in what manner you must open your 
grief, if you would have cure. 1. Do it as truly as you can* 
Make the matter neither better nor worse than it is. Espe- 
cially take heed of dealing like Ananias, pretending to open 
all (as he did to give all) when you do but open some com- 
mon infirmities, and hide all the most disgraceful distempers 
of your heart, and sins of your life. The vomit of confes- 
sion must work to the bottom, and fetch up that hidden sin, 
which is it that continueth your calamity. Read Mr. T. 
Hooker in his " Soul's Preparation," concerning this con- 
fession, who shews you the danger of not going to the bot- 

2. You must not go to a minister to be cured merely by 
good words, as wizards do by charms ; and so think that all 
is well when he hath spoken comfortably to you. But you 
must go for directions in your own practice, that so the cure 
may be done by leisure when you come home. Truly most 
even of the godly that I have known, do go to a minister for 
comfort, as silly people go to a physician for physic. If the 
physician could stroke them whole, or give them a penny- 
worth of some pleasant stuff that would cure all in an hour, 
then they would praise him. But alas, the cure will not be 
done, 1. Without cost. 2. Nor without time and patience. 
3. Nor without taking down unpleasing medicines ; and so 
they let all alone. So you come to a minister for advice and 
comfort, and you look that his words should comfort you 
before he leaves you, or at least, some short, small direction 
to take home with you. But he tells you, if you will be 
cured you must more resolve against that disquieting cor- 
ruption and passion ; you must more meekly submit to re- 
proof ; you must walk more watchfully and conscionably 
with God and men ; and then you must not give ear to the 
tempter, with many the like. He gives you, as I have done 
here, a bill of thirty several Directions, and tells you, you 


must practise all these. O this seems a tedious course, you 
are never the nearer comfort for hearing these ; it must be 
by long and diligent practising them. Is it not a foolish 
patient that will come home from the physician, and say, * I 
have heard all that he said, but I am never the better?' So 
you say, 'I have heard all that the minister said, and I have 
never the more comfort.' But have you done all that he bid 
you, and taken all the medicines that he gave you ? Alas, 
the cur6 is most to be done by yourself (under Christ) when 
you come home. The minister is but the physician to direct 
you what course to take for the cure. And then as silly 
people run from one physician to another, hearing what all 
can say, and desirous to know what every man thinks of 
them, but thoroughly follow the advice of none, but perhaps 
take one medicine from one man, and one from another, and 
let most even of those lie by them in the box, and so perish 
more certainly than if they never meddled with any at all ; 
so do most troubled souls hear what one man saith, and 
what another saith, and seldom thoroughly follow the advice 
of any : but when one man's words do not cure them, they 
say, ' This is not the man that God hath appointed to cure 
me.' And so another, and that is not the man : when they 
should rather say, 'This is not the way,' than, 'This is not 
the man.' This lazy complaining is not it that will do the 
work, but faithful practising the Directions given you. 

But I know some will say, That it is near to Popish auricu- 
lar confession, which I here persuade Christians to, and it 
is to bring Christians under the tyranny of the priests again, 
and make them acquainted with all men's secrets, and mas- 
ters of their consciences. 

Amw. 1. To the last I say to the railing devil of this 
age, no more but " The Lord rebuke thee." If any minister 
have wicked ends, let the God of heaven convert him, or 
root him out of his church, and cast him among the weeds 
and briars. But is it not the known voice of sensuality and 
hell, to cast reproaches upon the way and ordinances of 
God ? Who knoweth not that it is the very office of the 
ministry, to be teachers and guides to men in matters of 
salvation, and overseers of them ? and that they watch for 
their souls, as those that must give an account, and the 
people, therefore, bound to obey them? Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 
Should not the shepherd know his sheep, and their stray- 



ings and diseases ; how else shall he cure them? Should 
not the physician hear the patient open all his disease, yea, 
atudy to discover to the utmost every thing- he knows ; and 
all little enough to the cure ? A disease unknown is unlike 
lobe cured; and a disease well known is half cured. Mr. 
Thomas Hooker saith truly, it is with many people as with 
some over-modest patients, who having a disease in some 
secret place, they will not for shame reveal it to the physi- 
cian till it be past cure, and then they must lose their lives 
by their modesty : so do many by their secret and more dis- 
graceful sins. Not that every man is bound to open all his 
sins to his pastor ; but those that cannot well be otherwise 
cured, he must ; either if the sense of the guilt cannot be 
removed, and true assurance of pardon obtained : or else, 
if power against the sin be not otherwise obtained, but that 
it still prevaileth ; in both these cases we must go to those 
that God hath made our directors and guides. I am confi- 
dent many a thousand souls do long strive against anger, 
lust, flesh-pleasing, worldliness, and trouble of conscience 
to little purpose, who if they would but have taken God's 
way, and sought for help, and opened all their case to their 
minister, they might have been delivered in a good measure 
long ago. 2. And for Popish confession, I detest it. We 
would not persuade men that there is a necessity of confes- 
sing every sin to a minister, before it can be pardoned. 
Nor do we do it in a perplexed formality only at one time of 
the year ; nor in order to Popish pardons or satisfactions ; 
but we would have men go for physic to their souls, as they 
do for their bodies, when they feel they have need. And 
let me advise all Christian congregations to practise this ex- 
cellent duty more. See that you knock oftener at your pas- 
tor's door, and ask his advice in all your pressing necessi- 
ties ; do not let him sit quietly in his study for you ; make 
him know by experience, that the tenth part of a minister's 
labour is not in the pulpit. If your sins are strong, and you 
have wounded conscience deep, go for his advice for a safe 
cure ; many a man's sore festers to damnation for want of 
this ; and poor, ignorant and scandalous sinners have more 
need to do this than troubled consciences. I am con- 
fident, if the people of my congregation did but do their 
duty for the good of their own souls in private, seeking ad- 
vice of their ministers, and opening their cases to them. 


they would find work for ten ministers at least ; and yet 
those two that they have, have more work than they are able 
to do already. Especially ministers in small country con- 
gregations, might do abundance of good this way ; and 
their people are much to blame that they come not oftener 
to them for advice; this were the way to make Christians 
indeed. The devil knows this, and therefore so envies it, 
that he never did more against a design in the world ; he 
hath got the maintenance alienated that should have main- 
tained them, that so they may have but one minister in a 
congregation, and then among the greater congregations 
this work is impossible for want of instruments ; yea, he is 
about getting down the very churches and settled ministry, 
if God will suffer him. He setteth his instruments to rail at 
priests and discipline, and to call Christ's yoke tyranny ; 
because while the garden is hedged in, he is fain, with envy, 
to look over the hedge. What if a man (like those of our 
times) should come to a town that hath an epidemical pleu- 
risy or fever, and say, * Do not run like fools to these physi- 
cians, they do but cheat you, and rob your purses, and seek 
themselves, and seek to be lords of your lives.' It is possi- 
ble some do so ; but if by these persuasions the silly people 
should lose their lives, how well had their new preacher be- 
friended them ? Such friends will those prove at last to your 
souls, that dissuade you from obeying the guidance and dis- 
cipline of your overseers, and dare call the ordinances of the 
Lord of glory tyrannical, and reproach those that Christ hath 
set over them. England will not have Christ by his ofl&cers 
rule over them, and the several congregations will not obey 
him. But he will make them know, before many years are 
past, that they refused their own mercy, and knew not the 
things that belong to their peace, and that he will be master 
at last in spite of their malice, and the proudest of his foes. 
If they get by this bargain of refusing Christ's government, 
and despising his ministers, and making the peace, unity, 
and prosperity of his church, and the souls of men, a prey 
to their proud misguided fancies and passions, then let them 
boast of the bargain when they have tried it. Only I would 
entreat one thing of them, not to judge too confidently till 
they have seen the end. 

And for all you tender-conscienced Christians, whom by 
the ministry the Lord hath begotten or confirmed to himself". 


^s-^ver you will shew yourselves thankful for so great a 
mercy, as ever you will hold that you have got, or grow to 
more perfection, and attain that blessed life to which Christ 
hath ^iven you his ministers to conduct you ; see that you 
stick close to a judicious, godly, faithful ministry, and make 
use of them while you have them. Have you strong lusts, 
or deep wounds in conscience, or a heavy burden of doubt- 
ings or distress? Seek their advice. God will have his 
own ordinance and officers have the chief instrumental hand 
in your cure. The same means ofttimes in another hand 
shall not do it. Yet I would have you make use of all able 
private Christians' help also. 

I will tell you the reason why our ministers have not 
urged this so much upon you, nor so plainly acquainted their 
congregations with the necessity of opening your case to 
your minister, and seeking his advice. 
• 1. Some in opposition to Popery have gone too far on 
the other extreme ; perhaps sinning as deeply in neglect, as 
the Papists do in formal excess. It is a good sign that an 
opinion is true, when it is near to error. For truth is the 
very next step to error. The small thread of truth runs 
between the close adjoining extremes of error. 

2. Some ministers knowing the exceeding greatness of 
the burden, are loath to put themselves upon it. This one 
work, of giving advice to all that ought to come and open 
their case to us, if our people did but what they ought to 
do for their own safety, would itself, in great congregations, 
be more than preaching every day in the week. What then 
is all the rest of the work ? And how can one man, yea, or 
five, do this to five thousand souls ? And then when it lieth 
undone, the malicious reproachers rail at the ministers, and 
accuse the people of unfitness to be church-members ; which 
howsoever there may be some cause of, yet not so much as 
they suggest ; and that unfitness would best be cured by 
the diligence of more labourers, which they think to cure, 
by removing the few that do remain. 

3. Also some ministers seeing that they have more work 
than they can do already, think themselves incapable of 
more, and therefore that it is vain to put their people on it, 
to seek more. 

4. Some ministers are over-modest, and think it to be 
unfit to desire people to open their secrets to them ; in con- 


fe.ssing their sins and corrupt inclinations, and opening 
their wants ; and indeed any ingenuous man will be back- 
ward to pry into the secrets of others. But when God hath 
made it our office, under Christ, to be physicians to the 
souls of our people, it is but bloody cruelty to connive at 
their pride and carnal bashfulness, or hypocritical covering 
of their sins, and to let them die of their disease rather than 
we will urge them to disclose it. 

5. Some ministers are loath to tell people of their duty 
in this, lest it should confirm the world in their malicious 
conceit, that we should be masters of men's consciences, 
and would lord it over them. This is as much folly and 
cruelty, as if the master and pilot of the ship should let the 
mariners govern the ship by the major vote, and run all on 
shelves, and drown themselves and him, and all for fear of 
being thought lordly and tyrannical, in taking the govern- 
ment of the ship upon himself, and telling the mariners that 
it is their duty to obey him. 

6. Most godly ministers do tell people in general, of the 
necessity of such a dependance on their teachers, as learners 
in the school of Christ should have on them that are ushers 
under him the chief master ; and they do gladly give advice 
to those that do seek to them : but they do not so particu- 
larly and plainly acquaint people with their duty, in open- 
ing to them the particular sores of their souls. 

It is also the policy of the devil, to make people believe 
that their ministers are too stout, and will not stoop to a 
compassionate hearing of their case ; especially if ministers 
carry themselves strangely, at too great a distance from 
their people. I would earnestly entreat all ministers there- 
fore to be as familiar, and as much with their people as they 
can. Papists and other seducers, will insinuate themselves 
into their familiarity, if we be strange. If you teach them 
not in their houses, these will creep into their houses, and 
lead them captive. I persuade others of my brethren to that 
which myself am disabled from performing ; being by con- 
stant weakness (besides unavoidable business) confined to 
my chamber. But those that can perform it, will find this a, 
most necessary and profitable work. And let not poor peo- 
ple believe the devil, who tells them that ministers are so 
proud, only to discourage them from seeking their advice. 
Go try them once before you believe it^ 


Lastly, Remember this, that it is not enough that you 
once opened yom* case to your pastor, but do it as often as 
necessity urgeth you to call for his advice ; though not on 
every light occasion. Live in such a depeudance on the ad- 
vice and guidance of your pastor (under Christ) for your 
soul, as you do on the advice of the physician for your bo- 
dy. Read Mai. ii. 7. And let ministers read 6. 8, 9. 

Direct. XXXIL ' As ever you would live in peace and 
comfort, and well-pleasing unto God, be sure that you un- 
derstand and deeply consider wherein the height of a Chris- 
tian life, and the greatest part of our duty doth consist ; to 
wit, * In a loving delight in God, and a thankful and cheer- 
ful obedience to his will; and then make this your constant 
aim, and be still aspiring after it, and let all other affections 
and endeavours be subservient unto this.' 

This one rule well practised, would do wonders on the 
souls of poor Christians, in dispelling all their fears and 
troubles, and helping not only to a settled peace, but to live 
in the most comfortable state that can be expected upon 
earth. Write therefore these two or three words deep in 
your understandings and memory ; that the life which God 
is best pleased with, and we should be always endeavouring, 
is, A loving delight in God through Christ ; and a thankful 
and cheerful obedience to him. I do not say, that godly 
sorrows, and fears, and jealousies are no duties ; but these 
are the great duties, to which the rest should all subserve. 
Misapprehending the state of duty, and the very* nature 
of a Christian life, must needs make sad distempers in 
men's hearts and conversations. Many Christians look 
upon brokenheartedness, and much grieving, and weeping 
for sin, as if it were the great thing that God delighteth in, 
and requireth of them ; and therefore they bend their endea- 
vours this way ; and are still striving with their hearts to 
break them more, and wringing their consciences to squeeze 
out some tears ; and they think no sermon, no prayer, no 
meditation, speeds so well with them, as that which can 
help them to grieve or weep. 1 am far from persuading 
men against humiliation and godly sorrow, and tenderness 
of heart. But yet I must tell you, that this is a sore error 
that you lay so much upon it, and so much overlook that 
great and noble work and state to which it tendeth. Do 
you think that God hath any pleasure in your sorrows as 


-such ? Doth it do him good to see you dejected, afflicted, 
and tormented ? Alas, it is only as your sorrows do kill 
your sins, and mortify your fleshly lusts, and prepare for 
your peace and joys, that God regards them. Because God 
doth speak comfortably to troubled, drooping spirits, and 
tells them that he delighteth in the contrite, and loveth the 
humble, and bindeth up the brokenhearted ; therefore men 
misunderstanding him, do think they should do nothing, 
but be still breaking their own hearts. Whereas God speaks 
it but partly to shew his hatred to the proud, and partly to 
shew his tender compassions to the humbled, that they might 
not be overwhelmed or despair. But, O Christians, under- 
stand and consider, that all your sorrows are but prepara- 
tives to your joys ; and that it is a higher and sweeter work 
that God calls you to, and would have you spend your time 
and strength in. 1. The first part of it is love. A work 
that is wages to itself. He that knows what it is to live in 
the love of God, doth know that Christianity is no torment- 
ing and discontented life. 2. The next part is, " Delight in 
God, and in the hopes and forethoughts of everlasting glo- 
ry." Psal. xxvii. 4. " Delight thyself in the Lord, and he 
shall give thee the desires of thy heart." This is it that you 
should be bending your studies and endeavours for, that 
your soul might be able to delight itself in God. 3. The 
third part is thankfulness and praise. Though I say not as 
some, that we should be moved by no fears or desires of the 
reward (that is, of God), but act only from thankfulness (as 
though we had all that we expect already) yet let me desire 
you to take special notice of this truth ; that thankfulness 
must be the main principle of all Gospel-obedience. And 
this is not only true of the regenerate after faith, but even 
the wicked themselves, who are called to repent and believe, 
are called to do it in a.glad and thankful sense of the mer- 
cy offered them in Christ. All the world being fallen under 
God's wrath and deserved condemnation, and the Lord Je- 
sus having become a sacrifice and ransom for all, and so 
brought all from that legal necessity of perishing which they 
were under, the Gospel which brings them the news of this, 
is glad tidings of great joy to them ; and the very justifying 
act which they are called to, is, thankfully to accept Christ 
as one that hath already satisfied for their sins, and will save 
them, if they accept him, and will follow his saving counsel. 


and use his saving means ; and the saving work which they 
must proceed in, is, thankfully to obey that Redeemer whom 
they believe in. So that as general redemption is the very 
foundation of the new world and its government, so thank- 
fulness for this redemption is the very life of justifying faith 
and Gospel obedience. And therefore the denial of this 
universal redemption (as to the price and satisfaction) doth 
both disable wicked men (if they receive it) from coming to 
Christ by true justifying faith (which is, the thankful accept- 
ance of Christ as he is offered with his benefits) : and this 
thankfulness must be for what he hath done in dying for 
us ; as well as for what he will do in pardoning and saving 
us, and it doth disable all true believers from Gospel, grate- 
ful obedience, whenever they lose the sight of their eviden- 
ces of special grace (which, alas, how ordinary is it with 
them !) For when they cannot have special grace in their 
eye to be thankful for, according to this doctrine they must 
have none ; because they can be no surer that Christ died 
for them, than they are that themselves are sincere believ- 
ers and truly sanctified. And when thankfulness for Christ's 
death and redemption ceaseth. Gospel obedience ceaseth, 
and legal and slavish terrors do take place. Though the 
same cannot be said of thankfulness for special renewing, 
pardoning grace. 

4. The fourth part of the Christian life is cheerful obe- 
dience. God loveth a cheerful giver, and so he doth in 
every part of obedience, " Because thou servedst not the 
Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart for 
the abundance of all things, thou shalt serve thy enemies in 
hunger and thirst," &c. Deut. xxviii. 47. 

Will you now lay all this together, and make it for the 
time to come your business, and try whether it will not be 
the truest way to comfortj and make your life a blessed life ? 
Will you make it your end in hearing, reading, praying, and 
meditation, to raise your soul to delight in God ? Will you 
strive as much to work it to this delight as ever you did to 
work it to sorrow ? Certainly you have more reason ; and 
certainly there is more matter of delight in the face and love 
of God, than in all the things in the world besides. Consi- 
der but the Scripture commands, and then lay to heart your 
duty. Phil. iv. 4. " Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, 
I say, rejoice." Chap. iii. 1. Zech. x. 7. Joel ii. 23. Isa. 


Ixi. 16. Psal. xxxiii. 1. "Rejoice in the Lord O ye righ- 
teous, for praise is comely for the upright." Psal. xcvii. 12. 
1 Thess. V. 16. " Rejoice evermore." 1 Pet. i. 6.8. Rom. 
V. ii. John iv. 36. Psal. v. 11. xxxiii. 21. xxxv. 9. Ixvi. 
6. Ixviii. 3, 4. Ixxi. 23. Ixxxix. 16. cv. 3. cxlix. 2. xliii. 4. 
xxvii. 6. John xvi. 24. Rom. xv. 13. xiv. 17. " The king- 
dom of God is in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy 
Ghost." Gal. V. 22. Psal. xxxii. 11. "Be glad in the 
Lord, and rejoice O ye righteous, and shout for joy all ye 
that are upright in heart." Psal.cxxxiii. 9. 16. v. 11. xxxv. 
27. Heb. iii. 18. With a hundred more the like. Have 
you made conscience of this great duty according to its 
excellency and these pressing commands of God ? Have 
you made conscience of the duties of praise, thanksgiving, 
and cheerful obedience, as much as for grieving for sin ? 
Perhaps you will say, ' I cannot do it for want of assurance. 
If I knew that I were one of the righteous, and upright in 
heart, then I could be glad, and shout for joy." Answ. 1. 
I have before shewed you how you may know that ; when 
you discover it in yourself, see that you make more con- 
science of this duty. 2. You have had hopes and probabili- 
ties of your sincerity. Did you endeavour to answer those 
probabilities in your joys? 3. If you would but labour to 
get this delight in God, it would help you to assurance ; for 
it would be one of your clearest evidences. 

O how the subtle enemy disadvantageth the Gospel, by 
the misapprehensions and dejected spirits of believers ! It 
is the very design of the ever blessed God, to glorify love 
and mercy as highly in the work of redemption, as ever he 
glorified omnipotency in the work of creation. And he 
hath purposely unhinged the Sabbath which was appointed 
to commemorate that work of power in creation, to the first 
day of the week. That it might be spent as a weekly day 
of thanksgiving and praise for the now more glorious work 
of redemption, that love might not only be equally admired 
with power, but even go before it. So that he hath laid the 
foundation of the kingdom of grace in love and mercy ; and 
in love and mercy hath he framed the whole structure of the 
edifice ; and love and mercy are written in legible indelible 
characters upon every piece. And the whole frame of his 
work and temple-service, hath he so composed, that all 
might be the resounding echos of love, and the praise and 


glorious commemoration of love and mercy might be the 
great business of our solemn assemblies. And the new 
creation within us, and without us, is so ordered, that love, 
thankfulness, and delight, might be both the way and the 
end. And the serpent who most opposeth God where he 
seeketh most glory, especially the glory of his grace, doth 
labour so successfully to obscure this glory, that he hath 
brought multitudes of poor Christians to have poor, low 
thoughts of the riches of his grace. And to set every sin of 
theirs against it, which should but advance it ; and even to 
question the very foundation of the whole building, whether 
Christ hath redeemed the world by his sacrifice. Yea, he 
puts such a vail over the glory of the Gospel, that men can 
hardly be brought to receive it as glad tidings, till they first 
have assurance of their own sanctification ! And the very 
nature of God's kingdom is so unknown, that some men 
think it to be unrighteousness, and libertinism, and others 
to be pensive dejections, and tormenting scruples and fears ; 
and but few know it to be righteousness and peace, andjoy 
in the Holy Ghost. And the very business of a Christian's 
life and God's service, is rather taken to be scrupling, quar- 
relling, and vexing ourselves and the church of God, than 
to be love and gratitude, and a delighting our souls in God, 
and cheerfully obeying him. And thus when Christianity 
seems a thraldom and torment ; and the service of the world, 
the flesh, and the devil, seems the only freedom, and quiet, 
and delight, no wonder if the devil have more unfeigned 
servants than Christ ; and if men tremble at the name of 
holiness, and fly away from religion as a mischief. What 
can be more contrary to its nature, and to God's design in 
forming it, than for the professors to live such dejected and 
dolorous lives ? God calls men from vexation and vanity, 
to high delights and peace. And men come to God as from 
peace and pleasure to vexation. All our preaching will do 
little to win souls from sensuality to holiness, while they 
look, upon the sad lives of the professors of holiness ; as it 
will more deter a sick man from meddling with a physician, 
to see all that he hath had in hand to lie languishing in 
continual pains to their death, than all his words and pro- 
mises will encourage them. O what blessed lives might 
God's people live, if they understood the love of God in the 
mystery of man's redemption, and did addict themselves to 


the consideration and improvement of it, anddidbelieviugly 
eye the promised glory, and hereupon did make it the busi- 
ness of their lives to delight their souls in him that hath 
loved them ! And what a wonderful success might we ex- 
pect to our preaching, if the holy delights and cheerful 
obedience of the saints did preach, as clearly to the eyes of 
the world, as we preach loudly to their ears. 

But flesh will be flesh yet awhile ! And unbelief will be 
unbelief ! We are all to blame ! The Lord forgive our 
overlooking his lovingkindness ; and our dishonouring the 
glorious Gospel of his Son ; and our seconding satan, in his 
contradicting of that design which hath contrived God's 
glory in so sweet a way. 

And now. Christian reader, let me entreat thee in the 
name and fear of God, hereafter better to understand and 
practise thy duty. Thy heart is better a thousand times in 
godly sorrow than in carnal mirth, and by such sorrow it is 
often made better ; Eccles. vii. 2 — 4. But never take it to 
be right till it be delighting itself in God. When you kneel 
down in prayer, labour so to conceive of God, and bespeak 
him that he may be your delight ; so do in hearing and 
reading ; so do in all your meditations of God ; so do in 
your feasting on the flesh and blood of Christ at his sup- 
per. Especially improve the happy opportunity of the 
Lord's day, wherein you may wholly devote yourselves to 
this work. And 1 advise ministers and all Christ's redeem- 
ed ones, that they spend more of those days in praise and 
thanksgiving, especially in commemoration of the whole 
work of redemption (and not of Christ's resurrection alone) 
or else they will not answer the institution of the Lord. 
And that they keep it as the most solemn day of thanksgiv- 
ing, and be more brief on that day in their confessions and 
lamentations, and larger at other times ! O that the con- 
gregations of Christ through the world were so well inform- 
ed and animated, that the main business of their solemn as- 
semblies on that day might be to sound forth the high 
praises of their Redeemer; and to begin here the praises of 
God and the Lamb, which they must perfect in heaven for 
ever ! How sweet a foretaste of heaven would be then in 
these solemnities ! And truly, let me tell you, my brethren 
of the ministry, you should by private teaching and week- 
day sermons, so further the knowledge of your people, that 


you might no< ».ced to spend so much of the Lord's day in 
sermons as the most godly use to do ; but might bestow a 
greater part of it in psalms and solemn praises to our Re- 
deemer. And I could wish that the ministers of England, 
to that end, would unanimously agree on some one transla- 
tion of the English Psalms in metre, better than that in 
common use, and if it may be, better than any yet extant 
(not neglecting the poetical sweetness under pretence of 
exact translating), or at least to agree on the best now ex- 
tant ; (the London ministers may do well to lead the way) 
lest that blessed part of God's solemn worship should be 
blemished for want either of reformation or uniformity. 
And in my weak judgment, if hymns and psalms of praise 
were new invented, as fit for the state of the Gospel church 
and worship (to laud the Redeemer come in the flesh, as ex- 
pressly as the work of grace is now express) as ^David's 
Psalms were fitted to the former state and infancy of the 
church, and more obscure revelations of the Mediator and his 
grace, it would be no sinful, human invention or addition ; 
nor any more want of warrant, than our inventing the form 
and words of every sermon that we preach, and every prayer 
that we may make, or any catechism or confession of faith. 
Nay, it may seem of so great usefulness, as to be next to a 
necessity. (Still provided that we force not any to the use 
of them that through ignorance may scruple it.) And if 
there be any convenient parcels of the ancient church that 
are fitted to this use, they should deservedly be preferred. 
I do not think I digress all this while from the scope of my 
discourse. For doubtless if God's usual solemn worship on 
the Lord's days were more fitted and directed to a pleasant, 
delightful, praising way, it would do very much to frame 
the spirits of Christians to joyfulness, and thankfulness, and 
delight in God ; than which there is no greater cure for 
their doubtful, pensive, self-tormenting frame. O try this. 
Christians, at the request of one that is moved by God to 
importune you to it ! God doth pity you in your sorrows ! 
But he delighteth in you when you delight in him. See 
Isai. Iviii. 14. compared with Zeph. iii. 17. And if 
sin interpose and hinder your delights, believe it, a 
cheerful dmendment and obedience is that which will please 
God better than your self-tormenting fears. Do not you 
like that servant better that will go cheerfully about your 


work, and do it as well as he can, accounting it a recreation, 
and will endeavour to mend where he hath done amiss, than 
him that will at every step fall a crying, "01 am so weak, 
I can do nothing as I should.' A humble sense of failings 
you will like ; but not that your servant should sit still and 
complain when he should be working ; nor that all your 
service should be performed with weeping, disquietness and 
lamentations ; you had rather have your servant humbly and 
modestly cheerful, and not always dejected, for fear of dis- 
pleasing you. O how many poor souls are overseen in this ! 
You might easily perceive it even by the devil's opposition 
and temptations. He will further you in your self-vexa- 
tions (when he cannot keep you in security and presump- 
tion), but in amending, he will hinder you with all his 
might. How oft have I known poor, passionate creatures, 
that would vex and rage in anger, and break out in unseem- 
ly language, to the disquieting of all about them ; and others 
that would drop into other the like sins, and when they have 
.done lament it, and condemn themselves ; and yet would 
not set upon a resolute and cheerful reformation ! Nay, if 
you do but reprove them for any sin, they will sooner say, 
* If 1 be so bad, God will condemn me for an hypocrite,' and 
so lie down in disquietness and distress ; than they will say, 
' I see my sin, and I resolve to resist it, and I pray you 
warn me of it, and help me to watch against it. So that 
they would bring us to this pass, that either we must let 
them alone with their sins, for fear of tormenting them, or 
else we must cause them to lie down in terrors. Alas, poor 
mistaken souls ! It is neither of these that God calls for ! 
Will you do any thing save what you should do ? Must 
you needs be esteemed either innocent, or hypocrites, or 
such as shall be damned ? The thing that God would 
have is this ; That you would be glad that you see your 
fault, and thank him that sheweth it you, and resolvedly do 
your best to amend it, and this in faith and cheerful confi- 
dence in Christ, flying to his Spirit for help and victory. 
Will you please the devil so far, and so far contradict the 
gracious way of Christ, as that you will needs either sit still 
or despair ? Is there not a middle between these two ? To 
wit, cheerful amendment ? Remember that it is not your 
vexation or despair, but your obedience and peace that God 


desireth. That life is most pleasing to him, which is most 
safe and sweet to you. 

If you say still, you cannot delight in God, I say again. 
Do but acknowledge it the great work that God requireth 
of you, and make it your daily aim, and care, and business, 
and then you will more easily and certainly attain it. But 
while you know not your work, or so far mistake it, as to 
think it consisteth more in sorrows and fears ; and never en- 
deavour, in yoUr duties or meditations, to raise your soul to 
a delight in God, but rather to cast down yourself with still 
poring on your miseries, no wonder then if you be a stranger 
to this life of holy delight. 

By this time I find myself come up to the subject of my 
book of the " Saints' Rest ;" wherein having said so much 
to direct and excite you, for the attainment of these spiri- 
tual and heavenly delights, I will refer you to it, for your 
help in that work; and add no more here, but to desire you, 
through the course of your life, to remember. That the true 
love of God in Christ, and delight in him, and thankful, 
cheerful obedience to him, is the great work of a Christian, 
which God is best pleased with, and which the blessed an- 
gels and saints shall be exercised in for ever. 

And O thou the blessed God of love, the Father of mer- 
cy, the Prince of peace, the Spirit of consolation, compose 
the disquieted spirits of thy people, and the tumultuous, 
disjointed state of thy churches; and pardon our rashness, 
contentions, and blood-guiltiness, and give us not up to the 
state of the wicked, who are like the raging sea, and to 
whom there is no peace ! Lay thy command on our winds 
and waves, before thy shipwrecked vessel perish ; and re- 
buke that evil spirit whose name is Legion, which hath pos- 
sessed so great a part of thine inheritance. Send forth the 
spirit of judgment and meekness into thy churches, and save 
us from our pride and ignorance with their effects ; and bring 
our feet into the way of peace, which hitherto we have not 
known. O close all thy people speedily in loving consulta- 
tions, and earnest inquiries after peace. Let them return 
from their corruptions, contentions, and divisions, and joint- 
ly seek thee, asking the way to Zion with their faces thi- 
therward ; saying, Come let us join ourselves to the Lord in 
a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. Blast all 


opposing policies and powers. Say to these dead and dry 
bones. Live. And out of these ruins do thou yet erect a 
city of righteousness, where thy people may dwell together 
in peaceable habitations ; and in the midst thereof a tem- 
ple to thy holiness : let the materials of it be verity and 
purity : let the Redeemer be its foundation : let love and 
peace cement it into unity : let thy laver and covenant be 
the doors ; and holiness to the Lord be engraven thereon ; 
that buyers and sellers may be cast out, and the common 
and unclean may know their place ; and let no desolating 
abomination be there set up. But let thy people all in one 
name, in one faith, with one mind, and one soul, attend to 
thine instructions, and wait for thy laws, and submit unto 
thine order, and rejoice in thy salvation ; that the troubled 
spirits may be there exhilarated, the dark enlightened, and 
ail may offer thee the sacrifice of praise, (without disaffec- 
tions, discords, or divisions ;) that so thy people may be thy 
delight, and thou mayest be the chiefest delight of thy peo- 
ple ; and they may please thee through him that hath per- 
fectly pleased thee. Or if our expectation of this happiness 
on earth be too high, yet give us so much as may enlighten 
our eyes, and heal those corruptions which estrange us from 
thee, and may propagate thy truth, increase thy church, and 
honour thy holiness, and may quicken our desires, and 
strengthen us in our way, and be a foretaste to us of the ever- 
lasting rest. 






" Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world : if any mnn love the 
world, the Jove ol'the Father is not in him." 

1 JpHxii. 1.5. 







Upon a double account I have thought it meet to direct 
this Treatise first to you. First, Because the first embryo 
of it was an Assize Sermon preached at your desire, when 
you were high sheriff of this county, which drew me to add 
more, till it swelled to this, which some of my brethren have 
persuaded to venture into the open world. Secondly, Be- 
cause God hath given you a heart to be exemplary in prac- 
tising the doctrine here delivered : and I think I shall teach 
men the more successfully, when I can shew them a living 
lesson for their imitation. I never knew that you refused a 
work of charity that was motioned to you ; but oft have 
you offered me that for the church's service, which I was 
not ready to accept and improve. I would not do you the 
displeasure as to mention this, but that forward charity is 
grown so rare in many places, that some may grow shortly 
to think that we preach to them of a chimera, a non-exis- 
tent thing, if we do not tell them where it is to bp seen : es- 
pecially now infidelity is grown up to that strength, that 
seeing is taken by 4jiany for the only true informer of their 
reason, and believing ^r an unreasonable thing. And I take 
myself to owe much th^^nkfulness to God, when I see him 
choose a faithful steward for any of his gifts. It is a sign 
he meaneth good by it to his church. 

Some rich men sacrifice all they have to their bellies, 
which are their gods, even to an epicurean momentary de- 
light, and cast all into the filthy sink of their sensuality ; 
these are worse than infidels, defrauding their posterity ; 
and swine alive, but worse than swine when they are dead, 


Some rich men are provident, but it is only for their pos- 
terity. The ravenous brutes are greedy for their young. 
Some will begin to be bountiful at death, and give that to 
God which they can keep no longer, as if he would be thus 
bribed to receive their souls, and forgive their worldly hearts 
and lives. Some will give in their lifetime ; but it is but 
part of their sinful gains ; like the thief that would pay 
tithes of all that he had stolen. Some give a part of their 
more lawful increase, but it is against their will ; it being- 
forced from them by law, for church and poor ; and there- 
fore properly it is no gift. Some will give freely, but it is 
on some corrupt design, to strengthen a party, or a carnal 
interest, or make their way to some preferment. Some give, 
but only to those of their own opinion, and not to a disciple 
in the name of a disciple. Some give in contention, as the 
troublers of the church of Corinth preached, to add afflic- 
tions to our bonds ; as many of the Papists, that think by 
their works of charity, they are warranted uncharitably to 
. slander almost all besides themselves : as if we were all ene- 
mies to good works, or Solifidians, that took them for in- 
different things, or made them not our business. Yea, the 
best work that the Jesuits ever did, even the preaching of 
the Gospel to the heathens, they would not endure us to 
join with them in, where they could hinder us, unless we 
would do it in their Papal way. Some will do good, to stop 
the cries of a guilty conscience, for some secret odious sin 
which they live in. Some will be liberal with the hypocrite 
for applause. And some will give with a pharisaical con- 
ceit of merit (even * ex condigno,' from the proportion of their 
work to the reward, as the greatest Popish doctors teach). 
Some through mere fears of being damned, will be liberal, 
especially out of their superfluities ; choosing rather to for- 
sake their money than their sin. Some do pretend the high- 
est ends, and that it is Christ himself to whom they do de- 
vote it ; but they will part with no more than the flesh can 
spare : and that they may yet seem to be true Christians, 
they will not believe that any thing is a duty, which requir- 
eth much self-denial, and standeth not with their prosperity 
in the world. And some will give much out of a mere na- 
tural kindness of disposition, or upon mere natural motives ; 
though not as to Christ, nor from the love of God, nor from 
that spirit of Christian special love, by which the members 


of Christ have their communion. What excellent precepts 
of clemency and beneficence hath Seneca? Yea, what 
abundance of self-denial doth he seem to join with them? 
And yet so strange was this highest naturalist, to the truest 
charity or self-denial, that it is self that is his principle, end, 
and all. For a man to be sufficient for himself, and happy 
in himself, without troubling God by prayer, or needing 
man, was the sum of his religion. Pride was their master- 
virtue, which with us is the greatest vice. And for all his 
seeming contempt of riches and pleasures, yet Seneca 
keeps up in such a height of riches and greatness, as that he 
was like to have been emperor. And sometimes to be 
drunken he commends, to drive away cares and raise the 
mind ; pleading the example of Solon and Agesilaus ; con- 
fessing that drunkenness was objected even to Cato, their 
highest pattern of virtue ; affirming, that the objectors may 
sooner make the crime honest, than Cato dishonest. 

Among all this seeming charity and self-denial, that prov- 
eth not a sanctified heart, how excellent (but too rare) is the 
true self-denial and charity of the Christian ; who hath quit 
all pretence of title to himself, or any thing that he hath, 
and hath consecrated himself and all to God ; resolving to 
employ himself and it entirely for him ; studying only to be 
well informed, which way it is that God would have him 
lay it out. And among these saints themselves, how rare 
is that excellent man, that is covetous and laborious for God, 
and for the church, and for his brethren ; and that doth as 
providently get and keep, and as painfully labour, (how rich 
soever he be) and as much pinch his flesh (in prudent mo- 
deration) that he may have the more to give and to do good 
with, and make the best of his master's stock, as other men 
do in making provision for the flesh, and laying up for their 

Sir, as far as you have proceeded in this Christian art, 
you are yet in the world among the snares and limetwigs of 
the devil, in a station that makes salvation difficult ; and 
therefore have need of daily watchfulness, and to proceed 
and persevere in an enmity to the world, and a believing 
crucifixion of it, if you will be saved from it, and restore it 
to its proper use, and captivate it, that captivateth so many. 
As some help hereunto, I crave your perusal of this Treatise. 
And that it may do you good, and the many blessings pro,- 


mised to the charitable may rest upon you, and on your 
yokefellow, (that hath learned this crucifying of the world) 
and upon your posterity, shall be the prayers of 

Your Fellow-soldier against the Flesh and World, 


February 20, 1657. 




Honourable, Worshipful, &c. 

Having written here of a subject that nearly concerneth 
you, I have thought it my duty to give you a place, and ac- 
cording to your dignity the first place in the application of 
it. Of which I shall first tender you my reasons, and then 
set before you the matter of this address. 

1 . You are among us the most eminent and honoured 
persons, and therefore not to be neglected and passed by : 
you are first, and therefore should first be served. You 
hold yourselves most worthy of any temporal honour that is 
to be had ; and therefore I shall honour you so much more, 
as to judge you fit to be first spoken to by the ministers of 
Christ, in a case that doth much concern you. As you have, 
and would have the precedency in worldly matters, here also 
you shall have the precedency. It is pity that you should 
be first in hell, that are first in a Christian state on earth ; 
or that you should be least in the kingdom of heaven, that 
are greatest in that which is esteemed in the world. 2. You 
are pillars in the commonwealth, and the stakes that bear 
up the rest of the hedge. Your influence is great in lower 
bodies. You sin not to yourselves only ; nor are you gra- 
cious only to yourselves. The spots in the moon are seen 
by more, and its eclipses felt by more, than the blemishes 
or changes of many of us inferior wights. You are our first 
figures, that stand for more in matters of public concern- 
ment, than all that follow. You are the copies that the rest 
write after, and they are more prone to copy out your vices 
than your graces. You are the first sheets in the press. 

CGXCvi Plltl-ACE. 

You are tlie stewards of God, who are entrusted with his 
talents for the use of many. You are the noble members of 
the body politic, whose health or sickness is communicated 
to the rest : if you be ungodly, the whole body languisheth; 
if you live and prosper, it will go the better with us all : for 
your wisdom, and holiness, and justice will be operative; 
and your station alloweth you great advantage to work up- 
on many, and to emulate a kind of universal causality. In- 
terest is the world's bias, and all power hath respect to use. 
You that have possession of the treasure that is so common- 
ly and highly esteemed, may do much to lead the sensual 
world by it, which way you please. Be it better or be it 
worse, they will follow him that bears the purse. If money 
can do wonders, you may do wonders. As money can per- 
suade the blind to part with God and life everlasting, and 
to renounce religion and reason itself, so no doubt but it 
might do something, were it faithfully used, though not di- 
rectly to sanctify the heart, yet somewhat to incline it to the 
means by which it may be sanctified. You that have power 
to help or hurt, to make it summer or winter to your sub- 
jects, and to promote or cross the interest of the flesh, are 
hereby become a kind of gods in the eyes of them that mind 
this interest, (as in higher respects you are unto believers). 
Especially seeing they want that eye of faith, by which they 
should know the Sovereign Majesty, who at his pleasure 
doth dispose both of you and them ; these purblind sinners 
can reach no further, but are contented to be ruled by you, 
as terrestrial deities : they see you, but they see not God ; 
they know you, and perceive the effects of your favour and 
displeasure ; but being dead to God, and savouring only 
fleshly things, they scarce observe his smiles or frowns. 
They see that which is visible to the eye, which they have 
the use of; but the objects of faith are to them as nothing, 
because they have no eye to see them. And seeing you 
have such public interest and influence, it is our duty first 
to look after your souls, and to see that you receive the 
heavenly impress. 3. To which I may add, that no men 
have usually more need of advice and help than you ; for 
your temptations are the strongest. The world killeth by 
its flatteries ; it is not the having it, but the loving it, that 
undoes men : and he is much more likely to overlove it, 
that hath what he would have, and liveth in plentiful provi- 


sions for his flesh, than he that hath nothing from it but 
trouble and vexation. It is not poverty, and prisons, and 
sickness, that are the flattering panders of the world, but 
prosperity and content to the flesh. Though I know that 
many of the poor do most of all overvalue the world, because 
they never tried so much of its vanity, but standing at a dis- 
tance from prosperity, do think it a greater felicity than it 
is ; for those are most in love with the world, that least know 
it ; as those that least know him, are least in love with God 
and eternal glory. But yet it is pleasing, and not displeas- 
ing, flattering rather than buflfeting, that is the means of de- 
ceiving silly souls, and stealing their hearts from God to 
the world : your mountains lie open to stronger winds than 
our valleys do : and gulfs and greater streams are not so 
fordable as our more shallow waters. He never studied God 
and heaven, nor his own heart, that knoweth not that it is 
a very difficult thing, to have a heavenly mind in earthly 
prosperity, and to live in the desires of another world, while 
we feel all seems to go well with us in this. How liard to 
be weaned from the world, till we suffer in it ; yea, till we 
are plunged into an utter despair of ever receiving here the 
satisfaction of our desires ! 4. And truly we have too much 
sad experience of the sensuality and ungodliness of most of 
the rich, to suffer us to think that you have least need of 
our admonitions : which leadeth me up to the matter of my 
address, which is first to complain of you to yourselves, and 
then to admonish you, and lastly to direct you. 

1. I know I speak to those (for the most part) that pro- 
fess to believe a life to come ; but O that you had the ho- 
nesty to live as you do profess ! You durst not put it into 
your creed, that you believe that earth is more desirable than 
heaven, and that it is better seek first after carnal prosperity 
and delight, than for the kingdom of God, and the righ- 
teousness thereof. You would be ashamed to say that it is 
the wisest course first to make provision for the flesh, and 
to put off" God and your salvation with the leavings of the 
world. And do you think it is not as bad and as dangerous 
to do so, as to say so? Would it bring you to your jour- 
ney's end, to be of the opinion that you should be up and 
going, as long as you sit still? Right opinions in religion 
are so unlikely to save a man that crosseth them in his prac- 
tice, that such shall be beaten with many stripes. I had ra- 


ther be in the case of many a popish friar, that renounceth 
the world, though in a way that hath many errors, than in 
the case of many an orthodox gentleman that is drowned in 
the cares and pleasures of this life : yea, I think it will be 
easier for a Socrates, a Plato, in the day of judgment, than 
for such. Christianity is a practical religion ; it is a devoted 
seeking for another life, by the improvement and contempt 
of this. Put not that into your life, that you are ashamed 
to put into your profession or belief. If you do as infidels, 
you will be as miserable as if you believed but as infidels. 
And practising awhile against your conscience, may cause 
God to forsake your judgment also, and give you over to be- 
lieve as you live, because you would not live as you believed. 
And I fear that this is the case of some of you : nay, I have 
, too much reason to know it, that some of our gentry, even 
persons of note and honour among us, have forsaken Christ, 
and are turned infidels ; and by the love of this world, have 
carnally adhered to it so long, till they are so far forsaken 
of God, as to think that there is no other life for them here- 
after. God hath an eye on these wretches ; and men have 
an eye on some of them. I shall now leave them in their 
slippery station, till a fitter opportunity. Some we have of 
our nobility and gentry that are learned, studious and pious, 
and an honour and blessing to this unworthy land ; or else 
it were not like to be so well with us as it is. But O how 
numerous are the sensual and profane ! which provoked that 
heavenly poet, of noble extract (Mr. G. Herbert, " Church 
Porch,") to say, 

" O England, full of sin, but most of sloth. 
Spit out thy phlegm, and fill thy breast with glory : 

Thy gentry bleats, as if thy native cloth 
Transfus'd a sheepishness into thy story : 

Not that they all are so ; but that the most 

Are gone to grass, and in the pasture lost." 

Gentlemen, I have no mind to dishonour you ; but com- 
passion on your souls, and on the nation, commands me to 
complain, in order to reform you : and yet if you sinned and 
perished alone, we were the less inexcusable if we let you 
alone. What abundance of you are fitter to swill in a but- 
tery, or gorge yourselves at a feast, or ride over poor men's 


corn in hawking and hunting, than to govern the common- 
wealth, and by judgment and example to lead the people in 
the ways of life ! What abundance of you waste your pre- 
cious hours in feasting, and sports, and idleness, and com- 
plimenting, and things impertinent to your great business 
in the world, as if you had no greater things to mind ! Had 
you been by another commanded to a dung-cart, or like a 
carrier to follow pack-horses (in honester and more ho- 
nourable life than yours), you would think yourselves en- 
slaved and dishonoured : and yet when God hath set before 
you an eternal glory, you debase your own souls by wilful 
drenching them in the pleasures, and cares, and vanities of 
the world, and have no mind of that high and noble work, 
which God appointed you. So that when many poor men 
are ennobled by a heavenly disposition, and a heavenly con- 
versation, you enslave yourselves to that which they tread 
under feet, and refuse the only noble life : that which they 
account as loss, and dross, and dung, that they may win 
Christ, and be found in him, (Phil. iii. 7, 8.) that do you 
delight in, and live upon as your treasure. When once you 
know whether God or your money be better, whether hea- 
ven or earth, whether eternity or time be better, you will then 
know which is the noblest life. 

Nay, what abundance are there among you, that make a 
very trade of sensuality, and turn your sumptuous houses 
into sties, and your gorgeous apparel into handsome trap- 
pings, if the appurtenances may receive their names from 
the possessors ; that never knew what it was to spend one 
day or hour of your lives, in a diligent search of your hearts 
and ways, and heart-breaking lamentation of your sin and 
misery, and in serious thoughts of the life to come ; but go 
on from feast to feast, and company to company, and from 
one pleasure to another, as if you must never hear of this 
again ; and as if you were so drunken and besotted with the 
world, that you had forgotten that you are men, or that you 
have A God to please, and a soul to save or lose for ever. 
Nay, how many of you hate a faithful preacher and a holy 
life, and make them the ordinary matter of your scorn ; and 
cheat your souls with a few ceremonies and formalities, as if 
by such a carnal righteousness you could make all whole, 
when you have lived to the flesh, and loathed the spiritual 
worship of God that is a Spirit, and the heavenly lives of 


his sanctified ones, and consequently the law that com- 
mandeth such a life, and the God that is the maker of" that 
law. 1 call not your civil controversies your malignity ; but 
it is the proper title of your enmity to holiness : and is it not 
enough that man in honour will be without understanding, 
and make himself like the beasts that perish, (Psal. xlix. 20.) 
but you must also take up the serpentine nature, and hissing 
and stinging must be the requital that you return to Christ 
for all your honours ? Think, if you have yet a thinking fa- 
culty, whether this be kindly, or honestly, or wisely done, 
and what it is like to be to yourselves in the end. Your 
riches and honours do now hide a great deal of your shame ; 
but will it not appear when these rags are torn from your 
backs, and your souls are left in naked guilt ? Saith Chry- 
sostom, * If it were possible to do justice on the rich as com- 
monly as on the poor, we should have all the prisons filled 
with them ; but riches with their other evils have also this 
evil, that they save men from the punishment of their evil.' 
(O but how long will they do so ?) This was plain dealing 
of a holy father ; and is it not such as is as needful now as 
then ? Is it not greatness more than innocency that saves 
abundance of you from shame and punishment ? 

Nay, many of you think, that because you are rich, it is 
lawful for you to be idle, and lawful voluptuously to give up 
yourselves to pleasures and recreations, and you think that 
you may do with your own as you list : as if it had been given 
you to gratify the flesh. The words that converted Austin, 
never sunk yet into your hearts ; Rom. xiii. 13, 14. " Let 
us walk honestly as in the day ; not in rioting and drun- 
kenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife 
and envying ; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make 
no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." You 
never felt the meaning of those words, Rom. viii. 13. " If 
ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if by the Spirit ye 
mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live." 

But to turn my Complaint into an Admonition, I beseech 
you, consider what you are, and what you do. 1. How un- 
like are you to Jesus Christ your pattern, that denied him- 
self all the honours, and riches, and carnal delights of the 
world. Read over his life, and read your own, and judge 
whether any man on earth be more unlike to Christ, than a 


voluptuous, worldly gentleman ? Especially if malignity be 
added to his sensuality. 

2. How unlike are you to the holy laws of Christ? Are 
his precepts of mortification and self-denial imprinted in 
your hearts, and predominant in your lives ? Is a beast any 
more \mlike a man, than your hearts and lives are unlike 
Christ's laws? 

3. How unlike are you to the ancient Christians, that 
forsook all and followed Christ, and lived in a community 
of charity ? And how unlike to every gracious soul, that 
is dead to the world, and hath mortified his members upon 
earth, and hath his conversation in another world ? Are 
you not such as Paul wept over; Phil. iii. 18. "Whose 
God is their belly, who glory in their shame, and who mind 
earthly things, and that are enemies to the cross of Christ?" 
though perhaps you are no enemies to his name. Believe 
it. Gentlemen, whatever your thoughts of yourselves may 
be, you will find that no religion will save you, that stoop- 
eth to the world, and is but an underling to your fleshly 

4. How unlike are you to your professions and your cove- 
nant with God? And to your confessions and prayers to 
him? Did you not renounce the flesh, the world and the devil 
in your baptism? Do you not still profess that heaven is 
best, and God is to be preferred, and yet will you not do it, 
but let your own professions condemn you? Do you not or- 
dinarily confess that the world is vain, and yet will you 
shew yourselves such dissemblers, as to love and seek it 
more than God ? As if there were no more power in the spi- 
rit of Christianity, than in the opinion of Zeno the philoso- 
pher, who having oft said that poverty and riches were nei- 
ther good nor bad, but things indifferent, was yet dismayed 
when he heard that his farms were seized on by the enemies, 
the prince having sent one with the report to try him ; tell- 
ing him when he had done, ' That now riches and poverty 
were not things indifferent.' How oft have you prayed to 
be saved from temptation ? And yet will you still dote 
upon your snares and fetters ; and shew yourselves such 
hypocrites as to love the temptations which you pray against? 

5. You are guilty of a double injury to God ; in that you 
are obliged to him as his created subjects, and yet more 
obliged by your riches and honours, which he hath triven 


you for your Master's use ; " To whom men give much, from 
them will they expect the more;'* Luke xii. 48. For a ser- 
vant that hath double wages, to abuse you ; for a friend that 
hath received double kindness, to prove false to you ; for a 
commander in the army to betray his general, is sure an ag- 
gravation of the crime. Must God advance you highest, and 
will you thrust him lowest in your heart? Must he feed 
you with the best, and clothe you with the best, and will 
you put hira off with the worst ? Have you ten times, or 
a hundred times more wealth from him, than many an ho- 
nest, heavenly believer ? and yet will you love and serve 
him less ? 

6. Is it not pity and shame, that you should thus turn 
mercies themselves into sin, and draw your bane from that 
which might have been a blessing? Will ye be the worse 
because God is so good to you? Must he give you health 
and time for his service, and give you such plentiful provi- 
sion and assistance, and will you be worse in health than 
others are in sickness, and worse in plenty than others are 
in want? Is not this the way to dry up the streams of 
mercy, when the more you have the worse you are ? 

7. You exceedingly wrong the church and common- 
wealth : for it is for the public good that you are advanced ; 
and you should be a blessing to the land. And will you 
cast away that time and wealth upon the flesh, which you 
have received for such noble ends ? Rob not the church 
and commonwealth of what you owe it, by engrossing it to 
yourselves, or consuming it on your lusts. 

8. Great men have a great account to make : you shall 
shortly hear, " Give account of thy stewardship, for thou 
shalt be no longer steward." If God have entrusted you 
with a thousand pound a year, it is not the same reckoning 
that must serve your turn, as would serve his turn that had 
but a hundred. Your improvement must be somewhat an- 
swerable to your receivings. Do you need to be told, how 
sad a reckoning will it then be, to say, ' Lord, I employed 
most of it in maintaining the pomp and pleasure of myself 
and family, even that pomp of the world, and those sinful 
lusts of the flesh, which in my baptism I forswore ; and the 
rest I left to my children, to maintain them in the same 
pomp and pleasure, except a few scraps of my revenues, 
which I gave to the church or poor V 


9. Your wealth and greatness do afford you great oppor- 
tunities to do good, and to further the salvation of your- 
selves and others ; and worldliness and sensuality will cob 
you of these opportunities. O how many good works might 
you have done, to the honour of your Lord, and the benefit 
of others and yourselves, if you had made the best of your 
interest and estates. The loss of the reward will shortly ap- 
pear to you a greater loss, than that which you now account 
the loss of your estates. 

10. Your worldliness and sensuality is a sin against your 
own experience and the experience of all the world. You 
have long tried the world, and what hath it done for you, 
that you should so overvalue it? You know that it is 
the common vote of all that ever tried it, sooner or later, 
that it is vanity and vexation. And have you not the wit 
or grace to learn from so plain a teacher as experience, 
yea, your own experience, yea, and all the world's experi- 

11. You sin also against your very reason itself, and 
against your certain knowledge. You know most certainly 
that the world will serve you but a little while. You know 
the day is hard at hand when it will turn you off; and you 
shall say, ' I have now had all that the world can do for me,* 
Naked you came into it, and naked you must go out of it. 
' Hand uUas portabis opes Acherontis ad undas.' And then 
you shall more sensibly know what you now so overvalued, 
and what you preferred before God and your salvation, than 
now I am able to make you know. O what low thoughts 
will every one of you have of all your pomp and pleasure, 
your vain-glory and all your fleshly accommodations, when 
you perceive that they are gone, and leave your souls to the 
justice of that God, whom for the love of them you wilfully 
neglected. If poor men of mean and low education, were 
so sottish as not to know these things, methinks it should 
not be so with you, that are bred to more understanding 
than they. 

12. Lastly, you sin against the most plain and terrible 
passages of Scripture, seconded with dreadful judgments of 
God, inflicted either upon yourselves, or at least on others 
of your rank before your eyes. You have read or heard the 
words of Christ, (Luke ix. 25.) "For what is a man advan- 
taged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, and be 


cast away ?" And chap. xii. 33, 34. " Sell all that you have 
and give alms. Provide yourselves bags which wax not 
old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no 
thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where 
your treasure is there will your hearts be also." You have 
heard there the terrible parable of the rich man, (ver. 16 — 
29.) which endeth with " Thou fool, this night thy soul shall 
be required of thee, and then whose shall' those things be 
which thou hast provided?" with this general application, 
" So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich 
towards God." And you have heard that more dreadful pa- 
rable (chap, xvi.), of the rich man that was " clothed in pur- 
ple and fared sumptuously," and what was his endless end. 
You have heard the difficulty of the salvation of the 
rich,' (chap, xviii. 24, 25.) "How hardly shall they that 
have riches enter into the kingdom of God." Because they 
are so hardly kept from loving them inordinately, and trust- 
ing in them. You have heard how fully Christ is resolved 
thafe no man can be his disciple that forsaketh not all that 
he hath for him ;" chap. xiv. 23. 26, 27. And if you go ne- 
ver so far in your obedience, and yet lack this one thing, to 
part with all (in affection, and resolution, and practice, when 
he requireth it), and follow Christ in sufferings and wants, 
in hope of a treasure in heaven, it is certain that Christ and 
you must part; Luke xviii. 22. You have heard the terri- 
ble passages in James v. 1, 2, &c. and abundance such in 
the word of God. And yet are you not afraid of worldliness 
or sensuality ? You have seen in England the riches of 
abundance quickly scattered, that were long in gathering ; 
and God knows how many lost their souls, to build that 
which a few years' wars pulled down. And yet when you 
have but a little breathing time, you are at it again as ea- 
gerly as ever ; as men that knew no greater good, and are 
acquainted with no better and more gainful an employ- 

Gentlemen, Do you know indeed, what it is that you 
make so great a stir for ? which you value at so high a rate? 
which you hold so fast? which you enjoy so delightfully? 
You do not know. I dare say by your using of it, that you 
do not know it. Or else you would soon have other thoughts 
of it, and use it in another manner. Come nearer, and see 
it through ; and look into the inside. Consult not with 


blind and partial sense ; but put on awhile the spectacles 
of faith ; go into the sanctuary and see the end. Nay, rea- 
son itself may tell you much of it. When you must part 
with it, you will wish it hanged loose from you, and had not 
been so glued to you, as to tear your hearts. You feel not 
what the devil's limetwigs have done, till you are about to 
take wing, either by a heavenly contemplation, or by death ; 
and then you will find yourselves entangled. The world is 
like to bad physicians, ' quorum successus sol intuetur, er- 
rores autem tellus operit.' The earth beareth yet all the 
good it doth you, but hell hath hidden from you the mis- 
chief that it hath done to millions of your ancestors : and 
therefore though this their way was their folly, yet do their 
posterity approve their sayings ; Psal. xix. 13. ' Die mihi,' 
saith Bernard, ' ubi sunt amatores mundi, qui ante pauca 
tempora nobiscum fuerunt ? Nihil ex eis remansit, nisi ci- 
neres et vermes. Attende diligenter, qui sunt et fuerunt, 
sicut tu, comederunt et biberunt, riserunt, duxerunt in bo- 
nis dies suos, et in puncto ad inferna descenderunt. Hie 
caro eorum vermibus, illic anima eorum flammis deputatur, 
donee rursus infelici collegio colligati sempiternis ignibus 
involvantur.' Who would so value that which he must eter- 
nally complain of, and not only say, ' It hath done me no 
good,' but also say, ' It hath deceived me and undone me?' 
I would not thank you to make me the owner of all your 
lands and honours to-day, and take it from me all to-mor- 
row. What the better now are your grandfathers and great 
grandfathers for living in those houses, and possessing 
those lands, and honours, and pleasures, that you possess ? 
Unless they used them spiritually and holily for God, and 
heaven, and the common good, they are now in hell for their 
sensuality upon earth, and are reaping as they have sown 
(Gal. vi. 7, 8.), and paying dear for all their pleasures. 
Their bones and dust do give you no notice of any rem- 
nants of their honours or delights ; and if you saw their 
souls, you would be further satisfied. It may be there 
stands a gilded monument over their rottenness and dust ; 
and it may be they have left an honourable name with those 
that follow them in their deceit, (and so might the torment- 
ed rich man with his brethren (Luke xvi.), who were follow- 
ing him towards that place of torment). A just judgment of 



God it is, to give up men that choose deceit, to be thus be- 
fooled. That they should not only despise the durable 
riches, and choose a dream of honour, wealth, and pleasure 
here ; but also, that their end may answer their beginning, 
they should also take up with a picture of honour and feli- 
city when they are dead. That their deceived posterity may 
see a gilded image bearing an honourable mention of their 
names, and hear them named with applause, and so may be 
allured the more boldly to go after them. And so a sha- 
dow of wisdom and virtue, hath a shadow of surviving ho- 
nour for its reward ; which alas, neither soul nor body is the 
better for. You see that all, your wealth and honour will 
not preserve your honourable corpse from loathsome putre- 
faction. How much less must it keep your guilty souls, from 
the place that you have here been purchasing by your mam- 

* Sic metit Orcus 

Grandia cum parvis, non exorabilis auro V 
If this be your wealth, and honour, and delight, the 
Lord deliver me from such a felicity 

' Hffic alii capiant ; liceat mihi paupere cultu 
Securo, charo numine posse frui.' 

For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath 
gained (or scraped together, as the Hebrew may be turned) 
when God shall take (or pull) away his soul?" Job xxvii. 8. 
" The triumphing (or praise) of the wicked is short (or but 
at hand), and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment ;" 
Job XX. 5. 

Yea, one would think that the very troubles and smart 
that in this life accompanieth your wealth and honour, in 
the getting and keeping, and the gripes of conscience, that 
the forethoughts of the parting hour, and your heavy reck- 
oning, must needs mix with all your pleasure and vainglo- 
ry, unless you have laid asleep your wits ; besides your ex- 
perience of the emptiness and deceit of all that you have 
overvalued. I say, one would think that this much should 
somewhat allay your thirst, and calm your minds, and make 
you think of a better treasure. Sure I am that God would 
do ten thousandfold more for you, and be better to you ; 
and yet because of some fleshly arguments, you are turned 
away from him. He cannot be thus loved and delighted in, 


and sought, and yet he ofFereth more for you than the world 
doth. Saith Augustine, ' Ecce mundus turbat, et amatur ; 
quid si tranquillus esset? formoso quomodo haereres, qui 
sic amplecteris foedum. Flores ejus quomodo colligeres, 
qui spinis non revocas manura?' And it is just that they 
should have abed of thorns, that wilfully make choice of it. 
Seneca thus justifieth God, that though he give men such 
perplexities and vexations, it is ' nullis nisi optantibus,' 
only to them that will needs have it so, and are choosers of 
their own destruction. Choosers, do I say ? Yea, and 
will compass sea and land for it. Stretch conscience for it 
till it tear, or can stretch no further. Oppress and defraud 
for it, some of them. Break vows and covenants for it. 
Sell God and heaven for it. Scrambling with such dis- 
tracted violence for the smoky honours, the nominal 
wealth, the intoxicating pleasures of a few hasty days, that 
they care not what they part with for them, nor who they 
bear down that standeth in their way. 

' Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, 
Auri sacra fames V 

And is Christ worth no more than to be sold with Judas for 
so base a price ? Is our heavenly birthright a thing so base, or 
the promise of our immortal crown so uncertain, as to be parted 
with on Esau's terms ? Is God and endless glory worth no 
more than this comes to ? * Propter nummos Deum contem- 
nere,' saith Jerome. To despise and cast off God for a thing 
so base, is the basest kind of despising him. The idolaters 
that vilified him by making images of him, were asked, " To 
whom will you liken me, saith the Holy One ;" Isa. xl. 18.25. 
And these sensual and covetous idolaters must be asked. 
Whom will you match with God, or set up against him, or 
prefer before him ? What will you choose, if you choose 
not him ? What shall be your portion instead of heaven ? 
Doth it excuse you that the world hath so lovely an aspect ? 
Yes, if God be not more amiable than it, and if his face and 
favour be not more desirable. Doth it excuse you that the 
baits of the world are pleasant, and that it offered you fair? 
Yes, if God had not outbid it, and offered you ten thousand 
times more. Doth it excuse you that the world is near and 
certain, and heaven uncertain or out of sight? Yes, if you 


are beasts that have no reason to know what will be, but 
only sense to feel what is ; or if God have not given you an 
infallible promise, befriended by reason, sealed by multi- 
tudes of uncontrolled miracles, and transcribed on his ser- 
vant's hearts ; and if the greatness of the glory promised 
were not sufficient to do more at a distance with a man of 
faith and reason, than childish trifles near at hand ; as the 
sun at a distance giveth us more light than a glowworm that 
is hard by. Yea, and if the world, which you think so cer- 
tain, were not certainly transitory and vain ; so that he that 
gets it, is certain shortly to be no gainer : and he that los- 
eth it, to be no loser. You look on a poor, praying self- 
denying believer : but you look not before you, on a saint 
that shall reign with Christ, " and judge the world, when he 
cometh to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them 
that believe ;" 2 Thess. i. 10. You see them " sow their 
seed in tears," but you see it not springing up, nor do you 
foresee the joyful harvest. You see them following Christ 
through tribulations, bearing his cross, and despising the 
shame ; but you see them not yet set down with him on 
their thrones. The fight you see, but the triumph you see 
not. You see them tossed at sea, but you know not how 
sure a pilot they have ; nor do you see the riches of their 
freight. You see sickness or persecution unpinning their 
corruptible rags, and death undressing them, but you see 
not the clothes which they are putting on. You see them 
laid asleep by death ; but you see not their awaking ; nor 
the rising of their sun, when " the righteous shall have domi- 
nion in the morning." The man that is dead to the world 
you see; but you see not the life that is hid with Christ in 
God, nor their appearing with him in glory, when Christ 
who is their life appears. Your unbelieving souls imagine 
there will be no May or harvest, because it is now winter 
with us. You think the rose and beauteous flowers which 
are promised us in that spring, are but delusions, because 
you know not the virtue of that life that is in the root, nor 
the powerful influence of that Sun of the believers. You 
see the dead body, but you see not the soul alive with 
Christ, retired into its root. You see the candle put out, 
and know not whither the flame is gone, and think not how 
small a touch of the yet living soul will light it again. 

And so on the other side, you look on the swaggering 


gallant, but you look not on the ulcerous soul : You hear 
them laughing and j esti ng in their j oviality, but you hear them 
not yet groaning in their pains : You see them clambering 
into the seat of honour, but see them not cast into the grave : 
You see them run and ride in pomp and pleasure, following 
the delights of the flesh, attended by their followers that 
honour and applaud them ; but you see them not yet gasp- 
ing under the pangs of death, nor laid in the dust as still as 
stones : You see their beauty and glittering attire, but you 
see not the pale and ghastly face that death will give them, 
nor the skulls that are stripped of all those ornaments : You 
smell their perfumes, but you smell not their putrefaction : 
You see their lands and spacious houses and sumptuous 
furniture ; but you see not how narrow a room will serve 
them in the grave, nor how little there they differ from the 
most contemptible of men. Nay more, you see them with 
Ahab going forth to battle, and leaving the prophets with 
their bread and water of affliction ; but you see them not 
yet returning with the mortal blow : You see them in their 
honours and abundance, but you see them not on Christ's left 
hand in judgment : You see them clothed richly, and far- 
ing deliciously every day ; but you see them not in hell 
torments, wishing in vain for a drop of water to abate their 
flames : You hear them honoured, and hear their words of 
pride and ostentation ; but you hear them not yet crying 
out of their folly, and bewailing their loss of present time, 
and lamenting in vain the unhappy choice that now they 
make. Sirs, believe it, future things are as sure as present. 
These things are no fables because they are not visible yet. 
You see not God, and yet he is the principal intelligible ob- 
ject. You see not your own intellectual souls, and yet you 
know you have them, by the intellection of other things. 
You see not your own eyesight, and yet you know that an 
eyesight you have, by the seeing of other things. If there 
were not an invisible God, there would have been no visible 
creatures. Visibles are more vile, and are for invisibles 
that are more noble. Our visible bodies, are for our invisi- 
ble souls. This visible life is the womb of our everlasting 
life that is invisible : we are hatched by the Spirit in this 
shell, till we are ready to pass forth into that glorious light 
that here we see not. I beseech you, gentlemen, awake, and 
be not so lamentably deceived, as to think that your ho- 

cccx puefac:e. 

nourable, pleasant dreams are the only realities. O no ! it is 
the last awakening hour that will shew you the now incon- 
ceivable realities. You are now but as in jest in your pomp 
and pleasure 5 but you shall then be in good sadness in 
your pains and loss, if sanctifying grace do not prevent it, 
by putting you out of your jesting vein, and making you in 
good sadness to be men of real faith and holiness, and lay 
about you for the real joys. Believe it, sirs, the life of 
Christianity is not a bare opinion. It is a living by faith 
upon a life invisible : and so serious resolving a belief of the 
truth of the everlasting blessedness (as purchased and given 
by Jesus Christ to persevering saints) as effectually turneth 
the affections and endeavours of the man to the loving, and 
seeking it above all this world. It is one thing to take God 
and heaven for your portion, as believers do ; and another 
thing to be desirous of it as a reserve, when you can keep 
the world no longer. It is one thing to submit to heaven, 
as a lesser evil than hell ; and another thing to desire it as 
a greater good than earth. It is one thing to lay up your 
treasures and hopes in heaven, and to seek it first ; and ano- 
ther thing to be contented with it in your necessity, and to 
seek the world before it, and give God that the flesh can 
spare. Thus differeth the religion of serious Christians, and 
of carnal, worldly hypoorites. But I shall break off my Ad- 
monition, and end with some Advice. 

Direct. 1. 'Look upon this world, and all things in it, 
with the foreseeing eye of faith and reason, and value it but 
as it deserves :' And then you will neither be eager after it, 
nor too much delighted in it, nor puffed up by it, nor will it 
so prevalently entice you to venture or neglect eternal 
things. Did you know and well consider but what an emp- 
ty, fading thing it is, you could never be satisfied with so 
poor a portion, nor quiet your souls till you had assurance 
or sound hopes of better things. Nor would you take such 
pleasure in childish trifles ; nor debase yourselves, to be so 
inordinately employed about such low and sordid matters, 
while God and your eternal happiness are laid by. You 
take not yourselves for the basest of men, much less for 
brutes or idiots. O then do not make yourselves the basest, 
and do not unman yourselves, and brutify your immortal 
souls. A heathen could say, ' Nemo alius est Deo dignus, 
nisi qui opes conterapsit.' If you would be rich, choose that 


which will make you rich indeed. Make sure of his favour 
that is the absolute Lord of all, and then you can want no- 
thing, whatever you may be without. And if yet you thirst 
for worldly riches, or inordinately love them, and tenaci- 
ously keep them from your Master's use, remember that this 
discovereth your disease ; and therefore should mind you 
ratl^er to cure it than to feed it. It is not money, nor any 
thing in this world, that will cure such an empty, depraved 
soul. As Seneca saith, * If a sick man be carried about, 
whether in a bed of gold, or a bed of wood, his disease is 
carried with him.' It is not a golden bed that will cure a 
diseased man. Nor is it all the gold or honour in the world 
that will help such a deluded soul, as thinks this world will 
make him happy. Get but the cure of your carnal minds, 
and a little will serve you. For it is your sinful fancy that 
would have much, and not your nature that needs much. 
Saith Seneca, * Si ad naturam vives, nunquam eris pauper ; 
si ad opinionem, nunquam eris dives. Exiguum natura de- 
siderat ; opinio immensum.' He is not the poor man that 
hath but little, but he that would have more. Nor is he 
the rich man that hath much, but he that is content with 
what he hath. If you pray but for your daily bread, be not 
such hypocrites as by the bent of your desires to cross your 
prayers. The nearest way to riches, saith the moralist, is 
the contempt of riches ; and saith the Christian, to be rich 
in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promis- 
ed all that love him ; James ii. 5. The greatest riches are 
got (proportionably) on the easiest terms. Loving the 
world will not procure it ; but loving God will procure the 
everlasting fruition of his love. Millions love the world 
that miss of it; but no man misseth of God that loveth him 
above the world. Buy not these gawds then at a dearer 
rate than you may have the kingdom. If you have not 
enough, make sure of heaven, and that will be enough for 
you. And get a cure for your diseased minds, which is ea- 
sier and more profitable than to fulfil them. " No man 
(saith Seneca) can have all the world ; but he may have a 
mind that can contemn all the world." No man can have 
all that he will ; but he may be content to be without it. 
The disease is within you, and there must be the cure. 

Direct. 2. * Be sure to fix with a serious faith upon the 
invisible glory as your portion ; and then look at all things 


in this world, as good or bad, as they respect your end ; 
and judge of them as they help or hinder you in the main.' 
Nothing but a truly heavenly mind is the saving cure of an 
earthly mind. No man will rightly let go earth, till he have 
the powerful light that hath shewed him the greater good, 
and given him a taste of the world to come. Had you not 
been strangers to God and heaven (in heart, whatever you 
were in tongue and fancy), you could never have fallen in 
love with earth. None are so much disposed to travel into 
other countries, as they that are fallen out with their own. 
Remember that you have not one penny or pennyworth in 
the world, but what you had from God, and must be ac- 
countable to God for ; and must employ with an eye upon 
his will, and your salvation. I do not call you to cast away 
your riches, but to see that you use all that ever you have, 
as will be most comfortable to you in your last review. I 
know, as Seneca saith, ' He is a wise man that can make 
use of earthen vessels, as if they were all silver ; and he is 
wise too, that can make use of silver vessels, as if they were 
but earth.' ' Infirmi est animi pati non posse divitias :* 
but it is one thing to bear riches, and use them for God, 
and another thing to enjoy them with delight. I neither 
take the monastics to be the only or the highest in perfec- 
tion ; nor yet do I condemn necessitated retirements. For 
I know it is hard to most to converse with God in tumults, 
and to hear the still voice of his Spirit, in the murmuring 
noise of a crowd. I know that the commons are usually 
more barren and fruitless than inclosures ; and that the 
fruit-tree that groweth by the highway side, shall have many 
a stone and cudgel thrown at it, which those that are in 
your orchard escape. But still look to your end, and se- 
cure the main. Dream not that you have any full propriety. 
Remember that you are God's stewards ; set therefore your 
Master's name^ and not your own, upon every pennyworth 
you possess : let " Holiness to the Lord" be written upon 
all. Possess nothing but what is devoted to him, to be used 
as he would have you. Put him not off with scraps and 
leavings, that gave you all. So much as you save from him, 
you lose, and worse than lose; and so much as you lose for 
him, and surrender to him, and improve for him, you save, 
and more than save. For " godliness with contentment is 
great gain." And he that is " faithful in a little, shall be 


made ruler over much." It is thus that all things are sanc- 
tified with the saints. 

Direct. 3. * Think not that your riches are given you to 
fulfil the least inordinate desire of the flesh ; or that you 
may take ever the more sensual ease or pleasure, if you had 
all the world :' but remember that better wages obligeth you 
to more work : and therefore rise as early, and labour as 
hard in your own employment, (the more for the common 
good the better,) yea, and deny your flesh as much as if you 
had but food and raiment. If you have much, give the 
more, and use the more, but enjoy never the more ; and let 
not your sensual desires find ever the more provision. A 
rich man that is wise, and a faithful steward, may live in as 
much self-denial, and labour as hard, and humble his flesh 
as much, as he that hath but his daily bread. God sent you 
not in provision for his enemy. All that is made the food 
of sin, or that doth not help you up to God, is employed con- 
trary to the end that you received it for. 

Direct. 4. ' Be sure that you deal with the world as a de- 
ceiver :' be very suspicious of all your riches, and honours, 
and delights. Feed not on these luscious summer-fruits too 
boldly, or without fear. Remember how many millions the 
world hath deceived before lyou. None come to hell but 
those that are cheated thither by the flesh and the world. 
With what exceeding vigilancy then have you need to deal 
with such a dangerous deceiver ; when all your happiness, 
and all your hopes, are at the stake? and if you be deceived, 
you are undone. Its force is nothing so perilous as its 

' Ubi vincere aperte 

Non datur, insidias armaque, tecta parat.' 

They that have to do with such a cheater, in a case of such 
everlasting consequence, should be suspicious of every 
thing, and trust the world as little as is possible, when, * Qui 
cavet ne decipiatur, vix cavet, cum etiam cavet.' 

' Et cum cavisse ratus est, sfep^ is cautor captus est,' (ut 

As Bucholcer was wont to say when his friends extolled 
him, * terreri se etiam laudationibus illis, ut fulminibus ;* so 
should you possess your honours and riches in the world. 


And as the same Bucholcer said to Hubner, when he went 
to be a courtier ; * Fidem diabolorum tibi commendo : cre- 
dere et contremiscere : viz. promissionibus aulicis cre- 
dere, sed caute, sed timide :' so should you be affected to 
the world. Trust and tremble : or rather trust it not at all. 
Nay, have you not been deceived by it already ? And will 
you be more foolish than the silly fish, that will scarcely 
take the hook that he was once pricked by ; or than the 
silly fowls that will be afraid of the net that once they have 
escaped from, and of the kite that once hath had them in her 
claws? ' Tranquillas etiam naufragus horret aquas.' Nay, 
at the present, if you take any heed of your souls, you may 
easily perceive what a clog the world is : we are commonly 
better when we have least of it, or are leaving it, than when 
we have it at our will. A man may see the utmost visible 
part of the earth, and the horizon at once : but if he look 
on the earth that is near him, he cannot see the heavens at 
that time, much less the zenith. Our own riches, our pre- 
sent riches, our nearest and dearest temporal good, is the 
greatest averter of the mind from heaven. We are common- 
ly like Antigonus's sick soldier, that fought well because he 
looked to die ; but grew a coward as soon as he was cured. 
So that most of us have need of the counsel which the bishop 
of Colen gave the emperor Sigismund that asked him, 
" What he should do to be happy ?" " Live," saith he, " as 
you promised to do, when you were last sick of the stone 
and gout." Even the most notorious sinners seem saints 
when they see the world is leaving them. And doth not 
common reason tell us, that that which will so move us then, 
should prevail with us as much as before, when we are cer- 
tain all our lifetime that this parting time will come ? In- 
deed the creature, as it is annexed unto God, and subservient 
to him, may have an answerable trust and love : the small- 
est twig that is fast to the tree, may help you out of the 
water, if you lay hold of it ; but if it be broken from the 
tree, it will deceive you, though you hold it never so fast. 
O therefore look for surer footing : a handful of water will 
not save you from being drowned. Build on the Rock of 
Ages^ that never faileth them that trust him ; though yet 
the blind unbelieving world be more distrustful of him, than 
of that which they have tried is not to be trusted. A wise 
man should know him to be trusty, that he trusteth in a case 


that concerneth his salvation. And true believeFS, and none 
but they, may say with Paul, " I know in whom I have 
trusted ;" 1 Tim. i. 12. 

Direct. 5. * Let it be your daily care to keep clear ac- 
counts between God and you, of your receivings and dis- 
bursements.' It is time to bewail the expence of that, if it 
be but a groat, that you cannot give a comfortable account 
of. Whenever you have several ways before you for the 
laying out of your money or your time, let the question be 
seriously put to your heart. Which of these ways shall I 
wish at death and judgment that I had expended it in? 
And let that be chosen as the way. 

Direct. 6. * Be sure to watch those thieves that would rob 
you of your Master's talents, that should be employed for 
his use.' And will you give me leave to be plain with you 
in instancing in a few of them. 

1. How many ungodly gentlemen do waste that in a 
thing they call great housekeeping, (that is, the inordinate 
provisions for the flesh, and a freedom for men to play the 
gluttons or drunkards in their houses,) which might have 
been expended to their greater honour and commodity ! * 

2. How many be there that spend that in unnecessary 
feasting of their friends, that might have been far more ad- 
vantageously improved ! ^ 

3. How many be there that spend more in the excess of 
one or two or three suits of apparel, than would have suffi- 
ced to the relief of a distressed family for a twelvemonth's 
space ! 

4. How many be there that lay out more in needless 
buildings, walks, and gardens, than would save the lives of 
a hundred or a thousand of the poor that perish by hunger, 
(or by diseases bred by want!) They will not spare from 
their own superfluities, to supply the necessities of their bre- 
thren. Is this loving their neighbours as themselves, and 
doing as they would be done by ? '^ 

5. How many be there that spend more needlessly on 
horses, dogs, or hawks, and cast away more at one game at 
dice, or at a cock-fight, or a horse-race, than would keep 
a poor scholar at the university ! (But I hope the parlia- 
ment hath cured this.) 

6. But the principal and least lamented abuse of riches, 
is children's excessive portions; for children are as a sur- 


viving self. Men think themselves but half dead, while 
their children live : and therefore as self is that idol of the 
wicked, to whom all the creatures of God are sacrificed, so 
they employ all one way or other for themselves as long as 
they live, and then leave it when they die, to themselves in 
their posterity. When they have, like unfaithful stewards, 
detained God's due from him as long as they live, they leave 
it to their children to detain it after them. Mistake me 
not; I persuade you not to be unnatural. Your children 
must be provided for, if you be not worse than infidels. But 
I tell you by what rules I should proceed, were it my case. 
(1.) If I had never such ungodly children, I should provide 
for them, if I could, their daily bread, and leave them enough 
for food and raiment, unless they were such as ought not 
to live, or be maintained. (2.) If I had better children, 
that were likely to use what they had for God, I should leave 
them all that could be spared from more necessary uses, 
that their lives might be more free from care, and they might 
be serviceable to God with their wealth, when I am dead. 
And the more confident I were that they would be faith- 
ful stewards of it, the more I should commit to their trust. 
(3.) I should not take it to be my duty to level my posterity 
with the poorer sort, unless some special call of God, or ex- 
traordinary public exigence did require it. So much for 
the affirmative, what I should do for them. But for the 
negative, what I should not do for them. (1.) I should 
think that in a case of some extraordinary necessities to the 
church or commonwealth, I were bound to alienate all from 
my posterity, at least, except their food and raiment. (2.) 
I should still in the general conclude that all must be for 
God, as he is the owner of me and all ; and therefore I should 
inquire which way it is his will that I should dispose of it. 
And where my conscience tells me he would have me use it, 
I should do it, though to the denial of myself or posterity. 
(3.) I should always prefer the public good of church or 
commonwealth, before the personal wealth of my posterity, 
and therefore should provide for them in a subserviency to 
the greater good, and not prefer their wealth before it. (4.) 
I should think myself bound to expend all that I had, in that 
way as might most promote the principal interest of my 
Lord, unless in cases where he had tied me by any special 
obligation to a more private expenditure of it. (5.) 1 should 


judge that the ordinary necessities of the church and poor 
are so great, as should command me very much to abate of 
full provisions for my posterity. And for the proportion, I 
should labour to discern, whether the times were such, and 
my posterity such, as that the stock of my estate would be 
more serviceable to God in their hands, or otherwise laid 
out. For the times and quality of children may make a 
great alteration in the case. (6.) Had I an only son that 
was notoriously ungodly, I would leave him no more than 
food and raiment, if I had ten thousand pounds a year, but 
would give it to God for the works in which I might promote 
his interest. My reasons are many, which I have touched 
upon in another discourse. As, 1. Such as forfeit their 
very daily bread, should not have any more than their daily 
bread. But such notorious wicked ones forfeit their daily 
bread. " He that will not labour," saith Paul, " let him not 
eat," 2 Thess. iii. much more in such greater cases. 2. Ac- 
cording to God's ancient law, Deut. xxi. they forfeit their 
lives, and the parents there were to cause them to be put to 
death, that were obstinately unreformed. And is the case 
so altered think you now, as that you are bound to make 
such children rich, that parents then were bound to 
put to death? 3. I am not bound to give unnecessary 
provisions to an enemy of God, to misemploy them, and 
strengthen him to do mischief, and be more able to oppress 
God's servants, or oppose his truth, or serve the devil. 

I forbear to mention the proportion of men's estates that 
I think they are ordinarily bound to alienate, but shall leave 
you to prudence and the general rules, lest I seem to you to 
go beyond my line. But in general I must say that it is a 
selfish and an heinous error, to think that men should lay 
up all that they can gather for their posterity, and all to 
leave them rich and honourable, and put off God, and all 
charitable uses, with the crumbs that fall from their tables, 
or with some inconsiderable driblets. If the rich man in 
Luke xviii. might have followed Christ on such terms as 
these, he would hardly have gone sorrowfully from him. 

1. By this men shew that they prefer their children be- 
fore God. 2. And that they prefer them before the church, 
and Gospel, and the commonwealth : when an heroic hea- 
then would have confessed that his estate and children, and 
his life were not too good to be sacrificed to his country, as 


the case of the Decii and many other Romans, that gave 
their lives for their country witnesseth. 3. These men pre- 
fer the worldly riches of their children before the souls of 
men : when they have so many calls to employ their wealth 
to the furthering of men's salvation, and put by all, that 
tlieir children may be rich. 4. They prefer their children's 
riches before their own everlasting good : or else they would 
not deny themselves the reward of a holy improvement of 
their talents, and cast themselves upon the terrible sentence 
that is past upon unprofitable servants, and all to leave their 
children wealthy. 5. They prefer the bodily prosperity of 
their children before their spiritual ; or else they would not 
be so eager to leave them that riches, which Christ hath 
told them is such a snare and hindrance to men's salvation. 
6. They would teach all the world the easy art of never do- 
ing good in life or in death. For if all must follow their 
principles, then the parents must keep almost all for their chil- 
dren, and the children must do the like by their children, 
and so it must run on to all generations, that their posterity 
may be kept as rich as their predecessors. 7. How unlike 
is this to the ancient saints ; and how unlike to the general 
precepts of self-denial, and doing good to all while we have 
time, &c. which Christ hath left us in the Gospel. Enable 
your children to be serviceable in the church and common- 
wealth, as far as you may; but prefer them not before the 
church or commonwealth. Wrong not God, nor your own 
souls, nor the souls or bodies of other men, to procure your 
children to be rich. It will not ease your pains in hell, to 
think that you have left your children rich on earth. It is 
few of the great and noble that are called. They will have 
an easier way to heaven in a mean estate. Their nurse's 
milk contented them when first they lived in the world ; and 
will nothing but lands, and lordships, and superlative mat- 
ters now content them, when they have a shorter time to use 
it? Poor men can sing as merrily as the rich, and sleep as 
quietly, and live as comfortably, and die as easily : ' canta- 

bit vacuus,' they are free from abundance of your cares 

and fears. The philosopher that had received a great gift 
of gold from a prince, sent it back to him the next morning 
and told him that he loved no such gifts as would not let 
him take his sleep, (for thinking what to do with it). 

Direct. 7. Lastly, 'Study the art of doing good, and 



making yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteous- 
ness, that when you go hence you may be received into the 
everlasting habitations.' Remember how much of your re- 
ligion doth consist in the devoting of yourselves and all to 
God, and improving his stock, and being rich in good 
works, ready to distribute and communicate ; 1 Tim. vi. 18. 
And how much will be laid upon this at judgment; Matt. 
XXV. God doth not call upon you for your charity, as if he 
would be beholden to you, or needed any thing that you can 
give him ; but because he will thus difference his hearty 
followers from complimenting hypocrites. The poor you 
shall have always with you ; and the church shall always 
want your help, and Christ will be still distressed in his 
members, to try the reality of men's professions, whether 
they love him above all, or else dissemble with him, and 
whether they have any thing that they think too good for 
him. It is a certain mark of a hypocrite, to have any thing 
in this world so dear to you, that you cannot spare it for 

Remember then that it is your own concernment ; if you 
would be ever the better for all your wealth, nay, if you would 
not be undone by it, study how you may be most service- 
able to God with it. Cicero could say, * that to be rich is 
not to possess much, but to use much.' And Seneca could 
rebuke them that so study to increase their wealth, that they 
forget to use it. If really you be Christians, heaven is your 
portion and your end : and if so, you can love nothing else, 
nor use any thing else, rationally, but as a means to attain 
that end. See, therefore, in all your expenses, how you at- 
tain or promote your end. Alas, men are so busily building 
in their way, that they shew us that they take not themselves 
for travellers ; they are so familiar with the world, that they 
shew us they are not strangers, but at home. They make 
their garments so fine, and lay such mountains on their 
backs, that we see they mean not to be serious runners in 
the Christian race. The thorny cares that choke Christ's 
seed, do shew that they are barren, and nigh to burning. If 
you gather riches for yourselves (Luke xii. 21.), you are 
standing pits : if you are rich to God, you will be running 
springs, or cisterns. There is a blessed art of sending all 
your riches to heaven before you, if you could learn it, and 
were willing to be happy at those rates. It is not for your 


riches that God will either condemn or save you ; but for the 
abusing or improving them. Though Lazarus was a beggar, 
yet Abraham had been rich whose bosom he was in. ' Rich 
men must know (saith Ambrose,) that the fault is not in 
riches, but in them that know not how to use them.' ' Nam 
divitise ut impedimenta sunt improbis, ita bonis sunt adju- 
menta virtutum.' O that you could but be sensible of the 
difference, betwixt them that can say at last, ' We have 
used our stock for the service of our Lord : we studied his 
will and interest, and accordingly employed all that we had 
in the world ;' and them that must say, * We gave now and 
then an alms to the poor ; but for the substance of our es- 
tates, we spent it carnally for our flesh, to bear up our pomp 
and greatness in the world, and then we left it to our chil- 
dren to do the like when we were dead V There is as wide 
a difference between the end of these two ways, as there is 
betwixt heaven and hell ; and surely the way is connected 
to the end. Think not either that you can serve God and 
mammon, or that you may live to the world, and die to God. 
When one was asked whether he had rather be Croesus or 
Socrates, he answered, that he had rather be Croesus while 
he lived, and Socrates when he came to die ; but dream not 
you of such a choice. " Be not deceived ; God is not 
mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap : 
if you sow to the flesh, of the flesh you shall reap corrup- 
tion ; but if you sow to the Spirit, of the Spirit you shall 
reap everlasting life ;" Gal. vi. 7, 8. 

And this much more let me add, that if you intend your 
wealth for God, you must not think of evil getting it; for 
God will not accept a sacrifice that is got by falsehood, ra- 
pine or injustice. Nay, if you intended it indeed for God, 
you would not dare to procure it by sin. For God needeth 
not fraud, perfidiousness or injustice to promote his service. 
' Pietas sua federa servat. As Austin saith, * Ream linguam 
uon facit, nisi rea mens:' So I say here. Your mind is first 
guilty of denying God, whatever you pretend, when you 
dare thus by your deeds deny him. 

Yea, let me add, that so far should you be from yielding 
to any temptation to be covetous, for God, for your family, 
or any good end that may be offered you, that you should 
make an advantage of such temptations, to watch the world 
and your deceitful hearts the more narrowly hereafter. And 


if in all temptations to worldliness, you could turn them to 
a gain and duty, and overshoot the tempter in his bow, it 
were a point of singular zeal and prudence. When he would 
put any covetous motion into your mind, or work it into 
your hands, give then more liberally, or do more good than 
you did before. Let this be all that the deceitful flesh and 
world shall get by you. ' Fallite fallentes. — Et in laqueos, 
quos posuere, cadant.' 

I know that flesh and blood will stand in your way with 
abundance of dissuasives, and make you believe that this so 
plain and great a duty, is no duty. In the verbal part of 
godliness, it would allow God but little ; but in the more 
costly, practical part, much less. Sometimes it will tell you 
that men are so naught, that they deserve not your charity ; 
but Christ deserveth it ; give it therefore to him. Some- 
times it will tell you of men's unthankfulness ; but ' satis 
€st dedisse ;' you have done your duty ; God accepteth it : 
other men's thankfulness is not your reward. You are more 
unthankful yourselves to God. You are called to imitate 
him that causeth his sun to shine, and his rain to fall on the 
just and on the unjust, and that daily bestoweth his mer- 
cies on the unthankful. Sometimes it will tell you of the 
uncertainty of reaching the end of your charity : that if you 
maintain scholars to learning, they may prove ungodly : if 
you leave any considerable gift to pious uses, sacrilegious 
and rapacious hands may alienate it. But you are sure of 
succeeding in your ultimate end, which is the pleasing of 
God, and your own salvation. It is not loss to you, if it be 
to others. Cast your bread upon the waters ; if you cannot 
trust God, you cannot obey him. Do your part, and leave 
his part to himself. It is your part to give, and it is God's 
part to succeed it for the attainment of the end. He that is 
worst is most like to fail. And whether think you is better, 
God or you ? and which should be more suspected ? He is 
unworthy the name of a servant of God, that will run no ha- 
zard for him. Venture your charity in a way of duty, or 
pretend not to be charitable. Will you not sow your mas- 
ter's corn, till you are certain of a plenteous increase ? And 
do you think that he will take this for a good account ? This 
is the foolish excuse that Christ hath told you shall have a 



terrible sentence : you will hide God's talent, for fear of 
losing it; but woe to such unprofitable servants. 

Sometimes the flesh will tell you that you may want 
yourselves, or your posterity at least ; and that you were 
best gather till your stock arise to so much, or so much, and 
then God shall have some. A fair bargain ! Just like un- 
godly men by their repentance and conversion ; they will 
sin till they are old, and then they will turn. But few turn 
that delay with such resolutions. If God hath not right to 
all, he hath right to none. If he hath right to all, will you 
give him none but your leavings ? A swine will let another 
eat when his belly is full. What if you are never richer,, 
will you never do good therefore with what you have ? 
^ V And for the impoverishing of yourself, if you fear being 
1^. loser by God, you may keep your riches as long as you 
can, and try how you can save yourself and them. A man's life 
consisteth not in the abundance that he possesseth. Dp 
not imagine that you need more than you do. If monastics 
think it their perfection to be wilfully poor, and Seneca 
thought it the Cynic's wisdom, ' quod effecitnequid sibi eri- 
pi posset;' you may much more rejoice in such an estate, if 
God bring you to it by and for welldoing. You live in dan- 
gerous times : wars and thieves may soon level your estates ; 
can there be greater wisdom than to send it all to heaven, 
and lay it up with God, and put it into the surest hands, and 
put it to the only usury ? ' Aut ego fallor, aut regnum est, 
inter avaros, circumscriptores, latrones, plagiaries, unum 
esse, cui noceri non possit.' Cannot a man live, think you, 
without wealth and honour'/ * Siquis de talium faelicitate 
dubitat, potest idem dubitare, et de deorum immortalium 
statu, an parum beate degant, quod illis non praedia, nee 
horti sint,' &c: Sen. As it is the honour of God, the first 
Mover, ' omnia movere ipse non motus ;' so it is the honour 
of the greatest benefactors, ' omnia dare nihil habentes :' he 
that hath it to give, hath it more transcendently, than he 
that hath it but to use. He tliat hath most, hath most care, 
and trouble, and envy, and danger, and the greatest reckon- 
ing. Neither poverty nor riches, was the wise man's wish, 
but convenient food. ' Optimus pecuniae modus est, qui 
nee in paupertatem cadit, nee procul a paupertate discedit.' 
Sen. ' No man doth dissemble, lie, oppress, defraud, for 


love of poverty; but thousands do it for love of liches.' 
' Neminem vidi tyrannidem gerere propter paupertatem, plu- 
rimus vero propter divitias/ saith the Cynic, * citante Stob.' 
Poverty is one of the cheapest medicines for the mind, and 
riches a dear deceit. A philosopher calls poverty a self- 
taught virtue, and riches a vice to be acquired with great 
labour and diligence. Poverty is a natural philosophy ; an 
effectual doctrine of temperance ; and riches a nursery of 
pride, voluptuousness, and every vice. And Paul comes 
near it, and speaketh more cautelously, yet home enough, 
that '* the love of money is the root of all evil ;" 1 Tim. vi. 
10. and therefore is itself a transcendent evil. 

Sweet healthful temperance is cheap, and may be main- 
tained without any great revenues : it is killing luxury, ex- 
cess, and pride that are so dear, and require so much for 
their maintenance. Our journey is not of such small mo- 
ment, nor our way so far, nor our day so long, nor our 
strength and patience so great, as to encourage us to load 
ourselves with things unnecessary. Christian living is daily 
fighting ; and we use not to fight with our riches on our 
backs, but for them. He that swimmeth with the greatest 
load is most likely to sink. Men fancy that evil in a low 
estate, which else they would not feel ; and when they have 
picked a causeless quarrel with it, and undeservedly fallen 
out with it, they speak abusively of it, and of God himself 
for casting it upon them. Men love riches so well, because 
they love sin so well. Did poverty accommodate men's 
vices, and feed and satisfy their sinful lusts as well as riches, 
it would be loved as well. And if riches did starve up luxury 
and voluptuousness as much as poverty, they would be as 
much abhorred. Few men speak highly of honours, or 
riches, or pleasures at the last ; nor hardly of a low or suf- 
fering state. And the last judgment is commonly the 

Let not therefore the fear of poverty deter you from 
good works. Yea, rather give speedily, and do good while 
you have it, before all be gone, and you be disabled. Saith 
Nazianzen, (Orat. de Amor. Pauper.) * Deo gratitudinis 
ergo aliquid tribue, quod ex eorum numero sis, qui de aliis 
bene mereri possunt, non qui aliorum beneficentia opus ha- 
beant : quod in alienas manus non oculos conjectos habeas, 
sed alii in tuas. Da operam, ut non solum opibus, sed 


etiam pietate, uon solum auro, sed etiam virtute sis iocuples. 
Gura ut proximo tuo id circo praestantior sis, quia benignior. 
Fac calamitoso sis Deus, Dei misericordiam imitando. Ni- 
hil enim tam divinum homo habet, quam de aliis bene me- 
reri/ If you have no pity on others, have some on your souls. 
Give not all your lands and wealth to your flesh and your pos- 
terity: give some ofit to your soul8,by giving it to God. Shall 
your bodies have it, and your souls have none, or but a little ? 
' Hoc solum quod in opibus bonum est, lucreraur ; nempe ut 
animas nostras in eleemosynis acquiramus, facultates nostra 
pauperibus impertiaraus, ut ccelestibus ditemur. Animae 
quoque partem da ; non carni duntaxat : Deo quoque par- 
tem da, non mundo tantum : ex ventre aliquid subtrahe, et 
spiritui consecra : ex igne aliquid eripe, ac procul, a depas- 
cente flamma reconde ; a tyranno eripe, ae Domino com- 
mitte. — Da exiguum ei a quo multa habes : da etiam omnia 
ei, qui omnia donavit: nunquam Dei nmnificentiam vinces, 
etiamsi omnia tua bona projicias, etiamsi te etiam ipsum 
bonis tuis adjungas. Nam hoc quoque ipsum accipere est, 
nempe Deo donare ;' saith Gregory Nazianzen, ubi sup. 

Of any kind of covetousness, there is none more plausi- 
bly pretended against works of charity, than that of some 
ministers, that can spare no money, because their libraries 
are yet unfurnished with many books w hich they would 
fain have. Yet here we must see that greater works be not 
for this omitted. Saith Seneca (de Tranquil.) * Studiorum quo- 
que quae liberalissima impensaest, tamdiu rationemhabebo, 
quamdiu modum. Quo mihi innumerabiles libros et biblio- 
thecas, quorum Dominus vix tota vita sua indices perlegit? 
Onerat discentem turba, non instruit : mulloque satius est 
paucis te authoribus tradere, quam errare per multos. — Stu- 
diosa hsec luxuria ; imo ne studiosa quidem, quoniam non 
in studium, sed in spectaculum. — Paretur librorum quan- 
tum satis sit ; nihil in apparatum — Vitiosum est, ubique 
quod nimium est.' 

Yea more, let me tell you all, and beseech you to consi- 
der it. It is your duty even to pinch your flesh, and spare 
it from your back and belly, that you may have wherewithal 
to do good. It is no thanks to you to relieve others out 
of that which you need not yourselves ; and to give God 
that which your flesh can spare. Such liberality may stand 
with little suffering or self-denial, and therefore will be but 


a poor proof of your grace. Had I ten thousand pounds a 
year. I should think it my duty for ail that, to pinch my 
flesh, that I might spare as much of it as is possible for God. 
David would not offer that to Cod which cost him nothing, 
2 Sam. xxiv. 24. If you fare the harder, and go the plainer 
in your attire, and deny yourselves that which is for any 
needless pomp or ostentation, or splendour in the world, 
that you may have so much the more to do good with, you 
deal then like good husbands for God and your souls, and 
faithful stewards. Why should a covetous miser pinch his 
flesh more to gather riches for himself and his posterity, 
than you should do to gather it for God, and to expend it 
on the church and poor? Be as frugal as they, but not to 
the same end ; so you use it for God and your poor brethren, 
an honest parsimony and gathering is a duty ; and such a 
holy covetousness is so far from condemnable, that it is the 
truest charity, which God and all wise men will applaud. 
I do not mean only to deny your flesh in gross excesses, but 
to pinch it by a just frugality and abstinence. And yet you 
shall not say that I am drawing you to extremes. I would 
not have you so far pinch your flesh as to disable it for du- 
ty, but to deny it whatsoever doth not some way help it for 
duty, that we may not feed our own unnecessary delights, 
though with a seeming decorum and moderation, while so 
many about us are pinched with the want of necessaries, 
and so many public, excellent works are calling for our help. 
The flesh is to be tamed, and humbled, and brought in sub- 
jection, and scanted when greater things require it. but not 
to be destroyed and made unserviceable. * Infldo huic 
corpori quomodo conjunctus sim, baud equidem scio ; quo- 
que pacto simul et imago Dei sim, et cum coeno voluter ; 
quod et cum pulchra valetudine est, bello me lacessit, et 
cum bello premitur, mcErore me afficit : quod, et ut conser- 
vum amo ; et ut inimicum odi atque aversor : quod, et ut 
vinculum fugio, et ut conseres vereor. Si debilitare illud et 
conficere studeo, jam non habeo quo socio et opitulatore 
ad res praeclarissimas utar ; nimirum baud ignorans quam 
ob causam procreatus sim, quodque me per actiones ad de- 
um ascendere oporteat. Sin contra ut cum socio etadjutore 
mitius agam, nulla jam ratio occurrit, qua rebellantis impe- 
tum fuo-iam, atque a Deo non excidam, compedibus degra- 
vatus, vel in terram detrahentibus, vpI in ea detinenttbus. 


Hostis est blandus et placidus : invidiosus amicus. O mi- 
ram conjunctionem et alienationem ! Quod metuo amplec- 
tor, quod amo pertimesco. Antequam bellum gesserim in 
gratiam redeo. Antequam pace fruar, ab eo dissideo.* Greg. 
Naz. ubi sup. And for delight, at least learn of an heathen 
how to esteem of it. Sen. de vita beata. 'Tu voluptatem 
complecteris, ego compesco : tu voluptate fueris, ego utor : 
tu illam summum bonum putas, ego nee bonum : tu om- 
nia voluptdtis causS, facis, ego nihil.' 

What remains now, gentlemen, but that you be up and 
doing, and look about you where you may have the best 
bargain to lay out your money on, for God and for your 
souls? Stay not till the market is over, till thieves have 
robbed you, till God in judgment have impoverished you ; 
till mere necessity do constrain you to part with that which 
you cannot keep ; or till the souls or bodies that need your 
help are removed from your sight. Seek after an object for 
your alms, as diligently as beggars seek the alms, you have 
more cause ; for you get more by giving, than they do by 
receiving. If you believe not this, you believe not Christ ; 
and so are infidels. 

The sum of my advice is, That as men that are drawing 
near to their account, and love Christ in his members, and 
believe the promise of reward, you would devote yourselves 
and your estates to Christ, and study to do good, and make 
it your daily trade and business, as men that are " zealous of 
good works, and created to walk in them," (Tit. ii. 14. Eph. ii. 
10.) and not as dropping a little upon the by. Say not that you 
have not wealth, or interest, or opportunity. The rich have full 
opportunities: the poor have their two mites or their cup of cold 
water to give to a disciple. And he that hath neither, may have 
a will to give thousands a year. And this is our comfort that 
have but little, that " if there be first a willing mind, it is ac- 
cepted according to that a man hath, and not according to 
that he hath not ;" 2 Cor. viii. 12. But where " there is a 
readiness to will, there will also be a performance out of that 
which you have," if you be sincere ; ver. 11. Et uunquam 
usque eo interclusa sunt omnia, ut nulli actioni honestae lo- 
cus sit. Nunquam inutilis est opera civis boni. Auditu 
enim, visu, vultu, nutu, obstinatione tacita, incessuque ipso 
prodest. Ut salutaria quaedam citra gustum tactumque 
odore proficiuut j ita virtus utilitatem etiamex longinquo et 


ktens fundit : sive spargitur, et se utitwrsuo jure ; sive pre- 
carios habet excessus, cogiturque, vela contrahere ; sive 
otiosa rautaque est, et angusto circumscripta ; sive adaper- 
ta : in quocunque habitu est, prodest. Seneca de Tranq. (I 
give you not these passages of strangers to Christ, as if his 
doctrine needed any such patches ; but as imagining that the 
temper of those I speak to, may need such a double testi- 
mony, and to see the book of nature as well as of grace : 
and to let you understand, how inexcusable a professed 
Christian is, that is worse than an infidel.) 

I have been long, and yet I would I had done. I have 
taught you, and yet I fear lest you have not learned. I have 
told you what you knew before (unless it be because you 
will not know it) and yet have more need to hear it, than a 
thousand things that you never knew. I have set you an 
easy lesson hard to be learned. Were but your senses ra- 
tional, or were your will but disengaged and morally free, 
the work were done, and that would be learnt in an hour, 
that the church and commonwealth might rejoice in till the 
sun shall be no more. O had we but such princes, nobles, 
and gentlemen as were thus zealous and studious of good 
works, and wholly devoted and dedicated unto God, what a 
resemblance should we have of heaven on earth. How then 
would our princes and nobles be both loved and honoured, 
when their addictedness to God did make them so divine? 
How honourable then would our parliament be, and how 
cheerfully should we flock together for their election. How 
dear would our judges and country magistrates be to all 
that have any thing of piety or humanity in them. " Kings 
then would reign in righteousness, and princes rule in judg- 
ment; and a man would be as a hiding place from the wind, 
and a covert from the tempest ; as rivers of water in a dry 
place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And 
the eyes of them that see should not be dim, and the ears of 
them that hear should hearken ; the heart also of the rash 
should understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stam- 
merers should be ready to speak elegantly ;" Isa. xxxii. 
1 — 6. What help then should ministers have in their work, 
and the souls of all the people for their happiness ! And 
what a shaking would satan's kingdom feel. Then neither 
seducers should have this pretence, nor the seduced this 
temptation as now they have, to call their various models q£ 


repubKcs by such splendid names, and to think Christ reigns 
when they reign ; or that it is the only government, to have 
all to be governors, or to have the greatest liberty to be had. 
No forms will reform us, and heal our maladies, till we are 
healed and reformed within. Lead will not be gold, what 
form soever you mould it into. And though some ways may 
be more effectual to restrain the evil, and improve the good, 
that is among them, yet still the wicked will do wickedly. 
The swordfish and the thresher would be the tormenters of 
Leviathan, and God himself would be impatient of his ty- 
ranny. And his brother would mend the matter, who by 
giving the power to the vast tumultuous ocean itself, may 
find that his republic is not only inconsistent with a clergy, 
(a high commendation) but may possibly be as injurious to 
his moral honesty, as any other sort of tyranny ; and might 
have learned of his chiefest master, Seneca, (de Tranquil. 
Anim.) that the free city of Athens could less endure So- 
crates than the tyrants, and did put him to death, whom 
they had tolerated. * Nunquid potes invenire urbem mise- 
riorum quam Atheniensium fuit cum illam triginta tyranni 
divellerent? Mille trecentos cives, optimum quemque occi- 
derant. Socrates tamen in medio erat. Et imitari volenti- 
bus, magnum circumferebat exemplar, cum inter triginta do- 
minos liber incederet. Hunc tamen Athenae ipse in car- 
cere occiderunt. Et qui tuto insultaverat agmini tyranno- 
rum, ejus libertatem libera civitas non tulit.' 

Gentlemen, for the Lord's sake, for your souls' sake, for 
the church's and the Gospel's sake, for your country's sake, 
and the spiritual and corporal good of thousands, awake 
now from your sloth and selfishness, from your ambition, 
voluptuousness and sordid worldliness, and give up your- 
selves and all that you have to God by Christ, and to the 
common good, and make the best of all your faculties and 
interest, for the high and noble ends of Christians : and 
convince all self-conceited founders or troublers of the 
commonwealth, that you have hit the way of a true reforma- 
tion, without any alteration of the form, by correcting your- 
selves, the principal materials. And let them see by your 
seeking the weal of all, that your form is as truly a common- 
weal as theirs, and that they absurdly appropriate the title 
to their own. If you deny us this, on you shall be the 
blame and shame, and not on our want of a popular form. 


But because I have gone so fat with you by persuasion, 
(though yet 1 doubt whether indeed you will be persuaded) 
I shall not leave you till I have added the last part of my 
task, which is to set some Rules and Matter for good works 
before you, that if you are but willing, you may set your 
money to the happiest usury, and that upon the best secu- 

1. (For general rules) Aim at no lower an ultimate end 
in your charity, than the pleasing of God ; and move from 
no lower a first moral principle, than the love of God within 
you. Seek not self, while you seem to deny it. Give and 
do good to Christ in his servants. 

2. Consider therefore of men's relations to Christ, and 
understand where his interest lieth in the world. Avoid 
both their extremes, that would have you do good to none 
but saints, and that would have you do it to all alike. As 
God hath a special love to his children, and yet doth good 
to all, his mercy being over all his works ; and as he is the 
Saviour of all men, but especially of them that believe ; so 
must you love all men as men, and saints as saints 5 and do 
good to all men, but especially to them of the household of 
faith; Gal. vi. 10. The new command of special love, must 
not be thought to abrogate the old commandment of com- 
mon love, even of loving our neighbours as ourselves. You 
must do good to a disciple in the name of a disciple ; and to 
a prophet in the name of a prophet, (Matt, x.42.) and yet 
take the wounded man for your neighbour, that you see lie 
in your way ; Luke x. 30, I know the serpentine seed had 
rather you would kick against the pricks, and tread down 
Christ's interest, than there to lay out your greatest charity. 
But it is God that you have to reckon with, who judgeth 
not as they. The philosopher being asked. Why all men 
were more ready to give to the halt and blind, than to phi- 
losophers, answered. That they thought they might come to 
be halt and blind themselves, but were never like to be phi- 
losophers : so I may say of many that would be content that 
you feed the common poor with bread, but the disciples of 
Christ with stones. They think they may be poor them- 
selves, but they are never like to be Christ's disciples : nay, 
some of them (such as Clem. Writer in his mock * Fides Di- 
vina') will persuade you that it is a sottish thing to conceive 
that any have Christ's Spirit now, that work not miracles, 


and that he hath no church, ministry or saints, that is, that 
Christianity is not the right religion, unless it had present 
miracles to warrant it. And then you might be excused ra- 
ther for your uncharitableness to it, than for your charity. 
But wisdom is justified of all her children : and the mouths 
of her enemies shall be quickly stopped ; and they shall 
then know that Christ is Lord and Judge, without either 
faith or further miracles. 

3. When you have two good works before you, prefer 
the greater, and choose not the less. 

4. ' Caeteris paribus,' let works of spiritual and everlast- 
ing concernment, be preferred to those that are merely tem- 

5. And let works for the public good, of church or com- 
monwealth, be preferred before private works. 

6. Let God have all in one way or other, even that which 
yourselves and families receive ; take it but as your daily 
bread to support you in his service. Do not limit God, or 
tie him to any part. Take heed of reserving any thing from 
him, or of halving with him, as Ananias and Sapphira. He 
deserveth and he expecteth all. That which he hath not, 
you have not, but satan hath it. You lose it, if you return 
it not to him. 

And now in the conclusion, I shall presume (though I 
may incur a censure for it) to give you a catalogue of some 
of those good works which are seasonable in our days, by 
which you may make your reckoning comfortable. And 
do not think that God is beholden to you for it, if you per- 
form them all ; but take it as the happiest bargain that you 
can make ; and thankfully take the opportunity while it is 
offered you, remembering that there is no such security or 
advantage to be made of your money in any way, as for God ; 
and that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Say not 
another day but that you had a price in your hands ; if you 
have not a heart, you must suffer with the unfaithful. 


A Catalogue of seasonable Good Works, presetited to them that 
are sanctified to God, and dare trust him with their Riches, 
expecting the everlasting Riches which he hath promised, and 
are zealous of Good Works, and take it for a precious mercy 
that they may he exercised therein. 

1. Inquire what persons, burdened with children, or 
sickness, or on any such occasion labour under necessities, 
and relieve them as you are able and find them fit. And 
still make advantage of it for the benefit of their souls, in- 
structing, admonishing and exhorting them, as they have 
need. If you give them any annual gift of clothes, bread 
or money, engage them to learn some catechism withal, and 
to go to the minister and give him an account of it. Some 
I know that set up a monthly lecture to be fitted to the 
poor, and give sixpence or twelvepence to a certain number 
of poor that hear it. 

2. As far as law will enable you, bind all your tenants 
in their leases to learn a catechism, and read the Scripture, 
and be once a year at least accountable to the minister of 
their profiting. If you cannot do this, at least use your in- 
terest in every tenant you have, to do it, and to seek God 
and worship him in their families (in which let your own 
families be eminently exemplary). It is very much that land- 
lords might do for God if they had hearts. Discountenance 
the ungodly: encourage the good; give them back some little, 
when they pay their rent, to hire them to some duty. And 
think not too much to go to their houses for such ends. 

3. Buy some plain and rousing books, that tend to con- 
version, and are fittest for their condition, and give them to 
the families that most need them, getting them to promise 
you to read them twice over at least, and then to give their 
teachers an account of the effect, and receive instructions 
from them for their further profit. Many have this way re- 
ceived much good. Or you may buy the books, and trust 
the ministers to distribute them, and engage the receivers to 
read them, or hear them read. 

4. Take the children of the poor, and set them appren- 
tices to some honest trade, and be sure you choose them 
godly masters, that may take care of their souls as well as 


of their bodies. Or if you are able, settle a perpetual allow- 
ance for this use, entrusting the minister with the choice of 
a godly master for them, and whom you see meet, with the 
choice of boys. 

5. In very great congregations that have but one minis- 
ter, nor are able and willing to maintain another, it is a very 
good work to settle some maintenance for an assistant, with- 
out whom the flock must needs be much neglected. Impro- 
priations may be bought in to that use. 

6. To settle schools in the more rude parts of the coun- 
try, where they use not to teach their children to read, or in 
market-towns where people are numerous, is a very good 

7. It is one of the best works I know within the reach 
of a mean man's purse, to maintain scholars (in sizer's places) 
at about £10 per annum charge, till they are capable either 
of the ministry, or of some other station in order to it, where 
they can maintain themselves. As also to maintain some of 
the choicest parts for some special studies. There is an in- 
tent of some to propound this work in a method fit for the 
whole nation to concur in. Till that be done, any rich man 
that is willing to do good, may entrust some able, godly mi- 
nisters with the choice of the fittest youths (which is the 
greatest matter) and may allow them necessary maintenance. 
How many souls may be saved by the ministry of one of 
these ! And how can money be better husbanded? 

8. It will be a very good work also, conjunctly to en- 
courage manufactures or other trades, and piety too, if in 
cities and corporations, some yearly rents being given on 
these terms ; that several of the honestest tradesmen, may 
have £5 or £10 a piece yearly of this rent, lent them freely 
for four or five years to trade with, putting in security to 
repay it : and so the stock will increase, and more land may 
be bought by it after certain years, to go on to the same 
use : (only let the trustees have power to remit all, or part, 
where there is an extraordinary unexpected failing.) And 
that the fittest men may still receive it, some godly trustees 
may be chosen who may choose their successors ; the mi- 
nister being one, as likest to choose the fittest subjects of 
this beneficence. If honest men be kept up, they will better 
relieve the poor, than if it were left to their own hands. 

9. It would be a blessed work for our rulers, and some 


rich men, to erect a college (at Salop, 1 think the only fit 
place, for many reasons) for the education of scholars for the 
use of Wales ; a country, whose present misery, and ancient 
honour, and readiness to receive the Gospel, and zealous 
profession of what they know, should encourage all good 
men to help them. Too few will send their sons to our pre- 
sent Universities, and too few of those that come thither are 
willing to return. But if this may not be done, the next 
way will be to add some charitable help for them in Oxford, 
obliging them to return to the service of their country. 

10. Were I to speak to princes, or men so rich and po- 
tent as to be able to do so good a work, I would provoke 
them to do as much as the Jesuits have done, in seeking 
the conversion of some of the vast nations of infidels, that 
are possessed of so great a part of the world ; viz. To erect 
a college for those whom the Spirit of God shall animate for 
so great a work, and to procure one or two of the natives 
out of the countries whose conversion you design, to teach 
the students in this college their language (which it is like 
might be effected). And when they have learned the tongues, 
to devote themselves to the work ; where by the countenance 
of ambassadors, merchants, plantations or any other means, 
they may procure access and liberty of speech. Doubtless 
God would stir up some among us, to venture on the labour 
and apparent danger, for so great a work. If we be not 
better principled, disposed and resolved to do or suffer in 
so good a cause, than the Jesuits are, we are much to blame. 
And where we can but have opportunity, we are like to do 
much more good than they. 1. Because they are so impor- 
tunate everywhere for the interest of the pope, that the 
people presently smell it to be but a selfish secular desio-n. 
2. Because when they have taken them from their heathen- 
ish idolatry, and taken down their images, they set up the 
divine worship of the host, and the cross, and the religious 
worship of the Virgin Mary, and the saints, with prayers to 
them in the stead : with ^uch abundance of ceremonious 
additions, that the people think it is as good to be where 
they are ; as if it were but the taking down one Daimon or 
Divus, to set up another in a kind of emulation, and they think 
that every country should continue the worship of their an- 
cient patrons or Daimons. Whereas, if we went among them 
with the plain and pure Gospel, not sophisticated by these 


superstitions, with a simple intention of their spiritual good, 
without any designs of advantage to ourselves, it is like we 
might do much more, and might expect a greater blessing 
from God ; as Mr. Elliot, and his helpers find of their bles- 
sed labours in New England, where, if the languages, and 
remote habitations (or rather no habitations, but dispersions) 
of the inhabitants did not deny them opportunity of speech, 
much more might be effected. And though the Mahometans 
are more cruel than the heathens against any that openly 
speak against their superstition and deceit, yet God would 
persuade some, it is like, to think it worth the loss of their 
lives to make some prudent attempt in some of those vast 
Tartarian or Indian countries, where Christianity hath had 
least access and audience. As difficult works as these 
are, the Christian princes and people are exceedingly to 
blame, that they have done no more in attempting them, and 
have not tiirned their private quarrels, into a common agree- 
ment for the good of the poor uncalled world. 

I have told you of divers ways in which you may secure 
your wealth from loss, and make an everlasting advantage 
of it. Those that have power and not a will, shall lose the 
reward, and have the condemnation of unfaithful stewards. 
Those that have power and an envious, evil will, that desir- 
eth not the church's good, shall moreover have the punish- 
ment of malignant enemies. Those that have neither power 
nor will, or are both impotent and malignant, shall be judged 
according to what they would have done, if they had been 
able. Those that have an unfeigned will, but not power, 
shall be accounted as if they had done the works ; for God 
accepteth the will for the deed. All these good works are 
yours, poor Christians, that never did them, if certainly you 
would have done them, notwithstanding the difficulty, cost 
and suffering, if you had been able. But it is the godly 
rich, that are both able and willing, and actually perform 
them, that will profit both themselves and others, that both 
their own and other's souls may have the comfort of it. I 
shall lay some of the words of God himself before your eyes, 
and heartily pray for the sake of your own souls, and the 
public good, that you may excel Papists as far in works of 
charity, as you do in the soundness of doctrine, discipline 
and worship. 


Gentlemen, excuse the necessary freedom of speech, and 
accept the seasonable, honourable, gainful motion, pro- 
pounded to you from the word of God, by 

Your faithful monitor, 


Tebruary 20, 1667. 

Sophronius, Bishop of Jerusalem (Prat. spir. c. 195, referente 
Baronio ad an. 411.) delivereth this history followiiig to pos- 
terity, as a most certain thing : 

"That Leontius Apamiensis, a most faithful, religious 
man that had lived many years at Gyrene, assured them that 
Synesius (who of a philosopher became a bishop) found at 
Gyrene, one Evagrius a philosopher, who had been his old 
acquaintance, fellow-student and intimate friend, but an 
obstinate heathen : and Synesius was earnest with him to 
become a Christian, but all in vain ; yet did still follow him 
with those arguments that might satisfy him of the Christian 
verity ; and at last the philosopher told him, that to him it 
seemed but a mere fable and deceit that the Christian reli- 
gion teacheth men, that this world shall have an end, and 
that all men shall rise again in these bodies, and their flesh 
be made immortal and incorruptible, and that they shall so 
live for ever, and receive the reward of all that they have 
done in the body ; and that he that hath pity on the poor, 
lendeth to the Lord, and he that gives to the poor and needy 
shall have treasure in heaven, and shall receive an hundred- 
fold from Christ, together with eternal life : these things he 
derided. Synesius by many arguments assured him that all 
these things were certainly true : and at last the philosopher 
and his children were baptized. Awhile after, he comes to 
Synesius, and brings him three hundred pounds of gold for 
the poor, and bid him take it, and give him a bill under his 
hand that Christ should repay it him in another world. Sy- 
nesius took the money for the poor, and gave him under his 
hand such a bill as he desired. Not long after, the philo- 


«opher being near to death, commanded his sons that when 
they buried him, they should put Synesius's bill in his hand 
in the grave, which they did : and the third day after, the phi- 
losopher seemed to appear to Synesius in the night, and said 
to him, t Come to my sepulchre, where I lie, and take thy 
bill, for I have received the debt and am satisfied ; which 
for thy assurance 1 have subscribed with my own hand.' 
The bishop knew not that the bill was buried with him, but 
sent to his sons who told him all ; and taking them and the 
chief men of the city, he went to the grave, and found the 
paper in the hands of the corpse, thus subscribed, * Ego 
Evagrius philosophus, tibi Sanctissimo Domino Synesio 
episcopo salutem ; accepi debitum in his Uteris manu tua 
conscriptum, satisfactumque mihi est; et nullum contra te 
habeo jus propter aurum quod dedi tibi, et per te Christo 
Deo et Salvatori nostro ;' that is, * I Evagrius the philoso- 
pher, to thee most holy sir, bishop Synesius, greeting : I 
have received the debt which in this paper is written with 
thy hands, and I am satisfied; and I have no law (or action) 
against thee for the gold which I gave to thee, and by thee 
to Christ our God and Saviour.' They that saw the thing, 
admired and glorified God that gave such wonderful evi- 
dence of his promises to his servants : and, saith Leontius, 
this bill subscribed thus by the philosopher, is kept at 
Cyrene most carefully in the church to this day, to be seen 
of such as do desire it." 

Though we have a sure word of promise, sufficient for us 
to build our hopes on, yet I thought it not wholly unprofit- 
able, to cite this one history from so credible antiquity, that 
the works of God may be had in remembrance. Though if 
any be causelessly incredulous, there are surer arguments 
that we have ready at hand to convince him by. 

" Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy ;** 
Matt.v 7. 

Read Matt. vi. 19. to the end of the chapter. 

"Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall en- 
ter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will 
of my Father which is in heaven ;" Matt. vii. 21. 

" Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth 

PREFACE. eecxxxvii 

them, I will liken him to a wise man that built his house up- 
on a rock," &c. Matt.vii.24. 

" Let your light so shine before men, that they may see 
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in hea- 
ven ;" Matt. V. 16. 

" I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye 
ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of 
the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than 
to receive ;" Acts xx. 35. 

" Give to him that asketh thee, and of him that would 
borrow of thee, turn thou not away ; Matt. v. 42. 

" All these have I kept from my youth up — yet lackest 
thou one thing : sell all that thou hast, and distribute to the 
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven ; and come, 
follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrow- 
ful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was 
very sorrowful, he said. How hardly shall they that have 
riches enter into the kingdom of God!" Lukexviii.21 — 24. 

Read and consider Lukexii. 15 — 49. And Luke xvi. 19, 
to the end. 

" So likewise whosoever he be of you, that forsaketh not 
all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple;" Lukexiv.23. 

" We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to 
good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should 
walk in them ;" Eph.ii. 10. 

" What profiteth it, my brethren, if a man say he hath 
faith, and have not works ? Can faith save him?" James ii. 14, 

" Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from 
all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zea- 
lous of good works;" Tit. ii. 14. 

" Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be 
not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in 
the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy ; 
that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready 
to distribute, willing to communicate ; laying up in store 
for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, 
that they may lay hold on eternal life ;" 1 Tim. vi. 17 — 19. 

*' But to do good and to communicate, forget not ; for 
with such sacrifices God is well pleased ;" Heb. xiii, 16. 

"I say unto you, make you friends of the mammon of 

VOL. IX. z 


unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you in- 
to everlasting habitations. If ye have not been faithful in 
the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the 
true riches ? Ye cannot serve God and mammon ;" Luke 

" Blessed is he that considereth the poor ; the Lord will 
deliver him in the time of trouble ;" &c. Psal. xli. 1,2, &c. 

Read Deut.xv. 7—9., &c. 2 Cor. ix. 1, 9., &c. Dan. iv. 
27. Lev. xxiii. 22. Prov. xxii.9. 

" He that giveth to the poor shall not lack ; but he that 
hideth his eyes shall have many a curse ;" Prov. xxviii. 27. 
Read Isaiah Iviii. throughout. 

" Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father 
is this. To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, 
and to keep himself unspotted of the world;" James i. 27. 

" Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your mise- 
ries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, 
and your garments are motheaten : your gold and silver is 
cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, 
and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped trea- 
sure together for the last days — Ye have lived in pleasure on 
earth, and been wanton ; ye have nourished your hearts as 
in a day of slaughter — " James v. 1 — 3. 5. 

" We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren : but 
whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have 
need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, 
how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, 
let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed and in 
truth;" IJohniii. 16— 18. 

" Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto 
him that teacheth in all his goods (or good things). Be not 
deceived ; God is not mocked : for whatsoever a man sow- 
eth that shall he also reap — Let us not be weary in well- 
doing ; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As 
we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men; 
especially to them who are of the household of faith ;" Gai. 
vi. 6, 7.9, 10. 

" Let him labour, working with his hands the thing 
which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth ;" 
Eph. iv. xxviii. 

" 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 ;" Matt. x. 41, 42. 

Read 1 Cor. ix. 4—16. 

"Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it 
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it 
unto me — Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not 
to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me ;** Matt. 
XXV. 40. 45. 

** But when thou doest alms, le tnot thy left hand know 
what thy right hand doeth ; that thine alms may be in secret; 
and thy Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward 
thee openly ;" Matt. vi. 3, 4. 

" But this I say, brethren, the time is short : it remain- 
eth that both they that have wives be as though they had 
none — and they that buy as though they possessed not ; and 
they that use this world, as not abusing it j for the fashion 
of this world passeth away ;" 1 Cor. vii. 29 — 31. 




GALATIANS vi. 14. 

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the 

Ever since mankind had a being upon earth, the malicioua 
apostate spirits have been their enemies. If it was the will 
of our Creator that we should be militaries in our innocency, 
and keep our standing, and attain our confirmation and glory 
by a victory, or else come short of it if we lost the day ; no 
wonder that our lapsed condition must be militant, and that 
by conquest we must obtain the crown. But there is a 
great deal of difference between these combats. In our 
first state we were the sole combatants against the enemy 
ourselves, and we fought in that sufficient strength of our 
own which was then given us, and by our wilful yielding 
we were overcome. But since our fall we fight under the 
banner of another, who having first conquered for us, will 
afterwards conquer in us and by us. All the great transac- 
tions and bustles of the world, which our fathers have re- 
ported to us, which have filled all the histories of ages, and 
which our eyes have seen, or our ears have heard of, are no- 
thing but the various actions or successes of this great war ; 
and all the persons in the world are the soldiers in these 
two armies, whereof the Lord of life, and the prince of dark- 
ness are the generals : the whole inhabited world is the 
field. The great onset of the enemy was made upon the 
person of our Lord himself; and as often as he was assault- 
ed or did assault, so oft did he overcome. In the wilder- 


ness he had that first appointed conflict with satan himself, 
hand to hand. Through his whole life after, he was as- 
saulted hy the inferior sort of enemies. And a leader in 
his own army, even Peter himself, is once seduced to be- 
come a satan, (Matt, xvi.22.) and a traitor Judas is the 
means of his apprehension, and then the blinded Jews and 
rulers of his crucifixion, and there had he the last and great- 
est conflict ; in which when he seemed conquered he did 
overcome, and so his personal war was finished. When the 
Captain of our salvation was thus made perfect through 
sufferings, (Heb. ii. 10.) that he might bring many sons to 
glory, his next work was to form his army ; which he did, 
by giving first commission to his ofl&cers, and appointing 
them to gather the common soldiers, and to fill his bands. 
No sooner did they set themselves upon the work, but satan 
sendeth forth his bands against them : persecutors assault 
them openly : and heretics are traitors in their own societies, 
and make mutinies among the soldiers of Christ, and do 
them more mischief by perfidiousness, than the rest could 
do by open hostility. The first sort of them took advantage, 
1. By the reputation of Moses' law, and the zeal of the 
blinded Jews for its defence. And, 2. From the dangers, 
sufferings and fleshly tenderness of many professors of the 
Christian faith, which made them too ready to listen to any 
doctrine that promised them peace and safety in the world : 
and as they were themselves a carnal generation, that looked 
after worldly glory and felicity, and could not bear persecu- 
tion for Christ, and so were enemies to his cross, while they 
profess themselves to be his disciples, so would they have 
persuaded the churches to be of the same mind, and to take 
the same course as they ; that so they might not be noted 
for carnal and cowardly professors themselves, while they 
brought others to believe the justness of their way 5 but ra- 
ther might have matter of glorying in their followers, instead 
of being either sufferers with the true Christians, or rejected 
by them whose profession they had undertaken. 

These were the persons that Paul had here to deal with, 
against whom having opposed many arguments tlirough the 
epistle, in the words of my text he opposeth his own resolu- 
tion, " God forbid that I should glory," &c. 

The words contain Paul's renouncing the carnal disposi- 
tion and practice of the false apostles, and his professed re- 


solution of the contrary. Where you have, 1. The terms of 
detestation and renunciation, " God forbid/' or, " be it far 
from me." 2. The thing detested and renounced, viz. To 
glory in any thing save the cross of Christ. His own posi- 
tive profession containeth, 1. His resolution to glory in the 
cross of Christ. 2. The effects of the cross of Christ upon 
his soul ; which being contrary to the disposition, and doc- 
trine, and endeavour of the false teachers, is added as a rea*- 
son of his abhorring their ways, and as the ground or prin- 
ciple of his contrary course : " Hereby the world is crucified 
to him, and he to the world." 

The difficulties in the words being not great, I shall take 
leave to be briefer in their explication. The verb Kavynadai, 
signifieth not only external boasting, but first internal con- 
fidence and acquiescence. By " the cross of our Lord 
Jesus Christ," we are to understand both his cross as suf- 
fered by him, and as considered by us, and as imitated by 
us, or the cross we suffer in conformity to him : for, I see 
no reason to take it in a more restrained sense. i 

By " the world," is meant, the whole inferior creation, 
or all that is objected to our sense, oris the bait or provision 
for the flesh, or by the tempter is put in competition with 
God : both the things and the men the world. 

To have " the world crucified to him," doth signify, 1. 
That it is killed, and so disabled from doing him any deadly 
harm, or from being able to steal away his affections, as it 
doth theirs that are unsanctified. 2. That he esteemeth it 
but as a dead and contemptible thing. So that this phrase, 
expresseth both its disabling, and his positive contempt of it 

The other phrase, that Paul was " crucified to the world,*' 
doth signify on the other side, 1. That his estimation and 
affections were as dead to it ; that is, he had no more esteem 
of it, or love to it, nor did he further mind or regard it, (so 
far as he was sanctified) than a dead man would do. 2. It 
signifieth that he was also contemned by worldly men, and 
looked on as his crucified Lord was, whom he preached. 

This is said to be done " by Christ," or " by his cross ;" 
for the relative may relate to either antecedent. But I should 
rather refer it to the latter, though in sense the difference 
is small ; because the one is implied in the other. 

The further explication of the nature of this crucifixion, 
and the influence that Ohrist and his cross have thereunto. 


and how they are the causes of it, must be further spoke to, 
in the handling of the doctrines, which are as follow : 

Doct. I. The carnal glorying of worldly professors, is a 
thing detested and renounced by the saints. 

Doct» II. A crucified Christ, or Christ and his cross, is 
the glorying of the saints. 

Doct. III. The world is crucified to the saints, and they 
to the world. 

Doct. IV. It is by a crucified Christ, or by Christ and 
his cross, that this is done. 

But because our limited time will not allow us to handle 
each of these distinctly, I shall reduce them all to one gene- 
ral Doctrine, which is the sense of the text. 

Doct. The world is crucified to the saints, and the saints 
are crucified to the world, by the cross of Christ ; and there- 
fore in it alone must they glory, abhorring the glory of car- 
nal men. 

The method which I shall observe, as fittest for your 
edification in handling this doctrine, is this : 

I. I shall more fully shew you negatively what it is not, 
and affirmatively what it is, to have the world crucified to 
us, and to be crucified to the world. 

II. I shall shew you how this is wrought by the cross of 

III. I shall give you the reasons, which prove that so it 

IV. 1 shall give you the reasons why it must be so. 

V. I shall make application of this first part of the Doc- 
trine. And then handle the latter part as time shall permit. 

I. There are few doctrines of faith, or ways of holiness, 
but have their extremes, which men will reel into from side 
to side, when few will consist in the sacred mean. The pur- 
l)lind world cannot cut by so small a thread, as the word of 
God directeth them to do, and as all must do, that will be 
conducted into truth. We have much ado to take men off 
these vanities ; but yet when many of them are convinced, 
and see that the world must be cast aside, they mistake the 
nature of holy mortification, and embrace instead of it some 
superstitious and cynical conceits ; in which they are as 
fjast bemired almost as they were before. 

I. I shall therefore first tell you what is not the crucifix- 
ion which we are to treat of. 


1. It is not to think that the world is indeed nothing ; and 
that in a proper sense our life is but a dream : nor yet scep- 
tically to take the being and modes of all things as uncertain. 
Nor to imagine that sense is so far fallible, that a man of 
sound sense and understanding, may not be sure of the ob- 
jects conveniently presented to his sense. There still re- 
maineth one argument which the sceptics were never able 
to confute, but will make them at any time to yield the 
cause ; even to scourge them, as fools, till they are sure to 
feel it. But we have few of these to deal with ; the scepti- 
cism of our times being restrained to those things which 
more closely concern the matter of salvation. 

2. Nor is it any part of the meaning of this text, that we 
should entertain a low and base esteem of the world, or any 
thing therein, as in its natural state considered, it is the 
work of God. For though man be eminently created in his 
image, yet all his works are like him in their measure, and 
therefore have all an excellency to be admired. It cannot 
be that Infinite Wisdom can make any thing which shall 
not have some impressions and demonstrations thereof. Nor 
can Goodness make any thing but what is good. And never 
did the Almighty make any thing that is absolutely con- 
temptible ; nor any thing so mean, which can be done by 
any other without him; so far inimitable is he in the smal- 
lest of his works. Nor did he ever make any thing in vain ; 
but those things which seem small and useless to us, have 
an unsearchable excellency and usefulness which we know 
not of. If the unskilful have the modesty to believe that 
the smallest string in an instrument of music, and the smal- 
lest pin in a watch, have their use, though he know not of 
it, we have great reason to think as modestly of the frame of 
all the works of God. And those things that in themselves 
considered are small, yet respectively and virtually may be 
very great. The heart may do more to the preservation of 
life, than a part much bigger ; and the eye may see more 
than all the rest of the body besides. And the order, loca- 
tion and respects of several parts, doth give them such an 
admirable usefulness and excellency, which none can know 
that seeth not the whole frame. 

Yea, our own selves, souls or bodies, considered as the 
workmanship of God, must not be thought or spoke con- 
temptibly of. For no by all that we say against the w ork. 


we do but reproach and dishonour the workman. In all our 
self-accusations and condemnations, we must take heed of 
accusing or condemning our Creator. Our naturals there- 
fore must be honoured, while our corrupt morals are vilified. 
We must disgrace nothing that is of God, but only that 
which may be truly called our own ; nor in the accusation 
of our own, must we by reflections and consequences accuse 
that which is God's, as if the fault in the original were his. 
By giving us our natural freewill, which is a self-determin- 
ing power, he made us capable of having somewhat in mo- 
rality which we may too justly call our own ; and our loss 
and want of moral freedom, (which is but our right disposi- 
tions and inclinations) were not to be charged ultimately on 
ourselves, if the foresaid natural freedom did not make us 
capable of such a culpability. It is a strange way that some 
men have devised, of magnifying the Creator by vilifying 
his works : and it is a strange conceit that all the praise 
that is given to the creature is taken from God : they would 
not do so by man : the praise of a house is taken to be no 
dishonour to the carpenter ; nor the commendation of a 
watch a dishonour to the watchmaker. God did not disho- 
nour himself, when he said, his works in the begmning were 
all good : he would never have been a Creator, if all the 
good which he made and communicated had been to his 
dishonour : when there was nothing but himself in being, 
there was nothing but himself to be commended ; but doubt- 
less, God intended his glory by his works ; and all that is 
in them proceeding from himself, the praise of them re- 
doundeth to himself. In a word, we must be very careful of 
God's interest in his creatures, and take heed of any such 
contempt or vilifying of them, which may reflect upon him- 

3. The crucifying of the world to us, doth not consist in 
our looking upon it as a useless thing, or laying it aside as 
to all spiritual improvement. No ; so far is this from being 
any part of our duty, that it is none of the least of our sins ; 
the creature was the first book that ever God did make for 
us, in which we might read his blessed perfections : and the 
perverting it to another use, with the neglect of this, was 
man's first sin. As it was the great work of the Redeemer, 
to bring us back to God that made us, and restore us to his 
favour, so also to restore us to a capacity of serving him. 


even in that employment which he appointed to us in our 
innocency ; which was to see God in the face of his crea- 
tures, and there to love and honour him. and by them to 
serve him. Though this be not our highest felicity, yet it is 
the way thereto ; till we come to see face to faee, we must 
be glad to see the face of God in the glass of his works. 
But of this we have more to say anon in the application. 

Our crucifying of or to the world, requireth not any se- 
cession from the world, nor a withdrawing ourselves from 
the society of men, nor the casting away the property or 
possession of the necessaries which we possess. It is an 
easier thing to throw away our master's talents, than faith- 
fully to improve them. The Papists glory in the holiness 
of their church, because they have many among them that 
have vowed never to marry, and have no property in lands 
or houses, and have separated themselves into a monastical 
society : a high commendation to their church, when men 
must be sainted with them, if they will do no mischief, 
though they make themselves useless to the rest of the 
world. The servant that hid his talent in a napkin, was 
condemned by Christ as wicked and slothful ; and shall he 
be commended by us for extraordinarily devout? Will you 
reward that servant that will lock up himself in his chamber, 
or hide his head in a hole, when he should be busy at your 
work? Or will you reward that soldier that will withdraw 
from the army into a corner, when he should be fighting ? 
The world swarms on every side with multitudes of igno- 
rant and impenitent sinners, whose miserable condition 
crieth loud for some relief, to all that are any way able to 
relieve them. And these religious monks make haste from 
among them, and leave them to themselves to sink or swim, 
and they think this cruelty to be the top of piety. Unwor- 
thy is that man to live on the earth, thatliveth only to himself, 
and communicateth not the gifts of God to others. And 
yet do these idle, unprofitable drones esteem their course 
the life of perfection. When we must charge through the 
thickest of our enemies, and bear all the unthankful re- 
quitals of the world, and undergo their scorns and persecu" 
tions, these wary soldiers can look to their skin, and get out 
of the reach of such encounters; and when they have done, 
imagine that they have got the victory. To live to ourselves, 
were it never so spiritually, is far unlike the life of a Chris*- 


tian : a good man is a common good, and compassionate to 
the miserable, and desirous to bring others to the participa- 
tion of his felicity. To withdraw from the world to do God 
service, is to get out of the vineyard or shop, that we may 
do our master's work. 

If you have riches, it is not casting them away that shall 
excuse you, instead of a holy improving them for God. If 
you have possessions, it is not a renouncing of property 
that shall excuse you from the prudent and charitable use 
of them. The same I say also of relations, of offices in the 
church and commonwealth. God calleth you not to re- 
nounce them : to crucify the world is not to disclaim all the 
relations, possessions or honours of the world. These are 
not yours but God's ; and as he put them into your hand, 
and commanded you faithfully to use them as his stewards, 
so you must do it ; and not think it a good account of your 
stewardship, to tell God that you threw away the talents 
that he trusted you with, because they were temptations to 
you, or because he was austere. I should have no great 
need to speak of this, were there not such a multitude of 
deluded souls that have lately received the Popish dotages 
herein. It is one thing to creep into a monk's cell, or an 
anchorite's cave, or a hermit's wilderness, or Diogenes' tub ; 
and another thing truly to be crucified to the world ; and in 
the midst of the creatures to live above them unto God ; as 
we are anon to shew. 

5. To be crucified to the world, is not to forbear our 
lawful trades and labours in the world. He that bids us eat 
our bread in the sweat of our brows, and would not have him 
eatthat will not labour, (Gen. iii. 19. 2 Thess. iii. 6. 10. 12.) 
did never call men to be begging friars, nor licentious pro- 
digals, nor idle gentlemen, nor lazy, unprofitable burdens of 
the earth. All idleness that is wilful, is sinful ; but that 
which is cloaked with the pretence of religion is a double sin. 
When some servants grow lazy, they will pretend piety for 
it, and accuse their masters of worldliness for setting them 
to work. And some that have families will neglect their 
duty for them, and all upon pretence of a contempt of the 
world. But he that bid us " use the world as not abusing 
it," (lCor.vii.31.)did never mean to forbid us the use of it. 
While such hypocrites will needs be more than Christians, 
they become in Paul's judgment worse than infidels ^ 1 Tim. 


V. 8. They should not labour with a desire to be rich, yet 
must they " labour to give to him that needeth ;" Idleness 
is not mortification. 

6. To be crucified to the world, or the world to us, con- 
taineth not an unthankful undervaluing of our mercies. It 
will not warrant us to say, health, and riches, and honours 
are contemptible ; and therefore I owe God but little thanks 
for them ; nor will it excuse any ungrateful insensibility of 
our deliverances. 

7. To crucify the world, is not to take away the lives of 
the men of the world, nor actually to use them as they used 
Christ. Though the magistrates must bring a false pro- 
phet to capital punishment that sought to turn the people 
from God, yet every one might not do so : nor is that any 
part of the sense of this text ; nor was it thus that Paul did 
crucify the world. 

8. Much less may it encourage any poor, melancholy, 
tempted souls to be weary of their lives, and to seek to make 
away with themselves. This horrid sin is far from the duty 
here required. To be crucified to the world is not to rid 
ourselves out of the world; nor to do that to ourselves, 
which were so heinous a sin if we did it to another, as not 
here to be more lightly punished than with death. 

And thus I have shewed you negatively, what it is not 
to have the world crucified to us ; which I do both to pre- 
vent extremes, and to prevent your unjust censures of the 
doctrine which I must next deliver, that you may see that I 
am not leading you into extremes, but insisting on a plain 
and needful truth. 

11. I am next affirmatively to shew what this crucifixion 
is. And first of the former branch : What it is to have the 
world to be crucified to us. Where we shall speak of the 
object, and then of the acts. 

Quest. I. * In what respects is it that the world must be 
crucified to us?' 

Answ. In general. 1. In those respects in which men 
fell to the world from God. The state of man's apostacy is 
an adhesion to the creature, and a departure from God ; and 
the state of his recovery must be a departing from the crea- 
ture, and an adhering unto God. 2. In those respects in 
which Christ himself hath opposed and overcome the world, 
in those must his people oppose and overcome it. 


More particularly ; though it be but one and the same 
thing which they all import, yet I think it may the better 
insinuate into your understandings, if 1 present it to you in 
these various notions. 

1. As the creature would be man's felicity, or any part 
of his true felicity, so it is to be hated, resisted, and cruci- 
fied. If the world would know its own place, it might be 
esteemed and used in its place ; but if it will needs pretend 
to be what it is not, and will promise to do what it cannot, 
and so would not only be used but enjoyed, we must take it 
for a deceiver, and rise up against it with the greatest de- 
testation. For else it will be the certain damnation of our 
souls. For he that hath a wrong end, is wrong in all the 
means ; and doth much worse than lose his labour in every 
step of his way. It is the greatest and most pernicious er- 
ror in the world, to mistake in our very end, and about our 
chiefest good. When once the world would seem to be 
your home, and promiseth you content and satisfaction, and 
is indeed the condition that you would have ; so that you 
do not heartily and desirously look any further, but would 
with all your heart take this for your portion, if you knew 
but how to keep it when you have it, and begin to say. It 
is good to be here,' and with that stigmatized fool, * Soul 
take thy rest,' then hath the world perniciously deceived 
you, and if you be not effectually recovered, will be your 
everlasting ruin. Whatever it be that presenteth itself to 
you (of this world) as your felicity, is to be hated, opposed, 
and crucified. 

Yea, if it would but share in this office and honour, and 
would seem lo be some part of your happiness, thus also 
must it die to you, or your souls must die. You can have 
but one ultimate principal end and happiness. If you take 
the world for it, you can expect no more. The covetous- 
ness of such is said to be idolatry, (Col, iii. 5.) and " their 
bellies to be their God," (Phil. iii. 18, 19.) and " their gain 
to be their godliness," (1 Tim. vi. 5.) and " their portion is 
in this life," (Psal. xvii. 14.) and so they are called men of 
the world. Here they " lay up a treasure to themselves," 
and therefore here is their hearts, (Matt. vi. 19—21.) and 
'• verily they have their reward ;" yer. 5. 

2. As the creature is set in competition with God, or in 
the least degree of co-ordination with God, so it is to be 


hated, rejected, and crucified. It is God's prerogative to 
have sovereign interest in the soul. To be esteemed and 
loved as our chiefest good, and to be depended on as the 
principal cause of our wellbeing. The heart he made for 
himself, and the heart he will have ; or else whoever hath it 
shall have it to its woe. He will be its rest, or it shall ne- 
ver have rest ; and he will be its happiness, or it shall be 
miserable everlastingly. If now the presumptuous world will 
play the traitor, and seek to dispossess the sovereign of 
your souls, it is time to use it as a traitor should be used. 
If it will needs usurp the place of God, down with that idol 
and deal with it as it deserves. O with what indignation 
and scorn may the Lord of glory look down upon the dirty, 
worthless creature, when he seeth it in his throne ! What ! 
an earthen God ! an airy God ! Is gold, and honour, and 
fleshly pleasures, fit matter to become your God? And 
with what indignation and scorn should a gracious soul 
once hear the motion of entertaining such a God! It 
should be odious to us once to hear a comparison between 
the living God and the world ! as if it would be to us what 
he would be, or could procure our safety and felicity in his 
stead. As the Jews would not endure to hear of Christ 
being their King, but cried out, " Away with him, crucify 
him, we have no king but Csesar." So must we think and 
speak of the world when it would be our king. Away with 
it, crucify it, we have no king but God in Christ. And as 
the rebellious world saith of Christ (Luke xix. 27.), " We 
will not have this man to rule over us," so must we say of 
the flesh and the world, we will not have them to rule over 
us. As the churlish Israelite asked Moses (the prophet like 
Christ) so must we do the flesh and world ; " Who made 
thee a ruler over us ?" We may value a very dunghill for 
the manuring of our land ; but if any man will say, * This 
dunghill is the sun, which giveth light to the world ; the as- 
sertion would rather cause derision than belief. Or if you 
would persuade a man to put it in his bosom or his bed, he 
would cast it away with abhorrence and disdain, who would 
not have refused it if you had laid it in his field. The 
poorest beggar may be regarded in his place ; but if he will 
proclaim himself king, you will either laugh at him as a 
fool, or abhor him as a traitor. Subjects do owe much ho- 
nour and obedience to their princes ; but if Caligula will 


need« be Jupiter, or if they must hear as the pope, ' Dominus 
Deus noster Papa', or if they will usurp God's prerogatives, 
and undertake his proper work, or will set themselves 
against his truth and interest, and grow jealous of his power 
on which they must depend, and of his Gospel and spiritual 
administrations and discipline, lest it should eclipse their 
glory, or cross their wills, this is the ready way to make 
them become base, and lay both them and their glory in the 
dust. The Jews ought to reverence Herod their king, but 
if once they begin to say, ' It is the voice of a God, and not 
of a man,' no wonder if he be smitten by the hand of Divine 
vengeance, and he that would be a god, become the food of 
worms ; and God shews them what a god they had magni- 
fied, that cannot keep the lice or worms from eating him 
alive. God useth to pour contempt upon princes, when 
they will not know and submit to the everlasting king. He 
taketh himself as engaged to break down all that would 
usurp his honour, and tumble down the idols of the world ; 
therefore hath he always so abhorred the two grand abomi- 
nations, pride and idolatry, above other sins. For he will 
not give his glory to another. He will not with patience 
hear it spoken of an idol, ' These are thy gods, O Israel, 
that brought thee out of Egypt.' The first commandment is 
not merely a precept for some particular act of obedience, 
as are the rest; but it is the fundamental law of God, es- 
tablishing the very relations of sovereign and subject. And 
as this is the first and great command, and that which vir- 
tually containeth all, " Thou shalt have no other gods be- 
fore me," or " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart." So he that breaketh this, is guilty of all. 
When the parent of the world would needs become as God, 
he made himself the slave of the devil. 

You see then, I hope, sufficient reason why the world 
must be abhorred and crucified, when it is made an idol, 
and would become our God ; and why this crucifixion of it 
is of absolute, indispensable necessity to salvation. If it 
had kept its place and distance, and would have been only 
a stream from the infinite Power, and Wisdom, and Good- 
ness, and a messenger to bring us the report of his excellen- 
cies, and a book in which we might read his name, and a 
glass in which we might see his face, then might we have es- 
teemed and niaonified it. But when the devil and the flesh 


will make it their bait to draw away our hearts from God, 
and to steal that love, desire, and care, which is due him, and 
begin to tell us of rest, or; satisfaction, or felicity here, it is 
time to cry out. Crucify it, crucify it. Wh«n it would in- 
sinuate itself into our bosom, and get next our hearts, and 
have our most delightful and frequent thoughts, and become 
so dear to us, that we cannot be without it ; when it is the 
very thing that our minds are bent upon, and that lifts us 
up when we have it, and casts us down when we want it : 
and thus disposeth of our affections and endeavours, it is 
time to lay such an idol in the dust, and to cast out such a 
traitor with the greatest detestation. As we ourselves shall 
be exalted if we humble ourselves, and brought low if we 
exalt ourselves : so must we cast down the world, when it 
would exalt itself in our esteem ; and the right exaltation of 
it is by the lowest subjecting of it unto God. For whoever 
hath to deal with Infinite power, must think of no other 
way of exaltation. 

3. The world must be abhorred, and crucified by us, as 
it standeth at enmity to God and his holy ways. It is be- 
come, through man's corruption, the great seducer, and an 
impediment to our entertainment of heavenly doctrine, and 
a means of keeping the soul from God. Yea, it is become 
the interest of the flesh, and is set in fullest opposition to 
our spiritual interest. In what degree soever the world 
would turn your hearts from God, or stop your ears against 
his word, or take you off from the duty which he prescrib- 
eth you, in that measure you must seek to crucify it to your- 
selves. If father or mother would draw us away from Christ, 
though as parents they must be honoured still, yet as ene- 
mies to Christ they must be contemned. When your ho- 
nours would hinder you from honouring God, and your cre- 
dit doth contend against your conscience, and your worldly 
business contradicteth your heavenly business, and your 
gain is pleaded against your obedience ; it is time then, to 
use the world as an enemy, and to vilify those honours and 
businesses, and commodities. A tender conscience that is 
acquainted with a course of universal obedience, will take 
notice when these worldly interpositions and avocations 
would interrupt his course : and a soul acquainted with a 
holy dependance upon God and communion with him, can 

VOL. IX. ' - A A - „,E. 


feel when these enticing and deluding things would inter- 
rupt his communion, and turn his eye from the face of God : 
and therefore he can feel by the • advantage of his holy ex- 
perience, when the world becomes his enemy, and calleth 
him to the conflict. 

4. The world is to be crucified, as it is the matter of our 
flesh-pleasing ; or the food of our carnal affections, and the 
fuel of our concupiscence. The grand idol that is exalted 
against the Lord, is carnal-self. This is the God of all the 
unregenerate. This hath their hearts, their care, their la- 
bours. The pleasings of this flesh is the end of the unsanc- 
tified, and therefore the summary capital sin, which virtu- 
ally containeth all the rest. Even as the pleasing of God is 
the end of every saint, and therefore the summary capital 
duty, which virtually containeth all other duties. The 
world is an idol subservient to the flesh, as being the mat- 
ter of its delight, and the means by which its end is attain- 
ed ; as in the contrary state, the Mediator is subservient to 
the Father, as being the matter of his delight in whom he is 
well-pleased, and the means by whom he obtaineth his ends, 
in making his people also wellpleasing in his eyes. The 
devil also is an idol of the ungodly ; but that is in a sub- 
serviency to the world and to the flesh, as by the bait of 
worldly things he pleaseth the flesh ; as in the contrary 
state the Holy Ghost is in office subordinate to the Son and 
to the Father, in that he bringeth us to Christ, by whom we 
must have access to the Father. In the carnal trinity then 
you may see, that as the flesh is the principal and ultimate 
end, and hath the first place, so the world is the nearest 
means to that end, and hath the second place : and as there 
is no coming to the Father or pleasing him but by the Son, 
so there is no way of pleasing the flesh but by the world. 
So that by this you may perceive in what relation we stand 
to the sensual, seducing world, and on what grounds, and 
how far it is necessary that we crucify it. The fixed deter- 
mination of our sovereign is, that if " we live after the flesh 
we shall die, but if by the Spirit we mortify the deeds of the 
body, we shall live ;" Rom. viii. 13. To live after the flesh, 
is by loving the world, and enjoying it as our felicity ; and 
to mortify the deeds of it by the Spirit, is by withdrawing 
this fuel and food that doth maintain them^^^and by crucify- 
ing and killing the world as to such ends. t)iir work is to 


" put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for 
the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof;" Rom. xiii. 14. It is the 
world that is this provision for the fulfilling of our fleshly 
lusts. So far therefore as the flesh must be mortified, the 
tvorld also must be mortified. 

5. Moreover the world must be crucified to us, as far as 
it is presented to us as an independent, or separated good, 
without its due relations unto God. It is God only who is 
the absolute, necessary, independent Being ; and all crea- 
tures are but secondary, contingent, dependent beings, 
(whether univocally or equivocally, or analogically so call- 
ed, with God, let the schools debate). To look on the crea- 
ture as a separated or simple being or good, is to look upon 
it as God. And here came in the first idolatry of the world. 
When Adam had all his felicity in God, and,hadthe creature 
only as a stream and means, and when all his affections 
should have been centred in God, and he should not have 
viewed one line in the volume of nature, without the joint 
observance of the centre where it was terminated ; contra- 
rily he withdraws his eye from God, and fixeth it on the 
creature, as a separated good ; and desiring to know good 
in this separated sense, he made it an evil to him, and knew 
it to his sorrow. And so forsaking the true and All-suffi- 
cient Good, he turned to a good which indeed, as conceived 
of by him, was no good, and knew it by a knowledge, which 
as to the truth of it, was not knowing, but erring. And in 
this course which our first progenitors have led us into, the 
carnal world proceedeth to this day. The creature is near 
them, but God is far off". A little they know of the crea- 
ture, but they are utter strangers to God. And therefore 
think on the creature as independent, separated good. And 
you must carefully note, that the dependence of the creature 
on God, is not to be fully manifest by the dependence of 
any creature upon another. The line is locally distant from 
the centre ; and the streams are locally distant from the 
spring, though they are contiguous, and have the depen- 
dency of an effect. But God is not local, and so not local- 
ly distant from us. The nearest similitude is that of the 
body's dependence on the soul (which yet doth fall exceed- 
ing short). In God both we and every creature do live, 
and move, and have our being. As no man of reason will 
talk to a corpse, nor dwell and converse with any man mere- 


ly as corporeal, without respect to the soul that doth ani- 
mate him, nor will he fall in love with a corpse ; so no man 
that is spiritually wise (so far as he is so) will once look 
upon any creature, much less converse with it, or fall in love 
with it, barely as a creature, conceiving it as a thing that is 
separated from God, or not positively conceiving of God as 
animating it, and as being its Alpha and Omega, its Begin- 
ing and End, its principal efficient, and ultimate, final 
cause, at least. For this were to imagine the carcase of a 
creature, and to conceive of it as such a thing as is not in 
being. For out of the God of nature the creature is no- 
thing, nor can do any thing ; for there is no such thing ; 
even as out of Christ the Lord of spiritual life and grace, 
the new creature is nothing, and we can do nothing: for 
there is no such new creature. 

You have here the very difference between a carnal and a 
spiritual life. The carnal man doth see only the carcase of 
the world, and is blind to God, and seeth not him, when he 
seeth that which is animated by him. But the spiritual man 
seeth God in and by the creature, and the creature is no- 
thing to hini but in God. As an illiterate man doth look 
upon a book, and seeth only the letters, and taketh plea- 
sure in their shape and order, and falls a playing with it as 
children do ; but he seeth not, nor understands the sense ; 
and therefore if it contained the most noble mysteries of the 
greatest promises, even such as his life did depend upon, he 
loveth it not in any such respect ; nor doth he for that de- 
light in it : but let a learned man have the perusing of the 
same book, and though he may commend the clearness of 
the character, yet it is the sense that he principally observeth 
and the sense that he loveth, and the sense that he delighteth 
in ; and therefore as the sense is incomparably more excellent 
than the character simply considered, so it is a higher and 
more excellent kind of knowledge and delight which he hath 
in the book, than that which the illiterate hath. And indeed 
it is an imaginary annihilation of the book, and of every cha- 
racter of it, formally considered, toconceiveof it as separated 
from the sense ; for the very essence of it, is to be a sign of 
that sense ; and therefore as the illiterate cannot see the sense 
of words and letters, the wood for trees, so the literate can 
aee no such thing as words without sense, nor would regard 
the materials but for this signifying use. 


I have expressed the similitude ia more words than I us6 
in such cases, because it much illustrateth our present mat- 
ter. It was never the mind of God to make the great body 
of this world to stand as a separated thing, or to be an idol. 
He made all this for himself. The whole creation is one 
entire volume, and the sense of every line is God. His name 
is legible on every creature, and he that seeth not God in all 
understandeth not the sense of the creation. As it is eternal 
life to know God, so this God is the life of the creature 
which we know, and the knowing of him in it is the life of 
all our knowledge. The illiterate world doth gaze upon the 
creatures, and fall in love with the outside and materials, 
and play with it, but understandeth not a creature. By se- 
parating it in their apprehensions from God, the sense, they 
do annihilate the world to themselves, as to its principal use 
and signification. 

There are two texts of Scripture, among many others, of 
which I have often thought, as notable descriptions of a 
carnal man's life ; the one as to the privative part, and the 
other as to the positive. One is Ephes. ii. 12. which calleth 
them " Atheists, or without God in the world." They see 
and know somewhat of the world, but God they neither see 
nor know. They converse with the world, but not with 
God. All their affections are let out upon the world, but 
God hath none of them. All their business is about the 
world ; but they live as if they had nothing to do with God. 
As a scholar, if his master should stand in a corner of the 
school to watch what he will do, will behave himself while 
he seeth him not, as if he were not there ; he will play with 
his fellows and talk to them, as if there were no master in 
the school : so do the ungodly live in the world, as if there 
were no God in the world ; they think, and speak, and deal 
with the world, as if there were nothing but the world for 
them to converse with. As for God, they know him not, 
but carry themselves as if they had nothing to do with him ; 
and ask in their hearts, as Pharaoh once did, " Who is the 
Lord that I should serve him ?" And perhaps this made 
David say, " the fool hath said in his heart there is no God ;" 
Psal. xiv. 1. Though he speak it not positively, yet there is 
a privative atheism, which is interpretatively to say, There 
is no God. For he seeth him not, nor taketh any great no- 
tice of him; but liveth as without him in the world. Not 


without him efficiently considered ; for so nothing can sub- 
sist without him, but without him objectively considered. 
" For God is not in all his thoughts;" (Psal. x.4,5.) and his 
judgments are far above, out of his sight. God looketh 
down upon the children of men, to see if there be any that 
will understand and seek alter God ; but they are gone aside, 
and are become filthy, and observe not him that observe th 
them ;" Psal. xivr2,3. This is the case of poor worldlings, 
from the highest prince to the lowest beggar. A great deal 
of business they have in the world, some in seeking what 
they want, and others in holding and enjoying what they 
have ; but they all live as without God in the world. " Now 
consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, 
and there be none to deliver you ;" Psal. 1. 22. " For the 
wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that 
forget God ;" ix. 17. 

The other text that describeth the life of a mere natural 
man, is Psal. xxxix. 6. to which you may join Psal. Ixxiii. 
20. The former saith, " Surely every man walketh in a vain 
show ; surely they are disquieted, or make a tumult and stir 
in vain." Though the brevity of life itself may be something 
here intended, yet that seemeth not to be all ; but also the 
vanity of it, as it is a worldly life, and employed merely 
about transitory creatures. For even on earth our spiritual 
life of grace, and communion with God in Christ by the Spi- 
rit, is not vain. The word which we translate a * vain show,' 
signifieth the image, or shadow, or appearance, or figure of a 
thing : a thing that is nothing, or not the thing it seems to 
be, but the show of it ; or as the prophet himself expound- 
eth it, a dream. Men do but seem to live, that live only on 
and to the creature ; they do but seem to be rich, and have 
no other riches ; and seem to have pleasure that have no 
higher pleasures ; and seem to be honourable, that have but 
the honour that comes from man. A great stir they make in 
the world, to little purpose. They thrust themselves into 
tumults, and quarrel, and fight, and some are conquered, 
and others conquerors, and some lament, and others rejoice; 
some walk dejectedly, and others domineer ; all is but a 
vain show, or thing of naught. It is but like children's 
games, where all is done in jest, and wise men account it 
not worthy their observance. It is but like the acting of a 
comedy, where great persons and actions are personated and 


counterfeited ; and a pompous stir there is for a while, to 
please the foolish spectators, that themselves may be pleas- 
ed by their applause, and then they come down, and the 
sport is ended, and they are as they were. The life of a 
worldling is but like a puppet-play, where there is great do- 
ings to little purpose. Or like the busy gadding of the la- 
borious ants, to gather together a little sticks and straw, 
which the spurn of a man's foot will soon disperse. Thus 
do all worldly, sensual men walk in a vain show. By sepa- 
rating the creature from God, they make it nothing ; and 
then they study it, and dispute of it, and seek, and run, and 
labour for it, when they have in a sort annihilated it. I 
speak still of their objective separation * in esse cognito et 
volito :' for a real separation is impossible, but as a real an- 
nihilation may be so called. When they have separated the 
characters of the great book of nature from God, who is their 
sense, and made nothing of it, as to the form of a book, then 
do they fall a playing with it, who could not endure to learn 
on it. But when their Master comes to take an account of 
their learning, the play will be at an end, and the sorrow 
begins : and then they must remember and feel that their 
book was given them to another use. 

And this seems to be the sense of that oth6r text ; " As 
a dream when one awaketh, so, O Lord, when thou awakest, 
(or in awaking) thou shalt despise their image ;" Psal. Ixxiit. 
20. Though our translators apply it to God's awaking, that 
is, to judgment, yet many learned interpreters rather apply 
the word * in awaking ' to the sinner's awaking at judgment, 
out of the aforesaid dream of a sensual life. They do but 
labour, and care, and gather as in a dream ; they fight, and 
conquer, and possess but as in a dream. They dream that 
they are rich, and honourable, and happy, and how proudly 
do they carry it out in this dream. One dreameth that he 
is a great man, and he is lifted up ; another dreameth that 
he is poor and undone, and he .is troubled ; but when God 
awaketh the dreaming world, he will show them the vanity 
and despicableness of this image or shew that here they 
walked in. They shall see that, as in a game at chess, though 
one was imaginarily a king, and another a queen, yet it wa§ 
but imaginary; and when the tedious game is ended, they 
have laboured hard to do nothing, and are all alike; so will 
it be with them. The meaning is not only that God himself 


* will despise this their show or imaginary employments and 
enjoyments ; but that he will make them appear despicable 
to themselves and all the world. 

Truly brethren, all that we have to do with the world in 
a separated sense, as without God, is such a game, a dream, 
a show. When scholars are thus studying their physics or 
metaphysics, or any thing of the creature, as separated from 
God, yea, or as not studying God in that creature, they are 
but playing the children and fools : they are like a printer 
that cannot read, (if there were such a man,) that studieth 
how to shape his letters, when he knoweth not what a letter 
meaneth. When they are disputing in the schools about 
God's works, in this separated sort, as without God, they 
are busily playing the idiots, and taking the name of God in 
vain, and making a learned stir about nothing. 

And here, I pray you, mark the different successes of a 
sensual, and of a sanctified study and knowledge. The first 
sinner, by seeking to know and enjoy the creature in a se- 
parated sort, did lose God who was his all, and made the 
creature his all ; and thereby, as to its signification and prin- 
cipal use, did to himself annihilate it. And in this path do 
all his posterity walk, till faith recover them ; and this is 
their vain show, and their living without God in the world. 
But when faith hath opened a man's eyes, and shewed him 
God in every creature, who was hid from him before, then is 
the creature, who was before his all, annihilated to him in 
that separated sense, and God becomes his all again : and 
this annihilation of the creature, is indeed its restoration 
objectively to its primitive nature and use ; and it was not 
indeed known or respected as a creature till now. So that 
sensual men, by making the creature an imaginary god, or 
chiefest good, or all, do make it indeed objectively become 
nothing ; and so their all, their god, their felicity is nothing ; 
and so all their life is a nothing. When as the faithful, by 
crucifying or annihilating the creature, as it would appear a 
felicity to us, or any good, as separated from God, do re- 
store it to its true objective being and use, by returning to 
God, who is truly all, and in whom the creature is a derived 
imperfect something, and out of whom it is indeed a nothing. 
I will further illustrate it by one other similitude. God 
gave the ceremonial law by Moses to the Israelites, to be an 
obscure Gospel, and to lead them unto Christ. The sacri- 


fices, and other typical ceremonies were the letters of the 
law, and Christ was the sense. The true believers thus un- 
derstood and used them ; but the carnal Jews looked only 
on the letter, and lost the sense : and thus separating the 
bare letter from the sense, that is, the legal works from 
Christ, they thought to be justified by those works, and by 
the law, in that separated sense. But the apostle Paul doth 
plead against this error, and tells them that Christ is the end 
of the law to all believers, and that he is the fulfilling of it ; 
and that through him it is fulfilled in those that walk not 
after the flesh, but after the Spirit ; and that by the deeds of 
the law, in this separated sense, no flesh can be justified ; 
and that the letter, separated from the sense of it, killeth ; 
but Christ, by his Spirit, who is the sense of it, giveth life. 
If these Jews had taken and used the law as God intended 
it, and had taken the sense and spirit with the letter, and had 
understood that Christ was the very life, and end, and all of 
the law, Paul would never have cried down the law, nor jus- 
tification by it, in this sense ; that had been to cry down 
justification by Christ. But it was justification by the let- 
ter, or the law as separated from Christ, who was the mean- 
ing of it. So is it in our present case. The creature is the 
letter, and God the sense ; and carnal men do understand 
only the letter of the creature, and fall in love with it : and 
thu&God crieth down the world, and vilifieth, and speaketh 
contemptuously of the world : when as if it had not been for 
the separation, he would never have cried it down, nor spok- 
en a hard word of it. As the law had never been so hardly 
spoken of, if the misunderstanding Jew had not separated 
it from Christ. So the world had never been so often called 
vanity, and a lie, and nothing, and a dream, and that which 
is not bread, and that which profiteth not, a shadow, a de- 
ceiver, with abundance of the like contemptuous terms, if 
carnal sinners had not in their minds and affections sepa- 
rated it from God. 
J And thus I have shewed you in what respects the world 
must be crucified. 

And let me add in the conclusion, as most necessary for 
your observation, that there is in the world an inseparable 
aptitude to tempt us dangerously to the aforesaid abuse ; 
and therefore when we have done all that we can in crucify- 
ing and sublimating it, we must never imagine that we can 


make it so wholesome or harmless a thing, as that we may 
feed upon it without great caution and suspicion, or ever re- 
turn to friendship with it again, till fire have refined it, and 
grace hath perfectly refined us» And yet this is not long of 
the creature without us, but of us and the tempter. The 
world is in itself good, as being the work of God ; and it 
cannot be the proper, efficient, culpable cause of our sin : 
for it hath no sin in itself. (I mean the world, as distinct 
from the men of the world) ; and therefore cannot be the 
direct cause of sin. But yet there is that in it, which is apt 
to be the matter of our temptation ; and so apt, as that all 
that perish do perish by the world. As there is no salvation 
but by the whole Trinity conjunct, who have each person 
his several office for our recovery ; so there is no damnation 
but by the whole infernal trinity, the flesh, the world and 
the devil : even to innocent Adam the world must be the 
bait, and satan found somewhat in it, that made it apt for 
such an office, though nothing but what was very good. 
But now that the flesh is become the predominant part and 
power in us, as it is in all till the Spirit overcome it, the case 
ia much worse, and the world is incomparably a more dan- 
gerous enemy than to Adam it could be. For though still 
the creature be good in itself, yet we are so bad, that the 
better the creature is, the worse it becomes to us : for we 
are naturally propense to it in its separated capacity, and all 
men till regeneration are fond of it as their felicity, and hug 
it as their dearest good, and sacrifice to it as their idol. So 
that an enemy it is, and an enemy it will be when we have 
done our best, as long as we are on earth. For while we 
have a flesh that would fain be pleased by that which God 
forbiddeth, and there is a devil to ofler us the bait, and tempt 
us to this flesh-pleasing, the world, which is the bait, will 
still be the matter and occasion of our danger. The consi- 
deration of this may cut the throat of licentious principles, 
and hence we may answer the most of their vain, pretended 
reasons, who, under the cloke of Christian liberty, would 
again indulge the flesh, and be reconciled to the world. But 
certainly it will never lay by its enmity till we lay by our 
ftesh ; and therefore there are no thoughts to be entertained 
of closing with it any more ; but we must be killing it, and 
dying to it to the last. 

Having thus shewed you in what respect the world must 


be crucified, and so resolved the question as to the object, 
I am next to resolve it as to the act, and shew you wherein 
the crucifying it doth consist. 

The apostle foUoweth on the allegory, which he took oc- 
casion of from the mention of the cross of Christ. From 
thence therefore we must also fetch the proper sense. As 
the world did use Christ, or would have used him, so we 
must use the world. Not actually murder the sons of death, 
as they did murder the Lord of life ; but what Christ was 
on the cross in their eye, that must the world be esteemed 
in our eyes. 

To take it in order. 1. The predictions of the prophets 
before Christ's coming, were not regarded by the unbeliev- 
ing Jews, but the prophets themselves persecuted. 

So those that would persuade us of the felicity of any 
worldly enjoyments, and by extolling sensual pleasures, or 
profits, or honours, would draw our hearts to them, should 
be despised and esteemed as deceivers by us. No man is. 
more serviceable to the devil for our destruction, than they 
that applaud any sensual vanity, and would make us believe 
what great matters are to be expected from the world, and 
so would be the panders of it to entice to its unchaste em- 
bracements. Remember this, when any would persuade 
you what a fine thing it is to be rich and great, and some- 
body in the world ; what a merry life it is to drink, and sport 
away your time : these are the prophets and apostles of the 
devil and the world, and let them be regarded by you ac- 

2. As soon as Christ was born into the world, his best 
place of entertainment was a common inn ; and there he 
could have room but in a stable and in a manger ; the world 
would allow him no better accommodation ; and this was the 
welcome that it first afforded him. 

Here you have two notable Directions for your usage of 
the world. 1 . Begin to renounce it betimes, as it did Christ, 
As the world rejected Christ an infant, so we in our infancy 
must reject the world. This is to be solemnly performed in 
baptism ; where, as we are engaged to the saving Trinity, and 
baptized into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, 
so must we solemnly renounce the damning trinity, even the 
flesh, the world and the devil : for so the church hath ever 
done, and the nature of the thing doth manifestly require it ; 


for the ' motus ' must have its ' terminus a quo,' as well as 
*ad quern.' It is a sad thing that so many well-meaning 
men should deny our infant capacity of this engagement ; 
but much more sad that they should do it with such church- 
dividing zeal, as if the kingdom of God lay in the exclusion 
of the seed of believers out of it. If it be true that all our 
infant seed are excluded from the church, I am sure it is so 
sad a truth, that methinks men should not so eagerly lay 
hold of it, before they have better evidence to evince it. It 
was once a mercy for infants to be in covenant with God, 
and members of his church ; and I do not think that it is 
now a mercy to be out, or that the kingdom of the devil is 
the more desirable state ; (and all men are in one of these). 
Sure I am, they were once members of the church by God's 
appointment, and they- that say they are cast out, must prove 
it, and better than any that yet have attempted it, if they 
would have judicious, considerate, impartial men believe 
them. Whoever cast them out, sure Christ would not, that 
did so much enlarge the church and better its state, and ma- 
nifest more abundant mercy, and chide his disciples that 
kept such from him, and proclaimed that his kingdom was 
of such. I am not easily persuaded that the Head and King 
of the church hath actually gathered a society of a false con- 
stitution so long, and that he that is so tender of his church, 
and hath bought it so dearly, and ruled it so faithfully, had 
never a true constituted, visible church, till about two hun- 
dred years ago, among a few such as I have no mind to des- 
cribe, and that we must now have a new and true church- 
frame to begin, when the world is almost at an end : and 
that this glory, reserved for our last days, consisteth in 
casting out our infant seed, and leaving them in the visible 
kingdom of the devil, till they come to age. I am more out 
of doubt than ever I was, that God would have our infants 
renounce the world, and be dedicated unto him, as the 
world did renounce Christ an infant. If an infant Christ 
must be the Head of the church, I know not why an infant 
sinner may not be a member of it : and as the world without 
reason, through malice, rejected our infant Head ; so God 
will find both reason and love to receive and entertain his 
infant members. And as long as we have God's express ap- 
probation in his word, for parents' entering their children 
into his covenant, and have the examples of all nations by 


the law of nature, allowing parents to enter their children 
into covenants which are apparently for their good, and to 
put their names into their leases with their own, we shall not 
think our infants incapable of covenanting with God, nor of 
making this early abrenunciation of the world. 

2. From hence also you may learn what room it is that 
the world should be allowed by you, even the stable and the 
manger, as it allowed Christ. This is a point of most ne- 
cessary consideration. The soul of man hatH its several fa- 
culties : as vegetative, it hath its natural parts, and spirits, 
and powers, and a natural appetite after the creature. This 
is, the stable and the manger, where the creature, as a good, 
may be entertained : it hath also a sensitive, its power of 
sensation, and sensitive appetite. This also may entertain 
the creature ; but not for itself, nor by its own conduct ; 
but under the guidance of reason to a higher end. But the 
high and noble faculty of reason, and the rational appetite, 
may not allow it the least entertainment in its separated ca- 
pacity, as we are now discoursing of it. It belongeth not 
to the natural or sensitive powers to see and love God in the 
creature ; and therefore it cannot be required of them ; and 
therefore they may receive their objects, (moderate by rea- 
son,) upon lower terms. But it is the office of reason, as to 
moderate the senses, so to behold God in all the objects of 
sense : and no otherwise should it have to do with sensual 
objects, of which more anon. 

3. It was not long that Christ had been in the world be- 
fore Herod sought his life, and caused him to fly into Egypt. 
And as soon as we are capable of assaulting the world, we 
must actually fall upon it, and seek the extirpation of all its 
interest from our hearts, where Christ sets up his throne. 

It was for fear of losing his crown, that Herod sought 
the death of Christ. It must be for fear lest Christ should 
be dethroned in our hearts, and lose his regal interest, and 
lest we should lose the crown of glory, that we must endea- 
vour the crucifying of the world. 

When angels and wise men did worship Christ, yet He- 
rod did seek his death, and the more seek it, because of 
their acclamations, as being brought into jealousies of him 
by the titles which they gave him. So when the princes and 
great ones of the earth do extol the world, and magnify its, 


glory, we must be raised hereby into the greater suspicion 
of it, and the more resolvedly set against it. 

As Herod did put to death even the innocent children, 
lest Christ should escape, that so he might make sure work 
for his crown ; so must we subdue our sensual desires, by 
denying them sometimes even in lawful things, lest we 
should be carried to that which is unlawful before we are 
aware ; and we must avoid the very occasions and ap- 
pearances of evil, and restrain ourselves in the liberty that 
we might take, and not go as near the brink of danger as we 
dare : for it concerneth us to make sure work where the 
reign of Christ and our own salvation is so much concerned, 
as in our victory over the world it is. 

4. The whole life of Christ on earth was one continued 
conflict with the world. They believed not on him even 
when they saw his miracles. They hated him even while he 
did them good. They afforded him not a settled habitation. 
So, in the height of its glory, the world must not be trusted 
by us. Though it afford us sustenance for our outward man, 
yet must we hate it ; and we must allow it no settled en- 
tertainment in our hearts. 

Christ was in the world, and the world was made by him, 
and yet it knew him not ; John i. 10. We converse in the 
world, and our outward man must live by it, as in it we re- 
ceived our life, and yet we must not know it in its separated 
capacity : the world could not hate them that were of the 
world ; but Christ it hated, because he was not of it ; John 
vii. 7. XV. 18, 19. xvii. 14. So must we hate the world, 
because it is not of that nature, nor for that interest as the 
new creature is, though worldlings that are of it cannot 
hate it. 

The nearer Christ was to the end of his life, the more 
cruelly and maliciously did the world use him. And the 
nearer we are to our parting with the world, the more must 
we contemn and hate it. 

5. The world did arraign and condemn Christ as a ma- 
lefactor : they charged him to be a deceiver, and one that 
did his mighty works by the power of Beelzebub. So must 
we justly charge the world to be a deceiver, and work its 
strange, stupendous delusions by the power of satan the 
great deceiver, and as a malefactor must we attach, arraign 
and condemn it. They came out against Christ with swords 


and staves ; Matt. xxvi. 55. We must come out against the 
world as that great thief that would rob God of his honour 
and interest, Christ of his kingdom, and us of our salva- 
tion, and, by the sword of the Spirit, must disarm and 
conquer it. 

The world judged Christ to be a blasphemer, and guilty 
of death, because he said that he was the Son of God, and 
should sit at his right hand. We must condemn the world 
of blasphemous usurpation, that would needs become our 
God, and usurp the divine prerogatives and honours. 

They spit upon Christ in token of hatred and contempt. 
And we must as it were spit at the pleasures, and profits, 
and honours of the world, and manifest our defiance, and 
hatred, and contempt of them. 

They buffeted Christ in manifestation of their malicious 
enmity. And the world and our flesh must not escape our 
hands ; though our war be but defensive, yet must we offend 
that we may defend. " So fight I, (saith Paul, 1 Cor. ix 
26, 27.) not as one that beateth the air, (that maketh a show 
of enmity when there is none, as children in sport, or fencers 
that have no intent to kill,) but I keep under my body, and 
bring it into subjection ; lest that by any means when I 
have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 
virwinaZ,(x) fis to orw^a Kai BovXaytoyw. The first verb sigui- 
fieth to buffet and beat black and blue, as we say, ' Et validis 
ictibus subjicere reluctantem,' as Beza speaks, and the se- 
cond verb signifieth to bring into servitude, or into the state 
of a servant, which is indeed the very work that we have to 
do with the flesh and the world. 

They reproached Christ when they had smote him, and 
tauntingly bid him " prophesy who smote him." And the 
world and all the idols of it deserve no better of us, when 
they will usurp the place of God ; and we may well scorn 
such a god, as Elias did Baal, and as God useth to do by the 
idols of the heathen. Fine gods indeed, that can neither 
save themselves nor us. 

The world did strip Christ, and put on him a robe and a 
crown of thorns, and a reed into his hand, and again spit 
upon him and mocked him. And this contempt in our ap- 
prehensions must we cast upon the arrogant world ; we must 
strip it of its vain show, and give it the honour of a reed for 
levity, and of thorns for unprofitableness and vexation ; for 


as thorns it vexeth when it promiseth felicity, and as thorns 
it choketh that word of truth, and as a reed it is shaken with 
every wind. 

No backwardness of the judge, and no intercession of 
his wife, could rescue Christ from the malice of the Jews ; 
but the more is said for him, the more they cry, " Crucify 
him." And as resolvedly must we persecute the world. 
No intercession of our flesh, or backwardness of carnal rea- 
son, must take us off; but we must be content with nothing 
but its crucifying. 

When Pilate drew back, they knocked all dead with this 
malicious voice, Johnxix. 12. "If thou let this mango, 
thou art not Caesar's friend : whosoever maketh himself a 
king, speaketh against Caesar." So must we quicken and 
provoke our reason by arguments drawn from our fidelity to 
Christ, and say, ' If we favour this world, we are not the 
friends of Christ; for whatsoever would make itself our 
king, and our felicity, and would steal away our hearts, is 
not Christ's friend.' 

When Pilate saith, " Shall I crucify your king ?" they 
cry out, " we have no king but Caesar." And when the 
flesh or carnal reason saith, " W^ill you cast away your com- 
forts, your peace, your happiness, your lives V we must say, 
* We have no comfort but Christ, no peace but Christ, no 
happiness, no life but what is in Christ.' 

The world crucified Christ between two thieves. And 
we must crucify the world between two thieves ; viz. the 
flesh on the one hand, and the devil on the other, which 
would both have robbed God and us ; though through the 
power of a crucified Christ, the one of these, even the flesh, 
may be so refined as to be admitted into paradise. 

The world writ over the head of Christ as the cause of his 
death, " King of the Jews." And we must write this over 
the crucified world, ' This is it that would have been our 
king, and god, and happiness : so let all thine enemies pe- 
rish, O Lord.' We must pierce the very sides of it, and let 
out its heart-blood. We must nail its hands and feet, the 
very instruments or means by which it executed its deceits. 
We must give it the gall and vinegar of penitent tears, and 
threatened judgments. The world thus "despised and re- 
jected Christ, making him a man of sorrows and acquainted 
with our griefs j they hid their faces and esteemed him not. 


He had no form or comeliness in their eyes, and when they 
saw him, there was no beauty that they should desire him ;" 
Isa. liii. 2,3. So must we despise and reject the world, and 
hide our faces from it, and not esteem it, disdaining even to 
look upon its pomp and vanity, and to observe its gaudy al- 
luring dre^s, or once to regard its enticing charms. We 
must think it all into a loathsome vanity, till there appear to 
us no form or comeliness in it, nor any beauty that we should 
desire it, and wonder what they can see in it that so far 
dote upon it, as to part with Christ and salvation to enjoy it. 
The world did even triumph over a crucified Christ, and 
shake their heads at him, and say, " He saved others, but 
himself he cannot save." And we must triumph through ' 
Christ over the crucified world, and say. This is it that pro- 
mised such great matters to its deceived followers ; that 
men esteemed before God and glory ; and now, as it cannot 
save them from the dust, or the wrath of God, so neither 
can it save itself from this contempt that Christ doth cast 
upon it. Cast down this idol out of your hearts, and say. 
If he be a god let him help himself. 

Lastly, The world when they had crucified Christ did 
bury him, and roll a stone on his sepulchre, and seal it up, 
and watch it with soldiers to secure him from rising again, 
if they could. And we must even bury the crucified world, 
and be buried to the world, and lay upon it those weighty 
considerations and resolutions, and seal thereto with sacra- 
mental obligations, and follow all this with persevering 
watchfulness, that may never permit it to revive and rise 

And thus must we learn from the cross of Christ, haw 
the world is to be crucified ; as it used Christ, we must use 
it. For it is the whole course of Christ's humiliation that 
is meant here by his cross, the rest being denominated from 
the most eminent part ; and therefore from the whole must 
we fetch our pattern and instructions, by the direction of 
the allegory in my text. 

But it will not be unprofitable if we more particularly 
and orderly acquaint you with those acts, which the crucify- 
ing of the world to ourselves doth comprehend ; overpassing 
those by which Christ did it for us on the cross, till anon in 
the due place. 



1. The first act is. To esteem the world as an enemy to 
God and us, and so as a malefactor that deserveth to be cru- 
cified. And this must not be only by a speculative con- 
ception, but by a true, confirmed, practical judgment, which 
will set all the powers of the soul on work. It is the want 
of this that makes the world to live and reign in the hearts 
of so many, yea, even of thousands that think they have mor- 
tified it. A speculative book-knowledge that will only 
make a man talk, is taken instead of a practical knowledge. 
Almost every man will say, the world is a great enemy to 
God and us ; but did they soundly and heartily esteem it 
to be such, they would use it as such. Never tell me that 
that man takes the world for his deadly enemy, who useth it 
as his dearest friend ; enmity, and deadly enmity, will be 
seen. Here is no room to plead the command of loving our 
enemies ; at least, no man can think that he must love it 
with a love of friendship, and therefore with no love but 
what is consistent with the hatred of a deadly enemy. This 
serious, deep apprehension of enmity is the very spring and 
poise of all our opposition. We cannot heartily fight with 
our friend, or seek his death. There must be some anger 
and falling out before we will make the first assault : and a 
settled enmity before we will make a deadly war of it. This 
apprehension of enmity consisteth in an apprehension of 
the hurtfulness of the world to us, and of the opposition it 
maketh against God and our salvation, and of the danger that 
we are in continually by reason of this opposition. So far 
as men conceive of the world as good for them, so far they 
take it for their friend, and love it. For no man can choose 
but love that which he seriously conceiveth to be good for 
him. This complacency is clean contrary to the Christian 
hostility. But when we conceive of it as that which we 
stand in continual danger of being everlastingly undone by, 
this will turn our hearts against it. It undoes men that 
they have not these apprehensions of the world, and that 
deeply fixed and habituated in their minds. For it is the 
apprehension or judgment of things that carrieth about the 
whole man, and setteth awork all the other faculties. 

Quest. ' But what should we do to be habitually appre- 
hensive that the world is our enemy?' 

Answ. 1. You must be sure that you lay up your trea- 
sure in heaven : that you are so convinced by faith of the 


glory to come, and of the true felicity that consisteth in the 
fruition of God, as that you take it for your portion, and 
make it your very end. And when once you have laid up 
your hopes in heaven, and see that there or nowhere you 
must be happy, this will presently teach you to judge of all 
things else, as they either help or hinder the attainment of 
that end. For it is the nature of the end to put a due esti- 
mate upon all things else : and it is the property of the chief 
good, to denominate all other things either good or evil, and 
that in a greater or lesser measure, according as they res- 
pect that chiefest good. For there can be no goodness in 
any thing else, but the goodness of a means ; and the means 
is so far good, as it is apt and useful for the attainment of 
the end. If once therefore you unfeignedly take God and 
glory for your end and felicity, you will presently fall upon 
inquiry and observation, what it is that the world will do to 
help or hinder that felicity. 

2. And then you need but one thing more to the disco- 
very of the enmity ; and that is, the constant experience of 
your souls. A real living Christian doth live for God, and is 
upon the motion to his eternal home ; there is his heart, and 
that way his affections daily work : when he findeth his soul 
down, he windeth it up again, and straineth the spring of 
faith and love. And therefore his life and business being 
for heaven, he cannot but be sensible of the rubs that are in 
his way, and take notice of those things that would stop him 
in this course. Whereupon he must needs find by constant 
experience that the world is that great impediment, and so 
must be apprehensive of the enmity of the world. For as 
he that loveth God and waiteth for the sight of his face in 
glory, must needs take all that to be against him, and naught 
for him, that would keep him from God, and deprive him of 
that beatifical vision ; so he that knoweth what it is to love 
God, must needs know by constant, sad experience, that 
the world is the great withdrawer or hinderer of that love. 
When he sets himself in any holy employment to mount his 
soul into a more heavenly frame, and to get a little nearer 
God, he feeleth himself too much entangled with inferior 
objects ; these are the weight that presseth down, and the wa- 
ter that quencheth the sacred flames ; and were it not for 
these, O how much higher might our souls attain, and how 
much freer might we be for God? For it is a thing most 


certain by our constant experience, that the more of the 
world is upon our hearts, the less there is of God; and the 
more of God, the less of the world. So that these two means 
alone, — the sincere intending of God and glory as our end, 
and daily observation of our own hearts, will easily convince 
us that the world is our great enemy. And when we tho- 
roughly apprehend it to be our enemy, we have begun to 
crucify it. 

3. The next act by which the world is crucified, is, a 
deep, habituated apprehension of its unworthiness and in- 
sufficiency. As the opposing world must be taken for an 
enemy, so the promising, alluring world must be taken, as 
it is, for an empty thing. The life and reign of the world 
in the unsanctified, lieth first in their too high estimation of 
it. They think of it as good, and good to them, and as a 
matter of some considerable worth ; and though they will 
say with their tongues that heaven is better, yet all things 
considered, they take the world to be more suitable to them, 
and therefore they desire it more. For heaven is out of 
sight, and beyond their apprehension and affection, and as 
they imagine, it is not so certain as the things which they 
see, and feel, and possess. And therefore they resolve to 
grasp as much of the creature as they can, and take that 
which they can get in hand, and then if there be a heaven, 
they hope they may have their part in it, as well as others. 
But saving illumination doth put men into another mind. 
It makes them see, that the invisible things are of greater 
certainty than the visible, and that a promise without pos- 
session, is better security than possession without a pro- 
mise ; and that for the worth and goodness between eternal 
things and temporal, there can be no comparison. If the 
world would have been content to have kept its place, and 
to have borrowed all its honour and esteem from God and 
glory, as the end for which it must be used and regarded, it 
might then have had the honour of being serviceable to our 
salvation, and to our Master's work. But seeing it will 
needs be a competitor with heaven, it thereby disrobeth it- 
self of its glory, and becometh a vile, contemptible thing : 
and so must it be esteemed by all the friends of God. A 
sound believer looks on the world, as the world looked on 
Christ when he hanged on the cross, not only as a malefactor 
' hut as a contemptible thing. And as the world esteemeth 


the saints themselves to be hypocrites, deceivers, fools, 
weak, despised, a spectacle to the world, yea, as the filth of 
the world, and the oftscouring of all things ; so must the 
believer esteem the world, as seeming to be what it is not, as 
a weak and insufficient thing, as the wepiKaOdpfiaTa koi 
7ravT(t)v TTEpixpriina, iCor.iv. 11 — 13, the very filth of the 
streets that is swept away, or cast upon the dunghill ; or as 
a thing devoted to death for the averting of an imminent 
judgment. Paul's judgment is in a prevalent degree the 
judgment of every gracious soul ; "What things were gain 
to me, those I counted loss for Christ : yea, doubtless, and 
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the know- 
ledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; for whom I have suffered 
the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I 
may win Christ;" Phil.iii.7, 8. Were the world but thus 
conceived of by a practical judgment, it were half crucified 
already. If men did verily think that the world is their loss, 
they would love it less, and less greedily seek after it, than 
now most do. Gehazi would not have ru'n after Naaman 
for his money, if he had thought it had been his loss. Achan 
would not have hidden the forbidden gold, as a treasure, if 
he had thought it had been his loss. Who would be at so 
much care and pains for their loss, as worldlings and sen- 
sualists are for their delights? And if the judgment did 
once esteem the world as dung, they would not be so greedy 
for it, nor put it into their bosoms. Who would fall in love 
with dung, or dote upon filth or dog's-meat? As the judg- 
ment doth esteem it, the affections will be towards it. And 
they that know not of a better condition, will value this as 
the best, though common reason will call it vanity. But 
they that by faith have found out the true felicity, have low 
and contemptuous thoughts of the world. O what a carcase 
what a shadow is it in their eyes ! What a poor, low thing 
is it which the sons of men do tire themselves in seeking 
after! What a dunghill do they wallow in, as if it were a 
bed of roses! What deformities do they dote upon, as if 
they were the most real beauties ! A toad abhorreth not the 
company of a toad ; but shall not a man abhor it ? But we 
shall have occasion of saying more to this in the applica- 

3. The third act by which we crucify the world, is a kind 
of annihilation of it to ourselves; in our conceptions taking 


it as a very nothing, so far as it would be something separa- 
ted from God, or co-ordinate with him. How oft doth the 
Scripture call it vanity, a dream, a vain show, a shadow, yea, 
nothing, yea, and less than nothing before God, and lighter 
than vanity itself; Isai. xl. 17. Psal. Ixii. 9. Jobvi.21. 
The princes of the earth, who are something in the eyes of 
themselves and others, appear as nothing when God lets out 
his wrath upon thein ; Isai. xxxiv. 12. Even as the straw 
when the fire hath consumed it, or the fairest buildings when 
it hath turned them to ashes. For though the world be re- 
ally something, yet, 1. In regard of the eflPects which itpro- 
miseth to seduced worldlings, it may be called nothing. 
For that which can do nothing for us in our extremity, 
which hath no power, to relieve or satisfy us, which leaveth 
the soul empty, and deceiveth them that trust it, may well 
be called nothing in effect : * In genere boni/ that which 
can do us no good, is nothing to us. Let a needy soul be- 
take himself to the world for comfort under the burden of 
sin, for quiet and true peace to a wounded conscience, and 
you will find it can do nothing. Seek to it for grace or 
strength against corruptions and temptations, and you will 
find it can do nothing. Cry to it for succour in the depth 
of your affliction, and at the hour of death, and try whether 
it will present you acceptable unto God, and bring your de- 
parted souls with boldness to his presence, and you will find 
that it can do nothing ! Whatever it promiseth, and what- 
ever it seemeth to deluded sinners, when you look for any 
real good from it, you will find it can do nothing : and 
therefore you may well take it as a mere nothing to you. 
2. And 'in esse objectivo' we may make nothing of it, by 
excluding it from any room in our souls, as to those acts 
that do not belong to it. 3. And as a separated being, in- 
dependent as to God, so it is indeed nothing, for there is 
no such thing : much less as it is a separated good or felicity 
to man. Annihilate then the world to yourselves. When 
it would appear to you to be what it is not, and would pro- 
mise you to do what it cannot, let it be as nothing to you. 
Conceive of it as of a shadow, or a thing that seemeth to 
be and is not. Could you once make nothing of it, it would 
have no power over you, nor any unhappy effects upon you. 
You would not dote upon a known nothing, nor change your 
(^od and glory for nothing. As .Tob saith of the wicked. 


" He openeth his eyes, and he is not ;" Jobxxvii. 19. so we 
may say of the world : when we open our eyes, we shall see 
that it is not : that which before seemed nothing to us, will 
appear to be all things; and the world, that seemed all 
things, will be nothing. 

The sum of all that hath been said is this : The oppos- 
ing world must be apprehended as an enemy to God and us, 
and so far hated. The glozing world appearing as our feli- 
city, or a competitor with God, must be conceived of as 
worthless, and contemned : and the world as it would appear 
as a separated good, being any thing to us, or having any 
thing for us, out of God, must be annihilated in our concep- 
tions, and taken as nothing. 

We are next briefly to shew you, how it is that we are 
crucified to the world ; having shewed you how the world 
is crucified to us. And in general the meaning is, that we 
af-e as dead or crucified men to it, in regard of those fore- 
mentioned unjust respects, in which the tempter would pre- 
sent it to us. So that * crucified' here is put for the absence 
of that action and worldly disposition, which carnal men are 
guilty of. So that it is a moral, and not a natural death, 
that is here mentioned ; and observably diifereth from a na- 
tural in these respects. 

1 . A natural death destroyeth the very powers or faculties 
of acting. But a moral death only destroyeth the disposi- 
tion and action itself, but not any natural power. 

2.' A natural death is involuntary ; and in itself is nei- 
ther a virtue nor a vice ; neither morally good or evil. But 
a moral death is principally in the will itself, and nothing is 
more voluntary, and so it is the principal virtue or vice. To 
be dead in sin and to God, is the sum of all evil. And to 
be dead to sin and the world, in Christ, is the sum of moral 

3. Natural death hath no degree of life remaining (sav- 
ing of the separated soul). But moral death may consist 
with much of the contrary life. For it is denominated from 
the predominant habits of the soul ; which may stand with 
much of the contrary habit, though subdued. We cannot 
therefore gather that Paul was absolutely free from all sin, 
because he was dead to it, or crucified to the world. For 
this is a moral death consisting in a conquest of the enemy; 
who may be said to be dead, because he is overcome ; and 


consisting in the prevalent habits of thesout, which yet may 
have too much of the remnants of their contraries. 

More particularly, 1. Ifw^e are crucified to the world, 
our undue estimation of the world is crucified. We have 
no idolizing, overvaluing regard to it, (in that measure as 
we are dead to it). As the world do not regard the works 
of the Lord,(Psal. xxviii. 5. Jer. v. 12.) so the saints do not 
regard the things of the world. The life of faith so elevate 
their spirits, that they are mounted up above the creature, 
and look not upon the world ; or look upon it as a despi- 
cable thing. They are above that which is the delight and 
employment of others ; and that which the sensual call fe- 
licity, they still call vanity. And as a man's stomach 
abhorreth that which a dog or swine will greedily devour, 
so the soul of a believer doth despise and abhor the delights 
of the ungodly. As pride makes the rich look contemp- 
tuously and disregardfully upon the poor, so the holy 
elevation of believing souls, doth make them look contemp- 
tuously and disregardfully upon all the glory of the world. 
As faith doth bring them up to God, and make him their 
object and their all, so doth it make them somewhat like 
him, and minded as he is minded. And as God "regardeth 
not persons, (Deut. x. 17.) nor accepteth the persons of 
princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor, (Job 
xxxiv. 19.) but is pleased more in the least of his image on 
the humble, faithful soul, than with all the glittering glory of 
the world ; so is it in their measure with his people. Where 
they see nothing of God, they feel no substance ; but so far 
as God appeareth to them in any creature, or action, or any 
means or benefit which they possess, so far they perceive 
some substance in it. As " the natural man receiveth not 
the things of the Spirit, nor can know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned," (1 Cor. ii. 14.) so the spiritual 
man hath shut up his senses to the world, and lost his per- 
ception of them, because they are carnally so discerned. 
The carnal man hath his senses quick in discerning and fa- 
vouring the things of the flesh, but to the things of the Spi- 
rit he is dead and senseless. And contrarily the spiritual 
man is dead and senseless to the things of the flesh, and 
hath no savour in those things that are other men's delights; 
Rom. viii. 5, 6. 10. He tasteth no more sweetness in their 
pleasures than in a chip. He wonders what they can see or 


taste in the things of the world, that they so run after it. 
To be rich or poor, do but little differ in his eyes. To be 
high or low is all one to him, considering these things as 
accommodations to the flesh ; though still he valueth any 
condition according to the respect it hath to God, and so 
that is the best condition to him that best accommodateth 
and advantageth him for God's service. He taketh the 
flesh's interest to be none of his interest ; and therefore that 
which only concerneth the flesh, concerneth not him. And 
therefore he looketh in this regard upon a high estate or 
low, as nothing to him. Let God dispose of him as he 
please, that is God's work and not his. He hath " learned 
in whatever state he is, therewith to be content. He knows 
how to be abased, and he knows how to abound ; every 
where, and in all things he is instructed, both to be full and 
to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need ;" Phil. iv. 

11, 12. If you applaud and honour him, he takes it but as 
if you breathed on him ; at the best it is but a sweeter kind 
of breath. And if you vilify, and reproach, and unjustly 
condemn him, he takes it for no great hurt. For " with him 
it is a very small thing to be judged of man, and at man's 
bar; for he that judgeth him is the Lord;" 1 Cor. iv.3, 4. 
Nay, what if I said that if you imprison him, threaten him, 
torment him, yea, put him to death, he doth not much regard 
it, nor make any great matter of it, so far as he is crucified 
to the world. How joyfully could Paul and Silas sing in 
the stocks, when their bodies were sore with scourging ? 
Actsxvi. What a rapture of joyful praises did the apostles 
break forth into, when they were threatened by the priests 
and elders? chap. iv. 21. 24. I will add but two more in- 
stances, Dan. iii. The three Jews that were threatened with 
a furnace of fire, are accused for not regarding the king, ver. 

12. and their own answer is, " We are not careful to answer 
thee in this matter. If it be so, the God whom we serve is 
able to deliver us from the burning, fiery furnace, and he 
will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it 
known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy Gods ;" 
ver. 16, 17. And sure they that " would not accept of deli- 
verance when they were tortured," Heb. xi. 35. did set little 
by it in comparison of that better resurrection which they 
hoped for. As Christ said of satan, " The prince of this 
world hath nothing in me ;" John xiv. 30. so in our mea- 


sure, so far as we are dead with Christ, the world hath no- 
thing in us : no interest, no carnal life to work upon, and 
therefore is unable to do any thing with us. Our undue 
estimation of the world is crucified. This is the first 

2. If we are crucified to the world, our inordinate cogi- 
tations of the world are crucified. We must not give it that 
room in our fancies or power over them, as they have with 
other men. We should not indeed allow the creature one 
thought either for itself, and terminated finally in itself, nor 
as separated from God. Much less should we have so 
frequent and so pleasant or passionate thoughts of it as 
most have. But of this more in the application. 

3. To be crucified to the world, is to have affections dead 
about worldly things. That which is vile in our estimation, 
will be ineffectual in our affections. I shall briefly instance 
in some particulars. 

(1.) Our love to the world is crucified, if we be crucified 
to the world. As this is the great affection which God 
claimej:h for himself, and which he maketh the seat of his 
most excellent grace ; so is it that which he is most jea- 
lous of, and will least allow the creature to partake of; and 
the misemployment of it is the greatest sin, as the right em- 
ployment of it is the greatest duty. " Love not the world, 
neither the things that are in the world ;" 1 John ii. 15. 
This is a plain and flat Command. If the world be not ap- 
prehended by the understanding to be our good, it will not 
be embraced by the will, nor be loved. Perhaps you will 
say, * Though it be not our chief good, yet it is good, and 
therefore may be loved, though not chiefly loved.' To 
which I answer, that in the senses before disclaimed, it is 
none of our good at all. It hath no goodness to us in it, 
but the good of a means, which is respective to the end ; 
and therefore we must have no love to it but that which is 
due to the means. God therefore being our end, we must 
love the world only for his sake, as it cometh from him, and 
leadeth to him. The least love to the world for itself, is 
idolatrous. As you may not allow another woman the least 
conjugal affections, though you allow your wife more, with- 
out some guilt of unchastity, so you may not in the least 
measure love the creature for itself, without some guilt of 
spiritual unchastity. If God must be loved with all the heart. 


and soul, and strength, then there is none left for any co- 
partner whatsoever. When we love any thing but as a 
means, it is more properly the end that we love in that very 
act (and therefore some philosophical divines affirm that no- 
thing but the ultimate end is properly loved), so that the 
love which we give the world in a due subordination to 
God, is not so properly a love to the world as to God, and 
therefore ittaketh not from God the least part of that which 
is due to him. But if we love it in the least measure for it- 
self, or with any co-ordinate love, so much as we allow it, id 
robbed from God. '>iH .-(ija aw .aqou. iui .m>u 

(2.) Hence followeth (when odriovfe'td the't^'ortd i^ drti- 
cified) that our desires after it is crucified also. Before we 
thirsted after pleasures, or honours, or riches, but now this 
thirst is abated ; for when we obey the call of Christ (Isa. 
Iv. 1.), and have freely drunk of the living waters, we thirst 
our former thirst no more (according to the measure in which 
we partake of him), but his Spirit will be a well of water in 
us; springing up to everlasting life ; John iv. 13, 14. The 
distempered appetite of a carnal man is so eager after 
worldly things, that his heart is set upon them, which is 
called his " minding the things of the fliesh ;" Rom. viii. 5; 
But the mortified Christian as such, hath no mind of them. 
His appetite to them is dead and gone. He cares not for 
them. Now he perceiveth that they are not good for him, 
his heart is turned against them. 

(3.) When we are crucified to the World, our expecta- 
tions of good from the world are crucified. Before we look- 
ed for much from it ; we thought if we had this pleasure, or 
that honour ; if we had such lands, buildings, friends, or pro- 
vision, then we were well, or at least much better than now 
we are ! O how good did we think that these were for us ! 
And therefore we still lived in hope of more. But when we 
are crucified to the world, we give up these hopes. We see 
then that we are deceived. We did but hope for nourish- 
ment from a stone. The breasts are dry which we thought 
would have refreshed and satisfied us. When we see that 
the world is an empty thing, a cask, a picture, a dream, a 
shadow, we turn away from it, and look no more after it, but 
look for content in something else. As a child that seeth a 
painted apple may be eager of it till he try that it is savour- 
less, and then he careth for it no more. Or if a beautiful 


crab deceive him, when he hath set his teeth in it, he cast- 
eth it away ; so when a Christian findeth the folly of his 
former expectations, and tasteth the vexations of the crea- 
ture which he was so greedy of, and withal is acquainted by 
a lively faith, where he may be better, away go all his ex- 
pectations from the world ; and he promiseth himself no 
more content or satisfaction in it. This is a notable part of 
mortification. As it is the hopes of some good, that 
sets men to work in all endeavours ; so take down their 
hopes, and all the wheels of the soul stand still. If it were 
not for hope, we say, the heart would break. And there- 
fore when all our hopes from the world are dead, the very 
heart of the old man is broken, and all his worldly motions 
cease. Then he saith, * It is as good to sit still, as labour 
for nothing. I despair of ever having contentment in the 
creature. I see it will not pacify any conscience : it will 
not save me from the wrath to come : it will do nothing for 
me that is worthy of my regard, and therefore let it go : I 
will follow it no further : it shall have my heart no more.' 
Before he had many a promising, "delightful thought of the 
creatures, which he could not reach. He thought with him- 
self, * If I were but thus placed and settled once ; if I had 
but this or that which I want ; if I were but here or there 
where I would be ; if I had but the favour of such or such an 
one, how happy were I ; how well should I be. I would 
then be content and seek no more.' But when faith hath 
mortified us to the world, 'we see that all these were foolisli 
dreams : we knew not what it was that we hoped for ; and 
then we give up all such hopes for ever. Such pleasing 
thoughts of any worldly thing while you want it, or of any 
place or condition. which you are absent from, and such pro- 
mises and hopes from any worldly state, or person, or thing, 
doth manifest that so far you are alive to the world, and is 
a folly of the same nature with theirs that idolize the world, 
when they do enjoy it. For one man to say, ' If I had this 
or that, I were well,' and for another that hath it, to say, 
* Now I am well, soul take thy rest,' do both shew the same 
estimation, and idolatrous love to the world in their hearts ; 
though one of them have the thing which he loves, and the 
other hath it not. And to be so pleased with the very fancy 
and conceits of those worldly things which they never had, 
seems worse than to be pleased with it when they have it. 


I pray you lay this well to heart that 1 say to you. De- 
spair, utter despair of ever being contented or well in the 
world, or made happy by the world, in whole or in part, is 
the very life of Christian mortification. It is the nature of 
a carnal heart, to keep up his worldly hopes as long as pos- 
sibly he can. If you beat him out from one thing he runs 
to another ; and if he despair of that, he looks after a third, 
and thus he will wander from creature to creature, till grace 
convert him, or judgment condemn him. If he find that 
one friend faileth him, he hopes another will prove more 
faithful ; and if that prove a broken reed, he will rest upon 
a third. If he have been crossed in his hopes of worldly 
contentment once, or twice, or ten times, or a hundred 
times, yet he is in hope that some other way may hit, and 
some more comfort he may find at last. But when God 
hath opened a man's eyes to see that the whole world is va- 
nity and vexation, and that if he had it all, it would do him 
no good at all ; and that it is a mere deceitful, empty thing; 
and when a man is brought to a full and final desperation of 
ever finding in the world the good that he expected ; then, 
and not till then, is he crucified to the world ; and then he 
can let it go, and care not : and then he will betake himself 
in good earnest to look after that which will not deceive 

When a worldling is in utmost poverty or in prison, he 
may part with all his worldly contentment at the present : 
but this is not to be crucified to the world. For still he 
keeps up his former estimation of it, and love to it, and 
some hope perhaps that yet it may be better with him. Yet, 
if he should despair of ever being happy in the world, if 
this proceed not from his disesteem of it, and the change of 
his affections, but merely because he would have the world, 
but sees he cannot, this is far from the nature of true morti- 

(4.) If we are crucified to the world, our delight in it is 
crucified. It seeraeth not to us a matter of such worth, as 
to be fit for our delight. Children are glad of toys, which 
a wise man hath no pleasure in. To have too sweet con- 
tentful thoughts in the creature, and to apprehend it as 
our good, and to be rejoiced in it, is a sign that so far we 
are not crucified to it. It is not able to glad a mortified 
heart, so far as it is mortified ; though the love of God that 


is manifested by it, may make him glad. And this is it that 
Paul disclaimeth in my text, " God forbid that I should 
glory, save in the cross of Christ." If he were the lord of 
all the honours or wealth of the world, he would not glory 
in them. If he had all the pleasures that the flesh can de- 
sire, he would not glory in them. If he had the common 
applause of all men, and every one spoke well of him ; if he 
had all things about him suited to a carnal heart's content, 
yet would he not glory in it. No more than a grave and 
learned man would glory that he had found a counter or a 
pin. " Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the 
mighty man glory in his might ; let not the rich man glory 
in his riches ; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that 
he understandeth and knoweth me, that 1 am the Lord that 
exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness on 
the earth ; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord ;" 
Jer. ix. 23. " The nations shall bless themselves in him, 
and in him shall they glory;" chap. iv. 2. " Thou shall 
rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the holy One of Israel;" 
Isa. xli. 16. "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be 
justified, and shall glory ;" chap. xlv. 25. The world is too 
low to be the joy of a believer. His higher hopes do cloud 
and disgrace such things. 

And as these forementioned passions in the concupisci- 
ble, so also their contraries in the irascible, must be cruci- 
fied : e. g. (1.) A man that is dead to the world, will not 
hate or be much displeased with those that hinder him from 
the riches, or honours, or pleasures of the world. He makes 
no great matter of it, and taketh it for no great hurt or loss. 
And therefore rather than study revenge, he can patiently 
bear it, when they have taken away his coat, if they take 
away his cloak also. He doth not swell with malice against 
them that stand in the way of his advancement, or hinder 
his rising or riches in the world. He will not envy the pre- 
cedency of others, or seek the disgrace or ruin of them that 
keep him low. No more than a wise man will hate or 
seek to be revenged of him that would hinder him from 
climbing up to the top of a steeple, or that will take a stone 
or a bush of thorns out of his way. 

(2.) A man that is crucified to the world, will not avoid 
or fly from any duty, though the performance of it cross his 
worldly commodity, or hazard all bis worldly interest. He 


l^eth not reason enough in worldly losses, to draw him to 
the committing of sin to avoid them. An unmortified man 
will be swayed by his worldly interest. That must be no 
duty to him, which casteth him upon sufferings ; and that 
is no good to him which would deprive him of his sensual 
good ; and that shall be no sin to him, which seemeth to be 
a matter of necessity, for the securing of his hopes and hap- 
piness in the world. Whatever is a man's end, he puts a 
must upon the obtaining it, and upon all the means without 
which it will not be attained. I must have God and glory, 
saith the believer, whatever I want : and therefore I must 
have Christ, 1 must have faith, and love, and obedience, 
whatever I do.' And so saith the sensualist; ' My life, and 
credit, and safety in the world must be secured, whatever I 
miss of. And therefore I must avoid all that would hazard 
or lose them. And I must do that which will preserve them 
whatever I do.' The worldling thinketh there is a necessity 
of his being sensually happy ; or at least of preserving his 
life and hopes on earth. But the mortified Christian seeth 
no necessity of living, much less of any of the sensual pro- 
visions, which to others seem such considerable things. 
And hence it is that the same argument from necessity, 
draweth one man to sin, and keepeth another most effectu- 
ally from sin. He that hath carnal ends, doth plead a ne- 
cessity of the sinful means, by which he may attain them. 
And he that hath the end of a true believer, doth plead a 
necessity of avoiding the same sins, which the other thought 
he must needs commit. For heavenly ends are as much 
crossed by them as earthly ends are promoted by them. We 
find a rich man in Luke xviii. 23, that had a great mind to 
have been a Christian. And if he had lived in our days, 
when the door is set a little wider open than Christ did set 
it, there are some that would not have denied him baptism, 
but would have let him in. But when he heareth that the 
world must be renounced, and Christ tells him of selling all 
and looking for a reward in another world, " he goes away 
sorrowful, for he was very rich." The man would have had 
pardon and salvation, but he must needs be rich, or at least 
keep something. And they that are so set upon it, that 
they must and " will be rich, do fall into a temptation and 
a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which 
drown men in destruction and perdition ;" 1 Tim. vi. 9. 


And "he that makes haste to be rich, shall not be inno- 
cent;" Prov. xxviii. 20. But the crucified world is a dead 
and ineffectual thing. It cannot draw a man from Christ or 
duty. It cannot draw a man into any known sin (so far as 
he is crucified). It is as Samson, when his hair was cut : 
its power is gone. Thousands whose hearts were changed 
by grace, could sell all, and lay the price at the apostles' 
feet, and could forsake all, and take up their cross and fol- 
low a crucified Christ to the death, and could rejoice in 
tribulation, and glory that they were counted worthy to suf- 
fer : though he that was unmortified do go away sorrowful. 
Worldly interest doth command the religion and life of the 
unmortified man, because it is the predominant interest in 
his heart. But it is contrary with the mortified believer. 
His spiritual interest being predominant, doth rule him as to 
all the matters of this world. 

(3.) If you are crucified to the world, your care for world- 
ly things is crucified. It is not in vain that Christ expressly 
commandeth his disciples, " Take no thought for your life, 
what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your 
body, what you shall put on ;" Matt. vi. 25. 31. And Phil, 
iv. 6. " Be careful for nothing." And 1 Pet. v. 7. " Casting 
all your care on him, for he careth for you." I know this 
is a hard saying to flesh and blood, and therefore they study 
evasions by perverting the plain text, and would null and 
evacuate the express commands of Christ, by squaring them 
to that carnal interest and reason which they are purposely 
given to destroy. But you will say, ' Must we indeed give 
over caring?' I answer, 1. You must be in care about your 
own duty, both in matters of the first and second table, and 
how to manage your worldly affairs most innocently and spi- 
ritually, and to attain the ends propounded in them by God. 
But this is none of the care that is now in question ; 1 Cor. 
vii. 32. There is a necessary " caring for the things that 
belong to the Lord, how to please the Lord," and that even 
in your worldly business. But 2. You may not care for the 
creature for itself, nor for the mere pleasing of the flesh. 
As it may not be loved for itself, so neither may it be cared 
for, for itself. And 3. When you have used your utmost 
care or forecast to do your own duty, you may not be anxi- 
ous or careful about the issue which is God's part to deter- 
mine of. As God himself appeareth in prosperity or adver- 


sity, you may and must have regard unto the issue. But for 
the thing itself you must not, when you have done your 
own duty, be any further careful about it. God knoweth 
best what is good for you, and how much of the creature you 
are fit to manage, and what condition of body is most suit- 
able to the condition of your soul. And therefore to him 
must the whole business be committed. When you have 
committed your seed to the ground, and done your duty 
about it, you must have no further care at all, which inti- 
raateth fears, anxiety, or distrust : though as care is largely 
taken for regard, you may care and pray for the blessing of 
God on it, and for your daily bread. 

(4.) So far as you are crucified to the world, your world- 
ly sorrows also will be crucified. If you miss of it, you will 
not be grieved for that miss. For the displeasure of God 
which an affliction may manifest, you ought to be grieved ; 
but not for the mere loss of the creature for itself. As God 
in the creature must be loved and delighted in, and not the 
creature for itself; so it is God's displeasure manifested in 
the creature that must be our grief. If a man's flesh be 
dead, you may cut it off, and he never feeleth you : you may 
cut it, or prick it, and he will not smart. And if you be 
dead to the world, you will not feel it as others do, when 
worldly things are taken from you. You will make no great 
matter of it. 

Object. ' But grace doth not make men stocks or stupid, 
and therefore how can we choose but feel V ' , 

Answ. There is a feeling that is merely natural, and not 
subject to the command of reason and will ; and there is a 
feeling which is under reason, and is voluntary. The latter 
only is that I speak of, which grace commandeth. The 
most gracious man may feel heat and cold, pain and weari- 
ness, hunger and thirst, as much as the worst. But the 
passions of his soul, so far as they are under the command 
of reason and will, do not feel them as evils to the soul, (so 
far as he is sanctified). Still observe that I speak of world- 
ly things, as separated from God, in whom only they are 
good, and in respect to him only the absence of them is evil 
to the soul. And there is somewhat of the passions that 
bodily sense can force, perhaps in an innocent Adam. But 
I speak only of that passion which reason should command. 

VOL. IX. c c 


And so, it is not enough tltat our care and grief for worldly 
things be less than that for the things of God : though that 
much may prove our sincerity (of which more anon), yet 
that is not all that is our duty. But we should have no 
care or rational voluntary grief for any creature, but only as 
it is a means to God, and standeth in a due subordination to 
him : and so we may have both. 

4. Having shewed you what affections are crucified to 
the world, in the last place I add, that our inordinate labour 
for it, must be crucified. Christ is as plain and peremptory 
in this, as in the former, not only commanding us to " seek 
first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," (Matt. vi. 
33.) but also, " Not to labour for the meat that perisheth, 
but for the meat that endureth to everlasting life, which the 
Son will give us," (John vi. 27.) which is not only to be un- 
derstood that our labour for earth should be less than our 
labour for heaven, and so comparatively none at all ; but 
further, that we must have no love or desire to the crea- 
ture for itself, but ultimately for God ; so we should not at 
all seek or labour for the creature for itself, but ultimately 
for God ; and therefore seek and labour for it no further 
than it is necessary to the pleasing of God, or to our fruition 
of him. This is the true and plain meaning of such 

A man that is truly dead to the world, doth labour for 
God and not for the world (according to the measure of his 
mortification) in all that he doth. If he be ploughing, or 
sowing, or reaping, or threshing, if he be working at his 
trade in his shop, it is God that he is seeking and la- 
bouring for. He doth not stop or take up in the creature. 
He seeks it still but as a means to God. But an unsancti- 
fied man doth never truly seek God for himself at all, no not 
in his worship, much less in his trade and calling in the 
world. For God is not his ultimate end; and therefore he 
cannot love him or seek him for himself. It is flesh-pleas- 
ing or carnal felicity that is his end, and therefore he seek- 
eth God for the flesh. When he prayeth to him, when he 
loveth him, it is but as he is a means to this his carnal feli- 
city, and not as he is himself his chiefest good. Thus you 
may see what it is to be crucified to the world, and wherein 
true mortification doth consist. 


A few objections are here to be answered, that we quay 
the more profitably proceed. 

Object. 1. ' A man may have hunger and thirst in his very 
sleep, when he cannot refer the creature to God.' 

Answ. 1. We speak only of human, that is, moral acts, 
and such desires as are under the command of the will. 2. 
A man may habitually refer things to God, when he doth 
not actually. 

Object. 2. How can a man seek God in ploughing, or 
working in his shop, when these actions are so heteroge- 
neous V 

Answ. God made no creature, nor appointed any em- 
ployment for man, which may not fitly be a means to him" 
self. As all came from God, so all have something of God 
upon them ; and all tend to him from whom they came. 
There are some means that stand nearer the end, and some 
are further from it ; and yet the most remote are truly means. 
A man that is but cutting down a tree, or hewing stones out 
of the quarry, doth as much intend them for the building of 
his house, as he that is erecting the frame, or placing them 
in the building. We cannot attain the end without the most 
remote means, as well as the nearest. 

Object, ' We are taught to pray for our daily bread ; 
therefore we may desire it, and labour for it.' 

Answ. No doubt of it. But we are taught to pray for it, 
but as a means to the hallowing of God's name, the coming 
of his kingdom, and the doing of his will ; and therefore 
only as a means must we desire it, and labour for it ; and 
that for these, and no lower ultimate ends. And therefore 
the words are such as express only things necessary, 
" Our daily bread;" that we may perceive it is but as a 
means to God that we desire it. If our being be not main- 
tained, we are not capable of wellbeing, nor of serving God. 
And if the means of our being be not continued, our being 
will not be continued in God's appointed ordinary way. 
And therefore we pray for the means of our sustentation, 
that we may be kept in a capacity of the ends of our 

Object. ' But a man cannot be always thinking on God, 
and therefore not always intending him as our end, and 
therefore cannot do all for him.* 

Answ. \. Tf sin disable us, that is no excuse. 2. A man 


may habitually intend an end, which he doth not actually 
think of. Yea, he may have an actual intention, which yet 
he doth not observe, because of other more sensible thoughts 
that are upon his mind. And yet his foresaid intentions 
may be still effectual to cause him to use the means as 

For example ; a man that hath a journey to go, is not al- 
ways thinking of the end of it, by an actual observed inten- 
tion in every step of his way ; but perhaps may be much of 
the way taken up with thoughts and discourse of other 
things, and yet he doth truly intend his journey's end, in 
every step of his way, and use every step as a means to that 
end. And so is it with a true Christian in the work of God, 
and the way to heaven. 

Object. * But may we not use the creatures for delight, as 
well as for necessity? and is it not so commonly re- 

Answ. The word necessity is taken either strictly for 
that which we cannot be without ; and so there is no doubt 
of it. Or largely, for that which is useful to the end. And 
for delights, some of them are necessary, that is, useful 
means to our ultimate end ; and these must not be opposed 
to things necessary ; but may be used because necessary. 
As any thing which truly tendeth to recreate, revive, or 
cheer the spirits for the service of our Master. But no 
other delight is lawful. To esteem our fleshly delight for 
itself, and the creature for that delight, and so to use it, is 
mere sensuality, and the great sin which sanctification 
cureth in the soul. If delight itself be desired truly but 
as a means to God, then the creature, the more remote 
means, may be used for that delight, as its next end j but 
not else. 

Object. ' But what man living is such as you here de- 
scribe ? Is there any that are thus crucified to the world, 
as to have no separated esteem of it, or thoughts or care of 
it ; or love, or desire, or the rest of these affections V 

Answ. It is one thing to inquire what we are, and another 
what we ought to be, and should be if we were perfect. 
We ought to be such as I have mentioned, but we are not 
such in perfection yet; but only in sincerity. And how 
that sincerity may be known, I have elsewhere explained. 
In a word. In a perfect soul there is no interest but God's. 


In a sincere soul God's interest is the highest and greatest. 
In a perfect man God hath the whole heart ; and in an up- 
right man he is nearer to the heart than any thing else. In 
a perfect man there is a perfect subjection to God ; and in 
an upright man there is none hath dominion but God ; he i^ 
the highest, and his rule prevaileth in the main, though some 
things that rebel are not perfectly subdued. 

Object. ' But I find that the most of my passions are 
stirred more sensibly about earthly, than heavenly things. 
How then can I say that I am crucified to the world V 

Answ. In point of duty all that passion that is to be 
commanded by reason, should be mortified, as is abovesaid. 
But when you go to the trial of your states, in the point of 
sincerity, it is hard trying by the passions ; and you must 
rather do it by your estimation and your will, as I have 
discovered more fully in a Treatise of Peace of Con- 

II. Having shewed you what it is to have the world cru- 
cified to us, and to be crucified to the world, I am next to 
shew you how this is done by the cross of Christ. And 
here I must distinctly shew, 

I. What the cross, as suffered by Christ himself, hath 
done to the crucifying of the world to us. 

II. What the same cross, as believed on and considered 
by us, doth towards it. 

III. And what the cross of Christ which we ourselves 
bear in conformity to his sufferings, doth towards it. Of 
all which briefly. 

I. It is not only his crucifixion, but the whole humilia- 
tion of Christ, which is in this and other Scriptures called 
his cross ; the whole being denominated, from the most emi- 
nent part, as was touched before. And there are five nota- 
ble blows that the world hath received by thje suffered cross 
of Christ. 

1. One is, that Christ himself, in his own person, hath 
perfectly crucified and conquered the world, so that we have 
a victorious head, and the world is now a conquered thing. 
It assaulted him from his birth to his death, and still he 
overcame. It assaulted him by fair means and by foul, by 
frowns and smiles, by alluring baits and persecuting storms, 
and still it was overcome. The threatenings and persecu- 
tions could never draw him to the committing of a sin. The 


enticing offers of it could never bring him to an inordinate 
esteem of it, nor abate the least of his love to God. In his 
great combat in the wilderness he was assaulted both ways. 
Hunger could not make him tempt God, or distrust. The 
kingdoms and glory of the world were despised by him, 
when they were the matter of his temptation. He would 
not have so much as a settled habitation, nor any worldly 
pomp or splendour, that so he might shew that he contemn- 
ed it by his actions. If he had set by it, he could soon have 
mended his condition. When the people would have made 
him a king, he passed away from them ; for he would not be 
a king of the people's making, nor have any power or digni- 
ty which they could give. He came not to receive honour 
of men, but to give salvation to men. When Peter would 
have persuaded him to favour himself, as savouring the 
things of man, and not of God, Christ calleth him satan, 
and bids him get behind him. If he will do the work of sa- 
tan, he shall have the name of satan, and the same words of 
rebuke that satan had. Even in their hour, and the power 
of darkness (Luke xxii. 53.), they could do nothing that 
might make the least breach in his perfection. And when 
they boasted of their power to crucify him or release him, 
(John xix. 10), they could not boast of their power to draw 
him to the smallest sin. Yea, upon the cross did he consum- 
mate his conquest of the world, when it seemed to have con- 
quered him ; and he crucified the world, when it was cruci- 
fying him ; and he gave it then the deadly wound. And 
there did he openly make a show of the principalities and 
powers which he had spoiled, and there did he triumph over 
them, while they mistakingly triumphed over him; Col. 
m 14, 15. 

-•If you say. What is all this to us ? I answer. When the 
world is once conquered, the heart of it is broken. And 
when your Head hath overcome it, there is a great prepara- 
tion made for our victory. Else would he not have said to 
his disciples, " In the world ye shall have tribulation, but 
be of good cheer, I have overcome the world ;" John xvi. 
33. For as the consequence is good, " Because I live, ye 
shall live also," (chap. xiv. 19.) so it would hold. Because 
I have overcome the world, ye shall overcome it also. Yea, 
as it is said of his works, " Greater works than these shall 
ye do," (ver. 12.) so is it said of our conquest, " In all these 


things we are supervictors, or more than conquerors through 
him that hath loved us ;" Rom. viii. 37. 

2. Another wound that the world hath received by the 
cross of Christ by him suffered, is this. By it, satisfaction 
is made to God for the sin that the world had enticed man 
to commit, and so ' quoad pretium,' the victory which the 
world had formerly obtained over us is nulled, and its cap- 
tives rescued, and we are cured of the deadly wounds which 
it had given us. For " he healeth all our diseases," (Psal. 
ciii. 3.) and his stripes are the remedy by which we are heal- 
ed ; Isa. liii. 5. So that it is a vanquishing of the world, 
when Christ doth thus nullify its former victories. For thus 
he began to " lead captivity itself captive, which at his re- 
surrection and ascension he did more fully accomplish ; 
Psal. Ixviii. 18. Eph. iv. 8. 

3. Another most mortal wound which the world receiv- 
ed by the cross of Christ, was this. By his cross did Christ 
purchase that glorious kingdom, which being revealed and 
propounded to the sons of men, doth abundantly disgrace 
the world as a competitor. If there had been no greater 
good revealed to us, or the revelation had been obscure and 
insufl&cient, or no assurance of it given us, then might the 
world have easily prevailed. For he that hath no hopes of 
greater, will take up with this. And he that looketh not for 
another life, will make as much of the present as he cam. 
When the will of a man is the fort that is contended for, the 
assault must be made by allurement, and not by force. The 
competition therefore is between good and good ; and that 
which appeareth the greatest good to us, will carry it, and 
have admittance. If God had not set a greater good against 
the world, it would have been every man's wisdom and duty 
to have been worldlings. But when he revealeth to us ano- 
ther world of infinite value, yea, when he ofFereth us the fru- 
ition of himself, this turneth the scales with the wise men in 
a moment, and shameth all competitors whatsoever. Now 
it is the cross of Christ that opened the kingdom of heaven 
to all true believers, which sin had before shut up against 
all mankind. This mars the markets of the world : it is 
nothing worth to them that have tasted of the blessed- 
ness of this kingdom. Were it not for this, the temp- 
tations of the world and flesh might prevail. What 
should we say to them? or how should we repulse them? 


Reason would say. It is better to have a small and 
unsatisfactory good than none. But now we have enough 
to say against any such temptation. One argument from 
the everlasting kingdom is sufficient (where grace causeth a 
right apprehension of it) to confound all the temptations, by 
which the enemies of our happiness can assault us. What ! 
shall we prefer a mole-hill before a kingdom ? a shadow 
before the substance ? an hour before eternity ? nothing be- 
fore all things ? vanity and vexation before felicity ? The 
world is now silenced ; it hath nothing to say, which may 
take with right reason. It must now creep in at the back- 
door of sense, and bribe our brutish part to befriend it, and 
to entertain it first, and so to betray our reason, and lead it 
into the inner rooms. The cross of Christ hath set up such 
a sun as quite darkeneth the light of worldly glory. Who 
will now play so low a game, that hath an immortal crown 
propounded to him ? Though earth were something, if 
there were no better to be bad, yet it is nothing when hea- 
ven stands by. This therefore is the deadly blow by which 
the world is crucified by the cross of aur Lord Jesusi 

4. Another mortal wound that the cross of Christ hath 
given it, is this. The cross hath purchased for us that Spi- 
rit of power, and all those ordinances and helps of grace, by 
which we ourselves in our own persons may actually cor>- 
quer and crucify the world, as Christ did before us. His 
cross is the meritorious cause of his following grace. And 
as he hath there procured our justification, so also our sanc^ 
tification, by which the world is renounced by us and con- 
temned. There shall a virtue flow from the cross of Christ, 
that shall give strength to all his, chosen ones, to go on and 
conquer, and tread the world, and all its glory under their 
feet, and by the leaves of this tree, which seemeth dead to a 
carnal eye, the nations shrill be healed. And thus by it the 
world is crucified. 

5. Lastly, by the cross of Christ, a pattern is given us 
for our imitation, by which we may learn how to contemn 
and so crucify the world. " If when ye do well and suffer 
for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For 
even hereunto were ye called : because Christ also suffered 
for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps ; 
who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth ; who 


when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, 
he threatened not ; but committed himself to him thatjudg- 
eth righteously ;" 1 Pet. ii. 20—23. " Let this mind be in 
you that was in Christ Jesus — that made himself of no repu- 
tation, and took upon him the form of a servant — and hum- 
bled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death 
of the cross;" Phil, ii.5 — 7. "Let us therefore lay aside 
every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and 
let us run with patience the race that is set before us ; look- 
ing to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for 
the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising 
the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God ;" Heb. 
xii. 1,2. This leads us to the next. 

11. Having shewed you how the cross, as suffered by 
Christ, doth crucify the world ; we are next to shew you, 
how that same cross, as believed in and considered, doth 
crucify it to us. 

They that look only to the merit of the cross, and over- 
look the objective use of it to the soul, do deceive them- 
selves, and deprive themselves of the full efficacy of it ; and 
deal like a foolish patient, that thinketh to be cured by 
commending the medicine, or by believing that it hath vir- 
tue to cure his disease, when in the mean time he lets it lie 
by him in the box, and never takethit, or applieth it to him- 
self. The believing meditation of the cross of Christ, doth 
give the world these deadly wounds : 

1. It bringeth us under the actual promise of the Spirit. 
For though there be a work of the Spirit, which causeth us 
to believie^before our actual faith in nature, yet the further 
gift of the Spirit for mortification, is promised upon condi- 
tion of our faith. And upon the performance of that condi- 
tion, we have a right to the thing promised. It is by faith 
that we fetch strength from Christ, for the conquest of this 
and all other enemies. If we could believe, these moun- 
tains would be cast into the sea ; and all things are possible 
to us, if we could believe ; Mark ix. 23. 

2. The believing meditation of the cross of Christ, doth 
make us apprehensive of the vanity and enmity of the world, 
and so doth kill our esteem of it, and affection to it. For 
when we consider how little Christ did set by it, and how he 
made it his work professedly to contemn it, this will tell us 
how to think of it ourselves. For doubtless the judgment 


of Christ was true. He was able to discern between good 
and evil : if it had been valuable, he would have valued it. 
He would not have contemned it, if it had not been con- 
temptible. He could have had better usage in the world, if 
he had desired it, and thought it meet. But he would shew 
us by his example as well as by his doctrine, how to judge of 
it, and what to expect from it. If you saw the wisest man 
iu the world tread a thing under feet in the dirt, or throw it 
away, you would think it were a thing of no great worth. 

When you are tempted to set too much by your credit, 
and to sin against God for the esteem of men, remember 
that Christ " made himself of no reputation;" Phil, ii. 7. 
And can your reputation be less than none ? How did he 
value his honour with men, that gave his cheeks to be smit- 
ten, his face to be spit upon, his head to be crowned with 
thorns, and his body to be arrayed contemptuously like a 
fool, and at last to be hanged as a contemned thing among 
malefactors on the cross ; to be reviled by those that pass- 
ed by, and by him that suffered with him? Learn here of 
him that all must learn of, how far to set by your honour in 
the world. 

Are you tempted to set by the riches and full provision 
or possessions of the world ? Remember how Christ set by 
them ; when he might have had all things, and refused to 
have a place whereon to lay his head. When " he was rich, 
yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his po- 
verty might be rich;" 2Cor. viii.9. And the best of his 
servants have followed him in this course, to whom he would 
have given more of the world, if he had seen it best forthem. 
For when they had dishonour, they had honour with it and 
by it ; when they had evil report, they had also good ; when 
they were poor, they made many rich ; and " having nothing, 
possessed all things ;" 2 Cor. vi. 8. 10. 

When your flesh would have its pleasure, remember him 
that pleased not his flesh ; but submitted it to hunger, and 
thirst, and weariness, to fasting, and watching, and praying 
whole nights ; and at last to scourgings, and buffeting, and 
crucifying. When your appetites must needs be pleased in 
meats and drinks, remember him that had gall and vinegar 
given him to drink. When your bodies would be set out 
with such apparel as may make you seem most comely in 
the eyes of others, remember him that wore a seamless coat. 


and was hanged naked on the cross for your sakes. When 
you are tender of every little hurt or suiSering of your flesh, 
though in a way of duty, remember him that gave his hands 
and feet to be nailed, and his side to be pierced to death for 
you. When you are ashamed to be reviled for. welldoing, 
remember him that " despised the shame ;" Heb. xii. 2. 
And thus as the sight of the brazen serpent did cure them 
that were stung in the wilderness, so the believing views of 
a crucified Christ, may get out the poison of worldly delu- 
sions from your souls. 

3. The believing thoughts of the cross of Christ will 
make us apprehensive also of our duty, in contemning the 
world in conformity to Christ. For though we are not 
bound to be crucified as Christ was, unless God specially 
put us upon it ; nor bound to live without house or home in 
voluntary, chosen poverty, as Christ did (because there were 
some special reasons for his sufferings, that are not for ours), 
yet are we all bound to mortify the flesh, and contemn the 
world in imitation of him, and to submit to what suffering- 
God shall impose on us. And in the example of Christ's 
cross, this duty must be observed. 

III. The next thing to be declared is. How the cross 
which we ourselves do suffer in obedience and conformity 
to Christ, and for his sake doth crucify the world to us 
and us to the world. That the bearing of this cross is ne- 
cessary to all that will be Christ's disciples ; yea, the daily 
bearing of it is plain 5 Luke ix. 2.3. xiv. 27. Matt. x. 38. 
Two ways doth this tend to the crucifying of us to the 

1. It doth more sensibly convince us of the vanity and 
enmity of the world, than any mere doctrine or distant ex- 
amples and observations could have done. I confess we 
see so much of the world's deceit of others, that might sa- 
tisfy a reasonable man that it is in vain. But the flesh doth 
draw us into a participation of its brutishness ; and reason 
will not see the light. But the cross doth convince even 
the flesh itself, the grand deceiver. When the malice of 
wicked men lets fly at us, and the world do spit in our faces, 
as they did in Christ's ; when we are made a common by- 
word and derision, and become as the filth of the world to 
them, and the offscouring of all things; when we have fears 
within and troubles without ; and the sorrows of death lay 


hold upon us, and enemies compass us roundabout; Ohow 
effectually will this convince us that the world is vain, and 
worse than vain ! Who will look for happiness from a 
known enemy and tormentor. When we have Job's messen- 
gers of sad tidings, and troubles are multiplied ; when pain 
and anguish seize upon our bodies, and grief hath taken 
up its dwelling in our very flesh and bones, who then will 
admire or dote upon the world ? Who will not then cry out 
against it, as vanity and vexation ? When friends abuse one 
another, they will fall out for the time, though they turn not 
enemies. And even the wicked, when they suffer in the 
world, will speak hardly of it, though the friendship of it 
still dwell in their sensual dispositions. How much more 
will the enmity be increased in the saints, when the world 
doth use them as its enemies, and spit out the bitterest of 
their malice against them ? If we have any thoughts of re- 
conciliation with the world, God useth to suffer it to buf- 
fet and abuse us, that strokes and smart may maintain the 
enemy, if nothing else will serve to do it. 

Believe it, Christians, God doth not permit your suffer- 
ings in vain. He seeth how apt you are to dote upon the 
world, and how dangerous it will prove to you, if you be not 
delivered from the snares of this deceiver: and therefore he 
had rather that the world should make you smart awhile, 
than undo you for ever ; and that it should buffet you, than 
befool you out of your felicity. The blows which the 
world giveth you, do light upon itself: as it crucified itself 
in crucifying Christ, so doth it in crucifying his people. It 
killeth itself by your calamities: and if it deprive you of 
your lives, you will then begin to live : but the death which 
it bringeth on itself, is such as hath no resurrection. If it 
kill you, you shall live again, yea, live by that death : but 
thereby it will so kill itself, as never to live again in you. 
The cross is a happy teacher of many excellent truths ; but 
of nothing more eflfectually, than of the contemptibleness of 
the world. If it turn our breath into groans, we shall groan 
against it, and groan to be delivered, " desiring to be clothed 
upon with our house which is from heaven j" 2 Cor. v. 2. 
We shall cry to heaven against this task-master, and our 
cries will come before God, and procure our deliverance. 
The world gets nothing by its hard usage of the saints : it 


tnaketh a cross for the cracifying of itself, and turnetli their 
hearts more effectually against it. 

2. And as it thus declareth itself contemptible, and cru- 
cifieth itself to us, so doth it exercise us in patience, and 
awaken us to deeper considerations of its own vanity, and 
drive us to look after better things : it forceth us also to 
seek out to God, and to see that all our dependance is on 
him, and draweth forth our holy desires and other graces ; 
and thus it doth crucify us also to the world. It makes us 
go into the sanctuary, and consider of the end ; how the 
wicked are set in slippery places, and that at last it will go 
well with the just. It teacheth us to consider, that while 
" the Lord is our portion, we have ground enough of hope, 
for he is good to them* that wait for him, to the soul that 
seeketh him : it is good that a man should both hope and 
quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord : it is good for a 
man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone, 
and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him : he 
putteth his mouth in the dust ; if so be there may be hope : 
he giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him ; he is filled 
full with reproach : for the Lord will not cast off for ever ; 
but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion, ac- 
cording to the multitude of his mercies ;" Lam. iii. 24 — 33. 
" And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also ; know- 
ing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience expe- 
rience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed ;" 
Rom. V. 3 — 5. " For if we suffer with Christ, we shall also 
be glorified together : and the sufferings of this present 
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall 
be revealed in us." And " we ourselves do groan within 
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our 
body ;" Rom. viii. 17, 18. 23. When Paul suffered for Christ 
the loss of all things, he accounted them dung that he might 
win Christ; that he might know the power of his resurrec- 
tion, and the fellowship of his sufferings, and be made con- 
formable to his death; Phil. iii. 8. 10. He rejoiced in his 
sufferings, and filled up that which is behind of the afl3ic- 
tions of Christ in his flesh, for his body's sake, which is the 
church ; Col.i. 24. And thus was he crucified with Christ 
and yet lived ; yet not he, but Christ lived in him ; and the 
life which he lived in the flesh, he lived by faith in the Son 
of God, who loved him and gave himself for him ; Gal. ii.20. 


III. Having thus shewed you how the cross of Christ 
doth crucify the world to us, aud us to the world, I am next 
to give you the proofs of the point, that thus it is with true 
believers. But because the text itself is so plain, and it is 
so fully proved on the by in what is said already, and I have 
been somewhat long on the explication, I shall refer the 
I'est of the Scriptui'e proofs to the application, where we 
shall have further occasion to produce it ; and I shall now 
only add the argument from experience. To the saints 
themselves I need not prove it ; for they feel it in their own 
hearts : in their several measures they feel in themselves a 
low esteem of all things in this world, and a high esteem of 
God in Christ. They would count it a happy exchange to 
become more poor and afflicted in the world, and to have 
more of Christ and his Spirit, and of the hopes of a better 
world ; to have more of God's favour, though more of man's 
displeasure. It is God that they secretly long for and 
groan after from day to day; it is God that they must have, 
or nothing will content them. They can spare you all 
things else, if they might have him. 

And for those that never felt such a thing in themselves, 
they may yet perceive that it is in others. 

I. You see that there are a people that seek more dili- 
gently after heaven than earth, that are hearing the word of 
God, which instructeth them in the matters of salvation, 
and are praying for the things of eternal life, when you are 
labouring for the world. You see that there are a people 
that seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, 
and labour most for the food that perisheth not, and are 
about the one thing necessary, which sheweth that they 
have chosen the better part. 

II. And you see that there is a people that can let go the 
things of the world when God calls for them ; that can be 
liberal according to their power to any pious or charitable 
uses ; that will rather suffer in body or estate, even the loss 
of all, than they will wilfully sin against God, and hazard 
his favour. 

You have read or heard of multitudes that have suffered 
martyrdom for Christ, undergoing many kind of torments, 
and death itself, because they would not sin against him. 
All these examples, together with the frequent aflirmations 
of the Scriptures, may assure you that thus it is with true 


Christians. The world is crucified to them, and they to the 

IV. I am next to give you the reasons of the necessity 
of this crucifixion, the most of which also, for brevity sake, 
1 shall reserve to the application, and at present lay down 
these two or three briefly. 

1. The world is every man's carnal idol, and God cannot 
endure idolatry ; to see his creature set up in his stead, and 
rob him of his esteem and interest, and be loved, honoured 
and served before him ; and to see such contemptible things 
be taken as Gods, while God himself stands by neglected, 
he will not, he cannot endure this. Either grace shall take 
down the idol, or judgment and hell shall plague the idola- 
ter ; for he hath resolved that he will not give his glory to 
another; Isai.xlii.8. xlviii.ll. All sin is hateful to God, 
and none but the cleansed perfect soul shall stand before 
him in the presence of his glory ; nor any in whom iniquity 
hath dominion, shall stand accepted in the presence of his 
grace : but yet no particular sin is so hateful to him as 
idolatry is. For this is not only a trespassing against his 
laws, but a disclaiming or rejecting his very Sovereignty it- 
self. To give a prince irreverent language, and to break his 
laws, is punishable ; but to pull him out of his throne, and 
set up a scullion in it, and give him the honour and obedience 
of a king, this is another kind of matter, and much more in- 
tolerable. The first commandment is not like the rest, 
which require only obedience to particular laws in a parti- 
cular action ; but it establisheth the very relations of sove- 
reign and subject, and requires a constant acknowledgment 
of these relations, and makes it high treason against the God 
of heaven in any that shall violate that command. Every 
crime is not treason : it is one thing to miscarry in a parti- 
cular case, and another thing to have other gods before and 
besides the Lord, the only God. Now this is the sin of 
every worldling : he hath taken down God from the throne 
in his soul, and set up the flesh and the world in his 
stead ; these he valueth, and magnifieth, and delighteth in ; 
these have his very heart, while God that made it and re- 
deemed him, is set light by. And do you think that this is 
a sin to be endured? It is a more horrid thing to wish that 
God were not God, than to wish that heaven and earth were 
destroyed or turned again to nothing. He that would kill a 


man deserveth death; what then deserveth he that would 
destroy all the world ? that would pull the sun out of the 
firmament, or set all the world on fire, if it were in his 
power ? - Yet is not all this so bad as to wish that God 
should lose his Godhead : and what less doth that man do 
that would have his prerogative given to the creature, and 
so would have the creature to be God ? If God be not the 
chief good, he is not God. And if he be not chiefly to be 
esteemed and loved, he is not the chief good. What then 
doth that man do, but deny God to be God, that denieth 
him his highest esteem and love ? And certainly he that 
giveth it to any creature, denieth it to God ; for there can 
be but one chief, and but one God. They take him down 
therefore as much as in them lieth, that set up another. So 
also, if God be not the Sovereign ruler of all, he is not God. 
And therefore can be but one sovereign. What less then 
do they do, that deny him his sovereignty, than deny him to 
be God ? And he that maketh the flesh or world his sove- 
reign, denieth God to be his sovereign ; because there can 
be but one ; especially seeing also that their commands are 
contrary. I beseech you therefore, sirs, be not so unwise 
as to think that this mortification or crucifying of the world 
is only the perfection, or higher pitch of some believers, 
and not the common state of all. Do not imagine that 
yourselves, or any other can be true Christians without it. 
You may as well think that that man should be saved that 
is a flat atheist, and denieth God, and renounceth him, as 
that a worldling should be saved: and he that is not dead 
to the world is a worldling. If any one piece of refor- 
mation be essential to a true Christian, it is this. It is as 
possible for a Turk, or an infidel to be saved, as one that is 
not dead to the world ; yea, the case of these is more des- 
perate, if more can be ; for they have not the like means of 
information (ordinarily) as our worldly professors have. 
What can any persecutor or idolater do more, than set 
against God, and set up his enemies ? And so doth every 
worldlins:. while he denieth God his esteem and chiefest 
love, and giveth it to the pleasures and profits of this life. 
I beseech you be not so weak as to dream, that God is no- 
thing but a bare name or title, or that you deny not God, if 
you refuse not to call him God ; or that none are atheists 
that speak God fair, and give him. all his titles ; or that 


none are impious that give him good words. It is the thing 
and not the bare words, the description of God (such as we 
are capable of) and not bare names, that we must inquire 
of. If you will call your prince by all his royal titles, but 
will set another in the throne, and give him the rule over 
you, and obey him alone, which of these is it that you take 
indeed for your prince ? " If I be a Father (saith God), 
where is mine honour? If I be a Master, where is my 
fear?" Mai. i. 16. Many " profess that they know God, 
that in works deny him, being abominable and disobedient ;" 
Tit. i. 16. God is not taken indeed for your God, if he be 
not taken for your chief good and happiness, and have not 
the chief of your desire and lov6 ; and if he be not taken 
for your absolute Sovereign, and have not the subjection 
and obedience of your souls. You may easily see then, 
that it is not meet, it is not possible, that an unmortified per- 
son, or a worldling can be saved. For if they shall be saved 
that would have God to be no God, then no man should be 
damned ; for there cannot be a worse man than these. Nay, 
if he be not God, how should he save them, or how should 
he make them happy, if he be not their chiefest good ? 

If God should cease to be God, the world and all things 
would cease to be. For if the first cause cease, the effects 
must all cease. And if the ultimate end cease, the means, 
and all use of means must cease. And as the cessation of 
God, as the first Efficient, would destroy all natural being, 
so the cessation of God, as the ultimate end, would destroy 
all moral good whatsoever. Other sins destroy some part 
or branch of moral good ; but the sin of idolatry, the viola- 
tion of the first commandment, the taking to ourselves some 
,other god, this doth at once subvert all goodness, and de- 
stroy the very being of morality itself. 

Sirs, I am afraid many, yea, most among us, have not 
well considered the nature of worldlymindedness, or the 
greatness of the sin of valuing and loving the creature be- 
fore God. If they did, it would not be a sin of so good re- 
pute among us, but would have contracted more odiimi be- 
fore this time than it hath done. There are many sins fay 
smaller than this, that men are ashamed for, and that men 
are hanged for. But we must not j udge by outward appear- 
ances, nor make the judgment of the sinner himself to be 
the rule by which to discern the greatness or smallness of 



the sin. A worldling, a fleshlyminded man.^n unmortified 
man, that is not dead to the world ; all these are terms that 
are proper to men in a state of damnation mider the curse 
and wrath of God, and are equipollent terms, with " a child 
of the devil." O how the devil hath deluded multitudes, 
by making them think that this mortification is some higher 
pitch of grace than ordinary, but not essential to the life of 
grace itself; and therefore that a man may be saved with- 
out it : when they may as well think to be saved, if they 
defy the God of heaven, if they despise the Lord that bought 
them, and if they renounce salvation itself, for indeed so 
they do. It must needs be that God must look first and 
chiefly to his own interest, in all his works, even in the col- 
lation of his freest grace. And therefore he will be glorified 
in all his saints, and no man shall have salvation dividedly 
from his honour. He doth not bring men to heaven to hate 
and contemn him, but to love and praise him ; and he will 
fit them for that work, before they come thither, and make 
them love and praise him initially on earth, before they 
come to do it in heaven. And therefore he will make them 
contemn all those things that stand in competition with 
him, and hate all that stands against him. 

• II. I have shewed you the necessity of crucifying the 
wo^rld, as from God's interest, which the world doth con- 
tradict; I shall next shew it you from your own interest. 
And in these conjunct considerations it will appear, 1. 
The world is not your happiness. 2. The world is oc- 
casionally, through the corruption of our nature, a great 
enemy to your happiness. 3. God only is your happiness. 
4. God is not fully to be enjoyed in this world. 5. It is by 
knowing, loving, and delighting in him as God that he is to 
be enjoyed to make us happy. 6. As therefore it is im- 
possible to have two ultimate ends, two chief goods, and 
to enjoy them both ; so it is impossible, that God and the 
world should both have our chiefest estimation and affec- 
tion. All this set together, doth demonstrate the necessity 
of being crucified to the world, unless we will renounce our 
own felicity. 

1. For the first proposition. That the world is not your 
happiness ; I think all your tongues will readily confess it, 
I would your hearts would do so too. Do you think that 
God doth envy you your happiness, or that he would take 


the world from you, because he esteemeth it too good for 
you 1 No, it is because he pitieth your self-deceit, when he 
seeth you take that for your happiness that is not ; and be- 
cause he hath far better things to bestow. If the world were 
as good for you as you take it to be, and had that in it to 
satisfy you, as you may imagine it to have, you might keep 
it, and much good might it do you ; for God would not go 
•about to take it from you. He that made you to be happy, 
doth not grudge you that which should procure it. Doubt- 
less if he did not see that it is vanity, and that you have made 
a wrong choice, and do mistake your mark, he would never 
trouble you in a worldly course, nor call you off. But it is 
because he seeth your folly and deceit, and wisheth you 
much better. Woe to you that ever you were born, if you 
have no better happiness than the world can afford you. Is 
it not necessary then that you discern your erro", and be 
brought into your right way, and spend not your time and 
pains for nothing ? If God should let you alone to catch at 
this shadow, and please yourselves with worldly toys, till 
the time of grace were passed ; and then let you see that you 
were befooled, when it is too late ; you would then be left 
to a fruitless repentance, and to the sense of that unhappi- 
ness which you chose to yourselves. 

2. And that the world is an enemy to your happiness, 
may appear two ways. First, in that it deceitfully pretend- 
eth to be your happiness, when it is not; and so would turn 
away your hearts from that which is. Secondly, in that by 
allurements or discouragements, it is always hindering you 
in the way to life, and is a snare to you continually in all 
that you do. And is it not necessary to your salvation that 
you be delivered from the enemies of your salvation? and 
freed from such perilous snares? Can you conquer while 
you are conquered? And if the world be not crucified to 
you, it doth conquer you : for its victory is upon your will 
and affections : and if it conquer you, it will condemn you. 
To be servants to the world, is to be servants to sin : and 
" the servants of sin are free from righteousness," Rom. vi. 20. 
and free from Christ, and free from salvation. A miserable 
freedom ! 

3. The following propositions I shall speak of together. 
That God only is our happiness and chief good, I need not 
prove to any that indeed believeth him to be God. That 


salvation consisteth in the fruition of this happiness, is past 
doubt. And as sure is it that God is not fully enjoyed in 
this world ; much less in the creature, when it is loved for 
itself, and not esteemed as a means to him. All that believe 
a life after this, do surely believe that there is our felicity. 
And lastly, that the soul doth enjoy its own felicity, by know- 
ing, and loving, and delighting in its object, is also past 
doubt. So that you may see that a worldly state of mind is 
in itself inconsistent with a state of salvation. To be saved 
is to have the blessed vision of God, and to love him and de- 
light in him perfectly to everlasting. And can you do this, 
when you love and delight in the world above him, or in op- 
position to him ? Would you have God to save you, and 
yet not to take off your aflfections from the world to himself? 
That were to save you, and not to save you ; to feed you by 
that which is not food ; to comfort you by that which can- 
not comfort. If a worldling would be saved, and not be mor- 
tified, either he speaks he knows not what, but plain non- 
sense or contradictions, or else he meaneth one of these two 
things : either that he would have a heaven of worldly riches, 
or honours, or fleshly pleasures (there is no such to be 
had) ; or else, that he would have the world as long as he 
can, and have heaven when he can keep the world no longer, 
and so would have the world crucified to him, when there is 
no such world, or when he is taken from it. But as, 1. No 
man can truly desire future grace and holiness, that doth 
not desire it at the present, this being rather an unwilling 
submission to it, as a tolerable evil, than a true desire of it, 
as a certain good. So 2. God hath determined that this 
life only shall be the way, and that the end : here only must 
we use the means ; and there must we partake of the suc- 
cess of our endeavours. You may better expect that God 
should give you a crop at harvest, who refused to plough and 
sow your land ; or that your children should be men, before 
they are born ; than that he should be your happiness in 
the life to come, if you finally reject him in this life, and 
choose to yourselves a secular happiness. Such as you now 
make choice of, such and no other shall you have. Heaven 
and earth were set before you. You knew that earthly 
happiness was short ; if yet you would choose it, think not 
to haye heaven too ; for if you do, you will prove deceived at 
the last. 


The Uses. 

V. Beloved hearers, I suppose you will give me leave to 
take it for granted, that you are all the rational creatures of 
God, made subject to him, and capable of enjoying him, and 
such as must be happy or miserable for ever ; as also that 
you are all unwilling to be miserable, and willing to be 
happy ; and that this life is the time for the use of those 
means on which your everlasting life dependeth ; and that 
judgment will turn the scales at last, as grace or sin shall 
turn them now. I hope also that I may suppose that you 
are agreed that Christianity is the only way to happiness, 
and consequently that you are all professed Christians. And 
one would think that where men are so far satisfied of the 
end, and of the way, we might conceive great hopes of their 
sincerity and salvation. But when we see that men's lives 
do nullify their professions, and that while they look towards 
God, they row towards the world ; and while they hope for 
heaven, their daily travel is towards hell ; and while they 
plead for Christ, they work against him ; our hopes of them 
are turned to necessary lamentation. But how comes this 
to pass that reasonable men, yea men reputed wise and 
learned, yea many that seem religious to others and to them- 
selves, should be so shamefully overseen, in a matter that so 
concerneth their everlasting state ? As far as I am able to 
discover, the causes of this calamity are these two. 

I. One part of the professed Christians of the world, un- 
derstand not what Christianity is, and so profess but the 
empty name, when indeed the thing itself which is in their 
conception, and which they mean in that profession, is no- 
thing like to true Christianity. 

II. The other part of miscarrying professors, though they 
do conceive of the Christian religion as it is, yet not with 
an apprehension intensively answerable to the thing they 
apprehend ; though their conceptions of the Christian veri- 
ties have a moral truth in them, it being not false but true 
which they conceive ; yet there is no firmness and solidity 
in the act, and so they do not effectually apprehend them. 
Nothing more easy, more common and more dangerous, than 
to make a religion either of names and words, which he that 
useth doth not understand ; or of mere speculations and su- 


perficial conceits, which never became practical, habituate 
and predominant j nor were the serious, effectual apprehen- 
sions of the man. A right object, and a sincere and serious 
act, do essentially constitute the Christian's faith. If either 
be wanting, it is not that faith, whatever it may pretend to 
be. Nothing but the Gospel objects will suffice to a man's 
salvation, were it never so firmly apprehended. And nothing 
but a firm and serious belief of those objects, will make them 
effectual, or saving to the believer. Were we able to cure 
the two forementioned defects, and to help you all to these 
two requisites, we should make no question but you would 
all be saved. We cannot expect that men should let go 
their sensual delights, till they hear of somewhat better to 
be had for them, and till they firmly and heartily give credit 
to the report. 

And because the matter before us in my text is fitted to 
both these needful works, and containeth those very truths 
which must rectify you in both these points, I shall draw 
them forth, and distinctly apply them hereunto. 

Use I. And in the first place you are here informed that 
the cross of Christ, is the crucifier of the world. Which 
containeth in it these two parts, which make up the point : 
1. That this is the use of the cross, and one great end of the 
doctrine of Christianity, to crucify the world to us, and us 
to the world. 2. That where the cross of Christ and his 
doctrine are effectual, this work is always actually done : in 
all true Christians the world is thus crucified. 

O that these truths were as plainly or truly transcribed 
upon your hearts, as they are plainly and truly contained in 
my text ! 

1. For the first. That this is the end of Christ crucified, 
and of his doctrine, I shall briefly shew, 1. The necessity of 
this information. And 2. The certain truth of it. 

1. Both the commonness and the dangerousness of err- 
ing in this point, do shew the necessity of this information. 
It is not only the contemners of religion, but also too many 
that go among us for very godly men, that know not where 
their happiness lieth, nor what the Christian religion is. 
Almost all the apprehensions which they have of happiness; 
are sensual ; as if it were but a freedom from sensible punish- 
ments, and the possession of some delights of which they 
have merely sensual conceits. And so they think of Christ 


as one that came to free them from such punishments, and 
help them to such a happiness as this. And as for the true 
knowledge and fruition of God, in love and heavenly delights, 
they look upon these either as insignificant names or terms, 
or as certain appurtenances and fruits of religion, which we 
ought to have, but may possibly be without, though we be 
true believers. A confidence that Christ hath freed them 
from torments, and made them righteous by imputation of 
his obedience unto them, they take to be all that is essen- 
tial to their Christianity. And the rest they call by the 
name of good works : which, if it be not with them a term 
of as low importance as the name of ' Works ' alone, or 
'Works of the law,' is taken to be in Paul's Epistles, yet at 
least they take it for that which doth not constitute their 
religion. So that true sanctification is either not under- 
stood, or taken to be of less necessity than it is. A man 
that makes a great deal of talk and stir about religion, and 
is zealous for his opinions and pious compliments, goes 
current with many for a true believer, though the interest of 
his flesh and of the world be as near and dear to him in this 
way of religiousness, as other men's is to them in a way of 
more open, professed sensuality. 

And is it possible for a man to be a Christian indeed, 
that so far mistaketh the very nature and ends of Chris- 
tianity itself? It is not possible. By what is said already, 
and will be by and by, it is evident that this is a damning 
error, for any man to feign a Christianity to himself that ex- 
cludeth mortification, or is separable from it, in a capable 
subject. When men look at a predominant fleshly interest, 
or worldly mind, as they do at some particular sin, consis- 
tent with true faith : I say, this is an error about the very 
essence of Christianity, and which hazards their salvation. 

2. And that it is the end of the cross of Christ, and his 
doctrine, to crucify the world to us, and to sanctify us to 
God, I have already manifested in part, and shall now fur- 
ther manifest. 

1. It is the end of Christ, and his cross and doctrine, to 
recover God's interest in the souls of men : but it is by mor- 
tification, as a part of true sanctification, that God's inte- 
rest in men's souls is recovered. Therefore, &c. As God 
could have no lower ultimate end than himself in our crea- 
tion, so neither in our redemption. Christ himself as Me- 


diator, is but a means to God who is our end ; he is the way 
to the Father, " and no man cometh to the Father but by 
him ;" John xiv. 6. He is the Truth that revealeth the Fa- 
ther ; and the Sun of the world, " which enlighteneth every 
man that cometh into the world ;" John i. 9. revealing to 
us both the end and means ; that as there is no light in the 
earth, but what is communicated by the sun, which en- 
lighteneth some by the moon at midnight, and some by its 
direct approaching light, at the break of day, before they 
see the sun itself, and others by its glorious rays when it is 
risen, and visible to them, and hath also in itself an objective 
sufficiency to enlighten those that shut their eyes, or want 
eyesight by which they should receive it : even so is Christ 
the Sun of the redeemed world, which actually affordeth all 
that light to all which they do possess ; even some (to all 
that have the use of reason) which hath a tendency to reco- 
very ; and he hath an objective sufficiency to the saving il- 
lumination of those that through their own fault are never 
so illuminated. The pure Godhead is the beatifical light to 
be enjoyed for felicity. The Mediator is the mediate light, 
to shew us the way to God. And in these two consisteth 
life eternal ; to know God the beginning and end, who him- 
self hath no beginning or end ; and to know Jesus Christ 
whom he hath sent, to recall us to himself; John xvii. 3. 
Whether he that is now to us ' Mediator acquisitionis,' will 
also hereafter be ' Mediator fruitionis,' and whether the glo- 
rified do only see the Godhead in the glass of the glorified 
body of Christ, and of the most glorious effects which then 
they shall partake of, or also shall immediately behold it in 
itself, and see God's essence, face to face, I shall not pre- 
sume to determine, while Scripture seems so silent, and 
learned conjectures are so much at odds. But as he is the 
redeeming, restoring Mediator, it is that we speak all this 
while of Christ : and so his office is to recover God's in- 
terest in the souls of men. 

Now his interest lieth in our estimation, and our love ; 
and these the world hath dispossessed him of. It is there- 
fore the work of Christ to pull down this idol, and set up 
God in the throne of the soul. And therefore though faith 
be the principal mediant using grace ; yet love is the most 
principal, final, enjoying grace; and more excellent than 


faith> as the end, or that act which is next the end, is more 
excellent than the means. ^ -oi 

2. It is the end of Christ, his cross and doctrine, to heal 
us, and to save us ; to heal us of our sin, and to save us from 
it, and its destroying fruits. Biit by sanctification, and so 
by mortification, doth Christ thus heal and save us. If 
health be worth nothing, the physician and all his physic is 
worth nothing. The health of the soul objectively is God, 
and formally is its holiness, or perfect disposedness, and de- 
votedness to God ; of which anon. These therefore doth 
Christ come to restore : and therefore he comes to call us off 
the creature, and bring our affections back to God. 

~ 3. It is the end of Christ, his cross and doctrine, to con- 
quer satan and destroy his works, and with him the rest of 
the enemies of God, and of our salvation ; but the world is 
one of these enemies, and the means by which the devil doth 
prevail 5 therefore it is Christ's end to overcome the world, 
and cast it out of the hearts of men 5 Luke xi. 22. John 
xvi. 33. 1 John iii. 5. 8. " He was manifested to this end, 
to take away our sins, and destroy the works of the devil ;" 
and therefore he causeth his followers to overcome him ; 
1 John ii. 13, 14. And herewithal observe, that it is essen- 
tial to the relation, to respect the end ; to the physician, 
that he be for the health of the patient ; and to Christ the 
Redeemer, that he be the Saviour of his people from their 
sins, and the restorer of their souls to the love of God : so 
that Christ is denied and made no Christ, where mortifica- 
tion and sanctification are denied ; he is not believed in as 
Christ, where he is not believed in for these ends. And 
therefore he that cometh not with this intent to Christ, that 
he may restore the image of God upon him, and bring him 
off from the creature unto God, that he may live to him, 
doth not come to Christ as Christ, and is not indeed a true 

The doctrine of Christ doth lead us from the world, in 
these several parts of it, and by these steps, (how the cross 
doth it, I shewed before). 1. It declareth to us what God 
is, and what man is ; and so that God is our absolute Owner 
and Governor ; and that he is the only primitive, simple, ne 
cessary being ; and that man was made by him, and there- 
fore for him, and disposed to him. 2. It declareth to us 
that the state of our integrity consisted in the closure of the 


soul with God. 3. It sheweth us that our felicity consist- 
eth in his love, and in the fruition of him by a mutual com- 
placency. 4. It sheweth us that our first sin was by turn- 
ing from him to carnal self and the world. 5. And that this 
is our lost estate, wherein both sin and misery are conjunct, 
to adhere to self and creatures, and to depart from God. 6. 
It sheweth us what Christ hath done and suffered, to recon- 
cile God to us, and open us a way of admission into his pre- 
sence, and how far God is reconciled to us ; and thus re- 
vealeth him in the face of a Mediator as amiable to our 
souls, that so we might be capable of loving him, and clos- 
ing with him again. For if he had remained in his wrath, he 
would have been the object of our hatred, or mere terror at 
least, and not of our love. And no man can love him that 
is not presented to him, and apprehended by him as lovely, 
that is, as good. For it is impossible that there should be 
an act without its proper object. Nothing but appearing 
good is loved. If a lost, condemned sinner have no hope 
given him of God's reconciliation, or his willingness to re- 
ceive him to mercy, it is ('ex parte objecti') an impossible 
thing that the mind of that sinner should be reconciled to 
God. And therefore the Gospel publisheth God's reconci- 
liation to sinners, (viz. his universal, conditional reconcilia- 
tion,) before it beseech them to be reconciled to God ; 2 Cor. 
v. 19, 20. And before they believe we cannot give any one 
man the least assurance that God is any more reconciled to 
him, than to others that are unconverted, or that he is any 
more willing to receive him, than others. 

This therefore is the great observable means whereby 
Christ by his Gospel recovereth the heart of a sinner unto 
God, even by turning the frowning countenance of God, by 
which he deterred the guilty into a more lovely face, as be- 
ing reconcilable, and conditionally reconciled to the world 
through Christ, and so become to all the ^sinful sons of 
Adam a fit object to attract their love, and draw off their 
hearts from the deceiving world, to which they were revolt- 
ed ; and as being actually reconciled to all true believers, 
and thereby become a yet more powerful attractive of their 
love. 7. It doth also more fully reveal the face of God, the 
object of our love, and the transcendent glory that in him 
we shall enjoy. 8. And it disgraceth the creatures which 
have diverted our affections, that we may be taken off our 


false estimation of them. 9. It earnestly persuadeth and 
soliciteth us to obey ; and calls on us to turn from the world 
to God. 10. It backeth these persuasions with terrible 
threatenings, if we do not forsake the creature and return. 
11. It prescribeth to us the standing ordinances and means 
by which this work may be further carried on. 12. And 
lastly, it directeth us to the right use of the creatures, in- 
stead of that carnal enjoying of them that would undo us. 
By all these means, (which time doth permit me but briefly 
to mention) the Gospel of Christ doth tend to crucify the 
world to us, and to recover our hearts to the chiefest good. 

And besides all this which the cross and the doctrine of 
Christ do to this end, that you may yet more fully perceive 
how much it is the end of Christ's very office, and tlie exe- 
cution thereof, let me add these two things : I. That it is 
the end of Christ's providential dispensations. 2. And the 
work which he sendeth the Holy Ghost to perform upon the 
souls of his elect. 

1. As the mercies of God are purposely given us to lead 
up our hearts to him that gave them ; so when we carnally 
abuse them, and adhere unto the creature, it is the special 
use of affliction to take us off. If the rod have a voice, it 
speaks this as plain as any thing whatsoever ; and if it re- 
prehend us for any sin, it is for our overvaluing and adher- 
ing to the creature. The wounds that Christ giveth us, are 
not to kill us, but to separate us from the world, that hath 
separated us from God. 

2. And that this is the very office or undertaken work of 
the Holy Ghost, is past all controversy : his work is to 
sanctify us ; and that is by taking us off the creature, to 
bring us to be heartily devoted unto God. Sanctification is 
nothing else but our separation from the creature to God, in 
resolution, affection, profession and action. So that in what 
measure soever a man hath the Spirit, in that measure is he 
sanctified ; and in what measure he is sanctified, in that 
same measure is he crucified to the world : for that is the 
one half of his sanctification, or it is his sanctification from 
the * terminus a quo ;' as many texts of Scripture do ma- 

By this time I hope it is plain to you, that mortification 
is of the very being of Christianity, and not any separable 


adjunct of it, and that if you profess not to be dead to the 
world, you do not so much as profess yourselves Christians. 
1 . And as you see that the Christian doctrine teacheth 
this : So 2. It is thence clear without any more ado, that 
wherever the cross and doctrine of Christ are effectual, the 
world is crucified to that man, and he to the world. There 
are some great duties which a man may possibly be saved, 
though he omit in some cases ; but this is none such. It is 
a wonder to see the security of worldlings, how easily they 
bear up a confidence of their sincerity, under this sin which 
is as inconsistent with sincerity as infidelity itself is ! If 
they see a man live in common drunkenness, or adultery, or 
swearing, they take him for a profane and miserable wretch ; 
and good reason for it: when in the mean time they pass no 
such sentence on themselves, who may deserve it as much 
as the worst of these. It is one notable cheat among the 
Papists, that occasions the ruin of many a soul, that they 
make a religious, mortified life to be a work of supereroga- 
tion, and those that profess it, (and some of their own inven- 
tions with it, which turn it into sin) they cloister up from 
the rest of the world, and these they call religious people, 
and some few even of these, that are either more devout or 
superstitious than the rest, they call saints. So rare a thing 
is the appearance of religiousness and sanctity among them, 
that it must be enclosed in societies, not only separated 
from the world, as the church is, but separated as it were 
out of the church itself. And yet the common people are 
kept in hope of salvation in their way. By which means 
they are commonly brought to imagine that it is not abso- 
lutely necessary to salvation to be a religious man, or a saint, 
or one that doth really renounce and crucify the world ; but 
that these things belong to certain orders of monks and friars, 
and that it is enough for other men to honour these devout 
and mortified saints, and to crave their prayers, and do some 
lower and easier things. And indeed their vows of chastity, 
and separation, and unprofitableness, and other inventions 
of their own, they may well conceive unnecessary to others, 
being noxious to themselves. But they will one day find 
that none but religious men and saints shall be saved, and 
that every true member of Christ is dead to the world, and 
not only monks, or votaries, or such like. And a conceit 


too like to this of the Papists, is in the minds ofmany of our 
auditors. They think, indeed, that those are the best men 
that are resolved contemners of all the riches, and honours, 
and pleasures of the world ; but they think of them as the 
Papists do of their votaries, as people of a higher pitch of 
sanctity than the rest, but think not that it is essential to 
sanctity, and to true Christianity itself. They confess they 
should be all contemners of the world ; but, God forbid, 
say they, that none but such should be saved ! But, 1 tell 
you, God hath forbidden already by his laws, and God will 
forbid hereafter by his sentence and execution, that any 
other but such should be saved. Do you think in good sad- 
ness that any man can be saved that is not truly dead to the 
world, and doth not despise it in comparison of God, and 
the great things of everlasting life ? Let me satisfy you of 
the contrary here once for all, and I pray you see that your 
flesh provoke you not to mutter forth such unreasonable 
self-delusions any more. " Love not the world, neither the 
things that are in the world. If any man love the world, 
the love of the Father is not in him ;'* 1 John ii. 15. What 
can be spoken more plainly, or to a worldlyminded man 
more terribly. " For whosoever is born of God, overcora- 
eth the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the 
world, even our faith ;" chap. v. 4. " Know ye not that the 
friendship of the world, is the enmity with God? Whoever 
therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of 
God ;" James iv. 4. Will not all this serve to convince you 
of this truth? "For they that are after the flesh do mind 
the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit, the 
things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, 
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the 
carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to 
the law of God, neither indeed can be. For if ye live after 
the flesh ye shall die ; but if ye through the Spirit do mor- 
tify the deeds of the body, ye shall live ;" Rom. viii. 5^ — -7. 
13. " That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that 
which is born of the Spirit is Spirit; Johniii. 6. '♦Walk 
in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. 
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against 
the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other;" 
Gal. v. 16, 17. vi. 8. " He that soweth to his flesh, shall of 
the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit, 


shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Col. iii. 1—3. " If 
ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, 
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your 
affections on things above, and not on things on the earth. 
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 
When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also 
appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members 
which are upon the earth." Matt. vi. 19—21. 24. " Lay 
not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and 
rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal ; 
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither 
moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break 
through nor steal : for where your treasure is there will your 
heart be also. No man can serve two masters ; for either 
he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold 
to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and 
mammon." chap. x. 38, 39. " He that taketh not his cross 
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that find- 
eth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my 
sake shall find it." chap. xvi. 24. " If any man will come 
after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and 
follow me." Luke xiv. 26, 27. " If any man come to me, 
and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, 
and brethren and sisters, yea and his own life also, he can- 
not be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross 
and come after me, cannot be my disciple." ver.33. " Who- 
soever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he 
cannot be my disciple." Heb. xi. 13 — 15. and to the end. 
But I will cite no more. Here is enough to convince you, 
or condemn you. If any thing at all be plain in Scripture, 
this is plain, that every true Christian is dead to the world, 
and looks on the world as a crucified thing ; and that God 
and the life of glory which he hath promised, have the rul- 
ing and chiefest interest in their souls. Believe it, sirs, this 
is not a work of supererrogation, nor such as only tendeth 
to the perfecting of a Christian, but such as is of the es- 
sence of Christianity, and without which there is not the 
least hope of salvation. 

Use II. By all that hath been said, you may perceive 
what it is to be a Christian indeed, and that true Christia- 
nity doth set men at a further distance from the world, than 
carnal, self-deceiving professors do imagine. You see that 


God and the world are enemies ; not God and the world as 
his creature, but as his competitor for your hearts, and as 
the seducer of your understandings, and the opposer of his 
interest, and the fuel and food of a fleshly mind, and that 
which would pretend to a being or goodness separated from 
God, or to be desirable for itself, having laid by the relation 
of a means to God. To be a friend to the world in any of 
these respects, is to be an enemy to God. And God will not 
save his enemies, while enemies. An enmity to God is an 
enmity to our salvation : for our salvation is in him alone. 
If then you have but awakened consciences, if the true love 
of yourselves be stirring in you, and if you have but the free 
use of common reason, I dare say you do by this time per- 
ceive, that it closely concerneth you presently to look about 
you, and to try whether you are crucified to the world or 
not. Seeing my present business is, for the securing of 
your everlasting peace, and the healing of your souls of that 
which would deprive you of it, let me entreat you all in the 
fear of God to give me your assistance, and to go along with 
me in the work ; for what can a preacher do for you, if you 
will do nothing for yourselves? How can we convert, or 
heal, or save you, without you ? I do foresee your appear- 
ance before the Lord ; a jealous God ; that will not endure 
that any creature should be sweeter and more amiable to 
you than himself. I do foresee the condemnation that all 
such must undergo, and the remediless/ certain misery that 
they are near. I know there is no way that the wit of man 
or angels can devise, to prevent the damnation of such a 
soul, but "by crucifying the flesh and world by the cross of* 
Christ, and dethroning these idols, and submitting sincerely 
to God for their happiness. This cannot be done while you 
are strangers to yourselves, and will not look into your own 
hearts, and see what abominable work is there, that you 
may be moved to return with shame and sorrow for that 
which hath been formerly your glory and your joy. O do 
not keep out the light of conviction, that you may keep up 
your idols in the dark : your sin is nevertheless, because you 
wilfully keep it out of sight : and your danger is neverthe- 
less for being unknown. If you will sin in darkness, you 
shall suffer in darkness : as you have a fire of fleshly and 
worldly lusts within you, which abhors the light of saving 
truth, so God hath a fire of perpetual torment for you. 


which is as far from the consolatory light of his counte- 
nance. As the fire of concupiscence is dark, so is the tor- 
menting fire dark. If you hate the converting light, because 
your deeds are evil, and will not by this light be made ma- 
nifest to yourselves (John iii. 18 — 21.), this will be your 
condemnation, and by this will you deprive yourselves of 
the glorifying light. If you love darkness, who can you 
blame but yourselves, if you be cast into outer darkness? 
and if you hate light, you cannot reasonably expect to be 
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light ; Col. 
i. 13. 

What say you then, beloved hearers, are you willing to 
know your hearts, or not? Whether you are dead to the 
world, and the world to you? Methinks you should be 
willing ; when you see the question is as great, as whether 
you are Christians indeed or not ; and as great, as whether 
you are in a state of salvation or not. Methinks you that 
naturally love knowledge, and would be at some pains to 
know all that is about you in the world, should not be un- 
willing to know yourselves, and specially, so great a matter 
by yourselves, as whether you are the heirs of salvation or 
damnation ; for in the issue it is no less. Especially when 
your disease is such as must be cured by the light, if ever 
it be cured. You cannot lament your worldliness and sen- 
suality, you cannot lament your disaffectedness to God, and 
intolerable neglects of him, till you find them out. You 
cannot betake you to Christ for the pardon of this sin, till 
you have discovered it. A sin unseen will never humble 
you and break your hearts, nor fit them for Christ to bind 
them up. If you see not that the world is yet alive in you, 
you will not apply the cross, for the crucifying of it, nor 
have recourse to a crucified Christ for that end. Moreover, 
it is the nature of all sin, and worldly vanities to seem 
best in the dark, and basest in the light. As God and hea- 
venly things seem best in the greatest light, and worst in 
the darkness. None do set light by God, and grace, and 
glory, but those that know them not. And none do set 
much by worldly, fleshly things, but those that know them 
not. As illumination brings in God into the soul, so doth 
it help to cast out satan and the world. When men's eyes 
are opened, and they are turned from darkness to light, they 
are presently turned " from the power of satan unto God ;" 


Acts xxvi. 18. These infernal worldly spirits cannot endure 
the light : they walk not by day, but haunt them whom they 
captivate, in the night of ignorance ; and if we do but come 
in upon them with light, they are gone. It is the same de- 
vil that is called " the prince of this world, and the ruler of 
the darkness of this world," (Eph.vi. 12.) and this power is 
" a power of darkness," (Luke xxii. 53.) and therefore as light 
immediately expelleth darkness ; so if you will admit the 
light of Christ, it will deliver you from the power of dark- 
ness (Col. i. 13.), and cause you " to cast off the works of 
darkness," (Rom. xiii. 12.) ; that is, your worldly, fleshly 

For my part, I have not access to your hearts, unless 
grace persuade you to open me the door. I cannot promise 
to illuminate you, and go with you into the inmost rooms ; 
but I shall stand at the door and hold you the candle, by 
which you may see yourselves what is within, if yoii will 
but consent and take the pains of a thorough inquiry. I do 
therefore earnestly entreat you, to set up a judicature in 
yourselves, and by the word which you have heard to try 
your states, and let conscience be judge, and do it speedily, 
faithfully, and effectually. By this means you may pre- 
vent a sharper trial. If you are afraid of conscience, how 
much more should you be afraid of God ? Will not his 
judgment, think you, be more dreadful than your own? 
What madness is it to leave all to that terrible judgment, 
rather than to judge yourselves for the preventing of it? 
Believe it, you shall be condemned by yourselves or by God; 
yea, both by yourselves and by God, unless your self-con- 
demnation be seconded by an effectual execution of the 
sin which you condemn. Willing or unwilling, you must 
to the bar either of conscience or of God, or both. Come 
on then, beloved hearers ; rouse up your sleepy souls, and 
remember that your salvation is the thing in question ; and 
therefore put it not to a wilful hazard, and leave not loose a 
matter of such consequence : but if you are men of common 
reason, if you do not hate yourselves, and have not a re- 
solved plot to damn yourselves, take time while you may 
have it, and accept the light and help that is offered you, 
and speedily and strictly examine your own hearts, whether 
they are crucified and dead to the world, or not. Is it so, 



or is it not sirs ? Cannot you tell ? If you know but what 
this mortification is, and know but your own hearts, no 
doubt but you may tell. And if you are ignorant of either 
of these, it is because you are shamefully negligent, and 
have not much regarded the things which you should 

For those that are willing to be acquainted with their 
state, I shall, besides the foregoing discoveries, here give 
you a few more signs, by which you may discern whether 
you are crucified to the world. And I beseech you do what 
you can in the trial, as we go, and make up the rest at the 
next opportunity, when you come home, and follow it on 
till you come to a resolution. 

It is not a perfect work of mortification, that I shall 
now inquire after ; for that no man on earth hath obtained ; ' 
nor is it any high degree, which only the stronger and bet- 
ter sort of true Christians do attain ; for if I convince you 
that you want either of these, you will not much be hum- 
bled by the conviction. But it is the very least and lowest 
measure that is consistent with sincerity, and which is in all 
that are heirs of heaven. This is it that I shall now disco- 
ver to you. 

1. If you are sincerely crucified to the world, it is not 
carnal self that is your end, but your ultimate end is God 
and glory. Can you but tell me what is the main design of 
your life? Whether it be for earth or for heaven? Know 
this, and you may resolve the case. A worldling may speak 
contemptuously of the world, and speak most honourably of 
God and the life to come. But speculative knowledge and 
practical are frequently contradictory in the same man. 
Still it is this world that hath his chief intentions, and is 
the end of his designs and life ; and the world to come is 
regarded but as a reserve, because of their unavoidable se- 
paration from this world. The main end of every upright 
Christian, is to please and enjoy God ; and the main end of 
all the rest of the world, is how to please their carnal minds 
in the enjoyment of some earthly things. If you could but 
discern which of these is your chiefest end, you might dis- 
cern whether it be Christ or the world that liveth in you. 
For Christ liveth in you, when he is your end, and the world 
liveth in you when it is your end. 

But because some are such strangers to themselves, that 


they do not know their own ends, the rest of the signs shall 
be for the discovery of the former, that you may discern 
whether the world or God be your ultimate end. 

1. That which is your principal end, is most highly es- 
teemed by your practical judgment. Not only by the spe- 
culative, but by that which moveth and disposeth of the man. 
Is God or the world, heaven or earth, thus most highly es- 
teemed by you ? Let your practice shew it. 

2. It is your principal end, that hath the principal inter- 
est in you. That can do most with you, and prevail most in 
a contest. Can God or the world do more with you'? 
Which of them doth prevail, when an opposition doth arise ? 
I speak not of God in his efficiency ; for so 1 know he can 
do what he lists ; and will do it, whether you will or no ; and 
will not ask your consent to do it. But it is God as your 
end, that I now speak of; as he worketh morally by your 
own consent, and upon your wills. Honours, and profits, 
and pleasures are before you, and these would draw you to 
something that he forbids. And God and glory are pro- 
[jounded to you to take you off, and turn your hearts ano- 
ther way ; which of these can do more with you ? which is 
it that can nullify the persuasions of the other ? 

3. It is your principal end, that hath the principal ruling 
and disposal of your whole life. You do purposely contrive 
the main part of your life in order to it. If you are indeed 
Christians, and God be your end, the main drift of your life 
is a contrived means for the obtaining of that end ; that is, 
to please God, and to enjoy him in everlasting glory. If 
you were such as you should be, you should have no 
other end at all, nor should you ever do one work, or receive 
or use one creature, or speak one word, or behold one ob- 
ject, but as a means to God, intending the pleasing and en- 
joying him in all ; as a traveller should not go one step of 
his journey, but in order to his end. But while we are im- 
perfect in our love, and other graces, this will not be. But 
yet the main bent and drift of our lives must needs be for 
God and the life to come ; and thus it is with every true be- 
liever ; and you are none, if it be not thus with you. I say 
it again, lest you should slightly pass it over, though you 
inay through infirmity sometimes step out of the way, yet if 
God be your end and happiness, that is, if he be your 
God, and you be Christians, the main scope, and bent, and 


dritf of your lives is for to please God and enjoy him in 
glory. But if the main scope and drift of your life, be for 
the flesh and the world, and God and religion come in but 
upon the by, you are then no better than unsanctified world- 
lings. Though you may do much in religion, and be zea- 
lous about it, and seem the most devout and most resolved 
professors in all the country where you live ; yet if all 
this be but in subordination to the flesh and the world, 
or if co-ordinate it have the smaller interest in your 
hearts, and when you have done or suffered most for Christ, 
you will do and suffer more for the flesh and the world, you 
are carnal wretches, and- no Christians. O that you would 
let conscience' do its office, and judge you as we go along 
according to evidence ! It is not by one or two actions that 
you can judge of your estate, but by the main scope, and 
bent, and drift of your life. What is your very heart set 
upon ? What is your care, and your chief contrivances ? 
Are they f